Sunday, December 5, 2010

Weekly Menu

I will be making all new recipes this week and looking forward to it!  

Sunday: Sliced Steak with Parsley Caper Sauce and Broiled Tomates with Bacon Bit Breadcrumbs
Monday: Sausage Cacciatore
Tuesday:  Roast Beef Sandwich
Wednesday: Chicken and banana fried rice
Thursday: Pork cutlets and Brown Buttered Gnocchi
Friday: Kale Walnut Pesto Pasta 
Saturday: Apple, Cheddar and Bacon Monte Cristo

Mini Meatloaves with Dates

My husband LOVES meatloaf.  I am so happy how this recipe came out.  It was delicious!  I have already made it twice. Enjoy!!!

1/2 cup pitted dried chopped dates
1/2 cup quick serving oatmeal
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
3 slices cooked bacon, chopped
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup maple syrup

1. Postion rack on the top third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine the dates and oatmeal. Mix in the beef. Mix in the chopped onion, bacon, eggs, worcestershire and vinegar. season with salt and pepper. Divide into 4 mounds and, on  a baking sheet, shape into loaves. Place on the upper rack and bake for 45 minutes.
2. Meanwhile mix the ketchup and syrup.  Five minutes before meatloaf is done, pour ketchup and syrup mixture over loaves and bake the remaining 5 minutes.

Pasta with Squash and Brown Butter

I have been incorporated one to two vegetarian meals a week to our menu.  I am LOVING it and the boys are eating more veggies.  It is a win win at our house!  I have made this recipe twice.  It is now one of my husband's favorites. Enjoy!!!

One 3 pound butternut squash - peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
2.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2/3 pound lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons pine nuts

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the squash, onion, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and roast until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in al large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain and transfer to a large bowl.

3. In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice.

4. Add the roasted squash, brown butter and 1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese to the pasta and toss; season with salt and pepper. Top with the pine nuts and remaining cheese.

Adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu

I am so excited about Thanksgiving.  It is so nice to spend time with family and enjoy good food.  Here is what I have planned to make.  Enjoy!!!

Sparkling Sangria

Cream cheese with red pepper jam
Brie with caramelized walnuts and fig preserves

Main Course
Turkey and gravy....of course

Side Dishes
Best Ever Green Bean Casserole
Mamas Fried Cream Corn
Perfect Cranberry Sauce
Sweet Potato Souffle
Slow Cooker Stuffing

Mini Cheesecakes
Pumpkin Pie

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad

I made this to take to a friends house and it came out so yummy!  I am not an olive fan but really liked Kalamata olives.  This was so easy to make.  I am craving it now.  I think I may have to make it this weekend.  Enjoy!!! 


Dressing Ingredients:
1 jar Sundried Tomatoes (7 Oz.)
4 cloves Garlic
3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt And Pepper, to taste

16 ounces, weight Corkscrew Pasta
1 jar Kalamata Or Assorted Olives
1 pint Ripe Cherry Tomatoes (cut In Halves)
10 leaves Basil (10-15 Leaves), Chopped Or Julienne

1-½ cup Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated


In a blender combine sundried tomatoes, garlic , salt, pepper and vinegar until tomatoes are chopped. Continue blending while drizzling in olive oil until mixed together.

Cook pasta according to package directions. 
Drain and rinse with cold water until no longer hot.
Pour 2/3 of the dressing over the pasta. Add olives and toss together. Add remaining ingredients, tossing together and adding more dressing until the salad is coated to your liking. olives and toss together. 

From The Pioneer Woman

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I had this mirror and wanted to do something with it.

And came up with this.....a chalkboard.

I am in the process of making a craft area for Ezra.  I love chalkboards and wanted to make one for him. This was soooo easy to do.  All I did was spray paint the frame white and spray painted the mirror with chalkboard paint.  How easy is that!  Yes you can buy chalkboard paint in a can.  So convenient.  Can't wait for the next project for his little craft area!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sliced Sausage over Spaghetti and Tomato-Basil Sauce

I was running behind the day I cooked this so I don't have a picture to post.  I decided to take a nap when the kids fell asleep and I took a longer nap than planned but it was so worth it.  Enjoy!!!

