Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Coffe Cabinet Organization, Cleaning List and Max the Monkey!

I was inspired earlier this month by a blog that talked about organizing one room at a time.  I am a very organized person, but any extra things that I haven't done yet I am always up for the challenge.  So, I decided to tackle our coffee cabinet and create a coffee station.  I still have one more little touch to add, thanks to my great friend Savannah, who always stops and picks me stuff up from her trips to IKEA.  

We also made a quick little visit to see Max the Monkey!  It was the first time that I got to hold him!  I was super excited.  Josh had a cold so he wasn't able to hold him, but he did get to visit from a distance! 

He has come so far and gotten so much bigger and stronger since the first time we saw him!  We can't wait for him to come home!  Aunt Meg and Uncle Josh can't wait to log some serious time with this kiddo!  

The one last time that I finished was a monthly deep cleaning list.  Here is January's:
-a: cabinets:
-a1: clean doors, drawers and shelves
-a2: polish doors and drawer fronts
-a3: throw away any expired food
-a4: discard/donate any unused appliance or kitchen tool/dish
-b:  light fixtures and ceiling fan
-c: walls and back splash
-d: refrigerator/freezer:
-d1: clean
-d2: do inventory
-e: clean oven, dishwasher and microwave
-f: clean items above cabinets
-g: clean and sanitize trash can
-h: baseboards

I put my over by my new coffee station to remind of all the things that I still need to do. 

January 7th- January 13th

Monday January 7th:

Breakfast Grilled Cheese

Josh's Spaghetti.  I don't have the recipe to Josh's spaghetti sauce, but I do have pictures!  Enjoy!

They all thought it was a photo shoot after dinner!
Tuesday January 8th:
 This was the first day in our workout plan, so we decided to ditch all the work and the kitchen and let someone else take care of us.  So we ate grilled chicken salads at Cracker Barrel!

Wednesday January 9th:

Baked Chicken Cobb Salad

Thursday January 10th:

French Toast Sticks- for these I just took the left over Panettone French Toast that I had put in the freezer and cut it into sticks and warmed it up for a pre-gym breakfast.

Half-way Homemade Pizza

Friday January 11th:

Clean Eating Homemade Poptarts

Barbecue Chicken Tenders
Baby Broccoli
Fried Apples

They are usually a splurge day.  I haven't had a whole lot of sweet things since the beginning of the year, and I really wanted cinnamon rolls.  So I used what things I had in the fridge and pantry and feed my craving.

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls


Ham Steaks:  Most of the time I put them on the grill, but this time I pan seared them.
Baked Sweet Potatoes: If you have a cast iron skillet, bake your sweet potatoes in your iron skillet, it gives the potatoes a totally different taste and adds extra iron to the food.  Any time you can use cast iron take advantage of situation.
Lentz Style Green Beans 


Lentz Style Green Beans

Lentz Style Green Beans

Almost every woman in my family, at some point in time, has participated in Weight Watchers.  If you have never participated yourself, it is not hard to figure out that fast food is not easy on the point system, needless to say.  Well through this process my mom and I figured out that KFC green beans are zero points.  So every time we go to KFC we get the green beans.  So here is our home version of KFC green beans.  ENJOY!

2 cans of french style green beans
1 small onion
2 small garlic cloves, grated
salt and pepper
chicken broth, cover the beans
1 tsp butter

Combine all ingredients, but the butter, in a saucepan and reduce the broth by half.  Right before serving add your butter.

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls


1 roll of crescent rolls, cuts pinched together
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
vanilla extract


Mix melted butter, sugars, vanilla and cinnamon together.  Roll out crescent rolls and pinch the cuts together. 

Spread butter mixture onto the crescent rolls, leaving a space around the edges.  Roll the crescent sheet up into a log.

Cut cinnamon rolls with plain dental floss, one inch thick. Place in a round baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

For the icing I just combined some powder sugar, water and vanilla extract until it is in a paste form.  ENJOY!

Fried Apples

Fried Apples

One of the easiest dishes in the world to make and in my opinion one of the most tastiest.  

6 apples, I usually buy Fiji or Honeycrisp, they are great for cooking and are a little sweeter
brown sugar
white sugar
dash of salt


Peel and slice the apples.  Place them in a large skillet cover with water and add 1 1/2 TBSP of butter and a dash of salt.  Cook on medium to medium high heat until they semi-translucent and tender.  

Once the apples are cooked, add sugars and cinnamon.  I probably use 1/4 cup of each sugar and quite a bit of cinnamon, but since everyone has their own preferences, I would just add a little at a time and taste along the way.  Cover the skillet and let simmer until the liquid is fairly thick and the apples look done.

Half-Way Homemade Pizza

Half-Way Homemade Pizza

So my husband is a total pizza freak, but since we are both watching what we eat, I decided to make my own.  Here it is...


Frozen pizza dough, I bought Brooklyn style at Whole Foods

1 bag organic shredded mozzarella cheese
organic toppings

Pizza Sauce:
1 (28-32 oz) can San Marzano tomatoes
3-4 tablespoons grated onion
2 small garlic cloves, grated
1/2 tsp ground fennel or fennel pollen
a few torn fresh basil leaves, or 2 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)

For sauce:
Serving Size: 8, 12 inch pies

Combine everything in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste. 

For the pie:

Defrost the dough.  Once the dough is fully defrosted, cut the balls in half so you have enough dough for four individual pies.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out as far as you possibly can.  Pizza dough is very stretchy, so it doesn't stay rolled out.  Once your get it half way rolled out, about a 6 inch diameter, pick the dough disks up and let them hang for a few seconds, you will visibly see the dough expand.  Once you get to your 12 inch diameter.  Oil a pizza stone or baking sheet with olive oil.  Follow the box for baking directions.  Put the amount of sauce on each pie that your would like.  Top with whatever toppings you would like.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Breakfast Grilled Cheese

Breakfast Grilled Cheese
Serving Size: 2 Adult portions

A classic American dish that was transformed into a breakfast dish.  It was a little on the heavy side, but was very delish.

4 slices of sandwich bread, I used honey wheat
butter melted
1 oz low fat cream cheese, softened
vanilla extract
1/4 cup in season fruit, sliced, I used blackberries

Brush one side of each slice of bread with melted butter.  In a mixing bowl, mix together softened cream cheese, vanilla extract and cinnamon.  On the un-buttered side of the bread slices, spread cream cheese mixture, add fruit slices.  Top with the other slice of bread, butter side out.  Brown in a skillet over medium-low heat, until golden brown. 

Baked Chicken Cobb Salad

Baked Chicken Cobb Salad

Josh and I (like most of America) love a hearty Cobb salad, but I wanted something a little different.  So I decided to top the chicken with all the fixings and bake it.  For a little side note, Josh said it was the best salad he has ever had. If you attempt nothing else, try this one.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 package of pancetta, I found a package that was diced already (Pancetta is an Italian bacon, you can get it at any grocery store.  I found the diced pancetta in freezer section at Trader Joe's)

1 avocado, cubed
1 bag of organic Colby jack blend shredded cheese
1 tomato, chopped into bite size pieces
1 small onion, finely diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, grated
salt and pepper
Romaine lettuce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large skillet heat olive oil and butter on medium-high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  When butter foams add the chicken breasts, seasoned side down.  Season the other side and brown chicken.  It should take 10-12 minutes on each side. 

Once the chicken is browned on both sides, remove from the pan and place them in a greased baking dish. If you bought already diced pancetta, add it to the pan and fully cook it until golden brown.  If you bought whole slices of pancetta, it needs to be finely diced. Once the pancetta is fully cooked, remove and drain on a paper towel, then add your diced onion and grate in your garlic to the pan drippings.  Onions need to be cooked low and slow, so turn your burner down to medium until the onions are tender and translucent.  Once the onions are cooked through,add tomato and avocado.  Cook just until everything is fragrant.  About 5 minutes.

 Put vegetable mixture and pancetta in a mixing bowl and add 3/4 of the cheese.  Pour over top of the chicken and top with the rest of the cheese.  Bake until the chicken juices run clear and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Homemade Ranch Dressing:
Condiments can kill a healthy dinner and by DH is all about his condiments.  So I made a lighter version of ranch dressing.  I didn't measure anything out.  I just used what I had, so feel free to add to this recipe or substitute if needed.  I used 1/4 cup of low fat sour cream, 1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt, ranch seasoning (like Hidden Valley), and dried dill.  Just mix all ingredients together.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

December 31st-January 6th Menu

OK so I have decided that I am going to try to do this weekly instead of monthly.  We will see how it goes.  So, here is the first week!
Monday December 31st: Creamy Pasta with Truffle Butter
Pan Seared Fillet Mignon
Sautéed Vegetables (California Blend) 
Sparkling Champagne and Strawberries

Tuesday January 1st:

Panettone French Toast

Lazy Kebabs
Steamed Rice

Wednesday January 2nd:

Breaded Swordfish Cutlets
Smashed Red Potatoes
Clean Zucchini on the Barbecue

Thursday January 3rd: Chili

Friday January 4th:

Chili Dogs

Saturday January 5th:

Cris's Cappuccino

Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Baked French Fries

Date Night

Sunday January 6th:

Chicken and Dumplings

Grocery List: