Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sloppy Joes - the way I make them

Okay, folks, I usually just season to taste, so these measurements are my best guesses. 
This one is for Marie:

ground beef (I usually buy 1.5lbs of 85% - because it's healthier than 80% and cheaper than 90%!)
1 C ketchup
1 Tbsp mustard
short 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
1 rounded tsp minced garlic
1/4 C chopped onion (optional)

Season hamburger with salt and pepper and brown in large pan.
Add garlic and onions.
Add remaining ingredients, mix well and cook until heated through.

You might need to adjust the ketchup and vinegar for consistency (we like it thicker) and zing.
This stuff is best on a bun, and we like it with a slice of pepper jack cheese.  It's also a good dip for potato chips.  It makes an excellent left over and it freezes well.

I've served this to guests before because it's so flavorful and filling.  (and cheap and easy!)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

this week's menu

Monday:  Chicken Tortilla Soup

Tuesday:  frozen pizza (we're going to drive through Folepi's Festival of Lights park so it needs to be easy)

Wednesday:  Spaghetti with Meatballs

Thursday:  Chicken Divan

Friday:  Christmas Eve at my Mom's!

Saturday:  Christmas Day at mil's and Grandma Joan's - I'm bringing a cashew salad as requested by Travis.

What's on your menu?

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

3 chicken breasts
Olive oil, a couple of glugs
3 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 bag frozen corn
1 medium onion, chopped
Lemon juice, few glugs
1 jar good chunky salsa
1 can rinsed black beans
2 cans chicken broth
Cumin to taste
Chili powder to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste

1 bag shredded cheddar cheese
1 bag tortilla chips

Cook the chicken breasts.

Chop or shred into small pieces. (If you boil them it will be easy to shred them and you can then use that water instead of buying broth.)

Add all ingredients to crock pot except cheese and chips.

When thoroughly warm, serve with cheese sprinkled on top and chip in the side of bowl or crumbled on top.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Beef, Mushroom & Onion Tart

This was a hit.
Travis said it smelled like something that would be served in a fancy restuarant.  It was easy to make, can easily be altered, was filling, and was liked by everyone in my family!
From Better Homes and Gardens Magazine March 2010.

pizza crust, can be store bought or follow the recipe below
1lb ground round
1 8oz pkg sliced mushrooms (I used a can of mushrooms from my cupboard)
1/2 med red onion, cut in wedges
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 oz blue cheese, crumbled
fresh oregano, or pizza seasoning (optional)

my pizza crust recipe:
3 cups flour (can use 1c whole wheat)

1 package fast-acting yeast
1 cup very warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

-In a large bowl combine 1c flour and the yeast. Add the water and stir.
-Add the oil, sugar, salt and remaining flour, blending it until it forms a ball. (You may need to add more water, oil or flour depending on the texture and humidity in the air. It should moist but not sticky.)
-Turn it out on a lightly floured surface and knead 8 - 10 times, form it into a ball and let it rest -preferably near something warm to help it rise some.

tart recipe:
Heat oven to 425. 
Cook beed, onion, and mushroom over med heat until meat is browned and onion is tender.  Drain off fat; stir in s&p.
Prep baking sheet with parchment paper or grease (I just sprinkled on some corn meal.)  Lay out crust on sheet.
Fill curst with beef mix, keeping an 1-2" edge.  Fold edge up, pleating and pinching where needed.
Bake 15 mins or until crust is golden.  Top with blue cheese, oregano, and pizza seasoning.

my notes:
I baked the tart with mozzerella on half of it since Travis doesn't like blue cheese.  I also used fresh parsley and oregano.
This was a little on the dry side and we decided a dipping sauce is needed.  Horseradish sauce will be the first thing I try.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

meal plan

Sunday:  Chili from the freezer

Monday:  Beef, Mushroom and Onion Tart (if it's good I'll put the recipe here), salad and green beens

Tuesday:  Plain Ole Chicken Breasts, Mac & Cheese, broccoli

Wednesday:  Sloppy Joes, Hummus, Chips, Veggies

Thursday:  Moroccan Beef Stew, Bread, Salad

Friday:  I have a rehearsal dinner - kids are on their own with frozen pizza  (good mom)

Apple-Vinegar Biscuit Cobbler

Found this one on, here.  It's really, really good.


