May 6, 2009

the family that cooks together sticks together

Ever since we were little, my sister Aubrey and brother Britton and I have shared memories in the kitchen. Most of them revolve around family suppers around the dinner table (the one summer meal when I tried beets sticks out from the bunch), or decorating Christmas cookies on the big blue tray, or helping Mom roll out cinnamon rolls.

Since I've started this blog, I've posted a few family favorites from growing up on the farm and yesterday, in the midst of my deadline at work, I received an email from my sister about cooking one of her favorite meals from childhood. And she's making strides toward sustainability, too: she understands the importance of organic and local and keeps all the nasty preservatives at bay. She knows how to pick a wine, too. And I couldn't be more proud of her (for all the things she's up to lately, not just cooking this one meal, of course).

So, readers, meet my sister. :)

I recreated what I like to call a true homemade meal last night. No pictures, unfortunately, but oh can I tell the story! And trust me... Cooking does not come as 'naturally' to me as my mother and sister *grin*.

[Ok, Amber here; if you read from the beginning of this blog, you'll see that half the time I don't know what I'm doing!]

Never fear! Even though Amber's adventures are scrum-diddly-umptious...mine are typically scrum-diddly-DUMPtious (can you tell we're sisters? Corny jokes are hereditary.).

So I decided to piece together an entire meal with recipes I grew up on and inspirations from Amber's blog!

I did a very simple (and EASY) casserole that a quick phone call to my wonderful mother enabled me to make. Let's call it Homemade Helper.

1 lb. ground turkey meat (can do beef if preferred)
1 medium onion (diced)
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1/2 bag or about 3 c. organic penne pasta
1 bag Mexican-style grated all natural cheese
Chili Powder (to liking)
Garlic Salt (to liking)

I sauteed the onion, and then cooked the meat in with about 1/2 tsp. of chili powder (which I then went and sprinkled more of!) and a shake of garlic salt.

While this was going on, I also began boiling the pasta. I did 3 c. pasta to 6 c. water and boiled for 15 minutes.

Once the meat was cooked, I added (after draining about 1/2 of the juice out of the can) the can of diced tomatoes. After mixing, I poured the pasta in and mixed well. Pour all of this into a 9-inch casserole dish, smother the top with grated cheese...and BAM! the most healthy comfort food you'll ever get.

And as my side can just refer to the blog for those! Kautz Cucumber Salad and Fried Squash (with a substitution of Tony's Creole Seasoning instead of season salt)...perfect end to a long day!