Monday, November 30, 2009


My lasagne is also not anything fancy. It's based on the recipe on any lasagne pasta box, but I embellish it here and there.

Linda's Lasagne

1 pound ground beef
1 jar Best Choice spaghetti sauce, any flavor
1 large container of cottage cheese, small curd, low fat
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic
1 box lasagne noodles

  • Brown the ground beef until cooked through. Drain.
  • Stir spaghetti sauce into ground beef. Let simmer for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the lasagne noodles as directed on the box.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the cottage cheese, mozzarella, and spices.
  • Spray a 13x9 casserole dish.
  • Scoop 2-3 large spoonfuls of the meat mixture into the casserole dish. Spread evenly.
  • Scoop 2-3 large spoonfuls of the cheese mixture onto the meat mixture in the dish. Spread evenly.
  • Lay lasagne noodles over the cheese mixture.
  • Repeat layers two more times.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Lasagne hints I've recently learned:
Let the lasagne set a few minutes before serving.
Substitute Italian sausage for the beef, for extra flavor
Skip boiling the noodles and put the casserole in the fridge for at least 8 hours before baking.

How do you spice up your lasagne?

Mom's Meatloaf

A high school classmate of mine just posted that she made her first meatloaf. I was amazed; we eat it probably twice a month. The comments that followed were mostly listing how gross meatloaf is...I was stunned. Apparently, the rest of the world was not as fortunate as my family is, growing up with my mom's amazing meatloaf. Not only does it taste awesome, it's so very fool-proof to make. I've tried to list quantities for the ketchup, mustard, cheese, and sauce, but it is truly an estimation. A couple squirts of this, a dash or two of that, and a handful of this...ta da!

Mom's Meatloaf
1 pound ground beef
1 pound pork sausage
1/3 cup crushed saltine crackers
1 egg
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped onion
3-4 tablespoons of mustard (or 3 big squirts)
2/3 cup ketchup, divided
2 tablespoons A1 sauce (or two big dollups)

  • With cooking spray, spray either 2 loaf pans or 1 9X9 pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the meat, egg, saltines, cheese, mustard, A1 sauce, salt, pepper, and about 4-5 big squirts of ketchup.
  • Roll up your sleeves, and mix it all together with your hands.
  • Form two equal-sized loaves with the meat mixture, either one in each loaf pan or two side-by-side in the 9x9 dish. *Hint from Alton Brown: don't pound down the meat to make evenly shaped loaves. By just plopping the meat into the pan, the meatloaf will be juicier and less dense.
  • Cover both loaves with ketchup, about 3 squirts per loaf. Again, use your hands to smear it so that the loaves are completely covered.
  • Cover with foil.
  • Bake at 375 for 1 hour 25 minutes, removing the foil for the last 20 minutes.
  • Let the meatloaf set for 5 minutes before cutting into it.

And, to make it an extra-easy meal, throw a few baked potatoes in with the meat loaf. They'll be ready about the same time.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Weekly menu: November 29 - December 5

Sunday, November 29
Waffles (make extra and freeze)
BLTs and broccoli salad
Omelets & toast with apple pie jam

Monday, November 30
Waffles in the toaster
Ham sandwiches and chips
Meatloaf and baked potatoes

Tuesday, December 1
Grilled cheese & ham
Turkey casserole

Wednesday, December 2
Leftover casserole
BBQ Roast Beef

Thursday, December 3
Oatmeal & raisins
BBQ Beef Sandwiches
Leftovers (clear the fridge)

Friday, December 4
Baked corn dogs & french fries

Saturday, December 5
Pancakes & bacon
Leftovers, or sandwiches
Vegetable soup and french bread

Plans, schplans

Oh, I had big plans for last week. I had a list of 12 recipes to post, great uses for leftover turkey and my mom's best thanksgiving dishes. And then, well, life got in the way.

But, I made up for that today. I have a menu planned out for December, the grocery list for making all the meals, and recipes on how to make them ahead of time and put in the freezer. In fact, I spent 45 minutes shopping and 3 hours preparing food today, and now have 6 meals in the freezer.

