Barn Studio of Dance

Monday, November 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of November 28th

Has everyone finished up all of those Thanksgiving leftovers?  After making turkey stock from the bones and eating turkey for 4 days straight, I decided to freeze whatever meat was leftover for future meals. 

I had planned to use the turkey in recipes that I could freeze, but this weekend was a little more hectic than I anticipated.  But now, there's plenty of turkey stock and meat in the freezer to turn into delicious meals to last us several nights in December. 

After all of that cooking last week, I decided to keep this week's menu really simple.  I just don't have it in me to spend much time in the kitchen this week. 

So, here's a few things we'll be eating this week: 


  • Spaghetti with meatsauce.  After all that turkey last week, and the chicken the week before, we're really ready for some red meat!  It seems like forever since we've had a spaghetti dinner!  I haven't decided if I'll make homemade sauce in the crock pot or just open a jar and add some veggies and meat.

  • Mashed Potato and Cauliflower Soup.  I have another 5 lb. bag of potatoes that need to be used up, so I'll make a double batch of this soup and freeze the leftovers. 

  • Breakfast for Dinner.  Bacon, eggs and toast.  Can't get much easier than this!  I'll be finishing up the eggs in the fridge before I buy the eggs I'll need for my holiday baking. 

  • BLT sandwiches, oven fries.  I'll use leftover bacon to make some quick Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches for a quick and easy dinner. 

  • Mini Barbecue Meatloaves, mashed potatoes, veggie.  We've both been in the mood for meatloaf, I'll use up the last of the bag of potatoes to serve along with the mini meatloaves. 

  • Chicken 'n' Dumpling Vegetable Soup.  I have some leftover Chicken 'n' Dumplings in the freezer.  I'll add cut the dumplings into smaller pieces, add some broth and veggies to make it into a soup. 


Handmade Christmas: Chalkboard Magnet Board Combo


Every year, my sister-in-law creates a family calendar on one of those photo sites.  Every year around this time, my she sends me a text requesting pictures of our family to include in the calendar.  While searching through a year's worth of photos, I came across a picture of a handmade gift Joe made for Grace last Christmas.  I can't believe I'm just now sharing this with you. 

Grace loves to play with the magnets on her Aunt Barb's refrigerator.  When we go to visit, the fridge is Grace's first stop when we enter the house!  The magnets keep her busy and in one spot for a while (making it much easier on me in the not-baby-proofed house)! 

Joe suggested that we get Grace some magnets to play with at our house.  My only problem with that idea is that our kitchen is so tiny.  My fridge is directly behind our cooktop stove.  I knew it would be frustrating (as well as unsafe) to have Grace playing at the fridge while I'm trying to cook dinner. 

I asked Joe if he could just attach a sheet of metal to the wall.  Simple.  Industrial.  Joe didn't like that idea though.  He was concerned that the edges would be too sharp for Grace to play around.  He suggested building a frame to put around the square sheet of metal.  I loved the idea!  Not only would that make it safe for Grace, it would also make the magnet board look finished. 

Soon after, one of us thought about painting the metal sheet with chalkboard paint.  I can't remember which one of us came up with that idea, but we both agreed it was the perfect idea to complete our project. 

I wish I would have taken step-by-step photos as Joe was building, but I was in the house baking cookies while he worked out in the garage.  Here's a photo of the finished chalk board/magnet board (Joe painted the frame to match our baseboards throughout the house) filled with the magnets Santa left under the tree: 



Joe hung the board in our living room and Grace uses it all the time.  We'll move it into her playroom when it's finished (we're not even started yet).  Actually, I'm considering making her a bigger one when her playroom is complete and moving this one into the kitchen for me! 

We really liked the idea of having a handmade gift under the tree for Grace and have plans for another project for this year.  I just hope Joe finds the time to build it.


I'll be linking this post to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:
 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Leftovers: Let's Talk Turkey

I was never a huge fan of pot pies.  Or so I thought!  In the past, my only exerience with pot pie was those individual pies from the frozen section in the supermarket.  Not a good experience, either. 

After that, the only other "pot pie" I've tasted is the kind prepared with condensed "cream of" soups and topped with biscuits.  The experience with this one was better.  While I liked the filling for the pot pie, I wasn't fond of the soggy biscuits.  The tops of the biscuits always looked great, but the underside of the biscuits would be soggy.  So, whenever I would make that dish, I would make the biscuits separately and serve on the side.  Joe would usually split the rolls and put them on the bottom of his dish and top with the chicken/veggie mixture.

