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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weekly Menu 9/3+


one-pan baked chicken & potatoes
green beans

hot dogs & hamburgers
grilled corn

Labor Day cook-out
smoked chicken
baked potato salad

PW meatballs


pork cacciatore

deep dish pizza
ice cream sandwiches

I got a new issue of Kraft Food & Family in the last week.  I’ll think you’ll figure that out by the time you get done reading the source of several recipes. 

One-pan Baked Chicken & Potatoes (Kraft Food & Family)
·         ½ c Italian dressing
·         3T brown sugar
·         1T chopped fresh thyme (1 tsp dry)
·         1-2 sweet potatoes; cut into ¾” wide spears
·         1-2 white potatoes; cut into ¾” wide spears
·         3lb chicken pieces
Mix dressing, sugar and thyme in large bowl.  Add potatoes; toss to coat.  Transfer potatoes to large roasting pan (15x10x1) reserving dressing mixture in bowl.  Add chicken to reserved dressing; toss to coat.  Place in pan with potatoes.  Bake 1 hour or until potatoes are tender and chicken is done (165 degrees). 

Green Beans

1.        It’s getting close to the end of summer (even I am beginning to be ready now that we’ve had 75 days >100), so I have two cook out days back to back.  Because if you’ve just moved to Michigan you know that winter is right around the corner even though everyone else there still thinks it summer.  No y’all don’t look strange wearing sweaters all the time.  
2.       m&m cookies are my favorite, but feel free to make your favorite kind.  If you mix up a batch of dough today, just bake enough for your family today.  Then freeze ‘drops’ of dough on a sheet of wax paper in your freezer.  Next time you want fresh baked cookies you can pull out just the right number of dough balls to satisfy that craving. 
Hot dogs
Grilled corn
No need to shuck corn first.  Just place on the grill and rotate a few times over the course of 20-25 minutes while the burgers cook.  It will stay moist inside the husks while it cooks. 

Smoked Chicken
Baked Potato Salad
·         4-5 potatoes; peeled (unless using red potatoes) and cubed
·         ½ c sour cream
·         ½ c mayo
·         ½ c cheddar cheese
·         ¼ c bacon bits
·         ¼ c chopped green onion
·         Salt & pepper to taste
Boil potatoes until cooked, but not too squishy.  You want them to maintain their shape once you start mixing around the salad. While potatoes are cooking, mix remaining ingredients together.  Allow potatoes to cool for 15-20 minutes so it doesn’t melt the cheese when you mix them with the ‘dressing’.  Combine and enjoy. 


1.        I have a batch of these meatballs in my freezer just waiting for the sauce to be poured on and then make their way into the oven.  I’m really going to appreciate my prep work tonight. 
PW Meatballs (Pioneer Woman)
·         1-1/2 pound Ground Beef
·         3/4 cups Oats
·         1 cup Milk
·         3 Tablespoons Very Finely Minced Onion
·         1-1/2 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.



1.        Tonight we dust off our crock pots.  Mine’s been in the cabinet most of the summer. 
2.       You can use the Texas pork ribs that were on sale at HEB for this dish, even though the recipe calls for pork tenderloin.

Pork Cacciatore (Kraft Food & Family)
·         1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
·         6oz tomato paste
·         2 green peppers, chopped
·         8 oz fresh mushrooms
·         1 small onion, chopped
·         1lb pork tenderloin
·         1 tsp dried oregano
·         2 c pasta (penne); cooked
·         1 T cornstarch
·         ¼ water
·         1 c mozzarella cheese, grated
·         2T parmesan cheese
Mix tomatoes and paste in slow cooker until well blended.  Stir in veggies.  Cut meat into 8 pieces, pound to ½” thickness (or just cut up the pork ribs instead).  Sprinkle with oregano and add to slow cooker.  Press into the sauce.  Cover with lid; cook on low 4-5 hours.  Hmmm If I make this during the week I’ll probably just cook it all day and hope for the best.  Mix cornstarch and water until well blended.  Remove meat to a plate.  Add cornstarch mixtures to sauce; stir.  Cook covered on HIGH 6-8 minutes, or until thickened.  Serve over pasta, top with cheese. 

