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Friday, May 30, 2014

Pesto Chicken Sandwiches

These were AMAZING!!!  I mean I really wish I had another one right now, and typically I am not a fan of sandwiches.  Hubby said the only thing wrong with them was that I only made him one.  He also said that my pesto is better than a certain restaurant that we worked at.  These will be added to our rotation and I can't wait to have them again!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 oz.
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste (I used house seasoning)
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Olive oil for brushing
8 slices fontina cheese
8 slices sourdough bread
8 thick tomato slices
4 Tbs. pesto

Season the chicken breast halves with salt and pepper and sprinkle evenly with the Italian seasoning. Brush lightly on both sides with olive oil.
Prepare a hot fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate.
Place the chicken on the grill directly over the heat and cook, turning once, until nicely grill-marked and relatively firm to the touch, 5 to 8 minutes per side depending on the thickness.
The chicken should be opaque throughout but still moist and juicy inside.
About 2 minutes before the chicken is ready, place 2 slices of cheese on each breast half, cover the grill and let the cheese melt.
At the same time, put the bread slices along the edge of the grill and toast, turning once, about 1 minute per side.
Transfer the chicken and bread slices to a cutting board.
Cut each breast half against the grain on the diagonal into 3 or 4 pieces.
Arrange 1 sliced breast half on each of 4 bread slices.
Top each with 2 tomato slices and then with 1 Tbs. pesto, spreading it evenly over the tomatoes. Cover each sandwich with one of the remaining bread slices and serve immediately.

http://www.williams-sonomawine.com/!JQZpWkyPlkDCa4IsEBLKiQ!/Pesto-Chicken-Sandwiches

Homemade Pesto

I LOVE pesto it is so yummy!  The only bad thing about pesto is that it can be uber expensive just a little tube of it can be $5 or more, I pride myself on being able to feed the five people in my family on a budget and if I used pesto often it would blow that budget out of the water.  So I decided to go ahead and find a recipe so that I can make my own after all homemade is typically better anyway and I prefer not having all the extra junk added into it. 

So with that being said I decided to go with this particular version of pesto.  I loved making it up and hubby and I enjoyed eating it, I didn't think the kids would like it so I left it off their sandwiches!

2 cups fresh parsley
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup nuts ( I used pecans... it's what I had on hand)
1 tsp house seasoning (find the recipe on my blog :-) )
1 pint jar

Rinse your parsley leaves and pat dry.
Add them to the food processor with the nuts and pulse several times.
Next, add the olive oil and blend until smooth.
Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse.
You may need to scrape any ingredients that have stuck to the side of your processor throughout the blending process.
Add in house seasoning and pulse
Transfer your pesto to a clean pint or half pint jar.
A thin layer of olive oil should begin to accumulate on top of the pesto. 
Twist the lid on the jar and refrigerate. 
For the pesto to keep up to a year, it is important to add a thin layer of olive oil to coat the top between uses.

Post image for Homemade Pesto Recipe (And How to Preserve It)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Chicken and Potato Chip Casserole

Originally this recipe had water added into it but to me that seemed like it would make for to much liquid so I left it out, I also added in some house seasoning.  I think if I make this again I will add another tsp of the house seasoning and a few more spices.  This was good however semi bland.  Hubby said this would make the number three spot on his list of favorite casseroles.  Overall I would say this is good with the possibility of being great.  :-)

2 cups chopped, cooked chicken meat (I use Rotisserie)
1 (5.5 ounce) bag Knorr Rice Sides – Chicken Broccoli, prepared
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed Cream of Chicken
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed Cream of Celery soup
2 cups finely chopped broccoli florets
2 tablespoons minced onions
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tsp house seasoning (Paula Deen's)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups crushed potato chips


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl combine the chicken, prepared rice, soup, minced onion, broccoli, lemon juice, and house seasoning.
Spread the mixture into a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan.
Cover the mixture with cheese and then the crushed potato chips
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the potato chips are browned and the casserole is heated through.


http://bitzngiggles.com/2014/04/chicken-potato-chip-casserole.html

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pizza Muffins

Like most kids my children love pizza and I love quick and easy lunch ideas.  When I found this recipe I knew I had just found a great recipe that would satisfy all of us.  Lunch is the hardest meal for us because we have so much going on during the day, and I might be a tad lazy.  I guess saying lazy might be an exaggeration I don't think I am a lazy person, however when we get up in the morning I get the majority of my chores done so by the time lunch comes around I feel the need for a nap (which I NEVER get).  Anyway all that just to say that I like easy lunches after all it's just me and two of the kiddos at home, we don't need anything extravagant! 

1 pound pizza dough
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup pizza sauce
olive oil

  1. Bring dough to room temperature and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Roll out the dough to a thin 18 x 12 rectangle and cut into squares about 3 x 3 inches.
  3. Grease mini muffin cups and place one square in each cup, making sure that the corners of the dough are sticking out.
  4. Brush edges of dough with olive oil.
  5. Pre-bake dough for 8 minutes and take tins out of oven.
  6. Pour 1 tsp of sauce in each cup and evenly distribute the cheese between the cups (you can add toppings now as well).
  7. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  8. Cool and serve
Pizza Muffins
 

Summer Activities For the Kiddos

As a mom I know that by the end of the school year we are rejoicing, thank heavens it's summer, now I can sleep late and be lazy.  Now this will last all of about a week in our house and then the kiddos will be up early, demanding breakfast, and wanting to play video games.  My goal for this summer is to spend less time infront of the television and less time with our video games and to do more as a family. 

Several of these things are really cheap or free so I am excited about the upcoming summer, I hope you can get some ideas from this list and that you will keep up with all we do!  If you have any other ideas comment below so that we can give it a try.  Also be sure to check out your local library, the library in our town is AMAZING!  They have a movie every Monday, story time is Thursday
(all year), and then they have a special guest (magician, juggler, etc.) come in once a week during the summer.

Splash Pad
Zoo
Vacation (We are going whale watching, riding a train, pirate adventures, etc)
Weekend Trip to our Beach House
Chuck E Cheese
Waterpark
Camping
Picnic
Decorate Sidewalk with Chalk
Drive in Movie (could even do this at home, we do outdoor movies at our parties)
Vacation Bible School
Fly Kites
Park Day
Random Act of Kindness Day
Pump It Up
Kids Station
Science Project
Putt Putt Golf
Summer Reading Program
Swim Lessons
Bowling
Meet our Soldier and His Family
Camp in the City (this is for Nathan only)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lemon Meltaways

I found this recipe in one of those church cookbooks that you get guilted into buying...  I thought it was going to be wonderful, I have been wanting to make a cookie with lemon and thought I had found the perfect recipe.  This has a very interesting flavor, the cookie itself is more of a shortbread.  The icing is very very tangy and tart.  Honestly they were ok but I will probably not make them again.

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tb lemon juice
3/4 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp grated lemon peel

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup butter (softened)
1 tsp grated lemon peel

In a large mixer bowl combine the first 6 ingredients.
Beat on low speed until mixed well.
Divide dough in half.
Shape each half into an 8x1 inch roll.
Refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).
Heat oven to 350.
Cut each roll into 1/4 inch slices.
Place cookies 2 inches apart on an UNgreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes (till set, these cookies will not brown).
Cool completely on wire racks.

In a small mixing bowl combine all the frosting ingredients (the last 4).
Beat at medium speed until fluffy.
Frost the cooled cookies.

Enjoy!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Menu for 5-26 to 6-1

Monday
B- Leftover Cinnamon Bread
L- Leftovers from Memorial Day Party
D- Leftovers from Sunday lunch (are we finding a theme in this day's meals?)

Tuesday
B- Cereal
L- Mini Pizzas
D- Black Pepper Chicken and Fried  Rice

Wednesday
B- Mini Egg Omelets (NR)
L- Pizza Muffins (NR)
D- Steak Pie, Macaroni and Cheese, and Mushy Peas

Thursday
B- French Toast
L- Corn Dogs and Fruit
D- Chicken and Potato Chip Casserole (NR), Corn on the Cob, and Biscuits

Friday
B- Breakfast Stromboli
L- Quesadillas
D- Pesto Chicken Sandwiches (NR)

Saturday
B- French Toast
L- Dance Recital
D- Dance Recital

Sunday
B- Cinnamon Rolls
L- Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef Recipe (NR), Peas, and White Rice
D- Leftovers

Memorial Day Party

I LOVE Memorial Day!!!  It is one of my favorite holidays of the year, I think that 4th of July and Memorial Day are probably the top two on my list.  Why do I love these two holidays?  I have an obsession with all things patriotic and am a very proud fan of our military!  I also REALLY enjoy having friends over and firing up the grill.  There is something so relaxing about laying in the hammock or sitting around enjoying the summer sunshine.  Plus everything is better with friends which is why we always have a Memorial Day celebration.  This year we are going really big since we will be on vacation for the 4th of July.  I have to wrap it all up into one party instead of two.  ;-)  I do think our 4th of July will be amazing though because fireworks on Cape Cod will be stunning!

So how do we celebrate well of course we have lots of food, lots of games, lots of water toys, and lots of friends.  This year we pulled out the water house, the kids pool, 500+ water balloons, horseshoes, and we even made this "life size" Jenga game and the Yahtzee dice below!  Isn't that fun?  Everyone seemed to really enjoy them!

 Photo: Jenga!!!

Photo

As for the food we had an amazing menu.  I made a brisket, ribs, sausages, chicken kabobs, and shrimp skewers.  Our friends brought hot dogs, hamburgers, all the toppings potato salad, corn on the cob, beans, salad, pasta salad, chips, queso, salsa, cupcakes, pie, cookies, watermelon, popsicles, and drinks.  I always include a sign up list with the evite because I hate to have duplicates. ;-)

Photo: Plates and napkins for the Memorial Day party... aren't they cute?

We hope that you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  Remember those who have served our country so faithfully! 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Corndog Night at Sonic

For about a week there has been a sign outside of Sonic saying that today is $.50 corn dog night!  So you would think since I drive past it everyday I would have remembered, luckily a friend posted a picture on facebook or else I would have completely forgotten and as we all know that would have been tragic... or not, but sometimes I can be slightly dramatic.

