Monday, June 25, 2012

Menu Plan 6/25-7/1

 Since our weekends are always so busy and we rarely ever stick with my original menu plan for Saturday and Sunday, I am just going to do an actual menu plan for the weekdays from now on. We always keep a well stocked freezer and pantry, so it is fairly easy to throw something together quickly for these nights ;-) We are grilling outdoors as much as possible this week in an attempt to keep our house as cool as possible with the 100 plus degree temps we've been having lately.
Monday: Spicy Grilled Lemon Chicken
Tuesday: Grilled Apple Brined Pork Chops
Wednesday: Keilbasa Stir Fry
Thursday: Steamed Mahi Mahi with Vegetables and Garlic Mustard Sauce
Friday: Pizza Night

I am so happy that most of my veggies are now coming from my garden again!!! I love going out every day to find the day's treasures ;-)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rice Krispie Treats

 We love Rice Krispie Treats, not only because they are yummy but also because they are so easy and versatile. So you can imagine how excited I was today when I discovered a recipe for Minty Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats!!! I can hardly wait to make these!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Menu Plan

This week, my hubby will be in Denver until Wednesday night and my son is sleeping over at a friend's tonight, so I am not going to be cooking a whole lot of food for two nights at least, so just playing it by ear. Of course, my mouth is salivating thinking about the menu I have planned for the rest of the week ;-)

Monday: Whatever ;-)
Tuesday: Whatever, again ;-)
Wednesday: Chicken Fried Steak
Thursday: Ratatouille (I use the recipe found in the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook from the 80's, which in my opinion is the best edition)
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: Crockpot Sesame Chicken (I haven't tried this recipe yet, so I am hoping this one will be good. I think I am going to add sesame oil to it even if it isn't listed in the ingredients... just a little, at least ;-)
Sunday: Grilled Steak and twice baked potatoes (Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there!)

Not planning on doing any freezer cooking or canning this week, unless of course I come across some nice berries or other fruit to make jam. Have a great week ;-)

Mennonite Girls Can Cook: Curry Chicken and Rice Casserole

Mennonite Girls Can Cook: Curry Chicken and Rice Casserole: I love meals that are all in one dish.  This recipe is easy to make, and loads of flavor if you like curry.  Here is what you will need~ ...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

After a break from blogging, I am finally back! I have definitely missed blogging but have had a lot of other things to deal with and just have not had much time to even touch my computer, let alone type a blog post. Anyway, here is my menu plan for the upcoming week ;-) As with most weeks, especially during the summer months, my crockpot will definitely be getting a lot of use this week!

Monday: Crockpot Chicken Curry
Tuesday: Fish Sticks
Wednesday: Crockpot Meatloaf This is the best crockpot meatloaf recipe I have found!
Thursday: Crockpot Lasagna
Friday: Thai Chicken Pizza Great recipe! I make my own pizza crust using this recipe. I do a double batch in my Cuisinart food processor, then I separate into two equal portions, let rise about 30 mins., and then press into my pizza pans (well, one's a cookie sheet and the other is an actual pizza pan.)
Saturday: Tacos
Sunday: Steak on the grill

I am also going to work on canning some more beans for the freezer, especially black beans since I have been out for a while now. Not much else going on other than the almost daily loaf of bread I bake for sandwiches and so forth. Have a great week!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Menu Plan 2/13- 2/19/12

This week is a fairly simple week. I am not making any trips to the grocery store (we just bought a half a side of beef this weekend... yay! Fresh beef!!!!) unless I come across some really good sales that I want to take advantage of. I am planning on making a trip to Target tomorrow since my hubby has a dentist appointment out of town, but other than that, I am just planning on working on my goals for the month ;-) I am also working on my garden plan for the year. I am so ready to get fresh veggies from the garden again. Frozen is good but nothing like fresh from the garden. Plus, I can't stand the so called "fresh" tomatoes from the store so I am feeling a bit tomato deprived (even if I do go through a bunch of cans of tomatoes each week, it is just not the same!)... LOL.

