Saturday, November 15, 2008

Menu Plan for 11.16- 11.22.08: The Potluck Continues.

Our friends have greatly blessed us over the past two weeks with many delicious meals. As a result, my freezer is still full of what I bought before Samuel was born (October 21, 2008) and now it is stuffed with leftovers.

It was like having a church potluck in my own house. And I didn't have to share!

So we will be eating the following this week (in no particular order).
*Beef stew (I'll add biscuits).
*Pasta and sauce (we ended up with 3 variations so I've got some with sausage, some with hamburger, and some homemade meatballs/sauce from an Italian family secret recipe).
*Chicken and Rice (2 different versions).
*Chicken Pot Pie.

On Friday we will order some pizzas for a party with our friends who are visiting from out of state.

This will be my 5th week without really having to cook. It's a good gig when you can get it!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Menu Plan for after Samuel is born.

*** October 21 I will have a c-section to deliver my 4th child. My husband and mom (who lives in Arkansas) will be caring for my children. I have made the following list in an attempt for them to prepare meals the children like and aren't frozen (or from McDonald's!). If you are interested in the recipes all of the chicken and most of the ground beef recipes can be found by using the label to the right.

Mexican Chicken Cornbread Stuff (can also use ground beef), Corn, Sour Cream, Pineapples.
Chicken and Cornbread Dressing, Green Beans, Corn.
Curry Chicken Salad, Flour Tortilla, Apple.
Tortilla Stack (with or without Chicken), Sour Cream, Pineapples.
Chicken Curry, Rice, Carrots, Pineapple Chunks.
Easy Breaded Chicken, Steamed Broccoli and Carrots, Rice or Mashed Potatoes.
Balsamic Marinated Chicken (my version), Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, Rice.

Sloppy Tom, Corn, Green Beans, Slice of Bread.
Extra Easy Lasagna, Green Beans, Corn, Cheddar Bread.
Meatloaf the Stephanie Way, Green Beans, Corn, Cheddar Bread.
Ground Beef Stroganoff, Pasta, Green Beans, Corn.
Tater Tot Casserole.
Hamburger Gravy, Fried Potatoes, Biscuits.

Chili, Cheddar Cheese, Crackers/Corn bread/Cheddar Bread.
Nachos: Taco Meat, Cheddar, Tortilla Chips, Sour Cream.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust (See ...In the Kitchen for recipe), Pepperoni, Pineapples.
Scrambled Eggs, Biscuits/Toast/Bagels/English Muffins, Fried Potatoes.
French Toast, Syrup, Scrambled Eggs.
Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, Biscuits, Gravy.
Chicken Noodle Soup (from a can), Crackers.

Hot dog (2 for boys, 1 for Ellie) – no bread, slice of cheese, apple, crackers (4 – boys, 2 – Ellie).
PB and Honey/Jelly (1 slice bread for Ellie, 2 for boys), Apple.
Ham & Cheese Sandwich (ask boys mustard or mayo; 1 slice bread for Ellie, 2 for boys), Apple.
Tuna Sandwich (1 slice bread for everyone), Apple.
Raisins at any time for Will, limit amount for Ellie & Ben.

Cheese and Crackers (2 for Ellie, 4 for Boys)
Popcorn (air popper is in basement on white yaffa blocks next to black metal shelves), butter, salt.
Peanut butter and Crackers

Milk for breakfast and supper (if they don't finish a cup put it in fridge and serve at next meal/snack.)
Water for lunch and snacks.
Lemonade for supper as a treat.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lazy Linda's Refrigerator Rolls

*** This recipe came from my mom. When I was growing up she would prepare this dough almost every Saturday night or Sunday morning, put it in the fridge and we'd bake yeast rolls for lunch after church. YUM!!!

5-6 cups flour, all-purpose
2 pkgs. dry yeast
1 3/4 cup milk, very hot
1/2 cup soft margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs

In a large glass bowl, heat milk 2 minutes in microwave; remove and add margarine, stirring to dissolve. Add sugar, salt, and yeast stirring together. Combine 2 cups flour; stir 2 minutes with mixer at medium speed. Add 1 egg and 1 cup of flour, beat at high speed for 1 minute. Add remaining egg and 1 cup flour stirring well. Add more flour to make a soft dough. Knead 5-10 minutes. Cover with towel; let rest 20 minutes. Punch down. Shape into 2 dozen rolls. Cover pan. Refrigerate 2-24 hours.

Let stand at room temp 10 minutes before baking at 375 for 20-25 minutes. OR Put in oven at 200 for about 10 minutes to allow rising, then increase heat to 375 baking approximately 15 minutes. Brush tops with butter or margarine.

(Mixer with dough hooks maybe used instead of kneading.)

Can substitute 2 cups whole wheat flour in place of all purpose flour.

*** My Notes: I'm not sure what the purpose of gradually adding the eggs is. I'll add them all at once to the wet ingredients and then start adding flour. Also, I'm sure she never kneaded the dough 5-10 minutes. The rolls usually rise some while in the refrigerator. We usually had 2 9 x 13 pans full of rolls.

Tater Tot Casserole or Hashbrown Casserole

*** This recipe, originally titled Hashbrown Casserole, came from my friend Amy. I've changed it up a little.

1 bag of tater tots or 2 lb. box of hashbrowns
3/4 cup melted margarine, divided
1 tsp. salt (I omit this)
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 can cream of chicken soup (cream of mushroom soup works well)
12 oz. sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups crushed cornflakes

Defrost hashbrowns or tater tots in a 9 x 13 pan. Pour 1/2 cup margarine over hashbrowns/tater tots. In separate bowl mix remaining ingredients, except remaining margarine and cornflakes. Pour soup mixture over hashbrowns and top with cornflakes and margarine.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

*** My notes: I don't use melted margarine over the tater tots before adding the soup mixture. Also, I plan to brown and crumble sausage and add that to the soup mixture for a main dish casserole. I've seen a similar recipe with ground beef instead of sausage.

Sloppy Tom or Joe

*** This recipe found at

1 cup onions chopped
1/2 cup green bell peppers chopped
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 pound ground turkey
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
4 hamburger buns
Butter or margarine

In a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, sauté onion and green pepper in butter or margarine for 4 minutes or until onion is transparent. Add turkey and cook for 5 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking up meat as it cooks.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir tomato sauce, poultry seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, salt, lemon juice, pepper and garlic powder.

When turkey is cooked, stir sauce into skillet; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Split buns. Spread lightly with butter or margarine and toast 6 inches from heat source. Spoon turkey mixture over bottom half of buns. Place top half over meat mixture.

*** My Notes: I'll add cheese to before placing the top bun. I'll use ground beef rather than turkey.

Lemon Garlic Pasta

*** This recipe found at

3 tablespoons minced garlic (the garlic in the jar)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons chicken flavor instant bouillon
1/2 teaspoon pepper (fresh ground is best)
1 lb spaghetti or angel hair pasta, cooked to package directions
1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup parsley

In large skillet, cook garlic in olive oil until golden. Add lemon juice, bouillon and pepper. Cook and stir until bouillon dissolves. In large bowl, toss pasta, garlic mixture, cheese and parsley; serve immediately.

My Notes: I'll add bite sized cooked chicken to make this a main dish.

Easy Chicken Parmesan

*** This recipe found at

4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
seasoned bread crumbs
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
8 slices mozzarella cheese, or more
1 jar (16 oz) spaghetti sauce
Parmesan cheese

Whisk together the egg and milk. Dip the chicken breasts in milk and egg mixture and then in bread crumbs. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken in the hot oil on both sides until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Set chicken in a baking dish.

Slice 8 pieces of mozzarella cheese and put two on each chicken breast. Pour 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce over all. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and a little more mozzarella and bake at 350° for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

*** My Notes: I'll serve this with some type of pasta.

Romano's Macaroni Grille Penne Rustica

*** Recipe found at


* 3 tablespoons butter
* 2 tablespoons minced garlic
* 3 tablespoons marsala wine
* 2 cups heavy cream
* 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1/2 cup chicken broth
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1 tablespoon Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
* 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
* 1 lb penne rigate, cooked
* 12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 2 skinless chicken breasts
* 1/2 cup about 2 ounces thick-sliced prosciutto, chopped


* 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
* 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika


* 12 sliced pimientos
* 4 sprigs rosemary


1. Preheat bbq grill to high.

2. Prepare gratinata sauce by melting 3 tbls of butter over medium/low heat. Add garlic and sweat it for about 5 minutes. Be sure the garlic doesn't brown. Add the marsala wine and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce and whisk until smooth. Bring mixture to a simmer and keep it there for 10 minutes or until it's thick. Cover sauce and remove from heat.

3. Cook past following directions on the package (7-9 minutes in boiling water). You want the pasta tender, but not mush (al dente). Strain pasta and set it aside when it's done.

4. Pound the thick end of your chicken breast a bit with a kitchen mallet to make them a uniform thickness. Rub chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle on a bit of salt and pepper. Spear the shrimp on skewers (6 per skewer should work fine), then rub them with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5. Grill chicken for 5 to 6 minutes per side. Grill shrimp for 2 minutes per side. When chicken is done, slice each breast into strips.

6. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Build each dish in a large shallow baking dish. Or you can use a 9 inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Load 3 cups of pasta into each baking dish. Add one quarter of the chicken, 3 shrimp, and 2 tbls of prosciutto onto each serving. Spoon 3/4 of a cup of gratinata sauce on each serving and toss to coat. Combine 3 tbls of grated Parmesan cheese with 1 1/2 tsp paprika, then sprinkle about 1 tbls of this mixture over the top of each serving. Bake the dishes for 10-12 minutes, or until tops begin to brown. Arrange 3 pimentos on the top of each serving, then jab a sprig of rosemary into the center an serve.

Serves: 4

*** My Notes: Our local Macaroni Grille closed this year and I've been missing this dish. I'll prepare it all in one casserole dish. I'll also leave out the shrimp so it is cheaper and more kid friendly. I think it will serve MUCH more than 4!!

Extra Easy Lasagna

*** This recipe found at

3/4 pound lean ground beef
3 cups Prego Traditional spaghetti sauce
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
6 uncooked lasagna noodles
1/4 cup water

1. In 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, cook beef until browned, stirring
to separate meat. Spoon off fat. Add spaghetti sauce; heat through, stirring

2. In 2-qt oblong baking dish, spread 1 1/2 cups meat mixture. Top with 3
uncooked lasagna noodles, half of the ricotta cheese and half of the mozzarella
cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining meat mixture.

3. Slowly pour water around inside edges of baking dish. Cover tightly with

4. Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes more. Let
stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serves: 8

My Notes: I've tried this recipe. Don't skimp on the time in the oven. I tried to shorten the time and the pasta was more chewy then we like. Also, I think you can leave out the 1/4 cup water unless your sauce and ricotta are super dry. Mine was fairly wet so the lasagna turned out a little more soupy than we like. But other than that this recipe is a keeper!!

September 2008 Basic Monthly Menu

I'm experimenting with a new way of posting my menu this month. If you can't read the text, click on the chart and it will enlarge. You can find recipes for the highlighted items by searching my labels.

Also, inspired by my friend, Amy, I changed the way I planned my menu this month. Instead of trying to alternate different types of main courses (not having chicken 3 nights in a row!), I planned a theme for each day of the week and used recipes that fit that theme.

Sunday - Easy or Leftovers
Monday - Italian
Tuesday - Breakfast for Supper
Wednesday - TexMex
Thursday - Asian
Friday - Homemade Pizza
Saturday - Easy or Leftovers

If you use any of my ideas or recipes I'd love to hear in the comments or by email how they turn out!

For more menu ideas visit Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk (or 2% milk)

Mix dry ingredients, cut in shortening and mix. Add milk. Flour surface and knead dough, adding flour if dough is too sticky. Roll out dough to about 1/2-3/4 inch thick. Cut out with biscuit cutter or small cup. Place on baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes until lightly browned.

Yield: 8 biscuits (depending on how thin you roll them out).

Best served warm with butter and jelly or honey. OR topped with gravy! Yummmmm!!

Mexican Chicken Cornbread Stuff

2 chicken breasts, browned and chopped into small pieces
taco seasoning (I use about 2 Tbsp. each of ground chili powder, ground garlic powder and 1 Tbsp of ground cumin)
1 medium onion, chopped and browned
1 box Jiffy cornbread mix (plus egg and milk to make cornbread)
black olives, sliced (optional)
grated cheddar cheese
salsa (optional, good alternative to onions and taco seasoning or as a garnish)
sour cream (optional garnish)

Options for this dish are endless! Use as much of the various ingredients as your family will enjoy.

Mix all desired ingredients, except cornbread, in medium bowl. Mix cornbread separately in small bowl.

Option 1: Spoon meat into muffin tins. Top with cornbread batter and bake.
Option 2: Spoon meat into small casserole dish. Top with cornbread batter and bake.

Cheese can be added to the meat, or as a layer on top of the meat, or mixed into the cornbread.

Bake at 350 until cornbread is browned, about 30-40 minutes.

Serves: 4-5 generous portions.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cheddar Bread

*** Original recipe came from my friend, Amy, and was titled "Savory Cheddar Bread."

2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. onion salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. ground mustard
1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar
1 egg (beaten)
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp. butter, melted

Combine dry ingredients; set aside. Combine egg, milk, and butter; add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Spread batter in greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Yield: 1 loaf.

