Well, school has officially started again. That means it’s only a matter of time before fall rears its beautiful golden head. Of course, the school year also means that a lot of people are pressed for time and looking for something tasty, quick, and easy to make for dinner. I’ve got a couple of great deals to tell you about, then I will give you 2 dinners and 1 dessert that fit that bill.
I don’t know what’s going on with Starbucks right now, but they have two great deals going on simultaneously. The first deal was sent to people on their e-mail list. (I don’t know if it was sent to everyone, but it sounds like a lot of people got it.) All you have to do to redeem the offer is print the e-mail or show it on your mobile device, buy one frappuccino and get one (of equal or lesser value) for free when you pay with your registered Starbucks card. This offer’s only good through September 3rd. Also, from now til September 4th, you get an extra bonus star whenever you buy something with your registered Starbucks card. (In case you may not know, Starbucks gives you 1 star for each purchase with a registered gift card. The number of stars you have determines the level of your membership, which in turn determines the perks that you receive.)
Once you’ve gotten your caffeine pick-me-up, you might have enough energy to go home and make some delicious food. How about a delicious pasta casserole that takes just about 30 minutes to make? This flavorful dish comes from one of my favorite food bloggers (the lovely Julie at Table for Two). Besides being a cinch to make, this dish makes it easy for you to customize it for your family’s preferences. (You can probably guess that I’d like to add some black beans to mine.)
Enchilada Pasta Casserole (from the Table for Two blog)
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne
5 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. light sour cream
1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
1 c. shredded cheddar
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack
1 c. corn
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
12 oz. egg noodles
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the noodles according to the package directions.
2. In a large skillet, brown the beef, drain the fat, add the spices, and stir to combine. Add in the cream cheese til it’s melted and combined with the other ingredients.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the sour cream, enchilada sauce, half of each cheese, corn, and chiles. Pour this mix over the beef and simmer 2-3 minutes.
4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the beef mix; stir to combine. Pour the entire mix in a greased casserole dish and top it with the remaining cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or til the cheese is melted.
When you’re looking for a quick dinner, shrimp is a great go-to protein. It’s easy to keep on hand, quick to defrost, and quick to cook. This shrimp dish packs a great garlic flavor and is now one of my husband’s favorite dishes. I served this with some cheesy polenta and roasted zucchini. It was an easy dinner that still managed to fill us up.
Garlicky Baked Shrimp (from the April 2010 issue of Real Simple)
1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp
4 cloves sliced garlic
2 tbsp. chicken broth
1/4 c. softened butter
1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1. In a baking dish, combine the shrimp, garlic, and chicken broth; season the shrimp with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the butter, bread crumbs, and parsley; sprinkle this over the shrimp.
2. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes, til the shrimp are opaque.
And, as promised a few weeks ago, here is the recipe for the original version of puppy chow. As I mentioned, this is one of my hubby’s favorite desserts. Other pros are that it’s quick, simple, tasty, and very portable (perfect for lunch boxes).
Puppy Chow (from Chex)
9 c. Chex (any variety)
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1. Measure the cereal into a (very) large bowl. In a 1 quart microwaveable bowl, stir together the chocolate, peanut butter, and butter. Microwave this mix uncovered, on high, for 1 minute; stir. Microwave 30 seconds longer or til the mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture over the cereal and stir til it’s evenly coated.
2. Pour the coated cereal into a 2 gallon Ziploc bag, add the confectioner’s sugar, seal the bag, and shake til the cereal is well coated. Spread the puppy chow on wax paper to cool. Store in the fridge (if it lasts that long).
As for me, I’m enjoying getting adjusted to a new schedule and continuing to cook delicious things that I get to share with you. Have a great Labor Day weekend!