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Archive for posts tagged with ‘In the kitchen’

Menu Plan Monday ~ May 1-8

Thoughtfully penned on May 3rd, 2010 and generally concerning In the kitchen, Menu Planning

Welcome to Monday. It’s time, once again, to join the Menu Plan Monday carnival hosted by orgjunkie.com.

I sat outside Thursday morning while the kiddos played and made my menu plan for the month of May. This is the second month I’ve done a plan for the entire month, and I really like menu planning this way. It makes creating my weekly grocery list so much easier (since I don’t have to menu plan at the same time), and it’s a great way to make sure we have plenty of variety throughout the month.

So, here’s what we’ll be dining on this week…

Saturday lunch: sandwiches, chips
Saturday dinner: crunchy onion chicken tenders, green beans, sweet potato fries

Sunday lunch: meatball subs, chips
Sunday dinner: life group – build your own nachos

Monday: BLTS, carrots/broccoli and ranch dip

Tuesday: me – BSF fellowship, Matt & kids – pizza

Wednesday: biscuits, bacon, and eggs

Thursday: cajun trout, rice pilaf, steamed veggies

Friday: naan bread pizzas

Saturday lunch: sandwiches, veggies or chips
Saturday dinner: marinated shrimp skewers, brown rice, green peas

For more meal and menu plan ideas, head over to Menu Plan Monday.

The birthday cake, part 1

Thoughtfully penned on April 28th, 2010 and generally concerning In the kitchen, J

If you know me in real life or have been reading here for a while you know that I often have grand ideas that just don’t play out in reality. Well, it happened, once again, with Boo’s birthday cake.

Several weeks before the birthday Matt sent me the link to a great rainbow cake and told me that he thought I should make it for Boo’s birthday. I debated and debated what to do for his cake and finally decided that I would, indeed, attempt to recreate the rainbow cake. (check out the link in the first sentence; the rest of the post will make more sense if you see the “idea” cake.)

I, as I tend to do, waited until the last minute to set to work on said cake. As in I was looking at the recipe and buying the ingredients the morning of his birthday.

First things first. When I read the recipe thoroughly I noticed that it was going to take 19 egg whites, yes, nineteen. I decided that instead of making the cooked buttercream in the recipe I would make Wilton’s buttercream and use lemon extract instead of vanilla to flavor it. That part worked fine and the icing was very tasty.

As for the cake itself. I gathered all of my ingredients, my gel food coloring, my Kitchenaid stand mixer, and my new kitchen scale. I prepared the cake batter (of course, all three kids woke up from naps right as I started putting ingredients in the bowl) and set it on the scale. I figured in my head the weight I would need to make each layer in order to get six colored layers.

I divided the first couple of layers out and added the appropriate food colors (red and orange). I oiled the pans as directed and popped them in the oven to bake. While those two layers were in the oven I prepared the yellow layer and got it in my third cake pan and then set to work dividing and coloring the green and blue layers.

As I weighed the batter for the green layer I realized that I wasn’t going to have enough batter to make both a blue and a purple layer as well. Oh well, five layers would be fine, not a big deal.

Meanwhile, the red and orange layers are out of the oven and have cooled in the pans for about 10 minutes. I flipped the pans to release the cakes onto the cooling rack and the cakes didn’t budge. I ran a table knife around the edges of the pans and tried again. Still nothing. I put the pans upside down on the cooling rack and banged on the bottom of each pan. Nada. Finally, I scraped the red and orange cakes out of the pans and ended up with piles of cake crumbles, very sticky cake crumbles (which tasted delicious, by the way).

At this point the yellow layer was in the oven. I tried to decide if there was anything I could do to salvage the crumbled layers or if I should just scrap the idea and go buy a cake. After much deliberation it was decided that the cake preparations would continue and we would just go with whatever we ended up with (even if that meant cake crumbs instead of a cake). So, when I prepared the pans for the green and blue layers I greased and floured them to see if that would make them release better.

The yellow layer came out of the oven and Matt was able to (very) delicately work on the cake and get it out of the pan in one piece. One down, two to go.

The green and blue layers finished baking and cooling, and I set to work trying to remove them from the pans. The greasing and flouring of pans did not make a bit of difference; they were just as stuck as the other layers. Matt again worked his cake releasing magic and we had three layers for the cake.