After enjoying the pie crust bottom on the Loaded Mashed Potato Pie from a couple of weeks ago, I decided I wanted to attempt a homemade pot pie.  No "cream of" soup and no canned biscuits.  Like the Chicken 'n' Dumplings I made last month, I knew my friend Lisa often makes Chicken Pot Pie.  I asked her if she had a tried and true recipe from her gluten eating days.  She directed me to a recipe she has posted on her blog.  A recipe she tells me she still makes using gluten free flours. 



Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups frozen mixed veggies (corn, peas, carrots, green beans, lima beans), thawed
  • 2 cups shredded or chopped chicken, pre-cooked
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • pie crust (homemade or store bought)
Directions: 
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Cook potatoes, onions and celery in a large pot of water, until potatoes are tender.  Drain, set aside. 
  • Melt butter in a large pot.  Add flour, milk and broth, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly.
  • Stir in the salt, pepper, chicken and vegetables.  Cook until heated through. 
  • Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish.  
  • Top with pie crust.  Cut slits into the pastry to allow steam to escape.
  • Bake in over for 25-40 minutes, or until pie crust is golden brown and filling is thick and bubbly. 

Notes: 
  • Remember I said I wasn't a fan of pot pies?  Well, forget I ever said that!  This pot-pie was amazing!  We really enjoyed this dish!  We each had a large portion for dinner.  I had a smaller portion the next day for lunch and froze the rest for lunch later in the month. 
  • This recipe is a great way to use up leftovers making this a very frugal dinner! 
  • I used a simple Bisquick pie crust, the same crust I used for the Loaded Mashed Potato Pie.  Super easy for this non-baker. 

I'll be linking this post the the following blog carnivals and linky parties: 


Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of November 21st.

Grace and I were sick most of last week, so the menu plan didn't go as planned.  Leftovers, as always, were a huge help in getting us by this week, since I was in no mood to cook!

Since I'll be doing extra cooking/baking this week, to prepare for Thanksgiving, I'll be keeping this week's menu really easy. 


  • Philly Cheese Steaks, Fries, coleslaw.  Knowing that I wanted this week's menu to be easy, I picked up a box of Steak Eze from the supermarket.  I'll bake some frozen french fries, since those are Grace's favorite these days. 

  • Hearty Un-Stuffed Cabbage Soup, grilled cheese sandwiches.  There's a small bowl of this soup in the freezer, enough for a light dinner.  The grilled cheese sandwiches will make the meal a bit more filling. 


  • Tuna Club on toast with turkey bacon, veggies and dip.    I've been in the mood for a club sandwich for a while.  I think the night before Turkey Day would be a good time to serve this easy meal. 


That's it for the first part of the week!  If you want to see what we'll be eating for Thanksgiving, check out Our Thanksgiving Menu post.  It's loaded with photos and recipe links, so I thought it would be best to do a separate post. 

I'm also sharing a list of ideas for using up those Turkey Day leftovers!  If you've got leftover turkey and potatoes, you might just want to check out that post as well! 

As always, if you're looking for recipes and menu planning inspiration, follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

I was never a huge fan of pot pies.  Or so I thought!  In the past, my only exerience with pot pie was those individual pies from the frozen section in the supermarket.  Not a good experience, either. 

After that, the only other "pot pie" I've tasted is the kind prepared with condensed "cream of" soups and topped with biscuits.  The experience with this one was better.  While I liked the filling for the pot pie, I wasn't fond of the soggy biscuits.  The tops of the biscuits always looked great, but the underside of the biscuits would be soggy.  So, whenever I would make that dish, I would make the biscuits separately and serve on the side.  Joe would usually split the rolls and put them on the bottom of his dish and top with the chicken/veggie mixture.

After enjoying the pie crust bottom on the Loaded Mashed Potato Pie from a couple of weeks ago, I decided I wanted to attempt a homemade pot pie.  No "cream of" soup and no canned biscuits.  Like the Chicken 'n' Dumplings I made last month, I knew my friend Lisa often makes Chicken Pot Pie.  I asked her if she had a tried and true recipe from her gluten eating days.  She directed me to a recipe she has posted on her blog.  A recipe she tells me she still makes using gluten free flours. 



Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups frozen mixed veggies (corn, peas, carrots, green beans, lima beans), thawed
  • 2 cups shredded or chopped chicken, pre-cooked
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • pie crust (homemade or store bought)
Directions: 
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Cook potatoes, onions and celery in a large pot of water, until potatoes are tender.  Drain, set aside. 
  • Melt butter in a large pot.  Add flour, milk and broth, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly.
  • Stir in the salt, pepper, chicken and vegetables.  Cook until heated through. 
  • Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish.  
  • Top with pie crust.  Cut slits into the pastry to allow steam to escape.
  • Bake in over for 25-40 minutes, or until pie crust is golden brown and filling is thick and bubbly. 

Notes: 
  • Remember I said I wasn't a fan of pot pies?  Well, forget I ever said that!  This pot-pie was amazing!  We really enjoyed this dish!  We each had a large portion for dinner.  I had a smaller portion the next day for lunch and froze the rest for lunch later in the month. 
  • This recipe is a great way to use up leftovers making this a very frugal dinner! 
  • I used a simple Bisquick pie crust, the same crust I used for the Loaded Mashed Potato Pie.  Super easy for this non-baker. 

I'll be linking this post the the following blog carnivals and linky parties: 


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Our Thanksgiving Menu

I've never cooked a turkey.  Never.  In all of my adult years, I never had to.  Mom always cooked the turkey.  A side dish or dessert was always my contribution to dinner. 

Last year, we started a new tradition of staying home for Thanksgiving.  Just the three of us.  That may sound ordinary to many of you, but with Joe's crazy work schedule, we don't get many family meals together. 

Even on our first Thanksgiving at home, I didn't cook the turkey...Joe did.  That'll be the plan for this year, too!  I'll take care of the rest, as long as Joe cooks the turkey! 

I'm sitting here, trying to plan our Thanksgiving dinner and make a shopping list.  I thought it would be fun to share my menu with you.  I'd love for you to share your Thanksgiving menu and/or traditions with us in the comments! 

~ Our Thanksgiving Menu ~


~Turkey~

Depending on the weather, Joe will either deep fry the turkey outside
or cook it in the portable roaster in the garage. 
That will free up my small oven for anything else that needs to bake.
Last year, Joe used the roaster, since we woke up to snow on Thanksgiving. 



This is our new favorite recipe for mashed potatoes! 
I plan on making a big batch of these so we'll have plenty of leftovers so I can make
Mmmmmmm! 



I've made this for Thanksgiving as long as I can remember.  
I was still living at home when I started making this dish. 
Joe picked up a can of those crunchy onions that go into this, 
so I'm guessing the tradition will continue! 
(Note:  we don't only make it for Thanksgiving)



We made this for Thanksgiving last year and we really enjoyed it. 
It tasted like dessert!  So yummy! 
I forgot to write down the few changes we made to the recipe,
so we'll just wing it this year. 



My parents make THE BEST coleslaw!
My Mom always made coleslaw to go along with our turkey dinner. 
Over the years, the task of making the it was passed on to my Dad. 
Since I've never managed to get their recipe to turn out the same in my kitchen,
I'll be following this recipe instead.



I make this dish throughout the year.
Joe requested we add it to last year's Thanksgiving Menu. 
This replaced the corn I planned to serve as a side dish. 
I also skipped the canned biscuits. 


~ Stuffing ~

We keep this simple and just use boxed stuffing.
Like my Mom, I prepare the stuffing according to the box,
then pour into a greased casserole dish or pie plate
and bake in the oven until crisp.


~ Vegetables ~

Grace likes her peas and corn. 
As much as I try to get her to try new foods,
we haven't had much luck. 
I'll prepare a small bowl of each of her favorites
for her to enjoy with her turkey! 


~ Gravy ~

Last year, we attempted homemade gravy.
I'm not sure where we went wrong,
but we didn't care for it. 
We'll stick to the jarred stuff this year! 


~ Cranberry Sauce ~

Years ago, Joe and I made homemade cranberry sauce,
for a big family dinner. 
With all the other food we're preparing,
we'll just use canned cranberry sauce this year. 


~ Dessert ~

Since I have a lot of over-ripe bananas in the freezer,
I'll make a Chocolate Covered Banana Cake.
For the pies, (I'm thinking pumpkin and apple),
I'll rely on the great bakery department at our local market.


It probably sounds crazy to make so much food for just the three of us.  But remember, I LOVE leftovers!  We'll eat the leftovers from this meal throughout the weekend and what we don't finish will be frozen or re-created into something new!   

I'm linking this post to the following blog carnivals and linky parties: 


BBQ Seasoning Cole Slaw

Our family loves Coleslaw.  My mom used to be the coleslaw maker of the family, but one Thanksgiving, she happily handed over the coleslaw making duty over to my dad.  And although the recipe he uses was originally my Mom's, we call it Dad's Coleslaw. 

Now, I'm not sharing Dad's recipe here today.  Mainly because he doesn't follow an exact recipe.  He eyeballs the measurements (something I'm not always good at) and I just can't seem to get it right when I attempt to make it myself. 

After buying a couple of bags of coleslaw mix when it was on sale last week, I decided that one of the bags would be actually used to make coleslaw while the other would be used in Crock Pot Minestrone Soup.  Checking out my pin boards on Pinterest, I found this recipe that I pinned a while ago that I've been wanting to try.  Seemed like the perfect time since I had the already shredded cabbage in the veggie bin. 



BBQ Seasoning Cole Slaw
adapted from Mommy Hates Cooking

Ingredients:
  • 1 bag Cole Slaw Mix
  • 1/2 c. mayo
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 2 tsp. milk
  • 2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp. BBQ Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. dill weed
  • 3 Tbs. onion, finely chopped
  • pepper, to taste
Directions:
  • Pour coleslaw mix into a large bowl.
  • In another bowl, mix the remaining ingredients until well-combined.
  • Pour the mayo/sour cream mixture over the cabbage mixture and toss until completely combined. 
  • Chill before serving. 
Notes:
  • I used less dill since it's not an herb we normally use.  I'm glad I did, since the dill flavor seemed a bit overpowering to us.  But when eating the leftover coleslaw the next day, the flavors seemed to be better combined.
  • Since this is so much better the next day, I'll make sure to make it a day ahead of time from now on! 


Mashed Potato and Cauliflower Soup

I made a huge batch of mashed potatoes and cauliflower a couple of weeks ago.  They turned out fabulous, but even with both of us taking extra large portions, we still had a lot of leftover.  I didn't have anything planned for the week, that would be a good match for the leftover potatoes and I really didn't want them to go to waste.  So, I sat down looking for recipe ideas to transform those mashed potatoes into something new. 

Normally, I would head over to that recipe site that allows you to search for recipes based on the ingredients you wish to use.  This time, I decided to search Pinterest for recipes using leftover mashed potatoes.  I found lots of great options, but decided that this Rachel Ray recipe fit best with the ingredients I had on hand. 

After a few changes, to better fit our tastes, this is what I came up with:     




Mashed Potato and Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:
  • 1 Tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 4 Tbs. flour
  • 2 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 slices leftover turkey bacon, diced
  • 2 cups leftover mashed cauliflower potatoes
  • 1 cup shredded reduced fat Colby-Jack Cheese
  • croutons for garnish (optional)
Directions: 
  • In a dutch oven or soup pot, saute onions and celery in hot olive oil until tender.
  • Add butter.  When melted, stir in flour. 
  • Stir constantly until thickened.
  • Add the broth and evaporated milk and allow to simmer until thick and bubbly.
  • Season with pepper.
  • Stir in the mashed potatoes and cook until heated through. 
  • Once hot and bubbly, whisk in the shredded cheese.
  • Soup is ready when the cheese is completely melted. 
  • Ladle into soup mugs or bowls, top with croutons if desired. 

Notes:
  • This soup was amazing!  The photo above, is just a small tasting bowl.  I wanted to sample the soup to be sure it was seasoned enough.  I could have eaten the entire pot, it was that good! 
  • I chose to only use 2 slices turkey bacon, since I was pairing the soup with Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches for dinner.  More bacon certainlty wouldn't ruin the recipe, but I was completely content with the lesser amount.
  • Joe suggested that some finely diced double-smoked kielbasa, in place of the bacon, would be a tasty option as well.  I agree.    

I'll be linking this post to the following blog carnivals and linky parties: 

Wordless Wednesday ~ Leaf Pile!

Grace loves leaves.  She's fascinated by them.  If she finds a leaf (not very hard to do right now),she will crouch down and turn it over in her hands, twirl it around in her fingers by the stem, and analyze it.  It doesn't matter if they are fresh green leaves in the spring and summer, or vibrant reds, yellows and oranges of the fall.  She even loves the dried out crunchy leaves.  If she finds a leaf, it's like there's nothing else around her. 

Last year, was her first experience with a big pile leaves after we raked the yard.  She didn't get the concept of jumping into a big pile of leaves, so we just plopped her into the pile.  She loved it! 

Now that she's older, I was really looking forward to seeing her reaction to the leaves.  Last week, Joe cleaned up the yard and made a huge pile of leaves for Grace to play in.  She loved it!  She had such a great time running around the yard, jumping into the pile, crunching the leaves! 


You can't really tell by this picture, but the pile of leaves is almost as tall as Grace! 

Remmy in the background, wanting in on the fun!  We keep her on a long cable attached to the porch, so she doesn't run off and get into trouble.  She doesn't like it if Grace is beyond the reach of the cable.  We eventually hooked her walking leash on her so she could come over and investigate the pile of leaves Grace was rolling around in! 


When Grace is having this much fun, it's very hard for me to get her to look at the camera! 


She tripped and fell and landed face-first into the soft dirt.  She fell pretty hard and I thought our playtime was over.  She simply got up and said, "I alwight" and jumped right back into the pile of leaves!  



Grace had so much fun on such a beautiful afternoon!  We even saw a hot air balloon!  Grace spotted it first! 

This was just the first half of the leaves from our trees.  Joe raked some more this past weekend and we still have leaves falling from the oak trees today (our maple tree is pretty bare).  Hopefully, we'll get a few more leaf jumping days in before they are gone for good! 


I'll be linking this post to the following blog carnivals and linky parties: 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower

I love potatoes!  All forms of potatoes!  Baked, boiled, fried.....mashed!  I think if I had to live on just one food for the rest of my life, I'd probably choose potatoes.  In fact, all four years of high school, I had french fries for lunch almost every day!   

When I started the Slimmer this Summer Weightloss Challenge over the summer (which I failed terribly, but we'll save that for another post), I wanted to incorporate more vegetables to our meals.  I remembered seeing recipes for Cauliflower "Potatoes"  where mashed cauliflower would be served in place of actual potatoes. 

Since cauliflower isn't exactly my favorite veggie, I thought combining it with potatoes might be a good idea. You know what?  It was a great idea!  We both really enjoyed the cauliflower/potato combination.

They're a perfect side dish for Mini Barbecue Meat Loaves, shown in the photo below. 



Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower

Ingredients: 
  • 1 lb. potatoes, cubed
  • 1 lb. caulflower, chopped
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions: 
  • Cook potatoes with cauliflower the same as you would when making mashed potatoes.
  • Drain in colander, then add back to the same pot used to cook them.
  • Add remaining ingredients and mash with an old-fashioned manual masher or electric hand masher. 


I liked this recipe so much, that the last time I prepared them, I made a HUGE pot of these potatoes.  Even after we each ate large portions, we had plenty leftover.  I created two other meals using these leftovers:

I'll be linking this recipe to the following blog carnivals and linky parties: 

Etsy Love ~ Thanksgiving

While sitting here making my shopping list for Thanksgiving Dinner, I thought it would be fun to check out all the great Thanksgiving items over at Etsy. 

Here are a few things that really caught my eye today: 


This beautiful centerpiece would be perfect on my Thanksgiving dinner table!  I love the combination of autumn colors and realistic silk flowers!  Check out April Hiler Designs for more nature-inspired arrangements and wedding decor. 


Grace loves rubber duckies, she has a few that she plays with at every bath time!  Pink Parchment Soaps offers these cute little Thanksgiving rubber ducky soaps!  Aren't they adorable?  These would be really cute party favors for all of your dinner guests at the kiddie table! 


I just can't resist sharing this Oak Leaf and Acorn table decoration with y'all!  I think I would have a difficult time packing this away with the rest of our autumn decorations.  Check out humbleBea for some really sweet holiday items and stocking stuffers! 


So many wonderful creations to choose from over at Etsy.  I have a wish list about a mile long!  :) 







Monday, November 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of November 14th


It was really a quiet weekend around here.  After the last few busy weekends, it was nice to hang out around the house this weekend.  Well, Grace and I do that most days anyway.  The only difference is that Joe had some time off this weekend.  Aside from running a few errands on Saturday, Joe and Grace were inseparable. 

While they snuggled on the sofa, I made a large pot of chicken broth on top of the stove.  I also made a delicious Chicken Pot Pie.  My first time making a homemade pot pie!  It was really tasty! 

On Sunday, we made a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up some items that were on sale.  Even though we really didn't need anything, I just couldn't pass up 5 lbs. of potatoes for 99 cents! 

Other than that, not much else was accomplished this weekend.  But that's okay, sometimes it's nice to catch up on some family time at home!  Plus, the down-time really gave me some time to think about the menu plan for this week. 

Here's what we'll be eating for dinners this week: 


  • Spanish Chicken, white rice, broccoli.  We didn't get to this dish last week, because I kept forgetting to take the chicken out of the freezer.  This is an easy meal that makes a lot.  We always have leftovers when I make this, sometimes for several nights!  We don't mind since it's so tasty! 
  • Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup.  Over the weekend, I made chicken stock from a couple chicken frames that were taking up space in my freezer.  After picking the meat from the bones, I had enough chicken to make a pot pie and enough for a pot of soup. 

  • Hot Dogs, Molasses Baked Beans and Pierogi.  This is a meal coming straight from the freezer.  Hot dogs were on sale a while back and we picked up a couple packs for a quick meal.  I'll serve them with some baked beans that were made and frozen over the summer and a box of frozen pierogi cooked in a pan with some onions! 
  • Breakfast for Dinner.  We had this for dinner last week and it really hit the spot!  I still have a lot of eggs to use up, so I'll make an omelet with some fried potatoes and maple links.  We haven't been able to get Grace to try eggs yet, so I'll make her some pancakes and fruit. 
  • Leftover Buffet!  Between the Spanish Chicken and the Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup, there should be plenty of leftovers to choose from! 

  • 16-Bean Soup.  I discovered a mixed bag of beans in my pantry, last week.  I bought it last spring and forgot all about it.  I'm figuring if I make this over the weekend, we'll be able to enjoy the leftovers next week.  I'll need a couple "no-cooking" nights  next week as I get ready for Thanksgiving dinner. 

If you are looking for more recipes and menu planning inspiration, follow me over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and check out Menu Plan Monday

Friday, November 11, 2011

Loaded Mashed Potato Pie ~ Using Leftovers

Earlier this week, I shared a recipe for Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower.  It's our new favorite recipe for mashed potatoes.  The last time I made them, I made a lot!  I think I may have tripled the recipe, so there were a lot of leftovers.  I decided to look for different ways to serve the leftovers. 

Like any foodie, I have a long list of new recipes I want to try.  I send myself emails containing recipes of interest, I've flooded my favorites file on my AOL toolbar, and I have post-its sticking out of my collection of cookbooks.  A few of the bookmarked recipes have been tried and made again, but most of them are un-tried and forgotten about until I get a rare moment to sit and clean out all of those files or read a cookbook. 

In recent months, I've discovered Pinterest.  I love Pinterest.  But, as most of you know, it's highly addictive.  I've had to limit my pinning time to just a couple of hours a week, otherwise I could easily lose an entire day browsing through all the beautiful photos of food, crafts, home improvement ideas, etc.  

After drooling over this Potato Tart photo on Pinterest, I knew I just had to make it right away.  I didn't want this recipe to be one of the long-forgotten "must try" dishes that I tell myself I will try someday.  The fact that this recipe called for leftover mashed potatoes and I had a big bowl of just that in the fridge really helped in my decision to not tuck this recipe away to be forgotten. 

I was a bit nervous, though.  This recipe called for pie crust.  That's uncharted territory for me.  The only thing I know of pie crusts are those pre-made graham cracker crusts sold in the pudding aisle of the super-market.  And, though, I'm a pie crust newby, I knew that particular crust wasn't what I needed for this recipe. 

I quickly sent out an email to my long-time friend, Lisa.  I told her I needed help finding a pie crust recipe that would work for this savory dish.  I also told her that I'd love to use Bisquick if at all possible, since I have a big ol' jar of it on my counter.  I also told her that I don't have a rolling pin, so I needed something that I could make just using my hands.  As always, Lisa was a great help.  She pointed me to a simple pie crust recipe that turned out to be perfect for this meal.  (Thanks, Lisa!)

