Monday, June 30, 2014

No Menu Plan for This Week

Hey, y'all. The kids and I are heading up to West Virginia to spend time with my folks, so I'm not doing a menu plan. While we're there, we'll celebrate the Princess' 12th birthday, along with her two cousins who share the same birthday. This year's theme is Frozen.

Here's a pic of the birthday girls last year.
Charles and the dog are holding down the fort at home. I've made sure there are plenty of fruits and veggies as well as some other healthy stuff for hubby to snack on while I'm gone. In the past he's survived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and poptarts. I'm eager to see how he fares.

I don't know if I'll be around much, so you all have a great week!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Big Macs at Home

We've been trying to eat healthy around here, and one of the things we're trying to cut out is fast food. We really didn't eat it often, but when we did, the Princess and I headed straight for the Big Macs.

I remember in elementary school music class learning the Big Mac sales pitch as part of a lesson on rhythm. Over 35 years later, I still remember it - "Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun." Know what I'm talking about?

So I tried to recreate those toppings here at home, though I added my own little twist. On my "Big Mac," I leave off the pickles. I always just picked them off the fast-food version anyway. And I don't use two beef patties. Although one of my burgers would definitely equal the two tiny flat ones McDonald's uses on their Big Macs!

My first step is to carmelize some onions. I can't stand the taste and crunch of raw onions. Usually I scraped them off if I could. But cook onions up in a pan, softening and sweetening them up, and I'm all over that!

I thinly slice two onions, then heat up 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Over low to medium heat, cook the onions for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring often. You don't want them to burn, just to brown nicely.

Then I make the special sauce. It's really very simple. I take 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of ketchup. Then I stir in two teaspoons of dill pickle relish. It's very similar to Thousand Island dressing, so you could use that if you don't want to make the homemade sauce.

After grilling up some burgers on my George Foreman grill, I assemble the homemade Big Macs.

First comes the whole wheat bun. Mine didn't have any sesame seeds, but it's okay. Layer the cooked burger and cheese, then pile on some carmelized onions.
Now if you're going to add pickles, do so now. Everyone else in my family does. Spread some special sauce over the top bun and stack up some lettuce on the burger.

Now enjoy your Big Mac, knowing it's healthier and more satisfying than what you'd buy at the drive-thru!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Menu Plan June 23-29

This weekend Charles and I went to a local farmers' market together. I've gone by myself in times past, but since he's become interested in healthy eating, he wanted to go along. We went early in the morning to beat the heat, but it was already 90 degrees by 9 am! Still, we enjoyed spending time together AND purchasing some yummy organic produce and goat cheese, as well as some whole wheat sourdough bread from a local bakery.

Here's our haul:
And this was dinner that night:
The purple potatoes, green beans and bread came from the farmers' market. The steak is from a grass-fed cow we purchased in the spring. It was a delicious, fresh-tasting meal!

Now on to this week's menu plan:

Baked eggplant and pork casserole, broccoli

Quinoa burrito bowls

Steak bites, twice baked potatoes

Crockpot cheesy cowboy casserole, green beans

Jambalaya with chicken and shrimp, crusty bread

Pastitsio, Greek lemon roasted potatoes

Crockpot chicken and wild rice soup with bacon
For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Menu Plan June 16-22

After two weeks of non-stop rain (or so it seemed), summer weather has come with a vengeance to the Deep South. But we didn't let it stop us from getting out and enjoying some mini-golf at Noccalula Falls on Saturday. We had a lovely day of family fun, in spite of the heat.
We've also started a concerted effort to eat healthy. And this time, it was prompted by my husband who is committed to getting physically fit this year. Our past efforts kind of dwindled because it was mainly me who was interested in doing it. I'm thrilled that he's gotten on board and is researching healthy eating himself. I think we'll be able to make better choices as a family and that will benefit all of us.

We're starting with baby steps, like switching out whole wheat flour for white flour, whole wheat pasta for regular pasta, that kind of thing. We've also added more veggies and fruits to our meals and snacks. I even got Charles to go with me to the farmer's market last week - early, on a Saturday morning! See, baby steps!

