Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

Finally...we have food in our house again!! I was waiting for the husband's pay day to get here to go grocery shopping (I'm sure you other SAHMs know how that goes...), so finally we can eat decently again. Last night the husband ended up bringing home two frozen pizzas because I'd had a horrible, horrible day dealing with an unruly toddler and didn't dare take him out in public to go buy cheddar cheese to make Shepherd's Pie last night. Did that sentence make any sense? I'm not sure. He said I could run out and get some once he got home, but I thought I might not ever return if I did that. Seriously...that was the day I'd had.

On a somewhat random side note, I was pretty pleased with my grocery shopping today. I spent $65 and saved $63--and that included buying two whole chickens and two packages of chicken drumsticks. My friend Jen A. has a great blog on saving money at the grocery store with coupons, niftythriftythriving.blogspot.com. She gets amazing savings grocery shopping and doing the whole CVS Extra Care Bucks deal. I'm in awe of how much she saves.

Back to my dinner...kind of. I'll be posting the recipe later because I'm kind of making it up as I go. I'm loosely basing this on a Paula Deen recipe for Shepherd's Pie I saw on her show one time. Loosely in the sense that I'm using leftover pot roast for the meat, and I think the similarities end there. Other than that I'm doing it pretty much how I normally do my Shepherd's Pie...meat, gravy, and vegetables mixed together, topped with mashed potatoes and then some cheese on top. Normally I do everything on the stove top and then put it together in some kind of casserole and stick that under the broiler to melt the cheese. There's still some gravy/sauce left from the pot roast, so I'll see how much of that there is and if necessary make some brown gravy to supplement if I need to.


Okay, at long last, here's the recipe I ended up using for Shepherd's Pie.

Shepherd's Pie v2.0
1 to 1.5 lbs leftover cooked pot roast
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 package brown gravy, prepared
Mashed potatoes (probably 3-4 russet potatoes, cooked and mashed)
1 cup cheddar cheese

Cut leftover pot roast into chunks. Place in skillet to heat up. Once meat is heated, add bag of vegetables to pan. Once vegetables are cooked, stir in prepared gravy mix. When this is all heated through, transfer to an 8x8 baking dish. Spread mashed potatoes on top of meat/veggie/gravy mixture. Top with cheddar cheese. Place under broiler until cheese is melted.


Totally easy, huh. I made the equivalent of two packages of gravy when I made this, but one would have been plenty. I have to say, I like this version a lot better than when I make it with hamburger. They're both good, but this will definitely become my leftover pot roast go-to meal. I used instant potatoes (because I got them on sale for ridiculously cheap and needed to save the real potatoes I had for something else later in the week), and I remembered why I don't like instant potatoes. They just taste funny to me, and they're way too salty. Real mashed potatoes are so easy to make, I don't know why they even sell instant potatoes. This is definitely something I will make again!!

Wanna see what it looked like? I really need better lighting in my kitchen.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dinner Struggles

I have no idea what to make for dinner tonight or over the course of the coming week for that matter. I was going to make shepherd's pie tonight with my leftover pot roast, but I don't have any cheese, and I'm the kind of girl that likes cheese on her shepherd's pie. I had sloppy joe's on my menu for one night or figured I could just make burgers, but both of those require hamburger buns, and I have none. Darn. I'm ridiculously low on groceries, but I'm trying to hold off going to the store until Tuesday (i.e. pay day).

So, if you have any ideas or something you'd like to see me make over the coming week, leave me a comment. I'm open to suggestions. If it sounds good and isn't ridiculously expensive to make, I just might give it a shot. I'm still a bit under the weather, too, which makes it difficult to come up with dinner ideas since few things sound all that good to me.

It's almost 4:00 so I'd better come up with something for tonight soon.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Three Cheese Pasta Skillet

My goal this week had been to use up stuff we had on hand. I found a container of french fried onions in my pantry and remembered this recipe. I used to make it all the time, but I think it's been years since we've had it. I used to get recipes emailed to me from the Campbell's Soup website, and this was one of them. It sounds really yummy to me which is good since not much does. And it's easy to throw together.

Three-Cheese Pasta Skillet
3 cups uncooked corkscrew pasta
1 can Campbell's® Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 cup water
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 cup shredded two-cheese blend
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 can (2.8 oz.) French's® French Fried Onions

COOK pasta according to pkg. directions. Drain.
MIX soup, water, pepper, cheeses and 2/3 cup onions in skillet. Heat to a boil.
ADD pasta and top with remaining onions. Cover and cook over low heat 2 min. or until hot.


I like to add some cooked, diced chicken to it as well. I usually cook the chicken first, then do the sauce once the chicken is done. I don't think I have quite enough corkscrew pasta, but I have some partial bags of other pastas I'm going to use. Mix things up a bit and all.

Pot Roast

I've been MIA for a few days but with good reason--I've been laid up in bed with a nasty cold. I don't know if it's the same one the husband had last week, but it's no fun. I started feeling sick on Wednesday afternoon, yesterday my saint of a mom came and took the boy for the day and kept him overnight. It was so nice to spend the whole day and most of today just laying in bed. I heart my bed so much.

Anyway, before I started feeling under the weather I had put a pot roast in the crockpot on Wednesday morning, which worked out great since the cold had totally hit me by dinner time. I found a roast in the freezer that needed to be used, and I love a good pot roast.

Claire's Crockpot Pot Roast
2-3 lb. chuck roast (I think that's the cut I was using)
3-4 potatoes, peeled and in chunks
4-5 carrots, peeled and in chunks
1 envelope onion soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Place peeled and chunked potatoes and carrots in the bottom of crockpot. Place roast on top. Sprinkle onion soup over roast and vegetables. Pour can of soup over roast and vegetables. Cook on low 7-8 hours.


