Menu Plan Monday 02.15.10

Monday: Small Group (I’m not cooking. Woop! Woop! The chili and cornbread I made last week were a HUGE hit! You should try them.)

Tuesday: Chicken Black Bean Quesadillas

Wednesday: Hot Dogs, pasta, veggies, fruit

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner or Leftovers

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Asian Orange Pork, rice, salad

Sunday: Garlic Roast Chicken with Vegetables, Cloud Biscuits

All of the linked recipes are new to me recipes, so I’m excited to do some experimenting this week.

I find some amazing recipes and links every week on Menu Plan Monday over at Let me know if you find a good one too! I might have missed it.

Menu Plan Monday 02.08.10

Still trying to eat from the pantry and freezer as much as possible. Going to go shopping with me new coupon binder today and get a few things as well as stuff for tonight’s dinner for small group. I tend to not cook from my pantry for them. They get a special trip to the store.

Monday: Chocolate Chili (That’s what we call it, but it’s not the real name.), Cornbread, Salad, Peach Dump Cake

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner

Thursday: (Company for Dinner) Fried chicken, green beans, crock pot mac-n-cheese, rolls, brownies

Friday: Bingo night at school

Saturday: Pork Chops, rice, broccoli

Sunday: HAPPY LOVE DAY! Surprise for my husband so I’m not posting.

If you want even more recipe links, head on over to Menu Plan Monday at

Finer Things Friday: Football

It’s Super Bowl Weekend. That means we will be watching the big game on Sunday. And then football season will be over. The House of Hills is very sad. We at the House of Hills LOVE football. We love watching it all weekend long when college ball is going on.

The Sweetie and I watch football EVERY Saturday and Sunday night during football season. It’s what we do together. I can never remember what we do on weekend nights when there is no football. Guess we’re going to find out soon.

Football… it’s a FINER THING at the House of Hills.

Looking for some recipes for the big game day? Here are some links…

Super Bowl Food at The Finer Things In Life

Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life As Mom

Check out Finer Things Friday for more of the finer things in life.

Great Minds Think Alike…Sorta

If you read my menu plan for the week (you all did right?), you would know we were planning to have slow cooker roast sandwiches with cheese last night for dinner.

In the morning, I put the roast in the slow cooker, added a pack of Lipton soup mix, some worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper. I let it cook all day. It smelled heavenly. When it was tender, I shredded it using two forks and then let it sit in its juices until time to eat.

Later in the afternoon, I whipped up some homemade rolls using the recipe from the $5 cookbook for hot dog buns. The Princess loves those rolls. She calls them “Funky Bread” because when she shapes them they never look like an actual roll. We make them in the bread machine (that I almost got rid of during our great purge – GASP!) and then bake them in the oven. Another divine smell.

When the rolls were done, I sliced them in half. Then I layered on the yummy shredded beef and some monterey jack cheese. I put them on some foil and then on the broiling pan. When they came out, they looked SO YUMMY. It’s hard to tell by the picture, but this was pure yumminess…

Well, I thought it was pure yumminess… My Sweetie – not so much. Oh he ate it, and he enjoyed it, but there were no “Oh honey, this is amazing!” I was thinking it was amazing. I was alone in that thought apparently.

Now, we’ve been married almost twelve years, so this would not be the first meal he didn’t LOVE. However, over the years, he’s become more comfortable letting me know when things could be improved. In a nice way of course. Here’s the thing. He likes really intense flavors. He likes spicy flavors. The Princess and I  – not so much. We’re pretty plain in our flavor love. So while I really enjoyed the beef, he thought it could use a little something more. We tried to figure out what we could add to make it more “something” for him, but we were kinda at a loss.

Then, what appears in my feed reader this morning (I use Google Reader – what do you use?), but a post from the Pioneer Woman. What did she cook yesterday to tell us all about?

DRIP BEEF!! (Which is apparently a different name for what I made last night.)

Seriously!! What are the chances? So, I read her recipe. Ummm… SO MUCH BETTER than mine. Like, SO SO SO much better. Embarrassingly so. (A secret – I almost didn’t even tell you about my miserable attempt.) In fact, she made drip beef two different ways, and they BOTH looked better than mine. And sounded more flavorful too.

So, what does a good wife do? Admit defeat immediately! I tweeted (yes, we tweet each other during the day) My Sweetie and sent him the link. I asked which recipe he would like me to try. He favored the one with the peppers, but said he would try either. You know what makes me mad. We keep a jar of those peppers in the house at all times. My Sweetie LOVES those peppers. Neither of us thought of those last night. **Sigh**

So, while the Pioneer Woman and I were both thinking about beef sandwiches yesterday, only one of us did it well. Go check out Pioneer Woman’s Drip Beef Recipe and let me know which one you would try first. Recipe 1 or Recipe 2?

Whichever recipe gets the most votes in my comments section, is the one I’ll make in a couple weeks. Then, I’ll let you know if My Sweetie likes it better than mine. I’m pretty sure he will.

Freezer Cooking 01.10

After completing my Eat From the Pantry challenge, I had some room in my freezer. I didn’t do super on the pantry challenge, but I was able to save some money from the grocery budget and use up some of my stores. So, what do I always do with empty space? I FILL IT UP!

When I saw that Money Saving Mom and Life As Mom were doing a freezer cooking day, I thought I’d jump in and do a little something for the freezer. Since I’ve been needing a baking fix all week, I knew it would be an opportunity to finally do some baking. Plus, I had some fruit that needed to be used or it was going to be past it’s prime.

So, this weekend I whipped up a batch of:

Banana Chocolate Chip Nut Muffins

Pear Muffins

and I made a quick

Breakfast Quiche

Was it a huge freezer cooking day, NOPE. Was it what I could do this weekend? YEP. And, I got to scratch my baking itch!

Do you do a freezer cooking day? How often? What types of things do you make?

If you want to see what others did on their Freezer Cooking Day, head on over to Money Saving Mom.

Pear Muffins

Muffins, muffins everywhere!!! What do I do with all these muffins that I make? Well, some I give away (I’m taking a dozen of these to church today), some I eat (YUMMY!), some I freeze to eat later (YUMMY later!), and some I freeze to give to a family in need at a later time. Muffins are GREAT for new moms – they’re such a quick snack.

I found a pear bread recipe about a year ago when I bought a basket of produce from a co-op – I was filling in for someone. In the fabulous basket of produce were LOTS of pears. The House of Hills are not big pear eaters so I had to find something to do with them. So I searched and found this recipe. It made two beautiful loaves of bread.
Well, I prefer muffins to bread any day. Easier to freeze. Easier to eat. So, this weekend, I made the bread recipe into muffins. They turned out DIVINE!
I adjusted the baking temperature to 400 and baked for 17 minutes.
You should try them. They are so YUMMY!

Breakfast Quiche

We’ve I’ve been trying to eat out go through the drive-thru less. Yes, it is totally my problem. Nobody else in the House of Hills has the addiction to the drive-thru. I think it’s actually my addiction to the fountain diet coke. I LOVE fountain diet coke That’s an entirely different post.

My biggest weakness is breakfast. It’s JUST SO EASY to grab a biscuit (and diet coke) on the way to work. Thankfully, I only go to the office three times a week. So that’s only three times that I’m out at breakfast. But still, that ADDS up – and fast!

Two weeks ago, I made some Eggwiches (Thanks to for the recipe link.) and froze them. They’re great to take to the office. I’m really enjoying them. But, I wanted something else to swap off with the Eggwiches so that I wasn’t eating the same thing every time I went to the office.

I decided to make a BREAKFAST QUICHE jumping off a recipe from the cookbook Maggie got for Christmas last year, Paula Deen’s Kids Cookbook.


Frozen Pie Shell (deep dish)

diced ham (I used about 1/4 pound)

Bacon left over from breakfast (about 4 slices)

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

3/4 cups egg substitute

1 1/2 cup cream

Preheat oven to 350.

Place meat in bottom of pie crust. Sprinkle cheese over top.

Mix together the egg substitute and cream and pour mixture over cheese.

Place the quiche on a cookie sheet for overflow.

Bake for 35-40 minutes/until center is not jiggly.

Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

To Freeze: Cool completely and then cut into serving sized slices. Wrap each slice in plastic wrap and then place all slices in freezer bag.
Let thaw overnight and then heat to serve.

Linked to Ultimate Recipe Swap:Eggs.

Banana Chocolate Chip Nut Muffins

How often do you look at the fruit bowl and say “I’ve got to do something with those bananas!” I unfortunately seem to do it all the time. I somehow am unable to pick up the right size bunch at the store and always end up with one or two going “bad.” Now, “bad” is a relative term in the House of Hills. The Princess won’t touch them if there is any softness or brown spots at all. I’m okay until they get somewhat spotty. My Sweetie, who makes a smoothie every morning, will use them until they are just mush.

It’s the mushy ones that make the best banana muffins. Then, the banana flavor is REALLY there. When I don’t have time to make muffins right away, I’ll mash up the bananas and freeze them, being sure to write on the bag how many cups of mushy stuff is in there. The pint freezer bags are great for that.

