Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Meal at Home

I love roasted turkey so though we have Thanksgiving at a friends home we are also cooking one the day after to have leftover. And hey, I like to cook so why not take advantage of the sale on turkeys at $0.69 a pound?? So early Friday morning when some people will be out shopping I will be up cooking. I am going to make this a short menu and short directions. Instead of typing out what and how I do most things I am going to take what I think is the best and "copy". Understand I don't mean copyright copy. I will direct you to the site. Have you checked out Pioneer Woman Cooks? She is great!

Turkey Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Now I do have to tell you that I leave the skins on my potatoes
Carmel Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Honey Yeast Rolls

Happy shopping, eating or whatever you are doing today!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we will be at our friends home. It promises to be a delightful day. They are frying a turkey. It will the first time I have had it this way. I can't wait! I am taking:

chicken dressing which is in the archives
pumpkin walnut bread which is here
deviled eggs
cranberry sauce which is here

I CAN NOT wait to eat! We are also taking some games, though I am not sure we will get to them with all the talking and the meeting of new faces. I do want to mention the new game we had the pleasure of playing with our neighbors and now we are hooked. It is Christmas time you know! It is called
Ticket to Ride and you can find it here

Have fun today, be thankful and enjoy yourself!

Wednesday Plan

Today I am making another double batch of chicken dressing. It is in the archives, go find it. It is good. One to eat tonight and one to take on Thursday. We are also having the warm applesauce with cinnamon. So nice,w arm and filling. Yummy. I will also be back later to fill in all the details of what else we are having on Thursday and Friday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tuesday Plan

Breakfast for Dinner #2

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

First I must confess, I do not know how to make a proper country biscuit. I have tried. So I do use those uncooked ones you get in your local grocery stores freezer section. They are the best! So go ahead and get those going.

In a cast iron skillet or a skillet brown up your sausage, about a pound. I like the maple syrup flavored kind. Break it up into tiny bits. Now remove the sausage and leave the grease in the skillet. Add about 1/4 c - 1/2 c all purpose flour. Keep stirring this over low heat for a few minutes to cook it. Now I mix up half milk half water in a glass. Get ready about 2 c to begin and add about half and then 1/2 c at a time until it is as thick as you like. The more you heat it the thicker it will get. Add the sausage to the gravy and pour it over you biscuits.

Now don't forget that OJ and if you have it on hand add 1/4 tsp vitamin c to give you that extra boost.

A Year of CrockPotting: CrockPot Mulled Wine Recipe

A Year of CrockPotting: CrockPot Mulled Wine Recipe

If you enjoy a glass of wine or two on special occasions, this is the one to put on for this entire week of Thanksgiving. It is nice to sip on after the kids are in bed and you and hubby are relaxing on the couch snuggling up!
Happy Thanksgiving~

Monday Plan

Today is all about the boys cooking for us. Every so often they will ask me if they can come up with the meal plan and cook for the night. Every so often I will let them. I know...I know...believe me I know what you are going to say. And to that I will say, cooking is my time. I invest my whole day to them and so cooking is my time! I will scream this every time you try and tell me to let them help in the kitchen. So this is one of those ever not so often times I give in. I DO love to see them enjoy planning and cooking. know. Well, I am cooking dessert, shoot they thought of that too!

Their plan

Hamburgers with bacon and grilled onions

Onion Buns ~ see when I cook hamburgers I don't do buns, they may be trying to tell me something???

French Fries ~ see when I cook I would use sweet potatoes but they want regular french fries, they may be trying to tell me something???

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar with Ice Cream ~ I would so do this! But they thought of it first!

Sounds good boys, I have taught you well! Love, Mom

Menu Plan - Winter 11/23

Sorry to be late, we had Shepherd's Pie again with corn

Today is all about the boys cooking for us!
Join me later as I let you know all about this.

Sausage & Gravy biscuits

Dressing & Warm Applesauce

Woo Hoo it is a Thanksgiving Party at my BFF's!
I will let you know what I am taking later!

Thanksgiving Dinner at home so we can have leftovers!
Will let you know later what the plan is

Sandwiches and leftovers ~ what else!?

Friday, November 21, 2008

A quick break for comedy

Who remembers this episode?

