Monday, June 29, 2009


What a freakin' day. I don't feel bad starting my post like that because I haven't in quite some time, but let me tell you--today is worthy of it! It started off normal enough, other than the boy being up already at 5:47 when the baby woke up to eat. I have no idea how long he had been up, but I was not at all pleased to see him sitting in the hallway at that insanely early time. Between then and when his alarm started at 7:15 he took every toy out of his toy box. We had swim lessons, then when we got home I told him he needed to pick up his room. Now, really it would have only taken him about 15 minutes to put everything back, but he ended up taking 90 minutes to do it. Of course, in that time he threw over a music table toy in the baby's room, spit at me, hit me with toys, threw toys at me, and the capstone was him pouring out almost an entire bottle of his shampoo on the carpet in front of my bedroom. Burt's Bees Shampoo, to top it off, which is not cheap. I was livid. Since then, he's spit at me more, taken a pen out of my room and colored all over his hand, face, and shirt, stolen a pacifier out of the baby's crib, and throw countless fits. The whining and crying...ugh. I want to run away to some where far far away. Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far...far, far away.

There must be something in the water or air or some chemical in the pool at swim lessons because my friends Jen B. and Laura's kids were acting up today, too. If you read Jen B.'s blog you'll have to agree that something is not right with our kids today.

So, given the day I've had (and that I have a cold on top of everything else), I am really in no mood whatsoever to cook dinner tonight. I had planned on making chicken stir fry, but I think I only have one chicken breast which just won't work for three people. I have a pork chop dish planned for later in the week, but it sounded like more work than I was up to. Since I have no convenience food on hand (the downside of trying not to buy prepared/packaged foods), I was having a tough time coming up with something. Then I thought of pancakes and scrambled eggs and thought I could handle that. Plus clean-up from that will be pretty easy.

Freezer Pancakes

For scrambled eggs I use Egg Beaters and add in a dash of milk, a handful or two of grated cheese, and some Tony Chachere's seasoning. It's actually the husband's recipe...John's Cajun Scrambled Eggs he calls them. At least it will be an easy dinner, and I know there won't be any fights about eating dinner with the boy because he loves pancakes and scrambled eggs.

(By the way, in the course of typing this I was hit repeatedly with a packet of fruit snacks. If we didn't have our Bible Study group here tonight, I think the boy would be in bed by 6:30 at the latest.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chicken Suitcases Perugina

I feel like I'm getting sick. I really, really, really hope that isn't the case, but I'm feeling worse as the day progresses which is not a good sign. :( I'm trying to take it easy and drink a lot of water in the hopes that I can ward off whatever is trying to infect me.

Anyway, this was a contender for dinner on Friday night, but I forgot to get chicken out in time. I have some prosciutto left that I don't want to go to waste, so I want to use it sooner than later so I don't forget about it and end up having to throw it out. There was a similar recipe that sounded good, but it calls for white wine, and well, we drank all the white wine in our house last night. So by process of elimination, this is what we're going to have.

Chicken Suitcases Perugina
Recipe #102359

8 (3 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinned
8 slices prosciutto (very thin slices)
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 slices
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup marsala wine or chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced parsley

Pound chicken between plastic wrap to thin (about 1/8 inch thick). Top each piece of chicken with a slice of prosciutto and a piece of cheese. Fold the chicken over to completely enclose the prosciutto and cheese and secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken packages in flour. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet and brown chicken packages on both sides until golden. Transfer chicken to a plate. Add the Marsala or broth to the skillet and stir to release the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add lemon juice and parsley. Increase heat and cook sauce for 1 minute until slightly thickened. Remove toothpicks from chicken and return to skillet and heat through.


I have monterey jack cheese, not mozzarella, but I think that will be fine. I bought some mushroom risotto at Trader Joe's that we're going to have as a side and probably some green beans as our vegetable. My frozen vegetable supply is running low, but I've waaaaaay overspent on my groceries recently, so I'm trying to avoid a trip to the store and base my meal plan for the coming week on what we have here.


Wow, wow, wow! These were fantastic!!! The husband's friend Matt ended up eating dinner with us, and we all loved it! The chicken breasts I had were huge and took forever to defrost, so I was in a hurry to get them assembled and forgot to salt and pepper them. Instead I mixed it in with the flour. Really I think you could skip the salt. I minced up a few garlic cloves and threw them in the pan after the butter had melted. I tell you--there are few things that smell better than garlic being sauteed in butter/olive oil. Since my pieces of chicken were so insanely huge I covered the pan to speed up the cooking time. Oh, and toothpicks or something to hold the chicken together are a MUST. I was being cocky and didn't think I'd need them, but when I went to turn the chicken, they started to unroll. I looked all over my kitchen for some toothpicks or bamboo skewers--something that would hold them together. All I could find was kitchen twine, which worked well enough. I would definitely make these again--they were fantastic!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Orange Roughy in Garlic Butter Recipe

Last night the husband and I decided to do our usual Friday night mini date night where we have dinner after the kids go to bed. We weren't really hungry, and I forgot to get out some chicken to defrost, so we ended up getting Little Ceasar's pizza. See, it is always our universal back-up plan! Today was hairy, to say the least. It was like the boy was replaced with some three year old monster that looked just like my sweet boy. He was in bed at 6:30! Man alive. We had decided earlier today to have another mini date night tonight, so once the baby goes to bed, it's date night time! I got out some orange roughy fillets I had in the freezer for us to have but wasn't sure what to do with them. I found this recipe on and thought it sounded tasty and easy--one of my favorite combinations! (Spell check is saying that 'combinations' isn't a word, but I swear it is, right?!)

Orange Roughy in Garlic Butter
Recipe #83463

1/2 lb orange roughy, cut into fillets
3 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white wine
1/4 cup onion, cut into rings
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Rinse fillets in water, pat dry with paper towels. Set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add garlic, and white wine, stirring until all is mixed together. Spray a small square glass baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of fish with salt and pepper, and lay fish fillets in the dish. Lay onion rings on top of fish, and pour garlic butter mixture over everything. Bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes, until fish flakes when you pick at it with a fork.


I'm not sure what we're going to have with this. I think I'll see if I have some orzo in the pantry and make creamy parmesan orzo or an orzo feta salad recipe I came across recently. If we don't have orzo then I have no idea and will have to come up with something I guess.


Mmmmmmm...this was some good fish! It was so easy to prepare, and the flavor was really good. I ended up making the parmesan orzo as a side. I should rename this to "dinner in beige" because there was absolutely no color on the plate!

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Patio Garden

I kill plants. There, I've come out and said it. Rarely does a plant survive under my care, although I did have two plants in college that seemed to thrive and even survived the move to AZ. Actually one was moved by my former roommate Joanne, then when she moved back to WA she left it in my care--it had been in our apartment in college. Anyway, the boy had been asking to plant tomatoes recently, so when I found myself at Home Depot recently waiting for some paint to be mixed I went and looked at tomato plants. They were only $3 each, so I got one and a zucchini plant. We put them in planters on our patio, and so far so good! They've been in their new homes for a few weeks now and are still alive!! And they've even grown! Amazing!

The boy and our tomato plant:

The baby couldn't help but he hung out with us:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Grilled Vegetable Panini

My cooking fest of the bounty I bought at Trader Joe's continues! Jen B. pointed out a bag of frozen grilled eggplant and zucchini that she had bought recently and really liked. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but I figured it was worth throwing a package in my cart. Pretty easy to figure out why I spend so much money when I go there, huh? Anyway, the husband and I had paninis for dinner last Friday night, and when I was looking on for panini ideas I saw this recipe and thought it sounded like a great way to use the frozen vegetables I had just bought. I'm copying the recipe from the Food Network website since it's a Giada recipe. I'm making some modifications from the original, which I'll note after the recipe.

Grilled Vegetable Panini

1/4 cup olive oil
2 small Japanese eggplants or 1 medium to large regular eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 baguettes (each about 2 feet long)
1/2 cup Basil Pesto
8 ounces fresh water-packed mozzarella cheese, drained, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
8 large basil leaves, optional

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the oil over the eggplant, zucchini, and onion slices, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the eggplant, zucchini, and onions until they are tender and grill marks appear, about 4 minutes per side. Cool completely.

Cut each baguette into 6 pieces. Working with one baguette piece at a time, slice in half and spread both sides with the pesto. Working with the bottom slice of the baguette, stack 2 slices of eggplant, 2 slices zucchini, 1 slice onion, 1 slice tomato, 1 slice mozzarella, and 1 slice of roasted pepper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place top half of baguette on top and continue with remaining baguette. (The sandwiches can be made 4 hours ahead. Wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)


Okay, so I don't have tomatoes, red onion, or basil. And I'm using already grilled vegetables, and after the sandwiches are assembled I'm going to put them into my panini press. I still have some pesto in my freezer that I got out to use, and it should be just the right amount for two sandwiches. Oh, and I'm going to use ciabbata rolls instead of baguettes.

I think I'll just bake some fries to go with this. I don't feel like I need a vegetable side since the main component of the sandwich is veggies. I'm excited to try a new panini!


Wow. These were super tasty!!! The husband was watching me assemble the sandwiches and said he could eat it without putting it in the panini press. I think pesto on paninis is my new most favorite thing. I love the flavor and taste and how the olive oil from the pesto seeps into the bread. I wish I had more ciabatta rolls so we could have had more sandwiches last night. I have quite a bit of eggplant and zucchini left, so I'm trying to figure out what to do with those. I'll definitely buy those again from Trader Joe's!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pioneer Woman's Pasta & Eggplant

I was at Trader Joe's last week and saw a package of two eggplant that I just had to have. I love the color of eggplant, plus it was pretty inexpensive. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, I just knew I had to buy it. I thought about Eggplant Parmesan, but it's so time consuming and heavy and not very healthy. Then I remembered this Pioneer Woman recipe. When I looked it up on my blog I discovered I hadn't made it since February. I have all the ingredients on hand (except the mushrooms, but I think that was an addition made by my friend Jen B., not something in the original recipe.

Pioneer Woman's Pasta & Eggplant

Funny, if you read that post I say how the day previous was horrible, but now I have no idea what had happened that was so bad. I'm sure it was related to the boy, but other than that I couldn't tell you. Kind of like childbirth I don't remember how truly terrible it was. ;)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hoisin & Ginger Pork Wraps with Cruncy Peanut Slaw

Alright, I'm back on track and ready get back into the swing of my blog! The boy started swim lessons yesterday morning, and yesterday and today have both been crazy busy. The next two days aren't looking a whole lot better either. I really should be cleaning a bathroom or doing laundry or something equally as exciting, but I miss my blog. Plus neither my dirty bathroom nor the huge pile of towels that need to be washed are going anywhere. They can wait a few more minutes while I update here.

One of my most favorite blogs is Meal Planning 101. Everything I've tried from her blog is awesomely amazing. I saw this when she posted it and thought it looked fantastic. I heart just about anything with hoisin sauce. It was funny, shortly after I had seen this recipe Jen B. sent me an email with a link to this saying something along the lines of "This looks fantastic!" I had already slated it for dinner one night this week. The recipe calls for meat from a cooked pork shoulder, but I'm just going to cook some pork chops and shred the meat and call it good. Costco had a smokin' deal on pork chops when I was there last week, so I have quite a stockpile of them now. I can't wait for dinner tonight!

Hoisin & Ginger Pork Wraps with Cruncy Peanut Slaw

Hoisin-Ginger Pork:
2 cups shredded pork
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 inches of ginger, grated
1/4 cup hoisin sauce (or more as needed to cover the pork)

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tsp oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant about 30-60 seconds. Then add the pork and hoisin sauce. Turn heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes until heated through and all the flavors have combined.

Crunchy Peanut Slaw:
1/2 medium head green cabbage, outer leaves removed (or 1 bag of angel hair coleslaw)
3/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup light oil, like canola
1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp sugar (or more, to taste)
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce (or more, to taste)

Slice the cabbage as fine as you possibly can, so you have little threads of cabbage (I just bought a bag of angel hair coleslaw where this was already done for me). Toss in the peanuts, green onions, and cilantro. Place the oil, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil and soy sauce in a resealable jar and shake. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss until coated.

Serve the hoisin-ginger pork along with the crunchy peanut slaw with whole wheat tortilla wraps. Place both inside of a tortilla and roll up.


Mmmmmm...I can't wait! I need to get my pork defrosting so we eat on time since I still have to cook it. I don't think I have peanuts, but I do have some cashews left from when I made Stir Fried Cashew Pork recently. Plus I like cashews better than peanuts anyway. I also bought a bag of coleslaw mix because it was on sale for $1, and I figured that was just easier than having to slice my own cabbage. I still have no idea what we're going to have as a side dish with this. Maybe just some kind of vegetable and a salad and skip having a starch.


These. Were. Awesome. Oh man...the slaw was amazing. The boy helped me mix it up, and he and I kept taking bites after it was all mixed up. I didn't have cilantro (well, I did but half of it had turned to mush), but it was fine without it, although I will definitely add it next time. The pork was super tasty, and the combination of the pork with the slaw was fantastic!! We all really liked this, and it's something I will definitely make again!

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm still here!!

Oh man, I can't believe it's been a week since I've posted. I have no good excuse, other than the husband having strep throat, the boy and I having some kind of stomach bug, trying to wrap up an end of year financial report for my MOMS Club, and getting completely sucked in to "Dexter" on Showtime. Basically on the days we were healthy I spent naptime working on the report (and getting everything ready to hand off to Jen A. who is taking it over next year) and then after the kids went to bed, the husband and I watched "Dexter." So, I was neglectful to the ol' blog here. But now that we're all healthy, my report has been submitted, and we've watched the two seasons of "Dexter" that are available, I can get back to updating.

Now, though, I'm tired and don't feel like recapping. I think instead of going back and trying to remember what we had when, I'm just going to start with tomorrow. I don't think you missed too much, so don't feel like you're being jipped or anything. ;)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Barbecue Macaroni Salad

Another friend of mine had a baby recently, and I took them dinner Monday night. I wanted something easy because we were supposed to have our Bible Study group here at 6:30. I had bought a pork loin roast last week and hadn't run it through my Food Saver yet, so I figured I'd throw that in the crockpot for pulled pork sandwiches and kill two birds with one stone. Actually more than two birds since 1) I didn't have to Food Saver the pork, 2) it gave me dinner for my friend, and 3) it gave us a dinner that would be finished on time. I wanted something easy to go with it that I could make ahead of time and would make enough for us and to take to my friend. This macaroni salad recipe was in the Cook's Illustrated I bought on Saturday, and it sounded interesting and worth trying.

BBQ Macaroni Salad
From Cook's Illustrated Summer Grilling

1 lb elbow macaroni
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine
1 celery rib, chopped fine
4 scallions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
salt & fresh ground pepper

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and macaroni and cook until nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Drain in colander and rinse with cold water until cool, then drain once more, briefly, so that pasta is still moist; transfer to large bowl. Stir in bell pepper, celery, scallions, vinegar, hot sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper, and let sit until flavors are absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in mayonnaise and barbecue sauce and let sit until salad is no longer watery, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve. (The salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Check seasonings before serving.).


I was a bit apprehensive about how this would turn out, but it was pretty tasty. I realized when posting this that I used a tablespoon of chili powder instead of a teaspoon, so mine had a bit more kick to it than it normally would have. I kind of liked it that way, though. I'd maybe cut back on it a little if I was taking it somewhere, but I think just a teaspoon might not be quite enough. I used organic whole wheat macaroni for the pasta and a yellow pepper instead of red. I would definitely make this again. It came together really fast and the taste was unique for a macaroni salad.

Grilled Lemon Parsley Chicken Breasts

The stomach bug the boy and I had on Thursday came back to get us on Saturday. Yuck. Thankfully now I think it's all gone. We were feeling mostly better on Sunday, but I still wanted our tummies to take it easy, so I figured some kind of grilled chicken was a safe bet. On Saturday we went as a family to Barnes & Noble, and while we were there I decided to buy the same Cook's Illustrated that Jen B. had bought when we were at Sprouts together. It's actually a special summer grilling issue. There's a lot of stuff in it I'm excited to try, but I had everything on hand for this and thought it sounded nice and mild and easy.

Grilled Lemon Parsley Chicken Breasts
From Cook's Illustrated Summer Grilling

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
table salt
fresh ground black pepper
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons water
4 (8 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts

1. Whisk together mustard, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, 1/4 teaspoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoons pepper in small bowl; set aside.
2. Whisk together remaining tablespoon lemon juice, remainin 3 tablespoons olive oil, remaining teaspoons of sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, garlic, and water in medium bowl. Place marinade and chicken in gallon-size zipper-lock bag and toss to coat; press out as much air as possible and seal bag. Refrigerate 30 minutes, flipping bag after 15 minutes.
3. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 qts, about 100 briquets) and allow to burn until coal are fully ignited andpartially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Build modified 2 leverl fire by arranging all coals over half of grill, leaving the other half empty. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes; scrape grate clean. Dip wad of paper towels in oil, holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Grill is ready when you can hold your hand 5" above grate for 5 minutes.
4. Remove chicken from bag, allowing excess marinade to drip off. Place chicken on cooler side of grill, smooth-side down, with thicker side facin coals. Cover with disposable 9x13" aluminum pan and cook until bottom of chicken just begins to develop light rill marks and is no longer translucent, 6-9 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken and rotate so that thinner side faces coals. Cover with disposable pan and continue to cook until chicken is opaque and firm to touch and instant read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 140 degrees, 6-9 minutes longer.
5. Move chicken to hotter side of grill and cook,uncovered, until dark grill marks appear, 1-2 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken and cook until dark grill marks appear and instant read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees, 1-2 minutes linger. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let rest, tented with foil, 5 minutes. Slice each breast on bias into 1/4" thick slices and transfer to individual plates.
6. Drizzle with reserved sauce to serve.
7. On gas grill: Turn all burners to high and heat with lid down until very hot, about 15 minutes. Scrape grill grate with grill brush to clean. Dip wad of paper towels in oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Leave primary burner turned to high and turn off other burners. Proceed with recipe, grilling with lid down and omitting disposable pan. Increase browning time by 1-2 minutes.


I don't think I remembered to take a picture. I REALLY liked this chicken. The marinade was simple and easy, and the chicken was really flavorful. We have a gas grill, so I followed those instructions. I will definitely make this again--especially since most of the ingredients are things I always have on hand, and it has a pretty short marinating time...which is good since I'm pretty forgetful. ;)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Jen B's Sausage Bread

We ended up not having dinner last night. The boy started throwing up after his nap, and to be quite honest having to clean that up made me lose my appetite. Plus my stomach felt kind of off too. I made some mac and cheese for the husband, then I had a piece of toast before bed. Good thing I didn't eat more because I woke up in the middle of the night throwing up as well. I think we may have gotten food poisoning from lunch yesterday. The school district near us is offering free lunches for kids over the summer, so we went yesterday, and I think maybe that's how we got sick. I don't know for sure though.

Anyway...I was doing a freezer inventory recently and saw some frozen bread dough hanging out in the back corner of my garage freezer, so I wanted to put it to use. I also found a package of sweet Italian chicken sausage that was in there as well. I remembered seeing this recipe on Jen B's blog and thought it would be a perfect way to use up these two freezer items.

Jen's Sausage Bread

1 loaf of thawed frozen bread dough
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 small onion, sliced thinly (or 1/2 of a large onion)
1 green pepper, sliced into strips
3 cloves of fresh minced garlic
1 package of either regular or Italian sausage (mild or hot)
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning (if using regular sausage)
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (can omit if too spicy or if using hot sausage)
salt and pepper to taste
cooking spray
egg wash (1 egg beaten and a teaspoon of water)

1) Thaw bread dough according to package directions and set aside.
2) In a separate skillet, brown the sausage and remove from skillet. Let drain and set aside to cool on a cookie sheet (spread out in even layer for faster cooling).
3) In the same skillet, saute green peppers and onions until soft and onions are translucent. Add Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to mixture. Add minced garlic and saute until just slightly brown (do not burn).
4) Add cooked veggies to same cookie sheet and spread out evenly to cool.
5) While sausage and veggies are cooling, roll out dough into a large round OR a rectangle shape (it does not have to be precise).
6) Place filling of sausage and veggies in center. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese and Parmesan.
7) Fold bread dough around filling and press seams together gently. (I like to roll mine like a burrito or fold it like an envelope).
8) Spay cookie sheet with cooking spray (I use the same one that the filling mixture was on). Place Sausage Bread seam side down on cookie sheet and brush top and sides of loaf with egg wash, evenly coating.
9) Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes (or whatever bread dough package recommends for cook time and oven temp).
10) Let cool for about 10-15 minutes, then slice and enjoy!


The husband and I are going to eat dinner after the boy goes to bed. Originally I was going to make this last night, but I forgot to get the bread dough out to defrost, which ended up working out since I wasn't in the mood for dinner anyway. I think the boy would like this, but maybe there will be some left that he can try. Plus I've been really careful about what he eats today and sausage probably isn't good for his tummy. Of course I was sick, too, and I'm still going to eat it, which I guess doesn't really make sense.

I'm not sure if we have salad fixings in the fridge, but if we do I'll probably make up a salad to go with this.

Oh, and GO RED WINGS!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lentil Burritos

We were running kind of low on funds this week until the husband gets paid on Monday, so I wanted to plan dinners based on what we had here or that didn't require buying a lot of groceries. I did pretty well because I spent $20 less than I usually do, although I didn't realize how low on coffee we were, so I may need to make a stop so I'm not a zombie in the next few days.

Anyway, the last time I made these I only used half of the lentil/rice filling, so all I needed to buy for these were the tortillas, which I wanted to buy anyway because I like to have breakfast burritos in the morning. I really didn't plan a side dish with this, but I'll probably heat up some kind of frozen vegetable.

