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Sunday, February 27, 2011

What's on the Menu Feb 27 - March 5

Here's the plan, Stan!

Big Guy's Mashed Party Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli

Fish Tacos
Lime-Cilantro Slaw
Black Beans

Roasted Potatoes
Fruit Salad

Baked Ziti with Spinach

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans

Night out

If only there were leftovers..... Mashed Party Potatoes "Big Guy" Style

Let me first apologize.  As I whisked dinner to the table this evening, I had a fleeting thought.  I'll take a picture of these beautiful Mashed Party Potatoes after we eat.  Well, there were no leftovers.  ZERO.  Nada.  Zilch.
Big Guy really enjoys cooking.  Unfortunately in our roles in life, he doesn't get much chance.  Weekends are a time for him to play in our kitchen.  It's so great to watch a man in my kitchen, pretty cool!
Our dinner the night prior was the most delicious Boeuf Bourguignon served with Mashed Potatoes.  Lucky for us, we had leftovers.  Big Guy decided to "dress up" the Mashed Potatoes with a bit of onion, chives, crispy bacon and cheddar cheese.  They were SO GOOD - not a spoonful was left!

Big Guy's Mashed Party Potatoes

2 cups Leftover Mashed Potatoes  (or make mashed potatoes, we added 3 russet potatoes, cooked)
1/2 onion, grated
4 slices bacon, cooked just crispy
2 Tablespoons chives, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup sour cream (if not added to Mashed potatoes originally)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together Mashed Potatoes, onion and sour cream.  Add salt and pepper.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Spread potato mixture in a 9 X 9 baking dish (or the appropriate size for your leftovers).  Sprinkle cheese, bacon, and chives over top.  Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spinach, Onion and Feta Cheese crustless "quiche"

As crazy as it may sound to some, Teen loves quiche!   Seriously!  Every Wednesday evening she go to dinner at a local wing eatery that hosts "Kid's Karaoke" with a good friend.  As I plan the week's menu, I typically choose a meal she's not as crazy about for Wednesday nights.  Sunday she stopped me in my planning as I had wrote quiche for Wednesday's meal.  "NOOOOO, you can't have quiche without me!" she exclaimed.  Thus, it is Tuesday evening and we had quiche - just for her!
This quiche was delicious!  I used the feta cheese sparingly (much to Big Guy's demise) as it is not friendly to my weight loss plan.  But very filling and tasty!

Spinach, Onion and Feta Quiche (adapted from

1 medium onion chopped
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 oz Fresh Spinach, cut into bite size pieces
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt
4 eggs (or egg substitute)
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup skim milk
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
pepper to taste

1 - Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add diced onion, cooking for about 5 minutes until translucent.
2 - Add spinach and saute with onions till spinach is a bit wilted.  Take off heat.
3 - Scramble 4 eggs. (aren't these beautiful eggs?  We are fortunate to get fresh eggs from a local farmer - YUM!)
5 - Add flour, milk, spices.

6 - Mix together.  Add spinach and onion mixture.
7 - Pour into pie dish.  Top with feta cheese crumbles.

8 - Bake at 400 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Serve with a steamed vegetable (carrots are great!) and a salad.  Enjoy!
Linked to:
Tuesday's at the Table
Lovely Yellow Ribbons

Tuesday Night Supper Club

Monday, February 21, 2011

Italian Style Goulash - a 30 minute meal!

From start to finish, this meal was just a bit over 30 minutes.  Full of flavor - Look at all those veggies!  Zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and onions brought such color to the plate.  And the flavor!  This was better than spaghetti in my opinion.  Italian Sausage gave it such flavor.  And I used whole wheat rigatoni for a bit more fiber.  Great and easy dish.  Steamed some carrots and served with bread to round out the meal!

Italian Style Goulash (adapted from Cinnamon and Spice and Everything Nice)

1 lb Italian Sausage (turkey or chicken works great), casings removed
2 medium size Zucchini sliced into quarters (bite size or smaller pieces)
1 red or orange pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
Handful fresh basil leaves, cut into small pieces or 2 tablespoons dried
2 tablespoons dried oregano
Salt to taste
4 cups Whole Wheat Rigatoni Pasta

1 - Brown sausage (removed from casings) over medium heat.  Break into small, bite size chunks as it is cooking.  Remove from pan once browned.
2 - Saute pepper, onion and garlic in same pan.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes.  Add zucchini.  Add tomatoes.
3 - Add sausage back into pan.  Stir all ingredients thoroughly.
4 - Toss in basil, oregano, and salt.  Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes.
5 - During this time, boil water for pasta.  Add pasta once water is boil and cook according to package directions.
6 - Once pasta is cooked, drain.  Combine meat/veggie mixture with pasta.
Serve with Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

Linked to Mouthwatering Monday

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What's on the Menu Feb 21 - 26

What happens when 1/2 the family is hit with a lovely stomach bug AND you are making freezer room for 175 lbs. of Beef????  Sounds like the makings of a hysterically funny joke - but it wasn't, just life!  And that is why I have been vacant from posting any new yummy recipes!  I haven't been cooking!  Literally.  Saturday evening a week ago I prepared a delicious Italiano Fish dinner with linguine tossed with pesto and sundried tomatoes.  Served along side of a salad and steamed broccoli.  And Baklava for dessert.  That was the last meal in a week I prepared in it's entirety.  First part of the week, half of us were out of commission with a Stomach bug (YUCK!).  Then we literally ate meals from the freezer making room for a LOT of beef!  I freeze leftovers.  We dined on Tuscan Bean Soup, Meatloaf, Basmati Rice, Mashed potatoes, Peanut chicken, and many other dishes.  But we can now close the doors on our two refrigerator freezers and one chest freezer. So back to cooking we shall go this week!

Italian Style Goulash
Steamed Carrots

Crustless Spinach, Onion and Feta Cheese Quiche

Asian Glazed Drumsticks
Steamed Rice
Stir Fry Veggies

4-H Celebration night out

Beef Chimichangas
Black Beans

To be decided (leaning toward a fish dish)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baklava - A Greek Tradition

Baklava!  What a fun word to say!  Teen had a time giggling (as any 13 year old girl does, often!) as she said it over and over.  Add that with a 2 year old and 3 year spouting out "Baklava, Baklava" and you have a giggle fest over nothingness!
This dessert should be called "Food of the Gods".  Nuts layered with honey and pastry brushed with butter make this a heavenly bite!  And simply but WOW dish to present for company!  Simple enough to prepare with wrangling a fussy 2 year old, a whiny 3 year old and attempting to hold a conversation with out of town friends who were visiting for the day.
Trust me, the next grocery shopping trip, you should pick up some Fillo Dough.  You can find it in the freezer section near the frozen pie crusts and Cool  Whipped Topping. Then WOW your family!  Give your "Sweets" some sweet!


1/2 of the pack of Fillo Dough (most packages contain 2 wrapped rolls, you just need one)
1 stick Butter melted
3 1/2 cups Walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 Tsp Cinnamon
2 Tsp Allspice
1 cup Sugar

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup Honey
2 Cups sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tblspn  Lemon Juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix together Walnuts, Cinnamon, Allspice, and Sugar in a bowl.  This will be layered in the Fillo dough.  Set aside. 
Into a 9x12 casserole dish, layer one sheet of Fillo Dough.  Brush with melted butter.  Add an additional 8 layers of Fillo dough, brushing each layer with melted Butter.
Remember, Fillo dough is very forgiving.  If a sheet tears while you are layering, no worries.  If you would like, you can place a damp towel over the sheets of dough waiting in the wings for butter.  This will keep them from getting dried out.
On top of the 8th buttered sheet of dough, sprinkle 1/3 of the Walnut sugar mixture. 
Continue with 4 more sheets of Fillo Dough, buttering in between each one.
Add another 1/3 of the Walnut mixture.
Top with 4 more sheets of Fillo Dough, brushing again with melted butter.
Sprinkle last portion of Walnut Sugar mixture.
Top with 2 sheets of Fillo Dough, brushing in between with melted butter.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

While dough is baking, make syrup.  Combine water, honey, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice in pot.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat.

Once dough is cooked, remove from oven.  Allowing to cool for 5 minutes.  Cut Baklava with sharp knife.  Three cuts across the dough.  This is to allow the syrup to saturate throughout.  Pour syrup over all of the dough. 

Let sit for an hour before serving.  Delicious with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Sweet Tooth Friday

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sinful Fudge Chocolate Pie

Sinful.  That is how Big Guy described this pie tonight.  Absolutely sinful Fudge Chocolate Pie.  Made with Oreos (or in this case, Joe Joe's from Trader Joes), chocolate chips, powdered sugar, Whipped Topping (like Cool Whip) and a smidge of melted butter.  That's it!
If you are looking for a punch of chocolate, this pie is guaranteed to give it.  Enjoy!

