Sunday, December 30, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year! Here's the plan for the start of 2008!

Sunday~ Dh's Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, and Green Beans

Monday~New Year's Eve~We'll be attending Mass and then going to a hockey game, so we'll grab a bit to eat at the game. After the game, we'll have kraut and hot dogs and some appetizers.

Tuesday~Happy New Year! Dinner at Mom's~ Pork Roast, Kielbassi, Sauerkraut, Mashed Potatoes and Salad

Wednesday~ Chicken Fingers, Fries and Applesauce

Thursday~Ham Steaks, Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes, Green Beans

Friday~ Pizza and Wing Night

Saturday~Awesome Baked Pork Chops, Angel Hair with Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce, Tossed Salad

Have a happy, healthy, blessed New Year!


Saturday, December 29, 2007

In Memory of Keashia

As many of you know, our dog Keashia, passed on. This is a nice memorial to her through In Memory of Pets.

We miss her.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Dinner Table

Tonight I will be having Christmas Eve dinner at our house for my parents. My brother usually joins us, but he has to work this evening. We will attend Mass and then have a dinner of Lasagna and Veal Cutlets. Here's one of my place settings:

I've been collecting the Winterberry pattern for about 10 years now. The red bowls are not Pfaltzgraff. When I bought them, Pfaltzgraff didn't make a red salad bowl. Now they do, but it's a nice mix.
Merry Christmas!

Visit with Santa

On Saturday evening we visited the light display and Santa at Blue Spruce State Park. It was beautiful, as always, and they even added an entire Frosty section with 18 new displays. We visited Santa in the gift shop before our ride through the park. Dear Daughter loved Santa once she warmed up to him. Dear Son shared his list in about 30 seconds!
Merry Christmas!

Menu Plan Monday, December 24th

Merry Christmas! I'm so happy that Christmas is here! The kids are so excited! Here's my plan for the week:
Sunday~ Steak Salads and Garlic Toast
Monday~Christmas Eve Dinner~ Appetizers: Cheese Ball and Crackets, Fresh Fruit, Keilbassi
Main Dishes: Lasagna, Veal Cutlets, Salad, Homemade Bread,
Dessert: Cream Puffs and Assorted Cookies
Beverages: Coffee, Tea, Wine, Soda
Tuesday~Christmas Day Dinner will be at my parent's house
Wednesday~ Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy and Green Beans
Thursday~ Bourbon Chicken over Rice from Mommy Chef
Friday~ My Homemade Pizza and Breaded Wings for Game Night
Saturday~Whole Chicken, Pasta Salad and Coleslaw
Merry Christmas to All! I am also so thankful for all of you and your sharing of great recipes and menu ideas.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, December 17th

Greetings from Snowy PA!

This is the plan for this very busy week before Christmas. I'm thrilled to be ready in many departments, so that I can focus on family and the true reason for Christmas.

Sunday~ Italian Wedding Soup and Hard Rolls

Monday~ Smoked Sausage Skillet (Inspired by Mommy Chef's recipe, but I'm using holiday kielbassi in mine.)

Tuesday~Spiced Pork Chops, Rice Pilaf, Green Beans

Wednesday~Tacos, Cheese Fries and Salad

Thursday~ Steak Salads and Garlic Toast

Friday~ Pizza and Wings

Saturday~ Steak and Baked Potatoes with the fixings

Have a wonderful week!


Christmas Tree and Nativity

This is my new Nativity Set from Home Interiors. I have never had a "real" set and was excited to purchase this one. It looks much prettier without the flash, but I'm not having much luck with my camera.

This is our tree and ds's train set. It is filled with years of sentimental ornaments from friends and family.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cake in a Jar

This week I made chocolate cakes in a jar for the staff at dd's daycare and as for extra gifts on hand. Today I covered the lids with homespun ( and 8 inch square for each jar) and added gingerbreadman tags from
Here's the recipe:
Chocolate Cake in a Jar
1 Tbsp. shortening, melted
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup water
6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush 5 (12 oz.) sterilized canning jars with melted shortening. Place jars on a baking sheet; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine butter, water and cocoa powder; whisk until smooth. Add butter mixture to flour mixture, whisking to combine well. Stir in buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Evenly divide batter between jars, filling each jar approximately half full. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Using kitchen towels, remove one jar at a time from oven, and carefully place lid and ring on each; screw lids on tightly. Cool jars on countertop. Once jars have sealed, store them in a cool place for up to a year.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tasty Thursday: December 12th

Here's my recipe for Tasty Thursday's Mouth Watering Treat:

Chocolate Creme De Mente Cake

1 cup butter, softened

2 1/2 cups sugs

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups cake flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups milk

1 cup sour cream

Creme de Menthe Filling

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

Garnish: Andes Mints

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 (9 inch) cake pans.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

In a medium bowl, combine cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; sift twice. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in sour cream. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans, and bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.

