Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tastes Like Lasagna Soup

It is cold here. It has been weeks of near freezing or below freezing temps. I turned to my trusty Internet to find new soups and I stumbled upon this interesting one on the Food Network from Paula Deen. We are giving it a shot tomorrow night.

Tastes Like Lasagna Soup

1 lb. ground hamburger

1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves, minced

1tsp thyme

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 32 oz box chicken broth

2 cans petite diced tomatoes

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups broken lasagna noodles

1 5oz. pkg. grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Garlic Costini, recipe follows

Garlic Crostini:

1 thin French baguette

1/2 cup olive oil

2 cloves smashed garlic

Salt and pepper

In a large pan cook beef, onion, bell pepper and garlic over med- high heat, until meat is browned. Drain well. Stir in thyme, brown sugar, broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and salt. Bring to a boil over med- high heat; reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add noodles and simmer until noodles are tender. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into 8 to 10 ovenproof bowls. Evenly sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Broil soups, 6 inches from the heat, for 3-4 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbly. Add a garlic crostini slice on top. Serve immediately.

For the Garlic Crostini:

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut bread into 1/4-inch round slices. Place on baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; place in oven and bake until golden crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Rub each side with a smashed garlic clove.
Edited to add that this is one of the best recipes that I have ever made from the internet. If you try any of the recipes posted here, try this one!!! Thanks to Paula Deen for her amazing soup!
Gayle from Grocery Cart Challenge hosts a recipe swap here. Check it out!

BBQ Chip Chicken Bites

This recipe is one of my boys favorites. It is a chicken nugget baked with chip crumbs. Chicken and chips- how can you go wrong? My boys request this every week- I try to make it at least once a month.

Make sure you check out Blessed with Grace who hosts Tempt My Tummy Tuesday's for a whole bunch of great recipes.

BBQ Chip Chicken Bites

2 eggs

4 Tbsp milk

1 bag BBQ chips, crushed

1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Place chips in a second bowl. Dip the chicken pieces into the egg mixture, then roll it in the chips. Place on a greased cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Menu for week of Dec 28

Here is what we are planning on eating this week. Kind of a busy week- aren't they all?

Monday: Pork Chops

Tuesday: Chicken Alfredo

Wednesday: Tastes Like Lasagna Soup

Thursday: New Years Nibble Menu (Queso Dip, Bacon wrapped Jalapenos, baked sausage, chips, whatever else strikes our fancy)

Friday: Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy

Saturday: Wedding Reception

Sunday: Anniversary - Dinner out

I will try to come back through the week and post the recipes for the soup and the jalapenos. Have a great week!
Check out orgjunkie.com for menus galore!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Menu for week of Dec 13

My sweet husband is off of work this week! Hip! Hip! Hooray!! Here is what we will be making for this week.

Sunday: Leftovers from all the Christmas parties that we have been to in the past three days

Monday: BBQ chip chicken (recipe to be posted Tuesday)

Tuesday: Meatball Sub Casserole

Wednesday: Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Thursday: Foil Packet Tilapia

Friday: Dirty Rice

Saturday: Ginger Chicken (recipe to be posted )

Check out Org Junkie for more menues and recipes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Children helping in the kitchen

From the time my boys were little, they would love to help Mama in the kitchen. They loved measuring ingredients, stirring, and later learning how to crack eggs. It is a magical place, the kitchen is. Now that my oldest is almost 12, he is inventing recipes. I completely encourage his creations and his experiments. This attitude of letting the boys loose in the kitchen is what Works for Me! Check out this link for more awesome ideas!
Here is Son1's best creation so far:

Honey Cinnamon Twists
1 flour tortilla
butter, softened
Cinnamon sugar
Spread butter on the tortilla. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Broil until the sugar begins to caramelize and get all bubbly. Remove from the oven. Drizzle honey over the tortilla. Roll up and enjoy!

Soft Ginger Cookies

Soft Ginger Cookies
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 TBSP fresh ginger, chopped
2 TBSP crystallized ginger, minced
Extra sugar
In large bowl cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the molasses. In a small bowl stir together the baking soda and the water, set aside. In separate bowl sift together the flour, salt and the dry spices. Gradually stir in the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Stir in the fresh ginger and the crystallized ginger. Stir in the water/baking soda. Shape dough into walnut sized balls and roll them in the extra sugar. If the dough is to sticky at this point, put in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to firm up. Place the balls of dough on a ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart and flatten slightly. Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes.
These cookies are so yummy! All the boys LOVED them and they make you house smell so good while you bake them! Enjoy! For more recipes checkout The Grocery Cart Challenge. The ladies there always share such great ideas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hot Artichoke Dip

I love it when you get to a gathering/ party and there is appetizers set out. I love trying out the different nibbles. This dip is one that I like to make for parties. It is so easy and frugal as well.

Head over to Blessed with Grace for Tempt my Tummy Tuesday and see all the yummy treats shard there.

