Friday, January 28, 2011

Baking

Baking has been on hiatus this month as the reality of this new job has taken hold of my days. Teaching little ones is exhausting! :) But I am starting to get a rhythm and I do hope that I can get back into the kitchen and make some delicious cookies. I have been craving some good old fashioned chocolate chip ones and I found this great 100 calorie recipe here: http://macaroniandcheesecake.blogspot.com/2011/01/100-calorie-pack-cookies.html
These look so much better than the ones in the store! Hopefully, I'll take some time tomorrow to make some for my lunch next week. :) I really miss my baking time and I hope that the paperwork slows down enough for me to feel caught up but I'm not sure that will ever happen! I won't be in the classroom every Thursday during the month of February for trainings. Crazy stuff. But I'm in it for the hugs and smiles of those little children that brighten my day.

Hope you all had a good week!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Menu Plan - January 23rd

Oh my gosh, what a whirlwind I have been on. These past two weeks has been crazy busy with the new job and the seemingly endless amount of meetings, planning, and paperwork! I had forgotten how much paperwork teaching entails!
But I do need to get better at meal planning, otherwise we'll be heading to fast food every night!

So let's see what on the menu for the week:

Sunday: BBQ Chicken Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust
Monday: Pasta with Breadsticks and Salad
Tuesday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Wednesday: Chicken, Peas, and Potatoes from ATK, slightly adapted to take less time. :)
Thursday: Chicken Enchiladas
Friday: Steak Pizzaiola from ATK. New recipe, hope it turns out okay. :)
Saturday: Dinner out with friends.

How's your week shaping up?


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In Case You Were Wondering...

I'm still here but life got incredibly busy this week with a job offer from a local school district! I am going to teach Kindergarten with 18 kiddos. I am excited, overwhelmed, and exhausted all at the same time. So far, everyone is super nice and supportive and I got the calendar and furniture in place today and tomorrow has meetings, cleaning up the rest of the room, and meeting my class in the afternoon! I have all day Friday with them and then a three day weekend to read and figure out this new system.

Off to finish up our pot roast. Thank God for the crockpot. :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Menu Plan - January 9th

I have to admit something to you all. I try and try to make a menu and stick with it but sometimes it just doesn't work. This past week was one of those weeks. The last part of the week just kicked my butt.

I've been preoccupied this past week with some family concerns; everyone is ok but it's scary to think about the frailty of our loved ones at times. And the fact that we live so far away, well that doesn't help matters. I'm hoping this week will be much better but I think I'm going to pick one new recipe and try that this week so I don't overwhelm myself.


So here's what we're having this week:

Sunday: Ravioli  (We eat this stuff all the time! It's frozen and a super quick and yummy meal) and Rosemary Bread

Monday: Breaded Chicken Breast with homemade marinara sauce with some freshly steamed broccoli

Tuesday: Herbed Chicken and Vegetable Kebabs (new recipe!)

Wednesday: Pot Roast with Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

Thursday: Roast Beef Sandwiches

Friday: I'm making an extra meal for our neighbors. Not sure what to make for them yet. We'll probably do a dinner out or make some pizza @ home.

Saturday: Poker Night! I'm making dinner for our poker buddies. Thinking chicken/beef fajitas with queso, rice, and beans.

I like the way this week is shaping up as far as meals go. I'll let you know how the rest of it looks after my interview and lesson demo (second one!!) @ 8 a.m. Monday.


Post Linked to Menu Plan Mondays@www.orgjunkie.com

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Whole Wheat - Rosemary Bread

I've been on a mission to make bread this new year. I just love me some carbs. I can eat one cookie or brownie and be done but a good bread or roll and I am done for. Savory foods are my downfall. This bread recipe is modeled after Macaroni Grill's bread and I have to say, it really does taste very similar. It's been a while since I've been to Macaroni Grill but I do vaguely recall their rosemary bread. The initial recipe I saw said to bake it for 20 minutes but I think next time, I would bake it a little longer so the crust is more crunchy while keeping the inside nice and moist. If I figure out how to do that, I'll let you know!

Whole Wheat-Rosemary Bread
adapted from: Jamie Cooks it Up!
Ingredients:
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 c white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp  freshly chopped rosemary
  • 1 egg

Directions:
  • In your mixing bowl, combine yeast, water, and sugar.
  • Mix it all around and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Add salt, oil, and 1 cup of flour.
  • Mix for 30 seconds to incorporate into the yeast mixture.
  • Add rest of the flour 1/2 c at a time, mixing after every addition.
  • When all the flour is mixed in, knead the dough for about 7 minutes.
  • While the mixer is kneading the dough, prep the herbs (cut the rosemary, measure out the seasoning and pepper)
  • When the dough has finished kneading, add in the herbs and mix until all the herbs are incorporated throughout the dough. 
  • Cover mixing bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  • Divide dough into two pieces. Place on a greased sheet. Slit the tops and the top with an egg wash.
  • Place loaves in (170 degree) oven. Let rise for 15 minutes.
  • Turn oven up to 375 degrees and bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  • Cool on wire rack - brush some melted butter and salt on top.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli, and Bell Pepper

Mmm, a new chicken and pasta recipe for the new year. :) The cookbook I got for Christmas, America's Test Kitchen: Cooking for Two has some amazing recipes that I have been itching to try. Bike Boy and I kind of got in a rut late last year and I wanted a change and this was a great recipe to start off our new adventure. It's little more involved than usual but the end result was worth the extra effort.

Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli, and Bell Pepper
adapted from ATK: Cooking for Two 2010

Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch broccoli, ends trims and cut up
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4" strips
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp AP flour
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 c low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 c dry white wine
  • 2 c whole wheat pasta
  • 1 oz Romano cheese
  • Pepper to taste

Directions:
  • Bring about 3 cups water to a boil in a med. saucepan. When at a rolling boil, add broccoli and blanch for about 2-3 minutes or until the broccoli is bright green. Using a slotted spoon, remove broccoli from water and set aside. 
  • Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a skillet until olive oil is sizzling. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook without stirring until it begins to brown. Stir the chicken and continue to cook until it is almost cooked through. Transfer chicken to a bowl and cover; set aside. 
  • Add 1 tsp olive oil to skillet. Add the broccoli and bell pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer vegetables to the bowl with the chicken.
  • Cook onion in the skillet and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme, flour, and red pepper flakes and cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the chicken broth and white wine. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce has thickened and reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 10 minutes. 
  • While the sauce is thickening, start the water boiling for the pasta and cook pasta until al dente.
  • Return vegetables, and chicken to the sauce with 1/2 cup of romano cheese. 
  • Bring to a simmer and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the pasta to the chicken mixtures and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with Romano cheese.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mini Chocolate Chip -Pecan Muffins

OMG. I love muffins. And these mini muffins are no exception. They are melt in your mouth amazing; the sweetness of the mini chocolate chips with the crunch of the pecans. I even licked the batter and I never do that. Really I don't. But this batter. Oh yeah. Definitely one recipe to keep around for those moments when you must have chocolate. And today was a needing chocolate day. But it's all better now, especially when I have these muffins.

Have I enticed you yet? Because I'm fairly certain there will not be any left for Bike Boy. I guess I'll have to make more. Damn.

Mini Chocolate Chip Pecan Muffins
makes 24 mini muffins
  • 1 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c finely chopped pecans
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Lightly grease a mini muffin pan
  • Place stick of butter in a microwave safe bowl and melt butter. Let butter cool before adding to egg mixture.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Stir in cooled melted butter, milk, and vanilla. 
  • Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just combined.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Add pecans and fold to combine.
  • Spoon batter into muffin pan (I used my cookie scoop and it was the perfect size!)
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean.
Enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Menu Plan Mondays

Menu Planning Mondays are back after a two week hiatus. I wish I could say we ate healthy and there aren't some lbs on my hips but I can't. The Midwest and St. Louis, in particular, has too many of my favorite things. Imo's Pizza, toasted ravioli, this great little pub that has good burgers, and well there were all the desserts I made. Rum cake is a dangerous little dessert. :)

Healthy eating here I come. I need some good quality time at the gym as well.I got this fabulous cookbook for Christmas called America's Test Kitchen: Cooking for Two that I'm going to try out this month. The recipes look easy and simple and hopefully healthy enough!

Menu Plan for January 3rd:

Monday: Pepperoni Pizza with Green Bell Peppers (not too healthy but I have to use up the stuff before it goes bad)
Tuesday: Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli, and Bell Peppers
Wednesday: Grilled Pork Chops with Baked Potatoes
Thursday: Tuscan Chicken with Whole Wheat Spaghetti
Friday: Turkey Burgers
Saturday: Pork Tenderloin with Mashed Potatoes and Peas


What's on your menu this week?

 

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