Wednesday, December 9, 2009

THE Best Gingerbread Cookies EVER

This is a recipe I got from my Mother-in-law. LOVE LOVE LOVE these cookies. I love my cookies soft - especially my Gingerbread men - and this recipe makes them fabulously soft! Now, make sure you include the ground cardamom - I believe it is the secret to making these cookies so delicious! I'm not sure how easy it is to find - I got mine from my Mother-in-law, but it should not be too difficult. The recipe has a funny name - and upon doing a little research I have found that it is a popular Swedish cookie recipe. Anyway, here it is:

Old Fashioned Papparkakor

3 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1½ tsp. ginger
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
½ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
1 unbeaten egg
¾ cup light molasses
2 tsp. grated orange rind

Sift together dry ingredients, cream butter and sugar, add unbeaten egg and molasses and orange rind; beat well. Stir in the dry ingredients gradually, mixing until blended. Cover; chill overnight. (Dough may be used in small amounts-will keep in refrigerator for one week.) Roll out on well-floured surface, to 1/8” thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutter. (This is a good recipe for gingerbread men.) Place on greased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes at 375.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is my 2nd most favorite soup recipe on the planet! And it is even easier than the potato soup ! (see previous post)

1/2 lb cooked chicken, shredded
1(15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1(10 oz) can enchilada sauce (red)
1 medium onion, diced
1(4 oz) diced green chilies
1(14 1/2 oz) can chicken broth
1(15oz) whole kernel corn, drained
1 clove garlic, cut or smashed
1 Tbsp. dried cilantro

Combine all in crock pot. Cook 4 to 5 hours on LOW. Top with sour cream, grated cheese, tortilla chips.

You can also add black beans! Just drain and rinse them first. I also like to top it with avocado chunks. YUMMY!

Ham and Potato Soup

Soup weather has arrived!! This soup is my absolute most favorite soup on the planet. And it's easy to make!

I love to serve this in bread bowls. You can usually get bread bowls at Winco - 2 in a package over near the bakery.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Menus 9/29 - 10/5

It's been a rough couple of days so I'm finally getting around to posting menus. I'm gonna start with today since I didn't cook last night (Eric made fried rice) and I'm going through Monday because my parents are coming up this weekend and I wanted to make sure I make yummy stuff while they're here!

Tuesday, 9/29: Sweet and Sour Chicken

This is a recipe from my mother-in-law which you can find here. Delicious and easy too!! One thing I do differently is cut the chicken up - I think the flavor permeates more when it is in bite sized pieces. Serve over rice. Sometimes I like to buy the frozen oriental veggie mix and mix that in too. Yum. (I just realized I have posted this one already but I did it with pork last time)

Wednesday, 9/30: Hamburgers

We just got a Costco rebate so we "splurged" and bought the yummy frozen sirloin patties. Hamburgers are a favorite around here.

Thursday, 10/1: Hawaiian Haystacks

I am so excited for Fall - but I had to squeeze in my favorite summer dish one more time!

Friday, 10/2: Tortilla Soup (!!)

I have been WAITING for cooler weather so I can start making my favorite soups!!! This is one of my favorite favorite favorites and it is so easy! Got this from my fabulous sister-in-law Jenn.

1/2 lb cooked chicken, shredded
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1(10 oz) can enchilada sauce (red)
1 medium onion, diced (I use onion powder)
1(4 oz) diced green chilies
1(14 1/2 oz) can chicken broth
1(15oz) whole kernel corn, drained
1 clove garlic, cut or smashed (I use garlic powder)
1 Tbsp. dried cilantro (I've never found dried cilantro but fresh is good too!!)

Combine all in crock pot. Cook 4 to 5 hours on LOW. Top with sour cream, grated cheese, tortilla chips.

Saturday, 10/3: Creamy Meatballs and Potatoes

I may have posted this one before but here it is again. It is a Metler family favorite and a recent favorite of my moms! When I asked her if she had any requests for dinner while she was here - this is the first one she came up with. So, try's delicious!

Sunday, 10/4: Tri-tip

Tri-tip Friday got postponed to Sunday this week. Same 'ol Same 'ol.

Monday, 10/5: Chicken Pot Pie

I just made this a couple weeks ago - but it was so good and I want my mom to taste it! So here we go again. The only thing I'm going to do differently this time is add small cubed potatoes! I think that will be delicious!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Menus 9/21 - 9/25

I want to share something I learned last week: I was comparing prices on rice at Winco and found that the bulk rice is cheaper than the bagged rice - only by a few cents - but every cent counts, right? I also learned that "converted" rice is the way to go! I have always wondered how restaurants get their rice to be smooth and's converted rice! I love it!

Ok, on with this week's menus. I'm trying really hard to try things that I wouldn't normally - or to at least try new things instead of making the same stuff over and over.

Monday, 9/21: Chicken with Polenta

This is from the Southern Living Top Rated cookbook. There are a few adjustments I'll be making to the recipe - I'll post my review later!

Tuesday, 9/22: Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin

Once again, from SL Top Rated - I love that cookbook!

Wednesday, 9/23: Gringo Tamale Pie

Ok - I was going to make this several weeks ago and I never got around to it because I didn't have any corn meal like I thought I did! So I have corn meal in hand and we're gonna give it a shot now! Go here for the recipe.

Thursday, 9/24: Sausage and Mashed Potato Casserole

Haylie loved that sausage so much last week so I wanted to do another sausage recipe. So this is what my search turned up:

Friday, 9/25: You guessed it, Tri-tip!!

Tri-tip Friday. Gotta' love it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sausages with White Beans Review

I hope you checked out this recipe on Michelle's blog. It was fantastic. I know I've been fairly blessed that Haylie is not a real picky eater - she usually eats what we put in front of her without much fuss - but you should have seen her scarf this down! I usually give her 4-5 pieces of meat no matter what we're eating - that is what I expect her to eat. She ate her 4-5 slices of sausage and asked for more! She probably ate a total of 8-10 slices of sausage. And she liked the beans too. Anna enjoyed it as well. Even if you are not a huge fan of sausage (which, btw, I am not usually) - you should definitely try this one.

5 out of 5 stars, for sure!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Menus 9/14 - 9/18

Monday 9/14: Chicken Pot Pie

I made this chicken pot pie tonight and it was FANTASTIC! It is from the Southern Living Top Rated cookbook. It was a very cool day today and this was the perfect dinner.

1- 15 oz package refrigerated pie crust
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/3 cups milk
4 cups chopped roasted chicken breast
1 cup sliced carrots, cooked
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. poultry seasoning
1/4 t. hot sauce

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onions and celery and saute until tender.
Add flour, stirring until blended; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in broth and milk, stirring constantly, and cook 2 minutes. Stir in chicken, sliced carrots, and remaining ingredients.

Pour into a 9x13 pan and cover with refrigerated pie crust. Cut slits in pie crust.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 servings

Here's what mine looked like:

I did a few things differently from the recipe. As usual, I didn't use real onions - I used dried chopped onion. I only used 1/2 cup butter because I didn't want to cut into another cube! But it was totally fine! I used fresh carrots that I sliced and boiled - they're so much better than frozen. I didn't add any poultry seasoning or hot didn't seem necessary to me. But speaking of poultry seasoning...if you want to save some money - buy chicken bouillon and make your own chicken broth instead of buying it canned. 1 t. of bouillon per 1 cup of water - it goes a LONG way - much cheaper than buying canned broth. Also, as you can see from my picture, I didn't use a 9x13 pan - this is a Corningware pan - not sure what the measurements are but it is a little smaller around than a 9x13 but it is deeper. Make sense? Anyway - try this now - it was so yummy.

Tuesday, 9/15: Sausage with White Beans

I'm going to send you to my friend Michelle's cooking blog Inside Our Kitchen for this recipe - I saw it over there and had to try it. Click the link above for the recipe.

Wednesday, 9/16: Baked Linguine with Meat Sauce

This recipe is also from the Southern Living Top Rated cookbook. Looks yummy.

Thursday, 9/17: BOOK CLUB

I'm having delicious chinese food at book club....haven't thought of anything just yet for Eric and the girls...

Friday, 9/18: Tri-tip

Of course! BBQ tri-tip - probably some mashed taters and corn on the cob. I love Tri-tip Fridays! ;-)


Monday, September 7, 2009

Menus 9/7 - 9/11

Keeping it pretty simple this week - seems to be a lot going on!

Monday, 9/7: LABOR DAY BBQ!
Remember that tri-tip I got last week? We're barbecuing it tonight with corn on the cob and potato salad. YUM.

Tuesday, 9/8: Chicken Enchiladas
I'm most likely going to use some generic red enchilada sauce - just roll up some chicken and cheese in a tortilla, smother it with sauce, and bake.

