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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Menu Plan 6.0

Week 6:

SundayCheesy Chicken Shells.  This is an old but good recipe from Weight Watchers.  It takes a little longer to prepare so I usually make it on the weekends.  It is fantastic!  Hardly seems Weight Watcher-ish.  Serve with garlic bread and salad.

Monday-Ham and Cheese Bowties. I found this recipe because Brady is always picking out the turkey ham at Aldi.  I am not a huge ham fan (thank goodness he picks out the turkey version) so I am constantly trying to find a different way to make it.  We had this for dinner last night and it turned out great.  The big negative to this recipe is how incredibly unhealthy it seems.  I am going to keep playing with the recipe and see if I can make this lower fat.  So….tbd. 

TuesdayGrilled Cheeseburger Wraps.  The only thing that I change on this recipe is that I use ground turkey instead of ground beef.  Serve with sweet potato fries (from the frozen section of course-this is the middle of the week!) and corn. Yum!

WednesdayChicken with Feta Cheese.   This base of this recipe is from Martha Stewart but I do make a few slight changes.  I use flavored feta (love the feta with sun-dried tomatoes), I pound the chicken breasts flat, put the feta in the center and roll.  Secure with toothpick and place seam down in the skillet.  Cook as directed.  Serve with linguine drizzled with olive oil, garlic salt and pepper.  

ThursdaySoy Glazed Salmon with Cucumber-Avocado Salad.   I found this recipe in my Food Network Magazine (July/August 2012).  This is a recipe even the boys will eat.  Well, the cucumber-avocado salad, not so much but the salmon they love.  This is a great Summer recipe when it’s hot and you want something light to eat.  I like to serve with Trader Joe’s Jasmine rice (takes just a few minutes to throw a pouch in the microwave. The boys love the rice with a little butter).  

Friday– Fun Friday.  “Cook it yourself!” Friday.  or you could just make it leftover night.  You should have plenty leftover from all the cooking you’ve done all week!

Saturday – Tomato Pesto Pizza.  Four ingredients!  Seriously only four ingredients!  I found and fell in love with this recipe from a great website called Semi-homemade Mom.  The link above will take you to the site.  This is crazy quick and delicious.  Serve with a salad.  Done and done.

As always, here is a link to a printable menu so that you can print out and write your meals on it and stick on the fridge. Then when you’re ready to cook, just click on the link for the recipe.

Menu Planning Templates

Happy cooking!

Menu Plan 5.0

Week 5:

SundayArroz con Pollo.  I had the wonderful fortune of having dinner with Ingrid Hoffman, who created this version of Arroz con Pollo.  She is such an excellent chef.  This is not a complicated recipe but takes a bit of work.  I don’t deviate from her recipe at all.   This is  a one dish recipe.  With a meat, a carb and a veggie, you are all set.  For the vegetarians, just omit the chicken.  This dish could still stand on its on without the meat.  As for the kiddos, I make quesadillas for them.  They will eat the chicken, but won’t venture into the rest of the dish.

MondayOven Roasted Sausages, Potatoes and Peppers.  This is a recipe that I found on Pinterest.  We used turkey sausage and it turned out really well.  This recipe is a crazy easy weeknight recipe.  The hardest part is cutting everything up.  And surprisingly, the boys actually ate the sausage and a few potatoes. 

Tuesday– Grilled cheese/soup night.  They boys LOVE this dinner.  It’s great because you can customize for your fam.  The boys like plain ol’ grilled cheese and roasted red pepper soup.  Eric and I like grilled cheese with a twist (add ham, turkey or avocado).  Yum.   Easy and comforting.  

WednesdayCreamy Baked Mostaccioli.  This is an excellent make ahead meal.  I used Turkey italian sausage instead of ground beef and if you are trying to lessen the fat content, try using greek yogurt in place of sour cream and lite cream cheese.  I haven’t tried the greek yogurt yet but I use it all the time in recipes and should work great.  Cheap meal and delicious.

ThursdayBroiled Tilapia Parmesan.  Delicious and easy week night recipe.  The only thing I changed was using garlic salt in place of celery salt.  I am not anti-celery salt, I just never have it on hand.  I serve with brown rice and a veggie.  The boys actually like this recipe but if your kiddos are anti baked fish, you could try fish nuggets (Trader Joes) or fish sticks.

Friday-Leftover night/make your own dinner night/go out to dinner night.

Saturday – BBQ Night!  The Summer is coming to an end.  Sigh.  If you have a grill, get out there and grill some burgers, brats, hot dogs. Invite friends over. Boil some corn on the cob,  make a potato salad, eat chips.  Top it off with a yummy strawberry shortcake or make s’mores by the fire.  (try this for a  S’more twist-Peanut Butter Cup S’mores).

Peanut Butter Cup S’more

As always, here is a link to a printable menu so that you can print out and write your meals on it and stick on the fridge. Then when you’re ready to cook, just click on the link for the recipe.

Menu Planning Templates

Happy cooking!

It’s all about the Crust.

It’s all about the Crust.

The crust.  The perfect sought after crust. Crispy but not too crispy.  Soft but not too soft.  Crispy and soft?  Yikes.  Pizza. Homemade delicious pizza.  I love to make homemade pizza.  It’s always an adventure.  The ingredient possibilities are endless.  The crust, however, always stresses me out a little.  On a recent episode of MasterChef, the wannabe MasterChefs had to use a pizza stone for their challenge.  It had me thinking about pizza pans vs. pizza stones.  So I started researching.