EZ Deep Dish Pizza (Kraft Food & Family)
·         ½ lb Italian bulk sausage; cooked
·         ½ c chopped onions
·         ½ c chopped green peppers
·         ½ c more favorite veggies (mushrooms, black olives, green olives etc)
·         ½ c pizza sauce (or use spaghetti sauce)
·         1 can refrigerated pizza dough
·         8 oz mozzarella cheese, divided
Heat oven to 350.  Brown sausage and veggies together; drain and then add pizza sauce until warm.  Unroll pizza dough; press onto bottom and up sides of a 9” deep-dish pie plate sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle ½ c chees onto bottom of crust; cover with sausage mixture and remaining cheese. 

Mini-ice cream sandwiches 

Grocery Deals 8/31

Sprouts     cantaloupes .77, grapes (3 color choices).77/lb, oranges .77/lb, pears .77/lb, plums .77/lb, peaches/nectarines .77/lb, tomatoes .77/lb, lettuce .88, red/yellow/orange peppers .88, green peppers .49, baby carrots .99, grape tomatoes .99, chicken breast 1.67/lb (vs 1.97 HEB)

HEB         corn 6/$1 (vs Randalls 5/$1), celery .67, peaches .77/lb, brisket 1.47 (limit 1 with $10), beef fajitas 2.97/lb, TX pork ribs 2.97/lb, MAYBE: pork fajitas 1.97/lb & chicken breast fajitas 1.97/lb

Randalls    grillmates seasonings $1, ribeye steak 4.99 (with coupon on ad), Bluebell 3.99

Monday, August 29, 2011

Missy's all Caught Up

Last week Wednesday we broke the 1925 record for most days over 100 in a summer.  That was day 70, we’ve kept going since then.  Anyway, I came home to find a large white truck with a cattle trailer at the gate ahead of me.  Turns out it was Mrs. St, her son M, Mrs. St’s friend (I didn’t get her name, but will call her Mrs. W) and her daughter.    As we got to the house I noticed that the cows were all penned up; including Missy. Ohhh, this could be good.  

Turns out they were there to load up the cows and take them to the sale in town on Thursday because there is just nothing for the poor animals to eat, except okra and I’m not sacrificing that for them (K, you’re welcome).

M is 15 and was very good at getting the calves all separated from the mommas, then down the chute and into the trailer.  L was out there helping too and I sent J outside to watch since loading up cows doesn’t happen every day around here.  I’d guess they were done in about 20 minutes. 

They headed off to the sale barn to drop off those babies and then they were coming back to pick up the mommas.  They got back about 7:45, just as it was starting to get dark.  That’s when the fun really started. 

M hopped into the pen, and when you see a skinny 15 year old boy scale a seven foot high fence in one climbing step it’s impressive.  They got four cows onto the trailer successfully. Here he is showing us how cool the sparks look between the cattle prod and the fence.  

He started getting four of the mommas down the chute, but they are smart and know that going down the chute could be their near final walk.  You can bet Missy knows this. 

When the cows stopped being cooperative and started breaking through the wooden stringers that separate the pen into sections L, Mrs. St and Mrs. W got into the pen too.  Oh I should mention that Mrs. W had just gotten off of work when she started with all this cow moving business, she was still in her work clothes.  She was just there to drive the truck so no big deal right?  I stayed out of everyone’s way to watch the ‘kids’ who were clinging to the fence with all the excitement. 

Then I noticed this:

Yes, those are Mrs. W’s shoes.  She had been on the gate of the trailer, outside the pen with flip flops, but now that she was in the pen she had shucked the shoes.  Wow. 

Then the next cow they got (certifiably crazy and likely Missy’s mentee) was headed down the chute but caught a little glimmer of daylight between the head gate and the trailer and started fighting for freedom (great picture I know).  You can see two humans trying to get a thrashing cow into the trailer.  The cow is black and I didn't want to get any closer.  

I’m pretty sure I heard Missy call to her to go for it.  It sounded like a moo to everyone else there, but I understand her a little more.  The black cow had her head and a little shoulder out in the free air and after they tried really hard to get her turned into the trailer, they decided to pull the truck forward let her go and 'get her' another day. 

