Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

On Sunday I always cook something that produces enough leftovers to be either frozen or used as a starter for another supper.

Roast Chicken (save the bones to make stock. It will bubble away while the boys are in the tub)
Roasted root vegetables (twice as much as needed)
Simple green salad

Spicy Pasta with Chicken, Sweet Potatoes and Peanut Sauce (using leftover chicken)

Veggie Quiche (using the left over roasted veggies)
Green salad

Meatball Subs (meatballs are frozen from last Sunday)
Zucchini oven fries

Ratatouille and Chicken Sausage Potpie
Green salad

Fettuccine Alfredo
Green salad
No-kneed bread

Friday, January 28, 2011


Dutch Babies
Serves 4
These are a delicious alternative to regular pancakes. The number of eggs in the batter makes it a high protein breakfast that will keep you full until lunch. Baking the Dutch Babies in muffin pans makes them less time consuming than flipping pancakes. Dutch Babies are sometimes called Oven Puffed Pancakes or German Pancakes.


1 cup milk
1 cup flour
6 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
dash salt

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. I use a blender.
3. Grease your muffin tins generously.
4. Fill each cup about ¾ full, makes about 18 Dutch Babies.
5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until puffy and lightly golden on top.
6. Don’t panic when they deflate slightly as you remove them from the oven.
7. Use a butter knife to pop them out of the pan.
8. Fill the beautiful dimple on top with any of the variations below.

Maple syrup
Powdered sugar
Whipped cream, blackberries and lemon zest
Whipped cream and peaches (replace vanilla extract with almond extract)
Whipped cream and raspberries (replace vanilla extract with almond extract)
Lemon curd, whipped cream and blueberries
Whipped cream and strawberries
Greek yogurt, walnuts and honey
Maple syrup, toasted pecans and sliced bananas

Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Feeding the Family

I started feeding my family at age 11. After my father died my mother had to work full-time and then some to keep our house. Once TV dinners, fish sticks, and take out Chinese became our staples, I knew I had to take charge of dinner. I went to my local library and started to check out cookbooks instead of Judy Blume books. Some of my early attempts were awful but my mother was so grateful to be eating something other than frozen Salisbury steak so I kept on trying.

From the beautiful pictures in the cookbooks I knew exactly what dinner was supposed to look like. Each night I set the table using our best linens, filled wine glasses with juice, arranged some type of centerpiece (using flowers, dollhouse furniture, Christmas decorations, or anything shiny), and my mom lit the candles when she came to the table between students. Not having lots of money to spend didn’t mean I couldn’t make our life beautiful.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

I would classify my cooking style as rustic (simple, homey, honest). I make almost everything that we eat from scratch…bread, granola, and green apple schnapps.
Having a plan is the only way I can get dinner on the table in a timely manner. Here is a look at what we’ll be eating for supper this week. Please send me your weekly meal plan as we are always looking for new ideas. If you don’t make one try it for a few weeks it will make everything from shopping to cooking easier.

Spaghetti and Meatballs (eat 1/3 of the recipe and freeze the rest until needed)
Green Salad
Rosemary Bread

Kielbasa and Pineapple
Smashed Potatoes
Green Beans

Chicken Marsalla
White Rice (make twice as much as needed)

Shrimp Fried Rice (using leftover rice)

Potato and Basil Frittata
Green Salad

Leftovers cut into small bites and served tapas style
Augmented with meatballs from the freezer if necessary

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Doctor’s Orders

The importance of creating family mealtimes together.
By Lauren Arbolino, PhD a child psychologist (aka the woman who introduced me to my husband)

Experts in child care, child development, psychology, education and sociology understand that families are dynamic systems with shared practices and beliefs that contribute to child well-being and preparedness to learn.

Many studies in these fields have examined family rituals and routines as it applies to creating mealtimes together. Experts in these areas suggest that eating family meals may enhance the health and well-being of adolescents. Public education on the benefits of family mealtime is recommended and suggests that more families make this a priority in their routine.

Studies have shown that frequency of family meals was inversely associated with tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use; low grade point average; depressive symptoms; and suicide involvement. At this stage, we know family mealtimes can help reduce risk factors for adolescents. We also know of the many benefits to these gatherings. The practices of diverse family routines and the meanings created through rituals have evolved to meet the demands of today's busy families. Family routines and rituals influence physical and mental health, translate cultural values, and may even be used therapeutically. Family mealtimes are associated with significant issues including parenting competence, child adjustment, and relational well-being. It is important for families to adapt a flexible approach to family time to promote healthier families and communities.

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Funny Valentine

Inspired by the photo cards in the crafting section of Martha Stewart Living Feb 2011 I set out to make Valentines for my boys to give to their classmates. I started with a photo of each boy, right arm extended, hand closed as if holding something.

Using a hole punch, I punched a hole above and below each hand. I slipped a lollypop through the hole and my funny valentines were ready to go. If you don't have a hole punch a glue dot or piece of tape can hold your treat in place. My older son can add a personalized greeting right on the card with permanent marker.