Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Newest Addition to the Cookbook Collection

I just got my copy of How to Cook Like Your Grandmother by Drew Kime. I'm a big fan of Drew's blog because it has clear, no-nonsense instructions, a little humor, a little nostalgia, and great step-by-step photos for each recipe! And the book is just the same, minus the photos. If you're looking for a good cookbook for yourself or to give as a gift, and you don't want the celebrity glitz but instead good home cooking made with real ingredients, this book is an excellent choice. It's even got space for notes after each recipe, so you can jot down your review or any modifications you make. Highly recommended!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Catching Up on the Menu Plan!

Here's what we've BEEN eating:

Mon 15: Balsamic Chicken with Onions

Tues 16: Cheese ravioli with sauce and meatballs

Wed 17: Pot roast, oven-roasted potatoes, vegetables and Amanda's pull-apart rolls

Thurs 18: Hawaiian chicken, rice, green beans

Fri 19: Homemade pizza

Sat 20: Ranch chicken tenders, corn, chicken-flavored noodles

Sun 21: dinner with friends

Mon 22: Spaghetti

Tues 23: Turkey Chili Blanco

Wed 24: Christmas Eve Pierogi Dinner

Thurs 25: Roast filet mignon, baked potatoes/yams, roasted carrots

Fri 26: Dinner with family

Sat 27: Olive Garden

Sun 28: Pork Chops German Style, Mixed vegetables, mac & cheese

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tried and True

Some recipes we've tasted that are definitely "keepers!"

Amanda's Homemade Pull-apart dinner rolls. EASY--there is no "rise after shaping" and the salt on top is yummy. Great with soup.

Barbara's Sweet Tea: yummy!

Barbara's Melt-in-Your-Mouth Braised and Barbecued Chicken. Long title. Great chicken.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Menu Plan December 8-14

It's been a wacky week with doctor appointments and minor surgery. Amazingly we've managed not to resort to takeout through all this, and I haven't been to Shop Rite in more than 10 days. Think they miss me?

MONDAY: Chicken Piccata, Alfredo noodles, green beans

TUESDAY: Pork and Hominy Stew from the December 2008 issue of All You. NOT recommended.

WEDNESDAY: Tandoori Chicken

THURSDAY: Homemade chicken noodle soup from my friend

FRIDAY: Linguine with shrimp and scallop marinara

SATURDAY: Turkey Crescent Casserole

SUNDAY: Mexican Shepherd's Pie

Monday, December 01, 2008

Menu Plan December 1 - 7

Here's what we had over the weekend. NOT what was planned.


SUNDAY...meatball sandwiches and sausage & pepper sandwiches


MONDAY: Turkey Encore Paprikas with noodles

TUESDAY: Sweet & Sour Pork with rice

WEDNESDAY: Chicken Fajita Soup

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

FRIDAY: Baked whiting.

SATURDAY: Pepperoni Bread

SUNDAY: Dinner at a friend's house!

Ways to Serve the Leftover Turkey

Yes, I'm late to the Leftover Turkey Party. I'm cooking leftovers tonight and the rest is in the freezer for future dinners. I don't like to O.D. on turkey all at once; then we never want it again! Right now there are 3 more dinners' worth of cooked turkey in the freezer and 1 dinner's worth of stuffing--plus a large container of turkey stock.

Here are some recipes I use with leftover turkey. Any recipe calling for cubed cooked chicken works equally well with cubed cooked turkey.

Turkey Encore Paprikas
Cousin Sharon's Chicken & Biscuit Stew
Chicken & Dumplings
Chicken Fajita Soup
Grandpa's Dark Meat Chicken
Pot Pie
Chicken Chili Blanco
Chicken & Noodle Casserole
Chicken Divan
Scarborough Fair Chicken Soup (I made stock with the turkey carcass, so this would be a great way to use it!)
Crescent Casserole

I also make Chicken Enchiladas using canned enchilada sauce (the red kind), onions, cheese and flour tortillas.

And finally, you can't go wrong (any time of year) with
Warm up all your leftovers of the following items, layer in an oven-safe or microwave-safe bowl, and heat it up until the cheese melts.
Turkey (bite size pieces)
Mashed potatoes
Cheddar cheese for topping

The KFC near my house closed, so this is how I satisfy my craving for their famous mashed potato bowl.

Turkey Encore Paprikas

This is a great way to use that leftover turkey without having it seem like you are eating leftover turkey.

2 cups cubed cooked turkey (or chicken)
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes with juice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tbl minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
1/2 of a 12-oz jar of roasted red peppers, chopped
1 1/2 cups whole baby bella mushrooms (white mushrooms work too but these have great flavor!)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp paprika

I mix all this up in my 6-qt Nesco roaster, turn it on to 250 and let it go for an hour.
If you don't have a roaster, use a nice big skillet with a lid, and simmer it for an hour.
Serve over your favorite pasta (we like bow ties with this dish!)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving on Wheels: the aftermath

I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving!

Ours was pretty quiet, with just my in-laws at their house, but it was a nice day. I cooked the turkey, stuffing, bread, apple pie and turnips here. Everything was packed in coolers to take to my in-laws' house. I had the potatoes all peeled and in a tupperware full of ice water. Then there were cans of gravy, cranberry sauce and corn, and a bag of frozen green beans. A pretty basic meal. When we got there I put the foil pans of cooked food in the oven on warm (with some chicken broth added to the turkey and stuffing to keep them moist.) I cooked all the other food as usual. The only thing that didn't work well was the turnips. I don't know if it was the foil pan or the extra steaming/baking time, but they didn't come out well. However, I'm the only one who really eats them so no one else missed it.

All in all it was not too terrible to bring the dinner with us.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


It appears that I will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner after all. AND transporting it 75 miles.

I'll be posting a menu and timetable for Thanksgiving-on-the-go as I work it out.

Menu Plan November 23-29, 2008

SUNDAY: Beef Paysanne, Spanish Country Bread

MONDAY: Tacos, homemade mac & cheese

TUESDAY: Chicken & dumplings with peas and carrots

WEDNESDAY: meatball sandwiches on homemade Italian rolls

THURSDAY: Thanksgiving dinner! I'm bringing bread, as requested by the hostess

FRIDAY: Salmon burgers, Lidia's Italian Potatoes

SATURDAY: Chicken Fajita Soup, tortilla chips

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Salmon Burgers

Makes 4 burgers.

1 can (15 oz) red or pink water-packed salmon, rinsed & drained (about 2 cups flaked salmon)
8 saltines, crushed
1/4 cup seeded, diced red bell pepper
3 TBL miracle whip*
1 tsp lemon juice
4 drops tabasco

Remove skin from salmon and flake with a fork. Mash or remove bones. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Shape into 4 patties.
Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and brush with olive oil. Place patties on oiled pan.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes at 350 until golden brown.

*To sub for miracle whip, add the same amount of mayo and 1/8 tsp EACH garlic powder, mustard powder, & paprika.

This is based on a recipe in Lickety-Split Meals by Zonya Foco. However, I sub for the miracle whip and bake these rather than frying.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Frugal Grocery Shopping

I had to laugh when I read this article just now: Does Your Frugality Drive Everyone Nuts?

An hour ago, I finished up my grocery shopping at my favorite local supermarket. I had a pretty full cart, and wound up with 10 canvas grocery bags full of food. I got 50 cents back for using 10 reusable bags, by the way! Those bags I bought last January have more than paid for themselves.

Anyway, I had a big stack of coupons with my order, plus my "free" turkey (you get a free turkey each November if you spend over $300 during a certain time period. They calculate this BEFORE coupons--works for me!)

The two men behind me in line rolled their eyes when they saw the coupons sitting there waiting to be redeemed. And because I had a new-to-the-job checker, it took a little longer than usual.

But hey, guys behind me in line--I saved $71.98 in coupons and store savings--I only had to pay $131.46 for $202 worth of food. Not bad for a few minutes of coupon clipping and careful list-making.

Sorry if my frugal ways cost you an extra few minutes this morning. Next time, pick another line.

My husband thinks that ShopRite is going to stop letting me in if I continue to shop like this. But we're enjoying it while it lasts.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Menu Plan November 16-22, 2008

Last Friday I used one of the homemade pizza crusts that I had prepared and frozen. Great option for a fast pizza, along with homemade sauce and some shredded Italian-blend cheese.

SUNDAY: We went to Chinese Buffet.

MONDAY: Spicy Orange Chicken, rice, vegetable

TUESDAY: Ham, eggs and home fries

WEDNESDAY: Tacos, corn, homemade mac & cheese

THURSDAY: Ravioli with meatballs

FRIDAY: Salmon burgers (sides to be determined)

SATURDAY: Beef paysanne, noodles, vegetable

Kitchen Tip of the Day

Microplane zesters are great for getting super-tiny bits of citrus zest that you can use in cooking or baking. But don't use your microplane zester over a tiny bowl (like the one shown in this picture) unless you WANT a big mess and a pile of wasted citrus zest.

Instead, lay the zester on a dinner plate. All the zest will land in the plate, not on your countertop.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lidia's Italian Potatoes

I got the idea for these from the Lidia's Chicken and Potatoes posted at Barbara's blog. The potato idea looked so good, it seemed a shame to limit it to serving with chicken.

These were definitely a hit. The only problem was that I didn't make enough! I had no idea they'd be this good. Next time, I'll make a bigger batch. They require a little "babysitting" but they're worth it!

2 or 3 small potatoes per person
2 tbl olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp rosemary

Rinse and dry potatoes. Leave skins on. Cut potatoes in quarters.
Toss potatoes in a bowl with olive oil and salt.
Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat until it is hot. Pour in potatoes and scrape all the extra oil out of the bowl. Don't turn potatoes for the first 5 minutes.
Stir potatoes and cook another 5 minutes.
Add rosemary and turn potatoes.
Cover and cook 7 minutes.
Stir, cover and cook another 7 minutes.
Stir, cover and cook 10 more minutes.
Stir and cook 10 minutes UNCOVERED.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Menu Plan November 9-15, 2008

SUNDAY: Hawaiian chicken, rice, green beans

MONDAY: Pork roast, either with caramelized onions or Hoisin-Molasses sauce; Lidia's Italian Potatoes (from Barbara's recipe, but without the chicken), vegetable

TUESDAY: Pot roast, noodles, gravy, corn

WEDNESDAY: Chicken piccata, rice, vegetable

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Undecided--possibly the baked whiting that we didn't have this past week

SATURDAY: we'll be celebrating my dad's birthday. Mom's planning to serve Ham and Cabbage (boiled smoked ham, butt half)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Menu Plan November 3, 2008

SUNDAY: Mexican Steak on the grill, Alfredo noodles, skillet corn

MONDAY: Roast chicken, baked potatoes, mixed vegetables

TUESDAY: Tacos (choice of hard or soft shell), macaroni and cheese

WEDNESDAY: Swiss Chicken Melt, rice, green beans with almonds

THURSDAY: Spaghetti, of course!

FRIDAY: Baked whiting, sides "to be announced"

SATURDAY: We hope to have friends over for dinner; not sure yet what we will serve.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cooking with Alicia & Annie: Asiago Cheese Bread

Today I made the Asiago Cheese Bread from Alicia's Recipes. I am addicted to the Asiago Cheese Bagels at Panera, so I was hoping that I could learn to make some Asiago bread at home. Even with the pricey cheese, it's easier on the budget to make my own.

Find my version of the recipe along with photo and nutrition information at Cook and Count.

Joy's Sugar Cookies

I got this recipe about 15 years ago from a cyber-buddy named Joy, and these have been a staple in my home ever since. These cookies are super-easy and really delicious!

You'll find this recipe at my new website, Cook and Count!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole

Get this recipe with nutrition facts and photo at Cook and Count!

Monday Menu, October 27, 2008

SUNDAY: Mark's Pot Roast (that's definitely a "keeper"--it's a great way to make a cheap cut of meat taste expensive!), noodles, gravy, mixed vegetables, Outback Steakhouse bread

MONDAY: ranch-breaded chicken tenders, hash-brown casserole, salad, peas rustica

TUESDAY: Teriyaki pork, brown rice, green beans

WEDNESDAY: roast chicken, stove-top stuffing, vegetables

THURSDAY: spaghetti and meatballs

HALLOWEEN: hot dogs and mac & cheese, Chicken Fajita Soup (We usually have at least one extra child and one extra grownup, so it will be sort of a "buffet" thing here.

SATURDAY: I have an SFO meeting all day. Looks like it might be a pizza day.

Looking ahead to Sunday: a request has been made for a Loaded Baked Potato Bar. Sunday might be a good day for that!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sunday breakfast and dinner recipes

I bought a chuck roast the other day intending to cube it up for stew. But I decided to look around for other ways to use the chuck roast. This recipe for Slow Cooker Beef with Root Vegetables looks good! This might be our Sunday dinner along with some Portuguese Easter bread. Or maybe this version of pot roast!

3 lb. chuck roast
Olive oil as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pint beef stock
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
2 bay leaves
Chopped thyme, rosemary and parsley to taste
4-5 red potatoes
4 large carrots
20 pearl onions or 2 medium Spanish onions
4 cloves garlic, chopped

Take the widest covered pot you have and place it on the stove on high heat. Brush the roast with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Add oil to the pot, wait till it starts to smoke and sear the roast on each side until browned. Remove the roast, add the wine and deglaze the pot, scraping the browned bits off the bottom, as the wine comes to a boil. Add the stock and tomato paste, return it to a boil, and then reduce it to a simmer. Add salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Add the meat back into the pot and cover. Place the pot in a 350 degree oven or maintain it at a very gentle simmer on the stovetop for two hours. Meanwhile, peel and cut the potatoes into quarters and place them in a bowl of water to prevent them from browning. Cut the carrots into large chunks. Peel the pearl onions and leave them whole or peel and quarter the Spanish onions. At the 90 minute point add all of the vegetables and garlic. Cook for another half hour or until the vegetables are tender. If it takes a little longer than two total hours that's fine. A little extra cooking time will not harm the meat. Add the chopped parsley just before service.

Deborah just posted these Cinnamon French Toast Cups over at her Tast.ie food blog! I HAVE to try these. I've been meaning to do the French Toast Cups anyway, and this cinnamon version...how can you miss?

Cinnamon French Toast Cups

(makes 8)

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 fl. oz / 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 slices bread, cubed

Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F

Whisk the eggs with all the ingredients except bread. Once well combined add the bread and toss to coat. All the liquid should be soaked up.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray or butter 8 holes. Spoon the bread mixture into each muffin hole.

Bake for ten minutes until cooked through and slightly crispy on top. Glaze and serve.

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered/icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp milk

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Pour over toast cups.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Citrus Chicken with Carrots

I used to make this ALL the time when Big Brother was a little kid. It's great with rice. I can't even think of how long it's been since we've had this, and I don't know that my younger 2 kids have ever eaten it! I'm glad I still had the recipe.