Spread half of Creme de Mente filling between each layer. Frost top and sides with Creamy Chocloate Frosting. Garnish with chopped Andes mints.

Creme de Menthe Filling

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 Tablespoons of creme de menthe

2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

3 drops green food coloring

In a medium bowl, beat butter and creme de menthe at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth. Add food coloring, beating until incorporated.

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream

4 cups confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in cocoa and cream until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla.


I made this cake for dh's birthday in October. It was very good! It's from Paula Deen's Holiday magazine.

Another Christmas Cookie

Since it is a Snow Day (yeah!) I decided to make one more cookie for my Christmas giving and guests. DH loves the Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses, so I made Candy Cane Blossoms from Here's a picture and recipe:

Candy Cane Blossoms


48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Candy Cane Mint Candies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
Red or green sugar crystals, granulated sugar or powdered sugar

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Remove wrappers from candies.

2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternately with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in red sugar, granulated sugar, powdered sugar or a combination of any of the sugars. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookie is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press a candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, December 10th

Good afternoon! I'm a bit late in posting my menu, but just got home a bit ago. It's been a manic Monday!
Here's the plan:
Sunday: Baked Ham, Ranch Bacon Potato Salad and Italian Rolls
Monday: Cajun Chicken Pasta from Mommy Chef, Rolls and Salad
Tuesday: Wedding Soup, Garlic Toast and Salad
Wednesday: Ham and Macaroni Cheese Casserole
Thursday: Tacos, Mexican Rice and Salad
Friday: Pizza and Wings
Saturday: Hockey Party
Have a super week! Don't forget to visit Laura at for more great menu ideas!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Kids at Christmas

After much to-do we chose these 2 photos for our Christmas Cards:

DS is 9 and DD is 30 months old. These are the days!



Christmas Cookie Recipes from My Kitchen

Merry Christmas! This week I baked a cookie a night in preparation for Christmas gifts and guests. Here are my recipes:

Annie Hall's Butter Cookies by Susan Branch

2 cups butter -- softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer (even the hand-held kind), cream together butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and vanilla and mix well. Sift flour and salt together and beat into butter mixture until well mixed. When ready to bake use an ungreased cookie sheet and place cookies 1 inch apart. Bake for about 10 minutes, but do not brown them. Remove cookies from cookie sheet while still warm and cool on sheets of waxed paper. Decorate, if you like. Makes 6 to 8 dozen. Taste fabulous!

I use a cookie press and make about 8 different shapes of looks like you made a bunch of different cookies, but not really. :thumbs-up:

Candy Canes: Divide 3 cups of dough in half. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons red food coloring to one half. Using about a tablespoon of dough, roll a 4 inch strip of each color (no fatter than a pencil). Place the two colored rolls side-by-side and press lightly together. Gently twist like a rope and place on ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Curve the top like a candy cane and bake about 10 minutes; do not brown. You can sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy.

Rolled Cookies: Shape dough into rolls with width of a cookie. Wrap in waxed paper and chill. Before baking, roll in chocolate shots. Slice 1/2 inch thick and bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes; do no brown.

Stars, Hearts, Circles and Jelly-Filled: Fill a pastry bag with unchilled dough and put through a 'star tip' (sizes 2 and 7 - 9). Squeeze onto cookie sheet into the shapes you like. For instance, make star, then fill baked cookie center with red jelly. Decorate these cookies with cinnamon hearts, mini chocolate morsels, color sugar, little silver balls, or frosting from a tube. Bake them, same as others. Do not brown.

Cookie Cutter Cookies: Chill dough. Roll out onto lightly floured board to thickness of 1/2 inch. Cut with cookie cutters and bake as mentioned above. Decorate your own way.

Plain Old Drop Cookies: Just drop unchilled dough by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Don't brown. Remove from pans immediately.

Peant Butter Temptations

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 bag (10 oz.) miniature Reese Cups

Cream butter, peanut butter and both kinds of sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Blend into creamed mixture to make a dough. Preheat oven to 375. Shape dough into 1/2 inch balls and place in ungreased 1 1/2 inch muffin tins. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately after removing cookies from oven, press a miniature peanut butter cup into the center of each cookie until only the top shows. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from tins.

