February 15, 2013
- Friday: Family Dinner Out – North Star American Bistro - This is a restaurant I actually forgot about, but we ended up at due to their not having a wait on a Friday night when we’d already stopped at 2 other restaurants with hour+ long waits. I started with the Chestnut Manhattan, which I was looking forward to having again immediately after my first sip. Not surprisingly, we ordered calamari, which was very good. I loved my entrée of short ribs, cheesy mashed potatoes, and sautéed spinach. Unfortunately, Jim did not care for his entrée of bourbon salmon. His disappointment was slightly forgotten when he dug into a slice of turtle cheesecake garnished with candied nuts. So, so good.
- Saturday: Caesar Salads, Antipasti, and Bolognese Sauce over Tagliatelle – Great recipe, didn’t change a thing. The best part is that it’s a large batch and freezes very well for a quick weeknight meal.
- Sunday: Buttermilk Roast Chicken, Green Beans, Corn, and Mashed Potatoes – I LOVE this recipe. I don’t change much, except for upping the spices, and adding a bit of tabasco to the marinade. Another step I take is to drain and dry the chicken before roasting. I just use paper towels to sop up as much of the marinade as possible. The first time I made this, I didn’t do that, and the chicken was delicious, but soggy. When you dry before drizzling with oil and roasting, it gives the skill more of an opportunity to crisp up. And really, let’s be honest, isn’t crispy skin the best part of roasted chicken???
- Monday: Errands & Dinner Out – Chili’s – For as much as I don’t care for chain restaurants, there are a few that are “worthy” of our time and money. Chili’s is one of those on our list. I used to get the chicken tacos, and I’m still a little annoyed that they took those off of the menu. Scratch that, I’m a lot annoyed. They were good. Really good. Whatever, I’ll try to move on … try. My new go-to are chicken fajitas, Cadillac style. They’re always good, and they ensure lunch is also covered for the next day or two.
- Tuesday: Pizza and Salad – We had Carter’s 4K registration and tour, and didn’t get home until almost 8:00 p.m. Thank goodness for frozen pizzas from Costco. Did you know I love Costco?
- Wednesday: Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef over Rice with Asian Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms – This was good. Like, Jim asked if it was from a bag good. I should be insulted by that, but I know him well enough to know he meant no harm. I did add some Sriracha, which I will definitely do next time as well.
- Thursday: Alfredo Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Mushrooms and Steamed Broccoli – I just wasn’t feeling like actually cooking, so Carter and I picked up some sauce from the grocery and I tossed with sausage, mushrooms, and pasta we already had on hand. It was really a Valentine’s present to myself.
January 13, 2013
- Friday: Pan-seared Tilapia, with Green Beans, and Fresh Bread – Tilapia with a light dredge of seasoned flour, pan-fried in olive oil and butter until cooked through and slightly crisp. I added a little lemon juice and butter to the pan to create a light sauce that went really well with the fish and green beans, and begged to be sopped up with the bread. All-in-all a successful Friday night in.
- Saturday: Boys Out for Packer Game / Sushi Supper for 1 – Tossed Green Salad Carrot Ginger Dressing, Edamame
- Sunday: NY Strip Steaks, Roasted Asparagus, Crash Hot Potatoes, & Sautéed Mushrooms
- Monday: Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki and Waffle Fries – I forgot how much I absolutely adore this meal, but I do, I really, really do. It’s awesome, and just as good, if not better, are the leftovers, as they make an awesome Greek Salad. Be sure to make the sauce, at least, a day in advance so the flavors have time to do their stuff. Once made, it lasts at least a week in fridge … if you don’t devour it first!
- Tuesday: Frozen Pizza – Had a last minute change in plans that resulted in my original dinner falling through. Jim wasn’t disappointed, as he loves an excuse for frozen pizza.
- Wednesday: Chinese Take-Out from Emperor’s Kitchen - I’ve talked about this restaurant on here before, and when I had no desire to actually cook this night, this was a great fall-back for Jim to pick up on the way home.
- Thursday: Big Greek Salads with Chicken served with Pita and Tzatziki – Great use of Monday’s leftovers!
January 2, 2013
- Sparkling Cider
- Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin Sliders – Very easy and a total hit. I sliced the pork thinly and served with pretzel rolls.
- Cheese Plate Featuring Brie, Blue, Manchego, and a Peppadew & Jalapeño Cheddar with accompaniments of Sliced Apples, TJ’s Rosemary Almonds, Honey, Quince Paste, Fig Jam, and Cranberry Relish
- Spiced Broccoli Dip - I modified this recipe slightly by using mozzarella instead of cheddar, and omitting the onions and bell pepper. I also added crushed red pepper to the mix. It went over very well, and I could see leftovers being used as a filling for a chicken roll or something similar.
- Veggie Plate with Ranch
- Plain & Chocolate Coated Cream Puffs
March 6, 2012
Saturday –Dinner: Ribs, Mashed Potatoes, Carrots, & Corn courtesy of Grandma Patti
Sunday – Dinner: TJ’s Baked Bean Dip
Monday – Dinner: Salisbury Steaks with Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Carrots – I was really pleased at how well this recipe reheated. These were leftovers I had frozen from a couple weeks ago that lent themselves to a quick weeknight dinner.
Tuesday – Dinner: Leftovers – Cleaning out the fridge!
Wednesday – Dinner: Buffalo Chicken Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries – I forgot how good these were. Spicy and flavorful without being heavy and fattening and both burgers and wings can be. I have to be sure it’s not another 12 months before I make these again.
Thursday – Dinner: Buttermilk Roast Chicken, Steamed Broccoli & Green Beans, Crash Hot Potatoes, Cream Cheese Pound Cake – Best. Chicken. Ever! I can’t believe how much a simple bring/marinade can impact the flavor of this chicken. We devoured it. These potatoes were my first recipe from Pioneer Woman. I’ve often avoided her recipes, as there are too many step-by-step photos for my taste, and the recipes tend to be too heavy for my sit-at-a-desk-not-roping-cattle lifestyle. We were really pleased with the spuds. They were simple, flavorful, and the crunch outside, creamy inside, texture was a great compliment to the chicken.
- Friday – Dinner: Munchie Movie Night: Andouille Pigs in Blanket Bites, Hot Corn Dip, Bacon–Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers, Roasted Chickpeas, and Veggies with Ranch – We had a family movie night were we watched, and thoroughly enjoyed, Martin Scorsese‘s “Hugo“. We liked all of these “new to us” recipes, and I definitely see them being brought out again for other events where they can be shared with more than just the 3 of us. J
February 27, 2012
Saturday –Dinner: Maxie’s Southern Comfort
Sunday – Brinner: Vegetable Frittata, Bacon, Fruit, Cinnamon Roll Waffles and Mimosas
Monday – Dinner: Crockpot Asian Pork and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Tuesday – Dinner: Tilapia Po’ Boys with Sweet Potato Fries
Wednesday – Dinner: Take out from Noodles & Co.
Thursday – Dinner: Chicken Sausage Pasta with Red Sauce & Salads
- Friday – Dinner: Take out Pizza from Park Avenue Pizza Co.
February 20, 2012
February 20, 2012
Saturday –Dinner: Winter Dinner Party
Monday – Dinner: Shredded Beef Enchiladas with Grilled Corn and Poblano Rice & Refried Beans with Bacon
Tuesday – Dinner: Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs , Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts, & TJ’s Quinoa
Wednesday – Dinner: Pan-Seared Arctic Char with a White Wine & Lemon Sauce and Asparagus Ravioli with Sautéed Asparagus, Zucchini, and Red Pepper
- Thursday – Dinner: Leftover Shredded Beef Enchiladas
February 5, 2012
Saturday – Lunch: Cheesecake Factory / Dinner: Cheese Plate
Sunday – Lunch: Christmas with Great Aunt Bernice
Tuesday – Dinner: Tacos, Chips, Restaurant Style Salsa, Corn & Black Bean Salsa, and Blood Orange Margaritas
Wednesday – Dinner: Leftovers
Thursday – Dinner: Chicago Style Deep Dish Spinach Pizza – I forgot how good this recipe is, but that might be a good thing, as you really should only have it about once a year anyways. I did cut the richness, and add in some nutrients, my mixing the cheese with some browned portabellas and sautéed spinach.
- Friday – Dinner: Frozen finds from Trader Joe’s – Mac & Cheese Bites, Fish Nuggets, & Shrimp Corndogs. I had one of those days where, by the time dinner came around, I just didn’t feel like cooking. TJ’s to the rescue! These were all delicious, and cooked on my pizza stone, I didn’t notice the grease noted in the review of the mac & cheese bites. Oh, and before you judge me too harshly, we also had a veggie plate with this oven fried buffet as well.
February 5, 2012
We eat meatless and “meat light” more and more often these days, so the idea of a fully vegetarian dinner party wasn’t totally foreign, but it definitely did make Jim a little nervous. The menu I put together was French inspired and comforting. I have to say that it went off beautifully, and our dinner guest truly appreciated my taking her needs into consideration.
- Vanilla Pear Martinis – This was a delicious and simple cocktail, which tasted much more complex than it actually was to make. I mixed thing up ahead of time and popped into the freezer so it was icy cold when I served. You can find pear juice in the Latin section of most any grocery store.
- Gougeres – These were simple and delicious. They present quite fancy, but your guests don’t have to know how simple they really are. I used ¾ cup of gruyere and ¼ cup parmesan and a good teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. They can be made ahead and warmed in the oven just before your guests arrive.
- Salami Plate – Slices of peppered salami were a great balance for the veggies and gougeres, and a welcome site for those who get nervous at the thought of a meatless meal.
- TJ’s Rosemary Almonds – Fantastic find. A really full rosemary flavor that doesn’t overpower the almond.
- Asparagus Tart with Gruyere – Enjoyed this with a little extra cheese. The sauce baked up into a custard like base for the roasted asparagus. Don’t forget some salt and pepper before baking.
- Crudités – Some find it boring or predictable, but I usually have a veg plate out at all my parties. I find it’s a nice counterbalance to the other appetizers that are often quite rich.
- Salade Verte – I served this by dressing the greens and offering the toppings on the side.
- Mushroom Bourguignon over TJ’s Egg Pappardelle – I wanted to choose a meal that would work for our vegetarian guest without feeling like it was an afterthought. This recipe from Smitten Kitchen totally fit the bill. I did a mixture of portabella and cremini. I will definitely be making this again.
- Fresh Bread & Irish Butter – I highly recommend “splurging” on some real Irish butter sometime soon. There is a difference and it’s delicious. Don’t waste in in a recipe, but use it on fresh bread so the butter can really stand out.
February 2, 2012
Saturday – Dinner: Skinny Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Carrots, French Bread, and Chocolate Fondue with cake chunks, pretzels, pineapple, strawberries, bananas, and marshmallows for dessert – Highly recommend this. I wasn’t sure about Salisbury steak, as I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten it, but this was like individual meatloaves with a rich mushroom gravy. What’s not to love? It made a large batch, so we’ll know in a few weeks how well it tastes after freezing and reheating.
Sunday – Lunch: