Friday, October 28, 2011

Week 43 Meal Plan

Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you are more excited about the holiday than I am. In a way, I feel that I am to Halloween what Scrooge is to Christmas. Ah well. We have a few decorations up and a pumpkin on our porch. And! I will have a darling Captain Hook and Peter Pan duo to take around on Monday night. Now that is something to look forward to!

I have so many new recipes posted this week! I hope you enjoy!

Halloween Party- Chili Cookoff and Cornbread

Halloween Feast at Grandma and Grandpa's

Monday- Happy Halloween (New Recipe!)
Dinner in a Pumpkin, green salad

Homemade Pizza, Broccoli, Cauliflower

Wednesday- New Recipe
Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Noodles, Rolls

Thursday- New Recipe
Waffles, Homemade Syrup, Fruit, Hashbrowns

Palamino Pasta, Salad, Green Beans

Dinner in a Pumpkin

Here is an easy casserole for Halloween night. You can scrape out a little pumpkin and bake it inside the pumpkin, or just bake it in a casserole dish for ease. Either way, you'll get a nice savory dinner you can eat in a hurry (before the trick-or-treaters arrive, of course).

1 cup rice
1 lb ground beef
1 t salt
3/4 c celery, chopped
3/4 c onion, chopped
1/4 c soy
2 T brown sugar
1 (10 oz) can of cream of chicken
1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, chopped

Cook rice; set aside. In a skillet, brown ground beef with salt, celery, and onion. Drain off any fat. Add remaining ingredients.
For a casserole, pour in a greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
For Dinner in a Pumpkin, pour into a small, scraped out pumpkin. Place pumpkin on a foil-lined pan and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Noodles

This recipe came from my grandma. She taught my mom, and then my mom taught my sisters and me. I love, love, love the homemade noodles! They are irregular and homey, much more comforting than the boring, smooth noodles from the store. Since the noodles are a bit of a time investment, I feel like it's worth it to go all the way and make the whole soup from scratch. Don't you want to spend the day indoors cooking now that the weather is cooler, anyway?

I have many happy memories of coming home from school to see noodles drying on the counter. The house always smelled delicious from the broth my mom had simmering, often accompanied with fresh bread baking in the oven. When my mom stayed in all day to cook, she went all out! One day, my kids will be in school and I can't wait for them to come home to those delicious smells of home cooking.

The noodles have to be rolled out thin,

cut into strips,

cut into noodles,

and then left out to dry.
It's totally worth trying, at least once.

Homemade Noodles
from my grandma
2 eggs
3 T milk
1 t salt
3/4 t pepper
approximately 1 1/2 c flour

Beat egg with fork. Add milk, salt, and pepper. Gently stir in flour with a fork to make a dough. Roll onto a floured board until very thin (my mom said "paper thin"). Use plenty of flour to keep your dough from getting sticky. Cut into long strips about 2 1/2 inches wide. Stack strips and cut into noodles (1/2 inch by 2 1/2 inches). Separate noodles and spread out on waxed paper. Allow to dry all day. Dried noodles can be kept in an airtight container for a few days.

Chicken Noodle Soup
from my grandma and my mom

1/2 onion
1 stalk celery
1 1/2 t chicken bouillon
3 chicken breasts

Put all ingredients in a large pot and add at least 12 cups of water. Add more water if needed to cover all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Allow to cool. Remove chicken and set aside to chop. Strain broth and return to pot.

1 pot of homemade broth
1 bay leaf
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 recipe homemade noodles
1/2 c frozen corn
1/2 c frozen peas
3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth, as needed
salt and pepper

Bring your homemade broth to a boil. Add bay leaf, potatoes, onion, celery, and carrots. Allow to come back to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Add noodles. Boil until veggies are tender and noodles are cooked through. Add corn, peas, and chicken. Heat through. Add any canned chicken broth as needed for taste or consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf before serving.



Ooh, I love these waffles! They are from an old family cookbook, and I only discovered them earlier this year. They taste so much more delicious than something from a box. I think the key is folding in the beaten egg whites. Anyway, try it for yourself, and tell me what you think!

