Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Done Baking

She took just the right ingredients and 9 months in the oven, but the time has finally come! Sophie Eloise was born last Thursday morning and is one of the two best things I've ever made.

There will be understandably little cooking during the next few weeks, but I'll post when I can. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. I know I did!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 12.6.10

Wow, yeah. So it has been two weeks. I blame pregnancy brain plus a rough week last week. But I'm back, and with a fairly easy meal plan because I'm very nearly 39 weeks pregnant and I don't want to do anything difficult. We also have two nights this week that require quick meals because we have evening activities, and one night that requires some input from all of you - I need an easy and delicious appetizer (or dessert) to take to my company's holiday party.

Here goes:

Monday: Grilled cheese sandwiches (w/tomato & avocado for the grownups) and sweet potato fries
Tuesday: Mediterranean Mostaccioli (this one is super easy for me, because it's a dish that Aaron likes to cook. Score!)
Wednesday: Taco Rice (I made this a couple of weeks ago and it was a BIG hit. In the words of Yo Gabba Gabba - Try it! You'll like it!)
Thursday: Hash Brown Casserole (Nothing like a dish where you don't have to chop anything!)
Friday: Here's where I need your help! Company holiday party: it's anticipated that I bring something delicious, while I want to put in a minimum amount of effort. So - easy appetizer ideas? Easy dessert recipes that wow? If all else fails I might make mini chocolate chip cookie pies. Because they're delicious!

I'm not planning for the weekend. Our weekends are my only time to really relax, and since I'll have a newborn soon I kind of want to be taken out to a restaurant while it's still a relatively easy task. Still, we'll probably make some Christmas cookies (cut-outs and corn flake wreaths), and I'll probably bake something for breakfast (we made these on Saturday and they were DELICIOUS!)

Okay, now onto Toddler Lunch Ideas:
Monday: Soy dog, mandarin oranges, yogurt, crackers
Tuesday: Bean and cheese quesadilla, carrot sticks, peaches
Wednesday: Buttered noodles, edamame, yogurt, blueberries
Thursday: Pancakes (probably whole wheat), apple sauce
Friday: Israeli couscous with peas and ham, apple slices

Monday, November 22, 2010

(Not) Monday Meal Planning 11.22.10

There's no meal plan this week, because we're eating engirely out of our freezer until Thursday. I only have enough stamina these days to do one big task a week and cooking Thanksgiving dinner (and cleaning up the house beforehand) is what is getting that stamina.

Instead I thought I'd post my Thanksgiving Meal Plan, complete with recipe links in case you still need something to round out your menu. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

(P.S. In case you do want to cook something delicious other than Thanksgiving dinner this week, my household strongly recommends this recipe (that we had for dinner last night) for Asian Meatball Subs with Hoisin Mayonaise.)

Turkey Breast (using this brine)
Mashed Potatoes (we haven't decided on whether to do the extra baking step or not)
Gravy (I put the drippings in a ziplock bag and cut the corner, stopping pouring when before the fat reaches the hole, and then pretty much use the rest of this method.)
Stuffing (my mom's secret recipe, so I don't know the details, but it's delicious!)
Green Bean Casserole
Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage
Whole Cranberry Sauce
Parker House Rolls
Pumpkin Pie (from the Fannie Farmer cookbook - it makes two pies!)
Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie (I haven't settled on a recipe yet, but this one is near the top of the stack)
(Plus I'm making Sweet Potato Pie (recipe number 2 on that page, substituting bourbon for the rum) and Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie for Aaron's work party on Wednesday)

Then with leftovers, we're planning Mashed Potato Quesadillas (I'll share the recipe if it works out the way I envision) and Hot Browns made with Welsh Rarebit. Yum!

Can you tell I rely heavily on my Fannie Farmer cookbook for Holiday dishes? It's great for traditional type recipes and everything I've made from the book has turned out delicious. It was my first ever cookbook and I love it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 11.15.10

When I sat down to plan our meals for the week yesterday morning, I could not think of a single thing to put on the list. That rarely happens to me, as there are usually a few recipes I'm dying to try. So I surfed around the 'net for a while, then I surfed around my archives for a while, and I managed to put together several recipes that should suffice. This whole thing is made doubly hard since I can barely fit any food in my stomach lately, as it's being squished by the baby. Being able to only take a bite or five of food kind of kills my will to cook. However, there's the whole having a family to feed thing that takes precedence, so I will soldier on.

Monday: Taco Rice

Quick and easy tonight since we have tumbling class. I saw this recipe a few weeks ago and then again yesterday when I was surfing for ideas, and it sounds like some amazing comfort food. Now I just have to try to avoid mixing the rice with melted butter, sour cream, and cheddar cheese before adding the toppings, even though I think that sounds totally better.

Tuesday: Pot Stickers and Sesame Noodles, Edamame

We still have pot stickers in the freezer (I apparently made a HUGE batch), so we'll be eating those with a side of sesame noodles. I'm halving the recipe for the noodles because it takes us forever to make it through a whole pound of them.

Wednesday: Coconut Curry Butternut Squash, Rice, Naan

We have approximately a dozen butternut squashes (plus assorted other squash) from our CSA so it's time to start using them up. This recipe has become a total comfort food in our house because it's so good and filling.

Thursday: Egg Salad Melts, Fruit

I didn't get to these last week, but the craving is strong so they WILL be happening this week.

Friday: Leftovers/Take-out

Saturday: Pizza

I still haven't gotten around to making this pizza recipe, but it needs to happen soon, and I'm thinking Saturday will be the perfect day for it. I'm planning to top it with pepperoni and black olives (my current favorite topping combination).

Sunday: Something in the crock pot.

I haven't decided what to make for Sunday yet, but there are a few possibilities, including Italian Pot Roast, Split Pea Soup, and Jamaican Red Bean Stew

And now, for Toddler Lunch Ideas:

(As an aside, do you know what kills me? It's when my child will scarf something down at dinner time, eating second and even third servings, and then when I send the same thing to lunch for her two days later, she won't even touch it. I just don't get it.)

Monday: Bagel and cream cheese, mandarin oranges, peas
Tuesday: Soy dog, cheese slice, carrot sticks, grapes
Wednesday: Grilled cheese, green pepper slices, strawberries
Thursday: Edamame, naan slices, yogurt, sliced peaches
Friday: English muffin pizza, yogurt, fruit strip

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 11.8.10

Well, even though I totally failed at NaBloPoMo once again (darn those weekend and having too much fun to remember to post!), I'm going to try to post at least most weekdays through this month, if not every weekday. I have a huge backlog of recipes to post about and I'm ready to get them up. Call it nesting: blog version, if you will.

Here are the meals planned for this week:

Monday: Hearty Black Bean Soup, Crescent Rolls

I need something fast and filling on Monday nights for the next six weeks because Gabbie has tumbling class across town at 6:45. This recipe looks like it will fit the bill, and is full of beans which are among her favorite foods.

Tuesday: Aaron's Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread

It has been a while since we've eaten Aaron's specialty: spaghetti. We use a jarred sauce, and add browned sausage, and sauteed mushrooms and zuchini. It's heavenly. Add in that every time we ask Gabbie what she wants for dinner she says "noodles and sauce", and this one should be a hit. Except for with the baby, who kicks like the dickens after I eat tomato sauce and causes me to have horrible heartburn. Oh, well. It's good enough that it makes it worth what will ensue after the meal.

Wednesday: Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs

I have been looking forward to this meal since I saw the recipe last week, and it immediately went on the meal plan. (Although we'll probably substitute a regular green pepper for the poblano so Gabbie can eat it too.) I love a good brinner!

Thursday: Asian Beef Skewers, Edamame

Another of Aaron's favorites and helps satisfy a red meat craving I've been dealing with lately. I have to admit, one thing I'm looking forward to most about not being pregnant any more (besides getting to have a little itty bitty baby, of course) is a meal consisting of a medium-rare steak with bleu cheese butter and a glass of red wine. Aaron has already been forewarned that this will be happening.

Friday: Leftovers

Because there's no way we can eat all this food, even with leftovers for lunch every day of the week.

Saturday: Out

Aaron is headed to beer camp (excuse me, deer camp) this weekend, so my sister is coming to stay with us and we'll probably take Gabbie out for Girls' Night Out. It should be a blast!

Sunday: Grandma's Open-Faced Egg Salad Sandwiches, veggies and dip

This one doesn't sound that appealing at first glance, but stick with me here, because I promise it's great comfort food. Plus, we just found a place that is on my way home that will supply us with farm fresh eggs all winter, and I can't wait to try them. Our first pick up is at the end of the week, otherwise I'd be eating this before Sunday. I'll post the recipe with a picture next week.

Now for Toddler Lunch Ideas

Monday: Grapes, Carrots, Yogurt, Crackers (as requested by her tiny highness)
Tuesday: Cheese Quesadilla, Mandarin Oranges
Wednesday: Mini Bagel with Strawberry Cream Cheese, Grapes, Pretzels
Thursday: Noodles and Sauce, Mandarin Oranges, Yogurt
Friday: Black bean soup, Tortilla Chips & Cheese Sauce

Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekend Baking 11.5.10

When it gets to be this time of year, my desire to bake grows increasingly strong. Probably because it makes the house warmer and deliciously scented, but also because of the holidays. There are several things I'd like to bake this weekend, but I'm going to have to pick one or two because it's not possible for us to eat all of the food we currently have in the house. I'm going to have to split this list up over several weeks, but that's okay. Something to look forward to, right?

On my list are:

Are you baking this weekend? What are you making? What else is on your list?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Frito Pie

Last month on Twitter, I saw The Bloggess mention something about Frito Pie. Curious, I Googled the term and quickly added Fritos to my grocery list. Frito pie is a simple, delicious dish, provided you already have chili and fixin's on hand. Since we were planning to eat chili that weekend, it was perfect timing. I fixed my self a bowl, and it was bliss at first bite. I will definitely be making sure I have Fritos on hand from now on when I make chili. I also think this would be a great recipe for a party, as people could customize their dishes as they like.

Frito Pie

In a bowl, layer following ingredients as desired. Feel free to add in other chili toppings that you might prefer.

Minced Onions
Pickled Jalapeno Slices
Sour Cream (not pictured above, but a delicious addition)

Let sit for a minute to allow cheese to melt, then dive in!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Our Very Serious Problem

I have an admission to make, but it's not exactly shocking. It's probably pretty common, even. My admission is this: I love pizza. I do! I love plain cheese pizza, supreme pizza, and every kind in between. Thin crust, regular crust, deep dish, Chicago style (especially Chicago style); I love it all.

But I, or rather we the people living in our house, have a problem: there are no good delivery places near where we live. Sure, a new place with pizza that is fairly edible just opened up and I LOVE their cheeseburger pizza, but they're also very expensive, so it's only a sometimes treat. There are a couple of decent pick-up places semi-nearby, but I like my pizza hot, steaming hot even, so I either have to commit to eating there or deal with cold pizza if I want something from them. And I really, strongly prefer hot pizza.

To combat this problem, we've tried making pizza at home, but nothing has been quite what we're looking for. We found a pizza sauce recipe we really like (it's seriously delicious - try it!), but we haven't been able to master the crust or toppings.  What I really want are two good recipes - one regular crust and one deep dish - to add to my repertoire so I don't have to deal with crappy pizza any more.

The other day I was reading Serious Eats, because I love that blog and Slice is a blog all about pizza (um, don't go there if you're hungry), so of course I was reading over there. (I seriously am considering installing a wood burning pizza oven in my back yard one day in the not too distant future because of that blog.) Anyway, while I was reading, I came across this: New York Style Pizza. It looks fantastic, and it looks like it will end up being made in my kitchen someday very, very soon.

I really hope this turns out to be as spectacular as I think it will. Now, off to look for the deep dish recipe of my dreams.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pigs in a (Cheesy, Oniony) Blanket

For Halloween I always try to do a themed meal, and this year we ate Mummy Dogs and Sweet Potato Fries (because they're orange). They were fun and delicious!

However, what they really did was make me crave Pigs in a Blanket like I've made before, but haven't made in a while.

To make our house favorite Pigs in a Blanket, proceed as follows:

Sauté some onions in butter until soft and golden. Then slice hot dogs down their length (but not slicing completely through) and sauté them for a few minutes, just to heat through. Put some onions in the slice, top with some shredded cheddar, and wrap it all in a crescent roll. Brush the roll with butter that was melted with a little minced garlic, then bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crescent rolls are cooked through. I prefer them as-is, but Aaron likes to top his with mustard. Both ways are delicious!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 11.1.10

I cannot believe that today is the first day of November already! The weather decided to be seasonally appropriate today (sadly) and it is pretty frigid out there. The only thing good about seasonally appropriate weather is that it makes it the perfect time to eat seasonally appropriate food. There. I think I've said "seasonally appropriate" enough.

We'll see how we do with actually eating what we plan this week. We haven't been good at it for a few weeks now, and I think making a plan and actually sticking to it will take care of some of the overwhelmed feeling I have lately. We'll see how it goes. On to the plan!

Monday: Turkey Pineapple Chili & Cornbread

I needed something super fast for tonight because we have to leave the house by 6:15 tonight for Gabbie's tumbling class. While chili is usually a long, slow dish to make, this one is ready in 10 minutes flat, and it's a house favorite.

Tuesday: Chicken Spaghetti, Steamed Broccoli

I've been wanting to try this recipe for ages, but haven't gotten around to it. I have all the ingredients at my house right now, so I don't have an excuse. Everyone raves about it, and I can't wait to dig in!

Wednesday: Crock Pot Pulled Pork and Coleslaw Sandwiches, Sweet Potatoes

I have a 3 lb pork roast in my freezer that is taking up too much space, as well as a head of cabbage, carrots, and a bunch of small white sweet potatoes (I can't wait to try them!) from our CSA, so this meal is perfect. It uses up everything I have that needs used up! Plus it has great reviews and sounds delicious to me. You can't get much better than that!

An interesting side note - my child who won't eat anything LOVES cole slaw (usually - this will be the one time she refuses to eat it, I'm sure). Bizarre, but I'll take it.

Thursday: The Best Quiche Ever!, tomato salad

After such a meat heavy few days, it seemed perfect to have a lighter meal. We get our last egg share from our CSA this week (and are VERY, VERY SAD about this, as the eggs were the best we've ever eaten), and so The Best Quiche Ever! will be fabulous, I'm sure.

Friday: Ranch Macaroni and Cheese, roasted brussels sprouts

Friday is supposed to be one of the colder days this week, so a nice comforting bowl of macaroni and cheese sounds perfect. Mmmm....

Saturday: Baked Chipotle Beef Taquitos, red rice, chips and salsa

I've made the chicken taquitos from Our Best Bites several times, but never the beef ones. I'm pretty pumped to try them though. I'll have to hold back on the chipotles and sauce so Gabbie can eat them, and substitute monterey jack for the queso fresco so I can eat them, but I think they'll still be fantastic.

Sunday: Leftovers

This looks to be a heavy cooking week, so I'm sure we'll have plenty left over for lunches AND Sunday dinner. We tend to do our bigger meal for breakfast on Sunday anyway (ricotta lemon pancakes or pumpkin maple cinnamon rolls are on tap for this week).

And then this week on "Will the Toddler Eat It/Anything" (aka Toddler Lunch Ideas):

Monday: Cheese, Crackers, Grapes, Yogurt
Tuesday:  Mini Bagel, Peanut Butter, Apple Slices, Carrot Sticks
Wednesday: Soy Dog, Green Pepper Slices, Yogurt, Banana
Thursday: "Noodles and Sauce", Broccoli, Yogurt
Friday: Pork, Cole Slaw, Kiwi, Cheese

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 10.18.10

I cannot believe that we are half-way through October already. Time is definitely slipping through my fingers lately, and I want it to slow down, just a little, while simultaneously speeding up to when this baby is due to arrive. Can someone arrange that for me? Thanks.

It feels like another surge of nesting has hit me, but unfortunately the surge of energy that is needed to accomplish everything I have to do has not accompanied it. My house is a bit messy after a very busy weekend, and I want to make it sparkly clean and get dinner to the table in a reasonable amount of time. In order to make this happen, I focused on quick meals when planning this week. The only non-quick meal I have on the plan is for Sunday, and that's because I'm big on one big family meal per week (not like we don't eat dinner together every night, we have to have one fancy meal happen every week). Anyway, on to the plan!

Monday: Ham, Cheesy Potatoes, Peas, Salad

This may not seem quick, but it is. Mostly because I made it yesterday to take to Aaron's grandma's house and we have leftovers. We all ate a ton, but still have a ton left, so it's making its appearance again tonight. The recipe listed is exactly the same as the one I use; the only modification I make is to use cheddar cheese soup because I like them as cheesy as possible.

The refrigerator is high on my "Make Sparkly Clean" list, so I'm emptying as much out of it tonight as I can. There's also a pumpkin pie in there with my name on it. This dinner is going to be FANTASTIC.

Tuesday: Eggplant burgers (with some made into smaller patties for Gabbie), French fries, Carrot sticks

We have one more eggplant from the CSA to use, and we've eaten enough baba ganoush lately to supply a small village. This sounded like an interesting way to use up the eggplant, so we're going to try it.

Wednesday: Quesadillas, rice

All other leftover veggies are going into quesadillas this night. I like them with zuchini, mushrooms, and onions. Gabbie prefers straight up cheese and refried beans. Aaron will eat anything, and that's why he's awesome.

Thursday: Pork chops with Saurkraut, mashed potatoes, broccoli

This one is a crock pot meal. I put down one can of 'kraut, top with pork chops, top with another layer of 'kraut, a heavy sprinkle of brown sugar, and a peeled, cored, quartered apple or two, then serve it over mashed potatoes. Yum!

Friday: Pot stickers, rice noodles, edamame

I still have quite the stock of frozen pot stickers, and since we love them we're diving in once again. I'll probably make some sort of sauce for the rice noodles and edamame, and most likely it will include soy sauce, chicken broth, and scallions.

Saturday: Out

Aaron's mom is going to be in the state, so we're heading out to visit her on Saturday. My job will be to make the food run, so I hope they don't mind eating according the whims of a pregnant, prone-to-sudden-strange-cravings, woman.

Sunday: Chicken Cacciatore, Noodles, Peas

I saw this recipe this morning and added it to our plan. It looks fantastic, and I can't wait to try it!

Finally, on to what the toddler is eating for lunch this week:

Monday: Waffle w/pear butter for dipping, yogurt, strawberries (this is called a "we need you to actually eat something today" kind of lunch)
Tuesday: Bean and Cheese quesadilla, green pepper slices, mandarin oranges
Wednesday: Eggplant patties (assuming she likes them), peas, yogurt, grapes
Thursday: English muffin pizza, applesauce
Friday: Apple Pumpkin muffin, grapes, cucumber slices, cheese cubes

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 10.11.10

Meal planning (and cooking) was really easy this week because I have a refrigerator and freezer FULL of leftovers that need to be used. Seriously full. As in, I got too excited about the whole "freezing meals for when the baby comes" thing and we need to eat stuff so we can start all over again.

Here goes:

Monday: Leftovers - either Chili or Chicken Pot Pie, veggies

We had chili and cut up fresh veggies for football on Saturday, and Chicken Pot Pie last night. You would think that it was cold up here this weekend, but you'd be wrong. We ate all these fall comfort foods on a nice, hot weekend. Truth is, I had a lot of ground beef and cooked chicken to use up, so these were made.

Tuesday: Chicken Enchiladas, Spanish Rice, Refried Beans

I made these a while ago, and they were delicious. They were also quite a bit of work, but well worth it. (Someday I will get to posting the back-log of recipes I have waiting!) We're rounding out the meal with Gabbie's two favorite things lately: Spanish rice (a-roni) and refried beans. She'll probably get a tortilla and some shredded cheese too.

Wednesday:  Southwestern Baked Cauliflower Cakes, Chili

Our (family, top-secret) chili recipe makes a ton, so we're all sure to be sick of it by the end of the week. I'm mixing things up by adding in the cauliflower cakes so we have something new to eat.

Thursday: Potstickers, Rice Pilaf with Edamame

I love potstickers. The huge bag of frozen potstickers in my freezer has been calling my name ever since I put it in there, so now I'll finally break out a few. Mmmm....

Friday: Pizza

Because obviously I'll be tired after the long week of cooking. Actually, if I get up the motivation, I may make it from scratch. I mean, I already have the dough in my refrigerator, so what excuse do I have to not make it myself?

Saturday: I have no idea what to make for the game this weekend. Any suggestions?

Sunday: Out

We're out of town at a baptism for the day, so I'm sure we'll be well-fed.

Toddler Lunch Ideas:
We're in the middle of another round of the severe won't-eat-anythings, and they're nearly killing me. It probably doesn't help that I am Very Pregnant, and therefore my mood likes to fluctuate rapidly.

Monday: Waffle, yogurt, strawberries
Tuesday: Soy dog, cheese cubes, peas, pear sauce
Wednesday: Pasta and sauce, broccoli, strawberries
Thursday: Bean and cheese quesadilla on a whole wheat tortilla, carrots, pear sauce
Friday: Mini whole wheat bagel, cream cheese for dipping, deli meat, cucumbers, apple slices

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 9.20.10

Another Monday is here and even though I'm completely sick of spending my evenings making meals that my toddler REFUSES TO EAT, I still have a meal plan ready to go. We tried to do a mix of "Things that Gabbie Will Eat" (which changes from moment to moment) and "Things that Mom and Dad Like" which does not include things like plain rice separated from plain peas. I mean, those things are okay and all, but I prefer a little more flavor in my meals.

(Can you tell it was a difficult weekend eating-wise?)

Anyway, on to the plan!

Monday: Swiss Chard Stew, Rice, Naan, Fruit Salad

We have a beautiful bunch of swiss chard from our CSA share last week, and this recipe is perfect for using up a lot of swiss chard. Both Aaron and I have been craving Indian food for a while and instead of dealing with another infuriating toddler/restuarant trip, we thought we'd make a few meals at home (hence why there's two Indian-style meals this week).

Tuesday: Pasta with Smoky Bacon and Pea Sauce, salad

We didn't get to this last week because we never made the trip to the specialty butcher to get the pancetta. Aaron picked some up on Saturday morning for two reasons - one, the meatballs I made on Saturday contain pancetta, and those were a much higher priority, and two, the specialty butcher is also the best place to buy a six pack of micro-brews. Priorities! He has them!

Wenesday: Three Packet Pot Roast, Fruit Salad

Last winter I made this pot roast a few times and Gabbie couldn't get enough of it. Unfortunately Aaron is not fond of pot roast, to say the least, so I don't get to make it as often as I'd like. This one is so easy and delicious, and I can't wait to dive in on Wednesday night!

Thursday: Indian Style Curry with Potatoes, Caulflower, and Chickpeas, Rice Pilaf

I asked Aaron for a meal idea to make up for the pot roast, and his answer was "Something Indian-ish with Cauliflower." I had just downloaded the Cooks Illustrated app for my phone, and when I searched for cauliflower, this came up. We'll try it and see how it goes. It certainly sounds delicious!

Friday: Beef Enchiladas, Spanish Rice, Salad

The purpose of these is to use up the pot roast leftovers, since my usual leftover eater is certain not to touch them with a ten foot pole. He loves these enchiladas, however, so it's a win-win!

Saturday: Chicago Style Pizza, Antipasta, Fruit Platter

Lately I have been dreaming of the pizza I ate at Pizza Due in Chicago last year, once during each of my two Chicago trips, and I decided it's high time to try to make something similar at home. Now, I just need to find a good recipe.

Toddler Lunch Ideas
Due to aforementioned crappy eating this weekend, Gabbie is restricted to healthy choices (aka no treats or ice cream), with her only sweet choices being yogurt and fruit. Not that this makes a big difference to what she eats for lunch, since we don't usually serve up treats at lunch time. We've decided that the best we can do is offer her a variety of healthy choices and hopefully she'll learn that if she's hungry she has to eat what's available to her, and also that there aren't rewards for eating your dinner except that you are full.

Monday: Soy Dog, Broccoli, Cheese, Banana
Tuesday: Bean and Cheese Quesadilla, Carrot Sticks, Mandarin Oranges
Wednesday: Cheese, Crackers, Raisins, Kiwi
Thursday: English Muffin Pizza, Broccoli, Yogurt
Friday: Pot Roast Leftovers, Roll, Kiwi

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 9.13.10

Fall has arrived suddenly here in Michigan, which has been making me crave things like baked goods, soups, and pastas much more than even usual. This has also coincided with my work load getting ever so slightly lighter, success in potty training, and everyone just generally being in a much better mood (probably because we're not so hot and sweaty like we were all summer).

I also think there's a touch of nesting thrown into all of this too, because all I want to do is provide my family with a nice organized home and hearty meals. I didn't really have a nesting phase with Gabbie, so this is new territory for me. I like it, and I'm going to run with it while the desire is there. I have a huge list of recipes to share, and I'm hoping to have more time to share them starting this week, but let's start smaller - I actually made a meal plan this week! And here it is:

Monday: Corn Tortilla Crusted Chicken Tenders, Roasted Broccoli

Gabbie has developed the normal-kid taste for chicken nuggets, so I'm hoping this will help fulfill her want for them in a slightly healthier way. I saw this recipe in Everyday Food, thought of the huge bag of corn tortillas in my pantry, and figured this would be a good way to solve a few problems. Gabbie is also still in love with broccoli, and since it's also a favorite of Aaron's and mine, and we have a couple bunches from the CSA, it solved yet another dinner conundrum. I'm hoping this meal goes over as well as I envision.

Tuesday: Sweet and Sour Eggplant, Rice Noodles, Lima Beans

I know that the eggplant dish and the lima beans don't sound like they necessarily go together; however, I'm throwing the beans in there because Gabbie usually looks at me like I'm trying to kill her when I put any eggplant down in front of her, I figure she needs something other than rice noodles to fill up her belly. We also usually eat some cut up fruit with dinner to make sure she's getting enough nutrients outside of the white carbs she so strongly prefers.

Wednesday: Mini Shell Pasta with a Creamy Smoked Bacon and Pea Sauce

With pasta, bacon, and peas being three things Gabbie will usually eat, this should be a satisfying one dish meal. I'll probably add in more peas than it calls for just to get more green things in our diet.

Thursday: Grilled Cheese with Tomatoes and Avocado, Corn on the Cob, Grapes

Yet another use up the CSA goodies type meal. I mash up an avocado, and spread that on one slice of the bread, top it with a tomato slice or two, some cheddar or provelone and, in Aaron's case, a few slices of ham. Top it with another slice of bread and grill in a well-buttered pan, adding in more butter as you flip the sandwich. This is the type of meal we would have called a Garden Meal growing up, and they're my favorite kind of meal in the summer and fall months!

Friday: Mediteranean Mostaciolli, Bread

This is a hearty, meaty sauce, with sour, sweet, and salty notes, making it incredibly satisfying. Plus, there's lots of veggies in there too, which means it makes the mom in me feel better about serving pasta yet again this week.

Saturday: Meatball Subs, Veggies and Dip

On Saturdays during the fall, we eat our dinner early while watching the 3:30 football game of the day. Both my husband and I root for our own teams (MSU for me, U of M for him), which means football takes up the majority of our Saturdays. Since he's a much bigger fan than I am, I don't mind spending some of that time cooking up a delicious meal. We always have veggies and dip on hand for game time snacking, as well as usually some sort of snack mix and something sweet to celebrate our victories (or nurse our hurting hearts in the case of defeats).

The meatballs listed above are seriously the best I've ever made. I'll make sure to take pictures and post the recipe (I should have done that when I wrote about them last year), because I promise you'll want to try these!

Toddler Lunches:

So, last time I posted a few new things to try with Gabbie. The egg salad did not go over well, to say the least. Aaron liked it though, so at least it got eaten. We never got to the Mexican roll-ups, and ate the tortillas during a burrito dinner instead, so I'll have to try those (and post the recipe) sometime in the future.

Monday: Ham and Cheese on Garlic Naan (all cut into a heart shape with a cookie cutter), fruit leather, carrots, and pretzels

Tuesday: Leftover Chicken Tenders (provided they go over well), Rice, Peas, and Grapes

Wednesday: PB&J Roll-Up (using a flour tortilla), Lima Beans (again, depends on how well she likes them), Apple Sauce

Thursday: Whole Grain Waffle, Yogurt, Fruit Salad with strawberries, blueberries, and mandarin oranges

Friday: "Noodles and Sauce" (pasta with spaghetti sauce), Green Beans, Garlic Naan fingers

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

My deep love affair with the Artisan Bread in 5 Brioche recipe continues unabated. This stuff is magical! Not only does it make a fine loaf of bread just the way it is (and even better grilled and topped with a delicious egg salad), you can use it to make fantastic cinnamon rolls, hot dog buns, and this heavenly cinnamon swirl bread:

The really best part of all of this is how absolutely easy it is. Really! Even with 60 hour work weeks, trying to enjoy this pregnancy, redecorating our upstairs, and having to take a certain someone to the potty every thirty minutes or so, I can still mix up a batch of this dough and turn it into something spectacular.

Due to above mentioned 60 hour work weeks, I'm going to just link you to the recipe today. I made it exactly as written and it turned out beautifully. I can't wait to use it to make french toast as described on the linked page.  My husband is bound to get jealous of how much I love this recipe (or at least gain a pound or five). This weekend I'm thinking I'm going to use it to make some Monkey Bread. Or maybe tomorrow. It just sounds so fantastic!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 8.23.10

I know it has been a while. I am more than aware. I am also more than busy, what with working the equivalent of two positions at work, toddler potty training (and fighting with 2-year-oldness), baby stuff, husband stuff, house stuff. It's very nearly more than I can handle. I daily give praise for my husband who is such a great help with everything, because otherwise we would be living in squalor, eating ramen or take out for every meal. Instead he helps me get a nutritious meal on the table several times a week and is a clean freak.

Anyway, here's what we're planning to eat this week. We're keeping it simple because I have a lot of long hours that I will be working in addition to some home improvement projects. Like I said, more than busy. Recipes that are starred will be appearing soon.

Monday - Grilled cheese, tomato and avocado, chips, broccoli slaw*
Tuesday - Tortellini with fresh tomato sauce*, salad
Wednesday - BLTs, veggies and dip, fruit
Thursday - Slow Cooker Cheesesteaks, cucumber salad, fruit
Friday - Appetizers for dinner - Artichoke dip, bruschetta, veggies and dip
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Chicken Enchiladas Suisas, Creamy Black Beans

In addition, in order to make our mornings go a little more smoothly, we have started planning out Gabbie's lunches for the week. I'm always on the lookout for new toddler lunch ideas, so I thought it might be helpful to others if I put our ideas here. We're testing out a couple of new things this week, so I don't know about the success of all of these recipes, but I can definitely update next week with what did work! Another important note is that she has to have a cold, finger food lunch two days a week (Wednesday and Friday) because they have picnic lunches those days.

Monday - Soy dog, yogurt, cantelope, carrot sticks with dip
Tuesday - Egg salad*, crackers, cheese sticks, grapes
Wednesday - Cold tortellini with sauce for dipping, cucumbers, banana
Thursday - Mexican Roll-ups*, yogurt, cantelope
Friday - Salami, cheese, crackers, carrot sticks, mandarin oranges

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Have Made/Want to Make

It has been far, far too long since I've posted here regularly. Now that summer is here and both Aaron and I have been a lot more busy at our jobs, we've been doing many more fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants meals. It helps that we have a refrigerator full of vegetables and a stocked pantry, because it means we can get away with this most of the time. We have made some delicious meals lately (although all of us would regularly prefer to be eating more cinnamon rolls), and there's a big, growing list of recipes I want to try.

Things we have made:
  • Pizza - using The Pioneer Woman's dough, and barbeque sauce (see above)or this delicious sauce (without the anchovies because I didn't have the paste on hand) and any variety of vegetables we have sitting in the fridge. I also made breadsticks using this dough by rolling out the dough, brushing it with garlic butter, and sprinkling on parmesan cheese, then baking according to directions. They were easily the favorite part of dinner that night.
  • Sesame Noodles - we added in some crisp-tender steamed veggies to make this even more delicious, and because we are determined to throw away as little of our bounty as possible. 
  • Spicy Bok Choy and Noodles (will post the recipe soon)
  • Mixed Vegetable Pancakes
  • Cinnamon Bun Pancakes
  • Zucchini bread - we are, like everyone else, up to our ears in zucchini these days, and this recipe makes the best bread/muffins I've had
Some things I want to make - the top of the list:
There's so much more on the to-make list, but I'm out of time. And also, now I'm hungry.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Seriously the Best Cinnamon Rolls I've Ever Eaten

I will admit to, at times, being prone to hyperbole. This is not one of those times. This morning I made the best cinnamon rolls I've ever eaten in my entire life.

It didn't take much (active) time either, which makes it even more awesome. The only problem were that I wanted more than one, but two was a bit too much. Such a problem to have, right? The fact that the entire family passed out in a sugar coma soon afterwards was also not too big of a problem. There's not much better than a family nap on a Saturday morning.

Finally, one last "problem": I used the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day brioche recipe, which means that if you follow this exactly, you'll have 3/4 of the dough left to use in this or other recipes. But, you can 1/4 the dough recipe if you'd prefer. It's all up to you. It's all so delicious, though, that I would recommend the full recipe. (And it's MUCH easier than the brioche recipe I tried the last time with similarly delicious results.)

Now, without further ado - the recipe!

Mrs. Ca's Fabulous Cinnamon Rolls

1 1/2 pounds ABin5 Brioche Dough
1 stick of butter, softened (I used salted, but you could go either way)
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

2 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. real vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to about 1/8 inch thick (mine made a rectangle about 10x13 inches). Spread 1/2 of the softened butter over the dough. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle generously over the dough (you will have extra). Roll up into a log from the long side. If your dough is fairly soft, refrigerate for 20 minutes before slicing.

In a cake pan (mine is 9 inches), spread the rest of the softened butter. Sprinkle with some of the remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture. Slice your dough roll into 8 equal pieces, and place cut side up in the pan. (I placed 7 around the sides and one in the middle.) Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 40 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. When done rising, bake for 40 minutes.

While rolls are baking, put cream cheese and milk in a small, microwavable bowl. Microwave for 15 seconds to soften the cream cheese. Remove from microwave and whisk to combine. Whisk in vanilla and powdered sugar. Set aside until ready to serve rolls.

Place desired amount of rolls on each plate and top with cream cheese glaze. Eat, then groan in pleasure. (And probably take a family walk instead of a family nap because these are definitely far (FAR) from light in fat and calories.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010


In a non-fun twist of events, my email has been hacked! So, if you get an email (or apparently a bunch of emails) from[at]gmail[dot]com, don't open it/them. I apologize if you're getting majorly spammed by account. I let Google know, so hopefully it will stop soon.

Just what I needed today. Grrr....

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 6.28.10

This week is going to be more than a little crazy, so recipes we've planned are quick, easy, and pretty much dictated by my recent cravings. Being pregnant has it's perks; all I have to do is say I'm craving something and no one complains about the plan for that day.

Monday: BBQ Pork, Cole Slaw, fresh veggies

I made so much pork last week that we're still eating it this week. That's fine, though, because it's delicious! The bonus this week will be some pickles that I just bought for an extra side.

Tuesday: Prosciutto Pasta, Roasted Green Beans

So, the one craving that's been a constant my entire pregnancy so far? Green beans. I want them all the time. Luckily I love my family enough to not make them eat green beans at every meal. They can deal with once a week, and it gives me something to look forward to.

Wednesday: New York Dogs, Sweet Potato Fries

Based on this month's Food Network Magazine feature, New York dogs are steamed hot dogs (we'll probably boil then pan fry ours), topped with saurkraut and spicy brown mustard. Yes please! Pickles on the side again with these.

Thursday: Pan Braised Chicken with Chimichurri, Rice Pilaf, fresh peas from my parents' garden

(I would totally make the skirt steak linked to with the chimichurri sauce, but I can't deal with well-done steak, so I'll happily wait until after September for medium-rare goodness.)

Friday: Pizza and fresh veggies

Again, using the Pioneer Woman's pizza dough recipe, and I'm going to give this sauce recipe a try. Toppings will be whatever leftover veggies or meats we have in the fridge (although, right now, sausage and mushroom pizza sounds pretty darn good). We might also make something with our CSA share for the week (so excited its finally starting!).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sixty Minute Rolls

For as long as I can remember, for every special occasion (and often for everyday meals) my mom has made these rolls. The rolls are so easy to make that even the most yeast-phobic bakers can easily master this recipe. They're light, slightly sweet, and in my opinion, best when steaming hot and slathered with butter. And sometimes honey.

As a bonus, you can roll out the dough, top it with softened butte,r sugar, and cinnamon, then roll up, slice, and bake as directed for delicious quick cinnamon rolls. See? I told you these were awesome!

Sixty Minute Rolls

(Can be halved)

3 1/2 to 4 1/2 c. unsifted, all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 packages dry yeast
1 c. milk
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. butter

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix 1 1/2 c. flour, sugar, salt, and undissolved dry yeast.

Combine milk, water, and butter in a sauce pan. Heat over low heat until liquids are very warm (120 - 130 degrees F). (This step can be done in the microwave.) Butter does not need to melt. Gradually add this mixture to the flour mixture and beat for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 c. flour, beat 2 minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board; knead until smooth and elastic, about five minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; place bowl in a pan of water at about 98 degrees F. Let rise 15 minutes.

Turn dough out onto floured board. Divide into half and shape; place into lightly greased 9" x 13" pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, 14 minutes.

Bake at 425 degrees F for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown on top and baked through.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 6.21.10

Woohoo! It's the first day of summer! I don't know if you can tell, but I'm pretty darn excited! I also am feeling so much better these days, now that about 90% of the first trimester yuckiness is gone, and so I've been much better about cooking again. We're still on our kick of trying to reduce the amount of food we end up throwing away, so this week is full of meals that get double duty, with the leftovers from one meal showing up again in another meal. One last thing before I get to the plan: Our CSA finally starts next week and I could not be more excited. Be prepared for lots and lots of vegetables showing up in our plan soon (even more than normal; I know!).

Monday: Rotisserie Chicken, Green Beans, 60 Minute Rolls

If I were really on top of things this week I would have made my own "fauxtisserie" chicken. Alas, I am not quite back up to 100% yet, so straight from the store it is. Plus I usually only make those when whole chickens are on sale, and I haven't seen them on sale for a while now. We're roasting the green beans this week instead of steaming them (that way we can get away with telling Gabbie they're green bean "fries" and she'll eat a ton of them (hopefully)), and I promise, promise, promise I will share my rolls recipe this week. Promise! They're so good and easy.

Tuesday: Cold Sesame Noodles, Egg Rolls

I'll make the noodles tonight so they'll be ready for dinner when we get home tomorrow. The egg rolls are of the frozen variety, which work just fine for me! Although, Aaron will probably convince me to let him pick up egg rolls from our favorite Chinese restaurant, because they're just so much better.

Wednesday: Spicy Shredded Pork, Tortillas and taco fixings, Spanish Rice

Aaron requests this pretty much every week, but I only give in about once every month or so. He's lucky this week, because he's getting exactly what he wants. This recipe has topped our previous favorite smoky beef tacos on his list of favorite Mexican dishes I make.

Thursday: BBQ Chicken Pizza, Salad

For the pizza I'll use The Pioneer Woman's pizza crust recipe, and top it with bbq sauce, shredded leftover rotisserie chicken, thinly sliced red onion, a mix of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, and top it with green onions when it comes out of the oven. I cannot wait to dig into this!

Friday: Pulled Pork and Coleslaw Sandwiches, cucumber salad

I know, barbeque two days in a row. I guess my excuse is I'm dragging our Father's Day celebration out into a week-long man-pleasing-food party. We'll mix the leftover pork with BBQ sauce, and throw it on a bun with some cole slaw. Man, I love that combination! Slightly spicy and vinegary tender meat, plus the creamy sweet crunch of the cole slaw. Food heaven, I swear.

