Sunday, September 30, 2012

[Crockpot] Menu: October 1 - November 4

I love my crock pots (I have four to be exact). This month is going to be slightly different from the rest in that I'm going challenge myself to make all my meals (at least the main entrees) in the crock pot. I will be following a slightly different format this month of tex-mex, Italian, comfort food, soup/sandwich, and a miscellaneous dish each week.

October 1-7
October 4th is Cinnamon Roll Day in Sweden (and since I am 1/2 Swedish) I decided that I need to make cinnamon rolls (in the crockpot) for breakfast.
October 8-14
October 15-21
October 22-28
October 29-November 4
This is what my 6 qt. Crock Pot looks like. It was a wedding present. :o)  

Cake Mix Pumpkin Muffins

I usually make some sort of quick bread or muffin for Sunday morning breakfast as they make for a great on-the-go meal. I will admit sometimes it just takes too much time with measuring everything, so when I came across this recipe for pumpkin muffins using a boxed cake mix I just had to give it a try. They turned out really good and were definitely faster.

Mini Caramel Cheesecake

While searching for a good 2-person dessert recipe for our "Dinner at 8pm", I cam across Mini New York Cheesecake by Dessert for Two. Both Jared and I love cheesecake so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I'm glad that I did. They turned out very nice and it made for a delicious and simple dessert. Here is my take on this recipe.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Caprese Chicken with Balsamic Reduction

I saw this recipe on Pinterest by add a pinch for Caprese Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Reduction and immediately thought of using for one of my "Dinner at 8pm" projects. I was practically drooling looking at the pictures from the original recipe. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed when I made it! It was phenomenal! The salty Chicken, gooey cheese, fruity tomato, and zingy vinegar flavors melded together with a beautiful overtone of fresh basil to create a flavor that is out of this world. We thoroughly enjoyed it and I was pleased at how quickly the dish came together. Granted, I made a couple of changes since I forgot to grab charcoal when I was at the store. I totally blame it on "mommy brain"!

Dinner at 8pm (September)

We had our "Dinner at 8pm" last night and it was so nice. We had a delicious dinner and watched "The Princess Bride", which is one of our favorites. This meal would have easily cost us around $50 at a restaurant after gratuity, and that doesn't even include paying a sitter to watch 4 kiddos for a 3-4 hours. Here is what we had for dinner, and keep in mind that I try to use time-saving recipes. Sorry about the picture quality, I couldn't find the camera and had to use the one on my phone.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Skinny Caramel Latte

I thoroughly enjoy a good latte but don't make it to a coffee shop very often for one. The other day I decided to try making my own. It turned out pretty good and I enjoyed it in the peace and quiet while the kids played in the other room.

Black Bean (and Veggie) Soup

Topped with cheddar cheese, light sour cream, and salsa.
As I've mentioned, more times than I can count, our family loves Tex-Mex food, even Miss S. who is only 14 1/2 months gobbles it down. We also like most bean dishes (if they're homemade and not out of a can). I have made black bean and corn salsa, black beans and rice, and many other dishes, so last night I decided to attempt my own take on black bean soup. It turned out deliciously and everyone except Miss A and Miss S had second helpings. We serve it a bit like we have our chili - topped with light sour cream, shredded cheddar, salsa, and crumbled tortilla chips. Yummy!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

We're on Facebook

Menu Ideas is now on Facebook, so check us out on there! If you've got a menu question or would like a recipe suggestion "Like" us and ask away.

[$4] Lazy Day Casserole

We'd already started to dig in before I remembered to snap a photo. :o)
I decided  to try something new (and not on the menu) the other day. It has begun to get chilly at night here and I just wanted something warm, comforting, and easy for supper. I'd seen the recipe on Pinterest for lazy Sunday casserole, it looked and sounded delicious (and easy). And as the recipe said, "Casseroles are perfect for cool nights..."

I did vary the seasonings just a bit, and  as the original recipe said, "The vegetables may vary—depending on what’s in my fridge—but somehow there’s always sausage, potatoes and carrots... Just relax, kick back and let your oven do the work!" So that's what I did. :o) By the way, I had gotten all of the ingredients from my garden, or the store for cheap or free so the entire dish came out to roughly $3-$4.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

[Southwest] Sour Cream Pork Chops with Vidalia Onions

Sour cream pork chops with vidalia onions, 
green beans, artichokes, and baby reds.
I love Vidalias and so I try to utilize them in every way possible during their growing season. During this year's Vidalia season, I tried a couple of new recipes. One was for roasted vidalia onions with herbed bread crumbs and the other was for sour cream pork chops with vidalia onions. They were both DELICIOUS! And I am finally getting this posted. :o)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Help! October Crockpot Menu Ideas

I am planning to attempt something I've never done before...a WHOLE month of solely crockpot meals. I'm getting lots of ideas from Pinterest but would LOVE to have some of your family favorites. Please comment with a link or recipe.

Menu: September 3-30

The new format for a monthly menu seems to be working fairly well for us. I am going to try it again this month to see how things go.

September 3-9
We are watching 4 of my nieces overnight (Friday/Saturday) so we're planning some fun meals.
  • Happy Labor Day Grilling - It is tradition around here to grill out on most holidays (including the ones where we have 2' of snow outside) and this is no exception - brats/hot dogs, potatoes, mixed veggies, corn on the cob, and most likely a jello salad
  • Comfort Food - Chicken stir fry over rice (I know this is not your "traditional" comfort food but to me it is)
  • With it being the first night of King's Kids at church, we may opt to have leftovers or eat out. 
  • Salad - Southwest grilled chicken salad - grilled chicken, black beans, red pepper strips, tortilla strips, corn kernels, red onions, fiesta blend cheese and still deciding on a dressing recipe
  • Tex-Mex - Tacos and black beans with rice
  • Soup/Sandwich - Subs, French fries, and fresh fruit
  • Italian/Pasta - Spaghetti, mixed veggies, side salad, and French bread
September 10-16
  • Breakfast for Dinner - Western Omelets and American fries
  • Tex-Mex - Stuffed peppers
  • Italian - Pizza (Caprese, veggie, and sausage/black olive stuffed crust)
  • Comfort Food - Chicken Pot Pie (I froze a second pie last month)
  • Salad - Simple Italian Pasta Salad (rotini, grilled chicken, olives, cherry tomatoes, peppers, onions, homemade garlic herb dressing, etc.)
  • Leftovers
  • Soup/Sandwich - Pulled pork and slaw and fresh fruit
September 17-23
  • Sandwich - Chicken salad sandwiches and veggie tray
  • Tex-Mex - Fajitas
  • Italian/Pasta - Calzones and salad
  • Comfort Food - Jambalaya
  • Night Out - Jared is attending a seminar and I'm spending the day with my sister and her family, then out for dinner with friends. 
  • Grilling - We've got a college/career's group activity and will be grilling steaks, baking potatoes in the crockpot, and enjoying some fresh veggies.
  • Salad - Grilled chicken salad bar and fruit salad
September 24-30