Sunday, February 28, 2010

Menu Plan March 1-7, 2010

MON 1: Pork Chops in Lemon & Garlic Marinade, spaetzel, mixed vegetables

TUES 2: Cheesesteaks, French fries

WED 3: Baked-potato bar, salad

THURS 4: Spaghetti

FRI 5: Baked Swai, Tami's Greek Potatoes, mixed vegetables

SAT 6: Cub Scout Blue & Gold Dinner!

SUN 7: Baked Chicken with Parmesan & Herbs, Orzo with garlic & onions, vegetables

TO TRY LATER: Amanda's Farfalle Vesiviana

UB's Dijon-Onion Chicken or Fish

My uncle (we call him UB) is a really good cook, but often he makes things that have exotic ingredients. So when he sends me a truly simple recipe, I like to give it a try.

Here's what I got in an email the other day:

a pretty good recipe for chicken or fish

crush some durkees onions in a bag until like crumbs
melt some butter and add dijon mustard-mix

dip chicken/fish into butter and then dip into onion crumbs

bake at 375-- it really tastes good (especially fish---scrod=tilapia)

See? It's so simple it doesn't come with measurements! As you can see, UB is not too fond of using the SHIFT key, so there are no caps or punctuation. This drives the English major in me up a wall. The recipe doesn't have a name, either, so I had to take care of that.

(Oh, and just for the record, he was "UB" long before Uncle Buck.)

UB's Dijon-Onion Chicken

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flattened
1 1/4 cups Durkee's Fried Onions, crushed
3 TBL melted butter
5 heaping TBL Dijon mustard

Cover a baking sheet with foil and brush some olive oil onto the foil to prevent sticking. Combine butter and mustard. Dip chicken into butter mix and then into crushed onions. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes at 375.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What's in the Cookie Jar?

I found the link to this recipe at Simplemama's blog, and they're quite good:

Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, and Pecan Cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1 cup regular oats (I used quick oats)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Beat sugars and butter with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and egg; beat until blended. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in pecans and chips. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Cool on pans 2 minutes, then remove to wire racks.

I was a little freaked out at the consistency of the dough; it was almost like a granola bar dough, very crumbly. I thought that maybe there wasn't enough butter in here. But since the recipe only makes 3 dozen cookies, I figured it was only a small batch to experiment with. And once I baked them, they tasted VERY good. Instead of parchment, I used silicone liners on my baking sheets.

Furnishing the Kitchen

The last new furniture that got purchased around here were the computer desks and the kids beds.  Our dining-room set and kitchen set are both hand-me-downs.

Not that I'm complaining--there are family memories attached to these pieces, and sometimes memories take precedence over things like decor.

But there are times that I look around my cramped kitchen and wonder if there's any way to make it a little less crowded and a little more comfortable to work in.  We're talking about a 10 X 11 space here, so there's not a lot of room to play around.   When I'm making school lunches in the morning, there's really not room for any of the kids to get their breakfast at the same time.

Suggestions are welcome--but I'm keeping my hand-me-down table, because Granma baked there first.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Menu Plan February 22-28, 2010

MONDAY: Enchiladas using leftover roast pork, rice, corn

TUESDAY: Homemade hamburger helper

WEDNESDAY: Chicken Crescent Casserole

THURSDAY: It's Chick-Fil-A night for the kids' school, and TheDad's away on business. Time to "eat mor chikin!"

FRIDAY: Cheese ravioli with marinara sauce and "Olive Garden Breadsticks"

SATURDAY: we won't be home

SUNDAY: UB's Onion-Dijon Chicken, sides TBA

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chicken Piccata Bites

This was my daughter's idea. We like it better than regular chicken piccata, as you get more sauce on the chicken!

CHICKEN PICCATA BITES

Get the recipe with nutrition information at Cook and Count!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Menu Plan February 15-21, 2010

We wound up having our Valentine's Day date last night (at my favorite restaurant, with the fabulous Romanian Chicken Paprikash and homemade spaetzel, and decadent lemon pound cake for dessert).

SUNDAY: Hungry Girl's Exploding Taquitos (I'm using beef taco meat instead of chicken)--this was a new recipe, and we weren't crazy about the results. The taquitos never rolled properly. We'd rather just have regular tacos--much less work!

