Menu (148) Ads (146) Normal Life (57) Tip Tuesday (54) Chickens (43) Frugal Friday (38) Grocery (23) Holidays (10) How it Worked (8) Garden (6) General Spending (6) Organizing (6) c (4) Quilt (3) Rabbits (3)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Which Ground Beef is 'The One' to Buy???

Have you ever wondered which package of ground beef is the best value.  I mean there are all those different lean percentages and every price is off by just a few cents.  Well my oldest son C and I had a discussion about that last week and I sent him a chart that I learned how to make from the frugal zen master Amy Dacyczyn author of The Tightwad Gazette (I get no amazon kickbacks, just givin ya the link). 

Essentially when you buy ground beef a portion of it will be cooked out to fat and moisture content.  Since nearly everyone drains their meat after they cook it, you are essentially purchasing something that you then throw away.  Unless you are on a super strict diet of very low/no fat, I’m guessing you have some flexibility in which package you pick up when you are at the store.  Yes, lower fat is better, but is it the best value for your dollar?

Let’s take a quick look at this handy dandy chart. 

I did a price check at HEB last Friday when I was at the store.  I wrote down (in my phone) all of the different % and price per pound options and plugged them into the chart above.  Yes, I did notice that the 75% was more per pound; who understands EVERYTHING???—not me. What the chart shows is that you can multiply the lean percentage times 16 ounces (per pound) and how many usable ounces is the result.  So 80% lean meat yields 12.8 oz of actual meat, the remaining 3.2oz is fat that gets poured off and throw away. 

You can see that the leaner the meat, the more usable meat that sticks around after the cooking is done.  Of course there is flavor in that fat, which is what makes it so good, but you gotta find that right balance in health and taste.  J  ok back to our lesson... 

Then you take the price per pound on the meat and divide that by the usable ounces and then you can have an apples to apples comparison on which meat is the best buy.  In this example, the 80% comes in at 21 cents per oz. and the best buy.  You could spend more per ounce on 73% or 75% and actually do worse for yourself even though the price per pound is less than on the 80%. 

Now I am sure you want to ask me, this is great and all, but I can't do all this math in the store.  Exactly.  But you can watch the sales flyers and you can write down the prices one time and then watch what happens.  This is getting a baseline for your idea of what a 'best price' or 'great deal' is.  What if the 85% meat goes on sale for 1.99?  then in the comparison chart it drops like a rock to .15/oz and you should stock up! When you stock up you don't have to constantly watch the price of beef every week.  Oh I can hear some of you saying, but I dont have freezer space... hang on.   

One more item related to ground beef… you can buy 5-10 lbs when it’s really on sale for a great price and then COOK most of it.  Have you noticed that HEB is selling cooked ground crumbles?  It weighs almost nothing and takes up even less space.  What is the first step in cooking nearly every meal with ground beef?   Yes, brown ground meat.  Then add your other ingredients.  If you’ve already done that step, then you are saving yourself 15-20 minutes of dinner prep time.  This is another post in the making (I can feel it), but cook it today, and then put it in old sour cream containers, Ziploc bags etc. in two cup increments or whatever your family needs to eat a meal. 

Save money today!  well, next time you go to the store to buy ground beef anyway. 
% LeanUsable Meat/lb  (oz) $/lb  Cost per usable oz 
16 oz x % Lean Price/Usable oz 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Weekly Menu 2/26+

Chicken Fajitas
Peach Cobbler
Italian Sausage with Peppers & Onions
Garlic Mushroom Bread
Sweet Potato Fries
Green Beans/Asparagus
Baked Ranch Chicken
Corn Biscuits
Black Bean Lasagna

Chicken Fajitas
Toppings: sour cream, cheese, tomatoes
  • 2-3 avocados
  • 2T minced purple onion
  • garlic salt to taste
  • 3T diced tomato
slice avocados around from top to bottom, twist to open and remove pits (save them for later). Score avocado in grid like pattern and then scoop out with large tablespoon. Coarsely mash avocado and add in remaining ingredients. Return pits to bowl to keep dip from turning brown.

