Sunday, December 27, 2009

Weekly Dinner Menu December 27th - January 1st

An amazing thing happened last night...

I frequently struggle with planning meals each week. My hubby offered to help and plan our dinner menu. After he read off his list, I realized he had pulled up this blog and picked some of his favorite recipes. He also found one new one on All Recipes. He wrote them down, I made the grocery list, and I headed to the store for ingredients. It was great to get his input, and it only took him a few minutes to put together the meals!

Sunday - Lime Chicken Tacos
Monday - Broiled Tilapia Parmesan (new)
Tuesday - Mongolian Beef
Wednesday - Chicken Fajitas
Thursday - Black Bean Burritos

Sunday - Lime Chicken Tacos - 10 Servings
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat - cubed
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 10 (6 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  1. Saute chicken in a medium saucepan over medium high heat for about 20 minutes. Add vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, pepper, green onion, garlic and oregano. Simmer for an extra 10 minutes.
  2. Heat an iron skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the pan, warm, and turn over to heat the other side. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve lime chicken mixture in warm tortillas topped with tomato, lettuce, cheese and salsa.


Monday - Broiled Tilapia Parmesan - 8 Servings
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets
  1. Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.


Tuesday - Mongolian Beef - 4 Servings
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 pound beef flank steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 large green onions, thinly sliced
  1. Whisk together soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Toss beef with marinade, cover, and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight.
  2. Heat peanut oil in a wok or large, nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the green onions, and cook for 5 to 10 seconds before stirring in the beef. Cook and stir until the beef is no longer pink and is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.


Wednesday - Chicken Fajitas

We buy the pre-seasoned fajita chicken meat from Kroger. We follow the cooking directions on the package but use a skillet on the stove rather than the grill.



Thursday - Black Bean Burritos - 2 Servings
  • 2 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno peppers
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
**Original recipe doesn't call for chicken but I'll add some diced cooked chicken in with the cream cheese.
  1. Wrap tortillas in foil and place in oven heated to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through.
  2. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Place onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapenos in skillet, cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Pour beans into skillet, cook 3 minutes stirring.
  3. Cut cream cheese into cubes and add to skillet with salt. Cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir cilantro into mixture.
  4. Spoon mixture evenly down center of warmed tortilla and roll tortillas up. Serve immediately.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Few Dinner Recipes

My sister-in-law passed on these 2 dinner recipes. I'll definitely be giving them a try after the holiday craziness!

Marinated Pork Tenderloin - 4 Servings
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • 2 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins
  1. Place soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry, dried onion, cinnamon, olive oil, and a touch of garlic powder in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal, and shake to mix. Place pork in bag with marinade, seal, and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours.
  2. Preheat grill for high heat.
  3. Lightly oil grate. Place tenderloins on grill, and discard marinade. Cook 20 minutes, or to desired doneness. Slice into medallions, and serve.
*She boiled the remaining marinade to create a gravy which she said was great!

Extra-Easy Spinach Lasagna - 8 Servings
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 cups Prego® Fresh Mushroom Italian Sauce
  • 6 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Mix ricotta cheese, spinach and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
  2. Spread 1 cup pasta sauce in 2-quart shallow baking dish. Top with 3 lasagna noodles and half the spinach mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining pasta sauce. Slowly pour water around inside edges of baking dish. Cover.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes Uncover. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 minutes or until hot. Let stand 10 minutes.
*She added ground beef to the mixture but thought if you add meat you should up the sauce and cheese. She also recommended seasoning either the meat you add or the mixture with salt, pepper, oregano, etc (your favorite Italian seasonings)




Sunday, November 29, 2009

Weekly Dinner Menu December 1st - December 6th

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!



Notes About Last Week's New Recipes:

Gourmet Sweet Potato Classic - I'm not a huge sweet potato fan but my husband loves them (and he requested this dish). They turned out great!

Grandma's Green Bean Casserole - This is a recipe I found on AllRecipes.com. They were very tasty!! My husband thought they were too creamy so this dish might not be for you if you don't like sour cream.

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake - This was a huge hit! It was more of a cheesecake with a light pumpkin flavor. I followed other people's reviews and used 3/4 cup of pumpkin pie filling since it was already seasoned. For more of a pumpkin flavor, I would just use more pie filling. I ran into a little bit of drama with this recipe though...Thanksgiving Eve around 10:00pm, I start on this dessert. As I'm ready to start pouring the first layer into the prepared graham cracker crust, I accidentally knock the crust off the counter and it shatters everywhere!! Luckily, my mother-in-law had some graham crackers so I just made my own crust. For a spring form pan: about 15 crushed graham crackers and 2 to 4 tablespoons of melted butter pressed into the pan. For a pie pan: about 5 crushed graham crackers and 1 tablespoon of melted butter pressed into pan.

We will be traveling again this week so there isn't much of a menu to share. BUT I do have one new recipe to pass on to everyone. My mother-in-law made a delicious soup while we were there!! I usually like creamy soups but this broth based Italian Meatball Soup was great!



Italian Meatball Soup 4 to 6 Servings
  • 1 bag (16 oz) frozen Italian meatballs
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) Cannellini beans, undrained
  • 1 can (16 oz) stewed tomatoes Italian style
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  1. Peel carrots and slice thinly. Cut ends from zucchini and discard. cut zucchini in half lengthwise and then into thin slices.
  2. Heat oil in a 4-quart sauce pan over medium-high heat. Saute carrots and onion 5 minutes. Add zucchini, beans, tomatoes, beef broth, and frozen meatballs. Stir and bring to a boil.
  3. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes - stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, chop basil. Stir basil, salt, and pepper into soup and cook 2 more minutes.
My mother-in-law's notes: she left out the zucchini and basil altogether. She also used Great Northern beans instead of the Cannellini beans.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekly Dinner Menu for November 23rd- November 29nd

Since we will be leaving town for Thanksgiving, we will mostly be making dinners out of ingredients we already have at the house.

Monday - Good Old Fashioned Pancakes

Tuesday - Spinach Quiche

Notes About Last Week's New Recipes:

Kelley's Quick Quiche - This turned out great! I bought a 2 pack of frozen 9 inch pie crusts. When I was ready to start cooking, I took one crust out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter. By the time I was ready to pour the quiche into the crust, it had thawed plenty. I guess I didn't pay attention to the pie size when I decided recipe to go off of - the 8 inch scaling or the 9 1/4 or 10 inch scaling. I went with the larger size, but I realized this was a mistake as I started to pour the quiche into the crust! It overflowed my crust size! I had to pour some of the liquid mixture out, and was left with tons of cheese and bacon. The quiche was still delicious and was jam packed with the good stuff! I'll definitely make this again, but next time I will use the 8 inch scaling ingredients.
Homemade Pizza - We loved this!! The crust was just as thick, but we liked the flavor better with the original homemade crust recipe I use. Be sure to use extra sauce if you make this thick crust.

4 Meals from One Pack of Pre-Seasoned Chicken Fajita Meat - this turned out great! The package is 2 lbs of chicken, and turned out to be almost 6 breasts. I had plenty of meat for all four meals - all for $6.99 at Kroger.


Good Old Fashioned Pancakes - 8 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.


Spinach Quiche - 8 servings


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups shredded Muenster cheese (some reviews mentioned you could use any cheese you had. I'll use a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in spinach and continue cooking until excess moisture has evaporated.
  3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add spinach mixture and stir to blend. Scoop into prepared pie pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until eggs have set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Thanksgiving Recipes

I'm making a few sides and a dessert for our Thanksgiving meal. Here are the recipes I'm going to use:



Gourmet Sweet Potato Classic - 8 Servings
  • 5 sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Bake sweet potatoes 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until they begin to soften. Cool slightly, peel, and mash.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the mashed sweet potatoes, salt, 1/4 cup butter, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, sugar, and heavy cream. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup butter, flour, brown sugar, and chopped pecans. Mix with a pastry blender or your fingers to the consistency of course meal. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture.
  5. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until topping is crisp and lightly browned.


Grandma's Green Bean Casserole - 10 Servings

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 (14.5 ounce) cans French style green beans, drained
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled buttery round crackers
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth, and cook for one minute. Stir in the salt, sugar, onion, and sour cream. Add green beans, and stir to coat.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Spread shredded cheese over the top. In a small bowl, toss together cracker crumbs and remaining butter, and sprinkle over the cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden and cheese is bubbly.


Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake - 8 Servings

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
  3. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving
**The reviews stated that you can use a can of pumpkin pie filling instead of the pumpkin puree and the spices - since the pumpkin pie filling is already seasoned.


I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Be sure to visit Evie Adventures - there is currently a giveaway for free Christmas Cards!




Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekly Dinner Menu for November 16th- November 22nd

Monday - Chicken Nachos
Tuesday - Date Night
Wednesday - Chicken Quesadillas
Thursday - Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
Friday - New Homemade Pizza
Saturday - Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Leftovers
Sunday - Quiche

Notes About Last Week's New Recipes:
Chicken Noodle Casserole - This was a good, easy recipe. It tasted a lot like that chicken and rice casserole dish. I made the full recipe so we had this for 2 dinners...next time I'll just make a half portion.

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken - We didn't like this recipe at all!

Foil Packet Tilapia Slow Cooker Recipe - This was ok, I don't think I'll make it again

*I found both the orange chicken and tilapia recipe on the Year of Slow Cooking website...not 100% sure I'll try another. Please let me know if you find a good recipe from this website so I can give it a try.


*I purchased the pre-seasoned fajita chicken meat and am planning on using it for 4 meals...nachos, quesadillas, and 2 meals of green chile chicken enchiladas. We'll add several sides to each meal as well. Luckily, we love Mexican food! I'll let you know next week if this works out - the meat costs about $6.99 so it would be a great way to save money on meat.


Monday - Chicken Nachos


Tuesday - Date Night



Wednesday - Chicken Quesadillas - 2 Servings
  • Diced cooked chicken
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • About 1 cup of cheddar or Mexican Blend cheese
  • Diced jalapenos (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
I use a griddle to make my quesadillas (since that way I can make them all at once) but a skillet would work great too. If using griddle, I set to 350 degrees. If using skillet, heat over medium high heat. Butter one side of each tortilla. Place tortilla butter side down, spoon and spread chicken, sprinkle cheese and diced jalapenos. Cover with another buttered tortilla - place butter side so it's on the outside of quesadilla. Turn once tortilla has browned to your liking. Repeat same steps for the rest of the tortillas.


Thursday - Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas - 8 Servings
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • garlic salt to taste
  • 18 (6 inch) corn tortillas, torn in half
  • 1 (28 ounce) can green chile enchilada sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) container reduced fat sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
  2. Season chicken with garlic salt. Arrange in the prepared baking dish. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Cool, shred, and set aside.
  3. With metal tongs, char each tortilla half over the open flame of a gas stove burner for about 1 minute, until lightly puffed. *I don't do this step. I just warm the tortillas in the microwave.
  4. Pour about 1/2 inch enchilada sauce in the bottom of a medium baking dish, and arrange 6 tortillas in a single layer. In a small bowl, mix all of the chicken, 2/3 of the cheese, and all of the sour cream. Layer half of this chicken/cheese/sour cream on top of the tortillas. Cover mixture with 1/3 of the remaining enchilada sauce. Repeat. Coat remaining tortillas thoroughly with remaining enchilada sauce, and arrange on top of the layers. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, and top with any remaining enchilada sauce
  5. Cover, and bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool slightly before serving.


