Sunday, December 26, 2010

Menu Plan - Week of 12-27-10

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday weekend!

So this week, we have quite a change of pace. My husband is starting a new diet. Very high protein and veggies and "protein packets" which are purchased through the plan.  At the same time, I would like to start a low-calorie diet where I attempt to keep my calories between 1200 - 1400 per day.  So there will be a lot of veggies in my menus as well. My son is 18 months, he doesn't have to worry about this - but I will be happy to show him happy eating habits. 

My initial goal will be to get back to pre-baby weight.  I have not weighed myself since Thanksgiving, so we'll have to see how bad it is starting next Monday! 
Here is this week's plan:

Lunches:  Salads w/grilled chicken
Snacks:  Yogurt, veggies (red pepper slices, broccoli, cucumber) with light ranch dip

Monday - Chicken Quesadillas
Tuesday - Cheeseburgers (no bun), green salad
Wednesday - Steaks, green salad
Thursday - Parmesan Tilapia, rice, veggies
Friday - Roast Beef, veggies

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Menu Plan - Week of 12-20-10

Monday - Potatoes, Roast, Carrots
Tuesday - Breaded Chicken Breasts, Cheesy Rice, Sugar Snap Peas
Wednesday - Pork Chops, Potato Gratin, Green Beans
Thursday - Chicken Quesadillas with toppings
Christmas Eve - Steaks, Twice Baked Potatoes, Side Salads, Beefhouse rolls with herbed butter

Holiday Food/Drinks:  Mulled Wine

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pizza Dough

We've tried this a couple times now, and it is the recipe that has worked for us both times. It's really close to my grandma's recipe too that we've made at home for years.

Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

2-3/4 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup warm water (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F)
2 Tbsp. cooking oil or olive oil

1. In a large mixing bowl combine 1-1/4 cups of the flour, the yeast, and salt; add warm water and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can. (Alternatively, use the dough hook and let your mixer do all the work!)

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total) . Divide dough into 8 pieces. Cover; let rest for 10 minutes. Makes 8 mini pizzas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Spiced Brown Sugar Cut-Out Cookies

From Annie's Eats. Annie makes such delicious food! 

When making these, I actually chilled them overnight because I got tired... and they took a really long time to come back to room temperature - like 3 hours! But they rolled and baked up just fine so that would work for you as well.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. allspice
½ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, brown sugar and butter. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Blend in the egg and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Form the dough into a ball or disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 30-60 minutes.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to form desired shapes and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Menu Plan - Week of 12-13-10

Hello!  We are getting closer and closer to Christmas - can you feel it in the air!?  I know I can.  Here's the plan for the week - we do have one Christmas party to attend this Saturday, other than that, just a normal week for us. Oh, and a final on Tuesday for me... da da DAAAA!

Monday - PW Fettucine Alfredo
Tuesday - Cran-Orange Turkey Bagels
Wednesday - Beef with Snow Peas over rice
Thursday - Steak, Baked Potatoes
Friday - Homemade Pizza

Weekend Food:
Corn Dog Muffins

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nutty Chicken Salad

This is my current go-to recipe for Chicken Salad. My husband likes it, and I do too - it adds a little sweetness with the apple and crunch with the almonds. I won't take a picture (yet) because Chicken Salad just doesn't photograph well unless it's on the sandwich.

And honestly, I just use this recipe as a guide. I used 2 chicken breasts, no celery, no garlic, a golden delicious apple, relish, mustard, salt & pepper, and mayo this time. If it were just me, I would add the garlic and red pepper... and in fact I might yet:-) My husband doesn't like those as well - but they add a nice contrast that he might be missing. 

Courtesy of

3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 stalk celery
1 onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
4 eggs
1 large red apple, diced
6 small sweet pickles, diced
1 (3 ounce) package sliced almonds
salt and pepper to taste
crushed red pepper to taste
1/4 cup mayonnaise

1.Over medium-high heat, bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add chicken, celery, a slice of the onion, and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour.
2.Chop remaining onion and set aside.
3.Place egg in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.
4.Drain chicken, discarding boiled vegetables. Chop chicken when cool.
5.In a medium bowl, mix the apple, onion, pickles, almond and salt, if desired. Add black and red pepper to taste. Stir in enough mayonnaise until the mixture sticks together well.
6.Cover a serving dish with lettuce leaves. Mound the chicken salad in the middle, and sprinkle with additional almonds, if desired. Serve with crackers.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Peppermint Kisses

These are so delicious! I love peppermint cookies, and I love sugar cookies. The "candy cane flour" was a little odd to try and put together - I am not a huge fan of all the time it takes to unwrap and smash those candy canes, but they tasted so good!  Enjoy:

From Sing for Your Supper
~basically just an embellished adaptation of Dorie Greenspan’s “Grandma’s All-Occasion Sugar Cookies”

Cookie Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup candy cane flour**
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

crushed peppermints, for garnish (about 1/2 cup)
6 ounces (3 squares) white chocolate flavored almond bark or candy coating

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

2. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and candy cane flour together.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably one fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for a minute or so, until smooth. Beat in the sugar and continue to beat for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is light and pale. Add the egg and yolk and beat for another minute or two; beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and steadily add the flour mixture, mixing only until it has been incorporated. When mixed, the dough will be soft, creamy, and malleable.

