Sharing our food successes and failures, new recipes and old favorites
...and throwing in some great money-saving deals here and there!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

June 27 - Bacon-Wrapped Cheeseburgers

I found this recipe for bacon wrapped cheeseburgers, and they sounded like the poor man's version of filet mignon wrapped in bacon - perfect for us! I was really excited about them as I made them, but was pretty bummed about their lackluster turn out. They were so moist they crumbled on the grill and we had to pan-fry them, they tasted a bit bland to me, and the bacon didn't cook nearly as quickly as the beef. I'll post the recipe, but beware - it needs some tweaking! If you find a good way to fix this one up, let me know - I'd love to make them more successfully.

Bacon-Wrapped Cheeseburgers
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 small onion, chopped
1 egg
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 pound ground beef
6 slices bacon
6 hamburger buns, split

  1. Preheat a grill for high heat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the Cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, onion, egg, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Crumble in the ground beef, and mix together by hand. Form into 6 patties, and wrap a slice of bacon around each one. Secure bacon with toothpicks.
  3. Place patties on the grill, and cook for 5 minutes per side, or until well done. Remove toothpicks before serving on hamburger buns.

June 26

It was deep cleaning day in the Risser household and we had a TON of cleaning to do! We also had a visit from Memma, who so kindly brought us A&M hoagies...our favorite central PA treat. After all of the cleaning, the hoagie at the end was definitely a treat!

June 25 - Meal for a Mom

The boy went out for drinks after work, so it was just me, Linds and Luke for dinner. I volunteered to take one of the moms in my club (who just had a baby) a meal, so I doubled the sides and tossed some marinated chicken on the grill for us.

I always try to do something a little different when I take someone a meal. Most people put together a pasta or red sauce dish since they're easy, almost universally enjoyed, and freeze well, but more often than not, that's what they're getting from everyone else! I decided to make Sharon my beer glazed ham, a side of "au gratin-ish" potatoes, green beans and pink frosted cookies with sprinkles (store bought, but SO delicious!). It was a hit - they'd had their fair share of pastas already, so they were excited for something a little different. The ham is so easy (as were the potatoes), and it's one of my favorites when I'm in a ham mood.

Beer Glazed Ham
1 boneless fully cooked ham (3 lbs.)
1 can beer
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 tsp ground mustard

  1. Place ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Score the surface of the ham, making diamond shapes ½ inch deep. 
  2. Set aside 2 T beer. Pour remaining beer over ham. 
  3. Bake, uncovered at 350 for 1 hour. 
  4. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and reserved beer; spread over ham. 
  5. Bake 40-45 minutes longer or until a meat thermometer reads 140, basting occasionally. 

Au Gratin Potatoes
1 cup sour cream
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
4 1/2 cups peeled and shredded potatoes
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 cup cornflakes cereal
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray one 8 inch square baking dish with vegetable cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sour cream and soup. Add grated potatoes, cheese, and onions. Mix well, and pour into the prepared baking dish. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven. In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter and cornflakes. Sprinkle over the top of the potatoes, and return to the oven.
  4. Bake uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes or until bubbly and corn flakes are golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

June 24 - Big Storm Disaster!

We were supposed to meet my in-laws for dinner at Kildare's in King of Prussia on their trip home from the Phillies game, but some of the most severe storms this area has seen in a long time blew through and demolished our plans. Two major arteries in Philadelphia were completely shut down (I-95 and I-76), so their trip home was nearly tripled in length. It was awful! The kids and I had an errand to run, so by the time we realized dinner wasn't going to happen and we got home, it was way past dinner time. I threw together some nuggets and fries for them and the boy and I just picked at leftovers.

June 23 - Grilled Marinated Shrimp

I decided to marinate some shrimp for dinner to do a scampi, but I had a big lunch and the thought of pasta (especially before my Wednesday night Zumba workout!) was just too much. I decided to toss mine on a salad, but I made the pasta for the boy, Linds and Luke. It was really easy to throw together and everyone loved it!

Grilled Marinated Shrimp
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
ground black pepper to taste
crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

  1. In a large, non-reactive bowl, stir together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, and black pepper. Season with crushed red pepper, if desired. Add shrimp, and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat grill for high heat. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard any remaining marinade.
  3. Lightly oil grill grate. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Pampers Code!

Pampers has released a new code for their Gifts to Grow program! Enter ENJOYYOURSUMMER for 10 free points! Don't forget to enter those Splashers points, too, so you can get their double-point offer.

If you don't have a Pampers Gift to Grow account, go ahead and get one started! It's no cost to you and you can earn points to redeem lots of cool products. I've earned almost 250 points and I don't even buy Pampers regularly. Click below to get your own account and don't forget to make sure you've gotten all of your Gifts to Grow points here.

June 22 - La Tolteca

My good friend Katie (who has been mentioned on here several times and gave us the phenomenal cornbread chicken enchilada recipe!) and I went out to dinner last night to catch up. We haven't seen each other in ages! I gave the boy and kiddos leftovers and enjoyed some chips and salsa and a burrito. It was delicious food, and even better conversation :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 21 - Ribs and Corn on the Cob

We had a hankering for some ribs again, and the boy always loves a "repeat meal," so it was ribs and corn on the cob for dinner. Luke, as always, absolutely loved them...although this meal he spent more time sucking the sauce off the meat, and then pulling it out and throwing it on the floor?! He actually ate the corn that I sliced off the cob, too, which is a nice change of pace. Fruits are easy with him...veggies, not so much.
I've posted the recipe a bunch of times, so if you know me, that means it is GOOD! Enjoy it :)

Slow Cooker Ribs
4 lbs. pork baby back ribs
salt, pepper, minced onion and garlic powder to taste
2 cups Cattleman barbecue sauce
1 cup ketchup (only Heinz in this household!)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 dash of hot sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Season ribs with salt, pepper, minced onion and garlic powder. Place in a shallow baking pan. Brown in oven 15 minutes. Turn over, and brown another 15 minutes; drain fat.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the barbecue sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Place ribs in slow cooker. Pour sauce over ribs, and turn to coat.
  4. Cover, and cook on low 6 to 8 hours, or until ribs are tender.
  5. About 30 minutes before serving, place back in baking pan at 400 degrees F and the sauce will caramelize to the meat and finish them to perfection.
The corn tasted really good,'s still "young" according to the boy, but it's definitely better than the ears we bought a month ago.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

June 18-20 - Weekend Eats

We had yet another jam-packed weekend! It started on Friday with an evening with Critter (my friend, Sarah's son). Since I was on my own with three kids over dinnertime (just until the boy got home), I ordered some Domino's and figured the cooking wouldn't get done anyways.

On Saturday, Linds had her dance recital in the morning - she did such a fantastic job! I am so proud! After the recital, my parents, the boy's parents, and the four of us all went to the Winner's Circle for lunch. I got a gigantic burger and fries, and my god, did it taste good. Here's a photo of the four of us after the recital:
And of course I have to show off Lindsay by herself!
We just snacked for dinner since we ate a later lunch, so no cooking Saturday either.

For Father's Day, we did absolutely nothing! I kept after the boy and he honestly just wanted to have a lazy day at home with no frills or fancy stuff. I decided to make a stromboli for dinner since the boy enjoys that and I don't frequently repeat my dishes - LOL. I've posted it before, but here's the recipe again - simple and delicious!

1 can Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough
Sandwich pepperoni
Heidi Ann swiss cheese
Dijon mustard
Cheddar cheese
Marinara sauce (for dipping)

  1. Unroll the pizza dough and lay flat.
  2. Layer meats and cheeses alternately, adding mustard in between a layer.
  3. Roll length-wise, pinching the seam and ends closed.
  4. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.
  5. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

More AMC Movie Tickets!

The $4 AMC movie tickets deal is back! I ordered mine last week and just got it in the mail. I'm so excited! I plan to take Miss L to go see Toy Story 3 (perhaps next weekend??). If you're interested, go here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pampers GTG bonus!

Now through August 31, all Pampers Splashers get DOUBLE Gifts to Grow points! I bought a pack of 27 from BJs back in May (for only $5.99 after all of my coupons - woot!) and it gave me 48 points with the bonus.

