This is a version of the same article that appeared in the Seattle Times on 12/26.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Holiday Sweet Potatoes
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. dried bread crumbs
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
In a saucepan melt butter. Add flour & garlic and stir until color deepens a bit. Add cream and simmer until mixture thickens slightly.
Layer sweet potatoes in a buttered casserole dish.
Pour sauce over and bake @ 325 degrees for 1 hour.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheese and bake for 10-15 more minutes.
For Christmas dinner I was invited to Mrs. S's in-laws...... got that?? By BFF's husbands parents - which I thought was about the sweetest thing in the whole entire world for them to invite me. The chickies had ran off with their dad (and rightly so - they spent Christmas eve & morning with me), so I was "unattended". LOL So, I took a veggie tray and these two dips:
Vegetable Dip ****
Of the two, I liked this one best. It was creamy and fresh tasting and perfect to dip a veggie into. And I had some of the heavy cream left over from the sweet potatoes that needed to be used up!
Italian Vegetable Dip *** 1/2
This one was too chunky for veggies - it might be better with chips or a nice sourdough to dip into.
I hope your holiday table was filled with as much love, laughter, and joy as mine was!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
It was time to get serious.
Monday, December 21, 2009
I wasn't impressed at all. The pork was okay - the "stuff" in the crockpot wasn't good at all. It does not make me happy to waste all the stuff as just a cooking liquid. I won't make it again, when there are better recipes for use of my pork roasts.
Slow Cooker Cranberry Roast ****
Monday, December 14, 2009
...in my life last week! Thing happened to way-lay my meal plan - some were good, some not so much. I lost water one day (not do to the cold, but due to a faulty electrical something-or-another in my control box for my pump) and I lost power to half the house another day, again due to electrical issues.
The other good stuff had to do with Pillsbury and as soon as it is available I'll share. Trust me, it is super cool! This week we are again filled with much holiday merriment and activities.
Monday - I'm trying to "perfect" my chicken noodle soup recipe. The chickies are willing recipients of all the trying. :)
Tuesday - This Slower Cooker Cranberry Roast looks interesting. I would think that cranberries would go better with a pork roast and some of the reviews even suggest that, but I'm going to try it as written with a chuck roast.
Wednesday - We might be going out and about Wednesday depending on the weather. So, we will have leftovers.
Thursday - We have been invited to a Mother-Daughter Christmas party. I'm sure it will be tons of fun and KK is very excited. In addition, today is SS's Christmas concert at school. She will be full of Christmas cheer and song. I love it!
Friday - KK has declared (very publicly in fact) that this Simple Hamburger Stroganoff is her favorite thing I make. I can't believe it dethroned the ever-popular shake n' bake pork chops!!
Saturday - I want to give this Creamy Chicken Lasagna a try. It seems pretty basic, I'll use my marinara instead of jarred sauce.
Sunday - I'm still want a terrific meatloaf. Tasty, slice-able, the kind that melts in your mouth. I thought this Boston Market Copycat looked pretty good.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Monday - I wish I had PW's Cookbook 'cuz I saw a picture of a chicken fried steak that look extra yummy, but I'll just make my momma's recipe (basic breading with saltine crackers), mashed potatoes and a cream gravy. YUMMY!
Tuesday - Crockpot day - I had everything on hand for this Slow Cooker Pineapple Pork Roast. I love it when I like a recipe that doesn't require any grocery shopping!
Wednesday - This is the day of the Cookie Exchange. Since I'm not a baker, I'm contributing fudge.
Thursday - Poor SS.... we haven't had spaghetti and meatballs for at least two weeks! LOL I'll make her happy tonight.
Friday - I'm so in love with that Chicken Alla Puttenseca, here is another recipe that is reminiscent of that with spanish olives and capers. This one comes via my cooking friend and all round sweetie pie, Dishy.
Famous Puerto Rican Chicken
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 sweet bell peppers, any color, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 2 TBS fresh)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
12 oz. canned tomato paste
2-3 chicken bouillon cubes, or 2-3 teaspoons Better than Bouillon, chicken flavor
2 large potatoes, unpeeled, cut in bite-size pieces
2-3 cups water
1/2 cup (more or less) Spanish olives, drained
2-3 TBS. capers, drained
Place chicken in large shallow baking dish (I just used a 9x13; if you use a larger baking pan you could use more chicken). Spread chopped bell peppers, onion, garlic, cilantro, oregano, cumin seeds, ground cumin, and tomato paste over chicken. Then add the chicken bouillon (dissolved in the water), and potatoes over this mixture. Bake at 400 F for 90 minutes. Add the olives and capers after the chicken has baked for 45 minutes. Serve with rice.
Saturday - We HAVE to go Christmas shopping. We will brave the crazies and go to a "real mall" and I think we will go to Famous Dave's BBQ, 'cuz when I went before they gave me a coupon for my next visit. I'm a sucker for a coupon!
Sunday - Two weeks ago I made a double batch of chicken noodle soup and froze the leftovers. As of now, IT IS ALL GONE! My chickies are lurve my chicken noodle soup (which makes my heart sing with happiness!). So, we are gonna make another giant batch. :)
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
My meal plan this week is sorta dull. No new recipes at all - just a few revisited and a couple pulled from the freezer.
Monday - The stew I made a few weeks ago made enough for two meals for us. I don't want things to get too lost in there, so I want to have it while I still remember it!
Tuesday - Shake n bake pork chops. ...........zzzzzzzzzz............. Maybe someday the chickies will let me make something else with pork chops. MAYBE!
Wednesday - Way last spring I posted a Coconut Shrimp recipe up, but it never actually happened... I found a random bag of coconut in my cupboard and that along with the bag 'o shrimp I got at Costco = a match made in heaven.
Thursday - I enjoyed the Chicken Thighs alla Puttenseca so much, I making them again this soon! That says great things about that recipe, because as you can see by my meal plans, that doesn't happen very often!
Friday - I posted this Red Beans & Rice awhile ago, but got side-tracked by this version, but I found a turkey kielbasa on sale, and have bacon leftover from my Thanksgiving appetizer recipes, so I decided to revisit this recipe. I also will use dried/soaked red beans.
Saturday - Back to the depths of the freezer for the chicken noodle soup. The chickies loooooooooovvvvvvvveeeeee my chicken noodle soup. I expect lots of slurping and "this is yummy" during dinner tonight!
Sunday - Also leftover from my Turkey day goodies where some anaheim chilies that I roasted up and made some of these green chile enchilada sauce that I will use for Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas. Last time I made them, with even with canned sauce KK declared them her favorite, even more so than an enchilada with red sauce.
I didn't get a meal plan up last week, but on Sunday (11/29) I am making a recipe I saw a few weeks ago on The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I know that some people dis The Pioneer Woman for "going commercial" or "arbitrary use of butter" - but I dig the The Pioneer Woman. She speaks to my 40-year old self. She is funny, self-deprecating, takes beautiful photos, and cooks up a storm. I usually drop by her website during my lunch time and say wistfully, "The Pioneer Woman is giving away a really cool knife today." My office mate said recently, "I think you want to be The Pioneer Woman". Yeah. So? LOL
At any rate, I saw this little short rib number and the kicker was it was served on polenta which I have been dying to make for a long time. YUMMY
Friday, November 27, 2009
Our Thanksgiving was wonderful. We spent a lovely day over at The Smith's. I didn't get a meal plan up this week, but rest assured I'll be back next week!
Here are a few reviews of things I've made lately:
Savory Meatloaf - *** 1/2
This was on okay meatloaf - nothing special. It held together nicely, but I thought the flavor was really lacking. My search will continue!
Chicken Thighs alla Puttanesca - *****
So simple, so yummy! These were so good, I served with couscous. I can't wait to make it again!
Spaghetti Carbonara - ****
I'd never made carbonara before and it was pretty good. I took the advice of the AR reviewer who suggested mixing the eggs with the parmesan and then mixing with the spaghetti off the heat. I think next time I'll mix it on the heat, it was a bit loose.
Cheesiest Macaroni and Cheese - *** 1/2
The description of this mac and cheese said it was like Stouffer's. It was not. It was wayyyyyyyyy to dry. Stouffer's has a nice crust and is not dry. My search continues.
Simply Great Chicken - *****
Fantastic chicken! Simple, easy, tasty! All great attributes in my book. Make this chicken.
Beef Paprika - **
The chickies did not like this. I wasn't very fond of it either. I'm not quite sure what I didn't like, but it wasn't great. :(
Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes - *** 1/2
This was pretty tasty even though I substantially cut back on the butter and oil. Both the chickies declared it "okay - but it needs shrimp".
Sunday, November 15, 2009
My menu plan didn't quite work as I "planned" last week, but that is the beauty of the meal plan. If your plans change, you just can go with the flow - knowing that a new week is just ahead!
Monday - We went to Costco and were able to get a few random yummies, one being a jar of oysters. We love fried oysters (yes, the chickies too!). I just drain them, dip them in a little beaten egg, and dredge them in a little Krusteaz Bake & Fry. Because the banner says "A Northwest Tradition since 1932", I'm thinking this a regional thing. I'm very sad for you if you can't get it, as it a nice seasoned coating mix.
Tuesday - KK reminded me "it has been forever since we've had shake 'n bake pork chops". So, if you read my blog on a semi-regular basis you know that this is not acceptable! :)
Wednesday - I have a couple of packages of turkey bacon lurking in my freezer. I thought I would try a Spaghetti Carbonara. It isn't something that is in my regular meal rotation, but I think the chickies will like it. It seems pretty speedy too, since it is my turn to drive for piano lessons.
Thursday - I've had a hankering for some beef stew for a couple of weeks and it just missed getting on to my comfort week food fest. I found a nice little chuck roast on sale, so I will cut it up and make a variation of this allrecipes version.
Friday - I still haven't made that catfish and tartar sauce, from last week. I really want some sweet potato fries too!!!
Saturday & Sunday - So, last weekend I was very busy. I had my cooking demo (which went great and was so much fun!) and my picture for Pillsbury, I didn't get a chance to be very culinary last weekend. As my freezer is low or empty of my staples, I want to make up for it this weekend. I definitely need to make a big batch of my favorite marinara (I got a BIG can of tomatoes at Costco!). We also need some chicken soup base using the weird-named soup, then freeze with and add noodles. And it looks like the crockpot is empty, we better make a big batch of refried beans!
Next week is Thanksgiving. I'm giving my sides a lot of thought - Mrs. S and family haven't gotten the same couple of recipes the past couple of years! I think my contribution of appetizers and sides need to be shaken up a bit! ;)
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I really, really missed making a meal plan last week. I didn't even have one just sketched out on a piece of paper... and it wasn't a good week, culinarily speaking! That week sent me straight into planning the coming week!
Monday - Requested by KK, meatloaf. Sometimes I use a recipe for meatloaf - sometimes I just throw some stuff together and hope for the best. Sometimes I make Stove Top Muffins. This week we are going for Savory Meatloaf from AR. I'm looking for something which will cut nice and make some good sandwiches.
Tuesday - I've been eyeing this recipe chicken recipe since my friend, Cookin' Mama brought it to my attention. I found some capers hiding in my fridge, so today is the day.
Chicken Thighs alla Puttanesca
Chicken thighs have a richer flavor than breasts and are better able to stand up to the bold sauce. If you can't find boneless thighs, use bone in thighs increasing the cooking time to 40 minutes, but do not use chicken breasts.
8 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp. pepper
20 pitted kalamata olives
1 (14 1/2- ounce crushed fire-roasted tomatoes in puree
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon coarsley chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Put chicken in a 1 1/2-quart baking dish, season with pepper and scatter olives on top.
2. Combine tomatoes, garlic, and oregano in tomato can. Spoon over chicken to cover. Bake until chicken is just cooked through, about 25 minutes.
3. Transfer chicken and sauce to a platter, sprinkle with capers and serve.
Wednesday - All this week is only 1/2 day of school for the chickies because of Parent/Teacher conferences. Wednesday is NO SCHOOL (and no work!!! YIPEE!), I think they are going to spend part of the day with their dad so I can go and get my hair done in the evening. Pillsbury is requiring that I get a professional business photo and I can't let my picture by thrown all over the place (hheeeeheeehhee) with all these gray hairs running amuck! So, I thought I'd make a nice lunch instead of dinner with the Simple Stroganoff the mini-chicks are very fond of.
Thursday - When was the last time I used the crockpot?? Way toooooooo long. How about a roast chicken on tin foil balls. Except, I'll put some potatoes in those tin foil balls. :)
Friday - I scored some catfish on a shopping expedition and we were all big fans of the Oven Fried Catfish. I still haven't tried the best lookin' tartar sauce, but I'm going to!
Saturday - I'm going to be doing another cooking demonstration at Harvest Foods. This time it is "Easy Candy" or "Don't be Intimidated by the Candy Thermometer". I'm going to be making a couple versions of a no-cook fudge and a microwave peanut brittle. If you are around, stop by Harvest Foods at 12:00 on November 14 and enjoy a piece of candy, throw me questions about candy-making and just generally harass me to give me practice cooking for an audience!
Sunday - We are going to run off to the big city (relatively speaking compared to Royal City!) and get my picture taken. I am hopin' for some sushi to be somewhere on the agenda too!
It feels so good to have this here. Typed out. Ready to go!!
Friday, November 6, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I probably am jinxing it by saying that, but really not much is on the agenda for this next week! YEA!!
Monday - We didn't have sloppy joes on Friday because, well, quite honestly I was pooped! LOL We'll have them today since I have everything on hand.
Tuesday - One of our local Mexican restaurants has some good Barboca. We'll see if I can do as a good job!
Wednesday - I gotta keep my SS happy, her favorite, spaghetti and meatballs it is!
Thursday - I am having my very 1st interview today! Can't let dinner slide just 'cuz I think I'm famous though! So, crockpot to the rescue with the Salmon Cheddar Casserole.
Friday - Another favorite of the chickies, Chicken Noodle Soup. When I made it a few weeks ago, I froze half without noodles.
Saturday - Happy Halloween! KK has a party and either SS will go trick-or-treating with her friends, or I will take her. I'm thinking Peanut Butter Cups will make an outstanding dinner. ;)
Sunday - I have been questing for the perfect mac & cheese to compete with that red Stouffer's box for many years, but nothing ever seems to come close to its cheesy perfection. Today I'm going to give it another - here are the contenders:
Cheesiest Macaroni & Cheese from recipezaar.
