I am very much a newbie, not only to Mr. Food, but to cooking in general. As a recent college graduate, I have spent far too long depending on personal pizzas and peanut-butter-banana smoothies for my meals. Don’t get me wrong — they were quite tasty — however, in my transition to becoming a fully functioning adult, I’m trying to learn my way around the kitchen. Howard and Sarah were kind enough to give me the Mr. Food Quick & Easy Comfort Cookbook to help me out, and a couple of weeks ago, I recruited the help of my friend, Jennifer, to give a few of these recipes a try.
During a somewhat thorough, somewhat giggly, planning session, we decided to make the Layered Ravioli Bake, 5-Minute Coleslaw, and Very Banana Pudding. Luckily, we had most of the ingredients lying around already so we really didn’t have to do much grocery shopping. Jen and I decided to dive right in by starting with the Layered Ravioli Bake. We’re both huge fans of casseroles, and I had never tried making one with ravioli before. As it turns out, this was a ridiculously simple recipe. Alternating between layers of ravioli, spinach, sauce, and cheese, the only tricky part was remembering what order to put them all in. It only took about 20 minutes of preparation from start to finish before we popped it in the oven to simmer and cook.
While the casserole was baking in the oven, we got to work on the Very Banana Pudding to give it a chance to chill in the fridge before dinner. I’m a huge banana fan (as you could probably tell from my smoothie addiction), and spring is the perfect time to start incorporating more fruit in my diet. We got some fun dessert cups to pour the finished pudding into which was a fun touch (though not as much fun as licking the bowl afterwards!). We quickly went to work on the coleslaw while the casserole continued to cook. We had both green cabbage and red cabbage at our disposal and decided to do something a little different by only using the red cabbage. I was a little nervous when I stirred all of the ingredients together because the red cabbage made the coleslaw look a little unusual, despite the fact that my sampling proved that it still tasted sweet and crispy as ever.
Right as we finished making the coleslaw and washing the dishes, the timer went off to take the casserole out of the oven. Don’t you love it when you have perfect timing? Jen’s parents kindly offered to act as additional taste testers to our grand success, and judging by how quiet everyone was as they scarfed down the meal, I’d definitely say it was a success. The Layered Ravioli Bake was the epitome of comfort food — so hearty and filling! The only thing that stopped me from getting seconds was knowing that I was going to have to save room for the banana pudding. The coleslaw was delicious as well; it tasted distinctly fresh and homemade, like I was going to a picnic. The red cabbage was such a fun, easy way to make the entire meal more colorful! The banana pudding was the perfect way to cleanse the palette after such a hearty, filling meal.
Overall, this was a resounding success. The more I cook, the more comfortable I get in the kitchen, and the more excited I am to keep trying new recipes! I’ve whipped up a few others from MrFood.com as well, including some of my favorites: Amish Country Casserole, Chicken Parmesan, and Best Broccoli Casserole. As a newbie, I’d like to know, do you have any recommendations from the Mr. Food collection that I should try? What’s your go-to dinner recipe?
The final spread: