Monday, November 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 10

It looks like an easy week in the kitchen this week. Barry will be gone Tuesday through Friday, so I plan to have an eat out of the pantry/kid friendly week. Here's what we're eating:
Sunday--Turkey Soup
Monday--Spaghetti Hotdish
Tuesday--Grilled cheese and soup
Wednesday--English muffin pizzas
Thursday--French toast or pancakes and bacon
Saturday--Eat with mom, dad and sister

Pumpkin Pie

I just used the recipe off the canned pumpkin label.

3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
Whipped cream (optional)

MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Dutch Apple Pie with Oatmeal Streusel

I had two pie crusts and used one for pumpkin pie, so I decided to make apple pie with crumb topping to use the other crust. The recipe is from
1-9 inch pie shell
5 cups apples--peeled, cored and sliced (I used closer to 6 cups)
2 T. flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice (I did not use)
2 T. butter
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp. lemon zest (I did not use)
1/2 cup butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fit pastry shell into pie pan and place in freezer.
Apple filling: Place apples in large bowl. In a separate bowl combine 2 T. flour, sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Mix well, then add to apples. Toss until apples are evenly coated.
Remove pie shell from freezer. Place apple mixture in pie shell and dot with 2 T. butter. (I forgot to dot with butter, and I don't think it mattered.) Lay a sheet of aluminum foil lightly on top of filling, but do not seal (I did not cover). Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
While filling is baking, make streusel topping: In a medium bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, brown sugar, oats and lemon zest. Mix thoroughly, then cut in 1/2 cup butter until mixture is crumbly. Remove filling from oven and sprinkle streusel on top.
Reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until streusel is browned and apples are tender. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning. (This was not necessary in my case.)

This was good, although in places the bottom crust was a little gummy, I suspect because the apple mixture was quite juicy.

Cranberry Jell-o

I didn't serve traditional cranberry sauce with our turkey (I doubt the kids would have eaten it), but they sure like the Jell-o I made. This recipe has been in Sunday coupon supplements. It's also on the Kraft Foods website as Cranberry Pineapple Minis. I didn't make it in muffin tins as suggested, but in one big bowl.

2-3 oz. boxes raspberry Jell-l
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 can crushed pineapple
1 apple, chopped

Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Add water to make 2 1/2 cups. Bring liquid to a boil. Add to Jell-o in large bowl, stirring 2 minutes until dissolved.
Stir in cranberry sauce, pineapple and apple. Refrigerate 2 1/2 hours or until firm. (I made this the night before.)
The original recipe also calls for 2/3 cup chopped walnuts, which I did not include.


I didn't really follow a recipe to make stuffing for Thanksgiving, but this is what I did:
Melt a stick of butter and saute 1/2 onion and 2 stalks celery
Brown 1 pound bulk sausage
Put package of stuffing cubes in large bowl. Add sauteed celery and onions and browned sausage. Add 3-4 cups chicken broth. Add desired spices (thyme, rosemary, sage, etc.). Mix together. Put in 9 x 13 pan, cover, and bake about 45 minutes.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Leftovers

One of the great things about hosting Thanksgiving is the leftovers you get to eat! We ate our Thanksgiving meal at around 4 p.m. on Thursday. We've been eating leftovers ever since!
Friday lunch--Everyone loaded up their plate with what they wanted and heated it up in the microwave
Friday supper--The kids and I had turkey quesadillas (just chopped up turkey and shredded cheddar cheese between two tortillas, heated in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted; serve with sour cream and/or salsa) and Barry had grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches.
Saturday--I picked the extra meat off the turkey carcass and ended up with about 4 cups. Then I put the carcass in a pot and covered with water. I simmered this for an hour or so, removed the carcass, strained the broth through a towel, and will make turkey soup with it.
Saturday supper--I mixed the leftover mashed potatoes, stuffing and corn with a little sour cream, formed them into patties that I cooked on the griddle. I mixed leftover turkey and gravy and heated up on the stove. I served the turkey mixture over the potato/stuffing patties.
Sunday--Turkey and rice soup for supper, using the bits of turkey that are left and the broth I made yesterday.
That's a lot of meals for a $5 turkey!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Triple Chocolate Cherry Bars

This recipe was on the back of a Betty Crocker chocolate fudge cake mix.

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist chocolate fudge cake mix
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips (I used regular, not miniature)
1 container Betty Crocker Whipped chocolate frosting

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees, or 325 degrees for dark or nonstick pan). Grease and flour, or spray with baking spray with flour, 15x10x1-inch pan (I used this size), or 13x9-inch pan.

2. In large bowl, gently mix dry cake mix, pie filling, eggs and chocolate chips with rubber scraper; break up any undissolved cake mix by pressing with scraper. Carefully spread in pan.

3. Bake 15 x 10 pan 25 to 30 minutes, 13 x 9 pan 35 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Frost with frosting.

Texas One Dish

From my Saving Dinner cookbook.

