Real World Food: Pinterest Pretty vs. Quick, Cheap Dinners

Welcome  I’m learning a lot as I continue on my blogging journey.  One of the things I’m learning is what draws people to my website when it comes to recipes and food.  It’s not what I thought a year ago, I can tell you that!  What I have I learned?  “Real food” is where it’s at!

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Food For Thought  When I started my faith and food blog a little over a year ago, I thought I needed over the top desserts and fancy restaurant-style meals to draw people’s attention and drive traffic to my site.  Interestingly enough, fancy layer cakes and gourmet dinners don’t bring the visitors.  It’s simple, homey meals anyone can make any night of the week, usually on a budget.

I find this not just surprising, but refreshing.  In a world of excess and decadence, most families just want some simple comfort food.  Most home cooks want recipes that use ingredients they already have on hand, or at the very least available in any average supermarket.  We all are looking for ways to feed our families on a budget, with nutritional balance, for the most part.  When I post our family’s nightly dinners to social media, I get requests for the recipes right then!

My surprise probably comes from the whole “Pinterest Pretty” craze we all seem to be into these days.  I love looking at all those perfectly decorated cakes and cookies.  I admire the pies with impeccably trimmed crusts without a trace of a burnt edge.  I know food photography is a huge factor in getting pins, likes, follows, and clicks.  I’m working on that because I have a lot to learn in that area still!  What I have discovered though, is real home cooks don’t just want something that looks pretty.  We usually want something simple, fast, family-friendly, and fits into the budget.  So before we click, we ask ourselves, “Is this real world food, or just pretty to look at?”  In other words, am I actually going to make this recipe?

When it comes to the recipes people click on to actually make and prepare from my website, it’s homey dinners like Million Dollar Chicken Spaghetti Bake or Cowboy Pasta.  Or a healthy twist on a summer favorite like Glazed Salmon with Strawberry Salsa and Classic Chicken Salad.  So this is where my food focus needs to be, most of the time.  I say “most” because my love for baking is still going to end up on the blog in the form of some sort of cake or cookie or trifle. Most of us like dessert, too, am I right?

So I hope you enjoy today’s Two For Tuesday recipes.  They are simply what I made for dinner a few nights ago when the pantry was getting low.  I call these nights #pantryraid.  I used what was on hand and my family loved the dinner.  Maybe you will too.

Today’s Recipes  Our first recipe is Pepper Jack Turkey and Veggie Skillet, a lower carb dinner prepared in one pan.  The second recipe is The Easiest Apple Cinnamon Muffins.  Since I didn’t have any pasta, rice, or potatoes to accompany our dinner, I opted for muffins as our “starchy” side dish.  You can serve these together for a complete meal, as I did, or make the recipes on separate occasions.  The muffins are great for on-the-go breakfasts.

pepper jack turkey and veggie skillet
Another fast and frugal meal from faith-family-food.com

 

Pepper Jack Turkey and Veggie Skillet (serves 4)

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS grill seasoning
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 16-oz pkg frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

 

In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  When hot, add chopped onion and cook until beginning to brown.  Add ground turkey and break up with wooden spoon.  Add grill seasoning, stir and cook until meat is done.  Add vegetables and cover skillet with lid, turning down heat to medium-low.  Cook an additional 10 minutes, or so, until vegetables are fully cooked.  Remove lid and add cheese.  Turn off heat and allow the cheese to melt before serving.

 

the easiest apple cinnamon muffins
Start with a basic biscuit and baking mix, add a few simple ingredients and you get sweet, tender apple cinnamon muffins.

 

The Easiest Apple Cinnamon Muffins (makes 1 dozen)

  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups biscuit and baking mix (I use a store-brand)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 medium apple, diced

 

Heat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray.

My absolute favorite muffin pan is this Metal Frame Premium Silicone Muffin Pan available on Amazon.  It has the sturdiness of a metal body so you won’t drop your muffins in transit.  But it has the ease of silicone cups for releasing the muffins without sticking and super easy clean-up.

In medium bowl, whisk together milk, oil, and egg.  Add baking mix, sugar and cinnamon, stirring until just combined.  Fold in diced apple.

Add muffin batter to each of the twelve cups in the muffin pan.  I like to use a medium-size cookie scoop like this OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop (this is the exact one I have) available from Amazon, for portioning my muffins.

Bake at 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes, until golden brown.  Store leftovers, once cooled, in an air-tight container.

 

Today’s Scripture