Sunday, September 25, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 9/26/16

I scored a great deal on pork and cubed steak last week at one of the grocery stores that I don't normally frequent.  I just so happened to glance at the circular in the newspaper {at work, since I don't get the paper at home} and decided I would drop by on my way home.  I'll have you know that not only was the store not crowded {bonus}, I was able to walk away with enough meat to last us for a month or so even if I was feeding a few extra peeps during that time.  I also found and cooked a ham {$1.69/lb} which yielded two bags of chopped recipe ready meat along with a ham and cheese Italian bread sandwich all stored in the freezer for easy weeknight meals.  Has anyone tried barbequed ham? Really yummy by the way.  Another bag of sliced meat is ready for lunches in my frig.  I won't need to do any prep unless I just feel like it :)
{the bone is in the freezer just waiting for a cooler weather to make a pot of beans, or split pea soup}

Last week's meals were not necessarily according to plan, since instead of choosing from the list, we ate a couple of the items I had stored in the freezer for busy work days.  It was nice that neither my son nor myself felt like we had to order in or stop through the drive thru because we worked late and lost ambition in the dinner prep area.  Instead of eating exactly this plan, we ate this..

Baked Egg Rolls and String Cheese with Salami Egg Rolls were dinner one night.

Soft-Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus - Sunny Day Brunch - Cooking Light
Soft Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta and Toast another.
{I have got to take a picture of mine...this has become one of my most favorite quick dinners}

We had chicken and rice leftover for Monday night and I made a sandwich with the baked ham on Friday.  Thursday was a business leader meeting held at my Dad's business with a snacky type dinner of wings, sandwiches, veggie trays, and dessert. {not particularly healthy, but definitely tasty} Proof that even with a swerve in your plan, a full freezer with options is valuable.

Grilled Dijon Chicken-Meet my new marinade crush.


Pork Chop Recipes | Quick and Easy Grilled Pork Chops
Baked Parmesan Potatoes
{haven't made these potatoes in forever, but this is a great easy recipe will post the steps later this week}

Leftover Broccoli
{freezer and carry over}

{this recipe is a guideline...mine will be topped with shredded lettuce, fresh tomatoes, green onions etc...actually more like this recipe with a crust and no chips}

Chicken With Creamy Mushrooms Going to try with coconut milk vs cream
{I'm using white wine instead of marsala}
Buttered Noodles
Green Peas

Hawaiian Roll Ham Sliders
Turkey Burger Sliders
{depends on whether any ham is left or not}
Green Salad

... Teriyaki Grilled Chicken, and he might just decide to take you out for
Photo Credit
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
Macaroni Salad
Roasted Veg


Roasted Broccoli and Peppers

Ham and Swiss Quiche for the freezer

This meal plan appears {and rightly so} to be filled with not so healthy options with lots of butter, cheese and cream. The way I keep my butt size under control is that I tend to be rework each recipe to decrease the butter/fat amounts although I've found that in reality portion control is always key.  I also only make approximately three portions {for the two of us}, which keeps serving sizes in perspective.  Not having seconds for my meal lets me "plan" for dessert :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bake Buttered Rice--Say that three times quickly

Baked Buttered Rice might just be the favorite for this week....maybe for the month.  I have wanted to try baking rice previously but when push came to shove, I would make a stove top version that I knew would work.
Well the stars aligned, and I finally used this method with fantastic success.  I used homemade chicken stock that just so happened to be packaged in 1.5 cup cartons {I used two}, I had exactly 1.5 cups of Basmati rice left in my cupboard and three tablespoons of stick butter left in the frig.
It was a sign.
The amount of salt was perfect for our taste {yes, I measured} and the only things I added were some dehydrated garlic and a a shake or two of Italian seasoning to add a little zing.
This is a perfect side dish that takes minimal prep work to get maximum flavor.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Grilled Dijon Basil Chicken

I love Jessica Fisher's recipes at Good Cheap Eats and at her other blog Life As Mom.  The chicken marinades on these sites blow me away in their simplicity all the while using common ingredients for an excellent flavor return. This one for Dijon Basil Grilled Chicken is no exception and takes top billing for my current chicken marinade crush.  If you have read any of my previous posts, I have been known to substitute and with this recipe....well, I almost didn't :)
The only substitution I made was dried basil for fresh basil.  To my credit though, the dried basil was some that I had grown on my very own back porch and dried myself in the oven.  Very homesteader of me, huh?
Even with this pretty big substitution, this recipe will be used over and over again and I'm kicking my previous favorite Southwest Chicken  to the least for the time being.

Check back tomorrow for my Baked Buttered Rice Review

Post linked to Delicious Dishes

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 9/19/16

Sunflowers are a happy flower, aren't they?  

This week's menu will not be terribly ambitious 'cause on this bright, beautiful, hot Sunday I'm just not feeling it.  No inspiration, no distinct craving.....I got nothing this week.
 I know you feel me....if not this week then you'll be with me in the not so distant future or maybe you've been there in the not so distant past.
A word of advice from a my own personal experience though is to forge ahead, push past that uninspired feeling.  Move forward and make some sort of plan.  No, it probably won't be your most inspired but it will be your touch point for dinner and keep you on track to maintaining that hard won habit of planning and cooking you have acquired. 