Hot Artichoke Dip

1- 8 oz package cream cheese, softened

2 cups mayo

1- 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained

1 3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Mash artichoke hearts, add to cream cheese, stirring well. Stir in mayo and Parmesan cheese. Spoon into a greased 11x7 baking dish. Bake at 350º for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with assorted crackers or chips.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Menu Plan for week of 12-5-09

It is amazing that it has been two months since I have posted. We have been a little busier than normal. All of the family of six except one had the H1N1 virus. We had a 9 year old turn 10, and a baby turn 1. Halloween came and went. The boys went as stick figures that glowed in the dark, and the baby went as Raggedy Andy, They looked great! We celebrated 2 weddings- we were the most involved with my sisters wedding, as all of us were in the wedding party, and friends from church were married in November. Flag Football season ended, and basketball season has begun. Thanksgiving was a blur, and here we sit 20 days until Christmas. Phew! Are you dizzy yet? I am. This month I planned out my entire month's menu. For my sanity, I am only posting it a week at a time. Here is what we will be eating this week:

Sunday: Crock pot Baked Potatoes

Monday: Queso Steak and Rice (recipe below)

Tuesday: Peanut Noodles with Chicken (Recipe posted after we try it out)

Wednesday: Tacos

Friday night and Saturday night we will be attending two Christmas parties- the kitchen will be closed!

Queso Steak

Cube steak- one piece or more per person

Garlic Salt


Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

1 can diced green chilies

1 small onion diced

1 Large can Green Enchilada Sauce

Cook meat in large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Place in 13 x 9 in casserole dish. place desired amount of chilies and onions on each individual piece of meat. (My Hubby and I like them loaded, my children just prefer cheese- nice to be able to customize) Pour enchilada sauce over the top and bake until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.

This menu plan will be posted on Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. Check out all these organized cooks.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Easy Chicken Breast Supreme

Easy Chicken Breast Supreme
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 slices of Swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can milk
3/4 cup Pepperidge farms herb crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
Mix together the crumbs and the melted butter in a bowl. Set aside. Place chicken in a greased casserole dish. Cover each chicken piece with a slice of Swiss cheese. Mix soup and milk and pour over chicken. Top with crumb mixture. Cover and bake for 1hour to 1 1/2 hours at 350º.
Optional ingredients: 1 small onion chopped, 1 can mushrooms, drained.
We often double the sauce and the crumb mixture.
A wonderful lady, who is my boy's Sunday school teacher, shared this wonderful recipe with me. I love tried and true recipes- and this one does not fail. All my boys enjoyed it! I hope you will give
it a try.
Head over to the Grocery Cart Challenge for a weekly Recipe Swap - lots of great recipes to be found here!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sausage Spanish Rice (Crockpot)

I love it when the weather turns colder and I can dig out warm comforting dishes like this one. This recipe is made in the crockpot which is so very helpful when practices are scheduled for the afternoon/early evening. Enjoy! Check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays for a whole bunch more yummy recipes! Also check out Dining with Debbie who hosts Crockpot Wednesdays

Sausage Spanish Rice
1 lb. fully cooked Kielbasa or Polish sausage- cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 cans diced tomatoes- undrained
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups converted rice
1 cup salsa
1 medium onion- diced
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1 can green chilies- undrained
1 envelope Taco seasoning
Combine all ingredients in crockpot. Stir to blend. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until rice is tender.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Menu Plan for week of 10-5

We have just made it through a major event in our family. A major event that was time consuming, detail oriented, but such a major blessing. My sister married her love this past weekend. Such sweet special memories. But now it is MONDAY!!!!! Time for this girl to get her life back on a routine and back to work! We have truly been winging it with meals around here for the last month or so, and it has been driving me crazy. I am so glad that I have a menu to check off and go by- it is such a time saver and a money saver for my family. So here is what we are eating this week . . . .

Monday: Mexican Stuffed Shells

Tuesday: Sausage Spanish Rice- I will post this recipe later in the week. It is a great crock-pot recipe that has wonderful leftovers.

Wednesday: Chicken Breast Supreme- I will also post this recipe this week.

Thursday: Enchilada Stacks

Friday: FFYS- leftover night

Saturday: Hot Roast Beef with mashed potatoes and stuffing- true comfort food.

Sunday: Beef Tips and Noodles

Beef Tips and Noodles
1 pkg stew meat
3 cans cream of chicken soup
1 onion diced
salt and pepper to taste
Place all the ingredients in crock-pot, turn on low and let it cook all day. Serve over egg noodles. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
We make this often on Awana night- it is so simple.
I am linking this post with hundreds of other great menu ideas and recipes and Org Junkie's Menu Plan Mondays. Check them out!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Greek Orzo Salad

A couple of weeks ago, we went to a potluck lunch and a wonderful salad was brought.This was the kind of salad that I thought looked pretty good, so I tried a little and moved on down the line. After my first bite, I knew that I was going for seconds and hopefully the recipe! Unfortunately, the salad was purchased at a deli. A girlfriend and I put our heads together and figured the recipe out. I give her total credit for the dressing, she nailed it!

Greek Orzo Salad
Spinach leaves torn
Black olives, chopped
Grape tomatoes, halved
Red Onion, sliced
Cucumber, sliced
Feta Cheese
Orzo Pasta, cooked and cooled
Olive oil
Fresh Lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
I often cook this way based upon the number of servings that I need. You really just eyeball it and adjust according to your tastes.
Combine all ingredients and stir.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chicken Monterey

Last night for dinner we had a great dish called Chicken Monterey. We doubled it to have enough leftovers for Daddy to take to lunch today. It reheats well. It is similar to a dish that I have had at Chili's. It was kid friendly and very easy to make. We gave it 2 thumbs up!

Chicken Monterey
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/3 cup BBQ sauce
6 slices cooked bacon- crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 green onions- chopped
1 tomato- chopped
Heat oven to 350°. Place chicken in a single layer in the baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon the BBQ sauce evenly over the top. Bake uncovered for 25 -30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon. Bake in the oven 5 minutes longer to melt the cheese. To serve: top with green onion and tomatoes.
Blessed With Grace is hosting a wonderful exchange of recipes- check it out!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Back in the Saddle . . . Menu Plan 8-31

I have to laugh. I am just shy of one month of not posting. This has been the most disorganized month in terms of meal planning for me. Why don't I do what works? Posting my meal plan works so well! It like all good things, takes a little effort. So here I am with renewed effort to faithfully plan out my meals.

Monday : Monterrey Chicken (recipe will be posted Tuesday with reviews)

Tuesday: Mexican Stuffed Shells

Wednesday:Whole Chicken in the Crockpot

Thursday: Easy Pizza Pasta Casserole

Friday: I am trying to figure out a Greek Orzo salad that I had at a party this past weekend. I will post my creation and the families reviews.

Saturday: Hamburgers on the grill

Sunday: FFY- Fend For Yourself (aka: leftovers!)

Head over to Organizing Junkie for a ton of meal ideas, menus and recipes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Senate Cheese Straws

I am in the process of using things up in my freezer since I defrosted it last week. I ran across a block of sharp cheddar cheese that I had bought but never used. I thought of this recipe and how yummy it is. I hope that you will give it a go.

Senate Cheese Straws
1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. flour
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 lb. butter
Finely grate the cheese, then combine with the other ingredients and beat until creamy, adding a few drops of water if necessary to form a firm dough. Divide dough in half. Roll each section 1/4 inch thick. Cut into strips about 6" x 3/8". Place on ungreased cookie sheet and chill in freezer for 15 minutes or longer to maintain shape. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. Makes 5-6 dozen.
For more delicious recipes visit Blessed With Grace who hosts Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Menu Plan Monday Week of 8-3-09

I am trying to get back into the swing of things. Staying on top of the menu is so helpful for my family, and my sanity! So with out further ado . . . .

Monday: Leftover night

Thursday: Mac-n--Cheese and Ham Steak night

Saturday: Chicken Stirfry

Sunday: Queso Steak

I have been fiddiling with a Greek Salad recipe. I will post the recipe when I get it to just where I like it.

For more menu ideas, recipes and links click here.

Friday, July 31, 2009

What we did on our summer vacation

We finally got up to the race track. We love to watch the races on Saturday evenings. This was the first race that we have made it to this year.
I don't know who enjoys this more . . . Mom and Dad or the boys.
Baby boy did great! He did not even mind wearing the headphones. He slept through the last three races, and did not mind the noise at all. I don't know why I worried that it would be difficult to take a baby to the racetrack, he did awesome!

We also went to our favorite camping spot on Deer Creek. I was worried about taking a baby camping. But he was a natural.

It was a little bit chilly in the evenings, but we just threw more wood on the fire and bundled up.

We also broke out the Stomp rockets. These were so much fun. This will be a repeated item next time that we go camping.

There is a park that is close by that has a great water feature that the boys love to play in. It has water that shoots up at random intervals, waterfalls, and little streams. It is very cool. We spent the afternoon playing in the water.

Even the baby got to splash a little!
We had a great time on our "vacation"! It is such a shame that we have to wait until December for our next time off of reality.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Frozen Creamed Corn

The past 8 months have really flown by. This little fella has changed so much! We are so blessed to have this sweet boy in our family.
When we brought home Baby boy#4 home from the hospital, our amazing church family showered their love on us with meals and visits. A very dear lady brought us this recipe, and I have been waiting for the super sweet summer corn to be on sale to stock my freezer. This was so delicious. My tummy is growling as I sit here and think about it!

