This is going to be a short post as I managed to catch a nasty cold this weekend and feel terrible. We had Corey's last band competition this weekend, which means no more early morning rehearsals and no more 4:30 a.m. alarms for me. Woo hoo! I have a couple of new menu items this week, so I will add the photos as I make them. I did manage to make some cute spider web brownies for Halloween today.

Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas, go to Enjoy and have a great week! I'm going to go to bed.

Sunday - Spider Web Pizza Spread, Pepperoni Pizza Puffs, Spider Web Brownies
Monday -Bacon Cheeseburger Pinwheels (new), Corn, Salad, Peaches
Tuesday -Chicken with Cider & Bacon Sauce (new), Rice, Green Beans, Salad
Wednesday -Crockpot Cowboy Stew, Salad
Thursday -BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (from freezer), Corn, French Fries
Friday -Eat out
Saturday -Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Salad

4  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
2  bacon slices, chopped
1/4  cup  minced fresh onion
3/4  cup  unsweetened apple cider
1/2  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Add chicken to drippings in pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

Add onion to pan; cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring constantly. Add cider and broth; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until broth mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 5 minutes). Stir in cooked bacon; serve sauce over chicken.

Recipe Source - Fake Ginger
These are so much better than the picture looks. They are definitely a keeper. I cooked mine about 25 minutes.

1 lb lean hamburger (93/7)
3 Tbsp no salt added tomato sauce
1 egg
1/4 cup onions, diced
4 strips bacon, cooked and finely chopped
3/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 can Pillsbury Classic refrigerated pizza dough

Preheat oven to 425.  In a large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients.  Roll the pizza dough into a 9x15 rectangle and top with hamburger mixture.  Spread the hamburger evenly over the dough.  Starting with the long side, roll up into a log.  Slice into 16 pinwheels and place on baking sheet.  Bake 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce - Ranch, BBQ, A-1, etc.

Recipe adapted from Plain Chicken

1 box brownie mix (Family Size for 9x13 pan)

Spiderweb mixture:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 Oreo Cakesters
pretzel sticks (you could use black licorice - but I don't like it)
white chocolate chips
chocolate syrup

Prepare brownies according to Fudge Brownie recipe, and spread the batter in 2 8" cake pans (mine were actually 9"). I put parchment paper in the bottom to make them easier to remove. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the cream cheese, sugar and flour in a small bowl, and mix until smooth. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, mixing until smooth once again. Transfer the mixture to a ziplock bag, and cut just the very tip off the end.

Place a small pool of the mixture in the center of the brownie batter. Draw circles around this pool, about 1 inch apart, moving out from the center each time. Once the circles are drawn, take a table knife, wet the tip, and draw it back and forth through the circles.

The knife will draw the cream cheese filling into arcs. Once you've gone all the way around the circles, take up your pastry bag again. Use the remaining filling to trace the path where the knife travelled, to create the spokes of the web.

Bake the brownies for 20-25 minutes, until the brownies just barely pull away from the edge of the pan. The center will rise while baking, but will sink back level once the brownies are cool. Remove them from the oven and cool before cutting.

To assemble the spider:  Stick the pretzel sticks around the cakester to make legs (4 on each side).   Push in two white chocolate chips for eyes, and use a toothpick to apply a little chocolate syrup to add eyeballs. You could also use a little white frosting and push a mini chocolate chip into it for eyes.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour
What a wonderful weekend! No football game performances and no band contests! We actually got to spend some time together as a family, and it was wonderful. :) Today we ate our way across Silver Dollar City and had a blast. Our favorite treat was the spiral potato on a stick. Why is it that food on a stick is always more fun? :)

I participated in the Fall Flirty Apron Swap and finished my partner's apron package this week. It's always fun to make a surprise for someone - even someone you don't know! :)

I did some cooking for the week today. I made Bacon Cheese Pull Aparts for today's breakfast, and cooked 2 dozen Bacon Cheddar Muffins to eat during the week. I also made some Halloween Buddies for a fun treat. This week's menu is full of family favorite staples. I cooked pretty much everything ahead of time except for the things we are grilling. Here's the menu. For more menu ideas, go to Enjoy and have a great week!

Sunday - Steak, Green Beans, Salad (didn't do on Saturday)
Monday - Sausage Potato Soup (made ahead), Salad
Tuesday - Creamy Chicken Breasts (made ahead), Rice, Green Beans
Wednesday - Chili Ranch Grilled Pork, Twiced Baked Potatoes (from freezer), Broccoli
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Burgers, Steak Fries, Salad, Peaches
Saturday - Eat out (band contest)
I doubled the recipe to make some to share with friends. Just make sure you double the microwave time if you double the recipe.

