Sunday, September 30, 2012

Our Dinner Menu Plan

What a crazy week it has been!  I thought when my kids started to get older things would get a little calmer, boy was I wrong.  I can't be the only person that feels this way, right?

Anyway, I did manage to come up with our dinner menu plan for the week, but I have to say that we are not trying anything new this week.  I figured I would serve a lot of our easy favorites.

I hope you have a fantastic week!

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Monday - Refried Beans and Rice, Homemade Chips and Salsa and Cooked Bananas

Tuesday - Pesto Pasta with Spinach and Bread

Wednesday - Homemade Chicken Nuggets, Tater Tots, and Green Beans

Thursday - Crab Cakes, Mac 'n' Cheese and Side Salad

Friday - Garlic Bok Choy Noodles, Edamame and Egg Drop Soup

Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - Family Choice

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

Flourless Chocolate Zucchini Brownies
Let me start out by saying that these brownies are addictive.  That is if you can get past the texture part of the brownie.  My kids and I loved these brownies, but my husband could not get past the spongy texture.  They are definitely different from ordinary flour brownies, but a healthy alternative for sure.

I found the original recipe for these Flourless Zucchini Brownies on the food blog Delighted Momma.  I did make some changes to the recipe based on what I had on hand.  

Flourless Chocolate Zucchini Brownies


1/2 Cup natural peanut butter
1 1/2 Cups peeled, shredded and chopped zucchini
1/3 Cup molasses
1 Egg
1 Tsp vanilla
1 Tsp baking soda
1 Tsp cinnamon
1/2 Tsp nutmeg
1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix everything together.

Pour into a greased 8x8 baking pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Fall Trees
Welcome to Fall!
This week we are going to continue trying more recipes from Skinny Taste.  We have really enjoyed her recipes so far and it makes meal planning much easier for the week.

I also found an interesting recipe for flourless zucchini brownies that I hope to post for you this week as well.  My husband keeps asking me to make him something sweet and chocolatey, hopefully he will like the zucchini brownies.  Stay tuned and I will let you know.

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Monday - Southwestern Crock Pot Beef over a bed of lettuce, topped with taco sauce and fat free sour cream.

Tuesday - Garlic Bok Choy Noodles, Edamame and Egg Drop Soup

Wednesday - Baked Chicken Parmesan, Creamed Spinach, and Rolls

Thursday - Cilantro Lime Shrimp over Rice, Skinny Taste Brussel Sprouts and Vanilla Pudding

Friday - Homemade Pizza and Fruit

Saturday - Turkey Sausage, Eggs, Toast and Fruit

Sunday - Free Choice Day

Bacon Broccoli Corn Chowder

Bacon Broccoli Corn Chowder
It is getting a little cooler around here and the first thing I think of when it gets cold is soup.  It is so versatile and everybody tends to eat it, even my four year old.

The Weight Watchers site has some really great recipes.  I came across a recipe for Canadian Bacon, Broccoli and Corn Chowder and thought we should give it a try.  I know this probably changes the Weight Watchers points, but I had to use bacon instead of Canadian bacon because that is what I had on hand.  

Here is my not as healthy, but still delicious version of Bacon Broccoli Corn Chowder.

Bacon Broccoli Corn Chowder


3-4 Green onions, sliced
3-4 Slices of low-sodium bacon
12-16 oz Bag of frozen broccoli or fresh
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 Cups fat free milk
15 oz Can of corn or fresh
1/2 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp pepper
1/2 Cup reduced fat cheddar cheese

Heat strips of bacon in a large pot.  Once bacon is crispy remove to drain on paper towels.  Also properly dispose of most of the bacon grease, leaving about a tablespoon.  

Toss green onions into the pot and cook on medium low.  

If using frozen broccoli, thaw in microwave.  Once thawed add to pot and continue to cook until broccoli is tender.

Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook for an additional minute, stirring continually.  Gradually stir in the milk.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the corn, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat and add cheddar cheese.  Stir until is is melted and completely combined.  Serve in individual bowls.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Our Dinner Menu Plan

We are approaching our family's favorite time of the season when apples are ready for picking.  My oldest son has already asked me when I will be making apple pie.  I actually have a very good low-fat recipe for apple pie that I am happy to share with you.  I can't decide if I want to make a whole apple pie or individual ramekin pies....hum?