Peach Cobbler
  • 2-29 oz cans sliced peaches in heavy syrup (no time for 'healthy' fruit)
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1 package butter pecan cake mix
  • 1 stick melted butter
Pour peaches, un-drained, into glass 9x13 pan, mix in cinnamon and vanilla. Pour dry cake mix over the top, it will stand about 1” tall. Pour melted butter over the top of the cake mix and bake 45-50 minutes at 350.

  1. It's hard to over season a steak, so load it up with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders and let it sit an hour, if you have that kind of time, before grilling.
  2. Steak is also really good if you finish it with butter, so when you flip your steak and the 'cooked' side is up, add about ½- 1T butter while it cooks. Flip one last time and add another pat of butter to the other cooked side.
  3. See if you can add two or three 'extra veggies' to your salad. I've listed several options

Grilled Steak
  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 2T butter
  • salt & pepper
Steam or cook cauliflower until tender. Mix in cream cheese and butter and it will take on the texture of mashed potatoes.

  • lettuce
  • berries (strawberries, blueberries or blackberries)
  • spinach
  • carrots
  • broccoli florets (in tiny pieces so folks wont notice)
  • purple cabbage

Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions
  • Italian Sausage
  • Olive Oil
  • red bell pepper slices
  • sliced onion rings
Cut sausage in 3” pieces on the diagonal (makes it look fancier). Add oil and sausage to skillet and begin to brown sausage. Add onions and peppers as you turn the sausage and let it all get carmelized and yummy. If your family really likes it go crazy and add some spaghetti sauce too.

Frozen Spinach

Garlic Mushroom Bread
  • ¼ c mayonnaise (the real stuff)
  • 1 can mushrooms pieces and stems, drained and chopped
  • ¼ c parmesan
  • ½ c mozzarella cheese
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • bread (it can be as plain as leftover hot dog buns or as fancy as an artisan loaf)
Combine all ingredients, except bread in a small bowl. Spread over bread and then bake in oven 10-25 minutes. If you are brave you can also broil the bread to get all the cheeses to melt and brown slightly.

  1. Make extra meatloaf tonight and you can use any leftovers Friday when you make your tacos.
  2. Time the fries so that they are ready just when your meatloaf is coming out of the oven.

  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 package Stove Top
  • 1 c water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ c bbq sauce
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients except ¼ c bbq sauce. Shape meat mixture into an oval loaf in a 9x13 pan. Top with remaining bbq sauce. Bake 1 hour or until 160 degrees.

Sweet Potato Fries (Frozen)
Green Beans or Asparagus

  1. The chicken and biscuits will need to cook at different temperatures, so you can start your chicken at the higher temp and then bake it for less time. Then you have to try and keep everyone from eating the corn biscuits that are ready and smelling good.

Baked Ranch Chicken
  • 3-4lbs chicken pieces
  • 1 package dry ranch dressing mix
  • salt & pepper
dredge chicken through ranch dressing mix in a shallow bowl. Bake 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until cooked through.

Corn Biscuits
  • 9oz creamed corn
  • 2 c bisquick
  • kosher salt
  • ¼ c butter, melted
Mix corn and bisquick until combined. Knead about 15x. Form into a rectangle and cut into 3”x1” strips. Roll in melted butter, place on baking sheet, sprinkle with salt. Bake 12-15 minutes at 450 degrees.


Black Bean Lasagna(Menus4Moms)
  • 2 cups frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 can black beans (15 oz.)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano (14.5 oz.)
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • 4-6 flour tortillas
  • 2 cups four cheese Mexican blend cheese
Preheat oven to 400 °F . Combine the first seven ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Coat an 11 x 7 in. baking dish with cooking spray. Place a layer of tortillas in the bottom of the dish. Spoon half of the corn and tomato mixture over the tortillas. Top with one cup of cheese. Repeat the layers.
Bake for 15 minutes.


  1. Tonight is a good time to use up any left over meatloaf from Tuesday.
  • 2 c cooked ground beef
  • ¾ c water
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp garlic powder
  • dash red pepper
Mix all ingredients together and simmer in a medium sauce pan for 10-15 minutes or until majority of liquid is evaporated.

Strawberries in cool whip

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Weekly Menu 2/19+


  1. Cook extra chicken tonight to use in the enchiladas Monday.
  2. Friday night get your chicken ready. If you are just getting to the store on Saturday, get it marinating as soon in the day as possible.
  3. Use 3-4 lbs of pieces of chicken if you'd rather not mess with a whole bird.

Roasted Sticky Chicken  (Menus4Moms)
  • 1 large chicken -- (roasting)
  • 1 cup onion -- chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 teaspoons salt
This should have been done last night: In a small bowl, thoroughly combine all the spices. Remove giblets from chicken, clean the cavity well and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture into the chicken, both inside and out, making sure it is evenly distributed and down deep into the skin. Place in a re-sealable plastic bag, seal and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to roast chicken, stuff cavity with onions, and place in the crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Let chicken rest about 10 minutes before carving.

OR you can cook chicken in an oven roasting bag for five hours at 250 degrees. Of course all the food safety experts are probably freaking out about this low cooking temperature, but five hours of cooking has to weigh in somewhere. Use your best judgment.

  • 3T butter
  • ¼ c vermicelli (yellow box) crushed in your hand
  • 1 c rice
  • 2 c chicken broth
  • 1 T parsley
Saute rice and vermicelli in butter until vermicelli starts to brown. Add chicken broth and parsley; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.


  1. Today is a great day to get the insides ready for your enchiladas tomorrow. You can even fully assemble them and let the first person home get them going in the oven tomorrow. Add 10 extra minutes to the cooking time to account for the pre-assembled dinner.
  2. Use your favorite brownie mix and then sprinkle coarse salt over the top of the brownies just before baking. My favorite recipe is the plain Betty Crocker fudge brownies, and then I add ½ c chocolate chips.
Chicken Fried Steak
  • Tenderized or ¼” thick pieces of round steak
  • flour
  • 1 sleeve saltines (I prefer zesta), pulverized.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c milk
  • seasonings: salt, pepper, paprika, dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder
  • canola oil for frying

Heat about 1/4” oil in large skillet. Mix egg and milk in a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl mix ~1c flour, saltines, and seasonings. Dip meat first in milk mixture, then in flour. Place in hot oil and cook until edges of meat start to show signs of cooking. Flip and cook on other side. Adjust your temperature down if first side got overly brown (ie burned) before the edges started to cook.

Mashed Potatoes

Green Beans

Brownies with Sea Salt

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas (Pioneer Woman)
  • 12 whole Corn Tortillas
  • Canola Oil, For Frying
  • 1 can (20 Ounce) Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 cups Sour Cream
  • 3 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Grated
  • 2 c cooked, chopped chicken (Andrea's addition)
  • 1 cup Sliced/chopped Green Onions
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper

Mix together sour cream, green onions 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar, chicken, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Heat canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Heat enchilada sauce in a separate skillet or saucepan. Using tongs, fry tortillas one at a time, for only about five to ten seconds per side (don’t allow to crisp.) Remove from oil, then dunk tortilla in enchilada sauce. Lay tortilla on a plate, then spoon a good two or three tablespoons of the sour cream mixture in the middle. Roll tortilla, then place face down in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas and sour cream mixture. (If there’s any sour cream mixture left over, use it as a dip for tortilla chips!) Cover the dish with the remaining cheese, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly. Serve immediately. Place a dollop of sour cream on each serving, then sprinkle on sliced green onions.

Apple Grape Salad
  • 3 sliced and cored Granny Smith apples
  • 1 bunch red grapes, pulled from the stems
  • chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 8 oz. vanilla yogurt
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
Combine fruit and serve with vanilla yogurt mixed with cream cheese (use a mixer for a smooth blend).
  1. If you are on a low carb diet, this meal is great if you don’t add the tater tots. You can make ½ of the pan for the adults and then add the tots for the tots.
  2. The dessert is really good, even if you don’t like cottage cheese, because you blend it up really well and it becomes and smooth creamy blend with a bit of honey and pineapple for sweetness.

Tater Tot or Not Casserole
adapted from: GREEN BEAN AND HAMBURGER CASSEROLE (Linda's Low Carb)
  • 2 c cooked ground beef
  • 2 14-ounce cans French cut green beans, well-drained
  • 4 ounce can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 small onion, diced, 2 1/2 ounces
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (not low/no-fat)
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 c tater tots
Saute onion, celery and mushrooms in 1T butter or olive oil. Mix all ingredients in a 2 to 2 1/2 quart greased casserole. Top with tater tots on all or part of the casserole. Bake, uncovered, at 350ยบ for 40 minutes until hot and bubbly. Top tots with extra cheese if you'd like.

