Friday, December 30, 2011

So yeah, here I am again

Yes, I know I have been gone from the blogging world for forever. I am sure that the 2 of you that read this blog have been waiting anxiously for my next update. Hold your breath no more, I am back - sort of. 

Life hit a feverish pace this fall when Menus, Meals and More started offering casserole batch parties. Participants pick the casseroles and I do all the work. They go home with a bunch of meals and I get a bit of cash. It's a total win-win except for the strain on my time. Ok well mostly. Another draw back is the fact that  while making all the tasty meals for other people I end up with leftovers and tidbits of ingredients that I have just been throwing together to feed my own brood. My meal planning kind of went out the window and we were just grabbing whatever I could piece together from the leftovers of MM&M stuff. None of our thrown together meals were worth writing about or even busting out my camera for a cruddy picture.I know how you all have missed those!

Anyway, all of that has come to a screeching halt. While I am still planning on doing monthly casseroles, the pieced together meals and lack of planning are over. Last month we found out that my oldest daughter and cooking assistant, Ashley, has blood sugar levels in the prediabetes range. The standard advice for people with prediabetes is to lose 5- 10% of your body weight and exercise more. These are not options for my thin and athletic 11 year old, so we are having to really watch her diet and hope that we can hold off the onset of full blown diabetes for as long as possible. Meal plans are back and I am having to get really creative on how to keep meals and treats interesting so that no one feels like they are missing out on anything.

The holidays really were a difficult time to reign in the sweets consumption. Ashley loves R eese's Peanut Butter Cups, so I decided to try this recipe from Diabetes Health. Since I can't seem to leave a recipe to the way it is written I had to play with it quite a bit.

The first ingredient is cocoa butter. Yes, the stuff you see in lotions. In fact I had to buy food grade cocoa butter in the health and beauty section of my local store because they don't even stock it with the food. After 20 minutes of searching and label reading I finally found the right stuff. It felt weird buying lotion for dessert, but whatever I was being adventureous and this is what I came up with.

I weighed out the cocoa butter like a good girl and followed the direction exactly on melting it.

I even put the powdered milk in the food processor to make sure that it wasn't too grainy. This things were gonna be GOOD!


After hearing from several people that Stevia is the sweetener of choice for diabetics, I decided to sub the Splenda that the recipe called for with Stevia. Boy that was a HUGE mistake. A very knowledgeable friend informed me that Stevia is much sweeter and that we needed to drop the amount down. My husband convinced me to do a blind taste test in the old Pepsi Challenge style and do a batch with Splenda and one with Stevia. I added one more batch with agave nectar just to see how it would do. Well, it turns out that ALL 3 batches had a really weird aftertaste and a super greasy texture. That stupid cocoa butter made it all FUNKY and not in a George Clinton and P-funk all stars kind of way. This stuff was bad. So, yeah I am still looking for new ways to make these things taste good. Wish me luck! I will find a way to make my daughters favorite treat in a way that won't make her sick.

Look at her- how could I say no?

Next time- more on the quest for the  perfect chocolate treat.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Photo Card

Fun Merry Wishes Christmas
Add one photo or multiple to your Christmas cards this season.
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Meal Plans - Week of August 15th

This week is going to be busy busy busy. We still have quite a bit to do before school starts next week and I have scheduled a full plate of meals to make this week. I am looking forward to being busy, but WOW!

We decided to hit the outlet malls this weekend for school clothes and came across my favorite place- The Calphalon Outlet. LOVE IT!!!  We decided there were a few things that we still needed and picked up a great deal on a grill pan with a press. I wasn't sure what I would use it for, but today I managed to make 6 meals with it!! I started by making paninis and then went ahead and stocked us with meals for the week. YAY!~ Now I can concentrate on cooking for everyone else.

Monday - Jerk Seasoned catfish with spicy slaw and cilantro rice - kids will have stuffed fish balls (this still makes me giggle)
Tuesday - Orange Chipotle Pork Tenderloins with black bean and corn salad
Wednesday - Fiery beef and noodle salad
Thursday - Pan grilled pork chops with Grilled pineapple salsa and Thai basil polenta
Friday - Israeli Moroccan Couscous
Saturday - Spice rubbed chicken fingers with cilantro dipping sauce and quinoa salad
Sunday - Day before school PIZZA!!!!

Have a great week everyone!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Armenian Style meatloaf

If you're like me, you are probably not really family with Armenia and the flavors that are typical in the cuisine there. Armenia is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and has influences from Georgia, Turkey and Syria. Burghul is the prefered grain and fruits and nuts are used extensively in dishes.

The recipe for this meatloaf highlights the typical elements of Armenian cuisine. The meat is mixed with fresh shredded vegetable and burghul (bulgur).


Then it was shaped into a loaf shape and baked.


The top was brushed with a glaze of apricot preserves and baked a bit more.
Armenian Meat Loaf
Yield: 6 servings

1/2 cup uncooked fine (#1) bulgur
Warm water
1 ½ lbs. ground beef, lamb or a combination of the two
1 small zucchini, shredded
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. freshly ground coriander
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
3 Tbsp. pomegranate jelly, melted (apricot jelly or preserves can be substituted – or - omitted completely)

1. Place the bulgur in a medium-sized bowl. Pour enough warm water to cover the bulgur. Cover with bowl with plastic wrap and let rest until water is absorbed. Once bulgur is soften, strain excess water, if any.
2. Combine ground meat, shredded zucchini, softened bulgur, onions, parsley, garlic, egg and seasonings. Mix well. Shape into a loaf.
3. Place loaf in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 55 minutes.
4. Brush top of meat loaf with jelly/jam, if using. Return to oven and bake another 3 to 5 minutes. Allow meatloaf to rest 10 minutes before slicing.
5. Serve with your favorite side dishes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meal Plans - August 7th

Hooray!! We are starting the countdown- 14 days until school starts!!!!!

This week we are actually starting with some PTO meetings and schedule pickups. I am also going to try my hand at making some raw tacos. The "meat" is ground walnut. I am not sure my husband is going to go for it, but it's worth a shot. I will keep you updated

Monday -Raw taco burgers
Tuesday Greek stuffed Chicken with cauliflower
Wednesday -  Feta burgers and sweet potato fries
Thursday -Taco Pasta Bake and Broccoli
Friday - Crillo de pollo

Monday, August 1, 2011

First week of August Meal Plan

This week I am going to be making a few new recipes and pulling a few old favorites out of the freezer. The first virtual casserole party is this week, so I am going to be super busy trying to get that all finished. It is coming along wonderfully though and I think everyone is going to be really pleased with their meals.

So here is the plan:

Monday- a delicious and nutritious Armenian Meatloaf with a root vegetable mash and steamed carrots-
Tuesday - Triple Delight over rice with potstickers
Wednesday - Pool picnic - sandwiches, pretzels and fruit
Thursday - Diablo pork with quinoa and green beans
Friday - Gumbo

What are you having this week? Anything new?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Virtual Casserole Party - August 5th pickup

This is another great twist on the original batch party. It works the same as the original party in that you spread the cost of bulk shopping over several people, get a freezer full of tasty dinners and enjoy the savings, but with the virtual party you don't even have to prepare your own meals!  I do it for you!

The new casserole party features family favorite that are not available for the typical batch party. Check out the great selections available for pickup on August 5th. Just pick one meal you want to be sure to receive and tell your friends to pick one as well. Selections are due on July 26th and buy-in on the 29th.  Please feel free to message me any questions!

UPDATE: That filled up really quickly. Keep checking back for future opportunities to participate!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Starting the Back to School Stock Up

We have reached the halfway point of  summer and it is hot! Alan and Rowan are taking 8am swim lessons so that we can be away from the pool before the real heat kicks in, but it sure does make for a bunch of early mornings. I guess we will be in practice for when school starts in 6 weeks (woo hoo).    I have to say that I am getting really excited about the back to school season. In all honesty, it has been nice having the kids all home and I have enjoyed going to the movies and library and having fun with them, but I love the excitement of back to school. The smell of school supplies is in the air, PTO board meetings are being scheduled and flyers are being prepped about Meet the Teacher nights and class schedule pickups. I can't wait.

This weekend we decided to make a bunch of quick grab and go breakfast items so that we are ready for the early morning run out the door to swimming.  We also decided to make double batches of everything to stick in the deep freeze so that we will have a stockpile for when school starts up. We started off with a big batch of breakfast cookies and then decided to make some Mickey Mouse shaped Breakfast Bausage Muffins. My girls love these and had a great time making them. Alan is not a fan because of his strange dislike for cheese (crazy boy), but enjoyed helping out anyway.  The kids aren't big on the green chilis that the recipe calls for so we left those out.

Ashley browning the sausage.

Don't they look yummy?


Sausage Breakfast Muffins

1 lb cooked pork sausage
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 c. water
3 c. bisquick or other baking mix
1 can green chilis

Cook sausage, crumble into small pieces. In large bowl combine soup, water, and cheese. Stir in bisquick and green chilis; add sausage. Fill greased muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Grandma's Hot Dog Soup

The other day I found myself missing my grandma. It has been 5 years since she passed and I still think about her often. I still remember the smell of her kitchen as my family sits at what was once her breakfast table. She had quite the flair for cooking unique meals and really sparked my interest in food.

Grandma meeting Alan


The other day I decided to make one of her favorite dishes with the kids- Hot Dog Soup. For the longest time I totally thought Grandma had made this up, but it turns out that there was an actual recipe on record for the soup.  After doing some digging I found a recipe that was really close and we tried it out. At first the kids were hesitant, but after tasting they were won over. It was great to sit at my grandma's old table and share some stories about her with her great grandchildren.

What ways do you share your family's history with your kids? For more ways to get your kids involved in the kitchen, check out Kids Cook Monday.

Hot Dog and Baked Bean Soup
2 teaspoons oil
3 beef hot dogs
1 large can (28 ounces) baked beans seasoned with onion, bacon, and brown sugar w
1 can red kidney beans - rinsed and drained
2 cans chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1/2 bell pepper, chopped

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over med. heat. Cut the franks into 1/4 inch slices and add them to the pot. Add the green pepper to the pot in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Cook until the franks start to brown, 2-3 minutes. Add the baked beans with their juice, kidney beans and the broth, chili powder, and mustard. Stir well. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium to maintain a moderate boil about 10 minutes.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hrm - What to eat this week?

Guess what? We have reached the half way point of summer here in Central Texas! I only wish we were halfway through the heat of it. Summers here tend to linger until October, but the kids go back to school August 22nd and we are all ready.

 It has gotten to hot to go outside for very long without being in the water, so this week I am making up some grilled favorites and poolside treats. Ashley starts Junior Lifeguard this week so we will be spending a couple nights at the pool heckling  supporting her while she learns her new skills.

What are you plans for the week?

Monday - Schezuan chicken with orange peel, brown rice and sesame beans

Tuesday - Beef kabobs with quinoa and grilled corn - great use of the grill and keeping the house cool

Wednesday - Pool Picnic - sandwiches with veggie dips

Thursday - Orange glazed pork tenderloin - another great grill recipe that I am looking forward to trying out. I still need to work out the sides for this one.

Friday - Leftover soup - this is my favorite way to clean out the fridge. The leftover veggies and meat are used to make a great and flavorful soup. It's usually a great light meal for family movie night!

Check out some other meal Plans at Menu plan Monday

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cooking by Letters

This summer I have ben really trying to keep my kids engaged in learning out from in front of the tv. One thing that we have been doing is focusing on letters of the alphabet. We go through 2-3 letters a week.The kids are practicing writing their letters and coming up with words that start with the letter. One activity that we are doing is cooking a recipe that starts with our letter that day.

