What it's all about:

Each week I will put together an easy, kid friendly menu for a week's worth of meals, cooking tips and a shopping list so all you have to do is go to the store. It's an online support system to help you eat better and easier.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Back to the plan

To say it's been a busy summer doesn't quite cover it. Somehow a month has gone by and it's really been that long since I managed to sit down with a solid meal plan and get my act together.

That being said I have five words for you.

Chili Cheese Corn Dog Muffins.

Yes. Let's say that again.

Chili. Cheese. Corn. Dog. Muffins.

It is just that awesome.

I will admit I used canned Chili for simplicity's sake, but next time I'm going to plan this to go with a pot of fresh made chili. They were good, easy and a good one for Alice to help with. She mixed the batter, sliced the hotdogs and then proceeded to make such a huge mess attempting to put the batter into the muffin tin that I took over at that point. She did a great job though.

After going through everything, it's a pretty cheesy week, which was completely unintentional. I'm quite confident that cheese makes everything better though so it's ok.

Put 1 cup of brown rice in the rice maker.

Steam 12 oz broccoli (approx. 10 minutes) and set aside.

Chop 8 oz chicken thighs into bite size pieces.

Dice ½ an onion.
Chop 1 small onion.

Enchilada Pasta

Heat 2 tbs olive oil in a large pan and add:
2 cloves minced garlic
1.25 lbs ground turkey
Taco seasoning

(Little side note. I totally forgot the taco seasoning. Rather upset about it. Leaving that out made the whole thing a little bland and only ok; Pretty much just turned it into pasta with turkey meat sauce. It was good, but definitely not what it was supposed to be. I will attempt this again and hopefully get it right next time.)

2 cups chicken broth
19 oz can red enchilada sauce
8 oz uncooked rotini

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Uncover and simmer for 5 more minutes to let the sauce thicken. Stir in 1 cup of cheese.

I then refrigerated it for leftovers. When reheating I topped with additional cheese and then served with black olives and green onions.

Again, it was basically just pasta with a turkey meat sauce. So upset I forgot the seasoning! Let me know how yours goes!

Chili Cheese Corn Dog Muffins

Spray muffin tin.

In a large bowl mix:
2 packets sweet yellow corn muffin mix
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tbs vegetable oil
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder

Add 1 package sliced hotdogs & 1 cup Colby jack cheese

Spoon into muffin tin & bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes (mine took 25 and probably could have come out a little earlier).

Heat Chili on stove while muffins bake.
Serve muffins topped with chili, sour cream, additional Colby jack cheese and sliced green onions.
I also served a salad and some frozen mixed veggies for the girls that I heated up while the muffins baked.

Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole
This one doesn’t have a lot of seasoning in the recipe and so I did add a few extras that I think helped quite a bit.

Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a large pan and add:
Chopped onion
½ tsp minced garlic
8 oz sliced mushrooms
Chopped chicken
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
Dash of ground red pepper

In a medium bowl combine 1 ½ cups milk and 3 tbs flour. Whisk until smooth.

Once chicken is cooked through, stir milk mixture into pan with chicken and cook for a couple minutes until it starts to thicken.

Remove from heat and mix in:
½ tsp salt
Cooked Brown Rice
Steamed Broccoli
1 cup cheddar cheese

I don’t like to ‘top with cheese’ and prefer to have it mixed in. I did top with a little extra when serving thought and had served a with this dinner also.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Zucchini Casserole

I'm a big fan of zucchini in most of it's formats (especially bread). We tend to eat it fairly frequently and I have a couple different recipes that we do, although to be fair steaming it and serving with a little butter is probably what we do the most.

This particular recipe isn't the healthiest and the cook time is an hour, so you have to have that in mind when you're planning dinner, but it was really, really good. Even Elizabeth loved it and that's saying something, she's a good eater, but really has not been a fan of zucchini so far.

