Dessert, in advance: Buy a graham cracker crust, a giant Hershey bar (or my favorite, a Symphony Bar) and a large tub of whIpped topping (thaw this). Shave a few chocolate curls off the candy bar with a potato peeler or grater for decoration. Then melt the rest in the microwave. Stir the melted chocolate (slightly cooled) into 2/3 of the THAWED tub of whipping topping and spread into the crust. Top with the plain whipped topping to the edges of the crust, and wiggle your spatula on the topping to make fancy designs, sprinkle with the chocolate curls, and pop into the freezer. When you want to use it, just pull it out of the freezer when your meal is served and it will be just right by dessert time. I try to keep one of these on hand, it’s great for drop-by company (which we seem to have more and more of, I wonder if this is why??!!)
For the weekend, I purchased a spiral cut ham, and baked it the first day we had guests, with a large hash brown casserole (you know, like scalloped potatoes–sour cream, onions, cream of chicken soup, grated cheese, frozen hash browns, butter, and topped with corn flakes if you want). With it I served a tossed salad. When we sat down to eat, I pulled the Hershey Bar pie out, and it was partially thawed and delicious by dessert time; everyone raves over it, I try not to tell them how EASY it is.
The next morning, breakfast was practically provided–I just gently warmed the ham in one skillet while I scooped small spoonfuls of the casserole into another hot skillet with a bit of oil, flattening them into round cakes with a spatula. They warmed and bubbled and toasted, the cheese turing a beautiful golden brown. I flipped them once, and served when golden on both sides. Add toast of some kind, a bowl of fresh pineapple, and you have a distinctly different breakfast, and a great meal. (I had left over slices of french bread, so I buttered them and heated them in the skillet with the ham–great touch of “hammy” flavor).
Lunch was ham sandwiches with (oops, another secret revealed) purchased potato salad, carrot sticks with Ranch, and celery sticks topped with peanut butter.
Snack time was a loaf of banana bread that I pulled out of the freezer…and offered cream cheese as a spread.
We made pizzas the second night, I opened 2 cans of crescent rolls and laid them out in one piece on a half-sheet cookie sheet (11 x 16 inches) as a crust. You have to go slow and keep pushing and stretching, but it ends up filling up the pan, making a great thinnish crust. We spread this with a scant bit of tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce, and whatever spices seem right–garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika if you like heat, oregano. Then do like the pizza places do: add the cheese NEXT, and the veggie and meat toppings last. (and my pizza has been known to include chopped pecans and coconut, it really gives it a twist). These bake quickly, and are just perfect, as you make them exactly like you want them to be. (The pie is great following pizza, if there’s any left).
Another easy and refreshing pie is a 12 oz. can of thawed pineapple juice, a can of Eagle Brand mixed together, then folded into whipped topping, and poured into a cookie or graham cracker crust and frozen. I’ve made this one with strawberry daiquiri mix, pina colada mix, orange juice, or any flavor you want to try.
The other dish we had was a “homemade” chicken pot pie, another of my favorite “cheaters.” 2 cans of chicken, not drained, mixed with a package of frozen veggies and a can of cream of chicken–or for a great switch, GOLDEN mushroom soup. Dump all this into a glass or metal pie pan and top with a purchased pie crust, cut a few cute little holes in the crust to vent, brush the crust with milk or egg white if you want to, and bake for 30-55 minutes or so, (you have to eyeball it) till the crust is done and looks like you worked SO hard……..serve with cole slaw (you can buy this one, too) and for dessert: slice a roll of chocolate cookie dough and bake in LARGE cookies, then drop a hot almost-done cookie onto a dessert plate and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Not fancy food, but I never have any complaints!!
Nap time. This cook is done.