Stir-fry is one of our favorites. It’s great because you can change it up just enough that it’s like a whole new meal every time! One of my favorite recipes:
When I first got married I was appalled at how much time went into cooking dinner every day! I never really appreciated it when I lived with my parents. And I even cooked a couple times a week when I was single, but I didn’t have to do it everyday! It can be exhausting.
Then, My Mr. Right and I started making out menus for a couple weeks at a time. It made dinner soo much easier! I didn’t look at the clock at 4:30pm and think ‘ugh, what are we gonna have for dinner?’. I just looked at our menu and figured out when I needed to start things to have them ready at a decent time. And we saved money because we could do our grocery shopping all at one time and we knew exactly what we needed. No more last minute trips that end with a dozen other things too. It was fantastic.
Then our lives got all tipsy turvy when My Mr. Right abruptly became unemployed… again. We used our savings to pay off baby bills and were anything but prepared to have no income. We ended up moving in with my parents when we moved for hubby’s new job because housing is ridiculously expensive here…
And so is my mother’s meal planning. It was, by no means, uncommon for her to come home from work at 4pm and ask “What should we have for dinner?” I hated cooking! Everything was such a mess… and since I didn’t do all the grocery shopping anymore I didn’t know what we even had in the cupboards. Enter sanity. At least where dinner is concerned. My hero: the menu board. First saw this idea on A Girl and a Glue Gun… HERE… But I’ve since seen many a menu board floating around blogland. Here’s how I did it:
I bought some super cheap cookie sheets from Wal-Mart. They came in a pack of three for $4. Mainstays brand. In case you wanna go cookie sheet hunting. I’d never cook on these… They were all scratched up by the time I got them home. Asking for a rust problem…? I think yes. Anyway, spray paint the pan. I did a matte black. It’s what I had on hand. Cover the black with clear paint to protect from scratches. Then, I hot glued on some cute digi scrapbook elements I had printed out. (Embellishments from Dinner Party Kit by Sara Carling @ www.shabbyshoppe.com).
Then I collected any and all dinner ideas and recipes my family and I could think of. I typed them all up. Laminated them. Actually, it was contact paper, but it worked. Cut them apart. And them stored them in a plastic baggie for about 2 weeks… This step is totally optional and in no way effects the outcome of your menu board.
I put magnets on the back of each paper. It was a lot of papers! I found a pack of magnet strips also at Wal-Mart for $.97 and you can’t beat that. It had about 15 strips and I used about 5.
Add some more cutesies at the top of the board. Then I glued some ribbon across the pan and put my magnetic days of the week papers across that. I put magnets on the back in case we wanted to go M-Sun instead of Sun-Sat. Then I took some other ribbon and created a grid pattern out of it.
Made up my menu plans and sat back to bask in the world of sanity I just created. Ahh! Feels good.
We served this at my son’s birthday bbq and it got rave reviews. We are now asked to bring this whenever we do potlucks with our friends. It’s actually my little sister’s recipe that I took and ran with. She’s thinking about going into culinary arts when she starts college next year. I’d say she’s off to a fantastic start! Used with her permission. And then embellished!
Today’s Tasty Tuesday is a recipe that… is a “Krista Original”. Yeah, that’s just a fancy way of saying I made it up. But, it did turn out pretty yummy, if I do say so myself (and I do). Mint and chocolate…??? Are you prepared for some heavenly goodness??
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 tsp vanilla (less to taste if desired)
6 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp peppermint or mint extract
3 Tbsp chocolate syrup
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and soda. Mix. Add butter (I stick my butter in the microwave until it’s soft enough to easily mix with everything else. Sometimes it melts completely… I haven’t noticed any quality issues and it’s a lot easier to mix this way. Maybe there is someone out there that knows better than I do; but until I’m told otherwise, I’ll just keep up my ‘cheating’ ways.) Mix in the rest of the ingredients, except the chocolate syrup. Stir or mix with a mixer until it is smooth. Bake in a 9″x13″ pan at 350degrees for 15-18 mins. I top it with a powdered sugar icing and Andes mint chips (found in the baking aisle). Then I drizzle the chocolate syrup on top.
These brownies are very rich, but they rock a mean treat at a Christmas party. And I’m just a fan of chocolate mint… so they always rock my world. Hope you enjoy. If you do try them, I’d love to know what you think.