I feel like I will keep myself more organized by posting my menu plan here.  It is not a rigid plan by any means and it is listed in no particular order.  If I don’t make something this week, it will get bumped to next week.  And to me, the week is Monday thru Sunday instead of Sunday to Saturday as far as meal planning goes.

So here goes!

This week:

chicken crescent squares

potato & leek soup

crock pot chicken {haven’t thoroughly formed this idea yet, possibly adapting this}

taco salad

brinner {breakfast for dinner}


last week:

upside down pizza


I cannot for the life of me remember what I cooked Wednesday ? ! ?

tomato soup and grilled cheese


steaks on the grill

out to eat Sunday night

Green Beans with Bacon

This has been the side dish that Tim has requested the most this summer.  Whenever I ask if he has any requests for food that I make, he always eyeballs the pile of fresh green beans that we have, smiles and says “green beans with bacon”.  Then his eyes roll back in his head as he dreams of their delicious taste. Coming in as his second most requested dish are bacon wrapped jalapenos.  It must be that he loves green vegetables.




Yeah right.  Did you buy that?  It’s the bacon, of course!  Bacon makes everything better. 🙂


Green Beans with Bacon {serves 4}


about 5 cups of fresh green beans, washed and snapped

4 or 5 pieces of bacon

1 small onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

cracked black pepper

4 heaping tablespoons soy sauce {other liquid/combos works too – I’ve used beer, wine, broth, and red wine vinegar, but soy sauce is our favorite}


In a large skillet {I prefer cast iron}, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate.  Pour off the bacon grease leaving just 1 teaspoon or less remaining.  Add the chopped onion to the skillet that is over medium high heat and saute for a moment to get lightly brown.  Then add the green beans and garlic.  Stir until the beans turn bright green.  Then, turn the heat to medium low and add the soy sauce.  Cover the pan with a loose fitting lid.  Let them steam for about 10 minutes, checking and stirring frequently.  They are done when the liquid is reduced/evaporated, the onions are caramelized, and beans are tender.  Season with cracked black pepper.  Chop or crumble the bacon and stir into the beans.  Serve and enjoy!


A great way to use fresh produce is obviously salsa.  And since Mexican food is probably our favorite type, we use a lot of it.  So instead of buying jar after jar of it at the store, why not make our own!  It tastes better and saves money too.

This recipe comes from a friend that Tim used to work with.  If you haven’t noticed, we like a lot of heat so I leave the seeds and ribs in the jalapeno, but you can remove those if you need to.


Salsa {makes about 6 cups}


4 large tomatoes, washed and cored

8 whole jalapenos {or 2 jalapenos for every 1 tomato}, cleaned and stems removed

5 cloves of garlic, peeled

small bunch of cilantro leaves

1 medium onion, peeled and quartered

salt to taste

shot of tequila 🙂


Bring a stock pot of water to boil. Wash tomatoes, jalapenos and cilantro.  Once water boils, drop in the 4 cored whole tomatoes and leave in the water until skins crack {about 5 minutes}.  Remove the tomatoes from the water and carefully peel the skins off.  Place the tomatoes and all other ingredients in a food processor and pulse to desired consistency.

Enjoy with chips or in your favorite mexican meals.

Double Chocolate Cookie Bars

Yum!  These Oreo cookie bars are a chocolate lover’s dream!  They are not only  fantastically gooey and crunchy at the same time, but really easy too.  Give them a try!

My only regret is that I wish I would have saved more than 6 whole cookies to crumble on top as the recipe indicates.  Next time, I will use 8 or 9 for the topping.


Double Chocolate Cookie Bars {adapted from}

Yields 20 bars <—– that’s crazy! More like 12


  • 1 package of Oreo cookies {I used double stuf}
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips {I used a combo of regular and mini sized to finish the open bags I had.}


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Set aside 6 cookies and grind the rest in a food processor.  In a small bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs and butter until all is moist and well blended. Press into the bottom of an 9×13 inch pan. {I used my hands to do this and I had to lightly moisten my fingers with water to avoid sticking.}
  3. Over a double boiler or in the microwave, melt 1 cup of chocolate chips together with the condensed milk and vanilla. Stir frequently until smooth. Spread evenly over the crumb crust using a spatula.  Sprinkle the remaining cup of chocolate chips over the top. Break remaining cookies into pieces by hand and sprinkle over the top.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.  Cool on counter until no longer hot.  Chill completely in the fridge before cutting into bars or it will make a big mess.

Shrimp Fried Rice

Wow.  The introductions to my posts are terrible.  I have absolutely nothing interesting to say about this next dish.  It was super yummy though!  So, let’s pretend I said something really funny and fantastic here, okay?  And, I’ll work on my writing skillz for next time.  Allrightythen.


Shrimp Fried Rice

Yields 4 or 5 large servings


16 oz frozen shrimp; thawed, peeled, de-veined and tails removed.

1 or 2 tablespoons oil

3 cups cooked rice

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrot

3 finely chopped jalapenos-optional

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 heaping tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

salt and pepper to taste

2 large egg, lightly beaten

2 or 3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 cup frozen peas – optional {I left them out this time}


Cook rice and set aside.

Heat oil in a large wok, add the shrimp and stir fry until cooked, about a minute or two.  Remove the shrimp to a plate.  Add more oil to wok if necessary.

Add onion, bell peppers, celery, carrots, and jalapenos to wok and stir fry a few minutes, then add garlic and ginger.  Finish stir frying when veggies are crisp tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the rice and allow it to heat thru.  Then, make a well in the center of the wok, add the eggs.  Gradually stir the eggs as they cook and slowly mix them into the rice mixture.

If using peas, stir them in now.  Then add the shrimp back into the mixture.

Add soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

Stuffed Baked Potatoes

For an easy lunch the other day, I threw together these stuffed baked potatoes using up several leftover ingredients.  This is another recipe that would be easily adapted to whatever leftovers you may have…broccoli, turkey or chicken breasts, swiss cheese, etc.,  the list is endless…

Also, you may be thinking that potatoes alone usually aren’t a meal.  But these are!  They were huge!  And of course they have meat and veggies inside them too.



2 large baking potatoes, scrubbed and dry

4 oz. {half of a block} cream cheese, softened

2 or 3 tablespoons ranch dressing

1/2 cup shredded cheddar, divided

1 tablespoon oil

1/4 cup thick deli ham, chopped

1/4 cup chopped green or red bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped red or white onion

salt and pepper to taste


Bake (or microwave) the potatoes until tender.  In the microwave this takes about 8-10 minutes.  Allow the potatoes to cool down so they are easy to handle.  Don’t get in a hurry here because they will fall apart if you handle them too soon.

Meanwhile, saute the ham, onion, bell pepper, and celery in the oil until veggies are tender and ham is lightly browned.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375*

Once you are able to handle the potatoes, make a thin slice across the top (longways) of each potato removing some of the skin to expose the flesh.  Scoop out the “meat” leaving a shell or boat.  Place the flesh that you scoop out into a large bowl.  {Sidebar:  It is driving me nuts that I keep calling it meat and flesh.  Sorry!}  Once you have two empty boats, mash the potato meat in the bowl with the cream cheese, salt and pepper, and ranch.  Then add the ham, veggies and most of the shredded cheddar.  Stir to combine.  If it is too thick, add a few tablespoons of milk.

Place the boats on a baking sheet and load with the filling.  They will be  overflowing.  Top with a little more shredded cheddar cheese.  Bake for about 20 minutes.


Lasagna Rolls

A few months ago, my good friend gave birth to an adorable baby boy, so I took her a meal when I went to visit.  I made blueberry scones and these Lasagna Rolls by Giada De Laurentiis.

Since then, I have made this meal a couple of times for Tim and I.  And I currently have a pan in the freezer.  We really enjoy this meal!  In the future, I may try adding shredded chicken to the filling.  It would also be fantastic completely meatless too.


Lasagna Rolls



  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch ground nutmeg


  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry {I omitted this}
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped {I omit}
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups marinara sauce {I used homemade meat sauce}
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella


To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the bechamel sauce.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.

Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Pour the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the bechamel sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce {again I used meat sauce} over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.


Canned Green Beans


As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we grew a lot of wonderful vegetables in our garden this year.  And for the past few weeks, I have been meaning to try canning some of the produce.  But, for one reason or another {mostly intimidation} I haven’t gotten around to it.  So, to make a long story short, my Mom came over this weekend and canned the green beans for me.  LOL.

The good news is that Tim and I were both observing her so we think we can handle canning on our own next time.  She also left the equipment at my house, so we have everything we need to do so.

She canned 7 quarts.

Upside Down Pizza


Lately I have really been favoring one pot meals like casseroles.  They just involve less planning and usually only require pantry staples.  The recipe for last night’s meal was adapted from my hometown’s church cookbook.  You can easily adapt it to include your own favorite pizza topping.  For example, add mushrooms or olives to the meat and sauce mixture and omit the peppers.  Whatever you prefer is fine.

You’ll notice that the recipe calls for one and a half tubes of crescent rolls.  You could probably get by with crescents from just one tube if you roll and press them to cover.  We like a thick topping though, so I always use 1.5 tubes.  With the remaining 4 crescents, sprinkle inside and out with cinnamon and sugar, roll and bake as you normally would.


Upside Down Pizza

serves 6


1 lb. ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped {Last night I used 3 or 4 jalapeno peppers}

1 package pepperoni {I strongly suggest using turkey pepperoni or somehow blotting the grease off regular pepperoni before adding it.}

1 {15 oz.} can tomato sauce

1/2 cup sour cream

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 and a 1/2 tubes crescent rolls

2 or 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 350*.

Brown the hamburger with the chopped onion and pepper.  Drain.  Add tomato sauce to the meat and spread in ungreased 9×13 inch baking dish.  Then, make a layer of pepperoni.

In a small bowl, mix sour cream and mozzarella cheese.  Spoon it over the meat.  Top with a layer of crescent rolls.  Brush crescents with melted butter and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes.




We were in the mood for something spicy last night, so I turned to the Food Network site in search of a jambalaya recipe.  No surprise that I found one by Emeril Lagasse.  While I don’t like to watch his shows because I find his personality annoying, I do trust and always have success with his recipes.

I used Emeril’s recipe mostly as a guide, making several changes based on our taste and what I had on hand.  My adaptations are in italics.


Cajun Jambalaya {serves 4}


  • 12 medium raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
  • 4 ounces chicken, diced {I used one 9 oz. can of cooked chicken breasts}
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion {I used 1/2 cup}
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper {I used a combo of green bell and jalapeno peppers to equal 1/2 cup}
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery {I used 1/2 cup}
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic { 3 cloves}
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes {one fresh garden tomato}
  • 3 dried bay leaves {two small leaves}
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 3/4 cup long grain white rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced {I substituted cooked chorizo}
  • Salt and pepper {I omitted}


In a bowl combine shrimp and Creole seasoning, and work in seasoning well.  Set aside.

In a large/deep saucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, saute 3 minutes.  Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces.  Stir in rice and slowly add broth.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until shrimp are done, about 10 minutes more.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Enjoy!

Previous Older Entries