Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Dinner 2010

We had a typical Christmas dinner, with a few new recipes.

Here's the menu:

Party Cheese Ball with crackers

Ham with choice of Ginger Mustard Sauce or Waldorf Sauce

Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Ambrosia Jello Salad

Seven Layer Salad

Pumpkin Cake Roll

and the recipes:

  • 2 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
  • 2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped pimento
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped green pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
Beat together the cheeses until well blended. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Shape into a ball or spoon into a small bowl. Store in refrigerator
You may also opt to roll the cheese ball in grated or finely chopped nuts!
Serve with Triscuits, Ritz crackers or any other appetizer cracker!

Ginger Mustard Sauce (this was SOOOOO good!)
  • 1/3 c. minced onion
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. white or black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. Dijon or spicy brown mustard
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar (I used white vinegar)
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. whipping cream (I used evaporated milk)
In small saucepan, cook onion in butter until very soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add ground ginger, salt, and pepper and remove from heat.
In a small bowl, combine mustard, egg yolks, vinegar, and brown sugar and beat well. Add a spoonful of the hot onion mixture and stir well. Then stir all of the mustard mixture into the saucepan.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened. Stir in whipping cream. Cool 15 minutes, then chill until cold.

Waldorf Sauce for ham
  • 2 c. apple juice or cider
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 c. sliced celery
  • 1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 1 c. chopped apple
  • 1/4 c. coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp. raisins
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water
In a small saucepan combine apple juice and cinnamon stick; bring to boiling. reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick.
In a skillet cook celery in butter until tender but not brown. Stir in apple juice, chopped apple, walnuts, raisins and brown sugar; cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir cornstarch water mixture into the apple mixture. cook and stir about 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Serve warm or cold with ham.

Cheesy Broccoli Rice casserole
  • 16 oz. frozen broccoli, cooked and drained
  • 2 c. cooked long grain rice
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 4 Tbsp. butter or margarine, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/4 c. milk (I used evaporated milk, left over from the ginger mustard sauce)
  • 1 4 oz. can mushrooms, undrained
  • 2 c. shredded American cheese, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350° Grease a 2 1/2 - 3 quart baking dish
In a large bowl, combine the broccoli and rice; blend well.
In a saucepan, cook the onion in 3 Tbsp. butter until softened. Add the flour and stir until blended. Stir in the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add mushrooms with liquid and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir into the broccoli and rice mixture and spoon into the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining 1/2 c. of cheese.
Melt remaining butter and toss with bread crumbs; sprinkle over the casserole. Bake for 25 minutes until hot and bubbly and topping is browned.

Sweet Potato Casserole
  • 1 large can sweet potatoes, drained
  • 1/4 c. margarine
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 10 oz. bag miniature marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350°.
Use an electric mixer to mash the potatoes. Blend in the margarine, brown sugar, orange juice, and cinnamon. Spread evenly into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with miniature marshmallows.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven until marshmallows are puffed and golden brown.

Green Bean Casserole:
  • 4 cups (32 oz.) regular cut green beans, cooked
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 2.8 oz. can french fried onions, divided
In 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish mix soup, milk, pepper and 2/3 c. (1/2 can) french fried onions. Stir in beans. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Top with rest of french fried onions and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Ambrosia Jello Salad
  • 2 small boxes orange Jello (regular or sugar-free)
  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 2 c. ice water
  • 20 oz. can crushed pineapple
  • 10 to 12 oz. can mandarin oranges
  • 1/4 c. shredded coconut
Make Jello according to directions, using the boiling and ice water. Chill the Jello until slightly thickened. Fold in the drained pineapple and oranges and coconut. Put in serving dish and chill until firm.

Pumpkin cake roll



CAKE: Preheat oven to 350°F Butter 15x10-inch baking pan. Line pan with wax paper; butter paper. In a large bowl, mix (I used a wisk) the sugar, flour, baking powder, 2 teaspoons of the pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir in eggs and pumpkin until well blended and smooth. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Place clean kitchen towel on work surface; dust with 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar. Loosen cake around sides of pan with small knife. Turn out onto sugared towel, wax paper-side up. Fold 1 side of towel over short side of cake, then roll up cake jelly-roll style. Cool cake completely (I did it in the fridge).
FILLING: In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese, 1 cup confectioners' sugar, butter, and vanilla until well blended and smooth.

ASSEMBLY: Unroll cake onto towel. Peel off wax paper. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over cake. Using towel, roll up cake and place seam-side down on serving platter. Trim ends of cake. Enjoy right away or refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle cake with additional confectioners' sugar just before serving.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

MMMMMMMeatball Mushroom Stew!

We had this tonight with homemade biscuits. This is a very thick stew. You can add more water if you like, but be careful to not dilute the flavor too much. If you don't eat meat, meatballs can be omitted.

Meatball Mushroom Soup

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 1/3 c. water (I used 1 1/2 c.)
  • 1 1/3 c. milk (I used 1 1/2 c.
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. dried minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp. dried minced garlic
  • 1/4 c. quick-cooking barley
  • 1/4 c. uncooked elbow mac (I'll leave this out)
  • 1/4 c. uncooked long grain rice
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1 (4 oz.) can mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper, beef bouillon if desired, to taste

Shape ground meat into 1 inch balls; set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine soup, milk and water; bring to a boil. Add Italian seasoning, onion, garlic, barley, macaroni and rice. reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile brown meatballs in a nonstick skillet (I put mine in a 350° oven for 15 minutes) until no longer pink. Stir carrot into soup; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meatballs to soup. Stir in mushrooms and Parmesan cheese; season to taste and heat through.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recipes for the latest menu plan!

Most of the recipes I used are scattered throughout this whole blog, but I do try to incorporate new ones each month. Here are the recipes for those new ones!

Macaroni pie with mushroom sauce (this is a microwave recipe but I think it can be adapted to the oven if you like)

  • 1/3 c. dry bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. margarine or butter
  • 7 to 8 oz. macaroni rings (or use regular macaroni), cooked and drained
  • 1 c. creamed cottage cheese
  • 3/4 c. to 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

Mushroom Sauce

  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 4 oz. can mushroom stems & pieces, drained
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. margarine or butter
  • 1 Tsp. instant minced onion
  • 1/8 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and margarine in a 2 cup measure. Microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds, until light brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Set aside.

Mix hot macaroni, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper. Turn into greased 9 inch pie plate. Cover with waxed paper and microwave on medium (50%) 8 minutes. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over pi. Microwave uncovered on medium (50%) until center is almost set, another 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

MUSHROOM SAUCE: Mix all ingredients in 4 cup measure. Microwave uncovered on high, stirring every minute until hot and bubbly, 3 to 4 minutes.

Homemade Croutons
  • 4 Tbsp. margarine or butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 c. bread cubes
In a large skillet, heat margarine. Add seasonings. Cook for no more than one minute. Stir in bread cubes and saute for a minute or two. Spread on ungreased baking sheet. Toast in a 400° oven for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally until golden brown and crisp.

Ranch Lentils
  • 2 c. dry lentils
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 5 cups water, divided
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1 c. ketchup
  • 1 tsp. prepared mustard
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
Wash and drain lentils. In a saucepan add lentils, salt (optional) and 4 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender. In a skillet, cook beef or turkey and garlic until meat is browned; drain. Stir in soup mix, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, pepper and remaining water. Gently stir in lentils. Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish. Bake, covered, at 400° for 30 to 35 minutes.

Bread bowls for bread machine
  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 1/2 c. warm milk
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour (I'll use unbleached or a mix of unbleached and wheat)
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • cornmeal, for baking pan
Place ingredients in bread machine in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. Set for dough cycle, this is a 1.5 lb. recipe.
Once cycle is complete, take out dough to a floured surface & cut into 4 equal portions. Don't work the dough too much, just enough to shape into rounds. Spread a thin layer of cornmeal on baking pan. Place all four dough rounds on pan and cover with thin towel to let rise in a warm area about an hour, until doubled in size.
Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 20 to 25 minutes; higher elevations at 325° for 15 - 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on cooling rack.
To use for bowls, cut a thin layer across the top and hollow out to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Fill with your favorite chili, chowder, or stew!

Vegetarian Meatloaf
Add salt to water and bring to a boil. Add lentils and cook until very soft and most of the water is gone. Drain and partially mash lentils. Scrape into a mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly. Add onion, oats, and cheese and mix. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Spoon into a loaf pan that has been generously sprayed with cooking spray. Smooth top with the back of the spoon. Bake at 350° for 30 to 45 minutes, until top of loaf is dry, firm, and slightly golden brown. Cool on rack for 10 minutes. Loosen loaf by inserting and running a knife along the sides between the loaf and the pan. Turn out loaf onto serving platter. Top with more sauce if desired.

