Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Week of December 22nd, 2014

Costco Pizza

Bacon/cheddar burgers (mix from Double D meats)

*Kalua Pork- this was crazy easy (3 ingredients) and actually tasted like slow smoked meat. I was a little skeptical of the recipe and wondered if the liquid smoke flavor would take fake but it was really, really good. This would be a great thing to make for a summer party with a taco bar spread. It feeds a lot of people!

Christmas Eve dinner at my sister's

*Creamy Spinach Gratin- Very good and tons of flavor but TONS of work. If I didn't have to microwave each of the 5 boxes of spinach individually to defrost, then squeeze each one in a towel, then make a rue, etc I might think about making it again. Maybe I should have just left them in the fridge over night...just a thought.

*Sweet Potato Casserole- I loved the addition of the orange flavor and that it was completely pureed until smooth

*Mel's Kitchen Cafe Slow Cooker Chili- I think my dad's chili is better but this was nice for a quick throw in the crockpot meal. I used chunks of stew meat rather than ground beef.

*Cinnamon Roll Cake- for Jesus' birthday party!

* = new recipe

Monday, December 29, 2014

Review: The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor

I recently had the opportunity to review the new Skinnytaste Cookbook through blogging for books. I jumped at the opportunity because I have seen skinnytaste recipes being pinned all over Pinterest and I was interested in seeing was all the buzz was about. The book is written by Gina Homolka who is the creator of skinnytaste.com. 

The cookbook itself is laid out beautifully with big, colorful pictures and sections organized by type of recipe. There were over one hundred recipes to chose from and quite a lot of variety.

Now onto the recipes...I was very curious to find out if a cookbook that many people use to lose weight would actually have recipes full of flavor. Here was my menu for the week: 

Slow-Cooker Picadillo- I picked this one because it looked quick and inexpensive and an easy dish to use leftovers later. I served it originally as tacos with a cabbage slaw and then leftovers as a taco salad and quesadilla. There were a few different spices in the recipe so I thought there would be more flavor than there was. I was thankful that it wasn't too spicy because my kids gobbled it up but it could have used a couple dashes of hot sauce. 

Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken- This was a super fast soup to throw together in the morning and have simmer all day in the slow cooker. I have to admit that we added cheese and avocado to the top when we ate it which kind of defeats the "skinny" recipe but the soup had a lot of flavor on it's own. 

Bangin' Good Shrimp- This was a copycat recipe of Bonefish Grill's Bang Bang shrimp and was really tasty.

Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken and Broccoli- this is Gina's most requested recipe makeover on her blog. Everyone knows that the regular fettuccine alfredo is full of calories but this slimmed down version was still very, very good. This was my favorite meal of the week for sure. 

Slow-cooker Jerk Chicken Tacos which is very similar to these pork tacos- Lots of flavor. I couldn't find jerk seasoning in the grocery store so I made my own blend using this recipe.

Coconut Panna Cotta similar to this panna cotta recipe- this dessert was my favorite recipe I tried from the cookbook. I love panna cotta and I couldn't believe how creamy and smooth this was! It wasn't missing the heavy cream at all!

PB&J Overnight Oats in a jar similar to these oats with the addition of grapes and PB&J

If someone is trying to lose weight but still enjoy food, I would definitely recommend this cookbook. Some of the recipes require a bit of prep work but that is usually the case if you are going to have good tasting, fresh food. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Week of December 8th, 2014

Angela and I swapped menus this week. I love swapping menus with her because I make dishes I might not have picked on my own and every time I cook I think of my dear friend!

Apple Sausage Pot Pie - I used chicken apple sausage for this and LOVED the cheddar biscuit topping. We enjoyed serving this to company.

Slow Cooker Cajun Chicken Spaghetti - Mark loved this but I felt like the can of fire roasted tomatoes gave it a burnt flavor. I think it would be been great with regular diced tomatoes.

Hoisin Pork Noodles -This especially reminded me to Angela since she loves her asian food :) I renamed this Asian stack-up because it's like a taco salad where you can just add whatever you want. Super kid friendly. We just let them add whatever they wanted to their stack-up (they had to chose at least one veggie). 5 stars

Salmon and Feta Quiche - I think I would have liked this more if I used fresh salmon. The salmon in the pouch tasted too much like tuna for me.

Butternut Harvest Stew - Also a home run for company. I used a pork tenderloin.

Overnight Egg Sandwiches - 5 Stars. I made these in the morning and served them for dinner. SOOO yummy

Banana Oat Breakfast Muffins- It's not everyday you get to make muffins in a blender. I loved Angela's idea of only putting a couple of chocolate chips in the top of the muffin. Still seems like a "choc-lick" muffin to my kids!

Sweet Potato Spice Cake- this was as good as Angela said it would be. It didn't taste very much like sweet potato- just a wonderfully moist spice cake.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week of November 24th and December 1st

We used a groupon to try out the meal delivery service Hello Fresh. Although, it isn't something we can fit into our budget normally for our family of 7, it was really fun to have a break from menu planning, grocery shopping, etc. And the meals were awesome! We had shrimp linguine, steak and brussel sprout stir fry, sauteed chicken with mushrooms and mashed potatoes, mustard crusted trout, caramelized onion shepherd's pie and creamy chicken penne. If you want to give it a try, use my unique promo code for $40 off your first box: 3STHAG. They deliver nationwide!

Week of November 17, 2014

*Biscuit Pot Pie using this Buttermilk substitute- YUM! 5 stars!

*Spinach Salad- this is pretty much my ideal lunch

*Slow cooker creamy chicken chili- easy and tasty

*Chicken and green bean stir-fry- lots of flavor and fast to put together

Different chicken divan- way saltier than I remember

Angela's black beans and sausage- always a winner. I have to make this every fall.

Italian Mac and Cheese- soooooo good

Friday, November 14, 2014

Week of November 10, 2014

Holla' Spinach Beef and Barley Stew- I left the cayenne out this time so I could feed it to the twins. After devouring a bowl, they slept for 7 hours in a row (a first!). We're pretty much going to eat this every night now so we can sleep.

Sweet Potato Packet Tacos- Please make this if you haven't recently!

*PF Changs Mongolian Beef (add broccoli)- I loved the coating the cornstarch gave the beef. It felt very restaurant like

*Greek Quesadillas- so much flavor!

*Easy Bahn Mi Sandwich- My homemade buns were a bust but the sandwiches themselves were delish

Trader Joes Pumpkin Soup and cornbread plus zucchini

Friday, November 7, 2014

Week of November 3, 2012

Dinner at Nanas

One Skillet Mac & Cheese with Broccoli- VERY good- great weeknight meal

Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich- Mark told me when we got to church that he left the burner on low so that the onions could caramelize while we were at church. I was convinced the house would be on fire when we got home. But it wasn't and the onions were awesome )

Double Decker Tacos- Everyone should try these once. They are so fun!

Community Group dinner- Lasagna

Dinner at Beckys

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Week of October 26, 2014

One of my birthday presents from Mark was 4 weeks of menus planned with grocery lists printed out. Such an awesome gift! He went back to some oldies but goodies with one new one thrown in each week. 

One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil Pasta- this was a repeat of the bomb a couple of weeks ago that burned. This pot didn't burn but it still wasn't my favorite.

Fish Tacos- Always delicious. Maybe not a great weeknight meal, when we're trying to get out the door for gymnastics. But...still delicious. 

Buffalo Chicken Panini- I crockpot the chicken/bbq sauce to make it easier

Slow Cook Thai Chicken- I could eat this once a week

Monday, November 3, 2014

All-star week- October 20, 2014

We eat a lot of repeats at our house but sometimes it's fun to pull out the big guns for a week of good eatin'

Crockpot chicken with black beans- It's been a long time since we made this recipe but at one point it was the recipe most talked about from Bites. It's just so simple!

French Dip Sandwiches- Yup

Coconut Shrimp- We made 40 shrimp for the 5 of us eating shrimp and it wasn't enough. I think Saisha and James combined had 25.

Deep Dish Pizza- For Mark's birthday!

BLT Salad- I think I have three different blt salads on Bites and this one is my favorite

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Week of September 29, 2014

*Roasted Winter Panzanella- I thought this was delicious but my not-a-fan-of-squash husband didn't want it for leftovers. I would love to make this again- maybe for a girl's luncheon or something :) I used walnuts instead of chestnuts

*Asian oven pulled pork- juicy, flavorful and incredibly versatile! We ate it over rice for dinner and then in quesadillas for lunch the next day.

*Honey Ginger Marinated Flank Steak- Tasty- especially over salad

Community Group

Thai turkey burgers- delicious as always

Pumpkin pancakes

Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Week of September 22, 2014

Grilled Chicken Tzatziki- The cucumber relish took a bit prep ahead of time but was worth it

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup- I thought I would just throw all the ingredients into the crockpot for this but it did not work out :( The orzo swelled up until it was one congealed mass. Not so appealing. I would try this again using the normal stovetop directions

One Pot Pasta- Also a bomb. I didn't watch this close enough (it's not like I have any distractions around right??) and the liquid evaporated and burned on the bottom. Mark said it was fine but I felt like the whole meal tasted burnt.

Cheddar Waffle Breakfast Sandwich- Crazy delicious and about 34987 calories per bite

Chopped Orzo Corn Salad- so many flavors going on in this delicious lemony salad. 5 stars!

Chicken Avocado Lime soup- Simple and tasty. I used 3 cans of broth instead of 4 and only one jalapeno. It was four servings so double if you have a larger family.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Week of September 15, 2014

Aidell's Apple Chicken Sausages and Asparagus

Chicken Zucchini Casserole- not our usual kind of cooking (can of cream of chicken soup and a box of stovetop stuffing mix are two ingredients) but the pinterest picture lured me in and it was indeed, delicious

Meatloaf- Pioneer Woman's recipe. I'm usually not a meatloaf fan but this one is wrapped in bacon. So there ya go.

Turkey Bagel Burgers- This quote alone made me want to make these:  "if you dress it up just right, a turkey burger can be a nice change of pace and—theoretically, anyway—a nice little foray into healthy eating, unless of course you serve said turkey burger on a very large bagel with a goat cheese spread, avocado, and next to a pile of homemade fries."

Spicy Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda and Summer Fruit and Halloumi salad- both delicious. One last weekend of temperatures in the 80s made me excited to put a couple of salads on the menu.

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Roasted Pear and Chocolate Scones

Week of September 7, 2014

This week was so overwhelming, getting used to the new school schedule, that dinners were very quick and easy!

Butternut Squash Ravioli from Costco


Spinach Salad


Maple- Glazed Pork Tenderloin and slow cooker mashed potatoes

Costco pizza at the beach

Cornbread Salad

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Week of August 25, 2014

Veggie night! Green salad, roasted asparagus and fruit salad

$5 Burrito Tuesday night at Cafe Rio


Back to school BBQ

Oven baked zucchini fries, pasta with butter and cheese, steamed green beans and fruit salad

Dinner at Becky's

Dinner at Jackie's

Week of August 18, 2014

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

Spinach/egg/bacon salad

Romaine/pear/grape/raisin/goat cheese/walnut salad

Grilled Cheese tomato soup

Asian Turkey Burgers

Turkey BBQ meatballs

Week of August 4, 2014

Hamburgers and Fries

Pizza from whole foods (B1G1 Tuesdays)

Chicken Cesar Salad

Pasta with sausage and broccoli- James requested this meal

Laramas brought over pizza

Green chili pork from Costco

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Week of July 21st, 2014- a week of Trader Joes recipes

Going Green Rotoni- simple and nutritious

Dijon Maple Chicken Thighs- VERY tender

Mini Turkey Meatloaves- kids didn't  like these so Mark ate them 4 days in a row as leftovers :)

Ham and Brie Sandwiches- easy week night dinner

Taquito-lada Casserole- what's not to love??

Bool Kogi and Kimchi Pizza- this is worth repeating! I left out the kimchi

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Week of July 7th, 2014

*Coconut Lime Pork Tacos and Honey Lime Fruit Salad- I was hoping for more coconut flavor but overall, it was a tasty recipe.

*Falafel Salad- 5 stars. Man those falafels were soooo good!


