Monday, May 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Leftovers, to tired to cook after sandbagging all afternoon

Tuesday:  Oriental Fried Rice & Egg Drop Soup

Wednesday:  Bronco Burger & Tortellini Salad

Thursday:  Tequila Lime Chicken & Pico de Gallo with rice

Friday:My Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Crust & Assorted Toppings

Saturday:Slow Cooker Country Scalloped Potatoes & Ham & Salad

Sunday:Shrimp Enchiladas & Mexican Rice

Friday, May 27, 2011

June Menu Plan

Things have been a crazy here in Bismarck, ND.  The beautiful and powerful Missouri river is swelling like never before and it is only going to get worse.  The residents are scrambling to protect their homes by sandbagging and building dikes with the help of the National Guard.  Please say a prayer for everyone here, we could certainly use it right now.

1st:  Slow Cooker Country Scalloped Potatoes & Ham & Salad
2nd:  Shrimp Enchiladas & Mexican Rice
3rd:  My Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Crust & Assorted Toppings
4th:  Brats, Buns, & Sauerkraut & Tortellini Salad

5th:  Ham Slices on the Grill & Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes
6th:  Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta
7th:  Beef Noodle Salad Bowls
8th:  Baked Ham Penne Pasta
9th:  Baked Scallops (with some changes from last time) over Pasta
10th:  Creamy Chicken Taquitos & Refried Beans
11th:  BWW Night & Onion Strings

12th:  Homemade Shake and Bake Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Veggie
13th:  Chicken Pillows & Sichuan Green Bean
14th:  Gorgonzola Steak Rolls & Spring Peas with Pancetta
15th:  California BLT's
16th:  Taco Soup
17th:  My Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Crust & Assorted Toppings
18th:  Grill Steaks & Potato Bundles

19th: Brats, Buns, Sauerkraut & Potato Salad
20th: Hawaiian Kabobs & Rice
21st:  MM Sandwich PW Style
22nd:  Zucchini & Maple Sausage Pie
23rd:  Crab Legs, Ultimate Cheddar Bay Biscuits, Rice Pilaf & Steamed Mixed Veggies
24th:  The Best Taco Meat & Homemade Shells
25th:  Mustard Roasted Potatoes & Whisky Grilled Baby Back Ribs

26th:  Egg Salad Meet's the BLT
27th:  Mini Mac Sliders & Fries & Homemade Hamburger Buns
28th: Mongolian Beef, Rice, & Egg Rolls
29th:  Summer Corn Fettuccine
30th:  Mouthwatering Beef Dip Sandwiches

Desserts/Snacks:
* Knock You Naked Brownies
*Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake
*Old-Fashioned Chocolate Frosting
*Spinach & Artichoke Dip
*Rhubarb Streusel Bars
*Rhubarb Strawberry Smoothie
Yellow Confetti Cake with Chocolate Frosting


Breakfast:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Here is my menu plan for the crazy, last week of school.  I apologize for the lack of recipes of late, I my oven broke *sob* and we haven't yet fixed it.  Between that and the hectic start-of-baseball and school-winding-down, it has just all added up.  So, without further ado, here is my I-Can't-Use-My-Stinking-Oven Weekly Menu Plan.

Monday:  Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs, hash browns, & veggie

Tuesday:  Maple-Balsamic Glazed Pork Medallions, Mashed Potatoes, & Veggie

Wednesday:   Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps & Rice

Thursday:  Steak Bites, Onion Strings, & Veggie

Friday:  The Best Taco Meat & Homemade Shells

Saturday:  Tequila Lime Chicken & Chips & Salsa

Sunday:   Oriental Fried Rice & Egg Drop Soup


Snacks/Desserts:


Red Pepper Hummus

Cyndee's Beef Jerky

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce


I just love tortellini.  Pasta + Cheese, can you go wrong?  I pretty much love every recipe that contains those little pieces of heaven.  That said, this one is very good.  It has similar ingredients to other recipes I have tried, with the exception of the lemon.  I just loved the way the lemon worked in this dish.  It brightened up the flavors and gave it a slight delicious tang.  My oldest (and pickiest) child could taste the lemon and wasn't convinced it belonged, but I think he was just mad because I didn't make Tortellini and Ham, a family favorite.  When he saw the the tortellini, I think he thought that was what I was making;)  I personally, think I liked this even better.  I just tasted a little less heavy.  

