Friday, December 11, 2009

Overdue Meal Plan

I am calling this the overdue meal plan not only because it is late in being posted, but because I am a week past my due date. This week we snagged some great deals at Meijer and County Market (Cub Foods) that have given us some great simple and inexpensive meals. I am still not diving into the freezer meals that I made.

Monday~ Chicken atop Spinach Salad (spinach, cranberries, chicken, avocado) stirred with dressing and served with whole wheat bread.

Tuesday~ Spaghetti

Wednesday~ Breakfast for dinner (thanks, hubby!): Scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and grapefruit.

Thursday~ Leftover bacon (from yesterdays breakfast for dinner) on top of salad made with iceberg lettuce, spinach, avocado, broccoli, carrots, and tossed in dressing.

Friday~ Oh, we are totally eating out tonight!

If there is no meal plan posted in the upcoming week it is because I finally had this baby. Otherwise, expect a meal plan to be posted over the weekend.
If you do have a meijer you may want to take advantage of their Dollar deals. They have bags of apples, blackberries, avocado, lettuce, spinach, and much more produce on sale for $1. If you buy 10 you get the 11th free. We bought blackberries to freeze, a bunch of apples for applesauce, and the lettuce/spinach has given us some great salads this week.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Crock Pot: Chicken and Black Beans

Talk about easy breezy!

Here is what you need:
Black Beans (uncooked, not from a can)
Chicken Broth
Packet of taco seasoning
Can of tomatoes (whole, diced, chopped, whatever!)
Rice or Tortilla

Here is what to do:

1. First, stand in your kitchen and take a deep breath. This five minutes of preparation is going to produce a healthy and tasty dinner tonight with very little effort and hardly any clean up!

2. In your crock pot add the following:
*Black Beans that have been rinsed and drained. You do NOT have to let them soak overnight as long as you have a good 8 hours to let them cook in the crock pot today.
*Uncooked Chicken
*Can of tomatoes with the juice
*Box of broth
*half a packet of taco seasoning

3. Stir

4. Allow the crock to cook the meal all day long. Eventually the beans will soften perfectly and the chicken will become so tender that you can shred it with a fork, which is what you want to do before serving.

5. About 45 minutes before dinner cook your rice. We use brown rice, which takes a bit longer than white rice. (But, has added texture, taste, and health benefits!)

6. Serve the chicken and black beans over the rice. You can add a bit of sour cream or taco sauce to taste it up even more.

This meal was received very well by my family. I do think that when I make it again I would use the entire packet of taco seasoning and I might chop and cook an onion in the crock too.I did not freeze the leftovers, simply stored them for lunch tomorrow which we will serve with tortillas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday: Crock Pot Potato Soup

Update as of May 2015:

We have updated our website so you can print off our recipes with one click. To get to this post on our new website you can go here.

What you will need:

5lbs. potatoes; peeled and chopped
1 sm. onion; chopped
8oz. cream cheese; softened
3-14.5oz. cans reduced sodium chicken broth (or frozen broth!)
1 can cream of chicken soup
As Garnishes you can use:

* crisp bacon; crumbled
* shredded cheddar cheese
* sour cream
* sliced scallions

What to do:

1. Put potatoes & onion in crock-pot after peeling and chopping.
2. Combine the cream cheese, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup & the pepper. Add this mix to the crock-pot.
3. Cover & cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours.
4. After cooking time, mash the potatoes if you want the soup to be thicker.
5. Ladle into bowls and garnish!

This recipe made a lot for our family. We served it with sausage roll-ups. I was able to take half of this recipe and freeze it for another day. It smelled wonderful while cooking and received good reviews from the entire family, especially with the garnishes.

Meal Plan December 1-4

I did not anticipate meal planning for this week as I thought I might be having my baby. However, here I am coming up with a last minute meal plan as the baby seems pretty content to hang tight for a while longer. I don't want to use any of my freezer meals that we prepared last week. I am saving those up for the days after the baby is here when I just need to thaw and heat meals as opposed to preparing anything!

My son and I are filling our days this week doing lots of fun things together. I am wanting to prepare his little heart and spirit for the arrival of his first sibling.
Three days this week he and I will be out of the house all day long. I thought this might be a great opportunity to test out some crock pot meals.

None of these are my own creation. I will post a link so that you can see where the recipes came from! Simply click on the meal and it will take you there!

Tuesday: Crock Pot Potato Soup
Wednesday: Crock Pot Black Bean Chicken over Rice
Thursday: Ham Split Pea Soup
Friday: Asian Beef with Mandarin Oranges

I have never made these before so I can not tell you yet how well they freeze or can be doubled. I will find out this week and report back!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Desert or Snack: Strawberry Flax Yogurt

I put flax seed into the yogurt that I feed my family. My son will eat this, but is always a bit hesitant. I found a fun trick that not only he enjoys, but all of us love.

We take basic vanilla yogurt, Stonyfield Farms Organic is what we buy. We mix a bit of strawberry jam into the yogurt and then add the flax seed. Just a tiny bit of the jam turns the yogurt into a sweet and strawberry treat. The flax adds important omega-3's and fiber that we all need.

This is a common desert item in our house as the jam does wonders to basic yogurt. And,this is an easy and very popular afternoon snack around here.

Pumpkin Tomato Soup

I have posted a similar recipe to this before, but as we have just had it again I wanted to share it once more. I am blown away by how easy this is and how delicious!

Instead of giving you an exact recipe I am going to provide you with the ingredients and your task is to prepare the soup anyway you want it based on the ingredients. This is my favorite type of cooking, estimation cooking, where there is not a real right or wrong.

Here is what you will need:
Canned Tomatoes in Juice
Pumpkin Puree
Broth (I used vegetable)

Step one: Peel your carrots and onion. Place into a food processor and chop up until small. Place them into a pan with a bit of butter. Cook them, filling your kitchen with a wonderful aroma. Add a hint of garlic.

Step two: Meanwhile, place your tomatoes into the food processor. I used a jar of tomatoes that I had canned this past summer. Chop them until they are all blended and pureed.

Step three: In a soup pan add your tomato puree and your pumpkin puree together. Stir and begin to heat.

Step four: Add in your carrots, onion, garlic and stir together. Add in your vegetable broth. Add enough to make the soup the consistency you desire.

Step five: Heat this soup for a good hour. Stirring frequently. Add milk/cream (I used a cup of half and half) at the last ten minutes of cooking.
Salt, Pepper, and Basil to taste.

We eat this soup with whole wheat toast and apple slices. We love it, especially the second day when the flavors have all blended so well together.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Meal Plan

Due to the holiday, travel, and the anticipation for a delicious Thursday the actual meal plan for this week is easy breezy. Plus, I am the size of barn so I am happy to take it easy until this baby is born!

I am talking relaxed and fast.

Monday Night: Salad made with spinach leaves, cranberries, chicken pieces, tomatoes, pineapple chunks, and sprinked with wheat germ. We serve the salad with whole wheat rolls and pumpkin butter.

Tuesday Night: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Wednesday Night: Breakfast for dinner (Whole Grain Waffles and Scrambled Eggs)

Thursday, Friday, Saturday~ Thanksgiving and leftovers!!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday: Baking Day #1

In anticipation of our second child's arrival (sometime in the next two weeks~ oh my word!) I have set up two consecutive baking days. Yesterday I completed the organization, which was done at night on the couch with cook books open and some fun sit-coms on in the background. Today, I completed the grocery shopping and round one of the baking.
I planned on taking pictures of each meal as I made it to show you step by step directions, but I left the camera in my hubbies car. So instead I will list what I made today and then post each recipe in the coming weeks.

I used, for many of these meals, a great resource called: Once a Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborn. The meals that came from this book will have a astric by them.

Baking Day #1

Six Chicken Packets*
12 Calzones*
Marinara Sauce
Sweet and Sour Chicken*
Stuffed Shells
Beef Stroganoff
Three loaves of bread
4 pie crusts

Wowowowowowwo!! I am proud of myself. Here, I am doing a cartwheel in celebration. Okay, wait a minute I am nine months pregnant so I will skip the cartwheel and do a celebratory jig instead. Here it goes...jig...jig...jig...

Tomorrow Sarah (Frugal Table) will be here with me.
We are cooking/baking the following:
Ham, Broccoli and Cheese Quiche
Bacon and Cheese Quiche cups
Sausage Rolls

Everything I baked today I put into ziplocks/containers, labeled and froze. Having a dishwasher and a deep freeze makes baking day a breeze for the most part. I am looking forward to the comradery of tomorrows baking day with Sarah.

Will post recipes soon!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Crock Pot Beef and Noodles

I love slow cooker meals, my house smells so yummy all day! Stroganoff is one of my absolute favorite meals so I am constantly trying new recipes. I hope you enjoy this one!

Here is what you need:
2 tbsp. flour, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 3/4 lb. boneless beef round steak (I used 3/4 lb and it was plenty for 6 people or mix it up and just use ground beef), 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 cup water, 1 envelope dried onion soup mix, 1/2 cup sour cream, 9 oz jar (can or fresh) mushrooms (we opted to not put these in our stroganoff so they are not pictured).

Step 1: combine 2 tbsp. flour, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder and 1/2 tsp. pepper in slow cooker

Step 2: Cut meat into 1 1/2 x 1 inch strips (or cubed like mine) and toss in flour mixture until well coated.
Step 3: Add mushroom soup, 1/2 cup water, and soup mix. Stir until well blended.

Step 4: Cover, cook on High 3-3/12 hours or Low 6-7 hours

Step 5: Stir in mushrooms, 1/2 cup sour cream.

Let the sour cream cook in the stroganoff about 10-15 minutes or until heated through

Step 6: Cook your noodles. I chose to eat our stroganoff over noodles, but it would be just as good over rice, bread or potatoes.

Step 7: Don't forget your veggie for a side! We chose to cook some carrots

Step 8: Serve and enjoy! Yummy!

AND, if you want to make your own noodles here is how. Click here on one of our older recipes to see how we made egg noodles. It is easy and can even be a fun thing to do with your kiddos!
Egg Noodles Recipe Here

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Meal Plan November 16-22

This week is a busy one for our family, but we still have to eat. Here is the official dinner plan. Both Tuesday's Beef and Noodles and Sundays soup will be made in a double batch so that I can freeze it for later.

Monday~ Man Night (The boys either go out to eat or make their own meal, usually cold cut sandwiches!)
Tuesday~ Crock Pot Beef and Noodles
Wednesday~ We have a Thanksgiving Dinner at our church (YUM!)
Thursday~ Breakfast for Dinner: Sausage Gravy, Biscuits, Fruit Salad, Fresh Orange Juice
Friday~ Beefy Baked Potatoes
Saturday~ Tuna Casserole, cheese ball, and summer sausage with crackers
Sunday~ Cream of Tomato and Pumpkin Soup in bread bowls

In addition as long as this baby does not arrive (smile, smile, smile) I am going to do a baking day on Thursday. I will be making everything from bread dough to full fledged meals to freeze. I am working on my baking day list now, so hopefully it will be ready to share with you closer to Thursday.
If anyone has great ideas for things that are good for baking ahead of time and freezing please share!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pumpkin Yogurt

Ok, here is a little extra recipe for you all that will come in handy if you pureed your own pumpkin this year. Each fall I look forward to the day that I make this recipe for the simple fact that it is delicious, mouth watering, and perfect in every way.

Pumpkin Yogurt, also called pumpkin spread or pumpkin butter, can be used for a variety of things. My son eats it as a side dish or snack. I slather it onto hearty toasted bread and have my middle of the day tea break with it.
Peace. Pumpkin. Perfection.

Here is what you need:
One cup of pureed pumpkin
One cup of vanilla yogurt
One cup of powdered sugar
A sprinkle of pumpkin seasoning

All that you do is mix the above together until creamy and blended. Serve it plain as a yogurt or on toast.

