It will be a very quiet weekend here at the homestead. The older boys are off on a weekend retreat and, of course, Girlie is up at school. That just leaves me, hubby and the 7 y.o. - a precursor of life to come in the not so distant future.
Hubby asked if there was anywhere I wanted to go, but I'm drawing an utter blank. I need to start scoping out some gluten-free recipes for Thankgiving. I've started my Christmas shopping (actually I've been shopping for a month) and am feeling pretty good about where I currently stand with it - so maybe wrapping gifts while the 7 y.o. is occupied on the XBox. Plus, I've got any number of items on the Big To-Do list I could tackle in prep for the holidays.
While I may not have a clue about the weekend, food will not be an issue. Thanks to this week's menu (from my Taste of Home magazines) I have plenty of leftovers to see the three of us through the weekend. Which reminds me I need to find a pancake recipe to use up the ricotta and oranges I have left over.
These Brownie Cookies are amazing. Soft. Chocolaty. Longer shelf life (which makes them good for shipping in care packages.)
I needed to take a dish to share for one of the family gatherings last weekend. I thought about pasta, but that's a pretty popular choice for sharing. Scrolling through my pins I found this Cucumber Chicken Salad, which sounded pretty good. Plus, I had everything on hand! I opted to take crackers to serve it, but it would be great on rolls, toasted Italian bread. It would also be good with leftover turkey.
My Mexican fix for the week came from this Corn Tortilla Chicken Lasagna, which I halved because I don't have room in my freezer for the extra casserole. Super simple to set up and quite tasty. I opted for black beans - not a kidney bean fan. I like to use rotisserie chicken in these kinds of recipes, but the chicken in THIS recipe would be great, too. Maybe I should make a huge batch of the shredded chicken to have on hand.
Comfort food is the name of the game these day, so when I saw Pizza Macaroni and Cheese dish, on the menu it went. I made my pizza sauce, which whips up without cooking in 10 minutes (I use regular canned diced tomatoes instead of italian and just add a smidge more basil and thyme) in place of the called-for canned sauce. It tasted really good, just like pizza, but gooier and cheesier. It does use a Deluxe Boxed Mac and Cheese, but we don't eat them. . .well ever, really. . .so I didn't bother trying to figure out a homemade version replacement this time.
We only had two pumpkins to carve this year (my 16 y.o. son carved his away from home) but I still had a decent amount of seeds to roast up. The Girlie found Pumpkin Seeds 9 Ways (click the post to expand the recipe) on Facebook. I ended up with four cups of seeds, and each recipe was set up for a cup of seeds, so I made: BBQ, Maple Bourbon, Honey Roasted, Pumpkin Pie. The instructions don't say to stir them, but I opted to do so about half way through the roasting. The Pumpkin Pie version had, what I thought was going to an overwhelming amount of All Spice, it certainly scented the house, but upon tasting, it was just right. The Honey Roasted, for me, was a little too salty but had a really good buttery crunch under the salt. My boys like the BBQ and hubby wants more bourbon in the Maple Bourbon.
A few weeks ago, I ran across some Rhubarb still hanging out in the produce section so I snagged it without have a recipe in mind for it. Supposedly you can find frozen rhubarb (and it's supposed to freeze really well.) I mean recipes call for it, so it must be out there somewhere, just not in my grocery store. I headed to Pinterest in search of a method and found Freezing Rhubarb without sugar. Couldn't be easier. I diced mine and froze them individually on sheet pans before bagging them in a big bag, rather than dividing them up. I'll make a crisp or something later this winter and see how it goes.
Too many bananas and not enough banana eaters makes it necessary for finding recipes that use bananas. Enter Banana Oat Donuts. Dang they were good! Really moist, probably due to the oats which virtually disappear in the donuts, and just banana-y enough. The recipe doesn't give the glaze instructions, so I just made a watered (milked) down version of a cream cheese frosting - 2 ounces of cream cheese, 2 cups powdered sugar (but I'm thinking 1 cup would have been just fine), 1/2 tsp vanilla and milk to make it the consistency for pipping on. Good stuff.
One of my go-to choices when we eat Chinese is Moo Shu; there's just something about the plum sauce. When I came across these Moo Shu Sloppy Joes, well I had to try them. I buy the raw tortillas from Costco, which besides being really good, are much thinner than the pre-made ones in the grocery stores. Look for the thinnest you can find. I mixed up this Brown Sugar Barbeque Sauce (which may very well become my go-to sauce.) They were really good, very reminiscent of the Chinese version I enjoy so much.
While I was cooking up this Italian Pork Skillet, I felt like we'd had a lot of pasta this week, but this was only the second dish to have it. It must have just been a saucy week. This was good. Warm. Comforting. Good flavor, maybe needed just a bit more salt. I liked the homestyle noodles, which were a bugger to find, but warmed up in no time - you don't actually cook them.
Other than some errands related to Christmas I'd like to do this weekend, and shopping for new glasses - my eye doctor informs me that, "it's down hill from here" - thanks doctor! - I have very little planned, but plenty to do.