This weekend was my weekend to play "personal chef" for my mom. :) She's down to three treatments left! I do enjoy our time together, but it will be nice in the near future when our visits are simply for the purpose of a visit. :) I made a breakfast treat for us this weekend that is definitely worth sharing with you. Now, be sure to note that I said treat. This is not a healthy recipe at all. But is probably the best coffee cake I've ever had. It's amazing when it's warm from the oven, and you can still get the same effect on subsequent days by heating in the microwave for 30 seconds. The next time you are looking for a yummy breakfast cake, be sure to give this Buttery Cream Cheese Coffee Cake a try!

Here's this week's menu. Enjoy and have a great week! Be sure to follow me on Facebook to get fast updates from the blog. :)

Sunday - Oven Roasted Turkey Breast (no recipe - just throw it in the oven and cook it); Day Before Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Salad

Monday - Beef Fajitas (last of my freezer stash), Salad, Strawberries

Tuesday - Meatball Subs, Salad, Peaches

Wednesday - Bourbon Chicken, Rice, Salad, Oranges

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Homemade Pizza, Salad

Saturday - Date Night

For more menu ideas, visit

This is a wonderfully decadent coffee cake. It melts in your mouth and makes you want more. It's definitely a recipe to make for special occasions, though, as it is loaded with butter and sugar (no wonder it tastes so good!). I made it for my mom and me for a breakfast treat today, and we could hardly keep ourselves from going back in the kitchen to eat the whole thing! The next time you need to make a special breakfast or brunch treat, or even for afternoon tea, give this recipe a try. You won't be sorry. :)


1 cup butter (no substitutes)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter (semi-soft)

Set oven to 350 degrees (oven rack set to second-lowest position). Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Cream butter with sugar (about 3-4 minutes), add in eggs and sour cream; beat well (about another 3 minutes). In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture; beat well until combined (batter will be thick). Spread more than half of the batter in the prepared baking pan. In another bowl, cream together all filling ingredients, then carefully spread over the cake batter. Spoon the remaining cake batter over the top of the cheese mixture (it doesn't have to cover the cake batter completely - I just dot tablespoonfuls over the batter using a small cookie scoop). For the topping, mix all ingredients with a pastry blender until crumbly, and sprinkle over cake. Bake for about 50 minutes or until middle feels set and not jiggly.

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Recipe Source- Food dot com
This past week was a tough one for me. I had a TERRIBLE cold and ended up missing the whole week of school, and on top of that, my hubby was in California all week for work. It's never fun to be stuck home alone when you're sick. Luckily, my terrific teenager was here to help me out. The good news is that I think I'm finally on the mend. I was able to get up and around today, wore real clothes instead of PJs, and even ran some errands. I also did some cooking and made a fun breakfast treat for the boy. I even have bread dough rising on the counter ready to make into six lovely loaves of bread Sunday morning. :)

This coming week will keep our family hopping as usual. The hubby has lots of extra work obligations, and my mom's treatment is earlier in the week. But, that is why we meal plan! :) I do have one new chicken dish planned for this week (a super simple one), so look for the photo later. Be sure to check out last week's Parmesan Pork Tenderloin recipe. It was fabulous. Here's this week's menu. Enjoy and have a great week! Be sure to follow me on Facebook to get fast updates from the blog. :)

Sunday - Oven Fried Chicken, Oven Baked Fries, Green Beans, Salad

Monday - Sloppy Joes, Green Beans, Salad, Applesauce

Tuesday - Sweet Italian Chicken Breasts (new), Asparagus, Salad, Peaches

Wednesday - Chicken and Dumpling Casserole, Broccoli, Salad

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Brisket with Burgundy Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Salad

Saturday - Brisket Sandwiches, Salad, Strawberries

For more menu ideas, visit  
I'm not one of the cooks that believes everything should be made from scratch. Sometimes convenience foods can really help you out. One of my favorite quickie desserts involves using a boxed brownie mix. These yummy brownies are always a favorite when I serve them. I got the recipe off the side of a brownie box years ago, but I don't remember which brand. Any kind works, so use your favorite. I usually pick the low fat kind to try to reduce the calories a bit. :)


1 package brownie mix (and whatever ingredients your mix calls for to make the brownies)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup white sugar


Prepare the brownie mix as directed by manufacturer. Preheat oven to temperature indicated on box. Grease a 9x13 inch pan. Spread the brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan. Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, egg and sugar until smooth. Dollop the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter. Swirl together using a knife. Bake according to manufacturer's instructions. Brownies will be done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pan, then cut into bars and serve.
Very tasty soup that is also very healthy! Makes about 10 cups of soup.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion sliced very thin
1 cup barley (I used quick cooking because that's what I had on hand)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 t dried marjoram
16 ounces sliced mushrooms (I used 8 oz. of regular mushrooms and 8 oz. of baby portabellas)
8 cups of fat free reduced sodium beef stock
1 tablespoon sherry
1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 T cornstarch
1/4 cold water

Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions, and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until they start to caramelize. Add the garlic, thyme, marjoram and mushrooms. Sauté for another 3 to 5 minutes.  Add in the sherry and vinegar, and stir to combine. Pour in the broth, add the barley, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add the salt and pepper. Cover the pot and allow the soup to simmer for an hour.  Whisk together the cornstarch and water and add to the soup to slightly thicken the broth.
Here is a fun twist on traditional pancakes and sausage. Even my 17-year-old thought they were fun! These would be great for days when you need a portable breakfast.

1/2 pound Honeysuckle White Turkey Breakfast sausage
1 egg
1 T sugar
1 t vanilla
 2 cups Bisquick Heart Smart mix
1 1/4 cups skim milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the turkey sausage (like you would ground beef) in a medium skillet until done. Drain.

In a small bowl, whisk the vanilla and sugar with the egg. In a large mixing bowl add the Bisquick, milk, and egg mixture. Stir until well blended. Stir in the sausage.

Spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.  Fill each hole with the pancake mixture. Bake for 14 minutes or until done. Remove from pan. Serve with maple syrup for dipping.

Makes 24 mini muffins.

I have another recipe for oven fried chicken that uses Bisquick for the coating, and does not use butter. This one uses butter in the bottom of the pan, which raises the calories, but makes it very flavorful.

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup milk
2 T butter, melted
1 t seasoned salt
1 t black pepper
2 t paprika
1/2 cup flour


Place thawed chicken breasts and milk in a zip top bag. Let soak for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil, and pour melted butter in pan to coat bottom evenly.

Combine seasoned salt, pepper, paprika and flour in a large zip top bag.

Shake excess milk off of chicken, and one at a time, place in bag with seasonings and shake to coat each piece completely with the mix. Place each piece of chicken in the prepared pan.

Bake for 20 minute. Turn each piece of chicken and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 packet of dried Italian dressing mix
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with no-stick spray.

Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towels. Combine the Italian seasoning mix and the brown sugar, and mix well. Place in a shallow dish to allow for dipping the chicken into the mixture.

Press the chicken breasts into the mixture, coating both sides, and place into the prepared pan. Sprinkle any remaining coating over the chicken in the pan.

Bake for 40 minutes or until chicken is done.
This was the most tender pork tenderloin I've ever made. It was simply amazing.

1 boneless whole pork loin roast (4 pounds) or pork tenderloin
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp dried basil
2 Tbsp minced garlic

2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Cut roast/tenderloin in half. Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, honey, soy sauce, basil, and garlic; pour over pork. Cover and cook on low for 5-1/2 to 6 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160° (in my slow cooker, it only took about 4 hours on low).

Remove meat to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer juices to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Slice roast; serve with gravy.

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Recipe adapted from - It's a Keeper
Well, I knew I wouldn't make it the whole school year without catching a cold. It finally got me this weekend. I'm feeling pretty yucky right now, so I'm just going to get right to the menu. Be sure to check out the recipe I posted for Potato Flake Sourdough Bread. It's wonderful! Here's this week's menu. Enjoy and have a great week! Be sure to follow me on Facebook to get fast updates from the blog. :)

Sunday - had to do take-out Chinese - I just feel too yucky to cook
Monday - Crockpot Cowboy Stew, Salad, Peaches

Tuesday - Leftover Stew
Wednesday - Sausage Potato Soup, Salad, Applesauce

Thursday - Leftover soup
Friday - Homemade Pizza, Salad

Saturday - Parmesan Pork Roast (new recipe - will post after cooking), Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Salad

For more menu ideas, visit  
This was my weekend to take care of my mom. While I'm there, I always try to make something to eat that will leave her with leftovers she can eat throughout the coming week when she doesn't feel like cooking. This weekend I made a very hearty soup that was a hit with mom and the boys. :) This makes a huge batch, so be sure to use a big stock pot when you make it.

1 pound lean ground beef (93/7)
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup flour
2 14 oz. cans low fat/low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
5 medium potatoes, cubed (I leave the skin on)
3 medium carrots, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 t dried basil
2 t dried parsley
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t pepper
12 oz. reduced fat Velveeta
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup fat free sour cream

Cook the ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium heat until the beef is cooked through. Drain. Put into a large stock pot. Add the water, celery and carrots to the pot and bring to a boil.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and 1 can of the broth until smooth. Add to the mixture in the pot. Bring back to a boil and stir until thickened.

Add in the potatoes, seasonings, and remaining broth. Turn heat to low and cook covered about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add milk, cubed Velveeta and sour cream to the pot. Stir until cheese is melted. Simmer for 15 more minutes and serve.

