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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Weekly Menu 12/31+


oven fried chicken
green beans

blackeyed peas
corn bread

chicken with creamy gravy
fine egg noodles

tamale meatloaf
citrus salad

red beans & rice
w/ sausage

tater tots
green beans

italian roast
parslied rice

1.       This is a good night to get some extra boneless chicken into the freezer that is already batterd/breaded up.  Then the next time you want fried chicken it will come together a lot quicker. 
2.       If you soak your chicken pieces in buttermilk for at least 2 hours you will get a moister chicken.
3.       Cook extra chicken for Monday.
4.       These biscuits can be mixed ahead of time and frozen. 

Oven Fried Chicken
§  Boneless chicken pieces
§  Buttermilk, for soaking and or dredging
§  1-2 Eggs
§  1 sleeve saltines, crushed (do the crushing before you unseal the crackers)
§  Flour
§  Seasonings (onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, dry mustard)
§  Oil
Preheat oven to 400.  Soak chicken in buttermilk.  When ready to bread chicken, beat egg(s) into buttermilk mixture.  Combine flour, crackers and seasonings into shallow dish.  Heat oil in large skillet, remove chicken from buttermilk and then into flour mix.  From there they take a dip in hot oil in a skillet.  They should only brown slightly.  Remove to a wire rack placed inside a rimmed baking sheet.  The chicken will drain and when all pieces are browned, place in oven for 10-15 minutes (or until cooked through—a great time to use your thermometer in the biggest piece). 

Green Beans
§  2 c self-rising flour
§  ¼ c butter
§  ¾ c buttermilk
Cut butter and flour together with a fork or two knives.  Stir in buttermilk.  Adding more flour or buttermilk to create a rolling consistency, knead a few times and turn out onto a floured surface.  Roll and cut with a biscuit cutter or into squares.  Bake on a cookie sheet at 475 until brown.  Serve with more butter.

Sunday Happy New Year—2012!!!
Black-eyed peas

Chicken with creamy gravy
Fine Egg Noodles with butter

1.       This one is a triple decker of goodness.  The meat is cooked prior to creating the layers. 
2.       You could shorten the recipe by using boxed cornbread mix, and a packet of taco seasoning mix for the ground meat and top it off with a little picante sauce.
Tamale Sandwich Meatloaf
Meat Mixture
§  ½ chopped onion
§  1 clove garlic, chopped
§  1 ½ lb ground meat or 2c cooked ground meat
§  ½ tsp oregano
§  ½ tsp chili powder
§  ½ tsp salt
§  ¼ tsp cayenne
§  1/8 tsp ground cumin
§  3T flour
§  2T water
§  3T tomato paste
§  4T parmesan cheese
§  1 c sifted flour
§  1 c sifted cornmeal
§  1T baking powder
§  2 tsp sugar
§  ½ tsp salt
§  ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
§  1T parmesan cheese
§  1 c milk
§  1 egg, slightly beaten
§  5T oil
§  ½ c chopped onion
§  ¼ c chopped green pepper
§  2T butter
§  ¼ tsp oregano
§  1/8 tsp cumin
§  16 oz tomato sauce
Grease 9x5x3 loaf pan. Heat oven to 350.  Sauté onion and garlic with beef or if using pre-cooked beef sauté your onion and garlic separately.  Drain meat and add remaining ingredients.  Prepare cornbread by combining dry ingredients first and then wet ingredients separately.  Combine the dry and wet ingredients just until mixed.  Batter should still be lumpy.  Over-mixing creates a tough cornbread.  Spoon half batter into bottom of prepared pan; top with meat, spreading meat to all edges and corners.  Spread remaining batter over top of meat to fill corners and edges.  Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly browned on top.  While loaf bakes, prepare tomato sauce in medium sized sauce pan.  Sauté onion and pepper in butter.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for 8 minutes to blend flavors.  Cover; keep warm.  Remove loaf from oven; let stand 15 minutes. 

