Slow Cooker Refried Bean Soup

Original Recipe HERE
I thought this would be a standard, "good enough but nothing special" dish that wouldn't go into regular rotation but be an adequate "emergency" meal on days I wasn't sure what else to make.  However, it smelled really good while cooking, and its flavor exceeded my expectations.  I think the fresh garlic made the difference.  I decreased the amount of cumin from the original recipe (because it offends me) and subbed in smoked paprika.
Everyone in my family ate this.  I served it with shredded white cheddar and sour cream.  I also saw that it wasn't making the monstrous amount of food that crock pot meals normally do, so I made pearl barley as well, scooping it into bowls and ladeling soup over it.  Because I did that, I didn't feel the need to make any cornbread or add another "substantial" element to the meal.
1 can (15 oz) refried beans [I used fat free]
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 cup peeled, diced carrots
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin [I used roasted]
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
(1) Add all ingredients to slow cooker.  Stir.
(2) Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8.  Stir on occasion to break up refried bean "mass."  Once carrots are softened to preference, soup is done.
(3) [Optional] Use an immersion blender to puree a small amount of soup to thicken it.
(4) Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, or other desired toppings.
Kid Participation:
* Add ingredients to slow cooker
* Grate cheese (under close supervision so fingertips and knuckles stay intact)


Honey Beer Bread

Original Recipe HERE
I do not like beer.  Any kind.  Not even those that claim to be fruity, spicy, or pumpkin-y.  Nothing about it appeals to me.  I am a solid wine lady for life (though in my past life, I was a [multiple] vodka-and-cranberry lady...but those are stories for another time).  However, I know it has its place in cooking. I just never think to use it, despite there always being an ample supply on hand thanks to Husband.
But I was making broccoli cheese soup and wanted some sort of bread product to accompany it.  I was going to make my standard pizza dough recipe and let the kids make "snakes" out of it, brush them with melted butter/garlic powder/Parmesan, and hope it turned out well.  That recipe will (also) have to wait for another time.  Because I looked in my bookmarks and came across this one.  A five-minute prep time, then forget it for an hour?  Sign me up, especially since the kids were happy amusing themselves with making Halloween decorations and I didn't want to rock the boat.

This turned out awesomely.  There is a slight beer taste, but it wasn't offensive to me.  The darker the beer, the better...or so says all the recipes I read.  I used a random Red Hook ESB, which I knew nothing about.  I think there was a little too much butter (we all had greasy fingers at the end), so I decreased the amount a little below.  Hopefully the perfectly crusty crust (is it OK to use the same word to describe the same word?) would still result.  I served this with herbed garlic butter, and we all gobbled it up.
Next time I will add some shredded cheddar and dried dill, but since the soup was already cheesy enough, I skipped it this time.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons honey (warmed if necessary)
1 (12 oz) beer (darker is better)
3 Tablespoons butter, melted & slightly cooled
(1) Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9x5" bread pan.
(2) In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
(3) Add honey; stir with rubber spatula until well combined.
(4) Add beer; stir until no dry flour is visible.
(5) Pour batter into loaf pan.  Spread so top is flat.
(6) Pour melted butter evenly over entire surface.
(7) Bake until bread is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 50 to 60 minutes.
(8) Turn bread out onto cooling rack.  Slice when room temperature.
Kid Participation:
* Stir dry ingredients
* Pour and stir beer
* Wonder why they are allowed to consume beer, regardless of the form it takes


Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Gratin

Original Recipe HERE
I'm a sucker for anything with a cheese sauce.  Because said cheese sauce smothers healthy cauliflower, I figured this dish was a wash, each component negating the other.  But I ate a lot of it.  It reheated well the next day, so I continued to eat it.
I was slightly heavy handed with the nutmeg; I was cocky and didn't measure precisely.  A little nutmeg goes a long way, and next time I'll probably just leave it out.
1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg [optional]
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
(1) Preheat oven to 400 F.
(2) Toss cauliflower with oil, salt, and pepper. Spread in single layer on large baking sheet.
(3) Roast until lightly golden brown, 20-30 minutes.
(4) In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
(5) Add flour to butter; cook until it just begins to brown.
(6) Add milk, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and cheese.  Heat until cheese melts and sauce thickens.
(7) Add cauliflower to sauce.  Mix well.
(8) Pour into a baking dish.  Top with panko.
(9) Bake at 350 F about 15-20 minutes or until gratin is bubbling on the sides and golden brown on top.
Kid Participation: None.

Roasted Cauliflower & Cheddar Soup

Original Recipe HERE
I had high hopes for this soup since my kids - usually - love roasted cauliflower.  *J* is its biggest fan, but he was in a mood that night and would barely taste it.  *P* isn't a huge soup eater (one of the very few foods he isn't in love with), so I couldn't get him to eat much, either.  So I looked at this giant pot of soup with dismay, wondering what I would do with what seemed like gallons of food no one would eat.

And then I got a chance to finally taste my own portion (moms' dinners = so often delayed), and I realized that I could eat the entire thing myself.  Luckily *N* loved it, too - and I think Husband would've...that is, if he'd been home to eat dinner instead of spending all day in Boston with friends and spontaneously deciding to stay overnight.  Luckily the lingering taste of resentment and bitterness didn't affect my appreciation of the soup...
Anywho.  Because I used a large head, I should've added more salt and pepper and more cheese - next time, 2 cups?  I could taste the roasted-ness of the cauliflower, but I would've liked the cheese flavor to be more pronounced.
* For cauliflower:
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
* For soup:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped [I used my garlic press]
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 to 4 cups broth [I used vegetable]
1-1/2 cups aged white cheddar, shredded
1 cup milk [I used 2%] or cream
salt & pepper
(1) Preheat oven to 400 F.
(2) Toss cauliflower with oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread in single layer on large baking sheet.
(3) Roast until lightly golden brown, 20-30 minutes.
(4) Heat oil in large sauce pan over medium heat.  Add onion; saute several minutes until tender.
(5) Add garlic and thyme; saute an additional 1-2 minutes.
(6) Add broth and cauliflower.  Bring to a boil.
(7) Reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, 20 minutes.
(8) Using an immersion blender, puree soup to desired consistency.
(9) Add cheese, letting it melt without boiling.
(10) Add milk.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat.
(11) If soup is too thick, add additional broth (I used the entire 4 cups).
Kid Participation: None.


Haricot Verts [Green Beans] with Shallot Dressing

Original Recipe HERE
(Very similar recipe HERE)
I picked up a package of haricot verts on a whim at Trader Joe's (which is how about 75% of my purchases can be classified there...I go in for two things and come out with several full bags).  Googling was necessary to figure out what to do with them.
The original recipe only called for one slice of bacon, which I scoffed at.  What good is one slice?  You need a minimum of four in a recipe - or, in our family's case, five (one for each member).
The kids all liked these, which is a surprise since *P* isn't a veggie eater and doesn't do much with all the other green beans that cross his plate.
4 slices bacon
12 oz haricot verts (French green beans)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar [or white wine vinegar]
1 shallot, finely chopped
(1) In large skillet, cook bacon until evenly browned.  Set aside; wipe out most of bacon grease from pan.
(2) Sautee shallot in bacon grease until softened.  Remove from pan.
(3) In medium bowl, whisk together oil, mustard, and vinegar.  Add shallot.
(4) Meanwhile, steam haricot verts until just tender (retain some crispness).
(5) Toss haricot verts in dressing.  Serve topped with crumbled bacon.
Kid Participation: None.

Ravioli with Mushroom-Wine Sauce

Original Recipe: Better Homes & Gardens Simple Slow Cooker Recipes
This sauce turned out well but didn't have the intensity of flavor I had hoped.  It was also much too liquid-y to serve to my kids...they need the sauce to cling to the pasta or it'll all get left behind on the plate.  I improvised with my immersion blender, but next time I will drain one can of the tomaotes (the original recipe said to leave both undrained) and add some tomato paste.
While it may sound like this isn't a do-over, the kids all ate most of what was on their plate with no complaint.  I had been expecting loud protests about mushrooms, but *N* even said she liked the them in this particular recipe because she couldn't really taste them. 
3 to 4 cups sliced fresh button mushrooms
3 to 4 cups sliced fresh portobello, shiitake, and/or crimini mushrooms [I used shiitake]
2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes, one drained & one undrained
1/2 cup water
1//3 cup red wine or water
1 to 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 dried rosemary
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 package (20 oz) refrigerated cheese ravioli
grated parmesan [optional]
(1) In a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker, combine mushrooms, tomatoes, water, wine, salt, rosemary, and garlic.
(2) Cover; cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours.
(3) Toward the end of the sauce's cooking time, cook ravioli in a separate pot acording to package directions.
(4) If desired, use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree about 1 cup of the sauce.
(5) Serve ravioli with sauce and topped with parmesan if desired.
Kid Participation: None (because just the mere act of having them add the mushrooms to the slow cooker might have turned them off from trying the final product).


Meatless Burritos

Original Recipe: Better Homes & Gardens Simple Slow Cooker Recipes
There wasn't anything spectacular about this meal: it was certainly perfectly "fine" and will surely be made again because I always have the ingredients on hand.  Everyone seemed to like it, although rolled tortillas stuffed with filling usually don't mix well with little kids.  Next time I'll probably serve it with Tostitos and let them dig in, scooping style.  Also, I think it needed a little more flavor, which is easily fixable with some garlic, smoked paprika, green chilis, cayenne, cumin (if you like that sort of thing, and I don't, so I avoid using it whenever possible), etc.
3 cans (15 oz each) black beans and/or red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained [I used petite cut]
1-1/2 cups salsa
1 cup corn [I used frozen]
1/2 large jalapeno, seeded & finely chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 8- or 10-inch flour tortillas
* Optional Toppings:
shredded lettuce
shredded Mexican cheese blend
sour cream
cooked rice
green onions, sliced
(1) In 3.5-, 4-, or 5.5-quart slow cooker, combine beans, tomatoes, salsa, corn, jalapeno, chili powder, and garlic.
(2) Cover; cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.
(3) To serve, spoon bean mixture onto tortillas.  Top with desired toppings.  Roll.
Kid Participation:
* dump all ingredients into slow cooker
* activate slow cooker
* make a massacre of the meal and earn yourself a bath

Slow Cooker Saucy Baked Beans with Sausage

Original Recipe: Better Homes & Gardens Simple Slow Cooker Recipes.
This recipe was a hit with every family member, so there was only one serving left over for lunch the next day.  The great thing about it is how easy it would be to increase its volume: another can of beans, some extra sausage, another squirt of ketchup, chopped red or green pepper and onion, and so on.  I'm sure it could be prepared on the stovetop, but I needed a fix-it-and-forget-it meal that day, so the slow cooker was my method of choice.
I served it with barley I cooked on the side.  It was too saucy to eat as-is; I think it needs something like rice or barley to bulk it up.
2 cans (15 oz each) Great Northern beans, drained & rinsed
2 cans (15 oz each) pinto beans or small red beans, drained & rinsed
12 oz cooked smoked sausage, cut into 1/4" slices
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons prepared mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
(1) In a 3.5-, 4-, or 5.5-quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients.
(2) Cover; cook on low 5-6 hours or high 2.5-3 hours.
Kid Participation:
* dump all ingredients into slow cooker
* push slow cooker buttons (yay, allowed to play with appliances for once!)


