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What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Frogmore Stew

9 Jul
Frogmore Stew: I couldn't get enough of it!

Frogmore Stew: I couldn’t get enough of it!

I’d like to start this post with, “Well, at least I loved it.”

And now I’ll continue from there, with my disclaimer out there.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll mention it again: I have a seafood allergy. It’s not all seafood, but it’s a lot of seafood: clams, oysters, scallops, calamari, mussels. It’s class two of shellfish, the mollusks. It’s also a relatively new allergy. I grew up eating all of the above, but only began reacting to the seafood in the past five or so years.

It really, really stinks. It stinks even more, I think, because I know what I’m missing. I can taste those foods in my mind. I crave them.

As a native New Englander, it’s an awful allergy to have, and in the summertime it’s particularly really awful. Seafood is everywhere and it’s particularly prominent in the summertime. It’s the thing to do, the post-event treat, or the event itself, as in a good, old-fashioned clam boil.

A clam boil traditionally is where you cook the clams, the corn, the potatoes, the onions, the white fish, saugy hot dogs, everything all together and then you eat it. The smell is to die for if you love seafood the way I do. The taste is even better. You often pair it with some white clam chowder, and some golden fried clam cakes. Clams, clams, clams.

I miss clam boils.

That’s why, when I saw this recipe come across my Facebook timeline for something called Frogmore Stew, I had to have it. I tagged my husband: “I can eat this,” I said. It didn’t have clams. It had shrimp, which I can have, and kielbasa, which we like and then the usual corn, potatoes, onions etc. I wanted it instantly. **The recipe that I have linked here may not be the exact one that came across my page because the one I saw go by had kielbasa as the ingredient, whereas this one has sausage but you could substitute kielbasa. I couldn’t find the original post on my page that I’d shared when I looked back to type this post. Everything else is the same, however.**

And, the good husband that he is, I had it for dinner that same night. He made the whole thing, just for me.

I was in heaven.

I will say, as I alluded in the beginning of this post: I was the only one.

According to my husband, a true clam boil is better.

Well, of course.

My kids had a variety of reactions from “Can I just make myself a bagel?” to “Where’s the cocktail sauce?” to “I’ll have just corn and kielbasa please.”

But, I honestly didn’t care. I was so happy to have a version of a clam boil type of dinner that had almost all the ingredients, the same aroma, and wouldn’t put me down for the count, that I really didn’t care who else loved it as much as I did.

So, my recommendation? I’d totally make it and eat it again. I have friends who also said they made it and loved it in and around the same time that I did, so it wasn’t just me!

If you like all the ingredients in the recipe and you’re looking for a new and different twist on a traditional New England clam boil as I was, I highly recommend you try this one!

 

 

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Tortellini, Shrimp and Tomato Soup

25 Jun
Sometimes impulse shopping can be good!

Sometimes impulse shopping can be good!

Grocery shopping on an empty stomach…never a good thing. Grocery shopping with a bunch of kids who all have empty stomachs, also not a good thing.

At least, not usually.

At the end of the school year, the kids and I were power walking through Aldi’s, trying to pick up a few things to get us through the next bunch of days, but we were all hungry. There was lots of, “Can we get this? Oh…we haven’t had this in a while, can we get it….Oh Mommy I LOVE these, can we get them,” I’m sure you know how it goes.

I mostly said no to many of the requests unless it was something I knew we actually needed. I try to keep my big grocery trip to a paycheck week only, and I knew that this could quickly get out of hand if I didn’t keep my kids’ requests to a minimum.

However, one of the requests I said yes to was my daughter’s plea for Tortellini. We hadn’t had it in a while, I did need some meal fillers, and it looked good just in the packaging because it was tri-colored pasta.

We threw not one, but two bags in the carriage and moved on. We passed the frozen shrimp section next. I love putting shrimp and pasta together so I threw one bag of that in the carriage also.