Frozen Creamed Corn
22 cups of corn
2 cups 1/2+1/2
1 1/2 cups butter
Bake for one hour, covered at 350°. Stir frequently (every 15 minutes).
These were the notes that she wrote on the back of the recipe card: I get about four batches from 150 ears of corn. We use an electric knife. I put 2 1/2 cups in bag to serve our family of 5. Once bagged, lay flat on cookie sheets and stack in freezer. After frozen flat, they will take up less room and stack well in a shoe box in freezer. We like to husk corn first (keep covered in bags), then cut off the cob and start baking. I use big roasters to cook. It keeps frozen for well over a year.

For more recipes check out the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Lists

We are getting ready to go camping this next week. One thing that I have done in the past that I am very thankful for this year, is to write down right after our last trip what we took and needed more of, what we wished we had brought and what we did not need to bring. For example: we had to go out and buy more firewood last time. We ended up using 7 bundles of wood, so this time, we will bring seven bundles with us. We brought two boxes of graham crackers and only used one- we will leave one at home. We found that we needed warmer sleeping bags for two of the boys- a fact that I had forgotten, but my list told me! So we will make sure that they will have warmer sleeping bags before we set out.
I make these types of lists after most things that I do- birthday parties, major craft making days, parties, vacations, Christmas. You name it, I have a list for it. These lists tell me what I liked and didn't like, what I would or would not repeat. I am the mom of four boys- my brain can only remember so many details! This is what really works for me! For more great ideas check out We are THAT family.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Countdown!

We are in our final week of school. Friday is "Finish Line Friday". I took the boys to the Dollar store and I let them each pick out water balloons in a different color. We are going to have a spectacular water balloon fight! I think that I am also going to surprise them with cake pops from Bakerellas site following these directions. However, I think that I won't make ours pink- it might not go over all that well with this group! If they turn out, I will post a pic or two later!

I am very ready for this school year to be done. We took off time when baby boy#4 was born, so our school year has extended itself into July. I really don't like doing school in July! However- I think that the boys have really learned a great lesson out of this. Following through is sometimes tedious and difficult, but finishing strong is a reward in itself! Four more days!!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Latest Project

I have been making burp cloths for a couple of new little baby girls. I got to use pink! Pink fabric, thread and ribbons! That is a color that I don't get to see to much of! I found a great site here, that really helped me out. I was blessed by a bunch of these with baby boy#4, they work great and looked nicer than plain white cloth diapers.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Red Potatoes and Green Bean Foil Packets

My latest thing is cooking with foil. It really has some great advantages. The best advantage is the clean up. You just throw the used foil away! This is a recipe that I threw together to go with my Lemon Pepper Tilapia foil packet.
Red Potatoes and Green Bean Foil Packet
Slice red potatoes and green beans into small bite sized pieces. Toss with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and chopped fresh rosemary. Dot with butter. Place on the center of two large pieces of foil. Wrap up into a packet. Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Go check out more wonderful recipes at Grocery Cart Challenge here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lemon Pepper Tilapia- Tempt My Tummy Tuesday 7-7-09

Back in the day- my family would have a wonderful fish fry of sorts. Sometimes we would have fresh fish and my mom would whip up a batter and fry them right up. It was heavenly. I can still see her in my minds eye standing over the stove. And the smells, my mouth is watering- sigh! Unfortunately, that was one recipe that my siblings and I never asked her for. So I have resorted to making fish a different way whenever the mood strikes and this recipe is one that I threw together after scouring the web for tips and ideas. I hope that you will try it and enjoy it. My whole mob loved it, which surprised me, I thought there would be one who would turn his nose up.
Lemon Pepper Tilapia in foil packets
1 lemon- cut into slices
Tilapia fillets
Kosher Salt- to taste
Pepper- to taste
Lemon Pepper- to taste
Get your foil ready, it needs to be large enough that you can create a little envelope. Click here for a great step by step guide. Place two lemon slices on the foil, then top with a fish fillet. Season with salt, pepper and lemon pepper. Dot with butter. Fold up and bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes. If I had any fresh herbs that day I would have thrown them on top as well. You really can tweak to your family's taste preferences. So simple, so yummy! For more delicious recipes check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Blessed With Grace.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 7-6-09

I hope that this week will be "normal" for us. Our kind of normal is a little bit fast paced and strange to many- but I sure do miss it when we get off our pattern!

Here is the plan for Chow time for my cowboys!
Monday: Grilled Hamburgers
Wednesday: Antipasto Wraps
Saturday: We are going to the races!!! We will be bringing leftover antipasto wraps and other types of sandwiches.
Sunday: Fish packets with potato packets (recipes to follow this week)

I just heard the weather forecast- it is supposed to be very summer like, so I might be making these early in the day and reheating in the evening. I hope that will help keep my house cooler.
For more excellent menu ideas and recipes check out Menu Plan Monday.

Love . . . .True Love . . . .

We are so excited for my sister. She has met and fallen head over heels for a very sweet and special man. He popped the question this weekend, and of course, she said YES!! I don't know who is more excited? Staci and Steve, or my boys that she will be marrying Mr. Steve! Hip Hip Hooray!!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Painting is HARD work!

