Friday brings steaks!

2 Posts in a row! Go me! LOL!
So Friday’s dinner was a little thrown thanks to finding a rash of unknown origin on Justice. It’s resolved now and we still don’t know what it brought it on (no new foods or drink for her yesterday), but having to interrupt the schedule for a bath and stuff was just enough to kerbobble my brain. I tried Dijon Grill Machine Steaks. We bought steaks forever ago (it seems) and have had them in the freezer not quite knowing what to do with them as we don’t have a real grill. I found this recipe and felt like I hit the jackpot! I thought broccoli would be a good compliment (I’m still trying to figure out how to pair foods). But alas, I forgot about potatoes…hello?! Steak and potatoes?! Yeah…. oh well, now I’ll remember for next time. The dijon mixture is delicious. We unfortunately had very fatty steaks and it was rather difficult to find quality meat but we’ll be repeating this recipe with leaner, meatier steaks.

Grill Machine Dijon Steak
Prep: 10 min, Cook: 5 min.
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
4 rib eye steaks, cut 1 inch thick
Sauté garlic and half the oil (I used it all) 2 minutes in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in next 3 ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. Spread mixture over both sides of steaks. Preheat grill machine. Brush remaining oil over both grilling surfaces (I used cooking spray). Arrange steaks on hot grill, in batches if necessary. Close cover and cook about 5 minutes, or until meat is cooked thoroughly.

Not having grilled in quite a long time, I would imagine this recipe would work well with a regular grill but you’d probably have to at least double the recipe for all the mix that would drip/cook through the grill. If you try it, let me know!
Have a great weekend
Mo

Thursdays 2 new tries

This weeks schedule and meal plan hasn’t exactly gone as designed. 1st, Dominic found out that he was going out of town for the whole weekend for work, then it changed to 5 days, then it changed into 8 days. Some recurring insomnia interfered with wednesday’s recipe. And of course, to top it all off, there apparently isn’t a battery in this house that my camera deems worthy to power it and my cell phone camera just doesn’t cut it. I tell ya…some days! 😉 At any rate, I managed to get back on track, with the exception of my on-strike-camera, Thursday and I tried “Fettuccine with creamy chicken”. When all was said and done, it’s really Chicken Alfredo from scratch. But let me tell you, I think it was better than almost any I’ve ever had in a restaurant. I also made another new recipe on thursday, Baked Mushrooms with bacon. Again, another success! Woo hoo!!! Nick said the bacon was just a little too crunchy for his preferences but Justice definitely didn’t have that opinion. Justice, surprisingly, ate several mushrooms and she had seconds of the chicken with sauce (she won’t eat pasta). I got great results and it was wonderful!
Here are the recipes;

Fettuccine with Creamy Chicken – courtesy http://www.mealsforyou.com/
Prep: 10 min, Cook: 25 min.
9 ounces fettuccine pasta (I used 16oz and had a small amount uneaten for 3 adults+leftovers)
1 lb. chicken breast fillets, cut into thin strips (I cooked 3 breasts, then sliced)
1 ounce unsalted butter
2 ounces unsalted butter, extra
1-1/4 cups cream
1-1/3 cups Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
1 tsp. black peppercorns, cracked (I just added pepper till it looked good 😉 )1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp. dried basil leaves
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water 8-10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, keep warm. Melt butter in a heavy nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, in batches if necessary, 3-4 minutes, stirring until tender. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Melt remaining butter in pan, add cream, stirring over heat until boiling. Stir in chicken and remaining ingredients. Cook until heated through. Serve over fettuccine.

AND

Baked Mushrooms with Crispy Bacon – also http://www.mealsforyou.com/
Prep: 5 min, Cook: 15 min.
8 large mushrooms, flat (I used 12-14 medium/large white mushrooms, stems removed)
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
3 bacon slices, diced (we like bacon, I used 4 strips)2 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3/4 Tbs. butter
1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (I used dried)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place mushrooms, stalk side up, on a baking tray. Heat oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Cook bacon until crispy; remove from heat. (I used microwave ready bacon) Add garlic, butter and chopped parsley, mix to combine (I let the bacon cool and crumbled in my hands into pan with mix). Spoon bacon mixture onto mushrooms. Bake in moderate oven for 7-10 minutes or until mushrooms have softened slightly. Suggestion: Serve with scrambled eggs. (good suggestion, I might try that!)

