Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sausage and Potato Soup

I made this up on the fly tonight.  I don't know why I decided to put breakfast sausage in soup, but it really worked.  It was inhaled at my house!

Sausage and Potato Soup
Serves 3 gluttons, apparently.

1 pound pork breakfast sausage
1 medium onion, diced
3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn 
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. caraway seeds
1 pinch celery seeds
1/2 t. black pepper

salt to taste (depending on your sausage you may not need any)
3 T. cornstarch mixed with 1/4 c. cold water
1/2 cup heavy cream
hot sauce to taste

In a soup pot, fry sausage and onion over medium heat until browned.  Once the meat is cooked through, add potatoes and continue to cook five more minutes.  Add chicken broth, corn,garlic, caraway seeds, celery seeds, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Return to a boil and add cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until slightly thickened.  Reduce heat to medium low; add cream and hot sauce and cook a few minutes more or until the cream is warmed through.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Menu Plan Sept 27 - October 3

How was everyone's week?  This week really started to feel like fall.  Yay!  I just looked at the forecast and it's still going to be a warm week, but I think most of the 80+ degree days are behind us.  I am looking forward to blustery, cold, rainy weather!

We deviated from the menu quite a bit last week.  I'll admit it, I forgot to get a few things at the grocery store!  I made breaded pork chops one night, and a delicious ham and potato soup another night. 

We also ate out on Friday - the local Panda Express had their grand opening, and it was a fundraiser for our new library building, so we went out to support the cause.  They had a prize wheel and Caitlyn won a free kids meal and I won a free entree!  We saved those for next time since it was a fundraiser.  

Tonight we're having pizza at a family gathering.  Here's the plan for the rest of the week: 

Spaghetti and meatballs, roasted broccoli, garlic bread (Caitlyn's cooking)
Corned beef hash
Chorizo chili
Baked ziti (didn't actually have the stuff to make this last week)
Pork and cabbage stir fry (didn't get to this last week)
Hamburger casserole (also didn't get to this!)
Garlic noodles with chicken

Have a great week everyone, and good eating to you!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ham and Potato Soup

Made this up for dinner tonight.  It was so delicious I thought I'd better write down the recipe before I forget what I put in it!

Ham and Potato Soup
Serves 4 - 6

2 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 c. chicken broth
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large potato (or equivalent - I used six baby potatoes), diced
2 c. diced ham
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried dill weed
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. cornstarch, mixed with 2 T. cold water until smooth
1/2 cup half and half

In a three-quart pot, saute the onions in the butter and olive oil until they just start to brown.  Add chicken broth, potato, ham and seasonings.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.  Stir in cornstarch mixture; turn temperature back up to medium-high.  Cook and stir until thickened.  Add half and half.  Reduce heat to low and cook five minutes more.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Menu September 20 - 26

Hope everyone had a great week!  We took a serious look at our finances this week and decided, first and foremost, that all the eating out has to stop!  We're done for the month and will stick to one meal a week moving forward.  That's all that has ever been in the budget, anyway.  That means that all this menu planning is more critical than ever.

We had a good eating week.  I finally got around to making the Italian Shred recipe that has been appearing on my menu for over a year, but never made it into the cooking pot.  I finally made it yesterday, with a few modifications, of course (I can't help it - I'm a compulsive recipe modifier).  My revised version is posted here.

I also posted another smoothie recipe from Caitlyn.  It's super sweet and super delicious!  I told her this week that if she came up with a few more recipes (I know they're floating around in her head) we could put together a little cookbook and sell it on Amazon.  She's really excited about that idea!

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Chicken and broccoli impossible pie
Taco salad
Chicken Gyro Sandwiches
Baked Ziti
Pad Thai
Pork and Cabbage Stir Fry
Hamburger Casserole (hubby's family recipe)

I hope everyone has a great week!  I'm going to link this up to Menu Plan Monday at - tons of great ideas there!

Caitlyn's Chocolate Smoothie

This one is super sweet, more like a milkshake.  And the blueberries make it a lovely shade of purple!

Caitlyn's chocolate smoothie

1/3 c. chocolate chips
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. blueberries
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup plain greek yogurt
2 c. milk

Add all ingredients to the blender and mix until smooth.  Serve with sprinkles on top!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Italian Chicken and Cabbage

I've had this recipe on the menu so many times, but I never made it!  Mainly because it's definitely a weekend recipe, because it takes a good hour and a half or longer to cook.  I finally made it today, and loved it.  In true Karen fashion, however, I modified it a little bit.  Here's my version.

Italian Chicken and Cabbage

1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 T. olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
3 - 5 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. Italian seasoning
1 t. paprika
1/2 t. chipotle powder
2 T. dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, with juice
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 T. white wine vinegar
1 T. brown sugar
12 ounce package chicken tenderloins
1/2 head savoy cabbage, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 cup sliced mushrooms
hot cooked pasta, such as egg noodles

In a large skillet, saute onions and bell pepper until onions are soft, about five minutes.  Add wine, garlic, and seasonings and cook for two minutes more.  Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, and chicken.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.

