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!

Friday, January 5, 2018

What's for Dinner #2

Thank you all for the positive feedback on the new dinner series! It's always fun to peek inside other people's lives and I'm happy to share our menu. If you have a favorite go-to dinner, please share with me so I can try it too!

I normally shop on Fridays, so this week's post is for Sunday-Thursday.

Easy packaged mashed potatoes

This recipe isn't hard, but makes me feel like a successful cook! I totally recommend it for a Sunday dinner when you are home for a long cooking meal.


Abby is over soup and rolls her eyes when I tell her it is for dinner and yet she loves baked potatoes so I'm going to win her over with this one. I haven't made it before, but the list of ingredients sold me!

Pork Tenderloin with Hollandaise sauce (just the Knorr packet)
Trader Joe's frozen gnocchi in marinara
Green Beans

I made this tenderloin a couple of times per month. I make it for dinner guests, parties, meals for others and even had it for Christmas Eve this year. It is easy and you can't go wrong with it!

1 pork tenderloin (I buy the 4 pack at Sam's and then baggie them individually in the freezer)
Morton's Seasoning Blend (yellow bottle- mix of salt, pepper, garlic powder)

Cover pork tenderloin in three spices. Really coat it, sprinkle it all over. Bake on cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes at 350. We usually slice it thick around 20 minutes and let it finish up. Serve with Knorr packet of hollandiase sauce. 

Can of Charro Beans
Frozen Spanish Rice

I made these enchiladas a few weeks ago and froze half of them, so I get to just pop them in the oven this time around. I freeze dishes all the time. I don't like leftovers as in eat the same meal twice after it sits in the fridge, but I like making a 13x9 dish in two 8x8 dishes and cooking one and freezing the other.

It is brinner night! I love breakfast but we don't get to do it in the mornings often, so tonight it is!
Scrambled Eggs

I like dishes like this because you can reheat it for breakfast on Saturday morning!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What's for Dinner #1

I have had some requests recently to bring back the blog from personal friends looking for new meal ideas. I'll be honest, I need meal ideas sometimes too and thought it would be nice to be able to jump back on the blog when meal planning and have a list of our favorites to pick from.

I hope to find time to do this regularly and will be sure to update on the blog's Facebook page when I post so you'll see it and can meal plan using some of our family favorites.

Baked Chicken 
Frozen Peas

JW Marriott Cornbread

I had this cornbread at a hotel recently and it was the best- ever! The chef wrote down the recipe for me. It is the perfect sweet cornbread!

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 t baking soda
1 c cornmeal
1 c all purpose flour
1/2 t kosher salt

Preheat over to 375 and grease baking pan. Melt butter in skillet, remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add the eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir mixture into pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour and salt and blend until it isn't lumpy. Pour batter into baking pan and bake for 30-40 minutes.

*This makes a ton of chili and we normally eat half and freeze half; however, this time around we are taking a meal to a friend. It is perfect for sharing!

EASY DINNER NIGHT! Whenever I need a quick and easy dinner night (normally on Tuesday when Abby is in dance), I rely on Trader Joe's meals. We plan to have either their beef ravioli with salad or frozen Mandarin chicken, fried rice and edamame.

Frozen Garlic Bread
Fresh Green Beans

This recipe includes 5 pounds of beef, so it makes a TON! I make it on a Sunday afternoon when we are home and then freeze it in quart sized baggies. I can typically get 6 dinners from this sauce. I will use it for spaghetti, baked penne, lasagna. It works for it all and is super tasty.

No Peek Beef Tips with Rice

2 lb cubed stew meat
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1  packet brown gravy mix
1  packet lipton dry onion soup mix
4 oz can mushrooms (I leave these out!)
1 cup water  

Add cubed meat to a 9 x 13 inch pan. In a large bowl mix the remaining ingredients together and pour over the meat. Add mushrooms and stir to coat. Cover with foil and bake at 300 degrees for 3 Hours. Do not remove foil until done. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes or egg noodles. Servings 6-8

Our babysitter made these for us once and now they are a favorite!