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.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Need to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth!?

I love hosting at my house, or needing to bring food to an event - mainly because I love trying out new "sweets" recipes!!

It was my turn to host the playgroup so I was excited to start planning the menu. I decided on slow cooker zesty barbecue chicken (from a previous post), giant baked potatoes, fruit salad with dip, and a chocolate bundt cake for dessert!

Fruit Dip
8 oz container of cream cheese
1 cup of packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons of vanilla (adjust vanilla based on how "cream cheesy" you want it to taste...less vanilla if you want the cream cheese flavor to stand out)

Mix all 3 ingredients in a medium to large bowl. I use a hand mixer to speed the process along.

Too Much Chocolate Cake - 12 servings
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
  • 1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.
  3. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate.
And for a glaze...

Satiny Chocolate Glaze
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put chocolate chops, butter and corn syrup in a Pyrex measuring cup (or any microwave safe bowl). Heat for 45 seconds. Mix until smooth - this may take a second. Add vanilla. You could even double the glaze recipe if you want a lot of icing on the cake!!

If you don't want to ice the cake, you can always just dust it was powdered sugar.

I was also supposed to bring something to my moms group meeting. The meeting starts around 9:30AM so I wanted to try out a new breakfast recipe.

Clone of a Cinnabon - makes 12 to 16 cinnamon rolls
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk (I heat this in the microwave for about 35-45 seconds)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 cups **bread flour** (be sure to by this specific type of flour - don't use All Purpose)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  2. Dissolve active dry yeast in warm milk. Mix in white sugar, melted butter, eggs and salt. Gradually mix in the bread flour. Knead the dough with your hands and a rolling pin. TURN OVEN OFF! (You want the dough to rise in a warm place so you are creating that with a lightly heated oven that is then turned off.) COVER the bowl with a moist paper towel or moist kitchen towel , and put in the oven for around 1 hour (the dough will almost double in size)
  3. After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter (I microwaved the butter for 5 seconds, then spread it on the dough with my hands) and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 - 16 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch glass baking dish.
  5. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  6. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.
**I completed steps 1-4 the night before I needed the cinnamon rolls. I covered the pan with Saran Wrap and refrigerated them over night. The next morning, I took off the Saran Wrap, and placed the pan straight into the COLD oven. I then turned it on to 350 degrees and kept them in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Note: When you mix the icing (I used a hand mixer) it doesn't look like it will be enough to cover all of the rolls - but it ended up being the perfect amount!

These got great reviews from my husband (he had to try one before I left the house) and my friends!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weekly Menu for September 20th - September 27th

Some notes about last week's menu since it was the first time I made the Green
Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Mongolian Beef, and BBQ Chicken Pizza.
  • Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole - We loved this dish!! Hubby said it had to be put into the rotation! I added this suggestion into the previous post, but instead of layering chicken, cheese and sour cream, mix the three in a bowl and use the mixture as the layer. It's tough to smoothly layer sour cream so this makes that step quick and easy!
  • Mongolian Beef - If you like Asian cuisine, this is definitely worth making. I added the optional 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes...gives it a kick! As you eat the dish, it makes your lips burn. We like spicy - so this was a good thing! So, if you don't like spicy - you should omit this completely. Hubby suggested that next time I cover broccoli with the marinade and then stir fry that with the beef.
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza - This was another WOW dish. So simple...especially if you make the BBQ Chicken the night before, and use leftover meat! I loved the balance of half the pizza sauce and half BBQ sauce for the base pizza sauce. I made 2 pizzas, and we didn't have a single piece leftover. Even our 1 year old ate an entire large slice!
For this week, I'm going to post Sunday to Sunday so I can change my grocery shopping day to Mondays. I enjoy shopping during the week - so the stores aren't so crowded. Sundays might be the worst day to go grocery shopping!

We have a lot going on this week at night so I'm going to try to maximize leftovers. I'm usually not a fan of leftovers, but I do love how a home cooked meal can be ready in under 5 minutes!

