Monday, February 28, 2011

Menu Planning Monday.

This week's menu plans are minimal as I'll be out of town part of the week on business and my husband is more than capable of preparing his own we always have leftovers.  Keeping leftovers in it goes:

Monday: Leftovers!
Tuesday: Steak Feed!
Wednesday: Leftovers!  With a side of Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars.  Mmmm.
Thursday: Leftovers (or whatever else he may decide to make) for hubby.  Dinner out in Chicago for me.
Friday: Fish & fish.

Pretty boring week...but I've got some ideas for next week.  Ideas that will get me back in the kitchen!  Plus I have a couple new recipes to share with you this week.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie.

Growing up we would periodically get to have a "picnic" in the living room and watch a movie during dinner. It was usually for The Wizard of Oz during lent, but I'm sure it happened more often than that.  These "picnics" remind me of chicken pot pie.  And since I still needed to create one more meal from one of my cookbooks I sought out on a mission to find a recipe for chicken pot pie.

Chicken Pot Pie.
(Adapted from Gooseberry Patch Harvest Kitchen)

3 chicken breasts (cooked and cut into chunks or shredded)
1 small can cream of chicken soup
1 small can cream of mushroom soup
3 cups fresh or frozen vegetables (I used fresh carrots, frozen peas, frozen corn, and frozen green beans)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup soft butter
double pie crust (sorry, mine was store bought...ugh!  i know!)

Mix all ingredients (with the exception of the pie crust).  Place one of your pie crusts into the bottom of a pie pan.  Top with chicken mixture and remaining pie crust.  Use a fork to poke holes into the top pie crust.  Bake for 45 minutes (or until crust is golden) in a 350 degree oven.

Easy?  Yes!  Tasty?  Yes!  Definitely a keeper!  The only thing that I might change next time is making individual servings.  Serving it was messy and I think ramekin-sized servings would eliminate the messiness and keep it contained to each ramekin.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Menu Planning Monday.

Thanks to menu planning I did not spend any money or time at the grocery store last week!  Love that!  

Monday: Chicken Pot Pie.  Mmm.  Comfort food.  And thank you to my cookbooks for this inspiration.  Recipe coming soon.

Tuesday: Leftovers.

Wednesday: Cheesy Potatoes & Kielbasa.  A new recipe from fellow cook Michelle.  My husband could not be more excited for this.  Stay tuned for the recipe to be posted.

Thursday: Italian Meatloaf and Garlic Smashed Potatoes.  With winter [about to be] ending I'm taking advantage of enjoying my favorite comfort foods.

Friday: Fish Fry!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Italian Delight.

I've had this recipe for some time now and finally made it a priority to make it.  And make it I did.  I went to work browning the meat, combining the ingredients, topping with cheese, and covering with foil so that I could bake the dish while away at church.  As I slide my deep dish 9x13 cast iron pan toward me...the next thing I know my knee is throbbing and my casserole is all over the floor.  Fail.

After ensuring that I was OK my husband proceeded to scoop the casserole back in the dish...five second rule, right?  I was disgusted...  Fortunately (or unfortunately) my floor was clean and our only dinner guest was there when the accident happen and was fine with the hubby's save.

I'm glad he saved it.  Aside from having to re-fill the casserole and the extra cleaning this recipe comes together quick and tastes great!

Italian Delight.
(Recipe Adapted from Michelle)
2 cups noodles (cooked according to package directions)
3/4 pound ground beef (browned and drained)
3/4 pound ground pork (browned and drained)
1 small onion (diced and cooked with the meat)
2 cups frozen sweet corn
3 small cans of tomato soup
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon italian herbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 large package velvetta cheese (cut into thin slices)

In a large bowl, combine noodles, beef/pork/onion mixture, sweet corn, tomato soup, sugar, garlic, pepper, and salt.  Transfer mixture into a deep 9x13 or larger baking dish.  Top evenly with slices of velvetta cheese.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes.  Remove from the oven and use a spatula to spread cheese over entire surface area.  Serve!

My husband has already asked that I make this again. If you've been reading the blog for any time now you know that it's a good recipe when he requests it again.  :) Thank you, Michelle, for sharing!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

2nd Annual: 30 Days with 30 Ways.