Cottage Cheese & Pineapple
  • 16 oz cottage cheese
  • 1 can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2T honey
Blend cottage cheese with blender, hand blender, food processor etc until creamy. It won't take long and don’t be grossed out (you know who you are). Add in honey and blend again. Fold in pineapple. Chill and serve.

Crock Pot Wednesday
Pork Roast Tacos with Green Chili Sauce
Place pork roast in crock pot and pour can of green chili enchilada sauce over the top. Cook for 8-12 hours, depending on how long you will be gone from home.

Toppings: cheese, cilantro, tomatoes

  1. If you like the dessert tonight, L gets the credit for making it up.

Sloppy Joes (Quick Cooking)
  • 2 c cooked ground beef
  • ½ c chopped celery
  • 1/3 c chopped onion
  • 2T chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 c ketchup
  • ½ c chili sauce
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • hamburger buns
In large skillet saute veggies in 1T olive oil. Add meat when veggies are tender. Stir in remaining ingredients (except buns) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes uncovered. Serve on buns.

Chocolate Pudding Delight
  • 1 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 2T sugar
  • ¼ melted butter
  • chocolate pudding
  • sliced bananas
  • cool whip
combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom and up sides (if you want) of a pie plate. Bake crust for 10 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Slice bananas on to crust. Top with pudding and then finish with cool whip.

Beanie Weenies
Cut up hot dogs and mix with pork n beans if you can stop yourself from eating the beans right out of the can with a potato chip. Sorry, reverted to the midnight snack of my youth.
Carrot Sticks
Sliced oranges
Roast Sticky Chicken
Rice a Roni
Chicken Fried Steak
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans
Brownies with Sea Salt
Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas Apple Grape Yogurt Salad
Tater Tot or Not Casserole
Cottage Cheese & Pineapple
Pork Roast Tacos
W/ Green Chili Sauce
Sloppy Joes
Chocolate Pudding Delight
Beanie Weenies
Carrot Sticks

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day; Really

Are you ready for Valentine's Day tomorrow? Will you be spending the average $116 per person on the holiday trying to tell your loved one that you care? Hopefully your loved one doesn’t need a bunch of flowers or gifts on this holiday. Retailers are of course ecstatic that the average spending has increased this year, and that the recession seems to be over. They are very excited that you are going to pay three times the normal price for flowers and candy. And the teddy bear? Forget about it. Unless you are still 9 years old, do you really want a teddy bear? Are you ready for another holiday already that needs a big chunk of your wallet or worse, your credit card? Has your bank account recovered from Christmas yet?

Ok, unless you think I am just a real buzz kill for the 'love holiday', I'm not. I am trying to call your attention to the fact that you don’t need to spend a lot (or anything) to tell someone you love them. You can tell them, or write it down for them. And you don’t have to wait for the calendar to be flipped to the middle of February to do that.

You can, and should tell someone you love, that you love them regularly. Do something nice for them, like pick up their dirty laundry, refill their glass of water or sit and watch what they want to watch on tv. Learn their love language so you know how they feel loved. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages says they are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. One key is that how you feel loved is not always the same as how your special someone feels loved. Yes, you might have to ask them, but then you will know.

Take a few minutes and find out how they feel loved, and then you can save $116 tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Weekly Menu 2/12+

Grilled Chicken
Sweet Potato Fries
Monkey Bread
40 Clove Garlic Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Heart-Shaped Hamburgers
Salad with Strawberries
Raspberry Fluff
Chicken a la King
Peas & Carrots
Beef Stroganoff
Green Beans
Baked Chicken Parmesan
Pasta Quatro Formage
Velveeta Italian Casserole