*** My notes: According to personal taste, I leave out the oregano and increase the ground mustard to 3/4 tsp. Also, I use 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. onion powder because I don't usually buy onion salt. I usually put in more shredded cheese (we like a lot of cheese around here!). I have dropped the dough onto a sheet pan for biscuits rather than loaf bread. This is a very flexible quick bread and will allow for a lot of play in the recipe.

Chicken and Cornbread Dressing

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 box Jiffy cornbread mix (plus milk and egg for cornbread)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tblsp. poultry seasoning (amount is to taste)
1 egg
fresh chopped and sauted mushrooms (optional)
fresh chopped and sauted onion (optional)

Brown chicken breasts. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Bake cornbread according to directions. Saute onion and mushrooms. Allow everything to cool enough to handle.

In a small bowl combine mushroom soup, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, egg, mushrooms, onion, and cut up chicken. In a large bowl break up cornbread into crumb size pieces. Pour soup mixture into cornbread crumbs and combine well. Add enough milk to make mixture moist but not wet.

Spoon into baking pan or casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes. For brown top remove aluminum foil or casserole cover during last 15 minutes.

Feeds: 4-6 generous portions.

*** This started out as an "official" recipe my sister-in-law made for Thanksgiving on year. It has evolved to what you see above. The amounts are guesstimates based on what my family likes. You might add more or less chicken, use left over cornbread, use canned mushrooms, or onion powder.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mix - and - Match Quick Bread

*** I found this recipe at By Sun and Candlelight blog.

Mix-and-Match Quick Bread (Frozen Assets)

3 cups flour (whole wheat and white make a nice blend)
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar (you can this down and see very little difference)
2 cups Mix-N-Match (see list below)
3 teaspoons vanilla (use pure vanilla not imitation)
1 cup chopped nuts or seeds

Sift together dry ingredients. In separate bowl, beat eggs; add oil and sugar; cream together. Stir in Mix-N-Match and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix well. Stir in nuts. Spoon into two well-greased loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 1 hour. When cool, wrap bread in foil; label and freeze. Makes 2 loaves.

Mix-N-Match (one of more of the following to equal 2 cups)

Apples, grated or chopped
Bananas, mashed or chopped
Carrots, cooked and mashed or grated
Cranberries, dry or raw, chopped
Dates or figs, pitted and finely chopped
Lemon, 1/2 cup juice
Marmalade (omit one cup sugar)
Oranges, chopped
Orange juice, 1/2 cup juice
Peaches, fresh or canned, chopped (peach butter)
Pears, fresh or canned, chopped (pearsauce)
Prunes, chopped
Pumpkin, canned (fresh, cooked and mashed too)
Rhubarb, finely chopped (add 1/2 cup more sugar)
Strawberries, well drained (dice them)
Sweet potato or yams, cooked and mashed or grated
Zucchini, grated and well drained

Monday, August 4, 2008

Basic Menu Plan for August 08

I'm working really hard this month to stay within our grocery/food budget -$300. I'll keep you posted on whether or not I make it. As part of my efforts I have designed a "basic" menu for this month which includes a lot of ingredients all ready in my pantry. By basic I mean few ingredients, kid-friendly (for the most part), and easy to make. I'm sure what is basic for one person is NOT for another.

You'll notice we have grilled steak every week and lots of chicken. That's because my local supermarket had a great sale recently and I stocked up!

Since I'm always looking for ideas, what are some of your basic recipes or meal plans? By the way, if you use any of "my" recipes I'd love to hear how it turns out!

Week One
Chicken & Cornbread Dressing, Salad
Library Night: Chicken Nuggets, French Fries, Fruit
Roast Beef, Potatoes, Carrots, Gravy, Yeast Rolls
Grilled Chicken w/ Peanut Sauce, Steamed Broccoli, Steamed Carrots, Rice
Spaghetti, Salad, Cheddar Bread, Fruit
Mexican Chicken Cornbread Stuff, Sour Cream, Black Olives, Fruit

Week Two
Lunch @ Mall? Leftovers?
BBQ Chicken, Baked Potato, Corn, Cheddar Bread
Grilled Steak, Baked Potato, Fruit
Zoo Member Night: PB & J, Apples, Zoo Ice Cream
Curry Chicken Salad, Apple, Flour Tortilla
Homemade Pizza, Pineapple Slices
Bacon, Fried Potatoes, Scrambled Eggs, Homemade Biscuits

Week Three
Taco Salad, Fruit, Ice Cream
Easy Breaded Chicken, Steamed Broccoli, Steamed Carrots, Rice
Extra Easy Lasagna, Salad, Cheddar Bread, Fruit
Grilled Steak, Baked Potato, Fruit
Leftovers? Eat out? Something Easy!
Drive to NY
Jess & Andy Wedding in NY

Week Four
Tortilla Stack, Sour Cream, Corn, Fruit
Sloppy Toms/Joes, Buns, Cheese, Raw Carrots, Fruit
Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwich, Raw Carrots, Fruit
Zesty Baked Chicken, Steamed Broccoli, Steamed Carrots, Rice
Grilled Steak, Baked Potato, Fruit
Ellie turns 2!! Homemade Pizza, Pineapple Slices, Birthday Cake
Grilled Hamburgers, Buns, Cheese, Fruit

Sunday, July 20, 2008

July 21-29 Menu, Revised

I have more month left than grocery money so I have revised my menu for the next week or so. We are eating out of the pantry and freezer. Though I will confess that the supermarket has steak on sale for $1.99 lb and boneless chicken breasts for $1.69 lb so I'll be stocking up on those this week but not using them until next month. I'll have to pay for them out of next month's grocery budget money.

Grilled Chicken w/ Honey Mustard Sauce, Salad, Nectarines

Pizza, Pineapple slices

Pasta Salad: Grilled Chicken, Italian Dressing, Pasta, Black Olives, Carrots, Broccoli, Parmesan Cheese; Fruit

Sloppy Joes, Buns, Cheddar, Corn on the Cob, Fruit

BBQ Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Corn on the Cob, Fruit

Mystic Aquarium

French Toast, Syrup, Milk

Ultrasound 4:45
Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, Carrots, Fruit

Library 7 pm
Curry Chicken Salad, Monterey Jack, Flour Tortilla

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

An experiment in basic grocery shopping.

Are you feeling the pinch of rising grocery prices? I sure am. I don't remember the last month I stayed within budget on groceries. Though I should confess that this is one budget item I always tend to overspend.

I made a grocery store run today. You know the drill. Out of milk. Almost out of bread, cereal, and fruit. I also updated my budget last night to see how much money I had to spend. Yikes! It wasn't pretty.

I have a budget of $300 to feed five people for a month. That's strictly food; no paper products, toiletry items or cleaning supplies included. Last night I saw I already spent 2/3 of my budget and still have half a month to go!!

With that realization, I carefully examined my menu for the month and my pantry. Then I made out a bare bones list and went shopping this morning.

So what did I buy?

4 gallons of milk @ $2.79 each (NOT organic)
2 8z. packages of shredded cheese for pizza @ $1.89 each
2 boxes Cereal @ $1.69 each
1 box Cereal @ $1.49
2 loaves wheat bread @ $1.69 each
5 lb. sugar @ $1.89
dozen eggs @ $1.29
5.35 lbs bananas (that's 14 bananas) $2.90
2.33 lbs. granny smith apples (that's 7 apples) $3.24
2.23 lbs. red delicious apples (that's 7 apples) $3.10
1.30 lbs. broccoli $1.29
1 lb. strawberries $2.19
2.17 lbs. grapes $2.80
1.45 lbs. nectarines (that's 5 nectarines) $1.15

For a total of $43.04

These are items I buy every week without fail. Although the last three fruits are subject to change depending on what the weekly sale/season is. I usually also have a 3 pound package of sliced American cheese on the list but I stocked up a few weeks ago.

It appears my weekly basics are costing me roughly $50. That's 2/3 of my grocery bill before I ever buy meat or ingredients for various recipes. No wonder I've been overspending. Those occasional bags of chips, cookies and sodas are really budget busters. Not to mention doing nothing for us nutritionally.

I'm going to try really hard not to increase my food budget. Any money I shift to food is coming out of our savings for a 3-6 month emergency fund. I'd really prefer to get that funded so I can move on to other goals. I guess going without soda for a few months isn't that big of a sacrifice.

So what do you buy every week and what are you paying for it? Any suggestions on how I can cut costs?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Taco Salad Experiment

When I made my menu for the month I was in an experimenting mood. Mainly I wanted easy, light, and non-kitchen heating recipes. There's only so much grilling a girl can do in a month (and our propane tank emptied over the weekend so I'll be doing NO grilling till Joel buys me a refill). I did a few recipe searches and came across the taco salad recipe.

I've eaten something similar down South so I thought I'd give it a try. I enjoy experimenting with new recipes. This was an experiment not worth repeating. The salad didn't taste terrible but it wasn't a hit either.

All that to say you won't see that particular recipe in one of my menus again. But I'll leave it on the blog. Who knows? You may like it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Curry Chicken Salad

*** Original Recipe found at called Fruited Curry Chicken Salad.

* 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cooked and diced
* 1 stalk celery, chopped
* 1/2 onion, chopped
* 1 small apple - peeled, cored and chopped
* 1/3 cup golden raisins
* 1/3 cup seedless green grapes, halved
* 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
* 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
* 3/4 cup mayonnaise

In a large salad bowl combine the chicken, celery, onion, apple, raisins, grapes, pecans, pepper, curry powder and mayonnaise. Mix all together, tossing to coat. Salad is ready to serve!

My Notes: I omit celery, raisins, and pecans because I'm not a big fan of those. I leave out the onions because my kids aren't big fans. If I don't have the grapes it's not a big deal. I serve this salad wrapped in a flour tortilla lined with leaf lettuce. I also increase the curry powder to taste.

July 2-24, 2008 Menu Plan

*Grilled Steak, Baked Potato, Salad, Strawberries
*Lemon Pepper Salmon, Steamed Carrots & Broccoli, Rice
*BBQ Chicken, Baked Potato, Salad, Corn on Cob, Red, White & Blueberry Pie
*Grilled Chicken with Peanut Sauce, Carrots, Peppers, Mushrooms, Onion, Pineapple Slices, Rice

*Taco Salad, Fruit
*Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich, Potato Chips, Fruit
*Joel Work Dinner ??????
*Pizza, Pineapples
*Grilled Chicken w/Italian Dressing, Pasta, Croûtons, Black Olives, Carrots, Broccoli, Parmesan
*Grilled Steak, Baked Potato, Salad, Fruit
*Birthday Party ???

*Hamburger Nachos, Homemade Salsa, Fruit
*Biscuits, Bacon Gravy, Fried Potatoes, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit
*Lemon Pepper Salmon, Steamed Carrots & Broccoli, Rice
*Pizza, Pineapple
*BBQ Chicken, Baked Potato, Salad, Fruit
*Sloppy Joes, Buns, Cheddar Cheese, Corn, Fruit
*Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Glaze, Carrots, Peppers, Mushrooms, Onion, Pineapple Slices

*Curry Chicken Salad, Tortillas, Red Apples, Lettuce (Leftover Chicken)
*Grilled Burgers, Buns, Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles, Onion, Chips, Fruit
*Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich, Potato Chips, Fruit
*Honey Mustard Sauce, Grilled Chicken, Grilled: Squash, Onion, Mushroom, Carrots, Fruit
*Ham & Cheese Melts, Raw Carrots, Fruit

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Red, White & Blueberry Pie

*** Original recipe found in Pampered Chef Delightful Desserts Cookbook. You can go here for their on-line recipe (I found it AFTER typing all this out!). I lifted the above picture from their site. It does NOT do justice to this pie!!

package (15 ounces) refrigerated pie crusts (1 pie crust)
1 quart fresh strawberries, divided
4 squares (1 ounce each) white chocolate for baking
1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup cold milk
1 package (3.3 ounces) white chocolate instant pudding and pie filling
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup thawed, frozen light whipped topping

1. Preheat oven to 425. Let pie crust stand at room temp. 15 minutes. Gently unfold onto lightly floured surface. Gently roll to even creases and get size of Deep Dish Pie Plate. Press crust in pie plate, pressing into bottom and up sides. Prick bottom. Bake 10-12 minutes or golden brown. Cool completely.
2. Rinse strawberries and pat dry on paper towels. Select 8 uniformly sized berries for dipping; cut in half through stem ends. Set aside. Hull and slice remaining berries using egg slicer for uniform pieces.
3. Melt white chocolate, uncovered, on high 1 minute in microwave, stirring often until chocolate is melted and smooth. Do not overheat. Dip strawberry halves in melted chocolate; place on a sheet of parchment paper, cut side down. Refrigerate 15 or until set.
4. Scrape remaining melted chocolate over bottom of prepared pie crust, spreading evenly to coat entire bottom and sides of crust. Layer sliced strawberries over bottom of crust.
5. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk until well blended. Add pudding mix; whisk until mixture begins to thicken. Spread mixture evenly over strawberries.
6. Arrange blueberries evenly over top of pie filling. Attach open star tip to Easy Accent Decorator (or any decorator frosting bag) and fill with whipped topping. Pipe topping evenly around edge of pie. Place dipped strawberry halves on whipped topping border. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into wedges.

Yield: 8 servings (VERY generous portions, you can easily get 10)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Taco Salad

I found this recipe at or here.