Makes about 12 1 cup servings.
Funerals can be sad occasions, but a lot of good comes from them as well. You get to see lots of family and friends that you haven't seen in a long time, you get to share the wonderful memories you have of the deceased person, and you get lots of wonderful food brought to you by people who care about your family. When my dad passed away in May, Mrs. McCaffrey, a lady from my mom's church, brought over some wonderful homemade wheat bread. That may not sound very exciting to some people, but it was the best bread I've had in a long time. I ate a whole loaf on my own! Well, my mom told her how much I loved the bread, so out of the kindness of her heart, she shared her recipe with me and brought over two loaves of bread and some starter this weekend while I was taking care of my mom. And now, I share it with you! :)

Initial Starter (in other words, to make a starter from scratch):
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1 package (2-1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast
3 level Tablespoons instant potato flakes

Starter Feeder:
Put initial starter (1 cup) in refrigerator for 3-7 days. Take out and feed with the following:
3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons instant potatoes
1 cup warm water
(always keep 1 cup of starter)

To Make Bread:
6 cups of bread flour (does not have to be bread flour) (to make wheat bread use 3 cups whole wheat flour and 3 cups bread flour)
1 T salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup starter

First time starter directions:
Mix water, sugar, yeast, and potato flakes. Let ferment on counter for two days. Then feed with starter feeder (below). If you get starter from someone else, you can omit this step. 

Starter Feeder:
Combine 3/4 cup sugar, 3 T instant potatoes, and 1 cup warm water. Add to starter. Let starter stand out of the refrigerator all day or night (8-10 hours). Take one cup to make bread and return the rest to the refrigerator. Keep in refrigerator 3-7 days and take out and feed again. Note - If not baking bread after feeding starter, throw away extra or give away 1 cup to avoid depleting your starter. (You can have up to 1 quart.)

To Make Bread:
In a large bowl make a stiff batter of the flour, salt, sugar, oil, water and starter (I use my dough hook on my Kitchen Aid mixer). Grease a large bowl and put dough in bowl. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let stand in a warm location all day or night (12 hours). Do not refrigerate. After the dough has risen, punch the dough down and knead a little on a floured surface to get rid of air bubbles. Divide dough into three parts and knead each part 8-10 times on a floured surface. Put into three greased pans and brush with oil. Let rise all day or night, covered loosely. Let rise until pan is full (not over sides). Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove and brush with butter.

Cool and wrap in foil. Refrigerate or freeze.

For hot bread at night: Feed starter in the morning, let sit all day. Make bread at night and let sit all night. Knead and place in pans. Let sit all day. Bake bread at night.

For hot bread in morning: Feed starter at night and let sit all night. Make bread next morning and let sit all day. Knead and place in pans. Let sit all night. Bake in morning.

Variation: Roll dough to about 1/2 inch. Spread sugar and cinnamon on it, add nuts or raisins (I would leave those out) and roll it up jelly roll fashion. Bake in a regular loaf pan or cut in wheels to make cinnamon rolls.

What a crazy start to the new year in southwest Missouri! You would think it was spring instead of winter! We had a week of wonderfully warm temperatures this week, which is very unusual for this time of year. Usually we have ice and snow. But, I'm definitely not complaining. The hubby and I took advantage of the nice weather this weekend and went on a hike in Arkansas.

Our busy January schedule hasn't changed like the weather. Lot's of things going on this month, so my meals have to be ones I can make ahead and heat up, and that make lots of leftovers. :) Here's this week's menu. Enjoy and have a great week! Be sure to follow me on Facebook to get fast updates from the blog. :)

Sunday - Cindy's Beef Stew, Salad, Peaches

Monday - Creamy Chicken Breasts, Rice, Spinach, Salad

Tuesday - Leftovers from the previous two nights

Wednesday - "Chunk Free" Chili, Salad, Peaches

Thursday - Boys eat leftovers (I have book club)

Friday - Pizza Biscuit Bake, Green Beans, Salad, Peaches

Saturday - Blue Cheese-Topped Steaks with Marsala Wine Sauce, Green Beans, Salad, Strawberries

For more menu ideas, visit  
Welcome to 2012! It's hard to believe that I'm starting my fifth year of blogging my meal plans. :) I love how my blog holds me accountable for making my meal plan each week. I've always been a meal planner, but since I've starting blogging, I don't let myself off the hook like I might have in the past and skip weeks. Thinking that my readers might be stuck if I didn't post a weekly plan keeps me consistent, and therefore my family eats better. :)

Corey and I have been off of school the last two weeks for Christmas vacation. We enjoyed lots of time with family, but tomorrow it's back to work. January is always a very busy month for our family. We end up with lots of extra work obligations and school activities. Knowing that, I spent some time the last couple of days getting my menus planned for the whole month. It makes me feel much more prepared for the busy weeks ahead.

Here's this week's menu. Enjoy and have a great week! Be sure to follow me on Facebook to get fast updates from the blog. :)

Sunday -Bacon Wrapped Cheesy Chicken Breasts, Green Beans, Salad, Peaches

Monday - Easy Chicken Enchiladas, Salad, Strawberries

Tuesday - Pizza Burgers, Broccoli, Salad, Applesauce

Wednesday -Tuna Noodle Casserole, Green Beans, Salad, Peaches

Thursday -Grilled Chicken Parmesan, Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce, Broccoli, Salad

Friday - Bacon Cheeseburger Pinwheels, Green Beans, Salad, Applesauce

Saturday - Rosemary and Garlic Pork Loin, Accordion Potatoes, Asparagus, Salad

For more menu ideas, visit