(L)Oven Monday – Easter Dinner 2017 Recap

Easter dinner 2017 a

If you’ve been reading my blog more than a week, you know how I treasure Sunday dinner.  It makes my heart sooo happy! But how does Sunday dinner get even better?  It’s when Sunday dinner is Easter Sunday dinner.  On top of good food, there’s the blessing of remembering Christ’s resurrection from the dead and celebrating that truth that He lives!

So, yesterday, we did indeed have a big Sunday meal, but we started with a wonderful church service where Christ was exalted! We sang of His resurrection and heard God’s truth about how to be sure you can have eternal life!  Then we came home for dinner and included our daughter and son-in-law and a couple of other special people.  We also incorporated a few family traditions, which brings memories and makes memories.  It was a great day!

Here’s the menu:

 Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
Ruth’s Chris’ Sweet Potato Casserole
Tarragon Asparagus – New recipe
Deviled Eggs
Caesar Salad in Parmesan Bowls
Bunny-Shaped Breadsticks – New recipe
Coconut Cake with Lemon Filling

Let me roll the pictures so you can have a peek into our day and see that I also incorporated all the principles I’ve recently shared about Sunday dinner!

I worked early in the week and got the Coconut Cake baked and layers put in the freezer.  Then at the end of the week, I made the lemon curd and the icing.  It simplifies the process so much!  By Saturday night here’s what was already prepped:

The cake, the rolls, the Sweet potato Casserole, Deviled eggs, and the salad ingredients were totally ready. The table was all set, too.  I also had the roasting pan for the ham set out and ready to bake the main entree.

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When I got home from church it only required to put the finishing touches on everything and bake the casserole.

Here’s how things turned out on Sunday~

Caesar Salad in Parmesan Cups –

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Sweet Potato Casserole – The best in my book!

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Terragon Asparagus – This was new, and it was pretty good.  My asparagus wasn’t as fresh as I’ve ever gotten, so I’m going to try this again before giving it a final verdict!

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Bunny Breadsticks – Another new recipe.  These were fantastic on Saturday when I made them, but they don’t really do well the next day.  Sooo, I won’t make these for Sunday any more, but I sure will use this recipe for other days when I have time to make them for that day.  They were delicious right out of the oven!!  And how cute are they???? They can be baked into regular bread sticks if you want to make them other times of the year!

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Coconut Cake

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One tradition that we’ve had for years is Easter sunrise service outside at home.  That was a challenge (and very cold) when we lived in Indiana, but we would don our coats and head to the tree house where we would have our own Sunrise service!  Then we would come inside and have Cinnamon rolls and scrambled eggs.  Now that it’s just my husband and me, we simply eat breakfast on the patio and read Scripture together.  It’s usually warm enough that we don’t shiver, thank the Lord!  Here’s what we had yesterday:

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We had Fresh farm eggs, Prosciutto, Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, Fresh fruit and Coffee.
It was a great way to start Easter Sunday!  This is a reminder that traditions aren’t just for when your kids are at home.  Keep those traditions going even when they’re gone.  It will continue to build strong home ties, and will also give your grown kids the security of knowing that you’re still making the most of your marriage!

So, another Easter dinner is in the (memory) books, and I’ll have to say, it’s a memorable chapter!  I thank the Lord for the blessing of celebrating our Savior’s life and getting to do it at church AND at home around the Sunday dinner table.

Did you have Easter dinner?  Did you cook?  What made it special for your family?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

(L)Oven Monday – Chicken Dinner in Under 15 Minutes!

I’ve had the recent loss of a properly working fridge.  Sadness!!!  Because I had to load my milk, eggs, coffee cream, butter and yogurt into the cooler while we wait (and wait and wait) for the repairmen to get the parts and get them installed, I’ve had to be kind of “off-the-cuff” with my meals.  Not having room for fresh vegetables, condiments, etc., I’ve pretty much just been pulling from the freezer and pantry.  “Necessity is the mother on invention” they say, and it’s true!  I had to pull a meal together completely out of necessity and it was  a really happy discovery!