That was all it took to get the remaining cows and one bull really riled.  They had seen one of their own have success.  They knew the humans could be beaten.  It was a near frenzy in the pen at this point with two teenaged boys (M’s friend and dad showed up with an extra trailer), two men and two women all trying really hard to get the next one down the chute.
It's another fabulous picture I know.  Please imagine almost mayhem...

Missy was almost down the chute once or twice, but that day the horns saved her because her big ol' head won’t fit down the chute.  After ten or fifteen more minutes of more boards breaking, cows running in circles, people jumping out of the way, dust stirring up like you can’t imagine, and darkness setting in Mrs. St calls everyone off.  "Ok, we are tearing up Mr S’s pen, someone is going to get hurt and I don’t want to go to the hospital tonight.  Since one got away we’ll go ahead and let these go and just come back for them next week."  She's a wise woman.

One point Missy and her peers.    

They are free for now.  But plans are in the works; likely on both sides.  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Cow that Got My Goat

A little more than a week ago I posted about how the pool filter got busted.  I had my prime suspect and I named names; Missy.  I thought a little background on our ‘relationship’ would be good, especially with some other things that are coming up in ‘our’ future.
Missy came to live at our place about four or five years ago.  

She is the only cow that has horns.  Yes, cows can have horns.  The bull who lives here does not have any horns.  You’ll have to get past the preconceived notions you might have about bovine animals; I did too. 

Missy does not belong to us, she belongs to our neighbor Mr. St.  He runs his cows on our place in exchange for us keeping our grass down and agricultural tax exemption status in place.  His benefit is that he gets to run more cows that he would if he only had his side to do that on. 

We’ll call it four summers ago I had a lovely garden, until one cow in particular busted through the 2” square wire fencing and chomped down all the corn, squash and a good portion of tomatoes.  How did Missy know where the seam was on that fence???? She found it, remembered it and she exploited it.  The fence was repaired enough to keep her out most of the remainder of the summer.

Next summer as the hot days drew long and the only green things left around were the garden veggies, she found a new spot to break in.  Mr. St got my angry call and came over with some more fence wire. 
The interesting thing about Missy is that she is just smarter than the average cow.  Oh, she knew I was mad at her.  Particularly when I would find her in the garden and I’d scream at her, clap my hands and chase her out.  So as that summer progressed she began watching me, and I her. 

When the cows would be up by the house I would watch her through the window and she would look for me before she would head down to the garden.  If I saw her making her move I would come outside and she would act like she was just casually grazing again and start to walk away from the house.  But, as soon as I turned around to go back in she would stop and look.  I had work to do inside and it was hot so I couldn’t stay out there all day. She was definitely getting the upper hand.  

Last summer when the game started, L and S put up a strand of barbed wire to keep her out.  That lasted all of about 5 minutes before they had to listen to me complain about how things were being eaten again.  So they sacrificed their solar-powered hot wire that protects one of the back pastures and put it up around the garden.  I won’t lie, I took a little joy watching her get zapped the first time she started after my veggies.  One point to me. 

This summer with the addition of the coop on the edge of the garden, the hot wire had to come down on one side of the garden.  For the most part Missy has been leaving the garden alone.  I did take it very personally when she busted the filter last week, because she’s seen me enjoy the pool nearly every night of the summer.  One point Missy 

After the filter was busted, she started going in over the fence on the one side with no hot wire to have a little okra salad. Another point to Missy.  

I was able to get the filter part replaced and we are back to swimming again as of yesterday.  Half-point to me. 

There's more to this story, but that's it for today.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Weekly Menu 8/27+


beef & bacon stroganoff
green beans

roasted sticky chicken
baked potatoes

pick your favorite salad

salisbury steak

cajun macque choux

garlic bread

cowboy pie
refried beans w/ cream cheese

Beef and Bacon Stroganoff  (Mom)

·         1 lb ground beef (I used a roast, cut up into smaller pieces)
·         5 thick-sliced bacon strips, chopped
·         1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
·         1 medium onion, chopped
·         2 garlic cloves, minced
·         2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
·         1 can (14 ½ oz) beef broth (I used French Onion soup + ½ can water)
·         1 can condensed cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup, undiluted
·         2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
·         1 teaspoon pepper
·         ¼ teaspoon salt
·         ¼ teaspoon paprika
·         1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
·         2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the beef, bacon, mushrooms, onion and garlic until beef is no longer pink. Stir in flour until blended.  Mix broth, soup, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt and paprika.  Pour over meat mixture.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (Since I used a roast, I decided that I should simmer longer and I simmered covered for 45 minutes).  Stir horseradish into sour cream, then stir into the meat mixture.  Heat through but do not boil.

