Sunday, August 2, 2015

Menu Plan Monday 8/3/15

This week's menu is going to be catering to my baby Ty Ty {18 years old :)} since this will be his first week home after working as a sleep away counselor at a camp this past summer.

I imagine a few "set to's" {as a good Southern girl would say} with him regarding the trail of destruction he typically leaves in his wake...but he is my baby and I'm excited to have not only him, but both my boys home under one roof.

Sadly, I have absolutely no review for this week because I didn't get home early enough to want to do dishes, therefore no cooking.  I ate a bowl of cereal, a sandwich, and some noodles as my dinners in the evening and only ran the dishwasher one time. {Thank God I didn't have to unload it!}

This week's menu will be a little {that's my sarcasm font} more labor intensive, {for my weekend} but at least I'll get to eat real food during the week.  It's been raining cats and dogs every day so my options for using my electrical appliances are opened up some since the heat isn't sending my a/c unit in to seizures.....well, not grand mal ones anyway.  We also just had our propane tank refilled and grilling is back on the options list, Yay!  I can make "freezer" grill meals for easy weeknight dinners without much fuss at all. 

My plan is to enjoy these last days of summer because much too soon they will be replaced by shorter days, school routines, cold weather, and runny noses.
I don't know about you, but I need a few more sunsets this year.

To Do List:
1.  Make peach halves with strawberry cream cheese.
2.  Defrost chicken wings, bake, and sauce.
3.  Make pimiento cheese.
4.  Chop fruit.
5.  Make yogurt cups.
6.  Shop
7.  Laundry
8.  Make macaroni salad
9.  Clean out frig.
10. Straighten pantry.

Maybe some other stuff...will have to see what I have in the frig/freezer/and pantry.

SATURDAY-Meat sauce with bucatini pasta, green salad, garlic toast
SUNDAY-Chicken wings with spicy teriyaki sauce, and sweet chili sauce, oven fries.
WEDNESDAY-My Birthday--no cooking!
FRIDAY-Heck if I know! You are probably on your own!

Sunshine and Sunsets...always
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Menu Plan Monday 7/27/15 and Recipe Review

I truly try to remember what I need when I'm at the grocery store, not when I get home and realize I didn't get everything to make meals or lunches for the upcoming week....sheesh....welcome to my world, lol.
However, last week's meals and new recipes were wildly successful, and the fact that I didn't cook a full meal on Thursday or Friday was a nice break from my usual routine.

A few highlights....
Okra and Tomatoes...Tanner loves these and I found fresh okra at the Farmer's Market for a great price.  I learned that when I cook this particular dish with fresh okra that I need to simmer it for a lot longer.  The flavor was great but the veggies were still slightly crunchy.
VERDICT:  Cook longer.

Even though the first rendition wasn't successful, when I sauteed the remaining okra with simply butter, seasoned salt, and pepper it was fantastic!  Between Tanner and myself we ate the entire pan.
VERDICT:  Whenever fresh okra is available buy it!
The Chicken Tikka Masala was rich and made very simply by using the breasts of a rotisserie chicken.  I'm thinking I could lighten up the dish by using some of the yogurt called for in the marinade as a replacement for some of the cream.
VERDICT:  A very simple dish {when you skip the grilling/marinating step} perfect for weeknights.

The Garbage Salad turned in to a cobb like salad using things in my frig.  I whipped up a vinaigrette in my trusty mason jar with a lid and called this supper....I didn't even make the quick roll recipe that I had planned for the evening....just didn't think I needed the extra carbs.
VERDICT:  A large salad for dinner is one of my favorites...definitely make again.

I truly love using plain greek yogurt as a base for my daily lunch dessert, especially when I can make them on the weekend for a quick grab and take item for my lunch.  Blueberries, sliced almonds, honey, and a sprinkling of chocolate chips completes this.
VERDICT:  Having this for lunch all this week too!

I was bad, I swore in my post last week that I wasn't baking not one single thing....but I did and it was so good I don't even regret it.  I used this recipe as a base but since I was remembering in my mind what I had seen on the tv episode, and it is different, and better, imo.
VERDICT:  I bought peaches this week so hopefully they will over ripen and "force" me to make this again.

Again, since I haven't cooked since last Wednesday, there are a repeats on my menu this week.  Being creative with what I have is the best feeling ever and helps me to rotate my stock and also gives me the opportunity to look forward to filling up the cupboard again.  I hesitate to say I'm on a pantry challenge since I'm shopping for fruits, veggies, and lunch items this week but I kinda am.
Hope your week is blessed.

TUESDAY-Spicy Sausage Pasta,  or Meatsauce with Bucatini Green peas or salad

WEDNESDAY-Apricot Glazed Pork, Scalloped Potatoes, or New Red Potatoes, Green veggie

That's it!
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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Menu Plan Monday 7/20/15

Happy Monday!

My favorite thing that happened last week came right to my front door and I couldn't be more excited and thrilled to actually own one of these coolers...
Yes, I know, weird right?
That's me though...I get more excited about a cooler than most due to my love of all things ice.  No, I'm not anemic, but I do love crunching me some ice on a daily basis and this cooler keeps my ice fluffy and crunchable for a. long. time.  So far, the dentist says I'm not doing any damage to my teeth...I hope my upcoming check up still gives me the same report.
{fingers crossed} 

Last week I overdid on the sweet stuff so, I'll focus more on natural sugars {eg: fruit}, and greek yogurt with honey, nuts, and maybe a few dark chocolate chips to satisfy my cravings.
No baking :(  
I'm going to fill the void with fresh items prepared simply.  To be able to accomplish this I'll need to do quite a bit of chopping and prep over the weekend.  Here's my game plan....

1.  Prepare orzo salad
2.  Chop peppers, fruit, onions {green, white, and red}, carrots, celery.
3.  Make macaroni salad.  I love this!
4.  Make korean beef for Ty {He's coming home!!!}
5.  Get propane

1.  Package cherries in individual servings for lunch.
2.  Package lunch meat with cheese in individual servings along with the tortillas.
3.  Pack lunch for Monday.
4.  Iron work shirts for week
5.  Take Tanner and Ty out to lunch.
6.  Pick up a rotisserie chicken and take meat off the bone.
6.  MOST importantly...relax!

{If anything}

To Do:  Take chicken off the bone

Chicken Tikka Masala
Jasmine or Basmati Rice
Green Salad
To Do:  Put pork in the frig

Apricot Glazed Pork
New Red Potatoes or Scalloped Potatoes
Roasted or Pan Fried Okra
To Do:  Nothing off tomorrow with numerous appointments

Green Peas
To Do:  Chop anything extra for tomorrow

This homemade Mexican Pizza recipe is better than the famous fast food joint's! Get your daily dose of dairy with melty cheese and a dollop of sour cream! #DairyMonth #ad
To Do: Nothing tomorrow is Friday!


Since I'm on antibiotics for the next week or so, my goal is to eat at least 2 servings of yogurt and take my probiotics religiously to attempt to keep the bacteria in my gut as normal as possible.
This means no desserts for the week....that's okay though because I love yogurt almost as much as dessert.  Well actually yogurt is dessert isn't it?
Enough, I'm rambling.  Have a great week and...a 
happy Monday :o)

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Weekly Recipe Review

This week has been a really successful new recipe one! 
 Yay for my belly....Boo for my butt.  
My appetite has returned {unfortunately} with a penchant for sweets like nobody's business.  I even bought some ice cream which is like my least favorite dessert ever, but it's hot and I like the cone part {plain 'ole cake}, a lot.  I guess I'm gonna have to start watching it because I truly like loose clothes and wearing bathing suits on Sunday's.  Nuff said.
On to this week's happenings...

On Monday I came home to the best early birthday surprise ever

Yep, it's a YETI and I'm. So. Happy.
You see, I am an ice connoisseur and this little baby is going to keep my ice frosty for days on end.  In fact, I'm conducting an experiment to see if I can eat all the ice before it melts...I'll keep you posted.  
{so sure you're on the edge of your seat}

After examining and oohing and aahing for a little while, I put the YETI in its honored place in the laundry room and got busy making dinner.  Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite quick meals and lets me be a little lazy.  I really love these frozen eggplant slices and usually keep a box on hand for a quick semi homemade dinner.  Just cook the slices in the oven then layer with ricotta, red sauce, and some sort of grated hard cheese and dinner is done.  I didn't remember to take a picture until I was sitting my lazy bum on the couch with my plate in my lap.  It doesn't look good but it certainly tastes good.  I roasted green beans at the same time.  If I'm going to use the oven might as well do double duty.

