Tuesday, December 30, 2008

{A Perfect Fall Pairing}

This meal was a hit with the whole family. I even served it to my 9 month old, thickened with rice cereal.
Harvest Bisque Soup
This recipe is originally from Simply Classic. It will serve 6-8 people, but we recommend that you double it.

3 C butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 1 lb)
5 C chicken stock
4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp butter
2-3 tsp curry (start with 1 tsp, and flavor to taste)
3/4 C half & half (or evaporated milk)
3/4 C canned coconut milk (ptional, but it enhances the flavor)
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice (again, start with 1 Tbs, and add to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Garnish with:
lime slices
dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt

Cook the cubed squash in the chicken stock for about 15 minutes. Using a large slotted spoon, remove cooked squash into a blender, add 1-2 C of the cooking liquid and puree. Add this back into the remaining liquid.
In a large pot melt butter, add flour and curry. Cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to scorch. Add squash and chicken stock puree. Cook to thicken, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. Add half & half, coconut milk and lime juice along with the salt and pepper to taste. Heat through.
Ladle into individual bowls and garnish. Serve immediately.


Apple-Raisin Salad
2 apples, chopped
2-3 celery ribs, chopped
raisins
chopped nuts
Dressing: 1/2 C mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp milk, 4 pkts Equal or sugar

Mix mayo and milk until smooth. Mix in sweetner. Toss with other ingredients. Serve immediately.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hidden Veggie Spaghetti Sauce

My husband loves spaghetti, but I hardly ever make it. However, I decided that it is a good way to get some extra vegetables in to the little ones.

1 jar store bought spaghetti sauce, your favorite brand
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 celery rib
1/2 -1 carrot
1/4 - 1/2 onion

Finely chop all veggies. I like about an equal ratio of the three. Brown up the beef until crumbly, and cook veggies in the same pan. Drain, and return to pan. Add spaghetti sauce, stir until heated through. Serve over your favorite noodles.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Savory Chicken Pillows

This is a recipe that I created by combining many similar recipes for Chicken Pillows, Chicken Squares, etc.
{Savory Chicken Pillows}
2 C cooked, chopped chicken
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp finely diced fresh onion
2 Tbsp chopped celery, optional
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cans regrigerator crescent rolls
melted butter
bread crumbs, onion powder, basil
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
water, optional

Mix first six ingredients together. Unroll crescent dough. Press seams of two crescent together to form rectangles. Divide mixture between dough. Fold dough over and pinch seams to seal. Combine 1/2 -1 C bread crumbs with 1/2 tsp onion powder and a sprinkle of dried basil (or parsley) leaves. Melt butter. Dip top-side of "pillow" into the melted butter, then in the seasoned bread crumbs. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake according to crescent directions. Check for doneness on bottom side of the crescent. Make a simple gravy with cream of chicken soup and a splash of milk, or reserved chicken water. Heat through and serve over chicken pillows.

This Week's Dinner Menu

We finally made it home to our won house last night! Now, on to the menu planning again . . .

Saturday - Savory Chicken Pillows
Sunday - Spaghetti, salad, broccoli, rolls
Monday - Hawaiian Haystacks
Tuesday - Harvest Bisque Soup, bread
Wednesday - Family Tradition: New Year's Eve Fondue (more to come)
Thursday - Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos with all the fixings!
Friday - Mom's Beef Stroganoff over noodles, broccoli, salad
Saturday - Shepherd's Pie, salad, rolls
Sunday - dinner at Mom's to say goodbye to the siblings who are headed back to school!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve & Christmas Dinners

{Christmas Eve}
Broccoli
{Christmas Day}
Ham
Green Beans with Carmelized Onions
Potatoes with Cheese and Seasoned Breadcrumbs
Aunt Terri's Salad
Apple Crisp ala mode
Apple Crisp
12 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
Layer in a 9x13 pan. Mix together:
1 C butter
2 C brown sugar
1 C wheat flour
3 tsp cinnamon
3 C rolled oats
2 C chopped nuts
Sprinkle over apples in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. This recipe is not very sweet, but with lots of "granola" it is great for breakfast topped with milk.
More recipes will come as I get them or find links . . .

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Did you miss me?" Dinner Menu

Yeah, I know, I went MIA. We have had some crazy times around here. We have been snowed in at my parents' house TWICE! Which is where I'm sitting right now. So, I haven't been cooking and making my own menus. But, here is a look into Mom's kitchen . . .

Shepherd's Pie
Tri-Colore Orzo SALAD - We made this recipe into a spinach based salad. Just add enough spinach to make a tossed salad and cut the orzo down to about 1/2 C dry pasta.
Whole Wheat Waffles
Katie's Vanilla Syrup

Vanilla Syrup
Melt 1 cube butter, 1 C sugar and 1 C milk in a saucepan. Mix until slightly foamy. Add 1 tsp each of vanilla, baking soda and vinegar. Serve over French Toast, or other breakfast yumminess!

Stay tuned for our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Teacher's Gift

It dawned on me that I should be thinking about a gift for my son's preschool teacher. Yeah, I'm on the ball like that. So, I called up my mother, the queen of teacher gifts, and she suggested this . . .

I canned Homemade Apple Pie Filling earlier in the fall. Then, it was easy to type up a recipe for French Apple Pie and get an inexpensive pie dish, some cute wrapping and I was done!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Kid Food: Little Chicken Cakes

So, I tried something new with the toddler today and he ate it up! I made little Chicken Cakes for lunch. I loosely based my recipe on one that is in "The Toddler Cookbook" by Annabel Karmel. A fabulous baby/kid food aouther, if you are interested.
So here is my altered recipe . . .
{Little Chicken Cakes}
1 large can chunk chicken, drained and rinsed
2 medium green onions, finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp each buttermilk, ketchup, and mayonnaise
1 C breadcrumbs, divided
up to 2 "spoonfuls" plain yogurt
flour and a splash of milk, for breading
Mix together chicken, onions and condiments. Add about 1/2 C breadcrumbs, and mix. At this point my mixture was a little too dry and crumbly, so I started adding in the yogurt and mixing by hand.
Divide mixture into 5 equal parts, and form into patties about 1/2 inch thick.Put some flour onto a plate, add a splash of milk to a small bowl, and pour remaining breadcrumbs into mixing bowl that is already dirty (save yourself some dishes).Dredge "cakes" in flour, milk, then breadcrumbs. Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes, flipping one half way through.Serve as part of a balanced lunch.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ooooh That Smell Pizza

1 pizza crust
white sauce
BBQ chicken
peppercorn bacon, crumbled
pineapple chunks
mozzarella cheese, shredded
BBQ sauce

Layer pizza crust with white sauce and, then, remaining toppings. Finish off with a drizzle off BBQ sauce.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Grilled Cheese Tip

Okay, laugh now. But, I love grilled cheese. And when I am pregnant, there is nothing better. Not that I'm pregnant now. Anyway . . . here is a tip that my Grandma Mary shared with me.Did you catch it?
When making a grilled cheese sandwich stove-top, use a pan that has a lid that fits it. This way you lock the heat inside to melt the cheese as the bread browns.
Yeah, I know, amazing. It changed my life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Grilled Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches

I found this recipe in Southern Living magazine a few years ago. It is a nice variation on a grilled cheese sandwich. This recipe makes 4 cups of pimiento cheese but only uses 1 1/3 cups in the recipe. Cover leftover pimiento cheese, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The pimiento cheese can also be served as a spread or dip.

{Pimiento Cheese}
1 (4 oz) jar diced pimiento, drained
1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 teaspoon finely grated onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (8 oz) block 2% reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 (8 oz) block light white Cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Stir together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl until blended, and stir in cheeses.

{Sandwiches - makes 4}
pimiento cheese
8 light white or wheat bread slices
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons light butter, melted
vegetable cooking spray

Heat an electric griddle to 350ยบ or a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spread 1/3 cup cheese mixture on each of 4 bread slices. Top evenly with tomato slices and remaining 4 bread slices. Brush one side of sandwiches evenly with 1 tablespoon melted butter.
Spray hot griddle or skillet with cooking spray. Place sandwiches, buttered sides down, on griddle or in skillet. Brush tops evenly with remaining melted butter. Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Serve immediately.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sunday - Shepherd's Pie
Monday - Sweet & Spicy Slow-Cooker Chicken served as taco in corn tortillas
Tuesday - Grilled Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup
Wednesday - leftovers
Thursday - "Ooooh That Smell" and Pepperoni Homemade Pizza
Friday - Panang Curry and Phad Thai
Saturday - thinking . . .

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sweet & Spicy Slow-Cooker Chicken

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (14 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I use about 1/4 teaspoon)

Coat the inside of your crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. Place all ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours, or until chicken shreds very easily with a fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Chicken will absorb liquid after it is shredded.) Serve in tacos or however your little heart desires.

***We loved this recipe. I skimped on red pepper flake the first time around, but I think that anywhere between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon would be fine. I like to keep it not "spicy" for the toddler.***

Sunday, November 30, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

This is kind of a boring week. The husband is headed out on a business trip and, currently, there is no food in the house. Yeah, we've been skating by since we returned home. So, here it is . . .

Sunday - second Thanksgiving dinner with my family - Rosemary turkey, Mashed potatoes & Gravy, Roasted yams, Green beans, Wheat rolls, Artichoke & Sourdough Stuffing, and (of course) Banana Cream Pie
Monday - Mom's Taco Soup
Tuesday - Sweet & Spicy Slow-Cooker Chicken served as taco in corn tortillas
Wednesday - Homemade Pizza (the toddler's request, we'll see what he decides to put on it)
Thursday - leftovers
Friday - Office Christmas Party
Saturday - Southwest Shredded Chicken and 3 Bean Chili, Tortilla strips, fruit

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

I hope that everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving week. We sure are enjoying our vacation time in Utah! Our Thanksgiving plan is to have a late breakfast and, then, an early dinner. I am making our traditional Banana Cream Pie and Roasted Asparagus for one of the sides.

Mom's Banana Cream Pie
¼ C corn starch
2/3 C sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 C scalded milk
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
2 Tbsp butter
½ tsp vanilla
Sliced bananas
Pie Crust
Whipped cream


Cook pie crust. Line bottom of pie shell with sliced bananas. (This can also be done while the custard cools.)

Mix cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Scald milk. Gradually add milk to corn starch mixture. Cook over moderate heat stirring constantly, until thickened and boiling. Cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. Add small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks, temper. Stir back in. Cook 1 more minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla. Stir. Cool slightly and pour into cooked pie shell. Press wax paper onto custard filling to prevent "skin" from forming.


Chill. Spread top with whipped cream prior to serving. Or, top each slice with a dollop of cream and a sliced banana.

Here are some ideas to keep your kiddos busy, while you're working away:
Cute Turkey Cookies
Indian Corn
Mayflower Picture
And, here are TWO great turkeys to preserve just how your little ones were this Thanksgiving.

And, I'm sure this is what we will be singing at the end of the night.
The Turkey Dinner Song (sung to Frere Jacques "Are You Sleeping?")
Turkey Dinner, Turkey Dinner, Gather Round, Gather Round
Who will get the drumstick? Yummy Yummy Yum-stick
All sit down, All sit down

Cornbread muffins, chestnut stuffin’, pudding pie ten feet high
All of us were thinner until we came to dinner
Me-o my, Me-o my!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Beef Taco Bake

1 lb. ground beef
1 can Tomato Soup
1 cup Salsa
1/2 cup milk
6 flour tortillas, torn
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Cook the beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it's well browned, stirring often. Drain. Stir the soup, salsa, milk, tortillas and half the cheese in the skillet. Spoon the beef mixture into a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Cover the baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until the beef mixture is hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sunday - A-1 Pot Roast, Aunt Terri's Salad, Grandma's Rice, and Buttermilk-Onion Pull-Apart Rolls (yummm!)
Monday - Homemade pizza and fruit
Tuesday - Beef Taco Bake, zucchini
Wednesday - looking for new recipes to try out
Thursday - ditto
Friday - "Clean Out the Fridge Night"

By Saturday, we'll be in Utah starting our Thanksgiving celebration. So, I won't have a menu for next week. Enjoy the holiday!

Monday, November 10, 2008

{Applesauce Cookies}

This recipe comes from my great grandmother. We first had them this summer at a family reunion, and my toddler inhaled them.

½ c shortening
1 c sugar
1 egg
½ c applesauce
2 c flour
1 t soda
½ t cloves
½ t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
½ t salt
Raisins or chocolate chips (opt.)

Preheat oven to 400°. Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs and applesauce. Stir in dry ingredients and raisins or chocolate chips if desired. Drop by tablespoons onto greased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Makes 2-3 dozen.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

This week, my husband is out of town for a few days on business. I think that I'll take the opportunity not to cook quite as much, but rather, to make meals to stock the freezer.

Sunday - Pasta Puttanesca, Ceasar salad, Foccacia, Brownie-bottom Sundaes
Monday - Navajo Tacos
Tuesday - Mexican-filled Calzones (using the recipe from my freezer meal group, and twisting it to be mexican)
Wednesday - leftovers
Thursday - Chicken Taco Pie (hoping that we love this as much as we love Taco Bake)
Friday - Church Potluck: taking Lasagna for my dish
Saturday - A-1 Pot Roast, Aunt Terri's Salad, Grandma's Rice, and Buttermilk-Onion Pull-Apart Rolls (yummm!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Well, it is finally Election Day. And, I for one, will be glad to see it go. I am tired of the bad-mouthing tv ads, and ready to move on. I am hoping that the end of the election will signal a positive change for the direction of our country. (And, keeping my fingers crossed behind my back.)

So, rather than focusing on the craziness and remaining glued to my tv all night long, I am planning on making some fun food and celebrating the country that I am proud to live in - where I have the opportunity to vote and "make my voice heard".

Chocolate and Vanilla Election Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, preferably European-style, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
Vanilla Frosting (recipe below)
1 (24-ounce) package fondant
Red or blue paste food coloring
Silver edible glitter
Red, white, and blue nonpareils


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, add milk and vanilla extract; stir to combine and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low, add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk mixture; beat until just combined. Add cocoa powder and beat until just combined. Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full with batter. Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool in pans for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a large 5/8-inch round tip (such as Ateco No. 808). Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and set aside. Meanwhile, press your thumb into the center of the fondant to make a well. Place a small amount of food coloring (red for Republican, blue for Democrat) in the well and knead fondant until color is well blended. Continue to add more food coloring to fondant until desired color is achieved. Roll out into a 1/16-inch-thick sheet.

To make Republican elephants, cut out 12 elephant shapes using 2-inch elephant cutters. Sprinkle with edible glitter. To make Democrat donkeys, cut out 12 bear shapes using a 2-inch bear cutter. Using a 2-inch daisy cutter, cut out enough daisy shapes so that you have 36 petals; sprinkle bear shaped and daisy petal fondant with edible glitter. Top each cupcake with a fondant elephant or bear, using two daisy petals to make donkey ears on each bear and one petal to make the tail. Sprinkle cupcakes with nonpareils and serve.

Vanilla Frosting
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature


Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until well combined.

Elephants and Donkeys too much for you? Here are some other ideas:
*Top your cupcakes with an American flag design. Use shoestring licorice for the stripes of the flag and blue frosting piped stars.
*Make star-shaped sugar cookies and frost in red, white and blue. Or, frost with white frosting and sprinkle with red and blue sugar.
*Make one sheet cake and decorate as an American flag. (Think 4th of July.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sunday - Dinner at Mom's
Monday - Chicken Enchiladas, zucchini, rice & beans
Tuesday - Shepherd's Pie, rolls, salad
Wednesday - White Chicken Chili topped with avocados and diced tomatoes
Thursday - Potstickers, Chicken Lo Mein
Friday - Lasagna, broccoli, rolls, salad, pears
Saturday -leftovers or pizza (maybe a new tradition - Homemade Pizza on Saturday night)

Still wanting to try the Thai Chicken Pizza listed last week. It got vetoed in favor of "Oh that Smell" pizza, I'll post a recipe later.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Corn Cake Toppers

{from thisweekfordinner.com}

These are awesome with chili! Mix Jiffy cornbread mix, following the corn pancakes directions on the box. Sometimes I add a bit of sour cream. I also add chopped green onion and shredded cheese. Cook on buttered griddle like pancakes. Top your chili and enjoy!

Sometimes I don’t but the cheese in the batter… makes the pancakes a little stickier on the skillet, so I’ll put the cheese on the chili, then the corn topper on top of that.

{Thanks, Jane! Can't wait to try them.}

Sunday, October 26, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sunday - Lasagna, Italian round loaf bread, salad, broccoli
Monday - Our Annual Halloween-themed Dinner with friends
Tuesday - Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Wednesday - Chicken Enchiladas (thanks, Mom) and leftover zucchini
Thursday - Award Winning Pork Chili and Corn Cake Toppers (recipe idea from This Week for Dinner, I'll post it later)
Friday - Mummy Dogs and Jack-o-Lantern Quesadillas, pumpkin or ghost cakes
Saturday - Thai Chicken Pizza, (Turkey) Pepperoni Pizza, salad, fruit

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This Week's New Recipe Reviews

Polenta with Cauliflower
original recipe here
I was so excited about this recipe. My husband wouldn't even eat it, and apparently the toddler had a few bites. I had a meeting and ate it reheated later. I would have to agree that it wasn't as good as it sounded. Since nobody else was "digging in," I figure we won't be making it again.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Crepes
original recipe here
Okay, so I didn't cook the chicken myself. I had leftover chopped chicken from making calzones that I wanted to use up. So I did, and the overall results - disappointing. My husband said, "When prepared as directed, this recipe is void of taste." So, we will be sticking to the normal version of Chicken Cordon Bleu. I did, however, find a nice crepe recipe. They came together nicely, made exactly 8 crepes, I love when a recipe does what it says.

Chicken Tikka Masala
original recipe here
We really like this one. I did substitute paprika for the cayenne pepper in the marinade, but added just a dash of cayenne. I also left out the jalapeno in the sauce. The spice was just right. Having never had Chicken Tikka Masala myself, I had to rely on my husband's review of the authenticity. He said that it was pretty close, but he remembered the sauce being a little bit thinner. I didn't want to alter the ratio of the tomato sauce to cream, so next time I think I would thin it with a little chicken stock or broth. I also served this with rice and Naan bread. Next time, I will saute some vegetables to go along with it.
*Update: I think that I'll try this next time. It appears to be the same recipes, only with added veggies in the sauce.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sunday - Crispy Chicken Tenders, Polenta with Cauliflower, salad
Monday - Pepperoni Calzones, broccoli
Tuesday - Chicken Cordon Bleu Crepes, asparagus
Wednesday - Shepherd's Pie, salad, rolls
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Chicken Tikka Masala, rice, stirfry vegetables
Saturday - Ward Harvest/Halloween Party (They're making "stone soup.")

Saturday, October 18, 2008

HALLOWEEN

I'm sure I say this about every holiday, but Halloween is my favorite holiday of all. It all stems from childhood halloween dinners of pumpkin brains, witches broomsticks and a flaming skull cake. There is just something about wearing a costume and eating devilish food that made the whole evening mysterious.

Here are some of my favorite sites with Halloween Ideas:
Family Fun Magazine's Halloween
Kaboose Halloween
Parents Magazine (You'll have to search halloween, obnoxious, I know. This is a partner site that Family Circle Magazine falls under.)

And, here is what I have gathered to add to our Annual Halloween Dinner:
Bag o' Bones Meringue Cookies
Skeleton and Brain Dip
French Toast Ghosts (for breakfast)

And, I'm looking forward to gathering more ideas here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hearty Chili

I got this recipe from my cousin. She made it once, shortly after I was married, and invited us to dinner. My husband said, "Remember that chili...?" So, I had to call and get the recipe.

Hearty Chili
10 oz ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 zucchini, chopped
2 yellow squash, chopped
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 (15 oz) cans beef broth
celery stalks, sliced, chopped (whatever it is you do to celery)
1 pkt Chili seasoning mix

Brown turkey along with onion and peppers. Drain, if needed. Add all ingredients to soup pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.

I used this corn bread recipe along with it. It is a yeast bread, so allow time for rising if you decide to try it. We thought it was good, and a nice alternative to the sweet, quick bread version.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sunday - Dinner with cousins
Monday - Eat out after annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Tuesday - Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese sandwiches (a toddler favorite)
Wednesday - Baked Macaroni and Cheese, broccoli, apples
Thursday - Dinner at Mom's, "supper club night"
Friday - Crispy Chicken Strips, Polenta with Cauliflower, salad, maybe rolls
Saturday - Chili, cornbread or corn chips, pears

I participate in a "Supper Club", a group where we buy ingredients in bulk and prep freezer meals together. I've gone once before, but this month we are prepping calzones. Mmmmm!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This Week's New Recipe Reviews

Quinoa Chili
original recipe here
Well, as I informed my husband that a grain+beans=a complete protein, he asked, "Are you secretly trying to turn me into a vegetarian?" I thought it was "good," but we will not be having it again because the rest of the family did not agree. When I asked my toddler what he thought, he said, "Not good." Very unusual, as his normal reply is, "It's yum," even when he does not like it.

Corn and Potato Chowder
original recipe here
This was a good recipe. It could have used more salt. I was intrigued by the contributor "Dinosaur Bar-B-Que" and the increased amount of vegetables, so I went for it. However, I think that we will stick with our usual Corn Chowder from now on.

Monday, October 6, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sorry it's late, the husband broke his leg over the weekend; so we're a little behind on everything around here.

