I'd love to say that I was able to sit and analyze all the answers and write up a workable plan for helping all of you out........but that would be a lie!
I have had a few moments here and there to think about what you all are looking for, though.
Most of you who responded are in need of main dishes and breakfast ideas followed by side dishes.
Many of you love Mexican food, and most of you like Italian, too!
Most of you like to try new things, but not too often.
With that in mind, I've got a delicious two-for-one today....
Lasagna Soup and No-Fail Pizza-Hut-Style Breadsticks!
The reason I'm putting these two together, is that in our house, they are inseparable!
Even if you are not big soup eaters at your house, or you are afraid this won't fill those with big appetites, just try it!
You won't be disappointed!
2 tsp. olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
6 c. chicken broth
2 bay leaves
8 oz. fusilli (twirly) pasta
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil OR 1 Tbsp. dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the sausage and saute, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes (If you don't have bulk sausage, cut link or patties into pieces and continue as directed).
Drain any excess fat from the pot.
Add the onions and saute until softened, about 6 minutes.
Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and saute for 1 minute.
Add the tomato paste and saute until the paste turns a rusty brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broth, and the bay leaves and bring the soup to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Add the pasta, then increase the heat to medium-high and boil the soup until the pasta is tender to the bite, following the time recommendations on the pasta package.
Discard the bay leaves, then stir in the basil.
If desired, season with salt and black pepper to taste.
When ready to serve, place (optional) cheese in bottom of each bowl and ladle soup on top.
Makes about 13 cups.
No-Fail Pizza-Hut-Style Bread Sticks
1 1/2 c. hot water OR 1 1/2 c. warm milk
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. powdered milk (if using milk, skip this ingredient)
1 Tbsp. yeast
3 c. flour
1/3 c. melted butter
Dissolve sugar, salt, and dry milk in hot water.
Dissolve sugar and salt in warm milk.
Add 1 cup of the flour to make a soupy mixture.
When mixture is no longer hot, but still warm, add the yeast and stir well (I usually just put my bowl in the freezer for a few minutes).
Add the remaining 2 cups of flour.
Dough should be moderately stiff.
Knead the dough until smooth.
Spread half of butter onto the baking sheet, then place dough into the pan.
Roll dough (or form with hands) into a rectangular shape the size of your baking sheet.
Brush the breadsticks with garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, seasoning salt, or whatever you prefer.
Cut the dough into breadsticks and let raise for 10-15 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes (depending on your oven!).
Enjoy hot out of the oven with your soup!