March 7, 2014
- Friday: Mexican Dinner at Fiesta Garibaldi - To cut straight to the point, we did not enjoy our experience or meal, and will not be back.
- Saturday: Rotisserie Chicken with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Boursin Pasta – After an EPIC day of errand running, picking up a chicken from Costco and serving with some simple and delicious sides fit the bill for a quick and delicious Saturday night meal.
- Sunday: BBQ’d Ribs with Green Salad, Steamed Corn, and Mashed Potatoes – Jim asked for ribs, and, since it’s the 452 time he’s asked in the last few months, I figured I should oblige the request.
- Monday: Buffalo Chicken Salads
- Tuesday: Leftovers
- Wednesday: TJ’s Kung Pao Chicken
- Thursday: Leftovers
March 7, 2014
- Friday: Out for dinner to Maxie’s with the Rennos
- Saturday: Brined & Roasted Chicken Breasts, Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes, and Roasted Asparagus & Brussels Sprouts
- Sunday: Pizza Delivery from Falbo Brothers
- Monday: Chicken Paprikash over Egg Noodles
- Tuesday: Leftovers
- Wednesday: Greek Chicken with Herby Vegetable Couscous, Tzatziki, and Pita Bread
- Thursday: Leftovers
February 13, 2014
- Friday: Pizza Party at the Nelson’s, bringing DIY Ice Cream Sundaes – Introduced the Nelson family to Falbo Brothers pizza and enjoyed some old school ice cream sundaes. A very good night indeed.
- Saturday: Sledding Party at Lau’s, bringing Buffalo Chicken Dip - You know what I forgot about? This dip, that’s what. And really, I must have been out of my ever-loving-mind! It’s always a hit, because it’s always delicious. It’s also one of the only dips that actually almost better with cut veggies than it is with chips. But it’s still good with chips. I recommend simple corn tortilla chips.
- Sunday: Popcorn during The Lego Movie, Late lunch at Red Robin, and at home Movie Snacks of Buffalo Chicken Dip and Veggies – Could this little boy look any happier to see the movie? We loved it. We also loved splurging for the fancy VIP seats. There’s probably no going back now. They were worth the extra dollar.
- Monday: Grand Parisian Salads With Roasted Chicken – This is a mix that I’ve picked up at Costco, but I’m sure you can find it, or something similar at the regular grocery store. It’s great to have on hand for a quick and healthy dinner.
- Tuesday: Short Ribs with Peas over Orecchiette – This goes under great achievements in leftovers. I got the idea from this recipe on Annie’s Eats, and found it was a great way to use the last of the short ribs I had in the freezer.
- Wednesday: Creamy Taco Mac - I probably haven’t made this two years or so, and when I told Jim it was on the menu for the night, he was genuinely looking forward to it. When it came to eating dinner, it was as good as we remembered, so he overdid it. Good thing I use ground turkey and low fat cream cheese.
- Thursday: Leftovers and Salads
- A Little Something Extra …
This is avocado toast. It is amazing. It is simple too. Basically, it’s simply amazing. Recipe? Well, here goes:
- Make toast.
- Cut avocado and smash 1/2 over toast.
- Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and crushed red pepper.
Depending on the type of toast you use, it’s about 285 calories, and keeps you happily full all morning, afternoon, or whenever you chose to eat it. Try it and thank me later. Seriously.
February 6, 2014
- Friday: Pom Hula Martinis and Blackened Salmon Alfredo with Spinach Pasta – What better way to celebrate the end of the week than with a delicious cocktail? Oh yeah, we also had some dinner too. I tossed some of TJ’s spinach and chive pasta with a simple and light sauce, and a filet of broiled salmon that had been heavily coated with Cajun seasoning. It was a hit, and a super quick meal for a busy night.
- Saturday: Pineapple Margaritas, Chips with Guacamole and Salsa, Enchiladas Ole, Refried Beans with Bacon, Mexican Rice Pilaf, and Dessert Nachos – Oh how I’ve missed these enchiladas. There are so many recipes out there, that I forgot about the ones my mom made for us. Paired with bacony refried beans, and a savory rice studded with carrots, corn, and peas, it was an awesome meal, and, dare I say, a good substitute for our local Mexican restaurant for those not interested in going out to eat on yet another bitterly cold Wisconsin night.
- Sunday: Snacks with Carter – Simple Spicy Crab Dip with Potato Chips and Cucumber Slices, Chicken Nuggets, Sour Cream & Chive Fries, Veggies & Ranch, and Chips with Guacamole – My little man loves a “Carter Mama Party”, so he was okay with Jim being gone to enjoy the game with his dad. We did a spread of some snacks while watching Pretty Little Liars. I am loving the Simple Crab dip I got the idea for from a blogging friend, and will need to figure out exact proportions to blog about soon. Stay tuned, as I see this as a staple appetizer for your next party, especially one that is in the summer, as it would go great with a deck, some sun, and a deliciously icy cocktail.
- Monday: Citrus Marinated Chicken Thighs, Steamed Green Beans and Oven Roasted Cauliflower - I had high hopes for this dinner, but the boys didn’t love it. Jim noted that he’s not a fan of citrus flavors, so having it in both the chicken and cauliflower was a turnoff. I liked the chicken, but found the lemon unnecessary for the cauliflower.
- Tuesday: Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo with Steamed Rice and Cornmeal Biscuits - Oh my goodness, do we love this gumbo. It’s awesome, and tastes very, very similar to one I had in NOLA, which made me really excited, as sometimes there isn’t a substitute for the “real thing”. It takes a good amount of time and care to make, but nothing too difficult, and freezes beautifully as well. The cornmeal biscuits were an awesome find, and perfectly combined the flakiness of a biscuit with the subtle texture of cornbread. I’ll be making these again when we have another dinner that needs a dip-able side item … maybe some of that leftover gumbo.
- Wednesday: BBQ Turkey Burgers with Pickles & Cabbage Slaw, Baked French Fries, and Onion Rings – Simple turkey burgers to satisfy a burger and fry craving. I think I need to start putting slaw on all my burgers.
- Thursday: Leftovers – After all that cooking, time to clean out the refrigerator for next week’s meals.
February 4, 2014
All who have known me and my family for awhile know that my initial interest in cooking and entertaining came from my mom. She loved to do both, and I got my first experiences in hosting parties while very young. This dish is one that she has been making all my life, and due to it being a clipping from a news paper or magazine, I have no idea where it was originally printed or who to cite as a source. One thing I can cite though, is the fact that it’s delicious, and I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like it. Pair with some Mexican rice and refried beans, and you’ve got yourself an awesome dinner, perfect for your next dinner party … with margaritas, of course!
Serves 5 (2 enchiladas per serving)
- 1 1/2 lb Chicken Breast or Ground Beef
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 large Onion, chopped
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 8 oz. Tomato Sauce
- 4 oz chopped Green Chilies, drained
- 4 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup Black Olives, chopped
- 1 tsp Tabasco
- 2 Tbsp Bread Crumbs, as needed
- 1 large can, or 2 small cans, Enchilada Sauce
- Oil for frying
- 8 to 10 Flour Tortillas
- Garnish: Shredded Lettuce, Chopped Tomatoes, Sliced Black Olives, Finely Chopped Onion, Cilantro, and/or Sour Cream
- Determine if you will be using chicken or beef:
- If using chicken breasts, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven at 350, 35 to 45 minutes for bone-in skin-on, and 20 to 30 minutes for boneless skinless. In either case, cook until juices run clear. Once cooked through, allow to cool, and shred with forks, stand mixer, or hands.
- If using beef, in saute pan, brown meat, breaking up large pieces as it cooks. Once browned, drain.
- Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until just begins to cook through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, chiles, 3 cups of the cheese, olives, and Tabasco sauce. If mixture is thin, stir in bread crumbs to thicken. Add additional salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste. Set aside.
- In clean saute pan, heat 1/2 inch of oil over medium to medium-high. With tongs, dip each tortilla in hot oil just long enough to soften, this will take only seconds, and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
- Spoon filling down center of tortilla, roll up, and place seam-side down in a shallow baking dish, just large enough to hold all enchiladas, that has had about 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce spread over the bottom to keep them from sticking. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
- Once all enchiladas have been rolled, spoon rest of sauce over all and sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.
- Allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pan, serve with sour cream and additional garnish to taste.
January 31, 2014
- Friday: Pizza Night with Fresh Ricotta, Chopped Salads – This is always a hit, and really, that’s no surprise, as who doesn’t love pizza? The boys had a simple pepperoni, while I enjoyed mushroom, caramelized onion, and ricotta on an herb crust. Now, about that ricotta … can you say surprisingly easy and amazingly delicious? That’s exactly what it was. In fact, once I was done and enjoying it in under 90 minutes, Jim looked at me puzzled and asked, “did you just make cheese?” Topped with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh herbs, and a nice grind of pepper, it’s a great appetizer with crackers and salami, and a nice glass of wine, of course!
- Saturday: Flat Roast Chicken with Tiny Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts, and Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream - This was a winning dinner for sure. Simple and deeply satisfying on a cold winter night. Though, as I say that, we’re already looking forward to trying this technique with grilled chicken this summer, or at least when the temperatures aren’t 30 below with bitterly cold winds … I digress. The brownies were good, but I would not use the full amount of buttercream if I made them again, as it was too much, even for the frosting lovers in the house. Also, when making these, remember they aren’t a true chocolate brownie, but more of a chewy vanilla cake with a brownie texture. Not a reason not to try them, but just a warning to avoid any disappointment.
- Sunday: Beef & Mushroom Tacos with Re-fried Beans, Rice, and Chips, Salsa, and Guacamole – What can I say, taco night is always a winner in our house. The boys had beef, and I enjoyed mushroom and onions, flavored with the same great Penzey’s seasonings that made the beef awesomely delicious.
- Monday: Caesar Salads, Chicken Spaghetti with Bell Peppers, Garlic Bread – Part of my making sure all the food I make is actually eaten in one way or another, I planned this delicious use of extra chicken from Saturday night. Mixed with sauted vegetables and, gasp, jarred sauce, it’s a quick weeknight meal that everyone loves.
- Tuesday: Take-out Sushi from Asiana: Pork Gyoza, Vegetable Tempura, Clear Mushroom Soup, and rolls: Yellowtail & Scallion, Cucumber, California, and Western. – Yum! This would be an upside of my having a surprisingly busy couple of days at work, and Jim offering to stop for take-out on his way home.
- Wednesday: WS’s White Chicken Chili – I really need to find an alternative to this jarred starter, but the problem is that it’s really quick and delicious, and great for a simple weeknight meal.
- Thursday: Leftovers – This will most likely be a permanent fixture within our meal plans, as there’s always at least a little left of whatever we’ve eaten during the week, and I’m really trying to not waste anything.
January 23, 2014
- Friday: Blue Apron Meal: Pan-Seared Cod with Soy Maple Glaze, Baby Bok Choy, and Rice Noodles - This was our 3rd and last free Blue Apron meal, and I wanted to wait to get through all 3 before giving full feedback.
Overall, I think they were good, and easy to make. I compared it to painting by numbers, but with food. Any drawbacks for our family were based on price and final results. At $10 a plate, though we were easily able to stretch between my husband, 5 year old, and myself, the service is pricey, a lot of which I believe comes from the shipping and packaging costs. The final meals were good, though, to be honest, and ever so humble, I think I could make equally, if not more, delicious meals on our own.
Now, that being said, I definitely see a market here, and understand the appeal. If you dislike and/or don’t have time to go to the grocery store, it’s a great way to get fresh meals on the table, though you’d still have to supplement with other shopping for meals throughout the week. I also see this as a great service for those who would like to cook, but are nervous and don’t know where to start, see paint with numbers comment above. I’m glad I got the chance to try this service out, as I think these are great ideas, and was excited to see how it would work in real life.
- Saturday: Out with Friends to The Pub in Oconomowoc – We really liked this place for the atmosphere and beer selection, but, for me, the food and service were lacking. Everything was okay, nothing per se was wrong, but nothing was good enough, for the price, to bring us back any time soon. I will say however that they make an excellent cosmopolitan, and leave it at that …
- Sunday: Shake Shack Sliders with Oven Fries & Onion Rings – I had planned to make sloppy joes with the meat and buns were used here, but a last minute craving and request changed our plans, and I cannot say there was any disappointment. These were tasty little bites, and, for me, the best part was the sauce that was equally delicious on burgers as well as fries. I’ll have to remember to use my cast iron skillet for future burger nights as well, as it gave the meat that crust you come to look forward to in diner-style burgers. Delish!
- Monday: Zuppa Tuscana and Italian Chopped Salads – We love this soup, and it’s perfect for for cold Winter nights while not being overly heavy and fat laden, especially when you omit the half & half, like I did. Make this soon and freeze the leftovers, you’ll thanks me later.
- Tuesday: Bacon and Vegetable Pot Pies with Black Pepper Biscuit Toppers - Good. Really good. Good enough to blog about good. Hope you like them!
- Wednesday: TJ’s Mandarin Chicken, White Rice, and Steamed Broccoli – This continues to be a family favorite, and a dinner I will always have in the freezer … that is unless we just finished the last bag I bought. If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, I HIGHLY recommend picking this, and many other treats, up the next time you stop by.
- Thursday: Leftovers – After all the deliciousness of this past week, we need to make some room in the fridge for next week’s planned deliciousness.