Monday, October 22, 2012

Menu Planning Monday No. 4

This week's menu was purposely VERY easy, and includes a few repeats. What's the reason?? Well, I'm so glad you asked. :)

I started a new job today - I left my job of almost ELEVEN years last week and started a new adventure today. And today could not have gone any better, seriously! The traffic in was perfect (no issues!), I was welcomed very warmly, I got FLOWERS from one of the partners, I got to sit in on some calls and meetings and didn't feel completely lost (hopefully that means I pick up on the new stuff even quicker than I thought!!) and the drive home was great too! I didn't get lost once :) and made it there and home much faster than I had anticipated.

All that said, I'm completely exhausted today. There was a lot of listening and trying to absorb going on ALL day, and I guess it caught up with me pretty quick! I'm glad I planned some easy meals for this week! So, let's get to it...

Mike: Bacon-Crusted Quiche (new recipe!)
Lynne: Chia Pudding and/or coffee (lots of coffee!)
Kids: Cereal/Waffles & Fruit/Yogurt

Mike: Bacon-Crusted Quiche (new recipe!), cheese sticks, parmesan-roasted green bean & mini caprese salads
Lynne: no idea! playing it by ear every day! :)
Kids: lunchables/burritos/sandwiches, applesauce/gogurt, cinnabon cookies, chips & drink

Monday: Eat Out (husband and the big kids go to BSF so he takes them to dinner; Zoe and I grab dinner on our own) We are eating out, but no BSF tonight so McDonad's it is!
Tuesday: Fiesta Salad, Corn, Yogurt/Fruit
Wednesday: Mexican Chicken Chopped Salad, Yogurt/Fruitt
Thursday: Slow-Cooked Garlic & Ranch Pork , Roasted Green Beans, Yogurt/Fruit
Friday: Breakfast for Dinner!

What's for dinner at your house this week?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Crockpot Cowboy Chicken

I heart my slow cooker.

Sometimes, I wish the love was a little more mutual than it is.

Sometimes my slow cooker attempts taste good but look like mush. Sometimes they look pretty but taste like mush. Sometimes, everything comes together and it's pretty AND tastes good.

This recipe was one of those times. Looks good, tastes good, EASY, healthy - what more could a wife/mom/full-time-work-outside-the-home-girl ask for?

I found this recipe from Pinterest (originally from The ingredients are easy - in fact, I didn't have to buy anything - everything I needed was in my pantry already. I added garlic and cumin to make it my own - you could also add veggies (which I rarely do since my family doesn't like them!).

If you wanted to walk in the door to dinner on the table in less than five minutes, you can make the rice ahead of time...the rest of it will be ready to go! Next time, I think I will try some kind of beef instead of chicken, but the rest of the recipe will be the same...I think it will be great with beef!

Would your family like this recipe? If you try it out, let me know!

4-6 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced (or more, if you like garlic!)
1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth (or water)
1/2 cup sour cream
brown rice
shredded cheddar cheese
* extra ingredients to consider: chopped onion, chopped bell peppers, chopped or canned tomatoes

1. Place chicken (I used chicken breasts STRAIGHT from the freezer, so completely frozen) in slow cooker.
2. Add brown sugar, mustard, cumin, garlic, corn, beans and broth/water. * if you are adding extra veggies, you can add them here
3. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours (you could probably go with less time if your schedule allows...but I don't get home until 9 hours later, and the chicken was perfect!).
4. Add sour cream to slow-cooker, shred chicken and mix with sour cream (it should literally fall apart on you).
5. Serve over brown rice - top with shredded cheese and cilantro. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Breakfast Casserole

One of the recipes I made for Rylie's birthday dinner (breakfast for dinner, at home, remember?) was Breakfast Casserole.

I love this recipe because it's...(guess!?!?) VERSATILE! And easy. And yummy.

Just about everyone you meet has a version of this recipe - some use hash browns on the bottom, some use crescent rolls, some add veggies, some serve with really can't mess this recipe up folks!

My favorite version of this recipe is the one my mom taught me...I LOVE it...I don't remember how often she made it for me growing up, but enough to make it taste like a memory every time I eat it!

Like I said, this recipe is very easy to mix up and experiment with - I've made it with bacon instead of sausage, bacon in addition to sausage (duh!), with hashbrowns as the base, crescent rolls, even corn tortillas (for my sweet husband, who just isn't a huge bread fan). The tried and true version, and my personal favorite is listed below.

Tell you have a favorite version of this recipe? What does your family like?

