Monday, September 9, 2013

Menu September 9

Look at this! Two weeks in a row with a menu! Yeah, no recipe last week but this is a good start for getting back into this.
In my mind, the highlight from the week was Chicken Salad Sandwiches. The original plan was bunsteads but once I picked up some grapes on sale I decided to make these instead.

On the Menu...
Bruschetta Chicken Bake
Simple Sandwiches on this knock off Subway bread
Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Baked Beans
Hawaiian Tuna Sandwiches: We'll be eating these as a picnic at church between volleyball games and choir practice.
Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza {new}
Brunch: Pancakes
Muffins: Chocolate Donut Holes {new}

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Menu September 2

Well, it's been a while! Since I last posted we sold our first house, packed up and moved 2 1/2 hours away for my husband's new job. We've been here just over two months now and while I wouldn't necessarily say life has settled down things are becoming somewhat more routine. One thing I haven't figured out 100% is how to get decent pictures at our rental home so that's still a work in progress.
Because of the move I didn't get to have a garden this year like we had planned. I did plant a few things in pots though so this year that's my "garden."
Anyway, after two months of no consistent menu planning I think it's time I get back into it so here goes...

On the Menu...
Grill for Labor Day: We had burgers, sweet corn and grilled green beans.
Lentil Sloppy Joes {Meatless}: Surprisingly something that goes over really well in our family.
Tacos: We'll use tomatoes from our garden and from members and lettuce from our garden.
Bunsteads: I'll use our favorite bread for these. {Also, first night of choir which my husband and I are co-directing this year.}
Alfredo Pizza
Brunch: Waffles
Muffins: TBD-anyone have any recommendations?

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

I'm Still Here!

Life is changing {again} in a major way around here.

Beautiful blossoms on one of the pear trees {that I will miss dearly}
My husband accepted a new job that starts in June so we've been busy trying to sell our house, pack and yet maintain some semblance of normalcy for the children.

Obviously, something had to give and that was this blog. Since we're eating quite random meals right now, trying to use up things from the freezer and pantry it's not like I'm creating inspiring menus and trying fun new recipes anyway.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins
I'm hoping to post a few things sporadically, but in giving myself grace am definitely not going to stress about it. Hopefully things will be a little more settled by the beginning of July.
For now though I'm off to pull something from the freezer and try to pack a box or two before nap time is over. :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Vodka Pasta Sauce

My husband and I went to small local restaurant for Valentines Day this year. We decided to be slightly adventurous in our meal choices. Well, I tried. I ordered their White Lasagna only to be informed that they were out so instead I went with the regular lasagna which was fine. My husband's choice was more successful, resulting in a new addition to our at-home menu. We both loved the flavors and thus the mission was to recreate it at home.
Since we're two months removed from our initial taste of the restaurant's version it's debatable if this even resembles it. However, we enjoy this, as do the kids so this is now our "house version" of Vodka Cream Pasta. It has a slight spicy kick to it at the end of the bite but just enough to let you know it's there, not so much your eyes are watering. It doesn't take much sauce to nicely coat the noodles so keep that in mind as you are dishing up.

Vodka Cream Pasta
 Print Recipe
Yields: ~6 servings
Adapted from: $5 Dinners and Spice Islands

1 T butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
14 oz can tomatoes
2 T tomato paste
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp basil
1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped
1 lb spaghetti, cooked
   1.  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic powder; cooked until softened.
   2.  Add tomatoes and tomato pasta; bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes.
   3.  Add vodka; cook for 2-3 minutes.
   4.  Add cream, salt, pepper and basil; cook until warm.
   5.  Serve over pasta and chicken. {Two large spoonfuls of sauce will cover a serving of pasta nicely.}

Monday, April 29, 2013

Menu April 29

Ham Broccoli & Cheddar Roll: This was an unexpected huge hit! I thought it would be good but it was met with rave reviews, including my husband saying I should make more to keep in the freezer. Needless to say we will be enjoying this again. I think it was the ranch dressing that took it over the top.
I made homemade ricotta to go with Lasagna Soup. It was good and a fun experiment but we decided we like store bought cottage cheese with Lasagna Soup more.
Vodka Cream Pasta: We've gotten this recipe to a point where we really enjoy it. Two months removed from first tasting it at the restaurant who knows if it actually resembles their version but this is now our version and we like it. {Recipe coming soon}
On the Menu...
Soup-it's going to be an experiment of a combination of things such as leftover mexican rice {Meatless}
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Pineapple Sandwiches in diced, combined form with Grandma's Potato Salad
Grown-Up Tater Tot Hotdish
Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken Fajita Pizza Brunch: French Toast
Muffins: Mix and Match Muffins with Cranberries & White Chocolate Chips {New}

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Corn & Bean Burgers

The first time I made these I was expecting a slightly leery reception by my family. After all, it's a "burger" with no meat. However, I think we were all pleasantly surprised by how well they turned out. The corn kernels add nice pops of sweetness and the BBQ sauce is a nice complement. This is a great meatless meal, albeit a little harder to disguise as meatless.
The key is making sure you don't form the patties too thick otherwise when you pick up your burger and take a bite it will smoosh out the sides.

Corn & Bean Burgers
 Print Recipe
Yields: 6 burgers
Source: Good Housekeeping

1 1/2 cups pinto beans {~1 can}
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 cup corn
1/2 cup shredded cheese {we use a colby jack blend}
~1T flour
cooking spray
6 hamburger buns

   1.  In a food processor, pulse beans, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and onion powder until ground.
   2.  Add corn and cheese; pulse until just combined.
   3.  Form into 6 patties, mashing together well, making sure to not make them too thick.
   4.  Lightly dust one side with flour; mist with cooking spray. Place in skillet over medium heat. Dust other side with flour, mist with cooking spray. Cook each side for ~7 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns with BBQ sauce.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Menu April 15

Frozen Bean & Cheese Burritos with KFC's Coleslaw: I tried and failed to get a decent picture of each of these. The burrito filling was good and the bag of them in the freezer is going to be handy. However, I didn't care for the tortilla recipe and likely won't try it again. The coleslaw was okay but didn't quite satisfy what I was looking for.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins: These were good, a basic peanut butter muffin with chocolate chips thrown in. I'm thinking of combining this recipe with another peanut butter muffin recipe we like to get the best of both.

On the Menu...
Lasagna Soup {I'm going to try making homemade ricotta} with Breadsticks with Garlic Butter
Ham Broccoli & Cheddar Roll {New}
Vodka Cream Chicken {Experiment, Take 2}
Snobby Joe's {New} {Meatless} 
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza
Brunch: Pancakes
Muffins: Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Foreshadowing

Last time I did a Friday Foreshadowing it was all bread recipes. Today, it's sweets!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars from Cookies & Cups: We've recently been rediscovering how wonderful snack pretzels are. Adding them to something sweet will most always be good, satisfying that delicious salty vs sweet desire.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars from Averie Cooks: Oh my! Peanut butter, chocolate, sugary sweetness all in an easy to bake bar form? Okay!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars
Mocha Frappuccino from Really I think I marked this one in sheer desperation. Like everyone else I am done with winter and ready to move on. This makes me think of Starbucks' promotion of BOGO fraps they've done in May the past few years. I so hope they do it again this year {and that there isn't snow on the ground then!}
Mocha Frappuccino. Photo by Vitameatavegamin Girl
Yummy Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels from Life's Too Short to Skip Dessert: More pretzels, this time on their own with a sweet coating.
Triple Chocolate Cake with Crispy Bark Topping from An Oregon Cottage: I doubt I will be making this decadent cake anytime in the near future {but if someone else wants to bring me some, that'd be fine.} However, I couldn't resist marking it anyway because it simply looks so rich and pretty and the crispy element of the topping intrigues me.
Triple Chocolate Cake with Bark Topping

All images are from the original recipe source.
This is linked to Friday Favorites.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spiced Cranberry Muffins

I don't know how I never saw this muffin recipe before in my perusal of this cookbook {a wedding shower gift from my grandma} but now that I've found it I will not be forgetting it!
The method is different from most muffin recipes, as you boil the liquids then add the dry ingredients but I think that creates the most interesting texture. Even though you have to wait a short time for the liquids to cool down these muffins still don't take too long to make. And, bonus, there's no egg so it's a perfect recipe when eggs are running low in the house {or am I the only person that struggles with that?}

Spiced Cranberry Muffins
 Print Recipe
Yields: 12 muffins
Adapted from: St Paul's Lutheran Church, Fairmont, MN Cookbook

2/3 cup sugar
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

   1.  In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cranberries, water, butter, applesauce, cinnamon and cloves; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool in fridge for ~10 minutes.
   2.  After 10 minutes, add flours, baking soda and salt; stir until just combined.
   3.  Fill 12 muffin cups; bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Menu April 8

Crescent Rolls: These were the bread I chose for our Easter dinner. While the size and looks of some of the rolls were questionable thanks to my learning curve the taste was spot on! The best part is I have a whole bag of them in the freezer still.
Corn & Bean Burgers: I've been making a very conscious effort to have at least one meatless meal each week. After a few trials I've gotten these burgers to be something we all like. {Recipe coming soon}
Spiced Cranberry Muffins: I found this recipe while flipping through my grandma's church cookbook. Since then we've enjoyed these a few times already. They're different than most muffins, resulting in a magnificent texture and deep flavor. {Recipe coming soon}

On the Menu...
Chicken & Noodle Soup {New}
Orange Chicken {Husband's request}
Frozen Bean & Cheese Burritos {Meatless}{New} with KFC's Coleslaw {New}
Ham & Peach Grilled Cheese Sandwiches 
Pepperoni Pizza
Brunch: Waffles
Muffins: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins
Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Butterscotch Brownies

My sister visited us this past weekend and, as is typical, we wanted to do some baking. I had nothing in mind so we opened up a cookbook {which I picked up for $1 at a thrift store on our honeymoon} and found these. I was drawn to it because it didn't need the mixer. {It was approaching the end of nap time and I didn't want any extra noise to cause the children to wake early as it had been a rough night of sleep.}
With only a handful ingredients and the ability to stir them easily by hand these bars came together very quickly. They're soft and buttery with just enough texture from the coconut to add but not detract.

Butterscotch Brownies
 Print Recipe
Source: Betty Crocker Cookbook, 1988 Edition
Yields: 16-25 bars

1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup coconut

   1.  Preheat oven to 350.
   2.  Melt butter in a large saucepan; remove from heat. Add brown sugar, vanilla and egg; mix. Add flour, baking powder, salt; stir until almost combined. Add butterscotch chips and coconut.
   3.  Spread in greased 9x9 pan. Bake 23 minutes. Cut while warm.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Menu March 25

Butterscotch Brownies: My sister was visiting for the weekend so of course, we did a little baking. We opened up my Betty Crocker Cookbook and picked these bars, mostly because they didn't require the use of the mixer. They turned out great and will definitely be made again! {Recipe coming soon}
Creamy Vodka Pasta: My husband and I went for a belated Valentines Dinner a couple weeks ago to a local restaurant. He ordered their Vodka Shrimp Pasta and we both agreed it was delicious {well, in my opinion, without the shrimp.} My first attempt at home was good but there's definitely room for improvement. I'm excited to try it again, hopefully soon.
On the Menu...
{With Holy Week and leftovers from our guests this weekend the menu is quite different this week but that keeps life interesting!}
Leftovers: French Toast, Chicken Pot Pie, Salty Dog {Pepperoni} Pizza, BBQ Chicken Pizza
Black Bean Quesadillas {I'm going to try making my own tortillas}
Split Pea Soup {Our Maundy Thursday tradition}
Fish Sticks and Potatoes{Our Good Friday tradition, modified for this non-fish eater}
Brunch: Banana Bread Pancakes
Muffins: Leftover Oatmeal Muffins
Easter: Ham, Potato Cakes, either Blender Rolls or Crescent Rolls, Fruit Salad {exact recipe TBD} and Special K Bars. {Obviously I still have some work to don on our Easter menu!}
Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Menu March 11

Steal-Good Pumpkin Bread: These were good but honestly, we prefer our normal pumpkin muffin recipe.
Corn and Bean Burgers: These have been officially added to our rotation of meatless dishes. While we like to put a smear of BBQ sauce on them it's not really necessary as they're quite flavorful on their own.

On the Menu...
Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Crepes with Ham, Cheese & Asparagus Filling   
Soup Supper at Church-we're taking bread
Chicken Avocado Enchiladas or Chicken & Avocado Enchiladas{different recipes both would be new}
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza
Brunch: Egg Sandwiches on Bagels
Muffins: Banana Muffins
Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Foreshadowing

Bread, bread, bread... The majority of recipes that I found this week are bread. Nothing wrong with that! :)

Very Little Bother Oat Bread from Don't Waste the Crumbs: I've decided to slowly work on reducing {even more so} the amount of white flour we consume. While this recipe still has a fair amount it's also using oat flour, which would be new for us.
Very Litte Bother Oat Bread 2
The best homemade dinner rolls from Roxasna's Home Baking: These look beautiful! I'm starting to think about Easter menu and these might be the roll. After all, there's nothing like trying a recipe for the first time at a time when you want everything to be perfect!
Soft, buttery, tender and warm, straight out of the oven, these are the best dinner rolls. Recipe from
Pizzeria Style Pepperoni Pizza from Table for Two: My husband has pretty much taken over making our weekly pizzas and that's absolutely fine with me! We usually spend a fair amount of time each Friday supper analyzing how the pizza turned out so I'm always watching for new methods and recipes to try. This will be next!
Garlic Cheese Pull Apart Bread from Thirty Handmade Days: After adapting this oh so slightly to use homemade dough instead of frozen I think this would be wonderful. Butter, spices, cheese and bread all baked together...
Cheesy Garlic Bread with frozen bread dough
Coffee Cake Muffins from Fearless Homemaker: While I tend to shy away from the richer, sugary muffins for our breakfast muffins sometimes it's fun to have some that are more of a treat. These would be perfect for that. Add the streusel topping and we'll all be happy!
Coffee Cake Muffins

All images are from the original recipe source.
This is linked to Friday Favorites.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

About a month before our daughter {who is three now} was born my husband and I went out for lunch to Panera. I was excited because I adore their Chicken & Wild Rice Soup. Sadly, that day it wasn't on the menu so I had to pick a different soup. I went with Broccoli Cheddar Soup and haven't looked back since.
Admittedly, I've made this soup more often now that I have an immersion blender but even without it wasn't impossible to puree the soup in my regular blender, it just resulted in more dishes. My kids come running when they hear me start to blend the soup because there's just something fascinating about watching it change so quickly before your eyes.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
 Print Recipe
Yields: ~8 main dish portions
Source: My Blessed Life

1/4 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
4 cups chicken broth
1 lb frozen broccoli, divided*
2 cups carrots, chopped
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper
   1.  Melt butter in a large stock pot; add onions and saute until slightly softened. Add flour, stir and cook for 3-5 minutes.
   2.  While stirring, slowly add milk and chicken broth; simmer for 20 minutes.
   3.  Add broccoli {all but a handful} and carrots; simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
   4.  Add salt and pepper to taste; puree soup until smooth.
   5.  Add remaining broccoli and cheese; stir and heat until cheese is melted.

*If using large pieces of broccoli chop reserved handful into ~1/2 inch pieces.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Menu March 4

2 Ingredient Cookies: While they aren't my favorite thing ever because of the texture they are a good snack option for the kids. We added sunflower seeds, cranberries and chocolate chips to ours. When it came time to pick them out at snack time my 3 year old daughter was adamant about making sure hers had cranberries, with no concern about the chocolate chips. Not sure what's wrong with her!
Black Bean Quesadillas: I adapted the original recipe a bit, adding some brown rice and taco seasoning. They were a big hit and will definitely be added to our meal otpions.
Easy Homemade Biscuits: There is a reason I've been seeing these everywhere recently. They taste absolutely wonderful. They are soft on the inside but just slightly crispy on the outside, buttery, airy and delicious! My husband even asked if it would be a good thing to freeze in batches. I think he likes them!
On the Menu...
Baked Potato Soup
Cheesy Salsa Meatloaf {from the freezer} with Homemade Fries   
Soup Supper at Church
Corn & Bean Burgers
Sweet Hawaiian Pizza 
Brunch: French Toast
Muffins: Steal Good Pumpkin Bread {Muffins}
Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.  

