Fun Monday: Raising 5, Feeding 5

Fun Monday for today, hosted by Mariposa, asks us two questions: Where did the name of our blog come from, and what is our favorite or most common dish.

OK, so the name of my blog comes from the fact that I am raising five children. There, wasn't that fascinating? Well, I guess there is a teensy bit more. When I first started blogging (not that long ago, just this past September), I was feeling like I stumbled on this amazing world of blogs and every where I turned, I was suddenly noticing blogs. So I started blogging with the name "Here a Blog, There a Blog, Everywhere a Blog, Blog." Kind of long, kind of obvious. I didn't really like it.

Then one night my husband, who has given me lots of good ideas for this blog, suggested the name "And I'll Raise You 5." I immediately liked it and changed it. Since lots of what I write about, and most of what I think about, and most of how I spend my time is related to those five little gems, it seemed fitting that the Blog Name should reflect them somehow.

And I will admit that there can be an ever-so-slight edge, a slight sassiness to the name. We have heard more than our share of comments - some polite, some impolite, some curious, some nosy, some inappropriate, some well-meaning but intrusive anyway -- about the fact that we have five kids. We would never in a million years say to someone we didn't know well: "So, why did you decide to have just one child? That's amazing!" And while I am aware that five children are rare and that it is amazing to some people, I have experienced some weariness as a result of having to listen to people's full range of reactions to my large, young, beautiful family.

And I had a great picture of all five of them -- that I cannot find anywhere. Argh.

* * *

As for what my favorite dish is...or what my family loves. That's a tough one, because, as I've posted before, my family is hard to feed and I usually feel like I'm not doing such a good job at it. We don't have a dish that we all love. Someone is always complaining about whatever I prepare; fun for me, eh?

So I'll answer for me. My latest favorite is something I call taco casserole. It is YUMMY. I first came to know it after Tallulah was born, and a friend brought dinner over for us. It was this delicious casserole, and I've made it several times since. The first time I had it, it was made with ground beef, but because of health issues in this household, I usually make it with ground turkey.

This recipe calls for browning your meat in taco seasoning. Again, because of health concerns, I can't use the taco seasoning you can buy in a packet. WAY too much sodium for my husband, whose blood pressure is high. We are constantly watching the sodium intake around here. So I found a GREAT taco seasoning recipe on America's Test Kitchen website. Here's what you do:

• Meat seasoned for tacos (see ingredients and instructions below)
• pasta
• corn (canned or frozen and thawed)
• black beans (canned)
• tomatoes (canned or fresh)
• Shredded cheese

Don't ask me for quantities -- use about one can's worth of each...

First, make your taco meat:

Beef Filling
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or corn oil
1 small onion , chopped small (about 2/3 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
table salt
1 pound 90% lean ground beef (or leaner)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons vinegar (preferably cider vinegar)
Ground black pepper

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, spices, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground beef and cook, breaking meat up with wooden spoon and scraping pan bottom to prevent scorching, until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar, and vinegar; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently and breaking meat up so that no chunks remain, until liquid has reduced and thickened (mixture should not be completely dry), about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Next, while the meat is cooking, make pasta; I usually do elbows. They are about the right size and shape for this dish.

Once the meat is ready, and the pasta is cooked, combine seasoned meat, pasta, black beans, corn, and tomatoes in a casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese. Bake in an oven at around 350ยบ until the cheese melts.

I don't know what it is about this dish -- I think it's the apple cider vinegar and the brown sugar, plus all the yummy seasoning -- but this is truly comfort food for me. I'm sure part of it has to do with a truism I learned from my husband: Food really does taste better when someone else cooks it. I first had this dish cooked by someone else, and it just hooked me.

My picky children won't eat it, past the taste I make them have of each dinner I serve. And when I cook this dish, I don't mind so much, because it means there will be more leftovers for me.

Happy Fun Monday to all!


Sandy said…
That recipe sounds VERY good! I may make it tonight as the wind is howling 'round my door today.

I like the name of your blog much better than your first one!
ChrisB said…
I think you have chosen a really great name for your blog.

I always think food cooked by someone else is so much better than anything I cook!
Faye said…
I see what you mean about the sauciness of your blog title--it's my life, what do you want to make of it! You go!

I'm coming back to this recipe--love the idea of lots of leftovers.
Great blog name. FIVE!! You have my admiration. Your recipe does sound like comfort food. I have discovered how vinegar really enhances things. I use it in my pie crust now (just a small amount) and it gives the crust such a good taste! Your recipe is a copy and paste, for sure.
Michelle said…
That taco casserole sounds yummy!! I just may have to make it!!

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