Billie Ruth’s Catfish Parmesan

8 skinned, pan-dressed, catfish, fresh or frozen
1 c. dry bread crumbs
¾ c. grated Parmesan cheese
¼ c. chopped parsley
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. whole oregano
¼ tsp. whole basil
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ c. melted butter
Lemon wedges

Pat fish dry. Combine bread crumbs, cheese and seasonings; stir well. Dip catfish in butter and roll each in crumb mixture.

Arrange fish in well-greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees about 25 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley. Serves 8.

Kiy Note: This was SO easy and very yummy. Was like eating deep-friend catfish (close, not exactly, but close) and the breading was light and very tasty. Easy easy easy!

Last week's menu went okay. I didn't get to the taco salad (froze the meat) because when I ran into the grocery store for a quick few items the most beautiful catfish fillets jumped into my basket. I had to take them home. Then, I had to make this!

I actually did make our Chinese appetizer dinner last week. However, I decided not to make the satay, as we just would have had too much food. Looking back, I should have as we didn't really care for the egg rolls too much and didn't like the soup at all. Lesson learned. The dumplings rocked though, and we had them for leftovers all weekend ... cold, reheated in the oven, nuked ... we weren't fussy. They were that good!

The one meal I so wanted to make, Maple-Flavored Barbecue Chicken, I just completely forgot! I never printed out my menu plan and posted it on my fridge (like I do, every single week). Big mistake. I kept running back to our (home) office to check my computer for what I should make, when it would have been smart of me to just print the darned thing out already! I think the fence guys must have cut some of the wires to my brain too ... it was that kind of week. (Tempted to make it this week, even though it's just Emi and I ... depends on my lazy-level, lol!)

Jeff leaves Tuesday morning for an unplanned trip to Virginia. Since we are all getting up at o'dark thirty to take him 2.5 hours (each way) to the airport (ugh), easy meal on Monday and then NO real cooking the rest of the week. I hereby declare the kitchen mostly closed! He will be gone almost two weeks, the longest he's had to be gone since we've been home with Emi (in fact, except for a short two-day trip to Denver in December, he's not had to travel at all ... that's huge!). I do think this trip will be harder on him than on her, but I have some ideas floating around in my head for things for Emi and I to do while he's gone hoping that she won't quite realize that daddy isn't 'at work'. Sooner or later I am sure she will start to wonder, I mean I guess she will, right? But all I can do is try to repeat that daddy had to go to Virginia and he will be home soon.

Don't forget to zip on over to Laura's at I'm an Organizing Junkie for more MPM!

· Sunday: What I Didn’t Get to Last Week
o No matter how much I plan or promise myself I won’t laze out and just say, “scrounge night”, it happens. At least once a week. So, I end up with a menu and (usually) ingredients for one meal (sadly, sometimes more than one). So here is my plan to not waste anything and to use up that meal. If, on the other hand I am fabulously organized and manage to make all planned meals … I hereby declare Sunday nights PIZZA night. Order in, Kiy does nothing, Pizza night!
o This week it’s: Pizza! Go figure, but it’s true. We were going to do the taco salad but since I needed to run to Target and didn't even leave the house until 5 pm .... Taco salad wasn't going to happen (it takes me awhile when I go to Target). We’ve decided we are too cheap to order delivery from now on (local folks are great, but they have had to add a substantial amount for a delivery charge and we are only a half a block away). So, usually we will just run up there and pick it up. So while Emi and I were at Target, I grabbed a couple of frozen pizzas. Boy, have they come a long way! Not as good as the local folks but better (to us) than the big chain pizzas. Emi and I had a roasted Portobello mushroom and spinach pizza (yes, she adored it … but she also had a ‘real’ meal of mashed potatoes and chicken with nectarines first, who knew she’d like that pizza?!). Jeff had some of ours and a pepperoni pizza. (Yick)

· Monday: Going to make a half pot of Jules’ Homemade Tomato Soup. That way, Emi and I can have it for leftovers through the week. Whatever we haven’t finished by the end of the week I will put into freezer containers for lunches or quick dinners. Along with the soup I will make some kind of grilled meat and cheese sandwiches (both Emi and Jeff are huge fans of grilled sandwiches).

· Tuesday thru Saturday: From here on out, it will be leftover soup, sandwiches, quickie cheese and chicken quesadillas with fruit, scrambled eggs with toast and fruit, Morning Star farms (fake) chicken nuggets with some kind of pasta and a frozen vegs (these things rock by the way), other MSFarms ‘meats’, etc. I am so not cooking elaborate meals for just the two of us.

Original Post: Menu Plan (July 27 – August 2)
Maple-Flavored Barbecue Chicken

1 c. ketchup
½ c. maple flavored syrup
2 tbsp. prepared mustard
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
4 boneless, skinned chicken breasts

Place all ingredients in slow cooker/Crock Pot and cook on low for about 7 to 8 hours or until chicken is done. Remove meat, shred and return to sauce. Place on buns for sandwiches or serve over hot rice. Serves 4 to 6.

Last week was odd, cooking-wise. I didn't cook a whole lot, and much of my menu went right out the window. Mostly as I never quite got to the grocery store! Early in the week was Emi-grumpy time and then later in the week my sweet gal was back and all I wanted to do was enjoy that time. I need to find a balance between mommy-hood and household responsibilities, it's not coming easy to me. I'd much rather play with Emi than mop the kitchen floor or cook, and I love to cook!

I am purposely setting up a *very* easy week, as it's getting hot again and I know I won't want to mess too much. Plus, we set up the little pool for Emi over the weekend and she adores it. So, if I am in the backyard with her, I can't be in the kitchen cooking.

Here's the menu for the week, for more MPM's head on over to Organizing Junkie's.

  • Sunday: What I Didn’t Get to Last Week
    • No matter how much I plan or promise myself I won’t laze out and just say “scrounge night”, it happens. At least once a week. So, I end up with a menu and (usually) ingredients for one meal (sadly, sometimes more than one). So here is my plan to not waste anything and to use up that meal. If, on the other hand I am fabulously organized and manage to make all planned meals … I hereby declare Sunday nights PIZZA night. Order in, Kiy does nothing, Pizza night!
    • This week it’s: Quick Spinach Roll-Ups. I made it tonight and ooh-la-la it is ever good! The first time it takes a bit longer (all recipes do, at least for me, the first time) but I can see where this would actually be an easy weeknight meal or a fancy entertain-the-boss type meal. It looks amazing and tastes even better.

  • Monday: Taco Salad – perfect for a hot night when I don’t feel like cooking. What we like in ours (I put all the stuff on the counter and we sorta buffet-it): ground beef or turkey with taco seasoning, taco chips of some kind, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, canned corn (rinsed and chilled), pineapple (I know it’s odd, but it really works!), sliced olives (for Jeff & Emi), shredded cheese and salsa (both mild and whatever Jeff is eating at the moment, varies from medium to oh-my-gosh my stomach walls have burned away).

  • Thursday: Leftover Buffet

  • Friday: Fresh fish (whatever looks good at Yokes), usually grilled with some olive oil, a bit of ginger and soy sauce, served with udon or soba noodles, sugar snap peas or other vege

  • Saturday: Free Nite

Original Post: Menu Plan (July 20 – July 26)
Last week, nothing much happened. Nothing blog-worthy at least. The fence, that was on it's last leg and was scheduled for replacement, blew down. Luckily we were already on the fence folks' schedule. Jeff called them and they said they'd move us up in the schedule. Thank goodness! Other than that, the weather started off too hot to go outside but then by the end of the week it was nicer (from 106 to 85 in a week!). Didn't really matter as Emi and I have been battling whatever it is that is going around. Not near as bad (thank goodness) as Casa Salsa, but bad enough to keep us both wanting to stay close to home and not doing much. Just lazing around in pj's, reading books, coloring, watching a bit of Diego and Backyardigans.

Wednesday we have our six-month post-placement visit (yes, to those counting the months, we are late). We have been trying to neaten up the house for that, but really, we live IN our house. It's not a show-place and it's not going to pretend to be one. We love our little house, and it looks like us ... well lived in and happy. At best, my house is clean. Things mostly end up in the place they are supposed to be. That's another reason we are tossing and Goodwilling up a storm. The less stuff we have, the neater our house is. Plus, we just don't need all this stuff. Living overseas taught us just how much we don't need.

Also, the Before & After has been postponed ... and not by me! Seems BooMama has something previously scheduled for then so she is giving us a bit more time (whooohooo). I have added and added and added to my list (poor Jeff), so I can't wait to show off all we've done. But I am going to wait to post any photos of our progress until the B&A date, tentatively rescheduled for Labor Day weekend. I can't wait. Our house is really coming together and I am loving it!
Back to MPM, I didn't even cook ONE meal last week! I did make the Oriental Salad as it's super easy and Jeff likes to take it for lunch. But other than that, nada. I am tossing together the Almond Chicken Salad for lunch today and the Hawaiian Skillet Chicken is the plan for tonight. I have big plans for cooking for this week. I've missed it (yeah, I know, sick huh?!) and really like the whole menu plan thing. It makes it so easy. I rarely make the meal on the day it's listed, maybe I should just list the meals and no days. Hmmmm, going to think on that one. But I love having the week's meals figured out ahead of time and, usually, the shopping planned out or even done for the meals.