I hope you enjoy both of these as much as we did. Add these to the ‘win’ column for us, and hopefully for your family as well!
Mo

Fried Rice with peas and chicken

It’s Tuesday again. And the beginning of April at that! Where did the 1st 3 full months of this year go? It feels like it’s been zooming by, well, in hindsight at least… I hope that yours is going smoothly, however fast or slow it may feel.
As for today, it went by rather quickly for me and while I didn’t feel nearly as productive as I would’ve liked to be, I still managed a new recipe that was delicious. This evening held Fried Rice for us. The original recipe that I got from one of my fave sources, http://mealplanningmommies.blogspot.com/, is for Sweet pea fried rice but I added some chicken to round it out to a complete meal and it worked great. Can’t build anything up that doesn’t have a great foundation right?! 😉 So here is the recipe for you;

Sweet Pea Fried Rice
8 green onions, white and light green parts
1 clove garlic- chopped
6 cups cooked rice (2 cups dry)
 *Rule of thumb-1 cup dry rice makes 3 cups cooked
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 10 oz package frozen green peas (thawed)
4 large eggs-beaten
salt and pepper
(I added 2 small breasts cooked and diced chicken)

Step 1: Slice and Dice your green onions- use both light and dark green parts
Step 2: Cook your rice- you need about 6 cups after cooking
Step 3: Dice up 1 clove of garlic
Step 4: Heat up about 2 tbs. vegetable oil to medium heat and add garlic and green onions
 Just a Tip- I cooked mine TOO LONG! You really only need to cook them about 3 minutes. If you overcook they won’t be as tasty!
Step 5: Add 6 cups COOKED Rice to cooked garlic and green onions
Step 6: Add 1/4 cup soy sauce and stir
Step 7: Add 1 pkg. thawed sweet peas, stir.
Step 8: Beat 4 eggs
Step 9: Push rice mixture to one side
Step 10: Pour in eggs and cook
Step 11: Cook until eggs are slightly scrambled
Step 12: Mix scrambled eggs w/ rice
Step 13: Serve and ENJOY!
 (I added my chicken last so it did not have the full flavor of the rest of the rice. I recommend cooking it at the start then adding it to the rice at the same time as the soy sauce and rest of the ingredients. That’s what I’ll be doing next time)

Price of Meal: $3.00 (without chicken)
Serves: 6
Cost per serving: 50 cents

I hope that you enjoy this great chinese take out alternative. It’s easy, relatively quick and nicer on the wallet!
Mo

Slow cooker Beef Stroganoff

Happy Monday to you. I hope that you had a nice weekend (hopefully it wasn’t 80 degrees one day and snowing the next like it was here).
Well this evening we had Slow cooker Beef Stroganoff. I didn’t think this meal was going to happen tonight, 1st because it just did NOT look like enough and 2nd because I realized all too late that I started it quite early. Well, all is well that ends well. It came out great and there was enough for leftover lunch tomorrow! Guess that just goes to show how much I know huh?!  😉
Oh! And I just want to say; I absolutely remembered to take pictures of this meal, but alas, my camera decided that I should continue to look poorly organized and wouldn’t allow it. So, sorry-I’ll either attempt blackmail with new batteries and hope that works or I may just find a quiet place to bury it…
Here is the original recipe (courtesy of Mealplanningmommies) for you and when you try this one, feel free to post pics! :)

2 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 3/4 lb. boneless beef round steak (I used 3/4 lb and it was plenty for 6 people or mix it up and just use ground beef) (I used 1 lb. lean ground beef)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup water
1 envelope dried onion soup mix
1/2 cup sour cream
9 oz jar (can or fresh) mushrooms (we opted to not put these in our stroganoff) (I also omitted)

Step 1: combine 2 tbsp. flour, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder and 1/2 tsp. pepper in slow cooker
Step 2: Cut meat into 1 1/2 x 1 inch strips (or cubed like mine) and toss in flour mixture until well coated.
Step 3: Add mushroom soup, 1/2 cup water, and soup mix. Stir until well blended.
Step 4: Cover, cook on High 3-3/12 hours or Low 6-7 hours
Step 5: Stir in mushrooms, 1/2 cup sour cream.
Let the sour cream cook in the stroganoff about 10-15 minutes or until heated through
Step 6: Cook your noodles. I chose to eat our stroganoff over noodles, but it would be just as good over rice, bread or potatoes. (We also did noodles, but used spaghetti since we had plenty on hand)
Step 7: Don’t forget your veggie for a side! We chose to cook some carrots (I stuck with the original here and steamed whole organic baby carrots)
Step 8: Serve and enjoy! Yummy! (We here carry that motion!)

This was enough to feed 4 adults, my little one that only ate the meat, and to have some for lunch tomorrow. I hope that you try this soon and enjoy it. We’ll be having this one again.

Mo

Thursday-Broccoli spaghetti (modified)

Here we are again. It’s sunday and I’m playing catch up. :)
So Thursday evening I set out to make Broccoli Spaghetti, a recipe I found on http://www.naturalfamilyrecipes.com/. Well, as it turns out I deviated a bit and with wonderful results. Hip hip hooray! :)
Here’s the original;

Broccoli Spaghetti
1-2 bunches of broccoli cut into small florets (I used 1 10oz bag organic frozen)
8-12 oz of pasta, choose your favorite
3-4 cloves of garlic smashed and chopped (I used 1)
1/2 to 1 cup Parmesan cheese or to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter
salt/pepper
red pepper flakes–**added on top, so you can leave off for kids (I omitted)
I added 2 chicken breasts, cooked then cubed and topped with Mushroom Alfredo sauce
Cook pasta and broccoli in boiling water. You may need to add in at different times. Drain in colander. In the same pot, melt butter and olive oil together.  When heated add garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Add pasta and broccoli back in and stir around to coat all of the noodles with garlic butter.  Add in Parmesan cheese and stir all around. Taste and season with salt/pepper. Serve right away and sprinkle red pepper flakes on top. Add a quick salad and fruit…it’s a meal!

Everyone loved the result. There was even enough leftovers for lunch on friday and it was delicious!
Hope you all enjoy this tasty meal, in either the original or modified forms. 😉
Mo

Baked Chicken Nuggets

Happy Thursday to you! I hope that your week is going well and your meals have been successful.

Last night I finally tried a recipe I found on http://www.mealsforyou.com/ that’s been on the meal plan for two weeks or so. The recipe listed prep time as 15 minutes and cook time as 15 minutes but somewhere in my brain I was just convinced it was going to take longer in prep. Maybe it was just my aversion to dealing with chicken that kept me away. Either way, yesterdays prep was a pleasant surprise. As was the final result. Several bites in, I was actually surprised to hear “you made these? I thought they were store bought.”. It was a great compliment. The fact that my increasingly picky and stubborn toddler approved as well was just the icing on the cake! So here’s the recipe. Make sure to keep ahold of this one as I’m sure you will end up making it as frequently as I have a feeling I will be!

Baked Chicken Nuggets
Prep: 15 min, Cook: 15 min.
1-1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (I used 5 boneless skinless breasts-1 for each of us)1 cup corn flakes cereal (I used corn flake crumbs and had to add an extra 1/4 cup to cover more meat)1 tsp. paprika (I omitted)1/2 tsp. Italian herb seasoning (omitted)1/4 tsp. onion powder (omitted)1/4 tsp. garlic powder (I used garlic salt instead)
pepper
Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Cut chicken into bite-sized cubes. Place cornflakes in a plastic bag. Crush using a rolling pin. Add remaining ingredients to the bag and shake well. Gradually add chicken pieces to the bag. Shake to coat. Place coated chicken pieces on a lightly greased cooking sheet so they are not touching. Bake until golden brown, about 13-15 minutes.

I served ours with tater tots (“Crispy Crowns” to be specific). It was a great fast casual meal. Together with some different dipping sauces we picked up on a recent grocery trip (sweet n’ sour, honey mustard, barbeque sauce, and ketchup), it was pretty tasty.
I hope you enjoy this easy, better than fried, version of a classic. We did and they’ll be repeated again soon I’m sure.
Mo

Success seconded! Two hits in one day :)

So the brownies were in the oven and Yay! I get to sit and relax for a bit. What?! It’s time for lunch?? What do you mean it’s time for lunch??
That presented an issue I wasn’t yet prepared for….what to do for lunch? So, looking at the bag of potatoes on the floor, I remembered a recipe/idea I came across a few weeks ago and marked for ‘some undetermined future use’. Undetermined schmundetermined! Today’s lunch will be Broccoli cheese topped potatoes.
I found this recipe/idea on http://mealplanningmommies.blogspot.com/.

