Friday, March 30, 2012

Menu Plan April 2-6

The theme this week is chicken! I seem to be craving chicken because every recipe this week involves chicken! I scoured pineterest this week for some excellent chicken recipes and it did not disappoint. I am so excited to try out these five totally NEW recipes (to me)!!

I have combined some grilling this week with some semi-comfort food. It is still cold outside but I am dying to get that grill going. If it is too cold or rainy I will use my grill pan. If you don't have a grill pan and you live in Buffalo you NEED one. It recreates the grill look and taste indoors. I love mine and use it all the time!

If you like these recipes and give them a try, be sure to let me know. Also, please tell your friends about my blog. My goal is 50 LIKES on my Facebook page, so spread the word! You can also press the share button in the top left corner to share this menu plan on Facebook or Twitter. THANKS!! :)

April 2-April 6

Monday: Honey Lime Chicken

This recipe is for a simple marinade that sounds delicious. I like when my chicken is full of flavor. I would pair this meal with some brown rice and some grilled or steamed vegetables.

This marinade and photo are from The Enchanted Cook.

Tuesday: Easy Chicken Gyros

This recipe and photo is from one of my favorite blogs called Lovely Little Snippets.

Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes

These look so delicious and I think the kids will love the idea that they are "cupcakes". I recently also found organic condensed soup, that made me happy to again use creamed condensed soup for recipes!

This website had a wonderful step-by-step tutorial on how to make these. Check it out at Quick Dish.

Thursday: Healthy Sesame Chicken

I am excited to try this healthy version of sesame chicken. It looks delicious and I can't wait to give this take-out alternative a try.

I found this recipe and photo at The Way to His Heart.

Friday: Chile Lime Chicken Burgers

This recipe screams summer, but I think we will speed things up and have it now. I would probably make two separate burgers. One that followed this recipe and one a little milder for the kiddos. YUMMY!!

This is from a wonderful new (new-to-me) blog I found, Iowa Girl Eats.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Menu Plan March 26-30

The weather was absolutely amazing last week. The change to warm weather also changed my taste in food. Instead of casseroles and comfort food, I am craving fresh, light food!

This week I looked to my favorite magazine Cooking Light for some inspiration. The meals always are tasty and for the most part are easy recipes that do not take a lot of time to prepare. I decided to include 3 recipes from Cooking Light this week that I have used over and over and always are delicious.

The other two recipes this week are brand new to me and I am very excited to give them a try!

A note about last week: If you haven't tried the Taco Casserole it is a MUST try. It is so easy and sooooo tasty. The kids ate every last drop and asked for more! Give it a try if you haven't already!

Monday: Grilled Zucchini Caprese Sandwich

These sandwiches are so easy and they taste so fresh! This is a wonderful vegetarian meal that will not leave you hungry!

Picture and recipe source: Cooking Light

Tuesday: Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Alfredo

This is a new recipe for me, but I am excited to give it a try. I might cheat a little and buy the jar of roasted red peppers. I will just have to see how adventurous I feel! :)

Picture and recipe by Lauren's Latest along with a very detailed step by step.

Wednesday: Pepper Jack, Chicken and Peach Quesadillas 

This recipe is from Cooking Light and is a tried and true. It is really a summer dish for when the peaches are ripe and juicy. But we have had it off season too and it is still delicious. We have even subbed mango for peach when no good peaches are available. Also if your children don't like "spicy" cheese, you can use Colby Jack instead!

Picture and Source: Cooking Light

Thursday: Buffalo Chicken Strips with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

These are so easy and so delicious. Especially if I am craving the fried counterpart. The dressing is even healthier since you are making it yourself. Of course you could skip that step and just buy your favorite brand too!

Picture and Source: Cooking Light

Friday: Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Quinoa

This is also a new recipe to me, but looks so amazing. The blackened seasoning might be a little much for the kids so I would probably cook a few pieces without the seasoning, but keep everything the same for us!

This wonderful recipe (and picture) I found at Sarcastic Cooking. I can't wait to try it!

I hope you like this week's menu and if you try anything please leave a comment!!
Also tell you friends about my blog and Facebook page!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Felt Button Barrettes

I am so excited to have the time to do some little projects that I never...I repeat NEVER would have had time for if I was working. I feel accomplished and happy to do these cute crafty things!

I have been seeing so many felt flower necklaces and felt flower pins everywhere I wanted to try and make some barrettes for Daiya. When I went to Joann's I found the cutest felt buttons instead!!

These were really easy to make and once I did them I realized there are really endless possibilities when hot glueing stuff to barrettes. I can't wait to try something else!

Here are the steps I used:

1. I bought these clips and these felt buttons:

2. While I warmed up my hot glue gun, I sanded off a little bit of the finish on the barrettes. I thought this would help with the "grip" of the hot glue.

3. I glued the buttons on, layering colors and sizes.

That's it! So easy and so cute!

Daiya does not look happy in this picture, but it was probably the tenth one I took! :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Menu Plan March 19-23

I must be craving mexican food, because two of this week's meals have similar flavors. I was thinking maybe I should put in something more "different" but I really want both of them, so they stayed!

I can't believe the weather we are having already this spring! So I am also really excited to uncover the grill and get grilling!! So I had to include one grilling recipe this week to get things started. More grilling to come.

I hope you try out some of these meals and let me know what you think!!

Monday: Taco Casserole

Recipe: Taco Casserole


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 envelope of taco seasoning
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup sour cream (light sour cream works perfectly)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese 
  • 2 cups crushed tortilla chips 
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) grated Monterey Jack cheese (or whatever cheese you have on hand)
  • (Variations: You could add minced garlic, chopped peppers, tomatoes, and various shredded garden veggies to make it a really healthy option, along with the addition of black beans.)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a skillet, brown the beef, drain off extra fat; remove from heat. 
  3. Add onion, garlic powder, taco seasoning mix, and tomato sauce to beef; mix and set aside.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese; set aside.
  5. Place half the crushed chips in the bottom of a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish that has been coated with a nonstick vegetable spray.
  6. Add enough meat mixture to cover the chips, then cover the meat with half of the sour cream mixture.
  7. Sprinkle with half the grated cheese. Repeat layers.
  8. Bake uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, until cheese melts and casserole is heated through.
For a healthier, lower fat option, substitute the ground beef with a ground turkey. Use low fat sour cream or only lower fat cottage cheese and add the veggie options mentioned above.
Preparation time: 10 minutes 
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Tuesday: Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Caution...These are addicting! They can be a little time consuming to assemble. But they make a ton and they are delicious! The link below has a really detailed step by step picture gallery. I hope you give them a try!

Wednesday: Spicy Bean and Rice Burritos

My husband does not like this may be a hard sell. I think what I will do is cook some chicken and give the family the option for beans or no beans! I can't wait to give this recipe a try!!

This yummy recipe is from a blog called...are you ready... A Bitchin' Kitchen...LOVE it!

Thursday: The BEST Pork Chops EVER!

This recipe is similar to the chicken recipe I tried a few weeks ago and is so good. If you are not a fan of pork chops you could easily swap chicken instead. 

Find the recipe for this gem here.

Friday: Chicken and Shrimp Kabobs

There is no real recipe that I follow for kabobs. Here are the general steps I follow:

1. Cut the chicken into bit size pieces. Marinate the chicken and the shrimp in italian dressing for a 2-3 hours or overnight. 

2. While the chicken and shrimp marinade, I soak my wooden skewers in water to prevent scorching on the grill.

3. I then chop any vegetable I plan on having. I chop them in large pieces so they stay crisp and do not fall off the skewer as they cook. I like to use red and yellow peppers, but the possibilities are endless. 
I do not put the vegetables and the meat on the same skewer! They take different amounts of time to cook and I don't like the vegetables to burn. Some people love the idea of having everything on one stick, so if that is your thing, go for it!

4. I assemble skewers with only one thing on each skewer. For example, I have one solid chicken skewer, one shrimp one and one veggie one. 

5. Spritz the grill first with non stick spray or olive oil and then heat the grill to medium heat (about 5 minutes or so). 

6. Place the chicken skewers on first since they take the longest to cook. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the chicken no longer has any pink.

7. Place the shrimp and veggie skewers on about halfway through the chicken cooking time  and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the shrimp are completely pink. The veggies are more of personal preference. I like mine crispy so I only leave them on while the shrimp cooks. 

I serve these skewers with brown rice and they are so delicious! Happy Grilling!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Menu Board

As I mentioned before, planning my meals is something I look forward to each week. I truly believe it helps tremendously with grocery shopping and makes the week run smoother knowing I have all the food I need for each meal during the week. I have been seeing a lot of different menu boards out there on Pinterest and other blogs. I love the idea of the menu board and wanted to make one for my kitchen. So I set off to find the perfect board and I think I did!! 
Here is how I made mine:

First, I found this amazing dry erase board at Target. It is canvas that is covered with a clear coat which allows it to be dry earsable. I LOVE the colors and the look of the board.

Next, I printed the letters to stand for each day of the week. I printed them on card stock so they would hold up a little better. Then I cut them with my circle scrapbooking tool.

Last,  I adhered the days onto the dry erase board.

Viola! My own menu board!

I hung it right below the calendar and right above the kid's chore charts. 

So easy and so fun!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Menu Plan March 12-16

Menu for March 12-16

It is so exciting to hear people tell me that they have tried a recipe from my blog or one I have found online. I love to cook and plan meals, but I know not everyone does. I hope this helps those of you who hate it and inspires those of you who love it.

I love trying a new recipe and then tasting it for the first time. But my absolute favorite part is when other people try it and really enjoy it. That is when I feel the most thrilled with a new recipe. Most of the time my husband is the only one I have telling me whether it is good or not, but now I have all of you. So if you try a recipe, let me know!!

Monday: Salad Bar with homemade croutons

I got the idea to have a salad bar for dinner from a website called Super Healthy Kids. I modified the toppings to fit our personal likes. We had so much fun making the homemade croutons and the kids loved choosing their own toppings! Daiya loved it so much she requested we have it again this week. She said, "Mom could we have salad for dinner, ya know JUST salad! I loved that mom!" Who doesn't want to hear their 4 year old say that?!

Here is what we had at our salad bar:
garbanzo beans
peas (I know, I know, but I love them!)
homemade croutons

I put each item in a separate bowl and then let the family top their own lettuce with whatever they want. Since Cole doesn't like lettuce at all he just filled his plate with toppings! Of course you can come up with any toppings that you and your family like. It did dirty a lot of dishes, but the amount of vegetables consumed was amazing and well worth it!

Tuesday: Meatball Sliders with Basil Pesto

I am drooling just thinking about this recipe! I found this gem over at Annie's Eats! Annie makes her own sauce and her own pesto, but I would feel no shame in buying both of those. In fact if you were really busy just by some meatballs pre made and put these beauties together. Either way I am longing to have them RIGHT NOW! :)

Wednesday: Fettucini with peas, asparagus and pancetta

I love pasta and I could not get through a week without it. So this week I chose a true winner in again another recipe from Annie's Eats

Thursday: Ricotta, Spinach and Red Pepper Pizza

I cannot get enough of my latest pizza invention. It is the kind of pizza that is actually heavy in your hands, but it tastes so fresh and light.

Ricotta, Spinach and Red Pepper Pizza

1 whole wheat crust 
3/4 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 clove of garlic minced
2 giant handfuls of fresh spinach, roughly chopped (I know this is more of a Rachel Ray measurement, but you can adjust based on how much you like spinach)
1/2 jar of roasted red peppers drained and chopped
1 1/2-2 cups shredded pizza mix cheese (mozzarella, provolone, parmesan)
3 tablespoons olive oil (divided 2 + 1)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large frying pan heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic and saute for 1 minute.
Add in spinach and red peppers and saute until the spinach is wilted.
In a small bowl, mix the ricotta and the spinach/pepper mixture together.
Spread the reserved tablespoon of olive oil onto the pizza crust.
Spread the ricotta mixture onto the crust. Try and make it as thin and even as possible.
Top with the shredded pizza cheese.
Bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes or until the bottom of the curst is browned.