8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into wedges
2 cups sugar
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese
1/3 cup butter or margarine, cut up
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour***
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Combine apple and sugar; set aside.
Cut cream cheese and 1/3 cup butter into flour with a fork or pastry blender until crumbly; stir in milk.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3 to 4 times. Pat or roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter; set aside.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add apple mixture. Cook, stirring often, 20 minutes or until apple is tender and syrup thickens slightly. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish; place dish on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Arrange 12 biscuits over hot mixture. Place remaining biscuits on a baking sheet.

Bake cobbler at 425° for 20 minutes or until biscuits are golden. Bake biscuits at 425° for 12 to 15 minutes. Serve cobbler with ice cream, if desired.  (I served it with carmel sauce, ice cream, whipped cream, and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.)

***I didn't have self rising flour, so I used this subsitute:
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, plus
1/8 teaspoons salt.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Thank you, Amanda, for introducing Lisa to this recipe, and thank you, Lisa, for introducing it to me.  I have a new love.  This was perfect for our little football watching party.  Soda, home made pizza, veggies and dip, and this dip served with tostitos.  It was like having hot wings, but better!  (no bones, no frying)

Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
1/2 cup Frank's® RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce or Frank's® RedHot® Buffalo Wing Sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
2 (9.75 ounce) cans Swanson® Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained

Thursday, November 11, 2010

what? I've been busy...

Here's two recipes that are awesome:

I call this one Apple Coffee Cake, even though the original recipe calls it Apple Brownies.  It's a coffee cake, people.
Got extra apples?  Some are getting a little old?  Bake this.

1/2 cup butter

1 cup white sugar
1 egg
3 medium apples - peeled, cored and thinly sliced and chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cream butter, sugar and egg.  Fold in chopped apples.
In a seperate bowl mix dry ingredients.  Mix into apple mixture.
Spread into a greased 9x9" pan.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

S'more peanut butter cookies - courtesy of Cynthia at Finding Great Joy.  She is ridiculously good looking, so don't believe her when she says she eats a lot of sweets.  ;)

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup of mini chocolate chips
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Handful of mini marshmallows
3-4 Hershey candy bars, divided into pieces
4-5 Graham crackers

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Grease 15X10 inch jelly roll pan
Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, peanut butter, egg and vanilla until fluffy in large bowl.
Mix together flour, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture and beat well.
Smooth cookie dough into pan.
Push marshmallows and chocolate into the dough, sporadically.
Crumble graham crackers and sprinkle over dough.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies I've Ever Had

These are the babies I talked about here.

3 1/3 C all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
16 Tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 C packed light brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 12 oz bag semisweet chocolate chips

1.  Adjust the oven racks to the upper and lower middle positions and heat the oven to 325.  Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

2.  Beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.

3.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds.  Mix in the chocolate chips until incorporated.

4.  Working with 1/4 C of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay on 2 parchment - lined baking sheets, spaced about 2 1/2 inches apart.  bake until the edges are golden but the centers are still soft and puffy, 17-20 minute, rotating and switching the baking sheets halfway through baking.

5.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

My notes:  I didn't use a 1/4 C measuring cup for the dough, nor did I roll them in balls.  I just used two big spoons and plopped them down.  Have 3-4 baking sheets to make these - otherwise you're oven is on forever as you wait for the the cookies to cool, etc.  Don't try to bake these on a rough day.  The kids will need you at the same time the cookies need to be rotated. 

Banana Bread

This recipe was given to me by my old roommate Lori.  It is Trav's favorite - in fact he likes it so much he asks me to buy a bunch of bananas and then leaves 2 every week so I'll make a loaf. 

I've written it out according to the way I bake it.

Mix the following ingredients in a medium sized bowl:
1 C all purpose flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp cinnamon

Mix the following ingredients in a small bowl:
1 egg (I usually use 1 rounded Tbsp of applesauce so it's friendly for my son with egg allergies)
2* bananas, mashed
1/4 C oil
3/4 C sugar

Fold the wet into the dry and mix well. 
Pour into a greased loaf pan.
Using a heavy hand, sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar.

Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 50-55 mins, or until a tester comes out clean.

*I have used 1 banana before (used some applesauce for more moisture) and 3 bananas before.  We prefer it with 2 since 3 makes it a bit too banana-y for us.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

good recipes I've tried recently

basil cream sauce:  it calls for light cream but, having no cream in the house, I used plain yogurt.  I also didn't really use the measurements, I just dumped and seasoned as I saw best.  the parmesean cheese and basil really flavored the sauce - it was very yummy - and I stirred it into a pasta dish with mixed veggies and meat.

sweet and savory slow cooker pulled pork:  I halved this recipe, used dr. pepper instead of root beer (it was all we had in the house) and eye-balled the measurements.  and it came out great!  sooooo yummy!

black bean rice burgers:  a friend shared this recipe with me for my meatless fridays.  I added a little cumin and red pepper for extra kick, but they were otherwise tasty.  they kinda fell apart a bit, but I think that's because my sour cream was soupy and my rice a little water-y.

All of these recipes I will be making again. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

grilled chicken breasts and cauliflower

This was the celebratory meal honoring the 2nd anniversary of Lydia's Baptism.  (yay!)

grilled chicken breasts
lettuce salad
broccoli and cauliflower, smothered in butter, wrapped in foil and cooked on the grill
smashed cauliflower and potatoes

smashed cauliflower and potatoes:
fresh cauliflower florets and quartered, peeled potatoes were boiled til tender.
I reserved some of the water for the nutrients (does that work?) and mashed them with that.
seasoned with salt, pepper, butter and a handful of shredded cheese.

I thought the smashed c & p were delicious, but I was the only one who had seconds (and thirds).

Saturday, June 5, 2010

lack of posting means 2 things

#1 - We've been eating old standards:  pot roast (a special treat in our house, thanks to a great sale), burgers, corn on the cob, etc.

#2 - We've been eating out:  birthday money and parents mean we've had pizza and Chinese food more than once lately.

Something else I thought I'd woefully confess:  Tonight I shamefully admit that for the first time in our marriage we are eating Kraft mac and cheese.  We are also eating frozen pizza (the first we've had in at least a year) and, for an appetizer, cheese filled pretzel bites.  Oh yeah, and we didn't even start heating things up until 8:30pm.  What bad parents.  I told Travis, "Our dinner tonight is everything that's wrong with America." 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

corny chicken wraps

Recipe from Taste of Home Busy Family Cookbook.

2 cups cooked, cubed chicken (I used 3 small chicken breasts)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 c salsa
1 c shredded cheese
8 flour tortillas

In a large saucepan, combine the chicken, corn, salsa and cook over med heat until warmed through.

Sprinkle cheese on tortillas, place about 1/2 c chicken mixture down center.  Roll and serve.

In order to stay within my budget I made the tortillas.  They definitely taste better than any store-bought tortilla I've ever had, maybe even better than any tortilla I've ever had.  Because I have to cook them one at a time they seem a little labor intensive, but they're really not that bad.  And they make Travis really happy.  (Maybe I should use my griddle...)

2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp shorting, such as Crisco
3/4 c warm water

Mix ingredients. 
 Finish by kneading dough into one smooth ball. 
Pinch off pieces (I made 5 large tortillas for this supper) and roll dough out - the thinner the better. 
Place in heated, ungreased skillet over med high heat. 
When the tortilla begins to bubble flip it.

Thoughts:  These were simple and okay.  They'd be good for a "bare cupboard meal" since I almost always have corn, salsa and chicken on hand.

my menu for the week

monday morning I sat down with some cookbooks and decided our dinners for the week.  my grocery list was then based off the menu.

monday:  grilled chicken breast, baked potato, salad 
tuesday:  spaghetti with meatballs
wednesday:  corny chicken wraps
thursday:  pancakes and sausage
friday:  black bean burgers with chips and hummus

we got through wednesday and then my wonderful father in law arrived to stay through the weekend and help on the house.  I couldn't serve him pancakes, and I definitely couldn't serve him meatless burgers.  so instead we grilled out pork chops on thursday, went to firehouse pizza on friday and I learned that I need to think about WHO I'm feeding when I'm doing my meal planning.  as in, while I can force my husband to eat anything he may be skeptical about (and, to his credit, he does and usually likes it), I need to be a good hostess.  especially to a kind man who has taken off 2 days of work to help hang siding.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

spaghettil with (the best ever) meatballs

seriously, this was sooooo good!