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Monday - Bacon, Broccoli and Corn Chowder (recipe coming) with Corn Muffins

Tuesday - Tortilla Casserole (recipe coming soon) with Okra

Wednesday - Spinach and Tomato Pasta with a Side Salad

Thursday - Turkey Sausage Sandwiches with French Fries and Green Beans

Friday - Homemade Pizza with Carrots

Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - Soup and Grilled Cheese (Yes I will serving canned soup because we have Awanas)

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Peas with Ham

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Peas with Ham
As I mentioned in my previous post I have fallen in love with a new food blog called Skinny Taste.  It not only has healthy meals, but tasty ones too.  

Last night we tried the recipe for Slow Cooker Black Eyed Peas with Ham and it was delightful.  I made just a few minor changes based on what I had on hand and I also served it with whole wheat drop biscuits.

My personal preference would be to add a few more jalapenos next time because we like things spicy, but other than that I thought this dish was superb.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Recently, I have fallen in love with a wonderful food blog called Skinnytaste.  Our family has tried a few of her recipes and this week I am going to try four more.  Don't you just love trying new things?

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Monday - Tuna Cakes, Baked Okra (fresh from my garden), and Mac 'n' Cheese (Annie's was on sale for $1 last week so I bought several - my four year old loves it)

Tuesday - Cuban Picadillo with Tostones and Fresh Carrot Slices

Thursday - Chicken Parmigiana Burgers (Using Trader Joe's Chicken Burgers), Nathan's Crinkle Cut Fries (I got these for $1 so I could not pass it up) and Broccoli with Cheese

Friday - Slow Cooker Black Eyed Peas with Ham over Rice, Cucumbers in Vinegar, and Low Fat Crescent Rolls (leftover from last week's crab spirals)

Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Celery Sticks and Pretzels

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Our dinner menu for the week is going to seem rather basic because we have a lot of night time activities.  I also did not do a lot of planning because we were out of town last week and I have been a little under the weather the last few days.

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Monday - Pesto Pasta with Spinach, Caprese Salad, and Fresh Bread

Wednesday - Roast Beef or Turkey Sandwiches, Carrots, and Pretzels

Thursday - Salisbury Steak, Mac n Cheese with Spinach, Green Peas and Chocolate Pudding

Friday - BLT Sandwiches, Okra and Red Potatoes

Saturday - Salad with Chicken

Sunday - Grilled Pizza and Fresh Fruit

Monday, August 20, 2012

Our Dinner Menu Plan

My oldest son attends a year round school so technically we are on vacation until the middle of September.  I am going to post this weeks dinner plan and then I will take a brief break to spend quality time with the boys.

What are you serving for dinner this week?  (Please post in the comments section)

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Monday - Carolina Crab Cakes (loved this recipe - it has no mayo), Fried Okra, and Bunny Mac 'n' Cheese

*My husband caught 28 blue crabs at the beach this past weekend.  He spent about 4 hours removing the meat and boy were these crab cakes good!!)

Tuesday - Teriyaki Pork Chops, Rice and Mixed Greens

Wednesday - Healthier Version of Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo (use fat-free milk - recipe does not state) with Tomato Salad and Bread

Thursday - Refried Beans, Brown Rice and Side Salad

Friday - Pumpkin Waffles or Pancakes (I have not decided just yet), Bacon and Fruit Salad

Saturday - Pesto Pasta with Spinach and Bread

Sunday - Tacos, Spanish Rice, Side Salad and Banana Parfait

Crock Pot Quinoa Casserole

Crock Pot Quinoa Casserole
I am sure you have heard me talk about this before, but each week I try to prepare at least 2-3 vegetarian dinner meals.  I believe it can sometimes be cheaper and healthier, plus it brings us out of our comfort zone.

I came across a recipe for Crock Pot Quinoa Casserole and thought it sounded easy (I love easy), and healthy, plus it met the requirements for vegetarian night.  I did add garbanzo beans, as she suggested, to make it a little heartier.   I also added peanuts in the last 30 minutes of cooking, instead of almonds.

I really loved this dish, but my kids did not.  My husband said it was okay, but would be great with chicken (ha, ha).  I think that would officially take it out of the vegetarian category, don't you think?

You should really give this Crock Pot Quinoa Casserole a try if you are up for trying something new.  It would make an awesome side dish too!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

End of Summer Soup

End of Summer Soup
This week has been crock pot week for us.  I tried to find new recipes, vegetarian and non-vegetarian, that would be a great fit for my family.

Remember the lady that cooked in her crock pot every night of the week for an entire year?  Well, I have used some of her recipes in the past and thought I would give another one a try.

End of Summer soup sounded like a good way to incorporate lots of vegetables and perfect for vegetarian night.  I did make quite a few changes to the original recipe, like adding eggplant instead of squash, carrots instead of zucchini, okra and fresh herbs such as basil and parsley.  My family thought this soup was just okay.  I may have changed it too much from the original. 

It is definitely an easy soup to make and cook all day long.  I would give it another try, but stick with the original.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chocolate Cheerio Treats

Chocolate Cheerio Treats
As you all know I LOVE chocolate.  The other day I really wanted a snack with some chocolate, but of course, we did not have any.  I decided to put some things together to make these super chocolatey treats.

Sorry to say that I did not measure anything so please feel free to change the ingredients according to your tastes.  Next time I make this I think I will put less sugar and less honey.

Chocolate Cheerio Treats


*Measurements below are estimates

1/4-1/2 Cup Honey
1/4-1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1/4-1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolates
Handful of small marshmallows
3 - 3 1/2 Cups Regular Cheerios

Melt honey, sugar, peanut butter, chocolate and marshmallows in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.  

Once completely melted remove from heat and add cheerios.  Stir to combine completely.

Press into a 9 x 13 pan and let cool.  If you like your chocolate treats a little thicker press into a 9 x 9 pan instead. 

Once cooled, cut into squares and enjoy!

Our Dinner Menu Plan

End of Summer Bounty

Our dinner menu plan is not 100% complete because we have weekend plans.  Therefore our weekend meals will be based on what my parents chose.  Sometimes it's great not to have all the meal planning pressure :-)

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Monday - Bacon Pesto Pasta with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Side Salad

Tuesday - End of Summer Crock Pot Soup with Fresh Bread

Wednesday - Crock Pot Garlic Honey Chicken (this is already made, just need to throw it into the crock pot) with Roasted Asparagus and Corn

Thursday - Crock Pot Quinoa Casserole with Garlic Bread and Bruschetta 

Have a blessed week!

Crock Pot Swiss Steak with Onions and Peppers

I will add a picture of the completed recipe as soon as I can :-)

The crock pot is a great cooking device to use at any time.  I think the summer is just as good as any to use the crock pot and conserve electricity.  No need to get your kitchen hot and cause your air conditioner to work overtime.

This recipe for Crock Pot Swiss Steak is a favorite in our house.  Sometimes I compile all the ingredients and place it in a freezer bag and freeze for a later day.  You then remove the freezer bag, cut it open and place in the crock pot.  (If your crock pot is on the smaller size, you would need to place in two smaller freezer bags or thaw ahead of time to ensure it would fit into the crock pot).

Crock Pot Swiss Steak with Onions and Peppers


4-6 Cube steaks (depending on your family's size and the size of the steaks)
1 Large onion, sliced
1 Large green pepper, sliced
1 Can healthy request cream of mushroom soup
1/4 Cup water
Pepper to taste

Place steaks in crock pot and cover with onions and peppers.  

Combine soup, water and pepper.  Top steaks with soup mixture.

Cook on low for 4-5 hours.  It is okay if you cook these longer, as long as it is on low, because these steaks will become more tender the longer they cook.

I served these over mashed potatoes and a side of green beans.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cucumbers in Vinegar

Cucumbers in Apple Cider Vinegar

This may seem kind of weird to post about something so simple like cucumbers and vinegar, but I think it gets forgotten sometimes.

You may say "this is not a healthy side dish". Well let me tell you about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.  Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can lower blood glucose levels, cholesterol, blood pressure and may slow the growth of cancer cells.  Who knew, right?

My kids really love cucumbers with apple cider vinegar and yours may too.

Cucumbers in Vinegar


1-2 Large cucumbers (depending on your family size), peeled (optional) and chopped
Enough apple cider vinegar to almost cover the cucumbers
Fresh ground pepper according to taste
Salt (optional)
1-2 Tbsp water (optional - it will reduce the strong flavor of the vinegar)

Mix all ingredients together and serve.  You may also put in the refrigerator to let the flavors marinate until you are ready to serve.

* My mom said that adding fresh tomatoes and onions is also a great twist to this classic.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Story of the Oven Mitt

Destroy Nate Allen Recipe Oven Mitt
Have you ever cooked a meal that turned out to be a complete disaster?  Of course you have!  I think everybody has at some point.

Well,  a hip and funky folk band called Destroy Nate Allen, came through our area this week and one of their songs called "Recipe" is about a meal disaster (named appropriately).  It truly is one of the funniest songs, maybe because I have had to many disasters in the kitchen myself.

Here is the oven mitt I purchased, modeled by oldest son, to go along with the song .  I totally love the hot pink, what you think?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Sorry to say that I most make this blog post very short.  My husband is sick with a stomach virus so things around our house today are crazy.  I did come up with our dinner menu plan and should stick with it unless God forbid someone else gets sick.

I hope all of you have an awesome week!

Our Dinner Menu

Monday - Hummus Pizza with Feta, Tomatoes and Black Olives and a Side of Fresh Carrots

Tuesday - Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken with Israel Couscous and Green Beans

Wednesday - Frito Chili Pie and Side of Roasted Asparagus

Thursday - Falafel Balls in Pita Bread and Cucumbers in Apple Cider Vinegar

Friday - Crock Pot Swiss Steak with Peppers and Onions, Mashed Potatoes and Peas

Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - Grilled Asian Chicken, Rice and Tomato Salad

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pork Tenderloins with Rice and Country Gravy

Pork Tenderloins with Rice and Country Gravy
The picture for these Pork Tenderloins did not come out exactly as I would have liked.  These tenderloins were much more appetizing than the picture makes them appear.  

The original recipe was found in Patti LaBelle's cookbook and I tweaked it based on our families likes and dislikes.  

This dish was definitely a comfort meal.  Enjoy!

Pork Tenderloins with Rice and Country Gravy


1 1/2 lbs Pork or turkey tenderloins, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Tsp Mrs. Dash
1 1/2 Tbsp margarine or butter
1 Onion, chopped
1 Celery stalk, chopped
1 Carrot, chopped
1 Garlic clove, minced
1 Uncle Ben's box rice (preferably 10 min variety), serving size 4
1 Can healthy request cream of mushroom
1/2 Cup fat-free half and half
1/2-1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 Tsp pepper

Season the tenderloins with Mrs. Dash and pepper.  

Melt butter in a large deep skillet.  Add the tenderloins, onions, celery, and carrots.  Cook until the meat is almost done and the vegetables are tender, about 10 mins. (flip tenderloin pieces after 5 mins.)

Remove the tenderloins and vegetables to a plate.  In the same pan, prepare the rice according to box directions.

While rice is cooking, whisk soup, half and half, thyme and pepper together in a small bowl.  

After rice is prepared add tenderloin mixture to the skillet.  Top with soup mixture and cook on low heat until it is heated through, about 10 mins.

Serve with your favorite vegetable for a complete meal.

My youngest loved this dish!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Smoked Turkey Sausage Noodle Skillet

If you need something super easy to cook for dinner, this recipe for Turkey Smoked Sausage with Egg Noodles is perfect.  It has less than 10 ingredients and most of them you probably already have in your pantry.  Serve it with a side salad for a dinner all will enjoy!

Turkey Smoked Sausage Noodle Skillet


1 16oz Turkey smoked sausage (I used Jennie-O), sliced
1 Small onion or shallot, diced
1 Small red or green pepper
2 Cans basil, oregano, garlic diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
13-16 oz Egg noodles (I used about 3/4 a bag)
3 Tbsp Fresh basil (optional)

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray or add a Tbsp of olive oil and heat to medium.  Add sliced turkey, onion, and peppers.  Cook until you have a little color on the turkey sausage and the vegetables are soft.

My kids will not eat diced cooked tomatoes so I pulse the canned diced tomatoes in the processor a few times to make them more like crushed tomatoes.  You can skip this step if your family will eat diced tomatoes.

Add the tomatoes to the sausage mixture with Italian seasoning and red wine vinegar.  Simmer until flavors are combined (about 10 mins.)

While tomato mixture is cooking, add egg noodles to a large pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions.  

Add cooked noodles to the tomato mixture to combine.  Serve in individual bowls topped with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.  So easy and super delicious!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Jalapeno Crab Cakes

Jalapeno Crab Cakes
After showing the picture of my husband's wonderful crab cakes I have had many requests for the recipe.

My husband adapted the original Jalapeno Crab Cake recipe based on what we had on hand.

Jalapeno Crab Cakes


14 oz Crab meat - steamed (we used blue crab)
1/4 Cup green onions, chopped
1 Jalapeno, finely chopped
2-3 Tbsp fresh thyme or oregano, chopped
1/2 Cup mayonnaise
1 Large egg, beaten
1 Tbsp honey Dijon mustard
1/2 Tsp cayenne pepper
1/2-1 Cup bread crumbs 
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp butter

Combine all ingredients except the butter together in a large bowl.  

Heat butter in skillet over medium heat.

Form crab mixture into about 6 cakes and place in the skillet.  Cook for about 5 mins. per side or until golden brown.

Drain on paper towels and serve!

*Next time I think I will get him to substitute plain greek yogurt for the mayonnaise (I am not a big fan of mayonnaise).

Monday, July 30, 2012

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Blue Crab
This past weekend we took a trip down to the beach to visit my parents.  They actually live on the sound or river side where my boys love to go fishing.  

My oldest and his dad decided they wanted to set grandpa's crab pots out loaded with chicken bones and see if they could catch a crab.  Not only did they catch one crab they caught thirteen of them.

We transported the blue crabs to our house and my husband boiled and shelled all of them.  After that long and tedious process he then made homemade jalapeno crab cakes.  Don't I have a great husband!

Jalapeno Crab Cakes

What a great weekend, now it is time to get back to reality.  Have a wonderful week!

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Monday - Eating Out (I have a gift certificate that I must use by Tuesday)

Tuesday - Mushroom Quinoa Burgers, Red Pepper Sticks, and Baked French Fries

WednesdaySmoked Turkey Sausage Noodle Skillet and Salad

Thursday - Broccoli and Cheese Soup in Bread Bowls (special request from my oldest son)

Friday - Pork Tenderloins with Rice and Country Gravy (recipe coming),  Cooked Carrots and Green Beans

Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - Chicken Tacos, Roasted Asparagus and Corn on the Cob

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Sorry I am running behind posting our dinner menu plan for the week.  I honestly did have a plan on Monday and had to tweak it a bit.  Therefore I was waiting to post the weekly plan once I finalized it all.  Well, here it is....have a great week!

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Monday - Eat at church during women's movie night and the boys will eat leftovers from the fridge

Tuesday - Apple Cheddar Soup with Salad and Fresh Bread

Wednesday - Rotini with Eggplant and Sausage and Leftover Bread from Tuesday Night

Saturday - Breakfast for Dinner (Either sweet potato pancakes or eggs and whole wheat toast)

Sunday - Shrimp Kabobs, Rice and Asparagus

* The Apple Cheddar Soup was just okay, so I am not going to post the recipe on the blog.  If you are interested I can post it, just let me know by posting a comment below.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cucumber Dip

Cucumber Dip
When I was working I would always look forward to the potluck lunches we would have to celebrate almost any occasion.  People in the south love to find a reason to come together around food.

One year someone brought this delightful cucumber dip served with crackers.  I decided to make it and substitute the mayo with plain greek yogurt for our falafel balls this week.

My husband said this dip was so good he could eat it right out of the bowl.  I personally prefer the dip on the falafel balls myself.

