Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu 1-31

Last Sunday, January 23rd, was National Pie Day. I noticed that on a few blogs last weekend but didn't think much of it as I wasn't really planning on making any pies. Evidently, deep down I had a desire to as three (four if you stretch the definition) of our five dinners this past week were pies: Pot Pie, Spaghetti Pie, Tuna Melt Pie, and (possibly) BBQ Chicken Pizza Pie. Rather ironic in my opinion.

The odd man out in regard to pies was the Toscana Soup. That's okay though, it was still pretty tasty. I fried up the sausage for this and spaghetti pie together on Monday morning. It was just lovely to go to make dinner both of those nights and not have to worry about cooking meat.
Chicken Pot Pie- talk about homey deliciousness! This turned out wonderful and is already on a recipe card for my personal file.
One of our old favorites, Spaghetti Pie, it was good as always. And the best part about this meal? There's two more waiting in the freezer!
The Tuna Melt Pie was a one time affair in our house. Here's the irony: Dan thinks tuna is okay, I like tuna. Guess which one of us liked this more. Dan. Well, they can't all be good.
 BBQ Chicken is possibly my favorite pizza and it didn't disappoint, once again. All day Saturday I was looking forward to the leftovers for dinner.
 We tried a new pancake recipe Saturday morning and decided it will replace our old recipe. The pancakes were fluffy and reminiscent of ones you would get at a restaurant.
I also tried these Peanut Butter Cookies with Butterscotch Bits. They were good but not to the point where we need them again. The dough was crumbly and hard to work with and the cookies were crunchier than we like. But peanut butter and butterscotch? Delicious!

Recipes for the keepers and favorites from this past week will be coming this week.

On the menu this week is another good mix of new recipes and tried and true recipes. I like that combination-we know we'll have at least one or two meals we really like.
  • Monday: Soup Night! Chicken Tortilla Soup: A crock pot recipe that is simple but tasty.
  • Tuesday: Shepherd's Pie: This is also a crock pot recipe. I've never made a shepherd's pie before but have tasted some pretty good ones. I'm still working on using up my 15 pound bag of potatoes.
  • Wednesday: Creamy Pasta Shells with Broccoli and Ham: Ham is quite possibly my favorite food so combined with pasta I don't see how this dish can go wrong!
  • Thursday: Orange Chicken and Rice: We've had this a few times before and have changed it a bit to get it to a point that we think is quite delicious.
  • Friday: Pizza Night! Pepperoni Pizza: It's time for "regular old pizza" but it's still great.
  • Saturday: Leftover Pizza
  • Sunday: Leftovers 
Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

French Toast

This is one of our favorites for Saturday brunch. French toast is incredibly easy to make and tastes so wonderful. I love how you can take bread that is a little past its prime for sandwiches and not be able to remember that when you take a bite of this french toast.
One trick I've picked up on is to keep the oven at a low heat and keep the cooked french toast in there until it's all ready. This is especially handy when you're making larger batches.

French Toast
 Print Recipe
Yields: 7-8 pieces

2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 T sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
7-8 slices bread

   1.  Preheat griddle or frying pan.
   2.  Combine all ingredients, except bread, in a medium bowl. Mix well, being sure the eggs are completely incorporated.
   3.  One at a time, dip slices of bread into the egg mixture, flipping to coat both sides. Fry at once until browned on both sides.
   4.  Serve warm with maple syrup or powdered sugar.
Source: St Paul's Lutheran Church, Fairmont, MN Cookbook

This is linked to Ultimate Recipe Swap.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Twice Baked Potatoes

This "side dish" could practically stand on its own! The original recipe calls for bacon pieces to be added as well but I typically leave them out. However, simply by adding a generous amount of bacon I could see this dish serving as a main dish.
I like to make a double batch and stick one in the freezer because it takes a little bit of preparation and time. In the end though, it is well worth it! The potatoes are creamy and smooth but with a little rustic texture still there. It is a delightfully pleasing combination.

Twice Baked Potatoes
 Print Recipe
Yields: 6 servings

4-6 potatoes (2lbs), diced
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder

   1.  Fill a medium size pot 2/3 full of water, bring to a boil. Add potatoes; bring back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Drain, return to pot and slightly mash potatoes.
   2.  Add cream cheese, sour cream, 1 cup cheese and seasonings. Stir until combined.
   3.  Transfer to a small casserole dish. Cover with remaining cup of cheese.
   4.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
   *This recipe can be frozen before baking. Increase baking time as necessary.

Source: Stolen Moments Cooking

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cheesy Salsa Meatloaf

This is definitely a winner! My husband and I were talking about this recipe before we had tasted it and he was commenting how so often meatloaves are dry and require a sauce on top to balance it out. Well, that is not the case here. This is such a wonderfully moist meatloaf that there is no need for a sauce.
My theory is two things are working together to create this delightful taste: the salsa and cheese mixed in and the fact that they're muffin size and therefore don't need to bake as long. Whatever it is, it works!
The one downfall to this recipe is the pan was a little disgusting to wash even though I had greased it well. Even so, this will make a frequent appearance in our house.

Cheesy Salsa Meatloaf
 Print Recipe
Yields: 6 servings

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

   1.  Preheat oven to 375.
   2.  Mix ground beef, onions, egg, bread crumbs, salsa and 1 cup cheese.
   3.  Grease 12 muffin cups. Divide meat mixture evenly between muffin cups pressing to compact.
   4.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Top with remaining cheese.

Source: Kraft Foods

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

This is, hands down, my husband's favorite soup. I enjoy the taste as well. It also holds a special place in my cook's heart because this was my first experience with a roux.
This soup takes a little bit on the longer side of time to make but it is definitely worth it. One way I've made it easier from the original recipe is to cook my bacon ahead of time. I've also prepared it a little earlier than dinner time and then left it warming on the stove for 30-45 minutes with no sacrifice in taste.

Baked Potato Soup
 Print Recipe
Yields: 4 servings

1/2 pound bacon
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 large potatoes, diced
3 cups chicken stock
3 T butter
3 T flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3 green onions, sliced (I often don't have these on hand and therefore skip them. The soup is good with or without them.)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp black pepper

   1.  This step can be done ahead of time! Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and lay bacon slices in a single layer. Place cookie sheet in oven and turn to 400. After about 10 minutes begin watching for desired crispiness. When crispy (you don't want even slightly soggy bacon for this soup) remove bacon to paper towels to drain. (Afterward you can use the paper towel to soak up the grease on the tin foil.)
   2.  In a large stock pot cook onion in ~1 tsp olive oil for about 5 minutes, until tender.
   3.  Add potatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender.
   4.  While potatoes are simmering, melt butter in a small sauce pan. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk; stirring often, bring to a boil and simmer until thickened.
   5.  Remove a few scoops of potatoes to a separate bowl and mash with a fork.
   6.  Slowly stir milk mixture into stock pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer.
   7.  Stir mashed potatoes back into pot. Add cheese, bacon, green onions and pepper. Stir to combine. Cook at least five minutes longer or until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.

Source: Stolen Moments Cooking

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu 1-24

Success-I remembered to take a picture for every meal this week!

Monday we enjoyed Baked Potato Soup, Dan's favorite soup.
Tuesday was a new recipe, Cheesy Salsa Mini Meatloaves, which we decided is a keeper. It was moist, delicious and wonderful!
We also enjoyed Twice Baked Potato Casserole with our meatloaf. It was a good "guy meal." Meat and potatoes.
Wednesday night we tried another new recipe, Penne Puttanesca. While it wasn't awful it likely won't be making another apperance on our table.
We also had a delicious Italian Herb bread with this that you can just see in the corner of the picture. The bread will definitely make another apperance. We all loved it!
The meal Thursday night was pretty much a non-recipe: olive oil and Italian seasoning on the potatoes and onions and Italian dressing and Italian seasoning on the chicken. I realized about five minutes before it was done cooking that I had forgotten to put carrots in with the potatoes. The color was definitely missing but the taste was still good.
We're breaking out of our pizza rut. We tried Burrito Pizza this week. As I was putting it together I was getting a little apprehensive but it turned out great. We also put a little sour cream on the top which really brought it all together.
For Saturday brunch we had potato pancakes. I've been looking around for recipes to use up my fifteen pounds of potatoes and thought this was worth trying. We liked them and will have them again. Next time, though, I'm going to try adding a little sugar to the batter as they were missing a sweetness unless you had syrup on them.

This week is going to be a mix of new recipes and tried and true recipes.
  • Monday: Soup Night! Toscana Soup: It's like the soup from Olive Garden. This is another of Dan's favorites. I'm also going to make Potato Bread, which I've never tried before.
  • Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie: I made a pot pie once last year but have no idea what recipe I used.
  • Wednesday: Spaghetti Pie: This is a recipe from my mother-in-law and another of Dan's favorites.
  • Thursday: Tuna Melt Pie: This is definitely our most adventurous meal this week. I'll be leaving the mushrooms out since neither of us care for them.
  • Friday: Pizza Night! BBQ Chicken Pizza: One of our standard types of pizza but it sure is delicious.
  • Saturday: Leftover Pizza
  • Sunday: Leftovers