Menu Monday 11/26/2012

Alrighty then! Let's see if we can stick tot he plan this week, shall we?

Monday-- Kobayashi Maru with pork
Tuesday-- Mexican Chicken Lasagna
Wednesday-- Pizza (either frozen or Papa John's)
Thursday-- Tilapia Tacos
Friday-- Beef Stew
Saturday-- Chicken Strips with Mac & Cheese
Sunday-- Italian Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes **I need to get the recipe from my mom and then I will post it. It is super good!!


Menu Monday 11/5/2012

Can you believe it? I'm posting something on my blog!! I am hoping that I can get back into the groove here but it has been pretty slow going. We'll see if this week's menu kick-starts anything, even though it is a short menu with not all the days filled out :)

Monday--Grilled Cheese with Cheesy Potato Soup
Tuesday--Pork cutlets with sweet potatoes
Wednesday--Pumpkin Pancakes with maple sausage
Thursday--Chicken with rice and gravy


Menu Monday 9/24/12

Anybody still here? I know it has been much longer than I ever thought it would be since I posted something!! We are moved in and quasi-settled. I have been planning and even following menu plans for a few weeks now and after some rearranging I think I am ready to start posting them again. The biggest change is that I now do my grocery shopping on Monday if possible. I drop the kids at school and go from there. It is much more peaceful and I can take my time without having anyone with me begging for something :)
So with that comes the slight change in the menu titles. I used to just put the range of dates with Menu in front but now I will just call them Menu Monday with that Monday's date. Ihope you still come to see what's for dinner and maybe even try out a few of the things you see!
Monday-- After a weekend full of sick kids, I am going super simple with tuna salad pitas and soup
Tuesday-- Tacos
Wednesday-- Hot Dogs
Thursday-- Pork Roast with sweet potatoes
Friday-- Having friends in for the weekend and I am thinking Lasagna
Saturday-- Friends still here, I think Chicken & Dumplins
Sunday-- More than likely LEFTOVERS or dinner out somewhere


Hooray for Internet!

I'm alive! We are finally moved in to the new house and after a three week wait, U-Verse has finally graced us with service. I have so many blog ideas tumbling around in my brain for both this and the family blog. It will take a little time to sort them out and type them up and get them posted so please keep checking in! I'll be back soon, and often, I promise :)


Menu 6/8 - 6/14/2012

Well, it's been a while since I posted a menu! Or even made one to tell the truth! Things have been so crazy around here with our big move getting closer and closer. This is about the last week I will have a kitchen full of stuff until we move into our new house next month so I thought I would put forth the effort to cook a few tasty things. Here's the plan:
Friday: Sloppy Joe Casserole
Saturday: Chicken Enchiladas
Sunday: Frozen pizza (Totino's for the clones and a Red Baron for me)
Monday: Grilled Cheese
Tuesday: Chicken Nuggets and Mac & cheese
Wednesday: up in the air still, might go out with my clonies
Thursday: Slow Cooker Pork Roast sandwiches


New Beer Wednesday 5/23/2012

Last night was a rough one! I had spent the bulk of the morning at the laundromat. My washer decided it had given me all it could over the last 11 years and it stopped working. I had a friend's husband come look at it (he is a certified repairman) and he diagnosed it as the transmission and said he could fix it for about $350. So sorry people who are buying the house! I know I told you I would leave it and I still will if you want to pay him that to fix it but it didn't cost much more than that when I bought it so....I'm not paying that much to fix it for you. Sorry :(
In any case, I still have three children and myself to wash for. Jayme has most of his clothes at his parents house so he washes them himself there. Luckily the laundromat is close by and I haven't had any trouble yet by OMG it is boring and hot and EXPENSIVE!!! I could keep going on but all this was just to say that after I was done there I went to the beer store to find something new to try.
I came home with a lot of new ones. I built my own six-pack but most of those I have tried already and liked so I get one if I have room. It looks like I have tried just about all the singles they have that I am interested in though. I did see a 12 pack that looked interesting. It was made up of 4 different brews from Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. There was only one that I had tried in the package so I gave two more a test run last night. First up was their "Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale"
I liked this one. It was hoppy, a little more on the grassy side that my preferred but still tasty and refreshing. I will definitely drink this again! I followed it up with a "Snake Dog IPA" which was more to my liking.

I have discovered a lot of my favorite IPAs are heavier on the citrus notes, specifically grapefruit. This one fit the bill!


New Beer Wednesday 5/16/2012

Tonight's selection is Biere de Mars from the Lips of Faith Series by New Belgium Brewing Co. This was a delight. I had never seen it before but there it was today at the beer store with the other bombers. It fit the bill perfectly. It's a ale "brewed with spices" and includes lemon peel and lemon verbena in the ingredient list. For full info click here
I very much enjoyed this. It was light and refreshing and it perked me up a great deal after mowing the yard!!


New Beer Wednesday 5/9/12

A few weeks ago my brother posted on his Facebook page something about Wednesday can kiss his @$$. I asked him what happened and after a lengthy back and forth we came up with the idea to have a weekly tribute to a new beer. Thus was New Beer Wednesday born. Every Wednesday since we have tried a new beer and posted the picture on our Facebook wall.
What's funny is the response! I have had people send me a private message about waiting every week for my selection but they can't participate because of their job and who might see it (I live in the East Texas Bible Belt!) and comments on my picture about how they have looked forward to what I would choose. I invite them to post too and broaden their own horizons.
The best way to try new beers is to find a store that lets you build your own six-pack. That way you can just buy one of each new beer and if you don't like it you won't have 5 more wasting in your fridge. This is for people who aren't your run-of-the-mill Miller Lite/Budweiser/Coors fans. You have to think outside the box.
I thought it might be fun to post them on here too and maybe encourage some of you to join in the mid-week fun. So tonight's selection for me was Stone Brewing Company's Ruination IPA. I have had the regular IPA from Stone and enjoyed it quite a bit. This one is a little different, a little more and a little STONE. They make some great beer there in the city of my birth. Follow the link to the official website info.
I would love to know if you are playing along!


Kinda Sorta Caprese Salad

Once upon a time when I was a skinny mother of one, my fantastic friend Ann had a girls night at her house. She served a classic Caprese salad with the thick slices of fresh mozzarella sandwiched between a slice of Roma tomato and a basil leaf. The whole thing was drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and liberally sprinkled with salt, pepper and grated Parmesan cheese. It was kind of like heaven on a plate. I have periodically craved it ever since.
At my new favorite restaurant, BJ's Brewhouse, they have a "Tomato and Mozzarella" salad that reminded me of this one. It's a different take on it with salad greens instead of the basil but the taste was amazing. I decided to try to make something like it at home for my mom and I to enjoy. Here's how it went:
The Ingredients

1 ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into bite sized pieces You could also buy the little balls that come in a small container
1 carton of small tomatoes such as cherry or grape tomatoes. I found this amazing package of baby    heirloom tomatoes. Halve them if you'd like or leave them whole.
Balsamic Vinaigrette, to taste
Salad greens of your choosing. I like the Half & Half blend or the Baby Spinach

Mix the cheese and tomatoes with the dressing in a large bowl.

Add enough of the greens to make a tasty looking salad.

Put some on your plate, add more dressing if you want to.

So very good and really easy and quick. If you don't quite eat it all the first time, remove any greens (they'll get soggy) and refrigerate the cheese and tomatoes to add to your next salad.


Lynda's Chicken Salad

My mother-in-law is a wonderful cook. She has one of those great binders filled with recipes that are stained and tattered. I keep thinking I'll sneak it out one day and make a copy of the whole thing. I wouldn't have to sneak though, she isn't selfish with her gift. We used to have a big party every 4th of July and she would make the most delicious chicken salad for lunches. I did get that recipe from her and lately I have been craving it pretty badly. Yesterday I picked up the ingredients I didn't have on hand and made some for dinner. There's some good news/bad news though: I'm the only one who likes it in my family. Good news for me is I don't have to share! Bad news for me is it doesn't last forever.
The Ingredients:

1 cooked chicken (I buy a rotisserie chicken in the deli but you could use canned)
6 boiled eggs
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup relish
1/4 cup diced celery
1.4 cup chopped pecans
mayo or Miracle Whip to taste (I prefer Miracle Whip but I have also used the olive oil mayo for this and it was wonderful)

The other day on This Week For Dinner, Jane posted a tip she had seen about shredding chicken for recipes. Use you stand mixer. If you say so, Jane!! I tried it out. First, I took all the meat off my rotisserie chicken and put it in the bowl of my mixer

Then turn the mixer on about medium

It took about 8.3097 seconds!

After chopping up the boiled eggs, you just combine all the ingredients and mix to your preferred consistency. I like it not too wet but not too dry. I bought some pitas to eat with this but you could use bread or tortillas or lettuce cups or crackers or just a fork!

So good! I love the crunch of the onion and celery and the texture of the pecans is wonderful. You could probably use walnuts instead of pecans but I prefer the pecan, since I am a Texan. It's our state tree you know ;)


Amish Friendship Bread--Chocolate Cheesecake

Are you tired of these yet? If you answered yes, then I apologize because I AM NOT! Each one has been more delicious than the previous one and I cannot wait to run through all the different variations on my to-do list. Here's a website with a great selection .
The Ingredients:

1 cup Amish bread starter
1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 small boxes instant cheesecake pudding mix
2 cups chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix together all the wet ingredients. In a smaller bowl, mix the dry ingredients, including the pudding, but wait for the chocolate chips. Slowly add the dry mix to the wet mix and blend well. Stir in chocolate chips. Prepare two laof pans. I like to spray them with cooking spray and then sprinkle them with sugar. It adds a delightful crunch to the outside of the loaves. I guesss for this bread you could use cocoa instead. Now for the cheesecake portion:

1 tub (12 oz) whipped cream cheese or 8 oz block, softened **not fat free**
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Cream ingredients together and pour on top of bread batter. Fold the cheesecake mix in a little bit and then pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake at 325 degrees for one hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool for about 1/2 hour before removing from loaf pan. Slice and enjoy!!

Problem Solved!

About a week ago I was complaining on my Facebook status about baking soda containers. I can't figure out why  they don't seal back up. I understand the ones where you tear the cardboard sides then put them in the fridge or freezer for odor absorption. But I use a lot of baking soda in my BAKING and I am always worried that it isn't good or fresh as the box gets emptier. Occasionally I have used the rest in a box for cleaning and bought a new one for baking. Then there are the lovely times when the nearly full, but not sealed box falls out of the cupboard and spills all over the counter and the floor. Goo times!!
Anyhoo, just after posting, I was putting away some clean dishes. Among them were some half pint mason jars that I had used for peach jam at Christmas. They are the kind of squatty, pretty ones and I had the idea to put salt and pepper in them and keep them by the stove for adding seasoning to recipes!

They have a nice wide mouth so I can either use a measuring spoon or my fingers to pinch out what I need.

Well, last week I was at Target and perusing the kitchen gadgetry when I spied some pint-sized short squatty jars. A single sunbeam shined down from heaven and a lightbulb went on above my head. I bought them and came home and did this:

Now my cocoa powder and my baking soda have a lovely little jar to call home until I add them to something delicious. Next step is to get some of these awesome chalkboard labels and write the name of what is stored inside. I have two jars left, I wonder what I can put in them.....


Amish Friendship Bread--Lemon

I thought Easter would be a great reason to make a fresh lemon variation on the Amish bread. Pattie loves the Lemon Pound Cake at Starbucks so I am hoping she will like this bread too. It is still baking as I post so I will have to add taste notes later. But here is the recipe to get you started! More recipes at this website
The Ingredients:

1 cup Amish bread starter
1 cup oil
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup lemon juice*
1 Tbsp lemon zest*
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 small boxes instant lemon pudding mix

*I used the zest and juice of 2 small lemons. First I zested them:
It took all the zest from the two lemons I had to make the full tablespoon required. Then I juiced the two lemons with my reamer:
and it was the prefect amount as well! Can't beat fresh ingredients :)

In a large bowl, combine all the wet ingredients. In a smaller bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Add the dry mix to the wet mix until fully combined. Pour into two sugared bread pans and lightly sprinkle some sugar on top too. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour or until done. Leave them in the pan to cool for about 30 minutes and they will be MUCH easier to remove from the pans.
I like to put one loaf in the freezer once it cools completely. That way I have a dessert or brunch I can pull out or take with me to a gathering. I hope you are enjoying the variations as much as I am!!


Kitchen Upgrade

I know some of my readers here also read the family blog, but for those of you who are solely Feeding the Chaos followers, I thought I would link you to the post about my new counters. I just love them! Backsplash will get put in next week (hopefully) and I will update with pics then.

New Counters post


Menu 3/26 - 3/30/2012

Well, it's just a short week list for us this time. We were gone over the weekend and since I only plan to Friday, I am getting off kind of easy!
Monday-- Poached Salmon and noodles
Tuesday-- Steaks, twice baked potatoes, salad and this for dessert
Wednesday-- Chicken Enchiladas
Thursday-- Sloppy Joes
Friday-- Hopefully order pizza and hit the drive-in to see The Hunger Games!


Amish Friendship Bread--Butter Pecan

The Ingredients:

1 1/2 to 2 cups Amish bread starter
1 cup softened butter
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp butter flavoring
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Mix wet ingredients together in a large bowl. I used about 1 3/4 cups of starter. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet. Pour into two well greased bread pans. I like to sprinkle sugar in the pans after spraying with cooking spray. It gives a nice little crunch to the edges. I ended up using a mini loaf pan and a regular pan. Unfortunately the mini loaves stuck! They didn't turn out very pretty but they sure are tasty!!

