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Showing posts from April, 2008

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the best chocolate chips cookies! They are my claim to fame in my family. Just follow the directions exactly, including how to cool them, and you will have the best chewy chocolate chip cookies.
1-1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup Butter Flavor Crisco
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375ºF. Combine brown sugar, Butter Flavor Crisco Shortening, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat egg into creamed mixture.

Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into creamed mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop rounded measuring tablespoonfuls of dough 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake one baking sheet at a time at 375ºF for 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies (they will look light and moist), or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies.…

Menu Plan Monday

We had a good (busy as usual) week this week. Corey had state math contest on Saturday. This is the NCTM contest, and they give awards to the top ten scorers in each grade. He qualified last year, but did not place. This year, he got 8th place! He was ecstatic. Eric's parents came to visit this weekend, which was a nice treat. Sunday we helped with a church youth group luncheon. I made Chicken Enchilada Soup and Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup, which were very popular. I did have a minor fiasco. My crockpot melted through the bottom and burned my counter. If I wouldn't have caught it before we left the house, we wouldn't have a house! So, word of warning - don't get a crockpot with a plastic bottom. I've used it for years, so I'm not sure what happened, but it was scary. I also made some blondies and chocolate chips cookies. We had some nice family time together this weekend.

During the week, I was pretty much able to stick to the menu. The low country boil on Tu…

Menu Plan Monday

We did a much better job sticking to our menu this week. We actually followed it perfectly! The Linguini with Shrimp Fra Diavolo was absolutely amazing. It tasted better than restaurant pasta. My husband even went to work and raved about it to his coworkers! The tilapia was also pretty good. The family said to keep it in the dinner rotations. :)

This week is full of some of our favorites, and we're going to have a low country boil on Tuesday, which will be fun. It's always a good time when you get to dump your meal on the table and eat with your fingers. I hope you enjoy the menu! For more menus, go to

Breakfast: Bacon Quiche Biscuit Cups
Dinner: Filets, Grilled Asparagus, Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, Salad

Breakfast: Leftover Bacon Quiche Biscuit Cups
Dinner: Eat at training

Breakfast: Yogurt, toast, and fruit
Dinner: Low Country Boil, Strawberries

Breakfast: Breakfast burritos
Dinner: Spaghetti with Meatballs, Salad

Breakfast: Cinnamon Str…

Low Country Boil

A low country boil is a traditional southern recipe that is often served to large groups. Everything is cooked in a large pot, and then after draining the water, the contents are poured out onto a large table covered in newspaper. Everyone just helps themselves. It is a great meal to do in the summer. Since we are finally having some warmer temperatures, I thought this would be a fun recipe to do this week.


5-6 medium red potatoes, quartered (or use 10-12 whole smaller ones)
4-6 small ears of corn
1 lb cleaned, deveined shrimp with tails
2 links Cajun smoked sausage, sliced diagonally (I use my usual low fat smoked sausage)
2 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
1/4 cup saltsoftened butter, sliced lemons, and cocktail sauce for serving


Begin by boiling 8 qts of water in a stock pot. Add the salt and Old Bay seasoning. Add potatoes and cook for about 10-12 min. Next, add the sausage and corn on the cob. Cook about 7 minutes and then add the shrimp. Boil another 3-5 min just until the s…

Menu Plan Monday

Boy, did I do a horrible job with my menu this week. I only managed to do the chicken, manicotti, and meatball sandwiches, and that's only because I cooked all of those things on Sunday and had them ready to go. Thursday's workshop got postponed due to threatening weather, and I ended up getting home too late to cook. Friday I stayed late at school to prepare for my sub for Monday and Tuesday, and my parents came over that night for some computer help, so we ended up just eating mac & cheese out of the box. On Saturday, the boy ended up getting to audition for 8th grade district band (even though he is a 7th grader), and he got 1st chair French Horn! So, we ended up having to go to an unscheduled band concert and got home late, so we ate take-out. This week is another goofy Matzat family week with a full schedule. I am at a library conference, so the boys have to fend for themselves for a couple of days. I will try to do the things I didn't do last week, so sorry for t…

Menu Plan Monday

We had a pretty good week last week. I did switch Tuesday and Friday's menu because I forgot to buy manicotti noodles, and we ended up eating out on Friday because we got home late. We have had a lot of rain in our area the last two weeks, which has resulted in a lot of flooding. The corp of engineers ended up having to open five of the flood gates on Table Rock Dam, which is the first time they have done this in past 15 years. So, the boy and I took a side trip on the way home from school to go see dam. It was pretty amazing. I'll try to link to some photos as soon as I get them posted. The boy participated in the MCTM Regional Math contest on Saturday and placed 1st in 7th grade, which qualifies him to go to state in two weeks. Pretty cool stuff! Yes, I am a proud mom. Anyway, it was a nice week. We have the usual busy schedule this week with computer trainings, boy scouts, and church activities. I also have an author coming to visit my students on Thursday, which is pretty …

Grilled Tilapia with Lemon Dijon Cream Sauce

This is a new one for us. I'll let you know how it goes. I modified the original recipe and grilled the tilapia. The original recipe has you fry it in a pan with 2T of oil.
6 Tilapia filets

Combine in a bowl...

1 C fat free sour cream
2T Dijon mustard
1t lemon juice
1t lemon pepper
1t italian herbs
8 oz spiral pasta

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil and add pasta. Boil 6-8 minutes or until tender. While noodles are cooking, grill fish until done (usually only takes about 5-10 minutes). Transfer grilled fish to a skillet. Pour contents of bowl evenly over fish, cover and reduce to low heat. Simmer 1 minute or until sauce is hot and fish is flakey. Serve fish and sauce over noodles.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

This recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis on Food Network. I serve it over linguini or spaghetti noodles.


1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined (I use the frozen precooked ones from Wal Mart)
1 teaspoon salt, plus additional as needed
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons
1 medium onion, sliced
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
3 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves (I use 1 T dried)
3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves (I use 1 T dried)


Toss the shrimp in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt and red pepper flakes. Heat the 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and saute for about a minute, toss, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer the shrimp to a large plate; set aside.

Add the onion to the same skillet, adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil to t…

The Ultimate Barbequed Chicken

This is a recipe from Food Network's Tyler Florence. It is the absolute BEST way to make barbequed chicken on the bone. I do make some modifications and will note them in the recipe. I usually do not make the homemade BBQ sauce, though it is very good. I use a low calorie bottled sauce, and it still tastes wonderful! Be sure to follow the brining and cooking directions just as listed. This is what makes the chicken so juicy.


2 quarts water
2 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a large knife (I just use minced garlic in a jar)
4 sprigs fresh thyme (I use about 1 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves)
6 chicken legs and thighs, still connected, bone in, skin on, about 10 ounces each (I use chicken breasts as our family likes white meat.)

The Ultimate Barbecue Sauce:
1 slice bacon
1 bunch fresh thyme
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons…