Friday, December 4, 2009

menu planning monday, 12.07.09

Decided to start a little earlier this time:) Trying some new things and repeating some things already found to be tried and true. In the end, just planning makes life so much easier.

Friday, 12.04: Breakfast for dinner (grits, bacon, scrambled eggs, pancakes)

Sunday, 12.06: Emeril's Sausage, Peppers, and Onions with toasted french demi baguettes; Holiday Baking: Cranberry Bliss Bars

Monday, 12.07: Sam's Beef Stew with cornbread muffins

Tuesday, 12.08: Pacific Rim Stir-Fry

Wednesday, 12.09: Dinner served at church will be baked chicken, sweet potato patties, green beans, salad and dessert (pizza for the kids).

Thursday, 12.10: Grilled cheese sandwiches with chicken noodle soup

For more menu planning ideas, check out the links at OrgJunkie!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

menu planning monday 10.19.09

Monday: Smoked Turkey Breast with wild rice and steamed broccoli

Tuesday: Chicken-Vegetable stir fry

Apprehension-Free Wednesday: Breakfast casserole, cheese grits, and fruit salad will be served at church prior to the Worship Service.

Thursday: WYFL Homecoming Pep Rally and hot dog dinner

Friday: Fish Tacos with pinto beans

Who knows what the weekend holds!

For more menu planning ideas, check out OrgJunkie!

Monday, September 28, 2009

menu planning monday 09.28.09

Monday: Grilled Portobellos with Pasta and salad

Tuesday: Chili-Lime Shrimp with coconut rice

Apprehension-Free Wednesday: Dinner at church will be BBQ Pork, cole slaw, baked beans, bread, and dessert.

Thursday: Grilled hamburgers, pinto beans, and baked tortilla chips

Friday: Chef D's Birthday -- going out for sushi then back home for some Gigi's German Chocolate Pie!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

roast beef panini with pumpkin bisque -- happy fall!

I thought I would do a review of today's meal, since I enjoyed it so much. The pumpkin bisque was very easy, especially since I used the stick blender directly in the sauce pot instead of transferring to the blender. I did use more salt than the recipe called for and toasted my raw pumpkin seeds on the stove top instead of roasting them. It was perfect for the first day of the fall season.

The panini was another winner. I used the Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted whole wheat bread and added a wedge of Laughing Cow light swiss cheese (spread on the the insides of the bread as if it were mayonnaise). Since I do not own a panini press, I improvised and used my George Foreman grill. I have not used it in a long time and now I have found a reason to use it!

I found both of these recipes while researching the flat belly diet. I still do not have a flat belly (after 4 weeks of adjusting my eating plan), but I have lost 6 lbs. and do not feel hungry in between meals.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

menu planning monday 09.21.09

Monday: Pasta with Walnut Basil Pesto (358 calories) with oven-baked turkey meatballs (350 calories) and fresh butter lettuce salad with dried cranberries and sunflower seeds

Tuesday: Hearty Roast Beef Panini (270 calories) with Pumpkin Bisque (210 calories)

Apprehension-Free Wednesday: Chicken enchiladas, refried beans, rice, salad and dessert will be served at church prior to the worship service.

Thursday: Slow-cooker African Chicken Stew (439 calories) with Red Pepper-Scallion Corn Muffins (345 calories) (edited: decided to go with lemon, rosemary, and balsamic grilled chicken thighs instead with mashed and sweet potatoes and a salad on the side)

Friday: Scrapbooking retreat for the girls and Boys Night Out for the guys!

Don't forget to check out OrgJunkie for more menu planning ideas!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

menu planning monday 09.07.09

For those who read my last week's menu plan, I wanted to share that I lost 4 lbs. during my week of anti-bloat jumpstart menus. They were not totally appetizing (mostly due to the salt restriction), but I do feel much better. I will now be starting to include more menus higher in monounsaturated fatty acids (nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and even dark chocolate!).

Monday: Labor Day Holiday - since we will be visiting at a friend's house, this will also be a holiday from my new eating plan.

Tuesday: Cheesy Pasta with Spinach with a side of fresh oranges

Apprehension-Free Wednesday: Dinner served at church will be poppyseed chicken casserole, green beans/peas, salad, bread and dessert.

Thursday: Sesame Chicken Stir-fry with grilled pinapple

Friday: California Burgers with steamed baby carrots

Please check out the other menu plans at OrgJunkie.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

menu planning monday 08.31.09

I think I am going to try something new this week. A friend of mine shared a 4-day anti-bloat menu that helped her last week and I am going to try it out. I am just posting the dinner portion here, but there are specific things for all meals for 4 days -- my friend lost 4 lbs. by following this plan. Unfortunately, I do not think the rest of my family is ready for any 'anti-bloating'!, so I will be making some additional items to suit their needs.

Monday: Grilled tilapia, green beans, roasted red potatoes drizzled

Tuesday: Grilled chicken breast, sauteed fresh cremini mushrooms, brown rice

Wednesday: Grilled or baked turkey breast cutlet, green beans, roasted red potatoes

Thursday: Grilled chicken breast, sauteed yellow squash, brown rice

Friday: Tonight is the first local high school football and we bought season tickets. After all this 'anti-bloat' this week, I am not going to ruin it all by eating at the stadium. But, I do want something a little tastier than plain grilled poultry or fish. Tonight's celebratory 'end-of-anti-bloat-week" dinner will be: steak, baked potato and salad.

Saturday: Youngest son's birthday is being celebrated this weekend, so I am going to let him choose the meal for tonight:)

For more (non anti-bloat!) menu planning ideas, check out OrgJunkie!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

menu planning monday 08.17.09

We made it through the first week of school and lived to tell about it! I was able to follow my meal plan except for Thursday (a 10:00 am meeting lasted until after 4 pm!). I am grateful for an understanding family who appeared happy to have sandwiches that night:)

The boys did great with their lunch planning, but I think I will have them plan one week at a time instead of the night before.

