Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Italian Mini Meat Loaves

This is a WONDERFUL meatloaf recipe to add to your collection; it comes out SO moist and full of flavor. The addition of the Classico sauce really gives it wonderful taste and texture. We will definitely use this one again! It goes great with a big Caesar salad for a delicious and satisfying meal! I am already looking forward to making this again.

Italian Mini Meat Loaves from  on AllRecipes

1 lb lean ground beef
8-oz ground mild Italian sausage
1/2 cup diced onion (finely chopped)
1 24-oz jar Classico Fresh Four Cheese sauce, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 TBS parsley
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pour about 1/3 cup of sauce (enough to cover the bottom) into a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, sausage, diced onion, half of the jar (12 ounces) of Classico Fresh Four Cheese Sauce, egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parsley. Blend well.
  3. Divide the mixture into 4 and shape into small oval loaves. Place loaves in the prepared baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the tops.
  4. Bake, uncovered, in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese.
  5. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake until the cheese has melted and is lightly browned, about 10 more minutes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lindsey and Kent - Before the Storm

Lindsey was getting fussy on Sunday (the day she turned 11 months!) after being cooped up inside most of the weekend, so I decided to take her outside for a little fresh air which she seems to love (as long as it's not too hot, or too bright out)! There was thunder cracking in the distance, and I knew a storm was coming, but figured we had at least 20 - 30 minutes we could sit and let her play in the grass and take it all in.

Kent joined us after we'd been outside for about 10 minutes, and he and Lindsey cuddled and played together while I snapped a few shots. They are adorable together. I love my two sweet redheads. :) Kent is the best big brother you could ask for, and Lindsey completely adores her "bro bro".

We decided to call it "quits" outside when the wind all of a sudden picked up and the skies got even darker. Lindsey seemed to love it though!! She put her face right into the wind and smiled as it swept over her face. That little girl has some spunk and personality, that is for sure! :)

Alfredo Pork Chops

This is such a great weeknight dinner recipe! We really, really loved this one. I adapted slightly from the original, so be sure to click the link below and see the recipe in its original form as well. See the entire Classico collection on AllRecipes here!

The boys really loved this one - simmering the chops in the sauce kept them so moist and tender, and the browning with the seasoning gives these the perfect flavor. A definite keeper, and SUPER easy to throw together in a skillet. We served this with some seasoned rice and green beans for an absolutely delicious meal.

Alfredo Pork Chops (slightly adapted) from on AllRecipes

3 - 4 4-oz pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup white wine (I used chicken broth)
1 tsp thyme (use fresh if you have it, I used ground)
1 15-oz jar Classico Fresh Alfredo Sauce

  1. Combine the salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a pie plate, or on a plate, evenly coat both sides of the pork chops with the seasoning.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chops on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.
  3. Add the wine, thyme, and Alfredo sauce to the skillet. Cover skillet with lid, reduce heat to allow sauce to stay at a low simmer. Cook 30 minutes. Remove lid and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until sauce has reduced to desired consistency.
  4. Serve pork chops with sauce spooned over top.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meal Plan Week of August 18, 2014

Welcome to another yummy week of meal plans! Have you checked out Erin's free trial for $5 Dinner Meal Plans? If you haven't - GO CHECK IT OUT! :)

Our meals this week are inspired by her menu plans:

Beef and Bean Oven Tacos

Balsamic and Brown Sugar Pork Chops, baked potatoes, steamed veggies

Chicken Fajita Melts

Hawaiian Meatloaf, garden salad, toasted rolls

Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken, steamed veggies, brown rice

Cajun Chicken Fettuccine, steamed broccoli or Caesar salad and toasted rolls


I'm thinking S'moreos might make an appearance at our house sometime this week too. YUMM.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chicken Pad Thai


This was SUPER tasty - unfortunately I was missing both the bean sprouts and peanuts, but you really need to make sure you have both, they add needed texture and depth to this recipe. I had this on my "to-make" list for weeks and really wanted to eat it - so despite missing a couple of the key ingredients we made this anyway - and my son and I absolutely devoured it. Kent actually took this cold for school lunch the next day because he liked it so much (and he never takes ANYTHING leftover for school lunch since they don't have anyway to heat things)!

I will definitely be making this again soon - and making sure I have peanuts and bean sprouts to complete this tasty dish!

Chicken Pad Thai from Flying on Jess Fuel

Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup sugar
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1 package (8 oz) rice stick noodles
4 tbsp peanut or canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup bean sprouts
1/3 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional - we don't eat cilantro so left this out)

  1. In a small bowl, mix the lime juice, rice vinegar, fish sauce, sugar and red pepper flakes together. Set aside. 
  2. Follow package directions to cook your rice noodles, and set them aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in wok or large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken and soy sauce; cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle. Place chicken mixture in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Return pan to the stove and heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and cook 2 - 3 minutes, stirring until scrambled and firm. Add in the softened noodles, sauce and chicken - stir to combine and cook for about 2 more minutes. Add in the bean sprouts and continue cooking and stirring until sprouts are no longer crisp, about 2 - 3 more minutes.
  5. Dish up into bowls or onto small plates, and serve topped with the chopped peanuts and cilantro (if desired).
Lindsey is 11 months old today! I took these on Friday night in her sock monkey costume - my little monkey girl!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Emergency Chicken

There seems to be a chicken theme going on around my blog lately... hmm... maybe I'll break out of my poultry rut eventually, but for now we're enjoying some very tasty chicken dishes around here and I'm happy to share another super easy one for your "I need dinner NOW" file. This took no time at all to whip together, and my son in particular really liked this one. It's pretty much just BBQ chicken, but the extra ingredients give the sauce a little kick and a nice consistency and texture - perfect to serve over rice should you so desire. :) A good, summery meal to pull out when time is short and bellies are hungry.

 Emergency Chicken from Aaron on AllRecipes

1 TBS butter
2/3 cup BBQ sauce (recommended: Sweet Baby Ray's)
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
2/3 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast pieces - cut into 1/2 inch strips

  1. Melt butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Stir in BBQ, Worcestershire, garlic powder and combine with the melted butter. Add in the chicken, stir to coat.
  2. Cover and allow to simmer until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle - 5 - 10 minutes. Remove the lid and spoon the sauce over the chicken. Simmer a few minutes more, or until sauce reduces to desired thickness.
  3. Serving suggestion: serve chicken and sauce over rice, or with a side of mashed potatoes and corn on the cob or a green salad.

Lindsey at 10.5 months old - it was a little too bright out for her, but I still can't get enough of that sweet face, even if she looks grumpy. :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lindsey vs. The Spaghetti

I'm pretty sure it's in the rule books somewhere that all babies must have a picture of themselves naked covered in spaghetti. If it's not in the rule books, I vote that we add it.

Lindsey is 10 months old (11 months in another week!) and this was her first encounter with spaghetti!

Lindsey's first bite. She wasn't quite sure what she thought at first - but she warmed up to it pretty quickly!

Then we gave Lindsey the spoon and let her start feeding herself...

 It didn't take long for noodles, sauce, and little pieces of meatball to start covering Lindsey's face, tummy, and tray.

Max hung out under the high chair - prime real estate for a puppy on watch for baby food droppage!

 Lindsey was really enjoying her meal!

Happy girl - full tummy and spaghetti EVERYWHERE. Straight into the tubby for this little ladybug!

And, since this generally is a food blog, here's the link to our Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs! :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Baby in Blue

I took Lindsey out for some pictures a couple weeks ago... love her little face and all the expressions she makes! She had fun picking at the grass (and trying to eat it) - and I had fun watching her in the sunshine and soaking up a few precious moments with my girl. She is 10.5 months old in these pictures - that first birthday is creeping ever closer!



Ended the day with a few snuggles and cuddles as we said goodbye to the sunshine and went inside for the night.

Menu Plan, Week of August 11, 2014

Another week of tasty dishes is coming up! This week, I'm working to try out some of the fantastic custom creations some of the AllRecipe AllStars created for the Classico campaign a little while ago (see my creation here)!

Chicken Alfredo Pasta Salad

Triple Bypass Bacon Burgers, French Fries

Saucy Shepherd's Pie

Italian Mini Meat Loaves, Caesar Salad, Garlic Cheesy Bread

Alfredo Pork Chops, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes

Carbonara with Pan Seared Scallops


Hope you have a HAPPY Monday! :)