Angie Gets Organized

This is why I'm trying to get organized...for my family. I am a strong believer in family meal time, but I know that without a little planning, it will be hard to keep us all together. It will also be easier to spend money foolishly on prepared foods or fast food. I love trying out new recipes, so this is my site to pass on recipes, while also organizing them into a meal plan. I hope it helps you to keep your family together. I would love to hear what others are having for dinner, or see a new recipe or two! Feel free to leave me some feedback in the comments section...at least then I would know someone is reading this!

It's not gourmet...just good food!






Saturday, October 22, 2011

Easy Skillet Beef and Hashbrowns

From Campbell's Kitchens

1 lb. ground beef
1 can cream of celery soup (I used cream of mushroom)
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. ketchup
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 c. frozen hashbrowns
3 slices American cheese

1. Brown the beef, drain.
2. Stir in the soup, water, ketchup, worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil.
3. Stir in the hashbrowns. Reduce temperature to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Top with cheese.

**personally, I think I will bake this dish next time so that the hashbrowns don't get so mushy.

One heck of a month

October has already been one heck of a month...sickness is here in abundance, and we are still going thru it! I have still been planning my meals but haven't had time to post them. So, even though we are almost thru this month, I'm still going to post this month's menu...maybe it will give you some new ideas! Because who knows how November will be...

You'll find the menu on the sidebar, but here are the notes for some of them:

Easy Skillet Beef and Hashbrowns: this is a Campbell's recipe, so it is quick and easy. I think we would've preferred it baked instead of in the skillet. But overall, not too bad for a weeknight meal.

Chicken Bacon Paninis: we used deli meat (thin sliced) chicken, but it would be better with grilled chicken breasts. We used the deli meat to save time.

Pork Lo Mein: I made my own from leftover spaghetti noodles, cooked boneless porkchops, broccoli slaw (sold in the bagged salad area), and oriental seasoning sauce (in the International food area). It was delicious! I would've enjoyed it just as much without the meat.

Crunchy Onion Slow Beef Cooker Stroganoff: This is a French's brand recipe because it uses French's Fried Onions (like you use on green bean casserole). We really enjoyed it, especially with the leftover fried onions sprinkled on it just before serving.

Ham and Cheese Loaf: This is a Kraft recipe, so if you get the magazine (or did in the past), you've probably seen it. You use the refrigerated bread dough, ham, and cheese. Roll it up and bake it. Yummy dipped in honey mustard.

Chicken, Gnocci, Spinach soup: this is my quick version to the Olive Garden recipe. There are tons of mock recipes on the internet. I sauteed onion, celery, and garlic in butter, then added 5 c. chicken broth (or stock). To that I added 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, one can of chicken breast meat (or leftover cooked chicken), and 2 bags of frozen potato gnocchi. It was pretty thick. I would probably add more broth next time.

Meatballs: I like to make my own and bake them in ketchup/brown sugar sauce. They are tons of calories, but are so good when you want comfort food.

Homemade Hot pockets: I use refrigerated Grand biscuits, flatten into a 5 inch circle, fill with pizza sauce and cheese, fold in half and crimp shut (like an empanada) and then bake. They can be filled with whatever filling you like. Go to the hot pocket aisle in the grocery store for inspiration.

Italian Chicken: marinate chicken breasts in Italian dressing overnight. Layer marinated chicken in baking dish with diced tomatoes (with Italian seasonings). Bake until cooked thru.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dinner This Week

Still easing back into my menues...didn't prepare the taco-stuffed shells last week, so guess what we're having tonight? Along with that, here's what we've been eating this week:
Pepperoni Chicken: cut a slice in the side of a boneless chicken breast and stuff with pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Repeat for as many breasts as your family will eat. Cover chicken with pizza sauce and bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. Add more mozzarella cheese 5 min. before finished baking, if desired. Serve with orzo pasta and a salad.
Ham and Cheese Quiche
Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob
Homemade Pizza
Breaded chicken cutlets (on sale this week at Giant), mashed potatoes (or starch of some sort), and veggie
Plan ahead for your family and enjoy a meal together!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What we're eating this week

Since it's summer, and too difficult to plan for anything (other than fun events!!!), I'm trying to ease myself back into monthly menus. For now, I'm just doing week to week. So, here's what we're eating this week.

Ham, Cheese, Pepperoni, and pizza sauce paninis

Baked Spaghetti and salad

Apricot Chicken (this was on last week's menu, but we didn't get to it, so we're definitely having it this week!)

Taco-filled Pasta Shells: a stuffed shell for Mexican lovers!

Cheddar Turkey Casserole: basically just rice, cheddar cheese soup, peas, and chicken (substituted for the turkey).

This has already been a crazy week for us...I'm scheduled to be out 4 nights this week!! And my husband is scheduled to be out the other night! This is why planning is so important to me, because I never want to sacrifice our family meals together. If I plan it right, we are still eating together every night.

Happy Eating!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Apricot Honey Chicken

My mistake! In the last post, I said you could find the recipe for Apricot Chicken under the chicken tab. But when I double-checked, it wasn't there! I know I've posted this darn recipe before, but apparently I forgot to put it under the tabs. So, here it is! And now it will be under the chicken tab!

Apricot Honey Chicken (from Taste of Home)

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 Tbsp. oil
3 Tbsp. apricot preserves
2 Tbsp. orange juice
4 tsp. honey

In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil over medium heat for 7-9 min on each side (or until juices run clear). Combine the preserves, orange juice, and honey; pour over chicken. Cook for 2 min. or until heated through.

*I like to double the sauce so that it is not so dry on top of rice.

Summer blues

Okay, so, although we are having a GREAT summer (doing nothing in particular), we never seem to be able to plan meals for the month! ...hence no menus for the last two months! Between camps and Bible schools, mini "staycations", and yardwork...it just seems impossible to "plan" anthing! Hopefully the other posted menus have given you some inspiration. Now it's time to start looking forward to another school year, which means (hopefully) new menus. For now, I'm going to ease myself into things. I'm posting what we ate for meals this week, hopefully it will give some ideas for the rest of the week or next week. And then, hopefully I'll have a new one each week until September, when I hope to be back into the full swing of things!

What we ate this week:

Chicken Speedies: This is a marinade that you can buy around here and up north ( I think it is actually spelled "spiedies"), but any marinade will do. We marinade the chicken in small chuncks and then grill it "shish-kabob" style. Serve it with rice or noodles and a side salad.
Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Muffins: English muffins with all the goods! We needed all that protein to make it through a busy night of Bible School! Serve with fruit and/or hashbrowns.
Hamburger, Macaroni, and Tomato: Just what it is! We like to add a little beef broth and Italian seasonings to ours for more flavor.
Leftovers: Clean out the fridge night. This got us out the door faster for Bible School, and kept us from throwing out good food!
Apricot Chicken: You can find the recipe for this under the chicken tab in the sidebar. It is one of our favorites. Serve with rice (you may want to make extra apricot sauce) and a side veggie.

That's it for this week...I don't even know what I'm having for this weekend yet!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beef and Potato Hash (crockpot)

I think this recipe could be done on the stove-top as well, but haven't tried it. This recipe comes from the Busy Mom's Slow Cooker cookbook (J. Steinback). All of the recipes in this cookbook (that I have tried) are delicious and are supposed to be low-fat, low-calorie as well!

Beef and Potato Hash



  • 1 lb lean ground beef

  • onion, chopped

  • garlic, minced

  • 3 1/2 c. frozen O'Brien potatoes

  • 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce

  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with garlic, oregano, and basil (undrained)

  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Brown the ground beef, onion, and garlic. Drain well. Combine beef, potatoes, and tomato products in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle with cheese.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chicken Supreme

Here are two variations of the same recipe...one for the crockpot and one for stove-top. Both recipes are from the "Meals for a Month" cookbook (Linda Larsen), which means they freeze well.

Crockpot Version:

4 slices bacon
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 c. apple juice
6 boneless chicken breasts
2 c. baby carrots
1 c. shredded or cubed cheese (gouda, muenster, or cheddar)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. evaporated milk (or whole milk)
1 10 oz. package couscous (or rice)

1. Cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, drain on paper towels.
2. Cook onion and garlic in remaining bacon drippings 2-3 minutes.
3. Add apple juice, milk, and soup to pan. Stir to combine.
4. Place soup mixture, chicken, and carrots into crockpot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Top with bacon and cheese and let melt.
5. Cook couscous (or rice) according to package directions. Serve chicken mixture over the couscous (or rice).

*If freezing for later use: Cook the bacon, then remove to drain. Cook the garlic and onion in the drippings. Add apple juice and chicken to pan, but do not cook. Stir to combine. Pour all into ziplock bag. Attach a bag with carrots, and a bag with the cooked bacon and shredded cheese. Keep together in the freezer with cooking instructions. Reserve soup and couscous in pantry. Reserve milk in refrigerator. When ready to cook, thaw in fridge overnight and then follow above instructions.

Stove-Top Recipe:
This recipe uses the same basic ingredients as the crockpot recipe, except it is reduced to 4 chicken breasts and their is no apple juice used.

1. Cook bacon until crisp, remove from pan to drain on papertowels.
2. Add chicken to drippings, cooking 2-3 minutes on each side.
3. Add onion and garlic to skillet, cooking 4-5 minutes. Add soup and milk, stir to blend.
4. Simmer until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
5. Add bacon and cheese, cover and cook until cheese is melted.
6. Serve over hot cooked rice or couscous.