Cucumber Dip


1 English Cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced very small
8 oz Neufchatel cheese or low fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 Cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 Cup onion, very finely chopped
1/2 Tsp garlic salt

Peel and dice the cucumbers.

Mix together the neufchatel cheese, yogurt and garlic salt.  Fold the cucumbers and onions into the mix well.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

This dip is great with crackers, pita, on sandwiches, and with falafel balls.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Quinoa with Spinach and Feta - Great Side Dish

Quinoa with Spinach and Feta
My entire family gave this dish a thumbs up.  

Quinoa with Spinach and Feta 


1/2 Cup quinoa
1 Cup water
2 Tsp olive oil 
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 -2 oz Feta cheese
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a medium size pot.  Add garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds.  

Turn heat to medium-high and add quinoa and water.  Once it starts to boil, lower the temperature to a simmer and cover.

Cook about 10 mins. or until water is absorbed.  Add spinach 2 minutes before completed cooking time.

Remove from stove and stir in feta cheese.  You may want to add some salt and pepper to taste.  Serve!

Okra Black-Eye Pea Saute

This is the first year that we have planted okra in our garden.  It has taken much longer than the other vegetables, but we finally have some okra.

Both my kids (and myself) prefer okra, battered and fried.  I wanted to find a recipe that I could use that was not fried and I found this incredible recipe for Okra Black-Eye Pea Saute on Food Network.  

I did make some minor changes to the original recipe to suit my family, like deleting the chili peppers and adding fresh chopped tomato at the end instead of oven roasted tomatoes.  Both my kids prefer uncooked fresh tomatoes instead of cooked.

This was a great recipe that we would definitely make again.

Parmesan Kale Chips

Kale Chips
Kale Chips are one of our family favorites.  I usually serve these with just a touch of sea salt, but this time I thought I would add parmesan cheese.  These Parmesan Kale Chips are just amazing.  What a inexpensive healthy way to get kids to eat their vegetables.

Parmesan Kale Chips


1 lb or more of Kale, cut away from the stem in pieces (try to get them about the same size so they cook evenly)
Olive oil, I spray several sprays with the olive oil pump
Dash of sea salt (optional)
1/4 Cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 350°.

Combine kale, olive oil, and a very small amount of salt (optional).  Kale seems to absorb the salt so be careful not to over salt.

Place on a baking sheet spreading evenly not layering if possible.  Top with parmesan cheese.

Bake for about 15 mins.  You want them to be crispy and dark green, but not brown.  If the ends become brown take them out right away.

Almond Crusted Tilapia Filets

Almond Crusted Tilapia and Okra Black-Eye Pea Salad
One of my New Year's resolutions this year was to eat more fish.  Before my husband and I had kids we would eat fish two or three times a week.  After awhile we really just do not want to even see fish much less eat it.  I guess you can get really sick of eating the same thing.  Maybe not pizza and chocolate, but definitely fish ;-)

Now that fish is appealing to us again we thought we would try this great recipe for Almond Crusted Tilapia.  This fish was to die for.  My kids asked for seconds and that almost never happens with fish.

Almond Crusted Tilapia

4 Tilapia Filets
3/4 Cup ground almonds
3/4 Cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs or 1/4 Cup egg substitute
1/4 Tsp garlic powder
1/4 Tsp pepper
1/4 Tsp salt
4 Tbsp whole wheat flour

Ground the almonds and the parmesan cheese in a food processor and place in a shallow bowl or plate, set aside.

Whisk together egg, garlic powder, pepper and salt.

Heat butter in skillet on medium until melted.

Press the filets into the flour, then the egg mixture and finally the almond mixture.

Add filets to the skillet and cook about 3-4 minutes on each side.  Reduce heat and cook an additional minute or two until fish begins to flake.

I served the fish with Okra Black-eye Pea Salad and Parmesan Kale Chips.  I will try and post the recipe for these sides as well today.  The entire meal was a huge success!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Grilled Vegetable Medley Foil Packets

Vegetable Medley
Summertime is a bounty full of fresh and mouth-watering vegetables.  My husband and I created these grilled vegetable medley packets for dinner on Sunday night.  We thought the kids would enjoy it because it was like opening a present.  They had no idea what was inside.

