weekly menu ~ 10.18.10

It’s been a crazy week moving back into our house, cleaning out cabinets filled with the debris from refinishing the floors, getting through Baby #2’s ear infection, you know…..life in general!   But we still need to eat….

Bean Burritos
(I cooked up a batch of ground turkey w/ taco seasoning and added this as the meat ~ YUM!)

Tuesday: Gramps for Dinner
PW’s Pot Roast and Mashed Potatoes

Grilled Cheese
Chicken Caesar

BLT Pizza

Friday: Mom out of town

Grilled Flank Steak
Gorgonzola Gnocchi (Trader Joes)

Sunday: Family Over
Pam Anderson’s Chicken Pot Pie

weekly menu ~ 10.4.10

I’m out of town the end of the week for 4 days for BlogHer Food. Hard to imagine I’m going to a food conference when you see the menu for the week!  However, it’s been a little nutty and crazy around here lately, so for my sanity I needed to keep it simple. Plus, since my mother-in-law is taking on all 3 babes,  I didn’t want prepping dinner to be too stressful for her as the kitchen isn’t her most comfortable spot to be.

Grilled Flank Steak
Rice Pilaf
Sliced Tomatoes from garden 

Tuesday: Dad out, just me & kids
Pick Up Stix
Chicken & Veggies
Cream Cheese Wontons
Egg Rolls

: Night before I leave
Steak Salad with leftovers
Baked Potatoes

Thursday: Mom out of town
with sauce from freezer
Caesar lite salad
Garlic Bread

Friday: Mom out of town
Taco Salad

Saturday: Mom out of town
Grilled Chicken
Gorgonzola Gnocchi (Trader Joes)

Sunday: Mom home after dinner
Quesadillas w/ leftover Taco Meat

A whole new take on fried chicken

I love fried chicken.  When I lived in Dallas, my sophamore year at SMU, I lived across the street from Bubba’s.  If you live in Dallas, you KNOW what I’m talking about.  To this day when I visit Dallas I have a certain food circuit that must occur, and one of the stops is at Bubba’s for fried chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, green beans, and a biscuit with honey.  HELLO, roll me over and stick a fork in my heart, I’m done!

All that is to say, I have a weakness for fried chicken.

Well, I’ve been making my way through Rocco Dispirito’s, “Now Eat This!!” cookbook, and I was excited to see a recipe for “Flash Fried Finger Lickin’ Chicken“.


This could be a winner.

Now stick with me.  It may seem complicated, but it really is not. I think this whole process took me 35 minutes TOTAL.  And mind you, my favorite guy was not home from work yet, and I was running back and forth from the kitchen to the front room trying to keep the kids from entering the hole in the wall contstruction zone.  All that to say, I probably could have done it in under 35 minutes.

While the kids took their nap I mixed up the flour mixture in a Ziplock – flour, paprika, celery salt, black pepper, salt and cayenne.  Then when I was ready to make this in the evening, I dumped it into a shallow dish.

As with any recipe, when you’re ready to make everything, in order to make the process go smoothly and quickly, definitely get EVERY POSSIBLY ingredient, untensil, pot, bowl, dish, etc out and in one place in the kitchen.  You will be AMAZED how much faster the whole process goes!

Once it’s all out and waiting for ya, then you can get started…

I cut the chicken breast into little nuggets (more kid friendly than the thighs the recipe calls for).  Added the chicken to a pot with broth and brought it to a simmer to poach (if you said poach for anything else, my face would turn green and I would have to turn my head. But I went with it, and am so glad that I did!).  While the chicken was simmering, I poured the oil into a pot to start heating up.  Once the chicken was cooked, about 15-20 minutes for nuggets, I dumped em all into a bowl with the buttermilk.

Addie was a little intrigued by this step….

Addie: “How come mama, how come?”

Mom: “You’re guess is as good as mine Punkin!” (I say this as it’s totally reverse from most fried chicken recipes.  You would normally marinate in buttermilk, often overnight, then bread, THEN fry/cook, but not in this case.).

Grab each chicken piece, dunk it in the bread mixture (the one I made during nap time and had now poured into a shallow bowl). Dunk it back in the buttermilk, and then back in the bread mixture, and then onto a cookie sheet.

