The Making of the Next Food Network Star/Junkie…..And a Plea for Help!

I used to be a serious Food Network Junkie. I TiVo’d Paula Deen, Rachael Ray, Giada, Emeril, Next Food Network Star, Good Eats, Unwrapped…I honestly don’t remember what else. When he was three, my oldest used to know Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals intro by heart and would say it with her every time the show came on. “…Hi there I’m Rachael Ray, and I make 30 minute meals. Now that means, in the time it takes you to watch this program, I will have made a delicious and healthy meal from start to finish.” The Little People think we’re actually related to Paula Deen. But when we got busy preparing to move and then actually moved and then had to recover from the move, I quit watching Food Network for some reason. Probably because during that time I wasn’t doing very much cooking so watching it made me feel guilty.

Anyway, for some reason this morning I turned to Food Network while we were doing our daily “get ready for the day” chores. My daughter’s eyes have not left the TV yet. She can now make a homemade coke float thanks to Emeril, knows how to make a delicious vegetable fondue, can stretch our mealtime budget, and will be able to turn our chicken leftovers into a delicious soup. I had walked out of the room for a few minutes when I heard her exclaim, “I knew it! I knew she’d be here! She’s finally here! I’ve been waiting for her!” Before I even walked back into the room, I knew I’d be seeing Paula Deen in all her glorious Southern splendor dishing up pure love with a stick of butter. We’re supposed to be going to the grocery store but I don’t know how I’m going to get the Princess Diva to leave her Paula. Maybe if I can promise her we’ll get the ingredients for the white chocolate cocoa Paula was just making….

The cocoa reminded me of a side story: Monday the whole fam spent the afternoon in the front yard making a snowman. It was a real Hallmark moment for me. The Princess Diva and I were the first ones to go back into the house because the boys wanted to engage in a little snow warfare and she didn’t think that was an activity in which she wished to participate.

She said, “Mom, can we have hot cocoa?” Fortunately, we still had some homemade hot chocolate mix left over so I was happy to oblige.

“Do you want marshmallows in your hot chocolate?” I asked.

“It’s COCOA, Mom,” was her retort.

So we sat at the table and talked girl talk for awhile. We talked about our favorite chocolates (she likes the ones that have caramel in them) and favorite foods (“Of course you know I love PB& J best, Mom. You’ve seen me eat them everywhere!”).

“I sure am enjoying our hot chocolate date, sweet girl,” I said.

“It’s COCOA, Mom.”

Whatever it was, we had fun.

Okay back to the real reason for today’s post. I need your help, Barry Manilow (That’s an old Ray Stevens song. Good grief, how old AM I?!) I’m doing a little project. When I was home with the family right after Dad’s surgery, our incredible church family provided meals for us. What a HUGE help!  Over time, I started collecting good ideas for “take over” meals (the meals you take over to someone’s house when they have a baby, surgery, etc.). I’ve decided I want to make a collection of recipes and helpful hints so that the next time I need to take a meal to someone (which will be this weekend, as a matter of fact), I can go straight to this collection and  pick something from my list. So, I’m wondering what’s your favorite “take over” meal or “take over” idea? Do you have  a standard meal that you usually prepare? If you’ve been on the receiving end, what was your favorite meal that someone brought to you? I’m looking for meals that can be put in disposable dishes so that the recipient doesn’t have to worry about returning anything. So, to my five loyal readers (and you’re exempt, Mom, so that brings us to four), what are your best “take over” ideas? If you have a great recipe and don’t mind sharing it, either link it or post it in your comments section.  I’ll put them all together with the ones I’ve already collected and put them in a central place that we all can enjoy! Won’t this be fun?! 

By the way, I’ve found a couple of really great recipe blogs that a couple of my new favorite bloggers have in addition to their every day blogs (lots of blogginess in this sentence). Meredith’s even has meal plans. Kelly’s has cool pictures to go with the recipes and is Paula Deen approved ;).  Both have great ideas that sound delicious! I’m taking several of the recipes I found with me to the grocery store (if we make it out of the house before swim lessons!) to get the ingredients so we can try them!!

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9 Comments

Filed under Food, Friends, Kids

9 responses to “The Making of the Next Food Network Star/Junkie…..And a Plea for Help!

  1. I like to take soup in the fall/winter because it’s easy for them to reheat, and I can pick up a loaf of bread from the bakery and throw a salad together quickly. (Ziploc makes a nice, large disposable container for soup!)

