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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Weekly Menu 6/2+


guisada enchiladas
salsa salad

bbq chicken
baked potato salad
cucumbers in sour cream

stuffed shells
crusty bread

grilled chicken salad

pork chops
rice a roni
green beans

blueberry waffles

sausage wraps
mac and cheese

Carne Guisada Enchiladas

Grocery Deals 5/30+

Randalls   whole pork loin 1.99/lb, boneless chicken 1.99/lb, roast 2.99/lb, grapes 1.48/lb, strawberries $2/lb, broccoli 1.49/lb, corn .50,
Sprouts   cantaloupe .99 (vs $2 Randalls), grapes .99/lb (vs 1.77 HEB), strawberries $2, oranges .88/lb, lettuce .88, avocados .88, cluster tomatoes .88/lb, onions .49/lb, reen oninos .49, green bell peppers .49, red/yellow/orange peppers .88, seedless watermelon $4 (vs.$7 Randalls)
HEB        peaches .67/lb (vs .88 Sprouts), pineapple 2.50, blueberries 18 oz $4.48, yellow squash .98/lb, legs/thighs $1/lb (vs 1.69 Randalls), Tx beef ribs 2.97/bl, pork ribeyes 1.97 (these were really tender a couple of weeks ago), bratwurst 1.97/lb, bacon 2.98/lb, beef fajitas 2.97/lb

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tuesday's Terrific Tip--Just Do It

This week we will again have a guest idea thanks to T's suggestion from last weekend that everyone share one idea.  Well this week it is L's turn, but not L my husband.  Please don't get them confused; they are very different people, and I love them both.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Weekly Menu 5/26+


baked potatoes
peanut butter chocolate banana pie

garden herb chicken
tomato wedges
butter dips

hamburgers/hot dogs
grilled potatoes

summer veggie stir fry

carne guisada

pork chops
green beans

salad w/ blueberries
garlic bread

Baked Potatoes
Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Cream Pie (Kraft Food & Family)
35  NILLA Wafers, finely crushed (about 1 cup)
¼ cup butter, melted
2 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
½ cup PLANTERS Creamy Peanut Butter
2 bananas, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into quarters
2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
2 cups cold milk
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided
2 Tbsp. PLANTERS Salted Peanuts, coarsely chopped

HEAT oven to 350ºF.
MIX wafer crumbs and butter until well blended; press onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate. Bake 5 to 8 min. or until golden brown. Cool completely. Meanwhile, make chocolate curls from 1/2 chocolate square. Refrigerate.
MICROWAVE remaining 1-1/2 chocolate squares and peanut butter in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min.; stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Place bananas in crust; drizzle with melted chocolate.
BEAT pudding mixes and milk in large bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in 1 cup COOL WHIP. Spread over bananas; top with remaining COOL WHIP.
REFRIGERATE 3 hours. Top with chocolate curls and nuts just before serving.

Garden Herb Chicken (Kraft Food & Family)
2 c fresh parsley
1 clove garlic
1 tsp each: thyme, lemon zest
½ c Italian dressing
Combine ingredients in Ziploc bag, add chicken and marinate at least 30 minutes.  Grill until cooked. 

Tomato wedges
Butter Dips  (Nana from Granny)

Melt in 13*9 inch pan          1/3 cup butter (2/3 stick)

Stir together in bowl                     2 1/4 cups flour
                                                1 Tbsp. sugar
                                                3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
                                                1 1/2 tsp. salt

Add to dry ingredients                   1 cup milk

Stir slowly with fork until dough just clings together.  Turn on well-floured board.  Roll over to coat with flour.  Knead lightly about 5 times.  Roll out 1/2 inch thick into a rectangle, 12*8.  With floured knife, cut dough in half lengthwise, then crosswise at one inch intervals.  Dip each strip in butter on both sides and lay close together in two rows in pan.  Bake until golden brown.  Serve hot. 

Temperature:  450
Time:  Bake 15 to 20 minutes
Amount:  32 Butter Dips

Cheese Butter Dips:  Add 1/2 cup grated cheese to dry ingredients. 
Garlic Butter Dips:  Add 1/2 clove garlic, finely minced, to butter before melting. 
Cinnamon Butter Dips:  Sprinkle mixture of 2 tsp. sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
      over Butter Dips before baking. 

Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book -- 1956
This was one of Granny Arnold's cook books, which she gave to me in 1964.

Monday—Memorial Day
Hot Dogs
Potato Skewers (Kraft Food & Family)
2lb red potatoes, cubed
¾ c mayo
2T Dijon mustard
½ tsp pepper
2T parmesan cheese
Par-boil potatoes until almost tender, dunk in a cold water bath to cool.  Mix mayo, mustard and pepper in large bowl; toss with cooled potatoes.  Refrigerate 1 hour.  Heat grill to medium heat.  Thread potatoes onto skewers; brush with mayo mixture remaining in bowl. Grill 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are GBD (golden brown and delicious), turning halfway through.  Transfer to platter and sprinkle with cheese.
Kick off the BBQ season right and have Smores & Watermelon

Summer Veggie Stir-Fry (Pioneer Woman)
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
12 whole Jumbo Shrimp, Peeled, Deveined, Tails Left On
2 whole Zucchini, Sliced On A Slight Diagonal
2 ears Corn, Kernels Sliced Off
½ cups Grape Tomatoes, Sliced In Half Lengthwise
Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste
Chopped Fresh Herbs, If Desired
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic. When oil/butter is hot, add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Remove to a plate. Do not clean skillet.

Add the rest of the butter and oil and heat over medium heat. Add zucchini slices in a single layer and cook for one minute, tossing once. Scoot the zucchini to the edges of the pan, then add corn kernels to the middle of the pan. Cook for one minute. Add grape tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and toss around, then add shrimp. Cook for an additional 30 seconds, then remove from heat. Serve on a big platter.

Hint: Much better after it’s been allowed to cool for a bit! Yummy and refreshing.

This cooks very well in the crock pot
Make some extra and save it for next week’s enchiladas. 
Carne Guisada
2T oil
1-2 lb stew meat or cut up roast
1 can rotel
½ c chopped onions
10 oz beef broth or bullion
3 cloves minced garlic
1-2 tsp chili powder (or more)
½ t cumin
½ t pepper
2 tsp corn starch (or more)
Place all ingredients (except corn starch) in crock pot. Stir together and cook on low all day.  When you return, pull off about 1-2 c of broth and add to a sauce pan.  Combine with corn starch until thickened.  Return thickened gravy back to crock pot and stir to thicken the rest of your meat.

Cheese, avocado, sour cream

Pork Chops
Green Beans

Salad w/ blueberries
Garlic Bread

Grocery Deals 5/23+

Sprouts    blueberries .99, peaches .99/lb (vs 1.27 HEB), strawberries $2, apples .99/lb, cherries 3.99/lb (not a great deal until you compare to Randalls 6.99/lb), cucumbers .49, green bell peppers .49 (vs $1 Randalls), onions .49/lb (vs. $1 Randalls), cabbage .49/lb, celery .99, broccoli .99/lb, green beans .99/lb, avocados .99, cluster tomatoes .99/lb, boneless chicken 1.99/lb, bluebell ice cream 3.99

Randalls   sirloin steak 2.99/lb, 93% lean ground beef 2.99/lb, ½ gallon milk .99 (with coupon; limit 3)

HEB         seedless watermelon $5, blackberries 1.50 (vs $2 Sprouts), corn .17 ea, chicken or pork fajitas 1.97/lb, boneless chicken 1.98/lb, beef fajitas 2.97/lb

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tuesday's Terrific Tip--Do Nothing

Ha ha, what a great title.  It sounds really good, doesn't it??? Maybe because it is Monday evening and I am still working on the laundry from the weekend.  The weekend was wonderful and well worth the fact that it is Monday and I am still doing laundry.

T, my Marketing Director, was hard at work over the weekend.  While we were driving across Houston Saturday afternoon T asked each of us what one piece of advice we would like to share with the group.  As I started listening to the group it was clear these needed to be shared.  Everyone agreed that I could share their advice with you, all of the bloggy readers.  You folks in blog-land get to have the sage advice we came up with too!  

Starting in somewhat random order; up first is Nana.

Never do anything out of duty, but do it because you want to.  If you are doing the 'thing' out of duty or obligation, it will show up on your face and in your attitude as you do the task.  People will know you don't want to be there.

The example she gave was, if you don't want to visit a friend in the hospital because you are dog tired, then don't.  Call them, tell them you are thinking of them and that you'll visit tomorrow morning after you've had a night of sleep and a cup of coffee.
Figure out if you have the 'want to' to get the job done.  If you don't see if you can outsource it.  You know things like cleaning floors or doing dishes.  Three years old is not too young to start teaching a child how to do simple tasks around the house.

Then you can outsource the jobs to your kids!  Or you can hire a maid, or tell someone, "No, I won't be able to make 12 dozen cupcakes tomorrow," or that you don't want to serve on that committee or take on the extra project or whatever.

Be bold.  Be strong.  Say no!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Frugal Friday--Girl's Weekend

This weekend I am off gallivanting around SoHo with 'the girls'.  We make it a point to get together once a year with no men and no kids.  It's a time that we can all just be ourselves.  And if given the opportunity, we start the weekend as early as Thursday night, which is the case this year.

The frugal part of this whole weekend is that we take turns staying at each other's houses. So there are the comforts of home and while we have successfully crammed into a one bedroom apartment trying to recreate that feeling in a hotel room just wouldn't be as easy.

We plan meals, ok feasts, and we've come to learn that we'll all feel better (ie less stuffed) if we only plan a breakfast and a dinner; and of course some chocolate.

We all bring items that we have on hand to cook the meals.  This time we are planning around S's 7 pounds of breakfast sausage that she got a great deal on and three squash from the neighbor's garden.

There is plenty of time to relax.  The nice thing is that with seven very capable women is if you don't feel like helping cook or clean up after a meal you don't have to lift a finger.

We've been known to go bowling, thrift store shopping, spend two hours at Big Lots, eat a whole fish at a Chinese restaurant, go to a comedy show (little baby owls), see a gingerbread house extravaganza and lots more that I can't mention... but mostly because I can't remember it.

Might sound boring but when you're with friends it all becomes fun.

Of course you can sleep in to your heart's desire, but if you sleep too long you'll start to miss out on some of the fun and laughter that happens whenever two or more are awake.

Plus you'll start to develop your list of key words, phrases and series of insides jokes that only another girl from the group could possibly understand.  I will NOT tell you any...

We also usually do a craft together.  Last year we painted gourd birdhouses.  It's fun to see what everyone comes up with.  Some prefer the simplistic and others like to get more complicated.

There is the requisite chick flick, though last year we watched The King's Speech which is hardly a chick flick, but was certainly a great movie.

One more thing if you are thinking oh my kids have so much going on, I can't take the time away...I might miss a baseball or soccer game.  Your husband is quite capable of handling a weekend at home without you.  Jr will have PLENTY of games in his Little League sports career and while they all might seem important in the moment, in the grand scheme of things those darned kids grow up and leave home anyway.  All you are left with is your friends to make you laugh so you can stop crying.  BUT...

If you don't take the time now to foster, build and encourage friendships you'll find yourself alone.  Maybe you don't think that's a bad thing, but when you see a funny movie isn't it better to have someone to laugh with you about it?

Though there was that one movie theater in PA that I should never go back to because I laughed SO HARD and was all by myself.  That's definitely the exception though.

Anywhooo....  invite someone to lunch, a movie, invite yourself to their house for coffee and almond milk, or any event going on in town or at your church.  Then see if you can wrangle up a group of girls to hang out with for an afternoon or a weekend. You'll have a great time.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Weekly Menu 5/19+


cheesy bacon mini-meatloaf
green beans

baked chicken
baked potato

italian sausage & peppers

chicken fried rice
egg rolls
sliced oranges

corn on the cob
spinach salad

mexicali skillet dinner
ez spanish rice

cornmeal pancakes
sausage patties
blueberries & strawberries

Make Ahead Cheesy Bacon Mini Meatloaves (Kraft)
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
3 green onions, sliced
3/4 cup Mexican style finely shredded four cheese blend (generous 3/4 cup)
1 package (6 oz) Stove Top stuffing mix for chicken
1-1/2 pound lean ground beef
6 slices bacon

Whisk eggs and milk in a large bowl until blended.  Add all remaining ingredients (in order listed for ease of mixing) except bacon.  Mix lightly.  Shape into 6 (1 inch thick) patties.  Wrap bacon slice around edge of each patty.

