Sunday, April 19, 2009

Meal Plans

This week will be a busy week. Lots of prep-work and packing to do because we're leaving Saturday morning for Chicago. It'll be our first real family trip since Carson came along, so we're all very excited to go. Just keep your fingers crossed for great weather while we're there, will ya? So since we'll be gone for a few days, I need to clean out the fridge this week with our meals. Here's what I'm thinking right now... only one new recipe (Monday), so there won't be many posts between now and after we return from Chicago...

Sunday ~ TBD... we're going to visit Kevin's sister Julie's family later in the afternoon, so we'll see where we're at come dinner time. We'll have leftovers if we're home.
Meatless Monday ~ velvety veggie soup
Tuesday ~ tacos with corn tortillas
Wednesday ~ baked pork chops, mashed red potatoes, roasted carrots and parsnips
Thursday ~ pork chops stuffed with goat cheese and either spinach or broccoli, roasted corn or carrots/parsnips
Friday ~ grilled steaks, potatoes baked on the grill stuffed with onions, butter, and seasoned salt.
Saturday ~ Leaving early morning for Chi-town! That should put us in Chicago by lunch-time or shortly thereafter. :)

And since we'll be gone till late Wednesday night next week, here's what I'm thinking for our meals to finish out next week...

Next Thursday ~ chicken with spinach pesto, green beans from the freezer, canned pineapple chunks
Next Friday ~ maybe a quiche?
Next Saturday ~ Carson will be going to my parents' house for the afternoon/evening while Kevin and I are in East Lansing for our college friends' wedding. We'll be eating at the reception

Leek-Spinach-Broccoli Quiche

I tried another recipe from my cookbook, Simply in Season, last week for a quiche with leeks, broccoli, and spinach. This was sooooo good! We all loved it. Carson ate his entire slice, plus about a third of a second slice! (And they were normal-sized slices, too!) This is a definite keeper and something I'll make again! There's not as many eggs in this recipe as others I've seen, so if you like it more egg-y, you may want to use your own base recipe, but this veggie combo was awesome! I will probably try it with the base recipe I used before since I do like a little more egg-y taste, but this was a great change, though. I made a potato crust, since it's gluten-free. It tasted great! Definitely something I'll try again.

Spring Quiche Trio - Leek-Spinach-Broccoli Filling

3 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup leeks, thinly sliced
1 cup broccoli, chopped
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded (I used Fontina since that's what I had, then some co-jack to sprinkle on top)
(the recipe also calls for 1/2 cup fried and crumbled bacon, but I left it out)

Beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together. Set aside while you prepare your filling.

Saute the leeks and broccoli together in a greased frypan, 5-10 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted.

Place bacon (if using) and cheese into the bottom of the pan, on top of the crust. Then top with the veggie mixture. Then pour over the egg mixture. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 and bake until browned on top and set in the middle, about 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Potato Crust
3 cups uncooked potatoes, coarsely grated
3 Tablespoons oil

Mix together the potatoes and oil. Press into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven until just starting to brown, about 15 minutes. Add filling and bake as directed.

Golden Carrot Bake

Catching up on posts from last week... we had this as a side dish with some baked chicken. It was very good and would probably be great with other veggies, too. The recipe comes from my cookbook Simply in Season... which I highly recommend if you're into cookbooks and eating lots of veggies! The book is divided into the seasons with recipes focused around veggies that are found locally during that season.

Golden Carrot Bake

3 cups shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup onion, chopped
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup Monterrey Jack cheese

Combine the carrots, water, rice, salt and pepper in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Do not drain.

Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese, milk, eggs, onion, and nutmeg. Transfer to a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 350 for one hour.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese on top. Return to oven long enough to melt cheese, about 2 minutes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Black Bean Sweet Potato Burritos

Tonight I tried out a recipe from one of my newest cookbooks - Simply in Season - for black bean sweet potato burritos. Sounds like a strange combo, doesn't it? It is, but it was very tasty! And very easy to put together! Kevin even ate the sweet potatoes without any complaints (though he thought they were carrots... I didn't correct him :) I'll tell him tomorrow... after he's eaten the leftovers for lunch. :) For those that don't know, Kevin swears he hates sweet potatoes and won't eat them. So hopefully this will prove to him that they're not so bad.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Burritos

3 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon oil
water or apple juice
2 cups cooked black beans
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
(I also added about 3/4 cup corn)
8 flour tortillas (I used corn tortillas to make it GF)
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (I used co-jack)

Saute sweet potatoes and onion in large frypan in 1 Tablespoon oil, just until tender. Add water or apple juice to prevent sticking. Add beans, cumin, cinnamon, and salt. Cook until heated through. Divide bean mixture and cheese among the torillas and roll up. Place in a 9x13 inch pan. Lightly spray with olive oil if desired. Cover pan with foil and bake at 350 for 20-25 mintes. Garnish with sour cream, salsa, and fresh cilantro.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Goat Cheese, Black Bean & Corn Quesadilla

I needed a quick and easy lunch for myself on Friday, so after looking in the fridge to see what my options were, I decided to try out a recipe I'd seen on my SIL Mary's blog a couple of weeks ago for goat cheese and roasted corn quesadillas. I was going off of memory (not a good thing for me these days :), so I missed an ingredient (the salsa). How I forgot about the salsa, I don't know, but they were good none-the-less. I added a spoonful of my home-canned organic black beans to mine for some protein. Definitely something I'll make again - at least for me, Kevin doesn't like goat cheese, but I love the stuff!

Goat Cheese and Roasted Corn Quesadillas

1 cup fresh corn kernels (I used frozen)
2/3 cup (5 oz) goat cheese, softened (I used a sun-dried tomato and garlic goat cheese)
8 corn tortillas
salsa verde (I forgot this part)
(I added some black beans)

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add corn; saute 2 minutes or until browned. (I skipped the browning of the corn step) Place corn in small bowl. Add goat cheese to corn; stir until well blended. (I just spread some goat cheese on a tortilla, topped with corn and beans, then spread a little on the top tortilla and slapped them together.) Divide corn mixture and spread evenly among 4 tortillas. Drizzle each with 1 1/2 tsp salsa, top with remaining tortillas. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Place 2 quesadillas in pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from pan, and keep warm. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cut into wedges and serve with a side of black beans and plain yogurt.

Tilapia with Roasted Corn

Last week, we tried out a Rachael Ray recipe for tilapia with roasted corn. Sounds like a very strange combination when you do a read-through of the recipe, but trust me, it works. This was super easy and was very tasty! Even using frozen (thawed) tilapia fillets, it was very good! I'll definitely try this out again - with some fresh fish next time, though, since I've sworn off frozen fish. (When I bought this tilapia, it was the first time I'd bought frozen fish (along with some frozen salmon) and it just isn't the same. Neither Kevin or I really like the frozen stuff, we'd much rather have it fresh.)

Tilapia with Roasted Corn

1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons chili powder
4 tilapia fillets (1 pound total)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

Preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with 1 teaspoon of the mayonnaise mixture. Place the tilapia fillets in the baking dish and coat with the remaining mayonnaise mixture. Top with the corn.

Broil until the corn is lightly browned and the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve with the lime wedges.

Meal Plans

Another very quick post this week. its just been so busy lately. We spent a lot of time outside yesterday and today - playing and working. I was able to get the middle-front flower bed cleaned out and the old veggie garden, too. This week, I'll be working on getting the other left-front and northern side flower beds cleaned out in the evenings. Kevin tilled up part of the new garden - just enough for the peas and spinach (interplanted) for now. He'll work on the rest in the weeks to come. Anyway, here's what I'm thinking for meals this week, as you can see, I am still focusing on using things from the pantry and freezer:

Sunday ~ We are going to see The Lion King Broadway production at the Wharton Center in East Lansing. My guess is that we'll stop to eat after the show.
Meatless Monday ~ black bean sweet potato burritos (to use up my open jar of beans and some frozen sweet potatoes), milkshakes for dessert (to use up some ice cream)
Tuesday ~ baked chicken breasts (from the freezer), golden carrot bake (to use up some fresh carrots - they were on sale $0.99 for 3 pounds a week ago, so I now have quite a few to use up)
Wednesday ~ chicken tortilla soup from the freezer
Thursday ~ burgers from the freezer (no buns), roasted red potatoes, green beans from the freezer
Friday ~ leek, spinach, and broccoli quiche with potato crust, canned peaches
Saturday ~ Our plans are TBD at the moment, but I think we will probably go visit Kevin's sister, Julie, and her family. Whether we'll eat with them, go out, or eat at home is yet to be determined. If we eat at home, it will be leftover quiche.

I'm a little behind on my blogging. I'll be working on some posts from last week later on tonight probably. So stay tuned...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Crustless Quiche

Today I made a crustless quiche to use up some eggs and veggies from my fridge and freezer. I used a recipe that my SIL Mary made a few weeks back as my base recipe, but I changed it up a bit. Ours was meatless and I used a variety of veggies - onions, carrots, celery, orange bell pepper, green beans, peas, spinach. I think I actually threw in a few too many veggies since my pie plate was very, very full - it kept spilling over the side when I was trying to get it from the counter to the fridge and then to the oven. But it was still yummy. I love quiche, Carson loves quiche, Kevin could take it or leave it, but he's going to have to suck it up from now on because I think it will become more of a regular thing since it goes over so well with Carson. Surprisingly, though, Kevin actually really liked this quiche tonight - he declared it as the "best quiche he's ever had" and thought it was "actually really good."

Crustless Quiche

2 cups cream, half and half, milk, or a combination of those
6 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I used co-jack)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (I used garlic powder instead)
small pinch grated nutmeg or cayenne (I used nutmeg)
veggies - I used half of a medium-sized yellow onion, one finely chopped carrot, one finely chopped stalk of celery, half a bell pepper, about 3/4 cup frozen green beans, about 1 1/2 cups frozen spinach, and about 3/4 cup frozen peas

I sauteed all of my veggies with a little butter spray first, to soften them a little. Then I whisked the eggs and milk together, added the cheese, then added the veggies. Pour into a greased pie plate, covered it, and put it in the fridge overnight (I prepped the night before). I baked the quiche at 350 for about 40 minutes, then turned it up to 375 for another 20 minutes until it was set.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lime Pear Gelatin Salad

I decided to try out a recipe I found on AllRecipes for a lime pear gelatin salad. I took it to our family party this afternoon. It was very good! I was able to use up the lime jello and canned pears that I had in the pantry, as well as a tub of cool whip that I had in the freezer. I made a double batch so I could just use up some stuff.

Lime Pear Gelatin Salad

1 (.6 ounce) package sugar-free lime gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 (15.25 ounce) can pear halves in juice
1 (3 ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat frozen whipped topping, thawed

Whisk together the lime gelatin and boiling water in a large bowl until the gelatin dissolves. Pour the mixture into the container of a blender, and add the pear halves and cream cheese. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour back into the bowl, and gently whisk in the whipped topping. Transfer to a mold or serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. To unmold, dip the mold briefly into hot tap water to loosen the gelatin, then invert onto a plate.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Meal Plans

Just a quick post tonight - its been a busy day today and tomorrow will be, too. So here's just the meal plans for the week... a note, you'll notice some repeats from last weeks' menu. I changed up my plans for Thursday since we ate at my parents' house and then had enchiladas using up some leftover chilupe on Friday night. And today we ended up cheating on the GF because we ended up going over to Kevin's parents' house to watch the MSU-UConn game and had pizza. By the way... GO STATE!!! Yeah!!

Sunday ~ family party at my mom's house, the menu will be ham, potatoes, veggies, desserts, punch - no specifics known till we get there
Meatless Monday ~ I think I'm going to try out some sort of crustless quiche with a mixture of veggies I have on hand, fresh and frozen (spinach, carrots, celery, orange bell pepper, mushrooms... and I wonder how good some fresh beets would be in it... I think I'll leave those out...)
Tuesday ~ since we didn't have it last week... tilapia with roasted corn
Wednesday ~ leftover quiche
Thursday ~ again, since we didn't have it last week... crockpot rotisserie chicken, probably with some roasted carrots and parsnips
Friday ~ I'll make chicken stock in the crockpot today, so no crockpot to use and I'm working this Friday, so I'll need another easy-prep meal. I think I might try a crunchy chicken poppy seed casserole to use some of the leftover chicken from Thursday.
Saturday ~ I'll can the stock today. We'll see what we're in the mood for... but we'll most likely end up having chili chicken and veggie soup to use up some more leftover chicken

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


A few weeks ago, I was watching the Good Morning America show on which they were having a slow-cooker cook-off. The show featured the finalists and then awarded a trophy to the winning recipe, which we tried for dinner - crockpot chilupe. This was soooo good! Its not the nicest looking dish, but it did taste very good. We ate it topped with lowfat sour cream, chopped avocado, taco sauce, and co-jack cheese. Very, very tasty. I'll be morphing it into a new meal of leftovers tomorrow - I think I'm going to pick up some corn tortillas and bake some enchiladas or burritos, can't decide which. Most likely enchiladas since I have a can of enchilada sauce that I want to use up.

Crockpot Chilupe

Dry pinto beans (I used about 3 cups, but I think 4 cups would have been great)
Boneless pork shoulder roast with fat trimmed
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoons cumin powder
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
1 6 oz can diced green chilies, mild, medium, or hot
3 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
chicken broth (I used water and organic BTB)

Clean and rinse dry pinto beans and put into Crock-Pot.

Add boneless pork shoulder roast with fat trimmed, 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped chili powder, cumin powder, oregano leaves, crushed in the palm of your hand, diced green chilies, salt, and red chili flakes.

Cover roast — barely — with chicken broth and mix by turning roast over a couple of times without bringing dry beans to the top of the crock.

Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 12 hours (mine was on low for about 12.5 hours. This can be made before bed to shred meat and mush beans in the morning before work to put in fridge for dinner or before a great lunch meal.

When beans and meat are pull-apart tender, remove meat and shred with a fork -- removing fat as you go.

Use a potato masher to mush beans and remaining fluid, if any. Add shredded pork and mix.

Taste for appropriate saltiness and spices. This is a great crowd pleaser.

Makes great individual nacho volcanoes -- Fritos at the bottom, Chilupe, sour cream shredded lettuce, chopped onion, chopped avocado, slice olives, salsa and yellow cheese with a sprig or two of cilantro! Great leftovers for burritos, tacos, tostadas.