Wednesday, 9/9: Hot Dogs
Yup - going all out...I have enrichment this night and I am in charge of the food - so Eric and the girls are on their own!

Thursday, 9/10: Taco Salad
I am going to the Madera fair to see my favorite country singer, Gary Allan~so once again we're keeping it simple. Lettuce, ground beef, corn, black beans, tomatoes, cheese, tortilla chips, and your favorite dressing.

Friday, 9/11: Pork Tenderloin
I made this one a couple months ago - it was delicious - time to do it again!

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Menus 8/31 - 9/4

I'm late posting again...but before I list my menus I want to tell you (locals) to go shopping at Winco this week! You should have received an ad in the mail this weekend. They are opening a new store in Fresno and so the Clovis store is having a Grand Opening sale too. I saved about $20 today with the coupons from the ad. Some of my favorite deals:
Honey Nut Cheerios $.98 (coupon necessary)
Capri Sun 10 pack $.98 (coupon necessary)
3 lbs frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts $3.98 (coupon necessary)
Santiam canned veggies $.28 each (coupon necessary)
Bar S Bacon $.98 (coupon necessary)
Corn on the cob $.10 each
Ground beef (extra lean 7% fat) was $2.98/lb but has an instant coupon on the package for $3 off
Tri-tip $1.78/lb (!!)
Cheese Winco brand $1.98/lb
Deli Turkey $1.98/lb

I had so much fun shopping today because I felt like everything was on sale!

On a completely unrelated note, my chickens are laying eggs again and it was so fun to NOT have to buy eggs at the store! We're getting about 2 eggs a day (1 from each of 2 chickens, 3rd chicken not laying yet). here we go:

Monday, 8/31: Baked Potatoes

I had to be creative last night because I hadn't been shopping we had baked potatoes with chili con carne, cheese, sour cream and bacon. Yum.

Tuesday, 9/1: Chicken Divan

This is a yummy casserole - especially if you like curry.

3 heads fresh broccoli
2-3 chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can water or milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. curry powder
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Cook broccoli, drain and place in 9x13 dish. Simmer chicken, cut up, and arrange on broccoli. Mix next 5 ingredients and pour over top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Serve with rice.

*I usually use about 1 broccoli crown and it seems to be enough for my family - and probably about half as much chicken too. Also, if you're not a big fan of mayo, sour cream works well too.

Wednesday, 9/2: ???

Eric is going to the vineyard straight from work so my friend invited me and the girls over for dinner. I will not be cooking...hooray!

Thursday, 9/3: Glazed Chicken over Couscous Pilaf

I found this in a cookbook my sister-in-law gave me years and years ago. Pillsbury Fast and Healthy cookbook. I've never made couscous before so I thougth this would be fun. It says to broil the chicken, but I think I am going to try and bake it - seems like oftentimes meat gets tough in the broiler...

1/2 cup frozen sweet peas
3/4 cup water
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. ginger
1/2 cup uncoooked couscous

2 T. orange juice
1 T. apricot preserves or honey
1/2 t. spicy brown mustard
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

In medium saucepan, combine peas, water, salt, and ginger. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in couscous. Cover; let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine orange juice, preserves and mustard; bled well. Pour half of mixture (about 2 tablespoons) into another small dish; reserve for topping. Place chicken on broiler pan; bursh with about half of remaining orange juice glaze.

Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat for 5 minutes. Turn chicken. Brush with glaze; discard any remaning glaze. Broil an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender and juices run clear.

Stir couscous mixture lightly with fork; Serve chicken on top of couscous and drizze with reserved orange juice mixture.

Friday, 9/4: Tri Tip on the BBQ, corn on the cob, mashed taters

I {heart} tri-tip. I can't help myself - I always overeat when tri-tip is on the menu. I'll probably just sprinkle it with Pappys and have Eric BBQ it. Sheesh, now I can't wait 'til Friday!


Monday, August 24, 2009

Menus 8/24 - 8/28

I'm a little late posting this - don't know where the weekend went! Okay, so this week, I decided to challenge myself. I wanted to see if I could do a week's worth of menus using only food that we already had on hand. I knew I had plenty of meat in the freezer - just had to see what else we had. So, these are the recipes I came up with - not as fun and "exotic" as usual (haha) but some are old favorites. Enjoy!

