Thai Lettuce Wrap Recipe and This Week’s Menu

Now that we are officially in “imminent-moving mode” I have to start eating all of the food I have stock-piled in my pantry and freezer. I am, admittedly, a bit of a food hoarder. I love having well-stocked shelves and ready-to-heat meals in my freezer to make weeknight cooking easier. The only problem with this, however, is that if you have to, say, do something like move half-way around the world, there is a lot of eating that has to be done. And that’s exactly what we’ll be doing. For the next month or two until we leave I am going to be planning most of our meals around food that is in our pantry and/or freezer. Here’s what I’ve come up with for this week:

Thai Lettuce Wraps (recipe below) with Spring Rolls
Ricotta and Basil Stuffed Pasta Shells With Marinara
Sloppy Joe’s
Panang Curry with Potstickers
Grilled Salmon
Tamales with Black Beans and Rice

Below is my recipe for Thai Lettuce Wraps. I’ll be using ground turkey from my freezer and a few sauces from my fridge (we have a LOT of condiments to get through!). I like serving this family-style at the table so everyone can make as many Lettuce Wraps as they like.


Thai Lettuce Wraps:
1 pound ground turkey
1 Tablespoon oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1-2 Tablespoons Teriyaki Sauce
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Siracha hot sauce (leave this out if you want it mild, add more if you like it spicy)
1 Tablespoon fresh, chopped cilantro
1 carrot, peeled and julienned or shredded
1 head butter lettuce (use Romaine if you can’t find butter lettuce), leaves separated

Separate lettuce leaves, rise and dry. Set lettuce leaves aside. Saute the garlic, ginger and oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes (don’t let the garlic turn brown). Add the ground turkey and brown the meat. Drain the juices from the browned ground turkey. Add the teriyaki sauce, soy sauce and Siracha to the ground turkey and heat over low heat–taste for seasoning and add more sauce if necessary. Remove meat from heat. Top a lettuce leaf with a spoonful of the meat mixture, cilantro and carrots (think of this as a lettuce taco). Eat and enjoy!

Sweet Curried Chicken Recipe and This Week’s Menu


When I was doing my student teaching I wrote a bio for my class so they could get to know me. And, me being me, I wrote half of the bio about how much I love cooking and eating. One sweet first grader brought me in a recipe card the next day. On it, he had written down one of his favorite family recipes (OK, his mom had actually written it, but he was so proud handing it over to me that he may as well have penned it himself). The recipe was for what he called “yellow chicken”–baked chicken with a sweet curry sauce. Now, 8 years later, that little first grader is now a teenager–and his favorite family recipe is now one of my favorite family recipes. I love this recipe because it’s quick to throw together and it’s a real crowd-pleaser. I’ve made this chicken dozens of times and it’s still just as delicious as the first time I made it. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Zach’s Yellow Chicken (Sweet Curried Chicken)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
*Optional* Cooked rice and roasted veggies for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put the chicken breasts into an 8-inch square baking dish. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, honey, mustard, curry powder and salt; cook over medium heat, stirring until the mixture begins to bubble. Pour the curry sauce over the chicken breasts and bake until cooked through (about 30 minutes).

We like to serve the chicken over cooked rice. I also like to make a pan of roasted veggies to put in the oven at the same time as the chicken: wash, rinse, peel and chop into small pieces whatever veggies you desire (potatoes, carrots, squash, onions, and yams all work great). Toss the veggies with some olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put the pan of veggies in the oven at the same time as the chicken. They should all be done at about the same time (just poke the veggies with a fork to see if they are soft). One more thing: the sauce is insane. I usually make a double batch of the sauce because I basically douse my entire plate in the stuff.

What I’m Cooking This Week
-Sweet Curried Chicken (recipe above)
-Grilled tri-tip and mashed potatoes
-Steak stir fry (using leftover tri-tip)
-Crockpot chicken Taco soup
-Fried rice and potstickers

Weekend Waffles and This Week’s Menu

photo (22)

Most mornings in our house are a bit hectic–we’re all in a rush to get ready and get out of the house. But Saturdays are different. Saturday mornings are usually our one chance in the week to laze around (unfortunately, not to sleep in–we do have two children under the age of 3, after all) and enjoy each other’s company. And where I come from, that calls for a good meal.

We’ve started a bit of a tradition involving baked goods and, usually, lots of syrup: The Saturday Morning Breakfast. The meals are usually pretty simple–pancakes, waffles, or scrambled “cheesy eggs”–but they’re always delicious and they get our weekends off to a good start.