Saturday: Vegetable Jalfrezi, Basmati Rice

I have been craving a good curry lately, and I'm really hoping this one fits the bill. It looks fantastic, and reading the recipe leaves me practically drooling, so I'm really looking forward to making this. Mmmm....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Artichoke-Stuffed Portobellos

A couple of weeks ago there were exactly two things that sounded appetizing to me: artichoke dip and mushrooms. I knew I wanted to do something that used both these things, so I decided to take the easy way out: I stuffed portobello mushroom caps with artichoke dip, and lo, it was fantastic. So easy too! I can see using smaller "baby bellas" and making them as a party dish. As it was, they were fantastic served with some french bread for soaking up the extras. This is definitely something we'll eat again and again.

Also, sorry for the lack of pictures, because it really was quite a pretty dish. It just smelled and looked so good we couldn't stop ourselves from digging right in and eating all of this right then and there.

Artichoke-Stuffed Portobellos

For the artichoke dip:
One large jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayonaise
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese

Remaining ingredients:
4 large portobello mushroom caps, stems removed and gills (black stuff) scraped out with a spoon
olive oil
salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together all artichoke dip ingredients. Drizzle both sides of portobellos with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place top-side down on a baking sheet and divide the dip equally among the four mushrooms. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until dip is bubbling and starting to brown on top. Serve with slices of fresh baguette.

P.S. If you would prefer, you can forgo the mushrooms, and spread the dip in a small casserole dish, baking as described above. This is a delicious dip, best served with buttery crackers.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Meal Planning - 6.14.10

Ah, meal planning. I have had such good intentions lately, but have not been quite so good with the follow-through. Last week I had a full plan and grocery list together, and I don't think a single dish on the list happened. It's so frusterating when that happens! We had also planned to go to a local "Taste of Greece" night in town, an event put on by a nearby Greek Orthodox Church, but they ran out of food by the time we got there. Talk about dissapointment!

Of course, I forgot all about our craving for Greek food when putting together this week's plan. Instead I focused more on using ingredients in more than one dish so we can hopefully waste less food, and also on dishes that are more hot-weather friendly since it's supposed to be in the 80s most of this week. Even though it's hot, I sure do love summer!

On to the plan:

Monday: Sloppy Joes, Sweet Potato Fries, Broccoli Bacon salad

Tuesday: Twice Baked Potatoes, Salad

Wednesday: BLATs, leftover Broccoli Bacon Salad, Chips

Thursday: No-Bake Lasagna, Salad

Friday: Chicken Salad on Croissants, sliced veggies (carrots, cucumbers, peppers, etc.)

I also really, really want to bake this week. Something quick and summery, possibly fruity, but I can't decide what. Any suggestions?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 5.31.10

Oh, my goodness, has it been a long time since I've made (and subsequently stuck to) a meal plan, but this week I am determined! It's a week full of extra-curricular activities, but I'm not going to let that stop me. We have been doing a horrible job of cooking at home and eating real dinners, and it's time for that to change.

On to the plan...

Monday: Refried bean dip, tortilla chips, watermelon

This is a quick and easy dinner since we just got back from being away on an impromptu trip to my parents' house. My favorite recipe is a cold dip in which you layer ingredients as such: refried beans, creamy taco sauce (equal amounts (or slightly more sour cream) sour cream and mayonnaise and taco seasoning to taste), shredded cheddar cheese, chopped iceberg lettuce, and diced tomato. So easy and it lasts forever too, so we'll have lunch for tomorrow as well.

Tuesday: Baked potato bar and roasted zucchini spears

Another quick and easy dinner; I'll just throw the potatoes in the oven when I get home and dinner will be mostly ready when Aaron gets home. Toppings I usually include on the bar are: butter, sour cream, seasoning salt, cheddar, green onions, chopped bacon, and salsa.

Wednesday: Pizza Rolls and Salad

We'll make the pizza rolls using this whole wheat pizza dough that I mixed up, and whatever toppings everyone prefers (Gabbie prefers just cheese, I like pepperoni and mushrooms, and Aaron likes ham and pineapple).

Thursday: Pierogis, sausages,  and steamed green beans

We're on the hunt this week for a nitrate-free sausage to eat with our meal, but it seems to be hard to find around here. A special trip to one of my favorite specialty stores may be in order, and I never mind that.

Friday: Stuffed portobello mushrooms and roasted asparagus

I haven't decided on a recipe yet, I just know that I have a major mushroom craving lately and I'm making sure it's satisfied at least once this week.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Southwest Nacho Potato Skins

(Holy crap it has been more than a month since I've posted! I didn't realize! I'm such a slacker!)

I'm completely horrible at meal planning these days. Our lives have been a little crazy lately due to travel and other issues, so the last month has been mostly fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants meal planning (meaning, during our lunchtime chat, either Aaron or I says, "So...dinner...have any ideas?")

On Sunday we were really busy all day and forgot to eat lunch, so were pretty starving by the time dinner-time rolled around. When we're starving and haven't planned ahead, nutritional considerations basically fly out the window (unfortunately), and so we decided that since we had everything we needed, we'd make Southwest Nacho Potato Skins and Spanish rice.

It was an excellent dinner and really, really hit the spot. Gabbie loves the rice, but wouldn't eat the potato skins (minus the spicy stuff) because of the skins still on the potato. Weirdo - the crispy, salty, buttery skins are the best part! These are pretty easy to throw together and definitely worth the time it takes to bake the potatoes in the oven.

Southwest Nacho Potato Skins
source: Food Network Magazine, January/February 2010

4 large russet potatoes
shredded cheddar cheese
pickled jalepeno pepper slices, minced
sour cream
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork, and bake at 350 degrees F for about one hour, or until easily pierced with a knife. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F.

Cut potatoes in to quarters and scoop out the baked potato leaving about a 1/4 inch of potato left against the skin. Brush both sides with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake, skin side up, for 15 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.

Remove from the oven, flip them to skin side down, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake for five more minutes or until cheese is melted.

Top the cheesy skins with salsa, pickled jalepenos, sour cream and green onions. Serve hot.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Vegetable Tacos

Aaron and I are big fans of Mexican food and regularly make burritos or tacos at home. Or at least we used to, when we were still eating meat most days of the week. It has been a long while since we've made our regular beef burritos or tacos and we were both craving something like that but without meat.

Enter a recipe for veggie tacos from Simply Recipes. I played with the recipe a little because I wanted something with a bit more bulk (I get complaints if I fix something that leaves Aaron hungry again after an hour or so), and we're very happy with the result. This was a quick, delicious, filling meal that was exactly what we were looking for in a vegetarian taco.

Vegetable Tacos
adapted from Simply Recipes

olive oil
1 heaping cup chopped zucchini (about 1 7-inch zucchini)
1/2 a medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalepeno (or 6 slices pickled jalepeno) diced
salt and pepper
pinch of cumin
1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. corn
1 small to medium tomato, chopped
pinch of oregano

corn tortillas (we used six)
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
olive oil
queso fresco, crumbled

Heat a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet. Add zucchini, onion, garlic, jalepeno, salt and pepper to taste, and a pinch of cumin, and sautee until vegetables have softened. Add corn, black beans, tomato and oregano and cook until heated through. Set aside and keep warm.

In another skillet, heat some olive oil and add tortitillas one at a time. When a tortilla has started to bubble, but is still soft, flip it over, top with a small amount of the cheddar cheese and fold in half, cooking until the cheese is melted. Repeat until all tortillas are cooked.

Peel open each tortilla, add in a scoop of the vegetable mixture, and top with crumbled queso fresco.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Avocado BLT (BLAT?)

Most of the week I cook with a mind toward leftovers, because that's what Aaron and I eat for lunch all week. On Fridays, though, I get to cook whatever I want, and I usually make a small batch of something that won't keep well. Last Friday I made Avocado BLTs and we liked them so much we're having them again this Friday. By "liked them so much" I mean Aaron finished his and I had to make him another because he was making such big puppy-dog eyes at me. He said it was the best BLT he's ever had, and this is a man who has serious opinions about bacon and tomatoes, so I'll take that as a huge compliment.

The greatest thing about these sandwiches is that by the time the bacon was done the meal was done. I don't think you can ask for a faster meal than that. Also, there's no picture of these from last Friday (maybe I'll try this Friday) because we basically inhaled them as soon as they touched the plates.

