Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Weekly Menu: Feb 24-Mar 2 or 3rd...

I'm sort of over savory, rich meals. I think coming close to 3rd trimester has begun to effect my appetite. I'm seeing more bird meals and produce in my future, if it's going to be anything like my previous pregnancies. By week 30, all I want is fruit, bread and a little protein here and there.

1. Taco Salad (2 nights) We're going to try this vegetarian version, see how it goes. Verdict: DELICIOUS! Easy, cheap, perfect! Kids loved the dressing "dip"
My version of the dressing looked more like this:
4Tbsp lime juice
2 c loosely packed cilantro leaves (very loose)
1-2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
3/4 c cold water
1 whole avocado
1/8-1/4 tsp salt
2-3 tsp honey
1 full cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2-1 tsp minced garlic
Put it all in a blender/food processor and go to town til you like how it's blended

Aside from that, we stuck to the salad ingredients and I did add corn chips crunched on top. Maybe 4-5. Was just enough balance. I really really liked this salad and we will def be having it again!

2. Mini quiche/fritattas + fruit/parfaits + fresh bread--I plan to just make some crustless muffin-tin versions of Sally's variations on yummy "quiche". Any leftovers will be frozen for quick lunches/snacks later

3. Springtime Pasta with Bacon + cream of mushroom soup--just dying to see how this night or 2 goes over...can just hear the wailing and complaints now!

4. Chicken curry with cauliflower, sweet potatoes added. Green beans, rice, pumpkin yogurt granola parfaits

Oatmeal bake

Pumpkin granola, yogurt/eggs, fruit (apples or oranges probably)

Banana muffins, cream cheese schmear, fruit

Cereal, milk, fruit

Waffles, smoothies

Lunches (for kids' school days)
Pasta Packs

CC+J Sandwhiches (cream cheese and jelly...can't do PBJ due to classroom allergies)

Protein packs

Ham + cheese sandwiches one day

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Vegetarian Roasted Chickpea Gyros

I came across this recipe and thought it sounded simple and pretty good. I, of course, wanted to alter it a bit. **these pictures are not the best, AT ALL, but I was not really expecting this to be blog worthy!**

We also happened to have a lemon pepper rotisserie chicken in the fridge at this time that needed to be used and I had no plans for it, so I opted to chop the meat from it into the chickpea mix. It wasn't a ton of meat, but it did add a little to the mix.

I made homemade Naan (I doubled the recipe to make about 13-14 flats)
For those who are not inclined to do that, you can use whole wheat flat bread or some grocers do sell Naan in the bakery section.

I used my recipe for tzatziki sauce (I made the full recipe, thinking it would be too much, actually, we probably could've eaten more!)

For the chickpeas:

2 15-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried
Several Tablespoons of olive oil (enough to coat the beans on a cookie sheet)
1-2 cloves garlic
*sliced onion, pepper
Preheat oven to 400F
On lined cookie sheet toss chickpeas with olive oil, sprinkle with seasonings as desired
*I toyed with the idea of roasting the onions and peppers with the chickpeas and opted not to this time, but probably will try it next time
Roast for 15-20 min, until slightly crisp/crunchy

Serve with kalamata olives, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, sliced red pepper and FETA!!
I added crudites on the side to dip in the tzatziki

Fresh fruit on the side. Voila!
Dinner could seriously be done in under 30 min and be healthy!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Weekly Menu Feb 17-Feb 24

1. German Pancakes, bacon and yogurt parfaits with fresh fruit and granola

2. Serendipity Sandwiches, steamed broccoli and fruit

3. Chickpea Gyros, peppers/cucs/tomatoes for dipping

4. Pork tenderloin, cherry sauce; broccoli, roasted carrots, baguette, fruit/apples

Previous Week we had Minestrone, Chicken Noodle Soup, and spaghetti

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Best Dang Cinnamon Rolls.

