Well, as much as I would like winter to be over, the weather this week reminded me that it's not. We got about 10 inches of snow on Friday and added yet another snow-make-up day to our school schedule. My crazy boys ran in the Yeti Set Run 5K on Saturday in the 10 inches of snow with a temperature of 15 degrees. They are simply nuts. :) I finished week 5 of Couch to 5K today with my first 2 mile run (unfortunately on the treadmill). I'm not brave enough (or maybe I'm just smarter) to run out in the snow. Here are some photos of the boys at their run.

This week we don't have many evening obligations, other than youth group on Wednesday, which is a nice change of pace. It won't last long, though. The following week is jammed packed with stuff. :) Here is this week's menu. I will post photos later in the week after everything has been cooked. For more menu ideas go to orgjunkie.com. Enjoy!

Sunday - Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Burgers, Corn, Salad, Strawberries
Monday - Lemon Thyme Chicken, Rice, Broccoli, Salad
Tuesday - Grilled Pork Chops, Onion Roasted Potatoes, Parmesan Green Beans, Salad
Wednesday - Turkey and Gravy (from freezer), Day Before Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Peaches
Thursday - Meatball Subs, Salad, Fruit
Friday - Eat out or have grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup
Saturday - Bacon Wrapped Scallops and Filets with Manhattan Sauce, Twice-baked potatoes, Broccoli, Salad

1 envelope Lipton® Recipe Secrets® Onion Soup Mix
4 all-purpose potatoes, cut into large chunks (about 2 lbs.)
1-2 T olive oil

1. In large bowl, toss all ingredients until evenly coated.

2. In 13 x 9-inch baking or roasting pan, arrange potatoes.

3. Bake at 425°, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 35 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup sweet vermouth
2 tablespoons butter

Heat a small skillet on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Add shallots, garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add sweet vermouth and reduce by half, 30 seconds or so. Add butter to the pan to finish sauce. Serve over grilled steaks.

1/4 pound chopped, crisp cooked bacon (I use center cut bacon or turkey bacon)
1/2 large onion diced
1 cup shredded 2% milk cheddar cheese
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (I often use garlic powder and pepper instead of the salt)
2 tablespoons beer

Combine bacon, onion, cheddar cheese and set aside. Combine beef, seasoning and beer; mix thoroughly. Shape into 6 thin patties. Put bacon/onion/cheese mixture on 3 patties. Top with remaining patties and press edges to seal. Grill, broil or pan fry until well done, about 4 minutes per side (I grill them).

We had another great week in the Matzat household. Our family has kind of made a new commitment to fitness and we have been working out a lot together lately. Corey being in cross country inspired Eric to start running a few months ago, and not to be left out, I've been doing the Couch to 5K program and just completed week 4. Over Christmas break, we got a new weight machine to finish out our home gym (we already had a treadmill and elliptical). We've also pretty much given up drinking soda (which wasn't too hard for me and Corey as we never drank very much, but a little tougher for Eric), and we don't sweeten our tea anymore (that includes using Splenda). These are just small changes, but we feel pretty good about them.

This week I have a couple of new recipes on the menu. It's one of those typical busy weeks, so we needed some things I could make ahead (Country Ham and Macaroni Casserole) or cook in the crockpot (Easy Cheesy Dump and Go Chicken). I'll post pictures later in the week once I've made them. For more menu ideas go to orgjunkie.com. Have a great week and enjoy!

Sunday - Filets, Green Beans, Baked Potatoes, Salad
Monday - Beef Enchiladas, Salad, Peaches
Tuesday - Easy Cheesy Dump and Go Chicken, Rice, Brussels Sprouts, Salad
Wednesday - Chili, Peanut Butter Sandwiches (Church youth night)
Thursday - Country Ham and Macaroni Casserole, Green Beans, Salad
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Pizza Biscuit Bake, Salad

Makes: 8 servings

3 1/3 cups Reduced Fat Bisquick® mix
1 cup skim milk
2 cups Hunts Garlic and Herb spaghetti sauce
1 package (6 oz) sliced turkey pepperoni
8 oz part skim shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix and milk until soft dough forms. Drop half of dough by spoonfuls evenly over bottom of baking dish (dough will not completely cover bottom of dish). Drizzle 1 can pizza sauce over dough. Scatter half of the pepperoni over sauce. Top with half of the cheese. Repeat layers with remaining dough, pizza sauce, pepperoni and cheese.
3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe Source - Betty Crocker

1 lb cooked ham, cubed
1 large onion, diced
1 lb elbow macaroni (I used shell-shaped pasta)
2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (8 oz) - 2 % milk kind
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 can reduced fat cream of chicken soup

Heat oven to 400º. Bring 4 quarts water to boiling in large pot. Once water begins to boil, add onion and pasta to pot. Return water to boiling; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta and onion; return to pot. Add ham, cheese, sour cream and soup. Pour into a 13x9x2 baking dish. Bake in heated 400º oven 30 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

If freezing: Prepare in two 8x8 casserole dishes, bake one and freeze one (unbaked) for another day. Let thaw in fridge before baking as directed.