Monday: beef stroganoff
Tuesday: crockpot stew beef
Wednesday: lasagna
Thursday: chicken enchiladas
Friday: pizza soup (still haven't gotten to try this!)
Saturday: turkey burgers & sweet potato fries
Sunday: meatloaf

Have a great week!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Crockpot Chicken for the Freezer

A lot of the time when chicken goes on sale, it is sold in the family size packages. Because of this, I like to cook the entire package of chicken instead of just dividing the chicken to put it in the freezer so that I can just grab it and put it in whatever we are having for dinner instead of thawing it and cooking it first. So, because I have a very close relationship with my crockpot, I grab it out, put the whole package of chicken in and add one cup of water. Then I put it on low for 4-6 hours and let it do its thing. If I don't have time to cook the chicken right away, I sometimes freeze the whole package then cook it (from frozen) in the crockpot the same way at a later time. Amazingly, it doesn't take any longer to cook it from frozen than it does from thawed and it tastes the same. I don't season my chicken while cooking this way because I prefer to do so when I am using it for whatever I am using it for. But, if you prefer, feel free to season with salt and pepper before placing in the crockpot. You don't get a lot of chicken stock with this method, but I still end up with a little stock (usually around 2 cups. The cup of water "grows" with the juices from the chicken) for the freezer. When I am in need of more stock, I will take the time out to cook my chicken in a stock pot on the stove instead, but truthfully I save enough here and there that I rarely need to do this.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Menu Plan 2/6-2/12/12

My hubby had to have all his teeth pulled last Monday, (the unfortunate aftermath of a battle with Type 1 Diabetes last year that God thankfully brought us through!) so we have been eating mostly soup or soft foods for the past week. It will still be a couple of weeks until he is able to get fitted for dentures and so forth so we will be continuing to eat this way for a bit longer. I am actually really excited (okay, not because he had to have his teeth pulled) because this gives me the opportunity to try out about a gazillion soup recipes that I have saved over the years (we love soup!). Here's what I have planned for the week:
Monday: Free Pizza! (Thanks to Papa John's Coin Toss Event!!!)
Tuesday: Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup (Very easy and yummy recipe. I don't use Velveeta for this myself, but instead use cheddar cheese)
Wednesday: Shepard's Pie
Thursday: Breakfast for dinner
Friday: Pizza Soup (ok, we did have pizza Monday but I have been wanting to try this recipe for a few weeks)
Saturday: Our Valentine's Day Getaway ;-)
Sunday: Swedish Meatballs

I am going to be making some pancake mix this week for the pantry and I am going to make some of these baked beans as well. I didn't get a chance to get breakfasts done for the freezer this weekend so I am working on this today. I am going to be making some of these breakfast bowls as well as some of the things I posted about last week.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Freezer Cooking: Breakfast

Because mornings can get really hectic, I love having breakfast items that we can grab quickly, heat up, and serve. We do not eat much cereal (I only buy it when there is a really good sale on cereals that I can actually feel good about my kids eating, like Mom's Best. Which, btw, is on sale at King Soopers/City Market for 99 cents when you buy 10 items in the sale. You can sign up for their newsletter and you get a $1 off 2 boxes coupon so that makes it only 50 cents a box). Since I have been working on getting my freezer organized, I have actually found some room for some more breakfast burritos and pancakes, and since February just happens to be "National Hot Breakfast Month" I was totally psyched to find some more freezer friendly breakfast recipes on one of my fave blogs this morning. I am going to work on whipping up a few of these this weekend so that they are ready to go first thing Monday morning ;-) Oh, and on a very happy note, my chickens are finally starting to lay eggs again, somewhat regularly anyway! YAY!!! Just in time for my breakfast mission!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Thinking Outside the Can...

One of the ways that I cut costs on food is by determining the absolute best price for items we buy often, such as tomato sauce, and then I figure out how I can stockpile that item at the best price. A while back, I started buying the big cans of tomato sauce (that cost less than $3 and are organic) at Costco instead of the individual cans. I then take the tomato sauce from the big can, repackage it into freezer bags (2 cups per bag) and then freeze it so that I have individual portions (I get six 2 cup portions) that I can grab when I need it. I usually do not take the time out to thaw the sauce before I need it unless I actually think to do so, but I have found that once I stick it in a pot with the other ingredients, it thaws fairly quickly. If I am using it to make pizza sauce and have forgotten to thaw it, I will do so either in a small pot on the stove or in the microwave. You can also thaw it by placing the bag in cold water for a while.
I also buy most of our produce such as bell peppers and onions at Costco and when I chop up some for a meal, I chop up extra to put in the fridge or freezer for other meals. If I have extra time, I will chop up a big batch in the food processor for the freezer. When there are sales on these items, or if I find them on the discount rack, I will buy extra for the freezer.
For meat, I always buy a bunch of whatever has a really good price and then I repackage it if needed and stick it straight in the freezer (unless I am going to use it for dinner that night or the next night). I do not buy meat every week because I save my money up for the good sales instead. I always have enough meat available in the freezer so if there isn't anything good on sale, I will just use what I already have on hand. I also make sure that I use the older items from my freezer before the new stuff I put in. Throwing out food because I left it in the freezer too long is a very sad thing in my house and I try not to let it happen as much as absolutely possible (yes, I do slip up sometimes and things are forgotten about until it is too late). To save time, I try to cook up extra meat and put half in the meal and half in the freezer (or in a second meal, etc.). For instance, tonight I am trying out this Beef Cabbage Soup recipe (I am using navy beans instead of kidney because that's what I have and I didn't add the sugar. I am planning on tasting it at the end to see if this is necessary or not. May spice this up a bit with some cayenne pepper) and I cooked up the ground meat (I used a 1.25 lb. pkg of turkey instead of a lb. of beef) with the onion and bell pepper. Then I put half (3/4 lb. each) in the recipe and half in a bag for the freezer. This will be great for all sorts of things, from tacos to shepards pie, to soups.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Insane Goals for February


I am posting my insane goals (these are the goals I have in addition to my ongoing goals) today since it is Monday, although the monthly link up isn't starting until Wed (Feb. 1st). But, I like for things to start at the beginning of the week. Anyway, this month, I am really needing to get a few things done that I have been neglecting for a while. I don't think I can keep using the excuse that the holidays have really made it hard for me to get these done right now... LOL. Although, Valentine's Day is right around the corner...
1. I really want to focus on getting back into the habit of doing my zone cleaning chores. I have been putting these chores on the back burner for a few months now and just doing the basic cleaning each week. This leads to the discovery of cobwebs from time to time and when I lift the couch cushions, I sometimes want to run away quickly.
2. Another thing that I want to work on is getting my freezers under control (sadly, this is not the first time that this one has made it on my insane goals list). I have been trying to figure out the best way to organize my freezers for quite some time now, and a few months ago I attempted putting like items (i.e. beef, chicken, cheese, etc.) in bins so that they could be easily found. Well, the issue I am having with this is that the bins are taking up too much room. But, without them I end up with piles of food all over the place that I end up having to dig through to find what I am looking for. So, today I got an idea for what I think will be the perfect solution from a customer's comment on the Container Store website and I am really hoping it works. This customers uses those jumbo size ziploc bags to store her meats in. I usually have some of those zipper comforter bags around (I always save these type bags... awesome for storing all sorts of things in) but they are currently all in use (time for new bedding... LOL), but I did happen to have the ones from my last sheet purchase, so I grabbed these and put all of my shredded cheese in them.They are perfect! I have a bunch of these smaller zipper bags that curtains came in (I think, or maybe pillowcases?) so I am going to put diced celery in one, and diced peppers, and so forth in them. This will make it really easy to stack everything while at the same time being able to grab just what I need without having to dig through. I will need to start using freezer bags for a lot of things that I currently use containers for, but I am totally okay with this since the freezer bags take up less room anyway. I struggle with this because I can reuse containers but I am really not one to go around washing and reusing many freezer bags, but I do get them really cheap. Anyway, I will be going to Home Depot or maybe Lowes today to pick up some of those big ziploc bags to try out the meats in. I am going to start with just one box of bags to see how it goes before making a big investment. Very excited about this one though!!!
3. Read Claim by Lisa T. Bergren (I love this trilogy and I am kinda sad that this is the last book so I am trying to make it last by reading very very slowly...). This shouldn't take all month, but I actually read a bunch of books at once (I love books!) so the one fiction book I choose to read sometimes takes longer than planned.
4. Finish reading The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace (less than 2 chapters left. This is a good book although I have differing opinions on some things. I have still learned a lot and will be walking away with at least a better understanding).
5. Work out at least 3 days per week. I was doing good and working out 6 days a few weeks ago but things started to pick up around here and now I am back to struggling with getting workouts done or at least a walk in. I figure if I can focus on at least getting the 3 days done I will be able to figure out when and how to squeeze my workouts in. And, I bought a dvd this weekend at Costco called Walk at Home by Leslie Sansone that I am going to try out, especially for those days that are too windy/chilly to go for a walk outside (NO EXCUSES!). Btw, if you buy this at Costco ($7.99) it comes with both a toning band and a one year subscription to Fitness Magazine, which you can request a refund for (I believe it said the refund amount would be $6.15), so if you don't want the magazine (I have enough magazines to read as it is), you can request the refund instead making this DVD set less than $2 out of pocket (AWESOME!!!).
6. Finish hallway drywall, paint it, and get the new door trimmed in properly.  I picked up paint at Lowes this weekend and I am so ready to get this started ;-)

That's what I have planned for this month. What are your goals? Be sure to check out Rebekah's Insane Goals as well. They are very inspiring ;-)