Monday, December 26, 2011

A Blessed Family

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  We did in our house!  We did our traditional throwing of reindeer food on Christmas Eve in the front yard that we had made using oatmeal, sugar, green sugar, and red glitter.Tessa was beyond excited about the gifts Santa brought.  She was enthralled with her new baby doll crib and Snow White princess doll.  She would have been perfectly happy with just those two gifts-sweet child.

We headed over to my parent's house in the afternoon to visit with my sis and brother-in-law who had flown in from San Diego.  We spent some quality time with them, my grandmother, parents, aunt and uncle, and aunt and cousins.  Boy, did we have food.  Mom made a roast, creamed spinach, cranberry casserole, potatoes, rolls, and Aunt Cathy brought her holiday fruit salad.  It was delicious!  And don't get me started on how many cookies we had for dessert.  I don't think I can look at another cookie.  My mom put her cookies out that she had made, Cathy had brought hers, and I had brought my cookies that I had made.  We probably had about 12 plus different kinds of cookies to choose from.  Too bad I'm 34 weeks preggo.  I could use a good run to sweat out all the sugar. 

This is our last week of break and we are looking forward to having my sis and her husband come stay at our house with us.  I put together my grocery list so we could have some homemade meals together.  One night this week we will be joining our Bible study group for a post-Christmas party and I'm bringing the meatballs. 

We're going to be cooking the following meals this week:  Corn and wild rice soup with smoked sausage, Chinese beef and broccoli, and for New Year's Eve we are cooking up some Hoppin' John for good luck in 2012!

Here is a meatball recipe I have used before that is super easy!  A good friend and former co-worker of mine (Kim Howard) gave it to me.
2 pkgs. frozen meatballs
1 can of beer
1 cup of ketchup
1 cup of brown sugar

Combine the last three ingredients in a bowl.  Place meatballs in slow cooker.  Pour combined mixture over the meatballs and cook on low until heated through.  So easy and yummy!

I am loving the soups I have made at home.  They make for such a light meal, but are filling at the same time.  My sis gave me the Bon Appetit cookbook for Christmas and this is the first recipe I am trying from it.
Corn and Wild Rice Soup with Smoked Sausage
12 1/2 cups low salt chicken broth, divided
1 1/4 cups wild rice (about 7 1/2 ounces)
6 1/4 cups frozen corn kernels (about 2 1/2 pounds) thawed, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 ounces fully cooked smoked sausage (such as kielbasa), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 carrots, peeled, diced
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups half and half
Chopped fresh chives or parsley

Bring 5 cups broth to simmer in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add wild rice and simmer uncovered until all liquid evaporates and rice is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend 3 3/4 cups corn and 1 1/2 cups broth in processor until thick, almost smooth puree forms.  Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-hight heat.  Add sausage and saute until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add carrots and onions; saute 3 minutes.  Add 6 cups broth and bring soup to simmer.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes.

Add cooked wild rice, corn puree, and remaining 2 1/2 cups corn kernels to soup.  Cook until rice is very tender and flavors blend, about 15 minutes longer.  Mix in half and half.  Thin soup with more broth, if desired.  Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls.  Garnish with chives or parsley and serve.

I get weekly e-mails from Parents magazine with easy recipes for the busy moms!  I love Chinese food, so I try my best to make it at home and not break the bank by eating out.  I can't wait to try this recipe!
Chinese Beef and Broccoli adapted from
  • 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, divided
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1 pound lean beef, such as top sirloin, sliced for stir-fry
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced red peppers
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • Quick-cook brown rice, prepared according to package directions
Make It 1. Combine 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, 2 teaspoon cornstarch, and the beef in a small bowl. Refrigerate 15 minutes, or up to 10 hours. Place broccoli and peppers in large bowl and cover tightly. Microwave on medium-high 5 minutes.
2. In large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over high heat. Add beef and cook, stirring, until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with cooked vegetables.
3. Dissolve remaining cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water. Heat remaining oil in skillet; add ginger and garlic. Cook 30 seconds, then stir in broth and remaining teriyaki sauce; bring to a boil. Whisk in cornstarch mixture and boil 1 minute. Stir in beef, broccoli, and peppers, and cook until just heated through. Serve over brown rice.
Nutrition Facts Servings Per Recipe 4

  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 346
  • Protein(gm)32
  • Carbohydrate(gm)35
  • Fat, total(gm)9
  • Dietary Fiber, total(gm)6

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Morning Breakfast

Growing up, my family always had Eggs Benedict for breakfast on Christmas morning.  We always saved this breakfast for this special day.  It was soooo yummy!  My mom would make homemade Hollandaise sauce and we would use none other than Virginia ham to top off the English muffin.  My husband is not too crazy about runny egg yolks, so when we got married I searched for something to make special on Christmas morning.  I tried a few different things, but FINALLY settled on cinnamon rolls.  The recipe comes from Paula Deen, but I do NOT use her glaze on the rolls.  Please, who wants glaze on a cinnamon roll when  you can have icing???  I usually just find a cream cheese icing recipe to top them off.  These are too die for and will be making them in the next few days, but wait to bake them on Christmas morning, so we can have fresh, warm cinnamon rolls after opening presents.

Cinnamon Rolls



  • 1/4-ounce package yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup scalded milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or shortening
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour


  • 1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons hot water


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices.

Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Foodie Memories

You should see our family photos.  Most of them were taken while we were all sitting around a table of food my mom had prepared.  One of my favorite dishes she made was a chicken enchilada casserole.  My sis and I would request it in high school and when we would come home from college.  My mom made it once when we were having our high school girls' soccer team over for a spirit dinner at our house.  I remember she made two casseroles:  one that was spicy and one that was mild.  There was none left at the end of the night.  And then of course, she threw in a peanut butter ice cream pie using homemade peanut butter ice cream.  Yummmm...Anyways, that's beside the point.  The girls raved about the casserole and requested that she make it again for one of our soccer spirit nights we were doing at school.  All of the parents were bringing a dish to share, and they wanted her to bring her chicken enchilada casserole.  Needless to say, I thought it would be fun to make it this week.  I'm planning on having an easy week of cooking because it's the first week of break, but I wanted to share this recipe.  I found it online at and it seems pretty close to what my mom used to make.

FYI:  This isn't the healthiest of recipes, so be sure to serve it with a light salad on the side. 
Chicken Enchilada Casserole

3-4 chicken breasts
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can diced green chilies (8oz.)
1 package cheddar cheese, grated
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 corn tortillas
16 ounces sour cream

Place chicken in large saucepan and cover with water.  Sprinkle in a handful of oregano, add garlic powder and salt.  Boil about 20 minutes and shred from bones.  Save broth.

Mix soups, sour cream, and chiles in a large pan.  Add only enough broth to slightly thin.  Re-season as needed.  Simmer on low 15 minutes.  Add chicken and diced onion.

In 11 x 9 inch casserole dish, arrange 6 tortillas, spoon in 1/2 the sauce, sprinkle 1/2 the cheese.  Repeat-tortillas, sauce, and cheese.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Nutrition info:  Calories 674.6, sodium 1924.2mg, carbs, 35.1 g, protein 33.9g, fat 45 g, cholesterol 141.3 mg.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

32 Weeks...

I think the Lord shows his sense of humor through a pregnant woman's body.  At 32 weeks, I am actually feeling better than I was at 25-26 weeks, but this belly is definitely a-growin'.  I am at that point where getting from a sitting to a standing  position takes twice as long as it used to and bathroom breaks occur mostly at night.  Tessa likes to look at my belly and say, "Look at your belly, Mama!  It's sooo big!"  She is so innocently honest, and I love it.  She also likes to put her head on my belly to see if Dempsey will kick her.  He usually does.  His pesky little brother side is already manifesting itself.

The heartburn and acid reflux that comes this late in pregnancy has definitely started to settle in, but it has not stopped me from wanting to eat everything in sight.  Moderation is key!  This week, I need to get rid of MORE rockfish (and he's out fishing again today, so who knows how long we will be eating rockfish), and london broil and porkchops are on sale at the store.  And of course, I had to throw in a stew recipe.  This week we are making:  sausage stew, broiled rockfish cakes, dry rubbed london broil, and garlic-parmesan pork chops. 

*This recipe makes A LOT of stew, so feel free to reduce whatever you want and use whatever you have in the fridge.
Sausage Stew

yield: Serves 6
  • 1 1/2 pounds veal or pork sausages
  • 3/4 pounds sweet Italian sausages

  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound boiling potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 1 16-ounce can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen green beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, crumbled
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Heat heavy 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausages and cook until brown, turning occasionally, about 30 minutes. Transfer sausages to plate; cool slightly. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons fat from saucepan. Add onions to saucepan and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Add bell peppers and garlic and continue cooking until bell peppers just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Pour in wine and boil 1 minute. Add potatoes, tomatoes, broth and tomato paste. Simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in green beans, sausages and herbs. Cover and cook 15 minutes. Add all cheeses and stir.

*I've made something like this before, but this recipe is much simpler than what I made before.  I can't wait to try them.
Broiled Rockfish Cakes
1 pound shredded cooked rockfish
1 large egg
1/4 to 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Rockfish Preparation  (Foil Steamed):Remove skin and all dark meat, then place filets in foil packet
Drizzle with fresh lemon juice
Lightly salt and pepper
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of basil over filets
Seal packet tightly-cook 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Cooking time will vary with thickness of filets. Fish should flake easily.
Mix all ingredients together, excluding rockfish, with whisk. Add rockfish to dressing mixture. Put covered mixture in refrigerator for about 1 hour. After 1 hour, form cakes with mixture and return to refrigerator for about 1/2 hour.
Lightly spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place cakes on cookie sheet and place under broiler at low temperature until they are beautifully browned. Flip, and do the same for other side. There is no filler in these cakes, it is just pure delicious rockfish.

*I haven't made this recipe in a while, but dry rubbing london broil or marinating it is pretty much the way to go when cooking it.  I'll probably serve this with mashed potatoes and maybe a side of cooked carrots. 
Dry Rubbed London Broil
Adapted from Food Network recipe courtesy of Dave Lieberman

1 (2 pound) London Broil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 recipe Dave's rub               (mix all ingredients in a small bowl)
   -2 tablespoons chili powder
  - 1 tablespoon dried oregano
   -1 tablespoon sweet paprika
   -2 teaspoons garlic powder
   -4 pinches salt
   -15 grinds black pepper

Rub London broil with olive oil and then coat generously with dry rub.  Let stand for about 15 minutes at room temperature.  Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Place meat on grill and grill for about 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare.  Remove from heat and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing on the bias.

