Thursday, December 18, 2014

Menu Plan Monday Week 102 - Using What We Have

Well ... I just noticed on Thursday that the post never posted! So, here it is!

The holiday season is in full force and effect around here!!  We had our Christmas Party on Saturday, and even though we put a time frame on the invitation this year, the last person left around 2:30am ... making it a very very long day and night for this hostess.

We went through a lot of food and still have plenty leftover for some quick meals this week, thankfully!

I'm hoping to avoid the grocery stores this week ... thinking only thing we will need is milk ... fingers crossed that I can make that happen! *Thursday ... so far so good!*

Here's what we are looking to make this week:

Sunday - leftovers - lasagna, caprese salad and green salad. Feeding 6.

Monday - soup and sandwich ... will make a Broccoli and Cheese soup using the leftover fresh broccoli (from veggie tray) and cheese (from cheese tray) ... sandwiches will be using leftover rolls and leftover lunch meat (from meat tray). Balance of soup ingredients are in the pantry/fridge. Feeding 4 (maybe 5).

Tuesday - Taco Bowls (with ground turkey) ... ground turkey in freezer, lettuce in fridge, balance of ingredients in pantry/fridge. I have the taco bowls that I picked up on clearance last week for $2 a box. Feeding 2 (yes!)

Wednesday - No one was home so I just reheated meatballs with some fresh basil and parsley sprinkled over the top while I watched Survivors final episode.

Thursday - Hubby's office party (starts at 8:30pm!) and I am NOT going ... which is fine by me, in the end ;-) ... looking at snacky things like guac, salsa, chips, veggies, etc. They will have food trucks and caterers ... and NO SPOUSES. Hrrrmp.

Friday - My office dinner party ... Grille 66 ... I'm looking forward to the steak and frites again! Oh, yes, spouses ARE allowed at mine!

Saturday - Hubby's choice but I'm really looking for a laid back kind of  day ... I so need it!  *As I didn't make the soup on Monday, I will make it today and hopefully during daylight hours so I can get some good pics and share the recipe if worthy!

What are YOU making this week!?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls - a Christmas Tradition

The recipe originally comes from The Pioneer Woman ... and I've been making them every year for the past 5 years ... of course, I had to count on my fingers and remember key events to get to that number of years ... really, FOUR YEARS??

They aren't hard to make either ... I mean heck, if the Pioneer Woman is making them ... you know that they are GOOD and EASIER than most recipes ... gotta love that about anything!

I started making these on Christmas Eve one year, and it just became something that everyone expected ... and since I love that people LOVE when I make something for them, I'm always happy to bring out the flour and hop to the baking ...


I still have a HECK of a time getting rolled tight, but probably because I really really load them up with the filling. Which is what makes them so good, I think.

I also use brown sugar instead of white ... so there's my one noticeable difference in the recipe...give your self 2 days to make these as you can toss the dough in the fridge over night and roll and bake the morning of.

Cinnamon Buns ... my version:

2 cups of milk (I use 2%)
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup of white sugar
1 pkg yeast
4 cups plus 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder (make this heaping)
1/2 tsp baking soda (make this 'scant')
1/2 tbs salt (heaping)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
cinnamon

Ready?  Get yourself a big pot and add the milk, oil, sugar. Give it a quick whisk and scald the milk ... this is just BEFORE it starts boiling. Make sure the pot is big because it will bubble like mad AND you are going to mix the flour in too.



Once it is scalding go ahead and remove from the heat and let it sit for an hour or so til it cools down some (lukewarm to warm but NOT hot).

Sprinkle the yeast over top of and let that sit for a minute while it does it's foamy action.



Add in your 4 cups of flour. It's going to be a wet soggy mess, but that's ok. Put a lid on it and either let it rest for an hour on your counter top.



Add the 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder and baking soda AND the salt. Stir together. At this time, I would recommend you put in the fridge. It may grow overnight, just punch it down and tell it who's the boss. Personally, I would highly recommend you do the overnight thing. The dough will become much more manageable once it's cool like that. OR you can proceed to finishing them NOW.





::next morning::


Hello and good morning my baby (ummm, surely you talk to your food when excited?). Sprinkle your counter top surface with some flour. Dump the dough out in the middle of all the flour and roll out  into a rectangle (now, mind you, it does not need to be perfect).