Creamy Macaroni & Cheese from Allrecipes.
I might do half a recipe of each for a head on taste test!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
A well-balanced week of new tries and old favorites for the week.
Monday - My cute little friend, Katy from Food for a Hungry Soul posted a good lookin' chicken recipe that is right up my alley (easy!). Simply Great Chicken looks easy-peasy! I bought a head of broccoflower that needs to be eaten, so we will have that for a side along with a pasta.
Tuesday - I got some lean little top round steaks on-sale this week, so I wanted to do something different than a stew or beef tips and since I have some really nice Penzey's Hungarian Paprika, Beef Paprika seemed like a good idea. I will do it in the crockpot since KK has her last home volleyball game tonight. And just for the record, I will not be browning it in shortening! LOL
Wednesday - One of PW's (Pioneer Woman) latest recipes fit the vegetarian criteria for me this week! Her Wednesday Night Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts with Tomatoes looks pretty good, but like most of her recipes pretty full of fat. I'll tone it down a bit with fat free half and half, less butter and oil - but probably keep the Parmesan.
Thursday - I never did get that Indian Tandorri chicken and sweet potato curry made from week before last. Absolutely no excuses for this week!
Friday - By request from both chickies - sloppy joes made with real burger. The past couple of times I've used lentils - but both requested the real thing this time.
Saturday - I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. ;)
Sunday - My all-time favorite roasted chicken... you know the drill. Famous Dave's Country Roasted Chicken. So.Good.
Simple Creamy Lemon Chicken Sauce ****
KK liked this - said it would do when I didn't want to go to all the trouble of making her very favorite lemony chicken. :) What a thoughtful daughter, LOL.
Bryan's Spicy Red Lentil Soup ***
I was a little disappointed in this considering my glee in finding red lentils. Neither of the chickies liked it at all. :( I still have some lentils left and am going to use them on something better!
Skillet Lasagna **** Pretty basic, hard to go wrong! It made a lot so we enjoyed the leftover for lunch.
Chicken and Dumplings III *****
So good! I doubled the recipe (it is only 4 to begin with). I made my own chicken broth and this was terrific. We pretty much scarfed down the whole pot, with just enough for my lunch the next day. The dumplings were better the first day, they seemed to toughen up in the fridge.
German Style Pork and Saurkraut ****
I used a little more kraut, I couldn't find anything less than a 24 oz. jar! I used one big turnip and a small pork roast. I served it over mashed potatoes. It was a very "white" looking meal, but very tasty. KK said she'd eat it again, and SS ate everything but the turnips. Surprisingly that was the thing she said was sour, not the kraut! Crazy kid. LOL
Sunday, October 11, 2009
It was COLD here this morning. Way colder than it should be for mid-October. So, we are having the week of the comfort food.
Monday - KK's idea of comfort food is lemon-y chicken. I found this Lemon Cream Sauce. Sounds good over some simple lemon pepper broiled chicken and couscous. (Hey, comfort and good for you!)
Tuesday - KK has a volleyball game and the orchard should be finished picking today. That means busy evening for the momma, so I have some chili in the freezer from a few weeks ago. In an attempt to find a decent substitute for my favorite Buttery Corn Bread (which I realize isn't going to be possible), I thought I give this Weight Watchers Cornbread a shot.
Wednesday - SS has piano. She is practicing her Christmas songs already for a recital in December. She is very excited but said, "How can Jingle Bells be the hardest song ever???" LOL I love my SS. I thought we'd try somebody's else idea of "comfort food". I have only made sauerkraut maybe twice for the chickies. We'll see how it goes over. Plus, I won't be using chops, I have a small pork roast that needs to be used. AND I get Granny Smith apples from the orchard FOR FREE! Gotta love that.
German-Style Pork and Sauerkraut
4 boneless pork chops, about 1-inch thick
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 large onion, sliced thick
2 turnips, peeled and sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled & sliced
16 baby carrots
1 can (6oz) sauerkraut, do not drain
10 3/4-oz can low-fat cream of celery soup
2/3 cup nonfat chicken broth
Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Sprinkle pork chops with Mrs. Dash and pepper. Cook in skillet over medium heat until browned on both sides.
Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray. Combine sliced onion, turnips, apples and carrots in bottom of slow cooker. Top with sauerkraut. Place pork chops on top. Combine celery soup and broth; pour over all ingredients.
Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 3 1/2-4 hours.
340 calories, 9.7 g total fat, 46 mg cholesterol, 1,291 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber, 28 g protein
Thursday - Last week I got to go and have lunch with my old friend. We had yummy greasy hamburgers and since I had already taken the afternoon off from work, and I was in a town with a fancy-dancy grocery store - I went grocery shopping. I FOUND RED LENTILS. It was a big deal. LOL I thought a nice spicy red lentil soup would be very comforting.
Friday - We will be going for SS's idea of comfort food tonight. Something with red sauce, noodles, cheese... YUM. Skillet Lasagna will be my jumping off point. I'll use my homemade sauce, probably only ground beef, mini-bowties (they are so cute!), and some mozzarella on top.
Saturday - I could tell you what I was cooking on Saturday but, then I would have to kill you. ;)
Sunday - So, last Sunday my meal-plan said sweet and sour chicken and egg drop soup. Didn't happen, I started my week of comfort food early and made Chicken and Dumplings. So, we will try the Asian thing again this week.
I hope everybody's week is filled with your idea of comfort, whatever that may be. And hey, if you gotta a second, click on that annoying google ad. ;)
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
KK: Mom, why do you always look at the "fancy" cheese. (The cheese usually around the deli area).
Me: I like fancy cheese. Fancy cheese makes me happy. :)
KK: But you never BUY the fancy cheese. You only look at it.
Me: Well, I'm too cheap to actually BUY it. But it makes me happy to look at it.
Send help. I've obviously got a serious problem. LOL
Monday, October 5, 2009
Cheeseburger Soup ****
This was a pretty tasty soup. I didn't crockpot it because a 2-hour crockpot recipe doesn't really do me a lot of good when I work all day. It seemed a bit thin, so I threw in a couple handfuls of mini penne. KK loved it.
Beef Tips w/Zip! *****
I make a similar recipe using red wine for the liquid that I love and this is a close second! I was going to use the leftovers to make a beef pot pie, but they disappeared!
Virus Killing Soup *****
This was a terrific chicken soup. I ran out of red pepper so I used a couple healthy shakes of a creole seasoning. It was enough to feed us twice with leftovers each time. I made it Sunday and then Monday skimmed the fat off the top, added some egg noodles when it was simmering and SS had 3 bowls! A winner by all accounts.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Just life this week - not exciting. Not boring by any stretch, just, well - average. LOL
Monday - I am giving my "Meal Planning 101" class at the high school. If you are from Royal and want some tips/tricks about meal planning - stop on by the home ec room at the high school at 6:00 pm. Not sure when I'll get home, so we will have some of the leftover chicken soup from Sunday.
Tuesday - We haven't had time between with volleyball to go to WW, I think I am holding my own. KK has asked for Hamburger Stroganoff, one of her favorite things. I do make it with reduced fat ingredients, but it is by no means diet friendly. But, she has been working hard at volleyball, so I thought I'd let her have her favorite.
Wednesday - I have been wanting to do more Indian food, I really loved the Tikki Masala. I found Indian Tandoori Chicken to try. Since grilling weather as gone, I will just bake in the oven. This Sweet Potato Curry looks like it would be an interesting side.
Thursday - KK has a volleyball game - so we are going to keep it simple and warm. SS asked for quesadillas this week, so we will have those with homemade potato soup. I make potato soup just like my mom, very simply. Potatoes cooked with celery and onions, a little butter and finished with milk. I do thicken mine with a little bit of cornstarch, and since we don't drink whole or 2% milk like I did when I was a kid, I usually add a little bit of fat free half and half for a richer flavor than fat free milk can provide.
Friday - Let's go Mexican, shall we? I usually make a red sauce for enchiladas, but how about something different. Green chile chicken enchiladas. I will make "Gem's" rice - maybe if I keep trying the chickies will say it is as good as hers! LOL Probably not.
Saturday - I never got burgers made last weekend. We will try again today. Everybody share your favorite burger recipe!!!!
Sunday - So far this week we've had two comfort dishes (stroganoff & potato soup), Indian, Mexican, and American (burgers). What's missing???? Asian, of course! Three on Food had this little Sweet and Sour Chicken number last week. I don't think I'll fry in oil, rather do my "oven-fry" trick with cooking spray before adding the sauce. SS's favorite thing Asian? Egg Drop Soup. She will think I'm amazing when I present her with this!! LOL I think I'll add a few peas like her favorite restaurant does.
I hope you are having a great week in your world, average or not. Hey, got a minute - click annoying google ad. :)
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I know that my blog has mostly turned into my waxing lyrical about my meal plan, dinners, and recipes..... but I wonder - do you ever wonder what you want to be when you grow-up? I do, even though I'm sliding into 42 really hard.
When I was 17, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be an "accountant". I had taken high school accounting and "got it", even more than some of my really smart friends - the ones that were pulling A's & B's in advanced placement calculus and chemistry (which by the way, I wasn't even taking! LOL). I begged my parents for a typewriter (remember those??) when I was a freshman. I "knew" what I wanted to be when I grew up.
And I was... I'm not a CPA nor do I even have a BA in accounting, but I was an awesome bookkeeper, office administrator, financial administrator for an awesome boss & company for 19 1/2 years.
Then... I lost my mom on this day 6 years ago. Then 2 1/2 years later I lost my dad. Than I lost my awesome job. Granted, at the time I thought it was going to be step-forward, a chance to re-group. It hasn't quite turned out the way for me.... and now on this anniversary of one of the worse days of my life - I find myself asking "Is this really what I wanted to be when I grew up?"
How about you?
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I must say, fall has a tendency to make me a little sad - wishing for the warmer days of July. Our September has been very warm, but I think that is about to change - I can see leaves changing and it gets dark much earlier.
I'm going to try and change my sadness at the changing of the season by making some soups and comfort food faves.
Monday - SS asked for her favorite to be on the meal plan this week - Spaghetti and meatballs. I'm still liking Kittencal's Marinara from Recipezaar. I like it so much, I haven't been searching for anything new. VERY unlike me! Her Italian Meatballs are fantastic too. I drop them into the simmering sauce for an extra boost of flavor to both!
Tuesday - And our busy week starts. KK has a volleball game at 4:00 and I thought "SOUP" would be a nice thing to fill up her tummy after working so hard. This is a 2-hour crockpot recipe from the WW board. I think I will probably make it up Monday night or before work Tuesday and just reheat on the stove for dinner.
Slow-Cooker Cheeseburger Soup
2 spray(s) cooking spray
1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1 medium onion(s), chopped
1 medium stalk(s) celery, chopped
1 pound(s) uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cup(s) canned chicken broth, divided
1 cup(s) low-fat evaporated milk
8 oz Kraft Velveeta Light Reduced-Fat Pasteurized Processed Cheese Product, or similar product, cubed
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
24 item(s) baked low-fat tortilla chips, crumbled
Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds. Add garlic, onion and celery to skillet; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Coat a 3-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray; spoon in vegetables.
Place same skillet over medium-high heat and brown beef, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 5 to 6 minutes; pour off any liquid and add meat to slow cooker.
In a small cup, combine flour and 1/2 cup of broth; stir until lump-free. Pour flour mixture into same skillet; add remaining 2 1/2 cups of broth. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits in bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon, and then pour into slow cooker; stir in evaporated milk, cheese, paprika, salt and pepper. Cover slow cooker and cook on low setting for 2 hours. Serve soup topped with crumbled chips. Yields about 3/4 cup of soup and 3 tablespoons of chips per serving.
Wednesday - I have gotten my "Gem" to take Sami to piano lessons the past two weeks while I've been extra busy at work - but my time has arrived, and that means it is my crockpot is gonna save me again. I got some frozen boneless chicken breasts on sale at Safeway last week - and I stocked up early in the season on some Kraft BBQ sauce when it was on sale too. (I can never make BBQ sauce that I like as well as the cheap stuff. It makes my culinary self kinda sad on occasion! LOL) So, it's time for some Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken BBQ. I like it on baked potatoes. Give it a try instead of a bun.
Thursday - KK has another volleyball game, and again - the crockpot is going to save me. Another simple one from the Weight Watcher boards:
BEEF TIPS WITH ZIP!/slow-cooker
by Linda Wilson
2 lbs lean cubed round or sirloin steak
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
*1 can low-fat cream of mushroom soup, undiluted* use wpa for SFT
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 cup sugar-free lemon-lime soda
Turn slow-cooker on low. Place meat and mushrooms in cooker. In a mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients until well blended and pour over meat and mushrooms. Put cover on slow cooker and cook on low approximately 8 hours.
Serve over brown rice or ww egg noodles.
Friday - The family favorite. You guessed it - Shake N' Bake pork chops. We'll try to spruce it up a bit with a an exciting side dish. Probably a veggie casserole.
Saturday - Burgers of some kind. I'm on the look out for something new and exciting. Suggestions are welcome! I might (might) get excited enough to try to make my own buns. Maybe. Don't hold me too it! LOL
Sunday - The flu has already started in our schools. The chickies and I got our Flu Mist doses last week, but I thought this weirdly name soup would be good to have on hand in the freezer for the winter. Per usual, I have whole chickens I've gotten sale roaming wild in the freezer.
I'm glad I had time to post my plan this week - it is so much easier for me when I post it, then I don't have to remember what I did with the paper I wrote it on.
And.... if you got a second, click on one of those annoying google ads. LOL
Friday, September 11, 2009
Can you believe it is the middle September already? WOW! We just have the usual on tap for this week. Work, school, volleyball, piano, Weight Watchers.
Monday - I'm remember really liking this Crockpot Chop Suey from April. It made great leftovers for lunch the next day too.
Tuesday - The chickies were gone all last weekend, and that caccitore is STILL in my freezer. I have decided that I want to try my hand at some polenta to serve with it. I haven't quite settled on a recipe.
Wednesday - Piano lessons means crockpot again. I'll use one of my Costco pork roasts for these Sweet Pork Tacos from my cooking friend, Dishy's blog. I made them once before and seriously good.
Thursday - Weight Watchers weigh-in. I really really really really want to get to my 30.0 lb. mark today. I'm only .2 away and I want it sooooooo bad!
Friday - This Mexican Lasagna has been declared the winner over the AR recipe. SS asked for it specifically to be on the meal plan this week.