Wrap individually in plastic wrap.  Place in freezer weight re-sealable plastic bag.  Seal bag.  Freeze up to 3 months.

To use ... Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Unwrap frozen patty (or patties).  Place on rimmed baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray (or use non-stick foil for easy cleanup).  Bake 40-45 minutes or until done, 160 degrees. 

If you prefer, frozen patties can be thawed overnight in the refrigerator before baking.  When ready to serve, bake in 375 degree oven for 35 minutes or until done.

Green Beans

--bake extra chicken tonight for Tuesday’s fried rice.

Baked Ranch Chicken
Sprinkle dry ranch dressing mix onto chicken
Bake in 375 oven for ~45 min (bone-in chicken)
Baked Potatoes

Italian Sausage and Peppers
Slice the sausage on the diagonal (think round parallelograms) so that you have a lot of surface area to get brown and crispy
Pasta w/ diced tomatoes and basil

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, you should have leftover chicken)
soy sauce or tamari
Cook calrose rice according to directions or reheat rice if you made extra last week. Heat some oil in wok or deep fry pan (I use about a tablespoon) and scramble one egg in it.  Remove egg and add some more oil (I add about 3T) to the pan, heating.  Add chopped onion, some thawed peas & carrots (and corn if you like), and anything else you like in your rice.  When the onions are tender, add the rice and add soy sauce to taste and stir with a big flat wooden spoon.  Add the cooked egg near the end of cooking time and stir well. When the rice is heated through and a bit crispy, it is ready to serve.
Egg Rolls, frozen
Orange Slices

Corn on the Cob
For those of you with a microwave or at least those not afraid to use it, you can nuke your corn, husk and all, for 3 min per ear up to about 6 min.  When finished all the silks will come right off as you husk it.
Spinach Salad
Spinach washed in warm water lets go of the sand easier
Sliced boiled eggs
Bacon bits

Mexicali Skillet Dinner (Frances Martinez)
  • 1 lb steak or roast cut into 1” pieces (salt and pepper)
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • ½ c chopped onions
  • ½ c chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp salt, garlic powder, cumin
Quarter squash and then slice into ½” pieces, set aside.  In medium skillet brown steak and onions in oil and ~1T butter (for flavor).  Remove meat and set aside.  In same skillet, combine squash, corn, tomatoes + sauce, seasonings; simmer.  Add meat and onions and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. 
Easy Spanish Rice
          Combine ½ c picante sauce plus 1 ½ c water to 1 c rice and simmer for 15 minutes.

Cornmeal Pancakes (Pioneer Woman)
1-1/2 cup (scant) All-purpose Flour
1-1/2 cup Heaping Yellow Cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Baking Powder
4 Tablespoons Sugar
2-1/4 cups Whole Milk (more If Needed)
2 whole Large Eggs
3 teaspoons Vanilla
4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
1 pint Blackberries
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Water
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
Extra Butter For Serving
Maple Or Pancake Syrup For Serving (optional)
Mix together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a bowl. Set aside.  In a separate bowl, mix milk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients, stirring gently.  Stir in melted butter. Set batter aside. If batter is overly thick, splash in a small amount of milk.  In a saucepan, combine blackberries, sugar, and water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 5 minutes on low. Stir in cornstarch, then continue cooking, using a whisk or spoon to mash the larger pieces of blackberries. Remove from heat when it's nice and thick.  Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. When heated, drop 1/4 cup batter per pancake and cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove from skillet and set aside.  Stack three pancakes, placing a pat of butter between each pancake. Drizzle with warm maple syrup, then spoon blackberry syrup over the top. Dig in!