My mom has definitely developed a rotation of things that she makes. It is not ordered on specific days or anything, but she has past the point where she likes to cook and so she makes things that are tried, true and easy. In my attempt to prepare dinner more often, I have started gathering some of these recipes. They all started out as precise recipes from somewhere, probably Good housekeeping magazine or one of the compilation cookbooks that military wives always put together, but now they have evolved and are very fluid. There are two that she makes and I like the combination of the two (which she does if she is missing ingredients for one or the other) best:
Chili Poco Loco
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 envelope chili seasoning mix )or taco or make your own)
1 16 oz can of corn
1 15 oz. can of chili + beans
1 small can tomato paste (if no paste use enough tomato something)
1 can refrigerator biscuits-I often don't bother with the biscuits
1 cup shredded cheese-cheddar or whatever
1. Brown beef + onions, drain grease
2. Add chili + beans, corn, seasonings, + tomato paste
3. Simmer while preparing biscuits--I usually don;t simmer. I just mix everything in the casserole and let it bake a little longer.
4. Cut biscuits in half. Roll in corn meal and parsley.
5. Spoon meat mixture into baking dish.
6. Sprinkle half the cheese on meat mixture-if you didn't simmer the meat mixture, pop in oven so it heats through before putting biscuits on
7. Arrange biscuits on top. Sprinkle remaining cheese.
8. Bake at 375 until biscuits are brown.
2 lbs ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 28 oz can tomatoes
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 cup shredded jack cheese
1 4.5 oz can of black olives
3 cups water
1 cup corn meal
1 tsp salt
I add: 1 can of corn
1 can of any kind of beans (black, pinto, etc.)
1. Cook ground meat and onion until browned, drain.
2. Stir in tomatoes with liquid (if tomatoes, I chop them) seasoning mix, cheese, olives, corn and beans. Spoon into baking dish.
3. In 2 quart pan cook water, crn meal and salt stirring constantly until mixture is very thick.
4. Pour cornmeal mixture over meat mixture.
5. Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
I was trying to make Chili Poco Loco with the polenta topping from the Tamale Pie, but I mixed up the recipes and added a 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes instead of the tomato paste because I was looking at the other recipe. It really didn't matter, though.
You can tell by her notes that she is a very flexible cook and can naturally balance things. I cook the same way. Curt went to culinary school as a hobby and is much more precise. If we are missing an ingredient for something he wants to make he gets a little flustered. I can always find an acceptable substitute or change of plans.