Monday, September 28, 2009

100 Menus Giveaway (closed)

update: Giveaway is now closed. Thanks everyone!

I have two great things going this week: my one hundredth menu post, and the final week of the Beef. It's What's For Dinner Wednesdays Challenge. I have to say that it's been fun to participate in the BIWFD Challenge, and I've learned a bit more about beef after surfing around on their site (like this very handy little chart). As part of the final week of the Challenge, and to celebrate my 100th menu post, I'm giving away a grilling gift bag to one of my lucky readers, courtesy of the BIWFD people.

The grilling gift bag includes a copy of The Healthy Beef Cookbook -

a set of four Sur La Table Mini-Steak Thermometers -

a set of Crate & Barrel Grilling Tools, including a cute carrying bag -

plus a few more goodies! (As a thank you for being an ambassador for the Challenge, I was sent one of the grilling gift bags as well - that's what I used for the above photos. Your gift bag will be un-used and un-photographed :-)

Ready for the details? There will be three ways to enter the giveaway -
  1. Leave a comment on this post that simply says "where's the beef?"
  2. Blog about the giveaway on your blog, link to here, and then leave a comment on this post to let me know. (Be sure to include your blog address)
  3. Visit the recipe finder on then leave a comment on this post and tell me which yummy recipe has caught your eye.
The giveaway will be open until Friday, October 2 at Noon (MST). US residents only, please. Winner will be chosen using and announced Saturday morning. Good luck!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Menu Week 100 & A Giveaway

This is my 100th blogged menu! One hundred menus? Are you kidding me? That's a lot of dinners to figure out. I wanted to celebrate this event with a giveaway and as I was deciding what to include in the giveaway, I received an email that helped me make up my mind! For now, all I'm posting is my weekly menu. Check back tomorrow for the giveaway details!

Monday - Chicken Cordon Bleu Strata
Tuesday - Cuban Chicken Salad (you have to scroll down a bit for the recipe)
Wednesday - Beef Bourguingnonne
Thursday - Panzanella & Sweet Corn Puree
Friday - eat out
Saturday - roasted vegetable pizzas (testing out a new crust recipe this week)
Sunday - Creamy Vegetable Soup & rolls

Need more menu ideas? Check out Menu Plan Monday @

Friday, September 25, 2009

Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes

This week's recipe for the Beef. It's What's For Dinner Wednesdays challenge was Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes.

I think that Pot Roast is a tough recipe to recommend to anyone. Most people already have a pot roast recipe that they love, and prefer over all others. I am that way. It was not easy for me to take a lovely little pot roast and put it into a new recipe when I knew perfectly well that I had a roast recipe that my family already loved.

This roast did turn out great though. Here's what we liked about it:
  • The fresh thyme - loved the flavor. Nothing beats fresh herbs.
  • The addition of apple cider to the cooking liquids (which then later becomes gravy.)
  • The quick gravy prep at the end. (I would label it as no-fail gravy, but as soon as I do that then I'll get an angry email from someone who failed at the gravy.)
From the start I had a gut feeling that the Maple Sweet Potatoes would not be a hit, so I had a back up plan ready to go. It added to my time spent in the kitchen, but in the end I was glad I had the regular mashed potatoes ready and warm on the stove. (Do you ever do that? Try out a new recipe and have a culinary contingency plan? I confess, I occasionally do that.)

Next time I make this pot roast (yes, there will be a next time) I'll skip the Maple Sweet Potatoes and just roast some sweet potato chunks in the oven with some salt, pepper and a little olive oil- mouth-watering and so very fall-esque.

Before I end my post, I just have to say that I laughed when I uploaded the photo. Mr. Dinner's on Me plated this up for me while I fed the toddler. Hello plate-o-starch! Just look at that meat to potatoes ratio!

If you participated in this week's challenge and tried out the recipe, don't forget to either leave a comment on the Facebook fan page or go and review the recipe to be eligible for the Beef Grilling Gift Bag giveaway!

Have a great weekend everyone, and be sure to check out what some other bloggers have done with this recipe.

Eat at Home
Family, Friends & Food
Cooking During Stolen Moments
Tried-and-True Cooking With Heidi

Monday, September 21, 2009

Menu Week 99

Monday - Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes
Tuesday - Artichoke & Sun Dried Tomato Chicken
Wednesday - Chicken Burritos
Thursday - Chicken Cordon Bleu Strata
Friday - SuperMac
Saturday - eat out
Sunday - panini & roasted garden veggies

This week's treat: Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Need more menu ideas? Check out Menu Plan Monday

This Week's Beef Recipe

Happy Monday everyone! I just wanted to give you all a heads-up on this week's Beef. It's What's for Dinner Wednesdays challenge recipe. This week it's a perfect-for-fall pot roast, and I am looking forward to it!

Here's the link to the recipe: Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes

Stick it into your menu for the week, and then either review it on the recipe site, or leave a link to your blog on their facebook fan site to be eligible for the grilling gift bag giveaway. We're going to be trying out this recipe tonight for dinner. I'm not 100% confident that my family will like the maple sweet potatoes, so I'll be making a small batch of regular potatoes on the side. I'll let you know how it all turns out!

Friday, September 18, 2009

East Meets West Burgers & Giveaway

This week's recipe for the Beef. It's What's For Dinner Wednesdays Challenge is East Meets West Burgers. This is an easy one, guys! If you follow the recipe exactly (which I did this time) then the hamburger patty gets no doctoring, you whip up a quick spicy mayo and while your burger is on the grill, slice up your slaw. This one was on the table quickly.

My favorite parts? The yummy mayo with it's little bit o' heat and it's lotta bit o' flavor! The slaw added great crunch (and beautiful color - just look at that!) and all of it together made one delicious burger.

(Printer-Friendly recipe available here)

Each week the Beef. It's What's For Dinner people are giving away a great gift bag (which includes The Healthy Beef Cookbook, a set of Crate & Barrel Grilling Tools, Sur La Table mini steak thermometers, a reusable shopping bag) to not one, but five people! To enter the giveaway, blog about your version of each week's recipe, then go and write a review of it on the recipe's website. I'm a day late posting about this week... to be eligible for the giveaway, all posts and comments have to be in by Thursday. I'll give you a head start on next week though - as soon as they announce next week's recipe I'll let you know! Meanwhile, visit these other yummy blogs to see their take on the East Meets West Burger.

Tried and True Cooking with Heidi
Cooking During Stolen Moments
Family, Friends and Food
Eat at Home
Aggie's Kitchen
Dine & Dish

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lemon Fusilli

This recipe has been in my "recipes to test" binder for at least a year, maybe longer. To be honest with you, the lemon frightened me. No the I'm-going-to-pee-my-pants kind of fright, but the "uh, yeah that doesn't sound good to me" kind of fright. Well, my faithful blog readers, I have a message for you. Fear not the lemon! This stuff is amazing. It's creamy. It's fresh-tasting. It's delicious even the next day for lunch. Give it a shot. Here's the link. (Thanks again to Ina for another great recipe!)

(Oh by the way, I substituted baby spinach for the arugula. Thanks Kami for the tip!)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Apple & Mustard Pork Skewers

Anyone else tired of the same ol' Summer fare? I found that we were grilling the same things over and over this Summer. By now I'm pretty much done with my usual burgers and grilled chicken, but I'm NOT done with my grill. This recipe caught my eye, mostly because I had a few pork tenderloins in the freezer.

I was worried about all of the Dijon mustard though - I'm not a fan. I had also never tasted whole grain mustard and was concerned that if I didn't like Dijon, then I really wouldn't like the whole grain stuff. The verdict? I LOVE whole grain mustard! In fact, now that I have a jar of it in my fridge, I'm looking for more recipes that include it. (Do you know of a good one? Send me a link!)

Here's what I love about this recipe: It's quick! The marinade is simple to mix up. Throw everything in a bag and let the pork marinate for a bit.

I also love that the mustard lets the pork shine, instead of overpowering it. The apples are soft and delicious after being grilled, and the bite-sized pieces of pork are tender (hence the name of the cut: "pork TENDERloin".)

Apple & Mustard Pork Skewers

1 to 2 pounds pork tenderloin (or however much your family can eat)
2 large apples

2 tsp wholegrain mustard
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp apple juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt & pepper

Creamy Mustard Sauce:
1 Tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp Dijon mustard
6 Tbsp heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Slice pork tenderloin into 1 1/2 inch slices. Place in ziplock bag and add marinade ingredients. Marinate for 1-3 hours in the refrigerator.

If you are using wood skewers, be sure to soak these in water for a bit to keep them from burning.

Heat grill to medium-high. Core and slice two apples. Thread pork chunks and apple slices onto skewers, alternating between the two. (The amount of skewers you end up with depends on the length of your skewers, so I can't really give you that information.)

