Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Meatball Subs

Hello all! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that Santa was good to you! We had a wonderful time here. My pork tenderloin on Christmas Eve was SO delicious, my father-in-law could not stop raving about it. My daughter ate more of it than I thought her little belly could hold! Then we opened presents and she got really spoiled by her grandpas, it was fun to watch her jump up and give them a hug and say thank you after she opened each and every one. Too funny!

On Christmas Day we weren't awakened too early by our excited kid and actually got some coffee before the craziness began. It amazes me how patient she can be when it comes to opening gifts. Anyway, she got the acoustic guitar she wanted from Santa along with a bunch of other stuff and was very happy. My husband spoiled me with lots of things I wanted too. He also got me a Cuisinart Sandwich Maker, which I did not ask for - it was an impulse buy on his part. It is a nice machine, but I can do what it does with little extra effort. I have been trying to think of a nice way to say "take it back" when I thought of what I really do want instead - an ice cream maker! Now I can tell him that although it was a lovely thought what I really want to do is make ice cream. I have been saving recipes from magazines for a year now and I was going to ask for the ice cream maker for Mother's Day.

On Christmas Day I made stuffed shells for dinner - yum! I make mine by cooking the jumbo shells according to package directions. While that is going, I mix a 16 oz. container of ricotta cheese with 1 egg, 2 tsp. of garlic powder and 1 tbsp. of parsley. Then I mix in 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and a healthy sprinkle of parmesan cheese. I rinse the cooked shells with cool water so I can handle them and shake off as much water as I can. I stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture and place them in a greased 9x13 pan. Then I pour a jar of pasta sauce over the top and sprinkle with 1 more cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. They are so good and not to hard to make once you get the hang of stuffing the shells - they can be slippery!

Last night I made veggie pitas for dinner - so good! I love the tang of the sauce and feta with the crunch of the veggies. Tonight I am making meatball subs, but I am not making my own meatballs. We found Farm Rich frozen meatballs on sale at Target so I decided to give them a try. I'll put them in a large pot with a jar of pasta sauce and cook according to package directions - I'll let you know how they taste tomorrow. I always serve my meatball subs on hot dog buns. We have tried french bread in the past, but it always seems like too much bun.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pork Tenderloin In The Slow Cooker

Okay, I know I said I wasn't going to post again until next week, but a few of you commented on my having pork tenderloin for Christmas Eve dinner and I thought "duh, I should have posted the recipe!", so here it is! :)


2 tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. pork tenderloin
caraway seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 small yellow onions, quartered
6 small/medium size red or yellow potatoes, cut in half
8 grinds of black pepper
1/2 cup beef stock
1 - 27oz. can sauerkraut, drained

In a large skillet over medium high heat warm the oil until hot. Add the pork and cook on all sides until browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to slow cooker.
Tuck the onions around pork, then sprinkle with the caraway seeds and garlic. Top with potato halves. Sprinkle with pepper. Pour in beef stock. Cover with sauerkraut.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. (Discard onions; serve only pork, potatoes, and sauerkraut.)

This recipe is easily doubled, which is what I do since there will be 4 adults (3 of them big men) and 1 kid eating from this, and I will use my 6 quart slow cooker. Make sure that you use the proper size slow cooker; it must be at least halfway full to properly cook the food. Once again, Merry Christmas and...

Happy eating!

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Almost Christmas!

Hello everyone! Things sure have been busy around here and I just haven't had the time to post as much as I would like. However I have tried to keep up with reading and commenting on the blogs I follow! I did get a chance to play around with the colors and fonts on my blog, and as you can see I gave it a fresh new look.

I would like to take a moment to give a shout out to our snow-covered friends in the Northeast - Crumbs In the Minivan and Marvelously Mundane - I hope you are all digging out slowly but surely, and that you are all okay!

Yesterday my daughter grabbed a paint brush and a couple ketchup packets that came with her Happy Meal. Then she started to squirt the ketchup into a small bowl and I finally asked what she was doing. She said she was going to paint with ketchup and of course I put an end to that and told her we have perfectly good paint in the art box. The other alarming thing was that she had no paper; what was she going to paint on? My husband, who was sitting there watching us, was disapointed that I had stopped her. Apparently he was impressed with her creativity. This is why although I have entertained the idea of going back to work and letting him stay home I will never actually do it.

Do you have a traditional Christmas meal? Mine is turning out to be pork tenderloin with sauerkraut and potatoes in the slow cooker on Christmas Eve, which is when we have company. This year it is just my dad and FiL. I am not ready for more turkey yet and my husband despises ham. (We have turkey on Easter.) It is nice to have the slow cooker do all the work so I can actually enjoy the appetizers with my family. I do make a different fancy dessert every year, which is something my family has come to look forward to. This year it will be the white chocolate cheesecake I made on Thanksgiving, which isn't really new, but we all love it. On Christmas Day I either make lasagna or stuffed shells with garlic toast and salad, and we eat more of the appetizers from the day before since I always make too much.

This week is going to be very busy and I won't be posting again until next week so I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Happy eating!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Easiest Homemade Fudge

Well, I didn't get my picture. Once again my daughter refused to go anywhere near Santa. We tried being stern, we tried talking nicely, we even tried to bribe her. >sigh< Oh well, there's always next year.

Tonight we are going out to eat. So in order to leave you with a recipe, I am going to share this one. I got it from a wonderful woman I worked with, and it is so easy you will be surprised. It also makes some of the best fudge I have ever had. The best part is that you can customize it to please anybody's tastes. Throw in some marshmallows or dried fruit or nuts. Experiment with all those different chocolate chip flavors that are available these days. Add in crushed peppermint or toffee. The possibilities are endless!

This is my favorite way to make it, simple and clean. I am making this fudge this year for neighbors and teachers and family instead of cookies.


1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 dash salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Line an 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan with tinfoil; set aside. In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, warm up the milk. Add chips, stir until melted and smooth. Add vanilla and salt, stir well. If adding extra ingredients, do so now. Pour fudge into prepared pan, use a spatula to spread evenly. Refrigerate overnight. Lift tinfoil out of pan and peel gently off of fudge. Cut into bite size pieces.

Happy eating!

Friday, December 11, 2009


Last night I made Dirty Rice with the Zatarain's mix and ground beef for dinner. It is a really easy and yummy meal with a little bit of heat. Tonight we will be having leftovers because 1) there are a lot of them in the fridge and 2) I have to be at my daughter's school today at 4:30pm to help set up for the Breakfast With Santa, which is tomorrow morning.

I am really looking forward to the B.W.S. because I do not have a picture of my daughter with Santa since she was 2 years old (and she was screaming and crying in it). It is $5 per person which includes pancakes, sausage, orange juice, and a picture with Santa on a CD so you can share with friends and family. I think that is an awesome deal! Plus I am hoping to meet some of the parents of my daughters friends. I will not let my kid go to someone's house for a playdate until I have met them, and I am sure the other parents feel the same way. One little girl that my kid is friends with asks me everyday when she can come to our house, so I am hoping she and her folks are there tomorrow.

On Sunday morning we have to be back at the school/church by 7:45am for the Christmas program. Ugh, I am not looking forward to getting my kid up at 6:45am. Hopefully she will be excited about the program and will not be too crabby. Plus we have promised her McDonald's breakfast afterward, so we can always bribe her with that! LOL

I have finally started the Christmas shopping, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. At least I know what I am getting everyone - I just have to go get it! We still have two weeks, and I have always been a last minute shopper. Have you finished your shopping yet?

Happy eating!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pomodoro Pasta

The tomatoes I bought last Friday are starting to not look very healthy, so I am going to make the Pomodoro Pasta tonight. It is a really great dish with fresh ingredients, even better in the summer when you can use things directly from your garden.

Last night we had Cheese Enchiladas; warm and gooey from the oven with spanish rice on the side. Yum!

Yesterday I was the playground mom again and the kids were so busy playing with the snow that they forgot to be rotten to each other - it was great! I only had to scold a couple boys for throwing snow, but thankfully they were just throwing it in the air, not at each other. :)

Tonight the temps are supposed to drop considerably and tomorrows high is 12 degrees. YIKES! I hope where ever you are, you are happy and warm!

Happy eating!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Indian Corn Stew

Hi all! Hope you had a good weekend. Ours was kind of low key, but nice. Friday night I made a frozen pizza and on Saturday we ordered one - we love pizza! Yesterday we had a late lunch and weren't feeling too hungry so we had leftovers for dinner. Tonight I am going to make Indian Corn Stew which is the perfect warm and yummy dinner for this cold, snowy day.

I got our indoor Christmas decorations and tree up today after running some errands. Yesterday we went to Target and bought snowpants for our daughter (among other things), and they forgot to give us the bag with them in it! Ugh. So I had to go back today; thankfully they didn't give me any hassle about it. I also picked up a bag of rock salt for the sidewalks and stamps for the Christmas cards. Then I got the tree up and put the lights on before picking up my daughter from school. She was very strict with her instructions that I was NOT to decorate the tree without her. :) We had a great time putting the ornaments on the tree and putting the other decorations around the house while White Christmas blared from the TV.

Then when we were done she scampered into her room to play and I sat down on the couch - and burst into tears. This is our first Christmas without my husbands mom and our fifth without my mom, and it just kinda hit me that there are no grandmas to celebrate Christmas with this year. I always thought my daughter would have the same experiences with her grandmas that I had with mine, who both lived well into my twenties, and I cannot imagine her growing up without either of them. My grandpas were nice guys, but kinda distant from me. My dad and FiL are much more hands-on with my kid, but they are no grandmas. >sigh<

Sorry, I didn't mean to be such a bummer. On a happier note, we got our first snowfall last night, about 1", and everything looks prettier covered in white. We are supposed to get another 3-6" late Tuesday night. I like when the snow falls overnight because the city of Chicago does an awesome job of making sure the streets are clean for the morning rush.

Happy eating!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chicken Quesadillas and Some Funny Quotes

My good friend D. forwarded me this email and I just had to share it with all of you. She did not come up with these, it doesn't say who did, but they are brilliant. It really made me laugh, especially #29 and 40.

Random Thoughts of the Day:
1. More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves me.
2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
3. I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?
4. Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.
5. That's enough, Nickelback.
6. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
7. The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This recently became all too apparent to me and consequently I will never be ending a work email with the phrase "Regards" again.
8. Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.
9. There is a great need for sarcasm font.
10. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the f&*% was going on when I first saw it.
11. I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.
12. The other night I hit a new low at an open bar. I had already hopped on highway blackout when, inevitably I had to find a bathroom. Eventually I decided it was probably on the other side of the bar so I tried to walk over there, but ran into a guy coming the other way. We played that, Both go left, Both go right game to no avail, so I finally put out my hand to guide myself past and that's is when I realized, yup, that's a mirror I just tried to walk through. And the guy on the other side is me. Even cats can re cognize their own image.
13. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
14. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
15. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
16. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.
17. A recent study has shown that playing beer pong contributes to the spread of mono and the flu. Yeah, if you suck at it.
18. Was learning cursive really necessary?
19. Lol has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say".
20. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
21. Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron test is absolutely petrifying.
22. My brother's Municipal League baseball team is named the Stepdads. Seeing as none of the guys on the team are actual stepdads, I inquired about the name. He explained, "Cuz we beat you, and you hate us." Classy, bro.
23. Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".
24. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?
25. I love the sense of camaraderie when a n entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!
26. Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using 'as in' examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss's last name to an attorney and said "Yes that's G as in...(10 second lapse)..ummm...Goonies"
27. What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?
28. While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.
29. MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
30. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
31. I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.
32. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
33. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
34. Bad decisions make good stories
35. Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!
36. Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?
37. If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible..
38. Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a problem....
39. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything productive for the rest of the day.
40. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.
41. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.
42. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
43. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this ever.
44. I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room.. Will we still be friends after this?'
45. While watching the Olympics, I find myself cheering equally for China and USA. No, I am not of Chinese descent, but I am fairly certain that when Chinese athletes don't win, they are executed.
46. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damnit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
47. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
48. When I meet a new girl, I'm terrified of mentioning something she hasn't already told me but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.
49. I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.
50. Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles...
51. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.
52. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
53. It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.
54. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
55. I think that if, years down the road when I'm trying to have a kid, I find out that I'm sterile, most of my disappointment will stem from the fact that I was not aware of my condition in college.
56. Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it.
57. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, hitting the G-spot, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my ass everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time...
58. My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?
59. It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on and the link takes me to a video instead of text.
60. I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.
61. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
62. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.
63. The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimate d that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There's nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.

Did you like them? I hope they made you laugh out loud or at least put a smile on your face!

Tonight for dinner we are having Chicken Quesadillas. If you click the link for the recipe you will also get to read about my magazine obsession. Yep, I'm crazy. :)

Happy eating!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Baked Potato Soup

I really love this soup! It is so easy to make and so delicious! It is creamy and flavorful and warms you right to the bones! Sorry, I am done using exclamation points now. :)

This Baked Potato Soup is a recipe from the magazine Everyday With Rachel Ray, although I have altered it a bit (added more milk), and I use Bacn'Bits instead of real bacon. Also, there is a cute story of messiness in the kitchen if you click the link.

Today I went Christmas shopping at Target with my dad for my daughter's gifts while she was in school, and I picked out a few things for myself too. Then we picked her up and went to lunch and did a little more shopping at Barnes & Noble for my husband's gifts. It was really nice to spend some time with my dad.

Happy eating!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Week's Worth of Food

Sorry for not posting for a whole week, but things have been busy and I have been a little lazy with my free time. :) (And to be completely honest, I just needed a little blogging break.)

Our Thanksgiving was very nice; we went out to my aunt's house around 4pm and enjoyed a wonderful traditional turkey dinner with my extended family. The desserts I made got rave reviews and so I have earned the job of bringing dessert every year now, which is fine with me - I love to bake! I brought Lemon Bars, White Chocolate Cheesecake and Kolacky Cookies. Here is the cookie recipe:


1 - 8oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 cup salted butter, softened
2 cups flour
1 cup powdered sugar, plus 1/2 cup
2 tsp. baking powder
2 - 12oz. cans Solo Fruit Filling

In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until soft and fluffy, about 1 minute. In another bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder. Slowly beat flour mixture into cream cheese mixture, beating until dough is smooth. Shape about 2 tablespoons of dough into a ball with your hands and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press your thumb into each ball to make a small well and spoon in about 1 teaspoon of fruit filling. Bake in a 350 degree oven until the bottoms are lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Remove cookies to a wire rack and cool completely. Dust tops of cookies with remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar using a sifter. Store in an airtight container.

These cookies are soft and not too sweet, perfect for after dinner (or with breakfast) with coffee.

Last Tuesday I made Hot Dogs with Mac'n'Cheese, on Wednesday I made Pepperoni Pan Pizzas, Thursday was Thanksgiving, Friday was dinner out, Saturday I made Black Bean Chili, and last night we had Tacos.

Tonight we are having Spicy Marinara Pasta with Garlic Toast. I have been using Hunt's Zesty & Spicy pasta sauce and we really like it. Also on the meal plan for this week are: Baked Potato Soup, Chicken Quesadillas, Breakfast and Shepherds Pie.

Here's a cute story for you: On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as I dropped my daughter off at her classroom door, the kindergarten classroom bulletin board caught my eye. On it were little hand-print turkeys with each child's name and the words "I am thankful for..." Most of the kids had written "my family" or "my mom" or "my dog", but one little boy had written "corndogs". Too funny! It put a smile on my face that whole day.

Tomorrow is December 1st - are you ready for the Christmas craziness to begin? Have you started your shopping? Do you know what you are getting for each person on your list? Do you have your Christmas Eve/Day meal plan ready? My biggest goal this year is to get a picture of my daughter with Santa. I have a sweet one from when she was 3 months old and sleeping in his arms, and then the next year she was a screaming, crying blur. The last few years have been amusing; we go to the mall and walk back and forth in front of the big Santa area a few times while she gives him sideways glances before announcing that there is no way in heck she is going anywhere near Santa. >sigh< This year I have hope because there is a Breakfast With Santa event at her school. Maybe she will see her friends sitting on Santa's lap and feel more comfortable doing it herself. I've got my fingers crossed!

Happy eating!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ground Beef Stroganoff

I would like to start by thanking all of you who left sweet get-well messages for me! I am feeling much better today.

The meal plan for the week is: Breakfast, Pan Pizzas, Hot Dogs with Mac'n'Cheese, Pasta with Garlic Toast, and Ground Beef Stroganoff. On Turkey Day we'll be at my aunt's house and I am bringing dessert: Kolacky Cookies, White Chocolate Cheesecake, and Lemon Bars. YUM!

So, dinner tonight is Ground Beef Stroganoff. I love Beef Stroganoff, but my beef usually came out tough. I got this recipe from my mother-in-law and we love it!


1 lb. ground beef
1 cup sour cream
Stroganoff seasoning packet
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 can beef broth
egg noodles

Brown meat with celery and onion. Drain off fat. Add 1/2 to 3/4 of the can of beef broth, bring to a boil. Add the sour cream and seasoning packet, mix well. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over egg noodles (cooked according to package directions).

This is hearty and warm and yummy and makes great leftovers (if there is any left).

Happy eating!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

An Award

I got the True Authentic Mom award from Lissaloo over at One Step At A Time sometime last week, she is so sweet to pass this to me! The rules are that I have to post 5 things that make me a true authentic mom and then pass it on to 5 other blogs. Here goes:

1. I try very hard to be a great mom, but I am human and I make mistakes. Instead of trying to hide this fact from my daughter I use it as a teaching moment so that she learns that grown-ups make mistakes too and I apologize if I need to.
2. Her father and I are in a loving, caring, terrific marriage which I believe contributes to our daughter's happiness and sense of well-being.
3. I will make sacrifices with my spending so we can afford to send her to a private parochial school where she will get a top-notch education in a safe environment.
4. I have no problem saying "no" to her and setting boundaries.
5. I love my daughter more than words can say and I never let her forget that!

So, I would like to pass this on to all the wonderful great moms whose blogs I follow because you all deserve this award!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Still Sick

Hello all - I am still sick and will not be posting again until next week. Just a bad cold, not swine flu (thank God), but it's kicking my butt. Thank you all SO much for the wonderful birthday wishes! Have a great weekend and take care! And as always...

Happy eating!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I really did not know that Italian beef sandwiches were regional, so sorry for the confusion yesterday! They are basically a sandwich of roast beef seasoned with Italian seasonings, sliced very thin, which is then soaked in juice/gravy. If you check out Allrecipes (or your favorite recipe website) you can easily find a recipe (or Google it). I do not make my own (too much work), so we use Papa Charlie's Italian Beef which can be found in the frozen foods section of your grocery store. A true Chicago beef sandwich is served plain or with sweet peppers (which is roasted green peppers) or hot peppers (giardinera or sport peppers), also dry or juicy on french bread (juicy is when they put the meat in the bread and then dip the whole thing in the juices). Do not start adding cheese or onions because then you are getting into Philly Cheesesteak territory. Around here Portillo's and Al's Beef are considered to have the best Italian beef sandwiches. (My fave is Portillo's.)

Today is my birthday! I am 37 - ugh, I feel it. I am still not feeling well and considered calling in sick to playground duty today, but I went anyway. It was very cold and very windy. The other mom called in sick so I was the only one there (good thing I didn't call in). The kids seemed crazier than usual, which could have been my perception, but by the end of the half hour I was frozen and my throat hurt from yelling "Stand up! You cannot lay on the ground!", "Are you bleeding? No? Then you are fine, go back to playing", "Stop touching each other!", "Drop the wood chips!", and "We only go down the slides on our bottoms!". On top of all that one of the second graders kept following me around, trying to tell me all about how she went to the museum and saw the movie about Amelia Erhart and blah, blah, blah-blah. I'm sure she is a very sweet girl, but I wanted to put duct tape on her mouth. Do you think it's possible that she was sent by the other kids to distract me so they could get into mischief? Are second graders that conniving? I seriously considered having a glass of wine before lunch.

For dinner tonight we are having nachos. I love this meal! I'd like to thank Krista's Kitchen again for the original recipe. I know I would never have attempted to make these without her recipe. If you haven't checked out her blog, please go now! You won't be sorry, she has great meals.

Happy eating!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Italian Beef Sandwiches

I am not feeling too good; I have that 'sick' feeling and I am very tired, so this will be short. Last night I made hot dogs in the microwave, tater tots in the oven, and baked beans on the stove-top for another of those comfort foods dinners that my mom used to make us. Tonight I making Italian beef sandwiches - well, technically just heating up the beef and juice on the stove. I have sliced french bread for serving it on and there is cottage cheese and salad in the fridge for sides.

Happy eating!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Birthdays Galore

We know 8 people who have birthdays in November, and my husband and I are 2 of them. His birthday was Friday and per his request I made this goulash for dinner served with garlic toast and a salad. I also made him brownies for dessert.

Yesterday we went to our neighbor's daughter's 4th birthday party at the Kohl's Childrens Museum - it was really nice! They had a party room where we ate pizza and cake and the birthday girl opened presents, and then we were free to play in the museum as long as we wanted. We have been there once before, but it was a long time ago and my daughter had a blast re-discovering everything. I watched very carefully to make sure she didn't touch her face and we weren't out the door 3 seconds when I was squirting Purell into her hands (and mine).

Today my husband took our daughter on a "date" to lunch and a movie, so I am enjoying the peace and catching up on my blog reading and posting. I asked if this R&R time was my early birthday present - LOL. I have no idea what I am going to make for dinner tonight, but I'll tell you about it tomorrow.

Happy eating!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No More Roasts

I am done. Yesterday I made a roast for dinner, but it will be the last one. I just can't get it right. Click here to hear about how the last one went, and click here for the recipe. If you don't feel like clicking, here's the condensed story: I have made 3 roasts in the past and they all came out awful. I swore never to make one again. Then my FiL gave me a roast and when I made it for him it came out wonderful! So I thought I would try again, and I did yesterday, but it was awful again, so I am done. No more roasts for me.

I am going to take it easy on myself tonight and make spaghetti. I am really loving the Hunt's Zesty & Spicy Spaghetti Sauce, it's got a nice kick to it. I have a salad in the fridge and some texas toast I'll throw in the oven. Easy-peasy. Plus I love to have the spaghetti leftovers for lunch.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fork Tender Pork Chops

Tonight I am going to make pork chops, spanish rice and corn. This is one of those meals that my mom used to make - it's comfort food for me. My husband, unknown to me, did not like pork chops and was not happy to hear that (7 years ago) I was making them for dinner. But then he tasted mine and he loved them! Turns out his mom did not know how to make them tender. You can cut mine with a fork.


4 bone-in center cut pork chops
black pepper
caraway seeds
olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp. beef bouillon dissolved in 3/4 cup warm water
(OR 3/4 cup beef broth with 1 tsp. salt added)

Trim excess fat off chops. Season chops on both sides with pepper and caraway. Sear chops in olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden. Transfer chops to 9x13 pan. Pour broth in skillet to de-glaze pan; pour juices over chops. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Like I said, my mom always served her chops with spanish rice and corn. I will use Rice-A-Roni spanish rice mix because I like the ones where you add your own can of tomatoes. The Jewel brand was the best (it is discontinued), but R-A-R is a close second. I also have a can of corn I will heat in the microwave (in a bowl, not the can), then drain off the water and stir in a tablespoon of butter - yum!

It's Tuesday so I was Playground Mom again. I had to take 2 preschoolers to the bathroom and threaten 2 others with time-outs for not going down the slide on their bottoms. I am quickly learning the names of the trouble-makers and feeling more confident to scold the kids as needed. When the first graders came out, one of them ran up to me with a sticky note stuck to her forehead with the names of 6 kids who had to have time-out for 5 minutes right off the bat (glad I'm not their teacher).

Happy eating!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chicken Pattie Sandwiches

The weather has been gorgeous this weekend! Sunny and 70 - I love Indian summer! And what did I spend it doing? Making cookies. Cleaning the house. Doing laundry. But I had the windows open the whole time! lol

I used the Nestle Tollhouse cookie recipe that can be found on the chips packaging. I made a double batch and used one bag of milk chocolate chips and one bag of white chocolate chips. They came out great!

I am glad the weather will getting cooler again soon because I have a few "warm weather" meals to cook. This weeks meal plan is: Kathy's Roast with Veggies, Pork Chops with Spanish Rice, Italian Beef Sandwiches, Spaghetti with Garlic Toast, Breakfast, and Shepherds Pie (still).

Tonight I will be making Chicken Pattie Sandwiches, which are just what they sound like: chicken patties cooked in the oven, served on hamburger buns with lettuce, mayo, and tomato. I will make a Lipton Butter & Herb Pasta Sides to go with, along with some salad.

Happy eating!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pepperoni Pan Pizza

It is Friday night which is pizza night in our house! I am going to make Pepperoni Pan Pizzas which are my favorite pizzas ever. Seriously, I got this recipe from Cook's Country in August and have made this pizza about 8 times. We are addicted. lol

This is also going to be a very short post because my back is killing me. My daughter wanted to rake leaves yesterday and I thought I could use some fresh air and exercise so I went out to help her. The garbage can was full of leaves so I lifted her up and let her jump on the leaves to pack them down. When I was lifting her out I felt a *pop* and then pain. When am I going to remember that she isn't 2 anymore and now weighs 50 lbs? When am I going to remember that I am not 26 anymore, but am now 36? Ugh. I'm going to get some Advil and a heating pad. (Of course, this will NOT stop me from making my favorite pizza. You know I love to cook and love this pizza if I will work through pain for it! haha!)

Happy eating!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


My new "job" as Playground Mom is really opening my eyes up to what it is like for a mother of boys. Yesterday during my time as P.M. at least 6 of the 1st grade boys came up to me saying that someone had slapped or hit them. There were some tears, but no one was really injured and of course there were no witnesses. I had to break up a few tug-of-wars over knit hats and send one boy to time-out for pushing. I know that girls are not angels, but those boys give you a run for your money! When I was babysitting our neighbors daughter the biggest problem between her and my daughter was sharing or taking turns, nothing physical. I have new found respect for mothers of boys!

