Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tis the season!

So I know its a little early but you've got to start early when you have an extremely tight budget for Christmas. So I've got my list of people and I've got my ideas and the bargain shopping has begun. But alas it seems that no one (specifically the hubby) knows what to get me. And quite honestly I'm tired of telling him, and then getting exactly that, nothing more nothing less. Where's the fun in that? So I'm going to have my running "wishlist" of items and things that I love and would love to have whether it be for Christmas, anniversary or birthday. Or oh god forbid maybe just a surprise! And who knows maybe you'll find a few things to add to yours, and of course if you have a favorite something you know I'd love let me know!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Back from the dead

Ok so I'm barely recovering from my bout with the porcelain god, of whom won. It was a defeat of which I ended up with an IV and meds because I couldn't stop praying to that porcelain throne. So needless to say last week's menu didn't survive as the hubby had to fend for himself as the lil monster was shipped off to grandma's. So thankful I have a close family! I'm still not up to par, I've had a bagel and tea today so we're gonna call it a "please be kind, and rewind" week. Hoping that I'll feel well enough by Wednesday to pick back up there with the lasagna rolls.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - October 13th

Ok, so yes I know that it's Wednesday but I've been a little slow and besides I haven't been to the store umm since before our trip to MO about 3 weeks ago. I've been lazy and using up my pantry. So here's what we had and will have for the rest of the week.

Monday - It's the hubby and I's 1 year anniversary!
Dinner: Out to eat in celebration and the top tier of our wedding cake

Dinner: Spam has it's rewards! One of my favorite restaurants, Blue Mesa, is turning 20 yrs old and they are having a birthday celebration. Free all you can eat buffet, cash bar and live band. Lets party all week long!

Dinner: Leftovers Lasagna Rolls

I've got leftover cottage cheese and lasagna noodles, still have some of that marinara sauce (plus canned if I need it). I think I'll pick up some frozen spinach (but I do have canned, wonder if that will work) and some mozzarella cheese. Of course I've got leftover hamburger meat and parmesan cheese too.

Dinner: Mama's Makeshift Chicken Casserole and Oh Yeah Baby Glazed Carrots

I've got some celery and a bag of carrots that need to be used. Some frozen breaded chicken tenders and cream of mushroom soup. I think we're set for coming up with something on the fly whether its rice or noodles and some frozen corn. Maybe we'll see what else is in the freezer for veggies. And to add more veggies I'm gonna add Emeril's glazed carrots as a side.

Dinner: Grilled Chicken, rice and steamed veggies

Simple standard, using boxed chicken style rice and whatever veggie is in the freezer.

Breakfast: biscuits and gravy
Lunch: sandwiches
Dinner: Fabulous Fried Fish and french fries

We made this batter recipe for my lil monster's 1st birthday party and it was by far the best fried fish recipe ever!

Breakfast: Sweet Potato Pancakes and sausage patties
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Going to the store so we'll see

Ok so the recipe is actually for pancakes but I'm out of pancake batter so I'm going to use waffle mix and turn them into waffles instead. We all like variations. And what's better is this is a great recipe for getting my picky eater to eat veggies.

So here's what I'm going to pick up on my way home: mozzarella cheese and frozen spinach! See that's it, oh well and maybe more milk.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pulled-Pork Fajitas

So easy, I love this. My pork is doing double duty so all I have to do is throw it together and serve since it was cooked ahead of time.

Menu: Pulled Pork Fajitas and all the yummy fixin's

Pulled-Pork Fajitas

1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (ground red) pepper
About 2 pounds leftover roast pork
8 flour tortillas
Fresh cilantro leaves
Avocado wedges
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped red onion

  1. Combine the vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and cayenne pepper in a medium saucepan. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut pork into 1-inch-thick slices, then shred it by hand. Stir the pork into the sauce, cover, and heat through, stirring occasionally.

  2. In a large, dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast the tortillas one at a time until crisp and slightly charred around the edges, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. (You can use the microwave if you choose instead)

  3. To serve, spoon some pork into the center of a tortilla. Top with cilantro, avocado, tomato, and onion. Roll.

What's better than a no fuss meal?

Carolina Pulled Pork with Lexington Red Sauce

Sorry I'm just now posting this - week got away from me but anyways here's what I did...