Here is what you will need!
 Food photography is so much more fun when the sun is shining.  No sun today though!  I am wishing it would rain right now, my freshly planted garden could use some more!  If it is going to be gray, I would prefer for it to just rain!  




Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce

12 oz bag Barilla Cheese & Spinach Tortelini (find them in the dry pasta aisle)
4 oz bacon or pancetta, (about 4 strips bacon)*
3 cloves garlic, pressed in garlic press or finely minced
2 Tbs flour
2 C milk
¾ tsp kosher salt
⅛ tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dry basil
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (1/2 tsp or more if you like spicy)
1 medium lemon
2 C loosely packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
¾ C grated mozzarella cheese, divided
¾ C grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package instructions.

Place bacon in a medium sized skillet on the stove-top at medium-high heat. Cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain. Reserve two tablespoons bacon drippings in pan and discard the rest. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and tender, about 1 minute. Add flour to pan and stir with a whisk for about 1 minute. Slowly add milk and continue to stir with whisk until smooth. Add salt, pepper, basil, and red pepper flakes and bring sauce to a simmer.

While sauce is heating, use a microplane grater or a fine-holed cheese grater to zest lemon. Then cut lemon in half and remove juice. Add 2 teaspoons zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to sauce. Continue to stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Drain tortellini and place back in stock pot. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the cooked bacon and add the rest to the pasta mixture. Add spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Add sauce and gently stir to combine. Place pasta mixture in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup mozarella and 1/4 cup parmesan and also crumbled bacon.

Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese on top is melted and pasta is bubbly throughout. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

* For a vegetarian meal, omit bacon.

Serves 4-6

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chocolate Swirled Banana Bread

Last night, I got the urge to bake.  I also had the urge for chocolate. As many of you know, the urge for chocolate should not be denied.  If you deny it, it only results in a horrible chocolate binge later.  At least it does for me;)  The problem was that I also had some bananas sitting on the counter that had been calling my name and begging to be turned into a baked good all day.  I was not it the mood for my regular chocolate chip banana bread recipe (plus my husband doesn't like chocolate chips in his banana bread) so I decided it was time to search for a new recipe to try.  This is so delicious!  I think I might need to make another loaf today with my remaining 3 pathetic bananas;)  Sorry about the pictures.  Horrible lighting since it was pretty much dark out when I made these.


 I spread mine with nutella, and it was divine.  Hey!  I told you I had a chocolate craving!  My boys topped theirs with butter this morning, my daughter with peanut butter, and my husband took his plain.  It is delicious no matter how you take it!

Chocolate Swirled Banana Bread

2 c. flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
¼ c. butter, softened
1 ½ c. mashed ripe bananas (about 3-4 medium bananas)
2 eggs
1/3 c. plain lowfat yogurt or sour cream
½ c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cups and level. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Cream sugar and butter. Add bananas, eggs, and yogurt, beating until just blended. Add flour mixture. Beat on low until just moistened. Microwave chocolate chips in a medium bowl for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Add 1 c. batter to chocolate, stirring until well-combined. Spoon chocolate batter alternately with plain batter (so you have stripes of plain and chocolate batter) in an 8 ½” x 4 ½” loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Swirl batters with a knife.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes (give or take a little; I’d probably set your timer for 1 hour and 10 minutes to be safe) or until a knife comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan and then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter


Look at me posting a healthy vegetable!  Are you proud?  This is the asparagus that I served alongside the Skillet Chicken Breast Aglio e Olio last week.  They were absolutely delicious together.  This asparagus is such a simple side dish.  I know I will be making it again.  I am sure that some of you (that don't live in ND) even have asparagus in your gardens right now to use!  Speaking of gardens, I have been busting my rear on mine! I will try to get some pics up here tomorrow to share!

Oh, and before you get too misty-eyed over my good girl side, please know that I am baking up a Chocolate Swirled Banana Bread as I type this;)  








Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

40 asparagus spears, trimmed (about 2 pounds)
Cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400°.

Arrange asparagus in a single layer on baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

 Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until tender.

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook for 3 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking pan occasionally. 

Remove from heat; stir in soy sauce and vinegar. Drizzle over the asparagus, tossing well to coat. Serve immediately.

Source:  Cooking Light

Friday, May 6, 2011

Skillet Chicken Breast Aglio e Olio

This may sound fancy, but it is actually a pretty easy weeknight meal to pull together.  Another bonus is that is not only packed with flavor but a pretty healthful dish as well.  I find that everyone in my family enjoys this, I just do not serve my kids any of the peppers on their servings.  That is fine!  It leaves extra for my husband and I and we like things a little on the spicy side!

