Sunday, April 17, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 4/18/16

ZELITE INFINITY Paring Knife 4 inch - Best Quality Japanese VG10 Super Steel 67 Layer High Carbon Stainless Steel -Razor Sharp, Superb Edge Retention, Stain & Corrosion Resistant! Full Tang Ideal Gift


The knife sounds were heard around the world, lol.  I spent a lot of time chopping and preparing for this coming week over the weekend...yes, again rained all day Saturday and with nothing better to do, I took advantage of the inside time and well you guessed it, chopped.  I also ironed, did laundry, read a book, straightened stacks of papers, and searched for misplaced paperwork.  

Oh, and by the way, {just for the accountability} the personal moratorium on exercise is over.  Taking a yoga class and the resulting soreness on day two convinced me that this body needs to move more, like a lot more.  Initially health challenges were my reason for missing my early morning standing appointment with the gym and then life and laziness took over. Lots of excuses, with a few good reasons {those of which honestly kept me sidelined for at least a year} thrown in for good measure.  

I'm not making making any long term plans or a big deal out of the "exercise" thing.  Treating these classes as a standing appointment will keep me showing up at least until I start to see/feel the positive side effects.  

I hope....and that's where I'm at this week.

Happy Sunday Funday :)

My Carryover List of Possibilities for the Week
and a few NEW links too.

I did eat at home last week...every take out, no restaurant dining, I pinkie promise swear.  I made the Cabbage Slaw and Pork Chops on Monday and every other day was a version of leftovers and one easy homemade pizza.  Just as well, I probably wouldn't have had a spare second to pack up and deliver the extras that I made. 

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Cabbage Slaw with Kiwi, Almonds, and Pork Loin

The grocery store was full of things I wanted to buy....that I don't really need.  The age old budget buster of a this purchase a want or a need? One deal that I couldn't didn't pass up though were the BOGO boneless pork loin chops.  I usually prefer bone-in center cut chops that have a little more marbling....but you know, bathing suit season and all.  Brining the pork for even a short period of time {30 minutes} results in a flavorful juicy chop that is a perfect health conscious choice when paired with roasted vegetables {last night's meal with no pictures, sorry}.  Leftovers are perfect when added to this recipe that lends itself to open interpretation.  I didn't have any apples so substituting under ripe kiwi for crunch and tang in place of the apple made complete sense to me as did swapping chopped leftover pork chops for chicken. Anticipating the need for "re-run" pork chop recipes, I also searched and found some interesting ideas on what others have done in the past. Always on the prowl for leftover for one calls for a fair amount {like, a lot} of ingenuity.

The dressing had a delightful creamy flavor that wasn't gloppy and didn't cause the slaw to lose its crunch.  As a matter of fact, I took a bite at lunch the next day and the vegetables were still crunchy; the flavors even more pronounced.  This salad could be varied in any number of ways and still be utterly delicious.  My new summer obsession.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Easy Cherry Pie Bars

Easy Cherry Pie Bars are exactly what the name of the recipe implies...easy.
Using up ingredients that have been in my pantry and baking cupboard{for longer than I like} are of paramount importance in my season of life.  I had planned to pipe the icing over the entire dessert but I was waiting, then waiting, then waiting some more, for these bars to cool off and I really wanted to be sitting by my friend's pool in the beautiful Florida sunshine.  Especially since it was Sunday Funday.  I made it work though and as soon as the top cake was cooled, I took creative license to make my very own, never seen before, fancy schmancy flower/tic-tac-toe design.  Waiting until the entire dish was ready for frosting would be ideal, but sugary frosting is sugary frosting, regardless of placement, right?
The tart sweet that is cherry, made me fall in love with this pastry at first bite.  I'm more of a "cooker" than a baker but I'm practicing and trying to perfect a few sweet dishes {see my attempts here, and here}.  I'd like to blame my dessert shortcomings on my lack of a convection oven and other people's lack of good taste :) but truly... my skill set isn't up to par....not yet.  
Regardless, these bars are ones that I'm pretty sure will make it to the short list of desserts I would feel comfortable sharing with anyone.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 4/11/16--For One and To Share

tree flower spring

I had a great time last week experimenting with a list of recipes and no definite day for my menu plan, so much so that I'm going to do it again this week :)  I used up a few cans from my pantry and managed to bless a few people with food deliveries at the warehouse {aka  my Dad's business}. All the things made last week were from ingredients readily available in my pantry, freezer, or frig with no surprise purchases or trips to the grocery store...Yes!

Below is my list of choices for this week although I am heading to the grocery store for fruit, milk, eggs, and vegetables so it won't be a super low grocery bill week.  Did you know that all things fresh and minimally processed are located around the edges of the store?  My natural curiosity has a tendency to draw me toward those center aisles like a moth to a flame.  I love me some grocery shopping {weird I know} and finding new products, but I gotta stay out of the middle this time.  All extra desserts I bake will be delivered to the warehouse to keep the extra calories from affecting the fit of my suit da baby. {bathing suit}

Split Pea Soup-Using the Easter ham bone and vegetables in the crisper.  My boys requested this.
Easy Cherry Pie BarsSkinny Blueberry Crumble
Cabbage Slaw with Apples and Almonds-Serving with grilled Chicken
Chia Pudding
Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Bars
Tomato, Pesto, and Goat Cheese Tart
Chicken Broccoli Skillet
Almond Joy Cookies
Summer Fruit and Spinach Salad
Chicken Avocado Caprese Salad

That's at least three evening meals that I can make more simple by chopping and prepping over the weekend.

Saturday was my first day not working in about ten days {why yes I did sleep in}....I'm certainly enjoying my weekend...I hope you are too.