3. Drop the dough onto the baking sheets by rounded spoonfuls.
Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating the sheets at the midpoint. The cookies should feel firm, but they should not color much, if at all. Cool completely.

4. Heat the almond bark in the microwave in 30-second intervals until melted and creamy. Drizzle over the cooled cookies (I used a ziploc bag with the tip snipped off, but you could also just drizzle with a spoon), then sprinkle with the crushed peppermints.
Makes about 40 cookies.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

My Mom always made these cookies for us growing up. There really was never a time that we didn't either have these in the house, or weren't making them sometime soon! Now that we're all grown up, I like to make these at my house. I still go back to Mom and Dad's, and Mom has started to keep these in the freezer - my Dad likes them frozen as well! 

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do:

2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp water
2 eggs
12-oz pkg chocolate chips (or to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt; set aside.
2. Combine margarine, shortening, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, water; beat til creamy. Beat in eggs. Add flour mixture; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Drop by well-rounded half teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

Note - you can use margarine or shortening, but the combination above - 1/2 & 1/2 - makes these cookies just the right mix of flat and fluffy.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Menu Plan - Week of 12-6-10

This week's menu will be concentrating on the items that I've scheduled and not yet made.... and those that will use up the pounds of beef still in our deep freeze while we prepare for another round here in a month!

Monday - Beef Tips & Noodles, green beans, rolls
Tuesday - Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin, mixed veggies,
Wednesday - Sloppy Joe, French Fries, Corn
Thursday - Steak, Baked Potatoes, mixed veggies
Friday - Baked Ravioli, side salads

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday weekend! It went by way too quickly for everyone in this household!

Here is our menu for this week.

Monday - Roast, potatoes, carrots
Tuesday - Shredded Beef Tacos (leftover from roast)
Wednesday - Meat Loaf, mashed potatoes, corn
Thursday - Pioneer Woman Chicken Scallopine over linguine
Friday - Homemade pizza

Weekend Food -
English Muffin Egg Casserole
Double Tomato Bruschetta

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls


From a fabulous website - Our Best Bites

Easy and hopefully will be delicious for tomorrow's pre-Thanksgiving work!

Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted by Our Best Bites from Allrecipes

1 cup milk
4 Tbs butter, cut into chunks
3 1/4 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 C powdered sugar
2 T melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbs milk

Dough: Place milk and 4 Tbs butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. Butter should be at least partially melted. Stir and set aside. In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 C flour, yeast, white sugar, and salt. When milk mixture has cooled to warm (not hot) add it to the flour mixture along with the egg while the beater (paddle attachment for those using a stand mixer) is running. Beat until well combined, about 1 minute. (Switch to the dough hook now) Add remaining flour only until dough barely leaves the sides of the bowl. It should be very soft and slightly sticky. Continue to let the dough knead for 5 minutes. If you are not using a stand mixer, turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 5 minutes by hand. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and let rest for about 10 minutes while you make the filling.

Filling: make sure butter is softened well. Mix with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Assembly: Roll dough into a rectangle about 12 x 14 inches. Spread brown sugar mixture (it will be slightly thick, you might have to "crumble" it) over the surface and use your fingers or the back of a spoon to gently spread around. Roll up from the longer side of the rectangle and pinch edges closed. Score the roll into 12 equal pieces and then cut into rolls. Place in a 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover pan with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. In the mean time, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

When rolls have finished rising bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. If desired spread with icing while still warm. Makes 12 rolls.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chocolate Mint M&M Cookies

I do believe it's time to start making some Christmas cookies! I've been seeing some absolutely delicious ones come across the blogs.  Here is one that I made today, with my son who was home from daycare sick. I found this recipe here.

These would also be delicious with both white chocolate and dark chocolate chunks in them in place of the M&M's!  I did read a tip that had honestly never even occured to me before - when you're making drop cookies with chips, M&M's, or any kind of filler in them - save a littel and press it into the tops of the cookies. They're just prettier!

1 1/4 c. butter or light butter spread
2 c. flour
1 c. light brown sugar, packed
3/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. cocoa
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 (9.5 oz) bag Mint M&M's, or about 1 1/2 cups

cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy

beat in eggs one at a time

add vanilla

add cocoa, salt and baking soda until well blended

beat in flour

fold in candies

chill dough for one hour up to overnight

drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheet

bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes - cookies will be puffed up, but centers will appear slightly under-baked

allow to cool on sheet for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks for further cooling

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I cannot wait for this week to be here! Celebrations with family and friends... so much fun, and such good food at every place.  I hope everyone out there has a fantastic holiday week.

Monday - Cheese stuffed burgers, french fries, mixed veggies
Tuesday - Beef Tips with Noodles, green beans, crescent rolls
Wednesday - Chicken Quesadillas, sour cream & salsa toppings
Thursday - Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday - Leftovers with the family

Hot Ham & Cheese Slices

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gifts to make for Christmas

I have been searching for gifts to make this season, as we are rather strapped for cash this time around. We have notified our families that we will not be participating in the Christmas exchanges this year - they all added up and we just don't have the cash for everything.  And, after all, Christmas is about sharing time with each other, not trying to find ways to get large amounts of presents.