Fudge Chocolate Pie
12 Oreos, crushed
2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
12 oz bag chocolate chips
1 container of Cool Whip, thawed
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Crush oreos.  For me, this is easiest done in a Ziploc bag.  Makes a mess, why not be able to toss the mess?  Crush the oreo cookies - by hand, beat them with a spoon, get your frustrations of the day out!  End result should look like this

Mix melted with crushed cookies.  This will make the crust.  Press into a pie dish.
Melt chocolate chips in microwave safe dish.  Start with one minute, stir.  Add an additional minute if needed till smooth. 
Add thawed Cool Whip and blend together.

If the coolness of the Cool Whip begins to harden the chocolate again, pop mixture back into the microwave for a few seconds - start with 30.  You are just wanting to bring the temperature of the chocolate back up so it blends smoothly.
Add powdered sugar and blend together with the chocolate.
Once completely smooth, pour over crushed cookies.  Let sit in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours. Enjoy!

Shared at Foodie Friday

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Taste of Tuscany - Tuscan Bean Soup

Tuscan Bean Soup - this dish was beyond amazing!  Adding more vegetables and less meat to our diets have been the goal.  And this meal was a WINNER!  Every spoonful was full of carrots, celery, kidney beans, northern beans and garbanzo beans.  Add a few slices of cooked, crisp bacon for the Big Guy and everyone was a happy camper!
I adapted this recipe from A Southerners Notebook and added the convenience of the crockpot!  Hope you enjoy!
Tuscan Bean Soup

1/2 cup dried Kidney Beans (soaked overnight) or 1 14 oz can, drained
1/2 cup dried Northern Beans (soaked overnight) or 1 14 oz can, drained
1 14 oz can Garbanzo Beans
1 small onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can Tomato Paste
5 slices cooked Bacon
1 Tablespoon Oregano
1 Tablespoon Basil
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1 Tablespoon Parsley
4 cups Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Cook Dried, Soaked Beans in pot with water 1 in over beans.  Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer for 45 min.  If using canned, no need to do this step.
In the crock pot, add drained beans (Kidney, Northern, Garbanzo).  Heat olive oil in skillet to medium heat.  Add celery, onion, and carrots.  Cook in pan for about 10 minutes on medium heat.  Add to beans in crockpot.  Cook bacon till crisp.  Allow to cool.  Break into small pieces and add to crockpot.
Combine the mixture with chicken stock, tomato paste,  herbs, salt and pepper.  Stir.  Cook on low for 6 hours, high for 3.
When serving, top with Parmesan Cheese.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sweet Sausage and Red Pepper Pizza - Jazzing it Up!

Pizza is one of those easy to make foods that you can custom and make your own!  And make it so tasty!  This pizza was featured in a recent "Shape" magazine.  When I saw it, I ripped the recipe out!  Sausage, peppers and onions are a guaranteed hit for me!
The recipe called for store made pizza dough.  I had a packet of Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast on hand.  This is a super easy recipe - no need to take the time to rise.  Mix, knead, and roll it out - how simple is that!

Sweet Sausage and Red Pepper Pizza

Pizza Crust (I used Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast and followed the directions)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 links of Sweet Italian Sausage, casings removed
1/2 Red pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 Red onion, sliced into strips
1/3 cup pizza sauce
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons of cornmeal for crust

Heat skillet over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Brown sausage in skillet.  Break apart as it is cooking.  Once browned, remove from skillet and wipe/drain oil from skillet. 
Add sliced onions and peppers.  Heat over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring to prevent scorching.

After peppers and onions have sauteed for several minutes, add sausage back.  Turn off heat.
Dust pizza pan with cornmeal.  Roll out pizza dough to spread over the pizza pan.  Bake crust for 5 minutes at 400 Degrees.  
Add pizza sauce after crust has baked for 5 minutes.

Top sauce with peppers, onions, sausage and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for an additional 10-14 minutes till cheese is melted and bubbly.

TastyTuesday200pix Which Brands Can You Not Live Without?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Menu for Week of Feb 6 - 12

Starting the week with Super Bowl Party Food and Ending with a Dinner Party with Family and Friends!  What a week this is going to be!