The vegetables we chose for the packets were not our kids favorites, but they did decide to give them a second try because of how they were presented.

Grilled Vegetable Medley Foil Packets


3-4 Ears of corn, cut into 3 inch chunks
1-2 Zucchini, cut into chunks
1-2 Yellow squash, cut into chunkc
1 Purple onion, diced or sliced
1 Green, red, yellow, or orange pepper, diced or chunks
Any other vegetables you would like to add, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms...
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp pepper
2-3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1-2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 sprig of rosemary, pulled away from sprig
2 Tbsp butter

Combine all the ingredients except for the butter in a large bowl.  

Spray each individual piece of foil with cooking spray.  Add vegetable to foil and place a small amount of butter on top of each mound of vegetables.  

Fold the foil around the vegetables and seal tight.  If you are not using heavy duty aluminum foil you can double the foil and then wrap the vegetables.

Place on grill about 20 mins.  You may want to turn it once so the vegetables do not burn to the bottom.

Please use caution when opening these packets to allow the steam to escape.
Vegetable Medley Packet

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Boy is it hot out there.  I am going to try and cook on the grill or the crock pot most of the week to save on electricity.

Speaking of electricity, ours was out for about 15 hours yesterday due to a really horrible storm.  It was a humbling experience and I am super thankful that we have electricity today.  Praying for those in other parts of the country who are experiencing power outages due to the heat.

Here is our dinner menu plan for the week.  Enjoy!

Dinner Menu Plan

Monday - Grilled Jamaican Jerk Black Bean Burgers with Summer Succotash and Fruit Salad

Tuesday - Crock Pot Lasagna and Salad

Wednesday - Almond Crusted Tilapia, Okra Black-Eye Pea Salad and Parmesan Kale Chips

Thursday - Falafel Balls in Pita Bread with Cucumbers and Tomatoes, Quinoa with Spinach and Feta Cheese and Banana Ice Cream

Friday - Takeout

Saturday - Grilled BBQ Ribs, Baked Beans and Grilled Asparagus

Sunday - Apple Braised Chicken with Rice, Green Beans and Bread

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

If you saw the post before this one you know I have an enormous amount of zucchini.  Since my kids are not to fond of the texture of zucchini I went in search of a great recipe to hide it.

I came across this awesome recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Muffins and had to give it a try.  WOW!  These zucchini muffins, or you could call them cupcakes, were so spectacular.  

Here is the original recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Muffins.  The only changes I made were to use whole wheat flour instead of pastry flour and buttermilk in place of non-dairy milk.

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Super Size Zucchini
Super Size Zucchini
Check out this huge zucchini we found in our garden yesterday.  I can not get over how large it is and that even after looking over our garden everyday we missed it.

Last night I grilled and fried some zucchini and only used about a quarter of it. Besides zucchini bread I now need to find some additional recipes to incorporate zucchini.  My kids do not like zucchini or squash so it becomes difficult trying to find ways to cook it that they may not notice.

If you have any great zucchini recipes you can share please feel free to do so in the comments section.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mustard Breaded Pork Chops

Mustard Breaded Pork Chops

Mustard Breaded Pork Chops
Traditionally when I cook breaded pork chops or chicken I batter them and throw them in the oven.  Since it is over 100° outside this week, I really did not want to bother with running my oven so I decided to cook them on the stove with a little bit of vegetable oil.  

I know this is not the healthiest way to prepare dinner, but it took less time, less energy and the WHOLE family loved them.

Mustard Breaded Pork Chops


3/4 Cup panko breadcrumbs (I crumbed whole wheat ritz crackers because I was out of panko bread crumbs)
1/4-1/2 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp paprika
1/4 Tsp pepper
1/4 Cup egg substitute (or 1 large egg)
3 Tbsp dijon mustard (you can use spicy brown mustard or honey dijon too)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 Boneless pork chops around 3/4 inch thick

Combine the breadcrumbs, salt, paprika, and pepper in a shallow bowl.

Combine egg substitute and mustard in a shallow bowl as well.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.

Dip each pork chop in the egg mixture and then the breadcrumb mixture and place in skillet.  Please do not over crowd.  Cook in batches if your pan is not large enough for all 4 pork chops.

Cook about 6 minutes on each side.  Serve!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Lightning Awareness Week (June 24-30)
Here is our dinner menu plan for the week.  I was unable to cook one item from last week so I carried it over to this week.

Have a great week and please remember when thunder roars go indoors (in observance of lightning awareness week)!

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Tuesday - Pumpkin Pancakes and Fruit Salad

Wednesday - Sloppy Joes, Scalloped Potatoes and Carrots

Thursday - Pesto Pasta with Spinach (I am going to try this with chopped green olives instead of capers), Salad and Fresh Bread

Friday - Tortilla Pizzas and Caprese Salad

Saturday - Chicken Chile Lime Burgers (Trader Joe's) on English Muffins with Cucumbers in Vinegar and Veggie Sticks

Sunday - Leftovers

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili - Crock Pot

Vegetarian Quinoa ChiliWe have an overabundance of yellow squash in our garden and I have been super excited about finding recipes to include this colorful little creation.  I tried some traditional dishes like sauteed squash with onions and fried squash, but my kids just don't care for them.  Then I came across an incredible recipe for Vegetarian Chili with yellow squash and thought maybe if I cut them really small the kids would not notice.

Verdict: 3 thumbs up and 1 down (the picky four-year old of course).  My oldest loved this chili and gobbled it right up.

I am not usually to crazy about vegetarian chili, but this was outstanding and extremely versatile!

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili - Crock Pot


3 Carrots, diced
2 Yellow squash, diced
1 Red pepper, diced
1 Red onion, chopped
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Jalapeno, seeded and diced (This chili is not spicy so please don't leave out the jalapeno)
28 oz Crushed tomatoes
2-3 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tsp dried oregano
1/3 Cup quinoa
1 (15oz) Can of beans, white, black, red, brown (I used white northern beans because that is what I had on hand)
1/3 Cup barbecue sauce

Add first 10 ingredients to crock pot and stir until mixed well.

Sprinkle quinoa over top, leaving a border around the edge.  Do not press or mix into the chili.

Cover and cook for 3-5 hours on high and 6-8 on low.  Add beans and barbecue sauce to the crock pot, stirring to mix all the flavors together about 30 minutes before serving.

Serve in individual bowls with cornbread or crackers.  YUM!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Our Dinner Menu Plan

After making homemade hummus for my son's school lunch, breakfast for tomorrow morning for my husband, putting together snacks for my youngest son's camp, laundry, dishes, grocery shopping and mopping the floor I am officially wiped out.  

I have come up with a dinner menu plan this week, but left out Sunday because I just could not think any more for today.  

Maybe you all have some great recipes or ideas you can give me for Sunday night's dinner.

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Sunday - Shrimp and Vegetable Kabobs with Brown Rice and a Side of Feta Spinach

Monday -Vegetarian Quinoa Chili and Cornbread

Tuesday - Pesto Pasta and Salad

Wednesday - Country Style Cube Steak with Peppers and Onions, Scalloped Potatoes (Recipe Coming) and Green Peas

Thursday -  Eating out to celebrate my 10 year anniversary with my husband!

Friday - Homemade Pizza and Carrots

Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - Mustard Breaded Pork Chops (Recipe Coming), Green Beans and Sweet Potato Casserole

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lentil Quinoa Salad

Lentil Quinoa Salad
Lentil Quinoa Salad with Strawberry Salad and Garlic Bread
It can be rather challenging I think to come up with vegetarian dinners for carnivores.  I try to have at least 2 to 3 vegetarian dinners a week and I struggle to find ones that will please everyone.  

Well, last night was no exception.  Instead of a main dish I prepared two side dishes and served them along side garlic bread.  I served this fresh and flavorful recipe for Lentil Quinoa Salad that I found on the Food Network.  It got rave reviews and was a great way to incorporate more iron and fiber into our diet.

The final word was three thumbs up, one down (the picky four-year old of course).

The lime and cilantro really make this dish come alive.  Not sure if I would make any substitutions for those two ingredients in this recipe nor would I suggest leaving them out.

Here is a link to the original recipe for Lentil Quinoa Salad.