Why This Blog? Meal Ideas & Planning so You Don’t Have to!

Cookbook Haze
Cookbook Haze. Does looking at all your cookbooks make you dizzy?

This week someone asked me “With all the food blogs out there, why yours?”  That is a good question!  There are so many wonderful food blogs out there with great ideas, why do another food blog?  There are several reasons I wanted to do this.  First, I love The Process (see below) and want to help. To me it is relaxing to sit down and plan out the meals we will have.  I scour cookbooks, the internet and magazines looking for the perfect dishes and enjoy it, however, I know many people hate this step, so I search for meal ideas and plan out a menu so you don’t have to!  The second reason is because I enjoy writing it up and taking the photos and in the process I am learning, and I love to learn. A third and unexpected reason is that I also get to meet really interesting people I would never have otherwise met. So, basically it is just plain fun. Lastly I believe relationships have an opportunity to grow around meals and I want to promote this. I’m hear to encourage you, help you, and give suggestions to make meal time easier.

What makes my blog different? One thing that is different about Bringing Back Dinner is the format. I provide reviews of recipes from all over the internet and help you find dishes you may not have stumbled upon otherwise and let you know how it turned out. Another way Bringing Back Dinner is different is the encouragement to slow down, stop for a moment and enjoy a nice meals with friends and family while helping you see that it can be done simply. It is about helping mealtime be less frustrating and more about the time together.  It is about family, friends, less stress, and more fun.

Each week I plan out meals and make and review the recipes and give you the links so that you can make them too.  I let you know how long it took and how it turned out to help you decide if you would like to try it.  Sometimes I add my own original recipes, but the real goal is just to give you a few meals each week so you can answer that question we all hear “What’s for Dinner”.

And that is why I’m here.

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.

 

The Meals:

Meatless Monday: Asparagus – Mushroom Mini Lasagnas

Asparagus Mushroom mini lasagna

Vegetarian

Time:   1 1/2 Hours

Ease: simple

Review: I have to say I was very surprised.  I made this thinking it would be a good dish and help us stay on our Meatless Monday quest, but didn’t have high hopes for it.  I was wrong.  This dish was awesome and simple to make.  We will have this again!  It would be a beautiful dish for company too.  A+ Eating Well Magazine!

Pork Chops and Steak with Outback Steakhouse Copy Cat Seasoning

steak with outback seasoning

Time: 15 – 30 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  This is a simple and tasty spice mix and one you probably want to keep in your database (or head).  We had it on pork chops and my daughter made a steak with it this week.  I don’t know if it is really like Outback Steak House’s but it is a nice blend of spices.

Frozen Pizza, because #FoodieChats and Twitter Tempted me!

frozen pizza

Foodie Chats spent a lot of time on Twitter discussing frozen pizza, then others chimed in with all kinds of pizza ideas and well, we just had to do it. Plus, it made for an easy night! Check them out on twitter @foodiechats and join the chat.

Time:  15-30 Minutes depending on type of pizza

Ease: Simple. I mean really, it is frozen pizza!

Review:  I know, I know.  Frozen pizza isn’t a recipe, but it is fine to pull this out every so often.

Za’atar Shrimp & Green Beans with Lemon Yogurt over Couscous

Shrimp & Green Beans with lemon garlic yogurt over couscous

Time: About 20 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  This recipe comes from Blue Apron a company that provides recipes and the ingredients for meals and ships them to your house.  While I have not subscribed to Blue Apron, I am impressed with some of the recipes.  This recipe was creative and simple and made a beautiful plate of food.  It had a nice mixture of flavors and was kind of fun to make and eat.  Nice job Blue Apron!

Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut and Curry

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup

Vegetarian, Whole30 and Paleo adaptable (omit chickpeas), 

Speaking of other food blogs, this recipe comes from a great blog called the Minimalist Baker, this is a must check out blog/site!

Time: 50 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  I mentioned before that my daughter is trying the Whole30 diet, in the process she has found some great recipes and gave this one a try.  To make it Whole30 acceptable she omitted the chickpeas.  I think the unexpected side effect of being on the Whole30 Diet is that she is becoming a great cook!  She has made this dish several times already and I don’t blame her, it is wonderful.  Remember, not to judge when you see words like Vegetarian, Paleo etc. It doesn’t mean it has to be some grass like, dirt tasting dish.  I mean after all Mashed potatoes are vegetarian and yum!  Just think to yourself “I don’t care what they call it, they could call it jurasicwholepaleodirt diet food for all I care, it is just plain good!”.

 

Other meals we had this week were Chicken breasts baked in fat free Italian dressing, just stick them in a baking dish, pour the dressing over the top and bake until done! Simple and yummy! We also had hamburgers one day for lunch and went to Bravo Cucina for a wonderful dinner.  I really like this restaurant, it has a nice atmosphere, good food, and reasonable prices.

