Arts, Entertainment, Living

Weekly Menu for the Week of April 4

Friday, 01 April 2011 06:51 PM Written by

Welcome to my weekly menu!!! bag-groceries-food

Spring is coming ... Spring is coming. I keep telling myself that. Despite the fact that little white snowflakes keep coming down. I looked ahead to the weather for the week and it looks a lot better! In fact, it is time to fire up the grills! I know that there are a few of you out there that are still afraid of the big bad nasty grill. Come on people – it is so easy! We are going to be grilling a lot very soon. So ease into it if you need to but be ready for some fabulous dinners from the grill!

This week the kids wanted a say in the menu ... they always have a "say" in what is on the menu because they need to eat it - right? Well, this week they insisted on Pizza Pasta! My children will eat pizza in any form. And they will eat just about any kind of pasta. Sound familiar? Well, I combined the two and it was a HIT! This recipe is super easy and delicious. My almost 4 year old daughter, Meredith, pointed her little finger at me and told me to "put this on the menu." Mama listened. I hope you enjoy this recipe and the rest of the menu.

If you would like to receive an email notification when the menu has been published please follow the link below and sign-up!

You can also follow the menu on Facebook and Twitter!!! Go to Kristen Kill Reisinger's Menus That Save on Facebook and click like!!! You will receive updates and pics throughout the week. Also follow the menu on Twitter - @menusthatsave.

ALWAYS check your coupons!!! Not only the ones we receive in our newspapers and mid-week mailers but also online! Check out

Follow the plan so you can save time, money, and a few calories! Remember – cooking our own food is healthier than ordering in and eating out any day!!! Your family, wallet and waistline will thank you!

I hope you all enjoy your week, the recipes and the savings!


Tilapia with Lemon and Dill
Steamed rice
Broiled Asparagus

Tilapia with Lemon and Dill - adpated from Southern Living

4 (5-oz.) fresh tilapia fillets
Salt and pepper
2 lemons, sliced
2 t. dill
2 t. parsley
2 T. butter

Preheat oven to 375°. Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper.
Cut parchment paper into 4 (13- x 9-inch) rectangles. Place 3 lemon slices crosswise in center of each parchment rectangle. Top with 1 fillet. Sprinkle fillets evenly with salt, pepper, dill, and parsley. Top each fillet with ½ T. butter. Fold 1 side of parchment paper over fillets; tuck excess parchment under fillets, pressing folds to form a crease.
Bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork. Serve immediately.

Broiled Asparagus

1 bunch of asparagus
1 T. of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Trim off the bottom inch of the asparagus. Spread out on a jelly-roll pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt (I prefer Kosher) and pepper. Toss so that the asparagus is evenly coated. Lay flat and place under the broiled for about 5 minutes until the asparagus has crisped a little.

You can broil the asparagus while you are plating up the rice and fish.


Chicken Scallopini
Buttered Angel Hair Pasta
Steamed Broccoli

Chicken Scallopini – adapted from Southern Living

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
½ C. Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
2 T. olive oil
½ chicken broth
¼ C. dry white wine
3 T. capers
½ stick of butter

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Squeeze lemon juice over the chicken, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove from pan; keep warm.
Add broth and wine to pan, and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the capers and butter. Pour the sauce over the chicken to serve.


Pizza Pasta

Pizza Pasta

1 lb. Rotini pasta
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 cup of pepperoni – cut up
1 small package of sliced mushrooms
1 cup of pizza sauce
2 cups of your favorite marinara
1 ½ cups of mozzarella cheese

Cook the pasta according to the package's directions. Meanwhile, brown the beef and drain the fat. Return the beef to the skillet and add the pepperoni and mushrooms. Sauté for a few minutes until the pepperoni crisps a bit and the mushrooms are cooked through. Add the pizza sauce and marinara. Heat through.

Once the pasta is cooked and drained, combine it with the meat sauce and place in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover the pasta with mozzarella cheese and bake in a 350° oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.


Buffalo Chicken Sliders
Carrot and Celery Sticks

Buffalo Chicken Sliders – adapted from Rachel Ray

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Onion powder
Garlic powder
3 T. butter
¼ cup of hot sauce – we like Frank's Red Hot
Blue cheese dressing or Ranch dressing – whatever your preference
Shredded cheddar cheese
Shredded lettuce
Slider rolls

Preheat your grill or your grill pan. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with the garlic and onion powder. Season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning once, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan with the hot sauce. Once the chicken comes off of the grill toss the pieces with the hot sauce and butter.

Top each slider roll with a piece of chicken, a little bit of shredded cheese and lettuce and a dollop of either blue cheese dressing or ranch – whatever your preference.

If your kids don't like the hot stuff you don't have to combine their chicken with the hot sauce.


Tuna Melts

Tuna Melts

1 or 2 – 6 oz. cans of Tuna Fish, drained
2-4 T. of Mayo
1 stalk of celery, diced
½ red pepper, diced
¼ cup of diced cucumber
Salt and Pepper to taste
English Muffins
Sliced Tomatoes
Cheddar Cheese

Combine Tuna, Mayo, and veggies. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside

Toast English Muffins. Once toasted, place a scoop of Tuna Salad on each muffin half. Top with a slice of tomato and shredded cheddar cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese melts.

And now for the shopping list. As always, double check your pantry, fridge and freezer to see if you already have any of the items listed below. This will reduce your spending and create less waste! And NEVER shop without a plan!


Asparagus – GE special
3 lemons
Broccoli – GE special
Salad – GE special
Small package of sliced mushrooms
Strawberries – GE special
Red pepper

Bread for pasta
Pepperoni – GE special
Slider Buns

Olive oil
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Hot sauce
Blue cheese or Ranch dressing – GE special on Marzetti – look for coupon!

Canned Goods/Ethnic Foods/Dry Goods
Rice – white or brown
Angel hair pasta – GE special on San Girogio
Chicken broth – GE special
Pizza sauce
Marinara – GE special
Rotini pasta – GE special on San Giorgio
2 (6 oz.) cans of tuna fish – GE special

Seafood/Meat Case/Butcher
4 tilapia filets – GE special
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts – GE special
1 lb. ground beef – GE special
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs – Best deal is at Costco

Frozen Foods

Mozzarella cheese
Shredded cheddar cheese

Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
English muffins

White wine
Parchment paper

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Willie, Weed and the Texas Country Scene

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:32 PM Written by


Willie Nelson's November 26 marijuana possession arrest in Hudspeth County, Texas generated ample headlines. That's ramped up again as his case glides toward a resolution that's spawned media frenzy regarding whether he'd avoid jail by pleading guilty, paying a fine and singing in the courtroom. Willie, of course, is no stranger to pot. He's worked for its legalization and previously beat a 1994 Texas marijuana bust. That's all common knowledge. What's not so well known is the fact that he's far from the only Texas country musician with a taste for the stuff.

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For a link to headlines of recent TV news and views posts, click here.

TV Q&A with Rob Owen

Submit a question to TV Q&A by clicking here.

This week's TV Q&A (after the "Read more" jump below) responds to questions about “The Closer,” “Mike & Molly” and “Entertainment Tonight.”

As always, thanks for reading, and keep the questions coming.
-Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

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(Megan and Kelly, creaters of Wear the Shift)

Ever get into the dressing room at a store and find that the most fabulous dress you loved on the rack doesn't fit you? Well look no further than, where a pair of local women are selling perfectly-fitting, one-of-a-kind shift dresses to women of all sizes and shapes.

Megan Dietz, 38 of Mt. Oliver, and Kelly Metzler, 33 of Friendship, met two years ago on an Internet forum for crafters.  Shortly after, they met up in person for pizza and beer, and found out they had much more in common than crafts. The pair discovered that they shared the same frustrations when it came to finding clothing that had the right combination of style, fit and eco-friendliness.

Out of their conversations about ill-fitting clothing grew the idea to create their own dresses that they wished they could find in stores. Ms. Dietz and Ms. Metzler decided on creating A-line, shift dresses because this type of dress style is not only comfortable and versatile, but is flattering for a variety of body types.

