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Friday, January 28, 2011

Frick and Frack Wash Dishes

OK, what happens when you are both Frick and Frack? If the antics are divided between two of you, well it makes it a little easier to laugh as you go along. When you are both Frick and Frack, it takes a little longer to find the humor, but it comes.

Here's the abbreviated version of my story. My dishwasher has been on its last legs for several months. Being the good frugal gal that I am when Texas offered a second round of appliance rebates we decided that now would be the time that we would replace it. On December 31st I went to Sears after doing research online about which dishwasher I wanted and purchased the bisque Kitchen Aid dishwasher. It has the stainless steel interior. Insert appliance lust here, make Tim Allen noises etc. One 'small' issue, we cant deliver it until January 26th. Well, mine is still working, albeit barely, so I can wait.

Fast forward to January 25th. L knows that tomorrow has been circled on my calendar and that my new toy will be here the next day. So he takes the old one out and leaves it in the kitchen so that the Sears guy can haul away the old one and we don’t have to look like country trash with an appliance on our porch. One 'little' catch. When he takes the water line off of the old dishwasher he has to turn off the hot water line to the faucet. It's fine. I can do without hot water for one day.

Of course if you forget, which I have, and turn on the hot water at the faucet some water shoots out of the line and all over the floor. I'm thankful again that we have concrete floors and no damage is done.

Wednesday morning dawns and at 7:07 I get the call from Sears. We wont be delivering your dishwasher today. Someone will call you in the next 24 to 48 hours and reschedule. Uh ok. Thanks for calling. Meanwhile back in the kitchen dishes are starting to stack up as we speak. No one else is home, but somehow dishes just do that sort of thing.

Wednesday supper is in the crockpot so there aren’t many dishes, but all of our lunch containers have congregated on the counter with no place to go either. I end up talking to Sears for a little over two hours by the time the night is through. My favorite comment from them was the delivery person who said it would be delivered next next Wednesday. Huh? Yes, next next Wednesday, February 9th. OK. That wont work. Long story short here, a different, not as cool to me dishwasher is on its way for pickup Saturday at Sears. No extra out of pocket money on my part and I get a refund of my delivery charge and the disposal fee when I pick it up.

Now it's Thursday afternoon and the plastic containers are reproducing like rabbits. Plus supper dishes and those that I used to cook with too. Here is a before picture of the chaos, well midway through the chaos.  At this point I have everything stacked up in piles.  It wasnt this neat before; Dishes, sink, small space for clean dishes, all the stuff from under the sink. Now look down at the cake cover lid catching the dripping water line. The first morning that was more of a puddle in the kitchen and dining room. Remember why I'm thankful for those concrete floors?

Then Frick and Frack came to wash dishes.

I need hot water so it's off to the bathtub for hot water. Washing back there was not an option. Fill up pot, back to the kitchen; repeat. I'll need one more for rinsing so repeat again. Add soap, wash wash wash. Now all of these clean-ish dishes are in the rinse water side waiting to be fully rinsed off. Frick decides that one more pot of hot water is needed and that it should all be fresh over the dishes so she pulls the plug. Frack decides that she should also start over on the washing side and pulls the plug. Then I/we/they hear rushing water dumping somewhere under the sink.

Powerless to stop the rushing tide I'm left just watching in horror as all the water dumps out the dishwasher drain line hole that isn’t plugged up. I grab the cake lid cover so water starts dripping all over the floor again. But in the meantime I cant get the lid under the sink because there is still stuff in the way that didn’t get taken out when I first moved things so the water just keeps coming. L says oh yeah, you shouldn’t use that side of the sink the drain line isn't hooked up. Thanks.

That's what happens when Frick and Frack wash dishes at my house.

Oh, and we currently have an appliance on our porch.
I MUST find someplace to take that VERY soon. For now, we are country trash.

The moral of the story?  When Frick and Frack come to help, you can be sure of a laugh and a mess to clean up too. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Weekly Menu 1/29+

Grilled Steak
Mac & Cheese
Butter Chicken
Green Beans
Blueberry Whole Wheat Brownies
Baked Potato Soup
Blueberries & Yogurt
Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado
King Ranch Chicken
Cream Cheese Pancakes
Sausage Patties
Homemade Pizza

  1. Several stores have had steak on sale over the last couple of weeks. Hopefully you've purchased some extra for the freezer or you are splurging with a steak from HEB or NewFlower
  2. I heard that if you are cottage cheese averse or you just don’t have any, you can also use cream cheese in the mac & cheese and it is fabulous.

Grilled Steak

Mac & Cheese
  • 2 c cooked macaroni, elbow or small shells
  • ¼ c butter
  • ¼ c flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 2 c milk
  • ½ c cottage cheese or cream cheese
  • 6-8 slices American cheese
Melt butter in large saucepan and add flour, salt and pepper just until light brown. Add milk and stir till well blended. As it comes to a boil it will thicken, add cheeses until well melted and mixed in. Add noodles. Bake in a 350 degree oven, if desired. If you bake it also add a layer of grated or thinly sliced cheddar; heat until bubbly.


Get the Butter Chicken into its marinade for tomorrow night.

  1. The chicken needs to marinate, so allow some extra time for that the night before.
  2. Don’t let the name fool you, there isn't much butter in the Butter Chicken.
  3. While you have the oven on for the brownies, bake your potatoes for tomorrow night too.
  4. I tried reducing the amount of butter in the brownies by ¼ c and it made for a more cake like consistency, still good, but less chewy/gooey.

Butter Chicken (Pioneer Woman)
  1. 4 pieces Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut Into Bite Sized Pieces)
  2. 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  3. 1 teaspoon Salt
  4. ½ teaspoons Black Pepper
  5. ½ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  6. ¼ teaspoons Ground Coriander
  7. ¼ teaspoons Cumin
  8. ¼ teaspoons Cardamom
  9. 1 whole Lime, Juiced
  • 1 whole Onion, Diced
  • ¼ cup Butter
  • 1 can (14.5 Oz. Can) Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 Oz. Can) Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 pint Whipping Cream
  • 1 bunch Chopped Cilantro, to taste
  • 2 cups Basmati Rice (or However Much You Want)

Combine first 9 ingredients and marinate overnight.
Saute the onion in the butter until soft. Add marinated chicken and cook about 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat with the lid on. Add the whipping cream (I have used light cream or half-and-half also) and cilantro just before serving over Basmati rice.
Note: this is a little spicy, but you can cut back on the cayenne if you want.
Green Beans

Blueberry Whole Wheat Brownies (Tasty Kitchen)
  • 1 cup Blueberries, Fresh Or Frozen
  • 2 sticks Unsalted Butter
  • 1-½ cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
  • ¾ cups Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1-½ cup Whole Wheat Flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 9 baking dish with canola oil.
Cook berries in a saucepan over medium heat for about ten minutes to break down and reduce berries to a slightly thicker (not syrupy) juice. Set aside and cool.
Either on the stove top or in the microwave, slowly heat butter and sugar until most of the sugar is dissolved. Let cool for several minutes.
Add blueberry mush to butter/sugar mixture and whisk to combine. Add cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and vanilla extract and stir well. Add eggs one at a time and stir well to completely incorporate (Either a stand mixer or hand power can be used for this). Add whole wheat flour and mix until just combined, but very few lumps (if any) remain. Bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is puffed and split.

1. If you didn’t have a chance to bake your potatoes the night before, after washing them put them into the microwave for 5-6 minutes on high. This will start the cooking process, but won't make them gummy the way a fully 'baked' potato will come out of the microwave. Finish the baking process when your oven comes up to temperature, about 30 minutes.

Baked Potato Soup
  • 3lb potatoes, baked
  • 2-3T butter
  • 1 c finely chopped onions
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 c chicken broth
  • 3 c milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • Toppings: bacon, shredded cheese, chives, sour cream
Bake potatoes and peel when cool enough to handle. Melt butter in a 4 qt pot over medium-low heat. Stir in onions and garlic, cover and cook 10 minutes until soft, but not brown. Add 2/3 of potatoes and mash with potato masher. Add broth, milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cut remaining potatoes in a small cubes. Add to soup and stir gently to reheat. Sprinkle each serving with toppings.

Blueberries & Yogurt

  1. As we get closer and closer to Super Bowl Sunday avocados will be more plentiful. It is the second most popular day of the year to eat an avocado. The first? Cinco de Mayo.
  • 2 c cooked ground beef
  • 2tsp chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp garlic salt
  • 1 dash red pepper
  • ¾ c water
Mix all ingredients together in medium saucepan until well blended and simmer for 5-10 minutes until majority of liquid is gone.

Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado

  1. Green onions don’t last too long in the fridge, however you can chop them up and put them in a ziploc bag in the freezer. They'll keep for several months and you can just pour out the ones you need next time you need them.
  2. You can cook the King Ranch in a crockpot all day or in the oven once you get home.

King Ranch Chicken
  • 2 c cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 can cream of mushroom
  • 1 can mushrooms
  • 8 corn tortillas, cut in 6 triangles
  • 2 c grated cheddar cheese
  • ¼ c chopped green onion
Combine first four ingredients and place in crock pot to cook all day. When you get home add corn tortillas, cheese and green onion. Stir to combine and serve.

Alternately, you can combine first four ingredients and put half in a 9x13 pan. Add a layer of tortillas and half of cheese, top with remaining chicken mixture and other half of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until heated through and bubbly.

Cream Cheese Pancakes
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ c cool whip
  • 1 c flour
  • ½ c graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ¼ c buttermilk
  • ¼ c butter, melted
  • 1 c blueberries
Topping: In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and whipped topping until smooth. Set aside or chill till ready to serve. Last time I made these, I forgot about the cream cheese until I was half way done eating. Set it aside, just don’t forget to bring it back out.

Pancakes: In large bowl combine flour, cracker crumbs, sugar, baking soda and powder, salt. In a separate bowl combine eggs, buttermilk and butter. Add to dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Pour batter by ¼ c onto a greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top and edges start to cook. Flip and cook until second side is also brown. Spread topping over pancakes. Top with warm syrup; sprinkle with additional blueberries if desired.


  1. The crust can be homemade yeast dough, bisquick dough, something from Pillsbury, or just a loaf of french bread sliced long-wise. Do what you can based on the time and energy you have available.
Homemade Pizza
  • 1 ½ tsp yeast (½ packet)
  • 1 ½ c hot water (120 degrees)
  • 4 c flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 c olive oil

Mix yeast and water and let sit for five minutes. Add remaining ingredients and combine with mixer using the dough hook(s) until well combined. Add additional olive oil to large bowl, turning dough to coat. Cover and let rise 1 hour. Punch down. Split dough in half. Mix in
  • ½ tsp each basil & oregano
  • ¼ c parmesan cheese
  • ½ c chopped olives
Spread out on baking sheets, rolling to desired thickness. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise ~ 1 hour. Carefully remove wrap. Sprinkle with kosher salt & drizzle with some olive oil. Par-bake 10 min at 400 degrees. Set aside one crust for the freezer or save for breakfast pizza.

  • Spaghetti sauce
  • 2 c mozzarella cheese, grated
  • veggie toppings: mushrooms, spinach, peppers, onions, olives
  • meat toppings: ground beef, italian sausage, left over breakfast sausage from Thursday, pepperoni, canadian bacon

With other crust spread with jarred spaghetti sauce, grated mozzarella. Then toppings.
Bake in a hot 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.

Breakfast Pizza
  • 1 par-baked crust
  • 1 can or packet sausage gravy
  • 4-6 soft set scrambled eggs (they will cook more once in the oven)
  • cheese
  • breakfast meats
Layer up in order above. Bake in hot 400 degree oven for 10 minutes until eggs are set and cheese is melted.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Which Citrus is Best?

I was noticing last week when I worked through the grocery ads that there were a number of different citrus items on sale for various prices per pound and some per piece. Figuring out which one is the best deal for your family depends on when and where you use the fruits.

I thought of two options and ways to decide the best price/value. I made a quick comparison at Sun Harvest using their courtesy scales so the numbers are not completely scientific, but you can use this methodology to help make the decision for your purchase.

Here is a handy-dandy chart to evaluate what's going on:


$ per pound# per pound$ per piece
navel oranges$0.251.00$0.25

price at store

You take/pack one piece of fruit per person per day. To a certain extent it doesn’t matter the size or weight of the fruit just that each person gets 'an orange' every day in their lunch or for an afternoon snack. In this case you want the highest number of pieces per pound at the lowest price.

Tangelos were .49/lb and I could get 3 tangelos per pound equating to .16 each. Large Navel oranges weighed in at almost 1/lb each, but they cost .25/lb so that was probably .23 each. Or you could buy a grapefruit for over one pound each and they were .25 each.

