Tip Tuesday: Things to Never Do to Your Oven

Tip Tuesday

This post could also be subtitled, “What the fricassee were you thinking?”

And, in doing this, I thought it was probably a bad idea, but I couldn’t find what I needed so…yeah.  That’s my excuse.

Last Saturday, I made artisan bread.  Yes, the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day artisan bread boule.  No, I still have not gotten past that recipe.

Well, at one point, you preheat the oven to 450 and place a broiler pan on the bottom rack of the oven to heat up (so that you will add hot water to create steam to create the crust).

The problem was I couldn’t find any of my metal lipped pans.  I could only find my Pyrex one.

Yes.  I can hear countless people banging their heads on walls or hands right now.  Really.

So, I put the pan in the oven, set the oven to 450, and after 20 minutes placed the loaves on the baking stone on the middle rack.  I poured the water into the Pyrex and thought for about a tenth of a second that all was well.



Tinkle tinkle tinkle.


But the bread turned out okay. 🙂

What epic kitchen failures have you been responsible for lately?

Meal Plan Monday: The Spring Break Edition

Meal Plan Monday

Well, today is Tuesday when I’m posting this.  It has been an interesting few days.  Sinus set in (yay!), so I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather.  I’ve worked and reworked the menu.  The Fuji chicken that has been pushed around the menu several times in the past few weeks WILL BE MADE this week.

I am not doing a full-on Spring Cleaning New Recipe challenge because the last several weeks have been spent incorporating new recipes with moderate levels of success.

Someone (a coworker, I think) asked me why I meal plan.  I’ve gone over several reasons on here before, but the one I really like for now:  you buy all of the groceries you need once during the week (except for possibly perishables).  There are no surprises because you have already figured out what you will be making.

So, here we go

Saturday:  pizza tot casserole from Love Bakes Good Cakes

Sunday:  Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef from Saucy Mommy

Monday:  We ate at Tom+Chee because I had a sore throat and wanted soup.

Tuesday:  Fuji Chicken from Mandy’s Recipe Box

Wednesday:  Bowtie Skillet Lasagna from Life in the Lofthouse

Thursday: Taco Bar

Friday:  Monterey Chicken from Life in the Lofthouse

Saturday:  grilled something

Sunday:  Easter dinner at my mom’s (I’m responsible for Yams Richard, green bean casserole, salad-y ingredients, and red velvet sheet cake)

So, that’s the week in a nutshell.  Hope you and yours have a happy, safe, and wonderful Easter week!

Meal Plan Monday: Back After a Week of Testing

Meal Plan Monday

For those of you not in the know, last week was PARCC testing.  Several other things happened this past week and a half to keep me from blogging as I wished to.   In my downtime at work (haha), I worked to plan lessons and also organize my meal planning lists.

Yes, I did plan (and mostly follow) a plan last week.  And I have a plan to go by for this week.  It’s a return of some old favorites mixed with some new fun. We have company this week; a friend of Josh’s is staying with us in between moves, so I’m trying to feed a crowd.  Here’s the plan:

Saturday:  cabbage roll casserole (from Mandy’s Recipe Box) and bread and butter

Sunday:  cream cheese and pepper jelly with crackers (raspberry jalapeno jam), crock pot chicken and dumplings (from the Slow Roasted Italian), artisan bread with rosemary, salad bar

Monday:  Root Beer Pulled Pork (from Recipe Girl) on a bun, coleslaw, chips

Tuesday:  sour cream noodle bake (from Life in the Lofthouse), green beans, leftover salad bar

Wednesday:  BBQ cups (made with leftover pulled pork) from Life in the Lofthouse, roasted veg, coleslaw

Thursday:  leftovers or Enchurritos from Mandy’s Recipe Box, chips and salsa

Friday:  Pizza Tot Casserole from Love Bakes Good Cakes, corn, wedge salad

Saturday:  Fuji Chicken and rice from Mandy’s Recipe Box

Sunday:  Monterey Chicken and Hamberger Buns from Life in the Lofthouse, broccoli, fruit

I hope y’all have a great week!

Funny Muffin Friday: Chicken-wadas

Funny Muffin Friday

This week, we tried several new recipes.  By far, Muffin’s favorite was the Ranch Chicken Enchiladas.  He dubbed them “Chicken-wadas.”  They were, to be sure, very yummy.  He ate most of half of one and some tomato, or may-does as he calls them.

They are really easy to make and taste really yummy.  I would recommend doubling the sauce; I didn’t do so, and it is my only regret with this dish.  We served them with tomato slices, chips, salsa, and an avocado that had been sliced and drizzled with fresh lemon and lime juices and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  One of Josh’s former coworkers, Ms. Glo, told him how to do this, and it has been a family favorite ever since.  Sometimes we serve avocado with lunch meat and tomato with bread or crackers for a light gourmet lunch.

But on to the Chicken-wadas.

Ranch Chicken Enchiladas (or Chicken-wadas)

Source:  Life in the Lofthouse

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup chicken broth (I used canned)

1 packet taco seasoning

3/4 cup salsa (I would double to 1 1/2 cups)

3/4 cup prepared Ranch dressing, plus more for drizzling (I would double to 1 1/2 cups)

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used a cheddar-jack combo)

8 medium flour tortillas

Place chicken breasts in slow cooker.  Top with broth and taco seasoning.  Cook on Low for 3 hours.  Remove chicken from the crock and let cool (while keeping the crock on warm).  Shred chicken and stir into the taco/seasoning broth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan (or use cooking spray).

Stir the salsa and the Ranch together until combined.  Spread a very thin layer (2-3 tablespoons) of the mixture over the bottom of the backing pan.  I used a silicone brush to spread it evenly.

Fill each tortilla by placing 1/3 cup of the drained chicken down the center.  Top with 1 tablespoon cheese and 2 tablespoons salsa ranch.  Roll up and place seam-side down in the baking pan.

Pour the remaining salsa ranch over the tortillas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake until cheese is melted and dish is heated through (about 25-30 minutes).  Note:  I made mine to the baking point and foil wrapped in the refrigerator.  My baking time was 30-35 minutes from the fridge.

Drizzle the tops with more ranch dressing.

As mentioned before, this recipe was completely Muffin Approved.

Muffin Approved

We Plan Wednesday: Upcoming Main Dishes to Try Part 1 (with Codes!)

We Plan Wednesday

If you checked out the Tip Tuesday post from yesterday, you know that I’m working to organize recipes to break up that meal plan monotony.  When I made the plan this past weekend, it was oh so easy to consider falling back down that slippery slope of the meal plan monotony rut.

But I knew I couldn’t let that happen.  Plus, I had several recipes that I had originally planned for the previous week that really needed to see the light of day.

I decided I needed to really make it easy for myself and form a list from the recipes that I had already started investigating on various blogs, to organize that list using the parameters I mentioned yesterday:  main protein, preparation, type, and website.

Here is my first (of hopefully many) of those organized, coded lists.  The code is found on the Tip Tuesday post.

Crock Pot Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwiches (LitL) CP/U, PWE, chicken

Taco Potatoes (LitL) M, PWE (Thursday meal), ground meat

Spaghetti Pie (LitL) I, PWE/WE, ground meat

Ranch Chicken Enchiladas (LitL) M, PWE, chicken

Taco Lettuce Wraps (LitL) M, WN/PWE, ground meat

Loaded Chicken and Potato Casserole (LitL) U, WE, chicken

Chicken Cheesesteak Baked Potatoes (LitL) U, PWE, chicken

Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps (LitL) U/F, PWE, ground meat

Bowtie Skillet Lasagna (LitL) I, WN, ground meat

Chicken Parmesan Bake (LitL) I, WE, chicken

Sloppy Joe Squares (LitL) U, PWE, ground meat

Fuji Chicken (MRB) A, WE, chicken

Cabbage Roll Casserole (MRB), U/E, WE, ground meat

Cheesy BBQ Chicken and Rice (MRB) U, PWE, chicken

Spaghetti, Chicken, and Bacon Dish (MRB), U/I, PWE, chicken

Enchirritos (MRB) M, PWE, ground meat (sausage)