Take your soft butter and rub it over the surface of the dough. Um, yes, I do use my hands because it's quicker and easier... then sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter and then the cinnamon. I don't measure the cinnamon, I just eyeball it, but I'm pretty generous with it.


Roll the rectangle up. I have no easy recommendations on this, except if you have a bench scrapper, use that to assist you where the dough might stick a little. I am still struggling with a TIGHT roll, but it's sufficient.

Once rolled, pinch the seam as much as you can. Cut into 1 inch sections (using the bench scraper, knife, non-waxed floss, etc.).

Place these is a dish that you've sprayed with non stick spray.


Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes.

Bake at 400 degrees til light brown, 15 to 18 minutes.


Pull out, and top with glaze. I've made it with powdered sugar and milk with a pinch of vanilla. But I prefer to use canned cream cheese frosting that I've diluted (to make pourable) with milk. I just dump the frosting in a bowl, add a little milk, whisk, add more milk (a little), whisk until it's runny enough.


Enjoy!


*This makes a TON of cinnamon rolls and you can easily cut the recipe in half! If you don't want a bunch of sweets taunting you this year, by all means, halve the recipe!

*I am going to become very emotional this year when I make these as the last time I made them, my neighbor had requested them after she had gone through some chemotherapy ... it took her all day to eat one but she ate it and called me to bring another for the following day.

Looking forward to sharing with some of these great parties ... make sure you check them out! Wonderful WednesdayHearth & SoulFluster Buster Creative Muster Show Me What Ya GotWhat's Cooking WednesdayIts a Party!Works For Me WednesdaySugar and SpiceWake Up WednesdayWhatever Goes WednesdayWednesday WhatsitsReal FunWork It WednesdayLovely Ladies, Weekly CreativeDomestic Superhero, All Things ThursdayThe Weekly CreativeTogether on Tuesday, Tasty ThursdayFull Plate ThursdayCreate It ThursdayFabulously Frugal ThursdayCrafty Thursday Obsessions Showcase Your TalentThink Tank ThursdaySimple Lives ThursdayFoodie FridayGet Real Frugal FridayFrugal FridaysFood on FridayFreakin Did It FridayFeature FridayThe Pin JunkieFreedom FridayFriday FavoriteFoodie Friday, A peek into my paradiseWeekend SocialFoodie Friends FridayFun Friday blog hopCelebrate It!,  Friday FavoritesTGIF BLOG HOPWeekend RetreatWhat’s ShakinWeekend WondersWeekend PotluckGet Him Feed Anything GoesDwell on FridaysFriday Foodfight, Lil Luna Link PartyFoodie FridayTGI Friday Friday with Friends, Simple Living Foodie FridayInspirationsWeekend WanderWeekly RoundupFeature Yourself Saturday, Saturday Night FeverThe Party BunchShow Off Saturday, I Gotta CreateShow Off WeekendShow Stopper SaturdaySweet and SavoryThe Weekend CreativeWeekend PotluckWill Cook For SmilesStrut Your Stuff SaturdaySaturday Show & TellSuper Saturday Show & TellSay G'day SaturdayNot Bad SundayPotluck PartySunday Showcase Sundae ScoopSuper SundayMop It Up MondayMerry MondayCreative MondayThe ScoopMelt In Your Mouth MondayPin It Party Made By You MondayHunk of Meat Monday What’d You Do This WeekendMarvelous MessMaking It CuterTime To SparkleMealtime MondayTime To Sparkle, Makin You Crave MondayClever ChickCreative Corner Blog HopMake Your Own MondayMix it Up Monday,  Save Money MondayLou Lou GirlsInspire Me MondayIn and Out of the Kitchen, MemoriesTasty TuesdaysTuesdays At Our HomeHow To TuesdayHandmade TuesdayMaking a HomeShow Me The GoodsTotally Tasty TuesdayAll My Bloggie FriendsShare Your Stuff TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowFat TuesdayPenny Pinching PartyThe Gathering SpotAnti-Procrastination Tuesdays

Monday, December 8, 2014

Warmed Artichoke and Spinach Dip

It's that time of year ... you know, where you pull out the SPECIAL recipes?

