Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sunday Night: Easy Layered Nacho Bake

This recipe is so super easy, cheap and versatile! I think we may be having this every other week, I love it! I do not have pictures to show you through each step, but it is so easy that you won't need the pictures!

Here is what you need:
Black beans (or whatever you have on hand)
1/2 onion
1 tomato
sour cream

All of these items (except the chips and cheese) are optional. Change out what you don't like for what you do! It would be great w/ some ground beef or shredded chicken as well.

Step 1: Make your Pico

Chop up the tomato, onion and cilantro. An easy way to chop up the cilantro is to roll it and then slice! Mix these items into a bowl w/ a little salt and pepper and you have your pico! (lime juice adds an extra zip if you like that kind of thing!)

Step 2: Start layering

I used a pie plate b/c it was just me and a friend eating. If you are making for a family of 4, I would recommend using a casserole pan.

Start by layering chips on the bottom, then cheese, then beans and pico. Repeat as many times as needed until you run out of ingredients or get to the top of your dish.

Step 3: Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until cheese is all melty and gooey! (about 15 minutes)

Step 4: Add your sour cream, guacamole, and extra pico to the top and en-JOY! LOVE IT!

Cost of Meal: approx. $8

Per person : $2-4 (depending on how much you make!)

Saturday Night: Sweet Maid Rite loose meat Sandwich

Sweet maid-rite loose meat sandwiches are one of my favorite quick fix meals. I had my first maid-rite experience while living in Cedar Rapids, IA. Now that I am in Illinois, many people don't have a clue what a maid-rite is or even what it is supposed to taste like. I explain it like this: it's like a sloppy joe w/ out the mess and strong tomato flavor PLUS the addition of sweet carmelized brown sugar. TRUST ME, YOU WILL LOVE IT!

Here is what you need:

1 lb ground beef or turkey (or 2 lb depending on your family size), 1 med. onion, mustard, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, saltand pepper and buns.

Step 1: Chop up your medium onion. Yes, I have awesome Rachel Ray chopping skills! (okay, not really... but maybe someday!)

Step 2: Brown your hamburger and onion.

Mine looks like it's done! On to the next step...

Step 3: Drain your meat/onion and then place back into your pan

Step 4: Begin measuring out your ingredients: 1/2 cup ketchup, 1 tbs. worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup water, 1 tb. mustard and 2 tb brown sugar (salt and pepper to taste). I did take a picture of adding all of the ingredients in the pan, but I think I accidentaly deleted it! Sorry!

Okay, I found one other picture... Here is the worcestershire sauce (okay, everytime I type that word I seriously have to look back at my recipe to make sure I don't spell it wrong!)

Step 5: Mix all ingredients together. This is where I let the meat sit and simmer for about 30-45 minutes to let it soak in all the goodness. You could seriously just serve it up as is if you are in a hurry. It's also a good idea to do some taste testing. Some people prefer more brown sugar and less ketchup. It's such an easy recipe to alter to your own tastes!

Step 6: Serve on a bun! You can eat this with a fork or just go for it!

Servings: approx. 4 sandwiches per lb of meat used

Cost of meal: $2.10 (cost of meat and onion.... everything else is stocked pantry items)
Cost per person- about $.52 cents.


The Winner!!!

Congratulations to the Blue Barn Bulletin for winning the first ever give away on Meal Planning Mommies. She will be receiving 100 coupons this upcoming week to help in her grocery shopping, cooking, and home making ventures!

Visit our winner at her blogspot, it is a hoot!

We will be doing another give away next week!

Thanks to all!

The Meal Planning Mommies
(Katie, Alisha, and Sarah)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Friday Night: Cheesy Chicken Casserole

I have been hooked on a blog lately called pioneerwoman. She has great recipes, stories and pictures. The Tasty Green featured a recipe from this blog last week also. I try and make at least 1 brand new recipe a week. This is a little more complicated than I like to make, but really it's not complicated at all... just a few more ingredients/steps than I am used to. I promise, it is to totally worth it! This is a great comfort food and it makes a TON! (we had leftovers for another meal, plus 1 froze 2 bags worth for meals before baking)

Here is what you need:
1 lb chicken (or 2 cups cooked), 1 package of spaghetti, 3 cups of cheddar cheese, 2 cans cream of mushroom (or cream of chicken), chicken broth, can of diced tomatoes w/ onion and green pepper (original recipe called for: pimentos, medium onion and green pepper, diced instead) seasoning salt, chili powder (or red pepper)

Step #1: Boil spaghetti. Do not overcook b/c you will cook it later in the oven.

