Monday, December 22, 2014

December 14-21, 2014

*  This will be my last post until after the New Year!  I hope everyone has a wonderful and merry Christmas and a happy New Year!!

Sunday:  Small Group Christmas Party

Monday:  Healthy Mama Crockpot BBQ Chicken

·          I made this recipe long, long ago when I was stocking up the freezer before Sweet Baby #2.  I wanted to take a meal to some friends of ours that could either be frozen and made later or just used in the crock pot the next day, and I remembered this recipe that has everything you need right in it!  I also wanted to make enough for us to have as well.  The bummer was, I did my multiplication wrong and didn’t have as much chicken as I should have, so our sweet friends were a little light on the chicken and heavy on the veggies.  J  She sweetly said it was fine and that they added some pork to the meal that they already had in the fridge.  It really is a yummy and healthy meal that takes a little time to prep on the front end, but then you just stick it in the crockpot and it’s done!

Tuesday:  Dinner & Christmas Lights at Nonnie’s!

Wednesday:  Girls’ Dinner
·          Daddy was in charge of the kids!

Thursday:  Green Eggs, Bacon, & Pancakes

·          Chad was out of town, and the kids requested breakfast for dinner.  I made some whole wheat pancakes - this time I added flax!  Just to make sure they took in some greens, we had green eggs (egg omelet with spinach and feta).  J

And, I actually made a kale salad for myself and topped it with some basil and tortilla crusted tilapia from Costco.

Friday:  Green Chili Sour Cream Chicken with Roasted Broccoli & Carrots

Green Chili Sour Cream Chicken

·          I had some leftover sauce from making these Chicken Enchiladas With Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce that I had placed in the freezer a while back.  I thawed the sauce during the day, then I warmed it a bit on the stovetop.  Meanwhile, I browned some boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a sauté pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  When I turned them to the second side, I poured the warmed sauce over the top.  I simmered the chicken and sauce together for 25-30 minutes.  I served ours over brown rice with sides of roasted broccoli and carrots.  This was an easy meal to throw together since I made double sauce 6 weeks earlier!

Saturday:  Dinner Out

Sunday:  Crockin’ Girls Baked Ziti, Kale Salad, & Garlic Bread
·          Here’s a bonus day this week since there won’t be another menu until after the New Year.  J  Chad’s parents and my mom came to church with us on Sunday morning, and then they ate lunch with us.  I found this wonderful recipe in my Crockin’ Girls cookbook.  It was PERFECT for a Sunday lunch!  All I did once we arrived home was make a salad and warm some garlic bread.  There was plenty for all of us and a decent amount for leftovers. Yay!  I used sweet Italian turkey sausage.

Crockin’ Girls Baked Ziti 
from the new cookbook, The Crockin' Girls Slow Cookin' Companion

1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or Italian sausage/ground turkey (whatever suits your fancy)
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
2 egg whites
16 ounces mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon oregano, divided
1 16-ounce box ziti noodles
2 26-ounce cans of spaghetti/pasta sauce
1/2 teaspoons parsley

Brown ground beef with the onion and garlic; drain and set aside. Combine ricotta cheese, egg whites, 8 ounces of mozzarella, Parmesan, and 1/2 teaspoon oregano in a separate bowl; mix well. Rinse uncooked ziti in cold water. In the slow cooker, layer 2 cups sauce, 1/2 of the ground beef mixture, 2 ounces mozzarella, 1/2 of the ziti, and 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture; repeat. Top with the remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle the remaining oregano and the parsley on top. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 7-13, 2014

Sorry for the late post this week...the Christmas season and all its festivities has kept us a bit busy!  Thanks!  :-)

Sunday:  Easy Caramelized Baked Chicken, Roasted Butternut Squash & Green Beans, & Bread

Easy Caramelized Baked Chicken

  This recipe is from a blog called Eezy Recipes, and it most certainly fit that description!  I prepared the dish in about 5 minutes…that was it!  I did spoon over some of the sauce a few times while the chicken was cooking just to make sure the sauce stayed over the top of the chicken so it could get nice and caramelized.  It was delicious!  My kids loved it!

When the chicken had about 20 minutes left, I roasted some fresh green beans spritzed with olive oil and sprinkled with Season All alongside some cubed butternut squash that I had seasoned with a little olive oil, sage, salt, and pepper.  Yum!  Once the chicken was done, I turned the oven up to 425 degrees so the veggies would finish roasting at a higher temperature.

Monday:  Pizza Night 
  A quick meal before Callen and Payton's preschool Christmas program.  

Tuesday:  Ground Venison and Veggie Soft Tacos with Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas

  I'm really taking advantage of having venison in our freezer from Chad's last hunting trip.  He ground some of the venison, and it cooks well for any recipe where you would normally use ground beef or turkey.  I love it because it has almost no fat, so I don't even have to drain off the grease after browning it!  I'll take organic, lean meat any day!  