But I have seen some great ides on blogs lately!  Here are some I would like to attempt this Christmas:

Hot Chocolate Gift Tins
Butter Croissants
Vanilla Extract
Cinnamon Rolls
Smores in a Jar
Chai Tea Mix in a Jar
Vanilla Spiced Pear Butter
Monogrammed Canvas Bag

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I took this recipe from Budget Bytes, adapted from Joy of Cooking.  It was delicious. I made a few changes, but nothing substantial. It's so good - and mine was certainly spicy!  Husband and toddler did not eat it, but I'm going to attempt freezing it to see how well that works.  I ended up omitting the celery (not a fan), and replacing peppers and tomatoes with diced tomatoes with chiles.  Hot, hot, hot!

1 lb. cooked chicken
1 lb. smoked sausage (I used turkey sausage)
4 cloves garlic
12 oz. seasoning mix
(onion, bell pepper, celery) - I only used onion that I had in the freezer
2 cups long grain rice
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3.5 cups water
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes - I used tomatoes with chiles
2 whole bay leaves - oops, didn't have
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 bunch parsley
to taste salt and pepper

STEP 1: Slice the sausage and cook in a large pot over medium heat until thoroughly cooked (about 5 minutes). Don't worry if the drippings begin to stick and coat the bottom of the pan, it will be deglazed later. Remove the cooked meat (leaving the fat/drippings in the pan) and set it aside for later.

STEP 2: Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic to the pot with the meat drippings and cook until soft (about 3-5 minutes). The moisture from the vegetables should loosen anything stuck to the bottom of the pan from the meat (all of that flavorful good stuff).

STEP 3: Once the vegetables have softened, add the dry rice, cayenne pepper and tomato paste. Stir it all together and cook for approximately 1 minute more. This will allow the tomato paste to caramelize and the rice to toast just slightly.

STEP 4: Add 3.5 cups of water, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, fresh cracked pepper (about 20 cranks) and salt (about 1/2 tsp). Stir it together, then add the meat back into the pot. Bring it up to a simmer, add a lid and reduce the heat to low. Allow the pot to simmer on low until all of the moisture has been absorbed by the rice (about 30 minutes). Stir in the chopped parsley and serve.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Season Treats

I'm forever gathering recipes for cookies, drinks, and savory treats to enjoy in the holiday season.  Here are a few I am planning to try this year (diet be damned!):

Cinnamon Chocolate Minties
Mini Cinnamon Roll Cookies
Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Chocolate Mint M&M Cookies see review & post here
Chocolate Covered Oreos
Iced Sugar Cookies
Sprinkled Crumbly Sugar Cookies

Warm Cranberry Wassail

Crab & Cheese Spirals (made for Thanksgiving appetizer - delicious but very rich)
Hot Antipasto Sandwiches
Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Roasted Cinnamon Pear Bruschetta

Photo Credit

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Apple Crisp

Now this is the kind of apple crisp I remember my Mom making!  No oats, no weirdness, just plain apples, sugars, and butters.  So yummy.  I found this on What Megan's Making and I had to have it! The picture is a little funny - I couldn't wait to eat it so it was too hot and liquidy! But the taste was just perfect.


5 or 6 apples, cored and sliced
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened

Mix apple slices with white sugar and cinnamon. Put in bottom of a greased 8x8 pan. Combine flour, brown sugar and butter with a fork until crumbly. Put on top of apple mixture and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Happy weekend! 

Our menu planning this weekend will serve to use up even more of our beef that's in the freezer - in a healthy way!

Monday - Lasagna Rolls - beef for hubbie, spinach for me (put together on the weekend)
Tuesday - Creamy Pasta & Sausage, Veggies
Wednesday - Easy Slow Cooker Beef & Mushrooms over egg noodles (whole wheat?) Notes: replace cream of mushroom with beef broth & cornstarch
Thursday - Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin, Veggies, Roasted Red Potatoes
Friday - Steak, Twice Baked Potatoes, Veggies

Weekend Food:
Crockpot Breakfast Casserole
Light No Bake Graham Cracker Cheesecake

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ham & Cheese Sliders

These were a perfect Sunday treat while we watched football.  So good! I didn't have any poppy seeds, so we omitted those but they were still delicious! I also omitted the mayo on the rolls, and it was perfect.

Courtesy of Annie's Eats

For the sandwiches:
24 slider rolls (I used Hawaiian rolls)
24 slices honey ham
24 small slices Swiss cheese

For the sauce:
1½ tbsp. yellow mustard
8 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tbsp. finely minced onion (or 2 tsp. dried minced onion)
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Poppy seeds, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Split the slider rolls and spread the insides lightly with mayonnaise. Fold a slice of ham to fit on each slider bun, and top with a slice of Swiss cheese. Replace the top bun to assemble the sandwiches. Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet.

To make the sauce, combine all ingredients except the poppy seeds in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle the sauce over the tops of the slider buns. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cover with foil and bake 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Remove the foil and bake 2 minutes longer. Serve warm.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Hello!  This week's menu is...

Monday - Sloppy Joe, Veggies,
Tuesday - Jambalaya!
Wednesday - Frozen Pizza
Thursday - Steaks & Twice Baked Potatoes, veggies
Friday - Sweet & Sour Chicken, Rice, "bought" egg rolls, veggies

Weekend Food:
Chicken Fajita Quesadillas
Ham & Cheese Sliders

For more menu plans, please visit!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pioneer Woman Fettucine Alfredo

This alfredo sauce was very good and easy!  And, I am sure, so bad for you!  Make it, you will not regret it (although you may have to make salads the rest of the week to make up for it)!  We made half a batch and stuffed ourselves on it - way more than enough for the two of us (plus a toddler).

By the way, who knew that freshly grated parmesan cheese is so good? This week is the first time in my life I've actually bought REAL parmesan cheese and grated it on a grater, and we've all been munching on it before it made its way into the alfredo sauce. It's SO GOOD!  No more parmesan powder in this household! And none of that nasty pre-packaged parmesan either!

Recipe courtesy of my current favorite: Pioneer Woman

1 pound Fettuccine Noodles
1 stick Butter
1 cup Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 cups Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preparation Instructions
Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a saucepan or skillet, warm butter and cream. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Grate Parmesan cheese and place half of it into a large serving bowl. Pour warm butter/cream mixture over the top.

Drain pasta and immediately pour it into the bowl.
Toss a couple of times, then sprinkle in the other half of the Parmesan.

Toss to combine, thinning with pasta water if necessary.
Serve immediately as a main course or accompaniment to meat or salad.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pioneer Woman Potatoes Au Grautin

These were so tasty!  And, like every other Pioneer Woman recipe I have tried, simple to make. 

Here is the recipe:

4 whole Russet Potatoes, Scrubbed Clean (I used 6 rather small potatoes)
2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened (I really only needed about 1 TBSP)
1-½ cup Heavy Cream
½ cups Whole Milk
2 Tablespoons Flour
4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced (I love garlic, however my husband would probably have liked less!)
1 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Freshly Grated

Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Smear softened butter all over the bottom of a baking dish.

Slice potatoes, then cut slices into fourths.

In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, milk, flour, minced garlic, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes.

Repeat this two more times, ending with the cream mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and really bubbling. Add grated cheese to the top of the potatoes and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving by the spoonful. Delicious!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Mummy Dogs

Halloween Mummy Dogs

I found this recipe on Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen and thought it was perfect for our fun weekend!  I used 8 turkey dogs instead of hot dogs and just had 4 leftover breadsticks in the package.

Here is the recipe:
•1 package 11 Oz Pillsbury Breadstick Dough
•12 whole Hot Dogs
•Cooking Spray
•Optional Garnish: Mustard And Ketchup

Preparation Instructions
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Unroll dough and separate at perforations creating 12 strips. With knife or pizza cutter, cut each bread stick in half making two thinner strips of dough. You will now have 24 strips of thin bread sticks. Wrap 2 strips of dough around each hot dog to look like “bandages,” stretching dough slightly to completely cover hot dog.

About 1/2 inch from one end of each hot dog, separate “bandages” so hot dog shows through for the “face.” Place mummy dogs on a large baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until dough is light golden brown. When done let cool a bit and add some mustard eyes. I used a toothpick and dipped it into the mustard.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Good morning!  Welcome to another Menu Plan Monday!  Last week's budget wasn't awful. $15 at Target and $68 at Meijer.  It unfortunately wasn't my $50 goal either. I'm really going to have to work at it if we stick to that.

We have been a bit behind on our meal plans. Here is what last week's menu looked like (and what we really ate!):

Monday - Steak Fajitas (made with round steak) Chicken Enchiladas (Review: easy, husband enjoyed it, but the canned enchilada sauce grosses me out.  Will not make again without changing the sauce)
Tuesday - Sloppy Joes, Pioneer Woman Potatoes Au Grautin (Review: delicious potatoes!  Will be adding the recipe soon.  Added mixed veggies to the menu also)
Wednesday - Balsamic Chicken & Linguine We decided to make it a make-your-own kind of night. Jeremy had Totino's, I had turkey and swiss stuffed crescent rolls, and Calvin had veggies and cheese tortellini with red sauce.  Yum!  I need to do this more often!
Thursday - Pioneer Woman Steak Bites, Cheesy Garlic Risotto Balsamic Chicken & Linguine.  Delicious and easy.
Friday - Pioneer Woman Chicken Scallopine Pioneer Woman Steak Bites, Cheesy Garlic Risotto - YUM! To both.

Based on all of that, we need a week or two to eat everything I have planned but have not actually made for one reason or another. Here is the menu this week:
Mexican Monday - Steak Fajitas (made with round steak)
Comfort Food Tuesday - Cheesy ham & pasta bake
Make-Your-Own Wednesday - Leftovers, frozen foods, etc...
I'm-Ready-for-the-Weekend Thursday - Sausage & Mushroom Pizza (frozen pizza dough, frozen cooked sausage & fresh mushroom)
Thank-God-It's-Friday - Cheeseburgers, Fries, Veggies

And here is the grocery list for this weekend:
Grocery List
Milk (2) $5.00
Bananas $1.00
Buns $1.00
Mozzerella (2) $3.00
Green Pepper $1.00
Eggs $1.00
Cheese $2.50
Peanut Butter $3.00
Jelly $3.00
Sausage $2.50
Chicken $5.00
Cream $1.50
Zip loc bags $3.00
Cereal $3.00
1 lb lunchmeat $5.00
Bread (2) $3.00
Frozen Pizzas $5.00

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Turkey & Swiss Crescent Rolls

I put these together tonight for a very quick dinner when we wanted something light. 

