Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu 3-28

Here's the recap from what we ate last week:
The Cream Cheese Chicken & Vegetable Soup was successful again! I've deemed this recipe officially a keeper.
Making the Roasted Chicken and Vegetables was definitely an experience! It's probably sad to admit this but my favorite part was the vegetables--delicious!
The Breakfast Burritos were great. I'm not always a fan of eggs so I was a little leary of this. However, my husband nailed it when he said putting it all in a tortilla helped "soften" the whole thing. This is a keeper!
This week we had Salty Dog/ Pepperoni Pizza. I also added tomatoes to my side.
And I actually remembered to make Cinnamon Bread Friday so we had French Toast for Saturday Brunch. I've decided French Toast is my favorite!

It's an easy menu this week using up what we have on hand.
  • Monday: Soup Night! Cream Cheese Chicken & Vegetable Soup: Yes, the same soup as last week. I told you it was a keeper! Actually I still have all the ingredients so it was an easy choice.
  • Tuesday: Chicken Wraps: We'll use the rest of the tortillas from last weeks Breakfast Burritos.
  • Wednesday: Soup Supper at Church
  • Thursday: TBD: Everyone's allowed one of these every so often, right?.
  • Friday: Pizza Night! BBQ Chicken: Delicious!
  • Saturday Brunch: Pancakes: It's been quite a while since we've had pancakes.
  • Sunday: Leftovers
Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas

I stumbled across this recipe last fall. I had planned on making a different chicken dish and had thawed the chicken in the morning. Well, come dinnertime, I realized I was missing a key ingredient so I looked through my recipe binder for something else to try and landed on this. Maybe it was a good thing I was missing that ingredient because we love these Enchiladas!
This is another wonderful recipe that contains ingredients that we often have on hand so if we need a backup meal Enchiladas are a great choice! It's easy to put together and is a big success is my house.

Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas
 Print Recipe
Yields: 4 servings

1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup salsa
2 tsp chili powder
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheese
6 tortillas

   1.  Preheat oven to 350.
   2.  In a medium bowl combine soup, sour cream, salsa and chili powder.
   3.  In a large bowl combine 1 cup soup mixture, chicken and cheese.
   4.  Divide chicken mixture among tortillas. Roll and place seam side up in a baking dish. Pour remaining soup mixture over top.
   5.  Cover and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until hot and bubbling.
Source: Campbells Kitchen

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Focaccia Bread

I am working on building my bread repertoire as I'm realizing that bread can make a wonderful side dish for many meals. We've found some winners but we've also found some that won't be repeated. This focaccia bread defintely goes in the winner category. My husband declared that it was the star of the meal. (I'm not sure what that says about the rest of the meal.)
I was very pleased with how easy this was to make. You essentially only have three chunks of time you need to devote to it and the length of those times are much less than with a typical bread. The bread turned out moist and flavorful, a perfect complement to our dinner.

Focaccia Bread
 Print Recipe
Yields: 16 squares of bread

1 5/8 cups flour
1 1/8 tsp yeast
1/2 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 T oil
1/2 + 1/3 cup warm water, 105-110 degrees
1/2 T Italian seasoning
1 T Parmesan cheese
1 T shredded cheese
1 tsp oil

   1.  In a mixing bowl combine flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add 2 T oil and water; mix. Pour into a greased 8x8 pan.
   2.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
   3.  Drizzle 1 tsp oil over bread; sprinkle Italian seasoning and cheeses over top.
   4.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 15-30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
   5.  Preheat oven to 375; bake for 30-35 minutes.

Source: Joy in My Kitchen

Monday, March 21, 2011

Menu 3-21

Here's the recap from what we ate last week:
For dinner Monday night we tried yet another version of Tomato Soup. Unfortunately, we still haven't found one that we love. I am confident that somewhere out there is a soup for us! We had our grilled cheese on oatmeal bread and learned something important. The bread is delicious but possbily too much so as it almost overpowered the cheese.
On Tuesday we tried Lasagna Casserole. It's basically normal lasagna but with a different pasta. It tasted fine but I found myself missing the layers too much. We also had Foccacia Bread. Now this is a keeper! It was easy and wonderful!
For the Soup Supper at church on Wednesday the choices were Taco Soup, Chili and White Chicken Chili. They were all great!

Thursday we had Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas. It had been awhile since we've had these so it was nice to taste them again. I made homemade tortillas and they turned out much better than my first attempt a few weeks ago.
I had leftover tortillas so I made tortilla chips and White Bean Dip. The chips were great and the dip was okay. We probably won't be having the dip again.
For Pizza Night we had Burrito Pizza. We decided it was the best yet of all our attempts.
I forgot to make Cinnamon Bread on Friday so we couldn't have French Toast. Instead, we had Waffles and lucky me, my husband made them!

We're trying a couple new recipes this week, on Tuesday and Thursday. I am really looking forward to both of them as well as our other included favorites.
  • Monday: Soup Night! Cream Cheese Chicken & Vegetable Soup: We had this once last fall and I absolutely loved it. I'm hoping for good results again this time.
  • Tuesday: Roasted Chicken and Vegetables: I've had a whole chicken sitting in the freezer that I'd like to get out of there plus I bought two bags of red potatoes last week.
  • Wednesday: Soup Supper at Church
  • Thursday: Breakfast Burritos: We usually don't do eggs for our Saturday Brunch so really, it's been a while since we've had something like this.
  • Friday: Pizza Night! Pepperoni/Salty Dog: It's nice to get back to the basics every now and then!
  • Saturday Brunch: French Toast: I'm not giving up on this! Hopefully this week it'll actually happen.
  • Sunday: Leftovers
Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Foreshadowing

Here are some of the recipes I came across this week. Hopefully, at some time or another, they'll make it onto our menu, hence, the foreshadowing.

This is linked to Friday Favorites.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Butterscotch Bran Muffins

The original recipe calls for raisins which I don't have right now. I always mean to buy some but always forget. Anyway, I knew that I wanted to substitute something for the raisins. My first thought was chocolate chips but when I looked in the cupboard I had two bags of butterscotch chips and two bags of white chocolate chips but no chocolate chips. So butterscotch chips ended up being the substitute for the substitute and with great results! My husband and I decided that they worked really well. One of these muffins makes a quick, filling, hearty breakfast.
The recipe is like a typical muffin recipe with the addition of one 5 minute rest time in the middle. My daughter and I used the time to brush our teeth. I tried lighting spraying my muffin tin bottom as recommended in the cook book. It worked great but didn't make it too greasy, a problem I've occasionally run into.

Butterscotch Bran Muffins
 Print Recipe
Yields: 15 muffins

2 1/4 cups All-Bran Original cereal (twig shaped bran)
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 T molasses
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
6 T butter, melted and cooled
1 3/4 cups sour cream
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butterscotch chips

   1.  Preheat oven to 400. Lightly spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
   2.  Grind half of the bran cereal in a food processor until finely ground.
   3.  In a large bowl whisk sugar, molasses, egg, egg yolk and vanilla until thick. Add melted butter, sour cream and processed and unprocessed bran cereal and stir until combined. Let rest until cereal is moistened, about 5 minutes.
   4.  Add flours, baking soda, and salt to cereal mixture. Fold gently until just combined. Fold in butterscotch chips.
   5.  Fill muffin cups about 2/3 of the way full. Bake at 400 for 16-20 minutes or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Let muffins cool in tin for 5 minutes and then remove.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Southwestern Pasta with Chicken

My sister picked this recipe out for us by going through my binder of recipes torn out from magazines. It was from an issue of Woman's World from September 2006. Yikes! I'm glad she picked it because in 4+ years I hadn't gotten around to it so who knows how long it would have taken.
I personally found this dish to be a little spicy, but ironically only the first time. When we had it as leftovers it had somehow mellowed out quite a bit. So if you like a kick to your food you might want to add more hot sauce if you have leftovers.

Southwestern Pasta with Chicken
 Print Recipe
Yields: 8 servings

12-16 oz pasta
26 oz pasta sauce
1 can Rotel
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika (not pictured)
1/4 tsp pepper
2 dashes hot sauce
1 cup cooked, diced chicken
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
sour cream (not pictured)
shredded cheese
   1.  In a large pot, cook pasta according to directions.
   2.  In a large skillet, mix pasta sauce, Rotel, and seasonings. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
   3.  Combine sauce and pasta; stir in chicken and black beans. Cook until warmed through, about 5-10 minutes. Serve with sour cream and shredded cheese.

Source: Woman's World Magazine

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fiesta Chicken Soup

There are a few different "Mexican" based soups in our rotation but I keep each of them there because they each have their own little twist. This one incorporates so many ingredients and in the end they all go together so well. The flavors meld perfectly, especially considering the relatively short cooking time.
One thing that amazed me about this soup was how much color the broth had. Most of it, I assume, is from the tomato juice but look at that color!

Fiesta Chicken Soup
 Print Recipe
Yields: 4 servings

1 T Italian dressing or olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 onion, chopped
3/4 cup carrots, sliced
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 tsp chili powder
3/4 cup peas
1 can kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

   1. Cook chicken, onions and carrots in the Italian dressing until the onions and carrots are beginning to soften.
   2. Add tomatoes (with juice), chicken broth, water and chili powder to pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer.
   3. Fifteen to 20 minutes before serving add peas and kidney beans.
   4. Serve with cheese sprinkled over the top.
Notes: The measurements of the vegetables are extremely flexible. I've also added green beans.

Source: Kraft Foods

This is linked to Tasty Tuesday and URS.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Menu 3-14

Here's the recap from what we ate last week:

My sister was visiting us for her Spring Break and did a lot of the cooking which was a lovely break for me!
Monday we had Fiesta Chicken Soup. We changed the proportions of some of the ingredients and it turned out great!
Tuesday my sister chose to make Southwestern Pasta and Chicken. It defintely had a kick, especially the first time, but we all enjoyed it.
Wednesday night at church we had a vegetable and hamburger soup and whole pea soup. My husband was delighted with the pea soup as it's not something I make often.

On Thursday we tried the Homemade Manicotti. The dish turned out great but was a little labor intensive. I'd like to revisit this recipe someday and see if I can make it a little easier.
And of course, Friday Pizza Night. We had BBQ Chicken Pizza this week. The chicken had gotten cooked earlier in the week, the pineapple was already processed so it was especially easy to put it together.
For breakfasts this week we had Coffee Cake Muffins the first half of the week. They were, as expected, delicious. However, it was pretty much impossible to pretend they were even remotely healthy.
At the end of the week we had Morning Glory Muffins. They were good but we all felt they could use a little more moisture. I'm going to try adding some banana the next time I make them.
We also made Peanut Butter cookies. I use the recipe for Christmas cookies with the chocolate stars on top and just leave off the chocolate. My idea of a perfect peanut butter cookie is soft and just starting to get crispy on the edges.

I know I said this last week but it is amazing how easy making a menu is when I take just one night (Wednesday) out of the equation.
  • Monday: Soup Night! Tomato Soup: I'm still on the search for a great homemade tomato soup. We'll also have grilled cheese on this delicious oatmeal bread.
  • Tuesday: Lasagna Casserole: I found a good price on cottage cheese last week and came upon this recipe. It's a match made in heaven!
  • Wednesday: Soup Supper at Church
  • Thursday: Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas: We've had these in the past and really loved them. I'm going to use homemade tortillas again.
  • Friday: Pizza Night! Burrito Pizza: We're hoping to recreate the goodness that we were able to achieve the last time. If we do I'm calling it a success and not just a fluke!
  • Saturday Brunch: French Toast: I'll make cinnamon bread Friday to really take this up a notch. Plans changed last week and we didn't get to this so we'll try again this week.
  • Sunday: Leftovers
Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sweet & Tangy Sauce

This recipe induces so many memories for me. We have had this at so many family gatherings and it has always been a hit with friends and family alike. People are often a little hesitant but then they taste it and completely love it!
This sauce is really easy to put together as it takes just two ingredients: brown sugar and mustard. Such a wonderful taste results from such a simple combination. We like to use Fish Mama's meatball recipe with this sauce.

Sweet & Tangy Sauce
 Print Recipe
Yields: Sauce for 2 lbs meatballs

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 T mustard
2 lbs meatballs

   1.  In a small bowl combine brown sugar and mustard; let sit for 5 minutes.
   2.  Pour over meatballs; heat until meatballs are warmed through and sauce has thinned. (I typically do this in a crock pot.)
Notes: If you need to increase the quantity of sauce, the general ratio is for every 1/2 cup brown sugar add 2 tsp mustard.
This is linked to URS.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


These quesadillas were a hit with all three of us. I was a little worried at first about convincing my husband that they would still be good, even without meat. It didn't take long for him to decide I was right.
Pulsing the salsa with the beans makes it much easier to work with and a little smoother for the mouth. The spinach and carrots blend so well in this application. You get a few crunches from the carrots, a nice change in this otherwise soft meal.

Yields: 5 quesadillas

10 tortillas
1 can pinto beans, drained
6 T salsa, divided
1 cup spinach
1 cup carrots
1 tsp chili powder
2 cups shredded cheese, divided
sour cream and salsa, for serving

   1.  Preheat oven to 350.
   2.  In a food processor pulse pinto beans and 3 T salsa until smooth. Remove to a medium bowl. Pulse spinach and carrots until very fine; add to bowl. Add chili powder and 1/2 cup cheese. Stir to combine.
   3.  Spread bean mixture over 5 tortillas; top with remaining cheese. Cover with other five tortillas.
   4.  Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve with salsa and sour cream.
This is linked to Good Cheap Eats.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

My favorite soup at Panera is Chicken and Wild Rice. Now, it's been a while since I've been there so I can't accurately speak to how close this came. No matter though, this was delicious anyway. It was creamy but thick, rich but refreshing--an absolute winner!
This soup contains some ingredients that can be prepped ahead of time, adding to the ease of assembling this. While the recipe only calls for 5-10 minutes of simmering at the end, it can withstand a longer time, as long as it is stirred occasionally.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
 Print Recipe
Yields: 6 servings

3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 box wild rice (I used Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice.)
6 T butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 3/4 cup whole milk
2 cups diced or shredded chicken
2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup carrots, diced and cooked crisp tender

   1.  In a large pot, bring chicken broth, water and rice to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
   2.  Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add flour, salt, pepper and rice seasoning. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Whisk in milk; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened, stirring frequently.
   3.  Add sauce to rice; add chicken, spinach and carrots. Stir to combine; simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Adapted from: The Keune Home

This is linked to URS.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Menu 3-7

Here's the recap from what we ate last week:

The Chicken and Wild Rice Soup was pretty tasty. I decided to add the carrots and spinach which gave some nice color to the soup.
The Quesadillas turned out great! I was a little apprehensive for two reasons: I didn't know how the tortillas would work and I didn't know if I'd be able to sell my husband on this meatless meal. Thankfully, the tortillas worked just fine and my husband thought the quesadillas were really filling even without meat.
The Sweet and Tangy meatballs were wonderful. This recipe always makes me think of my family as it is an extended family favorite. I ended up using Fish Mama's meatball recipe, which we really like.
Looking at this plate now our meal Thursday looks pretty sparse but it really wasn't. I ended up just throwing things together for the breading and it worked out great. We also had roasted sweet potatoes and a fruit salad of strawberries, apples and grapefruit.
I know I've said it before but we love pizza night here! There is just something so wonderful about a good, homemade pizza. I tried using tomato sauce instead of tomato paste in my normal pizza sauce recipe and while the flavor was still great it was a little thinner than normal. The thinness resulted in it bleeding off the edges a little bit which made it stick but we saved it!
Brunch was Apple Banana German Pancake. We really enjoyed it and thought it was a nice change from our typical bread based choices.
For breakfast last week we had Butterscotch Bran Muffins. I was a little leery of the bran, which is probably typical, but these were great. I think the butterscotch chips really help balance it out.

Lent starts this Wednesday. Our church has Soup Suppers before church each Wednesday so I won't be cooking on Wednesdays for the next six weeks. Between that and pizza night it was really easy to figure out the menu!
  • Monday: Soup Night! Fiesta Chicken Soup: This soup is made from ingredients I almost always have on hand. That's a good thing for me this week.
  • Tuesday: TBD: My sister, who's visiting us for her Spring Break, is in charge Tuesday night of picking out the recipe and making it. We'll see what she decides.
  • Wednesday: Soup Supper at Church
  • Thursday: Homemade Manicotti: This looks like a fun recipe to try. Here's hoping it doesn't completely blow up in my face!
  • Friday: Pizza Night! BBQ Chicken Pizza: My sister loves BBQ Chicken Pizza so of course we'll have it for her.
  • Saturday Brunch: French Toast: I'll make cinnamon bread Friday to really take this up a notch.
  • Sunday: Leftovers
Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Apple Onion Cider Chicken

This smelled amazing as it cooked! The vinegar really added a sweet tartness. At first, my husband was wondering if this would be too similar to another apple, onion and chicken dish we love but we discovered, while they contain similar ingredients, they each have their own very unique taste.
The original recipe calls for whole chicken breasts. We've found that, in general, we prefer to cut our chicken into smaller pieces. That way, more of the chicken is exposed to the sauce which spreads the wonderful taste throughout.

Apple Onion Cider Chicken
 Print Recipe
Yields: 4 servings

olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 apples, diced
1 onion, diced
3 T apple cider vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup water
2 T butter
salt and pepper
   1.  Heat 1 T olive oil in a large skillet. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove to a bowl.
   2.  If necessary, add more olive oil to pan. Add onion and apple; cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
   3.  Add apple cider vinegar; cook for 1-2 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce is reduced by half. Whisk in butter.
   4.  Return chicken to pan; stir to combine.
Adapted from: Food Network

This is linked to Good Cheap Eats.