Well, for the most part, summer vacation is over for our family and "school" has begun. Corey has band rehearsal all week from 8-5, and I have computer workshops I'm teaching every day. Needless to say, I needed to come up with an easy-to-prepare menu for this week. I'm relying on lots of freezer items, and yes, we are eating hot dogs (fat free ones, of course). I also have my last Mark Twain book club luncheon on Friday, which I am very much looking forward to hosting. I'm going to do picnic foods for an end-of-summer lunch theme. :) Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com. Have a great week, and enjoy!

Sunday - Caramelized Steak Kabobs, Twice-baked potatoes, Green beans, Salad
Monday - Burrito Bowls (chicken already grilled and in freezer), Peaches
Tuesday - Spaghetti Chili (chili from freezer), Salad
Wednesday - Chili Dogs, Salad, Peaches
Thursday -Quesadillas (chicken already grilled and in freezer), Salad, Strawberries
Friday - Pulled pork sandwiches, Tomato and Basil Pasta Salad, Deviled Eggs
Saturday - Chef Salads, Fruit, Garlic Muffins
This is my last "free" week of the summer. Next week the computer workshops resume and the boy has band camp all week. The bummer is that it definitely feels like summer to the extreme. We've had temperatures in the high 90s all last week with the heat index staying around 100-105 due to high humidity. That's also the forecast for this week, so being outside is simply not fun. Because of the heat, I tried to avoid using the oven this week. I think I only have to use it one day for the Meatball Sub Casserole. Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com. Enjoy and have a great week!

Sunday - Slow Cooker Roast and Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Monday - Grilled Turkey Cutlets, Grilled Red Potatoes, Grilled Green Beans, Salad
Tuesday - Meatball Sub Casserole, Salad
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Grilled Chicken Breasts, Baked Beans, Salad, Strawberries
Friday - BLTs, Hash Browns, Peaches
Saturday - Unknown (depends on whether or not we can go to the lake)
This is very tasty and was loved by the boys. Trust me that it tastes better than the picture looks. :)


1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound ground round

1 loaf (1 pound) Italian or French bread, cut into 1-inch slices
1 package (8 ounces) reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use low fat)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 jar (28 ounces) spaghetti sauce

In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and ground beef. Mix well. Shape into 1-in. balls; place on a greased rack in a shallow baking pan. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink.

Meanwhile, arrange bread in a single layer in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish (all of the bread might not be used). Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning and pepper; spread over the bread. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella.

Place meatballs evenly over bread layer. Pour spaghetti sauce evenly on top, and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
These were surprisingly tasty and loved by the whole family. 

12 red potatoes
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt (I used sea salt) and pepper to taste


Boil the red potatoes whole, about 25-30 minutes. After the potatoes have cooked through while boiling, set them out onto a kitchen towel and let them sit for 10-15 minutes. Preheat your grill.  After the potatoes have cooled down some, take the kitchen towel and put it over the potato and gently press down, cracking the skin, but not so hard that the potato falls out.  Place in a Pyrex dish.  Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Remove potatoes from the Pyrex dish and place them on the grill. Grill the pressed red potatoes for 5-6 minutes per side.
Make 2-3 per person.

Recipe Source - $5 Dinners
 This is an easy roast to do on a busy day when you know you don't have a lot of time to cook, or on a day when it's too hot to turn on the oven.

3 1b bottom round rump roast
1 can low fat cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg onion soup mix

Place roast in crockpot (be sure to trim off any extra fat). Mix the cream of mushroom soup and onion soup mix and pour over roast. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Break up the meat and serve the meat and gravy with mashed potatoes.
We had a nice visit with Eric's family in St. Louis over the weekend, and now it's back to work this week. I have meetings at school, Corey is still working on his online bio class, and Eric has a work retreat. This coming weekend I will be participating in a women's 5K with my friend Stefanie. So, this will be a bit busier week for us than last week. It makes me realize that school is just around the corner, and I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet. :) I survived my second gum graft surgery last week, so we are now on to week 2 of having to eat soft foods. I did make some awesome freezer jam and jelly last week, a really yummy blackberry buckle, and some scrumptious pizza puffs. Be sure to check them out. Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com. Enjoy, and have a great week!

Sunday - Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza
Monday - Diet Coke Sloppy Joes, French Fries, Corn
Tuesday - Tuna Noodle Casserole (didn't make it last week), Green Beans, Applesauce
Wednesday - Crockpot Salsa Chicken, Rice, Broccoli
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Loaded Baked Potatoes, Fruit
Saturday - Turkey and gravy (from freezer), Criss Cross Stuffing Pastry (from freezer), Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
This is a super easy way to make your own jam, and you don't have to have a canner! I made two batches of strawberry and one batch of blackberry today. Good stuff!