1 pound ground beef
2 onions, chopped (I only used about 1/2 of an onion)
1 bell pepper, chopped (I had some yellow and orange chopped in the freezer that I used)
1 cup oats
1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup brown rice (I used white rice this time)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet, saute beef and onions over medium-high heat. When onions begin to look translucent, add bell pepper. Continue cooking until beef it browned completely. Drain grease well (to reduce fat grams, you can also blot with paper towels). Add oats, stirring well to incorporate.
Add remaining ingredients, stirring well to completely mix. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until rice is tender.
I've used brown rice in the past and it was slightly crunchy, so I figured I needed to bake it a little longer or add a little more liquid. This time I used white rice, cooked it only 45 minutes, but it was almost burnt around the edges. I also added about 1/2 cup water. The rice was cooked this time.

Menu Plan Monday 9

I totally stuck to our menu plan last week! The only difference was on Wednesday I had planned chicken/broccoli/rice casserole. I ended up cooking chicken breasts in the crockpot with a can of cream of mushroom soup, served it over some rice, and had frozen mixed veggies on the side. I didn't have anything planned for Saturday, and we ended up having grilled cheese and tomato soup (for the adults) and Dora chicken noodle soup (for the kids).
Here's what we're eating this week:
Sunday--Pork chops, baked potatoes, green beans
Monday--Smoked sausage, fried potatoes, veggie
Tuesday--Chicken, sweet potatoes, veggie
Wednesday--Homemade vegetable soup
Thursday--THANKSGIVING: Turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing, cranberry salad, rolls, pumpkin pie, apple pie.
Friday--Leftovers, of course!
Saturday--Either more leftovers, or pizza.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup

Another recipe from

6 tablespoons chopped onion
4 tablespoons margarine (I used butter)
6 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (I used 3 cups pureed squash I had previously baked)
3 cups water
4 cubes chicken bouillon (I used 1 can chicken broth and 1 bouillon cube/1 cup water)
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram (I did not use)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (I used 1 package, which I think was plenty)
  1. In a large saucepan, saute onions in margarine until tender. Add squash, water, bouillon, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil; cook 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  2. Puree squash and cream cheese in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Return to saucepan, and heat through. Do not allow to boil.

Sweet 'n' Sour Meatloaf

This recipe has been in my file for years; I'm not sure where it originally came from. It's a good recipe to use when you want a departure from traditional meatloaf.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 eggs
1 tsp. dried onion
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce, divided (I used two 8 ounce cans)

Reserved tomato sauce (or another 8 oz. can)
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. vinegar
2 tsp. mustard
1/2 cup sugar

Mix together beef, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and eggs. Add onions and 1/2 of tomato sauce. Form into loaf in bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. In saucepan, combine topping ingredients; bring to boil. Pour over meatloaf; bake 10 minutes more. Makes 6 servings.

Bread Pudding

This recipe is from, the Bread Pudding III.

10 slices white bread, cut into cubes (I used dry buns)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
6 eggs, beaten (I would use probably 4 eggs if I use this recipe again)
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups hot milk (160 degrees F)
1 pinch ground nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter one 2 quart baking dish.

2. Combine bread cubes, butter, cinnamon and raisins; mix well and place in baking dish.

3. Beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add milk, mix well and pour over bread cubes.

4. Sprinkle with nutmeg and bake for 25 minutes. (I baked mine an additional 15 minutes or so, as it didn't seem to be setting up at 25 minutes.)
And in my opinion, serve hot with vanilla ice cream on top. The combination of the hot bread pudding and the cold ice cream is soooo good!

Tuna Fusilli

This recipe is from my Saving Dinner cookbook. I used Wacky Mac pasta instead of fusilli.

12 oz. fusilli
2 T. butter, divided
1 onion, chopped (I used less onion)
1 clove garlic, pressed (I used garlic powder this time)
1 12-oz. can tuna in water, drained ( I used 2-5 oz. cans)
1 tsp. basil (I did not use)
1 jar roasted peppers, diced (I have used this before, but not this time)
1 package frozen green beans, thawed (I used frozen peas this time)
2 tsp. flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup low-fat Cheddar cheese, shredded (I used regular, not low-fat)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
In a skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add onion and garlic and saute till translucent. Add drained tuna and basil, mixing well. Add diced peppers and green beans; mix well and remove from skillet.
In the same skillet over medium heat, add remaining butter and add flour gradually, whisking well to form a roux. Add milk and keep whisking till mixture is fully incorporated. Keep whisking and add cheese. Allow sauce to thicken, careful to not let it boil.
Add tuna mixture and pasta back to the cheese sauce, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 8

After being gone for a long weekend, it's good to have a menu plan in place for the week! Here's what we're eating this week:
Sunday--We got back from our weekend away and I made mac and cheese for supper.
Monday--Chili and garlic cheese bread
Tuesday--English muffin pizzas
Wednesday--Chicken/broccoli/rice casserole
Thursday--Texas One Dish
Friday--Friday night pizza

Monday, November 9, 2009

Brown Sugar Chicken

This recipe is from the Year of Slow Cooking blog via orgjunkie. No picture because my camera was full and I didn't want to take time to empty it before we ate.

