Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weekly Meal Planning

I'm envious of people that have the discipline to sit down and plan out what their family eats every week.  I'm better than I have been in the past, but I still have a long way to go.

I don't know what people who are good at planning meals do every week but here is what I'm doing.
  • Every week I look at the Publix ad.  That way I know what's on sale and sometimes they have some good recipes on their web site.
  • I look at what we have in the house.  Since we've just moved there's not a lot to choose from but it never hurts to get a refresher.
  • I see what my friends are making and I look at my favorite blogs.  A lot of the recipes I have come from friends, family, and other blogs.
  • Also, ask the other people in your house what they want to eat.  It sounds silly but sometimes I forget to ask Mr. T what he wants to eat.
So... Here's what I have going on this week.

Monday:  Spaghetti with meat sauce.
Tuesday: Chipotle Rubbed Flank Steak (i'll probably use skirt steak because it's on sale this week)
Wednesday: We're going to with some friends for dinner
Thursday: Tacos: maybe ground turkey
Friday: Hummus and veggie wraps
Saturday: Left overs
Sunday:  I'm thinking about making some soup

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

Since it's Friday and we've all made it to today I thought it would be nice to have a treat for the weekend.

This is something that I made for my Grandma's birthday.   She always loved blueberries.

Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake:
(Adapted from my mom and Food Network)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup sugar, plus 1/3 cup
4 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup lemon juice, plus 1/3 cup
Zest of one lemon
2 pints of blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a loaf pan or bundt pan. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a mixer (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter. Add 1 cup of the sugar.  With the mixer running at low speed, add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla.

Working in alternating batches, and mixing after each addition, add the dry ingredients and 1/3 cup of the lemon juice and the zest to the butter mixture. Mix until just smooth.
Fold one pint of blueberries into the mix.

Pour into the prepared pan and add second pint of blueberries to the top of the batter.  Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out dry and almost clean about 65 to 75 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and the remaining 1/3 cup lemon juice, and more zest until the sugar is dissolved.

When the cake is done, let cool in the pan 15 minutes (it will still be warm). Run a knife around the sides of the pan. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack.

After the cake is cooled put on a platter and spread the glaze all over the top and sides of the cake and let soak in. Repeat until the entire glaze is used up.

It goes great with vanilla bean ice cream.  I do however think it needs more lemon flavor.  Next time I make it i'm going to add more lemon and zest. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mustard Chicken Tenders

I made Pioneer Woman's Ranch Style Chicken last week.  It was really good and really easy.  Well, we had some chicken tenders in the freezer without and idea of what to do with them.  I decided to take inspiration from PW's chicken and make some mustard chicken tenders.

Mustard Chicken Tenders: 
(inspired from Pioneer Woman's Ranch Style Chicken)

1 package of chicken tenders
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup country grainy mustard
juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
sprinkle of crushed red pepper
canola oil

In a bowl mix together the honey, mustard, lemon juice, paprika, garlic powder, and red pepper.  Spread the mixture over the chicken tenders and sit in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes.  (Use this time to work on your dinner sides)

In a skillet heat up some canola oil (1-2 tablespoons) until everything is really hot.  Add the chicken tenders and cook 1-2 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through and brown on the outside.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mashed Cauliflower

It's no secret that I love potatoes.  There are tons of potato recipes on this blog, but sometimes it's nice to change things up.  Some of my coworkers have been telling me that I need to try mashed cauliflower.  They were right, it's really good and really easy.

I will say, don't go into this thinking that they are an exact substitute for mashed potatoes, because they aren't.  They are really creamy and really tasty though.  Cauliflower is a good base to add whatever flavors you like.  In this case I used Parmesan and garlic.

Mashed Cauliflower:
(Food Network)


1 medium head cauliflower
1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
3 tablespoons unsalted butter


Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.

Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower very dry between several layers of paper towels.

In a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, butter, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper until desired consistency.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mom's Cheese Spread

My mom has a go-to cheese spread that she makes whenever she has to bring a dish.  It's super easy and takes almost no time.

Cheddar Cheese Spread:

1 package of cream cheese
1 package of cheddar cheese spread
1 package of powdered Italian dressing

Mix everything together and serve with pita chips.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese is a staple in the south.  I've seen people serve it with veggies, on a slice of white bread, and grilled.  The Linda Blondheim Art Studio hosted an Art Lover's Salon recently.  I was responsible for lunch and brought a tray of homemade pimento cheese sandwiches over.












Pimento Cheese:
(Martha Foose)


1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped sage
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces Colby cheese, grated (2 cups)
8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)
1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimentos, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Pumpernickel bread, or bread of your choice


In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sage, lemon juice, mustard, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce with a rubber spatula. 

Add the two cheeses and pimientos, blending thoroughly to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Spread between 2 slices of bread and grill if you want.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Easy Eggs Florentine

I'm trying to clean out our refrigerator before we move at the end of the month.  I really don't want to have to move tons of food.  I made this for supper tonight using what we already had in the house.

Easy Eggs Florentine:

2 eggs
1/3 package of frozen spinach
1-2 tablespoons cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & Pepper

Thaw out the spinach and squeeze it dry.  In a bowl beat the eggs and mix in the spinach, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.  Spray a skillet that was warmed over medium-low heat with some non-stick spray.  Pour in the egg/spinach mixture and slowly mix in the pan until the eggs start to cook.  Add the cream cheese and mix into the eggs.  Cook until the cream cheese has melted and mixed in with the eggs.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chipotle Steak Quesadillas

I love meals that I can use left overs to make.  We made skirt steak fajitas the other night and had some left over tortillas, vegetables, and steak.  We picked up some cheese and changed the seasonings a little bit and had a brand new dinner.

Chipotle Steak Quesadillas:

1 skirt steak
3 tablespoons Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning
2 tablespoons chipotle sauce  (Mr. T's favorite)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
soft tortillas
shredded cheese (I buy the Mexican blend)
bell pepper, sliced
sweet white onion, sliced

In a bowl, mix the Mrs. Dash, Chipotle sauce, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil together.  Put the steak in the bowl and cover with the spice mix.  Sit in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to over night.

When ready to make the quesadillas, remove the meat and place in a hot skillet with a little bit of oil and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.  Let rest for a couple of minutes before cutting.

I used leftover veggies that I had sauteed, but this is where you would want to saute your veggies.

Now to assemble!  In a dry skillet on low heat place the tortilla.  Add a layer of cheese.  When the cheese just starts to melt add the veggies and steak. 

I'm one of those people that tends to over stuff quesadillas so try to hold yourself back, I understand.  Top with a little more cheese and as soon as the bottom layer of cheese has melted fold it in half!

** Disclaimer- Mrs. Dash and Cholula have no idea who I am and did not compensate me in any way.  I just like their products. **

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chipotle Hummus

One of my coworkers is moving back to Miami to be with family.  We had a big going away party for him at a local park and I volunteered to bring some chips and dip.  This was a big hit and super easy.

Chipotle Hummus:

2 cans of chickpeas, drained (keep the liquid)
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
2-4 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped (depending on how much heat you like)
2 tablespoons of the adobo liquid that came with the peppers
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1-2 teaspoon sesame oil*
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika

Add everything to a food processor and blend.  Once everything is mixed add some of the chickpea liquid until the desired consistency is achieved.

*Be careful with the sesame oil.  A little bit goes a LONG way.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Top

The Top
30 North Main Street
Gainesville, FL 32601

I can't believe that I haven't talked about this place before.  The Top in Gainesville is seriously my favorite restaurant ever.  It's located downtown on University and Main.  The decor is far out there (Colt 45 light up beer sign next to a bear lamp and some flying geese) and there is usually at least a 30 minute wait, on a good night, but it's totally worth it.

There is something for everyone, which is the main reason I like it (along with the Woodchuck on draft).  They have amazing, high quality steaks and the best local tempeh.  If you talk to anyone that goes there on a regular basis they will tell you to get the sweet potato fries and the peanut butter pie.  They are correct.  Do it!

Here's a run down of some my favorites:

Sesame crusted Ahi Tuna

Grapefruit Gimlet                                     Shrimp and Grits- Southern Night!

Peanut Butter Pie!!!

I don't have a picture, but their hamburgers are unbeatable.  The blue cheese and bacon one of my favorite.  Mr. T likes the "Widowmaker".  It's an espresso rubbed burger with bacon and something spicy.

The later you go the longer your wait is going to be.  It's also going to get louder and darker.  If this isn't your thing I strongly suggest going during the week and closer to 5:00.

Weekly Specials:
- Tuesday: Taco Tuesday
- Wednesday: Southern Night

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Parmesan Potato Fans

Potatoes are an easy side dish.  It's a good thing because we are still using some of the last batch of Yukon Gold potatoes from Mr. T's boss.  This dish is adapted from a potato dish that my mom made when I was a kid.

This dish would make a great appetizer if you used little new potatoes.

Parmesan Potato Fans:
(from my Mom)

4 potatoes- whatever kind you like
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon season salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375* F.  Mix the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder together in a bowl.

Cut the potatoes,about 3/4 of the way through.  Be careful not to cut them all the way through.  I make about 8 slices.

Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and brush with the olive oil mixture.  Bake for about an hour, or until the potatoes are cooked all the way through.

Monday, July 4, 2011



Be safe, have fun, and eat well.

**Photo from Google of the Boston Pops**