Sunday, January 30, 2011

A birthday weekend!

We had two birthday parties yesterday...Back to back! But that's ok cause it got us out of the house. I scored big on presents, what I mean is I spent less than $5 on me cheap but these are poor times for us. I got a new tags on very plush stuffed Russ brand teddy bear for my daycare babies first birthday party gift, and I also got her two new tags on books and then went to the dollar tree and got a balloon to match the bag I had on hand. The books and bear were $1 and the balloon $1. For Zach school friend party I found three new in the package toy motorcycles for $1 each, and wrapped them in gift wrap that I already had...these were really awesome and a big hit. So $5 total spent and two very happy kids. If everything was so easy! Here is a super yummy menu to keep you rolling this week! Enjoy.

Golden Chicken
chicken rice
steamed green beans

1 (3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
1 tablespoon curry powder

Place chicken in baking pan. Salt and pepper chicken. Mix Butter, honey, mustard and curry powder. Pour over chicken, cover in foil at 350 degrees for the first 30 minutes. Then foil is removed and chicken is basted, basking for another 40 minutes or so until nicely browned. Pour drippings over rice.

Scalloped potatoes with broccoli (no meat)

5 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 cups blanched broccoli
2 1/2 cups 1/2 and 1/2
1 tsp salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Place the potatoes, onion, garlic, 3/4 of Cheddar cheese, and broccoli in a baking dish. Add salt and pepper. Gently stir until well combined. Pour the cream over the potato mixture. Top with remaining cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven until the potatoes are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Chicken lo mein
frozen egg rolls

16 oz linguine or spaghetti noodles
8 oz boneless chicken breasts, sliced thinly or leftover chicken
3 Tbs soy sauce, divided
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs sesame oil
4 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 oz snow peas, trimmed
2 oz ham, finely sliced
1 1/2-2 Tbs oyster sauce
4 green onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the noodles according to directions. Rinse under cold water, and set aside.
Slice the chicken, and add it to a bowl with 2 tsp of soy sauce, the rice vinegar and sesame oil, toss to coat Heat half the olive oil in a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Let the oil get hot and add the chicken. Cook for 2 minutes, then transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm. Wipe the pan out and heat the remaining olive oil. Add garlic, snow peas, and ham to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the drained noodles to the pan, and continue to stir fry till the noodles are heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining soy and the oyster sauce, taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and any juices back to the pan, then add the green onions.

Pork Roast
Mashed potatoes and gravy
steamed baby carrots

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons minced onion
salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place roast in baking dish. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with rosemary, garlic and onion. Pour in broth and wine. Cover with foil and bake 1 hour. Remove foil and roast for another 1/2 hour to brown. Use drippings to make gravy.

Use up leftovers!

Easy lasagna
green salad

1 lb. ground beef
3 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce(I am using homemade)
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups Ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded Mozzarella
1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1T minced onion
1T minced garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 oz. lasagna, uncooked

Brown beef in 3-quart saucepan; drain off excess fat. Add sauce and water; simmer about 10 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients, except lasagna, for filling. Pour about 1 cup sauce on bottom of baking pan.
Layer 3 pieces of uncooked lasagna over sauce; cover with about 1 1/2 cups sauce. Spread half of cheese filling over sauce. Repeat layers of lasagna, sauce and cheese filling. Top with layer of lasagna and remaining sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Remove foil; bake about 10 minutes longer. Allow to stand 10 minutes before cutting.
Have a super week!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Here it is Tues and I find myself once again contemplating the unreliability of the persons I work for. Is daycare suppose to be this crazy?? One showed up 2 hours late again, the other not at all..again. One was picked up 40 minutes late last night. I am to weak to enforce my rules.. I worry about everyone leaving and not having any work. So I I am. I am placing new ads in the hope of finding a few new kids. Here's hoping.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In the hole again..

I can't believe we continue to be broke..It seems like we will never get ahead. I spent only $50 at the store today. Here is what I bought:
1 butternut squash
1 small bag of rice..about 2 cups from bulk bin
2 bricks of cheese 1 cheddar one mont jack
1lb butter
1 pack cream cheese
2 dz local eggs(my chickens are not laying)
1 pack bagels
lucnh meat turkey(about 2 sand.worth for Gene)
1 package about 8 chicken thighs (smart chicken)
2 cans clam chowder (zach's fav for lunches)
1/2 lb bulk bin cous cous
2 loaves whole wheat bread
1/2 gallon local milk
1 pint 1/2 and 1/2
3 lb yellow onions
grape toms
bologna(gene's lunches)
1 roll local pork sausage
TOTAL: $50.94 thanks Checkers!
Notice there was no fruit and light veggies, cause I have bananas and oranges from last trip to the store and frozen veggies put up from the garden.

Here is this week's menu from the groceries, and I should also mention that I bought 10lbs of non-local pork loin roast for .98 a lb last week, so we are having an other white meat week. I cut up my pork into the portion that I needed. Enjoy!

Stuffed pork chops
roasted butternut squash
butter noodles

4 thick cut boneless pork chops
1 package instant stuffing
salt and pepper to taste
1T olive oil

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare stuffing as directed on box. Cut slits into chops. Salt and pepper both sides and brown in oil. Let cool slightly, then stuff. There may be extra stuffing left. Place chops into baking dish, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until done.

Cut squash in half, remove seeds. Place face side up into baking dish. Salt and pepper, and place 1T butter and 1T brown sugar into each opening. Bake along side pork.

one package egg noodles
Parmesan cheese
garlic powder
salt and pepper
parsley (dried or fresh)

Boil noodles for 7-8 minutes or until done. Drain. Place 3 tablespoons butter into pan. It will melt but do not place on heated burner. Add to the butter, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon parsley, and 1/2 tsp salt and pepper each.
Add noodles and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, mix well.

Edit: Just wanted to note here that my squash needed about 20 more minutes cooking time so I will be starting it earlier next time. Here are some dinner pics:
Fresh from the oven
On the dinner plate

Red Pepper Soup (I know I made this 2 or 3 weeks ago, but its soo yummy!)
homemade bread

6 medium red peppers chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 onions chopped
1 rib of celery chopped
4 minced garlic cloves
1T olive oil
55oz chicken broth or reconstituted broth
1/2 cup uncooked rice
2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 brick of cream cheese
1 brick goat cheese

Saute peppers, carrots, onions, celery and garlic in oil. Add broth, rice, and spices. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Break up goat, cream cheese and add to mixture. Blend with immersion blender or puree in small batches in blender. Serve with thick slices of homemade bread.

Oven baked chicken pieces
steamed broccoli
cous cous

1-2lbs assorted chicken pieces (I am using legs and thighs for cost purposes)
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper
chopped garlic

Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken in baking pan. Salt and pepper, coat with olive oil. Chop up about 1 T fresh rosemary and sprinkle over. Sprinkle with about 2 T balsamic vinegar. Bake for about an hour or until chicken is done.

Sweet and sour pork
(this seems like a lenghty recipe but it really does not take long)
1 pound pork butt or loin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice (from pineapple below)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 egg white
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup warm water or as needed
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into cubes
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into cubes
1, 15-ounce pineapple chunks, drained (juice used in sauce)
Oil for Frying
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

1In a bowl, stir the cubed pork into the soy sauce and 1 teaspoon cornstarch and marinate 20 minutes. Make the sauce: In saucepan, stir together sugar, ketchup, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, salt, and pineapple juice. Set aside. Make the batter: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, 1/3 cup cornstarch. Stir in egg white and oil. Add as much warm water as needed to make a thick batter. Pour 2 inches oil into large skillet or saute pan and heat to 375. Dip pork cubes in batter and fry in batches, being careful not to crowd the skillet. Remove and drain on paper towels. Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat. Add carrot, bell pepper and pineapple chunks. Bring back to a boil and stir in the 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water, stirring until thickened. Taste sauce for salt and/or vinegar, adding more if needed for flavor. Place pork over steamed rice or fried noodles, topped with vegetables and sauce.

Chili night at Zach's school
here is my chili recipe:

2 cans kidney beans, drained
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
2 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained
2 med. onions, coarsely chopped
1 green pepper, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 T chili powder
1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. cumin

Place in crock pot and cook 6-8 hours on low.

Leftovers night! If no leftovers then breakfast for supper night!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Muffin tip..

I have been meaning to share this small tip with my peeps.. So every time I make muffins and my muffin tin is full, but there is enough for one or two more muffins, here is what I do: I keep a mini muffin tin in the freezer. I fill as many cups as I can with the leftover filling. I keep it covered tightly and when I need baked goods for something I can just defrost and pop in the oven and I have a variety of mini muffins to bring to a function. It saves time and money since you are using what you may have wasted before. Hope this is helpful to someone out there.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Maybe I am not the best...