Grilled Steak
Pasta Quattro Formaggi (Pioneer Woman)
  • 1 pound Angel Hair Pasta
  • ½ cups Grated Fontina Cheese
  • ½ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • ½ cups Grated Romano Cheese
  • ½ cups Goat Cheese (chevre)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 whole Garlic Clove, Peeled
  • ½ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Minced Fresh Parsley
Heat cream in a small saucepan on the stove over low heat.
Rub garlic clove all over the inside of a large serving bowl.
Cook pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water, leaning toward the al dente side. Do not overcook! Drain pasta, then return to the cooking pot. Pour in cream, add butter, and add cheeses and salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine, adding hot pasta water as needed for consistency. Don’t overmix; if there are little clumps of cheese here and there, it’s fine! Taste and add more salt if needed. Mixing stage should happen very quickly.
Turn pasta into large serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with a nice medium rare steak.
Monkey Bread
  • 4 cans refrigerated biscuits; quartered
  • 2 sticks butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 ½ c sugar
  • 1-2T cinnamon
There are other easier ways to make this, but they just don’t turn out as well. So take a short cut if you want, but it just wont taste as good. Use the really cheap canned biscuits and cut them in fourths. If you feel extravagant and want to use Grands, cut the biscuits in sixth or eighths; smaller pieces make for a better monkey bread. This goes together better if you have help like an assembly line, otherwise you can really make a mess of your hands and you get tired. Place cut biscuits in melted butter and make sure they are well coated. Remove from butter and place in a flat bowl with cinnamon and sugar mixed well together. Roll each biscuit piece in the sugar mixture and then place in a bundt pan. Keep repeating until all biscuits are used. I almost always have to either melt more butter or mix up more cinnamon sugar. Pour any remaining butter over top. Bake in a 375 degree oven for ~40 minutes. Invert on a large platter and expect some yummy carmelized sugar to come out too. Wait as long as you can before you eat this so you don’t burn yourself.

  1. This chicken is very mild because you keep the garlic under wraps. But you can also squeeze the cooked roasted garlic into your mashed potatoes for some really dreamy goodness.

40 Clove Garlic Chicken (365 Ways to Cook Chicken)
  • 2T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3lbs chicken pieces
  • 40 cloves garlic, unpeeled but separated
  • 2T lemon juice
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
Preheat oven 350 degree. In a large Dutch oven, melt butter in oil. Add chicken and cook, turning until golden 5-10 minutes. Tilt pan and spoon off all but 2T fat. Add garlic and stir to coat. Sprinkle with lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper and ¼ c water. Cover tightly and bake 1½ hours.

Mashed Potatoes
  • Enough medium potatoes, peeled, for everyone to have 1.5 potatoes; 4 people = 6 potatoes
  • 1T oil (for the boiling process)
  • 4T butter (max of 8T unless you are cooking for a crowd)
  • ½ c milk; maybe more or use cream for extra goodness
  • salt and pepper
  • 1T olive oil (L swears by this addition, but I often forget to put it in)
  • 2-3oz cream cheese (optional)
Cube potatoes in a fairly even size about the size of two dice. Cover potatoes with water in large pot, add a dash of salt and oil. Boil for 25-30 minutes until tender; stir occasionally to keep them from sticking on the bottom. The oil will keep the potatoes from boiling over and making a huge mess on the stove. When they easily 'give' with a fork drain through a colander. You don’t want potatoes to sit in the hot water as they will continue to cook and get really mushy and mushed potatoes are not the same as mashed potatoes. Return potatoes to pot (if not teflon), add butter, ½ the milk, salt, pepper, olive oil, cream cheese if you are going there. Then use your hand-mixer and start slowly beating the potatoes and all the goodness together. Increase the speed until you are on the highest setting and the potatoes have no more lumps. Taste test to make sure they have the right blend of salt and pepper. Add remaining milk if they don’t look creamy.


Heart-Shaped Hamburgers
Salad with Sliced-Strawberries
Raspberry Fluff
  • 1 small packet raspberry jello
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 8 oz cool whip
  • 1 c raspberries or other fruit (mandarin oranges)
Combine the dry jello mix with the sour cream. Fold in cool whip until well blended. Fold in fruit and chill.

Chicken a la King
  • 4T butter
  • ¼ pound sliced mushrooms
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 3T flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1c chicken broth
  • 1 c light cream or half-n-half
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T sherry
  • 3 c cooked chicken
  • 2T diced pimiento
Peas & Carrots

Crockpot Wednesday
Beef Stroganoff
  • 2lb roast, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2T flour
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms
  • 1T butter
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 oz sour cream
Place all ingredients, except sour cream, into crock pot and cook all day. When you return home, add in sour cream and stir to combine. Serve over cooked noodles.

