I have had quite a few emails asking how I am doing. MUCH better. Thanks for the concern and the well wishes and the VERY special card that a VERY special friend sent to me. To answer the questions, I had surgery on Wednesday morning, was home Wednesday afternoon. All went well and I am very much on the road to recovery. Thank goodness that my mom was here, on a pre-planned trip that happened to coincide with the surgery. While Jeff and I probably *could* have handled last week alone with Miss Emi, it was so wonderful to have my mom here to step in and help.

Mom and Emi have become fast friends and are so enjoying each other. I does my heart good to watch them playing together and have Emi showing off all her little tricks for my mom. We are thinking by Tuesday I will be strong enough to start getting out and about, so we have all kinds of exciting things planned. A trip to Target. A trip to Best Buy, and one to Costco (finally going to join!). We are also planning a trip to the mall. I tell ya, we lead an exciting life over here!

Mom is here through Saturday, and so I wanted nice dinners but still simple and easy so that I could spend the time with her and not in the kitchen. I also thought I was going to do so much more last week than I did, so some meals are being carried over. So with that ... here is my plan for the week ...

Menu Plan for Week of: February 17-23, 2008

  • Monday: Wheat & Pumpkin Pancakes (or Waffles), honey butter, sausages

  • Thursday: Leftovers (Meatloaf and Pork buffet)

  • Friday: Out to dinner (Mom’s last night here)

  • Saturday: Leftovers/Free Nite (Mom leaves ... cry!)
    • I will probably be bummed that my Mom left, so will probably talk Jeff into taking Miss Emi and me out.
Lastly, don't forget to head on over to Laura's at I'm an Organizing Junkie for more Menu Plan's.

Original Post:Menu Plan (Feb 17-23)
Malaysian Chicken Pizza
Cooking Light

(Kiy Note: Make this once, and it will become a family fav!)

¾ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons water
1tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
½ to ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
½ pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
½ cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat, reduced-sodium Swiss cheese (such as Alpine Lace)
¼ cup (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 (12-inch) Basic Pizza Crust (or any pizza crust, I use those ready made ones found at the grocery store)
¼ cup chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 500°.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl; stir well with a whisk.

Heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add chicken, and sauté 2 minutes. Remove chicken from pan. (Kiy Note: I tend to use leftover chicken, but I have done this in a pinch.)

Pour rice vinegar mixture into pan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook mixture 6 minutes or until slightly thickened. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute or until chicken is done. (Mixture will be consistency of thick syrup.)

Sprinkle cheeses over prepared crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border, and top with chicken mixture. Bake at 500° for 12 minutes on bottom rack in oven. Sprinkle with green onions. Place pizza on a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings


CALORIES 293(22% from fat); FAT 7.3g(sat 2.9g,mono 2.6g,poly 1.2g); PROTEIN 18.2g; CHOLESTEROL 33mg; CALCIUM 151mg; SODIUM 487mg; FIBER 1.8g; IRON 2.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 38.3g

Jill Melton
Cooking Light, MAY 2002

This is going to be a crazy week. I am still not feeling all that well but getting better and, wow, thanks for all the emails making sure I was doing okay ... very very sweet. Also, my mom is coming for a visit (BONUS!) and to meet the ever-wonderful Miss Emi. So, I want really great, tried and true recipes that are ultra quick and simple, and that Jeff can toss together if needed. That made for challenging menu planning for this week!

So, here it is. We may end up scraping some of this and tossing stuff in the freezer if we decide to go out to dinner at the last minute. With Mom here, who knows what we will really end up doing! Also, don't forget to head on over to Organizing Junkie's. Laura hosts this most wonderful event, I know it keeps me 'honest' and making my meal plan each week. I truly feel I am more pulled together, we eat healthier, helps the budget, and I get to spend more time with Emi that isn't running to the grocery store every day.


Menu Plan for Week of: February 10-16, 2008

  • Sunday: Leftovers from last week

  • Tuesday: Chicken Bake (Kraft Food & Family, Winter 2008, page 38) <- actually a Stove Top Stuffing recipe
  • Saturday: Jeff’s Quiche (I really need to get him to write down that recipe!), melon slices

Original Post: Menu Plan (Feb 10-16)

Good Eats Meat Loaf
Alton Brown

6 ounces garlic-flavored croutons
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and broken
3 whole cloves garlic
1/2 red bell pepper
18 ounces ground chuck
18 ounces ground sirloin
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 egg

For the glaze:
½ cup catsup
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon honey

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a food processor bowl, combine croutons, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and thyme. Pulse until the mixture is of a fine texture. Place this mixture into a large bowl. Combine the onion, carrot, garlic, and red pepper in the food processor bowl. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped, but not pureed. Combine the vegetable mixture, ground sirloin, and ground chuck with the bread crumb mixture. Season the meat mixture with the kosher salt. Add the egg and combine thoroughly, but avoid squeezing the meat.

Pack this mixture into a 10-inch loaf pan to mold the shape of the meatloaf. Onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, turn the meatloaf out of the pan onto the center of the tray. Insert a temperature probe at a 45° angle into the top of the meatloaf. Avoid touching the bottom of the tray with the probe. Set the probe for 155 degrees.

Combine the catsup, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and honey. Brush the glaze onto the meatloaf after it has been cooking for about 10 minutes.

Kiy Note: I can't explain how much I detest meat loaf. One day, because Jeff loves it so, I decided to make it for him while I made myself something different (hahaha, like that happens anymore!). It smelled so amazing, I tried a tiny bite of his. Whoa, needless to say I now love meatloaf. THIS meatloaf. In fact, it does an injustice to this dish to call it that. It needs a new name!
Also: I double the glaze recipe - total yum!

Slow-Cooker Orange-BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Kraft Foods, Winter 2008

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 8 hr 10 min
Makes:12 servings, one sandwich each

1 boneless pork shoulder (3 lb.)
1 bottle (18 oz.) KRAFT Original Barbecue Sauce
Juice from 1 medium orange

PLACE meat in slow cooker; top with barbecue sauce and orange juice. Cover with lid.

COOK on LOW for 8 to 10 hours (or on HIGH for 4 to 6 hours). Remove meat from slow cooker; cut into small pieces or shred with fork. Return meat to slow cooker; stir until meat is evenly coated with the barbecue sauce mixture.

Kiy note: Watch the time *carefully*! Personally, I think they cook theirs FAR too long. Last time I made this, I had a pork shoulder that was a bit over 2 lbs. Cooked it one low for 6 hours and it was overcooked. I have an instant read thermometer, I will start checking after about 3.5 hours.

Kicked Up Blue Cheese-stuffed Hamburgers
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2001

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

2 pounds ground beef chuck
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Essence
12 ounces blue cheese
4 large whole wheat buns, split in half
Desired condiments, such as sliced tomatoes, romaine, sliced onions

  • Preheat a gas or charcoal grill. (Alternately, cook the patties in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • In a bowl, combine the beef, garlic, salt, pepper, and Essence, and mix gently but thoroughly. Divide into 8 equal patties.
  • In a separate bowl, crumble the cheese and form into 4 equal patties. Place 1 cheese patty on each of 4 beef patties. Top with remaining 4 beef patties, pinching the edges under to seal the cheese completely.
  • Place the stuffed patties on the grill and cook to desired temperature, about 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. (Alternately, cook the patties in a large skillet over medium-high heat.) Place the buns on the grill, inside down, until just warmed through, about 30 seconds. Remove the patties and buns from the grill and place on serving plates.

*Note: I halve this recipe for Jeff and I. The first time I made this recipe, the burgers were HUGE!!!! Really, too big to eat … neither of us could finish one. Now, with halving this, they are perfectly sized. Also, for the Essence I use a variety of seasonings, depending on my mood: Caribbean Jerk, Worchester Sauce, Lawry’s Season Salt (omit the salt then, but then I already do), sometimes just a mix of rosemary and thyme.

Chinese-Style Glazed Chicken Breasts
from Cooking Light, Sept 2001

¼ cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon apricot preserves or fruit spread
4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and sauté for 3 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan. Reduce heat; carefully stir in broth mixture. Return chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes or until done, turning to coat.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 1 tablespoon sauce)

CALORIES 186(25% from fat); FAT 5.1g(sat 0.9g,mono 1.3g,poly 2.5g); PROTEIN 26.7g; CHOLESTEROL 66mg; CALCIUM 17mg; SODIUM 526mg; FIBER 0.3g; IRON 0.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 6.9g

Chicken or Turkey Tetrazinni
(or as we call it in our house…Tetrachloride, sigh, science geeks!)

7oz pasta (spag broke in bite size pieces – we use ruffles or bows)
1 can (8oz) mushrooms (don’t use fresh – adds too much water)
¼ cup marg
4 chicken/turkey breast halves – cooked, chopped (or 2-4 cups leftovers!)
2 cans cream of chicken soup (I use Campbell’s Healthy Choice – low fat, reduced sodium)
1 cup fat free sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Frozen Peas, carrots, corn, whatever – no need to thaw! Just dump in until looks good – I have no idea how much I toss in there (our fav – the peas!)

