Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Mom, What's for Dinner?"

There are two questions that nearly every child asks:  "Are we there yet?" when you are on a trip, and "Mom, what's for dinner?"  While I can't help you with the first question, I can definitely help you on the second question.

In my cookbook (P. 17-18), I have ten weeks of main-dish menu ideas (plus a list of 26 soup recipes for when the weather is cold).

For example, here is the list of recipes for Week 5:

1. Lemon Chicken
2. Shepherd's Pie
3. Grilled Salmon
4. Beef Enchiladas
5. Pizza
6. Thai Red Curry
7. Sweet and Sour Pork

I list the seven menu items and keep this paper on the side of the fridge so our kids can see it any time they wonder what is for dinner.  I mix up the order sometimes for flexibility when my schedule doesn't permit fixing a certain recipe or when I have meat thawed out for another recipe.  My sister-in-law has a cute black erasable board and she writes her dinner plan on it with a white or fluorescent erasable  marker.  It looks like the kind of board you might see on an easel at a restaurant with the daily special written on it.

A while ago when I was at Wal-Mart, I bought a grocery list notepad with a magnet on the back.  I loved it because it saved shopping time--from walking back and forth across the store due to a disorganized list.  Each grocery list had headings with categories provided (like "produce" and "meat").  Of course, you don't have to buy a grocery list notepad and  it works to simply write the categories or grocery store aisle numbers on a piece of paper.  Another idea is to select a grocery list template by going to the Microsoft Windows "Start" button (this is the one that is shaped like a circle and has the wavy-looking window on it).  I type in "grocery list" in the search bar at the bottom and print out a grocery list with color, for fun.

I enjoy having a menu plan.  It reduces stress in my day.  It reduces the contention that can result when the family is hungry and there is no dinner plan.  Life is busy enough without wondering what to cook for dinner. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Review of Mom's Place Gluten-Free Pound Cake, Brownies, and Wonderful White Bread Mix

Mom's Place Gluten-Free has won my heart for their amazing mixes.  I had the opportunity to sample three of their products this last week, and they are DELICIOUS!!

Buttery Pound Cake Mix was smooth and silky with a perfect texture and great flavor.  It stayed moist for days.

Mom's Best Brownie Mix is a great solution for my chocolate craving.  I still hold to the idea that chocolate is an anti-oxidant...don't you? :)  Yum!  These are wonderful.

Wonderful White Bread Mix is sooo good that you kind of feel like you are cheating and eating bread with gluten...and you're not!!  It has a beautiful shape and a soft texture.

I suppose you can tell that I am excited about these tasty products...and I am rating them at 10 out of 10. Gluten-free mixes can be quite expensive, yet these are priced lower than the other brands of mixes I have tried.

Check out their great website and especially their "Gluten-Free Kids" tab with all of their fun ideas.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Gluten-free Chex Party Mix with Bread Bites

The holidays are coming and we are getting excited.  My daughter and I decided to make Chex Party Mix.  We used some slices of Whole Grain Bread (see previous blog post from a few weeks ago for recipe) to make a substitute for the bagel chips that the recipe normally calls for on the side of the Rice Chex box.  My daughter named them "Bread Bites."  They aren't exactly like a bagel chip, but it was worth a try. :)

We adapted the recipe a few other ways, including the obvious choice to leave out the Wheat Chex and substitute for gluten-free Chex.  Perhaps it would be a good idea to reduce the amount of the recipe by half or thirds to have the right quantity for your family.  We made the full batch and now we need to plan a party so we will have other people here to help us eat it!

Gluten-free Chex Party Mix with Bread Bites

3 cups Corn Chex cereal
6 cups Rice Chex cereal
1 cup mixed nuts (we used cashews)
1 cup bite-size gluten-free pretzels
1 cup "bread bites" with garlic salt and butter added
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (the 1 1/2 teaspoons called for is too salty for us)
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Step 1:  Prepare bread bites by spreading butter and sprinkling garlic salt on bread slices.  Slice bread into small circles or cubes and place on cookie sheet.  Broil in oven for 1-3 minutes, watching carefully until toasted.  In large microwavable bowl, mix cereal, nuts, gluten-free pretzels, and "bread bites":  set aside.

Step 2:  In small microwavable bowl (I like using a glass measuring cup with tall sides covered with a paper towel), microwave butter on High for about 40 seconds or until melted.  Stir in seasonings.  Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.

Step 3:  Microwave uncovered on High 5 to 6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Recipe for Southwestern Salad

This salad is fun because it is a little bit different than the "norm" since it has a variety of flavors in one bite.  I love the mango salsa and the slight barbeque flavor.  Yum!

Southwestern Salad

1 bag mixed salad greens
½ cup black beans
½ cup chopped tomatoes
¼ cup chopped green onions
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup cooked corn, drained
mango salsa or chopped mango
1 cup diced cooked chicken
cumin, to taste
tortilla chips

1 cup ranch dressing
2 tablespoons gluten-free barbeque sauce

1.      To make the salad, place salad greens, beans, tomatoes, green onions, cheese, corn, mango salsa,  chicken, tortilla chips, cumin and salt (to taste)  in a large bowl.
2.      To make the dressing, combine ranch dressing and barbecue sauce in a small bowl.
Serves 6 to 8

(This recipe is on P. 72 in my cookbook.)