Recipe modified from one by Balancing Act Basics

1 can Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup (reduced fat kind)
1 soup can of water
1 soup can of skim milk
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1.5 lbs. Chicken Breast Tenders or Chicken Breasts
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2% fat kind)

Dump all ingredients in the crockpot in the order listed and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Serve over rice, noodles or biscuits.

Recipe source -  Cutting Coupons in KC

We had a pretty good week this week. We had a full week of school, the snow melted, and we stuck to the menu. :) I completed week 3 of the Couch to 5K program. I have to admit that I'm pretty scared of next week. The running blocks increase significantly. We'll see how it goes. Corey serves as my personal trainer and is very encouraging. :)

We had quite a few new items on last week's menu. All of them were wonderful except for the Creamy Italian Skillet Dinner. It was pretty bland. The Broccoli and Year Long Noodles were amazing, and the Crockpot Angel Chicken was also very tasty. This week's new recipe will be the Meatball Hash Brown Bake. I will post a picture later in the week.

Here is this week's menu. I always have to make sure we have a quick and easy meal on Wednesday because Corey has youth group and we don't really have time to cook. He also has an orthodontist appointment on Friday, so we have to eat soft food. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com. Have a great week!

Sunday - Chicken Lo Mein, Salad
Monday - Meatball Hash Brown Bake, Green Beans, Salad
Tuesday - Grilled Bruschetta Chicken, Broccoli, Salad, Fruit Salad
Wednesday - Chili, Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Thursday - Pigs in a Blanket, French Fries, Green Beans, Peaches (I have book club - boys eating boy food)
Friday - Tuna Noodle Casserole, Broccoli, Applesauce
Saturday - Leftovers

cooked meatballs (I make my own recipe, but you could use frozen ones)
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed reduced fat cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (2% fat kind)
1 large onion, chopped
1 package (30 oz) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed

In a bowl, combine the soup, sour cream, cheese, and onion. With paper towels, pat hash browns dry. Stir into the soup mixture. Transfer to a greased 13″x9″x2″ baking dish. Arrange meatballs over top pressing into mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 minutes longer or until meat is no longer pink and potatoes are tender.
Yield: 8 servings
Another great take-out Chinese alternative.

6 oz. lo mein noodles (substitute spaghetti or linguine noodles if you can't find lo mein noodles)
1 tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 T canola oil
1 medium chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup snow peas
4 oz. sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. sesame oil

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Cook the lo mein noodles according to the package directions.  Drain and set aside.

In the meantime, make the sauce by combining the oyster sauce, soy sauce, chicken broth and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.  Whisk well and set aside.

Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken to the pan and cook until browned and cooked through.

Add in the vegetables, each a few minutes apart, starting with the onion and ending with the mushrooms.  Cook just until tender-crisp.  Add in the garlic and saute just until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the sauce to the pan, and then the cooked lo mein noodles.  Toss the mixture well to coat everything.  Drizzle with the sesame oil and toss once more.  Serve immediately.

We finally go back to school tomorrow! We had two weeks off for Christmas vacation, and then a bonus week off due to snow. We seem to rarely get real snow anymore, so this was a treat for us. Corey and the dogs had lost of fun sledding and playing snow soccer. I left the Christmas decorations up, so it felt very festive around our house.

I started the Couch to 5K program over break as well. I start week 3 of the program tomorrow. This is a pretty big deal for me. I am so not a runner, and this is really kicking my rear end. :) We'll see if I actually make it to week 9 where I have to run a 5K. Wish me luck!

I did get a chance to do a lot of reading. I'm on the Mark Twain Readers Award committee this year, so I have a rather large list of books to read. This week gave me a chance to get many of them finished. I also did some cooking. My parents came over on Saturday to celebrate their anniversary and we had a great dinner followed by a very fun game of Phase 10. We had Baked Penne with Italian Sausage, which is a great alternative to lasagna. It makes a TON, so be sure you make it when you have lots of people around to eat it. I also made some fabulous brownie peanut butter cookies as a treat. You've got to give them a try. :) My soup for this week is Creamy Beef, Mushroom, and Noodle Soup. It is going to make for some terrific lunches. :)

Since we are back in school this week, our busy schedule will return. I do have a few new items on the menu, so I will post photos as soon as I make them. Here is this week's menu. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - Grilled Pork Chops, Cheddar Potato Strips, Green Beans
Monday - Year Long Noodles, Honey and Soy Broccoli and Mushrooms
Tuesday - Easy and Creamy Italian Skillet Dinner, Salad, Peaches
Wednesday - Chili, Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Fondue party with my girlfriends
Saturday - Crockpot Angel Chicken on pasta, Broccoli, Salad
This recipe reminds me very much of Beef Stroganoff. It is very hearty and tasty (and tastes much better than this picture looks).


1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 pkg (8 oz) sliced fresh mushrooms (3 cups)
1 lb boneless beef top sirloin steak or lean beef stew meat, cut into small cubes
6 1/2 cups low sodium beef broth

1/4 cup ketchup

1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups uncooked Ronzoni Smart Taste Extra Wide Noodles
8 oz fat free sour cream

1. In 6 quart stock pot or Dutch oven, cook onion, garlic, and mushrooms 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are softened.

2. Stir in beef. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until beef is no longer pink. Stir in remaining ingredients except noodles and sour cream. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in noodles. Cover; cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender.

3. Stir in sour cream. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently until well blended.

Recipe modified from Betty Crocker

6 boneless chicken breasts (I used 4)
1 pkg dry Italian salad dressing mix
1 can golden mushroom soup
1/2 cup white wine or 1/2 c. chicken broth
4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
2 green onions, chopped
1 pkg angel hair pasta, cooked according to box directions

Place chicken in crock pot. In sauce pan mix Italian salad dressing mix, soup, cream cheese, green onions, and wine. Stir until cheese is melted. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Pour over cooked pasta.

Recipe adapted from http://brooke-cookiejar.blogspot.com/2007/09/this-is-what-angel-must-taste-like.html
The sauce on this one was pretty bland. If I make it again, I will use spaghetti sauce that already has extra spices in it. I had a lot of leftovers, and I added in a can of Hunts Garlic and Herb spaghetti sauce which did help.

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1 t. garlic powder
1 T. Italian seasoning (I use a combination of basil, oregano, parsley)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 15oz. can diced tomatoes
1 16oz. container ricotta cheese
1/2 lb. pasta, cooked and drained (I used bowtie pasta)
1 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. In a large skillet, cook ground beef with onions. Season with salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Drain when browned.

2. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to skillet. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in ricotta cheese until combined. Stir in pasta.

3. Sprinkle cheese on top, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Recipe Source - Cooking During Stolen Moments
This is a GREAT alternative to take-out Chinese. Pair it with Year-Long Noodles for a great dinner.

1 teaspoon oil
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 cups chopped broccoli florettes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
pinch of red pepper flakes

In a small skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for two minutes. Add broccoli and stir fry for 3 minutes, or until tender crisp. Stir in soy, honey and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute more. (You can thicken this sauce with cornstarch if desired, but I leave it a little bit thin to go over rice.)
These are the best noodles when you are craving take-out Chinese.

1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup matchstick cut carrots
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 bunch green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 lb. noodles, cooked according to package directions, and drained well
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Heat oil in large pot over high heat. Add carrots and cook for 2 minutes, until tender crisp. Add cabbage, garlic, and green onions. Cook for 1 minute. Add noodles and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add soy sauce and drizzle with a bit more sesame oil.

Last week I posted an apron giveaway to celebrate my two-year blogiversary. Thanks to everyone who shared recipes with me. :) I'm so glad to hear that my blog is useful for other people. My son, who is currently taking a C++ programming class, wrote a quick random number generator program for me, and the winner is number 14. Mary D. posted a recipe for Hamburger and Macaroni. Mary, you will need to email me your address so I can send you your apron. You can email me at cmatzat (at) gmail.com. Congratulations!

We were supposed to go back to school tomorrow after having off two weeks for Christmas break, but it just happened to snow about 4 inches today! In southwest Missouri, that almost guarantees a snow day. So, our vacation has been extended for one more day. (I was going to post a picture, but my stupid computer won't read the camera card. Grrr!)

I have a couple of new recipes on the menu this week. I made one of them tonight and it was a winner. Corey loved the recipe for Chicken Spaghetti. We'll be having Baked Penne with Italian Sausage later in the week. I always a make a soup each week to eat in my lunches at school. This week's soup is Creamy Black Bean - one of my favorites. I also made some wonderful chocolate cookies that were absolutely amazing. They are super easy and you probably have all of the ingredients in your house, so if you have a snow day tomorrow like me, bake up a batch and your family will love you. :) I often make biscuits and gravy for Corey for breakfasts in the morning and I finally posted a recipe for that as well. I use turkey sausage in my gravy, so it ends up being 2 weight watchers points for a 1/4 cup gravy. Not too bad.

Here is this week's menu. I hope you enjoy it. For more menu ideas go to orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - Chicken Spaghetti, Broccoli, Oranges, Salad
Monday - Sirloin Steak (on the grill),Baked Potatoes, Sautéed Mushrooms, Green Beans, Salad
Tuesday - Bourbon Chicken, Rice, Green Beans, Salad
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - South Seas Pork Chops, Grilled Pineapple, Broccoli with Cheese Sauce, Salad
Friday - Oven-Baked Frito Pie, Salad, Apples
Saturday - Baked Penne with Italian Sausage, Basil Green Beans, Peaches, Salad
This is a very tasty dish, reminiscent of lasagna. It makes a HUGE amount, so if you have a small family, you could divide it into two dishes and freeze half.

1 lb turkey Italian sausages, casings removed
12 ounces lowfat ricotta cheese (about 1½ cups)
1/4 t. ground black pepper
12 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1½ cups)
1½ lbs ziti or other short, tubular pasta (I use Ronzoni Smart Taste Penne for the added fiber)
4½ cups spaghetti sauce (I use Hunts Herb and Garlic)

1. Bring 6 quarts of water to boil in a large pot over high heat.

2. Meanwhile, cook sausage in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the sausage loses its raw color, about 5 minutes. Drain the sausage on a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside.

3. Mix ricotta cheese and ½ tsp. pepper together; set aside. In a separate bowl, toss the mozzarella and Parmesan together until combined; set aside.

4. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Reserve 1½ cups of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Return the drained pasta to the pot and stir in the marinara sauce, sausage, and reserved pasta cooking water.

5. Pour half of the sauced pasta into a 13×9-inch baking dish. Drop large spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture evenly over the pasta, then pour the remaining sauced pasta over the ricotta layer. Sprinkle the top of the penne evenly with the mozzarella mixture.

6. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400°F. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with vegetable oil spray (or use nonstick foil). Bake until the sauce bubbles lightly around the edges, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until pasta is completely heated through, 25 to 30 minutes longer.

Recipe modified from Full Bellies, Happy Kids
This is a recipe that I don't make very often (for obvious reasons). It is a treat for the boys as they LOVE Frito Pie. :)

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 can (16 oz) chili beans (do not drain)
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes (drained)
1 envelope low sodium taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (2% fat kind)
3 1/2 cups corn chips (Fritos)
1 1/4 cup fat free sour cream

Cook ground beef until meat is browned; drain. Stir in beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, taco seasoning mix and 1/4 c. of cheese. Sprinkle 1 cup corn chips in bottom of 8x8 baking dish. Cover with chili. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Spread sour cream over chili. Top with remaining corn chips and cheese. Bake 4-5 minutes longer.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Recipe Source - Colie's Kitchen
This is a very cheesy, yummy casserole. You can boost the health factor by adding vegetables to it. It's a very kid friendly meal.

3 cups cooked chicken
1 (12oz) pkg thin spaghetti noodles (I use Ronzoni Smart Taste for the added fiber)
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 10 oz cans reduced fat cream of chicken soup
1 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cup Velveeta Light
pepper to taste

1. Chop the cooked chicken into bite size pieces. Boil noodles according to the directions on package.

2. In another pan, melt butter and sauté celery and onion, usually 3-4 minutes.

3. Add chicken, soup, milk, Velveeta, pepper; mix until well blended.

4. Drain spaghetti and add to chicken mixture, mix well.

5. Bake in a large greased baking pan for 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until bubbly.

Note: You could add a bag of broccoli slaw or other veggies to this recipe if you like. My son won't have anything to do with cooked broccoli, so I have to leave it out.

Recipe modified from Newlyweds
These are the most amazing chocolate cookies you will ever taste. They are soft and chewy and melt in your mouth. The batter looks very similar to brownie batter when you are mixing them.

1 pkg chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix ingredients and scoop onto a cookie sheet.  Bake 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute and then remove to cooling rack.

Makes about 30 cookies.

1/2 pound ground turkey sausage
4 T flour
2 cups skim milk
salt and pepper to taste

Crumble and cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat until browned. Stir in flour until dissolved. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook gravy until thick and bubbly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot over biscuits.

Makes 8 servings. Serving size = 1/4 cup
WW points = 2
I was hoping that these biscuits would be better than just using the canned biscuits. Unfortunately, they are 3 points each and the canned biscuits are 2 points each. I also thought that the wheat flour would boost the fiber content, but they only have 1 gram of fiber per biscuit. So much for healthier biscuits. They did taste good though, and they weren't hard to make.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup milk

In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt; mix well. Cut in butter until
mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened. Turn out onto a lightly
floured surface; knead gently 8 to 10 times. Roll to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a 2-1/2-in.
biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 to 12
minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm. Makes 10 biscuits.

WW Pts - 3 per biscuit