Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Honey Ginger Chicken - Part II

I finally made the Honey-Ginger Chicken over the weekend.  Being lazy I made the marinade, but threw in the the chicken thighs whole, and baked in the oven until done.  Instead of glazing the thighs, I served the sauce on the side.  We ate this with oven fries, and steamed vegetables.  The whole meal was a big a hit, but there was some leftover chicken and sauce.

The leftover chicken became a very tasty and ridiculously quick dinner tonight that was also a big hit with everyone.

  • 1.75 c water
  • 1.33 c Couscous
  • oil
  • 1 onion - diced
  • 1 green pepper - diced
  • 1 orange pepper -diced
  • leftover chicken and sauce - diced

Prepare couscous according to package directions.

Heat oil in pan, add diced vegetables and saute for a few minutes.  Vegetables should still be a little crisp, add leftover chicken and sauce to the pan to warm.  Once the chicken is warm toss the vegetable and chicken mixture with the couscous, and enjoy!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not for Everybody

Lucky for me neither of my kids have any allergies.  If I let them DaKids would live on peanut butter sandwiches with the occasional side of shrimp.  However DaGoof and I need something a little more substantial than that.

One of the things that has become a favorite in the house is Peanut Butter Noodles.  There is a great recipe for a peanut sauce as part of this recipe.  I typically make this with what we have on hand.  Tonight we had the sauce with thin spaghetti, shrimp, onions, carrots and thinly sliced cabbage.  I sauteed the shrimp and onions while the noodles cooked.  When the noodles were almost done I poured the sauce into the hot pan with the shrimp and onions and whisked it all together.  Then I tossed the noodles with the shrimp mixture, the shredded carrots and thinly sliced cabbage. 

The kids cannot turn down anything slathered in peanut butter, so everything including the raw cabbage was eaten without a fight.

Sometimes I use chicken, and I am betting that pork would also be really good in the sauce.  I also think that next time I might toss in strips of peppers.     

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back to School

Now fall has officially arrived.  My girl is back in school, and I start my quilt classes again tonight I find that I need to be a tad more organized. 

Over the summer the kids started complaining about dinner every night, even on the nights we had their favorites.  So this week with my first real meal plan for the fall I asked them what they wanted.  DaGirl requested pancakes and DaBoy wished for chicken.  I wished for something super simple for the night I needed to get out of the house early.  The plan for this week:

  • Monday - Kitchen Sink Pancakes (whole wheat pancakes with banana, walnuts & chocolate chips) and Scrambled Eggs
  • Tuesday - A visit with Memere & Pepere (they got to make dinner instead of me!)
  • Wednesday - Crockpot Chicken Chili with Cornbread
  • Thursday - Sandwiches with leftover Chili
  • Friday - Honey-Ginger Chicken Bites with mashed potatoes and salad
  • Saturday - Date Night, DaKids can have boxed mac'n cheese with the babysitter! 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Strawberry Soup

Tonight we had turkey sandwiches with strawberry soup.  All four us of loved the soup.  DaBoy actually asked for a straw to slurp out the last few drops of soup.  I believe that is the highest form of praise any 2-year-old can offer!

After reading several different recipes this was what I did:

  about 2 c frozen strawberries (I had a mix of sweetened and unsweetened)
  2 c low-fat milk
  1.5 c plain fat-free yogurt
  1 t vanilla extract

Puree in food processor or blender until smooth.  Serve cold.

Fresh or unsweetened berries could easily be substituted but you might want to add a little sugar.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Summer Cooking

It has been a hot summer!  I have avoided turning on the stove as much as I can.  We have been eating mostly simple grilled meats with grilled, raw or steamed vegetables. 

There have been a few exceptions to the above mentioned and my favorite has been the No-Knead Oat Bread recipe I found from King Arthur.  It makes a huge loaf of bread that is very tasty.  DaGirl is happy to snack on plain slices of the fresh bread.  I really like the bread lightly toasted with a smear of peanut butter and a touch of jelly for breakfast, or a couple of thinner slices make a great sandwich.  I think I want to add some raisins to the next loaf of Oat Bread that I make.

Another of my favorite meals was an eggplant dish based on a simple Eggplant Parmesan recipe. I added a couple of cups of diced tomatoes to the bottom of the casserole dish, which made it a very saucy dish.  I also added some ricotta cheese to the center filling.  I may have used a little extra mozzarella since the kids love cheese.  This was severed with thin spaghetti (aka worms) and salad.  The one thing I would like to try is grilling the eggplant instead of baking it.       

