Saturday, January 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday #20

Monday, February 1st- Sunday, February 7th

Monday, 1st:

Tuesday, 2nd:

Wednesday, 3rd:
Grilled Cheese and Soup

Thursday, 4th:

Friday, 5th:

Saturday, 6th:

Sunday, 7th:
SOUP-er Bowl Party @ Church; Chicken Tortilla Soup (Each man brings their creation for a judging contest), Dessert (Each lady brings their creation for a judging contest)

God Bless Your Week!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday #19

Monday, January 24th- Sunday, January 31st

Monday, 25th:
Spaghetti with meat sauce and French Bread with Garlic Seasoning

Tuesday, 26th:

Wednesday, 27th:

Thursday, 28th:

Friday, 29th:

Saturday, 30th:

Sunday, 31st:
On your own; Church activities

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cheese-Lover's Pasta Roll-Ups

These babies are so delicious!
And surprisingly they were pretty easy to make, which surprised me.

1 egg, beaten
1 container (15 oz) Ricotta Cheese
2 cups Italian Cheese Blend, shredded
4 green onion, chopped
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce, divided
16 lasagna noodles, cooked
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

*I add 1 pound cooked and drained ground beef
*I didn't have green onions so they weren't added and it was fine
*I used part skim milk Ricotta cheese

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix first 5 ingredients until well blended, (this is where I added the cooked, drained ground beef).
3. Spread 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce onto bottom of 9x13-inch baking dish. Spread each noodle with 3 Tbsp cheese mixture (or 1/4 cup if you added ground beef); roll up. Place, seam-sides down; in dish. Top with remaining sauce and Parmesan; cover. (I had a little beef and cheese mixture left so I put it on top of the noodles).
4. Bake 40-50 minutes or until heated through; uncovering the last 10 minutes.

*This is a great make-ahead dish and it makes a ton. Next time, I'm going to use 2, 9 inch square pans and freeze the other for another meal down the road and just cook one of them for dinner since there's only 2 of us.
*If you make the day before, cover with heavy duty foil, refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
*If you freeze the roll-ups, freeze up to 1 month. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in refrigerator. Bake, covered, 1 hour 5 min. or until heated through, uncovering the last 10 minutes.

Enjoy this meal!
It seems like a lot of steps, but it really is easy, I promise. I don't like spending a whole lot of time on meals so I wouldn't tell you it was easy if it wasn't easy.
See the picture below on the roll-ups served with French Bread with Garlic Seasoning.

8 servings, 2 roll-ups each
460 calories, 16 fat grams, 740 Sodium, 54 Carbs, 4 Fiber, 25 Protein (add more protein if ground beef is added to dish)

This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Garlic Bread Seasoning

Homemade Garlic Bread Seasoning-from The Double Dipped Life
Printer-Friendly Recipe

1/2 cup powdered parmesan cheese
2 tsp Kosher salt
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
2 tsp marjoram
2 tsp parsley

Combine all ingredients in a jar (use one with a shaker top if you'll use it to shake on top of things).
Goes great with pizza sauces, on top of pizza, in sauces, on top of breadsticks OR
combine 1 1/2 Tbsp garlic seasoning with a stick of softened butter. Spread on loaf of french bread (cut in 1/2 lengthwise), wrap in foil and bake and 375 degrees F until butter is melted. Or open face up under broiler for a few minutes until brown and crispy. I put it in the broiler more often because I like my bread crunchy.

I put my garlic seasoning in an empty jam jar and doubled the recipe. I have a feeling I'll be using it quite a bit so I went ahead and doubled it.

I forgot to take a picture of the butter/seasoning mixture spread on my french bread. But it was more than enough to spread over the 2 pieces of french bread. And it was wonderful!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Asparagus Deliciousness

I love asparagus!
Unfortunately, I'm the only one in my house that likes it.
Thankfully we have a small toaster oven that I can cook 10 or so stalks for just me. I don't like it mushy. I like it tender/crisp because I love some crunch in my food.
So this is how I prepare my asparagus...

Asparagus-from Me

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place as much asparagus as you want on a greased cookie sheet.
3. Drizzle oil (I use olive oil) on top of asparagus.
4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper or any other seasoning you like.
5. Cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
6. Place immediately on a plate and eat, eat, eat.