Sunday - Quinoa Chili, "Cake-like" Cornbread
Monday - leftovers
Tuesday - Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad, broccoli, fruit
Wednesday - Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, zucchini, salad
Thursday - Honey-Nut Chicken Sticks, Polenta with Cauliflower, salad
Friday - Corn and Potato Chowder, rolls, fruit
Saturday - Chicken Cordon Bleu Crepes (sounds interesting), asparagus, salad

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Butternut Squash Lasagna: Recipe Review

I really enjoyed this recipe. It was not as involved as the reviews made it sound like it would be. My husband, however, said it tasted like squash. I will agree that it could have been salted a little more. But, toddler ate it - at least that night.
original recipe here

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sunday - Butternut Squash Lasagna, salad, rolls (dessert with friends)
Monday - Bagel Dogs, salad, fruit
Tuesday - Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Crostinis
Wednesday - Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad, cheese quesadilla wedges, fruit
Thrusday - Quinoa Chili (except, I'm adding a ton more veggies), cornbread/fritos, fruit
Friday - "clean out the fridge" night (leftovers)
Saturday - (Husband's Birthday) White Chicken Chili, tortillas (maybe homemade), yummy dessert (still thinking on that, he said he's happy with cupcakes)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

This Week's New Recipe Reviews

Rustic Spinach Salad
Well, It wasn't my favorite salad that I have ever had . . . But, with a few adjustments, it has potential. I didn't end up adding the chicken because we didn't do the BBQ chicken pizza I was thinking of, and didn't have chicken cooked. I did, however, add craisins to the salad. I think that with a different dressing it might work better.

White Enchiladas
This was a good recipe. We really liked the flavor of it. My husband's comment was, "Mama laced the enchiladas with zucchini." I informed him that the zucchini and corn were part of the originaly recipe. We still love "Dad's Birthday Enchiladas" the most, but for a white enchilada these were pretty high ranking.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cracker Chronicles

Homemade Graham Crackers



That's right graham crackers of our own. I thought it would be fun to make our own, because we love the many healthy and organic options available at Trader Joe's, but we can't always get there to buy them right away. So, I searched online for a recipe to try. A couple different versions came up, but the most popular variation that I was seeing, is the one we tried today.


I probably went a little heavier on the molasses, because I measured them into a 1/4 C together and I like molasses. I would recommend cut the dough in half prior to rolling 1/2" thick and chilling. It gets a little too big to roll to the 1/8" thickness all together. We cut out boys, squares, and Noah's Ark figures (boat and animals).

Super yummy! We'll be doing this one again.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Okay, I hate to say it, but TWDM posts are moving to Sunday night. With the toddler playing soccer on Saturdays now, I don't have the time to get the post up that night. I'm sure you all will forgive me. So, here it is!

Sunday - dinner at Mom's
Monday - Shepherd's Pie, salad, fruit
Tuesday - Chicken Pasta Salad, rolls, broccoli
Wednesday - Homemade Pizza, Rustic Spinach Salad
Thursday - Butternut Squash Lasagna, rolls, salad
Friday - White Enchiladas, black beans, fruit
Saturday - Roasted Tomato Soup, bread or grilled cheese crostinis (have I mentioned these before?), maybe some fruit

At the toddler's 3 year check up, the pediatrician recommended that I "hide the vegetables" in spaghetti sauce. His recommendation on how often my toddler need to eat red meat was WAY lower than what I assumed it would be, this is actually how the spaghetti-thing came up. The funny thing is, my toddler says, "I don't like sauce on my spaghetti." So for now, we'll hide the veggies in shepherd's pie!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This Week's New Recipe Reviews

Bean and Cornbread Pie
original recipe here
So, I tried this recipe while my husband was away and I really liked it. My toddler ate it too, with a few minor changes. My fire-roasted tomatoes did not have chilies in them and I omitted the sliced jalapeno. It reheated well for lunch leftovers also. A good recipe for when our daddy is out of town.

Zucchini Bread
original recipe here
I really liked this zucchini bread recipe. And, unless I find a better one, I'll keep using it. I was a little shy on the shredded zucchini I needed for the recipe, so I added shredded carrot (1/4 C) to make up the difference. I also used lime peel instead of lemon peel (it's what I had). and just as a little tip: If using eggs classified as "large", add the one egg the recipe calls for and see how it looks. When I made it, it was obvious that the 1 egg would not come near enough liquid to make a batter. I added an extra egg and it worked out great.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

My husband is out of town on a business trip this week, so we'll see what our dinner menu develops into.

Sunday - Panang Curry, Pad Thai
Monday - Bean and Cornbread Pie (trying while the husband is away, he usually doesn't like this kind of thing), fruit
Tuesday - Dinner at Mom's
Wednesday - leftovers
Thursday - thinking . . .
Friday -
Saturday -

Also, going to try out this recipe, maybe it could be the preschool snack on Thursday. I've been looking for a great single-loaf zucchini bread recipe. If you've got one, send it my way!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Muffin Tin . . . Thursday?

Through the craziness of our week, I am just getting to our Muffin Tin Monday. The theme or challenge for this week was Children's Literature. I immediately thought of my amazing friend, Briawna, she would be great at this. I wanted to do a tin based off of Ferdinand (all Spanish food) or Little Rabbit Lost (you know, "rabbit food" - carrots, a cherry tomato "red balloon", and what else? birthday cake). However, at the suggestion of my mother-in-law, I did a book that people would actually recognize - The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
So, here it is our Very Hungry Caterpillar and his muffin tin of Monday through Friday's food.
Contents: "Sunshine" Sippy Cup (full of milk), 1 apple, 2 pears, 3 "plums" (or grapes), 4 strawberries, 5 oranges. There was also a caterpillar (in the picture above), but he was removed and eaten quickly.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sunday - (Toddler's Birthday) BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs, salad, corn, cupcake and ice cream
Monday - Salmon, salad, rolls, fruit
Tuesday - Creamy Black Bean Salsa Chicken, tortillas, salad, fruit
Wednesday - Bagel Dogs, corn, fruit salad
Thursday - still thinking . . .
Friday - Going out for our Anniversary!
Saturday - Wedding reception for me, yo-yo dinner for everyone else.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Asian Food Night Recipes & Reviews

Gyoza (Makes 4 servings)
1/3 cup chopped cabbage (boiled)
2 tbsps chopped green onion
1/2 pound ground pork
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
2 tsps soysauce
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
20 gyoza wrappers
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients other than oil in a bowl and mix well by hands.

Place a teaspoonful of filling in a gyoza wrapper and put water along the edge of the wrapper by fingers. Make a semicircle, gathering the front side of the wrapper and sealing the top. Heat oil in a frying pan. Put gyoza in the pan and fry on high heat until the bottoms become brown. Turn down the heat to low. Add 1/4 cup water in the pan. Cover the pan and steam the gyoza on low heat until the water is gone.