Chicken Broth

So I need to put up some chicken broth for all those yummy soups I get to make during the winter. It will take 2 nights but you will be well stocked. I have a regular sized crock pot so I have to do this is 2 batches. If you are lucky and have a nice big double one, keep it to yourself! So at night right before you go to bed, unless you stay up late, in that case around 9p.m. Put in a crock pot 1 whole chicken minus the innards. Add the bag of carrot, onion, celery, garlic skins, and pepper tops from your freezer. Now if you don't have any just add a couple shredded carrots, onion, green pepper, a few celery stalks cut up and a few garlic cloves minced. Add water to top and sprinkle in some herbs. Turn this on low and let it roast up its own goodness overnight. The next morning around 10 strain and add about the same amount of water as you have broth. Bag this in quart bags and freeze. Start over again the next night. If you are limited on freezer space you can keep the broth concentrate and add water when thawed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sickness = Chicken Noodle Soup

Well, it is the middle of November. Our first colds of the season have hit, not hard but enough to be aggravating. So what does that mean to you? Why have I told you we are sick? For your sympathy? For meals to be brought to us? No. I have a gift for you!

Chicken Noodle soup
Buy a whole chicken, if it has the insides tucked away untuck them and throw them away for all I care. I can eat many things but not organs. Put this in a big pot and cover with water a couple of inches. Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium. Now you don't want to cook this more than an hour or the meat will get tough. So after that take out the chicken and let cool. We are having to make stock quickly unless you have some in the freezer already. Oh but wait I still haven't told you how to make and freeze stock yet. Shame. So we will have to make the chicken water taste like it has been simmering for a while. Okay if you have a bag of frozen vegetable and bones already going in the freezer put this in the pot along with the bones and skin from the chicken you just cooked. Yes I did tell you to start the vegetable and chicken bone bag! Now add some salt, pepper, any spices you have on hand along with some garlic and a little soy sauce. You can even add a little apple cider vinegar. Let this simmer for a couple hours. When done strain and keep the broth. This is different than what I will eventually tell you how to make stock but it will do today when you are running a fever and the kids are hacking away from that darn dry cough. Now add about 6 carrots, diced; 3 celery stalks, diced; 1 onion chopped and sauteed. Let this cook a while. Add 1 pound mushrooms cut up in a skillet with some butter and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add a big splash of lemon juice at the end and add this to your pot. Add the chicken back, shredded with your hands. I use the wide Healthy Harvest whole wheat noodles because they are hearty. I also boil them separate in another pot and add them after drained. After many times of making this the noodles don't get mushy and hold up for the next day even. Now 1 more thing. Did you know I love garlic? I also love the antibacterial properties in garlic, they work great for the sinus cavities. Get down, in my case, 5 bowls and get out 5 cloves of garlic. Mince one into each bowl raw. Cover with soup and they will never know but you will ;o)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pound Cakes for Roxanna

So I belong to a group of ladies who read and study Christian books. I say belong because the definition of belong is~to be properly or suitably placed or situated~and that is what this group of women are to me. We are suitably placed together as women seeking to know ourselves better in Christ. Anyways, I didn't mean to get all theological on you. There is a lovely lady who loves pound cake and I have told her I would bake her one for the holidays. So this is my attempt to find the best one. The first one is a blueberry one as I still have some from when we picked them this summer. The next one will be an old fashioned pound cake. We meet this Tuesday night. My plan is to have 1/2 of each to take so they can all try them. If my plan is thwarted I will at least let you know how they are. I do have 3 boys and it really depends on how hungry they get.

*** Update~ I didn't like either of these recipes, sorry.

Blueberry Pound Cake
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
12 oz vanilla yogurt
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup canola oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan.Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together yogurt, sugar, eggs and vanilla until just combined. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently stir in 1 cup blueberries. Do not overbeat.
Pour into a loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Old Fashioned Pound Cake
1 lb butter (2 cups)
1 lb sugar (2 1/4 cups)
9 eggs
4 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1Cream butter and sugar until very light and creamy.
2Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
3Gradually add cake flour, blending thoroughly. (Use a medium speed for this.).
4Add lemon rind and juice.
5Bake in 2 greased and parchment paper-lined or waxed paper-lined 9x5" pans at 350º for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
6Frost or glaze, or leave plain.
7*If wanting to make a half a recipe, use 5 eggs.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

C'est Moi ~ It's Me

I interrupt the regular blog cast to recommend a fantastic salon.

C'est Moi Salon
316 E Commercial Ave
Lowell, IN

No I am not getting a discount to promote them. They are not even aware of my posting of them. Seriously, it is like NO other salon I have been to, ever, period! They are an upscale but NOT pretentious salon. The owner is lovely, Lori. She did a color for me once. Today I got Amy, so sweet. I kid you not I went in for a much needed hair cut and an HOUR later I came home ready to do everything that needs to be done today. I can not express the care and professionalism. They have a blue room. It is the shampoo room. Let me just tell you it is at least a 10 minute shampoo and massage. With blue lights around the room for light, music and these intoxicating candles burning. Oh, and they have stools for you to put your feet up on while getting your hair washed and massaged. The bowl comes up to you rather than your falling back into it. Did I mention the massage? Never had anything like it before. Then after all that they cut your hair. They take their time and I am sure cut every single hair on your hair exactly the way it was meant to be cut. Then the products and style. Your hair will smell the best ever. Okay so for this hour hair cut and massage, style and relaxation it only cost me $30. If that is more than you are use to paying I highly recommend you plead with you husband to let you splurge and see the difference. Let me know if you go and how you loved it!

Plan for the week

Okay I again got the whole week plan done for you. Yeah!!!
If I get around to it I will try and post homemade chicken and beef broth.
Have a good week and enjoy dinner together!

Saturday Plan

Now a few weeks ago I was going to post our homemade pizza but then got invited to a dinner and movie night. Before something else comes up here is our plan for pizza night. We may even get Kung Fu Panda! One night soon I plan to have a movie night of my own featuring One Night with The King. My favorite, anyone seen it?

Pizza Dough~(Diana's)
2 pkg or 1 1/2 TBSP dry yeast
pinch of sugar
1 1/4 c warm water
3 1/2 c flour, all purpose
1 tsp salt
1/4 c olive oil
Sprinkle yeast and sugar into 1/4 c water, stir and let sit for 3 minutes. Combine flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture, 1 c water and oil. Mix dough until all flour is absorbed. Knead until smooth, cover and rise until double. Makes enough for 2 pizza's. Make 2 balls and roll out to cover pan. When done adding toppings you will bake at 450 for about 10-15 minutes.

Toppings for pizza 1~
No tomato sauce
rub olive oil and minced garlic over one crust
add cooked chicken
cooked bacon, chopped
mozzarella cheese
red onions, chopped
When it comes out of the oven drizzle ranch dressing on top.

Toppings for pizza 2~
again no tomato sauce
mashed potatoes as a base
cooked bacon, chopped
mix of mozzarella and cheddar cheese
When it comes out of the oven drizzle with thinned out sour cream or ranch.

Next time we will do a more traditional tomato based pizza.

Friday Plan

Fish Tacos
4 pieces white fish like Mahi Mahi (6-8 ounces each)
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and pepper
1 lime, juiced
3 small or medium ripe Haas avocados, pitted and scooped from skins with a large spoon
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
green onions, sliced
romaine lettuce
12 soft flour tortillas

Bake fish with salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the fish after cooked. Flake fish into large chunks with a fork.
While fish is cooking, in a blender or food processor, combine avocado, lemon juice, red pepper, yogurt and salt. Process guacamole sauce until smooth. Remove guacamole sauce to a bowl and stir in diced tomatoes and chopped scallions. Shred lettuce and reserve. To assemble, break up fish and pile some of the meat into soft shells and slather with guacamole sauce. Top with shredded lettuce, fold tacos over and eat!

Coconut Rice
Make rice normally but replace some of the water or broth with 1 can of coconut milk.

Thanksgiving Prep

Here you go.
No really go...

You're Welcome!

Thursday Plan

Pumpkin Stew
Lightly flour, salt and pepper 2 lbs. stew meat cut up small.
Throw in crock pot.
Brown 1 onion, 2 stalks celery and 2 garlic cloves, minced.
Throw in crock pot.
Add 4 small cans beef broth.
Cut up 2 carrots, throw in crock pot.
Cut up 2 potatoes, with skin left on, throw in crock pot.
Peel and cube 1 small pie pumpkin, throw in crock pot.
Cook on low for about 4-6 hours.
Serve with crusty buttered bread.

Wednesday Plan

Wednesday will be a regular date night for Tom and I. They go to AWANA and we are going to make it a dinner date! This last week we went out and had a good time.
I am making it a regular baked potato night for them. They like them and you can leave them plain or add things like left over Chili (it will be a while before we have chili again), cheese, bacon, ground beef, roasted chicken. The toppings are endless.

