Sunday, March 31, 2013

Weekly Dinner Menu: March 31-April 6

This week brings us Easter and The Detroit Tigers home opener (which in our house is an unofficial holiday).

Carrot Crescent Rolls filled with Egg Salad
from Hungry Happenings

Easter Brunch Idea - Carrot Crescent Rolls Filled with Egg Salad

Happy Easter!  We usually celebrate with family, in the middle of the afternoon we have our big meal so by dinner time we aren't really hungry but I like to have something light in case we get hungry.  This is the perfect meal.

  • 1 tube Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Crescent Seamless Dough Sheet*
  • 1 egg (whisked with 1 tsp of water to make an egg wash)
  • Yellow and Red liquid food coloring (the kind from the grocery store is fine for this recipe)
  • 1-1/2 cups of your favorite egg or ham salad
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill or parsley
*if you can't find this product, you can use sheets of puff pastry, or use crescent rolls and pinch all the seams together.

pizza cutter or knife
6 metal cream horn molds
pastry brush
non-stick aluminum foil lined baking sheet

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Unroll the Crescent rolls onto a cutting board.  Use a pizza cutter or a knife to cut the dough lengthwise into 6 equal strips.  Brush one strip with egg wash.  Roll the strip into a 17"-18" long log. 
  3. Wrap one dough log around each cream horn mold.  Repeat.  Be sure your dough does not hang over the open end of the cream horn mold, as it will make it difficult to remove once baked.
  4. Line a baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Squeeze about 30 drops of yellow food coloring in a small bowl.  Add one or two drops of red.  Stir to create orange.  Brush the orange all over each carrot shaped dough.  Set carrots on a lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 6-8 minutes.  Carefully remove from the cream horn by holding the carrot in one hand and using the other to twist the mold and gently pull it out.
  6. Fill each carrot with egg salad or ham salad.  Press a few sprigs of dill or parsley into the egg salad for a decorative effect.
  • green salad
Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes
from Rachael Ray

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 softball-sized onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup steak sauce, such as A-1
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded provolone cheese
  • 4 ciabatta rolls, hoagie rolls, or 6-inch lengths of Italian bread, split
  1. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the beef and cook 5 to 6 minutes, crumbling with a wooden spoon as it browns.  Add the onion and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the onions are tender, 7 to 8 mins.  Stir in the steak sauce and beef stock, bring the mixture up to a bubble, and cook for 2 mins.
  2. While the meat is cooking, melt the butter in a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the flour and cook for 1 min., then whisk in the milk and let it come up to a bubble.  cook for a minute or two to thicken, then stir in the cheese.  Remove from heat.
  3. Spoon the filling onto the roll bottoms and top with the super thick provolone cheese sauce.  Set the roll tops in place.
  • salad 
  • chips

Crockpot Bacon Cheeseburger Soup
from Family Fresh Meals

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 5 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 2 cups potatoes, cubed
  • 8 oz cream cheese, cubed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. Start by sauteing onions and browning your beef together, until meat is no longer pink.
  2. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT for the shredded cheddar cheese, milk and flour
  3. Stir to combine ingredients.  Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours.
  4. When 10 minutes are left, you are going to add a thickener and your cheese.  to make the thickener, combine milk and flour.  Whisk until clumps are gone. 
  5. Uncover the crockpot and stir in cheese and thickener.  Cover and cook for the remaining 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
  • salad
  • bread
Crockpot Chicken Tacos
from Love Always Mommy

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 jar mild salsa
  • tortillas
  • toppings (cheese, sour cream, etc.)
  1. Put your chicken breasts in your crock pot, pour the taco seasoning over the chicken breasts.  Then pour the salsa on top.  Set crock pot on low and cook for 4-6 hours.  You should be able to shred the Chicken with a fork.
  2. Put some chicken in a tortilla and top with whatever you wish. 
  • chips and salsa
  • spanish rice
  • refried beans

