Thursday, July 29, 2010

August Menu Plan

I can hardly believe July is already drawing to a close and it is time to start planning for August.  A couple of short weeks, and I will get to go check out the brand spanking new elementary school that my kids are going to be lucky enough to attend!  It should be interesting being there from the beginning at a new school and seeing how they get the ball rolling on everything, specifically, the PTO which is what I will be going for.

Looking at our menu, it looks very short on vegetables.  That is not the case though.  With vegetables, especially in the summer, I like to see what looks good in the garden or at the store each week and go from there.  I do one big monthly grocery trip for all the main courses and things you see listed, but I also do a quick stop each week to pick up fresh produce.  For me, this method ROCKS.  It means, I only need to get really organized 1 time per month, then we are ready to eat delicious meals all month without hardly a thought on my part!  When possible, I linked to my inspiration (if it is my first time making it or it just isn't on my blog yet).  Sometimes I make it exactly like the recipe it is linked to, others I just use it as a base and change it up to suit me and my family.

1st: Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta & French Baguettes  with Sicilian Butter
2nd: Chicken Parmesan Heroes 
3rd: The Original Loose Meat Sandwich  & Crash Hot Potatoes
4th: Spaghetti Alla Carbonara
5th: Shrimp Pasta in a Foil Package
6th: Homemade Pizza: 1 Pepperoni/Green Olive & 1 Wise Guy
7th: Cathy's Sherried Tomato Soup & Tomato & Basil Grilled Cheese
8th: Judge's Fantastic Shredded Pork & Sweet Restaurant Slaw 
9th: Ground Round Chicken Tortilla Soup
10th: Mini-Mac Sliders & Firehouse Taters
11th: Italian Zucchini Bake 
12th: Balsamic Glazed Salmon & Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto
13th: Gone for Pickle Packing Party;)
14th: Gone for Pickle Packing Party;)
15th: Oriental Fried Rice
16th: Fettuccine Alfredo & Grilled Chicken Breast
17th: Big Daddy's Dirty Rice
18th: Oven Ham Sammies
19th: Garlic-Skewered & Grilled Shrimp & Stuffed Baked Potatoes
20th: Taco Night
21st: Tangy Sirloin Strips & Zucchini Au Gratin
22nd: Butter Chicken  over Steamed Rice & Roasted Broccoli
23rd: Huli-Huli Chicken
24th: Beef Chimichangas
25th: Easy Calzones
26th: Panko & Herb Encrusted Tilapia & Cheddar Brushetta
27th: Homemade Pizza
28th: California BLT's
29th: Slow Cooker Buffalo Sandwiches
30th: General Tso's Chicken, Steamed White Rice, & Egg Rolls with Sweet & Sour
31st: Spaghetti & Meatballs, Garlic Bread, & Side Salad

Breakfast/Brunch Ideas:
*Muffins That Taste Like Doughnuts
*Make Ahead Muffins Melts
*Bacon Breakfast Pizza
*Banana Crumb Muffins
*Homemade Maple Syrup
*Herb &  3-Cheese Omlet

*Creamy Pimento Cheese
*Grilled Banana & Nutella Panini

*Monster Cookies
*Special K Bars
*Oatmeal Cream Pies
*Spinach & Artichoke Dip
*Sausage Stuffed Jalapenos
*Sex on the Beach
*Mexican Dip
*Antiquity Rose Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
*Hot Fudge Sundae Sauce
*Microwave Caramel Corn
*M&M Sugar Cookies

For My Spoiled Dog:
*Birthday Bones

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Slow Cooker Shredded Buffalo Chicken

This morning, I made a delicious topping for these nachos pictured below.  I was hoping to make it more of a salad than nachos, but my garden lettuce looked too pathetic to use today:-(  Next year, I think I am going to space my lettuce planting out by a few weeks so I can enjoy it for more of the summer.  As a result, I had to use some shredded iceberg that I had picked up for tacos in a bag for Friday night (that is really the only time I use iceberg since there are tastier and healthier options out there).

Anyway, the buffalo chicken that I made to top this with was SO SO easy & very delicious.  It can also be a fairly healthy way of getting your wing "fix" depending on what you do with it.  You could also easily make a "sloppy" version of a buffalo chicken sandwich!

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

1 1/2 lb. chicken breasts (frozen is fine!)
6 oz. Frank's Hot Sauce

Place frozen chicken breasts in slow cooker.  Pour Frank's hot sauce over the top.  Cook on low heat for 7-8 hours.  Shred with 2 forks and mix into juices.  

Great to use as a salad topping, nacho topping, to make a buffalo baked potato, wrapped in a tortilla, or on a bun.  

For my nachos, pictured above, I layered, in this order: Mission Tortilla Chips, Shredded Chicken, Shredded Sharp Cheddar, Shredded Iceberg Lettuce, Thinly Sliced Red Onion, Dollop each of Bleu Cheese Dressing & Guacamole.  

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

First off, please let me apologize for my poorly formatted blog right now.  For some reason, my blog became somewhat unformatted and I am working at getting it looking decent again.  I figured, I might as well have a little redesign, so I will most likely be experimenting with it for the next couple of days.  In the meantime, sorry if things are a bit of a mess around here!  

Monday: Frank's Red Hot Chicken Salad

Tuesday: Jaden's Beef with Broccoli, Steamed Rice, Egg Rolls

Wednesday: Barbecued Pork Chops & Garden Veggies

Thursday: Firecracker Shrimp & Garden Veggies

Friday: Tacos in a bag

Saturday: Ribeyes, Onion Strings, & Garden Veggies

Sunday: Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta

Friday, July 23, 2010

BBQ Chicken & Cheddar Sandwiches

As you can probably tell, I just love BBQ sauce flavored meats, as does my husband.  Heck, even my kids do!  Therefore, I am going to share a recipe that is decidedly NOT the first sandwich recipe featuring BBQ sauce.  It IS somewhat different though, not to mention very easy and delicious!  Next time I make this though, I am going to need to make MORE.  There was some grumbling from a certain person that wanted another sandwich.

Note to self!  Master Bread Outlet has Onion Rolls!  Everywhere else in town has, apparently, lost their mind and quit carrying them!

BBQ Chicken & Cheddar Sandwiches

4 strips of bacon, halved crosswise
3 chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs.), cut into bite-sized pieces
salt & pepper
1 c. of your favorite BBQ sauce
1/2 chipotle pepper, optional ( I did not use because I didn't want to buy a can to use 1/2 of 1 pepper and they were fantastic without)
1/4 c. water
4 large onion rolls, split
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Fry bacon in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and pour off all but 1 Tbsp. of fat.  Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.  Cook chicken in bacon fat until browned on one side, about 4 minutes.  Flip chicken and add BBQ sauce, chipotle pepper (if desired), and water.

Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened, about 8 minutes.  

Place onion rolls on a baking sheet.  Divide chicken mixture amongst the onion rolls, placing the chicken on the bottom portion of the rolls, cut side up.  Top with sauce, cheese, and bacon.  

Bake open-faced sandwiches in the oven until cheese melts and the rolls are golden-brown, about 4 minutes.  Top each sandwich with a toasted roll top.  

Source: Thank you Recipe Shoebox for the delicious and easy recipe!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Second Installment of Zucchini Invasion: Baked Zucchini with Mozzarella

I had a bit of trouble sleeping last night, so please excuse me if I am incoherent.  Every once and a while, I just CANNOT fall and stay asleep.  Last night was one of those nights:-(  I have almost made it through today, and I am hoping I saw some major logs tonight.

