Sunday, March 29, 2009

Let's Play A Game!

The first 5 people to respond to this post will receive something made by me for you ! I get to pick what I make for you, but it will be especially for you.

**Here is the deal:
1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make.
2. What I create will be just for you.
3. You will receive it sometime this year.
4. You have no clue what it will be.
5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

** The Catch
The catch is that you must repost this on your blog and offer the same to the first 5 people who do the same on their blog. The first 5 people to do so and leave a comment telling me they did will win a FABULOUS homemade gift by me!!! So come and play along.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Repeat Week

Ecckkk... the sickness had a hold of us last week! It is cold and miserable and not at all spring like here. :( I'm so ready, ready, ready for some nice warm weather!

Because of the sickies in my house - not all the recipes from last week actually got made, as cup 'o noodle or top ramen is our go-to food no matter what the ailment!

Monday - I think this awesome sounding Mediterranean Tuna Salad is just the ticket. We will be going to Lowe's to check out paint for the mini-chicks bedrooms and planters for the herb garden I'm planning. I'm thinking that sushi needs to be on the lunch agenda. It is spring break here and I took Monday off.

Tuesday - NO POINTS! (Can you tell how I'm always so excited about that! LOL) This is week is is basic burger and fries from the joint in town. I'm so sad they quit making their version of a chili cheese fries, because I loved those things. Think fries, cheese sauce, ground beef, and pickled jalepenos... It was greasy heaven in a styrofoam container! I'll just have to be happy with the burger and fries this week!

Wednesday - I'm going for Moroccan Tagine that didn't get made last week.

Thursday - I found Lazy Chicken over at A Year of Crockpotting. I have the cutest mini-farfalle that need to be used up. I'll use my own sauce I made last week.

Friday - The family fave of shake n' bake pork chops. I think Roasted Cardamon Carrots will make a nice side.

Saturday - We never got around to the oven-fried chicken fried steaks last week either. Those cubed rounds steaks are still in the freezer needin' to be used up.

Sunday - I also never got around to roasted chickens last week (the spaghetti was voted for on Sunday instead of chicken).

Not as an exciting week as some, but isn't that the way life works?

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

New Yummy Week

The new week is upon us.........

Monday - I'm going to make Pan-Seared Red Snapper this week. Turns out I took the whole trout out of the freezer instead of the snapper last week. OOPS!

Tuesday - This was a no-brainer for KK and I this week: Goop and homemade biscuits. Goop is basically creamed eggs. My mom made this for Sunday breakfast just about every weekend my entire childhood (when we weren't having waffles with strawberries and whipped cream - my dad's favorite!) I don't use a recipe, I just make a thick white sauce and cut up a bunch of hard-boiled eggs into it. Mrs. S. has an aversion to eggs, so as kids my mom would always save her some without eggs. Sometimes we'd have it over toast and sometimes over biscuits. My go to biscuit recipe has become the Never Fail Biscuits from AR. I really do think the cream of tartar makes them extra flaky. I can't wait for Tuesday!

Wednesday - Another on of my "oven-fried" favorites - this time chicken fried steak. I like a light bread crumb coating and the trick of the non-stick spray really crisps them up. We'll have mashed potatoes and my favorite red wine gravy. I can't wait for Wednesday.

Thursday - We are going meatless on Thursday again with this Moroccan Tagine I found on AR. I have no idea what a "tagine" is, but I was intrigued by the butternut squash and garbanzo beans. I'm not really sure SS is going to dig this at all, but I always make her try it and if she really truly doesn't like it, I let her have cereal. Which usually elicits jumps for joy. (I'm personally not a fan of cereal and don't understand my kids love for it! They must of gotten it from my mom who also loved cereal for breakfast, lunch or dinner!) I can't wait for Thursday!

Friday - It's family favorite time on Friday. Sloppy Joe's are on the agenda. I have been using this recipe for a couple of years. It is one of those rare finds for me that is "the best" no further looking required. I love it, the girls love, and I can't wait for Friday!

Saturday - SS will be happy on Saturday. It's her favorite: Spaghetti. I'll never forget when I took the girls to Disneyland when they were 4 & 6, and the first night we were eating in the restaurant at the hotel and SS licked her bowl clean of spaghetti, picked up the bowl and handed it to the waitress and said "More please." LOL I was so grateful when the waitress brought her another bowl and didn't even charge me! This week, I think I'll give this Recipezaar Sauce another go, since I enjoyed it a lot from a few weeks ago. I think I'll make some mini-meatballs to go with it this time. I can't wait for Saturday!

Sunday - I'm also in love with Famous Dave's Roasted Chicken. I might even do two to have more leftovers for something great next week (chicken salad, chicken spaghetti, ???).

Everybody have a good week!

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Easy-Peasy Plan

It took me forever to make a meal-plan last week. I couldn't decide, I was scouring recipes. I don't know what my problem was, because this week I decided in about 15 minutes with complete recipes and everything!

Monday - Have you noticed I always do seafood on Monday's? This week is no exception with Pan-Seared Red Snapper on the agenda. I loved this Spinach and Onion Couscous as did the mini-chicks, and it sounds good with the fish.

Tuesday - Have you ever noticed I always have something fattening on Tuesday's? :) I'm cravin' some red meat - so I tried this London Broil with blue cheese way last summer and have used the spice rub on my steaks ever since. Also, since I'm not a countin' these potatoes that all my cooking friends have been making are finally gonna be mine:

SCALLOPED POTATOES

2 cups whipping cream
5oz pkg. of Boursin cheese with herbs
3 ½ lbs. red potatoes, scrubbed, thinly sliced
1 ½ tbs. chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Butter a 9 by 13-inch pan with 2-inch sides.

Stir cream and cheese in heavy saucepan until cheese melts and is smooth.
Arrange ½ the potatoes in overlapping rows. Season with salt and pepper. Pour ½ the cheese mixture over potatoes to cover.

Repeat with remaining pots, salt and pepper, and cheese mixture.

Bake until golden brown, about 1 hour. Top with parsley.

I will definitely make my own cheese also!

Wednesday - Have you ever noticed on Wednesday's I get back to counting points? This week we are going meatless and having Mexican Tortilla Pizza's with the lentil's from these tacos, instead of refried beans. Since we aren't trying for vegan, cheese'll probably make an appearance somewhere!

Thursday - Have you ever noticed on Thursday's it quick/easy or crock pot? I bought a nice package of boneless pork roasts and Costco a few weeks back and thought this Tangy Slow-Cooker Pork Roast would be a good utilization of it.

Friday - Have you ever noticed there is nothing special about Friday's on my meal plan? LOL
I'm feeling we need some chicken and maybe some Chinese influences. From the WW recipe board:

Kung Pao Chicken

If you like fiery flavors, add up to one teaspoon of crushed red pepper. Speed up dinner by using bottled ground fresh ginger and bottled minced garlic. Total time: 30 minutes.

1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
4 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World), divided
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped salted peanuts

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and 2 teaspoons ginger to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add water. Cover; cook 2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Remove broccoli from pan; keep warm.
Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan; add remaining 1 teaspoon ginger, crushed red pepper, and chicken. Cook 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, stirring frequently.

Combine broth and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Return broccoli mixture to pan; toss to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup chicken mixture and 1 1/2 teaspoons peanuts)

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 239(30% from fat); FAT 7.9g (sat 1.1g,mono 3.7g,poly 2.3g); PROTEIN 30.9g; CHOLESTEROL 66mg; CALCIUM 60mg; SODIUM 589mg; FIBER 3g; IRON 1.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 11.4g

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2005

Saturday - Have you ever noticed that I either go allllll out on Saturday's or just go easy? This week it's easy Potato Soup (made like my mom did) and low-fat grilled cheese.

Sunday - Have you ever noticed that there is no rhyme or reason to Sunday's meals? This week it will be a pizza of some type. I might make a dough or just do an english muffin. I definitely make pizza sauce and I have some turkey pepperoni that needs to be used.

I hope everybody has a great meal week!

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Life Turmoils and Triumphs

So, as you know - this is my little world of rambling about nothing. My mini-chickies, my struggles, my happiness, my food, my weirdness.

Sometimes life hands you triumphs: I've lost 15 lbs. since starting Weight Watchers in January. I feel so much better, and even though I have a longgggg way to go to be in their "healthy weight guidelines" but I feel empowered about the direction we are going. I'm proud of KK for sticking with it for 10 weeks.

Sometimes life hands you turmoil: We have been dealing with a lot of loss/death in our small community in the past few weeks. It makes you sad for the woulda/coulda/shoulda's of life. It has made my peeps ask questions I wasn't really prepared to answer.

I guess you just have to roll with and make the best you can with what you've got!

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thought Required

It seemed to take me forever to come up with my menu this week. I'm not sure what's up with that, maybe I don't want to "repeat" stuff I've already posted! I'm such a geek.

Monday - Seafood day! I found this Basil Shrimp with Orzo and Feta. I have all the ingredients looks really tasty (and light!)

Tuesday - Usually I let KK pick what to have on Tuesday's, but she let me pick this week. I've been dying for some sticky wings. These should fit the ticket. I will definitely take the suggestions and cook the sauce on the stovetop before baking with the wings. I might even thicken it a bit with cornstarch, 'cuz I wanna 'em sticky!

Wednesday - I will be home late from an appointment this night. I will make the Stovetop Stuffing Meatloaf Muffins in advance and the mini-chicks can have them with some box noodles. It's not MY favorite meatloaf, but KK really seems to like them and they only have 2 points per muffin.

Thursday - I'm craving something lasagna-esque without all the fuss (and time, and calories, and leftovers). I think I'll make up my own version of something. I'm thinking something similiar to this Egg Noodle Lasagana. I am making a marinara (because all my other frozen sauce has meat in it) to have on hand for whatever I come up with.

Friday - Do you think it will be warm here next Friday? Right now Accuweather isn't giving me much hope that it'll be warm enough to grill chicken, but I can wish right? If the wind is blowing 40 mph, I will just do it in the oven instead.

Saturday - We have to go to Wenatchee to see my accountants and lovely Miss Monica. Monica has beautiful red curly hair and is totally freaking smart. Trust me on this people, Monica knows stuff about taxes/accounting that the rest of us mere bookkeeper nerds wish we knew. I've always said, "someday when I grow up I want to be as smart as Monica". Considering the fact that I am a few years older than her, I may not ever actually get that dream to come true! LOL (And man... do I envy that hair of hers!). At any rate, we will eat out somewhere in Wenatchee. We usually do a chinese buffet, but I'm thinking that might not be so good for the WW plan. Maybe Applebee's?

Sunday - It's my favorite Sunday of the month! POTLUCK at church! I got my weekends all messed up in February, and totally messed up! We even went to church, sans a contribution. Luckily, Mrs. S. is nice and let us be part of her family for the day. (LOL She always let's me be part of her family!). So...... this month in honor of me totally messing up last month, I've got some big plans! I've been dying for months to make this Kalua Pig recipe and I finally found some of the recommended sea salt. One of my cooking friends suggested for a traditional side, I could go with coleslaw. I'll use the same recipe I made at Thanksgiving. While we are in Wenatchee, a trip to Costco will also be happening and I'll look for some fresh tropical fruits for kabobs too. YUM!

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Reward

Things on the single-mom front have been tough lately, particularly with KK. She was struggling at bit with some of the middle school classes. Her dad & I gave her a talk, even though he didn't want me to - I've told her she can't go with friends anywhere or have friends over at our house until she was getting at least B's in the 3 classes she was getting C's or below in. I'm happy to report that on 2 of them she is now getting A's (one teacher let her retake a test and she turned in some extra credit in the other) and is getting a B in the third! :) She elected to quit going to the after school program (which was just basically her hanging out with her friends for another hour and half after school) and go home. I think we have FINALLY found a good place again.

I feel like it is "the reward" for being called the "mean mom" a few weeks ago!