"I saw a winning proposition all around—to make cute dresses for women of all sizes, out of vintage, eco-friendly fabrics, in an ethical and fun way," says Megan. "What's not to love?"

Though they do not have backgrounds in fashion, Megan, a software developer with a love of cute dresses, and Kelly, a graphic designer with a fashion-forward flair, put their heads together to create an algorithm to make a perfectly-fitting shift dress based on nine specific measurements of the body.

Testing the algorithm took several months in which Megan says they made a mountain of ugly shift dresses before finding a set of calculations that worked. After experimenting with family and friends, Megan and Kelly decided to broaden their test group to strangers and potential customers. To find this group of "beta testers," they created a project on, a website that helps people with creative projects receive funding. The results exceeded their wildest dreams when they sold out of all of the beta tester spots on the second day that the project was launched on

"Knowing that other people were excited about our idea was hugely validating," said Megan. "The feedback we got during the beta phase was every bit as important as the funding."

After the beta testing period was over, the pair launched on March 21, 2011, where women of all shapes and sizes can order custom-made shift dresses and slips from vintage fabrics. Ordering is simple. Women choose their fabric and enter in their measurements based upon Wear the Shift's unique algorithm. Tutorials and how-to guides are available on the site to show women how to properly measure their body. And coming in a couple of months, women will be able to order custom-made skirts based upon a modified version of their shift dress algorithm.

Wear the Shift's studio is located in East Liberty, and each dress is sewn by local craftspeople paid a living wage. Because each client has a custom pattern, and is able to choose from Wear the Shift's wide variety of vintage and eco-friendly fabrics (ranging from elegant to casual to funky), the result is a completely unique, one-of-a-kind, beautifully fitting dress. Dresses range in price from $99 to $199, and slips are priced at $79 each.

"To all of my voluptuous and hard-to-fit sisters out there, you are no longer excluded from the cute dress department," says Megan.

Visit Wear the Shift at to learn more about how to get a custom-made, perfectly-fitting shift dress.


Tonight: Wear the Shift will be taking part in the Geek Arts + Green Innovators Festival in Garfield. Stop by the Glass Lofts (5491 Penn Ave @ Fairmount Ave) to see shifts in action, check out the company's fabric offerings, and to talk with Ms. Dietz and Ms. Metzler about how to make fashion more fun, inclusive, and environmentally aware. And at 8 pm, catch the Fashion FUZEion Eco-Tech Fashion Show with local fashion from Kelly Lane, ModCloth, Jonano and Crazy Hot Clothes

Have a great weekend and be sure to check back on Monday for another Clutch post! 

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Weekend blues; Rory Block redux

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:00 AM Written by

There are couple of blues/blues-rock shows coming your way this weekend, but first, it's time to answer a Bluzer question.

You may remember that he posted a comment on my Rory Block CD review a few days ago about "Shake 'Em On Down," Block's tribute to Mississippi Fred McDowell. Bluzer pointed out that the title song on the album was a signature tune for Bukka White, and wondered about its presence on this CD.

Well, it was an interesting question, and I thought it would be even more interesting to get an answer. So I sent an email to Ms. Block, and here's her description of how that all came to be:

I’m always impressed by the level of knowledge displayed by blues fans. Many qualify as historians.
This is how I make choices for material when preparing to record: I ask all my sources (collectors and record company folks), to help me assemble everything my chosen artist (in this case McDowell), has ever recorded. My engineer places it all in a database and then we sit and listen to everything back to back. The songs that jump out at me get put into another group, and then we whittle that down. Eventually I arrive at the final list, which is really not based on the history of the song (such as who else recorded it), but on the immediate power and excitement in the performance. McDowell chose certain songs to include in his repertoire, and I simply selected what spoke to me the most at that time. There could have been countless other options, of course- but I have to make a decision at some point.
I often talk about shared influences- melodies, words, licks and styles being interpreted and reinterpreted by many of the great masters. This blogger’s informed observation underscores that point.
I am impressed that your reader knew this piece of info. I appreciate the input and knowledge!
Thank you,
Rory Block

Thank you for answering.

