Family meals

Our household goal is to have at least 3 family dinner meals per week. I would like more, but John’s work schedule keeps him away several evenings. Football tossed a bit of a kink into the family time and into my home-cooked meals. We were still able to catch a couple of meals, but they were generally delivery, take-out or fast food, and occasionally quick, preassembled foods. This weekend, I made a resolve to get back to the kitchen for the majority of our meals. Activities will continue, as we have resumed martial arts, but I think with better planning on my part, home-cooked meals will prevail.

Saturday night we had meatloaf, fresh cooked carrots and onion soup baked new potatoes. The meal was an overwhelming success. The night before, I put the meat into the fridge to thaw – no last minute microwaving, and ensured that I had everything on hand.

Meatloaf – 2 lbs ground beef, 1 TBS dried minced onion, 1/2 cup milk, 2 eggs, 1/2 sleeve saltine crackers, 1/2 cup + 2 TBS ketchup. (if you are going to bake this, combine all ingredients except the 2 TBS ketchup, put into a pan – i used the deep covered baker from Pampered Chef, smooth top, then cover with remaining ketchup. cover and Bake at 375 for about an hour. remove cover and Broil on low for about 3 minutes)

Carrots – 2 lbs carrots, 1 TBS butter, 1/2 cup water, salt & pepper (peel, place in pan with all ingredients, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer till fork tender)

Onion Potatoes – 4 cans new potatoes, 1 pkt Onion Soup Mix, 1/3 cup oil, no-stick spray (dice potatoes, place in bag with soup mix & oil, shake. Pour onto a well greased jelly roll pan, bake at 375 for about an hour or until golden & lightly crispy)

*I used to use real onion in my meatloaf, but found that dried/minced have the following benefits: 1)the loaf is fairly homogenous, which means kids won’t pull it apart in search of the elusive onions, most kids don’t consider minced onions *real onions*, 2)There is enough onion powder in the dried onions that it adds a great deal of additional flavor, and 3) I never open up a container of dried onions only to discover that they have *gone bad*.

Last night more of the same yummy goodness – sweet & sour meatballs (jelly & chili sauce in the crockpot), sticky white rice, and asparagus.

I have prepared a menu for this week so that I won’t be caught last minute wondering what to make.

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