Vegetable Stuffed Potato

Just 4 easy Ingredients:
Cream of Broccoli and Cheese soup (I used 2 cans low-fat. Could not find an organic alternative)
4 potatoes (or one per person being served)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups frozen broccoli mix. (I omitted)
I added some chopped ham to the mix
Rinse and scrub potatoes. Poke several times with a fork. Wrap with paper towel and microwave until cooked. (about 5-6 minutes per potato) I zapped each one separately.

Cut potato in half and smush down with fork.
Cook broccoli mixture in microwave according to the directions.
Mix soup, cheese, and broccoli mixture.
Scoop cheesy broccoli mixture over potato. Enjoy!

Everyone enjoyed this lunch. Pretty quick and easy and certainly a healthier more well rounded alternative to most lunch choices. Don’t get me wrong, mac and cheese and pb&j; are proven successful and mighty tasty but this is a great option when looking for something outside the box…lunch box that is. 😉

Enjoy the yummy topped taters!
Mo

Success on Sunday!

Happy Monday!!! :)
I hope you had an excellent weekend! Ours was pretty uneventful but somewhat productive and completely enjoyable. ALWAYS a great combination.

So this weekend I finally got to a recipe that I’ve been wanting and meaning to get to for about 2 weeks. Zucchini Brownies courtesy http://www.about.com/. This is an egg free recipe which is great as I am trying to limit Justice’s exposure to eggs. It’s also got 3 cups of zucchini stashed in it! Brownies made healthiER. 😉 Now before you get too taken aback by the ‘zucchini in brownies?!?!’ part, let me assure you…You’d never know!!! With the exception of the consistency not being quite brownie-like, (as the recipe says it’s more muffin like than brownie), they’re pure brownie! Now this recipe is designed for veggie picky toddlers that are used to sweet treats but it’s absolutely perfect for anyone in the family. I had a very skeptical adult declare that he thought they were delicious. Evan hasn’t tried them yet, but he had a small taste of the batter and became an immediate fan. I personally, not being a chocoholic, could have had several helpings last night! 😉

These brownies turn out moist and delicious with the consistency somewhere between brownie and muffin. They make a delicious treat, breakfast or snack and have 3 cups of zucchini hidden inside. Your toddler will never know! This recipe is also great for vegans (choose ingredients like sugar wisely of course), families with egg allergies or those who haven’t introduced eggs to their children yet.
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Total Time: 40 min

Ingredients:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded zucchini (about 4 small – peel first)
Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.
(I used 10×15)
Using a large bowl with plenty of space for all ingredients, thoroughly mix the oil, sugar and vanilla.
Now cream in the cocoa.
In a separate, smaller bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt and then stir that into the sugar and oil mixture.
Fold in the zucchini and do not be afraid. Depending on the moisture level of your zucchini, this turns out looking somewhere between chunky hot cocoa mix powder and stringy brown paste. It’s ugly. That’s OK. The zucchini releases a lot of moisture as it cooks.
Spread it in the prepared pan evenly and bake it for about 30 minutes or until it just springs back when touched in the center. (Don’t use the toothpick test on this because if it comes out clean, they’re probably overcooked.)

These were a great success and I will be making these more often. A nice treat for everyone with the bonus of a healthy addition. I may use a baking sugar sub next time. I’ve never baked with substitute before, so if you have any tips, I’d LOVE to have them.

