Monday, October 29, 2012

Chicken Avocado Salad

I will be upfront here.

This recipe was totally for me.

I am the only person in the family who eats avocados.

But when I saw this recipe via Pinterest, I just knew I had to try it.

So last week I gathered the necessary ingredients, put them together, and chowed down for lunch/dinner the next few days.

For me (one who loves avocados), it was delicious.

Not low in calories or fat, but it is all good fat, right? :)

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cut into small pieces (I followed the recipe above and used it from a rotisserie chicken but I will try it just with boiled chicken next time...much cheaper :)

2 medium avocados, diced

2 T fresh squeezed lime juice (divided...1 T each)  Note: I did not add that much. I used one lime and got all of the juice I could from it.  It was plenty for me)

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion (I just cut with kitchen scissors)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro (as finely or as coarsely as you want)

2 T mayo (or light)

Place the shredded chicken in one bowl.

In another bowl,mix 1 T lime juice with the avocado in another bowl.  Season with salt to taste.

Mix the mayonnaise and remaining lime juice to make the dressing.

Add the sliced onions and dressing to the bowl of chicken, mixing until the chicken is coated with dressing.

Add the avocado and cilantro to the bowl, gently stirring.

Either serve right away or chill in the fridge. I did keep mine overnight in the fridge, and it was just as good the next day.

The original recipe suggested serving with pita bread or on a leaf of lettuce or just alone. I really wanted a little crunch. So I placed mine upon a "bed" of chips.  Then I topped it with Parmesan.

And I loved every bite.

Every fattening bite. :)


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Meatball Sandwiches

I made Meatball Sub Casserole one night which was very good.  Yet when I saw a slightly different version (Meatball Sandwiches) on Pinterest, I thought I would try that too.  Because honestly, how could you not like something with meatballs, bread, and sauce? :)

So earlier this week, I decided to give it a try.

I did make my own meatballs but I am sure store bought meatballs would work too.

And due to the changes in diet for one of our kiddos, I made our own "tomato"/ spaghetti sauce (which actually has no tomatoes in it but you would never know...e-mail me if you want the recipe :).

I didn't make the buns though.


Cooked Meatballs (Here is the recipe I use...I didn't make the gravy)

Pasta Sauce

Buns (The original recipe uses a bun split only on one side; I actually used a hoagie instead and would do that again...with a modification. I will share that in a minute :)

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a cookie sheet. (Note:  I forgot to spray and really wished I had!)

Place meatballs in a sauce pan.  Cover with sauce.   Heat over low/medium heat, gently stirring.  Don't stir too much or you will break up the meatballs.

Here is my hint that I learned AFTER we ate was SO good but the buns were a little soggy from the meatballs.  Take the buns, spread a little butter on them, and toast them on a skillet to make them crispy and better able to hold up against the meatballs/sauce.

Place a few meatballs on the buns, spooning an extra sauce over the top.

Sprinkle generously the mozzarella cheese over the top.

Top with the top part of the bun (if using a hoagie).

Bake until the cheese is hot, bubbly, and melted (not too long :).


I will definitely make these again, making sure to toast the buns this next time.  Other than the soggy bread, it was YUMMY.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mid-Week Menu...Again

I am supposed to be finishing report cards.

But I really feel the need to share the menu. For whatever reason, I get more comments on menu posts than any other one. :)

Here is what we have had/are having this crazy fall week.

Sunday:  Meatball sandwiches (recipe coming soon), chips

Monday:  Swai in Lemon/Butter Sauce, almond rice pilaf, cheesy bread (from Panera:), and carrots

Tuesday:  Pot Roast Pizzaiola, penne pasta, rolls

Wednesday:  On Your Own night (I did make a chicken/avocado salad I will share soon...YUM)

Thursday: Not sure...our night is crazy.

Friday:  Potatoes and Sausage casserole, carrots, rolls

Saturday:  Dinner out (anniversary celebration :)

We are continuing to modify foods for one of our kids but most of the recipes worked just fine with minor changes.  In fact, nobody really could tell the difference.  :)

What is for dinner at your house this week?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Skillet Steak

 (The yellow looking stuff is just the fat...not sure why it photographed like that)
A steak with a half potato

I wish I had gotten better pictures. But honestly, I was so hungry at this point, I just snapped a couple then chowed down.

I really wanted steaks...have been in the mood for a while. And I had some in my freezer just waiting for me.  But it was cold, and I knew time would be limited.  So no grilling.  What to do? Use my cast iron skillet of course!

I have made steak in the skillet before with success and wanted to do it again. 

But I wasn't using filet mignon this time, I was going to use rib-eye (from our half a cow) instead. 

So I decided to do a quick Internet search about how to cook rib-eye on the stove.

Lots of recipes out there.

I wanted simple.

So I just a little bit here, a little bit there, and then went from there.

I am glad I did.

I got just what I wanted. A juicy steak with just the right touch of flavor.

These are very general directions because I didn't really measure anything. 

Rib-eyes (we had 6 :)
Sea Salt
Peppercorns (in a grinder)

A few hours before cooking, Cover the rib-eyes with coarsely ground sea salt.  Place in a covered dish or in a gallon ziplock and refrigerate.

About thirty minutes prior to cooking, remove the rib-eyes and rinse off.  Set out on the counter...well, not directly on the counter but on something.   (I placed them on waxed paper, then covered them with more waxed paper which is much cheaper than aluminum foil is right now).

Preheat the oven to 400+.  Most things I read said to preheat to 500 if possible. However, I had potatoes cooking, so that was out for me. I kept mine at 400-425 the whole time.

Place skillet(s) in the oven to preheat.

Meanwhile, sprinkle freshly ground peppercorns and sea salt (but not coarse) over the steaks.

Right before cooking, remove skillet(s) from the oven and place on a hot burner.  Don't forget those oven mitts or you will burn your hand. :)

I did spray mine with just a basic cooking spray.

Place steaks in the skillet(s).  I actually turned mine over on the side where a little fat was and cooked it first, then I put the whole thing in.

Let the steak cook for about 2 minutes over medium high heat.  Warning:  It will smoke up a lot but I never set off any alarms. :)

After about 2 minutes, flip the steaks over and do the same.

Because my steaks were a little thicker, I also held them with tongs on the sides for just a bit to brown those.

Then immediately return the skillets to the oven.

This is the very nonspecific part.  Cook for a few minutes on each side in the oven.  How long depends on the size of your steak, how hot your oven is, and how you want your steak done.  I didn't time mine. I do know that the ones in the cast iron skillet cooked faster than the ones in a regular oven-safe skillet.

You do want to pull them out when they are ALMOST to the point you want them.  (By the way, you can google appropriate temperatures)  The steaks will continue to cook in the skillet for a bit.

Oh, and right before you pull them out, put a slice of butter (I used unsalted) on top of each steak.  Yum.

Let the steak rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Like I said, simple but yummy.

Obviously not something we can eat regularly (though I would love to), but a special treat in the middle of the week. :)


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Banana Nut Muffins

 I have mentioned that we have been "cleaning" up the way we eat.  A little more organic, less preservatives.  And in doing that, a lot of "mixes" are out.

So yesterday I glanced in our fruit bowl and noticed that we had a couple of bananas that were nearing the end of their life.

I hated to see bananas go to waste (though I NEVER eat them by themselves), so I decided we really needed some banana bread or muffins.  I decided muffins would be a good (and easy) way to go.  Even better, I had already planned a "breakfast for dinner" kind of night so this would be a perfect addition.

I immediately googled and fell upon a recipe that is supposed to be very kid-friendly.  Perfect for me. :)

I didn't really have any kids around at the time so I just made the recipe myself.

And they were yummy.

I don't think I have ever made homemade banana bread before.

Now that I have, I don't think I will ever be able to go back to a mix again.

