Monday, March 28, 2011

Two Week Menu

I offered to send Lindsey my two week menu, but thought it might be easier to share it here.

How to set it up:  Pick how many meals you will prepare in the next two weeks.  Since we share Sunday dinner with family and lunches are always low key (think PB&J), for the next two weeks I will need to prep 12 meals.  I try and mix up different kinds of protein and meat free meals.  Remember some meals are big enough to feed your family twice and you may want to include that in your count.  I almost always only count everything once because I'll send leftovers with my hubby for lunch and if there's more than that, then I get an easy lunch too.

Side dishes?:  I never plan side dishes as we usually just throw in whatever produce we have on hand (from Bountiful Baskets, you should really check them out!).  But you could definitely plan those as well.

Organization:  Some people like to assign each meal to a date.  I can't do that, it's too structured.  Instead I list the meals, knowing I have all the ingredients on hand, then choose that afternoon what I feel like eating and the amount of time I feel like taking to prepare it.  I also have a code system assigned to help me get a better feel for what I want to do.  For example, if a meal is underlined it's a simple, fast meal- this is great for nights I'm going to be gone and need to have it ready before I leave or leave Nick in charge with minimal instructions.  I also put a star next to any meal that has a time sensitive item in it.  Usually I only mark this on fresh produce meals, but today I cleaned out my freezer, so there's also a star next to freezer items I want used asap.

So with that explanation, here's my menu for the next two weeks (I linked up the meal with a recipe whenever possible!):

Ghost Chili
Chicken Courdon Bleu
Garlic Ranch and Veggie Pizza*
Hashbrowns and Eggs*
Spaghetti and Spinach Turkey Meatballs* (I modify this to make mini meatballs without the sauce then freeze them and thaw and cook for a quick addition to our spaghetti dinners)
Peach Pork Roast*
Steak Fajitas*
Chef Salad*
Rosemary Chicken
Calzones (Hmm, got this from Kristine a while ago, maybe she'll share it here for you!)

Grocery Shopping:  Ok so now I gather all these recipes and make a list of what ingredients I need and anything else the house is short of (and after two weeks, that's a lot!)  I do a milk run in the middle of shopping trips, but I try to limit it to just milk, so it's essential that I really take stock of what I'll need.  I also get most of my produce through Bountiful Baskets.  Each week is a surprise, so if there's something I really need from the produce department, I'd better buy it now or else I'll be out buying it later.  For general veggies to use on the veggie pizza or in the fajitas, I'm sure to get something that will work in my basket and I don't worry about them.  By the way, shopping only once every other week saves you a lot of money in impulse buys and last minute eating out.

It's Dinner Time:  Now Tuesday late afternoon rolls around and it's time to get cooking.  I glance up at my list and make a choice based on what I feel like eating, the amount of time I have to cook, and (very important) what needs to be done before ingredients go bad.  So I pick spaghetti and meatballs since the meatballs are already thawing in the fridge and I have mutual to get to by 6.  Ta da!  Cross your meal off.  My only last bit of advice is to make sure all the prep heavy meals are not left to the end.  No one wants to spend an hour in the kitchen four days in a row.  Balance is the key here.  Enjoy never having to ask "What's for dinner?" again!

Nick's Rosemary Chicken

Yes this is my husband's creation.  And it was good!  He didn't measure so these are all approximate and can be changed to suit your tastes.

2 tbsp evoo
1.5 lb chicken breasts
3 tsp lemon pepper, divided
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
4 tsp rosemary, divided
1 tbsp lemon juice, divided

Heat up evoo in pan on med high heat.  Put in chicken breasts, and sprinkle half of each of the seasonings on top.  Brown.  Turn chicken and sprinkle the other half of the seasonings.  Cook until internal temperature is safe (165*).  What tasted extra yummy was that the rosemary started to caramelize in the oil.  Yum!

Peach Pork Roast

  • Picture courtesy of the Open Pantry

    • boneless pork loin roast shopping list
    • 1 can (15.25 oz)sliced peaches in heavy syrup1/4 tsp onion salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1/2 c. chili sauce
    • 1/3 c. light brown sugar
    • 3 TBS apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
    • 1 TB cornstarch
    • 2 TBS water
  • Coat a 6 qt. Slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place roast into slow cooker; season with onion salt and black pepper.
  • Drain peaches, reserving the syrup. In a bowl, whisk syrup, chilisauce, brown sugar, vinegar and pumpkin pie spice. Pour over meat; scatter peach slices over the roast. Cook 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
  • Remove meat and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Spoon out peach slices and reserve. Place liquid in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds until the sauce thickens.
  • To serve, slice meat and scatter reserved peach slices over the top.

Ghost Chili

A creamy chili that’s good on the taste buds and the budget.

  • Prep Time 
  • Cook Time 


  • 1 pound Chicken Breast, Cubed
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 1-½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 2 cans (15.5 Oz) Great Northern Beans, Rinsed And Drained
  • 1 can (14.5 Oz) Chicken Broth
  • 2 cans (4 Oz.) Chopped Green Chilies
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • ½ teaspoons Black Pepper
  • ¼ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • ½ cups Whipping Cream

Preparation Instructions

Heat oil in a large pot. Saute chicken, onion, and garlic powder until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies, and seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and cream.
If you like your chili very mild, reduce the amount of chilies to 1 can, or rinse and drain the chilies well.
To make a less rich, healthier version, use 2 cups sour cream and 1/4 cup milk.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chicken-Parmesan Bundle

I found this recipe on I really enjoyed it, Blake (my 7 year old) loved it, Terry (the hubs) said it was "ok", Damon (my 1 year old) ate it all up, and Ashlyn (my 4 year old) wouldn't even try it. So you and your family may or may not like it, but I thought I would share it anyway...

What You Need
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened (make sure you soften well, my wasn't very soft and it was a pain in the you know what to mix.)
1 pkg.  (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained (I just used baby spinach leaves and chopped them up, cause thats what I already had.)
1-1/4 cups KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, divided
6 Tbsp.  KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb.), pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1   egg
10 RITZ Crackers, crushed (about 1/2 cup)
1-1/2 cups  spaghetti sauce, heated

Make It

HEAT oven to 375ºF.
MIX cream cheese, spinach, 1 cup mozzarella and 3 Tbsp. Parmesan until well blended; spread onto chicken breasts. Starting at one short end of each breast, roll up chicken tightly. Secure with wooden toothpicks, if desired.
BEAT egg in shallow dish. Mix remaining Parmesan and cracker crumbs in separate shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg, then roll in crumb mixture to evenly coat. Place, seam-sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
BAKE 30 min. or until chicken is done (165ºF). Remove and discard toothpicks, if using. Serve chicken topped with spaghetti sauce and remaining mozzarella.

Chicken Taco Soup

Uh yeah, I like cheese. A lot.

  • 1 onion, chopped (or onion flakes, gives flavor without the big chunks)
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) chicken broth (original recipe called for beer, I guess you can try that if you want...)
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
  • 3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • crushed tortilla chips (optional)
  1. Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, broth, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.
  2. Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.
 -A bunch of the reviews said to add chili powder and Cumin so I threw a little of both in.
-I didn't have time to put it in the crock pot so I boiled the chicken, shredded it, and then heated everything on the stove. It was still amazing.
-I added cilantro on mine and it was DELISH!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Garlic-Ranch and Veggie Pizza

I was craving Papa Murphy's Pizza like this, so I looked up a mock recipe on the Internet........pretty good! 

Garlic Ranch Pizza:

Pizza dough
1 Cup Ranch
1 Tbs Fresh minced garlic
Mozzarella cheese
Cooked shredded chicken
Veggies:  I put zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and artichokes.  I would have loved to put onions on, but my husband hates them.  Olives and peppers would be good too, just put on whatever you like. 

Preheat oven to 375.  Roll out dough and partially bake for about 15-20 minutes, until crust begins to brown.  Mix Ranch and Garlic together and spread over crust.  Add topping and bake until hot and bubbly. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

SOFT Sugar Cookies

This is the recipe I've been searching for for years!  These are SO SOFT and good and PERFECT! 


1 cup sour cream
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
6 cups flour, approximately
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, vanilla, and sour cream.  Add dry ingredients, mix thoroughly (it will be sticky, don't add too much flour).  Chill in the fridge 2-3 hours.  Roll dough out, cut into shapes. (I left my dough pretty thick, at least 1/2 inch, when I rolled it out.  And try to work and roll the dough as LITTLE as possible after you chill it.)  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. (Watch them, and don't let them over cook, and they will be perfect.) Cool and frost with icing.