July Menu ~ 2013

Sorry my monthly menu plan is a little late. Believe it or not, I actually forgot to put one together (oops)! It’s not like I didn’t know it was July already, it’s just that I’ve been a little preoccupied with physical therapy and whatnot, but it’s here for you now ūüôā Also, you may have noticed I didn’t do much cooking last month via my June menu so some of this months recipes will come from there.

July Menu – 2013


Romano-Crusted Chicken with Salad

Taco Cornbread Pizza

Dijon-Dill Salmon withRice Fritters and Parmesan Tomatoes


Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Four Bean Salad

Turkey Salisbury Steaks with White Bean Mash

ultimate pic

Cous Cous-Stuffed Peppers and Salad

Turkey Ragu with Creamy  Polenta

Ultimate Baked Beans

Chicken Rio with Cilantro Lime Rice

pilaf pic

Salmon and Pasta in Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce

Beef Stroganoff and Pesto-Parmesan Green Beans

Garlic Tilapia with Mexican Rice and veggies

Crock Pot Meatloaf and Gravy with mashed potatoes and veggies

cous stuf pep pic

Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans

Chicken and Rice Pilaf

Pineapple Galette

Harvest Bread

balsamic pic

Recipes I’m (still) working on:

Crunchy Fish Tacos with Cilantro Cream Sauce

Chocolate-Drizzled Cheesecake Cream Puffs

Spinach & Artichoke Crusted Chicken

Tomato Cucumber Bread Salad

Cow Pies (GF)

Crock Pot Swiss Chicken

 Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (GF)

Spinach & Goat Cheese Tilapia Roulade with Tarragon Bechamel

Mexican Bruschetta

Chocolate Chip Blueberry Muffins

Patron Punch

Chocolate Fudge Tart with Mint Cream

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Asian Chicken Pizza with Peanut Sauce

Two Girls and a Party, Cast Party Wednesday, Wednesday Extravaganza, What’s in Your Kitchen, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday’s Treasures,

Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini with Ragu

I’ve noticed a few Facebook and Pinterest re-posts going around for something very similar to this. It seems to happen occasionally that I’ll put something on my menu plan and several weeks later when I’m finally getting to it it’s already hit the blog circuit. Does this mean I have awesome food instincts??

Yeah…unlikely, I know.

Well, whatever it is, I can’t be too far off the foodie path, I just wish sometimes that I had something with a little “wow” factor. Hopefully this will make someone happy, as it did me. I found this recipe through TLC’s Take Home Chef, but I had to adapt it quite a bit as I’ve noticed that chef Curtis Stone likes to really stretch his culinary skills and I’m just a bit of an underachiever most days ūüôā


Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini with Ragu


1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup red wine

1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce

2 tsp thyme

1 bay leaf

1 tsp basil

salt & pepper

extra zucchini, chopped*

3 zucchini

3/4 cup ricotta cheese

3/4 cup grated or shredded mozzarella

1/2 grated Parmesan cheese



1. To get the ragu started it’s best if you have about an hour. First saute the onions in the EVOO, then add it to the diced tomatoes, extra zucchini, and the wine, with 1 tsp thyme and the bay leaf, over medium-high heat and reduce it by a third. Sauce will be thickened. (20-30 minutes)

2. Meanwhile, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and spoon out the seeds. If the zucchini are still a bit hard inside just run a sharp knife down each side and score it a little. This will help when scooping out the seeds. *Also, if your zucchini are different lengths, you can cut them all the same and chop up the excess for the ragu, other wise I highly recommend you chopping up a fourth, smaller, zucchini to add to the sauce. It’s just a tomato sauce without it, and while it’s still good, the zucchini really adds something to it.

3. Combine the tomato sauce to your ragu along with the remaining tsp of thyme and the basil. Salt and pepper to taste and allow to simmer, stirring often, for another 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350*. Combine the three cheeses together in a small bowl using a fork. Season  with pepper, and mound the cut-side of the zucchini with the cheese mixture.

5. Lightly spray a 7 x 11 baking dish. Spoon the ragu into the bottom of the dish and place the stuffed zucchini on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Then broil for an additional 10 minutes. Zucchini will be tender but if you prefer them more cooked through try pre-cooking them a bit before assembly or leaving it in the oven at 250* for an extra 15-20 minutes.

I served this over Parmesan Couscous and it was amazing. A very satisfying vegetarian and, if you serve it with rice, a gluten-free meal.







tempt tuesday

March Menu ~ 2013


Well, it’s that time again. If you’re one of the few who haven’t yet done the “New Years Diet” then you may be thinking along those lines about now. For me it’s not so much “diet” as “cleanse” and by that I mean a cleansing of the pantry, budget, and body. This month will feature a few¬†fattening¬†yummy favorites (for the boys, of course) but I am focusing mostly¬†on healthier recipes. Along with the links to previous posts there are many new recipes I’ll be working on this month, so stay tuned.

