Mid-week meal check-in

I mentioned on Monday I was planning to make meatloaf this week.

Well, I cooked it for dinner Tuesday night. It was a big hit.

I also made roasted vegetables. Loved the fact that everything went into the oven and I didn’t have to stand at the stove while my dinner cooked. Almost as good as the crock-pot.

I thought I’d share the recipes for the different menu items with you because this was a really, really good meal. Very filling – one of those nights when I actually wished my little tummy wasn’t so little so I could enjoy more.

Big Girl says that everyone at school says their meatloaf tastes awful. She said she told them you haven’t had my Mama’s meatloaf, then. *grin*

no… not THAT meatloaf!

Mama’s Meatloaf

(click on the link to print)

2 lbs ground beef
2 eggs
~ 2/3 cup bread crumbs
~ 1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp dried minced onion
1 tbsp minced garlic

Houston House Seasoning or Season Salt

Glaze:
1/4 cup ketchup
1/8 cup Splenda brown sugar blend (or 1/4 cup brown sugar)
1/4 cup honey bbq sauce
1 tsp ground mustard

  1. In a large bowl, mix milk and bread crumbs. Mix to combine and let sit for about 2-3 minutes. You will need only enough milk to coat the bread crumbs to make a paste – maybe a tiny bit more.
  2. Add meat, eggs, & seasonings. Be careful not to over mix the ground beef or it gets tough. It’s gross, but I use my hands to mix this part. You just can’t do a good job with a spoon or fork.
  3. Mold into a loaf shape. I put mine in a stoneware loaf pan. Cover with foil.
  4. Bake at 350 for about an hour and a half.  After about an hour remove foil and add glaze. Bake uncovered for at least another 30 minutes.
  5. Let rest about 5 minutes (tented with foil) before serving.

If you are making mini-meatloaves, use a muffin tin and make them into fist-sized meatballs. Bake at 375 for about 30-40 minutes.  Add glaze in the last 10 minutes of cooking.

~*~

Nothing outstanding about the making of these potatoes, but they sure cook up good.

Roasted Potatoes

2-3 Russet potatoes, washed and cut lengthwise into spears or wedges.
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
Paprika
Houston House Seasoning

  1. In a large zip top bag, combine all ingredients. Shake well.
  2. Pour out potatoes on baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes.
  4. Finish on Low Broil setting for about 5 minutes to crisp up the skins.

 ~*~

Remember my post a while back about “the best broccoli you will ever eat?”  Well, I finally got around to trying this recipe. All I can say is, “Broccoli, where have you been all my life?”  This takes broccoli to a whole new dimension in flavor. Nothing like the “regular” broccoli we eat all the time. Soooo good.

Try this.

Trust me.

You won’t be disappointed.

Roasted Broccoli

Ok, there you go. Now you have the perfect menu for dinner tomorrow night. Or tonight if you have time to get the ingredients on your way home.

Your family will thank you.

You should bake this

I have it on good authority (my mom) that this is one of the best cakes you will ever bake.  She has just baked it and called me to tell me to bake it right away.  I have one in the oven, because, as we all know, I’m a very obedient daughter.  Of course I hung up the phone and started mixing! Mama said to!

I’m baking 2 small loaf cakes because I’m taking one to a friend who just had surgery. Everyone knows cake is the best medicine when you are recovering from surgery.  That, and my great-grandma’s sausage-rice casserole.  That’ll cure anything that’s wrong with you.

Brown sugar cake

Now that I've baked the cake and had a teensy-tiny sample, I can tell you it is soooo good. There's a rich, buttery taste to it.  I am thinking it would be great served on a cool fall morning with some tea or coffee.

Next time I make it I may add some diced apple and/or cinnamon.

But it is definitely worth a try.

Brown Sugar Cake

  • 1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
  • 1 pkg.  (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2/3 cup  BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
  • 2/3 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup  Oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup  chopped PLANTERS Pecans
  • 2 tsp. Powdered sugar
  1.  HEAT oven to 350ºF.
  2. BEAT first 6 ingredients with mixer 3 min. or until well blended. Add brown sugar and nuts; mix well.
  3. POUR into 12-cup fluted tube pan or 10-inch tube pan sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. BAKE 1 hour or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan 15 min. Loosen cake from sides of pan; invert onto wire rack. Remove pan; cool cake completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

I also added about 2-3 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar to the cake pan after I’d sprayed it with non-stick spray and before I poured the cake in. Next time, I may get crazy and add some to the cake, too.

*Click on the cake name to get a printable copy of the recipe. 🙂

Oh, and I'll be sitting over there in the corner in a diabetic coma after my little taste. If you need me, just nudge me.

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Flying by the seat of my pants

My menu plan was out the window this week. Between travel over the weekend and the Labor Day holiday AND a raging cold, thinking about what to eat/cook this week was just beyond my capacity on Sunday or Monday.

So, I’ve been winging it.  Which is a little stressful, a lot more expensive, but is also blossoming my creativity. What can I cook with what I have on hand and without a trip to the fast-food takeout joints?Weight Watchers Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Tonight’s dinner?

Chicken Parmesan.

YUM.

I love Chicken Parm. It brings back memories from my (Italian) childhood. Lots of cheese, garlic, tomato sauce, and of course, chicken.

Today I tried a crock-pot recipe for Chicken Parmesan recipe. I checked out several “traditional” recipes and a few crock-style recipes and invented my own version.

One thing I did differently was that I did not bread my chicken. My grandmother may be watching from up above thinking this is a sacrilege but I was trying to eliminate the extra carbohydrates and I figured that was an easy way to do it. Besides, in the crock pot, the breading would’ve just turned to mush. And I don’t need bready mush – ever. 

I also didn’t make my traditional tomato sauce that I use for spaghetti and most anything else Italian I make.  (Grandma may decide to disown me now.)

I figured I was going to try the super-easy, super-simple method and see how it turned out. So, I just used an extra-large can of crushed tomatoes and seasoned them with some garlic, Italian seasoning and my Houston House Seasoning.

And, I used high-protein pasta.  I like Barilla Plus. They have an angel hair pasta, so that made the decision easy for me.  I like the fact that I’m feeding my family the extra protein and vitamins without the white flour and fillers in regular pasta.

The verdict?

Major yumminess.  And major easiness, too. A win-win as far as I’m concerned.

The kids loved it, too.

I served it with garlic bread and SuperMan will probably get a salad with his (when he gets home from work, that is)

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • 4-6 Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • Houston House Seasoning
  • Italian seasoning
  • Garlic (I use diced garlic in the jar but you can press 2-3 cloves fresh garlic)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch of celery seed
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 pound of angel hair pasta
  • Garlic Bread (you can’t eat this without it!)

Preparation:

  1. Season chicken breasts with Houston House Seasoning.
  2. In a large skillet, brown chicken breasts in olive oil.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the crushed tomatoes, sugar, celery seed, about 2 Tbsp of Italian seasoning and 2 Tbsp of minced garlic.
  4. Add your chicken to the slow cooker.
  5. Pour tomato mixture on top.
  6. Set your slow cooker on low and let the chicken cook for 6-8 hrs.
  7. When you are ready to serve, boil your pasta water and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  8. While the pasta is cooking, place the chicken breasts in an oven safe dish and top with about 1/2 cup of the tomato mixture on each breast. 
  9. Sprinkle some of the cheese on top of the chicken.
  10. Bake in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese.
  11. Serve the chicken on a bed of pasta that has been topped with about 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce that is left over in your slow cooker.

And here’s a link where you can print your own copy.

 

And, as my grandpa would say… mangi!

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What’s for Dinner?

Here’s one of my favorite go-to recipes for the nights that SuperMan is working late and it’s just me and the girls for dinner.

Sesame Chicken BitesSesame Chicken Bites

Yum.

My girls love them just like they are straight out of the oven. No sauces, ketchup or anything needed.

I make them with two gallon sized zip top bags.

I use one for the mayo base coat mixture.  The second is used to hold the breading coating.  Easy cleanup and easy prep. Love that.

I use flash-frozen chicken tenders and cut them into bite-sized pieces.  This makes the dinner such a snap to make!

Here’s the recipe.  I think it would also be great to serve at a cocktail party with a little honey mixed with horseradish for a dipping sauce.

Sesame Chicken Bites

1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup (apprx) sesame seeds
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp Houston House Seasoning
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (Cut in bite-sized pieces)
(you can also use chicken tenders cut into pieces)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large gallon zip top bag, mix the bread crumbs and sesame seeds. Add a dash of Houston House Seasoning
  3. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, mustard & house seasoning.  Pour into a second gallon zip bag.
  4. Drop chicken pieces into the mayo bag and toss to coat.  I usually let the pieces sit in the bag in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Drop the mayo-coated chicken into the bread crumb/sesame seed mixture and toss to coat.
  6. Place chicken nuggets on sheet pan that has been sprayed with oil.
  7. Bake at 425 for approximately 15-20 minutes (or until chicken is done and coating is lightly browned)

I serve them with homemade french fries, a little fruit and sometimes some yogurt. Quick and easy – and healthy!

You can print the recipe here.

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What do monkeys eat for breakfast?

Have you ever wondered what monkeys eat for breakfast?

I don’t mean the monkeys you’ll find at the zoo.

I mean the monkeys you’ll find if you visit my house!

Curious?

Well, most, days, the monkeys have exciting things like Carnation Instant Breakfast served with side of toast or pop tarts.

But on Fridays, we mix things up a bit. SuperMan is off on Fridays, so I have a little more time in the mornings. Less rush-rush-rush and more nurture-the-family time.

So, I make things like this

imgp3113

Yep, you guessed it!

Monkey Bread!

The kids were not sure they were going to like it – Little Bit was afraid there were monkeys in the bread. Big Girl said it didn’t sound good.

But they LOVED it.

And SuperMan (after telling me I was ruining his diet) ate some, too.

Even Mr. Droopy-Pants had a taste.

imgp3114

And I sent them all away for the day, full of sugar and carbs and bouncing off the walls.

I’m sure their teachers appreciated it.

I’m such a good mom.

If you’d like to indulge in a little sugary goodness one morning, here’s the recipe.  I am most definitely not a morning person and this wasn’t painful to make, even though it was five-stinkin’-thirty in the morning.  I’ll do it again for sure. It was worth the effort.

Monkey Bread

It’s what monkeys eat for breakfast!

2 packages Pillsbury Grands Biscuits
1 cup sugar (I used 1/4 c Splenda 1/2 c sugar)
2 tbs ground cinnamon (I just dump a bunch in)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup, packed, brown sugar (I used 1/2 c Splenda/brown sugar blend)
1 tsp vanilla

OPTIONAL:
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/2 c raisins
(the monkeys at my house don’t like raisins or walnuts)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease 9 or 10 inch tube/Bundt pan.
    Note: if you use a tube pan with a removable bottom, put a cookie sheet on the oven rack below it to catch any drips of the caramel sauce that may seep through and be careful when you dump the bread from the pan.
  3. In a gallon zip lock bag, mix the sugar & cinnamon.
  4. Cut the biscuits into quarters and drop them into the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
    (I cut mine into sixths because the Grands are such big biscuits)
  5. Shake to coat and then drop the coated biscuit pieces into the tube pan.
  6. Continue until all biscuits are coated and placed in the pan.
    If you are using nuts/raisins, don’t forget to sprinkle them in as you are adding the biscuits to the pan.
  7. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together.
  8. Add the vanilla.
  9. Let it simmer for about a minute.
  10. Pour over the biscuits.
  11. Bake at 350 for 35 – 40 minutes.
  12. When you take the bread out of the pan, let is sit for a few minutes to allow the caramel to set.
  13. Turn out onto a large plate and let your hungry monkeys pull it apart (carefully) and enjoy!

Print the recipe here

The Best Broccoli You’ll Ever Eat?!?

I just stumbled across this recipe/blog this morning (sorry, I can’t find the blog I linked from to find this blog – I’m getting old and my attention span is less than 3 seconds long – and my short term memory is shorter than that!)

ANYWAY

I’m going to try this tonight (or tomorrow night) and I’ll let you know how it tastes.  IMG_1.JPG

Photo is from the Amateur Gourmet’s blog

I’m on a campaign to get my girls to eat more vegetables – and find ways to cook them so they taste good enough that they will WANT to eat them.

This recipe sounds like it might actually do the trick. It’s for roasted broccoli.

Yes, ROASTED.  But it sounds yummy – it’s got garlic (a necessity in my house) and lemon zest/juice on the broccoli.

It just might work.

I’ll keep you posted.

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