Monday, December 26, 2011

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Well Christmas has past and we are almost ready to start a new year. I hope everyone had a very merry and relaxing Christmas.

My husband helped me plan are dinner menu for this week because he wanted something specific for New Year's Eve dinner.

My plan for next year is to have better images and more healthy recipes for you.

Happy New Year to all of you!

Our Dinner Menu

Monday - Green Eggs and Ham with Toast and Fruit Salad

Tuesday - Crock Pot Pumpkin Chili with Honey Cornbread Muffins

Wednesday - Pasta with Olives, Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Homemade Breadsticks

Thursday - Ham and Spinach Rolls with a Side Salad

Friday - Tuna Burgers, Tater Tots and Green Beans

Saturday - Shrimp Kabobs, Risotto, and Steamed Broccoli

Sunday - Pressure- Cooker Chicken (Whole), Roasted Vegetables and Black-Eyed Peas

*I received a pressure cooker for Christmas so I am excited about using it for the first time this week.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Italian Beef Wraps

I don't know if many of you know this, but I am a super thrifty shopper, especially when it comes to grocery shopping. In my travels I came across a half priced piece of beef roast.

Since I had this roast on hand it was now time to search for recipes for pot roast. I stumbled across a couple of recipes for crock pot roast. I know my kids will not eat crock pot roast by itself, so I decided to put it into whole wheat tortillas and make a wrap.

These wraps were so simple and an absolute treat. I will now be adding them to our family favorite recipes.

Italian Beef Wraps


2-3 lbs Chuck roast beef
1/2 Good Seasoning Italian mix package
2 Tbsp beef broth
2 Tbsp Ken's herb & garlic marinade (optional)
1 Tsp pepper
Whole wheat tortillas
Sour cream
Diced tomatoes
1/2 Cup shredded cheese (cheddar, colby-jack or mexican)

Place roast in crock pot and cover roast with Italian mix, beef broth and marinade. Cook for 6-8 hours on low.

Shred beef and place a small amount in each tortilla. Top with sour cream, tomatoes, and cheese.

Roll tortilla tight and place on a hot skillet. Brown on each side. Cut in half and serve.

I served these tortillas with a side salad.

*Since my husband and I love spicy food we also topped our tortillas with jalapenos.

Grandma's Pecan Pie

A friend of mine asked me to post a recipe for Pecan Pie. Although, I usually try to keep things somewhat healthy on this blog, I had to make an exception for Grandma's Pecan Pie.

My mom is bringing this same Pecan Pie to our Christmas gathering on Sunday. My mouth is watering right now to taste it. I don't think I have had it since last year.

I hope you enjoy it!

Grandma's Pecan Pie


3 Eggs, slightly beaten
1 Cup dark corn syrup
1/4 Cup sugar
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tsp vanilla
1 1/2-2 Cups pecan, crushed or broken (My mom says she uses 2 cups, but my grandma insists on 1 1/2 cups - you decide)
1 Deep dish pie crust (9-inch)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine all ingredients and put into pie crust. Cook for about 40-50 minutes. This time may vary quite a bit depending on your oven so keep checking the pie. If you tap the center of the pie very lightly it should spring back. It will completely set after cooling.

*Tip - If the edges of the pie crust are browning more than you like you may over them with aluminum foil.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pineapple Stuffing

My mother-in-law makes this incredible Pineapple Stuffing that I am dying to share with all of you. It goes perfectly paired with Christmas ham.

A few years ago I made it for my family for Christmas and they thought it was fantastic.

If you get a chance to make this delightful recipe I would love to know what you think.

Pineapple Stuffing


4 Cups bread cubes (use white or wheat)
1/2 Cup butter, melted
1 Cup sugar (I usually use 3/4 of a cup instead)
4 Eggs, beaten
1 Cup milk
1 Large can crushed pineapple, undrained (I think it is the 20 oz can)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix everything together and bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes or top is slightly brown.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Since this week is a rather busy time for most of us, I figured I would not make too many new recipes, but stick with some old family favorites.

With Christmas approaching I hope you will take the time to rest and enjoy family and friends, as well as reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Monday - Chicken Tacos with Mexican Rice and Peas (I did decrease the salt to 3/4 tsp)

Tuesday - Tuna Balls, Homemade Fries, and Mustard Greens

- Vegetarian Tortilla Casserole

Thursday - Italian Beef Wraps with a Salad

- Homemade Pizza

- Spinach Eggs with Bacon, Wheat Toast and Clementines

- Honey Ham, Pineapple Stuffing and Beer Braised Collard Greens - these collard greens were the best I have ever had. My entire southern family thought so too.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Carrot Satay Soup - Crock Pot

After reading a favorite food blog of mine I became interested in Marscapone cheese. I set out to the grocery store and purchased it in hopes that I would find a savory recipe that I could incorporate it into.

After using half of my container of Mascarpone to make Twice Baked Potato Casserole, I still had the other half that I could use for another recipe.

I searched the internet for savory recipes that might include Mascarpone. I found Carrot Satay Soup on and loved the ingredients. The fact that I could use my crock pot was just an added bonus.

