Sunday, August 31, 2008

Menu Plan Monday



Thank heaven for three-day weekends! We had a very busy week last week, and I am pooped out! Having the extra day off this week is just what I needed. We have been working hard to make sure we get all of our school work and housework done so that we can completely enjoy Monday as a family. Corey has spent all day on homework, I've been working on my school website and getting some baking done (check out the recipes for zucchini bread and chocolate zucchini bread), and Eric has been doing some extra work stuff to help out his accounting department. I'm having a hard time adjusting to our new school schedule this year. Last year, school started at 7:30 in the morning and ended at 2:30. So, I had plenty of time to make dinner (we usually got home around 4:00 or 4:30). This year, we start at 8:45 and get out at 3:45. We don't leave until 5:00, which puts us home much later than I would like. Needless to say, we are eating a lot later, and I simply don't like it. Oh well, I suppose there could be worse things to deal with. :) Anyway, here's the menu for the week. For other menu ideas, check out orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - Filets, Grilled Zucchini, Green Beans (from our garden)
Monday - Lasagna, Garlic Muffins, Salad
Tuesday - Easy Crock Pot Chicken, Rice, Green beans
Wednesday - Catalina Meatballs, Noodles, Salad
Thursday - Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Steak Fries, Peaches
Friday - Voodoo Pasta, Broccoli, Salad
Saturday - leftovers

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

This is a new one for me. I have lots of zucchini to use up from my garden, so my friend Debbie sent me this one to try. It turned out great and the family loved it.

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
In large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt, mix well. In separate bowl, combine sugar and eggs, beat until well blended. Add oil and vanilla; beat until combined. Stir in zucchini. Add flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon evenly into loaf pans. Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pans; cool completely on wire rack.


Recipe source: Allrecipes

Zucchini Bread


This is my adaptation of the recipe my mom uses. I like to add brown sugar instead of using all white sugar.


Ingredients:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup canola oil
3 tsp vanilla
2 cups zucchini, shredded
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder


Directions:
In a large bowl, mix the sugars, eggs, oil, vanilla and shredded zucchini. Mix well. Stir in the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder. Mix until all ingredients smooth into a batter. Pour into two bread pans sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 325 for 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack.

Fall Apron Swaps - Two Down, One to Go!




I spent most of yesterday working on my aprons for the Fall Sassy Apron Swap and the Boo Spooky Apron Swap. I think both aprons turned out really cute. Both were new patterns for me, and I really enjoyed making them. My partner in the Sassy Apron Swap wanted a Thanksgiving apron, and I found really cute turkey fabric. I hope she thinks it's as cute as I do. I really love the bat apron I made for my partner in the Spooky Swap. I think I'm going to have to make one for myself! Now, I need to get to work on my Flirty Apron Swap apron. I haven't decided what pattern I'm going to use yet, but I found a pretty good fabric for my partner.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches


Ingredients:


1 2-3lb pork loin roast
1 T fajita seasoning mix
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 c Italian salad dressing
1/4 c worcestershire sauce
8 sandwich rolls, split


Directions:
Cut roast in half and place in slow cooker. Sprinkle evenly with seasoning and garlic powder. Pour salad dressing and worcestershire sauce over the pork. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until tender. Remove roast and shred meat with two forks. Return meat to the slow cooker for a few minutes to let the meat soak up the juices. Serve on rolls.

Recipe source: Mommy Cooks

Easy Crock Pot Chicken

This is a very easy, very tasty recipe that is great to use on those days that you need something ready to eat in the crock pot.

Ingredients:
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
6 oz cream cheese softened
1 pkg Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix

Directions:
Place chicken breasts in bottom of crock pot. Blend soups and cream cheese. Add Italian dressing mix. Pour over chicken breasts. Cook for 8 hours on low or 3 1/2 on high. Serve with white rice (spoon sauce on rice).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


I'm back!!! Last week I was a menu plan slacker. For that matter, I was a slacker for the last two weeks. It's back to school time for our household, and all of my time spent doing computer workshops this summer took its toll on my planning for the school year. We spent most of the last two weeks at school all day, often staying as late as midnight, so menu planning and cooking simply didn't happen. I've definitely had my share of fast food, and I'm ready to get back into the normal routine (if you can call our routine normal ). You will see that my menu this week is relying on some freezer staples like chili and BBQ pork (which I almost always have in the freezer). We are still kind of in survival mode. I am hoping to get caught up on home stuff over Labor Day weekend. Anyway, we did have a great first week back at school. Corey is 8th grade this year, but is actually starting his day at the high school taking a geometry class. He's loving it because he gets two math classes. He's also keeping busy with cross country practice and finishing up his Eagle scout project. This year, my school added 2nd grade into the building (we used to just be 3rd and 4th grade), so I had fun getting used to the little ones. :) The hubby is keeping busy with instrument dispays at schools. Gotta love rental season! My dad is a consultant for him during this time of year, so they get to hang out and entertain each other while they work.

I hope the menu is helpful to you. It at least shows that having some things on hand in the freezer can be a lifesaver! For other menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com.
Sunday - Ultimate BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, salad, strawberries
Monday - Chili (from the freezer), Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Peaches
Tuesday - Spaghetti Chili (use leftover chili over spaghetti noodles topped with cheese), Salad
Wednesday - Turkey ham, red beans and rice (Zatarans from the box), cornbread
Thursday - BBQ pork baked potatoes (pork from the freezer), salad, applesauce
Friday - Bourbon Chicken, rice, broccoli
Saturday - Burgers on the grill, steak fries, crispy parmesan ranch crusted green beans, watermelon (from our garden!)

Lisa's Messenger Bags

I've been sewing like crazy this weekend for my friend Lisa. Here are the two messenger bags I made for her. I think they look fabulous, if I do say so myself. :) Lisa, I hope you like them!


Crispy Parmesan Ranch Crusted Green Beans


I modified this recipe from one I saw on Picky Palate last week. My modifications are in parentheses. These were awesome! My family gobbled them down.


Ingredients:

¾ Cup prepared Ranch Dressing (I used Kraft Light Done Right brand)
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ Cups panko bread crumbs (I used regular bread crumbs - didn't have the fancy kind)
½ Cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt (left it out)
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ lb washed and trimmed fresh green beans


Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine ranch dressing and egg together in a shallow dish. Combine bread crumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper in a separate shallow dish. Lightly dip beans into ranch dressing. Press into crumb mixture then place onto a parchment lined baking sheet (they’ll stick to the pan if not, even if sprayed with cooking spray). Do this process until all beans have been coated. Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is crispy and golden. Let cool for 3 minutes then serve.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


This past week ended up being pretty hectic, so I did deviate from the menu a bit. You will see some repeats of things I didn't get to last week. My workshops went very well at school, but I desperately need some time now to work on lesson plans and getting the library ready for school to start. My 20th high school reunion was this weekend. I did get to see a few friends from high school on Saturday morning even though I couldn't attend the actual reunion events. It was fun to get to see their children. This week should be a little easier for our family as we don't have many evening obligations. Corey has scouts, and that's about it for the evenings. I'm looking forward to accomplishing some school work and spending some time together as a family this week. I hope you find the menu useful. For other menu ideas see orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - Green Chile Chicken Casserole, Corn, Salad
Monday - Won Ton Tacos, Peaches
Tuesday - Honey Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Sour Cream and Chive Mashed Potatoes, Pea Pods
Wednesday - Grilled Hamburgers, Steak Fries, Green Beans (from our garden!)
Thursday - Turkey Ham, Red Beans & Rice (Zatarans from the box), Corn Bread
Friday - Homemade Pizza, Salad
Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


We have the usual busy Matzat week this week. I teach computer workshops at school all week (the boy will be assisting) and Eric has a manager retreat. It's also my 20th class reunion (though I don't think I will be able to attend). I have quite a few new recipes posted this week, so as soon as I get the pictures, I will add them. :) For more menu ideas, check out orgjunkie.com.
Sunday - BLTs, Fruit Salad
Monday - out to eat (hubby at work, boy has scouts)
Tuesday - Won Ton Tacos, Peaches
Thursday - Garlic Toasted Open Faced Lasagna Ciabattas, Salad, Green Beans
Saturday - at friend's wedding

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

This is a great Weight Watchers friendly recipe. I eat a ton of this in the summer.


Ingredients
2 cups cherry tomatoes
Fresh broccoli florets
Fresh cauliflower florets
1 small red onion – finely chopped
2 green onions – finely chopped
7 tablespoons fat free mayonnaise
4 tablespoons fat free sour cream
Salt and pepper – to taste
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup Splenda

Directions

Quarter tomatoes, chop broccoli and cauliflower. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly and refrigerate 2-3 hours, stirring often to marinate. (It tastes even better when you let it sit in the fridge overnight before eating.)

