Monday, December 12, 2011

December 12 - 18 Meal Plan

 This week I have some leftovers to use up, so they will make an appearance on my menu.
 I will try to post some recipes and pictures as the week progresses.

Monday: Crock Pot Taco Soup, Beer Bread  (leftover Taco meat)
Tuesday:Scalloped Potatoes with Ham (leftover ham)
Wednesday: Birthright Lentils, Spaetzle ( more leftover Ham)
Thursday: DD cooks
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Copycat Zuppa Toscana, Bread sticks
Sunday: Mushroom and Swiss Chicken

Crock Pot Taco Soup

I usually double this recipe to have lots of leftovers for lunches, yum.

Crock Pot Taco Soup

    1 (16 ounce) can pinto beans
    1 (16 ounce) can white beans or 1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans
    1 (11 ounce) can niblet corn
    1 (11 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes & chilies
    1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
    1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
    1 (1 1/4 ounce) envelope taco seasoning mix
    1 (1 ounce) envelope hidden valley ranch dressing mix
    1 lb shredded chicken, ground beef or 1 lb any meat-
-Cook meat and drain.
-Shred if needed.
-Add all ingredients to crock pot.
-Do not drain cans
-Stir.
-Cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours.
-Keep on low until serving to keep hot.
-Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped green onions, or tortilla chips.

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14- 20 Meal Plan

I've been having the hardest time getting my thoughts organized enough to post a menu plan, but I set a new goal for myself to plan my menu again every week. So here is this weeks plan


Monday: Crock Pot Potato Chowder/ Rolls
Tuesday:  Grilled Cheese Sandwiches/ BLT's/ Chips/ Salad
Wednesday: Hamburgers/ Macaroni Salad/ Potato Salad
Thursday: DD # 1 cooks
Friday: Home made Pizza/ Bread sticks/ Salad
Saturday: Fishsticks/ Macaroni Salad/ Potato Salad
Sunday: Beef Stew/ Home Made Bread/ Salad

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pictures From My World

After waking up to rain and hail yesterday morning I was happy to wake up to blue skies and  sunshine today. The rain cleared the air so the mountains were all crisp and clear this morning. As long as I live here I will never get tired of seeing these beautiful mountains. How true the words are found at
Romans 1:20
"For his invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable;..."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pictures From My World

 Please allow me to introduce two very special members of my family. Besides my four lovely children I also have two fantastic fur-babies. First there is Nani. We rescued her from the shelter five years ago this month. She had been a stray for some time and she was so thin when we first got her.We don't know her exact breed even though a Vet friend of ours seems to think she is part Sheba Inu.  She had also obviously been abused by someone in the past and so she has a few issues with some agression, nothing real serious but just enough to make life with Nani interesting.





Then there is Maya. Just over three years ago DD # 1's pet bird died suddenly. While DD was grieving she saw an opportunity to soften the heart of her dad. She begged and pleated for another pet and he's just such a softy that he told her to find herself a puppy. After a short search we found free puppies in the newspaper and after one brief phone call we had a new family member. Maya is the child of two purebread parents that were used for breeding. Maya's litter was an oops, as Black Lab Dad met up with Beagle Mom. She is the sweetest dog I have ever met and she has an incredible nurturing side to her. Any stuffed animal immediately becomes her baby, she even makes sure to take them out in the yard with her to potty.

Eggplant Parmesan

I picked up some Eggplant last week when they were on sale and so tonight we had Eggplant Parmesan on the  menu. This is a new recipe to me as I have never in my life cooked Eggplant before but I was feeling adventures.


   Eggplant Parmesan
Ingredients
    2 large eggs
    3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
    3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus
    2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, for topping
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon dried basil
    coarse salt
    pepper
    2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds (2 1/2 pounds total)
   2 Jars Spaghetti Sauce, or your favorite homemade sauce
    1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:

    1 Preheat oven to 375°F
    2 Spray baking sheets with no stick spray; set aside.
    3 In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water.
    4 In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup Parmesan, oregano, and basil; season with salt and pepper.
    5 Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; place on baking sheets.
    6 Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes.
    7 Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more.
    8 Remove from oven; raise oven heat to 400°F.
    9 Spread 2 cups sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
    10 Arrange half the eggplant in dish; cover with 2 cups sauce, then 1/2 cup mozzarella.
    11 Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
    12 Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes.
    13 Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
   

Menu # 10


The heat is really on around here and that saps me of all the energy to cook. Nonetheless, my family demands food, so here we go. I'm using up some foods from my fridge and freezer this week so here it is.