A few items that we are going to check out are:

Apple slices with different dips.
Banana Muffins
Chocolate Chip Chickpea cookies
Egg rolls
Gooey butter cake
Hot dog soup -  favorite from my grandmother
Ice cream
Jello Jigglers
Lemon ice
Macaroni and cheese
Nacho ordinary nachos
Orange glazed Pork
Quinoa salad
Soup (alphabet of course)
Upside down cake
Venison Sliders
Watermelon ice
Zucchini Fritters

What is your favorite way to keep the kids involved in preparing dinner?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July Meal Plans

We are starting off our week with our annual July 4th bbq and birthday party for our son Alan. That's right Alan is turning 6 on the 4th of July.


It's hard to believe that it has been 6 years since this little man came into our lives.

This week we are going to be having several of his favorites and enjoying the leftovers from his b-day bbq.

Monday - Brisket, chicken, sausage and goodies! Hooray for holidays!!

Tuesday - Lunch -  sandwiches
                dinner - pick your favorite leftover

Wednesday - Lunch - noodles (Alan's favorite)
                      Dinner - Chicken Pot Pie

Thursday -  Lunch - Dippers   ham and cheese -cut into fun shapes with various veggies and dip
                   Dinner - Tacos - I love to bump up the nurition on these by adding some sauteed spinach to the  meat

Friday - Lunch -  taco salads
             Dinner - Mexican chicken soup - Tons of flavor from leftover smoked chicken and fresh salsa

Whats you plan for the week?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

New Virtual Party

Menus, Meals and More is now going to be offering a new option to fill your freezer….

The Virtual Batch Party

This is essentially like the typical batch party, except you don’t even have to assemble your own meals or worry about trying to coordinate a day to get together that works for everyone. I assemble the meals and freeze them for you until the pickup date. With this service you don’t even have to be in town. Imagine coming home from vacation and having a freezer full of meals to keep you going while you unpack and tackle the mountain of vacation laundry. The cost for a virtual party is only an additional $15 per person! Please let me know if you have any questions or are interested in participating in a virtual party.

Batch Party Information”

Batch parties are a great way to fill your freezer with lots of great healthy dishes for rushed evenings and nights when you have other things to worry about than dinner. In my house that is almost every night!!! Most dishes are prepared by just thawing and popping in the oven or on the grill for about 30 minutes while you heat up a bagged of steamed veggies in the microwave. The recipes all serve 6 and most can be split into 2 or more containers for smaller families or lighter eaters.

How it works!

1. Choose a recipe from the selections list and let me know. Pick your favorite so you are ensured to have that one. I will make enough of your recipe for each person involved.

2. On the closing date I will make a master grocery and estimate the total bill. It will be divided by the number of participants and a buy in amount will be determined. You will need to get the money to me by the buy-in date so that I can do all the shopping. After all the shopping is finished I will add up the actual total and determine if more money is due or if you will receive a refund. Usually the estimate is really close and it is only a couple of dollars in either direction.

3. When you come to pick up please bring a box or large shopping bag to take your meals home in. If there is any money due then you will need to bring that as well.

4. You will receive one "batch" of each recipe chosen as well as copies of all the recipes and cooking instructions.


Monday, June 27, 2011

C is For Cookie - Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies

In an attempt to keep my kids brains from turning into summertime mush, we are doing activities based on the letters of the alphabet over the break. We are focusing on a few letters each week. The little ones are practicing writing the letters, coming up with words that start with the letter and identifying the letter sounds. Ashley is picking a topic that starts with the letter, researching the topic and writing up a little report on it. I know it sounds dorky, but they are all really enjoying it and it is keeping us busy.

A few of the activities we have done has included cooking foods that start with our featured letter. We started with banana bread for b and last week we made Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies for C.  This was my favorite recipe for cookies back in the Deceptively Delicious craze. Normally I feel like if your going to make a cookie, go all out with the fat, but the chickpeas really make them even better. They kind of disintegrate and make the cookie even more moist and don't change the flavor at all.  These cookies are always big hit around here.

Alan and Rowan loved helping to make the cookies. They took turns adding the ingredients to the mixer.




The hardest part of cooking with your kids is dealing with the messes. Just be prepared for flour to be spilled all over!

My favorite part of making cookies is licking the beaters, but this time I decided to share with the kids.


Don't they look awesome! This kids loved them (so did I) and they got to practicing writing C words while they cooked.  You can't beat tasty education!


 For more ideas on getting your kids involved in cooking , check out
Chocolate Chip Cookies (with Chickpeas)

Recipe by Jessica Seinfeld
Deceptively Delicious

Nonstick Cooking Spray
1cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup trans-fat free soft tub margarine spread
2 large egg whites
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 15 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat Oven to 350. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray

In a large mixing bowl or bowl of electric mixer beat the sugar and margarine with a wooden spoon or on medium speed until smooth. Beat in egg whites and vanilla, then the chickpeas and chocolate chips. Add the flour, oats, baking soda and salt and mix on low speed until a thick dough forms.

Drop the dough by the tablespoonful on the baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Press gently with a fork to flatten. bake until the cookies are golden brown and just set, 11 to 13 minutes: do not over bake. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Meal plan

This week I am going to be busy getting ready for Alan's 6th birthday and trying out a few new recipes. Menus, Meals and More is also going to be doing a great smoked meats special as well as a breakfast special so I am going to be busy!

The heat is unreal in Central Texas right now, so most of this is going to be cooked outside to keep down the heat in the house. What are you cooking this week:?

Monday - Venison sliders on Hawaian buns with pineapple salsa
Tuesday -  Grilled stuffed pork loin
Wednesday -Falafel
Thursday - Tuscan Chicken Rolls
Friday - clean out the fridge soup.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Out of it

Hi everyone! Sorry that I have been a bit absent lately. Things have been  a bit rough around here and I have been having a hard time organizing my thoughts. We all spent a week working at Girl Scout camp and then a week recovering. Throw in some health problems and a few kids home for the summer and forming a complete sentence, let alone a blog post becomes nearly impossible.

But, no matter how busy I get,I have still been cooking and will post more detail on the recipes as soon as I can.  Some of the favorites we have made in recent weeks include:

Banana Bread Muffins
Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies
Coconut Tomato Salad with Coconut lime sauce
Samboosak and Tabouleh - fried middle eastern meat pies!
Rustic herb chicken with tomato mustard sauce, herbed potatoes and artichoke

Look for posts on these delicious treats to come. See you all soon!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meals for the Week

Girl Scout Day Camp is over!! This week is going to be about relaxing, recovering and quick and easy meals.  Ashley is going to be away at resident camp for the week, so we are going to have a few of her least favorite meals while she is gone.

Monday-  Gorgonzola Cheese Burgers with grilled corn and tossed salad
Tuesday - Veggie  and Lamb Pot Pies
Wednesday - Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Thursday - Smoked Brisket Potatoes
Friday - General Tao's Chicken with brown rice and egg rolls
Saturday - soup made with the leftovers from the week

What is on your menu?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Batch party Selections

These are the batch party selections that I am offering this month. Let me know if your interested in having a party!



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Boredom and a Smoker

Memorial Day weekend was the first weekend in awhile where we have had nothing big planned. We decided to pull out the smoker and have some fun.  There is nothing like a giant puff of smoke in your face to signal the holiday weekend!


First we started out with a couple briskets and 4 chickens.


Then moved on to some sausage a turkey breast and a pork loin.


After smoking up the traditional meats we decided to get creative. We added a loaf of wheat bread and a pan of mac and cheese . The bread was ok, but the macaroni and cheese was INCREDIBLE.

After spending about 20 minutes staring at the various cheeses available at my local HEB and listening to the increasing loud sighing of my 11 year old- I decided on 2 very different cheese. One was the Queso Fresco- it very mild flavor and creamy texture really made it perfect for picking up the smoke flavors. The other cheese was a nutty and gouda-like Ravenno cheese. I wanted to be sure that neither of the cheeses were already smoked because I wanted to be sure that the smoke flavor was mine.


It is so much easier to shred large amounts of cheese in the food processor that I didn't hesitate to pull it out for this.


I made a light roux of 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of flour
and then added 3 cups of milk.


After the milk started to thicken I added the shredded cheese
and stirred until it was all melted.


The cheese sauce was mixed in with 12 ozs of  cooked large elbow macaroni.

It was all poured into a 9*13 aluminum pan and topped with more shredded Raveno.


The pan was in the smoker with applewood chips for about 2 hours.


The end product was creamy, smokey and delicious. The kids weren't fans of the smokey flavor, but the adults loved it. I will be making this again and SOON. YUMMY!

Smoked Macaroni and Cheese

4 TB flour

4 TB butter
3C whole milk,
4 cups shredded cheese
12 oz of macaroni elbows

Cook macaroni according to package directions.

Melt butter and add flour. Stir constantly until the flour is fully coated and started to get just a hint of color. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. After the milk is incorporated add 3 cups of the shredded cheese. Stir and cook over medium heat until the cheese is melted. Mix the cheese sauce with the cooked macaroni and pour into a 9*13 pan. Top with remaining cup of cheese.  Place in smoker for 2 hours. Let the pan sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Breakfast Requests

Rowan has really gotten the cooking bug lately and it is very cute. I had made some really tasty tarragon biscuits to go with dinner on Friday, partly because I am trying to overcome my fear of baking and also to use some of the overgrown mass of tarragon that was taking over my garden. The rest of the stash got put into the dehydrator to be saved for later. Anyway, back to Rowan. She was really impressed with the biscuits and requested that we have some breakfast the next morning. How can you say no to this face?


So Saturday my tiniest munchkin and I mixed up a batch of biscuits to be made into breakfast sandwiches with egg, cheese and sausage.

Rowan whisked together flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.


Then she worked in some butter flavor shortening until the dough looked like coarse ground cornmeal.


We added in some buttermilk and patted out the dough. Rowan cut the dough with a biscuit cutter and we baked it at 425 for 15 minutes.


The biscuit do not really brown on the tops, just a bit around the edges. My husband thought they should be more brown so he put them under the broiler. They were .. forgotten and overdone (burnt) on the top.  They were a still tasty, but didn't look that great. Rowan was still happy to get her breakfast biscuits.

Biscuit Recipe

For the tarragon biscuit I added about 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh tarragon to the dry ingredients.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup milk


1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

2.In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.

3.Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20 times. Pat or roll dough out to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.

4.Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown.
Check out more great ways to get your kids involved in the kitchen at Kids Cook Monday and Mom Blog Monday

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Back to Meal Plans

Summer is here and it is going to be full of movies, splashpads and trying not to burst into flames from the heat. We are going to be doing some camps and having lots of fun that will unfortunately make hanging out in the kitchen unlikely. Time to get planning some meals again!

This week I have a batch party and a training for next weeks Girl Scout camp, so we will be having lots of easy to put together meals.We kind of went smoker crazy this weekend so I will be using lots of yummy goodies from that. There is nothing like a week of bbq goodness! Since it is all cooked already I won't even have to heat up the kitchen. Hooray!!!

Monday - Smoked Pork with quinoa salad
Tuesday  - Chili cheese dogs with grilled veggies
Wednesday - Brisket, baked beans and potato wedges
Thursday - Blue cheese burgers with carrots and green bean salad
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Spaghetti and Meat sauce

What is your plan for the week? Anything new and exciting?

Get more meal plan ideas at

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Vegetarian Pot Pie

We are still on our quest to have one vegetarian meal a week over here. Unfortunately, I still have a couple holdouts, but this hearty pot pie was a sure way to win them over.

