Sunday, February 28, 2010

menu plan monday: March 1st

see other mpm's here!
Chicken enchiladas (first seen here. Her enchildadas picture is gorgeous isn't it?!)

Italian Pasta with crusty garlic bread


Sauteed Mushroom Cream Soup (my family won't eat mushrooms so I divide the creamy broth in half and make them zuppa toscana (with sausage, potatoes, and kale). I will also put kale in with my mushroom soup. It's tasty!

Pizza Night- Veggie Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust

Weekly leftovers!

brinner: French toast and popeye smoothies

Saturday, February 27, 2010

man-pleasing food: zesty chicken drumsticks

I love mixing my own spices. This "zesty" seasoning mix is made up of garlic powder, cumin, paprika, seasoning salt, and lemon pepper. I usually double or triple the measurements and fill a bag or jar to have this spice on hand. We love it.
These are the spices all mixed up.
1 Tablespoon of oil per 1 Tablespoon of spices.
Trim the fat off of the drumsticks and baste both sides with the seasoning/oil mixutre.
Broil 36 minutes on high, turning every 12 minutes.

For kids and spouses going to work, wrap a strip of tinfoil around the top of the drumstick to keep fingers from getting messy and sticky. They can just hold onto the tinfoil part.

Zesty Seasoning Mix
1/4 cup garlic powder (not salt, the powder! I used the California blend for no particular reason)
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 Tablespoon lemon pepper
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon seasoning salt

Mix all the spices together without oil. This is your "bulk" spice. You can use the desired amount to taste. For about 12-14 drumsticks, I like to use 3 Tablespoons of the spice. The oil to spice ration is 1 Tablespoon of spice per 1 Tablespoon of oil. Mix the spices with the oil and baste over drumsticks.

To make the drumsticks:
1 Family Pack (12-14ish) chicken drumsticks
3 Talespoons zesty seasoning spices
3 Tablespoons canola oil

After basting your drumsticks on both sides of drumsticks, place in broiler on foil-lined cookie sheet with sides, or broiler pan. Make sure they are 1-2 inches apart. Broil on high for 36 minutes, turning every 12 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.


Monday, February 22, 2010

menu plan monday

to join in on the action, go here

I did it! I planned breakfast, lunch, AND dinner for the whole week! I also included snacks and desserts as well. And this menu is from everything we already have on hand. I shouldn't have to go shopping the entire week.

breakfast:  granola with almonds and raisins :: grapefruit
lunch:  Spinach and Cheese quiche :: Granny Smith apples
dinner:  Chicken Fajitas on corn tortillas (toppings: avocado, sour cream, cheese and salsa)

breakfast:  Pineapple Crush smoothies
lunch:  "sushi" surprise :: red grapes
dinner:  wagon wheel pasta with pesto :: salad with vine tomatoes

breakfast:  cold cereal ::  orange-pineapple juice
lunch:  crunchy pb wraps
dinner:  Taco Soup

breakfast: popeye smoothies
lunch:  leftover soup
dinner:  Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry

breakfast:  granola :: bananas
lunch:  veggie sandwiches
dinner:  pizza night :: side salad

breakfast:  muffins :: orange-pineapple juice
lunch: leftovers
dinner:  Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Avocado Sandwiches

breakfast:  popeye smoothies
lunch:  leftovers
dinner:  zesty chicken drumsticks with homemade zesty seasoning mix (recipe to come) :: cornbread :: steamed veggies

snacks on hand
celery and carrot sticks
peanut butter and ranch for dipping
whole wheat crackers

dessert ideas
secret ingredient chocolate chip cookies
swedish fish
homemade apple pie
granola bars
funnel cake

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

We eat healthy at least 95% of the time, but when we make dessert, we sometimes throw that all out the window! And I think that's A-okay. You can still be healthy and indulge ocassionally. That's my philosophy. I'm always looking for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Unfortunately, I have still not found the one. I've tried so many varieties, but am not in love yet. This was a good recipe however and I liked the secret ingredient of corn flakes. We baked a dozen or so of these cookies and then I froze the rest in Tablespoon sized mounds for a later time. It's nice to have fresh made cookie dough on hand. I ended up with about 100 total of these! Do you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe? Want to share?

This is from Baking Kids Love, a Sur La Table Cookbook. This book has a ton of great recipes kids can help make.

Ingredients: Makes about 25 big cookies (3 Tbsp. dough for large cookies, 1 Tbsp. for regular size)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup canola or corn oil
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 cups tightly packed light brown sugar
2¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats (not instant)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2½ cups Kellogg's Corn Flakes (for best results, stick to this brand)
1 (12-ounce) bag miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Before you begin. Position 1 oven rack in the top ¹/³ of the oven and 1 oven rack in the bottom ¹/³ of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the baking sheets with the parchment paper.

Mix the dough. Put the butter, eggs, and vanilla in 1 of the large bowls and stir with the wooden spoon until blended. Add the oil and beat well until combined. It will look like a mess, but that's okay. Put the flour, sugar, brown sugar, oats, salt, and baking soda in the other large bowl and whisk until blended. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir well with the spoon. You can even use your hands to squish all the ingredients together. Sometimes your hands are the best tools. Put the corn flakes into the resealable plastic bag, squeeze out the air, and seal the top. Squeeze the bag until the flakes are broken into tiny pieces (do not use a food processor; it grinds the flakes too small). Add the crushed flakes and the chocolate chips to the dough and stir until evenly blended.

Shape the cookies. Use the large (3 tablespoon) or small (1 tablespoon) ice-cream scoop to shape the dough into cookies. You can also shape the dough by measuring out level tablespoons-3 for each big cookie, 1 for each smaller cookie-and then rolling the dough between your palms into balls. If you are making large cookies, bake only 6 at a time on each baking sheet, spacing the balls about 4 inches apart. These cookies spread when they bake, and if you put too many on the pan, they will run together. If you are making the smaller cookies, you can fit 12 cookies on each pan. Space them about 2 inches apart into 4 rows with 3 cookies in each row. Press down on each ball with your palm to flatten slightly.

Bake the cookies . Place 1 baking sheet on each oven rack. Bake the large cookies for 7 minutes or the smaller cookies for 6 minutes. Using the oven mitts, switch the pans between the oven racks. Bake until light golden brown, another 7 to 8 minutes for the large cookies, or 6 to 7 minutes for the smaller cookies. Using the oven mitts, transfer the pans to the cooling racks and let the cookies cool completely (if you can wait that long). You may need to reuse the pans to finish baking all the cookies. Let the pans cool before you put more dough on them for baking. Store the cookies in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag for up to 1 week.

Thinking ahead:
You can bake some of the cookies today, and freeze the rest of the dough balls for another day. Put the balls close together on a pan and freeze for 30 minutes, or until hard. Transfer the frozen balls to a resealable plastic freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, take out as many cookies as you need, and space them on parchment-lined baking sheets as directed. Let them thaw for 15 minutes, then press down on them to flatten slightly, and bake as directed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

bentos (#s 36-38)

3 mini quiches, 1/2 whole wheat muffin, carrot sticks, and red grapes
cowboy pizza strips, apples, celery sticks and small container of peanut butter, and 2 gingerbread cookies
Haunted House bento. Get it?! Alluminum ghost tin filled with grapes, 2 gingerbread cookies, cheese chunks, carrot sticks, little house with ranch dip, and slice of turkey rolled up and cut into thirds. This last bento stacks on top of each other. It's super teeny too.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

mini spinach and bacon quiches

Here is what I did: I started with Paula Deen's Quiche recipe. I didn't do a pie crust. I got a package of Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry (sold in the freezer sections at grocery stores) and let it thaw on the counter for about 40 minutes. Then I unfolded it and cut it into circles with my smallest round cookie cutter. I sprayed my mini muffin pan lightly with Pam and these little circles fit perfectly, just coming up a little on the edges. You'll want to press down lightly to make sure it's gathered in the edges of the cup.
I chopped the spinach extra fine since these are tiny quiches and put a pinchful in each cup. I didn't really do any measurements, just what I thought looked good.
I chopped the bacon as fine as I could as well. I put a pinch in each cup.It probably was about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of bacon.
Then I put 1-2 teaspoons of shredded swiss cheese on top.
For the egg mixture, I actually used egg beaters. I had a case from Costco and we didn't like how they tasted so we decided to use them up in baking recipes. In place of the 6 eggs, I used 1 1/2 cups. I put 1 Tablespoon in each cup.
When you are making miniature appetizers or hor d'oeuvres, you cut the baking time to 1/3. So depending on the oven you would bake these at 375 for 12-15 minutes or until the tops are starting to brown. Cook them in the center of the oven and I think that the browning is the best done indicator.
Don't they look good? They tasted so good. I was looking for ways to use up all our spinach before it went bad and this was perfect. I've also made 2 large ones to freeze for a later meal. Everyone loved them. These would also be great in regular muffin tins. You would just cut larger circles out of the pastry and adjust the cooking time. After these came out of the oven I let them sit for a few minutes and then carefully removed them to a cookie sheet to further cool down. We ate a dozen or so and then freezed the rest. We froze them by sticking the cookie sheet in the freezer for an hour or so and then put them in a large ziploc bag all together and stuck it back in the freezer. To reheat you would just put them on a cookie sheet and reheat at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. I think these quiches are hard to ruin. You can do a number of varieties such as mushrooms, diferent cheeses, onions, ham, etc. Oh, and this made about 60 mini quiches!

Monday, February 15, 2010

menu plan monday

Monday:  Slow-Cooker Orange Chicken with Potatoes

Tuesday:  Spinach and Bacon Quiche

Wednesday: Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti using homemade cream of chicken soup.

Thursday:  1-2-3 Soup

Friday:  Pizza Night. Tonight we will make a supreme (everything on it basically) pizza and try a homemade whole wheat crust.

Saturday:  Spinach and Pasta Salad

Sunday:  Brinner (Breakfast for dinner) Biscuits and egg gravy.

