What’s For Dinner?

30 07 2009

The oft dreaded question… “What’s for dinner?”  I don’t know about you guys but The Hubby and I are in a food rutt.  I feel like we eat the same things over and over and over and most of what we eat is not very good for us.  In order to collect more recipes I thought I might share some of our favorites and ask you guys out there on the interwebs to share your favorites.  If it’s short you can leave it in a comment.  If it’s longer you could make a post on your blog or send me a link to an online recipe.  If you like you can also email me a recipe and I’ll post any that I get here.

Lauren’s Chicken Parmesean

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 Chicken cutlets (tenders work well too, but whole breasts are too big)
  • Italian bread crumbs
  • Flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Spaghetti sauce (any brand or flavor, whatever you like)
  • spaghetti (or pasta of choice)
  • Mozzarella cheese (shredded or sliced)
  • canola or vegetable oil

Directions:

  • place 1 cup of flour in a bowl, season with salt and pepper
  • place the egg and 1/4 cup of water in another bowl, season with salt and pepper
  • place 1 cup of bread crumbs in a third bowl
  • season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper
  • dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, then the egg, and lastly the bread crumbs, set aside
  • cover bottom of a large skillet with about ½ inch of oil heat over medium heat
  • when oil is hot (a pinch of bread crumbs put in the oil should sizzle and pop) place chicken in pan
  • fry until bread crumbs are golden brown (3-5 mins depending on size of chicken) turn and fry the other side until golden brown (this can be done In several batches if needed, just place fried chicken on several sheets of paper towels to soak up excess oil)
  • meanwhile : cook pasta, preheat oven to 350, and put spaghetti sauce in small sauce pan and heat through, when sauce is hot, spoon enough to cover the bottom of a baking dish large enough for all of the chicken.
  • when the chicken is done, place in baking dish, top with a little more sauce and cheese, bake until cheese is melted (about 5-10 mins)
  • Serve on a bed of pasta with more sauce if desired.

Modifications:

  • If you are watching your salt intake you can leave salt out of the breading mix and/or the chicken
  • If you want to avoid frying you could bake the chicken instead.  Instead of dredging chicken as above, drizzle with a little olive oil and coat with breadcrumbs.  Bake at a high temperature until chicken is cooked through (the high temp oven will allow some browning of the bread crumbs)

Farmer’s Ranch Potatoes (from AllRecipes.com)

This casserole is ridiculously good.  It’s great for pot luck events.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds medium red potatoes
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup creamy Ranch salad dressing
  • 6 slices bacon (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups crushed cornflakes cereal

Directions:

  • Place the potatoes in a large pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, and cut into chunks, leaving the skins on.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned and crisp. Drain, and set aside.
  • Place the potatoes in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, stir together the sour cream, Ranch dressing, parsley, and 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese. Crumble in the bacon and stir. Pour over the potatoes in the baking dish. In a another bowl, mix together the cornflake crumbs, melted butter and remaining cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top of the casserole is browned and crisp.

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • two rolls of crescent rolls
  • a tub of cheesecake filling (look at Walmart in the cream cheese section)
  • a stick of melted butter
  • cinnamon
  • sugar

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • roll out one of the crescent rolls flat in a casserole dish (I use a 9×13 glass baking dish)
  • smooth cheesecake filling on top of crescent roll
  • roll out the next crescent roll on top of filling
  • pinch the perforations and edges together so that no butter leaks into the filling
  • pour butter on top
  • sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon to your liking
  • bake for 30-45 minutes
  • enjoy hot or cold.  I prefer hot!!

Edit: I found some crescent rolls called “Big & Flaky” these work much better than the regular crescent rolls, they cover the pan better.

What are some of your favorite recipes?

Trivia

Since no one got last weeks, this week is worth 2 points! 

“This… ‘stuff’? Oh… ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff. “

Name that movie!!





TV I’m Watching This Summer

23 07 2009

I watch entirely too much TV (as far as I’m concerned the DVR is the best invention EVER).  When summer rolls around I’m usually desperatly searching for something to watch.  Nowadays the cable and premium networks don’t leave us hanging all summer long; espcially with the advent of the 12-13 episode season that fits nicely in a summer and is much easier and cheaper to produce.  Here’s what I’m enjoying this summer season:

Dark Blue – This is a new show from TNT, it airs Wednesdays at 9 Central.  The show stars Dylan McDermott (The Practice) as the head of a super secret under-cover team in the LAPD.  Only the pilot has aired so far but I really enjoyed it.  I’m looking forward to seeing more.  You can see full episodes at TNT’s website.

Hawthorne – Also on TNT, this aires on Tuesdays at 8 Central.  Jada Pinkett Smith stars as the Head Nurse at a hospital.  She is a no-nonsense kind of character who is constantly bending or braking the rules to help out her nurses and patients.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the show.  As a side note, this isn’t a show like Gray’s Anatomy where the patients play a big role and have all kind of interesting ailments, this is all about the nurses.

Leverage – Another on TNT, aires Wednesdays at 8 Central.  The premise is dificult to explain but basically this is about a team of thieves who do the Robin Hood thing.  They take on clients who have no legal recourse to get their money/property/justice for a lost loved one, they get money or pay back for their clients and usually screw the bad guy in the process.  The show is funny and very entertaining.  It’s actually in it’s second season but you can get the first season on DVD.  I’d immagine with a little internet searching you could get enough info on the characters to watch the second season with out needing the first.

Nurse Jackie – On Showtime, airs Mondays at 9:30 Central.  Staring Edie Falco as an ER nurse, this show is a little on the edge for me.  Jackie uses prescription pain killers recreationally and is having an affair with the pharmacist in order to get them.  She is constantly looking for ways to thwart the system and get what she wants for her patients.  I can deal with just about any kind of behavior from a character as long as I like them.  I just haven’t decided if I like Jackie yet.

Royal Pains – USA, Thursdays at 9 Central.  Royal Pains stars Mark Feuerstein as a MacGuyver-esque conscierge doctor in the Hamptons.  I like this show A LOT.  It’s funny and entertaining and Hank totally pulls life saving medicine off with a paper clip and a ball-point pen.

True Blood – HBO, Sundays at 8 Central.  This show is adapted from one of my favorite series of books, the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris.  It’s an urban fantasy where vampires not only exist but have “come out of the coffin.”  A synthetic blood was invented (intended for human blood transfusions) that satisfies their nutritional needs.  True Blood is in it’s second season but the first is available on DVD.  If you’re a fan of the books you kind of need to let them go.  The show has some plot lines that aren’t in the books at all, but if you can forget that fact they make the show work.

Trivia

“She’s gone. She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen.”

Name that movie.  As a side note, this movie stars my all-time favorite actor.





Be Back Shortly

17 07 2009

I took yesterday off of work and of course my internet connection was in and out yesterday.  It never stayed up long enough to get a post written.  Today I’m really busy at work from taking yesterday off so I’ll get my post up sometime tomorrow.

TGIF!!





How I Didn’t Get My Wisdom Teeth Out Today

9 07 2009

This whole ordeal has felt like an epic battle to me.  I’m sure it will be terribly borring for you guys, but it’s my blog and this is what’s on my mind 🙂  Feel free to skip down to the trivia question at the bottom!

Back in April my dentist told me I needed to go ahead and get my wisdom teeth pulled and sent me off to an oral surgeon.  This is no suprise to me, I’ve known I’d need to have them pulled since I was about 10… it was always just a matter of when.  Apparently now is the appropiate time.  Whatever.

I meet with Oral Surgeon #1 early in May.  Liked him a lot.  He says the lower left one will be a difficult extraction but is confident he can handle it.  I get out of the consultation to schedule things with the receptionist and she tells me that I owe $168 for the consultation and I’ll owe just under $1600 for the procedure on the day of.  My jaw just about hit the floor.  Apparently my insurance won’t cover the cost of the consultation and x-rays and the procedure it’s self maxes out my annual benefits.  (I actually did get reimbursed for the $168, but they didn’t mention that possibility then)

I’m kind of in sticker shock at this point.  My husband paid $650 for his wisdom teeth.  Granted we have different insurance but I wasn’t expecting it to be over $1000.  I get back to work and start looking into my dental insurance.  We have 2 options for dental insurance an indemnity policy (if you don’t know what that means, I’ll explain the important part here in a min) or a DMO.  I had the indemnity policy because that’s the one I needed to see the dentist I like, didn’t think anything of it.  With that policy I wasn’t going to get more than $1500 covered no matter where I went or what I did.

I start looking into the DMO policy because open enrollment was comming up July 1 and I figured I could wait that long if the other policy was going to be better.  I call Oral Surgeon #1’s office and ask them what it would cost me on the other policy.  She tells me that she can’t give me any information until she can call the new insurance carrier and verify benefits, which she can’t do until after the policy goes effective, but she knows they contract with the new carrier.  Great!  I switch carriers, move the appointment to a week after the effective date (today actually) and continue on my merry way.

I call Oral Surgeon #1’s office again last Thursday, give them all the new insurance information and ask how much will be due out of pocket.  I finally get a call back on Monday (with the holiday thrown in there I’m not suprised it took that long but I’m not happy about it either) and she says they don’t contract with my new carrier (huh?) and there’s no benefits at all.  They put it under my medical insurance and tell me it’s going to be $2600 due on the day of.  WTF!!!!!!

There was some question about possibly getting reimbursed for a portion of the procedure and I spent 2 days figuring out wether that was a possibility or not and finially figure out that it doesn’t matter because even if I could get reimbursed it would only be about $700, and I’d still have to pay $2600 out of pocket.  Not going to happen.

It’s Tuesday afternoon now and I decide to punt.  I call my dentist with a list of all 4 oral surgeons in the network for my new dental insurance to get a recommendation and they send me to Oral Surgeon #2.  I call them and make an appointment for a consultation, making it clear that I’d like to get it done this week (The Hubby is doing a lot of traveling in the next 2 months and it’s going to be the middle of August before he’s home again to take care of me and I already have the time off).  She gets me in for a consultation on Wednesday but can’t book the surgery because she doesn’t know how much time to schedule.  She tells me that he has availability on Thursday and Friday though.  Fine.

I get in there yesterday and he’s much more concerned about the lower left tooth.  #2 wants me to get a CT scan to get a better look at the structure of the nerve (#1 mentioned the same issue but was just going to see what it looked like once he got in there).  Fabulous, another insurance battle.  I mention wanting to get this taken care of this week and he tells me that’s not possible, he’s fully booked.  At this point i’m just wondering how many lies I’m going to be told by receptionists in this whole ordeal (I realize that no one has really lied to me, everyone is just trying to do their job, but in that moment I felt like I was being put through the ringer).  He says he’ll do the procedure with out the CT, but if I can swing it he’d like it.  Fine, I’ll look into it.

I get out to the receptionist… again… and schedule for August 13th because that’s the next available time that I’ll have someone to stay with me for 24-48 hours.  She tells me $905 will be my out of pocket cost, higher than I was expecting, but better than my other options.  I still dont’ know if I’m going to do the CT… still don’t know how much that will cost me.

Today I have mixed emotions.  I was expecting to be off of work today.  I have no plans for the weekend because I was expecting to be knocked out and taking Vicodin for several days.  This whole thing feels like a lot of hurry up and wait.  I’m ready to have it over and done with.  I guess it will be over and done with in another 6 weeks.

Trivia

Did Doogie Houser just steal my f@$*ing car?”  Name that movie!





Lists Everyone Should Keep

2 07 2009

I can’t claim credit for this one, it came from Lifehack.org (Full article here).

Basically the article talks about 9 lists that everyone should keep updated.  The author recommends a moleskine, but you could use a list app on your phone, or laptop.  The 9 lists are:

  1. Things I want – have an answer other than “I don’t know” when asked what you want for Christmas/Birthday/etc
  2. Gift ideas – Think of a great gift for someone but their birthday isn’t for a few months?  Jot it down and you’ll have it for later
  3. Got a minute – The random things that you can do/read about/learn/research that don’t need to be done right now.  Take a look at the list next time you have a few mins to spare
  4. Watch, read, listen – Movies, books, music
  5. BHAGS – Big Hairy Audacious Goals
  6. Bucket List – things you want to do before you die
  7. Don’t Forget – Make a habit of looking at this a few times per day
  8. Great Ideas
  9. Grocery List

I don’t use all of these, to be perfectly honest I don’t find all of them useful.  I use 6 of them.  I created page with 6 sections and attached the page to the inside cover of my Uncalendar.  When the page gets full enough that it’s dificult to use all I have to do is print out a new one, transfer any list items that are still relevant, and attach it where the old one was.

Here’s the lists I use:

  1. Music, Movies, and Books – I have sub headings under this one for each category
  2. Blog Post Ideas – I found that I didn’t have a use for “Great Ideas” but I always had a blog post idea I wanted to remember
  3. Don’t Forget – I make a point of looking at this 2-3 times per day, it does seem to be helping me remember the incidental stuff
  4. Goals – I find it’s always good to write goals down, helps keep you accountable.
  5. Gift Ideas – I’m always thinking of gifts that would be good for my husband but I can’t buy them right then because there aren’t any good hiding spots in my house.  Now I just have to keep The Hubby from seeing the list!
  6. Things I Want

I find that keeping these lists helps me stay organized and keeps me from forgetting things!  If you decide to use any of these let me know how it works out!

Trivia

The full rules of the trivia game have their own page, but the gist is this:  Every Thursday post gets a trivia question, other posts will have them at my discretion.  Questions will usually be movie quotes but I will throw other things in there too.  The first person (according to WordPress) to correctly answer the trivia question in the comments gets a point.  When you accumulate 4 points you win a prize.  They are probably going to be a selection from a handmade item from me or an Amazon gift card.  Once someone wins the points will NOT be reset, you’ll keep acumulating them.

This week’s trivia question:  “Moles and trolls, moles and trolls, work, work, work, work, work. We never see the light of day. We plan this thing for weeks and all they want to do is study. I’m disgusted. I’m sorry but it’s not like me, I’m depressed. There was what, no one at the mutant hamster races, we only had one entry into the Madame Curie look-alike contest and he was disqualified later. Why do I bother?”  Name that movie!