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)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Weekly Menu 4/2+

Baked Chicken
Baked Potatoes
Ranch Green Beans
Sausage Broccoli Manicotti
Sub Sandwiches
Carrot Sticks
Beef with Peppers
Chicken Parmesan
Angel Hair Pasta
Garlic Bread
Sausage Bean Medley
Kicked Up Cornbread
Tater Tots
Mixed Veggies

Baked Chicken
Baked Potatoes
Ranch Green Beans
Add dry ranch dressing mix to your green beans as they cook

  1. This is a good recipe to make ahead or double and have one stored in your freezer.
  2. When you are filling the shells, you can put all of the filling into a ziploc bag and cut a hole in the corner of the bag to help 'pipe' the filling in there. Start small, you can always get bigger. :)

Sausage Broccoli Manicotti (Quick Cooking)
  • 8 oz manicotti shells, cooked-rinsed and drained
  • 2 c cottage cheese (small curd)
  • 10 oz frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and well drained
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella
  • ¼ c parmesan
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp parsely
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 lb bulk Italian Sausage
  • 4 c spaghetti sauce
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
Extra cheeses: ½ c mozzarella + ½ c parmesan

In skillet cook sausage, drain. Add sauce and minced garlic. Spread 1 c meat sauce in greased 9x13 pan. Stuff shells with filling mixture. Arrange over sauce. Top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with additional ½ c mozzarella and ½ c parmesan. Bake, uncovered at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until heated through.


Monday (NCAA Finals)
  1. Tonight should be the NCAA finals, so it's more of a tailgate themed dinner. I wont attempt to tell you who is playing tonight, because back in the day when my son was 12 yrs old I said I was rooting for a team that had been out for at least two weeks; he was mortified on my behalf.
  2. I can tell you with pretty good authority that if I picked the team for my bracket, they are out. I've heard some teams are setting up a fund to pay me for not picking them next year.
Sub Sandwiches/Grinders/whatever ya call 'em.
Carrot Sticks

Beef with Peppers (Pioneer Woman)
  • 1-½ pound Flank Steak, Sliced Very Thin Against The Grain
  • ½ cups Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Sherry
  • 2 Tablespoons Packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Ginger
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Red Chile Paste (or A Few Dashes Red Chile Oil)
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 1 whole Medium Yellow Onion Sliced
  • 2 whole Red Bell Peppers, Cored And Sliced Into Rings
  • 1 Tablespoon Diced Fresh Jalapeno (or 1 Teaspoon Dice Hot Pepper)
  • Red Pepper Flakes, For Sprinkling
  • Cilantro Leaves
Mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, garlic, and chili paste (or chili oil.) Place sliced beef in the mixture and toss to coat. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high to high heat. When it is very hot, throw in the onions and cook for less than a minute. Remove to a separate plate. Return skillet to flame, allow to reheat, and add bell peppers (and hot pepper/jalapeno if using.) Cook for a minute, tossing, until peppers have brown/black bits but are still firm. Remove to a plate. Return skillet to heat and allow to get hot. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add 1/3 of the meat mixture, evenly distributing over the surface of the skillet. Allow to sit for 20 to 30 seconds, then turn with tongs. Cook for another 30 seconds, then remove to a separate plate. Repeat with remaining meat until all brown. Reduce heat to low. Add all meat, onions, and peppers to the skillet and toss to combine. Pour in remaining sauce (the sauce the meat marinated in*) and stir. Allow to simmer on low for a few minutes. Sauce will slowly thicken. Turn off heat.
*Update/Note: you can also whip up an extra batch of liquid if you do not want to use the same liquid you use for the meat. Turn off boiling water, then throw in noodles. Stir, then allow noodles to sit in hot water for 8 minutes or so (check package directions to be sure.) Drain, then add 1/2 the noodles to stir fry. Toss together, then add more noodles to taste. Add very hot water if needed to thin. Top with cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.

Chicken Parmesan
  • ~2 lb boneless chicken
  • ½ c parmesan cheese
  • ½ c panko or regular bread crumbs
  • ¼ c melted butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1T oregano
  • 1T parsley
Melt butter in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish mix remaining ingredients (except chicken). Crumple a piece of foil the size of your baking sheet and place on the sheet. Dredge chicken through butter then through dry ingredients and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until done.

Angel Hair Pasta (with Sauce if desired)

Crock Pot Thursday
1. The longer you have to let this cook the better the flavors will come together. If you have all day, you can even start with dried soaked beans, instead of canned.

Sausage Bean Medley
  • ½ c dried black beans
  • ½ c dried red beans
  • 1 c dried pinto beans
  • 1 lb sausage, sliced in thin circles
  • 1 c bbq sauce
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 1T brown sugar
  • 1T worcestershire sauce
Soak beans overnight. Allow beans to still be covered plus 1” of water. Add in remaining ingredients. Turn on crock pot and cook all day.

Kicked Up Cornbread (Tasty Kitchen)
  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Cornmeal
  • 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ pounds Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
  • ¾ cups Scant Sugar
  • 4 whole Large Eggs, At Room Temperature
  • 1-½ cup Cream Style Corn
  • ½ cups (small Can) Crushed Pineapple
  • 1 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • ¼ cups (small Can) Diced Green Chiles
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Butter and flour a 9″ square baking dish.
Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and set aside. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. (The mixture may appear curdled at some point, and that is okay.) Add the corn, pineapple, cheese, green chiles and mix to blend. On low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until blended.
Bake until a tester comes out clean and the cornbread is golden brown on top, about 40 minutes. Serve warm.

Homemade Filet-o-Fish
  • Frozen Fish Filet
  • Hamburger bun, grilled (if you want to be more authentic)
  • Tartar Sauce
  • American Cheese

Tater Tots
Frozen Mixed Veggies

Grocery Deals 3/30

Randalls        boneless chicken 1.99/lb, roast 2.50/lb, asparagus 1.47/lb (vs 1.88 sprouts), grapefruit .50
                Friday-Monday only:   frozen pizza 2.99, pasta .79, Italian sausage 3.49
                Coupon + $10 min: coffeemate 2.59, frozen waffles 1.39, string cheese 2.49
Sun Harvest     pineapple .97 (vs 2.99 Randalls), tangelos .33/lb, avocados .97, onions .33/lb, green beans .97/lb, celery .88, spinach .88, boneless chicken 1.99/lb, popcorn .69/lb, grapefruits .49, navel oranges .49/lb (vs .69 Sprouts), cilantro .20, lemons .20
Sprouts         strawberries 1.25/lb, cluster tomatoes 1.50/lb, lettuce .88, broccoli .99/lb, green beans .99/lb, yellow squash .88/lb, sweet potatoes .88/lb
HEB             pork chops 1.97/lb, whole chicken .87/lb, cantaloupe .76, 1015 onions .37/lb (vs .50 Randalls), wild gulf shrimp 4.98lb (frozen), boneless chicken 1.98/lb,
Newflower       grapes .97/lb, grapefruit 3/$1, leg quarters .77/lb

Monday, March 28, 2011

Are you better today than you were at 13?

Sunday my friend Steph and I ran in the Capitol 10K. I was 13 when I ran it the first time with my best friend Bobbie. We ran again in 1981 and then feeling fit after years off I ran it again in 2003, and finished those times as well. I remember being completely exhausted after each of those races.  The first time we ran and walked in alternating cycles we did it in 1:11:46 (I wrote it down in my diary which I found in my attic Saturday).  Could Steph and I possibly beat the time of a 13 year old?  

I've struggled with hip pain, then foot pain off and on over the last three or four years and while I've powered through and continued to exercise during that time; well it hasn't been pleasant.

When I set my goals for this year, one of them was to exercise 2-3 times a week in the first half of the year, with more as the year progressed. I was doing pretty well, but not really keeping up with the goal the way I wanted. Then I read this post on a blog I follow regularly, The Simple Dollar.

In 2011 Trent started sharing 10 pieces of inspirational things he found during the course of his week. #8 in that post was a link to a .pdf document titled Running Fast and Injury Free by Gordon Pirie that was out in the public domain. I was intrigued and started reading.

Mr. Pirie described a new way to run that focused landing on the balls of the feet first instead of the heel. Then the thighs did all of the absorption and not the hip and heel (Brilliant!). He described exactly how it could be done and without finishing the book I was in the gym trying an actual run for the max 15 minutes recommended, carefully practicing the technique. I waited. Getting up from my desk was pain free, unusual, but would it last? Yes, it did.

Then Steph and I had lunch and she asked if I had ever considered running in the Captiol 10K. Oh sure. Well how about this year? So I stepped it up a little at the gym and pain free workouts were starting to be the norm. When it was 7 weeks until race time, we signed up. Then I made this handy chart in Excel.   

