We have a hectic week with some nasty weather predictions, so I'm just going to get straight to the menu this week. I'm keeping it simple, so you won't see a lot of recipes. Maybe this will help you for those times you have a hectic week as well. :) For more menu ideas go to orgjunkie.com.
Sunday - Rotisseri Chicken (from Wal Mart), Mac & Cheese, Green Beans
Monday - Sloppy Joes, Salad, Corn
Tuesday - Homemade sub sandwiches, Tomato Soup
Wednesday - Tuna Noodle Casserole, Green Beans, Peaches
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Homemeade Pizza, Salad
Saturday - Filets, Broccoli, Salad, Rolls

We survived our busy week last week. I was very thankful for my freezer items when it came time for dinner. :) Eric's trip to California for work went well, and Corey had a very successful day at the high school math contest in Camdenton. He brought home 5 medals! He was very proud of the fact that he was able to hang in there with the high school kids as an 8th grader. That boy simply amazes me. :) This week should be nicer for us as we only have one day with evening obligations. I did some cooking ahead today so that we will have some items ready to heat up on those nights when we get home a little later. I still haven't conquered my quest for school peanut bar. :( Anyone have connections with the cooks in the Monett school district. ;) Anyway, here's the menu for the week. For more menu ideas go to orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - Balsamic Glazed Tuna Steaks, Basil Sesame Green Beans, Accordian Potatoes
Monday - Chicken and Dumplings, Green Beans
Tuesday - Honey Roasted Pork Loin, Day Before Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus
Wednesday - Crock Pot Cowboy Stew, Cornbread
Thursday - Bruschetta and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts (from freezer), Parmesan Green Beans, Peaches
Friday - Homemade Pizza, Salad
Saturday - Filets, Broccoli, Salad, Rolls (from freezer)

Eek! Can't find my recipe! Hopefully I will have it posted soon once I track it down.

2 – 16 oz bags cut green beans
2 T light butter
½ t salt
¼ t pepper
1 T lemon juice
¼ c shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook beans in a saucepan for 3 – 4 min until tender. Drain and return to pan. Add butter, salt & pepper, and lemon juice. Sprinkle w/cheese.

This is a very hearty, filling stew. I like that I can put it on in the morning and it's ready to go when I get home.

1 pound lean beef stew meat
4 potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 4" pieces
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 (28 oz.) can Bush's Vegetarian Baked Beans (you can also use BBQ flavor or add BBQ sauce, but it will have more calories)

Mix beef, potatoes, onion, salt and pepper in 3 1/2 qt. to 4 qt. slow cooker. Spread beans over beef mixture. Cover and cook on low 8-10hrs. or until beef is tender.

Makes 6 servings

This is another one of those recipes that I just kind of make and really have a recipe for, but I tried to write it down as I made it today. These are the same dumpling I make when I make sauerkraut and dumplings.

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 t no sodium chicken bouillon
1 bay leaf
1 t ground black pepper
1 can low fat cream of chicken soup
12 eggs
4-5 cups flour
water (about 1 qt)

1. Put the chicken breasts in a large soup pot and add about a quart of water. Add the chicken bouillon, bay leaf and pepper to the water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about an hour until the chicken is cooked through.
2. Once the chicken is cooked through, use a large fork to break it into large chunks. Remove the bay leaf. Add in the cream of chicken soup.
3. In a large mixer bowl, mix the dozen eggs with 4 to 5 cups of flour. This is your dumpling batter. You want the consistency to be kind of like cookie dough. It should be pretty wet and sticky, but you don't want it to be runny.
4. Drop large spoonfuls of the dumpling mixture into the boiling pot. Be sure they get down in the liquid. I just use a large tablespoon and push the dough off with my finger (yes, I wash my hands first - geez).
5. Put a lid on the pot and let the stuff cook for a good 15 minutes or so. The dumplings will fluff up and fill the pot. You can let them cook as long as you want, but if you are like me, you will want to get to them as soon as possible.
My husband says this is a "restaurant quality" side dish. We really loved them.

4-1/2 cups cut fresh green beans (I just used a bag of frozen green beans)
1 to 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
4-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh basil or 1-1/4 teaspoons dried basil
4 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted


Place the beans in a saucepan and cover with water; add the salt. Bring to a boil;
cover and cook for 7-10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and place in a serving
bowl. Add the onion, oil, basil and sesame seeds; toss to coat.

