Betti's Kitchen Table

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New Menu System

So, I was sick this past December all I kept getting was “what’s for dinner?” questions and when I would tell them, it was “how do I make that?”  So I decided that we needed a menu system so that if I was sick, or if I was at the hospital with Mom, I would just direct them to the menu box and they would find all the menus and recipes and everything that they needed to be able to make supper.  I purchased a 5×8 snap together card file and some self adhesive index tabs.  I established 10 categories for the recipes:  Beverages & Appetizers, Beef, Pork & Sausage, Chicken, Side Dishes, Salads, Desserts, Sandwiches & Burgers, Soups, Stews, & Chilis, Breads, and Exotic Meats & Seafood.  Since I could only find index cards in White, Lavender, Green, Red, Yellow, and Blue – I chose Red for Beef, Pork & Sausage, Yellow for Poultry, Green for Salads, Blue for Side Dishes, Lavender for Desserts, and White for the rest.  I plan my menus a month at a time, as I prefer to do a large shopping trip once per month and then I could just do short weekly shopping trips for produce and items that don’t have a long shelf life.  So, the photos below are examples of what I have done.   Planning a month at a time also allows me to make sure that the meals are balanced and everyone knows what is for dinner.  When I a doing my menu planing, I ask around and find out if there is anything in particular that they want for dinner.  They are able to express what they want and everyone is happy.  At this point, I do not menu plan for breakfast, lunches or snacks but I think I may have to start doing that soon.  That would at least help me to plan.  It is an idea that I am toying with for the moment but haven’t made any set plans for at this time. Once I get the menu planned, I sit down with my recipe cards and write the necessary ingredients for each recipe and side dish. Then I enter the menu and the shopping list into the computer in an excel spreadsheet.  I like excel for the list as I can sort by ingredient and consolidate duplicates.  I have specific items that I keep a check on every week; staples like tea bags and sugar, spices and milk, and that sort of thing.  I also write down spices so that I can make sure I have the spices that I need for the recipes. So, enjoy, I hope that this helps someone else as much as it helps me.  Please comment and let me know how this works for you if you decide to implement this system.  Happy Cooking!

Card File Menu 2 Menu Recipe Card 1 Recipe Card 2 Shopping List

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This recipe came from “Don’t Panic Dinner’s in the Freezer”. I currently have a gallon of this soup in my freezer and can’t wait for a cool, crisp night to heat it up and eat it! It’s quite delicious and I served it with shredded cheddar cheese, diced avocado, and sour cream as possible toppings. It was a hit!

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

 

1 Medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 T olive oil

2 lbs shredded chicken (baked or boiled)

14 oz can diced tomatoes

5 oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes (I used Mild)

1-14 oz can beef broth

1-14 oz can chicken broth

1-10 oz can tomato soup

1 ½ cans of water (use the soup can)

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning

2tsp. Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp. Tabasco

 

Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft and onions are translucent. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 – 35 minutes.  Serve with grated cheese, tortilla chips, sliced or cubed avocado, sour cream, fresh diced tomatoes, or chopped fresh cilantro.

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Caramel Apple Dump Cake

Not sure where I got the recipe for this cake – most likely it was off of Facebook – so I have no idea who to give credit to but I have made this and it is amazing. Watch out though as it is very, very rich. Pour a glass of milk and enjoy!

Caramel Apple Dump Cake

2 cans apple pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix
1jar caramel sauce
2 sticks butter melted
Whipped cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Mix caramel sauce and both cans of pie filling in the dish. Pour the cake mix over the top of the filling. Pour melted butter over top of cake mix. Bake at 350 for 50 to 60 minutes. Or till golden brown.

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Found a new love!

Went to Mobile this weekend with my mom and daughter.  Saturday we went to lunch at Olive Garden and had the soup, salad, and breadsticks.  I had the Chicken and Gnocchi soup.  O.M.Goodness!!  It was DIVINE… I made a point of saying then and there that I HAD to go home and try and duplicate this soup! I haven’t done it yet but man oh man am I going to try!  I was fabulous!  I love Gnocchi and make a Gnocchi and Spinach dish in a Gorgonzola sauce that is inspired by Rachel Ray. I hoe you will enjoy this as much as my family does!

Ingredients

2 packages shelf stable Gnocchi

1 large bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

4 cloves garlic pressed

2 cups chicken stock

8 ounces of crumbled Gorgonzola

1 shallot, minced

 3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup milk or cream

1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg

3 ounces Pine nuts

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.  While water is coming to a boil, melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Sauté the shallots until translucent and soft. Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring with a whisk to keep it smooth.  When all the milk is incorporated, grate 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg over the sauce.  Add chicken stock a little at a time, stirring after each addition, until all the chicken stock is added.  Squeeze the spinach dry in a clean kitchen towel (I use flour sack towels for this) and add this to the sauce. Press the garlic cloves into the sauce and stir till combined. Salt the boiling water and add the Gnocchi.  When the Gnocchi floats to the top, it is done.  DO NOT overcook the Gnocchi; it will be tough ad rubbery. Scoop the cooked Gnocchi out of the water with a Spider or a handheld strainer and place in a colander.  When al the Gnocchi is cooked and the sauce is thick, salt and pepper the sauce to taste then stir in the Gorgonzola.  Stir till the Gorgonzola is melted, then add the Gnocchi.  Stir to coat the Gnocchi and transfer to a serving platter.  Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet for about four minutes, tossing frequently.  Sprinkle the pine nuts over the Gnocchi and enjoy! This makes a great meatless dinner!

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Disclaimer etc…

A dear friend of mine sent me a couple of links today so I am going to go ahead and post this here.  Many of my recipes are either inspired by or adapted from any one of several chefs: Anne Burrell, Giada De Laurentis, Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Alton Brown, Clare Robinson, and I could go on.  If it is a recipe that I have not made a ton of changes to, or even if it is, I will state where I got it from and give credit where credit is due.  I do have some recipes that are totally my own creation.  I read lots of different cookbooks and watch lots of cooking shows.  Sometimes I don’t remember where I got an idea for a dish from.  If I have a citation I will use it.  If you see something on my blog that should have a citation, please do not hesitate to let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due.  Happy Cooking!

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First Post

Here it is! Now if I can figure out the rest of it!  HA!  Happy Cooking!

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