Sunday, March 25, 2012

Finding time to cook

Dempsey is finally getting on a schedule, so I am hoping to find some time to cook.  Here's the schedule I am using for him that we also used for Tessa.
6 a.m.:  Wake him up and feed 5 oz. bottle
6-8:  Keep him up by playing, talking to him, tummy time
8-10:  nap
10:  wake him up and feed 5 oz. bottle
10-12:  Keep him up by playing, talking to him, tummy time
12-2:  nap
2-4:  Keep him up by playing, talking to him, tummy time
4-6:  nap
6-8:  Keep him up by playing, talking to him, tummy time, bathtime, books, prayers, bedtime at 8
8-10:  bed to sleep
10:  wake him up to give him one last bottle to help get thru the night
He will usually sleep until about 2 or 3 and we'll get up to give him another 5 oz. bottle. 

So, you can see he eats every 4 hours and takes three 2 hour naps during the day.  We are working towards this schedule and he's doing pretty well.  We're trying to get him used to soothing himself as best he can and not putting him to sleep by holding him.  This is easier said than done!  But, we're getting there!

I'm hoping to use his 4-6 nap to get dinner ready.  I will be trying to make the following meals:  Oriental Chicken, Super Sloppy Joes, Sesame Orange Pork Chops, and Chicken Sausage Quesadillas.

Oriental Chicken:  This recipe is adapted from Once a Month Cooking.
2 tbsp sweet butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 cup cooked, diced chicken
1 tsp pepper
1 5-ounce can chow mein noodles

Melt butter in a medium saucepain over low heat.  Add flour and stir over medium heat until bubbly.  Add broth, water, soy sauce, garlic powder, chicken, and pepper; simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve over chow mein noodles.

I would also like to serve egg rolls with this dinner.  Maybe I'll find some that are already made to serve alongside.

Super Sloppy Joes With Deviled Potato Salad:  Courtesy of Rachel Ray (Don't use that canned stuff!  Make your own sloppy joes!)


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon steak seasoning blend, such as McCormick brand Montreal Seasoning
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 crusty rolls, split, toasted, and lightly buttered
  • Garnish: sliced ripe tomatoes, pickles, Deviled Potato Salad, recipe follows


Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and meat to the pan. Spread the meat around the pan and begin to break it up. Combine brown sugar and steak seasoning. Add sugar and spice mixture to the skillet and combine. When the meat has browned, add onion and red peppers to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and cook onions, peppers, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce with meat for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and paste to pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook Sloppy Joe mixture 5 minutes longer. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, pile sloppy meat onto toasted, buttered bun bottoms and cover with bun tops. Serve with your favorite sides or sliced tomatoes seasoned with salt and pepper, dill pickles and Deviled Potato Salad. Have plenty of napkins on hand!

Deviled Potato Salad:

5 all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced
Coarse salt
1/4 onion
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise, eyeball the amount
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon hot cayenne pepper sauce (recommended: Tabasco or Frank's Red Hot)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
Boil potatoes in water seasoned with coarse salt until they are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain cooked potatoes and return to the warm pot to dry them out. Let the potatoes stand 2 minutes, then spread potatoes out on to a cookie sheet to quick-cool them.
In the bottom of a medium mixing bowl, grate 1/4 onion using a hand grater. Add mustard and mayonnaise, paprika and cayenne pepper sauce to the grated onion and stir to combine. Add potatoes to the bowl and stir to evenly distribute dressing. Season potato salad with salt and pepper and taste to adjust your seasonings. Top servings of salad with chopped scallions.

Sesame Orange Pork Chops:  My awesome cousin, Heather Dixon, uses the site, Moms Who Think, to get a lot of crock pot recipes.  I checked the site out and loved it!  Here's a crock pot recipe to try.

3 pounds pork chops
2 cups orange juice
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 cans mandarin oranges drained, (11 ounces each)
1 can pineapple tidbits drained, (8 ounces)
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

1. Place pork chops into the crock pot.  In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar with the orange juice until well combined. Pour orange juice mixture evenly over chops.
2. Cook on  low 6 to 8 hours.
3. About 30 minutes before serving add the oranges and pineapple, warm for  20 minutes.
4. Sprinkle sesame seeds evenly over each pork chop.  Serve with rice or broccoli.

