Friday, December 21, 2007

Menu Plan for the third week of Advent 2007 through 12/26

OK, so it's Friday and I have not yet done this. But I did make the plan last weekend and followed it. Doesn't that count?

SUNDAY: Chinese takeout

MONDAY: Chicken Chili Blanco, Country French Bread

TUESDAY: Spaghetti

WEDNESDAY: Spicy Chicken from the Nov/Dec. Taste of Home Simple and Delicious (it was a wing recipe but I used b/s chicken breasts), fettuccine Alfredo (thanks, Lipton) and broccoli

THURSDAY: Beef Enchiladas, macaroni and cheese, mixed vegetables

FRIDAY: Cheese ravioli with marinara sauce

SATURDAY: Chicken crescent casserole

SUNDAY: Beef barley soup, Honey Wheat Bread

MONDAY: Christmas Eve at TheDad's cousin's house: Polish food with all the trimmings

TUESDAY: Christmas Dinner: filet mignon roast, baked potatoes, green beans, bread (to be determined later)

WEDNESDAY: Christmas "The Day After" with my side of the family; Mom's making turkey and boiled ham

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Menu Plan for the second week of Advent 2007

SUNDAY: Five Cheese Lasagna

MONDAY: Chicken paprika, noodles, green beans

TUESDAY: Teriyaki pork, brown rice, broccoli

WEDNESDAY: Roast chicken, sweet potatoes, vegetable

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Pizza for Middle Sister's birthday party (it's an "awake-over!")

SATURDAY: Enchiladas made from frozen leftover roast beef

Five-Cheese Lasagna in the Little Nesco

We tried this tonight and it was very good. It's a variation on a recipe from the MomsMenu forums. This recipe is designed for a 4-qt. Nesco roaster but if you don't have one of those, just use a 9X13 pan (you might need a few more lasagna noodles in that case, though!)

5-Cheese Lasagna

12 lasagna noodles
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
8 oz mozzarella-provolone blend, shredded
1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 tsp oregano
3 cups your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used a batch of marinara)

Mix the Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese together.
Spread a little sauce on the bottom of the cookwell. Top with 3 lasagna noodles.
Add half the Cheddar-Jack mix, sprinkle with oregano, then top with sauce.
Make another layer of noodles, the rest of the Cheddar-Jack, and more sauce.
Make a third layer of noodles and top with the mozzarella-provolone mix. Add more sauce and top with the last noodles. Top the whole thing with sauce and sprinkle with Romano cheese.
Cover the cookwell and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

(If you're using a 9X13, the original recipe says to bake uncovered. I haven't tried it this way.)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Menu Plan for the first week of Advent 2007

SUNDAY: Beef Paysanne, bow tie noodles, mixed vegetables

MONDAY: Pollo con limon y ajillo, rice, green beans

TUESDAY: Spaghetti

WEDNESDAY: Roast Chicken

THURSDAY: Big Brother's Cross-Country Team Banquet

FRIDAY: Three Cheese Lasagna

SATURDAY: Beef Barley Soup from the freezer

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Menu Plan for the week of November 25

SUNDAY: Ranch-breaded chicken tenders, yellow rice, green beans

MONDAY: Chicken pot pie

TUESDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

WEDNESDAY: Pot roast, mushrooms and onions, noodles and gravy

THURSDAY: Hawaiian Chicken, pineapple, jasmine rice, broccoli

FRIDAY: Linguine with shrimp marinara

SATURDAY: Breakfast for dinner: Omelets (I like mine with onions and cheese)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Menu Plan Week of November 25

OK, I forgot to do this on Monday. But the menu was done on Saturday and sitting here on my desk.

SUNDAY: Alphabet Soup, Danielle Bean's Beer Rolls

MONDAY: Heather's Tandoori Chicken, rice, fresh green beans, the rest of the beer rolls

TUESDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread

WEDNESDAY: Spanish rice with pork, salad

THURSDAY: Thanksgiving Feast at my sister's. There will be over 40 for appetizers to celebrate our great-aunt's birthday, and over 20 for dinner.

FRIDAY: Pierogi

SATURDAY: Ranch breaded chicken tenders, baked yams, broccoli

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Christmas Giveaway at 5 Minutes for Mom

Christmas Giveaway 2007 Sweepstakes

5 Minutes for Mom is hosting a Christmas Giveaway! Every day until November 24, a new contest will be posted. Leave a comment to enter. Get there by clicking the image above.

And there's also a Pedal Car giveaway going on at the same site. Use this link to reach that giveaway. Again, leave a comment to enter.


Lindsey at Enjoy the Journey is having a contest! The prize is an ebook called

A Recipe for Christmas Joy by Mary Beth Whelan

Enter here!

UPDATE: Contest is now closed. Congratulations to the winner!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Kool-Aid Stains

I tried this tip on Sunday after Little Brother had way too much Kool-Aid at a Boy Scout event.

Oops, sorry. He had way too much Bug Juice. (That's Scoutish for "Kool-Aid.")

Anyway, Little Brother was sporting that trademark Kool-Aid mustache, which is not an approved fashion accessory at his school.

But I removed it in only 2 minutes--gently! I just took a wet washcloth, put a little toothpaste on there, and rubbed his face. Before I knew it, his face was clean, and minty fresh too.

Visit the home of Works-for-Me Wednesday for more tips!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, November 12, 2007

SUNDAY: Favorite Chicken, Brazilian Rice, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, green beans

MONDAY: Pork Chops with maple syrup and balsamic vinegar, roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes, broccoli

TUESDAY: Spicy Orange Chicken for grownups; Chicken piccata for kids (same base chicken, different sauce), jasmine rice, mixed vegetables

I don't often make 2 different main dishes, but I really like this Spicy Orange Chicken, and the kids are not big fans of it. So I figured out a way to have what I like and let them have what they like with a minimum of extra work. TheDad is happy for either dish, but he'll probably have the Orange Chicken with me.