Maybe I am not the best person in the whole world..But I am honest. I am caring and I call people back, and I will cook for you and buy things for you cause I know you might like it/want it/need it. So how come I feel like I am the last to be choosen for a dinner date, party or other invites? I just never get invited, is it because my husband is an asshole? Cause no wants to spend time with him, me included most of the time. I am always the one to make plans, and in most cases entertain. People seem to keep me at arms length and I am trying to just understand why. I am not going to point people out, because that is just plain rude. But hey world what gives?? Just this tiny rant I promise..I needed a vent!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Back from the flu!

OMG! We were so sick. We had what I think is the flu. YUK! I will spare you the specific details. I used a bottle of bleach today just cleaning. Here is a super bounce back menu, it all about the comfort this week!

Ham and cheesy pasta
steamed broccoli

1 T butter
1 T flour
1 cup low fat milk
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 T dried minced onion
1/2 tsp dill powder
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
2 cups cubed cooked ham
8 oz Mexican cheese blend
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
16 oz cooked pasta (I am using Penne)

Cook and drain pasta. In pot, melt butter and add flour to make a rue. Add milk and spices. Brig to a boil and stir constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and add sour cream. Add ham and pasta, blend. Add cheeses and stir. Serve.

Greek style chicken burgers
oven baked fries
raw veggies and tzaziki dip

1 lb ground chicken
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon kalamata olives
1 teaspoon brine from olives
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
pinch of black pepper

In a bowl, put the ground chicken and add in lemon juice, oregano, basil, olives, green onions, garlic, olive brine, feta cheese and black pepper. Using your hands, mix everything into the meat, making sure everything is mixed throughout the meat. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 15 - 20 minutes. Make into 4 patties and cook over medium heat about 10 minutes on each side.

1 cucumber, peeled
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Using a cheese grater, grate the cucumber. Once grated, squeeze the extra liquid out of the cucumber and place in a bowl with the garlic. Put the yogurt into the bowl with the cucumber and mix together, seasoning with the salt and pepper.

Slow cooker Swiss steak
steamed rice

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 pound round steak, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 carrots, grated
1 package (8 ounce size) button mushroom, sliced
2 cans (14.5 ounce size) diced tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar, or to taste

In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Coat the round steak pieces in the flour mixture. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the celery, onion, carrots and mushrooms about 5 minutes, until tender. Place in slow cooker.
Mix in the round steak pieces, and cook until lightly browned. Place the vegetables and steak in a slow cooker. Mix in the tomatoes with juice, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. Cover, and cook 8 to 10 hours on Low, until the round steak is very tender. Serve over rice or pasta.

Oven Baked BBQ chicken
baked beans
good loaf of french bread

2 lbs mixed pieces dark meat(thighs and legs)
1 bottle of your favorite hickory BBQ sauce
1 medium onion sliced into rings

Cover your baking dish/cooking pan with foil. Place cut up onions in bottom of pan. Place chicken on top of onions. Cover liberally with sauce. Bake at 350 for about
40 minutes. Serve with fabulous sides, get the napkins out!

Ground Pork Shepard's pie

4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 T butter
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
5 carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground pork
1/2 bag mixed veggies (4oz)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/4 tsp minced rosemary
3/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Boil carrots and potatoes together. Mash, add 1T butter,1/4 cup cheese and salt and pepper. Cook onions, rosemary and pork together until pork is browned. Make a roux with the butter and flour. Add ketchup then broth. Stir until smooth. Mix veggies, gravy, and meat. Place in greased casserole dish. Top with mashed potato mixture and the rest of the cheese. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Nothing much here...

A fairly quiet weekend. Zach made it thru his first sleepover yay! I got to sleep by myself yay!

Here is a menu that taste great and doesn't break the bank..for me anyways! I am doing some pantry clearing.

Oven Baked "fried" Chicken
steamed veggies
mashed potatoes

1 frying chicken (3-4lb) or 6 breasts or 6 leg thigh quarters
1 cup flour
black pepper and garlic powder (for sprinkling)
Creole seasoning
cayenne pepper
1/2 cup butter

Preheat oven to 425°F. Pat chicken dry with a clean paper towel and sprinkle with garlic powder and Creole seasoning. Combine 1 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional - adjust heat as desired), 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning. Coat chicken. Line a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with foil. Add butter and place in oven until it sizzles. Place chicken in dish, skin side down. Bake 30 minutes; turn reduce heat to 325°F degrees and bake 35-45 minutes longer or until chicken is cooked through.