12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or 6 boneless, skinless breast halves (I used thighs)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup lemon-lime soda (I used root beer)
2/3 cup vinegar
3 cloves smashed and chopped garlic (I used garlic powder as I didn't have any fresh in the house)
2 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. ground black pepper

The Directions.

Place the chicken into crockpot. Cover with the brown sugar, pepper, chopped garlic, and soy sauce. Add the vinegar, and pour in the root beer.

Cover and cook on low for 6-9 hours, or on high for 4-5. The chicken is done when it is cooked through and has reached desired consistency. The longer you cook it, the more tender it will be.

Serve over a bowl of white rice with a ladle full of the broth. (I used brown rice, and also served broccoli.)

Menu Plan Monday 7

When I made my menu plan last week, I wasn't sure what day I would make it to the grocery store. I changed the plan here and there as the week went on: Tuesday was Barry's birthday, so we ordered pizza. Thursday a friend came over and we had steak, baked potatoes and tossed salad. Since we had pizza earlier in the week, we had Better Cheddars, fried potatoes and veggies and dip on Friday night. Saturday we had the burgers (with onion rings) that were originally planned for Tuesday.
This week we're probably going out of town Thursday through Sunday, so I only need to plan for the beginning of the week.
Sunday: Brown sugar chicken, brown rice, broccoli.
Monday: Tuna noodle casserole
Tuesday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn
Wednesday: Butternut squash soup

Friday, November 6, 2009

Toasted Pumpkin (or Squash) Seeds

Don't throw away your pumpkin or squash seeds! Follow these directions for a yummy, healthy snack!
Separate seeds from strings. Soak seeds for 30 minutes and rinse. Pat dry.
Put seeds in single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with butter or oil of your choice. Sprinkle with Lawry's seasoning salt, or seasoning of your choice. Bake at 325 degrees until crispy.

Puppy Chow

This is a fun snack that's easy for kids to help with. They can measure and count the cups of cereal and other ingredients and shake up the bag(s) to mix it all up.

9 cups Chex or Crixpix cereal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla (I actually forgot to add this, and it didn't seem to make a difference)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Measure cereal into a large bowl. Microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter for 1 minute; stir. Microwave an additional 30 seconds, or until smooth when stirred. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal and mix until evenly coated. Pour into 2 gallon resealable bag. (I used two 1 gallon bags--this is all I had, and it allowed 2 kids to shake) Add powdered sugar; seal bag and shake until well coated.
You can spread on wax paper to cool and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. I just leave it in the bag on the counter.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 6

Once again, we stuck pretty closely to our plan last week. The only change was I made chicken taquitos instead of Mexican Hotdish.
Here's what we're eating this week:
Sunday--Build your own taco salad/plate of nachos
Monday--Chili Mac
Tuesday--Bacon cheeseburgers for Barry's birthday
Wednesday--Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Thursday--Tuna Noodle Casserole
Friday--Friday night pizza
Saturday--Minestrone Soup
Check out orgjunkie for hundreds more ideas!

Halloween Spooky Feast

For our Halloween meal this year we had:
Brain Burgers (Chicken Burgers)

The "brain" ready to be made into burgers

Apple Biters with Swamp Water Dip (apples with slivered almonds and caramel dip)

Photo and idea courtesy of

Chips with Algae Dip (tortilla chips with guacamole)

Pumpkin Cookies (decorated by the kids)

Remy got a little carried away with the chocolate chips

Chicken Taquitos

I got this recipe from the Blessings in Abundance blog.

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1 pkg. chicken taco seasoning, 1 small can of enchilada sauce, or 1/2 cup salsa (I used salsa, plus a small can of green chiles)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped onions (optional) I did not use
Green peppers (optional) I did not use
10 Small flour tortillas
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water

*Cook chicken breasts in a skillet with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and when they are almost done cut them up in the skillet with a spatula or remove them to shred them - your choice. (I used chicken that was already cooked.)

*When your chicken is almost done you can also add onions or peppers and cook them until they are as done as you like.

*Add either the seasoning with 3 tablespoons water, the enchilada sauce, or salsa and then bring to a boil.

*Place a small strip of the chicken mixture in the center of a tortilla and then add the shredded cheese on top (add as much as you'd like:).

*Roll them as tight as you can and lay them on a cookie sheet side by side. (I probably could have rolled them tighter.)

*Once they are all lined up lightly brush some vegetable oil on the tops of the rolled up tortillas. This will make them crispy!

*Bake them for about 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees. You can also broil them for about 2-3 minutes if they are not crisp enough after baking. You can dip them in sour cream or salsa and enjoy!