Last night dinner was a frozen pizza. My husband wasn't very hungry and I wasn't feeling much like cooking. Tonight we are having hamburgers. I make mine by first taking the chill off the 1.5 lbs. ground beef by putting it in the microwave on the defrost setting for 3 minutes. Then I mix in, by hand, 1 tbsp. each steak seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and A1 steak sauce. Mmmm, good! Then I form it into 4 or 5 patties and cook them on George. (My George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine, we call it George. It's also great for making paninis.) I will make a deluxe box of mac'n'cheese and have salad on the side too.

Happy eating!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chicken Kievs & Mashed Potatoes

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween, we sure did! Friday morning I got out early and did my grocery shopping and came home and put them all away (whew!) before going to my first parent/teacher conference. I am happy to report my daughter is doing great in kindergarten! Then we went to Target for odds and ends and the new Tinkerbell movie. Next up was cleaning out and carving the 4 pumpkins I got at Aldi, except one of them was rotten on the inside - yuck. Oh well, we had fun with the other 3. My kid loves scooping out the goopy insides and helping me pick out the seeds!

Saturday morning was spent cleaning the entire 1st floor of the house. My husband said I didn't need to clean every room because "we aren't having an open house", but I did need to clean every room! The living and dining rooms and kitchen are obviously where we would be most of the time, but the bathroom needs to be clean too - duh. Then because we would put all the coats and purses on our bed in our bedroom that had to be clean, and the kids would be in my daughter's room and playroom which means the parents would be in there too, so that had to be clean as well! Men just don't get this. Then I got around to baking the pumpkin seeds. This is the way my mom taught me to make them.


Remove as much pulp as possible. Soak the seeds overnight in salt water. Drain water - do not rinse. Dry seeds on paper towels. Spread seeds on ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkle generously with salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Flip seeds with spatula. Bake again for 5 minutes, flip seeds. Repeat as needed. Seeds are done when slightly golden and crispy.

I had 3 large pumpkins worth of seeds and they took about 25 minutes to bake. YUM!

Around 3:15pm my neighbor J. and her daughter and J.'s boyfriend and his daughter came over and we all walked down to the park district for the Halloween festivities, but BIG OOPS, the party was the day before! I felt like such an idiot! I know when I checked the website I looked for 'Halloween Party' and definitely checked the time, but I guess I didn't check the date and assumed the party would be on Saturday. And we all know what happens when you assume something, right? LOL Thank goodness my neighbor is such a sweet lady and her guy is a cool dude, they took it in stride and we did some trick-or-treating on the way back to my house. The girls played while we had hot apple cider with rum and I ordered pizza. Around 5:30pm our friends T. and R. and their 2 kids from the suburbs got here and then it was really crazy! 6 adults and 5 kids in my little house, plus the doorbell ringing every other minute with trick-or-treaters made for a chaotic but really fun time.

Seriously, the doorbell rang every other minute. I had bought 10 bags of candy and had about 15 pieces left when we stopped answering the door. I only give 1 piece per kid because I only buy the fun-size candy bars. That's a LOT of kids in 2 hours.

We left around 6:30pm to do our own trick-or-treating and the streets were a sea of people. There are tons of kids in our neighborhood, plus we have seen carloads of people park and jump out to do their trick-or-treating here. Our city blocks are very long with about 15 houses per side and really good street lights. Plus 99% of the homes are bungalows with garden basements, so almost every house has front stairs to climb up and down. It's a great way to get lots of candy in a short distance, yet the kids get tired from all those stairs! We got home around 8pm and our neighbors went home right away, but our friends stayed awhile longer and it was nice to visit with them.

On Sunday it was all I could do to get out of bed - I was exhausted! All the running around from the previous 2 days had done me in, and I considered it a victory that I showered and did the dishes. Today it was back to the routine, and there are no extra activities this week, thank you God!

For dinner tonight we are having frozen chicken kievs from Aldi, the brand is Kirkwood and for $1 a piece they are really good. Plus I will make instant mashed potatoes, and gravy from a seasoning packet. It's more like "preparing" than "cooking", haha! Oh, and there will be a salad too (I always have torn lettuce with cucumbers and green peppers in my fridge).

Now I get to go read all the blogs I follow that I have not read since Thursday!

Happy eating!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Popcorn Shrimp & Rice

Today was the Fall party in my daughter's kindergarten classroom and I got to come and help out. What fun! The kids are so great, very well behaved and so polite. Well, most of them - there are a couple trouble-makers, but they try. The teacher, Mrs. J, is simply awesome. She has been a kindergarten teacher for 30 years and she is terrific with the kids.

Dinner tonight will be Popcorn Shrimp and Rice. Aldi has great popcorn shrimp for $2 a box and their cocktail sauce is good too. The rice is a Knorr Fiesta Sides Mexican Rice packet, and I will also have a salad on the side.

Tomorrow and Saturday will be very busy so I won't be back here until Sunday. Tomorrow I will grocery shop in the morning, then I have my daughter's parent/teacher conference (my husband is staying home with her), then we will go to Target together, and then clean out the pumpkins to bake the seeds and carve them. On Saturday I will be cleaning the house and getting ready for our neighbors and some close friends to come over around 3pm. We will walk to the park district for the festivities there, come back to the house for pizza, and then go trick-or-treating.

The meal plan for the coming week is: Shepherd's Pie, Chicken Kievs & Mashed Potatoes, Pepperoni Pan Pizza, Tacos, Chicken Pattie Sandwiches, Hamburgers, and frozen pizza (always).

I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween!
Happy eating!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pastitsio Casserole

I won! I won! One of my favorite blogs Crumbs In The Minivan had a book giveaway and I won! Woo-hoo! Please go check out the Crumbs, Mama Crumb is a great writer and her stories are funny and if you are a mom you can totally relate to her.

My first time as Playground Mom on Tuesday was fun, and the kids wasted no time breaking me in - someone poked someone else in the eye with a wood chip. The word the kids used was stabbed, but I think it was more of a poke. Anyway, I immediately summoned the other, more experienced P.M. and she had me bring the boy to the nurse while she tried to figure out who did it and punish them. The kid was fine and returned with me to the playground to fight, I mean play, again.

Today my daughter's kindergarten class led the chapel time and it was so cute! They did an audience participation story about Martin Luther that was hysterical and then they sang a song. I also got to meet another mom whose daughter is friends with my kid - I see a playdate in our future.

Tonight's dinner is an old favorite of ours called Pastitsio. It is supposed to be an Italian version of Shepherd's Pie. I have no idea where I got the recipe, but I have been making this since I was married. It is a great dish to bring to potlucks.


2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
4 tbsp. butter
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. ground beef
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
2 tbsp. parsley
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Part 1: In a large pot, brown ground beef. Drain off fat. Mix in onion powder, garlic powder, tomato paste, beef stock and parsley. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Part 2: Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain well, return to pot. Stir in butter, eggs, and parmesan; mix well.
Part 3: Lightly grease a 2 quart serving dish. Spoon half the macaroni mixture in the bottom. Top with all the meat mixture. Spoon remaining noodles over the meat. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with garlic bread and a salad.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Leftovers We Love

Hello all! I would like to comment on a few comments I received on my last post. First, L.B. - don't be afraid of the yeast! Just make sure it is 1) fresh, 2) does not come in direct contact with salt, and 3) that your liquid is not over 110 degrees. I use a candy thermometer to check my temps - easy and cheap. Second, I am feeling better today, thank you for all the well wishes - they worked! haha! Third, I pound the chicken for the chicken parm because then you get a bigger top surface for more sauce and cheese! The easiest, least messy method I have found is to put the chicken in a gallon size ziploc bag and pound away!

Tonights dinner is going to be leftovers because I have too many in the fridge. There is Indian Corn Stew, Lasagna, Salisbury Steak, and Latvian Meatsauce that need to be eaten. All of these items re-heat very well, thank goodness. I try to make a dent in the leftovers by having them for lunch, but sometimes I just want a turkey sandwich instead. :)

I was asked to be the Playground Mom on Tuesdays at my daughter's school because the mom that did it is moving away. My kid is thrilled because she gets to stay and play with her friends and I am happy to do it for her. I am sure I will not be so happy when it is February and it is freezing cold outside! Ah, the sacrifices we make for our kids.

Happy eating!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chicken Parmesan & Pasta

I would like to start by saying Welcome to all my new followers, I'm so happy to have you here! I am really enjoying being a follower on your blogs too. Next I would like to say that I am going to miss your blog Betty, along with that cute little corgi of yours!

I realized that I forgot (again) to give you guys my meal plan for the week. What is wrong with me lately? haha! So here it is: Shepherd's Pie, frozen pizza (always), Pastitsio, Popcorn Shrimp & Rice, Chicken Kievs & Mashed Potatoes.

Tonight I will make Chicken Parmesan on a bed of Spaghetti. I like to pound my chicken breasts thin, then dredge them in flour, then dip them in an egg-milk mixture, then dredge them in seasoned breadcrumbs. I cook them until golden in a skillet with a little olive oil, then put them in the oven topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese until the cheese melts, about 8 minutes. So easy and yummy. I don't think they re-heat well so I only make two, but I make extra spaghetti because I love that for leftovers!

Well, I am not feeling 100% so I am going to go rest. My daughter and husband have both have colds, so I knew it was only a matter of time before I caught it!

Happy eating!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lasagna & Guest Blogger

Today I am the guest blogger over on This Stop Willoughby! I love Willoughby's blog, she always has great topics and challenges and some of the best drink recipes you'll ever taste. Recently she has been having a Cocktail Party of guest bloggers to promote friendship and help us all find some new blogs to enjoy - please go over and check it out! I got that fancy new picture to the right for participating - cool, huh? :) I have also found a bunch of great new blogs to follow, so thanks again Willoughby!

Tonight I will be making lasagna for dinner. I know there a million recipes for it, some with meat, some with cottage cheese, some with white sauce, the list could go on indefinitely. I make mine by layering no-boil noodles with pasta sauce from a jar, and ricotta cheese mixed with an egg and shredded mozzarella. Easy-peasy. If you haven't tried no-boil noodles, you should. They make making lasagna so much easier!

Happy eating!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Night Pizza

Hi all! It is Friday night and we are ordering a pizza - half cheese, half pepperoni. Yum! Last night we had leftovers for dinner; I had Indian Corn Stew and the hubbie had Salisbury Steak.

Today my daughter's school had a Bowl-A-Thon and I was a volunteer. This is the second time I have ridden a bus in one week in over 20 years! They still smell gross, by the way. LOL It was a good time! The kids were very well behaved (again) and bowled with their chapel families. The chapel family consists of 1-2 kids from each grade in the school, and they work together in chapel time on Wednesdays. I got a sore throat from yelling over all the noise and loud music, but I loved it. I caught myself shouting encouragement just like I did when I was a cheerleader in high school - it's scary how it comes back to you like it was yesterday. My daughter bowled a 112 the first game and a 62 the second game and then got a STRIKE in the first frame of the third game! Of course this was done with bumpers, but it was her first time bowling ever, so I was one proud mama! Plus I got to work with the school's first grade teacher, so I have an "in" with her for next year - haha!

It was also the first time my daughter showed that she was slightly embarrassed of me >GASP!< in public. She told me to "tone it down, mom" when I was clapping for her. I was so shocked that I just said "okay". I knew this day was coming, but I didn't think it would be so soon. I have received some negative criticism for having her in 1/2 day kindergarten (instead of full day), and I do it precisely for this reason - the day will come (way too soon) where she will want little-to-nothing to do with me, so I am relishing all the mommy-time I can get now. Is that so wrong? I think that some of these parents who are shoving their kids into pre-school as soon as possible are going to regret it someday and I don't want to have that regret. Every family had to do what works for them, right? What do you think?

Happy eating!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Venetian Paninis & Latvian Meatsauce

The other night I made fancy grilled cheese on sourdough bread and since I had some bread left I made Venetian Panini sandwiches for lunch today. I LOVE these sandwiches. I have made them for a few friends and they all LOVE these sandwiches too. I got the original recipe from Giada DeLaurentis over at the Food Network, but I have changed a few things. First, I use spicy mustard instead of dijon, and second, I use swiss cheese instead of Gruyere. Anyway, you can find the recipe here.

For dinner tonight I will be making Latvian Meatsauce. This is NOT a traditional Latvian meal; my mom called it Latvian Meatsauce because the recipe came from her mother-in-law who was from Latvia. My dad said he thinks that his mother and her second husband, who was Hungarian, came up with this recipe based on other recipes. He does not remember eating it as a child in Latvia before his mom remarried. Just wanted to clarify that! :)


8 oz. mushrooms, fresh or canned
3 stalks celery, diced
2 medium onions, diced
1/2 large green pepper, diced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped OR 4 tsp. dried parsley
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 lbs. ground beef
2/3 cup water
1 - 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. celery salt
3 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 3 tsp. cold water
3/4 cup sour cream

In a large pot, saute all veggies in butter and oil until partially cooked. In a separate pot, brown the ground beef; drain off fat. Add beef to veggies. Add tomato sauce, water, and spices; stir well. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture and cook until sauce thickens. When ready to serve, turn off heat and let sauce stop simmering. Then add the sour cream, stirring well to mix.


This is really good served over boiled potatoes with a side of pickles. Well, that's how my mom always served it and we loved it. I will only make half the amount of this recipe since only my husband and I will be eating it. I will make my daughter try it, but I'm pretty sure she'll want a hot dog instead.

Happy eating!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Today was the field trip to the pumpkin patch with my daughter's school and it was wonderful! The weather was really great and the kids were well behaved. Whew! Now I am exhausted and my throat is slightly sore from shouting to be heard above the crowds, but we all had a great time.

I wish I could just throw a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner, but I did that last night. And the night before that we went to Steak 'N' Shake for dinner where kids eat free! We did not know that until our waitress told us - it was a nice surprise. Plus we had coupons for our dinners so the bill was pretty cheap.

So, tonight we are having scrambled eggs, sausage patties, and diced potatoes. I will saute some onion to add to the potatoes and throw in some steak seasoning too. The eggs might get some fresh chopped green onion from my garden and maybe a dollop of sour cream for extra creaminess. Mmmmm, I'm getting hungry thinking about it now!

Happy eating!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New Fancy Grilled Cheese

I love comfort foods and very high on that list is the simple grilled cheese sandwich. I also have a "fancy" grilled cheese recipe that I love and I just found a new one! In the November issue of Everyday With Rachel Ray magazine they reviewed four restaurants across the U.S. with off-beat grilled cheese sandwiches and we are trying one of them tonight. It is from The Cheese Factory Restaurant in Wisconsin Dells, WI and The Specs are "a double-decker sourdough sandwich layered with four-year-aged Wisconsin sharp cheddar and baby Swiss, a pinch of grated romano, tomatoes and Italian herbs." YUM! I don't think I will make mine double-decker, but otherwise I'm sticking to the ingredients.

Last night we had leftovers for dinner and on Thursday I made my favorite Pepperoni Pan Pizzas.

I bought my pumpkins yesterday. I got them at Aldi for $2 each and they are pretty good sized, about 15 lbs. each. I can't wait to clean them out and roast the seeds and carve them! Fun! I also have been buying a bag or two of candy each week for the last few weeks. We get tons of trick-or-treaters here. I must admit I am worried about the weather for this year's trick-or-treating. Last year we had PERFECT weather, temps in the 70's with clear skies, truly perfect. So of course this year is gonna suck, right? There is no way we will get great weather again. I guess I will just pray that it doesn't rain; cold I can deal with, but rain would ruin it. Anyway, my daughter is going to be Corrine from Barbie and the Three Musketeers. We have the dress and sword and boots and we are going to make the mask this week. What are your little ones going to be? Have you started buying candy yet?

The meal plan for the week is: Chicken Parmesan (STILL), New Fancy Grilled Cheese (above), Lativan Meatsauce, frozen pizza (always), Breakfast, and Shepherd's Pie.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Salisbury Steaks

I would like to start by saying that I hope those of you who are in California (Betty & Joanna) are safe from the remnants of that typhoon that is currently dumping tons of rain up and down the west coast causing flooding and landslides. You are in my prayers!

Dinner tonight will be one of my husbands favorites: Salisbury steaks. I don't remember where I got this recipe, but it's fairly easy and really good. I serve it with mashed potatoes, it makes the most wonderful gravy for them, and a salad or veggie.


2 cans Campbells condensed French Onion Soup
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (at least 85% lean)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. flour
3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup water
3 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. mustard

In a big bowl, combine half a can of onion soup, bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper with the ground beef. Shape into 6 patties. In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the patties a few minutes on each side; pour off any fat. While patties are browning: in a large bowl combine the rest of the onion soup with the flour, whisking until smooth. Add the ketchup, mustard, water, and Worcestershire; mix well. Pour soup mixture over browned patties. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 10 minutes. Flip patties over, cover, and cook another 10 minutes.

I had my dad over for dinner once and served these. He loved them so much that he made me come over to his house to make a double batch (he supplied the ingredients). Then he put them into Gladware and put them in the freezer so he could have one whenever he wanted!

Happy eating!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Do I Know You?!

Last night I was watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations show on The Food Channel. I don't usually watch that show, but this one was about him in Chicago so how could I not watch it? :) They were talking about a restaurant called Moto and then they showed the head chef and I suddenly sat straight up thinking "I KNOW that guy! Where do I know him from?!" Then they said his name was Homaro Cantu and it clicked. My daughter went to preschool last year with his daughter and I saw him repeatedly at drop-off/pick-up! This man has been on Iron Chef! Wow. I can't believe I didn't know he was a big fancy chef.

Actually, I can believe I didn't know; I just can't believe no one at the school told me. I didn't make any best friends there, but I did become friendly with a few of the moms. I have never been to Moto and probably will never go. I know there are people out there (you may be one of them) who are true "foodies" and really get into exotic cuisine, but I am not one of them. Sure I like to try new things, but a 10 course dinner that costs over $100 per person and includes a "cuban cigar" that you can eat is definitely not for me. I have no desire to try foie gras or even caviar. How do you feel about the fancy stuff?

I am not trying to prove a point here, but dinner is (another) frozen pizza. LOL My daughter picked this one, it is her favorite: Tombstone Garlic Bread Cheese Pizza. I am feeling lazy and I don't feel like cooking. My daughter is finally back in school after a 5 day weekend; last Thursday and Friday were teacher meetings and yesterday was Columbus Day - ugh! I am SO happy to be back to my routine.

Happy eating!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Indian Corn Stew

My mom made this stew a few times every winter for as long as I can remember. I have no idea where she got the recipe, but my dad thinks it was an old Girl Scout recipe, which sounds right. For those of you who saw Indian and thought "curry", you are wrong. And I really don't think the Native American Indians made anything remotely like this, so I don't know why it is called Indian Corn Stew. Anyway, I serve this with buttered rye bread.


1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1 can corn, undrained
1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can condensed cream of tomato or tomato bisque soup
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp. cold water

Brown the ground beef with the onion and green pepper. Drain off fat. Add the corn, tomatoes, soup, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch/water and simmer for 3 more minutes.

This is so yummy and easy, and would be very easy to make at a campsite. :) It is also easy to double for large families or potlucks, and like chili, always tastes great warmed up.

I got my daughter's school pictures - ugh! She is doing that robot smile that all mothers know and hate. You would think that a professional photographer who works with children all day would have a few jokes up their sleeves to make kids really smile. Oh well, I have learned my lesson. Next year I will order the class photo for $9 and then take her Target and get the same photo package with an $8 coupon AND be able to pick the picture AND make sure she is actually smiling.

I would also like to invite you all to check out the AWESOME giveaway over at Krista's Kitchen. She is one of my favorite blog friends because she has the best recipes and pictures.

Happy eating!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Beef & Rice Fiesta Casserole

I got this recipe ages ago from my brother, but I don't know where he got it from. Doesn't really matter, we love it! I serve this with warm cornbread and a mixed green salad.


1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 cup instant rice
1 - 2 cup bag shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 - 14oz. can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 - 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 can sliced olives, drained
1 pkt. taco seasoning
1 tsp. vinegar
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. beef bouillon
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. EACH pepper, basil, onion powder, garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown ground beef with onion and green pepper, drain off fat. Stir in all ingredients, EXCEPT 8oz. tomato sauce AND half the cheese, bring to a boil. Pour mixture into a 3 quart baking dish and cover. Bake for half an hour. Now stir in the tomato sauce, re-cover and bake for 25 minutes. Top with other half of cheese and bake 5 minutes more, or until cheese is melted.

If you want some kick in it you could add a small can of chopped jalapenos. I'm sure a Mexican blend cheese would work great too. One time I tried leaving out the extra spices and only used the taco seasoning packet and it just wasn't the same, so it's worth the extra effort.

The meal plan for the following week is: Chicken Parmesan (still), frozen pizza (again), leftovers, Potato & Sausage Bake, Pepperoni Pan Pizza, Indian Corn Stew, and Salisbury Steaks. Oh yeah! Gotta love those hearty cold weather meals!

Happy eating!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Three Awards (& Tacos)

I sincerely hope that Lissaloo and Willoughby are not mad at me for taking so long to post about the wonderful awards they have passed on to me. I am truly grateful for having such great blog friends! So without further ado, here we go:

The first two awards are from Lissaloo over at One Step At A Time. If you haven't checked out her blog, please go now! She is always posting the most delicious recipes and fun crafts on her blog. The first one is the B.I.N.G.O. award, she gave me the O for Outstanding, and here are the five blogs I would like to pass it to:

B - Beautiful: Marvelously Mundane always has beautiful pictures and stories and recipes on her blog. I have been reading hers the longest and she keeps me coming back for more!

I - Informative: Krista's Kitchen has taught me a lot of things about cooking. She always has such great information along with her recipes - I love her blog!

N - Neighborly: A Corgi In Southern California is always leaving such sweet comments for me, and her own blog makes you feel like grabbing a warm cup of tea and settling in for a lovely chat with an old friend.

G - Gorgeous: Crumbs In The Minivan shares wonderful stories of her gorgeous family and reminds me that I am not alone, as mothers we are all going through pretty much the same ups and downs!

O - Outstanding: Airing My Dirty Laundry is so funny and real and honest - her blog is simply outstanding!

The second award from Lissaloo is the Honest Scrap award and I have to list 10 honest things about myself:

1. I think Twitter is dumb.
2. I can't stand it when people chew with their mouths open.
3. I think people who abuse animals should go to jail.
4. I wear fake nails because my own are thin and weak.
5. I cut my own hair; my daughter's and husband's too.
6. I can parallel park on either side like a pro.
7. I still remember the words to songs I sang 20 years ago in high school choir.
8. I love doing the laundry.
9. I am a chocolate snob and will only eat the good stuff (just like Lissaloo!).
10. I don't like Macy's and miss Marshall Fields more than I should.

The third award is from This Stop Willoughby. (She is an amazing blogger I found from Marvelously Mundane, and she is throwing a really cool cocktail party over on her blog. Please go and check it out, you won't be sorry!) It is the Over The Top award and I have to give one word answers for the following:

Where is your cell phone? kitchen
Your hair: long
Your mother: heaven
Your father: good
Your favorite food? pizza
Your dream last night? scuba
Your favorite drink? wine
Your dream/goal? travel
What room are you in? dining
Your hobby: reading
Your fear: fire
Where do you want to be in 6 years? here
Where were you last night? home
Something you aren't: short
Muffins? no
Wish list item: health
Where did you grow up? suburbs
Last thing you did: stretch
What are you wearing? jeans
Your TV: off
Your pets: none
Your friends: forever
Your life: good
Your mood: happy
Missing someone? mom
Vehicle: Honda
Something you are not wearing: jewelry
Favorite store? Target
Favorite color? green
When was the last time you laughed? today
When was the last time you cried? yesterday
Your best friend: husband
One place I go over & over: bathroom (ha!)
One person who emails me regularly: aunt
Favorite place to eat? steakhouse

I am supposed to pass these last two awards on to a bunch of other people, but I don't follow that many blogs and most of you have received these already. So if you are reading this and do not already have these awards, consider yourself awarded!

For dinner tonight I am making tacos. I have a kit from Old El Paso that includes 6 soft shells, 6 hard shells, taco sauce, and seasoning mix that we got on sale at Target for under $2! I love tacos, but only the American kind. We sometimes order take-out from a very authentic Mexican restaurant and I really don't like their tacos - I'd rather have Taco Bell! Isn't that terrible? haha!

Happy eating!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pizza (& Pain)

Hello folks, thing have been crazy around here lately! I have not had the time to be on the computer writing my blog, and reading and commenting on all your fabulous blogs, and I miss it! I know that a couple of you have awards for me and I am SO sorry I have not posted about them yet - I promise to do it tomorrow!

Let's see, on Sunday night I made spaghetti for dinner and last night I made egg & cheese sandwiches - nothing exciting. Tonight I will be making a frozen pizza, mainly because I am in pain.

Why am I in pain? Because I am old! This morning while cuddling in bed with my daughter, I went to move and couldn't because I was lying on my hair (it's very long). So I turned my head while bringing my arm up to move the hair and simultaneously lifting my shoulders up and I pulled a muscle in my back. I felt a pop and then major pain and I just laid there moaning while my daughter is asking "What's wrong mommy?". I laid there assessing the damage and slowly moving each body part and the pain subsided a little and I was finally able to get out of the bed. This totally sucks! How old AM I that I pull a muscle moving my hair?! Ugh. Anyway, now I have a dull ache in the middle of my back and it hurts to move in certain ways, but I will live. I hope you are all having a better day than me!

Happy eating!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Swirl

My dear friend and neighbor J. invited us over for dinner Saturday night. My husband was immediately asking why she invited us, which honestly hadn't crossed my mind. I highly doubted she was going to ask us to sell Amway, but you never know... LOL Just kidding!

I asked what I could bring and she said dessert, and I just recently found this recipe for White Chocolate Cheesecake with Strawberry Swirl from Cuisine At Home, so I had to make it. Plus I had most of the ingredients already. I did make a few changes though; first, I had graham cracker crumbs so I used those instead of the chocolate wafer cookies, and second, raspberries were on sale and I already had raspberry jam so I used those instead of strawberries.


10 oz. fresh strawberries, hulled, quartered
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. strawberry preserves
juice of 1/2 lemon (or 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice)
2 tbsp. water
2 tsp. cornstarch

7 chocolate wafer cookies, crumbled
3 whole graham crackers, crumbled
2 tbsp. sugar
pinch salt
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (I used salted butter and omitted the pinch of salt)

For The Cheesecake:
8 oz. white chocolate, chopped
3 - 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup cold strawberry sauce

Process berries, sugar, preserves, and lemon juice for the sauce in a food processor until smooth. (I used a small bowl and my immersion blender.) Transfer to a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth; whisk into berry mixture. Simmer to thicken slightly, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill until cold.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees with rack in the center. Coat a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray. (I forgot to and it was fine.) Process the cookies, crackers, sugar and salt for crust in a food processor until fine. Add butter as machine is running. (I mixed about 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs with 3 tbsp. melted butter and 2 tbsp. sugar with a fork.) Pat crumbs onto bottom of pan.
Melt white chocolate for the cheesecake over a double boiler and set aside. (I used the microwave) Blend cream cheese and sugar until smooth, using a mixer and scraping the sides of the bowl periodically. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Blend in melted chocolate, vanilla, and lemon juice. Pour batter over crust, then drizzle with 1/4 cup of sauce. Swirl sauce into batter to create a marbled pattern with a toothpick. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake until edges are set and puffed but center is still jiggly, 60-80 minutes. DO NOT over bake. Turn off oven, crack door open with a wooden spoon, an cool cake in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool completely. Cover cake with a towel and chill overnight. Serve with remaining sauce.

This cake was SO delicious. There are a lot of ingredients and directions, but it wasn't hard to make.

Happy eating!

Friday, October 2, 2009


I love burritos, especially from Chipotle, where you get to tell them what you want inside of it. Mine are very good too, but I don't offer as many choices! Ha!


1/2 lb. ground beef
1 can refried beans
1 can petite diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 packet burrito seasonings
1 package burrito-size tortillas
1 package shredded Mexican-blend cheese
2-3 cups shredded lettuce
sour cream

Brown the ground beef and drain off the fat. Add the beans, tomatoes, and seasoning packet; stir well. Heat until bubbly, then reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread desired amount of meat mixture on tortillas, top with lettuce, cheese, and sour cream. Roll up and eat!

If you heat the tortillas in a damp paper towel in the microwave for 20 seconds they will be less likely to tear. I know that one you gave me that tip and I can't remember who, but thanks again!

Well, Chicago did not win the Olympic bid. Whew! Thank goodness that is over. Unfortunately it is still the ONLY thing the newspeople can talk about it. Good to know there isn't ANYTHING else newsworthy going on in this big city.

I also want to say that although I can make and love pumpkin seeds, I have no idea how to actually cook the pumpkin meat itself. I don't like pumpkin, sorry Lissaloo! But I have heard that you can buy small-ish pumpkins, clean out the goo, take the meat out and turn it into soup, and then serve the soup inside the little pumpkins! How cool would that be?!

The meal plan for the coming week is: Chicken Parmesan, Tacos, Beef & Rice Fiesta, frozen pizza, Spaghetti & Breadsticks, Egg & Cheese Sandwiches, and (to bring as dessert to a dinner we were invited to) White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Swirl.

Happy eating!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fancy Grilled Cheese

I love a good old-fashioned grilled cheese sandwich, but sometimes you need a little extra oomphf. So tonight I will make grilled cheese, but on rye bread, with tomato slices, and one slice each of american, cheddar, and swiss cheese. These are SO good you could serve them to company with a big pot of homemade soup. Everyone loves comfort food, after all. Unfortunately, I will not be making homemade soup tonight, Campbell's will have to do.

After cleaning the house today, I decorated it will all my Halloween decorations. It looks very festive in here - I love it! I can't wait to buy pumpkins and make pumpkin seeds, all my family and friends love my crispy, salty pumpkin seeds. I also love to carve the pumpkins and put them on the front porch. I try to buy at least 4-6 pumpkins - my husband thinks I'm crazy, but I only get to do it once a year! On Nov. 1st this will all come down and the Thanksgiving decorations will go up. Then on Nov. 28th the turkeys will come down and I give myself one week without ANY decorations before "decking the halls" for Christmas. By New Year's Day I am usually itching to take down all the decorations and get my house back to normal.

The news reports here are filled with talk about the Olympic bid that Chicago has in the ring for the 2016 games. A lot of people think this would be a good thing for Chicago, bringing jobs and a boost to our economy with all the tourists. However, our city is just as cash-strapped as every other city out there and most people are worried that Joe Taxpayer is going to end up footing the bill. Plus, it is no secret that crime, mostly from gangs, is a major problem here - especially on the south side where they want to hold most of the events. I personally hope we don't get them. Is there anyone out there who lived in or near a host city for any other Olympic games? Atlanta, perhaps? I would love to hear how it affected your daily life (and tax bill).

Happy eating!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Potato Pancakes & A New Book Club

Tonight I will be making potato pancakes from a Hungry Jack box mix, you just add water and eggs. It is a simple and cheap meal - the box costs under $2. I will serve them with applesauce and sausage patties. Yum! Someday I will attempt to make potato pancakes from scratch, but I just know I'll cut my knuckles grating all those potatoes! I have heard of using frozen shredded potatoes - maybe I'll try that instead. :)

My newest friend Lissaloo from the blog One Step At A Time suggested that we start an online blog book club, so we did! We also have a third co-author, Jen, who is new to blogging. It is called One Book At A Time and I really hope you will all go and check it out. I really like this idea because I love to read and I am excited to be exposed to new authors.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Black Bean Chili & Cornbread

It is a cold, grey, windy day here in the Windy City! haha! I have been waiting awhile now for the perfect day to make chili and this is it. I am pretty sure I got this recipe from Rachel Ray, but I cut WAY back on the chipotle powder. I vaguely remember the first time I made this chili - I couldn't eat it because it was SO hot (but my husband loved it).


1.5 lbs. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can petite diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 can of beer
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. steak seasoning
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. chipotle powder

In a large pot, brown the ground beef with the onion. Drain off fat. Add black beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and all seasonings. Pour in only half the can of beer, add more as needed until chili reaches desired consistency. Heat to boiling over high heat. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sometimes we have beer in the fridge, but most of the time we don't. Instead of buying a whole 6-pack I will just buy one of those large cans, and I never end up using the whole thing in the chili. Also, I always make elbow macaroni on the side, then I mix some together with my own bowl of chili. Some people call this chili-mac, which is fitting. My mom always served her chili with elbow mac and it is weird for me to eat chili without it.

I am also making cornbread from a box mix; just add an egg and milk. I like the Jiffy brand, but today I am using the Aldi brand (Baker's Corner) which is really good too. I think it is a great side dish for many fall/winter meals because it is yummy of course, but also because it is so cheap! The box of mix costs about .35 cents and I always have some milk and eggs in my fridge. Can't beat that!

Happy eating!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chicken Patties

I was going to make chicken patties tonight and serve them on hamburger buns with lettuce and tomato. Then I realized that my husband had WAY more sloppy joes than I thought he would the other night and we only have one hamburger bun left. Time to improvise! I grabbed a gravy packet and instant mashed potatoes from the cabinet and voila! Problem solved. I have salad in the fridge to serve on the side.

On Friday night I made frozen chicken kievs with rice. On Saturday night we had Subway subs. Last night I threw a frozen pizza in the oven. My meal plan for the week is: Black Bean Chili, Burritos, Potato Pancakes with Sausage Patties, and Chicken Parmesan.

My daughter's school takes the kids on various field trips through the year and, of course, every parent signed up to be a chaperon. The teacher said that since so many of us volunteered we would only get to go on one trip per parent, which is fine by me, sounds fair. I am happy to report that I was chosen to go on the trip to the pumpkin farm in October! I haven't been to a pumpkin farm since I was a little girl and I am so happy I get to do this with my daughter! I am also looking forward to getting to know her classmates, since she'll be in class with them for the next 8 years. :)

Happy eating!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Smoked Sausage, Sauerkraut, & Potatoes

This meal is an old favorite that my mom made for years. I mistakenly thought it was something only she made, silly girl! I made it for my husband shortly after we were married and he said his mom made (pretty much) the same recipe. There must be a 1960's cookbook out there with the original recipe, but I haven't found it yet.

Anyway, my mom would rinse the sauerkraut to get rid of the sourness and she would add way more brown sugar than I use, but we like it a bit on the sour side - it is sauerkraut after all! Also, she used regular smoked sausage, but I use skinless - we just prefer it that way.


1 package skinless smoked sausage (Eckrich or Hillshire Farms are good)
1 - 27 oz. can sauerkraut, drained well
8 small red or white potatoes
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar

Pour the oil into a pressure cooker to coat the bottom. Add the sauerkraut, brown sugar, and water; stir well. Scrub the potatoes, then cut them into quarters and place on top of sauerkraut. Cut the sausage into 6 equal pieces and place on top of potatoes. Put the lid on the pressure cooker and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Release steam before opening.