*Freezing Instructions: Follow directions to step 4. Chill chicken and soup mixture. Place in ziplock bag. Attach separate bag with cooked bacon and shredded cheese. When ready to use: thaw in fridge overnight. Reheat chicken and sauce in pan, until hot. Add bacon and cheese, cover and cook until cheese is melted. Serve over hot cooked rice or couscous.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

May Menu

Sorry I forgot to post that the new menu is up...You can view it on the sidebar, along with the past two month's menus. I like keeping my old menus close at hand, because there are always changes in my schedule and several meals that do not get made as planned. This also gives you more options so that if you do not like something on the menu, you can choose something from one of the other months. Most of the menu items have been posted before, so you should be able to find the recipe on my site or use your favorite. The exceptions:

Hot Ham and Cheese on Pretzel Rolls: They sell these rolls in several stores around Chambersburg...not sure about our surrounding towns. I have seen them at Giant/Martins (in the deli), ButcherShoppe (at the front counter), and Windy Knolls (in the freezer section). I like to look for them when they go on clearance since they are kind of expensive. But they are sooo worth it for a "once every couple of months" treat! I just put deli ham and cheese, whatever is on hand (prefer mozzi or provalone), and a little squirt of honey mustard. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 10 min. to melt the cheese.

Pita Pocket Chicken Sandwiches: I am going to make extra BBQ chicken in the crockpot to make this yummy sandwich later in the week. Stuff the pita pocket halves with shredded BBQ chicken, salsa, black beans, cheese, and shredded lettuce. You could also add some ranch dressing if it seems too dry for you.

Spam: Honestly, I don't believe I've ever made this since we've been married, but Shane says he wants it so I guess I'll be making it! He says he likes it fried and then put on a sandwich. I grew up with it being baked in the over, smothered in a brown sugar/mustard sauce. I remember helping my mom stick little cloves in each slice. I guess we ate it too much as kids, because now I really have no desire to eat it! Oh well, guess we'll see how the kids like it.

Italian Chicken: marinate chicken breasts in Italian dressing for a few hours (or overnight). Remove from dressing when ready to bake. Place chicken in baking dish, single layer thick. Cover chicken with a can of diced tomatoes (seasoned with basil and oregano). Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 min, or until chicken is done.

Smokey Mountain Chicken Panini: this is my interpretation of another recipe (from the Top Secret Restaurant Cookbook). I will use grilled chicken breasts (shredded or cubed), and top them with BBQ sauce, a slice of deli ham, and mozzarella or provalone cheese. Put the sandwich on nice thick bread and grill in the panini maker for a few minutes until toasted. I like a sprinkle of rosemary spice on mine, but this is too strong for some people's tastes.

Orange Chicken: This is a recipe from my new favorite site...www.weelicious.com. Check it out!! It has tons of great recipes, and I love their ideas for kids' lunches. I'm also using their chicken fajita recipe for this month.

Enjoy your spring with it's longer days...we love working outside in the evenings, it's like getting 2 days for the price of one!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Homemade Creamy Tomato Soup

I've been craving tomato soup, so when a couple of my kids tell me, "mom, when are we having tomato soup?"...I jump at the chance to have it. I am a huge fan of the Campbell's and Progresso brands out of the can, but since I already got groceries for this week, I decided that I better try some homemade soup. I have yet to find a recipe that comes close to Campbell's (it is sooo smooth and I can't figure out how they do that!), but this recipe is pretty darn close to the Progresso soup. It is a little chunkier, and has more spices in the recipe than the Campbell's. This is my adapted version of the Martha Stewart recipe for "Creamy Tomato Soup".

Creamy Tomato Soup

2 Tbsps butter ( I used margarine)
1 med. onion (I didn't use this because I thought the kids might get picky about it)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes (I used crushed tomatoes with added basil)
5 1/4 c. chicken stock
oregano ( I didn't use since I already had the basil in the tomatoes)
1/2 c. half and half (I would've used this had I had it on hand, but I didn't so I used milk)

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic, cook until translucent. Add the tomatoes, stock, and oregano, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer gently until thickened, about 45 min. Slowly add the half and half. Season with salt and pepper.

*I also added a bit of sugar, since it tasted better to me that way.

Yummy! Can't wait to dip my grilled cheese in a big bowl of this soup!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Menu for April 2011

Click on the link below to find this month's menu. I am in the process of getting all the recipes into the tabs on the sidebar. I'm not a techie person...so I'm still learning all of this! Thanks for bearing with me! http://30boxes.com/widget/8282295/AngieSmith/04c6ad7049775165c8094cd146a81832/0/

Brown Gravy Patties

Absolute comfort food!! This reminds me of something you'd get in a 1950's style diner. In fact, the original recipe that this is based on is called "Blue Plate Special". One of our family's favorites! Brown Gravy Patties: make hamburger patties out of standard meatloaf recipe (meat, egg, onion, salt/pepper). Brown patties on both sides in a frying pan. Add 2 packages of brown gravy (mixed with water, according to package directions) or 2 packages of mushroom gravy. Simmer the patties until cooked through. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Two in One Meal: Burritos and Mexican Pizza

Isn't it nice to make two meals with the effort of only one?? This is a great way to reduce your prep time, while still having two home-cooked meals for the week. I make the filling for the burritos, and then use the leftover filling for Mexican Pizza later. If you find you only like the burritos or only like the Pizza, then make the filling, use what you need right now, and freeze the rest for a duplicate meal later. It's a win-win deal! Burritos: I make mine with 1 lb browned, ground beef, 1 can refried beans, and 1 jar salsa. Combine ingredients, add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Place in tortillas and roll up. You can eat immediately, or bake them in a casserole dish with more cheese on top. Save the leftover fillling for Mexican Pizza. Mexican Pizza: use the leftover filling from the burritoes to make a fast pizza. I spread the leftover filling on a store-bought pizza crust (the ones in the can). I top with mozzarella and cheddar cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 20 min (or until crust is starting to brown and cheese is melted). I serve a slice with lettuce, tomato, and sour cream on top.

Chicken Bruschetta

Chicken Bruschetta: (from the Kraft magazines) Combine 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 box Stovetop Stuffing mix (6 oz.), 1/2 c. water, and 2 cloves garlic in a medium bowl. Place 1 1/2 lb. diced chicken breasts in a 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle chicken with 1 tsp. basil and 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Top with stuffing mixture and bake 30 min at 400 degrees.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Saucy Italian Orzo

Saucy Italian Orzo (from Simple and Delicious magazine) 6 servings This recipe looks sooo good in the picture! 1 lb. ground beef 1 large onion, chopped (I probably won't use this much) 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic 1 (14 oz) can beef broth 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste 3/4 c. uncooked orzo pasta (this is the little pasta that looks like rice) 1 tsp. Italian seasoning 2 c. fresh baby spinach (I don't think I'll be able to sneak this one past my husband, but I can usually sneak in some minced frozen spinach. I keep a box of it in my freezer, and just slice off some when needed in recipes. He usually just assumes it is parsley, and I don't tell him any different! :) ) 1. Cook the beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat in a large dutch oven. Crumble and cook until no longer pink. Drain grease. 2. Stir in remainder of ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 min. or until orzo is tender. Add spinach; cook and stir until spinach is wilted.

Beef and Potato Hash

Beef and Potato Hash (a crockpot recipe from "The Busy Mom's Slow Cooker Cookbook") 1 lb. ground beef 3/4 tsp. onion powder 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 3 1/2 c. frozen potatoes O'Brien 2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce with roasted garlic 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with garlic, oregano, and basil (undrained) 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese 1. Cook ground beef, onion and garlic powder in a large skillet until browned and crumbly. Drain well. 2. Combine beef mixture with remainder of ingredients in slow cooker. 3. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours. 4. Sprinkle with cheese just before serving.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Stuffed Pizza Burgers

***Really you can stuff your burger any way that you like. Here are some of our favorites*****

Always start with 2 very thin hamburger patties. Place the "stuffing" on top of one of the patties and then place the other patty over top. Use a fork to seal the two burgers together.

Pizza Burgers: Stuff with pizza sauce and cheese, add pepperoni if desired. Sprinkle burger with Italian Seasoning before grilling.

Cheddar Burgers: Stuff with a slice of cheddar, or go crazy with cheese, bacon, and onion!

Pepperjack Burgers: Stuff with pepperjack cheese. Sprinkle burger with dried red pepper seasoning before grilling (but not too much if your tongue can't handle the hot stuff!)

Homemade Hot Pockets

It is so easy to create your own hot pockets at home, and much cheaper!! Plus, you can make them to suit your family's tastes and you know EXACTLY what is going into them! Our family prefers the pizza flavored ones, but just about any cooked filling will do. Go to the hotpocket area in the frozen food section for inspiration!
These will also freeze well for quickie lunches later. Just wrap the frozen hotpocket in a paper towel, and microwave on 50% power for 1-2 min.

1 package jumbo biscuits (in a can)
Pizza filling: pizza sauce, cheese, mini diced ham cubes, pepperoni...or whatever you like!
Breakfast filling: eggs, cheese, meat (diced up ham, bacon, or sausage)

1. Flatten the biscuits to a 5 inch round circle.
2. Place about 2 Tbsp. of filling in center of biscuit. Fold sides of biscuit over each other, and then tuck the ends up, pinching closed. **If if is easier to fold, you can also fold it empanada style (place filling on one side of biscuit, fold biscuit in half over filling, and crimp shut with tines of a fork).
3. Sprinkle some Italian seasoning or sesame seeds on top of biscuit before baking.
4. Bake according to directions on side of biscuit can.

Tex-Mex Chicken Salad

Now that grocery stores are making it easier to make "gourmet" salads at home, I've come up with this recipe to imitate one of my favorite restaurant salads. You can buy a Southwest salad kit or buy the ingredients all separately if you need a larger amount (or plan on making it frequently!).

1 Southwest salad kit, with added grilled chicken slices and black bean and corn salsa

OR

1 bag salad greens
1 jar black bean and corn salsa
grilled chicken slices
Ranch dressing or Southwest Ranch dressing
Fried tortilla strips (sold in the bacon bit area)
French Fried onions
Tomato slices (if in season)
Cheddar cheese or Colby-Jack cheese

Meatball Pasta Bake

Meatball Pasta Bake
(adapted from a Paula Deen recipe)
*********I love this dish because it is sooo creamy, and doesn't dry out like some other baked pasta dishes************************
for 8x8 baking dish, serving 4-6

12-14 prepared meatballs (more or less, depending on taste)
8 oz small shell pasta (or small pasta of choice), cooked and kept warm
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sour cream
1 jar of prepared spaghetti sauce or homemade
1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese (more if desired!!)
3 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 8x8 baking dish. In separate large bowl, combine hot, cooked pasta with cream cheese and sour cream, stirring to melt cheeses.
2. Spoon half of pasta into baking dish. Top with half of meatballs (may want to cut meatballs in half if they are large size meatballs). Spoon half of spaghetti sauce over meatballs. Sprinkle evenly with all of the mozzarella cheese.
3. Repeat pasta, meatballs, and sauce layers. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 35-40 min or until hot and bubbly.

note: This dish can be made up to 1 day ahead of baking, or it can be prepared and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw in fridge before baking.

Crunchy Pan-Fried Chicken

Crunchy Pan-Fried Chicken

1/2 c. self-rising cornmeal mix (or add 1/2 tsp. baking powder and a pinch of salt to regular cornmeal)
1/2 c. seasoned fine dry breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 chicken breasts
1 large egg
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg, and dredge in cornmeal mixture. Cook chicken in hot oil in a large skillet, turning only 1-2 times, until chicken is done.

Friday, March 4, 2011

New Menu for March

Well, on the last day of February I realized, "Holy Cow, I don't have a menu made up for March"! So, I'm late again getting one posted. I am trying something new this month...let me know if you like it. I found a cool organizational tool on another blog called "30 boxes". It gives me an online calendar onto which I can post my menu. There is a link below this posting that will take you to this month's calendar. I'm not sure if I'll use it or not next month, because I'm still trying to figure out how to get the calendar to show up right in my blog, without having to link you guys there. My goal is to have a quick view of the menu with the days of the week. So, if any of you are more tech savvy than me (which wouldn't take much), please let me know if you can help me do this!! So, anyways, click on the link below to see this month's menu. Most of the things are basic ideas that either don't need a recipe or you can use your family favorite. I also set a goal of trying to fix a "large meat" entree on the weekend so that I can use the leftovers later in the week. I hope you can use an idea or two to organize your dinners this month!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sticky Chicky

This month's menu includes a chicken dish that I called Heinz Balsamic Chicken. It is one of the best chicken recipes we've tried. When looking for the recipe on my site, I realized that I previously called it sticky chicky. I'm going to leave it posted that way, so in order to find it, look under the chicken label for the recipe called "sticky chicky"...Believe me, you won't regret trying this recipe!

Honey BBQ Chicken Tenders

Honey BBQ Chicken Tenders
(recipe from Busy Mom's Slow Cooker Cook Book)

2 lbs chicken breast tenders (or 2 lbs cut-up chicken breasts)
1 1/2 c. bottled bbq sauce
1/4 c. honey
2 tsp. mustard
1 1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce

Mix sauce, pour over chicken in crock pot. Cover and cook on low heat for 4-5 hours or high heat for 2-2 1/2 hours.
***This recipe works equally well in a baking dish in the oven. Cover baking dish with foil to keep juices in, bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 min.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February Menu

Can't believe that I didn't post anything other than the menu last month...I'm going to try to do better, but this is a short month, so.....we'll see! Hope you enjoyed some of the recipes from last month's menu. But, if you're like me, you might not have gotten to all of them. I make the menus with every intention of making every recipe for that month...but, sometimes things don't go on sale, or I just don't feel like making a particular recipe. So, I hope you all read the menus, get some good ideas, and then tailor it to fit your needs. I know that I definitely like having a plan! It has helped tremendously to keep my grocery bill down...I now go to the store with a plan...which is better than just going and hoping to get inspired at the store.

