Monday, January 20, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - January 20-26, 2014

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.
I've survived my first week of the Spring Semester.  I am taking 18 credit hours this semester which is crazy, but the good thing is that mean's I will be graduating in May!!!  I won't be completely through because I still have a few more steps to go before I reach my goal of getting my Master's but it is a tangible step in the right direction.  This week is another week of easy meals.  Most of our recipes are our tried and true family favorites but a few others are new.  I love trying new recipes and try to include at least one new recipe each week.
Breakfast - Toaster Strudel
Lunch at Co-op - Sandwich Wraps or Tuna Fish, Chips, Pudding
Dinner - Honey and Thyme Brined Turkey Breast, Mashed Potatoes, Lima Beans
Breakfast - Cereal
Breakfast - Oatmeal
Lunch - Quick Fix
Breakfast - Cereal
Lunch - Loaded Baked Potatoes
Dinner - Baked Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Corn
Brunch - Turkey Bacon, Eggs, Toast
Dinner - Seasoned Swai Fish Fillets (New Recipe), Wild Rice
Breakfast - Cereal
Dinner - Baked Buttermilk Chicken (New Recipe), Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Brunch - Omelets
Dinner - NuWave Oven Chicken (recipe coming soon), Wild Rice

Monday, January 13, 2014

Menu Plan Monday, January 13th to 19th

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.
Well, we managed to get through last week.  We survived the record low temperatures and my husband's surgery is over.  He is still in a lot of pain so we will be sticking close to home.  The kids started back to school last week but this week they will be heading back to their homeschool co-op.  I will be missing the first day myself because my husband has a doctor's appointment but a friend is making sure the kids get there.  My college classes start back this week and so do my daughter's gymnastics.  And I finally got my Christmas tree down this week so we are on our way back to our normal routine!
Here's what I have planned for us to eat this week:
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch at co-op for kids:  Sandwiches, Pretzels, and Special K bars
Dinner:  Slow Cooker Recipe:  Bacon Corn Chowder, Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Breakfast:  Oatmeal
Dinner:  Basic Baked Spaghetti, Garlic Bread
Brunch:  Bacon, Scrambled Eggs
Dinner:  Cajun Hasselback Chicken with Pepper Jack and Spinach (new recipe we didn't get to last week), Macaroni and Cheese, Corn
Breakfast:  Cereal
Lunch:  Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Breakfast:  Cereal
Dinner:  Baked Chicken Pot Stickers, White Rice
Brunch:  French Toast
Dinner:  Eating Out
Brunch:  Bacon, Scrambled Eggs

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Get Your Soup On - Four Soups to Try Now

January is National Soup Month and with the cold arctic winds bringing in record low temperatures through the United States right now it is the perfect time to curl up with a big bowl of warm soup.  Sure chili, vegetable beef soup, and beef stew are all winter staples but why not enlarge your soup repertoire this winter by including one of these four soups that aren’t your normal soups.
Roasted Cauliflower and White Cheddar Soup
This Roasted Cauliflower and White Cheddar Soup from Mel's Kitchen Café looks absolutely delicious.  With the exception of a head of cauliflower and some white cheddar cheese this soup is made with your normal pantry staples.  One of the things that I like about this soup is that it is a heavy soup that is made without the use of heavy cream.  Instead of using heavy cream you puree half of the soup.  The original recipe makes about four servings of soup but it can easily be doubled to make more.  From start to finish the soup takes less than an hour to make, which isn't bad compared to the cooking times of many winter soups.  You can find the recipe for this Roasted Cauliflower and White Cheddar Soup by visiting Mel's Kitchen Café.
Slow Cooker:  Creamy Bacon Corn Chowder
This Creamy Bacon Corn Chowder looks like the perfect hearty winter soup and as an added bonus it is made using the slow cooker which is perfect for those busy winter nights where you just want to come in out of the cold weather to a hot bowl of soup.  Since it is a slow cooker soup you basically just dump everything in the slow cooker, cook it on high for six hours or on low for eight hours, and then stir in the evaporated milk and butter.  Easy enough!  You can find the recipe for Creamy Bacon Corn Chowder by visiting the Spend With Pennies blog.
Roasted Red Pepper, White Bean & Arugula Soup
This Roasted Red Pepper, White Bean & Arugula Soup is full of flavor with it's roasted red peppers. What is unique about this recipe is that it is written for just one serving but it can easily be adjusted for more servings.  I like the smaller size recipe as it is the perfect soup recipe for one or two people who want soup but don't want to have to make a huge pot of soup to have it.  This hearty soup packs just 254 calories per serving and is ready to eat in just a little over half an hour.  You can find the recipe for this Roasted Red Pepper, White Bean, & Arugula Soup by visiting Ripped Recipes.
Vegan Coconut Spiced Carrot Soup
I am loving this Vegan Coconut Spiced Carrot Soup from Valentina at Cooking on the Weekends.  She just posted this recipe a few days ago and I have already made it twice!  Not only does this soup have carrots in it, it also has Yukon Gold Potatoes in it!  In fact if you have some coconut milk on hand then you probably have everything you need to make this soup in your pantry right now.  You can find Valentina's Vegan Coconut Spiced Carrot Soup by visiting Cooking on the Weekends.

Monday, January 6, 2014

It's Been One of Those Days...

Yesterday started off as a rainy Sunday with temperatures in the 40's.  As the night went on the temperature dropped and the rain turned to snow.  Although we didn't get much snow it fell on top of ice making for hazardous driving conditions.  In addition to the ice and snow we are experiencing record low temperatures.  As I write this the actual temperature outside is -4 with a wind chill of -26.  Growing up in Minnesota I know these aren't extreme temperatures but for us here in Southern Indiana they are!  We aren't used to weather like this and we aren't prepared for it. 
On top of the cold weather our water heater went out yesterday.  It was the bottom heating element and luckily when we moved in here a little over a year ago they had left a heating element here.  Talk about God having a plan!  My husband was able to get the water heater back up and running within just a few hours but not before dumping a few gallons of water on our kitchen floor first! 
We had thought the worst was over and went to bed last night.  About 3:30 AM my husband woke up to take his medicine, and the house was hot from the furnace running at that time so he turned the furnace down.  My youngest daughter woke up and wanted a drink so by the tie we all were settled back in bed around 4 AM my worst fear happened - our electricity went out!  Luckily I was awake and wasted no time in calling the electric company to report it.  I was the first to report it and of course I couldn't go back to sleep at this point.  I made a post on Facebook about the electric being out and a friend quickly responded that the electric company had told her the electric should be back on by 7 AM! 
We have no secondary source of heat in our house right now and were regretting the decision to turn the heat down RIGHT BEFORE the electricity went out.  I guess you could say hindsight is 20/20.  We moved my son into the girl's bedroom and put him in bed with our daughter because we knew he would be terrified if he woke up alone in the dark.  We had everyone put sweatshirts on and piled on the quilts.  As long as you stayed under the covers you were warm and luckily they did get the electricity back on shortly before 7 AM.  The electric company did a follow up call to my report and the recorded message said a car had hit a pole knocking the electricity out.  I am sooo grateful that the electric company worked to get the electric back on so quickly!
This is the only picture I have of today's snowy weather and it's the only one I am going to get.  It is beautiful out behind the house with snow across my gardens, across the picket fence surrounding our chicken yard, and through the back field but the windows are too icy to get a good picture through and I AM NOT going outside just to take a picture.  We have to go outside to check on our animals here in a little bit but I probably won't take a picture then because it is going to be more like "let's get this done".
Hoping those of you experiencing this extreme cold weather are keeping warm!

Menu Plan Monday, January 6th through 12th

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.
It's going to be a crazy week here at The Modern Day Mom, one that is even crazier then normal!  We have some arctic temperatures coming in along with some snow, with farm animals this is going to be a challenge.  We have two goats, fifty plus chickens, and twelve rabbits to care for in temperatures that are going to have a wind chill of 20 below zero.  It is set to be the coldest weather this area has seen since 1996!  On top of the cold weather my husband is having surgery to have a neurostimulator placed in his lower back on Thursday.  Then next week the kids and I are all back to school so this is our last week of Christmas Break and we need to prepare for going back to school.  This week is going to be all about simple and easy meals!
Here's what I have planned for the week:
links to recipes are in red
Breakfast - Cereal
Lunch - Healthy Crab Rangoon (we didn't get to these last week)
Dinner - Hearty Turkey Chili, Oyster Crackers
Breakfast - Oatmeal
Breakfast - Cereal
Lunch - Chicken Noodle Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Dinner - Eating Out
Breakfast and Lunch - Eating Out
Dinner - Spaghetti using Slow Cooker Bolgonese Sauce (if you have never tried this recipe you should - it has become my ONLY spaghetti sauce recipe), Garlic Bread
Brunch - Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, and Toast
Breakfast - Cereal
Lunch - Bean and Bacon Soup
Brunch - Omelets
Dinner - Gingered Chicken Pot Stickers (recipe coming next week), white rice

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Loaded Smashed Potato

As promised I am finally getting my Loaded Smashed Potato recipe posted.  It is a favorite of my family's and is a great side dish.
Here's what you need.  I usually figure one or one and a half potatoes per person depending on how big the potatoes are.  I generally fix seven potatoes for five of us. 
The first step is to wash your potatoes and cut them in half lengthwise.
Place cut potatoes in a pan of water and bring them to a boil.  Cook them until they are soft enough to smash with a fork but don't overcook them.  This is generally about fifteen to twenty minutes after they have reached a boil.
Pull potato halves out of the water without breaking the potatoes up.  I use a slotted spoon to do this as it allows the water to drip out of the spoon.  Place potatoes on a greased baking pan.
Use a fork to smash the potatoes.
The next step is to add cheese and bacon.  You can use any type of cheese you choose but I prefer cheddar cheese.  Also, I am lazy and don't like to have to fry up bacon every time so I use Real Bacon Pieces instead of frying up bacon.  This is real bacon, it is not bacon bits.  You can find Real Bacon Pieces with the bacon bits in the salad dressing aisle.
Sprinkle each potato with some cheese and bacon.

Bake in the oven at 425 degrees for fifteen minutes or until the cheese is melted and potatoes are crispy.

I spread a little sour cream on mine and so does my son but the rest of our family eat these as is.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Baked Basil and Feta Tomatoes

So as I mentioned in my Super Easy Turkey Melts as a mom who works from home and homeschools three kids I need simple and easy lunch ideas.  These Baked Basil and Feta Tomatoes fit that bill and are also DELICIOUS!
Here's how you can make them for yourself.
Cut a tomato into slices that are about 1/2 inch thick.  I got about six slices out of one medium sized tomato but you may need two tomatoes if they are small.
Next spray a baking pan with olive oil cooking spray and place the tomato slices on the baking pan.
Once you have placed the tomatoes on the baking pan drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the top of each tomato.
Next spread some feta cheese on the tomatoes and sprinkle a little bit of basil on each tomato slice.

Next bake the tomatoes in an oven at 325 degrees for about ten to fifteen minutes.  The feta cheese will not melt but will brown on top. 


Super Easy Turkey Melts, Multiple Versions

Working from home during the day and homeschooling means that I don't have a lot of time to make lunch but I like having a hot lunch to serve.  One of our favorite lunches around here are turkey melts, they are so much tastier than a cold turkey sandwich and take only a matter of minutes to make. 
As I type up some recipes I find myself thinking this is too easy and basic to consider it a recipe but then I remember when I first got married I couldn't cook at all so what some may consider basic I had no clue how to make.  This is one of those basic recipes but hopefully someone out there can appreciate it!
Preparing the Sandwiches
Depending on how you will want your sandwich will determine how you prepare it.  For my sandwich I use two pieces of wheat bread, spread a little mayo on top of each slice and place two slices of turkey on one slice of the bread.  You can use more than two slices but we have found that two slices of bread work the best.  For my husband and kids sandwiches I skip the mayo and just put the turkey directly on the bread.