It listed mileage distances and then some cross training, plus it included a day of rest!  Always one who is looking for her gold star for the day, if I did the workout I would color in the day's box, if I didn't then I would leave a big white spot.  You can see on Wednesday's I was more consistently missing the workout than going, but by the Wednesday in week 6 I was getting so close and I had a real string of days going that I didn't want to leave a white spot there.  Other weeks work got in the way of my lunch time routine.  

I completed 77% of the prep workouts, yes I'm a nerd like that, but just because I didn't do 100% I didn't let that stop me from continuing to reach for the goal.  

Here we are in the free parking garage (yes, I did some research to find the free place) before the race and since we wouldn't be able to have our phones with us, this was the only shot we got before or after.  (Sorry I can't figure out how to rotate the picture.  Ugh.)  

We lined up... you can see us right?  
I'm in green just above the overhead banner and Steph is to my left.
Then we started running.  I love the Texas capitol bldg... we're a little further back in this picture.  In fact it took us 25 minutes to cross the starting line.  The winner finished the whole thing 4 minutes later.  I bet we hadn't even made it across the river at that point.  

Steph was worried that she wouldn't be able to finish, I was never worried for her, and though I thought I would end up walking at some point I'm truly amazed that I never did.  Oh don't get me wrong I WANTED to walk, but Steph totally encouraged me to go just a little bit further up Enfield, and I was able to make it then and we just kept going.  Don't look up, just look at the guy in front of you.  It worked.  

The Aggie Corps guys that started at the back, eventually caught up to us at mile 5 and passed us at mile 5.5,  were a good bit of encouragement to me too.  Then at mile 5.75 when I was done, there was a very boisterous lady who was cheering for everyone.  I caught her eye and stuck out my hand and she gave me five and honestly that helped me get to the top of that hill and back over the bridge for mile 6.  

Then last two tenths I saw a 13-ish year old girl sprint toward the finish line passing LOTS of people and well I took off too and gave every last ounce of what I had, at least for the last 100yds.  Steph was right there with me and as soon as we crossed the finish line she said, "We did it, you did it, we beat your time.  1:08:36!"

So just because you did something as a kid, don't think you are too old to do it now, unless it's getting into a movie with the youth discount because that's just not honest.  

What sort of thing can you completely redo in your life to be able to accomplish a goal or change your life?  

Friday, March 25, 2011

Christmas in March?

So can I really write about Christmas in March?  Well, it's not so much that I'm counting down the days until Christmas comes, however I would like to encourage you to start thinking about how you are going to pay for Christmas this year.  It's nine months away.

Do you know how much you spent during the holidays last year?  Are you afraid to look?  Even if you are afraid, you should add it up.  After you add it up you can decide if that is a reasonable amount or if things got out of hand.  And only you and your family can make the decision.

What you can do after you decide how much you want to spend nine months from now is take that amount and divide it by the eighteen pay periods left (if you get paid every other week) until the end of November when all the shopping madness starts.

The average American  spent $688 last year so if you are average you need to save about $38 per pay period between now and then, or $20 a week.  I'd recommend that you pull out this amount in cash and put it in an envelope in your dresser drawer or some out of the way place where you can add to it easily, but you won't be tempted to use it to pay the dry cleaner or at the nail salon.

Trying to figure out how to pull $20 out of your weekly budget?  Try not eating out at lunch and brown bagging it 1-2 days a week.  Skip the morning breakfast taco, you know all the 'easy' stuff.

If you find a super deal during the summer months you can buy and hide and leave yourself a note with the cash reminding you where you put the gift.  When the holidays roll around you'll have cash to spend, you won't increase your debt, and when the cash is gone you can be done shopping.

So find $20 this week and start a Christmas fund. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Weekly Menu 3/26+

Cowboy Pie
Ranch Style Beans
Chicken Enchiladas
Rice & Black Beans
Teriyaki Pork Chops
Pizza Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Zucchini spears w/ Ranch
Spicy Dr Pepper Pork Roast
Mashed Potatoes
Grannie & Grandma's Chicken & Rice
Green Beans
April Fool's Cupcakes

Cowboy Pie
  • 1lb bulk breakfast sausage, cooked
  • 2 packages jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 c grated cheddar cheese
Cook sausage in cast iron skillet, drain and set aside. Mix corn bread and fold in cheddar cheese. Pour over warm sausage and bake in a 375 degree oven for ~30 minutes.

