Monday, May 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - 5/30/11

Menu Plan Monday - 5/30/11

School's out, Memorial Day Holiday today and it is HOT!  Working the grill and keeping the oven time to a minimum.  That's the plan.  Never did try the hamburger buns last week, just broke down and bought from the store.  Perhaps I'll try this week.

Monday - Grilled chicken thighs (half with BBQ sauce/half Buffalo-style), grilled veggies, watermelon

Tuesday - BBQ Beef Sandwiches - crockpot (with brisket frozen from Passover), grilled potato wedges

Wednesday - Mu Shu Chicken and Broccoli

Thursday - Calzones

Friday - Lime Chicken, Challah

For more menu ideas, please check out MPM on

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Homemade Hawaiian Leis

I saw this post for Homemade Hawaiian Leis from the Crafting Chicks and knew I had to try them out for Miss D's BD party.  I wasn't able to find the large craft punch so I just used the medium-sized one instead.  I didn't punch holes in the center because my hole punch was too large (I'm sure they make smaller ones too), but I just used a tapestry needle to punch the yarn through the paper.  It doesn't make the craft as kid-friendly.  I needle the paper flowers and the kids add the straw pieces, but we starting getting the rhythm down.  I used bright scrapbook paper and neon straws.  So far, I think they look great.  Now I just need to make a TON more.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - 5/23/11

Menu Plan Monday - 5/23/11

Last week of school for Miss D.  Recital behind us and summer is fast approaching.  The weather is supposed to be HOT!  I think the grill will be getting some use this week.  Trying not to heat up the kitchen too much with long cooking.  Want to try my hand at some homemade hamburger rolls this week.  We'll see how that goes.  Anyone used a good (parve) recipe?  I just saw one on the King Arthur Flour site that looks promising.  Might need to experiment.

Monday - Grilled Eggplant Rollatini

Tuesday - Chinese Chicken Salad - I will use grilled, and sliced chicken instead of roasted.  Also, I always make the dressing on the side and offer a sesame dressing for my daughter (peanut allergy).

Wednesday - Crazy Pizza Bread or grilled pizza

Thursday - Fish Tacos

Friday - Not sure yet, last day of school and event planned at school.

Looking for more menu ideas, please visit MPM at

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - 5/16/11

Menu Plan Monday - 5/16/11

Last two weeks of school, dance recital next weekend and Mom's coming to visit this week, so lots of quick and easy meals here.

I want to thank Jennifer at Adventures in Mamaland for trying out some of my menu recipes from last week.  I am truly flattered.  If you want to check out her menu from last week or her other blog Adventures in Breadland to see how the pretzel dogs turned out!  Thanks again for the positive feedback from everyone, too!  Maybe there is someone reading this after all  :)

Monday - Broccoli and Bowties.  If I'm making this just for us at home, I usually serve the broccoli separate.  The lemon juice and salt will turn the broccoli to mush if you save the leftovers.

Tuesday - Spinach Ravioli Bake

Wednesday - Chicken Piccata.  Yes, two Barefoot Contessa recipes this week.  I make this one using all EVOO in place of the butter.

sweet potato fries
Thursday - Hamburger Sliders, oven roasted sweet potato fries.

Friday - Not sure yet, perhaps out to dinner after dance rehearsal.

Also, I hope to make a batch of my Grandmother's Strawberry Jam.  I hope to post more about the recipe later.

Also, Roasted Eggplant Spread (make that 3!) for a snacking dip with bagel chips when Mom is here.

For more recipe ideas, please visit MPM at

Marshmallow Fondant

Marshmallow Fondant (MMF) -  Has anyone tried making this yet?  Has anyone heard of Marshmallow Fondant?  I found out about it a few weeks ago.  I am not really a big fondant fan, but Miss D's birthday is rolling around again soon.  She has requested the "Barbie" cake -you know,  the dome-shaped cake with the doll torso sticking out of it.  Anyway, the dress for this doll will be out of fondant, so I really wanted something that tasted good.  I have to admit this one is pretty tasty.  Not that I can eat the big wads of it my children have been sneaking, but as it's rolled out over buttercream, it still retains that marshmallow squishy-ness and is quite nice.  There are many recipes out there for MMF but pretty simply:

2 (10 oz.) bags of mini marshmallows
1/2 c. butter or veg. shortening
2 pounds powdered sugar
a few tablespoons of water

food color paste (if desired)

Melt the marshmallow and butter over a double-boiler, or in the microwave.  when melted, add 1/2 of the powdered sugar and mix by hand or in a stand mixer.  Continue adding powdered sugar until a soft dough forms, adding water if it gets too thick.  Transfer to a counter surface dusted with more powdered sugar and continue to knead until smooth.  Place in a zippered plastic bag and squeeze out excess air.  Store in the fridge for at least a few hours and up to two weeks.  When ready to use, allow it to come to room temperature in the bag.  Microwave for 30-sec bursts until soft and pliable.    If you wish to color the fondant, you can use color paste (and food-safe gloves for your hands) kneading the color into the fondant until evenly distributed.  When soft, the fondant is easy to roll out and also to cut out and mold. 

