Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekly Menu - 10/24/2010

Mom's Meatloaf - T&T with Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese *New Recipe (a la Trisha Yearwood again)
Grilled Ribeye and Potatoes - T&T
Chili w/Corn Dumplings - *New Recipe - I can't wait to try this one!
Grilled Pork Chops - I'm not ready to let the warm weather go!
Loaded Potato Soup - I'll be using the Clam Chowder Recipe from HERE as a base.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dying to Try

On the menu this week...Chili with Corn Dumplings!  YUM!  This recipe and photo were posted on the Full Bellies, Happy Kids Blog weeks ago and we're really looking forward to trying it out!
What about you?  Anyone up for dumplings in their chili?
Recipe - Chili with Corn Dumplings

Bruschetta Chicken Rolls

Uninspired.  Still cooking, nothing very impressive.  The recipe below is a "dressed-up" version of the Bruschetta Chicken that is in our regular rotation (link to that recipe here).
This recipe uses the same ingredients (except the salad dressing) and puts it in a fancy-shcmancy roll.  It also makes the whole dish pretty mushy and wet.  I'll be going back to the casserole version.

Recipe from: Kraft Food and Family
1 can Italian Diced Tomatoes
1 1/4 c Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)
1/4 c Fresh Basil (chopped)
1 box Stuffing Mix
2 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts - I used 2 large breasts
1/2 c Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Salad Dressing (Kraft, since it's their recipe)

  1. Combine tomatoes, 1/2 c cheese, basil, and stuffing mix.  Stir until moistened.
  2. Using meat mallet, pound chicken breasts to 1/4" thick.  (Wrap in plastic wrap to minimize mess.)
  3. Spread filling mixture evenly over chicken pieces.
  4. Roll chicken tightly and place seam-down in 13"x9" casserole dish.  Drizzle evenly with dressing.
  5. Bake 40 minutes at 350.  Sprinkle chicken with remaining cheese and bake 5 minutes more until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chess Dump Cake

Super rich and very yummy.

1 Butter Recipe Golden Cake Mix
1 Egg
1 Stick Butter (melted)
Combine and press into bottom of 9x13 casserole dish (sprayed lightly with nonstick)

1 Box Confectioner's Sugar (3 3/4 cups)
2 Eggs
1 Cream Cheese (8 oz package)
Combine all ingredients and mix for 5 minutes (should be thin and smooth).  Pour over crust.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, let cool until set.

Buck-Fifty Dinner

Tonight we ate dinner for $

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs ($1.07/lb)
Pantai Chili Garlic Sauce
Low Sodium Soy Sauce
Garlic Salt (to taste)
Taco Rice (1/2 a package $1.00/pk)

Cut fat from chicken, season with garlic salt and a few drops of Low Sodium Soy Sauce.
Grill on low heat until juices run clear, brush both sides with Chili Garlic Sauce.
Serve with rice or noodles.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Broiler Chicken with Peppers and Onions

Super simple, super delicious.

1-2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 bell peppers
2 onions
Seasoning - I use 1 packet of fajita season + garlic powder, cumin, chipotle, soy sauce...etc
1 T oil
1/4 - 1/2 c water

Cut chicken, peppers, onions into 2" square pieces
In large plastic zip-top bag combine oil, water, and seasoning.
Add meat and vegetables and toss to coat.
Spread over large cookie sheet or broiler pan.
Broil at 425 (use convection broil if you have it) until done to your liking.  10-20 minutes.

Weekly Menu - 10/10/2010

Chicken with Peppers and Onions - T&T
Mixed Greens with Sausage and Tomatoes - T&T
Salisbury Steak - T&T
Grilled Steaks - T&T
Bruschetta Chicken Rolls - *New Recipe (scheduled last week)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Coming up Soon....

I can't wait to try this!  I may or may not pressure cook it, but this Peanut Butter Swirl Cheesecake with Animal Cracker Crust from the Pressure Cooker Gourmet Cookbook will be on our plates soon!  YUM YUM!

Ham and Pineapple Pita Pizza

TGIF, quick and easy tonight - and delicious!

