Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Busy Summer!

Hey all! I've been super busy these last few weeks starting up summer classes and a new schedule at work. My schedule right now is quite similar to how it was in the fall, except for some unfortunate time slots that result in some really long days. I am taking 12 credits this summer, and once I complete the semester I'll have 32 of 48 credits needed to graduate! My classes are pretty intense and I'll have a lot of homework to do. I am taking Techniques of Counseling, Group Counseling, and two-2 credit courses on Introduction to School Counseling and Consultation Theory and Practice. Whew!

As far as the remainder of my classes and a graduation date, things are up in the air. I'm trying to figure out how I want to work it since I plan on specializing in two different areas. Each specialization is 12 credits, so I'll be taking quite a bit more than necessary but I think it is the right choice for me. I have applied and been accepted to both, too! This whole grad school thing is flying by.

On the job front - I'm going to begin applying for jobs over the next week or two since my internship at the court house is almost complete. I think right now I've finished about 915 out of the 1000 hours I've signed on for.  If for whatever reason I can't find another (acceptable) job, I'm probably going to just sign on for another year. I have a few places and job openings that I have my eye on though (some that are full time!) so that's an exciting concept. The potential for a full-time job would also change my class schedule and whatnot but we'll cross that bridge if we get there soon.

Waitressing is still happening but assuming I get a new job this summer I'll definitely be on my way out. It's been a year and a half now and I'm totally done with it. The money is great of course, but the exhaustion and stress...blah. I'm over it. There have been a lot of annoying policy changes at our restaurant as well which have really rubbed me the wrong way and have motivated me even more to get out of there asap.

I DO have pictures of our Seattle trip, and I will give a recap on that hopefully this weekend.

Also - I have a new car! Almost. My dad has decided to sell us his 2005 Ford Escape to replace my other Escape that has well over 200,000 miles. We should be finalizing the loan on Friday, although I've already been driving it for a couple of weeks now. It's been very well taken care of and is practically like new.

If you have a wild and crazy schedule, how do you manage your time and make room for fun and socialization? Even the husband and I have had a hard time hanging out lately because I get home so late and go to bed an hour or two later. Any ideas?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Weekly Menu 5/4/12-5/10/12

Check this out! I am in love with ziplist.com for my recipe searching, saving, and grocery list making needs. And now they have the option to meal plan too? I could faint in excitement! And now I get to include a nice little picture of my meal plan instead of just typing it all out plainly.

I included the rest of the weekend on this meal plan, since next weekend with Mother's Day festivities we won't be doing any cooking. I hope to be able to update you all on how these recipes turn out too, since I don't believe I've blogged any of them before (and the last 2 days of meals will be new to me too).

What's on your menu this week? Are you an obvious chicken addict like we are? :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dinner Tonight: Easy Cheesy Meatballs & Spaghetti

This was a ridiculous day to cook spaghetti and meatballs.

It's early May, but I think it might be the hottest day of spring we've had in a while (since that weird warm weather in March). One ceiling fan in the living room is just not doing much for air circulation. I'm pretty sure I've worked up a major sweat from cooking this meal!

I had to do it though, because I've been cooking this version of spaghetti and meatballs for a while, and just had to share. The first few times I cooked these meatballs, I couldn't quite pinpoint why I liked them so much. Then one day, when I actually followed the recipe exactly and used grated parmesan cheese, it hit me - cheesy goodness! I had been using shredded parmesan the whole time and it gave the meatballs such an awesome flavor. It's by no means extreme, considering my husband likes these and doesn't really like much cheese. It's just enough to give it a little oomph.

This time, I decided to add even MORE cheese. You can't have enough cheese EVER. Of this I am certain.

As I've said in previous posts, the sauce you choose is up to you. The recipe just calls for some canned tomato, while I just revert to the trusty old jar (Market Pantry's Three Cheese Variety is a favorite lately). I've also found that with the jarred sauce, if you add it right to the pan with the meatballs it often gets a little too oily. I prefer to use more oil than is called for when frying these puppies, which is probably why the excess oil remains in the bottom of the pan. To combat this, I keep a separate pan on the side and layer up 1/2 jar of sauce, layer of meatballs, and the remaining sauce. Then I just do a switch-a-roo of the pans using the same burner and wash the frying pan out while the meatballs simmer in the sauce.

Easy Cheesy Meatballs & Spaghetti (adapted from Martha Stewart Living)
Yields 4 servings (4 meatballs per person)

1 pound of ground chuck
1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup italian style breadcrumbs
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg
28 oz jar of sauce of your choice
3/4 pound spaghetti
Drizzle of olive or canola oil

Start a pot of water on the stove to boil. In a large boil, combine ground beef with salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and egg. Mix well with hands and form into approximately 16 balls.

Heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Cook meatballs until browned on all edges, but not cooked through. Meanwhile, pour 1/2 of the jar into a separate large pan and set aside.

Once meatballs are browned, remove using tongs and place in a single layer on top of the sauce in the other pan. Add the remainder of the sauce and switch out pans, turning the burner to medium/medium-low. Cover loosely and let simmer for about 10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

Cook spaghetti in boiling water until desired. Serve meatballs and sauce over spaghetti, seasoning with extra salt and pepper if desired. Classic salads and garlic bread go great with this meal!