Mom, What’s For Dinner? – Week of February 29, 2016

Can you believe its already March?  Okay technically tomorrow is March but it’s close enough.

Last week, I spoke about how I didn’t know how my meal planning would go since I had been sick and had to go to the doctor’s.  Well, Monday’s dinner burnt so I made something else.  Tuesday’s dinner went as planned.  Hubby got us Chick Fil-A since I was stuck on our couch all day Wednesday.  Thursday’s dinner was changed because I still felt like crud in the morning when I would have to put the dinner in the slow cooker. Friday I went back to work but didn’t feel 100% so we had Hot Head Burrito for supper.

When I went to the doctor’s office, I was told I had a touch of bronchitis and would be stuck with my cough for a while.  Boo hiss.  I also had a sinus infection and blocked ear tubes (basically an ear infection).  I was put on medication to help fight all these issues.

Ohio’s weather had been a roller coaster – literally.  On the 13th, we had a high in the teens.  Then there was a gradual warm up.  By the 20th, it was in the 60’s almost to 70.  My poor sinus cavity could not handle all that change in air pressure.

My husband knew I was feeling a little bit better on Thursday when I decided to bake something in the kitchen.  However, I almost forgot to put flour which an essential ingredient in sugar cookie bars.  Oops. Once I made them, the boys raved over them.

Saturday I cleaned out my cookbook collection. Actually I basically looked at what I had and pulled out a few to help with inspiration for dinner.

Without further ado, here is our menu for the week.

Monday

Apricot chicken (new recipe – trying once again) over rice, mixed veggies

Tuesday

Quick and easy Parmesan chicken and pasta (my aunt’s recipe), salad, garlic bread

Wednesday

Lenten Soup Dinner

Thursday

BLT Soup (new recipe), Salad, Buttermilk Cornbread

Friday

Cashew Chicken, Fried rice with left over mixed veggies

For other great menus, please visit Menu Plan Monday at I’m An Organizing Junkie.

What’s on your menu?

Happy Eating,
Traci

Baked Pancake

Sometimes we want pancakes but I don’t feel like flipping the pancakes.  I like this alternative so does my family.  You can add different toppings to the batter.  We topped half of the pancake batter with chocolate chips.  The other half we left plain.

The Imaginative One said the only real difference between baked pancakes and normal pancakes is the thickness.  Baked pancakes are thicker.

My whole family enjoyed these baked pancakes.

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Baked Pancakes

adapted from Fabulessly Frugal

Stars of the recipe:

  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 to 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. (4 Tbsp.) butter, melted
  • 1 & 1/2 c. milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 to 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. chocolate chips, optional

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray a 9 by 13 pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a microwavable bowl.  (About a minute to a minute and a half.)  Allow to cool down.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  5. In a larger bowl, mix together the butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract.  (Poke the egg yolks with a fork.)
  6. Gradually add the dry ingredients.  Mix together until combined.
  7. Pour into the 9 by 13 pan.
  8. If using, add the chocolate chips.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes clean.
  10. Enjoy with syrup, butter, or powdered sugar.

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Happy eating,
Traci

 

Lawnmower Tacos

The Wee One loves tacos so when I saw this recipe, I decided we needed to try this recipe.  Hubby loved it which is a great thing because he typically only likes Fritos and I used tortilla chips.

It’s called lawnmower tacos because it basically looks like a lawnmower ran over the meal.  It might not look pretty but it tastes delicious.

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Lawnmower Taco

adapted from Life as Mom

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp.Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1.5 c. beef or chicken broth
  • 1 to 2 c. crushed tortilla chips
  • 2 c. cheddar cheese
  • taco toppings:  lettuce, tomato, sour cream, avocado, salsa, etc. . .

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown the ground beef over medium high heat.
  3. Sprinkle taco seasoning over the browned ground beef.  Stir until combined.
  4. Sprinkle flour over the ground beef.  Stir until combined.
  5. Add the beef or chicken broth.  Turn heat to high.  Allow to boil.
  6. Turn heat down to medium.  Simmer until sauce is thickened.
  7. Grease a 9 by 13 baking dish.
  8. Layer in this order:  (I did 3 layers.)
    1. Crushed Tortilla chips
    2. Ground beef mixture
    3. Cheese
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.
  10. Enjoy with your favorite taco toppings.

Happy eating,
Traci

Fruity Chicken Salad

I’ve had this recipe in my files but hadn’t shared it with you.  If you make the crockpot chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken, you can use the left over chicken to make this delicious chicken salad.

When I made this chicken salad, I shared some with my mother-in-law.  She also loved this chicken salad.  She especially loved the addition of the dried cherries.

It’s good as on a bun or eaten with crackers.  It would also be good just eaten with a fork.