See other menu plans here at org junkie

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

laptop lunchboxes


I have been wanting to get some laptop lunchboxes for a while now. I finally got the Bento System 2.0- Flower (pictured above) for my 1st grade daughter. I really love the alien one and will be getting that one soon for our 4 year old son. These are very school and travel friendly and a great size for packing a variety of things for yourself or your child. Definitely the best American style bento ever. I also love that they are USA made and they are very durable and there's even a place to write your name on the bottom of the containers. Our daughter just loves it.

Here's the first lunch I made in the new box: Muenster cheese cubes on cupcake topper picks (by Wilton). The little container next to it is apricot jam that Daisy wanted to put on her 2 whole wheat muffins below. Then there are some baby carrots and some applesauce with some sprinkles on top. I'm pretty sure I saw the sprinkle idea at Wendolonia.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

menu plan monday

Right now I'm pretty proud of myself for coming up with a weekly menu plan. I see a lot of people include the other meals for the day in their plan. I'm definitely not there yet. My goal is to eventually add breakfast, lunch, snacks, and whatever desserts we might have for the week to mpm.I've been using a blank calendar (I got a set of 2 at the dollar store) to fill in dinners. I have almost the whole month of February complete. Here's my plan for the week of February 8th (click here to see more menu plans at org junkie):

Monday:  Take out: PF Changs (gift card from Christmas)

Tuesday:  Cream of Broccoli Soup and crusty bread 

Wednesday: Chicken Fajitas. Fruit kabobs (kebabs?) for dessert

Thursday:  Slug Salad (from the Happy Medic)

Friday:  Pizza night- homemade individual pizzas on english muffins. Serve with lettuce wedge and dressing

Saturday:  BLTs on wheat with avocado and sprouts. Serve with chips and/or veggies & dip.    

Sunday:  Fish n Chips  or this one here. Both look good, but I'm liking the idea of the sweet potato fries.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

purple popeye smoothies


These are incredibly delicious and you would never guess that there is a secret ingredient. (Spinach. shhh!).  I know it sounds crazy to drink something with spinach in it, but you can't tell it's there at all. My kids think that these are Jamba Juice smoothies. But these are healthier than Jamba Juice. It's just fruit and spinach. This is so simple and fast to make and we have it sometimes as a breakfast, or a snack, or along with a little meal.

Here's what to do:
2 cups orange juice
1 cup packed fresh spinach (even though it says prewashed I always give it a good rinse)
1 mango (optional) I get a crate at Costco and dice them up and freeze them to use in these smoothies)
1 banana, frozen
2-3 cups frozen blueberries (I also buy a huge bag of unsweetened at Costco. You can also use other berry mixtures. This one pictured above was blueberries and strawberries. Blueberries hide the color of the spinach which may make it hard for kids to drink if they see it. . .)

Blend until smooth. Add orange juice if needed to thin. We never need to however. Makes 5 (1 cup) servings. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

these whole wheat muffins are good! And healthy too.


5 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups All-Bran cereal
2 cups bran flakes (not the cereal-located in health food store bulk section)*
1/2 Tbsp. salt
Mix dry ingredients in LARGE bowl.

Mix the following ingredients in separate bowl:
2 cups boiling water
5 tsp. baking soda (soda will bubble and roll when added to the boiling water)
1 cup canola oil
1 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
5 cups buttermilk
4 eggs

Combine wet and dry ingredients. Cover batter and let rest overnight or several hours in refrigerator before baking. Grease or line with muffin papers a 12 cup muffin tin. Fill 2/3 of the way full. Bake on middle oven rack at 350 degrees for 20-23 minutes. Batter will keep for weeks in refrigerator and makes 4+ dozen.*Bran flakes should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. They will go rancid if left in the cupboard for more than a few months. I mixed the wet ingredients in my kitchenaid. I put the baking soda in first and then added my boiling water to it so that it didn't bubble over. 

These are incredibly moist, hearty, and delicious! I could seriously eat these all day. This is a healthy muffin. It made 54 regular sized muffins. I made up all the muffins this morning and hope that it will make for a healthy breakfast and snack for the coming week for all of us.

Monday, February 1, 2010

menu plan monday


Okay, I am starting Menu Plan Monday again. You can click the above image to go to mpm for February 1st. If you don't do your own menu plan, you can go to organized junkie (through above link) to see what others have on their menu for the week. I have found lots of great recipes this way. 

Monday:  Pesto-Chicken Italiano with small mixed greens salad and orange slices

Tuesday:  Won Ton Soup with large salad with vine tomatoes and English cucumbers. 

Wednesday:  Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes with fruit: bananas, blueberries, and orange juice.

Thursday:  mini meatloaves  except I might do ground turkey and a few other things to make it healthier. I will also double the recipe so that I can freeze half of them for another meal. Serve with raw veggies (broccoli, carrots, peppers, and cauliflower) and a dollop of veggie dip. Maybe some mashed potatoes.

Friday:  pizza (papa murphy's) and a big mixed green salad with veggies.  

Saturday:  Veggie and Cheese Bagels from Pioneer Woman Cooks. Serve with baked tortilla chips and salsa. 

Sunday:  Baked potato bar. Toppings: sour cream, salsa, cheese, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, chili, etc.)  Not all together on one potato, of course. Small side salad.