18 August 2009


School starts tomorrow! I'll be glad to go back. I really do like my school. They are very, very good to me.

I have a sub all lined up, too. I'm excited to talk to her and get our year planned.

I'll assign you blog readers some homework to help me get back in the swing of things:

  • Please leave your favorite go-to recipe in the comments-- the one that you're known for, that sums you up, that you make when you can't think of what to make.

Looking for bonus points? Keep these in mind:
  • I don't have a crock pot, and have not found one in Russia in four years. (US ones won't work here, either.)
  • Recipes need to be from scratch--no Campbell's soup, mixes, etc. found here (drat!).
  • I need recipes that include red meat! I don't eat it, but think Sasha needs it. Anything that includes beef or pork would be great. I don't think I can bear to cook lamb, even if I'm not eating it, so you can skip those.


Carrie said...

I don't know if you have access to Campbell soups, but here's one we make (use ground beef or ground turkey). It's a kid pleaser. Even my picky Grace eats it.

Sloppy Joes

1 pound ground beef
1 can Campbell's Chicken Gumbo soup
1 can water
1/4 of an onion, chopped finely
1/4 cup ketchup
1 TB mustard
salt, pepper & a dash of sugar

Brown beef & onion together in a large skillet or a pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20-25 minutes until it thickens. Stir often. Serve over hamburger buns or thick bread. We always have it with a side of corn.


1 pound stew meat
2 TB flour
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
2-3 carrots
3-4 potatoes (we've used idaho & red...both work)
1 can beef broth or water
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1 can chopped tomatoes (optional...I like Italian style)
1 bag frozen peas or fresh (this is optional but I think the little bit of sweet is good)

Salt & pepper meat and then coat in flour, brown in oil on high heat in dutch oven (that can transfer to oven). Add onion & garlic while browning. Add beef broth (and/or wine), carrots, potatoes and tomatoes. Place in oven and cook for 1.5-2 hours at 300 degrees. During last half hour, add peas. Thicken with water & flour mixture.

So, are you able to stay in country for immigration or do you have to fly to the US? I can't tell you how excited I am for you! Maybe someone visiting you (because I imagine friends/family will visit eventually!) can bring you a crockpot? I can't live without mine, especially when I'm working, and I have a ton of yummy things to make in it. Hey, if you have time to kill in the US (yes, this is being written as sarcastically as possible)...you can always drop by Walmart for a crockpot after you cruise through immigration! Just plan on an extra long layover before the flight back. Heee.

If you want to try the Sloppy Joes recipe, I can send you the soup if you can't find it. Let me know. :)

Conethia and Jim Bob said...

Mexican Spaghetti is our "go to" eventhough it requires some prepacked items.

~1 lb. thick noodles (ling. works great)
2 lb. hamburger meat
1 16 oz can tomatoe sauce
1/2 can water
bell pepper and onion (to your liking)
chili powder (the more the merrier)
2-3 cups shredded cheese (colby and monterey jack are my favorites)
* it your adventurous crushed red pepper

cook meat and drain
boil noodles
once meat is cooked and drained, at sauce and spices (again, to your liking) and simmer a few minutes
while waiting on that, sautee your onions and peppers in a buttered skillet. once cooked to your liking, add to meat mixture.
Heat oven to 425, Drain noodles and place in casserole dish. Top with 1 cup cheese so it's really cheesey. Spread meat mixture out evenly over noodles and top with remaining cheese. Bake ~15 minutes until cheese is well melted. Enjoy! Next day leftovers are always better.

votemom said...

i imagine she may have a learning curve when it comes to trying americanized food. my girls had never laid eyes on a casserole or any other "mixture" type food. she might prefer salad, fruit, and just plain meat, prepared by itself (pork chop, chicken breast, whatever.)

if she's a fan of salads, you can do chef salads and get lots of protein in her that way (eggs, cheese, etc.) my girls were immediate fan of croutons on their salad too - i think they loved the crunch.

and of course soups.... you can pack those full of good stuff and she's probably accustomed to that.

i've heard it's very common for kids to really love bananas when they get home. it was true in our case too. they ate them almost every day for several months. then it tapered off as their bodies became healthier.

thinking of you guys every single day!

Carrie said...

Ah yep, Campbell soup recipes won't work then. :) Sorry!

Melissa said...

Here's a variation on the sloppy joes that doesn't require any soups. It's my very own "to taste" recipe:

1 lb. lean ground beef - browned, drained, and rinsed
ketchup (a good bit of it)
mustard (just a little)
brown sugar (a handful or so)

Heat and simmer for 8 or 10 minutes. YUM.

I am so spoiled with the Campbell's soups...I wonder if there is a way to make them yourself and then I could supply you with any number of delicious "church fellowship" casserole recipes!! :)

Melissa said...

Okay, I had to look. I found this on simpledollar.com - and you may or may not be interested...but I might even think of trying to make my own soups for casseroles....those things are expensive!!


Make Your Own Cream of …. Soup!

One staple of many inexpensive recipes is canned soup, usually of the “cream” variety - cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, and so on. Some people, particularly those who are focused on eating healthy, try to avoid these ingredients, since such soups are usually laden with salt and preservatives.

Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to make this soup yourself - and it’s a perfect substitute for the canned soup in those recipes. Just mix together 2 tablespoons of butter (or margarine), two tablespoons of flour, half a cup of milk, and (optionally) a quarter of a teaspoon of salt over medium heat. The easiest way to do it is to put in the butter first, wait until it melts, then sprinkle in the flour while stirring, then slowly add the milk while stirring.

If you want to make cream of chicken soup, add in half a cup of chicken broth or chicken stock.

If you want to make cream of mushroom soup, add in half a cup of milk and quarter of a cup of finely diced mushrooms.

If you want to make cream of celery soup, add in half a cup of milk and a quarter of a cup of finely diced celery.

Once you have all of the ingredients in, let it simmer over low heat for three minutes while stirring. The amount in the pan is usually just a bit more than a can’s worth of cream soup and it substitutes perfectly (and often tastes quite delicious). It’s also quite a bit healthier and, from my calculations, cheaper, too.

june said...

Well, I can't help you on the red meat side of things, since we never eat it. (Except for the occasional McD's treat.) I also have a feeling most of my recipes would not feature ingredients that are particularly easy for you to find. (fish sauce? berbere? garam masala? No?)

My go-to, don't know what to make meals usually involve eggs - omelettes, etc. Or soup. So here's my favourite soup:

Cauliflower cheese soup

1 med cauliflower, chopped fine
2 c water
4 t stock powder

Boil the above until tender. Meanwhile, saute

1/4 c onion
1/4 c butter

until onion is limp, not brown. Mix in

1/4 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Add 2 c milk gradually and cook until it thickens, stirring constantly.

Add 1 c grated cheddar (or more if you like it cheeeeeezy) and the cooked cauliflower. Stir and heat until cheese melts.

The only meal I could say I am "known for" is my killer roast chicken & potatoes, which I admit I stole from Martha. The potatoes are to die for done this way. I use olive oil instead of grapeseed oil, and skip the chicken liver. It's pretty high fat but maybe that would be good for your girl.


Kerry said...

Have you heard about the recent "healthy" cookbook phenomenon around here? One is called Deceptively Delicious and the other (better one to me!) is called The Sneaky Chef. Both are full of kid-friendly food, but they give you tons of way to sneak good stuff in... although since they're aimed at American kids, the good stuff is probably more focused on slimming down than on plumping up!

How about chili? I don't have a magic recipe, but it's a good hearty beef recipe for the fall.

Susan said...

Not sure if this'll help, but the Monkey's fave default is Mac n' Spin, or macaroni and creamed spinach. (Seriously, she loves it!). I totally cheat, and buy frozen creamed spinach, which I just defrost and then heat together with the cooked pasta. It's loaded with vitamins and protein.

Btw, why is it that with Russia's lack of recognizable US brand names in virtually supermarket, Activia yogurt is sold virtually EVERYWHERE??

Lauri said...

when it is cool we make alphabet soup with a crusty loaf of bread.... it's Livi's fav.

lean ground beef
beef broth
ABC's pasta or any small pasta
can of tomatoes ( chopped, whole, stewed)
celery, onion, carrots, green beans, peas

we also love

Chicken broccoli fettuccine Alfredo

Pork chops w/ apples

Beef stroganoff

individual shepherds pies

kate said...