*Pork chops pair really well with Dijon mustard.  I've found that any recipe that has Dijon mustard included with pork chops is delicious.  I hope you like this recipe as much as we do!  I'll probably serve this with a salad, rolls, and some kind of apple-something.
Garlic Parmesan Pork Chops
adapted from Southern Living

6 boneless pork loin chops
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup butter or margarine, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons jarred minced garlic
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup white wine or chicken broth
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Sprinkle pork chops evenly with salt and pepper.  Stir together milk and mustard.  Dip pork chops in milk mixture; dredge in breadcrumbs.  place pork chops on a rack in a broiler pan.  Back pork chops at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat; add garlic, and saute 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in cream, wine, and cheese; reduce heat, and simmer 3 to 4 minutes ( do not boil).  Whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons butter until melted.  Serve with chops.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Happy December!

Yeah, it's been crazy.  I never got back on to post Thanksgiving recipes.  I may just have to wait to post some good holiday cooking this month instead!  On another note, my Food Network magazine arrived!  I LOVE this magazine.  It is one of the best food magazines money can buy.  I got it for my mom last year on her birthday and she has loved her subscription, too.  It is money well spent!  I am going to try some of the recipes from it this month.

Anyways, my hubby has been a fishing machine.  He and his dad love to go fishing for rockfish this time of year.  We have lots of fish in the freezer, so I've been looking up ways to cook it other than frying it.  My husband is a huge fan of a good 'ol fish fry.  I'll eat it fried, but not every time.  Needless to say, you'll see rockfish on the menu this week.

Some recipes we are going to try this week are:

So-Quick Seafood Chowder (thanks to Robin Rodgers), Taco Pie, Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry, Swiss Mushroom Burgers

1.  So-Quick Seafood Chowder:  I got this recipe from a former co-worker of mine.  We would celebrate the end of the nine weeks by bringing in different soups.  This was the soup she brought in.

12 oz. orange roughy (I am going to use our rockfish or you can use any mild white fish) fillets, cut into chunks
1/2 (28 oz.) pkg. frozen hash browns with onions and peppers
1 cup water
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of potato soup
1/4 cup Hormel Real Bacon pieces
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Preparation:  Bring hash browns and water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Reduce heat, cover, simmer for 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in evaporated milk, soup, bacon, salt and pepper.  Return to a boil.  Add fish, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until fish flakes easily.  Serve immediately.  Makes 2 quarts.

2.  Taco Pie:  This comes from this month's Food Network Magazine.  We'll do a Mexican dish every week or so in our house.  I like that this changes it up a bit and isn't the tried and true taco kit!

3 tbsp. vegetable oil
8 corn tortillas, halved
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3/4 pound ground pork
Kosher salt
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 4.25 ounce cans chopped green chiles
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded mozzarella (reduced sodium)

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Heat the vegetable oil in a large skille over medium-high heat.  Add the tortillas and cook, flipping a few times, until golden, about 3 minutes.  Remove with tongs and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
2.  Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cayenne and cook 30 seconds.  Add the pork and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes, chiles, and corn.  Season with salt.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.
3.  Arrange half of the tortillas in the bottom of a 9 to 10 inch pie plate.  Top with half of the meat mixture, then half of hte cheese.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas, meat and cheese.  Cover loosely with foil and bake utnil the cheese melts, about 10 minutes.

Per serving:Calories 590; Fat 36 g; Cholesterol 76 mg; Sodium 723 mg; Carbs 41 g; Fiber 6 g; Protein 29 g

3.  Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry:  I made this recipe from Food Network one night because I didn't want to get take out from a Chinese restaurant.  And oh my, we loved it!  It's well worth the ingredients and prep to get it done.  So delish!


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2 breasts), sliced against the grain
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
About 1/3 cup chicken broth or water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 cups broccoli, trimmed sliced stalks (about 1/4-inch thick) and medium florets (keep the 2 cuts separate)
Serving suggestion: rice


Toss the chicken with about half the garlic and ginger, the soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the sherry, and the sesame oil in a bowl. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Mix the remaining cornstarch with the 1/3 cup broth or water.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat. Add the broccoli stems, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the florets and the remaining garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons of water, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper, to taste. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Get the skillet good and hot again, and then heat 2 more tablespoons oil. Add the chicken and stir-fry until the chicken loses its raw color and gets a little brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Return the broccoli to the pan and toss to heat through. Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil to thicken. Add more water if need to thin the sauce, if necessary. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if you like. Mound the stir-fry on a serving platter or divide among 4 plates; serve with rice.
Cook's Note: The garlic and ginger can be chopped together in a mini chopper to save time

4.  Swiss Mushroom Burgers:  This is another one from this month's Food Network Magazine.  And  I really am a mushroom person despite what a previous blog post said.  I actually seem to crave them when I am pregnant.

1 1/4 pounds ground beef
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 8-ounce package sliced mixed mushrooms
1 tbsp Worcestshire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
4 thin slices gruyere cheese (I'll probably just use Swiss)
4 buns, split and toasted

1.  Preheat the broiler and line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil.  Lightly mix the beef with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon peper in a large bowl.  Gently form into 4 patties, about 3/4 inch thick.  Arrange on the broiler pan and brush both sides with olive oil.  Broil until browned, about 4 minutes per side for medium rare.

2.  Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook 2 more minutes.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 2 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.  Combine the ketchup and mustard in a small bowl and set aside.

3.  Top each patty with one quarter of the mushroom mixture and 1 slice hceese.  Return to the broiler to melt the cheese, about 1 minute. 

4.  Spread the buns with the ketchup mixture; sandwich with the patties and some lettuce.  Serve with chips and/or pickles

Per serving:  Calories:  544; Fat 31 g; Cholesterol 110 mg; Sodium 1343 mg; Carbs 30 g; Fiber 2 g; Protein 38 g.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's a Short Work Week!

Two and a half days stand between me and some major family time!  The Thanksgiving break always flies by, but it is so worth the short week at work, the food, the SHOPPING, and most of all, the family time.  Even with all the awesome food that will be devoured this week, I still plan on making some of my own dishes during the week to have a homemade meal on the table.  Here's the plan:

Sunday:  We are spending an early Thanksgiving with my parents beofre they head to San Diego to see my sis and brother-in-law.
Monday:  We very well could be consuming leftovers from yesterday's meal, but I plan on making my Aunt Cathy's Deep Dish Taco Squares.
Tuesday:  Slow cooker Beef stew
Wednesday:  Crispy Rosemary Chicken and Fries
Thursday:  Thanksgiving at the in-laws!
Friday:  Leftovers-of course!
Saturday:  Probably something easy, but I want to make homemade Macaroni and Cheese.

-I came across this recipe in a cookbook my mom put together for me.  It comes from my Aunt Cathy's kitchen.
Recipe for Deep Dish Taco Squares
2 c. Bisquick mix
1/2 cup cold water
1 lb. ground beef
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tbsp chopped onion
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 8 oz. container sour cream
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 c. mayonaise

Combine Bisquick mix and water stirring with fork until blended.  Press in bottom of lightly greased 12 by 8 by 2 in. baking pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes.  Cook ground beef, green pepper, and onion in a large skillet until meat is browned stirring to crumble meat; drain well.  Stir in tomato sauce.  Spoon over crust.
Combine sour cream, cheese and mayonnaise in a medium bowl.  Spoon over meat mixture.  Sprinkle top evenly with paprika.  Bake in 375 degrees oven uncovered for 25 minutes until casserole is lightly browned; cut into squares, cool.

To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of beef stew, but it's a good hearty winter meal and anything with Worcestshire sauce in it HAS to be good.

French's Slow Cooker Beef Stew
2 lbs. cubed beef stew meat
1 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 jars beef gravy
1/4 to 1/3 cup Worcestshire sauce
1 lb. small potatos, halved
1 1/2 cups baby carrots
2 cups frozen peas, thawed

Season meat with salt and pepper to taste.  Brown meat in 2 tbsp. hot oil in skillet; transfer to slow cooker.  Stir remaining ingredients except peas into slow cooker.  Cover; cook on high 4 1/2 hours or on low 9 hours.  Add peas during last 10 minutes.  Serve with crusty bread.

This next meal is a one-dish meal!  Love these!
Crispy Rosemary Chicken and fries from


  • 5-1/4 chicken thighs
  • 4 small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Place chicken and potatoes into a large bowl. Pour olive oil over them, and stir to coat. Scatter the chicken and potato pieces in a large baking dish, or cookie sheet with sides. Sprinkle with rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, uncovered. Baste during the last 15 minutes for extra crispness.
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 497
  • Total Fat: 31.9g
  • Cholesterol: 78mg
  • Sodium: 145mg
  • Total Carbs: 27.6g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 24.4g

I refuse to make mac and cheese for my family from a box.  We try to avoid processed foods as much as we can.  I love this Southern living version of macaroni and cheese.  It's a lot like the box recipe, but homemade!

Macaroni and Cheese
1 (8oz.) package uncooked elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese or American cheese

Cook macaroni according to package directions, omitting salt.  Drain and set aside.  Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Gradually add milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly.  Add slat and cheese, stirring until cheese melts.  Stir macaroni into cheese sauce. cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes; let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.

Nutrition info:  415 calories, 16.9 g protein, 35.5 g carbs, 1.4 g fiber, 66 mg cholesterol, 1.9 mg iron, 896 mg sodium, 352 mg calcium

Happy eating!  I will post later with some Thanksgiving recipes. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Busy Weekend

I am back to being classy again this weekend.  One more class after this month and the semester is over!!!  This week has been crazy and this upcoming week doesn't look any less crazy with parent teacher conferences coming up.  We didn't eat the mushroom and sausage quiche until last night (Saturday).  That's why I always put a night in for leftovers, so we can be flexible with the menu.  I have lots of meat in the freezer that needs to be cooked, so I am excited to what's going to be made or not made this week.

Sunday:  Ryan is in charge.  He caught Rockfish yesterday, so he will be making this.
Monday:  Slow Cooker paella with Chicken Sausage (It's a healthy recipe.)
Tuesday:  Leftover soup from freezer (we have about 3 different kinds in there)
Wednesday:  Chicken and Basil Calzones
Thursday:  Open Faced Meatball Sandwiches
Friday:  Leftover night b/c I'll probably not want to cook after a long week.
Saturday:  We are having a Thanksgiving dinner with friends this night.  I am still trying to decide on what to make, but I am super excited!

The slow cooker is my friend during crazy weeks.  I can't wait to try this and have it the next day for lunch!  I'll probably prep this tonight.

Slow Cooker Paella with Chicken Sausage (best EVER!) from Eat! Move! Play!
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, halved and sliced
1 (8 oz) package sliced mushrooms (I’m not a mushroom person, I omitted.)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (8 oz) package yellow rice
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 cups water
12 oz fully-cooked reduced-fat chicken sausage, sliced
Heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring until onion is softened, about 5 mins. Add peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and garlic and cook until veggies soften, about 3 mins. Transfer veggies to a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker. Add rice mix, tomatoes, and water. Cook sausage in same skillet over medium-hihgh heat until browned, about 2 mins. Add sausage to slow cooker. Cover and cook until rice is just tender and the liquid is absorbed, 1-2 hours on high or 3-4 hours on low. (Note: mine took 3-4 hours on high, for some unknown reason.)
Calories: 269
Fat: 7g

I found this recipe on another blog:
I don't cook a lot with ground chicken, but it sure is cheaper than ground beef!

Chicken and Basil CalzonesCooking Light Annual Recipes 2009 Copyright 2008

Cooking spray
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground chicken breast
3/4 cup prepared pizza sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add garlic and chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring to crumble. Stir in pizza sauce and pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in basil. Let stand 10 minutes.

3. Unroll dough onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; cut dough into quarters. Pat each portion into an 8 x 6–inch rectangle. Divide chicken mixture evenly among rectangles; top each serving with 2 tablespoons cheese. Working with one rectangle at a time, fold dough in half over filling, pinching edges to seal. Repeat procedure with remaining rectangles. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until golden.

Nutritional Information Calories:459 (14% from fat) Fat:7.1g (sat 1.8g,mono 1g,poly 0.4g)
Protein:39.1g Carbohydrate:56.4g Fiber:3g Cholesterol:74mg Iron:3.7mg Sodium:919mg

Talk about easy cooking with this next recipe.  One of our favorite things to do is to make meatball sandwiches, but with the frozen kind.  It's easy and quick, which is perfect for Thursday night since I will be in parent-teacher conferences until 6:30.

Open-Faced Meatball Sandwiches adapted from Southern Living Annual Recipes 2007
24 frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs, thawed
1 (26 oz.) jar super chunky mushroom pasta sauce
1 (15 oz.) can Italian-style tomato sauce
1 (5.5 oz.) can spicy tomato juice
6 hoagie rolls, split but not cut through and toasted
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Combine first 4 ingredients in a 3-quart slow cooker.  Cover and cook on HIgh 1 hour.  Reduce heat to Low, and cook 4 1/2 to 5 hours or until slightly thickened.  Spoon meatball mixture evenly into rolls.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Happy Cooking y'all!  Let me know if you make any of these recipes.  I would love to know how they turned out!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What's Cookin'?

I put the menu together for the week tonight instead of tomorrow, so I can get a jump start on the grocery list for tomorrow.  Here's the plan:
Soup Sundays:  Stuffed Pepper Stoup
Monday: Grilled Sausages, peppers, and onions on rolls
Tuesday:  Bible study night-We'll support my school's spirit night at a local restaurant. :)
Wednesday:  Chicken with Black Beans and Rice
Thursday:  Bfast for dinner night-Mushroom and sausage quiche
Friday:  Leftovers-I always plan a leftover night so we don't waste food.  Sometimes, I work in a second leftover night if we need it.  We also eat leftovers for lunch at work.
Saturday:  Probably Pizza (see previous post for recipe)

Here are the recipes for this week's meals.

Sunday:  Stuffed Pepper Stoup
I love making stuffed peppers, so I figured I would try this soup/stew from my friend Rachel Ray.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large onion, cut into bite-size dice
3 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into bite-size dice
1 bay leaf
1 quart chicken stock (4 cups)
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup orzo pasta
12 to 15 fresh basil leaves, shredded or torn
Grated parmesan to serve

Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat with the extra virgin olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the beef and season with salt, pepper, and the allspice.  Cook the meat for 5 minutes or until browned, then add the garlic, onions, peppers, and bay leaf.  Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until tender.  Stir in the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  When the soup is bubbling, add the pasta and cook al dente, 7 to 8 minutes.  Turn off the heat and fold in the basil.  Discard the bay leaf.  Serve in bowls topped with some grated cheese.

Tuesday:  Grilled sausages, peppers, and onions on rolls
This recipe is something we come back to time and time again.  I had never had italian sausage until I met my husband.  His family introduced me to eating Italian Sausage sandwiches-so delicious!  This recipe kicks it up a notch with the balsamic vinegar and Worcestshire sauce with the veggies.

Feel free to increase the amount of sausage and rolls.  There will be PLENTY of veggies.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch rings
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch rings
1medium onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 tbsp Worcestshire sauce
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
4 sweet or hot Italian Sausages
2 sub rolls

Prepare grill.  (We use a grill pan when it's cold out) In a small bowl, drizzle 2 teaspoons oil over pepper rings, tossing to coat well.  Secure each slice of onion horizontally with a wooden pick to prevent separation, and brush with remaining teaspoon oil.  Grill peppers and onions 3 minutes on each side.  Transfer peppers and onions to a bowl, discarding picks, and toss with Worcestshire sauce and vinegar.  Prick sausages with a fork and grill, turning them, until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.  Halve sausages lengthwise and rolls horizontally and grill, cut sides down, 1 minute, or until sausages are cooked through, but juicy and rolls are toasted.

I always serve this with something light.  The sandwiches are very filling!  I'll probably serve it with a simple salad.

Wednesday:  Chicken with black beans and rice (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)
I need to use up my chicken drumsticks.  This looked yummy!

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 to 3 pounds meaty chicken pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with onion and green pepper, undrained
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1/3 uncooked long grain rice
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced

In a large resealable plastic bag combine flour, 1 teaspoon of the chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper.  Add chicken pieces, half at a time. Seal bag; shake to coat.
In a very large skillet heat oil over medium heat.  Add chicken; cook about 10 minutes or until brown on all sides, turning occasionally.  Remove chicken from skillet; set aside.  Discard drippings.
Add beans, undrained tomatoes, tomato juice, corn uncooked rice, water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, the cayenne pepper, and garlic to the skillet.  Bring to boiling.  Arrange chicken pieces on top of rice mixture.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook, covered, for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and rice is tender.

Thursday:  Another breakfast for dinner-Mushroom and Sausage quiche  from the Paula Deen and Friends cookbook

0ne 9 inch refrigerated pie crust, fitted into a 9 inch glass pie plate
 one 1 pound package ground sausage
1 tbsp butter
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 large Vidalia onion, chopped
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon hot sauce
one 8 ounce package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Crimp the edges of the crust.  In a large skillet, cook and drain the sausage, and set aside.  Wipe out the pan, and in the same pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and onion, and saute for 5 minutes, or until tender.
Place the eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, flour, Parmesan cheese, and hot sauce in a food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
Stir together the crumbled sausage, mushroom mixture, egg mixture, and Cheddar cheese, and spoon into the piecrust.  cover the edges of the piecrust with aluminum foil to prevent the crust from burning.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown and the center is set.  Coll for 10 minutes and cut into 8 wedges.

Happy Eating everyone!  Let me know how the recipes turn out!

A Pleasing Pizza Pie

We love pizza in our house.  We  used to order out, but our lovely, rural Domino's got our order wrong two times in a row, so we scratched that idea.  Then we were doing the frozen pizza thing for a while until we ate one that was disgusting and overseasoned with salt and I didn't want to eat it anymore.  So, I was super excited when my Food Network magazine came one month and it was their Italian food issue.  They had a recipe for pizza dough.  I made it that weekend and Ryan, Tessa, and I now have no idea what take out pizza tastes like.  This recipe is a staple in our kitchen and there are times we make it once a week, if not every other week.  Here's the amazing recipe thanks to Food Network:

Basic Pizza Dough

1 tablespoon sugar
1   1/4 ounce packet (2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1.  Whisk 1 1/3 cups warm water (105degrees) and the sugar in the bowl.   (I just heat my water up in the microwave for about a minute and a half).  Sprinkle the yeast on top.  Set aside utnil foamy, about 10 minutes.  Stir in olive oil!  (Don't forget this step!  It makes a huge difference if you don't do this.  Believe me, I know.)
2.  Whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl.  make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture.  Gradually stir with a wooden spoon to make a rough dough.
3.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, dusting with more flour if necessary.  Form into 2 balls.  Brush 2 large bowls.  Brush 2 large bowls with olive oil, add a ball of dough to each and turn to coat with the oil.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside at room temp until doubled in size, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.  Roll out and top as desired, or wrap in plastic wrap and freeze up to 1 month.

Here are a few tricks I have learned when cooking pizza at home.  I used to not have a pizza stone, so I learned to take a cookie sheet and turn it upside down on the oven grate.  Turn the oven on high, like 450 degrees high.  Let the cookie sheet get really hot while the oven is preheating.  I have a pizza stone now, thanks to my Mama, and you can just leave that thing in the oven all the time.
Once the dough is on a pizza pan, or any other pan you want to use, cook it for about 5 minutes on top of the cookie sheet or pizza stone.  This step keeps the dough from being too doughy when the pizza is done.
Once the dough is slightly cooked, top it with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, or whatever your heart desires!  One of my faves is sausage, red onion, and green pepper.

We love that it makes two pizzas because then we have lunches for most  of the week to take to work.  Hope you like this recipe as much as we do!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner is one of my faves!

It's Breakfast for Dinner tonight.  I love whipping this out at some point during the week.  Breakfast casseroles, quiche, waffles, French toast, etc.  It is so easy to make!  I created my own breakfast for dinner over the summer and I call them Breakfast Bundles.  They are a fun twist on an egg casserole.

Half of a green bell pepper, chopped
Half of a red onion, chopped
6-8 eggs
1-2 cups of shredded Swiss Cheese
1/2 cup of whipping cream
Dollop of Dijon mustard
1 Package of Sausage (ground or links, whatever you prefer)
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F.  Lightly grease a muffin tin.
Saute the chopped green bell pepper and red onion in 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan.  Meanwhile, brown the sausage in another pan.  In a bowl, combine eggs, Swiss cheese, whipping cream, and Dijon mustard.  Whisk until combined. Once the pepper and onion are soft and tender and the sausage is browned, combine all ingredients in the bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Once combined, spoon the mixture into greased muffin tin.  Bake in oven for about 15 minutes or until eggs are set in the tin.  Check after 15 minutes to see if you need to add more time.  This recipe makes a lot, but the "muffin-shaped" egg combination come out so cute and in a perfect serving size!

I will be serving these tonight with muffins I made from Southern Living and a fruit salad.  See the muffin recipe below:  They're called Sticky-Bun Pumpkin Muffins! 


  2 cups pecan halves and pieces
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs


  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
  • 2. Stir together melted butter and next 2 ingredients. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoonful butter mixture into each cup of 2 lightly greased 12-cup muffin pans, and top each with 1 rounded tablespoonful pecans.
  • 3. Stir together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl, and make a well in center of mixture. Whisk together pumpkin, next 2 ingredients, and 2/3 cup water; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
  • 4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans, filling three-fourths full. Place an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan on lower oven rack to catch any overflow.
  • 5. Bake at 350° on middle oven rack for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Invert pan immediately to remove muffins, and arrange muffins on a wire rack. Spoon any topping remaining in muffin cups over muffins. Let cool 5 minutes.
  • Pecan-Pumpkin Bread: Omit butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Substitute 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans for 2 cups pecan halves and pieces; toast as directed in Step 1. Omit Step 2. Prepare batter as directed in Step 3; stir in pecans. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 9- x 5-inch loafpans. Bake at 350° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour). Makes: 2 loaves. Hands-on time: 20 min.; Total time 2 hr., 40 min

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Too much stuff to do, too little time

I'm up early again planning the week's meals because I don't know when else I will be able to do it.  The laundry needs to be done, but we don't have a working washing machine due to the fact that it flooded our house almost three weeks ago.  We have had to be creative in getting a little bit of laundry done each week.  Thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law she has been doing some for us each week when she watches Tessa.  Thankfully, it looks like people will be coming out this week to start repairing our floor molding, carpet, and floors in the guest bathroom and laundry closet.  Yahoo!  That means I can go ahead and order a new washing  machine this week. 
Anyways, enough venting.  Hopefully this week's recipes will help warm us all up.  It's freezing here!  Tonight I am making Teriyaki Burgers.  I usually do soup on Sundays, but we have a lot in the freezer now, so I am taking a break.
Teriyaki Burgers (From Once a Month Cooking)
I saved 2 tablespoons of the teriyaki sauce from the Asian Chicken last week to make this.
1 pound lean ground beef.
4 sandwich rolls

Mix teriyaki sauce into ground beef and form four patties.  Freeze patties in a 1 gallon freezer bag with a piece of waxed paper between each patty.  Freeze sandwich rolls.  To serve, thaw rolls and patties.  Grill or fry meat to desired pinkness.  Serve on warmed sandwich rolls.

I'll probably serve this with carrot sticks and celery sticks.  I need to get rid of the rest of the celery from the soup last week.  Tessa loves carrot sticks and dip.  Then we'll have some of our Halloween sugar cookies!

Monday's Menu:  Happy Halloween!
We usually have a lot of people over here for Halloween.  It's tradition that my parents usually come over.  This is what my grandparents did every year on Halloween. My parents don't have a lot of little kids in their neighborhood.  My sis-in-law and bro-in-law and nephew, Jackson, will be coming over, too.  Our neighborhood is a great place to trick-or-treat.  Since everyone is coming over, I wanted to make something that would serve lots of people and didn't require a lot of prepping.  This recipe comes from courtesy of Rachel Ray.  She and I are pretty tight.  :) 

Indian Summer Turkey Chili ( I love using ground turkey b/c it makes it just a little bit healthier)


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground turkey (85 percent lean) or ground turkey breast (99 percent lean), 2 packages
  • 4 tablespoons dark chili powder, 2 palm fulls (I probably won't use this much)
  • 2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend, any brand, 1 palm full
  • 1 tablespoon cumin, 1/2 palm full
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce, medium to extra-spicy
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 large peppers, any color combination, red, green, purple, yellow or orange, chopped
  • 1/2 bottle beer (the alcohol cooks out), about 1 cup
  • 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup smoky barbecue sauce
  • 2 cups corn kernels, optional


Heat a pot over medium to medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, and the turkey meat. Season the meat with: chili powder, grill seasoning, cumin, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Break up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon into small crumbles.
Chop the onion, reserving 1/4 of it for topping the chili. Brown meat 5 minutes, then add onions and chopped bell peppers and cook 10 minutes more. Add beer and deglaze the pan, scraping up the drippings and cooking off the alcohol. Add tomato sauce and barbecue sauce and bring to a bubble. It using corn kernels add them now. Let chili simmer 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings and heat level to your taste. Remove from heat and serve.

I'll probably serve this with shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, and blue corn tortilla chips for toppings.  Once we've eaten, we'll have time to go out and trick or treat!

My best friend got me a subscription to the Food Network Magazine and I am forever grateful.  I loved it so much that I got it for my mom.  I also love the website!  This chicken recipe is super easy and yummy!  Balsamic Vinegar is something I always have in the pantry.

