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When I Don’t Feel Like Cooking

Today is National Pledge of Allegiance Day! Most of us grew up reciting this every morning before classes started in public school. We can still recite it to this day as well. But how many of us know the history of the pledge? Do you know when it was created or what the original version was or why it was later changed? Today, I want to share some background few of us truly know.

The pledge of allegiance was written in August 1892 by Francis Bellamy. Bellamy was a minister’s son who originally followed in his father’s footsteps. He was restless however and eventually moved on to work for a magazine called Youth’s Companion. He created the pledge as part of a patriot ceremony for the opening of the Columbian Exposition in October 1892 which was the 400th anniversary of Columbus coming to America. According to Smithsonian.com, he wrote it in part as a response to the Civil War. He wanted something that could, hopefully, bring the division and hurt in the country to end. The pledge was originally published in the magazine for which he worked and read like this: I pledge allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it stands - one Nation indivisible - with liberty and justice for all.

In 1923, a National Flag Conference, presided over by the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, ordained "my flag" should be changed to "the flag of the United States," for fear immigrant children would be confused which flag they were saluting. The following year, the Flag Conference changed it once more, adding "of America." In 1954, Congress, under President Eisenhower’s urging, added the words “under God” in response to the communist threat of the time. This last change however, has seen plenty of controversy, including disapproval by Bellamy’s daughter, and is still under fire to this day, but has remained unchanged so far.

I don’t know about you, but after the last three months of crazy busy cooking and baking, I don’t want to cook anything that takes any kind of real time. I want simple and so very easy. This week, I am sharing some recipes that don’t require much time to prepare or cook and for some you could even take a shortcut and buy some of it already prepared if you were so inclined. What do I mean? Some veggies can be found pre-chopped. Some meats come pre-cooked. Make your grocery list and meet me in the kitchen this week for recipes that come together in a snap.

Sheet Pan Sausage and Veggies

1 pkg smoked sausage, sliced

1 sweet potato, cut into cubes

2 cups broccoli florets

1-2 bell peppers, use the colors you prefer for the flavor you like

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium carrots, sliced

2 Tbsps. olive oil

Head Country seasoning

2 Tbsps. white vinegar

½ tsp pepper

3 to 4 bacon strips, cooked

and crumbled

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Arrange sausage, potatoes, broccoli, carrots and peppers on baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning, garlic and bacon to taste. Toss to coat each piece well. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping mix at about 10 minutes.

Recipe adapted from gimmedelicious.com

Bean Burritos

Talk about easy. I feel like this is cheating sometimes, but it works and the kids like it.

1 can refried beans

Seasoning to taste, if desired

Diced onion

Shredded Mexican blend cheese

Tortillas

Salsa and sour cream, if desired

Open beans and heat over a low heat in a medium saucepan. Add taco seasoning to taste if desired. I also like to add cheese and a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies sometimes. Once beans are heated through, spread beans on tortilla and top with onions, cheese, salsa and sour cream as desired.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Not much easier than a simple grilled cheese sandwich, customized for your grown up tastes. Feel free to change any of the ingredients to make it what you like!

2 slices of bread

Butter

Pepper jack cheese

Avocado

Sauce like mayo or mustard, if desired

Butter one side of each slice of bread. These will be the sides you brown. If you want a mayo or mustard, add it to the opposite side of the bread than what you buttered. Add cheese and avocado to one slice of bread and top with the other. Heat a skillet over low to medium heat. Place sandwich on skillet and lightly press sandwich. Cook 3-5 minutes or until bottom is golden brown. Flip sandwich and cook the other side until golden brown to match. If you are feeling up to it, poach an egg to add to the top for an even better version! YUM! Serve immediately.

Scrambled Eggs

How can you think easy dinner and not think eggs? They are almost always in your fridge and they are so easy to make even for dinner. They are easily served with toast or in sandwich form or even as a wrap. Want to kick it up a notch? Try adding ingredients and making it wow.

Eggs - how many will depend on whether you are making in dividual servings or making a large pan for others to share. ¼ - ½ cup crab meat

1-2 Tbsps. almond milk

Old Bay Seasoning, to taste if desired. If you prefer, you can just use salt and pepper.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Whisk together eggs, crab, milk and seasoning. Spray pan with a bit of oil or melt some butter in the pan and add egg mixture - it should sizzle and start to cook immediately. Use a silicone spatula to pull edges in towards middle and cook for a 2-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until eggs are cooked as thoroughly as you like. Garnish with coriander and a bit of extra crab meat if desired.

Quesadillas

These are another great option for easy and quick. Do you have leftovers? This is a great way to use some of them up. I keep tortillas on hand for all sorts of easy dinners and this is one of my favorites.

Tortillas

Refried beans

Shredded Mexican style cheese

Diced onion

Diced bell pepper

Any meat of your choosing or even none, crab meat is one of my favorites

Cover half the tortilla with refried beans. Top with meat, veggies and cheese. Fold tortilla in half. Repeat with as many as you need. You have two options for cooking. If you just want to make one or two quesadillas, heat a frying pan on the stove-top over medium heat and cook tortilla 3-6 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cheese is melted. If you have several you need to cook and don’t want to stand over the stove for an hour cooking them all, preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place tortillas on prepared baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted. Flip at about 4 minutes baking time to maximize toast factor. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Okmulgee Times

320 W. 6th
Okmulgee, OK 74447
PH: (918) 756-3600
FAX: (918) 756-8197