Recipe Source - Taste of Home

One of my blog readers this week reminded me of my quest for the school lunch peanut butter bars of my childhood. My first attempt at recreating this recipe was ok, but it was way too sweet and didn't have the right chewy texture. I tried another recipe Tuesday night, which was fabulous. It was not too sweet, and they were definitely chewy. But alas, they were still not quite the right thing (though I will be making them again). There is some texture thing that is missing from these recipes. Tonight I'm trying a recipe called Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars. This recipe has oatmeal in it, so I'm hoping this might be the missing texture element. I'll let you know once they cool down. :)
Here is my latest attempt at replicating the school lunch peanut butter bars I remember from my childhood. They are in the oven right now, so we'll see how they turn out.

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup peanut butter, creamy
2 cups oatmeal, not quick
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1. Cream first three ingredients together.
2. Add the vanilla, eggs and peanut butter and combine.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together.
4. Spread dough on a greased sheet cake pan.
5. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes until golden brown.
6. Cool and cut into bars.

Modified from a recipe found on recipezaar.
This recipe was part of my quest to replicate school lunch peanut butter bars that I remember from my childhood. These are really awesome, but they aren't quite the right thing. They are much better than my first attempt. They are just the right amount of sweetness, and they are chewy, but they don't have quite the right texture. I will definitely be making them again, though. They really are tasty, and my son said he could eat a whole pan of them by himself.

1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan.
Combine flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
In large bowl cream margarine, sugars and vanilla until light. Beat in peanut butter. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Spread mixture in prepared pan and smooth out as evenly as possible. Bake 30 minutes, or until lightly browned, being careful not to over bake. Cool and cut into squares.

I had a great time this week reading all of the comments from people participating in my apron giveaway. I'm glad that others find my menus and recipes useful. :) Be sure to check out the picture of the apron and see who won. The only recipe I didn't get to this week was the tuna steaks. Eric's grandmother passed away at the age of 99 (Wow!), so we had to make an unexpected trip to St. Louis for the funeral. So, I will try to get to that one later in the month. This week is going to be a busy one, so I will be relying on my freezer a lot. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - with family at funeral
Monday - Spaghetti with Meatballs, Salad
Tuesday - Beef Enchiladas, Corn
Wednesday - Pork Chops with Cranberry Balsamic Sauce (from freezer), Green Beans, Peaches

Thursday - Sausage and Stuffing Criss-Cross Pastry (from freezer), Cream Cheese Corn (from freezer), Salad
Friday - Chili Cheese Turnovers, Salad
Saturday - Leftovers
Thank you to everyone who participated in my "blogiversary" giveaway last week. I really enjoyed reading your comments and seeing which recipes you enjoy. I also appreciated receiving some new recipes. I hope that you continue to find What's for Dinner a useful site.

Now, for the winner of my apron giveaway! I made what I think is a very cute reversible half apron for the prize. It has extra long ties for those who like to wrap them around and tie in front. I have to admit, I really want to keep this one for myself, but that would be greedy. ;)

I know, I know....quit rambling and get on with the winner. :) The winner by random drawing is....

Carol Ann!

Carol Ann said...

My favorite recipe of yours is the Better than Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce. The sauce is fool-proof and so easy to make. My daughter calls them her "white noodles".
Thanks for the great blog and the great recipes.
I dont know how you juggle so many things and do everything so well. I wish I could!!

Carol Ann, I need you to email me your mailing address so I can get your prize sent out to you. You can email it to me at cmatzat (at) gmail.com. I hope you enjoy it!
I halved the amounts in this recipe since I didn't need to feed 8 people. I used one can of Pillsbury Crescent Creations dough instead of the pizza crust dough. I also used my own homemade chili from the freezer instead of the canned chili and can of beans. I left out the tomatoes and green chiles to make it "Corey friendly".

2 tubes (13.8 ounces each) refrigerated pizza crust (I used Pillsbury Crescent Creations dough)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 can (15 ounces) chili without beans (I use my homemade chili from the freezer instead of the can of chili and the can of beans)
1 can (15 ounces) ranch-style beans or chili beans, drained
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream (I use fat free sour cream)


On a lightly floured surface, press pizza dough into two 12-inch squares. Cut each into four 6-inch squares. In a bowl, combine the cheese, chili and beans. Spoon 1/2 cup in the center of each square. Fold dough diagonally over filling; press edges to seal.

Place in two greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans. Bake at 425° for 13-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine tomatoes and sour cream. Serve with turnovers.

Yield: 8 servings.

Modified from a Taste of Home recipe

December 31st was my 1 year "blogiversary"! I posted my very first menu online on December 31, 2007, and believe it or not, I only missed one week of menu posting when we were on vacation in Wyoming. That's quite an accomplishment for me. I often get excited about new things, go gung-ho for a bit, and then I tend to fizzle out. But, I really enjoy sharing my menus and recipes with others and know that several of my teacher buddies use them, so I don't want to let them down. :) It's great accountibility when you know that others are relying on you.
In celebration of my "blogiversary", I have decided to do a giveaway for my readers. If you read my blog, you know that in addition to cooking, I love to sew. Thanks to my blog friend Shawnee (whom I met through Menu Plan Monday, btw), I'm kind of an apron junkie and have enjoyed participating in several apron swaps throughout the year. Because aprons and cooking go hand in hand, I'm giving away an apron handmade by me. :) To enter my apron giveaway, write a comment on this post telling me your favorite recipe that you have found on my blog, or share a favorite recipe of yours (I love getting new ideas). If you have a Blogger blog, you can enter a second time by adding yourself as a follower of my blog (be sure to post a comment letting me know that did that). If you don't have a Blogger blog, you can enter a second time by posting about my giveaway on your blog (again, be sure to comment to let me know that you did this). I will select a winner by random drawing and will post the winner on my blog next Sunday night (Jan. 11). The deadline to enter is 11:oo p.m. central time on January 10. The giveaway is for those in the continental U.S. only (sorry, shipping out of the country just costs too much). Yes, I know it's shameless self-promotion, but hey, who doesn't like the chance to win something? ;)
Anyway, now on to the menu for this week. I have a couple of new recipes I'm trying this week, including one that can be a freezer recipe. For more menu ideas, check out orgjunkie.com.
Sunday - Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese (new), Salad
Monday - Leftovers
Tuesday - Creamy Chicken Breasts (new), Rice, Green Beans
Wednesday - Comforting Chicken Soup, Rolls (from freezer), Salad
Thursday - Garlic Toasted Open Faced Lasagna Ciabattas, Salad
Friday - Grilled Bacon-wrapped Stuffed Hot Dogs, Baked Beans, Peaches
Saturday - Balsamic Glazed Tuna Steaks (new), Basil Sesame Green Beans (new - recipe coming soon), Accordian Potatoes

4 (6 ounce) tuna steaks (3/4-inch thick)
1 1/4 teaspoons pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

1. Sprinkle tuna with pepper and salt and old bay seasoning.
2. Place tuna on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray or covered in foil.
3. Broil 3-4 inches from the heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reaches 145° and fish begins to flake easily with a fork.
4. While that is broiling, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients until smooth.
5. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.
6. Serve with fish.

Recipe source - Recipezaar

6 4 ounce chicken breasts boned and skinned
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 slices Sargento 2% Milk Reduced Fat Swiss Cheese
1/4 c bread crumbs
1/4 c white wine

Place breasts in a greased baking dish and cover each with a half slice of Swiss cheese. Mix white wine and chicken soup and pour over the chicken and cheese. Cover with seasoned bread crumbs. Spritz with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes.

6 servings

Recipe source – Tanya Bergantz
When I do this recipe, I make two batches - one to eat immediately, and one to freeze. The freezer directions are at the end of the recipe. Next time I will probably add more cheddar cheese.

1 pound cavatappi pasta (I use rotini or elbows because I usually have them on hand)
1 pound ground sirloin
1 tablespoon (about a palmful) grill seasoning (I just add my own spices, usually garlic powder and pepper)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup yellow mustard
3 tablespoons EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided (I leave this out)
2 tablespoons butter (I only use 1T)
1 medium red onion, chopped
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 1/4 cups grated yellow cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/4 cups grated Swiss cheese, divided
3 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 deli-style pickle, chopped

Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add pasta to boiling water and cook just shy of al dente, according to package directions. Drain the cooked pasta and reserve.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the ground sirloin with the grill seasoning, ketchup and yellow mustard. Grab about a tablespoon of meat in your hand and roll it into a small ball. Place the mini meatballs onto a baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of EVOO (I don't do this) and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and turn on the broiler.

While the mini meatballs are in the oven, heat a large saucepot over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon, and the butter. Cook the red onion with some salt and pepper until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over top and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, season with salt and pepper, and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Remove sauce from heat and whisk in 1 cup of each cheese. Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce along with the baked meatballs and toss to combine. Pour everything out into a casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar and Swiss cheeses.

If serving immediately, toss the mac under the broiler until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Top with the chopped tomatoes and pickles, and serve.

To freeze, prepare casserole up to the point of putting it under the broiler. Let it cool down, wrap well with plastic wrap and pop into the freezer. When you're ready to cook it up, take it out of the freezer the night before and let it defrost in the refrigerator. Pop it into a 375ºF oven until heated through, about 35 minutes, and then brown the top under the broiler.

Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Recipe source - Rachel Ray