* 1 pound lean ground beef
* 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
* 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
* 1 (16 ounce) bottle French dressing
* 1 head iceberg lettuce
* 1 (14.5 ounce) package tortilla chips
* 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
* 1 cup chopped tomatoes
* 4 tablespoons sour cream
* 1/2 cup prepared salsa


1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef and drain excess fat. Stir in the taco seasoning, chili beans and French-style dressing. Fill the dressing bottle 2/3 full of water and add to the skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Crush the bag of chips, open the bag, and toss the broken chips into a large bowl with the lettuce, cheese and tomatoes. When the meat mixture is done, combine it with the lettuce, tomatoes, chips and mix well. Then, add salsa and sour cream.

*** My Notes: I will be putting the tomatoes and olives on the side because my family doesn't enjoy those the way I do. Also, I'll add the French dressing right before serving so the chips don't turn soggy.

Menu: June 13-23.

L: PB & Honey, Chips, Apple
S: Cheese
D: Frozen Pizza, Pineapple, Root Beer

B: Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Milk
L: Ham & Cheese Melts, Chips, Fruit
S: Fruit
D: Grilled Burgers, Watermelon, Soda

Sunday (Father's Day)
L: Leftover Burgers, Fruit
S: Yogurt
D: Lemon Pepper Salmon, Rice, Carrot/Broccoli

Monday (Dr. appt.)
L: Hot dogs, Cheese/Crackers, Apple
S: PB on Graham Crackers
D: BBQ Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Salad

L: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Apple
S: Bread & Butter
D: Taco Salad, Pineapple

L: PB & Honey, Fruit
S: Cheese & Crackers
D: Steak, Baked Potato, Salad

L: Hot Dogs, Cheese/Crackers, Apple
S: Yogurt
D: Grilled Chicken over Italian Salad, Baked Potato

B: Daddy's Choice = )
L: Daddy's Choice – see previous lunches
S: Fruit ???
D: Frozen Pizza, Pineapple

Saturday (GIRLS WEEKEND!!!)
B: Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Milk
L: Daddy's Choice – see previous lunches
S: Fruit ???
D: Something Frozen = )

L: PB & Honey, Apple
S: Fruit
D: Fried Potatoes, Biscuits, Scrambled Eggs

L: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Apple
S: PB on Graham Crackers
D: Spaghetti, Cheese Bread, Salad

Monday, May 12, 2008

Menu: May 13-20


Hot Dogs, Cheese, Crackers, Fruit

Hamburgers, Chips, Buns, Strawberries


PB & J, Chips, Apple

Grilled Barbecue Chicken, Baked Potato, Salad

ThursdayMug & Muffin

Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Fruit

Grilled Chicken Salad, Monterey Jack Cheese, Tortillas, Apples/Grapes


Chicken Salad, Tortillas, Fruit

Chili, Cornbread, Cheddar, Strawberries


Hot Dog, Cheese, Crackers, Fruit

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken, Rice, Grilled Pineapple, Carrots & Broccoli

SundayParty 3:45-6:00

Leftovers/ PB & J Sandwiches


Hot Dogs, Cheese, Crackers, Fruit

Homemade Pizza, Fruit


Leftover Pizza, Fruit

Hamburgers, Chips, Buns, Fruit

Friday, February 29, 2008

Monthly Menu Plan: February 2008

Here is my menu for February 2008. You will notice that Week Three is eating from the Freezer Section. I have set that week aside for potty training my 3 year old son. I don't imagine I'm going to want to cook. I'm trying to figure out how to get the shopping list posted without lots of cutting and pasting. I have it in an Open Office spreadsheet. If you'd like a copy just email me and I'll email it back to you as an attachment. After I printed the menu I realized I have Cheese Biscuits 4 days in a row. That won't be happening. Just substitute some other bread or cracker.

Sunday: Pizza, Salad, Pineapple Chunks
Monday: Chicken Curry, Pineapple, Onion, Carrots, Rice
Tuesday: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Cheese Biscuits
Wednesday: Seafood Chowder, Cheese Biscuits
Thursday: Fake Lasagna, Salad, Cheese Biscuits
Friday: Barbecue Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Cheese Biscuits
Saturday: Ground Beef Stroganoff, Salad, Green Beans

Sunday: Chicken Dressing, Green Beans, Jello
Monday: Taco Cornbread Stuff, Salsa, Salad, Sour Cream,Fruit
Tuesday: Hamburger Gravy, Fried Potatoes, Biscuits
Wednesday: Zesty Baked Salmon, Steamed Carrots, Broccoli, Rice
Thursday: Chili, Cheddar Cheese, Cheese Biscuits
Friday: Chicken & Broccoli Braid, Salad, Fruit
Saturday: Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Carrot Casserole, Salad, Jello

Sunday: Leftovers!
Monday: Potty Training Chicken Strips, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Tuesday: Potty Training Frozen Waffles, Syrup, Fruit
Wednesday: Potty Training Fish Sticks, French Fries, Salad
Thursday: Potty Training Canned Chowder, Crackers, Jello
Friday: (Potty Training, Ben's Birthday) Frozen Pizza, Salad, Birthday Cake
Saturday: Potty Training Fend for Yourself

Sunday: Scrambled Eggs, Bacon,,Biscuits, Fruit
Monday: Balsamic Chicken, Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, Rice
Tuesday: Tortilla Stack, Black Olives, Salsa, Pineapple Chunks
Wednesday: Potato Soup w/ Ham, Cheese Biscuits
Thursday: Easy Breaded Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Friday: Lemon Pepper Salmon, Steamed Broccoli & Carrots, Rice
Saturday: Turkey Breast, Tater Tot Casserole, Salad, Pudding

Visit Here for more great menu ideas.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

7 weird things about me related to food.

I was tagged by Billie at Embracing the Journey to my Daughter to do a post about 7 strange things about me. Since I did this meme on my other blog a while back I thought it would be fun to do it here - about food stuff.

1. I can make a meal out of dill pickle slices (think hamburger dills) and saltine crackers. It's sort of like a pickle appetizer. And this is when I'm NOT pregnant.

2. The smell of eggs and cheese cooking together makes me want to vomit. Again, even when I'm not pregnant. Needless to say, I don't cook quiche, strata, or omelets. As a result, my husband's specialty is scrambled eggs with cheese and omelets. I always find something else to eat!

3. While on the subject of eggs, I enjoy boiled eggs with a salt shaker on the side, deviled eggs, and about once-a-month scrambled eggs (no cheese! but lots of salt and pepper).

4. I can't stand coffee. I've tried it every conceivable way and it's just nasty tasting to me.

5. I always order the same thing at a restaurant: Chili's - chicken strips, On the Border - club quesidillas, Olive Garden - chicken parmigiana. You get the idea.

6. I love a beefsteak tomato sliced thin and doused with salt. YUM!

7. I make potato salad from mashed potatoes. I grew up with it this way so I don't think it's weird but everyone else seems to think so.