Monday: Panko-crusted cod fillet sliders (need to use these rolls before they go bad) with freshly-picked hydroponic lettuce salad (with tomatoes and peppers from my garden)

Tuesday: Baked teriyaki chicken thighs with whole grain/wild rice medley and panko-fried zucchini strips. Mini blueberry dump cakes for Bible Reading Group dessert.

Apprehension-Free Wednesday: I am so happy that Wednesday night suppers have resumed at church. This week's meal will be roast beef, mashed potatoes, lima beans, salad, rolls and dessert. They are also trying a new feature: Domino's Pizza for the children (and any adult that signs up for that in the place of the regular dinner). I think my children will be pleased:)

Thursday: Homemade pizza (recipe posted soon!) with crudites

Friday: Scrapbooking Night for the girls and Boy's Night Out for the rest!

Saturday: Dinner club at our friends, the M's!

For more menu planning ideas, check out all the other links at OrgJunkie!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

week in review 08.15.09

Since I have not been as successful in photographing and reviewing on a regular basis, I decided to do a little end-of-the-week review.

The best thing that I tried for the first time was the panko-crusted fried catfish from Monday. This Japanese-influenced version of fried catfish resulted in a crispy, yet light version of the typical southern-fried staple. It was so good that I used the same technique tonight when I made cod fillet sliders (we found these cute little buns at the market!). I am pretty sure I will use it from now on with my fish tacos.

So, the next time you have a hankerin' for some fish, GO PANKO!

Monday, August 10, 2009

menu planning monday 08.10.09

Monday: Panko-crusted fried catfish filets with mashed potatoes

Tuesday: Three-cheese tortellinis with tomato sauce (leftover from spaghetti luncheon on Sunday -- homemade by Chef D) and garlic bread

Apprehension-Free Wednesday (has returned!): Dinner served at church will be herbed-roasted chicken, vegetable casserole, blackeyed peas, salad, bread and dessert.

Thursday: Fish Tacos (I must use up all this tilapia in the freezer!) with pinto beans

Friday: Grilled beef patties with whole-grain and wild rice medley and steamed asparagus

Don't forget to check out all the other menu planning ideas at OrgJunkie!

Friday, August 7, 2009

menu planning: back-to-school lunchbox version

I am bound and determined to provide healthier lunches for my boys this year. Last year was not a good year for lunchboxes here -- yes, I even succumbed to buying those dreaded lunchables (hanging my head in shame).

I sat down with the boys this week and we came up with a plan! Other than healthier options, I wanted them to have more options -- it seems like we tend to get in a rut with what leaves in the lunchbox each morning. Also, the boys are going to start participating in packing their lunches. They are 7 and 11 and perfectly capable of a few more responsibilities. We developed lists of options for main entree/side/dessert/drink for lunch and snack/drink for snack time. Here are the boys lists:


Entree: fluffernutter sandwich, ham sandwich with mayo, slice of cheese & crackers, pumpkinbread PB sandwich, and pasta with cheese/almonds
Side: apples with PB, pumpkinbread, corn bread muffin, oatmeal bar, yogurt, carrots, nuts
Dessert: brownies, cookie bars, poppyseed muffins, rice krispy treats, chocolate chip muffins, oatmeal squares dry cereal
Snack: pretzels, almonds, sunflower kernels, cheese crackers
Drinks: Sunny-D, Decaf Tea, Chocolate Milk


Entree: fluffernutter sandwich, ham sandwich, pita pizza, tortilla/ham roll-ups, pasta, cereal with milk
Side: pumpkinbread, yogurt, carrots, peanuts, banana
Dessert: brownies, cookie bars, rice krispy treat, sugar cookies
Snack: cornbread muffins, sunflower kernels, dry cheerios, cheese crackers
Drinks: apple juice, Sunny-D, milk

I found 20.2 oz tinted stainless steel bottles for them at Whole Foods yesterday and finally found a lunchbox for Max today (camouflage, of course). I made a batch of the oatmeal bars tonight and will make some pumpkinbread tomorrow. I think we will be ready on Monday morning!

Monday, August 3, 2009

menu planning monday 08.03.09

I am very late in posting, but doing it anyway.

Monday: Hamburgers and fries

Tuesday: Bacon-Swiss Quiche (lemon bars for Bible Reading group dessert)

Thursday: Homemade pizzas

Friday: Fish Tacos with fresh salsa and a side of pinto beans (I had this scheduled for last Friday, but we ended up dining out)

Check out many more menu plans over at The Happy Housewife (filling in for Laura at OrgJunkie).

Monday, July 27, 2009

menu planning monday 07.27.09

I have not done a menu plan in several weeks and my budget has paid for it (no menu plan = more dining out!). Life is just more complicated during the summer months -- between the children being home and travelling.

But, school starts in two weeks and the vacations are over with, so I am trying to get back into the swing of menu planning.

Monday: Spaghetti, garlic bread and tossed salad

Tuesday: Salmon cakes with lemon dill sauce and steamed asparagus; 1-2-3 cookie bars for bible reading group dessert (these are so easy and very yummy!) -- we found that if you add a layer of marshmallow cream to the top, it tastes like s'mores!

Wednesday: Sauteed shrimp (using the sauteed crab claws recipe) with coconut rice and pickled cucumbers

Thursday: Poppyseed Chicken with rice and steamed broccoli (prepared by Lauren!)

Don't forget to check out all the other menu plans at OrgJunkie!

Monday, June 22, 2009

menu planning monday 06.22.09

Since the children have been out of school and baseball season started, I have had the hardest time keeping up with my menu planning. I usually try to have it done by Sunday, but that just did not happen this week. But, baseball season is over and I can get that little part of my life back (at least, until football starts next month!). So, here goes!

Monday: Grilled portobellos and pineapples, with whole-grain pilaf and a tossed salad [guitar lessons now moved to Mondays, still at 6pm]

Tuesday: Sauteed Shrimp with jasmine rice and steamed broccoli sprinkled with parmesan

Wednesday: No more Wednesday night suppers at church for the rest of the summer, so this week we are having pizzas using Naan bread as the base. This is a delicious flatbread that you can purchase or make from scratch (you can find the recipe Chef D uses here).

Thursday: Spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread (prepared by Lauren, who is back home from college)

Friday: Scrapbooking Crop night - Lauren and I will bring brownies and fresh fruit. The guys will have their Boys Night Out:)

Saturday: This is our 22nd wedding anniversary so Chef D has decided to take me out to eat at this new restaurant in our area: SpringHouse on Lake Martin.

Don't forget to check out OrgJunkie for more menu planning ideas!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

menu planning monday 06.01.09

Check it out!! My daughter fixed me up with a cool new blog layout. What do you think about it??

Here's the scoop for this week's meals:

Monday: Sauteed shrimp with jasmine rice

Tuesday: Bacon-Swiss Quiche with tossed salad [guitar lessons at 6 pm; bible reading group at 7 pm]

Apprehension-Free Wednesday: Pork roast, vegetables, salad and dessert will be served at church.

Thursday: Steak skewers with parmesan roasted asparagus ~or~ sauteed zucchini (if I get some fresh from Southern Dining Diva's garden) [ballgame at 7:15]

Friday: Meatball sandwiches then we are going to see Casting Crowns in concert!

Don't forget to check out the other menu planning ideas at OrgJunkie!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

menu planning monday 05.18.2009

This is the last week of school for my boys, so we have several end-of-the-school-year events to attend as well as more baseball practices and games.  Last week's menu planning definitely helped get throught the week with reduced stress and kept us from the inclination to eat fast-food or pick up burgers at the ball park concession stand. 

I am in the process of trying to use up some items that have been in the freezer and pantry for awhile.  This weeks usage: hamburger patties, frozen fries, frozen scallops, frozen steak, boxed linguini mix, yellow cake mix, and cheese biscuit mix.

Chef D and I had another successful week of weight loss:  he lost 4 lbs and I lost 2 lbs! 

Monday: Hamburgers and french fries [baseball practice 5-6:30 pm]

Tuesday: Bacon wrapped scallops with linguini alfredo;  blueberry mini-dump cakes for bible group dessert [guitar lessons at 6 pm; bible reading group at 7 pm]

Apprehension-Free Wednesday: Ham, green bean casserole, potatoes with onions, salad and dessert will be served at church prior to the prayer service.

Thursday: Spaghetti with meatballs [baseball game at 6 pm]

Friday: Grilled steak with baked potato, tossed salad and cheese biscuits

Don't forget to check out all the other menu plans posted at OrgJunkie for lots of great ideas

Sunday, May 10, 2009

menu planning monday 05.11.09

Baseball season has seriously affected my menu planning and dinner preparation (which, I have found, go hand in hand).  We have eaten out way too much over the last few weeks, but I have received much help from my dear, sweet husband.  Thanks, Chef D!

So, with three weeks remaining in baseball season, here is my plan for the next week.  [Oh, and for those of you interested, Chef D and I are still working on our weightloss -- he has lost about 35 lbs and I have lost 25 lbs since the beginning of January!]

Monday: Soup and Salad [Chef D attending Men's Club dinner at church; Baseball Practice 5-6:30 pm]

Tuesday: Crockpot Rosemary-Garlic Chicken with steamed broccoli. Lemon Bars for our Bible Reading Group snack  [Guitar lessons 6-6:30 pm/Bible Reading group @ 7 pm]

Apprehension-Free Wednesday:  Sausage, peppers and onions with pinto beans ~or~ quiche with salad and dessert will be served at church prior to worship service.

Thursday: Meatball Sandwiches with crudites [Baseball Game at 7:15 pm]

FridaySpinach Pasta Toss (with added sausage) and fresh fruit with mint-balsamic tea; [Friday update:  The more I look at this pasta recipe, the less-appetizing it looks.  So, I think I will go with this Giada recipe instead Fusilli with Sausage, Artichokes and Sun-dried tomatoes -- since I have the items on hand for it!]

I will add our weekend menu plan in later in the week after conferring with Chef D on his plans.

Update:  We received a call Tuesday that this month's church supper club is scheduled for this Saturday.  So, that is where we will be!

Check out all the other menu planning ideas at Org Junkie!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

menu planning monday 04.27.09

Life has been a little hectic lately now that we are in the full swing of baseball season.  I don't even remember if I cooked a meal at all last week.  We ate out too much -- I know that much...too many calories!  

So, I asked Chef D (my sweet husband, for those who are new to the blog), to help me out this week.  And, he obliged:) He even did the grocery shopping tonight so that we have everything we need.  I love that man.

Monday:  Alton Brown's Chicken Fried Steak with mashed potatoes (Chef D preparing while I take one child to baseball practice and the other to his school's art fair)

Tuesday:  Grilled pork chops with long-grain/wild rice and a tossed salad

Apprehension-Free Wednesday:  Pork roast, vegetable medley, sweet potato casserole, salad and dessert will be served at church (with pizza for the kiddos).

Thursday:  Grilled portobello mushrooms, grilled pineapple and leftover rice from Tuesday (I always make too much!)