As for the pie itself, I halved the recipe that I found on Pinterest for two reasons:
  1. We're a small family.  I knew that Grace wouldn't touch it and that Joe and I would be left eating the entire pie. 
  2. I wasn't sure how this recipe would turn out with my lack of crust making skills. 
In halving the recipe, I adjusted the ingredient amounts a bit according to what I had in the fridge and what I thought we would like best.  (i.e. less cheese since I'm not hugely fond of cheese, no green onions since I didn't have them.)

Oh, and I keep calling it a pie.  The original recipe calls it a tart.  The original recipe also looks beautiful and worthy of the fancier name.  Plus, I used a pie pan since like the rolling pin, I don't own a tart pan (can you tell I don't bake?).  So, I called this meal Loaded Mashed Potato Pie. 



Loaded Mashed Potato Pie

Ingredients:
  • Pie Crust, homemade or store bought
  • 2 strips turkey bacon
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 heaping cup Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, warmed (or your favorite mashed potatoes)
  • 1/4 cup lite sour cream
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat Colby-Jack Cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Lightly grease a 9 inch pie plate (I used Crisco)
  • Press pie crust into plate and pierce bottom of crust with fork several times. 
  • Partially bake for 5-7 minutes.  Then allow to rest for 5 minutes. 
  • While crust is baking, cook bacon in frying pan over medium heat, until crisp.
  • Remove bacon and set aside. 
  • If needed, drain off grease.  (The brand of turkey bacon we use, isn't greasy at all, so there was nothing to drain.)
  • Add onions to the pan and cook until tender and transparent.  (Add a few drops of water as they are cooking if there isn't enough grease in the bottom of the pan.)
  • Next, you'll want to layer your pie filling.  Starting with the mashed potatoes, spread evenly in the bottom of the pie crust. 
  • Then, top the potatoes with a layer of sour cream, followed by the onion, then the bacon, and finally the cheese. 
  • Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Bake in oven for 15 minutes. 
  • Slice and serve.  Top with additional cheese or sour cream if desired. 
Notes:
  • Remember when I said halved the recipe since it would just be the two of us eating this?  Well, I wish I made 2 pies!  When dinner was finished, there was just one piece left!
  • Reheats nicely!  Since we only had one slice left, I didn't want to turn on the oven to reheat it.  I simply heated it in a frying pan on the stove.  I turned the burner on medium/low and covered with a lid and let it heat for a few minutes, checking it often. 
  • This is an excellent side dish!  We served this with chicken wings and coleslaw, I'm thinking this would also be a good served along with a bowl of soup in place of a sandwich. 
  • I loved cauliflower (from the mashed potatoes and cauliflower) in this recipe! 

I'll be linking this post to the following blog carnivals and linky parties: 


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon When You Take the North "Poll"

Joe and I are like little kids when it comes to toys.  Sometimes when we pick out toys for Grace, I wonder if we're really purchasing them for her or just because we want to play with them, too!  Although we are toy fanatics, we don't buy just anything.  A lot of thought goes into all of our purchases.  Good quality, educational toys are always at the top of our holiday shopping list!  Last year, Santa left several Melissa & Doug items under our Christmas tree, this year won't be any different! 

Melissa & Doug want you to tell them which of their educational toys you think is the best! Just click on the image below to place your vote in the North "Poll!" You'll Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon** to use at MelissaAndDoug.com just for voting!


Disclosure:  I will receive a Melissa & Doug gift code for sharing this post. 


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Etsy Love ~ Owls


I love shopping online, but I also love supporting small businesses.  I find that shopping Etsy is the easiest way for me to do both! 

Today, I want to share a few of my favorite things that I've discovered while window shopping over at Esty.com

Today's theme will be Owls because I think they are just so darn cute! 


How adorable is this little owl dress?  Hannah, from Annalies's Baby Boutique, created this lovely little dress by recycling (or upcycling) an adorable top from Gymboree!  It's a shame this isn't in Grace's size!  (Annalie's Baby Boutique ranks #1 in customer service as far as I'm concerned!  Hannah, has recently gone above and beyond in helping me with my order and I'm so very appreciative!  Thanks, Hannah!) 


Karen's shop, Bellamina, is filled with all kinds of cute owl pillows ,door stoppers, and book ends!  I think this one is my favorite!


The last item I'm sharing with you today is a Sleepy Owl Hat that would be so perfect for holiday photo shoots of your little one!  Check out Little Love's Designs for size information. 




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