Monday, December 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 13

We made it through Christmas! We decided to have our big dinner on Christmas Eve so we could relax on Christmas Day without spending a lot of time in the kitchen. We were running some errands on Wednesday and ended up having Sloppy Joes and tater tots for supper. Saturday and Sunday we ate at other peoples' houses. We got home late last night, so I'm just now trying to come up with a menu plan for the week. It's pretty sketchy right now, but at least it's a start!
Monday--Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup
Tuesday--Something with hamburger
Wednesday--Something with chicken
Thursday--NEW YEAR'S EVE: Maybe steak or roast beef
Friday--NEW YEAR'S DAY: Chili
Saturday--Homemade pizza

Green Jello

This recipe has been in my file for years; I'm not sure where it originally came from.

1 large box lime Jell-o
1 can crushed pineapple
2 cups cold water
2 cups boiling water
1 - 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese

Dissolve Jello in boiling water. Add cold liquid (water and/or pineapple juice). Refrigerate until gelling. Beat in softened cream cheese; stir in pineapple. Refrigerate to set.

Green Beans Almondine

This recipe is also from $5 Dinners, and was another side to go with our ham.

1 pound fresh green beans
2 teaspoon olive oil
¼ cup slivered almonds
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Wash and cut the stems off of the greens beans. Pat dry.
2. In large skillet, sauté the green beans in the olive oil for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often. After about 2 minutes of sautéing, add the slivered almonds and sauté them with the green beans for the
remaining 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (I sauteed these longer, as they were still very crisp after 4-5 minutes.)

Au Gratin Potatoes

We had these Au Gratin Potatoes from the $5 Dinner Mom with our Christmas Eve ham. Visit $5 Dinners for your chance to win a copy of her new cookbook--she's giving away 10 copies a day for two weeks!

6 large Russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9x13-inch glass baking dish.
2. Place a layer of thinly sliced potatoes, followed by a layer of thinly sliced onions, and finally topped with another layer of thinly sliced potatoes in the glass baking dish. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and quickly whisk in the flour to form a paste. Pour the milk into the saucepan, whisking as you pour. Whisk until butter/flour paste dissolves into the milk.
Heat the sauce over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to bubble and thicken. Once thickened and bubbling, pour the sauce over the potatoes and onions in the glass baking dish.
4. Sprinkle shredded sharp cheddar cheese over the potatoes and sauce. Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. Remove foil and return to the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese is golden on top and sauce is bubbly.

Salted Peanut Chews

This recipe came from my mom--we often make it around Christmas.


1 pkg. (18.25 oz.) yellow cake mix

1 egg

1/3 cup softened butter

3 cups miniature marshmallows


2/3-cup light corn syrup

2 cups peanut butter chips

¼ cup butter

2 cups Rice Krispies (I didn't have Rice Krispies, so I used Special K)

2-tsp. vanilla

2 cups salted peanuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine all base ingredients, except marshmallows, at low speed. Press in ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-18 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with marshmallows. Return to oven 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows begin to puff. Cool while preparing topping.

In large saucepan, heat corn syrup, butter, vanilla and chips just until melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in cereal and nuts. Immediately spoon warm topping over marshmallows and chill.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 13

Christmas week already! It's a busy week, so we're keeping it simple most of the week. I stuck pretty close to my plan last week--on Wednesday I didn't make sausage and black bean soup, we just cooked the sausage and had corn bread and applesauce with it. Thursday (my birthday) we had lasagna and French bread and Barry brought a German chocolate cake home, and Saturday we had leftover lasagna. Here's what we're eating this week:
Sunday--Parmesan drumsticks, mashed potatoes, sugar snap peas (carried over from last week)
Monday--Tuna hotdish
Tuesday--Chicken breasts, ravioli
Wednesday--Last minute shopping/errands, so something quick and easy
Thursday--Ollie's birthday and Christmas Eve; ham, au gratin potatoes, green beans, rolls, birthday cake
Friday--Christmas; Leftover ham on rolls, snacky stuff like crackers and cheese, chips and dip, veggies and dip
Saturday--Going the the in-laws for Christmas celebration

My birthday cake

Cheesy Ranch Chex Mix

I wanted to make something not sweet for snacking on, so I tried this recipe from the back of a Chex box.

9cups Corn Chex®, Rice Chex® or Wheat Chex® cereal (or combination)
2cups bite-size pretzel twists
2cups bite-size cheese crackers
3tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1package (1 oz) ranch dressing and seasoning mix
cup grated Parmesan cheese

In large microwavable bowl, mix cereal, pretzels and crackers. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 30 seconds or until melted. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated. Stir in dressing mix and cheese until evenly coated.

Microwave uncovered on High 3 minutes, stirring after each minute. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool. Store in airtight container.

Chocolate Crinkles

This was a new recipe to me, and I'll definitely be making them again.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup confectioners' sugar


  1. Mix oil, chocolate, and granulated sugar.

  2. Blend in one egg at a time until well mixed. Add vanilla.

  3. Stir flour, baking powder and salt into oil mixture.

  4. Chill several hours or overnight.

  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  6. Drop by teaspoonfuls into confectioners' sugar.

  7. Roll in sugar; shape into balls and place about 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes (do not overbake). NOTE: If you use self-rising flour, omit the baking powder and salt.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

This is a must have recipe for the holidays.

1/2 cup CRISCO® Butter Shortening (I used butter)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
48 foil-wrapped milk chocolate pieces, unwrapped


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Cream together shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Beat well.

  3. Sire together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until stiff dough forms.

  4. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

  6. Top each cookie immediately with an unwrapped chocolate piece, pressing down firmly so that cookie cracks around edge. Remove from cookie sheets to cool.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 12

I didn't go to the grocery store until Friday, so we filled in on Wednesday with pork steaks cooked in the crock pot with cream of mushroom soup, Stove Top stuffing, carrots and squash and Thursday with homemade vegetable soup. Friday we had frozen pizza and Saturday we had hamburgers and French fries. Here's what we're eating this week:
Sunday--Leftover hamburgers from Saturday, mac 'n cheese, fruit salad
Monday--Chicken breasts, baked potatoes, broccoli
Tuesday--Hamburger rice hot dish
Wednesday--Black bean and sausage soup
Thursday--My birthday, so I refuse to cook!
Saturday--Chicken drumsticks, mashed potatoes, carrots

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baking Time!

I'm ready to do some baking this weekend! I did some major grocery shopping yesterday, and am all stocked up on chocolate chips, peanut butter, Hershey's Kisses and Reese's Mini peanut butter cups, marshmallows, pretzels, almond bark, sugar (brown, powdered and granulated), and can't forget the sprinkles!
I'm not sure how much we'll get to this weekend, but I have the following on my baking list:
Almond Bark pretzels
Ranch Chex Mix
Fudge Puddles and/or Reese's mini peanut butter cookies
Peanut Blossoms
Decorated sugar cookies
Christmas "crack"
M & M cookies

Monday, December 7, 2009

Taco Seasoning

I didn't have any taco seasoning packets in the cupboard the other day, so I decided to make up my own seasoning. I used this recipe, a hodgepodge of different recipes I found here and there:
1 T. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (I didn't have these, and used just a bit of cayenne pepper instead)
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. cumin (I was out of cumin, so I omitted this time)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. flour or cornstarch (I used flour this time)
For tacos, use 2 T. to 1/4 cup water with the mixture.

Menu Plan Monday 11

I had an easy week in the kitchen last week. With Barry gone for four days, I made simple, kid-friendly food. I did pick up a few groceries in town and ended up with chicken nuggets, tater tots, and corn on Tuesday. Wednesday morning the kids had late start for school, so I made them bacon, egg and cheese on English muffins for breakfast. Instead of English muffin pizzas on Friday night, we had pita pizzas--bacon cheeseburger style, with hamburger, bacon, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, plus pickle on top. Thursday was French toast and sausage.
What we're eating this week:
Sunday--Taco Ring
Monday--Cajun baked chicken, red beans and rice (from a packet), veggie
Wednesday through Saturday--I have to finish my plan after I go to the grocery store on Wednesday.