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: It isn’t about what you make, it is about connecting.  So, if you only have time or energy for a frozen pizza, don’t stress about it.  Just remember to not let everyone grab pizza and scatter, but sit down together and talk.

What is your favorite quick meal? Reply, Tweet or Facebook us your quick meals to any of the links below.  Use #bringingbackdinner.

If you  make any of the dinners from Bringing Back Dinner share it with us on  InstagramPinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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Official Meatless Monday Blogger

What’s for Dinner? Meatless Monday BBQ Veg Burrito Bowl, Rosemary Chicken & Sweet Potatoes, and Dijon Salmon

tea sick day

This week I was sick.  I managed to make three meals and then spent the rest of the week sucking down hot tea with honey and lemon and inhaling essential oils.  I stressed over coming up with extra meals for all of you and then decided the best thing is just to tell it like it is.  Let’s face it, we all have weeks like this or weeks where there is just too much going on.  When you have weeks like that and manage to get even one meal made and on the table I applaud you!  Judgement free zone here.

My job is to search the internet for yummy meals so that you don’t have to and hopefully you can use at least one meal to make your life easier and the rest of the week just do the best you can.  The goal is to make the effort and make a little progress at building relationships around your meals while you’re at it.  Remember bringing back dinner to your lives doesn’t have to stress you or be an impossible goal, even if you’re sick or busy!

So what did we do? We ate sandwiches, went out to eat and had take out for the rest of our week and we survived.  For the take out we still ate it together at the table and that is something.  Next week I have some awesome meals planned, but you know what?  Life happens if it derails your, or my, plans that’s OK.  Try again the next week.  Just relax and enjoy meal time.  I’m rooting for you!

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.

 

The Meals:

Meatless Monday: BBQ Veg Burrito Bowl

bbq burrito bowl

Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Low Fat

Time:   30 minutes to 1 hour depending upon rice used and cooking method

Ease: simple

I am enjoying Meatless Mondays, but find it a challenge to make meals that my meat loving men will enjoy as well.  I find if it is hearty and flavorful they usually like it. So, this week we had a filling and tasty burrito bowl. I love a good veg burrito bowl, just pile it high and dig in.

Review: Everyone liked it!  Success.  This was an easy meal and one where you can set it up like a buffet and give people choices. Suggested items: cooked rice, squash and zucchini, roasted peppers and onions, caramelized onion, black beans, and corn with peppers and chipotle bbq sauce.  Recipes for the corn and bbq sauce below:

Corn with Peppers

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 poblano pepper finely chopped
  •  ½ -1  jalapeno pepper
  •  ¼ cup Red onion
  •  Cilantro
  •  1 Tbsp Lime juice
  •  Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil and add peppers, red onion and corn and cook until lightly toasted in areas and heated through.  Add lime juice, salt and pepper and cilantro and toss through.  Serve.

Chipotle BBQ Sauce

  •   1 cup ketchup
  •   1 tbsp mustard
  •   1 tsp  garlic powder or sauté garlic with onions
  •   1 tsp onion powder or saute fresh onions to taste
  •   1tsp chili powder
  •   1/3 cup molasses
  •   1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  •   1/2 tsp chocolate
  •   1 tbsp chipotle pepper w/sauce (more to taste)
  •   1 Tbsp brown sugar
  •   Salt & pepper

Heat the vinegar and add in molasses and brown sugar to dissolve, then add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Simmer 5 minutes. Done!  Easy!  If using fresh onions and garlic sauté them in 1 tbsp olive oil prior to adding vinegar and sweeteners.

This sauce is perfect for ribs, porkchops, anything! (for those meatfull other days!)

Rosemary Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

chicken and sweet potatoes

Gluten Free, Paleo, Whole30

Time: 45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Preheat oven to 400.  I used the Pampered Chef Deep Baking Dish (stoneware), but  you could do this in a regular Pyrex dish or other baking dish with sides.

4-5 pieces chicken breasts or thighs

1 small onion cut in rings

4 small sweet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks

rosemary

2 Tbsp Olive oil

salt and pepper

Toss the sweet potatoes in enough olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and place in the bottom of baking dish. Coat chicken with salt, pepper and rosemary and brush with olive oil and place over the sweet potatoes.  Place onion rings on top of the chicken and pour about 1/4 cup liquid (water or broth) over the chicken and cover.  Bake until the chicken is done in the center.  About 165 degrees F.  Here is a great guide from The Food Network.

Review: This was a simple dish with nice flavors, it sort of reminded me of Thanksgiving.  You could serve it with rice, dressing/stuffing, veg etc.

Dijon Salmon – Original Recipe from Trader Joes

 

dijon salmon

Paleo when following omitions, Gluten Free, 

Time:  15 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (omit & increase olive oil for Paleo)
  • 2 tbsp Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 lb Silverbrite Salmon (frozen or defrosted)
  • 1 tbsp honey (use raw, unfiltered for paleo diets)
  • 1/8 cup water

Review: This recipe was right on the package from the salmon we bought in the freezer section at Trader Joe’s.  I love the frozen food there, if you want convenience, but still want fresh taste and to feel like you are eating at least fairly healthy food, this is the way to go.  I found a link online for you to use.