This recipe was a huge success! It is a delight to your taste buds and the toasted sesame seeds give it a nutty crunch.

The only change I made to this recipe is that I used 2 cups of chicken broth and 1 cup of vegetable broth. Next time I think I will use 3 cups of vegetable broth instead of chicken since it costs me less.

I will rewrite the recipe below for your convenience, but it can also be found here.

Carrot Satay Soup


3 Cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 Cups carrots , sliced
1 Cup onion , chopped
1/2 Cup celery , chopped
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Garlic cloves , minced
2 Tsp gingerroot , grated
1/2 Tsp salt
1/8 Tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 Cup Mascarpone cheese , softened
3 Tbsp peanut butter , smooth
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Toasted sesame seeds

Combine the first nine ingredients in a crock pot and cook for 5-6 hours on low or until vegetables are tender.

Add Mascarpone, peanut butter and soy sauce and heat through.

Transfer to food processor and pulse until smooth.

Place in individual bowls, topped with toasted sesame seeds and serve with Naan.

*You may also cook on high in the crock pot for 2-3 hours if you are pressed for time.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mexican Salad

A friend of mine gave me a recipe for Mexican Salad that has become such a family favorite that I had to share it.

This Mexican Salad has just the right amount of kick to excite your taste buds. After trying bites of the cucumber and celery in the salad I was able to get my youngest son to eat a couple of the tomatoes too (which are not his favorite).

I used the vegetables I had on hand, but this salad is pretty versatile so you can use whatever vegetables your family likes.

Mexican Salad


1 Ripe tomato, chopped
1 Cucumber, remove seeds and cut into bite-size chunks
1/2 medium red onion, chopped (I used white instead)
1 Bell pepper, red or green, cut into bite-size chunks (I did not have a pepper so I left it out)
1 Rib celery, chopped
1/2 Jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (I left out because of the kids)
1 Tbsp cilantro or fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 Tsp hot sauce
1/2 Tsp cumin
The juice of 1 lime
1-2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine vegetables in bowl. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley. Dress salad with hot sauce, lime juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss salad and adjust seasonings to taste.

Great side dish with tacos or quesadillas.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

My kids do not like potatoes, unless they are sweet potatoes. I can not get them to eat mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, or baked potatoes. They will however eat french fries, baked or fried.

Well Saturday night I decided to change our menu plan because I found two ribeyes on sale for $8. I think potatoes go super well with steak, so I was determined to put together something with potatoes that my kids would eat.

I came up with Twice Baked Potato Casserole because it had some of their favorite items, cheese and bacon. I have tried twice baked potatoes in their own peeling which did not go over well at all.

The verdict for the Twice Baked Potato Casserole; my husband, myself and oldest son loved it, but my youngest still was not impressed. I think that is a win because three year olds are just incredibly picky anyway.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole


2 1/2 lbs Red potatoes, diced (I left the skin on)
4 oz Mascarpone or cream cheese
1/2 Cup fat-free sour cream
4 Tbsp Bestlife butter
1/3 Cup of skim milk
1 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup cheddar cheese
4 Slices of bacon (cooked and chopped)
1 Tbsp green onions (optional)

Boil potatoes in water until you can pierce a fork through them.

Mash potatoes with a potato masher. Add cheeses, sour cream, butter, milk, salt, and bacon.

Cook at 350° for 20-30 minutes or until lightly brown on top.

Top with green onions if desired.

Our Dinner Menu Plan

While trimming the tree, and wrapping gifts I hope you still have time to make your menu plans for the week. Don't let all the rushing around cause you get off track.

We are having some pretty simple, flavorful menu items for our dinner plan. Maybe you can give one of our items a try.

I plan to post a few new recipes this week, but most of the ones listed below are our family favorites.

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Monday - White Turkey Chili with Cornbread

Tuesday - Baked Ziti (Meatless) with Parmesan Broccoli

Wednesday - Baked Potato Soup and Fruit

Thursday - Chicken Quesadilla and Mexican Salad

Friday - Cheeseburgers, Tater Tots, and Green Beans

Saturday - Carrot Satay Soup with a Side Salad and Bread

Sunday - Leftovers

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tomato Shells Soup with Spinach

People who do not even like to cook can whip up this recipe for Tomato Shells Soup with Spinach in a matter of minutes.

Impress your family, by making them think you slaved hours over the stove preparing this soup.

Say you do like to cook, well some days you just don't have time to prepare an elaborate dinner or maybe your feeling a little under the weather.

Whatever the situation may be Tomato Shells Soup with Spinach is a simple dinner or lunch that will warm your heart and your belly.

Tomato Shells Soup with Spinach


4 Cups chicken or vegetable broth (I used homemade vegetable broth)
2 1/2 Cups tomato juice
1 Tsp oregano
2 Cups shells or alphabet pasta
1-2 Cups chopped spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan (optional)

Combine broth and tomato juice in a large stockpot. Heat until boiling. Add pasta and oregano and cook according to directions on pasta box. Add spinach on the last minute of cooking.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in individual bowls, topped with grated parmesan and a slice of your favorite fresh bread.