Tater Tot Nachos (Buns in My Oven) M, WN, ground meat

King Ranch Mac and Cheese (LitL) F/M/U, PWE (possibly with spaghetti), chicken

Mexican Pizza (LitL) F/M/U, PWE, ground beef

Bean and Cheese Enchiladas (try refried beans) (T+T) M, PWE, meatless

Beef and Scallion Stir Fry (T+T) A, PWE, steak

Cashew Chicken (T+T) A, PWE, chicken

French Onion Soup (T+T) E, WE, meatless

Texas Cheese Fries (T47) U, PWE, pork

Potato Pizzas (WB) P, PWE, pepperoni

Loaded Potato and Chorizo Casserole (WB) U/M, PWE, pork

Potato and Chicken Croquettes (WB) U, WE, chicken

Marmalade-Glazed Pork Chops (WB) U, WE, pork

Pulled Pork Nachos (FFM) U/F/M, PWE, pork

Waffle Pizza Dippers (FFM) P, PWE, pepperoni

Crockpot Thai Peanut Chicken (FFM) CP/A, PWE, chicken

This is only the tip of the iceberg.  I foresee three more We Plan Wednesday or Meal Plan Monday posts on the recipes that I’ve categorized and organized so far.  And those are by far not the end of them.

What recipes are your go-to prep ahead, weeknight, or weekend-only meals?


Tip Tuesday: Organizing Recipes

Tip Tuesday

This could probably be called a pre-cursor to tomorrow’s We Plan Wednesday post.  I’ve been working on ending the meal plan monotony by listing, by blog or website, recipes that I would be interested in trying out on the LFam.  I’ve now decided to break it down further.  I’m going to make a card for each recipe with source (in code…so it looks like something top secret and special) and type (also in code).  So, today, I bring you the code (thus far).

In addition, as you will see in tomorrow’s post, I’m going to note the recipes that can be prepared start to finish on “I’m too tired to do anything but push start on the microwave” weeknights, weekend prep that can be served on a weeknight, and weekend meals only (those meals that probably would not reheat well and taste fresh but that would still be okay as leftovers).  I also will divide them by main ingredient/protein type.

My ultimate goal is to include on the cards page number in a recipe book that I will again try to start compiling as well as suggested sides, desserts, and variations.

So, without further ado, the code:

Website Codes (thus far):

LitL (Life in the Lofthouse)

MKC (Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)

MRB (Mandy’s Recipe Box)

T+T (Tide & Thyme)

MRJ (My Recipe Journey)

ITC (I Thee Cook)

S+B (Syrup and Biscuits)

SWP (Spend with Pennies)

TGW (The Girl Who Ate Everything)

LBGC (Love Bakes Good Cakes)

BA (Blue Apron)

CBK (Cutting Back Kitchen)

LWCO (Life with the Crust Off)

KC (Kleinworth & Co.)

B2 (Budget Bytes)

FC (Forkful of Comfort)

IDP (I Dig Pinterest)

T47 (Table for Seven)

WB (With a Blast)

FFM (Family Fresh Meals)

There will probably be more added later.


A (Asian)

M (Mexican, including Tex-Mex and Mexicali)

P (Pizza in all forms and derivations)

I (Italian, non-pizza)

CP (slow cooker)

U (American)

S (Southern)

F (Fusion of two or more types)

E (European–also Canadian)

R (Restaurant Copycat)

*Note:  Some recipes are classified into more than one type.


WE (Weekend Only)

WN (complete weeknight prep)

PWE (Prep on Weekends for Weeknights)

*Note:  The WE designation only holds true on work days.

Meal Plan Monday: A Week of New’uns!

Meal Plan Monday

This week I’m trying out several new recipes, including a few from Taste of Home and one originally found on Better Homes and Gardens.  I also have built in stuff so that I hopefully will have the opportunity for Thursday leftovers.  Yes, it’s the return of Thursday leftovers.  Most of the dishes this week have to be prepped on the weekend.  So, there’s only so much that can happen on the weekdays.

Here’s the meal plan!

Saturday:  slow cooker rotisserie chicken, rolls, broiled asparagus

Sunday:  Apple Pecan Pork Chops, roasted vegetables, peas, rice

Monday:  Ranch Chicken Enchiladas, avocado (with lemon, lime, salt, and pepper), chips, and salsa

Tuesday:  Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves, green beans, mashed potatoes (hopefully make-ahead on weekends)

Wednesday:  Bourbon Street Chicken, rice, veg (probably greens), fruit

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Friday:  mini pizzas, canned corn, veg (bell pepper sticks), dip

Saturday:  Smoked Kielbasa and rice, green veg, maybe a mug cake

Sunday:  Cranberry Chicken, stuffing, green veg

As usual, I plan on linking up with Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday!

What’s your plan for the week, Stan?

