Monday, November 30, 2009

Falafel update

Casbah brand is my new favorite. In the organic section at Cub, and probably at many other stores w/organic mixes. They don't fall apart, and the flavor and texture is excellent. Bliss.

Week 32 - Au Jus!

MonAu Jus French Dip (Hy-Vee Cookbook)
TuesChicken stir-fry
WedsWild rice soup (Hy-Vee Cookbook)
Thurs Lasagna
Fri Alfredo w/chicken and broccoli
Alt chicken and sweet potatoes
Anyone who has been a teenager in non-rural Iowa (ha ha, yes, that's more than 10 of us thanks much) has probably worked at Hy-Vee grocery stores. That's where a couple recipes are from this week. Made the Au Jus tonight and it's a keeper. I'll include the recipe below since it was so easy and good. Happy cooking!

Au Jus French Dip - from HyVee Cookbook
1 can cream of onion soup
1 can or equivalent beef broth
1 can beer
3-4 lb beef roast

Put all in a crock pot on low for 8 hours. Shred meat and serve on hoagies.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Week 31 - Cupboard Clean-out Days

MonDirty rice (Chachere's box)
TuesRigatoni Isabella
WedsFalafels (trying Casabah brand this week)
It's Thanksgiving week and we'll feast on left-overs post Thursday, so that leaves just MTW to plan. Plan, we did not. Borrowed unmade and alternate items from last week and bought a spare gallon of milk over the weekend to get us through. Will have to pick up some groceries mid-week for the dinner rolls I'm bringing Thurs and a dessert yet to be chosen. Nice break from the routine. Happy cooking, hosting, or visiting this week.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Ok, I made these weeks ago, but thought I'd finally post a picture of what they looked like.

These were really fun and easy to make, even for a pot-sticker novice such as myself. I ate half of them in one sitting, none too disappointed that they did not suit the kids' tastes. "Don't like them sweetie? Ok. Here, have some more cheese and crackers." [insert photo of me inhaling the remaining bits]. Mmm.

Here's a link to the recipe if you're interested in trying them. I didn't change anything, though think the dipping sauce could be modified to different tastes/options.
Shrimp pot-stickers

Week 30 - Chili moves up the ranks

MonRotisserie chicken
TuesLeft-over chili from freezer on oven baked potatoes
WedsFalafels (trying Casabah brand this week)
Thurs Rigatoni Isabella
Fri Chicken fingers and sweet potato oven-fries
Alt dirty rice; pizza
After 3 weeks of consecutive appearances, chili finally moved from an "alternate" to an actual meal plan this week. I've noticed a personal trend lately toward insta-menu planning. If a shopping window appears, I scribble out a list and go! Doesn't matter how creative or well-planned it is sometimes, just having some ideas (and ingredients) in place makes me feel less stressed about the inevitable "What's for Dinner?" question. Happy cooking.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Week 29 - Dizzy Dogs and more

MonDizzy Dogs w/mashed sweet potatoes (Cooking for Kids)
TuesWild rice stuffed chicken breasts (Von Hansen's meat shop)
WedsTortilla soup (Rival Crock Pot Cookbook)
Thurs Greek meatloaf (Opaah! from last week)
Fri Steak, potatoes, collard greens
Alt falafels; frozen left-over chili
The "dizzy dogs" were my son's pick after he saw a picture of them on the cover of a cookbook. You take the hot dog of your choice and wrap it in store-bought refrigerated bread stick dough so the dough spirals around the hot dog. Put a little egg white on the dough and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake for 12 min. They were pretty tasty. Happy cooking.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Addition

My husband's enthusiasm was unstoppable. After a call from my brother today offering a portable dishwasher for the taking, we have a new addition in our kitchen. For those of you that have been in my kitchen, you may be wondering the obvious: WHERE would it go?

This was my hesitation over the whole deal. 32" high counter tops right next to the modern-height dishwasher. It interrupts the window. It blocks access to some infrequently used cupboards. It has to be rolled across the room to be used. Net effect: It looks homeless.

7 hours into it, I have to admit I see glimmers of possibility. Sure, we'll revamp our kitchen one of these decades, but in the meantime, I did enjoy loading it up tonight and abandoning the kitchen sink. This just might work out. By the way, Matt is really excited about the fruit bowl being located on top of it. Note the empty counter space to the right where it used to sit. I'm a little baffled, but to each his own.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Week 28 - Soup, Souffle, Spaghetti

MonRoast tomato soup over couscous w/cheese melts (Crock-pot cookbook)
TuesSpinach souffle (Mom Barb's recipe)
WedsBarb's spaghetti (makes extra to freeze)
Thurs Greek meatloaf (Opaah!)
Fri Chicken, snow peas, mashed potatoes
Alt falafels; frozen left-over chili
My sister-in-law had tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner with her family last week. Then I was out with friends and the subject of tomato soup came up (canned? from scratch?). I think it's been almost 10 years since I've enjoyed that meal, so thought I'd try a new tomato soup recipe this week and see how it goes over.

I ended up making an ultra-simple dish for the potluck last week, courtesy of my Mom's kitchen. My mom is the ultimate short-hand cook. The less time in the kitchen, the better! She suggested buying some chicken wings and legs (thank you Sam's Club for the 800 pounds of leg and wings now filling my freezer), and pouring a bottle of barbeque sauce over them. Normally you can just cook them in your crock pot that way, but we put them in the oven until they were done to make sure they cooked through in time. It was so easy and good! Did I actually "cook" anything? I don't think I did. Wouldn't have done that 5 years ago, but I didn't mind at all last week. There were 3 dishes of chicken enchiladas there, so I guess it's good I didn't opt for that recipe. So many other good things I tasted for which I wish I had recipes. Happy cooking.