menu making

In my new blog addictive behaviors, I have discovered a fabulous blog full of creative inspiration… She has offered a challenge to gather  weekly menus of tried and true dinner recipes…I am thrilled to steal many of the great ideas that are already posted.  So here is my contribution with a selection of family favorites in my household…

Meal #1 Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Makes 5 servings.


  • 1 pkg (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp seasoned salt
  • 10 slices Italian bread (1/2 inch thick)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine


In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and mayo until smooth.  Stir in cheeses, garlic powder and seasoned salt.  Spread five slices of break with the cheese mixture, about 1/3 cup on each.  Top with remaining bread.  Butter the outsides of sandwiches;  cook in a large skillet or electric griddle over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.

Tip:  Serve with tomato soup and raw cut veggies.

Found in Quick Cooking…March/April 2000

Meal #2 Spicy Grilled Shrimp

Makes 4 servings.


  • 1 1/2 lb fresh or frozen, peeled/ deveined shrimp
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp Cajun seasoning


*Thaw shrimp, if frozen.  If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 1 hour.  Rinse shrimp;  pat dry.  For sauce, in a small saucepan stir together marmalade, honey and 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning;  set aside.

*Place shrimp in a self-sealing plastic bag.  For marinade, in a small bowl combine oil and remaining Cajun seasoning.  Pour marinade over shrimp.  Seal bag.  Marinate in refrigerator for one hour, turning bag occasionally.

*Drain shrimp, discarding marinade.  Thread onto skewers.  Grill for 7-9 minutes or until shrimp are opaque, turning once halfway through grilling.

*Stir marmalade sauce over low heat for 2-3 minutes.  Serve shrimp with sauce drizzled over.  Makes 4 servings.

Tip:  Serve with rice and fresh fruit like pineapple and mangos.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens.

Meal #3 Sauteed Pork Chops

Makes 4 servings.


  • 4 center-cut loin pork chops, about 1 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if not using butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken, beef or veggie stock, or water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice or wine vinegar
  • Minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine


  1. Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper.  Place a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add the 2 T. olive oil;  as soon as the first wisps of smoke rise from the oil, add the chops and turn the heat to high.  Brown the chops on both sides, moving them around so they develop good color all over.  The entire browning process should take no longer than 4 minutes, and preferably less.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the wine and the garlic and cook, turning the chops once or twice, until the wine is all but evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup stock or water, turn the heat to low and cover.  Cook for 10-15 minutes, turning the chops once or twice, until the chops are tender but not dry.  When done, they will be firm to the touch, their juices will run just slightly pink, and, when you cut into them (which you should do if you’re at all unsure of their doneness), the color will be rosy at first glance but quickly turn pale.
  3. Remove the chops to a platter. If the pan juices are very thin, cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is reduced slightly.  Then stir in the butter or oil over medium heat;  add the lemon juice, pour over the chops, garnish and serve.

Tip:  Serve with pineapple/cilantro salsa and garlic fries

Adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

Meal #4 Chicken Chalupas

Makes 10-12 servings (3-6 sometimes!)


  • 2 bunches green onions, sliced
  • 12 oz cheddar cheese, grated
  • 12 oz. jack cheese, grated
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 8 oz green chili strips
  • 2 small cans sliced black olives, drained
  • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
  • 12 flour tortillas, fajita size


Combine onions, cheeses, soups, sour cream, chilies and olives to make sauce.  Separate into two portions and add the chicken to one.  Construct the tortilla rolls by placing 2-3 Tbsp of the chicken-sauce mixture on each tortilla and roll up.  Place filled tortilla rolls side by side in a greased 9”x13” casserole dish.   Cover with remaining sauce and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Tip:  Serve with salad and/or a fresh/cooked veggie.

Adapted from Aunt Jane’s recipe.

Meal #5 Italian Mostaccioli

Makes 10-12 servings


  • 1 pkg uncooked mostaccioli
  • 1 pkg. Sweet Italian Sausage
  • 1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 jars pasta sauce (26 oz)
  • 4 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic


  1. Simmer sausage according to package directions.  Slice into 1/2-1 inch slices and continue simmering until cooked through.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. In a large bowl, combine pasta, cooked/sliced sausage, pasta sauce, ricotta, garlic, and 2 cups mozzarella.
  5. Spoon into a greased 9×13 inch baking dish; cover.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly hot.
  7. Uncover and top with remaining 2 cups of cheese.
  8. Bake 10 additional minutes or until cheese melts.

Tip:  Serve with Caesar salad and garlic bread sticks.

Adapted from the Creamette™ recipe on the box with assistance from Chef Amy Rodriguez.

Meal #6 Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream

Makes 4 servings.  (2 tacos each)

Ingredients for the fish:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound white flaky fish fillets, like tilapia, mahi-mahi, or halibut

Ingredients for the chipotle cream:

  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt or
  • 1/3 cup Greek-style nonfat yogurt
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 2 Tbsp.mayonnaise

Ingredients for the tacos:

  • Eight 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges


•To make the fish, in a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Pour over the fish and let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.  To make the chipotle cream, if using regular yogurt, put it into a strainer lined with paper towel set over a bowl to drain and thicken for 30 minutes.  Preheat a grill of nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat.

•Remove the fish from the marinade and grill until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.  Set the fish aside on a plate and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

•In a small bowl combine the drained or Greek-style yogurt, the mayonnaise, and chipotle.

•To prepare the tacos, heat the tortillas on the grill or grill pan for 30 seconds on each side.

•Flake the fish with a fork.  Spread each tortilla with 1 Tbsp of the chipotle cream.  Top with the fish, cabbage, corn, and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Tip:  Serve with chips and guac.

Adapted from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger

Meal #7 Chicken Lettuce Cups

Serves 6-8 (about 8-10 lettuce cups)


  • 1 pkg. stir fry seasoning powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 lb chicken breasts, diced in small pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 Tbsp. thinly sliced scallions
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Minced cilantro and chopped peanuts for garnish
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce (inner leaves) or 2 heads butter lettuce


In a small bowl, combine the stir-fry seasoning, water, soy sauce, lime juice, and sugar.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and use wooden spoon to sauté until browned, about 10 minutes.  Add the red pepper flakes, scallions and red bell pepper and cook 5 minutes.  Stir in reserved stir-fry seasoning mix.  Cook until liquid evaporates, 2 to 3 minutes.

Spoon chicken mixture into lettuce cups and garnish with cilantro and chopped peanuts.

Tip:  Serve with wild rice and cooked sugar snap peas.

Adapted from:  The Comfort Table by Katie Lee

3 thoughts on “menu making

  1. Yum!! The spicy shrimp was a hit at our house tonight! It was delicious! You were right…the sauce would be really good on lots of other things too! Now that I’ve got my orange marmalade and honey, I’ll try it out on other things too. Matthew thinks it would be a good sauce for coconut shrimp. I’ll be adding this one into my repertoire and am looking forward to trying some of your other recipes!

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