Westchester Weekend {April 28 & 29}

Every weekend there’s always a ton of events going on in Westchester County and the surrounding area.  Unfortunately, there are too many events to write about and I’m lucky if our family can attend even one event.  However, I’m hoping to showcase some highlight events that you may want to try to attend.  Here’s a quick look at some of the family fun and food events taking place in Westchester County and the surrounding area this weekend.

As always, please check with the website/venue for the most up-to-date information. 

Saturday, April 28:

Hudson Valley Mac and Cheese Fest
Brotherhood Winery
100 Brotherhood Plaza Drive
Washingtonville, NY 10992

Enjoy sampling over 15 different mac and cheese creations.  All tickets include a self-guided tour of the winery. Soft drinks, wine and beer are available for purchase.

1 PM – 5 PM

General Admission: $30
VIP Big Cheese Ticket (admission at 12 PM): $50
4 PK General Admission Early Bird Special:  $99
Kids 12 and under:  FREE

Sunday, April 29:

White Plains Cherry Blossom Festival
Turnure Park
26 Lake Street
White Plains, NY

Experience Japanese culture while celebrating the cherry blossoms.  Performances throughout the day include dance, taiko drumming, kendo, singing, traditional dance and more.  Food is available for purchase.

11:30 AM – 5 PM

Free Admission

April 28 & 29:
Hudson Valley KidVenture
Mid-Hudson Civic Center
14 Civic Center Plaza
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

This is a two-day event that allows children of all ages to explore, discover and have fun.  There are performances, demonstrations, hands-on activities, Touch A Truck and more.

11 AM – 4 PM

Tickets:
$8 in advance
$10 at door
Weekend Pass:  $12 in advance
Children under 3 are FREE

What’s Cooking? – A Weekly Meal Plan {Week 5}

What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

Here’s another edition of What’s Cooking?, a weekly meal plan providing you some dinner inspiration.  Meal planning is an essential organization tool for me, and ensures that I get dinner on the table each night.  I try to find new-to-me recipes that are quick and easy.  Hopefully, you will get some ideas for your dinner this week, based on the pictures and reviews of what I made this week!

Monday – I made Spanish Beef Stew from Every Day with Rachael Ray.  This is one of those “Make This, Then Make This” type recipes.  Of course, I didn’t read the recipe through and when I went to make it at 5 PM, noticed that it has a 2 hour cook time.  There was no way we were eating after 7 PM, so the Instant Pot to the rescue.  I put everything in the Instant Pot and then cooked it on the stew setting for 35 minutes.  It took a little bit of time to prep and then have the Instant Pot get to heat.  But it was a lot less than 2 hours!  Unfortunately, we thought the stew lacked flavor and we weren’t big fans of it.  I served the stew over white rice, instead of with the yellow rice that the recipe suggested.

Tuesday – I made Beef & Pepper Jack Enchiladas from Every Day with Rachael Ray, as the second recipe of the “Make This, Then Make This.”  I used the leftover beef stew and turned them into enchiladas.  I put the leftover white rice into the tortilla along with some shredded cheese.  However, I didn’t use pepper jack.  I used taco mix cheese and cheddar jack.  The enchiladas weren’t bad and were different than the usualones we eat.  I served these with yellow rice and veggies.

Wednesday – My husband and I went to his company awards dinner, so no cooking for me.  We made the kids chicken nuggets and mac and cheese.

Thursday – My husband made Ricotta Naan with Fried Eggs and Sweet Potato Fries from Half Baked Harvest.  The sweet potato fries took some time to cook (about 40 minutes).  But otherwise, there was relatively little cooking, just making the ricotta mixture and frying the eggs.  This was a tasty vegetarian meal that was easy to put together.

Friday – We made our usual homemade cheese pizza.  Quick, easy and tasty!

What are you having for dinner this week?

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Five on Friday {Hooray for the Weekend!}

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I am so happy that it’s Friday!  It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and I have a little bit of time this weekend to relax and catch my breath. Last weekend we celebrated my daughter’s birthday, which you’ll read more about.  Sunday was the Girl Scout 80’s-themed Father-Daughter dance.  Wednesday night my husband’s office had a celebratory dinner for being the #1 office in the country.  This was a super fancy, black-tie optional affair.  Unfortunately, it was also on a Wednesday night and we didn’t get home until 11:30 PM!  So, busy, exhausted, all of the above…..yes!  Let’s get to five from this week:

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Reading – I will hopefully be finishing Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney this weekend.  This is a suspense/thriller that I am enjoying.

The Breadwinner (film) poster.jpg              Ferdinand (film).png

Watching – This past week we watched the animated movie Ferdinand.  It was a cute, family movie, but one that I’m glad we didn’t go see in the theater. My son and I watched the animated movie The Breadwinner.  Angelina Jolie is one of the producers of this movie, which tells the story of a young girl living in Afghanistan, under the control of the Taliban.  Her father is unjustly arrested so to support the family, she cuts her hair and dresses like a boy.  This was a good, animated film, however I wasn’t a fan of the ending.

Celebrating – My daughter turned 12 last weekend.  The day started with donuts and ended with fro-yo sundaes.  She was a very happy girl!

EatingBiena Chickpeas.  Biena kindly sent me an assortment of their chickpeas to try.  So far, we’ve tried Rockin’ Ranch, Honey Roasted and Sea Salt and we are big fans!  They are crunchy and come in 10 different flavors, both sweet and salty.  I also enjoy that they are filled with protein and fiber.  For those on special diets, these chickpeas are gluten-free, non-GMO and vegan.  I feel much better eating these than a handful of potato chips!

Family Fun – This week’s family fun was part of my daughter’s birthday celebration.   After going out to dinner she wanted to go to an arcade.  The kids are a bit old now for Chuck E. Cheese but they love Dave & Buster’s.  So we spent some time playing various video games.

Buying – We have a rule in our house that the kids cannot get a cell phone until they are 13.  My daughter may be the only person in her grade not to have one.  However, I don’t see the point in paying for another phone line when her iPod does everything but make phone calls (but she can FaceTime).  For her birthday we got her a new 32GB iPod in space gray, with the understanding that next year when she gets a phone, her brother will inherit this one.  Needless to say, she was surprised and very happy!

ICYMI this week on the blog:
What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}
Monday I posted What’s Cooking? a weekly meal plan.

Tuesday I wrote about the Historic Hudson Valley Sheep-to-Shawl Festival.

Wednesday I posted Westchester Weekend, with our picks of the best food and family fun taking place this weekend.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

Westchester Weekend {April 21 & 22}

Every weekend there’s always a ton of events going on in Westchester County and the surrounding area.  Unfortunately, there are too many events to write about and I’m lucky if our family can attend even one event.  However, I’m hoping to showcase some highlight events that you may want to try to attend.  Here’s a quick look at some of the family fun and food events taking place in Westchester County and the surrounding area this weekend.

April 21:

The Barley House’s 1st Annual Crawfish Boil
The Barley House
665 Commerce Street
Hawthorne, NY 10594
(914) 495-3333

2-5 PM rain or shine
$35/pp all you can eat

April 22:

A Cup of the Valley Coffee and Tea Festival
Culinary Institute of America – Marriott Pavilion
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538

11 AM – 5 PM
$17/pp in advance, $20/pp day of event

Sample a variety of coffees and teas from

Earth Day Celebration
Greenburgh Nature Center
99 Dromore Rd.
Scarsdale, NY 10583
(914) 723-3470

12 PM – 4 PM
Free

Celebrate Earth Day at the Greenburgh Nature Center with volunteer projects and workshops that will help make a difference and teach you about caring for the Earth.  A grounding yoga class will take place at 10:30 AM.

NY Metro Reptile Show
Westchester County Center
198 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606

9 AM – 4 PM
Adults – $10
Kids (7 – 12) – $5
Kids (under 7) – free

This is the Northeast’s largest reptile expo.  There will be thousands of live reptiles, amphibians and arachnids on display and for sale.

April 21 & 22:

Historic Hudson Valley’s Sheep-to-Shawl Festival
Philipsburg Manor
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

10 AM – 5 PM
Online tickets – Free for members, $16/adults, $12/seniors, $8/children 3-17  Onsite tickets – Free for members, $18/adults, $14/seniors, $10/children 3-17.

Celebrate spring and learn about the process of turning wool into cloth, 18th-century style!  Read our review of this fun family event!

Hudson Valley Comic Con
Gold’s Gym and Exhibition Center
258 Titusville Rd.
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Saturday:  10 AM – 7 PM
Sunday: 10 AM – 6 PM
Free Parking

2-Day Adult Pass: $35
2-Day Child Pass (ages 5-12): $20
Saturday Adult Pass: $25
Saturday Child Pass: $15
Sunday Adult Pass: $20
Sunday Child Pass: $10

The 3rd annual Hudson Valley Comic Con is taking place at Gold’s Gym and Exhibition Center in Poughkeepsie.  Meet comic book artists, play video games in the Gamer’s Lounge, enjoy stories and crafts in the Kids Zone, enjoy live shows and panels.  There’s also a costume contest.

 

Sheep-to-Shawl Festival at Philipsburg Manor

This weekend is the Historic Hudson Valley’s annual Sheep-to-Shawl Festival.  This two-day event is held on the historic grounds of Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow.  It’s a spring festival celebrating all things sheep and visitors get to experience the steps of turning wool into cloth…..18th-century style! Our family visited this festival last year and had a great time.

When you arrive at the site, you will walk along a fenced path and step back into time.  Be sure to take a guide that has a map and list of the different attractions, as well as a schedule of timed events.  Interpreters are stationed throughout the grounds to provide information and answer any questions visitors may have.  They work on various tasks, and when appropriate, encourage guests to try as well.

The kids first teased a piece of wool, loosening and spreading it out.  Then they got a chance to card the wool, the process which cleans and separates wool in preparation for spinning.

They were then able to use a spinning wheel to hand spin a piece of wool.  It was a lot of fun for them to have such hands-on experiences.

We got to see yarn being dyed using items like onion skins and berries to get the different colors.

There was an activity station nearby where the kids got to dye their own piece of yarn.

We got to see some very cute alpacas.

And some duck- and sheep-herding.

Of course the big highlight of the day was watching a sheep get sheared, using hand-held shears, as it was done back in the 18th-century.

As you walk the grounds you will see different hand-held tools that were used to weave the yarn, as well as some of the larger looms.

As you can see, there is a lot to see and do during the Sheep-to-Shawl Festival (and I didn’t show all there is!).  Expect to spend at least two hours wandering the grounds of Philipsburg Manor and enjoying the activities.  This year there will be a fashion show and live music as well.  This is a great way to enjoy an educational, hands-on family day of fun right here in Westchester County!

The Details:

Sheep-to-Shawl Festival at Philisburg Manor
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Dates & Times:  Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22 – 10 AM – 5 PM.

Cost: Online tickets – Free for members, $16/adults, $12/seniors, $8/children 3-17  Onsite tickets – Free for members, $18/adults, $14/seniors, $10/children 3-17.

Parking:  Free parking is available in the small lot at 381 N. Broadway as well in an overflow lot (make a right at the traffic light and signs will direct you to the lot).

Food:  Food is available for purchase onsite or you can bring in your own food.   Picnic tables are available to sit and eat.

Check out the 2018 Program!

What’s Cooking? #4 {A Weeky Meal Plan}

What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

Here’s another edition of What’s Cooking?, a weekly meal plan providing you some dinner inspiration.  Meal planning is an essential organization tool, ensuring that I get dinner on the table each night.  I try to find new-to-me recipes that are quick and easy.  Hopefully, you will get some ideas for your dinner this week, based on the pictures and reviews of what I made this week!

Monday – I made Easy Beef Picadillo from Savory Tooth.  This was easy to make and was really tasty!  I had never made, or even eaten, beef picadillo before, but this was good!  The kids really liked it as well, minus the green olives.  I served it with rice and veggies.

Tuesday – I made Leek-y Chicken and Couscous from Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals.  I’ve made this dish before and we enjoyed it.  Since it’s quick, easy I decided to put it on rotation again….a couple of years later!

Wednesday – I made Philly Cheese Steak Burgers from Dinner Then Dessert.  I omitted the rib eye steak from the recipe.  I thought that with the beef patty was a bit much.  I discovered that you need a heartier roll than a regular hamburger roll.  Ours got a bit soggy and was difficult to hold the burger with the onions and peppers. After making this, I realized that I’ve made a burger like this before, just not this particular recipe.  In my opinion, the burger needs more seasoning than just salt and pepper.  Burgers tend to be a fairly quick and easy meal.  They’re even quicker when the burgers are pre-made the night before and just need to be cooked.  I served these burgers with fries.

 Thursday – I made 15-minute Sesame Ramen Noodles from How Sweet Eats.  This is one of the quickest meals I’ve made and it’s tasty!  I used four packages of ramen noodles for the four of us and there were no leftovers.  I could have probably used one or two more packages of ramen, since there were hardly any noodles left for seconds.  I served this with edamame.

Friday – We had a ton of fries left over from Wednesday’s burger night.  My husband decided to make Nacho Fries for dinner.  Unfortunately,  they weren’t that great.  It was a great idea, but I guess poorly executed.  He add shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, chopped tomato and sour cream.

What are you having for dinner this week?

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March 2018 Reads

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Working full-time now, I’m happy that I’ve still been able to get in some quality reading time.  March was a good month in terms of quantity, but was mostly a book of just okay reads.  Read on to see my March 2018 reads.  As always, I’m linking up with Jana and Steph’s Show Us Your Books linkup and will be adding tons of books to my to-read list!

3 stars:

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Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan –  James, an important political figure, is accused of a crime.  No one, especially his wife Sophie believes that he is guilty.  Kate is the barrister prosecuting the case and is sure that James has committed the crime and will do everything to prove it. This was just an okay suspense book.  I almost gave up on the book but was curious to find out what they big mystery was.

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The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher – Lara and Maggie are married to brothers, Massimo and Nico.  Although Lara’s life looks perfect: a son, a nice house, being able to be a stay-at-home mom, it’s not.  She hides a dark secret from everyone.  Maggie is the new stepmom to teenage Francesca, who still hasn’t gotten over her mother’s death two years ago.  Maggie attempts to create a new life for herself, despite the rumors of being a “gold-digger.”  While cleaning out the attic she discovers a secret about Nico’s first wife Caitlin and has to decide whether to tell him or not.  While they don’t appear to have anything in common, Lara and Maggie begin to help each other navigate the family dynamics.  This book explores family relationships and the struggles of being the second wife.  I haven’t read any of Fisher’s previous books and wasn’t the biggest fan of this book to want to read more.

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Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella – Already married for ten years, Sylvie and Dance discover that they may have 68 more years of married life together.  They agree that they need to bring surprises into their marriage.  This leads to secrets being revealed and both questioning if they really know each other.  I haven’t read a Kinsella book in awhile and this book didn’t really impress me.

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T is for Transformation by Shaun T – Shaun T is the creator of the Insanity and Focus T25 workouts, neither of which I’ve done.  In this book Shaun writes about 7 transformational principles that guide his life and have helped lead him to success.  This was my only non-fiction book of the month.  His story is inspiring and I enjoyed all of his “truth bombs.”

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The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn – Anna Fox lives alone in NYC.  She hasn’t left her house in months and spends her days watching all of her neighbors.  When the Russells move in across the street, Anna sees something that she shouldn’t.  However, with all of the pills that she takes along with all of the alcohol, did it really happen or did she just imagine it?  This book moved a bit slow up until the middle and I was so tired of reading about all the pill taking and drinking.  The second half of the book turned into a page-turner and I didn’t see the ending.  There was so much hype about this book that I was excited to read it, but overall, I was a bit disappointed.

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A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle – I read this book with my son when we heard it was being made into a movie.  I had not previously read this book and didn’t really know what the book was about.  It involves time and space travel which isn’t really my thing.  I didn’t realize that this is the first book in a six book series and I don’t really have a desire to continue the series.  We did go see the movie opening weekend and although it had a great cast, it differed a lot from the book and overall I wasn’t impressed.

4 stars:

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Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino – Matt and Grace met their senior year of college.  What starts as a friendship ends up becoming more serious.  But then they graduate and lose touch.  15 years later, and Matt spots Grace on the subway, just as it’s pulling away from the platform.  Will they be able to reconnect?  This is a contemporary romance that was a great read.  I was a fan of Carlino’s Swear on This Life and want to read more of her other books.

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Still Me by Jojo Moyes – This is the third book in the Me Before You series.  Louisa is living in New York City, hired to be an assistant to the very wealthy Agnes Gopnik.  Louisa is trying to adjust to life in the city, a long distance relationship and her new job.  This was a humorous and heart-warming read and I enjoyed reading more of Louisa’s story.

What’s Cooking? {Week 3}

What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

Check out this week’s edition of What’s Cooking? for some dinner inspiration.  Meal planning is an essential organization tool, ensuring that I get dinner on the table each night.  I try to find new-to-me recipes that are quick and easy.  Hopefully, you will get some ideas for your dinner this week, based on the pictures and reviews of what I made this week!

Monday –  Have I mentioned how my son hates leftovers?  Well, we had a lot of leftover ham from Easter.  I froze a bunch of it. But, I saved enough to make a couple of recipes with it so we weren’t eating straight up leftover ham.  Monday I made Instant Pot Ham & Broccoli Mac and Cheese.  I will be posting a recipe soon for this!  Super quick and easy and enjoyed by the family.  I LOVE using our Instant Pot!

Tuesday –  I made Instant Pot Butter Chicken from Damn Delicious.   Technically, butter chicken is not the same as chicken tikka masala.  However, it tastes very similar.  This is another easy Instant Pot recipe.  However, I find when cooking in the Instant Pot, it is essential to have all of your ingredients prepped and nearby, including spices, etc.  I served this butter chicken with Basmati rice, string beans and naan. The naan is super useful in mopping up all the sauce.   This was another dish that was enjoyed by us all.

Wednesday – I made Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps from Joy Food Sunshine.  They are allegedly better than P.F. Chang’s, but I’ve never had the original, so don’t have anything to compare it to.  These were really easy to make and super tasty.  The sauce was especially delicious! I served the wraps with edamame.  I wasn’t sure that they’d be filling enough so I had my husband walk over to the local Chinese take-out restaurant and pick us up some egg rolls to go with it.

Thursday – I made ham and pineapple fried rice to use up the leftover ham I had saved.  I don’t have a recipe for this, since it changes with what I have on hand. I used diced onion and red pepper, soy sauce, egg and diced, canned pineapple.  I also added the leftover edamame from the previous night’s dinner.  Fried rice is always a family-approved dinner and it’s so easy to make.

Friday – My husband stopped at HMart on the way home from work since we needed a restock on rice, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, etc.  He also picked up some bulgogi and pork belly for us to cook.  I was a bit disappointed with the marinated bulgogi and thought it lacked flavor.  However, the pork belly was delicious as usual.  We had this with rice and kimchi (or at least I had the kimchi, which was super spicy!).

What is on your dinner menu this week?

2

Five on Friday {More Snow?!!}

(This post contains affiliate links.  Please read our disclosure policy for additional information.)