Breakfast:
Pancakes ( DS # 1 specialty)
Oatmeal
Smoothies

Lunch:
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Leftovers
Salad

Dinner:
Monday: Eggplant Parmesan

Tuesday: DD # 2 cooks Birthright Lentils

Wednesday: Sweet and Sour  Meatballs, Rice, Noodles for DH, Salad
Thursday: DD # 1 cooks
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Grilled Pizza, Salad
Sunday: Grilled Pork ribs, Pasta Salad, Corn on the Cob

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pictures From My World

This morning  I had to get some groceries since we were out off quite a few things here at the house.
My first stop was our local Sprouts Farmersmarket

















I got:
Seedless Watermelon $.19/ lb
Roma Tomatoes $. 77/ lb
Red Bell Peppers
Cauliflower $.88/ lb
Bulk Lentils $.74/ lb
Roasted Sunflower Seeds $ 2.10/ lb

Next stop was the Family Discount Market

















My big scores there were:
Organic large brown eggs $.99/ dozen
2 1/2 pounds whole bean 8 o'clock coffee $ 9.99
12 pack of Strawberry milk $ 2.99

My last stop was Sam's for a few more staples. So here is my whole Loot

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pictures From My World

In order to become a more regular blogger I've decided to post a daily picture of things I see around me. Some days it will be one picture, other days it might be more. So here we go.
         This morning when I woke up it was raining and after running a quick errand I just had to take a picture of my first open rose. I thought it looked so pretty......

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Menu # 9

Summer is finally here! DS# 2 has been out of school for a week already, but son# 1 had more school work to do, but finally on Saturday he turned in his last couple school assignments and so..... SCHOOL'S OUT FOR SUMMER.......
The weather here has still been on the cooler side, so heating up the kitchen hasn't become a big issue yet but according to our local forecast I think that will change this week. During the Summer we do more Salads, Sandwiches and Foods cooked on the grill.

Breakfast:
Smoothies
Cereal
Eggs and Toast
Banana Bread
Muffins

Lunch:
Leftovers
Salad
Grilled Cheese/ Soup


Monday : Korean Chicken, Marinated Cucumbers, Rice
Tuesday: Ham and Cheese Stromboli, Broccoli Cheese Soup
Wednesday: Fishstick Reubens, Salad
Thursday: DD# 1 cooks
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday:Grilled  Pizza, Bread Sticks, Salad
Sunday: Hamburgers, Potato Salad, Steamed Veggies, Home Made Buns

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spinach/ Veggie Egg Pie

I love that this recipe uses a tortilla instead of pie crust. It's also a great way to use up leftover veggies from the fridge.


Spinach/ Veggie Egg Pie
   7 large eggs
    2 tablespoons milk
    3 roasted garlic cloves, crushed
    1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
    1 dash salt
    3 slices cooked bacon, chopped (optional)
    1 large flour tortilla
    1 1/2 cups any blend shredded cheese
    3 cups fresh spinach or any Veggie, I have used chopped Bell Peppers

Directions:

     Mix the first six ingredients (eggs, bacon, milk, garlic, lemon pepper and salt) in a bowl. Set aside.
     Lay the flour tortilla in a glass pie dish, press gently - does not need to lay perfectly flat against dish.
     Sprinkle only 1/2 cup cheese on tortilla.
     Sprinkle remaining cheese and the spinach or veggies onto tortilla in layers, and press gently.
     Pour egg mixture evenly over spinach, be careful not to pour any outside of tortilla.
     Bake in oven at 365 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes. Insert fork in center and it should come out clean.
     Use sharp knife to cut into pie slices and serve hot.
     Other options: Instead of garlic, you can use 1/4 cup onions. For added flavor, serve with homemade salsa and sour cream.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Menu # 8

Last week didn't go well at all. I strayed from my menu all week, we even ate out a few times which I really wanted to avoid this month. Oh well, another week, another menu. We have DS #2 last week of school on Thursday and then school is finally out for summer :)

Last Thursday was the official 5th grade graduation, so we got a special Transformers cake.
Breakfast:
Bagels and Cream Cheese
Egg and Toast
Baked Oatmeal

Lunch:
My goal is not to throw out any leftovers this week, so we'll mostly have those for lunch. If we don't have any, we will have Grilled Cheese sammies or Salad.