Salt and pepper
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
14 oz turkey sausage
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
One 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
A few leaves of basil
1 tablespoon butter
Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

2. Slice the sausage into thin pieces on the diagonal.  Drizzle a large skillet with oil over medium-high heat and add the sausage slices and cook, shaking the pan occasionally.

3. While the sausages cook, place a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and the garlic and stir for 1 minute.  Stir in the onion for 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and season with salt and peeper. Once heated through, remove from the heat.  Stir in the basil to wilt.

4. Add the butter to the cooked pasta and toss. Add the tomato sauce and toss again. If the pasta is too thick, add a little of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen things up a bit. Serve the pasta in bowls and top with cheese and sausage slices.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tilapia Fillets with Thin Pasta and Kale

I love tilapia because it is so easy to cook and tasty.  With my new love for kale, I had to have it as a veggie for dinner.  Enjoy!!!

Salt and pepper
1/2 pound thin egg pasta or angel hair pasta
4 thin tilapia
Seasoned salt
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter (or more)
2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
2 lemons
A handfull flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
3/4 pound kale, chopped
ground nutmeg

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add to pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

2. Meanwhile, pat the fish dry and season with salt, pepper and a little seasoned salt. On a plate, mix the four and cornstarch. Coat the fish in the flour mixture.

3. In  a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil, over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and let it foam up, then add the fish fillets and cook, turning once, until golden brown and firm, 4-6 minutes.  Add a little more butter if you need to the pan.  Transfer the fillets to a plate and cover to keep warm. Wipe out the pan and return to heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon oil, and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to melt. Stir in garlic for 1 minute, then stir in the wine for another minute. Add 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel and the juice of 1 lemon. Thinly slice the remaining lemon and stir the slice slices into the sauce along with the parsley. Spoon the sliced lemons and half of the butter sauce over the fish.  If you would like more sauce just cook more butter and wine in the pan.  ( I did :) )

4. Add the reserved pasta water and the pasta to the skillet. Add the remaining butter sauce and season with salt and pepper; toss. Transfer the pasta to a platter.  Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Add the kale with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook to wilt. Serve fish with a little pasta and kale.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Two-Color Ziti Fake-Bake

I have been trying to incorporate a vegetarian dish to our weekly menu.  I am so glad I did because I have discovered a love for kale.  It is delicious!!!

Salt and pepper
3/4 pound ziti rigate, whole wheat ziti or any other short-cut pasta
3.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 bunch kale, stemmed and very thinly sliced.
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup onion,  chopped
One 28 oz can italian tomatoes in puree
Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
8 ounces thinly sliced fresh mozzarella or shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain reserving about 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.

2. While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat about 1.5 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Stir in 2 cloves garlic for 1 minute, then add the kale to wilt to crisp tender, a couple of minutes. Season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Transfer to a plate and reserve the skillet.

3. Preheat the broiler and position a rack in the upper third of the oven. Place the ricotta cheese in the bottom of the casserole.

4. Place the reserved skillet over medium high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Stir in the  remaining 2 cloves garlic for 1 minute, then add the onion and stir for 2 minutes. Using a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes. Add them to the garlic and onion and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the basil to wilt. Lower the heat to simmer.

5. Add the pasta, reserved cooking water and the kale to the ricotta in the casserole; season with salt and pepper. Top with two-thirds of the tomato sauce, a thin layer of parmigiano-reggiano and the mozzarella.   Broil for a few minutes to brown the cheeses. Serve with the remaining sauce and parmigiano-reggiano.

Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Paprika Chicken with Spinach and Egg Noodles

I made this for dinner last week and loved it.  I love mixing noodles with spinach.  It is such a great way to get your veggies in a meal.  I made a delicious vegetarian meal last night and will be posting that one soon.  Enjoy!

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder
1/2 pound extra-wide egg noodles
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
1.5 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoons hot sauce (optional)
8-10 pieces skinless, boneless chicken tenderloins or chicken thighs 
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 bunches fresh spinach leaves cleaned and sliced or 1 box of thawed frozen chopped spinach
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as dill and parsley.  (Dried herbs works too) (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the noodles and cook until tender.

