Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Monday - Penne Pasta with Spinach and Bacon and Garlic Bread
Before you plan your meals and go grocery shopping, don't forget to tidy your fridge and take note of foods which are going out of date. If you use coupons, don’t forget to sort through your coupon binder and remove any that are expiring this week. Planning your meals around food that needs to be eaten and coupons that are expiring will help keep your grocery budget in check!
NOTE: I try to create my meal plan on Thursdays. This allows me all weekend to shop and prepare.
1 (12 ounce) package penne pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 slices bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the penne pasta, and cook according to package directions. Add spinach during last two minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place bacon in the skillet, and cook until browned and crisp. Add garlic, and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook until heated through.
Drain the pasta and spinach. Toss with the remaining olive oil, and the bacon and tomato mixture. Plate, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
We like the Lite New York Texas Toast All You magazine often has coupons for this. If you are a coupon user, the coupons in All You will more than pay for the magazine!
Tuesday - Taco Salad Pizza
1 can refrigerated pizza dough (I use Pillsbury.)
Olive oil spray
1 -2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
1 - 1½ cups thick and chunky salsa - hot, medium or mild
1 packet dry taco seasoning
1 clove of garlic pressed, or a bit of jarred
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 - 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
Small can sliced black olives (optional)
Salad dressing of choice - Ideas: Hidden Valley’s Spicy Ranch or a Catalina dressing
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Light spray baking sheet or stone with olive oil, and sprinkle with cornmeal. Roll pizza dough onto prepared pan. Brush with olive oil. Bake until golden brown.
While crust is baking, mix together salsa, taco seasoning, garlic and browned meat.
Remove crust from oven when done, and cool slightly. Spread sour cream over crust. Spoon meat mixture over sour cream. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shredded cheese and black olives. Drizzle with salad dressing.
Wednesday - Poppy Seed (Or No Poppy Seed) Chicken Casserole, Fresh Broccoli Salad, and “Biscuit” Rolls
For more great fresh broccoli recipes, visit:
This casserole can be made with or without the poppy seeds! It is delicious either way!
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
16 ounce container of sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 stack Ritz crackers
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
½ stick butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Precook chicken breasts in boiling water until thoroughly cooked. Remove breasts from water, and let cool. When cool enough to handle, chop chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, and put in a 9x13 casserole dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.
Mix sour cream and cream of chicken soup together into mixture. Spread over chicken.
Crumble crackers into small pieces in a zippered bag. Melt half a stick of butter in the microwave; cool slightly, pour into bag with crackers, and toss. Sprinkle over top of casserole dish.
If using poppy seeds, sprinkle over crackers.
Bake 30 minutes, until crackers are golden brown.
Fresh Broccoli Salad
This recipe courtesy of my sweet friend, Donna S. Thank you, Donna!
2 heads broccoli, washed and broken into small florets
1 lb. fried bacon
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. vinegar
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup raisins
1 red apple, chopped
1 cup sunflower kernels
Mix all ingredients except sunflower kernels and bacon. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then add sunflower kernels and bacon. Serve immediately.
I buy the cheap, store-brand butter-flavored canned biscuits. Depending on the size of your family, you can use the 5-count or 10-count rolls of biscuits.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter.
Spray muffin pan with cooking spray. Place a refrigerated biscuit into each muffin cup. Spoon melted butter over each biscuit. Bake for about 10 minutes.
Thursday - Pan-fried Fish Fillets with Creamy Mushroom and Crawfish Sauce, Perfect Baked Potatoes and Hush Puppies
This recipe inspired from Robert St. John and Wyatt Water’s Southern Seasons.
½ cup of seasoned flour, ingredients below
4 fish fillets
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¾ cup chopped green onions
½ cup chicken broth
1 recipe Creole Cream Sauce
½ pound frozen, fully-cooked crawfish, thawed
1 tablespoon fresh pasley
To ½ cup flour -
add 1 -2 tablespoons of Robert St. John Creole Season available at:
½ cup Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (Larry is big on Lawry’s Seasoned Salt! He thinks it goes on everything!)
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make Cream Sauce.
1 cup cream (I’ll probably use fat-free half-and-half)
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
1 tablespoon Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco sauce, to taste
½ teaspoon paprika
Combine all ingredients, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Keep warm.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in an electric skillet.
Dredge the fish fillets in seasoned flour.
Cook fillets in butter until browned on both sides. Place browned fillets on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until done.
While fish bakes, add the remaining tablespoon of butter to electric skillet. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender. Add garlic and onions, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Add chicken broth and cook until broth is half reduced. Add the cream sauce (recipe below) and simmer for 1 - 2 minutes. Stir in the crawfish and cook a couple of more minutes, to heat through.
Plate fish and top with sauce. Enjoy!
Perfect Baked Potatoes
We really like Hush Puppies from Wal-mart. The bag doesn’t have a brand name, not even Great Value. It simply says - Hush Puppies. On the back of the bag, it says they are distributed by Wal-mart. They are really good and a hit with all of us. As Larry says, they are better than many restaurant hush puppies. I just follow the directions on the bag for baking them. I've had a couple of people tell me they bought these since I've recommended them here. They were both pleased with these, too!
Saturday - Ultimate Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Oh So Good Baked Potato Casserole, Strawberry Salad and Easy Cheesy Garlic Rolls
The Oh So Good Baked Potato Casserole and Strawberry Salad are recipes Vicki H. shared on her blog, From Our Home to Yours. She said she served the potatoes and salad with pork tenderloin. Since it’s the 4th, I thought we’d grill! I’ve included the recipe for Ultimate Grilled Pork Tenderloin. I’ve chosen Easy Cheesy Garlic Rolls as our bread.
Ultimate Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Pork Tenderloin is a great meat choice. It’s low in fat and very easy to grill. You just have to be careful not to dry it out. One way to avoid this is by using a brine. This is completely optional, but is well worth the time and effort. This is where meal planning really pays off! If you don’t have time to use the brine, just skip it.
Begin by trimming all the “silver” skin from the meat’s surface.
Make your brine by add 2 -3 tablespoons of salt to about a quart of water. Place the tenderloin in the brine and refrigerate for about 12 hours.
Removed the tenderloin from the brine, dry it off and coat with the following rub. A rub adds flavor and forms a nice crust on the meat’s surface.
Use a commercial pork rub or try this one:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl:
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Once pork is evenly coated with the rub, you can refrigerate it for 30 minutes, or up to 3 hours, for extra flavor.
Grill tenderloin over medium heat. View the meat as having four sides, cooking meat for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the tenderloin from the grill when its internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. It won’t be completely done at this point, though. Keeping the tenderloin in a warm place, wrap it with foil, and let it stand for about 5 more minutes to finish cooking. Let the tenderloin reach around 150 degrees before you serve it.
Once it’s done, slice the meat into about 1/2 inch thick slices and serve.
Oh So Good Baked Potato Casserole
6-8 medium baking potatoes
1- 8ounce package cream cheese, at room temp.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 pint sour cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions, for garnish
bacon bits or 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp,
drained and crumbled for garnish
1. Peel and dice the potatoes. Boil until soft.
2. Mash the potatoes in a large bowl. Add the cream cheese, butter, 1 cup of the Cheddar cheese and the sour cream. Stir well. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and stir.
3. Spray a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with vegetable oil. Place the potatoes in the dish. You can cover it with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake.
4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the foil and bake for 30-35 minutes, until hot. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup Cheddar cheese over the top of the casserole and return it to the oven for about 5 minutes, until cheese melts. Garnish with chopped onions and crumbled bacon or bacon bits before serving.
2 bags of prepared organic spring mix
1 can of chow mein noodles
1 large box of fresh, organic, strawberries
Mix the above together, and drizzle the following dressing recipe over the top. It is YUMMY!!
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup wine vinegar(red)
3 tsp. soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients.
Easy Cheesy Garlic Rolls
1 can refrigerated pizza dough
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3 - 4 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup or so, shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat cups of muffin tin with cooking spray.
Mix softened butter, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.
Roll dough into a rectangle.
Spread garlic-butter mixture evenly over dough. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
Roll up jellyroll-style.
Slice in 1½-inch slices.
Place each slice into a sprayed muffin cup.
Spoon melted butter over rolls.
Bake until golden brown, probably about 10 minutes.