Bacon & Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes

Original Recipe HERE

* This is one of the menu items Husband researched, planned, shopped for, and executed for Easter 2013.  It was the best meal he's ever made. *
2 pounds red new potatoes, quartered
2 cloves garlic, smashed
5 to 6 strips bacon
1/4 pound Gorgonzola cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature [he used half-n-half]
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
(1) Add potatoes and garlic to a medium pot.  Fill with enough cold water to cover the potatoes by an inch.  Season with salt; bring water to a boil.
(2) Reduce to a simmer.  Cook until potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes.
(3) Meanwhile, fry bacon in a skillet until crisp.  Set aside on a paper towel to drain. Roughly chop; reserve.
(4) Drain potatoes and garlic.  Place back in the pot with cheese, cream, butter, and chopped bacon.
(5) Roughly mash, adding more cream if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Baked Ham with Spiced Cherry Glaze

Original Recipe HERE

* This is one of the menu items Husband researched, planned, shopped for, and executed for Easter 2013. It was the best meal he's ever made. *
Nonstick spray
1 (5-pound) boneless ready-to-eat ham
1/2 cup water or white wine [he used water]
1 cup cherry preserves
1 tablespoon creamy prepared horseradish [he used regular]
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
(1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a roasting pan with foil and spray it with nonstick spray.
(2) Score the top and sides of the ham with a small sharp knife in a crisscross pattern.
(3) Put the ham in the pan, pour 1/2 cup water or white wine into the bottom of the pan and bake, covered loosely with a tent of foil, 45 to 60 minutes.
(4) To make the glaze, combine the preserves, horseradish, brown sugar, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, salt, and lemon juice in a medium bowl.
(5) Transfer the cherry mixture to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil until the glaze is slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the lemon zest.
(6) Remove the ham from the oven and brush the top with 1/4 cup of the glaze.
(7) Bake, uncovered, until the ham is hot and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 140 degrees F, about 20 minutes longer.
(8) Remove the ham from the oven to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Arrange the sliced ham on a serving platter and serve with the reserved glaze.

Green Beans Provencal

Original Recipe HERE
* This is one of the menu items Husband researched, planned, shopped for, and executed for Easter 2013. It was the best meal he's ever made. * 
1 1/2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
15 kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
(1) Prepare an ice-water bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water.
(2) Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.
(3) Drain well in a colander, then set the colander with beans in the ice-water bath, making sure the beans are submerged. Drain the beans, shaking off the excess water.
(4) In the same pot, heat the oil over low heat. Add beans, garlic, tomatoes, olives and basil, and toss to combine.
(5) Drizzle vinegar over beans and toss to coat. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve hot, warm, or cold.


Soft Pretzels

Original Recipe HERE
I made these for St. Patrick's Day.  I knew the kids probably wouldn't like the usual corned beef meal and other traditional Irish "delights" (a term used loosely for the dishes of an area not known for its cuisine).  So I went the cop-out route and served green food.  Including pretzels.  Because I added green food coloring to the dough.
These were really easy - and actually easier to do by hand.  I started the dough in the stand mixer, but I didn't like the way it seemed to be going, so I took it out and kneaded it with elbow grease.  Any shapes can be made from the dough, but I went with the universal pretzel shape.  The dough was so elastic that it kept retracting; I couldn't get it to the 20" ropes the original recipe made.  So my pretzels were small and chubby.  Next time I'll let the kids play with it and see what shapes they come up with.
I got 12 pretzels: 7 salt and 5 cinnamon-and-sugar.  The flavors weren't as pronounced as I'd hoped.  I wonder if rolling the dough pieces in the salt or C-and-S before forming into their shapes (instead of just sprinkling them afterward) would give better coverage and intensity.  Probably the easiest thing to do is just make little pretzel balls (or make the ropes, then slice them into bite-size pieces) and experiment with a variety of coatings.  These were dense (see original's notes about flour use) yet the perfect degree of softness.  They remained so the next day, but they were gone within 24 hours so I don't know how well they last past that.
1-1/2 cups warm water
1 packet active yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2-3/4 cups all-purpose white flour
1 large egg
course sea salt for topping [optional]
cinnamon-and-sugar for topping [optional]
(1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line baking sheet with parchment or silpat.
(2) Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Stir until mostly mixed (about 1 minute)
(3) Add salt and sugar; stir.
(4) Add flour, 1 cup at a time and mixing after each addition.  Continue until dough is no longer sticky and bounces back when poked.
(5) Turn dough out onto floured surface.  Knead about 5 minutes.
(6) Shape dough into a ball.  Cut in to evenly-sized quarters.  Cut each quarter into three evenly-sized pieces (end result of 12 individual pieces of dough).
(7) Roll dough into a rope with an even diameter, aiming for at least 18" long.  Make a circle out of rope.  Hold together two loose ends together; twist and press back down onto bottom of circle.
(8) Beat egg; pour into shallow dish.  Dip pretzel into egg wash so all surfaces are covered.
(9) Put pretzel on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with topping.
(10) Bake 10-12 minutes.  Turn oven to broil for approximately 2 minutes to brown tops (watch closely to avoid burning).
(12) When done, remove to cooling rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature.
Kid Participation:
* Mix ingredients
* Knead/punch/tug/torture dough
* Form pretzel shapes
* Sprinkle toppings
* Freak out with joy at seeing homemade pretzels served for dinner