Friday - New Homemade Pizza

My husband is a HUGE pizza fan!! He recently found this thick crust pizza recipe so we made it last week. We couldn't believe how amazing the crust was!! Just as thick as normal pizzerias!! Our only complaint was that the crust didn't have as much flavor as we liked. This week I'm going to make another thick crust pizza but by using my normal homemade crust recipe. My recipe calls for one packet of dry yeast, which I usually use for 2 different crusts...but this time I'll just use it for one. With such a large crust, we will only need one pizza...usually my family goes through 2 thin crust pizzas!

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 jar Ragu Pizza Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2-4 cups pizza cheese/mozzarella cheese
  • your favorite pizza toppings!
To Make Dough: In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the oil, sugar and salt; mix in 1 cup of the flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the rest of the flour, until dough is smooth and workable. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until it is elastic. Lay dough in a bowl containing 1 teaspoon olive oil, then flip the dough, cover and let rise for 40 minutes, or until almost doubled.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Sauce: Pour half of the Ragu Pizza Sauce into a bowl and mix in 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. This will be enough sauce for both pizzas.

Coat pizza pan with cooking oil spray. Take dough and roll onto pan. Spread sauce/brown sugar mixture onto crust. Cover with either pizza blend cheese or mozzarella cheese. Finish with your favorite pizza toppings (my current favorite is pepperoni and the diced jalapenos you buy in a can). Bake in oven for about 20 minutes...until cheese has melted and crust is baked to your liking.


Saturday - Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Leftovers



Sunday - Kelley's Quick Quiche

**If using a 8" thawed unbaked pie shell...

  • 4 slices bacon or thick sliced ham
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • dash salt
  • dash cayenne (red pepper)
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon flour
**If using a 9 1/4" or 10" thawed unbaked pie shell...
  • 8 slices bacon or thick sliced ham
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 dashes salt
  • 2 dashes cayenne (red pepper)
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 tablespoons flour
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine egg, milk and seasonings. Mix well. Toss cheese with flour. Add cheese and bacon to egg mixture. Pour into pie shell. Bake 40-45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Bake a little longer for larger pie.

Kelley's Notes:"I used the larger pie shell. I used 1 cup+ swiss and 1 cup +sharp cheddar. I also used an entire pack of pre-cooked bacon instead of the 8 slices."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Breakfast/Brunch Recipes

I'm a part of a mom's group that meets twice a month. Each meeting, a different table is in charge of bringing the breakfast food. Here are two great recipes that were served this past week! I couldn't help but get the recipes so I could pass them on to you!!

Alexa's Monkey Bread
  • 3 or 4 rolls refrigerator biscuits
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each biscuit in fourths. Combine sugar and cinnamon in plastic bag. Shake biscuit fourths in bag of sugar and cinnamon till coated.
  2. Pile fourths in tube pan. Melt margarine and brown sugar together. Pour over biscuits.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes.
Alexa's notes: "1) I used 3 cans of jumbo buttermilk biscuits. 2) I used a fluted bundt pan. 3) You may have to cook it longer than what the recipe says... it took mine about 40 mins to bake, don't know why, but when you check them, use a fork to pull the top biscuits back and check to see if the lower biscuits are done."


Kelley's Quick Quiche

**If using a 8" thawed unbaked pie shell...

  • 4 slices bacon or thick sliced ham
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • dash salt
  • dash cayenne (red pepper)
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon flour
**If using a 9 1/4" or 10" thawed unbaked pie shell...
  • 8 slices bacon or thick sliced ham
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 dashes salt
  • 2 dashes cayenne (red pepper)
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 tablespoons flour
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine egg, milk and seasonings. Mix well. Toss cheese with flour. Add cheese and bacon to egg mixture. Pour into pie shell. Bake 40-45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Bake a little longer for larger pie.

Kelley's Notes:"I used the larger pie shell. I used 1 cup+ swiss and 1 cup +sharp cheddar. I also used an entire pack of pre-cooked bacon instead of the 8 slices."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dessert Heaven

Here are some recent recipes I've made or had at a friend's house

Blonde Brownies - 12 Brownies
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Measure 1 cup sifted flour. Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift again. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Melt 1/3 cup butter. Add 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar and mix well. Cool slightly.
  4. Add egg (beaten) and vanilla. Blend well. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing well.
  5. Gently mix in chocolate chops
  6. Spread in 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.


My friend Jenny made these next two recipes - both were delicious! I wanted to pass them on so everyone else could enjoy them too!!



Pumpkin Streusel Bars

  • 1 ¾ cup All purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup Brown sugar; packecd
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Cold Butter; cut up
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin
  • 1 cup Pecans; chopped
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Allspice
  • ½ tsp. Salt

Heat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl combine flour and sugars. Cut in butter till coarse texture. Stir in nuts. Reserve 1 cup of mixture and press remainder firmly into the bottom and half way up the sides of a 12X7” backing dish. In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Mix well and pout over crust. Top with reserved crumb mixture. Bake 55 minutes or till golden. Cool. NOTES: Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some whipped topping if desired.


Trifole Dessert

  • 1 Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2 boxes of instant choc. pudding (use less milk here, we don't want soupy pudding)
  • 1 large (12 oz.) Cool Whip
  • Heath Bits Candy (crunched up)

After baking the cake in a 9X13 pan, cut the cake into 2 inch squares

Layer cake, then pudding,then cool whip, then sprinkle Heath bits on top of cool whip. Repeat until all is gone!


**I'm really excited about this recipe because it's so good, but so easy!! And you can change it around...brownies instead of yellow cake, or even a Christmas twist with peppermint bark!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Weekly Dinner Menu for November 9th - November 15th

Monday - Breakfast Tacos (Bacon, Egg, and Cheese; Potato, Egg, and Cheese)
Tuesday - BBQ Chicken Baked Potatoes
Wednesday - Chicken Noodle Casserole
Thursday - Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
Friday - Chicken Noodle Casserole Leftovers
Saturday - Off
Sunday - Foil Packet Tilapia Slow Cooker Recipe


Monday - Breakfast Tacos


I will use 1 to 1 1/2 eggs per taco. Fill flour tortillas with scrambled eggs, shredded cheese (I'll use a Monterrey Jack/Cheddar mix), and crumbled bacon. Another variation will have the eggs, shredded cheese, and potatoes. I bought a bag of frozen tater tots. I'll bake those as printed on the bag, then crumble them for the tacos.

Also try with sausage or jalapenos!


Tuesday - Zesty Slow Cooked Chicken Barbecue - serves 6


This is my "go to" meal for families that have just had a baby. I'll be taking some out to a friend, and we'll have some for dinner too!
  • 6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce (I use Jack Daniel's Original Recipe Sauce)
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
** I usually make this recipe with 3-4 chicken breasts, but still use the full amount of sauce/Italian Dressing/brown sugar/Worcestershire mixture...I think it gives the chicken more flavor! You might alter the recipe to be 1 1/2 times the sauce for 6 breasts.
  1. Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbeque sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.
  2. Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.


Wednesday - Chicken Noodle Casserole - 6 Servings

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 6 ounces egg noodles
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup crumbled buttery round crackers
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • *I'm going to add some chopped broccoli as well. Other reviewers mentioned that peas, onion, and celery were also great additions.
  1. Poach chicken in a large pot of simmering water. Cook until no longer pink in center, about 12 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside. Bring chicken cooking water to a boil and cook pasta in it. Drain. Cut chicken into small pieces, and mix with noodles.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together mushroom soup, chicken soup, and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir together cream soup mixture with the chicken mixture. Place in a 2 quart baking dish.
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan, and remove from heat. Stir in crumbled crackers. Top casserole with the buttery crackers.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 30 minutes, until heated through and browned on top.

Thursday - Slow Cooker Orange Chicken



1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, cut in 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup flour
olive oil, for browning the chicken
1 tablespoon kosher salt **less if using iodized salt!
6 ounces (1/2 can) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup

Use a 4 quart slow cooker for best results. Dredge the chicken pieces with the flour, and shake off the excess. Go ahead and throw away any remaining flour, we won't need it. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on the stove and brown the chicken on all sides. There is no need to fully cook it, just sear it enough for the flour to stick and get a nice coating.

Plop the chicken pieces into your slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and ketchup. Taste. If you'd like the chicken to be a bit sweeter, add a touch more sugar. Pour sauce mixture evenly over the chicken, and toss gingerly to coat.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3 to 4. Serve over white or brown rice.


Friday - Leftover Chicken Noodle Casserole



Saturday - Off



Sunday - Foil Packet Tilapia Slow Cooker Recipe


  • 3 or 4 filets of Tilapia (or other favorite white fish)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (Note from the original recipe: "I used cheddar. I've made it before with Parmesan and it was amazing. If I was planning a trip to the store specifically to get ingredients for this dish I would pick Parmesan.")
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 chopped garlic cloves
  • pinch each of salt and black pepper
  1. Mix mayonnaise, cheese, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl
  2. Lay out a piece of foil
  3. Rub sauce mixture on both sides of fish
  4. Fold foil over and make a little packet for the fish
  5. Put all the packets into the crock pot
  6. Cook on LOW for 2-4 hours; fish should flake easily with a fork
*Foil packet will be very hot when you take it out of the crock pot and open it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Crock Pots are Gifts from God

My mother-in-law knows how much I love slow cooker recipes, so she sent over this amazing website!! . This woman made a New Year's resolution to use her slow cooker every day for a year! We are all to benefit since she posted every recipe!!


I've already spent a good amount of time looking through the main course recipes and deciding which ones I'm going to try first. I think the orange chicken recipe may win...sounds great and doesn't call for too many ingredients.

Enjoy!!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Weekly Dinner Menu for November 2st - November 8th

Sorry about my absent post last week!

How many of you keep a monthly budget for your finances? If you do, I'm sure you've experienced the "it's the end of the month and I spent too much money at the beginning of the budget cycle!" I'm going to try to spend less at the beginning of each month on groceries, to set myself up for success at the end of the month!

Notes about previous recipes:
Slow cooker Pepper Pork Chops - We really didn't enjoy this meal. My grocery store had pork chops (no bones) on sale so I used those instead of the called for bone-in pork chops. They were ok but I'm not sure if I would make this again.

Monday - Cheese and Jalapeno Quesadillas
Tuesday - Off
Wednesday - Homemade Family Pizza
Thursday - Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
Friday - Cheese Enchiladas
Saturday - Leftover Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
Sunday - Off

Monday- Cheese and Jalapeno Quesadillas - 2 Servings
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • About 1 cup of cheddar or Mexican Blend cheese
  • Diced jalapenos (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
I use a griddle to make my quesadillas (since that way I can make them all at once) but a skillet would work great too. If using griddle, I set to 350 degrees. If using skillet, heat over medium high heat. Butter one side of each tortilla. Place tortilla butter side down, sprinkle cheese and diced jalapenos. Cover with another buttered tortilla - place butter side so it's on the outside of quesadilla. Turn once tortilla has browned to your liking. Repeat same steps for the rest of the tortillas.


Tuesday - Off


Wednesday - Homemade Family Pizza -makes 2 pizzas
(you really can't half this recipe for just one pizza since you make your own crust from active dry yeast - for one crust, buy the instant pizza crust bag or a premade crust)
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 jar Ragu Pizza Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2-4 cups pizza cheese/mozzarella cheese
  • your favorite pizza toppings!
To Make Dough: In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the oil, sugar and salt; mix in 1 cup of the flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the rest of the flour, until dough is smooth and workable. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until it is elastic. Lay dough in a bowl containing 1 teaspoon olive oil, then flip the dough, cover and let rise for 40 minutes, or until almost doubled.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees

Sauce: Pour half of the Ragu Pizza Sauce into a bowl and mix in 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. This will be enough sauce for both pizzas.