For me? It's the Spinach and Artichoke Dip.  You know, the stuff you buy at the restaurant when you go out to eat? Not me. Not anymore. After I learned how to make this stuff (and hey, it does NOT have cream cheese in it, ok? That's just WRONG) I made it every other weekend for like, 6 months. Then we weighed ourselves and realized that perhaps, this should not be a bi weekly type of snack :0

And I'm making it this year for our Christmas Party ... Yes, I am!

It's great the next day when you are little hungover too (um, not that I'm planning on that this year, no sir!).

Here's what you need ...



1 jar marinated artichokes, drained
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/3 cup Romano cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella
1/3 cup half and half (or milk, cream)
1/2 cup sour cream

Blend artichokes, Romano and Parmesan cheese in food processor til minced (but not quite pasty).

Squeeze spinach with hands to get the as much liquid as possible out. Add spinach to large bowl and break up as it will be compact. Add half and half, sour cream and mozzarella to large bowl and mix well.



Spoon artichoke mixture into this bowl and stir to combine well. Should have medium thick texture.

Spray shallow oven proof baking dish and pour mix into baking dish. Smooth out the top. I usually use a ceramic pie pan.


Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 25 minutes til bubbly and brown around edges.

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips (you can heat them in the oven for a few minutes to make them warm just like the restaurants if desired).


Occasionally, I will add diced red onions and bacon bits on top ... just to change things a little!

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these great parties ... make sure you check them out! Wonderful WednesdayHearth & SoulFluster Buster Creative Muster,  Show Me What Ya GotWhat's Cooking WednesdayIts a Party!Works For Me WednesdaySugar and SpiceWake Up WednesdayWhatever Goes WednesdayWednesday WhatsitsReal FunWork It WednesdayLovely Ladies, Weekly CreativeDomestic Superhero, All Things ThursdayThe Weekly CreativeTogether on Tuesday, Tasty ThursdayFull Plate ThursdayCreate It ThursdayFabulously Frugal ThursdayCrafty Thursday Obsessions Showcase Your TalentThink Tank ThursdaySimple Lives ThursdayFoodie FridayGet Real Frugal FridayFrugal FridaysFood on FridayFreakin Did It FridayFeature FridayThe Pin JunkieFreedom FridayFriday FavoriteFoodie Friday, A peek into my paradise, Weekend Social, Foodie Friends FridayFun Friday blog hopCelebrate It!,  Friday FavoritesTGIF BLOG HOPWeekend RetreatWhat’s ShakinWeekend WondersWeekend PotluckGet Him Feed Anything GoesDwell on FridaysFriday Foodfight, Lil Luna Link PartyFoodie FridayTGI Friday Friday with Friends, Simple Living Foodie FridayInspirationsWeekend WanderWeekly RoundupFeature Yourself SaturdayThe Party BunchShow Off Saturday, I Gotta CreateShow Off WeekendShow Stopper SaturdaySweet and SavoryThe Weekend CreativeWeekend PotluckWill Cook For SmilesStrut Your Stuff SaturdaySaturday Show & TellSuper Saturday Show & TellSay G'day SaturdayNot Bad SundayPotluck PartySunday Showcase Sundae ScoopSuper SundayMop It Up MondayMerry MondayCreative MondayThe ScoopMelt In Your Mouth MondayPin It Party Made By You MondayHunk of Meat Monday What’d You Do This WeekendMarvelous MessMaking It CuterTime To SparkleMealtime MondayTime To Sparkle, Makin You Crave MondayClever ChickCreative Corner Blog HopMake Your Own MondayMix it Up Monday,  Save Money MondayLou Lou GirlsInspire Me MondayIn and Out of the Kitchen, MemoriesTasty TuesdaysTuesdays At Our HomeHow To TuesdayHandmade TuesdayMaking a HomeShow Me The GoodsTotally Tasty TuesdayAll My Bloggie FriendsShare Your Stuff TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowFat TuesdayPenny Pinching PartyThe Gathering SpotAnti-Procrastination Tuesdays

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Menu Plan Week 101 - Using What We Have

It's the 2nd week of DECEMBER!!!