Cheesy Broccoli Bites

Original Recipes HERE
Anything to get vegetables into the kids.  Some nights they love broccoli, and other nights they turn their noses up.  So I tried a new approach.  They ate these with no complaints and said they liked them.  They just signed themselves up for another batch to confirm or refute that.
I was worried these would fall apart, but I used a 1/4-cup measuring cup to scoop the mixture (for uniform size) and then packed it together into a firm ball.  Then I flattened it out into a patty.  Each of them stayed together with no problem, and they reheated well the next day.
1 package (16-oz) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1-1/2 cup shredded cheese
3 eggs
1 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
(1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
(2) Chop broccoli until relatively fine.
(3) Whisk eggs in medium mixing bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
(4) Add broccoli, cheese, and breadcrumbs to mixture.  Stir until well combined.
(5) Form mixture into patties of the same size (approximately 1/4-cup each).  Place on baking sheet.
(6) Bake approximately 25 minutes or until light golden brown and firm.  Flip patties after 15 minutes if desired (I did not).
Kid Participation:
* Mix ingredients
* Form patties (if you're in the mood for a mess and some haphazardly-shaped dinner elements)


Healthier Stuffed Shells

Original Recipe HERE
I abhor making stuffed shells.  I boil the noodles, and a quarter of them rip to the point of being unusuable.  Several more tear as I try to pry them apart and put filling inside.  Upon serving and cutting, they fall apart further and the cheese oozes out like I just disemboweled the shell.  So I only make them every two years or so: enough time for my memory to fade, and I'll come across a recipe and say, "Hmm, maybe THAT one will work!"  Never.  They still taste good, but the effort and frustration is still not worth it.
That said, I'm keeping this recipe because I liked the filling: tasty and a bit healtheir than I usually find.  I can probably use it in lasagna (another pasta dish I always end up rueing my decision to prepare) or another pasta/sauce/filling smorgasbord...baked ziti, perhaps?
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups tomato sauce
1 lb pasta shells [approximiately 24 shells], cooked [I had 30+]
shredded mozzarella [optional]
parmesan [optional]
(1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
(2) Spread a few tablespoons of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish.
(3) Mix together cheeses, salt, garlic powder, oregano, basil, and pepper.
(4) Fill each shell with cheese mixture; place in baking dish.  Repeat with all shells.
(5) Pour remaining tomato sauce over shells.  Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan on top if desired.
(6) Cover dish with foil.  Bake 20 minutes.
Kid Participation:
* Mix together filling ingredients
* Pour sauce
* Sprinkle cheeses
* Practice knife skills at dinner and have Mama need to step in and put your shells out of their misery

Cream Cheese Fruit Dip

Original Recipe HERE
I never ate fruit with dinner as a child, other than my mom's homemade applesauce.  It was her go-to side dish with pork chops and pot roast.  I never make either of those in my house, so eating fruit after 12:00pm never really crossed my mind.  Until I had kids.  Since mine love it, I don't have trouble getting (most) fruits into them every day.  But I understand if they get burned out on eating the same kinds, in the same forms, day after day.  Enter dip.

I always have the ingredients with this on hand, so when I'm stumped for a side dish, I can whip it up (literally) in the stand mixer in minutes.  I also send it with *N* for school lunches.  So far, we can attest that it's great with pears, apples, bananas, pineapples, cantaloupe, and red grapes.  It certainly takes the health benefits of the fruit down a notch, but variety is the spice of life, and I'm OK with it.
It works better if you plan more than 5 minutes ahead so (1) the cream cheese has time to soften enough, and (2) the brown sugar has time to dissolve (I recommend making a batch, letting it sit about 10 minutes, and giving it another quick blending to break up any remaining clumps of sugar).
1 block (8 oz) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar [more or less, to taste]
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon [more or less, to taste]
(1) With a mixer or by hand, blend cream cheese until easily spreadable.
(2) Add sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Blend until well mixed.
Kid Participation:
* Mush up cream cheese
* Add other ingredients & stir
* Neglect other parts of dinner in favor of eating just fruit and dip

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Original Recipe HERE
I love food that comes in its own complete little "package."  These are perfectly sized for kids, and the presentation means they might be more apt to try it, too.  I normally stay away from any of those condensed/"cream of" soups, but I needed something easy that night.  I'm sure some substitution involving broth, corn starch, sour cream, etc. is available online.
I thought these were great.  *N* and *J* both said they liked them, but they didn't ask for more than the two I originally gave them.  But since it would be easy to tweak the flavors to suit different tastes, I'll definitely make these again.  Bonuses: I made the filling ahead of time and quickly assembled them when it was time to bake, they didn't make a mess at mealtime, and they were easy to reheat.
I doubled parts of the recipe since 10 pies wasn't going to be nearly enough to feed us; new amounts reflected below.  Time for some math: I used 3 cans of biscuits (7.5 oz each can, 10 biscuits to a can) and got 18 pies by using 1.5 biscuits per pie.
2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cooked and shredded
1 can (14.5 oz) condensed cream of ____ soup [your choice; I used mushroom with roasted garlic]
1.5 to 2 cups finely chopped vegetables, frozen or fresh [I used carrots, peas, celery, and onion]
1.5 cups shredded cheese of choice
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 to 3 cans (10 oz) *OR* 3 to 4 cans (7.5 oz) Pillsbury biscuits [I used buttermilk
(1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray or grease approximately 18 cups of muffin tins.
(2) In a medium bowl, combine soup, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper.
(3) Add chicken, vegetables, and cheese.  Mix thoroughly.
(4) Press biscuits into muffin cups, covering bottoms and up the sides.  Check to make sure no air pockets remain.
(5) Scoop chicken mixture into biscuits, filling to top.  Sprinkle with additional shredded cheese if desired.
(6) Bake 12 minutes.  Check pies; bake additional 2 to 3 minutes if biscuit edges are not golden brown yet.
(7) Cool in muffin tins for 3 minutes.  Remove; serve.
Kid Participation:
* Mix mixture
* Scoop mixture


Creamed Spinach

Original Recipe HERE
I had a lot of fresh spinach threatening to turn mushy in about 24 hours, so I pulled this out of my bookmarked links.  I made a few tweaks based on the comments and what I thought might maybe, possibly, somehow get fresh spinach into my kids.
*N* said she liked it...and then she didn't.  Per usual, she was a trooper who finished the serving I gave her.  *J* refused, even after I sprinkled Parmesan on it, and I only got two bites into him.  However, little *P* seemed to really enjoy it - maybe spinach has magical powers for a teething toddler?  I thought it was great.  Husband said he thinks he remembered liking it, but he was too distracted by the kids climbing all over him after he returned from work as he ate his dinner.  So it appears to be split down the middle.  I won't make it again for our typical family dinner, but I'll hopefully remember it for special occasions and holidays.  I'd like to test it out on a few more people and get their verdicts.
I had a 16-ounce container and an 11-ounce bag, and it made just enough to feed all of us if, in theory, we all had good-sized portions.  However, the amount of sauce was about four times what I needed, and so now it's in the fridge awaiting being added to roasted broccoli.  I'm pretty sure the kids will eat that version, since they objected to the overtly spinach flavor the first time.
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups whole milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 pounds spinach (stems removed)
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
Parmesan or grated/shredded cheese [optional]
(1) Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour until smooth.  Continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
(2) Whisk in milk and nutmeg.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Remove from heat; cool slightly.
(3) Heat deep skillet over medium heat.  Add spinach and salt.
(4) Cover; cook 3 minutes.  Toss spinach; continue to wilt, uncovered, an additional 2 minutes.
(5) Drain spinach; cool slightly.  Squeeze or press until mostly dry.  Coarsely chop.
(6) Reheat sauce over medium heat.  Whisk in egg.  Bright to slight boil, stirring, and allow sauce to thicken.
(7) Add spinach to sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.
Kid Participation: None.


Tangy Meatballs

Original Recipe HERE
I had bought some meatballs with the assumption that I'd make a sauce and serve it all over rice. Which is exactly what I did.  This was super easy, and 90% of the dinner was eaten in one sitting, leaving me very little for lunch the next day.  Success comes back to bite me.
I put in the half-cup of vinegar that the original recipe called for, and the sauce had a bit too much "bite" or sourness to it.  I will reduce the amount next time (reflected below) and/or return to the original full cup of brown sugar.  I prefer my barbecue-type sauces to be sweeter.
1 cup (8 oz) ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped [optional]
2 to 3 garlic cloves, pressed
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons mustard [I used dijon]
1/4 to 1/2 cup vinegar [I used cider vinegar]
pre-cooked meatballs, fresh or frozen
(1) Add all ingredients to large sauce pan; stir to combine.
(2) Add meatballs; stir to coat.
(3) Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 30 minutes to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Kid Participation: None.

Stovetop Popcorn

Original Recipe HERE
I love popcorn.  I love unhealthy popcorn.  I love movie theater popcorn saturated with the butter-reminiscent sludge they have.  I love microwave popcorn in all its hazardous chemical glory.  I realize that this is a problem.
Lately I've been using a paper lunch bag and plain kernals in the microwave.  Surely better, but I wanted to get away from microwaving entirely.  This method produced awesome crunchy (without being dried out) popcorn that I then drizzled with genuine melted butter and sprinkled with salt.  Old-school but worth the little bit of extra work.
3 tablespoons canola, peanut or grapeseed oil [I used grapeseed]
1/3 to 1/2 cup popcorn kernals
Salt [optional]
Butter [optional]
(1) Heat oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium-high heat.
(2) Add 3 or 4 popcorn kernels to oil.  Cover pan.
(3) When kernels pop, add remaining kernals.  Cover, remove from heat.
(4) Gently shake pan to ensure all kernals are covered with oil.  Wait 30 seconds.
(5) Return pan to heat. Once popping starts in earnest, gently shake pan on burner.  Keep lid slightly ajar to allow steam to release.
(6) Once popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove pan from heat and immediately transfer popcorn to serving bowl.
Kid Participation: Watch the action without getting too close to the hot pan.


Stovetop Brown Rice

Original Recipe HERE

No fancy description in this updated post.  Just a modification on how to make this on the stovetop.