My roast was still a little frozen when I put it in the crockpot, and I think I had it in there for 8-9 hours. I have to say I think it was one of the best pot roasts I've made. Not sure if it's because the meat was still a little frozen or what, but it was really tasty. To check doneness, I usually stick a meat thermometer in the roast to make sure it's done and check to make sure the potatoes are cooked all the way too. There are few things grosser than half-cooked potatoes. Okay, there are probably a lot of things grosser, but they're definitely not good.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pork Chops with Country Gravy and Mashed Potatoes

Don't you love when you come across or remember a cookbook or cooking magazine that you used to turn to all the time but it got lost in the shuffle of all your cookbooks and you haven't seen it in months, if not years? Holy run on sentence there Claire! Anyway, I have this Cooking Light "Simple Suppers" magazine that I used to use all the time and had kind of forgotten about it. It was my first foray (sp?) into Cooking Light. The date on it says "Display until December 31, 2003." Yup, 2003. I think I probably got it in October or November of that year. I flipped through it looking for a pork recipe to make tonight. I forgot how many awesome sounding recipes were in it--some of which I've made and totally forgotten about. I'm so excited to have come across this again!!

But, the dinner I'm making tonight isn't from said magazine. Sorry. It's my blog, I can tangent when I want. I don't know how it popped in my head this afternoon, but I wasn't overly excited about what I had planned for dinner and thought I'd look through that to find something. I didn't find anything that I already had everything for, so I'm sticking with my plan. But, I think next week there will be a few dinners from this magazine gracing our table!!

I went back through my blog entries to find the below recipe, and I haven't made it since January. JANUARY!!! I was shocked it had been that long. It's possible I've made it since then but not likely since I'm usually good about updating my blog, even when I miss a day or two or five. It's a super yummy and easy way to make pork chops. And I heart gravy so anything with some kind of "country gravy" is okay in my book. I accidentally typed grave instead of gravy...I hope that doesn't mean anything.

Man, I'm rambling a lot today. I even had a lot of adult interaction this morning! You'd think I'd be this verbose (Ha! Take that pregnancy brain...a big word!) on a day I'd been cooped up alone with my two year old son, even though he is an excellent conversationalist. Okay, on to the recipe. I'm feeling loopy.

Pork Chops with Country Gravy and Mashed Potatoes
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1 inch thick)
1 teaspoon butter
1 1/3 cups 1% low-fat milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (20-ounce) package refrigerated mashed potatoes (such as Simply Potatoes)

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt evenly over both sides of pork. Add 1 teaspoon butter to pan, stirring until butter is melted. Add the pork to pan, and cook pork for 3 minutes on each side. Remove pork from pan, and keep warm.

Combine low-fat milk and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add the milk mixture to pan, stirring with a whisk. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, poultry seasoning, and black pepper. Return pork to pan. Cover; reduce heat, and simmer for 7 minutes or until gravy is thick and pork is done.

While pork cooks, prepare potatoes according to package directions. Serve with pork.


So I make real mashed potatoes instead of the refrigerated ones. I'm cheap, what can I say. A bag of potatoes is cheaper--or maybe the same price but it's five pounds of potatoes vs. slightly more than one pound. I don't know, I've never compared the prices, I just assume it's cheaper to make my own. Plus I like mashing potatoes. I heart them more than gravy, so this way I can make as many as I want.

Oh, and I'm usually bad when I make these. I trim all the fat off the pork chops, but then I throw the pieces of fat into the skillet to get all the yummy goodness from it for the gravy. But we don't eat it, so that makes it healthy, right? I think so.

Okay...I've got to wrap this up before I start typing out my life story or ramble on about some other nonsensical point.


Well, once it was FINALLY done cooking, the french toast casserole was yummy. But it took FOR-EV-ER. I called my mom to see if she had ever made it, and she didn't think she had. She did, however, notice on the next page (who knew the recipe went over on to the next page?!) it said something about total time being 12 hours. So I wonder if I didn't let it sit long enough. I told the husband I'll make it again but have it sit overnight for longer and see if that helps. I put it in for 20 minutes. The edges looked done, I poked a fork in the middle, and a bunch of egg oozed out. Not cooked whatsoever. So I put it in for another 10 minutes. Still the same way. I bumped up the temperature to 375, set the timer for 10 minutes, still wet eggy in the middle. I may have let it go longer at 375, I don't remember now, but I finally turned the oven temp up to 400 and did it for 10 minutes and then it was FINALLY done. It maybe could have gone a little longer, but it was fine, and the eggs weren't oozing anymore at that point. I think sum total it took probably close to 50 minutes to cook. I'm wondering if it had sat longer, letting the bread soak up all the custardy goodness, if the baking time in the recipe would have been right. Still didn't seem like a lot of time to me. There was a similar recipe in the same cookbook that called for a baking time of 45-50 minutes. Needless to say, we were STARVING by the time it was ready. The boy ended up eating dinner way before us because I had no idea how long it was going to take to cook.

So, all in all, I'd be willing to make it again but I'd have it sit overnight so there was more time to soak up all the custard. Then I'd see what I thought.

Monday, September 22, 2008

French Toast Souffle

I figured I'd update my blog as I'm waiting for dinner to finish cooking. Sigh. More on that later. I spent pretty much all day cleaning my house because my awesome mom took the boy for the day. Of course, I didn't get nearly as much done as I had hoped since I kept getting out of breath. Darn pregnancy and being out of shape. Oh well, at least the upstairs of my house is something like 80% awesomely clean.

I've been wanting to have brinner (breakfast for dinner) for quite awhile now, and I found this recipe in a cookbook my mom gave me from a women's club she belonged to when they lived in El Paso. It sounded soooooo good. It's an overnight French toast recipe, but I figured making it in the morning and letting it sit all day would be comparable. I figured wrong. Again, more on that later.

French Toast Souffle
4 ounces butter (that's one stick)
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup maple syrup
12 eggs
3 cups half and half
2 tsp vanilla
1 (9x13) pan of bread/rolls/croissants/etc. torn into pieces
Cinnamon to taste

Melt butter, cream cheese, and syrup in microwave. Whip eggs, half and half, and vanilla together. Tear bread, rolls, croissants, etc. into a 9x13 buttered baking dish, fairly well packed. Pour egg mixture over bread. Pour butter/cream cheese/syrup mixture over. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake in 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes uncovered. Makes 10 servings.


Doesn't that sound yummy? I made a few modifications in an effort to make it more healthy. I did half eggs and half egg beaters. I also used two cups of half and half (fat free) and one cup of skim milk. Other than that, everything was as called for.

(Note: I'm no longer waiting for it to finish cooking...it's the next day and I was lazy last night and never finished posting this.)

Saturday, September 20, 2008


The crockpot ranch chicken was really good!! My chicken was fine after two hours on high instead of the four hours on low that was in the recipe. The sauce was REALLY tasty, too. My chicken breasts were, of course, on the dry side, but the sauce helped. Am I the only person that ALWAYS has chicken breasts come out dry when cooked in the crockpot? Please tell me I'm not...maybe there's a support group I could join.

I had wanted to have rice as a side dish, but I had three bags of different kinds of rice (white, brown, and brown basmati) which each had maybe 1/4 cup of rice in them, so I scrapped that idea since they'd all have different cooking times. Note to self, add rice to grocery list. I had half a box of bowtie pasta, so I made that instead. It worked, but I think the sauce would have been better on rice than the pasta.

This is definitely something I would--and will--make again. Thanks, Jen A., for a great recipe!!

I'll be back on Monday...I get the rest of the weekend off! Tonight we're heading to my aunt and uncle's for dinner, tomorrow night the husband and I have a wedding to attend.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Jen's Crockpot Creamy Ranch Chicken

Tonight's dinner is brought to you courtesy of my friend Jen A. I don't know if that's really the right way to word it...she sent me the recipe after they had it for dinner recently. I thought it sounded really good, and I didn't need to buy that many ingredients for it.

My dinner schedule got all wonky this week, and I almost missed out on making this because I got sucked in to Facebook this afternoon. I should back up. My friend Jen B. and I both got haircuts today. The boy and I went over to her house this morning, and I stayed with our crazy bobo boys while she went and got her hair cut, then she came and stayed with them while I went. Beautiful system really. By the time the boy and I got home it was after 1:00 (naptime), but he insisted he was still hungry, despite feasting on hot dog, mandarin oranges, and tortilla chips at Jen's. So I got him some more to eat, put him down for his nap, then played on Facebook. Really it wasn't that long--I swear!! I was also uploading pictures to the Walgreens website to get printed, so I needed something to do while I was waiting for that process. See? I can just about always justify my Facebook obsession. ;) Anyway, I remembered around 2:20 (done with Facebook at that point, getting ready to watch 90210 from this past Tuesday--while I worked on getting stuff ready to shred...see, I'm ALWAYS productive. Always.) that dinner was supposed to be via crockpot tonight and kind of panicked since I remembered reading it was an almost six hour recipe. Thankfully that was on low, so I just bumped the heat up to high. But now I'm getting ahead of myself.

Jen's Crockpot Creamy Ranch Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbs butter, melted
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz cream cheese, cubed
1/2 c chicken broth
1 (1oz)packet ranch dressing mix
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 dash paprika
1/8 tsp dry oregano
1/4 tsp dry parsley flakes

Wash and dry chicken breasts and place them evenly in crock pot. Sprinkle with paprika. Sprinkle ranch salad dressing mix over chicken. Drizzle chicken breasts with 1 tablespoons melted butter. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter with minced garlic and saute slightly. Add cream of chicken soup,cream cheese cubes, 1/2 c chicken broth, dried oregano and dried Parsley flakes. Stir on med til smooth. Add mixture to crock pot, cover again and continue to cook on low for 1 1/2-2 hours.


When I took the lid off to add in the sauce, the chicken smelled really yummy. I was wishing I had a whisk clean to mix up the sauce, but both of mine were in the dishwasher. I also eyeballed the chicken broth because both of my liquid measuring cups were in the dishwasher as well. Can you tell I need to run my dishwasher?

I hope it turns out. I have trouble with chicken in the crockpot...it always comes out dry. My fingers are crossed either it doesn't this time or the sauce helps it seem more moist. Jen said it was good with egg noodles, but I'm going to make rice instead. I also need to check what frozen veggies are in my freezer to have along with it.

Oh, and like I said, I did the first step for two hours on high instead of four on low. I bumped it down to low when I added the sauce, but I figured I'd check the chicken after an hour to see how cooked it was, in case I needed to move it back up to high.


The mac and cheese was really yummy--definitely better than the last time I'd made it. I think next time I might use small curd cottage cheese (I think such a thing exists anyway), but that was the only change. I liked the breadcrumbs on top, too. I didn't have quite enough cheese to do a layer on top...oh well. I actually added in some shredded mozzarella because I thought it was a bit shy on cheese. Oh, and I'd recommend mixing up everything BUT the macaroni, and then adding in the cooked macaroni and combining it that way.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Macaroni and Cheese

I know we just had mac and cheese the other night, but that was from the box and this is the real deal. Plus my other dinner choices were limited, so it was this or...this. I haven't made this recipe in a long time, so I'm excited to have it again. This is one of the cookbooks displayed in my kitchen that I rarely use. The husband actually pulled it down the other day, held it up to me, and said, "When are we having THIS?" (the recipe is on the cover.) Actually that was my main reason for buying the cookbook in the first place. Wanna see it?

Pretty enticing, huh? I'm super excited for it. I could eat mac and cheese every night of the week and twice on Sunday. I've never understood the "twice on Sunday" saying, but it fit. When I was little I HATED homemade mac and cheese, I only liked the stuff from the box. I don't know when it was that changed, but my age was definitely double digits, and I may have been a proud college graduate. Now I'll eat any kind. My mother-in-law makes fantastic mac and cheese, so that's the one I usually make, but since the husband specifically asked for this one, that's what we're having.

