Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday Jan 31-Feb 4

     We've been to two birthday parties in two weeks, and we have one more this week. It's also my husband's birthday this week, so look for a fancy dessert recipe coming up! I'm thinking something chocolate and peanut butter and somewhat cake-like. MMM, I almost can't wait until Wednesday...I'm also hoping the groundhog does not see his shadow that day. I'm so ready for Spring: as I write, we are under an ice storm warning with the possibility of that being changed to a blizzard warning. *Thinking warm things now*
     January is always a really hard month budget-wise. I guess we are still recovering from Christmas and all the traveling that goes with that. Maybe it's all the birthday parties we go to. I'm really going to start focusing on getting back on budget and finding great penny-pinching recipes along the way. I'm committed to eating healthy food on a very slim budget. I think that's my goal for this year: back on budget.
     This week I spent about $35 at the store. Here's what we are having:

cereal and banana
toast and eggs

cheese sticks
mini rice cakes:smore's flavor

Dinners/lunch for leftovers:
Pumpkin and Bacon Pasta Salad
Pizza Hut (birthday Party)
Ham Steak, dinner rolls, broccoli (all from freezer)
stroganoff, green beans (ground turkey from freezer)
breakfast pizza with homemade crescent rolls

Head over to OrgJunkie for hundreds of other menu plans

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Blueberry French Toast

     When I was younger, my grandpa made me something that he called "french toast" and it was the most disgusting thing ever. He basically took a piece of bread and put it in a bowl, poured milk over the top and sprinkled with cinnamon...soggy bread *YUCK!* For years, I thought this was french toast and refused to eat it when someone offered to make it. Finally, someone made real french toast (without asking me first) and  I loved it. I like to refer to my grandpas recipe as "milk toast" (shudder). Ever since, I have loved french toast and try to find ways to make it a little different.
     I don't usually buy specialty breads when I shop, but one day I saw blueberry crumble bread and thought it sounded fabulous. It was in the same section as the cinnamon swirl breads.
     It was really good. I even enjoyed it toasted with only butter. Then, I thought how great would it be to use it to make french toast! So yummy. Here's what I did.

1/3c milk
1 egg
2 tsp honey, warmed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
blueberry crumble bread (or any bread)
  • Combine milk, egg, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla in a pie plate.
  • Dip bread in milk mixture, making sure to soak up on both sides.
  • place on hot griddle. Flip when browned.
  • Serve with pancake syrup...or blueberry syrup.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Most Viewed of 2010

     I just looked back at the stats for 2010 and thought I would post some links to the most viewed recipes of the year in case you missed them the first time around. I should have done this at the beginning of the month, but oh well. It's interesting to see what others are looking at. I hope you enjoy!

Number 1: Pizza Roll Ups

Number 2: Aztec Chicken  (You know, similar to the one Red Lobster doesn't have anymore)

Number 4: Beer, Pepperoncini, & Pot Roast

Penny-Pinching Provisions: Pizza Roll Ups

Pizza Roll Up Burritos by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

Blueberry Cheesecake Pancakes

     Every year when we have Christmas with my family, my mom makes this breakfast casserole which includes eggs and sausage...and soggy bread! I think I'm the only one who refuses to eat it. She has made it every year for as long as I can remember, and every year for as long as I can remember, I have eaten cereal for Christmas breakfast.  This year was a little different (finally!), we had these blueberry pancakes. They were amazing and I would totally eat them for dessert or any other time of day because they were just that good.
     We did make a few alterations to the posted recipe, which I'm sure is equally good. We are just a little picky about our pancakes around here, and why fix what isn't broken? Enjoy.

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened 
3/4 cup whipped topping
1-1/2 c flour 
1-3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 Tbl sugar
1 c milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten 
3 Tbl butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries(not thawed)
 3/4 cup maple syrup, warmed
Additional blueberries, optional

  • For topping:  in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and whipped topping until smooth. Chill until serving.
  • For pancakes: combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Combine milk, eggs, butter and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in 1 cup blueberries. Scoop 1/4 cup batter onto griddle. Flip when edges start to turn.
  • Spread topping over pancakes. Top with syrup and additional blueberries.
  This is linked to Sweet As Sugar Cookies....

Cheesecake Theme

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ginger chicken

     I love Chinese food, but we can't always afford to go for takeout. It's more healthy and much cheaper to make this version at home. It definitely was not lacking in flavor and hit the spot when I was craving Chinese last week. We had this with brown rice and broccoli. We used chicken, but you could use steak or pork for different flavors.

for 4 servings
2 tsp oil
1-lb chicken, diced
1 c chicken broth
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c chopped ginger
1/4 c soy sauce
2 Tbl molasses
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp mustard
2 tsp coriander
  • Heat oil and and add chicken. Cook until browned, but not all the way done (will finish later).
  • Add the broth, onion, ginger, soy sauce, molasses, garlic powder, mustard, and coriander. Simmer until softened. 
  • Add meat to skillet and simmer until meat is cooked through.