1. Pick a leftover from last month's menu
2. Baked Potato Soup: I found this recipe on the menus4mom.com website (which is a great website, by the way). You can get the detailed recipe on that site, but if you're like me, soup doesn't have to be real exact. Here are my "condensed" instructions: Make a roux with 2/3 c. each butter and flour. Add 6 c. milk, stirring to thicken. Add the pulp from 4 large baked potatoes (previously baked). Add salt/pepper to taste and 12 slices cooked, crumbled bacon. Add 1 1/4 c. cheddar cheese (shredded). Add 8 oz. sour cream just before serving. ***I'm thinking that you could add instant mashed potatoes or leftover mashed potatoes as a substitute for the baked potato pulp.
3. Honey BBQ chicken tenders: A crockpot recipe. I've posted the recipe before. I will try to post the link tomorrow.
4. Quesadillas: These are always a quickie meal that the kids love. We prefer using cooked chicken, salsa, and cheddar cheese. Just fill with whatever filling your crowd loves, fold in half, and microwave (or grill in skillet or panini maker). Serve with sour cream, if desired.
5. Leftovers/out (Shane's birthday...hoping to go our:))

6. Dinner at the inlaws to celebrate Shane's birthday!
7. Spaghetti and Meatballs, bread, and salad
8. Chipped Beef Gravy over biscuits: I prefer to use Eskay brand chipped beef in the dairy section of the store (I've heard it comes in a jar, too, but I have never used that). I chop the beef into small pieces and fry it in some Crisco shortening. I use about 3-4 Tbsp. of shortening. You want to have enough fat in the pan to make a roux for your gravy. After a few minutes of frying, add 1/4 c. to 1/2 c. flour to the meat and fat (my grandma always told me to add enough flour to absorb all the fat...if that helps ya!). Let the flour cook for a few minutes (this will help prevent lumps in your gravy later). Add 1 can evaporated milk, stirring, and cooking until thickened. If the gravy is too thick, add milk until desired consistency. Serve over biscuits or toast.
9. Heinz Balsamic Chicken: I got this recipe off the back of the ketchup bottle, and I'm telling you...It is the best chicken recipe ever!! Everyone should have this recipe!!! I will post this recipe (hopefully tomorrow).
10. Taco Salads: taco meat over tortilla chips, with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes
11. Paninis: best with a panini maker, but will work in a grilling pan. We prefer ham, mozzi cheese, pepperoni, and pizza sauce, but make whatever your family likes.
12. Leftovers, or baked chicken potpie. Might be feeling like a comfort food at this point. I use a homemade double crust or you can buy a pie crust in the dairy section of the store. Make the filling out of roux, cooked chicken, and mixed veggies. My favorite recipe is from Southern Living. You can find it in their cookbook, or online. I may have it posted here on the site as well, will have to check.

13. Stuffed Shells (or a Valentine's Day Dinner out, if I'm lucky): You can make this from scratch, or just use the frozen stuffed shells with spaghetti sauce and mozzi cheese on top.
14. Make a special meal for your hubby!....or for another idea, sloppy joes and french fries.
15. Ham Steak, rice, green beans
16. Meatloaf Minis: why mini? they cook faster! You can use whatever recipe you like or find my recipe on this site.
17. Shortcut Chicken Cordon Blue: another recipe from the menus4mom website. 2 c. cooked chicken, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 2 Tbsp. each water and chicken broth, 1/2 c. each shredded swiss cheese and cubed cooked ham. Mix together, heat, and serve over cooked egg noodles.
18. Pizza
19. Leftovers

20. Chicken Lasagne: yet another recipe from menus4moms (detailed recipe on their site). I will have to post the recipe later since it is very long and involved. It sounds really yummy and I can't wait to try it!
21. Sausage Potato Quiche: a family favorite. a quiche that is not too fussy or fancy. It has a potato crust, with eggs, sausage, and cheese on top. I've posted this one before, will try to link it tomorrow.
22. Chili Mac or Chili over Rice: not sure what I'll be feeling like by this time of the month. I will either add macaroni to my chili recipe or just make it and serve it over rice.
23. Turkey Rice casserole: I don't have a "set in stone" recipe for this one yet, but I have seen a few on myrecipes.com. I will be using one of them.
24. Tator Tot casserole: There are lots of different recipes for this, especially in Taste of Home magazines. I prefer to make it with ground beef (browned with onions), mixed with a package of brown gravy. Put the beef mixture in the bottom of 9x13 dish, top with shredded cheddar cheese and a bag of tator tots. Bake at 375 degrees until the tator tots are browned.
25. Soup and Sandwiches
26. Leftovers

27. Hamburger Supper: This recipe uses brown gravy (again!!) and it is one of our family favorites! I have posted the recipe before, will need to locate and link. Basically, it is ground beef, potatoes, carrots, diced onion, brown gravy, and cheddar cheese. Yummy!
28. Slippery Potpie (ham or beef): another recipe to locate and link!

That's it folks! I will do my best to get these recipes posted and linked as soon as possible...but for now, it is really late. Hope you're willing to try a few of these recipes...Enjoy!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New Menu

Welcome to the New Year! I'm still a little sleepy since 3 of the 4 kids managed to stay up past midnight...thanks to a kind neighbor who invited us over! No seriously, we had a great visit with them and lots of laughs playing "Apples to Apples". But now, it's time to get back on track for an organized year. The new menu is made, and after looking it over, seems to contain a lot of Mexican dishes. So, sorry to those of you who don't like Mexican...but my family loves it! Hopefully you will get some good ideas of new things to make...we'll try a few new things together. If they are good or bad, I'd love to have comments. I DO NOT like to pass on bad recipes, so I'd rather prevent culinary disasters from hitting someone else's house if possible!

Jan 1-8:
1. Leftovers: sorry, Saturday is my leftover day...although, this is New Year's, so if I can get out to get a pork roast, I might make pork and sauerkraut!
2. Country Gravy Beef & Pasta Soup: I found this recipe in an advertisement in a Paula Deen Magazine. It is meant for layering in a jar as a gift...you've seen those, right? Well, they seem quick enough, so I'm going to try two of them this month! This one combines 1 lb. browned ground beef, onion, and celery with 2 Tbsp. beef bouillon granules, 1 package Country Gravy Mix (found in the gravy aisle), 1 package Brown Gravy Mix, parsley, 3 cups uncooked small pasta (any variety), 7 cups of water, and one can of diced tomatoes. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer 5-7 min until pasta is tender. How simple is that?? I hope it's good. As an option, you can add 1 cup frozen peas or greenbeans. I'm not sure if I will till I see how it looks.
3. Chicken Bruschetta: (from the Kraft magazines) Combine 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 box Stovetop Stuffing mix (6 oz.), 1/2 c. water, and 2 cloves garlic in a medium bowl. Place 1 1/2 lb. diced chicken breasts in a 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle chicken with 1 tsp. basil and 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Top with stuffing mixture and bake 30 min at 400 degrees.
4. Burritos: store-bought or homemade. I make mine with 1 lb browned, ground beef, 1 can refried beans, and 1 jar salsa. Combine ingredients, add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Place in tortillas and roll up. You can eat immediately, or bake them in a casserole dish with more cheese on top. Save the leftover fillling for Friday's meal.
5. Baked Ravioli, garlic bread: Layer frozen ravioli, spaghetti sauce, and mozzarella cheese in a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and ravioli are heated through (about 25 min.).
6. Ham slices, fried potatoes
7. Mexican Pizza: use the leftover filling from the burritoes to make a fast pizza. I spread the leftover filling on a store-bought pizza crust (the ones in the can). I top with mozzarella and cheddar cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 20 min (or until crust is starting to brown and cheese is melted). I serve a slice with lettuce, tomato, and sour cream on top.
8. Leftovers
Jan. 9-15
9. Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes
10. Chicken Tetrazzini: (a Campbell's recipe) Cook 8 oz of spaghetti and drain. Combine two cans of cream of chicken soup with one soup can of milk. Add cooked diced onion, if desired. Add cooked spaghetti to soup mixture. Add 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, and 2 Tbsp. dried parsley. Toss lightly to coat spaghetti, heat through.
11. Bacon Cheeseburger Roll-ups (Taste of Home): Cook 1 lb. ground beef, onion, and chopped bacon (6 slices) in a frying pan; drain. Add 8 oz. velveeta cheese, stir until melted. Flatten a jumbo biscuit (from a "Pillsbury" can) into a 5 inch circle. Spoon 1/3 c. of the meat mixture onto the biscuit. Fold the dough in half and use the end of a fork (the tines) to crimp the biscuit dough shut. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 min or until golden brown. Serve with a mixture of ketchup and mustard. These are basically like hotpockets, so you could put any filling in them you want, but I love bacon, so this one is for me. You can also freeze these for quickie lunches later.
12. Country Gravy Chicken Soup (Paula Deen Magazine): another quick meal "from a jar". This is meant to layer in a jar and be given as a gift, but the recipe is so quick, I had to try it. One Package Country Gravy Mix (in the gravy aisle), 2 Tbsp. chicken bouillon granules, minced onion and celery, parsley, 3 cups uncooked egg noodles, and 8 cups of water. Combine in large pot, heat to boiling. Reduce heat and add 1 10 oz can of cooked chicken or 1 1/2 cups cooked, cubed chicken. Cover and simmer 5-6 min or until noodles are tender. Could also add frozen peas to this as an option.
