Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shutting down this blog

I've decided to shut down this blog and move back over to my other blog, Living the Life

I have a few reasons for this - first of all, I'm not posting on either often enough to justify having two blogs going.  Second, my work schedule has changed and I now only have to do make-ahead two nights a week, instead of five (yee haw!).  So, instead of coming up with creative dishes that can be made in the morning and cooked in the evening, I'm scrambling to reacquaint myself with skillet meals, grilling, and other wonderful methods of food preparation that I've been missing for the last two and a half years!

I'll slowly be transferring the recipes here over to Living the Life, and then I will delete this blog.  Please drop by for a visit over there!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Menu Plan October 3 - 7

It's been a while since I've had my act together enough to post a menu.  Doesn't mean I haven't had one (though I haven't always, to be sure!), I just haven't posted.  Since last I posted, my work schedule has changed a bit, and I now get home at 5:30 two to three days a week, which means I now have to work both quick meals and make-ahead into my schedule.  Tricky business!

Here's the plan for this week:

Monday: lasagna (half beef, half eggplant from the CSA box)
Tuesday:  broccoli cheese soup, salad, bread
Wednesday:  Ham and broccoli calzones
Thursday: leftovers
Friday:  potstickers

Make it a great one, everybody!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Black Bean Soup

Friend of mine was telling me a story about her hubby's misadventures with some black bean soup the other day.  A few days later it was raining, and I didn't feel like cooking, so I decided to make some of my own.  This is the recipe I started with, then tweaked it based on personal taste and what I keep in my pantry.  You know, I honestly don't know why I bother buying cookbooks, since the food we eat never resembles the original recipe!  Inspiration, I suppose...

I often will cook a bag of dried beans, then freeze it in two-cup portions with some of the cooking water ladled over the top to prevent freezer burn.  Super easy, and super cheap.  This recipe is based on that.  You could use canned beans just as easily, as called for in the original recipe.

4 cups cooked black beans, with cooking water
1 can of petite diced tomatoes
1/2 t. Italian seasoning
1 t. ground black pepper
2 t. salt, more to taste if needed
2 cups chicken broth
2 T. taco sauce (as suggested in the original recipe, I used two packets of mild Taco Bell sauce.  Probably wasn't quite two tablespoons, I could have used one or two more.)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 broccoli stalk, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped

Put all ingredients into a 4- or 5-quart crock pot.  Cook on low 8 - 10 hours.  Before serving, ladle half of the soup out into a blender.  Put the lid on, COVER WITH A TOWEL (this is very important to keep you from getting burned), and blend until smooth.  Pour back into the crock pot and stir. 

Serve with cornbread on the side.

Makes 4 servings (three if you're feeding this to a bean-loving toddler like mine!).

Menu Plan July 18 - 21

I haven't posted a menu in a long, long time.  Truth be told, I lost all inspiration and I'm not exactly sure what we've been eating for the last couple of months!  I've just finished cleaning and reorganizing the pantry, however, so it's time to get back on track (now that I know what's actually in there).

Here's what's on tap for this week:

  • Monday:  meatloaf and garlic mashed potatoes, green beans from our CSA box
  • Tuesday:  manicotti (I use this recipe from the back of the Ronzoni manicotti box and add some cooked ground beef), green salad, and cheesecake (happy 8th anniversary to us!)
  • Wednesday:  Baked chicken with roasted broccoli and cauliflower
  • Thursday:  Kielbasa and kidney beans
Friday we're eating dinner out.

Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

CSA Adventures, week 4 and 5

For some reason, I wasn't into dealing with fresh produce last week, so some of it is still sitting in my fridge (which also explains why I haven't blogged about it)!  Here's what I got...

Broccoli:  went into a DELICIOUS pot of black bean soup (I started with this recipe, but made quite a few changes along the way).

Zucchini:  went into some gorgeous looking sausage and cheese calzones, which we couldn't eat because hubby accidentally baked them with the plastic wrap still on (one of the hazards of make-ahead dinner, LOL!).

Green onion:  I remember chopping these, but can I remember what I put them in?  Of course not...

Snow peas:  Still in the fridge

Radishes:  Still in the fridge

Cherries:  Almost all eaten.

This week, my CSA buddy is out of town, so I got the whole box to myself.  I got:

Broccoli and cauliflower:  I'm going to try roasting this.

Zucchini:  I'll probably grill it, but the zucchini in my garden is finally starting to come on, so at some point I'm going to start shredding and freezing it (for bread, muffins, etc).

Green beans:  Steamed all the way, baby!

Sugar Daddy Peas:  I thought these were sugar SNAP peas, so I sat down this morning to shell them.  Well, the peas were DINKY, and the pods wouldn't budge since there weren't any strings!  I finally looked at the list again, saw what they actually are, and googled them since I've never heard of them before.  We'll most likely be steaming them and eating them whole.

Raspberries:  I absolutely LOVE the flavor of raspberries, but I have issues with my teeth and the seeds, so I don't eat them very often.  So I decided to make puree and freeze it, for sauces or Italian sodas or whatever.  Did that this morning.  Then I ran across this recipe, and now I'm kicking myself for pureeing them all because those sound AMAZING!  I've bookmarked it so, come this fall when my own raspberries come on (we have a few but not enough to cook with right now), I can give it a try.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

CSA adventures, week 3

This week's box had asparagus, zucchini, green onions, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, and cherries.  My friend took the cabbage, since she needed to make coleslaw for a crowd, as well as the lettuce because my garden is more than covering our needs right now. 

I bought extra asparagus and pickled it all last night.  I've never made pickles of any kind before, let alone something as exotic as asparagus, so we'll see how it goes.  I have to let it sit at least a month before I can try it, so I'll keep you posted!

The trimmings of the asparagus and the spinach went into a delightful pasta dinner last night which also included, among other ingredients, fresh basil, Italian sausage, fontina cheese, garlic, and cream.  It was EXCELLENT. 

The green onions have gone into many things, including spinach dip and bean dip for our 4th of July gathering. 

I sauteed the zucchini in olive oil and served it as a side dish.  Normally I like my zucchini grilled, but since both of our propane cans are empty and we haven't taken the time to get them filled, that was not an option. 

We're still eating the cherries. Love them! 

So far, our boxes have been pretty mainstream, and haven't really had any "out there" ingredients that I've had to wrangle with.  In a way, this is good, because it helps to ensure that we actually eat what we're buying.  On the other hand, I haven't done much experimenting, either, which I definitely think would be a great deal of fun.  We'll see what the rest of the season holds...

Monday, June 27, 2011

CSA adventures, week 2

This week's CSA box had:

Bok choy
Green onion

Haven't used the asparagus yet.  I keep thinking I should buy more and pickle it, but I haven't followed through.  I'd love to start experimenting with pickling - there is such a fabulous range of flavors with different pickled vegetables.  I just haven't had the time or the produce!

The bok choy and cabbage went into a delicious stir fry side dish tonight, along with an organic zucchini from the grocery store, some garlic scapes from my garden, a bit of fresh ginger, and some salt and pepper.  We had that along with our bulgogi and sesame rice.  One of my favorite meals, and hubby even said the vegetables were good - a rare compliment for a veggie side!

I've been using the green onions here and there.  Some went in the bulgogi, some have gone in a salad.  Usually at this time of year I'm putting chives in everything while I wait for the green onions in my garden to grow enough to use (why buy produce when I can improvise with something from the yard, right?), so it's nice to have a change! 

I haven't used the beets yet - I only got a couple once my friend and I split the bunch, so I need to pull some from my garden and then I'm planning to roast them.  Love roasted beets! 

We're eating the cherries.  LOVE that it's cherry season again!

My daughter ate the strawberries with her breakfast over the last few days.  She can't get enough!

We find out on Thursday what our box will have on Friday.  Can't wait to see what's on tap for next week!  I'll try to start taking some pictures, too - everything has been picked within two days, and they clean it up nicely for us, so it's all bright, crisp and GORGEOUS.

CSA adventures, week 1

I decided to subscribe to a CSA this year.  If you're not familiar, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  Basically, you buy a share in a farm and get a box of produce each week in exchange.  I've been toying with the idea for a couple of years, and when a friend offered to split a share so neither of us would be overwhelmed, I jumped at the chance.

The trick, of course, is working it into your meal plans.  Week one, I received:


There were also two gorgeous heads of leaf lettuce, but since I have lettuce taking over the garden, I let my friend take those.

When it comes to asparagus, my husband is pretty set in his ways (actually, my husband is pretty set in his ways about most things, but once in a while, I can slip something new to him and he'll eat it.  He won't always eat it twice, but he'll almost always eat it once!).  He wants it either roasted or grilled.  So I drizzled it with olive oil, sprinkled it with kosher salt, and grilled it on a night when I was making grilled chicken.

The collards came with a grilling recipe, but I didn't have all the ingredients on hand.  So I went googling and came up with this recipe for creamed collards.  I knew hubby wouldn't want it, and there wasn't much since I'd split the bunch with my friend, so I made it for lunch.  I didn't have cream, so I used half and half.  It was divine!  My daughter wouldn't eat it, but I happily ate her share.  And the leftovers were excellent cold, I have to say. 

The rhubarb and strawberries are living in my freezer, waiting for the right opportunity (we're getting a ton of strawberries off of our plants right now, so we have plenty to eat fresh). 

I've used the parsley in a few things - mixed some into a boxed couscous mix, put some in salad, things like that.  I'm probably going to just chop the rest and freeze it in ice cubes for use in recipes later on.  It was quite a bit of parsley.  I should make tabbouleh, but I think I'm the only person who would eat it!

Looking forward to seeing what the rest of the summer has in store!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Menu Plan May 9 - 12

Life is getting busy again, so I need to get back on the menu-planning bandwagon.  I also need to get back on the budget-tracking bandwagon, but that's a post for another day.  And another blog!  Here's what's on tap for this week:

Monday:  hamburger casserole
Tuesday: baked chicken
Wednesday:  ravioli alfredo
Thursday:  pulled pork sandwiches (going to cook the meat in the crock pot)
Friday we have plans, so I don't have to cook!

Have a great week!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

After dinner mints

This was my grandma's recipe, and I just discovered that my recipe card has been just about destroyed, so I thought I'd better transfer it to something more permanent.  I make these for Christmas, and color them red and green.

1 egg white
1 T. cream
1 t. vanilla
3 - 6 drops oil flavoring (I use 1/2 t. peppermint extract)
food coloring
1 box powdered sugar, plus additional for pressing
1 heaping t. soft butter

Combine egg white, cream, vanilla, flavoring, and color; stir well.  Add sugar all at once, mixing thoroughly.  Add additional sugar and the butter if necessary to get a thick enough consistency to roll.

Roll into firm, small (about 3/4 inch) balls.  Arrange on wax paper; press each ball with tines of a fork dipped in powdered sugar.  Let stand overnight to form a crust.

Pack in tins with wax paper between each layer.  May be frozen and kept several months.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Menu Plan February 7 - 11

It's a pretty boring food week at my house.  I'm still getting used to working my second job (five or seven hours a week isn't much, but since I don't work it till after everyone is in bed, it pretty much eats up any time I have for doing extra things around the house), so I'm making easy plans this week.

Monday:  Bulgogi and sesame rice
Tuesday:  Tacos
Wednesday:  Pork chops (haven't figured out just how I'm fixing them yet)
Thursday:  Spaghetti
Friday:  Pineapple chicken

Have a great week, everyone!  And remember to visit for tons of great menu planning ideas!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Menu Plan January 30 - February 4

Another week, another menu!  We did pretty well last week, except for one night when hubby forgot to put the casserole in the oven, so we made a run for the border...Taco Bell is the only restaurant my daughter asks for by name.  She loves their potato tacos!  I should figure out what's in the sauce because those would be so easy to make at home...

This week is shaping up to be a pretty busy one.  I have meetings for work two mornings (fortunately one of them is for my regular job, which means I get to come home early that day), and we are rejoicing in the return of story time (at the library) after a two-month holiday hiatus, but that all means less time for me to make dinners in the mornings. 

So here's what's on tap for this week!

Sunday:  Hamburgers and oven fries
Monday:  Chili dogs
Tuesday:  Bean and rice enchiladas (using the leftover Spanish rice and beans from last week)
Wednesday:  Pineapple chicken
Thursday:  Cranberry pork tenderloin
Friday:  Chicken paprikash over noodles

That's it for this week!  And remember to always visit menu plan Monday at to see what everyone else is eating!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Must try to recreate these!

Today my daughter and I were cruising the aisles at Whole Foods, and I thought I'd try something new for lunch.  In the frozen food aisle, my eye landed on a box of Dr. Praeger's Kids All Natural Broccoli Littles.  They were on sale, so I picked them up and took a look.  Hmm...looked like they were basically tater tots with broccoli mixed in.  Sounded tasty!  So, I tossed the box in my cart and headed for the checkout line. 

I got them home and popped them in the oven (super quick, super simple - you just broil them for eight minutes on a side).  I tasted one when they were done and was very surprised - they were delicious!  I've been burned by frozen kid's food so many all those chicken nuggets out there that don't seem to have an ounce of chicken in them!  But these were great - basically they tasted like tater tots with broccoli mixed in.  My daughter loved them, too (I had to laugh as she gleefully bit the head off of a teddy bear...).  And I suddenly thought to myself, I could totally make these! 

So here's the ingredient list:  Broccoli, potatoes, onions, egg whites, potato flakes, expeller pressed canola oil, arrowroot, salt, and garlic.  It surprises me that broccoli is the first ingredient, because it seems like there is a lot more potato than broccoli in there, but maybe they blended it together. 

Anyway, next time I have a free afternoon and am in the mood to experiment, I'm going to try to recreate these.  They were cut into fun little shapes - stars, dinosaurs, teddy bears...but I can use little cookie cutters for that. 

Once I've had a chance to play around with it, I'll report back!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Plan January 23 - 28

Last week's menu didn't go quite as planned.  I am happy to report that I did FINALLY make the chicken and dumplings, which has been appearing on the menu for months now, but somehow never made it to the table.  It's an extremely time-consuming dish (takes about three hours if I start with a whole chicken), which probably explains that!

Thursday we were supposed to have bean and rice casserole, but I needed to make it Wednesday night and completely forgot, so we had leftover meatloaf instead.  Friday we were supposed to have jambalaya, but I just didn't feel like it, so we had kielbasa and cabbage

Sometimes I look at our menu and marvel at how little processed food we eat these days.  Other than the occasional ingredient such as a can of soup or veggies, most of what I cook is from scratch.  Don't get me wrong, we're not gung ho real foodies, additive- and dye-free or anything like that, and we still eat boxed macaroni and cheese for lunch sometimes (almost always Annie's) but it's been a loooooong time since I broke open a box of Hamburger Helper or those horrible all-in-one boxed meals I used to make after a long day at work.  Our schedule just isn't conducive to convenience like that these days. I think we're better off because of it.

Anyway, here's what's on tap for this week.

Sunday:  We went out to Chevy's (loving their cheap guacamole Sundays!)
Monday:  Buttermilk Chicken
Tuesday:  hamburger casserole
Wednesday:  chicken enchiladas
Thursday:  spaghetti
Friday:  bean/rice casserole (the one I didn't make last week!).

Hope everyone has a great week!  And don't forget to visit Menu Plan Mondays at for tons of fabulous menu ideas from families all over the world!

Buttermilk Chicken, Revisited

Buttermilk chicken is one of my favorite recipes EVER.  But, the dredging and two-step cooking process don't lend themselves at all to my make-ahead needs.  And, I'm trying to reduce my dependence on the dreaded "cream of crap" canned soups.  So, I decided it was time for a make-ahead makeover.

Buttermilk Chicken - the Make Ahead Version
serves three

3 T. butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms*
3 T. flour
1 cup milk
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 t. ground red pepper
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. paprika
6 chicken tenderloins
hot cooked egg noodles

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and sliced mushrooms, sauteing until the onions are soft.  Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, two minutes.  Add milk, buttermilk, and spices, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and bubbles.

Lay chicken tenderloins in an 8x8 pan.  Pour the sauce over the top.  If you're making it ahead, stop here and put the mixture in the refrigerator.

When ready to bake, bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  Serve over noodles.

*Mushroom tip: If you find the containers of sliced mushrooms on manager's special (meaning they're about to expire), buy all you can.  Saute them in butter and then freeze them in one-cup portions, which are perfect for recipes such as this one.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recipe Reviews - Breakfast, Dinner and Dessert!

I have three recipes to review this week.  Only two of them qualifies as "make ahead", but the third is so simple that it comes together in the amount of time it takes to boil a pot of spaghetti.

On Monday, a friend of mine came over for brunch.  She's fairly gluten free, and my breakfast/brunch fair usually leans heavily toward the bread end of the spectrum, so I was on the lookout for something that would suit my carb addiction and her need to avoid wheat.  I stumbled across this amazing collection of recipes from Bed and Breakfasts across North America. 

After scrolling through the list of breakfast and brunch recipes, I decided baked oatmeal was just the thing we needed.  I have another baked oatmeal recipe, but it always comes out heavy and gummy, so I thought I'd try something new.  I chose this recipe because I had everything on hand and I liked the addition of fruit. 