Step #2: Bake chicken until done (350 degrees for about 20 -30 minutes)

*Note: I did steps 1 and 2 earlier in the day so that there would be less time spent in the kitchen around dinner time
Step #3: Cut up chicken into bite size pieces.

Next, Measure out 2 cups of cooked chicken
Then, drain and dice your canned tomatoes

Put ingredients in bowl: spaghetti, chicken, tomatoes (or veggies of choice). I would recommend just putting it all back into the large pan you cooked your spaghetti in. You will notice later I had to dump mine back into a larger pan b/c it is so hard to stir in a med. sized bowl
Pour in 2 cans of cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup.
Then measure out 2 cups of cheese (you will save the extra 1 cup for the top)
Pour the cheese in the mixture.

Add about 1/2 cup of chicken broth.

Add your spices: 1/8 tsp. chili powder or cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon seasoned salt and a dash of pepper. Mix well.

Now pour your spaghetti mixture into a casserole dish. Sprinkle 1 cup of grated cheese on top.
Put it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30-45 minutes or until it is hot and the cheese is bubbling.


Like I said before, this is a great recipe to freeze as well. If you do not freeze any, the recipe will serve about 8 people.

Meal cost: $12-15
Per person cost- $1.50-$1.87

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Thursday Night: My husband's famous Salmon Patties

So once a week my husband has a chance to show off his culinary skills in the kitchen. Who doesn't love a man who can and WILL cook for you? Usually we have something fish related. This week we are having his salmon patties. He grew up eating these and has tweaked his mom's recipe to his taste.

Here is what you need:

Milk, dill weed, saltine crackers, 2 cans of pink salmon (boneless and skinless, 1 egg

First you need to mix up your 2 cans of salmon (drained), 1 egg, 3/4 cups of milk, 1 tablespoon of dill weed. Then add crushed saltine crackers until desired consistency (we usually use about 1 pack of saltine crackers give or take).

You then need to let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for about 2-3 hours for the crackers to soak in the flavors.
After 2-3 hours has passed and you are ready for dinner. Now, heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in your pan.

Shape the salmon mixture into patties. However many patties you make and how big you make them depends on how many people you are serving. We can make 3 big patties or 4 medium sized. These would also be great as tiny appetizers.

Cook them on medium low until golden brown on both sides.

Serve with Couscous or side of your choice.

Meal cost (included couscous, excluding milk, eggs, dill and crackers): $5.00
Serves 4- cost per serving: $1.25

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dessert #1: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Eclair

This dessert is frugal friendly and very easy to whip up. Not to mention, Yummy!

Here is what you need:

Ingredients: Milk, Vanilla instant pudding (4 serving size), 1 8oz whipped topping,thawed (or buy the 16 oz and use the leftovers for another dessert later in the week), peanut butter, Honey Graham Crackers, Semi-Sweet chocolate chips and butter.

Step #1: Pour 1 3/4 cups cold milk into bowl, add pudding mix from the box and whisk about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup peanut butter and mix well. (sorry didn't get a picture of this step!) Then stir in the whipped topping (or a pic of this one!)

Next, layer a 13x9 inch baking dish with honey graham crackers. You will have to break a few a part to make them fit.

Now pour about half of the pudding/whipped/peanut butter mixture on top of the grahams. Then top with more grahams and repeat: graham, mixture, graham (i poured about 1/3 and decided to do 3 layers instead of 2... but 2 layers works also)

Next, melt the chocolate and 3 tbs. butter in the microwave. Pour the melted chocolate over the top layer of grahams. (When doing this, I realized the chocolate was still kind of stiff and hard to spread. Next time I would add more butter or melt the chocolate longer to make it runny and easier to spread)

Tada! Here is your finished dessert! No baking required. Don't ya love it!? Now stick it in the fridge for about 8 hours (or freezer for a shorter period) Store in the refrigerator.