Get the recipe, with photos and nutrition information, at Cook and Count.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cooking with Alicia & Annie: Amish Cornbread

Tonight I thought cornbread would be a nice addition to the Taco Skillet we were having for dinner. I'm a fan of corn muffins, and am always in search of the Perfect Corn Muffin. But sometimes muffins are a pain. You have to have the little Muffin Papers, and there are always drips on the muffin pan. Cornbread is just like a big muffin without the hassle.

I found a recipe for Amish Cornbread at Alicia's Recipes.

1 c. sifted flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 c. yellow cornmeal
1 egg, well beaten
1 c. milk
5 tbsp. shortening, melted and cooled

Sift first 4 ingredients. Mix in cornmeal. Blend egg, milk, shortening until mixed. Add to dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Use greased (bottom only) 8x8x2 pan. Bake 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

The only change I made to this recipe was to use an 8-inch round pan rather than square, because my square pans have gone, full of treats, to a friend's house.

I had a little technical difficulty when I poured the melted shortening, which was, I guess, not cool enough, into the cold milk and beaten-egg mixture. That was a mess. The shortening immediately solidified in little pieces. So I put the whole bowl into the microwave to warm it up and stirred it until it was smooth(er).

The texture if this cornbread was very cake-like. It was a moist, smooth texture with a fine crumb. But the cornbread itself seemed to be "missing something." I think it might be good with butter instead of shortening--so I'll try this again.

This post is an entry in the Amanda's Cookin' "Cooking with Alicia & Annie" Contest.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Menu Plan October 20, 2008

SUNDAY: Dinner at a ceremony for an Eagle Scout from our troop

MONDAY: Barbara's Crunchy Chicken & Rice Casserole (I have lots of leftover rice and some leftover crunchy noodles from Saturday night's Chinese-food run...this will be a great way to use those up. I'll be using the Cream of Whatever soup mix as the base for this.

TUESDAY: Taco Skillet, corn

WEDNESDAY: Hawaiian Chicken, rice, green beans

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Homemade pizza OR Shrimp & Scallop Creole; if I skip the sausage I can have a meatless Friday dinner....

SATURDAY: Burgers with pepper-jack cheese; tater tots

Friday, October 17, 2008

Note to Self: Ideas for Next Week's Dinners

Barbara's Crunchy Chicken & Rice Casserole

Spaghetti on Thursday, of course, because it gets UGLY around here if I deviate from that routine!

Hawaiian Chicken & rice

Easy dinner with easy cleanup needed Tuesday since Cub Scouts come here at 7

Do we need a dinner plan Sunday?

We have Tater Tots! They would be a good side for....um....maybe burgers on Saturday.

Skillet Taco

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cream of Whatever Soup Mix

2 C powdered milk
3/4 C cornstarch
1/4 C instant chicken bouillon granules
2 t dried onion flakes
1 t crushed dried thyme
1 t basil - crushed dried
1/2 t pepper

1/3 cup mix and 1 1/4 cup water


Monday, October 13, 2008

Menu Plan October 13, 2008

SUNDAY: We had dinner at my parents' house: pot roast with potatoes and onions.

MONDAY: Pork with Onion, Garlic and Fennel; saffron rice; vegetables.

TUESDAY: Chicken piccata; rice; vegetables.

WEDNESDAY: I'm considering the Dinosaur BBQ Mac & Cheese Shepherd's Pie, but that could change....

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Chick-Fil-A for Big Brother's Habitat for Humanity trip to Gulfport, MS

SATURDAY: Something on the grill, maybe burgers with pepper-jack cheese!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cooking with Alicia & Annie: Apple Muffins

Apple Muffins

I made this recipe for the Cooking with Alicia & Annie contest. Here's the original recipe:

Wet Mix
2 cups grated raw apples
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Dry Mix
1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1 cup self-raising flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, prepare pans. Thoroughly combine the wet mix ingredients. Combine the dry mix ingredients and mix thoroughly into the wet mix. Spoon into pans and bake for 20-25 minutes. Makes 12. Nice sprinkled with equal parts degrees F brown sugar and spice. These are lovely moist muffins and hardly need to be buttered. They will keep will, but are best kept refrigerated and then warmed before eating. Variations: Apple Raisin and Nut: Add 1/2 cup chopped raisins, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1 Tbsp grated lemon or orange rind to the wet mix. Apple and Date: Add 3/4 cup of finely copped dates and 1 Tbsp grated lemon rind to the wet mix. Apple and Bran: Substitute the wholemeal and self-raising flour with 1 cup of flaky bran and 1-1/2 cups degrees F self-raising flour.

Changes I made: I used regular all-purpose flour since I did not have self-rising flour. I added 1 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/9 tsp salt to make up for that. I also added 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to the wet mix.

My review of the recipe: As I was mixing this up, the batter seemed REALLY thick. Too thick! It was more the consistency of chocolate-chip cookie dough than muffin batter. I had to actually use 2 spoons to get it into the muffin cups. I looked at some other muffin recipes that I have used in the past and noticed that all of them contained between 2/3 and 3/4 cup milk for every 2 cups flour.

The batter TASTED fabulous and I was so optimistic that I had found the recipe for the delicious apple-nut muffins that were sold at the bakery where I worked in high school. But the finished product was too dry. I'm attributing this to the lack of milk in the recipe.

I will definitely make this recipe again, adding the milk that I think is missing.

Meanwhile, I think I'll make a little bread pudding or something with the muffins that didn't quite work. There's no sense letting all those good ingredients go to waste!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Saving Money on Food

Casual Kitchen has a ton of links in this post: A Recession-Proof Guide to Saving Money on Food.

I've also recently picked up this book: The Frugal Family's Kitchen Book by Mary Webber. What an excellent book! It's more than a cookbook, which is why it's called a kitchen book. It deals with all kinds of money-saving strategies. If you know a young person or young couple just starting out on their own, this book would be an excellent gift!

Cousin Sharon's Chicken & Biscuit Stew

Get the recipe and photo at CookAndCount.wordpress.com!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Menu Plan week of October 5

SUNDAY: Heather's Tandoori Chicken (I forgot to skin the chicken first, and it was just as great WITH the skin, maybe even better!!), brown rice, green beans

MONDAY: Homemade pizza (everything's in the freezer and ready to go!)

TUESDAY: Spaghetti

WEDNESDAY: Pork ribs with barbecue sauce, roasted potatoes, vegetables

THURSDAY: Chicken Divan with noodles

FRIDAY: Linguine with Shrimp and Scallops

SATURDAY: Mexican steak on the grill, corn on the cob, baked potatoes

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Kitchen Tip-O-Rama!!

Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer hosts Works-for-Me Wednesday, and this week there's a theme: Kitchen Organization.

How could I resist? As of this writing, 263 bloggers have contributed links to their posts with favorite kitchen tips.

I've already put one of them to good use and I'm sure to find others. It's worth a little time to check out these tried and true tips.

My name is Barb, and I'm a tip-o-holic. Just try and stop me.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Menu Plan week of September 28

SUNDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs (brought this to Grandma & Grandpop's house)

MONDAY: Beef Paysanne with noodles

TUESDAY: eat out (Chili's)

WEDNESDAY: Chicken Fajita Soup, Chicken Lo Mein (I had leftover chicken to use up, and I wanted soup. I also had leftover spaghetti to use up, and knew Little Brother would not deal with the spice in the soup!)

THURSDAY: Barbara's Braised & Barbecued Chicken, mac & cheese, green beans

FRIDAY: Baked flounder, rice, mixed vegetables

SATURDAY: Maybe I'll actually get around to making those beef fajitas I keep thinking about!

