Saturday, September 28, 2013

Kelly's Menu 9/30 thru 10/6

The start of the school year is always a whirlwind in our house!  I haven't been meal planning as well as I should.  And some days that Pizza Hut drive-thru across for daycare is too tempting so I throw out my plan and bring home pizza. With special events coming up everywhere and the extra expenses of the holidays, I don't have time to not be prepared and have to stick to the budget.

This is one of Joyce's recipes that I haven't made yet. I finally decided to try it after about 4 mentions about how good it is from my friend Jennifer.  I'm looking forward to a one dish dinner.
Tuesday-Slow Cooker Italian Beef and frozen veggies
I am trying to get my kids to eat an actual warm meal on dancing night.  Last year, I packed a lunch box with items we could eat quickly and easily in the car...let's just say when you don't always check the back of the minivan you might have some messes.  We love these sandwiches on rolls with pepper-jack cheese.

Wednesday- Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken with quinoa
John and I love this chicken dish; the kids enjoy finding the pieces of pineapple.  I serve this on quinoa instead of rice for the nutritional benefits.

Thursday-White Pizza Dip and Leftovers
We're having a fall feature pot-luck for lunch.  I'm bringing something easy...I can throw everything in the mini slow cooker, and it will be ready before the first lunch. Since my coworkers are great cooks, I know I'll eat too much at lunch so leftovers for dinner work.

Friday-Stuffed shells and broccoli 
I prepare jumbo shells then shove frozen meatballs in them, cover with sauce and some Italian seasonings in a baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, and my kids are super happy. 
I pick up pizza crusts and sauce whenever they are on sale.  I'll pull some out of the freezer and let John feed the kids dinner since I get to go out for my book-club! We've been reading Eat That Frog-21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
We'll be heading to my parent's house for Sunday dinner.  This is my family's favorite!  I have a few new pumpkin desserts I'll be trying to make soon, so I figure I should make it at least once for the Fall. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Banana Pepper Mustard

When I got banana peppers in my CSA, I wasn't quite sure what to do with them.  Then I remembered the fabulous mustard that my neighbor made last summer (that I devoured).  She wasn't at home to get me the recipe when I decided I had time to make it, so I had to search the internet to find something that seemed similar.  This seems to be close, and judging from the number of requests that I got for the recipe at a Labor Day party I took it to (and again this past weekend), I am not the only one that loves it.  I took it to use as a dip for pretzels, but it would be fabulous on a sandwich, too.


(This is what I used, which is about half of the original recipe.  It made a nice size bowl of the mustard...plenty to take to a party as an appetizer with pretzels.  If you want to can or preserve some, I would at least double this.)
  • 4-5 banana peppers
  • 1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp water
  1. Remove seeds and stems from peppers and coarsely chop.  Place in a food processor or high powered blender and process until smooth.  
  2. Pour processed peppers into a pot and add all ingredients except for the flour and water.  Bring the mixture to a hard boil.  (It should be boiling to the point that you can't stir it down.)
  3. Turn off the heat and allow the mustard to cool for about 10 minutes.  Stir together the water and flour until smooth.  Whisk the flour mixture into the mustard
  4. Return the mustard to boiling to thicken.  Remove from heat and cool.  

Difficulty: easy
Time:  30 minutes

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Easy One-Pot Chicken & Rice and Gooseberry Patch Giveaway

During my last few days of summer break, I worked through the "Quick and Easy" section of the new Gooseberry Patch cookbook 101 Stovetop Suppers.  I wanted to have some options when I just didn't have enough time to prepare the slow cooker  or have a ready casserole to throw in the oven. I need to have a few go-to recipes to keep me from the drive-thru while giving my kids a hot, quick meal.  This cookbook did not disappoint.  My family enjoyed the Sloppy Cowboys, Inside-Out Stuffed Pepper, Vegetable Quesadillas, and this Easy One-Pot Chicken & Rice. And, those recipes were only some in the "Quick and Easy" section; I didn't even work through the "Slowly Simmered" or "Serves a Crowd" sections yet!

I loved being able to open the spiral ring book and stand it up to follow the recipe without having to reopen the book a million times.  The recipes were easy to follow and kept me from turning on the oven. Jo Ann and Vickie now have a YouTube channel too!  I used it with my girls so they could help me in the kitchen.



  • 1 T. butter
  • 2 10 oz. cans chicken, drained
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 15 oz. can mixed vegetables, partially drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 t. garlic salt
  • 2 cups instant rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup boiling water, divided
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey mustard

  1. Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook until heated through.  
  2. Stir in broth and vegetables with remaining juice.  Heat until boiling; add seasonings.
  3. Stir in rice and 1/2 cup boiling water.  Cover and remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes, until almost all liquid has been absorbed.
  4. If rice is not tender, stir in another 1/4 cup boiling water; cover and cook on medium heat until remaining liquid is absorbed.
  5. Stir in mustard.

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 20 minutes
Source: Gooseberry Patch's 101 Stovetop Supperscopyright 2013

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pasta Trapanese

School has begun and fall is around the corner...and we are ready to give away another great Gooseberry Patch cookbook!  From Maryland Crabcakes to Too-Much-Zucchini Stovetop Dinner to Chocolate-Hazelnut Skillet Bars, 101 Stovetop Suppers has all the recipes you need to make a delicious meal (or dessert!) without ever having to heat up the oven.  To top it off, each recipe includes a mouth-watering, full-color photo.

This Pasta Trapanese recipe from the "Slowly Simmered" chapter was absolutely amazing.  We have been giving "Meatless Mondays" a try, and this fit the bill perfectly.  While I did have to stir the sauce every now and then as it was simmering, I felt as though it was a very simple dish to make with a big payoff - the fresh taste was awesome and my family loved it.  With a large variety of recipes in chapters called "Quick & Easy", "Slowly Simmered", and "Serves a Crowd,"  I am sure that your family will find a lot to love in this book, as well.

We are sorry; This giveaway is over.


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed (I finely diced)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 28 oz can whole Italian plum tomatoes, crushed
  • 5 to 6 T fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 12 oz package penne pasta, cooked
  • grated Parmesan cheese (optional garnish)
  1. In a skillet over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in oil.
  2. Add tomatoes with juice, basil, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  Stir in almonds.  Serve over cooked pasta, garnished with Parmesan cheese.

Difficulty: easy
Time: 35-40 minutes
Source: 101 Stovetop Suppers by Gooseberry Patch

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Banana Bread

I do anything in my power to not throw food away; usually that means taking leftovers to work to eat for lunch.  But when it comes to fruit, I like my apples crisp and my bananas so fresh they are almost green.  So, what to do with those three way too ripe bananas sitting in the fruit bowl?  Make banana bread, of course!

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mashed banana (3 medium)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • a handful of chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 8 x 4 x 2 inch loaf pan; set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Make a well in the center of the mixture; set aside.
  3. In another bowl, combine the egg, mashed bananas, sugar, and cooking oil.  Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture.  Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).  Fold in nuts and chocolate chips, if using.
  4. Spoon batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  
Note:  The original recipe also says to cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove loaf and cool on wire rack.  Wrap and store overnight before slicing.  This doesn't happen in my house.  We let it cool in the pan and leave it there...often eating it before the next day.

Difficulty: Measuring aside, this is easy and delicious.
Time: 15 minutes prep, 50 minutes baking
Source:  adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 11th edition