Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekly Menu, 6/28 - 7/4

Monday: (Zac @ work) The neighbor fed my kids! LOL Mac 'n cheese & hot dogs

Tuesday: (Zac @ work) Pineapple glazed ham, carrot sticks, Pasta-roni

Wednesday: (Zac @ scouts) Sloppy Joes, silver dollars, corn

Thursday: (Nolan's 5th birthday!) Honey French Toast, sausage, strawberries

Friday: Chicken Penne Alfredo w/ broccoli, peaches & peas

Saturday: Cranberry catalina chicken (fell off ... again!), garlic green beans, cheese & garlic biscuits

Sunday: (Zac @ work) Tuna Helper - yep, the Betty Crocker kind! - with toast/butter

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bought a New Camera Today

Sorry for the slow posting lately. As you know, my camera disappeared & I've been trying to find it for the past week & a half with no luck. So today I dropped another chunk of change and got a new one. I hated spending that money - and Murphy's Law says I'll find it tomottow, now that I spent it! But I just CANNOT be without a camera! It was driving me crazy! So - coming soon - a new post! WOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekly Menu, 6/21 - 6/27

Monday: Brown sugar meatloaf (We've been trying to have this for 3 weeks now!), Pasta-roni, steamed broccoli

Tuesday: (Zac @ work) BBQ with some family out at SIL's house

Wednesday: (Zac @ work) Grilled cheese & applesauce

Thursday: Cranberry Catalina chicken (another one that fell off last week's menu!), Steamed green beans, fruit salad

Friday: (Family night @ the city pool) Taking sandwiches, chips & apples to the pool

Saturday: Meatball subs, Cesar salad, carrot sticks

Sunday: BBQ'd Balsamic chicken, macaroni salad, watermelon, biscuits

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Camera is MISSING! :o(

I've made a couple of yummy things over the past few days, but my kids were playing with my camera (they had permission - that's the beauty of digital cameras... they can go on photo shoots, taking pictures of anything & EVERYTHING they want - and no wasted film. I just delete them later) BUT!! They swear up & down that they left it on the kitchen table - and it's not there. It's not anywhere. I have searched every little nook & cranny of my home - all the little hiding spots that a 3-footer might think would be cool to store a camera as well as all the obvious spots. Empty handed. I had a hard time making dinner yesterday because I kept stopping to grab my camera for a pic - but it wasn't there! *sigh* Didn't want to just post a boring black & white recipe - I love pictures - so I'm trying to not go crazy (or through withdrawals!) as I patiently continue the search for my elusive camera. Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Weekly Menu, 6/14 - 6/20

Monday: (car shopping all day, then feeding missionaries) Pizza & watermelon

Tuesday: (Farmer's market/Zac at a meeting) Fruit at the market & then topped off with some McD's nuggets.

Wednesday: (Z @ work - taking dinner to a friend) Poppyseed chicken, brown rice, carrot sticks

Thursday: (Z @ work) Baked spaghetti, broiled toast, peas

Friday: Brown sugar meatloaf, steamed green beans, onion roasted potatoes

Saturday: Crockpot porkchops, baked potatoes/gravy, steamed broccoli

Sunday: Cranberry Catalina chicken, corn on the cob, Pasta-roni, salad

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Brownies... the homemade kind!

Betty Crocker does a good job. Pillsbury has a good thing going. And Ghiradelli!?? Oh goodness, those are some fantastic brownies! And what about Michelle Pedersen? Ya. She has some pretty Bombshell Brownies, too! Wanna try 'em!? Here you go! Don't be afraid! Scratch brownies are easy! And DELICIOUS!

Take 2 sticks of butter. STOP NOW - if you're getting nervous about that just let me remind you - we're making BROWNIES!! These aren't health bars. They're brownies. Ooey, gooey, terrible for you brownies! Ready! OK - let's try that again! Get 2 sticks of butter (or margarine) and melt them in the microwave. Not 'softened' butter. Melted. Add it to a mixer with 1 1/2 cups of white sugar, 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar & 1 tablespoon of vanilla (not teaspoon!)

Give it a good whirl until it's creamed together well. Now we're gonna add 4 eggs - 1 at a time, mixing well after each one.

In a separate bowl whisk together 1 1/2 cup of flour, 1 cup of cocoa & 1 tsp of salt. Slowly add it to the mixer & blend into the sugar/butter/egg mixture.

Once that's all mixed up add 1 cup of chocolate chips (it just keeps getting better, right!!!?)

This is a thick batter. Don't think you did something wrong. It's supposed to be like that. Now pour it into a 9 x 13 pan that you've sprayed with PAM. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Cool them for a while before you dig in - if you try to cut them when they're still hot they'll crumble apart. I know - it's SO hard to be patient. But you'll be glad you waited. And once the wait is up I definitely won't judge you if you have 2 or 3. Of 1/4 of the pan. ENJOY!!!



1 cup butter/margarine (2 sticks), melted
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 TBsp vanilla (not teaspoon!)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350.

Combine melted butter, sugars and vanilla in a mixer. Add eggs, mix well.

In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa powder & salt.  Slowly add it to the creamed mixture in the mixer.  Add chocolate chips.

Pour [thick] batter into sprayed 9x13.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.  Allow to cool before cutting or they will crumble.

Silver Dollar Potatoes

This is a side dish we make often around our house. Somehow, I ended up with a bunch of kids that HATE potatoes. Yes - really! My kids do not like potatoes. Mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, hash browns, roasted potatoes, tater tots - they won't touch them. But these? Ohhhhh ya. They love 'em!

Start out by taking a few Russet potatoes, scrub them up to get the dirt off. Then slice them into about 1/4" circles. Don't go any bigger than that or they'll take too long to cook. Just go for uniformity. Melt 1/2 a stick of butter (that's how much I used for 4 mid-sized Russets) in a bowl & then toss the sliced potatoes in & stir them around to coat them in the butter. Do not be alarmed by the amount of butter - a lot of it will be left behind in the bowl.

Then lay them out on a cookie sheet & pop them into a 350 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes. Get a little color on them.

About half way through flip them over (or get your hubby to do it if you're busy doing something more important than making dinner .... like making brownies!! LOL)

(Isn't he hot!?)

Once they come out of the oven give them a sprinkling of salt & enjoy! We had them with some pan-fried ham steaks & watermelon tonight - 2 large pink triangles side by side. Not the most eye-pleasing photo.... but our tummies sure did love it!

Good stuff!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kielbasa Coins

Easy as pie! Where does that phrase come from, anyway? Have you ever made a pie!? It's not rocket science, but I certainly wouldn't call it EASY! What's easy? This stuff! Growing up my mom would buy Polska Kielbasa - Hillshire Farms makes it. Looks like a 2-foot hot dog curved in a clear plastic wrapper. She'd always chop it into 4 or 5 chunks & boil it. Not bad - definitely edible, but nothing worth craving. But this!!?? This stuff is DELICIOUS! I never knew there was so much potential in this "tube steak" (as Zac affectionately calls it!! LOL) Here's how I cook it....

Start out by slicing it into 'coins'. Make them between 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch wide. Take a large skillet & heat it up over medium heat. Then toss the coins in! Let them go a few minutes - shake the pan - let them go a few more minutes - flip the coins over - let them cook a few more minutes - shake the pan.... you get the idea! What's happening? You're drawing out the fat & grease & putting a nice crispy brown on it... kinda like when you cook bacon.

When it's got a color that looks good to you call it done! Easy as PIE!

Pair it up with some produce & a carb & we've got ourselves a dinner!

Or, if you're eating in our home it'll look a little more like this:


Weekly Menu, 6/7 - 6/13

Oh my, oh my..... Is it really Thursday!? LOL I apologize for not having this up before now! It's been a busy, busy week! Hellooooooooo SUMMER!

Monday - Out to eat at Appleby's to celebrate Jossy's ear piercing!

Tuesday - (Baseball game!) Grilled cheese, applesauce & bananas

Wednesday - Kielbasa coins, Pastaroni, peas & garlic bread

Thursday - (Zac @ work) End of season Pizza party!

Friday - (Zac @ work) Grilled chicken, peaches, corn

Saturday - Lemonade porkchops, steamed broccoli, cheddar garlic biscuits

Sunday - Brown sugar meatloaf, onion roasted potatoes, steamed green beans

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's Not Always Fancy!

I figured I should show you a lazy-day dinner for a change... it's not always good food around these parts! LOL Sometimes Mommy just wants an easy meal - and tonight was one of those nights!

Have you seen these!!??

I love them. Frozen chicken tenders. You don't need to thaw them or anything - and they're small. not like a full-sized chicken breast, so they cook fast & one is the perfect amount for one of the kids. I just pull out 1 per kid, 2 for me (3 for Zac, if he's home) and throw them in a pan... solid as ice! Sprinkle on some seasonings - I usually go for season salt, garlic & black pepper - and let them cook, covered, for about 15 minutes. Flip them over once as they cook.

And what could sit alongside freezer-to-pan chicken tenders as well as tater tots!!? LOL I'm telling ya .... GOURMET!!

..... cooked in the toaster oven, no less!

Round it out with some sliced apple & you've got a great, kid-friendly, easy meal. I didn't even put on an apron for this one!! Hahaha!

Grilled Chicken Penne al Fresco

That's one fancy-schmancy sounding title, isn't it!!? But you know what? This dish is worthy of a 5-star name like that because it is so, so, so, so, SO (that's 5 so's, right!!? LOL) delicious! However, now that I have dangled that carrot in front of you, I have to say this is a Pampered Chef recipe that needs a PC item to make it that awesome. You could probably use any old kitchen tools for the prep but the one essential tool is 100% Pampered Chef... the Deep Covered Baker. (As long as I'm on the topic, in case any of you reading didn't know, I sell PC - so if you ever want anything just let me know & we'll get it for you!) With the well-loved DCB you can make this in the microwave!

Here is today's cast of characters:

Mezze Penne, chicken broth, white cooking wine (optional, not pictured), fresh basil, garlic, cooked, diced chicken, Parmesan cheese and grape (or cherry) tomatoes.

Step 1: Slice up 4 cloves of garlic (at least! The Gilroy in me insists you use more!) and throw a container of grape tomatoes into the baker with the sliced garlic. Pop it into the microwave for 4-5 minutes.

It's kinda fun to listen to it cook because as it gets hot the tomatoes explode! POP-POP-POP!! When it come out mash it all up - I use my Mix-n-Chop, you could probably use a potato masher.

You're essentially making your own sauce for the pasta dish right now so give it a good, thorough mashing. Once you've done that, throw in the chicken broth, wine, salt, pepper and pasta - DRY pasta. Yep! Straight from the box! How fantastic is THAT!!?

Then it goes back into the microwave for another 16-18 minutes. Stir it once after about 10. When it comes out for good add in the chicken, basil & cheese. Give it a good stir & put the lid back on. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so the pasta can finish cooking/absorbing the liquid & the chicken/basil/cheese can heat/wilt/melt. This baker is stoneware so it retails the heat & redistributes it evenly. With the lid on it works like a convection oven & heats everything/keeps it hot.

I was making this to take to a pot luck so I had to run out the door with it - so I didn't get a pic of it after sitting for 5 minutes... thus the liquid still in the pot. Cut me some slack! I'm not a hoity-toity (how on Earth would you spell that!!?) compensated food blogger - I"m just a mom/housewife with a busy, busy life! Sometime you get amazing - sometimes you get reality!! LOL

This picture may bot speak to you but let me tell you, if you could smell it you would make this weekly! It is DELICIOUS!!! And SO easy. A great way to use up leftover chicken. And it makes a ton so you can send leftover to work with Hubby for lunch - or just hide them in the back of the fridge so you can have it all to yourself!

Grilled Chicken Penne al Fresco
(this recipe uses a ton of PC tools - you can make due with just about anything else - I'll offer suggestions in parenthesis.)

4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
3 cups uncooked mezze penne pasta
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cups white cooking wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (NOT the powdery kind!)
2 cups diced grilled chicken breast

Spray baker with olive oil using kitchen spritzer (or brush using a basting brush). Slice garlic into baker using garlic slicer (or thinly slice with knife). Add tomatoes. Cover; microwave on high for 4-5 minutes. Stir after 2 m inutes. Crush tomatoes using mix-n-chop (or potato masher). Add dry pasta, wine, broth, salt & pepper.

Cover & return to microwave on high for 16-18 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely chop basil.

Carefully remove baker from microwave (it will be hot!). Remove lid & add basil, chicken & cheese. Stir well & cover. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Stir again & enjoy!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Honey Pecan Pork Chops

I thought we'd try out a new recipe tonight - Honey Pecan Pork Chops. Sounds yummy, right? They were pretty good. I don't know that I'd call them the greatest chops I've ever eaten, but definitely a good alternative to the savory chops we usually have around here! Ready? Let's cook.

Let's see what we're working with:

Pork chops, honey, pecans, onion, butter, flour, salt & pepper.

Start out by dicing up the onion - or rather, HALF of the onion! Melt half a stick of butter - 1/4 cup - in a skillet over med-high (closer to med, though). Add the onions & cook them for a few minutes.

While those are cooking mix about 1/2 cup of flour with some salt & pepper - however much you like.

Dredge the chops in the flour & add to the skillet with the onions/butter.

Now just cook them til they're done! Flip once or twice. The internal temp of pork should come up to 160 degrees, but remember that it'll cook a little once you take them out of the pan. I took them out at 150 & they were good.

.... and now is the segment in this dinner preparation where I have no pictures. Jack came crawling into the kitchen, tired of being ignored, so I had to finish with him on my hip. Once the chops are done, put them on a warm plate & set aside. Add 1/4 cup of honey & 1/4 cup of chopped pecans to the pan - pan drippings & all. At this time, I also must throw out a disclaimer... I was holding Jack on my hip as I was squeezing the honey into my measuring cup when Jack decided to throw out those lightening quick snatcher claws & sink them palm-deep into the honey. So I had a quick intermission as I tried feverishly to clean it up... and my onions burned. Tasted OK - but makes for ugly pictures. Sorry. Anyway - just stir the honey & pecans around the pan for a minute or two to warm it all up & then pour it down over the top of your chops. MMmmmm.... ENJOY!

(please ignore the ugly black onions!!)

Honey Pecan Pork Chops

4 boneless chops
1/2 onion, diced
1/3 cup flour
salt & pepper to taste
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup chopped pecans

In a large skillet, melt butter over med-high heat. Add onions & saute for a few minutes. Add chops - brown both sides & cooking until done. Transfer to a warm plate.

In a shallow dish, mix together flour, salt & pepper. Dredge chops through the mixture.

Mix honey and pecans into the pan drippings. Heat through, stirring constantly. Pour over chops & serve!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weekly Menu, 5/31 - 6/6

Monday - Memorial Day BBQ w/ friends

Tuesday - French Dip sandwiches, tater tots, carrot sticks

Wednesday - (Z @ Scouts) Honey Pecan pork chops, Pasta-Roni, steamed broccoli

Thursday - (Baseball game) Grilled chicken penne al fresco (taking to a pot luck) Zac & the kids will have pizza

Friday - (Z @ work) Tacos, corn, peaches

Saturday - (Z @ work) Grilled chicken, mac & cheese, applesauce

Sunday - Swedish meatballs over pasta, strawberry & spinach salad