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We'll make do

Story and photos by Angie Sutton

www.mothersapronstrings.com

Finish laundry, check! Make grocery store run, check! Pay bills, check! Create some modicum of order for the coming week’s schedule, check! I’m on top of things! Or so I thought until I had 20 extra minutes to enjoy my now lukewarm mug of coffee and decided a quick perusal of Pinterest would be relaxing.

What did I learn on Pinterest in my 20 minutes? Under the facade of happy and colorfully-themed pin boards, this site is really a cruel and heartless artistically-designed-three-tier-birthday-cake fueled demon. As if I don’t have enough mommy guilt for not sewing dresses from a pillowcases or stitching an amazing homemade Halloween frock (unless hot glue counts and then I get a gold star). My oldest child will likely be scarred for life because her annual birthday cake has just been a 9- by 13-pan-of-cake and not a three-tiered castle with fondant flowers and sparkly multi-colored sugar crystals glistening royally. Except the one year that I tried the Rugrats-themed cake, and we’ll just pretend that didn’t happen.

I learned that for as organized as I thought I was, I’m failing miserably at presenting our 10 types of cereal on uniformly-sized clear plastic containers with stylishly-crafted labels. Seriously. Who does this? The concept of the whole laundry room basket caddy system gets me giddy with possibility and I “pin” several photos. Most have three or four baskets all tidy looking with folded clothes. I laugh out loud and wonder where in the world I would put enough baskets for a family of seven. We’d really need 14 baskets to cover the laundry in (dirty) and laundry out (clean) assembly line.

So I take the last drink of my coffee and sigh with the realization that my kids will have to settle for the regular mommy. The one who buys the costumes and tackles the laundry with reckless abandon. Somehow I think we’ll make do and come out just fine.

Enjoy!


Open-Faced Turkey & Mashed Taters

This is amazing!

1 (3 lb.) turkey breast, thawed and skin removed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 box (32 oz.) chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. oregano leaves
1 envelope instant mashed potatoes
2 packets turkey gravy mix
6 to 8 slices of Texas Toast bread, toasted

Place turkey breast in slow cooker. Pour chicken broth around it. Season turkey with salt, pepper, thyme and oregano. Add bay leaf to broth. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. Carefully remove turkey from slow cooker to a cutting board. Strain and reserve broth. Place mashed potato granules in a medium bowl and ladle 1 1/2 c. of the hot strained broth over the top. Whisk to blend, cover and set aside. Combine 2 envelopes of gravy mix and 2 cups cold water in a small saucepan. Over medium heat bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Cut turkey into slices. Assemble the sandwich with bread on the bottom, then spread on mashed potatoes, top with a slice of turkey and drizzle with gravy.


Beef and Egg Noodle Bake

My middle daughter contends this is her favorite because it has “normal” ingredients.

4 c. uncooked extra-wide egg noodles
1 lb. ground beef
4 Tbsp. finely chopped yellow onion
2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. cottage cheese
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. green pepper, diced
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded

Cook egg noodles according to package directions. In a large skillet, brown ground beef and onion until meat is no longer pink and onion is translucent. Drain if needed. Remove from heat and stir in tomato sauce, sugar, salt, garlic salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the cottage cheese, cream cheese, green pepper and sour cream. Drain the noodles and stir them into the meat mixture. Then stir in the cottage cheese mixture. Dump the ingredients into a greased 9- by 3-inch glass baking dish and top with shredded Parmesan. Cover and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes.


Italian Meatball-Stuffed Shells

So simple and easy!

1 pkg. (12 oz.) jumbo shell pasta
1 jar (26 oz.) garden combination spaghetti sauce
1 pkg. (36 pieces) frozen fully cooked Italian meatballs, thawed.
2 c. (8 oz.) mozzarella cheese, shredded

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Spread 1/2 c. of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish. Put a meatball in each shell and line them up in the pan with the shell tops up. Top with remaining sauce and cheese. Cover and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake 10 minutes longer.


6-ingredient Chicken Cordon Bleu

Source: Neva Jones, O’Neill, Nebraska.

3 tubes buttery snack crackers
1/2 c. margarine
3 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced in thin strips
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 lb. ham, thinly sliced
6 oz. lemon-lime carbonated beverage

Crush the crackers and put in a large bowl. Melt the margarine and stir into crackers until all crackers are moistened. In a 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish, layer 1/2 of the crackers to form a crust. Layer 1/2 of the chicken and cover with one 8 oz. pkg. of cheese, then add a layer of ham. Top the ham with the remaining chicken, another 8 oz. pkg. of cheese and remaining ham. Spread the remaining crackers over the top. Pour the 6 oz. of lemon-lime soda over all the ingredients slowly. Bake at 350 F for 1 1/2 hours or until the chicken is done. Let rest 15 minutes.

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