Sunday, January 31, 2010

Herb Braised Chicken Thighs

I am not sure if I have mentioned it before but I absolutely love the Saving Dinner series of cookbooks, e-books, podcasts, website, etc. by Leanne Ely. I signed up to get daily articles and recipes sent to my email for free. When I received this recipe recently, I knew it was something I wanted to try. Our family loved it! I have a subscription to the Saving Dinner Menu Mailer and it has been a great help getting my weekly menu plan and grocery list together. Check out the website and enjoy the recipe!

Herb Braised Chicken Thighs
Serves 6

3 tablespoons flour
3 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups (2-inch-thick) sliced carrots
2 large onions, cut into wedges
2 1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 1/4 pounds small red potatoes, quartered

Combine first 6 ingredients (flour through pepper) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken; seal bag, shaking to coat.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add chicken and remaining flour mixture to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly brown.
Add carrot and onion; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add broth, wine, and potatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A New Twist on Classic Lasagna

I sampled this recipe at our local supermarket and had to try it for myself. It was delicious and my kids loved it! Enjoy!

1 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 lb. ground beef
Salt and pepper, as needed
1 jar tomato sauce
2 packages gnocchi
12 oz. ricotta cheese
6 oz. parmesan, grated
4 cups mozzarella, shredded
Fresh basil, chopped

Heat oil in a saute' pan. Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until translucent. Add ground beef and brown. Season to taste. In the meantime, boil gnocchi according to package.

Layer sauce, beef, gnocchi, and cheese in baking dish. Repeat. Top with remainder of mozzarella and finish with basil.

Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese starts to lightly brown.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week of 1/17/10

While I love to have a menu plan in place each week, I do not always enjoy planning the menu and grocery list. This week, I started thinking about the coming weeks. Every time I saw a recipe or a meal that I knew I wanted to serve, I jotted it down. Before I knew it, I had almost two weeks of menus and grocery lists done! It is a very simple solution, and it saved me about an hour of planning on Saturday.

Here is our plan for the week:

Sunday: Chicken noodle soup, dinner rolls

Monday: Gnocchi lasagna, salad

Tuesday: Chick-fil-A Family Night

Wednesday: Herb braised chicken thighs, steamed broccoli, whole wheat couscous

Thursday: Crab cakes, baked sweet potatoes, salad

Friday: Chicken piccata, steamed brussel sprouts, brown rice

Saturday: Family Game Night: Swedish meatballs over noodles, salad
Fun snacks: kettle popcorn, monkey munch, buffalo chicken dip with tortilla chips and vege tray with dip

Join the Organizing Junkie at every Monday for Menu Plan Monday and lots of great ideas for your weekly menu plan!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Family Fun Night : UP

One of my goals for the long winter ahead was to plan weekly Family Fun Nights. This past weekend, we were looking forward to watching the movie UP that the girls received as a gift for Christmas. We started the night by making homemade pizza. This is a huge hit in our house! The girls each made their own individual pizza. Apparently, they made Carl and Russell shaped pizzas.
There were almost no leftovers!
After dinner, we watched UP. We laughed and cried. This was definitely one of Pixar's best movies. The highlight of the night were the UPcakes we made. I made a dozen cupcakes and some icing:

I found this idea in the November 2009 issue of Family Fun. I downloaded this template and made Carl's house:
I added some ribbons and . . . .
We had lots of fun! My little sister is staying with us for a few weeks so she got in on the fun, too.
The UPcakes were super yummy!

We are looking forward to this weekend's Family Fun Night . . . Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs!

This post is linked to Snoring Scholar's Family Fun Fridays.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Have you ever made your own laundry detergent?

A friend was looking for a recipe so I dug this one up from my files, and I thought I would share it. I do not remember where I found this. I use a HE washing machine so I have never tried making my own detergent:

Homemade Laundry Detergent

1/3 bar Fels Naptha, Ivory Soap or homemade goat milk soap

½ cup washing soda

½ cup borax powder

*You should be able to find the Fels Naptha, washing soda, and borax in the laundry aisle.

You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load.

Does anyone have a laundry detergent recipe that is appropriate for a HE washer?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Healthy and Quick Dinner to Start the New Year

I am sure many people have made a New Years resolution to feed their families more nutritiously. I always strive to cook in a healthy and nutritious way. One of our family's favorite meals is Lemony Chicken with Vegetables and Parmesan from the Mom-a-licious cookbook from Domenica Catelli. Not only are the recipes wonderful but the cookbook is a beautiful read!

Lemony Chicken with Vegetables and Parmesan

1 pound chicken tenderloins or breasts (cut into one inch strips)
2-3 tbsp. garlic, minced
2-3 cups of vegetables of your choice. I use carrots, celery, mushrooms, and broccoli.
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
A pinch of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place chicken, garlic, and vegetables in a baking dish.
Drizzle with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Top with the Parmesan cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes. (I bake for at least 40 minutes.)


Monday, January 4, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week of 1/03/09

I am so happy that our schedule is getting back to normal. I have a frig and freezer full of food and I am looking forward to making some delicious and healthy meals!

Here is what you will find on our dinner table this week:

Sunday: Lobster Bisque

Monday: Shell Macaroni with broccoli and mushrooms, salad

Tuesday: Crock Cabbage Rolls, salad

Wednesday: Happy Family Sesame Chicken, stir fry veges, brown rice

Thursday: Soup from freezer, salad, homemade dinner rolls

Friday: Family Night Movie - Up
Homemade pizza and salad
Cupcake Balloons

Saturday: Chick-fil-A Calf's birthday party- free meals with coupons!

Join the Organizing Junkie at every Monday for Menu Plan Monday and lots of great ideas for your weekly menu plan!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Preparing for the New Year

In the final weeks of December, I decided to take some time away from the computer. We had an absolutely wonderful and peaceful Christmas and New Year. We relaxed at home for the holidays and then traveled to visit family last week. While the holidays were great, I am looking forward to getting back to our routine. However, I am slowly easing back into reality . . . it took me three days just to complete this post!

As I contemplate the new year, I realize that I am not one to make resolutions. However, at the beginning of every season, I set personal, home, and family goals. I print them out and keep them in the front of my Fly Lady Control Journal. I glance at them every time I open my journal!

For 2010, I plan to focus on my personal discipline. When my discipline is strong, everything seems to fall into place - my home, my time management skills, my prayer time, my relationships with my family, my energy level, etc. I am happier, healthier, and much more content when I practice self discipline.

Here are my goals for Winter 2010:

1. Schedule daily quiet time for prayer and recitation of the Rosary. I also want to attend Eucharistic Adoration a few times a month.

2. Schedule more time to read for pleasure. Additionally, I need to schedule/limit time spent on the computer, television, and phone. They waste my precious time!

3. Spend more time on self-care. When I take care of myself, I am a much better wife and mother. I need to make sure I am getting more sleep, not skipping meals, getting showers . . .


1. Start a weekly family night - movie nights, game nights, special dinner/dessert nights, reading nights.

2. Start bedtime routine earlier so we have enough time to read with the girls each night.


1. Menu plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I also plan to work very hard to reduce our grocery bill. Over the last few weeks, I have been reading some great frugal cookbooks. I am excited to give some new recipes a try!

2. Declutter with an emphasis on our bedrooms. I want to create more of a haven in our bedroom, as well as in our girls' room, so it is a place we want to spend time in during the cold winter months.

What are your goals for the coming year? I would love to hear them!