  • Traditional pizza pan– You can buy traditional pizza pans in stainless steel or hard anodized aluminum.  I have said it before and I’ll say it again, if you can’t resist using a metal pizza cutter, do not buy the hard anodized non-stick.  If you buy the hard anodized non stick, you really need to get a non-stick pizza cutter (which works very well- I have a Kenmore one that I love).  Traditional metal pizza pans can be as cheap as $4.99 and go as high as $50 (which, quite honestly, seems insane).
  • Pizza Crisper – The perforated bottom of a pizza crisper pan allows maximum heat to get to the bottom of the pan while allowing air to circulate and steam to escape, so pizza browns on the bottom and prevent a soggy crust.  Use this type of pan if you really like a crispy crust.   Bed Bath and Beyond carries the AirBake Ultra Insulated pan for $9.99. also has a great pan,  the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic pan for $13.95.
  • Pizza Grill Pan-This seems to be the latest trend in grilling.  With the thought being that anything and everything can be prepared on a grill.  Personally, I have not tried this technique, although I am intrigued.  If any of you have tried this, please leave your feedback in the comments section.  Pans you like?  How did the crust turn out?
  • Pizza Stone– While slightly more complicated to use, I highly recommend a pizza stone.  If you want a perfect crust every time, use this.  Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  Perfect.  To begin with, never put a pizza stone in a hot oven, it will shatter.  You need to place your stone in a cold oven and then turn the oven on.  This allows the stone to heat to an even all over temperature.  Please note that traditional oven mitts will not withstand the heat of the stone.  You can slide your oven rack out in order to place your pizza on the stone but do NOT touch the stone with the oven mitts.  Another option is to buy special tools that are made for pizza stones.  Let your stone come back to room temperature naturally.  Do not let a hot stone come in contact with cold water.  Side note-it is important to season (or oil) your stone frequently.  You can find pizza stones at most major retailers.  Target carries the Chefmate pizza stone for $29.99.  Although I have not personally used it, I have heard very good things about the Pampered Chef Pizza Stone which sells for about $32.00 (the large round stone w/handles).

Hope this helps you make THE perfect crust.  Now on to my quest for the perfect pizza dough recipe.

Happy pizza making!

Menu Plan 4.0

Menu Plan 4.0

Week 4:

SundayOrzo with Chicken and Artichokes–  This recipe takes a little more time but is well worth it.  This recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of chicken, I buy a large pack of boneless chicken breasts, divide in 1/2 and put the unused half in a large ziplock bag and throw in the fridge for Tuesday’s dinner. With chicken, pasta and veggies, this is a one dish meal.  You don’t need to cook any sides.  Bonus:  This recipe makes a TON.  Great reheated.  Take to work for lunch or reheat for a leftover night.

MondayCrunchy Fish Tacos.  This is my own recipe.  A modification of a few different recipes.  While you can, of course, use traditional fish sticks, I highly recommend making the trek to Trader Joe’s for their Fish Nuggets.  They are pretty much the same price and worth the trip.  Trust me.  I typically make the fish tacos for Eric and I and make extra nuggets for the boys.  They LOVE them.  This is an incredibly easy, mid-week recipe.

TuesdayMexican Chicken – Seriously one of the easiest meals to make.  I take the zip log bag of unused chicken from Sunday, dump in 1-2 tsp of taco seasoning and shake to coat,  place in a glass casserole dish (sprayed with olive oil), top with salsa (or enchilada sauce), shredded cheese and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Sooo good.  Crazy easy.

Wednesday– Breakfast Night!  Eggs, bacon, pancakes, omelets, toast, cereal.  The delicious possibilities are endless! Such a fave in our house. Plus, who has time to really make breakfast in the morning (other than my crazy, um.. I mean organized and time efficient husband).  I am also attaching my previous blog on how to make the perfect omelet.  Making the perfect omelet.

ThursdayFirecracker Grilled Alaska Salmon – To make this an easier mid-week meal, I recommend preparing the night before so that you only have to pop it in the oven when you’re ready for dinner.  This goes great with Jasmine rice and a veggie.

Friday– Make your own pizza night.  As mentioned in my first weekly menu blog,  you can definitely make your own pizza dough but I prefer to keep it simple and buy refrigerated biscuit dough.  I flatten the biscuit dough into small round circles and place on a prepared cookie sheet (and by prepared I do NOT mean cooking spray on my beautiful non stick pans, we like to sprinkle corn meal or italian breadcrumbs and garlic sea salt on the pan).  I usually put the pizza sauce, cheese and other family preferred toppings in little bowls.  The boys each take turns making their pizzas and then Eric and I make ours.  We love to do grilled chicken or italian sausage and roasted red peppers.

Saturday – Slacker Saturday. Take a break Saturday.  Leftover Saturday.  Who cares what everyone eats Saturday.  You get the drift.

As always, here is a link to a printable menu so that you can print out and write your meals on it and stick on the fridge. Then when you’re ready to cook, just click on the link for the recipe.

Menu Planning Templates

Happy cooking!