WEDNESDAY: Beef enchiladas made with leftover pot roast, macaroni and cheese, salad

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

FRIDAY: Salmon, fettuccine alfredo, vegetables

SATURDAY: Whether I will cook dinner at all on Saturday is a big fat "maybe" but if I do cook, we MIGHT have this: Taco Skillet.

Visit Menu Plan Monday for many fabulous menus and recipes!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Food Budgeting

What's your food budget?

I feed our family of 5 (including Big Brother, the Teenage Bottomless Pit) for about $125-150 a week. That includes food, lunches for everyone but TheDad (the kids mostly bring lunch to school), paper products and cleaning supplies.

According to the USDA, if I follow a "low-cost" plan, I should be spending $209.70! YIKES! For that kind of money, we could eat fresh fish, organic meat and all kinds of gourmet treats. On the "liberal plan" I'd spend $270! But I really don't think anyone is feeling deprived by what's served here.

And apparently the USDA guidelines do not include "nonfoods" like dish soap, shampoo, Comet and tissues--but all of those are included in my budget.

H/T to Angie at Many Little Blessings.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Food Safety Information

You can't be too careful!

With Thanksgiving coming up, this is my friendly reminder to you: purchase a meat thermometer if you don't already own one.

And print out the information here: Is It Done Yet? I have this hanging on the inside of one of my kitchen cabinets.

I cook my turkey with stuffing "in the bird" so I use TWO meat thermometers: a probe-style digital one for the turkey and a conventional dial type for the stuffing. My stuffing contains raw pork sausage, and I want to make sure that meat cooks before I serve it!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, November 5, 2007

Last week was one of those times when we just didn't work off the planned menu very well. Hopefully this week will go better.

SUNDAY: Pizza with friends

MONDAY: Teriyaki pork, jasmine rice, broccoli

TUESDAY: Chili, macaroni & cheese, salad. This has been on the menu for 3 weeks running but we haven't had it yet. Let's see if the third time's a charm!

WEDNESDAY: Chicken, roasted sweet potatoes

THURSDAY: Spaghetti, garlic bread

FRIDAY: Salmon, fettuccine alfredo, vegetables

SATURDAY: Pork paprikas, noodles, green beans with carrots

Monday, October 29, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, October 29

SUNDAY: Pot roast, mushrooms, onions, noodles and gravy

MONDAY: Tandoori Chicken, baked potato, vegetables

TUESDAY: Lemon Mushroom Herb Chicken, rice, crescent rolls, vegetables

WEDNESDAY: Meatball sandwiches. I've got the meatballs all made already, and I'll just start a roaster full of sauce in the afternoon.

THURSDAY: Pork Teriyaki, rice, broccoli

FRIDAY: Pierogi (bought frozen at our church's Fall Festival)


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Menu Plan week of October 22

OK, so I am really late doing this menu plan!

SUNDAY: Chicken parmesan, spaghetti, salad

MONDAY: Beef Paysanne with bow-tie noodles (New recipe, and it was delicious!)

TUESDAY: School fund-raiser night at Chick-Fil-A

WEDNESDAY: Chicken lo mein (a takeoff on my cashew chicken recipe, minus the nuts--I have to use up all the leftover spaghetti!)

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

FRIDAY: If we have One More Pasta Dish this week I think the family will rebel! So it will be Spanish Garlic Shrimp over jasmine rice.

SATURDAY: A Pork Dish to be Named Later

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Scarborough Fair Chicken Soup

2 bone-in chicken thighs (frozen is fine)
6 cups chicken broth
1 onion, chopped fine
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
handful of dried parsley
seasonings to taste:
black pepper
onion powder
garlic powder
1/2 lb bow-tie pasta (farfalle)

I made this soup in my 4-qt Nesco. Put in the chicken thighs and the broth. Turn on roaster to 225 until it boils, then down to 200. Let cook a few hours. Remove the chicken and let cool. Add remaining ingredients. Remove skin and bone from chicken thighs, cube the meat and return it to the pot. 20 minutes before serving, pour in the pasta.

Serves 6, generously.

This soup couldn't have been easier or more delicious. See if you can season it without channeling your inner Simon and Garfunkel.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Menu Plan week of October 15

I feel like I'm in something of a cooking rut here. And I can't figure out what I will be making for dinner Wednesday night. I need some good inspiration.

SUNDAY: We visited my parents. Grilled London Broil and "turkey London Broil" along with boiled red potatoes, corn on the cob and green beans.

MONDAY: Chicken Crescent Casserole

TUESDAY: Spaghetti

WEDNESDAY: I have NO idea!

THURSDAY: Taco skillet

FRIDAY: Shrimp fried rice

SATURDAY: Philly cheesesteak casserole (this one is an "invention in progress" so I will post it after the fact; inspired by a recipe I saw posted at Family Corner)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Menu Plan week of October 8

SUNDAY: visiting my in-laws. Pop's a great cook and my family is an appreciative audience--a winning combination.

MONDAY: Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetables

TUESDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs (time to make the Big Batch)

WEDNESDAY: Hawaiian chicken with pineapple, Jasmine rice, broccoli

THURSDAY: Spanish rice with pork, corn muffins, salad

FRIDAY: Cheese ravioli with marinara sauce, salad

SATURDAY: Minny's Monte Cristo Sandwiches (new recipe of the week), fresh fruit

Monday, October 01, 2007

Menu Plan week of October 1

MONDAY: Pork medallions with onions, hash brown casserole, vegetable

TUESDAY: Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup and homemade bread

WEDNESDAY: Chicken piccata

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Quesadillas

SATURDAY: Appetizer night--Pepperoni bread, chili cheese dip

SUNDAY: Roast chicken

Menu Plan for the Month of October 2007

Here are 30 dinners to be served in October. I left one day open for "eat out" or visiting.