8 slices of bread (I use wheat)
1 package (12 oz) reduced-fat pork sausage
1 dozen eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 bag shredded cheddar cheese (7-8 oz)
salt/pepper to taste

1. Arrange bread slices in a 9x13 pan coated with cooking spray (you may have to break up a couple of slices in half to make them fit).
2. Cook sausage over medium-high heat, crumbling the sausage as you go.
3. When sausage is completely browned, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain fat.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper; mix well to combine.
5. Spread sausage over bread evenly.
6. Sprinkle all of the cheese over the sausage evenly.
7. Pour egg mixture over the cheese, making sure to cover the entire pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired.
8. Cover casserole with foil and place in the fridge overnight (or for at least 3-4 hours) to allow bread to soak up the eggs.
9. In the morning (or after the 3-4 hours) take casserole out and leave on counter for about 20 minutes (this is just so that you don't put a cold pan into a hot oven. Preheat over to 350.
10. Bake casserole for 45-60 minutes, or until eggs are completely cooked and the edges are golden brown.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pizza Quesadillas

In my quest to constantly find food that will satisfy not only my ladybug, but also the rest of my family, I try to search for recipes that are really versatile - I am NOT big on cooking multiple meals for my family - no one gets catered to like that in our house!

But, if I can come up with or find a recipe that is versatile enough so that the end result is that everyone has a version of the same thing, everyone wins!

One of my favorite foods is pizza - I keep trying to make everyone else in the house love it as much as I do, but I fear I may have actually done the opposite. Every once in a while they want it, but most of the time they just tolerate it...

Quesadillas are a go to in my house - they are easy, don't really require much effort or prep, can be ready in no time, are inexpensive, and (my favorite word) versatile!

I've seen the idea around for awhile to make pizza quesadillas, and truth be told, I've made them before...but never made them sound as good as "pizza quesadillas". When I've made them, it's always been more like "well, I have some tortillas and cheese so we can have quesadillas...but we need protein...well, I have some pepperoni too, so....that'll do".

These are about as easy as anything - and like I said, each person can have whatever they want - like a personal pizza!

We made just pepperoni and cheese quesadillas, but you could add any pizza toppings your family likes. Bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, sausage...the list goes on and on! It would even be fun to make a "fancy" version - like barbecue chicken, canadian bacon and pineapple, margherita, even breakfast pizza quesadillas!

What variation would your family like??

Ingredients for 4 servings:
8 flour tortillas
1 bag shredded cheese (we used colby jack)
about 20 pieces of pepperoni
any additional pizza toppings you like
1 cup pizza sauce

1. Spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray; turn on to medium heat.
2. I like to sprinkle the pan with a little salt and pepper and then lay the first tortilla down - you could use butter on the outside of the tortilla instead, but I like to cut just a little fat this way...
3. Sprinkle about a quarter cup of cheese onto the tortilla.
4. Place about 5 slices of pepperoni on top of the cheese (add any extra ingredients at this point too).
5. Sprinkle 1-2 Tbsp. of cheese on top (this allows the whole thing to melt and stick together).
6. Place second tortilla on top of cheese, spray with cooking spray, and sprinkle salt and pepper. 
7. After about 3 minutes, flip quesadilla over and allow bottom side to cook for 2-3 minutes, until lightly golden.
8. Remove quesadilla from pan and allow to cool.
9. While cooling, pour pizza sauce into a microwave safe bowl and heat about 30 seconds or so until warm. Or, place sauce in a small saucepan over low heat while quesadillas are cooking until heated through.
10. Slice quesadillas into quarters, dip in pizza sauce and enjoy! :)

NOTES - you could cut down the nutritional stats in this by using whole wheat or corn tortillas instead of flour, turkey pepperoni and reduced-fat cheese. Also, keep in mind that the more you bulk up the veggies you put in this, the less cheese you need - you can easily cut back and just add enough to make it all stick together.      *disclaimer - based on these notes, I'm adding the label "healthy" to this post. ;-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Peanut Butter S'mores Mix

One of my kids new favorite treats is S'mores Mix - I found the idea HERE. Genius! SOOOO glad I found this recipe - and it literally could not be easier - in their lunch boxes, I just sprinkle some cereal in each container, then marshmallows, then chocolate and peanut butter chips! Voila!

In my family, everything tastes better with peanut butter, so while the original recipe is awesome as is, I threw some peanut butter chips in there too.

This is a new go-to for my kids. They've asked for it every week! And that's saying something folks!

1 batch of this really goes a LONG way - the list of ingredients is probably about $8 total, and it lasts for a good two weeks for my kids. VERY frugal!

What are your kids favorite lunch treats?

1 box cinnamon toast crunch cereal
1 bag mini marshmallows
1 bag chocolate chips
1 bag peanut butter chips

1. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and gently mix with a large spoon.
2. There is no step 2 - THAT'S IT!!! :)

NOTES - I mixed all the ingredients together the first time I made this, but then I decided to just mix it up as I need it. I usually make a week's worth of lunch at one time, so I just make individual servings right in their lunch boxes for the week, and store the rest of the ingredients in the pantry.

oops-"your text here" doesn't belong...!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

No-Carb Breakfast Lasagna

This has become a staple in my house - Mike eats it just about every week. It's incredibly easy, and can be made in a large pan (like a lasagna) or in small batches (individual or mini lasagnas!). Like many of the recipes I use, it's very versatile, but the recipe I show here is pretty basic - Mike doesn't like veggies much, so this is a typical "man" meal for him - meat, cheese and eggs!

Mike's also not a huge fan of cream cheese (as in, he won't eat it unless it's in a cheesecake or something sweet, and even then, only in small doses). He was leery of trying this because the pancakes have cream cheese in them...but I'm glad (and so he is he!) that he gave it a try. The cream cheese gives the pancakes the necessary texture, but you really can't taste it at all.

I found this recipe on (by the way, I highly recommend this site if you are eating low-carb; she's got some great recipes and they're very easy to follow!). I adapted the recipe very slightly, and have also listed some ideas at the bottom for how to "gussy up" this recipe. Enjoy!

For Cream Cheese Pancakes (these will serve as your lasagna "noodles"):
8 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
garlic salt/pepper (to taste)

For filling layer:
8 eggs
1/2 package reduced-fat pork sausage
8 slices low-fat american cheese (or any kind of cheese you like)

1. First, make your pancakes by mixing all pancake ingredients in a blender until smooth and lumps are gone (should be pretty runny, thinner than pancake batter).
2. Heat non-stick skillet over medium heat and once water sizzles on the top, pour a small amount of batter onto skillet.
3. Allow small bubbles to form on the top (about 2 minutes), then gently flip and cook until browned on the bottom (an addition 2 minutes).
4. Once all pancakes are cooked, move to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
5. Crumble sausage in same pan and cook until browned and no longer pink in the middle.
6. In a separate bowl, mix eggs until scrambled, then pour into pan with sausage and cook until eggs are no longer runny.
7. To assemble, place pancakes in the bottom of a greased 9x13 casserole dish, or place one in the bottom of eight travel containers (I use Glad or Ziploc reusable bowls).
8. Spoon sausage/egg mixture over bottom pancake layer, then place one slice of cheese over the top.
9. Place another pancake over the top of the cheese and cover with foil (or close lid on reusable container) to allow the cheese to melt completely.

-- You can make the pancakes in any number of shapes, but I found it works best when you are making a 9x13 to make long oval shapes (picture a rounded lasagna noodle). When making individual servings (which I usually do for my husband to take to work) I find it works best to make several mini rounded pancakes (like a small pancake!).
-- You can add in salsa  or sour cream when making the filling mixture for some extra flavors and creaminess.
-- You can add in any number of veggies that your household likes - bell pepper, onions, mushrooms, olives, broccoli...the sky is the limit!
-- You can use any kind of cheese you like, but to keep this on the healthy side, opt for low-fat cheese (would be great with pepper-jack, gouda, cheddar, anything!). I usually use american or cheddar in the middle, then sprinkle some cheddar on top too!

Menu Planning Monday No.3 (errrr...Tuesday)

This week, I didn't even plan the menu for this week until Monday. It was a CRAZY weekend (to say the least). The Ladybug turned SEVEN on Saturday, and I'm the crazy lady who decided to have a sleepover at my house with a total of eight girls (two came but didn't spend the night, and two were my own). Then, just a little downtime on Saturday afternoon before the whole family came over for dinner (breakfast for dinner!) to celebrate with her.

The party was a success and there were fewer meltdowns than I had anticipated... :)

So, on to this week's menu. There is one item that was a repeat from last week, because we didn't make it. The rest are new items (check back for links to each recipe!).

Hope you all have a great week!

Mike: No-Carb Breakfast Lasagna
Lynne: Chia Pudding
Kids: Cereal/Waffles & Fruit/Yogurt

Mike: grown-up lunchables, cheese sticks, parmesan-roasted green bean
Lynne: Freezer Meal & Fruit
Kids: lunchables or breakfast burritos, crockpot apple pie, grapes, chips & drink

Monday: Eat Out (husband and the big kids go to BSF so he takes them to dinner; Zoe and I grab dinner on our own)
Tuesday: Tacos, Corn, Yogurt/Fruit
Wednesday: Slow-Cooker Cowboy Chicken, Brown Rice, Yogurt/Fruitt
Thursday: Crockpot Beef & Noodles, Roasted Green Beans, Yogurt/Fruit
Friday: Pizza Quesadillas, Roasted Parmesan Green Beans, Yogurt/Fruit

What're you having for dinner this week??