Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekly Menu Plan

I know you are probably wondering what the heck happened to me....well...I got a full-time job!  Yikes!  Stay-at-home mom to full-time employee!  It is taking time for me to get in the groove, please don't leave me!   I hope to get back into the swing of sharing delicious recipes very soon!

Sunday:   Grilled Chicken & Veggie Skewers & Potato Bundles

Monday:  Chicken Tikka Masala

Tuesday:  Saucy Crockpot Pork Chops

Wednesday:  Crockpot Barbacoa

Thursday:  Jambalaya

Friday: Gone

Saturday:   Gone

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Menu Plan

Sorry I have been MIA.  Life is crazy sometimes, you know?  I miss my bloggy time and reading all of my favorite blogs!  I hope to be back next week!  Meanwhile, I have been going CRAZY without my weekly menu plan.  I need to post one PRONTO.  I never realize how much I love having one, until I don't.  I am just going to do this one for the rest of this week as well as next week.

Friday:  Taco Meat, Homemade Shells, Assorted Toppings, & Potato Ole's

Saturday:  Out of town

Sunday:  Thai Chicken Curry

Monday:  Beef KebabsPerfect Potatoes Au Gratin

Tuesday:  Spicy ChickenEgg Drop Soup, & Garden Veggies

Wednesday:  Okinawan Takoraisu a.k.a Taco Rice

Thursday:  Scallops Florentine

Friday:  Homemade Pizza

Saturday:  In & Out Burgers & Restaurant Style Smashed Potatoes

Sunday:  Grilled Chicken & Veggie Skewers & Potato Bundles

Thursday, July 28, 2011

August Menu Plan

Here is my monthly menu plan for August!  All done ahead of time even!  I am kind of impressed with myself!  Time to make my monstrous grocery list for the month!  As always, some of these links are internal and many of them are to other blogs and websites!  I will post all our favorites with any changes I make during the month.

If it seems lite on veggies, it is because I have a huge garden to pick from right now!  I LOVE walking out there as I am beginning to cook dinner and picking whatever look perfect!  It cannot be beat!

1st:  Tomato Basil Pasta Cream Sauce with Kielbasa Sausage & Mushrooms
2nd:  Chicken Chimichangas
3rd  Beef with Snow Peas & Egg Rolls
4th:  Jagerschnitzel, Roasted Green Beans, & Baked Garlic Fries
5th:  Homemade Pizza
6th:  Beef KebabsPerfect Potatoes Au Gratin

7th:  In & Out Burgers & Restaurant Style Smashed Potatoes
8th:  Spicy ChickenEgg Drop Soup, & Garden Veggies
9th:  Okinawan Takoraisu a.k.a Taco Rice
10th:  Buffalo Chicken Nachos
11th:  Shrimp Po' Boy Sandwich
12th:  Cafe Rio Pork, Cilantro Lime Rice, Pico de Gillo, Tomatillo Dressing
13th:  Guacamole Bacon Burger & Fingerling Potatoes with Caramelized Onions & Bacon

14th:  Thai Chicken Curry
15th:  Grilled Chicken & Veggie Skewers & Potato Bundles
16th:  Slow Cooker Cube Steak with Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, & Fresh Green Beans, One Way
17th:  Pork Meatball Bah Mi Sandwich & Roasted Potato Wedges
18th:  Scallops Florentine
19th:  Homemade Pizza
20th:  Jambalaya

21st:  Baked Ham Penne Pasta
22nd:  Chicken Tikka Masala
23rd:  Bangkok Satay, Stir fried Peppers/Onions, & Rice
24th:  Saucy Crockpot Pork Chops
25th:  Cajun Shrimp Stew
26th:  Taco Meat, Homemade Shells, Assorted Toppings, & Potato Ole's
27th:  Steaks, Bacon Tomato Ranch Pasta Salad

28th:  BBQ Chicken KebabsToasted Garlic Bread, & Creamy Dill Cucumber Salad
29th:  Smothered ChickenWorld's Best Dinner Rolls
30th:  Crockpot Barbacoa
31st:  Peppered Shrimp AlfredoBruchetta

*Rhubarb Breakfast Bars
*Bacon, Egg, & Toast Cups
*Mediterranean Feta Egg Scramble
*Bacon Potato Hash

*Chocolate Chip & Peanut Butter Truffle Swirled Cookies
*Mississippi Mud Brownies
*Cinnamon Roll Cake
*Red Velvet Brownies
*Caramelized French Onion Dip

Sweet & Spicy Bacon Chicken

I have a thing for foods with a hint of sweetness.  I also have a weekness for spicy foods.  And bacon.  So you can bet that this one was a winner in my book.  All my kids liked it too.  My daughter has decided that she does not like bacon {what planet is this child from???} so she peeled hers off.  Thankfully, there were many kind individuals offering to eat it for her so it did not go to waste;)

As you can see below, the original recipe calls for this to be baked in the oven.  The advantage of that method is that you have some delicious flavorful juices to drizzle over the meat and mashed potatoes {if you choose to make them as a side}.  It was over 100 degrees the day I made this so there was NO FREAKING WAY that I was turning on the oven.  They were fabulous on the grill to, AND as I like to tell myself, MUCH healthier;)  
If you want to make this chicken teeming with deliciousness, here is all you will need!

Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken
4 chicken breasts cut in thirds (12 pieces)
Bacon slices
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder
chili powder
brown sugar

Cut each breast into 3 pieces, season all the chicken with the spices, then wrap a bacon slice around each piece, roll in brown sugar and place into an oven proof dish....make sure you have some olive oil in the dish too, like 2 or 3 tablespoons is fine {I skipped this since I grilled them.  I honestly think you could coat your dish with nonstick cooking spray instead to save a few calories}.  

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and bacon is nice and brown and crispy.  Delicious served with mashed potatoes with some of the gravy from the chicken drizzled on top.

**Also great on the grill!  No juices to drizzle on anything, but still delicious!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Spiral Stuffed Rolls

Here are some delicious rolls that I whipped up after baseball one night last week.  I saw them over at Life as a Lofthouse a while back and I knew they would be a hit here.  The ingredient combination is one that everyone around here loves.  The recipe originated on Mel's Kitchen Cafe (another blog that I love).  Mel's recipe uses homemade bread dough, which I might try next time.  My husband thought the flavor combo was very similar to another recipe we love, Tortellini & Ham, and I agree.  Give these a try!  You will not be disappointed! 

Here are the ingredients you will need.  I subbed chives for the green onions, because they are currently thriving in my herb garden!  The tasted GREAT in there!

Spiral Stuffed Rolls

1 can (13.8 oz) Refrigerated Pizza Dough
6 oz Cream Cheese, softened 
2 Tablespoons Butter, softened
1 cup chopped Ham
3/4 cup finely chopped Broccoli
1 cup shredded Cheese ( I used mild cheddar)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup chopped Green Onion

Directions: Unravel dough from can and lay out onto a greased baking sheet. Press dough out into a large rectangle. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the dough. Top with chopped ham, broccoli, cheese, Parmesan cheese and green onion. Roll the dough up, pinching the seam to seal. Slice the roll into one inch pieces. You should get about 12 rolls. Place the rolls onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rice Pilaf

Side dishes are something that I typically do not pay enough attention to.  At our typical family meal, I often spend all the time and creativity on the main dish.  As a side, we so often have plain white rice, baked or mashed potatoes, or crusty bread.  Those are all things we enjoy, but everyone needs to spice things up sometimes.  When we go out to eat, I often find that my husband and I enjoy getting rice pilaf as a side, so I thought I'd give it a go!  As you know, I'm not much for boxed mixes typically, so this is from scratch.  It is very easy and delicious though!  Give it a try!  I bet most of you even have most everything you need sitting right there in your kitchen!  
Here are the ingredients that you need (do you like my monstrous bag of rice?):

Rice Pilaf
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup uncooked white rice
2 cups chicken broth

Melt the butter in a lidded skillet over medium-low heat. Cook and stir orzo pasta until golden brown. Stir in onion and cook until onion becomes translucent, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute. 

Mix in the rice and chicken broth. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, and the liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. 

Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Source: allrecipes

Monday, July 25, 2011

Smothered Pork Chops

These pork chops were fabulous.  They require a few more steps than many of my other crockpot pork chop recipes, but they were worth it.  I do wish that I would have thickened the gravy a bit more.  I also forgot to put the bacon that I had cooked on the chops.  I hid it so well so that my family wouldn't see it and eat it that I completely forgot about it!

Smothered Pork Chops
Serves 6
*Note from Mel: I like to serve these smothered pork chops over rice or mashed potatoes. Also, if the gravy in the last step doesn’t thicken well, mix another tablespoon of cornstarch to 2 tablespoons cold water and add it to the hot liquid. Let it come to a boil to ensure it thickens properly. Finally, I have doubled the pork in this recipe and kept all the other ingredients the same and there was plenty of gravy to smother the doubled pork.

5 slices bacon, chopped
6 bone-in pork loin chops, about 3/4-inch thick (I used boneless this time)
Salt and Pepper
2 yellow onions, peeled, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch thick half moons
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

In a large skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the drippings in the pan. If you have more than 2 tablespoons drippings, drain the excess. If you don’t have quite that much, supplement with canola oil. When the bacon is cool, transfer to a small bag or tupperware and refrigerate until later.

Heat the skillet with the drippings over medium or medium-high heat until rippling and hot. Meanwhile, pat pork chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook pork chops until they are golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side, cooking them in batches in the skillet if your skillet isn’t big enough to hold all six at a time in a single layer. When golden on each side, transfer the chops to the slow cooker and repeat with remaining pork.
Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of fat from the skillet; add onions, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup water to empty skillet. Using a wooden spoon, scrape browned bits from bottom of the pan and cook over medium-high heat until onions are soft, about 4-6 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour onion mixture over chops in the slow cooker. Add broth, soy sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar to skillet, bring to a boil and add bay leaves. Pour mixture over onions in slow cooker.

Cover slow cooker and cook on low until pork is tender, about 8 hours (or cook on high for 4 hours).

When ready to serve, carefully transfer chops to serving platter with a large spoon and tent with foil. Discard bay leaves and pour liquid through a mesh strainer into a saucepan, reserving the solids. Transfer solids to a food processor or blender with 1 cup liquid and blend until smooth. Stir the blended mixture back into remaining liquid in the saucepan. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons water together in a small bowl and stir into sauce. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, season with salt and pepper, pour over chops and sprinkle with reserved bacon and parsley. Serve.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Borscht Soup


Wednesday: Rosemary Ranch Chicken KabobsCalico Beans, & Veggie

Thursday:  Zucchini & Maple Sausage Pie

Friday:  Taco Meat, Homemade Shells, & Assorted Toppings

Saturday:  Sloppy Joes

Sunday:  Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro Jalapeno Slaw

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Marlboro Man Sandwich- Pioneer Woman Style

Yesterday, my oldest child turned 12.  Mentally, that is such a milestone for him in my mind.  It is where he begins the transition from child to teenager.  That is so incredible to me.  It seems like he was so little just yesterday!  I am proud of the handsome, smart, kind man that he is becoming but I wish I could hold on to the child in him just a little longer.  

I made these sandwiches about a month ago and I posted pictures on facebook to tease everyone with their deliciousness.  I then promptly forgot to post them.  What a tragedy!  Thank goodness I came across the picture in my files!  I love the Pioneer Woman's original Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich but I think that this one is much better yet.  I cannot wait to make it again!

The Marlboro Man Sandwich- Pioneer Woman Style 

4 Tablespoons Butter
2 pounds Cube Steak (round Steak That's Been Extra Tenderized)
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
1 whole Large Yellow Onion, Halved And Sliced Thick
2 whole Green Bell Peppers, Sliced Into Rings
2 whole Red Bell Peppers, Sliced Into Rings
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
16 ounces, weight White Mushrooms, Sliced
2 Tablespoons (additional) Butter
1-1/2 cup Sherry (regular Or Cooking Sherry Is Fine)
4 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
4 dashes Tabasco (more To Taste)
8 whole Deli Rolls (the Crustier The Better)
2 Tablespoons (additional) Butter
8 slices Cheese (Provolone, Swiss, Pepper Jack)
Preparation Instructions

Cut cube steak into strips against the grain. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over high heat. As soon as it's melted (but before it burns) brown strips of cube steak in two or three batches, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Remove meat to a clean plate when brown. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium-high. Add onions, garlic, green peppers, and red peppers and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until relatively soft (but not flimsy.) Remove to a clean plate. Set aside.

Melt 2 add'l tablespoons butter to the skillet. Add sliced mushrooms and stir. Pour in sherry, then add Worcestershire and Tabasco. Cook over medium-high heat for five minutes, or until liquid has reduced by about a third.

Add in meat and vegetables, stirring to combine. Cook for just a few minutes to heat everything up, adding more sherry and Worcestershire (and Tabasco) as needed. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter at the end. Keep hot.

Toast halved deli rolls in plenty of butter until golden brown and crisp. Spoon meat/veggie mixture on the lower half of the bun, then spoon one or two tablespoons of pan sauce over the meat (it will soak into the bun.) Drizzle a little sauce on the underside of the top bun, too, for extra flavor and moisture. Top with cheese and broil for a minute or two, until the cheese is melted.

Serve immediately.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chicken Lo Mein

My entire family adores Chinese food.  When my kids find out I am making 'Chinese' it seems that they instantly become more open-minded about what they are going to be eating.  It is SO SO rare that any of them don't care for a meal with Oriental flare.  Could it be that they know they get to eat with chop sticks?  Whatever it is, I'm not complaining.  It usually means a hearty meal packed with lean meats and vegetables.  What mom doesn't love their kids gobbling that up?  

This Lo Mein was a real winner that I know I will be making again soon.  I doubled the recipe for my family of 5 and hardly had enough to send with my hubby for lunch the next day.  Did I say that all of my children had seconds {or thirds}?  A total winner. 

Chicken Lo Mein

1 – 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, sliced very thinly

1 Tb soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

2 Tb oyster sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
4 Tb beef broth
1 Tb granulated sugar

8 ounces linguine, prepared to al dente
1 tsp sesame oil

1/4 cup canola oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped cabbage, such as Napa
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1-2 cups bean sprouts
3 green onions, sliced in 1 inch segments, white and green parts
*note: I like to chop up the white parts small and leave the green parts in longer pieces

Combine marinade ingredients with the chicken and allow to sit for 20 minutes. While the chicken is marinating, prepare the remaining ingredients.

In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, beef broth, and sugar. Set aside.

Boil noodles as per package instructions. Drain the noodles and toss with the sesame oil.

Heat a wok (or large, deep frying pan) over medium-high heat. Add the 1/4 cup of oil. Add the chicken. Stir fry chicken until cooked – about 5 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside.

Add another 1 Tb of oil to the wok if needed. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Stir-fry until garlic browns, then add the carrots. Stir-fry for about 1 minute, then add the shredded cabbage and mushrooms. Cook for 2 more minutes. Add the noodles, bean sprouts, and green onions and cook for about 2 more minutes.

Add the sauce to the wok. Return the chicken to the pan. Mix everything together and serve hot.

Spring Peas with Pancetta

I don't get around to posting many side dishes on here, especially vegetables.  I tend to just wing it when it comes to our veggies and I rarely take the time to take pictures.  This turned out very good, although I admit I upped the pancetta.  I think that next time I will keep it to 2 oz. though.  

Spring Peas with Pancetta 

3 slices pancetta, chopped (I used an entire 4 oz. package, 2-3 oz. would have been plenty)
3/4 cup finely chopped white onion
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups shelled green peas or frozen petite green peas
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta, and sauté 5 minutes or until crispy. 

Remove pancetta from pan, reserving drippings in pan. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté for 2 minutes or until tender. Add peas, broth, sugar, and salt to pan. Simmer 5 minutes or until the peas are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in pancetta and chopped parsley.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ooey-Gooey Peanut Butter-Chocolate Brownies

It is 9 am and the windows of my house are all completely fogged up.  I think I will take that as a hint that the humidity has not improved at all from yesterday.  I heard that we might be reaching the triple digits today.  Couple that will the humidity and UGH.  Maybe I will just put my swimsuit on, sit outside, and pretend I am in a sauna.  

These brownies are from Cooking Light!  That must mean they are healthy, right?  OK, maybe not.  They are much healthier than many other brownie recipes though.  My husband thought these were incredibly rich and he couldn't believe they were a "lighter" brownie.  They are delicious!  The entire pan lasted about a day here.  Give them a try!
Here are the ingredients you will need:

Ooey-Gooey Peanut Butter-Chocolate Brownies

3/4 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk, divided
1/4 cup butter or stick margarine, melted and cooled
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 (18.25-ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup peanut butter morsels {I confess.  I used more like 3/4 cup.}

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine 1/4 cup condensed milk, butter, and next 3 ingredients (butter through egg white) in a bowl (batter will be very stiff). Coat bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Press two-thirds of batter into prepared pan using floured hands; pat evenly (layer will be thin).

Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Combine 1/2 cup condensed milk and marshmallow creme in a bowl; stir in morsels. Spread marshmallow mixture evenly over brownie layer. Carefully drop remaining batter by spoonfuls over marshmallow mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cobb Salad Sandwiches

It is hot.  It is humid.  When I walk outside, I immediately feel like I need to go shower.  When it comes to weather like this, there are 2 options in my book: sit outside by a body of water and take frequent dips in or hide in the house.  I spent yesterday outside on the lake and had tons of fun, but today I am hiding inside as much as possible.  My garden, as always, could really use some work but I just can't bring myself to do it.  Maybe tonight.  If it cools off {ya right}.  

No matter how hot it is, we need to eat.  What we don't need to do it heat up the house cooking.  Here is a great sandwich for the dog days of summer.  It is hearty and summery all at the same time.  As you can see below, I arranged our ingredients out on the island and let everyone build their own sandwich.  I made mine as the recipe states, but my kids kept theirs more basic.  No arguing, no heating up the kitchen, and everyone is happy.  Try this today!

 Cobb Salad Sandwich
4 croissants, cut in half lengthwise
4 lettuce leaves
1 tomato, sliced
4 slices of crisply cooked bacon, halved
8 slices of deli ham, turkey, or chicken
4 slices of red onion
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
mayonnaise, blue cheese dressing, or ranch dressing

Spread your choice of mayonnaise, blue cheese dressing, or ranch dressing on both halves of the croissant.

Layer one half of each croissant with lettuce, tomato, bacon, 2 slices of ham (or turkey\chicken), onion, sliced egg, 2 avocado slices, and a tablespoon of blue cheese crumbles. Place other croissant half on top and enjoy!

Source: Tablespoon

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday:  Sweet & Spicy Bacon ChickenRoasted Potato Wedges, Garden Veggies

Monday:  Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro Jalapeno Slaw

Tuesday:  Baked Ham Penne Pasta & Garden Veggies

Wednesday:  Out        

Thursday: Out

Friday:  My Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Crust & Assorted Toppings 

Saturday:  Brats, Sauerkraut, & Potato Salad

Sunday:  Spiral Stuffed Rolls & Garden Veggies

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Corn Fettuccine

I adore pasta.  I could eat it every single day of my life.  I have yet to meet a more perfect pasta recipe for those summer days than this.  The fresh sweet corn really gives this pasta some amazing flavor.  We have to enjoy those fresh vegetables as much as possible in the short time that we are lucky enough to have them!  I know this pasta is a bit different, but keep an open mind and give it a try!  

My garden corn is not yet ready, so I bought these at my local grocery store.  Check out the conjoined corn cob I found!  LOL!  Yes, I am easily amused:)
 Here are the ingredients that you will need: 
 It is always nice to have an adorable soon-to-be 12 year old doing some of the cooking for you!  

Summer Corn Fettuccine 

1 pound fettuccine
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
6 slices smoky bacon, chopped
6 ears corn on the cob, shucked
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup half-and-half or cream
1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine (I used chicken broth but I think wine would be better)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1-2 pinches cayenne pepper
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, divided (I used good quality Parmesan since I had it on hand)
1/2 cup sweet basil leaves

Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium heat. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook to al dente.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with a drizzle of EVOO over medium to medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook for a few minutes until rendered and crisp. 

Put a small bowl inverted into a large bowl, steady the corn cobs on the smaller bowl and scrape the ears. Add three-quarters of the scraped corn and any corn liquid to the pan with the bacon. Add the shallots and red pepper and liberally season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 5-6 minutes.

Add the remaining corn and half-and-half to a food processor and puree until smooth.
Pour the stock or wine into the corn and vegetables and simmer over low heat for a minute to reduce. Stir in the thyme and corn-cream mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, to thicken. Add the cayenne and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Drain the pasta and add it to a large serving bowl. Pour in the sauce, add a couple of handfuls of cheese, about 1/2 cup, and toss. Top with torn basil or chopped tarragon and pass the remaining cheese at the table.

Source: Mrs. Bettie Rocker {Original recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Love + Cook}

Monday, July 11, 2011

Homemade Shake & Bake Mixture

A few weeks ago, my husband requested Shake & Bake pork chops, something that he {and I} grew up eating.  Since I remembered it fondly, I set out to find a good copycat recipe.  I am just not a fan of buying premade mixes. these days.  This was one of my dad's specialties when I was young:)  We always had it with Rice-a-Roni on the side, which I had forgotten.  My dad reminded my of that when I told him that I had discovered this recipe.  It tastes just like I remember my dad's tasting, but it is homemade, so I know exactly what is in it.  

If you do make this, you should know that the recipe makes a HUGE amount.  I cut it in half to make 5 pork chops for my family.  I do think I actually could have only made 1/4 of the original recipe and that would have even been plenty.  

Homemade Shake & Bake Mixture

4 cups dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon minced onion
1 pinch dried basil leaves
1 pinch dried parsley
1 pinch dried oregano

In a large resealable plastic bag combine the crumbs, oil, salt, paprika, celery salt, pepper, garlic salt, minced garlic, minced onion, basil, parsley and oregano. Seal bag and shake all ingredients together.

Source:  Allrecipes

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Smothered Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, & Garden Veggies

Tuesday:  Chicken Lo Mein

Wednesday:  BBQ Grilled ShrimpUltimate Cheddar Bay BiscuitsRice Pilaf & Steamed Mixed Veggies

Thursday:  Summer Corn Fettuccine

Friday:  My Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Crust & Assorted Toppings

Saturday:  Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro Jalapeno Slaw

Sunday: Cobb Salad Sandwich

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Does the above picture make your mouth water?  It should because it was A-MAZING.   It is also a great way to use up some of those fresh herbs from your herb garden!  If you don't have a herb garden, what are you waiting for!?  Grab a few pots, some seeds, and voilà!  I am going to start doing mine year round.  They do awesome just sitting near the window.  Who needs house plants?  Have indoor greenery that you can EAT!

Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta
serves 4-6

1 pound pasta (I used trumpets)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into chunks (I used 2 large)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cups milk
4 ounces grated monterey jack cheese (I used half a brick) + more for topping
1/3 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese + more for topping
1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce (Use Frank's, nothing else compares)
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
for garnish: 3/4 cup chopped green onions, 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, additional buffalo wing sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare water for pasta and cook according to directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter, and once it’s melted and bubbly add the flour. Whisk together to create a roux and cook for 1-2 minutes until mixture gets a bit golden in color. Add milk, stir and turn down heat to low. Continue stirring until milk thickens. Add in grated cheeses and continue to stir until mixture is smooth. Stir in buffalo wing sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Spray a baking dish (9 x 13) with non-stick spray. Add pasta and chicken, then pour cheese sauce over and mix thoroughly until everything is coated. Sprinkle with additional grated cheese and bread crumbs. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately top with Gorgonzola, green onions and cilantro. Drizzle with buffalo wing sauce.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

July Menu Plan

Here it is!  My monthly menu plan for July!  Now I just need to figure out when I am going to get to the store for my big shopping day!  No need to buy many veggies this month!  The garden is looking like it will have lots of delicious produce for us to eat very soon!  Tonight we are having our first salad greens from the garden!

1st:  My Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Crust & Assorted Toppings
2nd:  Gone

3rd:  Mustard Roasted Potatoes & Whisky Grilled Baby Back Ribs, Jalapeno Poppers
4th: Grill Steaks, Corn on the Cob, Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes, & Cheesy Garlic-Herb Bread
5th  : Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro Jalapeno Slaw
6th:  Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta
7th:  Tuna Melts Green Bean Bacon Bundles
8th:  Creamy Chicken Taquitos & Refried Beans
9th:  In & Out Burgers

10th:  Smothered Pork Chops
11th:  Chicken Lo Mein
12th:  Zucchini & Maple Sausage Pie
13th:  Summer Corn Fettuccine
14th:  BBQ Grilled ShrimpUltimate Cheddar Bay BiscuitsRice Pilaf & Steamed Mixed Veggies
15th:  My Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Crust & Assorted Toppings
16th:  Brats, Sauerkraut, & Potato Salad

17th:  Cobb Salad Sandwich
18th:  Sweet & Spicy Bacon Chicken, Roasted Potato Wedges
19th:  Baked Ham Penne Pasta
20th:  Spiral Stuffed Rolls
21st:  Kade's birthday!  His choice!
22nd:  Brats, Buns, Sauerkraut,
23rd:  Cafe Rio Pork, Cilantro Lime Rice, Pico de Gillo, Tomatillo Dressing

24th:  Borscht Soup
25th:  BBQ Chicken Kebabs, Toasted Garlic Bread
26th:  Sloppy Joes
27th:  Tomato Basil Pasta Cream Sauce with Kielbasa Sausage & Mushrooms
28th:  Bacon-Wrapped Hamburgers
29th:  My Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Crust & Assorted Toppings
30th:  Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs, Calico Beans, & Veggie

31st:  Buffalo Chicken Nachoes

Simply Sinful Cinnamon Muffins
Buttermilk Biscuits & Sausage Gravy
Sausage & Egg Breakfast Burritos


Strawberry Shortcake Cake
Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes
Turtle Brownies
Ooey Gooey Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies
S'mores Cookies

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Best Potato Salad

Potato Salad.  Everyone has a recipe, right?  When I saw this particular one, I was intrigued.  It has a very odd ingredient combination.  I went back and forth about trying it and I almost stuck with one of my more safe recipes.  Well, you know me, I can't resist trying out something new so I went for it.  You know what?  The weird combo works!  It really does!  My husband is not a big fan of potato salad, and even he commented on how good it was.  I know adding pepperoncini's seems weird, but it is absolutely essential.  It really gives the potato salad the extra something that is usually missing.  The black olives I could take or leave.  If you are a fan, add them.  

The Best Potato Salad

6 eggs
10 red potatoes
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/3 cup dill pickle relish
2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup pepperoncini 
1/4 cup sliced black olives (optional)

Place the eggs into a saucepan in a single layer and fill with water to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and let the eggs stand in the hot water for 15 minutes. Pour out the hot water; cool the eggs under cold running water in the sink. Peel and chop the cooled eggs.

Place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and refrigerate until cold. Peel and cube once cold.

Stir together the mayonnaise, ranch dressing, relish, mustard, salt, pepper, paprika, and celery seed in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, potatoes, onion, pepperoncini, and olives; stir until evenly mixed. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Source:  Allrecipes

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gorgonzola Steak Rolls

These Gorgonzola steak rolls were an awesome weeknight meal.  I saw them on Life as a Lofthouse a few months back and I found them intriguing.  The flavors were certainly out of the ordinary, but something both my husband and I really loved.  The kids liked the actual steak rolls, but did not really care for the Gorgonzola cream sauce.  It had quite a bit of pepper which gave it a kick that was perfect for my husband and I, but a little too much for them.  Let me just add, the steak had AWESOME flavor. 

Gorgonzola Steak Rolls
Makes 8 rolls (4 servings)

1 (8 count) Jumbo can of Refrigerated Biscuits ( I used the 'butter-lovin' biscuits)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 pound Steak, sliced thin ( I used Sirloin Tip thin steak)
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
3 tablespoons Gorgonzola Crumbles
3/4 cups Fresh Mozzarella

Gorgonzola Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons Butter
1 1/2 tablespoons Flour
1 1/2 cups Milk
1/3 cup Gorgonzola Crumbles
2 teaspoons Pepper
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, drizzle olive oil. Add chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until onion starts to become translucent.

Add in garlic. Stir well. Add steak and then cook for 5 minutes or until no longer pink.
Turn heat down to medium-low and pour in balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Stir, and let simmer 2 minutes.

Add in Gorgonzola crumbles and turn off heat.
Flatten each biscuit until doubled in size. Place in the center of biscuit, 1 tablespoon of fresh mozzarella and then 1 tablespoon meat mixture.

Bring each side up and seal the top over filling. Place on a cookie sheet, seam side down.
Repeat with all remaining biscuits. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from oven, and let cool a few minutes before eating.

While steak rolls are baking, make your cream sauce.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Then add in flour, milk and Gorgonzola crumbles. Whisk until crumbles melt. Add in salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Stir well, until it starts to boil. Turn down heat to low and let simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Let stand a couple minutes to thicken.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Menu Plan Monday June 27

Monday: Baked Scallops (with some changes from last time) over Pasta

Tuesday:  MM Sandwich PW Style

Wednesday:  Homemade Shake and Bake Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Veggie

Thursday:   Egg Salad Meet's the BLT

Friday: Out of Town

Saturday:  Wedding

Sunday: Jalapeno Poppers Grill Steaks, Green Bean Bacon BundlesCheesy Au Gratin Potatoes, & Cheesy Garlic-Herb Bread

Chicken Pillows {A.K.A. Chicken Baseballs or Chicken Crescent Rolls}

I have been making something called Chicken Baseballs for years.  I have modified my recipe several times and shared it with many, many friends.  I think I originally got the recipe off of the Weight Watchers online recipe exchange after I had my 2nd child.  It is one of the few recipes that has stood the test of time, because they are quick, tasty, and kid-friendly!  