4 1/2 cups Corn Chex® cereal
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (3 oz)
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup candy corn
1 cup salted cocktail peanuts


1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 30 seconds; stir. Microwave about 15 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 1-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.

3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Add candy corn and peanuts; shake to mix. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Recipe Source - Betty Crocker
Thank goodness for freezer items, as they made my week very easy last week, and hopefully will be helping me out again this week. Our busy October schedule is keeping us hopping! We had a great weekend in St. Louis for Corey's band contest. It was fun to visit with family, watch the band perform, and spend some much needed time with my hubby. We went for a wonderful walk together in Forest Park this morning. It is such a beautiful spot in the middle of the city.

This week is full with parent/teacher conferences and work meetings, but we have a lighter weekend coming up which we are very much looking forward to. This week's menu has some freezer items and easy pasta dishes to get us through the busy days. Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas, go to  Enjoy and have a great week!

Sunday - Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup (we got back late from St. Louis and just wanted something light and easy)
Monday - Chili (from freezer) and Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Salad
Tuesday - Creamy Jambalaya Pasta, Salad
Wednesday - Chicken Spaghetti, Broccoli, Salad
Thursday - Meatballs and Gravy (from freezer), Mashed Potatoes (from freezer), Green Beans
Friday - Chicken and Dumplings, Salad
Saturday - Steak, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans, Salad

8 oz Ronzoni Smart Taste Rotini Pasta
1/2 lb turkey smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup fat free evaporated milk
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion or 2 Tbsp minced onion flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup white wine
4 tablespoon tomato sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped parsley
Parmesan cheese (optional - not included in nutrition info)


In a large pot, boil water for pasta. Boil pasta and cook until al dente.  Set aside.

Brown sausage in a small skillet over medium heat. Once browned, add onion and saute for two minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add white wine to skillet, making sure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom.  Let wine reduce by half, about two minutes.

Stir in Cajun seasoning, paprika, pepper and tomato sauce. Add evaporated milk and heat to almost bubbling, then reduce heat to low. Allow the cream mixture to reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Toss with parsley and freshly grated Parmesan.

Recipe adapted from Plain Chicken
We are still trying to make it through the month of October. I had a great family reading night last week, and the kids really seemed to enjoy my superhero theme.

Corey had a great math contest day, getting a 1st place and two 3rd places. I love that he is so much better at math than I am! He also had a great band contest. His band made finals at the contest, which they were not able to do last year. We had a great visit with Eric's parents, and both my parents and Eric's parents came to the band contest. Lots of fun! Now we are ready to tackle the next busy week. :)

This week we have a cross country meet, computer workshops, the last halftime performance of the year (thank goodness), and another band competition. I made some amazing pumpkin muffins for breakfasts this week. You've got to try this recipe.

Here is this week's menu. I'm really relying on the freezer items this week. I do have a new pasta recipe for Monday (have to get carbs for the boy for his run on Tuesday). For more menu ideas, go to
Enjoy and have a great week!

Sunday - Steak, Baked Potatoes, Broccoli
Monday - Taco Pasta, Salad, Corn Muffins (from mix)
Tuesday - Turkey and Gravy (freezer), Mashed Potatoes (freezer), Criss Cross Stuffing Pastry (freezer), Green Beans
Wednesday - Saucy Hot Dogs, Corn, Peaches, Salad
Thursday - BBQ Beef Sandwiches (freezer), Corn, Salad
Friday - Eat at ball game
Saturday - Eat at band contest
Well, this one was a failure. None of us liked the sauce. I think we wanted it to taste like beanie weenies.

1 pkg hot dogs, cut into small slices (I use fat free)
1 can tomato soup
¼ c firmly packed brown sugar
3 T water, 3 T vinegar
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 T lemon juice
1 small onion, finely chopped
Hot dog buns, toasted

In large skillet, brown hot dog pieces. Stir in tomato soup, brown sugar, water, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and onion. Cover; simmer hot dogs in sauce 10 min. Serve in split toasted hot dog buns.

1 pound lean ground beef
8 ounce small dry pasta shapes
1 small onion, chopped (or 1 Tbsp minced onion flakes)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup salsa
1 packet taco seasoning
3 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
Shredded Cheese (2% milk kind) for topping

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the ground meat and onion over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Once the meat is cooked through, drain off the excess fat and mix in the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Mix in the salsa and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Top with shredded cheese and more sour cream and salsa if desired.

Recipe Source - Plain Chicken
I got this recipe from my friend, Melissa. She made them for a breakfast at school, and they were wonderful! Eric says his likes them better than the pumpkin muffins at Panera!

The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup oil, but I substitute 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce.

2½ c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 can pumpkin
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Streusel Topping:
Combine 2 Tbsp. flour, ¼ c. sugar and ½ tsp. cinnamon.  Cut in 3 Tbsp. butter until mixture is combined.

In a large bowl combine first 5 ingredients; set aside.  In medium bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin and oil.  Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients; stir just until moistened.  Spoon batter into greased or paper-lined muffin cups, filling ¾ full.  Sprinkle streusel topping over batter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

***Melissa’s note:  When I’m using the cupcake liners, I go ahead and fill the muffin cups as full as I can, using the all the batter for just 12 muffins.  It will make 12 jumbo size muffins.  If I don’t have the cupcake liners, I only fill ¾ of the way full because the tops will pull off when trying to get them out of the pan if they get too big.
We survived our busy week last week, but barely! Saturday just about did us in. We had a 20 hour day, starting with a cross country meet very early in the morning and ending after midnight with a band contest. We tried to sleep in late Sunday to recouperate, but we still had all of the normal weekend chores to accomplish in that one day - laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning, homework, etc. Plus, I had to finish preparations for my family reading night. Needless to say, the Matzat family is tuckered out! Unfortunately, this week isn't much better. It must be that time of year. We have the normal band and cross country practices, my family reading night, Eric's work retreat, computer workshops, halftime performances, math contest, band contest,and we have company coming. Okay, enough of my ranting. I know we all have busy schedules, but I feel better now that I've shared my stress with the world. ;)

On to the menu plan! I did a lot of cooking on Sunday, including making a pot of soup for my lunches this week - Pasta e Fagoili! Yum! I also cooked some meals for some friends who are in some crisis situations and need someone to make sure they are eating. We do have some nights where we are forced to eat out again, but at least we will get a few home-cooked meals. The new one on the menu for this week is Baked Spaghetti Casserole. I made it ahead of time for later in the week (plus an extra for a friend), and it looks great. I'll post pictures later. Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas, go to Enjoy and have a great week!

Sunday -Homemade Pizza (was going to be Pizza Pot Pies, but no time), Salad
Monday -Crockpot Roasted Chicken (made ahead), Crockpot Mac & Cheese (made ahead), Green Beans, Salad
Tuesday -Eat out (family reading night and cross country meet)
Wednesday -Baked Spaghetti Casserole (made ahead), Salad, Garlic Muffins (made ahead)
Thursday -Leftovers
Friday -Eat out (halftime performance)
Saturday -Eat at band contest
This is a new family favorite. Corey says it's like spaghetti and lasagna all in one, therefore the recipe title. This is a great one to make ahead of time and freeze, and then bake it later in the week for dinner.

1 lb Honeysuckle White Turkey Breakfast Sausage
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 26 oz can Hunts Garlic and Herb Pasta Sauce
1 4 oz can no salt added tomato sauce
1 t. parsley
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
1 box Ronzoni Smart Taste spaghetti noodles
1 c. fat free cottage cheese
3 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 c. grated reduced fat grated Parmesan cheese topping
4 oz. shredded low fat Mozzarella

1. In a large skillet, brown sausage with onion and garlic. Drain. Stir in pasta sauce and seasonings. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Set aside.

2. While sauce is simmering, cook spaghetti al dente, according to package directions. Drain.

3. In a blender, puree the cottage cheese, cream cheese, egg, and Parmesan cheese until smooth.

4. In a large bowl, stir together the cheese mixture and spaghetti noodles until well mixed. Pour into a greased 13×9 casserole dish. Spoon the meat sauce on top of the spaghetti and cover with shredded cheese.

5. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden.

This will remind you of the rotisserie chickens you get at the grocery store. By cooking it on your own, you can flavor it to your own taste.

One whole chicken
olive oil
seasoning of your choice
one lemon


Remove giblets from chicken. Rinse inside and outside of chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Rub chicken with olive oil and season to your liking (I used a little sea salt, some poultry seasoning, and some fresh rosemary).

Place chicken  in crockpot. Cut the lemon in half, squeeze some of the juice over the chicken, and place the lemon halves inside the chicken. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4 hours. The chicken will release a lot of juices, so if you have a rack that fits in your crockpot, you can place it on the rack to elevate it a little. you can also place it on some aluminum foil balls to elevate it if you wish. Remove and discard the lemon when the chicken is finished cooking.