And now to the weekend:

Tonight, Devon Allman, son of Gregg, will be at Moondog's with his bluesy rock and band, Honeytribe.

Sunday night, also at Moondog's will be blueslady and blues-rocker, Joanna Connor, who was at the 2008 Pittsburgh Blues Festival.

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A new toon with a Pittsburgh connection

Thursday, 31 March 2011 12:00 AM Written by

Problem_Solverz_blogIf you happen to watch a new Cartoon Network series next week with some wild visual elements that look like graphics from an Atari 5200 video game, thank/blame Squirrel Hill native Ben Jones.

He's the creative force behind "Problem Solverz" (8:45 p.m. Monday, Cartoon Network), a 13-episode, quarter-hour series that follows three friends who investigate problems and offer solutions. Horace is human, Roba is a robot and Alfe looks like the cousin of "South Park's" Mr. Hanky but is, according to Jones, part-dog, part-ant-eater, part-human

Jones, an artist who works in painting, drawing, sculpture and video, also gives voice to Alfe and Roba. He's previously created animation for "Yo Gabba Gabba" and "Wonder Showzen."

Read more after the jump. ...

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I don't write a lot about reissues of old music (partly because their are so many, and partly because I receive very few), but I have a pair in hand that are well worth mentioning, and with a peculiar BlueNotes twist.

Both are new Blind Pig reissues of Blind Pig originals from the mid-1980s, and both still speak to the timeless quality of great blues.

517EiZ5GHML._SL500_AA300_The first is by the very exceptional Chicago blues pianist, Henry Gray, 86, titled "Lucky Man," a reissue of his 1988 album, which then represented something of a return to music for Gray after his productive Chicago years in the '50s and '60s, and this was his first solo American album.

I think Gray is often overlooked when great blues pianomen are mentioned. He recorded with artists like Little Walter aand Jimmy Reed, and was Howlin' Wolf's piano player from the mid '50s to the late '60s. And he's still going strong. In 2010, Gray received a Living Blues Critics Choice Award for Most Outstanding Musician - Keyboards.

On this album, Gray plays and sings covers and originals (he wasn't always a singer, but turned to have just the right kind of gritty vocals to match his music). He romps, boogies and slow drags his way through music like "My Girl Josephine" (Fats Domino), "Out on the Road" (Jimmy Rogers), "Mean Old World" (Little Walter), and originals such as "Cold Chills," "It Ain't No Use," and "Finger Snappin' Boogie."

It's a fine old album, still relevant, and still very enjoyable.

The BlueNotes twist is that I wrote about "Lucky Man" when it appeared on vinyl in 1988. So the  double review is a first for BlueNotes. I know you'll be very happy for me. I don't have my original review in hand, but I'm sure I liked it. I still do.

51m0bVHSAL._SL500_AA300_The other CD is a reissue of "Blues Mandolin Man," Yank Rachell's 1986 recording with a rhythm section for the first time after many years of solo and duo work as one of the very few blues manolin players, especially with Sleepy John Estes, John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson (the real Sonny Boy), and Hammie Nixon.

This is an album of Rachell originals, all with his unique mandolin accompaniment, tough vocals and sly style. Great suff like "My Baby's Gone," "She Changed the Lock," "Cigarette Blues," and the always popular "Des Moines, Iowa."

If you've ever heard him, you know this is great stuff. If you've never heard him, don't be put off by the mandolin thing. This is great blues played with feeling and power. The same goes for Gray's reissue.

Here's a video of Henry Gray:

And here's Yank Rachell, with Homesick James:

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Buddy and Wiz on 'Believe Your Ears'

Wednesday, 30 March 2011 04:38 PM Written by

This week's "Believe Your Ears" music podcast just posted.  It blends my review of Buddy Miller's latest album, Majestic Silver Strings, with an audio version of Scott Mervis's interview with Wiz Khalifa. 

You can access it here.

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