Archive for September, 2009

Menu Mondays

September 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Prep day:

  • Make a breakfast cookie (with oats and egg whites) to reheat for Monday a.m.’s breakfast (it’ll be my first time trying it!)
  • Chop all veggies
  • Make baked beans for later in the week
  • Bake bread
  • Bake chicken for lunches
  • Making funfetti cookies for a co-worker (She’s addicted, and it’s her birthday on Monday)

Monday: steak, cauliflower, pasta

Tuesday: Out for DH’s birthday

Wednesday: Ham, stovetop macaroni and cheese, steamed broccoli

Thursday: Last hurrah of summer? — grilled burgers, baked beans, side salad

Friday: leftovers!


Best Beef Stew — EVER.

September 26, 2009


I don’t care if it has canned soup in it. If you have beef (haha — get it, beef?) with canned soup, then make your own homemade french onion and tomato and add those.

But this is seriously the best beef stew I’ve EVER had! I got the recipe from a co-worker, who informed me I had to cook it for 5 hours, at 300 degrees F, in my oven.

Um, no.

I’m never home for 5 hours to cook it that long!

So I threw it in the crockpot. And it was p-e-r-f-e-c-t. 🙂

The original recipe had no measurements on it, save for how many cans of soup and bullion cubes. I used the amounts below and it was perfect. It served DH and I two dinners and made enough for 2 lunch portions.

I served it with crusty bread.

Beef Stew

(Adapted by me)

2 pounds beef cubes (or a beef roast, cubed)

1/2 large onion, roughly chopped

4 carrots, cut into rounds

4 celery stalks, cut into pieces

4-5 Idaho (or whatever you prefer) potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

2 beef bullion cubes

2 cans of tomato soup (condensed, with no additional milk added)

1 can french onion soup


– If you are making it in the oven: layer ingredients as listed below in a big casserole dish and bake, covered with foil, for 5 hours at 300 degrees F — and the most important step: DO NOT STIR, TOUCH, OR REMOVE THE FOIL WHILE COOKING.

To make it in a crockpot….spray crockpot with cooking spray to make cleanup easier

– Layer ingredients as follows: beef cubes in the bottom of the crockpot, onions on top of the beef cubes, carrots, celery, and potatoes next.

– Place two bullion cubes on top of potatoes (I put one on each “side” of the crockpot)

– Next, take the two cans of tomato soup and “plop” them on top of the layers (again, I put one on each “side” of the crockpot) and then empty the can of french onion soup over the whole mess.

– Place the lid on top, and set the crockpot for 8 hours on low.

– As with the oven instructions — DO NOT STIR, TOUCH, OR REMOVE THE LID WHILE COOKING.

– Once the crockpot is done, remove the lid, stir to combine the ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve!

This recipe has been entered in Joelen’s Culinary Adventures October Tasty Tools – Crockpots and Slow Cookers! Check it out!

Menu Mondays

September 21, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Friday: Made lemon chicken for my girlfriend who was visiting for the weekend

Saturday: No cooking!

Sunday: Prep day:

  • Made bread for DH
  • Chopped veggies for the week
  • Made flax/whole grain waffles for bfast this week

Monday: steak, broccoli, pasta

Tuesday: breaded pork chops, rice pilaf, green beans (we didn’t have this last week, lol)

Wednesday: Dinner out with DH for a co-workers retirement

Thursday: One of my co-workers recipes for beef stew (except I’m doing it in the crockpot), crusty bread

Friday: leftovers

Pillsbury Simply Giveaway Winner

September 16, 2009

And the winner of the Simply… prize pack is………

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-09-16 01:54:19 UTC


JC — please contact me at with your mailing address information so I can get your prize pack to you!

Menu Monday

September 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Short/odd week this week, as DH is going rafting this weekend, and one of my friends from home is coming to visit me — not sure what we girls will be eating next weekend, yet!

Saturday: Made the most delicious fruit dip ever for a party…

Sunday: Prep day…

  • Made bread for DH
  • Chopped veggies
  • Cooked sausage for our lasagna
  • Took steaks out to thaw for Monday

Monday: steak, cauliflower, pasta

Tuesday: lasagna for two, salad

Wednesday: parmesan breaded pork chops, steamed broccoli, rice pilaf

Thursday: FAIR FOOD! Headed to the local fair to eat junk – lol

Friday: not sure yet — DH will be gone, but I don’t know when my friend is arriving!

Best Fruit Dip. Ever.