  1. Toast whole pita breads in a 375 oven.  (We like whole wheat, use whatever you like/have, or sub flatbread - *note, gyro bread and pita bread are not the same thing, you need the pocket to get them crispy)
  2. Spoon on your favorite pizza sauce and spread all the way to the edge with the back of the spoon.
  3. Top with shredded cheese and your favorite toppings.
  4. Return to oven until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Tonight I topped our pizzas with leftover smoked ham (thanks to my brother) and pineapple tidbits.  We also like using BBQ sauce, chicken, and red onions; or pepperoni and mushrooms.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

Guess who had dinner ready and waiting when I got home from work today...

I have a love hate relationship with my crockpot.  I love the idea of a one pot dinner, I love the idea of a meal cooking while I'm not.  But -- I hate all of the precooking that is usually involved, I hate the texture of the meat and vegetables that are cooked past their prime.
That's not the case at all with this soup/stew/chili.  Everything is added to the pot, nothing is precooked, and nothing comes out overcooked.  Definitely a keeper and a great quick slow-cooking meal for those cool nights we're enjoying.


1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 fluid ounce) bottle of Bud Light Lime (use what you have or sub chicken broth)
2 (10 ounce) cans medium Rotel
1-2 (1.25 ounce) packages taco seasoning
Cumin and Garlic Powder (to taste)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast or tenders
shredded cheese
sour cream
chili lime tortilla strips (Texas Toast brand - or sub corn or tortilla chips)

  1. Add all ingredients to crockpot, with chicken on top.  Push chicken down til just covered in liquid.
  2. Turn crockpot on low for 5 hours.  After 5 hours, shred chicken.  Continue cooking on low for 2-3 hours.
  3. Top with cheese, sour cream, and tortilla strips.
  4. Wash 1 pot, 1 spoon.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Key Lime Cake - ala Trisha Yearwood

I am becoming a huge fan of Trisha Yearwood, but not in the way you might think.  She has 2 cookbooks – Home Cooking w/Trisha Yearwood and Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen and the featured recipes that I’ve seen have me pretty excited!  I love all things Key Lime, so this cake was a no-brainer for me:

Photo : Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood

1 3-ounce package lime-flavored gelatin
1 1/3 c granulated sugar
2 c sifted all-purpose flour
½ t salt
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
5 large eggs, slightly beaten
1½ c vegetable oil
¾ c orange juice
1 T lemon juice
½ t vanilla extract
½ c Key lime juice (from about 25 small Key limes or 4 large regular limes)
½ c confectioners’ sugar
Cream Cheese Icing
½ c (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 1-pound box confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the gelatin, sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Add the eggs, oil, orange juice, lemon juice, and vanilla and mix to combine. Divide the batter evenly among the 3 pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Test for doneness by lightly touching the tops of the layers or inserting a toothpick.
Cool the layers in the pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto cooling racks.
While the layers are still hot, mix the lime juice and confectioners’ sugar
and pour it over the layers on the racks. You can pierce the layers with a fork to allow the glaze to soak in better. Allow the layers to cool completely as you prepare the icing.
Cream the butter and cream cheese. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until the mixture is smooth and easy to spread. Spread the icing between the layers and on the top and sides of the cake.
I made the cake in a 9x13 casserole and the outside got browner than I would have liked before the middle was set.  I reccommend taking time to make this as a layer cake and watch your cooking time.  The icing was thick and hard to spread but still delicious and topping the cake with fresh strawberries is the perfect addition to the tangy lime.
Overall, not perfect but I'll be tweaking the recipe and making this again.

Salmon Patties

1 can Salmon (drained, skin/bones removed, I use Honey Boy Pink Salmon - from Sam's)
2-4 T of the liquid from the Salmon (I use pretty much all of the liquid from the can ~4T)
1 1/2 - 2 c Italian Bread Crumbs
1/2 md onion (minced)
1/4 c milk
2 eggs
2 T Parsley
1 T Lemon Juice
1/4 t Salt
1/4 t Dill (I use the Dill Seasoning Mix from Pampered Chef)
1/2 t Salmon and Seafood Seasoning (Optional)

Combine all ingredients and shape into 1" thick patties (should yield 6-8 patties)
Heat enough oil and/or butter until shimmering in a skillet.
Pan fry patties on both sides until golden brown. (Keep warm in 200* oven)

My mom always served salmon patties with white gravy, mashed potatoes, and biscuits.  I keep the potatoes and top the patties with a sweet hot mustard and serve with sauteed green beans.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thank you Smitten Kitchen!

A few weeks ago I made these lovelies as suggested on the Smitten Kitchen Blog:

I can't get them off my mind.  They had the perfect texture and I LOOOOVED the sweet and salty combo.  Barry (and his mom) thought they were a little too salty - but they were wrong.  Try them for yourself!
You need these 4 ingredients and this recipe: Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispy Treats 

World's Best Lasagna

4400 reviews...a 5-star rating...I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into the "World's Best Lasagna" I found at AllRecipes - here's the recipe!
Last night, I did the 2 hours of prep work and tonight was...sad.  This recipe was OK at best.  What a let down!?!  So many great reviews; but I found the lasagna to be bland.  I think it could be better if there was A LOT more seasoning.  And, even though it the recipe makes a lot of sauce, it could be saucier.
For now I'll go back to my old recipe but I'm still looking for that perfect Lasagna.  Does any have a great no-fail recipe for a zesty saucy lasagna?
I promise, I'll work on better photos.  I was pretty disenchanted with this one.  Maybe next time!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Clam Chowder

Photo : Timeless Gourmet

1 Lg Can Whole Baby Clams (roughly chopped)
1 Lg Can Minced Clams
8 oz Clam Juice
4 Strips Bacon (Cut into small pieces)
3-4 Cloves Garlic
1 Onion (chopped)
1 c Celery (diced, about 2 ribs)
4 Lg Potatoes (peeled and cubed)
3-4 Carrots (peeled and diced)
3/4 c Butter
3/4 c AP Flour
1 quart half-and-half (fat free is fine)
2 T Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Oyster Crackers

  1. Brown bacon in large skillet.
  2. Add potatoes, onion, celery, carrots, garlic and clam juice.  Drain juice from canned claims over vegetables and add enough water or broth to cover vegetables.  Cook over medium-medium high heat until tender.
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, melt butter in large dutch oven (I use enameled cast iron) over medium heat.  Whisk in flour until smooth.
  4. Whisk in half-and-half and heat (stirring continually) until thick and smooth.
  5. Add vegetables with clam juice to the cream base and stir gently until well combined.
  6. In the last 5-10 minutes add in clams and vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve with Oyster Crackers and big spoons.
This is my favorite Clam Chowder recipe, it is so rich and creamy.  I've even had success using 1/2 of the recommended half-and-half and the remainder 2% milk.  It doesn't have an over abundance of clams so if you have access to some great fresh clams, or if you really like them in every bite you'll want to add more.

Weekly Menu - 10/3/2010

Clam Chowder - tried and true
World's Best Lasagna* - New Recipe from
Bruschetta Chicken Rolls* - New Recipe from an old Kraft Food & Family
Salmon Patties - tried and true
Ham & Pineapple Pita Pizzas - on the fly
Tortilla Soup* - New Recipe (TBD)

The Plan

What's for dinner?  I love to eat, I love to cook - I. HATE. this. question! 

Photo : The Perfect Pantry

 My husband responds "I don't care."  If you have that recipe; please, send it my way!
I usually find myself asking this question either: a) right after dinner (when I couldnt' care less); or b) on my way home from work (when the options are limited). 
As a way to avoid this, I've committed to planning ahead.  What a novel idea, right?!  And, to make the task a little less monotonous, I'll also be trying a new recipe at least once a week.  This blog is where I'll "dish" on the recipes (and our changes), the pictures, and our reviews (they can be drastically different), as well as how the leftovers fared (an important factor in our house).  I'm sure some will make it into the regular rotation and some won't even make it to the table.
Hopefully this blog will help some of you avoid that dreaded question, and give you a place to share some of your best tips and tricks to conquer dinner planning.