I have a new pressure cooker that has a dial on top which I set to 1 when cooking this meal. My mom had an old school pressure cooker with a weight on top; when it would start jiggling she would then start timing the meal to cook for 20 minutes (it took about 10 minutes to get there). I can't wait to inherit my mom's old pressure cooker! But my dad loves this meal and makes it for himself, so I won't be getting it until he joins my mom in heaven.

The other great thing about this recipe is that you can easily double the recipe for a large family or party and it is pretty cheap, especially if you get the sausage in a 'buy one, get one free' sale. (If you do this you will have to add to the cooking time and add water.) If you prefer a sweeter meal, then you can rinse the sauerkraut or add more brown sugar or both (like my mom). I serve this meal with mustard, regular or spicy brown, to dip your sausage in for an added kick.

This is one of only two meals I make in my pressure cooker; the other is beef stew. I really should find more recipes for this wonderful contraption. If you have any that you love PLEASE share them! Thanks!

Happy eating!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Italian Sausages

I am dragging George out of the cabinet tonight and using it to cook italian sausages. (George would be my George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine.) I will serve them on hot dog buns with a cucumber-red onion salad dressed with salt, pepper, rice vinegar, and olive oil. I wish I had some sweet & spicy sauce, but I don't. :(

Across the street from my husband's company is a cheese distributor where we buy sliced american cheese in bulk for a great price. Their company has been there as long as my husbands company, and the families have become friends over the years as the businesses passed from generation to generation. Anyway, sometimes the owner will give us samples of things like different cheeses or Vegeta, and one time we got a jar of oriental sweet & spicy sauce. I didn't think I would like it (and only tried it after much coaxing from my husband), but I loved it. What have you tried lately? Did you love it or hate it?

Funny story: Many, many years ago, I was out to dinner with my parents and brother and I ordered calamari for an appetizer. My brother asked if he could try it and I said yes. He really like it and I was happy to share. As the plates were cleared away, he asked "so, what is calamari anyway?". When I replied that it was squid he turned the palest shade of green. hahahaha!

Happy eating!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sloppy Joes & Mac 'n' Cheese

When my husband called at 3:30pm to let me know he would be home around 4:15pm I asked if he was hungry and he said he was ravenous! So I rattled off the dinner plan and he chose sloppy joes with mac'n'cheese.

We prefer to make the sloppy joes with ground beef (brown it and drain off the fat), a can of tomato paste, water, and a McCormick's Sloppy Joe seasoning packet. For some reason we don't like the canned sauce, and honestly we haven't had it in so long I can't remember why. :) The mac'n'cheese was the deluxe variety from Aldi for $1.30; techinically it was shells'n'cheese - whatever, it was yummy! For extra cheesy shells'n'cheese I don't use all the noodles in the box. I always take out about 1/4 cup of the noodles and throw them in a noodle box I have in my cabinet.

The noodle box is where I throw macaroni, shells, rotini, etc. when I am not using all the noodles that come in a box. When I have enough I use them in my cold tuna salad or serve them with chili. My daughter thinks it is so silly to have different kinds of noodles together!

Happy eating!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Soup & Grilled Cheese

It is a fairly cool day here, cloudy and breezy and we'll be lucky if we reach 72 degrees. For dinner I am going to make Campbells soup, minestrone for me and tomato rice for my husband, along with grilled cheese made on thick sliced Vienna bread with American and Cheddar cheeses. Yum!

Saturday I made a fresh double batch of the lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and did some house cleaning. That night we went to LaVilla Restaurant and used the gift card we got from my FiL for our anniversary. We also had a coupon for a free appetizer, so we got the bruschetta which was delicious. They also bring you olive oil with roasted garlic in it and warm fresh bread for dipping. I ordered the angel hair pasta with garlic and oil sauce and it was SO good, and my husband got the fettucini alfredo. He was able to finish his, but I had to get a doggie bag. We also got dinner salads with our meals, so I was practically stuffed before our food even came!

On Sunday was my daughter's birthday party. The morning was spent cleaning the house and cleaning up and decorating the yard. Our good friend T. loaned us her big bouncy house, which took up most of the yard. :) Then I made homemade pizzas and the guests started arriving. The girls had a BLAST bouncing around! We sang happy birthday and opened presents and about a half hour before the party was to end it started raining! So we ran inside and boy was I glad the house was clean! The girls had fun playing (destroying) our daughter's playroom until their moms arrived. All in all, it was a great success. Hooray! But I'm glad I only have to do that once a year. :)

Happy eating!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Omelets, Sausage, Biscuits

Hello all! So, what excuse do I have for not posting since Tuesday? None! Dinners have not been all that exciting around here, so I got lazy and didn't post them.

On Wednesday morning I worked at my daughter's school which fulfilled a few of the service hours we are required to perform. Her teacher had me cutting and correlating and gluing and stapling. Then I took my kid to lunch at McDonalds and then we went to the library and checked out 20 new books for her. That night I made a frozen Palermo's Six Cheese Thick Crust pizza in the oven. It was really good!

Last night we both ate leftover Veggie Pitas; my husband had a veteran's committee meeting from 5:30-6:30 and I had a school open house/PTL meeting from 6:30-7:30, plus we were babysitting our neighbors kid.

Tonight I am making breakfast for dinner. I will make cheese omelets, sausage gravy and biscuits from a can. Easy and yummy! Have a great weekend!

Happy eating!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Veggie Pitas

Tonight we are having Veggie Pitas for dinner. Last time I posted this recipe I called them Veggie Gyros, which I found out was incorrect; really it was the fault of the magazine from which I got the recipe. You see, to be called a gyros they must have gyros meat in them, and seeing as these have veggies only they must be called pitas. Are we all clear on this now? :) The recipe can be found by clicking here. It also contains the story of how my husband annoyed me and led to my vow never to shop with him again.

Today after I dropped off my daughter at school, I came home and did the dishes before running out to Target. I figured I would let the morning rush hour die down before heading to the closest Target, which is a little further into the city. BIG mistake. I should have jumped on the expressway OUT of the city to the next closest Target in the northern suburbs. But no, I got about halfway to the city one when I ran into serious traffic and it took me almost twice as long to get there. Ugh. But I got there and it would not have been a big deal, except they didn't have the dress size I needed at that location and I had to go to the suburban one anyway. Sheesh! Thank goodness the outbound expressway was open, I made it in record time.

The dress is a dress-up ballet dress for my daughter, and I was buying it for my father-in-law to give to her. He had asked for my help in the shopping department for birthdays and Christmas, so I called and told him I would be going to Target and would he like me to pick something up for him, to which he of course said yes. I knew she really wanted that dress because we saw it at the store on Sunday, but I told her it was too expensive. I should have just gone back to that suburban store, but no, I had to try to save time by going to the closer one. What is that saying? If you want to make God laugh, make a plan. Or would this be more of a Murphy's Law moment? Ugh. The things we do for our kids!

Happy eating!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tacos & A Winner

I have not posted since Friday, hoping for lots of comments for the giveaway, but there were only five. You all must have had very busy weekends! Good, you should be out having fun, not inside on the computer. :)

So, without further ado, the winner is.... Heidi from Tried & True Cooking With Heidi! She will receive the September issue of Chicago Magazine, featuring The 30 Greatest Burgers. Congrats!

On Saturday night I made 4 of the Pepperoni Pan Pizzas because it was my dad's birthday and that is what he wanted for dinner. We only ate two of them so he took one home and left one for us (and it is already gone). Then we ate the lemon cupcakes I made Thursday for dessert.

On Sunday it was my daughter's birthday so I let her eat doughnuts for breakfast, then we went shopping. She had received cash from her aunt in FL and a gift card for a bookstore from my dad and she couldn't wait to spend them. We got Subway for dinner and I split a 12" tuna on wheat with lettuce and tomato with my daughter.

Tonight we are having tacos for dinner, nothing fancy. Store bought shells, ground beef seasoned with a taco seasoning packet, and the usual toppings of cheese, sour cream, tomato, lettuce and taco sauce.

Happy eating!

Friday, September 11, 2009

100th Post! Giveaway

Wow, I cannot believe this is my 100th post! I knew it was coming, but now it is here! I do not have a big, fancy giveaway, but I do have a little, plain one for you. :) I am giving away a copy of Chicago Magazine, so please leave a comment before Monday and you will be entered to win! It will be very scientific, we'll be putting your names in a hat and my daughter will draw one. Good luck! And be sure to check back here to see if you won!

It is Friday so we are having pizza. Tonight we ordered a party-size pizza, half extra cheese and half pepperoni from LaVilla. As I (think) I have said before, LaVilla is a restaurant/pizzeria and also has a lovely banquet hall, which is where we had our wedding reception. My FiL got us a gift card to the restaurant for our anniversary, which I thought was very sweet of him (and apt!).

The goulash last night was really good, but a little overwhelming with the 3 bay leaves. Maybe I'll only use one next time. While I was eating it my daughter looked in my bowl and asked if it was chili. I told her "No, it's goulash". She wrinkled her nose with a confused look on her cute little face and said "I thought you wore those on your feet?". LOL

Happy eating!