I think that one of the best compliments when it comes to cooking is for people to be so full at the end of the meal that they just want to change into sweats and take a nap. If 0007 is so busy stuffing his face that he can't comment on the meal, I know I did good.

I've been asked to share some of my recipes. I can do that.

But, we'll need to start with a few disclaimers.

*I very rarely have good measurements for my recipes. "Shit load", "dash", "just a tad", "crap ton", are some of my measurements. Really, when it comes to seasonings, I say "go for it". You know how you and your family like things to taste. Add a little, give it a taste, add some more if you need to. For sauces, sometimes it's best to let it simmer for a bit and retaste before adding more. I've noticed that things taste differently once the seasonings cook a bit.

*All of my recipes are either complete concoctions I've come up with or variations of recipes I've come across. Very few things in my recipe box are cooked according to the original recipe. Changing parts of recipes is how I've come up with some of our "family favorites". If you prefer ground beef, switch the meat. If you'd like carrots instead of squash, switch it. If your family prefers sausage over chicken, have at it. All of my recipes can be changed to adapt to what types of food your family likes. With my pasta dishes, I switch up the kind of pasta I use quite often.

*For ground meat, I prefer ground turkey. It's better for you, less greasy and tastes great. Plus, it's cheaper.

*My number one staple in cooking is garlic powder. If I run out, I have limited things I can cook!

*I like using the microwaveable bags of veggies because it's faster than cooking or steaming the fresh veggies. You can do either. When I'm using zuchinni or squash, I always use fresh. Sliced thin they cook quickly.

*Like the seasonings, amounts of veggies and meats are up to you and your family size. Most of my recipes make enough for 0007 and myself (sometimes the kids too depending on what it is) to eat for two to three days. Almost all of my recipes can be made larger by simply adding to the amount of veggies or meat and then adding more liquid accordingly.

I don't have pics of any of these meals. What? I'm supposed to do everything? If you cook it, love it and take a pic, send it to me and I'll post it on the blog!

Here we go...some of 0007's faves...

Sweet Marinara Sauce with Veggies

-Brown your ground meat in a large pot (I use 1lb of ground turkey)
-Thinly slice zuchinni and squash (I use one large of each or two small)
-Sautee veggies with browned meat until they are soft
-Add one large can of crushed tomatoes, one regular can of diced tomatoes, one small can of tomato sauce
-Fill the large can with water and add to sauce

At this point, evaluate the sauciness of your sauce. Is it too thick? Add more water. Is it too watery? Add more tomato sauce.

-Now it's time for the seasonings.
-garlic powder - Shit load
-garlic salt - just a bit
-salt - just a tad
-pepper - just a tad
-sugar - Shit load - If you have Sweet Red Wine, this works very well in place of the sugar!

Now, I don't recommend starting out with the "shit load" measurements. Start with a little and taste it. The sauce should be sweet but, have a garlic undertone. If it's not sweet enough, add more sugar. If you can't taste the garlic under the sweetness, add more garlic powder. Remember, garlic salt is stronger. Dont' add too much of it.

Let it simmer for a bit. 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. If you add too much seasoning, add some water.

Simmer until you've got the seasonings just how you want them.

Now, one reason that I like to make my sauce a little thin is because I like to boil my pasta IN my sauce. I'm a huge fan of angel hair pasta but, right now, we're crazy about Radiatore. Boiling the pasta in the sauce just makes the pasta so super yummy. If you dont' want to boil it in the sauce you can boil in water for half the recommended time and then boil in the sauce for the remainder of the time.

That's it. Sprinkle cheese on top if you'd like!

Mexican Lasagna

-Brown your ground meat
-Open a can of Ranch Style Beans. Drain the juice into the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish
-Add the beans, a can of Rotel (drained), a can of cream of mushroom soup and about half of a packet of taco seasoning to the browned meat. Mix it all up over low heat.
-Spread the bean juice out in the bottom of your dish
-Layer tortillas over your bean juice
-Layer half of your meat and bean mixture over tortillas
-Layer tortillas over meat mixture
-Layer rest of the meat mixture over tortillas
-Top with shredded cheese
-Bake at 375 or so for 20 minutes or so until cheese is bubbly

Sausage Cacciatore

-Slice sausage (I use one link of turkey sausage) into small pieces. When you slice them, do it as if you are feeding it to a 2 year old. Small pieces.
-Slice 2 green peppers into thin slices
-Slice one large yellow onion into thin slices
-Sautee/Brown sausage, peppers and onion until veggies are soft and meat is brown
-Add regular can of diced tomatoes, can of tomato sauce, cup of water and 1/2 cup of Zesty Italian dressing
-Season with garlic powder to taste

This sauce is meant to be tangy and zesty from the dressing and seasoned by the peppers and onion with a light undertone of the garlic. It will taste a little different after it simmers and the pepper and onion flavors release. If it's too watery, add another can of tomato sauce and more dressing. If it's too tangy, add tomato sauce or water. Let it simmer and taste again 15 min later.

Once your seasonings are good and you've got it simmering for 20-30 minutes, cook your pasta. Again, I like to cook the pasta in the sauce. Traditionally you'd use Fettucine or Linguine with this dish. We are loving the Radiatore with all of our pasta dishes lately but, I like to switch it up. Cook separately and then add or cook in the sauce.

Feel free to cook chicken cut into small pieces and use in place of the sausage.

Bon Appetit

Well, there's a few to get you going. I also cook easy things like tacos and sausage roll ups quite a bit. When I cook burgers, I mix the raw meat with some bbq sauce, ranch, salt and garlic powder before making patties and cooking in the oven at 375 for 25-30 minutes. All easy stuff that the kids love.

I'll do some more recipes another day. Like I said, if you use any of my recipes, take a pic and email me and I'll post it! That would be fun!

Happy Eating!