I'll split the meals by weeks, but for now, here's the meal list:
  • Sandwiches
  • Tuna salad
  • Tuna casserole
  • Pizza roll
  • Pork stir fry
  • Meatballs
  • Meatloaf
  • Pizza
  • Omelets
  • Tacos
  • Turkey casserole
  • Turkey enchiladas
  • Beef enchiladas
  • Fajitas
  • Tomato soup
  • Broccoli cheese soup
  • Chili
  • Potato soup
  • BBQ beef
  • Baked corn dogs
  • Ham and beans

And here's the shopping list for the month:
  • Milk
  • Cereal
  • Bread
  • Tuna (3 cans)
  • Beans
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Frozen bread dough
  • Pepperoni, 4 oz
  • Deli ham, 1 pound
  • Saltines
  • Egg noodles
  • Lasagne noodles
  • Mozzarella (2)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cheddar (6)
  • Corn tortillas (2)
  • Flour tortillas (4)
  • Hot dogs (2)
  • Eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Foil containers (6 square)
  • Fritos
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • ground beef (2)
  • ground sausage (1)
  • pork steak (pkg of 3)
  • ham hocks (1 or 2)
  • Bell peppers (3-4)
  • Frozen broccoli
  • Carrots
I know it seems like a lot, but this will feed your family of 5 for a month! Hopefully, life will allow me to post recipes and weekly menus tonight or tomorrow. Until then, I'm off to help wrap presents!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Weekly menu for November 15

Sunday, November 15
Pancakes and bacon
Church potluck

Monday, November 16
Breakfast pizza
Ham & Swiss Pita
Hot dogs & MacNCheese

Tuesday, November 17
Blueberry muffins
Leftover pizza
Smothered steak & mashed potatoes

Wednesday, November 18
Crock pot roast pork

Thursday, November 19
Pork sandwiches
Chicken-spinach casserole

Friday, November 20
Leftovers, or frozen pizza

Saturday, November 21
Breakfast burritos
Cheese quesadillas and chips
Broccoli, pasta & white sauce

Monday, November 9, 2009

TV Dinner

Sometimes my cooking is Chopped meets Macgyver. "Your ingredients are: ground beef or pork, tortilla chips, fresh tomatoes, and eggs, and maybe some old Velveeta cheese. Invent something that five will eat." In fact, I'd like Dinner: Impossible to try to succeed at this challenge: "You have 30 minutes to prepare a meal for six while simultaneously caring for a 3-year-old and 8-month-old, finishing homework with an 6-year-old and 8-year-old, setting the table, and make it nutrition, delicious, and safe. GO!"

At least, that's how tomorrow's challenge feels. We used up (nearly) all our cheddar cheese tonight, and just about all the taco meat. What can I say? The tacos were delicious! So, now I'm improvising. I have two bags of tortilla chips and if I serve chips with dinner, the battle-of-clean-plates is non-existent, so I really want to use chips. I have lots of ground beef, pork, and sausage. So, I think I'll make a sausage con queso with velveeta and serve it with fresh chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, sour cream, the remaining fresh cheddar, and (for the adults) jalapenos.

Take THAT, Chef Robert!

p.s. Gotta give credit where credit is due. Jay the Man made tacos tonight, serving the chopped vegetables he's growing in his high tunnels. He's a good man. He even threw together an apple dessert...mostly because he wanted to use his new apple peeler.

Bierocks Casserole

Growing up, I had the best lunch ladies EVER. They were four seemingly-old German ladies in our very German community. VERY German. In the middle of Kansas, probably 90 percent of my community was German and many had grandparents who still spoke German in the home. My high school offered Spanish and German as your language choices, and I'm just now realizing how odd that was. Anyway, back to lunch ladies. These fabulous women would make homemade bierocks for my school of 100 or so students. We are talking about fresh, made-from-scratch dough with beef, cabbage and cheese inside. YUM!

This is no where near as good, but is also thousands of times faster.

2 cans crescent roll dough
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 bag cole slaw mix
2 cups shredded cheese, cheddar or mozzarella

  1. Brown the beef and pork in a large skillet. Drain.
  2. Stir in the cole slaw mix. Cover and let steam until cabbage is softened.
  3. Line a 13x9 dish with one of the crescent roll dough, pinching the seams to make a crust.
  4. Spoon in the cabbage and meat mixture.
  5. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the meat.
  6. Top with the second crescent roll dough, again pinching the seams to make one big rectangle.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until dough turns golden brown.

Other variations of this recipe include adding a cream-of soup, but I stick to the basics, in honor of those great St. Mark's lunch ladies.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tuna cakes

... YUM!

Once each week, I try out a new recipe. It keeps me from being bored in the kitchen and, hopefully, exposes my kids to new tastes. This week's new recipe was a hit:

Tuna Cakes
Even if you don't like tuna, it tastes good. At least, that's what my husband claims.

2 cans (6 oz. each) light tuna in water, drained, flaked
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cup water
1 carrot, shredded
1/3 cup KRAFT Real Mayo Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. CLAUSSEN Sweet Pickle Relish

  1. Mix all the ingredients.
  2. Put in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat a skillet to medium.
  4. Put a 1/3 cup ball of the mixture on the skillet. Flatten with a spatula.
  5. Heat the tuna cake for 3 minutes. Flip them over, and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Super easy. super yummy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Favorite appetizers

Nothing is better than appetizers and football. Our three favorites are:

Cheesy Triscuits
2 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chopped onion

Mix bacon, cheese, mayo, and onion together. Top each triscuit with about a teaspoon of the mixture. Broil on low for about 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and triscuits start to turn golden brown.

Little Smokies

1 package little smokies (we prefer Farmland brand)
1 jar Heinz chili sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar

Mix chili sauce and brown sugar. Pour over little smokies and either warm in a crock pot for 3-4 hours, or warm in a microwave about 3-4 minutes on medium heat.

Cream-cheese and jelly

1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
1 jar jalapeno jelly, any flavor

Place the cream cheese block on a plate. Pour the jalapeno jelly over the cream cheese. Serve with Triscuits.

Weekly menu: Nov 8-14

Scrambled eggs and toast
Tuna cakes and Mac-n-cheese
Reuben casserole

Breakfast burrito
Leftover casserole
Tacos (make extra taco meat)


PB Toast, banana
Clam chowder (yes, from a can!)
Ravioli and Salad

Toast with Apple Pie Jam
Leftover ravioli and salad
Beef Enchiladas

Leftover enchiladas
Empty-the-fridge OR, if you don't have many leftovers, frozen pizza
(Come on! It's Friday! Take the night off!)

Pancakes and fruit
Apple Walnut Salad
Pork ribs & baked sweet potatoes

In case there was every any doubt about my spoiled-ness, to cook all the food on this menu, here are the ingredients I need to buy from the store:
enchilada sauce
sour cream
canned soup
crescent rolls
cole slaw mix

Everything else we have stocked, in our deep freeze, or still growing in the high tunnels. Not bad, eh?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Loaded Rice

My menu called for spanish rice, but I ended up improvising and created a pretty tasty meal.

3 cups cooked rice (I used the bag rice; it's much cheaper!)
1 small onion, diced
4 tomatoes, diced (keep the juices) or 1 can Ro-Tel
2 bell peppers, diced
1 pound ground sausage
3-4 tablespoons taco seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the sausage, onion, and pepper in a large skillet. Cook until the sausage in browned and the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes and seasonings. Stir, and cook until warmed through. Add the rice. Stir, and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.

My husband and I added Tabasco sauce to our servings, but kept the dish mild so the kids would eat it.

Beef Pot Pie

I love it when I come across a recipe that uses all my leftovers and allows me to create a completely different meal. This week's find is pot pie. I will modify it, though, because the crust is the best part. I plan on making a crust for the bottom and top of the pie. Enjoy!

Beef Pot Pie
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 3 cups cubed leftover beef
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas and carrots, cooked and drained
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • pie pastry for 1-crust pie
  • evaporated milk or regular milk
  1. In a medium saucepan, cook onion in butter until onion is tender.
  2. Stir in flour and salt until smooth and bubbly.
  3. Stir in beef broth. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbly.
  4. Add leftover beef, peas and carrots, and parsley; heat through.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt if necessary.
  6. Pour beef mixture into a 2-quart casserole.
  7. Prepare pastry; roll out to about 1/2-inch larger than casserole top.
  8. Place over hot beef mixture. Cut several slits in the top for steam escape, turn edge under and crimp all around.
  9. Brush lightly with milk.
  10. Bake beef pot pie at 450° for 20 to 25 minutes.
This beef pot pie with leftover beef serves 6.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pikes Peak Roast

Pikes Peak Roast is not a very tender cut of meat, unless you cook it long and low. It's perfect for a crock-pot meal, especially if you are like me and are gone from the house for 10 hours on workdays.

I make up the roast recipes every time, changing it up a little bit here and there based on what I have on hand. This week's roast turned out yummy, so if you'd like to replicate it, here's the info:

1 pike's peak roast (3-4 pounds), thawed
1 can golden mushroom soup
1 can mushroom stems and pieces
1 cup beef broth (or boiling water and beef bouillon cube)
about 2 tablespoons salt
about 2 teaspoons dry mustard
about 2 teaspoons dried sage
1 garlic clove

  1. Mix the salt, mustard, and sage together. Rub it over the roast.
  2. Place the roast in the crock pot.
  3. Mix in a separate bowl the beef broth, mushroom soup, mushrooms, and garlic. Beat until smooth.
  4. Pour soup mixture over roast.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours.
  6. Remove from the crock pot and let set for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Weekly menu

What did we eat this past week?

Chef Salad
Waffles and Bacon (make a double-batch of waffles and freeze leftovers)

Waffles (leftovers, in the toaster)

Crock pot beef roast

Roast beef sandwiches, new potatoes, salad

Waffles (from frozen leftovers)
Beef pot pie (using leftover beef and potatoes, and frozen veggie mix)

Spanish rice and quesadillas

Sausage gravy & biscuits (brown extra sausage and set aside)
Appetizer lunch (K-State vs KU football!)
Homemade pizza