When I was a senior in high school, I went to my prom. This was kind of a big deal since I had never been to a dance or many school functions. My mom made my dress, which was pretty but still homemade. During the prom, there was a part of the program where the “In 10 Years, Most Likely…” type awards were given. I remember coming home from prom upset because I had received the “Most Content Housewife” award. In ten years, my classmates predicted that I would be the most content housewife. I remember telling my mom that I was embarrassed and that, even if I did want to be a housewife, I didn’t want anyone to know that. I had plans to be a teacher and a wife, after college. Being a housewife (or wearing homemade clothes) wasn’t exactly popular in the 80’s.
So, in ten years, I was a content wife who was teaching school. Now, after twenty-eight years…I am that content housewife. I did teach school for several years after completing college, and my husband and I have had the opportunity to live in some great places (England, Massachusetts, Texas). With Darren’s corporate job with long hours and quite a bit of travel, I’m so grateful that I’m able to stay at home to be that “content housewife”. It’s not always easy, and I do get tired and grumpy; but we believe this is where God has us right now.
Part of being that “housewife” means cooking for my family. I enjoy cooking, and I really enjoy baking. What I don’t enjoy is figuring out what’s for dinner every night. My family isn’t picky, and no one has allergies. It’s just hard at times to figure out how to make good dinners without being too repetitive. Since I do enjoy being in the kitchen, I also enjoy sharing recipes that work for us. I use family favorites from my mom, aunts, and grandmothers, cousins, and friends. I use several old church cookbooks. I also use a lot of recipes from The Pioneer Woman. I feel like she uses normal, everyday type ingredients; and they’re all easy to do and practical. Those recipe videos on Facebook also hook me every time, and I’ve found some great go-to meals there.
There are plenty of food blogs out there, and Pinterest and Google help us find any type of recipe we could imagine. However, I thought I’d share some of our favorite recipes and meals to give ideas or encouragement in the kitchen. (Also, since my kids are getting closer to leaving home, I thought I’d start writing out some of my recipes with detailed instructions for them for when they do move out.)
One of our family favorites is beef and rice casserole. The original recipe was one that my dear friend Tammie Ward gave me when I was young and single and trying to learn to cook. I’ve tweaked it over the years some, but it’s basically the same. It’s an easy meal with a Tex-Mex flair that fills up hungry teenagers, which is always a good thing!
Start by browning ground beef. (This is actually ground beef and venison since Landry just shot his first deer a couple of weeks ago.) If there’s a lot of fat, drain it.
Add chopped onions, bell peppers, garlic, celery, and even a few baby carrots.
Cook until the onions are tender. Add seasonings – salt, pepper, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce.
Add a can of diced tomatoes, a can of green chilis, and a can of drained beans (I used ranch style beans but black beans would be good, too).
Add a cup (or so) of rice and water (double the amount of rice). Bring to a boil. Cover.
Let mixture cook about 20 minutes, until the rice is done.
Put mixture into casserole dish, covering it with grated cheese. (I love my Kitchen-Aid mixer and grater attachment!) I used a variety including Colby, cheddar, and pepper jack.
Bake in 350* oven for about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Our family enjoys eating this with chips, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro. It’s pretty versatile; Kathryn and her friends like to eat it on nachos. When we’re feeling a little healthier, we have a salad with the casserole.
(I’ll be happy to pass on a more exact recipe if requested.)