Lean Cuisine....Carla syle

I am linking up this post with Lynettes blog today. She is asking us to share a favorite dinner time recipe with everyone. The problem is I don't cook with recipes!
After a moment of panic and feeling like I should just look through a cookbook and find something I decided to put a twist on the topic.
Cooking Carla style means throwing together what ever I happen to have in the cupboards or fridge. I am not a big fan of cooking. In fact if I would prefer someone else do it for me. I am not very good at planning ahead or sticking to directions or measurements in a recipe.
I tend to make it up as I go.
Often that leads to me wondering what should be for dinner at around 5pm.
The only things I use recipes for are for baking and even then I usually improvise because of allergy boy. So here are a few of our favorite meals and some baking recipes thrown in.

Here are a couple of our favorite meals:
some sort of meat or chicken cooked and sauced up with mexican spices(unless going for a vegi only meal)
refried or whole beans
lots of colorful vegis
lettuce, spinach or cabbage
and mild salsa for the kids and hot sauce for the adults

Pizza night (which is often Friday)

Easy pizza crust: (this I do have a recipe for)

2 1/4-2 3/4 cups flour (I combing white and wholewheat)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp yeast (instant)
1 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
Mix, knead with some more flour, let rise then shape onto the pizza pan.

Add your favorite toppings
Our pizza is different every time depending on what I have to put on it. We all agree that the more the better...no plain cheese pizza around here. Its actually fast and easy to make.
***A super easy fast way to make individual thincrust pizzas is to use regular sized pita pockets. Just put the ingredients on the top and bake for a few minutes until the toppings are hot and melty.

Creamy garden soup was a favorite this summer since we had an abundance of vegies to use up. I just cook a pot full of vegies (potatoes, onion, carrots, green beans, chopped swiss chard,) I remove a little of the vegi broth, whisk in some flour and milk then pour it into the pot of vegies and remaining broth. I add salt, pepper, and fresh dill for seasoning while cooking the veggies. For a yummy variety add some cheese. It goes great with biscuits. Its yummy creamy comfort food.

Here is my bread recipe :

1. Beat together:
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp salt
3 eggs (which I now leave out because of allergy boy)
1/2 c. sugar (or honey)

2. Add: 4 cups warm water
1 cup bran, oatmeal or ground flax.

3. Mix 3 tbsp "instant rapid rise" yeast with about 4 cups whole wheat flour. This can be done in the main mixing bowl (only one bowl needed) on top of the wet ingredients.
Once the yeast is dispursed into some of the flour mix it all together and add about 6-7 more cups of flour (white or whole wheat)mixing as you go (I never measure the flour I just go by texture...so you may need a little more or less). At some point when the dough gets thicker and tough to stir sprinkle the counter with white flour and start kneading, adding flour until the dough isn't sticky but firm and smooth. This part of the process is great excercise!! You can justify eating one of the finished buns (for quality control purposes of course) because of the great arm workout you just did.

Place the big kneaded ball of dough into a greased bowl and let rise in a warm place for about 1/2 hour. Punch it down (the kids like that part) and form it into loaves or little balls and place them on a baking sheet. Allow the finished loaves and buns to rise for about 1/2 and then bake them for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

In the above picture I doubled the recipe so don't expect that amount...and I suggest you don't start by doing double recipes (that is a LOT of dough to knead!)
It will make plenty of buns or bread to freeze.
I make variations of this recipe all the time. In the above picture I cooked up some multigrain mix (usually used for porridge) and added it to the ingredients.

Its not as complicated as it appears. It may take a little practice to get it to turn out just right but there is nothing like homemade bread!

Homemade Banana Pancakes - I'm not even cheating because we use this as a main dish and its a recipe! :)

1 1/4 cup flour (I usually combine white with a little whole wheat)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I skip because of allergy boy)
1 1/4 cups skim milk
1 ripe banana mashed or pureed
1 large egg (I skip because of allergy boy)
1 tsp vanilla extract
If you are feeling like making a treat add 1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
I also sometimes make variations by throwing in some wheat germ or ground flax.

Combine dry ingredients. beat and add it wet ingredients and banana. Cook on a greased frying pan until the tops are bubbly then flip.
I usually double or triple this recipe and have some leftovers for some kid breakfasts the the next day.

Happy baking....(and cooking).
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Jobina said...

so when you skip eggs does it affect the recipe? I'm definitely going to try your soup idea, yum! If your kids like pizza, here's an idea from our kids club at church. Take 1/2 a pits and split open. Fill with pizza toppings like sauce, pepperoni, cheese, mushrooms, what ever. Eat cold or warm up in mic for a bit. Makes a great alternative for school lunches!

Jobina said...

ha! Pits! I meant pita!
I guess you could split open your pits if you really want to!

Valen and Carol said...

Have you tried making the pizza into calzones? I roll a handful of dough into a round shape, add sauce and then everyone gets to put what they like in it. Fold it over and pinch to seal. I usually put the person's letter cut into the dough. The kids love making their own.

Denise said...

Thanks for sharing.

Denise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynnette Kraft said...

Now your post truly overwhelmed my hunger reflex! ha Everything sounds so yummy!!! That pizza looks amazing (we eat homemade pizza ALL the time over here). And that bread! Oh, how I love homemade bread. I used to make it all the time but haven't made it in a while.

Thanks for sharing Carla! Sorry to hear that your daughter had to have a little surgery. :( I hope she's feeling better.

Valen and Carol said...

Made the bread dough and now I'm waiting for it to rise. =) I took enough for a loaf and added cinnamon and raisins, Valen will like that. Thanks for sharing!