In no particular order:
4 spaghetti (including "make the big batch")
Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup
Chicken noodle soup (using leg quarters)
Vegetable alphabet beef soup
Chicken piccata
2 Appetizer Night: Pepperoni bread, Chili cheese dip
Breakfast for Dinner
Filet mignon (it's on SALE! Won't this be a nice surprise?)
Spanish rice with pork
Oven stuffer roaster
2 shrimp meals, could be Spanish Garlic Shrimp, Rainbow Stir Fry, Shrimp Marinara or Quiche
Taco skillet
Pork chops
Pork roast
Ravioli marinara
Chili/hot dogs
Chicken noodle casserole
Pot roast
Hawaiian chicken
Cashew chicken
"Mummy dogs" for Halloween
Ranch chicken strips
Sausage with spaghetti

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Heather's Tandoori Chicken

Source: To Love, Honor and Blog II

This recipe has become a family favorite, though no one can remember what it's called, other than "that really good chicken." Get the recipe at Cook and Count!

Menu for the weeek of September 23, 2007

SUNDAY: Teriyaki pork, rice, broccoli

MONDAY: Spaghetti

TUESDAY: Chicken Divan, crescent rolls

WEDNESDAY: Roast pork with potatoes and sauerkraut, or maybe roast pork with caramelized onion, or maybe balsamic roast pork

THURSDAY: Swiss Chicken Melt, rice

FRIDAY: Shrimp marinara over linguine

SATURDAY: Who knows? TheDad and Big Brother are camping with the Boy Scouts in the Washington, DC area.

Thinking ahead to next Sunday: Tandoori Chicken

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, September 17

SUNDAY: Barbecued pork ribs, French fries, salad

MONDAY: Roast turkey breast with stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, crescent rolls

TUESDAY: Turkey noodle soup, salad

WEDNESDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

THURSDAY: Chicken quesadillas

FRIDAY: Pierogi, mushrooms, bread (I'm cheating and using Mrs. T's pierogi. Shh! Don't tell my in-laws!)

SATURDAY: Sausage and pepper sandwiches

Visit the home of Menu Plan Monday to see lots more menu ideas and recipes!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, September 10

SUNDAY: After serving a big brunch to the Boy Scout leaders, it was take-out pizza for dinner

MONDAY: Spicy Orange Chicken using the "lazy" method described at bottom; rice and broccoli

TUESDAY: We need a meal that can keep hot in the slow cooker for a little while since we're never sure what time Brig Brother will be home after a cross-country meet. This one works: Chicken paprikas, noodles

WEDNESDAY: Beef enchiladas, corn muffins, salad. This is a great way to use up leftover pot roast or roast beef--pour some canned enchilada sauce into a casserole dish, mix some sauce with shredded cooked beef, chopped onions and cheese, roll up enchiladas, and top with more sauce and cheese. Cover and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

THURSDAY: Roast chicken, potatoes, green beans

FRIDAY: Cheese ravioli with marinara sauce

SATURDAY: Pork ribs on the grill, macaroni salad

Visit the home of Menu Plan Monday and check out everyone else's recipes and meal ideas!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, September 3

One week ago today, this is what I was looking at:

But now it's back to reality!!

SUNDAY: Picnic with friends. We brought the Dr. Pepper Baked Beans and a batch of brownies (made by Middle Sister--she's got the magic touch when it comes to brownies)

MONDAY: Pork spareribs on the grill, macaroni salad, raw vegetable platter

TUESDAY: Turkey drumsticks for the kids, chicken chili blanco for grownups (this is already made and in the freezer, so I just need to defrost and heat it)

WEDNESDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

THURSDAY: Barbecue chicken pizza (I saw a recipe for this someplace. Tore it out of a magazine, I think. If I can't find it, I'm sure I can improvise easily.)

FRIDAY: Tilapia

SATURDAY: London broil on the grill

Visit the headquarters of Menu Plan Monday to get lots of great meal-planning ideas!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Menu Plan for the Month of September 2007

This month I decided to do my plan a little differently.

I sat down with my freezer inventory list and made a list of 30 dinners that can be made with meat already on hand. That would pretty much clean out my freezer but I buy meat when it's at a good price, so I'm always restocking a bit at a time.

As I go through the month I will pick a week's worth at a time from the list I made.

So here is my list for September:
3 after-school track meets need quick, easy meals: Taco Skillet, Chili or Hot Dogs, Quick Chicken Divan (Family Corner)

Spaghetti once a week (4 nights)

Meatless on Fridays: *Tilapia, *Ravioli marinara, Pierogi, Shrimp marinara

Regular dinners:
*Turkey drumsticks for the kids, chicken chili blanco for grownups
*Pot roast enchiladas
*Pork ribs
Roast chicken
Teriyaki pork
*Barbecue chicken pizza
*Chicken paprika
Swiss chicken melt
*Hot dogs
Cashew chicken
*Sausage & pepper sandwiches
*Spicy orange chicken
Roast pork & vegetables
*London broil
*Chicken noodle soup
Pork chops
Chicken piccata
*Eat out once

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tote Bag Contest

These are some gorgeous totes! I'd be heading to the library in high style with one of these, for sure.

Enter the contest by visiting this post and leave a comment, and link at your blog (if you have one).

Contest hosted by Musings of a Housewife.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, August 20

This is a two-week menu plan since we will be leaving for vacation at the Jersey Shore on Saturday.

MONDAY: Szechuan Chicken with rice (new recipe)

TUESDAY: Spaghetti

WEDNESDAY: Chicken pot pie

THURSDAY: Pork roast with roasted potatoes and carrots


VACATION DINNERS (in no particular order; it will depend on what each day brings in terms of weather and visitors)
1. Eat out
2. Spaghetti
3. Taco Skillet
4. Swiss Chicken Melt
5. Paula Deen's Sesame Chicken Strips
6. Pot roast
7. Spanish Garlic Shrimp

See you all in September!

Visit the home of Menu Plan Monday to see lots of creative menus and get some great recipes (that's where I found the Chicken Pot Pie we're having this week!)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Cookbook Review: Quick Fix Meals by Robin Miller

I've spent a good chunk of the afternoon browsing through Robin Miller's Quick Fix Meals, published in 2006 by the Food Network and Taunton Press.

I enjoy Robin Miller's show on the Food Network. While I have never wound up making one of her recipes, I've gained a lot of tips and strategies from watching the show.

This cookbook contains 200 recipes, advertised on the cover as "simple, delicious recipes to make mealtime easy." That's very true!

Here's what I liked about this book:
These are convenient meals without the use of convenience foods! Once in a while she calls for a canned ingredient, but I didn't see any recipes asking for boxed mixes (full of salt and sugar), jarred spaghetti sauce (again, the salt and sugar), or goopy condensed cream soup. This, by far, is the best part about the book.

Robin Miller's recipes depend on a planned menu. I'm all for that!

This book is LOADED with tips! There are storage tips, planning tips, prep tips, health tips, information about ingredients, easy variations, and more. Even if you don't make the recipes, read this book for the tips! And pages 2 through 11 are fully-packed with information that anyone can use with any recipe. It's totally worth reading.

The directions are clear and easy to follow. Cook times are broken down into prep time, active cooking time, and walk-away time.

Directions also come with suggestions for where you can "stop" in a recipe and store the food in the fridge or freezer for finishing and eating later.

The recipes are often healthy-but-flavorful twists on old favorites (such as cacciatore, fra diavolo, lo mein).

Here's what I didn't like:
I think I'd go broke buying all the ziplock bags she about using some reusable containers instead? Is Ziplock her sponsor?

The recipes were heavy on Thai, curry, and cilantro--3 flavors that are not popular with anyone in my family. We're not picky; in fact, I'd say my kids are fairly adventurous eaters, but we don't care for that kind of food.

All the text in the book is green and brown. It's kind of pretty, but I find it hard on the eyes. She tells stories about the recipe in green, and gives the information in brown. I'd prefer just using italics to set apart the story and keep all the text black.

Most of the pictures in the book were Robin Miller. Sometimes we see her with a pot, pan or knife in her hand. Sometimes we just see Robin Miller. I want to see the FOOD! Make me drool! Make me want to cook this recipe tonight so we can eat it! There's a color-photo section in the middle of the book, but I like to see a photo next to the recipe, not go hunting for it.

Love the stories, hate the bad jokes. And it gets a little old, hearing about how "crazy" her life is every day. Yes, that's the premise of the technique, but enough already.

I think it's safe to say that the things I didn't like were generally minor things, and not something that would put me off from the book.

All told, I'd give this book a B+.

**This is an unsolicited review. As a matter of fact, the book is a library book; I was not given a free copy and I have not yet purchased a copy. So there's nothing in it for me for sharing my opinion here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Flags

I love those little Post-It flags. They are fabulous for so many things!

* In a planner I had last year, there were no tabs to separate each month. I put a flag for each month; even labeled them!

* I have a few family favorite recipes in various cookbooks. The flags make it easy to find them quickly. Again, you can write on the flags!

* They work great as bookmarks.

I've gotten quite a few as free samples from the manufacturer. You can use them again and again--so they're frugal as well as useful. Works for me!

Visit Rocks in my Dryer to see links to the rest of the Works-for-Me Wednesday participants.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, August 13

Here's what's in the plan for this week:

MONDAY: I'll be picking up the kids at my parents' house; they stayed over there while TheDad and I attended a wedding. Hopefully we'll eat with my parents before we head for home--otherwise, I guess it will be fast food on the road.

TUESDAY: Steak fajitas and cheese quesadillas. We'll be using up the leftover London broil from Saturday in the fajitas. A friend gave us some green bell peppers from her garden so those will be great in the fajitas as well.

WEDNESDAY: Trying a new recipe! Spicy Orange Chicken that I picked up at "And Miles to Go." *

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

FRIDAY: Spanish Garlic Shrimp

SATURDAY: Barbecued Chicken

Check out all the other participants in Menu Plan Monday! It just keeps getting bigger and better.

Just a note about links: I have started a blog specifically to save all those delicious-sounding recipes I find through Menu Plan Monday or other online sources. This is basically to help me keep these recipes close at hand. So I noted the original source of the recipe when I had that available. When I try the recipe, I will update my "untried cookbook" with my review of the recipe. But I figure this is the only way I can give credit where it is due, and still keep my sanity with all these great recipes that I've been finding!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Crockpot Festival!

Barbara is hosting a Crockpot Festival at her cooking blog.

I just got Big Brother's school calendar in the mail today, and I know the other kids' calendar will soon follow. Then it will be the cross-country meet schedule, and basketball season, and, well, you know the drill! I'll need all the great slow-cooking recipes I can get my oven mitts on.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Contest for Homemakers!

Check out this contest over at Mrs. Pear's blog! She'd like some input on a book she's preparing to write, geared toward women who would like support in staying at home with their families.

To enter, just read the question in each post and answer it in her comments box.

Prizes include some really interesting books. Two of them are cookbooks (my favorite!)

Menu Plan Monday, August 6

MONDAY: Ranch breaded chicken breasts, leftover hash brown casserole, vegetable

TUESDAY: Tandoori Chicken

WEDNESDAY: Crockpot Beef Burgundy

THURSDAY: Spaghetti (time to make the big batch!)

FRIDAY: Fish surprise (I haven't decided what kind yet! My parents are coming to visit so I want to make something nice. Maybe salmon...)

SATURDAY: London broil on the grill

SUNDAY: TheDad and I are going to a wedding. My mom will be watching the kids (since the wedding is 100 miles away, we can't leave them alone). I'll leave an easy dinner for them.

Stop in at the home of Menu Plan Monday to get some great menu and recipe ideas from the other participants! It's topping out at well over 100 each week!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, July 30

Join the fun at Menu Plan Monday and check out some great ideas for YOUR family's dinner!

SATURDAY: Italian Veal Stew

SUNDAY: We attended a birthday party for our neighbor's daughter.

MONDAY: Quick Chicken Divan and rice

TUESDAY: Hot turkey sandwiches with gravy, French fries, and salad

WEDNESDAY: Balsamic Pork Roast with potatoes and vegetables

THURSDAY: Cashew Chicken with rice

FRIDAY: Shrimp marinara over linguine

SATURDAY: We're attending a birthday party for 3 of our kids' cousins.

SUNDAY: Our big meal will be brunch after noon Mass. TheDad is cooking all his specialties. We've invited about 15 people (not including the 5 of us) and it could still grow.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, July 23

SUNDAY: Chicken Marsala, roasted potatoes, corn on the cob, Portuguese bread (from the Brazilian grocery--mmmmm)

MONDAY: Taco Skillet

TUESDAY: Hawaiian Chicken, rice

WEDNESDAY: leftover Pot Roast, noodles, brown gravy with onions

THURSDAY: Spaghetti


SATURDAY: Happy Birthday to me! I haven't decided what we're having for dinner yet.

Visit Menu Plan Monday for links to lots of other menu ideas!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sports Parent Survival Meals

AKA: How to use your crockpot/slow cooker/Nesco roaster to your best advantage.
AKA: How to serve your family a home-cooked meal when the game/practice/rehearsal/lesson cuts into your prep and/or dinnertime.

In no particular order, and with links to follow later. CP=crockpot/slow cooker/Nesco.
With any of these, just add salad and you're ready to go!
Chili (CP)
Chicken Chili Blanco (CP)
Fried Rice (just get all the prep done ahead of time)
Taco Skillet
Turkey Club Sandwiches
Meatball Sandwiches (CP)
Hot beef or hot turkey sandwiches with gravy (CP)

I also think that if I parcooked the pasta, and had the sauce in the roaster, I could just toss the parcooked pasta into boiling water for 3 minutes and have dinner done in under 20.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tasty Tuesday: Blueberry Muffins

Continuing on a blueberry theme. I live in New Jersey, after all, and the berries are fabulous this year! I taught Middle Sister how to make these muffins yesterday.

I have modified this recipe a bit from a Better Homes & Gardens recipe.

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 beaten eggs
* 3/4 cup milk
* 1/2 cup melted butter (no substitutes)
* 1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel
* 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
* sugar for topping


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Put muffin papers in 18 regular size muffin pan cups. Set aside.

2. Stir together flour, the 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of dry mixture; set aside.

3. Combine eggs, milk, butter, and lemon peel; add all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in blueberries.

4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each almost full. Sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes or until golden. Cool in muffin cups on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups. Makes 18.

BLUEBERRY STORAGE TIP: Buy many pints of blueberries when they are in season. Rinse in a colander with cold water, and put in one-cup portions into zipper sandwich bags. Freeze. When you want to use blueberries in a recipe, just empty the frozen berries right into the batter--they'll thaw as it bakes! I buy blueberries once a year and freeze enough to last until the next summer.

Visit Many Little Blessings for more Tasty Tuesday recipes!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, July 16

The Boy Scouts have returned from their camping trip, happy, hungry and FILTHY! I fed them a big Chicken Parmesan dinner on Saturday night when they got back.

SUNDAY: Picnic with friends. I'm bringing a pot of Chicken Chili Blanco and a batch of brownies.

MONDAY: Pot roast with onions, served over noodles with gravy.

TUESDAY: Swiss Chicken Melt, rice, and green beans.

WEDNESDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

THURSDAY: Spanish Rice with Pork

FRIDAY: Linguine with Shrimp Marinara

SATURDAY: Turkey Club Sandwiches

Visit the home of Menu Plan Monday to check out lots more recipes. There are over 100 participants each week!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Sleds

NO, not the kind you use to slide down snowy hills in the wintertime! What are you thinking? It's JULY!

I like to bake cupcakes and muffins but I always have trouble getting the pans out of the oven without getting a big oven-mitt thumb in one of the muffins.

I solved this problem by placing my muffin tin on top of a cookie sheet. Now I just slide the cookie sheet out of the oven. It doesn't affect the baking in any way, the cookie sheet doesn't get dirty, but it keeps me from messing up the muffins (and my oven mitts!

Visit the other Works-for-Me Wednesday participants at Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken & Dumplings
(4 servings)
Get this recipe at Cook and Count!

Menu Plan Monday, July 9

I find it difficult to plan menus when I know some members of the family will be missing during the week. TheDad and Big Brother are off at Boy Scout Camp and won't be home until late Saturday night. Middle Sister will be spending the next two days with her friend's family at the beach.

SUNDAY: Skillet Chicken Risotto (this was a new recipe, and a disappointment. I'm glad not everyone was here to have to put up with this one. I had such high hopes for it, too!)

MONDAY: Breakfast for Dinner. It will definitely include bacon! Besides that, probably French toast and fresh fruit.

TUESDAY: Chicken Chili Blanco for me; hot dogs for Little Brother; green salad to complete the meal

WEDNESDAY: Chicken and dumplings, at the request of Middle Sister. I do a "Cracker Barrel clone" recipe and this one is "tried and true."

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Homemade pizza

SATURDAY: Chicken drumsticks with barbecue sauce, pasta salad, green beans

Next week I will be feeding up my campers who will be looking for their favorite home cooking! The menu will be fabulous (I've already got it all planned out!)

Visit the home of Menu Plan Monday for more menu ideas and recipes!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Tasty Tuesday: Blueberry Coffee Cake

This is an easy cake to make: "from scratch" hardly takes longer than "from a mix." Don't be afraid to get your hands right into that topping--it's the only way to mix it properly. I get a lot of repeat requests for this cake.

1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup blueberries

6 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
8 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

This cake can be prepared a day ahead. Just cover the cake with Saran wrap and refrigerate. Take it out of refrigerator about 1 hour before baking.

Sift dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Add milk, egg, and vanilla. Fold in fruit. Pour into greased pan, 8" square or round.
Mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over batter. Bake 25 minutes at 400.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

You can substitute about a cup of ANY fruit (sliced apples work great)!

Visit the other Tasty Tuesday participants for more delicious recipes.

Menu Plan Monday, July 2

It's time for Menu Plan Monday!

SUNDAY: Pork Teriyaki, rice and steamed snow peas (holdover from last week)

MONDAY: Spaghetti with Italian sausage and garlic bread

TUESDAY: Barbecued chicken, corn on the cob, roasted potatoes

WEDNESDAY: We're visiting friends for the Fourth of July!

THURSDAY: Beef goulash over noodles

FRIDAY: Spanish Garlic Shrimp

SATURDAY: TheDad and Big Brother leave for Boy Scout Camp for a week. So it will just be me, Middle Sister and Little Brother. A simple meal: Pollo con limon y ajillo, hash browns and a vegetable.

Thanks, Laura, for hosting!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Michelle's Molasses Crinkle Cookies

These cookies are SO good! Don't wait until Christmas to make them. A nice spicy cookie is great anytime.

Michelle Reitemeyer's Molasses Crinkle Cookies

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup light molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
granulated sugar

Heat oven to 350 deg. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, shortening, molasses and egg. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until set. Cool completely before storing. Freezes well. Makes 5 dozen.

source: rosetta stone

Visit the other participants in Tasty Tuesday!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Steak Sandwich Kabobs

Inspired by a recipe in Taste of Home Simple and Delicious.

1 recipe focaccia bread, cooled and cut in cubes (just make the bread--don't add the pizza toppings)
1 lb London broil steak, cubed
2 bell peppers, cut in 1-inch chunks
1 large sweet onion, cut in 1-inch chunks

Provolone Cheese Sauce (see below)

Thread steak, peppers, onion and focaccia onto skewers.
Grill 8 to 10 minutes until done, turning occasionally.
Serve with cheese sauce.

Provolone Cheese Sauce

1/8 cup butter (2 tbl)
1/8 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 cup milk, divided
5 slices provolone cheese, broken up

Melt butter. Stir in flour. Add salt and half the milk; when it starts to thicken add the rest of the milk. Add cheese a little at a time, stirring until well mixed.

Menu Plan Monday, June 25

Here's our menu plan for the week:

SUNDAY: Steak sandwich kabobs (we were supposed to have them Saturday last week but the plan changed)

MONDAY: Chicken tenders dipped in ranch dressing and seasoned breadcrumbs, then fried; French fries and raw vegetable platter

TUESDAY: Teriyaki pork, rice, green beans

WEDNESDAY: Taco skillet

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and Meatballs (It's Middle Sister Cooks Dinner night! I'll be in the kitchen to supervise. Basically we are starting with a container of sauce and meatballs that she will have to heat up, and she'll have to cook the pasta.)


SATURDAY: Sausage, pepper & onion sandwiches

Visit the home of Menu Plan Monday for more menu ideas and great recipes!

Taco Skillet

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 cup Salsa
1/2 cup water
8 flour tortillas (6"), cut into 1" pieces
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Mix meat, tomato sauce, salsa, water, tortillas and half the cheese. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 5 min. or until hot. Top with remaining cheese.

Source: this is my adaptation of a Campbell's recipe. I'd add 1/2 cup of frozen corn if Big DS wasn't so against it!

DINNER KIT: This is a great recipe to make when you have 15 minutes or less to get dinner on the table. Just have the ground beef cooked and drained ahead of time. I brown 3 or 4 pounds at a time and freeze it in 2-cup bags; that amount is perfect for this recipe. Mix the ground beef with salsa, tomato sauce, water and 1/4 of the cheese. Refrigerate until needed. Also, cut up the tortillas ahead of time so they're ready to add in. When it's time to cook, just stir the tortillas into the meat mixture, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add remaining cheese and serve.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Roaster Ovens

I don't ordinarily use this space for product recommendations, but this one is worth it. And this is a totally unsolitited and unpaid opinion.

My favorite kitchen appliances are my Nesco roasters. I have collected a whole family of them. They are certainly workhorses in my kitchen, especially in the summertime.

Why are they so great in the summer? Because on a hot day like today, I can make a casserole without heating up my kitchen! I can take them out to the back porch and cook out there if I want to. I can make a batch of spaghetti sauce or chili and let it simmer all afternoon. I can roast a chicken, using the convection feature to get it nice and brown on the outside and juicy on the inside.

When we have parties or large family dinners, I use the Nescos to keep the food at a safe temperature without drying it out. They're great in a buffet line.

These roasters are well-made and the customer service from the manufacturer can't be beat. There's also a terrific Yahoo group dedicated to recipes and tips for these roaster ovens.

Visit the home of Works-for-Me Wednesday for more great tips!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tasty Tuesday: Honey-Wheat Bread

Because my bread machine is an old model (about 12 years old) and the paddle
will not come out of the pan, I basically use mine as a Dough Machine. This makes less mess than doing the whole recipe by hand, although I do enjoy doing that when I have the time!

Here is my favorite bread machine/oven bake recipe:

"Outback Steakhouse" honey wheat bread
3/4 cup warm water
1 tbl butter
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp caramel color (optional)
1 cup flour
a little less than 1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tbl sugar
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Add ingredients in the order your manufacturer recommends. Use dough cycle.
Shape finished dough into a loaf and place in a loaf pan sprinkled with
cornmeal. Let rise 1 hour in a warm place.
Probably it will look like the dough has not doubled; don't worry about it!
Bake it anyway! It will increase in height in the oven.
Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.

Check out the other recipes being shared by Tasty Tuesday participants!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, June 18

It's Monday, and you know what that means! It's my favorite day of the week, a fresh start, and time to get a look at the plan for the week ahead. Over 100 bloggers participate in Menu Plan Monday every week! Thanks to Laura for hosting.

SUNDAY: Father's Day dinner with my in-laws as guests. I served roasted filet mignon, baked potato/yam, mushrooms, raw vegetable platter, and honey-wheat bread.

MONDAY: Cashew chicken with rice.

TUESDAY: Leftover Smorgasbord. I intend to turn the last of the Tandoori chicken from last week into barbecue sandwiches. We've also got odds and ends of things, and it will just be me and the kids. Probably I'll make a list of the available items in the morning and let the kids "claim" them, then we will line up at the microwave and make dinner.

WEDNESDAY: Quick Chicken Divan I'm tempted to make this with Swiss cheese this time, just to try something different!

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs.

FRIDAY: Shrimp Fried Rice

SATURDAY: Steak Sandwich Kabobs from the July/August issue of Taste of Home Simple and Delicious

Visit the headquarters of Menu Plan Monday and find out what everyone else is having for dinner!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Smart Habits Saturday: June 16

It's time again for Smart Habits Saturday, hosted by the Lazy Organizer.

I didn't do too badly on last week's habit: keep the kitchen table clear. I put a tablecloth on the table to remind me that I'd like it to always look pretty.

As of yesterday all my children are done with school for the summer. So I want to start developing this habit: Capitalize on the morning!

Although I enjoy sleeping in, I really am a morning person. If I sleep too late then I use up my best time of day! My energy starts to wane at about 11 AM and it's all downhill from there.

I know that my best, most productive days are the ones where I've gotten a jump on things by getting up, getting moving, and getting things done. If I stay in bed until Little Brother comes in and asks for help getting some breakfast, I've wasted my best time of day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Clothespin Clips

The kitchen is where I need to keep a lot of information at hand: menu plan, school calendars, and things like that. But it gets messy fast if it's all hanging on the refrigerator door.

I glued a spring-type clothespin to the inside of each upper kitchen cabinet. This way I can hang a paper or 2 inside each one, and just open the door when I need to see the information.

Visit Works for Me Wednesday and find practical tips from other bloggers on just about any topic you can name!

Spanish Rice with Pork and Onion

1 pkg. Spanish rice mix
1 lb. boneless pork (any cut)
1 medium onion, diced

Prepare rice mix according to package directions. I use Rice-a-Roni so I also need a can of diced tomatoes. "Petite diced" work really well here.
In a skillet, brown the port and onion until pork is cooked through and onion is tender.
Add the prepared rice mix to the skillet and heat until well blended.
This makes a very easy, spicy casserole.

Source: MomsMenu

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Giant Peanut Butter Cookies for Tasty Tuesday 6/12

If you like peanut butter cookies, try these giant ones!

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
2. Beat shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla and salt together in large bowl until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking soda. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture while beating.
4. Roll 3 tablespoon-size portions of the dough into a ball in your hands and press to 1/2-inch flat on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle a little extra sugar on top. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, or the cookies will not be chewy.
Makes 14 to 16 cookies.

Be sure to check out the other Tasty Tuesday participants!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, June 11

SUNDAY: grilled London broil, French fries, broccoli

MONDAY: hot dogs, pierogi (courtesy of Mrs. T), baked beans

TUESDAY: Spanish rice with pork

WEDNESDAY: Tandoori chicken, and no one ever cares about the "sides" when I make this. They're too busy scarfing down all the chicken.

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

FRIDAY: Shrimp creole (experiment #2 for the week, unless there's a softball game)

SATURDAY: we're visiting my parents--so it's up to my mom to cook the dinner!

Visit the headquarters of Menu Plan Monday to check out what everyone else is serving this week! Thanks, Laura, for being the hostess with the mostest!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

No-Knead Bread

No-Knead Bread: this is that recipe that was in the New York Times food section and then made the rounds of all the blogs. You need about 24 hours total to make this bread. You CANNOT rush the process here. (And the yeast quantity IS correct; only 1/4 teaspoon for a huge loaf.) I made mine in a giant Corning Ware with a lid and it worked out great.

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1 1/2 cups water
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Smart Habit Saturday

This is my first time ever participating in Smart Habit Saturday. It's sponsored by the Lazy Organizer.

The habit I want to work on this week is dealing with the clutter that likes to accumulate on my kitchen table every time my back is turned. Since the kitchen is small, we can't seat our family of 5 in there to eat a meal. So the kitchen table has become a work table for me. I keep my bread-kneading board, my large recipe box/cookbook holder, a cup full of pens and a couple of other small items there. But other stuff keeps finding its way to the table: Star Wars figures, those little rings off the top of the milk jug, newspapers, books, food items that people didn't bother putting away--you know the drill, I'm sure. FlyLady would call this table a "hot spot."

Here's my table "in use" as it should be. I want to make sure I get to that table after each meal and clear it off. That's my habit to work on this week.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Enter Danielle's Prolife Raffle!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Enter the raffle to benefit St. Gianna Maternity Home by visiting Danielle Bean's blog! 100% of your donation will go directly to help women and babies in need of your support.

