Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday: Breakfast Casserole

I make this Saturday morning, it sits in the fridge all day long, and then whenever we happen to be ready to eat on Saturday evening dinner is ready without a mess and without any fuss!

Cast of Characters:

Onion rolls (regular can be used too, so can simple old bread!)
1 package Cream cheese
Six eggs
8 oz cheese

What to do:

1. Cook Sausage/drain/set aside

2. Take your bread and break it up into little pieces, think of feeding geese in the park!
3. Place the broken bread pieces and lay them in the bottom of a casserole dish.

4. Take a package of cream cheese and cut it up into lots of little pieces too. Dot the cream cheese all over the bread.....never said this was a healthy meal. :)

5. Beat six eggs and add mustard powder to them.

6. Pour the eggs over the top of the casserole.

7. Add the sausage. Mush everything down together real well!


9. BAKE 350 degrees until cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Sprinkle with cheese and serve with fresh fruit.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday: Spinach Tomato Nacho Dip

On Friday night's we always have this desire to go out to eat mostly because it is Friday and going out to eat just kind of rings in the weekend!

When I cook a "real" meal on Friday nights we always seem to rush through them.
So, I have declared Friday nights for our family as appetizer night where we serve something easy, quick, and fun.

Cast of characters:
Frozen chopped spinach
Can of Rotel
Nacho Chips/Tortilla Chips

What to do:

1. Thaw your spinach DRAIN.

2. Put spinach in food processor if you want it to be even smaller. I find this helpful for children and picky spouses.

3. Add the spinach, can of Rotel, and velveeta cheese into a crock pot.

4. Stir occasionally.

Enjoy your Friday night! (This dip is also pretty tasty over baked potatoes, another easy Friday night meal.)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thursday: Cook-Out Hotdogs

Call me crazy, but I need to be outside even on the coldest of days if but only for a brief moment. If there is an even remotely mild day this family is going to be found outdoors.

If you have a grill, fire it up!
If you have a fire pit, stack some logs in it and build a nice fire.
Bundle up. Grab your camera. Roast some hot dogs and think of summer nights!

Cast of Characters:
Hot Dogs
Roasting Sticks

What to do:
Place your dogs on the stick and roast until perfect. Plop them in the buns and run inside to get warm!

We ate our hotdogs with a side of Brocolli and Cheese, potato chips and cottage cheese.

While the hot dogs were roasting my two year old had a blast "painting" in the snow. We filled water bottles with water/food coloring and he painted.

Good times in the winter!

Wednesday: Lentil Soup

You are probably wondering if people actually eat lentils or if we are just supposed to use them for kindergarten craft projects, but I promise you they are not only edible they are actually good for you. So, put away the glue stick and try this Lentil soup. It is easy to throw together and makes for a hearty dinner.

Thanks again to Wondertime Magazine for this meal idea. As usual I modified it just a little to fit our family.

Cast of Characters:
Olive Oil
2 Stalks Celery
2 Carrots
1 cup of tomato's (crushed or puree)
2 cups of lentils
4 cups of chicken broth
2 extra cups of water
1 bay leaf
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
*Kielbasa (leftover from yesterday's meal)

What to do:

1. After peeling and washing your onion, carrots, and celery put them into a food processor. You can hand chop them if you like. I process them so that they are very small and my husband won't complain about eating vegetables.

2. Put the above into a pan and saute with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Saute until the vegetables are softened a bit, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and then saute about 5 minutes more.

4. In a soup pan add the following: tomato sauce/puree, chicken broth, lentils, bay leaf, thyme, and 2 extra cups of water. Stir together and put on low heat.

5. Add the vegetable mixture to the soup pot and simmer for an hour and a half.

6. Add the keilbasa and the balsamic vinegar just a few minutes before serving. The balsamic vinegar is really important for this soup, it gives it the kick it needs.

We ate this with cornbread and although we found it very unique, it was a hit.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

February's Reader's Choice Week

I want to thank all of you that participated in January's Reader's Choice week! January was our first attempt at doing a Reader's Choice week and even though we had to work out some kinks, I am glad to say we got some rockin' new recipes from you all!

We are going to have another Reader's Choice week in February. If you are interested in submitting a recipe here are the guidelines:

1. E-mail us your recipe(s) to w/ pictures and instructions (just like we do on our blog)
2. Give us the blog/website you would like for us to link to your recipe
3. All submissions for February's guest post week need to be e-mailed by February 14th.

Our meal plans are specifically for dinner, but we love to do lunch and breakfast ideas for dinner once in awhile as well! It would be great if you could add "tips" for your recipe- ideas that could make it better or things that didn't quite work as well when you made the recipe. We love humor and stories as well!

We already have several submissions for February's Reader's Choice Week and only have 2 spots left! We would love to add YOURS!

E-mail all submissions or questions to:

Happy Meal Planning!

Sarah, Katie and Alisha
Meal Planning Mommies

Kielbasa and Saffron Rice

The last time I made this meal was on September 16th, so you can view the archives if you would like to see it made just a bit differently. This is an easy breezy meal and one of our favorites, but I often forget about it.

Cast of Characters:

All-beef Kielbasa Sausage (they were on sale this week at our Wal-Mart)
Saffron Rice (Package costs 89 cents!)
Green Snap Beans (Fresh)

What do to:

Make the Rice following the instructions on the package, total time 20 minutes.

Cut up the sausage and place it into a frying pan. You do NOT need to add any oil or anything, the sausage will cook itself. Cook, flipping the sausage, until it is how your family likes it. We like it a little crispy on the edges.

Snap your beans, and put them in boiling water.

Put it all on a plate with some home made Pomegranate tea and enjoy your meal. It took 20 minutes and was less than $5.00, plus the leftover sausage is going to be used for another meal this week and the rice can be stuffed into tortillas for a yummy leftover lunch idea this week.

We also had blueberry muffins with this meal. I used flax seed in the muffins to make them have a kick of healthy fiber to them.

Monday, February 2, 2009

White Bean Chicken Chili

(Like the picture? It is Sunday morning, 6:30am......)

I got this idea from the Wondertime magazine and changed it just a bit. The soup was very good and even my vegetable hating husband ate it. Although, he did come by and steal the onions and chilies off of the counter in protest of me putting them into his food. Dur.

This is very easy to make and is nice for leftovers. We ate it for lunch the next day.

Cast of characters ~
4 cups chicken broth
2 cans of green chilies
Bag of white beans (or use 3 cans)
1 bag frozen corn
cayenne pepper
8 oz cheese

What to do:


1. Rinse and soak your white beans. Boil them for several hours until they are tender.

2. Boil your chicken, we used just one big chicken breast. The recipe calls for 2 pounds, but we did not use that much and it was still really good. Keep the broth and use it! Cut up your chicken when cooked, remove bone, set aside. I added just a bit more of broth to mine.

3. Dice up your onion and put it into a soup pot. Add olive oil and saute for 5 minutes, until tender.

4. Add your canned chilies (and spices) to the pan and continue to saute. It will smell delicious!

5. Add the chicken and broth to the onion/chilies and stir.

6. Add the beans.

7. Cook together for 15-30 minutes.

8. Add the corn and cook again for 15 minutes.

9. Add half of the cheese and stir.

Serve in bowls with cheese sprinkled on top. Also good with a bit of sour cream.

We ate this with home made flax rolls and we had apples with peanut butter as a side dish.

It was delicious!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Tasty Green Meal Plan and Grocery List

I get excited pretty easily, I am kind of like a dog I guess. So, it should be no surprise that I am excited about this weeks meal plan. I think it is going to be a good mix of healthy and not so healthy, hearty and not so hearty.
Best part is the entire meal plan cost me under $60 this week at the grocery story and that includes breakfast, lunches, and snacks for our family.

Here is the meal plan:

Monday~ White Bean Chicken Chili and Rolls
Tuesday~ Keilbasa, Saffron Rice, and Green Beans (Blueberry muffins too)
Wednesday~ Lentil Soup and corn bread
Thursday~ Cook out chili hotdogs (Yes, I KNOW it is winter!), home made french fries, and applesauce.
Friday~ Spinach and tomato nacho cheese dip
Saturday~ Breakfast Casserole
Sunday~ Roast Pork and Rosemary Potatoes

Here is the grocery list:

Monday~ White Bean Chicken Chili and Rolls
Olive oil
2 onions
2 cans of chopped green chilies (4 oz each)
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups of white navy beans (canned or fresh)
1 bag of frozen corn
8 oz cheese
TIP: Use chicken breast, boned, and boil it. Cut up the meat for the soup and use the broth rather than buying broth! :)

Tuesday~ Keilbasa, Saffron Rice, and Green Beans (Blueberry flax muffins too.)
Keilbasa (We like all beef)
Saffron Rice (one small package goes a long way)
Fresh snap beans
(Tip: We save the leftover rice and put it into tortillas the next day with black beans for lunch.)