If you haven't signed up for Pampers Gifts to Grow program, click the image below. Even if you don't buy Pampers, you can collect enough "free points" for all sorts of cool rewards.

If you've signed up, check HERE to see if you are up-to-date with all of the free codes!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cookbook Winner!!!!!

A big ol' CONGRATULATIONS! to April V. who won the DWTR first ever giveaway! I'll be sending out your cookbook shortly :) Stay tuned for another giveaway next month - whoo hoo!

June 14 - 17

Wow, so not only did I screw up my dates from the last couple posts, but I also have been SO remiss in posting updates. I can't believe I haven't done any of this?!? To say we've been busy is a HUGE understatement (it's been a craaaaazy week), so I think I'm just going to start fresh tomorrow. But, just in case you were interested, here's what we've been eating (I'm going to go backwards):

June 17: Buffalo chicken salads
June 16: French dip sandwiches with au jus
June 15: Takeout from Cheeburger Cheeburger (for my birthday!)
June 14: Frozen pizza (it wasn't was DiGiorno!)

The only recipe I have was for the sandwiches, and it is definitely a scrumptious one. Here it is:

French Dip Sandwiches w/ au jus
2 pounds beef roast
1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
1 (12 fluid ounce) bottle of lager
6 French rolls
2 tablespoons butter
Minced onion, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce to taste

  1. Place roast in a slow cooker. Add the beef broth, onion soup and beer. Season with onion, garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Cook on low setting for 7 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Split French rolls, and spread with butter. Bake 10 minutes, or until heated through.
  4. One hour before serving, slice meat on the diagonal, and return to slow cooker for 60 minutes.
  5. Place on the rolls. Serve the sauce for dipping.

Sorry for the crappy photo - I remembered to take a photo of Lindsay's after she was half-way finished and only managed to use my cell phone camera.

Monday, June 14, 2010

FREE kids' clothing!!

Okay, this site is SO, SO cool! It's pretty much one gigantic clothing swap where everything is FREE! All you have to do is pay for the shipping. You can search through other users' "boxes" and when you find something you want, pay for it to be shipped to you. Afterwards, you have to post your own box of clothes so the site is always stocked. It's a really amazing concept. For the next two months, you can get a free PRO membership by clicking on the ad below. You don't need to enter payment information or anything in - just your name and e-mail address! Go sign up and then once you confirm your account, do a search under the Inner Circle tab for "Erica Risser" and add me to your circle.

Cleaning Supply Coupons!

Home Made Simple is a Proctor & Gamble site that revolves around their cleaning products (Cascade®, Dawn®, Febreze®, Mr. Clean®, Swiffer®, etc.). If you click the image below and sign up for their newsletter, you'll get special offers, samples and coupons. I signed up awhile ago and I still get coupons in the meal every few weeks! I'm hooked on Swiffer, so those come in handy. Check it out!

Home Made Simple

And if you're a Canadian resident, try this one:
Home Made Simple Canada

June 12 - Jambalaya

Surprisingly, I had all of the ingredients for jambalaya, so that's what I made (with my grocery store trip planned for today, I have a little bit of nothing). I made it without the cajun seasoning hoping the kids would like it, and believe it or not, they both ate small portions of it. I thought it was a little bland and tasteless, but with enough seasoning, it wasn't bad. It just tasted more like a kielbasa, rice, and tomatoes dish. I like my food with a kick, so I definitely recommend cooking it with the cajun seasoning rather than sprinkling it on after it's finished. I've posted it before, but here's the recipe - it's one of our favorites! (PS: the photos are old, but are good ones of the dish in it's "proper" form.)

2 T butter
1 medium onion chopped
1 cup bell pepper
2 cloves garlic/minced
1 1-lb Hillshire Farm smoked sausage (cut into 1/4 inch slices)
1 cup converted rice
2 cups chicken broth
3 T Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce
14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

  1. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. 
  2. Add onion, pepper, garlic, and sausage for 5 minutes. 
  3. Stir in rice, broth, Tabasco, tomatoes, and Cajun seasoning and bring to boil. 
  4. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 25 minutes. 
  5. Let sit 5 minutes.

June 11 - Triple Fresh

Saturday was one of those days from hell with the kiddos (I mean, you name it, we dealt with it!). No one was going to cook after the day we had, so it was Triple Fresh subs for lunch and dinner (we just ordered big ones and pigged out all day).

June 10 - The Whip

My birthday is on Tuesday, so on Friday, a group of friends and I headed to this great little English Pub tucked away on the outskirts of Coatesville for an early celebration. They serve a huge array of beer, but are also a BYO for other types of liquor, so we were all able to enjoy our beverages of choice. It was so nice getting out of the house, eating on the outdoor patio, with a bunch of adults and NO HIGHCHAIRS!

Since we were at a pub, I figured I needed to go authentic and ordered the fish and chips (yummmm!). I also grabbed a bite of Christy's onion soup which as phenomenal. Afterwards, Sarah produced the most decadent chocolate cake I've ever seen in my life (courtesy Wegmans) and we came back to my place to eat it. It was almost a sin to cut into it, but oh my gosh, BEST.CAKE.EVER. I finished it yesterday (so much for the diet).

Friday, June 11, 2010

70% off AND a $10 G.C. at!!

Holy discounts, Batman! is having a 70% off sale AND they're giving away $10 gift certificates with any purchase!!!!!! I just bought a $25 g.c. for $3 and then within minutes, had a code for another $10 worth of stuff. WAHOO! What an amazing deal! Click the image below to get a fab deal of your own! Weekly Promo Offer 300 x 250

Wegmans Menu Summer Kickoff Event

If you're lucky enough to live near a Wegmans, you might want to check out this event! They'll have nearly a dozen stations set up around their stores that feature dishes created with Wegmans' own recipes. Free food?! I'm there! Here's a sampling of what they'll have:

Veggie Station: Try a taste of our Fajitas with Lemon Garlic Chicken. Our Fajita Vegetable Grilling Kits make it fast and easy!
Produce: Baby Vegetable Crudités with one of our Yogurt Dressings make an easy complement to grilled meat and seafood. 
Seafood: Our Food You Feel Good About Cooked Shrimp from Belize make a fast and delicious meal when paired with veggies and a Vinaigrette dressing. Try a bite.
 The event runs from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. in all of their stores and is at no cost to you. Check it out!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grocery shopping tomorrow!

When I grocery shop, I usually plan out for 10's always easier for me to have enough stuff on hand rather than running back and forth to the store a few times a week. I always go back to stock up on the produce in between, but I just love having my cupboards fully stocked. Here are the 10 meals I'm planning for:
  • Slow cooker ribs & corn on the cob
  • Stromboli with broccoli & cheese
  • Sesame chicken with lo mein & green beans
  • Turkey & hash brown bake
  • Buffalo chicken salad
  • Bacon-wrapped hamburgers & baked beans
  • Jambalaya
  • Grilled marinated chicken, baked potatoes & apple sauce
  • Shrimp scampi over linguine & salad
  • French dip sandwiches & french fries
Hopefully it'll be a good two weeks of food! Wish me luck :)

June 9 - Sausage Egg Casserole

Tonight was my first night of Zumba - and I'm already addicted to it! What an amazingly fun, but challenging work out. I can't wait for the next class! Since I wanted to leave as soon as the boy got home (stupid rain made his commute well over 2 hours long...ugh...), I decided to make a casserole that the kids and I could eat earlier and he could reheat when he came home. This one is really easy and is good for any meal really. I sometimes make it for brunch or dinner, but it reheats well for lunch, too.

Sausage Casserole
8 slices crustless bread
1 tube of sausage, browned
1 T vegetable oil
1 onion, sautéed
6 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup cheddar cheese

  1. Spray 9x13 glass dish. 
  2. Layer in the following order: bread, cooked sausage and onion. 
  3. Whisk eggs, milk and soup and pour over top. Top with cheese. 
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
  5. Bake 40 – 50 minutes at 350.
The prep time is only 10 minutes or so - it's really a quick meal...the cook time is the long part, but not all that bad. We just ate the casserole last night, although sometimes I do a salad to go with it, too.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pampers Gifts to Grow

I'm going to start posting any of the coupon codes I find for the Pampers Gifts to Grow program. If you aren't a member yet, sign up! You get special offers and coupons, and earn points toward educational toys, books and more.