Brush lightly with oil and place on grill. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer skewers to a serving dish. I served these with the Creamy Mustard Sauce on the side, but you could also drizzle it over the skewers once they're on the serving plate. (note: I've made this recipe twice now. The first time I made the Creamy Mustard Sauce but only Mr. Dinner's on Me ate it, so the second time I didn't bother.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Menu Week 98

Monday - Leftovers (stuffed shells, made with the manicotti recipe)
Tuesday - East Meets West Burgers & Aloha Coleslaw
Wednesday - grilled veggie fajitas, chips & salsa
Thursday - Mustard Chicken with Soy, Ginger and Garlic Glaze
Friday - eat out
Saturday - Hawaiian Beef Teriyaki Skewers, grilled pineapple
Sunday - Fried Rice & Ginger Pork Potstickers

This week's treat? Mmmm - I think some Chocolate No-Bakes!

Need more menu ideas? Check out Menu Plan Monday

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Beef. It's What's For Dinner Wednesdays!

Not too long ago, I was struggling with really low iron levels. Really low. For months I was under doctor's orders to eat beef as much as possible. After about a week I realized that I only had a handful or so of really good beef recipes. Thus began the challenge to find new recipes to incorporate more red meat into my diet. I really wish I would have found this next recipe back then. It would have been on our menu A LOT.

Today's recipe came to me in a different way: it sought me out. And now as I share it with you, there is a delightful bonus. Let me explain...

I recently received an invitation to join a group of 6 other bloggers to participate in a project called "It's What's For Dinner Wednesdays" and anyone and everyone are welcome to join us! Each week a new recipe will be announced on their Facebook Fan Page and posted on the "Beef. It's What's For Dinner" web site. You can follow the recipe exactly, or use it as an inspiration or jump off point for your own meal idea. By participating, you will have the chance to win a Beef Grilling Gift Bag (which includes The Healthy Beef Cookbook, a set of Crate & Barrel Grilling Tools, Sur La Table mini steak thermometers, a reusable shopping bag and other items to help you shop for and cook healthy beef meals.) Check out all of the contest details on their discussion page.

This week's recipe is Cajun Beef Southwestern Salad. I confess that I had never cooked nor eaten anything with the word "cajun" in it and I was (more than) a little nervous. The idea of the steak salad with a refreshing orange dressing was appealing to me however, so this is what we had for dinner tonight!

(a little note to my lunch-ladies friends: Please do not try this recipe. I'll make it for you next time I host lunch. Promise. It's even gluten-free!)

Ah-mazing! I didn't follow the recipe exactly though, so let me tell you what I did. First of all, I didn't use a store bought cajun seasoning, but instead made my own (I'll add it below). I also substituted peaches for the figs (as it helpfully suggests on the recipe site). I did caramelize them, but next time I won't bother. Fresh peaches would be just fine. Also, I didn't want to bother tracking down blood oranges, so 3 regular oranges did the trick. Instead of thinly slicing the red onion, I cut thick slices, left the rings intact, and grilled those along side of the steak. Then before serving, I cut them up into smaller pieces. Perfecto! It sweetens them up and takes a little of the oniony bite out of them. I'll do that again next time.

The only other change I made was to not use the blue cheese. I didn't have it on hand and I hate-hate-hate running to the store for just one or two ingredients (unless it's something absolutely necessary like ice cream.) If your family is not a fan of blue cheese, you could try substituting Queso Fresco or a Feta, or just omit it.

We loved this salad. The steak is a bit spicy and adds a heartiness to the salad, while the orange dressing keeps it refreshing. Mr. Dinner's on Me requested we have it again next week. Fine with me! Give it a try, put your own twist on it and participate in the giveaway!

Oh and here's a list of the other participating bloggers. Be sure to visit them and check out their take on each week's recipe!

Kristin @ Dine and Dish
Aggie @ Aggie's Kitchen
Amy @ Dinner's for a Year and Beyond
Tiffany @ Eat at Home
Patsy @ Family, Friends and Food
Kate @ Cooking During Stolen Moments

Cajun Seasoning Mix

I did a bit of research on the pre-mixed cajun seasonings that are widely available at any grocery store, and I realized that I had most of the ingredients already in my pantry. This recipe makes about 1/2 cup of mix, so I'm storing the remainder and I'll try it as a dry rub on some chicken this week.

3 Tablespoons kosher salt
1 Tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper**
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

Add ingredients to a small bowl or resealable baggie, and combine. ** If you do not have white pepper, just add another 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground black pepper.