Lentil Burritos

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stir Fried Cashew Pork

Two weekends ago Jen B. and I went to Sprouts for a grocery trip. It's a natural market that has amazing prices on produce and meats, and they have all sorts of yummy stuff you can't find in normal stores--and a huge bulk food section (where the stuff is in bins). I sooooo wish we had one closer to us. While we were checking out we spotted Cook's Illustrated magazine. Jen and I were both pretty excited. She grabbed one to buy, and I was going to but then I spotted a magazine under it that looked good. It was America's Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers. So we decided Jen would get Cook's Illustrated and I'd get that one then we'd get to trade and see both of them. There are some tasty looking recipes in the one I got--I can't wait to see Jen's! I may actually get a subscription to Cook's Illustrated because there's a card in mine to get it for $20 a year which is pretty reasonable, and I really like the magazine.

Anyway, I needed something for dinner tonight, so I was flipping through the magazine to see what I could find. There were two recipes that sounded good, and I had all but one ingredient for both. I asked the husband which sounded better, and he chose this one. I think I'll slate the other one for one night next week because it sounds really good, and I'll have everything on hand for it.

Stir Fried Cashew Pork
1/2 cup Hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 pork tenderloin (3/4 to 1 pound), cut into 1/4-inch strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbso grated fresh ginger
1 cup roasted unsalted cashews, half coarsely chopped, half left whole
1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Combine hoisin sauce, 1/3 cup water, soy sauce, and pepper flakes in medium bowl. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of pork and cook until no longer pink, about 2 minutes; transfer to plate. Repeat with additional 2 teaspoons oil and remaining pork.

Add remaining oil to empty skillet and heat until shimmering. Cook garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add hoisin mixture, cashews, pork, and any accumulated juices to pan and cook until thickened, about 1 minute. SPrinkle with cilantro. Serve.


I bought cashews (from the bulk section!!) at Sprouts to make Cashew Chicken, but since we had chicken last night I didn't want it two nights in a row. I'll make some brown rice to go with this, and I have a bag of frozen Asian-style veggies in the freezer, as well as some egg rolls. Yum--should be a good dinner!


This was pretty good. I think I like the Cashew Chicken I made better, but this was tasty. I didn't have as much pork as I thought, so I only used two pork chops cut up. I ended up mixing the bag of stir fry vegetables in with the pork and sauce to make it a little more substantial.

I took a picture on my new phone, I just have to figure out how to get it on the computer.

Hungry Girl Fettuccine Alfredo

My brother bought me the Hungry Girl cookbook for Christmas, and although I've looked through it many times I still hadn't made anything from it. THere are a lot of recipes that call for Tofu Shirataki noodles, but I couldn't find them anywhere. I was at Sprouts recently and saw them there, so I bought a package to try. I couldn't find anything for lunch yesterday and was going to just have PB&J but then I remembered the noodles and got out the cookbook. There was a fettuccine alfredo recipe that made one serving and used the whole package of noodles, so I figured it was worth a try.

Hungry Girl Fettuccine Alfredo
1 Package Tofu Shirataki Fettuccine Shaped Tofu Noodles
1/2 Wedge The Laughing Cow Light Cheese
1 teaspoon Fat Free Sour Cream
2 teaspoons Kraft Reduced Fat Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper (if desired)

Rinse fettuccine noodles VERY well. Microwave them for one minute, then drain them and pat dry. Add cheeses and sour cream. Mix thoroughly. Microwave to help melt cheese further, and mix some more. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy. Serves 1.

81 Calories, 3g Fat, 242mg Sodium, 9g Carbs, 4g Fiber, <1g Sugars, 4g Protein


I was not impressed. The noodles were really stinky when I opened the package--so much so I almost didn't even want to try them. I used a whole wedge of the Laughing Cow cheese (which I LOVE, by the way!) and real parmesan cheese. There was just no taste to this. I ate the whole bowl because I didn't want to waste it, but I will not be buying these noodles again. I figure they were worth a try in case they were fantastic, but I'm glad I only bought one package of them. I'm kind of sad I wasted my last Laughing Cow wedge on this. Oh well.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dream Dinners

We have our Bible study group here at 6:30 tonight so I needed something easy to throw together, plus I desperately need to go grocery shopping. I remembered that I have two Dream Dinners in the freezer, so I got out one of those. I think it's Blackberry Balsamic Chicken. My friend Mary assembled it for me, so I have no idea what all is in it--otherwise I'd post the recipe. I have some Rice A Roni in the pantry I'm trying to use up, so I think we'll have that as an easy side dish, and I'll microwave some frozen green beans.