I needed supper to consist of chicken breasts, canned tomatoes and feta cheese because that’s what I had. I found a recipe that sounded good, but I didn’t have the exact ingredients, so I substituted with what I did have, and the results were fabulous!!

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This chicken is cooked in under 15 minutes!!! Broiling the chicken gives it a little crispiness that makes it taste like it’s been grilled.  Yum!! If you need  a fabulous meal in a flash, here’s what this recipe calls for:

Chicken breasts filet
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Italian Seasoning
Canned Tomatoes
Feta Cheese

Instructions:
Pre-heat oven broiler on high.

Mix equal parts of olive oil and vinegar.  For one LARGE chicken breast, I used about 2 tbl of each.  Brush vinegar mixture on both sides of chicken breast.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, on both sides.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Place baking sheet 4-6 inches from broiler.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Turn and cook until juices run clear.  I had a thick chicken breast, so I cut it in half so it was thinner.  It cooked in the 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and place a spoonful of diced canned tomatoes (drained), on chicken.  Sprinkle with Feta Cheese.  Broil one more minute.  Serve immediately.

My menu for a completely 15 minute meal:

Chicken with Feta and Tomatoes
Steamed Green Beans
Couscous

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Seriously, this was so delicious!  My husband said, “This recipe needs to be on the ‘Do-over’ list!”  I agree.  We will be having this again and again even after the fridge gets fixed!  I’m thinking this recipe is the “Silver lining” in this refrigerator trouble!  Thank you, Lord, for these little blessings!

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

 

(L)Oven Monday – Comfort Food Classic

meat loaf meal

I recently needed to fix a meal for a couple who had spent many days and nights in the hospital.  They needed a nourishing, comforting meal.  That’s when I jumped on my blog’s recipe index to look for my long-time favorite recipe for Meatloaf. I mean you can’t get more comforting than meatloaf and the trimmings for a great home cooked meal, right? It was then that I was shocked to find that I have never shared that recipe here on my blog!  What?  I’ve been making it for YEARS!

I will fix that need today and share this incredibly easy and yummy meatloaf!It’s from Taste of Home and it’s called “Mom’s Best Meatloaf” for a reason!  It’s not over-seasoned; it’s just right!

To accompany the meatloaf, I made the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever had.  A sweet friend at church brought this cheesy heaven to my husband and me when we were caring for my mother-in-law in several years ago.  I asked my friend for the recipe, and also if she minded if I shared it with you!  She happily passed it on.  Thank you, Bethany!

Here was my menu for the Comfort Food Meal:

Mom’s Best Meatloaf
Macaroni and Cheese
Southern Green Beans
Fried Apples
Low-Fat Baking Powder Biscuits

meat loaf

Mom’s Best Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • Additional ketchup

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Press into an ungreased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan.
  2. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Drizzle top of loaf with ketchup; bake 15 minutes longer or until a meat thermometer reads 160°. Yield: 6-8 servings.

mac and cheese

My Favorite Ever Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until done; drain.
  2. In 9×13 inch baking dish, stir together macaroni, shredded Cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle topping over macaroni mixture.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is golden.

This meal is comfort heaven!  Make it for someone who needs some love – or make it for your own family to show your love!

What’s your best comfort food meal?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

 

(L)Oven Monday – Successful Sunday Dinner Finale

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Today is the last post for Successful Sunday dinner.  I will continue to share my recipes and what I served at my house, but as far as the 1,2,3’s, we’re going to wrap it up and get you ready to dive into that great Sunday meal for your family!

Remember that if it’s your desire to make Sunday dinner special at your house, it’s going to take some intentional effort and planning. Here were the three crucial steps before getting the meal going:

  1. Ponder the needs –

  2. Plan the menu 

  3. Prepare ahead

  • Ponder the needs -Consider any allergies or health concerns, like diabetes.
  • Plan the menu around those needs, your time and budget.  Typically if I’m making a main dish or a bread that requires lots of time, I’ll make another part of the meal easier to prepare.
  • Prepare ahead by doing everything you can on Saturday (or before).  It will lessen your stress level!
    • Set the table
    • Chop all veggies
    • Marinate meat
    • Prepare the salad
    • Prepare the dessert
    • Get the side dishes started

Let me give you a little rundown on how my week may look when I’m hosting a typical Sunday dinner…

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Early in the week – 

Wednesday – 

  • Make Rolls and freeze
  • Check to see if tablecloth or napkins need ironing

Saturday – 

  • Prep chicken dish and  go ahead and bake it.  All it needs on Sunday is to be warmed up. I wouldn’t leave this dish in the oven during church – it would dry out.
  • Peel potatoes and place in water overnight
  • Cut up apples for salad and place in lemon juice/water mixture overnight
  • Make Vinaigrette for salad
  • Wash and slice strawberries
  • Make tea
  • Set table
  • Set out serving dishes

Sunday – Before church

  • Mix salad ingredients, except dressing
  • Put potatoes in crock pot, turn on high
  • Set rolls out to rise

Sunday – After church

  • Set out a light snack for guests, if needed
  • Warm chicken either in a large pan on the stove or in the microwave on a med setting.
  • Prep asparagus for roasting
  • Mash potatoes and keep warm
  • Bake rolls – Keep warm
  • Roast asparagus
  • Put into serving dishes

Enjoy the meal!!!

Serve dessert and then pray someone volunteers to help with the dishes!

I hope this series has helped you to see that you CAN make Sunday dinner something special and memorable.  Start out small and work your way into more complicated menus.  Do what you feel comfortable with and keep trying to improve your game plan.

 

Remember that the most important ingredient of any meal is THE PEOPLE!  Don’t make it about you and your inadequacies.  Make them feel welcome and important and they will love their time around your Sunday dinner table!

Is there an unanswered question that you have?  I’d be happy to address it!  Leave me a comment here and I promise to answer you!

Let’s eat!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

 

 

(L)Oven Monday 30-Minute Meals for Sunday

Happy Monday and Post #4 about Successful Sunday  Dinners!

I’m posting late today because I got home from Michigan very late last night and couldn’t finish this post until today!  I can’t wait to tell you about my special weekend, but let’s move on with Sunday dinner!

Today I’m going to give you some 30-minute meal ideas for Sunday’s. Sometimes having a meal in the oven or crock pot isn’t feasible, so these menus are a great option!

Things to remember when making 30-minute meals:

  • As with any other menu, you should still prep anything ahead of time that you can. You may even reduce the time to under 30 minutes!
    • Marinate meat
    • Chop veggies
    • Get ingredients together so you can grab them easily
  • Set the table ahead of time.
  • Find make-ahead sides
  • Make a dessert before-hand, if that’s part of the menu

Here are some ideas to get you thinking…

Stir Fry – Stir-fry is cooked very quickly, making it great any time you’re in a hurry. This recipe for Orange Chicken was new to me and we loved it! I used her Original recipe she mentions, because I wanted lots of orange flavor!  It was super good! This picture does NOT do it justice, so please try it anyway!!!

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Recipe from The Gunny Sack
  • Brunch foods
    • Waffles – How about making these waffles up ahead and freezing them.  Then after church, toast as many as needed and having all kinds of fruit toppings for them!  Add a side of bacon and you have a great meal!
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  • German Pancakes – These are a nice twist on regular pancakes and they are soooo good!

So, step out of the traditional Sunday dinner mold and fix a new kind of menu for your family after church.  This could become a family tradition that everyone prefers!  It’s certainly one they’ll all enjoy! Who doesn’t love waffles and pancakes?!

I hope these dinner ideas are helpful for you.  Let me know if I’m aiding your abilities, or if I still need to address other areas for Successful Sunday dinner!

Lovingly,

Denise Signature 150 pxf

(L)Oven Monday – Successful Sunday Dinner with Delicious Sides!

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Welcome back to the Successful Sunday dinner series!  Today I want to address two more questions/problems people mentioned in regards to Sunday dinner –

  1. How can I have everything done at the same time?
  2. What sides can you make that will be ready for a Sunday meal after church?
  •  An easy way to answer both of those issues is to make a dish where the meat and the veggies are one dish in themselves. They are baked/roasted together, so they’re finished at the same time.  That doesn’t mean it has to be a casserole!   Here are a few suggestions of those kinds of meals:
    • Lemon Greek Chicken – Chicken, Potato wedges and Red onions make up this delicious meal – all in one dish!
    • Baked Chicken Fajitas – No grilling needed – the chicken, peppers and onions are all cooked together and are ready to get wrapped in a tortilla shell!
    • Yankee Pot Roast – What would a Sunday menu be without  a Pot Roast recipe?  This one is so delicious with not only vegetables, but also a gravy that is effortless!
    • Short Ribs and Limas – Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!  I don’t like limas unless they’re in this dish!  There’s a scrumptious gravy that covers the meat and the beans, making it so savory!

The main idea with the recipes above, and ones like them, is that all you need to add is a salad and perhaps bread.  If the salad is made ahead of time, your meal is ready within minutes of your arrival home!

If you have a meat in the oven, but also need a potato, you could make your baked potatoes in the crock pot.  Here’s how:

  • Spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.  Clean potatoes really well, rub with olive oil and then coat with kosher salt.  Place in slow cooker.  Cook on high for about 4-6 hours.

Another suggestion I would make is, find a couple recipes like these that you can master.  Stick with them until you get the hang of getting it all ready ahead of time, then move on to more challenging menus.  Find one your family loves and that you do well.  It will be your signature dish!

If you missed any of the other posts for Successful Sunday Dinner, you can find them here and here.

My menu yesterday was:

Beef Enchiladas ( All done the night before and baked once I got home),
Refried Beans – Done in the crock pot during church
Banana – Pineapple Salad

Who’s attempting Sunday dinner?  I’d love to hear what you made yesterday!

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

 

(L)Oven Monday – Sunday Dinner, Part 2

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Chicken Enchildadas!

Last week I began with sharing the three things that are essential to having a successful Sunday dinner.  You can go here to find the details of those  important ingredients –

  1. Ponder the needs
  2. Plan the menu
  3. Prepare ahead

After you have done #1, and you know your budget, the needs of your guests and any other needs, such as time constraint, you can plan the menu.  Today, I’m going to share a few menu suggestions and I’ll put them into a few categories to help you get started.

  • Low Budget, Large crowd – 
    • Pasta dishes are great.  Here are some of my favorites that are inexpensive, feed a crowd, and can be made ahead:
      • Spinach Lasagna – You can even make this with no meat
      • Spaghetti Pie – This recipe makes two pies!  It has all the flavors of lasagna with less prep.
      • Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cheese – This link will not only show you the recipe, it will also tell you the whole menu I served on a Sunday when I made this, and the steps I took to get it ready for after church.
    • Chicken dishes, using roasted chicken done in the crock pot.  Here’s the method to cook the chicken breasts in the crock pot.
      • Chicken Enchiladas – This link will, again, show you my whole menu and method to serve this on a Sunday.
      • Savory Crescent Chicken Squares – To make these for a Sunday, prep the meat and cream cheese mixture and have it waiting in the fridge.  When you get home from church, put it into the crescent rolls and bake!
      • Hot Chicken Salad
  • Healthy Choices that can be made ahead –
    • Roasted Vegetable Frittata – Brunch food is great for Sunday!  Many restaurants are filled with church-goer’s looking for brunch!  Frittata warms up great.  I would bake the whole thing on Saturday and simply warm it up after church.
    • Baked Potato Soup – Make it ahead and keep it warm in the crock pot.  You can make this a hearty meal by serving a big bowl of salad and a light bread with it.
    • Katie Brown Chicken – This is a traditional kind of Sunday dinner, and soooo yummy!  It’s really my favorite meal!
    • Chicken Taco Salads – If the chicken is cooked, and the other salad ingredients prepped, you could put this together in minutes.
  • Crock Pot Recipes can be a life saver on Sunday! This is probably the best way to start out putting a great Sunday meal on the table.  Put everything in the crock pot and head to church.  There may be a little to do when you get home, but not much!  Here are some delicious main dish favorites:

I hope this second edition of Sunday Dinner will better equip you to put together a menu that fits your needs!  Give one of these recipes a whirl this Sunday and let me know how it goes!

Did you fix Sunday dinner yesterday?  What did you serve?

Denise Signature 150 px