Three Bean Stew

   In winter, I want warm, hearty dishes. I hate being cold, so I feel like this makes my body think it's actually warmer than it is. When I saw this recipe and decided to make it, I didn't realize how much it would taste like chili. I was surprised how filling it was since it didn't have any meat. I think you could easily add ground turkey or even chicken for extra heartiness if you wanted, but you really don't need it! We had a side of cornbread muffins.

1 Tbl olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbl minced garlic
28oz diced fire roasted tomato
1tsp cumin
1tsp chili powder
1 can butter beans, rinsed & drained
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1 c frozen chopped spinach
  • Heat oil over medium high. Add onion and cook until softened. Add garlic.
  • Add tomatoes, cumin, and chili powder. Simmer for 5 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, place 1-1/2 cups beans and 1/2 cup broth in blender. Add cilantro and puree.
  • Add beans, broth, and bean puree to pot. Simmer.
  • Add in spinach and simmer until heated. 
  • Serve with a dash of red pepper if you want added heat.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Menu Jan 23--Jan 26

     I'm behind (surprise, surprise) this week, but it's better late than never I guess. We had a wonderful weekend visiting with family from out of town. We only get to see them once a year, so it was a special time. I still feel like we are recovering from Christmas, or maybe the snow has depressed me enough that I can't get motivated. I'm ready for Spring, that's for sure!
Here's what we are planning on this week...

breakfast sandwich using Canadian bacon
peanut butter banana split
berry baked oatmeal

Cheese sticks
Yogurt, Plain with fruit and honey added
Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate chip cookies (use as posted, but sub nuts for choc. chips)

Meatloaf, baked sweet potatoes w/garlic &herb laughing cow, dinner roll
chicken w/olive oil & garlic, broccoli
rotini w/homemade sauce, salad
tortilla free burrito, baked corn chips
pita pizzas

Head over to OrgJunkie for hundreds more menu plans and recipes!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread

     This is a fantastic basic wheat bread sweetened with molasses. It is very good heated up with a little bit of butter. I made this to have on the side of Chicken, Feta, Mandarin Spinach Salad.

Adapted from Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook
1-1/2 Tbl sugar
2 tsp salt
1pkg (or 2-1/4tsp) yeast
2 c whole wheat flour
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 c whole wheat flour
1-1/8 c milk
2Tbl +2tsp butter
2Tbl + 2tsp molasses
  • In large bowl, combine sugar, salt, yeast, 1-1/2c flour.
  • In saucepan over low heat, heat milk, butter, and molasses until very warm.
  • Gradually add liquid into dry ingredients (mixer on low). Increase speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the remainder of the flour to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  • Shape into ball and place in greased bowl, turning once to grease top. cover, and let rise until doubled or about an hour.
  • Punch down dough. Turn on to flour surface. Cut in half, cover and rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a 9x5 loaf pan.
  • With lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into 12x8 rectangle. Starting at narrow end, roll up and pinch edges to seal. Place the roll, seam side down, in loaf pan.
  • Cover with towel. Let rise in warm place until doubled, or about an hour
  • Preheat oven to 400*. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden and sound hollow when tapped lightly with fingers. Remove from pan immediately to prevent soggy bottoms. Cool on wire racks.

Chicken, Feta, Mandarin, Spinach Salad

     I'm generally not a fan of salads for dinner, but I thought I would give this a try. I was surprised to find that I was satisfied at the end of the meal. This salad is very flavorful and super easy to make. I also made a loaf of homemade whole wheat bread to go along with it.
Adapted from Biggest Loser Family Cookbook

Spinach leaves, stems removed
1 can unsweetened mandarin oranges, drained
1-1/2oz crumbled feta
1/2 c red onion slivers
balsamic vinaigrette
Chicken, sauteed in Mrs. Dash's garlic and herb
  • In a large bowl, combine spinach, oranges, feta, and onion.
  • Pour vinaigrette over the mixture and toss.
  • Divide among four salad bowls. 
  • Top each with chicken and serve.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday Jan 17--Jan 21

     I'm having writer's block on writing an introduction statement today. So, short and sweet, here is the menu for the week...

Oatmeal with peaches and cinnamon
whole wheat bagels with fruit and eggs(on the side)
cereal with bananas

fruit and yogurt smoothies
cheese sticks
Chicken salad on sandwich thins

bruschetta topped chicken and broccoli
beer stew mexicana (we never got to this last week)
ginger chicken, brown rice, and broccoli
bean soup

Head over to OrgJunkie for hundreds more menu plans...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Crock Pot Ribs

     This recipe has been in my file to post for a couple of weeks now, so I think it's finally time to do so. I pretty much love the crock-pot. You can put things in the pot in the morning, be gone all day, and come home to a home cooked meal. It's like you have your own personal maid. On a side note, have you heard of Besides, I have this habit of going on playdates with other stay at home moms. Sometimes this leaves very little time to prepare dinner, and with the crockpot this is not a problem.
     This recipe is the way my mom always made ribs when I was younger, only slightly altered.  I used less BBQ sauce and added soda. The meat just falls apart. The best part is, with so few ingredients, it's relatively inexpensive to make once you buy the ribs. This whole dinner, with those chicken flavored noodles, cost about $6 to make.