Chicken Fajita Soup (Slow Cooker)

This recipe is my version of Mexican Chicken Soup.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, grilled, cut up (or 1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken)
1 cup frozen corn (no need to thaw!)
16-oz jar salsa (medium)
46-oz can V-8 (store brand works)
1 can small red beans, drained (14 oz)
1 can black beans, drained (14 oz)
1 can pinto beans, drained (14 oz)
1 packet fajita seasoning (because I had it in the pantry; I will make my own next time--see below for recipe)
1 tbl chili powder (in addition to what's in the fajita mix)
1/2 small onion, chopped fine

Combine in slow cooker and cook on low 3 to 4 hours.
Serve with tortilla chips and shredded sharp Cheddar cheese.

2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp EACH: garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper

VARIATION:  This is also a great soup to make "meatless."  Just omit the chicken; you can add even more beans if desired.

I shared this recipe at Lynn's Cooking Adventures!  Check out all the great soup recipes you'll find in her link party.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fascinating Spice Information!

This post on how long spices really last and how to find spices less expensively is well worth the read. There is also a link to making your own spice mixes.

I've got 4 little "baskets" full of jars of spices in my kitchen cabinets right now. The only "blend" I buy is lemon pepper. It's easy enough to blend my own for other seasoning mixes--and I just save my old spice jars to hold them. An old oregano or basil jar is great for Italian seasoning. When a cinnamon jar is almost empty, I fill it halfway with sugar and have one of the kids shake it up. Instant cinnamon-sugar for topping waffles or muffins!

Spices are pricey, so any little way I can save on them sounds good to me (here's one that wasn't mentioned: buy it in bulk and share with a neighbor!)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pasta For a Crowd

Last night Big Brother's cross-country team gathered here for a pre-race pasta dinner. I was making baked ziti and spaghetti and meatballs for 20 runners.

I used my 18-quart Nesco roaster (not as nice as the one pictured above--mine is an older model, in white. But it works great, so I won't complain!)

I was able to get 4 pounds of cooked pasta into the 18-qt with plenty of room to spare. There was lots of baked ziti for all. With this I used about 4 quarts of homemade spaghetti sauce, 2 15-oz tubs of ricotta, and 2 8-oz bags of shredded Italian-blend cheese.

I put the hot pasta right into the cookwell that was heating to 225, with a little sauce on the bottom first. Mixed in the sauce and cheese, lined the sides with lasagna noodles (2 rows) and covered. I only stirred once or twice in about 1 1/2 hour of cooking at around 225. It was nice and hot, not dried out at all.

One of the hungry runners told Big Brother that his mom is an awesome chef. We didn't wind up with 20 kids, but if word gets around that I fed them well, we may have more than 20 next time. I'm glad they enjoyed the dinner.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Menu Plan for September 22-28

Looking back on last week, we did OK with the plan until the weekend. Then it all went off the plan. Thursday I tried a new salmon dish that I won't even post--it was NOT a hit (and I followed the directions to the letter). Since I can't figure out how to cure it, and salmon is too expensive to ruin more than once, that was the end of that! Friday we had the Hoisin-Molasses Pork. Saturday I made some Wendy's Copycat Chili. Sunday we had Chicken Parmesan with pasta.

On tap for this week...TheDad "may or may not" be here on any given evening, depending on how things go with his dad's surgery today. It's hard to know what to plan, so this plan may go completely out the window as the week goes on. But here's where I'm going to start.

MONDAY: Chicken & dumplings

TUESDAY: Chicken piccata

WEDNESDAY: Pot roast

THURSDAY: Hash-brown quiche (on recommendation of Barbara at Bless Us, O Lord)

FRIDAY: Pasta party for Big Brother's cross-country team. Pasta for 20 teenagers!! Baked ziti, spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread and plain bread, salad and dessert.

SATURDAY: Luau chicken on the grill (never had this last week)

SUNDAY: Fajitas (never had this last week)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Menu Plan week of September 15, 2008

Last week we did pretty well, sticking to the plan until the weekend. FRIDAY we had Linguine with Shrimp and Scallops and SATURDAY we joined our in-laws for pizza.

MONDAY: Chicken Chili Blanco with salad and tortilla chips

TUESDAY: Chicken lo mein

WEDNESDAY: Hoisin-molasses roast pork, roasted potatoes, vegetables

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

FRIDAY: Homemade pizza

SATURDAY: Beef fajitas (never had these last week)

SUNDAY: Luau Chicken on the grill

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Linguine with Shrimp and Scallops--quick and easy!

If you buy the individually-quick-frozen scallops and cooked shrimp, and defrost the seafood in cold water, this dinner is done in the time it takes to cook your pasta!

This is an original recipe--my own!

1/2 lb EACH bay scallops and cooked shrimp (tails off)
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine
olive oil for the pan
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
pinch red pepper flakes

Heat oil in pan and cook garlic for 2 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT scallops and shrimp. When sauce comes to a boil, add seafood and cook just until it is heated through.
Serve over linguine.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I love trying new kitchen gadgets. I love it even more when they work as promised! So I was happy to be asked to review the Absorb-Ease from Intromark.

Basically, this is a way to drain a greasy pan without dripping grease down your sink or aiming for an old can (and winding up dripping most of it down the sink). You just choose the right size Absorb-Ease pad and hold it into the pan, and it sucks up all that cooking grease, leaving you with nothing in the pan but your food.


From the manufacturer's press release:
Intromark Incorporated introduces the "Absorbease," a
disposable sponge-like pad that absorbs grease after cooking.

The product, featured on QVC, is a sponge-like pad that is a quarter-inch thick, and is designed to collect large or small amounts of grease during cooking. The "Absorbease" can be placed directly in the cooking pan over the grease - just simply lay the pad down and it will absorb all of the grease in the pan. Once finished, it can be thrown in the garbage, avoiding the usually messy disposal of grease.

The product consists of a 7x7 inch pad that features two layers. The inside layer is made of a grease-absorbing material, while the outside layer consists of a grease permeable material that will trap the grease inside the pad. The "Absorbease" provides an alternative to dumping the grease down the drain, which causes plumbing problems. It also prevents outdoor disposal, making it environmentally friendly. Suggested retail price: $17.33 for a 64-count pack.

The product website says that these are also handy for cleaning up liquid spills. I haven't tried that yet, but surely odds are good that someone around here will spill something soon, and then we'll test it out!

**I received no compensation for this review.**

Sunday, September 07, 2008

MENU PLAN for September 8-14

How did we do last week? Well, we wound up having unexpected company on WEDNESDAY so I switched the planned dinner to Chicken Marsala. On FRIDAY we had homemade pizza (again, we had guests, so I needed something I could "expand.") On SATURDAY I made a roast chicken, so the Mexican Steak was pushed to today.

MONDAY: Cajun Chicken Strips (new recipe) alfredo noodles, broccoli

TUESDAY: Teriyaki pork, rice, green beans

WEDNESDAY: Chicken piccata, roasted potatoes, vegetable of some kind

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: homemade pizza

SATURDAY: Beef fajitas

SUNDAY: Easy Chicken Puffs (new recipe)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Menu Plan for September 1-7, 2008

First of all, we never had those shrimp and scallops last week. We'll be trying them soon though.

MONDAY 1: Visiting friends for a cookout. We're bringing Portuguese Easter Bread, Dr. Pepper Baked Beans, and brownies.

