Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I love home made spaghetti sauce and meatballs sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I always try to keep a can of tomatoes on hand so I can make spaghetti sauce when I don't have any other ideas for dinner (or am not wanting to come up with something else to eat.) I add minced vegetables to the sauce, I've tried carrots, spinach, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper.

The meatballs are wonderful, I make them with 1 Tbsp meat-mixture apiece. The size of these makes it very tempting to pop just on in your mouth while you're preparing the meal. Of course all of you know that 'just one' turns into more... I usu sally eat about 3-4 while I finish making the meal. The best thing about these meatballs is that they can be frozen and reheated. To reheat them, I just put them in spaghetti sauce for 10-20 minutes (or until they are warm).

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti Sauce -
In a medium to large saucepan, saute 3 cloves garlic and 1/4 cup onion - I used green onion once, and it works well, but regular onion works great - Add 1 cup veggies (any combination you choose, I personally love the flavor that red bell pepper adds) in 1 Tbsp olive oil until tender.
Add 3 cups tomatoes pureed and 1 can (4 oz) tomato paste.
Add 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 2 bay leaves and 1 tsp sugar.
Let simmer for at least 1/2 hour to allow the flavors to combine.
Remove bay leaves.

Meatballs -
In a medium bowl, combine 1 lb lean ground beef, 1 medium onion-chopped, 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs (I like to use Italian flavored bread crumbs), 1/4 cup milk, 1 egg, 1 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper.Mix until combined. I chopped the onions larger in this batch, but they are better when the onion pieces are smaller.
Shape into balls and place on a cookie sheet. It makes about 40 1-Tbsp balls.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until they reach 160 degrees.
Remove from oven. (If freezing, let cool and place in freezer bags, and to reheat place in spaghetti sauce for 10-20 minutes)

Serve over spaghetti, top with spaghetti sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.Or if you're my husband, you'll cover your spaghetti in cheese.Enjoy!
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Meals - September 21-27

Today's post is a little later than I wanted it to be, but that's life currently. My dear son did not sleep well last night, so neither did I, but that's motherhood, right? This last week we had some great meals. I really love being able to try new things. I did an adaption of the $15 chicken with some steaks on Thursday. It turned out well. Thursday was a stressful day for our family, so I decided that we needed a great dinner to liven our spirits. It worked great ;).
There are also no pictures this week of our meals. It's just been that crazy! Here's the menu:

Monday -
Plain and simple grilled hamburgers (I love being somewhere there is a grill!)

Tuesday -
Spaghetti and Meatballs

Wednesday -
Spaghetti and Meatballs

Thursday -
Beef Tenderloin with bbq sauce, twice baked potatoes, and bacon wrapped jalapenos

Friday -
Twice baked potatoes and bacon wrapped jalapenos

Saturday -
Local Church's Women's group dinner

Sunday -
My mom made a roast - YUM :)

Vote for which recipe you want to see on Wednesday in the right column!

Friday, September 25, 2009

May Be Foodless Friday: On Moving

So Hubby and I packed up our apartment and drove for 1300 miles with a 6 month old baby. What a fun trip it was, considering we did it right after our son had his 6 month immunizations and he was cutting his second tooth. It took us four days to get to our destination... I really don't want to have to do the whole moving thing again, but I know it will happen sooner than later. And no, it wasn't really fun...

We are still not settled in, so thing are going to be a bit patchy for the next week or so, possibly a little longer. As I mentioned last week, we're staying with my parents for a while to help out, and we came at a good time to help as my grandmother is in the hospital and we're having issues with her move to a rehabilitation center... My little brother went to the ER yesterday with a fever of 102 (he is getting better, just a little pneumonia). So life is hectic (but who likes a calm life?). I will still post our menu's and post the Wednesday Recipe, but the Tuesday/Thursday and possible Friday posts will be patchy. Our menus may be a little different as we will also be making meals some nights for my grandfather who has special dietary needs.

On a side note, Hubby surprised me by taking me on a date Wednesday night. He took me to see Julie and Julia. I loved that movie, it could have very easily been PG instead of PG-13, if they would have not had the language and cut a few scenes short. It then would have been a great movie for a whole family! I love the focus it had on the relationships that Julie and Julia had with their spouses. I really do love that Hubby supports me so much in all that I do (and has confidence in me when I am unsure of myself), and I really love that he knew that after the stress of the past few weeks I needed a night out. Just a side note, I don't think I'm ever going to try to de-bone a duck!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cute German Pancakes

Today's recipe is known by quite a few names... German Pancakes, Hootenany, Puffed Oven Pancakes, etc. I grew up calling them German Pancakes, so to me that is their name. In an effort to use some eggs up lately, I made these for breakfast. I decided to try something new though and made them in muffin cups. I really enjoyed how they turned out, they are a mini-version of the original. Many people agree that mini = cute, so these are "Cute German Pancakes".
As my husband put it, "It is a given that cute food tastes better." I must say that I really enjoyed these!

Cute German Pancakes

Measure out 3 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup flour and a dash of salt.
Place 1/8 tsp of butter in each cup of a 12-cup muffin pan and place in a 350 degree oven.
While the butter is melting, beat eggs.Add flour and milk.
Beat until smooth.
Remove muffin pan from oven.
Place 2-3 Tbsp of egg mixture in each cup of the muffin pan.
Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.
Remove from oven and top with desired topping:
Fresh Fruit
Powdered Sugar
Maple Syrup
Or you can have a combination on each plate!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

$15 Chicken

The name for this meal is due to the amount you'd have to pay to enjoy it eating out. Hubby and I decided last minute (at the grocery store) that we wanted something special for dinner on Labor Day (we'd forgotten about it until that day due to stress in our lives previously). I knew we had at least 1 chicken breast in the freezer (turns out we only had one so we split the chicken between the two of us...) so while shopping I cooked up this recipe in my mind. It worked out great. The only thing I bought was mozzarella cheese at the store (remember I was trying to clean out my pantry?)

We got home and I got cooking for a delicious $15 meal. Of course if we'd eaten this somewhere else, I wouldn't have spent the time in the kitchen, but this wasn't actually that labor intensive (I was also making chocolate chip cookies at the same time).

$15 Chicken

First, marinate 2 chicken breasts in 1 Tbsp liquid smoke for at least 1/2 hour (You can skip this step if you are using a grill). While the chicken is marinating, cook 4 strips of bacon, cut in half, in a frying pan until done.
Brush marinated chicken with barbecue sauce (I used Hickory Smoke Barbecue Sauce.) Fry chicken in bacon grease on medium high heat.
Flip after 8-10 minutes.
Cook for 8-10 more minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. After the chicken is finished cooking, add 1/2 cup diced green pepper and 1/3 cup diced red onion to the frying pan, cook until tender. Cooking in the same pan absorbs some of the barbecue sauce and flavor.
Place the chicken on a cookie sheet. Top with cooked pepper and onion.
Add 4 of the half slices of bacon per chicken breast.
Place 3-4 slices of mozzarella cheese on top of the bacon. Place under broiler in oven. Broil until cheese is melted. Top with some more onion-pepper mixture.
I served these with oven-cooked french fries and a salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

Friday, September 18, 2009

May Be Foodless Friday: Food Trends

My husband recently forwarded my this link: It is an interactive wheel showing what British people eat. I'm not British, but I found it interesting... I almost wish the US would do the same. On second thought, I'd be worried about what it would show!

The trend I find most interesting is the increase in sales of what they call 'ready meals' including takeaways (take-out or delivery). To me it show how conveniences have a way of slowly sneaking in. I find it interesting mainly because at least the frozen pre-made meals that I have tried are not that great. I find they tend to be over-salted but generally under-flavored or cheaply made. I do understand take-out though. The hardest thing for me to understand is why people pay extra money for food that could be so much better. I find it difficult to eat something that I could make better for half of the cost (this includes eating out, but I do enjoy that on special occasions, or when I'm totally overwhelmed by life.)

What do you find interesting about this wheel? Don't miss the different categories on the left side. It's fun to just play around with it! I'd love to hear about what stands out to you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

No Thursday post this week...

Time ran away with me so this is it today.

...crickets chirping...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BBQ Chicken Tortilla Pizza

Today's recipe is an easy one, yet a very delicious one. I don't use barbecue sauce a lot, because I don't really like it a ton, but Hubby loves it. That said, I REALLY enjoyed this meal! It is quick, I had them made, in and out of the oven within 25 minutes. These are a great treat when you want pizza but are not in the mood to make a crust. Or you have a couple of extra tortillas that you want to use up (that was my case.) I served this with a salad and watermelon.

BBQ Chicken Tortilla Pizza

First, place tortillas on a cookie sheet. Spread a layer of barbecue sauce on each tortilla. Use as little or as much as you want to. As you can see, Hubby likes barbecue sauce more than I do, so I put more sauce on his.
Place a layer of cheese on top of the barbecue sauce.
Add toppings (about 1/4 cup cooked chopped chicken and 1/3 cup onion slices - cut in half, you can also add some green or red bell pepper if you wish.)
Top with another layer of Mozzarella cheese (as little or as much as you like - as you can see Hubby also likes more cheese than I do. You can also see the dot of cheese in the middle, yeah, that is for Hubby as well. He loves melted cheese!)
Place cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Remove from oven and serve warm.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday Treats: Honey Vanilla Pears

I found a recipe for using pear halves and grilling them using this taste combination. I decided to try this combination with using canned sliced pears and just cooking them in a skillet. I tried it out two weeks ago and as Hubby and I were eating them, he asked, "do you know what these need?" I immediately though cinnamon, and said so. He said, "no cream." Brilliant!
We had 3 more large cans of sliced pears and so I made them for a dessert social that our church's womens' group was having. One of the ladies there told me that she couldn't tell that they were canned pears because they were so good!

Honey Vanilla Pears

Melt 1/2 Tbsp butter in a medium or large skillet.
Add 2 Tbsp honey and 1 tsp vanilla extract
Add 1 can (29 oz) canned, sliced pears - drained.
Stir the pears and sauce.
Cook until heated through (I boiled them for about 3 minutes.)
Place the pears in a bowl. If you have lactose intolerance, stop here. If you don't keep going, because it gets better.
Pour cream (or half and half) over the pears. Serve immediately.

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