Buttermilk Cheddar Dill Biscuits

Original Recipe HERE
I was interested in these biscuits because of their use of cake flour.  I thought they'd be lighter and fluffier than the average cheese-incorporating biscuit.  I don't know how much of a difference it truly made, but they weren't dense or dry, so I'd use it again.  This recipe made 8.5 biscuits.
I eyeballed the amount of grated cheese and dried dill.  Next time I might add a little garlic powder, or at least some more salt.  But they were fine as-is, and everyone in the family had two.
A note of caution: I know that parchment paper isn't supposed to go in a 500 degree oven, but I thought that for such a short cooking time, it might be OK.  It wasn't...I started to smell a burning odor within two minutes, and the edges of the paper were already pretty browned.  I took the biscuits off and transferred them to another baking sheet (not lined or greased), and all was fine after that.  The biscuits were easy to lift off the pan when done.
1 & 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cups butter (1/2 stick), grated
2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons dried dill
(1) If possible, put butter in the freezer ahead of time to make grating easier.
(2) Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
(3) In a large bowl or using a stand mixer, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
(4) Add butter; work with fingers or paddle attachment until it resembles coarse crumbs (mine never looked quite right).
(5) Add cheese; mix.
(6) Add buttermilk and dill; mix until dough forms a ball.
(7) Use paddle attachment to knead dough, or knead several times on a floured surface.
(8) Pat dough until about 3/4" thickness.
(9) Cut biscuts with a cookie cutter (mine was about 2" diameter).  Place on baking sheet.
(10) Bake until golden brown, 8-10 minutes.
Kid Participation:
* Measure dry ingredients
* Grate cheese (to the point where bigger hands need to take over lest blood be drawn)
* Work mixer
* Pat dough
* Cut biscuits

Creamy Tomato Soup

Original Recipe HERE
I took a chance on this recipe, skeptical that my kids would like it - just because most kids don't like tomato soup (despite what Campbell's may try to tell you).  While it was cooking, I told myself that I was going to have a lot of soup to eat for lunches.  However, upon first taste, all three kids declared it delicious and had two or three servings (do I count the one that *J* accidentally dumped over and splattered all over the floor, chair legs, chair pad, cat food, door mat, and himself?).  There was barely enough left over for a meal the next day.
The taste reminded me of pasta sauce, so it wasn't the weak tomato soup that I was expecting.  The potent flavor was probably what made the kids like it so much.
This soup was a home run tonight...which probably means that when I make it again, they're going to say they don't like it.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
3 cans (15 oz each) diced or crushed tomatoes
2 cups broth [I used vegetable]
1/2 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons dried basil
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or light sour cream [I used sour cream]
(1) In a 4-quart pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
(2) Add garlic; cook another minute until very lightly browned.
(3) Add bay leaves, tomatoes, broth, brown sugar, and basil.  Stir well.
(4) Season with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste.
(5) Simmer on low heat approximately 15 minutes.
(6) Remove bay leaves.  Use immersion blender (or standing blender) to puree soup.
(7) Add yogurt or sour cream; stir until well combined.
Kid Participation: Shock me with an insatiable appetite for it.


Korean Beef

Original Recipe found in my mom's recipe collection
This is a meal from my childhood that is pretty common.  It tastes just as I remember it, and my kids gobbled it up just as my brother and I did.  This time I served it over barley and with broccoli, though my mom usually used asparagus.
The sugar amount can be reduced, depending on personal preference on how sweet versus salty you like your Asian-inspired food.
It can be made two ways: as listed below, or just dumping the beef and liquid into the pan and allowing it to all cook together.  It can be hard for me to keep track of the color of the beef when it's cooking in the liquid, so I prefer to separate the two.  Except on nights when I feel lazy and remind myself that meat can be medium-well and perfectly safe to eat.
1 lb piece of beef
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce [I used low sodium]
3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
4 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
3 Tablespoons sesame oil
(1) Slice beef very thin (less than 1/4").  Put into a large mixing bowl.
(2) Sprinkle sugar over beef.  Toss to coat.  Allow to sit 20-30 minutes.
(3) Add all other ingredients.  Toss to coat.  Allow to sit an additional 20-30 minutes.
(4) Heat a large wok or pan on medium heat.  Use slotted spoon to remove beef from liquid; add to pan.
(5) Cook beef in several batches (if necessary to avoid crowding), tossing and moving it so no sides burn.  Adjust heat as needed.
(6) Remove beef from pan.  If desired, pour liquid into pan and allow to briefly bubble and slightly reduce.
(7) Serve beef and liquid over rice.
Kid Participation: None, except giving me deja vu.

Spicy Pasta Salad

Original Recipe in Taste of Home's Contest Winning Annual Recipes 2004
This was more filling than the average pasta salad due to using filled pasta.  I used tortellini because I figured its nooks and crannies would hold the sauce better.
Despite using no spices, mild ingredients, and drained Rotel, *J* still found it too hot.  It did have a little bite to it, so I assume that canned petite diced tomatoes could be substituted for the Rotel.
While this was all we needed to eat for dinner, it could be made heartier with additional vegetables like chopped peppers and sliced olives.
2 packages (16 oz each) frozen cheese ravioli or tortellini
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes & green chilis, undrained [I used mild Rotel]
2 cups corn
1 cup taco sauce [I used mild]
1 cucumber
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 garlic clove, pressed
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cumin [optional; I did not use]
shredded cheese [optional]
sour cream [optional]
(1) Cook pasta according to package directions.  Allow to cool to room temperature or refrigerate.
(2) Peel cucumber.  Cut into quarters, length-wise.  Slice into bite-size pieces (not too small; you want to keep some crunch).
(3) In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine all ingredients.  Cover and, ideally, refrigerate at least two hours (I served before that).
(4) Serve with any desired toppings.
Kid Participation: Stir everything together.