Sunday, June 23, 2013

Menu Plan June 24-30

Can you believe it's the last week of June already? This week will be busy, filled with preparations for me and the kids to go visit my parents in West Virginia next week. While we're gone, hubby has some painting and other minor home improvement projects to work on. I'm going to cook ahead a few items so he'll have some meals to reheat. If I didn't do that, he'd live on cereal and PB&J while I'm gone!

Now here's what we've got on the menu this week:

Chicken shawarma, rice and flatbread

Taco salad, corn

Tasty tilapia, Parmesan couscous


Savory roast beef sandwiches, roasted potatoes


Out to eat

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Refrigerator Pickles

My daughter loves pickles. She'd eat an entire jar at one time if I'd let her. Store bought pickles are loaded with sodium, though, so I try to limit her pickle passion to just a few at a time.

This easy recipe eliminates a lot of the salt found in most jarred pickles but still provides a zippy, crisp pickle taste. Honestly, I prefer these cukes to regular pickles.

Here's what you need:

A large jar (I reused a 2.5 quart Mt. Olive giant pickle jar)
3-4 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 white onion, sliced
sea salt
minced garlic
dried dill weed
white vingar

Place a layer of onion slices in the jar. Top with some cucumber slices. Then sprinkle a little salt, minced garlic and dill weed over all.
Continue layering until all the cucumbers and onions are used up, adding the seasonings in between each layer.

Pour in enough vinegar to cover the layers. Then top off with some water until the jar is completely full.

Seal and refrigerate for a week or two before enjoying!

When the jar get low on pickles, slice up a few more cucumbers and add to the jar. I have been able to use the same jar for about 3 months before starting completely over.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Menu Plan June 17-23

Last week we survived Vacation Bible School. It was such a huge blessing to teach these children about the truth of God's Word and how it can help them through their lives. It was well worth the hurried dinners and messy kitchen every evening!

Now here's what is on this week's menu:

Homemade chili mac, steamed broccoli

Homemade chicken nuggets, fries

Smoked sausage and pepper skillet, baked potatoes

Chicken noodle bake (new recipe), green beans

Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, roasted corn

Homemade pizza

Taco salad

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Summertime Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a classic summertime dish. I can't remember a family reunion during my childhood that didn't include pasta salad as one of the potluck offerings. This particular recipe is my favorite, passed on to me by my Aunt Joyce. It's so wonderful, my husband begs for it, even when it's not summertime!

This recipe allows for a great deal of tweaking. You can use whatever fresh veggies you have on hand. I've included my family's favorites - tomatoes, cucumber and broccoli. But you can substitute or add onions, green peppers, olives, whatever floats your boat.

But whatever you do, DO NOT skip the Salad Supreme. That seasoning blend takes this pasta salad completely over the top! I guess you could say it's the secret ingredient that makes the dish. Trust me on this one.

Here's what you need:

6 cups dry pasta - I use 2 cups each of bowtie, penne and tricolor rotini for variety and color
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 cup chopped broccoli florets
1 bottle (16 oz) zesty Italian dressing
1 1/2 -2 TBSP Salad Supreme, divided
8 oz. cheese, cubed - I use sharp cheddar and sometimes a little Colby Jack

Cook the pasta al dente. You don't want it mushy because it will absorb the salad dressing and get mushier. Here's how I do it. I bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. I add the pasta and return the water to a boil, making sure all the pasta is covered with water.Then I turn the burner off and cover the pot. After 10 minutes, I check to see if the pasta is tender and give it a stir. If it's not al dente, I leave it in the pot for another 5 minutes but no longer.

When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it in a large colander and rinse with cool water. This stops the pasta from cooking any further. Allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta and veggies. Stir in about half the bottle of salad dressing and 1 TBSP of the Salad Supreme. If the pasta appears too dry, add a little more dressing. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least four hours. Overnight is even better.

Before serving, add the cheese cubes. Pour on some more dressing, if needed. I always need more, but I rarely use the entire bottle. Sprinkle on more Salad Supreme, about half a tablespoon. Taste and see if you need to add any more.
This pasta salad will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. You might have to add a little more dressing if it becomes too dry. I rarely have to do this because my husband eats it for breakfast, lunch and dinner until it's gone!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Menu Plan June 10-16

We're gearing up for a week of Vacation Bible School, so this week's menu is full of easy faves. I'm using my crockpot a couple of times and pulling some stuff from the freezer to make things a little easier. And hopefully less hectic.

Here's what I've got:

Indian butter chicken (crockpot), rice

Beef bourguignon (crockpot version), mashed potatoes

Tasty tilapia, steamed cauliflower

Homemade chili mac, green beans

Baked egg rolls, sesame ginger noodles

Grilled chicken and steak, crockpot roasted potatoes

Father's Day - hubby's choice

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Old-Fashioned Lemonade

Summer time heat is here and one of my favorite ways to cool off is to drink a nice, tall glass of ice-cold lemonade. The best lemonade is homemade, in my opinion. Forget the powdered drink mixes or premade drinks from the store. You really only need three ingredients - lemon juice, sugar and water.

Here's my favorite recipe:

2 cups lemon juice - you can use fresh lemons or lemon juice concentrate, I usually use about half of each
1 cup sugar
9 cups water

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with one cup of the water. Stir over medium heat until all the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.

When the sugar mixture has cooled, pour it into a pitcher. Stir in the lemon juice and remaining water. Taste for tartness. Add more sugar if you want a little extra sweetness or more lemon juice if it's too sweet. Chill until ready to serve.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Menu Plan June 3-9

Summer has come to the Deep South, complete with humidity and sudden thunderstorms. Not to mention higher temperatures. I'm trying to limit my baking times and use the stovetop, crockpot and grill instead of the oven.

Here's what is on this week's menu:

Beef and bean taco casserole

Hot dogs with West Virginia hot dog sauce, baked beans

Herb crusted tilapia, lemon pepper broccoli

Chicken philly sandwiches (crockpot), green beans

Pepperoni carbonara, Parmesan zucchini

Grilled burgers and brats, twice baked potatoes

Chicken and tater tot casserole (crockpot)

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.