Friday:  Scrapbooking night for me/Boy's night out for 'the boys'!

Check out OrgJunkie for more menu planning ideas!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

our take on tapas

A few months ago a friend told us she had been to a tapas bar -- we initially thought she said topless bar!  A few weeks later we drove by the restaurant she mentioned and decided that we would try it sometime soon, sans children.  Last night provided just that opportunity.  It was an enjoyable time where we shared (with friends) the following tapas:  

  • dry-cured italian sausage, meatballs, parmesan, mahon, and sofrito sauce flatbread
  • lobster and shrimp salad lettuce wraps
  • pacific rim tuna nachos
  • west indies crab-gulf shrimp napoleon
  • bacon wrapped swordfish skewers
  • fried manchego cheese
  • escargot

It was such a fun time and we loved the tapas idea, so we decided to try it out at home for dinner tonight.  We had a bosc pear with cheese plate (Chef D had bleu cheese while I had some soft swiss) and an assortment of our own tuna nachos. 

For the nachos, we cut wonton wrappers into triangle halves and deep-fried very quickly to make a crisp base (they are in the white bowl in the middle of the picture).  To the right of the white bowl are the three bowls with the different versions of tuna (sashimi) -- sesame oil with sesame seeds, olive oil with balsamic vinegar, and chinese chicken salad dressing.  In the front you see diced grape tomatoes, pickled ginger, and avocado to add to the 'taco'.  The bottles in the back show some of the sauces used: Tamari soy sauce, Williams-Sonoma chinese chicken salad dressing, and Capelli olive oil with juniper and rosemary.

We decided this was definitely something we will do again, especially with guests. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

menu planning monday 04.13.09

I am very lacking in the motivation department this week when it comes to menu planning.  Chef D picked up some lamb last week that we did not use, so it is currently resting in the freezer.  I need to figure out a way to use some of it this week.

Monday: Fish Tacos (still trying use up some of the white fish from the freezer!) with pinto beans

Tuesday: Spaghetti, salad and garlic bread

Apprehension-Free Wednesday:  roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad and dessert will be served at church.

Thursday: Salmon cakes with steamed asparagus

Friday:  Mimi's sticky chicken with grilled veggies

Saturday:  Chef D can work his magic with the lamb tonight.  I will edit the post when I get his recipe plans.

Don't forget to check out all the other menu plans at OrgJunkie!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

menu planning monday 04.06.09

Another busy week is ahead with baseball practices, pictures and games.  

Monday:  Spiral-cut ham with sauteed fingerling potatoes and tossed salad

Tuesday:  Lamb Stew

Apprehension-Free Wednesday:  Meatloaf, roasted potatoes, cabbage and dessert will be served at church.  

Thursday: Sandwiches/Wraps to take to the ballfield (game at 6 pm)

Friday: Dining out with the littles

Thursday, April 2, 2009

doorbell = takeout?

What do you think happens when the doorbell rings while you are cooking your planned dinner?

Well, when the doorbell rang tonight, I ended up going out to the porch to see what new and exciting things the contractor had completed today.  I was thrilled to see the new cedar plank paneling that had been installed and then began a discussion on the new windows.  I was feeling the joy until, about 10 minutes later, I remembered a very important thing -- right before the bell rang, I turned the stove on to warm up the chicken mixture that was going to be added to the rice stick noodles.  I ran back to the kitchen to find the chicken now 'blackened', and not in the delicious way.  There was no way to save it, and I now wish I had photographed it to prove it.  So, I did what anyone would do (?) and called Chef D to pick up something to replace our dinner while he was at The Fresh Market.

This is what he came home with.  I love that man.

[fyi:  that is not tea with lemon -- care to make a guess on what it is?]

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

sauteed shrimp with jasmine rice

Again, I did not follow the recipe I linked to in my menu planning post!!  But, I have a very good excuse -- Chef D filled-in for me tonight.

I made the jasmine rice before I headed out to take einstein to his guitar lesson.  Chef D started on the shrimp and decided to use his sauce for sauteed crab claws instead of the lemon pepper shrimp recipe I had planned.  I am so glad he did because it was fantastic!

First, I will share a little tip I found for making this yummy and fluffy rice.  The key is to soak it for a little while (10-20 minutes) to get those elongated pieces of rice.  After straining the water off the rice, I added the 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and a shake or two of salt.  After it began to boil, stir then cover tightly and cook for 20 minutes on low.  After it is finished, let it sit for 5 minutes then fluff it up...just lovely.

You can find Chef D's crab claw recipe here if you, too, would like to try it with shrimp (we used the fresh frozen bagged kind from the supermarket and found it to work just as well as the one's sold as 'fresh').  Just follow the directions, omitting the crab claws.  After the sauce is finished, add in your shrimps and cook until they turn pink.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 30, 2009

marinated and grilled portobello mushrooms with rice

My schedule was a bit harried after rushing home from baseball practice to fix dinner, so I did not use the recipe I linked yesterday.  Instead, I tossed the sliced portobello mushrooms with this salad dressing that I had handy.  I let it sit for about 15 minutes then threw them on the hot grill for about 5 minutes per side.  I had planned to steam the asparagus I picked up a few days ago, but when I opened the produce bag to prepare them, I found those nasty, slimy heads.  So, instead I pulled out a box of long-grain and wild rice mix from the pantry.  Yes, it had more calories than the asparagus, but it filled in well for a last minute adjustment.

I really enjoyed the mix of flavors with the balsamic vinaigrette-infused portobellos along with the rice.  This was a nice change from the normal meat entree and was pretty easy to prepare.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

menu planning monday 03.30.09

Baseball season has begun and last week was so crazy that I let Chef D handle the menu planning.  Chef D's version of menu planning is cooking up LOTS of meat to have available during the week.  It definitely helped to reduce my stress.  But, it is back to my turn again and we only have 2 practices and no games this week.

Our weight-loss accountability program at church ended today.  Chef D came in 2nd place with an 11.8% loss of total body weight.  I came in 3rd with a 9.86% loss of total body weight.   We will begin another 8-week program starting next Sunday...just to help us stay in gear:)  So, in honor of our wins, I am again including calorie counts where available.

Monday: Marinated and grilled Portobello Mushrooms with steamed asparagus

Tuesday: Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi (403 calories); Strawberry Blueberry Crepes for our bible reading group dessert. {ended up using this recipe for the shrimp instead -- yummy!)

Apprehension-Free Wednesday: Dinner served at church will be Chicken Alfredo, green beans, salad and dessert with chicken fingers for the kiddos.

Thursday: Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken (381 calories/1.75 cup serving) with sauteed snow peas

Friday: Fish Tacos (290 calories each) with pinto beans

I hope everyone has a great week!  For more ideas, go over to OrgJunkie and check out all the other menu plans:)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

three-cheese chicken pasta bake

I chose this recipe because I needed something within our calorie limitations that could be prepared and cooked in advance and still be easy to serve.  I knew that my daughter would not eat all of the recommended ingredients, so I made a separate smaller dish for her with only the pasta, chicken, soup, and three cheeses.  I made extra of the chicken for Monday night's meal to use with this dish.

She really enjoyed her 'special' serving.  I wish I had made more for her and less for Chef D and myself.  I liked the dish, but I am not sure sure about Chef D as he only ate a small amount.  He really isn't a big 'casserole' eater.

In the end, I would recommend it if you are looking for a cheesy casserole dish with fewer calories.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

menu planning monday 03.16.09

Schedules went all awry last week and I did not get to try the two new recipes I had posted and linked.  I am going to try one of them again this week.  It is Spring Break for my children (for both the two in elementary school as well as my college girl) so our schedules are a little different this week, too.  We have lots of ball practices so I picked out some meals that can either be made in advance or cook while we are gone (crockpot, etc).

Weigh-in this week was good for Chef D (down 3 lbs!), but not so pretty for me (gained 1 lb).  Although I kept up with my exercising, I did not do as well with my water intake and tracking the food I ate.  I will do better this week!

Monday: Spicy Honey Chicken with Spinach Apple Salad [baseball practice 5-7 pm]

Tuesday: Three-Cheese Chicken Pasta Bake [baseball practice 5-7 pm]

Wednesday:  Dinner at church this week will be Chicken Enchiladas.

Thursday: Tilapia in foil packets/Crockpot with whole-grain pilaf and crudites  [baseball 6-8 pm] [edited to add:  this tilapia recipe did NOT work for us at all -- I will not make it again]

For more menu planning ideas, click on over to $5 Dinners (filling in for Laura at OrgJunkie this week) and check it out!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

diet cookies?

Chef D suggested I make these ginger snap cookies to share at our last bible reading group.  I like ginger...a lot.  So, it was not a hard sell.  I ended up testing out, cough, several during the cooking stages -- you know, just to ensure they were of the high standards required by our group members;)  I found them to be quite tasty with a nice, spicy kick.  I particularly enjoy the bits of candied ginger. (NOTE:  Although the recipe says to cook for 12-15 minutes, only cook them for 10 minutes or they will be hard.)

My friend, Barb, tested out a few herself during the refreshment time following our discussions.  We both have been counting calories and trying to lose some weight, so we thought that our next day weigh-ins would probably not be very pretty.

We were wrong!  We both actually dropped weight and Barb jokingly suggested it was due to those ginger snaps.  It was not hard convincing me to give it another test (I love these cookies!), and sure enough I lost another pound!  This led me to do a little googling and I found several places that said ginger was a metabolism booster.  I have no proof that these cookies make you lose weight, but I think I will keep eating them just to see (you know, for the sake of science).

menu planning monday 03.09.09

I missed out on MPM last week, but got myself in gear and put together a plan for this week:)  D2's baseball coach has us running to practice four times a week so I am going to have to be creative and deliberate to have some family mealtimes.  We are still counting our calories and trying to keep them under 500 for our dinner meal.  So far this is working well -- I lost another 2.8 lbs. this past week (perhaps due to these?)!

Monday:  Chef D will be attending this month's Men's Club Dinner.  Soup and quesadillas for me and the boys. (ball practice 4:45-6:30 pm)

Tuesday: Leftover pork barbecue for sandwiches (ball practice 4:45-6:00 pm, guitar lessons 6:00-6:30 pm, bible reading group 7:00-8:00 pm)

Apprehension-Free Wednesday: Dinner at church will be lasagna, salad, bread and dessert.

Thursday:   Three Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine (345 calories/cup) with steamed green beans (44 calories/cup)  (ball practice 4:45-6:30 pm)

Saturday:  Dinner by Chef D TBD (ball practice 8-10 am -- finally a practice that does not interfere with dinner time!)

Hospitality Sunday: TBD.

Don't forget to check out OrgJunkie for more menu planning ideas:)

Monday, March 2, 2009


I had way too many distractions this past weekend and did not get a menu plan together.  Between a trip to check on my daughter away at college, a freak Alabama snowstorm, and then packing up my son for a 3-day camp, menu planning just ended up way down on the priority list.

I will just throw together something on paper to get me through this week.  Hopefully I will be back in gear by next Sunday night.

Have a great week of cooking!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

a new kind of milk

I wanted to share my most recent discovery and new way to reduce my calories at breakfast.  I really enjoy a bowl of cereal for breakfast and have been using fat-free milk at 45 calories/.5 cup for awhile.  This Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla 'milk' only has 20 calories/.5 cup and also adds a nutty taste that I like to my cereal.  It also comes in a shelf-stable package so you can purchase it and have it available whenever needed.  Make sure you refrigerate before using though -- tastes much better cold.

I found mine at a Kroger supermarket and my husband found them at a local Publix.  It is also available online.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

menu planning monday 02.23.09

Busy, busy week coming up -- Revival at church on Monday-Wednesday evenings and... the beginning of baseball season!  That means menu planning is key to keeping my sanity.  Our first practice is this week and I am happy we have some leftovers because it takes place right smack in the middle of my usual dinner cooking time.  I will start looking for some meals that can be prepared in advance and just warmed up for those busy days of baseball practice over the next month and games starting in April.  I just hope this does not put a kink in our calorie-counting.  I am determined to be prepared this season to bring picnic lunches/dinners to the ballpark so we are not tempted by the hamburgers, fries, and nachos from the concession stand.

:  Mimi's sticky chicken and grilled veggies (leftovers from last week's Hospitality Sunday meal) (baseball practice at 4:45 pm)

Tuesday: Chili-Mac --  chili (leftover from last week's chili cook-off) with tofu shirataki noodles
 (edited to add: do NOT do this.  These noodles did not go well at all with chili.  In fact, the only good use so far I have found for them is in soup.)

Apprehension-Free Wednesday:  Chicken and rice casserole, mixed vegetables, salad and dessert will be served at church. (additional practice at batting cages added 5-6)

ThursdayGinger-rice noodle soup with stir-fried vegetables (baseball practice 4:30-6; Chef D going to Atlanta to hear Ravi Zacharias)

Friday:  Beef filets with baked potato (for the boys) and sweet potato (for me) and a tossed salad (baseball practice added 6-8 pm)

Sous-chef Saturday:  TBD (baseball practiced added 6-8 pm -- this is getting old already and it is only the first week!)

Hospitality Sunday:  I have really enjoyed inviting friends over for lunch at our home after our Sunday morning worship service. It has taken a little more preparation to serve a meal when you have been out of the house since 9 am, but it has been so worth it.  This endeavor has also helped me to realize that it is more important to be hospitable and spend time with friends (new and old) than to be concerned about the state of my house and it's decor. 

If you need more ideas for menu plans, hop on over to OrgJunkie and check it out!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

menu planning monday 02.16.09

For the past six weeks, we have been counting our calories and I have tried to include those counts in my menu plan posts.  Although Chef D and my total daily calorie goals are different (I am gearing for 1200 and he is looking at 2000 calories/day), we try to keep our dinner meal at 500 calories or less.

We are participating in an 'encouragement and accountability group' at church where we are weighing in each Sunday morning.  I was thrilled this morning that I lost 4 lbs. over the past week which brings my total lost since January 4 to 19 lbs.!  Chef D is doing pretty good himself with 27 lbs. lost:)  We decided to get serious about getting healthy for two reasons -- we had let ourselves go and were feeling the consequences PLUS we have a family wedding to attend in April and haven't seen most of the people since we have gained weight.  

So, here's to another week of counting calories and exercising!

Monday: Baked Teriyaki Chicken (277 calories/2 thighs) with basmati rice (150 calories/.25 cup) and steamed broccoli florets (25 calories/1 cup)

Tuesday: Maple-glazed Salmon (285 calories/4 oz.) with whole-grain pilaf  (170/.5 cup) and steamed asparagus (35 calories/15 stalks with .25 tsp butter)

Apprehension-Free Wednesday: Annual Chili Cookoff at church will be this night.  Hot Dogs and dessert will also be served.  Chef D won the competition last year and will be again submitting a superb entry to try to hold on to the trophy (a giant decorative bottle of chili peppers!). Prep:  Prepare thighs for tomorrow.

Thursday: Mimi's sticky chicken thighs (100 calories/thigh) with sauteed zucchini squash with grated parmesan

Friday: --edited-- Chef D is going to the Men's Club sponsored dinner as a part of the Men's Retreat that is tonight and tomorrow morning.  I will do something fun with the boys:)

Sous-chef Saturday: No SCS this week.  Busy day with basketball game, helping friends move, and end of season basketball program

Hospitality Sunday:  Mimi's sticky chicken with grilled vegetables, macaroni and cheese, and long-grain and wild rice.  Blueberry dump cake for dessert.

Menu planning has taken a huge burden from my life.  Thanks for Laura at OrgJunkie for hosting many menu plans to help get it together for a week!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

menu planning monday 02.09.09

We are still watching our calories, so I am continuing to try to choose lower-calories, but still tasty, meals.  Chef D has lost a total of 25 lbs since Jan 4 and I am down 15 lbs!  It is amazing what a little good food, lots of water, and regular exercise can do:)

Monday:  I will be spending all day going on a field trip with my 11 year-old, so I am blessed that Chef D and the boys will be attending our church Men's Club Dinner.  I am on my own, so I will probably have some soup and salad.

Tuesday: Smoked Sausage with fried okra (300 calories) (recipe to come on Monday)

Apprehension-Free Wednesday:  Tamale Pie, corn, pinto beans, salad and dessert will be served at church.

Thursday: Thai Chicken Skewer Wraps (140 calories/wrap) with coconut rice

Sous-chef Saturday:  No sous-chef Saturday since we have church supper club at friends tonight to celebrate Valentine's Day!  

Hospitality Sunday:  TBD.

Go over to OrgJunkie to check out all the other menu plans!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

menu planning monday 02.02.09

We had a good week last week watching our calories.  Chef D lost another 4 lbs. giving him about a 20 lb. weight loss since January 4.  I lost 2 more lbs. and am down about 14 lbs. :)  It seems that counting calories is helping so I will continue to try to choose dinner meals that are 500 calories or less.  I will try to note what the calorie count is for each of the menus posted.  This week's menu will be using up some of the frozen meat/fish in the freezer.

Monday:  Shrimp and Pasta (411 calories -- with a few adjustments from this recipe)

Tuesday:  Grilled Spicy Tex-Mex Chicken (136 calories/4 ounces) with miniature ravioli (135 calories) with sauce (20 calories) and a side of steamed broccoli (25 calories)

Apprehension-Free Wednesday: Dinner served at church will be roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad and dessert.

Thursday: Fish Tacos (290 calories each) with salsa and gaucamole

Friday:  Scrapbooking Crop for the girls, Boys' Night Out for the boys.  

Saturday:  No sous-chef Saturday this week because we will be attending a wedding and reception this afternoon

Hospitality Sunday: TBD.

Many thanks to Laura at OrgJunkie for hosting Menu Planning Monday each week.  Check it out for more menu planning ideas!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

rotisserie cornish game hen with sauced three-cheese ravioli and sauteed zucchini

I had the privilege again to assist Chef D with a weekend meal.  Tonight he wanted to give our new rotisserie a go with something a little different -- cornish game hens.  He used the Mimi's Sticky Chicken seasoning before putting them to cooking for about 2 1/2 hours on a low rotisserie setting.  We weren't really sure how long it would take, so we probably let them go a wee bit longer than necessary.  In the end, they weren't too overcooked, though.

He picked up some pre-made three-cheese miniature raviolis at the supermarket and used a pre-made spaghetti sauce as a base to which he added additional fresh herbs and seasonings.  

I helped by prepping the zucchini with our favorite julienne peeler.  I sauteed them in a dab of extra virgin olive oil with a bit of Mrs. Dash Table Blend and Emeril's Original Essence.  It only takes about 2 minutes since the zucchini has been cut to such small pieces.  Don't overcook!

This meal ended up being a bit on the spicy side, so we ended our meal with a little 100-calorie treat to cool down our lips.

Total calories for the meal (eating 1/2 of the hen and including the treat at the end): 635

Friday, January 30, 2009

cheap noodles

Well, they aren't cheap when you come to paying for them, but they are cheap when you count their calories.  I heard about these shirataki tofu noodles with only 20 calories per serving (and it is a pretty large serving) from Hungry Girl and decided to give them a try.

Today I invited Barb over for lunch and fixed Chef D's ginger rice noodle soup, but with the shirataki noodles instead of the rice noodles.  Yes, they take a little work to get them ready to use (drain and rinse, microwave for a minute, then totally dry them out on a towel), but it was well worth the effort.  They reminded me very much of ramen noodles, but a little chewier.  I do believe we have a winner here!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

dan dan noodles with pickled cucumbers - part deux

This is the second time I have tried this recipe (see first time here).  

I again used hothouse cucumbers, but instead of having them julienned, I just sliced them thinly and put them together less than an hour before the meal.  They kept their crunch this time.  I also reduced the red pepper so that they would not be so hot.  Chef D said I am getting closer to what he is looking for in a pickled cucumber.  Practice makes perfect!

I used a chinese-style noodle that we had in the cupboard that just might be called long-life (they were VERY long).  The peanut-flavored sauce with ground turkey chunks worked well again. 

I liked this one and we'll have it again in the future.  Not bad at all for less than 500 calories.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

teriyaki chicken thighs with shitake ginger soup and bamboo rice

I really liked this teriyaki chicken tonight -- yummy!  I had all of the ingredients here, since we used many of them during Supper Club Saturday last weekend.  After they were finished on the grill, I put them in a small iron skillet, covered with foil, and placed them in the warming oven while the rice finished.  They were still tender and had a nice, sweet flavor from the marinade.  

This bamboo rice that we found at Fresh Market last week looked yummy and has only 160 calories per cup, so I had to grab a jar to give it a try.  I was a little disappointed.  I did not really know what to expect, but it was pretty flavorless.  The green onions and a little salt and pepper helped somewhat, but I will need to come up with something else to add when I use it again.  Chef D ended up putting his in his soup.

I decided to try to recreate Chef D's soup from last Saturday, minus the noodles, but I did not quite hit the mark.  I will need to add some additional bouillon next the time.  I still liked it, though.

Again, a good meal for under 300 calories this time!

Monday, January 26, 2009

salmon cakes with steamed asparagus and baked sweet potato

Okay, I know that some people may think sweet potatoes do not go with salmon, but I wanted some color on the plate. ;)

This salmon cake recipe is one that I have used before and came from my Cuisine at Home magazine.  The last time I used fresh salmon, so I decided to try out canned salmon this go around.  I also reduced the sriracha sauce to keep the heat down.  Overall, I thought the flavor was good, but for some reason, the cakes did not hold together well.  I think they need a little more egg.

You all are probably tiring of seeing pictures of asparagus spears here, but we love them.  They are one of the few green vegetables that Chef D likes, so I fix them often.

All the potato needed was a sprinkling of our special cinnamon-sugar mixture (vietnamese cassia cinnamon with turbinado sugar) and a little butter (well, I used smart balance light since I am watching my calories).  

All in all, I thought this was a pretty good meal for under 400 calories.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

menu planning monday 01.26.09

Our weightloss this week was a little less than previous weeks, but using lower-calorie recipes and portion control is still working for us.  I will add in calorie counts after they are all determined.  Here is to another great healthy-eating week!

MondaySalmon Cakes (125 calories each) with fresh steamed asparagus (2 calories each) and baked sweet potato (50 calories); Prep: make pumpkin bread for lunchboxes
Tuesday: Teriyaki Chicken Thighs with soup and bamboo rice (80 cal/ .5 cup).  Blueberry-Banana Smoothies for our Bible Reading group dessert.

Apprehension-Free Wednesday: Dinner at church will be Chicken stir-fry, fried rice, salad and dessert. Prep: make oatmeal bars for lunchboxes

Thursday: Dan Dan Noodles with pickled cucumbers (450 calories) 

FridayFish Tacos (290 calories each) with Tijuana Kitchen Rice (200 calories/cup); Prep:  Make white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies and rice krispies treats for a college care package

Sous-chef Saturday: We are going to rotisserie a couple of cornish game hens and use the Mimi's Sticky Chicken seasonings, julienne and saute some zucchini, and cook up a little pasta.

Hospitality Sunday: Beef Stew and cornbread to share with friends after church.

Check out lots of other menu planning ideas over at OrgJunkie:)

Monday, January 19, 2009

menu planning monday 01.19.09

I got a little distracted and did not get around to figuring out my menu plan for this week until much later than usual.  The menus last week worked great for my lower-calorie plan and I lost another 4 lbs.!  Now to just come up with a variety of foods to make it all worthwhile:)  I will post calories once I get that determined.

Also, I wanted to share a great zero-calorie snack I just found -- Mt. Olive no sugar added sweet gherkins.  I love sweet pickles, but haven't eaten them in awhile due to the sugar-added calories.  Thank you, Mt. Olive!

Monday:  We traveled over to Auburn to have lunch with our daughter.  We got back late so we are just having leftovers.

Tuesday: Grilled shrimp skewers with yellow rice and a caesar salad (500 calories). Prep:  boil a dozen eggs.

Apprehension-Free Wednesday:  Dinner at church will be pork roast, hash brown casserole, green beans, salad and dessert. Prep:  Make fresh fruit with mint balsamic tea (I am growing addicted to this!)

Thursday: Teriyaki Chicken with pickled cucumbers and basmati rice (400 calories)

Friday: Bacon and Swiss Quiche with a tossed salad and fresh fruit (see Wednesday)

Supper Club Saturday
Hospitality Sunday:  Too much going on Saturday night to plan a hospitality Sunday this week so it is a dining out day.

Don't forget to check out OrgJunkie for more menu planning ideas!

Friday, January 16, 2009

rosemary grilled chicken with whole-grain pilaf and steamed asparagus

I really like this chicken recipe because it is just so easy. I used boneless thighs the last time I used this recipe.  This time I tried it with skinless, boneless chicken breasts that had been pounded to a 1/4-inch thickness.  I also added a low-calorie cream sauce this time.  I think I prefer the flavor that the thighs provided.  If I use breasts again, Chef D and I will split one instead of each having our own -- we had way too many leftovers tonight.

The pilaf was okay.  It had a nice nutty flavor, but cutting out the butter to reduce calories also reduced the flavor.  The fresh asparagus, steamed just 5 minutes were perfect.

Notes for next time:  Use one breast and split it, figure out additional herbs and spices to add to the pilaf to replace the flavor lost by cutting the fat.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

menu planning monday 01.12.09

We did great with watching our calories last week.  Chef D lost 7 lbs. and I lost 6 lbs.!  Yay us!!!

I am still working on figuring out the calorie counts for the food this week and will amend this post when that is finished.  Here is to another great week!

Monday:  Chef D and the boys are going to the church Men's Club dinner, so I am on my own and will probably have a soup and salad.  Prep: repackage and freeze chicken breasts; make berry sorbet.

Tuesday:  Fajitas with the works (490 calories); cheese quesadillas for the boys.  Berry sorbet for Bible Group dessert.

Apprehension-Free Wednesday: This week's dinner at church will be Mexican chicken casserole, macaroni and cheese, lima beans, salad and dessert.  Prep:  Bake butternut squash and freeze for future use.

Thursday: Smoked Mozzarella and Artichoke Ravioli with Tomato Basil Cream Sauce (the sauce recipe is at the bottom of the page and I will adjust to reduce calories) and a tossed salad (345 calories).  Prep:  make avocado butter (50 calories/tablespoon).

Friday:  Rosemary Grilled Chicken (inspired by this recipe) with whole-grain pilaf and steamed asparagus (512 calories)

Sous-Chef Saturday: TBD

Hospitality Sunday:  I think I will see if Chef D will make some of his famous barbecue and serve it with cole slaw, cornbread, and pinto beans.

Don't forget to check out all the other menu plans posted at OrgJunkie!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

smoky shrimp and parmesan polenta cakes

Before you start to have that feeling of deja vu, I want to acknowledge that I may have an affinity for grits/polenta products.  Yes, one of my more recent posts was from our shrimp and grits for Christmas.  I had hopes that this version would come closer to my goal.  It did have a nice flavor, but it was a bit muted...but, I think I know why.

First of all, the recipe called for spanish smoked paprika.  When I initially glanced through the recipe I just assumed that is what I had in the cupboard.  I was wrong.  I have a feeling that the smoky flavor of the spanish paprika may have just been the 'kick' that this dish needed, and I missed out on it.

However, I did figure out how to serve the polenta correctly...finally.  I cooked it earlier today and poured it into two small 4 ounce ramekin dishes (I sprayed them with cooking spray first).  After they cooled, they popped right out in perfect rounds.

Chef D is not the big grits fan that I am, so his shrimp was served on a bed of of organic italian fusilli (or, as our boys like to call them, drill bit noodles), smothered in the marinara, with a sprinkling of the fresh parmesan.