I am, at heart, a recipe changer.  There are very few recipes I don't tweak - sometime I'll tweak right out of the gate, other times I wait till my second time and then start changing things.  I tweaked from the get-go on this one, but only a minor one.  I used pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon.  Other than that, I kept this as it is.  And it was wonderful!  It wasn't dense at all - quite fluffy, actually.  I had to serve it with a spoon, so it was more like oatmeal than oatmeal cake, as some of them are.  Just the right amount of sweetness, and I loved the crunch of the apple.  I'll definitely make it again!

Make Ahead Tip:  mix this together the night before and then just pop it in the oven half an hour before you want to eat.


Cooking During Stolen Moments is one of my favorite blogs ever.  She is very creative with her recipes, and, like me, she likes to do things ahead of time.  I've made several things from her site, and she's never steered me wrong, so when I ran across a link to her Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti recipe, I knew I had to try it.  I LOVE buffalo chicken!  And, of course, any recipe that calls for a cup of ranch dressing can't be all bad, right? 

I could tell from the recipe that this would be a quick fix, so I didn't make it until I got home from work.  I used pre-cooked chicken, so it went even faster (whenever I roast a chicken I shred the leftover meat and put it in the freezer in two-cup servings, so they're ready for quick casseroles and other dishes). I put the pasta water on to boil, got the other ingredients out, and went to work.  By the time the pasta was cooked the sauce was ready, so the whole thing took about 20 minutes from start to table. 

This was, in a word, delicious.  Definitely not something you'd want to eat every day - it's very rich, in flavor and in calories.  But for a once in a while, I-just-need-something-creamy-with-some-kick kind of day, it fits the bill perfectly.  It had just the right level of heat (I used Frank's Red Hot Sauce).  My two-year-old couldn't get enough of it - I think if I'd let her she would have eaten the whole pan of sauce before the pasta was even done! 

Since I'm never happy to leave something well-enough alone, next time I'm going to try this as a baked casserole, with something crunchy on top (French fried onions, maybe, or panko) for a little extra texture.  But it's definitely repeat-worthy!


This week I made Caramel Custard for the second time.  I got a brulee torch for Christmas and hadn't tried it out yet, and this fit the bill perfectly.

I'm not normally a fan of custard.  Something about the texture really bothers me.  But I love creme brulee, and I love this.  I made it with organic evaporated cane juice instead of the white sugar, which gives it a little extra depth of flavor.  It is rich, creamy, and just a little bit is quite satisfying.  The crunch and deep flavor of the melted brown sugar is really fantastic, too.  I can see myself making this one over, and over, and over...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Menu Plan January 16 - 21

Here's the plan for this week...

Sunday:  chicken fried steak
Monday:  chicken and dumplings (I use the Cook's Illustrated recipe - if you happen to be a member of their website, it's the February 2005 version)
Tuesday:  tacos
Wednesday: Buffalo chicken spaghetti (we haven't ever had this, but it sounds AMAZING!)
Thursday: Spanish rice casserole (I'm going to make this one meatless by adding extra beans in place of the turkey)
Friday: Jambalaya (made from the Zatarains mix)

Have a great week!  And remember to go to for tons of great menu ideas!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Making things stretch

Well, here we are, halfway through the month, and I have already overspent my grocery budget.  Trust me, this should not surprise anyone.  I am the WORST when it comes to grocery shopping - I want what I want, and the list is more of a jumping off place than anything else.  I'm really trying to give the budget some renewed focus, though, so I pretty much need to just stick with buying the essentials till February.

Fortunately, this should be fairly easy.  I did a big grocery shop today, and tonight I sat down and made a list of two weeks' worth of weeknight meals, and I have plenty of food on hand to cover the weekends, too - I was just focused on the weeknights for now. 

My goal is to get through the rest of the month only buying milk and a bag of salad.  Here are a few things I intend to do to help make that happen:

 - bake bread for my daughter and I to eat (we have a loaf of bread in the freezer for hubby's lunches - he won't eat homemade bread).

 - make a batch of cheese crackers for snacking (the white cheddar Wheat Thins are VERY popular around here - we go through about two boxes a week and we're currently almost out).  I have a couple of recipes I can try out, and I've been telling Caitlyn that we'd do this for a while now, anyway.

 - make homemade tortillas for our chicken enchiladas

 - for breakfast, instead of our usual almost-daily yogurt and cereal, we can have oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, scrambled eggs, muffins,etc.

 - for lunch, instead of our usual lunch meat, cheese, and crackers or bread, we can have leftovers, soup (from a can or homemade), lentil-rice balls, or quesadillas (once I make the tortillas, of course!).

Those are just a few ideas to start out with.  I'm sure I'll come up with others as I think about it.  We'll still be over budget, but I'm hoping to minimize the damage as much as possible!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Soup

I made this up as a I went along this morning.  It turned out REALLY well, so I'd better get it written down while it's still fresh in my mind!  My hubby said he wished it was a little thicker, so next time I'll thicken it with a little cornstarch, but on the whole it was great.

2 c. cooked ham, cubed
3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream (evaporated milk would work well, too - I just had the cream on hand)

Place all but the cheese and cream in a three-quart slow cooker.  Add water just to cover.  Cook on low 6 - 8 hours.  Using a potato masher, mash the soup to thicken slightly (don't do too much or your ham chunks will completely disintegrate).  Stir in cheese and cream.  Let cook 15 more minutes and serve.

We ate this with rolls and a green salad.  Very simple, very good!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pineapple Chicken

This is one of those go-to recipes when I am short on time but still want to put together something that feels like a "real" meal.  The original recipe called for melted butter, too, but I quit using it and don't miss it at all.  The pineapple helps tenderize the chicken and keeps it nice and juicy!

This feeds my family of two plus a toddler for one meal - increase the amount of chicken as needed (and you can add a second can of pineapple if you're cooking for a crowd and need to stretch the sauce)

1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, with juice
1/4 c. spicy brown mustard
1/4 c. chicken broth or white wine (I always use rice cooking wine, just because I always have a bottle open in my fridge)
1/4 c. honey
6 chicken tenderloins

Mix the first four ingredients in a small bowl.  Lay chicken in a 8x8x2 baking dish, and pour sauce over the top.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Menu Plan January 9 - 14

I'm happy to report that we did pretty well on our meal plan last week.  Monday was the last day of our vacation, so we ended up going out for dinner.  That meant that I didn't have time to make chicken and dumplings (I like to make it from scratch, which is quite the production using the recipe I use).  So we had a roasted chicken instead, and didn't have the chicken paprikash.

I did make it to the butcher's, so we're stocked up on meat for the rest of the month.  I accidentally bought three pounds of "bacon hamburger", their name for ground pork, instead of regular hamburger, so I have a little more flexibility in our meat selection.  I already made a pound into breakfast sausage, using this recipe.  It turned out wonderfully!  Love that it has so few ingredients and I know exactly what's going into it.  I'm looking forward to trying out some other recipes from that site, too. 

Here's the plan for this week:

Sunday:  Pad Thai
Monday:  Pineapple Chicken
Tuesday:  Spaghetti
Wednesday:  Potato and ham soup - or maybe scalloped potatoes and ham.  We'll see what I feel like making...
Thursday:  Meatloaf
Friday:  Something involving kielbasa...I need to explore some recipes.  Anyone have a suggestion?

Have a great week - and remember to visit every Monday for hundreds of fabulous menus!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Menu Plan January 2 - 7

I know, I know, it's been a loooooong time since I posted a menu.  Bad Karen!  But you can look forward to many menus to come, because I just signed a contract to take on a second, work at home, job, so now I'll need to be even more organized than ever.  It's not a big job, just five to seven hours a week, but that cuts right into my home time so I have to be better.

That said, here's the plan for this week:

Sunday:  We had taco salad

Today:  Chicken and Dumplings

Tuesday:  Stuffed peppers

Wednesday:  Chicken Paprikash over baked potatoes

Thursday:  Baked pork chops and parmesan noodles, if I get to the meat market.  Otherwise, spaghetti.

Friday:  Tuna casserole

Have a great week, everyone!  And go to for tons of great menu ideas!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pizza Dip

Someone posted this recipe on a forum I frequent.  I'm completely unable to leave a recipe well enough alone, so I made a few modifications.  The result?  Spectacular.

Pizza Dip
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
8 oz ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded cheese, divided (I used a mixture of mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan)
small can sliced black olives
4 oz. pepperoni (half of a pillow pack), chopped
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. minced onion

Feel free to add whatever other pizza toppings you like.

Prehead the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a 1-quart baking dish.  Set aside one cup of the shredded cheese mixture.

Mix all remaining ingredients together, and put into the prepared dish.  Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. 

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.  Serve on sliced baguettes or sturdy crackers.

Leftovers are great spread on bread and then broiled - voila!  Instant pizza bread.