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Monday, January 23, 2012

My Take : Oven Tacos

These Oven Tacos were inspired by a blog posting from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures that I pinned to Pinterest. What a brilliant concept - preparing your favorite taco meat, adding it to crispy taco shells and sprinkling on your favorite cheese. A few minutes in the oven to melt the cheese and warm up the taco shells, resulted in a wonderful dinner that was already assembled (for the most part).

I did not use the recipe that I linked on my menu plan. Please find my delicious version of oven tacos below:

Annette's Oven Tacos (makes 12 tacos)
Inspired by Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

1 to 1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 pint of grape tomatoes, quartered

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp cumin
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup ketchup

Brown beef with jalapeno, garlic, and onion. Add seasonings. Cook until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and black beans and cook for another minute. Stir in ketchup and heat thru. Spoon some of this meat mixture into a crunch taco shell and place into a 9x13" casserole dish. Repeat process until all tacos are filled. Top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and heat in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Add your favorite taco toppings and enjoy!

**My favorite oven taco toppings were: sliced avocado, sliced red pepper, sour cream and lettuce.
***Hubby enjoyed his taco with salsa and lettuce.
****The boys ate theirs adding no additional ingredients.

***** We had extra taco meat left over (after filling all of our taco shells) - so I will be enjoying a nice taco salad for lunch sometime this week. I love leftovers! *****

Here is hoping that you enjoy this dish as much as our family did. Have a great week!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Year - Fresh Start Menu #4

Last menu for the last full week of January 2012. We have been enjoying our snowy weekend ... playing outside, enjoying some snow ice cream (I always set a nice big bowl out on the patio during the biggest snowstorms), watching movies and playing games. What are your favorite activities for snowy days?

Here is what is on our plate for this coming week:

Meal #1: Inspiration from Pinterest
Spanish Rice
Mandarin Oranges

Meal #2: A family favorite
Zuppa Toscana (Italian sausage, potato and kale soup)
Garlicky Breadsticks
Garden Salad

Meal #3: Restaurant-Inspired Night
Lemon-Infused Tilapia
Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Garden Salad

Meal #4: Breakfast for Supper
Bubby's Pancakes
Maple-Glazed Bacon
Fruit Salad

What is on your plates for this upcoming week? I would love to hear your menu plans.

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Year - Fresh Start Menu #3

This week of January has been incredibly busy. In addition to an incredibly full week, we have really felt winter embrace us this week. This morning, we were greeted with a -19 degree windchill. We have been using these frigid temperatures as an excuse to enjoy lots of hot tea and hot cocoa at our house.

My husband has been soaking up some much warmer weather in Vegas (for work, lucky guy) and the boys and I are enjoying a week of simple and delicious "comfort food" meals. Here is what is on our plate for this week:

Meal #1: Ultimate Comfort Food!
Savory Chicken and Noodles
Cuties (the little mini oranges)
Garden Salad

Meal #2: Soups on!
Hearty Beef and Barley Vegetable Stew
French loaf
Blackberry Cobbler

Meal #3: Done in 15 Minutes!
Homemade Hamburger Helper
Green beans
Cottage cheese

Meal #4: Freezer Pleaser Meal!
Chicken Stroganoff
Egg Noodles
Sweet corn

Stay warm - and enjoy whatever is on your plate this week.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year - Fresh Start Menu #2

January is well on its way ... and our busy routine has returned (in full force). This week while I was menu-planning, I found myself drawn to Pinterest for inspiration. I love pinning recipes from blogs that I like to follow - so that I can remember to actually *try* the recipe at some point in time. Well... this is the week for trying new recipes that I have pinned - or that were inspired from recipes that I found on Pinterest.

Meal #1
Mandarin Oranges

Meal #2
Garden Salad

Meal #3
Garlic-Parmesan Oven Fries
Green Beans

Meal #4
Spinach salad with blush wine vinaigrette
Bread Sticks

I hope you find some inspiration by the menu (entirely inspired by items pinned on my Pinterest board "Recipes I Want To Try". I will be reviewing these recipes at some point to let you know how I modified them (if at all) and what my family thought of them.

Have a great week!

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Tasteful Christmas (Pictoral)

Christmas always inspires me to make lots of goodies for my family. Here are a few of our breakfasts from Christmas eve and Christmas day.

Glazed Doughnuts (Baked)

Nutella Stuffed French Toast with Strawberry Syrup

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Merry Christmas!

Rigatoni with Meat Sauce

I love reading cook books. I love trying new recipes. When I came across this recipe, written by Devin Alexander (host of Healthy Decadence), I knew I had to try it. At first taste, our family proclaimed it a new favorite. This meat sauce is savory and lick-the-plate delicious (just ask my youngest son...).

I (personally) like that this recipe is so easy to adapt to what ingredients you have on hand. It is
a recipe that relies heavily on "pantry" items - so I can make it without making a special trip to the grocery store. I also enjoy that I can change the dish by adding a few simple ingredients (like
veggies) or by changing the protein (ground turkey is delicious, as is grilled chicken). When I am
trying to work on cooking ahead, or preparing a meal for my freezer, I will double the sauce recipe (as it is wonderful for French Bread pizzas, meatball subs, etc.)

I encourage you to make this dish your own - and enjoy every delicious bite!

Rigatoni with Meat Sauce (serves 4 - big servings - at ~404 calories per serving)
Adapted from Devin Alexander

8 oz dried rigatoni pasta, cooked and drained (I used macaroni this time)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup finely chopped onions
Drizzling of extra virgin olive oil
28 oz crushed tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar (or to taste)
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Drizzle a large pan with olive oil. Saute the onions and garlic. Set aside. Cook the ground beef with the fennel, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and salt. When cooked completely (you should not need to drain), add the onions and garlic and stir to combine. Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, and sugar and stir to combine. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes (the longer it cooks, the more flavorful it will be). Before serving, add the cooked pasta to the meat sauce and stir. Top with 2 T. grated Parmesan cheese.

**Veggies that we like to add are: mushrooms, zucchini, shredded carrots, corn
***Proteins that we like to add are: grilled chicken, cannelloni or black beans, and ground turkey

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year - Fresh Start Menu #1

January always holds such excitement for me: The anticipation of what the new year will bring and the desire to start it out on the right foot. I am not really big on New Year's resolutions and I do not make any resolutions each new year. I really enjoy menu planning - and sharing recipe treasures that I find or that are in my personal favorite collection. With this first menu, I focused on lighter dishes with fresh flavors. I also selected meals that would not take too much time to prepare. Happy New Year!

Meal #1
Bacon Wrapped Tilapia
Garlicky Smashed Roasted Reds
Green Beans

Meal #2
Chicken Parmesan Pizza
Spinach Salad with Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing

Meal #3
Skinny Shrimp Scampi
Parslied Lemon Rice
Broccoli Florets

Meal #4
Rigatoni with Meat Sauce
Sauteed Zucchini
French Loaf

Wishing you and your family all the best as you embark upon all of the delicious possibilities that 2012 has to offer. Enjoy!