On a related note, I was looking at cookbooks at the library today and got a Dream Dinners cookbook--recipes for assembling and freezing. I'm excited to look through it and see if any of the meals they offer in the store are in there. Also I think it will be cool to make some of them and have things on hand for nights like tonight.

Shower Food

We are back from our quick weekend jaunt to Boise. It was so great to see my best friend--I really miss her. :( We've known each other since our ages were single digits. I'm so excited for her to be a mommy. She and her husband are going to be great parents. Her shower was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed putting together all of the food. We had a ton, but a lot of it was eaten, so it must have been a hit. I figured I would list everything I made in one post, linking to previous posts of recipes and posting ones I haven't done before. So, here goes!!


Smoked Salmon Dip

Vegetable Dip

Floating Island Punch

Confetti Pasta Salad

Chile Cheese Spirals
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (4 ounces) diced green chiles
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 can (2 1/4 ounces) chopped ripe olives, drained
4 (8-inch) soft taco-size reduced-fat flour tortillas
Bottled chunky salsa

COMBINE cream cheese, cheddar cheese, chiles, green onions, bell pepper and olives in medium bowl.

SPREAD 1/2 cup cheese mixture on each tortilla; roll up. Wrap each roll in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour.

REMOVE plastic wrap; slice each roll into six 3/4-inch pieces. Serve with salsa for dipping.

Pioneer Woman's Mystery Rolls

2 sticks butter
4 to 6 ounces crumbled blue cheese
2 cans flaky biscuits
Combine butter and cheese on baking pan. Place into 350 oven for a couple of minutes, or until butter is melted. Remove from oven and stir. Cut biscuits into fourths, then toss in butter mixture. Bake on same pan (or different, if you prefer) for 8 to 12 minutes, or until golden. Eat warm.

Queso Dip

1 lb. VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 can (10 oz.) RO*TEL Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained

MIX ingredients in microwaveable bowl.

MICROWAVE on HIGH 5 min. or until VELVEETA is completely melted, stirring after 3 min.

SERVE with assorted cut-up fresh vegetables, WHEAT THINS Original Crackers or tortilla chips.


I think that was it. Oh, I did a baked brie, but that's just puff pastry around a wheel of brie, so not really worth posting a recipe. I need to upload my pictures and look at the food spread to see if I missed anything. We also bought a few things from Costco--their turkey roll sandwiches, shrimp cocktail, a broccoli salad, fruit and veggie trays, sliced cheese for cheese and crackers. The Mystery Rolls were fantastic...I think I'm going to make them to bring to Bunco later this week. I couldn't stop eating them. They were especially tasty with some of the smoked salmon dip on them. Yum!

That's the boy sampling some of the food.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pot Roast

The husband's best friend is here visiting from Mississippi for the weekend. I haven't seen him in years, so I didn't want to be stuck in the kitchen working on dinner, so I put a pot roast in the crock pot. I always love pot roast, and it's so easy I figured it was a good way to go. I bought some yummy looking rolls and am going to make a big salad to go with it.

The boys and I (along with my mom) are heading to Boise tomorrow for the weekend for my best friend's baby shower. (Hi, Brooke!! One more sleep!!) I'm in charge of the food for her baby shower, so I may at some point post all the recipes we're doing for that. Anyway, yet another reason I wanted something easy tonight since I need to pack and get us all ready to go. It's really amazing how much crap you have to take with you with two kids--even for just a weekend!

Here's the link to my pot roast recipe:

Claire's Pot Roast

Have you ever looked at the ingredients for cream of mushroom soup? I think I'm pretty done using it, after I use the can in my pantry. I'm reading a really interesting book, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan. I highly suggest reading it if you have any interest at all in healthy eating. Anyway, it makes me want to do away with all processed foods of any sort. Really I've been able to cut down on them quite a bit to the point where I rarely buy them, but I'm trying to be completely done with them. Sorry for the mini rant...I'll step down off my soap box now and get back to hanging out with the husband and his friend.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pastor Ryan's Spicy Orange Garlic Shrimp

We used to eat shrimp all the time. Then the husband found out his cholesterol was high, and in researching good and bad foods for high cholesterol I found out that shrimp are REALLY REALLY high in cholesterol. So we stopped eating it. Oh how I miss it!! I love shrimp so much. I have some good shrimp recipes I've missed making as well--especially my Shrimp Creole. Well, a grocery store in my area had raw shrimp (my preferred way to buy them) on sale this past week for $2.99 a pound. $2.99 a pound!!! I couldn't resist at that price. I bought four pounds. I may have gone a little overboard, but I already have plans for each pound that I bought.

