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!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

These were a hearty and easy main dish that everyone in my family really enjoyed.  We chose to use the sour cream as a topping, along with guacamole and salsa, instead of putting it inside the wraps.  

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 red or green pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a combination of monterey jack and sharp cheddar)
Sour cream (optional)

6 burrito-sized flour tortillas

Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla. (Optional: on some of the wraps, I dotted the cheese with about 1-2 tablespoons of reduced fat sour cream before arranging chicken and rice mixture down the center – it made the wraps delightfully creamy.) Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open. Spray the tortillas all over with cooking spray.

Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange wraps, seam-side down, in pan or griddle and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Cooking them seam-side down first helps seal the long edge so they don’t fall apart. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve warm

Onion Strings

Here is a delicious and easy side dish splurge that my family never seems to tire of.  They are SO much better than onion rings any day of the week!  

Onion Strings

1 whole Large Onion
2 cups Buttermilk
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon (scant) Salt
1/4 teaspoon (to 1/2 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
1 quart (to 2 Quarts) Canola Oil
Black Pepper To Taste

Slice onion very thin. Place in a baking dish and cover with buttermilk and soak for at least an hour.

Combine dry ingredients and set aside.

Heat oil to 375 degrees.

Grab a handful of onions, throw into the flour mixture, tap to shake off excess, and PLUNGE into hot oil. Fry for a few minutes and remove as soon as golden brown.

Repeat until onions are gone.

Serve plain, on salads, burgers, steaks, you name it!

Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs

I have a few new recipes that I would really like to get up here tonight!  This chicken marinade really hits the spot every single time.  It is a recipe I find myself making time and time again so I knew it was time to share it on my blog!  Give it a try!

Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ranch dressing
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice 
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to
1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste
5 skinless, boneless chicken breast
halves - cut into 1 inch cubes

In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Place chicken in the bowl, and stir to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  I like to let this marinate overnight to really let the chicken soak up the fantastic flavors of the marinade.

Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear.


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