Dinner:
Monday: BLT's, Baked Fries, Salad
Tuesday: Crock Pot Potato Chowder, Rolls
Wednesday: Stir Fry Pork with Ginger, Rice, Noodles ( for Dh)
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Pancakes, Eggs, Hashbrowns with Sausage Gravy, Fruitsalad
Saturday: Pizza
Sunday: Santa Fe Chicken ( Crock Pot), Tortillas

I'm linking up with Menu Plan Monday

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Menu # 7


 This week will be another busy one. The weather here is finally getting nice and warm, so yardwork is in the forecast. Need to weed the yard and plant my garden. We also have 5th grade graduation for my DS # 2 and I'm planing a little celebration get-together for that. My DH also finally put up my clothesline, so my goal is to hang most of our laundry out to dry as energy costs around here are skyrocketing. This Sunday we will have company for dinner as we are hosting our speaker after the meeting. I still have Chicken and Pork Chops in the freezer, so that will make a few meals this week, and my Crock Pot will get a workout again as well. I need to make sure to take meat out of the freezer the night before I use it so it can thaw. My microwave died a sudden death last week and it's been quite interesting thawing meat and heating leftovers without it ( I know, I'm a wimp). So here we go

Breakfast
Toast and Egg
No Bake Bars
Baked Oatmeal
Yogurt with Granola

Lunch
Leftovers
Salad
Soup ( Crock Pot)

Dinner
Monday: DD # 2 cooks
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken, Steamed Veggies, Salad
Wednesday: Fettuccine Alfredo, Peas, Salad, Rolls
Thursday: 5th grade Graduation, Yeah
            We will grill Hamburgers, Brats and Hot Dogs, Potato Salad, Salad, Celebration Cake
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Home Made Pizza, Bread sticks, Salad
Sunday: Jagerschnitzel (I will make this in the Crock Pot ), Bacon Onion Spaetzle, Salad, Brownies with Vanilla Ice Cream
This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Home Made Frozen Chicken Breast Strips

The other day, while doing some monthly shopping at Sam's I came across some "reduced for quick sale" boneless, skinless chicken breast. It came out to be just $1.47/ lb,which is a great deal for my neck of the woods,  so I picked up a couple of family size packs to stick in my freezer. When I got home I decided to precook the chicken to have some cooked chicken on hand for some quick weeknight meals. I had some Buffalo chicken seasoning packets which I picked up 10/ $ 1.00, so that's what I used to season those chicken breasts. After 30 minutes in a 350* oven, this is what I ended up with.
I sliced  up the chicken and divided it up into 1 1/2 pound packs and put it in the freezer.
All sliced up and ready to go into some baggies.

I ended up with five packs of chicken to go in the freezer
This precooked chicken is great for pizza, soup, salad, fajitas, pot pie, or anything else that uses cooked chicken. What I like about this is that this is very versatile, I can choose any seasoning I want or have on hand and it's so much cheaper, probably even healthier than those store bought chicken strips.

This post is linked to The Ultimate Recipe Swap

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Menu # 6

Here it is May first already and time again to plan our weekly menu. April was a busy month but I did manage to stick to our Menu about 70-80% of the time. My goal for May is to do better and try to incorporate more leftovers into our menu. We still seem to end up throwing out quite a bit of food that started growing hair ;-) before we have a chance to use it up. As the weather is warming up a bit, there is also more local produce available to use. I also need to make a couple of batches of muffins which I volunteered to bring to Teacher appreciation breakfast at DS # 2's school this week. So here we go, our menu for the first week in May.

Breakfast
Green Smoothies
Baked Oatmeal
Banana Bread
Eggs and Toast
Muffins

Lunch
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Soup
Salad
Bean and Cheese Burritos
Leftovers

Dinner
Monday: DD #2 cooks
Tuesday: Taco's, Rice, Beans
Wednesday: Käse Spätzle, Salad, Steamed Veggies
Thursday: DD #1 cooks
Friday: Baked Chicken Spaghetti
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Roast Chicken, Carrots, Potatoes

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Medicine Closet Organization

Here is a little organization project I got accomplished this week. I feel quite embarrassed that I let it get so bad in the first place. But looking at the finished project makes me feel all happy.


Before- How awful !

After- What a difference!

Cinnamon Rolls

 These are the best Cinnamon Rolls, if I do say so myself. I made them this morning for breakfast for some good friends who came  by for breakfast.  They do take quite a bit of time but I think the dough could probably be made the night before and after the cinnamon rolls are shaped in the pan, before the second rising be refrigerated until morning.
As I'm looking at this picture I realize  that I was a little sloppy with the frosting. These really taste   a lot better than they look :)




Cinnamon Rolls
 1 cup warm milk                                       
 1/2 cup granulated sugar
 1/3 cup margarine
 1 teaspoon salt
 2 eggs
 4 cups flour
 2 1/2 tsp dry yeast

FILLING
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
 2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine, softened


Frosting:
1/3 cup  margarine
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Bread machine instructions:
This is how I make the dough in order to save some hands on time.
Combine  Milk, sugar, margarine, salt, eggs, flour and yeast in Bread machine in order given by manufacturer. Run a dough cycle. My machine takes an hour and a half for a dough cycle, then  I follow the regular instructions starting with rolling out dough into rectangle ( step ***)

- For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.
Add sugar, margarine salt, eggs, and flour, mix well.
-Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour.
-Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
***Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 21 inches long by 16 inches wide.
It should be approx 1/4 thick.
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-To make filling, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
-Spread the softened margarine over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the surface.
-Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge.
-Cut the dough into 1 3/4 inch slices, and place in a lightly greased baking pan. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled .
-Bake for 10- 15 minutes or until light golden brown.
-While the rolls are baking combine the icing ingredients.Beat well with an electric mixer until fluffy.
-When the rolls are done, spread with icing.

Bowtie Festival

I had this wonderful dish at a local Italian restaurant a few years ago and just loved it. Then I searched for a possible Copycat recipe online and now we can eat it at home any time we want to. Usually I just use some leftover rotisserie chicken or any leftover chicken I happen to have in the Fridge or the Freezer.




Bowtie Festival

4 Tbsp melted butter
2 tsp chopped fresh garlic
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced cooked bacon
1/2 cup diced Roma tomatoes
2 cups sliced, cooked chicken ( I usually use any leftover chicken, sliced)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 jar Alfredo sauce or make your own and use about 1- 1 1/2 cups
1/4 cup Asiago cheese grated, fresh Parmesan works as well, just not the powdery stuff
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic salt
16 ounces precooked bowtie noodles ( I didn't have any Bowtie noodles, so I used tri- color rotini this time around )


In a heated sauté pan combine butter, garlic, onions, bacon, tomatoes, chicken, and spice mixture.  When onions begin to turn translucent, add heavy cream and Asiago cheese.  Once cheese and cream have reduced by half, add Alfredo sauce and bowtie pasta.  Toss until well combined and remove from heat.  Allow to cool for a few minutes so the cheese and sauce thicken. This will
serve 6. We will usually have some nice bread with this, maybe a salad or some steamed veggies.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu # 5

This is what we will eat this week. I will post recipes throughout the week. This will be a busy week so we will have quite a few Crock Pot recipes.

Breakfast:
Banana Bread
No Bake Bars











Cereal
Eggs with Toast

Lunch:
Leftovers
Chili
Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup

Dinner:
Monday: DD #2 makes Chicken Alfredo Pizza ( didn't have that last week), Salad, Bread sticks, Cookies
Tuesday: Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup, Rolls, Fruit Salad
Wednesday: Bowtie Festival, Salad, Rolls
Thursday: DD # 1 cooks
Friday: Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Rice ( Noodles for DH), Steamed Veggies, Salad
Saturday: Lentils with Onions and Tomatoes ( Crock Pot), Spaetzle, Ice cream
Sunday: German Goulash Soup ( Crock Pot), Rolls, Salad, Carrot Cake

Sunday, April 24, 2011

On The Go Breakfast

Since my dear, sweet son #2 takes forever to get ready in the morning I am always on the lookout for a quick, make ahead, eat on the go kind of breakfast. When I came across this wonderful looking recipe I couldn't wait to try it. After some changes to the original recipe this is what I ended up with.


 No-Bake Rice Krispy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

  2 1/4- 2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
    2 1/4 cups quick-cooking oats                                    
    1/2    cup brown sugar, packed
    1/2 cup  honey, or 1/2 cup Corn Syrup
    3/4 cup  peanut butter
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    3/4 cup dark raisin, or a combination of different baking chips, nuts, dried fruit
    ( I used  about 1/2 cup golden raisins and  1/4 cup craisins)
    1/2 cup chocolate chips, semi- sweet, milk chocolate or white chips will all work. I used a combination of leftover baking chips.