Party Time!!!!  Rotel Dip with corn chips, Sweet Sausage and Red Pepper Pizza, Smothered Meatballs, Veggie Dip (with Veggies of course), and Date Balls

Marinated Chicken in Pitas with Tzatziki Sauce
Cut Veggies

Fried and Broiled Fish
Sweet and White Roasted Potatoes
Cole Slaw
Roasted Cauliflower

Tuscan Bean Soup

Lamb Chops
Wild Rice
Steamed Broccoli
Steamed Carrots

Garden Fresh Frittata

Boeuf Bourguinon
Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Green Beans
Bread from Old Salem

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Rum Cake with a Twist of Banana

WARNING!  Do not make this cake if you are on a diet!  One cup of BUTTER and Two cups of SUGAR - and that's just in the CAKE!  Not to mention the glazing!
But with that warning, this is a fabulous cake!  So easy, delicious and even better the next day!
Most recipes for Rum Cake call for a box of cake mix as a base.  I did not have a box of cake mix in my pantry and truly did not wish to make a run to the grocery store.  That would have involved loosing precious "naptime" and if you are a mom of little ones, you know those few hours when all is quiet in the house.  In those precious hours, so much can be accomplished.  A run to the grocery store would have ruined that for me.  So I adapted and searched the internet.  The winning recipe was just as easy!

Golden Rum Cake (with a Twist of Banana)

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk*
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup Creme de Banana OR 1/4 cup of Rum

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup Creme de Banana OR 1/3 cup of Rum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray bundt pan with cooking spray.
Cream together butter and sugar.  Once smooth, add eggs, one at a time mixing well.

In a separate dish, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt together.

Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately with creamed butter and eggs.  Stir in vanilla extract and Rum or Creme de Banana.

***SIDE NOTE***  If you do not have Buttermilk in the fridge, no need to worry.  This works in baking recipes - trust me, I never keep Buttermilk.  Simply pour your milk and add 1 tsp of vinegar.  Let sit for a few moments to "sour".  1 tsp per 1 cup of milk.

Pour batter into bundt pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Make glaze once you pull the cooked cake out of the oven.  Poke tons of holes all throw the top of the cake.  I would suggest using a fork for the majority of the holes but also a cake tester to make some deeper holes.  The more holes, the better the glaze can absorb.

To make Glaze, melt butter and sugar together.  Blend till smooth over medium heat.  Add Rum or Creme de Banana.  Heat thoroughly for 3 minutes.

Pour heated glaze over cake.  Allow to set till cool so glaze can set through the cake.  Even better if can be made the day before.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Olive Garden Watch Out! Zuppa Toscana Soup at Home

Show Stopper!  That was what Big Guy called our dinner of Zuppa Toscana.  It truly was fabulous!  I have never had a bowl of Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden but have heard many rave about it!  This recipe would stand up to it - and WIN!  It is THAT good!  Sausage, Bacon, Potatoes with Kale - what an awesome, mouth watering combination!
The Potatoes in this soup cooked in chicken broth make a creamy base that is so filling, a bowl and a half and that was my dinner!  Warm and full belly for a cold winter's night!

Recipe adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice for a little bit healthier version.

Zuppa Toscana
4 Slices of Bacon
1 pound Turkey Sausage or Italian Sausage
1 Medium Onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons minced garlic
4 cups Chicken Broth
4 medium size Yukon Gold Potatoes, cubed
1 cup Skim Milk
2 cups (loosely measured) Kale, chopped into bite size pieces
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook Bacon till Crisp.  Remove from pan.  Drain grease.  Remove sausage from casings and brown in pan.  I used Turkey Breakfast Sausage links (they were on sale - shhhh!)  Worked great!
Crumble sausage as it is cooking for bite size pieces.  After browned, place cooked sausage in larger stock pot.  Add chopped onion.  Cook till translucent.
Stir often.  Add Garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.
Add Chicken Broth and Potatoes.  Cook about 20 minutes over Medium Heat till Potatoes are just cooked. 

Beautiful Kale - I love that this recipe calls for such a pretty veggie!  Add one cup milk and chopped Kale to potato mixture.  Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.  Salt and Pepper to taste.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower - Take it up a notch!

Cauliflower - not the most exciting vegetable.  Often gets overlook.  It's most recent claim to fame has probably been the non-carb version of mashed potatoes using Mashed Cauliflower. But Roasted Cauliflower really made it a show stopping side for me!  And again, so easy!
Roasting vegetables is ideal for my cooking.  Prep them, place veggies on a pan into a hot oven and let them roast for 30-45 minutes.  And the flavor roasting brings out in a vegetable - just takes it to a whole new level!
Roasting Cauliflower is super easy but will give you tons of flavor!

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower (I used 1/2 for our side dish)
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Italian herbs

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut cauliflower into bite size chunks.  Toss with olive oil, garlic and herbs.

Place on baking dish and roast in oven for 30-35 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.