Tuesday, October 16, 2012


The past week has had some ups and downs (and downer downs), rendering each day's potential post either unbloggable, depressing, mundane, or a combination of all three. My job is good, though generally unbloggable, JP's job search continues and all potential posts on that front are also unbloggable but for entirely different reasons, and the kids are doing great, but with no new changes or pictures, though just for some color, here is one of my favorite pics from Colorado that I failed to include in the last post):

So, food! That's always an upper for me. As I mentioned before, now that we are reserving restaurants solely for vacations and very special occasions (like being in Colorado, the land of microbreweries), and now that I have an extra hour to kill each evening, I am researching and testing lots of new recipes.

This week's menu:

Sunday: Greek pita pizzas with tzatziki sauce

Zomg I made this one up as I went along and it was so good. We went a little crazy in Costco and Trader Joe's on Saturday and ended up with a big bag of fresh naan (soft thick delicious Indian bread), huge carton of Roma tomatoes, pint of kalamata olives, and pint of feta cheese (and bag of 8 avocados, but we'll get to those later). For this meal I put all the pieces of naan bread on a big sheet pan, coated each with a little bit of olive oil, and topped them with feta, sliced kalamatas, and a little shredded mozzarella and stuck them in the oven for 350 for about 10 minutes. While that was baking, I tossed together diced cucumber, diced tomato, a few more kalamatas, feta, and a dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper and let them all mesh and marry each other. Once I pulled the bread out, I topped each with the fresh, cold salad and served it with TJ tzatziki sauce on the side. They were SO GOOD. Each kid ate an entire one, I ate 2, and JP ate 3. Oh, there was also rice pilaf on the side, but really, it was all about the Greek naan pizza goodness.

Monday: Chicken lasagna rolls, garlic bread

A family favorite and excellent make-ahead recipe.

8 lasagna noodles
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
2 eggs
2 c. mozzarella cheese (I usually use 1-1.5)
1 15 oz. container ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 c. parsley, divided
1 jar prepared spaghetti sauce (I usually do a quick homemade tomato cream sauce, per Pioneer Woman's recipe)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Cook and drain pasta.
3. In large bowl combine eggs, cheeses, 1/2 parsley, chicken, salt, basil, and pepper.
4. Spread 1/8. cheese mix on each lasagna noodle. Roll up jelly-roll fashion. Cut each roll in half (so you have two "shorter" jelly rolls).
5. Arrange in single layer in 9x13 baking dish. Spoon sauce over top; cover with foil.
6. Bake 45 min. ENJOY.

Tuesday: Southwestern quinoa salad, homemade guacamole, chips

Another recipe made up on the fly for the sole purpose of healthy eating and using up cartons of vegetables (avocados and tomatoes, which are actually fruits; actually, they're ovaries, thank you to my biology teacher mom for making me think that every time I eat a fruit). I've been wanting to try quinoa and was wooed by an advertisement for a "tasty and healthy" bag of organic red quinoa at Trader Joe's on Saturday. The back of the bag had a recipe for a black bean, tomato, and corn salad that sounded good, so I took that idea as inspiration and ran with it.

I put the quinoa on the stove to cook (takes about 20 mins) and got to dicing- 4 tomatoes (the kids are obsessed with tomatoes and will eat them like apples for snacks), 3 avocados, a can of black beans, some grilled chicken strips (pre-cooked, from TJ's), diced onion I'd soaked in lime juice (takes the bite out of them, particularly if you're like me and don't like onions but have some to use up), and a handful of cilantro. I threw that in a big bowl with a bag of frozen corn that I charred in a saute pan on the stove and a quick dressing of lime juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and more diced cilantro. I tossed all that together and put it in the fridge with the cooked quinoa (separately, the quinoa was still really hot) to cool, and then served them together about 20 minutes later. Again, kids and JP loved it, and we ate it with homemade guac (even more avocados, finely diced tomatoes, crushed garlic, salt, lemon, and a bit of the diced onion soaked in lime juice because I really needed to use up that onion) and TJ blue corn chips (because JP insists they are far tastier than yellow corn chips).

Wednesday: Raviolis with tomato cream sauce, salad

Refrigerated chicken and mozzarella raviolis from Costco and the leftover half of the double batch of tomato cream sauce I made on Monday. We'll eat it with a salad and the last tomato.

Thursday (JP's birthday): takeout thai, homemade yellow cake with chocolate fudge frosting

Can you believe this Tuesday is Oct. 18th? I was planning out our meals for the week on Sunday and put some random frozen meal for Thursday and JP said, "oh, for my birthday? okay." And even though of course I knew his birthday with on the 18th, and I've had his card and presents ready for weeks, I did not know until that moment that the 18th was in the middle of this week! How did we get so far into October already? Anyway, his choice of meals is thai takeout and yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I'm making the latter from scratch because birthdays involve homemade meals in my family and I can't help that Thai Select makes better pad thai than I do.

Friday: homemade pizza

A family tradition. Thick crust, sliced up meatballs (from frozen), pepperonis, and black olives. And another one that's just cheese because JP is boring and doesn't like processed meats.

And that's it! Now I'm getting back to my Shutterfly photo albums (almost done!!) and proofing JP's various resumes and cover letters.


  1. Those all sound yummy! I found a great recipe for homemade naan bread and now I almost make my own (pretty easy and quick). I'm a sucker for homemade carbs...lol!

    I hate quinoa! I tried to make it one time. I tried so hard to like it. But, blech! It wasn't even plain, it had some yummy stuff mixed with it. I just cannot get on the quinoa bandwagon.

    Isn't cooking a great stress reliever and mental distractor?

  2. Delicious! I am going to try the lasagne. I think my little guy will love it! Glad you guys were able to get away to CO. Wish you didn't have to go through the downer downs :(

  3. This Thursday is the 18th?? That means this Sunday is the 21st - my anniversary. AACK! Like you, mid-October crept up on me.

    Also, JP and I are birthday cake twins, because yellow cake and chocolate frosting is my fave and all I ever want.

    These recipes sound great. have you checked out foodgawker? It's great if you have ingredients you want to use up - just type what you have to use in the search engine, and it will spit out picture-links (pinterest style) to recipes with those ingredients. Love it.

    Thinking of JP in his search, and confident he will get something soon. As ever, impressed by all of you and how you just keep on keepin' on.

  4. Your menu sounds yummy... I got lazy today and walked to our new City Target..And got a bag of Bertolli Classic Garlic Shrimp Risotto... And a salad with homemade salad dressing.. Yum..

  5. This post makes me realize I need to get on my photobook for this year! If you don't mind me asking, what size do you do? I did my daughter's first year book in 12x12 and am debating continuing the 12x12 or doing 8x11 going forward.

  6. Hi LL,

    I know you are finding it hard to blog stuff as so much is unbloggable, and that blogging is an outlet for you. So would it help if we asked you questions you could answer?

    Like, what was the first dish you learned to cook? When do you think you'll teach Landon and Claire to cook? When do you hope they will be responsible for cooking a whole dinner on their own? Not at age 5, but certainly by age 9 or 10? Or 12 or 14?

    Which did you learn first - to swim, cook, make your bed, or work a computer? Do you think it will be the same for Landon and Claire?

    (No need to answer these - just thought they might be topics you could enjoy writing about)

  7. Yum! I've been living on a similar southwestern quinoa salad for weeks now since I made it for a block party. I make a batch Sunday and take it for lunch or snack at work. The greek pitas and the lasgna recipes sound delish - all over it! Thanks for sharing. And think about you all daily, hoping for some good news soon.