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!