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
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

Monday, June 2, 2008

Asparagus Tip

Peel the lower 3/4 of your asparagus spears, for more uniform cooking.
Here is the recipe, that the tip actually came from, for Smoked Turkey Wrapped Asparagus. I haven't tried this recipe yet, but I did try the tip. AND . . . The asparagus did cook more evenly, plus it was more appealing to my two-year-old.


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