WW Points: 2 points in the whole bowl!

Easy Garden Bake

This is a great vegetable dish. I often heat up leftovers to eat for breakfast. :)



Ingredients
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 large tomato, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Bisquick Reduced fat baking mix
1 cup fat-free (skim) milk
1/2 cup fat-free cholesterol-free egg product or 2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400º. Grease 9-inch pie plate.
2. Layer zucchini, tomato, onion and cheese in pie plate.
3. Stir remaining ingredients until blended. Pour into pie plate.
4. Bake about 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Increase baking mix to 3/4 cup and bake time to 35-40 min.

Servings: 6
WW Points: 2 points per serving

1 Serving: 90 calories (20 calories from fat); 2 g fat (1 g saturated); 5 mg cholesterol; 440 mg sodium; 13 g carbohydrate (1 g dietary fiber); 6 g protein.

Miranda's Messenger Bag



I made this messenger bag for my buddy, Miranda. Her hubby had it made for her anniversary present. I think it turned out very well. Lisa, yours is next! :)

Spinach Cheese Casserole

This is another recipe from my mother-in-law. It is the only way she can get my nephews to eat spinach. It is a staple in the households of both of my sisters-in-law, and since their families came to visit, I figured I better have some on hand.


Ingredients
3 pkgs. 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
24 oz. carton cottage cheese -- not drained
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 stick margarine
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups shredded cheese (any combination of white and yellow cheeses)
Directions
Melt margarine. Blend in flour. Add beaten eggs and cottage cheese. Fold in spinach and other cheeses. Bake uncovered in greased casserole dish (the one I use is about 8" x 12") for 1 hour at 325 degrees. Freezes well.


Zucchini Alfredo

Yet another new one. I need to use some of my monster zucchinis from the garden.


Ingredients
1 (12 ounce) package uncooked egg noodles
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup milk
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic and onion, and cook 2 minutes. Mix in zucchini, and cook 10 minutes, until some of the moisture has evaporated. Stir in the mushrooms.
Pour the milk into the skillet, and stir in cream cheese until melted. Mix in basil. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve over the cooked pasta.

Garlic Toasted Open Faced Lasagna Ciabattas

I couldn't find the ciabatta rolls at Wal Mart, so I ended up making them on Italian bread that I sliced into 8 pieces. It was very tasty and the boys loved it. It's a nice, quick alternative to lasagne.



Ingredients
1 lb ground Italian Sausage (I use turkey Italian sausage)
1 26 oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce
8 leaves fresh basil, chopped
15 oz container fat free ricotta cheese
½ Cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon Italian Seasoning
8 garlic roasted ciabatta rolls
Parmesan cheese
Additional shredded mozzarella to top rolls at end


Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook sausage in medium Dutch oven or pot over medium heat until browned, about 5-7 minutes; reserve ¼ Cup of sausage for ricotta. Reduce heat to low and stir in pasta sauce and basil leaves. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Place reserved ¼ Cup sausage, ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, salt, pepper and Italian Seasoning into a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
Split each ciabatta roll and place cut side up onto a large baking sheet. Spread ricotta mixture over each roll, about ¼ Cup (*you probably won't use all of ricotta.). Top with a couple spoonfuls of pasta sauce and additional mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted and hot. Remove, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.


Recipe adapted from Picky Palate

Green Chile Chicken Casserole

This is a new one for me this week. Sounds pretty easy and tasty!
Note: After making this, I will probably leave out the can of green chiles. The boys didn't care for the chunks. I think there is enough green chile flavor in the enchilada sauce that it won't be missed.


Ingredients
1 can mild green enchilada sauce
1 cup canned chopped green chiles, drained
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup fat-free sour cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (10 1/2-ounce) can condensed 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)
Cooking spray
6 (6-inch) flour tortillas
2 cups (8 ounces) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 350º.
Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large saucepan, stirring with a whisk.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Spread 1 cup soup mixture in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 tortillas over the soup mixture and top with 1/2 cup cheese.
Repeat layers, ending with the cheese. Spread remaining soup mixture over cheese.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Recipe source - Full Bellies, Happy Kids

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