Eat New Round 2

Well my family survived being guinea pigs for a week!  If they are honest, I think they might say they actually enjoyed it!

In my last post, “Eat New Challenge,” I detailed recipes that we were going to try for supper last week, along with providing links to the recipes.

What were the results?  Well, since you asked….

Sunday – The copy cat recipes for KFC Extra Crispy Chicken and Cheddar Bay Biscuits were tasty as was the jalapeno corn dip.

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Sunday is also the day I prepared the Vanilla Bean Cream Pie.  Let me just tell you, this is THE best pie I have tasted in a very, very, very looooonnnnggggg time. Everyone wanted a second piece and was asking for another pie to be made!  So it is definitely a keeper!

Monday – Corndogs – these were good, and I don’t like hotdogs much.  I used white coarse ground cornmeal, instead of the yellow specified in the recipe, because it’s what I had and what I use.  I didn’t want to buy something new for just this single use.  I found the procedure easy and using a glass to batter the hotdogs, was complete genius!

Tuesday – The Crockpot Carnitas were one of my favorites for the week.  Super easy and super tasty.  No complaints in this house at all.  I decided to serve it with some Mexican fried rice.  The recipe was pretty straight forward and was easier than I anticipated.  You can find that recipe here.

Wednesday – The Cuban Beef tied with the Carnitas this week for me, for being the best.  It had a few more steps than I was prepared for, especially when preparing a side dish that needed a little babysitting, but it was amazing.  And, surprisingly, this was my kids’ favorite dish of the week, beating out corndogs!  Can you believe it??  The Avocado fries were not as tasteful as I hoped for.  I believe they have great potential, but I couldn’t put my finger on what ingredient I would want to add to give it a kick.  Some may find them excellent, but for my family, we will probably pass next time.  A good result that did come from making these, is learning the flour, then egg, then panko breading procedure.  I am planning on trying this to create baked onion rings!

Thursday – Tuscan Tortellini Soup.  Delicious, easy to make, and best of all, my kids devoured kale like there was no tomorrow!  Next time this graces my table, it will be accompanied by some crusty garlic bread and tossed salad.

Friday and Saturday are our unpredictable days and so meals are always prepared with our pantry/freezer staples.

One thing I learned in trying new things is it is hard to plan side dishes that compliment the meal (e.g. Thursday).  I think this is something I may develop a better skill for as we continue our “Eat New Challenge.”  I don’t have really picky eaters, but even so, I also learned this past week that it’s even easier to have them try something new when my husband and I are joining in!

Although the week has already begun, I want to share with you what’s for supper….

Sunday:  White Cheddar Chicken Pasta

Monday – White Bean Soup with Bacon

Tuesday – LEFTOVERS 🙂 Easy peasy

Wednesday – Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

Thursday – Sweet & Sour Pork Chops

This week’s dessert is Peanut Butter Chip Cupcakes!

I’m really looking forward to the soup tonight.  It’s 64 degrees here and breezy, so it’ll be the perfect meal on this fall-like day  Plus it has bacon, it’s hard to go wrong when bacon is involved!

What about you?  Up for trying something new?  Join me in the “Eat New Challenge!”  Comment below with a new recipe you’re trying, I’d love to hear about it!

Thanks for dropping by ~Kim~

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Eat New Challenge

It’s been a long time. I have taken the word “slacker” to a whole new level. Don’t think I haven’t missed you, I have. The summer got off to a rocky start in my house. Including gall bladder surgery for me, followed by recovery. All with my poor kids being home on their, oh so short, summer break.

We’ve been back to school for over a month now. It’s hard to believe!

With getting back into my groove, I have decided to try something new. First, let me remind everyone that I grocery shop on Fridays, so my menu plans normally cover Friday through the following Thursday. Because weekends are unpredictable (which is allowed for in my planning), I have decided to challenge myself to eat something new for supper each day starting Sunday, going through Thursday!

After scouring my pinned recipes, this is the menu (with links to the recipes) that I plan on preparing for my family.

Sunday – Kentucky Fried Chicken (copycat), Red Lobster biscuits, and jalapeno corn dip

Monday – Corndogs, probably with some green beans and fries, unless something else sparks my interest!

Tuesday – Crock Pot Carnitas (with rice). This is a link to the Pin, the recipe is listed there.

Wednesday – Cuban beef with baked avocado fries

Thursday – Tuscan Tortellini Soup

This week’s dessert – Vanilla Bean Cream Pie, probably will be made on Sunday!

So there you have it! Finally, my Pinterest time has come in handy 😉 They all looked sooo delicious! I figure my kids will be the most excited about Monday…and probably Sunday.

I’m looking forward to all the new flavors, and, if this coming week goes well, maybe I’ll give it another try the next week!

Now I challenge you to try something new. Maybe one of the recipes I’m trying out, or another one you’ve had tucked away. If you accept the Eat New Challenge, I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment and let me know the outcome!

Thanks for stopping by! ~Kim~

How ’bout Them Buns?

Hamburger buns of course 😉

Wow!  I like snow, but it feels like I moved in with Santa or something.  I think we’ve had snow on the ground since before Thanksgiving.  My kids may have had a full week of school since then also, but then again, I don’t really think so.  They were off school yesterday and today.  It’s nice having extra hands to complete the chores, but at this rate I don’t know if they will get a summer break!

Today was busy and fun.  They of course played outside.  We also had our weekly bible study today.  It’s normally on Wednesday, but I wasn’t feeling all that well, and the benefit of teaching them myself, is I can postpone it.  Rarely do I, but it is always an option if necessary!

A slight glitch in my day occurred when i checked the scheduled meal for tonight’s supper.  Hamburger and french fries.  Ground beef:  check.  Potatoes: check.  Buns: buns???  how do I put hamburgers on the menu and forget buns? ~sigh~

How to solve the dilemma?  Pinterest.  How else?  It’s a one stop shop for absolutely everything.  Search:  hamburger buns.  I found a super easy recipe that claims to be the best.  We’ll just see about that.  So I assembled the ingredients and went to work.

The result?  AAAAHHH- Mazing.  Look if you don’t believe me……

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They smell and taste just as good people.  Seriously……when will they invent smell-ivision?

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The buns were just slightly big, so when I make them again, I might make 10 to 12 of them instead of 8.  I guess it depends on how big you make your burgers!

If you want to give them a try, and I highly recommend that you do, head over to Parsley, Sage and Sweet for the recipe.

Need a burger recipe to go with it?  I have one you just might enjoy, here!

Stay warm, and thanks for stopping by,

~Kim~

P.S. I am making progress on the office, here is a peek,

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always messy while in process, right?  I can’t wait for it to be finished so I can share the before and after shots!

 

 

Fried Zucchini – Making the Summer-time Treat Easier

Zucchini is one of the most versatile vegetables you can grow. It can be baked, fried, grilled, used in breads, cookies and muffins, it can be pickled, or eaten raw.  All of these uses plus it being so easy to grow, means it’s a must-have in our garden every year!

At my house we enjoy fried zucchini and bread above the rest.  For fried zucchini I used to slice it thin, dip in egg, and breading, then fry until crisp. This was so incredibly time-consuming! Plus, since I’m the one preparing it, I was the last to sit down, which meant I ate cold, soggy, fried zucchini. Good, but not as good as hot and crispy!  I didn’t want to give up my seasonal favorite, so I had to think of something!

My solution produces fried zucchini, all finished cooking at the same time. Crisp, hot, and best of all tasty!!  Here is what I came up with….

Easier Fried Zucchini

1 medium-sized zucchini
2 small eggs
Flour
Corn meal
Salt and pepper
Oil

Cut the zucchini into 1/2 slices, then cut each slice into 4 pie-shaped pieces. Put in a large bowl.

Beat the two eggs with a splash of water and stir into the zucchini, until well coated.

Mix equal parts flour and cornmeal, then add to zucchini and toss to coat. (Start with about 1/4 cup each, as you can always mix up more.)

Fry zucchini (including any bits if breading that accumulated in the bottom of the bowl) in canola (or vegetable oil), seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp and well browned. Enjoy!

What is your favorite way to enjoy zucchini?

Watch for my upcoming post featuring zucchini bread!

Crock Pot Pasta Fagioli Soup

As you might remember, I often make crock pot meals on Mondays. It’s a busy day for my family, and being able to have supper ready and waiting takes some of the craziness out of our evening.  Yesterday we dined on a new, easy recipe. Sooo very easy. And what makes it better? It was also tasty! My husband and three boys all liked it!

Before we get to the recipe, for those of you wondering, fagioli means “with beans.” So now that you’ve received your Italian lesson for the day……..

Crock Pot Pasta Fagioli Soup
( slightly adapted from the original recipe, found here)

1 lb ground beef, cooked & drained
15 ounces Great Northern beans
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups hot water
2 1/2 tsp beef bouillon granules
29 ounces canned whole tomatoes
black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried basil
cayenne pepper to taste
2 cups macaroni, cooked

Dump all ingredients, except macaroni, into crock pot and cook on high for about 5 hours, or low for about 8-10. Add the macaroni about 30 minutes before serving. My tomatoes didn’t break down during cooking, so I crushed them with a spoon when I added the macaroni. You should also taste the soup at this time and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

We served the soup with a bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a few croutons on top. I think that this recipe would be equally delicious with shredded chicken or possibly ground turkey. The next time we have this meal, I plan on serving it with a side salad and some homemade rolls or bread.

I hope you give this a try the next time you’re planning a meal for a hectic day!

I am currently working on another recipe, in addition to an easy sewing project, so watch for those in a future post!

Is there anything in particular you are interested in me blogging about? Suggestions are always welcome!

Can a Crock Pot End the Insanity?

Last week I sat down and created my first menu plan for our family.  This week is it’s official trial run.  I am pretty excited about it!  It didn’t take nearly as long as I thought, and it also made my grocery shopping more productive.  In my planning, I looked ahead to our week and tried to schedule easy meals for our busy days.

Enter: the crock pot.

Normally gathering dust on my shelf, only to be unveiled on a very rare occasion.  But not anymore.  I anticipate it being very handy in my menu planning adventures.  Let me explain….

Monday is always a busy day for my family.  This is when R. has guitar lessons.  So that means my housework time is limited because I have to pick him up at school, instead of him riding the bus.  It also means, since lessons are 30 minutes from our house, that by the time we get home, supper time is quickly approaching.  THIS is when the insanity normally commences.  Homework, kids chores, preparing dinner, and any other random occurrence you can possibly imagine.  And thinking of this, triggered my lightbulb moment…I will use my crock pot!!  I will find easy recipes, dump it in, and with a few (maybe even no) finishing touches, I will be able to have supper on the table quickly.  YAY!

Since this is the one kind of recipe I don’t have a stockpile of, I will get to try a lot of new recipes.  If they are good, you might just see me share some 🙂

Up first (last night’s meal):

Crock Pot Sante Fe Chicken (thank you Pinterest!)

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast

14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies

15 oz can black beans

8 oz frozen corn

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

14.4 oz can chicken broth

3 scallions, chopped

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp cumin

cayenne pepper to taste

salt & pepper to taste

Dump all ingredients (except chicken) into crock pot.  Give a little stir.  Lay chicken pieces on top, season with salt and pepper.

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Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours.  Half an hour before serving, remove chicken and shred.

TIME SAVER:  Put chicken in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on 4-5 for a few seconds, your chicken will look like this:

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Return chicken to crock pot & stir in.  Adjust seasoning if necessary and allow to cook remaining 1/2 hour.

 

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(P.S. Notice anything missing??  I forgot to add the corn and it still tasted good!!)

We served this over rice and garnished with sour cream.  I of course added hot sauce, but then I eat that on almost everything!

This meal was a hit with the family and has officially taken up residence in my recipe box.  Give it a try, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

And an answer to the question, “Can a Crock Pot End the Insanity?”…. YES, I believe it can!!

What do you do to make supper less stressful for your family’s busy nights?