    The rest of the time, I like to take taco salad. It’s easy to put together, and it doesn’t have to be hot. They can assemble it themselves when they’re ready, and leave out the things they don’t like. I usually pack the meat in a ziploc container and put the rest of the stuff in ziploc bags–lettuce, cheese, tomatoes (buy grape ones and then you don’t have to chop ’em), guac (buy Wholly Guacamole and send the bag) sour cream container, chips. Easy-peasy.

    Those are my best ideas…

    And loved the cocoa story. She sounds adorable!

  2. Can’t wait to see what you compile.
    This recipe came from my mom. It is the one we always take to friends! It is real comfort food. I always take cornbread with it! Yummy!

    Friendship Stew
    2 lbs ground beef
    4 cans italian tomatoes-undrained
    1 (6oz) pkg frozen peas
    2 onions chopped
    4 large potatoes chopped
    1-16 oz. can whole kernel corn-undrained
    1-16 oz. can green beans-undrained
    1-8 1/4 can sliced carrots
    2 tsp salt
    1 tsp pepper
    1 tsp oregano
    Brown meat & drain. Put all ingredients except frozen peas in a lg. 8 qt. Dutch oven. Add seasoning & bring to boil. Reduce heat & simmer 45 minutes. Add frozen peas & cook 5 to 10 minutes more. It makes enough for a family of five with plenty left over to share with a friend.

  3. carpoolqueen

    Don’t have recipes for you, but a lot of times, I check to see if they have a crockpot and take over my fave crockpot recipes already assembled and in a ziploc.

    That way, they can throw it in the pot and have it hot and fresh for dinner (I don’t like rewarming food that’s already been cooked – sometimes it ruins the flavor) OR they can throw it in the freezer and pull it out another day.

    Longest run-on sentence ever.

  4. We love Poppyseed Chicken.  Two cups of cooked chopped chicken, 1 cup sour cream, 1 can cream of chicken soup and 2 tbsp of poppy seeds.  Mix together and put in a disposible foil dish.  Mix 1 stick of melted butter and 1 sleeve of crushed ritz crackers in a ziploc bag.  Cook the chicken for 20 minutes and then top with ritz mixture and cook another 10 minutes (@ 350 deg).  We usually serve with a green beans but a salad would be good.
    Also a great side with chili is corn casserole.  Mix 2 cups frozen corn (or can used  2 cans of corn), 1 cans of cream corn, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 stick of melted butter, 1 egg and 1 box of jiffy muffin mix together and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 deg.

  5. I’ll send you a recipe in a little while in another comment, but I had to say, “Carpool Queen” I LOVE that idea of taking everything that goes in the crock pot for them to make! They can have it ready when they want to, it’s hot and yummy! I love it!

  6. Deena Sellars

    Amy,
    I usually take Chicken Pot Pie and salad. I also try to take a breakfast bread for them to have the next morning. I’ll post the recipe in the next comment. If you girls remember Laura Wood – this was her Mama’s recipe.

    One of the favorite meals that was delivered to me was “Fajitas for Two” from “On the Border”
    Two girls went in together, so it wasn’t that expensive. It had all the toppings plus chips and salsa. The meal for 2 was actually enough for 6, so we had great left-overs.

  7. Deena

    Chicken Pot Pie

    4 Chicken breasts – boiled and chopped
    2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
    1 can chicken broth
    1 pkg frozen veggies (peas, carrots, green beans, corn)

    Mix and pour into a greased casserole dish (or disposable pan).

    Crust: 1/2 c melted butter
    1 cup flour
    1 cup milk

    Mix well and spoon over top of entire casserole.
    Bake at 400 for one hour.

    This is very easy and you don’t have to worry about a soggy bottom crust.

  8. I took dinner to a friend tonight…chipotle chicken pasta (on my recipe blog) and even took ’em some muffins for breakfast. I still like soup & taco salad ideas more than that pasta…

  9. Julie

    I have a ton of recipes, but thought I’d share that a meal that was brought to me and my family after my husband (at age 40) had heart surgery.

    It was a stressful time and the neighbors cooked and brought over fresh roasted turkey breast, mashed potatoes, green beans and fruit for dessert. I must say that meal truly was “comfort food”. My kids (then in their early teens) still talk about how great that meal was….”it hit the spot”, they said.

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