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

Dijon Dill Salmon with Grain Mix

Pasta and Lentil Soup

Spinach Tomato Feta Fritatta

Orange Sesame Chicken with Brown Rice

Black Bean Soup

Ultimate Baked Beans

Oven Baked Tacos

Black Bean Risotto

Potato and Leek Soup

Vegetable Ragu with Grilled Fish

Butternut Cake

No Yeast Cinnamon Rolls

St. Patty’s Day Cupcakes

Recipes I am working on this month:

Mexican Stew

Peasant Soup

Slow Cooker Coq au Vin

Seared Beef Fillet with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce

Black Bean & Chicken Oven Fried Chimichangas

Creamy Lobster Risotto with Green Peas

Appetizers and Sides:

Antipasto Skewers

Rosemary Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Cheesy Pesto Bread

Smoked Salmon Bruchetta


Pineapple Galette

Plum Crumble

White Chocolate Strawberry Pie

Carrot Cake Roulade



Turkey Meatballs with Tomato & Roasted Pepper Ragu

If you’ve been following me long enough you know that I have a love/hate thing for meatballs. I love them, but I can’t really make them. Now don’t get me wrong, the taste isn’t the issue. It’s making it into an actual ball that’s my problem. These were¬†wonderful and I enjoyed the whole process knowing that I was feeding my family something equally¬†healthy as much as tasty.


Turkey Meatballs

1 lb ground turkey

3 slices bread*

1/2 cup milk

1/2 onion, finely diced

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 celery stalk, finely diced

1 large egg

3 T flat parsley, chopped

2 T fresh oregano (or 2 tsp dried)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 – 1 tsp nutmeg (to taste)

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 cup flour


1. Tear the bread up into small pieces and place into bowl. Cover with milk and let stand  until the bread has absorbed the milk. *I used wheat bread which takes a little longer to absorb the milk; about 20 minutes. If using white it should only take about 10 minutes.

2. In a food processor you can throw the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in at once to chop everything up together.

3. In a large bowl combine the turkey meat, soggy bread, diced veggies, egg, oregano, parsley, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and paprika. Using your hands and blend the ingredients thoroughly.

4. Form golf ball-sized balls and roll them through the flour.

5. Heat the EVOO over medium heat. Working in batches cook the meatballs for about 10 minutes, browning them on all sides. *One of my few meatball tricks has always been to put the meatballs into the oven to brown before finishing up in a sauce or other cooking process. This method would work just as well as cooking them in oil. However, it may even be better to do both methods since these particular meatballs are so mushy. Next time!

6. Place browned meatballs into sauce and simmer for 20 minutes.


Tomato and Roasted Pepper Ragu

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

3 T + 2 tsp EVOO

1 lb. fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 onion, finely diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 red jalapeno chili*, finely chopped

2 T tomato paste

1 tsp thyme

2 tsp oregano

1 bay leaf

2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes

salt & pepper

1 tsp basil (fresh if you have it: 1/3 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 450*. Line a cast iron pan or roasting pan with foil and heat in hot oven for about 5 minutes.

2. Rub the 2 tsp EVOO over the peppers and place into hot pan. Using tongs,cook the peppers for 20 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes, or until the skins are blackened and blistering.

3. Remove peppers from oven, place into bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap for an additional 15 minutes. This will steam the peppers and finish their cooking process.

4. Allow the peppers to cool slightly then peel off the outer skins. Remove the seeds. Cut into strips set aside.

5. In a large pot, heat 3 T EVOO over medium heat. Add the onions, jalapeno (*I could only find green- worked fine), and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the tomato paste, stir in well, and cook for 1 minute.

6. Squeeze the canned tomatoes in your hands over the pot as you are adding them in. This will crush them slightly and add a bit more of their juices to the sauce.

7. Add the herbs. Stir in the fresh tomatoes and the roasted bell pepper strips. *If using fresh basil wait to add until after the first hour of cooking. 

8. Simmer gently over medium-low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, allowing the flavors to blend. Season to taste and add a 1/2 cup water after the first hour. *Or add 3 about ladles pasta water.

*Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve about 4 ladles worth of pasta water (3 for the sauce, 1 for the pasta). Toss the pasta with the pasta water, 2 T butter and some chopped, fresh flat leaf parsley. Serve with ragu and meatballs.



Gluten Free February Menu ~ 2013


It’s here! I hope you’re ready for some awesome GF recipes because I have been researching and collecting for weeks. As I mentioned before, I am going to take this week by week so that I don’t get overwhelemed. What that means is I will prepare a GF meal every evening for family dinner and I am personally going to attempt to eat as GF as possible every day, and¬†while I will try to feed my family GF as much as possible I realize that we’re just not there yet, so I am not going to fixate over that. First thing’s first. I have¬†about three¬†weeks worth of meal ideas plus a few extras ūüôā¬†but by the middle of the month I should have a better grasp of what I’m doing and some more recipes to share.

In addition to my semi-regular menu plan of Meatless Mondays, Mexican Wednesdays, and Friday Pizza Nights, I am adding Crock Pot Sundays. Thursdays are still fish recipes, and that just leaves Tuesdays and Saturdays for everything else. I hope you enjoy this menu plan, and as always I will come back and add links once the recipe has been posted.

Cheeseburger Salad

Lentil and Pasta Soup (substitute GF pasta)

 Black Bean Soup

BBQ Salmon

Garlic Tilapia

TexMex Polenta Pizza

Brown Rice Macaroni and Cheese

Stew Beef with Brown Rice

Turkey Ragu with Polenta

Baked Tacos with Crock Pot Pinto Beans

Tuna Steaks with Lima Bean Butter

Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken

Black Bean Risotto

Roasted Potato Frittata

Mexican Stew with Ground Turkey

Brown Rice Pasta with Ground Turkey Bolognese

Mini Polenta Pizzas

Quinoa-Crusted Chicken

~*~ EXTRAS ~*~

Bacon & Egg Puffs

Breakfast Burrito

Blueberry Muffins

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sweet Potato Cornbread

Sweet Corn Risotto