Lentil vegetable stew
  • 3/4 c. 1/8-inch carrot slices (about 1 large carrot)
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 c. hot water
  • 1 16 oz. can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 4 oz. can mushroom pieces
  • 3/4 c. uncooked dry lentils
  • 1/2 c. sliced celery
  • 2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. or 1 cube instant beef boullion
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 c. hot water

Add carrot, onion, and garlic to a casserole dish with a little water. Cover loosely and microwave on high for 4 minutes; break up and stir. Cover and microwave 3 to 4 minutes longer.

Stir in 2 cups hot water, stewed tomatoes (with liquid), mushrooms (with liquid) and remaining ingredients except 1 cup water. Cover tightly and microwave on high stirring every 6 minutes, until vegetables are tender, 24 to 28 minutes.

Stir in 1 cup hot water. Serve with crusty French bread if desired.

One pot chicken & veggies
  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 - 1 1/2 lb. chicken, cut into 3 to 4 oz. pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. red potatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 lb. carrots, cut into 1 inch long pieces
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
Brush the bottom of the pot with oil. Add chicken and cook over a medium high heat until both sides of chicken pieces are golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove chicken from the pot.
Add the onion, garlic, potatoes, carrots and celery to the pot. Cook over a medium high heat, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the broth and spices to the vegetables. Cook over medium high heat until it reaches a boil. Place chicken on top of the veggies, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place lid on pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer until veggies are fork tender and meat is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the veggies to a platter, top with chicken, cover with pot lid to keep warm. Add cornstarch to the leftover broth and whisk until smooth, cook over medium high heat stirring constantly until thickened. Spoon gravy over chicken & veggies or serve separately.

Chicken tortilla soup
  • 1 c. carrots, diced
  • 1 c. celery, sliced
  • 1 c. onions, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic (1 clove)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. corn oil
  • 4 (15 oz )cans of chicken broth, or 8 c. water + 8 tsp. (8 cubes) chicken bouillon
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes & chilies
  • 1 pkt. taco seasoning (I'll use my own recipe)
  • 10 ct. pkg. corn tortillas (broken or cut into pieces)
  • 2 c. cooked cut up chicken (you can also use grilled chicken fajita meat)
  • 1 c. milk
  • 12 oz. taco or Mexican blend or Monterey Jack cheese
  • Corn tortilla chips, broken into pieces
Saute carrots, onions, and celery in corn oil. Add garlic, salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes, Rotel, taco seasoning, and chicken. Stir well. Add tortillas. Let boil for 20 minutes or until tortillas are thoroughly incorporated into soup, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Reduce heat and add 8 oz. of the cheese. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Add milk, simmer 10 more minutes. Garnish with shredded cheese and broken tortilla chips.
NOTE: You can substitute 1 c. Masa flour for 10 corn tortillas. Gradually add masa flour, mixing into broth, to thicken the soup.

Pumpkin cake roll



CAKE: Preheat oven to 350°F Butter 15x10-inch baking pan. Line pan with wax paper; butter paper. In a large bowl, mix (I used a wisk) the sugar, flour, baking powder, 2 teaspoons of the pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir in eggs and pumpkin until well blended and smooth. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Place clean kitchen towel on work surface; dust with 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar. Loosen cake around sides of pan with small knife. Turn out onto sugared towel, wax paper-side up. Fold 1 side of towel over short side of cake, then roll up cake jelly-roll style. Cool cake completely (I did it in the fridge).
FILLING: In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese, 1 cup confectioners' sugar, butter, and vanilla until well blended and smooth.
ASSEMBLY: Unroll cake onto towel. Peel off wax paper. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over cake. Using towel, roll up cake and place seam-side down on serving platter. Trim ends of cake. Enjoy right away or refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle cake with additional confectioners' sugar just before serving.