MONDAY: Beef paysanne with noodles, broccoli

TUESDAY: Chicken Piccata bites, rice, mixed vegetables

WEDNESDAY: Soup and grilled-cheese sandwiches

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: pizza

SATURDAY: Melt-in-your-mouth braised & barbecued chicken, rice, green beans almondine

SUNDAY: Chili over baked potatoes

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

Barb at Bless Us O Lord recently posted her new favorite Brussels Sprouts recipe.  It looks delicious, and I'll definitely try it.  It's a little more complicated, though, than the recipe I've been using lately.  Just something I came up with on my own.  I like it a lot--but I like my brussels sprouts plain and simple.

Olive oil for the pan
Fresh brussels sprouts (6 per serving)
Salt and pepper to taste (I use kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper)

Use a skillet with a lid for this recipe.
Cut brussels sprouts in half (quarters if they're large).
Add brussels sprouts to pan and stir.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Allow to cook without stirring or turning for about 5 minutes or until they begin to brown nicely on one side.  Turn brussels sprouts and put the lid on the pan.  Steam them for another 5 minutes or so, until cooked through.  They will be tender but not limp.

Menu Plan February 8-14, 2009

MON 8: I attempted to re-create Olive Garden's Chicken and Gnocchi soup, with not-so-fabulous results. The breadsticks, however, were a big hit. I think the oven temperature (400) was a little high, as the breadsticks were very dark on the bottom and a little crispier on the outside than I'd have liked. No one else seemed to mind, and they all want me to make these again.

TUES 9: Burgers and macaroni and cheese

WED 10: Calzones with sausage, peppers and onions and mozzarella cheese

THURS 11: Spaghetti

FRI 12: Baked flounder, rice and vegetables

SAT 13: Chili-and-cheese-topped baked potatoes

SUN 14: Valentine's Day! Looks like TheDad and I will be going out to eat. Takeout for the kids.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Slow-simmered Chicken Stock

I'm spending the snow day today (we've got about 2 feet of snow out there and it's still coming down) making chicken stock.

The last two times I roasted chicken, I knew I wasn't going to have time to make stock from the carcass, so I popped the carcass into a ziplock bag and froze it.

This morning I dug out my deep stockpot (the one with the handy-dandy pasta-draining insert) and loaded up that colander with the two chicken carcasses, one cut-up onion, half a pound of baby carrots that were a little past their prime, some celery tops (including the leaves), a handful of dried parsley, some kosher salt, black pepper, 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, some rosemary and thyme.

It smells great in here.  The stock has been cooking for 4 hours now.

I'll let it cool a bit, then remove the colander with all the solid stuff, then chill the broth so I can remove the fat from the top.  Now I'll have the soup base all made for Monday evening's dinner.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Caramelized Baked Chicken

A yummy way to cook skin-on chicken!

3 pounds chicken wings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 cup honey
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Place chicken in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Mix together the oil, soy sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken.
Bake in preheated oven for one hour, or until sauce is caramelized.

Source: happymomof4 at Family Corner

Cheesy Unmashed Potatoes

Like cheese fries, but you have to eat these with a fork. YUM.

6 potatoes (russet, Yukon Gold, red-skin), NOT PEELED
1/4 pound bacon, cooked (my kids said it needed more bacon)
1 TBL butter
1 small-to-medium onion, diced
2 TBL minced garlic
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or Cheddar-Jack cheese

Cut the potatoes in eight pieces each and boil for 45 minutes to an hour until they are fully cooked. Meanwhile, cook the bacon. Remove to drain the bacon and cook the onion in the bacon grease. Add garlic when onion is almost cooked. Drain cooked potatoes and return to cooking pot. Add butter, onions and garlic, crumbled bacon and cheese. Stir to coat, set the lid on the pan and let it sit 5 minutes before serving.

SOURCE: The original recipe was shared by a friend of a friend on Facebook, but these are my modifications.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Menu Plan February 1-7. 2010

MON. 1: D's Chicken and Stuffing Casserole, Rice, Irish Brown Bread

TUES. 2: Continental Beef and Noodles, vegetables

WED. 3: Honey Mustard Chicken, Cheesy Unmashed Potatoes, vegetables

THURS 4: Spaghetti and meatballs

FRI 5:  dinner out at Chili's

SAT 6: Tandoori Chicken, Potatoes AuGratin (thank you Betty Crocker) and vegetables

SUN 7: Super Bowl Sunday: hoagies (from our church's hoagie sale), Barb's Pinto and Cheese Nachos

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