Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More from the Weekly Recipes, and one for Levi

Sorry, I had to stop last night with only one recipe. There were lots of things going on and I figured chicken recipes could wait. Just in case any of you were biting your nails in suspense (I'm just kidding, I'm not delusional), I got back on here this morning to try it again.

Last night for supper we did have grilled chicken. I tried out a new recipe and I'll share it with you below. It was super simple (the way I like it) and was fine but didn't blow me away. Maybe it was just the type of cajun seasoning I put on it that was the culprit. It was good, but it didn't blow me away. My oldest son, however, loved it and ate three pieces. It is definitely a recipe I'll save and tinker with. A couple of substitutions I made to it last night--I replaced the chicken breasts with chicken tenderloins, making my grill time just as quick without having the pounding step, and I substituted Splenda's brown sugar for regular brown sugar because of my diet.

Caramelized Cajun Chicken

I found this recipe in a magazine. I think it was Southern Living, but I can't promise since I had cut it out.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
salt to taste

Preheat the grill to 350-400 degrees (med-hi heat). Place chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap (or wax paper); flatten to 1/2 inch thickness using a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet. Stir together brown sugar and Cajun seasoning; rub mixture over chicken. Grill chicken, lid closed, four minutes on each side or until done. Season with salt to taste. You can also substitute pork chops or chicken thighs for breasts.

Tonight we're grilling pork chops. This is Jon's specialty. He brushes them with olive oil and sprinkles them with a seasoning called Cracker Girl. I'm not sure where you'd find Cracker Girl. We order ours from the company. If anyone is interested, I can get the info for them off the jar. It is YUMMY. It's great on any kind of meat, to give a little kick to steamed vegetables, and I even sprinkle a tad on my macaroni and cheese. If you can't get your hands on Cracker Girl, you could use McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning. It's great too.

These are two recipes to get you started on suppers. I'll post my pizza recipe and potato recipe in the next couple of days. For now, I'll give you just one more. This is the recipe that Levi requested. Last spring Joey and I hosted a ladies' tea and we needed a little something savory, but simple (of course). We took an old recipe I had, one that probably everyone has, and made one simple little change that had yummy results. We gave it a new name on our menu, as we were feeling fancy that day and printed menus. Here are the results.

Sweet and Sour Pennies

2 pkgs beef hot dogs 1 12 oz. bottle chili sauce
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped 1 10 oz. jar grape jelly

Slice hot dogs into thin rounds. In a crockpot or on stove top, combine remaining ingredients. Add "pennies"; simmer for 30 minutes.

P.S. I lost another pound today on my diet.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This Week's Recipes

Mini Meatloaves

This one I found in a Taste of Home magazine many years ago. It was one of the first recipes I tried after I got married and it's been a favorite at our house ever since. Last night, for my diet, I substituted ground oatmeal for the breadcrumbs so I wouldn't use any flour. I could tell a little difference, but it wasn't a bad swap at all.

2 eggs, beaten 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 c. breadcrumbs 1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 c. milk 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese 2 lbs. hamburger meat
1/4 c. chopped onion 1/4 c. ketchup (I never measure, just squirt some on each one to cover)

In a large bowl, mix the first eight ingredients. Add hamburger and blend well. Shape into 10 loaves. Pour a large dot of ketchup on each. Sprinkle each with additional Parmesan and Italian seasoning. Bake on a rack in a greased shallow pan for 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees.

I'll have to come back and add the other recipes later. Happy cooking.

By Request

Today's been a visiting kind of day. First with the ladies at Bible study, then with my very dear aunt and uncle, and then with my neighbor. And I'm only partly through the afternoon. Now it's time to visit with you for a few minutes. What a great spring day it's turning out to be.

First, I'll report on the diet progress. Day 2 and I didn't go insane yesterday without sugar or flour, even after making a batch of cookies for the kids. I promise, I didn't even lick the spoon. When I hopped on the scale this morning I'd lost three pounds! I know, I hopped back on to double check. I think God was giving me a gracious jumpstart.

Today has gone well too. I did almost have a mishap at lunch though. I had promised Meredith a trip to McDonald's on our way to Aunt Betty's and when I went to order I automatically said I'd take a hamburger and fries. I then had to tell her to scratch that and make it a salad instead. Oh, that was a hard one! I do love me some hot McDonald's french fries. It was only later that I realized it wouldn't technically have been cheating to eat the fries since we'd just said no flour and no sugar, but I wasn't going back. Besides, it saved some starch and some grease that I didn't need.

Now to the requests. I have been given some specific recipe requests and asked to just share my recipes in general. I do love to cook. I guess I'll pass on the info, y'all can eat it. I'll pretend while I eat my salad. Joey also requested that I include my menu plan for the week. Yes, I make out a menu plan that I try to go by for the week. It's one of the many lists I make. The GoGo's had a song on their Vacation album back when I was in high school (yes, that dates me, you do the math) and it went something like "I am a girl of a hundred lists..." and that is me in a nutshell. It could be my theme song. Maybe if I was any good at technical stuff I could figure out how to play it on here. Sorry, I'm digressing.

Back to the menu list. I will put that on here weekly for all who are interested on Mondays. It's nothing fancy. I don't usually do things that are complicated because of busy schedules, kids to please, and from the fact that I like it simple. I've always found that the simpler it is the better it is. That's goes for just about anything. I'll list the main dish and sides. If it's fairly simple I won't give the recipe for it, but you can always just comment that you want to know how I make it and I'd be happy to explain. I don't want to overwhelm you with too much information. And I do have a tendency to ramble on.

Monday--Mini Meatloaves, Rice A Roni (I know it's not gourmet but everybody loves it and it was on sale last week), Corn, and rolls

Tuesday--Grilled Chicken, green beans with new potatoes, and fruit salad

Wednesday--Grilled pork chops (I'm trying to be a good girl), baked beans, tossed salad

Thursday--out to eat this week

Friday--smoked sausage, macaroni & cheese, and glazed carrots

Saturday--homemade pizza

Sunday--baked ham, potato supreme, and Five Layer Strawberry Pie (that's my contribution to the family Easter dinner)

I'll have to come back later and post the actual recipes. Right now I've got to run out and meet the school bus. Hope you're having a great day.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Little Outside Time

Okay, I know I just posted something this morning, but I thought there was something worth sharing. Meredith (my five year old) and I were outside. She was playing around while I was doing a little weeding. What I need to do is a lot of weeding but that's another post.

Meredith's new favorite thing is to say "Pretend...okay?" She thinks of a million things to pretend and fill in those dots with. The thing is, you have to say "okay" with every question. Not so fun after a few hours. We were out there and she was pretending to be a mom named C and it was her daughter's birthday. I asked what she was doing and she told me she was picking some flowers to put on the table of her house because flowers always show extra love.

I thought that was a fairly wise statement for an imaginary woman named after a letter of the alphabet. I told her I liked her idea and we promptly picked some real flowers to put on our real table to show some extra love too. So there's my thought worth sharing--put some flowers on the table for your family and show some extra love. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, mine are just some azaleas and bridal wreath in a mason jar. But to me, that good, simple kind of love is the best.

First Day

I've been trying to set up this blog in between doing loads of laundry and wondering why I'm even doing it. I guess my purposes are two. The first is to get all these rambly thoughts out of my head and hopefully find people who are interested in the same things and in hearing what I have to say. The other purpose is to be accountable. I tend to have great intentions and a very lousy follow through on the personal front. I can do things for others, but doing things for myself like getting in shape or trying my hand at being creative always ends up being pushed aside. My theory is that if I'm accountable to the whole world, or at least a few followers, I'm more likely to do what I need to do. Maybe some will even join me on the journey.

One of my "Wanna Be" things is thinner. I know I need to be healthy, especially with my asthma giving me trouble, but it's just so hard. I'm not a yo-yo diet kind of girl. I'm a no-no diet kind of girl. But, my sweet sister-in-law Deb and I both said we'd start trying to be good today. She suggested that we start with no flour and no sugar. For me, who adores baking and has a definite sweet tooth, it's about breaking an addiction to carbs and sugar. So that's my goal for this week--no flour, no sugar. Ugh.

Another "Wanna Be", farmer. I dearly love all things farming. Don't ask me why. It's a strange attraction for me--cows, tractors, the smell of the feed in a silo. Alas, I am trapped on a little plot of suburbia. I am making the best of it though, with an herb garden, vegetable boxes, and we have a new addition of peach trees and raspberry bushes. More on that, and a few pictures, another day.

I would talk a bit about my itch for being creative, but some housework is calling my name. It's screaming actually, I think it's coming from the kitchen sink.