Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

A Week in the Life…

Hey-O! I’m kind of copying this off of another blog that I frequent and it’s something that I find inspiring and useful, so I thought you might as well. I actually, and honestly, don’t have many original ideas. *gasp* Don’t stop reading! Are there ever anymore truly original ideas? Things like that keep me up at night so I choose to ignore them :) Here’s a mind-bender: GOD has NEVER been surprised by ANYTHING! Maybe that only bends my mind. And it wasn’t even actually that exact phrase. Our pastor said something about God not having an original thought? But thinking about that definitely doesn’t seem right, so I went with surprise. On with the show. Money Saving Mom’s weekly menus have been inspiring to me. I plan dinners two weeks in advance, but this amazing mom includes breakfast AND lunch too. Now, I’m only baby steps into incorporating breakfast and lunch because well, life is hectic. I work nights so lots of times by the time I get home everyone is starving and we have cereal or frozen (homemade) pancakes (Money Saving Mom inspiration) and a protein (cottage cheese or yogurt, sometimes fruit). And lunch is a free-for-all, but I’ll get to that. So, here is what my one week dinner plan looked (I’m late writing this, imagine that!) like.

  • MONDAY Shepherd’s Pie Not anyone’s fav, but the casserole dish is empty y’all! (It was Paula Deen’s recipe). My favorite recipe I already blogged about here.
  • TUESDAY Pretzel Dogs SLAMMIN’
  • WEDNESDAY Poor Man’s Chili  There was a glitch in the system and this didn’t get made. OH! We had a birthday party and ate there :)
  • THURSDAY Nothing happens here because Abby went to daddy’s and me and mom fought over leftovers. And my sweet neighbors let me have some of their pizza too!
  • FRIDAY Buffalo Chicken Pasta This is…there are no words to describe its deliciousness. I leave out the gorgonzola and green onions.
  • SATURDAY Beef and Broccoli New to my repertoire. I might even blog about it in the next six months.
  • SUNDAY I work and the childrens go to daddy’s so mom is on her own (sorry).
  • MONDAY Classic and easy, breakfast for dinner :) Pancakes and bacon anyone?
So that’s kind of how I do life. There is no rhyme or reason, other than the budget. Chicken is expensive. Especially if you buy the organic, hormone-free chicken. And I happen to just really love beef. Even ground beef. Sure, that’s probably not healthy either, but it works for us. The fun part that a lot of my real life friends seem to get a kick out of are the lunches I make occasionally. And those aren’t original either. They’re all from my Pinterest board, Play With Your Food. Go forth, and make lunch fun! And PS-when presented in this manner, Abby eats all of the fruit and veg. With the house lunch, she ate all the peppers and celery and skipped the sandwich! :)
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Pretzel Dogs

My, my where has the time gone? I’ll tell you! Between having a seven month old, four year old, full time job, and my life blowing up (not in a good way), I’ve been preoccupied. I remember starting this blog because I wanted something that was mine. Not me as a mommy. Or as a friend. Or Neighbor. Or Churchgoer. Just me. Mine. I am still all those things, but deep down somewhere I, just me, exists. But lately free time (time to blog) is so scarce and at times writing requires so much thought effort that much of my free time is spent mindlessly pinning on Pinterest, reading, or not as often as I’d like, sleeping. One day, maybe far far from now, I’ll write that True Life: My Life Blew Up post, but I’m still trying to figure out how to do such a thing without…uhhhmm making myself or others uncomfortable :)

anywho.

These pretzel dogs are shut the front door delicious.  Slap yo’ momma good. Eat them three days in a week good. And pretty easy for what you’d expect. and I have pictures. Finally. They’re not great, admittedly. I’d love to take a food photography class one day (along with the other 4,563 other things I’d love to do. that’s a post all by itself), but until then, you’ll just have to imagine these are even more beautiful in person.

Ingredients

·        1 package active dry yeast (approx. 2 ¼ teaspoons)
·        2 Tablespoons brown sugar
·        1 ¼ teaspoons salt
·        1 ½ cups warm water (110- 115 degrees F)
·        4 cups flour
·        2 cups water
·        2 tablespoons baking soda
·        2 – 3 Tablespoons melted butter
·        Coarse Kosher Salt (optional)

She says to use a mixer, but I just used a wooden spoon. I lie. I used the wooden handle of my baster brush. That just sounds unsophisticated. Life’s kind of that way. Make the bread as usual (combine yeast, brown sugar, salt, water) and knead it. I’ve made bread and dough several times before but this is by far the absolute most amazing dough I’ve ever made. I think maybe I didnt’t knead the dough enough on previous attempts? I actually did it the full 8 minutes on this recipe and when I let it rise for the hour, it more than doubled in size. It was so soft and fluffy and easy to work with.