Amish Friendship Bread--New York Cheesecake

The Ingredients:

1 cup Amish bread starter
1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 small boxes instant cheesecake pudding mix

For the filling:

8 oz cream cheese**
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients together. In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Add the dry to the wet and mix well. In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients. Spoon mixture over the top of the bread batter and swirl a knife through. Pour into two well greased bread pans. I like to sprinkle sugar in the pans after spraying. This gives the bread a wonderful little crunch on the outside. Bake bread at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

**I find that 12 ounces of whipped cream cheese does wonderfully as a substitute for 8 ounces of softened cream cheese or if you are going to need to combine it with other ingredients.

If you really want a treat, try the addition I made this 4th of July. To me, summer is all about peaches. I was looking for something "peachy" to take for dessert to our 4th of July picnic with my parents and grandparents. I checked the webiste above for peach recipes and I didn't have the ingredients I would have needed for any of them. I decided that just putting some chopped up fresh peaches in the cheesecake bread I was making would be a good gamble. And I was right!! It was fantastic. I highly recommend it. I used one cup and made just one loaf with the peaches in it. Everyone swooned :)


French Toast

When I was in second grade, our teacher taught us how to make French Toast just before Mother's Day. It was a very simple recipe and I have been making it ever since. French Toast is one of those dishes that you can dress up or dress down and really do almost anything to it and it will turn out amazing. I am a simple girl and I like to keep it simple. So here is the recipe, let your tastebuds be the judge!
The Ingredients:

bread (I like to use Texas Toast but have also used regular bread, cinnamon bread, French bread and even banana bread and pumpkin bread)
You also need some highly specialized equipment:

So this is one of those recipes without quantities. But don't let that scare you. Start out by cracking a few eggs out into a shallow dish. Add a couple splashes of milk, not too much!

Now whisk it all up like you are going to scramble the eggs. Then sprinkle in some cinnamon. As much or as little as you like.

Give that a stir to mix it in and then start dredging the bread slices.

Make sure you get the egg on all the surfaces. The first couple slices will have a lot of cinnamon!

Put the bread on a hot skillet or griddle.

After a few minutes, flip the slices over. See what I mean about the first pieces having more cinnamon. This works out great for us because my husband "loves" cinnamon and I am more on the "like" side with it. He gets the cinnamony pieces.

When both sides are done, place them on a warm plate until all the slices get finished. For some reason, one side is always prettier than the other too.

I had a half loaf of French bread from dinner the night before so I sliced it up too.

Breakfast is served!

Don't forget the syrup and powdered sugar. Bon appetit!

Menu 3/2 - 3/8/2012

Well, I 'm a couple days late but I do have a menu and here it is!
Friday-- I made Chicken Spaghetti since Jayme was coming home for the weekend
Saturday-- We had a late, late lunch at Joe's Crab Shack so we weren't very hungry for dinner
Sunday-- We ate leftover Chicken Spaghetti!
Monday-- Pork Roast with rice and black eyed peas (Clay requested)
Tuesday-- Sloppy Joe Casserole
Wednesday-- Chicken Alfredo
Thursday-- Salmon and mac & cheese


Amish Friendship Bread-Banana Muffins

I have had a lot of fun with my Amish Friendship Bread starter. This variation made quick use of some bananas that were in danger of being tossed!
The Ingredients:
1 cup starter
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup ripe mashed banana
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 large box instant vanilla pudding mix

Ordinarily, Amish Friendship Bread is baked into two loaves. I decided to make these more appealing to my 4 year old by making muffins. She LOVES muffins!! To make loaves, cook at 325 degrees for one hour. For muffins:
Grease muffin pans and sprinkle them with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
I used one jumbo muffin pan
and one mini muffin pan.
Mix ingredients in order and pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake at 325 degrees. Mini muffins took 15 minutes to cook.

Jumbo muffins were done in 30 minutes
Allow muffins to cool for 30 minutes in pan before turning them out onto wire rack to cool completely. Pattie said, "Mommy, call the police cause I'm stealing another muffin in here!" I guess I'll take that to mean she likes them :)
For more fun variations, visit this website.

Amish Friendship Bread-Chocolate Chocolate Chip

Another of the wonderful variations you can use to enhance the basic recipe for Amish Friendship Bread.
The Ingredients:

1 cup Amish bread starter
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 large box instant chocolate pudding mix
2 cups chocolate chips
Mix ingredients together in order. Pour batter into two prepared loaf pans.
Bake at 325 degrees for one hour. Cool in pan for 30 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
If you are looking for something else, try this website for other variations.