Once all the chicken has been breaded, the oil should be plenty hot.  I set a plate with a paper towel next to the stove top.  I’m showing you the photo below so you can see the pot I chose to fry in.  The recipe called for a pot with tall sides, but this worked fine for me, I think I had 2″ of oil that I had heated on med-high.

Now here is the awesome part of this recipe.  It will take you about 2 minutes to fry up all the chicken. You literally drop the chicken in and in about 5 seconds you take it out and place it on the paper towel.  Remember the chicken is already cooked, all you’re doing now is getting that outer super yummy crunchy layer.  So you place it in the pot and the minute it’s golden, you take it out. (This also cuts the fat WAAAAY down!) My Fave guy came home at about this point and was popping them into his mouth like candy.  We both agreed that the chicken was super juicy and VERY tasty!  This will become a regular one for us.  I want to try it next time using other bread coatings too.  This one was great and we all loved it (kids had it with a side of ranch), but the recipe seems easy enough to be able to adapt with different flavors and breading options.

The photo below is only to show you the pot.  We did make the Faux mashed potatoe recipe (which uses Cauliflower) but it didn’t go over well with either us (I’ve had a better one, from the South Beach Diet I think).  In the end we decided we would rather cut the calories in the chicken, but eat real mashed potatoes!

Seriously, do not be afraid of this recipe or the steps.  It’s easy and tasty, AND good for you! (and if I WAS making mashed potatoes for this, I would have put them on to boil in the beginning when poaching the chicken, and then drained them and set aside just before I started frying the chicken.  When the chicken flash frying was done (2 minutes later) I would have prepared the potatoes which would give the chicken a chance to cool for the kids mouths.  Then everything would be ready, with no time wasted!

In the words of Yo Gabba Gabba, “Try it!  You might like it!”

Flash Fried Finger Lickin’ Chicken
Adapted from ~ “Now Eat This!
” Rocco Dispirito

*** TIP: If you want to print this recipe (or any other on this site), click the “Share It” link at the bottom of the post, then scroll to “printer friendly”, then print!  This is something I’m hoping to make easier in the updates, but that should help you for now!


3 cups low fat, low sodium chicken broth
4 skinless, bone in chicken thighs (I used 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts)
2 quarts grapeseed oil (I used 1 quart canola oil)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
1 Tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups low-fat buttermilk


  1. Heat the chicken broth in a medium sauce-pot over high heat, seasoning it generously with salt.  Add the chicken to the pan and bring the broth to a simmer.  cover and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer gently until the chicken is tender, about 40 minutes (for thighs, I used breasts cut as nuggets and it was about 20 minutes).
  2. While the chicken is cooking, pour the oil into a large pot and bring it to 400 degrees over high heat.  Set a plate with a paper towel (or a wire rack) for draining chicken next to pot. In a shallow dish combine, the flour, with the paprika, celery salt, black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and the cayenne.  Use a whisk to thoroughly combine the ingredients.
  3. When the chicken is cooked, remove from the liquid and pat dry (I bypassed this step and lifted the nuggets straight from the pot and dropped them in the buttermilk bowl). Cover with buttermilk, then dredge in the seasoned flour mixture.  Dip them back in the buttermilk, then back in the flour mixture.
  4. Fry the chicken, I did about 5 nuggets at a time, in the hot oil until golden brown.  Drain and serve immediately.

Happy Frying my Friends!!

Flat Belly Diet ~ Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies

These could seriously get me through this entire diet!  Everyone in my family LOVES them!  And there is nothing like a latte with 3 of these cookies as my afternoon snack (and sweet treat fix!).  You can eat  3 of these cookies with 1 cup of milk (which I put with 1 shot of espresso) as a Flat Belly snack!  Thank you, I’ve died and gone to Heaven!!  Oh, and they are super fast to make too!  Bonus!!

From the Flat Belly Diet Family Cookbook

8 Servings (3 cookies each) / 315 Calories / MUFA: Peanut Butter


1 cup natural unsalted crunchy peanut butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
All purpose flour for shaping cookies


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Coat several large baking sheets with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
  3. Shape the dough into 24 balls and arrange on the sheets.  Dip the tines of a fork into flour and gently press a criss cross pattern into the top of each cookie.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom.  Transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. (Next time I plan to do a double batch and store in the freezer to have on hand!)