13. Creamy Ham and Noodle Casserole (Taste of Home): 3 cups tricolored spiral noodles, cooked. Sautee a handful of onion and celery in butter till tender. Stir in 1 can cheddar cheese soup and 1 soup can of milk. Add 2 cups cooked, diced ham (leftovers, or you can buy diced ham in packages at Walmart). Toss the cooked pasta with the soup mixture, place in greased 9x13 casserole dish, top with crushed Ritz crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min. This is a make-ahead recipe as well, so you can freeze the casserole for later use.
14. Chicken Nuggets and boxed macaroni & cheese
15. Leftovers
Jan.16-22:
16. Meatroll (from the back of the Jiffy Mix box): my mom made this for us when we were kids, and I get hungry for it every once in awhile...kind of like "Spam"...only I don't ever make that! You can use any type of meat in this, but I have always had it with ground beef, so I'm going to stick with that. Brown 1 1/2 lb ground beef and onion in a frying pan; drain. Add salt and pepper to taste. In separate bowl, mix 2 cups Jiffy Mix (I'm sure Bisquick would work as well) with 1/2 cup of milk. Combine into a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle (9x12). Cover with meat mixture and roll up (jelly-roll style). Place onto a lightly greased baking sheet, seam side down. Slash top several times to vent. Bake 20-25 min at 400 degrees. Serve with gravy (mom usually used a mixture of leftover beef gravy and tomato soup--sounds weird, but was delicious!). You could use brown gravy if you don't have any leftover beef gravy.
17. Pork BBQ sandwiches, baked beans: I'll cook boneless pork chops in the crockpot and then add BBQ sauce after shredding.
18. Stuffed French Toast and Bacon: Spread two slices of thick bread with strawberry cream cheese spread. Top with bananas or blueberries (or any fruit, if desired). Put bread together, like a sandwich. Dip in egg mixture (standard French toast mix of eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla). Fry in buttered pan (like a grilled cheese). Serve with syrup and powdered sugar.
19. Chicken Tucson (Meals for a Month): Spread 1/2 cup salsa in bottom of 9x9 baking dish. In separate bowl, combine 2 cans drained and rinsed black or pinto beans (or combination), 2 cups cooked chicken, and remaining salsa (from a 20 oz. jar). Place 3 tortillas on top of the salsa in the baking dish. Top with 1/2 of the chicken mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Repeat tortilla and chicken layers. Dollop 1/2 cup sour cream on top and another cup of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 min.
20. Brown Gravy Patties: make hamburger patties out of standard meatloaf recipe (meat, egg, onion, salt/pepper). Brown patties on both sides in a frying pan. Add 2 packages of brown gravy (mixed with water, according to package directions). Simmer the patties until cooked through. Serve with mashed potatoes.
21. Sandwiches or Hoagies
22. Leftovers
Jan. 23-31
23. Ham and Bean Soup with hushpuppy muffins: Hushpuppy Muffins (Southern Living): Combine 2/3 cup cornmeal, 1/3 cup flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt in mixing bowl. Add handful of diced onion, 1/3 cup milk, 1 large egg, 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into greased miniature muffin pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 min or until golden brown.
24.BBQ Beef Tips over Rice: Roll 1 lb. beef tips/cubes in mixture of flour/salt/pepper. Brown in small amount of oil in skillet. In a crockpot, combine the following: the browned beef, 1/2 c. diced onion, 1 tsp. EACH salt, paprika, and mustard, black pepper to taste, 1 Tbsp. worchestershire sauce, 1 cup ketchup, and 1 Tbsp. EACH lemon juice, vinegar, and brown sugar. Cook on low heat 6-8 hours. I usually double the sauce ingredients so that we have more to put on our rice.
25. Chicken Parmesan over spaghetti: I will probably just use chicken patties instead of breading chicken breasts. This is my quick version.
26. Porcupine Meatballs: Mix 1 lb. ground beef, 1/2 cup rice (regular or instant), diced onion, 1/2 tsp. celery salt, 1/8 tsp. garlic powder, and salt/pepper and 1/2 cup water. Shape into meatballs. Brown in a skillet, drain if necessary. Pour 15 oz. can of tomato sauce and 2 tsp. worchestershire sauce over meatballs. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 min (add extra time if using regular rice). Add water if necessary. This dish can also be baked (place unbrowned meatballs in baking dish, cover with sauce and bake at 350 degrees 45 min covered/15 min uncovered.)
27. English Muffin Pizzas
28. Taco Chili (Taste of Home): 2 lbs ground beef (browned), 2 cups water, 1 can refried beans, 1 can kidney beans, 1 can chili beans, 1 can whole kernel corn, 1 can stewed or diced tomatoes, 1 cup salsa, 1 envelope taco seasoning, 1 can black olives (optional). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer 10 min. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheddar cheese. I like to serve it with crushed tortilla chips as well.
29. Leftovers
30. Pancakes and Eggs
31. Honey Apricot Chicken (Taste of Home): 4 boneless chicken breasts (cooked in oil in skillet). When cooked through, pour following sauce over chicken: 3 Tbsp. apricot or peach preserves, 2 Tbsp. orange juice, and 4 tsp. honey. I like to add a little ginger to mine. Cook for 2 min until heated through.