Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 17-23, 2013

Sunday:  Crockpot Venison Tacos with Cilantro Lime Rice

Crockpot Venison Tacos
·          This recipe is actually intended for a beef brisket, but we have a few venison roasts in our freezer, so I used one of those instead.  I used this recipe from Gimme Some Oven – a blog I really enjoy!  The flavor of this dish was perfect, but sadly, I didn’t account for the lack of fat in venison, so our lunch ended up very dry.  We still made due and added barbeque sauce and made quesadillas for everyone.  But, we were both disappointed.  L  We will try this again, though!  We have plans to increase the cooking liquid and decrease the cooking time.  I’ll let you know!

Monday:  Roasted Chicken & Veggie Tortellini

Roasted Veggie & Chicken Tortellini
·          This recipe is great because you can really add any vegetables you have on hand.  It's a one-dish meal that has everything tossed together.  Using a rotisserie chicken makes it super easy and delicious!

- 1 rotisserie chicken
- 2 small zucchini
- 1 tomato
- 1 head cauliflower
- olive oil
- Italian seasoning
- 9 oz package of cheese tortellini
- 4 Tbsp pesto
- parmesan cheese

Cube the zucchini and cut up the cauliflower.  Put them on a foil-lined cookie sheet (for easy clean-up!) and toss with a little olive oil and the Italian seasoning.  Roast at 400 degrees until they just start turning golden brown - about 15 minutes depending on size.  Sprinkle with some freshly grated parmesan when done.  Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the bones and dice up the tomato.  Make the tortellini according to package directions.  Toss the chicken, roasted veggies, tomato, pesto, and tortellini together.  Enjoy!

Tuesday:  Grilled Venison Steak, Roasted Ranch Potatoes, & Roasted Green Beans

·          Again with the venison…I know!  But, since Chad shot it, we will eat it!  Chad actually took the lead and seasoned and grilled the venison, so all I did was take care of the sides.  My mom was over for dinner, so she diced potatoes for me.  J  Then I tossed them with a little olive oil and a generous amount of dry Ranch dressing mix.  I roasted those alongside green beans for 20 minutes (our potatoes were diced smaller so they would cook faster) at 425 degrees.  We really enjoyed Chad’s steaks, and I enjoyed a dinner with a very easy clean-up!

Wednesday:  Breakfast Night!  Biscuits, Bacon & Cheese Omelets,  & Fruit

·          Chad was out of town, and I could barely chew food because of a little adjustment to my braces, so it was to one of the boys’ favorite dinners we went…breakfast!  Seriously…this is never a bad idea in my house. 

Thursday:  Dinner at Mom’s!

Friday:  Grilled Kickin’ Chicken with Roasted Asparagus and Seasoned Yellow Squash

·          We love making this chicken, and it pretty much never fails to be amazing.  It’s so easy too, which is a big plus in my book.  The longer it marinates, the better it tastes!

Roasted Asparagus & Seasoned Yellow Squash
·          I washed and trimmed asparagus and placed it on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Then I sprayed on a little olive oil with my olive oil spritzer and sprinkled a little pepper and season salt on it.  Done!  For the squash, I cut two regular sized yellow squash into slices and threw them in a bowl.  Then I drizzled on olive oil.  After that, I added Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  I tossed that all together and added a little more olive oil and breadcrumbs until I liked how everything was sticking to the squash.  I put that on the other side of the baking sheet with the asparagus and roasted them together at 425 for about 15 minutes.  They both turned out great, and I was especially happy with the squash.  My boys really like a crispier zucchini or squash, and this was a perfectly quick way to make that happen!

Saturday:  Kickin’ Chicken Quesadillas with Spinach & Apple Salad

·          We had chicken leftover from the night before, so I diced it up for quesadillas.  I tried a new way of making quesadillas based off of making grilled cheeses in the oven.  I saw a tip on Pinterest several months ago that you could make several grilled cheese sandwiches in your oven at the same time by placing them between two baking sheets.  (I, of course, line mine with foil for easy cleanup!  J

I thought that the same method could work for quesadillas, and it did!!  I buttered the tortillas and put chicken and cheese in between them.  I placed a sheet of foil on top of the quesadillas, then another baking sheet over the foil, thus “smooshing” the quesadilla together.  I had the oven going at 425 degrees and let the quesadillas cook for about 12-15 minutes.  They turned out perfectly!  They were golden and crispy, and everything inside was hot and gooey.  I will definitely use this method for quesadillas again!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November 10-16, 2013

Sunday:  Chicken Tenders with Roasted Carrots & Zucchini
·          We’re hosting our small group at our house this month every Sunday night at 5:30.  So, dinner after group needed to be quick and easy!  Adding fresh vegetables to Purdue Simply Smart chicken tenders makes a healthy meal that we all enjoy.

Monday:  Simple Crockpot Paella with Toasted Whole Grain Bread

Simple Paella
·         This recipe is from Parents Magazine a few years back, and I actually haven’t ever tried it.  I’m not sure why I finally did, but I’m happy I gave it a shot!  It’s delicious and easy.  I’ll probably add a little more spice to it the next time I make it.  Also, don’t worry if your rice seems a tad thick or dry before you add the seafood and peas.  It will receive quite a bit of moisture from those last ingredients.  J

Crockpot Seafood Paella

Nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup chopped sweet peppers
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (reduce by half if you have younger kids)
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
12 oz. fresh or frozen shrimp
12 oz. tilapia fillets, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas

1. Coat a 3-1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray; add peppers, onion, and garlic and set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl combine the broth, rice, thyme, crushed red pepper, and turmeric. Microwave on high for 4 minutes or until just boiling. Pour over vegetables in cooker.

2. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 4 hours. An hour before it's finished cooking, stir in shrimp, tilapia, and peas. Cover and cook for the last hour. Remove cooker from liner; let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday:  Dinner with My Mom!

Wednesday:  Jamie’s Pasta Casserole with Peas & Bread

Jamie’s Pasta Casserole
·          This is a flavorful and easy recipe from my sweet friend, Jamie.  It makes a good amount and is a great leftover or freezer meal!

Ground Beef
Spaghetti Sauce
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
Pasta of your choice
Mozzarella cheese

Prepare a meat sauce how you would typically make it.  Cook your pasta.   After pasta is finished, combine warmed cream cheese and sour cream, then mix the combined mixture with pasta. Pour pasta in an oven safe dish and pour meat sauce over pasta.  Top with mozzarella cheese, cover, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Thursday:  BBQ Turkey Sausage, Baked Beans, & Mashed Potatoes

·          We had been gone most of the afternoon, so a quick meal was my plan.  I sautéed turkey sausage with BBQ sauce and made two quick sides of Bush’s Baked Beans and mashed potatoes.  Apparently this was a green veggie-free night!

Friday:  Family Dinner with Friends

Saturday:  Date Night! 

·          My mom came and stayed with the kids so Chad and I could have a date night!  Yay!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 3-9, 2013

*The kids and I were out of town late last week and early this week, so I took a week off from the blog.  I hope this week’s recipes make up for it.  J

Sunday:  In New Mexico

Monday:  In New Mexico

Tuesday:   Coming home from New Mexico – Here’s a recipe I made the week before!  J

·          I made this several months ago, and we really enjoyed it.  She’s actually altered the recipe just a bit, and I think for the better.  This time around, I used chicken tenders instead, which I think made it even better because the yummy pretzel breading covers more of the chicken.  Yum!  The homemade honey mustard dressing really makes this recipe special.  Try it!  (

Wednesday:  Quick Fettuccini Cacciatore, Kale Salad, & Whole Grain Bread

·          I’ve had this recipe from Kraft Recipes since Chad and I were newlyweds, but I haven’t made it in forever.  It’s an easy and flavorful recipe, and even my boys ate it without too much prompting.  It makes a good leftover too!