I wasn’t sure what I would be doing with the items I was purchasing, but I couldn’t wait to get home and do Google search and see what came up. I didn’t just want to do plain old pasta and sauce. I’d done that in a pinch too many times this school year.

Sure enough, my Google search led me to a great recipe for Tortellini Tomato Soup. I knew I could add shrimp to that without a problem. Funny enough, one of my other daughters had been begging me to find a recipe for Tomato Soup that could equal the sample we’d had earlier this winter at Whole Foods. At $4.99 for a small jar it was a once-only treat for us, and I’d promised to find her a recipe to equal it or surpass it.

The recipe I found, from Two Peas and Their Pod.com, was great. It didn’t take long to prepare and it had easy ingredients. I knew that I could throw the shrimp into the mix without a problem.

The soup looked amazing as it cooked. Cooking time didn't take very long at all and the ingredients were simple.

The soup looked amazing as it cooked. Cooking time didn’t take very long at all and the ingredients were simple.

In my house there are such a wide variety of tastes that it’s hard to please everyone. I knew that this recipe had the potential to work for everyone. I could separate some of the soup before throwing in the pasta and shrimp, for those who wanted just plain tomato soup. Then, anyone who wanted tortellini and shrimp in theirs could have it (me) and anyone who wanted one or the other could do that too. There was definitely something for everyone with this recipe.

I also threw the ingredients into my bread machine, a newly rediscovered toy this year, to make a French Bread to go along with our soup. The recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod showed the soup with a nice crusty bread, and I couldn’t get that image out of my mind when I was prepping my meal.

It turned out to be a fabulously delicious dinner, and everyone was happy. I had enough leftovers of both the plain soup and the loaded soup to have lunch for a couple of days, and the bread was the perfect accompaniment to the meal. The use of Greek nonfat yogurt in the recipe made it ideal for our family’s dietary needs, as we have to stick to a pretty lowfat diet as much as possible. The soup was still just as creamy as it would have been had we used a heavier cream.

I definitely would make this soup again, and I did indeed keep my promise of finding my daughter a soup that’d match the one she’d sampled in Whole Foods, and for a fraction of the cost of one small jar in their store.

I have copied the recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod below, just as they have it on their site. I encourage you to pop on over to their site as well, they have lots of great recipes on there. This is not the first time I’ve visited it myself!

I was essentially able to make two soups with one recipe: one loaded with tortellini and shrimp, and one creamy tomato soup.

I was essentially able to make two soups with one recipe: one loaded with tortellini and shrimp, and one creamy tomato soup.

TWO PEAS AND THEIR POD CREAMY TOMATO TORTELLINI SOUP

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (32 oz) container vegetable broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 (9 oz) packages fresh or frozen cheese tortellini (we use Buitoni)
Grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil, for garnish, optional

Directions:

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bay leaves and crushed red pepper flakes.

2. Add the diced tomatoes and vegetable broth. Stir in fresh basil and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Simmer on low for 15 minutes.

3. Remove the bay leaves from the pot. Use a hand immersion blender to blend the soup (or carefully transfer soup to a blender to blend and return to the pot). Stir in the Greek yogurt until well combined. Stir in the cheese tortellini and cook on medium-low until tortellini is cooked, about 7-8 minutes. Serve warm.

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Kielbasa and Cabbage

11 Jun
This meal was tasty and a good way to combine a lot of things I had on hand.

This meal was tasty and a good way to combine a lot of things I had on hand.

You know how it is this time of year. Crazy, crazy, crazy busy. Some weeks I don’t get to plan out a menu of meals for the week. Some weeks I don’t get to do a “big shopping” at the start of the week either, and I’m left to pick up things as I need them on the run, or to make meals with whatever I’ve got on hand.

Today’s meal is a combination of all of those situations. I hadn’t done a menu for the week. I hadn’t done a big shopping. I was hurriedly picking up things as I went along, between runs here there and everywhere.

