Monday, January 26, 2015

On the Menu Monday (MPM) - Week 5 - 2015

Nothing to report from the last week and weekend other than the fact that I was recovering from the crud that was going around. I came down with it last Monday and I really struggled to recover from it. I did not do any cooking or eating last week at all. All of our meal plans went out the window. The only thing I did was to put a pork butt into the crock pot and made Kahlua Pork, I figured that would be good for Scott to be able to have different ways. I realized though that if I wasn't eating he didn't really eat too much either. At least this week we will be able to use the leftovers in different ways. 
My Stellacat didn't leave my side pretty much the whole week. She is such a good companion.
We did get out on Friday and see American Sniper. Scott had been dying to see it. What a great film, so well done and a great story, I am so glad that Chris Kyle was able to put his story on paper before we lost him. Clint Eastwood did a fabulous job with the material and Bradley Cooper really brought justice to the role. At the end, in our sold out theater, the entire theater clapped. 
Saturday I thought I was feeling well enough to get out of the house. I should have stayed home. We did go to Total Wine though on Saturday. I really wanted to get out of the house, and we had not been there yet. I ran into a high school classmate of mine, who has changed careers and is one of their wine experts. It was fun to talk to him and catch up. I can't wait to try some of the wines we picked up.  They have a huge selection and great prices. 
I am looking forward to being able to get some things accomplished this week! I feel like I lost a whole week!
Plans - Catch up on all of the stuff that I wanted to get to last week! First up, clean out my sock drawers! I know, SO exciting!
Breakfast and Lunch - Bacon, egg and toast, salad with some kahlua pork
Dinner - Gyros - we did not get to have these last week! 
Plans - Third time is the charm. We have tried to go to the movies for the last two Tuesdays, I am hoping we can really make it this time! We still have a few movies that have been nominated that we want to see.
Breakfast and Lunch - Bacon and egg, bbq pork on tortilla
Dinner -Lettuce wrapped hamburgers
Plans - I need to get our spice cabinet cleaned out, so that will definitely get tackled.
Breakfast and Lunch - Bacon and egg, leftovers
Dinner - Walleye (seriously, I am getting sick of seeing this on our meal plan week after week and it seems to never happen, this week it WILL).
Plans - we have plans for a wine dinner with friends at Al Vento which is one of my favorite Italian restaurants from our old neighborhood. Can't wait for this! I am also getting a much needed haircut and spruce up! This is always nice!
Breakfast and Lunch - Bacon and egg, leftovers
Dinner - Al Vento
Plans - Hoping to try to get to another movie and grab a bite out. 
Breakfast and Lunch - Bacon and egg, leftovers
Dinner - hoping out
Plans - Really looking forward to a spa day with two of my girlfriends. Massage, facials, spa pedicures and lunch.
Breakfast and Lunch - Spa salads!
Dinner - We are going out to celebrate Scott's mom's 75th birthday with his family.
Plans - Super Bowl Sunday. My sister is hosting us again. We are having a chili and wing cook off. I am doing chili and Scott is doing wings. I haven't decided what kind of chili to do yet, debating on a white chicken chili or a traditional red bean chili. Game time decision I guess.
Breakfast and Lunch - light, we will be eating lots of good stuff later on. 
Dinner - chili, wings and good food!
For more meal plans and links to recipes, check out the orgjunkie.

Monday, January 19, 2015

On the Menu Monday (MPM) - Week 4 - 2015

Last week just seemed to fly by, not sure why? Of course we didn't get to everything we wanted to, and having my parents in town changed things up a bit, but we had a good week.
We did not get to HH on Wednesday, we are going to try again this week, but I am not holding my breath with this group. We also did not make the walleye, again, because I wound up picking my parents up from the airport, so I just grabbed takeout on the way home. 
Friday, we had two couples for dinner and we had such a good time. I have been craving Ina Garten's lamb roast, and it turned out really well and we had people going back for thirds even.
I also did a crostini bar for appetizers. We had leftover beef tenderloin which was perfect, along with some cave blue cheese, horseradish and olive tapenade. Next time I think I would add garlic roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions and a brie, or some kind of cheese. 
The salad that we started with was a recipe from my favorite local grocery store. Blueberry, Manchego, Walnut Salad. I loved the dressing for this salad, it was delicious. Dessert was very easy, we just had chocolate truffles with mixed berries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. It was a really nice evening.
We needed a refresher in our guest bathroom, so I bought a new shower curtain, new rug and new shower hooks. It really brightened things up! A nice inexpensive change!
Saturday, after our family friends funeral, we stopped in to my sisters to see her new kitten, she is SO cute! Really takes me back to when Stella was that small. 
After we decided to catch Birdman. We like to try to see all of the movies that are nominated for the Oscars. We enjoyed this one, Scott more than I did, but I can definitely see why Michael Keaton was nominated. After we grabbed a bite to eat out, nothing fancy, but it was good.

Sunday we had a family lunch to celebrate G & G's birthdays. I cannot believe they will be 14 on Thursday. But boy, can you tell they are teenagers. I don't remember being so grumpy all the time at that age, but they really aren't a lot of fun. Grant would not even take a picture with me.

I started getting a tickle in my throat last night, and I am not feeling that great today, so not sure if our plans this week will hold up, but fingers crossed. 

Plans - Our neighbors just got back from a two week cruise, so they are coming over to tell us about their travels. 
Breakfast and Lunch - Fruit, Leftovers from Saturday, spaghetti and meatball
Dinner - Joey Nova's pizza, our favorite
Plans - We have not taken advantage of the $5 movie night at our local theater yet, and Scott is really looking forward to seeing American Sniper. 
Breakfast and Lunch - Egg and Fruit, Leftovers, probably broccoli and something
Dinner - Yard House, I love this place
Plans - we are going to try, for the third week in a row, to get together with former co-workers for HH. Can't believe that we have such a hard time getting together. 
Breakfast and Lunch - fruit, leftovers and a salad
Dinner - HH @ Bacio
Plans - getting together with a girlfriend who I always enjoy seeing for HH.
Breakfast and Lunch - eggs, fruit, leftovers and a salad
Dinner - using up some of the leftover lamb and making gyros
Plans - oh boy am I in for fun now. I have a root canal scheduled for the afternoon, so it will be a low key night with some DVR or movies on demand.
Breakfast and Lunch - eggs, fruit, salad
Dinner - I am thinking the only thing I am going to feel like eating is soup.
Saturday and Sunday
Plans - We haven't made plans yet for the weekend. I am sure we will try to get another movie or two in that have been nominated for awards.
For more meal plans and links to recipes, check out the orgjunkie.

Monday, January 12, 2015

On the Menu Monday (MPM) - Week 3 - 2015

I didn't get to make everything I wanted to last week, but here were a couple of favorites!
Pan fried bone in organic chicken thighs, seasoned with Flavorgod Everything seasoning, roasted broccoli with lemon and pan roasted butternut squash. This made great leftovers as well. 
 Oven roasted pork tenderloin with red peppers and onions. Acorn squash with ghee and roasted brussel sprouts. This was SOOOO good! We both loved it!
We had a fantastic weekend! Friday I had done some running around for our dinner party on Saturday. I picked up a couple of salads for dinner and we were going to just pop in a frozen pizza for dinner, but we decided to try a new place not far from us called Living Waters, which also has a yoga studio. Lets just say, they should stick with yoga. I could not even eat one slice, all you could taste was raw pizza dough. We even put it back in the oven and cooked it further, but yuck. I hate to throw out food, and we tried a few neighbors, but no takers, so we literally threw out a almost a whole pizza. Sad, but it was awful! 
Saturday we spent the morning getting some errands and shopping done for our dinner party. We were supposed to have a chef come in and prepare dinner for 12 of us, but our chef, along with two of his kids got the flu, so I had to pinch hit. We came up with the menu Friday and I made the potato dish and the salmon spread in preparation. I asked one of our neighbors grandsons to come over and help with prep work, serving and clean up. It was the third time he has come to help with something like this, and he is absolutely wonderful and a huge help! Dinner worked out really well, we had a smoked salmon spread on endive, paired with a really nice sparkling wine from New Mexico, a mashed potato dish, I had picked up the recipe the week before from one of our Trader Joe's. It had broccoli, leaks and cave blue cheese, it went really nicely with the beef tenderloin with a mushroom madeira reduction that I made and roasted asparagus. We did a salad course with Kung Fu Riesling, a nice dry Riesling, loved it. The main course we paired with a Mount Vedeer Cabernet and then we had a  dark chocolate cake with a butter cream frosting, paired with The Velvet Devil Merlot. It was a really good time and a great group of people. 

