Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cute Little Halloween Dinner or Lunch

I got an email from Pillsbury with this super cute Halloween dinner idea. I had ingredients in my house to make my own variation. I am giving you the recipe to my variation, but I wanted to give you the link to theirs...which is, of course, much cuter...and possibly tastier, although mine was quite tasty. Here is the link to Pillsbury's Jack O Lantern Sloppy Joe Pie. Here is my variation:
1 lb. Ground turkey
1 tube of Pillsbury Crescent rolls
1 can of Barbecue Manwich
1 can of corn, drained

Cook and chop Ground turkey. (Can I just add something here. Ground turkey is such a GREAT alternative to ground beef. I tried it because it is healthier, and God knows I need help in that area...but, the thing I love the nasty grease to drain and wait to harden somewhere. Don't you hate ground beef grease? Not to mention, if you have an Ultra store or a Town and Country store close by, they are selling Perdue Ground Turkey for $.99/ lb. this week. STOCK UP PRICE FOR REAL! Anyway...on with the recipe.)

Roll out crescent rolls into one big rectangle on some wax paper on your counter top.

Pinch together all of the seams.
Use a rolling pin to flatten your one big crescent dough rectangle.
Meanwhile, your husband can be at the table making a jack-o-lantern. (or not)
Use a butter knife to cut cute little eyes, nose, and mouth out of your dough rectangle.If your kids are my kid's age, let them use the extra dough to play with.If they are older, encourage them to make their own mini pumpkin faces and offer to cook them.
Add Manwich and drained corn to your ground turkey. (might I also add that if you are trying out ground turkey for the first time, Manwich is a splendid place to start, because it really does a magnifico job of hiding what kind of meat you are using.) :0)Carefully place your dough face on top of your meat mixture. Fix the seams that fall apart. Somehow mine ended up looking like a skeleton face. Gotta love Halloween, one of few times when making a cute thing look ugly does not matter!! :0) (can you tell I am in a good mood today? I got a long nap this afternoon.)Cook the face as long as your dough tells you to. (375 degrees for 13 minutes were my directions)
And again, one more addition, before I show you the end result...
...check our your store's clearance section. I found several knocked up cans of corn at my Town and Country for just $.10. Not bad. Perfectly good to eat. Just make sure they aren't so beaten up that you won't be able to open the can. :0)
Apparently I have not made "cute food" in a while, because my kids were quite happy tonight with our creation.
Here is what my husband's jack-o-lantern looked like before I came downstairs to put this on the computer.
I'll let you see the end result later.


Friday, October 29, 2010

A surefire way to get your kids to eat healthy food.

My husband came up with this plan to get your kids to eat the food you make. If you have more than one kid under the age of 6, I would think this would work for you. Here it is:

The plan:
Serve everything on one plate. Put it in the middle of the table. Tell the kids to share the food.

Why it works:
Siblings fight over everything. One kid will act like it is a contest to see who can get to the "prize" first. They won't even want to eat it, but because they want to make sure their sibling does NOT eat it, they will sacrifice for the sake of being the "winner". :0)

Black bean Nachos (from a can) :0)

Okay, so this one is not in a recipe book. It's a thought I had when I had a slammin' "$1 off of 1 can" coupon on some of Bush's Grillin Beans that I wanted to use. (found in the SS 10/03/10 insert, for those of you who are couponers out there) Here's my creation:

Bush's Grillin' Beans (Black Bean Fiesta flavor)
Tortilla chips
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (or Mexican shredded cheese)
Sour cream (optional)

Spread out your tortilla chips in a single layer onto a cookie sheet or stone.
Drain your can of beans.
Spread beans over the chips.
Cover with cheese.
Pop in oven for a good 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. (I hopped in the shower and took it out when I got out...probably cooked a little longer than I should have, but it still tasted great) Dab on some sour cream if you like.

YUM YUM YUM!!! Cheap, tasty, and so easy. Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tuna Pasta Primavera

Another one from the Five Ingredient, Fifteen Minute cookbook. Just a fair warning: my family was not wild about this one. I couldn't get the kids to eat it. I was able to get my husband to eat it by saying, "You'll feel better later if you eat this now, because it is good for you." :0) Needless to say, I probably will not be making this one again, but rather, will save our tuna for tuna melts in the future.

8 ounces bow tie pasta, uncooked
1 pound fresh asparagus (was really expensive at my grocery store, so I left it out)
1 cup frozen English peas (What's an English pea? I just used regular peas)
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. olive oil
1 cup seeded, chopped tomato
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 (6-ounce) cans low-sodium white tuna packed in water, drained and coarsely flaked
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt an fat; drain, reserving 3 Tbs. of pasta water.
While pasta cooks, snap off tough ends of asparagus. Remove scales from stalks, if desired. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces. (Chop tomatoes and green onions, if you have not already.)
Combine asparagus and peas in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 3-4 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Drain. (I just cooked my frozen peas in the microwave in some water for about 4 mintuesish)
Combine steamed vegetables, green onions, salt, and olive oil in a large bowl. Add pasta, reserved pasta water, tomato, and lemon juice; toss well. Add tuna; toss. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An old post revised, for moms struggling to put food on the table.

Our site is one of many that supports the mom who wants to be financially responsible. I just had one of our readers approach me today about meal planning with a budget in mind. I know many people are struggling financially right now and could use a little help. The good news is that there is a lot of help out there for you, if you are interested in finding it.

All three of us are quite frugal, and each of us does the best we know to do to keep our family in a good financial state. This entry is for the mommas out there who feel like they cannot make it from week to week, or for the person who knows somebody who could use a little help financially, in order to make ends meet. Here are just a few resources that are just a click away, or a short drive away:

COUPON help sites: is one of many sites out there that is designed to help a mom learn the tricks of using coupons, and the places to use those coupons. Crystal Paine is the author of this site, and she is very inspirational because she shows by example that moms can do something about their financial state. She is very self-disciplined and is a great model of financial discipline and the blessings that follow when you exercise that discipline. Check it out.

WIC (women, infant, children)
Help for moms or moms-to-be. Specifically, "low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five". Offers "checks" that are good for food such as eggs, cheese, produce, juice, milk, and peanut butter, amongst other things. It is very easy to see if you are eligible. Take a peak and see if this can help you. If it can, contact the WIC office close to you.

Food stamps aren't really stamps at all. They are actually a card that looks just like any other credit or debit card! Money is put on the card for you to buy your food with. Check out the site for more info, and to see if you qualify.

Once a month you can pick up one weeks worth of food for just $30, and there are many other food packages offered that you can choose from. Check out the site to see if there is a church hosting this ministry near you.
Anybody else know of any other great resources out there for moms who are struggling to feed their sweethearts?
For $1.25 a week, you can access weekly meal plans for a store in your area. Have an Adli nearby? Pick the Aldi's meal plan and be provided with a mealplan, and grocery list, designed to fit with a tight budget. Upside: Makes meal planning a snap, and can cut back on a grocery bill if you are spending $200 a week. Downside: You might not LOVE the meals...then again, you might think they are great. Kind of a toss up in that way. Great for someone who is not a picky eater.

One of our readers, Angela, gave us an inside scoop in her area:
"There are also SHARE food programs where you volunteer a little bit and then you can buy a package of food at a discounted price. I think each area/state has a specific program. Iowa's is"

And Gin added this:
"...another one we have found, similar to angel food ministries, is the Treasure Box ministry. it is also a once a month food box designed to feed a family of four lunch/dinner for one week. although we never thought in a million years that we would be needing it, we have been utilizing both in the last few months, and it has been a huge help."
Anyone have any other money saving tips on meal planning that they want to share? We'd love to hear from you!

Chili Bacon Burgers

Another one from my good ole Five Ingredient, Fifteen Minute Cookbook.

1 (1-pound) package ground sirloin patties (we just used ground turkey turkey that I shaped into patties)
2 tsp. salt-free cowboy barbecue rub (I know we had bbq rub, but I could not find it! I ended up just cooking the meat with bbq sauce...not quite as good, but whatever)
1/4 cup nonfat mayonnaise
1/4 cup chunky salsa
2 Tbs. bacon bits
4 lettuce leaves
4 (2-ounce) hamburger buns with sesame seeds (we just used slimwiches)
4 thin slices sweet onion
4 slices tomato

Rub both sides of sirloin patties with barbecue rub. (I could not find the rub, so I went to plan B, and used sauce) Place patties on grill over medium-hot coals; grill, covered, 6 minutes on each side or until done. (I just cooked them in a pan)
While meat cooks, combine mayonnaise, salsa, and bacon bits.(a good job for the daughter who really wants to help)
Slice up some tomatoes. Place lettuce leaves on bottom halves of buns; place patties on lettuce. Top with onion, tomato, 2 Tbs. mayonnaise mixture, and remaining bun halves.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tomato-Cheese Ravioli Soup

Makes 1 (1.25 cup) servings.

I have to start by saying that these pictures do not do this recipe justice. This is always going to be one of our family favorites. This recipe came from my Five Ingredient, Fifteen Minute cookbook. I LOVE this cookbook. Did I mention yet that it is definitely my favorites of all my cookbooks? It is. Try this recipe and you will see why. This recipe has two easy steps.


1 (14.5 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz.) can chicken broth or vege broth
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning (I always use it from an Italian seasoning packet, but I think the recipe intends that you just use regular seasoning)
3 cups frozen cheese ravioli (about 12 ounces)
1 small zucchini, sliced
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Step One:
Combine first three ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

Step Two:

Add ravioli, zucchini, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heart, and simmer 7 minutes or until pasta and zucchini are tender.

Now, the question is: Will you use a fork or a spoon?!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mexicali Turkey Skillet

I am working out of one of my all-time-favorite cookbooks this week. I always go back to this one, and I am soooo glad I have it. It's the "Cooking Light: 5 Ingredient, 15 Minute cookbook". It's a must-have, for real. Here's my Mexicali Turkey Skillet recipe. Even kids like this one, and eat it without a fuss. (which is the true test on if a recipe is repeated multiple times in my house) Hope your kids enjoy it too. Here it is...

4 ounces small elbow macaroni, uncooked (I used the pasta we already hand at home)
Cooking spray
1 pound freshly ground turkey breast
1 (14-1/2 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8-3/4 ounce) can no-salt-added whole kernel corn, undrained (I used the Mexican corn we already had on hand)
1 (1.25 ounce) package 40% less sodium taco seasoning mix

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
While pasta cooks, coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat until hot. Add turkey; cook, stirring constantly, until turkey crumbles. Stir in drained pasta, tomatoes, corn, and taco seasoning; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
I also made Guacamole dip and served it with chips on the side. If you are looking for a magical recipe on the perfectly healthiest version of guacamole, don't come to me. :) I am cheap, I am all about doing things the easy way. I figure if we are eating an avocado in my family, we are doing good. I used an Ortega seasoning packet, a tomato, and a couple of avocados. End result:My one year old is eating more and more of what we are eating at meal times lately. I used our food chopper to chop up the casserole and guacamole dip mixed. Here's what his less-than-appetizing plate looked like. :)