Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 1/3

Happy New Year!

Sunday: (Vegetarian) Mexian Casserole

Monday: Chicken Fried Rice
2 T. olive oil, divided
6 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 T. soy sauce, divided
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 T. dark sesame oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 garlic clove, minced
2 C. cooked rice
1 1/2 cups matchstick carrots
1 1/2 cups sugar snap peapods or snow peas
1 T. sesame seeds

Heat two teaspoons oil. Add chicken; cook 5 min or until done. Combine chicken and 1 T. soy sauce in a small bowl; set aside.

Wipe pan with paper towel. Add 1 t. oil and heat until hot; add eggs and stir fry 2 minutes or until scrambled, stirring constantly. Remove eggs from pan; set aside.

Wipe pan with paper towel. Add 1 T. oil and 1 T. sesame oil. Add green onions and garlic; cook 20 sec. Add rice, carrots, and peas. Stir fry 1 min. Add chicken, eggs, remaining 2 T. soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Cook 5 minutes, stirring every 30 sec.

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: grilled cheese, canned soup

Thursday: (Vegetarian) breakfast for dinner: cheese omelettes, fresh fruit

Friday: Tuna Noodle Casserole

Saturday: Pizza and games night

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Eve

I changed my mind. For Christmas Eve, I've decided to try a crab-stuffed flank steak, grilled marinated tomatoes, potato-stuffed bell peppers, roasted asparagus, and garlic bread. I'm hosting a party for 10, so hopefully this will be enough food!

For the steak:
butterfly a flank steak and flatten with a meat pounder.

Stuff with this crab mixture:
1 lb fresh lump crab meat, shell pieces removed (or, to save time and money, use artificial crab in the flake or lump shape--I've used this before, many times, and it still tastes awesome!)
1 1/3 c. soft breadcrumbs
1/3 c. minced green onions
1/3 c. fresh parsley, chopped
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. 2% milk
1 t. hot sauce
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

This link may help if you're not sure how to stuff a flank steak:

Stuff with crab and roll up, tie with kitchen string and bake at 375 for 40 min, or longer if you like your steak more well done.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 12/13

Sunday: Out

Monday: grilled steaks, steamed broccoli, baked sweet potatoes

Tuesday: cereal for dinner!!!!!

Wednesday: pork chops and 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
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.

Thursday: hot dogs, edamame for the kids, and for me:

Spicy Chinese Noodles (for one)
3 oz pasta
3 T. peanut butter
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. rice vinegar
1 1/2 t. honey
dash cayenne
2 T. scallions, finely chopped

Cook pasta; drain. While pasta is cooking, combine in a small saucepan the peanut butter, soy suace, vinegar, honey, and cayenne

Mix together the pasta and the peanut butter sauce. if pasta is too dry, add a little fat-free chicken broth to think the sauce.. Garnish with the scallions.

Friday: herbed chicken and orzo


Saturday: Pizza

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Week Menu

Sunday, December 20: Taco Soup


Monday, December 21: grilled pork chops, steamed broccoli, pillsbury biscuits

Tuesday, December 22: beef stir fry, rice, egg rolls

Wednesday, December 23: grilled steak, potato stuffed grilled bell peppers, sauteed asparagus, grilled tomatoes, french bread


I use this recipe for the tomatoes marinade: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1941030 and then I grill them for 20 minutes in a grill basket, instead of roasting them for 7.5 hours. They are FABULOUS!

Thursday, December 24: stuffed pork tenderloin,

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 12/6

Monday: omelettes, fresh fruit

Tuesday: Meal Swap Day, my turn to cook: Chicken Cordon Blue, spring salad, breadsticks

Wednesday: grilled steak, steamed broccoli, baked sweet potatoes

Thursday: Meal Swap Day: Kary's turn to cook

Friday: sloppy joes we didn't have last week, coleslaw, baked beans

Saturday: Pizza Night

Sunday: grilled salmon, steamed green beans, steamed brown rice

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 11/29

Sunday: Grilled chicken breasts, steamed peas, steamed brown rice

Monday: Meal Swap Day, my turn to cook: Grilled Cornish Hens, roasted tomatoes, asiago cheese bread, fruit salad

To grill the hens, rinse inside and out and pat dry. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, inside and out. Place in heavy duty foil roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Place uncovered on preheated grill, over indirect heat (leave center burner on low), for about 15 min per pound.


1 T. sugar

1 T. olive oil

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. dried basil

1/2 t. dried oregano

1/4 t. pepper

4 lbs roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise, about 16 tomatoes

cooking spray

Oven to 200. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Roast at 200 for 71/2 hours. 8 servings.

Bread: http://www.ehow.com/how_2159328_asiago-cheese-bread.html

Tuesday: sloppy joes, cole slaw, baked beans

Wednesday: grilled steak, Cauliflower, baked sweet potatoes

Thursday: mealswap day, Kary's turn to cook

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: Pizza

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanskgiving Day Menu

Grilled Turkey --If you like crispy, golden brown skin, tender, juicy meat, and mouth watering flavor, try grilling your turkey this year. It's really quite easy, easier than oven baking! Plus it frees up your oven for more important things like pies.

Preheat your gas grill on Medium. Spray a large foil roasting pan with cooking spray. Clean your turkey inside and out and place breast up in the prepared pan. Sprinkle inside and out with generous amounts of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place pan on grill over indirect heat (turn off center burner if you can) and close the grill. Turkey takes about 15 minutes per pound (about the same as the oven) or maybe a smidge faster. Check on it occasionally and turn the heat down if you need to.

If your grill is too hot, the drippings will burn off; if you want drippings for gravy, keep an eye on your heat.

Smashed Potatoes

Sweet Potato Casserole


Green Bean Casserole
made the traditional way, but with fresh beans

Soft White Dinner Rolls

Pumpkin Pie (libbey's of course!)

Apple Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 11/22

Sunday: Meal Swap meal from the freezer: Beef Lombardi (mine is made and frozen, but here is the recipe)


Monday: ribs, cornbread, applesauce, celery and dip

Making the cherry-zinfandel bbq sauce for the ribs again. My mouth is already watering in anticipation!



Roasted Applesauce

4 red apples, any variety
4 green apples
1 T. olive oil
2 T. honey
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ginger
pinch cloves
pinch orange zest

Preheat oven to 400. Peel, core and coarsely chop apples. Toss apples in a large bowl with remaining ingredients until well coated. Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes, or until apples are very tender. Using a large serving fork or potato-masher, mash the apples, leaving some chunks. Serve warm.

(Note, if you like smooth applesauce, blend the apples in your blender after they are roasted instead of fork-mashing.)

Tuesday: The streak continues: hot dogs and edamame. Hey, my kids make dinner for themselves once a week--who am I to complain that it's always the same?

Wednesday: grilled steak, leftover cornbread, steamed green beans

Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving! (Please see my Turkey Day Menu post)

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: pizza

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 11/15

It's national clean out the freezer week again. (It came twice in one year this year. Must be part of the "change") I want my freezer emptied to make room for Thanksgiving and for make-ahead recipes for Christmas...I'm thinking cookies and giant lasangas.

Sunday: Frozen meal from meal swap

Monday: Meal Swap Day, my turn to cook: fajitas

Tuesday: Pumpkin Waffles, fresh fruit, turkey bacon

Wednesday: Meal Swap Day, Kary's turn to cook

Thursday: hot dogs, edamame

Friday: leftovers, if any, or another frozen meal from meal swap

Saturday: hamburgers, sweet potato fries, raw veggies and dip

We've really been enjoying our soup of the week. Makes a super fast, satisfying lunch! This week's Soup of the week:

Chili Grande (the easiest, tastiest chili ever)

1 lb ground beef (or bison or turkey or venison)
2 cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
2 cans chili beans (like bush's --you choose your heat, we use mild)
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 envelope taco seasoning mix

Combine all ingredients in the crock of a crock pot. Cook on low 8 hours, on high 4 hours, or 2 hours on high then low for 4 hours. Serve with your choice of toppings; I like sour cream on mine, or crumbled corn bread

I think it's fabulous that you don't have to brown the meat first. This goes together in about 5 minutes one morning, if you take the time to chop the veggies the night before.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 11/8

The cold-ish weather has inspired me to start making soups. I've been making a big pot full of something aromatic on a Sunday, and then eating a bowl full for lunch each day. It's wonderful to have the grab and go deliciousness, so when my starving alarm goes off I can satisfy it quickly and healthfully.

I'll start including my soup of the week recipe..stay tuned!

I'm taking it a little easy in the kitchen this week, because with my husband gone there's no one to cook great meals for! Ok, yes, I have my kids, but they are truthfully just as happy, if not happier, with pumpkin waffles than with pumpkin bisque. So, why bother with the tough stuff? (I'm still swapping though, so Kary if you're reading this, don't panic!)

Sunday: pumpkin waffles (Did you catch that? I was foreshadowing.), turkey bacon, fruit salad

Monday: Meal Swap Day, my turn to cook: Apricot Pork Chops, onion potatoes, steamed peapods, homemade applesauce

Buy steam-in-the-bag peapods for an easier prep. Bake the potatoes in the morning or the night before, so they can cool before you have to scoop them.

Apricot Pork Chops


Onion Potatoes



I use about 2 med apples for every serving...about 8 for my family, and I mix the apples (2-3 fuji, 2-3 granny, and 1-2 gala or other..if you can find honey crisp, buy them. They are wonderful!)

peel, core and coarsely chop apples

mix in 1/3 cup honey, 1 T. olive oil, 1 t. cinnamon, a pinch each of cloves, ginger, orange peel, and nutmeg

arrange apples on a cookie sheet bake at 400 for 45 min to an hour, or until apples are soft; use a potato masher or a large tined fork (serving fork) to smash them; they will be gorgeously lumpy. Place in a serving bowl and enjoy warm. (if you don't like glorious chunks in your applesauce, use your blender instead of hand mashing...but I'll call you a wimp behind your back)

Tuesday: grilled cheese sandwiches, campbell's soup, celery and dip

Wednesday: meal swap day, Kary's turn to cook

Thursday: tuna noodle casserole

3 cups uncooked wide egg noodles (whole wheat or spinach preferred)

1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 can cream of mushroom soup (fat free)

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 6oz can tuna, drained and flaked

1 5oz can evaporated milk (fat free)

1/2 cup chopped onion, optional

1/2 t. pepper

1 cup goldfish crackers (cheddar or parmesan)

Preheat oven to 350. Cook noodles according to directions on package. Drain. Stir together noodles, 1 cup cheese, soup, and next 5 ingredients in a bowl; pour into a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish.

bake, covered, 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese and crackers. Bake 5 more minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Friday: Baked orange roughy, sauteed zucchini, steamed brown rice

1 cup uncooked brown rice

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1 t. italian seasoning

1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated

1 egg white

4 orange rough fillets, about 1 1/2 lbs

1 T. fresh parsley, chopped

Prepare rice according to package directions. While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 400. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine breadcrumbs, italian seasoning, and parmesan in a shallow dish. In a small bowl, whisk the eggwhite until slightly foamy. Lightly brush both sides of each fillet with the egg white, then coat with breadcrumbs. Arrange fillets on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with 1 T. parsley. Bake about 20 min or until fish is opaque throughout.

4 small zucchini

wash and slice zucchini, throwing away the ends. heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over med heat, add 1 T. butter. Sprinkle zucchini slices with sea salt and pepper. Add zucchini after butter melts, and saute for 7-8 minutes or until zucchini is tender-crisp.

Saturday: with or without him, Pizza night lives on

Soup of the Week: Beef and Barley

1 T. olive oil

1 1/2 lbs top sirloin, cut into 1 inch cubes

4 c. beef broth

1 c. water

1 stalk celery, sliced

1 carrot, sliced

1 t. dried oregano

1/4 t. black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup pearl barley

1 bay leaf

10 oz frozen green beans

1 can 914.5 oz) diced tomatoes

10 oz frozen peas

In a large pot over med-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add beef cubes and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned on all sides.

Stir in beef broth, water, celery, carrot, oregano, black pepper, garlic, barley, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes.

Stir in green beans, tomatoes, and peas. Simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 11/1

Funny how the very first post on this blog was 1/11, and now here we are on 11/1. Time flies and has a tendency to flip flop on us.

Sunday: Caramelized Onion Chicken, roasted green beans, steamed brown rice

(I think this recipe should be called Raspberry Chicken, but who am I to say?) I do want to try it with the black currant too at some point.


Monday: ribs, sauteed apples, steamed broccoli

Tuesday: hot dogs/brats on the grill, baked beans, steamed edamame
(Tuesdays are kid-food days. I let mine make their own hot dogs in the microwave.)

Wednesday: Meal Swap Day, Kary's turn to cook

Thursday: Meal Swap Day, my turn to cook
Chicken Stew in bread bowls, fruit salad


Here's an article on how to make your own bread bowls from frozen bread dough:

Friday: Sweet Orange Salmon, spinach salad, Wheat Pilaf
I make this one alot, because it's so easy, so good and everyone in my house loves it. Look for Wheat Pilaf in a box by Near East. It might be in the ethnic section or by the Rice-A-Roni. (Substitute a hearty rice a roni, like a wild rice version, if you can't find wheat pilaf.)

Saturday: pizza night

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 10/25

The last week of October already! I can't believe how fast it went. I had an unusually brilliant idea and checked out some cookbooks from the library. There are some new recipes I'm eager to try. I'm definitely going to be doing more of that! I love cookbooks. I love food pictures. But, I can't own any more cookbooks because there's no room on the cookbook shelf.

Sunday: (Here's a new one!) Roasted Red Pepper-Caesar Tortelloni

1 9oz package refrigerated tortelloni or tortellini
1 cup bottled caesar dressing (we like Ken's Steakhouse Lite Caesar)
1/2 t. grated lemon rind
2 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. dijon mustard
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 C. jarred roasted red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 C. frozen broccoli florets, thawed
3/4 C. caesar style croutons
1 1/2 C. shredded or chopped roasted chicken breast (optional)

Cook pasta according to directions onpackage. While pasta is cooking, microwave broccoli for 1.5 minutes on high with a little water. Drain broccoli; keep warm. Combine dressing, lemon rind, lemon juice, mustard, and pepper in microwave safe bowl. Microwave at medium 45 sec to 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds.

Combine hot cooked, drained pasta and red pepper strips and broccoli in a large bowl. Pour dressing mixture evenly over pasta mixture, tossing to coat. Divide mixture evenly among 4 serving bowls. Top with croutons.

Monday: Meal Swap Night, Kary's turn to cook

Tuesday: reheating a frozen meal tonight

Wednesday: Meal Swap Night, my night to cook: Beef Stir Fry, Rice, cheese rangoons



Thursday: breakfast for dinner...pumpkin waffles, fresh fruit, turkey bacon (Omit bacon for a vegetarian meal)

http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/11/pumpkin-waffles/ This one looks really good, but uses uncommon ingredients.

http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/breakfast-recipes/pancakes-waffles-french-toast/pumpkin-waffles-684129/ this one is simpler, but I might add some protein powder and wheat germ (or use some whole wheat flour in place of the all purpose)

Friday: grilled salmon, steamed edamame, baked potatoes

Saturday: pizza night

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 10/18

Our potroast from last week was good, and plentiful, so tonight we're eating the leftovers. I'm excited to be resuming my fresh meal swap this week--we had skipped it last week due to my company being in town and my partner being out of town. I really enjoy cooking on my night to cook, and I really enjoy my nights off when it's Kary's turn. I hope she feels the same! We've got a good thing going here!

Sunday: leftovers

Monday: Meal Swap night, Kary's turn to cook

Tuesday: Raspberry-Balsamic Chicken, boxed commercial rice (like Uncle Bens), salad (This quick and easy recipe goes together fast....start the rice first.)

Raspberry-Balsamic Chicken
1 t. veg. oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. salt, divided
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/3 c. seedless raspberry preserves (I used polaner all fruit)
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/4 t. black pepper

Heat oil in nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add onion, saute' 5 min. Sprinkle thyme and 1/4 t. salt over chicken. Add chicken to pan; saute' 6 min per side until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

Reduce heat to med. Add 1/4 t. salt, preserves, vinegar, and pepper to pan, stirring constantly until preserves melt. Spoon sauce over chicken, and serve immediately.

Wednesday: meal swap day, my turn to cook: Lemon-Pepper Shrimp Scampi, steamed broccoli, cheese-stuffed bread

Recipes to come!

Thursday: our baseball banquet...it's a pizza night. I'm going to try something creative with a watermelon...I'll try to get pictures up.

Friday: Leftovers again!

Saturday: homemade deep dish pizza, carrots and celery with ranch

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 10/11


grilled salmon, steamed broccoli, steamed brown rice

I dust the salmon with a rub I bought at Pampered Chef: Lemon-Basil Rub. Any similar spice mix or rub will work, or you can use lemon pepper and add dried basil. That's all I do to it before I grill it on my indoor smokeless grill (like George Foreman).

Monday: One of the ladies in our meal swap made us a soup. I'm going to heat that up for tonight. In fact, since it's a baseball game night, I think I'll throw the frozen block of soup in my crockpot and turn it on in the morning. Soup should be hot and ready to eat when we walk through the door after baseball in the chilly fall weather!

Tuesday: Old Fashioned Beef Potroast, brown and serve dinner rolls

The cold weather is bringing out the Minnesotan in me. This one of those meals that seems like too much work, but really it's a fast prep. Long cooking time, but that just means your oven does most of the work, leaving you free to do other things. Also, with the sides built-in, it comes out of the oven as a meal ready to serve. Get it going in the morning and it will be like someone cooked dinner for you. (No time in the morning? Prep it the night before--in your crock if you have a removeable crock, or in a separate bowl if you don't. Then pull it out in the morning and turn on your crock pot.)

Classic Pot Roast

1 beef pot roast of your choice (shoulder roast, chuck roast, blade, etc.)

1 bag baby carrots

1 bag baby new potatoes (or 3-4 white potatoes, peeled and quartered)

3-4 onions, quartered

acorn squash, seeded and wedged (optional--I like it in pot roast, but some people don't)

2 envelopes onion soup mix (such as Lipton)

2 cups water

Place pot roast in crock pot; sprinkle with soup mix. add carrots, potatoes, and onions and squash. Pour water over pot roast. Cook on low 8-10 hours or until meat is done and veggies are tender.

Wednesday: My hubby's birthday! His favorite (always) is tacos. So, Tacos it is! While tacos really don't require a recipe, I will post recipe for the cake I make him EVERY year:


1 qt. Baskin Robbins (or brand of your choice) Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Ice Cream
1 box your choice brownie mix (family size....I use Pillsbury Triple Chocolate), plus ingredients to prepare brownies
1 can dark chocolate fudge icing
(seriously--three ingredients!)

Prepare and bake brownies according to package directions. Allow to cool. Trim hardened crust, if any, from brownies. Cut brownies into small (1-2 inch) pieces. Line glass or other freezer proof bowl (about 2 qt.) with plastic wrap. Mash brownies into bowl, along bottom and up the sides, to form a crust. Freeze well. When crust is frozen, add ice cream inside crust, mashing to eliminate air bubbles. Freeze until firm. Turn Bombe' out onto cookie sheet, platter, or other flat serving dish so chocolate crust is up. Melt icing (in its can, but be sure to remove ALL of foil safety seal) in microwave approximately 1 min or until melted. Pour melted icing over frozen bombe and return to freezer until firm. Serve frozen, cut into wedges. (hint, for a more elegant presentation, I shave dark chocolate over the melted icing and add fresh rasperries both on top and around edges of bombe). **This ends up being kind of a pricey dessert, as MY desserts go, with the premium ice cream. BUT, my husband tolerates my experiments in the kitchen and prefers NOT to go out to eat...we end up saving huge even with this expense. The premium ice cream is a splurge for this occasion and is well worth it. If Baskin Robbins doesn't carry the Raspberry-Truffle, go to a Cold Stone and have them mix in chocolate truffles and fresh raspberries into their darkest chocolate ice cream.

Thursday: My parents are in town! (a lot of company this week, which I'm totally happy about!) I'm serving hamburgers, home fries and home sweet potato fries, and cole slaw. The fry combo is because my dad loves sweet potato fries but my mom doesn't care for them. It'll be fun to have both on the table.

Friday: We're headed out to eat to celebrate all the birthdays--my husband, my neice, and my mom all in the next two weeks!

Saturday: Everyone's gone by now--we're sticking with our Saturday Pizza night.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 10/4

Happy October! I can't wait to put all the stuff out for Halloween! The wind has come back to Oklahoma after a much appreciated absence, which will make securing our decor somewhat of a challenge. Last year all my spider webs blew down, constantly, so that well before Halloween it just looked like a mess rather than a spooky welcome.

My new Cooking Light came today. Imagine my disappointment when my recipe did NOT appear in the Reader Recipe section, as I was promised it would for the October issue. I guess I can't be in the news AND in a magazine in the same week unless I change my name to Paris or something. Still, I'm bummed.

The magazine is loaded with fall comfort food recipes that look very tempting. But, it's still hot here, and so I'll leave those recipes for later in the fall.

Monday: playing baseball tonight, so I'll make Mom's Chicken Enchiladas on a Timed Bake and program the oven to be done when we walk through the door.

Mom's Chicken Enchiladas

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I cook these in the microwave and shred them by pulling apart with two forks)

4 green onions, sliced

2 T. fresh cilantro, chopped

1 jalepeno, seeded and minced

3 cans green enchilada sauce

8 tortillas (calls for corn but I use flour)

1 C. cheddar cheese, pre-shredded (reduced fat preferred)

2 cups lettuce, shredded (or Shreds brand)

1/2 c. salsa

1/2 c. light sour cream

1 can ripe olives, sliced

Oven to 350. Spray 9X13 baking pan with cooking spray. Heat nonstick fry pan over med heat. Add green onions, cilantro, and jalepeno, and saute 2 minutes. Add shredded chicken and 1 can enchilada sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Pour remaining 2 cans enchilada sauce in med. bowl and microwave until warm, about 2 minutes. Dip each tortilla in heated sauce and fill with about 1/8 of the chicken mixture. Roll up and place seam-side down in prepared baking dish.

Pour remaining heated sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes. Serve enchiladas with lettuce, sour cream, salsa, and black olives, if desired.

Tuesday: my work night, which means I'll be absent from the kitchen--leftover night or out to eat

Wednesday: Kary's turn to cook..If you're not swapping (why NOT?), try this one for quick jambalaya: grab a box of Zataran's Jambalaya, a green bell pepper, and a lb of pre-cooked sausage or shrimp or chicken (or any combination....I've even used leftover fish fillets). Dice the green pepper, and throw it in a rice cooker with the Zataran's, the amount of water specified on the box, and the meat. Turn on the rice cooker. When it dings, you're done.

Thursday: my turn to cook : Chicken Parmesan, caesar salad, fresh bread (hint, make at least 2 extra chicken breasts for a later meal. Budget saver: buy a head of romaine and a bottle of commercial caesar dressing rather than a caesar salad "kit." Tear the lettuce leaves off the stem just as you need them, and wash them only after you've plucked them...the stem will keep the leaves fresher longer and the lack of excess moisture will also aid in longevity)

Chicken Parmesan (from Cooking Light--prep time, 12 min; cook time 13 min)

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (or 6 if you're planning on "planned overs" tomorrow)

1/2 c. seasoned breadcrumbs

1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese

1/2 t. ital seasoning (if you don't have seasoned breadcrumbs, increase italian seasoning to 1 tsp.)

1/8 t. black pepper

1/3 cup. all purpose flour

2 large egg whites, lightly beaten (stir rapidly with fork until bubbled)

4 cups hot cooked spaghetti (we use whole wheat, about 8 oz uncooked)

3 C. Ultimate Quick and Easy Pasta Sauce (recipe follows) or 3 C. commercial bottled pasta sauce

1 C. preshredded mozarella cheese

Chopped fresh basil, optional

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap. Flatten to 1/4 inch using meat mallet or rolling pin (I use this one from pampered chef: https://www.pamperedchef.com/ordering/prod_details.tpc?prodId=9784&words=meat%20mallet)

Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, italian seasoning, and pepper in a shallow dish. Place flour in a separate shallow dish, and the egg whites in still another shallow dish. Arrange them left to right as follows: flour, egg, breadcrumbs. Dredge each chicken breast in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken, and cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. (Note, if you don't pound them thin enough, this step will take longer... Still tastes good, just be aware.)

Preheat broiler.

Place 1 cup cooked spaghetti in each of 4 au gratin dishes. Spoon 1/2 c. pasta sauce over each serving. Top each with 1 chicken breasts (you'll have two breasts leftover for tomorrow's chicken ceasar salad). Spoon 1/4 cup sauce over each serving, then sprinkle with mozzarella (about 1/4 cup each). Place gratin dishes on a baking sheet; broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with basil, if desired. 4 servings.

I like to bake and serve these in individual au gratin dishes...it's a neat way to present the meal. I just got some really cute ones from the Rachael Ray line: http://www.amazon.com/Rachael-Ray-12-Ounce-Stoneware-Personal/dp/B002EAYTDI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1254690515&sr=8-1 If you don't have au gratin dishes, you can put it all in one 9X13 dish and broil it, and serve it from there onto plates.

Friday: Chicken Caesar Salad (slice the extra chicken you made on Thursday and fan it out over a bed of romaine. Sprinkle with parmesan and croutons and drizzle with caesar dressing. Optionally, add cherry tomatoes and red onions.)

Saturday: our Pizza night

Sunday: We're planning a trip to Tulsa today, so we'll be eating out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 9/28

Big week! Our neighborhood's frozen meal swap may be appearing on the local news as an example of one way to save money. To that end, I'm including some more money-saving food tips in this week's blog.

Monday: Stir Fried Pork with Broccoli and Cashews, rice


Tuesday: Sloppy Joes, home fries, steamed green beans

Budget tip: use ground turkey, which is cheaper (and leaner) than ground beef. Or, compromise with a half and half mixture of turkey and beef.

Home Fries:

Wednesday: Meal Swap Day, Kary's turn to cook. Leftovers (another budget-saver) are a good alternative. Hint, change it up a little: Bake a few potatoes and stuff them with the leftover joe meat, top with cheddar and bake at 350 5-10 min or until cheese melts.

Thursday: Meal Swap Day, my turn to cook: Stuffed Pork Chops, parmesan noodles, sautee'd yellow squash

Stuffed Pork Chops
4 Pork Loin Chops, 1 1/4" thick
1/2 lb pork sausage (or turkey sausage)
1 C. onion, chopped
1 cup cornbread, crumbled and dried
3/4 C. shredded apple
2 t. fresh thyme, minced, or 1/4 t. dried thyme
1/3 C. apple jelly
1/3 C. apple Juice
1 1/2 T. lemon juice

Cut a slit in each chop with a sharp knife, the length of the fat side almost to the other side, but not all the way through. Refrigerate chops while preparing stuffing. Cook sausage and onion in large skillet until sausage is brown, drain well. Wipe skillet with paper towel. Return to skillet and and stir in cornbread, apple, and thyme. Spoon 2 T. of apple juice over stuffing mixture and toss to combine. Spoon 2 T. stuffing into each pork chop pocket, use toothpicks to secure stuffing in pockets. Set aside remaining stuffing. Place chops on a rack in a roasting pan. In small saucepan combine jelly and lemon juice. Cook over low heat and stir until jelly melts. Brush chops with glaze and bake, uncovered, in a 375 oven for 20 minutes. Brush chops again with glaze, and add the remaining stuffing around the chops. Return to oven for another 20 minutes.

Noodles (use spinach fettucini for the most elegant and colorful meal presentation) http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1850,154168-236193,00.html

Friday: (budget friendly, vegetarian): French toast, turkey bacon, fresh fruit

Substituting breakfast for dinner 2-4 times per month is a fun way to save money!

Saturday: pizza, carrots

(buying frozen pizza or even take-and-bake pizza is significantly less expensive than delivery)

Sunday: Steak, baked sweet potatoes, steamed mixed vegetables

Budget steak: buy a top sirloin large enough to feed your family. Marinate it in commercially bottled italian dressing for several hours (half a bottle for a 1-2 lb steak, full bottle for a larger steak). Grill to desired doneness, then thinly slice it across the grain. Fan it out on a platter for serving. Elegant, tasty, and not too pricey (for steak that is)!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 9/21

Sorry...getting this out late. I'm still catching up in my new routine: homeschool mom, baseball mom, wife, gymnastics coach, puppy raiser. I left out crafter because that part of me has gone dormant! I'm still a cook though, even if my meals are a little more on the quick and easy side.

Monday: we had leftover night before our baseball game.

Tuesday: Beef and Broccoli, rice, commercial pot stickers

1# boneless top round steak, 3/4" thick
2 T. corntstarch
1T. brown sugar
1 can beef broth (14.5 oz)
1T. soy sauce
1/4 t. each garlic powder and gr. ginger
4 C. broccoli flowerets
4 C. hot cooked rice

Slice beef thinly. Mix cornstarch, 1 C. broth, sugar, and soy until smooth. Set aside.

Spray skillet with cooking spray and heat over med. high heat until hot. Add half of beef and stir fry until browned. Set aside and keep warm; repeat with other half of beef.

In same skillet, add remaining broth, garlic, and ginger and broccoli. Cover and simmer 5 min or until broccoli is tender-crisp.

Stir cornstarch mixture and add to pan. Cook until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Return beef to pan, heat through.

Serve over rice.

4 servings

Wednesday: Meal Swap Day, Kary's turn to cook. If you're not swapping with anyone, try:

Baked Orange Roughy, steamed peapods (I like the steam in the bag kind), and whole wheat pilaf (made by Near East. You can find it by the commercial rice mixes, like rice a roni, or in the ethnic section)

For the fish, heat oven to 400. Combine 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1 t. italian seasoning, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, put mixture into shallow dish. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg white.

Lightly brush both sides of 4 orange roughy fillets with egg white, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Arrange fillets on lightly greased baking sheet. Optionally, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

Bake approximately 20 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout.

Thursday: Meal Swap Day, my turn to cook: Sweet and Tangy Chicken, rice, salad

Sweet and Tangy Chicken

6 slices bacon (I use turkey bacon)
8 boned chicken thighs
flour for dredging
1/3 C. honey
3 T. dijon mustard
1 t. curry powder
cayenne pepper

Cook bacon in skillet until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon, saving drippings in pan. Drain bacon on paper towel, crumble, and set aside.

Oven to 350. Dredge chicken pieces with flour, shaking off excess.

Place skillet with reserved drippings over low heat, add chicken and cook until all pieces are browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a baking dish. Bake chicken uncovered 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine honey, mustard, curry, salt and cayenne to taste. Drizzle mixture over chicken and bake uncovered 10-15 min more, until chicken is tender. Top with crumbled bacon just before serving.

4-6 servings.

Friday: (Vegetarian) Greek Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Feta, salad, garlic bread


Saturday: pizza, carrots

Sunday: Shrimp Ratatouille Rolls

1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
1 med. eggplant
2 med. zucchini
1 med. green bell pepper
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
16 oz canned diced tomatoes
3 T. tomato paste
1 T. red wine vinegar
2 t. salt
2 t. fresh basil, chopped
1/2 t. ground pepper
1/2 t. cayenne (or less to taste)
6 french rolls
2 cups mozzarella, shredded

Cut eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper and onion into small cubes. Saute' vegetables and garlic in large saucepan with olive oil for 5 minutes.

Drain tomatoes. Add tomatoes, paste, vinegar, salt, basil and peppers to sauteed vegetables. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Slice a thin slice off the top of each roll. Hollow out each roll, leaving a 1" border. Place rolls on baking sheet and warm in 350 oven for 5 minutes. Add shrimp to vegetable mixture; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink. Spoon mixture into rolls; sprinkle with cheese and broil until cheese melts and is lightly browned.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 9/14

Monday: Impossibly Easy Chicken and Broccoli Pie

Tuesday: Turkey and Ham Tetrazzini, romaine salad, french bread


Wednesday: Out To Eat, or leftovers

Thursday: Herb-Rubbed Ribs with Cherry-Zinfandel BBQ Sauce, corn on the cob, coleslaw, biscuits, roasted applesauce, peach cobbler a la mode


Friday: Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi, steamed edamame, garlic toast

Saturday: Pizza, raw veggies and dip

Sunday: leftovers

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 9/7

Monday: Out to eat

Alternate: try fish packets:

Tuesday: leftovers
Alternate: grilled shrimp, steamed brown rice, steam-in-a-bag veggies of choice

Wednesday: Meal Swap, Kary's turn to cook

Thursday: Meal Swap, my turn to cook: I'm making a grilled whole chicken with oven roasted vegetables and homemade bread

To grill a whole chicken, coat a foil roasting pan with cooking spray. Rinse and pat dry a whole chicken. Place the chicken in the foil roasting pan, sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Place on a hot grill over indirect heat for approximately 15 minutes per pound. It will come out tender, juicy, with a crisp, golden-brown skin.

For the veggies: Cut up carrots, potatoes (fingerling potatoes are wonderful in this), onions, and your choice of squash (I like acorn or butternut)...sweet potatoes are also good. Toss with a light coating of olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Arrange in a single layer in a casserole dish, and bake uncovered for about an hour at 400 degrees, stirring about every 15 minutes.

Friday: homemade mac-n-cheese, steamed broccoli, fresh cut watermelon

Heidi's Mac-N-Cheese

1/2 box whole wheat rotini pasta
1 cup preshredded colby-jack cheese or mexican blend
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup 2% milk
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Cook pasta to al dente. Drain. Pour hot pasta back into the saucepan you used to cook it. Leave it on the still-hot burner with the burner off. Add cheeses, yogurt, and milk, and stir until cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve. Makes 2-3 servings.

Saturday: pizza, carrots

Sunday: Hamburgers, baked sweet potatoes or sweet potato fries, broccoli slaw

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 8/9

August already, and many of my friends' children have begun school. Mine will start soon, maybe this week, their first year as homeschoolers. I'm nervous about beginning a new adventure, but I know that our time together will strengthen our bonds, bring our family closer, bring us closer to God, and enrich our lives through trials, tribulations, joys and celebrations. A family that learns together stays together! I trust this is the right decision for us, and that God will lead the way.

Sunday: We're spending the day on the boat today! I needed a recipe that will travel, and can be served cold. This one was in my inbox today, and I think we'll try it! I always try to make at least one new recipe a week. For sides, I'll likely serve chips and dip.

Chicken Strawberry Salad

Monday (vegetarian): Tri-Colored Tortellini, homemade pasta sauce, french bread, fresh salad

I got the tortellini from Sam's, and the kids just love it! It goes together quickly and is nothing short of satisfying.

For the sauce:
Quick and Easy Pasta Sauce
1 T. Olive Oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced, or 4 t. bottled minced garlic

Sautee above together until onion is tender, then add:
1 can tomato paste
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I use fire-roasted)
1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 c. red wine
1/2 t. italian seasoning

Tuesday: Grilled pork tenderloin, baked sweet potatoes, sautee'd zucchini

For the zucchini, I spray a fry pan with cooking spray, then add about a teaspoon of butter. I heat that on medium heat until hot, then add 3-4 zucchini that have been cut to bite sized pieces. I sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sautee' over med heat for several minutes, stirring frequently.

Wednesday: Meal Swap Night, my night to cook:

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans, asiago breadsticks


Asiago Breadsticks:
I use this recipe for asiago cheese bread, but instead of shaping into a round disk, I shape into breadsticks, then put the olive oil and cheese on.

Thursday: leftovers or out to eat

Friday: Meal Swap day, Kary's turn to cook. If you're not swapping, serve:

hamburgers, home fries, corn on the cob, coleslaw

(For vegetarians, try portobello mushroom burgers in place of beef patties)

coleslaw: combine 1 12 oz bag of coleslaw, 1/2 bottle marzetti's light coleslaw dressing, and 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds

Saturday: another day on the boat, another cold but summer-perfect recipe (also new to me):
Tropical Chopped Salad with Shrimp

Friday, July 31, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 8/2

Sunday: Lasagna, french bread, salad


1 lb. mild italian sausage, casings removed
32 oz. roasted red pepper pasta sauce (recipe follows)
1 1/2 c. water
2 c. (15 oz. container) Ricotta
3 c. (12 oz.) shredded Mozzarella
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 oz. lasagna, uncooked

Brown meat in 3 quart saucepan; drain off excess fat. Add sauce and water; simmer about 10 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, except lasagna, for filling. Pour about 1 cup sauce on bottom of 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan. Layer 3 pieces of uncooked lasagna over sauce; cover with about 1 1/2 cups sauce. Spread 1/2 of cheese filling over sauce. Repeat layers of lasagna, sauce, and cheese filling. Top with layer of lasagna and remaining sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes. Remove foil; bake about 10 minutes longer. Allow to stand about 15 minutes before cutting for easier handling. 8 to 10 servings.
Lasagna will expand to fill empty spaces.

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce (makes enough for two recipes)
2 t. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/4 c. bottled minced garlic
(saute' above together, then add:)
1 cup dry red wine
2 T. sugar
2 T. chopped fresh basil
1 t. dried italian seasoning
1/2 t. black pepper
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 15 oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 can tomato paste

Simmer uncovered about 15 minutes, then stir in:

1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

Use immediately or freeze for later.

Monday: Jerk-Spiced Shrimp, fruit salsa, cornbread


Tuesday: Grilled Ribeyes, steamed fresh green beans, baked sweet potatoes

Wednesday: shredded chicken bbq sandwiches, fresh spinach salad

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Crab Salad with Avocado and Tomatoes, grilled garlic bread

Saturday: Pizza or leftovers

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 7/26

Sunday: Grilled Pork Chops, Grilled Tomatoes, corn on the cob, baked beans

I like to buy boneless thick-cut pork chops, season only with salt and pepper, then grill. Result is tender, juicy, flavorful meat. YUM!

I can't resist this picture of the grilled tomatoes. I simply HAVE to have them! http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=257441

Monday: grilled orange roughy, steamed green beans, boxed wheat pilaf

Tuesday: breakfast for dinner: blueberry pancakes, fresh fruit, bacon

Blueberries are in season! And they're SO YUMMY!

I discovered that I can add protein powder (from whey) and wheat germ to my pancake mix, and my kids GOBBLE them up. This is a one-dish meal, in that all food groups are represented in each bite (my favorite kind of meal, especially for kids). If you do add the protein powder, the bacon is just a bonus...not necessary to complete the meal.

Wednesday: Sweet Orange Salmon, steamed brown rice, steamed edamame


Thursday: Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken, steamed broccoli with black beans and parmesan, pillsbury crescent rolls

For the broccoli, combine 2 cups broccoli florets, 1 cup black beans (drained and rinsed), and a cup of water in a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high 5-6 minutes or until broccoli is tender-crisp. Drain. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese just before serving.

Friday: grilled steaks, baked sweet potatoes, salad

Saturday: pizza, leftovers, or out to eat

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 7/18

Sunday: Chicken Ceasar Salad (so simple, in fact, it comes from real simple magazine!)


Homemade Croutons:

I often bake bread, but homemade bread doesn't last long. I take the leftovers and grind them up in my food processor for fresh breadcrumbs, which I freeze, or I cube them and make my own croutons, which I also freeze. Homemade croutons are healthier than storebought because you can control the amount of fat and sodium that go into them. They're also, obviously, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly because they don't require as much packaging or fuel to ship them from factory to store and from store to your home. Plus they're really yummy!

Cube day old bread. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Dust with garlic powder. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool.

Monday: Carne Esada, pico de gallo, whole wheat tortillas


Tuesday: Chicken Caesar Wraps (use leftovers from Sunday)

Wednesday: Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole, Pillsbury Biscuits


Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Teriyaki-Ginger Pork Tenderloin, rice, commercial cheese rangoons

1 1lb pork tenderloin

cooking spray

1 1/2 T. teriyaki sauce

1 1/2 t. cornstarch

1 15 oz can pineapple chunks in own juice

Trim fat from pork. Slice tenderloin into 1/2 inch thick slices; flatten slices with palm of hand. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over med-high heat until hot. Add pork, and cook 3 min on each side or until browned.

Combine teriyaki sauce and remaining 3 ingredients, stirring well. Add to pork in skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes.

Put pork on a bed of rice on each plate. Spoon sauce over pork.

Saturday: homemade deep dish pizza, salad, breadsticks (storebought, canned, or homemade)


Vegetarians, I'm sorry I didn't include you this week, but feel free to substitute tofu for the chicken in the Chicken Caesar Salad and in the wraps, and also Pizza is easy to make vegetarian.

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 7/12

Sunday: Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya I didn't make from last week's menu

Monday: Pan-Seared Shrimp Po' Boys, carrot and cabbage slaw

Combine 4 cups shredded green cabbage and 1 cup shredded carrot in large bowl. Combine 3 T. reduced fat mayo, 1 T. cider vinegar, and 1/4 t. celery seeds in a small bowl. Add mayo mixture to cabbage mixture; stir well.

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday (Vegetarian): Bow Ties with Tomatoes, Feta, and Balsamic Dressing

Thursday: Bison burgers, homefries, marinated cukes and toms

(email me for a great homemade hamburger bun recipe!)

Homefries: Oven to 400. french fry cut or wedge several potatoes (I use one and a half potatoes per person) and combine the cut potatoes with 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a zip top bag. Shake bag to coat fries evenly. Spread fries out in a single layer on baking sheet and bake at 400 for about an hour, turning every 15 minutes. Serve with ketchup.

Chili-cheese fries: make as directed above, adding 1 t. chili powder to the bag. When fries come out of the oven and are still hot, sprinkle generously with shredded cheddar or mexican blend cheese.

Marinated Cukes and Toms:

1 english cucumber, thinly sliced
1-2 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup light italian dressing, or light olive oil vinaigrette
freshly ground black pepper, if desired

Combine vegetables and dressing in zip top bag. Chill several hours. Serve with fresh ground black pepper, if desired.