The search is over. After several years and innumerable recipes, I have come up with the best dang cinnamon rolls, EV'AH. Hands down. I have searched Pinterest, recipe magazines and websites, popular blog sites, and scoured old recipes. I have baked multiple batches of a wide assortment of rolls and every time walked away disappointed in some aspect. Vowing to return to the kitchen for another round in a few weeks. Until today! We had a "snow day"...which around these parts means a few flakes were noticed and it was really cold, thus everyone should shutter themselves inside like they live in one of those REAL winter locales like DC or NYC.
The laundry was up-to-date, grocery shopping had been completed yesterday (in anticipation of snowmageddon, of course), the house was clean (thanks to the potential of putting it on the market recently), and dinners have even been made and put away for the next week. There truly was NOTHING for me to do but enjoy the day! So, I decided to tackle the subject of cinnamon rolls...AGAIN.
Boy I am glad I did! I had gone in search of Cooks Illustrated recipes a few weeks ago and come across The Way the Cookie Crumbles take on CI's recipe. I made a batch one afternoon and they were good, but I knew they could be slightly tweaked and be off the charts. I liked her version because it wasn't tooth-killing sweet and wasn't ridiculously fat-laden or gooey. I am not a huge fan of super ooey gooey, ridiculously sweet, over-the-top cinnamon rolls. I like them soft, fluffy, balance of sugar and cinnamon, with a hint of cream cheese and a nice thick icing.
Today, in my quest, I decided to search (AGAIN) and came across Oh Sweet Basil's self-proclaimed "world's best cinnamon rolls".
I sat down and wrote both recipes side by side to compare ingredients and ratios. I was immediately struck by how much butter and sugar were in Oh Sweet Basil's...I mean seriously. THREE cups of sugar just for the filling??? No thanks. I knew her recipe might not be entirely for me, but I did like a few aspects and decided to try and incorporate them into TWTCC's version to create a new hybrid recipe I could call my own. They were AMAZING. Perfect. Well, my cinnamon roll perfect.
If you like super sweet, over-the-top gooey rolls, these ain't yo thang. If you enjoy a fluffy, soft, sweet/cinnamon, nicely balanced roll...give them a go. You won't be sorry!

This version makes 24-36 rolls (Depending on how thick you cut them. I cut mine approx. 1in thick and had almost 36)

Total time: roughly 5 hours

1 c warm water
5 tsp active dry yeast (I really like Fleischman's)
1/4 c whole milk
1/4 c heavy cream (if you don't have this on hand, sub whole you'd have a total of 1/2 c)
1/2 c buttermilk (again...if you don't have it, use whole milk + 1 Tbsp lemon juice--let it sit for a min and thicken)
14 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 c (3.5 oz)  + 2 tsp sugar, divided
2 whole eggs + 4 yolks (freeze those egg whites for another recipe!)
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp salt
6 c APF
2 c bread flour
1/4 c corn starch

1. Melt butter and set aside to cool. in a separate large bowl mix salt, flours, corn starch and set aside.
2. heat milk (just the whole milk + cream) in microwave until warm, stir in buttermilk.. Should be slightly warm to touch
3. In large mixer bowl combine water, yeast and 2 tsp sugar. Allow to sit and proof 3-5 min until frothy.
5. While waiting, mix together remaining 1/2 c sugar, eggs, yolks, vanilla and butter; set aside
6. Add milk mixture to yeast mixture, stir.
7. Add egg/butter/sugar mixture to yeast + millk mixture. Stir on med low using dough hook for a minute or two until mixed.
8. Add 3 c flour mixture to yeast mixture and stir on low (2 ish on the kitchen aid) until mostly incorporated. Add flour 1/2-1 c increments (keeping speed low to prevent flour splattering everywhere!) until dough ball forms cohesive dough, clearing sides of bowl and is smooth, elastic ball.
9. Dump dough into a well greased large bowl, cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise 1-2 hrs. until doubled in size

While you wait...Mix up filling:
1 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened so you can easily smear it

Combine sugars, cinnamon, salt and cornstarch in a bowl. set aside.

...DING! Dough has risen nicely, now onto the next step!
1. Dump it onto the counter and split it into 2 equal dough balls. Roll each out into approx. 16 in x 12 in rectangles.
2. Schmear 4 Tbsp softened butter (from filling recipe) onto each rectangle, covering each entirely.
3. Divide the cinnamon/sugar mixture equally onto each rectangle. spread it all over, leaving approx. 1/4" border along one long edge of each rectangle.
4. Starting on the opposite long edge as your empty border, begin rolling the rectangle into a long log (approx. 16 in), aiming to keep your edges all lined up at the top and bottom of the log. Gently pinch the seam closed when it's completely rolled. Mark 1 in or 1.5 inch increments along the rolled log.
5. lightly grease a 9x13 pan
6. Using dental floss, slice your rolls off at the measured markings and arrange cut-side up in your 9x13 pan, allowing a little space between each (12 should fit nicely); if you have me, feel free to use an 8" round pan (I had 18 rolls total from each rectangle)
7. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise another 1-2 hours until doubled in size again (Mine seem to be perfectly ready around the 1.25-1.5 hr mark)

Pre heat oven to 350F.
Remove plastic wrap and bake 20-28 min until lightly (VERY lightly) browned (or temp registers 185-188 degrees F internally--this is definitely my preferred gauge)

Remove and allow to cool 10 min. While you wait and resist picking a bite...Mix the ICING!
6-8 oz softened cream cheese (depending on how cream cheesy you like your frosting)
4 Tbsp softened, unsalted butter
2-3 c powdered sugar (sifted) amount depends on your sweetness preference
1 tsp vanilla extract
4-8 Tbsp millk (or cream if you have it!)

1. Cream the butter and cream cheese together. Add powdered sugar. Mix together until well mixed, add in vanilla and 4 Tbsp milk. Adjust consistency to your liking with adding more milk.
SCHMEAR it all over those rolls and sit yo'self down for a well-deserved snack break!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Weekly Menu Jan 22-Jan 29, 2016

Hamburger Stew (I use a hybrid of PW's recipe and my momma's) with these corn muffins

Spaghetti (one day I'll get around to posting my recipe for that) + spinach salad

Philly Dip Sandwiches, fruit, broccoli

Taco Salad

Real exciting, I know. Contain yourself.

So I went grocery shopping today and came home did the following to ease my week:

1. Made spaghetti sauce and froze it in 2 freezer bags
2. While that was cooking, I sautéed onions and peppers, then made Philly Dips and rolled them up in foil and froze them
3. When I was done with the Philly's, waiting for the spaghetti sauce to cool I made the taco meat and froze it.

then for our actual dinner I made hamburger stew and corn muffins--enough for us for 2 nights!

Hooray! Dinners should be easy and relatively stress-free this week!!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Weekly Menu January 4-Jan 10, 2015

So, obviously I'm not a devout blogger. Hope everyone had a lovely holiday. It feels like since around mid-November, we've had non-stop illness, visits, social obligations, etc. I am very much looking forward to some "routine, normal life"...whatever that is!

So, I decided to start the new year off and try REALLY hard to keep up with our weekly menus, if not for anyone but myself. I'm hoping it might make it easier down the line, as I can look back and just pull from my archives sometimes.

Breakfast: Muffins + fruit + eggs (ok, so this actually didn't happen. I was in major need of a huge grocery shopping haul so I threw the kids in the car early this AM, threw some Honey Nut Cheerios at them, some bananas and some milk. That was breakfast...there's transparency for you!)

Lunch--I knew we'd be out and about so I didn't plan anything. They ended up having cheese sticks, dried fruits (apricots and prunes), some cashews, a cookie from Publix, and maybe a piece of bread??

Quick Lemon Chicken with tomatoes (it was pretty easy to throw together and I liked the taste--I would strongly recommend using chicken breasts with bone + skin...I only had boneless/skinless on hand and I think it was slightly lacking some flavor); I also skipped the crusty bread. I also made 6 breasts and tripled the recipe, except I stuck with the 2 pints of was fine.
Served with--
Garlic Mushroom Risotto-This one is a bit time consuming, but if you throw your chicken in the oven and start this, you'll be done with both at about the same time. I used a bag of frozen chopped broccoli (thawed) in the place of the spinach and it was still yummy and slightly more kid friendly. I made 1.5 times this recipe and it was about the right amount for 2 nights.

and fresh fruit salad (make ahead of time and pop it in the fridge til dinner time)

Breakfast: Yogurt Parfaits with fruit and granola, toast

Lunch: Pasta, peppers, apples, maybe some cheese

Dinner: Leftovers

Breakfast: Waffles, fruit, milk

Lunch: Snack Pack (cheese, peppers, tomatoes, applesauce, granola bar)

this will be my backup for peanut sauce, if the recipe above is a bust

(I plan to add some carrots and sugar snap peas to the mix)

Breakfast: Oatmeal, fruit, egg/milk

Lunch: Veggie wrap sandwiches with deli meat, cream cheese and shredded carrots + greens, ranch dressing for dip (think Chick fil A grilled Chicken wrap), fruit, tostado chips

Perfect Pot Roast + spinach salad + fruit smoothies
( I always add more carrots, mushrooms and celery to the pot roast...and it is truly THE BEST pot roast on the planet. It's also super easy. PW nailed it).
Spinach Salad is composed of fresh baby spinach, dried craisins, pecan chip salad topper stuff (check the salad dressing aisle), goat cheese and this dressing

Breakfast: Banana Bread, nuts, fruit, maybe eggs/milk

Lunch: Mini English muffin pizzas, fruit

Dinner: Left over Stir Fry

Breakfast: Breakfast Sandwiches or Bird in the Hole, fruit

Lunch:'s kinda a free-for-all

Dinner: Left over Pot Roast

Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls, fruit, eggs

Lunch/Dinner: (since we don't get out of church until 2:30 or so, we've just been having a little snack and then eating a slightly earlier dinner)
Crock Pot Beans n Rice + green beans + green salad + mango

We will have leftovers of the beans n rice on Monday night, which will help greatly with the hassle of grocery shopping, hauling it all home, putting it away and then STILL having to make dinner. I much prefer to have leftover night on just wasn't possible today.

So there's our menu for the next week. Good luck! Plan well, cook lots and enjoy good food.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Menu Plan

School is back in session and although I did a mediocre job of meal planning over the summer, it's time to kick it back into high gear.

So here is our breakfast, lunch and dinner plan for the next 10 days or so...

Banana Muffins (extras stashed in the freezer from a few weeks back) with cream cheese "frosting" it wrong that I tell my kids they're cupcakes and frosting??
plain yogurt with fruit

Sandwich kebabs (dice bread, ham and cheese and skewer them up), mini pepper slices, green peas, grapes, with mayo for dipping

Thai Basil Turkey Lettuce Wraps which is perfect since our basil plant is crazy big. Will serve it with black rice and some assortment of fruit + fresh crudites

Oatmeal (have lots in the freezer from a triple batch I made last week)

Bagel Pack--mini bagel, cream cheese (dang it all, "Nut-free classrooms"), fruit and veggies


Waffles, fruit, eggs

Sandwich Sushi (basically a wrap cut to look like "sushi"), fruit/+ veggie "butterfly pack" (pack into one bag, pinch off in the middle with a clothes pin to look like 2 wings and a body)

Chili con carne with salad, tostidos

Pancake Tacos (schmear down the middle with cream cheese, yogurt, PB, whatever you like, top with fresh fruit...berries, bananas, etc) My kids love these and they really enjoy making their own "tacos"
Alternative: Banana Sushi (tortilla, nutella or cream cheese and banana, all rolled up and cut to look like sushi

Taco Pack OR mini pizzas 
Taco pack consists of chips, cheese, sour cream, salsa/tomatoes, kidney beans and lettuce/avocado, and olives if it's for my middle kid
Mini Pizza would be plain english muffin toasted with marinara and cheese, side of peppers and fruit

Left overs

Cereal + fruit

Tortellini Pack (cheese tortellini, fruit + Veggies)

Pot Roast with carrots and mushrooms, green beans

**This will be in MY lunch rotation this week

Here is my confession...I don't schedule out our weekend breakfasts and lunches. I probably should, but I just don't. Senor often makes breakfast so it's sort of whatever he feels like making, or if I feel industrious and make something special like cinnamon rolls or breakfast strata. 

Dinner: leftovers (Saturday)

Sunday--Broccoli + Cauliflower + cheese stuffed chicken, salad, fruit

These are dinners in the works for next week since I found a few good prices on chicken and beef today.
 --Korean Lettuce Wraps
--Orange Chicken (only I won't bother breading and frying the was a hassle. I'll just grill it and throw the sauce on top, we'll see how it goes)
--BBQ--throw a Boston Butt into the crock pot with a little vinegar, BBQ sauce. Cook on low for hours. Remove, shred and return to the crock pot with more sauce + vinegar to your liking.
--Parm-style sliders (we tried these a week or so ago and everyone liked them alot! I made a double batch and froze the second half of the patties for later.)

And for those of you who are near and dear, you may be asking, "Wasn't she doing the 21 day Beach body stuff? Her diet doesn't match that!"
Well, so this is all what the rest of the family is eating. For me it looks much more like this:

Breakfast: 1 "muffin" (1 yellow) of oatmeal, 1/2 banana or other fruit (1 purple) and 2 scrambled eggs or yogurt (1 red); OR I'll make an extra frittata, bake it, slice it and freeze it. Reheat 1 slice as needed in the oven. OR I'll make a mini fritatta in a skillet by sauteing some onions (you could add peppers) in a skillet til they're brown, throw on 2 eggs, stir it all up and cook til eggs are done. Toss on a little feta and fresh sliced tomatoes. You could of course do the same with leftover broccoli or asparagus or whatever veggies you have on hand. It's a quick, easy way to get a protein and a veggie in before noon.

Lunch: some deli meat (1 red), veggie (1 green)

Snack: cottage cheese or yogurt (1 red)

Dinner: lean protein (whatever that is from the above menu items)--(1 red), 2 veggies (2 green)

Snack: fruit (1 yellow) and 1 grain (1 yellow) thrown in somewhere during the day or for "dessert" if I need them (I have been quite fond of roasted peaches lately!)