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~

Bananas for Breakfast

Bananas are a nutritious snack any time, thankfully, my kids absolutely love them! I remember as a kid eating sliced up bananas with a little sugar and milk on them, and I have passed this treat on to my kiddos. (seriously, you should try it, its yummy!)

Despite how much we enjoy this fruit, we often end up with over-ripe, black bananas. You know the ones. They are past the point of being edible. Hard to peel because they are pretty much mush. And if you do get the peel off, they pretty much just ooze through your fingers. Well, did you know that this is when their flavor is at its best for baking? This is a recipe we use a lot to make use of those nasty old things, luckily the result is much more ap-peel-ing (pun intended) 😉

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Mix together the following in medium-sized bowl:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup quick oatmeal

In another bowl, mix:
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp oil (I use canola)
2-3 mashed over-ripe bananas

Add milk mixture to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full. (If you use muffin papers instead of greasing the pan, just know, that these are moist and it can be hard to peel the paper off)

Mix the following using pastry blender or 2 knives:
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp butter

sprinkle this topping on each muffin. Bake at 375° for about 20 minutes.  Remove from muffin pan and allow to cool, then top with this simple glaze recipe (measurements are approximate)

1 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

enough water or milk to make a consistency good for drizzling.

This is the result

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These muffins aren’t overly sweet, unless you really go crazy with the glaze.  They are great for breakfast with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.  With the oatmeal and bananas, it sticks with you longer than some sweet breakfast treats!

I hope you get a chance to try these, I think you will enjoy them!

 

Now that we have breakfast in our bellies, I want to give you a sneak peek at my baby quilt:

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I have it all layed out, and just started sewing the pieces together this week.  Remember that this is the one for baby #4.  I also have another quilt that is all set up in my quilting frame, ready to be quilted.

Let’s just say, I’ve felt pretty productive this week.  Now if that can just continue, I’ll be doing good!

Now finally, I want to share a little funny with you….

Being in my last month of pregnancy, I am getting to the point where getting out of my seat isn’t as easy as it used to be.  This morning I was sitting, reading a book to my 4 yo W, and when I went struggled to get up I asked him:  “Why is Mommy so old?”

W: “You’re not!” at this point, I’m thinking, awww, such a sweet boy, then he adds: “You don’t have a cane yet.  When you do, then you’ll be old”

Oh the life through the eyes of a little one!

I’d love to hear from you about projects, recipes, etc…just leave me a comment below!  Have a great day!

Spice it Up

It’s Valentine’s Day, right?  So why not spice things up a bit…..in the kitchen that is!

I’m excited to try new recipes, especially when they are good and I can share.  This week, I’ve been lucky enough to try two new recipes.  The first was a crock pot meal, that you can find here.  The second was a shrimp dish.  Now I don’t know about you but raw shrimp scare terrifies me.  I have NEVER cooked it before, always using pre-cooked shrimp and tossing it with pasta, or eating with some sort of dipping sauce.  But I like shrimp.  I like tacos.  I love spicy.  So, as I’m throwing the empty Land O’ Lakes box away I see it:  Sweet & Spicy Baked Shrimp Tacos!”  How could I not try it?  Sounds tasty, right?!?  Here’s the recipe:

Sweet & Spicy Baked Shrimp Tacos

Spice Mixture

1/3 cup sugar

3 Tbsp packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp plain breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground red pepper (the spicy in the recipe!)

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp ground ginger

Shrimp

1/4 cup melted, unsalted butter

1 lb uncooked, thawed, medium shrimp

Sauce

1/2 cup sour cream

1 Tbsp lime juice

2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 tsp chili powder

Tacos

6 inch flour tortillas (about 10)

2 cups coleslaw mix

Heat oven to 500.  Line baking sheet with aluminum foil, set aside.

Combine all the spice ingredients in a small bowl.  Dip the shrimp into melted butter, then spices.  Place on baking sheet.  Bake for 5-6 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and the coating is bubbling.

While shrimp is cooking, mix up the sauce ingredients in a small serving bowl.

To make the tacos:  use one tortilla, a few pieces of shrimp, and about 1/4 cup slaw mixture.  Drizzle sauce over top.

A tip, if you don’t like spicy food:  either lessen the amount of red pepper, or eliminate it totally.

I was pleasantly surprised with how the slaw tasted on the tacos!  It is a bit unusual, but totally the right choice in my opinion.  I have to say even my three boys enjoyed this. I am also happy to say, that family approval on this means another recipe with permanent residence in my recipe box!

Now it is Valentine’s day, so you definitely need a sweet treat to follow up your meal.  If you want something simple & tasty head over to Fellow Does Fab for a great truffle recipe!  It’s chocolate, so therefore, it’s good!

I hope you have been enjoying the recipes I share.  I am hoping that since my cleaning schedule has been so helpful (and flexible), that I can start sharing a wider variety of things with you soon!  But for now, it’s Thursday.  The first day this week I’ll be home all day (of course it’s still morning!).  I have a menu to plan and a grocery list to make!

I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day filled with love and happiness!

Don’t forget to stop by and say “HI” on Facebook or Twitter !

“One is loved because one is loved.  No reason is needed for loving.” ~Paulo Coelho~

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?

Recipe Chaos

Hi everyone!  I hope this week is treating you well!  Today, in an attempt to work towards my Home goals of organization & scheduling, as I described in my January post “This year, I Will…,” I am working on creating a meal plan.  My idea is to give the plan a trial run, then create an actual menu board using an idea I found on Pinterest.

Sounds easy enough, right?  Well I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit of a recipe addict.  Okay, more than a bit, I should probably go to a support group or something.  And Pinterest?  Well that just fuels my addiction.  As a result, my recipe box looked like a cookbook exploded inside of it.  So today when I sat down to make the meal plan, I realized that I need to deal with my mess first. *sigh*

In attempts to do so, I went through my entire recipe box, and purged.  Yes, I know, I can’t believe it myself.  I went through the entire box, recipe, by recipe.  The recipes had to fall into one of these categories:

1. Tried & True – these we have made before and already love.  These are allowed to remain in the box.

2. Why do I have this? – recipes, that for some strange reason ended up in my box, but I have absolutely NO intention of making.  EVER.  Who cut these out any way? ….. These were tossed.  Immediately.

3.  Need to try – recipes that shouldn’t be in the box yet.  They need to be tested and given the family’s approval.  The recipes in this category were moved to my binder full of those waiting for approval.

My recipe box looked so much better just after sorting.  Next I typed up the recipes and printed them on 4×6 index cards, so they fit nicely in my box.

I am so relieved to have this finished!  It is something that needed to be done for a loooong time.  If you haven’t done this lately, or ever (like yours truly), I highly suggest doing it!

Now I just need to get to work on my meal plan!  There will be the initial time investment in getting it set up, but it will save time in the long run.  I will detail the steps I take in preparing the plan as I go so I can share them with you in a future post.

Do any of you make meal plans?  Weekly?  Monthly?  I’d love to hear your ideas, just leave a comment below!

Cast Iron Burger

Did you ever receive something as a gift, love it, and then try to come up with more opportunities to use it? Enter my new cast iron grill pan, a most excellent Christmas gift from my husband!

 

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This new skillet feeds my love for two things. Cast iron and grilling.

I don’t know about you, but I love cooking with cast iron. The problem was, I had one ginormous, cook-for-an-army sized skillet, that is primarily used for pan-frying chicken. And one cook-for-myself sized skillet, used mostly for cornbread. Of course, neither of these were efficient when preparing a meal for a family of five.

What’s cool about cast iron, is, if seasoned properly, cast iron can be used much like a non-stick skillet. An extra bonus is it’s ease of stove-top to oven cooking. It can take the heat, so to speak.

Now on to the grilling aspect. We are sort of a crazy family and enjoy grilling year round. Yes in snow. Rain. Wind…..nothing will stop us, uhhh, well except for a broken grill. So having a grill pan will satisfy that yearning for grilled foods. Only now they will prepared from the warm, comfort of the kitchen.

So now back to my mission, to create more opportunities to use my newest kitchen addition. How about some burgers? But not just a simple burger, let’s add some extras, okay?

This recipe was “created” with the help of my oldest son R. He’s 8 and LOVES to help in the kitchen! It goes something like this:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I prefer ground chuck quality meat, not too much fat content)
2 dill pickle spears, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp mustard
1/4 cup A1 Steak sauce

Mix together and form into about 6 (1/4 lb) burgers. Cook to desired doneness, then top with swiss cheese.

We also sautéed some button mushrooms and a sweet onion to serve up on top, and served on a whole wheat bakery bun. It was delish!

You, of course, could add in any special ingredients you like. What would you mix up in your burger?