02 January 2012

A Break.

It's time for a little break from the blog for me. It's not an indefinite break, so don't worry. I'll check in now and then to share some favorite recipes & meal ideas. Happy 2012!

13 December 2011

Busy, Busy!

Here I am for a quick post--then it's time to get to more present wrapping, party planning and crafting. I LOVE this time of year! Here is what we're eating for dinners this week:

*Monday: Leftovers. We loved the Pork Tacos--I especially loved how easy they were!

*Tuesday: Never made Chicken Curry last week, and I have all the ingredients, plus Burke LOVES curry...

*Wednesday: Simple Chicken Noodle Soup

*Thursday: Penne with Spinach & Peppers--the kids LOVED this when I made it a few weeks ago, time for a repeat.

*Friday: Black Bean Cakes (with avocados)

*Saturday: Downtown for dinner & Christmas lights!

*Sunday: Leftovers (or Nachos)

05 December 2011

New week.

Sorry for the absence of a post last week. I have no excuse, really. And I feel like between now and Christmas I am so busy, that dinners are going to be put on the back burner (haha). But planning them out always helps...so here's the plan:

*Monday: Baked Potatoes (or as my kids call them, "mountain potatoes". we like to top them with lots of corn, broccoli, peas, cheese, bacon, green onions, tomatoes and any other good stuff we can think of--making them like mountains.)

*Tuesday: Lentil Soup (we LOVE this stuff...)

*Wednesday: Chicken Curry with Rice

*Thursday: Leftovers

*Friday: Girl's Night! We'll be eating somewhere yummy...Burke will get to play chef here at home while I'm gone. ;)

*Saturday: White Bean Dip with crusty bread slices & fruit

*Sunday: Crock Pot Pulled Pork Tacos

21 November 2011

Thankful Week.

Isn't Thanksgiving great? Don't you love how this time of year practically forces you to think about all that you have? It's such a great feeling to realize that no matter how difficult our circumstances, we have A LOT. Just being able to live on this earth is an incredibly special gift. I'll be spending my Thanksgiving day with my parents (Burke is working all day :( ) and children. As for the rest of the week, today is day #1 of potty training. We'll see if I end up getting dinner on the table each night...

*Monday: Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas (thanks to my sister)Link
*Tuesday: We didn't end up having Lasagna last Sunday, so tonight we'll have Butternut Squash Lasagna...YUM!

*Wednesday: Leftovers & baking pies! I'll be making Apple Pie with THIS crust (with apple cider vinegar??!! Can't wait to try!) & Coconut Cream Pie

*Thursday: The Big Day! My menu today was sort of inspired by an episode of "Throwdown" that I happened to watch. Bobby Flay battled Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman), and SHE won! The food all looked amazing, so we'll see how it tastes. We'll be eating:

-Simple Turkey (I don't even do anything to mine. Maybe a little salt & pepper. I've had brined/seasoned/plain turkeys before, and they all taste equally as yummy to me! So I'm sticking with simple this year)
-Stuffing-I'll use a classic recipe similar to THIS one.
-Mashed Potatoes & gravy (I just make this up with the turkey drippings, flour, salt & pepper)
-Sweet Potatoes (simple again. I roast mine in the oven with a little butter & brown sugar until they are soft & golden)
-Brussels Sprouts (I have to have something green! And we don't do green bean casserole around here...)
-Cornbread Pudding
-2 pies (see yesterday's post)
-Pumpkin Bread Pudding (I know it's crazy, we're not having pumpkin pie. But this looks DELICIOUS, and I'm using the excuse that when I do my big turkey dinner on Christmas Eve, I'll make pumpkin pie then.)

*Friday: Are you kidding? Leftovers for the rest of the weekend..... ;)

16 November 2011

fall cookin'

Here are some good eats we've enjoyed this season and thought to be worth sharing:

1. My mom used to make this cider during the holidays; it tastes like Christmas and home to me.  We had some with this GF pumpkin bread (there were some gluten free-ers in da house) while we carved spooky pumpkins and enjoyed this lovely fall season.

2. The main dish for Sunday dinner last week was honey-lime chicken enchiladas.  It was suggested by one attendee that these taste Cafe Rio-like.  I'm not here to confirm or deny, but anything worthy of that comparison is at least worthy of trying. That should be a good enough hint.

3. A tangy beef stew recipe adapted from here.

  • 2 pounds bottom round, well trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c olive oil 
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 6-8 large potatoes, diced
  • 1lb carrots (either baby, or cut)
  • 2 cups beef broth (or any broth, really)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • bay leaf
  • 1 package frozen peas, thawed

  1.  Coat the beef in the flour. Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meat, a few pieces at a time, adding more oil as necessary. Transfer to a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Add the onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and coat the onions; transfer to the cooker.
  3. Pour the wine into the skillet and scrape up any browned bits; add to the cooker. Stir in the potatoes, carrots, broth, salt, thyme, and bay leaf.
  4. Cover and cook on low heat for 7 1/2 hours, or on high for 5 hours. Add the peas and heat through.
4. And lastly, my new favorite tradition: dinner in a pumpkin.  I used wild rice, ground turkey instead of beef, omitted the ham, added a few more bell peppers, and instead of one large pumpkin we used four sugar pumpkins so everyone had their own.  I don't know if this is the best recipe, but it was so fun and there are lots of recipes out there to combine or alter.  Let it be heard, pumpkin season is not over!

14 November 2011

Pumpkin Muffins & a Thankful Tree...

If you can't tell, I am so in love with this time of year. We finally got our "thankful tree" going, I made some delicious Pumpkin Muffins, and I've started planning our Thanksgiving feast. I am one happy girl. And by the way, those muffins really were amazing. I used part white flour/part wheat flour/part flax and applesauce instead of oil to healthify them a little. And they were still scrumptious. The children loved going on a walk one day to find sticks for our Thankful Tree. I added some yarn to a few of the branches, printed out "I am Thankful For ______" tags, and I love the things that have already been added. My favorite is Ryder's "being in this earth". ;) With Burke gone a lot these days, I'm not feeling super motivated to make elaborate dinners, so here is our simple menu for the week:

*Monday: Grilled Cheese & "Red Soup" (we like the store bought low sodium Red Pepper & Tomato Soup cartons. You can usually find them near the health foods, if not in the soup aisle.)

*Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie

*Wednesday: Squash Pot Stickers & fried rice (my kids usually love pot stickers, and they LOVE dipping things. We'll see how the squash goes over. For the rice, I use sticky white rice, mix whatever veggies I have in--usually peas, chopped carrots, chopped red peppers, scallions, etc. I fry this in a tiny bit of sesame oil with salt, pepper & soy sauce. At the end I add 1 egg to my mixture, and stir until the egg is cooked. Sometimes I add chicken or chopped ham for a heartier rice.)

*Thursday: Baked Potato Soup + Cheddar/Jalapeno Biscuits (see recipe below--from HERE)
*Friday: Leftovers

*Saturday: Down Town Chicago Date. I'm super excited to ride the train, sans kids, meet my husband downtown and eat in peace & quiet. Believe me, I'll be savoring each & every bite.

*Sunday: Easy One Pot Lasagna & Salad

Sour Cream and Cheddar Biscuits

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
Drained and chopped pickled jalapeƱos, to taste (I used about 2 tablespoons)
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Either cut the butter pieces into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or rub them in with your fingertips until well-combined. Stir in the cheddar, jalapeƱos and sour cream until the mixture forms a sticky dough. Pat it out to a 1/2-inch thickness on a very well-floured counter and use a 3 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut six rounds. Bake on an ungreased (or parchment-lined, if your baking sheets are as “weathered” as mine are) for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden on top.

07 November 2011

Take a look...

...at our menu this week. It's going to be tasty!

*Monday: Orzo with Roasted Vegetables (didn't get to this last week...and I really want to try it!)

*Tuesday: Thanks to Pinterest, tonight we're having Baked Penne with Spinach, Bacon & Roasted Red Peppers

*Wednesday: Panini night. My Mom was talking about Panini's the other day and had me craving one. We'll use yummy bread, and top with any meats/veggies/sauces we have, then cook in our George Forman (no panini press around here :( )

*Thursday: Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Black Beans. Every now and then I wander through the incredible Whole Foods. I love browsing their recipe cards, and picked this one up because of the picture. Can't wait to try it...

*Friday: Leftovers

*Saturday: Downtown--we have a looooooooong list of restaurants to try.

*Sunday: Easy Crockpot Pot Roast