SWIRLED™ Holiday Snowball Cookies

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® SWIRLED™ Holiday Morsels

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Powdered sugar


PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
BEAT butter, 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in flour. Stir in morsels and nuts. Shape level tablespoons of dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and lightly browned. Remove from oven. Sift powdered sugar over hot cookies on baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, if desired. Store in airtight containers.

Creamy Caramel Cups Recipe


6 oz. of cream cheese, softened

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups flour


14 oz. bag of caramels

½ cup canned evaporated milk


½ cup sugar

½ cup Crisco

1/3 cup canned evaporated milk

1 tsp. Vanilla

½ cup chopped nuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. To prepare the shells, combine cream cheese, butter, and flour. Press into miniature cup pans to form a shell. Bake in preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes until light brown. Remove from pans.
3. To prepare filling, place the caramels and canned milk in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave about 8 to 10 minutes on medium power. Stir. Pour into prepared shells and let cool.
4. To prepare topping, combine sugar, Crisco, canned milk and vanilla in a bowl. Mix until fluffy. I use the whisk on my mixer to make it fluffy. Decorate cups as desired. I prefer a cake decorator. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.


Peanut Butter Blossoms

48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.


Monday, November 26, 2007

How do you know you are an elementary teacher?

This was on Minnesota Mom's blog and I just had to share it with you all. It's so true!!

Are you a true elementary school teacher?
1. Do you ask guests if they have remembered their scarves andmittens as they leave your home?

2. Do you move your dinner partner's glass away from the edge of the table?

3. Do you ask if anyone needs to go to the bathroom as you enter a theater with a group of friends?

4. Do you hand a tissue to anyone who sneezes?

5. Do you refer to happy hour as "snack time"?

6. Do you declare "no cuts" when a shopper squeezes ahead of you in a checkout line?

7. Do you say "I like the way you did that" to the mechanic whorepairs your car nice?

8. Do you ask "Are you sure you did your best?" to the mechanic who fails to repair your car to your satisfaction?

9. Do you sing the "Alphabet Song" to yourself as you look up a number in the phone book?

10. Do you say everything twice? I mean, do you repeat everything?

11. Do you fold your spouse's fingers over the coins as you handhim/her the money at a tollbooth?

12. Do you ask a quiet person at a party if he has something toshare with the group?

If you answered yes to 4 or more, it's in your soul -- you arehooked on teaching. And if you're not a teacher, you missedyour calling.

If you answered yes to 8 or more, well, maybe it's *too much* inyour soul -- you should probably begin thinking about retirement.

If you answered yes to all 12, forget it -- you'll *always* be ateacher, retired or not!


Easy Green Bean and Red Potato Side Dish Recipe

I made these yesterday for Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws. They were delicious!

Easy Green Beans and Red Potatoes

6 slices of bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 (15 ounce) cans of whole green beans
2 cups water
10 small red potatoes, cubed and boiled in 1 can of chicken broth until tender
2 tsps or 2 cubes of chicken bouillon
Black pepper, to your liking

Heat a saucepan over medium heat, and add the bacon pieces. Fry for a few minutes, then add the onions. Cook and stir until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the beans and add to the saucepan along with the 2 cups of water, cooked potatoes, bouillon and black pepper. Stir to blend, then simmer for about 20 minutes. If you wish to simmer longer, add more water to keep the vegetables from drying out.

Serve hot. Enjoy!

Menu Plan Monday, November 26, 2007

Good morning!

Today is a rainy day and my last day of Thanksgiving break. It's been so great being home with the kids, even though it's been very hectic.

Here's the plan for the week:

Sunday~ Thanksgiving at my in-laws (We had lasagna, roast beef, mashed potatoes, veggie blend, red potatoes and green beans (I'll post the recipe today, it was delish!), salad and Italian bread. We also had loads of desserts: gob cake, harvest pie, apple pie, sweet potato pie, and jello.)
Monday~ Turkey Pot Pie , Salad
Tuesday~ Chicken Tacos with toppings and Mexican Rice
Wednesday~Steak Sandwiches, Oven Fries, and Baked Beans
Thursday~Spiced Pork Chops, Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Green Beans
Friday~ Pizza and Wings
Saturday~ We'll probably just eat out....ds has a hockey game.
Have a week full of blessings!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Recipe: Twice Baked Potatoes

This is a popular side dish at our house. It's comforting and yummy. It goes great with steaks.