We have also done a little canning.  The plum tree in the yard is very giving this year and after picking almost 18 pounds of fruit a few nights ago we set to making plum jam.  Due to some logistical problems and miscommunications DaGoof and I canned nearly a dozen jars of plum sauce which is delicious on top of vanilla ice cream, maybe this weekend we will try the sweet stuff on top of some pancakes.  I also have a couple of plummy recipes from the book Put 'Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Salmon Kebabs

I made the salmon kebabs without the rosemary.  The salmon came out very tasty.  DaGoof declared that dinner was "very buttery."  I liked all the flavors but felt something lacking. 

I think I would like to try something similar but different.  Using the marinade, but brushing it over a whole fillet to grill would be easier.  Then flake the salmon and toss with grilled and crushed cherry tomatoes, a couple cups of orzo and some dice cucumber. 

I also hope that next time I will have some fresh rosemary in the garden to add to the marinade.

Burning Down the House

Last night was a complete disaster.

I put the rolls in the oven to bake, and started to herd the kittens outside to the backyard.  I had every intention of coming back in the house in a few minutes to check on the rolls.  It took a little more coaxing than usual to get the kids in the back yard.  Then they requested a trip to the garden to pick some strawberries for a snack.  When we were done picking strawberries I started to plant the flowers that were waiting patiently.  I suddenly remembered sometime much later that the rolls were still baking.  I exceeded the 12-15 minute bake time by about 45 minutes. 

Lucky for us our favorite Mexican restaurant is a short walk away and they weren't burning anything.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Things to try

I just saw this recipe, and now I must add rosemary to the garden so that we try out the Grilled Rosemary-Salmon Kebabs. 

Butterflied Chicken with a Chili-Lime Rub sounds very interesting, but what should I serve to go with it?  I bet the leftover chicken would be great in a chicken & chickpea salad.

A quick grilled pork dish would be great on Thursday.  Maybe Spice Rubbed Pork Chops before I head out for my sewing class?

Since I have rolls started for hamburgers tonight, it looks like if I pull together a shopping list from these ideas I have a menu for this week done.  That was pretty painless.  But will the grocery shopping with 2 kids be as easy as it has been with just one?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer Snacks

It feels like the heat has been turned on full blast outside.  Now I am craving cold and frozen snacks in the afternoon.  To satisfy this craving I made Banana Berry Popsicles yesterday.  Today was Chocolate Strawberry Shakes.

The popsicles were made by blending together a banana and berry juice.  The kids wolfed these down, but I think they liked the shakes even more.

The shakes were 12 large frozen strawberries, 2 cups milk and 2 tablespoons of sugar-free instant chocolate pudding.  This was wicked easy.  I also like swapping out different flavors.  Frozen bananas are a great substitute for the strawberries.  Also subbing in different pudding flavors adds lots of possibilities.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grilled Pizza

It is that time of year yet again, when the grill and patio furniture get dragged out of hibernation.  Cooking and eating start to move outside as the days get warmer and longer.

Monday night I was inspired by a recipe for spinach and mushroom pizza.  The original recipe that I saw relied heavily on prepared/processed ingredients.  I switched it up a little bit by making my own crust and sauteing fresh mushrooms with garlic (DaGoof will not eat canned mushrooms).  I did use frozen spinach, tomato sauce and shredded cheese since I had these items on hand and I wanted to use them up.

I divided up about 1 pound of pizza crust into 4 smaller portions.  Easier to stretch and transfer to the grill.  After grilling for about 2-3 minutes on the first side I flipped the crusts.  Each crust was topped with sauce, mushrooms, spinach and cheese (mozzarella and feta).  Grilled for a few more minutes until the cheese melted.    

DaGirl was not crazy about the slightly charred bottom on her pizza, but everyone else chowed down.  I can't wait to grill some more pizzas.  How should I top the next batch?  Sausage and caramelized onions or  ham and pineapple or chicken and broccoli?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mothers Day Breakfast

Just a little something I whipped up for DaMom for breakfast in bed.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Soy-Marinated Chicken

This was very yummy, and ridiculously easy.  Especially since I got DaGoof to man the grill.  The only change I made was to use a tablespoon of honey instead of the thyme.  While the chicken cooked I made a quick pasta salad.  I tossed spaghetti, red peppers and cucumbers with some teriyaki sauce.  I think some diced or crushed pineapple would have been a nice addition to the pasta.  Or maybe grilled pineapple for dessert next time.

DaGoof, DaBoy and I really liked dinner.  DaGirl said, 'the spaghetti tastes funny.'  She quickly polished off the chicken and requested more of that.

I think the leftovers will be delicious served cold or toss the chicken with the kids favorite peanutty noodles.  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Menu Plan - Part 2

This week I have put together a menu plan.  The plan for this week includes the following recipes:
I have already made the carbonara and the lobster risotto.  I served both dishes with a simple green salad.  The carbonara was not bad, but I didn't get any rave reviews either.  DaGirl requested more lobster but was not really into the risotto which surprised me because in the past she has devoured risotto.  I am not feeling very inspired in the kitchen lately and turning out so-so dinners is not helping me get back into the groove of wanting to cook.  I need to find a few wow recipes. 

Anyone have any suggestions? 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Menu Planning

This week I am winging it.  I try to make meal plan for the week, but I hate doing it.  When I make a plan pulling dinner together every night is a snap.  When I do not make a plan, every night making dinner feels like a chore.

Why don't I just do a plan then?  I think it is due procrastination and laziness.  It usually takes me a couple of hours to come up with a plan and put together a shopping list.  Because it takes so long I put it off until next week.  I need to come up with a faster way to menu plan.  Or maybe I need to plan for a couple of weeks at a time.   Maybe DaGoof could come up with a few suggestions for things he would like to eat.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sloppy Joes & Moomies Beautiful Burger Buns

Tonight we had sloppy joes and salad for dinner.  I started with an old Cooking Light recipe, and made a couple of minor modifications.  I added some diced mushrooms since I had them on hand, switched an orange bell pepper for the green, and used turkey instead of beef.  DaGoof and I really liked these but the kids were indifferent, they picked at the meat a little but just devoured the bread.

I mostly followed Moomie's Beautiful Burger Buns recipe.  The only change I made was to use 5 ounces of whole wheat flour and 8.75 ounces of all purpose flour.  The rolls were a major hit!  The kids loved helping to shape the rolls, and they even enjoyed eating them more.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rotini and Meat Sauce

Tuesday night I had a pound of hamburg I wanted to use up, and DaGirl requested spaghetti.  Here is an easy solution to that made us both happy.

Quick Meat Sauce

olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, grated
red wine
2 cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add olive oil, onion carrot and garlic, saute until veggies start to soften.  Add hamburg and break up spoon.  Once the meat is cooked add about a cup of red wine.  When most of the liquid has evaporated add tomatoes, Italian seasoning and tomato paste.  Simmer 10 - 20 minutes.  Toss with pasta, serve with a generous sprinkling of cheese, and a simple salad.

I found the sauce to be a little bland.  Next time I need to add a little bit of red pepper flakes, and use sausage instead of the ground beef.  I made four cups of rotini which gave us enough for dinner and about 2 more lunches.

Chicken Soup

Monday there seemed to be a few upset tummies in the house so for dinner I made a simple chicken soup.  It is one of my favorite things to make.  I clean out the veggie drawer, add a little chicken, throw in some egg noodles and dinner is done.  Being inspired by several cooking shows I typically put a large pan on the back burner and chop up my veggies and toss them in as I go.  I usually use homemade broth from the freezer but since I was out of it I used some boxed broth.  The following is about what I did on Monday but since it is a soup the recipe is very flexible.  Use whatever is on hand, every pot of soup should be a little different than the last!

Chicken Soup

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 small onions, diced
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium stalks of celery, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 quart chicken broth
1 large chicken breast, diced
1 1/2 c egg noodles
2 sprigs of thyme
black pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas

Put a large pot on medium heat drizzle in olive oil and start chopping.  Add the veggies to the pan and stir frequently.  Once the veggies start to soften add the chicken broth.  Bring broth to a boil add chicken and simmer a few minutes.  Once chicken is almost cooked through add in egg noodles, thyme and pepper.  A few minutes before the egg noodles are done add the corn and peas, continue cooking until everything is heated through.

For the little people I serve the soup with a handful of frozen peas.  The peas cool off the soup and the kids get a little bit of extra veggies.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ham Ham Ham... and more Ham

I think I have had my fill of ham.  The rest of the leftovers are destined for the freezer, until I am ready to eat ham again.  We have had ham & pineapple pizza, mac & cheese with ham and broccoli, ham sandwiches and of course the week started with ham and mashed potatoes.  I have run out of hammy ideas, but what should we have for dinner tonight?

Monday, April 5, 2010


Friday night I picked up the smallest spiral ham I could find at the grocery store.  Tonight I heated it up and whipped up a pile of mashed potatoes for dinner.  I rounded out the meal with some mixed vegetables. 

Now I have about 8.5 pounds of leftover ham.  I think we will be eating ham all week.  I have had one request for mac and cheese with ham tomorrow night.  Maybe ham and pineapple pizza Wednesday... Ham sandwiches...  What else can I make with the leftover ham??

Easter Baking

This weekend was Easter and we had dinner at my parent's house.  Which means that I just had to bring something to share.  When I asked what I could bring my mom requested a desert and bread.

For desert I made bunny and butterfly shaped sugar cookies with the little man.  I followed the recipe, I found at the King Arthur website, exactly for turning the dough into the perfect dough for rollout cookies except that I added cinnamon to the flour mixture.  I also made a simple icing with water, powdered sugar and a bit of vanilla to decorate the cookies.

For the bread I pulled a recipe for challah bread out of the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  The two loaves I brought to share were wolfed down.  Everybody said they loved the bread.  My favorite part, there is enough dough to make two more loaves in the refrigerator.  French toast this weekend??  I sure hope so!  

Monday, March 29, 2010


Chili is one of my favorite meals to make.  Several years ago I used to pull out a recipe for a No Chop Chili.  As time progressed and I became more comfortable in the kitchen I looked at the recipe less and less.  Now I can honestly say I have no idea where that recipe got to, but I do know that chili is a favorite around here.   I like it because I can use what I have on hand and have dinner on the table in a jiffy.  

This pot of chili was made with ground turkey, two kinds of beans, salsa, diced tomatoes, onions, corn, chili powder and oregano.  I use a fresh onion everything else comes out of a can or from the freezer, so I always have the ingredients on hand.  We topped our bowls with a little bit of cheddar and a side of tortilla chips.

Leftovers are great either on top of a burger or mixed with macaroni and cheese sauce.   

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hit or Miss?

Wednesday was a busy evening.  I knew it would be so I stuck a pot roast in the crock pot.  I thought it was an ok dinner.  I was alone in this opinion, so there was a lot of leftovers.  DaGoof proclaimed dinner to be "blander than what DaKids are used to."

Thursday night I decided to be a little creative.  The leftovers were diced up and turned into and Italian style beef and barley soup.  The kids shoveled the soup into their little mouths, and my dad who was visiting ate 2 bowls.  I guess the soup was better than pot roast.

Italian Style Beef and Barley Soup

1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
14 ounce can diced tomatoes
14 ounce can beef broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
pinch of ground red pepper 1 cup barley
2 - 3 cups diced beef, and vegetables (leftovers)
In a large dutch oven saute the fresh vegetables and garlic until they start to get tender.  Add diced tomatoes and liquids, bring to boil.  Add seasonings and barley reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for about 45 minutes.  Toss in leftovers heat until everything is heated through and enjoy.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Meatball Subs

When I have a crazy day planned, and I know there will be very little time to cook I pull out the crock-pot.

I know this doesn't look like a crock-pot dinner but it was. I filled the crock-pot with onions, meatballs, peppers and a can of diced tomatoes. I also added some Italian seasoning and a little bit of wine. After simmering in the crock-pot all day I used the meatballs to make grinders. I sliced a couple of small baguettes from the grocery store, and stuffed them with the meatballs and vegetables from the crock-pot topped it with sliced fresh mozzarella and popped the grinders under the broiler for a few minutes to toast the bread and melt the cheese. These were way better than take out!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Breakfast for Dinner

I was feeling lazy and needed something quick to make, so I whipped up a batch of pancakes with a side of scrambled eggs and sausage. To make the pancakes extra tasty I added a mashed banana and some mini chocolate chips to the batter. The kids loved having breakfast for dinner. I liked that it was quick and easy to get dinner on the table.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fish Sticks & Potatos?

My kids love fish. Then again I think DaKids just love to eat. This was lightly breaded tilapia that I baked in the oven. For a quick side I zapped couple of sweet potatoes in the microwave then whipped them with a pat of butter, a bit of milk, and a touch of maple syrup. DaKids requested corn. Seemed like a good dinner to me, and I think they liked it.

Shrimp & Asparagus

This is one of my favorite springtime dinners. I know I have made this recipe before. I probably only make it a few times a year when the Hadley grass is available everywhere. I did double the recipe so that there would be enough for leftovers for lunch, because everyone loves this dish.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Black Bean Soup

This one was a huge hit with the DaKids because they got chips for dunking in their soup. Like most of the soups I make this one is bits and pieces of stuff that I wanted to use up.

I sauteed up all the leftover veggies in the veggie drawer which included onion, celery, carrots and peppers. I added some chicken broth, a can of diced tomatoes and a a can of black beans. To spice things up I threw in a little chili powder and cumin and then let the pot simmer until DaGoof got home. While he went off to entertain DaKids I pureed the soup and added some turkey kielbasa that had been hiding in the freezer.

For the kids I added a few frozen peas to their bowls to cool off the soup and then we ate it with tortilla chips. Guessing by DaKids smiles they liked this one. Maybe someday I will write enough notes about how I make my soups that I will be able to duplicate them... probably not!

Spicy Red Clam Sauce & Pudding Parfaits

This meal was so fast to make. I had the sauce done before the water boiled. There was a nice little zip to the sauce. DaGoof was in charge of making the salad. While he was doing that I took some extra cake we had in the freezer topped it with a white chocolate instant pudding and tucked dessert into the fridge.

By the time DaKids had cleaned their plates the pudding was set. A squirt of 'cream' as DaKids call it and of course sprinkles made everyone happy. This was a fast and easy dinner I need to make again.

Weekend Pancakes

Every weekend seems to bring at least one lazy morning when we make breakfast and eat together. For the last several months the typical request is for pancakes and sausage. I follow a very simple recipe in my Fanny Farmer cookbook.

I like this recipe because it is simple and quick to put together, and it takes additions well. I typically add cinnamon and fruit. Sometime apples or bananas but the favorite addition is blueberries. The little frozen wild blueberries.

Maple syrup is the best thing to top pancakes with, but DaKids just gobble up blueberry sauce. I make a very yummy blueberry sauce while the pancakes are cooking. I put about two cups of blueberries in a small sauce pan, add a sprinkle or two of cinnamon and a few tablespoons of maple syrup. I let it warm up over low heat, by the time all the pancakes are cooked, we have warm fresh sauce. What could be better?


My parents and siblings were coming over for dinner and I had already promised pizza. I started making my usual pizza crust but in a very distracted moment I poured a cup of water directly into my bread machine. I realized the error almost immediately but water was already dripping out of the bottom. That ment I very quickly needed to find another pizza crust I could make by hand with minimal amount of effort.

In a quick search I found a recipe that looked easy enough, and I prayed that it would be tasty too. I was very pleased with the results.

This pizza had one of the best crusts I have ever made. I followed the pizza crust recipe from King Arthur. Using all the dough to make a thick pizza in my favorite cookie sheet. I did use olive oil on the cookie sheet which gave me the crispiest crust I have ever made. I want to try this recipe again and try some of the other options offered by the recipe.

This particular pizza had very traditional toppings which were requested by the guests. Pizza sauce, peppers, onions, pepperoni and of course mozzarella cheese.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Twice Baked Potatoes with Ham and Cheddar

This was a fun dinner. I microwaved several baking potatoes, and then hollowed out the insides leaving a thick shell. I mashed the potato and added Canadian bacon. Then I stuffed the hallowed out potato shells with the mashed potatoes, topped them with a little cheddar cheese and popped the potatoes in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese. They were served with a side of steamed broccoli with a sprinkling of cheese.

Asisn Shrimp and Vermicelli Salad

This dinner came from "Cooking Light Super fast Suppers". The recipe can also be found online here. I followed the directions for the sauce but I subbed in broccoli and yellow peppers, because that was what I had on hand. I also used a thin whole wheat spaghetti instead of the vermicelli. This was a quick dinner to put together. The sauce was a wonderful sweet and sour flavor that we all enjoyed. I think I may have to make this one again.

The Food We Eat

My wife (DaMom) makes all kinds of wonderful meals for us to eat. Sometimes we never eat the same thing twice even though we liked the recipe. They just get lost. This Blog is to serve as a reminder of the good and bad recipes we eat.

Did I mention a toddler and preschooler eat all of this stuff as well?