Tortellini Spinach Salad- a great summer recipe

*Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon- some of the best salmon I've ever had!

* = new recipe

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Week of June 15th, 2014

Father's Day- *Blender Hollandaise Sauce, Strawberry Spinach Salad, Guacamole and Chips

Pumpkin Enchiladas- always fantastic

*Spaghetti Pie- Mel's kitchen cafe's favorite family dinner and I see why

Dinner at friends

Homemade Refried Bean Burritos- These beans are seriously good

*Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Sandwiches- Very easy, family- friendly meal

*Hoisin Rice Noodles with Shrimp- It was good but made WAY too much :)

Salami, Pepperoni, Banana Pepper sandwiches

*Bran Muffins- moist and yummy

*= new recipe

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Week of June 9th, 2014

*Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps- The sauce was awesome. I wish I had made more chicken to make more wraps. We could all have had seconds of these

*Cinnamon and Chili Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Salsa- This was a treat. Totally a recipe to impress company :) And if you get your tenderloin at Costco, the price is really reasonable. 1/2 of one package fed our family of five so the meat only cost $4.

*Hot Hoagies- Similar to a tuna melt but creamier....mmmmmm

*Creamy Basil Spinach Soup- I'm glad Mark was gone this evening because he wouldn't have been a fan. But all the kids thought green soup was awesome and the pot was empty at the end of dinner.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

* = new recipe

Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 2nd, 2014

*Honey Ginger Marinated Flank Steak- we had this over rice but would have better on top of a salad. The flavors were awesome. Mark did such a great job grilling it to perfection!

Chicken Tostadas

*Spinach and Artichoke Alfredo Pizza- SOOOOO good. I split the toppings between two trader joes bags of pizza dough. Prebaking the dough on a hot pizza stone is the way to go!

Sweet Potato Packets- always fantastic

*Thai Chicken Crunch Wraps- Delicious. I just poached some chicken breasts but I think these would have even been better if I had flavored the chicken meat or used a rotisserie chicken.

*= new recipe

Monday, June 2, 2014

May 26th, 2014

Another great week of recipes that were recommended by friends. All home runs!

Kicked Up Ramen Noodles- Will make again. Awesome flavors!

Mini Taco Cups- AWESOME

Cheddar Jalapeno Chicken Burgers- they didn't stay together on the grill well but they were so yummy!

Chicken Fried Rice

Ranch Chicken Club Roll-ups

Monday, May 26, 2014

Week of May 19, 2014


Bacon Zucchini Cream Cheese Quiche- my favorite quiche

Asian Chicken Salad- Delicious!

Chili-glazed salmon- 5 stars. The sauce!!!

Shrimp Naan Pizzas- 5 stars

Coconut Chia Pudding- YUM! It was so cool how the chia seeds expanded to make a pudding consistency. I will be making this again.
Morning Glory Oatmeal- This was delicious. It was too much work for a weekday morning with 5 kids (toasting walnuts, shredding carrots, zesting oranges, etc) but it is perfect for a special weekend breakfast.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Week of May 12, 2014

Crunchwrap Supremes- my request for mother's day dinner :) Delicious! 5 stars!

Dinner at friends

Meatball subs- yum! I love the idea of using the crockpot for this recipe

Pot Roast pockets (pot roast in crockpot and then fill into pizza dough like pasties)

Navy bean soup with broccoli cheese cornbread

Simple Italian Shrimp- in honor of Mark making shrimp for me on one of our first dates

Out to eat for anniversary- 10 years baby!!

Family dinner at Kelsey's

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lactation Cookies

I've made a couple batches of these since the twins were born. They are very tasty! The brewer's yeast is one of the key ingredients and can be found at most grocery stores. These would be fun to make for a new mom!

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips
2 -4 tablespoons brewer's yeast

Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar well.
Add eggs and mix well. Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
Stir in oats and chips.
Scoop onto baking sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes.
Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Meals we've eaten and not cooked :)

Preston and Paige Heaviland were born February 21st and life has been a whirlwind since.  We've been blessed with friends and family feeding us well! We are so thankful for the blessing of all the hands that prepared these meals!