Country style Pork ribs (no bones)
Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce
1 can Pepsi (or Mt. Dew, or Dr Pepper, or whatever)
  • Place ribs in the crock. 
  • Pour half bottle of BBQ sauce on top. 
  • Pour can of soda on top.
  • Cook on low for 6 hours.
  • Add more BBQ sauce at the table if you wish.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Easy Caprese

     Like most people, I'm still on a mission to get healthy, though I really started this journey back in October. I'm excited to still be motivated and feel like things are coming together....things like the button on my pants. I'm really ready for these New Year's people to become regulars to my gym, or go ahead and quit so I can have my treadmill back.
     One way I have stayed motivated is to eat a variety of foods. It just wouldn't work for me, or this blog for that matter, if I ate the same thing week in and week out. I found this recipe for Caprese Salad in The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook. I wasn't really sure if I would like it since I don't like plain tomatoes all that much, but it seemed a little like the bruschetta that I make in the summer time. I did like it...actually I loved it. J said it was his favorite part of the meal. We actually ended up putting slices of the salad on top of the chicken, which turned out bland.
     This is actually pretty inexpensive to make as well. I bought a pack of 8 tomatoes at Aldi for about $1.99. I had all the other ingredients on hand.

for 1 serving
1 tomato, I used plum
1/2tsp olive oil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
mozzarella cheese, shredded
basil, (I used dried, but fresh would be better)
  • Slice tomato into 1/4 inch slices.
  • Place one slice in the center of a plate. Spread the other slices around the center slice to create a circle. 
  • Sprinkle olive oil on top of tomato. 
  • Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

Roma Tomatoes

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Menu Plan Jan 10--Jan 15

         This week is full of new recipes for us to try. It's supposed to snow a lot, so I figured since we would be trapped at home this would be the week to try some new recipes. I'm looking forward to relaxing in my nice warm kitchen and forgetting about the winter snow. I'm so ready for spring. I say every year that I should move somewhere warmer...

    baked oatmeal
    breakfast sandwich 
    egg roll ups

    banana bread
    carrot sticks w/ veggie cream cheese
    fruit w/ plain yogurt and honey
    Honey pecan chicken salad pitas 

    Dinners (leftovers for lunch):
    baked chicken and caprese salad
    spinach salad w/ feta, mandarins, and chicken; rolls
    stuffed bell peppers
    sloppy joe meatloaf, broccoli
    beer stew mexicana
    szechuan beef and broccoli (or out, since Mom is babysitting!)

    Head over to OrgJunkie for hundreds more menu plans!

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Crock Pot Spaghetti

         I got this recipe from my mom. She always made it when we had family reunions...and if she didn't make it, she heard about it. For whatever reason, we haven't had a family reunion in years and one great aunt was talking about how much she missed this spaghetti. My mom made her a special batch of it.
         I made this for Christmas dinner this year. I know, it's not the most traditional dinner, but I have a one year old and she thinks spaghetti is the greatest culinary creation. She really liked the pieces of pepperoni in it, too. I really liked that it's made in the slow cooker, so I didn't have to do much to get it ready. I just enjoyed the day. For sides, we had salad and braided herb bread. For dessert, we had pumpkin dump cake...recipe coming soon!

    serves 6-8
    1 lb ground chuck (turkey, sausage, or combination)
    1-1/2 tsp onion powder
    1-1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 tsp mustard (or mustard powder)
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1/2 tsp oregano (or Italian seasoning)
    8oz tomato sauce
    4 oz can mushrooms
    3-1/2--4cups tomato juice
    1 pkg pepperoni
    1-1/2c dry spaghetti, break 4 times
    • Brown meat and drain well.
    • Place in crock pot. 
    • Add all remaining ingredients, except spaghetti.
    • Stir well.
    • Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high for 3-1/2 hours.
    • Turn to high the last hour and add spaghetti pieces. Add a little tomato juice, if needed, at this time.

      Spaghetti on FoodistaSpaghetti

      Monday, January 3, 2011

      Menu plan Monday Jan3-7

           I love the month of December and all the family and social gatherings, but I won't lie, I'm ready to get back to "normal" life. I'm so excited for this weekend, and having nothing to do. I'm excited for this week, and having nothing to bake. I'm excited for this year, and all the new things that will happen....Okay. Enough of this stuff.
           Here's are menu plan for this week.

      Whole wheat bagels w/cream cheese and jelly
      Breakfast sandwiches
      Banana bread muffins
      best ever pancakes w/blueberry syrup

      Carrots w/ veggie cream cheese
      yogurt w/fruit

      Spaghetti w/ spinach and carrots hidden in the sauce
      Chicken Pot Pie
      IKEA meatballs and cream sauce w/ lingonberry preserves
      party pizzas
      Taco Casserole

      Head over to orgjunkie for more menu plans!

      Special Note

      For the present, anonymous comments are not allowed at Robin, Restored due to the large number of spam comments that make it through Blogger's spam filter. I'm sorry about those of you who comment as Anonymous and sign your names. I'll try later to enable the function again.
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