Saturday - I have been asked to give a cooking demonstration at our local supermarket, Harvest Foods, in honor of their 35th anniversary! I'm so excited, another of my cooking friends, Granny, turned me to these cranberry-feta pinwheels and these green chile pinwheels. After the demonstration we are off to a birthday party for my friend's baby boy. I'm sure she will be feeding us some seriously yummy food with along with a Tres Leche Cake.
Sunday - I have been dying to try yet another cooking friends' tartar sauce. I think the favorite Oven-Fried Catfish will be just the vehicle for that! Maybe some sweet potato fries? YUMMY!
Another few reviews:
Mexican Lasagna from AR *** 1/2
It might not be fair to only give it 3 1/2 stars, because I forgot to layer the beans, and just put it on top - but it was very soupy and the flavor just wasn't there. The chickies liked the one with tortillas a million times better.
Real Louisiana Red Beans & Rice - *****
I made this recipe instead of the one I posted on the recommendation of my cooking friend, Lobs. It was quite tasty and very healthy! It definitely needs to be served over rice though. The leftovers without did not float my boat near as much.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Wasn't a 3-day weekend just glorious!?!!? I didn't accomplish one great thing at all. Now, it's back to the grind and my meal plan is very boring this week.
Tuesday - I didn't get the Chicken Tiki Masala made last week. No naan today, but maybe next time!
Wednesday - "Snobby" Joes. I like to use my favorite recipe and just substitute cooked brown lentils for the ground beef. Last time, SS declared them just as "delicious" as the regular.
Thursday - Weigh in day. Last week was a busy Thursday and we still didn't get to the Pho place. This week for sure!
Friday - I think we need some red meat. That Pioneer Woman made this blue cheese onion sauce look to good not to try! I will use fat free half and half instead of heavy cream. The chickies will not like it for sure, but I'm dreaming of it with my baked potato!
Saturday - That chicken caccitore is still in the freezer. It's coming out this weekend for sure!
Sunday - It is suppose to be really warm again this weekend. I'm fairly sure the chickies are gonna go boating with their dad for a last hurray before the fall descends in earnest. So, I'm going to have fried chicken livers with onions. It is something I never cook for them ('cuz come on... they are pretty adventurous eaters, but I doubt this is trip they are gonna take!), but love myself.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
School is in full swing, we are back action. KK starts volleyball this week and SS will be back a piano lessons too.
Monday - Spaghetti and meatballs. I made a big ol' batch of sauce last week and will make some meatballs to throw in. SS will be one little happy camperette!
Monday - Mexican Lasagna. The chickies really liked the one a made awhile back with tortillas instead of noodles, but they ate all the tortillas I was planning on using, and I'm not going grocery shopping this week!
Wednesday - Roast chicken in the crockpot. I'm gonna use my favorite roast chicken recipe and give it the crockpot treatment. You wad up balls of tin foil in the bottom and place the chicken on top. This keeps the bird from sitting in its on juices all day. The skin doesn't crisp up much, but we aren't eating the skin 'cuz we are good little weigh watcher peeps! :)
Thursday - Weigh in day. New Pho place. I don't care how much people say they want sushi, we are trying this place out!
Friday - I have never made Red Beans and Rice, but this recipe from the Weight Watchers board looked really good:
Red Beans and Rice
4 slices bacon, diced (I'll use turkey bacon)
1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 (16 ounce) package smoked sausage, sliced (I'll use turkey sausage)
3 (15 ounce) cans red beans, rinsed
2/3 cup worcestershire sauce
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup chicken stock
4 cups cooked rice
Dice the bacon.
Finely chop the parsley.
Slice smoked sausage.
Rough chop onion and smash garlic.
Drain and rinse canned beans.
In a dutch oven or deep skillet with a lid, fry bacon until crispy. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent.
Add sausage, Worstershire sauce, beans, and chicken stock. Put lid on pan and simmer at least 15 minutes or until heated through.
Serve over rice.
Saturday - We liked the Chicken Tiki Masala enough for it to be a do-over, although I will red cut the heat a little bit this time. I thought for an authentic indian dinner, I might make up some naan too. My friend Dishy, has this great grilled recipe over on her blog.
Sunday - I loved the chicken caccitore from last week, but it made a lot! So, I froze the leftovers - we'll see how it does after its trip to the deep freeze.
Just a quick run-down of the new recipes I've tried lately:
Cuban Pork Roast *****
Nice and juicy after about 4 hours on high in my crockpot. I sliced it up & put it back in to soak up the juices. I might cut back on the oregano next time, 2 tablespoons is A LOT of oregano!
Layered Crockpot Casserole ****
Had a decidedly "stew" feeling going on. The cinnamon was there, but not overpowering. I think I smelled it more than tasted it. The chickies were not huge fans, asking "is there any meat in here?". Something they don't ask when I've tried other vegetarian fare on them. I liked it better for lunch the next day.
Salmon Cheddar Casserole **** 1/2
Very good for a crockpot casserole, which sometimes turn into a big pile of unrecognizable mush. It even got a nice crispy layer on top! KK liked it and said it could be a do over, SS not a fan and would be happy never to see it again. LOL I liked it and it might go again.
Keith Young's Chicken Cacciatore *****
My hands down favorite cacciatore ever! So forgiving and delicious. I fry in LOTS less oil, use whatever tomatoes are hanging out in my pantry, and only use green peppers (I can't afford red peppers! LOL). I am a non-traditionalist and server over mashed potatoes, but it is awesome on pasta too.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I have really missed my meal planning during August! I'm ready to jump back on the bandwagon and bring ya'll along for the ride! School is starting this week, so that means I'm going to be pretty busy at work and per usual when that happens, the crockpot is getting a work out. Plus, now that school is starting and summer is winding down, it is time to get serious about Weight Watchers again instead of ice cream! LOL
Monday - Costco has these nice little lean pork roasts that come in a 4-pack for around $15 (less actually I think). I found this nice little pork roast recipe on the WW boards:
Cuban Pork Roast
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
Garlic to taste
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
Combine juices, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Marinate roast over night. Place in crock pot and cook on low 8-10 hours.
Yield: 6 servings= 232 Calories; 14g Fat (56.5% calories from fat); 23g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 75mg Cholesterol
Tuesday - Per KK's request meatloaf. I have never been able to find a meatloaf recipe that I LOVE and has become my "regular". Sometimes I'll find something new and try that, or sometimes I'll just throw a bunch of stuff together. I have made these meatloaf muffins a couple of times from the WW boards, and they are kid approved and easy.
Stove Top Meatloaf Muffins - 2 p's each
1 pound(s) uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)
6 serving(s) Stove Top Savory herb, as packaged, Whole Box
1 item(s) Herb-Ox Beef Bouillon Cube(s)
1 cup(s) water
2 Tbsp Heinz Worcestershire Sauce
1 medium onion(s)
1 item(s) egg white(s)
Mix all ingredients until well mixed. Spoon into muffins tins and bake at 350 until cooked through.
Wednesday - I would like to get back to having at least one vegetarian meal a week again. The WW board is getting a work out along with that crockpot. I figured this would be good since all the veggies are fantastic right now.
LAYERED VEGETARIAN CROCKPOT DINNER
Serving Size : 4
6 potatoes -- sliced
1 large onion -- sliced
2 carrots -- sliced
1 green pepper -- sliced
1 zucchini -- sliced
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sage
2 tablespoons parsley
1. Layer vegetables in crockpot in order given. Mix together ingredients for sauce and pour over vegetables. Cook 6 hours on high or 12 hours on low.
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 314 Calories; 2g Fat (4.0% calories from fat); 12g Protein; 70g Carbohydrate; 12g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 2037mg Sodium.
Thursday - First day of school and we need to get to a Weight Watchers meeting.
Friday - I'm sure I'm going to be so happy that this week is over! LOL That first week of school is very crazy! I never did get the Salmon Cheddar Casserole made from a few weeks ago.
Saturday - I've been wanting some Chicken Caccitore for awhile. This one from Food Network has been my favorite for awhile. It is simple and very tasty.
Sunday - I'm pretty sure that there are brown beans and ham hanging out in my freezer that needs to be eaten. I'm going to try to give up my favorite Buttery Corn Bread for something a little more Excellent & Healthy.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Last week my chickies and I were on vacation in Sun River, Oregon. We had such a fun time, I'm sure my blog won't even do it justice to how much fun we had. I'm apparently not a great photographer, because we took a total of like 10 pictures all week... LOL But we'll see if I can post some of those up at a later date.
We left Sunday and I was impressed that I made a 6 hour drive in just over 6 1/2 hours. That is fantastic for me as I tend to get lost and have become totally dependent on the greatest invention ever to drive anywhere! Our condo was fabulous - with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a hot tub, and wi-fi.... we were set.
First off we set about to do some grocery shopping for the week at Trader Joes. My first trip ever and I was a little overwhelmed, but have decided $3 Chuck is my new boyfriend! LOL
We settled in Sunday night only to be greeted with a huge thunderstorm that blew out our TV in the living room! We went to the bedroom to watch the news on the TV there and I was a little freaked out when the electricity went out in the news studio and we were left with just a still picture of the news anchors not moving for about 5 minutes! LOL The next morning, the cable was out everywhere as well as the wi-fi and the hot tub. I have to give props to Sun Ray Vacation Rentals because they had all my problems fixed well before noon and were very helpful and pleasant. (Which goes a long, long ways in my book!)
Monday we started off with a trip to Costco for a few more goodies and then went for afternoon to the community pool. It was nice and we got in free with our condo rental. (More yeas for Sunray!) My mini-chicks were a little miffed that every hour, on the hour for 15 minutes anybody under 18 had to vacate the pool for "adult swim". I thought it was a great idea, the kiddos - not so much! LOL Monday night we took our first bike ride to the park and the nice gentlemen and his two sons were nice enough not to laugh when I bit it on a corner!
Tuesday we went to the High Desert Museum which I highly recommend to anybody that's going to be in the area. The animals are awesome, the bat exhibit was cool, and I really liked the pioneer village items. We had a picnic lunch a very different place - Petersen's Rock Garden. There were a lot of rocks, shells, and lily pads! We ate lunch at picnic table with the company of 3 peacocks (which had KK jumping up every 3 seconds proclaiming loudly her vehement dislike of birds! LOL). We stopped on the way back to our condo for some Cold Stone Creamery, making a perfect vacation day!
Wednesday we had sorta a lazy morning, which included another bike ride to the park, a lasagna lunch and then off to do some serious back-to-school shopping. I would say we are at least 95% done, with just a few supplies left and KK still needs a new pair of shoes. We ended our evening by trying out the yummiest little sushi place. Everybody is always impressed when my girls gobble down sushi like we all should eat raw fish everyday!
Thursday was Paulina Plunge Adventure Bike Ride Day. This event should probably have it's very own post... LOL I THOUGHT this sounded like so much fun. When I called to make reservations, I was ASSURED that people 2 to 70 do this all the time. Most of the bike ride is DOWNHILL, coasting, there is "a little" hiking to and from the waterfalls. Umm.ummm.ummm..
We'll start at the beginning - I picked the coldest day of the whole week for this little jaunt (I wouldn't have known that because I made the reservations a month ago), but at any rate - I don't think the temperature ever went over 65 all day. (Remember that - it'll be important later!). I must say, right off the bat that the guides were super nice. Biking riding was okay - not really "coasting", but braking. SS biffed it only about 100 feet into the ride and then again about 100 feet later, but she soon got over her wobblies and made the rest of the ride pretty well. KK made the bike part really well, taking one little spill early on then and then not remembering the most important rule right in the last 20 feet (pull both hand brakes evenly!!!) and took a little handlebar right in the tummy.
So, know lets talk about the waterfalls/hiking adventures. We arrived at the first falls after only biking a bit, on headed on down.down.down to the falls. It involved crossing a creek and I plunged forward like a trooper. We arrived and SS was down to her swimsuit & shorts in 10 seconds flat - only the 2nd person to do the jump (only about 5 of the 15 people did it). KK took a little more coaxing, but finally went for it - only to lose her velcro sneakers! Luckily a guide and a wet little boy were able to retrieve them both and I didn't have to give my sneakers to her for the remainder of the journey!
Then we started back up.up.up - at 7000 feet going up. My lungs were going to explode! I was totally gasping for breathe. The guides were so nice, the younger one Chris - with his gaged earlobes and blond spiky hair made my day. He said "All of those other people (meaning the other adventures already at the top) aren't going anywhere until we get there anyway. And we, are walking and talking with you. If you can't talk to us, you are trying to go to fast. Slow down! You are on vacation!" I wanted to hug him and tell him that this chubby 41-year old momma appreciated such consideration. (I did hug him at the end of give him a $20 tip! LOL)
So, the top finally arrived. We were back on the bikes. Off to another waterfall. Another trek down, SS again joyful in the freezing water, another climb up. Finally, the last waterfall. It was nice - I was standing on the some rocks thinking to myself "WOW.. look, the sun is shining over there - I should be over there!". So, I start walking, carefully, slowly across the rocks to the other side. No remember, it is about 60-65 degrees - I'm wearing shorts, long sweats, my swimsuit top, a tank top, and a hoodie. I'm doing okay with my little expedition, I'm about 1/2 ways across. A little boy, about 7 starts out across towards me - we get about a foot way from one another and he says "I WANNA GO ACROSS". Let's just say that my thoughts in my head were not appropriate to be saying to somebody else's 7 year old!
As I was contemplating and how to tell him to turn his hiney around and go back, I wavered ever so slightly and then sure enough, I lost my balance. SPLASH!!!! Yep, me fully clothed, all the way under in about 3 1/2 feet of water. My hair is wet (which if you know me - you know that doesn't make me happy!). I was soaked. Every piece of clothing I brought was no soaking wet. I was freezing! But wait, this adventure is not over. I still had to ride the bike another 3 miles and then ride the bus back to town for at least 45 minutes! By the time I arrived back at the condo, I ran straight through the house, peeling most of the wet clothes off and launched right into that 105 degree hot tub!. awwwwwwwwww........ I stayed there for about 30 minutes never once having the thought "I'm too hot". And that my friends is why next year we will go thunderegg hunting tour!
Friday mostly involved me not being able to move much as my muscles complained about the work out - but we did make it to Sun River's village square to enjoy some of the festivities.