Avocado BLT
(adapted from Food Network Magazine, March 2010)

Bacon (we used 3 slices per sandwich)
1 whole wheat (or multi-grain) baguette, cut in 4-6 inch pieces (we got 3 sandwiches plus some leftover bread from one)
Olive Oil
1 clove of garlic, halved
Roma tomatoes (we used one per sandwich), halved
1 avocado, halved and sliced

Pre-heat your broiler. Fry the bacon to desired level of doneness, and drain on paper towels. While the bacon is cooking, halve the baguette pieces and brush with olive oil. Place under the broiler until golden brown (make sure to watch them, it happens pretty quick!). Sprinkle cut sides of tomatoes with salt. Place the bread on a plate and rub the cut side with the cut side of the garlic.

Rub the bottom half of each sandwich with the cut side of the tomato until most of the juice is absorbed. Place the tomato skins on the bread and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with avocado slices, bacon, and lettuce.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Meal Planning - 4.5.10

Spring seems to have arrived in Michigan (finally - and we'll ignore the 2 days this week when the forecast is for highs in the 40s), and when spring gets here it never fails that I start craving vegetables - and allergy medication - like mad. I want plates full of vegetables, light salads and fresh berries. I also want slabs of grilled meat, but seeing as though we have yet to purchase a grill, I'll happily settle for vegetables alone. Since Aaron requires a little more substance than a plate of vegetables, I think the plan for this week meets both of our needs - jam packed with vegetables and protein for staying power.

This week I'm also adding in what Gabbie will eat while we're eating our meals. I try my hardest to cook only one dinner, but there are certain things (leafy greens, things that are mixed together, etc.) that she won't eat, so I try to modify what we're eating so that she can have a healthy dinner without me having to make an entire seperate meal. It has been a challenge, but we've been doing well so far. I'm also learning to give her a little of the main dish as is, because sometimes, like a couple of weeks ago when she ate lentil-barley burgers and wouldn't touch spaghetti-os, she surprises me. Her meals are listed in parentheses on the line below what we'll be eating.

Finally, I'm really excited this week to be able to use my new iPad in the kitchen instead of printing out recipes. I read a great tip online about using your iPad (or iPhone) in the kitchen. Put it in a ziplock-type bag and seal it. That protects it from moisture and mess, but you can still use it and see it just fine. I tried it with my phone and found that it's true - the touch-screen worked fine even with the layer of plastic in between my finger and the screen.

On to the plan!

Monday: Spinach and Chickpeas, Rice, Fresh berries with yogurt and honey
(Chickpeas w/the spinach picked out, rice, berries, yogurt)

Tuesday: Cheese Tortellini, Tomato Sauce with butter and onion, Salad, Bread
(Tortellini with a side of sauce for dipping, carrots, bread)

Wednesday: Veggie Tacos, Spanish Rice
(Cheese and bean quesadilla, spanish rice)

Thursday: Kale and Cheddar Frittata, Carrot Salad
(Scrambled eggs, cheese, carrot salad)

Friday: Avocado BLTs, Sweet Potato Fries
(Bread, cheese, sweet potato fries, yogurt)

Saturday: Green Chile Chowder, Cheese Quesadillas
(Cheese and bean quesadilla, applesauce)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Secret Ingredient Deviled Eggs

It may be hard for some to believe, but I was thirty years old before I ever ate a deviled egg. Then I had one only because my husband's grandmother insisted. I was prepared to have to choke it down, but instead was surprised to find myself enjoying it. A lot!

I came home and tried to make them myself the following weekend. We ended up throwing away the batch I made (thankfully I had only made a couple!) because they were gross and nothing like the ones that Grandma made. I asked around and tried a few that showed up at potlucks but none were the same. I became convinced that Grandma had some strange recipe, some family secret, and I wasn't looking forward to trying to get it from her - I figured there would be some serious bargaining to make my securing of the recipe possible. 

So, you can imagine my surprise when she handed over the recipe with nary a hesitation. It's a fairly standard recipe with one little tweak that makes all the difference - garlic salt!

So, since I finally got the recipe I was looking for, I think I should share it with all of you.

Secret Ingredient Deviled Eggs

Hard boiled eggs
Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
Yellow mustard
Garlic salt
Ground black pepper

Cut eggs in half, scooping out yolks and placing them in a bowl. Mask yolks well with a fork. Mix in remaining ingredients to taste and blend until mixture is smooth. Place mixture into a plastic baggie and cut off a corner of the bag. Pipe filling into the halved eggs.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Brunch

Due to the fact that my sister is flying back home mid-day on Sunday, we're celebrating Easter this year on Saturday by having an Easter Lunch at home. I've been planning what to make all week, and need to pare down the list because there's only 4.5 people (Gabbie only eats enough for 1/2 a normal person) eating, and if I make everything we'll have enough food for dozens.

Here are some Easter lunch/brunch ideas (the ones I have decided on are marked with a *)


Deviled Eggs (I'll share my recipe later)

Main Dishes

Smoked Ham*

Side Dishes
Steamed Asparagus with salt and lemon juice*


So! What are you making for your Easter meal?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weekend Breakfast

I still had a loaf of brioche in the freezer from when I made a batch back in late January, and decided today was the day to thaw it out and make some French toast.

In order to fancy it up just a bit more I added vanilla extract and lemon zest into the custard and topped the finished dish with fresh raspberries and blueberries. This was a delicious, bright-tasting, and surprisingly quick breakfast.

Brioche French Toast

One small loaf brioche, cut into 1/2 to 1 inch slices
2 eggs
1 c. milk
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Butter for pan
Real maple syrup
Fresh berries

Mix together eggs, milk, zest, and vanilla in a shallow dish. Dip in slices of brioche for approximately 30 seconds per side. Allow excess egg mixture to drip back into the dish. Fry in melted butter until each side is golden brown, approximately 3 minutes per side. Top with warm maple syrup and berries.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rhubarb Crisp

A few of my favorite foods are starting to be in season right now. Berries are coming from closer than Chile (don't even get me started on food miles), asparagus is green and fresh and delicious, and the other day at the store, right when you walked in the door, there was a display of beautiful, red rhubarb.

I love rhubarb.

It's a tradition that the first time I see rhubarb at the store in the spring, I buy it and make a rhubarb crisp. It's a delicious tradition.

This year I made a few tweaks to my recipe, and it seems like they were the right tweaks to make. This is, perhaps, the best rhubarb crisp I've ever made. And, so, I feel it's my duty to pass the recipe on so that others can enjoy the yumminess.

Rhubarb Crisp
Adapted from several recipes

4 c. chopped rhubarb
up to 1/2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. tapioca

1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Toss together the rhubarb, sugar (to taste depending on the tartness of your rhubarb) and tapioca and put into a buttered 8 x 8 baking dish. Cut together (using a pastry blender, food processor, or with your fingers) the remaining ingredients and spread on top of the rhubarb. Bake, uncovered for 35 minutes at 350 degrees F. 

To make it even more delicious, serve topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 3.22.10

We did pretty well at making meals out of food we had on hand all last week as planned.  The only exception was Thursday night when we bought subs and beer and plopped down in front of the television to engage in some March-type madness. (GO STATE!)

I went grocery shopping today and all of the space I had managed to make in the pantry and refrigerator last week is now filled up again. My meal plan this week is designed to clean things out even more. My list is designed so that I would only have to buy a few produce items and some meat (we got a jonesing for pulled pork and lasagna). I've been doing good at keeping my grocery bill low, and this week managed to buy produce, a few canned goods, meat, and some mascara for less than $75.

As long as you don't count the special trip I made to the Middle Eastern bakery yesterday to buy fresh-baked pitas.

Mmmmm....fresh baked pitas. So good!

Anyway, onward to the meal plan!

Monday: Turkey Patty Pockets, Hummus and Veggies

A recipe I will be sharing this week, adapted from the most recent edition (April 2010) of Everyday Food (EDF). We actually ate this last night, because we were in the mood for something fresh-tasting and were dying to eat more of the fresh baked pita bread. We ended up very pleased with how this meal turned out. I can see this ending up in rotation fairly frequently.