Sunday - Ground Beef Quesadillas (instead of the previously posted hamburgers)
Monday -Cheesy Slow Cooker Hamburgers
Tuesday - Black Bean Burritos
Wednesday - Black Bean Burrito Leftovers
Thursday - Boneless Buffalo Chicken Wings
Friday - Buffalo Chicken Salad (use leftover chicken from Thursday)
Saturday - Pizza Casserole
Sunday - Pizza Casserole Leftovers

Sunday - Ground Beef Quesadillas - 2 Servings

  • About 3/4lb ground beef
  • Taco Seasoning packet
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • About 1 cup of cheddar or Mexican Blend cheese
  • Diced jalapenos (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
Brown beef in a skillet over medium high heat. Drain meat and return to skillet. Add taco seasoning packet, and follow directions on packet. You could also add chopped onion or peppers in with the seasoned meat. 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 beef, 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.



Monday - Cheesy Slow Cooker Hamburgers - 8 Servings
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces Velveeta cheese, grated
  • 8 sandwich buns
In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef. Drain the browned meat and season with salt and pepper. Put the browned meat in the slow cooker, add the cheese, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 7 hours. Spoon the burger mixture onto the buns.

**I made the recipe this afternoon - 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.

Tuesday/Wednesday - Black Bean Burritos - 2 Servings (so I'll double the recipe)

  • 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.
Thursday/Friday - Boneless Buffalo Chicken Wings
Note - when we go to a restaurant, we order "hot" wings, so we've adjusted the recipe to create that spiciness. To make them more or less hot, adjust the ratio of the butter to hot sauce...increase butter in ratio for less "hot" wings.

  • oil for deep frying
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup hot sauce - we use Frank's Hot Sauce
  • 2dashes ground black pepper
  • 1 dash garlic powder
  • 30 saltine crackers
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons dry potato flakes
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flour (to dip chicken)
  • About 1/2 cup vegetable oil - enough to cover chicken in skillet
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves or tenderloins. I used tenderloins and chop each tender into about 3 pieces.
  1. Place crackers in a large resealable plastic bag; seal bag and crush crackers until they are coarse crumbs. Add flour, potato flakes, seasoned salt, and pepper to bag and mix well.
  2. Beat egg in a shallow dish or bowl. Put the 1/2 cup of flour in a separate bowl.
  3. One by one, dip chicken pieces in flour, then dredge chicken pieces in egg beat, then place in bag with crumb mixture, seal bag and shake to coat.
  4. Cover dish or bowl and refrigerate for 60 to 90 minutes.
  5. I cooked the tenders in a cast iron skillet. Heat oil on high until it pops if you sprinkle a few drops of water onto the oil. At this point, you will want to turn the heat down to about medium.
  6. Fry coated chicken in hot oil for about 3 minutes on each side, or until they begin to turn brown. As pieces of chicken are finished cooking, I put them in a large Pyrex bowl and cover with a plastic lid (foil would work too) - to keep the chicken warm. I continue to cook the remaining chicken, as well as start on the sauce.
  7. Combine the butter, hot sauce, pepper and garlic powder in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir together and heat until butter is melted and mixture is well blended. Remove from heat and reserve for serving.
  8. Pour the sauce into bowl with chicken, secure lid on top, and shake well. Or if you don't have a lid, mix chicken and sauce until evenly coated.
Saturday/Sunday - 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.
Hope you enjoy!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Weekend Breakfast

This weekend I baked some banana bread for our breakfast.  I'm not a huge banana fan, but I love buying them...just to wait for them to be ripe enough to make bread or muffins!

Family Banana Bread

3 ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 oil
l tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Mask bananas in a small bowl and set aside. Mix all the other ingredients together in a separate bowl; add the bananas and bake in a greased loaf pan for 1 hour or when you can pull a toothpick smoothly out of the middle.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Weekly Menu for September 13th - September 19th

Sunday - Breakfast for Dinner! French Toast
Monday - Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken Barbecue
Tuesday - Barbecue Chicken Pizza
Wednesday - Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Thursday - Mongolian Beef
Friday - Alaska Salmon Bake with Pecan Crunch Coating
Saturday - Hamburgers and Family Baked Beans

Sunday - French Toast serves 3
  • 6 thick slices bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Beat together egg, milk, and cinnamon
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle of skillet over medium-high flame.
  3. Dunk each slice of bread in egg mixture, soaking both sides. Place in pan, and cook on both sides until golden. Serve hot.
I'll serve this with some fruit and precooked bacon that you can pop in the microwave

Monday - 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.
I'll serve on hamburger buns. It's also great for a loaded barbecue chicken baked potato!

Tuesday - Barbecue Chicken Pizza (use leftover chicken from Monday) Makes 2 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
  • 1/4 jar Ragu Pizza Sauce
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2-4 cups pizza cheese/mozzarella cheese
  • leftover barbecue chicken
  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
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: In a small bowl, mix barbecue sauce and pizza sauce

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 mixture onto crust. Cover with either pizza blend cheese or mozzarella cheese. Finish with barbecue chicken and red onions. Bake in oven for another 8-10 minutes...until cheese has melted and crust is baked to your liking.

Wednesday - Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas serves 8 **We ended up leaving for our trip on Friday afternoon so I never made this last week
  • 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
  4. Pour about 1/2 inch enchilada sauce in the bottom of a medium baking dish, and arrange 6 tortillas in a single layer. Top with 1/2 the chicken, 1/3 cheese, 1/2 the sour cream, and 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.
**Update after making this recipe: it's easier to mix the cooked, shredded chicken in a bowl with the cheese and sour cream rather than trying to layer them...way too hard and frustrating! Then spread the mixture whenever the recipe calls for the chicken, cheese, sour cream layers. Also, be sure to save a little cheese to sprinkle on top.

Thursday - Mongolian Beef serves 4
  • 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.
I'll serve this with brown rice and steamed broccoli

Friday - Alaska Salmon Bake with Pecan Crunch Coating serves 6
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 5 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 (4 ounce) fillets salmon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 lemon wedges
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, butter, and honey. In another bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, pecans, and parsley.
  2. Season each salmon fillet with salt and pepper. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush with mustard-honey mixture. Cover the top of each fillet with bread crumb mixture.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at thickest part, or until salmon just flakes when tested with a fork. Serve garnished with lemon wedges.
I'll serve this with green beans

Saturday - Hamburgers and Family Baked Beans

Seasoning for 2 burgers
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle on hamburger patties before cooking.

Family Baked Beans:

2 15 oz. cans of Van Camp's pork and beans (drained)
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs. liquid smoke
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. onion flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix drained beans and all other ingredients in a 9x13 pyrex dish. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.



Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Great Lunch Option

Hubby requested a broccoli cheese soup for lunch over Labor Day weekend so I went to my trusted friend, AllRecipes.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
(this soup was great! maybe even better the second day!!) Recipes makes 6 servings.
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (1 pound) loaf processed cheese food, cubed
  • 1 cup milk (recipe calls for milk but after reading reviews I used 1/2 and 1/2)
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  1. In a stockpot, melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until softened. Stir in broccoli, and cover with 1 and 1/2 cans of the chicken broth (reserve 1/2 can for later). Simmer until broccoli is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat, and stir in cheese cubes until melted. Mix in milk (or 1/2 and 1/2) and garlic powder.
  3. In a small bowl, stir cornstarch into remaining 1/2 can of chicken broth until dissolved. Stir into soup; cook, stirring frequently, until thick.

Labor Day Baking Extravaganza

We didn't have any plans over Labor Day weekend so most of our time was spent at the house. This resulted in most of my time being spent baking in the kitchen. Here are some recipes I enjoyed:

Banana Crumb Muffins from All Recipes
(Wow! Wow! Wow! I love this recipe! In my opinion, the best way to use 3 overripe bananas!!) Recipe makes 10 muffins
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies from AllRecipes (this recipe is perfect for rolling and cutting out cookies) Recipes makes 60 cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
**Other users on AllRecipes suggested adding an additional cup of white sugar (making it 3 cups) and an additional teaspoon of vanilla (making it 2 tsp). I followed these suggestions when making my cookies. My hubby loved the cookies but I wish I would have followed the original recipe first to see how that tasted.
  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie from AllRecipes Recipe makes about 18 cookies
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips - I used the mini chocolate chips...they are so cute!!
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
**Be careful not to over bake the cookies or you'll lose the "chewy". Unfortunately, I left mine in the oven a few minutes too long so they were still great, but more crunchy! : )

Monday, September 7, 2009

Weekly Menu for September 6th - September 12th

Here is my menu for this week:

Sunday - Family Pizza
Monday - Shrimp Etouffee
Tuesday - NY Strip Steak, Garlic Green Beans, and Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes
Wednesday - Cajun Chicken Pasta
Thursday - Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings
Friday - Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Saturday - OFF


Recipes:

Sunday - 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)
  • 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

Monday - Shrimp Etouffee: serves 6 so scale accordingly
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 pound cleaned shrimp
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. In a 2 quart microwave safe dish, combine margarine, onion, green onion, bell pepper, garlic and celery. Heat on High settings for 8 to 9 minutes.
  2. Stir in parsley, tomato paste, soup, shrimp, salt, hot pepper sauce and cayenne. Heat on High setting for 5 minutes. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes until mixture thickens. Serve over white rice.
Tuesday - Baked Steak, Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes and Garlic Green Beans

Steak Seasoning and Cooking Instructions

Steak Seasoning is for 4 servings so scale accordingly
  • 4 steaks - whichever cut you prefer (we use NY strips)
  • 8 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons paprkia
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander (I never have this spice so I leave it out)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (I never have this spice so I leave it out)
I took an old tall spice container and mixed a large amount of this seasoning to keep on hand. You can also just mix up for each use. Mix seasoning ingredients and rub on both sides of the steaks.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees and place cast iron skillet in oven while it's preheating. Leave in oven for about 20 minutes. While the skillet is heating up with the oven, turn an oven burner on high and let that heat up. Once the skillet has preheated, remove from oven with mitt and place on preheated oven burner. Sear steak (about 2 minutes on each side). Turn the oven up to broil - we use Broil Low. Put the cast iron skillet with steaks back into the oven and bake according to how you like your steak cooked (about 3 minutes for Medium Rare to 7 or 8 minutes for Well Done)


Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes serves 6 so scale accordingly
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 cups mashed potatoes (prepared with milk and butter)** already mashed
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. In a small skillet, saute onion and green pepper in oil until tender. In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture, mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup cheese, bacon, salt and pepper. Spoon into a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Garlic Green Beans

I don't have exact measurements of ingredients - I eyeball based on how much we like each ingredient
  • Green beans
  • Diced garlic
  • Chopped red bell pepper
  • Chopped white onion
Prepare green beans (I prefer to steam for about 7 to 8 minutes). Immediately run green beans under cold water to help keep crispy. Heat 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil in skillet, and saute garlic, red bell pepper, and onion. Add green beans and cook together for a few minutes.

Wednesday - Cajun Chicken Pasta serves 2 so scale accordingly
  • 4 ounces linguine pasta
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 4 fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Place the chicken and the Cajun seasoning in a plastic bag. Shake to coat. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the chicken in butter or margarine until almost tender (5 to 7 minutes).
  3. Add the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, mushrooms and green onion. Saute and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat.
  4. Add the cream, basil, lemon pepper, salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper. Heat through. Add the cooked linguine, toss and heat through. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
Thursday - Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings serves 8 so scale accordingly
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces
  1. Place the chicken, butter, soup, and onion in a slow cooker, and fill with enough water to cover.
  2. Cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High. About 30 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.
***I always read the other user reviews on AllRecipes. This one mentioned that you might want to use partially frozen chicken breasts, cook as whole breasts, then shred chicken when you put in biscuits to keep chicken moist. Also, other users suggested covering with 1 14oz can of chicken broth rather than water so you don't dilute the flavor.

Friday - Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole serves 8 so scale accordingly

  • 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.
  4. Pour about 1/2 inch enchilada sauce in the bottom of a medium baking dish, and arrange 6 tortillas in a single layer. Top with 1/2 the chicken, 1/3 cheese, 1/2 the sour cream, and 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.
Saturday - OFF

I hope this menu helps give you some ideas on meals to cook! Please share any of your favorite recipes too!!