Saturday, August 7, 2010

Meal Planning Mommies are on the Road!

The three of us are in Schaumburg, IL, having a girl's weekend! We are loving our time together. Katie will be posting her recipes for this week on Monday. We will be sure to post pictures when we get back. Love you all and hope you are having a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dinners on a Dime recipe: Twistin' Tuna Bake

Another meal taken from my new Dinners on a Dime cookbook.
This recipe is very easy to make! Smile face.

1 cup Alredo sauce
2 eggs, beaten
1 t. garlic powder
8-oz. pkg. rotini pasta, cooked
10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
6-oz. can tuna, drained and flaked
1 cup round buttery crackers
3 T. butter, melted

Prep work:
Get the pasta cooking.Get those crackers all crunched up.


Combine sauce, eggs, and garlic powder; blend thoroughly. Add pasta, broccoli and tuna; turn into a lightly greased 8"x8" baking pan. (I used a bigger pan...9"x13")
Toss together cracker crumbs and butter; sprinkle over top of casserole. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through. Serves 6.

I served ours with a strawberry/banana smoothie to drink.

I wanted to show this picture, so you can get an accurate idea of how this meal went over in our house. Here's what the table looked like when we were done.
(My husband's and my plate are on the top polished off after firsts and seconds...we were hungry! My kids plates, barely touched, are down at the bottom.) :) Ya win some, ya lose some. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

EASY, CHEAP Chicken Parmesan when serving a large group of people.

Have you ever had to serve dinner to a large group of people?
I had the pleasure of preparing dinner for a men's homeless shelter in our area. The task that was presented was to prepare a dinner that would feed over 20 hungry men. I teamed up with another lady from my church. She made a large salad and a large fruit salad, along with some garlic bread. I "prepared" the Chicken Parmesan and the peanut butter cookies. I cheated by using "On Cor" and jarred spaghetti sauce, because, "for taste and more, it's On Cor", right guys? :0) Between my friend and I, we were able to put together a hefty meal, that fed many without busting the piggy bank. I thought I would share, in case if you ever want to prepare this when you have a large group to satisfy. I only have pictures of what I did, but if grab a couple of bags of salad, a couple of frozen loaves of garlic bread, and some fruit and you've got a meal.

On Cor Chicken Parmesan (Each box comes with 6 patties, so we bought 5 boxes)
Spaghetti sauce (we used two jars)
Spaghetti noodles (we used two boxes worth)

Preheat your oven and cook the Chicken Parmesan as the direction indicate on the box.
Meanwhile, boil up a huge amount of water and cook up your spaghetti according to the directions on that box.
Drain your spaghetti and add two jars of spaghetti sauce. Mix it all up.
To serve, slap some of that there spaghettis on a plate and top with one of those there patties. Serve with your salad and a piece of garlic bread. WALAH! Easy peasy dinner for a mass of people without working very hard, and without totally blowing your grocery budget for the week! :0) Wish I had a picture of the end result, but I do not. Sorry.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesday: Asian Chicken Stir Aldi recipe. :o)

I snagged a bag of stir fry from our Aldi's store last time I was there. It was inexpensive, and I thought it could make for a great meal on a day when I didn't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. YES! I was right. It was wonderful. My kids weren't as excited about it as I was, but let me tell you, this was a great option to have, and I thought it was absolutely delicious. Check it out if you have an Aldi close by. Here's what the 2 lb. bag looks like, in case if you try to find it in your Aldi. I prepared a chicken at lunch time on the same day I made this, so I added chicken to it, but I didn't think it was necessary to make this meal yummy. (This chicken will also be sealed up into bags and frozen for other meals later.) If you want to find the easiest, fool-proof way to prepare a chicken that can go into many meals, you can go here.

Elizabeth has offered an idea when trying to use the broth from making your own chicken. In the past we had a comment posted by one of our readers, in regard to the greasiness of the broth. I (Alisha) did not understand what must be done to be able to use the broth in a healthy way. Here's what Elizabeth had to say:
You can either wait for the liquid to cool a bit and the fat will start to solidify on top and you can skim off as much as possible, or you can get one of these handy gadgets from Amazon:

2 cup Fat Separator and Strainer

I'm sure you can find a less expensive one than this, but both my mom and grandma use one of these religiously to separate out the broth from the fat for sauces and such. Fat goes to the top, broth stays at the bottom and is able to be poured out of the spout that comes from the bottom. A very handy item to have around :)
Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for your insite. We love it so much that our site can be a place for moms to learn from each other. We really do appreciate our readers so much!

Heat up some oil in a large frying pan or a wok.
Add your bag of noodles and veges. Cook as directed on package.
Add the sauce that comes with the package and some chicken, if desired.
Smile and Serve.
For Katie's mouth watering Japanese Spaghetti, made from scratch, you can go here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A deal worth sharing...FREE...

We are always happy, on our site, to encourage the mom who is making efforts to feed her family healthy meals. There is a deal out right now with Gardens Alive that would offer 25 dollars off any order through them, to assist in your own garden. Check out the deal.

Gardens Alive is offering up a FREE catalog with a $25 off ANY order coupon included! You can even order less than $25 and the difference will go towards shipping, so you could potentially score some FREE products and FREE shipping with this coupon! Just go on over here to request your FREE catalog! Once you get your catalog in the mail, you’ll need to input the customer code which is on the mailing label of the catalog. Have any of you gotten anything from Gardens Alive before? What did you get? We'd love to hear from you.

(Thanks, Money Saving Madness!)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Monday: Chicken Taco Salad, and one small victory for this mom

My precious two year old helped me out with this one. She is beginning to think that she has to "help" me every time I cook now. This can be a good and a bad thing, depending on how much time I have to prepare dinner. Today is was a wonderful thing. I had a great time admiring my sweet little girl as she helped me prepare this salad. I'm glad I got pictures of this one, because I think I will be happy to look back on these ones later. Okay, enough chit chat. Here's what we pulled together to make a salad for dinner...
Romaine lettuce
Tortilla chips
Tomatoes chopped
1 can kidney beans
Taco seasoning
Taco cheese
Thousand Island (because we already had it, although, I would have preferred to use some sort of Southwestern Dressing, like that Southwestern Ranch dressing I got at Walmart before)

Preparing your salad:
Rinse off and cut up your Romaine lettuce.
Let your kiddo chop up, smash, and crumble the tortilla chips. We just used our hands and a bowl, but you could also use a ziploc bag for this part. Using a bag is usually more fun for younger kids if you have them.
Rinse off, and drain, those kidney beans. Pile everything into a big bowl.
Mix up all your ingredients.
Dig in. I have say, there was a time when my son would NOT eat a salad. He was about 2-3 years old at the time. I watched his slightly older friend devour a salad when she came over, and I convinced myself I was failing as a parent because my kids would not eat a salad. The good news is, I was wrong. He had not developed his appreciation for a salad yet at that point. Today he happily eats his salad when I put one in front of him. Keely, our two year old, eats a whole bowl and then asks for more. :) While I have certainly not always been this way, as a mom, I am quick to beat myself down for each little thing I think I am not doing right. This quickly takes the joy out of parenting. Today I decided to relish in the fact that both of my children were delightfully eating a salad without complaints. This felt like a big victory for me. Have you had any small victories with your children you would like to share? We would LOVE to hear them!

Our Table!

So the Meal Planning Mommies were present at a fun homeschool conference last week. We are offering three classes and are available for speaking engagements. I just wanted to share some fun photos of our table. The other gals could not make it, so my oldest son (the Moose) helped me man the table. He did terrific!

Thanks to all who stopped by our booth, we really look forward to seeing you again at our classes!

Sunday: Homemade Soaked Bagels

My brother came home from Ecuador. He had barely taken his shoes off from the journey and he was in the kitchen with me, sleeves rolled up, elbow deep in dough.
I love my brother.

And, bagels. Especially these bagels, warm from the oven, at midnight with my brother apparently. I missed the stuffing out of him when he was in Ecuador. Shoot, feeling sappy now.

Ok, so back to the bagels.

Here is the scoop. You can make them.
Amazing! I had no idea. Seriously!
And, they are amazing!

Call your get making these bagels.

1. We are going to start by soaking our grains. This reduces the phyctic acid allowing your body to absorb all the nutrients from the grain. Grains are fantastic, soaked grains are super-fantastic. Yes, I said super-fantastic and yes I am very sleep deprived right now.

So, what you will want to do is add the following to a bowl:
2 1/4 Cups of Whole Wheat (Note: I used Kamut)
1 Cups of Water
2 Tbs Kefir
You do not have to use Kefir. You could use any acid medium (cultured yogurt, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, kumbacha, buttermilk, whey). But, I am a kefir girl.

Set a plate or towel over your starter dough and let it sit on your counter 7-24 hours. Just wait for it....

Is is the next day already?

Let's get bagel making.

2. In 1/2 Cups of WARM water add 2 TBS of dry yeast and little squirt of honey. You are going to let this get really cute and puffy. It takes about 10 minutes. I like to show this to my four year old. It is science in the kitchen.

3. Now, we are going to get our hands dirty. You could probably use a mixer to knead the dough, but really this is too fun to pass up. Take your soaked flour, yeast, salt and mush it all together. Knead, adding more flour to make a nice dough, for about five minutes. The dough should not be really sticky. I noticed with using Kamut instead of whole wheat that I needed to add just a bit of wheat flour to make it not sticky. When the dough is ready placed in a bowl. This is my favorite bowl. I bought it at a market in Romania years ago. Add a little olive oil or something to keep your dough from sticking to your bowl. Let it rise until it is doubled.

Here is the dough, doubled and ready for action.
4. Punch it down. Anyone else love doing that? My brother does.Meal Planning Mommies readers meet Spencer. He is getting hitched in two months, just returned from Ecuador, graduated college this summer, and is planning on buying a sailboat to live on with his lady. And, now he can make bagels.

5. And, divide the dough into twelve balls. These make pretty darn big bagels. Next time around (no pun intented, ok maybe it was) I am going to make these smaller. Meanwhile, bring a big pot of water to a boil. Anywhere from 6-12 cups is need to be precise. Just get a pot of water hot....

6. Using your hands make the dough balls into bagel shapes. This can get pretty silly, especially at midnight with your kid brother. Did I mention that while Spencer and I worked my husband (Jason) and soon to be sister-in-law Ashley sat at the table cracking jokes about things respectable ladies do not mention on blogs. Ok, farts. I said it.

7. Read carefully, I forgot pictures. No doubt because of the happenings previously alluded to in the above commentary ~ place the bagel shaped dough onto a cookie sheet, cover, and let rise again for another ten minutes.

8. Then, a few bagels at a time drop them into the boiling water. Give them about 45 seconds and turn them. Drain them on a wire rack.

9. Using egg white and a bit of water, brush the bagels and add toppings. We did a mixture of: sesame seed bagels, cinnamon bagels, and cheddar cheese bagels. All delicious.

10. Place them into the oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Eat at least one warm, smothered in really good cream cheese.

These are hug your brother good. See that sweater? He brought me that from Ecuador.
We took this picture over and over because my face was all hot and red from laughing so hard all night long. It also hot because I was wearing a lama wool sweater in July. Good times, great bagels.

This recipe was modified from the original which I found on Passionate Homemaking.
It is very resourceful website for momma's!