Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Menu 1

Blueberry Flax Pancakes - I make a scratch pancake mix, but you can just use a mix as well. (Link to recipe discovered on
Chicken Quesadilla Pie - Huge hit with the family. I used whole wheat wraps instead of tortillas, but that made it a little mushy. I would just use flour tortillas if I made it again.

Mexican Quinoa Salad - Make sure you salt this enough to bring all the great flavors out. Also, it's delicious, but definitely needs some pita and hummus or a smoothie to round the meal out. (Link to recipe discovered on
Stewed Vegetable Gratin - Absolutely delicious. My baguette dried out (I waited to long to use it), so I just cut it into crouton size pieces and used it that way. Still totally delicious!
Mushroom and Poblano Tostada

Smoky Beef Tacos -
~Leftover meal~ throw your favorite Barbecue sauce on the meat, add some coleslaw and throw it all on some hamburger buns and you've got a 5 minute meal the next day!

Chicken with Poblano Cream - you could just use a green bell pepper if you're not into spicy.
Pasta Salad*

The Ultimate Steak Sandwich - AMAZING. Note to self: make this for guests to impress them. Make sure to use Tyler's shingle-pound method, it really tenderizes the meat and it eats deliciously. I also loved the arugala mayo, but you could simplify life and just use arugala and mayo separately on the sandwich. Lastly, I used the cheese for the base for the Chicken with Poblano Cream from this menu for the next night, it was super fast and easy!
Oh, and Gruyere is so expensive, I thought a mixture of swiss and feta, or even just swiss or cheddar still made a great sauce.

These cinnamon rolls - You will never have a better one!! I find I need to cook them about 17 minutes for perfection. Also, if you make it without a breadmaker (like me), just mix the ingredients in order after letting the yeast proof (I use 1/2 C water and then when the yeast proofs I add 1/2 C milk instead of the 1 C milk).

***Recipes not found on internet***
Pasta Salad:
Any curly/fun/spare pasta will do
Add some combination of: cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, baby corn, artichoke hearts, chicken (if desired)
Throw it all in a bowl and add your favorite Italian dressing to the desired amount.
Mix it around, pop it in the fridge. Delicioso.
You can grill 'em or broil 'em, either way, they're delicious! I use:
Mushrooms, potatoes (blanched), tomatoes, broccoli (blanched), and onions - or some combination of those
Chicken, shrimp, steak... any of these alone or in combination with each other
I throw whatever I have in the fridge in a blender for a marinade, including any combination of:
Oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, basil, milk, mayo
Drizzle it over the chicken and let it sit until that night. Makes for a fast/easy meal!

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Word About Vegetarian Meals

Many of the recipes that I will post under the 'vegetarian' category are not exactly vegetarian as they often contain beef or chicken broth. If you want to truly make them vegetarian, just substitute vegetable broth, coconut milk, etc...etc...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Company Coming?

Ideas for serving:

Tyler Florence's Chicken Cordon Bleu
*use his technique to make these hours in advance, leave them in the fridge and they will be beautiful once you bake them
Tyler Florence's Ultimate Steak Sandwich
*use his technique to make the steak very tender. These are really like gourmet Philly Cheesesteaks.
Butternut Squash Curry with Couscous and Mango Chutney
*so easy and delicious! You can even make it vegetarian or vegan by switching to vegetable broth and coconut milk. Absolutely DELICIOUS!

Monday, July 20, 2009


We all know that what takes 15 minutes while you're kid-free and have the energy takes 45 minutes when your kids are hanging on you and your energy level is low! Making dinner, or at least doing all the chopping and prep work, during lunch time/kid's nap times makes dinner a breeze. Just when evening is hitting, your energy is at its lowest, and kid-chaos is setting in, your prep time is slashed in half and you can just pop dinner in the oven, or saute it up! Kids are happy. You're happy. Ahhhh.


When you make homemade pizza, double the dough recipe. When you roll it out, freeze half of it rolled up like any pre-made pie crust you could buy at the store. Then you can have homemade pizza in a pinch anyday! Cheaper and yummier than store-bought!


We eat smoothies at our house almost every night. It's a great way to get fruits (and veggies!) into your kids, as well as round out a vegtarian meal.

This recipe is extremely forgiving and fluid (as you will notice) - so just use what you have, sometimes I even throw in canned peaches if I have to.

Simply throw some combination of the following into a blender:
1 Banana (a must-have)
A bunch of fresh and or frozen strawberries
Whatever fruit we have on hand (kiwis, peaches, apples, etc.)
I have even been known to throw in mint!

Then come the disguised veggies:
A small tomato
An avocado
Some babycarrots

Sometimes I throw in sprouts and bell peppers, too! You can even try a little flax seed meal! Smoothies are great disguises for all kinds of healthy foods.

Blend it up with some milk, yogurt, and maybe some juice (My Favorite is Bom Dia! juice - a mixture of Acai berry and Blueberry juice, which you can find at Costco) to the desired consistancy and serve! We put it in a cup with a straw for the little ones and they slurp their veggies right on down!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sweet Treats

Cinnamon Rolls
Rice Pudding - Just use leftover already-cooked rice to make this yummy treat in minutes!
Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie
Homemade Microwave Popcorn

Fun Meals (to make and to eat!)

The Ultimate Steak Sandwich
Kebabs - any meat or vegetables skewered with a creamy marinade on them - pop them on the grill or under the broiler until cooked through
Halibut with Grilled Eggplant Salad
Steak with Spinach Couscous
Almond-Apricot Chicken with Mint Pesto
Spicy Grilled Tilapia with Creamy Grits and Mushroom Scallion Sauce
Feta Chicken with Zucchini

Fast Meals

Chicken with Poblano Cream (if you don't like spicy, try a green pepper instead)
Pasta Salad: Pasta (cooked according to package directions), Olives, Cucumbers, Grape tomatoes, Artichoke hearts. Toss it all with your favorite Italian dressing and some chicken (canned works if you're in a hurry) or tuna and you are good to go!
Veggie Burgers or regular burgers on buns
Middle-Eastern Grilled Chicken
Salmon with Sweet Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Relish
Fruited Curry Chicken Salad (serve on crescent rolls or Navajo Fry Bread)

Slow Cooker Meals

Smoky Beef Tacos
Creamy Farmhouse Chicken and Garden Soup
Thai Chicken and Noodles
Classic Beef Noodles
Mom's Kailua Pulled Pork
3-5 lbs pork shoulder/butt roast/pork loin roast
1 quart Water
Kosher salt (at least ¼ C, then to taste)
Liquid smoke (starting with ¼ bottle, then to taste)
Take roast, put in crock pot, add water. Cook 5-6 hours in crock pot on low or in an oven: 6-8 hours at 300°F or 8-10 hours at 275°F. Remove foil, put roast in 9x13 pan and pull it/fork it. Remove fat and bones. Add kosher salt and liquid smoke to taste. Mix well.
Taco Beef Soup
Delicious made ahead of time and frozen for a convenient fix any time!
1 lbs ground beef
1/2 chopped onion or 1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1 28 oz can tomatoes
2 16 oz cans kidney beans or black beans (drained), I prefer black beans
1 can corn (un-drained)
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1 package Taco seasoning
Between 1 C and 3 C water, depending on how thick you like it.

Comfort Meals

Blueberry Flax Pancakes
Chicken Quesadilla Pie
Stacie's Swedish Pancakes
3 Eggs 3/4 C Flour 1/4 C Sugar 1 C Milk Mix in a blender - pour onto a hot griddle. Top with fresh fruit, powdered sugar, butter, etc. Serves: 2
Mexican Lasagna
Tyler Florence's Macaroni and Cheese (I leave out the bacon, but I'm sure that's good, too)
Mom's Meatloaf:
1 ½ pounds hamburger (or 1 pound hamburger and ½ pound sausage)
8 oz. Tomato juice
¾ cup dry oatmeal
1 egg –beaten
1/3 cup onion
1 ¼ salt
Combine and mix well. (If you are freezing it, at this point: place in bag and press flat. Freeze.) Bake in greased loaf pan at 350 for 55 minutes. (If using from frozen, thaw, and then follow directions accordingly.)
Thai Chicken Curry

Vegetarian Meals

Mexican Quinoa Salad
Stewed Vegetable Gratin
Mushroom and Poblano Tostada
Spinach Artichoke Whole Wheat Penne
Indian Dahl with Spinach
Tomato and Mozzarella Quesadillas with Basil
Corn and Butternut Squash Chowder
Farro Salad with Red Peppers, Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes and Lemon
Butternut Squash Couscous with Mango Chutney
Vegetable Gratin Souffle
(Deborah Madison, "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone")
Butter for the dish
3 C Vegetables, cut into 1-inch pieces (many different vegetables can be used - including celery root, cauliflower, winter squash, butternut squash, zucchini, turnips, broccoli...)
1/2 C fresh bread crumbs (although I used store-bought ones)
3 Tbls butter
1 C milk
1/2 small onion or 2 large shallots, finely diced
1/2 C grated gruyere (I used Swiss because I'm on a budget)
2 eggs, separated
Salt and pepper
Pinch grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F) and lightly butter an 8x10-inch gratin dish. Steam or par-boil the vegetables until barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain, rinse under cold water, then finely chop them.
Lightly brown the bread crumbs in 2 Tbls butter in a small saucepan, then stir in the milk. When it's hot to the touch, turn off the heat. Meanwhile, cook the onion in the remaining butter in a small skillet over medium heat until translucent, about 3 minutes. Combine the onion, vegetables, and bread crumb mixture in a bowl, then stir in the cheese and egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper to taste and the nutmeg. Beat the whites until stiff, then fold them into the mixture. Pour into the prepared dish and bake until puffed and browned, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Side Dishes

Ugh, Side Dishes.

By the time I'm done making a meal for my family, I typically am not in the mood to make a side dish. SO, I typically make enough of 1 side dish to last for 2 nights, so I only have to make them every now and again.
Also, unless I have a specific side dish that I am serving with that meal, you can just assume that I am serving one of the following with our meal:

Fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables with minimal preparation such as:
Corn, Strawberries, Green Beans, Blueberries, Zucchini, Squash
Grains, such as:
Quinoa, Couscous, Rice
Or simple sides, such as:
Coleslaw Salad (I buy the pre-shredded lettuce and mix lite mayo, dijon mustard, lemon, and a little horseradish in for a yummy side!)

There is nothing easier than throwing a bowl of freshly-washed fruit, or some quinoa with a spritz of lemon and salt on the table!