** Note: Just to warn you, this is a little hard to cut a part b/c the chocolate hardens on the top. I think this would be just as good with chocolate frosting also.
If you try that, let me know how it turns out!

Thanks to Kraft Foods magazine for helping me with this recipe. If you haven't signed up for the FREE Food & Family Recipe book- you need to. It's Free, that's about as frugal as you can get!

Cost for entire dish (did not include staples: butter, peanut butter or milk in cost, ): $3.75
Cost per serving (10 servings): 37 cents


This week we are excited to be giving a way a stash of coupons (approx. 100- no internet coupons). To be entered into this drawing, post a comment with your e-mail. The winner will be randomly selected on Friday at 5 p.m. You will be contacted via e-mail for your address.

Check out the other posts in our meal planning blog. We are 3 crazy moms who have benefited from meal planning and would like to share our meals with you. Each week a different mom will post her meal plan. Each mom has a different specialty: The tasty green (getting your family to eat their veggies), The frugal table (meal plans on a budget) and Out of the Box (cooking from scratch).

We have just started The Meal's we Make and are still making it new. Check back weekly for new meal plans and feel free to subscribe (on the home page) to get our meals weekly!

Wednesday Night: Eat out or "Brinner"

Tonight is your night to decide. Take the family out for a super cheap dinner (make sure to check out which restaurants in your area have free kids meals tonight!) or make "brinner."

You may be wondering what "brinner" is. I guarantee you all have brinner in your cabinets.

Brinner: n. adj. 1. Breakfast when made for dinner.

Brinner is simple: Whip up some scrambled eggs, toast, pancakes, sausage or bacon, some fruit and there you go! Little thought required.

This brinner brought to you buy: My husband- He LOVES brinner! (And Scrubs epsidoe 7.7)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tuesday Night: Bubble Pizza

This is a family favorite. We have it when company comes over, when someone needs a meal brought to them or on my husband's pizza night of the week. It is so easy to make. When I cook, I like to cook- forget the recipe. This is one of those recipes that you can EASILY memorize for a night when you want to make something easy, yet make everyone ask for seconds!

Here is what you need:

Ingredients: 2 cups pizza cheese (or whatever cheese you have on hand), browned sausage (you can also use pepperoni, hamburger or bacon), 1 jar of pizza sauce, 2 tubes buttermilk biscuits. *Note: I don't put veggies in this b/c my family doesn't like the veggies, but feel free to add whatever you would order on your own pizza.

Step #1: Brown and drain the meat.

Step #2: Cut the 2 tubes of biscuits into quarters.

Step #3: Put the biscuits into a bowl along with the jar of pizza sauce.

Step #4: Add the meat and any other toppings you may have.

Step #6: Mix it all together.

Step #7: Pour into a baking dish (ungreased).

Step #8: Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Step #9- No, I didn't forget the cheese! After baking for 20 minutes, take it out and add your cheese. Now pop it back in the over for 10 more minutes.

Now you are finished! This is so yummy it is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. Cheap as well- this cost me about $5 to make the entire dish. There are approximately 6 adult servings per dish- so about 75 cents per serving. Sounds frugal to me!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Monday Night chili Dogs

All right gang, here we go! Monday Night is Chili Dog Night, so simple!
I hope you have gathered all of your ingredients that were posted last week and are ready to roll!

You should have these ingredients on hand:

Hot Dogs, Hot Dog Buns, Cheese (I shred my own, but you can use the easy kind!), chili sauce. Great add-ons are: onions, peppers, relish etc.

Step #1: Take the hot dogs out of the package and boil them. Ha! Didn't think this needed to be written out, did ya? Well... like I said this is a super easy dinner night!

Step #2: Shred your cheese (or just take it out of the fridge)

Step #3: Heat up your beanless chili sauce.

Step #4: Put it all together. Hot Dog Bun, Hot Dog, Chili Sauce and Cheese. Yummy!

Some great side items include: Chips and dip, macaroni and cheese (blue box, of course!), french fries and applesauce!

Enjoy your super easy frugal dinner tonight!

We will work our way up to the hard stuff!

Cost to make 8 chili dogs: Approx. $6.50 (buy the hot dogs and buns when they are on sale!)
Cost per serving: about 81 cents per serving