You should know, this was fantastic with the asparaugs pictured above.  Recipe for that coming soon!  It was a super easy and delicious side!




Skillet Chicken Breast Aglio e Olio

6 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I like to lightly pound mine to an even thickness)
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 ounces)- (I put more on the plate to make it easier to dredge)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons capers, drained
4 pickled hot cherry peppers, halved and seeded (I find the already sliced ones work nicely in this)
1 cup organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)-I use chicken broth since I always have it on hand.
1 tablespoon dry breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Dredge chicken in flour.

Heat oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add capers and peppers; cook 30 seconds. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in breadcrumbs; cook until liquid thickens (about 1 minute). Taste sauce, and add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, if needed. Remove from heat; sprinkle with parsley

Source: Cooking Light

Linked Up to: Melt in Your Mouth Monday on Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms & Hunk of Meat Monday on Beyer Beware

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chicken and Black Bean Green Enchilada Rice Bake

Feliz  Cinco de Mayo!  In honor of the day, I have one last Mexican inspired recipe to share.  This one is a very easy weeknight casserole.  Casseroles are something that do not appear on my blog very often because the men & boys around here just do not typically like them.  Grace and I do, but they tend to make SO MUCH that her and I are stuck eating the leftovers for the entire week.  Surprisingly, everyone seemed to like this particular casserole recipe.  Probably because it was a combination of flavors and ingredients that everyone likes, plus the ingredients were layered, rather than mixed all together.  To jazz this up even more, several of us topped our individual servings with a few dashes of Tabasco Sauce.  Don't do this if you don't like spicy!  My 8 year old learned that the hard way after putting about 1 Tbsp. on his!




Chicken and Black Bean Green Enchilada Rice Bake

2 cups white long grain rice, uncooked
2 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
One 15-ounce can mild green enchilada sauce
One 4-ounce can sliced black olives
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Roasted Ground Cumin (regular Cumin is also fine. I was out of both, so I had to use a Fiesta Seasoning mix from Tastefully Simple.)
One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (best shredded yourself!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook rice according to package directions.

Place chicken, enchilada sauce, olives, tomatoes, sour cream, salt, pepper and cumin into a large bowl, mixing to combine. Pour cooked rice into prepared baking dish and layer beans on top of rice. Pour chicken mixture over rice and top evenly with cheddar cheese. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until cheese is melted and rice is hot.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Source: Picky Palate

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you to Life of a Foodie and Her Family for awarding me with The Versatile Blogger award!


7 Things About ME!:

1. Growing up, my favorite pastimes revolved around horses.  I was a avid Quarter Horse shower & I loved to play Cowboys & Indians astride my horse;)  

2. I love to RUN!  I'm not very fast, but I can go far!

3. I also love to Spin & Lift Weights.  I just love fitness in general!

4. I have been exclusively a Stay-at-home-mom for the past 6 years.  My baby starts kindergarten this coming fall.

5. I love to garden more every year but the weeds always seem to get the best of me.  I am doubling my garden (it will be HUGE), so wish me luck!

6. I have an awesome husband.  Seriously.  How lucky am I to have such a great guy that seems to get even greater with each passing year?  

7. I like to read cookbooks (and now cooking blogs too).  I find paging through recipes seriously relaxing and I have been known to take a stack to the bath when I want some serious R&R.  

I hereby give this award to:






RULES

Save the picture to your computer (please no hotlinking)

Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
Tell us seven things about yourself.

Award five recently discovered new bloggers (mine aren't all new, but they are blogs I really enjoy!)

Layer Salad

I just can't wait a day longer to post this recipe.  My grandpa K. came for Easter and throughly enjoyed this.  Before he left, I asked if he wanted any of the leftovers and this was the only thing he came out and asked for.  My dad called me a couple days later to let me know he was raving  about it and he wants the recipe, he thinks he would like to live on this salad alone.  So here you go grandpa!

I am sorry for the picture.  You see, I went to 3 different stores looking for a pretty glass triffle dish large enough for this salad and I couldn't find a thing.  I was even willing to go with a large, plain glass bowl and still no luck.  What you see below is the top portion of my cake storage container.  Nice, huh!  As you can see I kept it very  fancy for our Easter dinner!

This layer salad is something that I grew up eating.  My grandma W. (who did not love to cook) made this for pretty much ever special occassion back in the day.  I looooooved it.  I was a stinker though, I remember scraping off the top portion and skipping the lettuce all-together.  Pretty soon, all grandma would have left of her pretty salad was the lettuce!  I was a weird child.  Now, I find I prefer to eat all parts of the salad.  



Layer Salad

SALAD:
1-2 heads Iceberg Lettuce, Chopped (I only used one)
8 ounces, fluid Baby Spinach, Washed And Dried
Salt And Pepper, to taste
8 whole Hard Boiled Eggs, Chopped
16 ounces, weight Bacon, Cooked And Chopped
4 whole Tomatoes, Chopped
1 bunch Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
8 ounces, weight Cheddar Cheese, Grated
1 bag (10 Ounce) Frozen Peas, Partially Thawed

FOR THE DRESSING:
3/4 cups (Real) Mayonnaise
3/4 cups Sour Cream
1 1/2 Tablespoon Sugar (more To Taste)

In a clear glass bowl, layer salad ingredients in the order they appear above, concentrating ingredients around the perimeter of the bowl and filling in the center with lettuce, if needed. End with the layer of peas.

Combine dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well. Pour over the top of the peas and spread to cover, bringing dressing all the way out to the edges of the bowl.

Cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. Toss just before serving.

Source: adapted from Pioneer Woman

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Refried Beans Without the Refry

Let me be frank.  I made this recipe a while back when I made Simply Perfect Enchiladas.  The reason I didn't post the recipe is...well...they just look so unappealing.  Is there really any way to make mashed beans look pretty?  I suppose if I would have topped them with cheese, that would have helped.  The truth is, this is my plate and after the enchiladas, I felt a little guilty about consuming any more cheese;)  I decided the beans needed to be shared, even though they are not the prettiest because they are very good and SO darn easy.  You just throw everything in the crockpot ahead of time, and you are ready to go!  Without actually refrying them, you have an easy and healthy side dish for a Mexican meal.  Homemade refried beans are also so much tastier than the canned ones!  Enjoy them with your Cinco de Mayo feast this Thursday!


Refried Beans Without the Refry

1 onion, peeled and diced
3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
5 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
9 cups water

Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.
Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher (I like to throw them in my kitchen aid mixer and let that do the work for me), adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.

Source: allrecipes

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Chicken MakhaniNaan, Basmati Rice

Tuesday:  Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce

Wednesday:  Cilantro Lime RiceSkillet Chicken Breast Aglio e Olio over Rice & Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

Thursday:  Mixed Fajitas with Peppers & Onions & Cilantro Lime Rice

Friday:  My Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Crust & Assorted Toppings

Saturday:  Jalapeno PoppersBest Steak Marinade in Existence, Steaks, & Oven Baked Parmesan Fries

Sunday:  Killer Club Sandwich & Salt & Vinegar Chips

Cinco De Mayo!

Do you need a good excuse to indulge in a margarita?  If so, this week is Cinco de Mayo, so you are golden!  I just love Mexican food, so I thought I'd share a few recipe ideas to accompany your margaritas.  If you need an excellent recipe for margaritas, this is a favorite of ours.  I usually use regular fresh or frozen strawberries that are not in syrup though.

Mexican Layer Dip : Serve with tortilla chips.  Great as an appetizer, or, you could even eat this as a meal if you are going for something lighter!


Simply Perfect Enchiladas:  A little bit of work, but SO worth it.  Truly outstanding Enchiladas.

Chicken Tortilla Soup:  A truly outstanding recipe that everyone in my family loves.  Handed down to me from my dear aunt.

The Best Taco Meat: If you want to go with something more simple, I recommend this.  It is most delicious in homemade crunchy shells, but you can also use the store-bought, or even make my kids' favorite, Tacos in a Bag! Beware, this is infinitely more delicious than using the taco seasoning packets!  Recipe courtesy of my friend Andrea who got it from America's Test Kitchen.

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos: If you want something delicious that the whole family will love and keep things relatively healthy, I recommend these.  They are infinately more delicious than the frozen boxed version and so much more nutritionally sound.  

Beef Chimichangas: This is a recipe I have been making for about 9 years.  They are very good and very filling!

Ground Round Chicken Tortilla Soup:  This one is completely different than my other version.  One of the nice things about this recipe is that it is extremely quick and easy if you are pressed for time.


Enjoy!  I do apologize for some of these pictures, they are very bad!


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