Monday, December 31, 2012

Menu Planning Ideas!

Here is my menu plan!  I got a new cookbook for Christmas so I am excited to try lots of new recipes!

Breakfast Ideas:
*Hearty Scrambled Eggs with Sausage, Sweet Pepper, & Cheddar Cheese p. 171

Dinner Ideas:
*Stir-fried Beef With Snap Peas & Red Pepper p. 26

 *Maple Glazed Pork Roast p. 39; Simple Rice Pilaf p. 272

*Pan Seared Thick Cut Strip Steak p. 56

 *Classic Pot Roast p. 76

*Stir-fried Shrimp with Snow Peas & Red Bell Pepper in Hot & Sour Sauce p. 123

*Beef Stroganoff p.125

*Swedish Meatballs p. 150

* Pork Schnitzel p. 159

*Classic Macaroni & Cheese p. 208

*Bacon, Scallion, & Caramelized Onion Dip p. 284
*Buffalo Chicken Dip
*Kielbasa Appetizer
*Pickle Wrap Dip
*Creamy Taco Roll-Ups

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Menu Planning

Sunday:  Grown-up Mac & Cheese & Steamed Vegetables

Monday:  Crockpot Ranch Pork Chops

Tuesday:  Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Wednesday:  Slow Cooker Taco Soup

Thursday:  One Pot Spicy Sausage Pasta & Side Salad

Friday:  Korean Beef, White Rice, & Steamed Veggies

Saturday:  Slow Cooker 3 Envelope Pot Roast Sliders & Veggie

Sunday:  Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup w/chips and salsa

Monday:  Oriental Fried Rice & Egg Rolls

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Saturday:  Stuffed Spiral Rolls & Salad

Sunday:  Wild Rice Soup & Homemade Bread

Monday: Spaghetti Sauce, Noodles, Garlic Bread, Side Salad

Tuesday:  Oriental Fried Rice & Egg Rolls

Wednesday:  Grown-up Mac & Cheese & Steamed Vegetables

Thursday:  Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup w/chips and salsa

Friday:  One Pot Spicy Sausage Pasta & Side Salad

Saturday:  Korean Beef, White Rice, & Steamed Veggies

Sunday:  Slow Cooker 3 Envelope Pot Roast Sliders & Veggie

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Monday:  Chicken Cordon Bleu Florentine Casserole

Tuesday:  Stuffed Spiral Rolls & Salad

Wednesday:  Aunt Cyndee's Chili & Cornbread

Thursday:  Grown-up Mac & Cheese & Steamed Vegetables

Friday:  Oriental Fried Rice & Egg Rolls

Saturday:  Wild Rice Soup & Homemade Bread

Sunday:  Spaghetti Sauce, Noodles, Garlic Bread, Side Salad

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Weekly Menu Plan

I am going to be out of town this weekend, so I thought I would try to get a jump on my menu planning! 

Sunday:  Knoephla Soup

Monday:  Cheesy Potato & Smoked Sausage Casserole & Salad

Tuesday:  Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup & Grilled Cheese

Wednesday:  Crockpot Cube Steak & Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, & Veggie

Thursday:  Orange Chicken & Vegetable Stir-Fry over white rice & Egg Rolls

Friday:  Out to eat!

Saturday:  Vodka Cream Pasta, French Bread, & Side Salad

Sunday:  Grilled Ribeye Steak with Onion Sauce, Rolls, Veggie, & Cheesy Fried Pickles

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Weekly Menu Plan

Wish I had time to post some new recipes these days (and cook more), but this first year teaching kinder thing isn't leaving me much extra time!  I know I will be more efficient next year, please bear with me until then and/or summer! 

Monday:  Beef with Broccoli, White Rice, & Egg Rolls

Tuesday:  Beef Tips in Mushroom Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, & Green Beans

Wednesday:  Mexican Chicken, Tortillas, Mexican Rice, & Chips & Salsa

Thursday:  Swiss Chicken Casserole

Friday:  At Kinder Conference out of town, leaving family to their own devices:)

Saturday:  At Kinder Conference out of town, leaving family to their own devices:)

Sunday:  Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup & Grilled Cheese

* Fiesta Dip
* Toasted Frog's Fried Pickle Rolls

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sunday:  Beef with Broccoli, White Rice, & Egg Rolls

Monday:  Wendy's Style Chili

Tuesday:  Mexican Chicken, Tortillas, Mexican Rice, & Chips & Salsa

Wednesday:  Borscht Soup

Thursday:  Beef Tips in Mushroom Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, & Green Beans

Friday:  Mom's Night Off!

Saturday:  Knoephla Soup 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sunday:  Cheesy Fried Pickles  Slow Cooker Salisbusry Steak, Mashed Potatoes, & Green Beans

Monday:  Slow Cooker Guiness Beef Stew & Crusty Bread

Tuesday:  Borscht Soup

Wednesday:  Wendy's Style Chili

Thursday:  Angel Chicken, White Rice, & Veggie

Friday:  Mom's Night Off!

Saturday:  Mexican Chicken, Tortillas, Mexican Rice, & Chips & Salsa

Sunday:  Beef with Broccoli, White Rice, & Egg Rolls

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday:  Shrimp Enchiladas, Mexican Rice

Monday: Crockpot Baked Potato Soup, Fresh Veggies, Bread

Tuesday:  Slow Cooker Salisbusry Steak, Mashed Potatoes, & Green Beans

Wednesday:  Slow Cooker Guiness Beef Stew & Crusty Bread

Thursday:  Borscht Soup

Friday:  I'm not cooking!  Someone should take me out!

Saturday:  Cheesy Fried Pickles & Copycat Macaroni Grill's Penne Rustica

Sunday:  Wendy's Style Chili

Monday, September 3, 2012

Monday: Spicy Romano Chicken with Artichoke Hearts & Sundried Tomatoes, French Bread, & Side Salad

Tuesday:  Crockpot Baked Potato Soup, Fresh Veggies, Bread

Wednesday:  Rattlesnack Bites & Side Salad

Thursday:  Shrimp Enchiladas, Mexican Rice

Friday:  Copycat Macaroni Grill's Penne Rustica

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Menu Plan

Here is our plan for the week!  I figure I would try to keep it simple during the week and do a little celebrating on the weekend!  On Wednesday, I will be starting my first year as a classroom teacher with my own classroom!  I am so excited, but I have lots of butterflies!  I found out I had the job teaching kindergarten 1 1/2 weeks ago and it has been such a whirlwind ever since!  There has been SO much to do.  My room was not a kindergarten room before, it is a newly created classroom due to high numbers.  When I walked into my room after I was hired it was filled with Title 1 materials that had to be moved and ZERO furniture for kindergarteners.  After nearly 2 weeks of hard, hard work and awesome help from my husband and co-workers, it is really shaping up!  Hopefully I will still have some time to blog occassionally over the coming year!

Monday:  Slow Cooker Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken over Rice & a Side Salad

Tuesday:  Open House at School!

Wednesday:  Tuscan Pasta with Tomato Basil Cream, French Bread, & Side Salad

Thursday:  Chicken Enchilada Soup, Tortilla Chips

Friday:  Celebrate making it through first week of school!

Saturday:  Grilled Ribeye Steak with Onion Blue Cheese Sauce, Rolls, & Corn on Cob

Sunday:  Beef & Broccoli, Egg Drop Soup, & Steamed Rice

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Monday: Tacos in a bag

Tuesday:   Chili Colorado Burritos, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Refried Beans, & Mexican Rice

Wednesday:  The Marlboro Man Sandwich, PW Style

Thursday:  Summer Corn Fettuccini 

Friday:  Pizza Night

Saturday:  Johnny Garlic's Cedar Planked Salmon, Potato Cubes, & Salad

Sunday:  Mongolian Beef, Egg Rolls, Rice, & Egg Drop Soup

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon with Honey Glaze

I am so lucky that all of my kids LOVE fish.  I try to make some variety of fish at least once a week.  I have a few very good salmon recipes that we love, Grilled Salmon, for example.  This recipe requires a little bit more work than that one {still very easy though} but it is worth the extra time.  I do believe that it may now be my favorite.

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon

1 1/2 pounds raw salmon, {I made 6 salmon fillets}
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
4 green onions, sliced
Sesame Ginger Honey Glaze, recipe below

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack over top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray. {I just used a baking dish for mine}.

In a large bowl or baking dish, combine olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar, brown sugar and whisk well until combined. Add salmon to the dish or place everything in a ziplock bag, then refrigerate and marinate for 30 minutes {or longer}.

Preheat the broiler in your oven. (Or preheat your grill, etc if you prefer to use something else.) {I baked mine at 400 for 20 minutes because I had foccacia going in the oven too}

Remove salmon with kitchen tongs and place directly on the wire rack. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper, then place directly under the broiler. Cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on the salmon’s thickness (our’s was just about an inch thick), until opaque and easily flakable with a fork. You can flip the salmon halfway through cooking if desired.

Remove and serve immediately, with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds, green onions and the glaze below.

Sesame Ginger Honey Glaze

1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour over salmon.

Source:  How Sweet Eats

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Easy Calzones

If I want a winning recipe, I often look to the Pioneer Woman.  She rocks, doesn't she?  I make pizza pretty much every other Friday night.  We love pizza, but I am easily bored and I need to keep lots of variety in my life.  On our last pizza night I got really wild and crazy and made PW's calzones instead of pizza.  They were pretty darn easy and very yummy!  I think that next time I might saute up some peppers/onions/etc. to throw in some of them.

Easy Calzones

16 whole Frozen, Unrisen Dinner Rolls (I Use Rhodes) Note: Can Also Use Frozen Bread Loaves.
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
1 pound Breakfast Or Italian Sausage
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
15 ounces, fluid Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1-1/2 cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese
2 whole Eggs
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Black Pepper To Taste
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley
Marinara Sauce, For Serving
1 whole Egg Beaten
Preparation Instructions

Place frozen rolls (or frozen bread loaves) on a baking sheet to thaw. Cover with a tea towel and let thaw and rise for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and allow to cook for a couple of minutes. Add sausage and cook until brown, crumbling the sausage as you stir. Add Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a plate.

In a separate bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, salt, pepper, and parsley. When sausage is cool, stir it in. Set aside.

When rolls are thawed and risen, roll them out on a lightly floured surface until paper thin. Spoon 3-4 tablespoons (approximately) filling onto half of the dough circle. Fold half of the dough over itself, then press edges to seal.

*Note: If you want a larger calzone, use frozen bread loaves and use about 1/4 to 1/3 of the loaf for each calzone.

Brush surface of calzone with beaten egg, then bake for 10-13 minutes, or until nice and golden brown. Serve with warm marinara sauce.

Source: Pioneer Woman

Pretzel Buns with Grilled Dogs & Spicy Cheese Sauce

Sometimes, I think we all crave something salty and delicious.  These pretzel dogs fit the bill perfectly when that craving hits.  I can't claim that they are super fast, but they aren't really that complicated either.  The main things is that the require planning ahead so you have enough time to make the pretzel buns {which are delicious}.  The original recipe called for beef hot dogs but I went the Polish Sausage route.  We are just not big hot dog people around here.  I say, use whatever your family prefers.

I would like to add, the cheese sauce for this is delicious.  Several of us enjoyed dipping our french fries in it as well. 

As you can see in my picture, my buns were a bit big...even for my sausages.  The original recipe made 8 pretzel buns.  I modified it below to 12 because I think that would leave them a better size for the dogs or sausages.  

Pretzel Buns with Grilled Dogs & Spicy Cheese Sauce

Spicy Cheese Sauce:
12 ounces pasteurized cheese food, such as Velveeta, chopped
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon diced pickled cherry peppers in jar
1 tablespoon diced pickled jalapenos
1 tablespoon pickled jalapeno juice
12 natural casing all-beef franks {I used Polish Sausages}
Sandwich Build:
12 Pretzel Hot Dog Buns, recipe below
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, chopped for garnish, optional

For the cheese sauce: Add the cheese cubes, milk, pickled cherry and jalapeno peppers and jalapeno juice to a small saucepot and cook over low heat until melted and combined, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally {I put this in a small dip sized crockpot while I was making the buns which worked great for me}.
For the franks: Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the franks on the grill pan, making sure to turn and char on all sides. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
For the sandwich build: Split the Pretzel Hot Dog Buns in half, nestle the grilled franks in their pretzel blankets, pour over some spicy cheese sauce and top with some pickled jalapenos if you like. Enjoy!
Pretzel Hot Dog Buns:
1 cup milk
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 packet active dry yeast
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small cloves garlic, grated
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup bread flour
1/2 cup baking soda
Pretzel salt or coarse ground sea salt, for sprinkling

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, 1/2 cup water, sugar and honey to 105 to 110 degrees F. Add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the water mixture and wait for at least 10 to 15 minutes until the yeast blooms.

In a separate saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and garlic and cook until the butter is melted and the garlic is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

Combine the all-purpose flour and bread flour in a mixing bowl.

Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the blooming yeast, and then add in the melted butter and garlic mixture. Mix on medium speed until the dough has come together and is smooth and elastic in texture and pulling away from the sides of the bowl, 5 to 7 minutes.

Line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board and form into a ball. Cut into 6 equal pieces, and then cut those in half to form 12 equal pieces. Using your hands, roll each piece into a ball and place onto a prepared baking sheet. Cover with a dish cloth and let them rest in a warm place for 12 to 15 minutes.

Once rested, lightly dust your work surface again and roll the balls into 7-inch logs. Place onto the other prepared baking sheet, cover, place back in the warm spot and let rest for an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place one oven rack high and one low. Line 2 more baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

In a large pot, bring 8 cups water to a boil, and then add the baking soda. In batches, place the dough in the water and cook for 30 seconds on each side.

Using a slotted spatula, remove the logs and place onto the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the logs with pretzel salt as they come out of the water, to ensure the salt sticks. Then cut 3 diagonal slits on top of the bread, not too deep.

Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, rotating between the top and bottom racks of the oven halfway through the cooking.

Source:  Jeff Murano, Food Network

Simply Delicious Beef Jerky

My boys love beef jerky.  OK, I love it too.  As a matter of fact, when my husband first met me I was a vegetarian....except for beef jerky;)  I buy bulk packages of it at Sams Club and it disappears.  It is expensive and I cannot afford that kind of beef jerky inhalation so I have been trying to come up with my own delicious recipes for a while now.  This one requires only simple ingredients that I usually have on hand and it is a winner.  The only other one that we have tried and liked as much was this Perfectly Spicy & Sweet Beef Jerky that I posted about a while ago {please excuse the terrible photo}.  I don't typically keep pineapple juice on hand so I don't always have the ingredients to make that one.  

Give this a try, you won't regret it!  If you don't have a dehydrator, you can dehydrate in your oven.  I have never done it but I am sure you can find some tutorials online!  

Simply Delicious Beef Jerky

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (e.g.
Tabasco™), or to taste 
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar

Stir together soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and hot pepper sauce in a bowl. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and sugar; stir until mixed.

To use, toss one pound of thinly sliced meat with the marinade until well coated. Place into a resealable plastic bag, and squeeze out the air. Marinate in the refrigerator for 48 hours, mixing twice. Remove meat from marinade, and discard excess marinade. 

Prepare jerky according to the manufacturer's directions of your dehydrator.

Savory Bacon & Egg Cupcakes

My kids can be so insanely picky when it comes to "new" breakfast foods.  My boys in particular, pretty much always balk at every new breakfast casserole that I try.  When we have a big breakfast, they want the old stand-by's: french toast, pancakes, waffles, and bacon and eggs.  When I made these bacon & egg cupcakes a few weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find that everyone really enjoyed them!  This is a great, easy way to serve breakfast to a crowd without spending all morning over the stove.  I will be making them again!  So simple, yet so delicious!

I apologize for my bad picture!

Savory Bacon & Egg Cupcakes
Makes 8 servings

16 slices bacon
can (16.3 oz) Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
Salt and pepper, if desired
Shredded Cheddar Cheese, optional  {I skipped it  but I might give it a try next time}

Heat oven to 350°F. In 10-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium heat about 4 minutes or until cooked but not crisp, turning once. (It will continue to cook in the oven.) Set aside.
Spray 8 jumbo muffin cups or 8 (6-oz) glass custard cups with cooking spray. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Place 1 biscuit in each muffin cup, pressing dough three-fourths of the way up sides of cups. Place 2 bacon slices in each biscuit cup, and crack an egg over each.  Top with a light sprinkling of cheese, if desired.  Season with salt and pepper.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until egg whites are set.  You might want to place a baking sheet on the rack under the muffin tin to catch any drips from the bacon.  

 Run a small knife around cups to loosen. Serve immediately.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Menu Plan

Just updating my menu plan for the remainder of this week and adding in next week!

Friday:  Hamburger Buns, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Things, Sliders with Chipotle Mayo

Saturday:   French Toast Bake & Sausage Links, Pizza Corner Pizzas

Sunday:   Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro Jalapeno Slaw

Monday:  Chicken Makhani, Naan, & Veggie

Tuesday:  Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon, Olive Focaccia, & Veggie

Wednesday:  Killer Club Sandwich & Amish Macaroni Salad

Thursday:  BBQ Chicken Quesadilla with Smoked Tomato Relish and Buttermilk Dressing

Friday:  Pizza Crust & Assorted Toppings

Saturday:   Clone of a Cinnnabon  Chicken Lo Mein 

Sunday:  Eggs Benedict  Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Chili Butter, Orzo with Parmesan and Basil, & Veggie

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Weekly Menu Plan

Monday:  Man Pleasing Chicken, Sundried Tomato Risotto, & Side Salad

Tuesday:  Hamburger Buns, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Things, Sliders with Chipotle Mayo

Wednesday:  Pretzel Buns with Grilled Dogs and Spicy Cheese Sauce, Fries, and Fruit

Thursday:   Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro Jalapeno Slaw & Chips

Friday:  Potato Oles & Tacos

Saturday: French Toast Bake Our Anniversary!

Sunday:  Chicken Makhani, Basmati Rice, & Veggie

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

July Menu Plan

A monthly menu plan!  Wow!  I haven't gotten one of these done in quite some time!  I want to spend less time shopping and more time enjoying summer so that was my inspiration:)  As always, I don't have many vegetable sides included because we will have whatever is ready in the garden and/or whatever looks good at the grocery store:)

1st:  French Toast Bake, Chicken Bacon Ranch Panini, Fresh Veggies, & Chips

2nd:  Leftovers
3rd:  Man Pleasing Chicken, Sundried Tomato Risotto
4th:  Best Steak Marinade in Existence, Bacon Onion Cheddar Biscuits, Parmesan Roasted Potatoes, Fruit Flag Kabobs, Fourth of July Cake
5th:  Easy Calzones
6th:  Eggs BenedictCrockpot Baked Potatoes, Broccoli Cheese Dip, Chili's Skillet Queso
7th:  Fresh Fruit SaladBreakfast Sausage Casserole, Hamburger Buns, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Things, Sliders with Chipotle Mayo
8th:  Clone of a Cinnnabon, Pretzel Buns with Grilled Dogs and Spicy Cheese Sauce

9th:  Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro Jalapeno Slaw
10th:  Chicken Makhani
11th:  Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon, Olive Focaccia
12th:  Leftovers
13th: Potato Oles & Tacos
14th:  Cheesy Ham & Hash Brown Breakfast CasseroleBBQ Chicken Quesadilla with Smoked Tomato Relish and Buttermilk Dressing
15th:  Our Anniversary!

16th:  Killer Club Sandwich & Amish Macaroni Salad
17th:  Chicken Lo Mein
18th:  Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Chili Butter, Orzo with Parmesan and Basil
19th:  Leftovers
20th:  Pizza Crust
21st:  Kade's Birthday
22nd:  Sloppy Joes

23rd;  Sweet & Spicy Bacon Chicken, Fresh Green Beans
24th:  Johnny Garlic's Cedar Planked Salmon
25th:  Cajun Chicken Pasta
26th:  Leftovers
27th:  Tacos in a Bag
28th:  Eggs in a Hole, Summer Corn Fettuccini 
29th:  Biscuits and GravyBeef Noodle Salad Bowls

30th:  Aussie Chicken, Oven Roasted Asparagus
31st:  The Marlboro Man Sandwich, PW Style

Misc. Snacks:
*Baseball Cookies, Cream Cheese Frosting
*Strawberry Shortcake Cake

*Limoncello and Proseco Cooler
*Rhubarb Slush
*Watermellon Frosty or Margarita
*Beer Margaritas

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crispy Shrimp Pasta

Here is a delicious dish easy enough for any weeknight meal!  We have had this several times and everyone from the kids to the dad around here really enjoy it!

Here are the ingredients you will need!  Pretty simple, huh?

Crispy Shrimp Pasta

16 oz fettuccine pasta
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp white pepper
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning (I really like Tony Chachere)
2 Tbsp. freshly minced chives

Cook pasta according to package directions. 

Sprinkle shrimp with salt, pepper, and toss to combine. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tbsp flour over the shrimp, and toss to coat the shrimp. Sprinkle 1 1/2 more tbsp flour and toss to evenly coat the shrimp. Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add the shrimp in a single layer and cook on each side, flipping once, until golden brown, approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to plate lined with paper towels. 

Pour in the chicken broth. Cook for about 5 minutes at high heat, whisking the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium and pour in cream, whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium heat until bubbly and the cream starts to thicken the mixture, about 5 minutes. Taste the sauce and add seasonings as desired (salt, pepper, cajun seasonings, etc.) Add the drained pasta to the sauce, and stir to combine.

To serve, place pasta mixture on plate.  Top with shrimp and minced chives.  

*If you have trouble getting the sauce to thicken, thoroughly mix 1 tbsp cornstarch with 4 tbsp cold water and add to the sauce. Sauce will thicken immediately.

Adapted From:  Kevin and Amanda

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cake Batter Martini

I saw a recipe for Cake Batter Martini's on pinterest a while back and it immediately caught my attention.  Cake Batter in drink form??  Heck ya!  I was intrigued by the cake batter vodka and I have been wanting to buy it for a while.  Hello, I LOVE all things cake batter!  In honor of my birthday tomorrow I decided to pick up the ingredients for this beauty to make for myself on my special day.  Only...I couldn't wait to try it so I am celebrating a day early!  

Give these a try, you won't regret it!  

Cake Batter Martini

Yield: 2 martinis (or 1 BIG one!)

3 ounces  Cake Vodka
3 ounces white/clear creme de cacao
2 ounces amaretto
2 ounces heavy whipping cream
1 ounce Godiva white chocolate liqueur
sprinkles (I used nonpareils)

Place sprinkles on a shallow plate that is a little larger than the mouth of your martini glass. Dampen a paper towel with whipping cream (or water) and wet the rims of the martini glasses. Dip glass into sprinkles to coat the edges.

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for about 30 seconds. Strain into martini glasses and drink!

Make ahead: For a big party, mix up a big bath of these martinis and store in a large pitcher in the fridge. Shake a glass at a time over ice whenever ready to serve!

Source:  The Novice Chef

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Spicy Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

I know this is not a "traditional" Gyro recipe but it is delicious and I will be making it again.  The spicy beef pairs SO deliciously with the tzatziki sauce.  Wrapped in the pita and covered with the tzatziki sauce, the beef became mellow enough for my 2 boys to enjoy it.  My daughter is much more sensitive to spicy foods and she choose to eat her Gyro sans meat.

Spicy Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

~~~~~~~~~Spicy Beef Kabobs~~~~~~~~~

2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
2 tablespoons water
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin, cut into 1/2
-inch cubes
10 wooden skewers, soaked in water
for 1 hour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Dissolve bouillon in water. Stir in the garlic, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Toss the meat in the marinade, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
2. Preheat a grill for high heat.
3. Skewer the beef cubes, using 6 to 8 pieces per skewer. Pour the oil onto a plate, and roll the skewers in it to coat them on all sides.
4. Grill the skewers, turning frequently, until the beef has turned light pink, 12 to 15 minutes. 

~~~~~~~~Greek Tzatziki Sauce~~~~~~~~

1 (32 ounce) container plain Greek yogurt
1/2 English cucumber with peel, grated
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper

1. Stir together yogurt, grated cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a bowl. Add lemon zest, dill, mint, salt, and pepper; whisk until smooth. Pour into a serving dish, cover tightly, and refrigerate 8 hours before serving.

Warm Pitas and top with Beef, Romaine Lettuce, Tomatoes, Red Onions, and Drizzle with Tzatziki Sauce.  Enjoy!!

Source: Adapted from allrecipes 

Linked up to Weekend Potluck!  Check it out!

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Do you want your kids to try and enjoy a veggie that you haven't had a much sucess getting them to eat in the past?  I will give you my advice...wrap bacon around it.  Heck, that is a good way to get me to eat my veggies up too!  The best part about this recipe is that it looks fancy but it is SO easy!

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Bundles

1 bunch of asparagus
salt and pepper
bacon strips

Lay strips of bacon flat on a paper towel lined plate.  Cover with another paper towel.  Precook bacon for 2-3 minutes.  You are not trying to cook the bacon all the way, you just want to get it started so that the asparagus does not overcook while you are trying to get the bacon to cook nicely.

Spray nonstick cooking spray on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bundle 3-4 asparagus spears together and wrap a slice of bacon around them.  Place them on the baking sheet.  Continue process until you have used all of your asparagus spears.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over bacon wrapped bundles.  

Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or bacon is done to your liking.  Enjoy!

Grilled Salmon

Finding delicious recipes that my entire family enjoys always makes me happy.  Especially when they are healthy!  This salmon recipe is all of the above and also EASY!  It is a great recipe to throw together and begin marinating whenever you have a minute.  It will be in the fridge ready to throw on the grill whenever your busy family is ready for dinner!  If you are like us it is not always easy to find time for the family to eat together between baseball games and other activities that we are always running our kids to!

Grilled Salmon

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
lemon pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste 
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil

1. Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.
2. In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
3. Preheat grill for medium heat.
4. Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Source:  Allrecipes

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Oreo Cake

I made this delicious cake to celebrate my favorite fathers on fathers day.  Make it for your next special won't regret it!  
Chocolate Oreo Cake

For cake:
2 c. sugar
1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. Hershey's Cocoa
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. boiling water
10-15 oreos twisted to separate cookies and reveal cream center
15 oreos, chopped directly in half through cookie

For icing:
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
2/3 c. Hershey's Cocoa
3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

For filling:
1/3 c. whipping cream
2 tsp powdered sugar
small dash vanilla extract
1/8 c. oreo cookie crumbs, made from reserved oreo sides

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 9-inch round baking pans, lining with parchment. -On one layer of cake, place cookie halves that have been separated into the bottom of one pan, cream side up.
-Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
-Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.
-Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
-Pour batter very carefully into prepared pans.
-Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
-Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans and place onto wire racks.
-Remove parchment and cool completely.

-Meanwhile, make frosting:
-Stir melted butter into cocoa.
-Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
-Add small amount additional milk, if needed. -Stir in vanilla. (About 2 cups frosting.)

-Meanwhile, make filling:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff.
-Gently fold in the cookie crumbs.
-Scoop the mixture into a piping bag (or gallon sized ziploc bag).
-When cake is completely cooled, make icing dam around the top edge of the layer of cake that has oreos baked into it.
-Fill icing dam with a layer of cream filling.
-Place other cake layer on top, and frost with chocolate frosting.
-Place oreo halves around bottom edge and top of cake.
-Serve or store in refrigerator.

Weekly Menu Plan

Tuesday:  Spaghetti Over Tortellini & Garlic Bread

Wednesday:  Firecracker Shrimp & The Best Macaroni Salad Ever

Thursday:  Sandwiches

Friday:  Taco Night

Saturday:  Jalapeno & Cheddar Buns, Brats, Sauerkraut, & Cake Batter Martini

Sunday:  Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Blue Cheese- Chive Butter, Onion Strings, & Corn on the Cob

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Champagne Feta Risotto

Here is an oldie, but goodie.  I was going to just update with a new, better picture but I ended up deleting the post in the process somehow.  GAH!  Anyway, it is delicious and I hope you try it!  It is a family favorite!

Champagne Feta Risotto

1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 (16-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
1/2 cup Champagne or white wine
2/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Bring the first 3 ingredients to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 3 minutes. Add rice; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in Champagne; cook 1 minute or until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in 1 cup broth mixture; cook for 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Stir in feta. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Summertime Tortellini Pasta Salad

Summertime Tortellini Pasta Salad

19 oz. bag cheese filled tortellini (I prefer the tri-colored)
Small Container Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
4 oz. can sliced black olives
1/2 large yellow bell pepper, diced
1/3 c. red onion, diced
1 c. Zesty Italian Dressing
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

Cook cheese tortellini according to package directions.  Drain and rinse under cold water.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours until chilled through.  


Linked to Weekend Potluck...check it out for lots of delicious recipes!

Weekly Menu Plan

Saturday:  Pork Medallions with Olive Caper Sauce & Champagne Feta Risotto

Sunday:  Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs

Monday:  Grilled Salmon & Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Tuesday:  Buffalo Chicken Garbage Bread & Salad

Wednesday:  Haitian Voodoo Sticks, Pita Bread, Greek Tzatziki Sauce

Thursday:  BLT Wraps, Fresh Fruit, Chips

Friday:  Chicken Bacon Artichoke Pizza & Pepperoni Pizza

Saturday:  Tex-Mex Burger with Cajun Mayo & Fries

Sunday:  Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Blue Cheese- Chive Butter, Onion Strings, Corn on the Cob, & Oreo Cake

Other:  Iced Coffee

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cafe Rio Chicken Wrap

I have never eaten at Cafe Rio.  There, I said it.  I have no idea if this is an accurate copycat recipe, all I can tell you is that it is DELICIOUS.  Just ask my husband, my arm is a little sore from patting my own back after making this dinner.  There are several components to this meal, but it is well worth the effort!

Cafe Rio Chicken 

2 lbs chicken breasts
1/2 cup zesty italian dressing
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 pkt ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup of water
1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin

Place chicken in a crock pot.

In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken.

Cook on High 5-6 hours OR on Low 8 hours.

Remove chicken from crock pot and shred.

Remove half the liquid from the crock pot and place in a bowl. Add the chicken to the crock pot and combine with the liquid left in the crock pot. You want the chicken nice and moist. Add more of the reserved liquid if needed.

Cafe Rio's Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
(I cut this in half which was plenty)

1 (1 ounce) package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup Mayo
1 large or 2 small tomatillos (they are green and by the tomatoes)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 to 1 small jalapeno, seeds removed 

Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor and store in the refrigerator to let the flavors meld. Beware that the dressing tends to get hotter the longer it sits.

Cafe Rio's Cilantro Lime Rice

2 Tablespoons butter 
pepper to taste
1 ¼ cup uncooked white rice
juice and zest 1 large or 2 small limes
2 ¼ cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cumin

In a skillet melt butter with rice. Add the chicken broth and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Pico De Gallo

5 plum tomatoes
1/2 large or small onion
3 jalapenos
lime juice
Quantities are approximate

Chop jalapenos, onion, and tomatoes in a very small dice. Leave seeds in your jalapenos for a hotter pico. Adjust the amount of jalapenos for your preferred temperature. Next, chop up a nice-sized bunch of cilantro. Disregard the long stems before chopping. Stir together. Add the juice of a half a lime and add salt to taste.

Source for everything except the chicken: The Girl Who Ate Everything

TO SERVE:  Top a flour tortilla with all of the above compenents!  Additional things that pair deliciously with this are black beans, guacamole, shredded cheese, and romaine lettuce!  Enjoy!


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