Well, I think we have finally de-toxed our bodies from all of the cruise food we had on vacation. We ate very well this week at home and definitely stuck to the menu. The hit of the week was the Kickin' Creamy Chicken Crockpot Stew. I heard from several of you that you tried it with your families this week as well and really enjoyed. It's always nice to have those easy crockpot dishes you know you can rely on during busy nights and that you know your family will eat. :)

When I got home from school on Friday, I had a surprise package on the front porch. I got my Hot Mamas apron swap package from Val! I was so excited! I didn't expect it to arrive so early. She send such a wonderful gift - an adorable apron, hot sauce with the cutest crocheted sombrero and scarf, a dip bowl, some beads (she's from Louisiana), and some great recipes. I will post pics of it soon. Thanks for such a wonderful swap package, Val! I loved it!

We celebrated Corey's 14th birthday (man, that makes me feel old) on Saturday with both sets of grandparents. He requested an ice cream cake for his party (chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream). I think it turned out pretty well. :) Believe it or not, it snowed on March 28! It was very pretty coming down, and because the ground was so warm, it didn't stick.

This week is one of those nights we have lots of evening obligations, including Corey's Eagle Scout board of review. I'm doing most of my cooking for the week today so everything will be ready to heat up once we finally get home each evening. Here's our busy-family menu for the week. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - Filets (on the grill), Green Beans, Grilled Asparagus, Strawberries
Monday - Bourbon Chicken (premade), Basil Green Beans (premade), Peaches
Tuesday - Tuna Noodle Casserole, Apple slices
Wednesday - Spaghetti with Meatballs (premade), Salad
Thursday - Golden Mushroom Pork Chops (crockpot), Broccoli w/Cheese Sauce, Salad
Friday - Out to eat (Cheddars)
Saturday - Homemade Pizza, Salad
You can't get much easier than this recipe!

4 pork chops (or however many you need for your family)
1 or 2 cans of golden mushroom soup (depending on how much gravy you want)

Put thechops in a crock pot, add 1-2 cans of golden mushroom soup (depending on how much gravy you want). Cook on low 7-8 hours. Serve gravy over chops.

We're back from our cruise to Key West and Cozumel! We had a wonderful, relaxing vacation and loved the warm weather (it was 90 in Cozumel!). Now we are back to reality and are adjusting to life without 24 hour food service and having our rooms cleaned twice a day. ;) Be sure to check out our photos. I did manage to make myself a tote bag the day before we left for the cruise. It was the perfect bag for this trip. Gotta love all the pockets. :) I hope the others I made bags for recently enjoyed theirs as much as I enjoyed mine.

Because we took full advantage of the constant food fest on our cruise, we will be doing some seriously healthy eating this week to get our bodies back to normal. :) I hope you enjoy the menu. For more menu ideas, visit orgjunkie.com.
Sunday - Feta and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Broccoli, Salad, Strawberries
Monday - Easy Baked Cod, Basil Sesame Green Beans, Applesauce, Salad
Tuesday - South Seas Pork Chops, Grilled Pineapple, Pea Pods, Salad
Wednesday - Kickin Creamy Chicken Crockpot Stew (made ahead), Salad
Thursday - Red Beans and Rice with Sausage (Zatarans low sodium with low fat smoked sausage), Apple Slices, Salad
Friday - leftovers
Saturday - Corey's birthday dinner request - Grilled Brats (turkey ones, of course), Strawberries, Grapes, Baked Beans

5 Frozen Chicken Breasts
1 16 ounce jar Salsa Verde
2 cans Black Beans
1 can Sweet Corn (I use a small bag of frozen)
1 can Diced Tomatos with no salt
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 small (3 oz) package of ff cream cheese

Place frozen chicken breasts in bottom of slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients except cream cheese. Cook on high for 4-5 hours. At this point, remove about 1/2 the liquid if you want the sauce thick, like a stew. You can leave all the liquid if you want a "soup". Add cream cheese, cook on warm setting for 30 minutes, then stir.

One serving is 1/2 a breast
Number of Servings: 10
WW Points = 5

Modified from a recipe by Chubbie Chica

3 lean pork loin chops (4 oz each)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 T lower sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed (as usual, I used the jar kind)
1 t ginger
slices cored peeled fresh pineapple - 1 inch slices (I often use canned slices If I don't have fresh)

Trim any fat from pork chops. Combine pork and next 6 ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag. Seal; marinate in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.

Remove pork from bag, reserving marinade. Prepare grill. Place pork on rack coated with cooking spray; grill pork chops, turning and basting frequently with reserved marinade.
When pork chops are about 8 minutes from being cooked, add pineapple to grill; grill pineapple until lightly browned, turning occasionally.

Serve chops with pineapple.(Pineapple not included in nutritional information)

This may not look like much, but it was an exceptionally tasty fish recipe. The hubby loved it.

2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced (I use the kind in a jar)
1 t ginger
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 1/2 pounds cod, cut into 6 fillets

Combine all ingredients except cod in a large 1 gallon ziplock bag and mix well. Add cod and seal bag. Turn to coat thoroughly. Let marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Place cod fillets in a foil lined baking pan. Discard bag and marinade. Bake fish at 425 degrees F. for 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with the tines of a fork.

6 servings @ 3 pts

Recipe modified from one by Chubbie Chica
We had a great cruise to Key West and Cozumel this past week! It was wonderfully relaxing and warm. We pretty much just ate, slept, and sat out in the sun for four days. Now that we are back home, it's time to get back to a normal eating schedule. I think we all put on a few pounds this week. :)

I'm sorry to say, but my menu this week probably won't be that helpful to you. We are taking our summer vacation early and will be gone most of the week on a cruise to Cozumel! My house sitters will be cooking and eating at our house, but I have no clue what they will be eating, so I can't even share that with you. ;) Here's what we had during the equivalent week last year. Maybe that will give you some ideas. For what it's worth, here's my scant menu for this week. Next week I'll be able to share some vacation pictures and give you a normal menu. For more ideas see orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - Pizza, Strawberries
Monday - cruise food
Tuesday - cruise food
Wednesday - cruise food
Thursday - cruise food
Friday - Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Saturday - Roast Beef (from freezer), Mashed Potatoes (from freezer), Green Beans

We are on spring break countdown at our house! Next week is our vacation, and we are very much looking forward to it. This week is going to be quite busy with scouts, my family reading night at school, Eric's work meetings, and computer workshops. I'm providing dinner for all of my volunteers for reading night, so it was a soup making marathon at my house today. I'm hoping to have enough leftovers to get us through the other busy nights this week. Tonight's dinner I won't be able to share with you as it is the recipe I plan to enter in the Pillsbury Bake-Off. :)

Last week's new recipe hit were the onion beef cups. They were very tasty and filling, and they made great leftovers for lunches during the week. Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas go to orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - my secret Pillsbury Bake-Off recipe (sorry, can't share yet)
Monday - Roast Beef (made on Sunday in the crock pot), Day Before Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Tuesday - Family Reading Night Soup Buffet: Italian Wedding Soup, Pasta e Fagioli, French Leek Soup, Rolls, Black Bottom Cupcakes
Wednesday- Leftovers
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Homemade Pizza, Salad
Saturday - Ultimate BBQ Chicken, Grilled Asparagus, Salad

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
3 (14 1/2 ounce) cans chicken broth
2 cups pastina pasta (or acini di pepe)
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 c bread crumbs
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
grated romano cheese
grated parmesan cheese


To make meatballs:
Mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, onion powder and garlic powder. Make the meats small, about a teaspoon. Put on a rack on a baking sheet covered in foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Set aside.

Put two cans of the chicken broth into a large soup pot.
Mix the frozen spinach with the chicken broth until it is all unfrozen and separated.
Put the meatballs in with the spinach and broth, set aside.

Put the other can of broth in another pan, add a can of water, and some salt.
Heat until boiling, and throw the pasta in. Cook until pasta is tender. Dump into the big soup pot with the rest of the soup, and stir over medium heat until simmering.

Serve in small soup bowls and top with plenty of grated Parmesan and Romano cheese.
Salt and pepper to taste.

I definitely felt more on top of things this week. My cold was under control and I pretty much stuck to the menu for the week. We did end up eating out on Saturday as we did an unexpetcted shopping trip for our spring break trip, so Saturday's meal ended up being our meal tonight. I also managed to finish two tote bags this week. I did end up having to take off an unexpected day off work to go to the periodontist (gum doctor). I have receding gums and have to have a gum graft done (man, that makes me feel old). :( Not that you really wanted to hear that, but I had the need to share my pain. Just a warning - don't brush your teeth too hard or your gums disappear!

This week we have a couple of evening obligations (scouts and technology night at my school), and the boy travels on the weekend for his state math contest. That means seafood for me and the hubby on Friday when he's gone! :) You'll see a couple of new recipes this week (the burgers and the soup). I've made the chicken recipe before, but I haven't posted it until now. Pictures will be up later in the week for the new ones. Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas, see orgjunkie.com.

Sunday -Onion Beef Muffin Cups, Brussels Sprouts, Salad
Monday - Crockpot chicken and stuffing, Green Beans, Peaches
Tuesday - Adirondacker Burgers, French Fries, Baked Beans
Wednesday - Pasta e Fagioli, Rolls, Salad, Fruit
Thursday - Eat at school
Friday - Shrimp Fra Diavolo, Salad
Saturday - Chicken Fajitas, Fruit
This tastes just like the stuff you get at restaurants! Yum!

1 tbsp. butter
1 (20 oz.) package sweet turkey Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 large (or 1 medium) onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, thinly sliced
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
48-64 oz. reduced-sodium beef broth (depending on how much liquid you would like)
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
4 oz. small dry pasta (such as ditalini)

Brown the sausage in a large Dutch oven or soup pot, crumbling as it cooks. Once the sausage is browned, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and discard any excess grease.
Melt the tablespoon of butter in the pot. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery, and saute over medium heat until vegetables are soft, 8-10 minutes. (I usually blend the vegetables up with an immersion blender as the boys in my family don't like big veggie chunks). Return the sausage to the pot, add the can of diced tomatoes with juices, stir briefly, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the beans, beef broth and tomato sauce to the pot. Add in all of the seasonings, stir well, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer at least 30 minutes.
Add the dry pasta and continue to simmer on low for another 30 minutes. Serve.

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

The horseradish gives these burgers a tasty kick, and the sauce makes it unique.

Makes 4 burgers

8 slices smoked bacon
1 pounds ground sirloin
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
salt and pepper
8 ounces sliced cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley (or 1 t dried)
1/3 cup finely chopped chives
4 buns or rolls, split
1 bunch arugula or spinach leaves

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. In a medium bowl, combine the sirloin, Worcestershire sauce and horseradish; season with salt and pepper. Form into 4 patties. In skillet over medium high heat, add the beef patties and cook, turning once, for 8 minutes for medium (or cook on grill - my preferred method). Melt the cheese on top of the patties during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, parsley, chives, and lots of pepper. Place the cheeseburgers on the roll bottoms and top each with 2 slices bacon and some arugula or spinach leaves. Slather the bun tops with the sour cream sauce and set into place.

Recipe modified from one found on Taste and Tell, originally by Rachel Ray

This recipe is perfect for busy nights when you need supper to be ready when you get home from work.

8 chicken breasts (halves)
2 pkg. chicken flavor stuffing mix (low sodium variety)
1 cup chicken broth
2 can FF cream of chicken soup

Spray crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken on bottom of crockpot. Pour broth over the chicken. Mix together the stuffing and soup. Place on top of the chicken. Cook on low for 7 hours.

Serves 8
WW pts = 8

Recipe modified from one by Chubbie Chica