As we go about setting up a new apartment, I can't wait to have my own kitchen again and begin making our family's favorite things: baked french toast, chicken pasta casseroles, homemade cornbread and biscuits, and pancakes with syrup.

Today, I'm interested in what YOUR favorite meals are. I'm particularly trying to find out what you make that is unique or unusual that is a family favorite. Whether it's a unique quiche, meatballs with a secret sauce, some special marinade, or whatever your family LOVES... I want to hear about it.

  1. BREAKFAST-TYPE MEAL (whether or not you eat it for breakfast)
  2. LUNCH-TYPE MEAL (something good for a light mid-day meal)
  3. DINNER-TYPE MEAL (something that sticks and pleases the family!)
Can't wait to hear your delicious ideas!


dcrmom said...

Breakfast - Belgian waffles. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........

Lunch - A great deli sandwich, preferably on an everything bagel, the kind you can only get at an authentic Jewish deli.

Dinner - Wow, there are lots. I love Italian. Fettucine alfredo or chicken marsala are up there. And pizza from the Italian ma and pa shop on the corner is up there too. I also like winter comfort casseroles like chicken stew with biscuits on top from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........

Of course, I should have none of that with my stomach issues. :-(

Moby said...

Breakfasts - Caramel French toast with berries or banana pancakes.

Lunch - Chicken or tuna salad sandwiches are favorites but the kids also love build your own pizzas. I use pitta bread and have a selection of toppings for them to choose from.

Dinner - The kids could eat pasta with alfredo sauce or teriyaki chicken every night and I love a good roast roast (beef or chicken ) with gravy, roast potatoes, stuffing or yorkshire puddings and roasted vegetables.

Anonymous said...

Laurie B here:

Here are two favorites that are easy to make and also a hit for potlucks. Jess, you may not be able to get wild rice in the country you live in now, but I'm including this recipe anyway, just in case.

Tomato and Olive Wild Rice Casserole
(adapted from Wild Rice Cooking by Susan Carol Hauser)

I don't think I've ever taken this to a potluck without someone asking me for the recipe. It doesn't have eggs or wheat or nuts, so it's good if you may be serving people with those food allergies. It is not hard to make and is easily adaptable to your taste.

Wild rice can be very expensive. The best deal may be in the bulk section of your favorite grocery store. If you can get a bag of the real harvested wild rice (this will be mottled medium-brown in color), I prefer that to the California-grown wild rice, which is uniform in color and almost black. The California kind, which is what you'd probably find in the bulk food section, works fine in this dish, though.

To save money, you could probably make this dish with half wild rice and half regular brown rice, but I've never done that. Why not splurge on wild rice once in a while?

For a big gathering, double this recipe. For a small potluck, or for your own supper, make as indicated below. When I serve this at home, I don't bother making any side dishes, as this is quite filling. If you are single, you can re-heat the leftovers the next day without losing the flavor or texture.

1 cup uncooked wild rice
one chopped onion (small or medium, depending on how much you like onions)
a little butter or oil for sauteing
1 28-oz can chopped tomatoes or crushed tomatoes, undrained
up to 1 cup chopped ripe black olives (you can use less if you have very flavorful olives like kalamata)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
dried crushed chillies to taste (the kind you can sprinkle on pizza if you like it spicy)
grated cheese of your choice (up to 1 cup for cheddar or swiss or gruyere, but you can get away with less if you use a very flavorful cheese like asiago or halumi)

Rinse wild rice, drain and cook in 3 to 4 cups water until tender, about 40-45 minutes. To cook, bring the rice and water to a boil, stir, turn heat to low and cook covered, stirring occasionally. Drain the wild rice when it has finished cooking.

Meanwhile, saute onions in butter or oil. I saute them in a big saucepan that I can use as a casserole dish in the oven, so I have one less pan to clean later.

Grate the cheese and slice the olives in between stirring the onions. I buy pitted kalamata olives, which are easier to slice.

When the onions are soft, combine them with tomatoes, olives, oregano, crushed chillies, cooked wild rice and shredded cheese in a casserole dish. I like to sprinkle some wheat germ on top (see variation below). At this point you can cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight until you are ready to bake.

Bake the wild rice casserole covered at 350 F for about 45 minutes. If it’s coming out of the fridge, you’ll need to bake a little longer. I like to take the cover off for the last 10 minutes in the oven to get it a little brown on top.


-use 1 15-oz can tomatoes plus one cup water instead of the 28-oz can of tomatoes
-use different herbs in place of oregano
-leave out crushed chillies if you don't like spicy food
-saute 1 cup sliced mushrooms along with the onions
-sprinkle a few tablespoons of wheat germ on top before baking (don't add this if you are serving to someone who cannot tolerate wheat)

Chinese-style noodles with nutty sauce
(adapted from Moosewood Collective's Moosewood Cooks at Home)

This is a true emergency dinner. I used to make it when my husband got home from work and I got home from grad school around 8:30 pm and we were starving.

It is also good if you've only got 30 minutes to make something to bring to a potluck. There's no egg or dairy here, so you don't have to worry about it sitting out for a while before people eat.

You don't have to cook the sauce; just stir together sauce ingredients while boiling the water for the pasta.

I don't want to start an argument with tofu-haters. If you don't like tofu, leave it out and the dish will be fine. If you've got time to saute strips of chicken or some other meat while you are cooking the pasta for this dish, it would probably taste fine with that too, though I've never tried it.

1 pound pasta, any kind or shape (I like whole-wheat fusilli)
one-third cup peanut butter
one-third cup rice vinegar
one-fourth cup soy sauce or tamari (less if you are cutting back on sodium)
one-half cup hot water (I take from the pot as water is heating for pasta)
one-fourth cup toasted sesame oil (has to be the toasted kind to get the best flavor)
one-half teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (available in the spice section of most groceries, even in Des Moines)
1 tablespoon fresh basil, sliced, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 minced or pressed garlic clove
a few dashes of hot sauce
1 cake extra-firm tofu
two or three scallions, sliced thin

Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, whisk together all other ingredients except the tofu and scallions in large bowl.

Dice the tofu and slice the scallions.

When pasta is cooked, drain and stir into the sauce along with tofu and scallions.

Serve hot or at room temperature. It keeps well for lunch or dinner the next day.


-use almond butter or cashew butter instead of peanut butter (this is good for potlucks if you think someone has a peanut allergy)
-use one small leek, sliced thin, instead of scallions
-leave out the scallions or leek if uncooked onion bothers you
-leave out garlic if uncooked garlic bothers you
-leave out hot sauce if you don't like spicy food
-peel and shred some raw carrots and stir these in at the end
-use five-spice or marinated tofu
-cook any fresh or frozen green vegetable, such as broccoli, peas or green beans, while pasta is cooking and stir in along with everything else at the end.

Jaime said...

hmmm... i make a fantastic lasagna! we eat it for Christmas dinner (cause then all I have to do on Christmas day is pop it in the oven).

otherwise, we're pretty much a cereal-and-sandwich home.

Kim said...

Okay, so my favorite thing ever to make for kid lunches are Apple and Peanut Butter Palm Trees - I posted a pic of them on my blog somewhere at one point. But you basically take a green (or Golden Delicious) apple, and cut it into eighths. Take a spoonful of peanut butter and place it in the middle of the plate. Arrange the apple slices around the peanut butter, like palm branches/leaves, and then place a cheese stick on the bottom, like the trunk! It's easy, kids love it, and it's a healthy lunch.

I don't really have any good recipes on hand, but if I think of any I'll be back.

Love you!

Jess said...

At 3:09 PM, EmmyJMommy wrote:

Hey Jess! I am going to share with you a recipe or two, but I haven't blogged in a week or so -- so you will have to visit my blog for the recipes... I hope that is okay!!! Praying for you and Doug!


[Admin note: Yes, that's perfectly fine, emmyj! I'll head over to your blog now!]

Anna S said...

I can't think of anything special we eat for breakfast or lunch right now, but one of our favorite dishes for dinner is my vegetarian lasagne:

I just look into my refrigerator, and when I see I have some veggies that are not so fresh anymore, or I'm just not sure what to do with them, I chop them, toss them into a large pot and sautee with some olive or canola oil until almost soft. Today, it was:

1 large onion
1 large carrot
2 small eggplants
1 large zucchini
1 large red pepper
1 tomato

Of course, I also add salt, pepper, paprika, some garlic and aromatic herbs. And here it goes:

* A layer of pasta
* A layer of veggies
* Some cottage cheese on top of veggies (leftover, too. I sometimes use sour cream)
* Another layer of pasta
* Another layer of veggies
* And some grated cheese on top. I like a generous amount of cheese!
The whole thing then goes into the oven (350F/180C) for around 1 hour.

Hind's Feet said...

With two asian daughters, one Korean and one Chinese, we love to cook asian dishes. One of our favorites is Beef Bulgolgi.

One pound good beef, sliced PAPER THIN... this is important. We buy it that way at our international market, but you could par-freeze teh beef and do this.

1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. rice wine (or rice wine vinegar)
1/4 c. sesame oil (or you can use regular oil and a tablespoon of sesame seeds... I can't eat seeds)
1 clove garlic, minced (more if you are brave...)
1-3 green onions, finely sliced
fresh ground pepper to taste

Stir this together, add the beef. Let set a minimum of 2 hours, no more than 12 hours. (Or freeze the meat/marinade and as it thaws it will do the trick.)

You can grill (with a special pan for the grill) or stir fry, a few slices at a time. It cooks quickly!

We serve this over cooked rice, medium grain because this works with chopsticks.

Green beans are usually our vegetable with this, stir fried with onion and/or mushroom slices, and some garlic and whatever sauce we feel like, often oyster sauce.

we stir fry peppers, onions, broccolin, carrots, garlic, soy sauce or oyster sauce.

Great with sliced watermelon for dessert which cools your tongue after the pepper and garlic.


I just discovered your blog yesterday via a comment you made on another blog. Very interesting.
Blessings, Kim

Anonymous said...

Tanya here.
My DH makes pancakes on special occasions. I love them with banana, vanilla yoghurt and golden syrup.
My favourite sandwich filling is chopped up English spinach with bacon bits and avacado.
My favourite is a hot Indian or Thai curry. My DH loves lasagne or spinach and ricotta cannelloni. My DD loves tuna and spinach pasta bake.

sharyn said...


When we have about-to-turn bananas I always make some banana chocolate chip muffins (usually in the mini tin):

Whisk together:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Whisk together in another bowl:
1 large egg
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3/4 (whatever you've got) mashed ripe bananas
6 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined, then fold in enough chocolate chips to satisfy (I never measure, just dump 'em in).

Bake in greased or lined muffin cups at 375 -- about 18 mins for regular size muffins and 10-12 muffins for the mini ones.


We are usually eating sandwiches for lunch but occasionally on the weekends I will saute up some hot Italian sausages (turkey sausages, usually, to cut the fat) and top with sliced onions and peppers sauteed in olive oil and salt and pepper. Nice with crusty bread and a side of red sauce for dipping.

My husband also likes when I make individual calzones from Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough and assorted fillings, but as both my kids are off dairy, we don't have it too often.


A go-to meal that everyone, including the kids, will usually eat is tilapia fillets dipped in egg white and then wheat germ and sauteed in olive oil. A healthier version of fried fish, I like to think. (I usually chunk some of the fish for the kids before dipping, and call it french-fry fish, and this makes them eat it, dipped in ketchup of course). If I come up with this early enough in the day I will also slice some sweet potatoes in french-fry type slices, toss with oil and salt, and roast in the oven for 40 mins. or so for healthier 'fries.' (the younger one eats this but the older one is not fooled.)

For special celebrations/holidays, I make the spiced brisket with leeks and apricots found at epicurious.com. (There is a whole part of the recipe I don't do that involves making a pan sauce out of matzo meal, since the recipe was originally intended for Passover. Just skip all that and serve it with the pan juices. It gets raves and can be made ahead and reheats beautifully.)

An overall random note would be that I have discovered the joys of roasted vegetables -- frequently I have plenty of time at home but not prep time -- but roasting veggies is easy, just requires the time in the oven. Everything gets tossed with olive oil, coarse salt and fresh ground pepper and put in the oven at 350 for usually an hour or so (less for smaller-diced items or small baby carrots). Love baby carrots done this way, small new potatoes, beets, fresh fennel chunks, even halved brussels sprouts.

Jess said...

Can you post that chicken stew with biscuits on top recipe, either here or on your blog? Oh my goodness, that sounds divine!!!

Moby, Kim, and Tanya,
Thanks for some great ideas-- caramel french toast (YUM!), palm trees (how cute KIM!), and Tanya, I LOVE your sandwich idea. Too bad avocados aren't easily obtainable here! I could survive on avocados!!!

And let me give a HUGE shout-out to:
Laurie B
Anna S
Hinds Feet
and Sharyn

for leaving some EXCELLENT sounding recipes! I can't wait to try simple vegetable roasting (thanks Sharyn!) and try that rice casserole (hat tip to Laurie) and then that veggie lasagne, Anna, sounds great- meat is incredibly expensive here- so it's nice to see a couple of meat-free alternatives, ladies!

Thanks so much! I love learning from you guys!!!

Jess said...

Oh, and Sharyn- that banana chocolate chip bread/muffin recipe sounds absolutely scrumptious!!!

Thanks for posting, guys- what fun!

sealjoy said...

First, Moby... My husband loves French toast... I would love to have the recipe for caramel French toast....

Now on to mine.

Breakfast: usually French toast with bits of stuff I have on hand (pumpkin pie spices, honey, molasseses, chocolate liqueur, etc.)

Lunch: what ever available for a two year old and 9mo old...

Dinner: My fav is my mother's "Texas Spaghetti" Loved by everyone.

1Lb of noodles
1Lb of Velveeta cheese
1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1-2lbs of chicken breasts chopped(optional for those that like meat in their pasta)

Cook pasta, mix others together & melt cheese. mix and pour over cooked pasta.

Really good...

other than that I serve Chicken n dumplings or meatloaf (no onions).


Anonymous said...

For breakfast I usually just eat yogurt with a crushed granola bar...

Lunch: Tortilla pizzas: Just broil olive-oil brushed tortillas for 5-10 seconds in the oven (on a foil covered cookie sheet). Then take them out and top them. I like goat cheese, pepperoni, and/or veggies. My husband likes tomato sauce, mozzerella and pepperoni. Then broil them again for like 2-5 minutes (watch and the cheese will melt).

Done! And yum...

For dinner, I roll cubed chicken in melted butter and then a mixture of half parmesan cheese and half italian breadcrumbs and bake it at 375 for 25 minutes. It's a hit whenever I make it. The recipe is from an old friend of mine. :) You can serve it with veggies and garlic bread.

Great idea, though, I'm totally going to try everyone else's recipes!