Friday, August 29, 2014

Zucchini Casserole


A year ago I could barely get my family to eat zucchini. They all turned their noses up at it, even my husband. Now we eat zucchini at least once a week, especially when it's in season. My mom sent me this yummy recipe and we love it!

This casserole takes zucchini to a new, tasty level. Combined with ground beef or sausage (or a mixture of both) and potatoes, it's hearty and satisfying. The ground beef version seems to be more filling, while the sausage version is a bit more flavorful. Using a little of both is definitely a winning combination!

 And we never have leftovers. It gets gobbled up in the blink of an eye.

Here's what you need:

1 lb ground beef or sausage, cooked and drained (or 1/2 lb of each)
1 large zucchini, shredded ( I use my cheese grater)
3 potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and grated
1 small onion, diced
2 teas seasoned salt
1/2 teas garlic powder
1/4 teas black pepper
1 cup shredded cheese (I use white or yellow cheddar)
1-2 tomatoes, sliced

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the tomatoes. Spread into a lightly greased 9x13 baking pan. Top with the tomato slices. You can see I only used one tomato and only covered half the casserole. My kids don't care for the tomatoes. I think the tomatoes give the casserole a great flavor.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until slightly crisp around the edges. Allow to stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Menu Plan August 25-31

Well, it's the last week of August! How in the world did THAT happen?

We've had normal August temps around here, meaning 95+ degrees plus humidity that will knock you down. Needless to say, I'm getting a little anxious for fall. Like so anxious, I made pumpkin cookies this weekend!

One thing I'm really looking forward to is making soup! I love all kinds of soup, and fall is the perfect season to try some new ones.  I'll keep you posted on new ones we try.

Now, on to this week's menu plan:

Monday
Zucchini casserole (recipe to come), homemade wheat bread

Tuesday
BBQ cheddar mini meatloaves, potato wedges

Wednesday
Broiled parmesan tilapia, broccoli

Thursday
Oven roasted sausage and potatoes, green beans

Friday
Savory roast beef sandwiches, chips

Saturday
Grilled chicken and steak, oven roasted zucchini

Sunday
Chicken and wild rice soup with bacon

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Casserole


Chicken parmesan has always been a favorite of mine. For years, it was the only thing I'd order at an Italian restaurant. I loved the crunchy chicken paired with pasta and marinara sauce, then covered with ooey, gooey melted cheese.

So when I first got married, I found a recipe for chicken parm and made it at home. My husband ate it, but he wasn't very fond of it. He said chicken parm wasn't one of this favorites and let it go at that. I never thought to ask why he didn't like it, but I never made it again. I just went back to ordering it whenever we went out.

But I found this recipe recently and thought it looked easy and delicious. So I asked hubby what he didn't like about chicken parmesan. I could tell he was taken off guard by my question. It had come out of left field and had nothing to do with anything we were discussing at the time.

It wasn't the combination of chicken and sauce he didn't like. It wasn't the cheese. It was the fact that he had to cut up his chicken while worrying about what to do with the pasta.

Ahhhh, now that problem I could solve! If only I'd asked 15 years ago!

I used the above recipe and simply cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. I also doubled the amount of sauce used because we like things saucy around here. Oh yeah! The croutons (which you could make yourself if you wanted to) on top added the crunch chicken parmesan needs without having to fry the chicken. Easy peasy!

I served this over whole wheat linguine, but any kind of pasta would work. Hubby loved it! Loved! The kids did, too. I was happy!

Here's what you need:

3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 teas salt
1/2 teas garlic powder
1/4 teas black pepper
24  to 45 oz. jar spaghetti or marinara sauce, your favorite (depends on how saucy you want it)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups garlic croutons

Place the chicken pieces in a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with the salt, garlic powder and pepper. Stir to make sure all the chicken is seasoned.

Pour the spaghetti sauce over the chicken. Mix the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses together. Sprinkle about half over the sauce. Spread the croutons in an even layer over the cheese. Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. I took a fork and dragged a piece of chicken out of the middle of the pan to test it. At 35 minutes, it was perfect!

Serve over pasta and enjoy!
For a printable copy of this recipe, click here.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Menu Plan August 18-24

I spent some time this weekend helping the kids sort through their toys and books - and we're still not done! They're getting older and their interests are changing, so it's time to downsize. It was quite a walk down memory lane, and I won't lie - I cried a little. We shared a lot of laughs, too.

It's always a little bittersweet to watch your children grow up, I think. I'm so grateful to be their mother.

Now on to this week's menu plan:

Monday
Chicken parmesan casserole over pasta, oven roasted broccoli

Tuesday
Pretzel dogs, homemade mac n' cheese

Wednesday
 Coconut shrimp curry, rice

Thursday
Baked egg rolls

Friday
Philly cheese steak sloppy joes, fries

Saturday
Beef and bean burritos

Sunday
Crockpot lasagna, garlic bread

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Oven Roasted Broccoli

We've been trying to eat more veggies around here. Eating more means I can't fix them the same way every time or we'd get bored very quickly. Since we all love oven roasted zucchini and oven roasted cauliflower, I thought why not try to roast some broccoli?

The Princess has been wanting to help me in the kitchen, so I put her to work chopping up some broccoli. She pretty much make the entire recipe by herself with just a little advice from me. That's how easy this recipe is.

Here's what you need:

1-2 broccoli crowns
1-2 TBSP olive oil
2 teas minced garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
lemon juice

Chop the broccoli into similarly sized pieces. Try not to make them too small or they might burn. Toss with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a greased baking sheet (I covered mine with foil, then greased it for easier clean-up). Roast in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, until the broccoli is tender. Stir at least once during cooking.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and drizzle with a little lemon juice. So good!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Menu Plan August 11 - 17

Well, we had a GREAT first week of school last week! The kids have jumped right into every subject with little to no moaning and groaning. Since they're both in junior high now, it's taking us a little more time to get everything done. But they're adjusting to the changes like pros.

Here's our first science experiment on density. This cool exercise using cooking oil, water and corn syrup truly helped explain the concept better than words on a page would have. We loved it!
Now on to the week's menu plan:

Monday
Girls' night out with friends, guys and kids will eat hot dogs

Tuesday
Homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese

Wednesday
Zucchini casserole (new recipe), pretzel bread

Thursday
Honey lime tilapia, oven roasted broccoli

Friday
Pasta with Italian sausage, garlic bread

Saturday
Chicken bacon subs, fries

Sunday
Crockpot beef stew, crusty bread in a cast iron pot
For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Menu Plan August 4-10

Well, summer is officially over for us. We start our eighth year of homeschooling bright and early tomorrow! Both children are now in junior high, and I'm sitting here wondering where the time has gone. I'm so proud of them and thankful I've had the privilege of  being their teacher as well as their mom.

Now on to this week's menu plan:

Monday
Cheesy chicken and tater tot casserole (didn't get to this one last week)

Tuesday
Tilapia po'boys, fries

Wednesday
Crockpot cowboy casserole, crusty bread in a cast iron pot

Thursday
Chicken bacon subs, chips

Friday
Loaded jambalaya, corn bread

Saturday
Hamburger steaks with gravy, buttered noodles

Sunday
Asian meatballs over rice

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