Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Wow it's been awhile! I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas! I have not been cooking nearly as much as I usually do so I haven't really had a set menu. But we got back Monday night from vacation and I was determined to cook all our meals this week. Here is my menu:

Wednesday: Parmesan Honey Pork Roast (this one's new, I hope it's good!)

Saturday: Crock Pot Ranch Chicken
Sunday: Jelly Meatballs
super easy and delicious, I'll post the recipe tomorrow!
Monday: Waffles with bacon
I love having breakfast for dinner :)

Have a fabulous week and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Natalie's Menu

With the stress of Thanksgiving over I am back in the habit of making dinner. Here's what's on the menu this week:

Monday: Chicken gravy over rice + green beans
Tuesday: Grilled cheese (on sourdough is my husband's favorite) +leftovers
Wednesday: Pumpkin pancakes + bacon + cut up apples (using homemade pumpkin puree!)
Thursday: Beef stew + french bread
Friday: Roasted lemon salmon with bacony lentils.

The rest of the weekend we will probably eat out and then make pizza on Sunday. We can't get enough of Trader Joe's ready made pizza dough- it's the best! Also, here's what I made for dinner last night...yummy toasted ravioli!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mexican Lasagna

I just tried this recipe for the first time last night and we really enjoyed it. I hope you do as well!

Mexican Lasagna

1 lb. ground beef
3/4 c. salsa
1 pkg. taco seasoning
4 flour tortillas
1 can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
1- 1 1/2 c. grated cheese (I used cheddar)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Brown your beef and drain. Add salsa and taco seasoning (may not need the whole pkg, season to taste) and simmer for 10 mins.
Grease an 8x8 square pan and spread 1/2 c. meat mixture across bottom of pan.
Layer 2 tortillas on top of that.
Pour half the remaining meat on top of the tortillas.
Pour half of your can of beans on top of that followed by half of your cheese.
Layer once more with tortillas, beans & cheese.
Cover and cook for 30 minutes, let sit for 5 minutes after removing from oven.

We ate this with a little sour cream on the side and a salad.

You could easily do more layers with only one tortilla and less of your meat & beans per layer. You can experiment with it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

my favorite salad

I have been making this salad for quite awhile now and absolutely love it every time. 
You will for sure have 2-3 servings or more. 

Bacon Parmesan Salad

2/3 c. vinegar
1 c. oil
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 t. salt
2 t. mustard

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend well. Pour into any container with a lid such as a tupperware or jar. I half this recipe for my husband and I, it makes quite a bit.

Romaine lettuce
sugared almonds
parmesan cheese (I prefer the shredded kind in the little tub for this salad)
mandarin oranges (optional)
red onion

Slice your onion (however much you prefer) and add it to the dressing, put the lid on and allow the onion to marinate for an hour or so.

Now cook your bacon. I slice it up before cooking it, just because I like to :)

Make your sugared almonds. They are kinda hard to explain...but I'll try. Put your almonds and a lot of sugar in a pan. Turn your heat up to medium high and stir the entire time. As soon as the sugar starts to melt continue stirring for a few seconds then remove from the heat before they burn. Remove from pan onto wax paper. Delicious.

Combine your lettuce, bacon, sugared almonds & mandarin oranges in a large bowl. Pour your dressing over the entire salad and toss. Add your parmesan cheese and toss again.

Now...enjoy my favorite salad!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kristine's Menu

I haven't done a menu for awhile. The last few weeks have been slightly crazy with going out of town, spending time with family who just moved closer and adjusting to the new weather!  This menu is mostly made up of stuff that I had planned on my menu WEEKS ago, but am finally getting around to making.

Monday: Smothered Chicken. Skillet Potatoes. Green Salad. This was something I just kind of made up on the fly. I butterflyed a chicken breast, breaded it lightly in some Italian bread crumbs and then cooked it on the stove with a little olive oil. Then I smothered it with cheddar cheese and bacon.

Tuesday: Broccoli Cheddar Soup.  30 Minute Rolls. Both new recipes I am looking forward to trying!

Wednesday: Pot Roast. Mashed Potatoes. Green Salad.

Thursday: Shredded Beef Enchiladas. Green Salad. I make the enchiladas with leftover meat from my pot roast. I just warm it up in the crockpot with a little salsa or enchilada sauce, then put it into tortillas with more sauce and cheese and bake.  Every time I make a roast, I always use the leftovers to make burritos, tacos, quesadillas, cafe rio salads, etc. It's the easiest and best way to use up all of those leftovers.

Friday: Hamburgers.  We've got to grill one more time before the cold comes in for good!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dresden's Menu

We just got back from a trip to California and when we got home...our cupboards were empty. So I spent some time today planning a menu and writing out a very long grocery list. So here's what I came up with...

Monday: Pizza (I was lazy and bought a Boboli-yum!)
Tuesday: Pasta w/ Creamy Tomato Sauce & Meatballs (thanks to Natalie!)
Wednesday: Cheesy breadcrumb chicken with YUMMY salad (both recipes coming soon)
Friday: Date Night
Saturday: breakfast- Sticky Buns
(I rarely make breakfast so I thought I'd surprise my husband this weekend)

Have a great week!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

White Chicken Chili

Seriously, my next post will have a picture! I thought about taking a picture of this recipe once we had slurped down every last bit in the crock pot! Oh well, it's still a really good recipe that you'll have to try. Plus it's really easy! 
I modified this recipe from a large recipe, this one serves 2-3 people (double or triple as needed).

White Chicken Chili

1 large (or 2 small) chicken breasts (I put mine in frozen)
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
3/4 c. salsa
1 can white beans, UN-DRAINED
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. black pepper
3/4 c. sour cream
shredded cheese (enough for garnishing...we like a lot!)

Put everything except the sour cream and cheese in a crock pot. Cook on low for 4 hours, or til chicken is cooked and easy to shred. Once it's cooked, shred the chicken well, add in sour cream and cook for another 15 mins or so. Add cheese to each bowl and more sour cream is desired.

My husband and I are home visiting my parents for a few days, I collected a ton of acorns today to spruce up our fall decor. Can't wait to use these!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Natalie's Menu

Monday: Roasted shrimp pizza, spinach salad
Tuesday: Pasta fagioli (one of our favorite soups), french bread + raw veggies
Wednesday: Honey chicken (trying it for the first time) over rice, roasted broccoli
Thursday: BBQ chicken sandwiches + roasted potatoes, carrots and radishes
Friday: Garlic butter shrimp with french bread for dipping, green salad

Something I'd like to note- when recipes I use call for wine, I've always replaced it with chicken stock or broth, so feel free to do so if you don't feel comfortable buying it. I'm too lazy to pick it up + spend the extra money on it for now.

                                                                      Photo of the honey chicken via

For dessert this week I'm making homemade orange rolls. It's the same recipe I use for bread or cinnamon rolls, so I will post it soon! It's my mom's recipe and its the BEST!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Swedish Meatballs over Mashed Potatoes

I love pretty much anything served over mashed potatoes (one of my absolute favorite things). I saw a recipe for Swedish meatballs last week and thought that it might be fun to try them out. I've never made them before but I have had them at Ikea :) The photo I saw of the pretty little meatballs sitting in a creamy, brown gravy really got my attention. I added it to my weekly menu and made them tonight. I cut the recipe in half and it made about 15 meatballs which is more than enough for the two of us. The meatballs were tender and flavorful and the gravy was sooo yummy. I mixed up my own version of my favorite potatoes to serve under the meatballs. 

Here's the recipe (below it's cut in half), and my variations are in parentheses.

1 slice fresh white bread (I used sourdough)
1/8 cup milk
4 tablespoons clarified butter, divided ( I just used regular butter and still used all 4 T)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon kosher salt in the meat + 1 teaspoon koser salt in the gravy
3/4 pound ground 
beef (I only used beef, not pork)
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice (left this out)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth (i used chicken)
1/4 cup heavy cream

You can read the directions on the actual post, but I'll break down what I did since I changed it up a bit.

Soak the bread in the milk in a little dish.
While it soaks, saute the onion (which I grated, not chopped) in one tablespoon of butter for about 3 minutes. Then turn the heat off of the onions and let them sit.
Now take the beef and put it in your kitchen aid bowl (if you don't have a kitchen aid, just mix it by hand. This tip was amazing tho, and from Stephanie Meyer's recipe). Add the egg yolk, salt, nutmeg, pepper to the meat. Add the cooled onions and milky bread. Now mix it for like 2 minutes in medium with the paddle attachment.

In the same pan you cooked the onions, add another tablespoon of butter, heat on medium-low and start forming meatballs. As you form them, put them in the pan. Brown them all over, but don't worry about cooking them through. As they are done browning, place them in the crock pot. 

Once all of the meatballs are browned, put in the last 2 tablespoons of butter, melt it, and whisk in the 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook it for about 30 seconds. Then add the broth and cream plus salt and pepper to taste. Stir it until it's decently think, then pour over the meatballs in the crock pot. I simmered mine for about 3 hours on low. That's it!

As for the mashed potatoes- let me tell you two things that will change your life. 1) YUKON GOLD. For mashed, NOTHING is better. They're creamy, golden and perfect. 2) A POTATO RICER. I thought they were a bulky piece of whatever that didn't make a difference. Well, I was wrong. 

Golden Mashed Potatoes:

4 Large Yukon Golds
2 Tablespoons of butter
2/3 cup sour cream or cream cheese or both
1/2 cup milk OR cream OR buttermilk
1 or 2 or 3 teaspoons of salt (add it slowly and taste as you go)
1 teaspoon of pepper (I like a lot of pepper)

Cut your potatoes the same size (like 1 inch). Place in a pot and cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, simmer for about 10 minutes or until you can pierce the potato piece and it falls apart. Rice the potatoes a scoop at a time into a bowl. I like to put the other ingredients in first so as the hot potatoes fall on the cream cheese and butter, it melts it. Then add in the liquid and stir. DON'T stir your potatoes for ten minutes. They'll get gummy and cold. Stir until everything is incorporated and thank me later. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dresden's Menu

It's been awhile since I've posted my menu...I finally got one together, I hope you enjoy or use some of the recipes for your menu. Have a fabulous week!