So, that's our week in a nutshell. Here's our planned menu for the week. Hope I can do all this! Don't forget to stop by I'm an Organizing Junkie for more Menu Plan Monday!

  • Sunday: What I Didn’t Get to Last Week
    • No matter how much I plan or promise myself I won’t laze out and just say “scrounge night”, it happens. At least once a week. So, I end up with a menu and (usually) ingredients for one meal (sadly, sometimes more than one). So here is my plan to not waste anything and to use up that meal. If, on the other hand I am fabulously organized and manage to make all planned meals … I hereby declare Sunday nights PIZZA night. Order in, Kiy does nothing, Pizza night!
    • This week it’s: Hawaiian Skillet Chicken, steamed sticky rice, vege
    • We are having the Almond Chicken Salad for lunch today, I never got to it last week! It was actually pretty darned easy to make (gotta love that) as I used a pre-roasted chicken from the grocery store. It was light and summery, and definite addition to our summer menu ('course I had to taste it while I was making it!).

  • Thursday: Leftover Buffet
  • Saturday: Free Nite

Original Post: MPM (July 13-19) and Last Week

New Year Dumplings
(Kiy Note: I cannot remember where I found this.)

1 small head Napa cabbage (about 1½ pounds)
1 teaspoon salt
½ pound lean ground pork or chicken
1/3 pound garlic chives or scallions
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1½ tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine or sake
1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Cornstarch for dusting
40 round won ton or gyoza wrappers
Vegetable oil (peanut is good) for frying

½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup rice wine vinegar

1. Wash and dry the cabbage leaves. Stack and slice lengthwise and widthwise into a 1/4 dice. Toss the chopped cabbage with the salt and let sit for thirty minutes. Drain and squeeze out all excess water with your hands.

2. Mince the garlic chives or scallions and the ginger. Combine these with the drained cabbage, ground pork or chicken, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine or sake, and cornstarch.

3. Dust a cookie sheet or cutting board with cornstarch for a work surface. Place a small spoonful of the filling at the center of each round wrapper. Wet the edges of the wrapper and fold in half. Crinkle the edges of the half moon shape to seal.

4. Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan to 350 degrees. Have a cookie sheet lined with paper towels ready for draining the cooked dumplings. Carefully drop the dumplings into the hot oil using a slotted spoon. Do not crowd the dumplings. Fry them in shifts. Don't disturb them too much while they are frying. Turn once if needed. Remove the dumplings once they are golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat if oil starts to smoke. Drain on paper towels before transferring to a serving dish. Eat promptly with the dipping sauce.

Makes 40
Per dumpling (not including dipping sauce): 90 calories, 2 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 160 mg sodium, trace fiber. Calories from fat: 67 percent.

Sesame Chicken Satay
Recipe courtesy Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Sesame oil
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
25 chicken tenders, halved on the bias
½ cup chopped scallions plus 2 tablespoons, for garnish
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
¼ cup black sesame seeds, for garnish
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped for garnish

Special Equipment: 6-inch bamboo skewers

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine vinegar, peanut butter, soy sauce, vegetable oil, sesame oil, to taste, sugar and ginger in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Toss 1½ cups of the peanut butter mixture with the chicken tenders in a bowl until the chicken is well coated. Spread the chicken out in a baking pan in a single layer. Bake until the tenders are firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Let cool.

Thread a skewer into each tender. Arrange on a platter and garnish with sesame seeds and chopped herbs. Put the remaining sauce into a small bowl and serve.