Ranch Style Beans
Salad (for the women in the crowd)

  1. This makes a double batch of enchiladas, so feel free to cut it in half or double it again as it was printed in the magazine, but 16 servings seemed like a LOT of food, even for our family.

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes (Real Simple)
  • 4 lbs bone in chicken or 3-4 cups already cooked deboned chicken
  • 2 16 oz jar of mild salsa verde (San Marcos brand)
  • 4 c cilantro
  • 16 oz sour cream
  • 16 oz frozen corn, thawed
  • 4 c grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • 16 flour tortillas
Cook chicken in large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil, simmer for 30 minutes; remove from pot and cool. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken, and discard skin and bones. Place in large bowl. Add in corn.
Using a hand-held blender, or in batches with a regular blender, puree the salsa, cilantro and half of the sour cream until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and simmer sauce until slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes; stir in remaining sour cream.
Add 1 c of sauce and 2 c cheese to bowl with chicken, plus 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Combine.
Spread 1 c of remaining sauce in 9x13 pan. Roll ½ c of the chicken picture in the tortillas, and place seam-side down in the dish. Top with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

Black Beans
Sliced Avocado

  1. If you have time or remember pour some teriyaki sauce over your pork chops in the morning so they have a chance to marinate all day. If you don’t remember, well just pour it on there while they are grilling.

Grilled Teriyaki Pork Chops

  1. Yes, I made up these sandwiches and I have no idea if they are good, but they sound good on paper, so hopefully they come out as good as they sound. Guess we'll find out together.

Pizza Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • Italian Bread
  • pepperoni slices
  • sliced provolone cheese
  • butter
  • Pesto & mayo (if you want to get fancy)
  • spaghetti sauce (for dipping)
In a skillet heat up pepperoni slices just until they start to get slightly crisp. Mix mayo and jarred pesto (unless you have some good stuff in your freezer) in a small bowl. Spread on the inside of your sandwich bread. Next comes slice of cheese, then the pepperoni, another slice of cheese another slice of bread. Butter on the outside and then grill in skillet or panini press.

Zucchini slices (raw) with Ranch dressing

  1. If you don’t have six hours to sit around the house this afternoon to cook the pork roast, use that beloved crock pot. Follow all the same directions except don’t feel obligated to flip it over mid-day.
  2. Be sure to make extra mashed potatoes tonight to use with Friday night's dinner.

Dr Pepper Pork Roast (Pioneer Woman)
  • 1 whole Large Onion
  • 1 whole Pork Shoulder ("pork Butt") - 5 To 7 Pounds
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 can (11 Ounce) Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce
  • 2 cans Dr. Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of a large dutch oven.
Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan.
Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce.) Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in.
Place lid tightly on pot, then set pot in the oven. Cook for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it’s not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour.
Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it’s cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stovetop and return the meat to the liquid to warm up.

Mashed Potatoes

  1. While Grannie and Grandma weren't technically my grandmothers, they were my best friend's grandmothers, excellent cooks and I was so graciously included as part of their family as a kid and am thankful to still be part of the family today. Karen says Bobbie combined the individual recipes for the best chicken and rice ever.

Grannie & Grandma's Chicken and Rice
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1 c medium grain rice
  • 1 chicken, cut up (or use ~3lbs chicken pieces)
Mix soup, water, soup mix and rice. Pour into a greased casserole. Place chicken on top of rice mixture and season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic, season-all (whatever you like). Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove foil and cook and additional 30 minutes.

Green Beans

  1. Since it's April Fool's Day today I have taken a break from the meat-free Friday, because these are just too cute. Family Fun had a lot of really cute ideas for things to do with 'trick' food so if this meat centered option doesn't work for your family there is bound to be something else that would work on the site.
  2. You could also make tonight a backwards dinner and eat dessert first using one of the other ideas on the site. Or have a whole backwards day, eating sandwiches for breakfast and eggs for supper.

Cupcakes (Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes)
  • 1lb ground meat
  • ½ c seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 c grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3T ketchup
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3 c mashed potatoes
  • food coloring
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin tin cups with foil bake cups.
In a large bowl, mix together all of the meat loaf ingredients until well combined. Divide the mixture evenly among the lined cups (the liners should be about three quarters full).
Place the filled muffin tins on cookie sheets and bake the cupcakes for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.
Divide the mashed potatoes among three small bowls and stir a few drops of food coloring into each batch to create blue, yellow, and pink pastel frosting. Spread a generous dollop on each cupcake. Makes 12 cupcakes.