Ham dinner with scalloped potatoes
Italian Mac and cheese
Chicken chilaquiles with love sauce 
Bacon, pea tomato sauce pasta
Turkey fried rice
Pumpkin chicken soup
Meatball soup
BBQ pulled pork sandwiches
Piquant Pork Chops
Breakfast for dinner- pancakes and bacon
Stir-fry (Costco now carries a fresh stir-fry mix in their produce department)
Chicken Barley Soup
Vietnamese Summer roll Salad
Italian chicken
Baked Ziti
Spinach salad, hot dogs (Mark's request) and mint brownie squares
Chicken, potato soup
Dinner out at Red Mill Burgers
Fancy Macaroni

Friday, March 28, 2014

Week of February 10th, 2014

Italian Slow Cooker Chicken

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Dinner at George and Judy's

Pizza at Pegasus with Wornicks

Meatball Soup from Jackie

Dinner at Becky's

Friday, February 7, 2014

Week of February 3rd, 2013

Minestrone Soup (on coupon at Costco now) with grilled cheese

*Orange Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry- The orange flavor was a fun surprise. The beef was really tender.

BBQ chicken calzones- always a hit

Sweet Potato Foil Packets- repeated at least every other month in our house

Teriyaki take out

Date to Giardi's

Family dinner at Becky's

Week of January 27th, 2014

Green chili chicken burritos

*Fried chicken fingers and fruit salad- 5 stars! If it didn't stink up our whole house like fry-ups then we'd have these once a month.

Beef and Bean Burritos- made by a friend in CG

*Bacon and Parmesean Quiche- Took a lot longer to bake than the recipe said it would but it was delicious

*Modenese Pork Chops- Overcooked them. Oops.

Pizza at McFarlanes

Suoerbowl Party at my sisters

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Week of January 20, 2014

I didn't feel like cooking this week :)

Costco pizza brought over by friends Rich and Rissa

I made a double bath of this Cowboy Spaghetti for community group. It was really tasty (anything with bacon is) and would work great for a frozen dinner swap.

Egg Burritos

Kids have leftover spaghetti while Mark and I go out to Buffalo Wild Wings to cheer on the #1 AZ Wildcats!!


*Easy Green Chili Enchiladas and Mexican Rice- I would have liked a little more spice in the rice but it had enough flavors.

*Cowboy Dinner- simple and tasty. The cornbread topping was my favorite

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Week of January 13th, 2014

*Black Bean Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust- I used Trader Joes crust. 5 Stars- loved it.

Community group

*Taco enchiladas with cornmeal crepes- this is a recipe to make on the weekend because the crepes take a bit of time to make. But the flavor and texture of the enchiladas were awesome


*Creamy Fettuccini with Ham and Peas- Tasted like a homemade version of Pasta Roni- really creamy and a home run for kids

*Fire Roasted Mac and Cheese- Saisha and James fought over the leftovers of this one

Sandwich Picnic after walking on the ferry to Kingston

Mom's enchiladas

*Orange Sweet Rolls- tasty but I would rather have a Cinnabon
*White Texas Sheet Cake- okay but I would rather have the most amazing Texas Sheet Cake ever
*Eileen's famous rice krispy treats- My dear friend Eileen came to visit!! Pretty much as soon as she landed in Seattle I went to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for her famous treats. Amazing as always.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Week of January 6th, 2013

Sweet Potato Hash with Sausage and Eggs- amazing, amazing (did you see this in my top 10 this year?)

Black Bean Soup- doubled so I could have some in the freezer

*Fried Rice (I left out the shrimp, ham and celery)

Romaine Salad with Pecans, Cheddar, Apples- always fantastic. I left out the chicken

*Paprika Chicken Stroganoff- Tasty and very quick

Pizza Pockets

*San Francisco Chops- my slow cooker is insane and although I only cooked these on the "keep warm" setting they were still overdone and dry.

Overnight no-cook steel cut oats

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Week of December 30th, 2013

*Garlic Tuna Asparagus Pasta- my kids thought this was awesome and were begging me to make it again

Mom's enchiladas- On a home date this week Mark and I were playing a newlywed game and one of the questions was favorite comfort food. We both said enchiladas so of course they had to be added to the menu

Pizza out to celebrate the New Year




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