Kale Salad
·          Wash and chop fresh kale into bite-sized pieces.  Top with chopped nuts (I used pecans) and freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Then drizzle over a little olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice.  Sprinkle with ground pepper and toss everything together.  If you like kale, I think you’ll really enjoy this salad.  If you don’t know much about kale, this is a great way to give it a try!  What’s also great about kale is that it holds up well to the dressing, so it can be eaten a day or two later and still have a good bite to it!

Thursday:  Balsamic Glazed Salmon with Brown Rice & Quinoa and Sautéed Spinach

Balsamic Glazed Salmon
·          Salmon has always been a bit of a tricky fish for me.  It needs to be cooked the right way, or it just seems a bit off.  We’ve had success grilling it, but I wanted to try it in the oven.  The Pioneer Woman has a simple way of baking salmon that I was really pleased with.  I placed our salmon on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzled with olive oil.  Then I sprinkled on salt and pepper.  That’s it!  Place your salmon in a cold oven and heat to 400 degrees.  Leave it in the oven for 25 minutes, and it’s done!  I thought ours cooked perfectly.  While the salmon was in the oven, I made a simple glaze that is a recipe from my sister-in-law, Amber.  It was the perfect way to flavor the salmon!

Balsamic Glaze:
¼ cup water
¼ cup vinegar
1 ½ T fresh lemon juice
1 T plus 1 tsp. brown sugar

Stir together in bowl.  Simmer until thick and boiled down to about 1/3 cup.

Sautéed Spinach with Feta
·          In a cold skillet, place a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  Put in a few garlic cloves that have been finely chopped.  Heat these together until the garlic just starts to turn golden.  Don’t let it burn!  Once your garlic and oil are hot, put fresh, washed spinach in your pan.  Put quite a bit…the spinach will cook down to almost nothing.  There needs to be enough that it’s mounded in your pan.  If you are cooking for more than 2-3 people, do a few batches.  Toss the spinach around so it’s coated in the oil and garlic, then sprinkle on some salt and pepper.  Cover and cook for 1 minute ONLY.  After 1 minute, remove the spinach to another plate.  Cook more spinach if necessary.  Before serving, top with crumbled feta cheese.  Delish!

Friday:  Britney’s “10 Chicken,” Baked Spaghetti Squash with Garlic & Butter, & Roasted Green Beans

Britney’s “10 Chicken”
·          We visited with family last weekend, and one night I saw what my cousin Britney was making her family for dinner.  She called it “10 Chicken” because the first time she made it, her son, Maverick said, “This is so good, I could eat 10 of them!”  I told Ranger this story, so naturally he tried it and said the same thing.  Hehe…sometimes peer pressure isn’t a bad thing.  J

Chicken (we used boneless thighs)
Italian Dressing
Soy Sauce
Garlic Powder

Marinate the chicken in the dressing, soy sauce, & garlic powder in a Ziploc bag.  I think this would just taste better and better the longer you marinate it.  Britney pulled hers out from the freezer.  Chad grilled it up for us, and it was so, so good!

·          This is our absolute favorite way to eat spaghetti squash.  It’s so easy, and of course adding garlic, butter, & parmesan cheese makes it absolutely delicious!  (

Saturday:  Chicken Fried Venison, Pinto Beans, and Caesar Salad (And also a Buttermilk Chess Pie!)

Chicken Fried Venison
·          Chad shot a deer a few weeks ago, so he came home with venison that he cut up and froze into a few different cuts.  He used part of the meat for chicken fried venison tenders that he cooked outside on the grill burner.  They were yummy!!  Ranger ate a ridiculous amount.  We had some pinto beans frozen from the last time I made a batch, so those were an easy addition to the meal.  I added a simple salad, and we all ate to our heart’s content!   

·          Since Chad was using buttermilk to prepare the venison, I used some of it for a buttermilk chess pie.  Callen has been wanting to make pie for several weeks, so we finally did!  I even made a pie crust from scratch, which I haven’t often done.  I used The Pioneer Woman’s recipe, and it was so flaky and wonderful!  After making it and seeing how easy it is, and then tasting how delish it was, I will make this pie crust again and again!  The Buttermilk Chess Pie recipe is from  We ate it warm, about 1 hour after I pulled it from the oven.  Seriously…it was amazing!