Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Recipes "paid forward" - thank you friend!

I have decided it is very difficult to think and write when your brain feels pickled!  We have been fighting off a cold for the last week or so, and the battle is not going well for me.  So I apologize in advance for not getting something on here more often, which is my goal.  I will work on that.
Now, a little order of business.  Obviously, I was not born with a wealth of knowledge, and have had to pick up things along the way.  My life comes, well...with a little help from my friends.  With that being said, I will constantly be sharing things which I have learned and helped me through life, recipes that are loved by my family, and tips/ideas for easier living.  I won't ever print your name withouth permission, however, if I do have your permission, I will definately share the credit....it is usually not mine anyway, it is rare an idea just jumps out at me in my own mind!  With that being said, I would like to thank my friend Sonie for providing me the Lemon Chicken Recipe and Manicotti recipes I share with you already here on my blog.  She was very kind to help me out when I just didn't know what else I could possibly fix for dinner.  Her brother is a chef and had shared these with her, so I guess you can say she "paid it forward".  I still have a couple of hers I will be posting later, so be watching for them!  For now, I can't say that I have much more to offer for a dinner idea tonight than cold medicine, lemon tea, and sleep!  So I will close for now, and write more tomorrow when my head doesn't hurt so bad! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lunch anyone?

Do you see a trend of my conversation always having food involved?  I didn't realize how much I think of food!  So here is a twist on food...how about how food intermingles with so many different things, other than to sustain life? What about a big bowl of chips and salsa? Have you ever noticed how that little snack in the middle of the table builds relationships in good conversation?  You get to know friends better - you each get a turn at talking, because at some point someone always has their mouth full! I know, that doesn't stop SOME people....but you can usually sneak a few words in, right?  How about family conversations.  Some families never talk - but at Thanksgiving Dinner....how long does it take you to savor the flavor of the meal that took a family effort to prepare? Then, to sit around the table enjoying conversation as you nibble on whatever is still sitting in front of you? PLEASE tell me I am NOT the only one doing this!!!  Business dinners...now that is one that I was worried about at first.  I thought to myself, "how am I going to sit with a bunch of people I don't know for that long and survive?" Guess what? That dinner was an event of a lifetime! It was at this great Italian place - it didn't hurt that I didn't have to worry about the check at the end of the night either....but anyway - we had two large round tables, only a few people really knew each other, some we were meeting for the first time...each course served in it's own time, allowing those minutes of chit chat to go on through the night for over four hours!  It didn't seem that long, yet great relationships were made through that one meal of getting to know each other...most of us only to actually see each other that one time..knowing one another only through the telephone opportunities because our places we call home were all different and spread across the United States and Canada.  I was so happy to have had that opportunity presented with a wonderful meal where we made wonderful friends and work associates.  Now, I don't mean to go on and on, but what about the Ice Cream Man back in the olden days??? What an event THAT was!  To hear the music coming down the street and everyone knew they were getting an awesome treat... we all ran in search for what change we could find so we could all meet up by the curb-side as we all await and discuss with excitement what delicious delight we were going to get on that hot summer day.  Kids running from all directions in their swim suits or shorts, tank tops and flip flops, no matter what they were doing...they would all come running at the "jewelry box music" in the big white ice cream truck.  Now I don't want anyone to think I plan my entire life around a food opportunity, but it sure doesn't hurt to have it around!  So when you have a day you only have an hour or so to spend with a friend??? Why not do lunch?
Have a great day!

Yummy Lemon Chicken for Dinner!!!

OK - my plan wasn't neccesarily going to be a recipe every day, but I have just been on a roll lately with easy delicious dinners and feel the great need to share them with you! I am sorry they are not always, measurement type recipes, but hopefully there is enough there to have a fantastic meal for your family and finished in a hurry so you don't have to be a slave to the kitchen, right?? Let's get started:
Take some chicken breasts cut into strips, or get chicken tenders. Dip them in a milk bath, then cover them all over with italian bread crumbs.  Melt a cube of butter in a skillet and squeeze a half a lemon into it.  Bring to a simmer and put the chicken in.  Cook on both sides til golden brown and done in the middle.  I served this last night with asparagus grilled on my George Forman grill and a salad.  My family felt like they had a special treat for dinner! I love it when that happens!  I hope this helps with your dinner time chaos and brings a little less hassle and a little more time for you to enjoy other things in life besides what to do for dinner!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Manicotti Recipe - Easy dinner

A friend of mine gave me this recipe when I was looking for something easy and different. My family loved it. I don't have the nutrtional values for this, but I figured I would serve it with a half a plate of salad, with minimal dressing and just a few pasta shells. I really believe that all things in moderation is a good thing to live by. When you limit yourself too much, it can creat a binge affect - which is never a good thing for me. That seems to always happen. However, when I allow myself to enjoy the foods I love while watching my portion size, I do much better. Here is what I tell myself...Nabisco surely won't be going out of business any time soon, so if you are craving an Oreo, either have one and stop, or remember that when you reach your goal...you can still run to the store to give yourself a little reward...they will STILL BE THERE!!! Now - enjoy this easy dinner recipe and let me know how your family loved it!!!

use the shells that look like a seashell (easier to stuff)

2 cans of classico sauce (I mix 2 different kinds)
1 roll Jimmy Dean mild sausage
1 can sliced mushrooms
fry the sausage(crumbly) add the sauce and mushrooms & heat