We also had "Panang Chicken Curry" based upon this recipe. Only, I couldn't find panang curry paste so I used Roasted Red Chili Paste in the amount of 2 tsp vs the 2-3 Tbsp the recipe called for. And, I added about 1 tsp of peanut butter to the sauce.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sunday - BBQ Chicken, Tri-Colore Orzo Salad, Grilled Corn, garden salad, rolls
Monday - Homemade Pizza, fruit
Tuesday - Tacos, fruit
Wednesday - Farfalle with Zucchini, salad, rolls
Thursday - work meeting for the husband, soccer team parent meeting for me = leftovers for everyone
Friday - Asian food night - we'll see what we come up with
Saturday - (Friend birthday party day) Creamy Black Bean Salsa Chicken

Saturday, August 30, 2008

This Week's New Recipe Reviews

Tortiglioni Florentine in a Gorgonzola Cream Sauce with Frizzled Prosciutto
original recipe here
We tried this recipe using penne pasta instead of the tortiglioni. I was going to cut the recipe in half since it was the first time through, but my husband convinced me to make a full recipe so as to have leftovers for lunches. Well, bad idea. He decided that he didn't like the "blue cheese" flavor to the sauce. In fact, he didn't even finish one serving. And, to be honest, it was a little over powering. So, in an effort to maintain meals that everyone will eat, we will not be making this one again. But, if you LOVE blue cheese, go for it!

Creamy Orzo
original recipe here
I did cut this recipe in half, especially since it was myself and a toddler sharing it. It is originally from a show about cooking with your kids, so I hoped that it would be a crowd pleaser. And, it was. It needed more salt than I added, but that could be accomplished through adding more parmesan cheese. My toddler picked the PEAS out of it to eat first! We will definitely repeat, maybe as a side dish even.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sunday - Dinner with my parents
Monday - "Indoor Cookout" (hamburgers & Hotdogs), Tri-Colore Orzo Salad, Corn, Fruit
Tuesday - fish for the husband, Creamy Orzo for the rest of us
Wednesday - Anniversary Chicken, broccoli or zucchini,
Thursday - Tortiglioni Florentine in a Gorgonzola Cream Sauce with Frizzled Prosciutto, salad,
Friday - Dinner with family
Saturday - Leftovers

Tyler's Ultimate Beef Tacos: Recipe Review

Tyler's Ultimate Beef Tacos
original recipe here
This was good. But, I probably won't make it again. I halved the recipe, and used a thinner cut of meat. I used a yellow onion instead of a red onion. Other than that, followed the recipe exactly. So, good taste, but probably not worth the forward thought required to start dinner 3 1/2 hours before you want to eat it (which is why it took two weeks to actually try this recipe).
I really like the fresh flavor of the simple salsa. I left out the peppers. That's right, just tomatoes, onion, garlic, lime, and cilantro. It worked out great, because my toddler ate it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Muffin Tin Monday

Contents: Banana slices, Plain Yogurt with a Boysenberry Swirl, Milk, Strawberries, English Muffin Puzzles, Crustless Mini-Quiche (with ham, onion, and cheese)
To find out more about Muffin Tin Monday, go here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu & a Confession

Okay, so I admit it. I didn't go to the grocery store this past week. Which meant that we didn't eat the um two meals that I actually planned. We ended up eating at my mom's twice because my grandparents were in town and my sister is leaving to go back to school. We ate out once, and tonight's meal is yet to be seen. There you go. Now, onto mext week's plan.

Sunday - Dad's Birthday Enchiladas, corn, black beans, salad
Monday - Potstickers, broccoli, fruit
Tuesday - Tyler's Ultimate Beef Tacos, grilled corn
Wednesday - "Indoor Cookout" (burgers & hotdogs), Tri-Colore Orzo Salad, fruit
Thursday - eat out (I'm going to a Supper Club, where they make meals to freeze and eat later for my mom's ward)
Friday - fish for the husband, Creamy Orzo for the rest of us
Saturday - leftovers and planning for next week

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reading

A reading post on a foodblog? You may ask what I am thinking. Well, here is what I have been reading and thinking about. Some really interesting points are brought up in this book - like: Don't use food as a bribe or reward. And, some good reminders, too - like: A child may be served a new food ten times before even trying it. I also spent some time reading the general tips out loud to my husband (while driving home from my parents' house, so he was a "captive" audience for 45 minutes). And, I learned why my husband doesn't like to eat leftovers more than once. [He is great at taking leftovers for lunch once, or for dinner once later in the week - but, after that, don't ask him to eat it again.]

So, this is what I'm working on:
1. Balancing my toddler's meals - protein, fruit, veggies, and carbs
2. Serving new things, but being willing to eat them myself if he doesn't
3. Making mealtime fun, in order to disguise the healthy food I want him to eat.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Farfalle with Zuchinni: Recipe Review

Photo from The Pioneer Woman

Farfalle with Zuchinni. A Yummy Summer Meal!
We loved it! This recipe came together super easily. I cut it in half for our family, and we had one round of leftovers. I also skipped the fresh herbs, and the flavor was still amazing! I had an appointment that I had to get to and wasn't able to eat with the family, but my husband said that our toddler went back for more and more zuchinni. So, next time, I will add more zuchinni. We will definitely be doing this recipe again.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Ok, don't hate me! We ended up spending two nights at my parents' house because of other commitments that we had, and Saturday night we went to a wedding reception. So three of our meals will be "roll-overs" from last week. Sorry!

Sunday - dinner at mom's: flank steak, orzo salad, grandma's wild rice (recipe to come so zummy!), green beans, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Monday - Tyler's Ultimate Beef Tacos, grilled corn
Tuesday - Farfalle with Zucchini (loaded with veggies), rolls, fruit
Wednesday - BBQ Chicken Pizza, Centioli (Pagliacci Pizza-style)* or Brown Sugar-Mozarella Bread (The Rock WFP-style), salad, fruit
Thursday - thinking . . .
Friday - I think we're due for a "date-night"
Saturday - thinking . . .

*Centioli = A super-thin crust covered with olive oil, sprinkled with crushed chili peppers, fresh garlic, parsley, fontina and mozzarella cheeses.

This Week's New Recipe Reciews

Nachos
original recipe here
We like this recipe, but probably won't make it again. My husband's "sensitive to mexican food" stomach did not agree with it after we were done eating. I also found that it made a lot of "topping", more than I would normally put on my nachos. So, If you don't have the "problems" that we do, I would say go for it. But, keep in mind that this recipe could easily be stretched to 4 people vs. the two it states.

Bruschetta Chicken Bake
original recipe here
I had high hopes for this recipe, really I did. The contributor states how easy and wonderful it is. I found that the "bruschetta topping" overwhelmed the bland chicken. The ratio of chicken to bread was a little off for our taste. And my husband, who normally eats everything, didn't eat it. He opted for grapes for dinner, instead.

Homemade Tomato Soup
This was my own creation! I had looked around at recipes online and gathered general similarities between them all. Then, I just went for it. I sauteed: 1/4 C chopped onion, 1 chopped celery rib, and 1/2 peeled and chopped carrot in 1 T butter. I added salt, pepper and garlic. I let those work for a little while in the pot. Then, I added just enough chicken broth to deglaze the bottom of the pan. I added one large can of whole peeled tomatoes, and pureed everything with a stick blender. Heat all the way through, then, I addedabout 1/2 C evaporated milk for creaminess.

It was yummy, but you could definitely taste the carrots and I will probably leave them out next time.

Huevos Rancheros
original recipe here
We really liked this recipe. It is definitely more of a brunch dish. But, we loved the salsa fresca! When we repeat this recipe, I think that I will fry the eggs separate from the tortillas. That technique made it a little difficult to cook and flip. I think that warming the tortillas and frying the eggs separately would make it a lot easier.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake

Tonight, my mom and sisters had a Visiting Teaching Picnic to go to tonight. So, my assistance was requested in picking up ingredients for Key Lime Cupcakes on the way to their house. Caitlin decided to make them mini cupcakes instead. They were so cute! And delicious! I highly recommend them.