That’s why I mistakenly grabbed a head of cabbage one week instead of a head of lettuce.

That’s a whole lot of cole slaw, and it’s not really close to St. Patrick’s Day either.

That’s why early one afternoon, I was now Googling “kielbasa and cabbage recipes” one day, as I tried to make a meal with whatever I had left in the house: a single package of turkey kielbasa, a head of cabbage, and a bag of egg noodles.

Our go-to site, Allrecipes. com had a good recipe for Kielbasa and Cabbage that looked doable and not too crazy with things my kids wouldn’t like. It called for simple ingredients and looked quick. It would also allow us to use up half the head of cabbage. I decided we’d try it. The only difference I’d make would be to serve it over the egg noodles we had rather than over white rice.

The recipe was tasty and well-received by my family and I used up half my cabbage and my single package of kielbasa. It also gave us a different kielbasa recipe to try, which was a nice change. There was none left of the main dish and really, only some of the noodles remained.

Below is the recipe as it appears on AllRecipes.com.

KIELBASA AND CABBAGE
INGREDIENTS

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1 large onion, cut into rings
  • 1 medium head cabbage, sliced into strips
  • 1 pound kielbasa sausage, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a skillet, and cook the onion and cabbage until tender.

Place kielbasa over cabbage.

Season with Cajun seasoning, pepper, salt, and Worcestershire sauce.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

*We served ours over cooked egg noodles.*

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Summer Pasta Salad with Peaches

4 Jun
This salad was a hit all around!

This salad was a hit all around!

I’m always getting emails with recipes in my inbox, and every so often one of them will catch my eye and I’ll open it up. The other day I happened to notice a recipe from Cooking Light for a Summer Peach and Tomato Salad.

The name of the recipe, the combination of peaches and tomatoes made me click on it and read it. Of course other than peaches and tomatoes, yet not all the kinds of tomatoes they recommended, I didn’t have most of the ingredients for the salad. I didn’t have Sherry Vinegar or red onions or Feta cheese (I don’t even like Feta cheese) or fresh Basil.

Even still, the recipe stayed on my mind. I knew I wanted to try it one day. In the meantime, I still had to come up with my meal planning for this week, and one night we were going to be grilling pork chops. I went downstairs to my pantry to see what I could put as a side dish or two with the chops, and of course, we had next to nothing since we hadn’t done our “big shopping” yet. However, we had a box of pasta, we had honey and olive oil, I knew we had tomatoes, cucumbers, mozzarella cheese and….fresh summer peaches. I decided to do a variation on the Cooking Light recipe and make my pasta salad for the side dish, but add in some peaches with the other veggies.

“Ewwww….” my daughter said. “That sounds gross together.”

Excellent. A vote of confidence.

Not.

But no worries, I was going to try it anyway. To me, the tomatoes and peaches sounded like they’d go well together, and I looked up a substitution for Sherry Vinegar which said Rice Wine Vinegar which we always have and like to use.

I put on the water to boil and began slicing my peaches. As my pasta cooked and I sliced, that same daughter wandered into the kitchen.

“Can I help?” she asked.

I let her help despite her lack of confidence in this new recipe. As I sliced up the peaches, she threw them into a big bowl and added in the tomatoes, honey, olive oil and vinegar. As I drained the pasta, she peeled and sliced the cucumber and threw that in too. She took a taste.

“This is actually pretty good together!” she said.

I might’ve said, “I told you so,” but I will neither confirm or deny that.

We tossed in the pasta and mixed it all together noting how pretty the reds and yellows looked together. I was wishing I had fresh Basil to add a touch of green, and I debated adding another peach, but decided for this first time out, just to leave it all as is, and see how well this Summer Pasta Salad with Peaches went over with the rest of the family.

Well….I couldn’t have been happier. Everyone loved it and the combination of the peaches with the other fruits, veggies and seasonings was perfect.

My daughter redeemed herself by exclaiming over and over again how great this was together, and I was happy.

I would definitely recommend bringing some summer into your recipes too, adding in peaches and other summer fruits to some of your regular meals. Making this recipe made me even more excited for the end of school and the summertime and for all the delicious summer-only items that are starting to come into season now.

Next time you’re making a salad, think of Cooking Light and their recipe, of my Summer Pasta Salad with Peaches, and see what variation you can come up with!

Even though initially she thought this salad didn't sound appealing at all, she was my biggest helper and biggest fan of the recipe at mealtime!

Even though initially she thought this salad didn’t sound appealing at all, she was my biggest helper and biggest fan of the recipe at mealtime!

 

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Taco Stuffed Shells from She Knows and Gina

21 May
This Mexican/Italian meal was yummy!

This Mexican/Italian meal was yummy!

ORIGINALLY POSTED JUNE 26, 2013

I am never afraid to admit it: I love Facebook. I really do. I love connecting with people and I really love re-connecting with people. I also love food. I love seeing all the neat things that people are cooking and eating. Recently, a friend of Don’s from high school, Gina, posted the link to a recipe that he thought looked amazing. He posted it on my wall to see what I thought, and I thought it looked good too!

The recipe was from the site She Knows, and it certainly looked delicious! It was a recipe that combined jumbo Italian pasta shells with a Mexican filling. It sounded like something everyone would like and I actually had all but two of the ingredients to make it, we were only missing the taco seasoning and the cream cheese, both easy enough to pick up. This was also something we could make to fit our dietary restrictions just by using fat free cheese and low fat cream cheese. We also used ground turkey instead of ground beef, a leaner option.

This past weekend Don gave it at try. Using Gina’s recommendations, he also picked up a couple of side items: lettuce, tomato and avocado, which we served on the side. Everyone loved them! Everyone had second helpings also. This is a recipe I’d definitely make again.

Thank you for sharing, Gina!!

Stuffed Mexican shells recipe as seen on the “She Knows” website

Yields 16 stuffed shells

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 16 large pasta shells
  • 1 cup medium-spiced salsa, divided (more if desired) **we used mild, not medium
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

Directions:

  1. Brown ground beef, drain and add in package of taco seasoning. Prepare meat according to taco seasoning packet directions.
  2. Once cooked down, add in cream cheese and stir until it’s completely combined. Set aside.
  3. Add water to a large pot and put on stove to boil. Once boiling, add in 1 tablespoon kosher salt and large pasta shells. Boil till al dente.
  4. Once shells are cooked, drain, lay out in a single row and cool till they are cool enough to touch. Fill each shell with taco/cream cheese mixture. Start off by adding 1 tablespoon per shell and then adding more if there is leftover filling.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Add 1/2 cup salsa to the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch pan and put stuffed shells into the pan so they are snug. Top shells with remaining 1/2 cup salsa.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes until everything is warm.
  8. Take off foil and sprinkle with cheese and bake for another 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling.

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Garlic Roasted Kale

14 May
This made a nice change for us as a side dish with dinner.

This made a nice change for us as a side dish with dinner.

A while back I posted the recipe from our visit to the White House for the 2012 Kid’s State Dinner for Kale Chips. That visit was our first experience with kale chips, but it was not our last. My kids love them and it makes a great after school snack for sure.

Recently, however, I received an email for a variation of kale chips. This recipe was for Garlic Roasted Kale from the site My Recipes.com, and I thought I’d give it a try. The things that attracted me to this recipe were the fact that it included garlic, which I love, and it also included kosher salt, which I enjoy the flavor of as well.

I gave it a try one afternoon and the kids absolutely loved it. I decided to try it again most recently as a side dish for our dinner, instead of our usual broccoli or green beans or salad. As my kids were walking through the kitchen, they each asked what I was making and each time they were so excited when I said kale. I had to just shake my head in amazement. I don’t think I ever imagined I’d get three cheers for kale. Ever.

Below is the recipe from My Recipes.com for Garlic Roasted Kale. The only thing I skipped in this recipe was the vinegar at the end because I did not think the kids would like it, although I was pretty sure I would. The rest I did as was called for.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil$
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounces kale, stems removed and chopped$
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • DIRECTIONS
    1. Arrange oven racks in center and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 425°. Place a large jelly-roll pan in oven for 5 minutes.
    2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Place kale mixture on hot pan, spreading with a silicone spatula to separate leaves. Bake at 425° for 7 minutes. Stir kale. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until edges of leaves are crisp and kale is tender.
    3. Place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinegar; toss to combine. Serve immediately.

 

 

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Asparagus saute

7 May
This was such an enjoyable lunch!

This was such an enjoyable lunch!

I was having one of those days.

I was starving. It was lunchtime. I didn’t know what I wanted to eat.

Open the fridge, close the fridge.

Open the freezer, close the freezer.

Nothing seemed appealing at all.

I’d been having a crazy craving though: asparagus.

My family doesn’t love it, so I don’t get it often. I order it in restaurants whenever I can, for that very reason.

Recently however, my niece had asked us what our favorite vegetable was as part of a school project. I answered asparagus, qualifying that answer with “I’m the only one who likes it very much, so I don’t often get to eat it.”

Ever since I’d sent her that message, I’d been craving it.

When I looked in my freezer, I saw I had some in there. I decided to start there and build my lunch from the ground up.

I threw my asparagus in the cast iron skillet.

Opened the fridge (again) to see what else was there.

Half a tomato. That works. I chopped that up and once my asparagus was almost cooked to perfection, I threw the chopped tomato in and sauteed it in with the asparagus for the last few minutes.

I toasted my new favorite kind of bagel: honey oat and added some I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter on top.

I thought my lunch was complete and I couldn’t wait to eat it, but then I remembered a friend had posted a photo of a meal that included eggs and asparagus. Her eggs were sunny side up, but I had hard boiled in my refrigerator (I almost always do) so I decided just to chop that up and throw it on top.

It was a most enjoyable, relatively healthy lunch!

I showed one of my daughters with a more adventurous palate, and she declared that it did in fact look delicious and that in the future she’d like to try it herself, subbing in spinach for the asparagus.

So although it’s not a true dinner, this could be a healthy side dish or a breakfast for dinner meal, or as I had it for a lunch.

Give it a try!

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Egg and Sausage Casserole

30 Apr
This was a great last minute save for our dinner a few weeks back!

This was a great last minute save for our dinner a few weeks back!

Ever have one of those nights where you’ve counted on leftovers for dinner but yet when you open the fridge, there aren’t any?

Yup. It really stinks when that happens, doesn’t it?

We must’ve had a very hungry week the week prior to our spring break because when we made our menu for the week, knowing we’d be going away for the break week, we tried hard to use what we had and we worked in leftovers on the menu for a particularly busy night where we’d have to eat and run. But, we did an extra good job of using what we had because when I looked, I realized I needed a new plan for dinner that night.

Coincidentally, because I get so many meal ideas and recipes in my inbox each day, one happened to catch my eye and spark my interest for dinner that night. It was an egg and sausage casserole which was supposed to be cooked in the slow cooker, most likely for an Easter brunch type of meal, but it gave me an idea for my last minute Wednesday-before-the-chorus- concert-and-dance-class night type of meal instead.

I began looking on the internet and Pinterest for egg casserole ideas. I wanted to make a good-sized one so that I could also use it for the remaining week’s breakfasts and lunches too. I am a big fan of the “Cook Once, Eat Twice” philosophy.

The recipe I came up with was well-received by my family and I even served it with an English Muffin bread, which I made in the bread maker while I was gone for the afternoon. I did not need to slow cook my casserole, so I baked it in the oven instead. It was a perfect meal.

