Of Cooking With Menus

Dear Menu-Planning-Cooking-Woman,
I have a few questions for you today.

Do you ever have days when it’s 5pm and you still don’t know
what to make for supper? Yes, I say supper.
Please tell me how in the world that is possible.
{Plan a menu far in advance}
Far in advance, hmmm, like a month? Wow.
I can’t even plan 1-2 days in advance.

How do you make that menu and stick to it?
{Just write it down and then cook it on the appointed day.}
Alrighty then, sounds easy enough, but that always leads me to this…

I have always had this burning question about your kind of people.
Are you always, really, truly, hungry for the meal
jotted down for Thursday night?

{Absolutely. If that is what’s on the menu, that is what we eat.}
Seriously? If I plan a menu, I never feel like eating tator tot casserole
on the night tator tot casserole is jotted down for.
I want Chicken Alfredo that’s slotted for Fri night
or the pizza scheduled for Sat night.
Anything but tator tot casserole.
Who wants tator tot casserole anyway?

Can you really manage to go grocery shopping
only once a month? (Your husband must be very proud)
{Yes. You just buy everything you need on that trip because the menus are all planned. You should never need anything extra because when you stick to your menu, you always have the correct ingredients.}
Wow. I was in town yesterday and we are already out of butter.

Do tell, how do you manage to get this done all the time?
{Organization. Perfect planning.}
Guess I missed that ingredient on the cooking boat.
If you haven’t figured it out already,
cooking is not my first love,
eating is.

Thank you for your time. I will give this
menu thing a shot and see if it works.
{No problem. Just remember to cook what is on the menu,
never veer to the right or to the left for Alfredo or Pizza
when it’s tator tot time.}

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Now I’m sure somewhere out there is a working woman,
reading this and thinking,
“You my girl, have no idea how nice you have it.
Stay at home mom, nothing to do but take care of a few kids.
How can you not figure out what is for dinner before 5pm?”
Yes, I know, that is precisely my question too.

And I know somewhere out there is a farm wife on Wed afternoon
planning her third meal of the day, 12th meal of the week, thinking,
“You have no clue. Not a clue whatsoever what real cooking is like.
You have no idea what life is like when there are 3 meals a day to make.
You have nothing to complain about when all you have to do
is come up with 1 meal each evening.”

Meekly whispers: I know.

I also realize there are people out there starving.
A mama in Africa would probably tell me I have no business
even asking such questions because at least I have food with which to cook.
I know. I know.

But today, this is my problem.
Or every day this is my problem.
And I can’t quit thinking about it.
And wondering how to fix it.

So now that I have been set in my place and have organization on my brain,
I am off to browse cookbooks, make grocery lists and try to figure out
what is for supper for the next 37 nights in a row.
And after I do all this organizing and whatnot,
I guarantee you I will not be hungry for whatever is on the menu for that one specific night and all my work will be down the drain.
Make it anyway you say, she says, ugh, good diet plan I guess.

Knowing me it will be 5pm tomorrow and I still won’t know what to cook.

Then I’ll call you and we’ll go out to eat.

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Of Cookies With Melty Chips

There came a day in the first month of the year,
the 3rd week of the month,
the last day of the week
that the dwelling place of the tribe of Eric
was in a disorderly state of affair.

The Mother of the tribe rose up early
to begin the task at hand.
Or maybe it was that she just arose when the young child cried
and procrastinated a few hours before beginning the task.
Never the less, she had a mind to work,
and work she finally did, for things were fairly flying.

As she spun herself in circles, the son of Eric spoke.
“Mother, we are in need of freshly baked cookies!”
Hoping to dissuade her only son she replied,
“Son, there are many cookies residing downstairs
in the depths of the freezer.
Take yourself down and fetch me a box, please.”

But he obeyed her not, only answering her command with,
“Mother, the cookies of which you speak
are not the cookies I desire.
My heart longs for cookies with many chips of chocolate,
soft and gooey, that they may melt in my mouth.”

The Mother of the tribe dropped her dust rag,
thought long and hard of her reply, and in her sweetest voice cooed,
“Son, would it please you if we would bake a pan of bars,
all gooey with chocolate, soft and melty, just like cookies.”
For this mother knew in her heart that baking bars
was so much easier then scooping cookie dough.

Yet once again her son quickly and firmly replied,
“No Mother, cookies it must be and cookies it will be,
all soft and gooey with chips that melt in your mouth!”

So the Mother, seeing the futility of the fight,
gave up the battle, for she knew in her heart that they did indeed
need chocolate chip cookies, all warm and gooey.
She did indeed feel a bit contrite you might say,
for it had been many, many moons since she had baked
chocolate chip cookies for the son.

And so, dropping the cleaning rags of which we spoke,
they began to bake the cookies.
Oh, the mixing, the dumping, the pouring and such,
of the mess, one can only imagine if one has small helpers.

