Sunday, April 27, 2014

Kelly's Menu 4/28 thru 5/4

I haven't really cooked a decent meal in a few weeks.  The fast and furious nature of my husband's track schedule mixed with child commitments, organization meetings, illness, and holiday shopping left me standing still.  I am happy to be able to be running at least 3 nights a the long run, my exercise helps my family more than the home-cooked meals.  I have decided that I have to be okay with that.

Recently, my son started getting up in the middle of the night after 30 months of nearly perfect sleeping.  When I was a mom of just one, I got up and fed my daughter each time she woke in the night.  When I was a mom of two, I developed a sleep and feeding schedule; I sat next to the bed, in the room, outside an open door, and finally in the hall making comforting "sssshhhhh" noises.  It wasn't easy, but I was trying to begin with the end in mind.

Now as a mom of three, I got up with my son and tried to put him back to bed once; when he returned to my room a second time, I said, "Go back to bed or sleep on the floor." He dropped down and slept-no pillow, no blanket.  I did mumble to my husband that we had a visitor on the floor and to be careful not to step on him.

I have to be okay with that. It is where I am. I am doing everything I can with my remaining resources. Decided I was okay with a messy house, non-perfect meals, and kids sleeping on the floor has has had the opposite here's my attempt at a meal plan.

Monday-Italian Baked Chicken with broccoli
This is a favorite in our house.  The leftovers will go great as additions to a salad in our lunches.
Tuesday- Slow Cooked Tex-Mex Chicken with quinoa
I haven't tried this recipe of Joyce's yet and both green and red peppers were on sale this week.  I may have overused Salsa Chicken the past few months so I am hoping this southwestern-styled dish will give me another option to fuel our need for no prep, crock-pot friendly, and spicy food. 
Wednesday- Eating assorted breakfast foods or sandwiches in the Car
My husband's first of two LONG track meets will be tonight.  I hate when track meets happen on days the girls have after-school activities because I will have to do both drop-off and pick-up over a one-hour class.  Going home is a waste. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate so we can head to the park...if it rains, we'll be visiting Target and filling the gas tank.
Thursday-Spicy Chicken Rigatoni with salads
I think this is my favorite dish!  I got a 2 pound bag of rigatoni recently for 88 cents. This meal is large enough to leave a decent amount of leftovers for lunch tomorrow. 
 Friday-Delicious Crock-Pot Pork Chops
John will be out of town again tonight, racing home to take our oldest daughter to the Daddy-Daughter Dance and heading back to the meet. But I figure we can eat the leftovers on Saturday.
Saturday-Oatmeal Energy Bites 

My girls can start helping me make these easy breakfast bites.  These will be nice for John and I so we don't need to prep breakfast all next week.

Sunday-Lemony Tuna Toss

Trying to work ahead for the week, we can eat this light and healthy lunch on whole wheat mini-bagels. Quick and easy so we can keep working.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sweet and Sour Chicken (slow cooker)

It is already mid-April, and so far this year, I have managed to not cook on a single Sunday evening.  There have been a day or two that things have been going on for which we were elsewhere eating, but mostly, I have accomplished that feat via my slow cooker.  I do the prep work in the morning around the same time as our typical leisurely Sunday breakfasts, which means I can clean the kitchen once for both cooking occasions.  Then I am pretty much home free for the rest of the day.  And it is heavenly.  Here is one of the recipes that has popped up on a few Sundays for us:

  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce (found in Asian section - also used in this awesome recipe for Asian pork chops)
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tsp cornstarch (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp minced chives (optional)
  1. Combine broth, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar, tomato paste, brown sugar, garlic and pepper in slow cooker.  Stir well to mix.
  2. Add chicken thighs and stir well to coat.  Cover; cook on low 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours.  
  3. If thicker sauce is desired:  Remove chicken with slotted spoon and keep warm.  Combine cornstarch and 2 Tbsp cooking liquid in small bowl.  Add to slow cooker.  Turn heat to high.  Stir 2 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.  
  4. Stir in chives, if desired.  Serve chicken and sauce over rice.

Time: 15 minutes prep, 2 1/2-3 1/2 hours to cook
Difficulty:  easy
Source: Crock Pot Slow Cooker Bible, copyright 2010

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Baked Chicken and Mushrooms

 My family loves chicken.  I often buy frozen skinless, boneless chicken in large quantities when it is on sale, making great use of the deep freeze. Things have been crazy with the arrival of spring and spring activities; I had no chicken in my freezer for the first time in, honestly, three years. The Legendary Sale saved me so I stocked up.

Many of my chicken dishes rely on the crock pot so I was excited when my mother-in-law brought me a shared recipe.  My husband is not the world's biggest fan of mushrooms, but I quickly informed him that the recipe was from his mom, and she raved about it.  He answered, "She made this, and she ate the mushrooms?"

It was really good!  I modified this recipe a bit by using a bag for my bread crumbs, shaking to cover all the pieces  instead of rolling each piece of chicken.  Also, I didn't grate Muenster cheese; I just chopped it up quickly. I think this would be a perfect dish if you were having guests for dinner.


  • 1 pound boneless chicken breast cut into 1 inch squares
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup mushrooms, drained (also could use fresh mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 8 ounces Muenster cheese, shredded
  1. Soak chicken squares in egg mixture one hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  3. Roll chicken in bread crumbs and lightly brown in butter on skillet.
  4. Place in single layer in casserole dish.  Cover with mushrooms and broth.  Cover casserole dish with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes; cover with cheese and bake 10 minutes more without foil.

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 1 hour or overnight prep, 30 minute bake time
Source: my mother-in-law

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Marshmallow Crispy Treats

Every time I have a rice crispy treat, I am taken right back to my childhood.  We don't make them often, but they are always a quick and easy (and fool-proof and yummy) treat.  It is fun to get the kids involved in measuring and stirring, and in this case, sculpting.  I remember doing the same with my mom when I was little.  Since we are coming up on Easter, we decided to change up the traditional pan for some egg-shaped treats, complete with sprinkles.

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 5 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 5 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
  1. Melt butter over low heat in a 3 quart saucepan.
  2. Add marshmallows and stir until melted and fluid.  Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in rice cereal until evenly coated.
  4. Press mixture into a 9x13" pan.  Cool and cut into squares.  OR Press into plastic eggs that have been lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and decorate.

Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Source: Baker's Corner Marshmallow bag (and countless other sources)