Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Week 42 Menu (January 31-February 6)

After getting the menu done late every week for the past month or two, I figured I would just finish the menu while making up my shopping list.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Week 41 Menu (January 24-30)

Christmas break has ended and now we are back to the grind of the hubby being at work 5 days a week (10 hours a day), then class 3 nights a week (2 1/2 hour classes). Thankfully, he will be done with his Associates degree after this semester. Woohoo!!! Anyway, I am planning meals around classes, which definitely means we are back to leftovers for sure 2 nights a week and a crockpot or make-the-day-before type dish on Wednesdays (the only day I work away from home and the hubby's midweek class). I usually bring my crockpot to work (I am the only employee beside the owner) and "make" dinner while I'm there. Here is my first menu of the spring semester.
  • Homemade Pizza - Sausage, peppers, onions, black olives, and mushrooms.
  • Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Breast (purchased premarinated) and Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil
  • White Chicken Chili (This is my Crock Pot meal for the week)
  • The Farmer's Omelet and Hashbrowns - when the hubby and I first moved to our current home, there was this little restaurant in town that was only open for breakfast and lunch (like 7am-2pm). We finally got a chance to stop in for brunch one Saturday morning and from that point on, we were hooked. They served this dish called the "Farmer's Omelet" which was a 3-egg omelet stuffed to overflowing with strips of skirt steak, sautéd mushrooms, onions, and, I believe, Monterey Jack cheese. Shortly before our 2nd child was born they had to close their doors. I happened to be thinking of this dish as I was looking through the grocery flyers for this week (eggs were on sale). So I will be attempting this for dinner. I will add some red bell peppers to the omelet and may skip the steak (still deciding). I have a tendency to overcook eggs so it will definitely be a challenge for me.
  • Broccoli & Rice Casserole (leftover broccoli, rice, ham or chicken, cheese, and homemade or canned condensed cream soup)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

This is a recipe that one of the girls in our college group and I made up on Saturday. It turned out really yummy:o)

1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. butter
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
3 c. oatmeal
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 c. half-n-half
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 c. peanuts, roughly chopped
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together peanut butter, butter, sugar, and eggs. Add oatmeal and vanilla.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together salt, soda, and flour. Add to creamed mixture 1 cup at a time. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Press onto a large cookie sheet or pizza pan until 1/2" thick. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
  4. In a double boiler, heat half-n-half until warm. Add chocolate chips, stir continually till smooth. Remove from heat; add butter and vanilla, stir till smooth.
  5. Place chocolate sauce in a quart-sized ziptop bag, close tightly and cut of one corner (to create a makeshift piping bag). Drizzle over the cookie and then sprinkle the chopped nuts on top. Let cool 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week 40 Menu (January 17-23)

I will be using up some leftover turkey this week as I made a 12lb. turkey last week and it was WAY too much for just 4 people to eat.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tex-Mex Cheeseburgers

The hubby came up with this recipe the other day and we really enjoyed it. The big test of success in our house is whether or not the kiddos like dinner and they definitely did!

2 lb. ground beef (we'd suggest 80% lean)
1/3 cup salsa (either medium or hot)
1 package taco seasoning
1 can sliced black olives
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend, your preference)
Soft Taco shells (2 for each burger)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the beef, salsa, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper; form into 1/4"-1/2" thick by 4"-5" diameter burgers (the thinner and rounder the better). Grill, fry, etc. the burgers to your liking. Top one taco shell with cheese olives, a burger, and another taco shell. Bake or fry till cheese melts and shell crisps up just a bit.

Week 39 Menu (January 10-16)

I just realized that I never posted this week's menu, sorry...
  • Steak (and beef hot dogs) with onions and mushrooms, roast baby reds, corn, dinner rolls, and birthday cake (assorted snack foods - carrots and dip, crackers and cheese, etc.) - it was our oldest boy's 3rd birthday so we had a few people over for lunch after church (and to watch the Packer game).
  • Fajitas - The hubby is a HUGE fan of Mexican food, so I used the leftover steak to make these. I will try to get a recipe posted.
  • Spaghetti, corn, dinner rolls, and a side salad.
  • Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, broccoli (my kids LOVE it) and dinner rolls (3rd time's the charm - I've put turkey on the menu 3 different time and each week was either sick or forget to take the turkey out of the freezer in time).
  • Pizza (Homemade Pizza) - I will actually be picking up pizza, as we are having the college/career's group over. I know this was on last week's menu, but we opted to move the activity from last weekend to this. I have posted the changes to last week's menu as a comment to its post.
I have already started on next week's menu, so I'm hoping to post it later today or early tomorrow.

Kitchen Fire Tips

My MIL emailed this video to me. Being we have a gas stove, I thought the wet washcloth tip was a very good idea. We also keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen near the stove as an added precaution.

Here is some other info/tips from the same email:

At the Fire Fighting Training school they would demonstrate this with a deep fat fryer set on the fire field. An instructor would don a fire suit and using an 8 oz cup at the end of a 10-foot pole toss water onto the grease fire. The results got the attention of the students.

The water, being heavier than oil, sinks to the bottom where it instantly becomes superheated. The explosive force of the steam blows the burning oil up and out. On the open field, it became a thirty foot high fireball that resembled a nuclear blast. Inside the confines of a kitchen, the fire ball hits the ceiling and fills the entire room.

Also, do not throw sugar or flour on a grease fire. One cup of either creates the explosive force of two sticks of dynamite.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Week 38 Menu (January 3-9)

This week will be pretty hectic for me so I'm trying to do some easy prep meals. We are in the process of remodeling our living and dining rooms (we have an open-concept house where the living and dining rooms just flow into each other without a wall to separate them, which made it almost necessary to remodel both rooms at the same time). It is our oldest son's birthday this week and he will be "3" (WOW how the time flies!) and he has requested that I make him a Super Why cake (we'll see how that turns out). We will also be hosting our college/career's group on Saturday and I'm really hoping we can finish up most, if not all, of the the remodel by then. O
  • Chicken Alfredo, French bread, and a side salad (both the hubby and I are working at losing weight, so I will be using 1 cup of 2% milk and 1 cup of half-n-half for the Alfredo sauce).

  • Tacos and Mexican Rice - The hubby is a HUGE fan of Mexican food

  • Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, glazed baby carrots and fresh bread (made Tex-Mex Cheeseburgers instead because I forgot to take the turkey out of the freezer in time)

  • "Dreaming of a White Christmas" Soup (Made chili with the leftover taco meat instead)

  • Homemade Pizza - I will be making a few different kinds of pizza, as we are having the college/career's group over. (Took the munchkins out for R's 3rd birthday instead)
Also, our grocery store had an abundance of over-ripe bananas on sale this week so I picked up enough for 5 batches of banana bread. I will be freezing 2 batches worth of bananas and then baking up 3 batches of muffins/breads for the freezer. They make for a yummy breakfast/snack on the go.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"Dreaming of a White Christmas" Soup

This is a recipe that I found for making "Jar Mixes" as gifts. I gave one to my parents for Christmas last year and my mom said it was really good.

1 package (2.75 ounces) country gravy mix
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
2 tablespoons dried celery flakes
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
2 1/2 to 3 cups uncooked wide egg noodles or other pasta

Pour gravy mix into wide-mouth quart jar. In small bowl, stir together bouillon granules, onion, celery and parsley. Pour into jar to make second layer. Add noodles. Close with lid; attach gift tag and decorate.

Attach a recipe card that says:
Empty contents of jar into a 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven. Add 8 cups water; heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to medium; add one 10-ounce or two 6-ounce cans cooked and chopped chicken. Cover and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally. Makes 8 servings.

I am going to try this recipe with the following changes (so I don't have to make up the jar first):
  • 1 package (2.75 ounces) country gravy mix
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules (I will substitute 6 cups of chicken broth for the bouillon and only use 2 cups of water instead of 8 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion (I will add 1/2 a large onion, minced)
  • 2 tablespoons dried celery flakes (I will use fresh celery, minced)
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups uncooked wide egg noodles or other pasta
  • I will substitute leftover roast turkey for the canned chicken
Want a few more jar mix recipes? Check out