Twice Baked Potatoes

4 medium baking potatoes
1/2 cup dairy sour cream or plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Black Pepper
milk (optional)
2 slices American cheese, halved diagonally

Bake potatoes. Cut a lengthwise slice form the top of each baked potato; discard skin from slice and place pulp in a bowl. Gently scoop out each potato, leaving a thin shell. Add pulp to the bowl.

With an electic mixer on low speed, beat potato pulp. Add sour cream or yogurt, garlic salt and pepper (as desired); beat till smooth. If necessary, add milk to make desired consistency. Season to taste. Pile mashed potato mixture into potato shells. Place in a 10x6x2 baking dish. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Place cheese atop potatoes and bake for 2 to 3 minutes more or until cheese melts. Makes 4 servings.


Menu Plan Monday, November 12th

I'm posting early this week. Our goal was to eat in every day last week and we met that goal. My husband is so great about keeping me in the one day I wanted to order in, he came through with dinner. I'm going out of town for a few days this week, so the menu will be short and sweet.

Sunday: Mommy Chef's Chicken Manicotti, Garlic Toast and Salad

Monday: Ham Pot Pie and Rolls

Tuesday: Hot Dogs in Kraut with Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday: Steaks and Twice Baked Potatoes

Thursday: Pizza with the hockey team for dh and the kids

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: DH will probably go to his mom's for the day

I'll be home Sunday evening from my trip with my df, Karin. I'm looking forward to our time in the big apple. When I get home I'll be shopping for Thanksgiving dinner for my family.

Have a great week!


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, November 5th

Hi Menu Planners!

I can't get over the fact that it is November already! Where has the time gone? I'm feeling very sentimental lately, amazed at how my children have grown so quickly. Our ds will be 9 yo on Tuesday. It seems like yesterday that he was just learning to walk. Now he skates and plays hockey. I'm so proud of him! Our dd is 2 1/2 and she is just blooming before our eyes....the drama, the endless chatter and the giggles of our little girl just light up our lives.

Here's our plan for this week:

Sunday: Spaghetti, Meatballs and Tossed Salad

Monday: Pork Roast and Sauerkraut, Mashed Potatoes, Carrots

Tuesday: DS's 9th Birthday! He requested Chicken Soft Tacos and Nachos with Cheese. His

birthday cake will be Red Velvet with Homemade Buttercream Icing.

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Pepper Steak over Egg Noodles, Garlic Toast
Thursday: Cajun Chicken Pasta from Mommy Chef's Blog, Tossed Salad, Rolls
This dish is fabulous! DH requested it for a second time.
Friday: Homemade Pizza and Hot Wings
Saturday: BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers, Homemade French Fries, Baked Beans
I'm hoping to eat in every night this week! We're watching the budget and hoping to save some money by eating in.
Have a super week!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, October 29, 2007

I am so happy to be home after the traveling of the past week. I was so homesick! I don't travel much, so being away for 3 nights was a bit much for me. I'm looking forward to Halloween night. I'll be trick or treating with a Butterfly Fairy and Spiderman!

Here's the plan for the week:

Sunday: Chicken and Pork Soft Tacos with toppings, and Chips and Salsa
Monday: Carry Over Meal~Super Sloppy Joes, Curly Fries and Cucumbers with Dip
Tuesday: Marlboro Man's Second Favorite Sandwich, Creamy Pasta Salad, and Baked Beans
Wednesday: Happy Halloween! Chili, Macaroni, and Garlic Toast
After Trick-or-Treat we'll have hot cocoa with ghost peeps and Monster Foot Cookies
Thursday: Slow Cooker Pepper Steak, Buttered Egg Noodles and Corn
Friday: Pizza and Wing Night
Saturday: DS's first hockey game with his travel team! Go Warriors! We'll pick something up on the way back from the game.

For more great menus visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Have a great week!


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Possessed Palace Gingerbread House

For our Saturday project, we created a Halloween Gingerbread House. We used this kit from Wilton. It was a lot of fun for the kids and myself. Here's a picture of the 2 colors of icing that we used:

This is our starting point:

This is the finished product:
The kids are very tickled with it!

I forgot to pick up coconut at the store to tint green for the grass, but will pick some up tomorrow after church. Then our scene will be complete.
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tasty Thursday: Tried and True Recipe

Greetings! I've been out of town for 4 days and am thrilled to be home with my kids and dh tonight. They are watching the Pens, so I thought I'd grab a moment to post my tried and true recipe. This is for Beefy Taco Dip. It is one recipe that I return to over and over again when in need of an appetizer or game day snack.