The fennel, onions and carrots were cooked butter. The smell of this was amazing.. There really is nothing like the smell of cooking fennel.

Mushrooms and potato are added to the yummy mix.


I like to make individual pot pies. The kids think they are cute and it keeps the filling from running out from under the crust. I am not going to lie- I used a pre-made pie crust. I just didn't have the time to go homemade.


This finshed pot pies smelled and tasted amazing. Rowan and Kodi definitely approved of everything coming out of the oven.


This recipe is a great way to start introducing a vegetarian diet to your family. the vegetables are hearty and can be substituted with your family's favorites.  Honetly- who doesn't love a good pot pie?!

This recipes will make one large pot pie, or 4 individual ones.



• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 2 small heads fennel, finely chopped (about 3 cups)
• 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
• 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
• 12 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced (about 5 cups)
• 1 small russet potato, peeled and diced small (about 2 1/2 cups)
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup low-sodium mushroom broth
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 cup frozen baby green peas
• 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
• 1/4 cup parsley
• 1 tablespoon white vinegar
• 1 large egg yolk
• 7 ounces store-bought puff pastry or pie dough, defrosted if frozen


Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Melt butter over medium heat in a 3- to 4-quart Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan. When it foams, add fennel, onions, and carrots, and cook until just soft and onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and potato, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to coat. Cook, stirring rarely, until mushrooms have let off water and are shrunken, about 6 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over vegetables, stir to coat, and cook until raw flavor is gone, about 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully add broth and milk, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, add peas, herbs, and vinegar, and stir to coat. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn filling into an 8 by 8-inch baking dish.

Whisk egg together with 2 teaspoons water and a pinch of salt until evenly mixed. Set aside.

With kitchen shears, cut dough to fit over the baking dish. Place dough over filling and tuck into the edges of the dish. Brush dough with egg wash and cut slits in the top to vent. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and mixture is bubbling, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving.

Check out more recipes like this at Wanderfood Wednesday

Monday, May 23, 2011

Alan Bakes English Muffin Bread

I can't believe school is almost out. 5 more days and I will have 3 kids at home wanting to do 3 different things at the same time. We decided to try to give the older kids a bit of individual time this weekend before we become just a mob for the summer. David took Ashley to go see Thor on Saturday and Pirates of the Caribbean 4 on Sunday. Yeah, she basically got to spend a weekend watching some hotties on the big screen. That's a dream come true for an 11 year old girl!  While they were at the movies, I distracted the littlest one with a fun Toy Story Wii game and decided to do some cooking with Alan.

On Saturday we made English muffin bread. I had sampled a bread like this at our local HEB and really wanted to try my hand at making it at home.  There was a really easy recipe posted on All recipes so we decided to give it a try.

This type of bread making is really easy to do with your little kids. Alan loved greasing the bread pans and shaking the cornmeal around to coat. I premeasured the dry ingredients into a bowl (with his help) and then he put them in the mixer.


He was very careful to get it all in.


We then added warmed milk to the dry ingredients and let it mix into a thick dough.


We put the dough into 2 prepared pans and let it rise for an hour.

After baking for 25 minutes we ended up with a very tasty and chewy bread. It really is just like an English muffin when it is toasted.


Alan and I will definitely be making this again. He loved tasting his new bread and it was great for me to get a chance to spend some time alone with him before the craziness of summer starts.

This is the recipe from that we used. Try it with your favorite munchkin and let me know how it goes!

English Muffin Bread.


2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons cornmeal
6 cups bread flour
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda


1.Warm the milk and water in a small saucepan until very warm (125 degrees F/50 degrees C). Lightly grease two 8x4 inch loaf pans; sprinkle cornmeal inside pans.

2.In a large bowl, mix together 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and soda. Stir milk into the flour mixture; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until a stiff batter is formed. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place for until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

3.Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 168
Total Fat: 1.2g
Cholesterol: 2mg Powered by ESHA Nutrient Database

Blogging Hints Catch a Wave Wednesday