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Archive for January, 2010

Weekly Supper Menu

I hope y’all are not tired of reading my weekly menus, because this is working very well!  It is getting easier and easier to stick to the meal plans that I have made.  In fact, this week I did not change one night’s plan!  We did go the grocery on Wednesday evening and stocked up on some essentials that will last for several weeks. Now I should be able to just “accessorize” with perishables that I have to buy weekly.

For this week I have planned:

Sunday: Supper at my Nanny’s-I am on dessert duty and am taking an Italian Cream Cake for my dad.  His birthday is Tuesday.

Monday: Supper at C’s mom and dad’s-Again, I am taking Italian Cream Cake.  I am making it into 2 small square cakes instead of 1 big layer cake.)

Tuesday: Baked ham slices, roasted potatoes, and salad-Oops, I forgot that I had a Relay For Life meeting after work,  so C & I grabbed a quick supper out.

Wednesday: tomato soup & grilled cheese (I need something easy that night. I have court going on all day.)

Thursday: Steak & cheese sandwiches with oven-baked fries

Friday: leftover steak sandwiches

Saturday: I am leaving this day open because I believe we will be going out for supper that night.

Tune in next week for another round of meals!

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Winter Wonderland

C & I woke up to around 5 inches of snow on the ground this morning.  I am not the biggest fan of snow, but I am thankful for snow instead of ice like some other areas received.  It is a beautiful morning if you don’t have to get out in it.  I took a few photos from our doors this morning and we might get out to get a few more pictures this afternoon.  I guess that depends on if we feel brave enough to get out in the cold to walk.  Here are a few…

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Sausage Balls

This recipe is a Southern classic appetizer!  I bet these have been served at 80% of the pot lucks with which I have been involved.  They are easy to make and oh-so-good, and there are just 3 ingredients!  I use mild sausage, but if you like a little more kick, use hot!

1 lb pork sausage, mild or hot

3 cups baking mix (I used Bisquick)

4 cups grated Cheddar cheese, mild or sharp

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix well with your fingers.  (I use plastic gloves so I don’t have sausage underneath my nails.)  The mixture will be very crumbly.  Form into 1 inch balls, squeezing the mixture so it holds together. 

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Place the balls on the prepped baking sheet.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown on top and bottom.  I have found the best way to keep them warm is to put them in a slow cooker that has a “keep warm” setting on it.  They will stay hot, but not dry out as much.

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Weekly Supper Menu

Ok.  The last two weeks of supper meal planning have been a learning experience.  The plans have worked well except for Friday nights.  Why do the Friday night plans change?  Hmmm, whatever could be the problem?  I think I know…it is the end of the week and I am just tired and ready for something quick and easy.  Lesson learned.

Last week, I only had to stop at my local grocery for a few perishable foods and only spent about $30.00.  Yay!!  This week I will probably have to make a trip to the next town to visit a bigger grocery to re-stock the fridge and pantry with a few items.  I had planned on waiting until the end of the week to do this, but Mother Nature has other plans, so I guess that means a mid-week grocery shopping excursion.  Woo hoo!  Here is this week’s supper plans:

Tonight: Supper at my nanny’s-I made cookies for dessert.

Monday: Supper at C’s mom and dad’s-more cookies for dessert

Tuesday: Tacos and fruit salad

Wednesday-Grocery night means supper out.

Thursday-Apple cinnamon pancakes and sausage

Friday-Chili & grilled cheese (I still have one container of chili left in the freezer.)

Saturday-Hot cheese dip with chips

This is getting easier.  By watching what I fix from week to week, I can tell which nights are good “cooking” nights and which nights are good for quick and easy meals.  Again, I would love to know your opinions on this.  Leave a comment for me and let me know!

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Pistachio (Watergate) Salad

When you live and cook below the Mason-Dixon line, you learn that there are many definitions of the word “salad”.  There is tossed salad, which is the healthy green stuff topped with more veggies.  There are veggie salads smothered in mayo and creamy dressings, such as potato salad and broccoli salad.  There are fruit salads, but there is one more kind of salad that is not really a “salad” at all…dessert salads!

This recipe is definitely a DESSERT salad.  My grandma on my dad’s side always had this for Christmas and that is where I first tried it many years ago.  It only has 5 ingredients and takes only about 5 minutes to make.  I do recommend you make it the day before you eat it so the flavors can really meld together.

1 cup mini marshmallows

1 3.4oz pkg pistachio instant pudding mix

20oz can crushed pineapple in juice, un-drained

1/2 cup chopped pecans

8oz frozen whipped topping, thawed

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Combine pineapple with juice and pudding mix; stir to combine.

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Add the whipped topping and stir.

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Finally, mix in the marshmallows and nuts.  Chill for several hours or overnight.

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Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by OXO

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Weekly Supper Menu

I did it!  Last Sunday, I posted my supper menu for this past week and I actually stuck to it pretty well.  I did change Friday night’s dinner because when I make the steak sandwiches, it makes enough for 2 meals.  We weren’t home on Saturday night so I didn’t want to waste any of the leftovers, so the steak sandwiches were saved for this week.

Planning meals in advance did help quite a bit with the grocery shopping.  I have enough to do almost 2 weeks worth of meals except for the very freshest items like milk, bread, and veggies.  I am going to keep doing this and see if it keeps working this well.

Here are the supper plans for this week:

Sunday-supper at Nanny’s-I am contributing chicken fried pork chops. Recipe to be posted later.

Monday-supper at C’s parents-I am taking strawberry cobbler for dessert.

Tuesday-cheesy steak sandwiches with oven baked fries

Wednesday-leftover steak sandwiches

Thursday-tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

Friday-grilled pork chops, roasted potatoes and salad pizza & salad

Saturday-apple cinnamon pancakes & sausage grilled pork chops, roasted potatoes & salad

I am still interested in your thoughts on menu planning.  Let me know!

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For C’s Granny’s Christmas party, I went looking online again for a new cake recipe.  There are multiple people in this group that don’t care for chocolate, so I decided to try my hand at a caramel cake.

This recipe was also on www.myrecipes.com and originated from “Cooking Light” magazine back in 1999.  The recipe below has been changed though.  The original frosting recipe did not make nearly enough to frost a 9 inch layer cake.  I doubled the recipe and add a little more liquid.  I probably did not add quite enough liquid because the frosting was turning to fudge while I made it.  The taste was delicious, but it wasn’t the prettiest cake ever made.  Next time, I will add a little more milk to make it more spreadable.

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 large eggs

1 large egg white

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups milk (The original recipe calls for fat-free.  I used 2%)

2 tsp vanilla

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Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare two 9 inch cake pans with non-stick spray, flour and wax paper.  Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Beat granulated sugar and butter at medium speed until well blended, about 5 minutes.

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Add eggs and egg white, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Stir in vanilla.

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Pour batter into prepared pans, and sharply tap the pans on the counter to remove air bubbles.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto racks and cool completely.

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For the frosting:

2 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup evaporated fat-free milk

5 tbsp butter

4 tsp light corn syrup

dash of salt

3-4 cups powdered sugar

3 tsp vanilla extract

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Combine brown sugar, milk, butter, corn syrup and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and simmer until thick, about 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Remove from heat and add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until the frosting starts to take shape.  Stir in vanilla.  Let cool for a few minutes.  The frosting will get thicker.  If it is too thick to spread, beat in 2-3 tbsp. of milk.

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Wordless Wednesday

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Menu Planning

As you can tell from this blog, I love to cook!  Sometimes, though, grocery shopping gets the better of me and I end up with ingredients that sit in my pantry and freezer that never get used.  Yesterday, I finally broke down and cleaned out the pantry, fridge, and freezer and was pretty dismayed from what I had let expire.

A few of the cooking blogs that I read regularly talk about the usefulness of supper menu planning for saving time and money.  Well, I am going to see if it works.  I did plan out this week’s meals because of the bad weather so I only had to stop at the store once.  It has worked out well so far.  I just find myself wanting to change what I am making!

This last week’s food list was:

Monday-ate at C’s parents

Tuesday-banana pancakes and bacon

Wednesday-tomato soup and grilled cheese

Thursday-grilled pork chops and home fries

Friday-sausage bake and fresh fruit

Tonight’s dinner will be sloppy joe stromboli and salad (recipes to come at a later date)

Tomorrow, we will eat at my nanny’s and I am fixing no bake chocolate cookies for dessert.  Monday, we will be at C’s parents again.  Next week, my plan is to fix:

Tuesday-steak (already in the freezer) and roasted potatoes

Wednesday-chili (already in the freezer) and grilled cheese

Thursday-tacos

Friday-cheesy steak sandwiches and oven baked fries-small change-pizza and salad

Hopefully, I can stick with this list and utilize some things I already have before hitting the grocery again at the end of the week.  Have any of you tried menu planning before?  Did you stick with it?  I would love to know!

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Well, I had planned on making candy for our Christmas celebrations, but the weather would just not cooperate!  First it was warm and humid (at least for December), and then the wind and rain started.  With that much moisture in the air, most candies just will not set up correctly, so on to plan B. 

For my nanny’s Christmas dinner, I decided to try a couple of new recipes.  One is for Tender White Cake that I found on the back of the King Arthur Flour Company’s cake flour package.  My favorite cakes are white with chocolate frosting, and this cake recipe did not disappoint.  The original recipe called for 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tsp almond extract.  I did not have the almond extract so I just used 3 tsp vanilla.

I went searching online for a new frosting recipe to go with the cake.  I discovered this on www.myrecipes.com which is one of my favorite cooking sites.  There are several magazines that publish their recipes to this page, including “Southern Living”.  Check it out.  I think you will enjoy it. 

Tender White Cake

2 3/4 cups cake flour (I use King Arthur Flour Company’s Queen Guinevere)

1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

12 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

4 large egg whites + 1 whole large egg

1 cup whole milk

3 tsp vanilla extract

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 9” cake pans, a 9×13” pan, two 8” pans, or a cupcake pan.  I used the 9 inch pans. 

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Separate the 4 eggs.

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Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.  Stir on low speed for 2 minutes to combine and aerate.

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Add the butter and mix into a paste.  Add the egg whites, then the whole egg, beating after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically.

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In a small bowl, whisk the whole milk with the vanilla extract.  Add that mixture, 1/3 at a time, to the batter.  Beat for 1-2 minutes after each addition, until fluffy, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pans.  Bake for 25-30 minutes for a 2 layer cake.  Remove from the oven and cool in the pans for about 10 minutes.  Turn out onto racks and cool completely before frosting.  My cakes had a few loose crumbs around the edges so I brushed them off before frosting

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Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting

3 cups mini marshmallows

3/4 cup butter, cut into pieces

3/4 cup evaporated milk

6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

4-5 cups powdered sugar (The original recipe calls for 6 cups, but the frosting was almost too stiff to spread.  Start with 4 or 5.  You can always add more if needed.)

1 tbsp vanilla

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Melt first 4 ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring 5 minutes or until mixture is smooth.

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Transfer mixture to a large bowl set over a larger bowl with ice water in it.

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Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating at low speed with an electric mixer.  Increase speed to medium-high, and beat for 5 minutes or until frosting is cool, thick and spreadable.  Stir in vanilla and frost your cake.

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