Last week I accompanied my mother-in-law to a big sale at a craft store. I’m not much of a crafter, but I did find some great cookbooks. Tonight, I finally got my chance to try out one of the recipes from Dump & Bake Dinners (CQ Products, 2015): Skillet Sausage Penne & Vegetables. I picked this out because sausage is one of the few meats my son will eat right now, and my father-in-law really enjoys sausage and pasta as well.
After less than 20 minutes of prep, I was able to serve up a plate for my son and take him to wash his hands for dinner. I sat him in his seat at the table and waited to see his reaction. Although he scooched off his chair to go play again while my mother-in-law and I served our plates, I used some bread to bribe him to try the dish. Soon, he was easily eating everything on his plate. Mothers of toddlers know how good that feels and how rare it is. My mother-in-law and I really enjoyed the sausage, penne, and vegetables as well. Because of the copyright, I can’t share the recipe here, but if you find this recipe or another like it, I have a few suggestions.
First, you’ll want to use about 12 ounces (1 ½ cups) of penne pasta. This recipe only called for 8 ounces (1 cup) and it wasn’t quite enough. Also, the recipe instructs you to cook the pasta and the vegetables in the broth/milk mixture together for 12 minutes. However, I felt that the vegetables were a little over-cooked. If you like a little life left in your veggies, add them in after the pasta has already been boiling for 4-6 minutes. Finally, I used a bag of frozen mixed veggies that included broccoli, carrots, water chestnuts, and mini corn cobs. It gave the dish a summery feel. However, just about any mix of frozen vegetables that you like would work well.
And for dessert… We had chocolate-covered frozen bananas. I’ve tried to make them before without a recipe and failed miserably. I really do badly at melting chocolate. However, I tried again this weekend with a recipe. They turned out great thanks to freezing the bananas before dipping them in chocolate and adding a little oil to the chocolate to thin it out. It also helped to put the chocolate in a mug. As an added bonus, my son, who gags if you give him a bite of banana fresh out of the peel, loves these popsicles. Between the chocolate and the change in texture when the banana freezes, we can add a new food to his repertoire. Victory!
Check out the recipe here: http://www.skinnytaste.com/frozen-banana-popsicles/