Monday, July 28, 2008

Out of Kitchen

I will be out of the kitchen for a little bit enjoying the summer with my family!! See you all soon

The babe looks so impressed with us! hehehe....

Friday, July 25, 2008

A must try

Last week I had chili and home fries on the menu. But after received a comment on my Meal Plan Monday from Ahorne at the testosterone palace and seeing that she had posted a recipe for chili cheese fries I thought I would be together my own concoction.

Kate's Chili N Cheese Fries

The ingredients

Steak Spice (bought at the bulk barn)
Homemade Chili (it was in the freezer)

Cheese sauce
1 Tbsp Margarine
1 Tbsp Flour
1 cup milk/cream
grated cheddar cheese
cheese slice
the last bit of scrapings from the Cheese Whiz bottle

Because it was a hot day and I really didn't want to use the oven for a long period of time I cheated with the potatoes. When I had a spare moment between feeding, changing and keeping the babe happy I scrubbed down some potatoes and stuck them in the micro for 5 minutes. Once they cooled off I cut them into chucks rolled them in oil and sprinkled them in steak spice.

Bake at 400 for 10 minutes to get crispy.

Well they were baking I heated the chili up in a pot and made the cheese sauce. When hubby got home I put the fries on a plate, crowned them with chili and then smoothered them in cheese sauce!

Hubby was so impressed and delighted to be having this master piece for supper. And of course what kind of Dietitian would I be if I didn't round off the meal with a delicious side salad made with Romain lettuce, peppers, mushrooms, raisins, dried cranberries, soy nuts, sunflower seeds and sliced strawberries.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My morning Routine

Usually every morning after I put down the babe I love spending time in God's word. I read His love letter to me and journal thoughts, dreams, visions and prayers. I do this all of course with a hot cup of coffee in my hands. However this summer it has been very warm and muggy that I don't feel like drinking my hot java, so I have been making iced coffee.

Iced Coffee can be made a couple of ways. Here are two ways I like to do it.

Iced Coffee Shake (Like an ice cap)

Coffee ice cubes
Cold coffee or instant coffee
Hot chocolate powder (optional, but gives it a great mocha taste)
Milk or cream
Whip cream for topping
Grated chocolate (if you want to get really fancy)

In a blender place 6-7 coffee ice cubes and crush. Then add a little bit of cold coffee, hot chocolate powder, milk/cream, and sugar. Blend quickly for 30 seconds. Pour into nice glass and top with whip cream and grated chocolate.

This drink is great because the coffee ice cubes give it the consistency of an ice cap.
To make coffee ice cubes all you do is take the left over coffee you didn't drink in the morning and freeze it in an ice cube tray. When frozen I simply take them out of the tray and place them into a Ziploc baggie.

Cold Iced Coffee

Cold coffee
Ice Cubes

Place cold coffee into a glass. Add milk/cream, ice cubes and a bit of sugar to taste. Then enjoy!
This recipe is great and requires less preparation and therefor less mess.

How do you get your caffeine fix on a hot day??

Monday, July 21, 2008

Adventures of baby food

Now that the little guy is 6 months my cooking skills have been stretched in a new directions...purees!

As a Dietitian we recommend that babies be exclusively breast feed for 6 months before starting solid foods. This helps to ensure that the baby is ready for the food to enter its tiny systems; which therefore should cause less problems. So where do you start on the 6 month bday??

When starting solids always make sure the babe is in a good mood. This makes meal time more pleasurable. Start a new food after the baby has had breast milk or formula. You want solids to compliment the
breast milk or formula, not replace it. Start the new foods one at a time and in small amounts. Remember babies stomachs are small so 1tsp is good for the first couple of times then increase gradually to 3-4 tsp going up to 3-5 Tbsp (each feeding) by 7 months.

The first foods to introduce are iron rich foods such as single grain baby cereal with iron (rice, barley and oatmeal) and meat and alternatives. For great recipes on how to make your own cereal check out this link. The foods in the meat and alternatives group include meat, fish, poultry, cooked egg yolks as well-cooked legumes and tofu.