Coat pizza pan with cooking oil spray. Take half of the dough and roll onto pan. Stick with fork, then bake in preheated oven for 4-5 minutes. Remove crust from oven and spread half of the sauce/brown sugar mixture onto crust. Cover with either pizza blend cheese or mozzarella cheese. Finish with your favorite pizza toppings (my current favorite is pepperoni and diced jalapenos you buy in a can). Bake in oven for another 8-10 minutes...until cheese has melted and crust is baked to your liking.

Repeat with other half of dough

Thursday - Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork - 12 Servings
This is family favorite!! So good!!
  • 1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
  • 3 pounds boneless pork ribs **I don't use ribs - I buy the Hormel Pork Center Cut Loin Filet in Mesquite Barbecue Flavor. It's 27.2 ounces. I still follow all of the same directions.
  • 1 (18 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce
  1. Pour can of beef broth into slow cooker, and add boneless pork ribs. Cook on High heat for 4 hours, or until meat shreds easily. Remove meat, and shred with two forks. It will seem that it's not working right away, but it will.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Transfer the shredded pork to a Dutch oven or iron skillet, and stir in barbeque sauce.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until heated through.
We will use hamburger buns to make BBQ Pork Sandwiches

Friday - Easy Cheese Enchiladas - 3 Servings
  • 10 oz can of red enchilada sauce
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups of Mexican blend or cheddar cheese
  • 6-8 corn or flour tortillas
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat enchilada sauce over stove until slightly bubbling. Pour about a 1 inch layer of red sauce in the bottom of a glass 8x8 Pyrex pan. If using corn tortillas, I usually microwave groupings of 3 for about 10 seconds so they wrap easier. Fill tortilla with cheese and wrap. Place wrapped tortilla with the folded side down into the sauce. Repeat with remaining tortillas and arrange side by side. Pour the remaining red sauce over tortillas (be sure that every part of the tortilla is covered so it won't dry out while baking). Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of the sauce covered tortillas. Bake for 15-20 minutes.


Saturday - Leftover BBQ Pork


We'll either make more sandwiches or put it on top of loaded baked potatoes

Salt Rubbed Baked Potatoes with Crispy Skin

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash potatoes and poke all over with fork. While damp, rub all over with salt. Place straight on oven rack uncovered. Bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours depending on the thickness. This gives you a tasty skin that's salted and crispy!

Sunday - Off

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weekly Dinner Menu for October 19th - 25th

Monday - Going Out
Tuesday - Maple Salmon
Wednesday - Tomato Chicken Parmesan
Thursday - BBQ Chicken
Friday - Going Out
Saturday - Asian Orange Chicken
Sunday - Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops
**Last week was pretty hectic so I didn't get to any of my menu items. I'm hoping this upcoming week will be better!

Notes About Last Week's New Recipes

Pasta Pomodoro
- I wasn't too impressed with this recipe! My husband liked it fine - but he also covered his plate with Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes. I thought the ratio of sauce to pasta was off. I would suggest doubling the sauce if you try this recipe.

Monday - Going Out


Tuesday - Maple Salmon - 4 Servings
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound salmon
  1. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.
  2. Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.
**Some good tips I read from other reviewers:
  • Never let fish marinade for longer than 30 minutes - it's different than other meats that soak in the flavor for hours and hours.
  • You should cook salmon based on thickness. Bake uncovered in a preheated 450°F oven for 4-6 minutes for each .5 inch of thickness (done when fish easily flakes with fork)
  • To help soak in flavor & cut down on clean up: Place salmon on foil, pour on the sauce and wrap it up so there will be maximum coverage of sauce on salmon. Please wrapped tin foil on shallow baking dish or glass pie pan.
  • If you want a dry, crispier outer crust: Place salmon on foil, cover with sauce, and wrap up foil. Bake in foil for 15 minutes and then break open the foil under the broiler for the last 4-5 minutes

Wednesday - Tomato Chicken Parmesan - 6 Servings

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 7 ounces seasoned bread crumbs
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 12 ounces pasta sauce
  • 6 slices Monterrey Jack cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Pour beaten eggs into a shallow dish or bowl. In another shallow dish or bowl, mix together the grated Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Dip chicken breasts into beaten egg, then into bread crumb mixture to coat.
  3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add coated chicken and saute for about 8 to 10 minutes each side, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
  4. Pour tomato sauce into a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Add chicken, then place a slice of Monterey Jack cheese over each breast, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

Thursday - Zesty Slow Cooked Chicken Barbecue - serves 6

  • 6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  1. Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbeque sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.
  2. Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.

Friday - Going Out



Saturday - Asian Orange Chicken - 4 Servings


Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
Chicken:
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Pour 1 1/2 cups water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place the chicken pieces into a resealable plastic bag. When contents of saucepan have cooled, pour 1 cup of sauce into bag. Reserve the remaining sauce. Seal the bag, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  3. In another resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the marinated chicken pieces, seal the bag, and shake to coat.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken into the skillet, and brown on both sides. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels, and cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Wipe out the skillet, and add the sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Mix together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water; stir into the sauce. Reduce heat to medium low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Sunday - Slow Cook Pepper Pork Chops - 4 Servings
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, slightly crushed
  • 1 pound ice
  • 4 (1 to 1 1/2-inch thick) bone-in pork chops
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 ounces dried apple slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, julienned
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Combine the vegetable broth, 1/2 cup kosher salt, brown sugar and peppercorns in a medium saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Cook just until the salt and sugar dissolve, then remove from the heat and add the ice. Place the pork chops into a 2-gallon zip-top bag along with the mixture and seal. Place in a plastic container and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the chops from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Season on both sides with the kosher salt and set aside

Place the apples in the slow cooker.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch stainless steel saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the pork chops on both sides until golden brown, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. Once browned, place the pork chops into the slow cooker atop the apples.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan followed by the onions and saute until they begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan to deglaze. Add the black pepper and thyme and stir to combine. Transfer this to the slow cooker, set to high, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Decrease the heat to low and continue cooking for another 4 hours and 30 minutes or until the pork is tender and falling away from the bone.






Sunday, October 11, 2009

Weekly Menu for October 12th - October 18th

Monday - Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
Tuesday - Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Leftovers
Wednesday - Maple Salmon
Thursday - Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops (new)
Friday - Going Out
Saturday - Tomato Chicken Parmesan (new)
Sunday - Asian Orange Chicken (new)

Notes About Last Week's New Recipes:

Chicken Fried Steak - I had never used this recipe and was very pleased with the outcome! The gravy was really good too! Anytime I cook battered/fried food, I end up with a million dirty bowls and flour/breading all over the counter. I would say this recipe was worth the mess!! : )

Pasta Pomodoro - I'm making this tonight so I'll comment on it next week

Japanese Style Deep Fried Shrimp - I was a little weary of this recipe since I've never tried a fried shrimp recipe. They cook super fast and the batter stays on the shrimp really well! If you're going to try this recipe, you definitely need to have a good dipping sauce. I didn't even think about making a sauce for the shrimp! They were good, but would have been great with a sauce! Just a little bland without one.

Lime Chicken Soft Tacos - This was a quick and easy recipe! Hubby really liked the flavor!! I cooked everything in a cast iron skillet instead of a saucepan so that changed how the dish "simmered". It still turned out great though! Since I'm only cooking for 2 adults and a one year old, I always reduce recipes down. I'll definitely make this recipe again, but next time I'll use a small saucepan so the ingredients can actually simmer : )

This Week's Menu:

Monday & Tuesday - Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas - 8 Servings
(My husband has been asking for this meal ever since I made it a few weeks ago. I'm going out of town so I'm making this dish for his M & T meals. To say he was excited when he found out about the meals would be an understatement!!)
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • garlic salt to taste
  • 18 (6 inch) corn tortillas, torn in half
  • 1 (28 ounce) can green chile enchilada sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) container reduced fat sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
  2. Season chicken with garlic salt. Arrange in the prepared baking dish. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Cool, shred, and set aside.
  3. With metal tongs, char each tortilla half over the open flame of a gas stove burner for about 1 minute, until lightly puffed. *I don't do this step. I just warm the tortillas in the microwave.
  4. Pour about 1/2 inch enchilada sauce in the bottom of a medium baking dish, and arrange 6 tortillas in a single layer. In a small bowl, mix all of the chicken, 2/3 of the cheese, and all of the sour cream. Layer half of this chicken/cheese/sour cream on top of the tortillas. Cover mixture with 1/3 of the remaining enchilada sauce. Repeat. Coat remaining tortillas thoroughly with remaining enchilada sauce, and arrange on top of the layers. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, and top with any remaining enchilada sauce
  5. Cover, and bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool slightly before serving.

Wednesday - Maple Salmon - 4 Servings
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound salmon
  1. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.
  2. Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.
**Some good tips I read from other reviewers:
  • Never let fish marinade for longer than 30 minutes - it's different than other meats that soak in the flavor for hours and hours.
  • You should cook salmon based on thickness. Bake uncovered in a preheated 450°F oven for 4-6 minutes for each .5 inch of thickness (done when fish easily flakes with fork)
  • To help soak in flavor & cut down on clean up: Place salmon on foil, pour on the sauce and wrap it up so there will be maximum coverage of sauce on salmon. Please wrapped tin foil on shallow baking dish or glass pie pan.
  • If you want a dry, crispier outer crust: Place salmon on foil, cover with sauce, and wrap up foil. Bake in foil for 15 minutes and then break open the foil under the broiler for the last 4-5 minutes

Thursday - Slow Cook Pepper Pork Chops - 4 Servings
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, slightly crushed
  • 1 pound ice
  • 4 (1 to 1 1/2-inch thick) bone-in pork chops
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 ounces dried apple slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, julienned
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Combine the vegetable broth, 1/2 cup kosher salt, brown sugar and peppercorns in a medium saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Cook just until the salt and sugar dissolve, then remove from the heat and add the ice. Place the pork chops into a 2-gallon zip-top bag along with the mixture and seal. Place in a plastic container and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the chops from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Season on both sides with the kosher salt and set aside

Place the apples in the slow cooker.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch stainless steel saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the pork chops on both sides until golden brown, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. Once browned, place the pork chops into the slow cooker atop the apples.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan followed by the onions and saute until they begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan to deglaze. Add the black pepper and thyme and stir to combine. Transfer this to the slow cooker, set to high, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Decrease the heat to low and continue cooking for another 4 hours and 30 minutes or until the pork is tender and falling away from the bone.

Friday - Going Out

Saturday - Tomato Chicken Parmesan - 6 Servings
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 7 ounces seasoned bread crumbs
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 12 ounces pasta sauce
  • 6 slices Monterey Jack cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Pour beaten eggs into a shallow dish or bowl. In another shallow dish or bowl, mix together the grated Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Dip chicken breasts into beaten egg, then into bread crumb mixture to coat.
  3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add coated chicken and saute for about 8 to 10 minutes each side, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
  4. Pour tomato sauce into a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Add chicken, then place a slice of Monterey Jack cheese over each breast, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.
Sunday - Asian Orange Chicken - 4 Servings

Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
Chicken:
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Pour 1 1/2 cups water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place the chicken pieces into a resealable plastic bag. When contents of saucepan have cooled, pour 1 cup of sauce into bag. Reserve the remaining sauce. Seal the bag, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  3. In another resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the marinated chicken pieces, seal the bag, and shake to coat.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken into the skillet, and brown on both sides. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels, and cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Wipe out the skillet, and add the sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Mix together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water; stir into the sauce. Reduce heat to medium low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Weekly Menu for October 5th - October 11th

Monday - Frozen Pizza
Tuesday - Chicken Fried Steak and Buttermilk Cornbread
Wednesday - Pasta Pomodoro
Thursday - Jalapeno Bacon Cheeseburgers with Homemade Potato Chips
Friday - Japanese Style Deep Fried Shrimp
Saturday - Lime Chicken Soft Tacos
Sunday - Baked Omelet

Notes About Last Week's New Recipes:

Fry Bread Tacos - These tacos tasted great but I had a difficult time with the fry bread. I guess I didn't flatten my dough thin enough because during frying, they began to puff up. Be sure to flatten these thinner than you actually think necessary...as thin as you can! I ended up slicing the puffed fried bread in half because it was so large. Later that night, I used the leftover fry bread to create little funnel cakes. I warmed the bread up in the microwave, covered with butter, then sprinkled powdered sugar on top. Delicious!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup - Great and easy recipe! I used frozen chicken breasts and shredded the meat with about an hour left in the cook time. I opted for the 3-4 hour cook time on high. Heads up: this recipe is very spicy! If you don't like super spicy foods, you might want to make some alterations...you could use mild enchilada sauce and substitute out the green chile peppers (or just not use the entire can).


Monday - Frozen Pizza




Tuesday - Chicken Fried Steak - 4 Servings

  • 4 (1/2 pound) beef cube steaks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable shortening for deep frying
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
  1. Pound the steaks to about 1/4-inch thickness. Place 2 cups of flour in a shallow bowl. Stir together the baking powder, baking soda, pepper, and salt in a separate shallow bowl; stir in the buttermilk, egg, Tabasco Sauce, and garlic. Dredge each steak first in the flour, then in the batter, and again in the flour. Pat the flour onto the surface of each steak so they are completely coated with dry flour.
  2. Heat the shortening in a deep cast-iron skillet to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Fry the steaks until evenly golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Place fried steaks on a plate with paper towels to drain. Drain the fat from the skillet, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid and as much of the solid remnants as possible.
  3. Return the skillet to medium-low heat with the reserved oil. Whisk the remaining flour into the oil. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release solids into the gravy. Stir in the milk, raise the heat to medium, and bring the gravy to a simmer, cook until thick, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Spoon the gravy over the steaks to serve.
*If you don't have any buttermilk on hand, I read some great substitution ideas:
add 1-3/4 tablespoons of cream of tartar to a cup of milk, or add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of milk and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes. In many baking recipes, you can also just use plain yogurt or sour cream instead of buttermilk

Buttermilk Cornbread - 9 Servings
I decided to make 2 recipes that call for buttermilk to maximize this ingredient that I would never have on hand.
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
  2. Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Or if you have a cast iron skillet - Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 in. cast iron skillet with vegetable oil and put it in the oven while you assemble the recipe. When the batter is finished, pour it into the hot skillet. Then bake it for 25 minutes.

Wednesday - Pasta Pomodoro - 4 Servings

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages angel hair pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Pour olive oil in a large deep skillet over high-heat. Saute onions and garlic until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium-high and add tomatoes, vinegar and chicken broth; simmer for about 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in red pepper, black pepper, basil and cooked pasta, tossing thoroughly with sauce. Simmer for about 5 more minutes and serve topped with grated cheese.


Thursday - Jalapeno Bacon Cheeseburgers with Homemade Potato Chips

My new favorite ingredient is pre-cooked bacon! I love how I can throw a few slices in the microwave for 20 seconds, and out comes crispy, tasty bacon! Best part = no bacon grease clean up!!

I'll top our burgers with a slice of cheddar cheese, a few slices of bacon, and sliced jalapenos!


Homemade Potato Chips - 2 Servings
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 potato, sliced paper thin (peel optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  1. Pour the vegetable oil into a plastic bag (a produce bag works well). Add the potato slices, and shake to coat.
  2. Coat a large dinner plate lightly with oil or cooking spray. Arrange potato slices in a single layer on the dish.
  3. Cook in the microwave for 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned (if not browned, they will not become crisp). Times will vary depending on the power of your microwave. Remove chips from plate, and toss with salt (or other seasonings). Let cool. Repeat process with the remaining potato slices. You will not need to keep oiling the plate.


Friday - Japanese Style Deep Fried Shrimp - 4 Servings
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled (tails left on) and deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
  1. Place the shrimp in a bowl and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. In a small bowl, stir together the flour and paprika. Place eggs and panko crumbs into separate bowls.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or deep skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Dip each shrimp into the flour mixture, then into the egg, and finally into the panko crumbs to coat. Fry a few at a time until golden brown. This should take no longer than 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels before serving.


Saturday - Lime Chicken Soft Tacos - 10 Servings
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat - cubed
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 10 (6 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  1. Saute chicken in a medium saucepan over medium high heat for about 20 minutes. Add vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, pepper, green onion, garlic and oregano. Simmer for an extra 10 minutes.
  2. Heat an iron skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the pan, warm, and turn over to heat the other side. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve lime chicken mixture in warm tortillas topped with tomato, lettuce, cheese and salsa.


