My motto is….Be Prepared (oh, wait; maybe that’s the Boy Scout’s motto). While I certainly do like to be prepared, my actual philosophy is a little bit deeper…..Anticipate the Need. To me anticipation would suggest being thoughtful, and hopeful about the evolution of our life experiences. Sure, anyone can be prepared with a First Aid Kit (though I’ll give you that being ready for an emergency is an admirable quality in a person), but anticipating that which will make someone happy, or comfortable, or consoled, or celebrated, or appreciated, is an art form.
What we need can be complicated, or simple. That’s one of the reasons people find solace in food. The preparer of the meal takes pleasure in the act of providing nourishment to their loved ones, while the consumers of the meal feel the care, consideration and love that went in to the preparation.
Family life is busy; frequently experienced on the fly. That is why family dinners are so important, offering a time to recharge, regroup and reconnect. Sometimes only a big yummy meal will do.
This is one of my family’s favorite side dishes. Make no mistake, there is nothing heart healthy about Corn Casserole, but for some night’s heart warming is way more important.
The beauty of this recipe is that it can be combined in one dish; doubled, tripled or even quadrupled (Heaven help you if you are entertaining that many people in your home!); completely prepped in advance (toss it in the oven while you are finishing every thing else up.).
To feed 4-6 people, you will need:
• 1 stick of butter
• 1 egg
• 1- 16 oz container of sour cream (no fat here AT ALL!)
• 1 package corn muffin mix (I always use Jiffy)
• 1- 15 oz can of sweet cream style corn
• 1- 15 oz can of whole kernel corn (drained)
Pre-heat your oven to 350°.
Place stick of butter in your casserole dish (you are going to love this! You mix it, cook it, and serve it…..all in the same dish!!). Melt in the microwave.
Add 1 egg and stir.
Mix in container of sour cream.
Pour the contents of the corn muffin mix into the heart stopping mixture of butter, egg and sour cream (and don’t tell Dr. Oz!).
Add a can of sweet cream style corn and stir thoroughly.
Add a can of the whole kernel corn and mix well.
Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to cook. This can be whipped together a day in advance. Just pop it in the oven when you’re ready to go. For meal schedule and timing purposes, know that this rich, thick bowl of yummy-ness cooks for 1 ½ to 2 hours (completely well worth the time.). When the top gets to be a nice golden color and the mixture appears to be firm, you can take it out of the oven and let it set for a bit. Once it settles, you are in for a warm, melt in your mouth, buttery treat!
Grilled Sweet Potatoes:
Once again, my children wouldn’t touch this with a ten foot pole. For the teenage barbarians I made very tasty, but boring baked potatoes.
I like to have left over side dishes in anticipation of busy nights later in the week. What was delicious with steak one night can be a very nice compliment to chicken on another.
In a large mixing bowl, you will combine:
• Sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into nice bite size pieces (about 1” square chunks). For planning purposes I figure one sweet potato per person (extra if you want left-over’s).
• One bunch of scallions for every 2-3 potatoes, again sliced into bite size pieces (about 1-2”).
• A handful full of garlic chopped or pressed (everything is better with garlic!).
• Fresh thyme, rough chopped (about 1 Tbsp per 2-3 potatoes.).
• Toss with olive oil, but just enough to coat. Otherwise the mixture will be too soggy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (I remain a great big fan of the sea salt and the cracked black pepper!).
You will make little aluminum foil packets to stick right on the grill (such easy clean up!). I like to layer two sheets of aluminum foil, about 18” in length, one vertical and one placed on top horizontally. Doubling up on foil helps to keep the packets sturdier and not leaky (oil on a hot grill always leads to a smoking, sizzling mess). You can make one packet each for the number of sweet potatoes you are preparing. Divide the contents of the bowl evenly amongst the foil packets. To ensure that the potatoes cook thoroughly you want to place them in a fairly thin layer, and wrap them tightly so they remain in place.
Again, the potato packets can be prepared a day in advance and tossed on the grill when you are ready and pulling together the rest of your meal.
Grill over low heat for 20-25 minutes (delicious, no butter, no fat, and sweet potatoes are good for you!).
Grilled Steak with Parsley-Chive-Garlic Butter:
Herbed butter is a beautiful accompaniment to a great steak dinner! This was so very simple, and again, can be prepared in advance. The fresh herb butter should be good for a week or so. The mixture would be divine spread on a fresh baguette.
Meals are really easy around here because I always know what we will be enjoying over the course of the week. Sometimes the unexpected happens, which necessitates juggling around a bit and determining which entrée I will prepare on which day instead, but it’s easy because I have everything that I need in my well stocked pantry and refrigerator.
You will need:
• 1 stick of butter, softened to room temperature so that it is easy to work with.
• 2 Tbsp. of finely chopped fresh parsley (use what you have…curly or flat leaf, it doesn’t matter).
• 2 Tbsp. of chopped fresh chives (your meals will only be as good as your ingredients, and fresh is best.).
• Again, we love the garlic, so I pressed about 6 cloves (that huge container of garlic from CostCo is so stinkin’ handy!).
• This is optional, but it was surprisingly good: 2 tsp Cognac.
• Sea salt and black cracked pepper…there I just said it!
• Mix well and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
• Steak……your favorite cut, what’s on sale, what’s in your freezer. It doesn’t really matter because the herb butter is so delectable.
Season the steaks. I like plain old salt and pepper, but I am really crazy for Mc Cormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning. It has a nice little kick.
Grill steaks to your liking and top with the sinful herb butter.
As the More is More Mom®, I believe that more salt, more butter, more fat and more tasty goodness equals more love……