Sunday, January 8, 2012

Food Brings Families Together

I have my usual routine on Sundays.  The paper gets delivered and I pull out the Wedding Celebrations section (to see if I know anyone), Flair (to laugh at my horoscope and read Miss Manners and Dear Abby), the coupon inserts (gotta save money), and Parade magazine.  I read this every Sunday and they usually have a recipe from some celebrity in the very back.  Today, it was Buddy Valastro, from Cake Boss on TLC.  I love this show and its Italian family.  It's dysfunctional, but so loving and they always have great food!  Even though his family works together everyday at the bakery, they get together every Sunday to have Sunday dinner.  In his short article, he says, "Nothing brings families together like food."  (No, I am not using his recipe this week, but I am hanging onto it for the future.)  The quote he said reminded me of my mom.  She once said that she loves cooking for her family because of the memories the meal provides.  She said she likes making a meal that people remember because of the event that was happening around that time.  It's so true!  For instance, I remember the last meal I ate at home before I got married.  She made a quiche, muffins, and her chicken ramen noodle salad.  I'll have to post these recipes at a later date because quiche has to be one of my all time favorite foods and the chicken ramen noodle salad is awesome.

Our little family sits down to dinner together every night and we treasure this time together.  My husband's family and my family also had the routine of eating dinner together at night, so we both feel it's important to continue this.  I have to agree with Buddy Valastro.  Food definitely brings families together. 

As I am now 36 weeks preggo, I do not want to miss out on family dinners together, but they have to be EASY at this point.  I am tapping into my freezer collection of food (homemade soup) for one of our dinners this week and Ryan has requested (SURPRISE!) pizza!  He will be trying to make this for the first time on his day off on Friday.  Can't wait!  I will be making the following recipes this week:  Chicken Pouqui and Big and Juicy Burgers.

***This recipe includes stuff I already have on hand and is easy on the budget.  I found this on  I'll probably serve it with steamed veggies, and rice.
Chicken Pouqui

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine

  • 1/3 cup canned cream of chicken soup
  • 1/3 cup half and half

  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves, skinned
  • Salt and pepper

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and thyme and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add wine and cook until reduced by half. Add soup and half and half and stir until heated.
Meanwhile, melt remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat chicken dry. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet and cook until springy to touch, turning occasionally, about 7 minutes. Transfer to plates. Spoon sauce over.

***This burger recipe is on of my hubby's favorites.  I found it in my Southern Living cookbook, which is probably one of my best friends, and have made it many times.  I love making it in the summer with some potato salad and chips, but since it's winter I'll grill them inside on my grill pan and I'll probably serve it with roasted potatoes made with onion soup mix and some fruit.
Big and Juicy Burgers (This recipe is easily halved)
-2 cans 100% vegetable juice
-3 white sandwich bread slices, torn into pieces (I use whatever I have on hand)
-3 pounds ground chuck or ground round
-1 large egg
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
-1 teaspoon pepper
-10 hamburger buns

  1. Microwave vegetable juice in glass bowl at HIGH 1 minute; add sandwich bread pieces, and let cool.
  2. Combine with hands.
  3. Combine vegetable juice mixture, ground chuck, and next 3 ingredients. Shape into 10 patties.
  4. Grill patties, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until beef is no longer pink.
  5. Spray cut sides of buns with cooking spray; place buns, cut sides down, on grill rack, and grill 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve hamburgers on buns. Garnish, if desired.
Enjoy your week and happy eating!

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