Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hot Italian Chicken Sandwiches

I discovered a yummy, portable meal last night that I'll likely use again several times this summer.  And keep in mind for ball game evenings next spring!!

The kids were clamoring to get to the pool when we got home from swimming lessons yesterday at 4:30pm, but the baby needed a quick nap, so I told them we could head down there as soon as he woke up. 
It was too early for dinner right then, but waiting until after swimming would leave us famished. I didn't really have any lunch meat or snacky meal stuff to take with us. I did, however, have a big loaf of french bread that I had planned and forgotten to use when we grilled steaks the other night. Inspiration hit and I quickly pan-broiled some chicken with some italian seasoning. I cut the loaf of bread into fourths and then sliced them open, laying them out on a baking sheet.  I sliced the chicken breasts and laid them out on one side of each bread half, topping it with shredded mozzarella and bacon bits. It was already yum!  Next I threw them in the oven under the broiler till the cheese got bubbly and the bread just got toasty.  I took them out, spread a little mayo on the empty side of the now piping hot toasty bread and added a few thinly sliced tomatoes.  Then I just closed up the sandwich, wrapped it in foil, and threw it in the pool bag and we were ready to go just as the baby woke up from his quick early evening catnap. :) We also brought along some chips and apple slices to munch with our sandwiches. 
Ryan met us down at the pool after he got home from work and we had the perfect little poolside picnic, with still hot and melty, really really yummy sandwiches. 

Hot Italian Chicken Sandwiches
Half-Whole loaf of french bread, sub rolls, deli rolls, etc
2 Chicken breasts
Italian seasoning
Shredded Mozzerella
Bacon bits
Sliced tomatoes

Pan-broil or grill chicken breasts, seasoned with Italian seasoning.
Put sliced chicken, cheese and bacon bits on one half of each sandwich and put under broiler just until melted and toasty.
Add mayo and tomatoes and enjoy. Or wrap in foil to enjoy later!

(Adults loved it, Savannah loved it, Sawyer took one bite and jumped back in the pool.)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Poached Pears with Caramelized Raspberry Sauce

I just wanted to post this real quick, as it used to be a regular around here whenever I did special or fancy dinners (Thanksgiving or New Years especially), but I haven't made it in years and years.  I made it for Easter this past week and fell in love with it all over again. 
It's a treat for a special, sweet fruit side dish, or perfect for a dessert.

And for the first time, because I actually have these things as staples in my kitchen now -I guess I've "matured" as a cook?- as opposed to when we were first married and I used to make this, I used a real vanilla bean and actual cinnamon sticks, and OH MY GOODNESS.  The difference was amazing.  Don't get me wrong, using vanilla extract and ground cinnamon certainly produces a perfectly yummy sauce... it's just that I was actually impressed with the difference this time.  It just took it beyond the Mmmm, to the Mmmmmmmmm. :)

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water, champagne, or dry white or red wine 
(I've used champagne once, water every other time.  I'm happy with water)
1/2 vanilla bean, split down the middle, or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
(oops, I used a whole bean this last time.  oh well, it was extra yummy!)
1 cinnamon stick
8 large firm-ripe Bosc or Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and left whole with the stem on 
(I always go ahead and core them... usually cutting them into halves as well. Whole would just make for a prettier, fancy presentation)
1 cup frozen raspberries

-In large saucepan, deep enough so pears can stand up when covered, mix sugar, water, vanilla and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil over high heat.

-Reduce heat to low and add pears, standing up. Cover pot and let simmer about 30 min, gently turning the pears once or twice to make sure they're coated with the sugar syrup.  Pears are done when they feel tender throughout when tested with a small, sharp knife. Remove from heat.

-Add frozen berries to the sauce, cover and let sit 5 minutes.

-Remove the pears and berries with slotted spoon and place in serving dish or deep plate.  Strain the syrup and pour over the tops of the pears, let cool and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

order please

I've been dreading and complaining and dreading and putting off and dreading dinner and meal plans and the and all thats involved for while here.  It's just not fun when the kids are still picky (picky-er even) and never like what you make, even when it's something you know they like.
My seven year old is at pretty much the peak of dinnertime drama right now.  Yuk.
He would like to be served pizza and mac&cheese every night please and thank you.

My new approach the last couple of weeks has worked out well.  And this way I get a good one or two good nights out of the difficult dinner kiddo.

