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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Catching up with meals...

I'm behind schedule...and now we've added a new kitten to the chaos, so while he's hiding in my son's room and the other animals aren't freaking out, I'm catching up on meals/recipes (plus I need to make more meal plans, so this will help with that as well since I can see the comments from the family as well).

7/15 Hay and Straw (Dinner on a Dime)

1 16oz package linguine                                     2 cups fully cooked julienned ham
1 tablespoon butter                                             3 cups frozen peas
1.5 cups shredded Parmesan cheese                  1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1.  Cook linguine according to package directions.  Meanwhile in large skillet, saute ham in butter for 3 minutes, add peas and heat through.  Drain linguine and toss with ham mixture, Parmesan cheese, and cream; serve immediately

*tastes great, but family said it could definitely use more ham and less peas....maybe more cream to make the cheese sauce a little less thick....it didn't really get over all the pasta.

7/16 Beefy Mini Pies ($7 meals)

1 10oz refrigerated flaky dinner rolls                       1/2 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped                                             2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup shredded Colby cheese                                   2 eggs
1/3 cup light cream                                                   1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

1. Heat oven to 350*, remove rolls from package and divide each roll into 3 rounds.  Place each round into a 3-inch muffin cup and press firmly to bottom and up sides.

2.  In a heavy skillet, cook ground beef with onion and garlic until beef is done.  Drain well and place 1 tablespoon beef mixture into each dough-lined cup.  Sprinkle cheese over beef mixture.  In small bowl, beat together eggs, light cream, and dill weed.  Spoon this mixture over the beef and cheese in the muffin cups making sure not to overfill.

3. Bake at 350* for 10-13 minutes or until filling is puffed and set.  Serve immediately or flash freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet.

**These are meant to be appetizers, however, we've decided they are good enough for dinner and we only used the cream/dill/egg sauce once - then opted to go without.  For dinner, we use 2 packaged of flaky biscuits and flatten 1 round into each muffin well - so we have 20 total, then continue as directed, ending with the shredded cheese.

7/17 Turkey Spaghetti

using ground turkey instead of ground beef, chunky garden-style pasta sauce, and whatever pasta we have on hand at the time, usually thin spaghetti

7/18 Bacon Fried Rice (found in the back of a People Magazine!)

8 bacon slices, cut into 1" pieces                                3 tbsp. canola oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, chopped                              1 cup frozen peas
2 cloves garlic, minced                                               4 cups cooked, chilled rice
4 scallions, thinly sliced, divided                               2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. fish sauce                                                        1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add bacon and cook stirring occasionally until crisp.  Remove bacon from skillet and drain on paper towel.  Transfer bacon to large bowl; discard drippings and wipe skillet clean.

2. Add 1 Tbsp. canola oil to skillet and return to medium heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring often until tender and browned - about 10 minutes.  Add peas and cook, stirring occasionally until warmed through - about 3 minutes.  Transfer mixture to bacon in bowl.

3.  Add remaining 2 Tbsp. canola oil to skillet and heat over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook stirring constantly until fragrant - about 15 seconds.  Add cooked rice and 3 scallions tossing to coat.  Cook stirring occasionally until rice is golden - about 4 minutes.

4.  Create a well in center of rice mixture; add eggs to skillet in well and cook stirring occasionally until eggs are set; add bacon mixture and toss to combine.  Stir in fish sauce, lime juice, and soy sauce and sprinkle with 1 scallion.

*We all loved this!  Did NOT have fish sauce and wasn't going to waste money on something that I probably won't use before it expires.  Agreed that instead of wiping drippings, I should have just used them to cook everything else.  Other than that, this was excellent.

7/19  Ground Beef and Biscuits

*to be continued as I have to get things dealt with for the family before I come back to post more......


Saturday, July 14, 2018

New meals and some old favorites

This is the first full week of strict meal planning and testing new recipes - I did the last half of last week.....so here we go (with any changes and commentary after the recipe).

Sunday, 7/8/2018

Egg Rolls and Cream Cheese Wonton (wonton were store bought and are one of my guilty pleasures, so recipe is only for egg rolls)

See recipe in previous post

Monday, 7/9/2018

Roast Beef and Gravy with Baked Rice Pilaf - both from Taste of Home Dinner on a Dime

Roast Beef and Gravy

1 boneless chuck roast (3 pounds)
2 cans (10.75 ounces each) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/3 cup sherry or beef broth
1 envelope dry onion soup mix

1-Cut roast in half; place in 3-qt slow cooker.  In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; pour over roast.  Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat is tender.