Here are some coupon codes you can use:

JunFacebook2010 10 pts.



getstartednow10 10 pts.


GTGPLAY3USA2010 30 pts.





welcome2village 10 pts.

WELCOME2GTG2010 10 pts.


With just those codes, you can put an extra 145 pts. in your account! I'll keep posting more as I come across them.

25 Free Muffin Recipes!

Sign up for the FaveDiets Quick and Healthy Recipes newsletter and receive the FREE eCookbook: Healthy Muffins for All: 25 Healthy Muffin Recipes, featuring over 35 pages of tasty and healthy muffin recipes. I love muffins, but hate how high in calories they can be, so this sounds like it should have some good alternatives. I'll definitely be trying some out!

Quiznos Coupon back up!

HURRY! This will last only a few hours!

June 8 - Kabobs and Rice

Kabobs were on the menu for tonight! They were so easy to make and tasted fantastic. Neither the boy nor I eat tomatoes, so we put beef cubes, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion and mushrooms on ours (although he didn't eat any of the 'shrooms). I marinated the meat in an Oriental sauce and then basted the kabobs with the left overs while they grilled. They turned out perfectly! I even had enough veggies and meat left over to make up some stir-fry for lunch the rest of the week. YUM! Here are the kabobs pre-grilling:
Here's the recipe for the marinade...I like to make mine in a Ziploc baggy and let them sit overnight.

Oriental Steak Kabobs
1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Savory Herb with Garlic mix
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1 pound boneless sirloin streak, cut into 1-inch cubes
Assorted veggies of your liking

  1. In a Ziploc bag, blend savory herb with garlic soup mix, soy sauce, lemon juice, oil, and honey. 
  2. Add steak and let marinate overnight or for at least 8 hours. 
  3. Thread skewers with vegetables and steak cubes. 
  4. Grill skewers over medium heat, turning and basting frequently with reserved marinade, until steak is cooked to desired doneness. Do not brush with marinade during last 5 minutes of cooking.
I served mine over saffron rice, but have done it with plain white and brown rice, and rice pilaf. I was out of everything else, so the fluorescent saffron it was!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 savings!

It's 80% off time at again! Remember to enter SAVE at checkout to get your discount. Hurry, though - this deal only lasts Tuesday, June 8 - Thursday, June 10.

$4 movie tickets!!

Anyone living in the greater Philadelphia area (this includes Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties in PA; Camden, Gloucester, Atlantic, Salem, Cumberland, and Burlington counties in NJ; and New Castle in DE) can purchase $4 movie tickets for AMC theaters!! Each ticket is valid for one admission on any day of the week without any restrictions. Toy Story 3 is coming soon, so I'm definitely buying tickets for Linds and me :-)  Click here to buy your own tickets!

June 7 - Hamburgers

We had two hamburgers leftover from the weekend, some corn on the cob that needed to be eaten, a little pasta salad to finish off, and a huge 4-lb bag of broccoli florets that we're slowly working our way through. I figured it would be a perfect "smorgasbord" night where everyone got a little of whatever. The boy and I had burgers, while Luke and Linds ate hot dogs; the boy and Linds also got the corn on the cob, and I ate broccoli. Luke's going through an "I hate veggies" phase, so he ate some mandarin oranges with his dinner...I just can't for the life of me get him to eat any veggies, no matter how they're cooked.

I grilled the broccoli again, which I'm really enjoying lately. I marinated it in a little red wine vinegar, soy sauce and garlic and it turned out great.

Monday, June 7, 2010

~*~DWTR Cookbook Giveaway~*~

Dining with the Rissers is hosting a contest for all U.S. residents! For being a faithful follower of my blog, you have the chance to win a copy of 4 Ingredient Recipes for 30 Minute Meals. It's a great cookbook filled with hundreds of menu ideas - and all the recipes have only four ingredients AND can be completed in 30 minutes or less! I've used so many great ideas from the book and I *know* you'll love it. This is must-have if you have a hectic schedule and need a quick dinner without fuss.
All you have to do to enter is post a comment on this blog post with either your favorite recipe from DWTR, or one that you're excited to try.

For additional entries: (after the required one above)

1. Post about this giveaway on your blog and leave a comment with the link.

2. Become a fan of DWTR on our Facebook page here and then leave me a comment telling me you are a fan. If you already are a fan, just leave a comment and say, "I'm already a Facebook fan!"

3. Become a follower of DWTR (see right column below the live traffic feed) and leave me a comment that you did.

4. Post about this giveaway on your Facebook page and come back and tell me you did.

5. Post a recipe that you think I should try in the comment section of this post. Only one recipe post will be counted.

6. And for an additional FIVE entry points, write a guest blog (complete with photos please!) and e-mail it to me at EricaLHoover at

This contest is open to all U.S. residents and ends on Sunday, June 13 at 11:59 p.m. If you don't feel comfortable leaving your full name with your comment, please e-mail me to tell me you entered so I know who you are. Good luck!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Giveaway contest starts tomorrow!

Make sure you check in tomorrow morning for a giveaway contest! Entry into the giveaway is going to be super duper easy and the prize will be fantastic for anyone with a crazy schedule - which is probably 99.9% of my readers ;-)

June 6 - Crockpot Chicken

I started off this morning with a delicious breakfast that I just threw together with random things that looked good from my fridge, and ended it was a scrumptious dinner and glass of was a great food day!

Before I get into dinner, here's a picture of my own healthy version of a breakfast burrito.
I scrambled 3 egg whites with a little bit of skim milk, and tossed in some diced yellow pepper and mushrooms. I have some of the Laughing Cow's french onion cheese, so I spread that on a whole wheat tortilla and added my eggs and veggies. Not only did it taste great, but it was hearty and filling, and only had about 300 calories total. YUM!

Now, onto dinner...

I had a bag of chicken parts frozen (2 breasts and 3 drumsticks), so I decided to make some crockpot chicken and used a variation of a recipe called 40-Clove Chicken. I didn't use 40 cloves of garlic, so to call it that would be a total misnomer. We grilled up the rest of the bunch of asparagus I had bought a week or two ago, and I made rosemary bread in the breadmaker (it is BY FAR the best bread I've ever had). The only issue I've been having with my bread-making is that the knead bar in the pan keeps baking into the bread. It drives me absolutely insane - I just can't figure out why it won't stick in the pan. If anyone has a solution, please let me know! Here are the recipes for the chicken and for the bread:

Garlicky Crockpot Chicken in White Wine (I think I need a new name?! haha)
3 lbs. chicken parts
Salt and pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
Dash red pepper flakes
12 cloves of garlic
Splash of lemon juice
1 large onion, cut into thick rings

  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook 10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove to platter.
  3. Combine wine, parsley, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes in a large bowl.
  4. Layer onion across bottom of crockpot. Place chicken on top.
  5. Cover chicken with wine and seasoning mixture, and splash a little lemon juice over top. Toss garlic on top of chicken and around crockpot.
  6. Cook over low heat for approximately 8 hours.
My chicken was frozen when I put it in the crockpot, so I skipped step 2 and it still turned out fantastic. I also used my crockpot's "auto" setting so it would defrost and cook in the 6 to 8 hours I had until dinner. As for the bread, here's that recipe:

Jo's Rosemary Bread

1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 packet of yeast

  1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. 
  2. Select white bread cycle; press Start.

June 5 - Happy Anniversary to us!

Today was the boy's and my 6-year anniversary! To celebrate, we went out to dinner at the Olive Tree (a great Mediterranean restaurant in Downingtown) and then saw Get Him to the Greek. Dinner was fantastic...the movie? Not so much. But it didn't matter - we had 5 uninterrupted hours of adult time and were able to reconnect as partners instead of parents.

We've been hearing rave reviews of the Olive Tree for some time now - it's a BYOB favorite around here, but haven't taken the time to go. We had a gift certificate, so we stocked up on a couple bottles of wine and headed over. We split a calamari appetizer (it's grilled, not deep-fried...absolutely delicious!), the boy got a pork chop, potatoes and veggies, and I got the shrimp and scallop kabobs, potatoes and veggies. I toyed with the idea of dessert, but was just too full.

Before dinner, though, we decided to have a small lunch, so I made mini-pita hamburgers and pasta salad. It was so yummy! The burgers were about a 1/2 portion of a normal one and the pitas are a much lighter bread than a roll. The pasta salad is also pretty's my mom's recipe and a summer favorite of everyone in our family. Here's the pasta salad recipe:

Italian Pasta Salad
16-oz box of rotini pasta
1.5 cups cubed swiss or provolone cheese
1 cup fresh broccoli florets
1 bag of mini-pepperoni
1/2 cup chopped pepper (you can use any type - I like to use orange or yellow to give the salad more color)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup wine vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper

  1. Cook pasta; drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again.
  2. For salad, mix pasta, cheeses, broccoli, pepperoni, peppers, onions and parsley.
  3. For dressing, combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, oregano and pepper.
  4. Shake dressing and pour over pasta.
  5. Cover and chill 4-24 hours.
  6. Mix before serving.

And here's the burger recipe again...our friends Sarah and Michael watched the kiddos, so I left a bunch of burgers for them to eat. When we came home, they couldn't stop raving about how delicious they were! They are beyond simple and easy to make in bulk. Give 'em a try!

1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs (equiv. to about 2 slices of bread if you want to make the effort to grate it - I always do)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
minced onion and garlic powder to taste

  1. Mix all ingredients until well-formed.
  2. Split into 6 even patties

I'm not sure if you've heard about, but it is an AMAZING site where you can buy almost any sort of household product you can imagine. Everything from cleaning supplies to toilet paper, select food and beverages, makeup, shampoo and conditioner, garbage bags, etc. They literally have thousands of products on the me, I've spent hours searching before!

The coolest thing about the site is they automatically give you a manufacturer's coupon on the product if there is one available and shipping is always FREE. Their prices are as low (if not lower) than club stores like Costco, Sam's, BJs, etc. and since they offer coupons on the products (which you can't use if I remember correctly at Sam's or Costco), it is a way better deal on a lot of stuff. Plus, they ship free with UPS, so you get it within a couple days and don't have the hassle of going to the store.

I put a banner on the page because they have a killer deal that if you sign up for an account from my referral, you get an automatic $10 credit once you spend $50. It's a pretty sweet deal and definitely worth it. I've ordered from them over a dozen times and have never once had any issues. Their speedy and the customer service is fantastic. So either click the banner on the side, or the one below and check it out - I swear, you will NOT be disappointed!

Friday, June 4, 2010

June 4 - Grilled Swordfish

I was going to make mahi mahi this week (the only fish the boy will eat), but Wegmans' seafood frozen section didn't have any in it, and I was so not in the mood to hike all the way back to the regular frozen food section to get it. I ended up getting swordfish, figuring that the boy might not notice the difference between two white pieces of fish?! Of course he unloaded the groceries that night and was like, "ew, swordfish?" ::sigh::

I pigged out at our monthly Munchin Mamas meeting today (fabulous dessert recipes to follow soon!), so I wanted something lighter for dinner. I marinated the swordfish, heated up an Uncle Ben's 90-second rice packet, and put together a quick salad for the boy and me. He actually ate AND enjoyed the swordfish (score!), and the rice was so-so. It was cooked really well (better than expected for a 90-second microwave bag), but the flavor (four cheese) was just not that great. I have two more bags (harvest vegetable and butter/garlic), so I'll give a better review once we try a new flavor.

I forgot to take a photo of dinner, but below is the 90-second rice packet I mentioned. It claims to only be 2 servings, but I dished it out to the boy, myself and Linds and it was plenty.
Here's my swordfish was pretty good. Nothing exciting or super flavorful, but it gave the fish a nice, subtle taste.

Grilled Swordfish Marinade

4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
3/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 swordfish steaks

  1. In a Ziploc bag, combine the garlic, white wine, lemon juice, soy sauce, olive oil, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix just to blend. Place swordfish steaks into the marinade, and refrigerate for 1 hour, turning frequently.
  2. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  3. Grill swordfish steaks 6 minutes on each side.

June 3 - Leftovers

The kiddos and I had a big lunch at Chick-Fil-A on Thursday afternoon, and I was treated to their FREE new spicy chicken sandwich. I have to say - it far surpasses any other spicy chicken sandwich I've ever had! It has a buffalo kick to it and stands by itself without the need for any extra hot sauce. I can't wait for this to be on the menu regularly! If you like spicy stuff, go try it next week when it's officially out. I swear, it is the BEST.

By the time dinner rolled around, though, no one was particularly hungry. I wound up serving leftover fajitas to myself and Linds, Luke ate a hot dog, and the boy had a salad topped with chicken. I need to get back into the swing of things, trying new recipes...I feel like I'm in a food rut since before vacation. after we get through what's in the fridge and freezer, it's back to introducing some new stuff!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New look!

I started to get bored with the way things were looking on here (and for those who know me, I tire quickly and easily of things), so I made a change! I'm definitely diggin it, although still a bit tentative about the new look. Please leave me a comment and let me know if you like it - I think I need some feedback before I get hyped up about it :)

And be on the look out for a giveaway coming up sometime next week!

June 2 - more Best. Steaks. Ever.

Before I went grocery shopping last week, I was SO hungry for a big slab of steak - I kept thinking about the Best. Steak. Ever. recipe and decided we MUST make it stat. I picked out a 1.66 lb. porterhouse from Wegmans and figured we could all split that with some leftover. Little did I know, there wouldn't be an ounce of meat left!

This was my first time grilling a steak, so I was a bit nervous. We also had asparagus (marinated in the sauce) and mashed potatoes (I substituted my servings of potatoes for grilled marinated broccoli...the ten-year high school reunion is coming up - gotta get to work on losing the remaining baby weight!). I burned the asparagus and broccoli a little bit...not *that* bad, but still a little crisp, but the steak - oh, wow, the steak. It turned out PERFECTLY! I was quite excited that my first steak was such a huge success.

So here's the recipe again...if you haven't tried it, you absolutely must! And make sure that whichever veggies you're serving with it are marinated in the sauce,'s absolutely fabulous. Let me know if you make it and what you think :)

Best. Marinade. Ever.
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon concentrated lemon juice (or 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

  1. Place all ingredients in a large Ziploc bag. Knead bag to mix ingredients.
  2. Place steaks inside bag and marinate for up to 8 hours.
Here's how the boy's and the kiddos' plates turned out (and yes, Luke ate a nice large chunk of the steak and Linds licked her plate clean, not leaving any meat for mom or dad to pick off).
And here's my plate, sans potatoes, with the addition of broccoli.

Photo Freebies!

I found two really cool photo freebies, so if you need to print out some pictures, take advantage of these deals!

CVS is offering 50 FREE photos when you sign up for an account. You can also use the coupon code 25DAD at checkout to get an extra 25% off! And don't forget, you can have them printed to your local CVS store and not pay any shipping. I've printed stuff at CVS a bunch of times and the quality is great!

Another freebie is through York Photo! They're offering 40 free prints when you sign up for their service and if you use the code YMW4CP you get 4 cent prints!! Since I don't have an account with them, maybe I should use this to print out the 500+ photos from Luke's party?! Check out that deal below.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 1 - Fajitas

The kids and I took advantage of the Dutch Wonderland season passes my parents bought us today and took a trip out to Lancaster. It was just the three of us who went and we had a blast! It's not always easy juggling both of them in an excitement-filled venue like an amusement park, but neither threw a fit, both stayed close the whole time...I couldn't have asked for a better day.

We left the park around 4:00, so I wanted to plan on something easy for dinner. I've been in the mood for fajitas, and I knew that only required cutting up an onion and pepper, and sautéing them up with a package of Purdue chicken shortcuts. I split it into two pans - one unmarinated, and the other mixed in with Wegman's fajita seasoning (YUM!) and served them in Chi Chi's whole wheat tortillas. I also made a pot of rice, some refried beans, and guacamole to go into the tortillas, and then topped them with some cilantro (and cheese for the boy).

They tasted fantastic! Scott ate two huge ones and kept going on and on about how delicious they were, and Lindsay ate an entire one on her own! Luke is another story, but he had a huge lunch, so I should have seen the throwing of the food coming. I love the fact that dinner took a whopping 20 minutes to make and that everyone devoured it. A definite success!

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