Macaroni and Cheese
4 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces uncooked), cooked without salt or fat
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
3/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup fat free milk
2 Tbsp grated onion
1-1/2 tsp reduced fat stick margarine, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1/4 cup fresh or dry breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp reduced calorie stick margarine, melted
1/4 tsp paprika

Preheat oven to 350. Combine first 10 ingredients (through egg); stir well. Spon into a shallow 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray.

Combine breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp margarine, and paprika; stir well. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over casserole. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover casserole and bake an additional 5 minutes or until breadcrumbs are browned.


Normally when I make it I put more cheese on top instead of the breadcrumbs, but I remember that the last time I made it, I didn't dig that. I may put some cheese on top and then the breadcrumbs on top of that.

I have Moms Night Out tonight with my MOMS Club, and we're having a potluck and game night, so I'm going to keep my mac and cheese indulging in check...or try to at least. I made Tres Leches Cake to take to it. Everytime there's been some kind of food event, whether it be Bunco or some MOMS Club function, my friend Kimberly pesters and pesters and pesters me about bringing this. Just kidding, Kimberly! :) But she does ask if this is what I'm taking every time. It's sounded really good to me for awhile, so I caved. Do you see how easily I give in to peer pressure? You can only imagine what my high school and college experience was like.


Our dinner ended up being different than the paninis I planned. I mixed up the blue cheese mixture, and it was too much for my pregnant nose, which is weird because whenever I have a salad, I have blue cheese dressing on it. I think there may have been two problems. In an effort to be health conscious for the husband (because who really tries to be health conscious when they're pregnant? The jar of M&Ms on my kitchen counter will tell you that I don't.), I bought reduced fat blue cheese. Strike one? I also bought the store brand of crumbled blue cheese. Strike two? I assume so. Thankfully my fast thinking scored my sandwiches a ground rule double. Or maybe a triple. I wouldn't go so far as to say a home run, but they were good. Enough baseball analogies...sorry about that.

So, what did I end up doing? I had already fixed up the barbecued chicken, so I went with that, but I sliced up some of the red onion leftover from PW's sandwiches and put that on top of the chicken, then cheddar cheese (real cheddar cheese, not Kraft Singles or something like that), and threw them on the panini press. They turned out really yummy! If I'd had green onions or cilantro I would have used some of that in place of the red onion, but my green onions had seen better days. My last minute creation ended up being really tasty. Definitely a panini I'd make again.

Barbecued Chicken with Blue Cheese and Celery Paninis

My panini press has been neglected lately. I just felt like I was always making the same sandwiches with them, so I got the genius idea to look up panini cookbooks at the library instead of buying one. I heart the library...especially for cookbooks! Since I have an overwhelming cookbook collection already, it's a nice way to indulge in my guilty pleasure without dropping a small fortune.

So I flipped through the book and found several that sounded good. Unfortunately some have really obscure (or expensive...or both) ingredients, and some there is no way the husband would touch them with a ten foot pole. I'll still have to copy them down before the book is due back.

The husband is actually sick today, but when I asked if he'd want dinner he asked what the choices were and thought these sounded good. The other choice, by the way, was Shepherd's Pie, which we were supposed to have last night, but due to some issues at our vet's office (i.e. they're slow and incompetent and ALWAYS take forever to get simple things done), there wasn't going to be time to make it and pick up the dog before they closed. So it was a mac & cheese and hot dog night. Anyway...on to the recipe.

Barbecued Chicken with Blue Cheese and Celery Paninis
1-1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) shredded barbecue chicken
3 Tbsp barbecue sauce (optional)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp sour cream
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 scallion (white and light green parts), finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 ciabbata rolls or store-bought Italian rolls
1 celery stalk, trimmed, tough outer strings peeled away, and thinly sliced

Heat a panini or sandwich press. Combine the chicken and barbecue sauce, if using, in a small bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice the rolls in half and spread some blue cheese dressing on the inside of each roll. Arrange the celery on the bottom halves of the rolls. Pile the chicken on top of the celery. Top each sandwich with the top half of the roll.

Put the sandwiches on the press, pull the top down, and cook until they are brown and crisp, 4-7 minutes, depending on the machine. Carefully remove from the press and serve immediately.


I don't think I'm really changing things up except that I have some foccacia rolls I'm using instead of ciabatta. I just realized I need to go hustle so we can eat at 6:00. Not sure what we'll have with it, I may throw some tater tots into the oven because I have them and they're easy.

Oh, and I didn't have any barbecue chicken laying around so I just cooked up some chicken breasts and shred them, then I'm going to mix them with some BBQ sauce. This would be a great use for leftover chicken meat from cooking a whole chicken!


Wow. WOW!! PW's sandwich was amazing...awesome...fantastic...mind-blowing. Definitely the best grilled cheese I've ever had. The husband tried to steal the second half of my sandwich, so he really liked it too. He should know better than to try and take a pregnant woman's food. Sheesh.

I ended up cooking them in an electric skillet. It took a long time, but that was my fault because I didn't know what temperature (200, 250, 350, etc.) equated to Medium Low on my stove top. I think I had it too low at first, so then I kept turning it up slightly. They were definitely hard to flip when it was finally time, but I think it might have been easier in the electric skillet than in a regular skillet on the stove because there was more space. Who knows. Next time I'm going to try doing them on my panini press instead, see how they turn out that way...and I'd avoid the flipping issue. :)

Definitely try these. Go out and buy the stuff. Now! Go...hurry to the store and hurry home so you can eat this amazing sandwich.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pioneer Woman's Favorite Sandwich

Unless this is the first time you've read my blog, you know that I heart Pioneer Woman. Pretty much everything I've tried making from her website has been super tasty. Jen B. made this a couple weeks ago and loved it. Our friend Kimberly (Hi, Kimberly!!) made it recently and raved about it, too. Our friend Jen A. made a modified version and really liked it as well. So I'm jumping on the bandwagon. Doesn't hurt that Jen B. gave me some of her leftover whole chiles to use! I'm totally excited for this dinner.

Pioneer Woman's Favorite Sandwich
whatever type of sandwich bread you like...PW likes rye
mild cheddar cheese slices
provolone cheese slices
sliced tomato
thinly sliced red onion
canned Hatch whole green chiles
1 Tablespoon of mayo
1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard
Lots of softened butter or margarine

1) For spreadable sauce: Thoroughly combine 1 Tablespoon of mayo and 1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard in a small bowl.
2) Spread a very thin layer of sauce mixture on the inside of both pieces of the bread that you will be using to construct your sandwich.
3) Place two slices of tomato and some thin red onion slices on one side of the bread. Then, top that bread piece with 2 slices of provolone cheese and one or two slices of whole green chiles. Don't be shy with the green chiles.
4) On the other piece of bread, place 2 slices of cheddar cheese, and very carefully close your sandwich. Be gentle.
5) Now, spread a generous amount of butter on each side of the tops of the bread, not missing anything. Really butter 'em good! Seriously, use the butter...it is okay.
6) Heat a non stick skillet over LOW heat, and cook on each side (flipping once)...5 minutes per side. You can turn the heat up to Medium-Low (but do not heat past Medium) to get your desired brown/toastiness accomplished.

Also, these babies are tricky to flip. Be careful.

7) Remove ooey-gooey delectable sandwich from skillet and cut into halves. Serve immediately. Say a prayer and go to confession quickly after consuming this masterful sandwich. They are so good you will feel dirty.


I'm using wheat bread because I don't like rye. Plus it's what I have. I'm also going to bust out either my griddle or my electric skillet because my regular skillets just aren't big enough to accommodate three sandwiches. Actually the boy is just going to have regular grilled cheese. I can't wait for this sandwich. Have I mentioned that?

Not sure what we're having with it. There's broccoli salad left from last night (shoot...forgot to do the review from last night's dinner...I'll do that later), so the boy and I will probably have that, the husband can have regular green salad, and maybe we'll have a fancy accompaniement like pretzels. We go all out here at my house.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hispanic Market

Jen B. and I went and braved our local Hispanic grocery store today. She wrote a hilarious account of it on her blog. The husband and I were both cracking up when I read it to him, and I'm still chuckling when I think about what she wrote.

Check out what she wrote:


Beth's Broccoli Slaw

My friend Beth from MOMS Club made this salad for my friend Jen B. when her father passed away recently. Jen LOVED it and got the recipe from Beth. I think she's made it a couple times since then and has rave reviews every time. I've been anxiously awaiting broccoli to be on sale so I could try it.

Beth's Broccoli Slaw
In large bowl mix:
2 heads broccoli, cut into florets and finely chop about 1/2 of the stalks, cut about 15 baby carrots. Approx 1/2 cup of raisins, Approx 1/4 cup of cashews.

In medium bowl mix:
1 cup mayo, 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Pour Mayo mixture over broccoli mixture, toss, and chill for minimum of 1 hour before serving.


I almost didn't make this because the husband doesn't like broccoli. The boy and I, however, do, so husband lost out. More for us I figure, although I'm going to make him try one bite of it. I was a bit shy on the mayo, but hopefully that doesn't affect it too much.

Pulled Pork

Originally I was going to make this yesterday since we needed to leave early for our fun night at Pump It Up, but our morning plans changed, and I was going to have time to get it in the crockpot. Normally it wouldn't be a problem to just toss a pork loin roast and a bottle of BBQ sauce in the crockpot, but I'm trying to cut out high fructose corn syrup from our diets, and every bottle of BBQ sauce I picked up at the grocery store had HFCS as either the first or second ingredient. Yuck. So I bought a bottle of organic ketchup instead and decided to make my own sauce. I looked up recipes on allrecipes.com and found one I kind of modified.

Pulled Pork
20 ounces ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup worcestshire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pound pork loin roast

In a saucepan, combine first eight ingredients. Bring to low boil. Place pork roast in crockpot, pour sauce over. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Remove pork roast to a bowl and shred with two forks. Add sauce into bowl until desired consistency. Serve on hamburger buns.


The sauce tasted really good when I sampled it from the saucepan, hopefully it will taste good after being in the crockpot so long. The original recipes had different quantities of some of the ingredients and some different spices, and it said to combine everything in a blender. I thought that was weird, so I opted to cook them all for a bit.


Tater Tot Casserole was awesome.

That's all I have to say about that.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tater Tot Casserole

It occurred to me a couple weeks ago that we haven't had this in FOREVER. Like, seriously forever. I don't even know if it's on the blog, it's been that long. This is one of the casseroles my mom would make when I was little and my folks weren't that well off. Kind of poor people food, but it's awfully good. She refused to make it for a long time, and I remembered it in college or shortly after I graduated, and I've been making it ever since. We were going to have it last night, but we ended up running to Walmart, and by the time we'd get home it was going to be too late to start it, so we just got one of their take and bake pizzas instead. Incidently, their pizzas aren't that bad, and they're pretty reasonably priced.

Tater Tot Casserole
1 lb ground beef
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
Cheddar cheese--sliced or shredded
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Tater Tots

In an 11x7 pan, crumble or spread ground beef. Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder on top of beef. Cover with sliced or shredded Cheddar cheese (NOT American cheese...real cheddar). Spread can of cream of mushroom soup over the cheese layer (this can be tricky business if you've used shredded cheese). Top with tater tots. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, uncovering for last 30 minutes. Or bake at 375 for one hour, uncovering for last 30 minutes.


You can use regular onion instead of onion powder, I just hate chopping up onions and opt for the easy way out. My mom always slices up cheese when she makes this, but I usually have shredded on hand and go with that. Slices are definitely easier than the shredded.

Personally I like a little ketchup on my plate to dip it in, but not everyone goes for that.


Mixed reviews on the tacos. I liked them, the husband thought they were too spicy. I feared they might be and fed the boy a quesadilla instead. Roasting the chiles was kind of a pain. The actual roasting wasn't too hard, but peeling them was a pain in the...well, a pain. There must be an easier way I'm just not aware of since I've never done it. I think if there was sour cream, guacamole, or maybe some cotija cheese it would tone down the heat a bit. I'd make these again, but since the husband wasn't too keen on them, they will probably not grace our table again, sadly.

Oh, I'd maybe cut back on the onions a bit...there were a lot of onions. I first thought when they were cooking that the next time I'd make it I'd add more chiles and less onion, but the chiles added so much kick, I think I'd stick with two and just cut back on the onions.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos

I had to sit and suffer through a three hour glucose test today to see if I have gestational diabetes. I think making a pregnant woman fast for eight hours (actually it had been 11 hours when I got there this morning) is some form of torture. Then I had to sit there for another three hours, not eating or drinking. Ugh. So of course I've been hungry all day now. I'm excited for this dinner tonight!

This is from a Rick Bayless cookbook I got at the library, Mexican Everyday. My friend Jen B. liked the book so much she went and bought it. Good thing because there are other recipes I want to try, but I have to return it tomorrow. I've already renewed it twice, so I figure it's time to let it go.

Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos
2 large fresh poblano chilies
2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil (divided use)
1 large white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves
Ground black pepper
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed thru a garlic press
12 warm corn tortilla, store bought or homemade
3/4 cup roasted tomatillo salsa, guacamole, or bottled salsa or hot sauce, for serving

Roast the poblanos over an open flame or 4 inches below a broiler, turning regularly until blistered and blackened all over, about 5 minutes for an open flame, 10 minutes for the broiler. Place in a bowl, cover with a kitchen twoel, and let cool until handelable.

Turn on (or adjust) the oven to its lowest setting. Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a very large skillet over medium high. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden but still cruncy, 4-5 minutes. Scoot into a heatproof serving bowl, leaving as much oil as possible in the skillet, and slide it into the oven. Set the skillet aside.

Rub the blackened skin off the chiles and pull out the setms and seed pods. Rinse the chiles to remove bits of skin and seeds. Cut into 1/4-inch strips and stir into the onions. Taste and season with salt, usually a generous teaspoon. Return the bowl to the oven.

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken generously with salt and pepper.

Return the skillet to medium heat. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil. When the oil is hot, lay in the chicken breasts. Brown on one side, about 5 minutes, then flip and finish cooking on the other side, about 4 minutes more. When the meat is done, add the lime juice and garlic to the skillet. Turn the chicken in the lime mixture for a minute or so, until the juice has reduced to a glaze and coats the chicken.

Cut the chicken breasts into 1/4-inch strips and toss with the onion-poblano mixture. Taste and season with additional salt if you think necessary. Serve with the warm tortillas and salsa, guacamole, or hot sauce for making soft tacos.


So this will be my first time roasting peppers. I'm kind of nervous about it, but we'll see what happens. I've wanted to try it, but I've always been kind of scared of doing it. But, tonight's the night! Everything else sounds pretty straight-forward. Oh, and I'm using flour tortillas instead of corn because we just like them better.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Well, the pasta bake was okay. As far as baked pasta casseroles go, I liked the Baked Ziti I made a few weeks ago a lot better or Mostaccioli. I used eight ounces of smoked cheese (I think it was a smoked white cheddar...I couldn't find smoked mozzarella at my grocery store) instead of the four in the recipe because, well, we like cheese. If I made it again, I think I'd reduce the amount of smoked cheese, reduce the sour cream to one cup or maybe less, and I'd add in some regular mozzarella. Or put mozzarella on top instead of parmesan. I don't know, something just wasn't right. It was okay...probably not something I'd make again.

Oh, and it made A TON! There's probably 2/3 of the pan left. I'm going to wrap it up and stick it in the freezer I think. I hate to waste it, even though we didn't think it was all that great. I figure it will be good to have on hand for when the baby comes and I don't want to make dinner.

Smoked Cheese Pasta Bake

Last night was super lame dinner. Or white trash dinner...call it what you will. We had Pigs in a Blanket and I made up a box of pasta salad. See? Not worth posting. Don't feel like you missed anything.

I was trying out another neglected cookbook when looking for recipes this week. This was the Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2008, which is actually all the recipes they published in the magazine in 2007. There were lots of yummy recipes, but I was trying to find recipes that used stuff I already had on hand. All I had to buy for this was the smoked cheese (you have no idea how many times it just took me to type 'smoked').

Smoked Cheese Pasta Bake
1 pound uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta)
1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded smoked farmer or mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

Heat marinara sauce in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add salt, pepper, and spinach, stirring until blended; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cooked pasta.

Spoon half of pasta mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine sour cream, smoked cheese, and basil; spread over pasta mixture in dish. Spoon the remaining pasta mixture over sour cream mixture; sprinkle evenly with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


I'm so dumb, I went and looked up the recipe in the cookbook to type it up and then thought, "DUH! Copy it from the website." Pregnancy brain is hitting me hard. I'm also glad I read it and posted this when I did because I forgot about the spinach. Oh, and I'm not using a jarred sauce, I made up a basic tomato sauce using crushed tomatoes, garlic, onion, and Italian seasoning. It's the same one I made when I did the Eggplant Parmesan.

I can't decide if I should cut this recipe in half or leave it as is. I don't really feel like doing the math involved to cut it in half, but a 9x13 dish of pasta always makes so much. I guess I can freeze what's left if there's a lot.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Lemon Chicken Pasta

It's still pretty hot here in AZ, so my mom invited us over yesterday for swimming and dinner. It was a great day for swimming, although her pool is starting to get a little chilly. And I will never (okay, rarely) pass up a dinner someone else makes for me.