Sunday, our friend Carrie was in town visiting her boyfriend, so we met up with them for lunch at The Bonefish Grill which is new to us here, they just opened a couple of months ago. We have been twice and just love the food. After a bite to eat we went to see Wild with my girl Reese. Pretty good movie. I think she will get an Oscar nod. When we got home, we had Boyhood from Redbox so we watched that before the Golden Globes came on, and we both loved that. Trying to make sure we get all of our "Oscar" movies in. Can't wait to see who will be up!
I have set some goals (once again) around meal planning, as best I can. I want to try a new recipe at least once a week. Have one chicken meal, one fish meal, one crock pot/braised meal and one soup or stew. This week we have plans a few nights, so I am doing my best to squeeze these things in.

Plans - Home, I need to work on my planner and goals for 2015
Breakfast and Lunch - Clementines, Pear and chicken salad with a vinaigrette (this is a pre-made salad from our local store, they are SO good).
Dinner - Chicken and Pasta with a Champagne Cream Sauce I am changing this up a little to include leftover ingredients I have on hand. We have a half of a bottle of sparkling wine left over from Saturday so I thought it would be a good use of it. I am also going to use pasta I have on hand, add some chicken and try thyme instead of sage. I also will add some of the leftover asparagus. If  had mushrooms, I would add those as well, but I am sure it will be good. 

Plans - Neighborhood Bunco night. This is always one of my favorite nights of the month, looking forward to seeing the girls!
Breakfast and Lunch - Eggs and bacon, fruit. Leftovers (clean the fridge out - unless I pick up another salad!)
Dinner - Usually it is just snacky foods at Bunco. I am bringing Cheesy Beer Smokies I think it seems like something that the girls will like!

Plans - We weren't able to get together for HH last week, it was SOOOOO cold, I was happy to not have to leave the house! BUT, the good news is, more people can make it this week!
Breakfast and Lunch - Eggs and bacon with fruit and a salad
Dinner - Bacio for HH

Plans - Hoping to catch up on some things at home and get ready for a dinner party Friday night. 
Breakfast and Lunch - Eggs and bacon and salad
Dinner - Walleye. We didn't have this last week, and I am still working on cleaning out the freezer. 

Plans - Carrie and Scott are coming for dinner along with another couple, Mike and Kelly. Looking forward to seeing them, it is a fun group!
Breakfast and Lunch - Eggs and bacon with fruit and soup or a salad if there aren't leftovers. 
Dinner - I have not come up with the menu yet, but I am sure it will be good!

Saturday and Sunday
Plans - my mom and dad are flying up from AZ on Thursday to attend a good friends funeral. So my sister and I will be going with them to the services, just waiting on details. So keeping most of the weekend open to spend with them.

For more meal planning and links to recipes - check out the Orgjunkie.

Monday, January 05, 2015

On the Menu Monday (MPM) - Week 2 - 2015

So, the last time I posted a meal plan was week 17. That is just sad. I am going to try to get back to posting and meal planning. One of my goals for 2015, and I really miss blogging, both reading and posting. 
This week is kind of up in the air for a few things, but we will just roll with it. We have things in the fridge and freezer that need to get used up. We are also on what I will call a modified Whole30. Probably more Paleo than anything else, I just don't want things to go to waste and want to make sure I use things up. Like dinner tonight for example. I have 3/4 of a half gallon of milk that needs to get used up, and three packages of open shredded cheese that I want to get rid of, so they went into the egg bake. I figure it will make a good dinner and will make for a really good breakfast all week for us. It is going to be really cold all week, it is sitting at about -30 with the windchill right now. 
Plans - home, put more Christmas decor away. I guess I might take down the mantle. Makes me so sad!
Breakfast - fresh fruit - we have mango, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, clementines and bananas, so lots to choose from!
Lunch - leftover prime rib and roasted potatoes
Dinner - Easy Breakfast Casserole (for dinner) - I added fresh broccoli, red pepper and green onions to this as well. I had ham leftover that I wanted to use up as well as shredded potatoes that needed to get used, so this recipe worked out great. 

Plans - the ICON movie theater that we like to go to, not far from our house, just announced that they are offering all movies for $5 on Tuesdays and free popcorn. So, we will be taking advantage of that deal and catching Into the Woods. Can't wait!
Breakfast - Leftover Breakfast Casserole and fruit
Lunch - Leftover steak and mashed potatoes
Dinner - Out, I am thinking The Bonefish Grill or The Yardhouse - it is an impromptu date night after all!

Plans - waiting to hear back from some former co-workers to see if we will be getting together for happy hour. Otherwise, maybe a mall walk? 
Breakfast - Leftover Breakfast Casserole and fruit
Lunch - Leftover soup
Dinner - either out or pan fried chicken thighs and roasted butternut squash

Plans - Now, some people may think this is morbid and wrong, but we are joining a Dead Pool this year and our yearly draft is tonight. We have been working on our list!
Breakfast - Leftover Breakfast Casserole and fruit
Lunch - Leftovers hopefully or I will have to scrounge something up.
Dinner - Out - JJ's Clubhouse

Plans - Home, finish taking down Christmas decor, get the house ready for Saturday.
Breakfast - Leftover Breakfast Casserole, if there is any left, or it will be a fried egg and sausage. 
Lunch - Leftover stew
Dinner - Pan fried walleye and roasted broccoli (we have walleye in the freezer that needs to be used up).
Plans - We are hosting a chef's dinner with five other couples. This is the third time we have been a part of this, but the first time we are hosting and I am really looking forward to it. 
Breakfast/Lunch - Hopefully Scott will make an omelet, they have been really good!
Dinner - I will post the full menu next week. It will most likely be four courses with wine pairings. 
Plans - We are doing a Mystery Shop for Brunch at The Bonefish Grill. I know that this is a larger chain, but we just got one here. We have been twice already, once for brunch and once for dinner and we loved it both times. Since it is right next to our movie theater that we like, we might catch a movie as well.
Brunch - Bonefish Grill
Dinner - Normally I like to make something that can be used as leftovers during the week, but I am not sure if we will be hungry, but either way I think I will make something. 

For more meal plans and links to recipes, check out the orgjunkie.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Recipe of the Week - Trisha Yearwood's Chicken Tortilla Soup

Unfortunately it was a busy night and I didn't get good pictures of the making of this recipe, but I wanted to post it because it was such a good recipe, I will definitely be making it again. 

I don't have Trisha Yearwood's cookbook, but I think it might be one I need to purchase, I have found a few of her recipes and seen her show on the Food Network and she is always cooking up something delicious. This soup was no exception!

We have been buying rotisserie chickens and the boy will take the chicken off of the bone so that we can use it in different recipes during the week. It is easy to throw it into a soup. 

Recipe (I changed her original recipe to use what I had on hand, it still turned out wonderfully!)


3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Three 14-ounce cans chicken broth
4 cups half-and-half
1 cup prepared salsa, mild or spicy
1 rotisserie chicken - pulled off the bone
Two 15-ounce can black beans, drained
One package Trader Joe's roasted corn, frozen
2 teaspoon ground cumin
One package taco seasoning

Toppings, cheese, tortilla strips and sour cream

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and the onion and saute until softened, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir well, cooking for 1 minute more. Add the broth and the half-and-half. Stir in the salsa, chicken, beans, corn, cumin and taco seasoning. Continue to simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

Crumble the tortilla chips into individual bowls and top with a ladle of soup. Sprinkle each serving with cheese and tortilla strips and add a dollop of sour cream.

I am linking up over at In and Out of the Kitchen and Aynonita Nibbles this week!

Monday, May 12, 2014

On the Menu Monday (MPM) - Week 20

We had an action packed weekend, but it was a ton of fun. 
Friday we attended the 19th annual Winefest which is a fundraiser which supports the University of MN - Children's Hospital. They have over 400 wonderful wines, food from some of the best restaurants in town and awesome silent and live auction items. We had a wonderful night!