Cent-Saving Saturday: Swap out Cheaper Proteins in Recipes

Cent Saving Saturday

I remember when ground beef was among the cheapest meat protein you could buy pound for pound of boneless meat.

Have you priced ground beef lately?

Even the cheap “mystery chubs” of over 25% fat are in excess of $3 a pound on sale.  And I prefer to not pay more than $2 for most proteins (seafood being one of the few exceptions).

However…ground turkey has been on sale recently at Albertson’s for a great deal.  And pork loins have been on sale for a great price (See below for the great deal for this week!), so the “meat factory bee-sheen” has been working overtime.  Ground beef at super expensive prices, sayonara!  Ground pork and turkey, hola!

But this works in other ways, too.  On weeks when I don’t have pork chops in the freezer and when pork loins or chops are not on sale and are crazy expensive, I will swap it out for chicken on sale (or chicken in the freezer).  An added bonus?  You have now discovered a new variation on an old favorite meal!

And, speaking of the great pork loin sale, here are the deals of the week!


orange, red, and yellow bell peppers 99 cents each

avocados 88 cents each

Kroger gallon milk or orange juice $2.99

eggs, 18 pack $1.77

Bar S hot dogs 10/$10

7-Up and A&W 2 L 77 cents each wyb 5

Kroger frozen potatoes $1.79

Bumble Bee tuna 69 cents each

Kroger crescent rolls 10/$10 (Muffin has discovered a new-found love of these!)


seedless watermelon $3.99 (Friday-Sunday)

pork loin $1.48/pound (limit 2 with a $10 purchase)

boneless skinless chicken breasts $1.78/pound

Wolf chili 88 cents/can limit 6

Langer’s apple juice $1.88

Hershey’s and Mars single-serve candy bars 2/98 cents (limit 6)

Purex $1.99 (limit 2)

10 pound bag russet potatoes $2.99

Super 1:

General Mills cereal $1.88

John Morrell thick-sliced bacon, 3 pounds $8.77

strawberries, 2 pound package $3.88

asparagus $1.78/pound

cucmbers and green bell peppers 58 cents each

What are the deals where you are this week?

Funny Muffin Friday: Muffin’s Grocery Plan

Funny Muffin Friday

We had our second meal/grocery planning family meeting yesterday (while enjoying the fourth bad weather day of the winter…unprecedented).  And Muffin insisted on writing his own grocery list.  Among the items on the grocery list were:  apple juice, pork chops, Dr. Pepper, milk, orange juice, onions (as a nod to me since he does not like them), toys, and a cup.

What I loved is that he was so passionate about making his list!  He kept adding things that I mentioned to the list.  And when he finished, he shoved his pen into the spiral and informed that’s how you know if he’s finished with his list…if he puts the pen up.

Have a funny Friday, everyone!

Meal Plan Monday: A Week of Catch Up

Meal Plan Monday

This was an interesting week to plan because we didn’t know Josh’s work schedule until Friday for the month of March.  So, I ended making up two menu plans, one if Josh were on call and one if he weren’t.

And then, I realized that I wasn’t going to get everything made and eaten this week.  So, the meal plan had to alter a bit.

Thus, we have the week of catch up.  I had to figure out which dishes to shed to next week (and I’ll let you know next week as I deconstruct the list).  One on the list is a repeat:  the Korean (Beef).  I’m making it with pork and turkey this time, and plan to use it as lettuce wrap innards.  So…




Saturday:  sloppy joes, chips, grapes

Sunday:  baked chicken chimichangas (Culinary Couture), chips, salsa, and taco toppings

Monday:  Josh is off but on-call (hamburgers, and chips if warm out…breakfast with pancakes if not)

Tuesday:  Josh is off but on-call (whatever was not made above)

Wednesday:  Korean pork over rice (adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe), lettuce for wraps, egg rolls


Thursday:  honey sesame garlic chicken in the slow cooker (Six Sisters’ Stuff), rice, roasted asparagus

Friday:  calzones (adapted from Taste of Home’s Ham and Cheese Calzones), cut up veg, dip, corn

Saturday:  Apple Pecan Pork Chops (from Food.com), roasted veg, peas, and rice

Sunday:  Bourbon Street Chicken (from Life in the Lofthouse), rice, veg

As usual, I plan on linking up to OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday.

What’s on your plan for the week?