Friday: Coconut Shrimp with Jasmine Rice

I made these yummy shrimp a few weeks ago for the first time. They are delicious and much healthier than their fried counterparts! My one recommendation is that you line the pan with foil or parchment paper. These can get messy!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Garden Shower Favors

Last weekend we had a surprise shower at my house for my aunt. Well, it turned out she already knew...but the party was a huge success anyway.
We wanted the party to have a garden theme since my aunt loves to garden.
I made these quick and easy favors that I thought I would share with you.

You will need: 
small clay pots
packets of seeds
velum circles (I found at Joann's in the bridal section)
small card stock circles (I also found at Joann's in the card making section)
"Thank you" stamp
ink pad 

To make the favor I first stamped all the circles and cut the length of ribbon. I put the ribbon through the pre-punched hole. Then I carefully folded the seed packet twice, once vertically and once horizontally. Then I placed the folded see bag in the center of the velum and pulled it closed at the top. Finally I tied the ribbon with the tag already attached to make a bow. I place the velum/seed baggie in the clay pot.

I also made these rainbow fruit skewers. Super easy and look pretty impressive!

My best friend Kate made these beautiful cupcakes.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More Dr. Suess Fun

I just can't get enough of the fun Dr. Seuss projects out there!  We made this really cute Cat and the Hat project.

You will need a paper plate, two googly eyes, a pom pom for the nose, strips of black construction paper for the whiskers and two triangles of construction paper for the ears, one piece of round white paper for the face, one hat cut out (from white card stock) and four strips of red paper for the hat.

Here are the steps:

  1. Paint the edge of the paper plate black. We used the back since our plate had a design on the front.
  2. While that dried we assembled the face. Daiya used marker to draw the tongue and the mouth. 
  3. Glue the face onto the paper plate.
  4. Glue the red strips on the hat to make it look just like The Cat's.
  5. Finally tape, glue or staple the hat to the plate. I used heavy duty packing tape and it help up well.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Menu Plan March 5-9

Here is the menu plan for the week!

Monday: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

I have seen many recipes for pulled pork that have a can of soda, so this week I am giving it a try. I have read that the soda helps to tenderize the meat. I have seen some recipes that use root beer or Dr. Pepper, but this week I decided to use our new favorite natural soda. The soda is called Zevia and is a cola flavor. What is great about this soda is it is sweetened with stevia instead of sugar.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

1 1/2 - 2 pounds of boneless pork roast
1 can of Zevia soda
1 bottle of BBQ sauce (I prefer Dinosaur BBQ original recipe)

Put all three ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 5-6 hours.

I love to top my pulled pork sandwiches with a slice of extra sharp cheddar cheese. I also choose a roll that is not soft, but crusty and holds up well. 

Tuesday: Mexican Stuffed Shells

This recipe is from The Way To His Heart...

Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad

For the chicken:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips
3/4 cup Frank's hot sauce
1 tablespoon butter

For the salad:
mixed greens or the lettuce of your choice
baby carrots
celery, chopped into small bite size pieces
blue cheese salad dressing (some people prefer ranch)

optional toppings: crumbly blue cheese, tomatoes, onions, or any other vegetable

To prepare the chicken, melt the butter and mix it with the hot sauce. Marinate the chicken in the hot sauce mixture for 1 hour. Using a grill pan, (or the outdoor grill) grill the chicken strips until they are cooked, about 10 minutes.

Prepare your salad and top with grilled chicken. Enjoy!

Thursday: Crispy Cheddar Chicken

This recipe is from Jamie Cooks it Up!

Friday: Pasta with Shrimp and Vodka sauce

I am so excited to give this recipe a try. I have adapted it only by adding shrimp instead of clams. Can't wait for this one!!

The original recipe can be found at Framed Cooks

Have FUN!! As always, let me know if you try any of these recipes and what you think!