MMMMM...I think I need some right now!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday: Super Grilled Cheese

This is a fun meal for our family because it provides options that give everyone a feeling of culinary creativity while being simple for us to make.

We use a variety of ingredients which I will list below, but you choose what sounds good to you.

Start with a really good bread.
We used Herb Cheese Bread from Great Harvest. YUM!

Load the bread with the following:
A Meat
A Cheese
A Spread

Then, go ahead and grill until the bread is toasted and the cheese melted.

Here were our two best concoctions:

1. Turkey, Avocado, Tomato, Swiss Cheese with Raspberry Jam
2. Ham, Cheddar, Apple Slices, with apple butter and a smear of Dijon mustard

We served our sandwiches with cantaloupe and cottage cheese.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bolga Baskets

Hello friends and readers,

I am taking a moment to give you a Christmas Gift idea!

Our family was blessed several years ago through the miracle of adoption when we brought home our first child, Samuel. We are going to be giving birth to our second child in the coming weeks and once again are feeling so fortunate as parents. We are also adopting again and although we began the process about a year ago, put it on a temporary hold until after Finn is born and we can find our equilibrium. We are still preparing and planning for this next adoption, which we hope will be continuing in the near future.

One of the adoption fundraisers that we have come to enjoy doing is the selling of fair trade Bolga Baskets from a cooperative in Ghana. They are beautiful and so fun!
You actually mold them yourself and they can be used for a variety of purposes in addition to being decorative. They are sustainable, made from elephant grass, natural plant dye, and goat hide by women and men in Ghana, Africa.

They make great Christmas gifts! To learn more about our basket sale please click here. And, as always if anyone has questions about international adoption please feel free to ask!

Thanks to all,

Katie (Tasty Green)

Chicken Shepards Pie

What you will need for this comfort food:

Various other veggies if you like: green beans, lima beans, etc
Half-n-Half (probably could use whole milk, but then would it be so sinfully creamy?)
Pie crust
Seasoning: Salt and Pepper, Paprika

What to do:

1. Slice up your carrots and begin to boil them.

2. Meanwhile, cut up your chicken bite sized. Place it into a pan with a little bit of olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Dice up an onion and cook it with the chicken.

3. Add the rest of your veggies to the same pot as the carrots. I used a bag of mixed veggies that I got for near free at the grocery this week. If you are using fresh they will take a bit longer to cook.

4. Peel and slice your potatoes, boil them and make some good old fashioned mashed potatoes. Set aside. (Tip: I used mashed potatos that I had frozen from a previous batch. They worked beautifully for this meal and alleviated an entire step!)

5. Get your pie crust ready (Mine is home made and frozen, nobody laugh at my terrible pie crust shaping!). I believe that store bought crust would be just fine. I know Sarah has used store bought before and made delicious meals with it. Bake it empty for about 20 minutes, until it is almost baked.

6. When your chicken is cooked through, add the half and half and a tablespoon of flour to it. You are making a gravy. Keeping adding the milk and flour until you have a creamy (not too thick!) gravy.

7. Add your DRAINED veggies to the gravy/chicken and mix all together. Taste it and see if it needs more seasoning. If so, add to taste.

8. Place your filling into the pie crust.

9. Take the mashed potatoes and put them on top rather than having a pie crust on top.

10. Bake for 10-15 more minutes to finish up that pie crust and warm through. Serve hot!

TIP~ when I make this I double the amount that I am going to need, which is very easy to do. I then place the leftover filling into a ziplock and freeze it. This makes an incredibly easy meal to throw together at a later date especially if you already have the crust and mashed potatoes ready too!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Meal Plan: November 9-13

Hi Friends,

I don't know if we have mentioned this, but both Sarah (Frugal Table) and Alisha (Out of the Box) have had their babies. Now, they both have three darlings each. For a little while it will be just me posting but they will be back soon. Yea!
I am nine months along and still waddling around the kitchen just fine, so for now I will keep posting.

Here is the meal plan for our house this week.

Monday: Chicken Shepard Pie
Grocery List~ Chicken breast
Peas, Carrots, Corn, Onion
Pie Crust

Tuesday: Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Grocery List~ Whole Wheat Bread
Lunch Meat
Spread of choice
Veggies/Fruit of choice: tomato, avocado, onion, apples,etc
For example: if we use ham then we use apple butter, if we use turkey then we use raspberry jam. This takes a basic grilled sandwich and pumps it up!

Wednesday: Orange Soy Pork Chops, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans, and Apple Sauce

Grocery List~ Pork Chops
Orange Juice or Fresh Orange
Soy Sauce
Green Beans (fresh is best!)

Thursday: Meatball Sandwiches and Salad

Grocery List~ French bread
Marinara Sauce
Meatballs (I am using leftover meatballs from a previous posted dish)
Mozzarella cheese

Friday: Out to Eat, the weekend is here!!!

Extra: Rethinking Deserts

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas!)

Now that you have baked, skinned,and pureed your pumpkin AND it is tucked away in your freezer for awaiting to be made into something delicious what can you do with those leftover seeds and goop?

Well, take the goop and gross out your kids for a moment. :)
Then, compost it so that it can help make rich soil for your garden.

Here is a simple treat you can make with the seeds: Pepitas!

Step One: Rinse the seeds and get as much goop off of them as you can. I use a strainer, my fingers and some water. It is pretty easy to do.

Step Two: Lay the seeds out on a baking sheet and let them dry OVERNIGHT. They need to be dried out.

Step Three: Sprinkle them with olive oil and some seasoning. I use a bit of salt and pepper, but people use all sorts of things. I have a friend that makes them spicy with cayanne pepper.

Step Four: Bake the seasoned seeds at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes, or until crispy and beautifully tanned.

If you don't want to make pepitas you can always plant your pumpkin. Last year my mother planted her pumpkin and it began to grow as it should come spring time. My sister (a full grown adult!) came running into the house announcing that she had just picked a watermelon from the garden. She was proud, ecstatic, eager to dig into her freshly harvested watermelon. Yea~ it was the pumpkin. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Making Pumpkin Puree

Here in our community there is a shortage of canned pumpkin. I think that this may be the case in a lot of places as I have seen articles on the subject recently. I don't know if anyone is actually in a panic and raising havoc on local grocery stores, but I find the whole idea of a canned pumpkin crisis a little funny. Mostly, because it is incredibly easy to make your own and frankly it tastes way better than canned.

Here is what you need:

PUMPKINS (smaller ones tend to be less watery, although you can use larger ones too).
Ziploc bags

Here is what to do:

1. Cut your pumpkin in half.
2. Scoop the goop out of both halves. (Save the seeds for pepitas!)
3. Using your knife cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces. It matters not how small or what shape. My pieces usually look a bit like big pie slices.
4. Place them onto a baking pan and plop them skin side down into the oven at 375 for about 45 minutes.
5. Let them cool.
6. Peel the skin right off with your fingers or use a spoon to scoop out the tender cooked pumpkin.
7. Place into a food processor and turn on. When the pumpkin is puree a few seconds later it is finished. It if is really dry you may want to add just a hint of water.
If it is really watery you may want to drain some out.
8. Place into ziplocks bags and store in your freezer for when you need pumpkin.
9. Now, pat yourself on the back because those signs announcing a pumpkin puree shortage will mean nothing to you for you are self-sufficient!!

And, you ask....What can you do with pumpkin puree?

Oh my word~

There is pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, pumpkin butter, a whole world of orange deliciousness awaits.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday: Kielbasa and Sides

Well, I forgot to take pictures~ but this is easy enough you don't need them. Sarah (Frugal Table) came over with her family and we had a great dinner. The best part was when all the kiddos went to bed and we enjoyed coffee and home made apple brown betty into the late night hours.

Here is what we had:

Kielbasa Sausage
Sweet Potato Casserole
Mixed Veggies
Apple Brown Betty

What do to:
For the kielbasa simply slice it up and place it in a frying pan. Cook it slowly until it is a done as you like. Around here we make it pretty crispy.