meatballsthis recipe.  I didn't have italian seasoning so I used a little bit of italian dressing.  I also followed a suggestion and used an egg in place of the milk.  I've never really cared for meatballs - at least any of the meatballs I've ever tasted, but since I'm tired of meat sauce I decided to try something new. 
these were AMAZING!!!!

pasta:  whole wheat, cooked according to package.

red sauce:  my recipe: 
few glugs of olive oil in pan, add 1 heaping Tbsp of minced garlic.
to that add:
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
stir well.
season to taste with:
brown sugar (about 1 Tbsp)
basil (about 2 tsp)
oregano (about 1 Tbsp)
 few dashes of salt, pepper, red pepper
honestly, I measure nothing and I never have.  I just dump, stir, let it sit and then taste it.  I then add more of whatever is needed. 

make this again!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

grilled chicken breast

don't heat the house - make your hubby grill on the hottest day of spring.

chicken breast:  seasoned with salt, pepper, and italian dressing, expertly grilled by dh.

side:  baked potato, topped with cottage cheese, pepper and green onion

salad:  fresh from the garden, seasoned to taste

the best part of the dinner for me was the apple and gorgonzola cheese on the salad.  yum. 
second best, not having to wash a bunch of dishes.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

cheddar chicken spirals

a good casserole, also from the Taste of Home Busy Family Cookbook.

cheddar chicken spirals:

1 1/2 C spiral pasta, cooked according to package
1/2 C mayo
1/3 C milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 C frozen mixed veggies, thawed
1 1/2 C cubed, cooked chicken
1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese, divided

mix mayo, milk, salt and basil in a large bowl. 
stir in 1 c cheese. 
add cooked chicken and veggies. 
drain pasta, then stir it into the bowl.

transfer to greased 1 1/2 qt. microwave safe dish.
sprinkle with remaining cheese.
cover and microwave on high for 4-5 mins.
let stand 5 mins before serving.

I doubled almost everything in this recipe, using a whole box of pasta, 3 chicken breasts and 2 packages of frozen veggies.  it was awesome.  I will be making this again, many times.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

spinach ravioli bake

from the Taste of Home Busy Family Cookbook.

dinner was good and simple.

lettuce salad:  again, from the garden!  woo-hoo!

side:  cottage cheese for extra protien

spinach ravioli bake:
2 C spaghetti sauce
1 pkg frozen ravioli
2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pkg frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 C grated parm cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease a shallow 2 qt baking dish.
Coat bottom with sauce.
Top with ravioli, then mozzarella, then spinach, then parm.
Repeat layers.

Bake, uncovered, for 40-45mins.

Yields 4-6 servings.

Travis and I both really liked this dish, although I think I'll use a little less spinach next time.  This dish was pretty cheap:  $1 bag of Kroger chopped spinach, my homemade sauce (it costs about $1.15 to make), cheese for $1.50 and the ravioli for $3.50ish.  So that's about $2 a serving.
Also, Bonnie, next time you make this thin out your sauce a little bit so it goes farther!

Monday, May 17, 2010

pasta with bacon and cauliflower

You will note that the main dish here is not very healthy, but seeing how it tasted like bacon, it was very yummy.

Pasta:  whole wheat spaghetti, cooked according to the box.  half a package of bacon (the other half was used in this breakfast casserole last week - super good).  one package of frozen broccoli and cauliflower cooked for 4 mins in the microwave and then finished according to the Real Simple recipe.   I topped it with some parm and shredded Italian cheeses because we don't have pecorino.

Salad:  lettuce fresh from our garden!!!!!  topped with green onions (also from our garden), cheese, and then to the specific likings of each family member.

Side:  cottage cheese topped with green onion and pepper.  we're big protein people and I wanted to be sure Trav was content.

Overall, I liked the pasta more than Trav, though he still liked it.  Lydia also liked it and ate a lot.  The salad was probably the highlight, though, since it was the first time we were able to harvest it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

meatless friday

Tuna melt, lettuce salad, chips and hummus.

