Posted in Menu planning

Meal Planning ~ Week of December 11

Monday – Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole made in the crockpot

Tuesday – Macaroni and Cheese Soup with Veggies, rolls

Wednesday – Pork Chops, some sort of side dish, and veggies

Thursday – Eat what you want a night

Friday – Ham and Pasta Skillet Dinner, veggie, roll

Saturday – Sloppy Joes, chips or fries, raw veggies

Posted in Cookies, Dessert, Recipes

Lemon Cookies

One of my favorite authors/book series is Joanna Fluke’s, Hannah Swenson.  Not only does Hannah bake cookies for a living, but she also solves mysteries.  Joanne Fluke also provides recipes for the readers.  I have found several of my favorite recipes in her books.  This is one of those recipes.  I don’t remember which book it is from.

If you like tart lemon bars, you will like these.  They are lemon bars in a cookie bar form.  Yummy!  Enjoy!

These are wonderfully lemony and quite tart.  You may wish to sprinkle them with powdered sugar before you serve them to those who like them sweeter.

Lemon Cookies

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter (1 stick = 1/4 pound)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg beaten (just whip it up in a glass with a fork)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 2/3 c. flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it)
  • 1/2 c. milk


  1. Beat the butter and the sugar together until they’re light and fluffy.
  2. Add the beaten egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Mix it all up.
  3. Mix in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.
  4. Mix in half of the flour and half of the milk.
  5. Stir everything all up, and then add the remaining flour and milk.  Mix well.
  6. Drop by teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Make these cookies small, about the size of a cherry.  If you make them too large, they’ll spread out on the cookie sheet and crumble when you remove them.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 14 minutes.
  8. While they are baking, mix up the topping.


Stars of the recipe:

  • 1/4 c. of lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. of sugar


  1. Heat lemon juice just a bit in the microwave.
  2. Add sugar and stir it up.
  3. When the cookies come out of the oven, remove them to a wire rack with a piece of foil placed under it.
  4. Brush the topping onto the hot cookies.  The faster you do this, the quicker the topping will dry into a glaze.

Printable version

Posted in Menu planning

Weekly Menu for week of Dec. 5

I’ve been bad about noting making a menu which causes me to figure out what we are going to eat late in the game.  I don’t have time for that because I get home from work and then have to automatically start dinner.  If I knew what I was going to make, it would make the transition easier.  I could get the prep ready beforehand or have hubby start the dinner.  The Wee One loves eat whatever you want night and has been asking for one this week which is driving me crazy.  We’ve decided that Thursday’s would be a perfect night for that.  They eat left-overs or make themselves a sandwich.  It is a more relaxed night for dinner. 

We usually go over to my in-laws for dinners on Sunday nights.  They are going to a potluck dinner and concert tonight so we are on our own for dinner.  Our dinner is going to be similar to what we have on Sunday nights.  The Wee One wanted to make it an eat whatever you want night so I allowed him to help with the menu.  He is satisfied with what is planned :).

Friday night, the school district I work for’s varsity football team went to a state championship game.  They figure the attendance rate was going to be low so they gave us the day off.  We have to make it up at the end of the year though.  Since I had Friday off, I used it to go grocery shopping without the crowds and boys.  There was a lot of manager specials on meat so I nabbed some.  My menus for the next few weeks are going to feature some of those meats.  By the way, the football team did end up winning the game.  They’ve been to state 3 times – 1981, 2010, and 2011.  This was the first time they won the state championship.  They also were undefeated this year which is impressive!

Now on to the menu,

Sunday – chicken in the crockpot, stuffing, mac and cheese, broccoli with cheese sauce, pretzel rolls

 Monday – bbq ribs in the crockpot, left-over mac and cheese, veggie

Tuesday – sweet and sour chicken using leftover chicken, rice

Wednesday – baked potato bar, raw veggies

Thursday – Eat whatever you like night

Friday – Homemade pizza, salad

Saturday – spaghetti or pasta with garlic bread made from depression era bread, salad

Posted in Recipes, Side Dishes

Fried Potatoes

When I was a teenager, I lived with my mom and grandparents.  Even though my grandma was a great cook, she never taught me her recipes.  Oh, I have a few recipes because she gave them to me.  However, she and I never cooked in the same kitchen.

One of the side dishes she cook was fried potatoes.  I love the taste of the crispy crust of the potato when it’s been fried in a skillet.  Yum!  Once I got married and moved into a place where I cooked dinner, I started to make fried potatoes.  The problem I encountered was that it took forever for the potatoes to cook up.  Through practice, I learned the secret is to put a lid on the skillet while the potatoes are cooking.  Not all of the potatoes get that crispy crust, though.  That’s fine, though. The boys refuse to touch them.  I get to eat the potatoes with the crispy crust, and the boys get to eat the mushier potatoes.

One way to check to see if the potatoes are cooked throughout is if to become translucent, like when they finished cooking.

Fried Potatoes

Stars of the recipe:

  • 3 to 4 potatoes cut into slices, I use russet, but you can use whatever kind of potatoes you want
  • 1/2 onion cut into rings
  • oil, I use extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cut potatoes into slices and onions into rings.
  2. Coat the bottom of a skillet with oil.  As Rachael Ray says, twice around the pan with the oil. (I use a cast iron skillet.)
  3. Turn the stove on to med.  Let the pan warm up.
  4. Add the potatoes and onions.  Season with salt and pepper.  Put the lid on the skillet.
  5. Let the potatoes cook for about a few minutes.  Then flip the potatoes to make sure they don’t burn.
  6. Continue cooking the potatoes, flipping them potatoes every few minutes.
  7. The potatoes will be finished when translucent looking.
  8. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Posted in Dessert, Nut free, Recipes

Not Pecan Pie Bars

A couple of weeks ago, I found a recipe in Grandma Loy’s kitchen that intrigued me. The recipe was for pecan pie bars made with pretzels instead of pecans. I knew I wanted to make them but didn’t know when I would. So on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, at dinner, we were talking about Thanksgiving dinner. I offered to make the veggies, biscuits, and desserts. It was then I knew I would make those not pecan pie bars.

Everyone was impressed with the not pecan pie bars. It looked like real pecans were part of the topping, and it was not too salty. My sister-in-law, who is allergic to nuts, enjoyed them. Even my brother-in-law gave me a compliment on how good they were. I ended up sending the rest of the batch home with them.

You first need to make the Bar Cookie Crust

Stars of the Bar Cookie Crust

  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. butter or margarine, cut up

Steps for making the Bar Cookie Crust

  1. Place flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Press crumbs firmly into the bottom and 1/4 inch up the sides of a greased (I use my pan-release mixture from my local candy/cake supply store.) 9×13-inch baking pan.
  4.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

While the Cookie Bar Crust is baking, make up the topping.

Stars of the recipe for the Not Pecan Pie Bars

  • 1 Bar Cookie Crust
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c. Karo, Light or Dark
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 T. butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 1/3 c. broken pretzel sticks (I put them in a bag and then smashed them with the smooth side of my meat tenderizer. Many frustrations were worked out.)

Steps for the Not Pecan Pie Bars:

  1. While the cookie bar crust is baking, beat eggs, Karo, sugar, butter or margarine, and vanilla in a large bowl. (I used my stand mixer.)
  2. Stir in pretzels.
  3. Pour over hot crust, spreading evenly.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until filling is firm around the edges and slightly firm in the center.
  5. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Printable Recipe