So here's what I've got on the menu:

Quinoa and kale gratin, roasted garlic cauliflower

Italian sausage sandwiches on whole wheat buns, homemade fries

Chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes

Panko crusted salmon, oven roasted zucchini

Swedish meatballs, whole wheat noodles

Grilled steak, grilled veggies (zucchini, peppers, eggplant, onions)

Quinoa chili

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

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pizza Rolls

My family loves pizza. I've been making it homemade for several years now, saving us tons of money. Using my quick and easy crust recipe, I can have the pizza on the table ready to eat in the same amount of time it would take to have it delivered.

These pizza rolls use the same crust recipe, but provide a fun little twist on pizza night.

Here's what you need for the crust:

1 cups warm (not hot) water
1 teas sugar
1 TBSP yeast
2 TBSP olive oil or melted butter
2 1/2 cups flour (I use half unbleached white and half white wheat flour)
1 teas salt

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and yeast. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes until puffy.

Mix in the olive oil or butter, flour and salt. Knead for 5 minutes until smooth (this is where a stand mixer comes in handy). Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Now for the pizza rolls, you'll need:

1//4 cup pizza sauce, divided
1/2 cup shredded cheese
any additional toppings you'd like (we like pepperoni and/or sausage

After the dough has rested, divide it in half. Roll each half into a rectangle, about 9x13. Spread 2 TBSP of the pizza over each rectangle, leaving a little space at the bottom. If you don't leave that little space, all the filling will squish out when you roll the dough up. Two tablespoons may not seem like enough sauce, but any more will cause the rolls to be doughy.

Now place your toppings over the sauce and press down lightly.
Beginning at the top of the rectangle, roll the dough toward you, trying to keep it as tight as you can.
When you reach the end of the dough, pinch it to seal the roll together.
Slice the dough into 8 pieces. Place in a lightly greased 9x13 pan.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until browned.
As you can see, the rolls expand as they bake, so leave a little room between them when you place them in the pan.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Menu Plan June 9-15

Last week we had VBS at our church, so we were gone from home every night. I'm worn out, to say the least. But it was worth it. We had 5 young people make decisions for Christ, and between 55-75 kids heard the Word of God proclaimed each night. Praise the Lord!

One of the most exciting parts of VBS was raising money for our missionaries, Dan and Amie Dwire, to purchase solar-powered radios to take back to Uganda, Africa with them in just a few days. They've been in the US for about a year on furlough and will be returning for their third term on the mission field. The radios will be distributed to people in nearby villages so they can listen to Calvary Radio, a Christian radio station that Dan manages there. The VBS kids were so excited to have a part in spreading the gospel in another part of the world. It was amazing to see their enthusiasm!

Our family has been blessed to spend some wonderful times of fellowship with the Dwires over the past few months as they made our church their home base during their furlough. We're going to miss them tremendously when they return to the field, but we're so thankful for their dedication to the work God has called them to. We're even making tentative plans to visit them in Uganda in a couple of years! Whoo hoo!

Now on to this week's menu plan:

Italian sausage rigatoni, garlic bread

Chicken in the crockpot, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce

Pretzel dogs, fries

Southwest pepper steak, rice

Honey lime tilapia, Parmesan zucchini

Ranch veggie pizza

Roast with potatoes in the crockpot

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

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Menu Plan June 2 - June 8

Well, this week is going to be a very busy one for us. Our church is having vacation Bible school every evening (we're using AIG's International Spy Academy curriculum) and it's going to be awesome! So I've got some easy meals scheduled to help ease the supper rush since we have to be at church by 5:30 pm.

Plus, it's my sweet husband's birthday on Monday. I won't tell you how old he's going to be, but it's older than 42 and younger than 44. *wink*

So here's what I've got scheduled for the week (and it's always subject to change!):

Chicken shawarma, flatbread (birthday boy's request)

Baked egg rolls, garlic sesame noodles

Spicy ranch chicken skillet

Spaghetti with Italian sausage, garlic bread

Oven roasted sausage and potatoes, green beans

Grilled steak and chicken, corn on the cob

Chicken noodle soup

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