Tuesday's Menu:  Giada's Chicken with Balsamic BBQ Sauce


For the Balsamic BBQ sauce:

For the chicken or steak:

  • 4 pieces chicken (any combination of breast or leg-and-thigh pieces) or 4 pieces of New York strip or Club strip steak
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the BBQ sauce:


Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by 1/3, about 15 to 20 minutes.

For the chicken or steak:

Place a grill pan over medium heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Lightly coat with some of the BBQ sauce using a pastry brush. Place the meat on the grill. Place the remaining BBQ sauce, still in the small saucepan, over low heat or on the edge of a gas or charcoal grill and allow to gently simmer while the meat cooks.
Cook the chicken about 8 minutes per side. Cook the steaks starting at about 4 minutes per side until a meat thermometer reads the desired temperature, 120 degrees F for medium rare, 135 degrees F for medium (about 6 minutes per side), 155 degrees F for well done (about 9 minutes per side). Continually brush the meat with BBQ sauce every few minutes. Remove the meat from the grill and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve with the heated BBQ sauce alongside.
Alternately, the chicken can be baked in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the chicken skin side up in a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and spoon the BBQ sauce all over the top of the chicken. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.

I might serve this with a some potatoes or sweet potatoes and a veggie.  It depends on what's for sale at the store!

Hopefully this will get you started this week!  I'll post some other dinners we will have later in the week.  Happy Eating!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Snappy Side

I am making the Asian Chicken tonight and it smells delicious!  Broccoli was on sale this week at the local grocery store, so I figured we could serve that alongside the chicken and rice.  Here's what you do:

Chop the desired amount of broccoli that you want.
Toss in sesame oil and sesame seeds.  Roast in the oven alongside the chicken.  You know it is done when it has a bit of a brown tinge to it. 

So yummy!  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Man's Out Fishing

My hubby got up early to go fishing in Urbanna, so of course I couldn't fall back to sleep after his alarm went off.  The little one ended up coming into our room just before 6 and fortunately fell back to sleep until 7:15 (unheard of!).  I got up and took advantage of the quiet time to start planning the grocery list and meals for this week.

First, I always see what I have stocked in the fridge and what's on sale for the week at the local grocery store.  I have lots of chicken in the freezer and chuck roast is on sale.  I have not tried these recipes yet, so hopefully they turn out ok!  We will be having:  Wild rice and turkey soup, Asian chicken, and Italian Pot Roast.

My wonderful Aunt Cathy, Tessa calls her Gacky, gave me a cookbook called Once a Month Cooking.  I have yet to try and do the once a month cooking, but I love the recipes that I've made from it and the fact that you can freeze them ahead of time.  The Asian Chicken recipe comes from this cookbook.

Asian Chicken (from Once a Month Cooking)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup regular, uncooked rice

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Mix soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, oil, garlic, and ginger to make the marinade.  Freeze chicken in marinade in a 1-gallon bag.
When preparing to serve, thaw chicken.  Pour chicken and marinade into a baking dish.  Bake in a preheated oven 350 degreesF for 35 minutes.  Prepare rice according to package directions.  Serve chicken over rice.

I am a cookbook collector.  Another favorite is the newest edition of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  I love doing soup on Sundays now that the weather is cooling off.  The wild rice and turkey soup calls for chopped cooked turkey, but I have chicken on hand, so that is what I will be using.

Wild Rice and Turkey soup (from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook)
1 6.2 ounce package quick-cooking long grain and wild rice mix
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup sliced celery
2 14 oz. cans reduced sodium chicken broth or 3 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chopped smoked turkey or chopped turkey or chicken (about 10 ounces)
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)

Prepare the rice mix (using the seasoning packet) according to package directions, except omit butter or margarine.
In a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and celery.  Cook about 5 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender and most of the mushroom liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.  Add chicken broth and pepper.  Bring to boiling, reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.  Stir in cooked rice mixture, turkey, wipping cream and dry sherry if desired.  Heat through.

I love the south and the sweet southern accents.  Another thing I love about the south are my Southern living cookbooks and magazines.  The recipes I have tried from them have always been good.  I got the Italian Pot Roast recipe from my All New Southern Living Cookbook.  My mom gave it to me a few years ago for Christmas and it has been well loved.  This recipe is a slow cooker recipe, which I love!!!  The crock pot in our house is used at least once a week.  It's a teacher's best friend.

Italian Pot Roast
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
1 large onion, cut in half and sliced
1 boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 14 oz. can beef broth
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
3 cups hot cooked egg noodles

Place mushrooms and onion in a 5 1/2 quart slow cooker.  Sprinkle roast evenly with pepper.  Brown roast on all sides in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Place roast on mushrooms and onion in slow cooker.
Sprinkle onion soup mix evenly over roast.  Pour beef broth and tomato sauce over roast.  Cover and cook on high 5 to 6 hours or until meat shreds easily with a fork.
Remove roast from slow cooker, and cut into large chunks; keep warm.
Skim fat from juices in slow cooker; stir in Italian seasoning and tomato paste.  Sitr together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water until smooth; add to juices in slow cooker, stirring until blended.  Cover and cook on High 20 to 30 minutes or until thickened.  Add roast pieces back to slow cooker.  Cover and cook until thoroughly heated.  Serve over egg noodles.