New Recipes To Try

This past weekend I had some extra time in the kitchen to try out some new recipes.  If you still have garden fresh tomatoes (and we are about done), this soup is wonderful!  It is easy to make.  Put it with a grilled cheese sandwich and you have the perfect lunch.

I also LOVE to bake and keep coffee cakes and quick breads in my freezer.  I attend both a MOPS group and a Women’s Bible Study called Coffee Break.  I have to bring brunch to each every few months.  It saves time to simply pull something out of the freezer.

I had overripe bananas laying around.  Instead of making banana bread or muffins like I usually do, I made this delicious coffee cake.  I had planned on freezing it.  It looked so good coming out of the oven that the kids and I ate it over a couple of days.  I will have to wait until my bananas are overripe to make another one.

What recipes do you like to try in the fall?  I hope to do some more baking this week with the apples I recently picked.

Menu Plan Monday: April 2 – 8, 2012

Meal planning is back!  The pantry is stocked again after vacation.  Here is what we are eating this week…

Monday:  Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

Tuesday:  Baked Potato Bar & Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits (BTW – a loaded baked potato makes a great gluten free meal)

Wednesday:  Tuna Macaroni Casserole

Thursday: Rob’s pulled pork

Friday:  Honey Glazed Chicken and Bacon

Saturday:  Barbeque with friends

Sunday:  Easter dinner with friends

We were pretty tired after a fun (but go, go, go) trip to Southern California, but I think everyone is pretty much rested now.  The oldest is back in school today.

I’m linking this with Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday: February 2/20/12

One of my “unwritten News Years resolutions” was to take more initiative with menu planning.  We actually started making a “meal plan” years and years ago–long before we had children.  Back then my husband did about seventy-five percent of the cooking.  I was working full time and home between 5:30 and 6.  It made sense for him to make dinner since he was off work by 4.  Since our oldest was born, it has been more fifty-fifty.

Grocery shopping and cooking has always been something he enjoys.  I am forever grateful I have a “cooking partner” and someone who likes to venture into the grocery store with kids in tow.  Now that our youngest is two and life is “less crazy” (though still chaotic), I feel like it is time for me to take more of the “meal planning” load under my wing.  And hopefully teach my children some simple cooking skills in the process.

So I’m participating in Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday  I am hoping it will give me some more ideas for meals.  I feel like we have been in a “rut” the last few months.  Between my husband’s gluten intolerance, my healthy eating/less fat kick, and kids who are afraid of casseroles–it is a challenge!

BTW – I am not doing breakfast & lunch.  We usually have food in the house for those meals and they do not take much planning.  I am also not including Sunday as the kids eat leftovers, frozen pizza, or mac and cheese.   Rob and I always have dinner together after evening church and when the kids are in bed.

Monday:  Oldest’s child’s President’s Day waffles (my daughter wants to make a simple meal for the family so we chose something easy i.e. waffles with fruit topping)

Tuesday:  Broccoli cheese tortellini & gluten free noodles with broccoli for Rob

Wednesday:  Chicken enchiladas with corn tortillas

Thursday:  Sausage Stuffed Peppers 

Friday:  Mom’s Night Out for me!  Rob will probably make something simple for the kids.

Saturday:  Rob’s homemade pizza (he makes one regular pizza and another gluten free)

I am linking this to Menu Plan Monday

Food Friday: Chicken vegetable soup and my kids liked it!

We try to put soup on our family meal plan once week.  It saves money, you can use items you already have on hand, and it is quick and easy.  There is always one or two nights out of the week one of us has to be somewhere at 7 PM for a meeting.

The challenge I am finding with soup is that Rob eats gluten-free.  Which means no noodles or pasta unless it’s rice based.  His gluten-free pasta is expensive and it’s not economical for us all to eat it.  Second of all my kids are a little picky and would prefer chicken noodle out of the can over anything homemade.

However I made this last week and everyone loved it.  Even the two-year old emptied her bowl.

What you need:

  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained (I actually did one small can of diced and one small can of stewed)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 celery ribs with leaves, chopped
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram

Combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for about 6-8 hours.  It makes about eight servings.

I’m linking this up with Life As A Mom’s Frugal Friday

Big Group Party Idea #3 – A Soup Exchange

The holidays are creeping up on us, but I WILL NOT listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving.  Too many times I start putting on all Christmas all the time radio stations right around now.  By December 1st I want to go back to my 80’s dance music when I hear the seventy-fifth version of “I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus.”

But yes, the holidays are upon us and that means holiday gatherings.  I have attended a MOPS group since 2006.  I started attending a few weeks after we moved from Michigan to Oregon.  In most MOPS groups, the moms are divided into discussion groups.  Each group is strongly encouraged to get together around the holidays outside of the regular bi-monthly meetings.

The first year I suggested our group do a cookie exchange.  I had never been to one and it sounded like fun.  A few days later one of the girls in my group approached me and said she wanted to do something healthier.  Little did I realize the majority of the girls in my group were into nutrition and healthy eating.  One even taught nutrition classes.

So we ditched the cookie exchange and did a soup exchange instead.  It was fun!  We each made a different kind of soup, sampled them, and took leftovers home in tupperware containers.  I had lunch for the next three days.  We sat around eating our soup and finished the night by playing cards.  Of all my years in MOPS this was my favorite holiday gathering.

Food Friday – Easy Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Soup

We wanted a nicer lunch last week Sunday, but we still needed something quick and easy.  My husband came up with this simple soup that tasted excellent!  Something we will make it again!

What you need:

  •  1 can of cheddar cheese soup
  •  1 soup can of milk
  •  1 can of stewed tomatoes, drained
  •  1/2 cup of bacon, cooked
  •  parsley (to taste)
  •  pepper (to taste)

1) Cook the soup according to the directions on the package which is typically adding the milk and stirring.  We always stir with a whisk keeping it on low to medium heat to keep from burning.

2)  Pat the drained stewed tomatoes with a paper towel if they are too juicy.  Then add to the soup.  Then add the bacon.  Stir.

3)  Sprinkle with parsley and pepper.  Add a slice of bacon on top for garnish.

Enjoy!  Soup season is just around the corner!