So after Belle got out of dance I headed on over to Sonic to get dinner because I had already decided I wasn't cooking tonight and this seemed like a cheap way to feed the family.  So as I start to order my oldest decides he doesn't like corn dogs which leads to him getting a chicken sandwich, hubby decides to add a large onion ring, and I was planning on chicken strips anyway.  This made our dinner not quite as cheap as I had planned but still it isn't often that you can "go out" to eat and feed a family of 5 for $13. 

When we got home my middle son decided that he doesn't like the breading on corn dogs (this is a very recent development and when I say recent I mean tonight) so I have to pull off all the breading on his two corndogs.  My little girl thank God loved her dinner, in fact she apparently was so hungry that between her and my oldest son they ate most of my meal...  Which means mommy was basically left eating the crumbs.

The point of this post?  I think next time I will pass on fifty cent corn dog night because apparently Belle and Phillip are the only one's in our family who really like corndogs at all.  Lesson learned!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Taco Meat Loaf

This dish was so easy and sooooo yummy.  I love meals that I can prep in the morning so that in the afternoon when it gets crazy all I have to do is pop it in the oven.  The kids all enjoyed this which gives it MAJOR bonus points!  Anything that they all enjoy will stay around for a while!

1 Lb ground beef
½ C crushed corn chips
1 beaten egg
3 tsp taco seasoning
1¼ C chunky salsa
½ C shredded cheddar cheese
1 C refried beans
1 C shredded cheddar cheese

In bowl, mix ground beef, corn chips, egg, taco seasoning, 1 C salsa, pepper & cheese.
Mix & form into an oval on a baking sheet.
In small bowl mix beans w/ ¼ cup salsa & frost top of the uncooked meatloaf w/ it.
Bake @ 375° for 45 mins. At last 5 mins of baking, sprinkle top w/ 1 cup shredded cheese & return to oven.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chicken Milanese Macaroni Grill Style

Macaroni Grill has recently become one of our favorite places to eat, the food is great, however it can get expensive so we only go when we have a gift card.  ;-)  We also have about an hour drive to the closest one.  :-(  So when  we went for Mother's Day I was so thrilled!  I had the Chicken Milanese and as soon as I got home I scoured the internet to find a copy cat recipe.

This is delicious in fact the entire family said that it was their favorite part of the meal.  It took a little bit to get together but that may be because I had a billion other things going on at the same time.  This was a pretty close second to that amazing dish that I had on Mother's Day and I WILL be making it again.

Pair this with my Green Bean Bundles, Olive Garden Breadsticks, and Some Pasta and you are good to go.

Chicken
10-12 chicken tenders
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. milk
Italian breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan (optional)
Butter or olive oil
Balsamic Glaze

Pound the chicken tenders between two pieces of plastic wrap until it's about 1/4" thick.  
With a fork, whisk together the eggs and milk.  
Heat a large frying pan over medium to medium high heat.  
Add 2 Tbsp. of either butter or olive oil to the hot pan just before adding the chicken to it.  
Get out two shallow bowls or pie tins.  
Add the egg mixture to one and fill the other with 1 to 1 1/2 c. Italian breadcrumbs.  
Dredge the chicken in the egg mixture then in the breadcrumbs.  
Brown the chicken well on both sides until well browned and cooked through.  
Transfer the chicken to a glass dish in the oven and keep the oven on warm.  
This will keep it warm while you finish all the chicken and the sauce.  
While chicken is browning, cook the lemon butter sauce.

Lemon Butter Sauce
2 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. white cooking wine
2 oz. heavy cream
1/2 clove garlic
2 sticks butter (1/2 lb)
salt and pepper

Heat the lemon juice and white wine over medium heat.  
Bring to a boil and reduce it by a third.  
Add cream and 1/2 clove of garlic.  
Simmer until it thickens about 3-4 minutes.  
Slowly add the butter in pieces until it is completely incorporated.  
Add salt and pepper to taste.  
Remove from heat but keep it warm until you serve it (which should be right away).

SERVING IT
To serve the chicken, place 2 chicken tenders on your plate.  
Then add 1-2 Tbsp. of the lemon butter sauce over it.  
Then lightly drizzle the balsamic glaze over it.  
Eat immediately!

This would also be good with just a little pasta or risotto and the above mentioned salad served with it.  Mmmm!


 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Queso Fundido con Chorizo

 I used ground beef because that is what I had on hand however I am sure the chorizo would have given this dish some much needed flavor.  My oldest son and husband loved this, I think next time with some added spice it could be much better!
 
  • 1/2 pound chorizo sausage, casings removed
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 10 ounces pepperjack cheese, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons diced tomatoes & green chiles, drained

Preheat oven to broil.
Brown chorizo over medium-high heat, using a wooden spoon to break up into small pieces.  
Add onions & cook until translucent.  
Drain off excess fat, & spread into the bottom of a medium sized casserole dish.
Place cheese & tomatoes in a microwave safe bowl.  
Microwave 15 seconds at a time, stirring each time, until the cheese is melted and the tomatoes have been combined.  
Spread the cheese in the casserole dish over top of the chorizo.
Broil on the top rack of your oven until cheese starts to turn golden brown, around 5 minutes.  
Serve hot with tortilla chips.
 
