Monday, June 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday


It has been MONTHS since I’ve done this on my blog.  I belong to a message board for families with lots of kids and I usually try to post a weekly plan there.  Sometimes I stick to it and sometimes it goes right out the window.  I’m hoping by getting back into regular posting here, I will get better at true meal planning.
This week we don’t have a lot of options, most of what is in the freezer is chicken, so my challenge is to cook chicken in different ways that my family will eat without all of us getting completely burned out on chicken in general.
Monday…Easy Burritos with homemade tortillas
Tuesday…Chicken and Rice Stir Fry
Wednesday…Spaghetti with Italian sausage
Thursday…baked chicken and baked potato
Friday…Cheese Enchiladas (looking for a recipe for homemade corn tortillas)
Saturday…homemade chicken strips
Sunday…Chicken Parmesan

We will all be home during the day too, so I've got some tentative ideas for lunches, but no particular day planned for them.  On the other days we will eat leftovers or we may even resort to peanut butter and jelly.

Red Beans and Rice w/Cajun sausage
leftover Penne pasta casserole from last week
Cheesy Sausage and potatoe casserole

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New look and a bunch of new posts

It has been a while since I've actively worked on this blog.  I refer to it constantly for recipes I've recorded here, and had been storing things with the intention of taking pictures the next time I made them to post them.  Today, I went through and finished up several old entries and posted (without pictures, mostly).  I didn't date them all today, but anything new for this month was actually completed today.

I also went into the new blogger Template Designer and gave this blog a little make over.  It has always bugged me that the text portion was so skinny, I LOVE being able to make it wider without losing the sidebar.  I may still make a few tweeks, but for now I'm happy with it.

I've been using Windows Live Writer to work on my main blog and I'm really enjoying much so that I'm planning to add this blog to it so that I can create blog posts for this blog too.

I'm hoping to get back into the habit of participating in Menu Plan Monday and some of the other weekly food carnivals and I'm looking for food related blogs to add to my blog roll.  I've discovered a few new ones recently that I will be adding soon and I'll also be on the look out for more.

Easy Burritos

Burritos are a staple in our house. If my kids had to choose only one food to eat for days on end, burritos would be their choice. It is one of the only things that all SIX of my kids LOVE.

2 lbs ground beef
1 packet taco seasoninglarge can of refried beans
flour tortillas
shredded cheddar cheese
salsa (optional)

Brown the ground beef. Pour ground beef into a metal collander. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes to fully drain off as much grease as possible. (ground beef can also be rinsed with HOT water to remove even more grease). Transfer ground beef back into frying pan. Add taco seasoning and water according to package directions.

Heat refried beans in a large sauce pan. When beans are HOT and water has cooked out of ground beef, mix the the beans and the ground beef together.

Wrap flour tortillas in a clean dish towel and microwave on high power for 45 seconds. (I usually heat about 10 at a time, heat for less time for fewer tortillas)

Place tortilla on a plate. Add filling and sprinkle with shredded cheese, add salsa if desired. fold both sides in, then start at one edge and roll up.

Burrito mix can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and is easy to reheat in the microwave.  My 12 yr old and 10 yr old will eat this for lunch daily during the Summer and they can fix it for themselves.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Strawberry Bread

I book marked this  recipe quite a while ago and keep forgetting to post it. Strawberries are one of our favorite fruits, so we had to give this a try.


3 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 cups Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 pints chopped Strawberries

1 1/4 cup Cooking Oil
4 Eggs (well beaten)
1 tsp Red Food Coloring

~ Mix all dry ingredients together.

~ Make a hole in the center of the mixture. Pour strawberries, oil and eggs into the hole.
~ Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

~ Pour into 2 small greased and floured 9 x 5 x 2 in loaf pans

~Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour

The original recipe also has a yummy cream cheese spread to turn this into tea sandwiches, put my picky eaters don't eat cream cheese

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cooking with dried Ancho peppers & Dried New Mexico peppers

Over the years, I've looked at the big bags of dried peppers for sale in the Mexican food section of the grocery store, but I've always stuck to prepared enchilada sauce for making my favorite Mexican dishes. Hubbycame across a recipe for a pork dish that called for dried New Mexico chili last Fall....we bought a large bag for that recipe and while it didn't turn out very well, I soon found a use for all the left over peppers.

I was making lots and lots of tamales last December. I was using 2 large cans of enchilada sauce for about 6 dozen tamales. Instead I decided to try using the dried peppers. I first removed the stems and seeds and rinsed the peppers in cold water, then I added about 6 of them to the meat cooking in the crockpot.

When the meat was done, I fished out the cooked peppers and put them in the blender.  I pureed them and then added some of the meat broth.  I was surprised at how much this looked and tasted like enchilada sauce.  It wasn't quite spicy enough for Hubby, but the kids thought it was GREAT.  Since I usually end up making two separate pans when I make most Mexican dishes anyway, I just add a bit of extra HEAT to the pan for Hubby and I.

Monday, June 21, 2010

SOS....otherwise known as creamed chipped beef

If you've ever been in the military you probably know this as Sh*t on a Shingle....or SOS.  Hubby and I were both in the Army Reserve and anytime I ate breakfast on a military base it was my first choice.  The military wasn't the first place I had ever had it though....when I was a kid my Mom would sometimes make it for dinner.  I was actually pretty surprised to see it served for breakfast when I was in basic training.

Dried beef
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk

The first step is to melt the butter in a frying pan, then tear up the dried beef into small pieces.  The beef is very salty, my Mom always rinses it before tearing it up, but my husband actually prefers it salty so I don't always rinse it.

Brown the beef in the butter for 10 to 15 minutes, the edges should curl and look slightly crispy. Then add flour to the pan and stir it around to absorb the butter from the pan.

Add the milk and bring to a light boil. Stir gently to keep it from sticking to the pan.

Serve over toast or if you prefer, biscuits. Hubby actually prefers it over white rice.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Red Velvet Cake from scratch

This is the cake I made for my son Mason on his 20th birthday.  He asked for a Red Velvet Cake, so I went looking for a recipe.  I found this one on Joy of and since I had all the ingredients (mostly), I decided to give it a try.  Clicking on the title above will take you directly to the original recipe.

Red Velvet Cake:
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (substitute 2T of cornstarch per cup of all purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup  buttermilk (add 1 Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup milk)
2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Red Velvet Cake: Preheat oven to 350  Butter two - 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter. 
Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the freezer for at least an hour. (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.)