Friday, March 26, 2010

Hello Lovelies!

Good morning! It's so nice that you could stop on over and say hello! Cha Cha was kind enough to send you all over, so please make yourselves comfortable and look around. I love to play hostess, though I am very much the shy and quiet type (until you get to know me, anyway!).

I found her blog through the Pioneer Woman and I love checking in to see all the fabulous projects she whips up on top of being a super busy homeschooling mom! She's amazing!

If you are a regular Cafe Jessica reader, please pop on over to Sit Relax and Read....I'm featured there today! Very exciting!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Good morning! We've got some friends coming from out of town today to spend the night, so I was doing some cleaning and found a planner calendar like I use for menu planning, so to tie in with my last post, I'm giving it away!! The planner is December 09 until January 2011, so there's LOTS of time to still use it.

If you are interested, please leave a comment letting me know your favorite thing to bake. That's it!

For an extra entry, post to your facebook or blog about the giveaway and come back and leave another separate comment for that.

For a third entry, post my button to your sidebar and leave a separate comment for that. Simple!

I'll let this post run until midnight, March 31st and on April 1st, I'll announce a winner! Good luck!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Menu Planning

Good morning! Lately, it seems that I'm crazy busy. Between meeting friends for walks and hauling kids around and grocery shopping and everything else, I don't feel like I've gotten much accomplished. My house shows it, too. We had unexpected guests for dinner last night and it was fun, but my bedroom door was securely closed and that room was not part of the tour. :) We all do that, right? I certainly hope I'm not the only one that throws the mess into another room so that it APPEARS that I'm an awesome housekeeper and that my house is company ready in 20 minutes or less. lol! But, nights like last night are why I LOVE menu planning. I had most of the stuff in the house for a nice meal and just had to pick up a few veggies for the salsa and salad. I made Corn and Black Bean Salsa, grilled steaks, sauteed mushrooms and onions in plenty of butter, and made custom salads for all four adults and even TJ asked for a salad. The adults had romaine, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, green onions, Parmesan, sunflower nuts, and/or bacon bits. One even added cottage cheese to his. (I think it's a little weird, but he swears it's good....I'm not sure I'm curious enough to try it, though.) So, anyway, back to the menu planning. Everything was here. It was so nice to have a meal that I could fancy up a bit to be fit for company.

I know not everyone does menu planning and those who do, all do it differently, but I'll tell you what works for me. I use a purse sized calendar planner. You know the kind. JCPenney's gives them away in the salon at Christmas time, banks have given them out. I got mine as a package deal with my yearly appointment planner. I know I shop on Tuesday afternoons, so I plan Tuesday through Monday each week unless there's a reason I know I'm going to go to town a different day, then I can plan accordingly. I also only plan our evening meals. I make sure that there is cereal, eggs and sausage/bacon, flour, etc in the house so we can make breakfasts. Tim loves to make pancakes on the weekends and I make our own syrup (it's just a simple syrup of 1 part water to 2 parts sugar with a little maple flavoring). The little ones and I are the only ones home for lunch and we have sandwiches or leftovers depending on what's here. Sometimes I'll make corn dogs or chicken nuggets if I have them. Weekend lunches are cardboard pizzas or leftovers. Every Sunday I ask what everyone wants for the next week and try to plan accordingly.

So, that's how I do it. It's nice that I can look back at the past weeks and see what we ate and get ideas that way and to not repeat things to often, too.

Here's our menu for the next week:

Tator tot hotdish
Pheasant casserole
Venison steaks with salad
Grilled Italian Chicken Breasts

That gets us to Monday and Sunday we'll plan for the next week. I also plan to have things in the house for unexpected meals. There's always the fixings for pizza in the house, I have baking supplies so I can make bread or buns or cakes, etc.

So, that's what's on my mind today. Our weather is turning warmer so I'm trying to remember all the warmer weather, lighter foods that I make and getting the heavier, comfort foods out. Happy Thursday!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Last week, I had my oldest two boys help me plan the dinner menu for the week. I don't let them get away with chicken nuggets, hot dogs, etc so they knew they had to choose "real" food. Rugby asked for Chicken Enchiladas and I have this great recipe that was in my Gramma Carol's church cookbook (I think) and it's become a family favorite over the years. When Tim was working over the road, I'd make it in two smaller pans instead of the one bigger pan and take half to my grandparents because they like it, but the two of them can't eat a whole pan of it and R&R were small enough then that the three of us couldn't eat a whole pan, either so it was win-win! This week when I had Rugby and Riley help plan meals, Rugby asked for this again! Enjoy!

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

12ish tortillas (I use whole wheat ones)
1 1/2-2 pounds cooked chicken, chopped
1 cup sour cream (I use light with no trouble)
2 cans cream of chicken (do not substitute cream of mushroom, trust me. But, feel free to use a lower sodium version if you wish.)
2 oz can chopped green chilies
Shredded cheese...cheddar or a blend of orange and white cheeses

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small pan, heat the soup, sour cream and chilies until warmed through.

In the center of each tortilla, place 1/4 cup (ish) chicken and 2 tbsp of the soup mixture. Roll up and place in greased 9x13 pan. Continue until your pan is full. Top with remaining soup mixture doing your best to cover all the tortillas with the mixture because any area left exposed will get dry and hard. Top with cheese. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Almost BBQ venison

I'm LOVING having this fresh venison in my freezer! We took the two front quarters and made burger with it. It only made 5 pounds, but since I mix it half and half with ground turkey, it goes a long way. Last night, though, I sliced one of the roasts (while still partially frozen to make that job TONS easier) and did this Venison Hurry deal that I found on allrecipes. It's SUPER easy and ALL of my kids ate it. Out of a 4 pound roast, there was NOTHING left...just the juice it cooked in! I love making suppers like that!! So, here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Venison Hurry

2# venison chops (I have also made this with a whole roast and that's been good, too)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 packet onion soup mix
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water (if I empty out a ketchup bottle to make this, which I usually do, then I put the water in the ketchup bottle and shake it to get all the ketchupy goodness out of the bottle, then pour that over the meat)

Put the venison in the crockpot, put the rest of the ingredients over the top and cook on low for 6-8 hours and your meat will fall apart! YUM!

I served this last night with mashed potatoes, but buttered noodles would be good, too.

Linked up with The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap! Go there for more great recipes!