Sunday, March 8, 2009

Meal Planning

I hope to continue with the not going to the store. Here's my plan for this week:

Sunday: Meatloaf
Monday: Chicken something or other
Tuesday: Kielbasa and sauerkraut
Wednesday: Mac and Cheese
Thursday: Leftover saucy one pot
Friday: Something shrimp (or over a friend's house for dinner)
Saturday: Maybe homemade pizza?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

So they want the Dr. Seuss cake!

How funny that my little blog here is getting hits from all over the place as people look for Dr. Seuss cakes. Google Analytics says that this blog is getting way more hits than my blog about my adorable little boy (But I think that's a blip because I got a comment that wasn't listed on there... but I digress), and I imagine that's a large part of why.

People looking for something creative are probably disappointed when they find my little cake, but I was really really pleased with how it came out. I'm not at all an artist, so pulling off the little sketch of the Cat's hat thrilled me, and it was so much easier than my original plan.

So, some random thoughts as my brain spins trying to make sense of tonight's episode of Lost.

Saucy One Pot Dinner

Another good one from Kraft Foods. This is from my Dinner on Hand cookbook, which is all about options (yay)... it's a feature they've included (infrequently) in their magazine.

So, here's what I did... I browned a pound of ground chicken. I then added a cup of pasta, a cup of water, and a cup of spaghetti sauce, and a few good shakes of Italian seasoning. I boiled it, then covered and simmered for 20 minutes. Then I threw in a small onion (diced), about a handful of frozen sliced bell peppers, the rest of what I had of frozen broccoli florets, a can of sliced mushrooms, and a tablespoon of chopped garlic. I heated this for 5 minutes (well, however long it took the broccoli to get hot), and then added a handful of Italian blend of shredded cheese.

I have to say that, although these recipes probably aren't the most healthy stuff on the block, they will really help me in my goal of using crap up. This was pretty good, and I ended up saving the leftovers in the freezer for a future dinner. Hopefully, that will work out to be just as good as tonight's!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cheesy Chicken and Salsa Skillet

A good one from Kraft Foods! Yeehaw! Link

2 cups multigrain penne pasta, uncooked I used not multigrain bowtie pasta
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1-1/4 cups TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick 'N Chunky Salsa I used what was left of Shop Rite Brand medium salsa
1 cup frozen corn, thawed I usd peas
1 large green pepper, cut into short thin strips I used about a cup of frozen sliced peppers
1 cup KRAFT Mexican Style 2% Milk Finely Shredded Four Cheese
Make It!
COOK pasta as directed on package.
MEANWHILE, heat large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 2 min. Stir in salsa, corn and peppers. Bring to boil. Simmer on medium-low heat 10 min. or until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally.
DRAIN pasta. Add to chicken mixture; mix lightly. Sprinkle with cheese. Remove from heat; cover. Let stand 1 min. or until cheese is melted.

As soon as he had his first bite, M said that this was really good. I thought it was pretty good, but definitely something I will make again. I continue making dinner without stopping at the grocery store! We did go to BJs for some things (Bananas, milk, diaper stuff) and I got some perishables at the grocery store (yogurt, cottage cheese, grapes) this weekend, but on the whole, I'm really proud of making sure I use it all up. I do, of course, now need to buy some salsa... :-/

In short, this is a GREAT weeknight meal! Hooray for a Kraft Foods winner... I was concerned it might not be possible!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

M has been craving Mozzarella Sticks for a few days now. Since the budget is tight, we decided to go ahead and make them. Since our waistbands are also tight, we went with a recipe that bakes rather than fries. I found this recipe on Kitchen Scrapbook (link!)

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

2 packages (5 oz each) string cheese
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 large egg whites
2 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I used Italian bread crumbs)
1 tsp. dried oregano (omitted)
1/2 tsp. salt (omitted)
2 Tbsp. melted butter (I used spray olive oil)

Marinara sauce

Remove cheese from packages; cut each cheese stick in half crosswise.

Combine flour and cornstarch in a shallow dish. Beat egg whites and water in another shallow dish until well mixed. Combine bread crumbs, oregano, and salt in a third shallow dish. Coat cheese with flour mixture. Dip into egg white mixture, being sure to coat thoroughly, including ends. Coat with bread crumb mixture.

Dip into egg whites and bread crumbs a second time, being sure ends are coated. Place on ungreased baking sheet.

Freeze at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400. Drizzle cheesesticks with melted butter. Bake until crumbs just begin to brown, 5-7 minutes.

Perhaps using the spray stuff meant we missed on something. These weren't bad, per se, but they weren't the yummy goodness we know and love as mozzarella sticks. The coating was a little bit on the dry side too... maybe because it was, um, dry.
It was a nice recipe, and something on which I hope to improve. The idea of making these up and then keeping them in the freezer for whenever is not only cheaper than buying them from the store, but also easier because I'm not so great at remembering what's in the freezer.

Pictures coming soon, although Kitchen Scrapbooks are WAY prettier than mine!
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