This was very quick and easy meal to make.  It would be a great one to make if you have just a little time to make dinner.

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: If it is a crazy week filled with take out try to put the food on the table and eat it together at least once.  That little bit of time to connect makes a lasting difference.  If you do it or make any of the dinners from Bringing Back Dinner share it with us on  InstagramPinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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Pinterest

Pinterest Meals: Potato & Cauliflower Pierogies, Swedish Meatballs, Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Cups, & Sweet Lemon Shrimp

orginal pinterest

Do you remember what pinning something to your board used to look like?  The picture above is my non-electronic board, still in use.  However, I have moved into the modern age and have a great time Pinning awesome ideas for meals, dreams,  DYI things, etc to my boards.  Pinterest is great, mostly!  It can suck you into it  and then hours will pass before you know it.  But, they are fun hours.

This week I thought I’d try some of those yummy Pinterest meals we all pin to our boards.  If you are like me you probably pin lots of great looking dishes to your boards, but never get around to making them.  So, this week I finally decided I would do it!   The verdict?  I’ll keep on pinning, but now I have incentive to try them since overall I really liked the results.  I found one pin that looked great in the photo, but I just couldn’t find a recipe that sounded like what I’d like the dish to be, so I used the picture as my inspiration and made a recipe to match.  The recipe can be found below.

I hope you enjoy this week’s recipes and please feel free to pin them to your boards, but remember to make them!

Note: One of my family members is doing the Whole30 plan which is a modified Paleo diet, so I am trying to make at least a few meals that are paleo/whole 30 acceptable.  There are 2 this week.  But for those not into Paleo, don’t worry they are still good recipes that we would all eat anyway, they just happen to work for paleo/whole30 as well.

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.

 

The Meals:

 Meatless Monday: Healthy Cauliflower, Potato, & Cheddar Pierogies – from Healthy-Delicious.com

Periogies

Time:   30 minutes

Ease: moderate

Review:   I love perogies!  This is a great recipe and I like mixing the cauliflower in with potatoes, as sort of a undercover vegi. It is easier than completely trying to sneak in cauliflower by itself.   I used wonton wrappers as the dough rather than make them just because I had a lot of them on hand.  This works well and cuts down on the prep, but I recommend trying the dough recipe.

We are doing pretty well on our Meatless Mondays, but my fellas would have liked this with a little meat, sausages were suggested! Mmm, that does sound good.  Bacon? I served this with a big salad.

Swedish Meatballs – from The Chew

swedish meatballs

Time: 30-60 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  Well, it isn’t quite Ikea, but not bad and certainly closer and with fewer lines. This Swedish Meatball dish was easy to make, but we found the sauce to be a little plain, I feel like I didn’t use enough worcestershire sauce.  I recommend playing with proportions, especially the Worcestershire sauce and make sure you use a good hearty broth.

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps – from Bringing Back Dinner

(Paleo/Whole30 acceptable)

buffalo chicken

Time:  30-45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Recipe:

1 pound ground chicken

½ cup chopped onion

1-2 cloves garlic

1 Bottle Franks Buffalo Sauce

Lettuce leaves (keep uncut to make small cups)

Blue Cheese and Ranch for toppings (optional)

Saute the onion until translucent, then add the garlic and sauté about 30 seconds.  Add the chicken and cook until done, no pink.  Once the chicken is done stir in about half of the Buffalo sauce and stir through until heated.  Scoop into lettuce leaves and serve. Optional, top with blue cheese crumbles before serving. Serve with celery and carrots with Ranch and Blue Cheese dressings

This was a win!  Everyone loved this dish (almost, one doesn’t like buffalo) and requested we make this again.  It was easy and quick.  The coolness of the lettuce was a great compliment to the heat from the buffalo sauce.

Sweet Lemon Shrimp – from DamnDelicious.net

(Paleo/Whole30 acceptable)

lemon shrimp pinterest

Time: 45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: While this dish was simple and pretty tasty, We all felt like this dish was good, but probably not a keeper.  That said, everyone has different tastes and I recommend you give it a try, it could be your favorite dish.  It would be a great dish to throw together for unexpected company.  It is very quick and easy.

What do you think?

  • Do you have a favorite Pinterest dish You’d like to share?  Just copy the url and past into the comment area and tell us what you liked about it.
  • Do you try Bringing Back Dinner’s Meals?  I’d love to hear what you think of them.  Share your review with us here, on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: Make your own “mystery box” like from the cooking shows.  Have each friend bring a mystery ingredient and then everyone brainstorm to create dinner using those ingredients.  If you do it share it on with us on  InstagramPinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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Pinterest