Wednesday~ Lentil Soup and corn bread
1 Onion
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1/2 crushed tomato puree
2 cups of lentils
4 cups of chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup of diced Kielbasa (use leftovers from last night!)
1 tbs balsamic vinegar

Thursday~ Cook out chili hotdogs (Yes, I KNOW it is winter!), home made french fries, and applesauce.
Hot dogs
Can of Chili with beans
Olive oil
(firewood, winter coats, and gumption!)

Friday~ Spinach and tomato nacho cheese dip
Frozen chopped spinach
Can of Rotel
Velveeta cheese block
Tortilla chips

Saturday~ Breakfast Casserole
Onion rolls (regular can be used too, so can simple old bread!)
1 package Cream cheese
Six eggs
8 oz cheese

Sunday~ Pork Roast, Rosemary Potatoes
Pork Roast

Three Frugal Meals from One Fine Chicken, Meals Two and Three

Yesterday, Carey started three meals from one fine chicken. If you haven't read yesterday's post yet, go check it out and follow it up with these two excellent recipes!

You can visit Carey at Frugal Fulfillment. Thanks for the great recipes, Carey!

Day Two: Homemade Chicken Alfredo Pizza

If you’ve never made your own pizza dough before – please try it! You’ll be amazed at how easy it is! And it takes much less time than you might think. Here’s the recipe I used:

1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 ½ cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Mix into all remaining ingredients. Knead until smooth, using a little more flour if necessary. Roll out on a floured counter and transfer to a pizza pan. Press dough to edges of pizza pan.

For this recipe, I then spooned on about 1/3 of a jar of Ragu Classic Alfredo sauce, used half of my leftover chicken, and about 4 oz of mozzarella cheese. On half the pizza, I also threw on a few mushrooms and sprinkled just a bit of green pepper. That’s my half – Twelve ‘won’t eat fungus’. I sprinkled the whole pizza with a bit of dried oregano. I baked it at 450 degrees for about 13 minutes. It was delicious!

1/3 of whole chicken $1.49
pizza dough ingredients $1.00
sauce $0.80
cheese $1.00
extra veggies $0.10

TOTAL meal cost for two: $4.39
And we only ate half the pizza! Now we have leftovers for lunch. See how this rubber chicken stretches?

Day Three: Chicken and Pinto Beans

With the rest of the leftover chicken, since it’s winter time, I decided to make a warm, hearty and filling dish. This one is also very simple! First, I soaked 16 ounces of dried pinto beans in a bowl of water overnight. In the morning, I rinsed the beans, put them in the crockpot, added water to about ½ inch above the beans, and added the following ingredients:

2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
½ an onion, finely chopped

I left the crockpot on HIGH and simmered those beans all day! About one hour before dinner, I threw in the leftover chicken. My original plan was to serve this over rice, but it looked so thick and hearty that I didn’t think it was necessary, but it is an option! I added a little more raw diced onion and a sprinkle of chili powder to mine. Twelve and I both loved it! We even had leftovers… MORE leftovers! Here’s the cost breakdown:

1/3 of whole chicken $1.49
16 oz. dried beans $0.79
spices, garlic and onion $0.50

TOTAL meal cost for two: $2.78

But wait! There’s more! Leanne Ely from Saving Dinner stretches her rubber chicken for a family of four. Her chicken meat only lasts two meals, and her third meal is a soup made from broth from the chicken carcass. We’ve done three meals for two, and still have the carcass to deal with! Read my post here, about how I make homemade chicken stock.

That little chicken stretched a long way! Now, if your family consists of more than two, you can make just one of the above leftover meals, add side dishes, or you can start with two chickens! There are countless different recipes that require chicken meat – be creative and stretch that rubber chicken!