Sunday, January 15, 2012

Menu Plan, sweetened condensed version

I am leaving, on a jet plane, in less than 72 hours. I can't believe that we actually pulled the trigger on this trip to Hawaii, but I am so proud of us for doing it! Parenting is the most exasperating and wonderful thing I have ever done, and it's tough to make your marriage a priority when you're in the trenches of 2 small boys. But, I would really like to stay married to the guy who calls me Spiffy Biscuits, forever and ever, so I know this trip will be good for us. Okay, enough mush! Cleaning out the fridge, lack of creativity edition;

  • Sunday; I made fajitas. I had all these random bits and pieces on the counter trying to figure out what to make, and my husband walked in and said, "make fajitas, you can use the steak, the onion, the mushrooms, and the peppers" Why couldn't I think of that?

  • Monday; Giving this a shot, I love anything with cabbage lately!

  • Tuesday; More to the rescue, the Pesto has to go.

Like the gratuitous shot of my kids? I saw this magical pic on Pinterest of a baby fascinated by Christmas lights, so I wanted to recreate it. Great job Megan!

Dear main dish salad, you rocked my world.

So I made this salad a couple of weeks ago, and though I can't take credit for the dressing that makes it amazing, I still wanted to share it with you. I looooove main dish salads. Usually Steak Cesar is my standard, but I somehow learned of the existence of Warm Bacon Salad Dressing, and felt an immediate urge to update my standard. This is the recipe I used, and of course I had to mess with it a bit, once I had made it a couple of times. I decreased the sugar to 1 cup, and altered the technique just a bit (thicken the dressing, then put the bacon back in so it stays crisp), but trust me when I say this dressing is fab. My most recent use of it then was over a spinach salad with grilled chicken, (which I marinated in some random oil/vinegar mix that was leftover from a pork roast my darling husband had done) sliced pear, hard boiled eggs, and cranberries. It was sooo good. Make it! Unless you don't eat bacon.

And then have this for dessert. After all, you ate a super healthy salad for supper.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A menu plan in preparation for VACATION baby!

So we're going to Hawaii in a couple weeks. Like how I said that so casually, as if I go to Hawaii annually, and I'm really not even excited about it? Don't believe anything I say, cause it's nonsense! I have never been anywhere exotic, and I am SOOOOOO excited! My big bro is getting married, and his wife to be is obviously a genius, as evidenced by the destination! I'm freaking out of course; we're leaving our kids behind, and while I know beyond any doubt that Grammie and Grandad will take ridiculously good care of them, it's still hard. Not to mention that my traveling partners include my husband (hurray!) and my breast pump (Lord help me!). But it's good. So I'm working on using up all fresh stuff on the premises.

  • Monday; Quiche, cottage cheese, green salad

  • Tuesday; Chicken spinach salad (I hope to share this one, I think it's going to rock)

  • Wednesday; Beef stew from the freezer

  • Thursday; Chicken/tomato pasta (the only long cut pasta I have is Angel Hair, how did that happen?)

  • Friday; French Toast, citrus salad

  • Saturday; Pizza night!

  • Sunday; some Sausage/Gnocchi thing I saw on allrecipes, since I must use up a package of gnocchi, ASAP

I plan to make some Samoas inspired bars that I saw on Pinterest too, cause momma needs sweets. If they are good I'll find the link for you!

So I flaked out for a year, no biggie right?

What can I say. I don't do guilt, but I'm sorry I quit writing because I miss it. I find myself thinking, "ooh, I should blog that", and then I have a twinge of missing out on the creative process that it brings. So I'm going to give it a shot. Here's what I've been up to the last year by the way!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Meatless Monday, extra cheese edition

We love cheese here. It's one of those things that I never get tired of, and I've got years of evidence that my hubs doesn't either. And of course, Junior Pete is just like every other cheese loving kid, and would happily eat nothing else if given the choice. So this super easy recipe will surely be in my repertoire for like, ever.