Crescent Rolls (large can)
Deli Sliced Turkey
Swiss Cheese

Prepare crescent rolls as per package directions, but lay turkey and swiss slices on the crescent dough before rolling the crescent rolls.  Bake as directed and enjoy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Last week I had a $50 budget. And a husband that went shopping with me.... disaster!  We spent $96 on groceries, which included $25 for Halloween candy (good grief!) and $14 on my husband's snacks, which would not have ended up in the cart if he wasn't with me... I do have to add that I was back to the store on Saturday for a few more items that we missed, spending an additional $16 on groceries.  Ridiculous.  I do think it made a difference that we were both home all weekend, which rarely happens, and as such we did not take advantage of home-cooked meals from either my parent's or my husband's, and we did not eat out.

So this week... I have been perusing Pioneer Woman recipes, especially after finding Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich and enjoying it - and the simplicity of the recipe!

So this has become Pioneer Woman Week!
Monday - Steak Fajitas (made with round steak)
Tuesday - Sloppy Joes, Pioneer Woman Potatoes Au Grautin
Wednesday - Balsamic Chicken & Linguine
Thursday - Pioneer Woman Steak Bites, Cheesy Garlic Risotto
Friday - Pioneer Woman Chicken Scallopine

Possible Weekend Meals & Treats:
Pioneer Woman Fettuccine Alfredo
Classic Cheese Fondue
Apple Crisp
French Bread

The grocery list is a bit over $50 this week.  Let's see what we end up with:
Grocery List
Milk (2) $5.00
Bananas $1.00
Buns $1.00
Iceberg lettuce $1.00
Salted butter $2.50
Heavy Cream (3 c) $2.00
Garlic $0.25
Sharp Cheddar $1.50
Olive Oil $5.00
Yeast $5.00
Linguini $1.00
Arborio Rice $3.00
Yellow onion $0.50
White Wine $4.00
Cream Cheese $1.00
Mushrooms $1.00
Lemon $0.50
Fresh Italian Parsley $1.00
Fettuccine $1.00
2 cups Parmesan $3.00
Zip loc bags $3.00
Saran wrap $1.50
Drano $2.50
Cereal $3.00
1 lb lunchmeat $5.00
Bread (2) $3.00

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Light Potato Soup

This recipe was a light version of potato soup, one of my husband's favorite restaurant soups.  I think it tasted kind of like a big bowl of thin mashed potatoes. 

Courtesy of Prevention RD

Loaded Potato Soup from Cooking Light

4 (6-ounce) red potatoes (I used about 7 small russet potatoes)
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 1/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups 1% milk, divided (I used 1/2 skin, 1/2 whole)
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 turkey bacon slices, halved
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 tsp thinly sliced green onions (omitted since we didn't have any on hand)


Pierce potatoes with a fork. Microwave on HIGH 13 minutes or until tender. Cut in half; cool slightly.
While potatoes cook, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk; add to pan with 1 1/2 cups milk. Bring to a boil SLOWLY (you don’t want the milk to curdle!). Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream, salt, and pepper.

Arrange bacon on a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a paper towel; microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes. Crumble bacon.

Discard potato skins. Coarsely mash potatoes into soup. Top with cheese, green onions, and bacon. Yield: 4 servings (about 1 1/4 cup each).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Garlic Cheddar Quick Bread

This tastes almost EXACTLY  like Red Lobster's cheddar biscuits! I loaded butter on mine and served with Baked Potato Soup.  I should have warmed the bread first to make it even better!

Here is the recipe, courtesy of Stephanie Cooks:

Source: Adapted from Taste of Home

3 cups all-purpose flour
4.5 tsp. baking powder
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder (could be doubled if you like a lot of garlic)
1/2 tsp. Italian seasonings, divided
1.5 cups milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the flour, baking powder, cheese, sugar, garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning in a bowl.

2. In a separate bowl combine the milk, oil, and egg. Stir into dry ingredients until moistened.

3. Pour into a greased 9x5 loaf pan. Top with additional 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

4. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pioneer Woman Steak Bites

I can't believe I've never written about Pioneer Woman's Steak Bites! We have eaten these quite a few times. It's a great way to prepare sirloin steak.  The steak is perfectly cooked, and the butter sauce is fantastic!

Here is the recipe:

1 pound Sirloin Steak (without Much Gristle) OR Pre-cut Beef Tips
Kosher Salt To Taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper To Taste
2 Tablespoons Butter

Preparation Instructions

Trim off the large obvious piece of fat that runs along the side of the meat. Next, cut strips less than 1-inch wide. Rotate the meat and cut into small bite-sized pieces. If you see any more large chunks of fat, gristle or long silvery membrane, cut them off.

Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss the meat around a bit to thoroughly coat with the seasonings.

Next, turn on your ventilation fan overhead. Heat the skillet over medium high to high heat. As the pan heats, add about 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet. Allow the butter to melt, then brown, before you add the meat.

Place some of the meat in the pan in a single layer. It should sizzle loudly when it hits the pan – if it doesn’t, the pan isn’t hot enough. Don’t stir or disrupt the meat for 30-45 seconds. You want it to sizzle and brown on one side. Scoop as many steak bites as you can with your spatula and flip them over. Repeat until all the meat is turned. Cook for an additional 30 to 45 seconds—just long enough to sear the outside of the meat but NOT cook the inside.

