Sunday, January 28, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, January 29

Between some award-winning recipes at Family Corner, last week's Menu Plan Monday, and the February issue of Taste of Home Simple and Delicious (Orgjunkie is right--get your hands on this one!), I didn't have too much trouble getting February's menu plan done! I'll be posting it here a week at a time, because I do adjust as needed when things come up. (That's why my menu's in pencil, folks)....

SUNDAY: Tandoori Chicken, Orzo, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, raw vegetable platter

MONDAY: Balsamic-Maple Pork Chops, Brown Rice, Steamed Broccoli

TUESDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

WEDNESDAY: Beef & Cheese French Bread (from the Simple & Delicious magazine, p. 31)

THURSDAY: Chicken Marsala

FRIDAY: Spanish Garlic Shrimp, Jasmine Rice (didn't make this one last week)

SATURDAY: Company's coming for dinner! We're having Sweet Onion Pork Roast, Mashed Potatoes, and a vegetable to be determined later. For dessert, Lemonade Pie.

Don't forget to visit the Hostess of Menu Plan Monday to get all the links to all the menus and great recipes!

Lemonade Pie

A little taste of summer. Easier than cheesecake and just as rich!

Get the recipe at Cook and Count.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Homemaking Meme

I found this one at The Markmiller 5.

Aprons – Yes or No? If Yes, what does your favorite look like?
Yes! I have three white butcher aprons. But I intend to get my oven mitts on something that looks a little nicer in time for National Wear an Apron Day!

Baking – Favorite thing to bake
Breads, brownies, scones....I love to bake.

Clothesline – Yes or No?
YES! I have a really big one in the backyard that can hold 3 tubs of laundry at once. For winter, I have a few short lines in the basement for those things that I absolutely will not put in the dryer.

Donuts - have you ever made them?

Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day
I always make our bed.

Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze?

Garbage Disposal – Yes or No?

Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource?
The Internet. Specifically, Family Corner.

Ironing – Love it or hate it? Or hate it but love the results?
It's not too bad, especially if I can watch TV while I do it. I like to iron in batches instead of one item at a time.

Junk drawer – Yes or No? Where is it?
My whole desk is one big junk drawer.
I also have several in the dining room.

Kitchen – Color and decorating scheme
Blue and white. No "decorating scheme" unless you consider Small and Crowded to be a scheme.

Love – What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Feeding my family.

Mop – Yes or No?
Only because I have to for sanitary reasons.

Nylons – Wash by hand or in the washing machine?
In the washer, when I MUST wear them, but I dry them on the line.

Oven – Do you use the window or open the oven to check?
I usually open it up.

Pizza – What do you put on yours?
I like very thin sliced peppers and onions.

Quiet – What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
I either read or check my favorite blogs.

Recipe card box – Yes or No? What does it look like?
I have a binder (5X8) that sits on top of a 2-drawer card box, on this cool easel setup. It was handmade by high school students in a vo-tech high school where my mom used to teach.

Style of house – What style is your house?
1960s split level (ewwww! But it's home.)

Tablecloths and napkins – Yes or No?
Paper napkins, plastic placemats. I'm all about practicality here.

Under the kitchen sink – Organized or toxic wasteland?
Organized! The only things under there are a bag of paper recycling and an old dishpan for bottles and cans.

Vacuum – How many times per week?
When the debris shows, I vacuum.

Wash – How many loads of laundry do you do per week?
At least 2 a day.

X’s – Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?
Sometimes. And I'll admit to writing things on the list, just so I can cross them off.

Yard – Yes or No? Who does what?
I don't do the yard.

Zzz’s – What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
Start the dishwasher.

Want to play? Let me know in the combox.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, January 22

My great-aunt makes GREAT vegetable-beef-barley soup! She sent me a "care package" of 3 quarts of soup via my mom. Guess what's for lunch this week?

Here's what my family will be eating for dinner this week:

SUNDAY: Chinese Buffet

MONDAY: Swiss Chicken Bake, rice, roasted Brussels sprouts for me, pickled beets for the rest of the hungry hordes (who appear to believe that Brussels sprouts were created by mothers who want to torture their children. YES, my husband is one of these people!)

TUESDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs (Big Brother gets his braces adjusted Monday. He'll need an easy meal!)

WEDNESDAY: Roast pork topped with caramelized onion; baked yams; green beans

THURSDAY: Ranch chicken strips, French fries, broccoli (just dip chicken strips in ranch dressing and seasoned bread crumbs, then fry until done)

FRIDAY: Spanish garlic shrimp over Jasmine rice

SATURDAY: We're attending a parish event: "Pizza, Pins and Pop" at a local bowling alley.

Visit the home of Menu Plan Monday to get more great ideas for YOUR dinner menus!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Focaccia Taste Test

I was asked by some readers to report on the Focaccia recipe we were trying today.

A few notes:

A double batch is just a TINY bit too much to fit happily in my bread machine pan (eeek!) I had to run out and pick up Big Brother, who missed the bus, and the dough sat a few minutes and grew bigger in there. Luckily I got home before it was a gooey mess everywhere.

I divided the dough into 6 portions and made smaller ones, 3 per cookie sheet.

I brushed olive oil all over the dough before adding any topping.

I also mixed a can of tomato paste and a tsp each of Italian seasoning and garlic powder and spread a thin layer of that on top of the olive oil. Then I topped with vegetables and/or cheese as desired.

NEXT TIME I will oil the dough and cover it in plastic wrap before the second rise.

There WILL be a next time.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, January 15

SUNDAY: Hoagie night

MONDAY: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Big Brother! He's chosen Pork Teriyaki for his birthday meal. (We never had this one last week)

TUESDAY: Pollo con Limon y Ajillo with Spanish Rustic Peas and fried potatoes.

WEDNESDAY: Spaghetti


FRIDAY: Homemade Focaccia (we're trying a new recipe here....we'll see how it goes!)

SATURDAY: Big Brother and TheDad will be camping with the Boy Scouts, so the rest of us will keep it simple tonight.

Visit the home of Menu Plan Monday to see some great meal ideas!


• 3/4 cup water (70° to 80°)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups bread flour
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
• 2 medium onions, sliced and quartered
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/4 cup butter
• 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
• 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
• 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In bread machine pan, place the first six ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting.
When the cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly greased 12-in. pizza pan; pat into a 10-in. circle. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onions and garlic in butter for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Stir in the Italian seasoning; cook 1 minute longer.
Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make deep indentations 1 in. apart in dough. Top with onion mixture and cheeses. Bake at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Yield: 12 servings.

Pollo Con Limon y Ajillo, and Spanish Rustic Peas

A Two-For-One deal on a delicious and easy Spanish dinner.

Serve with fried potatoes (not French fries, but skillet-fried potatoes) and crusty bread.

1 dozen large chicken tenders
2 tbl olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped (I substitute 1 very small onion)
4 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp paprika
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbl chopped fresh parsley
salt and ground black pepper

Heat oil in a frying pan. Stirfry the chicken with the shallot (or onion), garlic and paprika over a high heat for about 3 minutes or until cooked through.

Add the lemon and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

2 cups frozen peas
2 tbl olive oil
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Cook frozen peas in oil and water in an open pan, stirring occasionally, until water has evaporated almost completely (watch carefully so peas don't burn!) Season with salt & pepper.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Pasta e Fagioli

28-oz can diced tomatoes with sauce
14-oz can diced tomatoes in sauce
14-oz can chicken broth
2 14-oz cans beans (I used Navy beans and small white beans)
2 carrots, peeled and cut up
1 stalk celery, cut up
1 onion, diced

Simmer a few hours.
Cook some pasta. Add it to the soup, let simmer a couple more minutes, and serve.

It's probably not anything near an authentic recipe, but it tasted good.

Beef Burgundy Stroganoff

For lack of a better name...I invented this dish as a combo of some other recipes I have cooked before. It's a delicious way to "recycle" your leftovers.

2 cups thick-sliced cooked roast beef/pot roast, cubed
1 can cream of mushroom soup, condensed
1/2 cup burgundy wine
1 packet onion soup mix
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cups sliced white mushrooms

Mix soup, wine, thyme and soup mix until well blended. Add cubed meat and sliced mushrooms. Stir until coated. Cover and cook 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over noodles.

Balsamic Chicken with Thyme

Get the recipes with nutrition information at Cook and Count!

Magnificent Marinara Sauce

My homemade chunky marinara sauce:

1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil for the pan
Dash of white wine for deglazing
1 14-oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
Seasonings to taste: coarse salt, oregano, basil & a touch of crushed red pepper, pinch of sugar

Saute the onion in the olive oil. When it begins to soften, add the garlic and saute for a minute or so. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add tomatoes and seasonings and simmer, covered, at least 1/2 hour.

I just tweaked this recipe today after overhearing someone talking about the white-wine-deglazing step. Normally I do this in my Nesco roaster but I did it all in a large heavy skillet, and I WILL NOT MAKE MARINARA ANY OTHER WAY EVER AGAIN. I could eat this sauce with a spoon.

Menu Plan Monday, January 8

Boy, I have missed doing the menu plans!

I'll go through last week, when I just plain FORGOT, and the coming week.

NEW YEAR'S DAY: Dinner at our friends' home. Great food, great company--great way to start the year.

TUESDAY, JAN. 2: Beef Burgundy Stroganoff

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 3: Spaghetti and meatballs

THURSDAY, JAN. 4: Balsamic Chicken with Thyme, Jasmine Rice, Green Beans

FRIDAY, JAN. 5: Pasta e fagioli

SATURDAY, JAN. 6: Pizza party at my brother-in-law's

SUNDAY, JAN. 7: Lemon Mushroom Herb Chicken with rice and vegetables. One of my "forum buddies" from Family Corner created this recipe, and it's absolutely delicious! HINT: I like to mix up a big batch of the seasoned flour and just keep it in a jar in the cabinet. It's easy to just pour out the amount I need to flour the chicken.

MONDAY, JAN. 8: Spaghetti & meatballs

TUESDAY, JAN. 9: Greek Chicken with Potatoes

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 10: Pot roast with noodles and gravy

THURSDAY, JAN. 11: Pork Teriyaki with brown rice

FRIDAY, JAN. 12: Cheese ravioli with homemade marinara sauce

SATURDAY, JAN. 13: Our anniversary!

Visit the home of Menu Plan Monday for plenty of great menu ideas!


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