If you are frustrated trying to decide what to have for dinner every night let me help. On Friday, a shopping list for the next weeks meals is posted. Visit http://www.CarriesCooking.com/ each day and your dinner frustrations will be over. I hope you join me for this free, time and money saving guide.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Holiday Break

I will be taking this week off for the holidays. There will be a menu and grocery list posted on Friday.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Pork Chops with Caramelized Onion Sauce

Pork Chops with Caramelized Onion Sauce

4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons parsley
4 bone-in loin pork chops


  1. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
  2. Add onions and thyme, then season with salt and pepper
  3. Cook, stirring every now and then, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
  4. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add vinegar and chicken broth.
  6. Bring to a simmer over high heat and cook until the liquids has reduced by half.
  7. Turn the heat off, and add the butter and parsley.
  8. Stir until the butter melts.
  9. Preheat a second skillet over medium high heat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  10. Season the chops liberally with salt and pepper and add them to the hot skillet.
  11. Cook chops for 5 minutes on the first side.
  12. Flip the chops and reduce the heat to medium.
  13. Cook them on the second side for 8 to 10 minutes, or the desired doneness.
  14. Serve the chops topped with some of the caramelized onion sauce.

Let me know what you think of this pork dish.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Baked Chicken Fingers

Baked Chicken Fingers

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 1/2 inch slices
1 1/2 cups fine, dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 cup butter, melted


  1. Combine bread crumbs cheese, salt, and herbs in a shallow bowl, mixing well.
  2. Dip chicken pieces in butter, and then into crumb mixture, coating well.
  3. Place coated chicken on greased baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Let me know what you think of this homemade version of your child's old time favorite.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chicken Quesadillas

Chicken Quesadillas

2 Chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
8 Burrito Size Flour Tortillas
1 pound Monetary Jack Cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon Chili Powder
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper


  1. Chop chicken breast into bite sized pieces.
  2. Cook in small non-stick sauce pan with spices until no longer pink.
  3. Heat large frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Place 1 flour tortilla on microwave safe plate. Sprinkle about 1/8 the cheese on tortilla followed by 1/4 the prepared chicken and another 1/8 cheese. Place second flour tortilla on top.
  5. Put quesadilla in microwave for 30 seconds on high to melt cheese.
  6. Spray frying pan with non-stick spray and place quesadilla on to cook. When lightly browned and crisp turn to cook other side.
  7. Repeat 3 - 5 until 4 quesadillas have been made.
  8. Using a pizza cutter cut into 6 pieces
  9. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007



I hope you had time to put together your lasagna already. If not be sure to look at Sunday's post and follow the instructions after cooking the lasagna noodles according to the package.


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Cover the lasagna with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
If you make this let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lasagna (Prep)

Lasagna Prep

Why do I like to prepare my lasagna a day in advance? So I don't have to cook the noodles. If you make up your lasagna in advance and let it sit in the refrigerator at least over night the noodles will be just right.
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 (14.5 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
2 (8 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
8 ounces lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. (To reduce fat you can drain the fat out at this point.)
2. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 5 noodles over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers starting with noodles, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator at least overnight.
The baking instructions will be provided on Sunday.

I often have left over meat sauce. Put it in the freezer for a spaghetti topping. It is hard to beat this red meat sauce over pasta.

Beef Barley Stew

Beef Barley Stew

1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced celery
2 cloves garlic cloves, minced
2 cups sliced baby portobello mushrooms
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup uncooked medium pearl barley
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cold water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Minced fresh parsley


  1. In a Dutch oven, cook beef in oil until meat is no longer pink.
  2. Add the carrots, onion, celery and garlic; cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms, stewed tomatoes, water, wine, broth, bay leaves, salt, thyme and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  6. Add barley; cover and simmer 45 minutes longer or until barley and meat are tender.
  7. Combine flour and cold water until smooth. Gradually stir into pan.
  8. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  9. Remove from the heat.
  10. Discard bay leaves.
  11. Stir in balsamic vinegar just before serving.
  12. Sprinkle each serving with parsley if desired.