*I didn't see any reason to cut the roast in half, so I didn't.....it still turned out super tender.  One thing that I will change the next time I make this is to cut the onion soup mix down to half a package because it was a bit saltier than expected, and we have to try and keep salt intake to a minimum due to health concerns in the family.

Baked Rice Pilaf

1 3/4 c water                                                         1 c shredded carrot
1 c chopped celery                                                3/4 c uncooked long grain rice
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley                      2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter, melted                                 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules

1-Combine all ingredients in an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish.  Cover and bake at 375* for 40-45 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring after 25 minutes.

**Family graded this meal AAB for roast and BAB for rice.....for the roast it was deemed too salty, but otherwise pretty great, and for the rice pilaf, it was requested that there was less celery the next time it's made.

Tuesday, 7/10/18

Ravioli Primavera (yes, a meatless meal!!) Dinner on a Dime

4 cups frozen cheese ravioli                                         1 package frozen, Italian vegetables, thawed*
1/4 c olive oil                                                                2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c vegetable broth                                                    2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt                                                           1/4 teaspoon pepper

1-Prepare ravioli according to directions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute vegetables in oil for 3 minutes or until tender.  Add garlic; saute for 1 minute longer or until garlic is tender.

2-Stir in broth.  Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes.  Stir in the parsley, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.  Drain pasta.  Add to vegetable mixture and toss to coat.

*Italian vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, squash.....we don't eat zucchini or squash, so I substituted the "California blend" of just broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.

**Family overwhelmingly gave this a B.  Part of the reason was that they were truly expecting it to be a dish with meat, so the fact that it was plain cheese ravioli threw them off.  The other issue was that it could probably actually use less oil than the recipe called for.  But, a B is still a meal that can be considered...C and lower won't get made again.

Wednesday, 7/11/2018 - Barklay's Gotcha Day!!!

This night called for an old favorite - baked ham with pasta and greens.  No real recipe, but here's what I do:

ham: pre-sliced ham - NOT honey glazed - usually hickory smoked, layered in glass baking dish with a little water added, covered with aluminum foil and baked at 350* for 30-35 minutes

greens: glory southern mixed greens - not longer available at any of my local stores in small cans, but I found them in the frozen section, so we're still good (half the family loves them, 1/4 the family can tolerate them, the remaining 4th can't stand them)

pasta: Pasta-roni olive oil and herb pasta, done following the microwave directions

I know, whoop-dee-doo, but it's a meal guaranteed to please everyone in the family (even the one who doesn't like the greens because he likes the pasta).

Thursday, 7/12/2018

This was supposed to be chicken fried rice from scratch, but silly me didn't read through the directions and one of the things I was supposed to do was cook the rice then freeze for 10 minutes on a cookie sheet.....nope, sorry, don't have a freezer I can actually do that in.  Next time this gets put on the menu, I"ll make the rice ahead of time and let it chill in the fridge until time to get cooking.

Instead, we still had chicken fried rice, but it was a box meal, cooked in the microwave, found in the Walmart freezer section (sorry, brand escapes me right now).  It's quick, filling, and one that we all like.

Friday, 7/13/2018

After all these new meals, there were definitely some leftovers, so that was what was planned for dinner - have to clear the fridge out somehow, right?

Saturday, 7/14/2018

Meatball subs and bacon cheese fries (subs from $7 meal cookbook, fries from Dinner on a Dime)

Meatball Marinara Sandwiches

3/4 pound ground beef                                                  1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs                                             1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons milk                                                        1/2 (26 ounce jar) marinara sauce
1 egg                                                                             4 hoagie buns
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning                                1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey jack

1-In large bowl, combine beef, bread crumbs, milk, egg, seasoning, salt, and pepper and mix gently but thoroughly.  Form into 24 meatballs and place on baking sheet.  Bake at 350* for 20-30 minutes, until meatballs are completely cooked.

2-In large saucepan, heat the pasta sauce over low heat.  Add meatballs and simmer for 4-5 minutes.

3-Toast sliced hoagie buns under broiler.  Place meatballs and sauce on one half of each toasted bun and top with cheese.  Place filled halves of hoagie buns on broiler pan and broil 4-6 inches from heat for 4-5 minutes, until cheese melts. Assemble sandwiches and serve.

*Ok....so I'm a slacker and didn't make the meatballs from scratch.  I used Great Value meatballs because we already had some in the freezer and I wanted to use them up (plus they have just the right amount of seasoning where we can all eat them and nobody complains - some are over seasoned and, personally, I think those are nasty).