Tuesday Plan

Who doesn't like breakfast? We love it. Who gets to sit down and eat a good, full, hot one everyday? Sure we eat some eggs here and there. Some yogurt, oatmeal, bacon...but not all a once! I am going to give you a run down of what we will have and I will leave the rest up to how your family likes to cook them.

Thick sliced pepper bacon, the star of the show (I never said I didn't like pork)
Fried potatoes in the bacon grease
Fried eggs on top of the potatoes so the yolk runs all in them
Toast & Homemade Apple Butter
Applesauce warmed with a little brown sugar and cinnamon (anyone else have that when you were little)
Fresh ground coffee with a holiday creamer (I normally drink black coffee, but not today)
Hot Chocolate for the boys and I will get the canned whipped cream too

Now I do realize that Cracker Barrel would also bring the grits and gravy but who has room for that? So next week breakfast on Tuesday night is gravy & biscuits!

Man to bad today is only Saturday when I am typing this. I tell you what no one better mess with my Tuesday! I am looking forward to it!

Monday Plan

Caesar Burgers
I use 2 lbs meat for 5 steak sized burgers
3 cloves minced garlic
sea salt & pepper
Mix all this together and bake 5 burgers until done.
Pile up romaine lettuce on a plate top with burger and fresh Parmesan cheese. You can squirt some caesar dressing on top if you like.

I think that one beat Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals!

Menu Plan - Winter 11/16

We are having dinner at a friends home
Got any leftover Chili?

Caesar Burgers & Salad


Baked Potato for boys
Out to eat for us

Pumpkin Stew

Fish Tacos with Coconut Rice


Monday, November 10, 2008

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
2 large eggs
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (4 oz. by weight) cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a loaf pan, 8½ by 4½ by 2¾ inches. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together pumpkin, sugar, water, eggs, and oil. Sift in flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and spices and stir just until batter is smooth. Stir in cranberries and spoon batter into loaf pan, spreading evenly. Bake bread in middle of oven 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean, and cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Turn bread out onto rack and cool completely. Bread may be made 4 days ahead and chilled, covered. Makes 1 loaf.

Zucchini Bread

5 cups all-purpose flour
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
1-3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
5 eggs
1-2/3 cups vegetable oil
3 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3-1/3 cups grated zucchini
1-2/3 cups chopped walnuts

Grease and flour three loaf pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday Plan

As you will notice I got the whole week plan done on Saturday morning. What else can you do on a cold rainy day but relax, drink coffee and plan???

Mixed Meat Chili

Cook in crockpot for 3 hours in 1 inch of water 2 cups soaked beans of choice and 1 tbsp salt.

Add to skillet and brown:
1/2 lb. andouille or chirizo sausage, uncased
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground chicken or turkey
Add to crockpot.

Brown in skillet:
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Add to crockpot.

Add to crockpot:
1 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp paprika
2 c broth of choice~more if needed
1 large can chopped tomatoes
1 large can tomato puree or sauce

Cook another few hours until thick and beans are done. Top with a sharp cheese.

Friday Plan

We are gone to Cincinnati Ohio for Dalton's 2 year MRI check up. Please cover us with prayer as we travel. We are confident God is healing Dalton and hope to also see the doctor while we are there to read the results. It is only a 4 hour drive so we plan to drive there in the morning and come home that night.

We have to leave our house around 4 in the morning, they are an hour ahead of us and he has to be there at 10. He of course can't eat. But that is okay. We have 2 stops to make while we are there. There is a great little hamburger joint inside an old train car. They are awesome and we are some hamburger loving people. Then there is Grater's Ice Cream. It is like nothing we have had before or since. We always get dry ice and bring some home. It is always a special treat after having an IV and laying in a tunnel for an hour!

Thursday Plan

White Bean Chicken Chili

2-3 c cooked chicken, off the bone
1 large can chicken broth~more if needed
1 can diced chilies
2 c soaked overnight white beans
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp salt
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
cilantro or parsley

Cook beans in 1 inch water and 1 tbsp salt for 3 hours on high.

Saute celery, onion and garlic until soft. Add everything except cilantro or parsley to crockpot. Cook on high another 2 hours.

When done stir in cilantro or parsley. Top with sour cream and monterey jack cheese. You can also add some chopped green onions on top for crunch.

Wednesday Plan

We are taking a break, sort of. If there is any leftover chili you can always top your potato with it!

Baked potatoes~

Pretty simple girls.

Tuesday Plan

Black Bean Chili

Add to crockpot 2c soaked overnight black beans and cover with 1 inch of water. Cook beans and 1 tbsp salt for 3 hours on high.

After 3 hours heat oil in skillet and brown 1 large onion, 1 large bell pepper, 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, and 2 garlic cloves minced. Add to crock pot.
Add 1 large can refried black beans, 1 can broth of choice(if needed), and 1 tsp cumin.
Cook on high for 2 hours.

Top with Queso fresco and the juice of 1 lime. Meijer carries the cheese in the speciality cheese section.

Monday Plan

I am not posting 7 days of chili recipes. I am not sure we could all handle that much. I am however posting 5 and you can still choose which ones you want to try.

Texas Chili

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 beef brisket (about 2 pounds), cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup chopped onion
3 jalapeno chiles, halved, seeded and finely, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 can (13-3/4 ounces) beef broth
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) stewed tomatoes
1 bottle (12 ounces) dark beer
1 bay leaf
Lime wedges for garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, saute brisket until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add onion, jalapenos and garlic to drippings in pot; cook over medium-low heat until onion is very tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, salt, and red pepper; cook 1 minute. Return meat to pot. Stir in broth, tomatoes, beer and bay leaf. Heat to boiling. Lower heat; simmer with cover slightly ajar until meat is tender, about 1-1/2 hours. For last 20 minutes, uncover to thicken chili. To serve, ladle chili into bowls. Garnish each bowl with lime wedge.

Sunday Plan

This recipe compliments of my friend Tricia~Thanks!
Zac added my homemade mac n' cheese to some left over chili today and it was yummo!!

My mac n' cheese is simple:
1 box elbow macaroni
3/4 to 1 loaf of Velveeta
3/4 stick butter
some milk
cheddar cheese, if desired
Boil noodles til tender. Drain and set aside. Chop up Velveeta into pieces and put in microwavable bowl w/ butter. Melt down, stirring frequently. Add cheese mixture to noodles, adding enough milk to make creamy. I also use some shredded cheddar cheese to give it a sharper taste.

Simple crockpot chili
soak 2c pinto beans on Saturday night, drain, add back to crockpot.
1 lb cooked ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can chopped tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
Cook on high 3-4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.

Menu Plan - Fall 11/9

* If you choose to use dry beans make sure each night you plan ahead to soak your beans for the next day.

Chili Mac 'n Cheese

Texas Chili

Black Bean Chili

Baked Potato & Salad

White Bean Chicken Chili

~ out of town~

Mixed Meat Chili

Friday, November 7, 2008

Saturday Plan

Italian Beef

4 to 4 1/2 lbs. beef bottom round roast
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
1/2 jar pepperoncini peppers, chopped
4 large green bell peppers, chopped
olive oil to keep stuff wet
2 pkg dry italian seasoning
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 C. water
12 (6-inch) slices crusty Italian or French bread, split

Put everything in a crock pot turn on low at 7:00 a.m. and cook all day long. When ready pull beef apart with forks.

Easy huh?

Friday Plan

Okay guys and girls!
I was going to post on how I make homemade pizza BUT... we have been invited to a chili and hot dog supper and movie with our Sunday school class. So you are on your own. I will suggest Edwardo's in Munster, IN though. Excellent!

See you later, have a fun Friday night and if you think of it pray for Tom's son Jon and our new daughter-in-law Karen who are getting married on Saturday!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Extra! Extra!

This is a request: Here you go Tricia!

Blue Cheese dressing for Carrots ~
One pkg blue cheese or Gorgonzola broken up in a big mouth mason jar.
Add about 12 oz sour cream.
Add about 1/4 c mayo.
A little milk, salt & pepper.
I use one of those cool stick blenders, add milk a little at a time. Blue Cheese dressing is thick.

That's it!

Thursday Plan

Pasta with Chicken
olive oil
3 boneless chicken breasts cubed
2 carrots, sliced
2 pkg broccoli cut off stalk
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz spaghetti noodles
2/3 c water
1 tsp basil
Parmesan cheese
serves our family of 5 with NO leftovers

Start water for noodles and finish them.
Cook chicken in oil until no longer pink.
Cook carrot for 5 minutes in oil. Add water, broccoli and garlic cook another 5 minutes.
Drain pasta in a big bowl mix everything together. Add basil, salt and pepper and top with Parmesan cheese.

Okay, this does require crusty bread and butter.

Wednesday Plan

Drain your soaked beans. Add to a crock pot:
1 medium onion, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp basil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp Tabasco
1 big can crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper
water to fill pot
Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or on high 3-4 hours.
Make rice and put this it in the bottom of your bowl and ladle a spoon full of beans on top. Top with cheese, sour cream or nothing at all.

Tuesday Plan

Okay...who is thinking about Thanksgiving already? I am. So are the boys and Tom. He will talk about our Thanksgiving dinner now until the day! I also have a friend (you know who you are) who is cooking her first family invited Thanksgiving dinner. I have told her she will do a great job and that I am here to help. So this is for her, me and everyone else who wants a dish up on Thanksgiving.

My mom, aka Nana, makes chicken dressing for Thanksgiving. Actually she makes it on demand when we go and visit. They live in Alabama so she does have a heads up when we come. It is a known meal that we WILL have. Right mom? I love it so much (notice how I love a lot of things food related? The reason I have now taken up jogging as a hobby) that when I make it I make 2 pans of it. One for us and one for the freezer. This is where the extra one will come in handy right now because you will have one to eat for dinner tonight and one to reheat for your Thanksgiving meal. How is that for help?

So here we go...

First the night before or the morning of, roast 2 small chickens. I put them in a crock pot overnight on low and then in the morning take them out to cool. Pull all the meat off the bones and PUT THE BONES IN A FREEZER BAG IN THE FREEZER FOR STOCK! I mean it!

1. Make 2 pans of cornbread, I do use a cast iron skillet and swear by it but a regular pan can work.
2. When it is cool coarsely crumble them into two casserole dishes.
3. Toast 4 slices of bread or as my mom does use a couple day leftover biscuits, crumble this into the 2 pans evenly divided.
4. Divide meat up between the two casserole dishes.
5. In a skillet with butter slowly brown 2 onions and 4 celery stalks. Divide this up too.
6. Cut up 4 boiled eggs and divide these.
7. Add some poultry seasonings, sage, salt and pepper as you like it, and I like a lot of it!
8. In a bowl combine( I grimace as I type this next ingredient but his time it is okay) 2 cans cream of mushroom soup, a can of milk. Mix with your hands everything in the casserole dishes. Add the milk mixture and slowly fluff it through. Yes you can do that! If it is not moist enough add chicken broth, it will dry as it cooks so don't be shy with it but don't let it get soupy.
9. Cover and bake one of them at 375 for 45 minutes.

Now don't cook the second one, cover it will foil and stick it in the freezer. On Thanksgiving day put it straight in the oven for about an hour or until hot.

Don't forget we are doing black bean and rice soup tomorrow, soak your beans overnight tonight.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Monday Plan

Tomato Bisque
4 tbsp butter
2 slices bacon
1 onion chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 rib celery chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
5 tbsp all purpose flour
5 c chicken broth
1 big can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dry basil
1 c heavy cream
sea salt & pepper
Cook bacon until crispy, set aside. Brown onion, celery and carrots in bacon grease about 8 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in broth and tomatoes,whisking until it boils. Add spices, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool a bit and work in batches to blend until smooth or if you have one of those cool immersion blenders that will work better. Return all to pot and warm up. Whisk in cream.

Grilled cheese
Okay so my tastes have changed. Now if the kids still like Velveeta grilled cheese then by all means us it. I on the other hand am hooked on Havarti on whole wheat. I am assuming you all know how to make grilled cheese ;o)

Sunday Plan

Beef & Potato Stroganoff

5 large russet potatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoon onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound ground beef
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1. Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork and microwave on high until cooked through, about 9 minutes.
2. In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and cook until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the onion , garlic and 3/4 cup water and boil to reduce the liquid by half, about 2 minutes; stir in the heavy cream and remove from the heat.
3. In a medium saucepan, brown the ground beef over high heat, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the mushroom mixture; season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Slice one-third off the top of each potato and chop the tops. Using a spoon, hollow out each potato, leaving a thick wall. In a microwavable bowl, mash together the chopped potato, potato centers and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper and reheat in the microwave.
5. Return the beef and mushroom mixture to a simmer. Stuff the hollowed potatoes with the beef mixture. Serve with the mashed potatoes.

Menu Plan - Fall 11/2

Beef & Potato Stroganoff

Tomato Bisque
Grilled Havarti Sandwiches

Nana's Chicken Dressing

Black Beans & Rice Soup

Pasta with Chicken


Italian Beef Sandwiches