French Dip Panini
from our Family Favorites File, adapted from Rachael Ray

French Dip Panini

  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 lb sliced roast beef
  • 1 pkg Flat Out! flat bread
  • 4 oz pepper jack slices
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat.  Add the shallot and cook 1-2 minutes.  Add the cornstarch and cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in the beef broth.
  2. Add the roast beef to the sauce and warm over low heat.
  3. Butter the outside of one piece of flat bread.  Put roast beef and cheese on bread.  Fold in half and press on a grill.
  4. Divide remaining roast beef sauce into small bowls for dipping.
  • onion rings
  • vegetable of your choice

Michigan Dogs with Cheese Sauce
from Rachael Ray

Today is the Detroit Tigers Home Opener vs. the New York Yankees.  I am originally from the Detroit area and I grew up watching the Tigers.  My whole family are huge Tigers fans and when I married Prince Charming he jumped right on board.  Now even Bug-A-Boo gets into the spirit of opening day. Since her first Tigers Home Opener, in 2008, we have had our picture taken together in our gear.


Michigan Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb ground beef chuck
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 cups beef stock

Cheese Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded yellow cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard
  • 8 large all-natural pork or beef hot dogs
  • 8 bakery hoagie, sub or hot dog rolls, split open like a book
  1. Heat a griddle over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a deep skillet.  Reduce heat, keeping the water at a low boil.
  3. Make the Michigan sauce:  Heat the olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef and brown, 5 to 6 minutes, crumbling with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  Sprinkle with the chili powder, paprika and coriander; season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute, then add the stock.  Reduce the heat to simmering.
  4. Make the cheese sauce:  In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the flour and cook 1 minute.  Whisk in the milk, season with salt and pepper, and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Melt the cheese into the sauce.  Whisk in the mustard and reduce the heat to low.
  5. Add the dogs to the boiling water and cook 4 to 5 minutes to heat through.  Remove the dogs, split them lengthwise, and open like a book.  Place on the hot griddle long enough to crisp the inside of the dog as well as the casing, a few minutes.
  6. Nestle the dogs in the rolls and top with both the Michigan and the cheese sauces.
  • corn-on-the-cob
  • chips
  • Apple Pie for dessert

Classic Steak Frites
from our Family Favorites File adapted from Redbook Magazine


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 20 oz boneless NY Strip Steaks
  • 12 oz bag of Shoestring Fries
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup of brandy or bourbon
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  1. Cook fries according to package
  2. Season steak with coarsely ground black pepper and salt.
  3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil.  When heated add steaks.  Cook 3-4 minutes on each side.  Transfer to plate, keep warm.
  4. Remove skillet from heat and add bourbon.  Raise to medium-high heat and bring to boil.  Add cream and cook over high heat until reduced or thickened, 2-3 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 tsp salt.  Pour over steaks.
  • steamed broccoli or asparagus
Next week I'm going to explore one of my cookbooks.  Check back to see which book and which yummy recipes.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Photo Book

Click here to view this photo book larger

Shutterfly baby photo books are the perfect way to preserve your baby's precious moments.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Weekly Dinner Menu: March 24-30

This week has several of our family favorites. These are my go to recipes when I feeling kinda stuck on a meal plan.

Coconut Chicken Chili
from Better Homes and Gardens part of our Family Favorites
Coconut Chicken Chili

  • 12oz chicken, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 (14oz) coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (15oz) cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 medium green onion, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped basil
  1. In a large saucepan cook the first 7 ingredients in the hot oil over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes.  Stir in flour and cook 1 minute more.  Stir in coconut milk, peanut butter and water.  Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the last 6 ingredients.  Return to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered for 10 minutes.  Serve with white rice.
  • White rice
  • Wine:  Shiraz

Chili Cheese Frito Burger
adapted from Rachael Ray's Chipotle Burgers with Nacho Top


  • 1-1/2lbs 80% lean ground beef
  • 1/4lb smoky bacon (uncooked), finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 Tbsp grated onion
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil or olive oil for drizzling
For the 3-cheese queso:
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 round Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 cups (1/3 lb) grated Manchego Cheese
  • 1 cup (1/4lb) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4-1/3 cup grate Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 6 burger rolls, split
For toppings:
  • 1 small can of Hormel chili
  • Fritos
  1. Combine the beef with the bacon, Worchestershire sauce, garlic, onion , salt and pepper.  Form six patties that are thinner at the center and thicker at the edges for even cooking.  Drizzle with a little oil.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet or double-burner griddle pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour, cook for 1 minute, then add the milk.  Cook to thicken, then melt in the cheeses.
  4. Meanwhile, grill the burgers for 5 minutes on each side for medium, a minute less per side for rare, a minute more per side for medium-well doneness.
  5. Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and top with the cheese sauce, chili and Fritos.  Set the bun tops in place and serve.
  • Tater Tos
  • Green Beans
  • Beer:  Dos Equis Amber

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder
from Lulu the Baker
Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 2 heaping cups shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Melt butter in a large soup pot.  Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute over medium heat until tender.  Add garlic and cook 1 or 2 minutes.  Add chicken broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, and cook until potatoes are tender.  Mix flour with water, add, and simmer until soup is slightly thickened.  Add milk and broccoli and cook until broccoli is just tender and soup is heated through.  Stir in cheese, allow to melt and serve.


  • bread
  • salad
  • Wine:  whatever your favorite is would be great with this comfort food.

Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole
Family Favorite File


  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups instant rice, uncooked
  • 20oz fully cooked diced chicken breast
  • 4-1/2 oz diced ham
  • 6oz swiss cheese, either shredded or cut into pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas (optional)
  • 1cup corn flakes, crushed
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 400.  Whisk together first 4 ingredients.  Add next 5; stir to continue.
  2. Pour mixture into a 13x9-inch baking dish and spread evenly.
  3. Mix together crushed corn flakes, parmesan cheese and melted butter in a small bowl.  Sprinkle evenly over top of casserole.
  4. Bake uncovered on center oven rack for 30 minutes until heated through and topping is golden brown.
  • salad
  • Wine:  Chardonnay

Garlic Roasted Cod with Mashed Potato Crust
from Food & Wine part of our Family Favorites
Garlic Roasted Cod with Mashed-Potato Crust

  • 2 lbs baking potatoes
  • 1-1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp butter, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 lbs cod fillets
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  1. Heat oven to 450.  Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan of salted water.  Bring to a boil and continue to boil until tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes and put them back into the saucepan along with 3/4 tsp of the salt and 1/4 tsp of the pepper.  Mash the potatoes over very low heat, gradually incorporation the butter and cream.
  3. Rub the cod with the oil and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Put the cod in a large roasting pan, sprinkle the fillets with the garlic, and then spread with mashed potatoes.  Roast until the fish is nearly done, 8-10 minutes for 3/4" fillets.
  4. Heat the broiler.  Broil the fish until the potatoes are brown, about 2 min.
  • grilled asparagus
  • WINE:  California Chardonnay

Going out to eat for a special occasion
I'm hoping for The Melting Pot (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

Beer Braised Pot Roast with mushrooms
from Southern Food part of our Family Favorites
Beer-Braised Pot Roast With Mushrooms

  • 2 bags bacon bits
  • 1 cup chopped onions (optional)
  • 4-6.5oz cans of mushroom pieces
  • 1 pot roast, about 3-4 lbs
  • 4 Tbsp flour, divided
  • 1 Tbsp grill seasoning
  • olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 4 Tbsp cold water


  1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, heat a small amount of oil.  Add bacon bits and cook for a few minutes.  Stir in the mushrooms and cook another 3-4 minutes.  Remove and set aside.  Combine 2 Tbsp of flour with the grill seasoning.  Coat the roast thoroughly on all sides with the mixture.  Add enough oil to the pan to coat the bottom.  Sear beef on all sides.
  2. Add the bacon and mushrooms back to the pan along with the beer and broth.  Cover tightly, reduce heat to low and cook for 4 hours.
  3. Remove roast and mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.  Bring broth to a simmer.
  4. In a small bowl or cup, combine the remaining flour with the water, stirring or whisking until smooth.  Stir into the simmering broth and continue cooking, stirring, until thickened.  Add the beef and mushroom mixture back to the gravy and heat through.  There is enough gravy leftover to be able to use for other things.
  • Wild rice pilaf
  • Wine:  Cabernet or Merlot

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Weekly Dinner Menu: March 17-23

Our meal plan this week includes a St. Patrick's Day celebration and some great family friendly meals.  Enjoy!