Sunshine and Flowers

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Strawberry Icing, Lemon Coconut Custard Pie, and More Review

Cooking for One is HARD.
I started off the week doing pretty well with making portion size reasonable for one person but by the end of the week I was delivering sweets and leftovers to my Dad's business for his employees to enjoy.  Hopefully they don't tire of being my culinary guinea pigs.

This is bacon, green onion, and Gouda quiche...use any combo of ingredients you want.
My absolute favorite quiche recipe.

Turkey Taco Meat with Herdez Verde Salsa


Re-run for the taco fixin's, I made The Pioneer Woman's Twice Baked Potatoes for the freezer.  Added a little of the meat on top and then some pre chopped green onions {from my weekend chop fest}.  I also was able to freeze at least one other meal worth of the meat.
{Heck, I might get two meals from my freezer stash}

Okay, let's get real here...until about six years ago, I thought all sweets were evil.  This fallacy perpetuated by an unrealistic desire to be stick figure thin caused my baking skills to become severely stunted.  Combine my lack of skill in the bakery department with a family of boys that don't care for "fruit" sweets {my absolute favorite} and let's just say that I'm still developing my....ahem...shall we say my consistency in that area.  I refuse to give up.
The strawberry cake recipe I made was just okay...I need some practice in determining whether the cake needs to cook for five minutes or just two minutes was a little over done.
Now the icing....well, I have to say, I've got that part d.o.w.n.
My own little twist of adding about three quarters of a cup of homemade strawberry jam to the cream cheese icing was jam up.
{the cheezy pun was on purpose *snort laughing all by myself*}

Spicy Sausage Pasta is a delicious weeknight dish made even easier if you use the weekend to chop all the vegetables that are required.  I used what I had this time so beef broth, havarti, and half and half made their premiere in this dish.  The result was so good that I'll be changing my version of the recipe to include these items.  I also didn't add the half and half until the pasta finished cooking.  The residual heat allowed the dish to absorb the excess liquid and by adding the dairy at the end, the sauce was like silk.  An absolute family favorite any way its made.

 Lemon Coconut Custard Pie
I made this pie with unsweetened coconut chips and I loved the flavor and truly it couldn't have been much easier.  Add everything to the blender and mix for about a minute...pour the mixture in the pie shell and bake for one hour.  I had some leftover filling, as you can see in the background of the sausage skillet, and poured the remainder in an oven safe dish baking it along with the pie.  Serve this  either chilled or warm from the oven, and honestly I think I prefer the taste at room temperature or hotter.  All in all... Easy Peasy.
Even though I loved this, I have a few improvements for my tastebuds the next time I make this.
1.  Pre bake the pie crust. {that was an option in the recipe}
2.  Add way more lemon juice {I used fresh}

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 4/4/16 and Recipe Review

Hello Fresh meal Citrus Skillet Shrimp is delightfully delicious.  I especially loved the crispy potato rounds.

Trisha Yearwood's Black Bean Lasagna {without cheese I might add}, won me over!

You would think by the picture that the end result would be dry...but, nuh uh.  I enjoyed this immensely and will be making a couple for the freezer to use up my BOGO tofu.

Hello Fresh Seared Steak with Spring Succotash didn't float my boat at. all.
I just didn't care for the flavors although I ate it :(

This week is all me on the recipe front and three things must happen:

1.  I have to prepare over the weekend with lots of chopping to be able to do this easily.
2.  I have to be creative with the menu plan and use what I have in the pantry. {I'm doing my best and have been moderately successful}
3.  Find recipes that can be modified to two servings or less. {or plan to take portions to my family}

I've been craving certain things, especially spring like vegetables and salads.  I plan to color my plate with every shade of the rainbow this week.

Here are some suggestions for what I might make for myself and those I love.
Chia Pudding--for lunches/breakfasts
Easy Southwestern Rice Casserole--using up brown instant rice
Easy Cherry Pie Bars--using up cherry pie filling
Smoked Turkey Sausage with Onion and Peppers on Toasted Ciabatta Rolls--Ingredients need used.
Chicken Avocado Caprese Salad
Summer Fruit and Spinach Salad
Twice Baked Potatoes (for the freezer)--Turkey Taco Topped Baked Potatoes for Dinner
Bucatini Carbonara--Got all the stuff.
Tandy Cake--Got it all.
Greek Yogurt Lemon Cheesecake Bars--I have a frig full of lemons.
Tomato, Pesto, Goat Cheese Tart--Have tomatoes, puff pastry, and goat cheese.
Fresh Strawberry Cake--Need to use strawberry jam.
Ham and Gruyere Quiche--For the freezer.

I'm certain not all of these recipes will be made but having a multitude of options me options :)
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Monday, March 28, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 3/28/16

Easter Sunday was a fantastic day for food around these parts.  To be quite honest, I ate myself silly...literally not eating another bite after lunch yesterday.  We had {all homemade} ham, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, squash casserole, field peas, green beans, rolls, peach tart, Kentucky Derby pie, plum cake, and peanut butter pie.  I ate way more than my share...forcing me to do penance and keep things light for the remainder of the week.

Some meals will be from Hello Fresh while others will focus on using the large amount of dry goods in my pantry.  My goal is to be completely cleared out of "hearty" type ingredients before moving in to the hotter months of the year.  I plan on relying heavily on my grill for the upcoming sweaty season.  Have a great week :)
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Black Bean Lasagna
{Taking a portion to my son}
Green Salad 

Seared Steak with Spring Veggie Succotash and Mint-Chive Pesto

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Dijon Mushroom Sauce and Brown Rice


Pantry Put Together

Recipes to make for freezer/ lunch/ breakfast this week:
Overnight Chia Pudding--some version of this
Homemade Pizza
Ham and Gruyere Quiche