Monday, October 31, 2011

Menu 10-31

Recap From Last Week:

While the Baked Potato Soup was as delicious as always the Soda Bread (from Not Your Mother's Casseroles) was really not that great. The flavor was just a little odd and the outside was really hard. The saving grace of the bread was the inside was wonderfully soft. However, it was not so wonderfully soft that I'll make it again. It did make great breadcrumbs though!
I tried something new with the french fries this time. Instead of drizzling them with olive oil, as the orginal recipe recommends, I just sprayed the top layer with a light coating of cooking spray and then salted them. They turned out great that way. They were crispy yet still soft: perfection!
Tuna Noodle Casserole: one of those stereotypical dishes that everyone remembers. Ironically, neither my husband nor I recall having it growing up. It's too bad because we both enjoy it now.
I pulled two pizza crusts out of the freezer for pizza night this week. I had never frozen pizza dough before so I was a little apprehensive. Thankfully it turned out just fine. Although the crust was maybe a little thinner than normal it held our BBQ Chicken toppings just fine!
We liked the Pumpkin Pie Baked French Toast but I don't think I'll be hanging on to the recipe. I definitely recommend trying it though because it was an easy, tasty dish and just right for the season.
I turned my Cranapana Bread into muffins and we loved them. It's a combination of cranberries, apples and bananas. Typically the banana would overpower everything else but in this case all the flavors played nicely together. We will definitely be having these again.
I've had the ingredients for this Ice Cream for over a month now and finally got around to making it. That was a lot of simple fun that we are thoroughly enjoying eating.
I also made a second batch of yogurt this week and it turned out much thicker due to two things: I added 3 T of powdered milk along with the starter and also (because of an unexpected crazy morning) it sat for about 16 hours instead of just overnight.
We were running low on granola so this week I tried Pumpkin Spice Granola. The result was more of a typical granola texture and the taste was wonderful.

Onto This Week:
  • Monday: Soup Night! Lasagna Soup: This was one of our favorite finds last winter. I'm going to try using frozen spinach instead of fresh; hopefully it won't be too much of a disaster.
  • Tuesday: Apple Onion Cider Chicken: I have been finding so many awesome apple deals recently so this will be a great time to have this dish.
  • Wednesday: Raspberry Marinated Chicken with Crispy Potato Bake: I have some raspberry dressing sitting in the cupboard that I doubt we'll ever use on salads.
  • Thursday: Cheesy Salsa Meatloaf with Fried Potatoes: A little double twist on the classic meatloaf and potatoes.
  • Friday: Pizza Night! Burrito Pizza: Yet another pizza that we've not visited in quite a while.
  • Saturday Brunch: Apple Cinnamon Pancakes: Again a recipe using apples. As a bonus my husband loves cinnamon so this should be a winner with him.
Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Foreshadowing

I can tell I've been busy this week doing things other than computer stuff because I only had six recipes bookmarked {usually I have to eliminate quite a few to get down to five}. That's okay though because 1) it means I got stuff done and 2) these 5 recipes look amazing!
  • Cinnamon Roll Bread from Parenting Miracles: I know I've said this before but I've marked so many cinnamon roll recipes without actually trying them. Maybe since this seems a little easier I'll actually make it.
  • Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie from Mo' Better: Realistically I doubt I'll get around to making this before Baby comes since I'd have to make apple butter before the pie but I will definitely keep this recipe around for the future. It sounds wonderful!
  • Homemade Pasta from Finding Joy in My Kitchen: I've tried making pasta once before and it was a total flop (like throw it in the garbage flop). I'm willing to try again though.
  • Crockpot Pizza Soup from A Year of Slow Cooking: I don't think I've ever come across a recipe for pizza soup but we're willing to try it.
  • Sweet and Sour Chicken from Blue Jeans and Cotton Tees: I love Sweet and Sour Chicken but have yet to find a good homemade version. Perhaps this will be it?
This is linked to Friday Favorites.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cranberry Chicken Sandwiches

The first time we had this sandwich my husband was not that impressed. However, after I made a few tweaks to the recipe he said there was a night and day difference. Now everything blends nicely together to create a fantastic sandwich.
This sandwich is different from many similar sandwiches because it doesn't have mayo or extra sauce in it. It goes without saying that this would be an excellent recipe to keep in mind for after Thanksgiving as turkey would work just as well as chicken.

Cranberry Chicken Sandwiches
Print Recipe
Yields: 8 sandwiches 

1/4 cup onion, diced
olive oil (not pictured)
1 lb cooked, shredded chicken
1 can cranberry sauce
2 stalks celery, diced (not pictured)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup dried cranberries
bread or rolls (not pictured)

   1.  In a small fry pan heat 1 tsp olive oil. Saute onion until softened.
   2.  In a medium bowl combine all ingredient except bread. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
   3.  Serve on bread or rolls.

This is linked to Good Cheap Eats and Tasty Tuesday.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Menu 10-24

Recap From Last Week:

Monday night we finished up the Broccoli Cheddar Soup from last week and it was just as delicious a week later. If I wasn't sure before I am now-this will be definitely be repeated in this house!

Tuesday night we had breakfast for dinner, something we don't do often enough I'm realizing. My husband made it, which was a nice treat. We had scrambled eggs with hashbrowns. I also have at least one more meals worth of hashbrowns in the freezer.
We haven't had Chicken Pot Pie since last winter and had forgotten how delicious it is. I used the 58c pie crust for the bottom crust and a traditional crust for the top. They were both great, though it's hard to truly judge since the bottom one ends up so soaked with the sauce from the pot pie.
I experimented with my Cranberry Chicken Sandwiches again and the experimentation worked. My husband said he hadn't been all that excited about this meal but when he tried it he decided he had been wrong. {Recipe coming Wednesday}
Friday night we had Fajita Pizza. I ended up freezing part of the dough and sauce so hopefully I'll remember this Friday to use that from the freezer instead of making more. {I know I could save it but I don't have a whole lot of freezer space and would rather use it for something else.}
I made Kitchen Sink Crunchers to take to a family gathering on Saturday. They have coconut, cocoa powder, Heath pieces, chocolate chips and cinnamon in them. I liked them but found that the Heath pieces got completely lost. On the other hand, the cinnamon {even though it's a small amount} really stands out in a good way. While I won't make this exact recipe again I might try it again, keeping some aspects of it the same. We'll see how ambitious I am.
I've thought about trying to make my own yogurt before but it always seemed like too much work. A couple weeks ago one of my friends posted about making yogurt in a crockpot. It seemed easy enough so I tried. While I think I'll try adding a little dry milk the next time {per suggestions in the comments} I was really pleased with the first attempt. We've been having it for snack this week sprinkled with granola.
As I promised my husband {who adores cinnamon} I made Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Chips. When I first tried one, fresh out of the oven, I thought they were just okay. However, once they were chilled I thought they were excellent. The cinnamon chips add something so unique.
I've been finding some great deals on apples recently {finally} and have thus been trying some different recipes. I tried making Apple Chips and enjoyed them but don't know that I'll make them again. It seemed like a lot of work for an okay result.

Onto This Week:
  • Monday: Soup Night! Baked Potato Soup with Soda Bread: We still have potatoes to use so I'm making one of my husband's favorite soups. The Soda Bread is another recipe from Not Your Mother's Casseroles I'm looking forward to trying.
  • Tuesday: Hot Dogs with Homemade Fries: A simple meal but sometimes those just really hit the spot.
  • Wednesday: Out to Eat: I have a late doctors appointment so we're going to go out to eat afterward.
  • Thursday: Tuna Noodle Casserole: I picked up a few bags of egg noodles for a great price a few weeks ago. I can't remember the last time we had this but I know it's always a hit.
  • Friday: Pizza Night! BBQ Chicken Pizza: I don't think we've had this wonderful pizza since this summer which is really a shame since it's one of our favorites.
  • Saturday Brunch: Pumpkin Pie Baked French Toast: We didn't have brunch this past week so we'll just move this ahead to this week.
Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Foreshadowing

I started off with a "learning" recipe but then basically ended up with a meal: a (could be) appetizer, soup, bread and dessert. I guess technically I'm missing a protein/main dish but I could eat these four dishes and consider it a meal, albeit a slightly random meal. :)
  • Cooking Dried Beans from Money Saving Mom: I tried once to cook dried beans and it did not end well. I was making baked beans and it ended up really dry. I want to try again though.
  • Pizzadillas from Fantastical Sharing of Recipes: How fun does this look! Easy, different but familiar. It could be easily adapted to your favorite kind of pizza as well.
  • Cheeseburger Soup from Newlyweds: What is it about taking a dish and changing it into soup form that always sounds so intriguing?
  • Wheat Oatmeal Quick Bread from Finding Joy in My Kitchen: The latest addition to my list of breads to try.
  • Cranberry Crunch Bark from Christmas Your Way: I'm not really a huge fan of nuts nonetheless I really want to try this recipe.
This is linked to Friday Favorites.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mom's Sloppy Joes

Growing up we always called these BBQs but somewhere along the line I've evidently converted because I now call them Sloppy Joes (as it seems most people do). Whatever you call them though this is a delicious sandwich. It's so simple to make with just a few ingredients but the combination is wonderful. I love how moist the sandwich is while still having a little bit of crunch from the celery.