Anyway, I wanted to get my next newly found delicious zucchini recipe up (just in case anyone besides me has them coming out of there ears right now).  Everyone in my house really liked this one, except a certain 11 year old that decided he didn't like it (because it was zucchini) before he even tried it.  It reminded me of Garlic Bread (without all the guilt!)

Baked Zucchini with Mozzarella 

2 medium or 5 small, zucchini
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Slice your zucchini up into 1/2 inch rings.  Lay them out flat on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with Johnny's Garlic Seasoning and a bit of salt.  Now, I didn't have this seasoning, so I used some Lawry's Garlic Salt I had on hand and it worked great, but DO NOT add salt too if you do this!  

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until zucchini is crisp-tender.  

Take the hot pan out of the oven and sprinkle the zucchini with mozzarella cheese.  Place the cookie sheet back into the oven, and let the cheese get all bubbly and a bit browned (3-5 minutes).  Watch carefully!  Things go from fine to burnt to a crisp quickly under the broiler!  

Source: Thank you so much for the recipe Jamie Cooks It Up!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Easy & Delicious French Toast

Don't you just love sharing a big weekend breakfast with your family?  I know I do.  Unfortunately, I also like my weekend mornings to be a bit lazy.  That is why this french toast is so perfect.  So quick and easy, yet one of my families very favorite thing to have for breakfast.  

Easy & Delicious French Toast

5 eggs
3/4 c. milk
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground nutmeg (sometimes I substitute vanilla extract to change things up)
12 slices Texas Toast bread (very thick sliced white bread)
1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat a large griddle over medium-high heat.  

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the milk, cinnamon,  brown sugar, and nutmeg (or vanilla); stir well to combine.  

Dredge one side of the bread in egg mixture.  Flip and do the same to the other side.  You want it to be well coated, but NOT soaked through.

Spritz griddle with non-stick cooking spray.  Place french toast slice on griddle and leave until browned.  Flip and brown the other side.    

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Thought I would get a jump on the week ahead and get my Menu Planning out of the way!

Monday: BBQ Chicken Cheddar Sandwiches & Garden Vegetable (**yes, these have been on the menu several times--I haven't made them yet because I have been SEARCHING every single grocery store in town for the certain onion buns that I want with them.  I am heading to the bread store tomorrow and if they do not have them there, I am giving up and finding a substitute.  Yes, I am crazy--I have looked for these at 5-plus different stores over the past few weeks.  WHY do places always stop carrying things I love?)

Tuesday: Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich & Garden Vegetables 

Wednesday: Firecracker Shrimp Kebabs, Potato Bundles, & Garden Vegetables

Thursday: Honey-Glazed Salmon, Baked Potato, & Garden Vegetables

Friday: Homemade Chicken Strips & Sundried Tomato Pasta

Saturday: Not sure, probably out for oldest son's birthday party

Sunday: Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Apricot Sauce

Hawaiian Kabobs

Last month while at my mother-in-laws, she made these delicious Hawaiian kabobs for us.  This is a recipe, originally from my husbands aunt, & I used to make them quite frequently, that I had kind of forgotten.  It is so, so good.  I made these for dinner last night after a long day spent mostly out in the garden.  I was so hungry, that I completely forgot to snap a picture after I cooked them!  So, here they are right before they went on the grill:-)    

Hawaiian Kabobs

4 whole large skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 lb. mushrooms (I only use 1/2 lb. since I have several in my family that prefer theirs without)
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/3 c. cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. Canola Oil
3 small green onions, minced
1 whole fresh pineapple, top, bottom, and outer layer cut off and cut into chunks (you will probably have some extra)- canned also works
1 lb. bacon, cut into 1/3's

Cut each chicken breast into chunks.  Clean mushrooms and cut in half if very large.  In a large bowl, mix mushrooms, chicken pieces, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, oil, and onions.  Let marinate for 1-4 hours  

Prepare grill.  Wrap each bacon piece around a piece of chicken.  If you have extra or if you like, it is also good wrapped around the mushrooms.  

On long skewers, thread bacon-wrapped chicken pieces, mushrooms, and pineapple pieces, being sure to leave space between each so bacon will cook completely.  Reserve soy sauce mixture for basting.  

Place skewers on grill over medium heat.  Cook about 15-20 minutes until chicken is fork-tender and bacon is crisp, brushing chicken kabobs frequently with soy sauce mixture and turning skewers occasionally. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The First Installment of Zucchini Invasion: Zucchini Brownies

When it comes to zucchini's, I am apparently a very naive soul.  I planted an entire row of them in my garden. Yes, you read that right, a whole row.  How was I to know that 7 zucchini plants would be enough to feed an entire army?  What you see below is today's zucchini harvest.  After I used 2 large ones for a vegetable saute and the delicious brownies that you see below, that is.

If you are like me, you might think that zucchini in brownies is a little gross and weird.  Well, please don't judge before you try them, because they are downright, positively delicious.  After I let my kids each have a small brownie (which they devoured), I even TOLD them the "secret" ingredient.  My oldest said that it was gross, then all 3 kids proceeded to beg for another.  Give this recipe a try, and, if YOU have any delicious zucchini recipes to share, PLEASE do so!  I need lots of creative uses here!

Zucchini Brownies

1/2 c. Canola oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 c. shredded zucchini (chunking it and throwing it in the food processor works fabulously)
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional-I do not add)

6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c. butter, softened
2 c. confectioners' sugar
1/4 c. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and 2 tsp. vanilla until well blended.  Combine the flour, 1/2 c. cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture.  Fold in the zucchini and walnuts, if desired.  Spread evenly into the prepared pan.  

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the brownies spring back when gently touched.  

To make the frosting, blend the softened butter with the cocoa powder, preferable with an electric mixer.  Add the confectioners sugar, milk, and vanilla extract and blend until smooth.  Stir in the cocoa powder and continue to mix until well-combined.  

Spread frosting over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mongolian Beef

Thinking about this Mongolian Beef recipe and looking at my picture makes my mouth water.  It was SO totally delicious.  I think it is, quite possibly, the best new recipe I have tried recently.  I can guarantee I will be making it again soon.  I always know something is a hit when everyone eats it without complaining.  As a mother, having all 3 of my kids eat ANYTHING that my husband and I also enjoy without complaining, makes me feel like I won a cooking contest.  We are all huge lovers of Chinese food, so that always helps too.  Plus, my kids love to use chopsticks.  We are making great strides at mastering those too!  We are lucky that Mr. Recipe Addict is so proficient and willing to give frequent demonstrations throughout dinner;-)

Mongolian Beef

1 1/2 lbs. flank steak, sliced very think across the grain
1/3 c. cornstarch
Canola Oil
6 scallions, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
3/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
1/3 c. water
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
2 scallions, cut in 1-inch pieces, reserved for garnish

Sprinkle cornstarch over the sliced steak and toss until the pieces are evenly coated.  Let sit while you make the sauce.  On medium-low heat, cook the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, water, and brown sugar, mixing constantly until the sugar dissolves.  Raise the heat and stir until the sauce boils.  Remove from heat and set aside.  

Cover the bottom of a large frying pan or wok with enough Canola oil to coat and heat over high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the steak and saute it until browned on all sides.

Remove the steak with a slotted spoon and place on paper-towel lined plate.

Remove any leftover oil from the pan, then add the steak, sauce, and scallions.  Cook over medium heat for a few more minutes until heated through.  

Serve over rice.

Adapted From: Sticky Cook

Sloppy Joes

Doesn't it feel like summer is going by entirely too fast?  I can hardly believe July is already half over.  Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary, which makes me feel like more than just the summer is flying by entirely too fast.  I am ashamed to say that we did zip for our anniversary.  I have always had such a hard time leaving my kids with people I don't know (especially teenagers I don't know) and I just don't really know any that are at the babysitting age very well.  I envy those that have willing grandparents close by.  What I would give for a relaxing dinner date with my husband once a month.  Well, before long I will have a teenager on my own since my oldest is already turning 11 next week *sob*.  Trust me, I don't want to rush that either.

Anyway, here is *gasp* a recipe.  A very good one at that.  The original recipe came from The Pioneer Woman but, since the recipe made too much for my family of 5 and I decided to modify it a bit (I also made it a tad healthier).  Shhh...don't tell anyone, but I think I might like it even more than my family sloppy joe recipe.

Sloppy Joes

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 med. onion, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. ketchup
1/2 c. water
1 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
3/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco sauce, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat until browned.  Drain off fat and discard.  

Add onions, green peppers, and garlic.  Cook for a few minutes or until vegetables begin to get soft.

Add ketchup, water, brown sugar, chili powder, red pepper flakes and dry mustard.  Stir to combine and simmer 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste, along with Worcestershire and Tabasco.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  

Spread rolls/buns with butter and brown on a skillet, griddle, or my favorite method, in the oven under the broiler (butter side up).  Sure, you could skip this step (and many do) but, trust me, you are missing the opportunity to take this sloppy joe to a new level.  

Spoon meat mixture over the rolls and top with a slice of cheese if you are feeling really naughty.  


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (On a Wednesday)

Thought I'd get organized and post my menu plan for the next week since I am heading out to the grocery store for a few things today!  Better late than never!

Monday: Out for pizza
Tuesday: Mongolian Beef (it was so good!  Recipe coming soon!), Rice, & Egg Rolls
Wednesday: Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Guava Paste (if I can FIND guava paste, I couldn't during my last shopping trip:-(), Rice, & Garden Veggies
Thursday: Foil Packet Tilapia Crockpot recipe & Garden Veggies
Friday: Taco Night
Saturday: Baked Beans & Chicken-Bacon Kebabs
Sunday: BBQ Chicken & Cheddar Sandwiches, Potato Bundles, & Garden Veggies

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July Menu Plan

I am several days late with my July menu plan, but late is better than never!  We spent our 4th other of town, just getting back yesterday, so I am playing catch-up today.  We had a fantastic weekend though!  My boys, dad, and I ran a 5K together and we did tons of fun family activities over the weekend.  I just love Independance Day!  One of my favorite times of the year!

My menu this month looks low on veggies, I know.  The reason is that my garden is starting to produce lots of fresh produce I am hoping we get to nibble on this month!

July 6th: Sloppy Joes
July 7th: Grilled Ham Steak & Macaroni Salad
July 8th: Firecracker Shrimp Kebabs & Foil Wrapped Veggies
July 9th: Homemade Pizza
July 10th: Steak Teriyaki & American Potato Salad
July 11th: Chris' Bay Area Burgers & Potato Bundles
July 12th: BBQ Chicken & Cheddar Sandwiches
July 13th: Mongolian Beef, Rice, & Egg Rolls
July 14th: Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Guava Paste
July 15th: Foil Packet Tilapia Crockpot Recipe
July 16th: Taco Night
July 17th: The Best Baked Beans Ever & Chicken & Bacon Kebabs
July 18th: Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad & Homemade Chicken Strips
July 19th: Frank's Red Hot Chicken Salad
July 20th: Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich
July 21st: Kade's Birthday!  His choice!
July 22nd: Honey-Glazed Salmon
July 23rd: Homemade Pizza
July 24th: Judge's Fantastic Shredded Pork & Coleslaw
July 25th: Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Apricot Sauce
July 26th: Chicken Parmesan Hero's 
July 27th: Jaden's Beef with Broccoli, Rice, & Egg Rolls
July 28th: Barbecued Pork Chops
July 29th: Firecracker Shrimp
July 30th: Tacos in a bag
July 31st: Ribeyes & Onion Strings


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