Menu 5/28 - 6/4

So, with all the goings-on this weekend I totally forgot to post a menu on Friday!! In any case, here it is:
Friday--Fish fry
Saturday--Raley's birthday party. We had pita/sandwiches with turkey, chicken salad or beef filling
Monday--Hamburger salad (basically no buns but everything else)
Wednesday--Bagel Pizzas
Thursday--Salmon Patties


Shortcut Quesadillas

For a fast weeknight or easy weekend meal, we have quesadillas. Sometimes I cook the chicken with some onions in my Pampered Chef baker, and pan fry the quesadillas so they get that crisp outer layer. Sometimes I go the super easy route and zap them in the microwave after stuffing them with pre-cooked fajita style meat. This time was one of those lazy nights!

The Ingredients:
shredded cheese of your choice (I use Colby Jack)
taco sauce
ready to serve fajita meat (or cook your own or raid your leftovers)
flour tortillas
For the kids, spread the cheese over a taco size tortilla. Add meat, taco sauce and a little more cheese to help it all stick together. Place a second tortillas on top.
For the adults, I use the big burrito size tortillas. I put the cheese on half, add the meat, taco sauce and a little more cheese.
Fold over and microwave on each side for about 20 seconds or until cheese is melty and delicious..
I like mine with a little sour cream to dip in.
Clay and Pattie like theirs plain with no meat inside.


Ravioli Lasagna

This recipe is a Chaosville friendly version of the one I found here. This first time I made it I followed the recipe and we talked it over while we ate it and decided on a few changes. Here is how I made it last night:

1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 25 oz. package of filled Ravioli (I used beef this time)
Fresh baby spinach**
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Spread 1/4 cup sauce over bottom of baking dish. Cover with half the ravioli.
Spread half the remaining sauce over ravioli layer. Sprinkle on spinach and half the mozzarella.
Repeat layers once more (minus the spinach). Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.
Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes until bubbling. Let it cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Nothing I make ever turns out as pretty as the magazine picture, but what it lacks in beauty it makes up in yumminess!
**I used fresh spinach this time for two reasons. First, I wasn't going to use as much spinach as the recipe called for since we felt it was too strong the last time. Since frozen spinach tends to have a much stronger even slightly bitter flavor, I opted for the fresh spinach we eat every day in our salads. The boys both love it and we all agreed it was better in the dish. Second, I couldn't find any when I went shopping for the ingredients!!

Menu 5/21 - 5/27--2010

We are going for another eat cheap week (sort of) and trying to have some grocery money left over from this week to help out with the birthday party next weekend. We'll see how it goes. In light of that, here is our menu:
Friday--Leftovers, whatever you can find
Saturday--Hot Dogs and mac & cheese
Sunday--Chicken Quesadillas
Monday--Rachel Ray's Vodka Pasta
Wednesday--Shredded Pork Wraps
Thursday--Salmon Patties and pasta


Chocolate Chip Blondies

Today is Raley's 10th birthday!! For the last couple of years, he has requested store bought cookies as his birthday treat for his class. This did not hurt my feelings at all, in fact, I was kind of happy! Lately though I have been cooking more and trying more new things (like this blog!!) and a couple weekends ago when we went camping, I made these for our bring-along treat. After savoring the last one, Raley asked if I would make them for his class birthday treat and I was happy to oblige him. By the way, if you would like to know more about my fabulous, oldest clone, check out the posts about him this week on the family blog.

2 packages Martha White Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix ** recipe came from Martha White
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
6 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 for dark, nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of an 8-inch square baking pan (I doubled the recipe so I used a 9 x 13 pan). In a large bowl, combine muffin mix and brown sugar; stir to blend evenly. As you can see, I used a pastry blender:
Add melted butter.
Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
Stir in pecans; resist temptation to eat batter raw.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Since I doubled the recipe, it took an extra 10 minutes or so. When you take it out, you will be looking at THIS:
There are 22 kids in Raley's class, so my plan was to cut the whole thing in to 24 pieces. Unfortunately, my brain misfired and I cut 20 pieces instead. So, kiddies, I cut all of them in half again and now you get smaller pieces.
For an extra bit of fun, I piped some icing on the blondies. I hope the kids will like them! Here is the plate of extras for us to eat:


Sloppy Joe Casserole

1 pound ground meat
1 can condensed tomato soup
1/4 cup water
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 package refrigerated biscuits
shredded cheese
Brown ground beef (or turkey or venison) in a skillet.
Stir the soup, water, Worcestershire sauce and black pepper into the skillet. Heat to a boil. Spoon mixture into a 1 1/2 quart casserole.
Place the biscuits on the top and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.
This is what you will pull out of the oven:

When you dish it up, make sure you get a biscuit on there and sprinkle with cheese (no comments about my fine china, either!!)

**I double this recipe for our family and use Grands Jr biscuits. I don't double the biscuits, just everything else.**


Menu 5/14 - 5/20--2010

We are going to have a fun and interesting week this week! I am super excited to try out another recipe from my favorite Mother's Day gift, The Pioneer Woman Cooks. My hubby and our oldest are going on a Daddy/son bonding trip this weekend so the other two clones and I are going to have a little fun, dinner-time included. Clay chose our dinners for Friday and Saturday evenings.

Friday--Grilled Cheese and noodle soup (which in clone-speak means Ramen noodles)
Saturday--Fish sticks and mac & cheese (yes, it's from a box!)
Sunday--Chicken with Parmesan noodles
Monday--Pioneer Woman's Chicken Fried Steak (can't find it online so I may have to blog it myself)
Wednesday--RALEY, MY FIRST BABY, TURNS 10!!!!! He wants to go to Posado's (Mexican food).
Thursday--Weeknight Lasagna (I will more than likely blog this!)


Coffee Fix

Once upon a time (like 7 years ago maybe) Nestle/Nescafe came out with a marvelous product called NECTAR OF THE GODS "Ice Java" which was basically chocolate syrup with coffee in it. You could mix it hot or cold and I lived on it mixed in cold milk as my morning beverage. They had three flavors as I remember:  Mocha, French Vanilla, and a plainish one I never liked. My favorite was the vanilla which was surprising since I am not a big vanilla person, but it was yummy and of course I loved the mocha. There came a time when I had trouble finding the vanilla and eventually could not find it at all and the plainish one had disappeared long before that. I guess it was about a year ago that I couldn't find the mocha anywhere anymore either. Oh there were a few cases on eBay, but honestly, if I had to live without it, I would be okay. I started brewing coffee and espresso and making my own iced stuff and life went on.
A few days ago I was procrastinating on cleaning the house playing on the computer and typed "Ice Java" into google. Among the eBay ads and amazon pages long since expired was a message board with a phone number you could call to tell Nestle to bring it back. And then the clouds parted, the sun shone down, and the angels started singing I saw something that said, "homemade ice java recipe" and I clicked on it. BAZINGA!! Here is the recipe from the message board:

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups sugar
a little salt
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp. coffee crystals (you could even use decaf if you needed to)
1 tsp. vanilla

Put cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a pan. Stir. Add water; stir really well. Let come to a boil. Turn heat low. Simmer about 5 minutes, stirring all the time. Add coffee crystals and stir. This will make a thin syrup. Let cool; add vanilla. Put chocolate syrup in a jar with a lid. Keep in refrigerator.
For hot chocolate:
Use 2 teaspoons syrup, 1 cup milk and heat.
For cold chocolate:
Use 2 teaspoons syrup and 1 glass cold milk.

I read through a few of the replies and decided to go with one person's suggestion of more coffee and less (or no) vanilla. I used the whole 2 ounce jar of Folgers crystals. It makes about 24 ounces of syrup and I am so excited to have this back in my life!! It is great for hot summer days when a hot coffee just doesn't hit the spot and it has a wait time of as long as it takes you to stir it in, no creamer needed. Enjoy :)

I found this lovely stuff at a big fancy grocery store in Tyler and the last time I made the Mocha Syrup I used half of it and half instant coffee. SOOOOOOO yummy. My next step will be to use Dark cocoa; I'll let you know!

I used the dark cocoa with nice results. It makes it look less like chocolate milk though. Kind of a grey tint to it. More people say, "What are you drinking?" LOL


Menu 5/7 - 5/13--2010

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there!!
Friday--frozen pizzas before heading to the drive-in for an action double feature!! Iron Man 2 followed by Clash of the Titans
Saturday--"Mother's Day Dinner" which I will be cooking myself; Spaghetti since I have no vodka and thus cannot make Vodka sauce like I want to :(
Sunday--No idea, we will be returning from a day trip so probably eggs
Monday--Sloppy Joe Casserole I never made last week
Wednesday--Chicken and Parmesan noodles
Thursday--Catfish and Mac & Cheese


Chicken Enchiladas

The Chicken Enchiladas I make are a Chaos-friendly version of these from Campbell's Soup. I found it when looking for an enchilada recipe that did not use canned enchilada sauce since I don't care for it. Here are the ingredients:

1 can Cream of Chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
1 cup picante sauce
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
9-11 tortillas (it will depend on how full you make them)
chicken breasts and thigh strips (you will need about 2 cups worth when cooked)
Pampered Chef Chipotle rub to taste

First you will need to cook the chicken. You could buy canned chicken or even a rotisserie chicken but I like to use my Pampered Chef baker to cook chicken for recipes like this. I put my frozen chicken in the baker with Chipotle rub sprinkled all over and put it in the microwave for 16-20 minutes.
When the chicken is cooked through, cut it up into small pieces to be used in the filling of your enchiladas.
Mix the soup, sour cream and picante sauce in a bowl. Take out one cup of the mixture.
Stir the cup of sauce mix into a bowl with the cheese and cooked chicken.
Grab a tortilla in one hand and scoop out about 1/4 cup of the filling mixture with the other hand. Spread the filling down the center of the tortilla and roll up.
Place filled tortillas, seam side down in a 13 x 9 x 2 shallow dish.

Pour remaining sauce mix on top of enchiladas

and cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until hot.

Serve with jalapenos, chips, fresh pico de gallo or whatever you like.

***Don't forget to come over to the family blog to see what else is happening in Chaosville!***