Cook pasta according to recipe on box – undercook a little, as you will be baking it also. Drain. Mix marg and mushrooms in the largest micro dish that will fit in your microwave, nuke until marg is melted (if you REALLY want to, you can sauté them together, but too much work for me!). Mix in chicken, soup and sour cream. Add salt and pepper. Mix in pasta and your choice of frozen veggie. Spray a 9x13 baking dish liberally with cooking spray and turn mixture into it. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, if desired – I don’t. Bake in a 300 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until nice and bubbly.

This freezes well and may be doubled.


Easy Asian Beef and Noodles
Cooking Light (web site)

Prep: 10 min
Cook: 5 min
Serves: 2

8 oz steak strips
1 tsp dark sesame oil, divided
1 cup sliced green onions
2 cups prepackaged coleslaw
2 pkgs beef-flavor ramen noodle soup (2 – 3oz)
½ cups water (+ ½ tbsp as needed)
1 tbsp soy sauce

Heat ½ tbsp oil in large non-stick skillet (wok) over med-high heat. Add steak and onions, stir-fry 1 minute. Remove steak mixture from pan; keep warm. Heat ½ tsp oil until hot. Add slaw; stir-fry 30 seconds. Remove slaw from pan; keep warm.

Remove noodles from packages; reserve 1 seasoning packet for another use. Add the water and remaining seasoning packet to pan; bring to a boil. Break noodles in half; add to water mixture. Cook noodles 2 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Stir in steak mixture, slaw and soy sauce, cook until heated through.


Kiy Note: Honestly, it just doesn't get any easier than this recipe. I tend to use whatever meat I have in the freezer; chicken, beef, pork and then use the corresponding ramen noodle pack. Using prepackaged cole slaw makes this SO fast and easy. We love this dish!

Fusilli with Spinach and Asiago Cheese
Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network

Kiy Note: This is a huge favorite in our house. Every time I make it, it just gets better. Also makes fab leftovers and take-to-work lunches!

1 pound fusilli pasta
¼ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (9-ounce) bag fresh spinach, roughly chopped
8 ounces (½ pint) cherry tomatoes, halved
**I used a small container of sliced shrooms instead
1 cup (about 3½ -ounces) grated Asiago
½ cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, warm olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook until the spinach wilts, about 2 more minutes. Add the cooked pasta and toss. Add the cheeses, salt, pepper, and the pasta cooking liquid and stir to combine.

Transfer the pasta to a serving plate and serve.

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Kiy Notes:

  1. Instead of the tomatoes, I used a small container of pre-sliced fresh mushrooms. Placed in a bowl, microwave a minute or so, drain well. Then add to pasta with the spinach.
  2. I had a problem with the cheese. It clumped and didn’t distribute well. Next time I will mix both cheeses together and place on the table in a pretty bowl. (Note, the second time I made this I forgot and added the cheese in, and it worked! Go figure.)

With any luck, we are leaving to go out of town on Saturday morning for three days. This will be our first trip with Miss Emi since coming home in November, so we are at the same time looking forward to it and a bit apprehensive. We have loved ones scattered all over the globe, and need to start traveling to introduce Little Bit to everyone who loves her, so this will be a good trial run at, again, sleeping in a hotel. We want to show her that we can travel, stay in a hotel, but that THIS is home. And that we are always here.

BTW, we are heading over to a Chinese New Years celebration on Bainbridge Island, Washington. This trip will include a ferry ride, something we are hoping Emi will really enjoy (she *loves* to feel the wind on her face, and will turn into the wind ... no matter how cold it is).

I am again, going to try and keep my menu plan low-key. With the planned trip, I know I will have a lot to do this week and want quick and easy for dinner time! For more great menus, head on over to Organizing Junkie's blog.

Menu Plan for Week of: February 3-9, 2008

  • Sunday: Jeff’s Amazing Quiche (no recipe posted as it’s all in his head!)
  • Tuesday: Easy Asian Beef and Noodles and peas (I usually just toss them into the soup just before serving ... yes, from a frozen state. Make sure your soup is HOT!)
  • Wednesday: Chicken Tetrazinni, some kind of frozen vegetable
    • Making this specifically so I can double it and freeze some lunches
  • Thursday: Chinese New Year! Fish (whatever looks good today), rice and sautéed zucchini and onions
  • Friday: Leftovers/Free Nite
    • We tend to go out one night a week, or need a night of not making dinner for various reasons. I am factoring this in my menu plan each week, but it won’t necessarily always (or often) be on a Saturday.
    • *Moving this up a day.
    • (Clean out the fridge!)
  • Saturday: Out of town

Original Post: Menu Plan