Monday, December 29, 2008

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 12/28

Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: Meal Swap (my turn to cook) Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole, Caesar Salad (

Tuesday: deep dish pizza

Wednesday: Maryland Crab Cakes, Twice-Baked Potatoes, salad in edible parmesan bowls

Thursday: Meal Swap (Jen's turn to cook)

Friday: Crab Cake Sandwiches, roasted potato wedges, steamed green beans
(Using leftover crab cakes and whole wheat hamburger buns, make crab cake sandwiches--chili sauce makes a great condiment on these!)

Saturday: frozen pizza night

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dinner Diva Menu week of 12/1

For a number of weeks now, a neighbor friend and I have been swapping meals once a week. On Wednesdays, she cooks two of whatever they're having and gives one to us. On Thursdays, I cook two and give one to her. The idea is that it's almost as easy to make two meals as it is to make one, so with a little extra effort one day a week, we each get a day free of cooking one day a week. I have always enjoyed cooking for people, and it's been really fun and I think both of our families are really enjoying it.

Monday: Pork Chops With Sauerkraut
4 pork chops, approximately 4 ounces each
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
14 ounces sauerkraut, fresh or canned
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 small apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 cup beer or cider vinegar
Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat olive oil in a skillet and brown pork chops on both sides. Set aside. Rinse and drain sauerkraut, pressing excess liquid out. Mix sauerkraut, onion, apple, parsley flakes, and celery seed. Put pork chops in a baking dish, then cover with sauerkraut. Pour beer and drippings from skillet over. Cover tightly and bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.
Nutrition Info
Calories: 277; Fat: 16.0g; Saturated Fat: 6.5g; Protein: 24g; Carbohydrates: 10g; Fiber: 1g; Cholesterol: 28Mg; Sodium: 656Mg

Tuesday: grilled shrimp, steamed broccoli, steamed brown rice

Wednesday: (meal swap day!)

Thursday: (meal swap day; my turn to cook!) Lasagna Soup, served in bread bowls

To make breadbowls, you can make your own dough in a breadmaker or by hand, or you can buy frozen bread dough. Spray insides of oven safe bowls (if you have any deep oven safe cereal bowls, those work well, or any 2 cup capacity oven safe bowl) with cooking spray. I use 1/2 of a 1 lb recipe for each bowl. Place the dough into the greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise about 40 minutes. Bake at 350 for about 20 min (more or less). Allow to cool. Scoop out the center of the bread and fill with soup. Top with the part of the bread that you removed.

Friday: Tacos

Saturday: pizza, carrots

Sunday: meatloaf, steamed green beans, roasted potato wedges

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dinner Diva Menu week of 11/23

When I'm planning our Thanksgiving feast, I always forget that we will actually have to eat the rest of the week too! I tried to include simple, healthy, light meals this week to balance out the enormity of the caloric influx of Thursday's meal.

Sunday: Soup, salad, breadsticks

Monday: grilled orange roughy, steamed green beans, steamed brown rice

Tuesday: spaghetti, spinach salad, garlic bread (optional)

Wednesday: leftovers (clear out those fridges!)

Thursday: see previous post

Friday: Turkey-Cranberry Wreath

Turkey Cranberry Wreath

2 pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 C. mayonnaise
2 T. honey Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
2 C. cooked turkey, chopped
1/2 C. celery, sliced
3 T. fresh parsley, snipped
1/2 C. dried cranberries
1 1/4 cups (5 oz) Swiss cheese, shredded
1 egg, separated

Preheat oven to 375°F. Unroll crescent dough; separate into 16 triangles. With wide ends of triangles toward the center. arrange 8 triangles in a circle on Large Round Stone. Corners of wide ends will touch and points will extend 1 inch beyond of baking stone. Arrange remaining 8 triangles in center. matching ends. Seal seams using pizza roller. (Points will overlap in center; do not seal.)

Combine in Classic Batter bowl or Stainless steel bowl, Turkey, 1 cup cheese, celery, cranberries, parsley, mayo, mustard, and pepper, mix well. Scoop filling evenly over each triangle. Coarsely chop walnuts; sprinkle over filling. Beginning in center, lift one dough triangle across mixture. Continue alternating with outer triangle, slightly overlapping to form wreath. Tuck last end under the first.

Separate egg over bowl. Beat egg white lightly; brush over dough. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top if you desire.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Yields 8 servings or 16 if cut in half!

Saturday: pizza, veggies and dip

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thanksgiving Menu

This is our Thanksgiving Menu for this year. It is a combination of recipes that I make every year and ones that my sister-in-law makes every year. My brother and his family will be joining us for Thanksgiving this year, and I'm pretty sure this will be our first Thanksgiving together since college. I'm very much looking forward to spending time with them. Plus I'm totally jonesing for this yummy food!