I ask everyone for one meal they would like to "order" for each week.

If we all pick a meal, that means four nights are taken care of and I only have to figure out one more, do leftovers, or we eat on the go somewhere.  I typically only plan for the weekdays, since our weekends are kind of all over the place, sometimes having guests, sometimes going out, sometimes eating elsewhere.

The week before last we had Chipped Beef on Toast (per SJ), tacos (per the dad), pizza (homemade and healthy)(Sawyer's choice, obviously) and a new sausage stew cornbread casserole (picked by me). 

Last week we did fish (SJ), homemade mad&cheese (Sawyer)(even though he didn't eat it), meatloaf (Ryan), and a new chicken dish (for me).

This week Savannah slotted in Chicken Pot Pie, Ryan requested spaghetti, Sawyer asked for Brinner and again I'm trying a new chicken thing. (I'm realizing my meals may always be newbies)

I'm liking this plan because I don't have to come up with ideas for the whole week, and everyone gets a little imput.
Although Sawyer's apparently at the end of his pizza/mac&cheese rotation so we'll have to see what he comes up with next. ;)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Menu for September 3rd-7th

New school year, new resolves.
While we didn't eat horribly this summer, it was certainly a lot more eating out and convenience foods than I'd like.  And it's taking a bit to get back into the better habits!

Monday: grilled brats and a ranch pasta salad
Tuesday: seasoned catfish w/ green spaghetti
Wednesday: Lemony Pork & veggies w/ rice
Thursday: easy homemade mac & cheese w/ rotisserie chicken
Friday: baked potato bar

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

hI have been meal planning, I promise.
With houseguest after houseguest you kind of have to.
All this past summer we had our days full of friends and family visiting, with a short reprieve in October and now we're back on the bed and breakfast track again for this month.
And these few visitors lately even come with special dietary needs.... ;)

Ryan's mom and stepdad were here for ten days over Halloween and Sawyer's birthday. Ryan's mom is newly allergic to gluten so we had a gluten free menu for their stay. Turns out lots of my regular recipes are gluten free and it wasn't as hard as I'd imagined it... just a lot of label reading!
We served:
Spaghetti Chicken w/ rice and green beans
Cheesy Tilapia w/ asparagus and roasted potatoes
Italian Roast Wraps (w/ corn tortillas) and salad
Maple Jack Pork Chops w/ mashed potatoes and a mandarin raspberry spinach salad
Chicken Salsa Soup w/ tortilla chips
AND we found Five Guys is completely gluten-free if you avoid their hamburger buns, Mellow Mushroom makes a yummy gluten-free pizza and Chik-fil-a has plenty of gluten-free options plus their waffle fries are safe, so we were good to go at some of our favorite local restaurants!!

We have friends coming this weekend for a few days who need egg free meals. Some ideas of what's on tap for them are Summer Sausage, cheese and crackers (Club are egg-free), eggless pancakes, pumpkin donuts (yogurt subbed for egg), Chicken Crescent Squares

And then finally my parents and one of my sisters are coming for the week of Thanksgiving. My sister doesn't eat meat. Which isn't a huge deal... I can still serve meat, I just need to be sure my side dishes in that case are substantial enough without it. But here are some of our meatless favorites:
Pasta alla Vodka
Winter Vegetable Pot Pie
Tilapia w/ veggies
Crunchy Yogurt Tilapia
Mac and Cheese
Salmon Patties
Curried Butternut Soup
and but of course a big Turkey Thanksgiving Dinner!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Menu for March 14th-20th

Monday: phyllo dough Pizza Bites
Tuesday: crispy baked fish nuggets
Wednesday: Chinese Lemon Chicken
Thursday: spaghetti
Friday: leftovers
Saturday & Sunday: weekend getaway; may or may not plan and prepare meals to take with.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Menu for March 7th-13th

A couple of new recipes I'm really looking forward to this week!...

Monday: Spiced chicken and grape skewers, garlic toast, grilled asparagus, cantaloupe
Tuesday: Baked Eggrolls, broccoli, mandarin orange slices
Wednesday: Tilapia fishsticks, sugar snap peas, green spaghetti
Thursday: Corn Fritter burgers, fresh green beans, sweet potato fries and homemade applesauce
Friday: grilled steaks w/salad, asparagus and applesauce