Monday, June 27, 2016

Menu Monday: Week of June 27th

I felt like this past week was our first 'real' week of summer vacation.  Graduation prep and June visitors made our summer vacation feel a bit delayed in routine... a good delayed though!

Tuesday we started our new scheduled Bible Study.  Ashley is leading a couple middle school girls in a study on James (Brooke is one of the girls!)  I am co-pilot, along to help maintain but otherwise a quiet observer and moral supporter since this is Ashley's first experience with leading study... she is a natural (and I am secretly proud of her!)

My housework list went back into action and as we kicked dusts' butt and hit back into yard maintenance I finally felt like life in this little house of ours had finally arrived. (For any new readers here, we just bought our house in September)

The yard is A LOT of work and energy to get in the shape that makes it ours.  I do have garden plans, even if we are working into late June for such things, my seedlings are strong and ready to hit their homes until harvest (note to self: start earlier next year).  As a result, my squash was screaming to be transplanted and their new home was in shambles... well, not complete shambles, I had cleared out the debris a couple months ago... then we had one giant pile of dirt ready to distribute for the squash mounds and waited on chicken wire to complete our rabbit-proof "fence".  (We have many of the cute little furry friends around.)

Like I said, the squash were screaming, so ingenuity took over.  On Wednesday I felt I could wait no longer.  I grabbed a shovel, the dirt was spread, fences were situated and old lacy curtains took the place of un-purchased chicken wire.  An old crate style 'table' was pulled out of a corner from the previous owners left-behinds and transformed into my gardening table. I have my tomato seedlings still resting on top, their garden space was only just cleared on Saturday.

It is marvelous that all but one of my children have jobs outside the home now... but it wasn't marvelous that I took it upon myself to nail the final details on our make-shift fence and spread the dirt... because the very next day my upper back went out.


You'll see dinner repeats on this week's menu as a result.  My hubby can cook, but when he is worried about me and immobility, he will go simple and I just save the planned meals for when I am better.

I'm on the mend now.  Still some funky headaches and numbness but my mobility is almost back to normal. 

Food to share from this past week:
 First day of summer, chili dogs (I promise, there is a hot dog under there!) and home-made mini-fries.  It was d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s.!!  I cheated and used canned beanless chili though!

 First day of summer dessert and beverage.  I know, not as fancy as I usually like to make my pictures.  This is a lemon brownie dessert that just melts in your mouth.  I found it on Pinterest.  The slushy is an old modified recipe from Family Fun Magazine back when my kiddos were little.  We use to make construction paper suns and put them on the straw with a scoop of ice-cream on top of the slush.  My revised and modified recipe is sort of off-the-hip:

I make a concentrate or syrup with 2 packages blue cool-aid, 2 cups of sugar and 2-4 cups water. 

In blender, mix about 1/2 cup syrup mixture, a squirt of lemon juice and then crushed ice all the way to the blender's fill line and process.  I adjust my syrup and ice ratio based on how thick/thin I want the slushy and as to taste.  I have yet to perfect a good deep blue in my slushy!  I pour it into clear cups and drop in Swedish Fish (if you couldn't tell, we are mimicking water) and my kids like it when I get the gummy sharks as well!!  It is a fun fresh beverage all summer long!

One of hubby's co-workers blessed us with a washer and dryer.  We said thank you by baking him his favorite cookie: peanut butter.  I did a double batch so we could snack too!

To get my back moving again, I made blueberry streusel muffins for Saturday breakfast while my 'men-folk' were out tearing into more yard work and prepping the rest of my garden space for me!  Ashley had bought blueberries for parfaits she was making herself.  She wasn't using her last pint so I cautioned her to freeze them before they went bad.  After a month of un-use I got her approval to throw them into muffins.  I did need to rest after my baking adventure though, I am looking forward to being mended again.

Recipe Requests
This is a new section because I had a request for some recipes last week which I promised to provide today!  So here goes:

White Chili
I use raw beans, soaked to package instructions but you could use canned beans if you prefer.  Measurements are approximations since I tend to just throw stuff in!!

1lb White beans pre-soaked according to package or 3-4 cans white beans
2 chicken breast halves diced (can use raw or cooked... can use left over chicken of any kind as well)
1 can diced or stewed tomatoes
1-2 cups salsa (or another can of diced or stewed tomatoes)
1-2 cups water
1 Tbsp chicken bullion
1+ tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin
A few dashes of Parsley, salt and pepper.
When I have cilantro I will add a tsp

Throw all ingredients into crock pot, liquid should cover the chicken and beans.  If it doesn't, add a bit more water.
Cook on high 6 hours or on low 8-10.

Serve with cornbread or tortilla chips or cheese quesadillas (Cheddar cheese warmed in flour tortillas)  We also garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Fried Tacos
These are actually quite simple although a bit messy to make!  I don't have any pictures of the process, only the final results (below). I use this tortilla recipe I found on Pinterest, it has been quite trusty.  Any recipe you prefer works fine.  You do, however, need fresh dough, NOT pre-packaged tortillas.  Growing up, my family would use a Pillsbury roll mix (in box) from the baking isle section of the grocery store in the same way that I use the tortilla dough.

  • Fry your taco meat and warm your beans then set aside.  (tip: I make my dough while my meat is frying)
  • Make and roll your dough out as you would for making tortillas: aprox 8-10 inch rounds 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
  • Spread one half of the round with meat and beans (if you use them)... I will also add shredded cheese but growing up, my family just did the meat. Be sure to leave about 1/2 inch space from edge.
  • Fold other side over top, fold edges over and pinch to seal shut.

Pour aprox. 1/2 inch of frying grease into frying pan or skillet.  Use any grease you prefer for frying.  Turn heat onto medium to medium high. (tip: I will start my grease heating up before I start assembling my tacos because I can only fry 2-3 at a time.  As they fry I will keep assembling tacos until I am done)  You will want paper towels and or a cooling rack to remove fried tacos to when they are done so the excess grease can drain off.  Cook on each side just a few minutes, or until lightly browned.  You can keep them warm in a low-set oven while you cook the remaining tacos.

When done you can serve with a side-salad or you can set up a salad bar and pry the top of the taco open and stuff it as you move through the topping ingredients.

These are positively delicious and addictive, be sure to make plenty!!

This week
Tuesdays and Fridays are going to be our errand and adventure days during the summer.  Tuesdays, because we plan to meet the other Bible Study girl out at the DQ or coffee shop.  Might as well take care of other business while I have the car!  This Friday is payday so I will take care of bills and then do the grocery shopping and get the dirt and remaining supplies needed to finish off this year's garden.  Since we are running so much on Tuesdays this summer, and I typically have an adult study I lead in the evenings that day, the slow cooker will be employed.

Along with other side projects, the other thing on my agenda this week will be to fully mend from the back outage.  I had to skip out on hosting one of the summer missionaries this week as the result of my bull-headed tendencies to get things done.  I don't want to have to turn down anymore.

Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention, our biggest event this week:  ASHLEY TURNS 18!!!!!!  Another ice-cream cake to work on and celebration day to plan.  If energy allows, I have a special project I am working on for her big day.

Menu for this week...

- cereal/oatmeal
- eggs
- donuts (for the birthday girl)

hubby: leftover Pork Fried Rice, fried summer sausage and rice
me and kids: leftovers, grilled sandwiches, tuna




BBQ Chicken Sandwiches and Side Salad
I will use my slow-cooker for this one and probably the bone-in chicken thighs and legs I have.  I will pull off the skin then throw the rest in with some BBQ Sauce.  When we are ready to eat, the chicken will be so tender it slides right off the bone!

Pork Steak, Steamed Cauliflower, Cheese and Noddles, Side Salad

 BIRTHDAY DINNER!!  My little girl turns 18!!
Taco Salad

I will be grocery shopping this day and since it is payday we will probably get take-and-bakes or some other pre-order variety.

Burger and JoJo night!

What are you doing and cooking this week?


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