(sounds kinda gross but it was actually really yummy!)
Tuesday: Fajitas
Wednesday: White Chicken Chili
Thursday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Pasta Salad & Peaches
Friday: Date Night
Sunday: Steak with Twice Baked Potatoes and veggies
image source

Fun stuff happening over on my blog...check it out!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce

I love chicken enchiladas.  I was partial to a creamy white enchilada that my mom made all growing up. It was one of the first recipes that I learned to make all on my own and I haven't branched away from it at all.  I saw this recipe a long time ago, but didn't make it until last week.  I think it is definitely going to be added to our rotation. Making your own enchilada sauce seems intimidating, but I think the extra little bit of effort was worth it. And cooking the chicken in with the sauce is genius since it added flavor and saved me a pot :)

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped fine
1 teaspoon oil
3 medium garlic gloves, minced
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons sugar 
2 8 oz cans of tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 large tomato, chopped
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large pieces)
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup mozzarella or monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/2 c minced fresh cilantro
6-8 flour tortillas
cooking spray
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine the onion, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil in a large saucepan. cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce, water, and chopped tomato. Bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, 5 minutes.

Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through (thickest part is no longer pink in the middle), about 12-20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and set aside to cool.

Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup cheese, and the cilantro. Toss to combine.

Spread the tortillas on a clean work surface, and spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each. Tightly roll each tortilla and lay seam-side down in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.

Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 7 minutes, or until the tortillas start to brown slightly (skip this step if you don't like the crunch).

Reduce heat to 400. Remove enchiladas and pour sauce evenly on top. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover dish with foil, and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until heated through.

Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes, until cheese browns. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, additional cilantro, etc.

Recipe adapted from Tide and Thyme, but originally from America's Test Kitchen

Natalie's Menu

You'd think it would be cooling off since it's nearly the middle of October, but here in Orange County it is still HOT! This week the forecast shows two 99 degree days. I'm sad about it, but what can I do? All I know is I will not be turning on my oven those days! That means crock pot or stove top meals for the most part this week. I'm planning 7 meals and attempting to eat at home for the next 7 days. ( to the left is the yummy aebelskivers I made for Conference breakfast).

Monday: Taco Salad. (Lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, ground seasoned beef, canned beans, chips, ranch dressing)
Tuesday: Crock pot chicken served over rice. Frozen peas with butter, green salad.
Wednesday:Crock pot Swedish meatballs. Trying this recipe and serving it over mashed potatoes.
Thursday: Creamy chicken + garlic pasta. Green salad.
Friday: Sourdough pancakes (need to post this recipe), sausage, green smoothies.
Saturday: Taco soup + cornbread.
Sunday: Chicken pot pie. Veggies and ranch.

What are you making? Is it fall where you are? I'm jealous!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

I made this recipe awhile back and forgot how much I liked it. We had it this week again and it was even better than the last. I still don't have a camera...
so I'm using the picture from the original recipe (kinda blurry).

Chicken Enchilada Pasta
Serves 2-4

1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded or cubed
2 T. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 smallish red pepper, diced
4 oz. can of green chilies, diced (I only used about 1/2 of the can)
1 can of green enchilada sauce
1/3 c. red enchilada sauce
1 c. sour cream
1 c. grated cheese (I used colby jack)
2 c. penne pasta (more or less depending on how saucy you like it)

Bring a large pot of water to boil, cook pasta. While pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Cook for 2-3 mins then add garlic and red pepper. Let that cook for another 2-3 mins til red pepper is barely tender. Add cooked chicken, green chilies and enchilada sauces, let the sauce simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add sour cream and cheese, heat through but do not boil. Pour the sauce over the hot pasta, garnish with anything such as tomatoes, green onions or crushed tortilla chips.

The original recipe had about 4-5 more ingredients...I used them all the first time I made it and didn't think they were necessary. I have modified the recipe to feed less people, if you want the full recipe click here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I hereby declare that this is the easiest meal EVER.  This is serious. I said EVER.  For one, you probably already have everything on hand.  And the original directions for the recipe pretty much consisted of "open up cans, dump everything in, heat through".  If that doesn't sound easy, well then I don't really know what to do for you.

I originally got this recipe from my Aunt Jenny.  I made a few adjustments to make it a little more hearty, but still - easy peasey.  Since the weather is rather dreary outside today, I thought it was the perfect day to share it.  It tastes similar to a taco soup, but with chicken and my addition - rice.  I used to defrost the chicken, cut it up, maybe even BBQ it. Then I eliminated the BBQ step and would throw the defrosted chicken chunks into the soup to cook. Last night? I just pulled a chicken breast out of my freezer and threw it in. When it was thawed enough, I just pulled it out of the soup, shredded it and threw it back into the pot.  I also used to add in rice I had previously cooked, but then I just started throwing in raw rice and adding extra water.  Give it a try tonight! You know you don't know what to make and going to the store doesn't sound fun!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 can diced tomatoes
1 14.5  oz can green chili enchilada sauce
1 14.5 oz chicken broth
1 can black or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn (or about 1.5 cups frozen or fresh corn)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 chicken breast (thawed, frozen, cooked, whatever)
1 envelope taco seasoning
2/3 c. white rice (optional)
1-2 cups water

 Combine all ingredients in a medium stockpot. Bring to a simmer.  If you use raw chicken or rice, simmer until cooked through (about 25 minutes). Add water as needed when the rice starts to soak up the juices. Stir consistently - especially the bottom of the pot as all of the heavy ingredients fall there.  Serve with sour cream, guacamole or avocado (my favorite), cheese, and tortilla chips

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kristine's Menu

Sunday: Crispy Baked Chicken FingersGarlic Baked Fries. Salad.
Monday: Chicken wraps (chicken, tortilla, cheese, lettuce, veggies) with leftover chicken fingers and homemade honey mustard dressing
Tuesday: Lasagna. Salad. Fresh french bread.
Wednesday: Chicken Enchiladas. Salad. - I'm branching out from my normal creamy, white sauced chicken enchiladas
Thursday: Stir Fry. Rice.
Friday/Saturday: Asian Chicken Pizza. Salad. This is a recipe I have been making for years. Out of all of the people who have tried it, I have only come across ONE person who didn't love it. It sounds so weird, but it's tangy and delicious.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chocolate Pudding Pie

This pie is sooo yummy and easy. You could make the chocolate pudding from scratch, but the day I wanted it, the weather was too hot to stand over the stove and stir pudding. You HAVE to make the whipped cream on your own- nothing beats fresh whipped cream.

12 oreos
Half a stick of butter, melted
Chocolate pudding mix
Whole milk
Whipping Cream
Sugar, about a teaspoon
Vanilla (optional)

Pulse the oreos in the food processor until they are crumbs, then pulse in melted butter. You want the crumbs to stick together when you pinch them between your fingers. Press the buttery crumbs into a pie plate. Make the pudding according to instructions, then pour it into the pie crust. Chill the pie until the pudding is set. Before you serve it, dump a small container of whipping cream into your kitchen aid or a bowl and use a hand blender, put it on high, add in a teaspoon of sugar. You can add a teaspoon of vanilla if you want, but it's good either way. This pie tastes way too good for how easy it is to make!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kristine's Menu

I have been so bad about posting my menu. I have been planning it out, but the last time I planned it out, I threw away my list and just never got fully organized after that. No point in planning a menu if you don't follow it!  Here is my menu for the week.

Sunday: Tri tip steak and mashed potatoes. Salad.
Monday: BBQ chicken chop salad -  I have had this on my list of things to make and am FINALLY making it
Tuesday: Baked Ziti. Salad. - I liked it so much I am already making it again. It is SO easy. Have you made it yet?
Wednesday: California Club Pizza - I'm obsessed. Someone told me that they made this and it was kind of plain. However, they didn't put bacon on it. The bacon is NECESSARY! It adds a lot of salty flavor. Don't leave it out!
Thursday: Orange Chicken. Rice. Broccoli - this chicken has also been on my list for probably over a year!
Friday: Jordan will be at a football game, so I will probably be stuck at home eating leftovers :)
Saturday: Beef Tacos. Another recent repeat, but they were deeeeeelicious.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

refreshing lemon, cucumber, & mint beverage

This is my new favorite drink! I don't recommend drinking it with a meal so much but by itself it is an amazingly refreshing beverage. I highly recommend trying it. 

I read that it's supposed to help keep your belly flat (if you have a flat one, yeah right!!) and help control your weight. I don't know how true it is, I just know it's delicious and only has natural sugar. YUM!

2 quarts of water
1 lemon juiced
8-10 mint leaves
1 medium cucumber, sliced

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher with a lid. Allow it to steep all night. Stir each time before pouring a glass. 

This will quench your thirst, I promise. I think next time I'll add limes too. Mmmm...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Natalie's Menu

We are finally getting back into a normal dinner schedule after 2 weeks of moving in and unpacking. We didn't have silverware/pots and pans until Friday (they were packed up and stored somewhere else), so we've been eating simple meals or cereal or eating out. I'm excited to finally make dinner every night this week! Here's what I have planned:

Monday: Steak and shrimp fajitas, bell peppers + onions (never made these before)
Tuesday: Waffles, bacon  + fruit
Wednesday: Calzones (frozen ones my mom made last week) and salad
Thursday: Steak, mashed yukon gold potatoes, roasted green beans
Friday: Cilantro lime quesadillas, spicy pinto beans

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Green Smoothie

I've loved drinking smoothies forever. My first taste was Juice it Up's Strawberry Wave when I was young. Since then my taste has changed and I think most smoothie place's ingredients have gone downhill in I don't mind making them on my own now :) 

My palette has become more 'sophisicated' with varying ingredients. I have a general recipe that changes based on what I am in the mood for and what's in my fridge. Here's one I had a month or so ago. 

This is the breakdown:
Fruit, at least 3 kinds
Juice, just a splash and I only use not from concentrate juices
Milk or water, just a splash (regular, almond or coconut)
The green: a big handful of kale, spinach, or chard
A large scoop of ice

This particular smoothie included half an apple, a scoop of cut up melon, a kiwi, a scoop of berries, a splash of simply orange, a splash of coconut milk, a big handful of kale and lots of ice. I think the trick is making sure you add in season fruit so the flavor is good. You'd be surprised how much green you can add without even tasting it. The ice makes a huge difference, too. These smoothies get me full, give me energy and make me feel good about my day since I usually drink them for breakfast. What do you put in your green smoothie?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kristine's Menu

I thought I would report back on a few recipes that I tried last week so everyone would know how they turned out. I updated the post with my reviews, so feel free to revisit this post if you were thinking about making something, but wanted to hear more first.