My only regret when I make these waffles is that I only have one bowl for my Kitchenaid mixer. Since you have to beat the egg whites separately, you always end up needing two mixing bowls. It's not too big of a deal, but it would be nice to have two for the machine. When push comes to shove, I always choose to beat the whites with the mixer and the rest of the batter by hand.

And! When I make these for breakfast, the boys and I enjoy a hearty meal. Then I freeze the rest in three smaller separate portions for three future breakfasts. It's easy to fry a couple eggs and defrost the waffles for a yummy breakfast without the hard work!

Belgian Waffles
from Diane Priday
6 eggs, separated
1 t vanilla
6 T butter, melted
2 c milk
2 c flour
1 t salt

Beat egg whites until stiff; set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, beat egg yolks. Add vanilla and butter. Add milk. Combine flour and salt; gently stir in and then beat well. Fold egg whites into mixture. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and bake waffles as usual. Top with strawberries, whipped cream and homemade syrup

Homemade Syrup

I can't do maple anymore.

This syrup is so, so, so delicious. I really don't think I can ever go back.

My very favorite syrup in the world is homemade buttermilk syrup. But since I never have buttermilk on hand (and I never see it on sale), I enjoy making this similar syrup instead. I always have the ingredients on hand, and it's so easy to whip up as I'm making pancakes or waffles for breakfast.

I pour all the extras in a glass bottle. I like my bottle because it has a lid and a spout. The syrup seems to keep in the fridge just fine for a week or two. I heat it in the microwave at 20 or 30 second intervals until warm and viscous. Then voila, delicious homemade syrup in seconds!

Homemade Syrup
1 stick real butter
1 c sugar
1 c milk
1 t vanilla

In a large pan, heat butter, sugar, and milk on medium high heat. Stir frequently once it comes to a boil. Boil until desired consistency. (The trick I use is to watch it boil up and then start to boil down. Just after it has started boiling down, I know it has thickened up a bit. I don't watch all that closely, though, and it seems to always work out one way or another.) Add vanilla. Remove from heat. Serve immediately or store in the fridge.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Week 42 Meal Plan

Well here we are again. Two consecutive weeks of posting! I feel like congratulating myself.

I have been going back and forth on what to make this week. Basically, I'm wondering if I should go super cheap (omelets, leftovers, etc), or if I should add a little meat here and there (pork roast, pulled pork sandwiches). Given the pork that has been on sale at Maceys and Costco recently, I think I'll work on using up some of that deliciousness-- while making sure my husband has good leftovers for his lunch. Delicious dinners and delicious lunches? Oh, how I love killing two birds with one stone.

On a completely different note, I have to apologize for not having any side dishes planned. You see, I've been using a food co-op (Bountiful Baskets) for our fruits and vegetables. I get lots of lovely fruits and vegetables, but I never know what I'm going to get until I pick up my basket on Saturday. I usually participate 2 or 3 times a month, filling in at the grocery store on the off weeks. Perhaps I'll get around to posting side dish ideas after I know what produce I'll have this week!

I'm looking forward to some easy meals this week. I'll make a pork roast on Monday, saving half to shred and make into sandwiches on Thursday. I'll cook extra chicken on Tuesday and save it to add to the peanut noodles on Friday. The spaghetti sauce is in the freezer, so that will be super easy to thaw. Plus I can make enough noodles on Wednesday to save for Friday's dinner.

Whew! Do you see all this super planning I've done to be prepared for a busy week?? How about we get down to business with the actual meal plan, eh? I've done WAY too much talking, after all.

BBQ at our friends' house (We brought Twice Baked Potatoes. I'm not sure how we'll ever get through our bountiful potato harvest!)

Sunday- Trying something new!
Pasta e Fagioli, Homemade Rolls, Green Beans, Salad

Pork Roast, Mashed Potatoes

Chicken Nachos, Salad, Corn

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Garlic Bread, Yellow Squash

Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Twice Baked Potatoes, Celery and dip

Asian Peanut Noodles (with chicken), Edamame, Squash

Pasta e Fagioli

A friend of mine was recently rotating her food storage when she found she had a very large amount of tomato products that were going to expire in the next few months. Realizing she had more on her hands than she could get through with her family alone, she offered some of the cans to me. I happily accepted, and now I am trying to find ways to use a lot of tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes! This recipe was on the back of the Western Family can of crushed tomatoes. It caught my eye because it looked simple and right up my alley. I'm excited to try a new pasta recipe! (Shocking, I know.) I'll report once we've tried it..

*So we tried it! And we really liked it. We decided this tasted like SpaghettiOs, except way better. It was a huge hit with the kids, but it was also tasty for the adults. This would be delicious served with grilled cheese or garlic bread. It's nice and thick with plenty of noodles. Yum! I would love this on any chilly autumn night.

Pasta e Fagioli
from Western Family

1 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 c onion, finely diced
2 (14 oz) cans chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 (14 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can Great Norther beans, not drained
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
2 c rotini pasta

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot. Add garlic and onions to oil and cook until onions are golden brown and tender. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, pepper and parsley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add rotini to the pot and simmer until pasta is tender, approximately 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Week 41ish Meal Plan

Do you ever skip grocery shopping for a week?

Sometimes I do. Usually it's when there have been a lot of great stock-up deals throughout the month and I want to stay within my budget. Or sometimes I just skip shopping to give myself the challenge to eat more of the food we have in the pantry.

This week, I am shopping just for the basics because I have so much food sitting in the fridge. So much!! I will be able to make this ENTIRE menu only purchasing mozzarella cheese and milk. If I didn't have to buy diapers for the baby, I'd probably skip the store altogether and make do. Like I said. . . too much food in the fridge!

Turkey Sandwiches, Twice Baked Potatoes, Carrot Sticks

Macaroni and Cheese, Garlic Bread, Broccoli

Lime Chicken Soft Tacos, Corn, Salad

Tuesday- Here's a new recipe!
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Sauteed Zucchini with Italian Seasoning


Bruschetta Chicken, Peas, Fruit Salad

Roasted Red Pepper Soup , Homemade Rolls

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

My mom makes a mean spaghetti sauce. And lucky for you? It's super easy, too.

Now that my littlest sister is the only one left at home with my parents, I LOVE when my mom makes spaghetti. Why? Leftovers, of course! My mom is wonderful, and she often comes with a bag full of goodies when she pops in for a visit. (Bag full of goodies means a super random sack of things only she can give me- books to borrow, clearance socks for my boys, a little treat, or a container of leftovers.) The best news about leftover spaghetti sauce is that it freezes really well for a night when you need a quick meal. Just put it in a quart jar and don't forget to leave a little space at the top for expansion.

You can get fancy with this recipe if you want. Do you prefer Italian sausage to ground beef? Well then go ahead and swap it out. Do you have a ton of garden veggies you're dying to use? Feel free to grate in extra carrot or even some zucchini or squash. Add extra onion if you prefer. It's pretty hard to mess this up.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

from my mom :)

16 oz spaghetti

1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 lb ground beef (preferably 93% lean)
1 carrot, peeled
1 (28 oz) can tomato sauce
1 T dry basil
1/2 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg
2 T butter

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain.

In a large pan, saute onion in a little cooking spray until translucent. Add beef and cook until brown and crumbly. Grate in carrot and cook for a minute. Add tomato sauce, basil, salt, and nutmeg. Simmer sauce on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in butter and remove from heat.

Pass Parmesan cheese with pasta and sauce at the table, if desired.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Well Hello There

Missed me these last 11 months?

Holy moly, the time has flown by. I could detail all the converging circumstances that made this blog fall off my to do list, but it's all just water under the bridge at this point if you ask me. Suffice it to say that moving, being called to undertake a lot of responsibility at church, having a baby, and supporting my husband in full time work and school has been a bit time consuming. I feel like I've finally found a balance in life (and a few spare minutes, too, I hope).

So while I can't guarantee I am ready to put up weekly meal plans, grocery lists, and all new recipes, I am excited to interact with this blog after such a long break. Will you be patient while I figure it all out again?