Let the Games Begin

Okay, is anyone else crawling out of their skin in excitement for the start of the Summer Olympics? My husband is. If he sees one more swimming promo, I think he will explode. I am excited because this is the first time that we can share it with OUR KIDS!

So, if you're looking for ideas, start here:
Olympic Rings Fruit Pizza
Olympic Ring Sugar Cookies
Olive Leaf Crown and Olympic Torch
Two great Kid's Olympic Party Ideas: here and here

And here is where you can find great ideas on hosting an Olympic Party. And this post wouldn't be complete without sharing the Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. We'll see what kind of fun we can cook up for our own Olympic Kick-off party!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Grandma Mary's Banana Nut Bread

This is my absolute favorite banana bread recipe! It is so fast, and so yummy. I have even made it up as muffins to take to school for a family members birthday.
Banana Nut Bread
1/2 C butter or margarine
1 C sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 C mashed bananas
1/2 C chopped nuts
1 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, then bananas, nuts and vanilla. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and soda. Then, fold into the creamed mixture. Beat whole mixture on hig speed. Bake in oiled loaf pan at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Cool before cutting. It tastes best if allowed to "ripen" for one day.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Chocolate Caramel Brownies: Recipe Review

Last week, I found this recipe and instantly had to try it. It was really yummy and I will definitely make it again - with a few changes of course!

Chocolate Caramel Brownies
1 box German Chocolate Cake mix
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 bag wrapped caramels (50 individually wrapped caramels
1/3 cup evaporated milk

Mix together the cake mix, melted butter and 1/2 cup evaporated milk. Mix until well incorporated, it will be thick. Press half of batter into a 9x13 inch greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes.

While batter is baking, melt caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk in a saucepan until creamy. When brownies are done, poor caramel on top of the cooked portion of brownies. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of caramel. Dot the remaining brownie mix on top of chips and caramel. Return to oven and bake for another 11 minutes. Cool in refrigerator for about 2 hours.

So . . . I think that next time I will try it with a Devil's Food cake mix. I also mixed semi-sweet and white chocolate chips, because it was what I had on hand. And, I think that I will cut down the 1/3 C evaporated milk that is added to the caramels a little. I found the caramel stayed a little too gooey for my taste.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

First off, I was talking with a cousin of mine and sharing one of my favorite nutrition websites. It got me thinking that many of you may like it, too. It is nutritiondata.com. I use it mostly to analyze the nutritional value of my recipes or to calculate calories (etc.) per serving in the foods that I make. Check it out. You can build your own pantry and analyze your recipes, too.

Okay, on to the FOOD! Having had nearly a month off, it is a little hard to get back into the swing of having my plan together by Saturday night. But, here it goes . . . better late than never!

Sunday - dinner with my family and cousins
Monday - Bruschetta Chicken Bake, broccoli, salad
Tuesday - Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Crostinis
Wednesday - Huevos Rancheros, fruit salad
Thursday - Tyler's Ultimate Beef Tacos, grilled corn
Friday - Farfalle with Zucchini
Saturday - Homemade Pizza

Yeah, that's right we ate out twice last weekend - the Mariners' game and a RARE date without the kids.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Family Reunion: Take 2

You would not believe the incredible week that we have had in SUNNY San Diego. And, to top it all off we had incredible food.

First of all, my sweet Aunt KaraLyn fed us OFTEN in her beautiful back yard. She made us breakfast the first morning we were there. We had Baked Praline French Toast with Praline Syrup, a Hashbrown and Sausage Tart, and watermelon. After our Cook Reunion, she fed us again twice. The first night we had a Mexican BBQ. We had a Shrimp Dip appetizer and Grilled Fajitas with all the fixings (grilled steak and chicken, frefried beans, fresh salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, chopped cilantro) and homemade lemonade. Our final meal with her was panini sandwiches. And my cousins made a Wild Rice Salad and Rhubbarb Upside-Down Cake.

The food from our family reunion was wonderful, too! I am working on pulling those recipes along with other family favorites together on another cooking blog!

Baked Praline French Toast
3 eggs
2/3 C milk
3 T sugar
¼ tsp vanilla
8 slices French or Italian bread (1" slices)
4 T butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the first 4 ingredients. Soak bread in mixture for 2 minutes. Melt butter in 9x13" dish. Put in bread, 1 layer thick. Bake 15 minutes turn and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Praline Syrup
¾ C brown sugar
¼ C light corn syrup
3 T water
Pinch salt
1 T butter
¼ tsp vanilla
¼ C pecans

Combine first four ingredients, bring to a boil, simmer 2-3 minutes, and remove from heat. Stir in butter, vanilla, and pecans.

Hashbrown and Sausage Tarts
hasbrown patties (prepared)
sauteed peppers & onions
brown & serve sausage (diced)
grated mexican cheese mix

Brown hashbrown patties to crisp the outside. Top with peppers and onions, sausage, and cheese. Broil to melt the cheese.

Yucatan Barbeque Shrimp Dip
The amounts of the ingredients are very flexible.
2 lbs Monterey Jack Cheese
1 lb. frozen or fresh small shrimp (tails off)
1 cup fresh salsa
1 tsp cinnamon
Tortilla chips

Slice the cheese in 1/4 inch thick slices. Overlap on the bottom of a heavy frying pan. Layer with shrimp, salsa, and sprinkle the cinnamon on the top. Heat on the barbeque until the cheese is totally melted. Serve with chips.

Panini Sandwiches ala Aunt KaraLyn

Ciabotta Chicken Sandwiches
Cajun blackened chicken breasts
honey, drizzled on one side of bread
thinly sliced green apples
brie cheese, thinly sliced
spring greens or spinach


New York Panini
ham and turkey
mayo
pesto
red peppers (sweet roasted in jar or can)
munster cheese

Turkey Panini
turkey
bleu cheese/mayo (5 Tbsp soft bleu cheese+ 1/3 cup mayo)
shallots (slightly browned in olive oil, about 10 minutes)
cranberry spread
spinach or romaine lettuce

Short Week Dinner Menu

Having just gotten back from a trip, here is our shortened dinner menu:

Wednesday - pizza from our favorite place
Thursday - Nachos, zucchini, fruit
Friday - Bruschetta Chicken Bake, broccoli, garden salad
Saturday - Homemade Tomato Soup, and Grilled Cheese Crostinis

I think I also try this or that for breakfast on Sunday morning. If sticking with my resolve to eat better, exercise and lose those last five "baby pounds"; I will be fixing the latter. But, they both look really good for different reasons.

P.S. After not cooking nearly all month, you would think that I would be more excited to cook. But, dinner was not on my mind while trying to plan. Dessert was, I think that is a bad sign for a "diet".

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chicken Pasta Salad with a Twist!

Okay, so do you remember this? Well, I love to make a 1/2 or 1/4 batch and put it in the fridge for quick lunches for ME. (Sometimes, it is hard to fifnd the time to grab a HEALTHY bite to eat when juggling two kids and their schedules!) Anyway, at the suggestion of my darling cousin, Rachel, I added curry to the recipe. She told me that they have the same thing at the MOA Cafe only it's curried. Well, I tried it and it was so yummy!

If you want to try it too: Cut the original recipe to 1/4 its size. That will leave you with 1/4 C coleslaw dressing and 1/4 C mayo (or plain yogurt) to mix for the dressing. Just mix in 1/2 tsp of curry powder as you go. Stir it together, pour over the other ingredient, and stir again.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Ok, we're off to a slow start this week. Yesterday was crazy because we thought that our toddler had the chicken pox, so I spent all day trying to keep him and the baby separated. Needless to say, there isn't much time to plan a menu when you're doing that - and, now, there isn't much time left before we head off to our next reunion. So, here it is:

Tuesday - Porcupine Meatballs, broccoli, salad (have to use a lot of lettuce from our garden)
Wednesday - Anniversary Chicken, green beans, salad, fruit
Thursday - Smokey Chipotle and Black Bean Chilaquiles (with the addition of some shredded chicken), corn, fruit salad
Friday - YO-YO Dinner (Stands for You're On Your Own. We love you honey, can't wait to see you next week in SD!)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Family Reunion Eats & Treats

We just returned from a wonderful family reunion in Bear Lake, UT. And, as it often is with our family gatherings the food was amazing!

We started off Monday night with Grandpa's No-Bone Ribs, ceasar salad and broccoli.
Every morning Grandpa and the Uncles made a camping style breakfast of eggs, hashbrowns, sausage, pancakes and/or french toast.
Tuesday for lunch we had Chicken Salad Wraps. And for dinner a true BBQ of burgers, Aunt KaraLyn's Potato Salad, chips, and watermelon - followed by Heritage Raisin Cake with Penuche Frosting.
Wednesday we had lasagna, french bread, green beans and of course another amazing Aunt Terri Salad. Wednesday night we had an UN-birthday party with chocolate cake, raisin cake with penuche frosting, and Caitlin's Carrot Cake with Toasted Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.
Thursday was traditional "lake food" with Aunt Louise's "Order-Ahead Quesadillas" topped with sour cream, fresh avocado, salsa and mango salsa.
Then, Friday morning, we hit the road with the best sack lunches we could create.

What a wonderful week of memories. Having a full belly didn't hurt either!

Aunt KaraLyn's Potato Salad
6 med potatoes
1/4 c. chopped onion*
Salt & Pepper
1/4 c. Italian dressing
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. celery
2 hard boiled eggs
Olives
1/4 c. chopped pickle or relish*
(*opt)

Wash and boil potatoes for 30 mins or until tender. Drain; cool and peel. Cut potatoes into cubes; combine with onion in bowl. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and cover with Italian dressing. Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, add mayonnaise. Stir in celery, eggs, olives and pickles (if using).

At the reunion, KaraLyn used: chopped bread and butter pickles, chopped olives, and a ration of 1/6 Miracle Whip to 5/6 Mayo.

Ingredients (for a large group): 10 eggs, a whole jar of pickles, 2 small cans of chopped olives, 6 stalks of celery, a large onion, a whole jar of mayonnaise, about a cup of Miracle Whip, a whole bottle of Italian Salad dressing, and salt and pepper to taste

Aunt Louise's "Order-Ahead" Quesadillas
We had a checklist to fill out with our options/choices on it.
Flour or Corn tortilla
Refried beans
Chicken
Cheese
Onions
Green Peppers

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fourth of July

I've been busy planning a family reunion for my dad's family, and realized that I am "right up against" the Fourth of July. Yipee! Here's a few ideas for a fun and festive Fourth!

I believe is a good old-fashined BBQ on the fourth of July, but I highly recommend you try a new burger this year. Can I say YUM?!?

How about a patriotic version of my husband's favorite dessert with the All-American Trifle. Or a classice childhood favorite of mine: Flag Cake. (Pretty basic really, but the video gives you the idea.) Here is what I will be doing. I LOVE cheesecake, and it is a simple recipe, always good when you're cooking in someone else's home. Next year, when I have more time, I'm going for these. Or, if you're skipping the dessert option, here is a Fruit Flag that you could serve anytime - even breakfast!

For the kiddos, here is a t-shirt idea, and another, and another. Or, you could go with our family favorite of blue and red tye-die! And if you're not into the festive wear, you can throw a couple of these up in your front window.

Okay, there are some fun ideas to help you celebrate one of my FAVORITE holidays. (Wink, wink - I love all holidays, but the fourth of July is definitely toward the top of my list.) Enjoy a burger and the fireworks, and think of me!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Pizza Dinner

My family came to dinner last night. We had pizza and salad for dinner. We had classics and some new ones that became quick favorites. What I didn't think about is the "heat wave" we're having, and the fact that pizza bakes at 500 degrees. Oh well, it tasted good!

Caitlin's Asian Crunch Salad
BBQ Chicken pizza
Award Winning pizza (I don't really follow the exact measurements, just make it like a pizza in layers), and
Tomato-Basil pizza (we did the pesto version, and loved it!)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

"Flying by the seat of our pants!"

We have a short week of meal preparation ahead of us, as we drive to Utah for a family reunion. Here's what I'm thinking:

Sunday - pizza, salad, cookies and ice cream (Did I mention that we are about to melt to death here? As we served the ice cream, my husband said, "Wow, I don't think I've ever seen ice cream melt so fast!")
Monday - check out the Red Robin that just opened up down the road
Tuesday - something super easy and consumable in one sitting
Wednesday - see Tuesday
Thursday - on the road
Friday - Happy 4th of July. We'll be in Utah BBQing with the in-laws.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Birthday Dinner!

Caitlin made dinner for me tonight. Here's what we had:

Lemon and Garlic Roasted Chicken
Gorgonzola and Porcini Mushroom Risotto
Warm Vegetable Salad
Vanilla Icream topped with Grilled Pineapple and Bananas Sauce with Honey and Lime

How special do I feel?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

My husband is out of town this week AGAIN. Most likely, we will be spending the week with my parents and sisters. Hooray for sister #2 coming home from college! I will try to post about the yummy food that we are eating along the way.

Everyone help out by posting what you are planning this week for dinner. I always request help on the week's when I'm not cooking, and NOBODY responds. I know you're reading this, so post your menu plan! It helps to give all of us ideas for dinner.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sleep In Omelet: Recipe Review

Picture from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
We had this Sunday morning for breakfast. Since it was Father's Day and Joshua's Blessing it was a big day, and I needed something fast. I served it with orange juice, fruit salad and bacon.

I followed the size of the recipe exactly. However, I did cut the amount of butter from 1 1/2 sticks to about 6 Tbsp. I just sliced my "pats of butter" a lot thinner. It was so rich that you really can only eat a small-ish serving. My husband didn't care for the texture of the cream cheese on top of the casserole, and said that he would have crumbled the bacon over the top.

Overall, I thought it was good, but I have had other versions that I like just as well. Will we do it again? Maybe.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Joshua's Blessing Dinner

Graciously, Mom hosted EVERYONE at her house for Joshua's Blessing and Father's Day dinner. We had a simple menu, that was delicious!