I'd been really wanting to try this recipe from the Pioneer Woman website, but since we weren't eating shrimp I didn't think it was in the cards for me. Not anymore!!! Jen B. made it and really liked it, and now I'm so excited we're going to have it too!

(So, I was going to take the easy way out and copy the recipe from Jen's blog, but when I looked it up I saw she took the easier way out and just did a link to the recipe on the PW website. I think I'll be a super copycat and do the same thing!)

Pastor Ryan's Spicy Orange Garlic Shrimp

I'm going to make some brown rice to go with it and steam some broccoli. Should be a yummy dinner!!

Pesto Ham Paninis

The husband just called saying he was on his way home, and my mom called shortly after that to say they're leaving her house to bring the boy home. Sigh. My precious alone time is coming to an end. I'd better type fast. :)

Since we had so much ham left over, I slated ham paninis for dinner last night. I didn't really know what else to do with them other than some kind of cheese--monterey jack or muenster because I had both in the fridge--on ciabatta rolls. I did some searching on (because that's what I do when I'm at a loss for what to do with food) and saw a couple different paninis that sounded good. So I kind of combined them and made my own

I have no idea how much of things I used, so this will be a vague description recipe instead of everything listed out. I made two sandwiches and let the boy have grilled cheese. I cut the ciabatta rolls in half and spread about a teaspoon of pesto on each side. I sliced up a tomato and put the slices on one side of the bread. I topped with sliced ham and then topped that with monterey jack cheese. I ended up sprinkling on some shredded mozzarella I had in the fridge, too, because it didn't look quite cheesy enough. I topped the sandwich with the other half of the roll and stuck them in my panini press until they had lines on top and the cheese was melted. Very scientific and precise, isn't it? :)

These were FANTASTIC sandwiches. I could have eaten a few of them. I wouldn't have thought to use pesto on them on my own, so I was incredibly glad I found a recipe that had that listed. So mouth is salivating just thinking about how good it was! We had the rest of the pasta salad with our sandwiches (which, by the way, is much better the first day).

Confetti Pasta Salad

I'm spending a blissful afternoon by myself!! Well, the baby is here, but he's sleeping. My mom occasionally takes the boy so they can have a special day just the two of them. Fine by me on many levels--gives me a (usually much needed) break from the boy for a few hours and time alone with the baby. I dropped him off at 11:00 and I have yet to get the call that they're on the way here and it's almost 4:00! The baby and I ran some errands this morning, came home and had lunch, then when he went down for his nap I threw in some laundry and started working on cleaning out our office. The husband and I both want to get a treadmill, and this is really the only room where one will work. We have a decent size house, but it's full of junk. Isn't it amazing that no matter how big your house is, you can fill it up with crap?! So, I'm cleaning out the office. It's been pretty labor intensive because it's where I keep all my scrapbooking stuff. I used to do a lot of rubber stamping, but I haven't in a long time so I'm cleaning out that stuff too. Want to buy some rubber stamps or accessories? Let me know. ;)

Anyway, I'm taking a break to update the blog for a bit because I've fallen so far behind. Actually I think I only have this and one other that I missed, then once I post tonight's dinner I'm caught up. I did go through last night and update some reviews and add in pictures.

Monday nights the husband and I are leading a small group for our church. It starts at 6:30, so we need to have dinner done and cleaned up by the time people show up at our house. I had bought a ham at Easter when they were super cheap, so I figured Monday was a great time to make it. I just threw it in the crockpot with some cloves stuck into it and spread some Dijon mustard and brown sugar on the top of it and called it good. Not really worth posting a recipe since there wasn't much of one. I made this pasta salad to go with it so I wouldn't have to do anything at dinnertime except dish up plates. Here's the link to when I've made it before:

Confetti Pasta Salad

I had to change it up a bit this time because I didn't have any ranch dressing. I did have some of the packets to make your own, so I did that instead. I have to say I liked it better that way. I bought some red, yellow, and orange bell peppers on Sunday because they were super cheap ($0.88 each!!!) but didn't really know what to do with them. I used the yellow one in a salad on Sunday night, and then I thought of this pasta salad and the stars all seemed to align. Although the only pasta I had was alphabet pasta I had bought recently at Trader Joe's. Oh well...made for a fun dinner as we all would say what letters we were eating. :)