Mix in a bowl 1 lg (30 oz?)ricotta cheese (maybe use 3/4ths of it) / 1 16oz small curd cottage cheese (I use almost all of this - but you don't want it too runny)
1 2cup bag of Italian finely shredded cheese

Cook the shells until they are semi soft, yet still a little firm. If they are too soft, they will break apart when you try to stuff them.
Cover the bottom of a baking dish with some of the sauce, so the noodles don't stick. Stuff the shells with the cheese & place them seam side down in the baking dish. Cover them with the sauce and cover with foil - bake at 350 for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the sauce is good and hot. I take the foil off the last few minutes, top with a little more cheese and put it back in the oven until the cheese on top melts.
I just do a salad and french bread with this.

Is this just another day?

“Just Another Day”

Just another day you say?
How often we forget,
The chances that present themselves
Before the new sun sets.

For every day a new beginning,
A fresh start that is clean
To see a different side of life
To see the new “un-seen”.

The sunbeam through a raindrop
The mist escaping clouds,
The colors changing on the leaves,
Mums new buds just found.

This all has happened once before?
It’s rained and turned to fall?
But did you see the vibrant red?
The wonder of it all?

Did you stop to see each second,
The changes of the season?
Did something pass you by today
For some good unknown reason?

Don’t worry if you missed a wink
For there’s another chance,
For tomorrow’s coming once again,
Try not to miss a glance.

Stephanie Barton – 9/18/2002

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The same thing, but different!

Have you ever heard, same stuff...different day? At least today didn't get away from me. The other night, our recipes didn't work out as we planned, but were edible...We were trying to copy a dish from a favorite place. It was the same recipe, turned out to be a different dish! :0) I will perfect them, and then add them to my blog. In the meantime: fajitas are always a good quick meal if you are in a hurry but don't lose out on a good meal. Take some steak or chicken, slice thinly...start to brown in a iron skillet is the best - then add sliced green, yellow, and red bell peppers and onion. Sprinkle in some fajita seasoning and cook until veggies are tender and meat is done. Warm some flour tortillas in the microwave and add the meat mixture. You can top with sour cream, salsa...and even garnishes such as lettuce, tomato and cheese. Walllah! My family loves this one!
Don't worry - I love to share new things I learn each day. Most of the time, I learn things are not always as they seem. Sometimes, it can be as simple as the sun is shining - but it is freezing cold outside! Other times, we "see" things we "think" happen or how things appear on the outside...but don't always know the circumstance behind what we think we see! Remember not to judge the world too harshly - hold true to yourself, and keep in mind, things are not always as they seem. I will be posting new things I learn...tips, tricks, what have you as well. Just have to learn how to use this blog first! Stay with me friends! Thanks - have a fantastic day!

Monday, February 1, 2010

A New Day

Today was great for me. I spent most of it with my granddaughter. She is such a joy in our lives. She helped tend her little brother to start the day off, then after lunch, it was just her and me. I love to hear her visit and sing. She has a little happy song that covers all the random things you can think of to sing about, with the chorus..."happy, happpppy, happy, happy, happy" then on she goes to more random things that happen in her life that make her happy. Why can't we do that more often? Just sing randomly about things that are so simple - that make us happy? I loved it. We went on a walk, as she rode her bike - with apples, giraffe, and puppy in tow. The sun was shining, so it wasn't so cold as we thought it might have been. She jumped on the tramp, as MaStephan (me) counted her jumps with her - and watched her hair stand straight up! Her smiling and laughing all the time. Then, when a car drives by, she would immediately fall to the trampoline face down to "hide" as the car drove past...then once it was gone...it was back to jumping again! Soon it was time to head off to the store for salad, french bread and dessert for dinner tonight at her house. She picked a variety of doughnuts for our after dinner treat. How great is that? I have to say that living today as the world stopped around us was fantastic! There are far too many times we let everything else determine how our day goes - and today, I liked having my granddaughter determine that for me!
For our dinner idea? My daughter Jennifer had lasagna hot and ready for us when we got there. Sometimes if time doesn't permit, the frozen entree is just the answer. If you have a few extra minutes, it isn't that hard to make from scratch. I just use a pound or two of ground meat...hamburger, sausage, or ground turkey are all great. I brown that with a chopped onion, pressed garlic cloves, salt and pepper. while that is cooking, I mix together a can of Hunt's Spaghetti sauce (I like to mix two together - four cheese and chunky vegetable), then add a large can of diced tomatoes. You will add this to the meat when browned completely. In another bowl mix a large container of cottage cheese, a couple of eggs, some shredded mozzerella cheese, and some italian seasoning. In a rectangle pan, larger than a 9x13 if possible even though that will also work - spray bottom with olive oil spray, put down a little sauce, first layer of lasagna noodles, meat sauce, then cheese mixture, repeat until you run out...usually about 3 or 4 layers - cover with alumimum foil and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour so the noodles will be tender. I serve with a salad and garlic bread. You can make your own garlic bread easy too - just get a loaf of french bread, slice it and spread with a butter mixture of softened butter, garlic powder, and italian seasoning lightly - you can also add shredded parmesean cheese for a twist! Yummy Yummy! Your family will LOVE IT!
Cook together and sing the "happy" song!