 

Easy Breakfast Stromboli

I made this for life group at Church Sunday morning, it was pretty good I feel like it could have been great though.  I was sad because when I was unfolding my puff pastry it all stuck together and became a horrible mess, I hate that I spent $5 on it and ended up throwing it away!  Luckily I had some pie crust in the fridge so I just used it instead and it worked out well although next time I would like to try it with puff pastry again.     
  • 1 Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Sheet, thawed per box instructions
  • 6 slices ham
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cup scrambled eggs (about 5 eggs) (check out my previous post about making scrambled eggs)
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water (for egg wash)
  • salt and pepper

  •  
    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the rack in the center of the oven.
    2. Unfold and roll the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface into a 16" x 16" square.
    3. Pinch the seams created by folds to seal them together as you roll.
    4. Move the dough often so that you can tell when it is beginning to stick.
    5. Dust any sticky areas with a little bit of flour.
    6. Arrange the ham slices in the center of the dough leaving approximately 1" border all the way around.
    7. Add the cheese and scrambled eggs in a 3" wide line in the center of the ham running the entire width of the ham, but not all the way to the edge of the dough.
    8. The ingredients should be in a line in the center of the dough, running from your left to right.
    9. Brush the edges around the perimeter of the dough with egg wash. This will act as a glue to seal the edges of the puff pastry when you bring them together.
    10. Begin rolling the Stromboli by taking the side of dough nearest to you and rolling it over the filling and bringing it together with the opposite side.
    11. Roll the Stromboli over until the seam is on the bottom.
    12. Tuck each of the ends under to seal and brush the entire roll with egg wash.
    13. You can sprinkle the dough with a little salt and pepper if you would like.
    14. Bake for 25−30 minutes until the crust is a deep golden brown color. You will notice that it has puffed up quite a bit.
    15. Remove from oven, slice and serve immediately. Enjoy!
     

    Sunday, May 18, 2014

    Coffee Crusted Steak

    This was ok, infact it was pretty good, but not quite as flavorful as I had hoped.  We still prefer our steak with the balsamic glaze but I think this will be a nice change when we want one. 
     
    2 (8 oz) ribeye steaks
    kosher salt, to taste
    freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    ground coffee (hazelnut)
    1/2 tbsp olive oil
    1/2 tbsp butter
     
    Season steaks with salt & pepper, then cover with ground coffee. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, and add the butter and olive oil, and heat until the butter is just browned. Cook steaks for 3 mins on each side. Let rest on a plate covered with foil for 5-10 mins before serving. Enjoy!

    http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dinner/coffee-crusted-steak.html#_a5y_p=1658426

    Menu for 5-19 to 5-25

    Monday
    B- Cereal
    L- Cheese Quesadillas
    D- Taco Meatloaf (NR), Spanish Rice, and Corn

    Tuesday
    B- Pancakes and Bacon
    L- Lunch with Nathan
    D- Macaroni Grill Chicken Milanese (NR), Boiled Potatoes and Green Bean Bundles

    Wednesday
    B- Muffins
    L- Sandwiches
    D- Cheddar Baked Chicken, Pretzel Rolls, Broccoli, and Duchess Potatoes

    Thursday
    B- Doughnuts
    L- Wraps!!!
    D- 50 cent Corndogs at Sonic :-)

    Friday
    B- Mini Egg Omelet (NR)
    L- Egg Salad
    D- Chicken Pesto Panini (NR) and Chips

    Saturday
    B- Cereal
    L- Sandwiches
    D- Memorial Day Party!!!

    Sunday
    B- Cinnamon Bread
    L- Out
    D- Malakai's Birthday Party

    Saturday, May 17, 2014

    Garlic Cheddar Bombs

    These really are da' bomb!!!  These were sooooo yummy, hubby says it is the best bread he has EVER had.  My 18 month old niece is here at my house and she ate 3 of them (I broke them up for her, don't worry).  The garlic on the outside was wonderful and then the melted cheese in the middle just oozed out! 

    1 can of premade biscuits (10 pieces)
    20 cubes cheddar cheese  (approx 4oz total)
    3 tablespoons butter
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    1/3 cup parmesan cheese
    2 teaspoons dried parsley
     
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    Cut each biscuit in half and slightly roll out (don't worry about it being round).
    Place a cheese cube in the middle and wrap the biscuit dough around the cube ensuring the edges are sealed.
    Roll in your hands to make a ball shape.
    Place butter & garlic in a small bowl and melt in the microwave about 12 seconds.
    In a separate bowl, combine parsley and parmesan cheese.
    Dip each rolled biscuit into the butter mixture and then into the cheese mixture.
    Place on a parchment lined pan.
    Bake 10-12 minutes or just until browned.

    Raegan Mirick's photo.
     

    Friday, May 16, 2014

    Crock Pot Cashew Chicken

    It seems like lately I have had several people asking me about slow cooker or crockpot meals, so I decided I needed to add a few more to the blog.  Honestly we aren't big on crockpot or freezer meals.  A crockpot can be such a great convinince but I sometimes feel like the meals can be lacking in flavor.  However...

    This dish was wonderful, the flavors blend together really well and make your taste buds dance.  The smell of the chicken while it was cooking made my stomach rumble and first thing hubby commented on was how great it smelled.  Everyone in our family enjoyed it and almost all of us went back for more. 

    Another great thing about this meal is that it is cheap!!!  Just add some fried rice (I had rice left over from earlier this week and just made fried rice with it) and you have a meal.  I fed a family of 5 for under $6 AND we have leftovers for hubby to take to work!  Most of the ingredients are things that you have in your pantry now, so go ahead, try this dish out tomorrow.

    2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (About 4 pieces)
    1/4 cup all purpose flour or gluten-free flour
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1 Tbsp olive, grapeseed or safflower oil
    1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
    2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (I didn't have any so I used red wine vinegar)
    2 Tbsp ketchup
    1 Tbsp brown sugar
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
    1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
    1/2 cup cashews 

    Crock pot cashew chicken!
     


    Combine flour and pepper in resealable food storage bag.
    Add chicken.
    Shake to coat with flour mixture. 
    Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.

    Brown chicken about 2 minutes on each side.
    Place chicken in slow cooker.
    Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes in small bowl; pour over chicken. 
    Cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours.

    Add cashews and stir. 
    Serve over rice.

    Makes 4-6 servings.

    https://www.milehighorganics.com/p-27-recipes.html#CashewChicken

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

    Nutty Caramel Bars

    The picture doesn't do these justice because honestly I couldn't wait to try them and they are still slightly melty, I wasn't disappointed though.  They were so good and I loved the way that they just melted in my mouth and my teeth just sank into them. 
     
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup light brown sugar
    3/4 cup butter, softened
    1/2 cup chopped pecans
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    1 (19 ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping
    2 cups milk chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    In a large bowl, combine flour and brown sugar.
    Mix in butter until combined and crumbly.
    Press mixture into an ungreased 9x13 baking dish.
    Sprinkle on pecans and walnuts.
    Drizzle caramel topping evenly over nuts.
    Bake for 15-20 minutes or until caramel is bubbly.
    Remove from oven and sprinkle on chocolate chips.
    Let stand for 5 minutes.
    Carefully spread chips over caramel layer.
    Let cool at room temperature or until chocolate sets.
    Cut into bars.

    Yummy

    http://foodgio.com/nutty-caramel-bars/

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

    Mock Filet Mignon

    This was really tasty in fact we all gobbled it up.  I loved the wine sauce that went over the top, it is what made the dish.  Without the wine sauce this would be a very bland dish it is almost like a meatloaf (not my meatloaf though :-) ).  We will be making this again!

    1 lb Ground Beef
    Bacon Slices
    2 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
    1 Egg Yolk
    3/4 teaspoon Salt
    1 teaspoon Onion Powder
    1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
    1 teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
    1/3 cup Red Wine or 1/3 cup Beef Broth
    1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
     
    In skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until just beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes.
    Drain on paper towel; reserve.
    Remove and reserve all but 1 t drippings from pan.
    Mix in beef, Worcestershire sauce, egg yolk, pepper and salt just until combined (I also added garlic and onion powder).
    Shape into 4 patties.
    Wrap reserved bacon around patties; secure with toothpicks.
    In same pan, heat 1 T reserved bacon fat and add the patties.  (I popped mine in the oven)
    Cook, turning once, 5-6 minutes per side until no longer pink inside.
    Remove from pan; discard all but 2 T drippings.
    Add wine, mustard and rosemary.
    Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 30 seconds.
    Remove toothpicks.
    Serve the sauce with the beef patties
    Mock Filet Mignon. Photo by gailanng
     
     


    Pecan Balls

    These were ok, nothing special, I probably wouldn't make them again.  With pecans being so expensive I feel like the are several other ways that I could use them and produce a better result.  The pecan balls were slightly to dry for me and even though they were coated in powdered sugar they were still a little on the bland side.

    ½lb. butter
    4Tbsp. sugar
    2C ground pecans
    2C flour
    1 tsp. vanilla

    Cream sugar and butter, then add other ingredients.
    Make into small balls and bake at 375º F. 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
    Shake in powdered sugar just before serving.

    Pecan Balls (Christmas Cookies)

    http://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/10130062/pecan-balls-christmas-cookies/

    Monday, May 12, 2014

    Menu for 5-12 to 5-18

    Monday
    B- Cereal
    L- Cheese Quesadillas
    D- Coconut Chicken, Rice Pilaf, and Broccoli

    Tuesday
    B- Doughnuts
    L- Corn Dogs and Strawberries
    D- Mock Filet Mignon (NR), Glazed Carrots, Red Lobster Biscuits, and Lemon Butter Potatoes

    Wednesday
    B- Muffins
    L- Sandwiches
    D- Margarita Grilled Chicken (NR), ????

    Thursday
    B- One Eyed Sailor
    L- Mini Pizzas
    D- Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons

    Friday
    B- Cereal
    L- Lunch with Nathan at School
    D- Crockpot Cashew Chicken (NR) and Fried Rice

    Saturday
    B- Brunch Enchiladas
    L- Chicken Alfredo Pizza (NR)
    D- Steak (NR), Twice Baked Potatoes, Pea Salad and Garlic Cheddar Bombs (NR)

    Sunday
    B- Breakfast Stromboli (NR)
    L- Picnic after church with Life Group
    D- Leftovers

    Sunday, May 11, 2014

    A Few Days in Branson

    This weekend we took a "girls" trip to Branson, and by girl's trip I mean a 70+ year old, a 50+, me and my 4 year old.  My grandmother has been through a lot lately and needed a little cheering up, so we and by we I mean my mother decided that we needed to give her something fun in her life.  Anytime I am offered a free trip I tag along.

    We have been to Branson several times and there is soooo much to do.  We always stay at the Suites at Fall Creek it a nice, recently remodeled resort, and is in a great location.
    Since we didn't get in till later Thursday night we went straight to the resort and settled in, played games, and watched movies.





    Friday morning we got up and went to a local café that surprisingly none of us have ever been to before.  The lady at the concierge desk told us that we had to try Billy Gails because that is where all the locals go for breakfast.  So we decided to give it a shot.  Luckily it was within just a few minutes of our resort so we made it there in no time.  Once there the parking lot was pretty crowded and the place looked "interesting" but we gave it a try anyway and we were glad we did. The portion sizes were huge if you ever go share a plate!  This is my daughter with her pancake, it hung over the edges of the plate!

    Photo: Her pancake is bigger than her!

    After breakfast we went shopping there is an outlet in Branson and we decided to hit it up.  The pretty little girl in the picture above got a new Ariel doll at the Disney store and was in heaven.  Her mommy (me) tried and tried to find myself a surprise at the Coach store but they didn't have a whole lot to choose from.  I did get a wallet for our soldier's wife for Mother's Day, but nothing for me.  :-(  After shopping we went and ate at "the place where they throw rolls".  My grandmother had her heart set on eating here and while there are much better places to eat in Branson the oldest and the youngest in our small group really enjoyed catching the rolls being thrown at them.  We then went back to our room and dropped off all our treasures we collected while shopping and got ready for our dinner show. 

    For dinner we went to the Branson Belle, which my grandmother loves, we had all done it before but they change shows fairly often so we hadn't seen this show before.  The comedian they had was absolutely HILARIOUS, and the men's group of singers were WONDERFUL, Isabelle's favorite part was the girl playing her violin while hanging upside down and doing tricks on the ropes.  Belly was enthralled.  The dinner was pretty good, typical of what you expect to find on these types of things.






    After we left the cruise we went for manicures and pedicures.  This was my grandmother's first time!!!  This is crazy to me because Belle has had at least 10 and she is only 4.  My grandmother loved it and afterwards kept talking about how pretty her nails were.  The lady who had her was so wonderful and good with my grandmother. 

    Saturday morning we got up and went to Dicks 5 and 10 store.  If you ever go to Branson you need to check this place out, they have EVERYTHING!  Once we were done we headed out, we ended up leaving a day early to go to a friends graduation on the way home and honestly I was ok with this because I really wanted to be with all my babies on Mother's Day.  We had a great weekend and hope that you did to!

    Wednesday, May 7, 2014

    Mexican Corn Casserole

    This was a lot like cornbread and honestly if I am going to make cornbread I prefer my Golden Sweet Cornbread however this is still good just not what I was expecting.  Hubby and our neighbor ate it up and went back for more... a few times.  I will say the rest of the meal could have overshadowed this, because I made this the same night that we had fajitas and those were "off the chain" as my neighbor would say.

    2 eggs
    16 ounces corn
    3/4 corn meal
    1/2 cup plus 2 tb buttermilk
    1/2 cup butter (melted)
    1 can green chilies
    1 medium onion
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 1/2 cups cheddar

    Beat eggs in a large bowl.
    Add the next eight ingredients and mix well.
    Stir in 1 cup of cheese.
    Pour into a greased baking dish.
    Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 1 hour.
    Top with remaining cheese.
    Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
    Garnish with peppers if desired.

    Mexican Corn Casserole Recipe

    http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/mexican-corn-casserole

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014

    Parmesan Roasted Carrots

    I was on the search for a new recipe to try for carrots.  The family loves my Maple Glazed Carrots however I wanted to change it up a bit.  However I think I will just stick with my original.  Hubby said these were ok but nothing special.  He also said that he wouldn't add them to my regular rotation.

    Olive Oil
    ¼ Cup of Parmesan Cheese
    1/2 Salt
    1.5 Cups of Baby Carrots
    1/4 Pepper
     
    Preheat oven to 350
    In a bowl combine carrots with a drizzle of olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper and cheese
    Spread carrots on to parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake 20 - 25 minutes.
     
    My husband ate the WHOLE dish within 5 minutes and he HATES carrots
     

    Lupe Tortilla Fajitas

    Last year for our girls trip myself and three of my girl friends went to my parents beach house for the weekend.  We had a blast no husbands, no kids, mardi gras, and gangnam style dancing....  yep that about sums it up lol.  On the way home we decided to stop and get some Mexican food and we found this AMAZING place called Lupe Tortilla. 

    Their specialty is the fajitas and trust me once you have had them you will not go to another Mexican restaurant without thinking about them .  Lupe Tortillas fajitas are over the top mouth-watering, taste bud tantalizing, wonderful!  Did that give you a clear picture of how great they are?

    They serve it family style, they bring out a huge platter of meat, some cheese, beans, rice, tortillas and queso and you are ready for an experience you will likely never forget.  So since yesterday was cinco de mayo and we have no Lupe Tortilla within 5 hours of us I decided to try and find a copy cat recipe.  This one comes VERY close to the "real" thing.  EVERYONE in my house loved them and honestly we all ate a little more than we should have.

    I hope that you try this recipe and that you enjoy it as much as we do!

    Meat:
    2 lbs. skirt steak, or chicken, or shrimp(IT MUST be skirt steak to be successful!)
     
    Marinade:
    • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
    • 4 tablespoons tequila (yes, really.)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from real limes)
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    Fajita Vegetables
    • 1 large white onion, sliced into thin crescents (half rings)
    • 3 green bell peppers or assorted color bell peppers, cut into strips
    • 2 green onions, cleaned and cut down the middle longwise (then cut in half)
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (to sauté the veggies at the end)
     
    • Cut the steak into pieces that will fit into your cast iron skillet. MAKE SURE YOU CUT ACROSS THE GRAIN to get tender bites.
    • Tenderize with meat mallet
    • Place the pieces of meat into a Ziploc bag
    • Mix the marinade AKA the garlic, lime juice, cumin, tequila, salt, and 1/3 cup vegetable oil, and pour into the meat-filled Ziploc.
    • Push as much air out as possible, seal and knead the meat until it is fully covered with marinade. Place in the fridge for two hours. Yes, this recipe ONLY needs two hours of marinating for perfection!
    • Remove the meat from the marinade and grill over hot coals or in a cast iron skillet over med-high heat.
    • You will get a lot of marinade moisture in the pan at the beginning, simply let it cook off (it will, don’t worry!)
    • Remove from heat when cooked to your liking.
    • Heat the remaining 2 tbsp. vegetable oil then sauté peppers and onions over med-high heat until they are crisp/tender.
    • Serve with flour/ corn tortillas and offer guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream and cheddar cheese on the side as condiments.
    Jackpot.

    http://grouchymuffin.com/2013/05/31/cooking-with-cribsy-the-greatest-beef-fajitas-recipe-of-all-time/#comments

    Monday, May 5, 2014

    Queso Dip

    I decided to make queso to go along with our Cinco de Mayo dinner tonight however I didn't want to pay the $5 for Velveeta especially since I am on a mission to cut out as many processed foods as possible.  So I found this recipe and it was a hit in our house... and my neighbor's house.  ;-)  He ate dinner with us tonight and said that the whole meal was AMAZING.  I have to agree.  :-)

    2 cups whipping cream
    1 cup sour cream (I didn't add this I HATE sour cream)
    1 T chicken base
    1/4 t cumin
    4 tbsp. butter
    2 tbsp. flour
    2 jalapenos, minced
    1/2 cup juice from bottled jalapenos
    4 oz shredded cheese – equal parts jack and cheddar
    2-3 T chopped cilantro
    1/4 cup salsa

    Heat whipping cream in a heavy saucepan over high heat. When the cream is ready to boil, stir in sour cream. After sour cream dissolves, reduce heat to medium. Stir in chicken base, cumin, salsa and jalapeno juice and simmer.
    While cream is heating: Make a roux by warming butter in a saucepan over medium heat, adding flour, and mixing with a wire whip until mixture starts to turn pale gold.
    Just before cream mixture is ready to boil again, add roux, whisking briskly and constantly until roux is incorporated.
    Remove from heat; stir in minced jalapeno, cilantro and cheese mixture.
    Makes about 4 cups.

    http://thearnoldkitchen.blogspot.com/2011/08/queso-dip.html

    Menu for 5-5 to 5-11

    Monday
    B- Cinnamon Bread (for Teacher Appreciation Week) Chocolate Chip Bread (NR)
    L- Sandwiches
    D- Fajitas (NR), Mexican Corn Casserole (NR), Queso (NR) Chips and Dip, Spanish Rice

    Tuesday
    B- Pancakes, Bacon and Eggs
    L- Lunch at School with Nathan (Mom paid :-) )
    D- Ribs, Baked Potatoes, Hoe Cakes and Parmesan Carrots (NR)

    Wednesday
    B- Cereal
    L- Corn Dogs and Mandarin Oranges
    D- Black Pepper Chicken and Fried Rice

    Thursday (Leaving to go out of town need to make a few things for hubby and the boys who will be at home)
    B- Cinnamon Rolls
    L- ?
    D- Italian Roast, Cornbread, Green Beans

    Friday
    B- Apple Muffins (I made a batch and froze them)
    L- Mini Pizzas
    D- ?

    Saturday
    B- Cereal
    L- Corn Dogs and Apples
    D- Hamburgers, Corn on Cob and Chips

    Sunday
    B-
    L- Out
    D- Leftovers

    Chocolate Chip Bread

    This bread was very good however I liked it much more when I ate it warm instead of at room temp.  We will be making this again in the future.  ;-)

    4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 tablespoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 large eggs
    1 3/4 cups milk
    2/3 cup vegetable oil
    1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

    Preheat oven to 350°F/180° C.
    Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
    Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
    Combine eggs, milk and vegetable oil in medium bowl.
    Add to flour mixture; mix just until moistened.
    Stir in 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
    Spoon into prepared loaf pans.
    Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
    Cool in pans for 10 minutes; remove from pans.
    Cool on wire racks.
     

    To store quick bread, place in a plastic bag, seal, and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
    To freeze quick bread loaves, wrap them tightly in heavy aluminum foil and then place them in plastic freezer bags, and freeze for up to 3 months.
    To thaw, remove loaf from plastic bag (leave in foil) and let thaw at room temperature.
    To re-heat, leave loaf wrapped in foil.
    Re-heat in a preheated 350 degree F (180 degree C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until hot.
    Makes 2 (9 x 5-inch) loaves.
     
     

    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    S'Mores Party

    Some of my favorite things about fall are fires and camping and evenings spent with friends... So, every year in the middle of October we have a S'mores party.  This is always a fun event because anytime you can gather with friends around a fire and have chocolate well then you have a recipe for a great evening. 

    We pull out the bounce house, horse shoes and the projector and when it gets dark we play a movie on a white sheet on the side of the house.  All the kiddos love it and it keeps them entertained while they chow down on their chocolatey goodies.  This also gives the adults some time to sit around and chat without worrying about the kiddos. 

    So what all do we have at our S'More party?  Well we have a potluck dinner so everyone brings something and my family provides the sweets.  Here is a list of our favorite S'more ingredients.
     
    Graham Crackers
    Fudge Striped Cookies
    Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Marshmallows
    Jumbo Marshmallows
    Hershey Bars
    Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
    Kit Kats
    Caramel Chocolate Bars
     
     
    By the way you can buy roasting sticks at Wal Mart in a package of 5 for about $2, the kids also love to have glow sticks so I stock up on those for this party also!

    Friday, May 2, 2014

    Disney On Ice

    Last night I took the kids to see Disney on Ice- Rockin' Ever After.  It was such a good show!  We have been to several other performance (Disney Jr Live, Fresh Beat Band, Scooby Doo Live, Sesame Street Live (three times), etc...) and this was by far one of my favorites.  The talent that these performers have is amazing, I can barely walk let alone spin and dance and jump ON the ice.

    Phillip wasn't able to go with us because he ended up having to work so my dad went and he actually enjoyed the show too.  I think he mostly liked watching Belle dancing.  She had a blast watching the show and dancing along with the performers.  The boys were in awe the whole time and were on the edge of their seats during the show. 

    I had told the kiddos before hand that we wouldn't be buying any goodies, I mean honestly $30 for a tiny stuffed Beast... not happening.  It worked out well for them though because before we went to the center we went to the Boardwalk in Shreveport and had dinner at Fuddruckers.  This is one of my dad's favorite places to eat, I love it too but it is fairly pricey.  Luckily he offered to pay and so when we got to Disney on Ice mommy splurged and bought them each a snow cone in a "super cool cup".  The boys each got one with the Mickey Mouse characters that light up and Belle got an Ariel cup.  She woke up this morning asking for a drink in it. 

    I forgot to take pictures with my phone so most of these are pictures that I took on my camera and then took a picture of on my phone...  Don't judge!  The show was so awesome that it slipped my mind.

    Raegan Mirick's photo.






































     




    Thursday, May 1, 2014

    Classic Bread Pudding with Vanilla Caramel Sauce

    Last night I needed something to blow off a little stress, so I decided to bake, my last try at bread pudding was ok but I feel like this time it went much better the sauce is what really makes this special.  I also threw in a handful of chocolate chips and walnuts for the last ten minutes of baking.  My neighbor said it was the bomb lol and came back for more.  :-)

    4 Cups Dried White Bread (I used a french loaf, cut into cubes)
    2 Eggs, Slightly Beaten
    2 Cups Milk
    1/4 Cup Butter, Melted
    1/2 Cup Sugar
    1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
    1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
    1 Teaspoon Vanilla

    Vanilla Sauce:
    1 Stick Butter
    1/2 Cup Sugar
    1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
    1/2 Cup Whipping Cream
    1 Tablespoon Vanilla

    Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.
    Bread should be stale. Either cut into cubes and let sit out overnight or preheat oven to 300 degrees and place cubed bread into oven for about 15 minutes or until they feel stale to touch.
    Grease a 1 1/2 quart casserole, or 9×13 pan and set aside.
    In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.
    Pour mixture over bread cubes and let sit about 5 minutes. Pour into greased pan and bake, uncovered for 50-55 minutes or until puffed and browned on top.
    Remove from oven and serve warm with vanilla ice cream and sauce.

    Sauce Directions: 
    Combine all sauce ingredients except vanilla in a small saucepan.
    Heat until melted and begins to boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil, remove from heat and add vanilla.
    Mixture will bubble up, this is normal.
    Stir in vanilla and let cool.
    Pour over ice cream and bread pudding and serve.
    Store in a jar for up to 2 weeks and use as a topping on all your favorite desserts!

    http://mikeysinmykitchen.com/2013/03/22/classic-bread-pudding-with-vanilla-sauce/

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