2. While the pasta is working, place the tomato paste in a small bowl and stir in 1/4 cup of the boiling pasta water. Stir in the paprika, worcestershire and hot sauce.

3. Preheat a grill pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle the chicken with oil and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add to the grill pan or skillet. Cook until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Flip and baste liberally with the paprika paste. Brown the other side, about 5 minutes longer, then flip again and brush with more of the paprika paste.

4. In a large skillet, add about 1 tablespoon of oil and butter to melt over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the spinach to wilt or heat through the thawed spinach. 

5. Drain the egg noodles and add to the spinach along with the herbs, if using.  Divide among 4 plates and serve with chicken. 

Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray

Monday, August 30, 2010

Animal Kingdom Lodge

We went to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for a short getaway.  When we arrived, Ezra's face lit up.  He was so excited and I will never forget that moment!  Of course, Ezra's favorite part was viewing the animals.  He could stay there for hours.  Here are some of my favorite moments.

The first time he saw the animals. He said "OH WOW!!!"

He loved the giraffes.

Playing at the park.


He saw the giraffes again.

And we were back viewing the animals again.


Character dining.  Roman loved it and Ezra hated it.

Now I need to plan our next vacation!!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Crisscross Apple Crowns

I was excited to make these since I love cooked apples.  They were delicious and super easy to make.  Abe is already asking me to make them again.  


1 1/3 cups chopped peeled tart apples
6 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
Dash salt
1 pkg. (17.3 oz) large refrigerated flaky biscuits
2 teaspoons butter, melted

1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the apples, 3 tablespoons sugar, flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and salt.  Microwave 2-3 minutes or until almost tender.

2. Flatten each biscuit into a 5 inch circle. Combine remaining sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle a rounded teaspoon of sugar mixture over each. Top each with 1/4 cup apple mixture. Bring edges to enclose mixture; pinch edges to seal.

3. Place seam side down in ungreased muffin cups. Brush top with butter; sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture. With a sharp knife, cut an "X" in the top of each.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before roming from pan to wire rack.

(adapted from Taste of Home)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekly Menu

This weeks menu is going to be lots of fun!  I had to stick Spaghetti in there somewhere because I love having it for lunch for Ezra during the week. I usually have enough for 2 days which is great in my book and makes my life easier.  I can't wait to cook this week and share the recipes!

Sunday: Mexi Shells
Monday: Chicken BLT Sandwich
Tuesday: Baked Steak Burritos
Wednesday: Spaghetti 
Thursday: Slow Cooker Mediterranean Pot Roast
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Paprika Chicken with Spinach and Egg noodles 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mini Greek Meat Loaves with Tzatziki Sauce

This was delicious!!!!!  My two year old ate it up too which made me very happy because there was spinach in the meat.  I had leftovers for lunch today...yum.  Enjoy!!!


Meat Loaves
1 lb ground beef
1/2 box (9 oz size) frozen spinach, cooked, well drained
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
2 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 egg plus 1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Tzatziki Sauce
1 cup greek yogurt
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1. Heat oven to 350 degree F. Spray 8 regular size muffin pans with cooking spray.

2. In medium bowl, mix meat loaves ingredients. Scoop generous 1/3 cup meat mixture into each muffin cup, pressing down slightly.

3. Bake 35-45 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in center of one loaf reads 160 degree F. Let stand in pan 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix tzatziki sauce ingredients; refrigerate until serving time. Serve meat loaves with tzatziki sauce.

Note: It may take longer than 45 minutes to cook.  I put my broiler on after 35 minutes because I was

(adapted from Betty Crocker)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekly Menu

I am looking forward to this weeks menu.  Abe downloaded an application on the IPad that is full of recipes.  I can't wait to try them and share them with you!  I will be using the Smuckers Preserves quite a bit this week since they are BOGO at Publix!

Sunday: Mini Greek Meat Loaves with Tzatziki Sauce
Tuesday: One Skillet Pasta
Wednesday: Bowtie Pasta with Beef and Tomatoes 
Thursday: Orange Teriyaki Beef with Noodles 
Friday: Apple Cranberry Sage Chicken
Saturday: Leftovers

Greek Beef and Orzo (lighter version)

This is a great recipe for kids if they are yogurt lovers. Ezra gobbled it up.  I sprinkled some feta cheese on it too.  Yummy!  Enjoy!!!