There was plenty of dough, which was fine by me. I think I made 8 pretzel dogs and a few pretzels, which were surprisingly easy to twist; it’s not scary with the help of a Youtube vid. After you’ve wrapped the dogs and twisted the pretzels, dip them in the baking soda water for 30 seconds ish, let them rise another 10 minutes, and then bake ’em.

I just can’t even tell you how delicious they were. Make them please! And then come share :)

Jamie Oliver’s Best Ever Tomato Sauce

Dang. Another post with no pictures. When will I remember?! I actually have some pictures of other things I need to post but I wanted to do this one because it reaaalllyyy is ammaaaazing and SO healthy! Abby ate it for dinner and two days in a row for lunch! I don’t have a link for this one because I got from a magazine, so I’ll have to write it all down! Eek!

On a side note, after indulging in Nutella and Peep s’mores as late night snacks for a while, I tried a regular Hershey’s and marshmallow one this evening; the Nutella and Peep ones blow it out of the water! Just slather some Nutella on both sides of the graham cracker (only bake one of them) and plop a peep on there. Place it on a baking sheet under your oven with the broiler on low and there you have it. A NuPeela s’more. Doesn’t so much have a ring. And P.S. the NuPeela’s are not nearly as messy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small onions
  • 1 trimmed leek note: omitted
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 zucchinis note: shred on box grater
  • 2 carrots note: shred on box grater
  • large pinch of oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small butternut squash note: omitted because I am forbade by the family to ever try to cook this again
  • 4 14.5oz cans plum tomatoes w/juice note: i used 2 28oz cans of whole tomatoes 
  • 2 cups water
  • salt & pepers

Chop or shred all your veggies, except Mr. Butternut. Ha, that didn’t seem nearly as funny as it whizzed across my mind to write.  Heat a large saucepan (might want to use a pot; I used a 14in skillet..I think) and add a T of olive oil, followed by all the veggies. Add the oregano and bay leaves and cook slowly for about 20 minutes, or until everything softens (cause you’ll be blending it later).  While that’s going on, peel Mr. Butternut, cut him in half, scoop out and discard the seeds; coarsely grate the flesh. Since I declined to include Mr. Butternut in my little soiree, I can only assume Mr. Oliver means to grate him on the box grater as well. Add it to the veggies. Add tomatoes, 2c water, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes. Take it off the heat, fetch out your bay leaves (easier said than done), and let the sauce cool before placing it into your blender. IF you’re COOL enough to have an immersion blender, use that. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. EASY PEASY.

Ok, not entirely. The prep work does take some planning when you have small children, but even that went quickly. And I’m pretty sure I’m just going to grate all my vegetables from now on. So much easier than chop chop chopping away. Especially with my knives. I tossed it with some penne pasta and there was dinner. BUT, the sauce is seriously delicious and jam packed full of vegetables. My four year old loved it. I actually think it would make a terrific manicotti or lasagna sauce too. And another bonus?! This is a double batch, so freeze the other half for later! :)

Pizza Bites

I’m fairly certain I mentioned this before, but I’m currently crushing on mini food. If I can plop it in a mini muffin pan, I want to make it. So what’s better than mini, mouth-sized bites of pizza? Not much. I also brought these to MOPS; they’re a great make-ahead-and-take food. They are better warmed up though, in my opinion. The recipe came from Lick the Bowl Good and was really easy to make. I actually had everything on hand already, which is a miracle because if its not on the menu, I don’t buy it! I’m a very strict grocery-list-only-shopper. As far as the website, I must encourage you to look at some of her other recipes, because they certainly do look lick worthy.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning note: I used basil and oregano, eyeballed
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cubed pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup store-bought pizza sauce

Mix all the dry ingredients and spices, then the wet, and then the cheese. Let it rest for 10 minutes and voila! you’re done. It was super simple. Unfortunately, I only got 22 mini muffins out of it :( But they were very tasty and UHdorable. Which is all that really matters. I was really impressed with the consistency of the muffin/bread part. The inside was nice and hole-y, fluffy. I just wasn’t expecting it to be like that I guess because I didn’t use yeast or actually make dough or bread in the traditional sense. Anywho, these are another great food for potlucks, baby showers, picnics, etc. It’s always good to have a few easy, yummy, transportable, and cute foods in your repertoire!