Saturday we spent the day running errands and getting ready for friends to come for dinner and game night. A few weeks ago we took an awesome cooking class with wine pairings. I have been dying to recreate the menu at home. 
The first course was a french brie, a robiola and an alemar cheese with blackberries, strawberries and barrel aged honey paired with Charles K Voigner (all of the wines were Charles Smith wines, delicious!)
The second course was roasted peaches with seared scallops and micro greens paired with Kung Fu Girl Riesling.
The next course was a roasted boneless lamb roast and roasted fingerling potatoes. I made this recipe back in January and the boy and I loved it. We paired this with K Syrah. Dessert was coconut dark chocolate truffles and carrot cake truffles paired with The Velvet Devil merlot. It was a really nice night and so fun to do a dinner with pairings like that. 
Sunday was Mother's day. We took both sets of parents out to brunch and had a lot of fun catching up with everyone over a really nice brunch. 

Here is what we have planned for this week!
Plans - Home, laundry FUN stuff!
Breakfast and Lunch - Berries, english muffin, chicken pasta salad
Dinner - Grilled chicken ravioli, pesto, roasted tomatoes and fresh mozzarella

Plans - Our new sectional is being delivered for the living room, I cannot wait. Then we just have the finishing touches. I absolutely love the way this room has come together. Bunco night! I am bringing a big pitcher of margaritas and margarita dip with strawberries.
Breakfast and Lunch - I have oatmeal I really need to eat. Leftover soup chicken tortilla soup from last week.
Dinner - Bunco bites

Plans - Maybe a movie, depends on the weather really. If it is nice a walk. Lowe's for mulch!
Breakfast and Lunch - More oatmeal, fresh berries, leftover lamb
Dinner -  Homemade margarita pizza Smashburger - we need to go get a ton of mulch at Lowe's.

Plans - Cards with the neighbor girls
Breakfast and Lunch - Oatmeal with fresh berries, leftover chicken tortilla soup
Dinner - Turkey tacos (I love taco night)

Plans -Waiting to hear back from friends on dinner plans.
Breakfast and Lunch - more oatmeal until it is gone, but I will miss my cottage cheese and berries so that will be lunch.
Dinner -

Plans - Waiting to hear back from friends on dinner plans.
Breakfast and Lunch - oatmeal, berries, salad
Dinner -

Plans - Grillfest at the Depot - we are attending and not volunteering this year, really looking forward to it
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner - we will be getting plenty to eat at Grillfest!

For more meal plans and links to recipes, check out the orgjunkie.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Recipe of the Week - Pork Chops with Mushroom Whisky Sauce

I have a ton of posts I need to get caught up on. I don't know where the past seven weeks have gone. Work has been brutal and the winter really dragged on here, so I think I was just in a funk. I have a few posts that I need to get done, but I made this last night and it was just too good not to post.
 We are doing a 30 day challenge. We were on our way out to dinner when I told the boy about this, but basically it is an eat at home challenge.  You get four freebies, nights out, and of course we already have plans in May, so we actually have plans for five meals out, and we already had a fail. We are going to do our best though. We figure it will help us go through what is in our fridge and freezer, lose weight and save money. I am excited to see how it works. 
The pork chops were one of the first things I pulled out of the freezer that I knew we needed to use. The boy came home from work, I finished up a conference call and we headed out for about a 30 minute walk. I thought it would be 7 before we sat down to eat, but I was pleasantly surprised that this only took about 30 minutes to make from start to finish and we were sitting down to dinner at 6:30 without a problem.

I got my inspiration from this recipe for black iron skillet pork chops with mushrooms. 

Pork Chops with Mushroom Whiskey Sauce
  • 4 thin pork chops (adjust cooking time for thicker cuts - I used thin bone in, but you could use boneless too)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 to 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Bourbon (it is what I had on hand after the Derby this weekend)
Salt and pepper both sides of the chops thoroughly. Heat the olive oil and butter in the pan, once it is heated, add the pork chops to the pan. 

Remove chops from pan once heated and browned on both sides. Cover with foil and keep warm in oven.  I had to add a little more butter to the pan to cook the mushrooms, shallots and garlic. Add the bourbon or if you want, whiskey. Bring this to a boil and let reduce, add chicken broth and balsamic.

Reduce sauce by half and simmer. Slowly add in the heavy cream, continuing to stir. Add the pork chops back to the pan until heated through. 

Serve chops with sauce. 

We will definitely make these again and I can see doing this sauce with pork tenderloin or a nice rib-eye steak. 

Linking up over at Feeding Big and Anyonita Nibbles.