The reason we recommend meat so soon now is because the iron from meat sources is better absorbed than iron from non-meat sources. Processed meats such as ham, bacon, salami, bologna or sausages are not good choices because they are high in salt.

Once the baby is enjoying iron rich foods (about a week) a variety of vegetables and fruit, especially the dark green and orange ones, can be offered. You want to introduce a new food for 3-5 days before introducing another one just to make sure that there are no allergies.
  • Examples of vegetables to try first are squash, peas, sweet potato, green or yellow beans and carrots. Once you have tried these you can add spinach, turnip or beets.

  • Examples of fruit babies like are ripe bananas, unsweetened applesauce, pears, and peaches (canned fruit in it’s own juice is ok).

All baby food can be made easily at home. All you need is a few items.

Pot (for boiling)
Blender/food processor
Ice cube trays (3 for $1.00 at dollar store)
freezer bags (dollar store)

I love the color of the peas, its so bright. All I did was boil frozen vegetable (peas and green beans) for about 3-5 minutes then blended them with a little bit of the cooking water. To put the mixture into ice cube trays I use a Tablespoon (Tbsp) so I know that each cube is 1 Tbsp. Once the cubes are frozen I pop them out and place them into a freezer bag. Because I have a lot of baby food made I have purchased a plastic container from dollar store, which I stored in the freezer, to keep all the baggies of frozen baby food in. It helps keep the freezer organized and helps when daddy or a sitter is making supper for babe.

These are the carrots and sweet potato. I did make pureed chicken which was a little bit harder and doesn't have a smooth consistency (or appealing look) like the other foods. So what I do is take 1 cube of the chicken and heat it up with 1 cube of sweet potato. He really likes that combination.

The fruits (banana, peaches, pears, and mango) are really easy to do as you only have to mash them with a fork. He loves having apple sauce mixed with cereal and mashed banana with cereal.

Now I have found it is cheaper to make my own baby food. The work involved is really nothing. It may take me a total of 20 minutes to make enough baby food for 2-3 weeks and that includes boiling the food and clean up. Baby food usually goes for 0.60-0.90 cents for one bottle and it last maybe two feedings (the bottles I looked at had 125 ml which would be about 8 Tbsp).

For vegetables I picked up 1kg bags for $1.99 each. The amount of frozen vegetables in these bags will last 2-4 months. The fruit that we offer the babe is usually from the fruit bowl off the kitchen table. I did make applesauce for him using a bag of apples I found on the clearance rack at the local grocery. The meat is where the money increases a little bit but its still not as much as the bottled food. Plus I purchased the ground chicken on clearance as well.

One thing that I love and would recommend to all moms of little ones is this mesh feeder. What you do is place foods into it, snap it shut and then let the little ones enjoy different kinds of foods without the fear of chocking.

I have been using this since about 4 months (when the teeth started being painful) giving the babe frozen breast milk cubes to help with the pain. He really loved it so now with solids I give him banana, melons, mango and his favorite frozen blueberries.

Each babe is different but here is a chart to help you with the progression of textures for babies.

Food Texture

Age to begin

Pureed or semi-liquid food

6-7 months

Mashed food

7-8 months

Finger foods

8-9 months

Minced or ground food, finely chopped

8-9 months

Diced table food

10-12 months

Here are a list of great combos to offer the babes.

Avocado and applesauce
Apple, peach and banana
green beans, peas, squash, carrot (garden veg combo)
squash and sweet potato
peas and carrots
potato and green beans
squash and peas
squash and zucchini

A great site that I love to use is wholesome baby foods you can check it out for lots of recipes and combos for your little one.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Easy as 1-2-3

Well I finally did it!! I made my own strawberry jam and you know what? It really excites me knowing that its just that simple to make jam. I will be trying other berries as they come in season. Hubby and I both love jam on toast and in our homemade yogurt so for us its worth the money to make it ourselves. It comes out to be pretty cheap when making it. There are some initial like the jars, lids and Certo but for the amount of jam and the delicious fresh flavor it gives you its my way to go from now on! Here is my break down

The Strawberry jam

2 boxes of strawberries (~$4.00)
Jars (Free) or they can be picked up cheap at thrift stores or my mom recycles and glass jar she buys to put her jam in for example salsa and relish jars.
Lids ($2 for 12 bottles) ~ $0.16 per lid used 4 lids
Liquid certo ( $3.19) makes 2 batches ($1.60/batch)

Total for one batch supplies $6.20

This makes ~ 71/2 cups of jam

Price per cup $0.83

Compare to the cheapest bottle of jam

No Name 500 ml (~2 cups) bottle of jam $2.19
Price per cup $1.10

I am looking forward to enjoying our hard work...ok so it wasn't hard at all! Here are the steps to making jam.

1. Go a pick the berries. Its cheaper and great exercise.

2. Wash and hull berries

3. Place mashed berries (it says not to use a food processor but we did) in a pot along with sugar and lemon juice if you are using liquid Certo.

4. Bring berries to a boil

5. Boil mixture hard for 1 minute. This was a scary one minute as I thought it was going to over flow a couple of times but hubby was so calm.

6. Once boiled add liquid Certo while stirring and skimming for 5 minutes before pouring hot mixture into warmed and sterilized jars. Place hot sterile lids onto jars and seal.

7. Wait for the wonderful popping sound the jars make when they are sealed and store in the cupboard.

The thing that I learned after making my first batch of jam is that its a good idea to have everything ready for the process. Have the sugar measured, the jars/lids sterilized and warming, Certo ready, a good stirring spoon, and a clean working area.

For more money saving tips check out biblical womanhood.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Strawberry Yogurt Scones

With my abundance of strawberries that I picked last week I had to come up with ways to use them as they don't keep their freshness for every long in the refrigerator. So well looking on line I happen to come across this delicious scone recipe. They were so yummy I made a second batch.

The recipe was very easy to whip together and they tasted delicious. Scones are similar to biscuits, but these have a wet, sticky dough. Serve fresh from the oven with a cold glass of iced tea.

Strawberry Yogurt Scones

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup diced strawberries
2/3 cup strawberry fat-free yogurt (I used homemade plain yogurt)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind (Orange Juice worked fine)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons sugar

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Combine strawberries, yogurt, butter, rind (or juice), and egg white; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 times with floured hands because the dough is VERY sticky. Pat into an 8-inch circle on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut into 12 wedges, cutting into but not through dough; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sugar. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Another way to use up your strawberries is to make Strawberry Salsa with cinnamon crisp. This recipe is one of my favorite ways to enjoy strawberries. It makes a lovely snack and is usually a big hit at any BBQ. The recipe can be found in Dietitians of Canada Cook Great Food Cook book.

Strawberry Apple Salsa
1 cup mashed strawberries
1 Med tart apple, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp liquid honey or brown sugar
1/2 tsp grated orange zest (optional)

In a medium bowl, mash strawberries; add apple, honey and if using orange zest. Stir to blend well. Serve with Cinnamon Crisp.

Cinnamon Crisp

Small flour tortillas

Brush tortillas with water (or margarine), sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture (I have a cinnamon sugar shaker). Cut into wedges using kitchen scissors or pizza cutter. Place wedges on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven (425) for 5 minutes until golden and crisp.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Strawberry Season

Since it is and has been for a couple of weeks now, Strawberry season, I will be taking the next couple of post to talk about these delicious berries.

The bright red heart shaped berry got its English name “strawberry” from the Anglo-Saxon “streoberie” which was not spelled in modern fashion until 1538. This delicious berry, which is part of the rose family, is the only fruit that has 200 seeds located on its outer surface. The flavor of each strawberry is influenced by weather, the variety and stage of ripeness when harvested. The American Indians were already eating strawberries when the Colonists arrived. The crushed berries were mixed with cornmeal and baked into strawberry bread. After trying this bread, Colonists developed their own version of the recipe and Strawberry Shortcake was created.

Local Strawberries usually begin to appear the last week of June the first weeks of July and will last until the end of October depending on what part of Atlantic Canada you live in. California produces 75% of the nations Strawberry crops with its one billion pounds of strawberries each year. California strawberries are available January through November, with peak quality and supply from March to May making strawberries available to us through out the year.

How to select and store:

Look for bright red berries with fresh green caps. When you remove the caps you tear cells in the berries, activating ascorbic acid oxidase, an enzyme that destroys Vitamin C.

Visually check each package, making sure there are no signs of mold growth. If one berry is molded, mold spores will have traveled throughout the entire package. Research has linked mold to some forms of cancer, always avoid moldy berries.

Use strawberries as soon after harvesting or purchasing as possible. Refrigerator storage does not improve the quality of fresh strawberries. Berries should not be left at room temperature for more than a few hours. Warm temperatures cause a browning effect in strawberries. The pigments that make strawberries red, anthocyanin, are heat sensitive. They break apart and turn brown when exposed to heat. Strawberries also lose heat-sensitive Vitamin C during browning, heating and cooking.

Store unwashed berries loosely covered with plastic wrap in the coldest part of your refrigerator for two to three days at most. Do not wash berries until ready to use.

To wash, place berries in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Do not allow berries to set in water as they will lose color and flavor.

After washing, remove the green cap with a plastic-tipped vegetable peeler or paring knife without removing any of the fruit.

Picking Tips

If you are picking your own strawberries from your garden or local u-pick here are a few tips to help you get the best berries.

1. Be careful that your feet and knees do not damage plants or fruit in or along the edge of the row.

2. Most growers furnish picking containers designed for strawberries. If you use your own container, remember that heaping strawberries more than 5 inches deep will bruise the lower berries.

3. Pick only the berries that are fully red. Part the leaves with your hands to look for hidden berries ready for harvest.

4. Grasp the stem just above the berry between the forefinger and the thumbnail and pull with a slight twisting motion.

5. With the stem broken about one-half inch from the berry, allow it to roll into the palm of your hand.

6. Repeat these operations using both hands until each holds 3 or 4 berries.

7. Carefully place - don't throw - the fruit into your containers. Repeat the picking process with both hands.

8. Don't overfill your containers or try to pack the berries down.

9. Pick the row clean. Remove from the plants berries showing rot, sunburn, insect injury or other defects and place them between the rows behind you.

10. Berries to be used immediately may be picked any time, but if you plan to hold the fruit for a few days, try to pick in the early morning or on cool, cloudy days. Berries picked during the heat of the day become soft, are easily bruised and will not keep well.

11. Avoid placing the picked berries in the sun any longer than necessary. It is better to put them in the shade of a tree or shed than in the car trunk or on the car seat. Cool them as soon as possible after picking. Strawberries may be kept fresh in the refrigerator for three or more days, depending upon the initial quality of the berry. After a few days in storage, however, the fruit loses its bright color and fresh flavor and tends to shrivel.

Fun Facts:
Madame Tallien, a prominent figure at the court of the Emperor Napoleon, was famous for bathing in the juice of fresh strawberries. She used 22 pounds per basin, needless to say, she did not bathe daily.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries (166 grams)

Calories 50
Protein 1 gram
Carbohydrates 11.65 grams
Dietary Fiber 3.81 grams
Calcium 23.24 mg
Iron 0.63 mg
Magnesium 16.60 mg
Phosphorus 31.54 mg
Potassium 44.82 mg
Selenium 1.16 mg
Vitamin C 94.12 mg
Folate 29.38 mcg
Vitamin A 44..82 IU

Nutrient sources:
Ounce for ounce, strawberries have more Vitamin C than citrus fruit. According to the American Cancer Society, foods rich in Vitamin C may lower the risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
Eight strawberries will provide 140 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C for kids.

When Measuring Strawberries

1 1/2 pounds = 2 pints or 1 quart
1 small basket = 1 pint
1 pint = 3 1/4 cups whole berries
1 pint = 2 1/4 cups sliced berries
1 pint - 1 2/3 cup pureed berries
1 cup = about 4 ounces
Easy ways to eat:

Strawberries can be enjoyed many different ways. From sauces, to pies, shortcakes, scones, to toppings on your favorite dessert these berries are a great nutritious food. But the easiest way to eat strawberries is of course in its natural form on a warm summer day!



University of Illinois Extension Strawberries and More

The New Brunswick Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday Meal Plan

The meal plan last week went great. We started the week off with this yummy Shepherd pie. It was the best one I think that I have ever made. I don't know if it was because I decorated the top with my frosting decorators or what.

The recipe was ad lib so here are the ingredients

Worcestershire sauce
Cream corn

Well potatoes are boiling, fry hamburger with garlic and onions. Add Worcestershire sauce. When no longer pick drain grease and add 1 can of cream corn.

When potatoes are soft drain and add milk and butter as though making your bestest mashed potatoes. I added some cheddar this time.

To assemble pour meat mixture into the bottom of the dish and top with potatoes. Then if you want to get really fancy put some of the potato mixture into a piping bag and decorate...hubby was very impressed with this. Coming through the door his mouth dropped opened and stated "I can't believe there's frosting on the shepherds pie"!

The crock pot chicken recipe was very delicious as well even though I was out longer then planned and cooked it a tad bit too long. We were going to enjoy this over rice but the rice didn't turn out either so we ended up enjoying this dish wrapped up in warm tortillas.

I won't be meal planning for the next two weeks as we are off on a missions trip. See you all again in August.

Monday: Chili and home fries and salad

Tuesday: Sausage Marinara over pasta

Wednesday: Pork sandwiches

Thursday: Spicy Chickpea and Vegetable Casserole

Friday: Picnic in the car

Saturday: Anniversary Party (25 years)

For more meal planning ideas visit Organizing Junkie

Friday, July 11, 2008

What do you put in the Freezer?

Well I have lots of ways to save money but I want to dedicate my Fridays to putting up post about how I save money in the kitchen. To check out other ways to save money head on over to Biblical Womanhood.

This weeks topic...What can you freeze??

Just last week our family made a trip to the states. Its easy for us to make it over there because my folks live right on the boarder. This trip down we were smart and packed along our camping cooler and lots of freezer packs. I was determined to get some deals well I was there. Boys oh boys am I glad we did that. I got a good chart full of groceries well we were there. One of the main reasons I went over shopping was to pick up some chicken...its so expensive here that I don't usually get it. However I ended up paying only 0.99/lb for chicken thighs. I also picked up butter (0.99), cream cheese (4/$5.00), shredded cheese (0.99), and coffee cream (2/$1.00). The coffee cream had to be my most exciting purchase as we never have this specialty in our house but for 0.50/L who could resist. With all my new purchases it lead me to the internet when we got back to my parents house to find out if coffee cream was freezable since we had a long trip back home and more then one jug of course. And you know what...its totally freezable. The texture and flavor didn't change at all after being frozen. Also the cream cheese, shredded cheese and butter can also be frozen until ready to use. I love the freezer and being able to freeze many food items. This helps save on the budget as it helps us stock up when things are on sale. I have made a list of products that freeze well.

Butter milk (simple freeze in 1 cup portions that way it doesn't go to waste)
Cream Cheese
Shredded Cheese (block cheese freezes too but its hard to shredded when defrosted)
Coffee Cream
Liquid egg products
Chocolate (great after Easter, Valentines, Christmas and Halloween)
Berries (strawberries, blueberries, cranberries)
Grapes (this make great ice cubes)
Bread, buns, pita, tortillas

As a challenge for the week please let me know of products that you purchase in bulk and freeze. I would love to have a list put together of freezable products, that way we know it will keep if we buy in bulk the next time its on sale.

Special guest

I have never had a special guest addition but after enjoying this wonderful side dish at a family BBQ I decided that I need to start giving people who create these dishes some credit.

This is a great recipe for the summer because it features as the main star new potatoes and fresh dill.

Cream Dilly Potatoes (I just made the name up)

New potatoes
1 Tbsp Margarine
1 Tbsp Flour
1 cup Cream (yes I know he used cream...cereal cream)
1 tsp mustard
pinch sugar
pinch salt
Lots of fresh Dill

Well the potatoes are boiling melt the butter in a separate pot with the flour until smooth. Add 1 cup of cereal cream or milk. Add 1 tsp of mustard and a pinch of sugar and salt (to taste). Add 1/2 bunch of dill. You can add more if you want it extra dilly. Heat sauce on medium heat until it thickens and the dill softens. If it gets too thick you can add water, milk or cream until you get the desired consistency.

When the potatoes are done pour sauce over and serve warm.

These potatoes are so delicious and will be on my meal plan for the summer!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Oh how I love...


I love these juicy little guys that you can go and pick yourself. I know that we can buy "strawberries" during other seasons, if that's what you want to call them, but nothing beets the flavor of local strawberries. Its hard to believe how much nutrition in packed inside; they are full of vitamin A, B and C!

Our families have been picking strawberry's for the past week so we got to share in their labor this weekend while we were home. After enjoying a wonderful BBQ the desserts served where everything strawberry!

First this simple little treat of hand dipped chocolate covered strawberries; and yes some even had sprinkles on them for the kid in all of us.

Next was a pie that is well...not so healthy for you but as my mother in law says you can only enjoy this pie during strawberry season which usually is two weeks to 1 month. So when put into perspective...bon appetite! I will post the recipe later.

And of course we wouldn't want to foget old faithful. Strawberry short cake on homemade biscuits with real whipping cream.

The best biscuit recipe I have found is one that my mother-in-law uses

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cream of tarter
3 heaping Tbsp shortening
1 cup milk

Combine Flour, soda, powder and cream of tarter

Mash in shortening with a fork until shortening makes little balls

Add 1 cup of milk and stir just until combined

Plop dough onto a floured surface and pat down with hands. Then cut out biscuits using a biscuit cutter, a round cookie cutter, or a can (soup or tuna) that has both the top and the bottom removed.

Bake in 350 oven for 20 - 25 minutes

~ Now there are some serects to baking biscuits. One is that you don't want to over work the dough because unlike bread, which needs a lot of work because the yeast will raise better, biscuits will not raise if they are handled too much. Another sercert to getting a nice fluffy biscuit, which I learned from Martha Stewart, is that when you are cutting the biscuits out you NEVER want to twist the cutter. When you twist the cutter on the dough it closes off the air holes with help make the biscuit light and fluffy.

Now for the short cake part. You cut the biscuit in half; not by using a knife but by poking a fork the whole way around it until it breaks apart. Then on the bottom part you add strawberry's that have been cut up and whip cream. Add the top biscuit, whip cream and crown with strawberries!

For a new twist on whipping cream try sweetening it with maple syrup instead of sugar. It give it a great flavor that enhances any desert!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Meal Plan Monday

So here I sit another Sunday night with my families favorite meals listed in front of me, the grocery store sales copied down and my freezer/pantry list trying to make out a plan for yet another busy week! So why do all that work you ask...because meal planning which does involve a little bit of work on Sunday nights/Monday mornings has saved us lots of money in the past couple of years. Since we have been married (almost 3 years) we have been trying to buy our grocery's for $50 a week! You think that is little but its actually just the right amount when you make everything from starch, drink skim milk powder, stock up when on sale and meal plan! I know you are all probably thinking "well they must not eat very healthy" and if you are new to the blog you might want to know that I am a Registered Dietitian and we always have vegetables and fruits on our plates at meal times. You see when you meal plan you can use what you have in your cupboards/freezer (always from previous sales) and combine it with items that are on sale to make fabulous, quick or simple meals.

