Thoughts on a Thursday

Hello, all!

It’s been a tiring, but fruitful morning – went to Office Max for more printer cartridges for the special needs group newsletter. Did you know that Office Max will refund you $3.00 for each HP used cartridge you return to them? (I just returned 5 – helped pay for the new ones I just bought; $3.00 times 5 = $15.00! Stopped at Gordon Foods to get more ‘supplies’ – a big frozen tray of mac & cheese (for the special needs fundraiser next month), 3 boxes of frozen pre-shaped choc. chip cookies (120 per box), also for the fund raiser, plus a few things for the family. Then it was off to Krogers to finish up the grocery shopping. Kroger has a special this week: Buy 4  2 liter bottles of Pepsi products, get 2 bottles free! (works for me – my husband LOVES Mountain Dew). Today is one of two ‘Mid-Winter Break’ off days for youngest, so bought the 40-piece bag of Tostino’s pizza rolls; we ‘celebrated’- each person got 10. Stopped at Tim Horton’s for coffee – they’re having another “Roll-up the Rim to Win” contest – husband won a free donut with his (I haven’t finished drinking mine yet – I like to SAVOR it!)  Just finished it – I won a “Please Try Again” – sigh. In years past we’ve won free donuts and a nice amount of free coffees of your choice/size – it’s a little ‘something extra’ that’s always nice to get, especially when you frequent that restaurant, anyway!

Well, according to our local weather channel/report we’ve gone from the expected 4-8 inch snow storm expected this evening, to now it’s 3-5 inches. (Now you can see just WHY I decided to get my running done early). It’s really nice outside right now – clear and 40 degrees – sure hope that storm sort of passes us by! Dinner tonight is spaghetti with meatballs, tossed salad & garlic bread (grandson is coming and I try to make dinner something he likes – makes it much easier on all of us). He’s not really picky, but having a Dad who’s a chef makes my ‘competition’ a lot harder; he’s learning that when you eat at THIS grandma’s house, you eat what’s put in front of you AND you finish your meal. (His dad says he enforces that at his house, too).

After a brief rest up, it’s time to get back to working on the newsletter. Yesterday (for whatever reason I was in a clean up/fix up mood) I happened to start going over the special needs group attendence and address lists – both of which need correcting, as we’ve recently added more students to the group. Oh! Last night we had the largest group ever  (that I can recall, and I’ve been with the group since 1993) – we had 36 ‘students’ and at least another 12 caregivers – the room was PACKED! Just before Christmas we had a new lady join our group as a helper (she’s WONDERFUL!); the other leader & I were joking last night: “See? First the Lord adds another helper, then He sends us LOTS more students to make the work load even!” Whew! It was hectic in our room last night, but great to see where the Lord is leading us. Tomorrow night is another Gym Night – anxious to see how many of our ‘kids’ come for that (we typically get less coming to the Gym Night, as most of the group homes only take their charges to one activity per week). Our main leader (my compatriot), said we’re going to do spaghetti & meatballs this time (was originally going to be hot dogs) – we’ll see just where this SNOW STORM puts us as to whether we even HAVE the gym night or not. Really hoping it blows over, as Saturday is my church’s Wild Game Dinner and I’m working in the Pie Room again (yay!).

Well, enough talk about food – time to get down to the ‘nitty-gritty’ of RECIPES!


Undone Stuffed Pepper Casserole

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 green peppers, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 C. cooked long-grain white rice
1 (24 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 C. Kraft shredded Italian Five
Cheese with a touch of Philadelphia,

Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Brown meat with peppers & garlic
in large skillet; drain. Stir in rice,
spaghetti sauce & 3/4 C. cheese.
Spoon into 2 quart casserole that
has been sprayed with nonstick
spray. Top with remaining cheese &
bake 25 minutes or until heated
through. Serves 7, 1 C. each
Tuscan Pork Stew

nonstick cooking spray
1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2
inch pieces
1 1/2 C. baby carrots, cut in half
1 (26 oz) can Hunts Garlic & Herb
Pasta sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can Hunts Fire Roasted
Diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans;
drained & rinsed
1 1/2 C. water
1 tsp. dried sage leaves
1 (14.5 oz) can cut green beans, drained

Spray large saucepan or Dutch oven
with nonstick spray; heat over medium-
high heat. Add pork and carrots; cook about
5 minutes or until meat is cooked through;
stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining
ingredients, except green beans. Bring
mixture to boil, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to medium; cover and
simmer 15 minutes. Stir in green beans just
before serving. Serves 6
(recipe: ReadySetEat site)

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 or 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
pinch salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery
2 onions
1 green bell pepper
1/2 lb shell, ziti or elbow macaroni
3 pints water
1 1/2 tsp. taco seasoning
1 can condensed mushroom soup
1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Season ground beef lightly with salt
& pepper. Wash & chop pepper and onion;
saute in a T. olive oil until translucent; add
crumbled ground beef and saute until browned.
Add garlic, celery and taco seasoning; saute
for 2 more minutes. Cook pasta according to
pkg. directions in boiling salted water
(but for a few minutes less time until almost
tender). Butter a casserole dish and place a
layer of pasta, a layer of meat, cheese, and
soup, ending with a layer of cheese. Bake
until cheese and soup melt through and
mixture is bubbly. Stir once or twice, then
serve hot. Makes 3 or 4 servings.

Variation: Omit taco seasoning and use
Italian seasoninginstead (oregano, basil, etc)
and use 1 can tomato instead of mushroom.
(recipe: lovestocook-Marys Recipe Exchange)
Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Cooking spray
1 1/4 lb.skinned, boned chicken
1 1/2 C. chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 C. beer
1/4-1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes,
and chopped
1/2 C. thinly sliced green onions
1 (2 1/4-oz) can sliced ripe
olives, drained
2 (4.5-oz) cans chopped green
chiles, drained
5 T. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
2 C. 1% low-fat milk
2 large egg whites, lightly
or 6 T. egg substitute
3/4 C. (3 oz) shredded sharp
Cheddar cheese
3/4 C. (3 oz) shredded Monterey
Jack cheese
6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut in
1/2 C. fat-free sour cream
1/2 C. salsa

Preheat oven 350F. Coat a large
nonstick skillet with cooking spray;
place over medium heat until hot. Add
chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or
until done. Remove chicken from skillet;
let cool. Shred chicken with 2 forks; set
aside.Recoat skillet with cooking spray;
place over medium heat. Add onion and
garlic; saute 5 minutes or until tender.
Add shredded chicken, beer, red pepper,
and tomatoes; cook 10 minutes or until
most of liquid evaporates. Remove from
heat. Reserve 1 T. green onions and 1 T.
olives for garnish. Stir remaining green
onions, remaining olives, and chiles into
chicken mixture; set aside.Combine flour,
salt, cumin, and coriander in a medium
saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring
with a whisk until blended. Place over
medium heat; cook 7 minutes or until thick,
stirring constantly. Gradually add hot milk
mixture to egg whites, stirring constantly
with whisk. Set aside.Place cheeses in a
bowl; toss well. Set aside.Spread 1/2 C.
white sauce in bottom of a 2 1/2-
quart round casserole or souffle dish
coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4
tortilla halves over sauce; top with 2
cups chicken mixture, 1/2 C. white sauce,
and 1/2 C. cheese mixture. Repeat layers
twice, ending with sauce. Set remaining
1/2 C. cheese mixture aside. Bake, uncovered
40 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with
remaining 1/2 C. cheese mixture, reserved
green onions, and reserved olives; bake an
additional 5 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes
before serving. Serve with sour cream and
salsa. Makes 8 servings.
(recipe: RDJ 10/18/11)
Pecan Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

1/2 C. flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1/3 C. chopped pecans
1/4 C. semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray
2 tsp. powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350F.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry
measuring cup;level with a knife.
Combine flour, baking soda,& salt
in a small bowl, stirring well with
a whisk. Set aside. Combine brown
sugar, vanilla, and egg whites in a
large bowl; beat with a mixer at
high speed 1 minute. Add flour
mixture, beating just until combined.
Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.
Spread batter into an 8-inch square
baking pan coated with cooking spray.
Bake 18 minutes or until golden and
crusty on top. Cool in pan 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes
16 servings.
(recipe: RDJ 12/29/11)
 Hearty Garlic Potato Soup

8 medium potatoes, peeled
& cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large carrot, peeled & chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 C. butter, cubed
1/4 C. flour
8 C. milk
2 tsp. fresh parsley, minced
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Place potatoes, carrot & garlic in
Dutch oven; cover with water and
bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover
& simmer 15-20 minutes or until
tender; drain. Place 3 Cups potato
mixture in large bowl and mash.
Set aside mashed potatoes &
remaining potato mixture. In a
large skillet, cook sausage &
onion over medium heat until
meat is no longer pink; drain and
set aside. In a Dutch oven, melt
butter; stir in flour until smooth,
gradually adding the milk. Bring
to a boil, cook & stir 2 minutes or
until soup is thickened. Add parsley,
salt, bouillon, seasoned salt &
pepper; mix well. Add mashed
potato mixture, cook & stir until
heated through. Add reserved
potato & sausage mixtures; heat
through. Makes 12 servings.
(recipe: tigger-RDJ 12/30/11)
 Honey Sesame Bars

3/4 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 C. plus 1/2 C. honey
1 T. grated orange peel
1 C. flour
1/2 C. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 C. toasted sesame seeds
3 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In a bowl using elec. mixer
on medium speed, beat oil,
sugar, eggs, 1/3 C. honey &
1 1/2 tsp. orange peel until
smooth & well blended. In
another bowl mix both flours,
baking powder, salt & sesame
seeds; stir or beat into oil
mixture until well blended.
Spread batter evenly in a
lightly oiled 9 x 13 baking
pan. Bake until center springs
back when lightly touched
and top is richly browned-
18-20 minutes. Meanwhile,
in a bowl, mix melted butter,
remaining 1/2 C. honey and
remaining 1 1/2 tsp. grated
orange peel until smooth.
With a wooden skewer, pierce
warm baked bar (still in pan)
at 1/2 inch spaces. Pour honey
mixture evenly over the top.
Let cool at least 10 minutes,
then cut into 24 bars. Let cool
(Recipe: DDJ 01/10/12)

That’s what’s ‘new’ around here today – hope you

have a GREAT day/evening. Enjoy your time and

remember to do something YOU like – call it your

‘little treat’ (even if it’s only resting with your feet

up in a chair for 5 minutes).




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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Well Lady Jane that storm certainly didn’t miss my neck of the woods! Hope your plans aren’t spoiled by the white stuff!

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