Sometimes life gets hectic - and it's even more so for a single mom. That's why, when the Midlife Guru left this comment on my "I Can't Vlog" blog post, it got me thinking:
"I haven't watched a vlog before but it seems like a good way to spend some extra time because it is a twofer: blog information and a video. You can write a great script and act it out. A topic that would be interesting with your challenges would be meal time. I bet you have a lot of quick meals and that your dinner conversation is a lot of fun!! Good luck."
Some of you will remember that comment because it's the same one I referenced in my "Flatline/Rollercoaster" post from earlier this week. (Thanks, Midlife Guru!) Now, I know this still isn't a vlog, but that's because I still can't vlog (even though Dana's still urging me to try) - but I'm fully confident that a blog post can still get the point across just fine without y'all having to watch me act like a spaz. It's a win-win, trust me.
Still, I thought it might be fun to actually share some of our favorite meals here with you guys - I know that my readers are from a somewhat varied demographic too, so I'm starting this series with something totally simple. It's not the healthiest meal option, but it's quick, it's fun, the kids love it, and I often have leftovers - which makes it perfect for feeding a bigger family than ours or even serving in a party setting (are MLB parties a thing? I mean, I know NFL parties are a thing, but ...). I also love that this recipe is super affordable, so it works in a pinch. It's also mostly made of non-perishable items, so it's easy enough to keep the ingredients on hand.
As you can see, there are lots of ingredients here. I know - overwhelming, right? You'll need:
- 1 28 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes, mostly drained (The brand doesn't matter all that much.)
- 1 10 ounce can of diced tomatoes and chilies, about half drained (I use Rotel, but you can use any kind.)
- 16 ounces (about half of the large 32 ounce block) of Velveeta Cheese (You can use more or less according to your preferences - this isn't really exact.)
For the sake of this post, I kept it simple, but you can also add any of the following:
- spinach and artichokes
- browned, diced bacon
- browned, ground sausage or beef (or both, but of course you'll need more cheese) - or chicken, pepperoni, or any other meat diced or shredded
- salsa verde
- beans (maybe with some chili seasoning?)
- caramelized onions (maybe best with the queso blanco from Velveeta instead of the classic)
As you can see, the options with this recipe are pretty limitless, as are the dipping options. You can make just about any variety of this dip and serve if as a dip with chips or ever tater tots, but you can also serve it poured over chips (like nachos), tater tots or fries, etc. And it's really this easy to make:
Turn your burner to somewhere between low and medium (not high enough to curdle everything, but not low enough to take all night). If you planned on adding any ground beef or sausage, you can go ahead and brown that in this pan first, then drain the fat off before adding the tomatoes, Rotel, and cheese. This will cook up faster if you take the time to dice the cheese first, but if you just plop it in there like I did, it'll still turn out just fine.
Another thing to love about this recipe - it's pretty forgiving, so you can adjust ingredients and ingredient amounts all you want (within reason) without messing up the dinner.
See? There's still a chunk in there next to the spoon that hadn't melted just yet. Ten minutes later, everything was melted and dinner was served. We poured the cheese over Tostitos tortilla chips - we like the bite-sized rounds best! And for less than ten dollars, we all went to bed smiling with full bellies.
Now, granted, we don't have indulgent dinners like this all the time - but sometimes you just gotta let loose, and this is a great dinner for movie nights, casual Fridays, or any night when you've gotta get fed quick before heading out to ball practice, ballet recitals, or Karate.
You can also adapt this to use low-fat/low-sodium ingredients too, and it makes great leftovers - it'll solidify in the refrigerator, so you just scoop some off into a bowl and heat in the microwave, stirring every 45 seconds or so until it's all melted.
See? It's the perfect quick, simple recipe.
Have you made this (or something like it for your family before? If you have, tell me your favorite add-ins in the comments!
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