Chicken Paprika
Cube chicken into 1-2 inch chunks- as desired. In a deep skillet, brown chicken breasts with oil, garlic and pepper. Once cooked, add onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring lightly. Add paprika (at least 2 tbsp -more to taste) and the chicken broth. Bring to a rolling bubble, add wine and simmer for 5 minutes. In a cup on the side, mix cold water and cornstarch completely. Spoon mixture into simmering chicken, stirring until desired thickness is achieved. Cook for at least 5 more minutes to cook out the starch taste. When ready to serve, remove from heat and stir in the sour cream, enough to achieve the creaminess desired. Serve over your favorite pasta, mashed potatoes or rice.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Menu plan from 10/17 - 11/30

Yes, you read that title right: here's a menu plan for SIX WEEKS!

I don't usually plan for that long, but our shopping trip on Saturday got a little out of hand and we overspent on our grocery budget. I felt sick about it so I decided that I would make things stretch for six weeks instead of four. With the addition of a couple of more gallons of milk, a few more dozen eggs, and very few odds & ends, we should be able to do it!

I was challenged by someone to list my costs for each meal. I can't really do that for breakfasts and lunches because I keep things stocked for breakfast and lunches are typically whatever we happen to have on hand, but I did my best with dinners. We were gifted with well over 100 lbs. of potatoes, we have plenty of chicken, winter squash, rice, oatmeal, home canned green beans & fruits & beet pickles, and we have carrots in the garden. Here's what I came up with for a menu plan:

For SIX weeks

Breakfasts are all the same: choice of eggs, oatmeal, farina, pancakes or waffles, smoothies.

Lunches: baked potatoes with various toppings, leftovers, sandwiches (PB & J, tuna, egg or chicken salad, cheese).


Week 1:

  • chicken & sausage jambalaya - 50¢ for sausage, 88¢ for Rotel, 35¢ for 15 oz. tomato sauce, 1/2 green pepper 35¢, 1/2 bunch green onions 65¢. everything else on hand. Total $2.73. Feeds 8.
  • copycan manwich, scalloped potatoes, steamed broccoli - $1.49 for ground turkey, 15¢ for 8 oz. tomato sauce (homemade buns, free potatoes). Everything else on hand . Total $1.64 Feeds 8
  • Hawaiian chicken, rice, green beans - had to purchase 1 can pineapple for $1. Everything else on hand. Feeds 8
  • Redneck casserole, tossed salad - 1 can baked beans $1, 1 pkg. hot dogs 89¢, 1 bag tator tots $1.79, 1 cup cheddar cheese 85¢, 1 head lettuce $1.09, everything else on hand. Total $5.62. Feeds 8
  • Taco salad - 1 head lettuce $1.09, 2 tomatoes approx $1.50, 2 cans black beans $1.18, 8 oz. shredded taco cheese $1.69, 99¢ for 1 bag nacho cheese chips, everything else on hand. Total $6.45 Feeds 8
  • Broccoli cheese soup in bread bowls - didn't have to buy anything, have everything on hand. Total $0 Feeds 8
  • Spicy chicken fillet sandwiches, potato salad, fruit - 1 tomato approximately 75¢, 1 cup Miracle whip 45¢, 4 eggs 33¢, (homemade buns), everything else on hand. Total $1.53 Feeds 8

Throw in 2 gallons of milk @ $2.59 each

TOTAL FOR WEEK 1 - $24.15

Week 2:

  • Rosemary chicken & potatoes, green beans - everything on hand. Total $0 Feeds 8
  • Beef stroganoff over homemade noodles, glazed carrots - beef $2.55, 16 oz. sour cream $1.00, everything else on hand. Total $3.55
  • chicken & rice casserole, green beans - 1 can cream of chicken soup 69¢, 1 can cream of celery soup 69¢, everything else on hand. Total $1.38
  • Acorn squash with sausage & apple filling, dinner rolls - 1 lb. pork sausage $1.99, everything else on hand. Total $1.99
  • Meatball mushroom stew in bread bowls - 1 lb. ground turkey $1.49, 2 cans cream of mushroom soup $1.18, 2 cans mushrooms $1. Everything else on hand. Total $3.67
  • Tuna melts, BBQ chips, beet pickles - 2 cans tuna $1.18, 1 bag BBQ chips 99¢, everything else on hand. Total $2.17 Feeds 8
  • HALLOWEEN MEAL of pizza mac o'lantern, bat wings with artichoke dip, spooky eyeball eggs, ghost cupcakes - 2 boxes mac & cheese $1.32, 1 lb. ground turkey $1.49, 1 jar spaghetti sauce $1.19, 1 dozen eggs 99¢, 1 cake mix 89¢, everything else on hand. Total $5.88

Add 2 gallons milk @ $2.59 each

TOTAL FOR WEEK 2 - $21.23

Week 3:

  • chicken & sausage jambalaya - 50¢ for sausage, 88¢ for Rotel, 35¢ for 15 oz. tomato sauce, 1/2 green pepper 35¢, 1/2 bunch green onions 65¢. everything else on hand. Total $2.73. Feeds 8.
  • hamburger goulash, veggie sticks - 1 lb. ground turkey $1.49, 1 can diced tomatoes 35¢, 2 cans tomato soup 98¢. everything else on hand. Total $2.82
  • Spicy roast chicken, potato & olive cheesy casserole, peas - 1 jar green olives $1.98 (won't use them all), 1 bag peas $1. Everything else on hand. Total $2.98
  • Macaroni pie with mushroom sauce, green beans: 16 oz. cottage cheese $1.50, 8 oz. shredded cheddar $1.69, 4 eggs 33¢, 2 cans cream of mushroom soup $1.18, 2 cans mushrooms $1, everything else on hand. Total $5.70 makes 2 pies
  • chicken alfredo, tossed salad with Italian dressing & homemade croutons - 1 pkg cream cheese 99¢. 1/2 head lettuce 55¢. Everything else on hand. Total $1.54 Feeds 8
  • Ranch lentils, shredded carrot salad - 1 lb. ground turkey $1.49, everything else on hand. Total $1.49
  • Chicken strips, oven fries, peas & carrots - 6 oz. hot sauce 40¢, 4 eggs 33¢, 1 bag frozen peas & carrots $1. Everything else on hand. Total $1.73

Add 2 gallons milk @ 2.59 ea.

WEEK 3 TOTAL - $24.17

Week 4:

  • Wet burritos - 1 lb. ground turkey $1.49, 1 can refried beans 55¢, 2 tomatoes $1.50, cream of chicken soup 69¢, 8 oz. taco cheese $1.69, everything else on hand. Total $5.92 Feeds 6 to 8
  • Bruschetta chicken bake, green beans - 1 box chicken stuffing 60¢, 15 oz. diced tomatoes 35¢, everything else on hand. Total 95¢
  • chili dog casserole, veggie sticks - 2 cans chili $1.98, 2 pkg. hot dogs $1.78, 8 oz. shredded cheddar $1.69. Everything else on hand Total $5.45 Feeds 8
  • chicken pot pie with biscuit crust - 1 can cream of chicken soup 69¢, 1 can cream of potato soup 98¢, 1 bag frozed mixed veggies $1. Everything else on hand Total $2.67
  • Beef stew in bread bowls - beef $2.55, everything else on hand. Total $2.55
  • Shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches, potato salad, carrots - 2 cups Miracle whip 90¢, everything else on hand. Total 90¢
  • Vegetarian meatloaf, baked potatoes, green beans - everything on hand. Total $0.00
  • cheesy potato soup, apple/blueberry muffins, squash or broccoli - everything on hand Total $0.00

Throw in 2 gallons milk @ $2.59 each

WEEK 4 TOTAL - $23.62

Week 5:

  • Oven fried chicken, oven fries, corn pudding or squash - everything on hand, total $0.00
  • chili - 1 lb. ground turkey $1.49, 2 cans tomato soup 98¢, 1 can diced tomatoes 35¢. Everything else on hand. total $2.82
  • sesame chicken, rice, glazed carrots - everything on hand. total $0.00
  • lentil vegetable stew, winter squash, dinner rolls - everything on hand, total $0.00
  • one pot chicken & veggies - 1 pkt onion soup mix 40¢, 1 can mushroom soup 59¢. Everything else on hand. Total 99¢
  • tuna melts, oven fries, veggies - tuna $1.18, 1 bag frozen veggies $1. Everything else on hand. Total $2.18
  • chicken tortilla soup - 1 can Rotel 88¢, 1 can diced tomatoes 35¢, everything else on hand. total $1.23

Throw in 2 gallons milk @ $2.59 each

WEEK 5 TOTAL - $12.40

Week 6:

  • beef roast, potatoes, carrots - beef roast $4.80, everything else on hand. Total $4.80
  • teriyaki chicken, rice, steamed broccoli - 1 bag frozen broccoli, $1. Everything else on hand. Total $1
  • porcupine meatballs, mashed potatoes, green beans - 2 lb. ground turkey $2.98, 2 cans tomato soup 98¢, everything else on hand. Total $3.96
  • THANKSGIVING DINNER we take green bean casserole, dinner rolls, pies, pumpkin cake roll - 1 can cr of mushroom soup 59¢, french fried onions 99¢, 1 pkg. cream cheese 99¢, 3 cans pumpkin $3. Everything else on hand. Total $5.57
  • pigs in a blanket, oven fries, veggie sticks - 2 pkg. hot dots $1.78. Everything else on hand Total $1.78
  • chicken paprika, homemade noodles, peas & carrots - sour cream $1.19, 1 bag frozen peas & carrots $1. Everything else on hand. Total $2.19

throw in 2 gallons milk @ $2.59

WEEK 6 TOTAL - $21.89

NOW, when I say "everything on hand", that means that I have the supplies on hand to make the rest. Free potatoes, squash, apples, carrots in my garden, homecanned goods, homemade buns, pasta, & tortillas, things already in the freezer & pantry, salad dressings from scratch, bulk rice & oatmeal, etc. I also have all the chicken (whole or parts) I need thanks to raising 102 hens this summer. To keep my supplies stocked cost me:

$16.69 for a 50 lb. bag of flour

$ 2.19 each for 2 4lb. bags of white sugar

$ 1.49 for a 3 lb. bag of onions

$ .99 each for 2 bottles of ketchup

$1.79 each for 2 jars Miracle Whip

$ .69 each for 10 boxes margarine

$ .99 for one bunch celery

$ .99 each for 12 dozen eggs

$47.89 TOTAL for miscellaneous


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Easy Artichoke Dip with Pita Crisps - YUM!

This is one of my older son's favorites, and it's a good one! He got it from his manager at work and it immediately became a favorite at home.

Artichoke Dip
  • 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, chopped (Reese's is best)
  • 1/2 c. Hellman's mayonnaise (NO Miracle Whip)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced OR use 1 tsp. minced garlic from a jar
Mix all ingredients together. Put into a baking dish. Bake at 350° for 25 - 30 minutes until bubbly & golden brown. Top with a bit more Parmesan before serving. BEST served warm with fresh pita chips!

Fresh pita chips:
Take 1 pkg. pita pocket bread and cut into wedges/triangles with a pizza cutter. Place on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray, sprinkle with parsley if you like. Bake at 350° for 10 to 15 minutes until they reach desired crispness.


Friday, September 24, 2010

New recipes that I'm trying for the menu plan

I posted several days ago about the 4 week menu plan that I shopped for and I'm using. I have a few recipes in there that I've never tried before, but they looked yummy and I needed some cheap meals!

Chicken Alfredo Lasagna
  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained well (squeeze it to get most of the water out)
  • 3 to 4 c. cut up cooked chicken
  • 2 16 oz. jars Alfredo sauce ( I used a double batch of alfredo sauce from my Chicken Alfredo recipe)
  • 4 c. mozzarella cheese
  • 2 pints ricotta cheese (I used a 24 oz. carton of cottage cheese :-) )
In a medium bowl, combine chicken and one jar of alfredo sauce, stir together. In a separate bowl, combine ricotta and drained, cooked spinach, and stir. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, place one layer of lasagna noodles, edges overlapping. Pour chicken and alfredo sauce mixture over noodle layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded mozzarella over chicken mixture. Top with another layer of noodles. Spread spinach mixture evenly over noodles. Pour 1/2 of remaining jar of alfredo sauce over spinach mixture, spread evenly. Sprinkle another cup of mozzarella over sauce, lay on the final noodle layer and top with remaining 2 cups of mozzarella and salt and pepper to taste. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until top is brown and bubbly.

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore
Clean any unwanted fat from chicken pieces. Add all ingredients to crock pot, mix well, making sure chicken is covered. Cover and cook for 7 to 9 hours. Serve over pasta.

Redneck Casserole (from
  • 1 (28 ounce) can baked beans
  • 6-8 hot dogs
  • 4 cups tater tots
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 450°. Pour baked beans into a casserole dish. Cut up your hot dogs into bite sized pieces and throw those into your casserole dish and mix until dogs are well coated with baked bean sauce. Cover the bean and dog mixture with tater tots. Make sure to cover the mixture completely. Bake for 30 minutes or until tater tots are golden brown.