Sunday - Baked Omelet - 5 Servings

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 3 ounces cooked ham, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 8x8 inch casserole dish and set aside.
  2. Beat together the eggs and milk. Add seasoning salt, ham, Cheddar cheese, Mozzarella cheese and minced onion. Pour into prepared casserole dish.
  3. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 to 45 minutes.
**I read several reviews saying this recipe tastes great with bacon or sausage instead of ham (depending on your preference).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Time for Dessert

Here is a great cheesecake recipe! I made it this afternoon to take to a dinner at a friend's house. Unfortunately, mine cracked during the cooling process. I've made this recipe several times...sometimes it cracks and sometimes it doesn't. It still tastes great though! If you are wanting a beautiful cheesecake, here are some tips I read online:
  1. Grease the sides of the springform pan, along with the bottom - be sure to cover the entire pan
  2. Overbeating causes the cheesecake to crack. Beat cream cheese with sugar only until smooth. Proceed with a wooden spoon for the rest of the recipe.
  3. Follow baking & cooling instructions closely! Set a timer for 60 minutes and walk away - once your timer goes off, turn the oven off and let the cheesecake cool for the full 5 to 6 hours. Once you close the oven door to start the baking, you shouldn't open it again for another 6 to 7 hours!

New York Cheesecake - 12 servings
  • 15 graham crackers, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.
When serving, I put a slice cheesecake on the plate - then spoon strawberry dessert topping on either side of the cake. I top with a fresh strawberry, and have a bowl of strawberries at the table as well. Enjoy!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weekly Menu for September 28th - October 4th

Monday - Pizza Casserole Leftovers (recipe from last week)
Tuesday - Fry Bread Tacos (new)
Wednesday - Good Old Fashioned Pancakes
Thursday - Chicken Stir Fry
Friday - OFF
Saturday - Chicken Tortilla Soup (new)
Sunday - Mexican Meal

Notes about last week's new dishes:

Lazy Day Cheeseburgers
- I made the recipe allowing enough time for the meat and cheese to cook for about 6 hours. I scaled the recipe down, so it was about 1/2 lb of ground beef and 4 ounces of Velveeta. The cheese was melted in about 1 1/2 hours. After cooking for 2 hours, I spooned the meat and cheese mixture into a tubberware container, and refrigerated until dinner. I thought it turned out ok...nothing amazing...but still a really easy and quick recipe! My husband really liked it, and thought that bacon might be a good addition to the mixture. He thought the parts of the meat that were crispy and cooked longer were the best - so maybe next time I'll keep it in the slow cooker longer. If I made the full recipe, I think I would let it cook closer to the full 6-7 hours.

I hosted a play date at my house this past week, and served the BBQ Chicken from a previous weekly menu. I had enough leftovers of the chicken to make BBQ Chicken Pizzas that night for dinner (another previous weekly menu item). The Pizza Casserole got bumped to Sunday and Monday night meals.

Monday - Pizza Casserole - 7 Servings

  • 2 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced pepperoni sausage
  • 16 ounces pizza sauce
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  3. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef with the onion, garlic and green bell pepper. Drain excess fat. Stir in the noodles, pepperoni, pizza sauce and milk, and mix well. Pour this mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes, top with the cheese, then bake for 5 to 10 more minutes.

Tuesday - Fry Bread Tacos - 4 Servings

TOPPINGS:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can pinto beans, with liquid
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 cup picante sauce
FRY BREAD:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 cups oil for frying, or as needed
  1. Combine beans and 2 tablespoons of picante sauce in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook until heated through. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef with taco seasoning mix according to seasoning mix package directions. Cover, and keep warm while you prepare the fry bread.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in milk, and mix until the dough comes together. Add more flour if necessary to be able to handle the dough. On a floured surface, knead the dough until smooth, at least 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in a large, deep heavy skillet to 365 degrees F (180 degrees C). Oil should be about 1 1/2 inches deep. Break off 3/4 cup sized pieces of dough, and shape into round discs 1/4 inch in thickness, making a thinner depressed area in the center. Fry breads in the hot oil until golden on both sides, turning only once. Drain on paper towels.
  4. Top fry bread with beans, ground beef, lettuce and cheese. Spoon picante sauce over. You can also top with other of your favorite taco toppings, such as onion, sour cream or guacamole.
**The recipe also mentions using any leftover fry bread as a dessert. Just coat with cinnamon and sugar; drizzle with honey.

Wednesday - Good Old Fashioned Pancakes - 8 Servings
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
I've made this recipe several times, and really enjoy it! I love having breakfast for dinner!

Thursday - Chicken Stir Fry - 2 servings
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cooking sherry
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 pound broccoli
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), sliced
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili paste (optional)
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
**The hot chili paste and peanuts make the dish taste like Kung Pao Chicken! If you don't have hot chili paste, you could add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

Combine soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch, garlic and 1/4 cup water in small bowl; set aside. In wok (or skillet), stir fry chicken in hot oil for 2 minutes. Add broccoli, onion, and bell pepper; stir fry for 4 minutes. Add soy mixture; cook and stir until thickened. At this time, I add the hot chili paste as well as the peanuts.

After prep, the entire dish is ready in about 10 minutes. I serve this with a 10 minute bag of brown rice - so I'll get the water boiling while I'm cutting the chicken and veggies. Once I'm ready to start cooking, the water is usually boiling for the rice. I can throw the bag of rice into the pot, and have an entire meal ready at the same time!

Friday - OFF

Saturday - Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup - 8 servings
  • 1 pound frozen chicken breasts OR shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 7 corn tortillas; tortilla chips work great too
  • vegetable oil
  1. Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  3. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup.
*Other reviews said that they used frozen chicken breasts instead of having to cook and shred prior to starting the recipe. They shredded the meat towards the end of the cook time. Also, they said that using tortilla chips rather than making your own helped save some time.

I'm going to try and create my own bread bowls for the soup. I'll just look around the bakery section, and see what would work best to carve out the center for the bowl.

Sunday - Mexican Meal

We love Mexican food so there are several ingredients I always have at the house: tortillas, tortilla chips, cheddar or Mexican Blend shredded cheese, a can of diced jalapenos, salsa and a can of red enchilada sauce.

I'll put together a meal depending on what sounds best. Sometimes it's an appetizer of nachos with a meal of soft tacos, enchiladas or quesadillas. Depending on how much chicken I buy, I may reserve a breast to use for this meal. We'll also have leftover chicken tortilla soup.