Monday, February 22, 2010

2-21-10 Menu and TJs favorites

Our dinner menu this week is as follows:

Sun- broccoli chicken casserole, green salad from Mom n Dad's garden (so awesome), rolls, texas sheet cake for friend Joy's 90th birthday. It had 90 candles- they were all lit and it was quite a sight!
M- chili, cornbread, green salad
T- chicken caesar sandwiches, and possibly corn on the cob, or a giant caramel apple to celebrate the removal of my braces. Woo-hoo!!
W- stir fry
F- cold cereal? I dunno, I think five real dinners in a week is pretty OK. I'll call it good til next week.
Sat- see Friday

And for Kristen, our one reader, a Trader Joe's favorites list! As soon as I finish typing this out, I am out the door to pay Joe a visit to do my shopping for the week. Hope this helps get you started. I think you're gonna like their stuff- let me know. :)

To-Try at Trader Joe's

vanilla almond granola
greek yogurt- I like the honey flavor
pizza dough
spaghetti and pizza sauces
BBQ sauce (Kansas Style Bold and Smoky)
all their salad dressings
NY cheesecake
vanilla Joe-Joe's cookies
chocolate covered pretzels
spinach salad kit
ABC cookies
frozen orange chicken
snacks: TJ brand cheetos, chips and crackers
frozen fruits and veggies- very yummy
McCann's quick-cooking oatmeal
cornbread mix

I also get a lot of staples there: my butter, canned beans, nuts, oils and such. They also have beautiful cheap flowers and always fun seasonal items to try. Don't miss the taste-testing at the back of the store. The only thing I don't love is their bread section. Their baguettes and other fresh baked stuff is good, but all the sliced packaged breads I've tried I haven't been thrilled with. I think it's because they aren't chock full of preservatives and they go stale fast. Same goes for the tortillas- you have to use them that day or maybe the next, but they'll go bad quick.

Feel free to add your favorite TJ's items in the comments. And Joe, you're welcome for the free advertising.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Honey Yogurt Waffles

It's been a long while since we've had waffles at our house. I've gotten pretty good at pancakes and the kids love them; but when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make them. They are so light and fluffy- the addition of yogurt is divine!


  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats (not quick oats)
  • 2 tsp. double-acting baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Maple syrup or honey for serving


Preheat a waffle iron. If you want to hold the finished waffles until serving time, preheat an oven to 200°F.

Melt the butter; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, honey, eggs and vanilla until very well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Fold in the melted butter.

Lightly butter or spray the grids of the waffle iron, if needed. Brush or spray the grids again only if subsequent waffles stick.

Spoon out a hefty 1/2 cup of batter onto the hot iron. Use a metal spatula or wooden spoon to spread the batter evenly over the grids. Close the lid and bake until the waffle is golden and set. Serve the waffles immediately or keep them, in a single layer, on a rack in the preheated oven while you make the rest.

Serving: Serve the waffles hot with a topping of maple syrup or honey. These are also good with applesauce, jam or fruit-flavored syrups. For a real change, think about serving these as the "bread" for a tuna salad sandwich: Leave out the cinnamon in the recipe, spread each waffle with a thin layer of mustard, fill with lettuce, tomato and tuna salad, and serve the sandwiches with carrot and celery sticks. They're great for lunch.
Makes about six 6 1/2-inch round waffles.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies

This recipe comes courtesy of Martha Stewie- from her orange baking handbook. Tasty, tasty, tasty. They are delish plain, but in my opinion, even a little better topped with lemon curd. Stephmodo has some great tips on other ways to use the stuff. I've made my own lemon curd a couple times, and it is wonderful. But I will also say that Trader Joe's jarred lemon curd is very comparable.

Give yourself enough time when you make these. They aren't hard, they just take a bit of time with the shaping and par-baking and such. And they are so worth it.

Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies

4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1/2 C. sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp. sour cream
1/8 tsp. vanilla
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
2 C. all purpose flour

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on med speed til light and fluffy. Add 1/4 C. sugar and a pinch of salt, and beat another minute. Add one egg yolk, sour cream, and vanilla. Beat til smooth. Transfer to small bowl, and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 350, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and remaining 1/4 C. sugar on med speed til well combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and egg yolk, beat to combine. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, mixing just til combined.

Shape level Tablespoons of dough into balls, and place on prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Using your thumb or similarly shaped utensil, make an indentation in the center of each ball. Bake 10 minutes, remove from oven and make indentations again. Rotate sheets, return to oven and bake til edges turn golden, 7-9 minutes more. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

Using small teaspoon, fill the center of each cookie with about 1 tsp. cream cheese filling, mounding it slightly. Return cookies to oven, and bake til filling is firm, 7-8 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Refrigerate in an airtight container, layered between waxed paper at least 4 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated overnight as well. Bring to room temp for about 20 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Menu, 2-14-10

I am just now trying to get my act together and planning a menu for the week. Here goes:

Sun- we had pot roast, mashed potatoes, Emma's YUMMY rolls, green salad, steamed veggies, and layered strawberry shortcake, which was divine.

M- Papa Johns. Ham and Pineapple to be exact.

T- dinner at our brother and sis-in-laws' house. I'm bringing strawberry spinach salad.

F- taco soup

Sat- still thinking. Steak?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ambitious Heart Cake

Holy smokes, this is impressive. Love it! Lots more pictures and instructions here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Minestrone Soup

This soup is tasty and chock full of good-for-ya. Recipe from friend Laurel Anne.

Minestrone Soup

1 T. olive oil
3 carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 quarts chicken broth
1 tsp. each dried basil, oregano, and thyme
3 zucchini, chopped
1 bag baby spinach
1 20-oz can tomato puree
1 20-oz can kidney beans, rinsed
2 C. fresh cheese tortellini

In large pot, saute olive oil, carrots, celery and garlic for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add chicken broth and spices. Bring to a slow boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook as tortellini pkg directs. Salt and pepper to taste and top with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

Monday, February 8, 2010

French Dip Sandwiches

These were a household hit last week. The ciabatta rolls I got from Wildflower Bread Co.- they were perfect for this sammy.

French Dip Sandwiches

1 3-lb. beef roast
2 T. olive oil
S & P
1 packet lipton onion soup mix
2 C. water
2 cans beef broth
ciabatta rolls
sliced provolone or swiss cheese

Season roast well with salt and pepper. Sear in oil in large pan over med-high heat, just a couple minutes on each side. Place roast in crockpot, add soup mix, water and broth. Cover and cook for about 10 hours on low. When sufficiently tender, shred beef. Arrange shredded beef on rolls and top with cheese. Broil in oven for just a minute or two- you can't watch too carefully. Ladle juices into small cups for dipping. Oh so good.

Menu, 2-7-10

This week for dinner at our house:

Sun- breakfast for din: hashbrown quiche, winter fruit salad, biscuits and gravy, cinnamon rolls

M- minestrone soup

T- Ikea cafeteria... the pasta and veggies with white sauce- yum yum

Th- wedding dinner (Tia Rosa's. Delish)

F- wedding reception

Sat- I am going to try Pioneer Woman's braised short ribs and polenta. It looks very very promising. Happy (almost) Valentines Day!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Maple-glazed Salmon

We're not really a fish or seafood kind-a-family, but I'll have to say, this is one recipe I like alot. And that's good because my husband went fishing in Alaska and brought back lots of salmon. It's a really easy dish and if you already like fish, then I promise you'll love this!

Maple-glazed Salmon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound salmon
  1. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.
  2. Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Culinary Dropout

Chris and I got to be some of the first diners at the newest Fox restaurant over the weekend, Culinary Dropout. It was an outstanding meal, and here were a few of our favorite things:

The Chandeliers. SO huge and fun.

The a la carte starter menu. At our server's suggestion, we tried the Champignon Montagnolo cheese, the Culatello prosciutto, grilled asparagus, and crusty bread with olive oil. Fabulous, every last one. I will go back just for this part of the menu.

We each got a house salad, which was really great. The dressing was light and tasty.

The only thing we ordered that we didn't love was the pork ribs, which was surprising because they've received rave reviews so far. We thought they were on the tough side and too fatty. We just love our Charlestons ribs and have yet to find better. The fries and coleslaw were delish.

We ended with the apple monkey bread. A cross between apple pie and a cinnamon roll, ice cream on the side. Crazy good stuff.

Have a look at the menu- lotsa tasty options. We will be back.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chocolate marble cookies

Discovered this recipe a while back on This Week for Dinner, and have loved it ever since. Many recipe requests wherever I take them. The idea is a chocolate chip cookie dough, but instead of the chocolate chips mixed in as is, you melt them first and swirl the two together... thus the marbling. Plus the dough has cream cheese in it. So good.

Chocolate Marble Cookies

- 1/2 C sugar
- 1/2 C packed brown sugar
- 1/2 C butter, softened
- 3 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 t. vanilla
- 2 C all purpose flour
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1 C semisweet chocolate ships, melted and slightly cooled

Heat oven to 350F. In large mixing bowl combine sugars, butter, cream cheese, egg and vanilla. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms. Fold melted chips into dough until lightly marbled. (do not overmix). Drop dough by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 mins, or until edges are light golden brown. Cool completly before storing.

Menu, 2-1-10

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day... Happy Groundhog Day everyone. I personally, have never celebrated the day, but if I did, I would surely start out with these pancakes found at Gourmet Mom on the Go. They crack me up.

I've got a confession... last week was a stressful one round our house (potty training) and we ended up eating out more nights than not. We are getting back on track this week with this menu:

Sun- Hawaiian chicken, spinach salad, creamsicle Jell-o salad, parmesan broccoli, and cheesecake thumbprint cookies

M- chicken and noodles, from Pioneer Woman

T- BBQ pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, green beans with almonds and parsley

W- taco salad

Th- French dip sandwiches, coleslaw

Sat- only time will tell, that is a whole 6 days away