Angie Gets Organized

This is why I'm trying to get organized...for my family. I am a strong believer in family meal time, but I know that without a little planning, it will be hard to keep us all together. It will also be easier to spend money foolishly on prepared foods or fast food. I love trying out new recipes, so this is my site to pass on recipes, while also organizing them into a meal plan. I hope it helps you to keep your family together. I would love to hear what others are having for dinner, or see a new recipe or two! Feel free to leave me some feedback in the comments section...at least then I would know someone is reading this!

It's not gourmet...just good food!






Thursday, September 30, 2010

October Menu

I worked on the October Menu all day...well, off and on, when the girls were busy coloring on their papers, their arms and legs, and the table. Thank you Crayola for washable everything! I love Fall, and the suppers that I can make in the Fall...the ones that just feel right for crisp evenings. Soups, Casseroles, and Comfort Food!! I hope you enjoy the menu and the new season. October is a busy month for us...lots of birthdays and Halloween prep. I'm hoping to get all these meals worked in, so that I don't spend carelessly at restaurants. That is part of our family goal for this year, to be better organized and to be better stewards of our money.

Oct. 1-2:
(F): Ham and Cheese Calzones: We keep this real simple for a Friday night; using canned pizza dough, deli-sliced ham, and shredded cheese. Lay out the pizza dough into a rectangle. Use a pizza cutter to divide the dough in half (or quarters if you want personal sized calzones). Spread a thin layer of ranch dressing on the dough (or you could use pizza sauce), top with ham slices, and shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese. Fold the dough over and seal the edges. Bake according to the directions on the pizza dough can.
(S): Leftovers: We have plenty from this week!

Oct. 3-9:
(S): Shepherd's Pie: There are tons of recipes for this comfort food. And it can be made with fresh mashed potatoes, leftover mashed potatoes, or instant mashed potatoes. I make it with ground beef, onions, celery, diced tomatoes, and corn in the meat layer (thickened with a little flour and beef broth) or brown gravy. Top the meat layer with mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese and bake till cheese is melted and everything is hot.
(M): Baked Ravioli Casserole: This can go from simple to more involved, depending on your schedule. Simple: Layer thawed ravioli with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake till hot and cheese is melted. Involved: Make a meat sauce with hamburger and spaghetti sauce. Layer the ravioli with the sauce, alternating with cheese layers that are closer to lasagne style (16 oz cottage cheese mixed with one egg), and then topped with mozzarella cheese. Bake till hot and cheese is melted (about 30 min).
(T): Chili and cornbread
(W): Pancakes with Sausage and Eggs
(TR): Corn Chowder, Breadsticks. I think I've posted this recipe before...will have to check. :)
(F): Hot Turkey Sandwiches with French Fries: Can use the Banquet frozen turkey slices or good deli meat (I prefer the store roasted turkey from Butcher Shoppe). Will have to buy turkey gravy.
(S): Leftovers.

Oct. 10-16 (Birthday Week in our house!!)
(S): Probably eating out or doing something fun for Ryan's birthday.
(M): Ham, Green Beans, and Potatoes: Comfort Food from the crockpot. Throw it all together with a ham hock (ham shank), and cook on low all day. Yummy!
(T): Pepperoni Chicken: Cut a slit in the sides of 4 chicken breasts (or number required to feed your family), stuff with pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Place in casserole dish, cover with pizza sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 min. Top with extra mozzarella cheese near end of baking time.
(W): Sausage Tortellini Soup: I know I've posted this one before, but will have to work on getting it linked somehow (sorry, still trying to make this blog more user-friendly). May have to search thru old posts.
(TR): Goulash: Hamburger, Macaroni, and Tomatoes with a bit of Italian seasonings. Easy Comfort Food!
(F): Chicken Quesadillas: Use any leftover chicken you may have from Tuesday (or better yet, bake extra so that you are prepared!). Place cooked chicken, salsa, and cheddar cheese between two flour tortillas and lightly grill in coated frying pan or on panini maker. Make as many as you need.
(S): Leftovers or Eat out for Luke's birthday

Oct. 17-23
(S): Cinnamon BBQ Pork and Apples: a great Fall crockpot dish. Will have to post the recipe, but it is basically pork chops, sliced apples, cinnamon, BBQ sauce, Italian dressing, and garlic. We love this one!!
(M): Sloppy Joes: Just your standard recipe with some homemade potato wedges.
(T): Baked Chicken Potpie: Another favorite Comfort Food that has a gazillion recipes. Simple methods use Bisquick topped chicken and veggies in a canned-soup gravy (recipe on the side of the box). But I prefer the old-fashioned method: Cooking the chicken off the bone, rolling out a top and bottom crust, and making the filling with chicken stock, and mixed veggies. I use the Southern Living Recipe which, I'm sure, is available online.
(W): Baked Salisbury Steak: Will have to post the detailed recipe, but it is basically a hamburger patty with Golden Mushroom or Cream of Mushroom gravy on top, baked in the oven.
(TR): Ranch Chicken Pasta: The original recipe calls for turkey meat, but I'm going to substitute chicken (unless turkey cutlets are on sale this week). This uses a packet of ranch dressing mix, penne pasta, lots of butter, peas/carrots, and chicken/turkey. Will have to post the recipe from Taste of Home later.
(F): Homemade Pizza (or storebought)
(S): Leftovers (the chicken potpie makes a ton!)

Oct. 24-31
(S): Chicken Rice Casserole. I'm pretty sure this recipe is in the Campbell's cookbook, but their are lots of these online too.
(M): Lasagne Soup and breadsticks. This is basically ground beef, onions, tomatoes, beef broth, Italian seasonings, and lasagne noodles (broken up) or curly noodles. You could throw in leftover spaghetti sauce too, if you have any. That's why I love soup...they are so forgiving and you can put in whatever you want to suit your family's tastes. When the soup is done, top each bowl with mozzarella cheese to melt. Or, if you're a big fan of ricotta cheese, put a dollop into each bowl before ladeling the soup into the bowl. It will sort of melt and blend into the soup. Pretty good, but too strong for my family's tastes. (we prefer the mozz!)
(T): Apricot Honey Chicken: Another Taste of Home recipe. Will have to post the recipe. Uses apricot preserves and honey over skillet cooked chicken breasts.
(W): Slippery Ham Potpie: I really hope I don't "poop" out by this time of the month, since this my husband's one request for the month. Making it the old-fashioned way: cook off a ham hock and then use the broth to cook the potpie noodles and potatoes. I prefer to make my own noodles instead of using "potpie bows"...it is soooo much better! I have posted the recipe before.
(TR): Breakfast Casserole: Not sure which one I will make...will depend on what meat is on sale this week. There are tons of recipes on the internet.
(F): Pigs in a Blanket. Another easy one for Friday night. Not the healthiest, but definitely comfort food! Roll a hotdog in cresent roll dough, and bake according to dough instructions.
(S): Leftovers
(Su): Halloween!! We will be trick or treating...so I'm not sure what we'll be having. I always have big plans to make "scary" food for the kids, but there never seems to be enough time! There are great ideas on familyfun.com. I'll be checking it out, for sure!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Homemade Chicken and Dumplins'

1. Cook a whole chicken in boiling water until meat starts to separate from the bone. Remove chicken from water, cool, and pick meat from bones. Strain broth to ensure no tiny bones remain.
2. Add onion, celery, salt/pepper, poultry seasoning, and parsley to broth (to taste). Bring to a boil and then add a bag of frozen peas and carrots. After veggies are tender, reduce heat of broth.
3. Add two cans of cream of chicken soup or one can cream of chicken and one can cream of mushroom soup. This will make your broth very creamy. Add picked chicken (that has been cut into bite-size pieces). You could also use canned chicken or cut-up chicken breasts if you don't want to go through cooking a whole chicken. But you will want to start with canned chicken broth so that the soup has a better flavor. Bring soup mixture to a low boil (you don't want to scorch the soup!).
4. Using the directions from side of Bisquick or Jiffy Mix box, mix up a batch of dumpling dough. For Jiffy Mix: 2 c. Jiffy Mix and 2/3 c. milk. Drop the dough onto the boiling stew, cover tightly with lid (no peeking or your dumplins will fall and be tough!). Cook for 12-15 min. Dumplins should be light and fluffy sitting on top of your stew.
5. If you have a lot of leftover stew after the dumplins are long gone (as happens in my family), the stew makes a great base for chicken noodle soup. Just add enough linguine noodles (broken into small noodles) to cook in the leftover soup. Makes a great "leftover" lunch for next day!

Spaghetti Casserole

8 oz. spaghetti (or pasta of choice)
2 eggs
1/4 c. cream (or whole milk)
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 lb. bulk sausage (or ground beef)
handful of chopped onion
2 cloves chopped/minced garlic
1 jar spaghetti sauce (or 14 oz canned diced tomatoes, 8 oz tomato sauce, and 6 oz tomato paste)
1 c. beef broth
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
2 c. colby-jack cheese

1. Cook Spaghetti as directed on package. Meanwhile, beat eggs, cream, and basil in large bowl. Drain spaghetti and immediately add to egg mixture. Toss to coat. Place in 9x13 baking dish.
2. In heavy skillet, cook sausage with onion and garlic until browned. Drain fat. Add remaining ingredients, except cheese. Simmer to blend flavors. Pour sauce mix over spaghetti. Top with cheese.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 min until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted.

** This is from my Meals for a Month cookbook, so it is freezer-friendly. A 9x13 would be more than our family would eat in a sitting so I would most likely make an 8x8 to eat immediately and freeze the other half.
**To freeze: Follow recipe, except line casserole dish with plastic wrap before putting spaghetti into it. Layer the casserole as directed, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze in the casserole dish. When frozen, lift the casserole out of the dish and place in large freezer ziplock bag. Put cooking directions on outside of bag. When ready to use, remove plastic wrap and return the casserole to the baking dish (it should fit perfectly!). Thaw overnight in fridge, bake 40-50 min at 375 degrees.