First upon the tray were place small heaps of dough,
all gooey and lovely with nary a chip in sight.
The son stared wide eyed and in an astounded voice cried,
“Mother, where are the chips for which I long?”
“Oh son,” she answered, “These are my cookies,
mine and your father’s, for you see,
cookies without chips are the best kind of cookies!”
Shaking his head he disagreeably stated,
“Only cookies with chips are the bestest,
we must need put chips in the rest.”

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Baking continued and soon it was that they added chips and more chips,
licked the dough, scooped some more, baked them up,
and the children of the tribe of Eric were happy indeed.

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The Mother of the tribe was surprised at how quickly she was done.
8 dozen lay in rows with only one or two missing occasionally.

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The son of the tribe looked them over,
sized them up and down and around,
carefully checking the tops and the bottoms
for that one cookie with the mostest chips
that would be all goey and melt in your mouth.

He must have found quite a few perfect ones
for more then one was consumed that day.

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As for the chipless ones,
the Mother was happy with only a few
for her and the father of the tribe.
The less desirable they appear,
the fewer consumed to stick around with her forever.

Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 C butter
1 1/2 C White Sugar
1 1/2 C Brown Sugar
4 eggs
-cream together

2 tsp Soda
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Vanilla
2/3 C Instant vanilla pudding (or 1 box)
5 C flour
16oz Chocolate chips

-Mix well.
Bake 8-9 min @ 375

Pinterest Foods #2

Pinterest… What is your interest there?
Fashion? Do-it-yourself?
Decor? Food?

I would have to say mine is food.
I like to scan through it all but I use the food side of it
a lot more then anything else.
I find I’m lacking in creative food making,
and food making is a never ending battle here.
I thinkthinkthink then finally figure out what to make
and 10 minutes after it hits the table, it’s gone!
Only to start over again the next day.
So food it is on Pinterest.

Here are a few things I’ve tried that we liked.

Divine Bread sticks

Bread sticks… who doesn’t like bread.
These were fast, easy to make and very good.
I think next time I might add more garlic and a few other herbs.
We dipped them in marinara and the kids thought they were great.

Raising Canes Sauce

Around here everyone loves Raising Canes.
I don’t know if you have them in your area, if you do give them a try.
They only serve chicken and with it their specialty sauce.
This comes close and my guys eat it up so it must be good.

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole Recipe

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

I love twice baked potatoes but they are so much work.
This is a close 2nd that is good and quite simple to make.

Crescent Roll Recipes

Crescent Roll Recipes

Do you use Crescent Rolls?
This site has all kinds of cool uses for them.
School lunches, cinnamon rolls, and breakfast.
Scroll through the photos on her site to see all the uses.

Sugar Cookie Bars

I made these awhile ago.
They were ok, not quite what I expected but the kids ate them!
I didn’t use orange frosting, but you may! πŸ™‚

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Squares

These are good!!
The first time I made them straight from the recipe
and my guys ate them but commented negatively on the peanut butter.
Next time I just left the peanut butter out and they were a huge hit.
A lot easier then cookies, but the same great taste.

Tell me what you’ve made and like from Pinterest.

Note: All photos from the site of the recipe.
Pinterest Food post #1 here.

Snicker Doodle Bars

How many of you like Snicker doodle cookies?
How many of you like to make them?

Not me.
I don’t like baking cookies.
Would much rather make bars!
How much easier can it get?
Dump everything in a pan and throw it in the oven.
Mix, roll, scoop, plop, bake, time, bake, scoop, pan after pan after pan!

I love snicker doodle cookies but refused to make them.
Then I found these.
And all was well with the world.

Snicker Doodle Bars!

So so good. A 9×13 pan doesn’t last long here.
I often double it and put it in a big cookie sheet.

Sweet goodness yelling “Eat me up!”

And no Chocolate! I am not a chocolate fan, I know, I know, but the less chocolate it has, the better for me.

2 1/3 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C butter, softened
1 1/4 C. sugar
1/2 C packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Cinnamon filling
1 TBS sugar
1 TBS cinnamon

1 C powered sugar
1-2 TBS milk
1 tsp vanilla

Combine first 3 ingredients and set aside.
Mix butter and sugars and add eggs and vanilla.
Spread half of the batter in a 9×13.
Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over it.
Dollop the rest of the batter over that.
Bake 20-25 min @ 350*
Cool. Mix glaze and drizzle over bars.
Then make some coffee and eat them all or hide them because they will get eaten!

Trying to remember if I even put a glaze on this batch I took pictures of.
I don’t think I did because they started eating them before they were completely cool.
Make the glaze. Their better that way!


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Mini Cinnamon Rolls

This is in reference to the last item on the list from my last post.

These guys, these delicious luscious little itty bitty guys!

Stop what you are doing and make them now.
If you hurry your kids won’t be home from school yet and you can eat a whole bunch for yourself. Then when they come home, smile sweetly and hand them each one. They will love you. (and never know you ate 7 before they got in the door)

If you don’t believe me that they are good, ask the ladies that were here Tue morning how many they each ate. πŸ˜€ I’ll never tell on them. Who was counting anyway? I certainly couldn’t keep up.

They are best warm, like out of the oven warm and melting with frosting.
Ask me how I know, cause I pulled the trick with my company that I told you to do with your kids. πŸ˜€
The company got the ones that were warmed up later, they were good but couldn’t be as good as those first few. (or 7).

I did make a few extra to feed my school girls and Eric before they left.
One roll of crescents I had pinched all together to make a big square and then I baked those in a reg muffin tin. Eric thought the bigger ones were better because they were more moist. Since it took my awhile to do all the mini’s, I might do them that way next time to save time. (then I have to cut back on the number I eat!) πŸ™‚ Those mini’s are too easy to pop into your mouth!

Recipe here.
Make them!

Note: This is her photo, not mine because my kitchen was a total chaotic mess while I made them.



If you have Pinterest, what have you actually cooked, made, created, sewn or whatever off it?
Is it just a browsing, looking, wishing thing for you or do you actually use it?

I was looking thru all the recipes I pinned and was surprised to see how many I had actually made.
Most turned out good and I’ll make them again, but some are better left buried deep in the www.

I thought I’d share a few that I have made and we liked.

This was the latest thing I made. We had it Fri night and I grilled chicken to go with it. I loved it. The rest of the gang seemed to like it too.
(aside from the usual questions of, “What is this? Why isn’t it like we usually eat it? What if I don’t like it?” and all those good things)

Tuscan Pasta

Last fall I made the pumpkin coffee cake and loved it. It is super moist and I love the caramel stuff you pour over the top.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

This one is a bit of cheater. Someone posted the picture and put the recipe under it with no link back to the original poster.Β  I made it and the kids loved it.

Crock-pot Italian Chicken:
4 chicken breasts, 1 packet Zesty Italian dressing seasoning, 1 8 oz. cream cheese (softened), 2 cans cream of chicken soup; Cook on low for 4 hours. If sauce is too thick, add a little milk. Serve over pasta.

I made a bread bowl when the Hostetler family was together in TN. I’m not sure what I used from this recipe or just odds and ends I threw together. I don’t think you have to be too picky with things like this. It was good anyway. πŸ™‚

Bread bowl

One night I had everything for fajitas ready.
No tortillas.
Bad idea.
So I looked this up and made some.
They were ok.
Eric said they made the meal, but I wasn’t so crazy about them.
I don’t have a tortilla press so they were a bit thicker then I like them.


Made this for the kids last summer when we went camping one weekend.
They liked it but it was pretty sweet for me.
What kid wouldn’t like it if that was the case? πŸ™‚

Chocolate Chip dip

Ummm, made these quite awhile ago. I think they were ok, obviously they were exceptional or I would remember.

Southwest Chicken Wraps

Ham and cheese sliders.
I love these. They seem to be a popular sandwich right now.
My kids. Not so much.
“Those, those, black things. What are they? I don’t like the way they taste. They feel funny in my mouth.”
Ok, fine, everyone else make them for me!

Hand and cheese sliders

Oh-la-la I loved these.
They were rich. Yummy. Gooey and all kinds of good.
Now from a person who is not marshmallow or chocolate crazy, that’s saying a lot.
For some reason, I like them and ate at least whole halfΒ  one/forth of the pan.

Peanutbutter Marshmallow Crunch

Mini Cinni’s….
I’m sure they are sinful but I just love the way they look.
I haven’t made them yet, but plan to tomorrow morning.
We’ll let you know how they turn out….

Mini Cinnamon rolls

So tell me what all you’ve made.

Mocha Brownie dessert

Holidays are coming… faster then I’d like, but what can I do to stop them?
What goes hand and hand with a holiday?
Food is probably the biggest part of our get together.
We cook.
We eat.
We relax and let it settle.
Then we start over and do it all again.
Now if the men would just do the cooking, we’d have it made!
Since they won’t, want an easy dessert to take to your Thanksgiving or Christmas party?

Brownies, Mocha pudding, Cool whip.
Who can resist that?

My friend Larita made this and I. loved. it.
It’s very easy but tastes so good that you’d never know it was easy.

Make a 9×13 pan of brownies.
When they are cooled, mix up the pudding.

2 boxes instant Vanilla pudding
2 C. Milk
1/4 C. instant coffee granulates.

-Stir together until coffee has dissolved.
Add 8oz of Cool whip and stir together.

Make 3 layers..
crumbled brownies
Pudding Mixture
and more Cool whip.
I did 2 sets of these layers.
Use however much extra cool whip you want for the layer. I think I used a box and a half or so.

Then eat to your hearts content.
It’s pretty rich if you aren’t a big chocolate lover, so make some coffee to go with it and it’s perfect!

disclaimer: Yours will probably look better then mine because this was left over from Sunday night. The brownies had started soaking already on here. Still good tho. Too good.

happy eating!