Sunday, November 28, 2010

Week 46 Menu

Sunday: Leftovers of all shapes and sorts
Monday: ABLTs (regular BLTs with Avocado)
Tuesday: Individual Chicken Pot Pies from freezer (Ina Garten)
Wednesday: Sweet Potato Gnocchi from freezer (Three many Cooks)
Thursday: Chicken & Chickpea salad (Three Many Cooks)
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Out.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week 45 Menu

Scott's cousins Karen & Michelle are driving down from Cleveland on Wednesday! I'm really looking forward to seeing them! The holiday menu is pretty set, but most other nights are tenuous at best! :) There may be some game-day decisions!

Sunday: Dinner at friends' house
Monday: Pulled pork in slow cooker & roasted squash
Tuesday: Leftover pork & salad
Wednesday: Italian Beef in slow cooker (from Pioneer Woman)
Thursday: Turkey breast with sausage stuffing, cranberries, potatoes & (of course) pumpkin pie
Friday: Leftovers....if we have recovered from the feast by this point!
Saturday: Out somewhere with our holiday company!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Musical Taste

On the way home from school, I typically listen to my podcasts from NPR.....yes. Not only do I listen to NPR, but I stockpile NPR shows to listen to later. Hey: I like to be informed!

I digress.....We listen to Car Talk & Wait, Wait. But, sometimes, when I've had a rough day, or just need something different, we'll listen to music. A couple weeks ago I put on Glee, Volume I and started at the beginning. A Glee-ophile knows that Journey's "Dont' Stop Believin'" is the first track. We listened to it. Of course, I belted out Rachael's part. Shelby was bobbing her head (her version of dancing) and smiling during the song. When the song was over, she requested "more?!"

Well, today was another Glee Day. The intro to Journey started playing and Shelby started singing!! I'm not sure which language she was singing in, but she was singing and her whole little body was moving to the music. When the words started, she sang even louder. It was SO CUTE. By the end of the song her legs were kicking and moving all over the place and she was yelling "MORE!" We listened to it 4 times! On the 4th time, I wasn't fast enough on going back to the beginning and the next song came on. Man, was she upset!

I'm not sure if I'm more excited that she likes Glee or Journey! Either way: impeccable taste.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Simply Hilarious

Shelby is now two....and at times she acts every minute of it But, most of the time, she is acting out hilariously grown-up activities or telling us a story (of which we can understand approximately 62%).

Since she started in the two-year old room at school, he language has exploded! She can string together 3-word phrases and tell us "I need _____." It is such a blessing to be able to understand a lot more of what she wants - which is good since she has so many opinions (wonder where she gets that from...)!

Some words are still a mystery and Shelby gets "ohh" or "mmhmm" or "right!" from us. And, some words sound very similar to other ones. In that case, one has to rely heavily on context. Pumpkin, paper, picture, and pockets all sound VERY much alike . So, after a quick scan of the room, we can usually figure out what she's after. And, surprisingly, Shelby is pretty patient with us while we figure out what she wants!

Here are some pictures that just struck me as classic Shelby and they made me laugh.

Shelby waits for the doctor at her 2-year appointment. She settled in with a good book and some raisins. She was okay until the vaccine needles came out...

Shelby puts on my wedge sandals and starts vacuuming....because, clearly, vacuuming in heels is the only way to go! She even presses a "button" (a little knob made by the plastic mold) to turn it on.
Shelby is all dolled up for church. She insisted on the Chlo-Chlo shoes* with this outfit. Hey, she's got her own style. Sadly, she knows Mama's coffee mug goes with us to church. This morning: it's Shel-Shel's mug. Shelby is also showing off her new "Cheese" grin for the camera.
*"Chlo-chlo shoes" are little brown Mary Jane shoe that her friend Chloe had. We had bought some for her to grow into a while back. When we finally broke them out for her to wear, she started referring to them as "Chlo-chlo shoes." There are also "Ari shoes" for the same reason. It makes it so nice to know exactly which shoes are being demanded!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Week 44 Menu

Sunday: Asian Salmon (Ina Garten) and Oven Fries
Monday: Leftover pizza
Tuesday: Minestrone Soup from the freezer (Pioneer Woman)
Wednesday: Zucchini Boats
Thursday: Veggie quesadillas
Friday: Pulled pork from freezer
Saturday: Out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Meat Cake

My friend from New Hampshire posted on her blog about this meat cake. At first glance, I was horrified. Then, I kept thinking about it. WWFD (What Would a Foodie Do)? Ya know, it might just work.

I think this recipe might be a little over the top - the sweet potatoes and marshmallows just aren't sitting right with me. A girl's got to draw a line somewhere.

I think I might want to try it out. It's a great novelty recipe! In my mind, I will make these changes:

1. Leave the cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes & marshmallows out of the cake.
2. "Frost" the whole cake with mashed potatoes and put it in a very hot oven to put some color on the potatoes (a la twice-baked potatoes).
3. Make up some extra-syrupy cranberry sauce (1.5 - 2c water instead of the traditional 1c) and drizzle over the top of the "slice" when serving.

What do you think?

Photo courtesy of Chow

Stuffed Shells

Stuffed shells were a new addition to my Freezer Cooking foray in October. I have never made stuffed shells before. I don't know why - some preconceived notion about difficulty to make and little taste.

The recipe was so simple to make! The only challenge was getting the filling into the silly, slippery shells. I channeled my inner Sandra Lee and spooned the filling into a Ziplock bag and piped it into the shells.
[Bonnie's tip: don't use a double-walled freezer Ziplock....the inner bag tries to squeeze out the outer one!]

In my quest to feed my family more vegetables, I pureed some roasted butternut squash and mixed it in with the ricotta. It added some great color and flavor to the dish! I would even add spinach, roasted red pepper or peas the next time.

As far as how well it worked as a Freezer Cooking dish, it held up well. I let the shells cool completely, then flash-froze them and packaged them up in small bags in groups of 5. As far as preparing them, I popped them straight from the freezer to the oven and they were perfection in 20 minutes! It seriously is the perfect go-to meal when you're having a busy day!

Simple Stuffed Shells
From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner

– Half box of pasta shells (about 20)
- 16 oz ricotta cheese
- 1/2 butternut squash, roasted and pureed
- 2 cloves of garlic, mashed through garlic press
- 1 tsp. salt
- A few shakes of black pepper
- 2T chopped fresh basil
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- About half a jar of tomato-based pasta sauce
- Handful shredded fresh parmesan cheese
- A few handfuls shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Dice the butternut squash and roast at 450 degrees for 45 minutes. Puree and set aside.
2. Boil shells as per package directions. Drain and make sure they don’t stick to each other.
3. Mix together the ricotta, pureed squash, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, and egg.
4. Stuff your shells, maybe about a tablespoon per shell. Use up all the filling for about 20-24 shells.

To cook and eat right away:
Place shells in a 9×13 baking dish, drizzle with pasta sauce (I think I used about half of a jar or so), then sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes or so.

To freeze and enjoy later:
Allow shells to cool completely. Place them on a cookie sheet or baking sheet and freeze until solid. Package them up in small bags in groups of 4 or 5 (a VERY generous portion) and store in the freezer. When you're ready to eat them, take them from the freezer into a baking dish. Drizzle with marinara sauce and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake in 375 degree oven until hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes or so.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Week 43 Menu

Sunday: Roasted shrimp
Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Stuffed Shells (from freezer & This Week for Dinner!)
Wednesday: Pasta with eggplant ragout
Thursday: Pumpkin pancakes
Friday: Asian Pizza (filling from freezer)
Saturday: Out.