I moved the yellow layer from the cooling rack to the glass plate on which I was going to assemble the cake. The plan was to let the green and blue layers cool and then assemble the cake as green layer on the bottom, yellow layer in the middle, and blue layer on top. When I went to pick up the yellow layer to put the green layer on the plate, the yellow layer was not going to come off easily. Scratch that idea.

We ended up with a yummy cake composed of yellow, green, and blue layers. It wasn’t exactly what I set out to create, but it was a delicious cake (the lemony icing was a perfect complement to the cake) and we ate every bite. Most importantly, Boo really liked it.

Menu Plan Monday – April 25-30

Thoughtfully penned on April 26th, 2010 and generally concerning In the kitchen, Menu Planning

We spent this weekend in Nashville visiting with family. It was a lot of fun getting to see everyone (Matt’s parents, my parents, all of our grandparents, Lu’s hubby, and various other family members), but I am tired!

Anyway, here’s what we’ll be dining on this week…

Sunday: lunch – out / dinner – pepperoni naan bread pizzas

Monday: lasagna, garlic naan bread

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: sweet & sour chicken, asian style veggies

Thursday: tilapia tacos, rice, chips & guacamole

Friday: homemade pizza

As always, for more menu plans and meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday.

I hope everyone is having a happy Monday. Have a great week!

Menu Plan Monday ~ April 9-15

Thoughtfully penned on April 12th, 2010 and generally concerning In the kitchen, Menu Planning

Yes, I do realize it is Tuesday (and that I’ve already posted today), but I’m backdating this post to Monday and posting my menu anyway. Look at me being the rebel. :-) Not only that, but I’m going to go back to last Thursday with my menus to get some recipes linked.

So, here’s what’s on the menu these days at chez sidetrack’d…

Thursday – Naan Bread Pizzas

Friday – California Pizza Kitchen pizza

Saturday – lunch: fend for yourselves / dinner: homemade pizza

Sunday – lunch: turkey sandwiches / dinner: fend for yourselves

Monday – mahi mahi skewers, spanish rice, guacamole

Tuesday – leftovers

Wednesday – salads with grilled chicken

Thursday – lasagna, breadsticks

And, yes, we really do like pizza that much!

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Menu Plan Monday ~ April 2-8

Thoughtfully penned on April 4th, 2010 and generally concerning In the kitchen, Menu Planning

I haven’t joined in Menu Plan Monday the last couple of weeks because, due to various and sundry things, our menu just kept rolling over and looked pretty much just like the last one I posted. Now we’re in a new month, and Matt and I have changed up our menu planning/shopping strategy a bit; this month we created a month long menu plan.

Our original goal was to do the majority of our shopping for the month this weekend, but since we didn’t start working on everything until Friday afternoon we weren’t able to quite get that accomplished. What we ended up doing was our usual weekly grocery trip plus a trip to Whole Foods to get our meat for the month. Hopefully, I can get everything organized and do our staple shopping for the month this coming weekend and then pick up milk and produce (and any items on special that we would like to have) once or twice a week for the remainder of the month.

This is our first experiment in monthly menu planning, so we’ll see how it goes.

All of that to say, this is what we’ll be eating this week…

Friday – toasted ravioli

Saturday – breakfast for dinner: bacon, eggs, and homemade biscuits

Sunday – lunch: pizza / dinner: Easter meal with friends

Monday – shrimp & grits

Tuesday – enchilada casserole, chips & guacamole

Wednesday – leftovers

Thursday – hamburgers on the grill, corn on the cob

For more menu plan and meal ideas visit Menu Plan Monday. As always, thanks, Laura for hosting!

Menu Plan Monday ~ March 12-18

Thoughtfully penned on March 14th, 2010 and generally concerning In the kitchen, Menu Planning

I need to clean out the freezer to make space for more groceries. So, this week our menu consists largely of meals carried over from last week and meals that we have in our freezer.

Friday: pizza
Saturday: lunch: sandwiches / dinner: cheeseburger meatloaf, potatoes, peas
Sunday: lunch: fend / dinner: chicken & rice casserole (freezer), crescent rolls
Monday: leftovers
Tuesday: deconstructed broccoli & cheese stuffed chicken breasts, corn
Wednesday: tacos, guacamole, chips & salsa
Thursday: baked creamy mostacolli (freezer), vegetable

For more meal/menu ideas, visit orgjunkie.com.

Happy Monday!

Baking Bread

Thoughtfully penned on March 12th, 2010 and generally concerning In the kitchen

I remember several years ago, when Matt and I were making our wedding registries, telling my mother that I didn’t want a bread maker. I knew several people who owned or had owned one and never used it. I knew we would be limited for counter and cabinet space in our apartment, and I did not want an unused appliance cluttering up space that could be used for other things.

For several years we made bread by hand occasionally, but mainly relied on store bought bread for everyday use. Then, several months after Little was born, we decided we wanted to cut some of the HFCS and preservatives from our diet, and I began baking all of our sandwich bread.

Enter Boo and many months of sleepless nights, and we were back to buying bread at the grocery. And as much as we like Oroweat bread, paying $3.50 a loaf began to wear on the grocery budget.

So, for Christmas I asked my parents if they would buy me a bread maker. I love this appliance! We bake bread at least twice a week, and it is wonderful to have fresh bread available for toast, sandwiches, etc.

For the last couple of months we’ve been testing wheat bread recipes for the bread maker, and a couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon a winner. This recipe makes soft, fluffy, tasty bread that everyone in our family enjoys.

Wheat Bread for the Bread Machine
adapted from this recipe

* 1-1/2 cup warm water
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
* 2 cups all purpose or bread flour
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
* 3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
* 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Place ingredients (except yeast) in bread maker pan in order listed. Make an indention in center of dry ingredients and spoon yeast into the indention. Set bread maker to 2 lb. loaf on whole wheat cycle.

Let the bread maker do it’s thing and then enjoy some warm, yummy homemade bread.

Menu Plan Monday ~ March 5-11

Thoughtfully penned on March 7th, 2010 and generally concerning In the kitchen, Menu Planning

Welcome to a new week! It is starting to warm up a little in these parts, and I am so ready for Spring! Here’s the yummies we’ll be dining on this week…

Friday: pizza
Saturday: lunch: sandwiches, chips / dinner: creamy baked mostacolli, snap peas
Sunday: lunch: leftovers / dinner: fend for yourself
Monday: chicken and dumpling casserole, salad
Tuesday: leftover casserole
Wednesday: cheeseburger meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green peas
Thursday: deconstructed broccoli & cheese stuffed chicken breasts, corn

For more menu ideas visit Menu Plan Monday at orgjunkie.com.

Menu Plan Monday ~ February 26-March 5

Thoughtfully penned on March 1st, 2010 and generally concerning In the kitchen, Menu Planning

I’m running late today, but I do have a menu to post. Here’s what we’re eating this week…

Friday – take out pizza

Saturday – lunch: eat out / dinner: meatball stew and grilled cheese

Sunday – lunch: eat out / dinner: fend for yourselves

Monday – leftover meatball stew, grilled cheese

Tuesday – chicken & broccoli macaroni, corn on the cob

Wednesday – tacos, guacamole, chips & salsa

Thursday – leftovers

We’re still carrying over the chicken & broccoli meal because we didn’t need it again last week. Our weekend involved more dining out/take out than we usually have due to my Mom visiting; we were out running around more than we usually do.

For more meal and menu ideas check out Menu Plan Monday at orgjunkie.com.

Happy Monday!

Menu Plan Monday – February 20-26

Thoughtfully penned on February 21st, 2010 and generally concerning In the kitchen, Menu Planning

It’s Monday again, and I’ve got a plan for our menu. Last week we had a few more leftovers than I anticipated, so there are a couple of carry overs on our menu this week.

The creamy mexican casserole that we tried last week was very good. I used a pound of ground beef instead of the chicken called for in the recipe and it worked out well (although it would probably be just as good with only a half pound of beef). If you like things spicy you probably want to add some ground cayenne pepper in with the spices; Matt and I added hot salsa to our servings so that the casserole wouldn’t be too spicy for the kids. This would make a great potluck or party dish, too, since it can be eaten with tortilla chips.

Anyway, here’s what’s on our menu this week.

Saturday: lunch: rolled tacos / dinner: meatball subs, fries
Sunday: lunch: leftovers / dinner: chicken nugget casserole, noodles, corn
Monday: enchilada casserole, chips & guacamole, salsa
Tuesday: leftovers
Wednesday: chicken & broccoli macaroni, salad
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: pizza

I’ve been craving buffalo chicken dip for a few weeks now, so I might make a dish this week and throw it in there somewhere. And, of course, I’ll be making several loaves of bread (thanks to my handy, dandy bread machine) including a couple of new recipes (hopefully).

That’s my plan for the week. For more meal and menu plan ideas hop over to Menu Plan Monday at orgjunkie.com and see what everyone else is eating this week.

Happy Monday!

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