Here is the recipe I somewhat created, based on all the recipes I saw that day.

EGG AND SAUSAGE CASSEROLE

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil

12 package cooked sausage (I used a combination of cut up low fat turkey sausage links (8) and what I had left of my Jimmy Dean low fat Turkey sausage crumbles.)

14 eggs beaten

1/2 cup milk

1 small onion, chopped

Several small potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces (I used six potatoes, I could’ve done with five. Six was just a bit much, even for a large casserole.)

1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (we use low fat)

DIRECTIONS

I precooked my potatoes and my onions and sausage in olive oil on the stove top first. I put them into two cast iron skillets since I had such a large amount, and cooked them before putting them in the bottom of my casserole dish. I poured my eggs on top of them once in the dish, and topped with the shredded cheese.

I baked my casserole for one hour at 350 degrees. Be sure to check it by putting a knife through. The casserole looks done about halfway before it is done. Halfway through, I covered it with foil because the top was golden brown but the inside was still loose.

 

 

 

 

Resolutions and Recipes: Sweet and Sour Beef and Broccoli

9 Apr

ORIGINALLY POSTED JANUARY 13, 2012: Earlier this month, when I talked about grocery shopping on a budget, one of the staples that I mentioned buying pretty regularly was stew meat. I have two recipes that I use most regularly when making something with stew meat (and I NEVER make stew, I don’t like it.) Recently though, I was looking for something new and different to make with the beef. I did a search of Allrecipes.com and I found one. The recipe called for cooking the stew meat through, throwing in broccoli and onions and adding a teriyaki sauce to it while it simmers and everything cooks through. I figured I’d try it out since I almost always have broccoli on hand and I had an onion. So, I went on Allrecipes.com again and found a teriyaki sauce recipe.

The end result, a one-dish meal (I love one-dish meals) that got all thumbs up all around and looked like this:

Sweet and Sour Beef and Broccoli Teriyaki

I love a meal that you can make in just one pan. Easy to cook, serve and clean up.

Below is the recipe for the sauce as I found it on Allrecipes.com.

Restaurant Style Teriyaki Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 cup water

1/2 tsp. grd. ginger

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

5 Tbl. packed brown sugar

1-2 Tbl. honey

2 Tbl. cornstarch

1/4 c. cold water

DIRECTIONS

1) Mix soy sauce, one cup water, ginger, garlic powder, brown sugar and honey in small sauce pan.

2) Mix cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water together in a measuring cup.

3) Add the cornstarch and water to the pan of sauce.
Heat to desired thickness, add water to thin.

I served this on a bed of brown rice.

ENJOY!

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: An April Fools Day Dinner!

2 Apr
Not for pranks, but just for fun, an April Fools Day Dinner

Not for pranks, but just for fun, an April Fools Day Dinner!

If you’re a fan of The Whole Bag of Chips, you know from reading over the years that I incorporate creativity into our meals whenever the opportunity exists, whether it’s green smoothies for St. Patrick’s Day or creating a special cake for a sleepover birthday party. I always try to make things fun whenever I can.

But I don’t love April Fools Day and I never commemorate it in any way at home. In general I don’t love pranks, especially when they’re mean, but last year specifically, we had a terrible April Fools Day, with a funeral in the morning and a wake in the evening. It had been such a sad day all around, and yesterday I was thinking back to that day and all that took place throughout, and I was thinking of those two families one year later in their own lives, as well.

As sad a day as it was last year, I decided that I’d do something fun this year. For the first time ever, I’d acknowledge April Fool’s Day with some mealtime antics.

For once, we didn’t have to be anywhere before or after dinner and it was a beautiful day outside. I clicked over to Pinterest, and I searched for April Fools Day Dinners. There was certainly plenty to choose from! I quickly assessed what was offered and thought about what I wanted to do and what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to have candy or dessert for dinner, so that ruled out all of the neat ideas for making things that looked like dinner, using candy. As cool as that sounded, I wanted dinner to be dinner. I saw lots of ideas for using meatloaf and mashed potatoes for cupcakes and cakes, which I thought would have been perfect, had I not just made Shepherd’s Pie last week, and a whole lot of it, enough for leftovers a couple of times. We were meatloaf and mashed potato’d out, but it’s something I’d consider for another year.

I finally found something I could pull off: an April Fools Cake recipe that looked like a cake but was actually similar to a pizza. It was from Taste of Home, and it called for using a bundt pan, of which I only have a heart-shaped one, but I thought that’d add to the fun. At first I thought I’d do this to surprise the kids, but then I decided that time-wise that wouldn’t work out very well since I’d have to do it while they were all here. I opted instead, to let them in on the fun and give them all a job to do in creating our “cake” for dinner and they could in turn, surprise their dad when he got home from work. The months of March and April are pretty insane for an elementary principal, with lots of dinner-less late nights, and I thought this would brighten his day as well as give the kids something fun to do.

I also decided to make “Dump Cake” for dessert so that they could then say we were having cake for dinner and cake for dessert. I had them help out with that also, but that’s a post for this week’s Fun Friday! You’ll have to check back in a few days to see that post!

The recipe was an easy one and I had to modify it to use what I had at home because I didn’t want to go out to pick anything up or spend any additional money on ingredients. Their recipe called for a Bisquick type of mix, which I had here. It called for three cups, and when I measured what was left in my box it was *exactly* three cups. That was pretty great. It called for sausage and pepperoni in the “pizza” type of filling but I opted to use meatballs instead, since everyone likes them. I also threw in olives. It called for slices of mozzarella cheese for the “frosting,” which I did not have. I had shredded instead. I decided we’d be “drizzling icing” instead of frosting our cake. It worked out fine.

Overall, this was a fun recipe for April Fools Day dinner. I don’t know that it’s something I’d incorporate into our regular menus throughout the year, as we regularly make some kickin’ real pizzas that I like much better. But, it was fun, and the kids liked surprising their dad, and he liked playing up the surprise as well. He enjoyed the meal. We followed dinner by a long walk outside until after dark, and came in for our Dump Cake dessert, which was really just a perfect day to replace my memories from last year. Now next year when I look back on April Fools Day, it won’t have such a dark shadow in my mind. Instead, I’ll remember this day, which was much, much better. No sadness or pranks, thankfully, but some great, great family memories.

And I’ll take that ANY day of the year.

Below is the Taste of Home recipe as they have it on their site, with all of my modifications in italics. Their recipe served as my inspiration, but I adapted it to suit our needs quite a bit. Next year, when April 1 rolls around you might want to give it a try too!

APRIL FOOLS CAKE BY TASTE OF HOME

Ingredients

  • 1 jar (14 ounces) pizza sauce
  • 1/2 pound Johnsonville® Mild Ground Italian Sausage, cooked and crumbled  *I used meatballs and olives*
  • 1 package (8 ounces) sliced pepperoni *I skipped this*
  • 3 cups biscuit/baking mix
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted *I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter*
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt *I had to make my own with garlic powder and salt*
  • 5 to 6 slices mozzarella cheese *I used shredded mozzarella for icing instead of frosting*

Directions

  • In a bowl, combine the pizza sauce, sausage and pepperoni; set aside.
  • In another bowl, combine the biscuit mix, milk, eggs, butter and
  • garlic salt. Spread half of the batter on the bottom and up the
  • sides of a greased 10-in. fluted tube pan. Spoon meat mixture over
  • batter; cover with remaining batter.
  • Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes or until browned and a toothpick
  • comes out clean. Invert onto a baking sheet. Arrange cheese over
  • cake. Return to the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  • Using two large metal spatulas, transfer cake to a serving platter;
  • serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings.

 

 

 

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