Beefy Taco Dip

1- 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened

1 cup sour cream

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 pound ground beef

1 envelope taco seasoning mix (use spicy for some extra kick)

1 (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce

2 cups shredded cheddar or taco cheese

4 cups shredded lettuce

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 medium green pepper, diced

Tortilla chips

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise until smooth. Spread on a 12-14 inch pizza pan or serving dish. Refrigerate for one hour. In a saucepan over medium heat, brown beef; drain. Add taco seasoning and tomato sauce; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Cool completely. Spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate. Just before serving, sprinkle with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and green peppers. Serve with chips.


Head over to the Pumkin Patch for more tasty Thursday recipes!



Sunday, October 21, 2007

June's Chicken Casserole

My mom has made this casserole for years and I've always loved it. I asked for the recipe yesterday and made it for my family. It's comfort food at it's best.

June's Chicken Casserole

2 chicken breasts
2 carrots
2 sticks celery
1 onion
8-10 slices of bread, cubed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup chicken broth
1 egg
3/4 cup butter, melted

Boil chicken. ( Do not add salt to water.) Cool and debone. (I used leftover roasted chicken.) Cut chicken into small pieces. Set aside.

Grate or dice carrots, celery and onion. Boil until soft. Drain.

In a large bowl, beat egg. Mix in drained carrot, celery and onion. Add cubed bread and melted butter. Toss until combined.

In a 13x9 baking dish, layer chicken pieces then bread mixture, chicken, then bread mixture.

Mix together chicken soup and chicken broth. Pour over the whole casserole, making sure the soup mixture reaches the bottom of the dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.



Saturday, October 20, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, October 22, 2007

Happy Monday!

This week I will be out of town for 3nights/4 days for a Science training program. This is the plan for my family while I'm gone. (I'll be eating out every night!)

Sunday~Lasagna, Tossed Salad and Garlic Toast

Monday~New Potatoes, Green Beans and Ham (crock pot) with rolls.

Tuesday~Kielbassi, Macaroni and Cheese and Baked Beans

Wednesday~Super Sloppy Joes, Oven Curly Fries and Cucumbers in Ranch Dressing

Thursday~Hockey Practice ~Get something to go

Friday~Pizza and Wing Night

Saturday~Pork Tenderloin (Smithfield's already marinated), Olive Oil and Garlic Penne, Salad

Deserts of the Week:
Fudgy Brownies with Chocolate Frosting and Pumpkin Sprinkles

Have a great week!



For more great recipe ideas, visit Laura at orgjunkie!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tasty Thursday: Halloween Edition

DS and I made these last year for a Halloween treat. We used the sugar cookie mix instead of peanut butter and they were delicious! The recipe comes from

Monster Feet Cookies

1 bag M&M’S® Brand Peanut Chocolate Candies Pumpkin Patch Mix
1 17.5-oz. bag peanut butter cookie mix
1/2 cup flour
Green food coloring
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 16-oz. can vanilla frosting
2 cookie sheet pans
Aluminum foil
Resealable plastic bag
Step by step -->
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line sheet pans with foil.
Prepare the cookie mix according to package instructions. Knead in the flour and some of the green food coloring.
Pull off walnut-size nuggets of dough. Shape into 1 - 1 1/2-inch ovals and roll in sugar. Place on the prepared sheet pans about 2 inches apart. Press an M&M’S® Brand Peanut Chocolate Candies Pumpkin Patch Mix onto one end as the toenail. Bake for approximately 9-12 minutes, or until just golden and cookies have puffed and spread. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, tint 1 cup of frosting green and spoon into a resealable bag. Snip a very small corner from bag and pipe wavy curly lines on top of the cookies to resemble knuckles.
Tip: Peanut butter cookies aren’t a favorite, Then exchange the peanut butter cookie mix with a sugar cookie mix.
Makes 30 cookies.

John's Birthday Cake

Here's a picture of John's birthday cake. It has been a labor of love. It's from the Paula Deen Holiday magazine and it's called a Creme de Menthe Cake. My camera battery just died, so this blurry picture is all I have for now.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, October 15, 2007

The weather has cooled, hockey practice is in full swing and comfort food is on order at our house.

This week's plan is as follows:

Sunday: Shake and Bake Pork Chops, Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Green Beans

Dessert: Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

Monday: Slow Cooker Beef Stew, Hard Rolls (carry over from last week)

Tuesday: Kid's Night~Popcorn Chicken, Curly Fries and Veggies with Dip

Wednesday: Best Baked Slow Cooker Chicken, Steamed Rice, Carrots

Thursday: Garlic and Herb Pork Loin, Olive Oil and Garlic Penne Pasta, Tossed Salad

Friday: DH's Birthday~Happy Birthday Sweetheart! We're going out to dinner, then having Chocolate Creme de Menthe Cake for dessert. It's a Paula Deen recipe from Paula Deen's Holiday magazine.

Saturday: Veal Parmesan with Spaghetti, Tossed Salad and Garlic Toast

Have a super week!



Sunday, October 7, 2007

Recipe: String Cheese Manicotti

Sunday is traditionally Pasta Day in our family. Today we're having String Cheese Manicotti. It's easy, cheesy and yummy! This recipe was shared with me at Hannah's Prayer Recipe board. It's one of our favorites. (I would post a picture, but am having computer/camera issues.)

String Cheese Manicotti

1 package manicotti
1 lb ground beef
1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce (I also use leftover, frozen Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce)
12 pieces mozzarella string cheese
6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (1 1/2 cups)

Cook manicotti according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
Stir in the spaghetti sauce.
Spread half the meat sauce into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
Drain manicotti; stuff each shell with a piece of string cheese.
Place over meat sauce; top with remaining sauce.
Cover and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
Bake, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted.



Menu Plan Monday, October 8,2007

This weekend was a time to catch up on some things that have been ignored since school began. Hockey season is now upon us, so I don't know if I'll ever catch up until Spring. ;0)

Here's the plan and some recipes:

Sunday~ String Cheese Manicotti, Tossed Salad, and Garlic Toast

Monday~Ham Steaks, Mashed Potatoes, Country Gravy and Candied Carrots

Tuesday~Honey-Pineapple Chicken (Crock Pot), Butter Noodles and Brocolli

Wednesday~Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Hard Rolls

Thursday~Baked Beans and Hot Dogs, Macaroni and Cheese, Veggies and Dip (kid's night)

Friday~Pizza and Wing Night

Saturday~Beer Can Chicken, Italian Pasta Salad, and Calico Beans

This week's dessert is Pumpkin Spice Frosted Snack Cake from Kraft Food and Family magazine.

I'm also making the kids a Halloween snack mix by combining a bag of Cheerios snack mix, Halloween m&m's and a bag of candy corn. They're very excited about it!

Happy Fall!


Monday, October 1, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, October 1, 2007

Here's my menu for a busy week ahead. I'm sure there are repeats because last week was even busier. Hope you all have a great week!

Sunday~ Pigs in the Blanket and Fresh Rolls

Monday~Cheesy Hashbrown Potatoes, Best Ever Grilled Pork Chops and Green Beans

Tuesday~Chicken Alfredo, Salad, and Garlic Bread

Wednesday~Lemon-Basil Chicken, Rice Pilaf, and Glazed Carrots

Thursday~Open House at School~ the kids and dh will probably have Macaroni and Cheese with Hot Dogs

Friday~ Pizza and Wing Night

Saturday~Italian Hoagies, Pasta Salad and Veggies with Dip

Enjoy your dinner time!


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, September 24, 2007

Happy Monday, menu planners! We had a wonderful weekend that included camping and fall decorating. Last week was so busy, that we had little time to cook "real" meals.

Here's the menu plan for the week:

Sunday~ Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad Desert: Blueberry Crumb Bars made from fresh blueberries, dh and the kids picked at the farm today.

Monday~ Pizza (fundraiser delivery) and Wing Dings

Tuesday~Chicken Fried Rice (It's been on the menu for 2 weeks now, hopefully I get to make it!)

Wednesday~ Slow Cooker Beef Tips (another one I haven't gotten to yet!)

Thursday~Enchiladas, Cheesy Potatoes, Cilantro Corn Salad

Friday~Dinner with family to celebrate our Goddaughter's birthday

Saturday~Pigs in the Blanket, Mashed Potatoes (cabbage stuffed with ground beef and rice)

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Root Beer Float Cake

Tomorrow we will be celebrating a fellow teacher's birthday at lunch. I volunteered to make the birthday cake. It's a recipe from Paula Deen's Holiday Magazine. It smells yummy. The glaze came a bit too thin, so once it dries I'll remove the excess from the cake carrier.

Root Beer Float Cake

1 (18.25-ounce) yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix
1 (5.1 ounce) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 1/4 cup root beer
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted cake pan.

2. In a large bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, root beer, vegetable oil and eggs. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spoon batter into prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. Spoon glaze over cooled cake.

Root Beer Glaze

2 cups confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons root beer

In a small bowl, combine sugar and root beer, whisking until smooth.



Monday, September 17, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, September 17

I'm a bit late today. DD has been sick all weekend and this morning was a little rough.

Here's the plan:

Monday~ Take Out--Hockey Practice and a Party

Tuesday~Chicken Alfredo, Tossed Salad, Garlic Toast

Wednesday~Sloppy Joes, Curly Fries and Corn

Thursday~Steak and Baked Potatoes with Baked Beans

Friday~ Dinner and a Movie with dh....I hope!

Saturday~Pizza and Wing Night

Have a great night!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Celebrations Cupcake Tree

My friend Kathy bought me this stand for my birthday. (Thanks Kathy!) I love the fact that it is so versatile. This is the first time I'm using it. I have Cinnamon Crumb Muffins on 2 of the 3 available tiers. The finial can also be changed to a gift box, jack o lantern or a graceful swirl.
It's from the Better Homes and Garden line of Home Interiors.
The muffins are part of Brunch for today. We're having muffins, bacon, homemade waffles, eggs and fruit salad.
Have a blessed Sunday!


Monday, September 10, 2007

Spiced Pork Chops

This is a favorite in our family. It's a recipe I've been making for 10 years.

Spiced Pork Chops

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
4 pork loin chops
1 to 2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

In a shallow dish, combine the first 10 ingredients; dredge the prok chops on both sides. In a skillet, brown the chops in oil on both sides. Place in a greased 9x13x2 inch baking dish. Combine ketchup, water and brown sugar; pour over chops. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until tender. Yield: 4 servings


We like to have sides of rice pilaf and green beans with these chops.


Menu Plan Monday, September 10, 2007

Happy Monday! Today is the first full week of school and hockey practice for ds begins tonight. It should be a crazy busy week!

Here's the plan:

Sunday: BBQ Baby Back Ribs and Easy Cheesy Potatoes

Monday: Spiced Pork Chops, Rice Pilaf and Green Beans

Tuesday: Spaghetti, Veal Parmesan and Tossed Salad

Wednesday: Ravioli with Three Pepper Sauce, Smoked Sausage and fresh fruit

Thursday: Crock Pot Beef Tips over Noodles, Fresh Bread and Mixed Veggies

Friday: Kid's Night~ Popcorn Chicken, Twisty Fries with Cheese and Applesauce

Saturday: Pizza and Wing Night

Have a great week!


Sunday, September 9, 2007

How Do You Know You are a Teacher?

This was shared on a mailring and it is so true! I'm thrilled to add that my first week of school was great. My students seem to be a great bunch.

1. You can hear 25 voices behind you and know exactly which one belongs to the child out of line.
2. You get a secret thrill out of laminating something.
3. You walk into a store and hear the words "It's Ms/Mr. _________" and know you have been spotted.
4. You have 25 people that accidentally call you mom/dad at one time or another.
5. You can eat a multi-course meal in under twenty-five minutes.
6. You've trained yourself to go to the bathroom at two distinct times of the day: lunch and conference period.
7. You start saving other people's trash, because most likely, you can use that toilet paper tube or plastic butter tub for something in the classroom.
8. You believe the teachers' lounge should be equipped with a margarita machine.
9. You want to slap the next person who says "Must be nice to work 7:15 to 3:15 and have summers off".
10. You believe chocolate is a food group.
11. You can tell if it's a full moon without ever looking outside.
12. You believe that unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says "Boy, the kids sure are mellow today."
13. You feel the urge to talk to strange children and correct their behavior when you are out in public.
14. You think caffeine should be available in intravenous form.
15. You spend more money on school stuff than you do on your own children.
16. You can't pass the school supply aisle without getting at least one thing!
17. You ask your friends if the left hand turn he just made was a "good choice or a bad choice."
18. You find true beauty in a can full of perfectly sharpened pencils
19. You are secretly addicted to hand sanitizer.
20. You understand instantaneously why a child behaves a certain wayafter meeting his or her parents.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The First Day of School

Here's the kids on the first day of school. DS is now a 3rd grader! DD is 28 months old and just had to be with her big brother. :0) She's still in her jammies!



Sunday, September 2, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, September 3, 2007

Happy Labor Day! I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend.

Here's our menu for the week:

Sunday~ Grilled Ham steaks, Mashed Potatoes with country gravy, and green beans

Monday~Fair Food (Our county fair runs this week and we're working a booth, so we'll eat there.)

Tuesday~Grilled Steaks, Baked Potatoes and Tossed Salad

Wednesday~ Tacos, Mexican Rice and Corn Salad

Thursday~Super Sloppy Joes, Homemade Macaroni and Cheese, and Baked Beans

Friday~Pizza and Wing Night

Saturday~Kielbassi with Sauerkraut in the Crock Pot, Potato Salad and Corn on the Cob

Have a wonderful week!