In looking back over this list it appears that I have a salt problem. = ) I really don't use salt that much. But on certain things I want a lot of it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lemon Chicken with Green Beans & Potatoes

*** I found this yummy sounding recipe at Kelly's Korner.

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3/4 lb green beans, (frozen?)
8 small red potatoes, quartered
4 chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 450. Coat a large baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Arrange lemon slices from 1 lemon in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. In large bowl combine remaining olive oil, lemon juice of 2nd lemon, garlic, salt and pepper. Add green beans and toss to coat. Using tongs, remove green beans and arrange them on top of lemon slices. Add potatoes to same olive oil mixture and coat. Arrange on inside edge of dish on top of the beans. You can also add a lemon pepper mixture on top of everything. It adds a lot of flavor.Place chicken in olive oil mixture and coat. Place chicken in dish. Roast for 40-50 minutes. Remove chicken and continue roasting potatoes/beans if necessary.

My Notes: Haven't tried this yet.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Tortilla Stack

*** This was originally a Pampered Chef recipe. I have no idea where my original copy is. I stopped using it a long time ago. This is my version.

1 can refried beans
flour tortillas (for individual servings use the soft taco size, for family style use burrito size)
1-2 cups cooked chicken breasts, chopped
cheddar cheese, shredded
1 onion, chopped & sauted
1 taco seasoning packet or (2 TBSP ground chili powder, 1 TBSP garlic powder, 1 TBSP ground cumin)
1 can black olives, sliced or chopped

Mix the seasonings with the chopped chicken. Place one tortilla on flat pan (cookie sheet or pizza pan work well), layer evenly with with refried beans, chicken, onions, black olives, cheddar cheese. Top with second flour tortilla. Repeat as many layers as desired. Heat in 375* oven until cheese is melted.

Servings: One taco sized tortilla makes a good adult portion stack. Cut burrito sized tortillas into wedges (like a pizza).

My Notes: Joel doesn't like olives so I only put them on one half of the stack. The recipe works well as vegetarian. Just add the seasonings to the refried beans and leave off the chicken. When I'm low on tortillas, time or patience I only do one layer. You could also add avocado, green chilies or any other TexMex ingredient.

Chicken Curry

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in bite-sized pieces
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 onion, chopped
2 cups carrots, cut in bite-sized pieces
dash of red pepper or cayenne or chili powder (can be omitted)
2 tsp ground curry powder

In large skillet heat enough oil to saute onion and carrots. When carrots are lightly browned and almost tender remove from pan and set aside. Heat enough oil to brown chicken pieces and add chicken to pan. When chicken is mostly cooked, add curry powder, chili powder, and tomato paste. Add enough water for the thickness of the sauce you want. I add about 1/3 of a cup. Stir well. Return onion and carrots to the pan. Heat until carrots and chicken are done. Serve over white rice.

Serves: 4-5 servings.

*** My Notes: If you want the sauce thicker, bring to a boil and allow it to reduce BEFORE adding vegetables back in pan. This recipe can be stretched to feed more servings depending on what you serve with it and how much you enjoy curry. I usually serve a LOT of rice and a side of pineapple chunks.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

1 package of yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast from a jar
1 cup of hot water
1 cup of white flour
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
wheat flour, enough so dough isn't sticky - about 2 cups

Pour hot water into large bowl. Add yeast. After yeast has dissolved add white flour. Stir to combine. Add oil and salt. Stir. Stir in wheat flour until dough is firm enough to knead. Knead dough on floured surface adding more flour as needed until dough is no longer sticky. Return to bowl and place in oven to rise. After dough has doubled in size, remove from oven and roll dough out on a floured surface. Place on pizza stone and cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and put on desired toppings.

Yield: 1 thick crust medium round crust or 1 thin large rectangle crust

*** My Notes: This dough can be rushed. I've often gone straight from kneading to rolling and placing on pizza stone. I turn the oven on low and let the dough rise for 10-15 minutes before cooking it at 350. I like to pre-cook the dough before putting the toppings on. My family asks for this pizza all the time. It's a great way to use wheat flour. If your family isn't accustomed to wheat flour start with a higher ratio of white and slowly work toward more wheat. My husband now prefers this pizza crust to restaurant pizza.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Easy Breaded Chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup Italian-style salad dressing
2 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350*. Dredge chicken breasts in salad dressing, then coat completely with bread crumbs. Place coated chicken breasts in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

If you want it crispier -- boost the temp to 400 and shorten the cooking time by 5 or 10 minutes. Or, boost to 425, do for 20 minutes total, and turn halfway through.

Original recipe yield: 4 servings

*** I found this recipe on line and have no idea where. My original copy says "Angela's Easy Breaded Chicken - Allrecipes."

*** My Notes: I like the crispy version. Simple to make and delicious. For even easier clean up place on top of a piece of aluminum foil.

Meatloaf the Stephanie Way

1 pound of ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped and browned
1 tsp garlic powder
1 egg
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (seasoned can be used)
2 TBSP Italian Seasoning Mix
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in large bowl being sure to mix well. I find it easiest to use my hands rather than a spoon. Place in appropriate sized loaf pan. Cook in oven preheated to 350*.

Optional: My husband loves it when I put a layer of cheddar cheese in the middle of the loaf. I've also made "Meat Muffins" so that he can have cheese in his and I can have mine without.

Makes 4-5 adult sized servings.

***My Notes: This is totally my recipe. I don't actually follow a set recipe I'm more of a dump-it-in-until-it-looks-good kind of cook. All that to say if you don't like the flavorings play with it. = ) Also, I like mine more tomato-y than Joel does so I pour ketchup over the top of my serving.

Zesty Baked Salmon

4 to 6 salmon steaks
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 to 8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms, sautéed in 2 to 3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Arrange salmon steaks in a buttered 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Combine salad dressing mix, lemon juice, and water; pour over salmon. Cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Top salmon with sautéed mushrooms and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Continue baking uncovered for another 10 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.

***Found at:

*** My Notes: I haven't made this, yet. When I do I will use a salmon fillet placed on top of aluminum foil. Cut the cooked salmon into serving pieces and then carefully lift pieces leaving the skin stuck to the foil. I'm sure it would also be good with boneless chicken breasts.

Fake Lasagna

*** Found in Pampered Chef Celebrate! Cookbook under the title "Party Pasta Bowl" but to me it sounds like a fake, or simple, version of lasagna. Thus the new name.

1 package (16 ounces) uncooked mostaccioli or ziti
1 cup chopped onion
1 pound lean (90%) ground beef
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tsp Italian Seasoning Mix
1 jar (48 ounces) spaghetti sauce
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 egg
1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
Additional snipped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 35o*. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, cook and stir onion, beef, and garlic over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink. Remove from heat; drain. Sprinkle with seasoning mix. Stir in sauce and tomatoes.

In small bowl, lightly beat egg. Add ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, parsley and pepper. Grate Parmesan cheese; set aside 1/4 cup. Stir remaining Parmesan cheese into ricotta mixture.

