Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Overnight Caramel French Toast

I made this a couple weeks ago and it was delicious!
I prepped it all the night before and refrigerated it until the next night. What a great dish to take to our Sunday School class for the next "1st Sunday breakfast." I'll pop it in the oven the morning of and cut it into smaller pieces to serve more people.

Overnight Caramel French Toast

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
12 slices white or whole wheat bread (I used whole wheat, could also use your own homemade)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
6 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
2. Pour into a greased 13-in x 9-in. baking dish. Top with six slices of bread. Combine sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon; sprinkle half over the bread. Place remaining bread on top. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar, set aside.
3. In a large bowl, add the beaten eggs, milk, vanilla and remaining 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Pour over the bread. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight (I refrigerated mine for about 20 hours and it was fine).
4. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes (I baked mine about 30 minutes and that wasn't long enough, definitely needed 35+ minutes in my oven because the middle was a little mushy).

Yield: 6 servings


Monday, August 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday-August 23

August 23-August 29

We're venturing out and trying new recipes again this week. We liked most of the things I made last week, especially the Baked Chimichangas. I'll have to post that recipe on here soon, although I didn't take a picture of the finished product, oops!

It's cooling off here. And by cooling off I mean the low 90's. Oh well, it's something better than what we've had and hopefully it's a taste of the near future.

Here's what's on our menu for this week.

Monday, 23:
Chicken Piccata
from Taste of Home cookbook

Tuesday, 24:
Ranch Pork Roast (crock pot)
from Better Homes cookbook

Wednesday, 25:
Enchilada Stuffed Shells
from Taste of Home cookbook

Thursday, 26:
Phyllo Chicken
from Taste of Home cookbook

Friday, 27:
Blueberry Buckle
from Better Homes cookbook

Saturday, 28:
Hawaiian Baked Chicken
from Taste of Home cookbook

Sunday, 29:
No meal plan yet, will make one of the dishes above if it doesn't happen during the week or we'll have leftovers

*Any meals you'd like the recipe for, leave me a comment and your email and I'll email you the recipe.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Easy Chocolate Pie

I posted this originally back in March, but since it's so hot, I figured I'd repost it again. An easy and cool dessert recipe. No baking and turning on the oven needed!

Easy Chocolate Pie-Mom's kitchen
Printer-Friendly Recipe

1 12 oz container cool whip, thawed
2 extra large Hershey's milk chocolate bar, melted (dark chocolate is great too)
1 graham cracker pie crust (chocolate graham or Oreo crust works too)... I used a chocolate graham this time

1. Mix melted chocolate bar and cool whip together until blended.
2. Dump into pie crust and cover.
3. Freeze 4 hours or overnight.
4. Enjoy!

Yes, it's as easy as that and it's so good!

This link is posted at:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Menu Plan-August 16

August 16-August 22

Hello Friends,
Another hot week is upon us, but hopefully not as hot as it has been.

I'm SO ready to get outside and go for walks with Nyla, but it is WAY to hot to do that. I know I could take being hot and sweaty, but I'm not going to put my almost 5 week old through that misery. So instead, we'll stay inside, some more, and enjoy the air conditioner that we are blessed to have. Hopefully in about 4 weeks the weather will cool a little bit and we'll be able to go for walks in the morning together and then again when Hubby gets home from work. Time will only tell.

What's new around here?
Nyla is 5 weeks on Tuesday. It's hard to believe she's been with us for 5 weeks already. We are so blessed!
I have been in the kitchen just about every night since August began. My c-section put me out of it for a good two weeks, but by the time August came around I was more than ready to get back in it and cook again. I've had a blast too! I've gotten some different cookbooks out to menu plan for the month and made some really good stuff. I've been very pleased with the turnout and so has Hubby. He's definitely into trying new foods more and for this I am thankful because I can really expand myself in the kitchen.
And it's just plain hot here, hot hot hot! Stay inside!!!

So here's our menu for the week:

Chicken Parmigiana

Nothing planned

Baked Ziti

Baked Chimichangas

Pizza (I made pizzas before N was born, so I'll pull this out of the deep freeze)

Teriyaki Chicken

Baked Rotini

These are all new recipes that I've never made before, so I'm super excited to see how they turn out. If they're good, I'll be posting them over the next couple of weeks.

I'm going to try and post at least twice a week on here, whether it be a recipe, my menu plan or just some random news. I hope to begin writing ahead when I have the time, so if days slip by me (which they tend to do now), I'll be ahead and you'll have something to read! :) So hang with me.