Hawaiian Chicken
Set oven to 350°F. Place chicken in baking dish. Melt butter in large skillet on low heat. Mix corn starch and hot water in glass or small bowl until well blended; set aside. Add excess pineapple juice from can of pineapple chunks.

Sprinkle pineapple chunks over chicken.

Mix brown sugar, salt, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, and chili powder in skillet until well blended.
Turn skillet to medium heat and let simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in ketchup and soy sauce. Stir in corn starch mixture and blend well, sauce will become very thick. Let simmer 2-3 more minutes. Pour sauce over chicken and pineapple chunks.

Bake chicken for 50-60 minutes, or until chicken is cooked completely through.

Chili Dog Casserole (from
  • 2 15 oz cans of chili (I bought chili with beans)
  • 1 package hotdogs
  • 8 to 10 Flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
Preheat oven to 425°. Spread 1 can of the chili on the bottom of a 9X13 inch baking dish. Roll up franks inside tortillas and place in baking dish, seam side down, on top of chili. Top with remaining can of chili and sprinkle with cheese. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another monthly menu plan and shopping results!

This month was tight for us. I knew I'd have about $225 to buy the groceries we needed for our family of 7. Not easy, but not impossible either. I worked on the menu and shopping list for a week, looking for new inexpensive recipes, reworking the menu plan, finding shortcuts....and then I went shopping last Saturday. Did I do it?

YES! I spent a grand total of $218.25!! That includes fresh fruits and veggies, milk, even a few extras.

Here's what's on the menu this month:

Breakfasts: cornflakes, pancakes, oatmeal, eggs, homemade yogurt and fruit, waffles, smoothies

Lunches: Sandwiches (tuna, egg or chicken salad, PB & J), soups, pizza bagels (homemade bagels), leftovers, mac & cheese, pigs in a blanket, chicken gravy & biscuits

9/18 Quick meal of hot dogs & mac & cheese & steamed veggies (long day)
9/19 Home made pizza
9/20 Chicken alfredo lasagna, veggies
9/21 taco salad
9/22 potato & ham chowder, apple spice muffins
9/23 spaghetti & meatballs, steamed peas
9/24 shepherd's pie, pears
9/25 sloppy joes, onion rings, pickled beet or veggie salad
9/26 crockpot chicken cacciatore, homemade spaghetti, tossed salad with homemade croutons and homemade Italian dressing
9/27 Redneck casserole (baked beans & weenies, tator tots & cheese) & veggies
9/28 Hawaiian chicken, rice, green beans
9/29 Beef & barley soup (crockpot), muffins
9/30 Roast chicken, lentil vegetable salad
10/1 Tuna melts, dill spears, potato chips, jello salad
10/2 Hamburger goulash, salad
10/3 crock pot chicken & rice, dinner rolls, steamed peas
10/4 Salisbury patties & gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans
10/5 chicken alfredo, homemade fettuccine, steamed broccoli
10/6 chili dog casserole, fruit
10/7 sesame chicken, rice, oriental stir fry veggies
10/8 Wet burritos
10/9 oven fried chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, steamed peas
10/10 Crockpot scalloped potatoes & ham, green beans
10/11 chicken stew with homemade egg noodles or dumplings, muffins
10/12 Tator tot casserole with veggies
10/13 Bruschetta chicken bake, homemade Italian bread, green beans
10/14 Hamburger stew, muffins or biscuits
10/15 homemade chicken strips, pasta salad, veggies

A few new recipes, I'll add them soon!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


'Tis the season for apples, the oh-so-versatile fruit! Here are some of my family's favorite recipes to use up the abundance of apples from our trees.

Crock Pot Apple Butter:

  • 4 quarts sliced unpeeled apples
  • 2 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
Place apples in crock pot. Top with mixture of sugar and spices. Let stand, covered, overnight. Cook covered, on high for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Put mixture through a food mill (we have a Squeezo). Ladle into 1/2 pint or pint jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Seal with lids. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.

Mom's Apple Pie - my mom gave me this recipe for her signature apple pie. I'm not supposed to share, but it's too good to keep to myself!