Chicken quesadillas
(use leftover chicken and veggies)

Pizza Meatloaf
green beans

2 eggs beaten
1 can 16oz pizza sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
1 T dried minced onion
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
2 lbs ground beef
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
4-6 slices large pepperoni slices
1 small can 3oz black olive slices

Combine: meat, bread crumbs, 1/3 of the cheese, onion, Italian seasoning,1/3 can of pizza sauce salt and pepper. Layer half of mixture into baking dish. Layer in pepperoni and black olives, top with 1/3 of cheese, 1/3 of sauce and top with the rest of the meat mixture. Use the rest of the sauce and then cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until done.

Breakfast for dinner!
Scrambled eggs
fruit salad

Homemade Tomato soup
grilled ham and cheese sandwiches

3 cans diced tomatoes 28oz each (I am using home canned)
3 1/2 cups veggie broth
1/4 cup diced onion(sauteed in butter before adding)
1 tsp baking soda
3 T sugar
4 T butter
1 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients into a large pot, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, and let simmer for about an hour. Blend with and immersion blender to make nice and smooth. Makes about 10 1 cup servings.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Being poor is an art form.

Alas I find myself light in the pocket again..I can just make my payments that are due by the 12th. My puter payment is $17 for the minimum payment which I like to pay a bit more, but the minimum is what they are going to get this month. Also I have to send the DOE my student loan payment of $150 which I will probably be paying till I die. Gene is broke as well since we had a huge cable bill and house payment.
Since I am a notorious food hoarded there is plenty, what I need from the store is only fresh sundries. So I expect to spend only around $30 when I get groceries on Sunday.
It it always amazing to me how when I am under pressure how well I can get by with little. A bit of creativity goes a long way, and its always nice to know I still have garden produce and some canned goods from summer to keep us going.
That red pepper soup I made this week was exactly what I mean. The peppers I had frozen whole were from this summers bounty. I bought the cheeses, from Aldi's so the cream cheese was only 88 cents and the goat cheese 1.99, peppers were free and rice and chicken broth are staples. The whole thing cost me about $5 to make and I got dinner and two lunches from it!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hey bitches! I'm back!

Did you miss me? I hope so! I have been doing so much to get ready for daycare licensing, and with having Zach home on break I have not had much time for blogging. So here is a fabulous menu for you!

Red pepper soup
homemade bread

6 medium red peppers chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 onions chopped
1 rib of celery chopped
4 minced garlic cloves
1T olive oil
55oz chicken broth or reconstituted broth
1/2 cup uncooked rice
2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 brick of cream cheese
1 brick goat cheese

Saute peppers, carrots, onions, celery and garlic in oil. Add broth, rice, and spices. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Break up goat, cream cheese and add to mixture. Blend with immersion blender or puree in small batches in blender.

Shrimp Alfredo and veggies

8 ounces rotini pasta or 8 ounces other pasta
1 lb shrimp (already pre-cleaned & cooked)
1 (16 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
artichoke hearts 1 small jar not marinated
peas or your choice vegetables (cooked)
Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded

Cook pasta. Add shrimp to Alfredo sauce and heat on medium. Add veggies. Serve over hot pasta. Quick and easy!

Tomatillo chicken (courtesy of Everyday food)

2 pounds tomatillos (husks removed), washed and halved
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds), cut into 10 pieces (wings reserved for another use)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 jalapenos, chopped
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can (15 ounces) hominy (optional), drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a food processor, puree tomatillos; set aside. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pot, skin side down. Cook until browned on one side, 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add jalapenos and onion to pot and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatillo puree and hominy, if using; season with salt and pepper. Nestle chicken, skin side up, in sauce. Cover pot; simmer until chicken is cooked through, 22 to 25 minutes. Stir in cilantro; season with salt and pepper.

Pork Burgers
oven fries

1 lb ground pork
1/4 cup diced provolone
2 whole roasted red peppers diced
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 finely minced shallot

Mix all together and form 5 patties. Cook on medium heat in oiled skillet for about 5minutes on each side. Serve with oven baked fries and coleslaw.

Chicken Spaghetti

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 T veggie oil
1/2 sliced green pepper
1 small sliced onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1 can Italian diced toms undrained
1 can 8oz tomato sauce
1/2 package sliced mushrooms
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
6 cups cooked spaghetti
Parmesan cheese

Cut the chicken into 1/2 inch strips. Heat 2 T oil in pan. Fry chicken until cooked thru about 6 minutes. Add rest of the oil to pan, saute onions, peppers and garlic. Add tomatoes, sauce and spices. Bring to a boil. Add chicken back to pan. Serve over spaghetti. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with green salad.