We had to paint our home. It was time. We asked our friends and family for advice, for loans of their ladders and supplies, and for their help. We were so very blessed by what they gave us. For two days we had enough people to complete the majority of the task. To my sister and her boyfriend, my brother and his wife and their sons, my husbands brother and his wife.: THANK YOU!!! We love you guys! You all did such an awesome job!!!

This is the before picture. We were just getting started.

My very brave hubby climbing the ladder! He did such a good job!

I even put the kids to work! Here is Son#1 helping his Aunt paint the shutters.

I think this the only photo of me! I even got my brave on and climbed the roof.

This is the end of Day #2. We still have a bunch of trim and touch up to do, but the big hard stuff is finished. Whew! This was such a HUGE project!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Corn, Avacado and Tomato Salad

There is something so refreshing about summer. One thing that I love during the summer is serving fresh produce from the farmers market- somehow it just tastes better. Now if I could ever figure out how to actually grow my own veggies- it would be even better! This is a recipe that I discovered on the Food Network from Paula Deen. I love it. It is very simple and tasty!

Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad
2 cups cooked corn (fresh or frozen)
1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp grated lime zest
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Combine the corn, avocado, tomatoes and onion . Mix together the dressing ingredients in another bowl, pour over the salad and, gently toss to mix.
To find more great recipes check out Blessed With Grace who hosts Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays

Monday, June 22, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

This is one of my children's favorite weeks of the year- Vacation Bible School. This year our church is having a night VBS. I am going to really have to be on the ball to have dinner made early enough for the boys before we leave for the night. I am playing around with having dinner for lunch and then PB&J's for dinner. I might try it both ways. But hopefully we will not give in to temptation and eat out for convenience sake. So here goes-my plan for this crazy week!

Monday: Gingered Chicken Breast- a recipe a dear friend passed along.

Gingered Chicken Breast
From: South Beach Diet

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine the first four ingredients; pour over chicken breasts and coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours. Pan cook it, broil it, bake it.

Tuesday: Crock Pot Baked Potato Bar

So very easy- Wash your spuds and put them in the crock pot all day on low. Serve with various tater toppings- whatever your crew likes.

Wednesday: Mexican Stuffed Shells I have to pull this one from last week because I did not get around to trying it and I really want to!

Thursday: Asian Vegetable Pasta a new one for us but it looked yummy!

Friday: Parents night at VBS we will be eating there.

Saturday: BBQ Beef Sandwiches from the crock pot

Sunday: Make your own pizza night

For a huge group of great menu ideas and recipes check out Menu Plan Monday here

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

To my very special husband. You are such a great dad. Our boys are so very blessed to have you as their father. I know that we appreciate your awesome dancing skills, your sense of humor, your calm caring nature, your logical-ness and your grilling skills. You are such a great example of a servant, of a humble man. Thank you for all the hours you toil to provide for us. We love you Daddy!! We hope that you get a chance to put your feet up and count your blessings.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Malt Shop Pie

A chocolate malt reminds me of what I like to drink in the summer. Cool, creamy and very refreshing. To put it in a pie is wonderful, that way you can share with your family and friends- or not, I won't tell!
Malt Shop Pie
1 1/2 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
1/2 cup malted milk balls, crushed
2 Tbsp. milk- divided
3 Tbsp instant chocolate malted milk powder
3 Tbsp marshmallow creme
1 cup whipping cream
Garnish: whipped cream and malted milk balls
Combine cookie crumbs and butter, press into a 9" pie pan. Place in freezer while preparing pie filling. Blend together ice cream, milk balls and 1 Tbsp milk. Pour into pie crust and freeze for one hour. Mix together malted milk powder, marshmallow creme and remaining milk. Fold in whipping cream and whip until peaks form. Spread over pie filling and freeze overnight. Garnish with whipped cream and malted milk balls.
One of my favorite things about this dessert is that you don't have to turn your oven on- something I look for in my summer recipes as we don't have air conditioning. This recipe is just one of many over at Life as Mom who hosts the Ultimate Recipe Swap. Check it out!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


We have a seven month old. We love to camp. Generally speaking these two items do not go well with each other. It is difficult for all of us to sleep in a tent normally, but add a baby who feels that it is his duty and privilege to wake up at his leisure during the night to eat, and you have non-compatibility. However, we have come up with a compromise: daycamping.

All the fun of camping minus the overnight stay. We had a fire, the roasting of hot dogs and the makings of smores. We had Frisbee tossing, dirt digging, slingshoting and general laziness. We had a great time. The baby was happy, we were happy.

The baby was passed around to his delight and did rather well. The fresh air wore him out and he took a nice nap.

We never cease to be in awe of the amazing world that the Lord has created. This beautiful vista was a great place to visit, but we had to make it a quick trip due to lightening in the area. We spotted several trees that had been struck by lightening.

This is Son#3. He is such a monkey. We daycamped next to many large boulders, and the first thing that he wanted to do was scramble up to the top of them. He is my heart in my mouth child. I always feel like my heart is in my mouth with the crazy stunts that he pulls off.

Son#2 and Son#3 would dig a hole all the way to China if we let them. Anytime we go outdoors, they will begin a new hole. This time, he discovered a rusty old beer can. You would have thought that he discovered gold. We had to work hard to get him to rebury it. (There is no trash service or cans here in bear country- you pack it out and I didn't want to pack that out!)

The weather cooperated enough that we were able to have lunch and dinner over the fire. To me, hot dogs are best roasted over the campfire.
This is what Works For Me. Check out what works for others here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

My mom used to make all sorts of yummy munchies for my brother and sister and I growing up. She would make candies, rolls, fudge, cheese straws and many others. One of my favorites is this recipe for Melba Toast. They really hit the spot when I want something crunchy. They are also very easy to make and simple enough for kids to help out with as well. I hope you will give them a shot- they are quite tasty!

Melba Toast
1/2 lb. margarine (not butter)
1 pinch Italian seasoning
2 pinches curry powder
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
Combine all ingredients. Spread on white bread and cut into four triangles. Dry in 250° oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Bread is done when there is no soft center. This uses approximately one loaf of bread.
For more great recipes check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays at Blessed With Grace

Menu Plan Monday

This Monday has crept up on me way too fast! I am feeling unprepared to post my menu this week, but I thought that I would give it a go anyways!. We will be trying a few new recipes this week. I will let you know how they went and if they were in the words of my hubby "a keeper".

Monday: Taco night- nothing special, just a quick go to on a busy night

Tuesday: Cheese Enchilada Stack I am going to add chicken or beef- depends on our mood or whatever I grab from the freezer!

Wednesday: Lettuce Wraps- This looks like a bit of work, so it will depend on our day, but I love lettuce wraps!

Thursday: Mexican Stuffed Shells

Friday: Antipasto Wraps - Perfect to take to Son #1's Tennis Tourney

Saturday: Tortilla Crusted Tilapia

Sunday: Burgers and Brats on the Grill for Fathers Day

For a huge list of menu ideas and recipes check out I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Dog Days of . . . ????

My baby will be seven months old this weekend. He has grown so much from the scrawny little thing that he was last November. All that growing, being cute as a button and the center of his brothers world for seven months has been completely exhausting. It has plain worn the little fella out (mama too!). He fell asleep in his exersaucer. Somehow I just know that this little nap will perk him right up and he will be ready to once again be the "baby" and all that entails around here! Tough job, but he does it well!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One of our Family hobbies

This might be a strange hobby to some, but being the mom of 4 NASCAR lovin' boys who live so very far away from all NASCAR tracks, we have come up with a hobby of sorts. We hear through the grapevine that a NASCAR car is in front of some store, or gas station. We will pile in the family van with our cameras and go take photos of the car and the boys. We have been lucky enough to get 8 or so. Today my sister-in-law texted me and told me that there was one in front of a local grocery store. This will be the first one with our newest little one. Here is a photo that I got today. This very cheap but enjoyable hobby.This is what works for us. Check out more great ideas here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pace Picante Sauce giveaway . . . .

At one of my favorite sites www.5dollardinners.com , they are giving away Pace Picante sauce and a cookbook. I LOVE Mexican food and chips and salsa is right at the top of my list. Head on over to see what you need to do for your shot to win free salsa, and check out all the great frugal recipes there. I am always finding great ideas.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad
7 chopped green onions (green parts too!)
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 small can water chestnuts-julienne cut
1/2 package wonton skins- cut in small rectangles and fried in small amount of oil
1/2 head of lettuce- chopped
1/2 head of Napa cabbage- chopped
2 cups cooked chicken- chopped
1 can mandarin oranges- drained
Toss salad ingredients together. Combine dressing ingredients.
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp sugar
Pour over salad and toss again.
When the weather starts to warm up, I really dislike having to stand over a hot stove at 5 pm at night. So I will turn to making a salad. This one is great and it makes a ton! I also really like the fact that if I am with it, I will do all the prep work in the morning when my house is nice and cool and all that I have to do for dinner is toss and serve. I hope that you enjoy my chicken salad. What do you make when your house is to warm to cook? For more great ideas visit Lisa who hosts Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I am really liking the fact that my menu is posted online. My oldest boys visit my blog and will tell me that ". . .they are excited for Wednesday because you are making my favorite thing!" So for my boys and for you all as well, here is what we are planning for our crew this week. For more ideas and recipes click here.
Monday: Grilled Salmon and roasted veggies
Tuesday: Chinese Chicken Salad (will post this recipe tomorrow)
Wednesday: Pepperoni Bread (see below)
Thursday: Chicken Monterrey
Friday: Nachos
Saturday: We will be daycamping so we will be cooking hotdogs over the fire.
Sunday: We will eat out to celebrate a birthday.
Pepperoni Bread
1 batch of pizza dough (I make mine in my bread machine)
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
6 oz. pepperoni
8 oz mozzarella cheese- shredded
2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 Tbsp pepper
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 jar of favorite spaghetti sauce- heated
Roll out dough to 8"x 18" rectangle. Brush with egg. Sprinkle with Parmesan and parsley. Layer pepperoni and mozzarella. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, pepper and half of your garlic salt. Roll up jelly roll style. Rub Olive oil on cookie sheet and on bread. Sprinkle with remaining garlic salt and parsley. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with heated spaghetti sauce for dipping.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Kettle Corn and an outdoor movie!

