Wednesday, March 30, 2011

April Menu Plan

Friday 1st:  The Best Taco Meat, Homemade Crisp Taco Shells, Assorted Toppings & Oles

Saturday 2nd:  Pulled Chicken Suiza Sammies

Sunday 3rd:  Cheese Buttons & Peaches

Monday 4th:  Spaghetti Sauce, Noodles, Roasted Garlic Bread, & Side Salad

Tuesday 5th:  Sesame Chicken Strips with Sweet Sauce, Fries, & Veggie

Wednesday 6th:  Brown Sugar & Mustard Salmon

Thursday 7th:  Leftovers

Friday 8th:  My Very Favorite Pizza Crust with Assorted Toppings

Saturday 9th:  Corn Dogs, Fries, & Pickles

Sunday 10th:  Knoephla Soup & Homemade Crusty Bread

Monday 11th:  Chili Rubbed Pork with Apricot Glaze

Tuesday 12th:  Three Pepper Beef, Rice, & Egg Rolls with Sweet & Sour Sauce

Wednesday 13th:  Baked Coconut Shrimp

Thursday 14th:  Leftovers

Friday 15th:  Enchiliadas, Refried Beans, & Mexican Rice

Saturday 16th:  Chicken MakhaniNaan, Basmati Rice

Sunday 17th:  Mouthwatering Beef Dip Sandwiches

Monday 18th:  Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder (Aunt Cyndee's recipe)

Tuesday 19th:  Mini Meat Loaves, Mashed Potatoes, Veggie

Wednesday 20th:  Baked Scallops, Olive Oil & Garlic Pasta, & Veggie

Thursday 21st:  Leftovers

Friday 22nd:  My Very Favorite Pizza Crust with Assorted Toppings

Saturday 23rd:  Mixed Fajitas with Peppers & Onions & Cilantro Lime Rice

Sunday 24th:  Easter Sunday

Monday 25th:  Spicy Soba Noodles with Chicken in Peanut Sauce

Tuesday 26th:  Spaghetti Braid

Wednesday 27th:  Grownup Mac & Cheese & Side Salad

Thursday 28th:  Leftovers

Friday 29th:  The Best Taco Meat, Homemade Crisp Taco Shells, Assorted Toppings

Saturday 30th:  BWW Night at home & Onion Strings


Red Pepper Hummus

Cyndee's Beef Jerky

Homemade Pop Tarts

Lunch Ideas:

Apple & Cheddar Quesadillas


Yellow Confetti Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Peanut Butter Bars

Eclair Cake

Crockpot Chocolate Lava Cake

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Biscuits & Gravy & Salad

Tuesday:  Sweet, Sticky, & Spicy Chicken over rice & Veggie

Wednesday:  Sausages, Mac & Cheese, & Coleslaw

Thursday:  Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Friday:  The Best Taco Meat, Homemade Crisp Taco Shells, Assorted Toppings & Oles

Saturday:  Chicken Makhani, Naan, Basmati Rice

Sunday:  Cheese Buttons & Peaches


Homemade Cinnamon Bread

Banana Bread

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I updated an old post today.  Please click on the above picture and give it a read!  If you try the recipe, let me know how you like it!  I am working on this recipe all the time, but I am really happy with how today's batch tasted!  I made several changes from the old recipe and posted all new photos (the old ones were REALLY bad;).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

San Fransisco Pork Chops

Is your mouth watering yet?  I know mine is, and I just got done eating these!  The sauce is just fantastic.  Please, make it exactly as the recipe states!  You should know, the original recipe's 4 pork chops is just NOT enough to feed my family.  I bought 7 chops, picture below, and doubled the sauce for my family.  It was perfect!  The recipe that I recorded below is the original, NOT doubled recipe.

Please make these!  You will not regret it!  Not to mention, we all need those delicious slow cooker recipes for busy days!

Here is what you will need:

San Fransisco Pork Chops

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 pork chops, about 1-inch thick
Salt and pepper for seasoning
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water

Hot Cooked Rice, for serving

In a large 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is simmering and hot. Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Brown the pork chops for 1-2 minutes on each side in the hot oil until golden. Transfer the chops to the slow cooker. Add the garlic to the drippings in the skillet and stir constantly over medium heat until the garlic is aromatic and golden (but not burned or it will turn bitter!). Stir in the soy sauce, broth, brown sugar and red pepper flakes; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour over chops.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours until the meat is tender. If using bone-in pork chops, fish out the bones from the slow cooker. Remove the chops from the slow cooker to a shallow pan or plate – they will most likely be falling apart in tenderness at this point. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the sauce in the slow cooker. Return the chops to the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker heat to high and cook for 30 minutes to an hour longer, until the sauce is slightly thickened. If you want a super duper thick sauce, once you remove the chops from the slow cooker, pour the sauce into a pan and place it over medium heat on the stove. Add the cornstarch slurry and bring the sauce to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes until the sauce is thick. Add the pork and heat through.