Monday, August 27, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, August 27

Today was my first day back to school. We had a wonderful summer and now it's back to the daily grind. Here is my ambitious menu for this week:

Sunday: Grilled Lemon-Basil Chicken Breasts with Primo Pasta Salad (from Aug/Sept Taste of Home)

Monday: Marinated Pork Chops, Rice Pilaf and Cucumber and Pepper Salad

Tuesday: Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Paninis, Garlic Penne and Cantaloupe

Wedneday: Beef Tacos, Mexican Rice and Corn Bread

Thursday: Baked Ziti , Salad and Garlic Toast

Friday: Pizza and Wings

Saturday: Ethnic Festival food

Have a wonderful week!


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tasty Thursday: Casserole Edition

I love casseroles, especially in the fall and winter months. They are a great comfort food.

Here's a recipe for a favorite of our family. It's the most requested recipe on my brunch menu.

French Toast Casserole

1 Loaf (10 oz) French or Italian Bread, cubed
8 Eggs
3 cups Milk
4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon Salt, optional

2 tablespoons Butter or margarine, cubed
3 tablespoons Sugar
2 teaspoons Ground cinnamon

Maple syrup, optional

Place bread cubes in a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt if desired. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Dot with butter. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the top. Cover and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with syrup if desired. Yield: 12 servings


Monday, August 20, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, August 20

Good Morning!

We had a busy weekend, and a busy week ahead of us. It's our last official week of summer vacation before I start school on Monday. The kids return the Tuesday after Labor Day. I'm excited about returning to school, but anxious about the changes that have occurred at our school.

Our Menu

Sunday~ Camping Leftovers~Kielbassi and Kraut, Corn on the Cob, and Tortellini Salad

Monday~ Italian Night~Spaghetti with Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce, Veal Parmesan, Salad and Garlic Bread

Tuesday~My Birthday! We're going out to dinner!

Wednesday~ Hot and Spicy Chicken Drumsticks, Baked Potato Salad, Corn on the Cob

Thursday~ All Day Slow Cooker Meatballs, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Friday~ Grilled Hot Wings, Pizza on the Grill and Ranch Cucumber Salad

Saturday~ Herb Pork Loin, Garlic and Olive Oil Pasta, Grilled Zucchini Slices

Have a great week!



Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tasty Thursday-Summer Corn Salad with Cilantro Pesto

This is one of my favorite summer dishes because it's crisp, fresh and served cold!
I am not a huge cilantro fan, but in this dish it is delicious!

Summer Corn Salad with Cilantro Pesto

8 ears Fresh Corn,boiled

1 tomato seeded and diced

4 TBS cilantro pesto

1 chopped red onion

1 diced green bell pepper

1 lime, juiced

salt and pepper

Remove kernels with paring knife and place in a large bowl. Add tomato, onion, and green pepper. Toss to combine. Add cilantro pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

Cilantro Pesto
1 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro leaves

1 large clove garlic

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

3 TBS pine nuts (optional)1 tsp grated lime peel

1/2 juice fresh lime

5 TBS olive oil

salt and pepper

Combine the cilantro, garlic, cheese, pine nuts and lime juice and peel in a food processor. Process to mix. With machine running, slowy add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Process to desired consistency. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Zucchini Pineapple Bread

This recipe is from a YWCA cookbook my dad bought for me. I made it last night and it is delicious!

Zucchini Pineapple Bread
3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
3 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 tsp. bakind powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup raisins
2 tsp. cinnamon
8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained

Beat eggs until fluffy. Add oil, sugar, vanilla and zucchini; mix well. Add dry ingredients. Add raisins, pineapple and nuts; blend together. Baked in a greased and floured bundt pan at 325 degrees for 1 hour 20 minutes. Or bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour if using 2 bread pans.

I omitted the nuts and raisins because we don't like them in our breads.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, August 13

Happy Monday!
Sunday: Grilled Sweet and Sour Kielbasa Kebabs by Mommy Chef, Rice, and Salad
Monday: Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, Homemade Fries and Fresh Fruit Salad
Tuesday: Hot and Spicy Chicken Drumsticks , Baked Potato Salad,
Fried Zucchini
Wednesday: Easy Grilled Pork Chops, Angel Hair with Olive Oil and Garlic, Grilled Garden
Thursday: Chicken Fajitas, Mexican Rice, Beans
Friday: Pizza and Wings
Saturday: Marinated Steak Kebabs, Campfire Potatoes, and Grilled Veggies at camp
Have a great week!