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What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Baked Cheese and Broccoli Patties

6 Nov
These were so great! Definitely a keeper!

These were so great! Definitely a keeper!


On a recent school day afternoon, I received a text from one of my daughters. It was about an hour before I had to leave and she’d be arriving home while I was gone, but I wouldn’t be back for quite some time.

Her lunch had been ruined. I can’t remember the reason why or specifically what happened. My memory isn’t what it used to be. She was annoyed and she was already starving, with a couple of hours to go before she’d arrive home.

I didn’t have an after school snack planned, and she knows how to make a bagel, cereal, a sandwich, things like that, but I had an idea. I looked up a recipe I’d been wanting to try for a while,  one I’d seen floating across my Facebook page for Baked Cheese and Broccoli Patties.

Now I know that doesn’t sound like a typical yummy after school snack, it’s definitely not chocolate and not sweet, but it’s savory and my kids actually all like broccoli. In fact, this one in particular loves it, and her winning recipe that got us to the White House in 2012 was a simple broccoli and cheese omelet. Rather than let her come in and make just anything for a snack, which was now replacing her lunch, I thought maybe I could leave her these to just reheat and she’d get something a little warmer and more nutritious than a bowl of cereal.

I checked out the recipe, checked out the time and figured out that if I moved quickly, I could squeeze in the prep and cook times before I left. They’d be done and on top of the stove when she got home. It might even make her day a little better, which would be an added bonus.

They were delicious. I texted her a photo of them when I knew she was out of school, on the bus, on her way home. “Just reheat and eat,” I said.

She was so happy. So hungry and so happy. I later texted again to see if she liked them and she said she loved them, that they were very similar to this recipe that we’d gotten out of our cookbook that we’d received at our White House luncheon, minus the hot dogs and pasta. When my other daughters got home from school, they too reported loving this after school snack.

So I call this a great recipe success! All thumbs up, a quick and easy recipe and it can be used for a side dish with a meal or on its own; even as an after school snack. Who knew?!

When I saw this recipe go by on Facebook, a friend was sharing it to another friend’s wall, but there was no originating information to go with it. I did an online search, saw the recipe on the site, but the photo was different than the one in the recipe I had, and this person too, reported getting it from a random Facebook post. However, someone put up a comment with the origination of the recipe, so I’d like to give credit here to the Po’Man Meals blog. Thanks for inspiring a whole lot of us!

I’m using the ingredients and directions I found on, which is the same as the one I have printed out at home, so thanks to them as well.

I encourage you to give it a try!

Baked Cheese and Broccoli Patties


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  2. Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat, add in the garlic and onions. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Sauté until onions are garlic are tender, set aside to cool.
  3. Add the broccoli to a kitchen towel. Wrap the towel around the broccoli and squeeze out the extra moisture. Pour the drained broccoli into a large bowl, add the onion and garlic and mix gently.
  4. To the same bowl, add the panko, the cheeses, eggs, and salt/pepper to taste.
  5. Mix together and form into patties, place on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for another 15 minutes if needed, or until browned and crispy.


What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Taco Bake

4 Nov

This little “cookbook” is handmade from my college roommate, Karen, circa May 1993. I still cook from it!


Last week during one of my posts I mentioned a cookbook that my college roommate, Karen had made me before we graduated URI back in 1993. Despite all our moves from state to state, apartments to house, that little booklet has traveled with me and several of our regular recipes have come from it. However, there’s so many in there that I haven’t made in years. Recently I pulled it out again, as I was specifically looking for a recipe for dinner that we hadn’t made in years, probably since before we had kids. It was a huge hit, so I thought I should share it here.

My family all likes Mexican food but I was getting a little tired of our alternating meals: tacos and quesadillas (even though they weren’t at all tired of them and could probably eat tacos and quesadillas day after day, I could not.) I decided to give Karen’s Taco Bake a try. It got four thumbs up. (And a thumbs down from Alex who said, “But I really liked the tomatoes Mom.”)

You don’t need a ton of ingredients for this recipe and I had everything on hand even though I hadn’t planned it in advance.

This recipe is all the things I like: quick and easy, one pan, and budget friendly. I had a pack of ground turkey in the fridge and everything else on hand in the house already.


1 lb. Grd. Turkey or Beef

1 12 oz. jar of salsa (I had a 24 oz. jar, with about half left so I just dumped it all in.)

1 cup corn (drained if canned, mine is frozen)

1/2 cup mayo

1 Tbl. Chili Powder

2 cups crushed tortilla chips (I didn’t measure, but I put about half a bag into a ziploc and crushed them.)

2 cups Montery Jack Cheese (I used a block of cheddar)

I love how it first looks when you throw it all together.


Brown and drain meat.

Stir in salsa, corn, mayo and chili powder.

Layer 1/2 meat, cheese and chips in a 2 qt casserole (I used a 11×7 baking dish)

Repeat so that cheese is on top of chips.

Bake 20-25 minutes until cheese is lightly crisp.

Top with shredded lettuce, tomato and sour cream.

My kids were so excited for this new meal, they couldn’t wait to try it out.

Now you could serve it on a plate as is, or as my kids like to do, you could throw it into a soft taco and wrap it up, with all the fixins’ and eat it that way. We had a little of both at our house; some on a plate and some in wraps. Either way….delicious.

So there you have it….another one of Karen’s famous recipes from my college years.


Fun Friday [Night]: An ode to leftovers

16 Oct
This is my empty dinner dish...I got to have my favorite dinner twice this week, once early in the week and once leftover. Do you make use of your leftovers?

This is my empty dinner dish…I got to have my favorite dinner twice this week, once early in the week and once leftover. Do you eat leftovers?

Happy Friday Night everyone!

We made it through the week. At one point today I questioned if I’d even survive the day in one piece, never-mind the entire week.

Although this week was a short one, it was such a busy one that it seemed extra- long. By 1:30 this afternoon I was so wiped out from today, I couldn’t believe the day was only half over. Once it was over we had one child home for the evening, one child out for the evening and one child away for the weekend.

That made it a perfect night for leftovers.

We were gone all day, no one was home to cook, yet we had an elaborate menu of fabulous dinners to choose from when we finally got home tonight, completely wiped out physically and mentally. Not only that, but we could essentially all get to eat our most favorite dinners tonight since this week we had something that everyone loved at least once during the week. My favorite dinner is Chicken Marsala and I just polished off the last of it.

A few days ago my friend Paula from the blog My Soup For You shared a link from NPR on Facebook about the use of leftovers and the actual historical significance of leftovers. You can read the article or listen to it here, and I found it to be a very interesting read, particularly because my husband and I always talk about how much we love being able to use our leftovers and how our kids really love getting to eat their favorite dish from the week a second time.

As you know, we usually try to plan our meals two weeks at a time, but oftentimes in that two week cycle we get to have a “Leftovers Night” on the menu at least one time, if not two, and I also will often eat leftovers for my lunch during the week if I’m working from home. In fact, in many cases, like tonight for example, our leftovers completely saved the day.

Or night.

We didn’t want to eat out tonight as we’re eating out tomorrow night, and we were running in different directions a good part of the evening. It was so easy to open up the fridge and have everything already done, just needing reheating. It must be what it’s like to have a personal chef!

Here is our two weeks of meals for you, and I’ve indicated which of the meals had leftovers so that you can see just how far you can stretch a meal budget.

  1. Sloppy Joes *We had meat leftover, enough for one sandwich.
  2. Ravioli and salad *We had enough for two portions leftover.
  3. Paninis *We had half a sandwich left and it was lunch the next day.
  4. Soup and sandwiches *Soup was leftover, enough for two portions.
  5. Shepherds Pie *We had one portion leftover.
  6. Pasta with Tuna Sauce
  7. Quiche (ham and cheese for one, chicken, broccoli, mushrooms and cheese) *About half of each were left, my lunch for many days.
  8. Pork Chops *Two leftover, enough for a BBQ pork chop sandwich.
  9. Chicken, broccoli, cauliflower casserole *There were two portions leftover, both were my lunch during the week.
  10. Homemade pizza (one plain cheese and sauce, one veggie) *We had about half left, enough for lunch the next day.
  11. Chicken Marsala *There was exactly enough leftover for me to have my favorite dinner again tonight.
  12. Leftover Night

    These final three meals didn’t get used in this cycle so they will be on the next two weeks of meals menu, which is three less we have to think of.1. Steak sandwiches with mushrooms and onions
    2. Kielbasa with cabbage and onions
    3. Shrimp scampi (Although we didn’t have this, we did have a shrimp and ravioli dish with tomatoes, which was very similar.)

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Two weeks of meals…almost

30 Sep

Last week I saw the funniest post on Facebook, shared by a friend but originally from Modern Mommy Madness, and it reminded me of our weekly scrambles to get our meals planned and prepped. It made me laugh out loud, literally, and I instantly shared it on Facebook myself. We try very hard to stick to a budget and we try very hard to make a meal plan for two weeks at a time so that we can stick to that budget, but some weeks it is just so hard, and we’re just barely pulling some sort of meal together.  This graphic put the reality check right out there, and I loved it.

I'm pretty sure we all can relate. Don't you think so? My personal favorite is Friday's meal.

I’m pretty sure we all can relate. Don’t you think so? My personal favorite is Friday’s meal. Thanks to Modern Mommy Madness for keeping it real.

So this week, instead of two weeks of meal ideas for you, I’ve got ten. By the time we got our meal plan together and shopped for it, we were down to ten days instead of 14. I’d say I’d share with you the other four, but I barely remember what we ate last night, nevermind ten days ago. I think I do remember a lasagna and a shepherd’s pie in there somewhere, a chicken pot pie made an appearance as well, but for now, we have ten meals. The kids have been helping with the meal planning, putting in their favorite meal requests, which has helped us come up with two weeks of meals every time. Hopefully this list will help to jump-start your own meal planning for the next couple of weeks!

  1. Oven roasted chicken dinner, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce
  2. Fajitas
  3. California chicken (chicken sandwiches with melted cheese, avocado, and sprouts if desired)
  4. Homemade pizzas (we did Hawaiian, plain cheese with sauce, and BBQ chicken this time)
  5. Ravioli
  6. Sloppy Joes
  7. Chicken and Broccoli quiche (recipe here)
  8. Chicken and Mushrooms in white wine sauce (recipe here)
  9. Sweet and Sour Meatballs with egg noodles (recipe here)
  10. Pastene “soup” and Meatball sandwiches

Two weeks of meal planning

1 Jun
Ready for another two weeks of dinners?

Ready for another two weeks of dinners?

It’s June 1!
We’re in the home stretch for the end of the school year; a busy time for us adults with our work in the schools and as parents of school aged kids, but also a busy time for the kids at school and in all their after school activities.

We can do it though, we’re almost there.

For us school ends on June 17 and for my husband’s district, it ends an entire week later, but at least the bulk of our family will be done with a lot of our stress by June 17.

I have not had a ton of extra typing time to devote to my blog, which is typical for this time of year, but to make up for it I’m going to share with you two weeks of meal planning ideas, just in case you’re as stressed in May and June as we are.

I hope that it gives you some inspiration for what to have for dinner over the coming two weeks.


Day 1: Eggplant Parm with pasta and salad

Day 2: BBQ Ribs and Chicken with cole slaw, baked beans, and rice pilaf

Day 3: Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

Day 4: Baked stuffed fish with red potatoes

Day 5: California Chicken sandwiches (grilled chicken with avocado and melted cheese)

Day 6: BBQ Pulled Pork in the crock pot

Day 7: Dinner out (Friday night)

Day 8: Baked Chicken Dinner with stuffing, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes

Day 9: Homemade Soup (we always offer sandwiches on the side, like grilled cheese, but it’s not often that anyone wants anything besides the soup.)

Day 10: Breakfast for Dinner: French Toast

Day 11: Pasta with Sauce

Day 12: Marinated steak tips

Day 13: Pork Chops with homemade apple sauce

Day 14: Quesadillas and Burritos

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: 30 Minute Spaghetti with Summer Vegetable Sauce

29 Apr
Another successful meal from Liz's 30 Minute Meal cookbook!

Another successful meal from Liz’s 30 Minute Meal cookbook!

About two weeks ago, for my previous What’s for Dinner Wednesday post, I showed a recipe that Elizabeth had found in a Cook’s Country Magazine for 30 Minute Meatloaf Burgers.

At the time that Liz chose that recipe, we were at the end of our two weeks of meals, which meant we’d be menu planning again soon afterwards for the next two weeks of meals.

Liz was on top of it. She and her dad poured through her selection of recipes hoping to find one that everyone would like at least one part of, if not all of. Pasta is a pretty easy choice. Everyone likes pasta, even if they don’t like what’s on it. Therefore, she chose a 30 minute meal called Spaghetti with Summer Vegetable Sauce.

It was so delicious, and seeing the veggies simmering on the stove while Liz and Don were cooking together really made me long for summer. This meal was wonderful and Liz did a great job choosing another quick and easy meal. I know she’s got at least one more on deck for a future week.

I’m getting a bit spoiled…

Here’s the recipe for you, just as it appears in the Cook’s Country Magazine.

It was hard to wait after seeing this simmering on top of the stove!

It was hard to wait after seeing this simmering on top of the stove!


3 tablespoons unsalted butter (We use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.)

1 onion, chopped

1 large summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced thin

1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced thin

2 garlic cloves, minced

12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup dry white wine

Salt and pepper

1 pound spaghetti (We used linguine.)

6 tablespoons basil pesto (We made our own.)


1.) Bring four quarts of water to a boil in large pot. Melt butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in squash and zucchini and cook until softened, about five minutes. Stir in squash and zucchini and cook until softened, three to five minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, wine, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about two minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; cover and keep warm.

2) Meanwhile, add pasta and one tablespoon salt to boiling water and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot. Toss vegetable mixture and pesto with pasta, adding reserved pasta water as needed. Serve.

Test kitchen note: Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: 30 Minute Meatloaf Burgers

15 Apr
Liz's 30 minute meal was just what we needed on a busy night. Having her make it for us was even better.

Liz’s 30 minute meal was just what we needed on a busy night. Having her make it for us was even better.

A year or so ago, my mom passed along to us a stack of Cook’s Country cooking magazines that my aunt had passed along to her first. I looked through them all, and saw some great recipes throughout, but overall, I did not do much with them at the time.

Our daughter Elizabeth however, was totally obsessed with them. She loved the recipes, the product reviews and the section of 30 Minute Meal recipe cards. She poured through them often, and was always coming out to show us what she was reading or finding at the time, and what recipes she thought we’d like and ought to try.

This past weekend, she was at it again with the 30 Minute Meals recipes.

“Can we make this one? Do we have the stuff for that one? Do you think we’d like this one,” she’d ask.

I hate to say no when they’re enthused about something, especially when it means I’m off the hook for cooking and planning a meal, but each recipe seemed to call for something we didn’t have. Finally, I spotted one for Meatloaf Burgers. I quickly scanned it and realized we had everything it called for.

“We can make that one tomorrow night. We have all the ingredients,” I told her.

Her eyes lit up. She was thrilled. She continued to pour through the magazines and began pulling out all the sections of recipe cards so she’d have all the 30 minute meals together in a pile.

A new binder of recipes all ready to go. I even gave her a shopping list pad to stick inside the front pocket so she could choose her meals and tell us the ingredients needed, insuring that we'd have them on hand.

A new binder of recipes all ready to go. I even gave her a shopping list pad to stick inside the front pocket so she could choose her meals and tell us the ingredients needed, insuring that we’d have them on hand.

I’m a huge fan of binders. If it’s important, I binderize it. I create a cute cover and spine for it. I take a picture of it. I love binders. I inherited a huge box of binders from my brother and sister in law from all her grad school classes, so I have my own supply at my fingertips whenever I need one. I saw a binderizing opportunity here, and when Liz went to bed, I brought up a binder, printed out a cover sheet and she now had a place to store all her recipe card pages for her 30 minute meals. The next morning we punched the holes and she set up her cookbook for the evening.

At 4:30 I told her to be ready for 5:00 to start her meal, and she was ready! The recipe was meant to be quick and easy, and it was. She could do the whole thing herself for the most part, other than cooking the burgers. I had her form them and place them on a baking sheet so they could be cooked.

When they were done, she had one smaller one that she’d made with the final portion of meatloaf mixture, and she cut it into five sample pieces, put them on little cocktail forks and let everyone try a bite before we ate, to make sure everyone liked them.

Cute little tasting samples were a great way to determine if anyone didn't like the burgers without wasting one.

Cute little tasting samples were a great way to determine if anyone didn’t like the burgers without wasting one.

Everyone did! That’s so rare. We almost never have a meal that all five people like. She was thrilled. We dug in.

There were just two burgers leftover at the end of the night. They both made delicious lunches the next day.

This recipe was deemed “a keeper” and Liz will definitely be making it again. This weekend we do our “big shopping,” and she’ll be handing us her shopping list, I’m sure, with some 30 minute meals on the menu for the next two weeks.

Liz was so proud of herself for choosing and making such a great, meal and I’m glad I was able to say yes this time around. It’s a great life skill for kids to be able to research a meal, plan it and make it, but it’s even better when everyone loves it.

Here is the recipe Liz used from the Cook’s Country magazine 30 Minute Meals.


Grilled Meatloaf Burgers from Cook’s Country


1 1/2 pounds meatloaf mix (we used 2 one-pound packages of ground turkey)

1 large egg

(we sprinkled in some bread crumbs as an extra ingredient)

2 teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (we used 1/4 tsp. dry thyme)

salt and pepper

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

hamburger buns


1) Combine  meatloaf mix, egg, Worcestershire Sauce, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Shape mixture into four 3/4 inch thick patties. Whisk ketchup, sugar, and vinegar together until combined. Reserve 5 tablespoons glaze for serving.

2) Grill burgers of medium-hot fire until well-browned on first side, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip burgers and brush with remaining glaze. Cook until meat registers 160 degrees, about 7 minutes. Transfer burgers to plate and tent loosely with aluminum foil; let rest for 5 minutes. Serve burgers on buns with reserved glaze.

A very, very tasty dinner, thanks to Liz!

A very, very tasty dinner, thanks to Liz!


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