Sunday: Italian Lemon Butter Chicken - I used white cooking wine instead of champagne and also omitted the mushrooms. I liked it enough to make again. I used the juice of two lemons for the sauce and when I tasted it, I thought WOW, that is way too much lemon. I ended up adding a little more cream and milk to the sauce, but once it was on the chicken and pasta, I couldn't taste the lemon strong at all. So next time, I will leave as is!

Monday: Chicken Pillows - Jordan's favorite thing I make. And maybe the most ghetto :)

Tuesday: Waffles & Eggs

Wednesday: Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta

Thursday: Chicken Cordon Bleu

Friday: Crispy Baked Chicken Fingers - never got to them last week because my mom came into town!

Saturday: Hamburgers

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dresden's Menu

Happy Monday evening everyone! I've heard from a few of you that you've been using our recipes. I am so glad! We'd love to see some of your yummy recipes, feel free to email us or leave a link in a comment.

Last week I posted a recipe for crock pot ranch potatoes, I highly recommend them if you're looking for a good side dish. I used cream of chicken instead of cream of mushroom only because I am not a fan of cream of mushroom. I also added a decent amount of salt & pepper, season to taste.

Here's my menu for the week:

Monday: Leftover French Dip Sandwiches
Tuesday: Enchiladas (didn't get to this last week) with salad
Wednesday: Crock Pot Lasagna (thank you for the recipe Lani!)

Thursday: BBQ Chicken Salad (using Natalie's idea from here)
using this salad dressing recipe
Friday: Hamburgers with corn on the cob

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dresden's Menu

Another week is already here, I seriously feel like August flew by faster than any month this year. Which is weird cause my birthday is this month and it usually goes by really slow. We've been super busy every week this month so that's probably why it's has gone by so quickly. I have a few new recipes I'm trying this week, click on the green ones new recipes to try.

Monday: Hamburgers with fruit
Tuesday: Crock Pot Orange Chicken & rice
Wednesday: My birthday!
Thursday: Enchiladas with salad
(I can never have too many of my mom's enchiladas:))
Friday: Chicken Alfredo with broccoli
(this is my favorite alfredo sauce recipe)
Saturday: Steak with Crock Pot Ranch Potatoes

I was looking for a healthy granola recipe for awhile when I came upon this. My old roommate is a super incredibly healthy strong girl. She has lots of great workout and healthy eating tips over at her blog here. These little babies are peanut butter oatmeal banana granola bars, a recipe from her blog. I made a batch of them, wrapped each one in freezer paper + tape and grab one on my way out the door from the freezer every morning. I highly recommend them as a snack at work, they are yummy!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kristine's Menu

I didn't post a menu last week because I only cooked twice as we were out of town. It is tough getting back into the swing of things, but I know with a menu, I am MUCH more organized!  Here's my menu for the week!

Sunday: Had dinner at my parent's house. Why does food taste much better when you are not cooking and it is cooked by your mom? :)

Monday: Neighborhood BBQ

Tuesday: Alfredo Pizza - I have some frozen leftover alfredo sauce from a few weeks ago and I am pretty sure this is the only thing I have the ingredients for. I need to go grocery shopping!

Wednesday: Breakfast burritos - tortillas, eggs, bacon, cheese and salsa verde. So easy and so delicious!

Thursday: Baked Ziti and Garlic Pull Apart Bread - both new recipes that I am excited to try out. - UPDATE: loved this.  It reminded me of a dish that my mom used to make when we were kids. It was super easy and super fast. And really only required one dish! I didn't have any ziti, so I used macaroni noodles. I would DEFINITELY recommend using a pasta with a little more stability because mine was a little too soggy. I also didn't have any fresh basil on hand, so I just threw in a few dollops of Costco's prepared Pesto.  I didn't want to make a whole recipe of the pull apart bread since there are just two of us, so I halved it and put three little balls into a cup of a muffin tin. They turned out really cute, but I think they needed a little more garlic. Also, beware of overcooking! I was waiting for mine to turn golden brown, but they really never did and turned out on the slightly overcooked side.

Friday: Ground Beef Tacos - I never use ground beef besides hamburgers, so I am branching out and making some good old fashioned tacos
UPDATE: also, loved these. The fried shells made all of the difference. Maybe not the most healthy thing, so I am going to try a baked version very soon (especially since I have a big ol' bag of corn tortillas sitting in my fridge waiting to be used.)

Saturday: Crispy Baked Chicken Fingers and Skillet Potatoes - recipe coming next week!

I am also trying to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables this week. I have recently started making Green Monster Smoothies and it is such an easy way to get both of those in. I make a few batches at a time and freeze them so Jordan and I can both have a good breakfast!

Natalie's Menu

David started school today so we are back into the normal swing of things. However, we are probably moving into our own place this weekend so that will probably stir things up, right when I thought they were going to slow down :) Here's what we're having this week:

Sunday: Sonoran hot dogs, grilled corn (recipe coming this week!)
Monday: Crock pot chicken tacos + easy mexican rice
Tuesday: Teriyaki salmon, rice, roasted veggies from the garden
Wednesday: Creamy chicken taquitos + raw veggies
Thursday: Stuffed zucchini (filled with sausage, tomato sauce + mozzarella. Probably a variation of this recipe.) + green salad
Friday + Saturday we will be out of town because Davids family will be visiting for our nieces 1st birthday and our other nieces baby blessing.

Photo is of the pretty cupcakes my mom made for a bridal shower she threw. They were DELICIOUS! Now I want to make a chocolate mayonnaise cake tonight. Have you ever had a cake made with mayonnaise in the batter. THE BEST!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Natalie's Menu

It's been a busy week! I barely made dinner last week, we had so much going on. Shame, shame. David started school this week, so I should have plenty of time to plan and work on some yummy meals! I'm only planning thru Thursday because it's our anniversary on Friday! David will be at school all day, but we'll grab dinner and spend the rest of the day together-- and then this weekend we're going to celebrate for reals at Disneyland because our passes will finally be unblocked! Can't wait to grab a Gibson Girl ice cream.

Monday: Chicken Pot Pie // I'm going to do a simpler version of Ina Garten's Pot Pie
Tuesday: Roasted pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli + asparagus
Wednesday: Kristine's California club pizza // cut up watermelon, pineapple, melon + grapes
Thursday: Bacon basil chicken // roasted potatotes, green salad
The rest of the week we'll be super busy and celebrating!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

California Club Pizza

If you know anything about my cooking, you know I LOVE pizza. I am not talking about plain old red sauce and pepperoni pizza {although I still think it is yummy}. I am talking about delicious specialty pizzas which usually include chicken.  I make a variety of different pizzas, but I am pretty sure this is my all time favorite. And lucky for you, it is also one of the easiest!

This pizza is a direct replication of the California Club Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen. I always used to go there just for this pizza. I decided that I could try replicating it on my own and it tastes EXACTLY like it came from CPK.  Since making it on my own, I never have a reason to go there anymore!  This pizza tastes so fresh, it is perfect for summer.

Also, are you still buying your pizza dough? Give the recipe below a try! It is SO EASY! Don't be intimidated by the yeast. I think that pizza dough is the perfect place to start using yeast because if your dough isn't perfect, it doesn't ruin the pizza.

Pizza before toppings are added. This is how I store my leftovers as well.

California Club Pizza

1/2 recipe pizza dough (see below)

1 chicken breast cooked and cut into small pieces {cooking method is all preference here. I browned mine in a little olive oil and salt & pepper}
6 slices of bacon - cooked and chopped into small pieces
Grated Mozzarella cheese {I'm not putting a direct measurement here because 1- everyone has different preferences for how cheesy they like their pizza 2- does anyone actually measure cheese?}
2 Tomatoes, sliced and slightly salted
1 Avocado, sliced
1/2 head Romaine Lettuce, chopped into tiny pieces {like almost pulverized :)}
Mayonnaise - desired amount. I like a little, my husband likes a lot.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out dough onto pizza stone leaving the outer area slightly thicker to create a crust.  Poke holes in dough to prevent bubbles and leave standing for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare chicken and grate cheese.  After dough has slightly risen, layer chicken and cheese on the pizza. Put into oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Pull out and top with bacon. Put back into oven and bake until crust is golden and cheese is starting to get small brown spots (about an additional 5-10 minutes). When pizza comes out of the oven, let it cool just slightly for a few minutes. During that time, toss lettuce with mayonnaise. Top pizza with tomatoes and avocado and finish off with the lettuce/mayo mixture.

Pizza Dough
Note: This recipe makes enough for TWO pizzas. I always make the full recipe, let the dough rise, cut the dough in half, wrap it in plastic wrap and throw it into the freezer for another time. {When you are ready to use the frozen dough, just pull it out a few hours before you need it and let it rise until double in size.}

1 1/2 c. very warm water
1 Tbs yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbs oil - I use olive

3 1/2 - 4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt

Combine yeast, sugar and water in a bowl (or bowl of KitchenAid). Let stand for about 5-10 minutes. When the yeast is ready, the foam of the mixture will be about 1/2 inch thick. Add salt, oil and add flour in 1/2 c. increments until dough is fully combined. You want the dough to be slightly tacky, but not too sticky, so adjust flour measurements as needed. Knead by hand or mixer for 5-7 minutes. Cover with towel and let rise about 1 hour until doubled in size.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Kristine's Menu

Hope you all had a good weekend! Here's my menu for the week.

Sunday: Nothing! We were at a friend's baby blessing, so no cooking!

Monday: BLT pizza - never got around to it last week, but I am CRAVING it today, plus I need something good to eat for the premiere Bachelor Pad :)

Tuesday: Mexican Baked Chicken. Mexican rice. Salad. Fruit.

Wednesday: Burritos w/ leftover meat from Tuesday.

Thursday: Breakfast egg sandwiches. Fruit.

Friday: Hamburgers {we didn't have these last week either. We love hamburgers, so making them at home keeps us from eating out all weekend}. Homemade friends {we obviously love these}. Salad.

Saturday: Giving myself one free day of either leftovers or out!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Easy Ranch Chicken Pillows

We pretty much love anything wrapped up in a crescent roll and baked. Who doesn't?! Well the other night I was thinking about what to make and this popped into my head. It is a combination of a couple recipes. I cooked an extra breast at the beginning of the week and put it in the fridge. When it came time to make this it took like 15 mins in total to prepare. Simple. 

If this is for a family you'll want to double the recipe, this feeds me & my husband.

Ranch Chicken Pillows
1 chicken breast cooked & shredded (I bbq'd mine)
1/3 cup cream cheese, softened (1/3 less fat tastes great in this)
1/3 cup cream o ckn (or more depending on how saucy you want it)
2 t. Ranch Seasoning (ranch dressing mix)
1 pkg. crescent rolls (the ones with 8 in them)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine cream cheese, cream o ckn & ranch seasoning in a bowl. Add pepper to taste or more ranch seasoning. Add chicken and mix well.

Open crescent rolls, spread them all out on a cookie sheet. It should be one large rectangle. Take 2 crescents and press the centers together making 4 small rectangles in total (make sense?).

Add a spoonful of ckn mixture in the middle of each rectangle, fold sides over and seal edges.

Bake for 13-15 mins, checking often after 13 mins. You want them to be golden brown, like a normal crescent roll.

Serve with a side of veggies and enjoy!

Sorry no pictures point & shoot got wet last weekend :(

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fried Chicken Sliders

A few weeks ago, Jordan and I went to Cheesecake Factory with some friends. We ordered an appetizer of Fried Chicken Sliders and they were so good. I thought I could easily replicate them at home, so that is what I did!  I knew this was up on my menu, so when I made homemade buns a few weeks ago, I split up two sets of the buns in two to make four mini buns. You could obviously easily make this into a full sized sandwich instead of sliders.  This recipe makes four mini sliders, but it is very easy to change the portions since there isn't a lot of measuring.

1 large chicken breast
Cajun seasoning {I use Tony Chachere} - optional, but adds a great flavor
1 Egg
1/4 c. Milk
Vegetable Oil

Butterfly the chicken breast and then cut in half to make four equal pieces.  Combine flour, salt, pepper and cajun seasoning. Combine egg and milk in a bowl. Dredge in flour, then egg mixture, then back in flour mixture. Cover a medium skillet with about 1/4 inch of oil. When you place a corner of the chicken in the oil to test the heat and it bubbles, you know you are ready to go!  Fry each side of the chicken until it is golden brown {about 4 minutes on each side}.

Place on bun and top with any of the following:

  • Sauce: Fry Sauce {equal parts ketchup and mayo}, Special Sauce {BBQ sauce and mayo}, Ranch, Mustard, Honey Mustard Sauce, Guacamole
  • Pickles
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado
  • Onions
  • Bacon
  • Or whatever your little heart desires

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Natalie's Menu

It's already Wednesday! We skipped a few days of making dinner to meet up with friends we hadn't seen in years. But I'm back on track tonight! And I'm planning on making these yummy no-bake cookies since it's so dang hot.

Sunday: Homemade hamburgers, fresh cut french fries with lots of salt + pepper and salad.

Monday + Tuesday: Ate out

Wednesday: BBQ chicken drumsticks, roasted lemon broccoli, garlic bread

Thursday: Chicken enchiladas + green salad (we didn't end up getting to it last week)

Friday: We're shooting a wedding in LA so we'll grab dinner afterward.

I'm excited about chicken drumsticks tonight. We eat chicken breast every week and my husband likes a break with a little dark meat every once in a while and these organic ones I got were on sale for less than $3 for a pack of 5.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Country Chicken Piccata

I don't know where this recipe came from, but I remember my mom made it when I was in high school and I LOVED it. This, along with chicken enchiladas, was the first meal that I perfected. It is so easy. I hadn't made it in awhile and apparently Jordan forgot all about it. He loved it so much that he wants it to become one of our regulars!  Seriously, make this!

4 chicken breasts
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 flour seasoned with a little salt and pepper {original recipe calls for cornflake crumbs, but this is not something I keep on hand, so I just substituted it with a simple flour dredge}
4 TBS butter
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 TBS lemon juice {I didn't measure this, I just used the juice of one lemon}
A few green onions, chopped.

Combine the milk and eggs in a bowl. Combine flour and salt and pepper on a plate. If chicken is too thick, flatten  so it can cook evenly. Dip chicken in flour mixture, then egg/milk, then back in flour to dredge.  Melt 2 TBS butter in skillet and add garlic. After the butter is melted and the garlic is fragrant, add chicken and cook on medium heat. Flip after golden brown. If all of the butter has been soaked up, add remaining 2 TBS butter after flipping. After both sides are golden brown and chicken is cooked through, squeeze lemon juice over chicken and top with green onions.

I served this with Mashed potatoes and corn on the cob and it was perfect.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Kristine's Menu

We had two unexpected visitors this past week, so again, I only cooked 5 out of the 7 meals last week! But for real this week, I am committing to at least SIX of them!

Sunday: Chicken Alfredo. Broccoli. Salad.

Monday: Cilantro Lime Enchiladas {new recipe I am excited to try out!}. Salad. Zucchini.

Tuesday: French Toast. Fruit. {this is one of those meals from a few weeks ago that was replaced by eating out so it's back on the menu}

Wednesday: Pork chops. Mashed potatoes. Salad. Zucchini.

Thursday: Navajo Tacos.

Friday: Hamburgers. Fries. Fruit. Broccoli.

Saturday: BLT pizza {will post recipe next week when I take pictures}

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pero + Milk

My newest favorite drink doesn't have a real name. I've called it cold Pero, milky Pero, iced Pero... Whatever you want to call it, it is delicious! I don't drink coffee but I've tasted it before, and I never really liked it.  My SIL used to drink it and introduced me to her alternative now that she doesn't drink it anymore.

Pero is a 'coffee substitute' that is most commonly made hot. It's instant powder that just has to be added to a liquid. I love that it's made out of chicory, rye and other natural things- but none of them have to do with actual coffee.

The other day I was at my SIL's house and she made me this drink. I fell in love! Perfect for a hot day. Also, a good alternative to chocolate milk.

Here's how I make it:

Fill a tall glass with cold milk. Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of Pero and mix. Add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and mix. Top off with some ice. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kristine's Menu July 24-30

I have another lofty goal this week to cook EVERY meal at home. I had the same goal last week, but only ended up cooking 5 out of the 7 nights because of unexpected plans and my craving for a JCW hamburger :)  Here's my menu for the week!

Sunday: Country Chicken Picatta {recipe coming this week}.  Mashed potatoes. Asparagus. Salad.

Monday: Tin foil dinners {hamburger, onions, carrots and potatoes wrapped in foil and baked}

Tuesday: Pesto pizza. Salad.

Wednesday: Ranch chicken {chicken dredged in ranch dressing mix and bread crumbs and baked}. Mashed potatoes. Salad. Broccoli.

Thursday: Egg Breakfast Sandwiches. Fruit.

Friday: Fried Chicken Sliders. Salad. Natalie's onion rings.  Sooooo excited to try these!

Saturday: Pork chops. Salad. Fresh fruit.

Have you jumped on the plan your menu bandwagon yet? What's on your menu this week?  I love looking at other menus to get inspiration for next week and to get out of the rut of cooking the same thing over and over and over again! Share your menus in the comments!

Monday, July 25, 2011

menu, menu, read all about it!

Hey everyone! How was your Monday? Ready for another week? I'll tell you what, I am not. I was out of the office all last week at a show in Chicago so it's a little hard being back at work. But I still managed to go grocery shopping and come up with a menu.
I hope this helps you with your menu!

Actually made this on Sunday and we really enjoyed it-if you like enchiladas and you like pasta then I highly recommend it.

Tuesday: BBQ Pulled Pork
(we are huge fans of Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce, just toss that and a pork roast in a crock all day and you're good to go!)

Wednesday: Chicken Fajitas (a mean staple in our house and so easy)

Thursday: Steak & Mashed Potatoes with veggies

Friday: Chicken Wraps (click for recipe)

Have a great week!

I'm starting P90X tonight...yikes! Wish me luck!

Natalie's Menu for the Week

Last Friday we spent the day exploring LA and eating yummy food (and three desserts in one day). We checked out an indoor kind of market and the spices display was beautiful at this particular booth.

Sunday:  Rotisserie chickens, baked beans (my mom's recipe. SO good. I have to post it soon), grilled zucchini, artichokes, toasted sourdough bread.

Monday: Cilantro Lime Quesadillas using leftover chicken.

Tuesday: Taco salad (seasoned ground beef, chopped romaine, pinto + kidney beans, pico de gallo, tortilla chips and fresh made ranch dressing)

Wednesday: Crock pot chicken over rice. Roasted broccoli (perfected it last week).

Thursday: Hot dogs with homemade J-Dawg's sauce. Green salad + chips.

Friday: Green chicken enchiladas + green salad.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Steak Sandwich with Chimichurri

David introduced me to chimichurri when we came across it already bottled at a farmer's market a few years ago. It's an argentine type sauce they put on meat and vegetables. I tried it and fell in love! It has so few ingredients, a while ago I figured I'd try to make it myself. It's tangy and fresh and amazing. We made steak sandwiches marinated with a Paula Deen's marinade recipe (just the marinade not the horseradish).

Chimichurri "sauce" ingredients:

bunch of parsley
6 cloves of garlic
juice of one lemon
splash of vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 cup of olive oil
lots of salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in the food processor and blend until it becomes almost creamy looking. Marinate meat in it or just top your sandwich with it, like I did.
I toasted french rolls, sliced and spread a teeny bit of butter on them, topped with the grilled, thinly sliced steak, spinach and LOTS of chimichurri. I ate two and didn't want to stop there. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chicken Waikiki Beach

As promised, here is the recipe for Chicken Waikiki Beach. I wish I knew where this recipe came from so I could give the proper credit, but I have no idea! I know it did come from an old roommate and she probably got it from a cookbook... or was it a family recipe? I can't remember. It's a little bit sweet and a little bit tangy but definitely packed full of flavor.  The prep time is minimal with most of it being in the oven! It probably isn't the healthiest of recipes, but serve it up with some brown rice and veggies on the side and you might be able to get away with it ;) Hey, healthy food gets boring sometimes.

2 chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and brown in a small amount of oil. Since the chicken will be going in the oven, it is only necessary to brown it instead of cooking it all of the way through.

1 can pineapple
1 Tbs. soy sauce
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. ginger
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 Chicken Bouillon cube
3/4 c. cider vinegar

1 green pepper  cut into bite sized pieces

Drain pineapple juice from can and combine with water to make 1 1/4 c. Add to a saucepan. Add all sauce ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring constantly for 2 minutes {the sauce will be relatively thin, but will thicken in the oven}. Place browned chicken in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour sauce over chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes uncovered. Add pineapple and green pepper and bake 30 minutes longer. Serve with rice.

{Before adding the peppers and pineapple}

This is definitely enough to feed a whole family. With my husband and I taking large portions, we still barely made a dent in it, but it makes great leftovers!