{worst picture ever}

Tanner went to dinner with his girlfriend on Tuesday but since I had some ground beef that was browned and ready for a recipe, I went off list and tried a recipe that I found earlier in the day.
True Cheeseburger Pizza required a lot of chopping work...and was probably {not really sure} worth the effort I made?  I don't think I'll make the effort again but I ate it for dinner and lunch the next day so maybe...maybe not.

{The sauce is ketchup mixed with yellow mustard}

{pre baked}

After baking, the chopped pickles go on top followed by chopped tomatoes and shredded lettuce that I somehow failed to photograph. 

Wednesday, I worked half of the day and was off for the remainder which gave me some time to bake and cook a creative dinner.
Since I was out of sugar I headed to my local Aldi where I found some other things I "needed". I found reasonably priced peach halves I made a peach salad.
{my Mom's name for this although not sure it qualifies for a salad}

Simply fill the center of canned peach halves with strawberry cream cheese.  Layer lettuce leaves on a platter for a pretty presentation.
{Nope, I didn't do that}

Next, I made another sweet.  Blueberry Custard Pie is simple and plain 'ole good.  So good, I texted my Dad and I'm sending him some to him tomorrow for a snack.

{before baking}

{yep, I ate this before dinner along with a peach :D}

Finally I made our meal inspired by this recipe that turned out really delicious.
I call it Coconut Lime Chicken Saute with Coconut Rice

{Notice the plate color that I'm crushing on this summer}

Thursday I didn't make nothing!  

Friday's meal is going to be a large jumbo salad with lots of stuff in it using up all of the lunch meat from the week or a heated sandwich using up all of the lunch meat from last week's lunch grocery trip.  In retrospect, I cooked a lot of things that were just plain good this week.  But alas, my goal for the next few weeks has to be focusing on "healthy" items and/or moderation.  Eating too many sweets, while strangely satisfying at the end of a long work day,{while watching trashy tv} leaves me feeling bloated and worn out.  I certainly won't be giving anything is too short....but I can modify the amount. {I hope}

  Hope your weekend is blissful ;0)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Menu Plan Monday 7/13/15 and Sunday Breakfast

Sunday Breakfast used to be something of a question mark in my household.  Not being a breakfast eater myself, I could never understand the cries of "What's for breakfast?"  and the classic, "I'm so hungry my stomach is going to cave in, Mom...Mom...MOM"  I usually tried to sit very still and not breathe thinking if I didn't answer they might just forget about their bellies for a dadburned hour or two.
{or at least until lunchtime}
That never worked.  The frozen stuff and the cereal stuff never did either.
I finally acquiesced and learned to make some stuff that didn't require a lot of thought and most importantly could:
1.  Be made the night before.
2.  Use up leftovers in the frig. 
Today, I worked my theory and upped the ante to use up some pantry, freezer, and leftover items to make a hearty delicious breakfast that doesn't disappoint for a Sunday Funday Breakfast.

I kinda sorta followed a similar recipe to this however I changed it all up and didn't use scrambled eggs.  So...I guess you can say I didn't really follow any recipe at all.  This step consisted of about 1/3 of a package of Simply Potatoes hashbrowns mixed with approximately 3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese.  They were baked at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
{next time I will probably up the temp to 400 and bake for 15}

Rather than add the extra ingredients or scramble the eggs {I had another plan}, I decided to make an over-easy version.  Look a double yolk.  Good luck all day long...but of course it is Family Funday Sunday!

TA DA...
The finished product and yummy breakfast consisted of the hashbrown cups, the remainder of the hashbrowns cooked in the usual way {I didn't want to waste all of them if this was a flop}, and the best hash ever!
The hash used leftover steak, pork chops, and roasted veggies heated gently in a skillet with a bit of added butter to loosen everything up.  No need to add any sauce, etc.....the original seasoning flavors the mix nicely.

VERDICT:  Use this idea for all different things in the hashbrown cups. 

I forgot to take a post baked picture of my other cooking adventure this weekend.
{because I was in a hurry}
  The batter was great, the smell and color fantastic.....the end result was.. well....
I should have baked it longer.
I seem to have patience problems when I'm waiting on a baked good to finish and I want to go somewhere.  The desire to leave overwhelmed me and I thought the tiny bit of batter on my toothpick was a strawberry that was a little mushy.  I left it in the pan {cause in my mind I kinda knew} to cool and didn't cut a piece until I returned.  The end was delicious but the middle was just plain under done. 