Menu: Carolina Pulled Pork with Lexington Red Sauce on hamburger buns with store bought potato salad

Carolina Pulled Pork with Lexington Red Sauce

8 hickory wood chunks (about 4 pounds)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (I just used brown sugar)
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (5-pound) bone-in pork shoulder (Boston butt)
1 cup cider vinegar
2 1/4 cups water, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon canola oil
Cooking spray

1 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  1. To prepare pork, soak wood chunks in water about 16 hours; drain. (Nix this if you're doing the crockpot)

  2. Combine turbinado sugar and next 4 ingredients (through ground red pepper); reserve 2 tablespoons sugar mixture. Rub half of the remaining sugar mixture onto pork. Place in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and refrigerate pork overnight.

  3. Remove pork from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Rub remaining half of sugar mixture onto pork.

  4. Place the pork in the crockpot and combine reserved 2 tablespoons sugar mixture, 1 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, and oil in a small saucepan; add this to the crockpot OR cook over low heat 10 minutes or until sugar dissolves.

  5. Skip this step if crockpot cooking: Remove grill rack; set aside. Prepare grill for indirect grilling, heating one side to medium-low and leaving one side with no heat. Maintain temperature at 225°. Pierce bottom of a disposable aluminum foil pan several times with the tip of a knife. Place pan on heated side of grill; add half of wood chunks to pan. Place another disposable aluminum foil pan (do not pierce pan) on unheated side of grill. Pour remaining 2 cups water in pan. Coat grill rack with cooking spray; place on grill. Place pork on grill rack over foil pan on the unheated side. Close lid, and cook for 4 1/2 hours or until a thermometer registers 170°, gently brushing pork with vinegar mixture every hour (avoid brushing off sugar mixture). Add additional wood chunks halfway during cooking time. Discard any remaining vinegar mixture. Preheat oven to 250°. Remove pork from grill. Wrap pork in several layers of aluminum foil, and place in a baking pan. Bake at 250° for 2 hours or until a thermometer registers 195°. Remove from oven. Let stand, still wrapped, for 1 hour or until pork easily pulls apart. Unwrap pork; trim and discard fat. Shred pork with 2 forks.

  6. To prepare sauce, combine 1 cup vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1 1/4 cups (about 5 minutes). Serve sauce warm or at room temperature with pork.

  7. After your pork has cooked, shred it and take 1/2 of the meat and seat aside for Thursday night's Fajitas. Then mix with the bbq sauce and serve!
I served this on hamburger buns with store bought potato salad. Super yummy

Monday, October 6, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - October 6th

Gosh this weekend was so hectic and I'm sitting here back at work and can barely even think about what we're having for dinner. This week is definitely going to be pulled together from what we've got in the pantry 'cause I'm not going to the store yet. Maybe I'll go next week. So lets see what I can scrounge up....

Dinner: Traditional Tuna Casserole

(picture is courtesy of the recipe's original creator Campbell's soups)

Dinner: Carolina Pulled Pork with Lexington Red Sauce

I'm trying a new pulled pork recipe, hoping that it can pull double duty for me this week. And as usual I'll be adapting it to cook in my crockpot other wise --
You'll need to start this recipe a day ahead to allow ample time for the wood chunks to soak and the flavors of the dry rub to penetrate the meat. Slow, low-heat cooking is key to tender pork that shreds easily. While the pork is still warm, shred it into uneven shards, mixing together some of the crisp, dark outer meat with the moister interior meat. Combine the classic Piedmont sauce--a thin, vinegar-based mixture--with the meat for a tangy kick, or mix it with shredded cabbage for Lexington coleslaw.

Recipe and photos courtesy of CookingLight

Wednesday - It's state fair time in Texas and we're going to see old Big Tex today. Hubby and lil monster are gonna meet me downtown at noon and we're gonna gorge ourselves on those famous corn dogs, chicken fried bacon and fried banana splits! Needless to say we'll not be eating anything for dinner after our overload.

Dinner: Pulled-Pork Fajitas

I'm planning on pulling half of my meat that I cooked on Tuesday out before I add the sauce to it and then using it in this recipe. That way my pork will do double duty and I've got minimal cooking time on Thursday. 'Cause it's tv night and I can't miss my favorite shows!

Photo and recipe courtesy of RealSimple


Dinner: It's pizza night so either we'll order one or I'll grab a frozen one at the store on the way home.

Saturday - we're heading out to a local farm for their fall festival so lunch and dinner will prolly be eating out.
Breakfast: Oatmeal and toast
Lunch: TBD

Breakfast: Big Country Breakfast (biscuits & gravy, fried eggs and chicken fried steak)
Lunch: Sandwiches or leftovers
Dinner: Chicken Parmesan

Semi homemade chicken parmesan, a few steps more than my super fast version (store bought breaded chicken breasts) but oh so much yummier. I've still go leftover marinara sauce so this will be a great pantry meal.

Since this week is from my pantry there's no shopping list. If you don't have pork tenderloin or boneless skinless chicken breasts you might want to pick some up. Otherwise its all your basic ingredients like ckn stock, diced tomatoes, usual spices, cider vinegar, parmesan cheese. Really shouldn't have to buy anything this week.

And we have a winner!

Congrats to #4 - heatherf! I have to agree Tyler's clam chowder is amazing.
I really hope you enjoy the festival and Tyler Florence's new book. Please email me to claim your prize!

Thank you to everyone who entered and I appreciate your support. Now remember if you didn't win you can still win and bargain of a deal on tickets to the festival. Just log on to

and receive $5 off by entering "SIDEWAYS" into the comment box when purchasing your tickets.

Friday, October 3, 2008

My Favorite Florence - Friday

We're rounding up our week of Favorite Florence recipes and the contest will come to a close tonight, so you'd better get your entries in. Now I thought it'd be appropriate to end our week and kickoff our weekend ready for some football, or baseball, which ever you fancy with the ultimate tailgating menu. You know a man who can cook up a mean bbq chicken (one of his most famous recipes) would definitely know how to throw a guys' guy kind of tailgating menu. So sink your teeth into these game ready recipes!

And don't forget to get your entry in for the contest!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Favorite Florence - Thursday

There's a been a change in the weather and it's really truly feeling like fall again. Whenever this happens I get that urge to made warm and hearty meals. You know those comfort foods that fill you up. And one of my favorite comfort foods is chicken pot pie. There's just something about a perfect pot pie. One that's not too runny, with a perfect flaky crust. Not too greasy, but not so dry that it soaks up all of that yummy sauce and you end up with a dry glob. Well of course you know that Tyler would have perfected the perfect chicken pot pie. I remember when I first saw this episode I ran right out to the store and bought everything to make this recipe, including the side dishes that he prepared with it. Horseradish and Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes and Watercress Salad with Dried Fruit and Almonds, I mean really you could get a better feast for your soul.

Ok can I go home now, I don't want to work, I want to go make this and eat it all up.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Favorite Florence - Wednesday

It's day three of our contest and continuing with our theme for the week I have yet again, another favorite recipe from Tyler Florence. Have I told you yet how my hubby loves to fish? Oh yes lets get this straight my hubby isn't an average joe, "hey lets go fishing" kind of guy, oh no he's very serious about the sport. Yes that's right I said sport, or at least he thinks its a sport. I can't tell you how many rods/reels the man owns. Just know that its more than enough to make our garage (mind you he has a friggin boat storage for this crap, that's overflowing, thus its made its way to the house garage) an obstacle course to maneuver through. And don't even ask about the bags of frozen fish bait in my freezer! His GPS is of lakes and fishing spots. Anyways one of the few good things about his addiction is we always have tons of fish to eat, so appropriately I'm always looking for a good fish recipe. Something besides the old greasy spoon fried catfish. So when I found Tyler's Ultimate Fish Tacos I was in heaven. Could it be true a blend of our love of TexMex and fish?! Oh how my mouth began salivating at the very thought. And oh how my mind couldn't even do the taste in real life justice.

Tyler's Ultimate Fish Tacos

Now I know the recipe calls for Mahi Mahi, which I imagine is great, but we can't really catch that in the lakes around here so we use crappie (pronounced "croppy" is a very light and mild flavored fish) I imagine any mild fish you can get your hands on will work just fine, or if you can find some mahi mahi at the store grab it. Though I'd strongly suggest you STAY AWAY from using catfish in this recipe. Trust me!