Mom's Sloppy Joes
 Print Recipe
Yields: 4-6 sandwiches

1 lb hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup ketchup
1 T mustard
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
3 T tomato paste
   1.  In a large skillet brown hamburger, onion and celery until hamburger is no longer pink.
   2.  Add remaining ingredients; stir to combine.
   3.  Simmer 15 minutes. (If the mixture isn't wet enough add a small amount of water at a time until it reaches the right consistency.)
   4.  Serve on hamburger buns or bread.

Source: My mom

Monday, October 17, 2011

Menu 10-17

Recap From Last Week:

We found a winner! As I was making the Broccoli Cheddar Soup I was already thinking that we wouldn't like it and I wouldn't make it again. Well, one spoonful changed my mind pretty quickly. It's a nice thick soup with lots of flavor. We also enjoyed the Herb Focaccia Bread which I will also make again.
The Easy Noodle Stir Fry is a different dish than usually appears on our table. It was nice though because, as the name states, it was really easy to make. It took me less than thirty minutes to make. With Baby arriving soon dishes like this will definitely be appreciated! Our version had broccoli, green peppers, onions, corn and chicken.
Wednesday night we had Sloppy Joes. I used my mom's recipe and was pleased when they turned out pretty close to when she makes it. This is another easy dish and one that reheats extremely well. {Recipe coming Wednesday}
The Corn Dog Muffins were, as expected, once again a hit and therefore will be getting added to my recipe box. We also had Homemade Oven Fries along with the muffins.
Oh, how we love Pizza Night! This week it was Pepperoni Pizza for me and Salty Dog (pepperoni, green and black olives) for my husband. For some reason it seemed especially tasty this week, perhaps because it had been so long since we had had basic pepperoni.
For Saturday brunch we had Tropical Waffle Bake, something I was not expecting to be so well liked. But it was! My husband really liked it and said we should have it again.
We also tried Baked Apples with Cream Cheese from Not Your Mother's Casseroles. We liked the apples and I like this cookbook. I have a bunch of recipes marked that I'm hoping to try before I have to return it to the library.
I also made Homemade Butterfingers this week that tasted amazing! However, my chocolate dipping skills are seriously lacking resulting in a poor looking product so I didn't even bother taking a picture. This is definitely a recipe worth trying!
Onto This Week:
  • Monday: Soup Night! Broccoli Cheddar Soup: We have a lot of this left from last week and haven't eaten it yet so I'm taking the easy route for Soup Night this week.
  • Tuesday: Eggs with Hashbrowns: I bought two 5 pound bags of potatoes last week for 69c each which is the best price I've gotten in a long time. Anyway, I'll make a whole bunch of hashbrowns, use some for dinner and freeze the rest.
  • Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie: Again, using some potatoes and also carrots which I got for 33c a pound. I'm finally going to get to try this pie crust which I've had bookmarked since July.
  • Thursday: Cranberry Chicken Sandwiches: My first attempt at this back in September was pretty good so I'm planning on a few little tweaks which will hopefully produce a great sandwich.
  • Friday: Pizza Night! Fajita Pizza:What happens when you put pizza sauce, onions, green peppers, chicken and cheese on pizza dough? A fajita pizza! This is definitely one of our favorite pizzas (although we pretty much like any pizza). The combination has just enough bite and crunch that work well together.
  • Saturday Brunch: Pumpkin Pie Baked French Toast: A pumpkin version of french toast sounds delightful. Also, since it has to sit for at least six hours that means it will be really easy on Saturday.
Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Foreshadowing

More seasonal flavors and meals this week with the exception of one dish. We had a stretch of warm weather the past two weeks but it's finally starting to feel like fall again so these all sound perfect right now.
  • Apple Pie Muffins from Finding Joy in My Kitchen: As is typical, I'm always on the hunt for muffin recipes. I just bought 15 pounds of apples this week so I'll likely make these sometime late next week.
  • Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Chips from A Day in the Life: My husband loves cinnamon so when cinnamon chips were on sale last week I picked up a bag with no real purpose in mind. How perfect that I ran across this recipe a few days after getting the chips. I told him I'd make these on Monday.
  • Pumpkin Pie Baked French Toast from Cooking During Stolen Moments: This looks divine! It's also a make-ahead dish which might just add to the appeal. We might have to try this for Saturday brunch next week.
  • Classic Minestrone from My Recipes (All You Magazine): I used to have a go-to Minestrone recipe but the last time we had it it turned out awful. I love the concept of minestrone so I'm hoping to find another good one.
  • Fajita Style Quesadillas from Better Homes & Gardens: These look like a fun twist on both fajitas and quesadillas. I'd like to try making my own tortillas again and this would be a good recipe to use them.
This is linked to Friday Favorites.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Bread

This Cinnamon Sugar Bread has been a hit with everyone who has tried it. There's something about it that is just a little different than your typical quick bread that makes it absolutely delicious.
This bread is the epitome of quick breads; it comes together quite rapidly. Since it's best after resting overnight it provides an impressive breakfast addition with no work required in the morning. What a great recipe for that reason alone! {Also, notice my helper's hand in the picture of the ingredients. She was so eager to help put the bread together.}

Cinnamon Sugar Bread
 Print Recipe
Yields: 1 loaf

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (not pictured)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk (not pictured)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
cinnamon & sugar

   1.  Preheat oven to 350.
   2.  In a mixing bowl combine all bread ingredients, mixing until just moist.
   3.  Pour half of the batter into a greased bread pan. Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 T cinnamon over batter. Spread remaining batter. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and sugar.
   4.  Bake at 350 for 45-50 or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Let cool, cover and rest overnight.
Source: A Whisk and a Prayer

Monday, October 10, 2011

Menu 10-10

Recap From Last Week:

We were at my parent's house this last week so I don't have much to recap. While we were there I did try these Ham & Cheese Pockets. We liked them, especially the dough. However, I think it's one of those recipes that just reminds you of some different options you can try with a method (dough with some sort of filling). I'll probably keep the recipe just for the dough, which was very tender.
I also made Cinnamon Sugar Bread again, with a few changes from the last time. The bread was a big hit! {Recipe coming Wednesday}
Before we left for the week I also made a batch of Banana Muffins, with the addition of pumpkin spice. Honestly, you couldn't tell the pumpkin spice was in there. I wonder if I would just need to add more the next time I try that.
Onto This Week:
  • Monday: Soup Night! Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Herb Focaccia Bread: The return of Soup Night is coming after a week with 80 weather~ a little ironic but we're going forward anyway. My original plan was to make bread bowls to serve the soup in. However, once I looked at the calendar and saw how my busy my day was going to be I decided to try something that wouldn't take quite so long. The bread bowls will appear eventually though!
  • Tuesday: Easy Noodle Stir Fry: I'm not sure yet what vegetables will actually be in our Stir Fry. It will depend on what I find Tuesday when I open the freezer. (How's that for planning?) I'm hoping this dish is a hit as it seems pretty easy to put together.
  • Wednesday: Sloppy Joes: I'm going to use my mom's recipe so it could be one of the classic situations where mine doesn't seem quite right just because it's not my mom making it.
  • Thursday: Corn Dog Muffins: We really enjoyed these last time. Assuming we like them again this week this recipe will be added to my recipe box.
  • Friday: Pizza Night! Pepperoni Pizza: Time for a good old classic pepperoni pizza. I'm sure my husband will request black and green olives on his.
  • Saturday Brunch: Tropical Waffle Bake: I'm really looking forward to trying this, with a few adaptations. The waffles have been waiting in the freezer for a few weeks so it's time to get them out of these and try this recipe.
Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Foreshadowing

The recipes this week again have a fall/winter trend. I have a fall drink, soup, and am thinking about Christmas cookies. Where has the time gone?
  • Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha Latte from Mom Advice: I'm torn each time I go to Starbucks. This drink sounds interesting but I hate to miss a chance to have a Pumpkin Spice Latte that I love so dearly. With this recipe though at least I'd get an idea of what it tastes like.
  • Broccoli Cheddar Soup from My Blessed Life: This recipe is supposedly reminiscent of Panera's which immediately makes me want to try it. I always debate between ordering Broccoli Cheddar Soup or Chicken & Wild Rice Soup when we go to Panera. I've found a good homemade version of Chicken & Wild Rice Soup; hopefully this Broccoli Cheddar will join the list.
  • Bread Bowls from Feeding Four: When I try the Broccoli Cheddar Soup I'd like to try it in these bowls. I've always shied away from making bread bowls because it seemed as though it would be too hard but this recipe seems relatively easy.
  • Crispy Cheese Crackers from Heavenly Homemakers: I'm always looking for new recipes to try for snacks to have on hand. I've tried crackers once before and we didn't really care for them. However, these take a completely different approach so I'm optimistic about the results.
  • Simple Shortbread: One Recipe, Four Cookies from Simple Bites: Christmas is coming quickly and I'm starting to think about my baking list. My husband has already requested Peanut Butter Balls and I'm thinking this will be on my list as well. The fact that you start with one recipe but can create four different cookies is a great advantage.
This is linked to Friday Favorites.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu

We first had this dish when we went to our friends' house for dinner shortly before we moved. We absolutely loved it and so I, of course, asked for the recipe. It has been a favorite ever since that I sadly don't make often enough.
It's a great recipe because it's easy to change the quantity and it uses ingredients that we often have on hand. To halve the chicken breasts I typically slice them as you would cut a deck of cards. I find the ratio of chicken to ham and cheese is pretty good that way.

Chicken Cordon Bleu
 Print Recipe
Yields: 6 servings

6 chicken breast halves
6 slices ham
3/4 cup shredded cheese
1 can cream soup (or use homemade)
1/4 cup water (not necessary if using homemade soup)
2+ cups croutons
1/4 cup butter, melted
   1.  Place chicken breast halves in a 9x13 pan. Place one slice of ham over each chicken breast. Dividing the cheese among the six chicken breasts, sprinkle cheese over ham.
   2.  Mix soup and water; pour over chicken.
   3.  Mix croutons and butter; place on top of chicken.
   4.  Bake uncovered at 325 for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.

This is linked to Tasty Tuesday.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Menu 10-3

Recap From Last Week:

Our daughter (22 months) is in charge of putting silverware on the table for meals. Monday night she decided Dad's fork needed to go directly on top of his plate. The Chicken Cordon Bleu was wonderful. I'm ashamed to admit it but while I love the dish as a whole my favorite part might just be the butter soaked croutons. But really, who wouldn't love that? {Recipe coming Wednesday}
My husband has taken to calling Cream Cheese Pasta the "Atomic Orange Pasta". While that doesn't really sound appetizing it is delicious. I had a slight mishap with the Breadsticks that was thankfully easily fixable. I meant to make a half recipe. However, when I turned the mixer on I immediately knew something was wrong as the dough was way too runny. It didn't take me long to discover I hadn't cut the amount of water in half. It was an easy fix though; I just measured all the other ingredients out again then put half the dough in the freezer.
Wednesdsay we ended up going to Quiznos to use a Groupon I had bought a while ago. It was a nice treat to not cook and as a bonus the sandwiches were great!

Thursday night we had hot dogs and baked beans. I completely forgot to take a picture though so just pretend that there are hot dogs, carrot sticks and apples alongside these baked beans.
Friday night I rolled out the pizza dough in three (somewhat) circles again. It worked even better this week so now it's for certain that this will be the way we do pizza in the future. We had Sweet Hawaiian Pizza and as I was putting the ingredients on it just looked so pretty but of course, I didn't think to take a picture. You'll either have to just take my word for it or try it yourself.
For brunch we had Egg Sandwiches along with fruit salad and yogurt. My husband even made the sandwiches which was a wonderful treat. He used homemade hamburger buns from the freezer, ham, cheese and eggs-a basic egg sandwich but oh so very delicious!
It was cool and rainy the beginning of the week so on Monday we tried Maple Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa. It was okay but not something I'll be making again. The peanut butter was by far the strongest flavor to the point you could barely taste the chocolate and did not even know there was maple in there.
For breakfasts this week we had Sweet Potato Muffins and later in the week Pumpkin Bagels with Pumpkin Cream Cheese.The Sweet Potato Muffins are an old favorite but the Bagels and Cream Cheese were both new and we loved the combination.
I also tried making Homemade Graham Crackers again and this time they turned out! (I'm thinking it had something to do with the fact that I actually kept my eye on them while they were baking.) I will definitely be making these often, as they are relatively easy and extremely tasty.

However, on the complete opposite side of success were these Black Bottoms. Unfortunately it just turned into a big mess, very unlike the picture in the magazine. They came out of the pan all crumbly and didn't even taste that great. Needless to say, we will not be keeping this recipe.
Onto This Week:

I actually don't have a menu for this week. My husband has a conference for work and since it's in my hometown our daughter and I are going along with him. I'm hoping to try some new recipes while we're there so it very well could be I'll still have something to report back on next week.
I'm still going to post a recipe on Wednesday {the Chicken Cordon Bleu} and Friday Foreshadowing.
    Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.