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Foreshadowing

Chocolate Cranberry Energy Bites from My Blessed Life: Again, I'm always looking for good snack ideas. My kids love dried cranberries so I'm sure these would be a hit.
energy bites
Poor Man's Stew from Happy in Dole Valley: This looks wonderful. It features mostly ingredients I always have on hand so once I pick up some lentils we will definitely try this for a Monday Soup Night.
Oatmeal Cinnamon Butterscotch Cookies from A Spicy Perspective: I have a muffin recipe we love that uses cinnamon chips but don't really use them in anything else {other than eating them plain!} These cookies look like a good place to try.
Soft Oatmeal Cookies with Cinnamon and Butterscotch Chips | #cookies #oatmealcookies
KFC's Coleslaw from Recipe Lion: I absolutely love KFC's coleslaw {and their biscuits} and have decided to make an effort of finding a recipe that is reminiscent of the wonderful creaminess. This will be the first attempt.
Quad Cookies from A Beautiful Ruckus: Chocolate Chip Cookies, Oreos, Cheesecake and Brownies all in one decadent cookie? That sounds like an absolute must try to me!

All images are from the original recipe source.
This is linked to Friday Favorites.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Menu February 25

Brownie Goody Bars: While there was nothing wrong with these they weren't exactly as amazing as it seemed they should be. Our final verdict was perhaps the proportions were off. If the rice crispy layer weren't so thick maybe that would help the balance a bit.
Easy Morning Glory Muffins: I love these! They are nice and moist and full of lots of goodies. I changed the recipe a bit, adding applesauce and bananas. Both my husband and 3 year old questioned why there were carrots in them but ate them anyway.
Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Pancakes: Again, I made a couple slight changes but again, this was a hit. It was amazing how much the peanut butter came through, but without being too much. Next time we'll try them with some jelly.
On the Menu...
Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Three Cheese Pasta with Breadsticks with Garlic Butter   
Soup Supper at Church-I'm taking Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Bunsteads in pockets {trying a new form}
Sweet Hawaiian Pizza 
Brunch: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes {New}
Muffins: Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.  

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Foreshadowing

~Taco Pizza from The Taste Tester: I was looking around for hints of how to successfully freeze pizza dough and happened upon this recipe for Taco Pizza. Even though we have many varieties, it's always fun to try something new.
Make a freezer ready pizza (there is more to it than you'd think!)-- cheaper than store-bought, better than DiGiorno, and they make an excellent gift for new moms :)
~Cinnamon Swirl Bread from Mel's Kitchen Cafe: One of my favorite things growing up was the sugar crusted, breaks apart in your hands because of all the swirls, cinnamon bread from the grocery store. Now I'm sure this recipe won't quite match it and honestly, that's okay, because I don't want to know how much sugar is in the grocery store version. This looks like it could be a good stand-in though.
Cinnamon Swirl Bread from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
~Candy Cookie Bars from Family, Food and Fun: A cookie bar topped with chocolate, peanuts and peanut butter? I must try this!
~Black Bean & Cheese Quesadillas from Tidy Mom: I've learned/observed recently that my husband is much more receptive to meatless meals than in the past, as long as there's lots of flavor and "stuff" to the meal. Because of that, I've been marking more meatless meals and looking forward to trying them instead of just letting them sit in my to-try folder.
Black Bean and Cheese Quesadillas recipe at
~Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Over Rice from Clipping Money: I'm {again} trying to make more of an effort to use my crock pot more. When I saw this recipe I knew we should try it because we love Cheesy Broccoli Soup and this is similar, just a thicker.

All images are from the original recipe source.
This is linked to Friday Favorites.