  Directions:

    - lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
    - In a large bowl combine Rice Krispies cereal, oats and raisins, nuts ( if using).
    - In a saucepan stir the  honey or corn syrup  and brown sugar until just at a boil.
    - Immediately remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla and stir until well    combined.
    - Pour over the dry ingredients in the bowl; mix to combine.
    - Mix in chocolate chips (if using).
    - Transfer the mixture into prepared baking dish, then using slightly wet hands push evenly down into the pan.
    - While the mixture is still soft take a sharp knife and slice into desired size bars.
    - Chill until firm.  This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday,
Tuesday at the Table

Friday, April 22, 2011

Banana Bread

I know, not very pretty, but they make the best Banana Bread ;)
This has been an interesting week with the stomach bug making a second appearance in our family within a  month. I haven't really felt like cooking or baking much this week. Since we were sick two weeks ago and missed our Special Assembly Day  we are going tomorrow. That means an early start (around 7am), a longish drive of about 1 1/2 hours and a long and exciting day. Since I had some Bananas that were starting to turn to ripe to just eat and we need a quick breakfast on the go for tomorrow I decided to bake some Banana Bread. This recipe will make two large loaves or three smaller ones.

Banana Bread
 Substitutions I make are in ( )                                                                                    
Ingredients:
    2 cups sugar ( Sometimes I use 1 cup white and 1 cup brown sugar)
    1 cup shortening ( 1/2 cup of coconut oil and 1/2 cup shortening)
    5-6 bananas, mashed
    2 teaspoon vanilla
    4 eggs
    3 cups flour  ( 1 1/2 cups all purpose, unbleached and  1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour)
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
    1/2 cup mini chocolate chips ( Sometimes I substitute dark chocolate, chopped)

Directions:
    1 Mix all the wet ingredients together until smooth.
    2 Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
    3 Fold in the nuts.
    4 Pour into  greased loaf pans.
    5 Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chicken Pasta Primavera

I found this recipe years ago in a  Taste of Home Quick Cooking magazine. We all love it and it's a snap to prepare. I always double the recipe for the six of us, and there are never any leftovers.



Chicken-Pasta-Primavera
Ingredients

    2 cups uncooked spiral pasta
    1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 package (16 ounces) frozen broccoli-cauliflower blend, thawed
    3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
    3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

    Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute chicken in butter until chicken is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the vegetables and cream; cook until vegetables are tender.
    Drain pasta. Add the pasta, cheese, salt and pepper to skillet; cook and stir until heated through. Yield: 4 servings.

This post is linked to Tuesdays At The Table
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday,  Tasty Tuesday

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weekly Menu # 4



This weeks menu consists mainly of things I have in my freezer as we are trying to empty it out. We got our chest freezer over 20 years ago and lately it's been acting it's age. So the mission, should I accept it, is to empty my freezer as much as possible and by next month DH and I will go and buy a new, hopefully energy efficient one.
  I have lots of chicken in my freezer, so that will dominate our meals this week.

Breakfast:
Granola with Yoghurt
Cereal with milk
Eggs and Toast

Lunch
Leftovers
Soup/ Sandwiches
Salad

Dinner :
Monday: DD# 2 cooks Chicken-Pasta-Primavera  Rolls, Veggies
Tuesday: Family size chicken burrito, Rice, Salad
Wednesday: Crock Pot Chili with Cornbread
Thursday: DD # 1 cooks??? something with Chicken
Friday: BLT's , baked fries, Salad
Saturday: Chicken Alfredo Pizza, Bread sticks, veggies with dip
Sunday: Company Pork Roast, gravy,  Roasted Potatoes and Carrots, some Home made Bread

I will post recipes and pictures throughout the week.
For  more menu ideas check out orgjunkie Menu Monday

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spreadable Butter and Breadcrumbs