To assemble casserole, place cooked pasta in casserole dish. Add 6 cups of the meat sauce; mix well. Spread ricotta mixture evenly over pasta. Top with remaining meat sauce. Bake 1 hour. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Continue baking 10 minutes or until bubbly. Garnish with additional parsley.

Yield: 12 servings.

* Note in cookbook: To prepare this dish ahead of time, assemble casserole 2-3 hours in advance, cover and refrigerate. When ready to serve, let stand at room temperature about 20 minutes then bake, uncovered, as recipe directs.

*** My Notes: I have not yet tried this recipe. But when I do I will cut it in half, use whatever pasta I happen to have, use store bought grated Parmesan and dried parsley.

Lemon Pepper Marinade

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
fresh course ground black pepper, to taste
grated zest of one lemon

Mix all the ingredients and use the marinade immediately with meat or fish in your choice of a zip-lock plastic bag or container. Cover or seal and marinate in refrigerator. Use this as a basting sauce as well, but bring to a rolling boil before using after using as a marinade. With or without marinading first, you will find that if you are grilling, this works best for most fish.

Original Recipe Note: if you want to add a sweeter caramelizing effect. Add 1-2 tablespoons of orange blossom (or clover is alright) honey to the marinade recipe.

*** I found this recipe on line and have no idea where. I apologize to the original author.

*** My Notes: I have not used this recipe, yet. When I do I will leave out the rosemary. Also for cooking I will cover a pizza pan with aluminum foil and place a salmon fillet on the foil. Top with marinade and broil. When I serve I will cut the fillet into serving sizes and carefully lift it off the foil leaving the skin stuck on the foil. Also, I think this marinade would work well with boneless chicken breasts.

Honey and Mustard Pork Loin

***Edited 2/26/08 for "My Notes."

2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
salt and pepper
1 small clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard or country-style
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme, crumbled
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water

Grease slow cooker with a little oil or use a cooking bag to make cleanup easier.

Wash and trim the pork and pat dry; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place pork in the slow cooker. Combine garlic, mustard, honey, brown sugar, vinegar, and thyme; pour over the pork. Turn pork to coat thoroughly. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours, or on HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours. Remove pork to a plate, cover with foil, and keep warm.

Pour the juices into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until reduced by about one-third. Combine the cornstarch and cold water; whisk into the reduced juices and cook for 1 minute longer. Serve pork sliced with the thickened juices.

Serves 6.

Found at:

*** My Notes: I didn't care for this recipe. My husband liked it OK but it wasn't stellar. Partly because the slow cooker caused so much water to come out of the tenderloin it basically boiled. What a waste for a tenderloin! Also, even after I reduced the leftover liquid the sauce was very mild. Again, my husband thought that was fine. I wanted a stronger sauce.

I think this recipe would be great if you roast the tenderloin and use the sauce as a baste. Also, leave out the dried thyme. I thought the thyme and mustard were competing flavors rather than complementing.

For Mike: one you requested and one you didn't

*** As printed in Maxine's Magic in the Kitchen, a cookbook my maternal grandma self-published in the early 1980s.

Fried Squirrel

1 or more young squirrels, cut up in pieces
vegetable oil - enough to make 1/2 inch depth in frying pan
flour enough to flour squirrels
salt and pepper to taste
milk to dip squirrel pieces in
1 tsp onion, minced
1 TBSP parsley, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup light cream
1/4 stick of butter
3 extra TBSP flour

Select young squirrels, dip pieces in milk, roll in flour seasoned with salt and pepper and fry in hot vegetable oil until brown and done. Drain pieces on paper towels and set aside. To make gravy, pour off vegetable oil, reserve about 3 TBSP and the browned flour left in the pan after frying squirrel pieces. Add 1/4 stick of butter and remaining ingredients to the skillet. Stir over low flame until hot and slightly thick. Makes one cup of gravy. Serve with a dish of white rice, wild rice or potatoes, green vegetables and a salad.

Hog's Head Cheese

Reserve the head, feet and ears of 1 hog. Remove eyes and brains. Slit head in half. Wash and scrape thoroughly, and remove excess fat. Singe pig feet, wash and scrape. Singe, wash, and clean ears thoroughly with hot water. Cover meat with hot water and boil until meat drops from bones. Remove all bones, and run meat through food chopper. For 5 pounds of meat use the following:

2 cups broth in which meat was boiled
3 tsp salt
3 tsp black pepper
3 cups finely chopped green onions
2 cups finely chopped parsley

Mix thoroughly. Put into pans. Press with weight and refrigerate overnight. Slice, store in glass jars and cover with vinegar.

*** My Notes: For the record I don't believe my Grandma EVER in her life made the Hog's Head Cheese!! I have NO idea why she included it in the cookbook. I know that she did cook squirrel on occasion. = )

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ground Beef Stroganoff

1/2 pound of ground beef
1 can (10.5 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4-1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
pasta (1 handful for each serving. I generally use 5 handfuls and have leftovers.)

Brown ground beef. Drain on a paper towel-lined bowl to remove grease. Wipe grease out of skillet with a paper towel. Meanwhile boil 4-6 servings of your favorite dried pasta (elbow, egg noodles, penne or any medium sized pasta works great).

Pour soup, milk and garlic powder into skillet. Combine well. Cook over medium heat until sauce bubbles. Return ground beef to skillet. Stir well to combine meat and sauce. Just before serving add sour cream to taste (amount depends on how many you are serving and how health conscious you are.) = )

Drain pasta and add to meat sauce. Sprinkle plated servings with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

My Notes: Substitute rice for the pasta. Serve with salad or green beans.

Seafood Chowder

Taken from The Pampered Chef Celebrate! Cookbook.

4-5 medium red potatoes, cut into 1 -inch cubes (about 1 pound)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup diced red bell pepper
2 cans (6.5 ounces each) minced clams, drained, reserving clam juice
1 TBSP butter or margarine
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half (light cream)
1 pound fresh bay scallops
1 pound frozen, cooked medium shrimp, thawed, rinsed, and tails removed
Snipped fresh parsley

Prep vegetables. Drain clams, reserving clam juice. If juice does not measure 1 cup, add enough water to equal 1 cup.

Melt butter in dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add onion; cook 3 minutes or until tender. Add vegetables, reserved clam juice, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cover. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, place flour in small bowl. Gradually whisk half-and-half into flour until smooth.

Add clams, scallops and shrimp to chowder; gradually whisk in flour mixture. Return to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Cover until ready to serve. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with parsley.

Yield: 12 servings (15 cups).

My Notes: I cut this recipe in half. Also, I usually omit celery (I don't like it) but have also substituted dried celery. This is a great soup for Company. Just add more veggies to stretch the number of servings. = ) I also omit the parsley or use dried parsley. If cost of the seafood is an issue I think you can reduce the amount of the shrimp and scallops without losing too much flavor.

Chicken & Broccoli Braid

Taken from The Pampered Chef Main Dishes Cookbook.

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 garlic glove, pressed
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip)
2 tsp Dill Mix ***
1/4 tsp salt
2 packages (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 TBSP slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 375*. Combine chicken through salt.

Unroll 1 package of crescent dough; do not separate. Arrange longest sides of dough across width of rectangle cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining package of dough. Press dough lightly to seal perforations. On longest sides cut dough into strips 1.5 inches apart, 3 inches deep. (There will be 6 inches in the center for the filling.)

Spread filling evenly over middle of dough. To braid, lift strips of dough across mixture to meet in center, twisting each strip one turn. Continue alternating strips to form a braid. Tuck ends up to seal at end of braid.

Brush egg white over dough. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake 25-28 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cut and serve.

Yield: 10 servings.

*** If not using store bought Dill Mix you can make your own using 1 tsp dried dill weed, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp parsley, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp garlic powder.

My Notes: When it's just my family, I don't bother with the egg wash and almonds. This is a great recipe for Company. The number of servings really depends on how big you cut the pieces. I rarely get 10 pieces from this because I cut generous servings. = )

Monday, January 14, 2008

Balsamic - Marinated Chicken, My Version

You can find the original recipe here.

2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP honey
2 TBSP canola or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
2-4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Pour into large heated skillet. Cook uncovered, stirring often. Cook until chicken is done and sauce has reduced to desired level.

Makes 4-5 generous servings.


* I like to brown my chicken pretty good. Not burn but definitely brown and done. Also, I occasionally add teryaki or soy sauce. I find the sauce already has an Asian flavor to it so these store-bought sauces just add to it.

* Before cooking chicken I like to saute 1 medium onion. I also saute about 1 cup of chopped carrots until they are slightly browned but not completely cooked. Set carrots and onion aside. Use same skillet for chicken.

* When chicken is almost done add carrots, onions & about 1 cup of raw bite-sized broccoli. The amounts of vegetables really depends on how many you are feeding and how much you like each vegetable. I always serve this dish over rice.

Balsamic - Marinated Chicken, Original Version

This is the original recipe as it appears in Southern Living 2005 Annual Recipes, page 219. My version can be found here.

2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP honey
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt, divided
6 (6-8 oz) boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine first 3 ingredients and 1 tsp salt in a zip-top bag or shallow dish, and add chicken. Seal or cover, and chill 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Sprinkle evenly with pepper and remaining 1 tsp of salt.

Heat a large ungreased cast-iron skillet or gill skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook chicken, in batches, in hot skillet 3 to 4 minutes on each side o until browned. Place chicken in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until done. Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ingredient List: January 2008

*** Find the Monthly Menu: January 2008 here.

Meat: Fresh its/Vegetables
22 Boneless Chicken Breasts
7 lb. Ground Beef
2 lb. Pork Loin
Roast Beef
2 Salmon Fillets
1/2 lb. Scallops
1/2 lb. Shrimp
2 pkg. Sliced Pepperoni 8oz each
1 roll Jimmy Dean Sausage

Dry/Canned Goods
1 can Minced Clams
1 French's French Fried Onions
4+ Cups Seasoned Dry Bread Crumbs
3 cans Pineapple Chunks 20 oz
6 cans Green Beans
Balsamic Vinegar
Italian Salad Dressing
Baking Powder
5 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup 10.5 oz
7.5 cups Rice
1 Spaghetti Sauce
1 Diced Tomatoes
14.5 oz Mayonnaise/ Miracle Whip
5 Tomato Sauce 8 oz
4 Tomato Paste 6 oz
Barbecue Sauce
4 Cornbread Mix
4 TBSP Dijon or Country-style mustard
1 can Pinto Beans
1 Italian Salad Dressing Mix Envelope

Dried Thyme
Curry Powder
6+ Bouillon Cubes
Onion Powder
Dried Parsley
Dried Dill
Ground Cumin
Chili Powder
Garlic Powder
Ground Black Pepper
Italian Seasoning Mix (NOT the dressing envelope)
Ground Mustard

5 lb. Red Potatoes
5 lb. Russet/Eastern Potatoes
10 medium onions
3 Lemons
1 Red Bell Pepper
10 oz. Button/Baby Bella/White Mushrooms
1 bunch Parsley
10 lb. Baby Carrots
Bananas, Apples, Or other fruit to eat "as is"

Monthly Menu Plan: January 2008

*** You'll find the ingredient list here.

Wednesday: Easy Breaded Chicken, Carrot Casserole, Salad
Thursday: Ground Beef Stroganoff, Salad, Green Beans
Friday: Balsamic Chicken, Broccoli, Carrots, Onion, Rice (my version)
Saturday: Pizza, Pineapple Chunks, Salad

Sunday: Chicken Blue, Ham, Pasta, Broccoli, Carrots
Monday: Fake Lasagna, Salad, Cheese Biscuits, Fruit
Tuesday: Seafood Chowder, Cheese Biscuits
Wednesday: Chicken and Dressing, Green Beans
Thursday: Lemon Pepper Salmon, Steamed Broccoli & Carrots, Rice
Friday: Taco Cornbread Stuff, Salsa, Salad, Fruit, Sour Cream
Saturday: Chicken & Broccoli Braid, Fruit

Sunday: Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, Rolls, Gravy
Monday: Honey & Mustard Pork Loin, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes
Tuesday: Chicken Curry, Pineapple, Onion, Carrots, Rice
Wednesday: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Cheese Biscuits
Thursday: Zesty Baked Salmon, Steamed Broccoli, Carrots, Rice
Friday: Chicken Soup, Crackers, Fruit
Saturday: Pizza, Pineapple, Salad

Sunday: Balsamic Chicken, Broccoli, Carrots, Onion, Rice (my version)
Monday: French Toast, Sausage, Syrup
Tuesday: Chicken and Dressing, Green Beans
Wednesday: Hamburger Gravy, Biscuits, Fried Potatoes
Thursday: Chili, Cheddar Cheese, Cornbread, Fruit
Friday: Ground Beef Stroganoff, Salad, Green Beans
Saturday: Barbecue Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Cheddar Biscuits

For more menu ideas head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie here and here.

Stephanie's Mommy the kitchen.

On my other blog, I get a lot of visitors from google because of my Monthly Menu: A Work in Progress post. I'm sure these ladies are looking for menus with shopping lists and recipes, even though none of them ever leave a comment (hint.hint.).

So I've decided to start a separate blog just for my menus and recipes. I considered including them in my regular blog but I don't think that would work as well.

If you find my menus and recipes helpful please let me know by email or comment.


Stephanie's Mommy Brain in the Kitchen   © 2008. Template Recipes by Emporium Digital