Chicken Sausage Quesadillas:  Chicken Sausage is on sale this week at our grocery store and I have a coupon!  This should be an easy weeknight meal.

12 8 inch flour tortillas
1 pkg. Johnsonville Chipotle Monterey Jack Cheese Chicken Sausage, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
3 cups colby jack cheese, shredded

Place 3 tortillas on a large greased baking sheet.  Sprinkle each with sausage, red pepper, green onion and cheese.  Top each with a tortilla.  Place baking sheet on center rack in oven.  Broil for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Cut into wedges.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Serve with salsa.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Rock

My mom is one of the strongest people I know.  It's her birthday today and I am so thankful for her strength.  She is watching her best friend, my dad, go through his third bout with cancer.  Dad has been fighting tonsil cancer since July.  We thought it was gone and he was on the road to recovery when we found out this past week that it was back.  My mom is the reason we found out it was back.  Doctors kept dismissing my dad's pain as a part of the healing process.  But after my dad had lost 30 pounds and was starting to refuse to eat because it hurt his throat too much, my mom raised hell with his doctors and got stuff to happen.  The news has been overwhelming and it has been an emotional few days, but it is making me realize how thankful I am for my two parents.

What do I love about my mom besides her strength?  I love how she becomes a completely different person when you put a baby in her hands (especially when it's her own grandbaby).  Her eyes light up and her tone of voice changes.  My mom has the best laugh.  When you can really get her going, it's awesome.  I love her drive and cut the crap attitude.  When my mom wants to get something done, watch out-there's no stopping this lady.  I love it when her "mama bear" side comes out.  Don't mess with her two babies.  I love how she still lets me sit in her lap.  I love how she always answers the phone when I call her on my way to work.  Our daily chats at 7 a.m. or earlier have been happening ever since I started working 6 years ago.  I love it when she picks up the phone and says, "Hi sweetie!"  I love that my mom can outrun me right now.  She's a beast when it comes to running.  She just ran a half marathon a couple of weekends ago with the best cheerleader there to support her:  my dad.  I love my mom's sense of style.  I'm the one shopping at Target for clothes and she's the one making sure she gets good quality clothes at Nordstrom.  I love her cooking.  You all know that.  She can cook up an amazing meal.  I love how many dishes she goes through just to get that amazing meal to the table.  Believe me, I've washed many a dish of hers in my time.  I love how I rarely call her 'mom.'  This seems too formal to me.  Yes, I have lots of different names for my mom:  Mommy (even at 27 I still call her this), Mama, Mammers, Mammer Jammer, Marmie...  Most of all, I love how my mom loves my dad and her family.  My mom is my rock and I hope my own daughter has as much respect for me as I do for my own mom.  Happy Birthday, Marmie!

My mom is the reason why quiche is one of my favorite meals.  So, in honor of her birthday here's a quiche recipe to make this week:

Quiche Lorraine
1 (9inch) unbaked pie shell
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 med.onion, diced
12 to 14 slices bacon, or equivalent ham (I usually just use however much bacon we have in the house)
4 eggs
2 c. half and half (or part half and half-part milk)
3/4 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne paper
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 c. grated Swiss cheese
Prepared Dijon mustard

Saute onions in butter until soft but not brown.  Fry bacon until crisp.  Drain and break into small pieces.  Combine eggs, cream, salt, nutmeg, cayenne, and pepper.  Beat until well mixed.  Spread mustard onto pie shell.  Sprinkle pie shell with bacon.  Spread onions over bacon.  Cover with grated cheese. pour egg mixture in carefully.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake 40 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

We Survived...

Dempsey will be a month old on Tuesday.  When you have a newborn and you make it through the first month, you wonder where the time has gone, but you also feel like it took an eternity to get there.  True, all the phases with children go by so quickly, but sometimes when you are in them, they go by soooo slowly it seems. 

It has been an eventful month.  Tessa broke her collarbone the first weekend we were home with Dempsey.  So we kept her home from preschool in order for her to heal for a week and a half.  She want back to preschool only to come down with a fever that kept her home this past week.  Needless to say, I have had to learn quickly how to be a parent of two while Ryan is at work.  I do love my days with both of the kids.  It's so nice to have Tessa at home because it makes me get up and get outside and it's so nice to have someone to talk to!

Dempsey is a good baby.  I don't handle the newborn phase well, so I've been the one having the meltdowns, not him.  I am learning to let go of some things and stop trying to be such a control freak.  Hopefully we will be on somewhat of a routine in the next few weeks!

I have not had to cook at all these past few weeks thanks to my wonderful family, friends, and coworkers.  We have had some yummy dinners brought to us!  This week I am trying to get back on track with the cooking and trying figure out how to cook with two kids in tow.   I will be attempting to make;  No Peek Chicken with Rice, Sausage Dinner Hoagies, and Southwestern Meatball Chili.

**This recipe comes from the cookbook my Aunt Cathy gave me.  This is a budget friendly and kid friendly meal with few ingredients!
No Peek Chicken With Rice
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups milk
1 cup raw rice
1 cut up frying chicken
1 pkg dry onion soup mix

Put soup, milk, and rice in roaster and stir will.  Place cut up chicken on top of rice.  Cover with dry onion soup mix.  Cover with lid or foil.  Bake 2 hours at 300 without peeking.

**I get the magazine Better Homes and Gardens.  I was happy to see some of the recipes in it this month used stuff I had in the freezer!
Sausage Dinner Hoagies
  • 4 6-inch thin-crust sandwich or hoagie rolls
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 jalapeno peppers,* seeded and minced (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage, fresh Italian sausage, or fresh Mexican-style chorizo**
  • 1 cup finely shredded green cabbage
  • Kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Using a serrated knife, slice off top 1/4 inch of rolls. With fingers, remove most of the bread inside, making "boats" to hold sausage and dressing. (Reserve removed bread for another use, such as making bread crumbs.) Brush insides of rolls and undersides of tops with melted butter. Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet, cut sides up; set aside.
2. For flavored mayonnaise, in a small bowl mix together 4 tsp. of the jalapenos, a pinch of salt, and the cayenne pepper. Add juice from haf the lime. Whisk in mayonnaise; set aside.
3. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Loosely pinch off 1 to 1-1/2 inches by 1/2 inch chunks of sausage (about 24 pieces). Cook in hot skillet in a single layer with space between for 10 to 12 minutes, until well-browned and cooked through, turning once to brown evenly.
4. While sausage is cooking, place buttered bread boats in oven for 5 to 8 minutes, until golden brown and crusty.
5. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine remaining minced jalapenos and shredded cabbage. Add a pinch of kosher salt and juice from remaining half lime; toss to combine. Spoon a generous tablespoonful of flavored mayonnaise in the bottom of each boat. Divide browned sausage, hot from skillet, among boats. Top with shredded cabbage. Generously spread cut sides of roll tops with remaining mayonnaise. Place on sandwiches. Serve immediately.
From the Test Kitchen
  • Note * When working with fresh chiles, wear rubber or disposable plastic gloves or cover your hands with small plastic bags.
  • Note ** In some areas, these varieties are sold as links. If so, remove from casing before cooking.
Nutrition Facts
  • Servings Per Recipe 4,
  • Calories 950,
  • Protein (gm) 24,
  • Carbohydrate (gm) 54,
  • Fat, total (gm) 71
  Southwestern Meatball Chili
1 14 - 16 ounce package fully cooked refrigerated or frozen beef meatballs, thawed

  • 1 16 ounce package Santa Fe medley frozen mixed vegetables (corn, black beans, and red peppers)

  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes and/or cherry tomatoes

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • Sliced jalapeno peppers, chopped cherry tomatoes, and/or fresh cilantro (optional)

  • Directions
    1. In a Dutch oven combine thawed meatballs and vegetables, fresh tomatoes, water, chili powder, and tomato paste. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    2. Ladle chili into bowls. Top with jalapeno peppers, cherry tomatoes, and/or cilantro.
    From the Test Kitchen
    • Tip Serving Suggestion:corn muffins
    • Tip Change Up: Substitute turkey meatballs for the beef meatballs. Substitute a 16-oz. package of frozen carrots, peas, and green beans for the Santa Fe vegetables. Substitute 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning for the chili powder.
    Nutrition Facts (Southwestern Meatball Chili)
    • Servings Per Recipe 4,
    • Calories 386,
    • Protein (gm) 20,
    • Carbohydrate (gm) 25,
    • Fat, total (gm) 24,