Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Whats for Dinner #10

We have a busy next few weeks, so I'm grateful for a freezer full of various meats, casseroles and sauces to make dinner easier when we are running all around.

Here are a few items we are having this week:

Meal #1
Pot Roast with Carrots
Instant Mashed Potatoes

I've wasted a lot of roasts trying to find a recipe we all liked. This one is our favorite!

Place a tender chuck roast in crock pot. 
Sprinkle on top one packet of Ranch mix & one packet of Au Jus gravy mix. 
Place one stick of butter on top and a couple of pepperoncini peppers. These are the neon yellow/green pepper often found on a salad bar. Do Not Add Water!
Cook on low for about 4-6 hours, depending on your meat. I add in the baby carrots with about an hour to go.

Meal #2
Cuban Flank Steak
Sauteed Squash Medley

Cuban Flank Steak
Flank steak is a pretty popular choice in our house. I love that it is lower in price, boneless, and doesn't require a lot of fat trimming ahead of time. It marinades and cooks up quickly on the grill since it is thin. Here is the marinade we like best:

1/3 c. lime juice (fresh or in the bottle)
1/4 c. olive oil
1 t ground cumin
1 t dried oregano
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1 T soy sauce
2 t lime zest

Mix marinade all together and place in a gallon baggies with 1-3# flank steak for a few hours or even overnight.

Sauteed Squash Medley
This is a summer vegetable staple in our house! Just saute the following in a skillet about 8-10 minutes or until veggies are tender:

2 T butter
1 small squash, sliced and then slices cut in half
1 zucchini, sliced and then slices cut in half
1 medium purple onion, chopped
1 sweet red bell pepper, chopped

Sprinkle with garlic salt and a little Parmesan cheese when done.

Meal #3
Leftover Easter Ham
Southern Living New Potato Salad

I like all forms of potato salad! This one is a more modern version with an olive oil suace base and cubed new potatoes.

Southern Living New Potato Salad
Boil 3# of new potatoes in water for about 20 minutes until done. Let cool, cube and add to sauce.
Combine the following to make your sauce:
1/3 c olive oil
2T lemon juice
2T mayonnaise
1 t dried oregano
1 t dry mustard
1t salt
2T parsley
1/2 t black pepper
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 red or green bell pepper

Meal #4
Easy Cheesy Baked Meatballs
Penne Noodles
Garlic Knows

I made a double batch of these last time I made them and froze a serving of the meatballs. Now, I just have to thaw them, pour marinara on top, add some mozzarella cheese and bake them.


Saturday, March 31, 2018

What's for Dinner #9

Hello friends! Here is our Easter dinner plan and a few meals for the week... enjoy!

Easter Sunday
Euna Mae's Mac & Cheese
Green Breans
Pioneer Woman's Deviled Eggs
Coconut Cream Pie

Dinner on Sunday night is just our little family of three, but I like holiday meals to be bigger and special, so I'm cooking away all afternoon! I bought a fully cooked ham with glaze at the grocery store. We'll barely put a dent in it, so I'll freeze the leftovers in dinner size portions and reheat it over the next few weeks in various forms.

The mac & cheese and deviled eggs are family favorites and the coconut cream pie is a new recipe I'm trying. CC pie is a favorite of mine, but I'm picky. I don't want meringue on top, I prefer a whipped cream topping. This one sounds amazing!

Meal #1
Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad

I always feel so accomplished making this meal. It is healthy, colorful, and super tasty! My daughter doesn't eat salad, so I just make her plate with all the components of the meal before I toss it together. The dressing for this is really good- we've made it for regular salads or even to pour sparingly over nachos.

Meal #2
Rachael Ray's Pizza Puffs
Bag Salad

These are a favorite of my daughter. They taste like pizza, but are made in a muffin tin. Since I don't like much sauce on my pizza, I love recipes like this. They can dip away and I don't even touch the sauce! I'm planning to use some cubed ham from Easter instead of pepperoni for this one.

Meal #3
PF Changs Copycat Lettuce Wraps
Frozen Fried Rice

We made these a few weeks ago and while messy to eat, they taste wonderful and are an easy low calorie fast dinner!

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

What's for Dinner #8

I'm loving the Spring weather we are having as it makes me look at grilled meats for dinner. I love when we grill- it always smells so good, Marcus does the meat so I can make better side dishes, and there is less clean up! All good in my book!

Here are a few dinners on our menu the next few days:

Dinner #1
Grilled Chicken
Baked Potatoes

I'm trying this marinade for the first time. Just a little flavor for our grilled chicken. I love Salt Lick BBQ sauce to dip my grilled chicken in, but play around with marinades and rubs!
Image result for stubb's chicken marinade
Dinner #2
Frozen Vegetable

This is one of my favorite cookbooks and I'm trying this new chicken dish from it this week. I love that it gives a crisp to chicken with a vegetable instead of breadcrumbs! 
The Brazi cheesebread is found in the freezer section at Target. It is gluten free and low calorie! We love it- just like the little cheese rolls at the local Brazilian steakhouse.

Dinner #3
Euna Mae's Pork Tenderloin with Garlic Cream Sauce
Cherries & Wild Rice

The wild rice with cherries is amazing! It is served warm from the crockpot with wild rice, pecans, chicken stock, spices, and dried cherries. We love it and it is good for days!

Both of these are not online, but inside two of my favorite cookbooks:

Love Welcome Serve by Amy Hannon

Dinner #4
Euna Mae's Mexican Casserole
Spanish Rice

I love Mexican food and this casserole is new to us, but sounds so good- crushed tortilla chips, rotel, shredded chicken, sliced Velveeta cheese! How can it not be amazing!

It is also in the Love Welcome Serve cookbook above.

Have a great week!


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

What's For Dinner- Favorite Desserts

I thought that this week I'd share my favorite go to sweets with you! These are recipes I've made over and over again for my family, friends, church events, you name it! I don't think you can go wrong with any of them!

These Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes are Abby's favorite and thanks to a school potluck, they are a favorite of a few teachers at her school too! Perfect for a hot summer day- light and creamy!

I have made Pioneer Woman's Tres Leches cake for years! It is so moist and flavorful and the perfect dessert to serve with Mexican food, a staple in Texas!

There are no cookies and big and impressive as these- Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies! We love making a batch of them and gifting them in a cellophane bag with a cute tag and ribbon. Because they are big, they are great for gifting to men!

I won't lie- these cookies are a lot of work, but they are worth it! I like to make them at Christmas time. They even won best cookie at my Sunday school Christmas dinner one year. These Cranberry Bliss Cookies are just a great mix of flavors!

My family has hosted an Easter egg hunt for many years and these Jello cookies were often part of it. They are perfectly colorful and flavorful! I'd recommend making them for Easter this year.

I love coconut cream pie and will select it over any other dessert! These Mini Coconut Cream Pies are super easy to make and fun to eat!

I first ate these mini apple pies at a baby shower and couldn't get them off my mind. So, I had to have the recipe. These are not complicated, but present really well! We love them!

Finally, I'm at big fan of Amy Hannon of Euna Mae's and so excited she will be at my church in April. I've made many of the desserts in her cookbook and none have failed me! I'd highly recommend her cookbook for the food and the desserts! You can buy a copy here

Have a great week and enjoy something sweet!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What's for Dinner Essentials

This week is a little wonky- my husband has a couple of late night meetings and combined with school activities I am not really cooking. We love hot pockets, Auntie Annie's Pretzel Dogs, and popcorn shrimp on weeks like this!

Instead, I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite kitchen supplies with you! Everything is linked, but I'm in no way paid or supported if you purchase.

Herb Scissors
These are like 5 scissors in one. So after you wash your herbs, you can just cut away and it keeps the pieces really small. I hated using fresh herbs until I got these.

This thing is the best- it cuts it open, takes the pit out and then slices it. Perfect for getting all of the meat of the fruit out! I use it to make guacamole whenever we have Mexican food.

Eighth Jelly Roll Pan
These pans are perfect for heating up a handful of small things. I would say they are half of a cookie sheet, maybe a little smaller. They are great for 4 slices of garlic bread, two hot pockets, a handful of sausage balls. They are by far the most used pans in our kitchen! We have four of them and one is always in the sink!

8x8 Square Pyrex
Because we are a family of three, I take most recipes and cut them in half. So what would normally go in a 13x9, I make in two 8x8 dishes. So, we cook one and freeze the other. These are perfect for casseroles to bake or freeze.

Now these next few are pricier, but I swear by them! I've received them as Christmas gifts (from my own wish list) or bought them with bonus checks from work. They are all used often!

I love to bake and I use this for baking always; however, more often than cookie dough, this thing is filled with boiled chicken breasts to shred! The paddle attachment shreds chicken in under a minute. I love it for that reason alone!

Le Creuset Braiser
I added this to my kitchen a few years ago at an outlet mall sale. The cashier told me it was her most used Le Creuset pan in her kitchen. I can see why! It is a giant skillet- it is perfect for the one pan meals where you brown meat, drain it and then add a bunch of stuff in. It can do 4 pounds of taco meat- huge! It can go right from the stove top to the oven and the lid is perfect for keeping everything warm if your side dish timing is off. I love this pan!

Le Creuset Dutch Oven
The other Le Creuset that I own and love is my dutch oven. We cook all soups, stews and roasts in here. I went bigger than I thought I needed and don't regret it! I first bought the inexpensive HEB version of this to see how often I'd use it. The HEB version was great if you want to spend less. I found that the Le Cresuet version held a much tighter seal with the lid on which helped with moisture. If you can find a good deal on a Staub, they are almost the same! I own a smaller Staub version. It is black on the inside instead of cream, but I can't tell you another difference in the brands.

See you next week with some yummy meals!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What's for Dinner #7

Here are four dinners we are having this week:

Meal #1
Creamy Chicken and Rice
Garden Salad
Homemade Garlic Knots

Growing up, chicken and rice included cream of mushroom soup and I hated it. It was brown and mushy and never my favorite dinner. This one has no mushrooms, but is colorful, cheesy and really delicious! It makes a really big pot and tastes great as leftovers.

Homemade Garlic Knots
These come from Amy of Euna Mae's and they are fun to make and always a hit!

Pillsbury Pizza Crust
1/2 stick butter
1 clove garlic
Parmesan cheese

Roll out pizza crush on cutting board and cut into 12 strips. I use a tool like this. Make knots with each strip and place on a cookie sheet spread out like you would cookies. Bake on 425 for 10 minutes.

While it is baking, melt butter and garlic in small saucepan. Add a few shakes of oregano and spread on garlic knots. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Meal #2
Copycat Lettuce Wraps
Trader Joe's Veggie Fried Rice

I've never made lettuce wraps at home, but am excited to give these a try this week!

Meal #3
Healthy Chicken Potato Soup

We were in Las Vegas most of last week and all of the food was so rich and portions were so big! We ate a big breakfast and early dinner each day because we just weren't hungry for lunch. Coming home, Marcus said, "I just want a simple bowl of soup for dinner". So, soup is on the menu this week!

Meal #4
Crispy Tacos
Chips and Guacamole

Sweet Treat
Our church has DNOW for our youth this weekend and I'm bringing these cookies. They look amazing and different!

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

What's for Dinner #6

Here are four dinners we are having this week:

Chicken Parm Sliders- these are super easy with rotisserie chicken, jar marinara and sliced cheese. We have them with tater tots and strawberries sweetened with a little sugar and whipped cream.

Euna Mae's Chicken Noodle soup
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

We love this soup and it's perfect for a cold wet day! I make a half portion since it makes so much or make it all and have yummy leftovers. It is super easy to make and this time around I'm using the other half of the rotisserie chicken for the sliders above.

My favorite food in all the world is a grilled cheese. I order it out and make it at home often. I had a yummy one at my friend Kristin's house and I make mine at home just like she did now. Use sourdough bread, mozzarella cheese and put a little Lawry's Seasoned Salt in the melted butter as your spread it on for grilling. It's so good!

Steak Burrito Bowls
Chips and Guacamole

I had these with my other Kristen friend and they were easy to make and everyone was happy building their own bowl. Here is what I include:

Steak Fajita Meat or Grilled Chicken (I bought pre-seasoned steak fajita meat this time)
Chipotle Copycat Cilantro Lime Rice
Beans- canned black or pinto rinsed really well
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Guacamole- I mash up avocados and add the store made pico de gallo, garlic salt and lime juice

Cheesy Baked Meatballs
Pasta Side Dish, like Pasta-Roni
Fresh Green Beans

These meatballs are really easy and really good! We make them and freeze them individually on a cookie sheet and once frozen, throw them in a baggie for future meals. When you go to make them the second time, you can thaw them and follow the directions to pour sauce and cheese on them. It makes 16 meatballs and 8 is enough for us. My daughter LOVES these meatballs!

NOTE: Both of these photos aren't mine and come from the same source as the recipe.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What's For Dinner #5

I sure haven't listed a lot of green vegetables on here! I don't love many vegetables on their own, so I try to incorporate them into the meal. But, I always keep on hand bags of frozen vegetables that my daughter likes and will heat up a small portion of thse for her each night. She also loves cold carrots and cucumbers (without Ranch) and eats those as her veggie or a big helping with her snack and then skips the extra veggie at dinner.

This week's meals include:

Meal #1
Pulled Pork over Mac and Cheese

I always have pork tenderloin on hand. You can buy them in a four pack for around $20 at Costco or Sams and I just divide them into quart baggies and freeze them. We make sandwiches with them or I love it over mac and cheese. I have leftover mac and cheese from my favorite recipe in the fridge, so we'll be having it with that this time around. This recipes makes a ton- so I half it and we still eat it twice!

Meal #2
Chicken Pot Pie

I'm trying this one for the first time. I love that it uses rotisserie chicken and that it makes two. Perfect for the freezer when we have a busy week.

This is also the perfect hide all the vegetables meal! I love pot pie and have a number of recipes I like. If you haven't had this Turkey Pot Pie, you must change that. It is so so good!

Meal #3
Baked Penne with Garlic Bread

I am using my favorite Pioneer Woman's spaghetti sauce for the penne. I just thaw the portion I had frozen perviously and then stir it in with boiled penne noodles and some mozzarella cheese and bake it until warm and gooey. It is super simple meal for homework night!

We are also having leftovers one night and dinner out because it is girls weekend! Hooray for a fun friend filled time!

Monday, January 22, 2018

What's for Dinner #4

This week is really simple meals and most everything came from my Trader Joe's run. I have found a few staple items from them that I love, so about once every 4-6 weeks we have a TJ week of simple meals. This week involves sickness, travel and a few late afternoons so it was the perfect TJ week.

Meal #1
Chicken Nachos with Homemade Charro Beans
Simple cheese qusadillas

I like making this buffet style and everyone can pile on what they want. We used the shredded chicken I had frozen last week from chicken tacos and added cheese, beans, and pico de gallo. You can add as many toppings as you want- cilantro, guacamole, sour cream.

Homemade Charro Beans
When my Mom comes to visit, she always makes us a big pot of beans and we freeze them in family size side portions. I love her beans, but she hasn't been able to visit recently so I asked my chef friend Kristin for a charro bean recipe. Hers are excellent also and I cooked them all day Sunday.

Bag of Pinto Beans
1 finely chopped onion
3T garlic (I used Dorat frozen cubes of garlic)
pinch of salt
2T tomato paste
32 oz. chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 bunch cilantro
1t cumin
1t salt
1/2t pepper
1t chili powder

Soak a bag of pinto beans in water for 4-6 hours. I dumped these in water before leaving for church and they were ready by mid-afternoon.

In a large pot, saute  onion, garlic and a little salt.

Add tomato paste, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften the paste and spread it through the onion mix. Add chicken stock and diced tomatoes. Stir well.

Add beans, cilantro, cumin, salt, pepper, chili powder.

Cook on low for 4-6 hours or in crockpot on low for 6-8 hours. Stir about every 30 minutes and add water if needed.

Meal #2
TJ Grilled Chicken Sausage
TJ frozen Mac & Cheese Balls
Sauteed brussel sprouts- I like that these are prepped and ready to throw in the pan! We like to mix them with chopped nuts and dried cranberries.

Meal #3
TJ fresh Beef Ravioli
Green salad
Garlic toast

This is Abby's favorite, so I always get it when I am there!

Meal #4
Brisket Sliders
Baked Potatoes

Making brisket takes forever and usually costs too much or makes too much for us. I will often make my own sides and have Marcus get a 1/2 pound from the local BBQ place on the way home. I thought I'd try this one from TJ this week. It was reasonably priced and will be great on buns or on top of the baked potatoes.

Meal #5
Asian night :)
Frozen vegetable fried rice

I love love love Trader Joe's fried rice! You just throw it in the skillet and toss until warm. Combined with frozen potstickers and edamame and you have an easy Asian night!

This isn't a healthy week at all, but it should give you some easy frozen options to stock up on from Trader Joes. 

While you are there, get these. They are my favorite! They taste like a garlic and paprika version of cheddar goldfish. Yummy!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

What's For Dinner #3

Here are four dinners we plan to eat this week!

Dinner #1
Shredded Chicken Soft Tacos
Chips and Guacamole
Frozen Veggie

Shredded chicken is so easy in the crockpot. Put 2-3 breasts in the crockpot with a jar of cheap salsa and cook on low for 4 hours. It will easily shred with a fork or you can put it in your Kitchenaid mixer with the paddle attachment and shred is easily. I love to double up recipes like this and freeze the shredded chicken for another meal.

Dinner #2
Cheeseburger Pie
Tater Tots
thawed bag of Peaches

This is Abby's very favorite dish that I make :)

Dinner #3
Creamy Tomato Soup
Beer Bread (mix from Trader Joe's)

I've never made this soup before but I love the ingredients in it, so I had to give it a try. We love cheese tortellini in soup!

Dinner #4
Easy Slow Cooker Ribs
Euna Mae's Mac and Cheese
Frozen Veggie

These ribs are high on Marcus' list of favorite things I make. I don't eat meat on a bone, so he breaks mine apart and I just have a yummy stack of BBQ! The mac and cheese recipe is my favorite! I half it and it makes the perfect 8x8 for our family to eat on twice. The full recipe has been taken to many a potluck and always comes home empty!