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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stand-by's and a Thanksgiving side

Yesterday was a busy day. Actually the past two months have been busy, but yesterday was one of those days where I absolutely did not want to eat out again but didn't have a whole lot of fresh foods at home to make a decent meal out of. Then I remembered one of my "stand-by" meals that I had stashed in the freezer. I'm sure you know what a "stand-by" meal is: something that you keep the ingredients for on hand at all times and it can be quickly prepared. For most it's spaghetti or soup. Easy enough. Maybe even breakfast for dinner. That's always a great one. My favorite lately is all things I get at Trader Joe's (no surprise there, I'm sure). This is what I keep on hand in the freezer for days such as yesterday:
TJ's tempura chicken w/ sweet and sour sauce
TJ's Beijing style frozen vegetables
TJ's premade frozen brown jasmine rice
TJ's chicken egg rolls
TJ's sweet and sour sauce

Everything, except for the sweet and sour sauce, can be found in the frozen section. It's kind of like one of those stir-fry kits, except it's actually good. Those kits never seem to be enough, and the vegetables always end up soft and soggy. This works out way better, in my opinion. I usually fry the chicken up in a separate pan than the vegetables (and I use grapeseed oil or sesame oil...something that can be cooked at a high temp), heat the rice while the chicken is cooking, and then mix some of the sweet and sour sauce and the beijing sauce from the veggies and throw it all together at the last minute. I happened to have fresh broccoli and cabbage on hand last night, so I threw some of that in as well with the other veggies. The boys love it and it's usually the perfect amount for our family of four. It's also quick to make.

What's your "stand-by?" I'd love to know.

On another note, I made my sweet potato casserole today for Thanksgiving. I make it the way my mother has always made it; with a pecan praline topping. Let me tell you, it's way better than the marshmallow stuff. I've had some pretty bad casseroles, and if sweet potatoes are not done right, they can be downright disgusting. David and his sister swore they hated sweet potatoes, but once they had them cooked this way, they both say it's one of their favorite holiday dishes. I would give you my exact recipe, but I remembered Pioneer Woman makes hers the same way, so I'll just direct you to her recipe. This is also known as "I'm too lazy to get off the dang couch so I'm ripping somone else's recipe off and giving it to you." Seriously, though, it's a common way to make the casserole here in the south, and her recipe is almost exactly the same as mine.
One thing I've done differently with it this year is I've used canned organic sweet potato puree from TJ's. We'll see if it tastes as good but I was sure happy to not have to boil and mash the potatoes. Huge time saver there.

Sweet Potato Casserole that you'll actually like!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Joy said...

My MIL doesn't like sweet potato casserole either and so she never has it on Thanksgiving. Last year, I got a great idea out of a magazine for "Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes". They are very simple and I think I'll put it on my food blog in honor of the holiday tomorrow! They were a huge hit!

My favorite stand-by? You know I love breakfast for dinner. I also love to throw together salads with whatever I have leftover - shredded chicken, cheese of different sorts, steak or lunch meats, cut veggies - I have tried a million different combinations and it always hits the spot.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Scott and Sara said...

That stir fry sounds so good! I've been getting into stir fry lately, using Hokkein noodles and lots of veggies. We have a couple stand-by dishes - the main one is homemade mac and cheese (with a very easy white sauce), and I add frozen spinach to make it a bit healthier. Another favorite is when Scott makes us a big omelette. Again, we usually add frozen spinach and tomatoes to get our veggies in. I never could stand sweet potatoes til I moved here and started roasting them. The casserole sounds good though. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Kristi J said...

Thanks so much for stopping by and glad you found us...I love to cook so I'm so glad you found us..We love Seaside and go every year!! I make a great Sweet Pot. casserole that everyone in my family flips over..I'll probably post it this week..nice meeting you, kristi

Jen said...

The link to the sweet potato casserole is gone!

Jen said...

I am totally pouring over your blog to find recipes and I was looking for these sweet potatoes for tomorrow. Haha, I already told you the link on your blog doesn't work...but I found the recipe here: ;)