We finally have a week where we are actually home for dinner most nights! Last week was a tough one for our family with lots of evening obligations. We did have a very nice weekend, though. I was able to get a nice menu planned for this week that includes some new recipes, and I baked 17 dozen chocolate chip cookies to stock the freezer! Yum! Last week's beef brisket ended up being disappointing. I cooked it for the length suggested, but it ended up way overdone. I will cook it for a shorter time next time. The Balsamic Barbeque Chicken was delicious, so we'll definitely be making that again. I have new recipes selected for Monday - Thursday this week, so be sure to check back for photos as I make them. For more menu ideas, visit orgjunkie.com.  Enjoy and have a great week!

Sunday - Steak, Green Beans, Rolls, Salad
Monday - Taco Cornbread Casserole, Salad
Tuesday - Baked Club Pinwheels, Salad
Wednesday - Tator Tot Surprise, Salad, Peaches
Thursday - Bush's Chicken and Rice Casserole, Salad
Friday - Eat out (Corey has band performance at football game)
Saturday - Honey Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Broccoli, Mashed Potatoes (from freezer)
These were really tasty fries. My son absolutely loved them.

3 yukon gold potatoes, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper  
1.Heat oven to 450°.
2.Cook on parchment paper, and spray it with cooking spray.
3.Combine all dry ingredients and combine with potatoes, tossing to coat.
4.Drizzle with oil, tossing again to coat.
5.Arrange potatoes in a single layer on baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe adapted from - Colie's Kitchen

1 (8.8-oz.) pouch ready-to-serve long grain and wild rice mix (I just used plain rice I cooked myself - the other stuff has too much sodium)
1 (15.8-oz.) can BUSH'S Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of chicken soup
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup freshly shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
Garnish: fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Prepare rice according to package directions.
2. Stir together beans, next 5 ingredients, and rice in a large bowl. Pour mixture into a lightly
greased 11 x 7 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and breadcrumbs.
3. Bake at 425° for 15 to 18 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted. Let stand
5 minutes before serving. Garnish, if desired.

1 pound lean ground beef
1 can green beans, french cut (no sodium)
1 can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup skim milk
1 package frozen tater tots
shredded cheddar cheese (2% milk kind)

Brown hamburger. Mix green beans, hamburger, soup and milk together. Place in the bottom of a casserole dish. Cover the top of the hamburger mixture with a layer of tater tots. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.  Remove and sprinkle cheese over the top.  Place back in the oven and bake for 10 more minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Recipe source - One Crazy Cookie

6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 (11-oz.) can Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crusty French Loaf
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
5 slices thinly sliced deli turkey
5 slices thinly sliced deli ham
5 slices thinly sliced deli roast beef

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Unroll dough. Sprinkle cheese over dough. Top with turkey, ham, roast beef and bacon. Starting with long side, roll up dough; press edges to seal. Make 3 to 4 slits in top of loaf. Place on sprayed cookie sheet.

Bake at 350°F. for 23 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into 1-inch diagonal slices.

Recipe Source - Plain Chicken
This was really tasty and really easy to make. I made it the day before and just put it in the oven the night we wanted to eat it.

1 package (8 1/2 oz) corn bread/muffin mix
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
3 cups cooked taco seasoned meat (I use my own taco seasoning)
1 can low sodium black beans (I use Best Choice Clearly Organic brand)
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream, light
1/2 cup 2 % milk reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce

In a large bowl, combine the corn bread, egg and milk until blended.  Spread into an 8 x 8 pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Combine taco meat and beans, spread over corn bread.  Combine sour cream, cheese and onion.  Spread over meat mixture.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with tomato and lettuce.

Recipe modified from - Debbie Does Dinner Healthy
We survived the first week back to school! I had a great time seeing the students' reactions to my library rearranging and decorations.

They love that I put a canoe in the library this year. The camping theme our school selected was a great one for me. :) I got a nice surprise on Tuesday when my hubby delivered roses to me just because he loves me! What a man!

This weekend was one of our few weekends that we did not have a lot of extra school obligations, so I did some more "get ahead" and "stock the freezer" cooking. The boys went to a Switchfoot concert Friday night, so I spent time going through my recipe to-do list and selected some new things to make. :) Here is a list of the freezer items I cooked:

Nutella Gooey Butter Cookies
Blueberry Zucchini Muffins
Spinach Squares (yuck - won't make them again)
Freezer Biscuits
Sour Cream and Jam Muffins

Here is my menu for the week. There are a couple of new items, so we'll see how they go. For more ideas go to orgjunkie.com. Enjoy and have a great week!

Sunday - Easy Beef Brisket (new), Parmesan Roasted Potatoes (new), Green Beans, Salad
Monday - Balsamic Barbeque Chicken (new), Baked Beans, Salad, Peaches
Tuesday - Brisket Sandwiches (use leftover from Sunday), Salad, Strawberries, Jello
Wednesday - Meatballs (from freezer), Mashed Potatoes (from freezer), and Gravy, Green Beans, Applesauce
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Eat out (football band performance)
Saturday - Hamburgers, Oven Baked Fries, Salad

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c. flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. sour cream
1 t. vanilla
Preserves or jam of choice (I used my strawberry freezer jam)
Additional sugar for topping, optional

1. Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg and beat until well combined.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a second small bowl or measuring cup, combine the sour cream and vanilla. Add half the flour and half the sour cream mixture to the mixing bowl and stir just until combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and sour cream, being careful not to over mix.

3. Grease and flour a muffin tin, or line with baking cups. Fill muffin cups 1/3 full with the batter. Add a dollop of jam or preserves on top of the batter and then top with remaining muffin batter. Sprinkle additional sugar over the tops of the muffins, if desired, for a crispy muffin top.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes for mini muffins or  20-25 minutes for regular sized muffins.

Recipe Source - Cooking During Stolen Moments

1 box chocolate cake mix
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Nutella (add more if you like)
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the egg. Then beat in the Nutella and vanilla extract. Mix in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls (I used a medium cookie scoop) and then roll them in powdered sugar. Place on an cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake 12-14 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and gooey.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Recipe Source - Plain Chicken

1 1/2 C white wheat flour
1/4 C honey {generous}
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 C olive oil {or applesauce}
1 egg
1/3 C milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C blueberries
1 C shredded, drained zucchini

Begin by shredding the zucchini, drain excess liquid by squeezing zucchini shreds in a cheesecloth or paper towels. Then, mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine the moist ingredients together, and then add these to the dry ingredients. Stir until just moist. Then, add in the zucchini. Carefully fold in the blueberries.

Scoop into muffin tins, filling about 3/4 of the way full. This made 12 regular muffins.
Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Recipe Source - Finding Joy in My Kitchen
1/2 c. oil or applesauce
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg white
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. shredded zucchini
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c. fresh blueberries

1 Tbsp sugar in the raw

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare one regular loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans
In large bowl, combine oil and/or applesauce, sugars, egg and vanilla.
Stir to combine well.
Stir in zucchini to combine.
Add flour, salt, baking powder and soda, cinnamon and fold ingredients until just barely combined.
Fold in blueberries.
Place into loaf pan(s) and top with raw sugar.
Place in center of oven to bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 60-75 minutes for loaf pan and 35-40 minutes for miniature loaf pans.
Let cool in pans for 15 minutes and remove to let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Recipe Source - Good Things Catered

4 red potatoes (or 8 new potatoes)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese
Various seasonings (i.e.salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice potatoes into wedges and place in bowl. Toss in olive oil until coated and then add all remaining ingredients and toss until evenly coated. Bake in preheated oven 30-40 minutes or until desired degree of crispness, turning wedges over halfway through baking.

Recipe Source - The Sisters Cafe

1 beef brisket, (4-5 pounds) trimmed of most of the fat
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz.) can low sodium beef broth

Mix soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic and beef broth together in a medium bowl. Place brisket in a large container or Ziploc bag and pour marinade over. Refrigerate overnight. Pour off marinade and wrap the brisket in three or four layers of heavy duty aluminum foil; place in a roasting pan. Cook at 325 degrees for 5 hours, or alternately, at 275 degrees for 6 hours. Serve with the pan juices or BBQ sauce. (I went with the lower temperature and longer cooking time).

Recipe Source - Let's Dish
The picture is what they look like when you put them in the freezer before they are cooked.

4 cups flour
2 T. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 cup butter
16oz sour cream
3-5 tsp water

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in butter until there are small well blended pieces. Add sour cream and water, mix well. Knead and roll out to 1 inch thick. Cut with biscuit cutter. Freeze individually on a cookie sheet. When frozen solid, place in a freezer bag to store. When ready to use, place frozen biscuits on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 for 15-17 minutes or until top is golden. Makes 16-20.

Recipe Source - The Sisters Cafe
When I followed this recipe, I must have used way too much spinach. It calls for 8 oz. of spinach, and I bought a 10 oz. bag of fresh spinach. I put in what I guessed was 8 oz, but once I put it in the batter, there was no more batter! So, I doubled the batter part of the mixture and it seemed a little better. I cooked it in a 9 x 13 pan. Unfortunately, they ended up tasting horrible, so I won't be making them again.

2 large eggs
1 C milk
1 C 100% white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 C cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz. spinach


In a large bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder.
Then, make a well in the center of the flour and crack the eggs.
Add in the milk and mix well.
Next, stir in the spinach. Then, add in the cheese.
Pour into a greased 9x9 glass baking dish.
Bake at 350 for 40ish minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Recipe Source - Finding Joy in My Kitchen

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or equivalent)

1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing
3-4 Tablespoons sugar*
1/3 cup ketchup

Mix ingredients together.  Reserve 3/4 cup and refrigerate.  Pour remaining sauce over chicken and marinate 4-24 hours.(The longer you marinate, the better flavor you get.)  Remove chicken from marinade and bake, broil or grill it. When chicken is cooked thoroughly, heat up reserved sauce and pour over top of chicken.
Serves: 6

*Add the sugar according to your tastes.  I have noticed that some Balsamic Vinaigrettes are more sweet than others so you don't need as much.

Recipe Source - Once Crazy Cookie
3 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. mini or regular-sized chocolate chips
1/2 c. butter, melted and cooled
1/4 c. vegetable or canola oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
2 t. vanilla

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
2. In a second bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and whisk until fully combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until everything is moistened and combined. Be careful not to over-stir.
3. Pour into greased or lined muffin tins. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes for a mini-muffin tin and 15-18 minutes for a regular-sized muffin tin, until fully cooked. (Use the toothpick test, if needed.)

Recipe makes 40 mini muffins and 6 regular sized or about 1 1/2 - 2 dozen regular sized muffins. 

Recipe Source - Cooking During Stolen Moments
Well, this is another week that probably won't be very helpful to others. We start back to school this week. Teachers start Monday with meetings and inservice, and students start on Thursday. For our family, this is going to pose a few extra challenges meal-wise because my son still has cross country practice early in the morning and band practice until late at night until Wednesday. So, you won't see a normal meal  plan for our family this week. Hopefully things will slow down a bit soon so we can eat a little better. :) I do promise to have more useful menus and new recipes soon! For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com. Have a great week!

Sunday - Steak, Twice Baked Potatoes (from freezer), Corn
Monday - Eat out (band rehearsal and STUCO)
Tuesday - Eat out (band rehearsal and contest)
Wednesday - Chili (from freezer), Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Peaches
Thursday - Chili Spaghetti, Salad
Friday - Grilled Pizza, Salad (and Switchfoot concert!)
Saturday - Grilled Honey Mustard Pork Chops, Grilled Cheesy Potato Packets, Green Beans
This is going to be a short and sweet post. I am back at school this week, and because of Corey's band and cross country practices, we are at school for 14 hours a day. Yuck! Therefore, we needed to bring both lunch and dinner with us this week. Sorry for the boring menu, but we are in total survival mode this week. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com. Here's this week's menu.

Sunday - Steak and Pork Kabobs, Green Beans, Salad
Monday - Turkey and Gravy, Criss Cross Stuffing Pastry, Day Before Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans (all cooked ahead of time over the weekend) - eat at library
Tuesday - Same as Monday - eat at library
Wednesday - Pizza (Academic team kids are coming over - no evening band practice)
Thursday - Lasagna (cooked ahead of time), Salad - eat at library
Friday - Same as Thursday - eat at library
Saturday - Eat out (no energy to cook after this week)
This is another one of those recipes that everyone already has, but I like to have my recipes in one place, so I'm adding it here for myself. :)

2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups oats
Waxed paper

In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Let boil for 1 minute (very important to do this step so they set up correctly) then add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal. On a sheet of waxed paper, drop mixture by teaspoonfuls. Let them rest until cooled and hardened.
The countdown to the first day of school continues. Last week was filled with computer workshops for me and band practice for Corey. This week is the week to get all of our medical appointments taken care of. Every day this week is spent at either the dentist, orthodontist, or misc. medical procedures for me. :( Oh well, at least we are able to get this stuff out of the way and won't have to miss school. Because of being out of commission a couple of days, you will see that I have planned pretty easy meals. Here is this week's menu. For more menu ideas go to orgjunkie.com. Have a great week and enjoy!

Sunday - Steak on the grill, Grilled Asparagus, Twice-baked potatoes
Monday - Creamy Chicken Breasts, Rice, Broccoli
Tuesday - Eric and Corey eat out (I have surgery prep - yuck!)
Wednesday - Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad
Thursday - Chicken Soft Tacos, Fruit
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Bacon and Cheddar Stuffed Burgers, Baked Beans, Peaches, Salad