Flat Belly Diet ~ Spaghetti and Meatballs

From the Flat Belly Diet Family Cookbook ~ p 164

8 Servings / 410 Calories / MUFA: Olive Oil

Book Notes: This recipe makes a generous amount of tasty sauce, so if your family is not following the FBD servings exactly, feel free to make some extra pasta for them.  Simply measure out 1/2 cup of cooked pasts and 1/2 of sauce for yourself beforehand, and don’t forget the meatballs!

Book Notes: Prepare the meatballs and sauce ahead of time and dinner’s ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta. (I would freeze containers to reheat later.)


12 ounces mulitgrain spaghetti
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 slice whole wheat bread, torn into bit sized pieces
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon salt free Italian seasoning (the world wont end if you use regular…)
1 lb 95% lean ground beef (Could also use ground turkey)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (Trader Joe’s frozen cubes are a time saver!)
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions.  Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon oil.  Cover to keep warm until the meatballs and sauce are ready.
  2. Meanwhile, place the bread in a large bowl and cover with milk.  Wait until the bread absorbs most of the milk (about a minute), then add the egg and the Italian seasoning.  Mix with  a fork until smooth (few pieces of crust may remain).  Add the beef and mix until thoroughly combined.  With clean hands, shape into 24 meatballs.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half the meatballs ad cook, turning to ensure even browning, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until cooked through.  Trnafer to a plate and repeat with the remaining meatballs and 1 Tablespoon oil.
  4. Add the garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet.  Cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.  Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat, and cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Serve the spaghetti topped with the sauce and meatballs.  Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Flat Belly Diet ~ Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cobb

From the Flat Belly Diet Family Cookbook ~ p 223

4 Servings / 199 Calories / MUFA: Canola Oil Mayonnaise

This is a GREAT alternative to butter and salt!  I served this for a Memorial Day dinner, so YUMMY! Perfect for summer BBQs.


4 ears of corn (Pick up some fresh corn at a Farmers Market or produce stand, LOTS of extra flavor!)
1/4 cup canola oil mayonnaise (I used Best Foods Light)
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high.  Remove the outermost husks ans silks, but leave the tender inner husks on the corn.  Soak the ears in cold water for 15 minutes. (For a pretty presentation, I used one of the peeled husks to tie a knot around the inner husks once I had removed the silks.  EASY. Took a few extra seconds each.)
  2. Combine the mayo, lime juice, and chili powder in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Grill the ears of corn over direct heat for 10 minutes, turning to prevent charring.  Move to indirect heat and grill for 1 minutes longer, or until a kernel pops easily when pressed.  If the corn appears dry, it’s overcooked. (You can also wrap each husk in foil, or use a piece of foil on the grill to prevent burning.)
  4. Peel back the husks and spread 1 teaspoon the reserved mayo mixture over each cob.  Dust with 1 teaspoon of cheese and serve hot.

the battle begins…

So sorry not to get this posted for Monday!  I realized that I was going to need to give you a breakfast, lunch and dinner meal plan – which takes A LOT of time.  Especially when you are running back and forth to the computer and juggling the Littles and helping hubby and doing our basic weekend activities.  I thought I would get it finished Sunday night, but after laying down with our 2 year old to put her to sleep….ummm….I….ummm….kind of….umm….fell asleep.  Sorry.

I am giving you the meal plan that I am using for myself.  I may be more repetitive and simple with the recipes, but I needed to make it totally doable and fit it into my regular crazy life with the Littles.  But dont be turned away by the simple meals I’ve chosen.  There are ALOT of amazing recipes and flavorful dishes.  So you should definitely check out the book as I wont be able to include all of the recipes here. This also may not be the diet plan for everyone, I’ve done other plans in the past that have all worked for whatever stage I was at.  I personally really like Lindora and when I went from my “walking-around-a-lot-job”, to my office “sit-in-a-chair-a-lot-job”.  I gained 25 lbs.  Lindora was a GREAT way for me to lose the weight because they offered great protein powders to add to my water bottles and protein soups that I could mix up and take to meetings in a coffee cup that no one knew the difference.

With the stage of life I’m at now, (and the quick results I want to have) the The Flat Belly Diet looks like a good choice.  You can read more of my reasons here.  All in all, if this isn’t the plan for you, but you have a waist you want to whittle – FIND A PLAN YOU WANT TO FOLLOW. It doesn’t really matter what it is, but take action and feel good for summer.  We all deserve to feel good, so don’t wait until tomorrow, start now with any program that works for you!

The basic premise of this diet is to eat 4 meals (5 if your a dad) of 400 calories each and you must include a “MUFA” (Monounsaturated Fats) with each meal. This “Good Fat” is our friend and will help us to get rid of the muffin tops.  You should plan on filling the rest of the day with Sassy Water.  Think of it as flavored spa water!

**** I’m adding a disclaimer to this post.  It has taken me since Friday to try and get this put together and today is the first day that I’ve tried any of the recipes.  So my disclaimer is, I HAVE NOT TRIED THESE RECIPES.  After a week or so I’ll be able to comment intelligently and also to give other recipe suggestions that can work with this diet plan.  But for now, I’m the same Guinea Pig you are.  We made the Chipotle Beef & Bean Chili tonight.  The only change I made was using ground turkey instead of beef (as it’s what I had in my freezer).  THAT WAS ONE HOT-SPICY-MOUTH-ON-FIRE DINNER!  I’m not prone to hot things, so I thought it was just me.  But hubs who adds spicy mustard and jalapenos to his food was sweating and had to add sour cream to cool his dinner down.  This is NOT a kid friendly dinner!  So again, I HAVE NOT MADE THESE  RECIPES and am trying it as I go with you.  I really do urge you to grab the book and check out what might work best for your family.

Another recommendation that was given to me is using Rocco DiSpirito”s new cookbook Now Eat This!: 150 of America’s Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories I think this is probably totally doable as long as you are sure to include a MUFA in every meal.  I’m picking up a copy to try it out.

Day 1:

2 Lemon-Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins (p 74)
1 cup fat-free milk (with coffee for me)

Penne Pasta Salad (p 95)

Chipotle Beef & Bean Chili (p 194)
6 whole grain crackers

3 cups light microwave popcorn mixed with 2 tablespoons dry-roasted peanuts and 1/4 cup raisons
1 cup fat-free milk

Day 2:

2 Lemon-Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins (p 74)
1/2 cup fat-free milk (with coffee for me)

Penne Pasta Salad (p 95)

Crunchy Crust Mac & Cheese (p 179)
1 cup cooked carrots tossed with 1 teaspoon trans-fat margarine

3 Peanut Butter Cookies (p 258)
1 cup fat free milk

Day 3:

2 slices light whole grain toast with 2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup fat-free milk (with coffee for me)
1/2 grapefruit

Avocado-Orange Salad (p 100)
2 slices whole wheat bread, 2 ounces deli roast beef, 1 ounce reduced fat provolone cheese

Chicken Tortilla Casserole (p 189)

3 Peanut Butter Cookies (p 258)
1 cup fat free milk

Day 4:

2 slices light whole grain toast with 2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup fat-free milk (with coffee for me)
1/2 grapefruit

Cheesy Chicken Quesadilla (p 132)

Oven Baked Pot Roast (p 197)
1/2 cup roasted baby potatoes

Basic Banana Wrap (p 78) (2 tablespoons peanut butter on an 8″ whole wheat tortilla.  Top with 1 sliced banana, and drizzle with 1 teaspoon honey.  Roll up burrito style.)

Flat Belly Diet ~ Crunchy Mac and Cheese

From the Flat Belly Diet Family Cookbook

4 Servings / 328 Calories / MUFA: Olive Oil


4 ounces multigrain elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups fat-free milk
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Coat an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Add the macaroni and cook according to package directions.  Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again. Set aside.
  3. Combine the bread crumbs and 2 teaspoons of the oil and stir with a fork to evenly coat.
  4. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon oil ot a large saucepan.  Set over medium-high heat.  Whisk in the flour, paprika, salt, adn pepper until smooth.  Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly.  Cook, whisking, for 5 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the cheese until it melts.  Stir in the macaroni. Pour into the baking dish.  Top evenly with the crumb mixture.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbling and golden. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.