Can’t wait for the feedback
Enjoy-
Mo

A delayed post…Honey Garlic Chicken

Well this one is only 2 days late… my apologies to you.
Tuesday I decided to try Honey Garlic Chicken, another http://www.mealsforyou.com/ find. I got the chicken out and was all ready to go when I looked at the end of the recipe better and realized it was supposed to be broiled. That’s a bit of a problem since we’re without a broiler pan. Not being able to go out and get one, I decided to try baking it instead. Afterall, that was my planned meal for the day and I was all ready and everything!
This one is a definite repeat but probably not until I get a broiler pan. The chicken had delicious flavor, but was a bit dry. Broiling would help alleviate that.
So here’s the recipe;

Honey Garlic Chicken
Prep: 10 min, Marinate: 40 min, Cook: 10 min.
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed (I used 1 med-large clove)
Arrange chicken breasts in a baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl. Pour over chicken and turn to coat. Marinate 40 minutes. Turn on broiler. Arrange chicken on a broiler pan and place 5 inches from heat source. Broil 5 minutes per side, basting occasionally with marinade, or until chicken is opaque throughout.
I added my marinade ingredients to a medium glass jar and shook vigorously to mix then poured it over the chicken. Next time I will mix in the jar then add to gallon size zippered bag with chicken to marinate. I’ve used this method many times when marinating and it works better than leaving in a dish I find.
I served this chicken with corn and mashed potatoes. Nothing extraordinary as I fixed the sides after coming home from karate testing (Hyahhhhhh!!!!!)[which also accounts for the lack of pictures-my apologies] but they were good compliments to the sweet hints of the chicken.
Hope you enjoy this flavorful chicken as much as we did.
Mo

A recipe referral-Home made Graham Crackers!

I wanted to pass this one along for any and all to try. A great friend of mine, Amber, tried this recipe and passed it along. I don’t have a mixer to try this one out yet but it’s definitely a goal. I’m posting the recipe with Amber’s notes along the bottom. This recipe is courtesy http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/05/graham-crackers/.

Graham Crackers
Adapted from Nancy Silverton’s Pastries from the La Brea Bakery, and 101 Cookbooks, because for some absurd reason that will be immediately rectified, this book is not yet in my collection.
If you’re new to graham crackers, do know that the word “cracker” is misleading. They’re moderately sweet, like a cookie or biscuit, but they do have the snap of a cracker. I can’t say that I’d serve them with cheese, but if you’ve never schmeared them with cream cheese frosting, you’re missing out.
The topping amount will make a heavy coating, like the store-bought ones. Make only half if you just want a light-to-moderate sprinkling.

Makes 10 4 x 4.5-inch graham crackers or 48 2-inch squares

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (375 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour (a swap of 1/2 cup with whole wheat flour or 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour works well here, too)
1 cup (176 grams) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt (4 grams)
7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup (114 grams) mild-flavored honey, such as clover
5 tablespoons (77 grams) milk, full-fat is best
2 tablespoons (27 grams) pure vanilla extract

Topping (optional)
3 tablespoons (43 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) ground cinnamon

Make the dough: Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.

[Alternately, if you don’t have a food processor or electric mixer, you can cut the ingredients together with a pastry blender. Just make sure they’re very well incorporated.]

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dust it lightly with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Wrap it, then chill it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight. Meanwhile, prepare the topping, if using, by combining the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and setting aside.

Roll out the crackers: Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Trim the edges of the rectangle to 4 inches wide. Working with the shorter side of the rectangle parallel to the work surface, cut the strip every 4 1/2 inches to make 4 crackers. [This makes a traditional graham cracker shape. I rebelled and made mine into 2-inch fluted squares with one of these.]
Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer. Repeat with the second batch of dough. Finally, gather any scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and re-roll.
Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Decorate the crackers: Mark a vertical line down the middle of each cracker, being careful not to cut through the dough (again, this is for the traditional cracker shape). Using a toothpick or skewer (I like to use the blunt end of a wooden skewer for more dramatic dots), prick the dough to form two dotted rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the dividing line.
Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. [The baking time range is long because the original recipe calls for 25 minutes but my new oven — which I suspect runs crazy hot but have yet to confirm with the actual purchase of an oven thermometer — had them done in way less. Be safe, check them sooner. Nobody likes a burnt cracker!]

“Not too hard to make, but you have to keep cooling the dough in the fridge because it gets goopy really easily.” Oh, and of course, the most important note of all I’m not gonna lie…They are pretty amazing!”
That last one was all I needed to hear!

So I hope everyone enjoys this totally tantalizing sounding recipe and reports back immediately!
Mo
(Thanks Amber!!  <3  <3 )