August 30, 2010

What’s cookin’ this week? – August 30, 2010

Planning your weekly menu is all about having fun! When I plan my menus, I have to consider our busy schedules, but I also try to make meals that match our weekly events. Fall is just around the corner and dreaming about crisp fall days, I put together this week’s yummy menu.

This week’s menu has a theme – something old, something new, something borrowed and something goo(ey). We don’t do blue in our house. We bleed scarlet and gray around here! =)

We’ll be bringing in a few good recipes from the bench this week, trying out a few rookies, feeding a large crowd and getting a little messy in the process.

I hope you enjoy this week’s menu and can find something to try in your house. My goal is to have quick and easy menus that are good for your family without sacrificing taste.

Remember – own what your family eats, one meal at a time!

And now this week’s play by play.

Feeding a crowd is not something I do very often, but today I am making dinner for 20 teenage boys! So this not only fits into something new, but it’s something gooey too.

Sloppy joes (8 lbs. of meat and 4 cans of sloppy joe mix)
Canned fruit
Ooey Gooey brownies

Why in the world am I making dinner for 20 teenage boys? Check out this website – This is a great organization with a heart for loving young men in the Dayton community who have been involved with the court or are disadvantaged.

If you have menu ideas for serving 20 or more, please send them to me! I’m always looking for new things to share with these boys!

Tuesdays are always rushed, so I try to find something that we can make quickly, but still enjoy a meal together.

Tomato, Spinach and Mozzarella Pizza

This recipe is easy. Simply cut up some tomatoes and spinach and set aside. Get a pre-made pizza crust or make your own. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Cover with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, spinach and more cheese. Drizzle some more EVOO and pop in the oven based on the package instructions for cooking. My family loves this one and I hope your family will too!

After finding red grapes on sale this week, I pulled out this recipe that my family enjoyed earlier this year from the Meijer Mealbox. This makes me think of fall and the warm yummy grape sauce is delicious! This recipe tastes like it took hours to make, but it’s fast and easy.

Pork Chops in Grape Sauce
Green Beans

Pork Chops in Grape Sauce (serves 4)
4 center cut bone-in pork chops (I use boneless and just don’t cook it as long)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups red seedless grapes (can use green grapes too)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1. Use a skillet that you have a lid for.
2. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Brush each chop lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown chops 2 minutes on each side and remove from pan.
3. Add balsamic vinegar to skillet, scraping any browned bits on bottom of pan with wooden spoon. Add grapes, tossing to coat with vinegar.
4. Return chops to skillet, spooning juices over chops. Cover tightly and cook over low heat for 5-6 minutes until internal temperature reads 160 degrees. With slotted spoon, transfer chops and grapes to a serving platter and keep warm.
5. Stir the butter into the sauce until melted. Cook uncovered over medium high heat until sauce thickens slightly. Spoon the sauce over the chops and grapes.

It’s college football night for the OSU fans out there! We are going to enjoy some stadium favorites! Something borrowed from for the potato skins.

Brats (chicken sausage with spinach and Asiago cheese – those Sam’s Club favorites again)
Potato Skins
Hummus and chips

Potato Skins
4 large baking potatoes, baked
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon pepper
8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 green onions, sliced

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-in. shell (save pulp for another use). Place potatoes skins on a greased baking sheet. Combine oil, Parmesan cheese, salt, garlic powder, paprika and pepper; brush over both sides of skins. Bake at 475 degrees F for 7 minutes; turn. Bake until crisp, about 7 minutes more. Sprinkle bacon and cheddar cheese inside skins. Bake 2 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted. Top with sour cream and onions. Serve immediately.

We’re going to finish the week with grilled salmon. This recipe calls for some wine, so we’ll have to enjoy a little with the meal too.

Super Grilled Salmon (something borrowed from
Brown rice

Super Grilled Salmon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup Shiraz wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 teaspoon lemon pepper
2 pounds salmon fillets
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

1. In a bowl, mix the brown sugar in the hot water until dissolved. Pour into a large resealable plastic bag, and mix in wine, soy sauce, olive oil, garlic, and lemon pepper. Place salmon in the bag, seal, and marinate 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Preheat a grill for high heat.
3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Reserving marinade, place salmon on the grill, and cook 5 to 8 minutes on each side, or until easily flaked with a fork.
4. Transfer reserved marinade to a pot. Dissolve the cornstarch in cold water. Bring the marinade to a boil, and stir in cornstarch mixture to thicken. Serve over the salmon or on the side as a dipping sauce.

Enjoy your week of old, new, borrowed and goo. Own what your family eats and remember, GO BUCKS!

August 25, 2010

What's cookin' this week? - August 23, 2010

This week, my husband volunteered to plan the menu and do the shopping! I think he’s really enjoying this menu planning and it’s great to have him help out. He’s also quite the grill master so he planned a few grill-friendly meals this week.

So, this week’s menu is full of quick and easy meals. We’re taking advantage of the fresh local produce again and making sure we have plenty of variety in the week.

Do you have a friend that could use help planning their weekly meals? Share this with your friends so they can enjoy some healthy meals for their families too!

Remember to own what your family eats one meal at a time! If you get them involved in the planning, it’s easier, more fun and you’ll be sure there aren’t any wrinkled noses as the dinner table.

Steaks on the grill
Corn on the cob
Grilled potatoes

Veggie pizza (recipe below)

Low-fat bacon

Chicken pitas

Tacos to use up some leftover items from earlier in the week
Remember, simple changes like using ground turkey instead of beef, low fat sour cream and cheese will make this a healthier option for your family without taking away the taste.

Veggie Pizza
(I got this recipe a long time ago from a friend in grade school and have used the same recipe ever since. Thanks Mindy!)

2 cans crescent rolls (the new sheets for cooking are fabulous!)
8 oz. cream cheese
16 oz. sour cream
1 pkg. Hidden Valley dressing
Cheddar cheese
Veggies – green peppers, onions, celery, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots or any other veggies you like

Spread the crescent rolls on a 13x9 pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 6-10 minutes. Blend cream cheese, sour cream and dressing. Spread on cool crust. Layer veggies and cover with cheese.

August 15, 2010

Meals that look good enough to eat

For the past few months, I've been taking pictures of some of the creations that have come from my kitchen. They look good enough to eat!
Check out these pictures, find something that looks appetizing and look back through the past few months to find the recipe. Then, get in the kitchen and start cooking!
Jamie Oliver's Baked Cheesy Pasta

Jamie Oliver's Omelets

Jamie Oliver's Shrimp Avocado Alfalfa

Smoked Ribs

Lasagna Loaf

What's cookin' this week? August 16, 2010

For those that have missed the Healthy Taste Buds menus, we’re back this week. Sorry for missing last week. I pulled something in my back and wasn’t up for much planning, shopping or cooking. But, this week I’m back at it and looking forward to some grilled goodness. I found a lot of great recipes on again this week. I hope you find something you enjoy!

We’re keeping it light, trying to keep the heat outside and, as always, trying to keep it healthy. I've created a menu with a variety of meats, variety of veggies and variety of flavors to enjoy the seasonal fruits and veggies and break the food rut.

Turkey burgers
Corn on the cob

Marinated Chicken
Baked Red Potatoes

Halibut with Zesty Peach Salsa (any fish will work)

Quesadillas (Mommy and daughter night)

Grilled Marinated Shrimp

REMEMBER - Own what your family eats one meal at a time!

August 1, 2010

What's cookin' this week? - August 2, 2010

I hope you enjoyed some of the recipes from last week. This week we’ll be enjoying more fresh seasonal local produce. With a little stir fry, Italian pork chops, spaghetti squash and quiche, it should be a great week for cooking! Quick, healthy meals to help you make better choices for your family meals.

Chicken and vegetable stir fry (from $7 a meal healthy cookbook)

Spaghetti Squash I (from

Italian-seasoned pork chops with lemon ($7 a meal healthy cookbook)
Roasted potatoes

Best-of-show Tomato Quiche (The Market Fresh Cookbook) – this isn’t the fastest recipe…
Fresh fruit

We are taking dinner to a friend who had a baby. I haven’t decided yet what we are having, but will post later this week. Whatever it is, it will include a blueberry sour cream pound cake.

Check out the recipes below and enjoy dinner with your family this week! Remember, own what your family eats, one meal at a time.


Chicken and vegetable stir fry
2 Tbsp. red wine
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
½ tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. peanut oil
2 cups blanched broccoli florets
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
½ cup yellow onion, chopped
Other veggies like snow peas, bean sprouts, etc.
6 oz. chicken breasts cut into thin strips
2 cups cooked rice

In a small bowl, make the sauce by combining the red wine, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Stir to dissolve the cornstarch. Set aside. In a wok or saucepan, heat the oil. Add the broccoli, bell pepper, onion and other veggies. Cook, stirring quickly and frequently until vegetables are tender and crisp and onions are browned. Stir in the chicken and stir fry two more minutes.
Add the sauce to the chicken mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened – two to three minutes. Serve each portion over ½ cup cooked rice

Spaghetti Squash I
1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons sliced black olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion in oil until tender. Add garlic, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm.
Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the sautéed vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.

Italian-seasoned Pork Cutlets with Lemon
4 boneless pork cutlets (or chops)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 ¼ cups Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
2 cups canola oil as needed
1 lemon, halved

Cover cutlets with wax paper and pound until as think as possible. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set up an assembly line with flour on one plate, eggs on another and crumbs on a third. Coat each cutlet with flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.

Heat ¼ inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add as many cutlets that will fit without crowding. Cook until golden brown on each side, about 1 ½ minutes per side. Drain cutlets on paper towels. When serving, squeeze a little lemon juice over top, removing any seeds.

Best-of-show Tomato Quiche
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup shortening
4-5 Tbsp. cold water

2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried basil
1/8 tsp. pepper
½ cup chopped green onions
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs

In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Add water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to fit a 9-inch pie plate; transfer to plate. Trim to ½ inch beyond edge of plate and flute edges. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Place tomatoes in crust. Sprinkle with salt, basil, pepper, onions and cheeses. In a bowl, whisk the flour, milk and eggs until smooth. Pour over filling. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a knife is inserted near the center and comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.