A few weeks ago I saw a very similar recipe on The Girl Who Ate Everything, one of my favorite foodie blogs.  Her version took the Chicken Baseballs that I knew and loved to the next level, something I would even be proud to serve up to company!  The secret is, they are still EASY!  It is a win-win!  Give them a try, I bet your whole family will love them too!

Ingredients chicken.  I guess I forgot to put the chicken in the shot.  Please note the beautiful chives!  These are from my herb garden!  My herbs are finally big enough to start using!

Chicken Pillows

Mix together with mixer (or by hand if your cream cheese is soft enough):
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup sour cream

Stir in:
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 ½ Tablespoons dried chives
1 ½ Tablespoons fresh onion minced
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (around 3 cups)

Assemble Pillows:
2 (8 ounce) cans Pillsbury crescent rolls
1/4 cup melted butter
Italian bread crumbs (around 2 cups)

1 (14.5 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 (0.87) package chicken gravy mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and sour cream until well combined. You can do this by hand if your cream cheese is soft enough. Stir in salt, pepper, onion, chives, and diced chicken.

Using Pillsbury crescent rolls, take 2 triangular rolls and push together at perforated seam to make into a square. Make sure you seal the perforations well so your filling doesn't come out. Put about 3 tablespoons of chicken mixture in the center of each square. Fold the dough corners to the center over the chicken mixture forming a pillow.

 Dip each pillow in melted butter on both sides. Roll in bread crumbs on both sides. Shake excess crumbs off.  {My pillows started to fall apart when I did it this way.  Here is what I did instead: Place pillows on a greased baking sheet.  Using a basting brush, coat the pillows with the melted butter.  Liberally sprinkle with bread crumbs.} Place chicken pillow on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Make gravy by mixing one package of chicken gravy mix, one can of cream of chicken soup and 3/4 can of water in a small pot. Mix together and heat until warm. Serve chicken pillows with gravy poured over top.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Shrimp Enchiladas

We are back from vacation at the my in-laws and I am sporting  many, many bruises.  My in-laws live in the woods of MN and one of our favorite things to do there is paintball.  I have discovered a whole new side of myself through paintballing.  We create random teams by drawing paintballs and complete missions.  The two games we played this weekend were capture the flag and protect the fort.  I did not enjoy protecting the fort.  You are like a sitting duck in there!  My hubby had a German friend there to visit from his high school days living on base in Germany.  It was a good time!

Back to the food!

Here are some exceptionally good shrimp enchiladas that I made before we left.  Writing up this blog post I am finding myself salivating while looking at the pictures.  I want them again!  Living in ND we don't have are good options for good, authentic Mexican food.  I can say that these were better than any I've ever had, I wouldn't know if they are authentic though!  Try them!

Shrimp Enchiladas

Cheese Sauce:

½ cup sweet red pepper, chopped
½ cup onion, minced
½ cup green pepper, chopped (I used yellow instead)
1/4 cup butter
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 ½ cups Monterey Jack cheese or Pepper Jack cheese
½ cup sour cream

Shrimp Mixture:

2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ pounds shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped into bite-size pieces
½ cup onion, chopped
2 cups ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ cups Monterey Jack cheese or Pepper Jack cheese
8 (9-inch) flour tortillas

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch dish and set aside.

Saute red pepper, onion and green pepper in 1/4 cup butter until crisp-tender. Add oregano, salt, garlic powder, pepper, cayenne pepper, and flour; blend well and cook, stirring constantly for about a minute. Whisk in the cream and continue cooking for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese; stir until melted. Add sour cream, stir to blend. Set aside.

In another skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Saute shrimp and 1/2 cup onion until shrimp are pink (don’t overcook or the shrimp will be tough). Add chopped tomatoes and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Spoon 1/3 cup shrimp mixture into each tortilla. Sprinkle a bit of cheese on top of shrimp mixture. Roll the enchiladas up tightly. Arrange seam side down in a 9X13-inch glass baking dish. Spoon remaining cheese sauce over tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.


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