This weekend I made one of our all-time favorites: Great-Grandma Doreen’s light-and-fluffy as air waffles. They’re made with whipped egg whites so they puff up beautifully–and then they literally melt in your mouth with each bite. And, if you’re like me, you know that the only way to eat waffles (or, really, just about anything) is smothered in whipped cream and fresh berries. They are so delectable that our 29-pound 2-year old polished off two of them in one sitting. So, go ahead, make these waffles for your family next weekend–I bet you can’t stop at just one!

Weekend Waffles Recipe

2 eggs, separated
2 cups flour
2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil

Beat the 2 egg whites until stiff (forming soft peaks). In a separate bowl, combine the 2 egg yolks, milk, and oil. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour , baking powder and salt. Add the egg/milk/oil mixture to the flour mixture and blend well. Fold in the stiffened egg whites. Spray a waffle iron with cooking spray, then spoon waffle batter into the iron and cook according to your iron’s instructions. Serve hot with mounds of whipped cream (or whatever other toppings you like!). Makes 6-8 waffles.

This Week’s Menu

Monday: Slow-Cooker Pot Roast with carrots and baby red potatoes

Tuesday: Bible study potluck–I’m bringing Caesar salad with homemade dressing (I may have to share my recipe for the dressing on here some time. It’s the best Caesar dressing ever because there are no gross little sardines involved.)

Wednesday: Butternut Squash Soup–This is already in my freezer from when I made it a few weeks ago

Thursday: Southwest Turkey Burgers with Avocado-Garlic Aioli–an amazing recipe that I got from a friend, and they’re actually better cooked inside on a griddle (I’m not quite ready to brave the wind and the rain for our outdoor grill yet!)

Friday: Dinner with friends

Saturday: Roasted Chicken and Rosemary Ravioli–Pre-made from Costco. They’re delicious.

Sunday: Chicken Broccoli Rice Bake–made with cheddar cheese and a bit of curry powder for some kick

This Week’s Menu and My Recipe for Guinness Beef Stew

While we were in Ireland last week I spent the whole time trying to find some authentic Irish food. To my great disappointment, I discovered that you can’t find Irish food in Ireland. We found Thai, Indian, Mexican, Italian and American food–everything we ate was delicious, but it left me yearning for some hearty Irish fare. Although they disappointed me in the food department, the Irish spared nothing when it came to their beer. There was no shortage rich, dark beer in the homeland of Murphy’s and Guinness. So, this week I salute Guinness–and the Irish stew I never found. Find my recipe for Guinness Beef Stew at the bottom of this post–it may just transport you across the Atlantic!

This week’s menu:

Monday: Enchilada Casserole–using up leftover tortillas and beans from our fajitas last week

Tuesday: Potluck meal at Bible Study–I’m bringing potato soup

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken–a quick dinner for after soccer practice

Thursday: Greek Moussakas–this is a new recipe I’m trying from Rachael Ray

Friday: Dinner out

Saturday: Garlic Pasta Primavera

Sunday: Guinness Beef Stew (recipe below)–I’ll be making a double batch because we’re having people over for dinner tonight.

Guinness Beef Stew


1 1/2 pounds round steak
5-6 Tablespoons oil
1-2 onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper
2-3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1-2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon thyme
2 1/2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can/bottle Guinness beer (or any dark beer of your liking)
1 can beef stock
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons butter
Egg noodles, cooked according to package instructions

Cut meat into 2 inch pieces. Saute onions in hot oil until golden brown. Add meat. Season with salt and pepper and saute until well browned. Add brown sugar, red wine vinegar, bay leaves, thyme, and garlic. Pour in beer and cover with beef stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with lid and simmer for 60 minutes or until meat is barely tender, adding more beef stock if necessary. Thicken with a dark roux (2 Tablespoons melted butter and 2 Tablespoons flour). Simmer 20-30 minutes more or until meat is tender. Serve in bowls over egg noodles.

Our Family Recipe For The Best Darn Cinnamon Rolls You’ll Ever Eat!

Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. Last week was one of those weeks. Jon and I were both sick with bronchitis and ear infections (not sure how we both got the same two unusual ailments). Between caring for our own illnesses and trying to take care of the boys, we were pretty wiped out. But, what’s that I hear?! Duh-duh-duh-duh! Grandma to the rescue!

