Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sample Menu 4

I just posted about how I am loving not having to cook for the fam since we are on vaca and taking serious advantage of others skills - but... that will come to an end tomorrow. We are now staying with my in laws - my Mother in law and I went grocery shopping today and I now have a game plan for this weeks menu. So - here we go...

Sample Menu 4
Sunday - Hot ham and cheese sandwiches and tomato soup
Monday- Grilled chicken, steamed squash, garden salad
Tuesday - Homemade pizza
Wednesday - Penne with Vodka sauce (if you haven't tried it before you have to! You can find it at any grocery store and it is amazing - don't let the 'vodka' throw you off - it's non-alcoholic) green salad and garlic bread
Thursday - New Years Eve! Just doing appetizers: stuffed mushrooms, hot artichoke dip, deviled eggs, blue cheese & tomato dip and buffalo wings.
Friday - Leftovers! It's New Years Day for cryin' out loud!
Saturday - Burgers and onion rings. Avocado, bacon, cheese, tomato, onion and mayo on an Angus patty. Yum. We will be eating at Eddie McStiff's! We stop half way on our way home from SLC - my mouth is watering just thinking about it...

Gourmet Mac n' Cheese

I am so lame! I have been neglecting my food blog - but for a good reason. I have enjoyed taking advantage of others hospitality while on vacation in SLC - and I haven't had to make a meal for over a week now!

We had dinner at my sister in laws house the other night. She and her Mother made this awesome Mac n' Cheese - adult style - that was to die for! Yes, this is the very same sister in law and adopted Mother in law that I speak of often on this blog - they have given me so many amazing recipes! They got this one from Ina Garten...

Ina's Mac n' Cheese
Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
Not exactly fast - but delicious - definitely worth the time!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cheater Sample Menu

With Christmas right around the corner, things will be crazy busy so I am going to be using the best of my cheats this week.

Cheater Sample Menu
Monday: Aunt Leah’s Chicken Salad sandwiches (easy b/c I can make it whenever I have time)
Tuesday: Super Delicious Yum Yum and corn on the cob
Wednesday: Simple Salmon and steamed vegetables (a frozen mix)
Thursday: Kids Fav Cheese Quesadillas and black beans (from a can)
Friday: Hot Dogs and Baked beans (from a can)
Saturday: Tuna melts and Sweet creamed corn (from a can)
Sunday: Orange Chicken, egg rolls (both frozen from Costco and MAN are they good!) and jasmine rice

Hope this gives you a little inspiration and that this may make your busy week a little easier!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Homemade Apple Pie

I have never made a pie - never, ever. I have always been intimidated - like there is some secret that only mothers and grandmothers pass down from generation to generation that I am not privvy to. Don't ask me why I thought that - I am crazy person - that's my usual answer.

This recipe is so easy, quick and fool proof - considering that this is the first time I have ever baked pie and that it turned out looking like this and tasting so delicious that I had 2 servings...

Just look at that flakey crust and mounds of hot spiced apples underneath...
Homemade Apple Pie
8 Fuji apples, peeled and cored and cut into slices (to your liking)
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon, or to taste
2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 t ground nutmeg
a pinch or two of salt
2 Marie Callendars frozen unbaked pie shells
1 T butter (dotted on top)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, flour, nutmeg and salt; mix thoroughly. Pour the spice mix over the apples and stir until the apples are coated.
Line one crust in a 9 inch deep dish pie pan. Place the apples in the pie crust. Dot the apple filling evenly with butter. Fit the top crust over the apples. Press the crust down gently and cut 3 or 4 slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape while the pie bakes
Bake in the preheated oven 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Check the pie after the first 30 minutes of cooking: if the crust is already browned reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cover with foil to allow the apples to cook without the crust burning.

*Of course you can make your pie crust from scratch - but I was in somewhat of a hurry. The Marie Calledar's deep dish frozen pie shells are great. They are nice and deep so your filling can be sky high! Just a tip with the pie shells - set them out 15 to 20 minutes before you need to use them, they will thaw enough for the dough to be easily manipulated so you can crimp the two together (to avoid all that yumminess leaking out!)
**Stick to the 1T butter - tiny little dots will do ya - if you over do it, your filling will be soupy. You could even eliminate the butter dots altogether.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sample Menu

Monday: Kraft's Turkey Noodle Soup and Breadsticks

Tuesday: Shake N Bake extra crispy chicken, Baked Potatoes, Salad

Wednesday: Cafe Rio Pork Frozen Leftover Burritos

Thursday: Manicotti, Salad, Garlic bread (I follow the directions on the back of the American Beauty brand manicotti noodles for this recipe. Super easy and super yummy!)

Friday: Christmas Party

Saturday: Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon

Sunday: Roasted Turkey, Vegetables, Rolls

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Easy Stir Fry

Imagine this dinner on the table in 10 minutes!

My hubs is out of town - we are all busy with the Christmas season - so I have done a TON of 'cheater' dinners lately - it's always a bonus when I can make a great dinner in less than 10 minutes!
All you need are these ingredients...
Easy Stir Fry
Frozen Veggies
Lo Mein noodles
Teriyaki sauce
If you also make this with meat - you can shake the protein (chicken, steak) pieces in flour and add them to 1 T of EVOO on a hot frying pan and fry/flip them until no longer pink. With the veggies and noodles, just follow the directions on their packages. Toss them all together - getting the sauce incorporated well - and enjoy!
You can pick up any frozen veggie mix - the particular mix I prefer (and that is pictured) comes with it's own Thai sauce - but my kids are partial to Mr. Yoshida (Costco). You can use rice, spaghetti, angel hair or vermacelli pasta - whatever you have on hand.
*I obviously added pre-cooked frozen shrimp and fresh diced green onions - yummy. Just thinking about a great dinner on the table in less than 10 minutes with virtually no effort is enough to make me giddy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Creamy Italian Pasta Salad

This is another of my wonderous cheats. Suddenly Salads 'Creamy Italian Pasta Salad' is awesome all on its own, but they give you add in suggestions on the side that make it incredible!

Today I added grape tomatoes and mozzarella cheese (if you have kids - you have string cheese. String cheese = mozzarella people!) Mmmmmm...
This is what it looks like - Once a month or so Albertsons or Smiths will put these on deal 10 for $10 - stock up! They are all great!!


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