Cracker Barrel's Hashbrown Casserole

RECIPE BY: kleigh83
My parents worked on a Cracker Barrel training video (which they use to train the chefs) and got this recipe a few years ago. Cracker Barrel's recipe seems to have changed a bit over these few years but not for the best. This is their recipe though and has become a family favorite. We usually have it now for Easter and Thanksgiving and its also great for a brunch. Happy Cooking!
Posted on: Sep 3, 2003

1 bag oreida potato shreds hash brown (they only make one size)
1 onion, chopped or diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
3 tablespoons margarine
½ lb colby cheese, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. Mix potatoes, onion, celery and mushroom soups, and 1/2 of the cheese.
  3. Coat a 9" x 13" baking dish with spray oil.
  4. Spread mixture into dish.
  5. Sprinkle other ½ of cheese evenly over top.
  6. Dot margarine evenly over the cheese.
  7. Bake at 350*F for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until cheese starts to brown at peaks.
Hawaiian Skillet Chicken

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1½ pounds)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola, corn, peanut)

Hawaiian Sauce
1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, with juice
½ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1/8 - teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon flour

1. Remove tenderloin from chicken breast to allow it to cook evenly. Salt and pepper all of the chicken. Place flour on a plate and coat the chicken (including the tenderloins) on both sides with flour, pressing to make sure it adheres. Shake off excess flour.

2. In a large, heavy skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces to the skillet, without crowding the pan, work in batches and add more oil if necessary. Sauté chicken for 4 minutes, without moving, it will become nicely brown. Adjust the heat--up or down if needed. Turn the cutlets and continue to sauté for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until chicken is evenly browned and cooked throughout, (tenderloin pieces take less time, 2 minutes per side) Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove the skillet from the heat.

3. SAUCE: Add the pineapple with the juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, cloves, paprika and salt. Return the skillet to medium heat and stir for a minute. Add the tablespoon of flour and continue to heat the sauce, stirring to collect any remaining juices and brown bits from pan, and allowing it to thicken slightly (about 2 minutes). Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with white rice.

Well, last week was a bust, menu planning-wise. Pizza night rocked (of course, yum yum!) and fish night, which we love was great. The Slow Cook Thai Chicken however, um, well ... I don't know. We both ate it, but there is lots left over and neither one of us has had any of it (telling, right there). It needed something, I just don't know what. If I ever get a hankering, I might play with it a bit but for now, it's been refiled in the new So-So folder in the recipe box.

We didn't get to the Quick Spinach Roll-ups (ran out of week!). We also didn't get to the Almond Chicken, because we didn't get to do anything for the 4th. Emi and I decided to celebrate by having a stomach bug/flu. Funny enough (though it wasn't) we split the symptoms. Poor Emi had the yucky, disgusting, messy diapers and a bit (barely) of a fever, and a case of the grumps now and again (strangely enough, coinciding with the diaper, heh). Mama had the high high (ugh, HIGH) fever and massive aches and pains. Lucky, nothing else. Poor Jeff was on baby and mama patrol this weekend. So, no fun activities on Friday, lazing around the house on Saturday and then (once we were mostly well), pulling the house back together on Sunday to get ready for the week.

I am putting the Almond Chicken back on the menu, 'cause I really want to try it (holding the roll-ups for the following week). But since Jeff had had a hankering for burgers and dogs, he bought them on his way home from work on Thursday thinking we'd grill out sometime this weekend. Oops. But, we did do burgers tonight and they were so good! Just basic burgers, nothing fancy and I made the Healthy Macaroni Salad to go with them. Easy dinner and that salad seriously rocks!

So, here's our menu for the week. It's very simple and am going to try to eat out of our freezer and pantry (no grocery shopping!). It's supposed to be hot early in the week but get nicer later in the week so really want to plan some outings to the park with Emi. Need fast and easy for those nights!

Don't forget to head on over to Organizing Junkie's for more MPM and to find out how her week 'off' went!

  • Sunday: What I Didn’t Get to Last Week
    • No matter how much I plan or promise myself I won’t laze out and just say “scrounge night”, it happens. At least once a week. So, I end up with a menu and (usually) ingredients for one meal (sadly, sometimes more than one). So here is my plan to not waste anything and to use up that meal. If, on the other hand I am fabulously organized and manage to make all planned meals … I hereby declare Sunday nights PIZZA night. Order in, Kiy does nothing, Pizza night.

  • Tuesday: Yogurt, fruit and granola parfaits (hat tip to Dara @ for the reminder of how great yogurt meals are in the summer!)

  • Wednesday: Almond Chicken Salad, lettuce leaves, rolls
    • Maybe a picnic at the park? If there is any macaroni salad left, I could bring that too. It travels quite well.

  • Thursday: Leftover Buffet

  • Friday: Subbing out the fish dinner this week for dogs on the grill, Oriental Salad, and probably frozen (but cooked!) peas or carrots for Emi (who isn’t fond of the salad yet)

  • Saturday: Free Nite

Original Post: Menu Plan (July 6 – July 12), and the 4th.