For the sweet potato casserole:
!. Peel the sweet potatoes
2. Place them in a steamer and boil water beneath them until soft. This took about 20 minutes.
3. In a mixer add the sweet potatoes (4), one egg, cinnamon, and brown sugar. If you have pecans or walnuts add those too for some extra yum! Blend together until smooth and place into a casserole dish.
4. Sprinkle some marshmallows on top and bake for 35 minutes at 350.

For the mixed veggies:
Yea, open bag and add to water! We cheated and did the frozen kind!

The apple brown betty was a treat. It was so very easy and we will make it again. I got the recipe from The Pioneer Woman and am going to link directly to it for you. All it took was wheat bread, apples, brown sugar and water. We topped it off with a bit of vanilla ice cream. An easy and delicious fall treat!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday: Stir Fry

MMMM....this is so easy!

What you will need:

Brown Rice
Soy Sauce
Green Onion
Chow Mien noodles for crunch!

Step one:
Begin cooking your brown rice. Brown rice takes a bit longer to cook than traditional white rice.

Step two: (And this various depending on your family's taste) Chop up your veggies and steam them. I use a food processor to make our veggies, except for the peas, very small. This make them easier for all ages to eat and it blends them into the rice nicely.

Step three: Cut up your chicken and cook it with olive oil in a wok or pan.

Step four: Add your steamed veggies to your cooked/drained rice. Flavor with soy sauce and stir.

Step five: Place your rice/veggies onto a plate. Layer chicken on top. Add a bit of chow mien noodles for crunch and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday: Whole Grain Waffles and Fruit Compote

Instead of pancakes we opted for waffles. Here is how we do it!

2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of oats
2 eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Cinnamon to taste

Step one:
Mix the milk and oat together in a large bowl. Let this sit for 15 minutes until soft.

Step two: Mix everything else together and stir!

Step three: Place on waffle maker and cook until light brown/crispy

For our fruit compote we simply cut up fruit that we have on hand. Today that fruit was: banana, pear, plums, blueberries. We put it into a pan and let it heat while the waffles cook. Then we layer it on top of the waffles and smother it in honey. We use honey instead of syrup around here!

This is great because depending on how many mouths you have to feed you will most likely have leftover waffles to freeze for a later day.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Meal Plan

I am going to resist assigning a day to this meal plan because with our schedule this week I am sure that it will change. However, here are the meals for this week and a few extra's. The first meal will be posted on Tuesday morning.

Stir Fry
Grocery List:
Brown Rice
Soy Sauce/Chow Mien Noodles

Chili and Cornbread

Grocery List
Red Kidney Beans
Green Pepper
Tomato Puree
Sour Cream
Corn Meal (egg, milk, sugar)
Mac noodles

Kilbasa Sausage and Green Beans
Grocery List

(Miejer has Hillshire Farm Kilbasa on sale 3 for $5. Plus there is a $1 off coupon in the paper.)
Kilbasa Sausage
Fresh Snap Beans
Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper

Whole Wheat Pancakes with Fruit Compote

Grocery List:
Whole Wheat Flour
Variety of good fruits (not citrus)

Sloppy Joes

Can of Sloppy Joe Sauce
Whole Wheat Buns
Potatoes (for homemade chips)
Vegetable of choice. For us, lima beans!

Pork Chops and Sweet Potato Casserole

Grocery List
Sweet Potatoes
Brown Sugar
Pork Chops
Orange (or orange juice)
Soy Sauce

Extra's for this week:
Making Homemade Pumpkin Puree (for pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin butter, etc)
Making Pumpkin Seeds

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apple Sauce Recipe

We have received several requests for our applesauce recipe. Sarah and I both make applesauce, but we do it differently. Sarah makes delicious applesauce and most often to accompany a pork chop meal she whips up. Her recipe is here on Meal Planning Mommies as a part of that pork chop meal.
Here is the URL for Sarah's applesauce:

My apple sauce is a little different, but delicious as well. I make applesauce in bulk and then freeze it.
Here is the URL for my applesauce:

Really, any way you slice it the stuff is going to turn out good! Just peel, simmer on low, add some cinnamon, and smash to taste!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What to do when corn on the cob goes on sale