VERDICT:  Make again when I get a deal on strawberries and either make muffins or have no plans to go anywhere for at least a couple of hours.  Patience grasshopper :o)

Now on to the menu for this week...since I overloaded the beginning of this post with talk and pictures, I'll attempt to be less wordy.  

SUNDAY-Barbeque Pork Sandwiches on Ciabatta buns and leftover Roasted Veggies, Boiled Corn on the Cob

MONDAY-Eggplant Parmesan, Spaghetti for Tanner, Garlic Sauteed Green Beans, Garlic Bread

TUESDAY-Coconut Lime Grilled Chicken, Couscous, Okra and Tomatoes

WEDNESDAY-Dr. Pepper Chili Dogs, Curly Fries, Green Veggie {?}

THURSDAY-I just can't decide right I'll update ya later in the week.

FRIDAY-YOYO I don't usually cook on the weekend but if Ty comes home on Friday night then I'll be making something that he loves.  Spoil my baby a bit.

**dessert of the week**:

Blueberry Custard Pie | The Girl Who Ate Everything. A creamy blueberry custard topped with a sweet streusel.

Have a wonderful week and seriously try and stay cool.
It's hot out there!

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Recipe review and what I want to make tonight!

Two days ago, I realized that the ground beef I had purchased on Saturday had basically a very short sell by date and that I should have stuck it in the freezer when I walked in the door from the grocery. 
 I. did. not.
This made my plan for Beef and Hummus Kefta {with pita bread purchased on sale, and hummus purchased on sale etc} plan null and void, so sad. Since I'm thrifty, {cheap} I decided to move on with the menu plan and make Copycat Panda Express Chow Mein to which I added chicken to make it a little heartier.  I just had to defrost one of my chicken packets that I made this past weekend to complete my ingredient list.  Yes, I did have to chop some veggies which took a little time but in all honesty I had this on the table in less than 45 minutes {it was probably closer to 30 but I have a tendency to underestimate so I'll give you the timing with the worst case scenario like you know, you drop all of your chopped veggies on the floor and your crazy dog licks and eats them before you even have the chance to shout 3 second rule and grab 'em.  Errr...don't ask how I know this}.  

It was damn delicious...yes, my attempt at humor and yes, that is the name of the website, lol.
My youngest son {who's working at a summer camp} would have gone coo coo over this one as he loves any and all things that are chinese {his words} in nature.  My oldest son said "hmmmm..good" after his first bite so I figure this one can stay on the rotation of quick easy meals.
VERDICT: Success in the best sense of the word.  Also you can use 2 packages of the dried ramen/yakisoba type noodle if your grocery store doesn't carry frozen ones {mine definitely doesn't}.

The next night I took the pork loin from the freezer {located in the outside refrigerator} and placed it in the frig. {normal operating procedure for me}  After work the next day I removed the package from the frig in order to cut in to chops only to find that it was frozen solid....still.  I'm thinking I might need to lower/up the temperature of my outside frig.  Regardless that messed up my plan for Tuesday and I completely don't even remember what I ended up eating on that day.  Wednesday, I left the house and ran numerous, numerous errands {my only day off this week} and skipped lunch.  I was starving when I got home and proceeded to eat a ciabatta bun with butter, then later, a ham and cheese flatbread while I finished the million things I needed to get done on this blessed day.  Tanner is house/dog sitting again so he wasn't home to sway me more towards a more balanced protein/green veggie meal.  To top it off I ate a rice pudding cup as dessert way past my self imposed cut off time for eating.  Oh, the wild and crazy life I lead!
{sarcasm at its finest :p}

Now that the pork has defrosted, {finally} I'm going to make the grilled balsamic pork chops recipe that has been appearing on my menu for two weeks.  

I also want to make this recipe with the organic strawberries that are already prepped and ready to go.  I'll take a picture of my own to show results, but I am convinced this will be something I want to add to the recipe box for strawberry season.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

My newest food obsession!

Lemon Twist Sabra Hummus is absolutely delicious!  Try some as soon as you can...on pita, pita chips, Triscuits, Wheat Thins or even straight off of a spoon or finger!