Monday, December 27, 2010

Post-Christmas Menu Plan

On Christmas Day, we ate: roast of filet mignon, garlic baked potatoes in the slow cooker (YUM), broccoli, mashed rutabagas and Portuguese Easter Bread.

Christmas: The Day After was supposed to be at my parents' house, but the snow put an end to those plans. We had leftover "Christmas meat" in Beef Paysanne over noodles.

Today is Middle Sister's birthday. She wanted "bread-crumb chicken." I think she means Cheesy Garlic Chicken. She's requested broccoli and white rice with that. I made a chocolate pound cake and am going to go for a homemade chocolate glaze on top. Recipe (and maybe a photo) after the taste-test, and only if it tastes good.

Tuesday: Soft tacos

Wednesday: we're going up to my cousin's for a Christmas celebration.

Thursday: Spaghetti

Friday: New Year's Eve.

Saturday: New Year's Day.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Usually I only make one kind of cookie for Christmas: Mrs. Wagner's cookies.

Here's the recipe; I do not recommend trying to reduce quantity as it doesn't yield good results. But you can freeze the dough!

Mrs. Wagner's Cookies
Makes 10 dozen, at least, depending on the size of your cutter.  I've gotten as many as 180 cookies out of a single batch.

1 pound butter -- softened (margarine works also)
7 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
5 egg yolks (reserve whites)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 heaping tsp. baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup bourbon (we use Jack Daniel's)
1 cup milk
5 egg whites
Colored sugar/sprinkles for decorating

Cover your baking sheets with parchment paper.  Mix flour and butter like pie dough.

Beat remaining ingredients (except egg white and colored sugar) and add to dry mix.  If using a stand mixer, use the mixer to beat those ingredients and then add the dry mix to the mixer bowl.

Dough should be STIFF.  Chill the dough for at least one hour before rolling.

Roll thin and cut into shapes.

Brush with egg white and decorate.

Reserve scraps and roll into the next section of dough.
Bake on parchment-covered sheet, 6 to 7 minutes at 375. Bottoms should be light brown, tops should be white.  Allow to cool on pan for a minute or two, then remove to a rack.

Just a fraction of the finished product!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

As I said, I usually only make ONE kind of cookies at Christmas.  However, this week I made some delicious chocolate cookies and decided that if I made a batch of these, they'd make a nice addition to my cookie tray. Barbara's Fudge Cocoa Cookies are really good.

And then I got a message from my niece, asking me to make a batch of Michelle's Molasses Crinkle Cookies. How do I say no to that?

There's going to be a lot of cookie-baking this week, I think!

For the Record

If I didn't keep this list in the planner, I'd have no idea what we wound up eating.

1: pizza
2: Fall Festival at our church. Polish food!
3: Tandoori chicken
4: Pot roast, noodles
5: Chicken barley soup, rolls
6: Fajitas
7: Spaghetti
8: Chili's
9: London broil, pasta salad, beans
10: Balsamic chicken with thyme and onions, rice
11: Italian chicken, pasta
12: Pork chops, roasted garlic potatoes
13: Sliders, pasta salad
14: Spaghetti
15: Tilapia
16: chili
17: pizza
18: Beef paysanne, noodles
19: Honey drumsticks
20: Chick-Fil-A (school fund-raiser)
21: Spaghetti
22: Flounder
23: not home
24: Pork roast
25: Chicken Caroline
26: Tacos
27: Enchilada soup & bread
28: Spaghetti
29: pizza
30: Honey mustard chicken
31: Pepperoni bread

1: Skillet stroganoff
2: Chili's
3: Hawaiian chicken, rice
4: spaghetti
5: Scallops
6: slow cooker pork carnitas, roasted potatoes
7: chicken & noodles
8: lemon mustard herb chicken
9: pot roast
10: enchiladas
11: spaghetti
12: ravioli with marinara
13: pizza
14: roast chicken
15: Skillet stroganoff
16: Chicken lo mein
17: Pork chops, potato patties
18: spaghetti
19: Salmon burgers, rice
20: Pizza
21: Chicken parmesan bake
22: lemon & garlic chicken, rice
23: Chinese
24: Beef paysanne
25: Thanksgiving dinner
26: Leftover Day
27: meatball sandwiches
28: Throwback's
29: Chicken crescent casserole
30: Shepherd's pie

1: Chicken
2: Chick-Fil-A (school fundraiser)
3: Tortellini with marinara
4: rainbow stir-fry
5: ate at neighbor's
6: tacos
7: Turkey noodle skillet
8: leftovers
9: spaghetti
10: french-bread pizza
11: not home
12: Olive Garden
13: Garlic cheesy chicken, potatoes
14: Skillet stroganoff
15: Beef stew
16: spaghetti
17: macaroni and cheese
18: diner
19: roast chicken, roasted potatoes & sweet potatoes

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Skillet Turkey & Noodles

Better than soup, but serve it in a bowl so you don't lose any of the sauce. I've wanted to figure out how to make this for a long time. Then I was inspired by Barbara's Skillet Stroganoff (which we love) and figured I could do something similar with chicken or turkey. Comfort food? Oh, yes!


2 TBL butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
3 TBL flour
3 cups turkey (or chicken) broth
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked turkey (or chicken)
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
3 cups wide egg noodles
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in butter until translucent. Stir in flour. Add broth and milk and bring to a boil. Stir in turkey, vegetables and noodles. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until noodles are done.

Serves 4.

To increase the recipe and serve more people, add an extra 1 cup noodles and 1 cup broth per person.  Also add a little extra milk, meat and vegetables.

Print this recipe!

Friday, December 03, 2010

How absolutely pathetic.

I cannot believe that I haven't put a blasted thing up here since HALLOWEEN!!!!!

I've been keeping track of our dinners, so I guess I'll have to take out my planner and write out our menu plan from November.  And then get you updated on what's new for December.  If anyone's even still reading!!

While you're here, I'm looking for a recommendation on a good probe-style cooking thermometer.  I had a Taylor, and something happened to the probe, so the device just kept flashing "LO" instead of a temp.  Then I bought a Polder, and it was DOA.  "LO" right out of the box.  Troubleshooting info for both said that if it says "LO" then the probe is broken.

This is an item that I really do depend on (and Thanksgiving was a little extra challenging without it, since I had to keep opening up the roaster to check on the turkey's progress--slowing down said progress.) 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thanksgiving Think-Ahead

Since it's Halloween, it's not too early to start thinking about Thanksgiving.  This year I will be cooking for 11 (including us).  I am not a person who likes to innovate on Thanksgiving.  My motto is "keep it traditional" and to me "traditional" means "what my grandmother served on Thanksgiving when I was a kid."  I have her stuffing recipe in her handwriting.  I make the stuffing INSIDE the turkey.

They were heavy on "creamed" foods when I was a kid, and I won't be going there.  I will not be serving creamed cauliflower or creamed spinach, both of which I remember on the Thanksgiving table of my childhood.  But I will served mashed turnips (rutabagas) despite the fact that I'm the only one who's going to eat it.  It's just not Thanksgiving without it.

Other likely items on the menu:  mashed potatoes, Granma's rolls, gravy (from a can, since I'm no good at making the real thing), cranberry sauce (possibly from a can, but maybe I'll try to make the real thing if I can get my friend's recipe), corn and steamed broccoli or green beans.  I will also have a vegetable platter (carrots, celery, peppers and cucumbers) and plenty of chips and salsa.

Dessert is apple pie, of course, plus a pan of brownies for the kids.  (Not my kids--they love my apple pie--but the visiting kids who are already "iffy" on most of the Thanksgiving menu.)

Monday, October 04, 2010

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Syrup II

In my quest to make my own fancy coffee at home, I've been trying various pumpkin-spice syrups.  Here's one that stood up to refrigeration.  It's the spice, not pumpkin, that gives the syrup the signature taste.  That, and the brown sugar.

1 cup water
1 cup dark brown sugar (must be dark brown)
1/4 tsp each cloves and ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon

Bring to a boil, then cook over lower heat until the syrup is reduced by half.  This takes 5 to 10 minutes.  Allow to cool completely, then pour into a glass jar and refrigerate.  This makes about 1 cup of syrup.

Menu Plan for September 23-30, 2010

Thurs 23:  Chicken Caroline, rice

Fri 24:  Flounder, hash brown casserole, green beans

Sat 25:  Pot luck dinner after 5:00 Mass.  We hosted.  Our contributions:  meatballs and sauce and beef barley soup.

Sun 26:  Sloppy Joes.

Mon 27:  Ham steak

Tues 28:  Sichuan chicken, rice

Wed 29:  Spaghetti

Thurs 30:  Takeout.  We had a hellish schedule and I gave in to the pressure.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Shuffle the Plan!

I was pretty impressed with myself for showing restraint this afternoon.  My daughter called after school and said she needed a ride home, as her field hockey game was canceled.  Then she wanted to know if she could visit a friend.  This meant that she wouldn't be home for dinner--a dinner that she had requested this morning and that I had rearranged the menu plan to accommodate.  (GRRRR!)

Fortunately I hadn't yet done any cooking, just defrosting.  I figured I'd refrigerate those ingredients for later this week, and shuffle around my menu plan.

Also fortunately, the ham steak that was on sale at Shop Rite today and that I had a great coupon for turned out to be a very small slice of ham steak.  It'll feed 1 1/2 people (or my husband and younger son).  They can have that tonight.  I have some leftovers I'll be happy to eat.

The moral of this story is:  always write your menu plan in pencil!  You never know when someone's going to make you shuffle it!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

The Taste of Home crew on Facebook was talking about Pumpkin Spice Lattes today. One member shared a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Syrup that she had found.

I love Pumpkin Spice Lattes but I don't love paying over $4 for a beverage. I'd tried a few recipes in recent weeks but it wasn't quite "it." So I thought I'd make some of this syrup.

I had more pumpkin in the fridge (from those recent experiments) than this recipe required so I figured I'd double it and use up that pumpkin. I adjusted the spice a little as well. So here's how it worked out:


2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup pumpkin puree

Stir water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add spices and pumpkin and simmer 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. (A whisk is a good tool for this job!) Allow to cool. Pour into jars and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Makes about 4 cups syrup--enough to share!

To make my "latte" I make 2 cups (coffeemaker measure, which is not actual cups) of coffee using 2 1/2 measures of ground coffee. I warm up 1/2 cup milk in the microwave for 45 seconds and then use my frother to foam it up. Then I add some pumpkin syrup (about 2 TBL), pour in some of the milk, then the coffee, then the frothy part of the milk. That makes enough to fill my favorite travel mug--and there's even room for whipped cream, if I happened to have any, which unfortunately I did not today.

Delicious!  And WAY cheaper than that expensive coffeehouse chain's (or even Dunkin' Donuts, who makes a mean pumpkin latte for about $3.)

NOTE:  This tasted good, but I found that it wound up separating over time, especially in the fridge.  So, on to a new recipe!

Menu Plan for September 16-22, 2010

Thurs 16: Spaghetti and meatballs

Fri 17: Salmon burgers

Sat 18: "Fend for yourself" night. I had Polish Gnocchi.

Sun 19: Chicken on the grill

Mon 20: Nachos, salad

Tues 21: Pasta party for the Freshman Field Hockey team. I served spaghetti and meatballs, ziti, baked ziti with cheese and beef, Italian bread, salad, brownies and banana bread.

Wed 22: Beef paysanne (made with leftover pot roast--whoa, this was the best paysanne yet--even better than when we make it with leftover filet mignon!) over noodles

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Honey Garlic Chicken

The original recipe, from Family Circle magazine, calls for chicken thighs. This would work well with any bone-in, skin-on chicken; just adjust the cooking time accordingly.

6 chicken thighs
1/3 cup honey
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and place on baking sheet. Mix honey, garlic, thyme and rosemary. Brush some of the honey mixture on chicken. Bake 40 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with more of the honey mixture.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Comfort food: Polish Gnocchi

I miss one of the Polish dishes that used to be served at our parish carnival: kluski. This was not proper kluski, but instead a way to use up lots of leftovers from other dishes. It included any pierogi that didn't make the cut (that is, the ones that broke in the pot). Those would be scooped out and dumped into a pan where someone would chop them into bite-sized pieces. I had that job a few times, and all that chopping really is an upper-arm workout. It was worth it, though.
The chopped pierogi were then fried with plenty of butter, chopped onions, and the pieces of cabbage that were too small to be made into golabki (stuffed cabbage).

Not having easy access to broken pierogi, I figured that gnocchi might do the trick. It worked great.

1 package gnocchi (fresh or frozen)
1 TBL butter per serving, based on serving size on package
1/2 small to medium onion, chopped fine
dried parsley, salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheese (Romano, Parmesan, or Cheddar, depending on the flavor you're after)

Cook gnocchi as directed on package and drain.
Saute onion in butter. When onion is soft, add gnocchi to the pan and cook a few minutes until everything is well mixed.  Season with parsley, salt and pepper to taste.  It's even better if you cook it long enough for it to start to brown. Serve to plates or bowls and top with shredded cheese.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Menu Plan for September 9-15, 2010

Thurs 9: Spaghetti and meatballs. I made a big batch, enough for 9 more dinners! I love having spaghetti sauce in the freezer, ready when I need it.

Fri 10: takeout pizza

Sat 11: Honey Garlic Chicken thighs (recipe soon! This was a keeper!)

Sun 12: dinner out in honor of TheDad's birthday

Mon 13: Roast chicken, garlic roasted potatoes, skillet brussels sprouts

Tues 14: Cheesy garlic chicken, rice, green beans

Wed 15: Pot roast in the slow cooker

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Extra-Frugal Couponing

Here's my tip for extra-frugal couponing:

Save those single-sided notices & newsletters that your kids bring home from school (provided they're not too crumpled to work in your printer.) Load them into your printer so the printing will be on the back side of the paper. Use this paper to print those Internet Printable coupons!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Menu Plan for September 1 - 8, 2010

Wed 1:  Chicken Marsala, rice, broccoli

Thurs 2:  Spaghetti with meatballs

Fri 3:  Pizza rolls (new recipe--we weren't too crazy for these; my kids all said my regular recipe is better)

Sat 4:  Barbecued chicken, orzo, mixed vegetables

Sun 5:  picnic at a friend's house

Mon 6:  went to Oktoberfest in Philly.  Potato pancakes!!

Tues 7:  Taco Skillet Dinner Kit style, salad

Wed 8:  Slow-Cooker Pork Chops, rice, broccoli

Survival Dinner: Slow-Cooker Pork Chops

This meal is great for days like today.  I have to pick up my daughter from her sports practice sometime after 6, then get dinner on the table, eat, and return to her school for a 7:00 parents' meeting.

I am thankful for my rice cooker (it's filled and ready.  When I leave to pick her up, I'll turn it on) and for microwave "steam-in-the-bag" broccoli.  Those things, and my slow cooker, will allow me to get dinner on the table quickly tonight!

Slow-Cooker Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops
2 cups barbecue sauce
2 tbl olive oil

Oil a skillet or griddle and brown the pork chops on the outside.  Do not cook them all the way through--they'll finish in the slow cooker.
Spread a little of the barbecue sauce over the bottom of the slow-cooker crock.  Place pork chops on top.  If they overlap, make sure there's some sauce in between the pork chops.  Pour the rest of the barbecue sauce over the pork chops.
Cover and cook 1 hour on high, then switch to low for 3 hours.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Supermarket Hint

Tonight at Shop-Rite I discovered why it's a good idea to save that little printout you get when you use the "Dexter Deli" machine to order cold cuts.

There was a coupon in this week's circular for Shop-Rite American cheese, making it $2.98 a pound (a $1.01 saving).  I needed some American cheese, since we're having a picnic tomorrow evening for the Cub Scout leaders and their families to kick off the new year.   So I ordered a pound of American from the deli computer. 

When I picked up the cheese, I noticed that they had marked "out" next to the roast beef I had also ordered (it was also on sale this week).  I looked around for a trash can to throw away my little printout, since I had matched up the order numbers, but I didn't find one, so I put it in my pocket and headed to the checkout counter.

The cashier rang up the cheese, but the coupon I handed her didn't work.  She asked me to unpack the cheese from my bag so she could check it--and then she told me that it was the wrong cheese and I couldn't get the coupon price.  I then pulled out my receipt, showed her that the orders matched, and the manager said that I should pay the sale price since it was not my error.  (The manager then headed over to the deli counter, where I imagine the person manning the slicer would hear about it.)

I just checked--that was $6.49-a-pound cheese they gave me by mistake.  UNfortunately, it was "slender" cheese which probably means it doesn't taste or melt quite the same as regular cheese does.  But that's what I have; I'm not going back to the store tomorrow; we're eating it on the burgers tomorrow.

And here's my coupon brag of the day:  spent $116.50; saved a total of $101.52 in sales, coupons, and Cellfire coupons.  Woot!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Sweet & Spicy Citrus Fish Fillets

This is "what's for dinner" tonight and it was SO delicious--and very easy.  Middle Sister didn't even notice the soy sauce.

source: Cooking Light magazine, August 2010 (slightly modified)

5 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets (or flounder, sole or other white fish)
Olive oil for the pan
juice and zest of 1 orange
juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin OR ginger (pick only one)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tbl minced garlic

Arrange fish in a single layer in a 9X13 glass baking pan brushed with olive oil. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over fish. Let stand 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425.

Bake 15 minutes or until done. Drizzle sauce over fish.

NOTE:  depending on the thickness of the fish, baking time will need to be adjusted.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Kitchen Confidential

Tonight for dinner I'm making Barbara's recipe for Italian Roast Beef Sandwiches. I browned the meat in a heavy pan on the stovetop and then transferred it and the broth and onions to my crockpot and cooked on high for 3 hours. I skipped the green peppers because my people are just not so fond of those.

I was doing just fine until I grabbed the cutting board and the meat fork so I could take the roast out to settle before slicing it. The fork's handle bent, dropping the roast back into the crockpot full of spicy au jus, which flew all over the wall behind the crockpot and ran down to the floor.

I sorted that out and cleaned up the mess, then sliced the roast and prepared to return it to the crockpot. As soon as all the meat was in there and the lid was on it, I went to pick up the cutting board so I could put it in the dishwasher, and it tipped over, pouring all the accumulated juice and little scraps down my shins, onto my shoes and socks, and onto the floor.

Good thing mopping day is tomorrow.

This recipe had better be good for all the trouble it has been today!

UPDATE: And the verdict is's fabulous. Definitely a keeper. Wish I could say the same for my kitchen fork.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Penne Vesuviana

This recipe is loosely based on Amanda's Farfalle alla Vesuviana.

1 pound penne or mini penne pasta, cooked al dente (reserve 1 cup pasta water)
3 TBL olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
4 cups crushed tomatoes (if they're fresh) or 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp capers, drained
1/3 cup Italian green olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 tsp each oregano and basil
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbl dried parsley flakes or 2 tbl fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for topping

Saute garlic in the olive oil until softened. Add tomatoes, capers, olives, and seasonings, except parsley and cheese. Simmer until the pasta is done. Add pasta water a little at a time if needed to moisten the tomato sauce.
Toss the sauce mixture with the pasta and parsley. Top with grated cheese before serving.

Friday, July 09, 2010

July 2010 Menu

Thurs 1: visited my parents

Fri 2: pizza

Sat 3: Barbecued chicken, corn on the cob, salad

Sun 4: Mexican steak, burgers & hot dogs on the grill, Dr. Pepper baked beans, salad, fresh vegetables for dipping

Mon 5: burgers, hot dogs on the grill

Tues 6: Spanish Pan Roast from Cooking Light magazine (I left out the chorizo). Made it in a 12-qt roaster oven. Delicious!

Wed 7:

Thurs 8: Spaghetti and meatballs

Fri 9: Tilapia with Mandarin Oranges& Honey in the slow cooker

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Garlic Caesar Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup Caesar salad dressing
4 TBL minced garlic
3/4 cup chicken broth

Mix salad dressing, garlic and broth in large skillet. Add chicken chunks, bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cover. Cook 10 minutes.

Serve with mini farfalle noodles and peas (it's really good if you mix that all together)

Welsh Cakes

I first enjoyed Welsh Cakes when I was a college student in Scranton, PA.  You could buy bags of these in the local convenience store.  But they're even better when they're homemade and warm from the griddle.  And you don't have to turn on the oven and heat up the house!

The taste is kind of like a scone, but with a slightly different texture.  These can be made in 20 minutes, start to finish.

2 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg or mace (mace has a milder flavor)
1/8 tsp salt
1 stick butter
7/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup raisins
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk (more if needed but don't be too quick to add this)

Stir together flour, baking powder, nutmeg/mace and salt. Add butter and mix like pie dough. Add sugar and raisins. Add eggs and milk and mix until a stiff dough is formed. Roll or pat to 1/4 inch thick and cut into rounds. Cook on greased griddle for about 3 minutes per side.

This makes about 21 cakes, if you reshape the dough scraps until you completely run out!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

JUNE 2010 menu plan

I like filling it in as the month goes on, especially when I get such a late start! I did make the plan on paper, though let's just say it's a good thing I plan in pencil!

TUES 1: Fajitas (using leftover steak), corn, rice

WED 2: Pizza

THURS 3: Spaghetti

FRI 4: Shrimp fried rice. Easiest ever, no recipe needed! I used precooked shrimp, cooked rice, and a bag of "steam in the bag" frozen vegetables that I cooked 1 minute less than normal time. Sauteed a little garlic, added rice, then a splash of soy sauce, added shrimp and vegetables, mixed up, stirred in a dash of sesame oil and it was dinner!

SAT 5: Grilled chicken, corn, wild rice

SUN 6: either French toast or hot turkey sandwiches, depending on who's eating here. Everyone is off in 5 different directions.

MON 7: Hawaiian chicken, jasmine rice, green beans

TUES 8: Taco skillet

WED 9: Chicken divan

THURS 10: Spaghetti with sausage

FRI 11: Baked flounder

SAT 12: Picnic

SUN 13:  Luau chicken

MON 14:  Enchilada stack

TUES 15:  Pork chops with lemon-garlic marinade, Alfredo noodles

WED 16:  Beef paysanne, noodles

THURS 17:  Spaghetti

FRI 18:  pizza

SAT 19:  Party (that's a post in itself!)

SUN 20:  Father's Day--we went to Outback Steakhouse

MON 21:  party leftovers

TUES 22:  Chicken piccata, salted skillet potatoes

WED 23;  tacos

THURS 24:  spaghetti

FRI 25:  pizza

SAT 26:  tilapia

SUN 27:  Caesar garlic chicken

MON 28:  Beef stroganoff skillet

TUES 29:   Clearly a 5-star meal; I never wrote down what it would be and I cannot remember at all!

WED 30:  Chicken crescent casserole

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

MAY 2010 Meal Plan

Since I'm SO behind, I figured I'd just set it up for the month.

SAT 1: Barbecued chicken, roasted potatoes

SUN 2: out to dinner!

MON 3: Teriyaki pork, brown rice

TUES 4: Arroz con pollo (that one didn't work out well. Very soupy. Tasty, but I wasn't after garlic-and-tomato flavored rice pudding.)

WED 5: Tacos, mac & cheese

THURS 6: Spaghetti

FRI 7: Visited cousins

SAT 8: First Communion Party for my niece

SUN 9: we had a big (and late) lunch so we just had pasta marinara and "Olive Garden" breadsticks

MON 10: Cheesy garlic chicken, spinach, wild rice

TUES 11: Barb's Skillet Beef Stroganoff; this was REALLY good and REALLY easy!

WED 12: Cheesesteaks

THURS 13: Spaghetti

FRI 14: Pizza (emergency dinner; kitchen sink has a big leak, I had a tough day, and I wasn't up to improvising!)

SAT 15: Barbecued chicken, chicken-flavored noodles (Knorr mix), corn

SUN 16: Mexican steak on the grill, baked potatoes, broccoli

MON 17: UB's onion chicken

TUES 18: hamburgers

WED 19: spaghetti, since we're not having it Thursday

THURS 20: Big Brother and I are going to his senior awards banquet; everyone else is having tacos

FRI 21: Cub Scout picnic

SAT 22: Grilled chicken, Olive Garden breadsticks, salad

SUN 23: Chili

MON 24: Balsamic chicken with onions

TUES 25: Spaghetti

WED 26: Pot roast

THURS 27: Fast food on the run

FRI 28: Spanish Garlic Shrimp, rice

SAT 29: Country-style ribs with barbecue sauce in the slow cooker

SUN 30: Barb's beef stroganoff; this time I forgot to add the sour cream and lemon juice but this was JUST as delicious without it. I think my kids preferred it this way.

MON 31: Grilled steak, orzo

Homemade Pizza Lunchables

Makes 32 mini pizzas.

yeast 2 tbl
water 3 cups
flour 8 ½ cups
butter, softened 4 tbl
sugar 4 tbl
salt 2 tbl

Proof yeast in ¼ cup of the water in mixer bowl for 5 minutes. Add flour, butter, sugar, salt and remaining water. Mix with paddle attachment until slightly sticky dough forms (5 minutes).

Knead 3 minutes. Divide into pieces and, with oiled hands, shape into balls. Then roll out on a floured surface. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.


Pack 3 mini pizzas along with small containers of your favorite spaghetti sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. Don't forget a paper plate and a spoon.

So much cheaper--and healthier--than the commercial version. And with reusable containers, it's greener as well.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Roasted Potatoes, inspired by Cindy

The original recipe for these potatoes is on the MomsMenu with Cindy blog.

I made a few changes to the recipe, partly because of personal tastes (some people in this house are anti-Parmesan; others are anti-onion), partly because of what I had in the house, and partly because I was cooking in a roaster oven.

So here it is, as I made them. They were good! Definitely a keeper!

1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into wedges or cubes (I didn't weigh the potatoes; I used 3 small ones and 4 big ones to serve 4 people).
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp tarragon
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp kosher salt

Heat the 4- to 6-qt. roaster oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the potatoes in a mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. Toss to coat potatoes.

Spread in preheated roaster oven. Bake, stirring several times, until potatoes are tender and brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Menu Plan April 4-10, 2010

SUN 4: Happy Easter! We celebrated with Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, mashed potatoes, mashed rutabagas/turnips, stuffing, roasted asparagus, gravy

MON 5: Meatball/mozzarella calzones, salad

TUES 6: Tacos

WED 7: Turkey a la king over rice

THURS 7: Spaghetti

FRI 8: pizza

SAT 9: Pork carnitas

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Caesar Crumb Chicken

See the recipe, photo and nutrition information at Cook and Count!

Menu Plan March 28-April 3, 2010

SUN 28: Pork chops in lemon and garlic marinade, stuffing, vegetables

MON 29: Chicken drumsticks with apricot-mustard glaze, brown rice, vegetables

TUES 30: Country-style ribs, hash-brown casserole, salad

WED 31: Tacos

THURS 1: Chinese takeout

FRI 2: Grilled cheese sandwiches and clam chowder, our traditional Good Friday meal

SAT 3: Ravioli with meatballs

Menu Plan March 15-28, 2010

Looks like I'm behind again! Here's the rundown on what we ate the past 2 weeks.

SUN 14: Caesar crumb chicken, orzo, vegetables

MON 15: Turkey enchiladas

TUES 16: Spaghetti

WED 17: Shepherd's Pie

THURS 18: Tacos

FRI 19: Ravioli with marinara sauce

SAT 20: family St. Patrick's Day party

SUN 21: Eagle Scout award dinner

MON 22: Chicken Caroline

TUES 23: Pork Carnitas

WED 24: Chicken Marsala bites

THURS 25: Spaghetti

FRI 26: Flatbread pizza

SAT 27: Takeout

Ranger Cookies

I cannot believe I hadn't already posted this recipe! These are delicious cookies! Don't tell that there's coconut in there--no one will ever know! (Of course, this advice does not apply in case of allergy.)

2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups oats, rolled (raw)
2 cups rice krispies®
1 cup coconut

Cream sugars and butter.
Add egg and vanilla.
Add flour, salt, soda & powder.
Add remaining ingredients.
Scoop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet.
Bake 10 to 15 minutes at 400 until lightly brown.
(I line my baking sheets with a silicone liner and bake these cookies about 12 minutes).
Makes about 5 to 6 dozen cookies, depending on how big you make them.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What to Serve on Easter?

I'm undecided.
Ham or turkey?

Ham is the traditional Easter dish in my family. It's easy to make, and that helps a lot when you're playing at the NOON Mass. And we all like it--once. But then I think about all the leftovers, and we really don't eat up ham leftovers very well. All the casseroles I've tried that include leftover ham are never a hit with my crew.

Turkey is a hit with everyone. There are any number of things I can make with leftover turkey that my family will actually eat. But turkey takes longer to prepare, especially since I'd want to have homemade stuffing with it. I could make it work, but it would take a good amount of organization, something which I've really been lacking lately.

I've got to make the final plan and grocery list soon. I'll have to poll the family, too. Your input would be appreciated.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Question for the Scientists

I recently found a deal on Rice-a-Roni and Pasta Roni, so I've opened up a couple of boxed side-dish mixes in the past couple of weeks. (Hey, it was practically free!)

All of them, on the directions, call for "butter or margarine or spread without trans fats."

Here's my question: do the trans fats in some spreads cause the spread to melt differently, in a way that would mess up the sauce in either texture or flavor, or have the Food Police invaded Rice-a-Roni? It's certainly no nutritional superstar even without the trans fats, with all the sodium that comes in each box.

So what's up with that?

Pork Carnitas in the Nesco Roaster

The original recipe can be found at A Year of Slow Cooking. I modified the directions to work with a 6-quart Nesco roaster, which can slow-cook, but not quite as slowly as a traditional slow cooker. I also used a different cut of meat than the original recipe called for; I was using what I had in the house.

I'm pleased with the results. This made a lot, and I'll freeze the extra for sometime when I need a quick meal (just reheat and serve in warm tortillas!)

2 pounds boneless pork roast
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice (about 1 large lime)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 cup beef broth
flour tortillas
sour cream and salsa for toppings

Use a 6 quart Nesco roaster. Preheat to 400. Rub salt and cumin all over the pork, then put the pork into the roaster. Add garlic. Mix the lime juice, orange juice and beef broth. Pour this mixture evenly over the top.

