Sunday, May 25, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


Last week was a good week. I made a chicken dish that I'm very proud of because I created the recipe. :) It was really tasty, and my family really enjoyed it. It was definitely restaurant quality.
We have been enjoying our three-day weekend together as a family. We did not get to go on our backpacking trip due to thunderstorms, but we have had lots of time to relax. We saw the new Indiana Jones movie, Eric and Corey went to see 21, we went to a cookout at Eric's boss's house, and I finally got to go fabric shopping for the two apron swaps I'm in right now. We plan to go to my parents' house tomorrow to go swimming (if it doesn't storm again). Because it's the last week of school this week, we don't have too many evening obligations, so the menu is looking pretty good. My church book club ladies are coming over Friday night, so I get to make some fun picnic recipes. I hope you enjoy! For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com.
Sunday - Homemade pizza
Monday - Citrus Rum Pork Chops, Green Beans, Salad
Tuesday - Chicken Fajita Salad, Peaches
Wednesday - Shrimp Fra Diavolo, Salad
Thursday - Leftovers
Saturday - Filets, Foil-pack potatoes, Grilled Asparagus

Chicken and Mushrooms with Lemon White Wine Sauce


This is my version of a chicken dish that is served at one of my favorite restaurants in Springfield - Metropolitan Grill. I think I did a pretty good job of recreating it without having a recipe! My family enjoyed it, and it really did taste just like the dish at the restaurant. Because I kind of experimented as I cooked, the amounts may not be exact. Feel free to tweak it to make it work for you. :)


Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup milk
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 T parsley
1 T thyme leaves
1/2 cup parmesean cheese
1 pkg whole fresh mushrooms
olive oil

4 T butter (use real butter, not margarine)
1/2 cup white wine
juice from one lemon
4 T minced garlic


Directions:


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, and parmesean cheese together in small bowl. Put milk in a separate bowl. Bread the chicken cubes by dipping them first in milk, then coating them in the breadcrumb mixture.

In a large skillet, brown chicken in about 1 to 2 T of olive oil. Transfer to foil covered baking sheet and bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes, until chicken is done.

While chicken is baking, deglaze pan with wine. Add minced garlic and let simmer. Wisk in lemon juice. Wisk in butter. Add mushrooms and cover to cook. You can add salt to taste.

When chicken is cooked through, return to sauce and mushrooms in pan.

Can be served alone or on rice or pasta.

Cookie Salad

My friend Kelly brought this dish to a potluck luncheon at school, and it was definitely the hit of the day. I'm going to make it for my book club ladies this Friday. Thanks for sharing, Kelly!

Ingredients:
2 instant vanilla pudding packages
2 cups buttermilk
1 large container of whip cream
1 large can of mandarin oranges (or 2 small)
1 package of fudge stripe cookies, crushed (freeze when you get them home as it makes for less mess when crushing them)

Directions:
In a bowl, whisk the buttermilk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in whipped topping and oranges. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Fold in crushed cookies.

Chicken Fajita Salad


Light easy dinner.

Ingredients:

2-4 chicken breasts, grilled and cut into strips
1 can black beans (15 oz), rinsed and drained
1 bag salad mix (10 oz), about 4 cups
1/2 cup low fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup pico de gallo

Directions:

Cook chicken on grill (I marinate in vinaigrette dressing) until done and cut into strips. Put lettuce and black beans in large salad bowl. Top with warm chicken, cheese, and pico de gallo. Serve with southwest ranch dressing.

Grilled Citrus Rum Pork Chops


Nice marinated pork recipe for the grill.

Ingredients:

4-6 lean boneless pork chops
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup rum
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

Put all ingredients in a large ziplock bag and marinate meat 8 hours or overnight. Cook on grill until done!

Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Hot Dogs


My church book club ladies are coming over on Friday for our monthly meeting. I thought I would do picnic foods, so I was looking for something new and fun to throw on the grill. These sound fabulous, and since my book club friends enjoy sauerkraut like I do (my boys can't stand it), I thought this would be a great time to try this one out. :)
Update: These were amazing! I made them with fat free hot dogs, lowfat cheese, center cut bacon, and wheat buns to try to make them healthier. Everyone gobbled them up!

Ingredients
1 teaspoon ketchup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 large hot dogs, knockwurst, or kielbasa (I'm going to use Ball Park Fat Free Franks)
1/2 ounce cheddar cheese, cut into long sticks
2 Tbsp chopped onion
1 cup refrigerated sauerkraut, drained, roughly chopped
4 slices bacon
Vegetable oil
4 long hot dog buns (I use wheat ones to add some fiber)

Directions
1. Prepare your grill for direct medium high heat.

2. Mix together the ketchup and mustard in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the sauerkraut with the chopped onion, set aside. Slice open the hot dogs, down the center, lengthwise, forming a deep pocket in each, but not cutting all the way through. Coat the inside of each hot dog with the mustard ketchup mixture.

3. Place a strip of cheese deep within the pocket of each hot dog. Top with sauerkraut and onions. Encapsulate the cheese at the ends with the sauerkraut mixture as well, so that no cheese is exposed (otherwise it will drip out when cooking).

4. Wrap a strip of bacon around each stuffed hot dog, securing with toothpicks at each end. Make sure you wrap tight enough so that the stuffing stays in, but not so tight so that when the hot dog expands will cooking the bacon would tear.

5. Coat your grill surface with vegetable oil so that the hot dogs don't stick. If you have a grill screen (a screen with smaller holes so that small pieces of whatever you're cooking don't fall through the grill), you can use it, just coat it with vegetable oil first and pre-heat for a couple of minutes. Place the stuffed hot dogs on the grill, stuffing side down. Grill for 2 minutes, until the bacon on that side is cooked, turn the hot dogs a quarter turn and grill for a couple more minutes. Continue to grill for a few minutes each on all sides until the bacon is cooked. Cover the grill in between turnings to help with the cooking.

6. During the last minute of cooking, open up the hot dog buns and place them open-side down on the grill to lightly toast.

7 .Remove the hot dogs and buns from the grill. Remove the toothpicks fro the hot dogs, place them in the buns and serve.

Makes 4 stuffed hot dogs.

(Recipe Source - Simply Recipes)

My Happy Place (and my 100th post!)


I know this post has nothing to do with recipes, but it makes me so happy, I just have to share. :)
Last weekend the weather and our family schedule finally cooperated, and we went camping! My favorite place to family camp is Big Spring in Van Buren, Missouri. Part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, this campground is simply amazing. It sits on the banks of the Current River and is nestled in a valley of lodge pole pine trees that look more like they should be in the Rocky Mountains instead of south central Missouri. It is my happy place. As soon as we drive down the hill into the entrance of the park, I can feel all stresses melting away. We happened to camp the weekend before Memorial Day Weekend, so there was no one at the park! This is one of the things I love about this campground. If you come on a non-peak weekend, you will have very little company. There were only two other people at the campground last weekend. It was great! We felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. We have had a lot of rain in Missouri this spring, so much so that it has caused some serious flooding problems. In the picture above, the river looks very muddy, which is not ususally the case. It was just at flood stage on this day. The actually had the river closed to floaters because of how high and fast the water was running. Luckily, we traveled 30 minutes north to the Jack's Fork River for a float, and they had just reopened it. We definitely didn't have to worry about our canoe dragging the bottom of the river on this trip. :) Corey and I are planning to create a blog or website with reviews of campgrounds and trails, so be looking for more information on this amazing place to visit in Missouri!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


We had a very busy week and ended up having to eat out more than I had planned. This week, on the other hand, looks terrific! We only have evening obligations on Monday. Every other night is clear. That hasn't happened for us in weeks! We did go on our camping trip, which was amazing. I will post more about it later. For now, here is this week's menu. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com.


Sunday - Rotisserie chicken (from Wal Mart), rice, corn

Monday - Spaghetti, Salad

Tuesday - Chicken Enchiladas, Peaches

Wednesday - Chicken and Mushrooms with Lemon White Wine Sauce, Brocoli with cheese sauce, Strawberries

Thursday - Voodoo Pasta, Broccoli, Salad

Friday - Backpacking

Saturday - BBQ Pork Chops, Green Beans, Salad, Strawberries

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Mother's Day! I had a wonderful day at home with my family - a rarity in our household these days. My hubby surprised me by purchasing our new car early! We had been planning to sell my 2001 Accord this summer and replace it with a newer model Honda Civic (better gas mileage for my 35 mile daily commute to school). Well, the people who wanted to buy our car were ready to go, and we found a great deal on a 2007 Honda Civic (it was even the color I wanted - silver!). So, that was a very nice Mother's Day treat. :)

I can tell it is nearing the end of school. Our evenings are becoming increasingly busy with various activities. This week is crammed full each night - scouts, computer trainings, junior high honors night, confirmation class, and a band concert! We were unable to do our camping trip this weekend due to very stormy weather (lots of tornados hit the area - luckily not at our house). We hope to reschedule it for next weekend. Because of the busy schedule, we have to go into "emergency dinner mode" in order to keep ourselves from eating out every night. So, here's our rather simple menu for the week. And yes, we are eating the other box of not-so-healthy cereal this week for breakfast.

If I get a chance, I will try to post some fun camping recipes. For other menu ideas, check out orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - Filets, Foil-pack potatoes, Green Beans
Monday - Eat at computer training (boys eat leftover filets before going to scouts)
Tuesday - Spaghetti (hubby will bring to school and we will eat in my library before honors night)
Wednesday - Chili (already made and in freezer)
Thursday - Chicken Tortilla soup (hubby will bring to school and we will eat in my library before band concert)
Friday - camping
Saturday - camping

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Garden Adventure

Here are some photos of our garden adventure. Wish us luck in actually getting some food out of it! :)



Tuna Noodle Casserole



I don't really have a fancy recipe for this casserole. It's something I cook when I'm really desperate because of time, and my family loves it. So, here's what I do:

8 oz. Ronzoni Smart Taste Elbow Macaroni
1 can Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cans tuna in water
1/3 cup skim milk
3 oz. reduced fat 2 % milk sharp cheddar cheese

Cook noodles. Drain them and mix them with a can of cream of chicken soup, 1/3 cup of milk, and two cans of tuna (drained). Pour into a glass baking dish. Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese (I use cheddar). Put in the microwave for about 3 minutes to melt the cheese. That's it! Pretty easy, huh!

Menu Plan Monday


This past week it was pretty easy to stick to the menu since I didn't have anything new planned, and two nights were grilling nights. It was also my week to bring snacks for our Friday teacher meetings, so you will see recipes posted for Harvey Wallbanger Cake and Rum Cake. No, I'm not a lush! They are just very moist, tasty cakes. :)
Corey decided he wanted to grow a garden this year, so we spent all day today getting the garden put in. This might be quite an adventure for our family. We are notorious for killing plants. We also decided to put in an orchard (peaches, apples, blackberries and raspberries). Wish us luck!
This week is an exceptionally busy one for us. I have my usual computer training, Corey has a jazz concert, scouts, and confirmation class, and Eric is traveling to all of the stores so he will have a goofy schedule. Needless to say, we are going to have to eat out some, and the nights we are home will be easy recipes. This weekend we hope to go camping!
Because of the craziness this week, I have no breakfast plans. As a matter fact, we are actually going to be eating cold cereal. I know, scary thought coming from the Matzats. But, I'm desperate. I bought two boxes of junk cereal (Captain Crunch and Cocoa Krispies), and that's what we are eating. I know I'm a slacker mom, but that's just the way it's going to be this week. I'm going to enjoy my week of sugar cereal. :)
Sunday - Leftover Hamburgers
Monday - Eat at training
Tuesday - Eat out (jazz band concert - no time to come home)
Thursday - Chicken Alfredo (take the recipe for Smarter Fettuccine Alfredo, add grilled chicken and broccoli)
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Camping

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Rum Cake


Easy and delicious!


Ingredients

1 yellow cake mix
4 eggs
½ cup cold water
½ cup oil
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
½ cup dark rum

Directions

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan. Mix cake mix, pudding, eggs, water, rum, and oil until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour. Cool in pan 25 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Prick top. Spoon and brush rum glaze evenly over cake, allowing the cake to absorb the glaze.

Rum Glaze:
1 stick butter
¼ cup water
1 cup sugar
½ cup rum

Melt butter in pan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in rum.

Harvey Wallbanger Cake


This is one of our family's favorite cakes.


Ingredients

1 yellow cake mix
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
½ cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
¼ cup vodka
¼ cup Galliano
¾ cup orange juice


Directions

Mix all ingredients together and beat for 4 minutes. Pour into well-greased and lightly floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool for about 30 minutes and remove from pan.

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