I can scarf my asparagus in less than 3 minutes. I just love it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

French Bread

I love bread! But who doesn't?
My friend SnoWhite, over at Joy in my Kitchen has a wonderful french bread recipe that I make a bunch. It's easy and delicious and everywhere I take it gets rave reviews! She has a wheat version coming soon and I can't wait to try it!
No more talking and more writing on the bread recipe! So here it is...

French Bread (for the bread machine)-from SnoWhite

Makes 1 1/2 lb loaf (enough for a family of 4)

1 cup + 1 Tbsp warm water (about 80 degrees F)
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces
2 tsp active dry yeast OR 1 1/2 tsp bread machine/fast rise yeast

Depending on the order ingredients go into your bread machine... place ingredients in the machine. I combined mine the following way:

1. Place warm water in the bread maker
2. Butter, cut into chunks
3. Salt
4. 3 cups bread flour
5. Sugar
6. Yeast

Then set the bread machine on the dough setting and allow dough to knead. My setting takes about an hour and a half.
After dough cycle ends, remove dough and place on floured surface. Cover and allow dough to sit for 15 minutes.
Knead dough just a bit and shape into a loaf.
Cover, and let dough rise for 30 minutes. Rising a bit longer won't hurt it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray a cookie sheet and bake for 15-25 minutes or until slightly browned on top. Mine usually takes 20-22 minutes.

Let cool a bit before cutting into. And enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Menu Plan Monday #18

Monday, 18th- Sunday, 24th

It looks to be a good eating week, as usual.
And I'm entering my 14th week of pregnancy! Everything is still going great. I have six more weeks until we find out what Baby is and I'm/We're very excited. I hope the six weeks go by quickly. I'm ready to know and start getting everything ready since I'm super-organized.

Monday, 18th:
Caribbean Pork 'N Rice

Tuesday, 19th:
I have a ladies small group study, so Hubby is on his own

Wednesday, 20th:

Thursday, 21st:

Friday, 22nd:

Saturday, 23rd:

Sunday, 24th:
On Your Own

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Simple Pull-Apart Rolls

I love these rolls. It makes a ton from just one batch. And they have a little bit of sweet taste which makes them even better. I made about 27 pans of these for Christmas gifts in 2009; they were a hit! I also paired a small jar of homemade peach jam that my mom and I made this summer. Everyone had rave reviews about both. I don't think I'll be able to do all the pans for Christmas 2010 with a baby, but I'll figure something out. If I had a bigger freezer I could make a batch or two a day and freeze them and then give them out just like usual. We'll see how it goes.

Simple Pull-Apart Rolls-from Cooking During Stolen Moments

3/4 cup butter; room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp yeast (or 2 packets)
1 cup warm water
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking sodaa
7-8 flour (I used 1/2 white flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour from time to time)

1. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with the sugar until creamy. Add the boiling water and mix to combine. Cool to room temperature.
2. While that cools, dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water. Add to mixing bowl along with the eggs. Mix well. Stir in salt, baking powder, baking soda and 5 1/2 cups flour, until combined.
3. Working with 1/2 cup at a time, add remaining flour until dough comes together. It's okay if the dough is a little sticky. Knead on a floured surface for 8 minutes.
4. Roll the dough into evenly shaped balls, about the size of a golf ball and place into 3 round pans (8 or 9 inch). Cover and let rise until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
And enjoy!

To freeze: Cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap or foil and freeze.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap

Homemade Laundry Soap-modified from Grocery Cart Challenge
1/3 bar of Fels Naptha Soap, cut up
1/2 cup Borax powder
1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
soap scent (optional)
a bucket

1. First, grate 1/3 of the soap and put it into a saucepan, (I found it easy to chop on a cutting board and with a knife, but if not, use a food processor).
2. Add 6 cups water and heat until the soap melts.
3. Add the washing soda and borax, stirring until dissolved.
4. Pour 4 cups hot tap water into your bucket.
5. Add your soap mixture and stir it together. Add the soap scent here if you want, (I added some to give it a little smell since the finished product has basically no smell).
6. Add another 22 cups of water and stir to combine.
7. If you're interested in adding a fragrance, it needs about 5 drops per batch. I think it's fine without it though.

Let the soap cool and set for 12-24 hours, (I give mine 24 hours).
The finished product jells up. It won't have a normal consistency. Part of it will be jello and part will remain liquid. It's ALL the same thing and dissolves in the laundry tub. No need to try and break it up.

Each load takes about 1/2 cup laundry soap.

Borax... cleans, deodorizes, disinfects and softens the water (I found this at Wal-Mart for around $3.00)
Washing Soda... cuts grease and neutralizes odors (I found this at Kroger for around $3.00)
Fels Naptha... is a stain remover (I found this at a small, local hardware store, Do It Yourself, Stewart Brothers I believe for around $2.00). I asked if they carried this all the time and the man that helped me said yes they do.
Soap Scent... gives the smell you want (I buy mine at Hobby Lobby in the soap making aisle. I think they're about $2.00 for a small bottle, but you only need about 5-10 drops, depending on how strong you want the smell to be, so it'll last you awhile).

This recipe easily doubles, just make sure you have a 5 gallon bucket.

Side note: My husband has VERY sensitive skin to certain laundry soaps and breaks out badly. This homemade didn't break him out AT ALL. He did great the first time and continues to do well with it. Thought you might like to know in case your family member has sensitive skin.

Revised, June 26, 2011:
I went to Kroger today (on Stage Road) and they have all the ingredients needed to make this homemade laundry soap. Fels Naptha was $1.29, 20 Mule Borax powder was about $3.89 and the Arm & Hammer washing soda was $3.39. The Fels Naptha you'll get 3 batches out of and the Borax and washing soda you'll get at least a dozen out of. I just now bought washing soda, it's been about 1.5 years since I've had to buy it. That just shows how long this stuff lasts, much longer than store bought laundry soap!!! Try it, you'll love it!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday #17

January 11- January 17

Meetings at Church; On your own






On your own

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Shipwreck Dinner

This recipe is from my favorite site Kraft Food and Family. I love this site (and the magazine) because it has quick and easy recipes. And most of the time the recipes contain items I already have in my pantry and freezer. If I don't have them I don't have to go to Kroger or Wal-Mart to find the food items I need, I just go to my usual place (I love shopping at Aldi).

This is a recipe I've had for over a year and have never tried it. As I've said, I'm trying to make an effort to try some different things. While this isn't the most unusual recipe, I was thrown off by the picture in the magazine. It didn't look appetizing to me at all and I'm at the point where food items need to look a little appetizing.

Since I've planned my menu for the next 3 months and have vowed to stick with it (since it saves me time and us money), I wanted to stick with this and try it. And we weren't disappointed. It actually was very delicious. But what isn't delicious about ground beef and macaroni and cheese? Here's the recipe.

Shipwreck Dinner-modified from Kraft Foods

1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 pkg. (7 1/4 oz) Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner (I used Aldi brand)
1 can (16 oz.) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 cup frozen green peas (I didn't add these because Hubby is allergic)
1 cup milk
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese

1. Brown meat in large skillet on medium-high heat; drain.
2. Stir in macaroni, cheese sauce mix, tomatoes, peas and milk. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover. Simmer 12 minutes or until macaroni is tender.
3. Sprinkle with cheese. Let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Makes 4 servings; about 1.5 cups each.
Calories 510, Fat 15g, Carbs 52g, Sugars 13g, Protein 41g

*I think next time I'll used diced tomatoes or Rotel, undrained, instead of stewed tomatoes. Hubby isn't a fan of big tomato pieces and I didn't feel like blending them a little.
*It was quick and easy and a nice warm dish on a very cold night tonight.

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Menu Plan Monday #16

Monday, January 4- Saturday, January 10, 2010

Is it really 2010 already? I don't know about you but 2009 absolutely flew by for me.
I'll be honest I've got my menu planned all the way through March. Yes, that's right, March.
I sat down over about 2 days and planned our dinner menu. Now, it's just a matter of sticking to the menu. I'm having particular cravings for dinner and what's on the dinner menu usually doesn't match up with it. So one of my goals is to stick to it because it saves us a ton of money.
Another goal is to branch out and try some new things. We're somewhat picky eaters and I'm tired of the same old thing, so we're branching out and doing some new dinners. And you'll see it reflected on our menu. Enjoy!
So here's our menu for the week.







On your own

Have a great week!