Guinness Corned Beef, Boxty potatoes and Easy Irish Soda Bread
Corned Beef and Bread from All Recipes

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Every year I make a "traditional" Irish meal.  I try to switch it up between Corned Beef and Boxty potatoes and Irish Stew.  This year is Corned Beef.  This recipe is so easy and could also be done in a crock pot.  The potato recipe is straight from Ireland.  It takes some time but it is well worth it.

Guinness Corned Beef

  • 1-1/2 lb corned beef brisket
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1 (12 oz) can or bottle of Guinness or another Irish stout beer


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Rinse the beef completely and pat dry.
  2. Place the brisket on rack in a roasting pan or Dutch oven.  Rub the brown sugar on the corned beef to coat entire beef, including the bottom.  Pour the bottle of stout beer around, and gently over the beef to wet the sugar.
  3. Cover, and place in preheated oven.  Bake for 2-1/2 hours.  Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.
  4. During the last hour, you may put vegetables in the roasting pan as well.  Try a wedge of cabbage, onions and carrots.  You may need to add a little more beer with your vegetables.
  5. For a crock pot:   Rub the brown sugar on the corned beef to coat entire beef, including the bottom.  Place in the crock pot with the seasonings it came with.  Pour the bottle of stout beer around, and gently over the beef to wet the sugar.  Cook on low for 7-9 hours.

from The Irish Potato Cookbook, purchased at the Cliffs of Moher gift shop in Ireland

  • 8oz raw potato
  • 8oz cooked mashed potatoes
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • good pinch of baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • pinch of salt
  • large knob of butter
  1. Grate the raw potato into a colander lined with paper towel.  Press down another sheet of paper towel on top and squeeze out as much starchy fluid as possible.  Mix with the cooked mashed potato.
  2. Add flour, salt and soda.  Add enough buttermilk to the mixture to make a soft batter
  3. Melt butter on a hot griddle or frying pan and drop in large spoonfuls of the batter.
  4. Cook over a moderate heat for 3 minutes each side.
Easy Irish Soda Bread
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and butter.  Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly.  Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet.  In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 2 Tbsp of buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture.  Use a sharp knife to cut an "X" into the top of the loaf.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter  mixture while it bakes.


Beer:  Guinness or other Irish stout
Wine:  Saugvinon Blanc


Buffalo Turkey Burgers with blue cheese dressing 
The Book of Burger by Rachael Ray


  • 1-1/2 lbs ground turkey breast
  • 1-1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp grill seasoning, such as McCormick Montreal Steak seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 scallions, whites and greens, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, from the heart, with greens, finely chopped
  • Vegetable oil, for drizzling
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce, such as Frank's RedHot
  • 1 cup sour cream, reduced-fat sour cream or ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 4 crusty rolls, split
  • Leaf lettuce
  1. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, poultry seasoning, grell seasoning, garlic, scallions and celery;  mix thoroughly.  Score into 4 equal portions and form them into patties slightly thinner at the center than at the edges for even cooking and to ensure a flat surface (burgers plump as they cook).  Drizzle the patties with oil.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook the burgers, flipping once, 10 to 12 minutes, or until the juices run clear.  Remove to a plate.  Wipe the pan clean and reduce the heat to low.  Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the hot sauce.  Return the burgers to the skillet and turn to coat in the hot sauce-butter mixture.
  3. Mix the sour cream or ranch dressing with the blue cheese crumbles and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the burgers on the roll bottoms, and top with lettuce and blue cheese sauce.  Set the roll tops in place.
homestyle wedge fries
carrots & celery

Beer:  An American Pale Ale such as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Wine:  can't imagine it but a crisp white such as a Sauvignon Blanc may work


Pizza Quesadillas
from Snixy Kitchen


  • 8 whole wheat or flour tortillas
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 lb pepperoni
  • 1 (16oz) jar of pizza sauce
  • Optional:  black olives, mushrooms
  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and fry the pepperoni until crisp.  Transfer on a paper towel to drain.
  2. Brush each tortilla with a thin layer of pizza sauce (so thin that if you turned it over, none would drip).
  3. Sprinkle cheese on top of the sauce on the bottom tortilla.  Top with pepperoni and other toppings, if desired.  Sprinkle with another layer of cheese and place the other tortilla on top (sauce side in).
  4. Pre-heat a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat.*
  5. Lay quesadilla in the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until cheese is melted and tortillas are crispy.
  6. Slice into quarters and serve with a little bowl of pizza dipping sauce.
*you could also use an indoor grill such as a George Forman.