TUESDAY 2: Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

WEDNESDAY 3: Hawaiian Chicken with pineapple; jasmine rice

THURSDAY 4: Spaghetti (time to make the big batch)

FRIDAY 5: Baked flounder

SATURDAY 6: Mexican Steak on the grill

SUNDAY 7: Beef fajitas

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mexican Steak

Mexican Steak
by craftchick at Family Corner

lean steaks, trim off fat (any type of steak you like)
3 valencia oranges
4 garlic cloves
1 small onion (any type)
1 T. salt
1/4 C. teriyaki sauce*
2 T. worchestershire sauce
1 T. Lemon pepper
1 Lime

Rub in all the dry ingredients. Mix in a separate bowl garlic, juice of 2 oranges (1/2 cup), 1 lime, teriyaki sauce, worchestershire sauce and salt. Mix and pour over the meat.
Slice 1 orange into 1/4 inch slices, slice onion into rings, spread on top of the meat. Cover your container and shake around, refrigerate for about 1 hour and grill. Yummy!

(I prefer to use a ziplock bag. You can even freeze this steak in the marinade to be grilled another time.)

*(I used just under 1/4 cup soy sauce and added 2 TBL brown sugar)

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Refer to the basic chicken pot pie recipe here. Filling is the same. Make pastry for a 2-crust pie.

Grease a muffin pan WELL and freeze the filling in even portions. I got 12 portions out of this recipe. Freeze a few hours. Meanwhile, make and chill the pastry.

Divide pie pastry "not quite in half." Roll the larger half a little thick and cut out 12 circles. Roll each one to make it a little bigger. These are the bottom crusts. Then roll the rest of the pastry and cut into 12 circles. I used the Pampered Chef sandwich-sealer thingy to cut the circles.

Put the frozen filling on the bottom crusts. Add top crusts and crimp. Place in WELL-GREASED (and floured) muffin pan.

If baking from this point, bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.

Next time I will brush the pie crust top with milk to make it more golden-brown.

I am not kidding about the notes to grease the muffin pan well. Let's just say I learned this the hard way.

Coming up! Dinner Ideas for September 2008

This is what I intend to cook during the month. For most of them, I have everything needed in the pantry/freezer already, unless otherwise specified.

I have ideas for 26 dinners here (counting spaghetti as a once-a-week meal)

With notes.

NEW: Chicken Posole (Family Circle magazine Sept. 2008 p. 201, uses hominy; use cooked turkey in place of chicken and cook in the small Nesco

NEW: Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes; need rolls, peppers and provolone

NEW: loaded potatoes

QUICK & MEATLESS: Shrimp & Scallops in marinara

GRILL: Burgers

GRILL: Luau Chicken (not sandwiches, just the chicken)

PLANNED-OVERS: Carnitas with cooked chicken or turkey; side of nachos with cheese & beans

HOME COOKING: Roast chicken

MEATLESS: Baked flounder with lemon pepper

HOME COOKING: Pot roast with onions and mushrooms (need mushrooms and meat)

HOME COOKING: Chicken parmesan

FAVORITES: Chicken piccata

QUICK: Teriyaki pork

QUICK & MEATLESS: Shrimp & scallops in a tomato-garlic-white wine sauce, over pasta

BREAKFAST: Homemade corned beef hash, French toast, fresh fruit

QUICK, PLANNED-OVERS: Barbecue chicken quesadillas

GRILL: Brats with sauce

FAVORITES: Chicken marsala

MEATLESS: Vegetable-cheese manicotti with marinara

PLANNED-OVERS: Beef paysanne (need mushrooms)

HOME COOKING: Country ribs

GRILL: Mexican Steak

SPAGHETTI: make the big pot in the first week of September, since we are out of sauce.

SIDE DISH IDEAS: fried rice, potatoes, pasta caprese, salad daily

Monday, August 25, 2008

Menu Plan for August 23-31, 2008

Saturday 23: Spaghetti

Sunday 24: Mexican Steak

Monday 25: Salmon Burgers

Tuesday 26: TheDad's birthday. We're going out to eat.

Wednesday 27: Mini Chicken Pot-Pies

Thursday 28: Homemade pizza

Friday 29: Shrimp and Scallops with pasta (I'll post this recipe after I finish inventing it)

Saturday 30: Brats on the grill

Sunday 31: Luau Chicken on the grill

Menu Plan for August 10-22

Sunday 10: Tandoori Chicken

Monday 11: Teriyaki Pork

Tuesday 12: Taco Skillet

Wednesday 13: Spaghetti

Thursday 14: Chicken piccata

Friday 15: Pizza

August 16-22: We're on vacation! I'm not cooking!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Menu Plan for August 1-9

FRIDAY 1--picnic with friends

SATURDAY 2--picnic with family

SUNDAY 3--Luau chicken on the grill (not the sandwich with the mayo mixture--just the marinated chicken. YUMMY!)

MONDAY 4--Beef stew (minus the potatoes) served over noodles. It was a busy day so having this stew in the freezer was a real lifesaver. No recipe, since it was Mom's stew that she sent us home in a "care package" after a visit.

TUESDAY 5--Spaghetti

WEDNESDAY 6--Pork lo mein using leftover cooked pork with hoisin-molasses sauce (that will blend in well with lo mein)

THURSDAY 7--Chicken pot pie

FRIDAY 8--Baked flounder

SATURDAY 9--We're attending a Christening party and a birthday party, so we won't be eating dinner at home.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Menu Plan for July 2008

I give up; I'm so behind I'm just going to write down what we had "for the record." Can I blame it on Summer-Vacation Brain?

2--Orange Sage Chicken
3--Chinese takeout
5--barbecued chicken, burgers
7--Crockpot Swiss Steak Supper
9--Spicy Orange Chicken/Chicken Piccata
11--Cracker Barrel
12--Spanish Garlic Shrimp
13--@ Mom's (turkey London Boil)
14--@ Mom's (sandwiches)
15--@ Mom's (lamb chops)
16--fast food
19--Chicken Parmesan
20--Don Pablo's
21--London Broil
22--Hoisin-molasses pork; orzo
23--pizza @ Trish's
24--frozen dinner
25--Shrimp Fried Rice
26--picnic @ baseball game
27--picnic @ Pop's
28--ravioli marinara
29--Spice Glazed Chicken
30--Beef & Gravy

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cool Contest! Cool Prizes!

dddiva at MyLoonyverse is hosting a back-to-school contest with two terrific prizes:

Check it out!

This is a blog to add to your daily feed-reader, folks! She has heads-ups on all kinds of great contests, and periodically she hosts her own.

Thanks, dddiva, for hosting this contest!

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Goal

I just read over at Amy Caroline's about the Recipe Cheat Sheet. She has links to some examples. Basically, fit as many ingredient lists (and very basic temp/time directions) on a single side of 8 1/2 X 11 paper as you can. And even make it look cute! Put it in a page protector and you have the ultimate survival cookbook.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Menu Plan Monday July 7, 2008

SATURDAY: We had family and friends here for a picnic. Dinner included burgers and hot dogs, barbecued chicken, pasta salad, apple-poppyseed cole slaw (this was fabulous!), Dr. Pepper Baked Beans, and raw vegetable platter. Dessert was brownies, fruit and Lemonade Pie.

SUNDAY: Leftover surprise (it's just me here for dinner. Surprise!)

MONDAY: "Cheater's Beef Burgundy" over noodles

TUESDAY: French Toast

WEDNESDAY: Chicken piccata/Spicy Orange Chicken (2 sauces, same base chicken. Everyone's happy). Served with rice and vegetables.

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Shrimp fried rice

SATURDAY: The Boy Scouts are off to camp. The rest of us will eat up some leftovers as we are going to spend some time at my parents' house and I don't want to come home to Science Experiments in the fridge.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Apple-Poppyseed Cole Slaw

Apple-Poppyseed Cole Slaw

1 bag Cole-slaw mix (cabbage & carrots)
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, coarsely grated
½ cup onion, minced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tbl apple juice
3 tbl sugar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Mix cabbage, carrots, apples, & onions in large bowl. Add vinegar and toss to coat.
Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, apple juice, sugar and poppy seeds in medium bowl to blend. Add to cabbage mixture and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. This can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated. Toss to blend before serving.

Source: this is a slightly tweaked version of the Kitchen Madonna's recipe. I only changed it because I didn't have all the ingredients on hand, so I improvised. It was a delicious cole slaw!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Lo Mein

See the recipe and nutrition facts at Cook and Count!

Menu Plan Monday June 30, 2008

Hosted this week at Heavenly Homemakers!

SUNDAY: Grilled salmon, corn on the cob, and cold salads at Mom & Dad's

MONDAY: Chicken lo mein

TUESDAY: Something with the leftover salmon. Maybe salmon cakes and seasoned French fries.

WEDNESDAY: Chicken Francese, boiled new potatoes, vegetables

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Fourth of July! If we're home, Spanish Garlic Shrimp. Or maybe some shrimp kabobs.

SATURDAY: London broil on the grill

I'm feeling indecisive this week and there are no guarantees that I won't change my mind again! I figure it's all good as long as it doesn't involve any extra store runs.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Menu Plan for the week of June 23, 2008

SATURDAY: We changed our plan and had London broil on the grill, corn, tater tots (LOVE those Alexia brand "tater tots") and baked beans.

SUNDAY: Burgers on the grill, mixed vegetables, pasta salad (I had pepper-jack cheese on my burger. YUMMY!)

MONDAY: Chicken piccata, jasmine rice, vegetable

TUESDAY: Taco skillet, corn, salad

WEDNESDAY: Pork roast with hoisin-molasses sauce, mashed potatoes, vegetable

THURSDAY: Spaghetti--time to make the big batch!

FRIDAY: Homemade pizza

SATURDAY: We need a late, light dinner plan. At 5 PM we will be attending Mass at our "sister church" that is merging with our church. The new combined parish will be instituted by the Bishop and the new pastor will be installed. A "light reception" will follow. Who knows what that means in terms of dinner. So I'll have some Quesadillas made up, using leftover grilled chicken, and ready to cook on the griddle. A simple salad will complete the meal. If we don't need the quesadillas, then we'll just have them for Sunday lunch!

Don't forget to stop by the home of Menu Plan Monday, where HUNDREDS of bloggers visit every week to share their dinner ideas and recipes.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Menu Plan Monday June 16, 2008

SUNDAY: Chinese-Hawaiian Barbecued Ribs, baked beans, rice, vegetable platter (we changed Saturday's menu to steak on the grill)

MONDAY: Pulled pork sandwiches, mac & cheese, corn on the cob

TUESDAY: Lemon-Mushroom-Herb Chicken, rice, mixed vegetables

WEDNESDAY: Scarborough Fair Chicken Soup, Portuguese Easter Bread

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Homemade Pizza

SATURDAY: London broil on the grill, baked beans, corn, Tater tots

Menu Plan Monday is hosted at I'm an Organizing Junkie! Stop by and see tons of other dinner ideas!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Chinese-Hawaiian Barbecued Ribs

Source: Nesco Roasting Yahoo group

SAUCE for up to 4 lb country-style ribs:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup sherry
1 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, smashed (or 1 TBL minced garlic from a jar)
1 tbl ground ginger

Reserve some of the sauce for basting on the grill.

Use the rest of the sauce to marinate the meat at least 3 hours, or up to 1 day.

Preheat a Nesco at least 12-qt to 300, put in the ribs and marinade, and bake about 3 hours. Or place in a large roasting pan, cover with foil, and bake in your oven at 300 for 3 hours.

Grill 15 minutes, basting with reserved sauce, until crispy.

Menu Plan Week of June 8

SUNDAY: Sausage, pepper & onion sandwiches

MONDAY: Track banquet at Big Brother's school

TUESDAY: Pork Paprikas

WEDNESDAY: Chicken Marsala

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Homemade pizza (For the record, this pizza crust is nothing like Boboli, but they taste fabulous. The recipe yields 3 small pizzas. I may make one pizza "white" with just onions and Italian cheese blend. Yummmmmm....)

SATURDAY: Chinese-Hawaiian Barbecued Ribs on the grill

Menu Plan for Week of June 1

SUNDAY: Chicken on the grill

MONDAY: Quesadillas with leftover grilled chicken

TUESDAY: Ranch breaded chicken, stove top stuffing

WEDNESDAY: Went to the Diner Formerly Known as Burger King

THURSDAY: Leftover pot roast, noodles and gravy

FRIDAY: Spaghetti

SATURDAY: Homemade pizza

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Menu Plan for week of May 25

SUNDAY: Just me and Big Brother; we had linguine with Shrimp Marinara

MONDAY: Picnic with friends. I brought brownies and Dr. Pepper Baked Beans.

TUESDAY: Sweet & Sour Pork

WEDNESDAY: Chicken francese

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Rainbow Stir Fry (from Michele Urvater's Monday-to-Friday Cookbook)

SATURDAY: Grilled London broil

SUNDAY: Grilled chicken

Chicken Francese

Get the recipe at Cook and Count!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Menu Plan for May 18-24

SUNDAY: Braised & Barbecued Chicken, waffle fries, green beans

MONDAY: Chili Casserole (new recipe)

TUESDAY: Chicken-noodle soup, homemade bread

WEDNESDAY: Pot roast, noodles, gravy

THURSDAY: Spaghetti & Meatballs

FRIDAY: Salmon

SATURDAY: Grilled chicken

Menu Plan for May 11-17

I'm tempted to pre-date this so I don't appear as slow as I am...

SUNDAY: We ordered Chinese take out.

MONDAY: Italian Veal Stew

TUESDAY: Fund-raiser for school at Chick-Fil-A

WEDNESDAY: Hoisin-molasses pork roast, cold sesame noodle salad

THURSDAY: Spaghetti & meatballs

FRIDAY: Spanish garlic shrimp

SATURDAY: Brats & burgers at a friend's house

Monday, May 12, 2008

Italian Veal Stew

My mom always called this "veal scalloppine" but I'm not sure that's the right term for this dish. Whatever you call it, it tastes great.


1 1/2 lb. veal stew (shoulder) meat, cubed & browned in a little olive oil
1 can (14 oz) whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
Italian seasonings to taste (oregano & basil)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
1 cup  baby bella mushrooms, whole or sliced
1 tsp capers (more if you really like them)

Simmer in a covered skillet for 1 hour. Serve over pasta. Serves 6.

Alternate methods:  I cook mine in a 4-qt roaster oven set at 325 for 1 hour. OR you can put it in the crockpot for 4 hours.

Extra, extra:  if you like a thicker stew, also add 1 8-oz can of tomato sauce.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Menu Plan for April 30-May 11

Yes, I'm super-slow at posting the menus just now.

Wed. 30 - Chicken Chili Blanco, semolina bread

Thurs. 1 - Spaghetti

Fri. 2 - Salmon cakes, curly fries, mixed vegetables (no link for the salmon cakes. It was a new recipe, and not all that great.)

Sat. 3 - Hawaiian chicken, rice, green beans

Sun. 4 - Out to dinner with Grandma for her birthday (Red Lobster)

Mon. 5 - Beef paysanne, noodles, corn

Tues. 6 - Grilled-chicken quesadillas, salad

Wed. 7 - Cashew Chicken, rice

Thurs. 8 - Spaghetti

Fri. 9 - Homemade pizza

Sat. 10 - Celebrating Cousin E's First Communion

Sun. 11 - Happy Mother's Day! I'm making Italian Veal Stew and someone else is doing the cleanup.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Menu Plan for April 20-29

OOO, I'm getting ahead of myself here! I've planned all the way through next Tuesday.

SUNDAY: Barbecued chicken, Alfredo noodles, mixed vegetables
Plan-ahead hint: cut up extra barbecued chicken and freeze. It's great in quesadillas!

MONDAY: Taco skillet, macaroni & cheese, corn

TUESDAY: Ranch breaded chicken and curly fries for the kids. TheDad and I are going out to dinner.

WEDNESDAY: Spaghetti

THURSDAY: Turkey crescent casserole, rice

FRIDAY: Salmon cakes

SATURDAY: Meatball sandwiches

SUNDAY: Hawaiian Chicken, rice, broccoli

MONDAY: Pork with Hoisin-Molasses Sauce, side dishes "to be determined"

TUESDAY: Chicken chili blanco

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Oatmeal Bread

Oatmeal Bread

1 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbl honey
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 cups bread flour
1 Tbl vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup water

Place ingredients in bread machine pan in order suggested by manufacturer. Remove after manual cycle is finished, shape and bake in oven for 35 minutes at 375. Makes a 1 pound loaf.

Source: bread machine recipe Yahoo group

Monday, April 14, 2008

Menu Plan for April 13-19

SUNDAY: Turkey with stuffing and mashed potatoes, green beans and cranberry sauce

MONDAY: Teriyaki pork

TUESDAY: Pot roast

WEDNESDAY: Turkey paprikas over spaetzel

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Homemade Boboli pizza & white pizza

SATURDAY: Turkey noodle soup and homemade bread

Monday, April 07, 2008

Hoisin-Molasses Barbecue Sauce

3 tbl sugar
1 tbl molasses
3 tbl hoisin sauce
1 tbl rice vinegar
1 tbl soy sauce
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp mustard (original recipe called for Chinese mustard but I didn't have that so I used Koszkiusko)

Mix well and use on roasted or grilled meats.

Source: Cooking Light March 2008

Orzo with Garlic and Onions

This was inspired by a Rachael Ray recipe for Chicken and Orzo. It works great as a side dish.

Visit Cook and Count for this recipe, photo and nutrition information!

Menu Plan for March 30-April 12

SUNDAY: Volunteer appreciation dinner at church; kids made their own dinner at home

MONDAY: Braised & Barbecued Chicken (that one was a keeper!)

TUESDAY: Empanadas

WEDNESDAY: Spicy Orange Chicken

THURSDAY: spaghetti

FRIDAY: Eat out at the diner

SATURDAY: Beef paysanne

SUNDAY: Pork roast with hoisin-molasses barbecue sauce, orzo with onions and garlic, green beans

MONDAY: Lauri's Nacho Casserole

TUESDAY: Chicken paprika

WEDNESDAY: Spaghetti

THURSDAY: Tandoori Chicken

FRIDAY: Shrimp marinara

SATURDAY: Just me, Middle Sister and Little Brother. We might eat out.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Honey Chicken

TheDad and I really like Spicy Orange Chicken, but the kids don't care for the "spicy." So I invented this recipe as a way to start with the same base chicken, and just use a different sauce for the kids. It's not so bad to use 2 skillets anyway, so the chicken isn't crowded (it steams that way, and doesn't taste as good.)

Boneless chicken breast chunks
1/4 cup flour
2 tbl vegetable or peanut oil
3 tbl honey
3 tbl soy sauce
Sesame seeds (optional)

Dredge the chicken in flour. Saute it in a skillet in the hot vegetable oil.
Mix soy sauce and honey together. Add to skillet and stir.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dinner Ideas for the Month of April 2008

In no particular order, here are the dinners I plan to cook this month. I have almost enough meat to get through this entire list, except for one pound of ground beef.

I've categorized these dinners as: Quick & Easy (including slow cooker) for those busy nights--spring track and the high-school play will make dinnertime a challenge; Meatless; Regular (for when I have more time to cook); and New Recipes.

Quick & Easy:
Spaghetti (once a week)
Chicken chili (already made & in freezer)
Chicken paprika
Pot roast
Pork roast
Beef stew (already made & in freezer--just add potatoes)
Meatball sandwiches
Hawaiian Chicken
Taco skillet

Spanish Garlic Shrimp
Salmon cakes
Shrimp Marinara

Beef paysanne
Breakfast strata
Chicken piccata
Chicken & dumplings
Roast turkey
Tandoori Chicken
Teriyaki pork
Orange spicy chicken

Kickin' Chicken Sandwich
Mexican Shepherd's Pie
Homemade Boboli pizza
Cashew Lime Chicken
Melt-in-your-mouth Braised & Barbecued Chicken

Monday, March 24, 2008

Manu Plan for Easter Week 2008

SUNDAY: Boiled ham, cabbage, asparagus, red bliss potatoes, deviled eggs

MONDAY: Ham (steamed), roasted garlic mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables

TUESDAY: Visit my parents

WEDNESDAY: Chicken stir-fry, rice

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

FRIDAY: Baked flounder

SATURDAY: Roast pork with caramelized onions

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Menu Plan for Holy Week 2008

SUNDAY: London broil, mac & cheese, vegetable platter

MONDAY: Corned beef and cabbage, boiled red bliss potatoes, Granma's rolls

TUESDAY: Quick Chicken Divan, rice

WEDNESDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

THURSDAY: Pulled pork sandwiches, alfredo noodles, vegetable platter

FRIDAY: Soup and bread dinner at church

SATURDAY: Lemon-Mushroom-Herb Chicken, rice, green beans

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Cheese Ingredient?

I don't generally purchase foods that are too "processed" but I make an exception when it comes to shredded cheese. I've been able to get it cheaply, and I figure the extra expense is more than made up on the band-aids I'm not using when I shred my knuckles.

Yesterday my More-Health-Conscious-Than-Me Neighbor asked if I knew anything about an ingredient they're putting in shredded cheeses: natamycin. According to the package of cheese in my refrigerator, it's a mold inhibitor.

I didn't mind when they tossed a little cornstarch in the bag of cheese to prevent the shreds from clumping, but I'm not feeling too good about this.

Guess it's time to re-stock that kitchen band-aid box.

Menu Plan Week of March 9-15

SUNDAY: Chicken quesadillas, mac & cheese, salad and vegetable platter

MONDAY: Barbara's Pork Scalloppine, boiled potatoes, broccoli

TUESDAY: Chicken stir-fry, rice

WEDNESDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread

THURSDAY: Beef paysanne, noodles, green beans

FRIDAY: Flounder, Brazilian rice, and a vegetable-to-be-named-later

SATURDAY: TheDad's family will be coming here to celebrate Little Brother's birthday. (Calendar snafus meant that all the grandparents couldn't be here on the same date.) We'll be serving meatballs and sauce for sandwiches, Italian sausage and peppers, and there'll be hot dogs for the picky eaters among our guests. The birthday cake will be the twin to the one you see above (I photographed it before writing Little Brother's real name on the cake).

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Menu Plan Week of March 2-8

All plans are tentative because Little Brother, AKA the Birthday Boy, is sick. So everything listed here could be tossed out in favor of other choices.

SUNDAY: Tandoori Chicken, Brazilian rice, green beans

MONDAY: Southern-style pork ribs with barbecue sauce, au gratin potatoes, lima beans

TUESDAY: Chicken-noodle soup with alphabet noodles, homemade bread, salad

WEDNESDAY: Pot roast, noodles, gravy, mixed vegetables

THURSDAY: Little Brother's birthday. He gets to pick! I'm betting he'll choose Chinese Buffet.

FRIDAY: Shrimp marinara

SATURDAY: If Little Brother is feeling well, my family will be coming to help him celebrate his big day. On the menu: Meatball sandwiches, Chicken Chili Blanco, vegetable platter and of course, birthday cake.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Beef Stew

My little Nesco is the perfect size for this stew. This recipe is actually a modified version of the one that come in the booklet with the roaster. I bought mine used, and the booklet was already marked up. This one was marked "good." The previous owner was right! With a few tweaks, here is the stew my family enjoys:

2 tbl butter
1 lb beef cubes for stew
2 small onions, quartered
handful of baby carrots
2 cans (15 oz each) whole new potatoes, drained
1 packet onion soup mix
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbl EACH cornstarch and cold water, mixed

Set roaster on 425 and melt butter. Add beef, stir, and cover to roast for 10 minutes. Add vegetables, soup, broth and pepper. Turn down to 250 and cook 3 hours. If you want to add a cup of cut green beans, do that when there's about 1/2 hour to go--just add the frozen beans right in.
When ready to serve, add cornstarch mixture and stir. Turn the roaster up until the gravy thickens.

Menu Plan Week of February 24

SUNDAY: Beef fajitas, Brazilian rice, vegetable platter

MONDAY: Ranch breaded chicken tenders, tater tots, green beans

TUESDAY: Beef stew in my little Nesco, bread, salad

WEDNESDAY: Hawaiian Chicken with pineapple, jasmine rice, broccoli

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Frozen pizza (it's just me, Middle Sister and Little Brother tonight!)

SATURDAY: Happy Birthday to Grandpop! We're going there for dinner.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Homemade Mac & Cheese

1/2 lb. macaroni, cooked al dente
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup milk
5 oz shredded Cheddar
1 tsp dried minced onion
3 tbl seasoned bread crumbs for topping

Mix soup, milk, cheddar and onion in saucepan over slow heat until well blended and smooth. Pour over pasta in a casserole dish. Top with seasoned bread crumbs. Bake at 350, 30 to 40 minutes.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dinner Rolls

Rich and Tender American Dinner Rolls

This recipe appeared in Cook's Illustrated.

Makes about 2 dozen triangular rolls.
1 1/4 cups whole milk, warmed in microwave but not hot
2 tablespoons sugar
1 package rapid-rise yeast
1 large egg, beaten lightly
3 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, plus extra for work surface and dusting rolls
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened

Put all ingredients in bread machine in order recommended by manufacturer (in mine, liquids, salt and sugar first, then flour and yeast last.)
Use dough cycle.
Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface and work dough into a cylinder until it measures about 36 inches long and about 2 1/2 inches wide. Cut the dough into triangles. Transfer rolls to cookie sheet, then cover with clean kitchen towels and let rise until almost doubled in bulk, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions; heat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

I brushed the tops with melted butter after I took them out of the oven.

These will make nice rolls for the kids' lunches if they are sized and shaped right.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Chicken & Noodle Casserole

This is a spin-off of Amish Chicken and Noodles.

1 pound Rotelle pasta
1/2 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
3 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
seasonings: parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, dried minced onion
2 c. cooked chicken, shredded
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs for topping

Cook pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large ovenproof skillet. Stir in flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk, broth and seasonings; cook and stir sauce constantly until thickened.

Combined sauce, noodles, vegetables and chicken. Adjust seasonings to taste. Sprinkle top with bread crumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot.

Menu Plan for February 17-23

SUNDAY: Maple Glazed Pork, vegetable rice, corn, cornbread

MONDAY: Chicken & Noodle Casserole

TUESDAY: Steak fajitas or steak & cheese quesadillas, rice, salad

WEDNESDAY: Meatball sandwiches, salad

THURSDAY: Sweet & sour pork, rice

FRIDAY: homemade macaroni & cheese, vegetable platter, bread

SATURDAY: spaghetti

SUNDAY: Taco Skillet (I might use shredded cooked chicken in this dish instead of beef)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Maple-Glazed Pork

From Cooks Illustrated Website:

1/2 cup maple syrup , preferably grade B
1/8 teaspoonground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
pinch cayenne pepper
1 boneless pork loin roast, preferably blade-end, (about 2 1/2 pounds), tied at even intervals along length with 5 pieces butcher's twine
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Stir maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne together in measuring cup or small bowl; set aside. Pat roast dry with paper towels, then sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed ovenproof 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke, about 3 minutes. Place roast fat-side down in skillet and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, rotate roast one-quarter turn and cook until well browned, about 2 1/2 minutes; repeat until roast is well browned on all sides. Transfer roast to large plate. Reduce heat to medium and pour off fat from skillet; add maple syrup mixture and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds (syrup will bubble immediately). Off heat, return roast to skillet; using tongs, roll to coat roast with glaze on all sides. Place skillet in oven and roast until center of roast registers about 135 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 35 to 45 minutes, using tongs to roll and spin roast to coat with glaze twice during roasting time. Transfer roast to carving board; set skillet aside to cool slightly to thicken glaze, about 5 minutes. Pour glaze over roast and let rest 15 minutes longer (center of loin should register about 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer). Snip twine off roast, cut into 1/4-inch slices, and serve immediately.

I will probably try this in the Nesco 6-qt with convection fan next time. But it worked great in my Cooks hard-anodized nonstick skillet. This was absolutely delicious and smelled amazing while it cooked. The meat was juicy and the glaze was so sweet.

Sweet and Sour Pork

Originally posted by Lizzie-boo at Family Corner.

1 1/2 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into thin strips or cubes*
2 Tbsp. oil
1/2 cup water
20 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained, reserving juice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin diagonal slices
1/2 medium onion, cut into chunks
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into squares
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into squares

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce

Brown pork in hot oil. Add water; cover and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. At the half-hour point, add carrots and onions on top of pork to steam. At the 3/4 hour point, add peppers and pineapple.

Combine brown sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add reserved pineapple juice, vinegar and soy sauce. Cook over low heat until thick, stirring occasionally. Pour over hot pork mixture, stir to combine, and heat gently for 10 minutes or longer.

Serve over rice.

*Boneless pork loin or pork chops, cut in strips or cubes, can also be used.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Saffron Risotto with Shrimp

The original recipe was posted by The Humble Housewife. I had to do a little "metric-to-English" conversions, and a few substitutions to accommodate what's in my pantry. So I blogged the recipe as I went along.

Pinch of saffron
2 ounces boiling water
olive oil for the pan
1 small onion, chopped really fine
1 tsp minced garlic (from a jar)
2 1/4 cups arborio rice (a 14-oz pkg)
1/2 cup dry white wine
Up to 8 cups stock (I used chicken stock; original recipe called for fish stock)
2 cups cooked, frozen shrimp (thawed and tails removed)
1 cup frozen peas
2 tbl grated parmesan
2 tbl butter
1 tbl fresh parsley, snipped (or 2 tbl dried parsley)
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Add saffron to the boiling water. Press with a spoon to release the color and flavor. Set aside.
Saute onion in the olive oil until almost translucent. Stir in garlic.
Stir in the rice until coated.
Add white wine and stir a minute.
Add stock, a cup or so at a time, stirring, and allow to simmer until the liquid is almost absorbed. Add more stock until the rice becomes creamy.
Add saffron (and water), shrimp and peas. Stir and cook until everything is hot.
Stir in butter, parmesan and parsley.
Season to taste with fresh ground pepper.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...