1 lb ground beef
garlic powder
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup celery stalk, sliced
1/2 cup uncooked orzo or rosamarina pasta
1 cup plain greek yogurt

1. In a deep nonstick skillet, cook beef and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to your liking over medium high heat about 6 minutes, stirring frequently until brown; drain and put meat back in same skillet.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients except yogurt. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 12 minutes, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed and pasta is tender. Serve with yogurt.

(adapted from Betty Crocker)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pasta Sauce

I have been making this for years.  I prefer homemade sauce over jar sauce.  Tonight I will be making it for lasagna.  I will simmer it with cooked ground meat.  I also plan to puree some zucchini I have before it goes bad and add it to the sauce.  I will be serving it with bruschetta.  


  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (I use dried if I don't have fresh parsley on hand)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • Directions
  1. In a food processor place stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat saute the finely chopped onion in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the blended tomato sauce and white wine.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wild Blueberry Ice Cream

I had some blueberries left from blueberry picking and wanted to do something fun with it. Abe loves ice cream so I made this for him and ended up loving it myself which is not good because I want to eat it all. Enjoy!!!

1 pint wild blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1 cup milk

1. Toss the blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar, and lemon juice together in a mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

2. In another mixing bowl whisk the eggs until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the 3/4 cup sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend.

3. Drain the juice from the blueberries into the cream base and blend. Mash the blueberries until pureed and stir into the cream base.

4. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's instructions.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Black Bean and Couscous Salad

  • I have been wanting to make this for a while and finally did.  I LOVED it!  This is also a great vegetarian dish.  Enjoy!

  • 1 cup uncooked whole grain couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 8 green onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of whole corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Directions
  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 2 quart or larger sauce pan and stir in the couscous. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and vinegar. Add green onions, red pepper, cilantro, corn and beans and toss to coat.
  3. Fluff the couscous well, breaking up any chunks. Add to the bowl with the vegetables and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Swim Lessons

Ezra had his first swim lesson this week.  I was soooo nervous the night before and the day of the lessons. I knew he was going to cry and he did the entire time. I love his instructor.  She was great and very patient with him. Once the lesson was done, Ezra came to me and clapped his hands and said "yay".  He was very proud of himself.  He also asked me for the lollipop I promised him I would give him after the lesson.  Wish me luck next week because I was told it will be worst since he will know where he is at.

Look at that pitiful face...

His instructor was fabulous...

He had to have someone with him at all times since he wanted to take off running. Yep that is my boy!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bang Bang Shrimp

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
3 drops Hot Chili Sauce (or to taste)
1 pound shelled and deveined shrimp
Dry cornstarch
oil for frying
chopped scallions

Mix mayonnaise with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. Add hot sauce to taste. Dredge the shrimp in cornstarch. Deep fat fry the shrimp until lightly brown. Drain on paper towel, put in a bowl and coat with the sauce. Serve in a lettuce lined bowl, top with chopped scallions.

(adapted from

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Cider-Sauced Chicken Breasts

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
black pepper
garlic powder
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves removed and coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Gala apple, peeled, cored, and cut into thin wedges
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley

1. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat with oil.  Flatten chicken breasts with mallet and season liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Add them to the skillet and cook them on both sides until juices run clear.

2. Add onions, garlic, thyme, apples and brown sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the apple cider and vinegar and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, turn the heat up to high, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half.  Turn the heat off, add the butter and parsley, and stir until the butter is incorporated.

3. Serve the apple cider sauce over the chicken breasts.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Stuffed Shells

  • Ingredients:
  • 6 ounces of  jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 (32 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 8 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar pasta sauce
  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms

  • Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  3. In a large bowl, mix eggs, ricotta, half the mozzarella, half the Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper until well combined. Stuff cooked shells with ricotta mixture and place in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together pasta sauce, mushrooms and reserved mozzarella and Parmesan. Pour over stuffed shells.
  5. Bake in preheated oven 45 to 60 minutes, until edges are bubbly and shells are slightly set.