And honestly, it didn't take me but a few more minutes than a mix would...and these were so much better.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted (I used unsalted)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Nuts (to taste...I used about half a cup of chopped pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray muffin pan OR use fun muffin/cupcake liners. That is the way I went.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together bananas, sugar, egg, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and nuts.  I just hand mixed.  I also made sure not to overmix after reading comments by others on the original recipe's site.

Fold in the flour mixture.

Again, don't overmix (but make sure ALL of the flour is mixed in).

Scoop into muffin tins (I used my cookie dough scooper).

Bake for 10-15 minutes for mini muffins and 25-30 minutes for regular size muffins (mine made 12 regular size muffins).



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mid-Week Menu...Again

We are trucking along over here.  Slowly but surely. 

But even in the midst of the chaos, and there seems to be plenty of that :), I am cooking much of the time.  Even when I know my family would rather just run through a drive thru somewhere (though they never complain when they eat what I made).

So I am going to be dutiful and share the menu for the week even though, once again, the week is half over.

Saturday:  Shakes and Popcorn.  Like REAL popcorn. With oil and everything. It was oh so good.  And we just did homemade shakes. My daughter made mine...she used vanilla ice cream, milk, some organic chocolate syrup, and a little spoonful of PB2.  It was one of the best shakes I have ever had.

Sunday:  Homemade pizza (one meat, one "white" cheese) with herbed crust.  I also tried a new "sauce"; I will have to share that soon.

Monday:  Garlicky shrimp, angel hair pasta, garlic asagio bread, carrots

Tuesday;  Eggs and cheese, banana nut muffins (recipe coming soon...yum), and bacon (and a strawberry smoothie for me :)

Wednesday:  On your own night

Thursday:  Steak, potatoes, garlic bread, black eye peas (maybe?)

Friday:  Football!

Saturday:  I really have not thought that far ahead. I am trying to make it through the week :)

What is for dinner at your house this week?


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cheeseburger Flatbread Melts

Recently I wanted a quick "sandwich" type meal.  But not just a regular sandwich.  I saw a picture of this (but photographed much better :) on Pinterest and decided to give it a try.

In some ways, it is similar to a sloppy joe. But different.

Either way, it is good stuff.

I changed little of the recipe except for adding more meat for our family. I didn't add any more ingredients (meaning I didn't double anything else) and I was fine with the flavor.  But that is just my opinion.

1-2 lbs of ground beef, browned (I think the original recipe used a half pound but I used 1.5)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 envelope dry onion soup
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp mustard
1 garlic clove minced
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
thin crust pizza dough (I used Pillsbury)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

After browning and draining the beef (I rarely have to drain), add in the water, vinegar, soup mix, ketchup, mustard, and garlic.  Simmer over low heat.

Meanwhile, in a different skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.

Divide the pizza crust into 6 equal portions and shape them. I tried but I didn't ever accomplish much of a circular shape. Mine were more rectangular. And I am okay with that. :)

Fry for one minute on each side in the oil until they are a nice golden brown.

Drain on a paper towel.

Top with meat mixture and cheese.


Very easy and fairly quick.  Nothing fancy but it was fun to try something new.  We will be having these again one day...


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Menu for the Week (A Few Days Late)

Yes, once again, I am a few days late on the menu.  I won't bore you with my many excuses for why.  It is just our life right now...

But the good news is that I am cooking.  And I stick to our menu (which is posted in the house) fairly well.

Here is how our week is looking:

Saturday:  Crockpot Chicken Dip, brownies and ice cream
Sunday:  Roasted Pork Tenderloin, fingerling potatoes, rolls, black-eye peas
Monday: Spaghetti with meat sauce, carrots (raw), garlic bread
Tuesday:  On Your Own night (which turned into a sushi date night for hubby and me)
Wednesday:  Cilantro Chicken (new recipe), basmati rice, rolls, carrots
Thursday:  Slow Cooker Honey Soy Pulled Pork (new recipe) sandwiches, chips
Friday:  Tacos, chips and salsa, refried beans

So far, I have stuck to it.  I am a little concerned about tomorrow. I just discovered my crockpot has a crack in the liner. :(  I will be VERY sad if I don't have a new crockpot liner OR crockpot soon. I use it a LOT.

So, what is for dinner at your house this week?


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

I was in the mood a good meal. You know, like a full meal. I had thought about ham but couldn't find what I was looking for.  So I picked up a pork tenderloin.  (Sidenote:  When did pork become so very expensive???) Then I came home and tried to figure out exactly how I was going to cook it.  Thank goodness for Google.

I found a recipe on the WW website.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin.

If you want to see a really nice food picture, go there.

I followed the recipe fairly closely, though I upped the olive oil.

And even after doing that, this is a fairly low calorie meal. Or at least this main dish was. We ate it with fingerling potatoes, rolls, and black eye peas.

Just the meal I wanted.

Oh, and the best part?

Our house smells incredible!

2 lb pork tenderloin (mine was almost 2 1/2...I have a bottomless pit in my teenager :)

2 tsp dried thyme (or 2 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped)  I LOVE having fresh thyme but all of my thyme was out of time.  It was not good anymore. :( So it was dried thyme for us.

2 tsp dried oregano (or 2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped)  Again, it was dried for us tonight...

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder (I used dried chopped onion)

1 tsp table salt (I actually did the freshly ground sea salt)

1 tsp freshly ground peppercorn

2 tsp olive oil (except I used 4)

Spray the bottom of a shallow roasting pan.

Mix the olive oil with the spices/seasonings.  (I think you are really supposed to rub the olive oil on it then sprinkle the seasonings over it but sometimes I like to be different...)  Rub onto the tenderloin.

Roast for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees (the thermometer should read 160 but honestly, we just sliced it and checked out the color :).

Let sit for 10 minutes then slice.

Very simple but very good.

And it makes your house smell really good.

Happy eating!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Apple Snickers "Salad"

Another picture that does not do a food justice.

My cousin P. told me about this recipe once upon a time.

Then I kept seeing it pop up on Pinterest.

Apples.  Snickers. Caramel.  Yum.

And fairly easy.

My family loved it.  Well, except for the child who won't eat apples. And the hubby who doesn't believe in mixing apples and Snickers.

The rest of us enjoyed it.

And I am sure it is somewhat healthy since it has apples.  Right???

3-4 apples (Granny Smith, Red Delicious, a is your choice.  3 was plenty for me)

1 5 oz. instant vanilla pudding

1/2 cup milk

Snickers (minis or regular size)

1 container Cool Whip

Caramel ice cream topping

Chop apples into bit size pieces. I found it easier to use my apple slicer/corer first then chop from there.

Chop the Snickers.  I used the minis but it took a while to unwrap them. I think next time I would use about 3 regular size Snickers.  Hint:  Freeze the Snickers for a while.  Then put them in a ziplock and break with a mallet.  MUCH easier to break when frozen.

Mix together milk, pudding, and Cool Whip in a large bowl.  Add in apples and Snickers.  Top with caramel.

Chill for at least an hour before serving.



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Menu. Sort Of...

It is another hectic week.  I keep waiting for life to slow down. However, with t-ball games, volleyball games, track meets, church, etc., we are on the go all of the time.

Just for the record, it is very difficult to get a menu (or a meal) done.

But I do try.

To throw a wrench into it, we are modifying the diet of one of our kids temporarily.

So it is messing with my meal mind. :) And my menu.

Let's see...
Saturday:  We had our first batch of baked potato soup for the season.  Oh yum. LOVE that stuff.  Still.  We had French bread on the side.
Sunday:  Out (Well, the grown ups went out anyway :)
Monday:  Ciabatta pizza bread
Tuesday:  On your own (too many after school activities)
Wednesday:  Cheeseburger Flat Melts (new recipe), baked fries
Thursday:  Panko Encrusted Swai, White rice, Rhodes bread, carrots
Friday:  Football game.  Go, Wildcats!

That is what I have so far.

Always subject to change. :)

What are you having this week?