My children used the leftover fondant to create "cookies" for Mother's Day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese

I promised to share this recipe a long time ago.  This is my Mom's Macaroni and Cheese recipe.  Not only is this one of my favorites, both growing up and now, but also my friends' favorites.  It's my go-to recipe for potlucks, gatherings and as a casserole to share.   Now, this is totally a 70's recipe.  Don't be shocked by the ingredients - this is not low cal health food to be honest, but it is so good!

Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound box of elbow macaroni

1/2 c. chopped onion

2 Tbs. butter

1 can either cream of celery or cream of mushroom soup

1 c. milk

12 oz. sharp American or cheddar cheese*

bread crumbs

tomato slices

dried oregano

Cook macaroni in boiling salted water and drain.  In a large skillet, saute onion in butter, until tender.  Add soup and gradually blend in milk.  Add cheese to skillet and cook on low heat, stirring gently to combine until melted.  Combine cheese sauce with macaroni in a large bowl or stockpot.  After mixed, pour into a large 2-quart casserole dish.  Top with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs, tomato slices and dried oregano.  Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes until bubbly and thoroughly heated.

* You can choose to substitute some or all of the cheese with a more natural Cheddar cheese, but it won't end up as smooth and creamy in the end, but tasty nonetheless!

Mini mac and cheese - baked in muffin tins

Monday, May 9, 2011

Island Beef Ribs

Island Beef Ribs (adapted from my Mom's recipe)

4 pounds beef ribs, country-style cut works best

1 c. pureed canned peaches, or 1/2 c. peach or apricot preserves

1/2 c. chili sauce or ketchup with a pinch of red chili flakes

1/2 c. cider vinegar

3 Tbs. soy sauce

1/4 c. brown sugar

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs. ground ginger

Rub ribs on all sides with salt and pepper.  Place ribs meaty side down in a foil-lined pan.  Cover and bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.  Pour off excess fat.  Blend remaining ingredients and pour over ribs.  Turn down heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 1 1/2 hours with cover.  Remove foil and bake for 20 more minutes, basting with sauce  OR place ribs on grill for remaining minutes
for a smokier BBQ taste.

Moroccan Meatballs

Moroccan Meatballs (adapted from "The Biggest Loser 30-Day Jump Start")
1/2 c. bulgur wheat, softened in 1 c. hot water

1 (1 1/4) lb. ground meat (I used turkey)

1/4 c. finely minced onion

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1/4 c. chopped mint, cilantro, and/or parsley (depends on what I have)

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. ground  mustard

1/2 tsp salt and pepper

1 egg

Drain excess water from bulgur wheat.  Mix all ingredients well.  Form into small balls (1 1/2 inch).  Place on a lined baking sheet.  Makes about 40 small meatballs.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes.  Can serve meatballs (2-3) on a small skewer for appetizers.  Serve with cucumber and tomato salad, hummus, and pita, if desired.

Menu Plan Monday - 5/9/11

Menu Plan Monday - 5/9/11

Last few weeks of school here.  The weather is supposed to be in the high 80's/90's, so I'm trying to keep the menu pretty simple.

Monday - Moroccan Meatballs - adapted from a "Biggest Loser Cookbook" recipe, and corn on the cob.

Tuesday - Pizza (yes, again).  Late night, so something quick.  Love this recipe from Martha Stewart for Whole Wheat Pizza Dough.  I'll freeze half for another night, too!

Wednesday - Breakfast for dinner.  Hope to make a big batch and pack some away in the freezer.

Thusday - Pretzel Dogs

Friday - Island Beef Ribs

Looking for more menu ideas, please visit MPM at

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - 5/2/11

Menu Plan Monday - 5/2/11

Busy week coming up.  Last month of school for Miss D. Lots of poultry this week, too.  Oh well.  At least there is a menu plan.

Monday - Roasted chicken, veggies

Tuesday - Pizza, something quick before a school event.

I was asked to make this recipe for Georgia Caviar.  I've only made it once before and it was a different recipe (more like this one from Paula Deen).  As a Northern girl, it's not something I grew up with or even tried before this year.  If there is anyone out there reading this has tried this recipe before, I would love some feedback.  Somehow the recipe doesn't seem "right" to me. Also, It's teacher appreciation day, so I'm thinking of something to bake and send in the morning.  Perhaps, some chocolate chip coffee cake?

Wednesday - Crockpot Orange Chicken, rice and broccoli

Thursday - Turkey Tacos, homemade salsa and chips, guacamole and my once-a-year margarita

Friday  - Challah, Spaghetti and homemade sauce

For more recipe ideas, please visit MPM at