Have a great week and stay cool!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Three-Cheese Manicotti

It feels so great to be back in the kitchen after about a month off from cooking. I didn't cook much the last couple weeks of pregnancy, my back hurt and I was tired after carrying that belly around all day. :) The only things I did cook were freezer meals to pull out the first couple weeks after Nyla was born, when I didn't feel like cooking. I did that with about 6 weeks to go. I'm glad I did because on nights that are just crazy, I've been able to pull out taco meat that's ready to go or a lasagna. I even made some breakfast breads so I'd have something different to eat, besides cereal and Daniel could take to work too.
Thankfully we've also had plenty of people bring us meals which got us through quite a while and we're still working on some of them. Daniel and I eat the leftovers for lunch.
But I've been so ready to menu plan and grocery shop (I hadn't done that in 4 weeks). I know that sounds so silly, but I really enjoy planning our meals and budgeting when I shop. I find a thrill in it for some reason. I guess I enjoy saving money.
So as August began I wanted to menu plan. Yes, it's adventurous when you have a newborn that's only about 15 days old, but I knew I could at least plan and if we had a bad day I could always go to my deep freezer and pull out the meals I made before she was born. So far, I haven't had to do that! When Hubby gets home he's able to rock and diaper Nyla while I cook. And for this I am so thankful. I love being in our kitchen and making meals for us to enjoy together.
Below is one of my latest ventures. I'd never made manicotti before this time, what a learning experience. I let the manicotti shells go too long so they were too soft to handle, some even fell apart. I made it work though, so it wasn't too much of a problem.
The verdict? Delicious! It made so much I froze the other pan of it and pulled it out tonight for dinner. It was just as good as last time. Now Hubby has lunch tomorrow and I've got 2 convenience meals (leftover meals perfectly portioned and labeled in the freezer for Hubby to take to work if there are no leftovers from the previous nights dinner) in the freezer for him for another time, he just loves those.
Here's the recipe, enjoy!

Three-Cheese Manicotti-From: Taste of Home Cookbook

20 uncooked manicotti shells
2 cartons (15 oz each) ricotta cheese--I substituted cottage cheese (they don't sell ricotta at Aldi) and it tasted great, I actually liked the taste better than ricotta
5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided--1 or 2 cups of Italian blend would be good too
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp seasoned salt
2 jars (26 oz each) spaghetti sauce, or your own

1. Cook manicotti according to the package instructions (like I said, I overcooked them so they were too soft, so be careful). Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese), 3 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs and seasonings.
2. Spread 1 cup spaghetti sauce each into two ungreased 13x9 in baking dishes. *Stuff manicotti shells with cheese mixture; arrange over sauce. Top with remaining sauce.
3. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and manicotti is heated through.

*I put half the cheese mixture into a gallon bag and snipped a corner and piped the cheese mixture into the shells, much easier. Only do half the mixture (or less) at a time though, otherwise the bag is too heavy and you can't stuff the shells properly.
Like I said, it makes quite a lot for 2 people. 10 servings or 2 manicotti each, so I froze the extra pan. I never cut a recipe to work for just two people. We enjoy leftovers and being able to freeze extra to pull out for another dinner.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm Baaack....

Nyla at 4 days old. I had to put a giant bow/flower in her hair. :)
Ready to leave the hospital and begin our life as a family of 3!
Her 0 month sticker at 1 day old. A good friend at church had a little boy about 3 months ago and they have these stickers that you put on them at the month birthday, all the way up to 12 months, to track their growth through pictures. She loves her so she got me a pack. So cute!
Brand new pretty baby!
Right out of mommy's tummy. Weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds and 8 ounces. Yes, we were expecting a big baby girl, but maybe not nine and a half pounds. :)

Well sort of...

I'm going to try and get back to blogging, at least once a week. I'm so busy with Nyla, the days just slip by me and I'm lucky to have an hour to myself. If I do get an hour, it's usually filled with laundry and some sort of cleaning and maybe even a shower. Haha. But I miss writing and posting and keeping up with my blog friends, so I'll try my hardest to write ahead when I have a few minutes and try and update each week. I hope you're all doing well!

Big news? I am a proud mother of a now 4 week and 2 day old. I can't believe she's already 4 weeks. Time flies when you're having fun! We are enjoying every minute with our sweet little one. She is a blast, even at 4 weeks. I remember what it's like not having her, but can't imagine life any other way. We are so blessed to have a healthy baby girl. God blesses us!

Even after these crazy 4 weeks I am back in the kitchen and I have missed it! For most of July, when I was getting big and miserable and hot and sweating like a pig, I didn't cook much and we ate out too much, eek! And then when I had her, by emergency c-section, I was out of commission for pretty much 2 weeks. Thankfully, my sweet hubby was able to take vacation the first week and work from home the second week. I'm so thankful his boss let him and that he has the capabilities to do that. By week 2, I was moving around a bit better but if she woke up in the middle of the night, I couldn't get to her fast enough, it took me forever to roll out of bed. :) I'm also thankful for the many people who brought us lunch and dinners. We're still working on leftovers, which is great. We have a freezer full of leftovers so Hubby takes them to work for lunch.

But after 4 weeks, I'm feeling great (and exhausted) and happy to be menu planning, grocery budgeting and shopping and cooking again. Dear kitchen, I have missed thee!

So hang in there dear readers, I'll try and post a recipe or two each week because I am making some super duper delicious dinners!

And obviously, the pictures above are for your viewing pleasure. What a great day it was to welcome our sweet one into our lives!