  I sauteed some fresh, chopped spinach, carrots, onion and garlic in a pan with a little olive oil.  Once all of those veggies were soft, I browned the meat and added homemade taco seasoning (from One Good Thing By Jillee).  Once the meat was cooked through, I added some diced tomatoes.  I left all of that on warm while I made homemade, whole wheat tortillas (from The Lean Green Bean).  We topped ours with cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.

Wednesday:  Honey Garlic Pork Chops with Baked Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Butter and Sauteed Zucchini

  These pork chops are simple and delicious!  Chad grilled them for me, so my job was even easier.  I marinated them for a few hours before grilling time.  

  A favorite way to eat spaghetti squash in our family!

Thursday:  Santa's Village with Grammy and DadDad!

Friday:  Christmas Party with Our Church Youth Group

Saturday:  Grilled Dove, Hunters Rice, Spinach Salad

  Chad took care of dinner for me!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

November 30 - December 6, 2014

Sunday:  Dinner with Small Group

Monday:  Gumbo with White Rice
·          Chad made some amazing gumbo with some of our leftover turkey, duck, and sausage.  It was amazing!  I’m pretty lucky to have a guy who enjoys cooking (when he has time!).  Gumbo is an adaptable recipe because you can use a bit of whatever meats you have on hand.  Here’s Chad’s version:

Chad’s Conglomerate Gumbo

Total Time:3 hours
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 2 hr 45 min
Yield: 8 to 10 servings


4 duck breasts, spoonbills a good option
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup smoked turkey/chicken
Salt and pepper
Tony Chacheres
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup peanut oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
4 cups broth/stock
2 cups water (fill broth bag after emptying)
1 bag frozen sliced okra
4 green onions, sliced, white and green parts


Prep by chopping onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic (trinity) and set aside in a bowl.  Cut sausage into ¼ slices and set aside with duck breasts and shredded turkey/chicken.

Add small amount of oil to hot dutch oven type pot and sear the duck and sausage together for about 6-8 minutes.  Remove meat, set aside in a bowl, and proceed to roux.  To make roux, add the ½ cup oil to pot and let get hot over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of butter and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until rich brown, about 20-30 minutes.  Be patient, whisk constantly, and do not let burn.  If you don’t have time for this step, buy a jar of ready-made roux.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, along with the trinity mixture and cook for 10 minutes, stirring with wooden spoon until mixture well coated and onions start to wilt. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, Tony Chach to taste. Add 4 cups broth, 2 cups water, and bay leaves while whisking constantly. Add the chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for one hour. Add okra. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until ready to serve.  Serve over steamed rice, top with green onions, and taste before adding hot sauce to preference.

Tuesday:  Pepperoni Rolls, Caesar Salad, & Fruit
·          I had a Christmas party, so before I left I made crescent pepperoni rolls for Chad and the kids.  Just cut a mozzarella stick in half, put inside a crescent triangle, add 4 pepperoni slices, and roll up.  Bake according to the crescent roll directions.  Easy and kid-friendly!

Wednesday:  Balsamic Flank Steak with Roasted Broccoli and Boiled Potatoes

Balsamic Flank Steak
·         Flank steak is an inexpensive cut of meat, but it needs to be seasoned and cooked well so that it’s tender and tasty enough to eat.  This recipe came from Pinterest, and we really enjoyed it!  For some reason the recipe isn’t showing up on the original site anymore, so I have it below from memory.  Chad actually grilled ours outside (instead of cooking it inside as the recipe suggests).  I actually only had ¼ cup of regular balsamic vinegar, so the other ¼ cup was blackberry balsamic vinegar.  I wasn’t totally sure how it would turn out, but it was delicious!  I marinated mine for about 7 hours.  The original recipe said to marinate it overnight.

½ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup chopped parsley
*Stir all ingredients together and pour over a 1 - 1.5 pound flank steak.  Marinate and grill.

As sides, I roasted broccoli and boiled some small honey gold potatoes in a little water and butter.  I seasoned the potatoes with kosher salt and dried rosemary as they were cooking.  My mom used to make potatoes like this for my daddy.  J  The boys LOVED them!

Thursday:  Dinner at Mom’s
·          We had dinner at Mom’s, and she made a yummy taco pizza from Life In a Lofthouse!

Friday:  Dinner Out

Saturday:  Spinach Salad with Flank Steak, Feta, & Pears

Chad and the boys had a bowling and pizza night with the guys from church, so I made a salad for myself with the flank steak leftover from earlier in the week. Payton wasn't feeling well, so she had Cheerios and applesauce.