Monday, April 15, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Time for another Menu Plan Monday. You know, the thing that Laura over at hosts. Here's mine for the week:

BBQ spareribs
Triple Corn Casserole
Carrots with Ranch

Homemade pirogi
Fried cabbage

Hamburger steak
Roasted potatoes
Green beans

Pasta bake
Garlic knots

Date Night

Saturday-(Dr Who night)
Finger foods/appetizers

Chicken Fried Steak
Mashed potato pancakes

Chocolate Bean Cake

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Makeover your pantry (food)

Recently I've been moved to start making healthier food and to have my family eat healthier. What better place to start than with my kitchen? Food manufacturers aren't very likely to change their ways anytime soon, but I certainly can. I made a list of our most frequently used pantry items for a jumping off point and I'm going from there. Here's the list:

Grape jelly
Blackberry jelly
Peanut butter
Onion soup mix
Soy sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Ranch dressing
Bleu cheese dressing (not in the pantry, but it's a staple)
Brown rice
Organic garbanzo beans
Vegetable oil
Coconut oil
BBQ sauce
Maple syrup
Seasoned salt
Cake mix
Corn starch

Obviously there are some things on this list that I will not be making (oats), but I am going to strive to make over the majority of it. I'm also going to try and make over some store bought foods that we don't use very often, such as spaghetti sauce.

Today I looked over my menu and saw Creamy Crock pot Chicken on the menu. One of the ingredients listed was Onion Soup Mix and I was out, having used my last packet on my Practically Falls Apart Roast that I made on Monday. Heavenly Homemakers to the rescue! I absolutely love Laura's site and get many ideas and recipes from there. In fact, tomorrow I'm making the Giant Breakfast Cookies as a Friday morning surprise! But I digress. Laura has a fantastic recipe for Onion Soup Mix. Why make your own? Well, did you know that the boxed soup mix contains, among other things, MSG and corn syrup. Not only that, the second ingredient listed is salt. Not only is making your own healthier, it's more economical. With simple, inexpensive ingredients, you can make goodness knows how many "packets". Ready to make your own? Here's the recipe:

Onion Soup Mix

2/3 cup dried, minced onion
3 teaspoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sucanat (or sugar if you prefer) (I used sugar)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Mix all ingredients in a jar, then give the jar a good shake.  I’d recommend shaking the jar to mix the ingredients well before each use.

Use 4 Tablespoons Onion Soup Mix in a recipe in place of 1 packet of onion soup mix.  (I actually found that 2 Tablespoons was plenty in a beef stew recipe I tried.)  Store this in a dry, cool place.

I too, found 2 Tablespoons plenty. Give Laura's recipe a try! You'll be glad you did!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Our school system had spring break last week, and let me tell you, I'm still trying to recover! Not because we were running around, not because we went on a vacation, but because my in laws graciously took the children for the week (they live locally) and I did absolutely nothing! No laundry, no baking, no (well, almost no) cleaning. It was bliss! But now I'm struggling to get back in the saddle so to speak, and get some things done. I'll start, as I always do on a Monday, with my menu plan. P.S. I wrote out my menu for the month, saved it, then came to copy and paste and couldn't find it. Hear attack! Thankfully, it got found!

Monday-Boston Butt, homemade gluten free macaroni and cheese, creamed spinach

Tuesday-Roast with gravy, fresh corn casserole, green beans

Wednesday-Shepherd's Pie, salad

Thursday-Creamy Crock pot chicken and rice

Friday-Date night

Saturday-Dr Who night (an array of finger foods while we watch Dr Who!)

Sunday-Swiss steak, quick scalloped potatoes, peas

What's on your menu this week? For inspiration check out!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ham and Cheese Frittata (or what to do with leftover ham)

Okay, it's not really a frittata, but it's the closest thing I can find to what this is. It's based on this recipe from Alton Brown and has been a favorite of ours for years. It is definitely my favorite way to use up leftover ham (or chicken).

Start with a gorgeous mound of freshly shredded cheddar cheese.

Cube your leftover ham and put it in the bottom of your pie plate.

Sprinkle the ham with cheese. I used about a cup.

In a bowl, combine the cream, eggs, and seasonings.

Pour over the ham and cheese. *Warning* The custard mixture will not entirely cover the filling. It's okay. Once they cook, the eggs will expand.


And there it is. The finished dinner delight!

Ham and Cheese Frittata Stuff

1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half *
2 eggs
Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
Filling (you can use any combination of meat and cheese that sounds good to you) I have done bacon and cheddar, ham and cheddar, ham and swiss, chicken and mozzarella, tons of different ones.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

*I have used cream, half and half, and regular milk (and combinations of these) with favorable results.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring Break

I've been taking the past few days easy since it's Spring Break this week. I've not attempted my new bread recipe, my cookie jar isn't full,  I haven't even gone to the grocery store yet for my monthly shop!

So for today, I am just going to take the opportunity to say Happy Anniversary to my parents. They've been married 47 years today!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

It's here! Monday has arrived and with it another round of menu planning. Now, when I menu plan I plan entrees for the month. I get a piece of paper, write out the month, note special days, and fill in. When I grocery shop, I get basics for sides: a variety of vegetables, cheese,ect. That way, when I sit down to make my weekly menu, I'm pretty good to go.

So glad it is starting to be more spring like! Hopefully the weather will stay nice and not decide to take a plunge back into colder depths. I'm ready for some sun!

Here's this weeks menu:

Monday~ Baked Three Cheese Chicken Pasta, salad, garlic knots

Tuesday~Braised pork chops, gravy, roasted potatoes, green beans

Wednesday~Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, peas

Thursday~Ham and cheese frittata, fried apples, butter beans 


Saturday~date night (finger foods and Dr Who!)

Sunday~Fresh Boston Style Pork Roast, fresh corn casserole, macaroni and cheese, fruit salad

For more menu ideas, check out here! Click here to see how my March challenge went!

Month in Review

You may remember this post I made at the end of February. I thought I'd give a little recap of how everything know, just in case anyone is remotely curious.

Well, I overspent on my budget. Not by a whole lot (in regards to how much I've spent in the past on groceries), but I did overspend. I'm going to make a greater effort not to do that this month and be very careful. I did buy two Sunday papers in March to clip coupons, but as of yet, haven't clipped them. I need to do that before they expire! I didn't like the thought of buying all the milk I needed for the month, so I did end up buying fresh every week or so (we go through a lot of milk). I also ended up buying bread because the bread I made, well, it wasn't that great after several days. I have, however, found a new recipe to try and will be doing that this week. I did, however, very much enjoy not having to do a major grocery shop each week! Big plus there and definitely serves as motivation to continue doing a monthly shop. I'm preparing my list today and will be going off bright and early while I'm kidless, to get it done.

As far as going green in the cleaning supplies, I am still using up some things. However, I've been doing quite a bit of research and am at the ready for when my current supplies run out. My husband found and shared this recipe with me, which I can not wait to try! I will let you know how they go.

As far as getting back on the bandwagon, I don't think I've done too badly for March. April should hopefully be better, but again, only time will tell. Who knows what's in store this month!

How was your March?