Every summer, our town hosts outdoor movie events. I have not been able to make it to one in all the years that we have lived here, but this year is the year. It is free and sounds very fun- you bring your lawn chairs and your own refreshments (they have some for sale, of course) and enjoy the evening. Tonight, weather permitting, we will hopefully be able to go see Kung Fu Panda. If we go I will be bringing this yummy and very easy treat along to much on.
Kettle Corn
3 Tbsp. oil (we use canola)
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
3 Tbsp sugar
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a large dutch oven type of pan, over medium heat. Place one kernel in the oil. Wait until it pops before you pour in the rest of the kernels. Once you pour in the kernels, sprinkle the sugar over the top . Put your lid on, and shake while still keeping the pan on the stove, back and forth until the popping sounds have stopped (about 3 minutes or so). You must keep the kernels moving or the sugar will burn! When all popping has ceased remove the lid and pour into a large bowl to cool, sprinkle lightly with salt. Enjoy!
This recipe makes enough for 5 eaters- but we quickly ran out and had to make a second batch- it is that good! You do get a very good arm work out with all the shaking, but I can not stress how important that part is!
Check out Gayle at Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap for great recipes and awesome frugal tips.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Blue Bunny Frozen Yogurt Granola Bars

This is my first time to join in on TILT, but I have found some great ideas over at theDiaperDiaries.net For my first Thing That I Love Thursday I want to introduce you all to a wonderful little treat that I discovered in my local freezer aisle. Blue Bunny Frozen Yogurt Granola Bars- I got the Raspberry Vanilla variety. Let me tell you, these are so good! "Creamy raspberry low fat frozen yogurt with a layer of raspberry fruit filling topped with crunchy granola crumbles covered in a vanilla yogurt coating." is how they are described by the Blue Bunny folks- but my description would be YUMMY! I found these at our local King Soopers ( a local grocery store). I plan on hiding a box in the back of the freezer to have when the kids are eating their popsicles!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Free rootbeer floats at Sonic 6-3-09

I love root beer floats. The cool ice cream married to the flavorful root beer. So good! Today only at Sonic drive-in's they are giving away free root beer floats from 8 pm to 12am. I know what we are doing tonight! Start your summer off right . . . go get your free root beer float at Sonic tonight. This is most definitely works for me! Check out other great ideas here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Oven Fried Chimichangas

For todays Tempt My Tummy Tuesday recipe, I decided to share what we are having for dinner tonight, and what I brought to my friend this morning.

Oven Fried Chimichangas
1 lb. ground beef
shredded cheddar cheese
8 flour tortillas
3 Tbsp. butter- melted
1 can green enchilada sauce- heated up in a sauce pan over medium heat
Toppings: chopped cilantro, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, diced tomato, diced onion, sour cream, black olives.
Brown beef. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Place a spoonful of meat or so into center of tortilla, sprinkle with desired amount of cheese. Roll up into bundles. Once they are all assembled, brush with the melted butter. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Spoon heated enchilada sauce over top, and place desired toppings on top. Enjoy! These also reheat well the next day as leftovers.♥

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Homemade salsa

Homemade Salsa

1 (14 1/2 ounce) can tomatoes and green chilies
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes (plus the juice)
4 teaspoons jalapenos (canned,diced, not pickled)
1/4 cup yellow onion (diced)
1 clove fresh garlic- minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Fresh cilantro to taste
Juice from a lime

1. In food processor place jalapenos and onions and garlic.
2. Process for just a few seconds.
3. Add both cans of tomatoes, salt, sugar, cumin, cilantro and lime juice
4. Process all ingredients until well blended but do not puree.
5. Place in covered container and chill.
6. A couple of hours of chilling will help blend and enrich the flavor.
7. Serve with your favorite thin corn tortilla chips.
When we watch Nascar, we have to have some good munchies. I love chips and salsa and this is a great recipe for homemade salsa. Super easy. Pretty much just dump and blend. This recipe is very agreeable to adjustments- add or subtract jalepenos to your desire. Yummy!

Weekend Fun!

Sprint All-Star Race Practice

I have a confession of sorts. I LOVE NASCAR!!! Actually, I love all kinds of car races. I love the thrill of those cars flying by, the drama of jostling to the front and competing for the lead. I love the roar of all that horsepower. I love the smells related to racing- rubber, racing fuel . . . ahh! This is what we are doing this afternoon. Sacking out in front of the TV to watch today's race. Son #1 and I share the same favorite driver- #17 Matt Kenseth. We will be cheering for him! This is definitely a family passion- much to my sisters dismay. She gets tired of all the left turns, she fails to see all the great things that are so obvious to us! So to all my racing buddies out there: "Let's go racing boys!"

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wild Olive Tees

While surfing the net a few weeks back, I stumbled across a great company that is making really neat (and cute!) t-shirts. Wild Olive Tees is a mom run company that makes shirts that are beautiful in design and share the gospel in a classy way. I am anxiously awaiting my first order. I hope that you will check them out.
A note to my wonderful husband: This is the website that I was telling you about- these are the shirts that I would like for my birthday!!♥

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summertime Money Saver

When the temperature starts to rise in the summer, I have a huge money drain. We get very thirsty. Going into a gas station for drinks when we are out running errands runs me close to $10 every time. A fast food pit stop for something cool and wet? You guessed it $7-$10. This adds up very quick. I have come up with a solution that works great for my gang. Keep a large cooler in the trunk of my van stocked with drinks of all kinds. I either dump ice in to keep cool, or if I am planning ahead, freeze a bunch of water bottles and use those as both a coolant and a drink when they have melted a bit. It is really so simple, but I have found that the more simple something is- the least likely I am to think of it! That is what Works for Me, check out Works for me Wednesday for more awesome ideas.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


We love to have bread with our Italian dishes (and who doesn't?). When I get tired of repeating the same garlic bread, I turn to this great but easy focaccia recipe. This one is a winner, it is also very versatile. It can be eaten like a bread, or used as a pizza crust (yum!). I hope you give it a try. For more great recipes check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesday .

Mix 1 cup warm water (105°-115°) and 1 package yeast. Let it sit for 10 minutes to get all happy.
In another but larger bowl combine: 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp, oregano, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp basil and a dash of black pepper. Add yeast mixture and 1 Tbsp olive oil to the flour mixture. Combine until dough has pulled together. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°. Punch the dough down and place on greased cookie sheet. Pat into desired shape. Brush top with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Birthday and a heartfelt Thank you!!

Happy Birthday to my very best friend!!!

I hope that this coming year will be a great year for you.

Thank you to all past and present servicemen and women. May God bless you and your families for your dedication, your honor and your sacrifices.
Memorial Day weekend in Washington.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Menu for week of May 25

This week will be a bit off for us. Not only will my hubby be home on Monday, it is also his birthday. So we get to eat where ever his tummy takes us! For more awesome menu ideas check out Menu Plan Mondays . I always find great ideas and recipes there!

Monday: Happy Birthday Honey!

Tuesday: Mexican Stuffed Shells , rice, chips and salsa

Wednesday: Whole Chicken Crock Pot recipe with mashed potatoes- this recipe followed us from last week, because life got in the way of us eating it last week!

Thursday: French Dip with Savory Oven French Fries

Friday: A popular one at our home- Breakfast for dinner: Pancakes, Bacon and eggs and fruit.

Saturday: Honey Ginger Grilled Salmon, Hot-Off-The-Grill-Potatoes, Frozen Peach Daiquiris

Sunday: Crock Pot BBQ sandwiches* with assorted cut veggies and chips

*Crock Pot BBQ Sandwiches*
Place a brisket (not corned beef brisket, but just plain brisket) in your crock pot with 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove meat and drain drippings. Shred and return to crock pot. Pour one bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce over top and keep on low for people to serve themselves. Scoop the desired amount in hamburger rolls and enjoy!

Five Things that I am thankful for

I am so very blessed and as I was sitting in church today, I was feeling especially thankful. Here is a very mini list of some of the things that I am thankful for.

  1. For all the men and women who have served or are serving in the armed forces. Thank you so very much for your sacrifice for our country and the freedoms that we have the privilige to enjoy.
  2. For my hubby- whom we get to celebrate his birthday tomorrow. I have known the man for over 17 years and I am still completely in love with him.
  3. For having a great relationship with my brother and sister. I was very blessed to have been put together in the world with those two.
  4. For chocolate. I like it a lot. It makes the end of a long day a little sweeter.
  5. For rain. I love the smell of rain and the sound of rain. I even like puddles!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Time out for us

We took a much needed mental health day this past Monday. We went to our local rec center pool and had a glorious aftenoon in the lazy river, sliding down the slides and splashing in the splash zone for my youngest.

My 9 year old loves the lazy river. He spent better part of the afternoon floating around the lazy river.

My husband and my 11 year old took our six month old out in the big pool for his inagural swim. My baby is the most serious child! Not once did he crack a smile or cry about the water. In fact, he just carried on in his most studious manner. He is just so very sweet! I also have to say that any 11 year old who chooses to hang with his dad and baby brother is so very sweet as well!

And then there is this character- my 7 year old. He is always entertaining, always making us smile.

Our special family day restored our balance. We are so thankful to have jobs, a home, food and each other. But sometimes we need to focus on the "each other" part. I am glad that we took the time to do that.