Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Italian Sausage Rigatoni

Pasta is one of the easiest dishes to fix. I make a lot of it around here. But I do like to venture away from preparing it the same way every time.

This recipe uses Italian sausage for the meaty sauce and hearty rigatoni as the noodle. But any kind of pasta would do. I prefer bigger noddles for the chunky meat, that's all.

Here's the recipe:

1 lb ground Italian sausage - you could also use links, just break them up as they cook
1 can (29 oz) tomato puree
1 small green pepper, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
1/2 TBSP dried basil
1/2 TBSP dried oregano
2 teas garlic powder
1 teas sea salt
1/2 teas black pepper
1 box (16 oz) rigatoni, cooked according to package directions

In a large skillet, brown the Italian sausage with the green pepper and onion. Drain any excess grease.
Add the tomato puree and seasonings. Simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Serve the sauce over the rigatoni.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Menu Plan April 29-May 5

It's been a whole week since I posted. I'm so sorry. Life just got in the way, as usual. I will try to do better.

My husband just got back from a weekend trip to New Orleans with "the guys." They had a great time, while my best friend and I spent lots of time together with all of our kids. The Princess got to go horseback riding, which she loved!
This week I hope to get some food prepared for the freezer, as this close to the end of the school year, things get pretty hectic.

Now here's what I've got on the menu this week:

Chicken bacon subs, waffle fries

Steak bites, twice-baked potatoes

Mexican chicken stuffed shells

Tilapia po'boys, garlic roasted potatoes

Homemade pizza

Low country boil with friends - I've never done this before, so I'm really excited!

Indian butter chicken, rice

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Menu Plan April 22-28

The last full week of April is here already! Wow! Our church is holding revival services this week, so I've got some easy meals planned.

Here's what I've got on the menu:

Tori no kara-age (Japanese deep fried chicken nuggets), rice

Pasta fagioli, garlic bread

Crockpot sausage, red beans and rice

Baked egg rolls, garlic ginger noodles

Out to eat, kids' choice

Chicken bacon subs, fries

Smoked Boston butt (fundraiser for church), potatoes

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Calico Beans

This beef and bean recipe is simple and delicious. Not to mention it's frugal. I also love that it's full of protein. Oh, and it's colorful, too.

There, have I gushed about it enough? Let's get on to the recipe!

Here's what you need:

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
2 cans baked beans, undrained (I use Eden Organic or Walnut Creek Organic, available at Publix)
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped (you can substitute real bacon bits)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, your choice
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1/2 teas sea salt
1/2 teas black pepper

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the onion and green pepper until the meat is no longer pink. Drain.

Mix in the remaining ingredients. Transfer to a baking dish and bake, covered, at 350 degrees for about an hour. Or just toss it all into a crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
See how pretty that is?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Menu Plan April 15-21

Spring has finally arrived in the Deep South! Pollen covers everything and allergies are kicking in. Thankfully, we've had some rain to wash away the yellow stuff. But the temps are warming and I'm itching to get a small raised garden planted. Hopefully sometime this week I'll be able to get it done.

Now here's what we've got on our menu this week:

Scalloped potatoes and ham (substituting ham for the chicken in this recipe), green beans

Chicken enchiladas verdes, corn

Tasty tilapia, broccoli

Sausage and veggie calzones, fries

Grilled chicken, loaded potato salad

Taco salad

Sausage, red beans and rice (crockpot)

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Strawberry Lemon Yogurt Cake

When I think of spring in the Deep South, I think of strawberries. Well, I think of pollen, too. But let's not dwell on that.

This luscious cake is full of fresh strawberries, mixed with a hint of lemon. It actually tastes like spring to me! I served it for Easter dessert and it got raves from my family. It's good as a breakfast cake, too. Hmmmm, I wonder how I figured that out.

For a long time, I was reluctant to try this cake because it is made in a Bundt pan. Bundt pans and I have had many a mishap over the years. I finally learned to grease and flour the pan WELL, not lightly. That has made all the difference.

So don't be afraid to try this one because it's baked in a Bundt pan. Grease the pan up, then flour it plenty. The cake will slide right out!

Now here's what you need:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 (6 oz) container lemon Greek yogurt (Chobani's is the only brand I could find that made lemon)
2 TBSP milk
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teas baking powder
1/2 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
1 pint strawberries, washed and diced

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 TBSP lemon juice

Grease and flour well a 10-inch Bundt pan. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. (You'll be reducing the heat when you put this in the oven, so it won't be hot enough to burn your cake.)

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. I use half brown sugar because I think it makes the cake taste a little richer, but you can use all granulated sugar. Beat in the eggs, milk and lemon juice.

In a small bowl, toss the diced strawberries with about 1/4 cup of the flour. In another bowl combine the remaining flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into the yogurt mixture and mix well.

Gently stir in the strawberries, trying not to crush them. The flour should help them not sink to the bottom of the pan.

Spread the batter into the greased pan. Place the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 325 degrees. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the pan comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool for about 20 minutes, then turn it out onto a plate to cool completely. Mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice together, then drizzle over the cake while it's still warm.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Menu Plan April 8-14

I had an interesting conversation with the Princess last week. She said she wanted to "lay off the sugar, lay off the Xbox and start moving!" She'd read a Berenstain Bear book on nutrition and how junk food affects the body. And she made her own conclusion that she needed to get healthy! How awesome is that?

Now, I don't keep a lot of junk on hand. But still, it's very easy to pick up some chips or sweets on my grocery trips. She wants to learn how to make healthier snacks, so we've looked over some recipes and will be starting to experiment with making more of our own. She mastered scrambled eggs last week and was very proud of herself. I'm beyond thrilled that she's showing an interest in cooking! Whoo hoo!

Not only that, but she wants to exercise, too. And believe me, she is becoming a major motivation to her mama! We have taken some walks and both of us got new bicycles! It's so neat to be doing this together. She is such a blessing to me.

So here's what we've got on the menu this week:

Cheeseburger soup, pretzel bread

Lentil rice burritos, corn

Chicken stir fry and rice

Herb crusted tilapia, garlic roasted potatoes

Homemade pizza

Grilled chicken, grilled veggies

Rigatoni, garlic bread

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ultimate Blog Party 2013 is Here!

Ultimate Blog Party 2013 

 Okay, friends! It's time to party!

I've got some yummy Triple Berry Crisp to share with you, so dig in!
While you're enjoying your treat, let me tell you a little about myself.

I'm Marsha. I live in the Deep South with my wonderful husband and two children, Mr. Lego and the Princess.
I started blogging a few years ago to share my favorite recipes with family and friends. I'm not a professional chef or baker. I'm just a mom who likes to prepare easy, quick and tasty meals for her family. I often joke with people that if it's not quick and easy, I don't fix it!

So what can you expect if you stick around?

Well, I post a lot of recipes. That's why I started blogging, after all.

I also homeschool my kids, so occasionally I'll share what we're learning and how we're learning it. Besides cooking, homeschooling is my passion. I'm not an expert by any means, but we're about to finish our sixth year so I've got a little experience. I absolutely love the flexibility and freedom we have as a family, and I hope to continue throughout high school.

I'm a Christian, too. Definitely a work-in-progress! As I feel led, I'll share what God is doing in my life. I'm not preachy - though my children might disagree! But I'm not shy about who I am in Christ. God has been so good to me that I can't help but share sometimes!

Now if you want to know anything more about me, just ask. But to give you an idea of my quirkiness, here's a "My Favorite Things" post I did last year on my birthday. Do we share any of the same interests? Leave me a comment and introduce yourself!

Thanks for stopping by and hope you have fun at the Ultimate Blog Party!

Herb Crusted Tilapia

Tilapia is probably my favorite type of fish to prepare. It cooks quickly and can be baked, fried or grilled. My family loves it, no matter how it's cooked.

This version is tasty and crispy. It is perfectly yummy eaten straight from the frying pan. But put this on a sandwich and wow! It's amazing! I've also cooked it and then broken it into pieces for fish tacos. So versatile!

Here's what you need:

4 tilapia filets
1 cup flour
2 teas garlic powder
1 teas sea salt
1/2 teas pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 TBSP dried parsley
1 TBSP dried Italian seasoning
Coconut oil or palm shortening for frying

In a shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place the beaten eggs in another shallow dish. Then combine the bread crumbs with the parsley and Italian seasoning in another shallow dish. I simply use styrofoam plates for this.

Dredge the tilapia filets in the flour mixture, then dip into the eggs. Shake off any excess egg and roll in the bread crumbs, making sure all sides are covered.

Heat the coconut oil or palm shortening in a frying pan until very hot. The oil should shimmer just a little. If it's not hot enough, the bread crumbs will soak up the oil and not get very crispy.

Cook the tilapia for about 4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The 2013 Ultimate Blog Party is coming!

Every year 5 Minutes for Mom hosts the Ultimate Blog Party. It's an opportunity for bloggers to connect and even win prizes throughout the week. I've joined in for the past few years and have found some awesome blogs to follow. This is a great way to get your blog some exposure and find some new bloggy friends.

Not only that, but you can sign up for some awesome prizes, too.

Here's my post from last year's party to give you an idea of how to join in. So get your party hats ready and link up so you can be part of the fun!