Grilled Turkey: Everyone should try a grilled thanksgiving turkey once in their lives. It's a very easy method, and cooks the bird to perfection, with a golden brown crispy outer layer and flavorful tender juicy meat inside. It is quick to cook, and because you use a foil roasting pan, clean up's a snap. And it frees up your oven for potatoes, rolls, and pie! Here's how:

Sweet Potato Casserole: This casserole recipe was given to me by my old boss and dear friend, Colleen. It immediately became a favorite with the whole family. I feel funny about including it with the side dishes, because it tastes just like dessert!

Sweet Potato Casserole

Mash together:
2 C. cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (4-5 potatoes)
1 ¼ C. sugar
¾ stick of margarine
1 C. milk
¼ t. nutmeg
¼ t. cinnamon
2 eggs

Bake at 400 for 40 minutes or until set (mine usually takes much longer than this)

Mix together and spread over top:
¾ stick margarine
¾ C. crushed corn flakes
½. C. brown sugar
½ C. chopped pecans

Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, or long enough to melt topping.

Green Bean Casserole: just follow the recipe on the French's Fried Onions can! YUM

Homemade rolls: these I make in the breadmaker beforehand and freeze. Then a quick microwave heat-up and they taste like I baked them that moment!

Chocolate Creme Pie: Though not a traditional Thanksgiving Pie, I made this one year and my husband made me promise to make it every year. This one's for you, Babe:

note: I substitute ready-made refrigerated pie crust (pillsbury) for the graham cracker crumbs.

Corn Casserole (this one is Mary Kay's, email me for recipe)

Stuffing (Mary Kay's recipe)

Gravy (Mary Kay's recipe)

Cranberries (Mary Kay's recipe)

Pecan Pie (Mary Kay's recipe)

I hope all of you enjoy your feasts! I love your comments!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dinner Diva Menu week of 11/16

Dinner Diva Menu week of 11/16

Sunday: Beef and Barley Soup (from Eating For Life Cookbook), french bread (note, make the rice for Monday's meal tonight while you've got stuff on the stove anyway and then put it in fridge so it will be cold for fried rice tomorrow.)

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds top sirloin, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 cups beef broth
1 cup water
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. ground black pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 bay leaf
10 oz frozen green beans
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
10 oz frozen green peas

Heat olive oil over med heat in a large pot. Add beef cubes and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until beef is browned on all sides.

Sitr in beef broth and next 9 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 45 minutes.

Stir in green beans and remaining 2 ingredients. Simmer, covered, until meat and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

Yeild: 6 2 cup servings

Monday: Chicken Fried Rice, commercial egg rolls

Tuesday: Glazed Salmon, Roasted Onion Potatoes, Fresh Spinach Salad

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner!!!! Ham and Swiss Omelette Roll, Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (or use Pillsbury for a shortcut), fresh melon slices, kiwi, and berries

(This is easier than it sounds, really! I use either 4 oz sour cream or 4 oz plain nonfat yogurt instead of the cream cheese, and I use 6 eggs and 1 1/2 cups egg substitute instead of all 12 eggs. I also look for lowfat swiss cheese and I use lean deli ham or canadian bacon. After it's all rolled up, I lay 3 or 4 triangles of swiss over the hot roll, then sprinkle with sliced green onions. It's very pretty! Cut into wedges to serve.)

Friday: Spaghetti, meatballs, salad, fresh bread

If you've ever wanted to make your own spaghetti sauce but thought it was too involved, try this recipe. It's quick and easy, and delicious, not to mention much less expensive than bottled.

Saturday: Pizza night!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dinner Diva menu week of 11/9

Sunday: Beef-Broccoli Lo Mein, egg rolls, fortune cookies

Monday: Grilled Orange Roughy, steamed brown rice, salad

Tuesday: Vegetable Soup, fresh bread

Vegetable Soup (from Beachbody's P90X Nutrition Guide):
10 cups chicken broth
4 red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 onions, quartered
1 cup carrots, sliced 1 inch thick
3 cups celery, sliced 1 inch thick
2 cups zucchini, sliced 1 inch thick
8 oz tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 bunch parsley, chopped
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
dash black pepper

In large stockpot, combine broth and next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Add the Zucchini, tomato sauce, garlic, parsley, and cilantro. Reduce heat to med-low and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the zucchini is just tender. Season to taste with black pepper and serve.

If desired, add protein powder just before serving.

Yield 18 1 cup servings.

Wednesday: grilled salmon, steamed broccoli, Wheat Pilaf (boxed)

Thursday: Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole

Friday: grilled steak topped with sauteed mushrooms, baked sweet potatoes, salad

Saturday: (my cheat day) pizza, fresh carrots

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dinner Diva Menu week of 11/2

I can't believe it's already November! It's still almost 80 degrees during the day in Oklahoma. Today we gained an hour on the clock, and I'm spending my extra hour planning my meals and making my shopping list.

Sunday 11/2: Lasagna, bread, salad

Monday: grilled tuna steaks, baked sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli

Tuesday: grilled cheese sandwiches (or ham and cheese panini), soup, steamed edamame
here's a good panini recipe:

Wednesday: out to eat or leftovers

Thursday: grilled porkchops, homemade applesauce, steamed green beans

Friday: deep dish pizza, salad, breadsticks,

Saturday: leftover pizza, carrots

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Late Week means Kid Week!

1 week a month, my husband works late each night. During these "late weeks," I'm less inspired to put forth effort to create a nice meal, since our family meals are short one member anyway. These weeks I concentrate more on what I call kid food. I feed the kids something healthy that I think they'll like, and make for myself something that's easy to make just one of.

Sunday: Lasagna, homemade french bread, salad, homemade chocolate pudding for dessert

Monday: Red beans and rice, smoked sausage, broccoli

Tuesday: homemade mac-n-cheese, peas
Homemade Mac-N-Cheese (for two kids)
1/2 cup whole wheat rotini pasta
3 Tablespoons plain yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 to 1 cup pre-shredded cheddar cheese or cheddar cheese blend
fresh ground pepper, to taste
Cook pasta to al dente, drain. Add remaining ingredients and stir until cheese melts, adding more cheese if desired. Optionally add 1-2 Tablespoons of cooked carrot or butternut squash puree (or babyfood carrots or squash), for added nutrients.

For me: grilled tuna steak, salad

Wednesday: Pancakes, bacon, fresh fruit (gotta love breakfast for dinner!!!)

Thursday: (meal-swap day!) chicken cordon bleu, steamed broccoli with fresh parmesan, potato wedges

Friday: Leftovers or out to eat

Saturday: our pizza night

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dinner Diva Menu week of 10/5

While I try to incorporate a variety of protein sources into our weekly menus, I also try to include fish at least twice a week. Fish, especially fatty fish (which I don't have this week!), are a natural source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Omega 3s are considered essential fatty acids, since the body is unable to produce them by iteself and must obtain them from food. Flax oil is another natural source of Omega 3s. Flax oil can't be cooked, so I try to sneak it in in other ways, by adding small amounts to smoothies and vinaigrette salad dressings (I just add it to commercial vinaigrettes; its flavor is imperceptible in small amounts.)

Sunday: Out to eat (We're going to my brother's house!)

Monday: Crispy Crusted Red Snapper, steamed sugar snap peas, biscuits
Crispy Crusted Red Snapper:
4 red snapper fillets (6 oz each)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plain potato chips, crushed
1/2 t. paprika
1/4 t. cayenne
2 T. melted butter
1 T. green onion, thinly sliced
lemon wedges, optional

Preheat oven to 450. Arrange fillets on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Combine crumbs and next 4 ingredients; toss with melted butter. Divide crumb mixture evenly over each fillet, pressing into the fish. Bake 20 minutes or until fillets flake easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with green onion and serve with lemon wedges.

Tuesday: Taco Salad

Wednesday: Shrimp Stir Fry (,1845,152172-249198,00.html), rice, commercial egg rolls

Thursday: grilled chicken sliced and fanned out over spaghetti, salad, french or garlic bread

Friday: hamburgers (try ground bison meat for a change!), commercial sweet potato fries

Saturday: pizza, raw veggies with dip

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 9/28

Sunday: Grilled pork chops, roasted applesauce (, steamed green beans, fudge (melt 16 oz ghiradelli chocolate chips and 1 can fat free sweetened condensed milk, stir to combine. Stir in 1 t. vanilla extract and spread into a square pan lined with waxed or parchment paper. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares.)

Monday: Lasagna (,1735,144172-252197,00.html), salad, french bread or garlic bread

Tuesday: Deep Dish Spinach-Ricotta Pizza (email me for recipe), breadsticks

Wednesday: Potroast with carrots, potatos, squash and onions, dinner rolls

Thursday: grilled orange roughy, steamed brown rice, steamed broccoli

Friday: leftovers or out to eat

Saturday: pizza

Sunday: leftovers or out to eat

Dinner Diva ROCKS!

It's not that I love to cook. I do, most of the time. Most of the time it's nice to let my husband come home, take the kids outside, and leave me with in peace to create a simple meal, sip a glass of wine, and listen to soothing music. It's a break from the whining, tattling, mess-making masters of destruction that are my two boys. But it's more that I hate going to cook something and not having everything I need. I don't especially like grocery shopping, and try to do it as little as possible (see masters of distruction statement above). So, I menu plan. I sit down once a week or once a month with a stack of cookbooks, my grocery list, and my menu list.

I created this blog because many of my friends and acquaintences like the idea of menu planning but would rather not actually do it. Come to think of it, that's how most of us are about cooking in general I think. I will post my weekly menus, sometimes with recipes or recipe links, and anyone who chooses can access it.

I'm thinking of expanding Dinner Diva to include a grocery shopping service, food prep service, and even a personal chef type dinner service. If you live in the Edmond, Oklahoma, area, and are interested in paying for any of these services, please email me with the service or services which interest you at