I have another request for you--please share your opinions with me, I can't figure this one out. My kids LOVE to have things that have to be cooked for lunch--low-fat pizza rolls, soft pretzels, corn dogs, chicken nuggets, etc., etc. I have a teensy-tiny kitchen, with negative counter space. All right, not really, but you get the idea. Very little counter space. See? Top pictures are typical for when I'm cooking, bottom pictures are when it's clean--or as clean as it gets.
I am thinking of getting a toaster oven so I don't have to heat up the big oven for just a small amount of food. It seems expensive and wasteful to me to use the big oven just for snacks, basically; also I don't like the way it heats up our entire kitchen (and a great deal of the living space in our house). What do you think? Are they worth it? Do they still heat up the house? If you have one, and you feel like they're a good idea, any buying tips? Do you like the convection features? I have a convection setting on my oven and I like it because I can preheat the oven a lot faster with it. Does the toaster oven convection do the same thing? Thanks for your opinions, I really appreciate it.
Two meals got "bumped" last week. We squeezed in Tyler Florence's spaghetti and meatballs (absolutely delicious) on a cool, rainy day, and the 5 year old was craving salmon. I marinated that in a Dijon/maple marinade and grilled it. Yummy!
I'll be making a big bowl of this Caesar-Chicken Pasta Salad to have on hand for my lunches this week. One substitution I do make is that instead of fat-free Caesar dressing, I use Ken's lite Caesar--it is my favorite Caesar ever, you would never know it was light. Another change I make is that I grill my own chicken breasts for the salad.
Saturday lunch: grilled pizzas (ours will be MUCH simpler--refrigerated roll dough, traditional toppings)
dinner: We'll be doing something fun...concert, pool, something!
Sunday lunch: taco salad
dinner: salmon club sandwiches (this has been one of my FAVORITE recipes for years) , fruit, veggies
Monday: Fajitas, cilantro rice, black beans
Tuesday: Walnut Chicken stir-fry (recipe follows), steamed rice (I always thought rice cookers were one of the dumbest appliances. Then I got one. I absolutely LOVE my mine.)
Wednesday: Chicken piccata, broccoli with bow ties, Caesar salad--this is probably my 7 year old's favorite meal.
Thursday: BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, tossed salad
Friday--we'll be leaving on a camping trip--with my Mom and Dad. I must admit, I'm not exactly looking forward to it (all right, I am completely dreading it), with the current situation--but I love my Dad way too much to cancel it. Still, *sigh*
Dinner: spaghetti w/meat sauce, salad, bread and butter
I'll also be shopping for a couple of meals to have on hand for those inevitable times when what I've planned doesn't work out. I don't always like cooking all the time, but I have learned that going out to dinner, especially during the week, just isn't for us. Not only is it a budget buster, we start our bedtime routine by 7:30 (8:00 now that it's summer--woohoo!), and my little ones just don't like taking an hour or more out of their evening to go out--go figure!
Don't forget to leave me your tried and true summer recipes and your toaster oven opinions. Thanks. For more meal plans, head over to organizing junkies.
Chicken Walnut Stir-Fry (Based on the Crisco recipe)
20 min10 min 6 servings
5 tablespoons canola oil, divided
5 teaspoons soy sauce, divided
3 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
2 whole chicken breasts, skinned, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/3" slivers
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 pound fresh broccoli, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Hot cooked rice
Combine 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in small mixing bowl. Add chicken. Stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate about 30 minutes.
Combine chicken broth, ginger, remaining 3 teaspoons soy sauce and remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch in small bowl. Set aside.
Heat remaining 4 tablespoons vegetable oil in large skillet. Add refrigerated chicken mixture and red pepper. Stir-fry over medium-high heat until chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken from skillet; set aside. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic to skillet. Stir-fry over medium-high heat until onion is tender. Add broccoli. Stir-fry until tender. Add chicken and chicken broth mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in walnuts. Serve with rice.