My favorite banana nut muffin recipe is one I have adapted from a recipe from Cooking with Paula Deen from January/February 2008. I keep all her magazines, and this issue has several post it’s sticking out of it and is quite stained. So, it’s one I love.

Paula’s recipe for Banana Nut Muffins is available on her magazine website. I just discovered this website while writing this post. I’m definitely going to have to check it out more thoroughly. Maybe I can actually throw away all those back issues if the recipes are online – wahooo!!!

I follow her recipe except add a few more nuts – I never measure nuts – so I’m not sure how much I use, but it’s more than a cup. I also add about a cup of chocolate chips. Again, I don’t measure, but it’s at least a cup. That’s all personal preference.

These muffins are so moist and yummy, and they freeze well. I’ve given them often to neighbors or taken them to work, and they always go fast. Making them is definitely better than throwing those mushy bananas away.

What’s your favorite thing to do with bananas?

Top Ten Tuesday: I Need A Baking Fix!

I love to bake! Especially when it’s cold. The yummy smell of sugar coming from the oven. The warmth that permeates the house. Mmmmm….divine….

Ya, well, I ain’t got time for no baking this week says this overly scheduled editor. Great English there – ya.

So, if I were to bake, these would be on my top ten maybes.

1. Brownie Batter Cupcake OH MY! oohamanda twittered this recipe yesterday. Oh my. Oh my. Oh my!

2. Bread Machine Buttery Rolls – Crystal at Money Saving Mom has made these several times during the Eat from the Pantry challenge. They look like they would melt in your mouth!

3. Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – They’re healthy right? There’s whole wheat and oats.

4. The Pioneer Woman Cooks – Well, pretty much anything in this cookbook. The Pioneer Woman makes me so happy. I love looking at her recipes both online and in the book.

5. Mix & Match Muffins – This so intrigues me. It’s a basic muffin recipe and then says add what you’ve got as far as fruit and mixings. I’ve got some bananas and pears that need to be used up soon.

6. Apple French Toast Casserole – Ummmm yummm… dessert for breakfast. And I’ve got some apples I could use.

7. Bacon, Cheese & Egg Biscuit Cups – Hello! Breakfast in a biscuit. Perfect for freezing. I might just need to find time for these.

8. Super Bowl Recipes – The House of Hills LOVES LOVES LOVES appetizer night. Might have to get a few of these in the meal plan soon.

9. $5 Dinnners – Another fabulous cookbook I just received. I WON this one. Everybody say Wahoooo! Check out $5dinners. It is another excellent website to get lots of great cooking/baking ideas.

10. Chipotle Chocolate Chip Cookies – Cookies with a kick! My Sweetie is very intrigued by these.

So those are all the things I want to make. Well at least ten of them. My bookmarks list for recipes is getting rather long. Probably need to reorganize that. Hmmm…

If you were going to bake today, what would you bake? What should I bake first on my list?

Head on over and visit Amanda for Top Ten Tuesday. You can go see her even if it’s already Wednesday.

Recipe – Cocktail Meatballs

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See that crockpot full of gooey yumminess! It’s never that full when I bring it home. I promise you that! I made “My Meatballs” over the holidays, and have had a couple people ask for the recipe. After I laugh – because there really isn’t a recipe – I gladly tell folks the secret to awesome cocktail meatballs. And, I’m gonna share it with you too.

Cocktail Meatballs HouseofHills.orgThere are many variations of these cocktail meatballs out there, but here is what I use.

Cocktail Meatballs

Yep – that’s it! Frozen meatballs, ketchup, and grape jelly. That’s all there is to it.

Now for a couple of tips:

I only use Heinz brand ketchup. I only use Welch’s brand jelly. I have used others and was not happy.

You want equal parts (or as close as you can get) ketchup and jelly – so look at your ounces.

I am picky about what frozen meatballs I use. This particular brand is sold at BJs – a local warehouse store. It’s my favorite. The meatballs are small and Italian. You can find ones you like at your local store. You could make your own, but that would just be way too much work for me.

Cocktail Meatballs

You dump half the meatballs in the crockpot and put half the jelly and half the ketchup. Then, add the rest of meatballs and the rest of the jelly and ketchup. Use a large spoon to mix it all together.

Cocktail Meatballs

Put the top on the crockpot and let it cook on low for 2 -3 hours.

You DO NEED TO STIR it every 30 minutes or so. It takes about the first hour for the ketchup and jelly to start start blending together. And then, it starts to smell heavenly. Mmmm…I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. People are always excited when I bring the crockpot full of cocktail meatballs into an event. Try them at your next gathering!

Linked to Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.

Linked to Meals 4 Sharing Fridays: Super Bowl Party