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!