Saturday - our last day we went to see the Lava River Cave and the Lava Lands. If you are into cold, dark walks into scary looking caves, then the lava river caves would just be the thing for you. For us... not so much. I think it was our least favorite "touristy" thing we did. The Lava Lands were cool, with it's visitor center. We didn't take the drive up Lava Butte, but it is something to be considered for next time.
AND there will be a next time. Never have the chickies and I gone away on a vacation where I've come home and said "we have to go back there". I'm usually trying to find the next "new and different" thing to do, but I know we could go back to Sun River right now for another week and never run out of things to do!
I highly, highly recommend it it!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
My chickies are back from camp and as promised I ate randomly all last week. The noteworthy recipe was "Coctel de Camarones" or Shrimp Cocktail. It is a delicious mexican shrimp soup - I think that it is one of those recipes who's mom always makes it a different way. My version comes via my roommate from my twenties - Sandra. I introduced her to my favorite single girl fare such as Tuna Helper (cheesy noodles only please) served up with a side of canned green peas and my own personal weird concoction of spaghetti sauce with meat served over mashed potatoes (it is the best cold the next day!). Alas, I think I got the better end of the recipe deals with her version of "coctel":
Sandra's Coctel de Camarones
1 lb. medium raw shrimp, peel and deveined
8 cups clam-tomato juice (Clamato 64 oz. container)
2 oz. small shrimp (either canned or "salad shrimp")
1 lb. imitation crab
1 medium red onion, sliced
3 medium tomatoes, cut into bit-zie wedge/dice
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced
2 medium avocados, diced
2 medium lemon, juiced
2 medium limes, juiced
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (the mexican brand Tapito is best)
garlic powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro, chopped (optional but ohhhhhh so good)
Cook raw shrimp in boiling water until they are pink. Drain, reserving the water. In a large bowl combine cooked shrimp, clam-tomato juice, salad shrimp, crab, and vegetables. Add reserved water until the soup is desired consistency. Squeeze in the lemons and limes. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper to your preference. This can either be served warm (but not hot) or chilled. Serve with tostada style chips.
I like it either warm or cold. This makes a large amount, so be prepared. I like mine a little on the thin side - adding quite a lot of the cooking water. I love the "broth" and don't skimp on the lemon and lime juices. If you were a little tentative about 2 tablespoons of hot sauce, start with 1 and taste, taste, taste until you like it!
And looking ahead to next week:
Monday - We have doctor appointments (eye) in town on Monday. I'm thinking I haven't had sushi in FOREVER (at least 3 weeks!), so I think that is the order of the day.
Tuesday - My Cooking Friend Lobs from Vegan Deliciousness has been aspiring me to try different meatless options. She has shared a recipe for "Snobby Joes" - sloppy joes made with lentils. The mini-chicks have been pretty receptive about lentil tacos, and they love sloppy joes so I thought I'd try the joes.
Wednesday - My mom used to make fried salmon patties or salmon loaf using canned salmon. I found this recipe over on the Weight Watchers board for a crockpot salmon casserole:
SALMON CHEESE CASSEROLE
1 (14-3/4 ounce) can pink salmon, drained, boned, and flaked
1 can Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Celery Soup, or soup of your choice
1 cup (one 4-ounce can) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Sharp Cheddar cheese
6 slices reduced-calorie white bread, torn into small pieces
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
Spray a slow cooker container with cooking spray. In container, combine salmon, celery soup, mushrooms, onion, and celery. Add Cheddar cheese, bread pieces, and parsley flakes. Mix well to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Mix well before serving.
Yield: 6 (3/4 cup) servings
189 calories, 5g fat, 2g fiber, 18g protein, 18g carbohydrate, 493mg sodium, 244 mg calcium
3 meat, 1 vegetable, 1 starch/carbohydrate
Source: A Potful of Recipes, JoAnna Lund
Thursday - Weigh-in day! There is still a new Thai restaurant to try in town!
Friday - When I made the Mexican Lasagna from The Love of Cooking a few weeks ago, the chickies declared it a "do over". I'm out of refried beans in the freezer, so I'll start a big batch in the crockpot. I usually just cook up beans with onions and cook until mush-able. I use my groovy immersion blender and usually season with some salt and cumin - maybe a little butter to give it a nice consistency.
Saturday - Leftovers. :)
Friday, July 24, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I thought I'd try something new..... I thought every so often I'd give you reviews of the new recipes I've tried with any changes I've made, maybe if I'm being good some WW points, please remember your mileage may vary. (Don't tell on me - it is suppose to make them very unhappy if you post points online!)
Kittencal's Marinara *****
This my current favorite spaghetti sauce. I know she says to use roma tomatoes, but I just used crushed. I usually double the batch and have enough for 2 dinners and lunches for my small family. The way I make it is 1 wwp for 1/2 cup.
Greek Shrimp ***1/2
This wasn't as great as I hoped. My tomatoes never cooked down, so I added a can of diced tomatoes with basil and garlic. It was too minty for our tastes, but since I didn't add the full amount of feta it might have cut that a bit.
Chicken Tikki Masala ****
This was very good - I substituted some things I had in the pantry. First off, my plain yogurt had mold. :( So, I used buttermilk, only 1/2 tsp. of cayenne, and marinated all day. They smelled delicious grilling up! For the sauce, I used a mexican tomato sauce instead of the jalapeno and fat free half-half. Next time I'll double the sauce and use 1 can of spicy sauce and 1 can of regular. The mini-chicks liked it, but it was a little too spicy.
Shrimp Scampi with Artichokes ****
This was pretty yummy. I added some Brummel and Brown light spread and about 1/4 of parmesan cheese and only 1 lb. of shrimp. I mixed the whole thing up with about 1 lb. of mini bow-ties and it only came to 5 wwp per cup! Nice and light.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Ahhhhhhhh... Hot summer days! My favorite things in the whole world. We are having a pretty simple week - hopefully filled with long evenings in the pool. :)
Monday - I need some beef! I'm going with my favorite easiest Slow Cooker Pot Roast. I use red wine for the water and thicken with corn starch at the end because I like thicker gravies. YUM!
Tuesday - As you might be able to tell from my blog, I love trying new recipes. I like making things I never have - sometimes I like it, sometimes not so much. Food blogs are just wonderful places to let my culinary imagination run amok! LOL Today we are going into uncharted territory.... Indian food. Chicken Tiki Masala from My Big Red Kitchen caught my eye last week.
Wednesday - Weigh-in is coming up...... that means shrimp. I found this on the Weight Watchers recipe board and thought it sounded interesting:
Shrimp Scampi with Artichokes
Serves: 4 servings, serving size: 2 cups
Nut: 285 cal., 10 fat, 5 fiber
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp (about 20), peeled and deveined
1 (11-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, or 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and quartered
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add garlic and shallots and cook, stirring until softened but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add shrimp, artichoke hearts, wine, and lemon juice and cook until the shrimp are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir in the parsley, salt and pepper.
Divide among 4 plates, garnish with additional parsley, and serve.
Thursday - Weigh in day! I saw a new little Thai place opened up in the town we go for meetings........ I think we will give it a try. (pppsssttt.... Did I tell you, last week I went into what diet pros call "onederland". I have been there for a couple of years, and I'm really excited to keep going to get to places I haven't been for 15 years and then on to places I've NEVER been!).
