Scallops with Kale

All this meal planning makes incorporating our favorite meals into weeknights easy. I've always been able to predict my retail schedule but now that I'm meal planning I can put two and two together -- I can plan more intensive meals on my days off! Even though scallops are a quick cooking meal they require a little more prep (with the soaking). I think we hit the jackpot with this recipe. We both loved it and thought it had a good balance between the scallops, grain, and green.

We followed the recipe from our Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh + Fast cookbook. I feel like they almost looked exactly like the picture in the cookbook!

Look at the perfect sear from Chef Patrick.
Seared Scallops with Greens and Orzo from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh and Fast
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup orzo
3 cups plus 3 Tbs. low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup chopped greens, such as red chard, Tuscan kale or escarole
3 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
3/4 lb. large sea scallops
3 Tbs. sherry vinegar; we used champagne vinegar

   In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the orzo and stir until it begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the 3 cups broth and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the orzo is almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add the chard and stir until the orzo is tender, the greens have wilted and the mixture is creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley, 1 1/2 tsp. of the thyme and the lemon zest. Season the orzo with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 Tbs. of the butter. Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm.
   Season the scallops on both sides with salt, pepper and 1 tsp. of the thyme. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the scallops and sauté until almost springy to the touch, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer the scallops to a warmed plate. Pour off the oil from the fry pan. Add the vinegar and the 3 Tbs. broth to the fry pan and boil until syrupy, stirring to scrape up the browned bits, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat. Add any scallop juices from the plate. Swirl in the remaining 1 Tbs. butter. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
   Divide the orzo mixture between 2 warmed plates and top with the scallops. Drizzle the pan sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp. thyme. Serve immediately.

Crockpot Italian Pot Roast

I promised more recipes from pinterest. Here's the next one: Crockpot Beef Stew with Herb Dumplings. We have a traditional slow cooker pot roast that we like (originally from Mom) but it's good to switch things up and try new things. I selected this recipe because it looked healthier (no cream of mushroom soup) and had a fun dumpling topping. I thoroughly enjoyed the dish; Patrick wasn't a fan of the dumplings. Next time I make this roast those will be omitted.

Beef Stew with Herb Dumplings (from
Serves 8; we cut everything in half
2 lbs top round steak or lean stew beef, in 1 inch pieces
2 celery ribs, sliced
4 carrots in ½ inch slices
2 onions, sliced
¼ cup water
¼ cup all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¾ cup beef broth or dry red wine (we used beef broth)
8 sliced mushrooms
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
   For the Herb Dumplings
½ cup milk
1 ½ cups Bisquick
¼ teaspoon dried sage, crumbled
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
½ teaspoon dried thyme

   Combine the beef, celery, carrots, onions, tomatoes, thyme, pepper, mustard, mushrooms, and wine or beef broth. If you are using wine, use all the salt. If you are using beef broth you might not need it depending on the saltiness of the broth so taste it to see.
   Cover and cook on a low heat for 8 to 10 hours or a high heat for 4 or 5 hours. The vegetables and beef will become tender.
   Combine the flour and water and stir this slowly into the beef stew. Combine the Bisquick, thyme, sage and rosemary and stir in the milk until the mixture is just moistened. Drop spoonfuls of the dough on to the hot beef stew, then cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the herb dumplings comes out clean.

When we do a crockpot recipe I typically try to have all the vegetables cut the night before so everything can be assembled quickly. We cooked this on low throughout the day. Patrick was able to do the last few steps of preparing the dumplings once he got home from work.

Taco Soup

One day Whitney and I went to check out the Penzeys store in Cameron Village in Raleigh. They have an exciting selection of all kinds of spices. We picked out three on our visit: pasta sprinkle, pumpkin pie spice, and the focus of this post, a bold taco seasoning. The store has little recipe cards on a lot of displays to help inspire you, and that's where we found the recipe for this. It was pretty good, and definitely comforting on a cold fall day, but the spiciness was a little intense. I'm not sure whether I would bother to make this again vs. just preparing regular tacos.

1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
2 cans (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz.) corn, drained (or kernels from 3-4 ears corn)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
1-3 teaspoons taco seasoning
1 container (16 oz.) salsa of your preferred heat level

1 cup tortilla chips, crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar, jack or mozzarella cheese
½ cup sour cream

In a soup kettle, brown the ground beef or turkey and drain any fat. Turkey won’t really get brown. Add the black beans, corn, tomatoes (with the juice), taco seasoning and salsa. Water may be added to make it a little soupier as desired. Cook over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes. Serve with garnishes.
Serves 8-10.

Mmm beef and beans and tomatoes and stuff
Taco soup, prior to serving and garnishing

Mom's Pork Chop Casserole

It's finally made it to the blog: Mom's pork chop casserole that I couldn't ever quite seem to get right. This was one of Mom's go-to recipes and I always enjoyed it; the rice is so moist and the pork chops are quite tasty. I have attempted this a few times without much success. One time I forgot to put the extra liquid in the rice so it was anything but moist. The next time I used boneless pork chops and they weren't moist or tasty either. But finally I got it right! And finally Patrick approved and said I could continue making it.

Brown Rice & Pork Chops
1 cup rice (not instant)
   Mom recommends using Uncle Ben's
1 - 10.5oz can beef consomme
4-6 bone-in pork chops

Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix rice, consomme, and water (refill the consomme can and use that amount) in 9x13 pan.
Place pork chops on top of rice mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and poke a few holes in there.
Cook for an hour or until liquid is soaked up; remove foil first 30 minutes.

We served with homemade apple sauce and green beans.

Silicone Baking Mat: Roasted Chicken with Turnips and Green Bean Casseroles

The real focus of this post is not the roasted chicken, turnips, or green bean casserole but rather a silicone baking mat. These mats are nonstick, and don't need to be greased; basically they replace parchment paper or anything you would use to line a pan. It's great! Patrick had been wanting one for quite awhile so I tipped Mom off last Christmas that he would enjoy a silicone baking mat. Imagine his surprise!

I must admit it got little use the first few months we had it because we'd never had one before and just thought it would be good for cookies. Then slowly we began experimenting with recipes; "oh the silicone mat would be good for this, let's try it" and so on and so on until now we're using it the majority of the time. We enjoyed it so much we even bought a smaller one that fits the toaster oven pan since we use it so much! It makes clean up a breeze too.

As you can it's the flexible blue mat lining the baking pan. Since we would be using the oven we decided to get everything in there. We marinated the chicken and placed it on one half of the baking dish; then diced turnips and tossed them in evoo with salt and pepper so everything could roast at the same time. We also placed a standard green bean casserole in the oven. One note is to make sure your cooking times will be the same otherwise you will need to start the item that needs the longest cooking time first and then take out the pan and add the other item.

And everything turns out like this!
We highly recommend these as stocking stuffers! What fun kitchen items do you use as stocking stuffers?!
Also, thanks Mom for the silicone baking sheet. We have really enjoyed it.

Thanksgiving Pot Luck

Woo hoo pot luck time! As you've noticed the pot lucks have waned a bit. This happened because friends moved away. But no reason not to have a pot luck when all the friends visit! Two weeks ago UNC celebrated Homecoming! And guess what... all my friends came home. (My friends are the UNC ones; Patrick's friends are the Duke ones.)

Even I was impressed with how well this pot luck turned out since almost half of the pot luck attendees were out of town folks without access to a kitchen. But everyone stepped it up and we had the most fantastic Thanksgiving Pot Luck ever. I made a quick toast before the meal to thank everyone for coming and how thankful I was that we, as "old" friends, are continuing to get together.

Here's the breakdown: Caesar salad, green gelatin side, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, stuffing, turkey breast, deviled eggs, warm yeast rolls, and pumpkin pie. And Richard.

Wow! What a spread. As I mentioned in the blog yesterday I needed to set up a small folding table because we had 13 people! Somehow we all fit.

This was a great kickoff for the holiday season. It's always a good time to get together with good friends.

Fall Squash and table decorations

Patrick and I have really been experimenting with the fall squash this season. Our CSA has all sorts of things to choose from. This is our second fall season so we felt comfortable with some from experimenting last year but we branched out even more this year. And now for the first time on the blog we're playing a game! It's called...

Name That Fall Squash!

From L to R: A, B, C, D. Answers at end of blog. 

While we were busy fixing all these squash I also had a beautiful fall table set. We also had decorations outside (pumpkins and then jack-o-lanterns) but unfortunately they got moldy before we took pictures.

Here's the dining room table! I purchased a new autumn tablecloth, placed a bamboo style place mat in the center, and then centered a large pumpkin candle holder in the center flanked with smaller candles.

I purchased the autumn tablecloth to use for our Thanksgiving potluck (more on that tomorrow). I set up a 4" square folding table and needed a smaller tablecloth for it but I wanted to make sure I could use it after the potluck. I knew the measurements would fit (70" round measurement) but didn't really think about the sides. When I placed the small round tablecloth on the dining room table and realized it was lacking in the corners I decided to put a regular red one under (probably measures 60"x84").

Name That Fall Squash! Answers:
A. pie pumpkin, B. butternut squash, C. acorn squash, D. buttercup squash
How many did you get right?

Fall Appetizer

Do you need a fall / holiday appetizer staple? Well look no further than this blog post! I have done this at least three times this season. The first of which was a fun little dinner get together with the Nicolaysen's, then Granny and Poppa stopped to visit the house, and finally for a Thanksgiving potluck with friends (more on this to come in a few days).

First go buy some Irish coffee mugs at Crate and Barrel. This is optional but they are sooo cute!!
Second warm apple juice in a saucepan with a cinnamon stick and orange slices stuck with little cloves. Bring to a simmer and serve warm.

Third get your cheese and cracker platter ready. I served ritz whole wheat crackers with cream cheese and a selection of jellies (one sweet and one with a little kick). Side note there will be a cracker tray on our registry because the large platter just doesn't look right!

Lastly light the candles and get ready for your guests!

Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies

A couple weeks ago we had a special event at work and I wanted to bring a baked good to get everyone excited! So I set off to find a fall cookie. I saw something similar on pinterest and then googled around a little bit to find something I liked. The original recipe I saw utilized spice cake, pumpkin puree, and then the pumpkin pie kisses. Since I thought this would be a fun "date night at home" I wanted to find a recipe that required more ingredients and let us have more to do in the kitchen rather than just mixing a few ingredients together. Out came the stand mixer! Patrick and I got started on these cookies after dinner and really enjoyed making them... after we unwrapped 40ish individual kisses. The cookie base is more cake-like and the pumpkin pie kisses just set off these fall dessert bite.

Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies from Ginger Bread Bagels blog
makes about 65 cookies (we cut in half)

1 1/2 packages Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. Unwrap the Pumpkin Spice Kisses. (about 65 of them) Place them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. This is important because the Pumpkin Spice Kisses melt much faster than the regular Kisses.
   Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Set aside. In a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, sugar and light brown sugar on medium high speed for 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and mix to combine. Then add in the vanilla extract and the pumpkin. Mix on medium speed for a couple of minutes.

In action
   Slowly add in the dry ingredients on low speed. Mix until it’s almost combined. Take a spatula and fold the ingredients together.
   Using a Tablespoon, scoop the cookie dough. Then use a spoon to scoop the dough out of the Tablespoon. The cookie dough will be sticky so don’t worry. Place the cookie dough balls onto the baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
   Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes.
   Once the cookies come out of the oven, press a Pumpkin Spice Kiss in the middle of each cookie.
Immediately (and carefully!) remove the cookies from the baking sheet with a spatula and cool them on a cooling rack.

Whip these up Thursday afternoon and enjoy them throughout the evening! Happy Thanksgiving!

More Meal Plans

I just wanted to share with y'all another example of meal planning with Patrick. It's really made meal time easy and eliminates all the "well I don't know what I want for dinner, what do you want" back and forth. The decisions are made and we can started on dinner right when get home from work since I've already been to the grocery store and already have the supplies.

So I sent Patrick an email...

Hi love! Here's the menu for this week:

Tues 9/25 (off) fish/salmon with sauteed squash and red peppers
Wed 9/26 (off) engagement photos, eat out with Mom
Thurs 9/27 (off at 615) potato soup leftover or tortellini (?) think Mom
and Glenda will do early supper so they can catch 7pm movie
Fri 9/28 (off at 615) ny strip with sweet potatoes, arugula salad (from CSA)
Sat 9/29 (off at 730) pasta with goat cheese and zucchini (from CSA)
Sun 9/30 (off) carrboro music festival
Mon 10/1 (off at 615) Crockpot honey sesame chicken with green beans (from CSA)

Proposed CSA
2 zucchini $1.50/lb =$3
arugala $2.50/bag
green beans $2.50/lb
ground pork $4.00/pk
butternut squash $2.00/each

Also have milk on the list; let me know your requests asap!

By making the meal plan I'm also to make sure we're eating a range of fish, chicken, meat, and veggie dishes. As you can see in the meal plan there is fish, red meat, meatless night, and chicken along with a few out to eats and leftovers.

On Tuesday the plan was fish/salmon. This meant that I wanted salmon but would purchase whatever looked good at the fish counter. I usually try to plan seafood as early as possible in the meal rotation so that it is fresh from the store. Seafood seems to be the easiest menu because we usually just have a simple preparation of a veggie (try to utilize something from the CSA) and then if we want to add a grain, we do.

On Wednesday we took engagement pictures... and ate banana muffins. It's a little ironic that Mom is also visiting this weekend. Hopefully she has a few printed pictures with her and we can hang some very soon! If you're curious we ended up eating at California Pizza Kitchen for supper. (It's one of Patrick's favorites.)

On Thursday Patrick needed to eat fast so he could get to orchestra practice. Since Mom and Glenda were still in town I met them at Southpoint again. Patrick had leftovers from the crockpot potato soup.

On Friday we utilized things we had which makes grocery shopping really cheap. Mom has kindly been bringing us all natural beef from the Lane Angus Beef Farm when we request it (thanks Mom!) so we have a few steaks, ground beef, and roasts stocked away in the freezer. Then the arugula was from the CSA.

On Saturday we went back in the blog vault and made a veggie dish.

On Sunday we ventured to Carrboro for a fun music festival. We're on the hunt for a reception band! We didn't find one and decided to eat sushi at Akai Hana instead.

On finally Monday we pulled out the crockpot!

Whew! That's a lot of planning. Do you have any meal planning tips?

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

More pinning! This fabulous recipe is brought to you by the wonderful boards of pinterest. This is following in the experimenting ranks of Melt In Your Mouth Chicken, inspiration for Beet Pasta with Sauteed Asparagus, and Sweet Potato Burgers. I feel like this was just as successful as those and maybe even more so because I might make this one again before the others! And that's how you tell how successful a recipe is... the quicker the turn around on including the recipe in regular meal planning.

Before we get to the recipe I want you to be aware that there was lots of pinning recently! I was working on the blog yesterday and got quite a few posts drafted. There are 3 other posts inspired by pinterest and then quite a few more inspired by the various cooking blogs I read. Social media for the win!

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken from Six Sisters' Stuff blog via pinterest

I followed the recipe pretty much as is.
   4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thighs would be fine too)
   Salt and pepper
   1 cup honey
   1/2 cup soy sauce
   1/2 cup diced onion
   1/4 cup ketchup
   2 tablespoons vegetable oil (could also use olive oil or canola oil)
   2 cloves garlic, minced
   1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional - doesn't really add heat, just adds more flavor)
   4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 6 Tablespoons water
   Sesame seeds
   Season both sides of chicken lightly with salt and pepper, put into crock pot. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in 6 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened. Cut chicken into bite size pieces, then return to pot and toss with sauce before serving. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles.

First of all I'm sure you're thinking "one cup honey, that's a lot!?!" and it is but we're well stocked with honey since Patrick picked some up at Costco. Like I said at the beginning of the recipe we pretty much followed the recipe exactly. I did however turn the crockpot on low before I left for work so that means we did about 6-8 hours on the low setting. We served with rice and steamed green beans... gotta have a veggie!

Banana Muffins

I made some banana muffins! If you know Patrick then you might be surprised to hear we made banana muffins. He has some weird aversion to "fruit" desserts including but not limited to banana muffins, key lime pie, and lemon pound cake. He does like apple pie though. Patrick also doesn't like overly ripe bananas. 

Patrick note: I'm very consistent. I don't like citrus desserts, and I don't like fruit or vegetable breads! These muffins were pretty good though as far as fruit breads go.

So we had some overly ripe bananas I didn't want to waste, a mother visiting the next day, and wanted something fun to do after dinner that night. All this and more lead us to make banana muffins!!

Mom was coming to town for her annual nursing conference which started on a Thursday. She came up a day early as we were taking our engagement pictures Wednesday afternoon!! When Mom arrived in the morning, we each had a muffin then went to the mall so I could get my hair and makeup done for the pictures. Patrick and I enjoyed working with Carol from Conway Photoshop and had such a fun afternoon. Mom also turned out to be a wonderful lighting assistant.

Now back to the banana muffins!!! I found this banana muffin recipe from Food Network by my fav, Giada, and I knew it had to be good! I've posted the recipe below; we altered the frosting a little bit and noted that below.

Banana Muffins with Mascarpone Cream Frosting from Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

   Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
   Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl to blend. Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the banana. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.
   Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake the muffins on the middle rack until the tops are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with no crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a rack and cool slightly. The muffins may be eaten warm or cooled completely and frosted.
   To frost the cupcakes: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the mascarpone cheese and then beat in the honey. Spread the frosting over the muffins. Sprinkle with the walnuts.
   We wanted to make a healthier frosting and omitted the butter and mascarpone. I used the cinnamon and honey cream cheese spread from Harris Teeter. Then I grabbed the microplane zester and grated a baking chocolate square over all the muffins!

Crockpot Potato Soup

Patrick and I both really enjoy a good bowl of potato soup. Once the weather turned cooler one of Patrick's dinner requests was potato soup! We made this one Sunday. We started the potato soup in the crockpot in the morning and then spent the day outside planting mums and pansies. We came inside and our work was rewarded with this potato soup. 

We used inspiration from this potato soup and this potato soup; both we had made before. We decided this crockpot potato soup is equally yummy as the other potato soups we've made before but slightly easier! I did a little googling to figure out what we need to do. 

Can you guess which soup is who's? Does Patrick prefer the muffin plopped in the soup or crumbled?
And this is what we did:
Start with 4-6 potatoes and scrub them very well. Rough chop them into a 1-inch dice. Place all the potatoes into the crockpot and cover with chicken stock. Place on low for 6 hours or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Then take a cup or so of the stock out and reserve it in case you need to add it back to the soup later. Use an immersion blender (or remove to a blender) to puree the potatoes until they reach your desired consistency. If you want it chunkier a mashed potato gadget will work too.
At this point you can finish the potato soup however you'd like! I would recommend adding some sort of cream (buttermilk or whole milk), pork (bacon bits or ham chunks), sauteed onion or leeks, and some cheese!

While you're finishing your potato soup, cook some corn muffins!

And the answer is: Patrick plops the corn muffin in the soup; Whitney crumbles it up so she can have tasty corn muffin bites!

Sharing a Meal Plan

Recently I've been devoting more time on my days off to figure out a meal plan until my next day off. This allows me to get everything on one trip to the store and eases the pressure off Patrick to figure something out over the weekends. Now he only has to cook it! I usually figure out the meal plan and email it to Patrick with the days and the meals. If the meal is new then I will hyperlink to the website so he can look at it.

This particular week was the last week in August leading up to Labor Day weekend. If I have the day off I might plan something a little more intensive and start working on it before Patrick gets home. If I have to work then I will plan something that can come together a little easier. Here's what I emailed Patrick:
Wednesday -- Crab meat Mac and Cheese with arugula salad or something light
Thursday -- off at 6:15; Hungry Jack (this good for your "burger"?)
Friday -- off at 6:15; having Tim and Richard over for dinner at 7:30 Crockpot BBQ Chicken, slaw, fruit (thinking pineapple / watermelon), chocolate silk pie
Saturday -- off at 7:30; Marie visiting
Sunday -- Marie visiting; day at lake
Look into one of these casseroles to bring with us: Chicken Tetrazzini, Chicken with rice and mushrooms Also what time are you wanting to get down to the lake? Want to do late brunch here in Durham and snacks at the lake in the afternoon? Or leave here early and do lunch at one of those cute lake front cafes?

On Wednesday (my day off) I experimented with a seafood mac and cheese that was inspired by Ina Garten. I actually made the mac and cheese in little ramekins during the afternoon then refrigerated them until Patrick got home. For all the details check out the post from last week. While I was preparing the macaroni and cheese I browned a pound of hamburger for Thursday night.

On Thursday I made one of Patrick's favorite, Hungry Jack casserole. As you can see in the email I asked Patrick "this good for your "burger"? ... I try to incorporate his wishes into the meal plan and ask him if he has any requests before I meal plan. Sometimes he has specifics and other times he just might say "something with hamburger in it". Thankfully Hungry Jack met that condition. Here's that recipe.

On Friday we had one some friends over! As you can see I specifically remind Patrick we have plans and then share the menu. We actually made the chocolate silk pie Thursday night. This got posted last week too!

Then Patrick's mom, Marie, visited over the weekend! She planned a Saturday thru Monday trip. I didn't plan too much here since we weren't sure what we were doing yet. I actually had to work Saturday so Patrick ended up giving Marie a tour of downtown Durham to show her all things related to the wedding! Sunday we took a leisurely drive down to Lake Gaston where we spent the afternoon with my parents and grandparents. I had asked Patrick to be in charge of preparing some sort of chicken casserole to bring down with us to the lake on Saturday. He didn't listen... we made chicken tetrazzini Sunday morning!