Beer:  A light Lager, such as Sam Adams Light
Wine:  Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir


Croissant Croque Monsieurs 
from Savury & Sweet adapted from Barefoot Contessa

Croissant Croque Monsieurs *fancy grilled ham+cheese

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 12 oz Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 8 croissants 
  • Dijon
  • 8 oz honey ham, sliced but not paper thin
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.  Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly until the sauce is thickened.  Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
  3. Halve and toast the croissants, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 4 minutes.  Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
  4. Lightly brush half the croissant with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere.  Top with another piece of toasted bread.  Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes.  Turn on the broiler and broil for 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubble and lightly browned.  Serve hot.
frites (shoestring fries)

Beer:  A light Lager, such as Sam Adams Light
Wine:  Pinot Noir or Syrah


Sole with lemon cream
from Food and Wine
Sole with Lemon Cream

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 lbs sole fillets, cut to make 4 pieces
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  1. In a large nonstick frying pan, melt the butter over moderate heat.  Sprinkle the sole with 1/2 tsp of the salt and the pepper.  Dust the sole with the flour and shake off any excess.  Put the sole in the pan and cook for 2 minutes.  Turn and cook until just done, about 2 minutes longer.  Remove the sole from the pan.
  2. Add the cream and lemon zest to the pan.  Bring to a simmer and cook until starting to thicken, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the remaining 1/4 tsp salt, the lemon juice, and parsley.  Serve the sauce over the fish.
  3. Fish Alternatives:  other members of the flounder family, such as sand dab or fluke, will go well with the sauce, as will such mild fish fillets as trout, hake, or whiting.

Wine:  California Chardonnay


Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells
from Around The Table
Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells


  • 12 dry jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • OPTIONAL:  2 cups of cooked chopped broccoli, 1/2 cup bacon bits
  1. Preheat broiler with rack 5 inches from element.  Spray oven safe dish with cooking spray (You can use tin foil throw away pans); set aside.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
  2. Cook shells in boiling water until al dente, 12-15 minutes; drain and rinse under cold water.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and saute until cooked through, 8-9 minutes per side; cool slightly, then chop into small pieces.
  4. Warm cream and garlic in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.  Whisk in butter until melted.  Add 1/2 cup Parmesan, 2 tsp black pepper, and 1 Tbsp parsley.  Increase heat to medium-high and simmer until reduced, about 5 minutes.  Stir in chicken (broccoli and bacon if using) and remove from heat.
  5. Fill each shell with 1 heaping Tbsp chicken mixture. Sprinkle shells with remaining Parmesan.
  6. Broil shells until sauce bubbles and parmesan melts and is golden, about 2 minutes.  Garnish shells with remaining parsley.


Wine:  Pinot Grigio


Tater Tot Casserole
from our Family Favorites File

This is a family favorite and comfort food to the extreme.  We make it a lot and it is also perfect for pot lucks or when you need to make a meal for a friend.  Adults and kids love it!  There are two versions of the recipe...the original and a healthier alternative.  I will include both.

Original Version

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1-16oz bag of frozen tater tots
  • 1-2 cup bag of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-14.75 oz can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1-16 oz bag of frozen mixed veggies
Alternative Health(ier) Version:
  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 8oz frozen tater tots
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-14.75 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 24oz frozen mixed veggies
DIRECTIONS (for both versions):
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 2-1/2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.  Mix ingredients in a bowl and place in casserole dish.  (If making the Alternative Health(ier) Version do not mix the cheese in with the other ingredients.  Sprinkle on top of the casserole before putting in the oven).
  2. Bake for 1 hour.

Beer:  this is comfort food so choose your favorite beer 
Wine:  again your favorite would be great with this comfort food

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekly Dinner Menu: March 10-16

I plan my dinners out every week.  It is something that I love to do and hate to do.  I find inspiration from many places:  recipe cards, cookbooks, the internet, Pinterest.  I thought I would share my plans here.

Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps
from Skinny Mom's Kitchen
Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps - Skinny Girl recipe

We absolutely love cheeseburgers in our house and Prince Charming and Bug-A-Boo will eat anything that is in a wrap so why not combine the two.  This is so yummy and easy!

1 lb Kroger's Simple Truth Organic Ground Beef (85/15)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp dried minced onion
pepper and salt to taste
6 Kroger 100% Whole Wheat Tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

sliced tomato
yellow mustard

Brown ground beef in a large skillet and drain.  Add Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, dried onion, and salt and pepper to the beef and simmer for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle shredded cheese down the center of each tortilla.  Add a few heaping tablespoons of the beef mixture on top of the cheese.  Spread some mustard and/or mayo on top of the beef along with some slices of tomato and some lettuce*.  Roll up the tortilla burrito-style and place wrap on a preheated indoor grill (I used our George Forman).

Grill wraps for about 5 minutes until cheese is melted.  Cut diagonal and serve immediately!  
*you may want to leave the lettuce out.  After grilling the wraps we noticed that the lettuce wilted in the cooking process and we didn't like it.

Mac & Cheese
vegetable-we served green beans, but anything will do.
side salad

Beer:  Sam Adams Lager
Wine:  your favorite red

Chicken Enchilada Pasta
from Pearls, Handcuffs, & Happy Hour


2 Kroger Simple Truth Natural Chicken Breast, cooked & shredded (or shredded rotisserie chicken breasts)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 - 4 oz. can diced green chiles
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 - 10 oz. cans green chili enchilada sauce
2/3 cup red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup sour cream
Penne Pasta

green onions
black olives
sour cream

Cook chicken, drain, and shred.  Meanwhile boil pasta according to package and chop the veggies. 
The most time consuming part of this recipe is the time spent chopping the veggies. 
Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet and cook onions for about 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic & red pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes. 
Add cooked chicken, green chiles, cumin, chili powder, salt, & enchilada sauces.  Let sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes.
Add cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and heated through.  Now toss in the sour cream, but whatever you do, DO NOT bring to a boil!  Cook on low heat or the sour cream will curdle.  Stir until sour cream is well mixed and heated through.
Drain pasta & return to pot.  Pour sauce over pasta and mix well.  Serve and garnish with avocado, tomato, green onion, and a dollop of sour cream.

side salad
tortilla chips

Beer:  Corona
Wine:  your favorite red

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

2 quarts chicken broth
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 cup dry white wine or additional chicken broth
3 cups cooked wild rice
2 cups cubed cooked chicken

In a large saucepan, combine the first nine ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

In a Dutch oven, melt butter; stir in flour until smooth.  Gradually whisk in broth mixture.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Whisk in soup and wine.  Add rice and chicken' heat through.

crusty bread

Wine:  a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.

Eggplant Parmesan
from Little B Cooks
Eggplant Parmesan so tasty...

We like to do one vegetarian meal a week.  This is a great one.

2 large eggplants
3 cups tomato sauce (homemade or bought is fine – I like to make a meat sauce with mushrooms in it for this dish)
8 oz sliced mozzarella 
2 eggs
2-4 cups (start with 2 and add more if needed) of seasoned breadcrumbs
Olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella                   

Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil and coat each pan with olive oil (it’s easier if you spread it around with your fingers).  Peel and slice eggplant about a ¼ inch thick.  

In a small bowl whisk together the eggs with about a tablespoon of water.  Pour 2 cups of seasoned bread crumbs on a plate and set aside.  You will dip all the eggplant in the egg mixture and then dredge in the bread crumbs and set each piece onto the baking sheets.  Once you’ve finished this process you will need to drizzle a little olive oil on top of each piece of eggplant.  Place in oven and cook for about a ½ hour, turning each slice of eggplant after 15 minutes.  The eggplant should be a nice golden brown, so increase your cooking time if need be. 

Spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.  Spoon about a ½ cup of sauce onto the bottom of the pan, then add one layer of the cooked eggplant.  Top the eggplant sauce and then the sliced mozzarella, and repeat process with more eggplant/sauce/cheese (mine is usually 3-4 layers high, depending on the deepness of the dish I’m using).  The last layer will be just the eggplant topped with sauce, then sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top, and end with a layer of the shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350 for about a ½ hour or until hot and bubbly.