You may remember last year's plug for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board's 30 Days with 30 Ways of Macaroni & Cheese...and guess what...they've done it again!  And this time long-time food blogger and inspiration Emily from Sugar Plum was one of the contributors!

Help support Wisconsin dairy farmers.  Eat more cheese!

Friday, February 18, 2011

S'mores Cookie Bars.

In case I've never mentioned it, Risa over at Baked Perfection  is a genius when it comes to s'mores.  She gets that not everyone enjoys the traditional campfire s'more and invents new ways to enjoy the delicious combination of graham cracker, marshmallow, and Hershey's chocolate!  She's responsible for such delights as s'mores cookies and s'mores scones and s'mores ice cream!

And these: s'mores cookie bars.  I find them ah-mazing.  I've been making them periodically since she originally posted the recipe nearly three years ago.  And today, I introduce them to you so that you can share in the delicious.

S'mores Cookie Bars
(Recipe adapted from Baked Perfection)

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 package graham crackers (crushed until fine)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 multi-pack of Hershey’s chocolate bars
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff

Beat butter and sugar until light.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to butter mixture and beat on low until combined.  Divide dough in half.  Press one half into an even layer on the bottom of a greased 8x8 baking dish.  Cover with chocolate bars – breaking apart as needed to cover the entire surface.  Top with marshmallow fluff.  Place remaining dough over the top of the fluff (either by way of flattening small pieces in your hand or by rolling out in a plastic bag).  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Cool, cut, and enjoy!!!  

For best taste, leave these sit out on your counter (covered) and eat within a few days.  Of, if you prefer to refrigerate them, microwave each serving for a few seconds to bring them to room temperature...much gooier that way!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Stuffed Crust Pizza.

I can't believe I haven't shared this recipe with you yet!  Although I guess it is more of a technique than a real recipe, but I promise you will enjoy it!  We make it a few times each year and it holds a special place in my heart because it was the first pizza I made for Gary on Valentine's Day six years ago.  We've had homemade pizza on Valentine's Day ever since.  It's tradition.

Stuffed Crust Pizza.
(Recipe by Me)

1 pizza dough (homemade or store bought)
1 package string cheese (best if you buy the multi-pack and not the individual ones that require you to open each one)
Pizza sauce
Desired pizza toppings

Press pizza dough into desired shape forming extra dough along the edges.  A heart shape is always a good choice!  Press whole string cheese pieces along the edges covering the cheese with the dough.  Top with pizza sauce, cheese, and other desired toppings.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is cooked as desired.

That easy!  And tasty!  I can't wait for leftover night!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Menu Planning Monday.

Welcome to the Valentine's edition of Menu Planning Monday and Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday: Valentine's pizza!  Three varieties.  Trialing a new crust recipe.  And getting pictures so that I can post my stuffed crust pizza recipe.  We're excited!

Tuesday: Cookout!  The hubby has spring fever and the weather forecast is perfect for grilling.  I'm thinking some brats and a couple stuffed burgers!

Wednesday: Italian Delight.  This is a recipe from past guest blogger Michelle.  I had the recipe for a long time already and haven't gotten around to making it.  She sent this as part of an email recipe exchange and it was enough to get it on this week's list.  Excited to make it and anticipate posting the recipe at the end of the week.

Thursday: Leftovers.  I need to build this in otherwise we end up with old food.

Friday: Fish fry (at home and not really fried).  We're saving up (money & the calories of eating out) to eat a fish fry at our church each week of lent.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bran Muffins.

Wouldn't you love to quickly make from-scratch muffins any morning of the week?  If you're like me most weekday mornings are not conducive to baking.  But, what if you could grab some batter from the fridge, spoon into muffin tins, place in the oven, and come back 15 minutes later to a warm breakfast?  That is what I love about this recipe.

Another thing to love: the batter keeps (and improves in flavor) for 4 weeks!!  That being the case, there is no need to bake all the muffins at once.  Do you have a family of 4?  Bake 4 muffins!  Taking them to the office?  Fill up the muffin tin!

Bran Muffins.
(Recipe slightly adapted from Nicole)

6 cups Raisin Bran Cereal
5 cups flour
3 cups sugar
5 tsp baking soda
4 eggs (beaten)
2 tsp salt
4 cups sour milk (Created by adding 1 tablespoon lemon juice to 1 cup milk and letting sit for 2 minutes.  You could also use buttermilk as indicated in the original recipe)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups dried fruit (raisins, craisins, cherries - this is a great opportunity to clean the cupboard of partial bags)

Combine flour, sugar, cereal, soda and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine sour milk, oil, and eggs.  Whisk well. Pour liquid mixture into dry mixture and stir just until blended.  Mix in dried fruit.  Place in a tight-sealing container in the refrigerator overnight. Without stirring, spoon batter into pans.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool slightly in muffin tin and enjoy warm with a slab of butter.  Mmmmmm. 

The batter will keep for four weeks and improves over time.
Do not stir at anytime after refrigerating; this includes when preparing to bake muffins.

You will need a fairly large sized plan accordingly...I've been without a container for months, but am happy to report I've finally purchased a replacement container and I can start making these on a regular basis again!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chicken Tertrazzini.

Now that February is well under way I figured it was time to get out a cookbook and find a new recipe so that I can keep up on my New Year's Resolution.  This time I went right to my Church Cookbook.  You know the one: church forms committee, committee requests recipes from parishioners, parishioners share beloved recipes, church publishes cookbook, church raises money, parishioners enjoy each other's recipes.  And enjoy we did!

Over the weekend I cooked up some chicken breasts - knowing that I had more chicken than what I needed for planned meals and superbowl snacks.  That being said, when I went to the cookbook I immediately searched for recipes that involved chunked or shredded chicken.  That's when I found chicken tetrazzini!

Chicken Tertrazzini.
(Recipe Adapted from Local Church Cookbook)
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups fresh mushrooms (sliced)
1 small onion (chopped)
1/2 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
7 ounces spaghetti
2 cups shredded chicken breast

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and onions.  Saute for about 7 minutes or until liquid evaporates.  Stir in flour.  Gradually add chicken broth, milk, and cream cheese.  Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in half of the parmesan cheese, salt, garlic powder, and pepper.  Set aside.  Break spaghetti in half.  Cook and drain according to package directions.  Stir spaghetti and chicken into the mushroom mixture.  Spoon into a deep 3-quart casserole.  Sprinkle will remaining parmesan cheese.  Cover and bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Uncover and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

We were extremely happy with this recipe.  I am usually not a creamy sauce type of person, but this simple sauce had great taste and worked well with the fresh mushrooms and chopped onion.  It does require a little stove time, but it's time well spent.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Menu Planning Monday.

Time to stop with the snacks and desserts and celebrating the World Champion Green Bay Packers with food!  Time to get back on track!! 

Monday: Chicken Tetrazzini.  Following my New Year's Resolution!  A new recipe from a cookbook that I've owned for lots and lots of years.  Keep an eye out this week for the recipe - it's a keeper!
Tuesday: Taco Chicken Chili.  Yes, again!  I can't get enough!
Wednesday: Pasta Dinner!
Thursday: Leftovers.
Friday: Fish Fry!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Meals.

Are you serving a main dish at your Superbowl gathering?  If so, here are some ideas that are quick, easy, and delicious.

Taco Chicken Chili.
Love love love this recipe!  Thanks to guest blogger Michelle for sharing.

Kaiser Style Goulash.
Comfort foods.  Perfect for those of us watching the game in Wisconsin.

8-Layer Tortilla Bake.
Looks like it takes more time than it actually does.  This is quickly climbing to the top of my Superbowl Sunday list!

Bacon Chicken Ranch Pizza.
This would be a delicious addition a pizza buffet!

As not to forget about those of you who may be firing up the grill this weekend!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Super Snacks.

To help you prepare for the Super Bowl, I've compiled some of my favorite snacks.  Stay tuned later this week for game day meal ideas.

Amazing Mushrooms.
I promise - your friends and family will thank you!

Black Bean, Corn, & Avocado Salsa.
Mmmm.  I must add avocados to my shopping list!!

Queso Con Carne.
Cheese.  Pork Sausage.  Salsa.  It really doesn't get much better!

Buffalo Chicken Dip.
A new favorite.  And it's delicious.

Go well with margaritas!

Makes me really wish zucchini was in season here!!

Originally served as a main dish - these would also be perfect as part of the snack buffet.