Remove the meat to a clean plate. Add a little more butter to the pan and repeat the cooking process with the next batch just as before. Lastly, when all the meat is nicely browned and removed to the plate, pour all that browned/blackened butter all over the meat. And enjoy!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich

I was perusing the website of Diary of a Recipe Addict this morning... and I ran into this recipe from Pioneer Woman!  Since we have a freezer half full of beef that still needs to be used... including cube steak which I have a hard time figuring out how to cook.... I thought this seemed worth a try! 

My measurements were a little lighter - 1 pound of cube steak (I think - 4 patties), 3 hoagie rolls that I browned in the oven, 1 1/2 small onions and no tabasco (we don't like heat).  I did add a light sprinkling of paprika. 

Here is the recipe:

Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich

1 whole large (or 2 small) onions
1 stick butter (I used 3 tbsp)
2-3 lbs. cube steak (tenderized round steak that's been extra tenderized)
Seasoned Salt
1/2 c. Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco Sauce, to taste
4 whole French/deli rolls (like Earthgrains)

Slice the onions & cook in 1 Tbsp. butter until soft and light brown. Remove and set aside.

Slice cube steak against the grain. Season with seasoned salt.

Heat 1 Tbsp. butter over high heat (in same skillet) until melted and beginning to brown. Add meat in single layer. Cook one side until brown, then flip and cook until brown, about a minute on both sides.

Add 1/2 c. (at least) Worcestershire sauce, 5-6 shakes Tabasco, and 1 Tbsp. butter. Add cooked onions. Stir to combine.

Butter halved French rolls and brown in skillet or under broiler in oven.

To assemble, lay bottom half of French roll on plate. Place meat mixture, followed by a spoonful of juice from the pan. Top with the other half of roll, cut in half, and devour!

Menu Plan Monday

Well hello there.  Menu planning again.  Last week's grocery trip was a success - $47!  And that's it!  So this week will be a success as well, I declare it!

So this week we have some fantastic meals planned.  Cheap and easy. And new!

Monday - Crockpot ham, roasted potatoes, veggies
Tuesday - Philly Cheese Steaks
Wednesday - Cheesy ham & pasta bake
Thursday - Chicken Enchiladas
Friday - out of town

Garlic Cheddar Bread
Crescent rolls with ham, cheese, apple slices

And at some point this weekend I may try this:
Light Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Grocery List:

Applesauce       1.00
Milk (2)       5.00
Cereal       3.00
Ham       8.00
Red & Green Peppers       2.00
Shells       1.00
Sharp Cheddar       2.00
Mushrooms       1.50
Bananas       1.00
Chips (A's lunch)       2.00
Crescent Rolls       2.00
Bread (2)       3.00
Lunchmeat (2 lbs)       5.00
American Cheese       2.50
Crusty Rolls       2.50
Swiss Cheese       2.00
Mozz. Cheese       2.00
Sour Cream       1.00
Green Enchilada Sauce       1.00
Tomato       1.00
Salsa       1.50

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Welcome to Menu Plan Monday - courtesy of  For more menu ideas, visit her website here.

This week, we spent $33 on lunches shopping on Sunday. We have a new budget and a new month to work on it. So here goes nothing!

Budget for the month of October is $225. This will include everything - household items, diapers, dog food ... can it be done?  This week's budget is $50. I put together a grocery list based on my menu plan:

Monday - Italian Beef, Rice, Veggies
Tuesday - Homemade sausage pizza
Wednesday - Chili mac & cornbread
Thursday - Chicken alfredo
Friday - Steak, potatoes, veggies

Here is my grocery list with approximate prices. This will be for breakfast, lunches, and dinners.  Keep in mind we have plenty of beef in the deep freeze - we get half a cow each year around Christmas so we need to eat it up anyway!

Grocery List
Milk (2) $5.00
Eggs (2) $2.00
Mozz Cheese $2.00
Butter $2.50
Margarine $3.00
Peaches $1.00
Apples $4.00
Fettucinne $1.00
Alfredo $3.00
Chicken $5.00
Sausage $2.00
Light Bulb $2.00
Sea Salt $2.00
Ketchup $3.00
BBQ $1.50
Cereal $3.00
1 lb lunchmeat $5.00
Bread (2) $3.00
Total $50.00

Also... please keep my family in your prayers. We are trying to sell our home to move closer to my work & cut down on my 45-minute each way commute.  The house has been on the market for four months now, we have a realtor bringing someone in on Friday!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stuffed Bread Sticks

Also from Cooking During Stolen Moments

I had a bit of an issue with these - I messed up the cheesesticks by cutting them longwise - DUH! Also, I apparently had another problem telling "TBSP from TSP" when reading the recipe - I used 1 TBSP of sugar & yeast!  They worked out just fine anyway.  My little son LOVED them "more, more, more". 

I used the dough attachment of my Kitchenaid mixer to avoid kneading the dough. It worked out great. And I'm making another batch of the pizza dough right now for the freezer!

