*** This cooking blog is being maintained as a recipe archive for now. For current posts, please visit my main blog, Tiny Blessings! ***

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Don't Post Our Recipes, Or Else! ;)

Whoa... have you seen this? Apparently one company (I'm not naming them for fear of drawing their internet police here to my blog, LOL) gets all uptight and angry if you post one of their recipes, and they specifically point out that modifications are not allowed. Well, considering as you can't copyright a list of ingredients, and the only recipe instructions that can be copyrighted are those that are personal, such as a memory of your grandma... this is pretty hateful. Warning: some language on that site is not family friendly.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 7/28

It's county fair week, which means that I'm working weird hours so I can take my nursing home residents to the fair. My youngest sister is staying here with the kids several times this week, so I'm trying to plan easy meals that she'll be able to feed them with a minimum of whining (kids) and effort (her). The notes after the meal plans are my efforts at planning "out loud" to get things coordinated. :)

MONDAY: buffalo chicken breasts, our favorite macaroni & cheese with stewed tomatoes (The macaroni was added in due to the breakfast request of my 2 year-old... "Mackawoni, Mommy? Mackawoni?" this morning... how could I deny such a sweet request?!?) and tossed salad

TUESDAY: family favorite meatloaf muffins, leftover macaroni & cheese, salad

WEDNESDAY: chicken breasts with salsa and taco seasoning in the crockpot (For me to prep in the morning and leave for the family to turn into soft tacos while I'm at work in the evening.)

THURSDAY: most likely a heat & eat frozen dinner (I'm working until 10pm Wednesday night and have to be in early Thursday morning- it's doubtful I'll get anything else prepped!)

FRIDAY: this yummy tried and true Chicken Pot Pie (I work in the AM but will be home by 3pm.)

For more menu plans and to share yours, check out Menu Plan Monday!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Broccoli Salad

I made this broccoli salad last week and was reminded again of how something so simple can taste sooo good. To make this even easier, I sometimes use the precooked bacon.

Broccoli Salad
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I prefer Kraft crumbles)
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 red onion, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

In a small bowl (or large measuring cup) combine the following:

1 cup mayo (I usually use fat-free)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Toss the salad with the dressing and chill until serving time.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 7/14

It's an easy week for me in the kitchen, which is great, because we have a busy week ahead!

MONDAY: *new recipe* Stephanie's Crockpot Peppercorn Steak & roasted potatoes

TUESDAY: eating out with friends to celebrate their new baby :) (We're ordering pizza at their house- I offered to bring dinner, but they want to treat us, so pizza it is!)

WEDNESDAY: birthday party/ cookout for my mom's 60th birthday ~ I'm bringing this yummy broccoli salad.

THURSDAY: Crockpot Hash Brown Casserole with ham added in, peas

FRIDAY: hamburgers with all the fixings & french fries

See? I told you it was an easy week- I feel like I'll hardly be cooking at all! I would like to take a cake or another baked good to our friends' house on Tuesday night~ since baking is not my forte, I'm open for any/ all suggestions!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Frugal Foods: whole roast chicken

Have you checked out Jenn at Frugal Upstate's series on frugal foods yet? Past topics have included eggs, tuna, beans, and ground beef. This week's ingredient is chicken-- specifically, whole chickens or wings or thighs. Here's my favorite frugal whole chicken recipe:

Crockpot Roast Chicken
1 3-4lb. whole chicken (I usually wait and buy these on clearance)
Season All Seasoning Salt
1 chopped onion
chopped garlic to taste (1 TBSP or so)
Place several golfball-sized balls of foil in the bottom of your crockpot. (This keeps the chicken from getting soggy from sitting in the juices.) Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place onion & garlic in cavity of chicken. Rub all outer surfaces of chicken with seasoned salt. Place in crockpot on top of foil balls, and cook on low all day.

My family thinks this tastes just like the roasted chicken you can buy in the grocery store deli- but this version is much cheaper! :)

Here's another frugal chicken recipe I use often... it actually uses chicken tenders, but I'm sure it would work with thighs, as well. Check out the Chicken Hurry recipe previously posted on this blog.