Just found this on today and I had to post and share. Clair gives details on a very easy way to buy lots of corn when it is on sale, cook it, and freeze it for later. Could save you a chunk of change if you are buying when corn on the cob goes on a great sale. Click here to go directly to her post.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Smokey Black Beans

Mmm...what a way to spice up the basic black bean! We made this dish and served the beans in taco's. Everyone really enjoyed them and they were easy as can be to make

Cast of Characters

1 Can of chipolte chile in adobe sauce
1 small minced onion
2 tsp olive oil
2 cans black beans or one 16 ounce bag of uncooked (that you cook!)
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of orange juice

What to do:

1. Wash and soak your black beans if using uncooked. If using canned, drain and skip this step. Cook the beans over low heat until ready.

2. Dice up an onion. Put it into a skillet with the olive oil. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring.

3. Add in the can of chile's and cook for another two minutes. The smell in the kitchen will be delicious!

4. Add in the beans, cup of water and Orange Juice.

5. Simmer until all bubbling and thick (about 20 minutes). Smash them lightly.

Serve over rice or as filling for nachos, tacos, burritos.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Frozen Grapes

This is beyond simple! It is a family favorite snack and I can't believe I am just posting it.

What you need:
Green Grapes
A container
A tiny bit of sugar

What to do:
Wash your grapes and remove them from the stem.
Place them into a container.
Sprinkle a tablespoon(ish) of sugar on top and shake, shake, shake!

Put them in the freezer until frozen through.

This is a great snack for kids to make on their own or to assist with. My three year old loves to do the shake,shake, shake part!
Just be sure to only remove the grapes that you are going to eat from the freezer. If you remove all of them and don't eat them they will go mushy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday: Mac and Cheese Casserole

1/4 stick unsalted butter (melted)
2 cups of bread crumbs
1 cup of extra sharp cheddar cheese

Cheese Sauce:
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp pepper flakes
2 3/4 cup of milk
3/4 cup of heavy cream
4 cups of ex. sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt and pepper

Noodles: 3/4 pound elbow macaroni

What to do:

1. Stir together the topping ingredients and set aside.
2. Boil (al dente) the macaroni noodles, drain and set aside. Keep 1 cup of the water. You will use in later on.
3. Melt butter and whisk it together with flour and pepper flakes.
4. Add in the milk. Bring this to a boil over low heat, stirring often. Simmer for three minutes.
5. Stir in the heavy cream, cheese, mustard, salt and pepper. When melted remove from heat and set aside. Cover with wax paper to keep film from developing.
6. Stir this mixture in with the noodles. Add the one cup of water. Mix together well and place in casserole dish.
7. Sprinkle on the topping and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes (or until bubbling).


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday: Sicilian Meatballs

These were....good...interesting...different...worth a try in your own kitchen. This batch made almost 40 meatballs. I used ten tonight and the rest I froze for future meals.

Cast of Characters

3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup toasted almonds
Pinch of sugar
1 pound ground chuck
1/2 cup shredded cheese (Romano or parm.)
1 egg
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

What to do:

1. Thaw your meat!

2. In a bowl combine 3/4 cup bread crumbs with 1/4 cup of milk. Mix and set aside.

3. Toast almonds (I just heated them in a pan on the stove). When they are toasted put 1/2 cup of almonds and a tablespoon of sugar into a food processor. Pulse until they are all ground up. This will, by the way, smell amazingly like Christmas time at the mall when booths are set up selling candy coated nuts. Be still my heart.

4. Either by hand or with a mixer, add all of the ingredients together and mix it up really well.

5. Form into meatballs, freeze what you will not be using tonight.

6. Using a little olive oil, cook these on low heat over the stove until they are cooked through.

Tonight I simply added these to linguine noodles with marinara sauce. We ate raw veggies and cottage cheese on the side. The meat balls themselves are sweet and have a unique flavor due to the cinnamon. I was not sold on this flavor mixed with marinara sauce. I am going to experiment with different sauces and will let you know how I use the remaining 30 meatballs!