My musings…

Archive for September, 2013

Busy week!

Well, it was my first week back at work and we were in PA last weekend, so no time to go grocery shopping. It was an “eat what we have” week which worked out fine and didn’t really make a dent in our pantry.

Sausage, potato and egg skillet

Taco casserole (from the freezers)

Chicken soup

Tuna noodle casserole

Slow cooker quinoa chicken chili



This week’s menu – ham week

I decided to try something different this week and it seems to have worked well! I picked up a ham and made it on Saturday, then used the leftovers in several additional meals throughout the week. I think I could do something similar with turkey, chicken, and a beef roast and would love to do that to make my life easier in the coming months as I go back to work on Monday.

SATURDAY – Roasted ham, cheesy cottage potatoes, broccoli
SUNDAY – leftovers
MONDAY – stuffed shells, salad, garlic bread
TUESDAY – ham, green beans and potatoes
WEDNESDAY – chicken cordon bleu casserole
THURSDAY – beef stirfry
FRIDAY and SATURDAY – with family

College Park Aviation Museum

When we lived in College Park, we would bike on a path that went past the College Park Airport and Aviation Museum, but we never went into the museum.  Recently my parents came to visit and we decided to check it out!

The College Park airport has a rich history – it is the oldest continuously operating airport in the United States, the Wright Brothers flew here, the first woman to ever fly in a plan flew from this airport – it’s a pretty cool place.  The museum opened in 1998 and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

The museum itself is fairly small, about 1 1/2 stories, but houses a few planes and an interactive section for kids. There is an airplane that you can climb into as well as pilot outfits to try on, things to make, a flight simulator, and a few other experimentation stations.

The museum also has a few different clubs for kids and special events like movie nights!  I hope that we’ll be able to attend some of these activities when the boys are a little older!  

It is definitely worth a visit and only takes an hour or two to go through. It’s really close to the College Park Metro station, but also has ample parking. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for kids over 2. 


Cheeey Cottage Potatoes

This is another family favorite and a perfect side to a baked ham!

Cheesy Cottage Potatoes
6-7 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2˝ cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom (or any “cream of” soup, really)
8 oz sour cream
2 c shredded cheddar
6 T butter, cut into thin slices
1/2 t each: salt, pepper and paprika

2 T butter, melted
1 c crushed cornflakes

Parboil potatoes and onions for 5-7 minutes.
Butter a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish.
Mix all of the ingredients together (I just stir everything together in the baking dish).

Mix the melted butter and cornflakes together, sprinkle on top of potatoes.

Bake, covered, at 350* for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 additional minutes.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

I seem to have an insatiable sweet tooth these days. These muffins are a somewhat healthy way to meet those cravings and they are delicious, husband and 16 month old approved.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 24 muffins

1 1/2 c white flour
1 1/2 c wheat flour
1 c sugar
2 t baking soda
2 t ground cinnamon
1 t salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c milk
2 t vanilla
2 to 3 c shredded zucchini (I used 1 normal sized zucchini and a small golden zucchini)
1 c chocolate chips (or a combination of chocolate chips and walnuts to equal 1 c)

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips. Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake at 350* for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Shepherd’s Pie

After our second son was born, a friend came to visit and brought shepherd’s pie for lunch. I don’t remember eating shepherd’s pie as a kid and I definitely hadn’t ever made it, but everyone enjoyed it, so I decided I would make one for dinner. Son 1 devoured it and my husband said I could make it for dinner again tomorrow, so I guess this recipe is a keeper!

Shepherd’s Pie
Serves 6

2 lb potatoes
1/4 c milk
2 T butter
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

2 T canola oil
1 c chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 lb ground beef
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 T flour
1 c beef stock
2 T tomato paste
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T parsley
1 t thyme
3 c vegetables (use any combination you choose – I used corn, peas and carrots)

Peel and cut potatoes in to 1/2″ cubes. Place in medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes can be easily mashed. Drain. Mash potatoes with milk, butter, salt and pepper.

While potatoes are cooking, start the filling. In a large saucepan, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add onions and waite until translucent (3-4 minutes). Add garlic and stir. Add ground beef, salt and pepper. Cook until beef is no longer red (5 minutes). Sprinkle with flour and stir.

Add beef stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire and herbs. Simmer until sauce is thickened. Add vegetables. Turn off heat.

Spread meat and vegetable mixture in the bottom of an 8″ x 8″ pan for a thicker casserole or an 9″ x 13″ pan for a thinner casserole. Top with mashed potatoes, starting with the edges to seal the casserole. Place casserole dish on top of a jelly roll pan (to catch any filling that manages to escape). Bake at 375* for 25 minutes. Let rest at least 15 minutes before serving.

BWI Trail Park

One of my close friends lives in Baltimore and we live just outside of DC. We were looking for a kid-friendly place to meet and she suggested the BWI Trail Park. We both were a bit confused by the directions since no address is listed on the site, but we met at the Thomas Dixon Observation Area. The parking lot is off of Dorsey Rd in Glen Burnie just after WB&A Rd if you’re traveling east.

It is at the end of one of the runways for BWI. The day we were there, planes were landing in that direction, which was pretty cool to watch. Near the parking lot, there is a small playset and a seating area to watch the airplanes.

There is also a 12.5 mile loop trail around the airport which seems to be popular with runners and bikers, given the number of people who passed us as we walked. The first part of the trail is open, giving an unobstructed view of the planes, but quickly becomes shaded, which was greatly appreciated on a sunny day! We walked for a short while before returning to the park.

The only downside was the lack of bathroom facilities which could be problematic with potty-training/ed kids.

We’ll definitely return to the park again, maybe with a picnic lunch!