Hurricane Harvey Home Cookin’

The conditions of Hurricane Harvey made it nearly impossible for us to venture too far from the house from last Friday through Tuesday. Even before the storm hit, local grocery stores were out of the essentials including bread and milk. Thursday evening after work, I zipped through H-E-B snatching up food items that were still available, but it was anyone’s guess when I’d have the opportunity to return to the grocery store to restock.

With the kitchen staples I readily keep on hand, I was able to make a home-cooked meal for almost an entire week before restocking the pantry and refrigerator was necessary. Because I was using what I had on hand, most of last week’s recipes included some form of sausage. I capitalized on a sale recently so I had more on hand than usual. Many of them would be delicious with ground beef or even completely meatless. Most importantly though they provided comfort in a time of uncertainty for my family. We weathered the storm together and enjoyed the comforts of home cooking.

I’ve condensed the recipes into more of a brief synopsis of the dish. Feel free to request the entire recipe in the comments section. Buen provecho!

BASIC SPAGHETTI- I posted this recipe earlier in the week, but it was the first of the many home cooked meals that were plated and served to my bears this week.

SAUSAGE TACOS- A simple and easy dinner ready in no time. Saute sliced onion and sliced bell pepper until the onion is translucent and the peppers are soft. I happened to have orange on hand but red or yellow or a combination are great too. If I have mushrooms on hand, I’ll throw those in the mix too, but I used them all the day before when I made spaghetti. This recipe could easily be vegetarian by nixing the sausage. Add the sausage and saute until heated through. Serve in warm tortillas topped with salsa and a side of rice. I love using Tilda’s Mexican style rice. I saute it in a little olive oil along with frozen corn, peas, and half a can of garlic fire roasted tomatoes (drained). Delicioso!

RATATOUILLE- Ordinarily I would also include zucchini and onion and serve with fresh parmesan cheese over the top but I was out of these items by the time I cooked this dish in the week. Saute onions, garlic, garbanzo beans, and Italian sausage on medium high until brown. Then add the artichoke hearts (drained) and the fire roasted tomatoes. Let simmer until ready. Serve over brown rice.

BACON & EGG CUPS- For my Paleo friends, this is a savory, carb friendly dish that is super easy to assemble and is ready in 15 minutes. This doubles as a great breakfast option so you can make extra and have them ready to grab on your way out the door to work. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a regular size muffin tin with cooking spray. Cut the bacon in half and form a cross in each tin. Crack an egg over each bacon cross, insert asparagus, and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. I typically use fresh asparagus but only had frozen on hand. It proved to be a great substitute and is easy to store in the freezer to use over and over again. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the bacon is crispy. Serve with fresh cherry tomatoes and sliced apples or a side salad.

GRILLED CHEESE- This one is a fan favorite of Liam’s. The secret to perfectly grilled bread is mayonnaise, but don’t tell Liam because he thinks he hates it. Spread mayo onto both side of two slices of multi-grain bread. Grill on medium high heat in a skillet. Brown both sides ensuring that one side is more golden than the other. Sandwich between the more golden sides of each slice of bread. Continue heating until both sides match their center counterpart and are browned to golden perfection. I had mild cheddar and provolone in the fridge so I used both. Serve with tomato soup and a dill pickle spear. My favorite is Pacifica’s Organic Tomato Soup. This is the easiest, throw together meal that your baby bears will love as much as you. It always takes me back to my own childhood!

grilled cheese

CANADIAN BACON CUPS- In essence this dish is a gluten-free, no-crust pizza option that packs the flavor without the carbs. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the muffin tin with cooking spray and layer three slices of Canadian bacon to form a flower. I used an extra-large muffin tin this time around. Depending on the size and thickness, you could also use a regular size muffin tin. I only made enough for each of us to have one, but you could make more and save them for an easy lunch option for work. Top with one tablespoon of tomato sauce and then add the toppings of your choice. I actually used my leftover ratatouille as a topping but picked out the garbanzo beans. The Italian sausage and artichoke hearts were perfect. Pineapple would be a great Hawaiian option or consider pepperoni and olives. Then top with mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is brown. Remove with a spatula and drain the excess sauce at the bottom of the tin before serving. Even Liam thought these “wannabe pizzas” were yummy!


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