Serve the tender chops over rice and garnish with green onions, if desired.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Chicken & Artichoke French Bread Pizza & Salad

Tuesday:  Irish Beef Stew & Homemade Bread

Wednesday: San Fransisco Pork Chops, Rice, & Veggie

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Saturday: Spaghetti & Meat Sauce & Olive Garden Breadsticks

Sunday: Borscht Soup

*Lofthouse Sugar Cookies
*Chewy Granola Squares

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Crab Dip

A.K.A. Crab Salad
A.K.A. Crab Spread

Gourmet?  Most certainly not.  Delicious?  No doubt about it.

This recipe originally comes from my mother-in-law.  I have tweaked it a bit, but it is still essentially the same. Whenever I take this to gatherings, I get tons of compliments.  Yes, I know imitation crab is not considered fine dining, but by-golly, people like it in this recipe.  In my book, that is all that matters!

Our favorite way to eat this is atop Club Crackers or Wheat Thins.  Delish!

Here is what you will need!

Crab Dip

1/4-1/2 c. sliced black olives
1 c. diced celery
11/2 c. shredded cheddar
1 tsp. dill weed
1 lb. imitation crab meat, diced
3/4-1 c. Mayo (Hellman's is best)
1/2 c. sliced green onions

Combine all ingredients together.  Either serve immediately, or refrigerate until you are ready to serve!  

Best eaten cold and on Club crackers or Wheat Thins in my opinion!

Drunken Pork Chops

It is that time again!  Time to clean out my picture files and post all the recipes that I haven't quite gotten around to sharing over the past couple of months before they become forgotten!  These Drunken Pork Chops were very good.  I am thinking it could be easily modified as a slow cooker meal.  Instead of simmering for 45 minutes in the pan, I would guess, they could easily cook in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours on low.  Honestly, I think they might even be better because with the long, slow cooking they would become especially tender.  

I know the ingredient list is a bit odd, don't be afraid though!  These weird ingredients really do work well together!  I would recommend NOT using Shock Top though.  They would be best with an Amber Bock or something similar.  Also, I'm not sure why, but it appears I did not adequately thicken my sauce.  Impatience?  Most likely!

Drunken Pork Chops

5-6 pork chops- bone-in or boneless, your choice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bottle of beer (the darker the beer, the more flavorful the sauce. I use an Amber Ale or a Black Ale. People have heard mixed reviews using Guinness, some say it is too strong.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup ketchup (I know, I know....but TRUST ME!)
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1/4 c. water

Put a little bit of extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of a skillet. Season the chops with salt and pepper and brown both sides. While pork chops are browning, combine beer, ketchup, and brown sugar in a bowl. Pour sauce mixture over the pork chops and simmer for 40-45 minutes. Remove pork chops and thicken the sauce a bit. In a small cup, combine 1 TBSP of cornstarch in 1/4 of water. Stir to combine and add to boiling sauce, whisk so no lumps form. Put pork chops back in the thickened sauce, flip to coat. Serve over mashed potatoes or rice. 
Have your drink and eat it too!

Source: Siggy Spice

Hot Fudge Sauce

My family has a real weakness for ice cream.  I should also mention, we are a bit snobbish about our ice cream.  Not just any will do.  No, it has to be of the rich premium variety.  Whenever I see our favorite brands go on sale, I stock up.  Yes, I have been known to load my cart with 10 containers of ice cream.  Gotta problem with that?  OK, maybe I need an intervention.  Seriously though, I always think that if I stock up, we will be good until next time it goes on sale.  That never happens though.  No, if we have more ice cream, we eat more ice cream.  

Anyway, we just LOVE hot fudge sauce with our ice cream.  I really like this recipe because it uses everyday ingredients that I always have on hand.  If you don't have a family of 5 that eats ice cream like there is no tomorrow, you may want to half this recipe.

Here are the ingredients you need!

Hot Fudge Sauce 

2 cups sugar
4 Tablespoons flour
2/3 cup cocoa
2 cup milk (I used whole.  If you want it EXTRA rich, try subbing out some milk for cream:)
4 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (per 1/3 of recipe, optional)-I omitted
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (per 1/3 of recipe, optional)-I omitted

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

Over medium heat, combine milk, butter and vanilla until the butter has melted.

Add dry ingredients to the milk mixture, constantly whisking.

Boil, stirring constantly until thick and smooth, about 5 minutes.

Let cool and refrigerate. Will last a week if you don’t eat it all first.

makes 3.5 cups

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Knoephla Soup

Last night, I was watching a documentary on PBS about the Germans from Russia that are so common in North Dakota.  It was a very interesting program, especially so for me because my grandparents on my dad's side are part of that culture.  Recently, I have heard my grandpa talk more and more about what it was like to be a youngster in a very large, poor farming family in Western ND.  My grandpa could have been one of those interviewed, his story was so like others that went through the same hard times.  I think he would really enjoy the program, I believe it was called Of Earth and Sky.  One interesting tidbit that my grandpa recently told me, was that he never actually had a birth certificate.  He was born at harvesting time and his family did not have the time to take care of it during that busy season.  It was apparently, forgotten and never did happen.  In the grand scheme of things, those times are not long behind us, but things have certainly changed dramatically.

One piece of my Germans from Russia heritage is Knoephla soup.  I grew up eating this, often with premade "knoephla dumplings" that a local company called Baker Boy makes.  We always made the recipe on the back of that package.  Recently, I started wondering how hard it would really be to do it entirely from scratch.  I came up with this recipe and I am really happy with it.  I also like the fact that it contains much less than the entire stick of butter the Baker Boy recipe calls for.

Knoephla Soup

2 Tbsp. butter
2-3 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 Tbsp. chicken base
2 Qts. water
3-4 potatoes, peeled & diced
3-4 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dill weed, optional
1/2 tsp black pepper (or to taste), optional
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. cream

2 c. flour
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk

Melt butter over medium-high heat in a large stockpot.  Add carrots, celery, and onion.  Saute until the vegetables are crisp tender and onion is beginning to turn translucent.  

Add 2 Qts. water, chicken base, potatoes, bay leaves, dill weed, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  

Meanwhile, combine dough ingredients and knead until smooth and elastic.  I like to throw mine in my kitchen aide mixer and let the bread hook attachment do the work for me:)  Lightly flour your counter and gently roll out dough into a "rope" (approximately 1" in diameter).  Use a pizza cutter or knife to slice the dough in 1" increments.  As you slice, add the cut dumplings to the soup.  Let simmer for 5 more minutes.  

Combine cream of chicken soup and cream with a whisk.  Add to soup.  Let simmer for 2 more minutes.  


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Texas Chicken Quesadillas

Tuesday:  Pizza Party w/Q's Hockey Team

Wednesday:  Knoefla Soup & Salad

Thursday:  Chicken Fried SteakCreamy Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Friday:  The Best Taco Meat, Taco Shells, Assorted Toppings

Saturday:  Buffalo Chicken Nachos & Salad

Sunday: Tuscan Garlic Chicken, Salad, & Breadsticks

Breakfast Ideas:
*Cheesy Eggs & Ham
*Eggs in a Hole

*Lofthouse Sugar Cookies

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Perfectly Spicy & Sweet Beef Jerky

I just looooooooooovve beef jerky.  Always have.  As a kid I never cared for meat (and spent many lonely nights at the dinner table wishing it would disappear from my plate).  By the time I got to my final years of high school, I had mostly sworn meat off.  I would occasionally eat poultry (very rarely), but never red meat and NOTHING off the bone.  The exception, of course, was always beef jerky.

Since I could easily be a vegetarian if it were not for the deliciousness of beef jerky, you should trust me when I say this is an awesome beef jerky recipe.  Give it a try!  If you don't have a dehydrator, they are pretty inexpensive.  If your kids can tear through the beef jerky like mine can, it would probably be a money saving purchase for you!  I can usually find great deals on lean roasts, like the one pictured below, at Sams club.  Either that, or watch your grocery store for sales!  Just remember, lean cuts are best for beef jerky!

I took a few extra picture detailing the process of making jerky.  The recipe is at the end of the pictures!

Here are the ingredients you will need.  You don't need much pineapple juice, but it is an important flavor component.  I recommend storing what you don't use in small portions in the freezer for next time if you are not a pineapple juice drinker.
 I find that my electric knife works wonderfully for thinly slicing the beef.  I like to place the beef in the freezer for about 30 minutes first, which firms it up and makes it even easier.
Beef distributed on the dehydrator trays.
 What my dehydrator looks like.

 Now, this is NOT a good picture of the jerky.  I need to reshoot this next time.  Don't let that deter you from trying it though!

Perfectly Spicy & Sweet Beef Jerky

1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper, or to taste
4 pounds lean round roast (or other very lean cut), sliced very thin
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons liquid smoke flavoring
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste (optional)

In a small bowl or cup, mix together the onion powder, garlic powder, and some cracked black pepper. 

In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together the brown sugar, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, liquid smoke flavoring and pineapple juice. Heat until the brown sugar has completely dissolved. Add the seasoning mixture to the marinade.  Pour over the meat, and mix by hand to coat really well. Seal the bowl, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to marinate (overnight is best though).

Arrange the beef strips on the rack of a dehydrator. Dry for 5 hours, or to your desired dryness.

Store in refrigerator. 

One Year Ago:  Italian Wedding Soup


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