Egg Noodles
Green Beans

Roasted Sticky Chicken
1.       Saturday night get your chicken ready. If you are just getting to the store on today, get it marinating as soon in the day as possible.
2.       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.

Baked Potatoes
I like to wash and prick the potatoes, sprinkle some salt on them and then cook them on HI in the microwave for about 5 minutes, just to get them warmed up and started cooking.  Finish them in the oven in about 30 minutes and you’ll avoid the gummy texture of a nuked potato. 

Pick your Favorite Salad, or one that you haven’t had a chance to make yet this summer.  I might do the Frito salad again with the Catalina dressing….

1.        This isn’t necessarily the most gourmet version of Salisbury steak, but the idea is to get something onto the table for dinner tonight and not take forever in making it happen. 
Salisbury Steak
·         1lb ground meat
·         salt & pepper
·         1 sliced onion
·         8 oz mushrooms
·         1 packet brown gravy mix
Mix salt and pepper into ground meat; shape into patties.  Brown patties on both sides and remove to a plate; drain all but 2T fat.  Sautee mushrooms and onions in remaining fat or add a little butter if ya need to; cook for ~ 5min. Add gravy mix and water (listed on packet) stir well to get out the lumps.  Return meat to skillet stir well.  Reduce heat , cover and simmer about 10 minutes until gravy is thickened and meat is cooked through. 

1.       This recipe came from a cookbook on J’s shelf while I was visiting them this summer.  After making this I’ve adjusted the original recipe to make it more practical.  For example, the original recipe called for fresh corn and then ‘milking’ the cobs to get the corn starch from them.  The crazy thing is that the recipe never had you add the ‘corn milk’. 
2.       I think this was tantamount to chopping off the ends of the roast before you put it in the pan, cuz Grandma did it that way.  Well duh, her pan was too short and I don’t know what she did with corn milk except give it to the chickens.  I used frozen corn and the chickens ate bugs instead. 
Cajun Macque Choux (Mom’s Best One-Dish Suppers)
·         4 c corn (5-6 ears, if you want to scrape it off yourself)
·         2 strips bacon chopped, reserve the fat (I used real bacon bits and butter)
·         1 diced onion
·         1 each green & red pepper, diced
·         1 chili diced & seeded
·         4 roma tomatoes, diced
·         1 c fresh okra, chopped (this is optional, but I had it on hand and it was a great addition)
·         ½ c cream
·         2T fresh basil
·         1 tsp thyme
·         ¼ tsp black pepper + ¼ tsp white pepper
·         Salt
·         1 lb peeled shrimp (or 2 c diced chicken)
·         2 scallions, chopped (white and green parts)
·         2T parsley, chopped
Cook veggies in butter or bacon fat.  Add corn and tomatoes; stir in cream and reduce.  Add basil, thyme, pepper, salt.  Cover, reduce heat to medium, simmer 10 minutes.  Stir in shrimp, cover simmer 5 minutes.  Stir in scallions and parsley. 


Garlic Bread

Cowboy Pie
·         1 lb bulk pork sausage, cooked
·         2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix
·         2 eggs
·         2/3 c milk
·         1 tsp sugar
·         ½ c grated cheddar cheese
·         2T butter, cut in small pieces
Cook the sausage in a cast iron skillet; drain.  While sausage cooks, mix up corn bread batter including sugar.  Allow to sit for about five minutes before pouring over meat.  Sprinkle cheese over the cooked meat.  While the skillet is still hot, pour the corn bread mixture over the meat and cheese.  Push the batter around the meat and then push in the little pieces of butter into the batter.  It creates these delightful little pockets of goodness when the pie is all baked.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through; slice and then serve in wedges. 

Refried Beans with cream cheese
                Combine one can of refried beans with 2-4 oz of soft cream cheese with chives.