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread MINI-Muffins

Say that three times fast. I’m pretty sure I don’t have pictures of these little cuties and for that I’m sorry. I go to MOPS every other Friday and haven’t really taken food very often (we have breakfast there) until I started working Thursday evenings and decided that would be a great time to cook for the next morning :) These were easy to make and perfect for our brunch-y, breakfast-y, bring-whatever-you-can-make Friday morning potluck. They would also make good appetizers, picnic food, party food, etc. You can eat them at room temperature, but if you can heat them up a bit in the microwave before serving (or right out of the oven of course), go for it. They were spicy, but not offensively so. Apparently my love of spice developed during pregnancy never went away. My family isn’t that happy about it. Lily however, doesn’t seem to mind :o)

The recipe comes from Love and Butter.

And just so you know, these are incredibly cheap to make. Also a bonus ;)
Ingredients :

  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (leave the seeds. dare you.)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
  • 8oz can cream style corn
  • 8.5oz box corn muffin mix

Mix the egg, canned chiles, and corn together. Add the cheese and jalapeno. Open the muffin mix into another bowl and make a well in the center. Add the wet ingredients. Stir about 20 times. Spoon into your mini muffin pan and bake at 400 for 13 minutes (20 for regular muffins).
But really, you should check out the website version cause she has pretty pictures :) I WILL make these again. They are definitely a keeper for all things potluck, take-food-type events. I swear I’m going to do a hyphen-useage tutorial. And more things made in muffin pans. Especially mini stuff. Or mini food in general. It’s kind of my thing right now. Speaking of my things, check out my pin boards at Pinterest :)

Pioneer Woman Meatloaf

I adore meatloaf. It’s easy. It’s filling. Prep time is practically zero. You can sneak in as many veggies as you want. Plonk (wow, spellcheck didn’t even ding me on that) it in the oven and let her go. I’ve made meatloaf before on this blog, but there are so many variations that I thought it was time to do it again. If you have never visited the Pioneer Woman’s blog before, you should. She has everything from recipes to homeschooling to photography tips. And apparently she is getting her own Food Network show too!

Ree Drummond’s, aka the Pioneer Woman, meatloaf.

Ingredients: (I halved this recipe)

  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 6 slices White Bread  Note: will omit next time
  • 2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 1 cup (heaping) Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • ¼ teaspoons Seasoned Salt
  • ¾ teaspoons Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • ⅓ cups Minced Flat-leaf Parsley
  • 4 whole Eggs Beaten
  • 10 slices Thin/regular Bacon

Sauce:

  • 1-½ cup Ketchup
  • ⅓ cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • Tabasco To Taste

toss it in a bowl and mix it up

As with most meatloaves, you just toss everything in a bowl and mix it up. See? Easy!

bacon on top

Now, Ree put her meatloaf on a broiler pan and wrapped the bacon around the loaf. I don’t have a broiler pan so I just stuck it in my meatloaf pan and cut the pieces of bacon to fit.

finished saucy goodness

All done! I didn’t even have to re-sauce halfway through. Now, this meatloaf was delicious, but it wasn’t perfection and that was probably something I did. I will skip the bread next time. Dear husband does not like soggy bread and that’s really all that happened to the bread for us. Secondly, the bacon was a little chewier than I expected. I wasn’t convinced it was done, but I’m suuuper paranoid about my meatloaf being not done for some reason. The parmesan cheese was the real secret ingredient for me. The flavor came through. The meatloaf was really flavorful.

However, my still all-time favorite is easy. Meat, some plain breadcrumbs, barbecue sauce, and shredded cheddar cheese.  Toss it in the bowl and mix everything together but the cheese. Place half the mixture into a meatloaf pan and put the cheese in the middle. Then put the rest of the meat mixture on top. Make your own ketchup, brown sugar, dry mustard sauce for the top. It’s like a bacon cheeseburger and it’s fantastic! :)

Giada’s Baked Omelet

Boy  I sure hope I haven’t posted this before. And if I have, it just shows you how much I love this recipe. It’s my go-to, easy peasy, whip-it-together, weeknight dinner. Do you have eggs? Milk? Onions? Cheese? Some meat? Then you have dinner.

Delish.

Ingredients:

  • Butter, for greasing baking dish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 pound mild turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups (4 ounces) grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Actually, don’t even look at the ingredients. Think of whatever you’d like in omelet, or better yet, whatever happens to be in the fridge. Mix it with milk and cheese, toss in an 8×8 casserole dish, and bake! SO EASY. We had one tonight with a yellow pepper, turkey sausage (I bought on sale as ‘just-in-case’ item; handy dandy), onion, and cheddar cheese. I never use Gruyere because a) it’s probably expensive and more importantly b) I can’t ne’er find it ’round heah.

So make this. Seriously, it’s as good as you want it to be! Or as good as what you have on hand. When you’re busy and mouths need fed, feed them with lots of yummy protein! And veggies if you’ve got ’em :)