Let me know what you think of this hearty meal.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Apricot Chicken

Apricot Chicken


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup water
1 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Shake chicken in a mixture of flour, curry and salt.
  3. Brown chicken in vegetable oil in a skillet.
  4. Place chicken in a baking dish, reserving drippings in skillet.
  5. Add sugar, beef cubes, onion, water, preserves, lemon juice, and soy sauce to skillet.
  6. Heat to a boil, crushing beef cubes.
  7. Pour mixture over chicken.
  8. Bake 1 hour.

Try this dish with different flavors of preserves. I had cherry preserves on hand so I will use it. Not, a big fan of curry, try substituting garlic powder instead.

Let me know what you think of this great dish.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Baked Slow Cooker Chicken

Baked Slow Cooker Chicken

1 (2 to 3 pound) whole chicken
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon paprika


  1. Wad three pieces of aluminum foil into 3 to 4 inch balls, and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper and paprika, and place in the slow cooker on top of the crumbled aluminum foil.
  4. Set the slow cooker to High for 1 hour, then turn down to Low for about 5 to 6 hours, or until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear.

I trim off much of the skin of the chicken as a way to be healthier.

If you make this great and easy dish let me know what you think.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Beef and Bean Chimichangas

1 pound lean ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1 1/2 cups whole kernel corn
2 cups taco sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
8 (12 inch) flour tortillas
1 (16 ounce) package shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1 tablespoon butter, melted
shredded lettuce
1 tomato, diced


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Drain excess grease, and add the onion, bell pepper, and corn.
  4. Cook for about 5 more minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  5. Stir in the taco sauce, and season with chili powder, garlic salt and cumin, stirring until blended.
  6. Cook until heated through, then remove from heat, and set aside.
  7. Open the can of beans, and spread a thin layer of beans onto each of the tortillas.
  8. Spoon the beef mixture down the center, and then top with as much shredded cheese as you like.
  9. Roll up the tortillas, and place them seam-side down onto a baking sheet.
  10. Brush the tortillas with melted butter.
  11. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.
  12. Serve with lettuce and tomato.

Freezer Friendly Instructions: After rolling up the tortillas place in freezer safe container and place in freezer. When ready to cook defrost in refrigerator brush with melted butter and bake as instructed. Or you can even cook them as instructed and then just reheat in the oven.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007



My family loves spaghetti. Lately I have been mixing a little wheat pasta in with my regular pasta. When the spaghetti sauce is added no one can tell the difference.

It is simple but you can't complain about having a classic.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pork Roast with Thyme

Pork Roast with Thyme

5 pounds pork roast, trimmed
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. With a small knife, pierce top of roast.
  3. Force garlic slices into the cuts.
  4. Sprinkle the roast with salt and pepper.
  5. Place bay leaves in the bottom of the roasting pan, and set roast on top of bay leaves, fat side up.
  6. Mix vinegar and thyme in a small bowl, and pour over the top of the roast.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven 3 hours, or until an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (70 degrees C) is reached.
  8. Using a baster or spoon, baste the drippings over the roast frequently while it is cooking.
  9. Let the roast rest for 10 minutes when done before slicing.

Let me know what you think of this roast.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Keys-Style Citrus Chicken

Keys-Style Citrus Chicken

4 medium skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 orange


  1. Rinse chicken; pat dry.
  2. In a large skillet cook chicken and garlic in hot butter over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink, turning chicken once and stirring garlic occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine lime peel, lime juice, ginger, and red pepper; set aside.
  4. Peel and slice orange, reserving juice.
  5. Cut orange slices into quarters.
  6. Add any reserved orange juice and the lime juice mixture to skillet.
  7. Place orange slices on top of chicken.
  8. Cook, covered, for 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through.
  9. Spoon drippings over chicken to serve.

Let me know what you think of this dish. My two year old daughter loves chicken when it is cooked in something fruity.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Garlic Lime Chicken

Garlic Lime Chicken

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
4 - 6 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons lime juice


  1. In bowl, mix together first 7 ingredients.
  2. Evenly sprinkle mixture on both sides of chicken breasts.
  3. In a skillet heat butter and oil together over a medium high heat.
  4. Saute chicken until golden brown on each side.
  5. Remove chicken and add lime juice and chicken broth to the pan, whisking up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook until sauce has reduced slightly.
  6. Add chicken back to the pan to coat and finish cooking.

If you try this quick and easy favorite of mine let me know what you think.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Menu and Grocery List (Dec. 10 - Dec. 16)

What am I having for dinner Dec. 10 - Dec. 16?

Keys-Style Citrus Chicken
Pork Roast with Thyme
Green Beans
Garlic Bread
Beef and Bean Chimichangas
Mexican Rice
Bread sticks
Baked Slow Cooker Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Free Day

I want to explain what I have called the 'free day'. I have used other menu planning services and found that there was always one day that my family would eat out. The free day is the opportunity for you to either eat out, catch up to my meals if you are behind, or make something that you or your family loves.

Grocery List

Bakery Item
Corn Bread (Suggested Side)

Condiments and Salad Dressings
1/2 cup cider vinegar (Pork Roast with Thyme)

Dairy, Eggs, and Milk
1 tablespoon butter melted (Beef and Bean Chimichangas)
1 (16 ounce) package Monterrey Jack cheese shredded (Beef and Bean Chimichangas)
1 tablespoon butter (Keys-Style Citrus Chicken)
Parmesan Cheese (Suggested Topping)
Sour Cream (Suggested Topping)

Ethnic Foods
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans (Beef and Bean Chimichangas)
8 12 inch flour tortillas (Beef and Bean Chimichangas)
2 cups taco sauce (Beef and Bean Chimichangas)
28 oz Spaghetti Sauce (Spaghetti Dinner)
Mexican Rice (Suggested Side)
Salsa (Suggested Topping)

Frozen Foods
1 1/2 cups corn whole kernel (Beef and Bean Chimichangas)
Frozen Pizza (Pizza)
Broccoli (Suggested Side)
Green Beans (Suggested Side)
Garlic Bread (Suggested Side)
Peas (Suggested Side)
Bread sticks (Suggested Side)

Herbs and Spices
1 teaspoon Paprika (Baked Slow cooker Chicken)
To Taste Pepper (Baked Slow cooker Chicken)
To Taste Salt (Baked Slow cooker Chicken)
2 teaspoons chili powder (Beef and Bean Chimichangas)
1 teaspoons garlic salt (Beef and Bean Chimichangas)
1 teaspoons ground cumin (Beef and Bean Chimichangas)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (Keys-Style Citrus Chicken)
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (Keys-Style Citrus Chicken)
3 Bay Leaves (Pork Roast with Thyme)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (Pork Roast with Thyme)
1/2 tablespoon Pepper (Pork Roast with Thyme)
1 teaspoon Salt (Pork Roast with Thyme)

Meats, Fish, and Seafood
1 2 to 3 pound Whole Chicken (Baked Slow cooker Chicken)
1 pound ground beef lean (Beef and Bean Chimichangas)
4 Medium Chicken Breast Boneless, skinless, halves (Keys-Style Citrus Chicken)
5 Pounds Pork Roast Trimmed (Pork Roast with Thyme)

Be sure to check you refrigerator and pantry for any of these items that you already have. Also, don't forget to add items for breakfast, lunch and every day items. Going grocery shopping is much easier if you have a list of everything you need.

Email me at carriescooking@gmail.com if you would like the grocery list emailed to you on a weekly basis.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Beef Enchiladas

1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons taco seasoning (recipe)
1 can (10.75 ounces) condensed tomato soup
cooking spray
8 large (10 to 12 inch) flour tortillas
1 cans (16 ounces) refried beans
2 jars (16 ounces) Mexican Style salsa
1 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the beef in an extra-deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
  3. Begin browning the beef, stirring often to break up the meat.
  4. Meanwhile, peel and coarsely chop the onion, adding it to the skillet as you chop.
  5. Cook, stirring often, until all the meat is crumbled and cooked.
  6. Drain meat of oil.
  7. Add taco seasoning, condensed tomato soup and cook until heated through, stirring often at a low temperature.
  8. Spray 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray
  9. Assemble the enchiladas by placing meat mixture and refried beans in center of each flour tortila.
  10. Fold the tortillas, tucking in one end burrito style and place them seam side down in the prepared baking dish.
  11. Stir the salsa, sour cream, and mayonnaise together in a bowl and pour this sauce evenly over the enchiladas.
  12. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake until the sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes.
  13. Remove the pan from the oven, uncover it, and sprinkle the cheese evenly over the enchiladas.
  14. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese melts, about 3 minutes.

Let me know what you think of this great dish.

Tip: I find my meat mixture isn't as thick as I would like, so I add a little rolled oats to it. Trust me when I say noone will know that it is there and it will add a little fiber to your dish.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pasta and Peas Au Gratin

1 9-ounce package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini or cheese-filled ravioli
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup half-and-half
1 14-ounce can chunky tomatoes with garlic and spices
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. In a large saucepan cook tortellini or ravioli according to package directions, except add peas for the last 1 minute of cooking.
  2. Drain.
  3. Return pasta mixture to the hot saucepan.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan stir together flour and pepper.
  5. Gradually stir in half-and-half.
  6. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.
  7. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.
  8. Gradually stir in the undrained tomatoes. (I generally put in only half a can as my family is not a big fan of tomatoes.)
  9. Pour sauce over pasta.
  10. Toss to coat.
  11. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Let me know what you think of this dish.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Chicken with Honey-Cranberry Sauce

4 medium skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 of a 16-ounce can (1 cup) whole cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


  1. Rinse chicken; pat dry.
  2. In a large skillet cook chicken in hot butter over medium heat about 10 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink, turning once.
  3. Remove chicken from skillet reserving drippings in skillet.
  4. Keep chicken warm.
  5. Stir cranberry sauce, honey, and ginger into the reserved drippings in the skillet.
  6. Cook and stir until heated through.
  7. Spoon cranberry mixture over chicken.

Let me know what you think of this quick chicken dish.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Stir-Fried Beef and Noodles

1 3-ounce package beef-flavor ramen noodles
1/2 pound beef sirloin steak, cut 3/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
1 stalk celery, bias-sliced (1/2 cup)
1 6 ounce package frozen pea pods, thawed
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)


  1. Cook ramen noodles according to package directions, except drain the noodles and reserve the seasoning package.
  2. Meanwhile, trim any separable fat from the steak.
  3. Cut the steak into thin bite-size strips; set aside.
  4. Pour cooking oil into a wok or large skillet.
  5. preheat over medium-high heat.
  6. Add carrot and celery.
  7. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender.
  8. Remove the vegetables from the wok or skillet.
  9. Add the steak strips to the hot wok.
  10. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or to desired doneness.
  11. Return carrot and celery to the wok.
  12. Stir in noodles, reserved seasoning package, pea pods, water, parsley, teriyaki sauce, ginger, and if desired crushed red pepper.
  13. Cook over medium heat until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Let me know what you think of this easy to make dish.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Carrie's Chili

Carrie's Chili

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons Chili Powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup to 1 cup rolled oats


  1. Heat oil in large stock pot on medium heat
  2. Add onion and garlic, cook until transparent.
  3. Add ground beef and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Brown beef, stir often to break beef up into small pieces. (You may want to increase temperature to medium-high.)
  5. Add 2 cans of rinsed kidney beans, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 1/2 cans water (I use the water to rinse out the tomatoes to get any extra juices.), ketchup, and chili powder.
  6. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 cup to 1 cup of oats. (I add the oats because I like a nice thick chili and often can't wait for it to thicken over time. It adds some healthy fiber and no one will notice.)
  8. Simmer for about another 10 minutes. It is ready when the beans are cooked through.

Let me know what you think of this twist on my mom's chili. If you have leftovers, this chili tastes even better the next day for lunch.