Zucchini Casserole

4 slices of bread, cubed
1/4 cup butter melted
2 cups zucchini, cubed (I used approx 1.5 medium zucchini)
1 onion chopped
1 tsp garlic salt
1 egg beaten
2 cups shredded cheese (calls for cheddar, I used colby jack because that's what was in the fridge)

The recipe calls for using the cheese as a topping, but I don't like doing that because then the majority of the dish doesn't have cheese. So I mixed in about a cup and a half and used the last half a cup as topping. I think it works much better that way.

Mix it all together and pour into a greased 9x13 casserole dish.
Top with remaining cheese.
Cover with Foil
Bake for 30 minutes Covered.
Bake for 25-30 minutes Uncovered.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Week 11 - Crockpot Fiesta Chicken, Corn Fritters and Rosemary Ranch Chicken

It's a pretty light week this week and I'm hoping we don't run out of leftovers. The crockpot dinner was good, our rice was a little mushy though. I think that may have come from sitting in the crockpot for a couple hours before it was time to start the pot, my bad. The corn fritters are great when they're hot out of the pan. As leftovers...they're a little lacking and we weren't huge fans of the Worcestershire sauce as a topping as suggested by the website. I think a little sour cream as a topping would be about right. The Rosemary Ranch Chicken though is one of our FAVORITE marinades and I highly recommend it on the veggies too.

Spray inside of crock pot with cooking spray.

Small bowl 1
2 tbs lime juice
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp: cumin, garlic salt & chili powder
(My mix didn’t really make a paste, but I didn’t want the chicken too spicy anyway so I didn’t worry about it. If you want to keep more of the spice, mix the lime juice into the other ingredients slowly until you get the right consistency)

Medium Bowl 2
Dice: one small yellow onion & one bell pepper

Large Bowl 3
Chop two bell peppers into large pieces
Rinsed Mushrooms
Half a red onion cut into large wedges

Large Bowl 4
5 chicken breasts chopped into large (kabob sized) pieces

Rub spice mixture in Bowl 1 on remaining 5 chicken breasts and set aside.

Heat 2 tbs olive oil on stove and add veggies in Medium bowl 2;

Sauté for a few minutes.

Salt & Pepper to taste
4 tbs butter
Chicken Broth
1 tsp: cumin, minced garlic, chili powder & oregano

Mix in:
Package of Rice (uncooked)
Cream of Celery soup
½ cup salsa
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (if using)
1 cup black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 cup frozen corn

Add mixture to the crockpot. Top with seasoned chicken. Set on low for 4-4.5 hours or until chicken is done.

Top with cheese.
Can also serve with sour cream, more salsa and guacamole.

The marinade recipe is enough just for the chicken. I doubled it and poured half in the large bowl 4 with the chicken, and the other half in large bowl 3 with the veggies.

½ cup olive oil
½ cup ranch dressing
3 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbs minced fresh rosemary
2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp white vinegar
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tbs white sugar

Skewer and grill 8-12 minutes, or place on a foil lined large casserole dish and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Prep the fritter batter while the marinade is sitting.

In a large bowl mix:
1 cup flour
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp Cajun seasoning (or a pinch of cayenne)
1 egg
1 tsp lime juice
½ cup water
1 can of corn (drained)
½ red onion diced

When you put the chicken on the grill (or when there's around 10 minutes left in the oven), heat a pan with enough oil for frying and drop large spoonfuls of the corn mixture when the oil is hot. Flip like a pancake and brown on both sides, only takes a couple minutes. Eat while hot off the skillet with the grilled chicken and veggies.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It was so good, I made it again!

This time I doubled it though because it doesn't make a lot of leftovers. I baked and chopped a couple chicken breasts and tossed those in also. This is definitely on the regular rotation from now on. It's a perfect 30 minute dish.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Week 10 - Taking it easy, BBQ, Baked Chicken and Cajun Trout

We had a wonderful mother's day weekend but we were so busy that I didn't really leave time for cooking. So this week's plan is about as simple as it gets. Crockpot BBQ, Baked Chicken and Cajun Trout, one of our favorites, and the kids love it too!

Not only are they simple dinners, but it's a really short shopping list too. Easy all around!