I like tomatoes on my turkey melts so I add a slice or two of tomato on next.  Again, I skip this on my kid's and husband's sandwiches.
Next comes the cheese, I prefer Pepper Jack, my husband likes American, and my kids like none.  If you have tomato on your sandwiches just place the cheese directly over your tomatoes.
Next place your sandwiches on an ungreased baking sheet.  Do not put the second piece of bread on the top of your sandwich yet, put it on the pan by itself. 
And I forgot to take a picture of this step so you will just have to use your imagination!
Now place the sandwiches in an oven at 225 degrees.  You will want to leave them in the oven until the cheese melts which can be about five to eight minutes. 
I like grilled onions on my turkey melt so while the sandwiches are cooking I sauté up a few onions for my sandwich.
Once your cheese is melted or if you have no cheese on your turkey melt (which I guess without cheese it is just a hot turkey sandwich) when your bread is toasted to your liking it is time to remove your sandwiches from the oven.

After you have removed your sandwich from the oven you can put your grilled onions on it.
And now you can put the second piece of bread on your sandwich and enjoy it!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cake Parfait

Every year for New Year's Eve we celebrate with a yearly "birthday" cake that is adorned with numeral candles to signify the year.  This year we wanted something different, so Sunshine and I came up with our Cake Parfaits.
Our inspiration for this dessert was the New Year's Eve "Party in a Glass" Parfaits from The Cozy Apron.  These looked awesome but there were a few things about this recipe that I knew wouldn't work for our family.  First, she used raspberry preserves in hers and my family just isn't a big fan of raspberries.  Second, the original recipe contains alcohol, definitely not kid friendly. 
So with that in mind we set off to make our own.
Pound Cake (I bought a Sara Lee frozen one that I thawed out before use)
2-3 jars of Strawberry Ice Cream Topping depending on how many you will be making (I only bought one - next time I will buy two for five parfaits)
Cool Whip
Whip Cream
Cherries with Stems
1.  Cut pound cake into tiny cubes, and place about 1/2 cup of pound cake in the bottom of each wine glass.
2.  On top of pound cake place about two heaping tablespoons of Strawberry Ice Cream Topping.
3.  Next spread on one heaping spoonful of Cool Whip.
4.  Add another 1/4 cup of pound cake on top of the Cool Whip layer.
5.  On top of the pound cake add in another heaping tablespoon of Strawberry Ice Cream Topping.
6.  Spray on the Whip Cream.
7  Top each glass with a cherry.  Yes, the cherries are missing in ours - only because the store was sold out of cherries!
I used about half of the pound cake and made five servings.  A full pound cake should make anywhere from ten to twelve servings.  I would purchase two to three jars of the Strawberry Ice Cream Topping depending on how many parfaits you plan to make. 


Happy New Year!

I hope everyone is having a good first day of 2014!  We had a fun family night last night to celebrate New Year's Eve. 
We started the afternoon out watching the University of Louisville basketball game, had some ribs for dinner, played a little Family Feud on the Wii, followed by a few hands of Uno, and then watched the last half hour or so of the New Year's Eve television broadcast so that we could see the ball drop in Times Square. 
We were invited to a family New Year's Eve party but I love our traditional New Year's Eve nights at home as a family.  I hope it is a tradition that continues on once our kids are grown and have children of their own!
There's nothing quite like trying to take a family selfie at midnight!

Forget a champagne toast at midnight - we had some Grape Crush instead!
This little boy just couldn't get enough of the whip cream!

Each year we have a New Year "birthday" cake with the year specified with numeral candles.  This year we wanted to do something a little different and decided to go with these cake parfaits instead, a recipe that I will be sharing later this week.  They were a huge hit and will probably become our traditional New Year's Eve dessert.
So Happy New Year from The Modern Day Mom family!