Bacon Cheese Fries
*I decided to try these because when we order from a local restaurant, we always have to get 2 orders because we love them so much

1 package frozen French fries                                          1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions                                   1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon
Ranch dressing

1-cook French fries according to package directions.  Place fries on a broiler-proof dish or platter.  Sprinkle with cheese, onions, and bacon.  Broil 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serve with ranch dressing.

**We do not like onions on our fries, so I omitted these.  I also used crumbled bacon bits instead of cooking up bacon because I didn't want hungry hordes filling up the kitchen while I was cooking.  Finally, I used both cheddar and mozzarella cheese and actually had it under the broiler for about 4 minutes to completely melt the cheese.

On another note, both of these called for use of the broiler.  I used cookie sheets lined with parchment paper to keep cleaning to a minimum and had no problems using the broiler - paper didn't catch, pans were perfectly fine, so save yourself some cleanup and just do the same :-)

More recipes coming next week!!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Money crunching time again = new recipes the family LOVES

So, it's been 4 years since I posted...I guess I'm not the world's greatest Blogger....whatever.  In those 4 years, I have seen my littles become teenager, and 1 is now legally an adult (scary thought).  Things have been a bit like a roller coaster, but more like one of the little kids rides....up until a few weeks ago.  I won't bore you with everything that happened, but we did unexpectedly need a replacement car, which meant a new car loan and the car that died wasn't even fully paid off yet.....so that leads to me tackling the finances and meal planning/grocery shopping like a demon.

I researched several recipes (from only 2 of my cookbooks so far) and came up with 2.5 weeks of meals, then shopped mainly for just those meals with the standards that we always use (cheese, milk, bread, lunchmeat).

However, there was a request for the recipes I used (especially since my family is made up of picky eaters and these ALL earned a grade of an A - yes, I told them to grade them with suggestions on what would make them better).

SO here we go: (all recipes come from either The $7 meal cookbook or taste of home Dinner on a Dime)

Meal #1:
Cornmeal fried fish with tomato and spinach spiral pasta.
*nobody really likes fish, especially salmon, but I try to get them to eat it at least once a month, this recipe has them saying they could probably handle it more often if this is how I continue to cook it!*

Cornmeal fried fish:
1/4 c all-purpose flour                                          1 egg
3 tablespoons cornmeal                                        3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon salt                                                   4 (4-oz) fish fillets, thawed if frozen
1/8 teaspoon pepper                                              1/3 c vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter

1-In small bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper, and mix well.  Cut butter into small pieces and add to flour mixture; cut in with 2 knives until mixture is finely blended.  In shallow bowl, combine egg and milk and beat well.
2-Pat fish dry.  Dip fish into egg mixture, then into cornmeal mixture, coating both sides.  Let stand on a wire rack for 10 minutes (don't ask me why).
3-Heat oil in large skillet until it reaches 375*.  Fry fish over medium heat, turning once, until golden brown, about 8-12 minutes.  Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

Now, I know that fried food isn't good for you, but we rarely eat anything fried, so I figure if this was something that everyone enjoyed, a fired meal every now and then won't hurt us.

Tomato-Spinach spiral pasta
*this is the way I made it, not the way it was written out*

1 package (8-oz) spiral pasta                                    fresh baby spinach
grape tomatoes, cut in half                                       3 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese                    1/2 teaspoon salt
Zesty Italian dressing

1-cook pasta according to package directions; slice tomatoes (as many as you want or that you know your family will eat); rinse off baby spinach (again, based on how much you want or what your family will eat).
2-drain pasta and rinse under cool water.  Place pasta in large bowl and add tomatoes, spinach cheeses, and salt.  Add Italian dressing to your taste and mix.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed.

*Recipe that gave me the idea called for creamed spinach (blech), not cooling the pasta down, and not adding the dressing.  I wanted something a little light to go with the fried fish, and based on the family's reaction, this was a pretty good choice.

Meal #2: Chicken cutlet Parmesan over buttered noodles with peas

Chicken Cutlet Parmesan
4 (4oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts                           2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg                                                                                     1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs                                           1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon pepper                                                              1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350*.  Spray a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.  Place chicken on waxed paper, smooth side down, and cover with more waxed paper.  Gently pound until chicken is about 1/3 inch thick.

2-In shallow bowl, beat egg until foamy.  On plate, combine bread crumbs, pepper, and Parmesan.  Dip the chicken cutlets into the egg, then into the bread mixture, turning to coat.