Green Beans

Baked Chicken Parmesan (365 Ways to Cook Chicken)
  • 1 cut up chicken
  • salt & pepper
  • 3T butter
  • ½ c grated parmesan
  • 2T flour
  • 1 c milk
  • ½ c shredded swiss cheese
  • ¼ c bread crumbs
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken with salt & pepper. In large frying pan melt butter over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, turning until browned, about 10 minutes. Sprint ¼ c parmesan over bottom of 9x13 pan. Arrange chicken in dish. In same frying pan whisk flour into pan drippings. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually add milk and cook, stirring constantly until smooth and thick. Remove from heat and stir in swiss cheese. Pour sauce over chicken. Top chicken with remaining ¼ c parmesan. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for 45 minutes, until chicken is tender.


Velveeta Italian Casserole(Kraft Food & Family)
  • 1 ½ c cooked penne pasta (or other favorite shape)
  • 2 c cooked ground beef
  • 3 c halved zucchini slices
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 14 oz pizza/spaghetti sauce
  • ½ lb Velveeta cut into 1/2” cubes
  • ½ c grated parmesan

In a medium saucepan combine beef, zucchini, peppers and pizza sauce. Cook 8-10 minutes until veggies are crisp-tender; stirring occasionally. Add velveeta and mix lightly. Drain pasta and mix in. Spoon into a 13x9 baking dish. Top with parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Weekly Menu 2/5+

Does anyone think I should record the ads here too? or just let those go on the email? 
Yes, I forgot AGAIN to mention the blog on my email post.  Perhaps next week. 
Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce
Angel Hair Pasta
Little Smokies in BBQ sauce
Potato Skins
Chex Mix
Sausage Soup
BBQ Meatballs
Green Beans
Brunswick Stew
Pears & Cheese
Chicken Fried Rice
Frozen Egg Rolls
Chili Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Apple Turnovers

  1. I realized last week when I was putting my own menu together that I was pointing out the great deals on asparagus, but didn’t include it in the menu; silly me!
Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce (Menus4Moms)
  • 1/4 C. milk
  • 1/4 C. dry bread crumbs
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 T. butter or margarine
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 C. chicken broth
  • 1 C. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 4-oz. jar diced pimientos, drained
  • 1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 C. minced fresh basil (or 1 t. dried)
  • 1/8 t. pepper
  • 1 t. cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place milk and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in milk, then coat with bread crumbs. In skillet over medium heat, brown chicken on both sides in butter and olive oil. Remove and place in preheated oven to keep warm.

Add broth to skillet. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir to loosen browned bits from pan bottom. Stir in whipping cream and pimientos, boil and stir for 1 minute. Reduce heat. Stir in Parmesan, basil and pepper and cook until heated through. Mix cornstarch with extra chicken broth and stir into skillet if needed to thicken sauce. Pour over chicken. Serve over angel hair pasta

Angel Hair Pasta

Super Bowl Sunday
  1. Tonight is all about cheering for your favorite team and commercial.

Little Smokies in BBQ sauce
Baked Potato Skins
  • Baked potatoes
  • cheese
  • bacon bits (no bacos, please)
  • green onions
  • sour cream
Bake potatoes, slice open and allow to cool slightly. Scoop out the insides leaving a ¼” ring of potato in the skin. Save the insides for Tuesday night's home fries. Place skins on a baking sheet and bake in a hot oven (400+ degrees) for 5-10 minutes to crisp the potato. Add cheese, bacon and green onions and return to oven for another 5-10 minutes to melt the cheese. Serve with sour cream and/or salsa.

Chex Mix
Mix these items together and spread on a large baking sheet:
  • 9 c chex cereal (all one, or mix it up)
  • 1 c nuts
  • 1 c pretzels
  • 1 c goldfish
In a separate bowl mix these items together and pour over cereal mixture:
  • 6T melted butter
  • 2T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp season salt
  • ¾ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
Bake 1 hour at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow to cool and add m&m's, raisins and anything else that strikes your fancy. I can't imagine that you will go wrong here. My only advice is that if it can melt or get gooey then add after baking.

Sausage Squash Soup (My mom's recipe binder)
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 cans (14.5oz) chicken broth
  • 1 can Mexican style diced tomatoes
  • ¾ – 1 lb halved and sliced zucchini
  • ¾ – 1 lb halved and sliced squash
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 4oz canned green chilies
  • 1 package breakfast sausage, crumbled, cooked and very well drained (paper towels top and bottom)
  • 1lb velveeta
  • ¼ c cilantro
Heat oil in 4-6 quart pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 3-4 minutes until tender. Add oregano. Cook and stir 1 minute until fragrant. Add broth and tomatoes. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in squashes, corn, chilies, pepper, sausage. Return to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until squash is tender. Stir in velveeta and cook, stirring often until cheese melts. Stir in cilantro. Makes 6 generous servings. Soup freezes and reheats well.

  1. These are really good and a recipe that is worth doubling so you have some in the freezer for the next time you want them. Set aside what you want for tonight and then leave the remainder in the freezer until completely frozen (~4 hours) and drop into a ziplock bag to store. Then all you have to do is mix up a fresh batch of sauce.
  2. It's come to my attention that not everyone knows how to make mashed potatoes from scratch, so this week I'm providing some guidance for those who don’t know.

BBQ Meatballs (Pioneer Woman)
  • 1-½ pound Ground Beef
  • ¾ cups Oats
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 3 Tablespoons Very Finely Minced Onion
  • 1-½ teaspoon Salt
  • Plenty Of Ground Black Pepper, to taste

  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour (coating For Frozen Meatballs)
  • Canola Oil

  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 4 Tablespoons (to 6 Tablespoons) Onion
  • 1 dash Tabasco
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into medium-small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place sheet in freezer for five minutes. After 5 minutes, remove meatballs from freezer and immediately dredge in unseasoned flour. Brown meatballs in canola oil until just brown. Place into a baking dish. Combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or crusty French bread.

Home Fries (use innards from Sunday's baked potato skins)

Green Beans

  1. This time of year you'll likely need to eat canned pears, but if you stumble across some good ones, by all means enjoy. Camp Texlake gave me the original pear/cheese combination, but Harry and David gave it a little more class. Who knew it was a delicacy to pair pears and cheese. Ok, I liked the pair pear/pair there; good thing I don’t have to pare down my words.
  2. If you want to get really crazy you can add a jigger of bourbon at the end and this becomes Kentucky Burgoo.

Brunswick Stew (365 Ways to Cook Chicken)
  • 2 c cooked chicken (or cook 3lbs worth of chicken in 2 quarts water)
  • 1-1 ½ quarts chicken broth
  • 1 ham bone (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 16 oz can Italian tomatoes, drained
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 10 oz frozen corn
  • 10 oz lima beans (not at my house, but y’all go ahead)
  • 10 oz frozen okra (after this summer's bumper crop can you believe I don’t have any in the freezer??? me either)
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper

In a dutch oven, combine all ingredients and simmer for 45-60 minutes until flavors are well blended.

Pears & Cheese

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)
  • soy sauce or tamari
Cook calrose rice according to directions. 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.

Frozen Egg Rolls

  1. I'm a big believer in cooking things ahead of time if it will still taste good and save time, but these potatoes will be best served if you cook them right before you serve them.
  2. Make chili from scratch, use some from your freezer or take it easy tonight and open a can of Wolf brand. :)

Chili Stuffed Baked Potatoes
  • Baked potatoes, enough for each person to have one
  • Janet's Super Secret Chili Recipe Mix; aka Wick Fowlers 2 alarm chili mix
  • Cheese
  • Onions/green onions
  • Sour Cream

Apple Turnovers
  • Frozen puff pastry, thawed or crescent rolls
  • 2-3 thinly sliced peeled apples
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ c sugar
  • 3-4 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2T melted butter

Cut pastry into four equal pieces. Top with slices of apple and pour butter over the top of apples. Combine cream cheese, sugar and cinnamon divide among the pastry squares. Fold pastry over to seal in the apple-y goodness. Crimp edges. Cut slits into top of pastry. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.