Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Menu Monday (on Wednesday...)

The MLK holiday has me a bit behind in posting this.

Monday Date Night! Woo-hoo!

Tuesday Whole wheat penne with Italian turkey sausage, green beans and chopped salad

Wednesday Homemade Chicken Noodle soup and whole grain baguette

Thursday Turkey burgers and baked sweet potato fries

Friday  Thai chicken pizza and green salad

Saturday  Chicken Chili (freezer meal) with cornbread

Sunday Lunch: Shredded Chicken BBQ Sandwiches with Eric's homemade bbq sauce, whole wheat buns and light coleslaw salad

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chocolate Fix

It's 7:30 in the evening. The little ones are in bed. You are ready to curl up and watch your favorite show but there is nothing yummy in the house for dessert.  And you are trying to keep that new year's resolution about eating healthy. Here is your solution: these fudgy brownies from Cooking Light. You probably have the ingredients in your pantry. It calls for 2 oz of dark chocolate- I don't always have that on hand (because I eat it all!). Once I substituted chocolate chips and one time I used unsweetened baking chocolate and they turned out delish both times! {Can you tell I've been desperate for brownies?}. One more thing- add walnuts. That's for you dad- everything's better with walnuts right?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Review: Trader Joes Baking Mixes

I like to cheat when it comes to baking. I'm usually all about the cake from a mix and homemade frosting. I did a lot of baking last week for the hubby's big birthday and these mixes were a huge time saver. I also tried out the frosting mix from Trader Joes. It was really good- but basically it was just sugar and coco (you add the butter and whip). So for the cost, I'm not sure if it is worth it just to save measuring out two ingredients.

Their vanilla bean cake mix is really delicious and the chocolate mix is so much better than grocery store brands. The layers came out perfectly flat which is just what I needed to make a round, layered cake. Letting your eggs get to room temperature is a tip I learned from Ina and it really makes a difference when baking. By the way, Ina's mix for brownies is to die for! It is a little pricey-but maybe for a special occasion. All this brownie talk reminds me that I have actually have found a light recipe for brownies I need to share- you won't believe how good they are.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Extra Large Lasagna

I'm pretty sure this isn't the last time I will make lasagna to feed a crowd so I want to jot down my proportions before I forget.   I don't use a recipe-  I just basically try to make it as close to my mom and sister's as I can. This would serve 18-20 people easily.

Meat Sauce:

1 onion
11/2 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 Italian Sausage
2 6 oz cans of tomato paste
1 large (12 oz?) can of tomato sauce
6 lb 6 oz can whole tomatoes (this is a huge Costco sized can)
{plus garlic and lots of seasonings}

Other Ingredients:

2   1 lb boxes of lasagna noodles

2   32 oz containers of ricotta mixed w/ 4 eggs (use a little less of this next time)

5     8 oz balls of fresh mozzerella, sliced

2 cups of parmesan-reggiano cheese, grated

Monday, January 10, 2011

Menu Monday

New menu:
Sunday Pork Tacos with Chipotle style sides (cilantro lime rice and pinto beans)

Monday White bean soup (planning to "lighten" this Paula Dean recipe a bit)

Tuesday Taco Salad (w/leftovers from Sunday)

Wednesday Cheese Tortellinis with light cream sauce and peas

Thursday Breakfast for Dinner: Crust-less Ham and Cheddar Quiche (We didn't end up having this last week)

Friday  Pizza with chicken sausage and veggies

Saturday  Kids and Eric: Leftovers? Sara: Par-tee!(not very nice of me- I will have to work on this)

Breakfasts: More of the same -Baked Oatmeal, Greek Yogurt with homemade Granola, Eggs with Double Fiber English Muffins, Cereal

Lunches:  PB & J, Turkey Wraps/Sandwiches, Leftover Tacos

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ina's Granola

This was a last minute Christmas week project. Our friend brought us some bags of almonds, cashews and dried fruit from a farmer he knows. I knew immediately that I needed to make Ina's granola.  I needed a gift for a neighbor and for someone else on my Christmas list, so this worked out perfect. And it is a healthier option for this time of year.

This recipe is really flexible- you can leave out what your family doesn't like or add almost anything. I add cinnamon, but you could add vanilla.

[Gift tags from Tiny Prints]

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Round Table

Seeing a picture of this table today made me think about my sister.  She wants a new white round table. Actually I think she wants my table--but that is a long story about a little scheme we are cooking up. My table is a hand me down from my parents--the table I grew up with. It has two leaves, but I really prefer to keep it round.  Now that Georgia sits at the table (because Charlotte is in the high chair) the five of us are a bit of a squeeze. But I love the way it feels with us all close. We can all reach to hold hands to say grace before we eat. We are close enough  to cut food for the little ones and passing food is easy too.

My favorite time of day is that moment at the dinner table just after the amen when I can take a deep breathe and share another meal with my sweet family. We've all heard the studies about the importance of family meals, but I don't need research, I know first hand how dinner around my table grounds us and connects us.

*For Sissy:  The gorgeous jars of orange marmalade on the table reminded me of you too. I love the yummy tangerine marmalade you made last year. You should share that recipe one of these days.*

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Baked Oatmeal

I've been looking for some new breakfast ideas. My oldest does not like eggs. What I love about this recipe for baked oatmeal is it uses eggs and milk.  Good stuff to start my boy's day out right!  I bake it in these glass cups and save a few in the fridge for the upcoming week. It's almost better reheated the next day.
  • 2 1/4 cups oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar (or brown sugar Splenda)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk (2 percent)
  • 3  eggs, well beaten
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Optional additions:
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
  • 3/4 cup raises
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
 Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray 8 (6 oz.) custard cups or ramekins with nonstick cooking spray; arrange on rimmed baking sheet.
  • In large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar and salt; mix well. In medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, butter, vanilla and maple extract. Add to dry ingredients; mix until well blended. Spoon into cups. Stir raisins each cup, dividing evenly; sprinkle evenly with walnuts (if using).

    Bake until knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 23 to 26 minutes for Quick Oats, 25 to 30 minutes for Old Fashioned. (Centers will not be completely set.) Cool 10 minutes.
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time Time: 25 min

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Shredded Pork Tacos

    This week my hubby is having a BIG birthday. So I'm busy planning, shopping and cooking. For his family birthday party he requested Mexican food and a game of Mexican Train Dominoes. I love a theme! There may be Mariachi music and pinata too.
     Shredded-Pork Tacos
    I'm going to make these pork tacos (at my sissy's recommendation) with Chipotle style sides (cilantro rice, pinto beans and corn salsa). Everyone can build their own burrito, tacos or "bowl".  I think this will work great with kids- everyone can customize their meal just how they like it.

    Menu Monday

    What the Karlson's are eating this week:

    Monday Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

    Tuesday Flat Bread Pizza with Chicken Sausage and Kale

    Wednesday Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Oven Fries

    Thursday Breakfast for Dinner: Crust-less Ham and Cheddar Quiche (Need to plan and pack for the big party!)

    Friday Lasagna for Eric's Birthday Party

    Saturday  Out to eat with kids for Eric's Birthday

    Breakfasts: Baked Oatmeal, Greek Yogurt with homemade Granola, Eggs with Double Fiber English Muffins, Cereal

    Lunches: Lentil Soup, Tuscan Tuna Salad. Turkey Wraps/Sandwiches

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    Mad Hungry for Lentil Soup!

    Have you seen Mad Hungry? It's a cooking show with Lucinda Scala Quinn (Martha Stewart's Food Director).  I love how she teaches as she cooks and her style is easy and appealing to families. As I type my kids and hubby are finishing up bowls of her Vegetable Lentil Soup. Eric says it is the first he's ever had and he thought is was great--but he likes basically everything. Surprisingly the kids devoured it too. The Garlic Croutons garnishing the top is what I think made it appeal to everyone. Lentils are not something I cook a lot, but I should. They are full of fiber and protein and they are really inexpensive--just what this mama is needing in her kitchen. Did I mention this recipe came together in about 15 minutes? It simmered for 30 more- and was delish!