Tag Archives: Cooking Light

What’s Cookin’?

Life has de-railed my weekly menu planner series.  Between work, back-to-school, ballet classes, swimming lessons, weird food aversions, and evening fatigue, my family is lucky to get a home-cooked meal 2-3 times a week these days, instead of my goal of at least 5 days per week.  (We should be buying stock in Jason’s Deli, Chipotle and Panera….)  

But, I love that spark! readers enjoy the recipes and dinner inspiration.  So, these days, instead of full menu planners, I may just pop in here and let you know what my 2-3 pre-planned weekly meals will be.   Mini inspiration is better than no inspiration at all, right?  🙂

This week, I shopped for ingredients for 3 simple, pre-planned meals:

1. Cooking Light White Cheese and Sausage Bake.  I made this for dear friends who just had a baby girl and bought extra ingredients for a batch for us.  It’s simple and delicious and really only requires a few store-bought ingredients because you can substitute most any pasta for the ziti.  It looks kind of like this when it’s done:

{Image from Emily Bites}

2. Easiest Ever Crockpot BBQ Chicken from The Picky Apple on potato buns with cole slaw.  Ok, this is seriously the best recipe ever and only requires 1-2 pounds of chicken breasts and a bottle of BBQ sauce.  If I have it, I also add a thinly sliced sweet onion (Vidalia is best) first, then the (raw) chicken, then the sauce.  I also have found that I strongly prefer the thick, hickory BBQ sauce (generic brand tastes best for some reason!).  The Carolina-style sauce is too runny for this recipe.  When it’s done, just fork shred and let it sit in the crockpot until you are ready to eat.  You can start this as late as 1pm and still have it on the table for din-din.  So yummy and delish!

3. Cooking Light Quick Corn-Chicken Chowder.   Another easy recipe that requires only a few store-bought items.  I often use leftover rotisserie or grilled chicken, or even canned white meat chicken in this soup, so I just have to pick up a jalapeno pepper and a can of creamed corn at the store.  I usually have the rest of the ingredients on-hand.  This is a fall and winter fave around here!

Quick Chicken-Corn Chowder

I am hoping to be back later in the week with a post on updates around the house.  It’s been rainy and hard to snap any decent pictures, but things are a-changin’ around here.  I posted a recent development on the blog’s Facebook page last night — check it out and become a follower while you are there!

Happy cooking!

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Weekly Menu

Sorry for the radio silence.  Things in real life have been busy!  I stuck with all “tried and true” recipes for this week.  Last week for hot soup!  Here in Richmond, Virginia, we are on the precipice of leaving hot soups behind and starting pasta salad and sweet iced tea season. 
Here’s what’s for dinner around here this week:

Sunday: Cooking Light Country-Fried Steak with Mushroom Gravy, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans.

Country-Fried Steak with Mushroom Gravy Recipe

Monday:  Giada de Laurentiis Quick and Spicy Tomato Soup, spinach salad with raw veggies and dijon balsamic (literally dijon mustard whisked with balsamic vinegar to desired consistency, salt & pepper).

Picture of Quick and Spicy Tomato Soup Recipe

Tuesday: Cooking Light Tex-Mex Calzones (using 1/2 package of hot turkey sausage), sliced vine-ripe tomatoes with chopped cilantro, salt and pepper.

Tex-Mex Calzones Recipe

Wednesday: Cooking Light Orecchiette with Sausage, Peppers and Feta (using the other 1/2 of the hot turkey sausage package), Caesar Salad.

Thursday: Evening Swimming Lessons, Dinner Out.

Friday: Pizza Adobe (take-off on Jason’s Deli version, which is not on the menu anymore but sometimes they will make it if you grovel ask).