* feta cheese is also delicious sprinkled on top of these!

Friday (vegetarian): spaghetti, garlic bread, salad

Saturday: pizza or leftovers (try spaghetti sandwiches!)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 7/5

I trust everyone had a gorgeous Fourth of July to celebrate. I'm still on a marvelous vacation in the northwest Wisconsin woods, and am writing this week's menu from here. I've been completely spoiled here, and my meals have been planned, prepared, and served to me each day. I have an aunt who aptly calls this "Pampered in the Pines." But with all this pampering, I've kind of gotten out of the habit of planning and preparing meals. Here's to a week of transition!

Sunday: Breaded Fish, cole slaw, roasted potato wedges

My mom's cooking tonight (amen!) but here's a good fish recipe if you want one:

coleslaw: combine 1 12 oz bag of coleslaw, 1/2 bottle marzetti's light coleslaw dressing, and 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds

Potato wedges: Preheat oven to 400. Cut several small potatoes (I use 1 1/2 potatoes for each person I'm serving) into wedges (8 wedges per potato). Combine wedges, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large zip-top plastic bag. Bake at 400 degrees for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Monday (vegetarian): Artichoke Pizzas with Lemony Green Bean salad
We'll be on the road tonight, at the mercy of what is convenient at the time...but this looked really good for a vegetarian meal!

Tuesday: On the road again tonight, but try this one if you'll be cooking: Asian Shrimp and Chickpea salad:

Wednesday: Baby Back Ribs, corn on the cob, roasted applesauce, asiago cheese bread http://www.myrecipes.com/recipes/calendar/0,30311,1728659_1736204,00.html?viewdate=06_29_2009&iid=edit-grill-062909&PromKey=XET



Thursday (vegetarian) Yay! Going out with best friend Angie tonight (haven't seen her in about a year). If you're stuck at home, try this quick and easy pasta dish:

Italian Ravioli Casserole


Friday: 1-2-3 Jambalaya

Saturday: Leftovers or Pizza

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 6/21

Happy Fathers' Day, to all who are fathers and who have fathers. I guess that covers everybody. (wink wink) See previous post for a yummy fathers' day menu. This week is going to be a busy one for us, so I probably won't cook much, but I'm happy to provide a delicious menu for those who want one:

Monday: Grilled Pork Chops, cornbread, steamed green beans

I buy the thick-cut, boneless skinless pork chops from Sam's. If you can find them, the ones that are over an inch thick are the best for grilling, as they retain their tenderness and juiciness. I season only with salt and pepper...they taste fantastic!

For the cornbread, I buy the white cornmeal from Quaker, and follow the directions on the box for easy cornbread. Ask if you'd like the recipe. It's the best we've ever had. Try it with farmer's market honey or pure maple syrup. mmmmm.

Tuesday: we'll be hosting a birthday party Tuesday night for an almost 7 year old! So our meal will be, um, chips, fruit salad, peanut butter and jelly with the crusts cut off, and cake. For those whose tastes are more sophisticated, I suggest:

tortellini (refrigerated, such as Digiorno), garlic bread, salad

Wednesday: ZADEN's 7th BIRTHDAY! I can't believe my firstborn will be 7. In honor of his birthday, I'm posting all his favorite recipes:

Breakfast: pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes, fresh fruit, juice OR fruit smoothie and a granola bar

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups 2 percent milk
1 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk, pumpkin and melted butter until blended. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring just until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Ladle the batter onto a hot buttered griddle and cook until golden brown on both sides.

TIP: since it calls for 1 cup pumpkin, and 1 can is 14 oz, I usually double the batch and use 1 full can and double all the other ingredients. It's not exact, but it's not wasteful either. If I make a single batch I freeze the leftover pumpkin for later.


Every smoothie is different, but I always start with the same base:

1 cup vanilla lowfat yogurt (I use Stonyfield Farm organic)
1/2 cup milk (organic, 2 percent)
1 Tablespoon flax oil

Zaden likes Strawberry-banana:

add to the base:
1 ripe banana
1 cup frozen unsweetened strawberries

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour leftover smoothie into popsicle molds for smoothie pops.

He also likes Chocolate-peanut butter:

add to the base:
1 envelope carnation instant breakfast, chocolate flavored
1/3 cup natural peanut butter

blend until smooth.

Lunch: Zaden's favorite is ham and cheese lunchables. :)

Dinner: chicken nuggets, broccoli, pillsbury buttermilk biscuits with honey


Thursday: we'll be in Missouri this night, not sure what we'll eat. My suggestion:
Mom's Enchiladas (this recipe is from the Eating For Life cookbook, and is my all-time favorite enchilada recipe):

4 chicken breasts, boneless-skinless
4 green onions, sliced
2 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 jalepeno, seeded and minced
3 10 oz cans green enchilada sauce
8 corn tortillas
1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups shredded lettuce
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 tomato, diced
1 2 oz can ripe olives, sliced

Preheat oven to 350. Coat 9X13 inch pan with cooking spray.

Place chicken breasts in a large pot and cover wtih water. Boil 15 minutes or until no longer pink in center. Drain and let cool slightly. Shred cooked chicken with 2 forks, set aside.

Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over med-high heat. Add green onion, jalepno, and cilantro; saute' for 2 minutes. Add shredded chicken and 1 can enchilada sauce. COok, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until heated through.

Pour the remaining two cans ench. sauce in a med. bowl and microwave until warm, about 2 minutes. Dip each tortilla into the heated sauce and fill with about 1/8 of the chicken mixture. Roll up and place, seam side down, in the prepared pan.

Pour remaining heated sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until enchiladas are heated through and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

Divde lettuce onto four plates and place 2 enchiladas on top. top with a spoonful of salsa, a dollop of sour cream, tomatoes and olives. Serve and enjoy.

Friday: will be in Wisconsin tonight with family and extended family. Here is my suggestion for a meal, though I personally won't be cooking!:

Blackened Tilapia, red beans and red beans and rice, steamed pea pods. I've never made this, but I got the idea from my friend Cori's blog. If I were to cook it I'd use this recipe for the seasoning on the tilapia:


Rub above seasoning on both sides of the tilapia fillets. Grill on an indoor grill or in a grill basket on an outdoor grill.

then I'd make some pre packaged version of red beans and rice, and I'd serve it with a fresh salad.

Saturday: as always, saturday is my night off. Go out, serve leftovers, or have a frozen pizza

Sunday: I owe you a vegetarian menu: I've been waiting for my home-grown basil to be ready before I posted this one...I think it's ready!

Caprese Melts, creamy herbed mashed potatoes, fresh salad (try a bag of Italian blend if you're looking to simplify!)


Friday, June 12, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 6/14

I can't believe we're halfway through June already. I know it's oversaid, but where does the time go??? We're really enjoying our summer though, and spending many hours by the community pool. It feels wasteful and indulgent, spending all that time being unproductive. But staying inside feels wasteful of the sunshine, which is a divine gift in itself. Hopefully we're finding a balance, and maybe, just maybe, my chores can wait. The theme of the week is dinner to go (so we can stay at the pool well into the evening). Our pool clubhouse has a full kitchen, so I can assemble at home and bake there. It's wonderful!

Sunday: blackened chicken salad (ooh we love this one, but it's spicy, so I'll do plain grilled chicken breasts on a bed of romaine for the kids), pillsbury crescent rolls


Monday: Meditteranean Tuna Wrap (a new recipe), Strawberry Soup (also new), chips:



Tuesday: Beef-Broccoli Lo Mein, steamed rice, commercial egg rolls


Wednesday:Meatball Subs, pasta salad, potato chips

(I have some meatballs in the freezer that I want to use, but here is a recipe if you need it:)


Thursday (vegetarian): Eggplant Parmesan (this is new for me!), french bread, italian salad


Friday: Impossibly Easy Chicken and Broccoli pie (yes even I like bisquick recipes sometimes!


Saturday: Pizza

Sunday (Father's Day): Grilled Chicken Fajita Pizza, fresh salad, chocolate cream pie

For the pizza, I'm trying something new. I'm actually combining several recipes.

1 tb Olive oil or oil

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2x1/2-inch strips

1 1/2 ts Chili powder

3/4 ts Salt

1/2 ts Garlic powder

1 c Thinly sliced onions

1/2 C. each Green and red bell pepper strips (2x1/4-inch)

Olive oil

1 large or 2 small Biboli prepared pizza crusts (or homemade dough)

1/2 c Mild salsa or picante sauce

8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large zip top plastic bag. Refrigerate several hours.

Preheat the grill. Dump the contents of the bag into a grill basket coated with cooking spray. Stir. Close the grill cover. Grill 8-10 minutes or until chicken is done and peppers and onions are tender-crisp. Keep warm. Brush olive oil over one side of each biboli crust. Turn grill temp down to medium-low. Place the crust directly on the grill rack and close the grill. Cook the bare crust 2 minutes. Brush top side with olive oil, then flip it over. Place the meat mixture onto the crust. Top with salsa and cheese. Close the grill cover and grill 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve with sour cream, black olives, and fresh chopped cilantro if desired.

Pie (This is my husband's favorite pie):


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 6/7

I have a confession to make. I write these menus, but sometimes I don't even follow them! For us, we need a flexible menu. There are times when things come up, or when the dad of the house is unable to make it home for dinner. When he's gone, I tend not to want to cook, so I opt to pull something homemade from the freezer for the kids, or even-gasp! something from a box. For myself, my dinner-for-one standby is grilled filet of fish (salmon usually, but orange roughy is also welcome), steamed frozen vegetables, and rice or potatoes. I like to do the fish because I can thaw one filet very quickly and I can grill it on my indoor grill.

I was talking to a friend of mine about cooking and menu-planning, and she said she was hesitant to try new things because she didn't want to put forth the effort if it wasn't going to be a hit. While I understand these feelings, I wonder how one can find family favorites without trying new recipes. I often tell myself that everything I put in my mouth (and into my family's mouths) doesn't have to be the best thing we've ever eaten. Food is fuel, first and foremost. If it tastes good too, that's the, er, icing on the cake. I started my love of cooking by trying just one new recipe a week. It didn't have to be a dinner recipe, it could be dessert or lunch or breakfast...even a new smoothie. There are lots and lots that I was told I didn't have to make again, and lots and lots that have become family favorites.

Monday: Meatloaf, steamed broccoli, bisquick biscuits or refrigerated biscuits

If you don't have a favorite meatloaf recipe, try this one which is a huge hit with my family:

1 lb each extra lean ground beef and ground turkey

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon dried mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all together until well combined. Place in loaf pan and bake at 350 for about an hour, or until done. This also freezes well and makes wonderful meatloaf sandwiches.

Tuesday (This is a more elaborate menu than I usually prepare for a mid-week supper, but my husband's aunt is going to be in town and I want it to be special for her!):

Grilled Shrimp and Steak Kabobs, Grilled Vegetables with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Twice-Baked Potatoes, White Chocolate Raspberry Tart

For the kabobs, just cut up some hunks of a nice thick sirloin (1 1/2 - 2 inches square), then thread them onto skewers alternating with jumbo shrimp. Season with salt and pepper, then grill until shrimp is opaque and steak is done to your preference.

For the vegetables: I use this recipe for the vinaigrette, but I use cut up red, orange or yellow bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, and grape tomatoes instead of the veggies listed. I also cut them into bite sized pieces and grill them in a grill basket, rather than directly on the grate. It's a fantastic recipe, one that my family enjoys often.


For the potatoes, I'm going back to the recipe I used for grilled potato-stuffed bell peppers, only I'll put the potato mixture back into its shell rather than into the halved peppers. Then I'll bake them at 375 for 20 minutes or until hot and slightly browned on top.


For the dessert (this one is from Pampered Chef, and it's absolutely gorgeous when finished, and too delicious for words!):


20 Oreo cookies, finely chopped

1/4 cup butter, melted


1 80z container cool whip, divided

4 1oz squares white chocolate for baking, chopped, (or 3/4 cup of white chocolate chips)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate morsels

1 t. vegetable oil

1 cup fresh raspberries

powdered sugar, optional

1. For the crust, finely chop cookies. Combine cookie crumbs and butter; mix well. Press into bottom and up sides of a tart pan. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

2. For filling, microwave white chocolate and 1 cup of cool whip on high 1 min or until melted and smooth, stirring after each 20 second interval. Cool slightly. Fold in remaining whipped topping and sour cream. Spread white chocolate mixture over crust.

3. Microwave chocolate morsels and oil on high 30-60 seconds or until melted and smooth, stirring after each 20 sec. interval. Drizzle chocolate mixture over filling. Arrange raspberries around edge of tart. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until set. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving, if desired.

12 servings.

Wednesday: leftovers (try meatloaf sandwiches from Monday's meatloaf!)

Thursday: Out to eat

Friday (Vegetarian): Chili-Cheese Black Bean Enchiladas, spanish rice, fiesta corn http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=549755

Saturday (Vegetarian): calzones, salad


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 6/1

I'm getting this done later than I thought I would. By the state of our refrigerator you'd think we're starving. Fortunately, that's not true (though after my vacation I could use a starvation diet). We had a great time and are glad to be home. It's summertime in Oklahoma, so I've been searching for some easy prep meals, so I'm not wasting sunshine by spending too much time in the kitchen!

Monday: Tacos

Tuesday: chicken nuggets, steamed green beans, garlic toast (I make my own chicken nuggets and keep them in the freezer for a simple kids' meal.)

You can use this recipe for oven fried chicken, and just cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces before coating:


Wednesday: Balsamic Steak Salad

Marinade 8 oz sirloin steak in commercial bottled balsamic vinaigrette (my favorite is Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette) 30 min or more in refrigerator. Preheat grill to med-high heat. Grill steak 8 min per side or until cooked to desired doneness. Slice steak diagonally against the grain into thin strips.

While steak is cooking, place romain lettuce on each of two plates. On the bed of torn lettuce, sprinkle baby carrots, slivered red onions, halved cherry tomatoes, and sliced bottled roasted red peppers. Fan half the steak slices out onto each salad and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and freshly ground black pepper and crunchy garlic croutons. Serve. Makes 2.

Vegetarian Version: grill, slice, and fan out portobello mushrooms over the salad in place of the steak

Thursday: BBQ chicken sandwiches, cole slaw, potato chips or sweet potato fries

(Boil or microwave 4-6 chicken breasts, then shred with two forks. Place in crockpot along with 1-2 onions, sliced vertically, and a bottle of your favorite bbq sauce. Let cook on low all day (8 hrs) or on high 4 hours. Serve on freshly made buns.)

Friday: Grilled Tuna Steaks, steamed brown rice, roasted green beans



Saturday: leftovers or pizza night

Sunday: Grilled whole chicken, roasted vegetables, fresh rolls

Grilling a chicken instead of roasting imparts a flavorful, juicy bird with a gorgeous golden brown skin with no basting. To grill a chicken, rinse a whole chicken inside and out and place in a heavy duty foil roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, inside and out. Grill over indirect, medium heat. It takes about 15 minutes per pound. 180 degrees when tested with a meat thermometer.

For the vegetables:

1 lb baby carrots
8-10 small red potatoes or 1 lb fingerling potatoes, washed
2 onions, quartered
1 acorn squash or butternut squash, seeded and wedged
3 T. olive oil
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Toss vegetables with oil and arrange in a single layer in a baking pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for about 60 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

For the rolls:

1 C warm water
1 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 C. sugar
1 t. salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 T. gluten
1 packages active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

Add ingredients to bread pan in your breadmaker according to manufacturer's instructions. Set for dough, and press start. When machine beeps at the end of the cycle, turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Punch down. Divide dough into 20 balls, slightly larger than golf balls, and place 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover rolls with a towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. (I like to preheat my oven at this point and let the tray of rolls sit on the stove, nice and warm from the oven's heat.)

Oven to 350. Bake rolls 25-30 minutes or until golden. Immediately after baking, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with your choice of toppings: parmesan cheese, toasted sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or your choice.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 5/17

This is my last post until June, as we are headed on a trip. Some good eats this week, though, and remember to browse previous posts for fill-in meals.

Sunday: I'm bringing in a meal that we were unable to make last week: see previous post for BBQ chicken (make extra chicken for Tuesday's meal)

Monday: Thai Chicken Wraps with Peanut Sauce

3 (6 oz) chicken breasts, grilled and sliced at an angle

1/2 seedless cucumber (also called English Cucumber), peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced at an angle

2 cups fresh bean sprouts

1 cup shredded carrots (also called matchstick carrots)

3 scallions or green onions, sliced on an angle

12 leaves basil, chopped or torn

3 Tablespoons fresh mint sprigs, chopped

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or white vinegar

salt, optional, to taste

bottled peanut sauce (found in the asian aisle at the supermarket) Feel free to add hot sauce to taste, if you prefer it spicier than you can find.