Now the other reason I'm proud: she got her 10 lb. star at WW last night! :) She is looking awesome (if not a little too much "teenager-ish" for my liking) and I'm very proud of her for doing so well. The other day she said something about so & so commenting about how good she was looking and I said something to the effect that I tell you that all the time and she replied, "well, you are my mom - you tell me that all the time. I never believe YOU!" BWAHAHAH

Now, SS hasn't been causing me much stress lately. She is doing very well in 4th grade, has been practicing the piano like a mad-woman, and has finally found a little friend to bond with. If she and KK would just quite arguing, I think my life as a mom would be pretty awesome! LOL

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

New Recipe Week

It seems like I'm tyring out a few new recipes this week. Hang on and let's go:

Monday - Another catfish recipe, as the girls really seemed to like it from a few weeks ago. This time we are going Oven-Fried Catfish. I've used this "frying" technique before with good results. Asparagus was only 98 cents a pound yesterday, so I think we'll have Roasted Potatoes & Asparagus. I've made this before and always half the dry spices.

Tuesday - KK requested ribs for our no points dinner this week. These Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs from AR have been my go to recipe for a couple of years. I use 1 cup of ketchup, 1 cup of BBQ sauce and never leave out the chili sauce, because well - I love it!

Wednesday - A basic family favorite. Shake & Bake Pork chops. When we were watching Ultimate Recipe Showdown on the Food Network and I asked the mini-chicks what my best recipe was and what I should submit, I got: "Pork chops. Your pork chops are the BEST!" Well, yeah - I just use store bought Shake N Bake because if I try anything else I get bottom lips tripping on the ground! I tried to explain that is not really a "recipe" and that I would get laughed at if I tried to submit that! They are still adamant that mine are the best!

Thursday - Piano lesson day. My week to drive (it is only about 5 or 6 miles from my house, so it isn't like it is really too bad!), but it does put me home a little later, so a few weeks ago I made a Shepard's Pie from leftovers of a pot roast dinner and froze it for later. I think later will arrive on Thursday.

Friday - KK loves lemony chicken. I got this recipe for Chicken Picatta off of the WW recipe review board:

Chicken Piccata L&T

8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
1/2 cup egg substitute
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth -- divided
5 tablespoons lemon juice -- divided
3 garlic cloves -- minced
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons olive oil -- divided
2 tablespoons butter

Flatten chicken to 1/4-in. thickness. In a shallow dish, combine the egg substitute, 2 tablespoons wine or broth, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic and hot pepper sauce. In another shallow dish, combine the flour, Parmesan cheese, parsley and salt. Coat chicken with flour mixture, dip in egg substitute mixture, then coat again with flour mixture.

In a large nonstick skillet, brown four chicken breast halves in 1-1/2 teaspoons oil for 3-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm. Drain drippings. Repeat with remaining chicken and oil. Remove and keep warm.

In the same pan, melt butter. Add the remaining wine or broth and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, until sauce is reduced by a fourth. Drizzle over chicken. Yield: 8 servings.

I will definitely mix the dry coating into a ziplock for the Shake & Bake effect, that way you get a good coating and I can measure the leftovers to see how much a really used. (Such a points counter!!! LOL) Also, I may marinate them in yogurt all day before I cook them. I will definitely add some capers to the sauce.

Saturday - I'm going to start going to a 3 week master gardener class offered by our local coopeartive extension on vegetable gardening!! I'm so excited. We'll go with another WW crockpot recipe:

Italian Cream Cheese Drumsticks
cooking spray
12 Skinless Chicken Drumsticks
1 (0.6 oz.) Package Zesty Italian Salad Dressing Mix
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 (10 3/4 oz.) Can 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
4 oz light cream cheese, cubed
1/2 Cup Water (I'll use white wine)

Spray 3 quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray and place the drumsticks into the bottom. Sprinkle the drumsticks with salt, pepper and Italian Salad Dressing mix. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. About two hours before the chicken is done cooking, combine the cream of chicken soup, cream cheese and water and pour over drumsticks. Cover and continue cooking. When ready to serve, spoon the sauce evenly over each drumstick.
Yield: 6 servings (2 drumsticks with sauce)

This is very similiar to a recipe I already use for chicken breasts with angel hair, but we'll give it a try in the slow cooker with the legs (which the chickies love!).

Sunday - I found this little meatless number over on AR, Creamy Artichoke Pasta. I will do lots to lighten it up. First off - on half that much pasta, as we are more "sauce people" instead of "noodle people", 1/2 the butter and oil, fat free cottage cheese (which is gross to eat, but okay in recipes) and way less parmesan cheese. I should be able to get it down to about 7 or 8 points per servings.

If you try any of them let me know!

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