February 28, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan - February 26 - March 3..and a Recipe!

Oops! Sorry that this is a couple days late....crazy busy weekend and then I barely cracked open the computer last night. I'm already switching things around and probably moving a few things to next week. Last night I had the headache from hell that left me feeling blah so we ended up eating popcorn for dinner. Lane thought that was awesome by the way! Tonight we have an FFA Alumni meeting so we will probably do leftovers or something quick. Tomorrow night is the annual Marshall-Putnam-Stark Beef Association Meeting (of which Jay is the President). So looks like I'm only going to be cooking Thursday, Friday & Saturday this week haha! Sunday we went to the IL Beef Expo and had Chinese leftovers for dinner (and Sonic for a mid afternoon meal). So here's what the menu plan was supposed to look like...definitely did not happen this way though!

  • Lunch - IL Beef Expo
  • Dinner - Chicken Stir Fry (instead we had leftover Chinese that I brought home Saturday afternoon)
  • Chicken & Dumplings (popcorn instead, moving this to Saturday)
  • Waffles, Bacon & Scrambled Eggs (FFA Alumni meeting, not sure what we'll actually be eating)
  • MPS Beef Dinner - Prime Rib Family Style...YUM!
  • Easy Lasagna w/ Garlic Bread (using frozen hot dog buns for this)
  • Hardshell Taco's
  • Lunch - Leftovers/Sandwiches 
  • Dinner - Chicken & Dumplings (from Tuesday)

The recipe that I would like to share with you this week is Shrimp Scampi. I finally made it the correct way last Tuesday...omg so delish!! This is definitely not for those of you on a diet as the shrimp are swimming in buttery goodness! We just ate the shrimp w/o pasta on Tuesday, but I've made it with pasta before...yummy either way!

Shrimp Scampi Bake
(from babycenter CFYF board)

1 cup butter
2 T prepared Dijon-style mustard
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T chopped garlic
1 T chopped fresh parsley (I used dried parsley, about 1 tsp)
2 lb medium raw shrimp, shelled, de-veined, with tails attached

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley. When the butter melts completely, remove from heat.

Arrange shrimp in a shallow baking dish. Pour the butter mixture over the shrimp.

Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and opaque.

Serve w/ angel hair pasta

6 servings

Sandy's Note: To keep the sauce from separating, combine the sauce ingredients in a small glass bowl and microwave until the butter is just melted.

February 20, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan - Feb 19-25 and a recipe

I'm a day late w/ this. Had it figured out for the most part Friday night. Then I had to go back and switch things around since I remembered that we have a Shrove Tuesday Pancake supper at our church tomorrow night. So here is the (semi) finalized meal plan for the week:

  • Lunch - Hot Hammies
  • Dinner - Sausage Stuffed Shells
  • Shrimp Scampi Bake w/ Rice
  • Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper @ Church
  • Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings

  • Leftovers (might bring Pizza home as I have a hair appointment)
  • Meatballs Burgandy over Egg Noodles w/ Cheesy Baked Veggies

  • Lunch - Leftovers/Sandwiches
  • Dinner - Burgers w/ Seasoned Tater Wedges

I am definitely doing better with Meal Planning, it helps when I post it here (and also on the CFYF board on Babycenter). I have more of a tendency to hold myself accountable to actually cook meals (and now that I'm home by 4:30 I really shouldn't have any excuses right?). Let me know if you want any recipes that you don't see posted, I'm more than happy to share my recipes (or sometimes methods)!!

The recipe that I want to share with you this week is one that came from my MOPS group, it is Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings. It is incredibly easy and fool proof! This recipe can be tailored to your likings - I've added cream of mushroom soup to it, you could also whip up a roux and add that in to thicken it up.

Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings

3-4 b/s chicken breasts (I start off w/ frozen)
1 box chicken stock (plus some water if needed)
1 bag frozen mixed veggies
1 can refrigerated biscuits, quartered
seasonings to taste (I use salt/pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and sometimes a pinch of dried sage).

Place chicken breasts and veggies in crock pot. Pour in chicken stock (the liquid should cover the breasts & veggies, may need to add a bit of water to achieve this). Add in seasonings, cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. Pull chicken out and shred (I use my kitchen aid mixer for this), place back in liquid. About 45 minutes before serving place quartered biscuits in crock (be sure to push down under liquid, they will pop back up which is ok). Cover and cook an additional 45 minutes (30 minutes for a more doughy 'dumpling'). Enjoy!

Notes: This recipe can be done in 4-5 hours, I only say 6-8 because I generally throw it in the crock pot in the morning before leaving for work so it's cooking all day long. The chicken is usually cooked through at the 5 hour mark. 

February 12, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan: February 12-18

Here is the meal plan for the week. We won't be going out to celebrate Valentine's Day on the 14th, instead we will go to Johnny's Italian Steakhouse on Friday night so that we don't have to deal w/ the crazy crowds and price markups at restaurants....

  • Lunch - Fried Egg & Ham Sandwiches
  • Dinner - Frozen Pizza
  • MOPS! Taco Pasta
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Beef Stroganoff over Mashed Potatoes w/ Green Beans
  • Stuffed Shells
  • Out for Valentine's Day
  • Lunch - leftovers/sandwiches
  • Dinner - Hot Hammies

A Few of My Favorite Desserts!

Here are a couple of tried and true dessert recipes. This first recipe has been in my family for many years. My mom submitted it to our church cookbook many many years ago, it is a recipe that we make every year during the holidays. These sugar cookies are by far the best that I've ever had, so soft and fluffy, they are a cookie that never browns. Such a great cut out cookie recipe! 

Sister Sada's Super Soft Sugar Cookies

1 c margerine
2 eggs
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
4 c flour
1 3/4 c sugar
1 8 oz container sour cream
1 t soda

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together dry ingredients (minus sugar). Cream margarine and sugar together. Add eggs and sour cream. Mix well. Gradually add in dry ingredients, mixing well. Roll these cookies out for cut out cookies, batter will be quite sticky at first so be sure to knead some flour into it. Up to 2 cups flour can be added when rolling out the dough. Roll to about 1/4 inch thick. Cookies will not brown and will rise high. Sprinkle w/ sugar before baking or frost afterwards. I also usually grease my cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Notes: When baking these cookies rise up but never out so you can place them fairly close on the cookie sheet and not worry about them sticking together. I usually add about 1 1/2 cups flour when rolling out the first time so that when I roll out my scraps I can use a little more flour and they won't be too dry.

This next dessert is one of my Dad's favorites, I've also made it for family gatherings on my Dad's side and if my cousin Mike is there he'll have at least 2 pieces!

Robert Redford Dessert

Layer 1:

1 stick margarine
1 1/4 c flour
2 T powdered sugar
1 c chopped pecans

Mix and pat into 9x13 dish. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool completely.

Layer 2:

1 c cool whip
8 oz cream cheese
1 c sugar

Mix and spread over cooled crust.

Layer 3:

2 sm vanilla pudding
1 sm chocolate pudding
3 c milk

Beat for 2 minutes, pour over 2nd layer. spread top with Cool Whip and refrigerate.

You can also add shaved chocolate or mini chocolate chips.


I found this Snickerdoodle Blondie recipe on Babycenter and since I love Snickerdoodles, I had to give this one a chance. This is a bar cookie recipe and so much easier than rolling tons of cookies into a ball and then into sugar! Definitely keeping this in my recipe file :)
Snickerdoodle Blondies

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and/or line a 9x13 inch pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and set aside.

2. In large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar for 3-5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and beat until smooth.

3. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan (mixture will be somewhat cookiebatter-ish, so it’s best to spread it out with a greased spatula or your hands). Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a little bowl. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.

4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool before cutting. Makes 20-24 bars.


This last recipe is another one from Babycenter. The original recipe was for cookies, but the day I made them I didn't feel like messing w/ drop cookies, that and I doubled the recipe so I just made them into bar cookies. They were delicious and have a cake like texture. If you are doubling this recipe, be sure to have a very large mixing bowl handy! I made them in my 5 qt Kitchen-Aid stand mixer and it was filled to the next time I will be using my gigantic Tupperware bowl.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

1- 12.5 oz can pumpkin
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1 cup veggie oil
2 tsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
12 oz package milk chocolate chips

Combine all of these ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate smaller bowl combine:

4 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder

Slowly combine the flour/baking powder into the cookie mixture.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread into greased Jelly Roll pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

February 6, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan: February 5th to February 11th

Whoops! Here is the meal plan a day late and I have already switched a few things up haha! Hopefully I'll be able to get on sometime this week to post a few recipes.

This week is going to be a bit crazy! I started a new job today and with that new job comes new hours. I start a whole hour earlier than my old job (but I get out 30 minutes earlier than I used to) we will be establishing our new routine this week.

I tend to make meals that are easy and quick during the week, I save the more in depth meals for the weekend.

  • Lunch - PB & J, fruit
  • Dinner - Superbowl snacks: Quesadillas, guacamole, fiesta ranch dip, pita chips, hummus
  • Bean & Cheese Enchiladas w/ Salad

  • Chili w/ Cornbread or Biscuits

  • Chicken & Stuffing Casserole

  • Wings @ Bowling Alley

  • Leftovers

  • Lunch - PB & J or Mac & Cheese
  • Dinner - Orange chicken w/ brown rice & veggie

February 5, 2012

Meal Planning Challenge...The overview

I think that the Meal Planning Challenge was a success although if you were to look at my inventory - it's still pretty full...but that only means that I can continue to challenge myself to plan meals around what I have on hand. I have saved so much this month just by utilizing all that food I have sitting around and even though I was still shopping every week, I was only picking up things like milk, fresh fruits, a few missing ingredients and household supplies. Lane even tried some new things and loved them!

I still have several meals that we didn't get to make due to last minute changes in plans so I am going to continue my planning into the month of February (which means that you will see some 'repeat' meals)! I will keep track of everything in my inventory list. You will see tabs at the bottom for each month, this way I can keep track of what meals we've had and not double anything up too much.

I will be posting our meal plan later on today and possibly a few more recipes. I have lots of food to make for us to snack on while watching the Super Bowl tonight though. We will have Quesadillas, Guacamole, Wings (for Jay), Fiesta Ranch Dip, Cheesy Bread or Garlic Bread Sticks - not sure which. And if I'm feeling really ambitious I may whip up some Hummus w/ a can of chickpeas I have sitting in the cupboard and then bake up some pita chips to go along with.