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (roughly equivalent to a 15oz container, I usually buy the bulk tubs at Sam's)
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 1 cup grated parmesan, divided (I often use Asiago, it's comparable to good parm, but cheaper)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I process leftover bread in the cuisinart and then freeze it to use here, in meatloaf, etc. Dried breadcrumbs would work just fine)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tsp dried parsley (or 4 TBSP fresh chopped)
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce of your choice
  • 1 box manicotti noodles
Put a big pot of water on to boil while you make the filling, and preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, 2 cups of the mozz, 3/4 cup of the parm, the bread crumbs, egg and parsley. Stir to mix well. Cook the pasta per instructions, drain well, and then lay out flat to cool a bit so they're easier to work with. Prepare a 9X13 pan by spreading about 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom. To fill each piece of pasta use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut them open so they lay flat, and then place 1/4 cup of filling in each. Roll up and place seam side down in prepared pan. Once all shells are stuffed and in the pan, pour the remaining pasta sauce over the top, and then sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

Sorry I didn't get a post-oven, melty cheese beautiful shot after it had baked, we had been smelling it for long enough that I wasn't really thinking along those lines.

Printer friendly copy

  • A couple of thoughts. First of all, the filling picture isn't great, doesn't it look like crab spread? That made me think that crab manicotti would be beyond scrumptious, but that's big money talk too. Hmm.
  • This freezes perfectly, and I have part of this batch tucked safely away already for the next time it shows up on my menu. I love 2 for 1 cooking.

Menu Plan, 2/6-2/12

I don't know why I didn't post this yesterday, I actually had it written on Saturday, look at me on top of things!
  • Sunday; Super Bowl disappointment was accompanied by the potato skins that I brought to the party, not sure they helped my PA born hubs, I think he's in mourning today. I only stayed for an hour or so, you can get by with that when you're pregnant!
  • Monday; Manicotti and Italian broccoli
  • Tuesday; Fry bread tacos and corn
  • Wednesday; Crock pot beef stew and homemade rolls (they're in the freezer from a huge batch I made :) )
  • Thursday; Mac and cheese with ham, roasted asparagus
  • Friday; Chicken tortilla soup (leftovers from the freezer, made roughly like this recipe, my verdict is not spicy enough, but then I would say that), quesadillas (my son's vocab includes the word "dunk", as in you must have something to dunk in soup!)
  • Saturday; Chicken fried rice

Sweets of the week are lemon cookies, and I plan to make pbj cookies today. I have big goals to post several of these recipes over the course of the week, hold me to it! I'm listing more vegetables this week as part of the menu because I'm more focused on what I have on hand, thanks to the grocery project I have going on. I think I will have enough fruits and veggies to make it until next Monday, but I expect to have the crisper drawers empty by then. I'm hoping for good sales!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Shopping trip, 2/6

Safeway during the Super Bowl is a nice place to be. I spent $1.73 on the pictured items (I am including tax in all my transactions by the way, it's easier for me, plus you gotta pay it, so you might as well count it). The creamer was $1.69, so I figure everything else was free! A couple of tips for Safeway maximization;

  • Safeway is (sometimes) generous with free items coupons that dispense from the Catalina machines. They are the machines that print separately from your receipt when you check out, and it's up to you to watch them, because they spit out some good stuff. I always scope out the machines at self checkout, because people tend to ignore them, and both the cleaning spray and the soda were free thanks to coupons that I grabbed from self checkout. I have no idea what prompts them to print for certain people and not for others, but I can tell you that I grabbed another free item coupon from the one I used tonight, which the previous person had overlooked. This is like the cheap person's lottery! I won't get rich playing, but it's fun!

  • The taco shells and beans are part of an Old El Paso deal that is going on right now, and My Frugal Adventures hooked me up with some coupons that made this a great deal. The taco shells are .99/box, and the beans are $1/can, and when you buy 5, you get a $3 catalina for your next purchase. I got a slip advertising this cat a few weeks ago, and it said the $3 would be for beef or chicken, but it proved to be good for any purchase, which is more convenient for me. I paid for this transaction with a $3 cat from a few weeks ago, and that's always part of my strategy; if you pay for items that produce a catalina WITH a catalina, you reduce your out of pocket cost. I know catalina's are super confusing, so questions?

I have $22.18 left for the month, and I don't plan to do any shopping until the 14th. If you stop in Safeway in the meantime, look for a fresh supply of the Joy of Football coupon books, the $2 Rancher's Reserve coupon is awesome!