Sunday, July 14, 2013

Disney Dining: Harbour Galley

When you're on vacation, especially spending the day at a theme park, it's always nice to find some food that isn't deep fried in vats of grease and doesn't make you regret eating it. That's why I think it's so cool that Harbour Galley in Critter Country serves soups, salads, and baked potatoes. yum!

Dinner Menu: 
Baked Potato Bar
Fruit: cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple

Baked Potato Bar is always a hit. In fact, this is my go-to meal when I'm serving big groups for family events. All of the prep work can be done ahead of time. All you have to do for dinner is set everything out and dig in! For the perfect baked potatoes, the secret is simple... just cook them long enough! I buy the giant baking potatoes, wash, poke with a fork, wrap in foil, and bake at 375 for 2 hours. "Regular-size" potatoes need to bake for an hour. That's it! Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy the extra free time.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Disney Dining: Royal Street Veranda

Have you ever eaten at Royal Street Veranda in New Orleans Square? They serve soups in sourdough bread bowls. I'm a bread-aholic but I'm not a fan of sourdough, so sourdough bread bowls seem like a cruel trick and I never eat there, but my husband loves the clam chowder. It's not exactly soup weather in July, but it did rain and cool off a bit today, so we tried a new soup recipe and loved it. It's even healthy-ish!

Dinner Menu:
Lasagna Soup
Toasted French bread or whole wheat toast (recipe here)

Lasagna Soup 
2 tsp olive oil
1 lb Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
32 oz chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
4 oz broken whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4-6 noodles)
1/2 c chopped fresh basil
3 Tb grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the flavors to blend. Add the noodle pieces, turn up the heat, and bring it to a boil again. Then reduce the heat again and let it simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens a bit and the noodles are tender. It takes about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and fresh basil. Serve with bread. yum

This was a HUGE hit. It is absolutely delicious, filling, and even healthy! We didn't have a lot leftover, but I did get to have some for lunch the next day and added some of the leftover cheesy squash to my bowl, and I think it was even better! We will definitely be having this again.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Disney Dining: French Market Restaurant

I'm back! It's only been a few years... I just remembered how much I love blogging and decided to get back to it.

We're having a great "Hometown Disneyland" summer vacation and having a blast. Every week we choose a land or two that we want to play in. We plan an activity to represent each ride and plan our menu around the restaurants and food we would find there. This week we're playing in Adventureland and New Orleans Square. Being from Arizona, I could eat Mexican food all day every day, but I'm not very familiar with New Orleans-style cooking, so I went searching for new recipes to try. The sensitive palates of my sweet family members are not big fans of spicy food, so cajun doesn't seem like such a great idea. I guess we'll see how this goes...

Dinner Menu:
Easy Louisiana Red Beans & Rice (recipe here)
Cheesy Squash
Fruit - sliced cantaloupe

Today we're at the French Market Restaurant in New Orleans Square trying a recipe for a healthy version of red beans & rice I found on Teaspoon of Spice. I followed the recipe exactly as written minus at least half of the cajun seasoning. We had to add a bunch of chicken broth near the end of the cooking time because all of the moisture had complete reduced out of the "sauce" and I knew we would need more liquid with the brown rice. Everyone dutifully ate their portion, but no one really liked it. It was filling and not gross, but it wasn't delicious either. We won't be adding this to the family favorite recipe book.

Our cheesy squash is really simple, but we all love it. I slice zucchini and yellow summer squash and steam it until it's tender. When I take it off the heat, I mix in a bit of butter (less than 1 Tb) and some salt & pepper. Then it's time to spread it in the serving dish. I sprinkle grated cheese over the top (usually sharp cheddar, but you can use whatever you like) and cover with foil to melt the cheese. It ends up looking a lot like this photo from Taste of Home minus the toasty brown spots because I don't broil mine. It's tasty and delicious and even my little ones love it. You can also add onions for even more flavor.