Citrus Salad
Combine grapefruit and oranges.  If you peel and de-membrane the grapefruit, do the same with the oranges.  Looks to be a great year for grapefruit!

1.        Put beans on to soak the night before
Red Beans & Rice w/ Sausage
§  1 c dry red beans
§  ½ tsp of: paprika, dry mustard, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cayenne (to taste)
§  2 stalks of celery
§  ½ c chopped onion
§  ½ c chopped bell pepper
§  1 bay leaf
§  Sausage slices
Soak beans overnight.  Combine seasonings in small bowl the night before.  In the morning add veggies, seasonings, and sausage (if uncooked).  Cook all day in the crock pot.  If sausage is cooked already, wait to mix in until just before serving to reheat.

Serve with Rice. 

Tater Tots
Green Beans

Italian Roast
§  2-3lb roast
§  1 packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix
§  1 bottle beer
§  ½ onion chopped
§  1 c carrots
Place carrots and onions in bottom of crock pot, add roast, then beer, top with dry seasoning mix. 

Parslied Rice
Add parsley (fresh if you have it) and butter to rice as it cooks.
Steamed Broccoli

Grocery Deals

Sprouts     avocado .33 (vs .79 Randalls, .99 HEB), lettuce .88, zucchini .88/lb, squash .88/lb, tomatoes .69/lb, grapefruit .25 ea, oranges .69/lb (vs. .97 HEB or 1.49 Randalls), blueberries 1.99
HEB        blackeyed peas 1.88, cuties $5/5#, blackberries .98 (vs 1.99 Sprouts), grapefruit $1/5# (vs. Randalls .69/lb), NY Strip 5.97/lb, boneless chicken 1.97/lb (vs 2.49 Randalls), beef fajitas 2.97/lb, brats 2.47/lb, Digiorno pizza 4.27
Randalls   cross cut rib roast 3.89/lb, Sirloin 3.99/lb,
$5 FRI only: deli pizza.
Fri & Sat only: Prego 1.50, eggs 1.49/18

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

I hope you and your family had a wonderful couple of days celebrating.  We'll talk more later about what went well and what could have been better in a few days.

At our house we had presents, a steak dinner, a small family gathering, a visit from Santa, an Elf named 'Gage' was sent to our house, 62,047 legos two of which J has stepped on with his bare foot and knows that he doesn't want to leave those laying around on the floor.  We played the new 'states' game which J declared a lot of fun (good job Nat Ancy).  A helicopter that was broken by a piece of styrofoam on the first day (yep, you called it mom).  It was a good time.

The pickle was eventually found by J and he only wanted 1/10 of the prize from me.  Then he 'sold' his rights to the pickle to his brother S for $1 and two rolls of pennies.  He was totally fine that S got two $5's.  He still doesn't quite get the whole 'money' thing.

Merry Christmas from the entire staff of You, More Organized.
(Yes, there is a staff)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Which size to buy? Egg-celent question.

Have you ever stood in the grocery store trying to figure out which of the 15 different eggs are the best based on price and size?  Me too! 

Well I decided that despite having chickens of our own and not really having to worry about the price of eggs, cuz our cost per dozen is way higher than anything from HEB still thanks to our 'free' wire, the rest of the world is still probably standing in the egg section trying to figure out which package is the best purchase. 

In my in-depth research, thanks to a show about chickens on History Channel, I first learned that what makes the color of the egg is the color not of the chicken’s feathers, but of their ear.  Yeah, weird and new information for me too.  I’m all about teaching here.

  That little flat brown spot on this chicken’s face is her ear and thanks to the marvels of creation you can see 

that she lays brown eggs. 

Does the brown shell mean these eggs are better for you than the white ones?  No.  Also something I learned on the History Channel.  

What does make the difference is what the chicken eats.  The more bugs and free-range-y the chickens are the higher the concentrations are of lutein (good for the eyes) and choline (not the stuff for swimming pools),  in the eggs they produce.  Choline is good for the brain and it keeps you from gettin more stupider.  Perhaps I should up my egg intake.   You'll recognize a super nutrient rich egg by its dark yolk.

There is the size factor.  

Size Calories Protein Fat oz/Dozen
Small 50 5 3.5 18
Medium 60 6 4.0 21
Large 70 6 5.0 24
Extra Large 80 7 5.0 27
Jumbo 90 8 6.0 30

If you are interested in feeding your family 42g of protein you could serve seven Medium eggs, or six of the Extra Large eggs for the same $0.84.  In this instance large eggs would cost $0.91 for the same amount of protein.  OK, that sounds complicated even to me.  :)

So let's look at it a different way... 
Brand Size Cost # in Package Cost/Egg Cost/Oz oz/doz
Hill Country Fare xlg $2.50 18 $0.14 $0.06 27
HEB large $4.69 36 $0.13 $0.07 24
Hill Country Fare large $1.57 12 $0.13 $0.07 24
Hill Country Fare med $1.48 12 $0.12 $0.07 21

So if you have the opportunity to buy medium eggs for $1.48 you'll pay less per egg and get the same amount of protein as the large eggs.  Or if you are more interested in the cost per ounce and will cook one less (or fewer???) egg for breakfast you should go with the extra large eggs.

If you find a sale like the one at Randall's this Saturday for large eggs at $0.99 then you'll know that's the deal to buy.

Also did you know that eggs keep in the fridge for at least three weeks?  Or that the super fresh ones that I picked up out of the coop this afternoon are VERY difficult to peel as hard boiled eggs?  They slowly dry out and become easier to peel over time.

But wait, there are so many other choices of eggs beyond just size.  So here are a few more things I learned from this site.  
  • Cage-free means that chickens can roam around the indoor facility they live in.  But there is a higher mortality rate and hen-pecking rate in these facilities.
  • Free-range means they have access to outside, but depending on the climate they may or may not go outside and scratch around for bugs.  
  • Organic eggs mean that the feed they are given is also organic (organic in, organic out)
  • Omega 3 means the food has flax seed, marine algae or fish oil in the feed and if you don't eat a lot of fish, but want a higher Omega 3 diet this is apparently a good way to get it.  

If you want eggs with any of these qualities, here's about what you'll pay per egg or ounce of protein.

Brand Size Cost # in Package Cost/Egg Cost/Oz oz/doz
Cntl Mkt cage free omega 3 large $3.25 12 $0.27 $0.14 24
Farmhouse large $3.25 12 $0.27 $0.14 24
Organic omega 3 large $4.10 12 $0.34 $0.17 24

In summary...  
1.  Buy  medium sized eggs if you're buying plain white ones.
2.  Buy omega-3 eggs over any other 'specialty' egg.
3.  Brown eggs are only outwardly different, thanks to the color of their mother's ears.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


God has been answering our prayers for rain lately allowing us 4.5" of rain in December so far.  It's been fabulous.  Most of it however has just been soaking into the very dry ground and not running off.  That is until last night.

Last night while we were sleeping we estimate that we had 1.5" of rain at our house.  I say estimate because our rain gauge has had a hole in it for almost a year and during a drought that's not a particularly urgent issue to correct.  So we've been using a feed bucket that sits out and as the weather man reports it that pretty closely matches what we've found in the bucket each time. It's very scientific.

Anyway, when I woke up this morning and looked out the east windows I noticed this:

Lots of green grass, well it's really clover, but it's green and such a change from the dry brown stubble we've grown so accustomed to.  What we need now are some cows.  Where is Missy when you need her?

Then also this...

The tank is up about three feet, and when I first looked out the window, and didn't have my camera, you could see the water streaming in.  It was delightful!

Then I noticed that the dock is floating,

but it's not exactly reachable from the bank anymore.  Well not without waders.  I'm not exactly sure how far the end of the plank is from the muddy bank, but it's the muddy bank that kept me from walking out there too much further.

At some point both L and I thought about going out and moving the chains that hold the dock to the bank and moving them up a little.  But good intentions here are going to be a muddy road very soon.

We are both, make that all of us, very thankful for the rain.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Weekly Menu 12/24+


tortilla soup

Christmas Dinner--you know what you like.  We're trying steak this year.

shake and bake chicken
carrot pineapple jello
baked cabbage or brussel sprouts

garlic bread

pork roast
brown gravy

chicken chili

pork sheppard's pie
apple salad
spice cake

Saturday—Christmas Eve
Tortilla Soup
§  1 quart chicken stock
§  2 c cooked chicken/turkey
§  Sliced carrots
§  1 can Rotel
§  Chopped onion
§  Garlic
§  1 tsp chili powder
§  ½ tsp cumin
§  ½ tsp oregano
§  1 c corn
§  Corn tortillas, cut in strips, or chips
§  Optional toppings: avocado, cilantro, sour cream, cheese
Combine items through corn together in saucepan and simmer for at least 20 minutes.  Serve in bowls and add your favorite toppings.

You know what you like for this holiday. 
We’re having steak this year, copying friends in PA. 

1.       Karen reminded me earlier this week about Shake and Bake so gotta have it.  J  Kay made the other two items Monday night and the cabbage was really good, not smelly at all, but I don’t have the recipe on me.  So I’ll post it if I get it from her.   
2.       I’ve never been a real fan of brussel sprouts, but when out to dinner a month or so ago for work I tasted one that someone else ordered and I have to admit they were really good. 

Shake and Bake Chicken

Carrot Pineapple Jello
§  1 c shredded carrot
§  ½ c pineapple tidbits
§  1 package orange jello
Prepare jello with quick-set method add carrots and pineapple.  Pour into serving bowl and chill. 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts
For the sprouts:  drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt and roast on a baking sheet for 30-45 min at 400 degrees.  Stir midway through baking to even out the browness.

Baked Cabbage

  • 1 large green cabbage , about 3 - 3 1/2 lbs, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium onion , coarsely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded gouda cheese , can use cheddar (double this amount)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 cup crushed cracker (or crushed croutons) (and double this too)
  • 3 tablespoons butter , melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease/spray a large casserole dish; set aside.
  2. Cook the cabbage and onion in boiling salted water for 7-8 minutes; drain.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the cream, shredded cheese, salt, pepper and celery seeds. Toss this mixture with the cooked, drained cabbage mixture.
  4. Pour into prepared casserole dish.
  5. In a small bowl mix together melted butter and crushed crackers/croutons. Evenly sprinkle over the cabbage casserole.
  6. Bake at 350, uncovered for about 25 minutes.

Garlic Bread

1.       Save leftover pork, gravy and potatoes for Friday night. 
Pork Roast
Brown Gravy

Chicken Chili (Menus4Moms)
§  4 chicken breasts, cubed
§  1 c chopped onion
§  2 cloves garlic, chopped
§  1 ½ c chicken broth
§  1 tsp ground cumin
§  1 tsp oregano
§  ½ tsp salt
§  ¼ tsp tobacco
§  2 cans 15 oz each great northern beans, drained & rinsed
§  1 can corn, drained
§  1 can diced green chilies
§  2T fresh cilantro, optional
Mix onion, garlic, broth, cumin, oregano, tobasco and salt in crockpot.  Add cubed chicken breasts.  Cover and cook on low for 4 ½ hours or until chicken is tender.  Stir in beans, corn, chilies and cilantro, if using.  Cover and cook on low 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. 

Pork Sheppard’s Pie
§  1-2 c left over pork roast, chopped
§  1 c gravy
§  Mixed veggies
§  Mashed potatoes
§  Cheddar cheese
Combine gravy, veggies, and pork roast in a pie plate.  Top with mashed potatoes and heat in a 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly around the sides.  Add cheese if desired. 

Grocery Deals 12/21+

Randalls:      spiral ham 1.99/lb, (or you can get the fancy one with the foil-ish wrapper for 2.99/lb or you can go all out and get the one with Paula Deen’s picture on the foil for 3.99/lb) whole ham .99/lb, rump roast 2.99/lb, NY strip roast 4.97/lb, ribeye roast 4.97/lb, Bluebell 3.99, butter 2.50/lb
Wed only:           boneless chicken 1.69/lb,
Fri only:                cheese pizza $6
Sat only:               eggs .88/dz, jimmy dean sausage 1.99

HEB:            strawberries 2.47/lb, celeminties 4.97/5# green beans .87/lb, breakfast sausage $2, bacon $3/lb, ribeye roast 9.97/lb (this is the choice cut, Randall’s isn’t), legs/thighs $1/lb, boneless chicken 1.97/lb

Sprouts:    red grapes .88/lb, oranges .49/lb, apples .99/lb, onions .49/lb, cucumbers .49, green bell peppers .49, cilantro .49, green onions .49, celery .88, lettuce .88, tomatoes .88/lb,             avocado .77, red/yellow/orange bell pepper .88, green beans .99/lb, red potatoes .99/lb, boneless chicken 1.99/lb, spiral ham 1.99 (no fancy foil or pictures), rib roast 5.99/lb, oats .69/lb

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Weekly Menu 12/17+


chocolate delight pie

baked chicken
baked potatoes
green beans

15 bean soup
crusty bread

impossible pie
home fries

chicken fried rice
eggs rolls
citrus salad

salisbury steak
broccoli w/cheese


1.       P-Dub makes up this meatloaf as sliders, but when I tried it I made it as a meatloaf and it was really good.  When she talks about forming patties, just put it all into a loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven. 
Meatloaf (Pioneer Woman)
·         ⅓ cups Mayonnaise
·         2 Tablespoons Ketchup
·         1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (less If You're Sensitive To Spice!)
·         4 Tablespoons Butter
·         ½ whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
·         8 ounces, weight White Mushrooms, Chopped Finely
·         ½ cups White Or Red Wine (optional)
·         4 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
·         Kosher Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
·         2 pounds Ground Beef
·         4 Tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream
·         4 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
·         1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
·         Freshly Ground Black Pepper
·         4 slices Swiss Cheese, Cut Into Four Squares
·         8 whole Dinner (or Slider) Rolls, Split
Preparation Instructions
In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, ketchup, and cayenne. Stir together until totally combined. Set aside. (This is the spicy fry sauce.)
Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onions and cook over medium heat for five minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and toss around, then add wine (if using), Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Cook for several minute over medium heat, or until all liquid has evaporated. Transfer mushroom mixture to a separate bowl, scraping all contents from the skillet.
Mix ground beef, heavy cream, Worcestershire, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Use your hands to thoroughly mix ingredients. Form 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the meat mixture into patties, making an indentation with your thumb to keep the patties from plumping too much when they cook. In the same skillet as the one used to cook the mushrooms, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium to medium-high heat. Add four patties at a time, indented side face up. Cook for 4 minutes, then flip. Spoon generous portion of mushroom mixture on each patty, then top with one or two squares of Swiss, depending on your preference. Place lid on skillet and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until burgers are cooked through and cheese is melted. Remove to a place and keep warm while you repeat with the rest of the meat mixture.
Toast halved buns under the oven broiler. Spread generously with spicy fry sauce. Place patties between buns and serve immediately with fried onion strings.

Chocolate Delight Pie (Menus4Moms)
·         8 oz. Baker's German sweet chocolate
·         1/2 cup milk
·         8 oz. cream cheese, softened
·         2 Tbsp. sugar
·         8 oz. tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
·         1 chocolate wafer crumb crust
Heat all but 3 squares of the chocolate with 1/4 of the milk. You can do this in the microwave (on high for 1-2 min.) or in a double boiler. Stir until completely melted. Beat in cream cheese, sugar, and remaining milk. Gently stir in whipped topping until smooth. Spoon into crust. Freeze until firm. Remove from freezer and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature until pie can be cut easily.

1.       Cook a few extra potatoes tonight and keep them in your fridge unpeeled until Tuesday night. 
2.       If your potatoes are not very large (like <4” long) they will likely be cooked in the 45 minute baking time.  If you opt for larger potatoes get them started in the microwave for a few minutes so they will finish at the same time as your chicken. 
3.       If you have any kids that you can make this cake with, it could be a great object lesson for the season.  Thanks Cindy for sharing the link. 
Baked Ranch Chicken
Sprinkle dry ranch dressing mix on pieces of chicken.  Bake at 375 degrees about 45 minutes.
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans
Jesus’ Birthday Cake (Squidoo)

1.       Put your beans on to soak the night before in your crockpot and then in a small bowl have all your dry spices measured out so you can just pour them in first thing in the morning. 
15 bean soup (aka Minestrone)
      §  2 c dried bean mixture
§  1-2 lbs trimmed stew meat, or ham bone, or skip the meat tonight
§  Up to 1T salt (if you’re using a ham bone you might want to cut this amount in half)
§  ½ tsp pepper
§  16 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
§  1 large onion, chopped
§  1 tsp minced garlic
§  Cayenne pepper (to taste –as in none for me, thanks)
§  2 quarts water
§  ¾ to 1 c small shell macaroni
Wash bean mixture.  Put in crock pot to soak overnight.  Drain beans, add remaining ingredients (except pasta) with water going in last so that crockpot is full.  Cook on low all day.  Either cook pasta on stove top or add to soup and let cook for about 30-45 more minutes until pasta is tender. 
OR simmer on stovetop 1 ½ hours.  Add macaroni and cook 30-45 min longer.  
Crusty Bread

Impossible Bacon Cheeseburger Pie (Betty Crocker)
·         ¼ c real bacon bits
·         1-2 c cooked ground beef
·         ¼ t pepper
·         1c chopped onion
·         ¼ c ketchup
·         1 c shredded cheddar cheese
·         ½ c bisquick
·         1 c milk
·         2-3 eggs
Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. Sautee pepper and onion over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, add in cooked ground beef.  Stir in ketchup. Spread in pie plate; sprinkle with cheese and bacon.   In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients with wire whisk or fork until blended. Pour into pie plate.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Serve with additional ketchup if desired.

Home fries
Peel and cube leftover baked potatoes from Sunday.  Heat oil in large skillet.  Add potatoes and brown until crisp.  Add onion slices if you’d like. 


Chicken Fried Rice (Menus4Moms)
§  Calrose rice, cooked (about 2-3 cups)
§  1 egg
§  1 onion, chopped
§  frozen peas and carrots, thawed
§  corn if you like it
§  meat (optional, not on grocery list)
§  soy sauce or tamari
Cook calrose rice according to directions or reheat rice if you made extra last week. Heat some oil in wok or deep fry pan (I use about a tablespoon) and scramble one egg in it. Remove egg and add some more oil (I add about 3 tbsp) to the pan, heating. Add chopped onion, some thawed peas & carrots (and corn if you like), and anything else you like in your rice. We sometimes add leftover chicken or canned baby shrimp. When the onions are tender, add the rice and add soy sauce to taste and stir with a big flat wooden spoon or large cooking chopsticks, if you have them (mine are about 18" long). Add the cooked egg near the end of cooking time and stir well. When the rice is heated through and a bit crispy, it is ready to serve.

Egg Rolls (frozen)

Salisbury Steak
§  1 lb ground meat (or at least 1 patty per person)
§  8 oz mushrooms
§  ¼ c sliced onions (or more)
§  1 package brown gravy mix
§  2 c water
Form patties and brown both sides in a skillet.  Patties don’t need to be completely cooked through at this point, but remove to a plate and cover.  Drain fat if needed.  In same skillet brown onions and sautee mushrooms until they begin to get tender.  Return patties to skillet.  Add 2 c water and gravy mix.  Simmer until gravy is thickened and patties are cooked to your liking. 

Broccoli w/Cheese