  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 5 to 6 cups peeled, cored and sliced baking apples

Combine all ingredients and stir carefully. Put in an unbaked pie shell and dot with 2 Tbsp. butter cut into small pieces. Top with top crust, seal edges and cut slits in the top crust. Brush with milk and sprinkle with a bit of white sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Cover edges of the crust with foil if they begin to get too dark.

Crumb topped Apple Pie: Prepare as above but don't add the top crust. Instead, make a topping of 1 c. flour, 1/2 c. firm butter or margarine and 1/2 c. backed brown sugar mixed until crumbly. Cover pie with foil during last 10 minutes of baking.

Caramel Spiced Apples
  • In small bowl, combine cinnamon and cloves. Place half of apple halves in 4 Qt. slow cooker. Sprinkle evenly with half of cinnamon mixture. Add remaining apples and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture. Pour apple juice and lemon juice over apples. Stir to coat apples evenly.
    Cover and cook on low for 2-1/2 to 3 hours,stirring gently half way through cooking time.
    Spoon apples and cooking liquid into individual serving dishes.
    Drizzle with caramel topping and sprinkle with pecans.

  • Apple Fritters

    Mix half the rum, the sugar and cinnamon together and toss with the apples.
    Beat the egg yolks with milk, remaining rum and a pinch of salt.
    Sift the flour and baking powder together into the mixture and stir well, until there are no lumps. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks and fold into the batter. Stir in the apple slices. Discard excess liquid from the apples.
    Heat the oil in a deep heavy pan or deep fryer (there should be a couple inches of oil in the pan) until 350F. Fry the apples in batches until golden on both sides (flip with tongues if needed). Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.

Caramel Apple Bundt Cake


Caramel Glaze:


Prep Time: 25 mins

Total Time: 1 1/2 hrs

Set oven to 350°F. Set oven rack to second-lowest position. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan.

In a bowl, sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture into the bundt pan and tilt pan to coat.

In another bowl, place the chopped apples and 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture; toss to coat.

In another bowl combine 1-1/4 cups brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla; beat with an electric mixture until combined and thick (about 4 minutes). Gradually beat in the remaining flour mixture until combined. Fold in the chopped apple mixture and pecans into the batter. Transfer to prepared bundt pan. Bake for about 1 hour or until the cake tests done. Transfer the cake to a rack then prepare the caramel glaze.

To make the glaze: melt butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk in 1 cup brown sugar then the half and half or cream. Continue whisking until the glaze is smooth and comes to a boil. Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla, and remove from heat. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the hot glaze over the warm cake that is still in the pan. Let the cake sit for 15-20 minutes to absorb the glaze. Turn the cake onto a platter, then pour the remaining glaze over the cake. Let stand until cool (at least 1 hour) before slicing.

Apple Maple Cream Pie

  • 1 double crust pie crust
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 c. cored, peeled, sliced apples
  • 1/2 c. maple flavored or pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • milk
  • sugar or more maple syrup

Prepare bottom crust of pie and place in 9 inch pie plate. Set aside.

For filling, in a large bowl, stir together the 1/3 c. sugar, the cornstarch, and the salt. Add the apples, gently toss until coated.

In a small bowl, stir together maple syrup, whipping cream, and vanilla. Pour over apple mixture. Fold until combined. Transfer to the pastry-lined pie plate. Trip pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate.

Roll out remaining pastry and cut into 1/2 inch wide strips or roll out to cover pie filling (cut slits). Weave strips over filling for lattice crust. Press ends of strips into crust rim. Fold bottom edge over strips, seal and crimp edge. Brush pastry with milk and sprinkle with sugar. To prevent over-browning, cover edge of pie with foil.

Bake the pie in 375° F oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for another 30 minutes until top is golden. Serve warm or cool.

Taffy Apple Salad

  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 can (20 oz.) pineapple tidbits, drained (save the juice)
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip
  • 5 medium size apples, cored and diced
  • 2 c. miniature marshmallows
  • 1 c. salted peanuts

In a small heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, egg, and pineapple juice. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a medium bowl, fold chilled lemon-egg mixture into whipped topping until blended.

In a large bowl, combine pineapple, apples, marshmallows and peanuts. Stir in topping mixture.

Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before serving.

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Let cream cheese soften just slightly at room temperature. With a mixer, combine cream cheese and marshmallow creme until smooth. Add cinnamon and stir. Refrigerate until serving.