Monday, September 25, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 9/25/17

Last week we ate dishes that were comforting to us.  You know, the cheesy not so good for you kind that always sound yummy.  That indulgence felt like just what we needed after weathering Hurricane Irma.  Eating that way also helped to use items from our freezer before freezer burn had a chance to set in.

Have a great week!


**The Best Cast Iron Pizza--Karissa ain't lying about this and seriously, I didn't even follow the directions.  Since we live in the "sweat to death" state, aka Florida, I didn't feel like the dough needed to rise the 12-18 least not this time.  My house thermostat sits at a solid 79 degrees during the day so this dough had plenty of opportunity {about 6 hours} to rise and be really happy in its warm "under the plastic" environment.   Patting the dough in to the cast iron pan was simple enough and the dinner plates we use daily fit perfectly as a cover.  The picture below is prior to going in the oven, but notice there isn't any visible dough around the edges.  It is hard to tell, even in the picture above, but the crust just develops on  its own while in the oven {mine goes to 550 degrees F} and becomes so crispy and delicious.  Next time I will let the dough develop more and add more sauce and toppings.  I only used seasoned hamburger and mozzarella but the pizza possibilities are endless.  What I really need is another skillet so that I can make two at a time!

"Old World" Pasta with Artichoke Hearts--Always delicious.

**Slaw Dogs with Top Split Rolls--Why didn't I ever buy the top split kind??? So much easier.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 9/18/17

This week things are finally back to normal for my family after losing power for six solid, long, hot, humid days. Yesterday was spent cleaning out refrigerators, doing laundry, emptying and scrubbing coolers and much more.  You get the general idea, I'm sure.  Even though storm clean up requires a lot of effort, I am over the top thankful that there wasn't any damage to our home.  Others in my area are not as lucky and will be feeling the effects of Irma much longer than we did.  Only ten miles from my home, some people are not expected to have power for another seven days as the damage to the infrastructure was so severe. Please pray for less humidity for those who are melting from the insipid heat.

The refrigerators, freezers, and pantry received some much needed attention in the aftermath of Irma. We cleaned all of them thoroughly and threw out a lot of items that were either questionable due to the temperature fluctuations that you have when using a generator or were just old.  Last night was the first one I cooked in exactly eight days, to say we enjoyed the meal is an understatement.  Ty said he wanted some "carby goodness", and even requested what we call "old world pasta" {named after a restaurant dish we had when he was a little boy} for dinner.  Pssst, I'll tell you a secret....there is not an ounce of meat in this dish.  Such an unusual request for this carnivore son of mine.  The rest of our week's menu will be simple and easy.

Remember, please send some cool, well relatively, breezy thoughts our way.

**Artichoke and Garlic Old World Pasta

**Rotisserie Chicken, Creamy Milk Rice, Green Salad
Didn't make the milk rice since I didn't get home until after 6.  This salad was delicious even though it was a package.

**Salsa Guava Pot Roast Tacos, Roasted Corn, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Sour Cream
Forgot to take a photo of this meal.  We liked it a lot but actually ended up eating the meat with the gravy over rice with a dollop of sour cream on top.

**One Pot Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Casserole, Okra

**BLT Dogs   **SlawDogs

**Cast Iron Pizza


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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 9/11/17--very late

Hurricane Irma pounded away at our fair state for several days this past weekend,  and to be honest, she's a grade A, number 1, pain in my rear.

No offense Mother Nature, and I do say that with the utmost respect. {I'm covering all the good juju bases}

Having no power since Sunday does not lend itself to planning meals, however, I have become quite the skilled grill master of things that aren't typically cooked there.  Jerk Chicken Bacon Grilled Cheese, anyone??  We have been running only the refrigerator and phone chargers with a small generator due to the gas shortage in our area {which seems to be resolving} so all of the food in the freezer has remained safe.  Because I'm not certain about the consistency of temperatures in my refrigerator, I am going to clean house in there and throw away any sort of questionable item.  It's time anyway and most of the condiments that will be thrown away I already have replacements for in my pantry.  Two birds with one stone and all that jazz.  Keep your fingers crossed that my power comes back on, OK?   I need to eat good, simple, clean stuff.  I'm no snob for a fast food fix occasionally but this is ridiculous.  I am so dying for a salad!!

My highlight recipe from last week couldn't be more simple to prepare.  Bucatini All'Amitriciana is absolutely delicious although I substituted quite a bit, using up a load of fresh tomatoes I had on hand.  No canned products whatsoever.  I used turkey bacon instead of the guanciale that I would never have on hand in my home.  Pasta water coated the bucatini with the tomato sauce beautifully.  Next week I'm making Basic Garlic Butter Tomato Sauce cause I wanna.  I need more tomato pasta in my life especially since the tomatoes happen to be very tasty this year.