My DH really likes his " Tub butter". That is what the kids and I call it, but it really is the margarine in the big tubs. In an effort to rid our kitchen of highly processed, artificial foods I started to buy good old butter. The only problem is, that butter is incredibly difficult to spread on a nice, soft piece of bread without first nuking it in the microwave or leaving it sit on the counter for a while to soften it. In casual conversation with one of my good friends she told me how her new husband taught her to make her own spreadable butter. Of course my ears perked up and I immediately got the recipe and instructions. Well, it is so easy that I believe we found a natural solution to our " Tub butter" problem. It also seems like a good way to stretch a pound of pretty expensive butter. So without further ado here is the recipe

Ingredients
1 pound ( or four sticks)  butter, softened              
3/4 cup Canola oil
Directions
Whip butter until fluffy, using a mixer, food-processor, or by hand. Add oil slowly. Whip until all the oil is blended with the butter. Put in a Tupperware or similar container. This needs to stay refrigerated, or so I'm told, or it will separate. I made my first batch of this today and it is in the fridge right now, but I am anxious to try it .
The finished product. 



My other Kitchen project today was to make some breadcrumbs. My family is somewhat picky when it comes to eating the end pieces of a loaf of bread, so in order to reduce food waste I either put those pieces in the oven after I bake something ( with the oven turned off) or I leave the bread lay on the counter for a day. When the bread is nice and dry I just use my food- processor or my brand new NINJA  and process until I have breadcrumbs. I then put them in a jar in the freezer until I need them. Sometimes I even add some Italian seasoning or other seasonings to make flavored breadcrumbs. Simple, I know, but it always makes me feel thrifty when I pull out my jar of breadcrumbs. Use as you would the expensive store bought kind :)
























this post is linked to Frugal Friday

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rich And Creamy Mac And Cheese

We try to make some meatless meals a week. Some weeks we will have a few, some weeks we will have none. I consider it a success if we have one meatless meal a week. My DH is a meat and potatoes kind of man, and it has taken me quite a few years to convince him that it's O.K. to eat a meal without meat once in a while. One of our favorites is this Mac and Cheese recipe. It seems to have enough substance to make everyone feel satisfied and it's not out of a box.( Not that there is anything wrong with the boxed kind, but I really like cooking from scratch)


Rich and Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

    3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
    6 tablespoons butter or 6 tablespoons margarine, divided
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon sugar
    2 cups milk
  8 ounces process American cheese, cubed
1 1/3 cups small curd cottage cheese
    2/3 cup sour cream
    2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

   1 1/2 cups soft breadcrumbs






Directions:

- Cook Macaroni according to package directions, drain.
- Place in a greased 2 1/2 quart baking dish.
- In a saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter.
- stir in flour, salt and sugar until smooth.
- Gradually stir in milk, bring to a boil ; cook for 2 minutes until thickened.,.
 -Reduce heat; stir in American cheese until melted. Stir in cottage cheese and sour cream.
- Pour over macaroni
- Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter and toss with bread crumbs; sprinkle over top.
- Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

This post is linked to Cooking Thursday, 
                               Ultimate Recipe Swap

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are very good. And with chocolate I always feel  the more the better!

Chocolate chocolate chip cookies

  2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 cup butter or margarine, softened
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 (4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
    2 large eggs
    1 (12 ounce) package chocolate chips


Directions:

- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Mix flour with baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine butter, sugars and pudding mix.
- Beat until smooth and creamy.
- Beat in eggs and vanilla; gradually add flour mixture.
 -Stir in chocolate chips
- Roll into balls and flatten slightly or drop by teaspoon full on a non greased cookie sheet.
I used a small ice cream ( cookie ? ) scoop and just heaped them on the baking sheet.
- Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes.

This post is linked to
-Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
-Tasty Tuesday

Monday, April 11, 2011

The American Grinder

My oldest Daughter works in a Deli and last year she came home after work one day and was talking about this sandwich she had made that day. She said it looked and smelled so good while she made it and so she wanted to make some the next time it was her turn to cook. We all loved it, so the American Grinder has become a regular guest on our Spring and Summer menu. You can add or leave off ingredients as you like, but this is the version we like.
Ingredients
1 loaf french bread, cut in half horizontally
Lettuce leaves
10 slices deli Turkey
10 slices deli Ham
10 slices Colby Jack cheese, sometimes we use sliced Cheddar
Sliced Tomatoes, however many you like
Pickle slices, again personal preference dictates how many
Banana Pepper slices
We don't use Mayo, but if you want to you can.
Assemble sandwich in order in which ingredients are listed between the french bread halves. Enjoy! One Sandwich and some sides will usually feed the six of us.

Yum Yum!