Yes, I'm feeling a little pressure ... We got the Boy's birthday out of the way on Friday last week (22 years old!) and I ended up stopping at Whole Foods and picking up some New York Strips and grilling them ... along with sweet potato fries. The girlfriend made margaritas and a cake and the Princess made a salad. Nice ...

This week, we have the Princess birthday to get out of the way on Monday (chicken piccata, her favorite) ... but I think the Boy is working that night so he's going to miss out (no loss on his part, he'd say, he doesn't do chicken willingly!

We also have the boat parade party on Saturday so the week ahead is going to be super busy. We have 3/4 of the lights done outside, will buy the Christmas tree today, and I need to get crackin on the decorating of the inside of house.  I also have my list of foods going but it's not complete so I really need to work on that ...

There was a stop at Costco on Saturday ... for the party and other stuff ... spent WAY TOO MUCH and have resigned myself to the fact that I must make that a cash only store from here on out. 2015 Resolution! I will be posting that trip later today or tomorrow ...

UPS and the mail man have been stopping at the house pretty frequently this past week with Christmas deliveries ... thank you Amazon for making my life so much easier ... I've been buying all my small stocking stuffers and gifts using the gift cards earned through Swagbucks. If you are one those who don't know yet (!!??) 450 swagbucks gets you a $5 Amazon giftcard ... sweet! AND if you shop through Swagbucks to Amazon, you can earn up to 5 points for each dollar spent in certain departments ... sweet!

Ok, ok, I know, you are here for the weekly Menu Plan ... so continue on!

Sunday - Creamy Chicken Soup ... all ingredients in fridge and freezer, will also pull out some dinner rolls Pulled pork sandwiches with a small salad ... serving 4. Found a package of cooked bbq pork that I had put in the freezer (foodsaver bag) and will use some of these buns that I picked up from Costco. (Got carried away decorating and doing chores that the soup is going to have to wait!)


Monday - Birthday girl, Princess is 24! She has requested Chicken Piccata. I need to get capers and pasta ... chicken in freezer, lemons in fridge (Costco) and balance of ingredients in pantry. Serving 4.



Tuesday - Taco Tuesday ... beef in freezer, fixins in fridge ... will make a batch of salsa probably. Feeding 4.



Wednesday - Time to get crackin on the food prep for Saturday ... clean out the fridge night: leftovers, soup and sandwich, salad UNLESS the kids want to hop to and make something for ME without cluttering up the main kitchen.  ;-) Yeah right? Feeding 6.

Thursday - frozen pizzas from the freezer (DiGiornos, picked up for $3 each, sweet deal!) ... need to really get crackin on the food prep this evening! Will offer up a side of salad if desired. Feeding 6 (we have 4 pizzas in the freezer and I'm willing to let all 4 be consumed). TIP: You know my freezers are overflowing so I don't have room for FOUR pizza boxes ... I take them out of the boxes and right the temp and time to cook on the backside of the pizza (where the cardboard insert is, on the plastic). Saves quite a bit of room!



Friday - I almost want to say FEND FOR YOURSELF but that would not make a lot of people happy, you know?  Sandwiches, folks. Simple and do it yourself. May need to buy more turkey lunch meat, not sure yet.  Bread, fixins in the fridge/pantry ... I will also get some chips (party food) to portion out. Serving 6.  I will probably make a last minute run to the store either tonight or Thursday.

Saturday - Party night. 6:30 to 11 is the time we put on the invitations. We normally do not put an ending time, however, years past have led to 3am shutting of the garage door and I really don't want to do that this year. PLUS, we have some first time attendees this year, which is pretty exciting. Will have lasagna (store bought), macaroni and cheese (store bought), dinner rolls (freezer), cheese platter (Costco), with crackers (pantry), spicy meatballs (Costco meatballs and pantry ingredients), chicken wings (freezer), snausages (freezer), spinach (cold) dip, onion dip, olive tray, veggie tray, fruit bowl, deviled eggs, caprese bites, and oh, so much more. I will make a batch of cookies and a cake (since I didn't make any for the 2 birthdays) ... we anticipate about 40 people this year and will do the majority of the cooking ourselves ... I will employ the kids skills this year!  I realize that there are some recipes here I need to do a post and link!

What are YOU planning this week? Make sure you check Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday party ... tons of others link up if you are in a rut!