P.S. Added 7/15/08: I made one of these last week, and for the price of a $3.59 chicken, it was three meals for my family. The first night, we had the chicken with stuffing and a veggie. The second night my husband ate his plain, the kids and I chopped ours up and added it into some soup. The third night, I used all the leftover bits in a pasta dish. Three meals for a family of four from a $3.59 chicken... that's what I call frugal! :)
(And yes I know I should have boiled the bones for broth, but I just didn't have time last week.)

Frugal Foods: Ground Beef

Jenn at Frugal Upstate is continuing her series on frugal foods.... I've already participated in the egg and tuna segments. The ingredient for part four was ground beef... I'm a little late on this one! :) The next ingredient will be chicken.

Here's what works for me: I buy large packages of ground beef at Sam's, or, wherever else I find them on sale. I unwrap all of the beef and place it into my largest stock pot, then fill it with enough water to cover. I usually add some salt and pepper at this point. I put it on high heat, and while it's heating up, I chop up a few onions and toss them in with the beef. I let the beef and onions come to a boil, then turn it down and simmer it for a while (half an hour or so) until the beef is cooked through and the onions are tender. Next, I let the pot cool a bit, then place the pot in the fridge for a while to chill. When chilled, I drain the liquid and skim off the fat that accumulates at the top. Then I just divide the beef and onions into two-cup portions (approximately a pound, which is what most recipes call for) and put them into labeled ziplock freezer bags. Into the freezer they go, and then I'm all set for quick meals.

What do I do with the bags of precooked beef?
  • use it in any casseroles that call for cooked ground beef
  • warm it in a saucepan before stirring in spaghetti sauce for use on pasta (For a really fast meal, a store-bought jarred sauce is great. If I have a little more time, I like this stovetop recipe.)
  • warm it in a skillet with brown gravy to serve over mashed potatoes
  • layer it in a crockpot for Crockpot Pizza
The other variation I make regularly is to use taco seasoning instead of salt & pepper. The ready-to-go taco meat works great for tacos, enchiladas, or Copycat Beef Meximelts in a hurry. We eat a lot of Mexican food at my house, so I regularly do a batch this way.

My other frugal tip for ground beef: stretch it! I regularly add a handful or more of oatmeal to anything that calls for ground beef. This has two benefits: the cholesterol-lowering oatmeal is disguised from the family member who needs that, and, the ground beef is bulked up. You'll never know it's in there, and, your family will get a little added nutrition.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 7/7:

After this past week's trip, we are all sick of eating fast food and ready to eat some real food! Everything this week is tried and true, no new recipes... I'm just too tired right now to feel creative! ;)

  • My mom's BBQ Ribs:
    3-5 lbs boneless spare ribs
    1 bottle favorite BBQ sauce (we like Kroger's spicy sauce)
    salt & pepper, to taste
  • Place ribs in crockpot, season to taste. Cook on low all day (do not add any liquids). About an hour before serving time, drain liquid that has accumulated, and pour in BBQ sauce.
  • Head on over to Menu Plan Monday to share your menu and snag ideas from others!

    P.S. Did you hear that Stephanie from "A Year of Crockpotting" (one of my very favorite cooking blogs) will be appearing on the Rachael Ray show this week? Check it out on the Rachael Ray site! :)

    Our Family's Favorite Cornbread

    My DH never liked cornbread until I tried this recipe- now he loves it! :) This cornbread is sweet, dense, and moist. We like it as a side to Mexican foods, soups, or creamy casseroles. It easily doubles and keeps well for several days.

    1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
    1 tsp dried minced onion
    1 egg
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    1 small can creamed corn (8.5oz, or half of a regular sized can)

    Combine all, and spread into an 8x8" pan that's been sprayed with cooking spray.
    Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

    Menu planning... really I am....

    As I'm lazily (Is that a word?) recovering from driving 12 hours home yesterday, I'm also surfing WW blogs and sites. I'll be back this afternoon with my menu plan for the week and some updates to the sidebars... stay tuned!