My daugther and I shared our first raspberry from the garden last night! I was so excited that it tasted as yummy as it looked. Too bad I didn't get any pictures. There are a few more that are red but not quite soft enough. Maybe today.


Garden Update April 26, 2010

Our garden is coming along, some more than others. I am already learning things I will do differently next year, like making sure my husband listens and agrees with me that leaving pieces of grass in the dirt is a problem. He thought it would just die once it was covered with dirt but nope! Now I desperately need to go weed my garden and yes, you will see lots of grass in these pictures!

Zucchini is going crazy in the pots on the deck.



The one good watermelon plant

Strawberries are getting bigger and turning more red.


Carrot is getting a new leaf

Not sure what's up with the lima beans turning brown but they still look good.

Squash, that we're going to replant the two smaller ones because we have better ones still growing in cups inside.

Raspberries are coming along as well.

Menu Week of April 23 to 29

I've been slacking, I know! I'm hoping to get a garden update posted today. It's doing pretty well. In fact my zucchini are going crazy!

I started a new diet this past week so I'm eating differently from the rest of my family. But I think it's working and will be worth it so I'm sticking with it for 40 more days.

Thus said, I'll still be cooking for my hubby and kids but it might not be as exciting as when I cook for myself too. And I did cook last week, but things were so crazy I just forgot to take pictures and post about them. So, I promise to do better this week!

Friday - Mr. Goodcents subs
Saturday - Out of town...ate at Chipotle
Sunday - Pecan Chicken, corn, pears (I wish I would have posted about this one. It's one of our family favorites. Maybe I'll just post the recipe anyway with a picture of the leftovers, although that doesn't do it justice!)
Monday - Mini Meatloaves, mashed potatoes, blueberry muffins, fruit
Tuesday - Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas, rice, corn
Wednesday - Pork Roast, baked potatoes, texas toast
Thursday - Leftovers or Breakfast Night


Menu Week of April 16-22

This week we're eating a lot out of the freezer, just because it's there and it's easier for me.

-Stir Fry
-Pulled Chicken Sandwiches, roasted potatoes and veggies
-Hungarian Goulash, broccoli w/ cheese, homemade crescent rolls
-Breakfast Night: eggs, pancakes, sausage
-If we need something else, homemade fish sticks, garlic noodles, green beans, and cheese bread

I'll be sharing some of these recipes as the week goes on. Share your menu if you'd like! I'm always looking for new ideas.


Garden Update

Here's an update on the garden. We have everything planted now except the peppers that are going in a pot on the deck. I'm going to let them get a little bit bigger.


My onions perked up a little.

Watermelons are growing a third leaf.

Here's our second bed. This is butternut squash.

Lima Beans

Carrots...wimpy like the onions were but hoping they perk up too.

Strawberries...already have small green berries on them. That's exciting for my kids to see.

These are the zucchini I'm doing in pots on the deck. It was only a day or two ago that they got their third leaf and now they're already working on their fourth. These things are going crazy!


Salmon Alfredo

I had a freezer full of seafood and a leftover jar of Alfredo sauce that I needed to use. So I whipped this up for dinner. Sort of tasted like a grown-up version of tuna noodle casserole.

Salmon Alfredo

2 salmon filets
garlic salt, pepper, oregano, basil, dried onion
olive oil
veggies (I used peppers, onion, and zucchini)
alfredo sauce

Put salmon in baking dish. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with your choice of seasonings. (I used garlic salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and some dried onion).
Shred the salmon into desired size pieces.
In a bit of olive oil, saute some veggies. I did peppers, onion, and zucchini. I really wanted frozen peas as my only vegetable in this but since I didn't have any this is what I came up with instead.
Cook some pasta while you're sauteeing the vegetables.
Add the salmon and alfredo sauce to the vegetable mixture to heat through.
The finished product. It actually turned out really good. My husband even commented how it was better than he thought it was going to be when I described it to him.


Mini Peppers

My friend, Sarah, told me about this bag of mini peppers at Costco and I had to go check them out. You got all this for $3.99, which is quite a deal considering that at Wal-mart a red pepper is at least $1. I used peppers quite often so this was a good find for me. Just thought I'd share that since I was excited about that purchase!

You actually got more than this but I used a few before I snapped a photo.

Brown Rice and Veggies

Along with our ham and cheese puff pastries I made some brown rice with veggies and feta. I sauteed some red, orange, and yellow mini peppers, zucchini, scallion, garlic, and carrot in a little olive oil. Then I mixed it with some brown rice and feta cheese. Also put a few shakes of parmesan in there as well.

I've made this recipe before using red onion, eggplant, zucchini, squash, garlic, and peppers but instead of brown rice I used orzo. Also used the feta and it's SO yummy!

This is a healthy go-to side that whips up in no time. Just throw in whatever veggies you have on hand, add some cheese, and some sort of grain, and there you go! I've also added chickpeas or red beans for some extra protein.

Ham and Cheese Puff Pastries

This is a recipe I adapted from Ina Garten, Ham and Cheese in Puff Pastry. We saw the show where she was making these and my husband and I both thought they looked pretty tasty.

So here's my admission of being a less-experienced cook...I had phyllo dough and just figured I'd use that instead of puff pastry. Found out they aren't really interchangeable but these turned out okay nonetheless. That's also part of the reason I'm doing this blog, so I can learn from trying new things. I'm still broadening my horizons when it comes to ingredients so it's a learning process for me. That's what it's all about right?

Ham and Cheese Puff Pastries

deli ham
your choice of cheese (I used white American and Swiss)
mustard (I used French's honey Dijon)
puff pastry (or in my case phyllo dough!)
egg and water for egg wash

Place three sheets of phyllo dough on bottom of a baking sheet or 9 x 13 dish.

Layer with cheese. Here I used half swiss and half white american since I wasn't sure what would taste better and what my kids would eat.

Layer on ham and mustard. Top with three more sheets phyllo dough.

Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with a little garlic salt and whatever other seasonings you think you'd like. I used garlic salt and some onion onion from Tastefully Simple.
Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.


Garden Update

Our garden is coming along! We've got corn, onion, and watermelon in the ground and are working on our second "box" to plant some more. We're getting some pots tomorrow for the peppers and zucchini. We'll do those on the deck. I found some good advice on getting started gardening over at www.goodlifeeats, calling it GrowCookEat. I think there will also be recipes to come.


Some wimpy onion


Still to come...lima beans, zucchini, squash, peppers, carrots, and strawberries.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

We've grilled corn before but this time I wanted something to add more favor.

I had five small ears of corn. On each one I put:

olive oil--just enough to cover the corn and hold on the seasonings
salt and pepper
minced garlic
chopped onion

I put each ear of corn on a piece of foil, rubbed with oil, sprinkled on salt and pepper, and then added a little bit, probably a 1/2 tsp each, of garlic and onion.

We wrapped them up and put them on the grill. This always takes longer than we imagine, about a half hour, but it was worth it! We like ours cut off the cob so I cut it off and added a little bit of butter.

I really liked the favor the garlic and onion added. However, there was a bit too much garlic in mine, if you can imagine that considering how much I like garlic. Definitely something I'll try again, not just with corn but other veggies as well.

Sorry, forgot to get a picture!

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

These were SO good! I didn't really know how they'd turn out but my husband and I both really liked them.

Not sure how much shrimp pound-wise this was but I used about 50 shrimp. The small kind.
1 lb. bacon

All I did was take the tails off the shrimp once it was thawed. Then I cut the bacon in half lenghwise and widthwise and wrapped one piece around each shrimp. Then we threw them on the grill until the bacon was as crisp as we could get it without burning it.

Grilled Honey Mustard Pork Chops

Tonight we bbq'd. It was gorgeous weather and we ended up with some yummy food that we'll definitely make again.

We did honey mustard pork chops, bacon wrapped shrimp, and grilled corn on the cob. I'll post each one seperately so this post doesn't get too crowded.

Honey Mustard Pork Chops

I don't really measure anything so I'm estimating here!

4 thick cut pork chops--trim fat and cut small slits in them.
French's honey dijon mustard--a couple tablespoons
Orange juice--one or two tablespoons
few shakes of: garlic powder, Tastefully Simple's onion onion (or onions powder or salt), pepper, whatever herb you like (I think I used tarragon and/or thyme.

Mix all together and let marinade for a couple hours.

I'm still getting used to his food blog thing and always forget to take pictures! I'll get better becasue I like seeing pictures on other people's blogs.


Freezer Cooking

I did some more cooking to refill the freezer a bit but didn't really get any pictures!

Here's what I made anyway:

--Cinnamon Rolls
--Cinnamon Loaf

--Sloppy Joes
--Hungarian Goulash
--Hamburger patties

Menu Week of April 9 - 15

Here's our menu for the next week:

Friday: Tortellini, garlic breadsticks, green beans
Saturday: burritos, fruit
Sunday: BBQ pork chops and bacon wrapped shrimp, broccoli with cheese, cheddar cheese bread
Monday: Ham and Cheese puff pastries, sauteed veggies and rice
Tuesday: Mini meatloaves, corn, crescent rolls
Wednesday: eat out
Thursday: leftovers

Feel free to share yours!


