Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Try New Adventures Thursday: Midday Dinner and Spicy Beef Pitzas

So, for this week's Try New Adventures Thursday, I want to share a new thing we are doing in our house. I have always loved meal planning, and getting to cook about 4 to 5 times per week, or less depending on our schedules. Now that we have moved and Tad is working a new job, he has a regular schedule with regular hours, which we have been looking forward to for awhile!! Everyday he leaves around noon, and gets back late, so I have switched our big, homecooked meal to lunch time. I have found many positives:

  • Done with cooking for the day after lunch.

  • Have the rest of the day to scrub pots, load dishwasher, and clean up.

  • Better for your figure, so they say, to eat heavier at lunch and lighter at dinner.

  • We can eat leftovers for dinner, or an easy meal since it's just me and the kiddos.

  • I can cook in the morning while Tad is home and can watch the kids while I get dinner ready.

  • Tad's siblings often come over for their lunch break and eat with us.

  • We get to enjoy a nice dinner with Tad even though he isn't here at night!

So, overall, it has been a good switch!! It is different having to prepare a big meal in the morning, but like I said, it all works out because Tad can watch the kids, and then I can get things cleaned up before naptime. I didn't like having to scrub pots, clean a dirty kitchen, and have tons of dirty dishes to do after I put the kids to bed. It was exhausting and took me about an hour and a half to get everything done. Now, I have minimal cleanup at night because we eat leftovers or an easy-prep meal (quesadillas, butter noodles, chicken nuggets, sandwiches, etc.) so I am pretty much just throwing the last few dishes in the dishwasher for the night.

And with that, another recipe!! This has been one of our favorites!! I found this recipe for Spicy Beef Pitzas in a Rachael Ray Magazine in the "good deal" section. Supposedly this meal only costs $7.79 to make for a family, they estimate $1.95 per person!! After I made it once, Tad said he wanted me to make it frequently!! I even made it once and brought it to an outdoor concert!! After the recipe, I will give details on that!

Spicy Beef Pitzas

Everyday with Rachael Ray

1 cup plain whole milk yogurt (I used nonfat)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

salt and pepper

1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped habanero chile (I used jalapeno)

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 lb. ground beef

4 pitas

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and two-thirds of the garlic; season with salt and pepper.

2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining garlic, the habanero chile and cumin; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper.

3. On a baking sheet, top each pita with a quarter of the beef mixture and bake until crisp, about 8 minutes. Serve with the garlic yogurt.

This meal is so tasty, and can easily be prepared ahead of time, which makes for a happy mommy!! You can brown the meat up ahead of time with the veggies, which I did a day in advance. You can make the yogurt dip ahead of time (but be aware, the longer the yogurt dip sits with the garlic, it will taste more and more garlicky!!). And for an easy to-go meal, make the pitas, wrap them individually with aluminum foil, and pack them all in a sealed container to keep warm (they taste fine at room temp as well). Bring the yogurt dip in a little cooler or packed with cold things. And you will have one yummy, homemade meal on the go!!

Couldn't resist some recent pics of the kids:

We have had several 70 plus degree days here, the kids have enjoyed playing at the park!! Judah can sit in the sand and play all day!! And when sissy isn't looking, he fills her boots/shoes with sand!! And he is a little walker now!! Once we moved into our own place and he wasn't being held all the time, he just started walking all over the place!! So fun!

Maddy was in a posing mood on this particular day. Not to mention she is adorable!!! Not biased or anything!!

Also, be sure to check out our new Facebook Fan Page: Urban Momma Gone Country!!! There are pictures from the blog, and you can post your comments about the blog there too!! Come check it out here!!


  1. Hello Stephanie, just found your blog!! Looking forward to following it. You're all grown up!! :) Blessings

  2. Those beef pitas look fabulous!

    Hooray for 70 degree weather!!

  3. I love the pictures of Maddy and Judah!!! I'm glad you're doing well out in the country!! We miss you in the city, though!

  4. How fun! I don't know many families that do meals this way, so this was interesting to read. And that recipe looks DELISH! :)
    Thanks for linking up to Try New Adventures Thursday.

  5. Oh, I love pitzas! They are so, so yummy! Have you ever tried pizza toppings on english muffins? Just as good. :)

  6. Sarah-
    We have tried english muffin pizzas, with cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, and spaghetti sauce. They were yummy!!