Tuesday: Crispy Rice with Mushrooms and Carrots

Another EDF recipe that we are really looking forward to eating. Fried rice topped with a sunny-side-up egg, and surprisingly still fairly low in calories, plus vegetarian. This sounds like it's right up our alley.

Wednesday: Spicy Shredded Pork Tacos, Grilled Zucchini

The cover of EDF this month shows a pulled pork sandwich, which is what put us in the mood for the same. I bought my brother The Pioneer Woman's cookbook for his birthday last month and the shredded pork recipe was the first he tried, and then he called me to rave about it. I'm going to throw the ingredients together in my crockpot, and then eat half in the tacos and half later in the week slathered in BBQ sauce and topped with cole slaw on a fresh, grilled bun. Excuse me for a moment while I mop up the drool that just happened. Given the nice weather we've been having lately, I've been jealously smelling everyone in the neighborhood grilling their dinner and dreaming of BBQ, so I am quite eagerly anticipating this meal.

Thursday: Mushroom Caraway Soup, Roasted Broccoli, Bread

Even though it has been, as I mentioned above, absolutely beautiful outside lately, I still crave soup about once a week. This mushroom soup caught my eye while meal planning so we'll be giving it a try. The broccoli is mostly for Gabbie's sake, since it's her favorite food lately (so weird, but I'll take it).

Friday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches topped with cole slaw, Sweet Potato Fries


Saturday: Lasagna, Salad, Garlic Bread

Funny story here: when I was planning out our meals for the week, I read the list to Aaron, like usual, for his approval. When I came to this, I said, "The Pioneer Woman's Lasagna," and he whined, "Why can't you make your lasagna? I love your lasagna!"

My lasagna is the Pioneer Woman's lasagna. Apparently I've tried so many recipes I have the poor guy confused. I think he'll be pleasantly surprised come Saturday.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 3.15.10

I was looking in my refrigerator yesterday, trying to decide what to eat for lunch, and I realized that we have way too much food in our house to justify shopping for anything other than a few staples. So I challenged myself to cook for an entire week using just what we have in our refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. Even without shopping, we're going to be eating extremely well this week.

We also had a few things come up last week that pre-empted some of the planned meals so there are a few repeats this week from last week's plan.

Monday: Lentil Barley Burgers with Firey Fruit Salsa, Roasted Broccoli

Tuesday: Ravioli Toss, Bread

Wednesday: Pad Thai with Shrimp, Spring Rolls

Thursday: Brinner - Strawberry Shortcake French Toast

Friday: Pizza, Salad

Saturday: Creamy Pasta with Peas and Bacon

Sunday: Pork Chops with Pineapple Salsa, Israeli Couscous Pilaf

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Some delicious things I've made that I forgot to write about

Sometimes, like now, when I'm writing dozens of pages a day at work, I just don't really feel like putting together a long, cohesive post. And, even though I haven't blogged here much lately, that doesn't mean I haven't been cooking. I have! Promise!

Here are some things I made that were pretty darn good:

Tomato sauce with onion and butter

This was amazingly simple and I'm keeping a can of whole tomatoes in my pantry at all times from now on so that I can make it whenever I want. It doesn't have many ingredients, but it's fine just the way it is.

The Pioneer Woman's Pizza Crust

We made a couple of delicious pizzas using this crust (each batch makes enough for two pizzas). I couldn't get it to slide nicely onto my pizza stone the first time (see pizza that ended up as a calzone) so now I assemble it on parchment paper and cook it on the stone on the paper. If you want a crispy bottom crust, slide the paper out from underneath for the last few minutes of baking. So easy and good!

My favorite of the pizzas we made used the leftover tomato sauce from the recipe above (it was hard to save some, but I managed to work up the willpower to not eat it all), mozzarella and cheddar, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts and chicken apple sausage. SO GOOD! (And now I'm ready for lunch at 9 in the morning.)

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day - Master Recipe

I finally mixed up my first batch of dough yesterday and I have to say that the result was amazing! Another really simple recipe that has an amazing result - a nice crusty white loaf with a beautiful airy interior. Aaron sang the praises all evening and had to stop himself from eating the entire (fairly decent sized) loaf in one sitting. I told him it would be fine, since I still have the dough for three more loaves in the refrigerator, and it takes no time at all to whip up another one.

Here's how simple it really was - I started mixing up the dough at about 7:00 am yesterday and was finished mixing (using my stand mixer) about five minutes later. I used cold water so that it would take longer for it to rise, because I wanted to leave it out for the initial rise and come back to throw it in the refrigerator on my lunch break. I made it home at about 11:45 am, and it had risen beautifully. I took out a one-pound portion of the dough (can I mention here how much I love my kitchen scale? LOVE!) at 5:00 and we had fresh bread by dinner at 6:30. There really wasn't much work to get it to the table - seriously about 5 minutes of hands on time. This really is just great!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 3.8.10

Sorry it's all dusty up in here. I seem to have forgotten I had this blog for a couple of weeks. I'm going to blame the weather that is turning nicer and the sun that is staying up later, both of which have distracted me by making me do things in the evenings like head out for a walk with Gabbie in the evening, or daydream about all the fun things we can do when the warm weather is here to stay.

I've been mostly daydreaming about grilling, made difficult by the fact that we don't actually have a grill yet. Never one to be dissuaded from accomplishing my daydreams, I have started researching grills and asked for one for Mother's Day (waiting that extra month for Father's Day is out of the question).

Then, late last week, I managed to get three cooking magazines back to back, and I'm inspired for cooking once again. My issues of Everyday Food and Food Network Magazine showed up in the mail a day apart, and then I had to go out and buy the March issue of Cooking Light after reading about it online in several places. So, those magazines inspired my cooking for the week, and I'll be sure to post the meals if they turn out.

You might also notice that we have a little bit of meat showing up on the menu this week again. We're still not cooking meat at home regularly, but after visiting my favorite butcher in my hometown this weekend, we have a few things that we bought that are begging to be eaten.

And now, to the plan:

Monday: Stirfry with broccoli, peas, carrot, green onion, and egg; brown rice

We are craving fresh veggies - it must be the spring thing - so I figured, why not throw them all into a big pot together, cook them just until crisp tender, coat them with a little teriyaki sauce, and shovel them into my mouth as quickly as possible. I'm really, really craving the vegetables, if you couldn't tell. I've been making my rice lately with vegetable broth or vegetable base added to water. It adds some nice flavor, and we all love it.

Tuesday: Orecchiette with Bacon/Tomato Sauce; bread

I can't wait to try this, it sounds fantastic. I also am finally mixing up a batch of dough from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day tonight, and I'll bake our first loaf for dinner tomorrow.

Wednesday: Smoked Pork Chops, steamed broccoli, baked sweet potatoes

Sometimes there is nothing more delcious than a simple meal, and this is one of my favorite simple meals. Sometimes I add in a rice pilaf, but I didn't think we needed the rice this week. I will admit here that I don't know if it's fair to post this meal here. I have never (although I will also admit I haven't looked hard outside of the grocery stores and butchers in my area) seen smoked pork chops anywhere than at my favorite butcher in my hometown. But they're delicious, so if you see them, I strongly recommend trying them. Also, Gabbie loves them, so I am trying to cook meals she'll eat more of more regularly so that I don't have to end up making her something different.

Thursday: Lentil Barley Burgers with Firey Fruit Salsa, steamed carrots and zucchini

It totally surprised me that Aaron practically drooled when I told him about this recipe. I've finally converted over my meat eater! I am also a big fan of fruit salsas, so I was practically drooling too. Can't wait to eat this!

Friday: Ravioli Toss and Garlic Bread

Another veggie-loaded dish. I think that by the end of this week my vegetable craving will be satisfied. Or maybe not. This is the time of year I typically start daydreaming about our CSA vegetables and all the things I will cook with them. Spring is in the air and I can't wait for spring vegetables to get in my belly!

I don't have any weekend dinners planned at this point, but I do have a couple of weekend breakfasts planned, including a strawberry shortcake french toast and a remake of the best mushroom omelet I've ever cooked. I'm also thinking about corning my own beef starting this week for St. Patrick's day next week. Either that or we'll have our favorite Guiness Steak Pie. I just looked in my archives and saw that I've never shared that last recipe. That will need to be addressed, because it's amazing.


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