Like many other bloggers and fans of Danielle Bean's work, I have sponsored a prize. All told there are 39 prizes including a Kitchen Madonna apron, subscriptions to Faith and Family magazine and National Catholic Register, books of all kinds, gift certificates to Aquinas and More, Amazon and Adoremus books, handmade rosaries, and lots of other wonderful prizes. But the best prize of all is helping those moms and babies who need a safe place to grow.

This raffle ends Tuesday, June 12.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Banana Bread Recipe for Tasty Tuesday

It's Tasty Tuesday and here's what I'll be baking today for an after-school treat for the kids. It freezes well and has been a family favorite for years. Plus--it's pretty healthy!

Banana Bread
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup applesauce
1 whole egg
1 egg white
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine these ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup wheat germ or ground flaxseed (optional but it adds a great texture!)

Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
Add 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake 60 minutes at 350. Check center of loaf to make sure it's fully done before removing from oven.
You can also make this into muffins or mini-muffins. Just pay attention to the bake time. When they're nicely brown on top, they're done.

Thanks, Angie, for hosting Tasty Tuesday!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Terri from In His Hands generously shared this easy and delicious way to make brussels sprouts.

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

brussels sprouts
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Slice the sprouts in half lengthwise, removing any loose, outer leaves and trimming the bottom stems.
Toss sprouts in a little bit of olive oil and add salt and pepper, to taste.
Spread cut side up in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Bake 400F for 30-40 minutes, until browned.
Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for lunch the next day.

Menu Plan Monday, June 4

It's that time again...time to figure out What In The World To Serve For Dinner This Week! I have gotten out of the habit of planning by the month, and it shows in my apathy about all this. Then I get cranky because I don't know what to plan. It's a vicious cycle. Time to get off this merry-go-round and get back into the plan.

SUNDAY: cheese ravioli with marinara sauce, garlic bread

MONDAY through THURSDAY: I'm just going to throw 4 ideas out here. There's a funeral one day this week and I don't know when, so I'll need some flexibility about when I serve what. (NO, I didn't kill's a friend's mom, and arrangements have not yet been made. Please remember "Nonna" in your prayers.)

1. Chicken pot pie
2. Roast turkey drumsticks and mac & cheese (for the kids) and tuna casserole (for me)
3. Spaghetti and meatballs
4. Ranch chicken tenders, tater tots, and vegetable

At some point I'll be roasting some brussels sprouts for myself. I got the recipe from Terri from In His Hands. Since she emailed it to me, I don't have the link to it on her blog so I'll post it here and credit her again :) I will probably enjoy my batch of brussels sprouts all week long!

FRIDAY: Spanish Garlic Shrimp, rice

SATURDAY: London broil on the grill, corn on the cob

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dr. Pepper Baked Beans

I found this recipe somewhere on the internet last year and have been tweaking it ever since. It's great for bringing along to a picnic. So, in honor of Tasty Tuesday, here's my version of Dr. Pepper Baked Beans:

2 cans (11 oz) pork and beans, UNDRAINED
1 can (14 oz) cannellini (white kidney) beans, DRAINED AND RINSED
1 can (14 oz) pink beans, DRAINED AND RINSED
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes, UNDRAINED
6 ounces Dr. Pepper
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cloves
1 cup EACH onion, bell pepper and celery, chopped fine

Mix all of this in a 3-qt or larger casserole dish. Bake, covered, at 350 for 45 minutes.

I like to make this in my 4-qt Nesco roaster and bake at 300 for the first half hour, then turn down to 200 until the rest of the meal is ready to serve.

Visit Many Little Bessings for the rest of the Tasty Tuesday participants! AND there's a contest--so don't miss it! Thanks, Angie, for hosting!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, May 28

This is perhaps THE most boring menu week on record, and I am feeling very uninspired. But in the spirit of sticking with a good habit, here goes:

SUNDAY: Went to a picnic

MONDAY: Might go to a picnic

TUESDAY: Team banquet for Big Brother's track team

WEDNESDAY: Spaghetti


FRIDAY: Scallops (didn't have those last week; went with salmon instead)

SATURDAY: I'll be running the Franciscan Kitchen all day at a retreat for Secular Franciscans. I will NOT be cooking any dinner upon my return home.

And don't forget to visit all the other Menu Plan Monday participants! You can find their links at our host, The Organizing Junkie.

Monday, May 21, 2007

What I Plan to do this Summer

Basically this is just to keep myself on track.

In no particular order, here are some goals I have for the summer.

Solve my Sync issue with my Palm Tungsten T5 and MS Outlook 2007

Weekly "Big Kids Cook Night." They will plan and cook the meal with my guidance.

Deep-clean all kids' bedrooms. Each day, 1 small job for each child (I help with Little Brother's). By the end of the summer, 3 clean bedrooms.

Little Brother's Daily Storytime.

Beginning week of June 10, 2 alphabet letters a week with Little Brother. Practice writing big and small letters, read the letter books.

30 minute walk each day for me.

On Pool Days, leave the house at 12:30.

Everybody gets a Daily Chore, a Room Chore, and a Dinner Chore--bring back the Dinner Dice!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Manu Plan Monday, May 21

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura, the Organizing Junkie. There's an endless variety of menus and recipes from the links she hosts each week. Check it out!

SUNDAY: Refrigerator Buffet (we've got a lot of leftovers--time to clear the fridge out!)

MONDAY: Pork paprikas (using leftover sliced roast pork instead of pork cubes), tri-colored noodles

TUESDAY: Chicken piccata, rice, green beans

WEDNESDAY: Kielbasa and sauerkraut, or hot dogs for those who don't like kielbasa; baked beans, French fries

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

FRIDAY: Bay scallops sauteed in a little butter and garlic, roasted redskin potatoes, salad

SATURDAY: I'm leaving my options open! (Shhh! That's code for "I have absolutely no clue what to serve on Saturday.")


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