Jon’s mom was kind enough to come over last week and help us out a bit. She helped take care of the boys while I took a shower (all by myself, no munchkins at my feet!) and attempted (but failed) to actually take a nap. She also made us dinner before she left–such a welcome treat to this tired mama. One of the things grandma made for us was while she was visiting was our family recipe for dinner rolls. They are one of my absolute favorite foods–there’s nothing better than the smell of warm bread baking in your oven. Well, there’s actually one thing that’s better. Turning those dinner rolls into cinnamon rolls.

A number of years ago my mother-in-law figured out how to use the dinner roll recipe to make cinnamon rolls, and they are the best cinnamon rolls you’ll ever taste. Better than Cinnabon. They’re ooey-gooey, melt-in-your-mouth, close-your-eyes-and-sigh delicious. They take a bit of time and effort but, trust me, they’re worth it. You may gain 10 pounds after making this recipe (because you’ll want to eat the whole batch) but, again, it’s worth it! So, with no further ado, our cinnamon roll recipe.


Peterson Family Cinnamon Rolls (AKA The Best Darn Cinnamon Rolls You’ll Ever Eat)
Makes about 30 rolls

2 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup butter, plus an additional 1-2 cups (2-4 sticks) of softened butter
3 cups flour, plus an additional 3-5 cups flour (can be white, wheat, or a combination of flours–this time I used half white and half whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages rapid rise yeast
2 eggs
2 pounds brown sugar
1/2 cup cinnamon
1 recipe for frosting or glaze (we like this one)

  • Heat the milk and butter to 120-130 degrees (use a thermometer to ensure accuracy–too hot and you’ll kill the yeast, too cool and the yeast won’t grow)
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine, 3 cups flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast.
  • Lightly mix the flour mixture (I use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, but you could do this by hand), then add the heated milk/butter
  • After slightly blended, add the eggs one at a time, blending well after each egg.
  • Slowly add 3-41/2 cups flour to form a dough that holds together well but does not stick to the mixer. This part you just have to go by feel–not too dry, not too sticky.
  • Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead the dough into a soft smooth ball.
  • Lightly grease a clean mixing bowl, put dough ball in the bowl, cover with a clean dish towel, and let your dough rise (follow the instructions on your yeast packet for how long the first rising should be, usually about an hour if you’re using rapid rise).
  • During the first rising, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon (use a fork and/or your fingers and make sure there are no lumps in the mix)
  • After the first rising, divide the dough in half. Cover half of the dough. Roll out the other half of the dough to a thickness of about 1/2 inch (it should make about a 12″ x 18″ rectangle).
  • Spread with 1-2 sticks of softened butter
  • Sprinkle with about half of the cinnamon sugar mix; pat the mixture into the dough
  • Roll the dough tightly, then pinch tightly along the seam to keep it sealed
  • Slice into 1 1/2 inch thick rounds and place in a lightly greased pan
  • Repeat the roll out/butter/cinnamon sugar/slicing steps with the second half of the dough
  • Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned.
  • After baking, flip rolls upside down onto a cookie sheet covered in wax paper and scrape all of the extra cinnamon goo on top. Then, flip the cinnamon rolls with the wax paper right-side up onto a cooling rack.
  • Let rolls cool, then top with icing. (I usually can’t wait for them to cool before I eat about half the batch, but if you have the self-control to wait, kudos to you)
  • Eat, eat, eat!

This Week’s Menu and My Recipe For Baked Potato Soup

This week we have a few extra outings planned during the day, so I’m sticking with  recipes I make all the time and that I know I can throw together really quickly. At the end of the post I’ve included my mom’s recipe for my mom’s Baked Potato Soup–I hope you love it as much as we do!

Sunday: Our sweet neighbors brought us over some spaghetti carbonara that we’ll eat tonight. I baked some chocolate chip cookies to fill their serving dish with before I return it.

Monday: Indian Curry and Naan

Tuesday: Community Group Potluck- I’m bringing the main course, Baked Potato Soup (recipe at the end of this post)

Wednesday: Orange Chicken and Rice

Thursday: 7-layer Casserole (Made from rice, ground beef, veggies, and tomato sauce)

Friday: Beer Brats and Balsamic Potatoes

Saturday: Roasted Pork Loin and Veggies

Mom’s Baked Potato Soup
I got this recipe from my mom, an excellent cook who never writes down her recipes. In fact, my copy of this recipe is hand-written on a scrap of paper and includes two helpful directions: cook, add this last. Good thing I’ve watched her make it a time or two! I love this soup because it can be made ahead of time and reheated in a Crockpot or on the stove for dinner on a busy night. I like serving this with cornbread. Enjoy!

baked potato soup
2 cans chicken broth, plus extra for thinning the soup (or use vegetable broth to make this a vegetarian dish)
1 medium onion, diced
4-5  medium baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
2-3 stalks celery, diced
1 can evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste
instant mashed potatoes to thicken
*Optional stir-ins: cooked diced ham, frozen corn, shredded cheddar cheese
*Optional toppings: cooked crumbled bacon, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, diced chives or green onions

Put the broth, onion, potatoes, and celery in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are soft and starting to break apart, about 20 minutes. Add evaporated milk, salt and pepper. Thicken to desired consistency with instant mashed potatoes, or thin with extra broth. Add any stir-ins that you’d like. Serve and soup bowls, and top with desired toppings.

This Weeks Menu And My Recipe For French Crepes

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week. My mouth is already watering for the crepes (I’ve put the recipe at the end of this post)!

Sunday: Chicken Dijon- My mom’s recipe and one of my favorites

Monday: French Crepes (recipe at the end of this post)

Tuesday: Potluck at Community Group- I’m bringing salad

Wednesday: Beef Stew- This is already in the freezer from when I made it a couple of months ago. All I have to do is reheat and serve!

Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie- I use pre-made pie crust and frozen veggies to cut down on prep time. I’ll probably make a double batch so I can freeze one pot pie for later.

Friday: Pesto Pasta with Grilled Chicken and Veggies

Saturday: Game Night with friends, I’m bringing an appetizer TBD

Lionel’s French Crepe Recipe
I got this recipe when I was in high school from a friend of mine who was a French exchange student. This recipe makes quite a few crepes, so I usually just make a half-batch or a 2/3-batch. I’ll write it out exactly as he gave it to me:

2 cups flour
9 eggs
4 cups milk
2 pinches of salt
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon rum extract (optional)

-Stir all ingredients. Let the batter sleep for at least one hour. (Isn’t that cute? Let the batter sleep!)
*Note* I usually mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then add them together and mix with a whisk before I let it all rest in the fridge for an hour.
-Cook crepes in a non-stick pan, flip when golden
*Note* If you don’t have crepe pans, a large non-stick skillet should work fine. I’ve also seen people flip a pan upside down and dip the bottom of the pan in the crepe batter, then cook the crepe on top of the upside-down pan. It’s also helpful to have a long, flexible spatula for flipping the crepes. Timing your “flip” is of the essence with these guys, so just be patient and wait for them to cook well on one side before you flip ’em.

I make all of my crepes ahead of time and put them in a large tupperware container separated by sheets of wax paper until I’m ready to assemble them. At dinnertime, we set up a “crepe bar” and put our fillings in the crepes then warm them up in a pan over medium heat (think of a french quesadilla or omelette).

Here are some of our favorite fillings for the savory dinner crepes:

  • shredded cheese (swiss, cheddar, emmentaler)
  • sliced ham or turkey from the deli counter
  • cooked and shredded chicken, beef, or pork
  • fried eggs
  • spinach
  • onions

And, for the dessert crepes

  • whipped cream (I get my own can, everyone else can fend for themselves)
  • sliced berries or fresh fruit (peaches, bananas, apples)
  • Nutella
  • chocolate or caramel sauce
  • ice cream

This Week’s Menu

Back by popular request, here is my menu for this week:

Sunday: Butternut Squash Soup and salad- This is a new recipe that was in my latest edition of the Rachael Ray magazine. It’s got lots of yummy fruits and veggies: squash, onions, sweet potato, carrots and apple. I’m also roasting some extra squash to puree for little guy’s baby food. Right now everything is roasting in my oven and it smells sooooo good! It looks like this will make a pretty big batch, so I’m planning on freezing the leftovers.
*Update* This recipe is DELICIOUS and made enough for me to freeze a few quarts of leftovers. Definitely making this one again!

Monday: Sloppy Joe’s and sweet potato fries with baked beans and steamed broccoli. This recipe is similar to how I make my “Joe’s”.

Tuesday: Community Group potluck. I’m making brownies and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

Wednesday: Panang Curry and Spring Rolls, salad with peanut sauce dressing

Thursday: Garlic Chicken Pasta with stir-fried veggies

Friday: Burritos with Spanish Rice and Refried Beans, salad

Saturday: Pizza to celebrate David’s first successful day of potty training! (we’ll still celebrate with pizza even if it’s not very successful. I think we’ll all need some pizza by the end of that!)