1 t. yeast
1 t. sugar
3/4 c. warm water
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. Italian seasoning, optional
2-3 c. flour
8 mozzarella string cheese sticks, cut in half
32 slices pepperoni
2 T. butter or margarine, melted
Optional topping: 2 t. Parmesan cheese, 1/2 t. each garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt

1. Let yeast and sugar dissolve in warm water in a large mixing bowl for about 5 minutes. Add olive oil, 1/2 t. salt and optional 1/2 t. Italian seasoning. Slowly add the flour until completely combined and dough is no longer sticky. Knead for 5 minutes, place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour.

2. On a floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle. (I don’t have any good measurements for you here besides saying not too thin and not too think.) Cut into 16 squares. At the edge of each square, place one piece of mozzarella and two pieces of pepperoni. Roll up and tuck in sides. Be sure to seal well to cut down on cheese melting out during the baking process. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat until done.

3. Drizzle or brush melted butter or margarine over each mini bread stick. If desired, combine the optional topping ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Cinnamon-Apple Stuffed French Toast

From Cooking During Stolen Moments

Even my husband liked this - and he's not one for trying something "different"! I loved it because it was a good and delicious way to use my free apples - and my son loved it too.  A hit all the way around.

We made a half batch for 3 of us - 1 sandwich each, plus sausage on the side and maple syrup to top it all.

1/4 c. butter
2 apples, peeled and cubed
2 T. brown sugar
2 t. cinnamon
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
12 slices thick, hearty bread (we used Dutch Country butter top bread)
6 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1 T. vanilla
1/4 t. cinnamon
Extra butter for the skillet

1. Melt 1/4 c. butter in a small skillet. Add apples, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook 5-8 minutes until apples start getting tender.
2. In a bowl, add cream cheese and apple mixture. Stir until well combined. (This can be made the night before and kept refrigerated.)
3. Add about 2 T. filling to the center of one piece of bread. Spread out a little but don’t go all the way to the edges. Top with another slice of bread to make a sandwich. Repeat with all.
4. Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Dip sandwiches in egg mixture as you would for regular French toast. Cook in a hot, greased skillet, 3-4 minutes per side.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Good morning!  Welcome to the weekend.  The menu for next week has been planned early - last week's non-shopping experiment didn't work out so well - we ran out of snacks and sides, especially for the little one, very early in the week!  Shopping trip on Tuesday - Cub Foods $79 + Target $59 - included $10 for charity and the rest was grocery/home goods/personal goods. 

For this week:

Monday - Roast, veggies, baked potatoes
Tuesday - Breaded chicken, green beans, rice
Wednesday - Pulled beef BBQ (from leftover roast), veggies, leftover rice
Thursday - Cheesy chicken & mushrooms over pasta, caprese salad

Snacks - cheese & crackers, hard boiled eggs, nilla wafers for the husband, bananas and animal crackers for the little one

Cinnamon Apple French Toast
Stuffed Bread Sticks using this pizza dough
No-knead bread

Lunches this week & next - tuna salad on pita, chicken salad on croissant

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

This week is going to be a shop-from-your pantry week. I am convinced we can make this work, and save a little money in the meantime! The trick is going to be that we are out of cereal. But I have a plan for that – breakfast casserole! Yes, I am ambitious. Breakfast on the way to daycare may get a little tricky… we’ll see how that goes as well!

Monday – Cheeseburgers, homemade mac & cheese
Tuesday – Spaghetti & meatballs, applesauce
Wednesday – Italian beef, leftover mac & cheese
Thursday – Homemade or frozen pizza, grilled cheese

Veggies all days
Breakfast Casserole
Lunches – soups & PBJ

Maybe we will need to pick up Jelly. And maybe cereal. But actually, that’s not terrible for the whole week! Right?

Last week’s spending: Aldi: $39 + $48 Schnucks (which included one $3.99 bottle of wine that I lost on my way out of the car – CRASH!!) + $41 and $11 IGA. Total $139 – more than enough for two weeks!

Slow Cooker Applesauce

I saw this recipe come up in my Google Reader from Seconds for Satisfaction.  It looked easy and like it was a good way to use up some of the apples from my mother in law's tree!  I popped it in the slow cooker around 10 AM and it was done by 4 (I turned it on low around 2 PM). 

And I didn't until JUST NOW realize I was supposed to cook it on low the whole time! Oops. Also, I didn't have any lemons so that was left out, but it was still good!!

Delicious! Although it's darker than store-bought applesauce, and my son didn't really love it, which surprised me.  He LOVES applesauce, but not so much this stuff - it must be a different texture for him.  Ah well, I guess I'll have to eat it all :-)

4 large apples, skinned, cored, and cut in quarters
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBSP brown sugar
1/4 cup water

Skin, core, and cut your apples into quarters. Add them to your slow cooker. Mix the lemon juice and the water and pour over apples. Pour in the vanilla, and add the cinnamon and brown sugar. Give it all a toss to make sure the apples are coated in liquid.

Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. When the apples are tender, mash with a potato masher or large fork.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Homemade Brownies

Brownies are something that I wouldn't have thought of making from anything from a box until recently, when I finally broke out of the "cake from a box" funk I have been in for 30 years! Yes it's fast, and convenient, but what if you don't have a box mix on hand?  What then? 

Well, I looked up this recipe on, and I've got to tell you, it's pretty darn good. Icing and all. I did temper the eggs a bit when I mixed them, I'm way too scared of scrambling my eggs to not do this!  These are very good - enjoy!

