Archive | March, 2012

A weekend snack – 5 minute cranberry oatmeal granola bars

30 Mar

Okay, so this has nothing to do with my weekly dinner planning but dinner is of course not the only meal we eat around here. One of the meals I struggle with most is actually breakfast for the boys. Their daycare provides a “morning snack” which is sufficient for some kids for breakfast but my boys have what you would call “healthy appetites”. Seriously they can put away more than me sometimes. And so I always send them to preschool with something to eat. It has to be easy to transport and low maintenance. I used to bake them muffins but they’re kind of tired of them and I’m tired I making them.
I started looking into granola bars but there are a few problems with them. First of all, they’re usually full of nuts (which aren’t allowed at school) or chocolate (which I don’t think is a healthy start to the day). Secondly, they’re just generally not the most wholesome things – full of processed ingredients I can’t even pronounce. And finally, they’re not exactly cheap. So I made my own.
I started with thisrecipe but again with the chocolate. So I substituted dried cranberries and added orange extract instead of vanilla. And they turned out great. The boys gobbled them up for a pre-dinner snack and they literally took 5 minutes to put together.
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp orange extract
2/3 cup dried cranberries


• Stir oats, cranberries, and rice cereal together. Set aside.

• Over medium heat, melt butter, honey and brown sugar together. Once it starts to bubble, reduce heat, and cook for 2 minutes so that all the brown sugar is dissolved.

• Stir in orange extract

• Pour syrup over the oat mixture. Stir until well coated.

• Pat into a greased jelly roll/baking sheet. Thoroughly press them together, or they will crumble when you cut into them. Seriously, if you can, I’d advise using some parchment or wax paper on top and really smushing it down. It should be about 1/2 an inch thick and take up about half the length of the cookie sheet.

• Allow to cool for at least 2 hours.

• Cut into bars, store in air tight container at room temperature.



Six Posts and Another 10 Dinners

23 Mar

Wow, so this is my sixth post, which means I have been sharing my bi-weekly dinner plans for roughly 3 months now.  I hope that you have found them helpful and have used my ideas as a spring-board for your own menu planning.  If so, leave me a comment and let me know!  And keep sending me your own dinner ideas –  I appreciate them.  In the meantime, Spring is officially upon us and so I feel like our calendars are correspondingly busier.  The next two weeks have a lot of meals that can be made ahead the night before or thrown together in one pot (or one baking dish) pretty easily.  It just requires a little forethought.   Of course, April also is significant in our household because Michael’s birthday is on the 6th!  So you’ll see I have left one night without a “true” recipe as it will really be up to him to decide what we do for dinner.   

Monday, March 26, 2012

Parmesan Orzo with Smoked Salmon and Asparagus

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Slow Cooker Moussaka

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Feta Chicken with Zucchini and Grape Tomatoes over rice

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kale, Beans and Sausage over Mashed Potatoes

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fiesta Chicken Bake

Monday, April 2, 2012

One Pot Italian Sausage and Rice

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ground Chicken and Spinach Lasagna

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sour Chicken and Split Peas with Rice (Persian Morghe Torsh)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Southwestern Turkey and Pasta

Friday, April 6, 2012 (P.S. This is Michael’s Birthday!!!!)

Rotisserie Chicken, Steamed Edamame, Salad, Fresh Bread 

 I’ll let you in on one of our family’s secrets – there are some nights I just don’t feel like cooking anything.  Michael of course lobbies for fast food on those nights, but that is just not my style.  So we have come up with a good compromise – rotisserie chicken!  Both the Wegmans and the Giant near us make pretty good chickens and we’ll serve it (without the skin!) with some steamed edamame, a salad, and some fresh bread from the bakery.  It is a fast, no-cook dinner that costs less than take out (both in terms of our wallets and our health).  So next time you think of picking up a pizza, try this instead.

Four Leaf Clovers and Another New Year

9 Mar

Saint Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and even though it falls on a Saturday this year, I still have a couple of dinners that I’m planning to make in honor of the day. Now, they aren’t exactly “healthy” dinners – but they’re special treats and I think we’re all entitled to those every now and then. I also want to share my recipe for Irish Potatoes – which, if you’re from the Philadelphia region, like me, you will know are not in any way potato-related, but are in fact, little yummy coconut candies that are rolled in cinnamon and made to look like little potatoes.

And then the following week is the first day of Spring which also marks one of my favorite holidays of the year, the Persian Norouz – or New Year for all you non-Farsi speakers! Yes, it is the third New Year in just as many months in our family (January 1st, Chinese New Year, and Persian New Year) which is fine by me, because who doesn’t love another chance at starting over? Anyway, we will be having a traditional Norouz dinner on the 20th as well. Lots to celebrate this month (don’t even get me started on the fact that my EIGHTH wedding anniversary is also this month – although I will NOT be cooking for that!).

So Eid-eh Norouz Mobarak to all my friends and just remember, if you’re lucky enough to be Irish(or Irish/Iranian), you’re lucky enough!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tilapia Baked in Couscous with steamed edamame. I made this for the first time about a month ago and was surprised by how delicious and easy it was. And the variations seem endless! Feel free to add olives, capers, or anything you’d like in with the sundried tomatoes! Tuesday,

March 13, 2012

Pasta E. Fagiole

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Curried Ground Turkey and Potatoes over Rice

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Easiest Ever Baked Mac and Cheese

Friday, March 16, 2012

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage over Mashed Potatoes

Monday, March 19, 2012

Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 (Eid!)

A Traditional Persian New Year dinner – Sabzi Polo bah Mahi (Herbed Rice with Fish).  The rice is made super easy thanks to the rice cooker and the fish is an easy, baked lemon and dill tilapia.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Citrus Pork with Egg Noodles and Roasted Apples and Brussel Sprouts. I haven’t made this yet (and I’ll be making it with leaner pork tenderloin) but I know it will be great because it is yet another dish from Simply Recipes.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Slow Cooker Mediterranean Chicken over rice

Friday, March 23, 2012

Shepherd’s Pie

%d bloggers like this: