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