On that note, here's my uninspired but still published list of meals to keep me on track...But first..


This wasn't even part of my menu last week but all the ingredients were available and easy to prepare. 

Chicken Alfredo Pasta.  This was good, not great, and I'm thinking I can do better with a different recipe.  I used milk in place of the cream and thickened the sauce with cornstarch to be the consistency we like.  Ty ate this for leftovers with no complaints though.  My expectations tend to be higher when the calorie count exceeds a reasonable level though.
Trail Mix, I added too much sugar and only had shredded unsweetened coconut instead of flakes but this is a great method especially in the summer.  I think this mixture would be flippin' fantastic as a topping for waffles or mixed in waffle or pancake batter!

Ty's Sunday creation.

These green beans contain every ingredient we like, but sadly were not to our tastes.

{Sunday meal is for certain, the rest of the days can be interchangeable or something completely new}

Grilled Dijon Basil Chicken {new} carry over
Baked Buttered Rice {new} carry over
See my review of these two {new} items tomorrow

Homemade Pizza


Breakfast For Dinner

Turkey Mignon {carry over}
Green Vegetable


That's it, I made the plan...
Thank God I'm done but I also know I'll be glad I made the effort.

This post is linked to
For last week's meal plan and ideas for your non inspired week go here.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Memory Art


This piece of art, and yes, I use the term loosely, is attached to a special time in my life that will always be precious to me.  I hung this painting on the wall in our new home and every time I glance over that way, I smile.  
The abstract canvas is made with leftover interior paint samples and was created by all of the neighborhood kids where my boys spent the "golden years" of their childhood.  The very same place that I evolved in to a "real Mom".  The kind that drives a mini van and chauffeurs everybody everywhere and is busy beyond reason.  
That day our art studio was my driveway with a drop cloth spread out.  I recall the weather being exactly the kind that makes Florida really desirable to northerners.   
We spent about an hour laughing, joking, and throwing paint until all of the kids and myself were satisfied with the result. 
Every, and I mean every time I look in the direction of that art, I smile and feel joy.  To me, that makes our art priceless.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Taco Stuffed Potatoes


Taco Stuffed Potatoes are one of my very favorite weeknight make ahead meals.  At least twice a month, I'm having these for dinner.  I typically use ground chicken or turkey that I have browned and added seasonings as my protein of choice.  The meat freezes beautifully and defrosts easily.  This batch was frozen in glassware which made this even easier to heat up.  Freezer to microwave or frying pan, whichever you prefer.  
I topped the potato with butter, sour cream, shredded cheese, and green onions....delicious and ready in as long as it took to bake the potatoes. 
{Yes, I gave in and used the oven yesterday, although it was overcast.  In the summer I typically use my crock pot for baking potatoes }
To make this dinner even easier would be to prepare a few potatoes and treat them as a sort of twice baked potatoes, Pioneer Woman style.  I go easy on the add ins though...this is a weeknight dinner and I can't over do every day.  Preparing the potatoes ahead makes an easy meal into a quick meal that requires no effort greater than turning on the oven.
Great Green Beans....
not so much Green Beans
These just were not to my liking....and I can't figure out why...I like everything in them but alas they are a no go.
{even the picture I took looks like I don't like them :p}

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Belgian Waffles without a Belgian Waffle Maker

I was so lucky to have been gifted this wonderful Belgian Waffle maker about ten years ago from friends.  They didn't like Belgian waffles.
Receiving that gift led me to try many Belgian waffle recipes aka many not so good attempts until finding the best recipe for us.  All good things must come to an end though, and the waffle maker's heating element went kaput.  The repair would have cost more than the machine itself, so I was without a vehicle to make delightful waffles for quite some time.  Fortunately, I was gifted with another waffle iron, and I began to experiment with different recipes.  My new machine isn't exactly like the link or the one that I currently have as the wells really are not deep enough to meet the criteria for Belgian waffle maker.  However, because of the ease of cleaning my new machine, I began experimenting with all kinds of things.  The temperature outside has been horrible this summer which makes me completely averse to turning on my regular oven.  I have been using my trusty little waffle iron as a mini fry pan/oven over the last few months.  {one of my best experiments}
I have made hash brown patties, grilled pressed sandwiches, sweet rolls, savory and sweet waffles, and finally our favorite Belgian waffle recipe.
The waffles are not sweet and in fact don't have any added sugar to them, you can top or stuff all sorts of things using these, savory or sweet.  I waited a long time to make this recipe using my new machine...I hate to waste food and my expectations were super low.  I just couldn't imagine that the rise/crunch ratio would be good.
Happily, I pronounce I was wrong and my expectations were exceeded!
They freeze beautifully and crisp to perfection in the toaster oven.
{from frozen it takes two short toasting cycles in mine}
Win win and the regular oven stays off, and the house stays cool. {well, relatively}