Tag Archives: dinner

Thanksgiving Menu 2013

25 Nov

It’s that time of year again, and I’m excited to cook up a big meal!  Of course, it’s most likely just going to be my little family of 4, but we will still go through the leftovers in no time!  This year, I am planning on having:

  • Turkey: I got a 13.5 pound turkey for $0.49/pound from Safeway.  It was a Personalized Deal from their Just for U program, that if I spent $25, I got an 8-24 pound turkey for $0.49/pound.  I also got a 12 pound turkey from Fry’s, it was $0.79/pound when I spent $25.  The first turkey is already in the refrigerator thawing, the second turkey is in my deep freeze to eat at another time.  If you have questions about thawing your turkey, the USDA has good information here.
  • Mashed potatoes: I splurged and got gold potatoes for our mashed potatoes this year.  They weren’t on sale like russet potatoes were, but I really prefer gold potatoes.  I will leave the skins on, and prepare them like this: http://wp.me/p1ORT6-2z
  • Bread and Celery dressing: My absolute favorite!  The last couple of years I used a loaf of bread to make the dressing, but this year I will be “cheating” and bought a box of Mrs. Cubbison’s to cut down on prep time a little.  We’ll see if it measures up to my regular recipe: http://wp.me/p1ORT6-bt
  • Wild Rice and Sausage dressing: I went back and forth on making this dish this year.  However, since I have a lot of breakfast sausage in my freezer from Zaycon Foods and wild rice was on sale at Safeway, I decided it was making the list.  This is a recipe I got from my aunt, and it has been in close competition with bread and celery dressing as my favorite dish: http://wp.me/p1ORT6-bp
  • Green Bean Casserole: I will be using green beans from my freezer that were fresh green beans from a Market on the Move event earlier this year.  I will also not be using a can of cream of mushroom soup, I will be making my own creamy soup base with cut up mushrooms.  I’m undecided on the onions, I may use fresh, diced onion in place of the French’s fried onions.  It won’t have the crunch on top like with the fried onions, though.  Stay tuned for the results!
  • Cranberry sauce: Last year was my first year making cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries, and I have some in my freezer, so I will be making it again!  I don’t know what took me so long to finally make it, although I may substitute honey for the sugar in it this year: http://wp.me/p1ORT6-zh
  • Dinner Rolls:  I’m horrible at baking (I blame the altitude), so I bought brown and serve rolls from Safeway.
  • Sweet Potato Pie: Yes, different from the traditional pumpkin pie, but delicious in its own right: http://wp.me/p1ORT6-bD  Which reminds me, I better remember to thaw the pie crust!

So, what is on your menu for this year?

Crunchy Cod

30 Mar


Since we got a lot of cod recently from a Zaycon Foods event, I have been coming up with different ways to use it.  My usual standby for white fish like cod is Fish Tacos, but I needed something different.  My husband isn’t thrilled with breaded fish normally, but I wted to make something my kids wouldn’t immediately turn their noses up at.  Turns out my husband really liked it, and my kids at least tried some, but weren’t overly crazy about it.  And I thought it was really good as well.  What I like about this is that it can be versatile.  I used Italian dressing, but I think it would be good with ranch dressing as well.  I used Panko, but regular or seasoned bread crumbs would work, or you could crush stuffing mix to use.  I like when I can easily substitute what I have on hand.  Tonight, I served it with Roasted Asparagus.


Crunchy Cod 

What you need:

1/4 cup Italian or ranch salad dressing
2 cups bread crumbs (Panko, seasoned, or crushed stuffing mix)
1 pound cod fillet, cut into smaller pieces
Olive oil

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.

Dip each piece of cod in the salad dressing, then in the bread crumbs to fully coat.  Place on baking sheet, and generously spray each with olive oil.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until flaky.  For best results, flip each piece of cod over halfway through cooking.

Ultimate Chicken Fingers and Green Beans with Cherry Tomatoes

28 Mar

I had a bag of Zaycon Foods chicken I had kept in the refrigerator instead of the freezer, and I was having trouble deciding how to cook it.  On Sunday, my girls wanted pancakes, so while I was making them using Bisquick, a recipe on the box for Ultimate Chicken Fingers caught my attention, and I decided that would be how I would cook the chicken.  Then, this week I received green beans and cherry tomatoes from Bountiful Baskets, and I thought they would make a nice side for the chicken fingers.  So, here are the recipes for both!


Ultimate Chicken Fingers
Based on recipe here

What you need:

2/3 cup Bisquick mix
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt or garlic salt (I used garlic salt)
1/2 teaspoon paprika (I didn’t use paprika)
3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
1 egg, slightly beaten
Olive oil
How to make it:
Preheat oven to 450 F.  Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with cooking spray.
Mix Bisquick mix, Parmesan cheese, salt and paprika in 1-gallon plastic zipper bag. Dip half the chicken strips into the beaten egg; place in bag of Bisquick mixture. Seal bag; shake to coat. Place chicken on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken. Spray or brush with olive oil.  
Bake 12 to 14 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, until no longer pink in center.
Green Beans with Cherry Tomatoes
Based on recipe here
What you need:
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
2 cups cherry tomato halves
How to make it:
Place green beans in a large saucepan, and add enough water to just cover the green beans.  Cover pan, and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low, and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain off water, and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic salt, pepper and basil. Add tomatoes, and cook stirring gently just until soft. Add green beans, and toss gently to blend.  Cook just another minute or so, then remove from heat.

Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

20 Mar

This is one of my favorite soups.  I haven’t made it for a while, but with the recent cold snap in the weather here, I thought it would be perfect for dinner.  I served it with roast beef and swiss on sourdough melts.  Delicious!

Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana
Serves 8 as a side, 4 as a meal
Original recipes here and here

What you need:

1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons bacon bits, optional
2 cans (or 4 cups) chicken broth (I used my Homemade Chicken Broth)
4 cups water
1 pound potatoes, cut in 1/4 inch round slices
2 cups chopped kale or chard (or another leafy green, like salad savoy)
1 cup heavy whipping cream or half and half

How to make it:

In a large pot, break up and brown sausage.  Remove from pot and set aside.  Put onion, garlic, and bacon bits in the pot, cook until they have softened.   Pour in water and chicken broth, then add potatoes.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.  Add sausage, kale and cream or half and half.  Heat through, do not boil.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

20 Mar

I apologize that the pictures doesn’t look more appetizing, but my husband was eager to dig into this!  Neither of us are Irish, but we do like to have corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day.  Best time of year to make it, the ingredients are all cheap at the store!  This is wonderfully easy in the slow cooker, and the taste is amazing!  Of course, you have to somewhat like corned beef and cabbage to fully enjoy it.  The vegetables do get very tender, so make sure that’s what you want.  If you don’t want them as tender, add them about halfway through cooking.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
Original recipe here
Serves 6 – 8 

What you need:

4 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchstick pieces
10 baby red potatoes, quartered (I only had baby butter golds, so that’s what I used)
1 onion, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
4 cups water (I had 2 cups of chicken broth that needed to get used, so I used 2 cups chicken broth, 2 cups water)
1 (4 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet
6 ounces beer, optional
1/2 head cabbage, coarsely chopped

How to make it:

Place the carrots, potatoes, and onion into the bottom of a slow cooker.  Pour in the water, and place the brisket on top of the vegetables.  Pour the beer over the brisket.  Sprinkle the brisket with the spices from the packet.

Cover and cook on low setting for 6 – 7 hours.   Stir in the cabbage and cook for 1/2 to 1 hour more.

Garlic Butter Shrimp

2 Mar

This meal is so easy.  Sometimes, I add some fresh or dried parsley, but decided to skip it this time.  I served this over white rice, but it would be good over wild or brown rice too.  Or, you could serve it over pasta of your choice.  I’ve served it over angel hair pasta, and they went really well together.  A vegetable like broccoli, asparagus, or green beans goes well with this.

Garlic Butter Shrimp
Recipe found here

What you need:

1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
2 cloves garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried parsley, optional (or 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped)
Hot cooked rice, about 2 cups

How to make it:

In a large skillet, saute the shrimp and garlic in butter for 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Add the lemon juice and parsley, if using; heat through. Serve with rice.

Classic Pizza Margherita with Sausage

1 Mar

Back in January, I talked about a Johnsonville Pizza Possibilities House Party I had won a while back.  This pizza recipe is another recipe from the book that came in the party box.  I used some fresh spices, red onion, and tomatoes I had gotten from Bountiful Baskets to make this.  It was very good, a lot of sausage, but I think it’s one of those recipes you can add more or less sausage to.

Classic Pizza Margherita with Sausage
Original recipe found here 

What you need:

1 package (19 oz.) Johnsonville Mild Italian Sausage Links
1 package pizza dough crust mix, prepared according to package instructions for the dough
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1 tablespoon oregano
Sea salt and pepper
8 Roma tomatoes, sliced (divided-save 10 slices for the top)
1/2 medium red onion, minced
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Fontina cheese, shredded (I didn’t have these cheese, so I didn’t use it)
10 fresh basil leaves, divided
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

How to make it:

Put oven rack on lowest shelf and preheat to 425 F.
Lightly oil a pizza pan. Roll out dough as thin as possible. Let rest 10 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil and cook sausage until browned.  Always cook sausage to internal temperature of 160°F.  Remove from pan and slice.
In the same pan, cook onion and parsley to golden, then stir in garlic and oregano for a few seconds.  Add tomatoes to pan, crushing them as they are mixed (do not substitute crushed tomatoes). Boil, stirring 5 minutes or until thick.
Spread sauce over crust, sprinkle with half the basil, Mozzarella, Fontina, sausage, and the remaining slices of tomatoes. Spray with olive oil.  Sprinkle generously with pepper, then with a little sea salt.
Bake for 10 minutes.  Using a spatula and an oven mitt, slip the pizza off the pan directly onto the oven rack, bake for two minutes.  Slip pizza back onto pan, remove from oven.  Or, I just baked for 12 minutes on the pan.
Sprinkle with the remaining fresh basil and Parmesan cheese, cut and serve.

Zaycon Foods Salmon

28 Feb


Tonight we tried out the Zaycon Foods salmon we recently bought.  It was very, very good salmon, better than any I have bought in the store.  I first cut the salmon fillet into 5 smaller pieces.  Then, I sprayed them with olive oil, and sprinkled with garlic salt and lemon pepper seasoning.


Then, I heated up our George Foreman grill and cooked the pieces.  It doesn’t take long until they are done.  We all enjoyed this salmon, even my kids!  I’m thinking about how I will make the next one.

Shrimp & Broccoli Alfredo

26 Feb

Tonight I used the first of the Zaycon Foods seafood that I got recently, 1 pound of the white shrimp.  The shrimp is deveined and fully cooked, so I just thawed it by running cold water over it, then removed the tails.  I made some Alfredo Sauce using fresh garlic and parsley from the Italian themed veggie pack from Bountiful Baskets, added in the shrimp at the end, along with some broccoli from Bountiful Baskets that I had steamed.  It was very good.  The shrimp was very tasty, nice large, quality shrimp.  I served it over thin spaghetti, but the shrimp and broccoli with sauce was enough to eat just on its own, without noodles.  I will probably try a Garlic Butter Shrimp next, or maybe something with the cod.  So nice to have some seafood in the freezer to use for meals!

Chicken Marsala

24 Feb

This wasn’t in the original meal plan for this week, but since I wasn’t feeling well earlier this week, I fell behind in cooking and had some things I needed to get cooked before they went bad.  So, I decided to make Chicken Marsala, something we haven’t had in a while.  For the sides, I steamed my last bunch of asparagus and made mashed potatoes with a partial bag of potatoes I had left.  Since I have herbs from the Italian themed veggie pack, I added crushed fresh garlic and minced fresh rosemary to the mashed potatoes.  It was a nice addition.  I also got to use the fresh herbs in the Chicken Marsala.

Chicken Marsala
Based on recipes here and here 

What you need:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
8 oz package mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup marsala wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

Pound chicken to 1/4 inch thickness.  Mix together flour and oregano, and fully coat chicken with this mixture.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add chicken and cook until no longer pink.

To the skillet, add and melt butter.  Add mushrooms, wine, parsley, and rosemary.   Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover, and cook for 5 minutes.  Flip chicken over, cover again, and cook for another 5 minutes.  Remove cover and simmer until sauce has reduced by half.

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