Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy Sabbath Eve Dinner

It has truly been a blessed day around our home today! Our family has been trying to honor the gift God has given us with the Sabbath by getting most of our "work" done on Saturday, so that we have Sunday to rest, renew, reflect and respond to others in love. This is a fairly new concept to us, and today was our first attempt in using the day to prepare for the Sabbath.

We were able to get so much accomplished today: cleaning the ceiling fan blades (don't even ask how long it has been since they have been cleaned; my husband lovingly volunteered for that job!), grocery shopping, homeschool bargain book shopping (I scored some Abeka books for $1!!!), B.L.T.'s for lunch and then an afternoon of baking and cooking!

In honor of Sabbath our family has decided to prepare our hearts and minds the night before. Instead of making a lavish meal on Sunday for our "Sunday Dinner"; we have decided to do that on Saturday nights for a "Sabbath Eve" celebration. Who doesn't love a Sunday dinner on Saturday?! That means no rush to get home from church to cook, clean and then finally - rest. Nope, instead on Sunday it means an easy lunch or even leftovers from the night before. We are loving this concept and are hoping it becomes a fun tradition in our family.

And that brings me to our meal tonight. I know, you were wondering.... when is she ever going to talk about food? meal planning? I wanted to share with you the dinner I made. My husband made fun of me after making this meal because he noted that I didn't stop to take pictures to share with all of you while I was baking! I told him that I was indeed going to share the recipes, even without the pictures because it is a meal worth sharing.

For our Sabbath Eve dinner we had: Zuppa Tuscana Soup (yup... its a copycat recipe from Olive Garden!), Tortellini soup (It was an all natural/dried soup mix that was on clearance for $1.24 at my Kroger- and it was SO GOOD!) , warm Italian loaf of bread with butter and for dessert- Warm Apple Dumplings with Breyer's Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (Did you know Breyer's is all natural? Yup, it is!).

Zuppa Tuscana Soup Recipe (Adapted from

Here is what you need:
  • 1 lb. spicy Italian sausage – crumbled (I bought Johnsonville HOT sausage links- in the braut/hot dog section of the store- I cooked them per package instructions and cut them into small pieces)

  • 1/2 lb. smoked bacon – chopped (I omitted the bacon)

  • 1 qt. water

  • (2) 14.5 oz. cans (about 3 2/3 cups) chicken broth (I used chicken stock b/c it was what I had on hand - it was great!)

  • 2 lg. russet potatoes – scrubbed clean, cubed (I used 3 potatoes)

  • 2 garlic cloves – peeled, crushed

  • 1 med. onion – peeled, chopped

  • 2 cups chopped kale OR Swiss chard (definitely Kale!)

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • salt and pepper – to taste


  1. Brown sausage in a pan over medium to medium-high heat, breaking up into small pieces as it cooks.

  2. Drain sausage and set to the side.

  3. Brown bacon in a pan over medium-high heat. Be careful not to cook crispy.

  4. Drain bacon and set to the side.

  5. Place broth, water, garlic, potatoes, and onion in a pot.

  6. Simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender.

  7. Add sausage and bacon to the soup.

  8. Simmer for 10 minutes.

  9. Add kale and cream to pot.

  10. Season with salt and pepper.

Apple Dumplings Recipe (*taken from

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup granulated brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 rolled refrigerated pie crust (from a 15-ounce package) (I made my own pie crust)
  • 4 small or 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored (see Note)
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the water, white sugar, vanilla, 1 tablespoon butter, and the nutmeg over high heat. Bring to a boil for 1 minute; set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining 1 tablespoon butter; mix well.
  4. Unroll pastry and cut into quarters. Stuff each apple cavity with an equal amount of brown sugar mixture and place on a pastry quarter. Fold pastry up around apples and pinch ends together to completely enclose apples. Place dumplings seam-side down in an 8-inch square baking dish and pour sugar sauce over the top.
  5. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm, drizzled with sugar glaze from bottom of baking dish.
  6. Add Vanilla Ice cream - yummy!

Small apples work great for this recipe but they’re not always available, so go ahead and use the regular-sized ones cut in half. *I bought the regular size granny smith apples and cut them in 1/2. 1/2 an apple was PLENTY for each of my guests! We were stuffed!

I hope you enjoy checking out these recipes and even more so, May your day tomorrow be full of rest, reflection, renewal and responsive to love!

Happy Sabbath Eve!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday: Pizza Pockets

These look so great and I can't wait to try them! My plan is to make double the amount and have plenty for the freezer to use at a later time.

Thanks to Heavenly Homemakers for this great recipe!

*Here’s how I made these:

I used my regular pizza recipe…


3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 t. sea salt
1 cup melted butter
1 cup plain yogurt

Stir ingredients together until thoroughly mixed.

Pizza Sauce

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 1/2 t. oregano
1 1/2 t. basil

Stir together and simmer for a few minutes.

Pizza Pocket Fillings

Grated mozzarella or white cheddar cheese, cooked hamburger, pepperoni, olives, peppers, mushrooms

To form a Pizza Pocket

Roll a small ball of dough into a circle. Place one tablespoon of pizza sauce in the center. Put in a small amount of your choice of toppings. Fold the dough in half. Use a fork to pinch the edges together.

Lay Pizza Pockets on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for about one hour. Pop them off the cookie sheet and put them into a freezer bag…and back into the freezer.

Bake your Pizza Pockets

For frozen Pizza Pockets, bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. If the Pizza Pockets are thawed, bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

I love the convenience of this nutritious ”fast food”! Serve them with fruit and veggies(God’s fast food!)…and you’ve got yourself a quick and easy lunchtime treat!!

You’ll find more healthy treat recipes here.

*Recipe Taken from Heavenly Homemakers

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday: Cheesy Beef and Rice

I am really excited to try this recipe out tonight! My plan is to make this ahead of time, stick it in the fridge and have it ready to go to pop in the oven for dinner!

Cheesy Beef and Rice

1 cup long grain brown rice
1 lb ground beef
3 T. minced onion, or fresh chopped onion
1/2 t. garlic powder
sea salt, to taste
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Boil two cups of water. Stir in rice. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Brown ground beef with onion and garlic powder. Mix with rice and salt well. Stir in sour cream and milk. Spread into a casserole dish. Sprinkle cheese on top. Cover well and freeze.

To bake: Thaw casserole on counter all day. Place uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

*Recipe Taken from Heavenly Homemakers

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Plan...

I am sure many of you have noticed that the Meal Planning Mommies have been M.I.A. for awhile. As Katie posted, she was on vacation enjoying a much needed media break. I was in Northern Michigan last week enjoying some much needed family time and, thus I didn't have a meal plan last week...(unless you can count yummy bakery bread, Mackinac fudge, taffy.... oh I had some real food too!)

So this morning, I sat in Panera after some much needed reading time and came up with our meal plan for this week. I have decided to post a little bit differently this week. I will first post our meal plan and give you the links to the recipes. I will then post each recipe separately on it's own day, but since I will be actually making the meal that night.... there won't be pictures or feedback. I will give feedback the next day as to how our family enjoyed that night's recipe.

I found a fantastic blog called "Heavenly Homemakers" that has lots of great posts, including some easy, frugal and healthy meals. I have linked to the blog with each recipe that I have used, so that you can go directly there to get the recipe ahead of time!

Here is the plan for the week:

Monday: Sloppy Cornbread with Sweet Corn on the Cobb and Watermelon

Tuesday: Cheesy Beef and Rice with Steamed Green Beans

Wednesday: Pizza Pockets

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner (my hubby's turn to cook!)

Friday: Three Cheese Garlic Chicken Pasta with Italian Herb Foccacia Bread

I am also hoping to make some of the snacks and desserts from the site Heavenly Homemakers. I will post those as we make them this week!

Happy Meal Planning!