Monday, March 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - March 30

Another wonderful week is upon us and I am so excited to see what God has planned for our family! We have a busy week planned as we lead up to Easter week - a few meetings, a community egg hunt at the lake, and a trip to the in-laws farm. We are being blessed with mild temperatures and lots of sunshine to enjoy our outings this week.

Please visit Laura for hundreds more menu plans!

Monday -
B - cold cereal for little man, I had a bagel with cream cheese
D - Italian chicken
Bake - chocolate chip breakfast biscuits

Tuesday -
B - waffles with strawberry sauce
D - jambalaya in crock pot (carryover from last week)

Wednesday - church night
B - oatmeal with bananas
D - vegetable beef soup (from the freezer) with cornbread muffins
Bake - Yogurt coffee cake muffins (double batch)

Thursday -
B - yogurt coffee cake muffins
D - Taco pinwheel
Prep - chicken enchilada filling out of freezer

Friday -
B - scrambled eggs, toast
D - pizza
Prep - large batch of chicken enchiladas for family at church

Saturday -
B - DH will make something
L - hopefully we're going to an egg hunt at the lake, so I'll pack a picnic lunch
D - something on the grill; we have steaks, chicken, and pork chops in the freezer, so I'll let DH pick; grilled potatoes and onions, deviled eggs

Sunday -
B - DH is playing in the praise band at church. He'll grab a bacon, egg, cheese biscuit cup from the freezer; little man and I will likely have oatmeal
L - we're taking little man to see DH's parents for a few days which means a big 'ole Southern style spread at their house - yummy!!!
D - turkey breast in crock pot

Thursday, March 26, 2009

April Menu Plan

Yes, I do know that it is March 26 and I am totally OCD for planning April's menu already. Now that we've established that fact, let's move along to the food!

DH finally 'fessed up that he does not really like this recipe. And that he's not a fan of whole wheat flour as a standard substitute in savory things (think pizza crust and biscuit dough). After almost 10 years of marriage, I think we're turning a corner with food - DH is sharing his opinion! He is very kind a gracious about it, as he is about all things. He usually just eats whatever I put down in front of him. I value his opinion and am actually excited to get - a bit - of feedback. The real blessing in this is that now I get to try more new things! And you all know how I love to try new recipes!

Chicken and Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes
Taco Pinwheel, salad
Vegetable beef soup (from the freezer), cornbread muffins
3 - Pizza - we'll try this crust recipe this month
Turkey breast in crock pot (thaw, rinse, dry ... put in with 2 heads of garlic and 2 cups white wine or chicken broth, cook 8 hours on low)
Open-faced turkey sandwiches
2 - Spaghetti with homemade sauce, salad, garlic bread
2 - Meatloaf cups
Peach glazed ham for Easter
Pork carnitas in crock pot
Aussie chicken, sweet potatoes, veggie
Pepperoni cheese bread, carrot and celery sticks
Hamburgers on the grill
Fish on the grill
Steaks on the grill
Beef tacos
Salmon patties
Homemade chicken tenders, corn, fries
Chicken a la king
40 clove garlic chicken, egg noodles, carrots
Chicken burritos
Jambalaya and black eyed peas

Snacks, Breakfast and Baked Goods:
Cream Cheese Wontons
Raspberry sour cream muffins
Bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit cups
Almost Nutri-Grain bars
Chocolate chip biscuits
Banana bread

I am sure each week will include other recipes and ideas not listed here, but this is the start of a good month at our house. I hope you find new inspiration here!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - March 23

It is now officially Spring and I could not be much happier! Spring is the time of year when DH and I do yard work and try to get projects done around the house. I am currently working hard to get our 2nd bathroom cleaned up/out and redone before we have company at the end of the week. Spring is also when DH gets both propane tanks filled in anticipation of grilling out. It is supposed to be a little chilly here for one more week, so grilling will probably start in force at the first of April.

Since this is the last full week of the month, I'm referring back to my monthly menu plan and making sure I have incorporated all the recipes I wanted to try. As always, visit Org Junkie for hundreds of great menus each week!

Monday -
B: Banana bread and yogurt
D: Chicken enchiladas with Spanish rice
Bake: Whole wheat cinnamon rolls (I tried these last weekend and they were more like cinnamon hockey pucks ... I'll try again!)

Tuesday -
B: with a little luck, we'll be eating yummy cinnamon rolls (or cold cereal!)
D: Aussie chicken, sweet potatoes, broccoli
Prep: meatloaf cups out of freezer

Wednesday -
B: waffles with raspberry sauce
D: Meatloaf cups ... maybe with mushroom gravy, rice, and carrots
Bake: Chewy granola bars
Prep: pork chops out of freezer

Thursday -
B: oatmeal
D: Apricot orange pork chops, rice, corn
Bake: Chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for Bible study

Friday - busy day with Bible study and company coming
B: scrambled eggs and toast
D: Pork egg rolls, Asian slaw, and raspberry cobbler
Prep: Overnight French toast casserole

Saturday -
B: French toast casserole
D: Sideline sausage soup (from freezer) with chili cornbread muffins

Sunday -
B: DH will likely make pancakes and bacon
D: Jambalaya in the crock pot and black eyed peas

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - March 16

I spoke too soon! Remember this post where I said we were done with sickness and movin' on? Well, God had other plans for us. Little man continues to have up and down days with his health. We're heading back tot he ped in the morning. I am praying that he simply has (yet another) ear infection or maybe his allergies are really kicking in. 4 days of low grade fever have me stumped!

So ... I'm pulling out some of our favorite easy yummy meals this week. A few treats for little man and an easier week for mommy sounds like a good plan right now. Visit Laura's site for more great menu plans each week!

Monday - DH has band practice
B: Oatmeal with fruit
D: Spaghetti, salad, garlic breadsticks
Bake: Banana Bread (2 loaves - 1 to eat and 1 to freeze)
Prep: Chicken out of freezer to begin thawing

Tuesday -
B: Waffles with Bananas Foster sauce
D: Toscano Soup in crock pot (carry over from last week), remaining breadsticks from Monday

Wednesday - church night
B: Banana Bread or Pumpkin Butterscotch muffins
D: Creamy Italian Chicken in crock pot

Thursday -
B: Pancakes with raspberry sauce
D: Salmon patties, pan fried potatoes, coleslaw (DH is cooking!)

Friday -
B: Bagels with cream cheese
D: Date Night - DH and I are attending a parenting conference and will grab dinner before it starts

Saturday -
B: The parenting conference continues and little man will be with grandma and grandpa
D: Burgers and fries if the weather holds out

Sunday -
B: Overnight Coffee Cake, bacon
D: 40 Clove Garlic Chicken in crock pot, carrots, egg noodles

Friday, March 13, 2009

Blog Tag

It seems there's a bit of 'blog tag' going on and this one is great! The rules are as follows:

1. Go to the 6th picture folder and pick the 6th picture.
2. Post and wax nostalgic about said picture.
3. Tag some peeps. I don't usually do this part because I don't have many friends who blog.

So, here goes....
Here's little man looking MUCH littler than he does now. My baby is growing so fast!!! This is from 2 years ago. I look at the background and realize we have painted the room since then, installed window treatments, and the toy in the lower left corner was long ago outgrown. We do still have the table though - sitting in almost the same sunny bay window. And ... little man still to this day appears to be a lefty.

This was fun!!! Thanks Shannon :)

Baking Day - The Reality

I am counting today as a success! It's coming up on 3:00 PM here and our freezer is now restocked. My plan for the day had to be changed when little man woke up barking like a seal today. God gave us a wonderful rainy day together to cook, clean, do puzzles, and watch (too much) TV. The really good thing about it is that since he helped make everything and tasted it all, he's very excited to eat some new snacks.

This is how my kitchen looked when the day started:And here's my little helper:
2 dozen Pumpkin Butterscotch muffins - these are SOOOO good! Little man ate 3 fresh from the oven. The picture doesn't really show the oozing, butterscotchy goodness leaking out the top and sides of these bite size wonders.
2 dozen Bacon, Egg and Cheese biscuit cups - I used half white and half whole wheat flour for the biscuit dough. Next time I'll go with all white - the whole wheat is a little chewy. Or maybe I made the biscuit layer too thick? Either way, these are breakfast for the next 2 weeks for DH.

1 batch Chewy Granola bars with dark chocolate chips and cranberries - yummy, easy to make, and I usually always have the ingredients on hand. I have been omitting the white sugar and subbing whole what flour for months in these. Nobody notices and I can sneak in a few more nutrition points.And the most major undertaking of the day is spaghetti sauce. I have no recipe for this, it's just a mix of fresh and frozen veggies and tomato sauce. That's how my mom has made hers for years and that's how I learned. This is what went into today's batch:
5 cloves garlic, 6 shredded carrots, 2 quart sized bags frozen tomatoes from dad's garden last year, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, 1.5 pints fresh mushrooms, 1 box frozen spinach, 1/2 cup mom's homemade basil pesto, 3 jars Tomato and Basil spaghetti sauce, 3 jars worth of water, 1 can diced tomatoes, 2 small cans tomato paste, a heaping handful Italian seasoning, 1 T black pepper, 2 t red pepper flakes

It's been simmering since 9:00 this morning. I'm getting ready to let it cool so I can run it through the food processor before bed. Yes, little man has texture issues with food - this is one easy way to get him a meal loaded with nutrients. I anticipate this batch will yield about 14 cups of sauce.

Here's the kitchen at the halfway point:Crock pot, oven, 2 stove burners, and the dishwasher were all running!!!! For now, it's almost all clean and little man is sleeping. I'm going to try to relax for a few minutes before tackling dinner ...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Baking Day - The "Plan"

I am planning on a major baking and food prep day tomorrow. It is supposed to be a whopping 39 degrees - and raining - here after 70's all week. So, time to hunker down inside and restock the pantry and freezer. Here's what I'm hoping to accomplish ...

Cinnamon Rolls
English Muffins (to be used later in the weekend to make mini pizzas for the freezer)
Pumpkin Butterscotch Muffins
Homemade Applesauce
Spaghetti Sauce

And some prep for further baking over the weekend ... brown up the bacon to - finally! - make bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit cups and get all the ingredients in order for 2 batches of chewy granola bars.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - March 9

The weather has been AMAZING here this weekend and I am trying to change up my menu to work in some grill nights. The warmer weather and Daylight Saving Time change today make our grill call to us sweetly :) I had a few hiccups last week - some things did not get made, days got swapped around, and I certainly was not as cool, calm, and collected as I envisioned. Thankfully, God has blessed us with another week full of His grace to try again. Remember to visit Laura's site for hundreds of great menu planning ideas and ton of other cool stuff!!!

Here's the plan (and I use that term loosely!) ...

Sunday -
DH is being ordained tonight as a Deacon at our church which means family is coming for dinner. Thanks to my wonderful mom and her suggestion, we have a chuck roast simmering in the crock pot as I type. The roast, carrots, potatoes, and sauce will be ready about 4:00. I'll make a pot of silver queen sweet corn and dinner is served!

Monday -
B: waffles with raspberry sauce
D: spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
Bake: chocolate chip breakfast biscuits (these did not get made last week)
Prep: sausage out of freezer

Tuesday -
B: chocolate chip biscuits, bananas
D: Toscano soup in crock pot (recipe below), Italian cheese bread
Bake: pumpkin butterscotch muffins
Prep: shredded pork out of freezer

Wednesday -
B: Oatmeal with fruit
D: shredded pork sandwiches, sweet potato casserole, coleslaw
Bake: sweet potato casserole (prep 2 and put 1 in freezer)
Prep: chicken out of freezer

Thursday -
B: pumpkin butterscotch muffins, yogurt
D: Aussie chicken, pan fried potatoes, broccoli/cauliflower/carrot mix

Friday -
B: chocolate chip biscuits or bacon cheddar biscuits
D: burgers on the grill (this makes DH SO happy!), fries
Bake: bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit cups (nope, these did not get made last week either)

Saturday -
B: DH will make pancakes
D: We have a birthday party to attend with a family from church and they are ordering pizza


16 oz Italian sausage links (use hot or sweet depending on your taste - we use hot)
4, 15 oz cans white beans - drained and rinsed (ant white beans will work - Navy, Cannellini, etc.)
4 cups chicken broth
2-3 cups chopped kale
1-2 cups orzo or other small pasta
salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning mix to taste

1. Cut the sausage links into pieces approximately 1/2 inch thick and brown on all sides in a fry pan
2. Place sausage in a large crock pot with chicken broth, beans, and raw kale
3. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning mix
4. Cook 6-8 hours on low
5. About 1 hour before serving, add orzo pasta
6. Check seasonings and adjust as needed
7. Serve with Italian cheese bread

Monday, March 2, 2009

Homemade Applesauce

After 2 months of illness in our house, I decided yesterday was really going to be the start of our 2009. We'll just chalk up the first 2 months of the year to paying our dues since we were unscathed last year. Now that that's over, we can move on with some of the goals we set for 2009.
One of them is to make more snack food from scratch and save money in the process.

Yesterday afternoon, during the COLD rain we had, I got a craving for applesauce. I had used up the last of our applesauce last week and had about 10 apples sitting on the counter. I have used this method several times and while easy, it's not exactly speedy. I put my craving off until today and got to work ...

* Wash, peel, core and cube the apples
* Put them in a large slow cooker
* Add in: cinnamon, sugar, juice from 1 blood orange (it looked pitiful in the fruit bowl all by itself once the apples were gone; citrus and apples is a yummy combination)
* I know you want to know how much sugar and cinnamon and I really wish I could tell you that I measure ... but, I don't. For 10 apples I used about 1 Tablespoon cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar. You can change these amounts to suit your taste and the amount of apples you use.

Turn the slow cooker on low and walk away for 4-5 hours. Try not to drool from the amazing smell during the cooking time! You return to find this ...

Pull out your blender or food processor, get about 1 cup of water, and as many small dishes as you can find. All this apple mix fit into one blender carafe for me, but this was a small batch. Just process as many times as you need to. Don't overload the blender - trust me! Another tip -let the apples mix cool first (again - trust me!). I sometimes put the slow cooker liner in the fridge overnight. Add the apple mix and water to the blender and puree. You may need to add more water to get your mixture to rotate easily in your blender. A full carafe needed 1/2 cup water.

This batch yielded 6 servings for little man, 2 for DH, and 1/2 cup left for making banana bread. I got the organic apples on sale for $1.00 per pound. I figure I am about break-even with commercially produced applesauce so far as cost goes. But, this tastes SO MUCH BETTER and I know for sure what's in there.