Grocery Deals 3/23

HEB organic apples .88/lb, broccoli .88/lb (vs .99 HEB), legs/thighs $1/lb, sirloin steak 3.97/lb

Randalls legs/thighs .88/lb (vs $1 HEB), cake mix .88
$10 min purchase + coupon: butter $2.49/lb, Freschetta pizza 3.99
Friday-Monday only: oranges .48/lb
Sprouts clementines 1.88/3#, cluster tomatoes 1.88/lb, asparagus 1.88/lb (they were so thin and tender this morning when I bought them) (vs 2.47 HEB), onions .49/lb, navel oranges .49/lb, strawberries 1.27/lb (this may have been from last week, so use caution)

Sun Harvest strawberries 1.50/lb, oranges .49/lb, lettuce .88, broccoli .88/lb, green beans 1.49/lb, artichokes $2, black/blueberries $2

Newflower straw/blue/blackberries $1.50, oranges .50/lb, onions .50/lb

Fiesta had only a one week run of getting the ad to me in time.  Maybe next week.  :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chicken Deals

Last week Fiesta grocery store had a great deal on boneless chicken breasts; $1.27/lb.  I know.  I bought three packages, spent $15 and brought home a huge pile of meat.  Of course I figured I'd blog about it, cuz everyone wants to know about the deal.  Ok, so you probably don't, but I did think I could share some pictures of what I do with all of this meat.

You want to package it in such a way that you can get just the amount that you need the next time you are getting food out for dinner.  One nice thing about separating the chicken from it's original packaging is that you can get all the gooey chicken blood all thrown out today and it won't get your fridge all gross when it defrosts.

If you normally use a whole breast piece, then with these you would only need to cut them in half.  If you like to use strips for cooking stir fry, you could cut that apart now too.  I sliced my chicken in horizontally, so that it made an almost flat piece of chicken and it would cook evenly without drying out the tip.

First, get out enough pieces of wax paper to take care of the number of portions you plan to freeze.  Also get out enough freezer bags to hold the meat too.  If you aren't sure, guess and add one more.  Once your hands get all goopey and icky you won't want to go digging back into your pantry for more bags.

Next, open up the chicken packages, and cut into usable size pieces based on what you want to do with it later.

Then portion it out on the wax paper.  Place the chicken on half of the wax paper and then fold over so that it is covered completely by the wax paper.  This will allow you to put multiple pieces of chicken in one bag, but also be able to separate them later without having to thaw out the whole batch.

Here are my chicken pieces ready for their freezer bags.  I was able to get six pieces into one bag.  When it's time to cook I will likely use only 4-5 pieces because these were from giant well endowed chickens.  My father would have said they had arthritis if they were women, but that's a whole other story.

Then label your freezer bags with what you've got in there.  You can also cross out what used to be in there if you are reusing a bag or two.  Then into the freezer they go.

Of course I didn't remember to take a picture of that step.  I'm new to this whole blogging experience after all.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Break/Spring Cleaning

Spring break here is coming to it's final hours.  What did you do in the last week?  Hopefully something fun.  I did a little spring cleaning last week.  Well it was spring and I swept the floor.  I've told people before I don't like to clean, I mean it most sincerely.  After I swept however, I proved to myself that I've been too busy to sweep.  Now, I'll share the evidence with you.  

You could play a game of 'I Spy' with this pile.  Do you spot the silly band? tea bag cover? orange navel? who could miss the drink lid?  In fairness, on a few of those items, the trash had just been taken out and had 'overflowed' on the back of the trash can.  Six year olds aren't the most thorough with taking out the trash, so I helped the boy out by sweeping up the 'extras' after he helped me.