4 cups broth [beef, chicken, or vegetable]
1 to 2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 to 3 Tablespoons dried minced onions
2 cups brown rice [not instant]

(1) In medium saucepan, heat broth over medium heat.
(2) Add butter, tomato paste, salt, and onions.  Bring to a slight boil.
(3) Add rice.  Cover; simmer over low heat for 45 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.


Cranberry & Bacon Chili

Original Recipe HERE
I love a good chili, but I don't gravitate towards those that require lots of ground beef or lots of kidney beans.  This recipe caught my eye because it involved neither, and the use of cranberries intrigued me.  Sweet, tart chili?  I was willing to take the chance on the unorthodox twist, since I've had chili with cinnamon and chocolate (aka, Cincinnati-style) and enjoyed it.
Luckily, this was a homerun instead of a bomb.  While I should still seek out an awesome traditional chili recipe (it seems like one of those basic dishes I should have in my arsenal), this one will go into rotation in our house.
The recipe is flexible: type of beans, type and amount of spices, additional vegetables (maybe some bell pepper and baby carrots?), etc.
6 slices of thick bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 yellow or white onion, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1 can (14 oz) tomato puree
2 cups water
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, rinsed & drained [I substituted Great Northern beans]
1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, rinsed & drained
1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
garnishes [sour cream, green onion, shredded cheese, etc.]
(1) In a large pot, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy.  Set aside to drain on paper towel; leave several tablespoons of grease in pot.
(2) Add onion to pot; cook over medium-high heat until soft, about 4 minutes.
(3) Add cranberries to pot; cook 2-3 minutes.
(4) Add tomato puree, water, beans, spices, and cooked bacon to the pot.  Simmer on medium-low heat for at least 20 minutes.
(5) If desired, use an immersion blender (or regular blender) to lightly puree chili to reach desired thickness.
(6) Serve hot with garnishes.
Kid Participation: Add heaping helpings of cheese and sour cream; enjoy.


Sweet Fried Plantains

Original Recipe HERE
I grew to love plantains while living in South Florida.  There were several amazing Cuban restaurants in our town, and fried plantains were served with almost every meal.  No complaints here.
I've found recipes that talk about serving them with salt, or garlic, or other non-sweet accompaniments.  But I can't give up my sweet versions.  While they can just be fried in a little butter or oil and are wonderful as-is, I wanted more butter! more sugar! more flavor! more fat! 
I served these with dinner because they are fruit - which was a stretch because they really classified as dessert.  They would be awesome with some vanilla ice cream.  The melt-in-your-mouth plantains with the slightly crispy outside and sweet butter sauce were to die for.  I may or may not have literally licked my plate afterward.
3 ripe (almost black) plantains
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
(1) Peel plantains.  Slice in half lengthwise; slice in half widthwise (so you have four equal sized pieces).
(2) Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add plantain slices in an even layer
(3) Allow plantains to saute until dark golden.  Flip.  Repeat saute.
(4) When plantains have become golden and slightly crispy on each side, remove from heat.
(5) Add remaining tablespoon butter to pan along with cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar. Scrape bottom of pan to remove any plantain bits.  Stir sauce; remove from heat when sugar is dissolved.
(7) Serve plantains with sauce drizzled over top. 
Kid Participation: None, besides gobbling them up.

Lighter Alfredo Sauce

Original Recipe HERE
No, please keep reading.  "Lighter" and "alfredo" can go hand-in-hand, it seems.  I was shocked, too.

The nasty sludge in a jar keeps me from eating alfredo often, but I love me some awesome alfredo, pasta, and vegetables.  Bonus points if some bacon is thrown in.  So I was excited to have success with this recipe, and I've made it many times.  It makes more than enough to feed dinner to our family of five, and we have leftovers.  Also, the recipe is easy to cut in half, so...yay for portion control.  Because I would probably eat an entire saucepot of this on my own.
I keep meaning to add some tomato paste or other such product to see if I can achieve a slight cheesy vodka sauce result.  Also, the alfredo will thicken in the fridge, so adding milk and/or reheating it slowly (stovetop or mixed into an oven meal) will give the best next-day results.
2 cups low-fat milk [I use skim]
1/3 cups (3 oz) low-fat cream cheese
2 to 3 Tablespoons white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter
2 to 3 garlic cloves
1 cups grated Parmesan cheese
(1) Put milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender (I used the Magic Bullet); blend until smooth.
(2) In medium saucepan on medium-high heat, melt butter.  Add garlic; saute about one minute or until slightly golden brown (do not allow to burn).
(3) Add blender mixture to pan.  Stir frequently, 3 to 4 minutes, or until it just begins to simmer.
(4) Cook several more minutes, stirring often, until thickened.  Be sure none is sticking to bottom of pan.
(5) Remove pan from heat.  Add Parmesan; stir.  Cover pot immediately; let stand at least 10 minutes to continue to thicken.  Add additional seasoning if desired.
Kid Participation: None.


Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup

Original Recipe HERE
I'm not normally a fan of tomato soup.  I didn't grow up on it, either fresh or Campbell's, so I never developed an appreciation for it.  Most of the ones I've tried are too tomato-y, tasting either like fresh tomatoes were used (and they really need to have been cooked instead) or overly salted/seasoned to make up for a too-weak tomato flavor.  So I gave this one a shot with low expectations, especially since I wasn't sure how disintegrating bread into it could really turn out well.