You are feeding a group. If you are feeding a group of people and you expect them to eat until they are full, you would be better to buy the grapefruit at .19/lb or the navel oranges at .25/lb if you don’t think they would eat grapefruit.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Weekly Menu 1/22+

Randalls London Broil 1.99/lb (vs. 3.99 Sun Harvest), pork roast .99/lb, ribeye steak 4.97/lb, hot dogs .77, wolf brand chili $1, pasta $1.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday Only: goldfish .88, frozen pizza 2.99

HEB beef roast $2.48/lb, boneless chicken 1.98/lb, chicken tenders 1.97/lg, strawberries 1.88/lb, tangelos .77/lb, sweet potatoes .47/lb (vs .88 Sprouts), cabbage .48/lb, red potatoes .88/lb, grapefruit .25

Sun Harvest grapefruit .25 (vs .79 Randalls), navel oranges .25/lb (vs. .77lb Sprouts), lettuce .88, zucchini or yellow squash .88/lb (vs .99 Sprouts), boneless chicken 1.79/lb (vs 1.98/lb HEB), tangelos .49/lb (vs .77 HEB or .88 Sprouts), lemons .19 (vs .50 Randalls), kiwi .19 (vs .33 Randalls), onion s.49/lb (vs .99 Randalls)

Sprouts asparagus 1.34/lb (vs. 2.27 Sun Harvest), roma .77/lb, lettuce .99
Rosemary Roasted Chicken
Carrot Raisin Salad
Favorite Corn Bake
Pan Fried Cube Steak
Potatoes Au Gratin
Pineapple Nut Cake
Creamy White Chili
Shrimp Quesadillas
Tomato & Avocado Salad
Bananas & OJ
Carne Guisada
Banana Pudding
Cheesy Spirals
Green Beans
Sausage Wrap
Spinach Salad

  1. Be sure to make extra chicken for Monday night's soup.
  2. Carrot salad is easy to make if you have a food processor or kitchen aid mixer with the shredder attachment. If you are looking at making this with the stand alone cheese grater, I’d reconsider.

Rosemary Roasted Chicken
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • whole chicken
  • 2T Italian dressing

Mix first three ingredients in small bowl. Starting at the neck of the chicken separate the skin from the meat of the breast, thighs and legs of the chicken. Spoon cream cheese mixture under skin and use fingers to push and spread mixture onto thighs and legs (this is all still under the skin). Place chicken in shallow baking dish and brush with dressing. Bake at 375 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Carrot Raisin Salad
  • 5-6 carrots, peeled
  • ½ c raisins
  • ½ c mayo or miracle whip

Favorite Corn Bake
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 3T sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c sour cream
  • ¼ c unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ c butter, melted
  • 1 can corn; drained
  • 1 can cream style corn
In large bowl combine first five ingredients. In small bowl whisk the egg, sour cream, applesauce and butter. Stir in corn. Combine with dry ingredients just until moistened. Transfer to a greased 13x9 pan. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Pan Fried Cube Steak (Pioneer Woman)
  • 3 pounds Cube Steak (round Steak That's Been Extra Tenderized)
  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
  • 3 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper, Or To Taste
  • Salt, For Seasoning Meat
  • ½ cups Canola Oil (more If Needed)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix together flour, seasoned salt, and pepper. Season both sides of steaks with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece in flour mixture, pressing to coat with as much flour as possible. Add butter to pan right before frying. When butter is melted, fry pieces of steak in butter/oil mixture. Flip when sides are deep golden brown and cook about 1 minute on the other side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve immediately.

Potatoes au Gratin (Pioneer Woman)
  • 4 whole Russet Potatoes, Scrubbed Clean
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
  • 1-½ cup Heavy Cream
  • ½ cups Whole Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Freshly Grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Smear softened butter all over the bottom of a baking dish. Slice potatoes, then cut slices into fourths. In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, milk, flour, minced garlic, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes. Repeat this two more times, ending with the cream mixture.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and really bubbling. Add grated cheese to the top of the potatoes and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving by the spoonful. Delicious!

Pineapple Nut Cake (Simple & Delicious)
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ chopped pecans
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2T butter
  • 1 ½ c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
In large bowl combine dry ingredients. Combine pineapple, eggs and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in nuts. Pour into greased 13x9 pan. Bake 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. For frosting, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Frost cake and store in fridge.

  1. Hopefully you have some leftover chicken from Saturday night or leftover turkey in the freezer to use.
  2. You can make this in the crock pot with uncooked chicken and let it cook all day or use cooked chicken and make it faster on the stove top. Do what works for your schedule.

Creamy White Chili
  • 2 c cooked chicken
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 T canola oil or butter
  • 2 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 c chicken broth (frozen or canned)
  • 8 oz chopped green chilies
  • 1 c frozen corn
  • 1 c frozen carrots
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 c sour cream
  • ½ c heavy cream
Combine all ingredients except sour and heavy cream. Simmer uncovered 30 minutes or cook in crock pot in as few as 6-8 hours. Add creams at the end and allow to heat through before serving.

Shrimp Quesadillas (Pioneer Woman)
  • Flour tortillas
  • 12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8 oz enchilada sauce
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 1 chopped pepper red & green
  • 2 c grated Monterrey jack cheese
  • 2T olive oil
  • salt to taste
Pour red sauce over shrimp. Set aside. Chop vegetables into large pieces. Heat skillet over high heat and add olive oil. Cook vegetables over high heat until they start to get brown/black. Remove from skillet and set aside. Return skillet to high heat, then dump in the shrimp with the sauce. Cook, stirring only occasionally, until shrimp is opaque. Add in a little water if the sauce gets dry. Remove from skillet and chop into bite-size pieces.
In a separate skillet, heat butter. Place a tortilla in the skillet, then layer on ingredients: cheese, vegetables, and shrimp. Top with a little more cheese and a second tortilla. Cook on both sides, adding butter before flipping to the other side so the tortilla isn’t overly dry.
Remove from skillet and slice into wedges. Serve with rice, beans, salsa, sour cream, guacamole—whatever you’d like!
Tomatoes & Avocado Salad
Sprinkle cubed tomatoes and avocado with garlic salt and a dash of lime juice.

Sliced Bananas in Orange Juice
I know this sounds a little odd as a dessert, but trust me it is the best thing around. The better quality of orange juice you use, the better you'll like this dessert. We've made it with fresh squeezed and that was truly the best. Of course you need a really good deal on oranges for that to work out in a balanced budget sort of way though.


Carne Guisada
  • 2lb beef stew meat
  • 1 can rotel
  • ½ can water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T chili powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 T cornstarch
Combine all ingredients, except cornstarch, in crock pot and cook 8-10 hours on low. Mix ½ c hot water and cornstarch together before adding to cooked meat. This will help thicken it up. If you have time to let it simmer on high in the crock pot great, otherwise you can transfer to a saucepan to help thicken up the sauce on this tasty dish. Serve with flour tortillas and grated velveeta cheese.

Banana Pudding
  • 1 small box vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 c cold milk
  • 2-3 sliced bananas
  • 1/3 box nilla wafers

Mix pudding in small bowl. Slice bananas and carefully mix in, then fold in nilla wafers. Or if you want to be a little fancier you can put wafers in bottom of a bowl and layer ½ of bananas and ½ of pudding on top. Repeating next layer with more wafers, bananas and pudding. Garnish with more wafers.

  1. This is a great recipe to double and put one half in the freezer until you need another meal that is already ready to go.

Cheesy Spirals (Menus4Moms)
  • 16 oz pasta spirals
  • 4 c cooked ground beef
  • 2-28 oz jar spaghetti sauce
  • 2 can condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tsp Italian seasoning (basil, oregano)
  • 4 c shredded mozzarella cheese
Cook pasta spirals according to package instructions. Drain and rinse; return to pan. Add 4 c ground beef, spaghetti sauce, cheddar cheese soup, pepper and Italian seasoning. Stir over low heat until well mixed and mixture is of uniform consistency. Remove from heat and stir in mozzarella. Spray 1 9x13 pan and 1 8x8 pan with non-stick spray and pour mixture into pans. Bake one pan tonight at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly. Wrap the smaller pan for the freezer (plastic wrap first, then foil) and label as Cheesy Spirals: Thaw. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until heated through.

Green Beans

Sausage Wraps
Spinach Salad

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Resolutions, How ya Doin'?

So here we are three weeks into the year and I'm happy to report that four of my resolutions are making progress. 
1.  Posting on this blog is one.  You gotta start somewhere. 
2.  I have at least two week's worth of menu's and recipes already typed out. 
3.  I've mostly been eating right and staying away from things that are too carb-y.
4.  I have a tentative plan for a speaking engagement on how to save at the grocery store regardless of where you are right now in your spending. 

How are your resolutions going?  Do you need to rethink what you want to accomplish out of the year? 

It's not too late to get started on something either.  I'd also like to report that the caulking replacement job on my main kitchen counter is also completed and looks REALLY good.  My thumb still hurts from all of the razor blade scraping in preparation, but it was SO worth it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Weekly Menu 1/15+

Easy Pleasing Meatloaf
  • 2lb ground beef
  • 1 package stove top stuffing
  • 1 c water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ c BBQ sauce, divided
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients except ¼ c bbq sauce. Shape meat into an oval loaf in a 13x9 pan; top with remaining bbq sauce. Bake 1 hour until done.

Sweet Potato Fries

Chicken with Florentine Sauce (Simple & Delicious)
  • 6 boneless breasts
  • ½ c parmesan
  • ½ tsp basil
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 3T butter
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 T flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 T broth or sherry
  • 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 T diced pimentos
  • ½ c sour cream
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
Flatten chicken to ½ inch thickness. In shallow bowl combine parmesan, basil and oregano. Dredge chicken and place in large skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken in 2T butter for 4-5 minutes; until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm (ie cover the plate with skillet lid). In same skillet, saute onions and garlic in remaining butter for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Add flour and salt; stir in milk and sherry or broth until blended. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in spinach and pimientos; heat through. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream until blended. Spoon over chicken; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Buttered Noodles
Fruit n Yogurt Pie
  • 2-8oz strawberry yogurt
  • 8 oz cool whip
  • ½ c mashed strawberries
  • 9” graham cracker crust
Combine fruit and yogurt. Fold in Cool Whip. Spoon into crust. Freeze four hours. Place in fridge 30 minutes before serving.

  1. Start your bread first and then work on the soup and they should be ready about the same time.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
  • 1c chopped onion
  • 4T butter
  • ½ c flour
  • 4 c chicken stock OR 4 c water + 6 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 3-4 c broccoli, chopped
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 c milk
  • 2 c chicken (optional)
  • 4-5 slices American cheese
Saute onion in butter until translucent. Add flour until just slightly brown. Add chicken stock all at once and stir until flour mixture is well blended into broth. Add broccoli and simmer for 15 minutes until broccoli is tender and soup is thickened. Add chicken if desired until heated and cheese.

Beer Bread (All Recipes)
  • 12 oz beer
  • 3 c self-rising flour
  • 3T sugar
In large bowl mix together flour and sugar. Add beer and continue to mix. Batter will be sticky. Pour into a greased 9x5 loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

  1. I have successfully made this before and everyone seemed to like it. I MIGHT try it again.
Tilapia (Healthy Cooking)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp seafood seasoning
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ c Italian dressing
  • 4 tilapia fillets
Combine seasonsings and sprinkle over filets. Place salad dressing in large skillet; cook over medium heat until heated through. Add fish; cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Jasmine Rice
Spinach salad with Blueberries

Crock Pot Roast with Carrots
  • 2-3 lb roast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 4 large carrots chopped into 3” pieces
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2T parsley
Brown roast in a skillet with 2T oil, if desired, until well browned. This is not a necessary step so if you dont have time or dont want to, your roast will still come out very tasty. Place onions, carrots, parsley and garlic in bottom of crock pot. Place roast on top of veggies and pour soup over meat. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.

Mashed Potatoes

Pig Cake (Pioneer Woman)
  • 1 box (18.25 Oz. Box) Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 stick Margarine (softened)
  • 1 can (14 Oz. Can) Mandarin Oranges, Drained, 1/2 Cup Juice Reserved
  • 4 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 package (4 Oz. Box) Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
  • 1 can (20 Oz. Can) Crushed Pineapple, Juice Reserved
  • ½ cups Powdered Sugar
  • 4 ounces, fluid Frozen Whipped Topping (such As Cool Whip)
  • Extra Mandarin Orange Slices, For Garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the cake, combine cake mix, margarine, 1/2 cup juice from the mandarin oranges, eggs, and vanilla. Beat for four minutes on medium-high. Add drained oranges and beat again until pieces are broken up and small. Pour batter into greased and floured 9 x 13 inch baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Remove from oven and cool completely. If desired, turn out cake onto a large platter.

Once cake is cool, blend juice from drained pineapples with the vanilla pudding mix. Add powdered sugar and mix, then mix in whipped topping. Stir in drained pineapple. Spread on cooled cake and refrigerate several hours.

To serve, cut cake into squares and top each square with a mandarin orange slice.

Chicken Nacho Bake (Kraft Food & Family)
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • salt & pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ c salsa
  • ¼ c sour cream
  • ½ c crushed tortilla chips
  • ½ c shredded colby jack
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken on foil lined baking sheet. Slice 3 cuts on top of each breast with sharp knife. Season each breast and then top with salsa, sour cream and tortilla chips. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Bake additional 10 minutes until chicken is cooked.

Spanish Rice

  1. This is a good meal for the kids to help with making.

Pepperoni Rolls
  • 2 packages crescent rolls
  • pepperoni
  • ½ c mozzarella cheese, grated
Marinara Sauce
Carrot Sticks
Easy Pleasing Meatloaf
Sweet Potato Fries
Chicken with Florentine Sauce
Buttered Noodles
Fruit n Yogurt Pie
Broccoli Cheese Soup
Beer Bread
Jasmine Rice
Spinach Salad with Blueberries
Crock Pot Roast with Carrots
Mashed Potatoes
Pig Cake
Chicken Nacho Bake
Spanish Rice
Pepperoni Rolls
Carrot Sticks

Monday, January 10, 2011

Not Many Leftovers

This is a good thing.  Even though we three adults typically eat both supper one night and lunch the next day from one cooked meal, tonight however, only one of us will get to have the repeat of this meal.  It's not that it didnt make enough, it did.  But it was SO good that DH and DS2 both ate a little extra tonight.  The good news is that I am the lucky one that gets to eat the leftovers tomorrow. 

One key success, besides it being a fabulous recipe (thanks Laura!), is that instead of plain parmesan from Kraft I had 15 packets of parmesan with herbs and spices leftover from Mr. Gattis pizza.  I just couldnt let those go to waste and they sure didnt! 

Hope you enjoy it too!

Weekly Menu 1/8+

  1. The meat for this pie needs to marinate overnight if you have time for that, otherwise give it a few hours.
  2. Dont get too hung up on the size of the pieces of meat you can cut into bite-sized pieces either before or after you cook it.
  3. Also you save the marinade, which normally everyone shies away from, however you will be cooking it so that makes it all ok.

Texas Cowboy Pie (Texas Co-op Magazine)
  • 1 lb beef sirloin tips, or roast; cut into thin, small pieces
  • 2 packages brown gravy mix
  • 1/3 c red wine (or beef broth)
  • 1 green pepper, coarsely diced
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely diced
  • 1/3 c butter
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 package jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 2 egg
  • ¾ c milk
Dissolve one package of gravy mix in wine. Add beef to mixture and marinate overnight in fridge. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray large, deep cast iron (oven ready) skillet with nonstick spray and heat on high. Remove meat and pour remaining marinade into measuring cup. Add enough water to equal 1 ½ c liquid. Brown steak for 3 minutes on each side in hot skillet, remove and set aside. When cooled, cut into smaller pieces if needed. Use residual fat (I had to add 1T butter) from beef to brown peppers and onions. Add ½ c water and cook over medium heat until peppers and onion are soft. Add 1/3 c butter and reduce heat to low.

When butter melts, stir iin second package of gravy mix. Gradually add reserved marinade and 2/3 c milk, cooking and stirring until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add beef, corn and black beans; mix well. Leave in skillet or move to 8x8x2 casserole dish. Combine cornbread mix, eggs and milk and pour over beef mixture. Bake 35-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Apple Cake (Naomi Vineyard)
  • 3 c chopped raw apples
  • 1 ½ c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 c oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 c pecans, chopped
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Add sugar to cut apples and mix well. Add eggs then oil. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add vanilla and pecans. Pour into greased bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

  1. Bake the bread for tonight with the idea of eating one loaf tonight and saving the second for Monday's soup. You wont be sorry and it will be a good lesson in self-control.

Baked Chicken
Rice Pilaf
  • ½ c chopped onion
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ¼ c chicken broth
  • 1 c long grain rice
  • 1T dried parsley
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
In large saucepan melt butter and cook onion and garlic until fragrant and tender. Add carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add rice until coated in butter. Add broth all at once; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for five minutes. Add parsley, salt and pepper.

Ranch Green Beans
Add ½ to 1 package of dry Ranch dressing mix to beans as they simmer or steam.

English Muffin Bread
  • 2 c milk
  • ½ c water
  • 2T cornmeal
  • 6c flour
  • 6 tsp yeast (or 2 packets)
  • 1T sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
Warm milk & water until very warm (125 degrees). Grease two loaf pans; sprinkle with cornmeal. Mix half of flour and remaining ingredients. Stir in milk; beat well. Stir in remaining flour 1 c at a time until stiff dough is formed. Spoon into prepared pans; let rise about 45 minutes. Bake in 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. Cool on rack with bread resting on its side.

  1. Monday's this month will be soup days. This one comes from Laura, a trusted source of making deliciousness in her kitchen.
  2. The English Muffin bread from Sunday makes two loaves so hide one loaf from the family so you can serve it tonight.

Laura's Sausage Tortellini Soup

1 lb bulk Italian sausage
2 cups water
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 can Italian stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 can beef broth
1 can condensed French onion soup
1 pkg (9oz) refrigerated cheese tortellini
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, cook sausage until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the water, cabbage, tomatoes, broth and soup. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 8 minutes. Stir in tortellini and cook 7-9 minutes longer or until pasta is tender. Sprinkle with cheese.

Laura's Note: I added a little extra beef broth and some more water to make it a tad more soupy. Great with fresh bread!


Chicken Alfredo
  • ¼ c flour
  • 6 boneless breasts
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2T olive oil
  • 2T butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T minced onion
  • 1 ½ c whipping cream
  • 1/3 c parmesan
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 T parsley
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Salt chicken and dredge through flour. Heat oil in large skillet and cook chicken 3-4 minutes per side. Remove chicken from skillet into a 13x9 pan. Heat 2T butter in skillet and add garlic and onion; cook until fragrant 1-2 minutes. Increase heat to hihg and add cream, parmesan and pepper. Cook until sauce is bubbly and slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes. Spoon sauce over chicken in dish. Bake until chicken is cooked 180 degrees; 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

New Potatoes in Creamy Dill Sauce (Kraft Food & Family)
2 lb red potatoes, quartered or smaller
½ of chive and onion cream cheese spread
½ c milk
½ tsp dill weed

Boil potatoes and drain when tender. Add remaining ingredients to saucepan and heat until well blended. Return potatoes to pot; stir to coat.

Spinach Salad with Bacon Dressing
  • 3T bacon bits
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • 2T red wine vinegar
  • 2T sugar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 4 c washed spinach leaves
  • mandarin oranges
Combine first five ingredients for dressing with salad.

  1. Wednesday's this month are crock pot night. If you'd rather have your crock pot meal on a different night, by all means switch things up.
  2. Tonight's chicken tacos comes from Kathy, her family loves when she makes them and I've been in her house when they are cooking and it smells GREAT.

Kathy's CrockPot Chicken Tacos

  • 4lb HEB chicken fajita thighs
  • meat tenderizer
  • ½ packet of taco seasoning mix
  • 1 c water
Mix it all together and put it in the crock pot. She cooked hers about six hours on high, but you could easily do the same thing on low for a longer period if you were going to be gone all day.


Avocado Tomato Corn Salad
  • 2 chopped avocado
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 c frozen corn, thawed
  • 2T lime juice
  • salt & pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
Mix it all together and chill if you have time.


Apple Brine Pork Chops (Taste of Home)
  • 3 c apple juice
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 4 fresh springs rosemary
  • 1/3 c salt
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 2 c cold water
  • 4lb pork chops
Combine all ingredients, except chops and cold water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in cold water. Cool brine to room temperature. Place chops in resealable plastic bag and pour cooled brine into bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight. Grill chops.

Cauliflower/Broccoli Mix aka Normandy Mix

  1. It's great when your husband loves something that someone else makes, and even better when it's your daughter-in-law. There's that bond again. This time she's making chili with her 'secret' recipe. I learned the secret last week in St Louis and she said I could share it with y’all.

  • 1-2 lbs cooked ground meat
  • Wick Fowler 2-alarm chili mix
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
Mix together and follow directions on package for how long to simmer.

Sweet Corn Muffins
add 1 tsp sugar to Jiffy corn muffin mix