3-In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add chicken cutlets and brown on both sides - about 2-3 minutes per side (this cooks the breading and seals in the moisture, but they are NOT fried).  Remove from pan and place in prepared baking dish.  Add tomato sauce and Italian seasoning to saucepan and bring to a boil.

4-Pour sauce over chicken cutlets in baking pan and top with mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until sauce bubbles and cheese melts and begins to brown.  Serve with pasta if desired.

Buttered pasta:  I used wide egg noodles and cooked them as directed, then tossed them with butter.  I served the chicken on the pasta.

Peas: seriously?  heat them up in a small pot :-)

Only "issue" with this meal is that everyone said they wish it had more cheese on top, so that is easily fixed.

Meal #3 Triple Cheese Quesadillas with beef
*original recipe is just for triple cheese, but I had left over roast beef and we are a family of meat eaters, so I figured I'd just add some to the mix)

1 cup grated cheddar cheese                                            8 (8-inch) tortillas
1 cup grated Swiss cheese                                               2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese                                      1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1-In small bowl, combine cheeses and Italian seasoning; toss well.  Place four flour tortillas on work surface; divide cheese mixture among them.  Top with remaining tortillas.

2-Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Spread butter on both sides of each quesadilla and place in skillet.  Cook, pressing down gently with a spatula, until first side is golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.  Carefully turn each quesadilla and cook, pressing down with spatula, until cheese is melted and second side is golden brown, about 2-5 minutes.  Remove to serving plate, cut into quarters, and serve.

What I did differently:  I buttered 1 side of the first tortilla and place it in the pan, then added some cheese, some shredded beef, and more cheese, followed by the buttered second tortilla.  I was not "gentle" with the spatula as I wanted the cheese to melt and hold the beef inside.  Nobody really had any complaints about this other than it needed more spice (that was my husband)

Meal #4 Eggrolls (made this before, but it's been a while and was requested)

1/2 pound ground pork                                                   2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 carrot, shredded                                                           1 tablespoon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced                                                   2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion                               1 tablespoon water
1 cup shredded cabbage                                                  1 (12-count) package egg/spring roll wrappers

1-In a large skillet, brown ground pork until almost done.  Add carrot and garlic; cook and stir 4-6 minutes until pork is cooked through.  Remove from heat, drain well, and add green onions, cabbage, soy sauce, and mustard.

2-combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl and blend well.

3-To form egg rolls, place one wrapper, point-side down, on work surface.  Place 3 tablespoons filling 1-inch from corner.  Brush all edges of the egg roll wrapper with cornstarch mixture.  Fold point over filling, then fold sides in and toll up egg roll, using cornstarch mixture to seal as needed.

4-Fry the rolls in peanut oil heated to 375* for 2-3 minutes, turning once, or until a deep golden brown.  Egg rolls may be frozen after frying.

Ok.....so, I use a pound of ground pork, and previously left out the carrot, garlic, and green onions.  This time, I added them in, but I added the cabbage (really, part of a bag of pre-shredded cole slaw mix) last and didn't cook until the cabbage wilted.  Apparently this was the right way to make it because it got even more raves than the previous way I made them.  Yes, fried....ok, so this week wasn't the best, but I'm still working on finding recipes that everyone loves.

Tonight is a new recipe for roast beef and gravy and I'll be attempting Rice Pilaf from scratch

Friday, February 5, 2016

Pattern Review Wardrobe Contest - Updated with final selections!!!

Pattern Review is having a wardrobe contest - to consist of 10 pieces of clothing {gasp!}  Since I've gained a bit of weight after having my thyroid removed, I decided to use this as a way to get a decent spring/summer wardrobe for myself.

I have come up with: a denim-style jacket, 2 tank tops, 2 skirts, 2 dresses, a pair of shorts, a pair of capris, and a rolled-sleeve button-up that will actually be used as a lighter-weight jacket!  Yes, count them, there are 10 pieces ready to go...well, almost.  I just ordered the pattern for the denim-style jacket as well as the fabric for that and the 2nd dress.  But, here is what I've worked out:

 And, since it revolves around one of my favorite colors, I expect that it will get a lot of wear, and be able to mix in with things that I already have...so YAY!!  NOw I just need to get back to work...the turquoise tank and tie-dye skirt (S1203 and S3506) are completed and I'm working on the shorts from S1203....time to get things done while waiting for the other pattern and fabric to get here!!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Midas touch = gold, my touch seems to = total chaos and crap

So...I've spent the majority of the day trying to do nothing that would end up with craptastic results.  Got the Girl Scouts in a tizzy because, since I'm doing the cake for the awards ceremony, I gave them a deadline to get a headcount to me....guess what....ceremony is on Friday and email JUST went out yesterday....I can see this might not be good {sigh}. I  have decoration designs and most of the colors I need for tinting frosting, so that's all good, but what size cake??!!???

In addition to all that (by all that I mean the frustration from last minute notification, no head count, etc.) one of the leaders decided to resign because of comments made on my post venting my frustration about not knowing when and how many people.....yeah, people she didn't even know were stating their opinions and such and she decided to use them to quit the troop....then again, I saw her maybe 2 times the entire time Rebekah and I were there (and we joined late in the year, so I don't know how many meeting she actually showed up to overall).  Oh, and then I tried to get some information from our bank...but they had to talk to Ken because the information I wanted was in his name only, and...well, it went rapidly downhill from there.

SO.....because of the fear of screwing even more things up, I have pretty much done nothing all day....other than pick up dog and cat food and price the additional colors I might need to do the decorations for the cake....once I know how big the cake is going to be.....may have to re-size the decorations, but we shall see....blah

SO....Friday I finished and listed one of my quilts....and yesterday I got borders added to a quilt top that I've been staring at for several weeks....here's the quilt that was finished and listed on Etsy:

Front:

 Back:
Pattern is Summer in the Park and was perfect for yet another Jelly Roll that I had in my stash.  Now I need to finish one that is just shy of being a twin-size bed topper and 2 baby quilts, and I can finish up the 4th, which was actually made to go to Soldiers' Angels....it needs borders as well, so it will take some thinking since the entire quilt is red-white-blue.....thinking solid borders....just have to figure out what color/s I want to use...obviously red white or blue, but.....

Saturday, June 7, 2014

School's Out For Summer........................

Yeah yeah, borrowed from Alice Cooper.....however, this is a celebratory post...

DS, 14yo, finished his 2nd year of online classes (8th grade) with 4 As and 2 Bs = average of all classes = 92%!!!

DD, 10yo, finished 4th grade with ALL As on her report card and a maxed out score on her math SOL (highest available score is 600 and that is exactly what she got)!!!!

We've already received notice that the text for DSs first class as a high school freshman is on it's way and should be here on the 10th, and he already has access to his high school account (completely different ID, login, and password from middle school).

HOWEVER.....they have next week reasonably free, barring the scheduled doc appointments and such, and then he'll start the following week when DD is at the summer enrichment program - full day program for a week, 2 classes with lunch in between, and both the classes she got are art classes...happy girl

Then come her swim lessons....need to figure out something for DS because he needs some more practice and hopefully can pass the BSA swim test....argh....sensory issues can really screw things up sometimes......

First week of July is BSA camp for DS - day camper 830a-8p (give or take), and the week after that, they are both taking classes at the community college....pottery and Lego Robotics.....then nothing for the rest of the summer....but....during all that, there is summer school at home, sewing, gardening, day trips, farmers' markets, DD wants to start her own quilt....

So....we'll be busy, but we'll be taking care of things around the house....woohoo!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

5+ month vacation from the blog = .....

So, my last post was at the end of January.....guess I should catch up with all that's happened since then.....

Starting with the most recent - DS has officially finished 8th grade with mostly As, 1 confirmed B and his electives were either As or Bs (they remove the class from his online sign-in once he has finished all of the work).  SO....now he has a bit of a break and then he'll take a 1 semester elective as a 9th grader over the summer to get a head start on his freshman classes.  DD is pulling straight As in 4th grade and is looking forward to her last year in the elementary school (but public school doesn't let out until Friday).

I have started branching out with homemade spice and seasoning blends and managed to get my first 2 listed in my Etsy shop:

I have 8 more available choices, but just need to sit down and get all the information uploaded and ready to sell.  These will all be made when ordered to insure they are the freshest possible....

Let's see...DS will be having his wisdom teeth out, DD managed to give herself a concussion a few months ago...summer is rapidly filling up with activities.....

In the meantime, I'm working on finally finishing off the garage ceiling and few sections of wall that need sealing, and in the process clearing the entire area out and organizing it.  I'd say I'm a bit more than half finished with clearing everything out, but there are storage totes of papers and pictures and such that seriously need to be culled through...one step at a time...officially I gave myself until the end of the month, so that gives me 27 more days to get this all completed....I'm up for the challenge!!

SO....that's where I've been for the past few months...of course that doesn't touch on things like the leaking kitchen sink that we haven't been able to fix, or other various little unexpected things, but suffice it to say that just when we get back to being balances, something comes and knocks us off kilter....but I'll get back to blogging on a regular basis soon....