So next time you wonder how I get things done, you can nod your head and say, well she doesn't do everything, because sweeping is pretty low on my priority list.  This is the true life evidence.  Oh, do I dare confess that this was only from my kitchen?  Nah, I'd better not.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Weekly Menu 3/19+

Buffalo Chicken w/Celery
Sweet Potato Fries
Blue Cheese Dip
Clayton Cookies
Tater Tots
Ziti with Turkey Sausage
Garlic Bread
Taco Crescent Bake
Green Beans
Shredded Beef
Cheddar Spirals
BBQ Chicken
Fried Okra
Cole Slaw

  1. Clayton didn't make up the recipe for these cookies, he just really liked them and one of the girls in youth group made them for him a couple of times. The cookies stuck around, but she didn't make the cut. :)
Buffalo Chicken
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons hot chili oil
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into 4-inch pieces, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, combine salt, chili powder and black pepper.
Pat chicken dry. Brush chicken all over with chili oil. Sprinkle salt mixture all over chicken and transfer chicken to prepared baking sheet. Roast 25 minutes, until cooked through.
In a small bowl, combine sour cream and blue cheese. Serve dip with 4 of the chicken breast halves Serve with celery, if desired.

Sweet Potato Fries

Clayton Cookies
  • 1 chocolate cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c oil
  • 1 c vanilla or white chocolate chips
In large bowl combine cake mix, eggs and oil. Stir in chips. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes on pan before cooling on wire rack.

Tater Tots

Ziti with Sausage
  • 1 pound ziti noodles
  • 1 pound sweet turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 (15-ounce) container regular or part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups grated part-skim mozzarella cheese, reserve 1 cup, for topping
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, cook sausage in a hot skillet over medium heat until golden brown on all sides. Add tomatoes, thyme and rosemary and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and garlic powder and mix well. Spoon 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 4-quart casserole dish. Top with half of the cooked ziti. Top with half of the cheese mixture. Top with 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Repeat layers (remaining ziti and remaining cheese mixture). Top with remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese over top. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly

Spinach or Salad
Garlic Bread

Taco Crescent Bake
  • 1 can crescent rolls
  • 2 c cooked ground meat
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 c sour cream
  • ½ c picante sauce
  • 1 c grated cheese
  • 1 c crushed tortilla chips

Unroll crescent rolls and seal seams into a 9x13 pan. Combine sour cream and picante sauce and spread over rolls. In medium saucepan combine ground meat and taco seasoning with water and simmer until all liquid is gone. Spread over sour cream mixture. Top with cheese and crushed tortilla chips. Bake 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Green Beans

  1. Both the beef and pasta say they should be cooked in the crock pot. Unless you have two for some reason you'll need to adapt this recipe back to the stove top.
  2. The pasta recipe says it makes enough for 12-15 servings so feel free to knock that back a little. I would still use the full can of soup if you are cutting the recipe in half, unless you have a use for the remaining half can of soup.

Shredded Beef (Quick Cooking)
  • 3 lb beef, cut into large pieces
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • ¾ c chopped celery
  • 1 ½ c ketchup
  • 2/3 c water
  • ¼ c lemon juice
  • 1/3 c Worcestershire sauce
  • 3T brown sugar
  • 3T cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • dash hot pepper sauce
Place beef in crock pot. Add onions and celery. Combine remaining ingredients in bowl and pour over meat. Stir to be sure all meat parts are covered. Cover and cook on high 6-8 hours or low 8-10 hours. Remove meat, shred with a fork, return to the sauce and serve over buns/rolls.

Cheddar Spirals (adapted from Quick Cooking)
  • 16 oz spiral pasta; cooked
  • 2 c half and half cream
  • 1 can cheddar cheese soup
  • ½ c butter
  • 4 c shredded cheddar cheese

In large sauce pan combine cream, soup and butter. Cook over medium heat until smooth. Stir in the cheese until melted. Then add in the pasta and stir until well combined.


Grilled Chicken with BBQ Sauce

  1. Since it's not exactly okra season yet, buy the pre-breaded frozen okra and then fry it after your fish is cooked. Or fry the okra first so you can snack on it while you are cooking the fish.
  2. No secret breading here for the catfish. Just estimated proportions and it's hard to over season stuff before you fry it.

Fried Catfish
  • 2-3lb catfish fillets
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, onion powder
  • 1 c milk
  • 1 egg
Combine milk and egg in a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl combine dry ingredients. Dip filets in milk mixture then dredge through the flour mixture. Fry in hot oil. As the edges start to cook, use that as your guide to flip the fish over and cook the other side.

Fried Okra

  • ½ c mayo
  • 1 ½ tsp honey
  • ¾ tsp sugar
  • ¾ tsp mustard
  • 1/8 tsp celery salt
  • 2 c shredded cabbage
  • 1 c grated carrots

In small bowl combine first 5 ingredients. In larger bowl toss cabbage and carrots. Add mayo mixture and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving.  

Grocery Deals 3/16

Sun Harvest grapes .99/lb, clementines $3/3#, navel oranges .49/lb (vs. .69 Sprouts, .77 Newflower), potatoes $3/10#, legs/thighs .99/lb

Newflower avocados .50, grapefruit 3/$1, broccoli .88/lb

Sprouts strawberries 1.29/lb (vs 2.48 HEB, $3 Randalls), blackberries 1.29 (vs 1.50HEB), clementines $3/3#, red/yellow peppers .88, oats .69/lb

HEB cantaloupe $1, apples .88/lb, chicken breast $1/lb, pork loin roast 1.97/lb, beef roast 2.77/lb, boneless chicken 1.98/lb, seedless watermelon $4.77

Randalls pork loin roast 1.97/lb, boneless chicken 1.99/lb, 1015 onions .99/lb, navel oranges $4/8#

Fiesta (for the first time since Hurricane Ike came through, I got the Fiesta ad in time to share it with y’all, and check out the drive time specials!) navel oranges .10 ea, boneless chicken 1.99/lb, grapefruit 5/$1, onions .33/lb

$10 min additional purchase: brisket 1.79/lb, pork chops 1.49/lb,

Drive time specials: W-F only and ONLY 4-7pm: seedless watermelon .99, boneless chicken 1.29/lb, pineapples 1.49

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ode to My Aggie

Well it's not so much of an 'Ode', but I'm happy to say that within the very recent past we were able to pay off the last student loan that we've been draggin around for the last five years since our Aggie finished his senior year and started on his 'victory lap'.  L thinks it's funny how quick he managed to finish when he started paying for things.  :)    

I never understood Aggies, growing up in Austin and having orange blood for so long.  Then all he did was go to a football game with a friend from church, and he thought he'd like to go to school there too.  When 'the big envelope' from A&M came that April, he was set.  

S never one to be out of step with his older brother, left the room gathered all of the UT gear out of his room and put it on my bed and said, you can have it all.  I'm an Aggie now too.  Dad was quiet, like everything, and took it all in, but a silver ATM found it's way onto the back of his pickup.  It took a few more months to convert mom, but of course they did.  Aggies are pretty nice folks once you get to know them; except for those 2nd year guys in the Corps (and momma don't say their name in polite company).  

Of course he found a delightful Aggie to marry and well that just makes it all great.  

Here's the song that just makes me all verklempt, yes, even just reading it.  

Some may boast of prowess bold
Of the school they think so grand
But there's a spirit can ne'er be told
It's the Spirit of Aggieland.
We are the Aggies - the Aggies are we
True to each other as Aggies can be
We've got to FIGHT boys
We've got to fight!
We've got to fight for Maroon and White
After they've boosted all the rest
They will come and join the best
For we are the Aggies - the Aggies are we
We're from Texas A.M.C.
(A yell sequence follows; traditionally deleted at Muster)
Fight! Fight! Fight-fight-fight!
Fight! Maroon! White-White-White!
Texas! Texas! A-M-C!
Gig 'em, Aggies, 1-2-3
Farmers fight! Farmers fight!
Fight! Fight!
Farmers, farmers fight!
A! Whoop!

So here's to my boy from the Fightin Texas Aggie Class of 2006.  You've made your Momma (and whole family) proud.  Thanks and Gig 'em.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Weekly Menu 3/12+

Chicken Spaghetti
Red potatoes, Green beans & Corn
Chewy Pecan Cookie Squares
Beef Stroganoff
Shake n Bake Chicken
Stove Top Stuffing
Ranch Style Beans
Pig n Blanket
Corned Beef, Potatoes & Carrots
Irish Soda Bread
Pot o' Gold Jello
Cheese Pizza
Carrot Sticks

  1. This recipe makes a LOT of chicken spaghetti. If you are inviting Janet over for supper, she'll happily take the leftovers home since this is her favorite dish of all time. Otherwise this is a good one to share with a neighbor or friend.
Chicken Spaghetti
  • 1 boiled or otherwise cooked chicken removed from the bones ~3-4 c.
  • 1c chopped celery
  • 1c chopped onion
  • 1 chopped bell pepper
  • 16 oz spaghetti, cooked in chicken stock
  • 1 stick butter
If you need to boil the chicken today, reserve the liquid for cooking the spaghetti. Melt butter and saute celery, onion and pepper; combine with chicken in 9x13 pan. Add in spaghetti.
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 c flour
  • 4 c milk
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 lb velveeta
Stir these ingredients over a low heat until well blended. Pour sauce over chicken,veggies and spaghetti mixture in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


  1. The cookie recipe tonight calls for no butter or eggs, because you get what you need from the mayo. Sounds crazy if you've never heard of cooking with mayo before but it is made of oil and egg yolks, and it aint half bad. :)
Red Potatoes with Green Beans and Corn
  • red potatoes
  • green beans
  • 1-2 c frozen corn
  • butter
  • salt & pepper
Wash and cube potatoes, if needed, into 1” cubes. Put the potatoes on to boil. After 10 minutes add the corn, cook for another 5 minutes. Finally add the green beans and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the beans are tender enough for your family. Drain all the water and add butter, salt and pepper.

Chewy Pecan Cookie Squares
¾ c brown sugar
½ c mayo (no fat free stuff)
1 tsp vanilla
1 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ c chopped pecans

In large bowl mix sugar, mayo, and vanilla until well blended. Stir in flour and baking powder. Fold in ½ c pecans. Dough will be thick and sticky. Press into well-greased 8” square baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining pecans; press into dough. Bake for 15 min at 350 or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack. Cookies are soft when hot, but firm when cool.

  1. This will cook really well in the crock pot or you can cook it on the stovetop as well depending on how much time you have today.
  2. Using a roast cut into 1” pieces really makes a good stroganoff, PLUS you can usually find a roast on sale for $1.99/lb and that is less than ground beef. A double bonus; tastes better AND costs less.
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.


  1. Whenever I think about Shake n Bake I can't help but think of that obnoxious little girl saying, “It's Shake n Bake, and I hayelped.” Guess that was good advertising because it's stuck with me for over 30 years. But Shake and Bake is good to eat and the kids can help if you want them to.
  2. This is a little bit of a carb heavy meal, but I was stuck tonight filling in the last of the menu and so I asked for help from the guys around my house. What can I say, they love stuffing and ranch style beans together. Feel free to add something green.
Shake N Bake Chicken
Stove Top Stuffing
Ranch Style Beans

  1. This is a very flexible recipe, you can make your own dough to save dough, or you can 'splurge' and used canned biscuits or crescent rolls to wrap whatever sausage product you pick.
  2. This is another good recipe to involve the kids in helping with.
Pig n Blankets
  • Canned bread or biscuit dough
  • Hot dogs all the way to a tasty sausage
  • American cheese slices (optional)
  • Honey Mustard for dipping
Spread out dough and wrap, place cheese on dough, then wrap the meat around either sealing it all the way around or leaving the ends exposed. I like to see that the meat looks cooked before I take them out so I tend to leave the ends open on mine.


  1. If you don’t have buttermilk for the bread add 2 ½ T vinegar in measuring cup and then add remaining milk to get to 2 ½ c total volume. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes; stir and then use in bread recipe.
  2. Feel free to use sugar-free lemon jello tonight too.
Corned Beef with Potatoes & Carrots
  • Corned beef brisket tip
  • large cubed potatoes
  • baby carrots or peeled coarsely chopped carrots
Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and cook all day. If you use a pre-seasoned corned beef you likely wont need to add salt.

Soda Bread (Family Fun)
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk

Heat the oven to 400°. Combine everything but the buttermilk in a large bowl and stir the ingredients with your hands. Make a well in the mixture and pour in 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk.
Continue mixing with your hands, adding the remaining cup of buttermilk as you combine the ingredients. The resulting dough will be wet and very sticky.
Dust your hands with flour, shape the dough into a ball, and place it on a floured cookie sheet (we used a nonstick baking mat). With a knife, score a deep X in the top of the ball, widening it with the sides of the blade as you cut.
Bake the bread until it's golden brown, about 50 minutes. Transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Makes a crusty, dense loaf about 7 inches in diameter.

Pot o' Gold Jello
Make lemon jello in a flat jelly roll pan and then cut into cubes or circles

  1. Be creative with the crust ideas tonight. Leftover soda bread might be just the thing.
  2. Add meat if you would like, or skip it and do a three cheese combo.
Cheese Pizza
Carrot Sticks