Travis and I have decided to go meatless on Fridays according to the old Tradtion of the Church.  We never really remember to sacrifice anything else, but we want to mark the day of Christ's Passion in some way.  We decided that we'd do what the saints did.  Eat tuna every way possible.

Tuna melt:  canned tuna, mayo, mustard, diced green apple, green onion (from the garden!), pepper, and curry powder.  Scooped onto hamburger bun, topped with American cheese and broiled for 5 mins.  (My first time broiling.  The top of the bun got a little burnt, but nothing a good scraping couldn't take care of.)  Served with lettuce and tomato.

Lettuce salad:  simple and seasoned to preference.

Hummus:  Betty's recipe: 
1/4 C lemon juice
1 & 3/4 Tbsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp tahini
6 Tbsp chickpea water
1 tsp salt

Drain the chickpeas, reserving the water.
In blender or food processor mix salt, garlic and tahini (make sure you mix the tahini in the jar).
Add chickpeas and water.
Add lemon juice and blend well for smooth texture. Add more water if needed for correct consistency.
Taste for salt and lemon juice.
Sprinkle with paprika and enjoy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Monster Cookies

3 eggs
1 C brown sugar
1 C white sugar
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C creamy peanut butter
2 tsp baking soda
4 1/2 C oatmeal
Chocolate chips, MnM's, dried fruit, etc

  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Beat eggs, sugars, butter and vanilla.

Add baking soda, then peanut butter.  Blend well.

Add the oatmeal one cup at a time.

Mix in chocolate chips, etc.  (I usually add 3 handfulls, which is about 3/4 of a bag.)

Drop dough by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 mins.

Allow cookies to cool on sheet for 2-5 mins before cooling completely on rack.

Be warned:  these cookies are absolutely amazing.  It will be beyond your power to just have one.

Chicken Stir Fry

Totally simple and very easy.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are cubed, seasoned with salt and pepper, and browned.

Meanwhile instant brown rice is steaming.

Two bags of frozen stir fry veggies ($1 a bag when on sale at Kroger) cook in a little bit of veg oil.

Seasoned to taste at the table with soy sauce and parm for me, hot sauce and parm for Trav.  I know, we're weird, we put parm cheese on stir fry.

Also, I decided to use these cheap wine glasses as water goblets at dinner.  Because, why not?  It makes the meal feel special, which I need at the end of a long day in the trenches.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

pork chops, cauliflower and lettuce salad

First time for the pork chops.  Everyone liked them and agreed to make them again.
I thought the cauliflower was perfect; Travis wanted more butter and parm.
Everyone's salad was different, based on personal preferences.

Pork was prepared according to recipe, although I added the sauce while the meat was still cooking.
Cauliflower was frozen, prepared in microwave, and seasoned with 1 Tbsp butter, red pepper, salt, garlic powder and parm cheese - a few dashes of each.
Salad was romaine lettuce with tomato, craisins, gorgonzola cheese, green onion and croutons.  Topped with a raspberry vinaigrette.

post, the first

Here's the thing, I'm not very good at meal planning.  But I love to cook and I love to present the food I've prepared.  I'm not a great chef, and a lot of my meals are very Midwestern, but I'm trying to branch out and challenge myself.  That's a tricky thing to do when you only have $70 a week for groceries and at least $30 of it has to go to diapers and formula.

So I've started this little blog to help me celebrate the dishes I make, and to form a sort of recipe box for myself.  I'll take as many pictures as possible, and include links or recipes for every meal I serve my family.  My hope is that this wee adventure will aid me in goal of planning 5 dinners for every week and adding variety and nutrition to our diets.  (Not that there won't be sweets...)

I called it "the bonnie dinner table" because, well, it's as good as I could get for creative.  And, corny though it may be, I like the play on my name and the adjective "bonnie", meaning "good".  Here's hoping that the vast majority of this food is "good"!

If you have any good meals or recipes please feel free to contact me with them. 
 Now here's a picture that shows two things that are very important in my kitchen - mostly because they make me very happy:  the compost bucket and produce from our garden.  Fresh as fresh. 

Wish me luck, for away we goooooo!