What’s for Dinner? 10/29-11-4

I’m back and Hurricane Sandy was good to us. Only a large branch down in the backyard, which is already cleaned up. We didn’t lose power. I’m so grateful! I’m sorry for the disaster that has happened not far from here.
This week is turning out to be weirder than other weeks. It started with a hurricane – definitely unusual! – which cancelled bowling, then Halloween falls in the middle of the week. We usually go out to eat on Halloween and we’ll be doing that this year. Any suggestions where we should go? Then on Friday I’m going to a sleepover at my girlfriend’s house, where we will be having a fiesta! Am I too old for that? I don’t care! It’s going to be old school with video games, chick flicks, nail polish, facial masks, and pillow fights. Probably not pillow fights, but you get the idea!
Here’s what is (was) for dinner:

Monday – sloppy joes

Tuesday – broccoli cheese soup

Wednesday – out

Thursday – white chicken enchiladas

Friday – corn dog mini muffins for the family
For the sleepover: rice and bean casserole, chicken quesadilla dip, Halloween popcorn, apple pie martinis, sopapilla cheesecake (for breakfast – tastes like cheese Danish. Soooo good!)

Saturday – leftovers

Sunday – football food!


Chicken Ranch BBQ Squares

It’s Monday and hurricane Sandy is messing up my meal planning this week. So, I’ll be emptying out my fridge and freezer, eating weird combinations of foods, in anticipation of the power going out. Yay. My husband thinks the hurricane will be no big deal, as he grew up in Florida and thinks hurricanes can’t make it this far north. Me, being from Minnesota, is more apprehensive. Hurricane Irene last August was my first hurricane and it really wasn’t bad. We didn’t lose power. But then we lost power for ten days during a freak snow storm this time last year. And when everything around you is closed, including highways, and its the only thing on tv, how can you not freak out a little? So, I’m bunkering down, dreaming of food I could be making… I just hope this all ends soon – the election, too! If this storm passes quickly without too much damage, I’ll be back later this week with an abbreviated meal plan. For now, take a look at what we had for dinner last night!

Chicken Ranch BBQ Squares
From the Rachael Ray show

2 tubes Pillsbury crescent rolls
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
1 package ready made chicken strips, chopped
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2 cups cheddar or Colby jack cheese, shredded
1 cup ranch dressing
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon green onion, chopped
1 sandwich size resealable bag

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll the crescent rolls out and place on a cookie sheet. Pinch two sheets together in the middle to create one large dough. Bake 8-11 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and turn on broiler.
Spread the barbecue sauce over dough. Sprinkle the chicken, bacon and cheese over the top. Place the cookie sheet under the broiler until the cheese melts, about 3-5 minutes.
Combine the ranch dressing and chili powder in a small bowl. Pour into resealable bag and cut off a small tip at the corner to make a pastry bag. Drizzle the dressing over the top and garnish with the scallions. Cut into squares and enjoy.

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I forgot to take a picture before my family devoured this meal. This person was smart and took the picture before eating it – check out her blog. Thanks for the pic!


Spicy Barbecue Chicken Buffalitos

Buffalo Wild Wings is one of my husband’s favorite restaurants. It’s one of the few chain restaurants we found familiar when we moved from Minnesota to Connecticut. And it’s conveniently on the way home from the airport.
He enjoys getting a whole bunch of flavors of chicken wings and seeing how much heat he can stand. He’s been able to eat Blazin’ – the spiciest – but he gets through only one or two of those. Many meals have ended in tears at that restaurant! I personally don’t understand the appeal; I just go for the trivia.
We went in for lunch one day and Nick didn’t feel like trying the whole gamut of wings. So he ordered the Chicken Buffalitos instead. It’s part taco, part wrap. The best part at Buffalo Wild Wings is they will cover your chicken in any of their sauces.
I didn’t want to take the time to make a specialty sauce for a quick dinner, so I mixed barbecue and hot sauce together and poured it over the cooked chicken. My husband added more hot sauce at the table. He said this recipe is a close second to the original and this meal did not end in tears! 🙂
This is a very basic recipe that can be changed a million different ways to suit your taste. Have fun experimenting and enjoy!

Spicy Barbecue Chicken Buffalitos

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken tenders
1 tsp. grill seasoning (I use Montreal Steak Seasoning)
1/2 cup favorite barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Rays) – more or less to taste
1 tablespoon favorite hot sauce (Frank’s) – more or less to taste
Flour tortillas
Pico de gallo (I used store bought, but homemade is sooo much better)
Shredded lettuce
Shredded cheeses – cheddar
Sour cream

Season chicken tenders with grill seasoning. Cook tenders in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat until cooked through. Cut tenders into bite size pieces and return to pan. Turn heat to low. Mix barbecue sauce and hot sauce and pour over warm tenders in pan. You want your chicken well coated with sauce. Add more if needed and more hot sauce if you like it really spicy.
Place meat in warmed tortillas and add desired toppings. Roll up or wrap and enjoy!

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What’s for Dinner? October 22-28

Time for another weekly meal plan!
I have desserts on the brain. I made some treats to bring to a friend’s house. Then this Friday I’m having a dessert party. I just planned what we’ll be having, and will need to add more if more people show up. I’m excited, but it’s a new-to-me group, so there’s always the added pressure of perfection. Know what I mean? Friday is still a long way off…
Here’s what we’ve been munching on: cinnamon churro chex mix, fudgy chocolate chip toffee bars (I gave these 3 squirting foodgasms – soooo gooooood!!!!), sweet crockpot chicken, and baked Brie. Yum yum!
My husband gave me a few good ideas of what he wanted for dinner this week. Sadly, we realized we’re not sharing a meal together until the weekend as our schedules are so busy. So I’ve chosen some simple meals that I can prepare on the nights I’m gone or that will keep well.

Monday – Reuben sandwiches (without the sauerkraut and thousand island dressing – ha!)

Tuesday – Thai takeout!

Wednesday – cheesy chicken spaghetti

Thursday – something from the freezer

Friday – pizza
Dessert party: pumpkin cheesecake brownie pie, Nutella fruit dip, salted caramel pecan bars, Starbucks caramel apple cider

Saturday – buffalito wraps (I’m going to try to recreate this from Buffalo Wild Wings)

Sunday – ranch chicken squares

What are you making? Happy eating!


Easiest Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

Time for a Thursday update and a new recipe I’m very excited about! But before I get to that I need to share with you a recipe that didn’t work for me. Please know that I am in no way discrediting the person that created this recipe. It clearly worked for this person, just not me. And I want to let you all know so you can be aware of the possible results. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but the Bacon Cheese Potatoes did not come out. The potatoes and onions cooked well in the slow cooker, but the bacon did not cook and was mushy, and the cheese burned and curdled. We didn’t eat it because I was worried about the bacon not being done and the cheese didn’t taste very good. Maybe my slow cooker is different…? I don’t know. I hope you have better luck, because this recipe has great potential.
Ok, onto better things. I had a lot of leftover grapes this week, so I made Creamy Grape Dessert. I would really consider this a salad and ate it as a side dish. I like that it’s a Skinnytaste recipe and lightened up from the original recipe.
Now onto what you all came for – the sandwiches. You’ll need a fork for these! Every week before I make the menu I ask my husband if he wants something particular that week. This week he said he wanted chicken Parmesan sandwiches. I was not thrilled with this choice because I hate biting into a hunk of chicken in a sandwich and finding a disgusting chewy piece. I was trying to think of a way to make these sandwiches that tasted like chicken Parmesan without actually making chicken Parmesan. It has all the same components and flavors as the original, but it’s not fried! Score! I am very happy with my creation and it was a family pleaser. I hope you enjoy it, too!

Easiest Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/3 bottle Italian dressing
1/2 jar favorite pasta sauce
4 kaiser rolls
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
Olive oil, for drizzling
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Put the chicken breasts in the slow cooker. I put mine in frozen. The cook time will be less if they’re already thawed. Pour Italian dressing over chicken, enough to cover chicken and bottom of slow cooker. Cook on low 4-8 hours, depending on if your chicken is frozen.

When chicken is finished, take out of slow cooker and shred. The chicken tastes amazing at this point and could easily be served as an easy main course.

Preheat broiler and move top rack to top third of oven.

Place the shredded chicken in a large frying pan over medium low heat. Pour the pasta sauce over the top and thoroughly mix. You’ll want this to be really saucy because the bread will absorb some of it. Heat through.

Slice kaiser rolls and place insides facing up on baking sheet. Place under broiler until lightly toasted. Rub smashed garlic on bread then lightly drizzle with olive oil. Set roll tops aside. Pile chicken evenly on roll bottoms.

Top chicken with a generous sprinkle of bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese, then mozzarella cheese. Broil for a few minutes until cheese is golden brown. Replace roll tops and enjoy!

I have some goodies coming up this weekend… Stay tuned and happy eating!

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What’s for dinner? October 15-21

Eek! I’m late in writing this post! We ate out a lot the end of last week, so I had some pumpkin risotto to roll over to today. Which means I don’t have to go shopping till tomorrow. Whew! My husband starts bowling on Tuesday nights, so I’ll be making things he doesn’t like – or takeout. This week it’s tuna! Here’s what’s for dinner:

Monday – pumpkin risotto

Tuesday – skinny tuna melts

Wednesday – lunch: Chinese salad; one hour bread
Dinner: bacon cheese potatoes (crock pot)

Thursday – Parmesan chicken sandwiches

Friday – pizza

Saturday – leftovers

Sunday – breakfast: cinnamon roll waffles
Rest of day: football food

Yesterday I made these yummy delights: pumpkin poppers. Huge hit!
A friend is coming over for lunch Wednesday, which is why it’s planned. Otherwise we usually have leftovers, mac and cheese (from a box! Don’t tell, but I love that blue box!) or deli meat.
My mom is visiting this weekend and we’re going to try to make a quilt around all the usual activities. I hope to get the waffles made. When she’s here, I’m usually motivated to make fun stuff!
What are you making? Have a yummy week!


Beer-Cheese Soup

Hi All!

I haven’t done any extra cooking this week and dinners have been a success.
Yesterday I had some great friends over for lunch and a play date. I made this beer- cheese soup; one of my favorites that my husband doesn’t really like, so I make it for others. Its a quick soup, not one that needs to sit on the stove all day; which is great when you just want soup!  It can also be halved easily, you’ll just have half a can of beer leftover… oh, what to do with that beer…?!  Tastes great with this rosemary olive oil bread.

Beer-Cheese Soup
Adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook
8 servings

4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 can or bottle -12 oz. regular or nonalcoholic beer (light beer works better than dark beer in this recipe)
12 oz. chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups milk
4 cups or 16 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
Popped popcorn, if desired

In large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion and celery in butter about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.
Stir in flour, pepper, and mustard. Stir in beer, milk, and broth. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute; reduce her to low.
Gradually stir in cheese. Heat over low, stirring constantly, just until cheese is melted. Sprinkle each serving with popcorn. Enjoy!

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