September 13, 2009


Seriously. It’s the best fruit dip I’ve ever had.

My family has made it for years…no idea where it originated!

You can make it any color you choose…it just looks friendly in pink 🙂

Fruit Dip

(Family Recipe)

1-3.4 oz vanilla instant pudding

1 cup milk

1 tsp almond extract

1-8 oz. cool whip

4-5 drops food color – any color


– whisk the milk into the powdered vanilla pudding in a medium-sized mixing bowl

– add almond extract and whisk to incorporate

– fold cool whip in gently

– add food coloring and stir to incorporate color

– refrigerate until serving; serve with fruit tray or fruit salad!

Another Pillsbury Giveaway!

September 9, 2009

Admittedly, the poor gals at MyBlogSpark have really been after me — I’m backlogged on giveaways and reviews! LOL

They’re helpful and willing to deal with me and my forgetfulness crazy schedule, though!

This time around I reviewed Pillsbury’s new ready-to-bake cookies called Pillsbury Simply… — these cookies don’t contain any of the normal preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, artifical colors, etc — they’re basically a much closer, ready-to-bake version, of what you’d make at home if you had all the time in the world to bake and not gain a pound off of it.

All in all, the cookies aren’t bad. While I love making homemade cookies for me, my husband, my friends, my family, and anyone else who will let me feed them, sometimes (especially on weekends when DH is away) I just want a quick cookie-and-ice-cream combo, and usually I turn to the ready bakes.

I know. I’m a baker who just admitted to ready-bake.

I’m okay with it.

I’d definately buy these again for one of those weekends-without-the hubby….they’d be delicious with a nice stack of chick flicks and some ice cream!

Now the giveaway!

The prize pack available today is similar to the one I myself received:

  • A coupon for free cookies
  • An adorable white cookie jar to keep them in (I took my jar to work — it’s small enough that it’s adorable on my desk! And it keeps co-workers coming to visit!)
  • A heavy-weight canvas grocery tote

To enter, leave a comment below — any comment! — but if you’d prefer, list something easy, but healthy, you enjoy making!

In addition, if you can’t wait until September 16, 2009 — which is when this contest is over — here is a link for $1.25 off the Pillsbury Simply cookies!

Give them a try!

Pillsbury Simply….Cookies

Menu Mondays

September 7, 2009

Menu Plan MondaySunday: Prep Day…

  • Chop/prep all veggies for the week
  • Cook turkey cutlets for lunches this week
  • Cook sweet potatoes for lunches this week
  • Attempt the infamous healthy peanut butter swirl pancakes to re-heat for breakfast on Tuesday

Monday: ILs over for dinner…chicken of some sort (MIL insisted on cooking.)

Tuesday: steak, broccoli, pasta

Wednesday: bbq grilled chicken, foil packet potatoes, green beans

Thursday: roast beef blintzes, salad

Friday: Leftovers!

Open-Faced Sandwiches with Bechamel Sauce

September 6, 2009


This is a recipe (or at least a food idea…not much of a recipe invovled) I got from my mother-in-law….no idea where she got it 🙂

It’s tasty, and a different twist on an open-faced sandwich. We don’t have it often, so I resurrected it this week as something different.

Open Faced Sandwiches with Bechamel Sauce

*Makes 4 sandwiches*

4 slices of a crusty bread — an italian, or portugese style, sliced on an angle

4 slices of white american cheese (can use other, this is the standard recipe)

approx 1/2 lb. thick-sliced homestyle ham (from a deli)

1 tomato, sliced

1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and drained

butter or margarine


– Preheat your broiler

– Lightly toast the bread slices and cover with a thin layer of butter or margarine

– Place toasted slices on a cookie sheet, butter-side up, and layer on the following in this order: ham, bacon, tomato, cheese

– Place in broiler and broil until cheese is melted and sandwich is hot

– Drizzle bechamel sauce (recipe below) over sandwiches just before serving

Bechamel Sauce

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp flour

1 1/4 cups milk, heated


– Melt butter in a pan over medium heat

– Stir in flour and cook until paste bubbles, stirring constantly (about 2 minutes)

– Add hot milk, bring the mixture to a boil

– Add salt and pepper to taste, then continue to stir for 2-3 minutes over a lower heat, until desired thickness

– Remove from heat immediately

– To make this in advance, remove from heat and cover with wax paper to cool, preventing a film from covering the top. Then refrigerate.  When ready to use, put back in a saucepan over medium/medium-low heat and re-heat. May need to add a bit of milk if it is too thick.