Saturday, August 29, 2009

MPM- two for the price of one!

So I missed posting last week - hubby & I both had our first day with students on Monday, and ds#3 had 3rd grade to get ready for, so posting on the blog got left in the dust. This week, I'm posting our menu from last week (I did make the plan, just didn't post it), and the plan for this week!

Last week:
Sun~ ate at my parents' house - beef & chicken on the grill, Mom's famous scalloped potatoes, peas & butterbeans, and biscuits.
Mon~ Lasagna, tossed salad, bread
Tues~ Chicken nuggets, homemade mac'n'cheese, broccoli (ds#3's request)
Wed~ Fend For Yourself (FFYS). Hubby had class.
Thurs~ Roast turkey breast, homemade gravy, stuffing, green beans
Fri~ OUT to eat, to celebrate our survival of the first week of school!
Sat~ OUT with my fam to celebrate my upcoming birthday.

This week:
Sunday~ Hubby will grill burgers, sausage, & beef tenderloin. We will EAT the burgers today, with baked beans & chips.
Monday~ PAYDAY!!! Tenderloin (grilled on Sunday), twice baked potatoes, broccoli
Tuesday~ Hubby has an eye appt & I have a meeting at school. Some fast food fix somewhere.
Wednesday~ Hubby has class. Leftover turkey & gravy with rice for ds#3 & me.
Thursday~ My b-day... either breakfast at home or out to eat.
Friday~ Outpatient surgery for me. I probably won't be eating... my mom will take care of ds#3.
Saturday~ whatever my sweet family brings over. I'll be propped up recuperating.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

I'm going to share a recipe today that I have not made, but I have eaten, and it's divine!!!

Tomato Pie
1 deep dish pie crust (pre-baked)
3-4 ripe tomatoes (peeled & sliced)
1 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
4 oz feta cheese
1/2 c. mayo
Basil and oregano (I use fresh basil and oregano if possible- 4 or 5 leaves)
Green onions (1 bunch chopped)
Italian bread crumbs
1. Layer sliced tomatoes in crust.
2. Sprinkle with spices and onions.
3. Do another layer of tomatoes, spices and onions.
4. Mix cheese and mayo and spread over tomatoes.
5. Cover and bake (350) for 35 min.
6. Uncover, sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake another 15-20 min.
7. Cool and serve
Very good left over the next day.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

August Menu Plan - week 3

We go back to the school routine this week. Hubby & I are back at work, although students won't arrive until next week.

Can I just tell you that we totally loved the Potato Torte from Melissa d'Arabian? I made another, and subbed ham for bacon, and added a little swiss cheese. YUM. Perfect with a salad or a bowl of soup.

So for this week:
Sunday~ lunch @ church
Monday~ Crock pot roast, mashed potatoes, cucumber salad
Tuesday~ Leftover ham and potato salad from Sunday, field peas cooked with the ham bone (in the crock pot. LOVE IT!)
Wednesday~ French dip sandwiches using leftover roast
Thursday~ Penne with chicken & pesto
Friday~ Breakfast: French toast, bacon, fruit
Saturday~ Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and Swiss beans (we'll use the leftover turkey in sandwiches for back-to-school lunches. Yum!)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Frugal Friday - CSA question

For those who do...
I have some questions for you about your CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

  • Were your family members huge veggie lovers before you became a part of a CSA?
  • How difficult has it been to incorporate all the items into your menu?
  • For those purchasing meats, how have you had to cook differently? (Does the meat require different treatment than what you would get at the grocery store?)
We've found a local farm and I'm very excited about it, but I want to know fully what we're getting ourselves into. There are a couple of ways to look at this venture:
  • A small, local farm will not give WalMart-type discounts. They just don't operate the same.
  • BUT~ I am thrilled ~ and very much believe in supporting local industry as much as possible. So in that regard, I see this as a frugal move.
We've had a summer garden for years, and we grow what we like. But with a CSA, there is a wider variety. On one hand, I'm delighted to give my family a reason to eat different veggies than our norm. On the other hand, I don't want anything to go to waste so I know I'm going to need some new repertoire to be successful!

Thanks in advance for all the tips. I can't wait to hear them! Share more at Frugal Fridays!

Ultimate Recipe Swap - speedy quick!

When my youngest discovered the wonder of the world of Junie B. Jones, one of our favorite phrases became "speedy quick"! Because, well, you know, when kids are hungry, things need to happen that way.

When the boys are seriously hungry, quesadillas are my go-to. They are so easy to customize, and what's not to like about a toasted tortilla with cheesy goodness inside??? Our fave kid version is simply cheddar with sour cream and salsa for dipping, but here's a dolled-up grown-up version too!

Black and Blue Quesadillas


  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced low-sodium deli roast beef (such as Boar's Head)
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic glaze (such as Gia Russa - if you want to get fancy!)


1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Remove from heat.

2. Top half of each tortilla evenly with beef, onion, and cheese. Fold tortillas in half.

3. Return pan to heat. Coat pan and both sides of quesadillas evenly with cooking spray. Place 2 quesadillas in pan; cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges; drizzle with 1 teaspoon glaze. Courtesy of Cooking Light.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday - The Next Food Network Star!

So around here, we love Food Network. Sometimes it annoys me, but usually it inspires me to try a few new things, or take a twist on something familiar (translation: tired).
I love watching The Next Food Network Star. The competitions are interesting to me, and I like to watch all the personalities come out. This year, from the beginning I was rooting for Melissa d'Arabian, and last week, SHE WON!!! She's a mom, not a chef. And although chefs are great (I love Iron Chef America), I can relate to another mom who's just trying to get it all done. So the recipe this week comes from Melissa!

5-Minute Individual Potato Gratins


  • Vegetable spray
  • 2 large russet potatoes, roughly peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray 8 muffin tins with vegetable spray. Layer potato slices, cheese, and onions into each muffin cup. Season with salt and pepper and top each gratin with 1 or 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the foil halfway through cooking time. Invert gratins onto plate and serve.

Share your temptations at Lisa's!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - August, week 2

This is our last official vacation week. We are planning to savor every day, and have some fun time before we go back to the daily routine of school and work.
Our menu:
Potato Torte (new recipe - from the newest Food Network star, Melissa d'Arabian!!! LOVE her... looking forward to more of her shows. I did not make the crust from scratch - that will happen another day.) Very good - hubby plans to pair it with a fried egg for breakfast!
Monday~ Pasta fagioli in the crock pot (I add ground beef to mine). Busy day with doctor's appointments for everyone.
Tuesday~ Morph the grilled chicken from Saturday into Barbeque Chicken, rice, cornbread and peas.
Wednesday~ Soft tacos and quesadillas
Thursday~ Hubby is going out with the Boss, so son #3 & I will fend for ourselves with leftovers from the fridge.
Friday~ Pasta toss with shrimp or chicken (a little like this one)
Saturday~ Homemade pizza or burgers on the grill. Depends if hubby feels like grilling!

I also plan to try these beauties sometime this week...they look great!
Share your menu and find inspiration at Laura's!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

WFMW - back to school edition

It's that time of year...
that restless, bittersweet time...

Hubby & I are both teachers, so we head back to school as well. Our vacation ends when July ends - unofficially. Officially, we don't have to be at work just yet, but if you want to get all the things done that need to get done, ya gotta go early.

So here are my tips.
I plan the dinner menu for the whole month. Yes, I do. It keeps the days from getting too crazy. I plug in nights when I know we'll need to go out, and nights when it needs to come from the crockpot. And when I come home exhausted at the end of the day, I don't have to think hard about dinner. Because inspiration never hits me then.

I also pack lunches the night before. I've tried throwing them together in the morning, but I do my best to put them in the fridge, nicely packed, the night before we need them. That said, hubby never does, so I keep snack-sized containers around for his gotta-fix-my-lunch-and-get-to-work mornings. Here are some great tips for getting lunches together. And the Meal Makeover Moms have some great ideas for making lunches healthier - for kids AND grownups!

We lay out son #3's clothes the night before. This avoids the "Mom, is this item clean?" issue. It also keeps him from leaving the house looking like a homeless child.

Lastly, I never leave dishes in the sink when I go to bed. This may seem like an OCD issue, but it makes me feel like I'm getting a fresh start when I come into the kitchen and it's relatively clean. (Used, but clean.) And a fresh start is the best way to start the day.

Glean from the wisdom of everyone at
Works For Me Wednesday,
and share what works for you!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday - a recipe formula

I have often said how much I love being able to go my garden and pick my dinner. We have cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, along with basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and chives. So for today's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, I'm going to share a method I use often to throw together a quick dinner (or even lunch!).

Step 1~ Boil enough pasta to serve the ones eating that meal (this is not one you want extras to reheat. It's best fresh.) I like to use Ronzoni's Smart Taste for a little extra nutrition! (They have a newsletter you can sign up for, if you like, and get a coupon or two.) Then drain your pasta.
Step 2~ Pick whatever veggies you like - I use tomatoes & peppers from the garden, and usually toss in some mushrooms. Saute them in a skillet with just a little olive oil. Add garlic and onion, if you like.
Step 3~ When veggies are tender, toss your pasta back into the skillet. Now add your favorite herbs - I add chopped basil from my garden here. The smell is fantastic!! Then add a sprinkling of your favorite cheese. Parmesan is good, and feta is excellent as well. If you like a little heat, add a dash of red pepper flake. Toss it all together, and serve!

My family loves this meal, and you can customize it with the foods your family likes. Add a little chicken, shrimp, or sausage if you need some meat. It comes together so fast!

And may I just take a moment to say - I am so glad that Melissa d'Arabian won The Next Food Network Star!!! Did you watch her demo?? I loved her, and she has a million tips for getting great food on the table. (I'm done now.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

It's August... and a menu

This month signals the end of summer for us. Although the temps will continue to soar into the 90s and we will undoubtedly see afternoon rain showers, our summer is, for all intents and purposes, over. Hubby & I will be working at school this week and attending a seminar; ds#3 will go to see his buddies at his daycare. There is a sort of bittersweet restlessness that overtakes us, as we prepare for the new school year, and say farewell to the last vestiges of our summer.

That said, I went on and planned the menu for the entire month. It will be busy, and I thought I'd get that out of the way. We have everything we need (except for milk & eggs), so I don't have to go to the store for anything else, unless there's just a deal I can't pass up. In which case, I'm flexible enough to change the plan, but the KEY is having a plan to start with! So here goes.

Sunday~ Leftover steak from Saturday's menu, pasta tossed with veggies on the side. (Although Dad treated Mom & Son to Mexican for lunch, and no one is very hungry. So this might be moved to tomorrow night.)
Monday~ Breakfast for dinner: eggs, bacon, blueberries, toast
Tuesday~ Oven fried chicken from Robin Miller's Quick Fix Meals, roasted potatoes, tossed salad
Wednesday~ Roast with pearl onions & baby carrots in the crock pot, rice, steamed broccoli
Thursday~ Meet my sister for dinner @ Chick-fil-A
Friday~ Meet my parents for dinner, TBA!
Saturday~ on the GRILL: Red wine & Pepper glazed chicken adapted from Robin Miller's Quick Fix Meals, baked potatoes, cucumbers from the garden

This week's Menu Plan Monday is being hosted by The Happy Housewife.
Stop in and share this week's plan for your kitchen!