Turn the roaster down to 225 and cook for about 5 to 5 1/2 hours, or until the pork shreds quite easily with a fork. Remove the meat, leaving the drippings in the roaster. Completely shred the meat and return it to the roaster. Mix it with the drippings, cover, and turn the temperature down to "keep warm" until you're ready to serve it.

Serve on warmed tortillas with desired toppings.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

This was our St. Patrick's Day meal.  I got the recipe from Barbara at Bless Us, O Lord.  I changed a couple of things, so the recipe below is the way I made it.

Shepherd's Pie
salt and black pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 large onion, finely diced
2 c. frozen peas & carrots
3/4 t. dried thyme
2 T. flour
1 T. butter
1/4 c. red wine
3 T. ketchup
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken stock (beef could also be used)
5 to 6 potatoes, boiled and mashed with milk and butter
1/2 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400F.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Melt about 1 T. butter in pan. Add onions and saute for a minute or two, then add the meat. Season with black pepper and thyme. Cook until browned, then drain any fat. Add the butter and peas & carrots. Sprinkle with flour and stir through. Add ketchup, wine and Worcestershire sauce. Let this reduce slightly, then add the chicken stock. Allow to reduce down until you have a thick meaty gravy. Season to taste.

Remove from heat. Pour into 9X13 casserole. (I learned the hard way that this is just too much food for a 2-quart baker!)  Mix cheese into the mashed potatoes, then spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes over top. 

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the potato is nice and browned on top.

NOTE:  My family wasn't crazy about the peas, so next time it might just be carrots in the Shepherd's Pie.  There WILL be a next time!  Also, I thought the Worcestershire sauce tasted really strong, so I will reduce that amount in the future.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Menu Plan March 8-14, 2010

MONDAY:  Chicken piccata bites, rice, broccoli


WEDNESDAY:  Sausage & pepper sandwiches

THURSDAY:  takeout

FRIDAY:  pizza

SATURDAY:  neighbor's birthday party

SUNDAY:  chicken drumsticks, Greek potatoes, vegetables

Irish Soda Bread

In honor of St. Patrick's Day! 

There are as many recipes for Irish Soda Bread as there are Irish cooks.  This is how my mom makes it; she got the recipe from a friend.

Get the recipe at Cook and Count.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Taco Tip

The other day I was really tired, having gotten up at 3:30 AM to take Big Brother to school for his senior trip.  I was happy that there was some premade taco meat in the freezer.

When I went to heat it up, though, it seemed kind of dry.  So I added in about 1/3 cup of salsa.  It moistened the meat and gave it a really good flavor.  Next time, that's going to be standard!

Do You Sit While You Cook?

My grandmother used to sit at the table and peel potatoes, cut turnips, and do all sorts of meal prep. I'm taller than she was (which isn't saying much!), but I find sitting uncomfortable because I'm not at the right height to work at the table. Kitchen chairs are just not high enough.

I recently found that this Winsome Saddle Seat Stool is perfect for working in my kitchen.  On those days when my feet are tired and I just don't want to stand there and chop stuff, I can pull the stool out from under the kitchen table (it fits perfectly) and have a comfortable spot to sit where I work.  The crossbars work well as a footrest, too!

This stool is 24" high, just right for working at the table.  It also is great for extra seating in any room.  Basic black goes with everything.  It comes unassembled, but I was able to put it together in about 15 minutes--all you need is an Allen wrench, which is provided in the box.

My kids all want one of these for their room, but this stool is mine and it's staying in the kitchen!

I received no financial compensation from CSN Stores or the manufacturer for this review, although I did get to keep the stool.


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Meal-Planning Miscellaneous

In the past week or so I have seen a couple of really delicious-looking pasta recipes over at Amanda's Cookin'. That got me thinking: I'd love to plan a Pasta Week. Of course, that might have to wait until my husband goes out of town on business, because he's not the biggest fan of pasta.

I might feel differently about cooking more pasta after tonight's Cub Scout Blue and Gold Dinner. I'm doing the cooking--and it's spaghetti and meatballs. I bought bagged meatballs (bless me, Father, for I have sinned) but I refuse to buy jar sauce. I'll be heading over there in a few minutes to start the sauce in 2 Nesco roasters. Homemade sauce really only takes minutes to put together, and then the longer you let it simmer, the better it will be.

This coming week, Big Brother will be out of town from Tuesday through Saturday, on the senior-class trip. That means I'm only cooking for 4, and my Most Appreciative Eater won't be here. Also, he'll give me a guilt trip if I make any of his favorites in his absence.

Oh, I tried Tami's Greek Potatoes last night and they were a hit all around. My husband usually puts ketchup on any roasted potatoes I make, but he didn't this time. I'll make these again, probably soon! They were a great side item for baked fish.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Olive Garden-Style breadsticks

I worked up this recipe so I can have anywhere from 8 to 32 breadsticks.

yeast                1/2 tbl     1 tbl            2 tbl
water                ¾ cup     1 ½ cup      3 cups
flour                 2 ¼ cup   4 ¼ cup      8 ½ cups
butter, softened 1 tbl         2 tbl          4 tbl
sugar                1 tbl          2 tbl         4 tbl
salt                   1 ½ tsp     1 tbl         2 tbl

TOPPINGS             HALF        WHOLE      DOUBLE

butter, melted   4 tbl        6 to 8 tbl      12+ tbl
salt                    ¼ tsp      ½ tsp            1 tsp
garlic powder     1/8 tsp    ¼ tsp           ½ tsp
dried oregano     pinch      1/8 tsp         ¼ tsp

Proof yeast in ¼ cup of the water in mixer bowl for 5 minutes. Add flour, butter, sugar, salt and remaining water. Mix with paddle attachment until slightly sticky dough forms (5 minutes).

Knead 3 minutes. Shape into breadsticks. Arrange on covered baking sheet (silicone or parchment) Cover and rise 45 minutes.

Brush with half the melted butter, sprinkle with half the salt. Bake at 375 to 400 about 15 minutes. Top with remaining butter and seasonings.

Whole recipe makes about 16 breadsticks.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Menu Plan March 1-7, 2010

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

TUES 2: Cheesesteaks, French fries

WED 3: Baked-potato bar, salad

THURS 4: Spaghetti

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

SAT 6: Cub Scout Blue & Gold Dinner!

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

TO TRY LATER: Amanda's Farfalle Vesiviana

UB's Dijon-Onion Chicken or Fish

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

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

a pretty good recipe for chicken or fish

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

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

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

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

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

UB's Dijon-Onion Chicken

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

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What's in the Cookie Jar?

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

Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, and Pecan Cookies

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

Preheat oven to 350°.

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

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

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

Furnishing the Kitchen

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 22, 2010

Menu Plan February 22-28, 2010

MONDAY: Enchiladas using leftover roast pork, rice, corn

TUESDAY: Homemade hamburger helper

WEDNESDAY: Chicken Crescent Casserole

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

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

SATURDAY: we won't be home

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

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chicken Piccata Bites

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


Get the recipe with nutrition information at Cook and Count!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Menu Plan February 15-21, 2010

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

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

MONDAY: Beef paysanne with noodles, broccoli

TUESDAY: Chicken Piccata bites, rice, mixed vegetables

WEDNESDAY: Soup and grilled-cheese sandwiches

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: pizza

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

SUNDAY: Chili over baked potatoes

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

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

Menu Plan February 8-14, 2009

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

TUES 9: Burgers and macaroni and cheese

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

THURS 11: Spaghetti

FRI 12: Baked flounder, rice and vegetables

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

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

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Slow-simmered Chicken Stock

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Caramelized Baked Chicken

A yummy way to cook skin-on chicken!

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

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

Source: happymomof4 at Family Corner

Cheesy Unmashed Potatoes

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 01, 2010

Menu Plan February 1-7. 2010

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

TUES. 2: Continental Beef and Noodles, vegetables

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

THURS 4: Spaghetti and meatballs

FRI 5:  dinner out at Chili's

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

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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

D's Chicken & Stuffing Casserole

A friend from church brought over a delicious chicken and stuffing casserole right after my surgery. Everybody liked it, and I asked her to share the recipe.

1 lb. chicken tenders
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup water
1 box Stove Top stuffing mix
2 to 3 tbl butter
2 cups mixed vegetables
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Mix soup and water with a whisk in the bottom of a 9X13 casserole dish. Top with the stuffing mix and vegetables. Stir a bit with a fork to moisten. Dot with butter. Place chicken pieces on top of everything. Cover with foil. Bake at 325 for 55 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake uncovered just until the cheese melts.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Back in the Saddle--er, Kitchen

I can't believe that I went for 2 1/2 weeks without cooking anything, but that is exactly what has happened. Following my surgery on January 8, we either had my mom's cooking, takeout, or people generously showing up here with meals.

So, let's see, what did we eat around that time:

SAT 9: Chinese

SUN 10: Rotisserie Chicken, Rice-a-Roni, peas & corn, homemade cranberry-orange relish (from a friend)

MON 11: Chicken & stuffing casserole (from a friend)

TUES 12: Honey-baked ham, baked potatoes

WED 13: Pulled pork (from a friend)

THURS 14: Spaghetti

FRI 15: I have no clue what they all had. I was really sick that day.

SAT 16: TheDad took us to the diner. That was uncomfortable. Yikes.

SUN 17: Chicken & broccoli casserole (from a friend)

MON 18: French toast, sausage

TUES 19: Cheesy garlic chicken

WED 20: can't remember!

THURS 21: Lasagna (from a friend)

FRI 22: leftovers

SAT 23: Stacked enchilada (first time I cooked!)

SUN 24: out to eat

MON 25: Pork roast with rosemary-roasted potatoes, vegetables, corn muffins

TUES 26: Homemade hamburger helper

WED 27: Caramelized Baked Chicken Tenders, rice, broccoli

THURS 28: Spaghetti

FRI 29: Italian sausage sandwiches

SAT 30: Pizza

SUN 31: Chili at a friend's

It's good to cook again even if I can only do a little at a time. I can't stand at the stove too long, so I do the prep "over time" and select things that I don't have to tend all the time.

But the kitchen is a no-mom's-land right now. The Amateur Homemakers who are doing dishes, unloading the dishwasher, and putting stuff away do NOT know where I normally keep things! I hunted for a good long time (a few minutes here, a few there) until I found the meat thermometer today.


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