What’s for Dinner…in Des Moines

The Tall One and I are headed to the opposite side of the country where I will be busy laying by the pool and dining out so no Boring menu this week. Instead I have my first “guest-blogger,” my sister! I suppose in order to be a regular guest blogger she should have her own blog {ahem} but I’m still thrilled that she took the time to jot down her plans for you here! It’s a big week in their Iowa home–back to school. Can’t wait for you to read all about it…

P.S. She didn’t send me the recipe for the Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake (Anyone else flashing on My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Let’s all say it together now, “the bundt cake.”) But I bet she’ll share if you clamor for it in the comments!

Okay, here’s what I think we’ll try for dinner this week:

Monday: Mexican Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Black Beans, sauteed vegetables
This is one I’ve tried before and added to our favorite healthy recipes. If you don’t like peppers (which I don’t), this mixture is easily rolled up in a corn tortilla instead. I feel very, very organic saying that I make my enchiladas with quinoa. And even my kids love these! Oh, and I add ground chicken, so maybe I’m not as vegelicious as I may seem.

Tuesday: Out with Friends
Our tradition on the last day of summer is dinner on the patio with our treasured adopted-grandparents, Denny and Becky.

Wednesday: Mom’s Meaty Spaghetti, garlic bread, garden salad and First-Day-of-School Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
This is another traditional meal. If, when school was out on the first day, we didn’t return to a home smelling like heaven, my girls would be beyond disappointed. They are expecting and will receive one of the best recipes my mom ever handed down to me. People are impressed that I make my own sauce…please don’t mention how unbelievably easy it is.

Mom’s Meaty Spaghetti Sauce

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef
2 cloves minced garlic
2 #1-cans (4 cups) diced tomatoes
{Can you tell this is an old recipe? When was the last time you referred to #1-cans?}
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf

In a large skillet, cook onion in hot oil until almost render. Add meat and garlic; brown lightly. Add remaining ingredients.

Simmer uncovered two to two and a half hours until sauce is nice and thick. Stir occasionally. Remove bay leaf. Serve over spaghetti noodles.

Note #1: That’s the whole recipe. It’s fantastic but super thick and meaty.
Since we want the sauce to mix in with the noodles a bit more, I usually add a jar of
ready-made sauce (gasp!) at the end, with just enough time to get it hot.

Note #2: It’s totally double-able. In fact, I almost always double it
so there are plenty of leftovers.

Note #3: We’ve been known to skip the noodles entirely and just eat a bowl
of the leftover sauce for lunch the next day. It’s that good.

Thursday: Jalapeno Popper Chicken, rice and roasted carrots
Time to try something from my pinterest board. We are huge fans of poppers, so I’m looking forward to this one!

Friday: Backyard Dinner Party
This usually means grilled meats and potluck sides. If I’m asked to bring salad or a dessert, I’m considering these:

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