Tuesday’s Top Five – Daggy Dinners

This top five list has been inspired by this post from Veggie Smuggler‘s website.  What Wendy said about how we tend to go back to some rather daggy ingredients when catering for somewhat fussy toddlers or small children really spoke to me.  I have many similar daggy ingredients lurking in my pantry and they probably get far more use than I would ordinarily admit to.  I have quite a selection of daggy dinners that rise to the told of the list whenever the day or week is not going quite to plan – today is one such day.  After reading about the wonderful Japanese and Korean dishes L serves up to her kids or the mouth watering Indian and Middle Eastern meals cooked by Liz for her two I feel a little inadequate, but here are my top five Daggy Dinners – noted for their ease of preparation, ready access to ingredients and recipes so simple I have them permanently in my head.

1. Tuna Mornay.
This was the first meal Mr Good (long before I was Mrs Good) cooked for me.  Unfortunately he is not much of a cook and despite getting the recipe carefully copied from his Mum, he omitted one crucial ingredient….. the TUNA!  A memorable meal for all the wrong reasons.  After a shaky start I took his Mum’s recipe, adjusted it a little and now make it reasonably often.  Both my girls have enjoyed in from the time they started on real food.  There are a million recipes out there but mine starts with a basic white sauce to which I add cheese and mustard powder.  After that’s made it’s simply a matter of adding the tinned tune, chopped boiled egg, frozen peas and corn (or fresh if you have them) and parsley.  Put into an oven proof dish, top with breadcrumbs and more cheese and then sprinkle lightly with paprika.  Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

2. Beef Stroganoff.
Thinking about it, mushrooms are the only vegetable Miss Two has liked from her first experiences with food until now.  Almost everything else she has gone through periods of refusing to eat, but mushrooms are a guaranteed winner and so is beef stroganoff.  I’ve actually changed the way I cook this in recent years having found a recipe in the CSIRO Total Well-being Diet Cookbook.  It’s pretty similar except minus the tomato sauce some recipes use (though I do add just a little tomato paste) and swapping the sour cream for natural yoghurt.  Of course it does still include a tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce and I love loads of parsley added right at the end.  I always serve this with pasta, though rice would also work well.

3. Apricot Chicken.
Possibly the daggiest of all is the country classic, Apricot Chicken.  I’m sure I’m going to loose half of you with this one, but growing up in country Victoria I think everyone’s Mum made this dish.  Basically it involves placing chicken pieces (thighs and drumsticks) and sliced onion in a dish (I also add carrots at this point), sprinkle with a packet of French Onion Soup Mix, add a tin of apricot nectar and bake.  Obviously this is quite a sweet dish which kids seems to love (and which I have a soft spot for).  For some reason I usually serve this with scalloped potatoes and steamed greens.

4. Chop Suey.
This one seems to be specific to my family or at least the name is, perhaps other people have another name for it.  To make this one I dice onion, fry it off with some garlic and olive oil in a pan, add beef mince and cook until browned then add some curry powder and chicken stock powder along with a cup or so of rice.  Give it a stir to coat the rice then add water.  Part way through the cooking of the rice (which takes about 20 minutes usually) I add vegetables.  This is where my sister and I differ, she adds lots of different vegetables (as is her way with most dishes) whereas I restrain myself to just cabbage or wombok (or other Asian greens), and maybe some peas and/or carrots.  I add the vegetables fairly early on as my girls prefer them quite well cooked (as does Mr Good), but you can choose whenever you like to add them depending on how well cooked you would prefer them.  Stir in some soy sauce right at the end and serve in bowls.

5. Corn Chowder.
Another one from my childhood and a definite family favourite.  We used to have this for lunch on the weekend during the colder months and everyone looked forward to it.  It is very much a meal in itself.  Fry off diced onion, bacon, potato and carrots in butter for a few minutes.  Add a can of corn including liquid and some water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are cooked.  Then stir in a can of cream of chicken soup and a can full of milk, heat thoroughly, season well and serve.

While these may not be meals I would ordinarily blog about and are not what you would cook up to impress important guests, they do satisfy the simple tastes of small children and make fore easy, no-fuss, no-think dinners for me to prepare.

I’m sure Liz will have something far less daggy to write about in her top five, so head over there to check it out.

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10 Responses to Tuesday’s Top Five – Daggy Dinners

  1. Oh, you flatter me needlessly! I’ve been crafting a very similar post in the background called “Bogan food I love” that I’ll roll out when I gather up the nerve.

    My thoughts:
    – Tuna mornay is completely off the menu for us because P’s mum did it to death. It was never something my mum made at all, so I don’t miss it.
    – I love love love beef stroganoff, and it has been off the menu only because of Little D’s dairy allergy. Can’t wait to wheel it out again.
    -Apricot chicken is another thing my mum never did, but I see its appeal. Anything with good ‘ol FOS in it has to taste good, right? Its the secret ingredient n my chilli con carne too 😉
    -Chop suey sounds like a great family meal – packed with good stuff in a kid-friendly format. Add mince – child eats – isn’t that how it works?
    – I love those Campbell’s condensed soups too. My favourite is cream of mushroom, made up with 100% milk. I do draw the line on using it in casseroles though 🙂

    Thanks for the dose of ‘real life’. Love the photo too!

    L

  2. Liz says:

    My eating life is nowhere near as glamourous as I like people to think… I really enjoyed this post – but I have to admit to never having eaten any of these dishes, except tuna mornay which I actually love but the kids don’t – there really is no pleasing some children grrrrrr. My mum had a rotation of dishes that she cooked regularly but they tended to be meat and 3 veg type stuff – daggy but not memorably so – except macaroni cheese, which I absolutely love, but will Mr 2 eat it? No!!! How could a 2 year old not liek Mac Cheese? At my former work there was a girl who was about 21, who was just learning to cook and she’d got a copy of 4 Ingredients and I will always remember her excitedly telling me about this really yummy recipe she’d discovered in the book – you take some chicken pieces, a packet of french onion soup, a can of apricot nectar and…I think you know the rest. Perhaps your daggy recipes are actually cutting edge cookery for the next generation of cooks.

    • You have never eaten beef stroganoff??? Liz, seriously – what planet are you from? ;P

      • Liz says:

        Yeah I know…my mum never made it and I became vegetarian at 15 and didn’t eat red meat until about 2 years ago when I was aneamic after having my 2 year old and so I kind of missed the Beef Stroganoff thing. I’m still not good with red meat stews – too meaty so I suspect I may never try it.

    • Ah! Must have been difficult eating it again after such a long time. I imagine it would taste a little wrong. I do think though that stroganoff isn’t particularly ‘meaty’. The dominant flavours of the sour cream, garlic and mushrooms take the edge off it. It is so dependent on being cooked well though – I have tried some *woeful* stroganoffs in my time!

  3. Liz says:

    Oh and I wasn’t feeling very inspired today so my post is a bit boring – yours is far better!

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  5. Victoria Clyne says:

    So I make something similar to your chop suey recipe but I’ve started adding kecap manis at the end instead of soy. I really like the salty sweet taste. Love the list and the photo, would like to know what she has been eating.

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