Ada’s Pizza Adobe: Put thin-crust refrigerated pizza dough in the oven (preferably on a pizza stone, but a baking sheet works too) at 400 degrees for about 3 mins; take out of oven and cover the partially-cooked crust with about 1/2 cup thick tomato-based BBQ sauce, sprinkle about 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (confession: sometimes I use canned white meat packed in water – I just drain and fork-shred), cover with shredded cheddar cheese, top with red onions (sliced in rings) and jarred sliced jalapeno peppers to taste, and put back into the oven for about 9 mins (until cheese is melted and pizza crust is slightly browned).

Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner — Omlettes filled with Desert Pepper Black Bean Dip, shredded cheddar cheese and banana peppers, and topped with salsa verde; Trader Joe’s Triple Berry Muffins, and sliced strawberries with a dash of balsamic vinegar.

Weekly Menu

Here’s what’s for dinner over here this week:

Sunday: Cooking Light Corn and Shrimp Chowder, cheddar and banana pepper quesadillas, sliced fresh vine ripe tomatoes with chopped cilantro, salt, pepper and a dash of EVOO.

Southwest Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Monday: New Recipe!  Rachael Ray’s Vegetable Ravioli Lasagna, Caesar Salad.

Tuesday: Cooking Light Grilled Spinach and Turkey Burger with Goat Cheese Spread, Alexia Spicy Sweet Potato Fries.

Spicy Sweet Potato Julienne Fries

Wednesday: New Recipe!  Restaurant Style Chinese Chicken and Broccoli, with Asian Cabbage Salad (shredded Napa cabbage, sliced red bell pepper, sliced almonds and cilantro, dressing of soy sauce, dark sesame oil, rice vinegar and red pepper flakes).

{Photo Courtesy of Dinner: A Love Story}

Thursday: Evening Swimming Lessons, Eat Out.

Friday: Breakfast for Dinner — Eggs Made to Order, Giada de Laurentiis’ Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes, Salad with Mandarin Oranges, Pecans, Feta and Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Picture of Ricotta Pancakes Recipe

Saturday: Amy’s Spinach & Tomato Pizza, Cooking Light Tomato Basil Soup.

Tomato-Basil Soup

{New Weekly} Menu Planner

Because I get so much inspiration from menu planners on other blogs, I thought that I would start posting my menu planner on a weekly basis and hopefully give you some new ideas and inspiration for your dinner table.

My menu goals:
1. Food that my 3 year old will eat or at least try,
2. At least one meatless entree a week,
3. A fruit and/or vegetable with every meal and
4. Limit packaged foods.

Sunday: Cooking Light Summer Corn and White Bean Soup (I used half a ham steak and Trader Joe’s frozen sweet corn), whole wheat bread, spinach salad with balsamic dijon vinaigrette, blue cheese, veggies and craisins.

Summer Corn and White Bean Soup

Monday: New Recipe! Gnocchi with Light Bolognese Sauce (found on Alyson’s blog Richmond Real Estate Mom), Romaine Ceasar Salad.

Tuesday: New Recipe! Cooking Light Orecchiette with Cannellini Beans and Spinach, Veggie Platter (carrots, snap peas, red peppers, cucumbers and Ranch dressing diluted with lemon juice).

Wednesday: Cooking Light Mexican Black Bean and Spinach Pizza (I use fresh baby spinach instead of frozen), Fruit Salad with dollop of Chobani lemon nonfat Greek yogurt.

Lemon 0% Greek Yogurt

Thursday: Evening Swimming Lessons, Eat Out.

Friday: Grilled Organic Chicken over Trader Joe’s Arugula Parmesan Ravioli with Arrabiata Sauce, Roasted Asparagus.

trader joe's arugula parmesan ravioli

Saturday: Out of Town.

Project Big Girl Room Reveal coming tomorrow.  Pictures are taken and post is being put together.  I can’t wait to share it with you! 

Random Things I am Liking Lately

Happy Friday!  Tomorrow I am off on summer vacay, but if I get my act together, you will have a week of mini-posts next week.

Are you ready for my most recent set of randoms?

{As Rachel Zoe would say, “This is so major”; Phlox & Coral Coat, Anthropologie}

{This GORGEOUS oversized painting creates an ocean view wherever you live.  This is on my Christmas list.  If I don’t treat myself beforehand!  Blue Comes Through, Painting by Alice Dalton Brown, Acacia Catalog}

{I love these fun kids storage bins!  There are 7 different animal designs. 3 Sprout Organic Storage Bins, Amazon}

{These vintage map reproduction giclees are the brain child of the divine Suzanne Kasler for Ballard Designs.  There is something so comforting about the certainty of a map.  Suzanne Kasler World Map Giclee, Ballard Designs}

{I just bought this lovely and delicate bracelet and I absolutely love it layered with other bangles.  And the best part?  It’s only $29!  Clover Bangle, Stella & Dot}

{There are only a few hot soups good enough to make during the sizzling days of summer, and this is definitely one of them!  It’s so easy and super delicious.  Summer Corn and White Bean Soup, Cooking Light}

{This is such a great piece for the Fall, and it comes in 5 smashing colors. Ikat Print Scarf, Boden}

{I must admit that I am slightly obsessed with hiding tissue boxes.  I want one of these monogrammed tissue box covers for every room in our house.  At $14 and free shipping, why not?!  Tissue Box Cover, Pottery Barn}

Have a FABULOUS weekend!

Random Things I am Liking Lately

What’s on my radar lately:

I am totally smitten with this bedroom.  I love the neutral colors, wall-to-wall seagrass rug, fabulous fireplace and amazing vertical bookshelf.  Perfect!

{Image courtesy of Laura Day via  Two Ellies}

This ain’t your mama’s one-piece.  Lotsa coverage with some va-va-voom.  Love the name too: the Accomodating Maillot (as in, for my big wide a$&).  🙂

Life is a parade — don’t you love this Ditsy Pennants Pillow?  It would look perfect in a nursery, kids room or a beach house.    So adorbs.

Cutting for Stone is an amazing epic journey.   A moving and unforgettable story that I didn’t want to end.  Read it. 

I saw this fun tray at my local Target and thought it was a cute, kitschy take on the “Keep Calm and Carry On” print:

This Antipasto-Style Penne is an amazing summer lunch or dinner.  I substituted diced ham for the proscuitto and it was equally as good.  It’s sooooo yummy and a good way to use up pesto before it goes bad.

I love body lotion and I have found a new fave: Heavenly Flowers by Victoria’s Secret.  It smells like a Michael Kors or D&G summer fragrance for a fraction of the price.  A whole bottle is on sale right now for $9.99!

With the humidity during the summers in Richmond, I am always looking for a good hair product to keep the “fly-aways” to a minimum.  My hair dresser came to my rescue last week — this shine spray by It’s a 10 does everything and smells divine too!

 

Summer Recipe Round-Up

It’s that wonderful time of year when we are all grilling and pot-lucking, and always looking for some new inspiration.  Here are a few of my recent summer faves — I dare you to try to share!  They are all really easy and fast (the only way I cook and bake!).  Click on the links for the recipes.

Fail Proof App: Bobby’s Pimento Cheese

This recipe is from one of Paula Deen’s sons, Bobby.  I love serving it with water crackers and pita chips.  Delish.

So Yummy Salad: Pizza Panzanella Salad

Salad with pizza crust?  Yes please.

Mouth-Watering Main Dishes:

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese Spread

This is a Cooking Light recipe, so you can eat 2 and not feel so bad!  The burgers grill up so tender and moist — they are divine!

Chipotle Sloppy Joes

Although this isn’t made on the grill, it’s easy and super yummy.  We actually eat it on hot dog buns — it’s less sloppy and equally as tasty!

Delish Desserts: Frozen Lemonade Pie

One of my BFFs recommended this pie for our Memorial Day barbeque and it was a smashing hit.   It is amazingly easy, refreshing and fabulous.  You must try this!

Banana Split Cake

A to-die-for Paula Deen dessert!  I top this one with maraschino cherries and chocolate sauce.

What are your go-to summer recipes?