Monday, 8/24 - Chicken Casserole

This is an old favorite. I l-o-v-e this casserole. It just feels homey. Probably cuz my mom made it when I was a kid.

1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
2 cups diced celery
1 T. chopped onion and a dash of onion salt
1 can water chestnuts, sliced
3 cups cooked rice (1 1/2 cups uncooked)
Mix and put in a 9 x 13 pan. Top with sauce:
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
Grate cheese over top. Top with potato chips (optional)
Bake 20-40 minutes at 400 degrees.

*The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup mayo but I have found that it is too "mayo-ey" so I cut it down and added sour cream. You could probably use all sour cream if you are opposed to mayo.

*I half the recipe for my family

*It really is yummy with potato chips on top - we never have potato chips in the house - but when we do, it is worth it!

Tuesday, 8/25: Gringo Tamale Pie

This recipe is in a family cook book and was submitted by my Grandpa Ketterer (my mom's dad). I have never tried it before but looks yummy.

1 lb. ground beef
1 - 4 oz. can diced green chilies
1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
1/2 cup cream style corn
1 - 1 oz. taco seasoning packet with 2/3 cup water
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients, except cheese, in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat. While heating, mix:
1 1/4 cup yellow corn meal
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 t. salt
1/2 t. chili powder

Cook over medium heat until quite thick, stirring often. Hold back 3/4 cup. Grease a 9 x 13 pan and line bottom and sides with cornmeal mix.

Pour filling into casserole dish, top with rounded tablespoons of remaining cornmeal. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, 8/26: Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

Got this recipe from my sister-in-law, Jenn. The first time I had it, I was pregnant with Haylie and I was at her house and she served this. I am not ashamed to admit that I ate 2 wraps, then finished off what was left in the bowl. Sooo delicious!

Combine in plastic bag:
3 T. olive oil
1 t. lemon pepper
1 t. crushed garlic
1/2 t. Italian seasoning
1 lb. chicken, cubed
Marinate for 15 minutes then cook chicken in skillet on stove.


1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup olives, chopped or sliced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups romaine lettuce (I've never actually measured that out - I just cut til it looks like enough!)
3/4 cup seasoned croutons
1/2 cup caesar salad dressing

Add chicken. Roll up tightly in a tortilla.

*As a general rule, when something calls for garlic, I usually use garlic powder. Same with onions.

*I've never actually had this with red bell pepper - Jenn made it with tomatoes and that's how I've always done it. It probably would be good with red bell pepper - but it is delicious with tomatoes!

Thursday, 8/27: Homemade Pizza

Eric usually makes the pizza dough for this and I'm not entirely sure what recipe he uses - so if you are interested - leave a comment and I'll get the recipe up for you. I'm just gonna make the dough, spread some leftover spaghetti sauce on it, and use kielbasa slices for the pepperoni (that's how we did it growing up and it's YUMMY!)

Friday, 8/28: Beef Stroganoff

Okay - I have the recipe for this around here somewhere...from Eric's mom. Again, if you're interested, leave a comment and I'll post it - but for now, the children are needy so I must say good night.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Menus 8/17-8/21

It's good to be home! I only got one week of planning in this time but hopefully in the future I'll be doing two weeks at a time again!

Monday, 8/17: Chinese New Year Chicken

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law - very delicious.


1 T. soy sauce

1 T. oil

1 T. cornstarch

2 chicken breasts

1 carrot, julienned

1/4 lb. snow peas

1/2 cup chopped green onion

8 oz. vermicelli noodles


3 T. soy sauce

1 T. sugar

2 T. white vinegar

1/2 t. ginger

1/8 to 1/4 t. red pepper (depending on how spicy you want it)

Cut chicken breasts into cubes. Marinate at least 10 minutes. Break pasta in half, cook without salt, drain and keep warm. Stir fry chicken and remove. Add onions, carrots, and peas and cook for 1 minute (or until warm). Stir in chicken and sauce and toss with pasta. Serve immediately.

*A couple things: I usually leave out the onions cuz I just don't like them. If you do not like spicy, then 1/8 t. of red pepper is probably best, if not less! You don't have to use vermicelli noodles; angel hair, spaghetti and linguine all work too.

Tuesday, 8/18: Tacos / Spanish Rice / Beans

This is another of my fallback meals. I just love it. I use flour tortillas and I fry them up just a little bit with olive oil so they are a nice golden brown color. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, olives, green chile sauce. Mmmm.

Wednesday 8/19: Chicken in Creamy Pan Sauce

This recipe is on A favorite in this house and very easy to make! I serve it over rice.

Thursday, 8/20: Crock Pot Chicken

This Thursday is book club where I will feast on delicious food that other people have made! But, since I don't want to completely abandon Eric and the girls, I'm gonna throw some chicken in the crock pot for them.

My friend Kari made this chicken for book club once and it was delicious. All you do is throw some chicken in the crock pot and sprinkle some Pappy's seasoning on it (I think most stores are selling Pappy's now - and the "low salt" is very good - I think the original is too salty). It is best if you mix thighs with breasts, but it will work with any cut of chicken. Cook on high for about 4-5 hours - and again, I serve it over rice.

Friday, 8/21: London Broil

Ok, so I got a London Broil on sale a couple weeks ago at the store. Eric BBQ'd it one night and it was TOUGH! So I'm going to try to cook it in the crock pot and see what happens. If anyone has any ideas to soften it up - please let me know!!

Also, has anyone tried any of the menus/recipes I've put up so far? If so, let me know how they're working for you! Am I inspiring anybody? ;-)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sesame Seed Chicken Review

This chicken was scrumptious! It was my intention to serve it with mashed potatoes but Anna was NOT happy this evening when I was making dinner so the mashed taters didn't happen. It would have been DELICIOUS with potatoes. But, it was still tasty. The recipe for White Chicken Gravy was good - but I don't seem to be capable of making thick gravy . Eric says I just need to keep adding flour until it is thick - but why doesn't it say that in the recipe? Why doesn't the actual recipe ever work? Is it just me?

Both girls gobbled their chicken up - I even had to cut more for Anna (!) so it was definitely a hit!

I think this would be 5 out of 5 stars with thick gravy and homemade mashed potatoes. :-)

Just a little side note: I always buy the chicken tenderloins at Costco and I think they are so much better than breasts. ;-)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Baked Chimichanga Review

These chimichangas were very yummy. I used canned chicken instead of ground beef and I think it was perfect. The girls weren't thrilled with the chimichangas but ate heaps of spanish rice. For some reason, they have never been big on mexican food - but the rice is always a hit.

A very quick, easy, yummy meal. 5 out of 5 stars!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Menus 8/3 - 8/7

I'm only going to be posting menus for this coming week because we're leaving for VACATION on the 8th and I won't be cooking (at least not in my own house!) goes:

Monday, 8/3: Baked Spicy Beef Chimichangas / Spanish Rice

At the end of the recipe, there are alternate instructions for traditional fried chimichangas. I haven't tried this recipe before, and I think I'm gonna do it baked for the first time. I couldn't find this one online - it is from the Southern Living "30 Years of Our Best Recipes"- so here it is:

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups (8 oz) 4-cheese Mexican blend shredded cheese, divided
1 (16 oz) can refried beans
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chiles, drained
1/2 cup picante sauce
12 (8 inch) flour tortillas
Toppings: salsa, sour cream, shredded lettuce

Cook first 3 ingredients in a large skillet over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, stirring until beef crumbles. Remove from heat and drain.

Stir 1 1/2 cups cheese, beans, chiles, and picantes sauce into beef mixture. Place 1/4 cup beef mixture just below center of each tortilla. Fold opposite sides of tortillas over filling, forming rectangles. Secure with wooden toothpicks.

Place on a baking sheet; coat chimichangas with vegetable cooking spray.

Bake at 425 degrees for 8 minutes; turn chimichangas, and bake 5 more minutes. Remove picks; serve immediately with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and desired toppings. Yield: 12 chimichangas

*Traditional Spicy Beef Chimichangas*: Pour vegetable oil to depth of 2 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 375 degrees. Fry chimichangas, a few at a time, 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain and serve hot.

Spanish Rice: (I make this recipe ALL the time and LOVE it)
1 cup white long grain rice
1 (15 oz) can chicken broth
¼ cup tomato sauce*
1 T. cooking oil
½ t. dried onion powder
½ t. garlic powder
1 t. salt (optional)

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and add rice. Cook rice until light brown. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce and spices. Bring to a low boil and cover. Cook for 20 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings
*You can add more tomato sauce. The rice is more “dry” when you use less, a little more “mushy” when you add more.

Tuesday, 8/4: Sweet and Sour Pork with Rice

I strayed from my menu this week and didn't make the pork chops and gravy - so I have pork that needs to be used...this sweet and sour recipe is DELICIOUS! It can be used with pork or chicken - doesn't matter.

Wednesday, 8/5: Sesame Seed Chicken / Green Beans / Mashed Potatoes

I have some sesame seeds leftover from the sesame turkey - figured I'd used 'em up on this! From Southern Living 30 Years.

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
8 skinned and boned chicken breast halves
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sesame seeds
Vegetable Oil
White Chicken Gravy

Combine 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup flour in a zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken, and shake to coat. Combine eggs and milk in a small bowl; set aside. Combine remaining 3/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and sesame seeds in a small bowl.

Dip each chicken breast in egg mixture; coat with sesame seed mixture

Pour oil to depth of 1 inch into a heavy 10-12 inch skillet; heat to 350 degrees. Fry chicken in hot oil over medium heat 15 minutes or until golden Serve with White Chicken Gravy. Yield: 8 servings

White Chicken Gravy

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Gradually add chicken broth; cook until slightly thickened, stirring constantly.

Gradually stir one-fourth of hot mixture in to egg yolks; add to remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, 10 minutes or until thickened and smooth. Yield: about 2 cups.

Thursday, 8/6: Hawaiian Haystacks

So as I was preparing these menus, I started thinking about all the packing and getting ready we're going to be doing by this time...and I got a little lazy. Haystacks are my fallback dinner - it is one of my absolute favorites and it is so easy. I pretty much always have the ingredients on hand - and it is perfect for summer! I don't really have a recipe for this - but here's what I do for my family of 4:

Boil 6-7 chicken tenderloins (approx. 2-3 chicken breasts) - reserve water/broth, remove chicken and cut into cubes.
Mix 1 can cream of chicken in frying pan with 1/2 can chicken broth from cooking chicken ( I don't really measure - you just want a nice consistency like a gravy)
Add chicken cubes to gravy
3 cups cooked rice (1 1/2 cups uncooked)

Choose from any of the following toppings:
green peppers
green onions
chow mein noodles
slivered almonds
sunflower seeds

Dish rice first, then top with gravy, then cheese - so it gets all nice and melted, then whatever toppings you choose!

Friday, 8/7: BBQ

So, we'll probably do hamburgers and hot dogs or something simple this night. Pack Pack Pack!

Then we're hitting the road early Sat. morning so you're on your own for the next week!

Sesame-Crusted Turkey Review

This recipe was very yummy. It was a little finicky in some places and I think when I make it again someday, I will try to make some adjustments.

First of all, when you toast the sesame seeds, be careful! Don't burn them! I only burned the top little layer, but it was annoying. Then, when I was making the cream sauce, I added the whipping cream too soon and so it wouldn't thicken so I had to do it all over again. And even after I did it again, it still wouldn't thicken - so I'm gonna have to work on that.

The other thing that I will change next time is that the recipe says to broil the turkey. I would rather bake it - the broiler caused the outer edges of the turkey to get tough. I think next time I'll bake it in my cast iron - just have to figure out the time because broil time is not the same as bake time.

So, once all was said and done, it was actually delicious. I served it over linguine noodles and we had peas on the side. Eric really liked it. The girls loved it. Especially slurping the noodles. But both girls ate all the turkey!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars until I can perfect it!

Check back soon for next week's menus!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Baked Tilapia Review

I think I mentioned in my other post that I am not a fan of fish. Eric loves it so for the last year or so I have tried to incorporate a little fish into our diet. By incorporate, I mean that we have had it about 3, maybe 4 times in the last couple years. I just don't like it. So tilapia, as I mentioned before, is a very mild fish. It is not nearly as "fishy" as some of the others.

So I thought the parmesan-sour cream sauce was really good. It helped mask the taste of the fish for me, so it wasn't terrible. Eric, on the other hand, thought it masked the fish taste too much! He prefers to just have a hunk of fish with a little bit of seasoning and call it good.

Haylie took one bite and, very politely, said "I don't really like that". And I really can't blame her! So I didn't make her eat it. Anna had a couple bites and did OK with it. She's just at that age where she is easily distracted and doesn't eat much as it is.

I'm not sure how to rate this one. I guess I'll say 3 out of 5 stars. I thought the sauce was good, but I just don't like fish, so I can't really rate it fairly. Eric didn't care for the sauce because he wanted to taste more of the fish...???

I guess you'll have to be your own judge on this one!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin Review

I am just so pleased with the recipes I've been trying lately! This pork tenderloin was, by far, the best pork dish I have ever made. It was FANTASTIC! Eric took the first bite and the first word out of his mouth was "Wow". The pork was so tender it was like eating chicken. Haylie ate two slices and Anna even ate a whole slice. They both loved it! I did baked potatoes and green salad to go along.

I cooked the tenderloin in a cast iron "dutch oven" - if you have one, use it - if not, a roasting pan is fine - but if you cook a lot of meat, consider getting cast iron - it is a GREAT way to cook all kinds of meat.

Oh, and I got the pork tenderloin at Costco for $3.59/lb. More than I'd like to pay but I missed the sale at SaveMart. The good news is - you get two tenderloins, and I only used half of one - so I froze the rest and we'll eat it later. If you look at it this way, the two tenderloins can make approximately 4 meals...that's about $4 per meal. Not bad, if I do say so myself.

5 out of 5 stars!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Italian BLT Sandwich Review

Alright y'all...if you haven't tried the Italian BLT recipe yet...DO IT!! They were so fabulous that my 5 star rating scale doesn't seem like enough. I think it was more like 6 or 7 stars out of 5!! Like I said, I couldn't find mortadella at the store so I got pastrami instead and it was a great substitute. Eric gobbled his down and asked if there was any more, and sadly, there wasn't and Haylie ate her half-sandwich like a champ - only it was sorta messy and hard to hold so I sorta' had to feed it to her -but no biggie - at least she ate!!

Go try it now!! ; -)

Creole Jambalaya Review

This was certainly something different that we have never had around here before, but I think everybody enjoyed it. Here's the thing: I used the cajun sausage or "Hot Links" as it was called on the package. You could actually see little red pepper seeds in the sausage. The flavor was delicious, and mixed in with the rice and everything else, the spice wasn't unbearable, but both Eric and I were sweating and wiping our noses cuz the spice was making 'em runny. The good news is that even the girls liked it - I made sure none of the sausage made it into their bowls - and they gobbled it up - Haylie had a little more to drink than usual cuz it was still a little spicy - but overall, I'd say it was a success.

I'll definitely make it again, but instead I think I might try to use regular smoked sausage, then just add a dash of ground red pepper to give it just a little kick. This one had just a little bit too much kick for me. 4 out of 5 stars. ;-)

No picture this time, forgot. :-(

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kings Ranch Chicken Casserole Review

I made the Kings Ranch Chicken Casserole tonight and it was delicious! Haylie didn't want to try it at first because that's just how she is, but when I finally got her to try it, she ate her whole serving - minus the green peppers.

The only change I made to the recipe was instead of using canned tomatoes with green chiles, I used fresh cherry tomatoes from my garden and a 4 oz can of green chiles. Probably didn't make too much difference.
Ok - so if there's one thing I'm really not good at (don't care about), it is presentation. So, I took a picture of my meal - and it doesn't look pretty, but you get the idea. Oh, and I remembered to take the picture after I had already started to dig in - so that makes it even less pretty. But here it is:

I give this meal 5 stars out of 5 stars. Very yummy and easy too!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Menus - 7/20 - 7/31

If I can find the recipes online, I will just post a link for you. If not, I will put the recipe right on here. I'll also be listing whatever side I plan to serve with the meal - obviously you can do whatever you want. Also, a lot of the following recipes are new to me, so I won't be able to share much about them! I am on a mission to stop making the same old stuff all the time! So here goes:

Monday, 7/21: Creamy Meatballs and Potatoes / Steamed Broccoli

This is a Metler family favorite. It is on the recipe website that my husband manages for my mother-in-law (who happens to be a fabulous cook).

I usually half this recipe for my little family of four and it leaves a lot of leftovers. I should also note that it is possible to do this one in a crock pot - which is great in the summer! You just need to brown the meatballs first then put them in the crock pot and do everything else as directed. I'd probably do it on High for 4-5 hours.

Tuesday, 7/22: King Ranch Chicken Casserole / Green Salad

This is from the Southern Living "Top-Rated" cookbook. I have not tried it yet, so I'll try to post something after we try it and let you know how it was!

Wednesday, 7/23: Creole Jambalaya

Also from the Southern Living "Top-Rated" cookbook. Never tried it, and not sure I even consider myself a fan of anything creole, but I did have jambalaya once in college and I liked it, so I thought it was worth a shot. I'm a little worried that it is going to be too spicy - but we'll find out!! I haven't really thought of a side dish for this one yet...any suggestions?

Thursday, 7/24: Italian BLT's / Caesar Salad

I LOVE BLT's. And over the last couple years, I've developed a taste for Italian subs - so this sounds like a perfect combo. Once again, from SL "Top-Rated" - I had a little trouble finding mortadella - I think I'd have to go to an actual deli for that - so instead I got pastrami - not sure yet if I'll use it, but I have it just in case.

Friday, 7/25: Chuck Roast in crock pot or chuck steaks / Grilled zucchini & yellow squash from the garden

This week, my Fresno friends, you can get a chuck roast or chuck steak at Save Mart for $1.59/lb. That is an excellent price. I keep my eyes on the Vons and Save Mart ads and usually only buy steaks/roasts when they are under $2.00/lb.

I don't have a recipe for this - I usually just throw the roast in the crockpot with some Pappy's seasoning, quartered potatoes and baby carrots. OR, I may have Eric throw some steaks on the BBQ.

Monday, 7/27: Pork Tenderloin / Green Salad

From SL Top Rated. Haven't tried it yet. Costco, I think, is the best place to get pork tenderloin. However, I just noticed in the Save Mart ad that you can get a tenderloin for $1.99/lb. Very good.

Tuesday, 7/28: Lasagna / Caesar Salad / Garlic Bread

No recipe for this one. I just follow the directions on the box of lasagna noodles. I use whatever cheap jar of spaghetti sauce I have and I splurge a little and add a layer of ricotta cheese. Yum.

Wednesday, 7/29: Baked Tilapia with Parmesan-Sour Cream Sauce

From SL Top Rated. I am not a huge fan of fish. Tilapia is just about one of the only types of fish I can handle and it is pretty inexpensive. This recipe looks very yummy. Any ideas for a side dish?

Thursday, 7/30: Pork Chops & Gravy in the crock pot / Mashed Potatoes / Green Beans

From SL Top Rated. This one I have made before and it is delicious. Especially with the mashed potatoes. I use the thin sliced pork chops - they seem more tender to me.

Friday, 7/31: Sesame-Crusted Turkey Mignons

From SL Top Rated. Haven't tried this one yet. I couldn't find turkey mignons so I bought a turkey tenderloin - it was a little more pricey than I like - but I find that every once in a while it is OK to splurge in the interest of trying something new.

(Don't forget to click on the link to the Creamy Wine Sauce within that recipe to make the sauce.)

On Saturday, we'll probably take any of the leftover meat we have and do a Brazilian Barbecue. Ever been to one of those Brazilian restaurants where the bring all kinds of delicious meats to your table? It's fun to BBQ and have a nice variety.

So there you have it. If you try any of these recipes, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought! And make sure you click on the right side to "Follow" the blog - that way I know you're reading and it'll make me keep up on the lists!!!


Okay, so I posted a "status" message on Facebook yesterday about having planned my meals for the next 2 weeks and done all the shopping, etc. When we were first married, I was REALLY good about planning meals in advance. Over the years, it has become increasingly rare, I almost said difficult, but I don't think it's difficult - it's just something that you have to take the time to do. And it pays off! The way I see it, if I've had a crummy day and I don't have a meal already planned, it usually results in us eating out (spending money!). Then, Eric doesn't have leftovers to take for lunch the next day, which again results in him eating out (MORE money!). Granted, he is VERY good about making himself a PBJ but we all know that can get old real fast.

Well, I had several friends request copies of my meal plan so that they, too, could plan ahead and have some new recipes to try. Thus the inspiration for this new blog. I work well under pressure. So maybe, if I promise you that I will post my meal plans, I will feel the pressure to keep making meal plans!!

Let me just say, for the record, that I am no gourmet chef. I can open a cookbook and read a recipe, and usually it tastes good. I will not take credit for any of the recipes I post - I will credit the cookbook I got them out of!

Also, so far, Eric and I have been blessed with high metabolisms - so I don't do a whole lot of low-fat cooking. But, I think with any recipe, you can make substitutions to make it as low-fat as you'd like.

Sooo...I'll be posting what I came up with for 7/20-7/31 shortly. Oh, I should also add that I don't cook on Saturday or Sunday! Eric will usually barbecue, or we have something simple like pancakes or french toast. So my menus only go from Mon-Fri!

Check back shortly!!