Friday - Since the mini-chicks are going to be off at Camp Zanika next week, I thought I'd throw them a bone - maybe even literally and make the all-time fave of shake 'n bake pork chops. ;)
Saturday - I've admitted that I like Throwdown with Bobby Flay. I saw the chicken cacciatore show a long time ago and made Keith Young's Chicken Cacciatore and never have looked for another recipe. That doesn't happen very often with me! I think I'll use skinless thighs and lots less oil for frying.
Sunday - I'm taking the girls to camp. We have to be there by 2:00 pm - we'll leave, go have lunch and then I'll be all alone until next Saturday.
Don't hold your breathe for a meal plan! LOL I bet I eat Smart Ones and baked potatoes. :)
Friday, July 10, 2009
I love food.... this blog can attest to that pretty well, I think! I love cooking, trying new recipes - I feel like I'm pretty culinarily adventurous. I'd like to think I tried most things at least once.
So, why then I'm a weirded out by normal, everyday food? My corn problem along with my soda flavor issues is well-documented.
But, I'm sad to say that might I will have to add yogurt to the list. I like yogurt. I LOVE Yoplait Light with all those yummy flavors. Dannon products - gag! Even Tillamook who's cheese, butter, sour cream, and ice cream I adore - doesn't float my yogurt boat. The worst offender: Weight Watchers. Gag, blech, gross. Even with the temptation of only 1 point isn't enough to make it taste good.
I'm weird. It's okay to laugh.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
It's a busy week. (What else is new? LOL) I'm going to try to keep things simple and fill-in a few things that have been posted and never made. :0
Monday - I thought I'd be a good mom and pull on SS's favorite thing on the planet, spaghetti. I'm still lovin' Kittencal for AR's Marinara. Even though she loves meatballs too, I think we will keep it meatless this time to keep the points down.
Tuesday - I'm off to get my hair done! FINALLY! I had to cancel my June appointment because I was so crazed, and then my stylist was gone on vacation and this was her first available day. I see wayyyyyyyyy to much gray! LOL The chickies will be with their dad, so no dinner needs to be made.
Wednesday - I didn't get the Greek Shrimp made last week.
Thursday - Weigh-in! I finally made my 25 lb. lost last week. I'm hoping for more of the same this week.
Friday - My town's annual summertime celebration starts off Friday night with the BBQ in the park along with entertainment (usually a talent show, but honestly I haven't been paying attention if that is what is happening this year or not!). It will BBQ sandwiches, beans, and of course, the root beer! YUM!
Saturday - More festivities in the park. I know that I will require some tacos that the ladies from our local catholic church make. They are the best ever, if somewhat greasy - but they are a once a year treat! I think we'll try to pretend we are behaving with some Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken for dinner!
Sunday - When I ate at P.F. Chang's a few weeks back one of my friends couldn't believe I didn't have the lettuce wraps. I found this copycat recipe and knew I'd have to give it a shot. I'll make extra chicken on Saturday to use.
Kinda boring on the culinary exciting scale, but sometimes that is the way it goes. ;)
Saturday, June 27, 2009
..........twirling into room...........
Sorry I've been an absent meal-planner. The last two weeks have been very busy - I had quick "sorta" meal plans scratched out - but nothing firm enough to post. But, I'm feeling pretty good about the coming week. I thought I was going to have to go to another school district everyday next week for training on the new software program for work, but I think I have convinced the trainers it would be better to come to our district where I have all my papers and information readily available.
That means I've decided on an "International Week".
Monday - I still have that hunk 'o tofu in my fridge and HoneyB's General Tso Tofu is still the recipe of choice for it. I literally just checked and the expiration date is TODAY. It is fate. ;)
Tuesday - I have some random leftover stuff in my freezer. I found a bag of refried beans (when I make a batch I make a BATCH and freeze them) - and then remember how much I have been wanting to make a mexican lasagna. For the Love of Cooking has a very easy and yummy looking variation. Plus my friend "Gem" makes the only spanish/mexican rice my kids like. Here is her recipe, I've never tried it too make it myself before - here is exactly how she told me to do it:
"all I use use tomato sauce, knorr swissa chicken bouillon, oil and rice.
you want to first heat up enough oil that you will be able to fry the rice until it start turning a golden brown. The rice needs to be washed before hand and place din the hot oil in order for each individual kernel to be coated in oil. You will have to stir for a while because it will try to stick. Then when the rice is golden brown or starting to turn golden brown to remove the excess oil and you put enough water to cover a little over the quantity of the rice. I put one 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and about 4 tps of chicken bouillon. Stir it all together and let it come to a boil then you reduce the heat to the second lowest setting on your stovetop. Once you don't see the water on top of the rice and you notice the rice starting to expand you remove the cover and let the rest of the water evaporate. When all the water has evaporated cover and turn the stove off and your ready to serve."
Sounds easy enough, huh? We'll see if the chickies approve of my efforts.
Wednesday - Continuing the theme - I found this Greek Shrimp over at Closet Cooking. It looks nice and light and diet friendly.
Thursday - Diet friendly on Wednesday is going to be the name of the game because now that little league is over, we are moving our Weight Watchers weigh-in night to Thursday! Of course, after we will go oink out like little piglets (heeheeeheee). I don't know where yet - maybe some where different if I can convince the chickies.
Friday - Since we are having international cuisine all week - something truly american-like in order don't ya think?!!? How about chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and green beans. This is my "oven-fried" version of chicken fried steak:
Oven-Fried Chicken-Fried Steak
1 lb. round steak ("cube steak" is best) cut into 4 oz. serving pieces
1/3 c. flour
1 tsp. season salt
3/4 c. seasoned bread crumbs
2 egg whites, beaten
2 T. skim milk
Preheat over to 400. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. In a bowl stir together flour, season salt, and bread crumbs. In a separate bowl, beat together egg whites and skim milk. Coat meat in crumb mixture. Dip breaded meat into egg mixture, then re-dip into crumb mixture. Place breaded meat on prepared cookie sheet. Spray top of meat with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn pieces over and spray top with cooking spray again. Bake an additional 11 minutes or until breading is crispy and golden brown.
Saturday aka 4th of July - The ever fantastic party-hosting family of Mrs. S. and Big D are having their annual 4th of July bash. A fun time is sure to be had by all! It's a potluck and Mrs. S. wouldn't even give me a hint of what she needed and/or wanted - so I just went with 2 old standby's and one new try:
Ryan's Favorite Beans have become MY favorite beans too.
This Rice A Roni Salad is always very well received wherever I take it. I usually poach boneless chicken breasts in some herbs and chicken broth.
I dithered and dithered about my 3rd dish. Should I do a dessert? I'm not a super good baker - so I decided no.... somebody better and than I would definitely come through. How about a seven layer dip? So I decided no... not really original. (Even though super yummy!) The same with spinach dip. The I happened across this Smoky Chicken Spread and thought it sounded hearty put didn't have to be kept warm (like my other favorite option of Jalepeno Popper Dip from Big Red Kitchen - this needs to be made soon in my world - Jalepeno Poppers are my favorite deli treat!).
Sunday - I'm not going to plan anything for Sunday this week. I'm thinking we might have a fair amount of leftovers this week. If not we'll just have grilled boca burgers or grilled chicken. Something easy. :)
Everybody have a wonderful week and it's good to be back in meal-plan mode!