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.