I am still here, I promise!

The last couple of weeks have been hectic and while we sort of had a meal plan last week it wasn’t much of one. We had some leftovers from the week before at the very beginning of the week and then a couple of nights out. Thursday and Friday we had dinner at home.

Thursday, I made this amazing chicken dish by Anne Burrell but only the chicken part. It was so very, very yummy! I highly recommend it, I had all of the ingredients except for the couscous part so in the interest of time and money, I used other things in the freezer for sides. I will post the recipe soon.

On Friday, we had friends over who have a little boy who just turned 1 that Emma plays with every few weeks. Emma and Ben have lots of fun together while they play. Since it was Friday in Lent we had salmon with roasted fingerling potatoes and some zucchini. It was very good.

This week we plan to eat at home mostly. There no soccer games at home so I will be digging into my freezer and coming up with food for this week. So no meal plan really but I will post what I come up with.

Last night we went out to eat at a favorite local place so look for that post later in the week! See you soon!

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The Meal Plan

In an attempt to save money and eat healthier I am going to attempt meal planning again. I tried doing this on my other blog but failed and forgot. I really think this will help us spend less on groceries and watch what we eat. Obviously there will be times when eating out is necessary or because we want to treat ourselves but for the most part we want to sit down as a family and eat together and at a reasonable time. Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen.

This is my Lenten discipline this year. While I don’t eat lots of sweets, we do eat out a fair bit. My goal is to eat out less, eat healthier, lose weight and enjoy dinner time with our daughter at the table. I don’t mean to say that we don’t eat together, we do but lots of times it’s in front of the tv. This is a bad habit and while it’s ok once an a while, it’s not meant for every night. I am not saying for others this is bad, it is just bad for our family.

So this brings me to our 1st Meal Plan for 2011!

Meal Plan for the Week of March 13-19:

Sunday: Italian Sausage Bake
Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Chicken and Rice with Zucchini
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: My Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Eating out. We have FC Dallas Soccer Season Tickets and will usually eat at the game. This is the Home Opener! Go FCD!

The first 2 meals are ones I created and as soon as I write out the recipes I will post them with pictures. I will also try to post better pictures of my corned beef and cabbage.

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North Texas Irish Festival

If you live in the Dallas area you should definitely check out the North Texas Irish Festival at Fair Park next year. It was this past weekend (March 4-6) and my little family and I had a fantastic time! They have tons of live music, vendors and food. The Irish Stew is really good and is served in little carved out bread bowls. There is also lots of Guinness and Harp. The great thing about this festival is if you don’t want to leave Fido at home, you can bring him with you! Our dog Nola had a wonderful time and she was such a good dog! She loved being with other dogs and was so happy from her outing, she came home and slept hard!

Check out the festival’s website here.

And while we are on the subject of the Irish, have you thought about what you are making/doing for St. Patrick’s Day? I always make my corned beef and cabbage. I am thinking about redoing the pictures and updating that post. I only had my iPhone to take pictures with and they aren’t very good but don’t let those pictures diminish how wonderful the meal really is. I hope you try it sometime.

What are your traditions on St. Patrick’s Day?

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New Page!

Check out my new page towards the top of the blog. It is a list of my favorite places in Dallas. I soon hope to post blog entries about different places my husband and I enjoy. At some point I would like to add other cities but for now we have Dallas.

The inspiration behind this page is that I am frequently asked about what restaurants would I recommend and what do I love to order while there. So I decided I should create a place where I can share my love for the great places we have here in Dallas. Stay tuned!

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Quick and Simple Soup

This soup is so amazingly simple and quick to prepare. It is great for when you don’t have any time to cook but want something delicious and wholesome without sacrificing your diet. I found this as I was shopping at one of the grocery stores here called Central Market. They always have little display tables to taste something especially on Saturdays. I always say you could probably go during lunch time and get a sample from each table and have eaten a nice small lunch while you shop! This recipe is adapted from one such occasion.

Quick and Simple Green Chili Soup

Recipe source: Central Market

1 jar of Cookwell and Company All Natural Green Chili Stew
1 lb of Ground Italian Sausage (jar says 1lb of a meat of your choosing)
1 can of diced tomatoes (drained)
1 can of corn (drained)
dolup of sour cream on top of each bowl of soup
3 tablespoons of freshly torn cilantro (reserve some to sprinkle on top of soup)
1/2 cup cheddar jack cheese
1/2 cup corn chips (such as fritos)

Brown sausage in a pan. In a 4 quart soup pot add together: stew, diced tomatoes, corn and cilantro on med heat. After the sausage is cooked add it to the soup pot and cover. Give it 10 mins or so and you have dinner!

I topped each soup with cheese, sour cream, chips and a little sprinkling of cilantro. Yummy! Literally took 15 mins. The jarred soup is only 45 calories per serving, maybe 250 or so after you add everything else. Not bad at all!

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My First Sewing Project!!!

This is my first post as a crafty person, it is so exciting!

My very dear friend and one of our daughter’s Godmothers is having a little boy after having 2 precious, amazing girls. She needed some boy stuff to balance out the pink! As my baby gift to her, I decided to make the new baby some burp cloths and nursing pillow covers! They turned out great. I have never made a cover for a nursing pillow before and I can’t wait to do more.

I found the burp cloths ideas on several different blogs. My favorite inspirations are:

Sew Chic
Chickpea Sewing Studio

I located the wonderfully easy nursing pillow cover tutorial from A Load of Craft who found the pattern at Vanilla Joy.

My sewing machine had some problems so I had to wait on the other cover. I will post those items when I get them done in the next couple of days.

Can’t wait to create more fun stuff!

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Chicken Breasts in a Mustard Caper Sauce and Emeril’s Three Cheese Risotto

We love chicken dishes and we love risotto so this made for a wonderful dinner! The chicken is from a blog I love and you can find the recipe there. I used frozen artichoke hearts which worked out really well and instead of 4 I used 6. I also added another clove of garlic, we are huge garlic lovers in our house and always add extra from any recipe. The risotto I have made many times and I always add a little more parmesan that it calls for. What could be better than more cheese?!

Chicken Breasts in a Mustard Caper Sauce

Recipe Source: Proceed with Caution

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 generous tablespoon of dijon mustard
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of capers
6 frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and quartered
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of oil and the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté chicken for 2 minutes on each side depending on how thick the breasts are then remove to a plate. Add the other 1 ½ teaspoons of oil and then the garlic. Cook the garlic for a minute and add flour. Allow flour to cook for 1 minute and stir. Add  the stock while stirring with wooden spoon or whisk. Then add the mustard, capers, and artichokes and season with pepper. Add salt to taste and more mustard accordingly.

If your sauce hasn’t reduced enough for you and you would like it thicker, reduce for another couple of minutes. You may need to add a little more stock (just eyeball it) to get it to reduce the way you want. Add the chopped parsley and after your sauce gets to where you want it add the chicken back in. Let the chicken cook for another 5-10 minutes (depending on how thick your pieces are you may need more/less time). Cover the chicken with the sauce to help it cook and cover the pan for those for those last few minutes. Serve and enjoy!

This was so yummy and has become a favorite in our house!

Emeril’s Three Cheese Risotto

Recipe Source: Emeril Lagasse

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
Salt and white pepper
6 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 pound arborio rice
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup grated Romaino cheese
1/4 cup grated Asigo cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives

The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano but we always put in 1/2 cup instead. Also, we add at least another teaspoon of garlic if not a little bit more.

In a large sauce pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot enough, add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes, or until the onions are soft. Add the chicken stock and the garlic. Bring the stock to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 6 minutes. Add the rice and simmer for approximately18 minutes (I have found that it takes us longer for the rice to cook to the right consistency so I cook it from 20-21 minutes), stirring constantly, or until the mixture is creamy and bubbly. Add the butter, cream, cheese and chives. Add salt and pepper to taste. Leave on heat for approximately 2 minutes and serve immediately.


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