Happy Friday!  Another week has flown by and it’s crazy, but we are expecting more snow this morning and Saturday!  C’mon Mother Nature, it’s April!!!  I cannot wait for the warmer weather.  This week started with a snow day on a make-up snow day for the kids.  With all the holiday celebrations last weekend (see below) it was not a relaxing weekend.  Besides a couple of birthday parties that my son is going to, our weekend is pretty free.  I am looking forward to taking it easy and not having to do much! Here are five from this week:
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1. Reading – I am half-way through Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone.  I am a huge Kristin Hannah fan and had been eagerly waiting for this book to come in from the library.  I haven’t had much reading time, but have enjoyed what I’ve read so far.

2. Family Fun – We recently gave our son this Pets Rock puzzle.  There are a bunch of different puzzles in the series and I think that they’re so cute! It’s only 550 pieces and I knew he could do it on his own.  However, we both enjoyed sitting together and working on it.  I had to force myself to stay away and only work on it when he was around.

3. Drinking – Angry Orchard Hard Cider Rose! I rarely drink, however, I do love a good hard cider.  Since Wednesday was our anniversary my husband and I cheered to 14 years and I got to try Angry Orchard’s new rose cider.  It’s not my favorite of their hard ciders, but it’s so pretty.  It will likely be very popular this summer!

The upper half of the poster shows a sepia toned image, of a man and a woman speaking at before a bank of microphones. Below a tennis ball.

4. Watching – Last weekend my husband and I watched Battle of the Sexes.  I like Emma Stone a lot and I thought she did a great job in this movie.  I had no idea who Bobby Riggs was before watching this and I always enjoy when I learn something new from a book or movie.

5. Celebrating  – There was LOTS of celebrating going on this week.  Saturday we celebrated Passover at my husband’s Aunt’s house.  Sunday we celebrated Easter and my daughter’s 12th birthday with both of our families.  And Wednesday was our anniversary.  It’s hard to believe that my husband and I have been married for 14 years! Since weeknight dinner dates are a bit difficult, we will hopefully get a chance to celebrate this weekend.

ICYMI this week on the blog:
What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

Monday I shared What’s Cooking?, our weekly meal plan.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

2

What’s Cooking? {Week 2}

What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

Do you have your dinners planned for the week?  If not, hopefully you can get some inspiration from this week’s edition of What’s Cooking?  Since I’ve been back to work full-time, my goal is to get dinner on the table as quickly as possible.  As you can see from this week’s meal plan, sometimes it means a mix of already prepared foods and dinners from scratch.  You can read more about our meal planning process if you’d like to see how I create my weekly meal plan.

Monday – I adapted this Lamb, Feta & Couscous Stuffed Peppers recipe from Rachael Ray Every Day, September 2014.  I couldn’t find ground lamb at the grocery store so used meatloaf mix instead.  This turned out to be pretty tasty!  I enjoyed getting extra veggies in with the chopped zucchini.  I served this with some veggies.

Tuesday – I made Pierogies.  Not the homemade kind, the frozen, Mrs. T’s Pierogies kind.  I boiled them first and then sauteed in a pan with butter.  I served the pierogies with sauteed onions and a salad.  I hadn’t made pierogies in awhile but will be making them more often.  I made two boxes of the loaded baked potato variety. Both kids had seconds and I had to cut them off so there would be enough for my husband to eat when he got home!  Next time, I will have to make three boxes!  I served these with veggies.

Wednesday – I made One Skillet Chicken Parm from I Wash You Dry.    I liked that the chicken is not fried and that everything is cooked in one skillet. I ended up cooking cheese tortellini instead of pasta and I served it with a Caesar salad.

Thursday – I made Chicken Tacos with Creamy Cilantro Sauce.  My husband bought Ortega Blue Corn taco shells and this recipe was on the back.  I used a chicken taco seasoning packet.  For the creamy cilantro sauce I used mango salsa, which gave the sauce a nice sweetness.  The sauce really made the tacos and was delicious.  (Sorry, the pic isn’t great!).   I served this with some salad.

Friday – My husband made regular cheese pizza.  Always a hit and so quick and easy to make using store bought dough.

What is on your dinner menu this week?