Wine:  your favorite red

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

from Real Simple
Chicken "Pot Pie" for a Sunday Dinner. Could not be more simple!

March 14 is Pie Day (3.14).  So tonight we have Chicken Pot Pie and Pecan Pie for dessert.

1  3 1/2- to 4-pound rotisserie chicken, meat shredded
1  10-ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
1  10.75-ounce can condensed cream-of-mushroom soup
1/4  teaspoon kosher salt
1/4  teaspoon black pepper
1  10-count tube refrigerated biscuits                   
Heat oven to 400° F. Combine the chicken, vegetables, soup, salt, pepper, and 3/4 cup water in a large bowl.

Transfer the mixture to an oven-safe casserole, cover with foil, and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the foil, cover the filling with the biscuits, and bake until the biscuits are golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Beer:  Sam Adams Lager
Wine:  Chardonnay

Grilled Ham Steaks with Scalloped Potatoes
from Mr. Food and Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking

This is one of our favorite meals.  It is so easy and yummy and once you taste the scalloped potatoes you will never buy a boxed mix again.

Ham Steak
2 Tbsp chili sauce
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
Dash of ground red pepper
1 (1-lb) lean, boneless ham steak (about 1/2-inch thick)
1/3 cup apple jelly


Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat until smooth, stirring often.
Cut ham in half lengthwise. Slice each half horizontally into 2 (1/4-inch thick) slices.
Spray cold grill rack with cooking spray; preheat the grill to medium-high heat (350 to 400 degrees). Baste ham with jelly mixture; place ham on grill. Grill, covered, 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until ham is thoroughly heated, basting with remaining jelly mixture.
You can also use an indoor grill, like a George Forman or a stove-top grill plate.

Scalloped Potatoes

2 lbs boiling potatoes
1/2 clove garlic
4 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup grate Swiss cheese
1 cup boiling milk
Baking dish that is about 10" in diameter and 2" deep


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8" thick. Place in a bowl of cold water. Drain when ready to use.

Rub the baking dish with the cut garlic. Rub the inside of the dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Drain the potatoes and dry them with a towel. Spread half of them in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle potatoes with half of the pepper, salt, cheese, and butter.

Arrange the remaining potato slices over the first layer, and sprinkle with the remaining salt, pepper, cheese, and butter. Pour the boiling milk over the potatoes.

Set baking dish over heat and when simmering, set in upper third of preheated oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, milk has been absorbed, and the top is nicely browned.


Beer:  Sam Adams Lager
Wine:  Reisling

Crunchy Fish Sticks with Carrot-Apple Slaw

from Redbook Magazine
Fish Sticks:
1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup(s) yellow cornmeal
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
1 teaspoon(s) garlic hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 pound(s) tilapia or catfish fillets, cut into 3- by 1-inch sticks
2/3 cup(s) canola oil
1/4 cup(s) tartar sauce , for dipping
3 tablespoon(s) honey mustard
1 carton(s) (6-ounce) plain or vanilla low-fat yogurT

Carrot-Apple Slaw:
2 teaspoon(s) fresh lemon juice
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 Braeburn apple, cored and thinly sliced
2 cup(s) shredded carrots 
1/4 cup(s) dried cranberries

Fish sticks: Heat oven to 275 degrees F. Place flour and cornmeal on separate sheets of waxed paper. Whisk egg whites, salt, and hot pepper sauce in a small bowl. Dredge fish sticks first in flour (tapping off excess), then in egg mixture, then in cornmeal until coated. Place sticks on a baking sheet lined with foil (for easy cleanup).

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until rippling. In 2 batches, cook fish sticks until golden brown and opaque, 4 to 5 minutes, turning sticks halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and keep warm in oven while cooking second batch.

Slaw: In a medium bowl, whisk yogurt and lemon juice until blended. Add apples, carrots, and cranberries and toss. Mix honey-mustard and tartar sauce and serve with fish sticks and slaw.

Wine:  your favorite white

That's the week of March 10th.  Next week we'll have a St. Patrick's Day feast, right from Ireland.