But it really was tasty.  Everyone except *J* had seconds of it, though *P* grew more and more unsure with each passing bite (and since the kid is a Human Garbage Disposal, I thought that if for once he was rejecting a food, I'd respect it).  I made roasted garlic butter and served it with sourdough on the side.  Next time I'll go with the classic grilled cheese to ensure all members of the family eat a heartier meal.  And though I didn't add any additional salt, this was almost too salty for my taste.  I'm assuming that, by process of elimination, that's due to the type of tomato used.  Everyone raves about San Marzano, but I'll try some lowly Hunt's to compare.
I plan to freeze a small portion of this to see how well it can be saved.
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil [I used grape seed]
1 medium onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice, undrained [I used San Marzano]
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
3 large slices dense white bread [I used sourdough]
2 cups broth [I used vegetable]
¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
(1) In large pot, heat olive oil medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
(2) Add tomatoes and their juice. Using a potato masher, break them down into smaller pieces.
(3) Stir in sugar and bread; bring soup to a boil.
(4) Reduce heat to medium.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
(5) Turn off heat.  Add butter.  Once melted, puree soup with immersion blender or traditional blender.  Soup can be strained through fine-mesh strainer if perfectly smooth consistency is desired(6) Stir broth into soup; return soup to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat. Stir in the basil before serving.
Kid Participation: None.


Slow Cooker Honey-Sauced Chicken

Original Recipe HERE
This is a pretty standard teriyaki-like chicken dish, but I'll never pass up a throw-everything-in-the-slow cooker-and-voila! recipe.  Everyone happily ate this.
I served it over brown rice with roasted cauliflower on the side, but next time I'll roast broccoli or asparagus instead and toss everything together for serving.
3 to 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup chopped onion or 1/16 cup onion flakes)  [I used flakes]
1/8 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoons vegetable oil [I used grape seed]
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
(1) Put chicken in slow cooker.
(2) Whisk together all other ingredients.  Pour over chicken, flipping chicken once to coat.
(3) Cook on low for 3 hours or high for 1.5 hours.
(4) Cut, shred, or dice chicken.  Return to slow cooker; toss with sauce.
Kid Participation: None.


Santa Fe Casserole

Original Recipe HERE
This was a tasty casserole that was (1) easy to assemble, and (2) light enough that it didn't leave me feeling like I had a rock in my stomach afterward.

More vegetables could be added to bulk it up and add nutrition.  And I feel like it was missing a little something to make it extra special.  Next time I'll throw some salsa into the mix, a little garlic powder, and something like precooked sausage.
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
2 to 3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1 can (15 oz) beans of choice, rinsed & drained [I used pinto]
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped fine
3/4 cup milk
1-1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.
(2) In small skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic; saute until tender.
(3) In  large mixing bowl, whisk eggs.  Add salt, chili powder, pepper, beans, bell pepper, milk, rice, and cheese; mix well.
(4) Pour mixture into casserole dish.
(5) Bake 25 minutes or until center is firm.  Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Kid Participation:
* Stir all ingredients together
* Pick out red bell pepper AGAIN...someday I will get them to eat it!

Baked Oatmeal with Craisins

Original Recipe HERE
This meal does not need to include craisins, but since I have several baked oatmeal recipes in rotation, so shall it be dubbed.
The only thing I would change for next time, besides the slight adjustments I already made, is to cut down the brown sugar.  It was too sweet to be served for breakfast or brinner; it actually would've been good along with some yogurt, whipped cream, or even vanilla ice cream.  The amount listed below is the (assumed) proper amount.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, etc., would surely work in the dish, too.
Also, I realized after the fact that I used baking soda instead of baking powder.  It turned out fine.
2 cups uncooked oats [I used old-fashioned]
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 to 1 cup craisins [or dried fruit of choice]
1 Tablespoon chopped nuts [optional]
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-½ cups milk [I used skim]
½ cup applesauce
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten
(1) Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.  Grease a 2-quart casserole dish or 8x8" baking dish.
(2) In large mixing bowl, combine oats, sugar, fruit, nuts, and baking powder.
(3) In separate bowl, whisk egg.  Add milk, applesauce, and butter.
(4) Add milk mixture to oat mixture; stir well.
(5) Pour batter into dish.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until center is set and edges are slightly browned. Serve warm.
Kid Participation:
* Mix dry ingredients
* Mix wet ingredients
* Spread batter in dish


Mexican-Style Brown Rice Casserole

Original Recipe: Weight Watchers (but tweaked)

This is an easy throw-together dish since I always have all the ingredients on hand. And if I don't, it's still forgiving and substitutions are easy.

The family all ate their servings of this dish (except *J*'s share of spinach). We just dug in with normal utensils, but this could also be served dip-style (scooped with chips) or perhaps even as filling for burritos or tacos.

4 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup salsa
1 teaspoon cumin [optional]
1 teaspoon garlic powder [optional]
2 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened [optional]
1 (15 oz) can refried beans [I used vegetarian, fat-free]
1 (10 oz) package frozen corn [I used 16 oz Trader Joe's roasted corn], thawed
1 (4 oz) can diced green chili peppers
1 Tablespoon chili powder [or to taste]
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed & well drained
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

(1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart or 9x13" baking dish.
(2) In medium bowl, combine rice, salsa, cumin, garlic powder, and cream cheese. Evenly spread half of mixture on bottom of baking dish.
(3) In another bowl, combine beans, corn, peppers, and chili powder. Evenly spread over rice in dish.
(4) Layer spinach over bean mixture.
(5) Sprinkle cheese over spinach.
(6) Evenly spread remaining rice mixture on top.
(7) Cover; bake 20-30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Kid Participation:
* Combine various mixtures
* Spread mixtures (perhaps not so evenly)
* Sprinkle cheese

Coconut Zucchini Banana Bread

Original Recipe HERE

I had two bananas that Husband wanted to throw out because he can't stand the smell of bananas that are even slightly past ripe...it's some sort of sixth sense he has.  I also had grabbed several zucchinis last time I was at the grocery store, but I wasn't feeling inspired.  I decided to combine them into muffins that were healthier than what I'd normally gravitate toward.  The Weight Watchers Points Tracker says they are 5 points each, though.  Eh, still healthier.  Especially since I patted myself on the back for leaving out the chocolate.

