Monday Musings & Menu Plans


Oh, my, it’s Monday again.

How did this happen?

Over and over and over again – Monday just keeps sneaking up on us.

Someone really should do something about that.

I’m sitting in my office on this gloomy, rainy Monday morning with my Jabba-the-hut kitty cat sitting in my lap (my legs will be numb soon) and I’m contemplating the week’s activities and menu planning.

It is supposed to rain all day and into tomorrow – which means, to me, it’s a day for soup!  I’m trying out a white bean chicken chili. If it turns out well, I’ll share the recipe with you later in the week. I’ve just concocted something based on reading several recipes online and taking a little from this one and a little from that. We’ll see how it turns out.

As for the rest of the week, here’s what I’ve got planned.

Dinners Lunches
Monday White Bean Chicken Chili leftover chili mac
Tuesday leftover fajitas white bean chicken chili
Wednesday Chicken Fried Rice Salads
Thursday Cheesy breadsticks w/ marinara sauce TBD
Friday dinner out cheesy breadsticks with a salad
Saturday Atlanta Greek Festival (?) sandwiches

I’ve also got to make some sweets for the girls’ lunches. I’m thinking of trying the Pioneer Woman’s granola bars. I’m hoping they turn out better than the last type I made – those fell apart. They were tasty, but they didn’t hold up very well. More crumbly than bar-y.

I’ll probably also make a cake – I made an apple cake on Saturday but it disappeared last night at our gathering with our friends from church.  I love that – when people devour something I cook. Makes my heart happy.

So, that’s my week in the kitchen. If I come up with anything good, I’ll be sure to share with you here on the blog.

What’s cookin’ in your kitchen this weekend?


A Mellow Monday of Menu Planning


Well, hello, there!  Happy Monday to you.IMG_1837[1]

I’m sitting here sipping a cup of my favorite tea, nibbling on a slice of pound cake and contemplating my week.  I’m thinking about what I’d really like to do versus what I have to do…

What I’d like to do includes some crocheting/knitting, a hike on the mountain, some baking and maybe some apple picking.  What I have to do includes work, laundry, early release for school and stuff like that.

Hmmm… which would you prefer? Yeah, me too.

Ah, well, it’s not to be, I guess. I’ll just fit in the fun where I can.

Here’s what I have planned for dinners/lunches this week.  The girls have requested no sandwiches this year for their lunches, so I’ve gotten creative and we’re doing a lot of salads, leftovers and things like that in their lunchboxes.  They’re loving it and I’m happy to see the empty containers coming home instead of half-eaten sandwiches.



  • Monday: bagel bites, apple/clementine, yogurt & granola bar
  • Tuesday: leftover ham slices, cheddar cheese, crackers & fruit
  • Wednesday: chili mac in thermoses
  • Thursday:leftover stir fry rice
  • Friday: salads with grilled chicken

I’m also thinking about making a batch of my baked oatmeal for breakfast and possibly an apple cake for snacks.

What’s cookin’ in your kitchen this week?

Hop on over to for more dinner ideas…


Chicken Fried Rice

Yesterday was a crazy busy day. Last night when it was time to cook, I had no energy, a massive headache and no real “gumption” for cooking anything.

Big Girl suggested take out. or grilled cheese sandwiches. or cereal.

While there was a part of me that fully embraced her ideas, there was another part of me remembering the thawed chicken in the fridge and knowing we’d all feel much better if we had a healthy, home-cooked dinner.

So, I drug myself into the kitchen and tried to decide what to make.  I had planned to make my Asian Chicken Stir Fry, but for some reason, I just didn’t want to make that last night. No particular reason, but it just seemed like an insurmountable task.


Anyway, what I ended up making was sooo good that I thought I’d share with all of you.  I wanted an Asian-type of dinner, but just not the noodles in the stir fry. So, I decided to make my own Chicken Fried Rice.


So yummy.

This makes enough for four healthy servings plus some leftover for lunch the next day (which I am looking forward to!)

Chicken Fried Rice


2 cups cooked, cooled rice
2 eggs, beaten
4-6 chicken thighs
sesame oil
grated carrots (about 1 cup, diced even more)
1 cup shelled edamame (you can get these in the freezer section)
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 small onion, diced finely
minced garlic
ground ginger
soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Houston House Seasoning
Chinese Five Spice Powder


  1. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat some of the sesame oil until it shimmers. Add the chicken thighs, seasoning with sprinkles of the Houston House Seasoning & Chinese Five Spice Powder.
  3. Cook, turning over once or twice, until the chicken is browned.  Remove from skillet to a plate. Wipe skillet out with a paper towel and return to low heat.
  4. Add the eggs to the skillet, scrambling them and cooked through. Remove to a paper plate and wipe the skillet out again.
  5. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add about another tablespoon of sesame oil.
  6. Add the broccoli, onion, edamame, carrots to the skillet & sauté for about five minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. While the veggies are sautéing, dice the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  8. To the skillet of vegetables, add about 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic, another sprinkling of the five spice powder and about 1/2 tsp of ground ginger. (I just sprinkled the five spice and ginger over the vegetables) Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  9. Add the rice to the skillet. The skillet will seem “dry” but you want to brown the rice, so this is OK.  Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. Add the diced chicken to the skillet.
  11. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar with about 1/4 cup of soy sauce. Once your rice is browned, pour this over the rice and stir well.
  12. Add the eggs. Mix.
  13. Drizzle the entire thing with 1-2 teaspoons of sesame oil for a finish.

Serve hot. Enjoy!


Chicken Stir Fry

I mentioned earlier this week that I’d made an absolutely awesome chicken stir fry for dinner the other night. I also made some terrific fried rice. (you can check out that post if you want the fried rice recipe)

I promised, at the time, that I’d share the recipe for the stir fry, so here it is!

I filled mine with all sorts of yummy vegetables.  You can use some liberties here – use what you have, or what you find at the grocery store.


I put broccoli, carrots, garlic, Napa cabbage, onion and bell peppers in ours.

Next time, I’ll probably add some water chestnuts, bok choy and  maybe some bamboo shoots. I just didn’t have any this time. You could also add some snow peas, shredded cabbage… the possibilities are endless.

The girls break out in hives when they see that many vegetables on a plate, so they ran for cover and opted for the fried rice with chicken only, pleaseandthankyouverymuch. But, they ate their entire dinners and there were “secret” veggies hidden in the fried rice so I didn’t worry too much.

SuperMan and I thoroughly enjoyed the stir fry, however. And we enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day, too. So good.

Give this a try sometime you have a craving for some “Chinese” food. I think it is so much better than the takeout you get. (and cheaper!)


Chicken Fried Rice


1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch

Stir Fry

1 pound chicken, cut in bite-sized cubes
1 tsp dried ginger
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1-2 cups broccoli florets
1-2 cups Napa cabbage, julienned
1 bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 cup carrot, julienned & diced finely
(any other veggies you want to add)

sesame oil

  1. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
  2. In a large wok or sauté pan, heat sesame oil (about 1-2 Tbsp).
  3. Sauté chicken until cooked; 7-8 minutes.
  4. Add ginger, garlic, carrots, onion & pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently. Veggies should be crisp, yet tender.
  6. Pour the sauce mixture over the vegetables & chicken. Stir to coat everything thoroughly and let simmer for a few minutes to thicken.
  7. Serve over fried rice or steamed rice.

Chicken Fried Rice

I had a hankering for fried rice on Tuesday.  I had planned to do leftovers (quesadillas) for dinner, but I kept thinking about the fact that I needed to pre-cook some chicken for Wednesday night’s dinner and if I was going to do that, why didn’t I just make some stir-fry chicken and fried rice?

So, that’s exactly what I did.

And I have to say, it was one of the best stir-fries I have made and most definitely the best fried rice. Totally awesome.

I made it in stages – making the fried rice first and storing it in a pre-heated sauce pot (heated by boiling some water in it and then pouring the water out) while I cooked the chicken stir fry.

I found the source recipe for my fried rice here, but, of course, I modified it to suit my family’s tastes and what I had in the pantry.  The only change I think I’ll make next time I make it is to add some toasted sesame seeds and maybe try to sneak in some more veggies. (diced teeny tiny so the kids will eat them)

This would be a good meal all by itself. With the edamame (soy beans) and eggs, you have your proteins and the addition of some veggies would make it a good, rounded meal. And it tastes SO GOOD.

You can find the edamame in the freezer section at the grocery store. Just be sure you get the hulled version. I wouldn’t want to be shelling soybeans if I didn’t have to!


Fried Rice


1 egg, beaten
1 cup rice (cooked, yield ~2 cups)
Sesame Oil
~ 1  cup carrots, diced fine
1 cup shelled edamame
1/2 onion, diced fine
1 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce (reduced sodium)
2 Tbsp brown sugar


  1. Cook rice. Let cool.
  2. In a large skillet or wok, spray pan with nonstick spray. Add your egg and cook until scrambled.  Remove to plate and clean skillet.
  3. In the same skillet, heat approximately 1 Tbsp sesame oil.
  4. Add vegetables to the skillet & sauté until the onions begin to become transparent, stirring frequently. (about 4-5 min)
  5. Add rice to skillet.  Cook until the rice is browning and becoming crispy. Depending on how hot your skillet is, this can take 5-9 minutes.  The pan does not need any additional oil or moisture at this time. You are trying to brown the rice.
  6. While the rice is browning, whisk together the ginger, garlic, soy sauce & brown sugar.
  7. One the rice is browned, add the egg and the soy sauce mixture to the rice/veggies and stir well.
  8. Drizzle the rice with a little more sesame oil and serve.

I served it to the girls with some of the chicken I cooked for the stir fry that SuperMan and I ate with the rice. They gobbled it up happily.


(that’s a o sooo good food MB says) – I found this typed in my blog writer after I got back from taking the girls to school. I guess that is her editorial contribution. Smile

I’ll share the stir fry recipe later this week. It was the perfect accompaniment to the fried rice. I can’t wait for lunch today to eat the leftovers!

Teriyaki Chicken & Fried Rice

I mentioned on Facebook last night that I’d made an absolutely awesome teriyaki chicken and fried rice recipe.  I thought I’d share it with you today.  Unfortunately, there were not enough leftovers to get a picture to show you, and in the hustle of getting food on the table, I totally forgot last night. Sad smile

But it tastes awesome. I promise.

This is one of those easy weeknight dinners, too. I think I had it on the table in less than 30 minutes. Two recipes… make them separately if you wish, or serve them together like I did.  The girls preferred plain white rice to the fried rice, but they don’t know what they were missing. That was the best part of the dinner to me.

Teriyaki Chicken

For the Teriyaki chicken, the base was just as simple as can be – chicken thighs marinated in a teriyaki sauce.  I used Veri Veri Teriyaki.  It is an all natural teriyaki and I love the flavor it has.

I started out with frozen thighs, so I marinated the partially-defrosted thighs for about an hour in a Tupperware with about 1/2 cup of this sauce.  Then I cut the thighs into bite-sized pieces and put them back in the marinade to soak for another half hour or so. I find that chicken is easier to cut into small pieces when it’s partially frozen.  Less slippy-slidey that way.  This is something you could easily skip and just marinade/defrost the chicken in a Tupperware in your freezer while you’re working during the day.

Once I was ready to cook the chicken, I just put some olive oil and about 1 tsp of sesame oil in a hot skillet. I sautéed the chicken (marinade and all) until it was cooked (about 10 min) and let it simmer until the water cooked out of the marinade. I was left with a nice, shiny glaze on the chicken.

In a separate pot, I cooked about 1 cup of rice. 

For the girls, I served a small bowl of the rice with a serving of the chicken on the side.  Fruit rounded out their meal.

Fried Rice

2-3 cups (cooked) rice
1/2 bag frozen vegetables (I used Publix Japanese Blend)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp olive oil
Soy Sauce (about 2 Tbsp)
Emeril’s Asian Seasoning (you could also use Chinese Five Spice Powder)

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Once oil is shimmering in the pan, put your rice in and stir to heat through.

Add your soy sauce (to taste) and the frozen vegetables, heating through. I covered the pan while the veggies thawed and this helped to use the steam to moisten the rice a little more (I was using leftover rice)

Let this cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the garlic and sprinkle generously with Asian Seasoning.

Serve with the Teriyaki chicken. YUM.


I just realized the Asian Essence I reference above (Emeril’s) is no longer available (mine is old, I guess!) but here is a recipe you might try – the source says it is from Food Network, but I could not find it there to link you directly to it. It looks pretty close, though, and like I said before, you could just use Chinese Five Spice Powder and be good to go.

Emeril’s Asian Spice Blend:

1 tablespoon 5-spice powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon cayenne

In a small bowl, blend all the ingredients. Keep in an airtight container until ready to use.

(we) just have to try this…

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for something new to try – and yet I always seem to stick to the same tried-and-true recipes. I think it is because it is easier on a busy week night to stick with what you know (and know your family will eat!) than to break out the new recipes.

It is more about getting people fed than it is about being creative and trying new things. (or at least it is for me)

But, there are days when I just want something new and fresh and different.

And Saturdays are usually my “experimental” cooking days – Saturdays or Mondays. Saturdays are good because I have all the time in the world and can experiment to my heart’s content. Mondays are good because I’m (relatively) rested from the weekend and (more importantly) everyone is out of the house and I have peace and quiet to craft, create and experiment with new recipes.

But I’m always on the hunt for things other people have tried and loved and today I thought I’d share with you another list of the recipes I’ve flagged lately as “must try this.”

Okay, that’s all for now – any recipes you are dying to try? Share them with the rest of us in the comments!