BBQ, Mac n Cheese & Zucchini sticks

Chicken, Kale & Sweet Potato

 Cajun Trout, Green beans & Rice

This is actually the leftovers that I was packing for Elizabeth's dinner for the next night. 
I forgot to take a picture of mine.


Place roast in crockpot with 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup water and, using the cap to the bottle, measure two cap fulls of liquid smoke (available in the same section of the grocery store as the steak sauce and marinades). Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred and mix in a squirt or two of BBQ sauce.

Slice three zucchini into sticks. In a medium bowl mix:
1/4 tsp kosher salt (or regular salt)
Black pepper to taste
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp grated romano or paremsan cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder.

Split this mixture in half and place into two gallon sized baggies.

In a bowl whisk two eggs (the recipe calls for three egg whites, I did two whole eggs instead).

Using a slotted spoon dip a batch of zucchini into egg mixture and then put into the bread crumb baggie and shake until well coated. Do a second batch in the second bag.


I made this mistake and after shaking up round one, you can't reuse the bread crumb mixture. It clumps up and won't coat the zucchini. I also didn't actually measure my ingredients. I tossed a bunch of stuff into the baggie and just went with it. Don't do that either. Rich loved them, but the rest of us thought they were way too salty. Next time I'll measure.

Place zucchini sticks on a greased baking pan (or line one with parchment paper) and bake for 25 minutes at 425 degrees.

Prepare Macaroni and Cheese.
Serve BBQ with rolls and additional sauce.

Chicken & Kale

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking oil. Slice sweet potatoes into sticks and lay in a single layer on the foil. Spray with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Slice chicken breasts and marinate in Italian Dressing (or marinade of choice) for 20 minutes.

Bake chicken at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until done.

Trim the stems from the kale and steam over boiling water for 10 minutes. Serve with butter or balsamic vinegar.

Cajun Trout

First know, I hate the smell of cooking trout. Something about the skin just makes it stink, but it always tastes awesome. So don't be alarmed if you try this and think your fish is bad or that it is too smelly to be tasty. It's just the skin and you don't eat that part.

Place two cups of rice in rice cooker (or cook on stove top)

Place fillets in a pan lined with foil. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with Cajun Seasoning. Bake at 350 degrees for around 15 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish. Ours was pretty thin, 1/2 an inch thick at best. For thicker fish cook longer and when it flakes easily with a fork it's done.

Place two cans of green beans in a microwavable bowl and cook on high for two minutes. Don't take out right away; give it another minute or two to cool before removing. (Or just cook on the stove. I like cooking them in a Pyrex dish in the microwave so I can then just put a cover on and toss in the fridge, no clean up.)


Monday, May 11, 2015

What to do with all those Strawberries!

Ok, this recipe doesn't actually take care of all that many of the massive pile of strawberries we came home with on Saturday, but it's really tasty and really easy.

This is what it was supposed to look like but I choose to forgo the multiple layers.

Instead mine looked like this. Pretty close, just with less decoration, and I'm only showing half the plate because Rich and I destroyed the other half right after I finished putting them together...

One sheet frozen puff pastry
One box Vanilla Pudding
Two cups milk
Cool Whip
Sliced Strawberries

Mix pudding with milk and put in fridge to set.
Defrost the pastry (approx 40 minutes) and slice into 12 squares.
Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes (I think I took mine out at 12, watch them or they'll burn).
Split open and fill with pudding, cool whip and sliced strawberries.
Enjoy warm!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

week 9 - Veggie Mac & Cheese, Breakfast for dinner and Fish Tacos

Yes, fish tacos. A favorite of ours, although I have to admit Alice was not impressed. I think it was the sour cream that she didn't care for, so that one may not be as family friendly as I had hoped. The quiche (i.e. Breakfast for dinner) is a new favorite.