Thai Beef with Basil didn't make my heart swell or bring a tear to my eye but I ate it all and Ty ate the rest so there weren't any leftovers.  I probably won't make this dish again.

Oven Baked Parmesan Tilapia is one of my favorite quick and easy meal.  Honestly, it's the homemade tartar sauce that I love. I've never posted my recipe..but I will, cross my heart, 'cause you will love it too.

Since the power went off, Lay's Sour Cream and Onion Chips are life.

Zippin' Zingin' Pear is a brand, spankin' new favorite.

Next week is brand new, yes I'm annoyed, and I feel inconvenienced, and I'm hot...well mostly hot. I'm hoping to start out this next week with power, cable, and all other modern conveniences but......there is significant devastation throughout our state and what right do I have to complain when my home is safe and standing.  When the power comes back on, I will be thankful for all that I have.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 9/3/17

I'm still struggling with the desire to cook every stinking night after working a full day.  Insomnia has been the bane of my existence the last few days making me a grump in every sense of the word.  As a matter of fact, I was up at 4 am today and heading to bed at 9 pm is on my immediate agenda. My list is dictating that I get up bright and early tomorrow and not read my Kindle while enjoying a cup of coffee if I want to get in some sun/pool time in the afternoon.  I'm hoping that efficiency will be my word for the day.

Regardless, we have to eat, so I am going to cook.  On to the plan.



**Parmesan Crusted Tilapia with Homemade Tartar Sauce

**Something Mexican, Quesadillas ??

I'm going to make a stone fruit compote or quick jam to top the plain greek yogurt in my frig and to make use of really ripe fruit. I also have to make use of the rest of the figs that I bought almost two weeks ago. Thank goodness I put them in the refrigerator before they became over ripe.  I'm sure they won't be as tasty, but at least they aren't rotten.

Sunshine and Sound Sleep to you all. xoxo

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To Do List

Wow, it has been forever since I've written one of these, but unforeseen circumstances warrant this emergency "make sure I get it all done before I go back to work" on Tuesday.  I was expecting to be off from work on Tuesday making it possible to stagger my chores/errands but alas plans changed.

  1. Laundry--extra two loads
  2. Iron, spray clothes with starch
  3. Grocery Store-cream, bread, lunchmeat, Kind bars
  4. Dollar Store-cleaning supplies, swiffer, spider spray
  5. Sweep and clean back porch, get rid of old planters
  6. Plan menu
  7. Clean the bathroom--done 0630
  8. Put clothes away--done 0630
  9. Clean and chop veggies
  10. Clean out frig
  11. Clean out the car
  12. Swing by work to check list
  13. Compile a list of questions for my Tuesday meeting-started
  14. Get ice
  15. Make jam with over ripe fruit
  16. Clean coffee maker
  17. Clean out utensil drawer
  18. Post menu
  19. Empty both trash cans, throw away rug
Easy, right?  Well, in order to actually do anything for the holiday, I'm going to need to have all of these tasks completed by noon tomorrow.

Hustle is my middle name... at least tomorrow it is.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 8/28/17

I cooked last week and enjoyed just about everything I made....except the sloppy joes.  I have decided that I just don't really like them.  The recipe was good, the flavor was good, but if I'm going to eat a lovely bun and all the empty calories that go with said bun, then I need to go all out and eat a real burger patty along with it.  Lesson least until the next time I decide to try again.  


I loved, loved this recipe and plan to make this whenever a "chicken and rice" craving hits.  Ty doesn't care for traditional chicken and rice and this is a substitute I can happily live with.  I used the rotisserie chicken breasts for the papperdelle pasta I made last week, and added the leftover chopped dark meat from that same chicken to complete this one dish meal.  Two meals with one chicken.  Cheap and tasty.

Crockpot Sloppy Joes that I made on top of the stove just didn't work for me, but if you are a fan, use this recipe.  It is solid.
Sloppy Joes topped with blue cheese crumbles on lightly toasted ciabatta buns should have been a hit, but sadly, no.

This Jamaican Jerk seasoning is the bomb on boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  They grill up really quickly which is a bonus for a weeknight meal.  Just remember a little seasoning goes a long way especially if you are a wimp like me with the heat.

Instead of grilling the pork chops like I had planned...since I ran out of propane...I made another one pan meal.  I loosely followed the recipe for Spicy Sausage Pasta for the liquid/pasta ratios but added bits of almost too bad to use veggies.  I also chopped the leftover Jerk chicken to use as the protein for my meat loving son.

