September 26, 2011

Menu: Sept 27 - Oct 3

Tuesday: creamy ravioli with squash, lemon, and chives

Wednesday (ILs): Rudy’s BBQ (pick up that afternoon), baked oven fries, and steamed green beans or corn on the cob
Bake - dark chocolate cupcakes with sturdy whipped cream frosting

Thursday (ILs): lunch out; Cajun chicken pasta w/ grilled chicken and salads

Friday (ILs): lunch – sandwich fixings and salads; dinner – DH and I gone, ILs and Squish – pizza

Saturday (ILs): grilled hamburgers with whole-wheat macaroni and cheese; dinner – Pork tenderloin w/ sweet potato hash and fresh bread

Sunday: leftovers; pumpkin soup and rolls (Squish: grilled cheese and peas)

Monday: leftover soup and rolls (Squish: elbow macaroni with purred sweet poatoes and carrots with peas)

September 20, 2011

Menu: September 20-26

Tuesday: Sesame Chicken Salad (really enjoyed this salad, and surprisingly so did my husband!)
Wednesday: spinach turkey burgers (super easy and tasty!) and sweet potato fries
Thursday: Garden spaghetti
Friday: steaks, whole wheat macaroni and cheese, and green beans
Saturday: waffles; chicken squash bake
Sunday: Mongolian beef with broccoli over rice

September 19, 2011

Guilt Free Pasta

This is what I came up with for the September HouseHold6 cooking challenge (click here to read more about it). I made this meal way back on Sept 7th for dinner using what I had on me without going to the store since I posted those pictures. I felt no guilt going back for seconds.

3 frozen chicken tenders (unbreaded)
2 small to medium yellow squash
1 medium zucchini
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 box of whole wheat penne pasta
pureed sweet potatoes
pureed butternut squash
salt and pepper, to taste
shredded parmesan cheese

I started off by throwing the frozen chicken tenders (yep, frozen! lol) into a pot of hot water. I put on the lid, turned the heat to medium-low, and forgot about it for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, I sliced the squash and zucchini into half moon shapes. I threw them into a large skillet over medium high heat with the butter. I then diced the onion and added that to the skillet. Occasionally I remember to stir the vegetables over the next 10 minutes.

While cooking the vegetables, I filled up a large pot with hot water. Once it came to a boil I added half a box of whole wheat penne pasta (about 8 oz). By this point I remember the chicken and check it. It was cooked! I removed the chicken tenders from the water and SAVED THE WATER (very important!). I set the chicken to the side to cool for a few minutes as I grabbed my pureed sweet potatoes and squash from the freezer (and proceeded to almost trip on my son lol). Once the chicken was cool enough to touch, I shredded the chicken tenders with my hands and added it to the vegetables.

 I then I added 2 cups of the saved water from the chicken (by this point the vegetables had browned up nicely). Once bubbling, I added a few ice cubes of my pureed sweet potatoes and squash. In the end I ended up added 6 ice cubes of each.

I kept stirring until the puree became hot and the sauce thickened. Then I added salt, pepper, and rosemary to taste (I have a lot of rosemary that I don't normally use in daily cooking, so I figured why not use it here). I added the pasta to the sauce once the pasta was cooked to al dente. Mix well and serve with shredded parmesan on top.

I found the pasta to be fantastic. DH said it was okay, but it needed more meat (I think he's still bitter from a previous meatless meal). Squish loved it and ate a cup of pasta himself!

Side note about frozen purees:
While most people consider frozen pureed vegetables to be only for baby food, I think it is useful for normal cooking. They are GREAT thickeners for soups and are easy to sneak into meals for picky eaters. My husband had no idea it was pureed vegetables till I told him. The next time you have an extra sweet potato or carrots hanging around, peel them and throw them to steam on your stove. Once tender, throw into a blender or food processor. Add water from the steamer/sauce pot as needed to thin out the puree. Freeze in ice cube trays. Once frozen you can throw them in freezer bags or containers. Super easy! Since Squish never liked baby food, I often throw a cube of our puree into whatever I'm feeding him for an extra veggie serving.