I had originally planned on making this last night but then didn't need to make dinner. It's another recipe from one of my Southern Living cookbooks. I've made it before but not in a really, really, really, really, really long time. I'm excited to have it again.

Lemon Chicken Pasta
Cooking spray
1 tsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/4-inch wide strips
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup condensed low-sodium chicken broth, undiluted
2 Tbsp tub-style light cream cheese
2 cups hot cooked farfalle (about 1-1/4 cups uncooked bow tie pasta), cooked without salt or fat
3 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; add oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic, saute 15 seconds. Add chicken; saute 1 minute. Add peas and carrot; saute 1 minute. Remove chicken from skillet; set aside.

Add chicken broth and cream cheese to skillet and cook over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until cream cheese melts, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return chicken mixture to skillet. Stir in pasta, parmesan, lemon rind, salt, and pepper. Cook 1 minute. Yield: 2 servings.


I got out two chicken breasts that were both kind of small. I forgot this was a two-serving recipe, but I think there should probably be enough for two adults and one toddler. I'll probably slightly increase the amounts of everything to make sure there's enough.

I remember that the first time I made this the husband had some right when it was ready and thought it was kind of bland. For whatever reason I had dinner after him and thought there was good flavor to it once it had sat for a bit and the flavors had a chance to meld together. Meld...is that a word? I don't know...how about "the flavors had a chance to combine with one another."

I'm not sure what we'll have along with this since there's pasta and vegetables mixed into it already. I'll see if I have some bread we can have along with it, but I may end up making Ghetto Garlic Bread (buttered hamburger buns stuck under the broiler for a few minutes), and we'll probably have salad with it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Mixed reviews tonight. The chicken turned out well, but it took FOREVER to cook! I'm having bad luck cooking chicken lately. I even flattened the breasts out some to help them cook faster, and they still took a long time. Once they were done, they were pretty tasty. The husband and Steve both liked them. I actually added some seasoning to the flour...salt, pepper, and some garlic seasoning I usually use to make my own garlic bread. Oh, and I used 2 Tbsp of butter and 2 Tbsp of olive oil sintead of the 4 Tbsp of butter.

The potatoes didn't happen. I had bought red potatoes instead of new potatoes, and they just didn't work. They squashed funny and just weren't working, so I ended up making mashed potatoes out of them instead. They were a little too olive-oily from trying to smoosh them on the cookie sheet. Oh well. I'm definitely going to try them again because they look and sound so yummy.

I think next time I'd flatten the chicken more so it cooked faster.

Garlic Chicken

This is another recipe from a Southern Living cookbook I walk past multiple times in a day yet never think to look at for dinner ideas. And again everything I've tried in this one (this is a different one than I used for the pizza recipe) has been good. Actually as I was flipping through it I saw a chicken casserole recipe that I'd written, "Really good and really easy" next to, but I had absolutely no recollection of making it. So it's good I deface my cookbooks and make notes in them. :)

Garlic Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter or margarine
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
1 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp pepper

Dredge chicken in flour. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; add chicken and garlic. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from skillet; keep warm.

Add apple juice, lemon juice, and pepper to skillet; bring mixture to a boil. Boil, uncovered, 4 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup. Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately.


I'm excited to try this, I'm always on the lookout for new ways to cook chicken. With it we're going to have one of Pioneer Woman'srecipes for Crash Hot Potatoes. She posted the recipe awhile ago, and I thought they looked good. Somehow they popped in my head when I was figuring out dinners. They sound super easy and really tasty.

The husband is going to play nine holes of golf with our friend Steve around 6:00, so I'm going to make this for us after they get back, the boy's getting chicken nuggets so I don't have to make dinner twice.


The pizza was really yummy!! I'd made a similar one a long time ago when we grilled pizzas one night, so it was nice to try it again. I ended up having a smaller jar of artichoke hearts than called for, but I think more would have overpowered the pizza. The ones I had were marinated as well, so it gave them a little extra flavor. I believe the recipe called for only sauteeing the peppers and spices, but I put the artichoke hearts and mushrooms in there, too. Oh, and the amount of cheese called for was definitely not enough. I know we like our cheese here in this house, but I only sprinkled a little on the crust at first, then put the toppings on, and then I didn't have enough cheese left in the bag to cover the rest of the pizza. Thankfully I had some monterey jack cheese in the fridge, so I grated that up and added it to the pizza. I didn't even have the cheese very thick, so make sure you have plenty of cheese on hand.

This is definitely something I would make again. I bet it would be good with some feta added and some fresh oregano. Yum. Once I can eat feta again I think I'll try it that way. We have no leftovers of the pizza, and it was a pretty good size. The boy didn't really like it, he ate maybe half a piece and had to be coerced into eating that much of it. I had two pieces, so that means the husband must have had five. I've told you he likes pizza!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Artichoke and Red Pepper Pizza

When I was coming up with dinners for this week I busted out some cookbooks I hadn't used in awhile. Seriously, I have a ridiculous amount of cookbooks...it's getting to be completely out of hand. Anyway, I'm trying to use some that I don't look at as often, so I got out a Southern Living cookbook. Everything I've tried from it has been good, I just don't think to use it that often. Which is somewhat ironic because it's a cookbook that's displayed on my kitchen wall.

I bought a refrigerated pizza crust awhile back and need to use it. This sounded really yummy, and I didn't need that much for it except the peppers and artichokes (okay, so I was missing the two main ingredients but still). I hope it's good.

Artichoke and Red Pepper Pizza
1 can refrigerated pizza crust dough
Cooking spray
i Tbsp olive oil
1 7-ounce bottle roasted red peppers, drained and julienne-cut
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1 2.5-ounce jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) mozzarella cheese
Cracked pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 425. Unroll pizza crust dough onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and pat dough into a 14x10-inch rectangle. Bake at 425 for 5 minutes and set aside.

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add bell peppers and next three ingredients, saute 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in artichokes and mushrooms.