All great and stored away. Thanks!

Debbie B said...

Farmer's Pie is my favorite.
Brown some ground beef add some tomatoe sauce just enough to coat it not make it soup. And add whatever spices you like.
Rice again add tomatoe sauce enough to coat.
And then top with shredded cheddar cheese and throw it in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted or brown on the edges if you like brunt cheese.

It goes in layers in a round dish. Meat, like a pie shell, then add the rice to the top of the dish. Top with the cheese.

Annie said...

Here is the one that all of my children love more than ANYTHING. For the first time (ever, probably) I got not a single complaint from anyone and "hoorah's" from all including protestations of "amazing!" from Maxim.

"Navy Macaroni".

Start by chopping fine a whole onion (or more - proportion needs to be 1/3 onion to 2/3 meat) I also was sure to use a flavorful yellow onion, rather than my usual vidalia
Add to the onion twice as much finely ground pork (or beef) and cook until done through, but not at all crisp or browned.

Add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, boil macaroni.
When the macaroni is done, scoop the pork mixture over it in bowls. Add a scoop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh parsley on top.

Barb said...

My "go to" dish is Beef Stroganoff - but Sofia doesn't like it . . . the rest do. If you want the recipe, let me know and I'll email it to you (too long for the comment section)! I asked her what her favourite foods are, and guess what . . . beef dishes were #1 and 2! Spaghetti and lasagna. Knorr sells a lasagna product here that makes it very quick and easy to "make" lasagna. If you want, I can send you a box to see if you and Sasha like it . . . Otherwise, lasagna is pretty time consuming. I don't have a special spaghetti recipe - but Sofia doesn't like it if it is too spicy. She also LOVES garlic bread which, of course, goes with these meals. I think I told you last week that she HATES soup. I think she had her lifetime fill in the children's home . . . but I've discovered that she likes kidney beans (which I think are high in some important nutrients) which are usually found in Chili (another red meat dish) - just keep it mild:-) Someone else mentioned croutons - Sofia loves them too. My inlaws make a dish with ground beef that is called a "pancake" but is like a savory crustless quiche . . . It's egg based . . . if it sounds like something you'd be interested in trying I can send you that recipe too.

Dawn said...

I have a couple of comments. First, a friend in Kiev just told me she saw crock pots for sale (or at least one!). It was called "medlenno varka" or something like that. I googles 220 volt appliances and ordered one online in the US and someone brought it over for me.

Second, I think the person who suggesting trying familiar foods has a point. Most of the adult Ukrainians I met weren't too interested in trying new/unfamiliar foods. They seemed especially skeptical of casseroles or any kind of one pot dish. I'd try doing hearty borshch with meat. I have a good recipe for that. Also, cutlets with ground beef/pork/"asorti". Probably, veggies were mire of a special treat at the orphanage so various salads or plain veggies might go over well.

I bet it won't take too long for her to start liking whatever you like and not liking what you don't.

Annie said...

My kids - like most kids, I think...would usually prefer really simple foods - but healthy ones. Fruits and vegetables, kefir, yogurt, and meat - but quite simply cooked. Our diet as a family has improved quite a lot since we started adopting.

It was amusing, when we brought Sergei home, a family friend was kind enough to fill up our larder...but she put in all sorts of things she thought he'd like. I remember several boxes of sugared cereal for one thing. I was horrified, as I never bought that for our bio kids....I thought he'd get attached to it - but he wouldn't eat it. He thought it was dreadful stuff! Slishkom Sladkii!

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Hmm, this is worrying me. Since you mentioned you think it is important for Sasha to eat meat, I got to thinking yep thats a good idea, she could probably benefit from a good multi vitamin too. Then I thought, I dont know if that sort of thing is readily available in Russia since I have never been anywhere near it. Then I thought, well that stuff is pretty cheap here. So.
If you cannot get hold of a good multi vitamin for kids, I would love to send you some. I think you are right, it is going to be really important for your daughter to have. So let me know! I would be so happy to be able to do that for you guys.

Jen said...

You want a copy of the cookbook that we put together before Sarah came home? It's full of wonderful recipes... even some from your adoption friends! If so, just let me know how I go about sending it to you and it's yours... a present for your daughter's homecoming!