Lemon Muffins

These are a weight watcher recipe I got from my sister years ago. I usually make them with canned pumpkin pie filling but for some reason that wasn't available at any of the stores I made it to. So, I saw lemon pie filling and figured it would work the same. It did, and they were pretty good. My kids love them.
Lemon Muffins

1 can lemon pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix

Mix thouroughly. Bake following directions on cake mix box.

How easy is that?


Biscuit Pizzas

I thought it'd be fun to make homemade pizzas today with the kids. I had some whole wheat canned biscuits (that are really tasty by the way!) so we used that as our crust, spaghetti sauce as our sauce, and mozzarella cheese. The kids enjoyed making them but neither one of them ate very much. But it was all I could do not to eat them off their plates! I loved them. Glad there are some in the freezer that I may have to heat up for my own lunch sometime.

I had six extras so I froze them on a cookie sheet and then popped them in a bag to reheat for another day.

Sweet or Savory Breadsticks

I can't remember where I found this one so I can't give credit where it's due. Sorry!

6 cups whole wheat flour + some for kneading
1 1/2 T dry yeast
2 T honey
2 tsp salt
3 T olive oil
2 1/2 cups warm water

Dissolve yeast in warm water.
Add remaining ingredients and make soft dough. Allow to rise until doubled (30 minutes), punch down.
1/4 cup melted butter and/or garlic salt and parmesan cheese and parsley OR cinnamon and sugar

Melt 2 T butter in 9 x 13 baking dish. Roll out slightly less than half of the dough to fit pan. Place dough in pan and flip so as to butter both sides. Cut strips lengthwise and then one cut across to halve the long strips. (see pictures) Top with garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. (OR cinnamon sugar) Allow to puff slightly and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
Roll remaining dough into a large rectangle. Use melted butter to coat pan. Place dough in pan. Butter the top of dough and sprinkle with desired toppings. Allow to rise for a few minutes, 20-30 minutes. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

As you can see I got a little more than it said it would make. I think it was supposed to make 32 breadsticks, or two baking dishes, but I used two 9 x 13s and an 8x8 and still had enough to make five dinner rolls.

These turned out really tasty and soft. I love them. My kids do not like them but I think that's because I didn't put enough cinnamon and sugar on them, and used all whole wheat flour. Next time I'll try a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose.

Menu Week of April 2

I forgot to post this on Friday:

Friday: Date Night at Red Lobster
Saturday: At in-laws...tacos
Sunday: Sandwiches
Monday: Fish Tacos
Tuesday: Hamburger Helper
Wednesday: Pork Steaks
Thursday: Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Friday: Biscuits and Gravy

We probably won't need all this food for the week so I'm sure you'll see some of it next week!


Homemade Crescent Rolls

I found these over at Life as Mom but she calls them Butterhorn Rolls. To me they look like crescent rolls so that's what I'm calling them.
Anyway, they are time consuming, I'll admit. But they looked (and the dough tasted) pretty yummy. It's supposed to only make 32 but I probably got at least 40.

I forgot to take pictures as I made these but I'll try to remember to take some when I cook up my first batch.

Make-Ahead Butterhorns (makes 32 rolls)

2 Tablespoons dry yeast, heaping
1/3 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
9 cups flour, divided (you can use any mixture of white or whole-wheat flour you’d like)
2 cups warm milk (110-115 degrees)
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
6 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
3-4 Tablespoons butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add 4 cups flour, milk, butter, sugar, eggs and salt. Beat 2 minutes or until smooth.

Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto floured board and knead lightly. (Or, knead in mixer until sides of bowl are clean, then knead two more minutes.)

Place in a greased bowl, turning dough once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (1-3 hours).

Punch dough down and divide into four equal parts. Roll each part into a 12-inch circle and brush with melted butter.
Cut each circle into 8 pie-shaped wedges.

Roll up each wedge for wide edge to tip of dough and pinch to seal. Place rolls, top down, on baking sheets and freeze. When frozen, place in freezer bags and keep frozen until needed.

To bake: Take out as many frozen rolls as you’ll need and place them on a greased baking sheet. Thaw for five hours or until doubled in size. Bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned. Brush with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven. Remove and serve immediately or cool on wire racks.