Sprinkle half of cheese over pizza crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Spread vegetable mixture evenly over cheese; top with remaining cheese. SPrinkle with cracked pepper, if desired. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes or until crust is lighly browned.


I'm opposed to canned or jarred mushrooms. They're a weird color, the texture is weird to me. I don't dig them. So I bought fresh. And chances are I'll use more cheese than what's called for because that's just how we roll. I'm excited to try it.

Strawberry Pie

In a moment of weakness I bought four pounds of strawberries at Costco this week. Okay, it wasn't really a moment of weakness...the boy and I love strawberries, and the per pound price worked out to be way cheaper than buying them at the grocery store. In one of my many cookbooks, I had recently seen a recipe for a strawberry pie. And of course I couldn't find it for the life of me once I actually had strawberries to use. :(

(The first part of this may seem like a tangent but really it's not...stick with me here.) The husband is from Louisiana...don't know if I've shared that. Probably I have. Anyway, the first time we went to visit we drove from Phoenix to New Orleans (which we quickly vowed we would never, EVER do again...Texas is just too damn big to drive across). Somewhere in Louisiana, he pointed out that we were in the strawberry capital of the south, or something like that. So as I was wracking my brain to figure out where that freakin' pie recipe had been, I saw my "Best of the Best Louisiana" cookbook and checked it. This wasn't where I had seen the recipe as I hadn't looked at that cookbook in quite some time, but there was a strawberry pie recipe in there, so I jumped all over it.

Strawberry Pie
1 quart fresh strawberries
3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp corn starch
1 cup whipped cream
1 9-inch pastry shell (baked)

Place all but one cup berries in the bottom of baked pastry shell. Spread out well and set aside. In a saucepan, simmer the other cup of berries in 3/4 cup water for 5 minutes. Add sugar and blend well. Add corn starch. After mixture thickens, add lemon juice. Cook until clear. Pour sauce over berries in shell. Chill in fridge and top with whipped cream.


I think I used more strawberries than called for. I put one quart less one cup into the pie crust (oh, I halved the strawberries by the way) and it didn't look like enough, so I cut up a few more. I also don't think I had the stove hot enough for simmering. After I put in the sugar and corn starch, it wasn't getting thick at all so I turned up the heat a bit, and that did the trick. The strawberries started to fall apart a bit, too, which is what I had expected in the first place. And mine didn't turn clear like the recipe says, it was a nice reddish-pink color.

I of course had to sample a piece last night, and it was really yummy. I didn't have any whipped cream, but I thought it was fine without. This was pretty easy to make, too. Definitely something I'd make again.

Chili Cheese Tortilla Wraps

I feel so behind but only because I've been in the kitchen like a fiend lately. This week--along with making dinners--I've made Chex Mix, banana bread, and a strawberry pie. Maybe I'm nesting, who knows. Last night for dinner we had Chili Cheese Tortilla Wraps. I hadn't made them in awhile, and I had most of the stuff for it, plus the husband was supposed to have a church meeting at 6:30 last night, so I figured a crockpot dinner would be easiest.

Chili Cheese Tortilla Wraps
1 16-oz can nonfat refried beans
1 8-oz package nonfat cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened
1 4-oz can diced green chilies, drained
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup nonfat shredded cheddar cheese
4 98% fat free flour tortillas

Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray. Combine refried beans, cream cheese, chilies, and green onions in slow cooker and mix well. Cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours or high heat for 2 hours, stirring once or twice during cooking. If cooking on low heat, increase to high. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheesse and sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over top. Warm tortillas. Spoon bean mixture into tortillas; roll and serve immediately. Can be served with tortilla chips instead of tortillas.


I forgot to add in the can of green chilies, but I don't think any of us noticed. They were so yummy. I had about half a can of refried beans in the fridge, so I threw those in as well to use them up. I always skip the cheese on top and just add it on to the beans once they're on the tortilla.

I wish I had some tortilla chips to eat the rest as a dip!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tofu Lo Mein

Hope everyone had a nice weekend!! Ours was GREAT! We did nothing on Sunday except lounge by and play in the pool. It was awesome. Totally what I needed. We got home from our staycation on Monday, but we didn't have much in the house to make for dinner, and I didn't really feel like cooking anyway, so we all had grilled cheese sandwiches. Exciting.

Last night I was going to make this recipe, but I think I upset the baby and overdid it with stuff around the house yesterday because if I'd stand up for more than a minute or two, my baby belly would get awfully uncomfortable! So I resorted to laying on the couch and drinking water, and the husband stopped and got Little Caesar's pizza for us. I've told you it's our universal dinner back-up plan!

I had an OB appointment today and was up seven pounds from last month. Ouch. I need to get on the ball with some healthy dinners. I only gained 27 when I was pregnant with the boy, so I want to keep it around that. I'm up 20 pounds total with 11 weeks to go, so I need to watch it. I blame it entirely on having eaten out all weekend. Anyway, I'm extra glad we're having this for dinner tonight because I need a good healthy meal. I had planned on having it a couple weeks ago, but the tofu was past its date when I took it out of the fridge.

Tofu Lo Mein
1 (16 ounce) package extra firm tofu
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (3 ounce) packages Oriental flavored ramen noodles
1 (16 ounce) package frozen stir-fry vegetables
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon soy sauce, or to taste

Press tofu between paper towels to remove some of the water; cut in to bite size cubes. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu, and fry until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Meanwhile bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add noodles from ramen packages, reserving the seasoning envelopes. Boil for about 2 minutes, just until the noodles break apart. Drain.

Add the stir-fry vegetables to the pan with the tofu, and season with the ramen noodle seasoning packet. Cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender, but not mushy. Add noodles, and stir to blend. Season with soy sauce to taste and serve.


Totally easy and super yummy. Even the boy usually eats it, so that makes it a winner in my book. I'm sure if you have kids--especially toddlers--you know how that goes. Just make sure you start draining your tofu early enough. I let mine drain for an hour or so, sometimes more.