I also have to admit that the amount of prep time for the Mac & Cheese and the quiche made it hard to get both done in the same afternoon. I got the Mac & Cheese together and cooked, but not the chicken, and I got the quiche prepped and it spent a night in a bowl in the fridge before I finally cooked it. Fish tacos are clearly best the same day and they take no time to make, which is one of the reasons we love it so much! I did not get a photo of then though. I was hungry, and I just ate it.

Veggie Mac & Cheese with oven fried chicken

Fish Tacos
This recipe originally came from a healthy cookbook that I've had for years but have managed to rearrange and adapt to the point that it doesn't actually resemble that original recipe much at all, so I'm calling it my own.

Drain a 16 oz jar of salsa verde in a colander for five minutes. Put tilapia fillets in a large skillet and pour salsa verde over the fish. Cook on medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until fish is done and flakes easily.

While the fish is cooking, slice an avocado, open a bag of greens, open bag of tortillas, open container of sour cream.

Yeah...this is a tough one...I think you can figure out the rest.

Veggie Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken
This one, in theory, was supposed to be a Greek version of Macaroni and Cheese, but, my red onion ended up being rotten in the middle (hate it when than happens! I used a regular yellow onion.) and I didn't buy olives because of the kids. This one is also, in theory, supposed to be a 'skinny' Mac & Cheese but with the amount of actual cheese in it, I can't imagine it's really that healthy, other than all the veggies.

Put a large pot of water on to boil and cook 12 oz of whole wheat macaroni. Set aside.

In a large skillet heat 1 tbs olive oil and add:
1/2 a red onion sliced (or chopped if you have eaters who get offended at long pieces of onion)
1 large green bell pepper sliced
1 large red bell pepper sliced

Saute for 5 minutes or so and add:
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large heavy saucepan, heat 1 3/4 cups milk over medium-high heat until steaming (do not boil). Whisk together 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup flour until smooth and add to the milk in the saucepan and cook for 3-5 more minutes until it thickness slightly, whisking the whole time.

Remove from heat (I had to move to a large mixing bowl also) and add:
1 1/2 cups cheddar (recipe calls for white cheddar, which I couldn't find)
1 1/2 cups low fat cottage cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes rinsed and chopped
10 oz fresh spinach (I know it calls for frozen, but I like fresh) a hand full at a time, stir until incorporated and then add more.

Grease a 3 qt backing dish and pour entire mixture into dish. Either refrigerate for baking later or top the mixture with:

1 cup crushed pita chips mixed with 1/2 tsp oregano and 1 tbs olive oil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes depending on if it was refrigerated previously.

In all honesty, we thought this was only ok. It seemed like a lot of prep and the end result was not as amazing as I feel it should be after boiling milk, which I hate to do because I always scorch it. It tasted fine and both girls ate it willingly, but there will likely not be a repeat on this one.

Dip the chicken thighs in a mix of two eggs & a dash of milk and then press into a plate of Panko Italian Bread crumbs. Bake at 400 for 35-45 minutes, or until done.

If you put both Chicken and Mac & Cheese in together the cook time will be closer to 45-50 minutes for all, just watch the top of the casserole and cover if it starts to brown too early.

Broccoli, Cheddar, Bacon Quiche
Cook 8 oz of bacon, approx half a package, crumble and set aside (who are we kidding, cook the whole pound, eat half and crumble the rest).

Steam 2 large heads of broccoli.

In 2 Tbsp butter sautee:
3 sliced green onions (I used 1/2 a yellow onion instead)
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
2 gloves of garlic

Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk:
6 large eggs
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 1/2 cups half and half
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp dry ground mustard
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper

Sauteed veggies
1 1/2 cups finely chopped broccoli
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
1 1/4 cup Bisquick mix

The cook time is 40 minutes at 375 degrees. You're supposed to sprinkle the top with 1/2 cup cheddar, but I had a little issue with the pie plate and forgot that part.

The recipe calls for a greased 9" pie plate, but I had some overflow issues. It ended up looking like this, batter slowly creeping toward the edge of the plate:

So I moved it to two 8" pie plates and kept the cook time the same.

And they came out beautiful!! And super tasty!! Highly recommend this one.

That's it for this week!