I have ‘go-to’ food. Meals or sides that I almost always have the stuff to make and that are pretty quick and easy and people-pleasing. If anyone has eaten at my house, you’ve probably had my garlic herb roasted potatoes or Jake’s Aunt Marti’s corn. I tend to make Mindi Ross’s pasta salad recipe a
LOT. And any time it’s just Jake & I and I don’t feel like really cooking, I can make salsa chicken. It used to not be Jake’s favorite dish, but he’s come to like it all right. Probably just from sheer over exposure. In the summer, a good BLT with fresh garden tomatoes and precooked bacon strips that I just have to microwave are staples for us. To be honest, the “L” is usually left out, as Jake & I don’t feel a great need for the lettuce. And the bread MUST be toasted (that way it’s not as gross) and swiped with Miracle Whip (NOT mayo for our BLTs). And fresh tomatoes with chicken salad works great as a regular meal for us too. I love Italian marinated chicken on the grill, so thanks to my good friend Emily Cooper who introduced me to the most flavorful & easy way to make that happen (goes great with either the aforementioned garlic herb roasted potatoes & Aunt Marti’s corn or the pasta salad, too). As for desserts, chocolate chip granola bars, Funfetti cookies, devil’s food cake w/ Penuche frosting and Rice Krispie treats are definitely ‘go-tos’ for me. Recently, I’ve added oven s’mores to that list as well. (They are a revelation!)
Do you have ‘go-to’ food? Please share!
Here are the recipes for my ‘go-tos’ listed above.
Garlic Herb Roasted Potatoes
1 envelope Lipton Savory Herb & Garlic Soup Mix
¼ C olive or vegetable oil
2 lbs potatoes, washed & cubed (red potatoes work the best)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, add all ingredients and toss until potatoes are evenly coated. Spread potatoes in a shallow baking pan. Bake 40 minutes or until tender and golden brown, stirring once midway through. Serves approx. 8 as a side dish.
Aunt Marti’s Corn
1 large bag frozen corn
½ stick butter / marg.
1 T sugar
1 tsp thyme
Heat butter and corn in pan; sprinkle with sugar and time and heat through, stirring occasionally.
1/3 C oil
1/3 C vinegar
little less than 1/3 C sugar
pepperoni, cut into bite-size pieces
baby carrots, sliced
onion flakes, to taste
pepper, garlic pwdr, onion pwder, salt, to taste
cooked pasta (I prefer Gemelli)
Mix oil, vinegar, sugar and spices. Add pepperoni, carrots, onion flakes; mix well. (You can add anything else you normally like in a pasta salad such as broccoli, olives, tomatoes, etc.) Drain pasta and toss with dressing. Chill until serving. Be sure to mix again before serving, as dressing can settle on bottom.
2-4 chicken breasts, cubed
12 – 16 oz jar salsa
2-4 T sour cream
hot cooked rice
Spray skillet with cooking spray. Cook chicken over medium heat until no longer pink. Add salsa; heat through. Add sour cream. Serve over rice. Serves 2-4.
Chicken Salad with Tomatoes
1 large can chicken breast meat, flaked
Mayonnaise, as desired
1 can sliced water chestnuts, chopped or jicama, peeled & chopped
Tastefully Simple’s Bacon Bacon or bacon bits, garlic powder, salt, as desired
Mix all ingredients. Quarter fresh tomatoes and serve chicken salad in center of tomato pieces.
Italian Marinated Chicken
1 bottle of Italian dressing, preferably not fat free (higher fat content increases marinade absorption into chicken)
2-6 frozen chicken breasts
Put chicken breasts in a Ziploc bag. Add entire bottle of Italian dressing. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 days, turning occasionally. When ready to fix, drain off marinade. Grill, broil or bake chicken breasts as desired.
Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
1 C brown sugar
¼ C honey
¾ C butter / marg
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 C oatmeal (quick oats work the best in my experience)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter/marg in microwave, then stir in brown sugar. Add remaining ingredients, chocolate chips last to prevent melting. Stir well until evenly coated. Press firmly in an even layer in 9x13 or slightly smaller bar pan. Bake for 25-30 min. until golden brown. Cool for 30 min. and cut into bars. Makes 24 bars.
1 box Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix
1/3 C oil
1 can Pillsbury Funfetti frosting
Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, oil & eggs. Stir until thoroughly moistened. Using cooking scoop, place cookie dough on ungreased cookie sheet. With flat bottom of glass dipped in sugar, flatten dough to ¼ inch thickness. Bake for 6-8 min. Cool 1 minute before removing cookie from baking sheet to cooling rack. Frost cookies and enjoy. (This recipe works with any cake mix, but Funfetti is my fave.)
Devil’s Food Cake with Penuche (caramel) Frosting
Make devil’s food cake from cake mix as directed in a 9x13 pan. Let cool. Make frosting as directed below and frost cake. I usually make the night before to let set.
6 T butter / marg.
¾ C brown sugar
1/8 C plus 1 T milk
¼ tsp salt
¾ tsp vanilla
1 ½ - 2 C powdered sugar
Melt butter in small saucepan. Add brown sugar and bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat & simmer for 2 min, stirring constantly. Add milk & bring to boil again, stirring constantly. Remove from heat & pour into a mixing bowl. Let cool. (This takes awhile, so sometimes I put it in the freezer to speed the process but you have to watch it – I’ve ruined it by letting it get too cold before.) Add salt & vanilla; gradually beat in powdered sugar (I use a hand whisk but you can use a mixer). Beat until the frosting is creamy & the right consistency for spreading. (This frosting can get thick awfully fast, so if that happens, just use a knife dipped in warm water to easy in spreading.) **This recipe works for a 9x13 cake; double the recipe for a layered cake.
Rice Krispie Treats
10.5 oz bag of mini marshmallows
3 T butter / marg
6 C Rice Krispies cereal
Melt margarine / butter & marshmallows in a large pan on the stove, stirring occasionally. When melted & smooth, remove from heat & stir in cereal until well coated. Spread into a greased 9x13 pan; use greased hands to press into place. Let cool & cut into bars. Makes 24 bars. (Optional: for thicker treats, use a 9x9 pan.)
large, thick chocolate bar(s), chilled in fridge
Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place graham crackers in pan. Top with desired amount of chocolate and one large marshmallow. Set oven to broil. Place baking sheet in oven for short amount of time, just long enough to start turning the tops of the marshmallows brown (less than 2 min usually). Remove baking sheet and place another graham cracker on top of each s’more. Serve with plenty of napkins and enjoy the gooey, drippy treats. **Note: I did not know this until recently but you do not have to let your oven “heat up” to a broiling temp. It will reach it almost immediately (somehow). That makes this easy treat even faster!