April 2013 Monthly Menu

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I know, I have been a bit remiss in posting this month’s menu.  Last week there wasn’t much to post as we ate Easter leftovers and lots of ham sandwiches.  Saturday (yesterday) I used up the last of the ham by making up a split pea soup.  It turned out really good.

6: Split Pea Soup and bread
7: Shrimp and Sugar Snap Pea Stir-Fry and Rice (yes, I know it says scallop, not shrimp but I couldn’t find any scallops at the store so I substituted it for shrimp.)
8: Baked Ravioli, Salad, Garlic Bread
9: Southern Goulash, Salad
10: Leftovers (I cooked the Chicken Delicious but we didn’t eat it today. I am going to use the chicken in a casserole instead.) Chicken Delicious
11: More leftovers (actually it is a late evening for everyone so it is fend for yourself night)
12: Chicken Enchiladas Au Gratin, beans, corn (I am using the chicken from the Chicken Delicious cooked earlier this week)
13: Fish, broccoli
14: Roast, Potatoes, Carrots (I have this already cooked and frozen in the freezer. Might add some dinner rolls to this too.)
15: Chalupas (an old family favorites) We just spread refried beans and shredded Cheddar on a corn tostada. We put it in the oven until the cheese melts and top it with lettuce and tomatoes. We sprinkle the top with white vinegar.
16: Slow Cooker Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread
17: Leftovers
18: Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo, Salad
19: Baked Fish in Parchment Paper, Salad
20: Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
21: Pizza
22: Beef Stroganoff, Peas, Salad
23: Sloppy Joes, Tater Tots
24: Leftovers
25: Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs, Beans, Corn on the Cob
26:  Breakfast for dinner
27:  On your own for dinner or leftovers
28:  Slow Cooker Chicken and Dressing, Green Beans, Salad
29:  Quick Skillet Supper, Wilted Lettuce Salad  (This is a fav menu of the family.)
30: Santa Fe Casserole, Mexican Beans, Salad

May Menu is located HERE

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Jello Poke Cake

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I made a good old fashioned Jello Poke Cake for St. Patrick’s Day.  It was really good and easy.

1 package white cake mix (regular size)
2 packages (3 ounces each) lime gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water

Topping:

1 cup cold milk
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
Green sprinkles

Directions:

Prepare and bake cake according to package directions, using a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.

Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.

In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water; stir in cold water and set aside.

With a meat fork or wooden skewer, poke holes about 2 in. apart into cooled cake.

Slowly pour gelatin over cake. Cover and refrigerate.

In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes (mixture will be thick). Fold in whipped topping.

Spread over cake. Decorate with sprinkles.

Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Shakshuka

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4 slices bacon, cut 1/2 inch thick crosswise
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chilies in adobo
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes in juice
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 large eggs
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Tortilla chips, for serving (optional)

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Add garlic and chilies to rendered fat in skillet; cook, stirring, until garlic is just golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Add tomatoes and juice; simmer over medium heat, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon and stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low. One at a time, crack eggs into a small bowl or cup, and slide onto sauce in skillet, spacing so that all eggs will fit. Cover; cook very gently until egg whites are just opaque (yolks should still be soft), 6 to 9 minutes.

Spoon into four serving bowls; sprinkle with feta and bacon. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.

Bangers and Mash

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8 Russett potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds beef sausage
1/2 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 (.75 oz) packet dry brown gravy mix
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350F. Place potatoes in a saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cook potatoes until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, then mash with 4 teaspoons of the butter and enough milk to reach a creamy consistency. Continue mashing until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage until heated through, about 3-5 minutes. Remove sausage from skillet and set aside. Add remaining butter to skillet, and add onion, rosemary, oregano, garlic, and mushrooms. Stir until tender. Whisk together gravy mix and water as directed on packet, then add to skillet with onion and mushrooms. Simmer, stirring constantly, to form a thick gravy.

Pour half of the gravy mix into a medium sized casserole dish so that the bottom is coated. Place sausages in a layer over the gravy, then cover with remaining gravy. Top with mashed potatoes.

Bake bangers and mash uncovered in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until potatoes are evenly browned.

Hobo Casserole

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This dish is a family keeper. It is so quick and easy on busy weeknights. The ground beef isn’t even pre-cooked in this dish. It cooks right along with the casserole!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, sliced (if your family doesn’t like onions then leave it out)
2 medium potatoes, sliced (don’t peel them)
1 1/2 cups shredded Velveeta
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1/8 cup milk
1 1/2 cups French-fried onions
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat ground beef into 8×8 pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If using, slice onion on top of beef. Slice potatoes onto onion layer, salt and pepper. Layer with shredded Velveeta cheese. Mix soup and milk together and spread over the cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes are tender. Remove foil and top with french fried onions and brown for about 5 minutes.

Banana Nut Bread

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I had a surplus of bananas and instead of letting them go to waste, I made Banana Nut Bread. It has got to be one of my all around favorites. I enjoy a slice of it in the morning along with my cup of tea. This recipe makes 1 loaf. If you want 2 loaves just double the recipe.

1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ripe large bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack in middle position. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Set aside.

Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool and then chop coarsely.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients just until combined and the butter is thick and chunky. (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery bread.) Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. This bread can be frozen.

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

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This is an excellent recipe. It can be frozen or prepared a day ahead of time and baked the next day. I did change the original recipe, mainly because I thought it was lacking in Italian seasonings. My changes will be in parenthesis next to the original ingredients.

9 lasagna noodles, cooked (I only cooked 8 because that was all I could reasonably fit into a 13×9 pan)
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained (I bought a bag of fresh baby spinach and sauteed it in a skillet with some olive oil)
15 oz. fat free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
Salt and Pepper to taste
32 oz. tomato sauce (I used 24 oz. of tomato sauce in this recipe but next time I am going to use Marinara sauce.)
3 oz. part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. (I think I will also add a little basil and oregano to this mixture.) Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.

Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

Ladle sauce over noodles in the baking dish and top each on with 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts.

To serve, ladle a little sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll.

Wick Fowler Copycat Chili

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Today I rushed to the grocery store in hopes of getting all the chili fixings for dinner tonight.  Snow was starting to fall and I think everyone in town decides to rush to the grocery store so they can fix chili.  Needless to say, by the time I got there all of the Wick Fowler Chili Kits were sold out.  But it was a good thing that the last time I made Wick Fowler’s Chili that I measured everything that I put in it.  So we can still have Wick Fowler’s Chili, well sort of anyway.  Here is the recipe:

Brown 2 pounds of ground beef.  Drain off the grease.  Add 1-8 oz. can of tomato sauce and 2 cans of water.  Stir.  Add 6 1/2 to 7 tablespoons of chili powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cayenne depending on how hot you like your chili, 1 tablespoon dried minced onion, 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic.  Stir.  Add 1 large can of beans if you like beans in your chili.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Just before serving stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons of masa.

Yum….the family didn’t even notice the difference!

Peas in Cheese Sauce

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This year for Christmas I asked everyone what dish they would like me to cook for Christmas dinner.  My youngest said macaroni and cheese.  I figured it would be too many carbs for dinner since I was already making mashed potatoes and gravy.  So I changed his request up a little bit to get some green vegetables in the meal.

Peas in Cheese Sauce

4 1/2 teaspoons butter
4 1/2 teaspoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup cubed Velveeta
2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen peas, thawed

In a large pan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add cheese, stir until melted. Stir in peas, cook 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Mold

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This is one of my favorite recipes to serve at Christmas.  I know it is one of those old fashioned jello mold things but it looks just like a red wreath to me.  I also just love cranberries and I have to sneak it in somehow.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Mold

1 1/2 cups boiling water
8 oz. package of Jello Cranberry (I can’t find cranberry anymore so I use black cherry instead.)
1 1/2 cups cold water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 medium apple, chopped
1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce (I just pour the whole can in.)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened

Stir boiling water into jello in large bowl 2 minutes or until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water and cinnamon. Pour 2 cups of the gelatin into a medium bowl. Refrigerate about 1 1/2 hours or until thickened (spoon drawn through leaves definite impression). Reserve remaining 1 cup jello at room temperature. Stir apple and cranberry sauce into thickened jello. Spoon into 6 cup mold. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until set but not firm (should stick to finger when touched and should mound.) Stir reserved 1 cup jello gradually into cream cheese in small bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Put over jello layer in mold. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Unmold.