Now there are lots of different ways to put a meal plan together here are two popular ways. You can take a week, two weeks or month and place in different meals you would like to have for those days. You can plan breakfast, lunch and suppers. I usually only tend to do our suppers because I always have different breakfast foods on hand (cereal, toast, yogurt, fruit and granola) and lunch usually consist of leftovers for both hubby and I.


You can plan each day to be a specific theme meal say Monday is vegetarian night, Tuesday pork, Wednesday beef, Thursday chicken, Friday fast food...etc. Then for the month under each them night you can have a list of family favorites and new recipes. As the month goes on you mark off the meals you have had. This adds more variety to your meal plan as you can cook things that you are craving; until of course you get down to the last week of the plan when you make whatever didn't get made at the beginning of the month. Here is an example.

Hash brown casserole
Mac and cheese and beans
Mexican Lentil casserole

Shake and bake chops (homemade)
Curried pork chops
Ground pork tacos
BBQ pork kabobs

Shepard pie
Mexican Mash
BBQ meat pie

Pineapple curry chicken legs
BBQ chicken
Roast chicken
Shake and bake Chicken

drum sticks and fries

One thing I like to do with meal planning is I always plan the main dish and add lib the sides I want to accompany the meal. I make sure I have ingredients on hand, say frozen vegetables/ salad stuff, to fill up our plates.

Now that you may have some basic understanding of meal planning here is my plan for the week. For the last couple of weeks I have been taking about the weather and how difficult it was to plan meals as I don't want the oven on in the afternoons making the house even hotter then what it already is. Well just last night after talking with a faithful blog reader. I had a revelation that I never thought of before...CROCK POT!! I don't know why I wasn't thinking about this little invention for the hot summer days. Not to mention I can fix it and forget it on those days I want to be outside, at the park, hanging out or swimming with the little guy. So from now on no more complaining will just be crock potting all the way. I just so happened to stumble upon this blog so I am sure I will have some adventures with her recipes!

Meal Plan

Monday: Shepard's pie (hubby's request)

Tuesday: Crockpot salsa chicken

Wednesday: Left overs

Thursday: Pork Chops

Friday: Picnic in the car

Saturday: International Family Fun day

Sunday: Lunch date with friends

For more yummy menus check out meal planning Monday!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Oatmeal balls?? I finally got to try Pineapple Chicken Balls. Its a recipe I have wanted to try now for over a year but could never bring myself to spend the money on ground chicken. But after finding a bin at the local grocery store with it marked down I picked up a couple of packages; I mostly picked it up because now that I am in the adventures of making baby food I thought this stuff would be easier to use then a whole chicken.

With there being more then enough for the babe I decided to take a little bit and see what it was like. The recipe is found from Company's Coming Diabetic Dinners. Its a great cook book with lots of yummy low fat recipes.

1 Egg
1/4 cup green onions ( I didn't use)
1/2 cup Oatmeal (not instant)
1 tsp Low sodium chicken bouillon powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme (I used fresh from my garden)

1 lb Lean ground chicken or turkey

14 oz pineapple tidbits with juice
3 Tbsp White vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp Low sodium soy sauce
1 green pepper, diced

3 Tbsp water
1 1/2 Tbsp corn starch

Combine first 5 ingredients in medium bowl

Add chicken. Mix well. Shape into balls and arrange on baking sheet. Bake uncovered in 400 oven for 15 minutes.

Combine next 5 ingredients in large frying pan. Heat on med-high, stirring until boiling. Reduce heat to med-low. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes.

Stir water into cornstarch in small dish until smooth. Stir into sauce until boiling and thickened. Add meatballs and heat!

Serve over hot rice

Now the moment you all have been waiting for...the verdict!! My husband and a friend I served these to both thought they were oatmeal balls!! I had to tell them they were chicken balls! hehehe...

Hubby said they were good and OK if I wanted to make a lower fat meat ball. However he did warn me not to serve them to guest because they did come out a little dry. I must admit that they were better the next day after they sat in the refrigerator. I didn't think they were that bad; the sauce was yummy and the pineapples add a wonderful flavor.
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