4 12 inch tortillas

Combine cucumber and next 8 ingredients. Toss well to coat. Toss grilled sliced chicken with veggies and herbs. In a very hot skillet heat tortillas 15 seconds on each side. Pile chicken and veggies in wraps and drizzle liberally with peanut sauce. Wrap and roll, serve immediately.

Tuesday: BBQ chicken Pizza, Marinated Cucumbers with Feta

BBQ Chicken Pizza
Prep: 5 min., Cook: 10 min. Using prepared chicken and commercial pizza crust gets this recipe on the table in only 15 minutes.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 (16-ounce) Italian cheese-flavored pizza crust (such as Boboli)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, divided
2 pre-cooked chicken breasts, finely chopped (use the leftover BBQ chicken from Sunday's meal, or look for southwest flavored grilled chicken, such as Tyson)
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Place pizza crust on a large baking sheet or pizza stone; spread 1/4 cup barbecue sauce over crust.
Combine remaining 1/4 cup barbecue sauce and chicken in a bowl, coating well. Spoon chicken mixture over crust; top with cheese and cilantro.
Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese melts.

Marinated Cucumbers with Feta:

Combine 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced, and 1/4 cup Olive Oil Vinaigrette. Cover and chill. Just before serving, sprinkle each serving with 1 Tablespoon crumbled feta; sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, if desired.

Wednesday (Vegetarian): Grilled Cheese with Artichokes, Gazpacho

Grilled Cheese with Artichokes

2 t. dijon mustard
4 sandwich rolls, split and toasted
8 slices American cheese
1 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained
8 slices tomato
2 T. light Italian dressing

Spread 1/2 t. mustard on split side of top half of each roll, and set aside

Place bottom halves of rolls on a baking sheet. Top each half with 2 cheese slices, 1/4 cup sliced artichoke, and 2 tomato slices; drizzle each half with 1 1/2 teaspoons dressing.

Broil sandwich halves 5 1/2 inches from heat, door partially open, 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Cover with tops of rolls.
4 servings

1 1/2 cups tomato juice
3 large tomatoes, quartered and seeded
1 small cucumber, peeled, quartered, and seeded
1 small green pepper, quartered and seeded
1 small onion, quartered
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. hot sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced cucumber
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper

Position knife blade in food processor bowl; combine first 5 ingredients in bowl. Process until smooth; pour mixture in a large bowl. Stir in vinegar and next 3 ingredients. Cover and chill at least two hours. Top with cucumber slices and chopped green pepper. Serve chilled. (This soup only has 26 calories per 1/2 cup serving! Would be a great meal to take to work.)

Thursday: We've been doing neighborhood cookouts on Thursdays since the weather warmed up. In that light, I'll showcase another cookout menu for alfresco dining:

Grilled Vidalia Onion and Steak sandwiches, fruit salad, potato chips


Fruit Salad:
2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into bite sized pieces (about 1 small fresh pineapple)
3 kiwifruit, peeled and diced
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
2 cups fresh red or green grapes
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. raw sugar

Combine all ingredients well, store covered in refrigerator until ready to eat. (Use any fruits you like; this happens to be our family's favorite combo.)

Zesty Fettuccine and Shrimp (10 minutes to make!), bagged salad, commercial sourdough bread

8 ounces fettuccine, uncooked
cooking spray
2 t. olive oil
2 t. blackening seasoning
3/4 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
2 T. lemon juice
1 (14 1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes with roasted garlic, drained
1/4 t. pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta cooks, coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray, and add oil. Place over medium high heat until hot. Sprinkle blackening seasoning evenly over shrimp. Add shrimp to skillet; cook 2 minutes on each side or until shrimp turn pink. Stir in lemon juice. Add tomatoes and pepper; cook until thoroughly heated.

Spoon shrimp mixture over drained pasta, and serve immediately with a side of salad and a slice of sourdough bread.

Saturday: pizza night

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 5/10

Happy Mothers' Day to all who are moms and those who have moms. I guess that covers everybody.

I found some tadpoles yesterday. I hope to collect a few and place them under observation for my two boys. I planted flowers this week, and am finding empty egg shells in the grass. SPRING IS HERE!

I'm really excited about the grill this week...I'm hoping for great grilling and alfresco dining weather. You should try to eat outside once this week, even if you cook inside. We have these cafeteria trays that I like to bring outside...they just feel right for patio dining. And so far, the flies have been manageable, so outdoor dining doesn't mean sharing it.

Monday (meal swap night, my turn to cook): Stuffed Peppers, cheese breadsticks


Cheese Breadsticks:
3 1/4 cup breadflour
3/4 grated romano cheese, divided
1/4 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1/4 t. ground red pepper
1 package rapid rise yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 C. plus 2 T. warm water
2 t. olive oil
cooking spray
2 t. water
1 egg white, lightly beaten

(Bread dough is easier with a breadmaker or a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.)

For breadmaker: place flour, 1/2 cup cheese, and next 5 ingredients in breadpan in the order suggested by the manual. Program for dough and press start.

For stand mixer, place flour, 1/2 cup cheese, and next 5 ingredients in mixing bowl. Turn to speed 2 for 2-5 minutes, or until a dough ball is formed and the dough no longer clings to the side of the bowl. Remove dough hook, and coat dough ball with cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in warm, draft-free place for 40 minutes.

For either method: Mix beaten egg white and water, set aside. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface, knead several times. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into 14 X 10 inch rectangle. Brush each rectangle with half of egg white mixture; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Press cheese into dough. Cut each rectangle into 22 10 inch strips using pizza cutter. Pick up each end of each strip, and twist. Place twists 1 inch apart on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise 20 minutes or until puffy. Bake at 375 12 minutes or until golden.

Tuesday: Grilled Halibut with Pineapple-Lime Salsa, steamed brown rice, steamed sugar snap peas (buy the steam-in-bag for quick and easy prep)

Pineapple-Lime Salsa
1 t. vegetable oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 (4 oz) halibut steaks, about 3/4 inch thick
cooking spray
Lime wedges

Prepare Pineapple-lime Salsa, set aside (recipe follows)

combine oil and garlic; brush mixture over fish. Sprinkle fish with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Coat grill rack with cooking spray. Place fish on rack and grill, covered, over med-hot coals 5-6 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork. Spoon salsa over fish. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Pineapple-Lime Salsa:
1/3 cup pineapple preserves
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalepeno pepper
1 teaspoon dried mint flakes
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (8 oz) can unsweetened pineapple tidbits, drained

Combine all ingredients, stir well. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Wednesday: BBQ chicken breasts, baked beans, roasted potato wedges, marinated cucumbers and tomatoes

Marinated Cucumbers and Tomatoes:
Combine 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced, 4 tomatoes, sliced, and 1/2 cup Olive Oil Vinaigrette. Cover and chill. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, if desired.

Thursday: (Vegetarian) Fettuccine With Blue Cheese-Artichoke Sauce, Commercial french bread, Tossed Apple Salad

Fettuccine with Blue Cheese-Artichoke Sauce

1 9 oz package refrigerated fettuccine
cooking spray
1 (14 oz) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 (10 oz) jar refrigerated light alfredo sauce
2 Tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

Cook pasta according to directions on package, omitting salt and fat. While pasta cooks, coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over med heat until hot. Add artichokes and mushrooms; cook 3-4 minutes or utnil mushrooms are tender. Add alfredo sauce to artichoke mixture; cook until thoroughly heated.

Place drained pasta in a large bowl, Pour sauce over pasta, toss to combine. Sprinkle with Cheese.

Tossed Apple Salad

Combine 1/2 of a 10 oz package of romaine lettuce and 1 cup diced red delicious apple in a bowl. Drizzle with 1/3 cup fat free balsamic vinaigrette (try Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette; it's not fat free but it's low fat, low calorie, low carb, and VERY tasty!)

Friday: Grilled Scallops and Tomatoes, Grilled Corn on the Cob, Spinach-Onion Salad

Grilled Scallops and Tomatoes
1 lb fresh sea scallops
20 cherry tomatoes
cooking spray
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

Place scallops and tomatoes alternately on 4 12 inch skewers. Brush with 1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce.

Coat grill rack with cooking spray; place on grill over med-high heat.Place kebabs on rack and grill uncovered 5 minutes. Turn kebabs, and brush with remaining sauce. Grill 10 more min or until scallops are opaque.

Grilled Corn on the Cob:

Spinach-Onion Salad:
Combine 1 (10 oz) package spinach with 1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced. Add 1/4 cup fat free red wine vinaigrette; toss.

Saturday: Pizza, Out to Eat, or Leftovers