What’s for Dinner? Jan 28 – Feb 3

I survived my daughter turning two. I survived a Minnie Mouse birthday party with lots of little kids. But I’m still not surviving looking at her in her bigger sized clothes. She’s been having fun playing dress up and she just looks… older. I’m always a little sad when my kids look older. But, it’s ok. I treated her to Brownie Batter pancakes (with sprinkles, of course!), that were healthier than other pancakes. Then the day of the party, we had Sopapilla Cheesecake bars for breakfast (yes, healthy again, I know). I made Cake Batter Dip for the party, which was delicious!
This is going to be a busy week with only one of us home at a time for dinner. I don’t like those weeks, but it’s ok. Unfortunately, it makes my dinner list pretty boring. Here’s what’s for dinner this week:

Monday – spaghetti

Tuesday – garlic baked shrimp

Wednesday – slow cooker ham and potato casserole

Thursday – hot dogs; garlic bread

Friday – pizza

Saturday – out

Sunday – ultimate football food!

My husband surprised me one morning by making crepes with a cream cheese filling. Yum! Love when he does that!
This week I’ll try to make some banana bread to use up bananas that ripen before we can get to them. Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread sounds good to me. 🙂
There will be more info on what the ultimate football food is all about as we get the menu nailed down. I’m looking forward to that, and the commercials. Isn’t that what the Superbowl is all about?! What will you be eating this week?


Semi-Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken

Don’t let that extra sweet and sour sauce from the Chinese restaurant go to waste when you order the family size! Yum! I stretched a take-out meal into another meal tonight and it was gooood. I served it with white rice made in my rice cooker. It has a basket to steam veggies, so I made broccoli in that part. Pretty handy to cook two things at once. Give it a try!

Semi-Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces and prepared how you like (I used this tempura recipe and deep fried the meat. It was good, but not as fluffy as I prefer. I’m going to keep experimenting)
1 red or green bell pepper, cut into large chunks
1 onion, cut into large chunks
1 can of pineapple chunks, drained
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 container of family size sweet and sour sauce from your local Chinese restaurant

Prepare your chicken how you like it i.e. breaded and fried, pan fried, baked, etc…
Heat vegetable oil in wok or large skillet over high heat. Add pepper and onion and stir fry for 3 minutes or until starting to get soft and brown on the edges. Add pineapple and stir. Add warm chicken and sweet and sour sauce. Turn heat to low and heat through. Serve over rice and enjoy!


What’s For Dinner? Jan 21-27

Italian Dunkers. Did your high school cafeteria serve them? Mine did, and I loved them. That was my favorite cafeteria food and I loved when that meal of the month came around. For those of you that don’t know, Italian Dunkers are cheesy breadsticks that you dip in marinara sauce then eat it. Yum! Recently, I found in my grocery store frozen cheese-filled garlic breadsticks. Yum yum. I cooked up some ground turkey (to make this meal a little healthier, you know?) and heated up a jar of pasta sauce with it. My husband comes downstairs, hungry, after assembling a new bed, looks at the table, and says “this isn’t a meal”. What?!? There’s cheese and meat, that’s protein. The bread is the starch. And the can of Ragu claims that there’s two serving of vegetables per serving of sauce. If that’s not a meal, I don’t know what is! Well, he managed to get full and enjoyed it. He said it was a good meal to eat during a football game. Ha! Take that!
OK, here’s what’s for dinner this week:

Monday – Sweet and Sour Chicken (with leftover pre made sauce and white rice)

Tuesday – Ramen Noodle Upgrade

Wednesday – Crock Pot Bacon Ranch Chicken

Thursday – Meatloaf (with boxed potatoes and frozen vegetables)

Friday – pizza; box cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting for the birthday girl

Saturday – Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder

Sunday – leftovers

My husband bowls on a work league on Tuesdays. Last week, the kids and I skipped the planned dinner, picked up Chinese food, and watched him. We must have been good luck because he got 2 turkeys in one night! I guess that means three strikes in a row. So, last Tuesday’s planned meal will roll over to this Tuesday. And we had A LOT of leftover sweet and sour sauce from that dinner, so I will be trying to make my own tempura battered chicken to use up that sauce. Which is why where it says sweet and sour, it actually links to a tempura recipe rather than a sauce recipe. My apologies.
My daughter is turning 2 on Friday. Boo hoo hoo. I’ll be spending the evenings crying in my room this week. We are having a Minnie Mouse themed birthday party on Saturday. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to find a Mickey Mouse head shaped cookie cutter at Michael’s this late in the game so I can cut out cheese and cold cuts to serve the little party guests. And I’m sure we’ll be snacking on leftovers all next week.
Here’s a few other things I made this past week:
Snickerdoodle Bars (my husband ate almost the whole pan himself) and Balsamic Yogurt Dressing (I only made the dressing in the recipe and put it on my own greens)
What are you having? Have a great week!

Ranch Green Beans

I’m a little embarrassed to share this because it’s not really a recipe. But I want to post it because it was so easy and so good I don’t want to forget.
I really don’t like vegetables. Before I had kids, I never made them. Now that I have kids, I make them to set the good example, be the good parent, blah, blah, blah. I like making the frozen vegetables in the steam bags that you just throw in the microwave and you’re done. But they’re pretty blah, with no seasonings. I usually season them with butter and garlic salt. I’m trying to lose weight, so butter isn’t a great idea. I love ranch dressing, but that’s not so healthy either. When opening the spice cabinet, I saw a packet of ranch dressing mix. I opened the packet and and sprinkled some on the beans right when they got out of the microwave and were still a little wet with steam. It mixed into a nice flavorful coating on the beans. I enjoyed these beans so much I had seconds! Since I have leftover dressing mix, I’ll be trying it on other veggies this week, like broccoli.

Ranch Green Beans

1 bag of steam fresh green beans, or other vegetables
2 tablespoons of ranch dressing mix, more or less to taste

Cook vegetables according to package directions. Remove from microwave and place in bowl. Sprinkle with dressing mix and stir. If too dry, add a little olive oil. Enjoy!


What’s For Dinner? Jan 14 – 20

Another week, another menu. Here goes:

Monday – Chuck’s Favorite Mac and Cheese (I don’t know who Chuck is, but my friend Suzanne recommended this recipe)

Tuesday – Ramen Noodle Upgrade (quick pad thai fake out)

Wednesday – Crockpot Cheese Tortellini

Thursday – Sloppy Joe Squares

Friday – pizza

Saturday – Meatball Sub Casserole (and other things to be posted later. Friends will be over for dinner)

Sunday – leftovers

I do have frozen vegetables to go with these meals. We will be somewhat healthy!
I didn’t get to the Shrimp in a Ritz that was listed in last week’s post. And I forgot to post that I made Jalapeño Cream Cheese Crescent Roll Poppers, which were a huge hit!
This week I’ll also be making Parmesan Wonton Crackers and Jello Shot Cupcakes.

What are you having this week?

What’s For Dinner? Jan 7 – 13

It’s January. The Christmas tree is down and all celebrations are over. It’s now the quiet that winter brings. And it’s time to be getting back into the routine that has been sorely missing since Thanksgiving. And part of that routine means getting back to exercising and eating healthy. Sigh! I should say healthier, not healthy! Haha! Here’s what’s for dinner this week:

Monday – Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake (made healthier with brown rice, greek yogurt, and black beans)

Tuesday – leftover Taco Chili

Wednesday – Salsa Chicken

Thursday – appetizers and snacks for a Lia Sophia I’ll be hosting (please come or place an order!)
Shrimp on a Ritz; Apple Pie Dip & Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips; Cheese, Olive, and Buttermilk Herb Bread; Chocolate Chip Cookies; Ambrosia Cocktails

Friday – Pizza

Saturday – out

Sunday – TBD

On Sunday morning I made Cinnamon French Toast Muffins, which I was skeptical about. I thought they’d come out like bread pudding, which I’m not much a fan of. I don’t care for soggy bread. But these muffins were very good! Not at all like bread pudding but like a regular muffin with little pieces of yummy french toast on top. I recommend it!
This week I have some lemons and bananas to use up, so I’m going to try to make Coconut Lemon Banana Bread. This combo sounds like it should be good, so I hope it is! What are you having this week?

Taco Chili

It’s football night at our house. I’m really, really not a fan of football. I like the food and the camaraderie it brings, but I don’t understand the sport! And it’s because of football I uprooted my life in Minnesota 5 years ago and moved to Connecticut. I’ve just recently realized I’m no longer bitter at the sport – or my husband, but it took awhile to get here. I’m kidding, I was never bitter at my husband, well, maybe a little…
Taco chili is a great, easy recipe for the cold months and for watching sports. All you do is brown the meat and open up a bunch of cans. You can eat it right when it’s warm, or let it sit on the stove all night and grab seconds, thirds, fourths… whenever you want. And it feeds a crowd. Easy. My husband is not a soup eater, but he will eat this. Try it on the next game day at your house, or next cold night, or next Tuesday. Hope you like it!

Taco Chili
Original recipe by Paula Deen on foodnetwork.com

1 pound ground beef or turkey (use turkey to save some calories)
1 onion, chopped
1 can (15 oz)kidney beans, drained
1 can (15 oz)pinto beans, drained
1 (1 1/4 oz) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1 oz) package buttermilk or ranch salad dressing mix
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups water
1 (16 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (11 3/4 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
salt and pepper, to taste
Taco toppings, such as: chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, diced onion, taco sauce, etc…

In a Dutch oven, brown meat and onion until cooked through. Drain.
Add the rest of the ingredients (except toppings). Stir and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer. Serve immediately or in a few hours.
Top with desired toppings. Enjoy!