Tater Tot Casserole what can I say?  It is delicious.  It satisfies all of the required comfort food elements.  Meaty, carby, cheesy, casserole goodness.  As a side note, the weatherman was correct {surprise, surprise} and it rained on the day that I planned to make this so the oven didn't make the temperature in the house unbearable.  I love when a plan comes together.

The food I prepared this last week really can't be classified as healthy but it certainly was easy to make.  I was able to have each dinner made and the dishes done before 6:30pm.  We even ate vegetables although sadly, no salad.  I hope to rectify the no salad thing this upcoming week though, and I bought lots of vegetables to top the greens.  I haven't done anything with the figs I bought BOGO yet, but I need to use them soon.  Semi healthy dessert, anyone??


**BLT Dogs--Since I ran out of propane, these were off of my option list last week, but will turn up some time in the next few days, I'm sure.

**Brined Grilled Pork Chops--Definitely this!

**Bucatini All'Amatriciana--I have so many tomatoes that need to be used.

**Chicken Picatta with Crispy Garlic--Probably with potatoes or rice instead of pasta.

**Turkey Lentil Tacos--With ground chicken instead of turkey.

**Skillet Chicken and Zucchini Enchiladas--I have some corn tortillas that need to be used...but this is a maybe recipe.

**Parmesan Crusted Tilapia with Homemade Tartar Sauce

These are our options for dinner at home this week.  We may eat out once if my older son and his fiance are able to join us, but sometimes coordinating all of our schedules can be like scheduling an international summit. 

Have a wonderful week ;)

Bucatini All'Amatriciana / Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Alex Brannian, Food Styling by Grace Parisi

Monday, August 21, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 8/21/17

Coffee flavored beer is delicious...especially when your friend had a hand in creating this delightful beverage. 

I didn't make anything except the chicken from my list last week.  I'm not sure if it is the hot weather which saps my appetite or the fact that I just haven't been feeling particularly creative in the kitchen.  Yeh, and I also didn't shop last week either.  This week though, I went to grocery store on Friday night, cleaned out the refrigerator and made myself ready for the upcoming week.  I'm definitely planning on making a few new things along with a couple of old favorites.

Grilled Chicken in Buttermilk Yogurt Marinade, Roasted Garlic Parmesan Pearled Couscous, Roasted Green Beans with Grape Tomatoes kept us in leftovers for a couple of days as you can see by the lunch container.  I liked this marinade....but I honestly prefer some of the others I've made from Good Cheap Eats, not to say that I won't use it again when I have a little bit of yogurt and a little bit of buttermilk in the frig.

I made three Naan Pizzas which I ate for dinner twice and lunch once.  As always, these hit the spot and heat up beautifully for future meals.

Publix had garlic basil papperdelle fresh pasta BOGO and I made a pesto type of sauce with onions, peppers, roasted green beans and tomatoes, rotisserie chicken {on sale}, garlic, and Italian seasoning.  After sauteeing the onions and peppers until soft, I added the seasonings, chicken, prepared pesto sauce into the pan and then slowly streamed in about 1/2 cup of chicken stock to make a thick sauce.  In total, including removing, chopping, and storing the remaining chicken from the carcass this meal took only 30 minutes to prepare.
Unfortunately for me, there weren't any leftovers from this meal.  

I got a another great deal on boneless, skinless chicken thighs again this week so Jerk Grilled Chicken is on the menu again.
I never made the Vegan Sloppy Joes but with the great deal I got on ground beef, I believe I'll try out Crockpot Sloppy Joes with ciabatta buns I got on sale also.

A carry over that will keep the kitchen and house cool is One Pan Fajita Rice.  I already have the chicken chopped and ready to go making this an easy, hardly any dishes, 30 minute meal.  Great for a Monday.

My favorite way to eat pork is using this recipe for Brined Grilled Pork Chops.  It takes a few extra minutes to prepare, but the results are worth the effort.  
BLT Dogs were so, so good last time that I think adding them to our summer menu plan is a fantastic idea even though they might not necessarily be the healthiest option.  Steaming the buns and charring the dogs on the grill is the secret to what makes these great. This time I'm using turkey bacon to top them and I'll make a giant green salad to offset the badness. 😄
Since there are only two of us eating each meal, I typically half recipes and plan to do just that for the Sloppy Joes which will leave me enough to make half of this Tater Tot Casserole.  I'll also be able to use up the remaining turkey bacon.  Rain is forecasted for the end of the week which will help offset the heat from the oven.  Again, a huge green salad to help in the justification process.

I also bought fresh figs this week at the grocery as they were BOGO and I'm planning on getting a few ideas from here to enjoy them for dessert this week.  My son doesn't care for them so I won't have to worry about them being gone before I even get a bite. 

Have a happy solar eclipse Monday!

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