Fruity Chicken Salad

Fruity Chicken Salad

Adapted from Add a Pinch

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 pound or 2 c. cooked chicken chopped or shredded
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 1 c. red grapes, halved or quartered depending on the size of the grapes
  • 1/2 c. dried cherries or cranberries
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecan pieces
  • 1 c. mayo (I use an olive oil based mayo.)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Steps:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a large bowl.
  2. Mix to combine.
  3. Enjoy with crackers or on a bun!.

Happy eating,
Traci

 

Cooking Inspirations – Grandma Part 1

As I said yesterday, Grandma would have turned 88 if she was still alive.  I lived with her from the age of 10 until I moved out when I was 21.  That is except for the four months I was in Walt Disney World at the age of 20. Continue reading “Cooking Inspirations – Grandma Part 1”

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – Week of February 22

Happy birthday in Heaven to my grandma!  She would have been 88 years old today.  When I talk about my inspirations for how I cook, she is one of the two family members I speak of.

Continue reading “Mom, What’s For Dinner? – Week of February 22”

Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken Wings

During January, I was sick for half of the month.  During the time I was sick, I was not hungry for any food.  Towards the end of my sickness, I ended up craving BBQ chicken wings.  I sent Hubby out to get me some frozen chicken wings so I could cook them up in the pressure cooker.  They were delicious!  I ended up eating a whole bunch of the chicken.

We still had a few of the frozen chicken wings leftover so I cooked up some more last Saturday when our boys were with their grandma.  Hubby gave me some tips to make them even better.  I’m sharing the improved recipe.

Continue reading “Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken Wings”

Balsamic Chicken and Potatoes (Sheet Pan Meal)

This sheet pan was so yummy!  The leftovers were even better the next day.

These past few weeks have been off and on with great meals.  I’ve been so busy writing Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs), teaching, and being sick that I’ve cooked meals that haven’t been stellar.

Last Wednesday, I left work on time and got home in time to make a more involved meal.  Actually this was very involved.  The rolls I made were more involved then this dish.

This meal is easy to put together.  I think it took me 10 minutes tops to get it into the oven once I got home.  It takes 30 – 40 minutes to bake.

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Balsamic Chicken and Potatoes (Sheet Pan Meal)

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 pound of chicken breasts or tenders (The chicken I used was a huge breast.  I cut it into smaller pieces.)
  • 1 pound of potatoes, cubed (I peeled mine)
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning (Add if desired.)
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, place the cubed potatoes.  Pour EVOO over the potatoes.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.  Mix until all the potatoes are coated.  Place the potatoes on half of the cookie sheet.
  3. On the other half of the cookie sheet, place the chicken.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour the balsamic vinegar over the chicken.  Turn to coat both sides of the chicken.
  4. Cook at 425 for 15 minutes.  Flip the chicken and potatoes.
  5. Cook for an additional 15 to 25 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees and the potatoes are fork tender.
  6. Remove from oven and allow the chicken to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

Happy eating,
Traci

Ten Quick and Easy Meals for Busy Families

As a busy family, I often have a difficult time trying to figure out what to feed the family.  So I came up with a list of possible meals that are easy to put together.

On days the Wee One or the Imaginative One asks me what’s for supper, I can show them this list.  Then then can chose a meal from the list.

Continue reading “Ten Quick and Easy Meals for Busy Families”

7 up Pork Chops

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I originally posted this recipe in September of 2010.  However, I did not have a picture of the pork chops.  Since we had them for dinner tonight, I made sure to take a picture of the chops.

Last night I baked these pork chops.  Hubby ended up being called into work early so he came back to get the food during his break.  The manager where he works saw his dinner and asked if there were any pork chops left over.  It so happened that the Wee One did not want his chop because it was too big.  Hubby made a detour to our house and got his manager the remaining chop.  The manager loved the chop!  Score!

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7-up pork chops

Stars of the recipe:

  • 4 to 6 pork chops
  • 12 oz. can 7 up, Sprite, or lemon lime soda
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix

Steps:

  1. Place chops in baking dish.
  2. Pour soda over chops and sprinkle with dry soup mix.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

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Happy eating,
Traci

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – February 15, 2016

This week’s a weird week for us.

I was suppose to have parent teachers’ conferences last Tuesday.  We ended up with a snow day on Tuesday so we had to reschedule the conferences until this Tuesday.  Hubby is in charge of dinner.  I put sausage on the menu but more than likely he’s going to serve them the remainder of the chicken from Sunday night’s dinner.  My principal feeds us dinner so I only need to worry about lunch for myself.

Then we have Lenten day soup supper on Wednesday.  I’m in charge of the dessert so I’m baking/ making the dessert today.

Friday is the Sweetheart Dance at my school.  Hubby is going to bring the boys out to my school.  We are going to hit one of the fast food places close to my house for dinner.

Week of Feb. 14

Have a great week!

For more menus please visit Menu Plan Monday at I’m An Organizing Junkie and At Home With Mrs. M.

Happy Eating,
Traci

Cherry Cake with Cherry Buttercream Frosting

I have another Valentine’s Day recipe.  This one is for a dessert.  If you have the ingredients on hand, it’s easy to put this cake together.

Warning:  It has a very cherry flavor especially in the frosting.  If you don’t want that much cherry flavor, don’t use the Kool-Aid in the buttercream frosting.  Instead use red food dye to make it a pinkish color.

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Cherry Cake

adapted from Mix and Match Mama

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 yellow or white cake mix plus the ingredients needed to make the cake batter
  • 2 packages of cherry Kool-Aid powder

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray a 9 by 13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Set aside.
  3. Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box.
  4. Sprinkle the Kool-Aid powder over the prepared batter.  Mix until well combined.
  5. Pour into prepared baking dish.
  6. Bake according to the directions on the box.

Alternatives:

  • Use strawberry flavored Kool-Aid instead of cherry.
  • Add chocolate chips to the batter.  Fold into the batter.

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Cherry Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from Betty Crocker

Stars of the recipe:

  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/3 c. butter, softened
  • 1 package of cherry Kool-Aid
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. milk

Steps:

  1. Whip or mix together the powdered sugar, butter, and Kool-Aid.
  2. Stir in the vanilla extract and a 1 Tbsp. of the milk.
  3. Gradually add the milk until the frosting is spreadable.
  4. After the cake has cooled, spread the frosting over the cake.
  5. Decorate with sprinkles, conversation hearts, or mini chocolate chips.

Adaptation:

  • If you are using strawberry in the cake instead of cherry, change the Kool-Aid flavor to strawberry.

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Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Eating,
Traci

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Granola

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’ve been in the mood for homemade granola so I decided to experiment.  With Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought chocolate covered strawberry granola would be a great version.

Continue reading “Chocolate Covered Strawberry Granola”

A Week of Meals – Slow Cooker Version

I have a Valentine’s Day present for you. I’m giving you a free slow cooker menu plan. All of the recipes are from this blog or from my slow cooker blog.

I know I have problems menu planning at times so I thought this would help you.  If you click on the menu, it will take you to a Google doc of the menu.  Then you can click on the meals in blue to get the recipe from my blog.

This menu has two main protein sources – a whole chicken and ground beef. The ground beef will be used to make tacos and baked potatoes topped with leftover taco meat. The chicken will be used for sweet and sour chicken and quesadillas plus as meat course on Sunday.

Four of the meals utilize the slow cooker.  Three of the recipes utilize leftovers.  Actually there is a fourth if you count the salad at the end of the week.

A Week of Slow Cooker Meals

So what about breakfast and lunches?  For breakfasts, I have two great resources on my blog.  You can visit 6 Easy Breakfast ideas or DIY Breakfast Edition.  If that doesn’t appeal to you, then toast and cereal are great options.

Lunch can be left overs or sandwiches such as peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese.

What about dessert or a sweet treat for this week’s menu?  How about homemade brownies.  That seems like it would be complicated to put together.  But they don’t take long.  These brownies are one of our family’s favorite treats.

If you like this menu, please let me know.  I can then create more of them.

I’ve already have some ideas for other menus.

Happy Eating,
Traci

P.S.  Here is a blank grocery list.  Click on it to get a Google doc of the list.

Grocery List

Pressure Cooker Mac and Cheese

One of my favorite comfort food is macaroni and cheese.  I have shared my favorite slow cooker mac and cheese, healthier mac and cheese, and make over mac and cheese.  Now I’ve found another favorite macaroni and cheese.

This recipe takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish.  Yum!

I use an electric pressure cooker.

Pressure Cooker Mac and CheesePressure Cooker Mac and Cheese

adapted from Dad Cooks Dinner

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. mustard
  • 1 – 2 tsp. salt
  • 4 c. water
  • 1 (12 oz.) can of evaporated milk
  • 2 c. cheddar cheese (I used sharp cheddar.)

Steps:

  1. Place the macaroni, butter, mustard, salt, and water in the pressure cooker.  Put the lid on the pressure cooker.
  2. Set it to pressure cooker for 5 minutes.  When it’s finished, quick release the pressure.
  3. Switch the setting to saute.  Add the evaporated milk.  Taste one the macaroni noodles.  It should be al dente and cooked through out.  If not, let it simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Slowly add the cheese.  Stirring each time you add the cheese.
  5. After adding all the cheese, let the macaroni and cheese sit for 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

This post has been linked to Miz Helen’s Cottage’s Full Plate.

Happy eating,
Traci

 

 

Sweet and sour chicken (or pork)

I’m not going to post a Menu Plan Monday because I am loosely following a menu I have created to share with you on Saturday.  In preparation for that menu, I went through my old posts and found this oldie but goodie. When I looked at the blog post, I noticed there was no picture of the finished dish.  So I’ve decided to remedy that.

Today begins the Chinese New Year.  Rather than ordering Chinese food from a restaurant, I decided to cook up one of our favorite dishes at home.  I think the two biggest differences was the chicken was not battered and there was no red sauce.  This dish was still big on taste.

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This is a simple 15 minute meal if you used already cooked chicken or pork!  When my hubby tasted it, he told me it was better then the sweet and sour chicken that you get in Chinese restaurants.  Now that”s saying a lot.

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 lb of diced up chicken or pork (already cooked)
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 cup green pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces (I used a red pepper.)
  • 1 cup onion, cut into thin wedges (I cut mine into bigger pieces today.)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pineapple chunks in juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce

Steps:

  1. Preheat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Stir fry green peppers an onion in hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes or till crisp tender.
  3. Remove from wok or large skillet.  Add more oil, if necessary.
  4. Reheat chicken or pork in skillet.
  5. Drain pineapple, reserving juice.
  6. In a small pan, combine the juice, brown sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, and soy sauce.  Bring to a boil; cook about 1 minute or till thickened, stirring constantly.
  7. Return green pepper and onion to skillet.  Stir in pineapple and the thickened sauce.
  8. Cook and stir until heated through.
  9. Serve with rice, if desired.

This post is linked to Eat at Home’s Ingredient Spotlight.

This post is linked to Miz Helen’s Cottage’s Full Plate.

Sausage Pasta Skillet

Here is another easy recipe that I found in my Evernote account.

This is an easy skillet dish.  Enjoy with easy peasy garlic bread.

sausage skillet pasta

Sausage Skillet Pasta

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1/2 box of penne pasta or any other small pasta
  • 1 pound sausage (Italian, mild, or hot)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 c. sliced black olives
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 c. Italian cheese blend or Parmesan cheese, for serving

Steps:

  1. Cook pasta following directions on box.  (Can use any small shape)
  2. In a separate pan, brown sausage.  (I used mild.)
  3. After it’s almost fully browned, add diced onions.  Cook until the sausage is fully browned.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. of Italian seasoning, and sliced black olives.
  5. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Add the cooked pasta.
  7. Sprinkle Italian cheese blend or Parmesan cheese over pasta and sauce.

Happy eating,
Traci

Blueberry Vinaigrette

While I was looking through my Evernote account this afternoon, I found this recipe and picture.  Since I posted I was going to share more salad dressing recipes, I was delighted to find this recipe.

It’s a simple recipe to put together.

Blueberry Vinaigrette

Blueberry Vinaigrette

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1/2 c. partially frozen blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar or honey
  • 1/2 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

Steps:

  1. Add the ingredients to a blender cup
  2. Blend together until smooth.
  3. Use over your favorite salad.
  4. Keep refrigerated.  It should last a week.

Enjoy!

Happy Eating,
Traci

Split Pea Soup (Pressure Cooker or Slow Cooker)

On a cold winter day, soup is the perfect meal.  This split pea soup warms the soul.

My grandpa loved split pea soup.  I’ve never liked it until now.  We’ve had it twice in the last few months.  Yum!

This can be done in either the pressure cooker or slow cooker.

split pea soup

Split Pea Soup

adapted from Skinny Taste

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 lb. split peas, rinsed and picked through
  • 1/2 c. diced onions
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 & 1/2 c. diced ham
  • 6 c. water
  • 1 chicken bullion cube
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps (Electric Pressure cooker):

  1. Rinse the peas.  Pick out any bad pieces.
  2. In the pressure cooker, saute the onion, carrots, and garlic for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the water, ham, bullion cube, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and split peas.
  4. Put the lid on the pressure cooker.  (Make sure the pressure cooker valve is closed).
  5. Set to the pressure cooker to soup.  Pressure cook for 20 minutes.
  6. Allow to naturally release the pressure.
  7. If the split pea soup is not as thick at you would like, allow to sit for a few minutes to allow it to thicken up.

Steps (Slow Cooker):

  1. Rinse the peas.  Pick out any bad pieces.
  2. Saute the onion, carrots, and garlic in a small pan on the stove.
  3. Add the water, ham, bullion cube, bay leaf, salt and pepper, split peas, onion, carrots, and garlic.
  4. Cook on  low for 8 to 10 hours.

Happy Eating,
Traci