Marinated, BBQ-grilled Chicken
Tossed Lemon and Strawberry Salad
Tri-Colore Orzo Salad (substituted spinach for the arugula)
Aunt Terri's Pear and Feta Salad
Grilled Asparagus
Tamara's Homemade Rolls
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

Tossed Lemon and Strawberry Salad
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C corn oil
3 Tbsp lemon zest
1/4 C lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp mustard seed
1/4 C sliced almonds
3/4 C dried cranberries
3 green apples
15 whole strawberries
12 oz. raw spinach

Combine first 4 ingredients in a blender. Add mustard seed and blend again. Toast almonds on a cookie sheet at 350*F, for about 3 minutes. Rinse and diced apples. Rinse and slice strawberries. Wash spinach and remove stems, tear into bite-size pieces. Toss spinach with dressing and top with almonds, cranberries, apples, and strawberries. Serve immediately.


Aunt Terri's Pear and Feta Salad
Salad:
1 bag Riviera or mixed salad greens
1 pear (Bartlett or Bosc) cut in ½ “chunks
1 cup crumbled Feta
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup caramelized or toasted Pecans
Dressing: (only make ½ the recipe)
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
¾ cup sugar (you could try Splenda)
2 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. salt
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 cups vegetable oil
1/1/2 T. poppy seeds

Blend onion, sugar, mustard, salt and vinegar in a blender or food processor. Slowly drizzle vegetable oil while blending. Stir in poppy seeds, don’t blend them up.
Add dressing just before serving. Even ½ the dressing recipe is too much for one salad you will have left over dressing.


Tamara's Homemade Rolls
2 Tbsp yeast
2 C warm water
2/3 C powdered milk
1/2 C sugar
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 C melted margarine
7 - 7 1/2 C flour

Dissolve the yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, eggs, margarine, and 2 C flour. Mix until smooth. Mix enough of the remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto a lightly foured surface, knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 min). Place in a greased bowl, turn greased side up, cover. Let rise in a warm place until double in size. Form rolls. Let rise 40 minutes before baking. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake rolls for 15-20 minutes.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

This is a weird week, dinner-wise. On Sunday, we are blessing our new baby and will have lots of family around. My mother has so graciously agreed to host everyone at her house for Father's Day and the family event. Then, my husband is gone all week, but my in-laws are here through Thursday. So, here we go . . .

Sunday - "Sleep in Omelet", Dinner at Mom's
Monday - Ginger-Peanut Chicken Salad Wraps, fruit
Tuesday - Tomato-Basil Bisque with Grilled Cheese Crostinis, broccoli
Wednesday - Creamy Black Bean Salsa Chicken, fruit salad
Thursday - Leftovers or something easy
Friday - (see Thursday night)
Saturday - Going out with my husband to celebrate MY birthday!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fun Kids Cooking Ideas

I found this website associated with PBS. It looks like it has some fun ideas for cooking with your little ones.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Two Meals at Mom's

We spent Tuesday night through Wednesday's dinner at Mom's house. And, the food was so yummy!

Tuesday we had:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cafe Rio Pork Recipe

Cafe Rio Pork
3 lbs prok, boneless
3 1/8 C water
1 2/3 C coke
5/8 C sugar
1/2 clove fresh garlic
1 heaping Tbsp chicken boullion granules
1/2 pkt taco seasoning
1 onion, carrot, serrano and guajillo chile

Place chopped onion, carrot, and chiles in a cheese cloth. Place all ingredients into a crockpot and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Take cheesecloth out and discard. Take the meat out, reserving the cooking liquid. Shred the meat.

Mix 3 lbs pork
3/4 C sugar
1 1/2 C Homemade Chili Sauce Brand
2 C reserved pork stock

Put all ingredients in a 1 gallon bag. Place in fridge until ready to use.

1 bag pork
1/4 C butter

Melt butter completely before adding to pork.
Serves 15

I swapped out 1/2 green bell pepper for the chiles. I didn't do the cheesecloth-thing. I just cut the veggies large and put them into the liquid. Then, I strained them out of the stock.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

I am pleased to say that we ate ALL of our planned meals last week. I was asked to take dinner to a friend who just had a baby last night, so my dinner menu is late getting planned and posted. Hopefully, this week will be as successful as last week.

Sunday - Pink-Eyed Bean Soup, salad, rolls
Monday - Beef Taco Bake, zucchini, fruit salad
Tuesday - "Cafe Rio" Pork Salads (trying a new recipe this time), fruit
Wednesday - Ginger-Peanut Chicken Salad Wraps, fruit salad
Thursday - Tomato Basil Bisque with Crostini Grilled Cheese, broccoli
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Shepherd's Pie, salad, rolls

Next Sunday's Breakfast? We will definitely be trying this recipe, as my in-laws will be with us for the coming week.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

This Week's New Recipe Reviews

Peanut-Crusted Chicken with Pineapple Salsa
original recipe here
I cut the recipe in. When don't I, really? I also use small (young) chicken breasts instead of the chicken cutlets that the recipe calls for. I found that the breasts took longer, than the 2 minutes the recipe indicates, to cook. Suprise, suprise! So, if you are going to use breasts, I recommend browning on each side for 1 minute in the pan. Then, transferring to a baking dish and baking at 350 degrees until cooked, probably around 15-20 minutes.

We really liked the flavor of this. And, although, he questioned my judgement at first, my husband really liked the pineapple salsa. I have to say, I questioned the meal at first when I looked at it on my plate, but it was delicious!

Spring Sheepherd's Pie
original recipe here
Overall, I am not good at the "salt & pepper to taste" thing. So, I thought the recipe needed more salt and pepper. I cut the recipe in half for my family. If I make this again, I will leave the chicken/vegetable/gravy mixture at its original measurements and cut only the potatoes in half. Did that make sense? Anyway, the potatoes were way too thick! (Which is a problem I often come up with in Rachael Ray's recipes.)

Other than needing more salt, it was really good. And, it was a nice alternative to you're standard shepherd's pie. Although, my husband says that my mom's recipe is still his favorite. "Why mess with a good thing?" he says.

Banana Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins
original recipe here
This recipe was not specific as to the number of muffins it made. When I had filled my muffin cups 2/3 full, I still had a lot of batter! So, I mounded them up to fit in the 12 cups, which made the cups about FULL. When I checked them at the recommended cooking time of 17 minutes, they were not done, so I added 4 minutes of baking time total (in 2 minutes increments).

They were so yummy! My two-year-old ate almost 1 whole muffin as an afternoon snack. I will definitely make them again.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mmmmm! Muffins



I just came across this recipe and it just so happens that I have yucky, brown bananas waiting to be turned into yummy bread. I can't wait to serve them to Andrew for breakfast tomorrow!



***Update: These were so yummy! They exceeded my expectations. My toddler loved them because they satisfied his sweet cravings, and I loved them because he wasn't just eating a cookie.***

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Grandma's Soup

I'm sure that I hated this as a child. But, now the memories draw me to it. It doesn't hurt that my husband loves it, too. So, if you need a home-cooked bowl of love, give this one a try!
Pink-Eyed Bean Soup
1 1/2 C pink-eyed beans, dried
celery, chopped
onions, chopped
carrots, chopped
potatoes, chopped
1/4 C ketchup (more to taste 1/2 - 1 C)
salt & pepper
hamhock, hambone, or cut ham

Cover beans with water (and let sit overnight). The next morning, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and hambone and cook all day. Add carrots 1 1/2 hours prior to serving. 1 hour prior to serving, add other ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste.

This is even better the second day!

*I clarified a few thing with my mom about this recipe. I have adjusted the instructions above. It is critical to add the hambone at the beginning of the simmering process to infused the flavor. -1/8/2010

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