Sadly, this was the state of my kitchen after I finished cooking this meal! My son makes a bigger mess than me these days. . . . oy.

Menu: September 13-19

Tuesday: leftover turkey chili
Wednesday: Teryiki Madness spicy chicken copy-cat w/ broccoli
Thursday: homemade frozen pizzas (pepperoni and Italian sausage; chicken and artichoke pizza)
Friday: oatmeal waffles; Gone
Saturday: breakfast pizza w/ sausage; cheese fondue w/ apples, carrots, bread, sliced sausage; make homemade vanilla ice cream
Sunday: eggs, bacon, and biscuits; Out to eat
Monday: Italian sausage spaghetti (out of freezer)

September 10, 2011

Jalapeno Tilapia Pasta

2 1/2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
3 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons lemon juice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 (5 ounce) package baby spinach leaves
2 roma tomatoes, chopped

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil for the pasta. Cook according to directions to al dente.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic. Cook the fish in the oil until golden brown, turning once (about 5 minutes total).
Pour in the cream and lemon juice into the skillet. Stir in the jalapeno, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and paprika. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until sauce has reduced slightly and fish flakes easily with a fork (about 2 minutes). Mix the baby spinach into the sauce and cook until wilted. Stir in the chopped tomato and pasta once cooked. Serve with shredded parmesan cheese if desired.
As my husband says, this pasta has a bit of heat to it. ;)

Autumn Salad

Original recipe from Espresso and Cream.

6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1-2 pears, chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries (or cherries)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
8 slices bacon, crisp cooked and crumbled*
4-6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 roma tomato, diced
1 chicken breast, grilled, and diced
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

In a large bowl combine the lettuce, pears, cranberries or cherries, pecans, bacon, chicken, and feta cheese. Mix well. Pour olive oil and balsamic vinegar over individual servings according to taste.

This salad was FANTASTIC. My husband was rather hesitant when he saw me prepping it. However, he ended up going back for seconds and thirds! We will definitely be eating this salad again.

*I will probably leave out the bacon at times in the future. I seriously doubt if we'd miss it as good as everything else is in this salad.

September 08, 2011

Menu: September 7-12

Wednesday: No Guilt Pasta
Thursday: quiche (ham and broccoli)
Sunday: jalapeno tilapia pasta
Tuesday: leftovers

September 01, 2011

HH6 Sept Cooking Challenge

Look, it's a disorganized pantry! Believe it or not I've actually been working on it. I only got half way though, so it looks worse than it really is. I feel like I should post an after pic next week so y'all don't think I'm a slob. lol

A neat, organized freezer. I just cleaned it out two days ago. Not much in there since I'm hoping we'll be moving sooner rather than later. I'm really hopeful sometimes.

A halfway organized fridge. I got halfway through cleaning it the other day. 

So why all the photos? It's a part of this month's HouseHold6 Cooking Challenge. I haven't joined in the past couple of months due to several reasons, but I really want to get back with it this month! 

The challenge? We all need to be prepared in the event of a disaster. You have stuff in your pantry and fridge/freezer. If a disaster should strike today and you have no access to going to a grocery store but your stove/grill is still working, what would you make with what you have on hand. 

Part of the challenge is posting photos of our refrigerator and pantry showing what we have. We have to use just these items to make our meal. Right now I'm thinking I'll be making a pasta dish and use up the frozen pureed baby food before it reaches it's limit as part of the sauce. Probably will do something with chicken. I've also got a few veggies in the fridge like squash, zucchini, spinach, and baby carrots. If nothing else, I'm sure Squish will enjoy it! Sorry, but you'll have to wait until at least the 18th of the month for me to post whatever I actually come up with. :)