Monday, June 22, 2009

What's for dinner?

Today, I'm trying something new and linking to a blog that I just started following. She has Menu Plan Monday, where over 200 other bloggers link their menus for the week. Check it out--I'm sure you'll find some great ideas! :)
And now, back to your previously scheduled program...
It's nice to have a whole week where we'll be sleeping in our own beds! Don't get me wrong, I love traveling and visiting loved ones, but especially with two little ones, it's nice to be home! :)
Here's a glimpse at our menu for the week:

Monday: Rotisserie Chicken, peas, salad, wheat rolls
Tuesday: BBQ Ribs, baked potatoes, salad, rolls
Wednesday: Chicken Enchilladas, corn, chips and salsa
Thursday: Hawaiian Bread sandwich dealio that my mom-in-law makes--recipe to come!!
Friday: Hamburgers/hot dogs on the grill, green beans, watermelon
Saturday: My birthday--no cooking going on here! :)
Sunday: leftovers

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My latest favorite dessert--Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Last weekend, some of our favorite college friends came to visit. Kim and I have both grown to love cooking and baking more and more in the past few years and love to compare notes about recipes. In fact, many of the recipes that I post on here were recommended to me by Kim. But I digress, this past weekend, Kim offered to make a dessert that has become one of their favorites--Pioneer Woman's Strawberry Shortcake Cake. I'm SO glad that she did--it's absolutely delicious. Seriously, it's amazing--you must try it! :) It does take a little bit of time, but it's nothing to crazy, just bake a shortcake from scratch, mash up some strawberries, make icing from scratch and assemble. Here's a picture--this is on day 2, so not as pretty as it would have been had I thought to take a picture the day she made it. Honestly, I was to enraptured by the cake itself to think straight! ;)

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 pound cream cheese, room temperature
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pound strawberries

1. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch.
2. Cream 9 tablespoons butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined.
4. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.
5. Pour into greased and floured 8-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until no longer jiggly like my bottom.
6. Remove from cake pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.
7. Stem strawberries and slice them in half from bottom to top. Place into a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes.
8. After 30 minutes, mash the strawberries in two batches. (or puree them in a food processor or blender) Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoons sugar and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.
9. Make icing: combine cream cheese, 2 sticks butter, sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix until very light and fluffy.
10.Slice cake in half through the middle.
11. Spread strawberries evenly over each half (cut side up), pouring on all the juices.
12. Place cake halves into the freezer for five minutes, just to make icing easier.
13. Remove from freezer. Use a little less than 1/3 of the icing to spread over the top of the strawberries on the bottom layer.
14. Place the second layer on top. Add half of the remaining icing to the top spreading evenly, then spread the remaining 1/3 cup around the sides.
15.Leave plain OR garnish with strawberry halves.
IMPORTANT: Cake is best when served slightly cool. The butter content in the icing will cause it to soften at room temperature. For best results, store in the fridge!

For pictures that walk you through this recipe, check out the original on the Pioneer Woman's blog. It's one of my favorites! :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

This Week

Well, Friday we're off again for a quick weekend with relatives, but here's the menu for Monday through Thursday:
Monday: Spaghetti and meatballs
Tuesday: Spanish Rice Casserole
Wednesday: Grilled BBQ Chicken Wraps
Thursday: leftovers
Hope you're having a lovely summer!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sweet BBQ Sausage

At a family member's graduation party recently, there was quite the spread of delicious food. On my first trip (we were there for 7 hours) I completely missed the sweet bbq sausage. Thankfully, when I asked my husband if I could get him anything a bit later, he requested it. Of course, once it was requested by my picky hubby, I knew I needed to at least give it a try. YUMMMMM! Am I ever glad that I did. Directly after delivering it to him, I searched for his aunt, the hostess, to find out what was in it. I suspected brown sugar and maybe ketchup, and while I was right on the ketchup, I was wrong on the br. sugar. Instead, it's SOOO simple and even healthier than brown sugar--cranberry sauce! Here's the recipe--if you can even call it that!

Sweet BBQ Sausage

1 or 2 rings of polish sausage (Johnsonville has links--that would work fine also)
3 cups of ketchup
1 can of whole berry cranberry sauce

1. Slice the sausage (however thick you want the bites to be).
2. Spray the crockpot and turn to low heat.
3. Pour the ketchup and cranberry sauce into the crockpot and mix together with a whisk.
4. Add the sausage and stir again.
5. Cook on low for at least an hour and a half, but really as long as you'd like.

I should mention, that my mom-in-law is actually the one who made this for the party and that she only makes it as an appetizer, but I liked it so much that I wanted it to be a main dish. So I served it up with some green beans and some homemade rolls. Yum! :)

Monday, June 8, 2009


This week might look a little familiar, b/c of a few things that came up last week there are some repeats from last week. Here it is:

Monday: Tacos (got pushed back from Saturday)
Tuesday: marinated grilled chicken, potato salad, fruit (forgot to marinate the night before last week, so we just did a lawry's 30 minute marinade--not nearly as good as this recipe!)
Wednesday: Crockpot Pork Chops and Gravy (*new recipe*)
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: chicken ring
Saturday: brats/hot dogs on the grill, coleslaw, watermelon, corn on the cob

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sweet and Tangy Meatloaf--take 2

I told the story behind this recipe once before, but I'll briefly tell it again. When I was in middle school, my mom and I had a deal--I'd make dinner and she'd do the dishes. Since I despised doing the dishes, it was a really good deal for me. Since she was working, it was a really good deal for her as well--she got to come home to dinner in the oven or on the table! Typically, she would leave a recipe and I would just follow the directions. Being the only girl in the family, I had been by my mom's side cooking for a long time. day, she left the recipe for meatloaf and we were out of ketchup. So...I went looking for anything else that was red that I could throw in. I added Catalina dressing and BBQ sauce. It turned out pretty good. Thus began my experiments with meatloaf. Over the years, I definitely stopped using measuring cups and just added what seemed right. That led to the guestimates on the measurements that I posted earlier. Monday, I tried measuring and think that I may have figured it out. Here's our favorite version of my meatloaf:



1 1/2 pounds of ground beef (I try to use fairly lean beef--(85-90%)
1/3 cup of ketchup
2 Tbs of BBQ sauce
1/4 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs
~15* crackers crumbled (I prefer whole wheat Ritz crackers, but often use saltines)

1/3 cup of ketchup
2 Tbs of BBQ
3 Tbs of brown sugar

*if the meatloaf seems too runny, add more cracker crumbs, if it seems really dry, add a little extra ketchup

1. Preheat oven to 375, get out a 9 x 13 pan. (I prefer cooking it in a 9x13, b/c then the grease has someplace to go besides back into the meat, unlike in a loaf pan)
2. Mix all ingredients in a big bowl with your hands
3. dump the meat mixture into the pan and form into a loaf

4. Mix sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over med heat until it comes to a boil.
5. Drizzle, or spoon generously over the meat mixture

6. Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes.

This is great served with baked potatoes. I usually stick the potatoes in the oven before I start the meatloaf and they're all done around the same time. Make some steamed veggies or a side salad and some rolls and you've got a great meal!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Menu and more

We're back home after our trips to Michigan and Kentucky and I'm excited to be home for a while. We still have a lot on the calendar, but at least we get to sleep in our own beds! :) Here's a look at our menu for the week:
Monday: meatloaf--I plan to take pics of this one and update my recipe with more specific measurements, baked potatoes, homemade rolls and fruit salad
Tuesday: grilled marinated chicken, potato salad, leftover rolls and fruit salad
Wednesday: Pizza, corn, and fruit
Thursday: sweet BBQ sausage(this is a new and yummy one, recipe to come), green beans, rolls, fruit
Friday: cookout with friend from church, I'm bringing cheesy potatoes
Saturday: tacos
Sunday: leftovers

In other news, while we were gone, my sweet 3 year old (or as he says, "free and a haff") had a yummy m&m cookie at a bakery. He's been hooked on the chocolate chip cookies from Annie's Eats for months--he and my husband--and wants them constantly, with the butterscotch chips added in as I do here. So, since returning home to find that there are no homemade cookies *gasp* he requested chocolate chip/butterscotch cookies with m&m's. I gave it a whirl this afternoon. When he got up from his nap, he could smell them. He followed his nose and this is what I found when I got downstairs:

Then I gave him permission to eat one, here's the results: