Sep 20, 2012

September 20th - September 26th

This week I am in the mood to make some Italian recipes, so on Saturday I plan to make a batch of Red Sauce that can be used in several recipes throughout the week. Red sauce is very easy to make, inexpensive, and very versatile! It is a great addition to just about any recipe.

If you've read some of my other posts you may remember we were redecorating our living room. Madison took our old furniture to college, so we got some new pieces and have been putting it together slowly but surely. I'm so happy with how it is coming together and wanted to share the before and after pictures.  I am also happy Madison had room for some of the old furniture and is able to continue to enjoy it. She pretty much grew up with that furniture - we've had it for 15 years! Even with all those years of use (abuse), it held up great and is working out nicely for her in her new dorm. Hopefully it holds up for a few more years for her!

This was taken right after we moved back in after making all the 2004 hurricane repairs  - we did hang the picture back then, but pretty much everything else stayed the same over the years.

It finally looks like someone actually lives here!! This room always looked like we had just moved. It was plain with nothing to give it height or texture. It was the room in the house that was kind of neglected, but also the first thing you see when you walk in.  We still need to hang some family photos and artwork, and I'm working on Don for crown molding...  but that will probably be another 7 years haha

Thursday - Leftover night! I still have a few leftovers in the fridge I need to use up before they go to waste. We ended up going out to eat last night. I took my sweet niece to her riding lesson and didn't get home until late, so we met up with her mom and dad at Outback and took advantage of their 4 course meal for $15. Don and I shared the meal - it was delish.

Friday - Margarita Pork Chops with Cauliflower Garlic Mash and steamed green beans - see recipes below and note this does require some marinade time - preferably overnight.

Saturday - Spaghetti and Meatballs with a salad (Use 2-3 cups of sauce and reserve leftover for later in the week)

Sunday - Eggplant Lasagna with a salad. I have not tried this recipe before, but it sounds delicious! Use 4 cups of the leftover sauce to use in this recipe instead of buying jarred sauce

Monday - Sundried Tomato Sausage over Roasted Vegetable Orzo (see recipe below)

Tuesday - Chicken Parm over noodles.  Use remaining sauce with this recipe (see recipe below). Chicken breasts are not on sale at Publix this week - I have some in the freezer from when I stocked up while they were on sale. If you don't have any on hand - I recommend taking a trip to Sam's Club or the like and buy in bulk. They are usually around 1.99/lb at Sam's club.

Wednesday - leftovers (I'm sure I'll have enough leftovers for Wednesday and Thursday!)

Margarita Pork Chops
1 1/2 cups bottled margarita mix
2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Put everything into a large (gallon sized) freezer bag. Add your pork chops - about 2 to 3 lbs of the Center Cut Pork Rib Chops that are on sale for $3.49/lb.  Be careful the bones don't puncture the bag.  Put in the fridge overnight.  TIP:  Make up another bag with all the same ingredients and freeze it! That way you can take advantage of this great sale on the pork!
When ready to cook, turn on your oven broiler to hi and let pre-heat a few minutes.  Remove chops from marinade and place on foil lined baking sheet. Brush with extra marinade.  Place chops under the broiler for 5 minutes (Be sure to leave your oven door ajar because you are broiling, and WATCH these closely!), then remove from oven and turn over - baste again then back in the oven they go for another 5 minutes under the broiler with the oven door ajar.  Throw out the rest of the marinade.  Remove the chops from the oven and turn over again - put back in oven for 5 more minutes (oven door ajar).  Remove from oven (they should be done - unless they are extra thick, but just to be sure, check with an instant read thermometer to make sure they are at least 140 degrees - Pork is safe to eat at between 140-145 degrees - it's true. Please don't overcook these or you will be sad when you break a tooth trying to eat them) Let rest about 10 minutes before serving.  These are also delicious cooked on a grill too!

Garlic Cauliflower Mash (low-carb alternative to garlic mashed potatoes)
1 medium head of cauliflower
1 tbsp cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of freshly minced garlic (or more to taste)
1/8 teaspoon chicken base
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
butter and chopped fresh chives for garnish

Cut cauliflower into small pieces and place in boiling water for about 5-6 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Drain well (do not cool), and pat dry with paper towels. In a blender or food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken base, and pepper until smooth. An immersion blender works well if you have one. Garnish with chives and butter and serve hot.

Sundried Tomato Sausage over Roasted Vegetable Orzo
1 package fully cooked al Fresco Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausage, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 summer squash, sliced
  • 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 pound portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch white sugar
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chicken base
  • 1/2 cup Sake or dry white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 8 ounces orzo pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. I like to do all my slicing and chopping while the oven is pre-heating. Place zucchini, squash, onions, mushrooms and sausage on a foil lined baking sheet. Top with garlic, olive oil, and sugar and toss gently to coat sausage and veges. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and make sure contents are in a single layer on baking sheet. Roast until veges are tender - about 20-25 mins.

While the veges are roasting, melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Stir in orzo and saute until lightly browned. Mix the water, chicken base, and wine and slowly add to the orzo; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed - about 15-20 mins.. Mix in roasted veges and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste and ENJOY!

Chicken Parmesan over noodles
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1 cup dry bread crumbs
4 slices mozzarella cheese (or use shredded cheese if you prefer)
2-3 cups red sauce (reserved from earlier in the week)
noodles of your choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay out three shallow dishes (I use paper plates for easier clean-up). Measure the flour into one, eggs into another, and bread crumbs into the third dish. Turn each chicken breast over and pull apart to level it out a bit for even cooking. Flatten out the thickest part by pressing down on it with your hand. Be sure your chicken is dry (I like to let mine sit out on paper towels for about 30 mins before using, but if you don't have that time you can pat dry with a paper towel). Coat each breast with flour, dip in egg mixture, and then coat with bread crumbs. Place coated chicken in a greased baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 15 mins. Then pour red sauce evenly over each piece of chicken and continue baking for about 10 mins. or until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken. Cover chicken with cheese and bake until melted. While chicken is baking be sure to cook your noodles according to the directions on the package. When chicken is done, serve over noodles and enjoy!

Shopping List

2 large eggplants
Salad (Fresh Express is BOGO Free this week at Publix)
1 medium head of cauliflower
chives (can use dried if you prefer)
1 zucchini
1 summer squash
1 large red onion
1 white onion
1 lb portobello mushrooms
oregano (can use dried)
thyme (can use dried)
green beans

Butter (Publix brand butter is on sale this week, so it is a good time to buy at 2 for $5)
1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese
4 slices Mozzarella Cheese (or add another cup to the shredded)
cream cheese

Canned goods
12 oz tomato paste (basil, garlic, and oregano flavor)
28 oz tomato sauce (basil, garlic, and oregano flavor)
28 oz diced tomatoes (basil, garlic, and oregano flavor)

Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs (need at least 3 cups)
Olive Oil (I like Lucini Brand)
chicken base (you'll find this near the chicken broth)

1.5 cups bottled margarita mix
1/2 cup Sake or any Dry White Wine
8 ozs Orzo Pasta
8 oz pasta of your choice for the chicken parm
8 oz pasta of your choice for the spaghetti and meatballs

1 package fully cooked package al Fresco fully cooked Sundried Tomato chicken sausage
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (not on sale at Publix this week - purchase at Sam's club or the like if possible to save $$)
3 lbs ground round
4 - center cut pork rib chops (on sale for $3.49/lb)

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