For strawberry jam (makes 5 cups):
2 cups crushed strawberries
4 cups sugar
1 pkg. Sure Jell fruit pectin
3/4 cup water

For blackberry jam (makes 7 cups):
3 cups crushed blackberries (I ran my pulp through a sieve to get rid of the seeds. You don't have to do this.)
5 1/4 cups sugar
1 pkg. Sure Jell fruit pectin
3/4 cup water


1. Wash plastic containers with tight fitting lids and rise with boiling water. Use 1 to 2 cup size containers. Dry completely.
2. Wash fruit. For strawberries, remove stems. Crush fruit 1 cup at a time using a potato masher. If you use a food processor or blender, pulse to finely chop. Do not puree. Jam should have bits of fruit. For blackberries, crush berries and if desired, remove seeds by running pulp through a sieve. I don't like blackberry seeds, so I seived all of my blackberry pulp. (Technically, I guess that makes it jelly.)
3. Measure exact amount of prepared fruit into a bowl.
4. Measure exact amount of sugar into a separate bowl.
5. Stir sugar into prepared fruit. Mix well. Let stand 10 minutes; stir occasionally.
6. Stir 1 box pectin and 3/4 cup water in small saucepan (pectin may start out lumpy). Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
7. Stir pectin mixture into fruit mixture. Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy, about 3 minutes (a few sugar crystals may remain).
8. Pour into prepared containers, leaving 1/2 inch space at top for expansion during freezing; cover.
9. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours until set. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks. Otherwise, store in freezer up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator.

Recipe Source - Sure Jell box
My mother-in-law makes this wonderful coffee cake with blueberries and always has some in the freezer ready to pull out for breakfast. I made it with blackberries this time.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup stick butter or margarine
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups blueberries (or other berry of your choice - I used blackberries)

For topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon


Grease bottom and sides of 13x9x2 baking pan.  Oven at 350 degrees.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, and baking soda.  Set aside.
Cream the sugar and butter.  Mix in eggs, sour cream, and vanilla.
Stir in flour mixture.  Carefully fold in 1 pt. blueberries.  Spoon into pan.
Mix sugar and cinnamon for topping; sprinkle over batter.
Bake about 40 minutes or until golden brown. 

Recipe Source: Bonnie Matzat
These are easy to make appetizers that could also be a main dish for a small family if you pair it with a salad. Very tasty!


3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup skim milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 ounces low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
4 ounces turkey pepperoni, cut into small cubes (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup Hunts Garlic and Herb Past Sauce


Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through. Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

Puffs can be made ahead of time and frozen for later use. Freeze the baked puffs in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer bag. To reheat, bake the frozen puffs on a baking sheet in a 350° oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

Recipe modified from Everyday with Rachel Ray
We had a great holiday weekend! On Friday, Corey and I decided to go on an "adventure" since Eric was working and couldn't play with us. We packed a picnic of "adventure food" and drove to Bennett Springs State Park, which was a new location for us. The park was very pretty and we had fun watching the fly fishermen as we hiked along the river. We decided that this is a great place to come for a day hike and picnic, but we probably would not enjoy camping at this location (the spots are way too close together and there aren't very many trees in the campground). The best thing is that it is only a little over an hour away from our house. We will be back soon to hike the 7 mile trail.

The weather forecast showed that Saturday looked like the better day to go swimming at my parents' house for 4th of July weekend. WRONG! It rained all day so we ended up having a movie marathon and eating lots of BBQ chicken instead of swimming. Sunday, the day it was supposed to rain, ended up being pretty ok. Corey and Eric ran the Firecracker 5000, and Eric got a PR! We also got Corey's belated birthday present of a new bike (he outgrew his old one), and went for a bike ride before watching fireworks in our neighborhood. All in all, it was a great family weekend.

So, on to this week's menu. Unfortunately, I get to have gum graft surgery again this summer (did the same thing about this same time last summer), which means 30 days of having to eat soft foods. Bummer. No more steak for me for a while. At least ice cream is soft! :) We are doing grilled pizzas again this week, which was a new one for us a couple of weeks ago, and they were fabulous. If you have never tried pizza on the grill before, give it a shot. It's worth it! Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com. Enjoy!

Sunday - Sirloin steak on the grill, green beans, peaches
Monday -Grilled Pizza, Salad
Tuesday -Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Burgers, Baked Beans, Mashed Potato Salad
Wednesday - Leek Soup, Applesauce (surgery day)
Thursday - Tuna Noodle Casserole, Peas, Peaches
Friday - Eat at Grandmas
Saturday - Eat at Grandmas
Grilling pizzas ended up being much easier than I expected, and they tasted fabulous! The little bit of smoky flavor you get from the crust really makes the pizza. If you've never tried grilling pizza before, you must give this a shot.

pizza dough of your choice (I used this recipe - fast and easy)
pizza sauce
toppings of your choice (make sure any meats are pre-cooked)
mozarella cheese
olive oil

Preheat your grill to medium high heat (mine was at about 450 degrees). Make sure the grill grates are clean, and then coat with oil using a paper towel to help prevent sticking.

I also get all of my toppings, sauce, olive oil, etc. all set out by the grill so that I can be ready to assemble the pizzas as soon as I flip the crust on the grill. 

Divide your pizza dough into however many personal pizzas you want to make. I don't recommend making one large pizza on the grill as it would be very hard to flip. I divided mine into four sections. Roll out your dough on a large cookie sheet sprayed with no-stick spray. Brush the top of the crust with olive oil to keep it from sticking to the grill.

Place the pizza crusts on the grill, oiled side down, and immediately brush the other side with oil. Once the first side has cooked from 2-4 minutes to where it is lightly browned, flip the crusts over using a large spatula. You need to quickly sauce the cooked sides of the pizzas, add your toppings, and top with cheese.

Close your grill and let them cook a few minutes until the cheese is melted. (Tip: If you find that your crust is cooking too fast, you can place them on a cookie sheet, and then place the cookie sheet on the grill to allow the toppings to heat up without burning your crust.) Remove cooked pizzas to cookie sheet and bring in to eat and enjoy!