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Saturday, June 19, 2010

What's for Supper? Summer Menu #3

I love the fresh flavors that Summer brings to the table! Really, is there anything more vibrant and delicious? This week's menu features a special request from my very special Father, a special menu to celebrate my husband, and then a few other meals.

Meal #1: For MY Dad
Chicken Rice Soup
French bread loaf
Decadent Brownies

Meal #2: For my Sweetheart
Tequila-Lime Chicken
Spanish Rice
Green Beans with Garlic and Peppers
Cheesecake (his *favorite*)

Meal #3:
Skillet Lasagna
Garden Salad
Fresh Fruit

Meal #4:
BBQ Beef with a savory, sweet home-made sauce
Home-made bread
Fresh Fruit

Meal #5:
Fettuccine Alfredo
Italian Toasts
Garden Salad

Meal #6:
Southwestern Burgers
Parmesan Oven Fries
Garden Salad


Sunday, June 13, 2010

What's For Supper? Summer Menu #2

I love menu planning - and trying lots of new recipes. This week is a mix of old favorites and new recipes.

Meal #1:
Pot Roast with Roasted Vegetables
Home-made French Loaf
Peach Cobbler and Fresh Whipped Cream or Vanilla Ice Cream

Meal #2:
Home-made Tortillas
Perfectly Seasoned Grilled Chicken (for Chicken Tacos (with avocado, Monterrey Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, etc)

Meal #3:
Garlic Shrimp Penne with Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce
Tomato-Basil-Mozzarella Crostini
Cheesecake (dessert may change based on the amount of time I have)

Meal #4
Chicken Kabobs
Seasoned Rice
Fresh Fruit Salad

Meal #5
Baked Sub Sandwiches (turkey or roast beef, fresh mozzarella, and basil)
Oven Fries
Fresh Fruit Salad


Monday, June 7, 2010

Comfort Food: Mazetti

I grew up on a farm and my Mother relied on hearty, filling recipes. One of the meals that frequently was served at our table, was Mazetti. This flavorful pasta meat dish was found in a (very old) Billie Oakley cookbook that my Mother got when she was first married. [She is very well aware how *badly* I want said cookbook, as so very many of my childhood favorite meals are in it - and I have never been able to find this wonderful cookbook anywhere!] The recipes I have hand-written from this cookbook are in my treasured wooden recipe box - and I honestly think that they are some of the best recipes in the entire world. Yep - there I said it. Billie Oakley knew her stuff when it came to the kitchen!
This is a perfect recipe to finely dice vegetables into to serve to children ... I do this frequently! However, the way I will share it today is in the original, Billie Oakley version. I hope that your family enjoys this as much as our family does.

from The Billie Oakley cookbook

1/4 cup butter (I use two Tablespoons... be wise, reduce the amount of butter!)
3/4 cup celery, diced
3/4 cup onion, diced
1 pound ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork sausage
2 cups tomato soup
1 (small) can mushrooms, undrained (it is important to use canned mushrooms to get that liquid)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups dry spaghetti, cut
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (Mother used the powdered stuff, I use the grated stuff - I detect no difference!)
Cook spaghetti. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the butter and add the celery and onion and saute until it is tender.
Add meats to the pan and cook until no longer pink. Drain VERY well (or your casserole will be greasy). Stir in soup, mushrooms (and liquid), and seasonings. Add cooked spaghetti and stir until well incorporated.
Pour into a greased 2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan. . Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

How Does My Garden Grow?

Pretty pink flowers - and some stuff I pulled out of the ground - it was pretty.

The infamous hosta plants that Jack helped establish.

Lavender and pink flowers in my favorite flower pot.

Impatients and Hydrangea

Basil (I used this in my Margarita Pizza this week - I use LOTS of basil in the Summer).
Also, a tiny bit of Cilantro that somehow survived from LAST Summer (outside ... in the flower pot!)

You can never have enough Thyme...

Flowers after a morning rain fall.

Oregano, Parsley, and Rosemary.

How DOES my garden grow?

No ... really. How does it? I was born with a black thumb (unlike the rest of my family, who can all have beautiful gardens and house plants). Funny story, a few years ago, my (then) 92 year old neighbor gave me some hostas to plant in my garden. I watered them and tended them as instructed (on specific days even). By the end of the year, they were all ... well, let's just say, they did not have a prosperous Summer! The following year, my (then 93 year old) neighbor came over, planted *more* hostas and was very clear in his instructions, "Annette - just leave these alone. I will take care of them. These *will* survive this year!"

So ... Here is my garden this Summer. My herbs are flourishing (and, yes - I planted those. I am convinced they are only doing well because I can cook with them. They know that they are "food" so they thrive under my care and attention) The rest of the garden ... I am still trying to keep healthy. I still do not touch my hostas. See how they have grown?

What's For Supper? Re-start: Summer Menu #1

I am passionate about cooking well-balanced, healthy meals for my family. It is one way that I express my love for them. I love looking at recipes and planning menus that I think will appeal to them.This week, I have planned 5 meals for our menu. I never assign a specific meal for a specific day of the week. I like to decide what sounds good that day, and also some meals take less prep time, and I like to save those for our busiest days.
Meal #1:
Garden Salad
Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits

Meal #2:
Grilled Hamburgers (with avocado, tomatoes, red onions, and cheese on garlic-toasted buns)
Home-style Seasoned Parmesan Fries
Fresh Fruit

Meal #3:
Breakfast for Supper!
Crispy Hashbrowned Potatoes
Turkey Bacon
Omelet Bar (cheeses, onions, mushrooms, bacon, sausage, peppers, fresh herbs, tomatoes, etc)

Meal #4:
Picnic in the back yard!
Lunch-Meat Sandwiches (various toppings)
Frozen Fruit Cups

Meal #5:
Taco Salad (or tacos for the boys)
"Mojitos" or "Margaritas" (non-alcoholic ... we have two young boys!)
Fresh Fruit (sensing a trend? SO glad it is Summertime!)
"Fried" Ice Cream (MMmmMMmmMMmmm!)

Yes - it is another week where my dear husband will miss out on nearly ALL of the wonderful menu plan ... but we will have to make up for his absence and enjoy the tasty foods that Summertime brings. I hope your family enjoys this time of year as much as we do!

Home-made Hamburger Helper

As you may have guessed, I love to cook. I probably own well over one-hundred cook books and I love trying new recipes. However, I have two amazing little boys - with simple tastes and a love for junk food. Thanks, Grandma!

Anyway ... one of the meals that frequents our house as it is my boys' (all THREE of them) favorite is Home-made Hamburger Helper. It is one of my "go-to" meals for busy nights, when I don't have a lot of time to cook ... but I still want to feed my family well.

Home-made Hamburger Helper
(I think this takes about 15 to 20 minutes to prepare and cook - really quick meal!)

1 1/2 to 2 pounds of ground beef
1 1/2 cups of water
2 cups of uncooked pasta (I love using bow tie pasta)
1 can of condensed tomato soup
1 can of condensed cheddar cheese soup
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the beef until cooked well. Add the soups, water, and uncooked pasta to the pan. Cook until the pasta is done and the mixture is bubbly. Serve to your family. In our family - I have to double the recipe, or I will not get supper that night!
I hope your family enjoys this as much as my family!

Wow ... It has been awhile!

I am sorry to say, I have neglected this blog for a long time. Life has been busy. My beautiful sister got married in May, I have had some pretty big projects and customer visits at work, and I have been working on projects around the house. I am sorry that I have been absent. I will do better.

Anyway, this past week, I had a movie night with a dear friend. We enjoyed a menu that radiates Summertime to me:

Margarita Pizza
Fresh Salsa and Tortilla Chips
Sweet Cream and Strawberries

It was delicious! We watched a couple of movies, talked, and just had a wonderful evening. I am looking forward to another movie night in the near future!

In case you are wanting to make your own Margarita Pizza - please find the recipe below:

Margarita Pizza
** This is a pizza that you can GRILL outside - or bake inside. They turn out equally yummy (and if you use the grill, you don't have to heat up your kitchen!)

12-inch pre-baked thin crust pizza shell

14.5 oz can tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic

1/3 cup pizza sauce

1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

3 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat grill to medium and leave lid closed to keep hot.

Drain tomatoes with a strainer, removing as much liquid as possible. Spread pizza sauce over crust and top with the drained tomatoes. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese. Evenly layer the mozzarella over the pizza, sprinkle on the fresh basil and then add some freshly ground black pepper.

Place pizza directly onto the grill. Close lid for 4 minutes (to make sure the crust is not burning). After 4 minutes, turn grill off and keep lid down for an additional 3 minutes, until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melty.

**For those of you who do not grill, this pizza can be baked in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. The pizza can either be done directly on the oven rack, or on a pizza stone.