I made 12 muffins and one small (aka, flat-ish) loaf of bread, so I estimate this would make 20 muffins.  The kids really liked them.  Next time I'll cut down on the coconut (I used one cup).  They were a little too sweet to be the breakfast-y muffins I was aiming for, but eliminating the coconut entirely might make them too bland.  Oh dear, Husband is going to have to suffer through another round of stinky browning bananas for the sake of tweaking this recipe...

3 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil [I used coconut oil]
2 medium bananas, well mashed
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 to 4 cups grated zucchini [I used 3 medium]
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 to 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 to 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 to 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin tin or bread pan.
(2) If using coconut oil, melt to liquid form using a double boiler.
(3) In large mixing bowl, whisk eggs. Add oil, banana, vanilla, zucchini, and sugars. Let set several minutes until sugar is partially dissolved.
(4) In separate mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut.
(5) Add dry ingredients to wet mixture. Stir until just combined.
(6) Transfer batter to baking tins. Bake 20-25 minutes for 12 muffins and approximately an hour for a full loaf. Test for doneness by inserting a knife in center; bread is done when it comes out clean.
(7) Remove from oven. Run knife along edges to loosen. Leave in tins 10 minutes; remove to rack to cool completely.

Kid Participation:
* Mash bananas by hand
* Whisk wet ingredients
* Whisk dry ingredients
* Stir all ingredients together


Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Chicken Bake

Inspired By THIS
My kids don't like spaghetti squash (which isn't stopping me from serving it, repeatedly and in a variety of forms, in the hopes I can convert them).  I even found out, as Husband and I were cleaning up after dinner, that he's "not a huge fan" of spaghetti squash.  Gee, everyone...sorry I served this.  But wait!  They all ate some!  And upon further pressing Husband, he said it was actually good because he didn't notice the squash much.  So...hmm.  Make again?  I think I will, because I liked it, it was easy, and it was filling.  Next time I'll serve more side dishes with it so that family members can enjoy a smaller portion of the main dish without reaching their spaghetti squash saturation point.  I'd think this would be a good make-ahead dish and also work well for sharing.
This filled a 9x13" baking dish with two servings left over for the next day's lunch.  Next time I'll add some chopped onion and green pepper to provide another layer of taste and texture.  Which will just ensure that my kids pick out the vegetable-y additions, negating their usage to everyone but me.
2 medium ripe spaghetti squash, cooked and cooled
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
olive oil
1 to 2 oz cream cheese, softened [I used reduced-fat]
salt and fresh pepper, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 cups tomato sauce, divided [I used Classico]
1 to 2 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese, divided
(1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
(2) Remove all spaghetti squash strands from skin; place in large mixing bowl.  Break it up with forks.
(3) In medium skillet, saute onion and green pepper in a small amount of olive oil until softened.  Toss with squash.
(4) Add cream cheese to squash; mix until well combined.
(5) Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano to squash mixture; stir thoroughly.
(6) Spread squash mixture evenly in a 9x13" baking dish.  Sprinkle with half of shredded cheese.
(7) Spread one cup of tomato sauce over mixture.
(8) Evenly distribute chicken over sauce.  Top with remaining sauce and cheese.
(9) Cover dish with foil.  Bake approximately 15 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.  Remove foil and bake an additional several minutes.
Kid Participation: None, though *J* did have fun helping me scoop out the seeds from the raw squashes earlier in the day.  He said it reminded him of carving pumpkins at Halloween.

Banana Waffles

Original Recipe HERE
One of my many breakfast-for-dinner staples.  I especially like it because it doesn't require buttermilk.  Yes, I know I can make buttermilk on my own.  But it seems like I'm always running low on regular milk, and I don't like to sacrifice it for a recipe.  Also, the bananas give a subtle sweetness (especially if the ones used are at the just-past-ripe stage) and banana flavor without being overpowering.  I can eat these with a little butter spread on top and sans maple syrup because they have a distinctive enough taste on their own.  Kids love them, and I double the recipe to make enough for them to have breakfast the next day.  I get twelve regular waffles (three large waffles divided into four sub-waffles) out of a doubled recipe, so using the original amounts wouldn't give us nearly enough food.  The amounts listed below are the doubled ones.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-1/2 cups milk
large eggs
2 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas, thoroughly mashed [but not smooth]
(1) Preheat waffle iron.
(2) In medium mixing bowl, sift or whisk together flours, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.
(3) In large mixing bowl, whisk eggs.  Add milk, honey, vanilla, and bananas.  Combine thoroughly.
(4) Add dry ingredients to wet in several increments; stir until just combined.  Batter can be lumpy and should not be smooth.
(5) Ladle batter onto waffle iron and cook according to iron's directions.
Kid Participation:
* Mash bananas
* Whisk dry ingredients