Crock Pot Chicken & Stuffing

If you did not get enough turkey and stuffing for Thanksgiving, then I have the perfect recipe for you.

Not only is this recipe simple and delicious, but it reminds me of the holiday season.

Things tend to get pretty rushed around this time of year. You can still have a great hearty, comforting meal without all the hassle by using your crock pot.

Crock Pot Chicken & Stuffing


1 Package herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1 Celery stalk, chopped
1/2 Onion, chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Cups broth or water (I used vegetable broth)
1 Hard boiled egg, chopped (optional)
4 to 6 Boneless chicken breasts or thighs (I used thighs because that is what I had on hand)
1 Can cream of chicken soup
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter in a medium saucepan at medium heat. Add celery and onion. Cook until translucent.

Add broth or water and heat to a boil. Remove from heat and add stuffing mix. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

Add chopped egg if using and about 1/4 cup of cream of chicken soup. Stir to combine.

Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Place prepared stuffing on the bottom of crock pot. Add chicken. Here is where I added a few dashes of pepper. Cover chicken with the remaining cream of chicken soup.

Cook for about 5-7 hours on low.

I served this with canned green beans and a fresh roll.

*Sorry I was unable to get pictures of the chicken & stuffing. It was a hectic night and the kids were so hungry that it slipped my mine.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Smoked Sausage with Almond Cream Pasta

Do you ever have one of those days when you just can't focus? That is what happened to me when I started making this Smoked Sausage with Almond Cream recipe.

I ended up not really following much of the original recipe, but only by mistake. The good news is that it turned out great and the kids loved it.

This recipe reminds me of Carbonara, with the use of the eggs and the parmesan. Carbonara is a family favorite that was introduced to us from my sister-in-law after visiting Italy for a month.

Smoked Sausage with Almond Cream Pasta


1 lb Pasta of your choice (I used angel hair)
2 Garlic cloves, minced
8 oz Frozen or no salt canned peas
1 Tbsp olive oil
14 oz Smoked Sausage, sliced (I used Creta Farms)
1 Small green or red pepper
1/2 Cup silvered almonds (I forgot to toast them so you may toast them if you like)
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 Cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp pepper

Heat a large pot of water to boiling, add some salt and garlic. Cook according to pasta instructions. Add peas the last minute or two of cooking.

While pasta is cooking add olive oil to skillet and heat to medium. Add smoked sausage and green pepper and cook for about 5 minutes. You just want to get a little brown on the sausage.

In a food processor, grind almonds and 1/2 cup of water until creamy.

Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl, stir in almond cream, parmesan, salt and pepper.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Add almond mixture and stir to coat, allowing the heat from the pasta to cook the eggs.

Add smoked sausage mixture and continue to stir.

Serve with a fresh salad and/or bread.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Two weeks ago I was sick with some kind of sinus/allergy problem. Well, today it looks like I am sick again, but this time it seems to be much worse.

Since I am not feeling well, I thought it would be best to keep our dinner menu simple and easy. The recipes I have selected are some of our hassle-free favorites.

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Monday - Crock pot Chicken & Stuffing with Green Beans

Tuesday - Tomato Shells Soup with Spinach and Fresh Bread

Wednesday - Refried Beans, Rice, Wholly Guacamole and Cooked Bananas

Thursday - Homemade Chicken Nuggets, Tater Tots and Carrots

Friday - Cheese Tortilla Pizza and Fruit Salad

Saturday - Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches with Broccoli Mac 'n' Cheese and Spinach Chips

Sunday - Leftovers

*I will try and post recipes for these menu items throughout the week. These are all subject to change.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

My husband and I were talking about how we have never had Chicken Cacciatore. I don't know why it popped into my head that this was the week I was going to make it for the first time.

I did a little research to understand exactly what ingredients make Chicken Cacciatore. It is usually prepared with green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and herbs. In Northern Italy they make Cacciatore with red wine and Southern Italy makes it with white wine.

Traditionally, Chicken Cacciatore is braised, but I decided to use my trusty crock pot. I told you how much I love my crock pot, right?

I hope you enjoy my take on Chicken Cacciatore.

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore


3 Large frozen chicken breasts (more if your crockpot will hold them)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Medium onion, sliced in strips
1 Large green pepper, sliced in strips
1 Package of fresh mushrooms
1 Carrot, shredded
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 28 oz Can crushed tomatoes (I used the fresh roma tomatoes I canned over the summer)
1-2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Tsp Parsley
2 Tbsp fresh basil (I frozen fresh basil over the summer in ice cubes with a touch of olive oil)
2 Tbsp red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Couple shakes of red pepper (optional)

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and carrot. Cook until vegetables are soft. Add garlic and spices and cook for an additional minute.

Add tomato paste and stir to combine with vegetables. Once combined add crushed tomatoes. Add red wine and stir.

Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Salt and pepper chicken and add to crock pot.

Add sauce to the crock pot to cover the chicken.

Cook on low for 5-7 hours.

Serve over your favorite pasta and a side of fresh bread. Enjoy!

*If sauce is too thick add some water. If it is too thin add more tomato paste.