Remove chicken from the sauce.  Add cabbage and mushrooms and simmer for 30 more minutes.  Meanwhile, shred the chicken using two forks.  After 30 minute cooking time is up, return the chicken to the pan and cook for five more minutes.  Serve over hot cooked noodles.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Menu Plan Sept. 14 - 19

I hope everyone had a great week!  Ours was busy, but fun.  We mostly stuck to the menu plan, but I did have to pick up dinner one evening when I was at a meeting that ran almost till Caitlyn's bedtime.  I had a quick dinner planned but not that quick!  Also, on Sunday Caitlyn decided it was her night to cook so we made creamed tuna on biscuits together (she made the biscuits and hard boiled the eggs, and I made the rest of the creamed tuna). 

One of the things I love about these menu posts is that it's really easy for me to find the recipes I need when I need them since I've linked them all here!  I usually use my tablet as my cookbook so I don't have to print out a bunch of recipes (let's face it - I've been printing out recipes for years and they're all jammed in a giant binder and I can never find what I'm looking for).  If it's online, I can go right to the recipe on the web.  If it's from a magazine, I've taken a picture of it with my tablet, though I need to organize those pictures because the file is starting to look like that recipe binder!  It's saving me paper and toner if nothing else. 

Here's the menu plan for this week.  I've tried to anticipate when I'll need a quick dinner and planned accordingly. 

Monday:  Fried cube steak, baked potatoes, salad
Tuesday:  Broccoli Beef
Wednesday:  Irish Sundaes
Thursday:  Sweet and Sour pork (my mother-in-law's recipe)
Friday:  Cider beef stew (Taste of Home Cookbook page 91)
Saturday:  Italian Shred 

Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Menu Plan - Sept. 6 - 13

Two weeks ago, I made a menu plan and, for the most part, we stuck with it.  Last weekend I was so busy we didn't have time to put a menu plan together and we ate fast food four times.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Caitlyn's weekly night to cook has gone well so far (for all two weeks we've done it, anyway).  She's having a great time thinking up what she wants to cook.  This week she's going to do two nights, because she really wanted to make salad bar last week but we didn't get to the store to get the extra veggies that requires.  So instead, she picked teriyaki chicken.  She made the sauce, spread it on the chicken, and got it into and out of the oven.  We had rice in the freezer so she reheated that in the microwave.  Meanwhile, I sauteed some cabbage and onions for a veggie side.

Here's the plan for this week, in no particular order (mainly because I rarely know until I'm about to make it what I'm actually going to choose that evening):

Salad bar (Caitlyn's dinner)
Ramen Egg Flower Soup (Caitlyn's dinner - and her recipe!)
Spanish Rice Casserole (I love this recipe, in spite of the fact that the ingredient list is a mile long)
Kielbasa and Cabbage 
Impossible Pie
Broccoli Beef
Italian Shred

That's the plan, anyway.  Have a great week, everyone!

I'm posting this at Menu Plan Monday on!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Menu plan - August 22 - 29

I can't believe it's the end of summer already!  School starts on Tuesday and I need to get myself organized.  It's been a busy summer, with some major changes at work and a lot of fun activities, but I'll be glad to see fall roll around (and I hope it brings rain with it!).

I'm going to try to get more hot breakfasts into my daughter this year.  Not every day, but I think it will be better for both of us.  I do a lot of snacking at work and I think if I eat a heartier breakfast that will keep me sustained longer.

That said, here's the menu for this week-

Cold Cereal
Nutella sandwich

School lunches (she only needs lunch Wed - Fri. this week):
Clam chowder
Tuna sandwich
Pepperoni sandwich

leftover pizza
Spaghetti and meatballs (this is Caitlyn's choice for her night to cook)
Lemon and Brown Sugar Chicken (I think I'll make spaetzle to go with this)
Sour cream pork chops over egg noodles
Chicken tacos
Pigs in a blanket

Plus Sunday is the back to school picnic so we'll eat dinner there.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Caitlyn's Vegetable Soup

I let Caitlyn take the reins on dinner tonight.  She's been talking for weeks about a soup recipe she's been putting together in her head, so I let her have at it.  I think I'm going to let her be in charge of dinner one night a week this year.  I have to cook with her, as she's only six and hasn't gotten the hang of reading a recipe yet, but I'll let her plan the menu and I'll step back and be her sous chef.

For tonight's dinner, she made vegetable soup (recipe below), garlic crescent rolls (crescent rolls from a can brushed with melted garlic butter before rolling and baking), and sour cream chocolate chip muffins for dessert (recipe from the Taste of Home Cookbook). She was going to make a salad, too, but we decided there were so many veggies in the soup that it really wasn't necessary.  And now, on to the recipe!

Caitlyn's Vegetable Soup
Serves Four

2 T. olive oil
4 large shallots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
7 baby gold potatoes, diced
3 large carrots, scrubbed and sliced
2 cups frozen peas
2 ears corn, roasted in the husks at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, then kernels cut off cob
15 mushrooms, sliced
1 quart vegetable broth (could also use chicken broth)
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. celery seed
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 large leaves romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

Heat the olive oil in a 4 quart pot.  Add shallots and garlic and saute until lightly browned.  Add remaining ingredients except parsley and lettuce.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are cooked through.  Add parsley and lettuce and cook five minutes more, or until wilted.


Sunday, May 03, 2015

Menu Plan May 3 - 9

I haven't posted one in a long time, but I have been maintaining some semblance of a menu plan.  My current goal is to clean out the pantry and start shopping from week to week.  I tend to be a compulsive when I see good sales, but if we never eat it, it's just money down the drain no matter how good a deal it is (case in point - I cleaned off the baking shelf yesterday and discovered I had jello mixes dating back to 2007 - that's right, the jello is older than my child). 

So, I'm starting to just buy the food we need for the week.  I'll probably still stock up on staples that don't go bad quickly, like pasta and rice, but on the whole menus will just be based on whatever's on sale or strikes my fancy that week.  My husband and I agree that in the long run it will save us money since we won't be throwing so much away. 

All that said, here's what's on the menu this week (in no particular order):

Steak and Pepper Sandwiches
Spaghetti and Meatballs (store-bought meatballs this time since nobody liked the ones I made last time)
Cranberry pork chops
Taco rice skillet
Chicken and Stuffing
Honey Glazed Chicken

Have a great week, everyone, and happy eating!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Can't Fight the Decluttering Bug

Anyone who's been reading this blog for any time can tell from my pictures that housekeeping isn't high on my priority list.  I can find 150 other things to do rather than clean on any given day.  Plus, I'm a packrat and I like to save things "just in case".  I'm also somewhat compulsive at the grocery store, and I love to buy deeply discounted and closeout food, some of which we actually eat.  I love the idea of magazines, and have a few subscriptions, but I rarely actually read them. 

For once all this is actually starting to get on my nerves, so I'm going to quietly start a decluttering campaign.  Nothing major, because I don't want to get halfway into a project and get burned out.  So starting this week, I'm going to pick two shelves, drawers, or piles, and give some stuff the old heave-ho.  Pantry, freezer, kitchen cupboards, book shelf, file cabinet that still has papers from before we were married, those two boxes of honeymoon souvenirs that have been unopened in the garage for almost 12 years...the only question is, where do I start???

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Caitlyn's Chocolate Chip Splash

My six-year-old is back in the kitchen.  It won't surprise me if she has a smoothie restaurant by the time she's 10 - she loves inventing new recipes!  She made this one up this morning and asked me to share it with you.  I told her that with that much chocolate, it will definitely be a once in a while treat!

Caitlyn's Chocolate Chip Splash

1 cup chocolate chips
2 pinches salt
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup milk
Lots and lots of love (this can be accomplished by blowing kisses into the blender)
cinnamon sugar, for topping

Put all ingredients except cinnamon sugar in the blender.  Puree until smooth.  Pour into glasses and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.  Enjoy!

Edit 9/20/15:  We make this one for breakfast at least twice a week now.  We've revised it to only use 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, and add 1 cup plain yogurt for extra protein.  Still delicious!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Tuna Casserole

A friend of mine is looking for a good tuna casserole recipe.  I don't know that mine is any better than anyone else's, but we like it. 

Tuna Casserole

8 oz. egg noodles
1/2 medium onion, diced (OR 2 T. dried minced onion)
1 clove garlic, minced (OR 1 t. garlic powder)
2 7-oz. cans tuna fish
1 2-oz.  jar diced pimentos
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (I use the boxed soup from Pacific Natural Foods, or you could use three cups of homemade white sauce and 1 cup diced mushrooms)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375.  Grease a 9x13 baking dish.

Boil the noodles in salted water according to package directions; drain and set aside.

If using fresh onion and garlic, saute onions (and mushrooms if adding fresh to homemade white sauce) over medium heat in a little bit of olive oil until soft.  Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more. 

In a large bowl, mix tuna, soup or white sauce, onions and garlic (sauteed or dried), and pimentos until well mixed.  Stir in noodles until combined.

Spread evenly in baking dish.  Sprinkle cheese over the top.  Bake for 35 - 45 minutes, or until bubbly throughout. 

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Helloooooooooo 2015!

And helloooooooooo sadly neglected blog!

All day today I've been thinking about resolutions.  What have I done in the past?  How quickly did I crash and burn?  What's the point?  Am I just setting myself up for failure by setting some lofty goal that I can't follow through with?

Truth is, I am a creature of habit who lives squarely in my comfort zone.  Resolutions tend to mess with that. 

So here I sit, thinking of all the resolutions I could possibly make.  Things like...

Lose 30 pounds
Save money
Clean the kitchen every night
Keep the house clean
Make a weekly menu plan and stick with it
Eat all the leftovers
Step away from the electronics on occasion
Read a book a week
Blog every week or more
Make more time for my friends
Have more patience.  With everyone.

Truth is, I'm tired.  2014 was an exhausting year.  New routines at home.  Stuff happened at work.  Stuff happened with friends.  The fact of the matter is that I've been doing life pretty half-assed lately because I'm so tired I just want to crawl in a hole.  So in truth, I need to do less, not more.  Figure out whats most important and do that.  Let the rest take care of itself.

So there you have it.  My resolution for 2015, or total lack thereof.