1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.
2.In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
3.Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.
4.To Make Frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Frost brownies while they are still warm.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

I'm not feeling so hot today, I have my son's awesome cold that he decided to share. 

So I stayed home from work, sent my son to daycare and napped the morning away. This afternoon, oatmeal was calling my name, so I decided to give this recipe from Lauren's Kitchen a try.  It was very good, especially with the loads of sugar and cinnamon I added to it! 


1 cup of oats
2 cups of milk
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla
pinch of salt
1 chopped apple

Add oats, chopped apple and milk to stoneware, and then put in brown sugar, vanilla and pinch of salt; stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours or low for 2-3. Check consistency of oatmeal and add milk as needed; garnish with cinnamon

Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

A continuation from the bridal shower cupcakes... I made vanilla mini cupcakes with buttercream frosting. 

The white cake was from

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x9 inch pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
2.In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
3.Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.

Buttercream frosting from the Foodnetwork:

3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency

Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache

For my friend Lisa's bridal shower, I had the privelege of making mini cupcakes...

I took the recipe for the chocolate cupcakes from Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake.  I've used it once before. 

This time, I had a cookie scoop to try and keep the measurements equal. It worked out much better! Usually my cupcakes have a top that's overflowing and crunchy. Delicious, but not exactly the look I'm going for.

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. 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 into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

And the ganache from Ina Garten:

1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
Candied violets, for decoration, optional

For the ganache, cook the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.

Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache. Decorate with candied violets, if desired. Do not refrigerate.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Time for menu planning yet again.  Here's what is on the menu next week - focus is back to getting on budget (Aldi shopping!) and easy!

Monday - Italian Beef Sandwiches, frozen veggies
Tuesday - Sloppy Joes, Pasta Roni, frozen veggies
Wednesday - Chicken Cordon Blue from freezer, frozen veggies
Thursday - Tacos
Friday - Steak, Potatoes, frozen veggies

Nothing too exciting but hopefully very cheap!

Have a great week, everyone.  And if you are looking for more menu plans, visit!

Peanut Butter Cookies

My husband's favorite:-)  I made a half batch of these beauties Thursday evening.  We kept a few at home and brought the rest over to my sister-in-law's when we saw the baby last night!  She is just a perfect little angel. 

Here is the receipe, from

1 cup unsalted butter (margarine)
1 cup crunchy peanut butter (or creamy)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1.Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in eggs.
2.In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into batter. Put batter in refrigerator for 1 hour.
3.Roll into 1 inch balls and put on baking sheets. Flatten each ball with a fork(dipped in sugar), making a criss-cross pattern. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for about 10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. Do not over-bake.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A-Mano Italian Wine

A-Mano Italian Wine
Pinot Grigio

A light, crisp Pinot Grigio.  Perfect for what I was wanting, and the bottle was on sale for $8.  It was a screw top, but that adds to the ease of opening a bottle quickly! 

I did have a moment the next morning, trying to decide if I should just leave the screw-top on or put my vacuum pressure stopped back in, what a dilemma!

3.5 stars.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Welcome to menu plan Monday!  Do you like the new design?  I think it's much easier to read and a lot cleaner looking.

As I said last week, we spent $109 at Wal-Mart and I've only added about $3 at Walgreens to that.  I would have thought we could have done better this week, but... we spent $30 at Aldi and $91 at Schnucks. And $4 at Walgreens for face wash. Yikes. The Schnucks trip included a lot of produce (part of which will be for a bridal shower tomorrow - I guessed about $20 for that purpose).  That's still above my budget of $75 a week, though. Maybe I need to raise the budget a little... or skip the $8 bottle of wine!  In addition to the baby shower, I bought for a casserole I'm making for my sister and brother in law.

The plan for this week includes easy Monday and Wednesday dinners since I have class those nights. Calvin and I get back home around 6 those nights, so an easy dinner or something that my husband can throw in the oven is a must! 

Monday - Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole - making 2, one for us, one for my sister in law who is expecting any day now!
Tuesday - Not-sagna pasta toss

Wednesday - Crockpot roast, steam veggies

Thursday - Steak, Twice Baked potatoes

Friday - OUT - HS Homecoming festivities. Will need to make something to bring here, maybe something with all of the apples from my in-law's tree?

Panzanella - hoping to make Sunday or for lunches?  I bought a $4 rosemary olive oil bread that looks delicious for this, and tons of produce. It better be as good as the reviews!  :-)

Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu plans and ideas!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Labor Day Week - Menu Planning!

We saved quite a bit of money last week. $28 at IGA, $21 at Aldi, $4 at Walgreens and $11 at IGA when we ran out of lunchmeat. Total $64, which I think is pretty darn good.

This week, I already did our weekly shopping today and we spent $109 at Wal-Mart. We needed a couple more "personal care" items than usual ($13), and I bought a fall mum and some stacking baskets for the pantry ($10). And a bit more junk food than normal, and I managed to stock up a little more on peanut butter. All in all, not terrible considering everything we got. 

Here is this week's meal plan:

Monday - Chicken fajitas
Tuesday - Spaghetti & Meatballs, applesauce
Wednesday - Pork Chops & Red Potatoes
Thursday - Meat Loaf & Pasta Roni
Friday - Frozen Pizza

Lunches will be ham & cheese or PBJ and Breakfasts will be cereal or whole wheat bagel with cream cheese. 

Have a good week!