We just got in from our trip to Chicago, so I'm just going to post a quick menu. More info and photos from our trip coming soon! You will see that I'm having to scramble a bit for meals since we've been gone and my fridge is empty. For more menu ideas, check orgjunkie.com.

Sunday -French Leek soup at my mother-in-laws on the way home from Chicago
Monday - Lasagna (from the freezer), Salad
Tuesday - leftover lasgana and salad
Wednesday - Turkey and gravy (from freezer), Sausage and Stuffing Criss-cross Pastry (from freezer), Green Beans
Thursday - Chili (from freezer), Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Friday - eat out
Saturday - Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Cheddar Potato Strips, Broccoli

First, I want to thank everyone who shared appetizer ideas with me last week. I can't wait to try them during the holiday season. :) I made a cheesey spinach and bacon dip for my book club, which was pretty good. It's kind of a different twist on traditional rotel dip.

I'm am very much looking forward to this Thanksgiving week. Corey and I only have school two days, and then we head to Eric's parents' house for Thanksgiving. On Friday we will head to Chicago with my parents to go to the Chicago Symphony! John Williams is conducting and will be featuring music from the Harry Potter movies. It should be a great concert. We saw him two years ago on Thanksgiving weekend and just loved it. We take the Amtrak train from St. Louis to Chicago, which is a lot of fun.

Because of our travels, I don't have a very large menu to share this week. I could type up what our housesitter will be eating, but I have a feeling that wouldn't help very many people. ;) So, here's a list of things I would usually make on Thanksgiving if I was cooking at home.

Sausage and Stuffing Criss-Cross Pastry
Hot Rolls
Pumpkin Dessert
Day Before Mashed Potatoes
Cream Cheese Corn

I hope you all have a very happy holiday week! For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - ate at my mom's
Monday - Chili, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Peaches
Tuesday - Spaghetti Chili, Salad
Wednesday - housesitter arrives here - eat at Eric's parents' house
Thursday - Thanksgiving dinner in St. Louis
Friday - on the road to Chicago
Saturday - eating Gino's East in Chicago - yum!
Sunday - on the road home
This recipe is also known as Cincinnati Chili or Five-Way Chili. We often make it the same week we make regular chili to get double the use out of our chili recipe.

Chili with beans, heated on the stove or in the microwave(you can always use your favorite canned variety, but this recipe is super simple and fast to make)
Spaghetti noodles, cooked and drained
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped onions

On each plate, put a portion of cooked spaghetti and top it with heated chili. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped onion.
My son loves chili, but hates when it has "chunks" in it (a.k.a. tomatoes, onions, etc). He wants it spicy and simple. So, this is the perfect chili for kids who don't like "chunks" in their chili. :) Corey even entered it in a chili cookoff and won first prize!

4 15.5 oz. cans chili beans (do not drain)
1 29 oz. can tomato sauce
1 lb lean ground beef (93/7)
2 T chili powder
2 T cumin
shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream for toppings (optional - not included in nutrition info)

Brown ground beef and drain off fat. In a large stock pot, mix the beans, tomato sauce, cooked ground beef, chili powder, and cumin. Cover and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream, if desired.

What do you do for dinners when your family is going to be gone or home late every evening this week? Rely on the freezer! Our menu won't be very exciting this week, but it still shows you that menu planning can help save you time and money even if you have an excessively busy schedule.

Last week I didn't post much, but I did want to share a sneak peek of our family photos. One of our former students is now a photographer, and does great work.

This week is full of computer workshops, doctor visits, work travel, book clubs, etc. I promise I will get back to trying new dishes and posting some of my favorites like usual, but this week you get to see yet another example of what we do when I'm desperate.

Also, I'm looking for a new appetizer recipe. I have to bring an appetizer to my ladies' book club meeting, so I was hoping someone might have a fun recipe to share. :) Let me know if you have a great one!

For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com. Have a wonderful week!

Sunday -Chicken Alfredo (Stouffers), Broccoli & Cauliflower, Salad
Monday -Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup (from freezer), Salad
Tuesday - BBQ Pork (from freezer) Baked Potatoes, Green Beans, Peaches
Wednesday -Leftovers
Thursday -Eat at book club
Friday - Homemade Pizza, Salad
Saturday -Sausage Potato Soup, Salad, Garlic Muffins

I have to admit, I'm too pooped to post much tonight. I'm just going to post my menu for now, and I'll add some weekend updates soon (it was a busy one!).  For more menu ideas, see orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - Creamy Chicken Breasts, Rice, Green Beans, Pea Pods
Monday - Chicken and Dumplings, Salad (eMINTS training)
Tuesday - Eat out (band auditions)
Wednesday - Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Day Before Mashed Potatoes, Basil Green Beans, Peaches (phys. therapy)
Thursday - Eat out (academic team contest)
Friday - Spaghetti with Meatballs, Salad (Run to the Lights 5K)
Saturday - Leftovers (District band/math contest)

We had a great week this past week. No one had the flu! :) I made some great snacks for the teachers at my school on Friday. The pizza dip is amazing. If you need an appetizer for a party, give this one a try. Mine is decorated for Halloween, but you could leave the spider web design off the top for other occasions. I also finally got to make the chocolate cream cheese tunnel cake. All I can is that it is to die for!

We got to spend lots of time together as a family this weekend, starting with participating in the Bass Pro 5K on Saturday morning. Corey got 2nd place in his age division, Eric placed 6th in his and got his personal best time, and Toby and I were the first dog/person team to cross the finish line. :)

I received my apron for the Hot Mamas Chocolate Apron swap! It's so cute! It reminds of a prairie skirt I had when I was younger. Thanks so much, Jody, for making me such a beautiful apron!

On Halloween evening, Corey went to a party with some friends and we hung out with some grownup friends while we waited for his party to end. We finally had some time to get the house cleaned, so we feel like we are in pretty good shape for the week. Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com. Enjoy!

Sunday - Beef Burgundy with Biscuits, Green Beans
Monday - Crock Pot Corn, Ham, and Potato Scallop, Salad
Tuesday - Paprika Chicken with Sour Cream Gravy, Rice, Broccoli Salad
Wednesday - Honey Roasted Pork Loin, Mashed Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Salad
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Homemade Pizza
Saturday - Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole, Green Beans, Salad
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
½ lb diced turkey ham
2 cups cooked shredded chicken breast
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
14 oz can chicken broth
3 cups cooked rice of choice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella or swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat oil into a large 5 qt rimmed skillet over medium heat. Saute onion , about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, ham and chicken. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Melt butter then stir in flour, salt and pepper until combined. Slowly stir in chicken broth until well combined. Stir in cooked rice then transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cover the dish with foil the last 10 minutes for oozing cheese.

6-8 servings

Recipe modified from Picky Palate


3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 pound lean beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained (I puree mine because Corey won't eat tomato chunks)
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup red wine
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 bay leaf
1 can (10.2 oz) Pillsbury Flaky layers refrigerated original or buttermilk biscuits

1. In a large nonstick skillet, cook onions and garlic; simmer uncovered about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove with slotted spoon. Add beef to skillet; cook about 5 minutes or until browned. Stir in onions and garlic,  tomatoes, mushrooms, wine, oregano, basil and bay leaf. Cover; simmer about 25 minutes or until meat is tender. Remove bay leaf.

2. Heat oven to 375°F. Separate dough into 10 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Pour hot meat mixture into ungreased 2-quart casserole. Arrange dough wedges, point-side-down, on top of hot meat mixture.

3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from Pillsbury