Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Cookies

So I have been looking through tons of magazines and cookbooks trying to find the best cookies I can find. I think I have found a few I definitely want to try on top of our family favorites. I will be sure to post the recipes and try and remember to take some pictures if I can get them before the kids snatch the cookies. :-)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Lemonade Cookies

I got this recipe from a magazine (but I can't remember which one, sorry) and tried last night, and everyone really likes them! They taste like lemon bars...so good..We would definitely make again.

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. thawed frozen lemonade concentrate, divided

In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter till light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time till well mixed. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with 1/3 c. lemonade concentrate, beating well between each addition.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Remove to wire racks. Brush with remaining lemonade and sprinkle with sugar.

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's Been A While....

I know it's been a while and I apologize, but I am going to work on the site over the next few weeks hopefully.

Here is a link for a couple recipes that some have asked for over the past few weeks.

Harvest Cinnamon Rolls (the ones I made for everyone last year at Christmas)

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (which makes great pizza dough)

Sweet Potato and Apple Recipe (made this at Thanksgiving and will make again at Christmas, everyone loved it, even picky kids who don't like sweet potatoes that much)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Crock Pot Recipes Needed

Hi, all! I am "vacation mode" and trying to pin down all the details for our family vacation/dance nationals coming up in June. I plan on taking my crock pot with us so we can use it to cook and save some money while there. So if you have any recipes to share where you use your crock pot for a meal, please share. Either post a comment or e-mail me (tinahendricks@roadrunner.com) so I can try it before we leave. Our goal is to have atleast 8-10 meals in the crock pot.

We took a pot roast with us to a dance competition a couple months ago, and it worked great! Made the whole floor smell good too!


Thursday, April 9, 2009


Sorry, I haven't posted recently.  I will try and update some this weekend.  It has been a very busy couple weeks and still trying to "recover" from the long weekends....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Some Ideas...For Breakfast and Lunch

I thought I would share some ideas for breakfast and lunches that you might be able to use, or adapt for your own.   

Breakfast  - Make Your Own Instant Oatmeal, Egg Muffins, Sausage Egg Biscuits, Biscuits, Pancakes, Waffles, Breakfast Burritos, Cinammon Rolls, muffins, Coffee Cake (a.k.a. Cinnamon Flop), frozen fruit cups, Fruit Smoothies

Lunches - Sloppy Joes, Ham/Turkey Sandwhiches, Pizza Pockets, Pizza rolls, Beefy Cheese Pockets, Ham and Potato Pockets, Hot Pockets (filled with anything you like), Chimichangas, Pizza Burgers, PB and J (just make sure you put peanut butter on both sides, that way the jelly doesn't "leak" through the bread)

These are just a few of the things you could do for breakfasts and lunches or even have in the freezer for a quick after school snack, or "gotta eat quick" dinner.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I am bad...I didn't do a menu this week.  I was exhausted yesterday after the busy weekend, and we are going to just pull out of freezer this week, but not sure what yet..I decided each of us will pick what we want for one day. :-)

Monday - ate out
Tuesday - Ham and Scallop Potatoes
Wednesday - 
Thursday - 
Friday - dance competition
Saturday - dance competition
Sunday - dance competition

Thursday, March 26, 2009

$5 Dinners

In the process of viewing blogsites on OAMC, I stumbled across a site that doesn't neccessarily do OAMC but felt it was worth posting about because the purpose of the website is to do a dinner each night for $5 or under.  It is just proof that you can do dinner cheaply and still have the quality and taste you want.  I am sure that many of the recipes after glancing at them, could be adapted to freeze.  The website is http://www.5dollardinners.com.
Be sure to check it out and try it for yourself and see what you can cook for $5.  Let me know how it turns out.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

It's that time again.  I will say that it helped  knowing what we were having for the week.

Monday - Salsibury Patties

Tuesday - Swiss Steak (we didn't have it last week, as we were out and got busy and ended up having homemade pizzas again)

Wednesday - Ham and scalloped potatoes

Thursday - Macaroni Casserole

Friday - (on own)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How much does it cost to cook for a month

I have been telling everyone that I can shop for $150 per month.  Here's an article I came across today, where someone else talks about how much they spent.  Check out this article.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March Freezer Swap

We have decided on a menu for us for March. I will post the recipes as I get time.

Tami - Hoehn's Beans
     Wild Rice Soup
             Easy Macaroni Casserole
             Angel Hair Pasta           

Tina - Ham and Scallop Potatoes
            Chicken Piccatta
            Salsibury Patties
            Creamy Garlic Pasta
**My meals are the same as February, as we didn't end up cooking in February for a swap because Tami had to be off work for a surgery and so we made the decision not to swap.

Recipes are up!

I posted the recipes for the meals we have planned for the week.  So all you have to do is click on the link to see the recipes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Menu Plan Mondays

I am joining over 400 women who blog and post their weekly menus online so we can share ideas, save money and know what we are having for dinner, without having to stress about what we are going to do for dinner. I will try and post the recipes I use for each dinner.  Here is my first attempt, if you click on the weekly menus online above it will take you to the list of the other 400+ menus.  All my recipes unless otherwise noted, will be from my freezer.  I am going to try and post how much each recipe costs in the future, I can tell you that most of my meals are under $6.50 per meal, as I normally spend around $150-175 per month.  The main site that does the MPM's (Menu Plan Monday's) is called $5 dinners.  All the meals are under $5 each meal.  So you can eat healthy, and have variety and still each cheap.

Monday - Homemade Pizza's (individually made using the 5 minute bread recipe)

Tuesday - Montreal Chicken, Sweet Potato Fries, and green beans

Wednesday - Lite Fettuccine Alfredo

Thursday - Tacos

Friday - Leftovers (no one is home together on Friday's)

Saturday - Beef Barley Soup

Sunday - Swiss Steak, mashed potatoes, corn

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Great Website

I found a great website that has lots of recipes, and information on OAMC.  http://erratichomemaker.blogspot.com/  She has lots of good recipes, some I have tried, some I plan to try soon!  So check it out when you get time!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Everyone loves this!  It is great with celery, chips, corn chips, anything, you want to use to dip with it!  

3/4 cup Frank's hot sauce*
2 1/2 cups-3 cups of shredded or chopped chicken ( great recipe to make with leftovers)
16 oz. Cream Cheese (2 packages)
1 cup Ranch dressing
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese ( I used a cheddar, but you could use anything)

Gently heat hot sauce and chicken and then add cream cheese and ranch, stirring often till melted and creamy. Add cheese, continue stirring until smooth. Serve with taco chips, crackers or celery. Serve immediately or cool and freeze. Thaw before reheating.

You can serve by microwaving, and heating through, or put in crockpot on warm/low if wanting for a party or company.

*You can use any tobasco sauce/hot sauce.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Once a Month Cooking (OAMC)

Ok, I have had several friends ask about how I do the once a month cooking, so I thought I would share a little bit.

First off let me share what once a month cooking how it is done.  There are several ways you can do it.  You can do "bulk cooking" (another term you will hear used when talking about OAMC) in several different ways.  You can choose 1 day and cook several meals for a whole day and end up with 20-50 or more meals. You can choose one type of cooking to do (chicken, beef, meatless, breads, desserts, sides, breakfast, etc) and make a day of it.  You can cook a meal for dinner, like lasagna and make 2 or 3 or more of them so you can freeze the extras.  So first thing to realize is there are several different ways you can do it and what works for one may or may not work for you.  I normally do a day or two of cooking the main bulk of my meals and then supplement little stuff in on days when I have time.

Why do we do it?  Well, I have 6 people in the family and homeschool, so we are home for 3 meals a day. #1, I don't have time with everyone's schedule to always cook and make something for 3 meals a day (some days I do but not all and kids don't all get home from dance till after 8:30 so if I don't have a plan, and meal done, then we eat out and that gets expensive.)  But if I already have food in the freezer, all I have to do is take it out and cook.  I don't have to search to make sure I have everything, or make sure I have time to do it.  #2, it saves me a ton of money.  Before cooking once a month, I would spend $500+ a month of groceries and still come home and feel like I had nothing and didn't know what to make or cook.  Now, I spend under $200 and have tons of food.  We eat out less, and are eating healthier.  Right now, in my freezer I have over 70 meals (Round Steak Bake, Loaded Baked Potatoe Soup, Spaghetti sauce, Stuffed shells, hamburger casserole, chicken picatta, ham and scalloped potatoes, pizza's (not frozen carboard ones), plus many more) plus sides (mashed potatoes, garlic mash potatoes, sweet potato casserole, corn casserole) and several desserts (french silk pie, cookies, pumpkin cookies, and cherry and blueberry cheesecakes).  You get the idea..lots of food.  It doesn't have to be all casseroles, and food you would never eat. 

When I first looked at the idea of cooking like this, I said we would never do casseroles, because I didn't grow up on casseroles and to me when I thought of casseroles I thought of tuna noodle casserole and "old" type foods and for several months  I wouldn't even try them.  However, we have been eating more and more casseroles lately, because quite frankly, they are cheaper, and everything goes in one pan so less clean up.  So before you get hung up on the casseroles, there are plenty of other foods you can do, but just know that there are casseroles out there that aren't that bad. :-)

I also at first precooked everything, so when I took it out of the freezer all I had to do was thaw and reheat.   Now, I assemble and cook on that day, for most foods.  Either way is good.  Just a personal preference.  

There are TONS of good websites and books out there to research and get ideas.  My personal favorite is www.30daygourmet.com . I use her book and software to organize everything. You do not need the software, but it does make it very easy and less thinking on my part. But the book, does have all the forms you need to do it manually, you will just have to do all the math in your head.  I guess I am jumping ahead of myself a little..

To start, you need to decide how many meals you are going to do.  For the sake of showing you how to do it, let's say we want to end up with 15 meals.  So pick 5 meals. I am going to use an example of what you can do.

Chicken Picatta
Chicken Parmesan
Chicken Noodle Casserole
Sloppy Joes

We are going to make each one of these 5 meals 3 times each.  So when you finish you will have 3 Chicken Picatta's, 3 Chicken Parmesan, 3 Chicken Noodle Casseroles, etc..get the idea?

So when planning you are going to take your recipe, and triple it.  So for the chicken picatta, instead of 6 boneless chicken breasts, you will need 18.  Same with the chicken parmesan, for the Chicken Noodle casserole you need 3 for each recipe, so now you need 45 chicken breasts total.  Now, bear in mind, that with kids, you don't need a whole breast.  Not really even for the adults, a serving is the size of a deck of cards so really you could take the 36 breasts from the picatta and parmesan and cut them in half (atleast for most of the servings)  (i.e. when I make picatta, the chicken breasts were huge, so I cut in half and put 7 in each container...so if Dave still was hungry he could have more..however, he wasn't so we ended up with an extra piece the other day.  But you will learn to do that over time and save money, because then you don't have the leftovers that stay in the fridge and never get eaten.  However, if you are a family that does eat the leftovers, you may want to use more.  It is totally up to you, but I would recommend cutting them in half and starting there so you aren't having everyone wasting food cause they don't want it all.   So if you think about it instead of 36 if you cut them in half you really only need 18 breasts plus the other 9 for the casserole so 27 total.  If there are 6 breasts in a package (frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts) and each bag is $7 (I can find them about $6) but we will use $7 you will need 5 bags.  The other thing to keep in mind is that you don't want to go out and buy the most expensive meat/ingredients you can find.  I had a friend that made the same meals as I did one month and she paid $250 for 16 meals.  I paid $125 for the same exact meals, and same quantities, but shopped at Aldi's (something that took a lot for me to do because I didn't like shopping there, I felt like they didn't have what I needed and I ended up spending more.. but that was before I had a plan and knew what I really needed) and I also shopped for the remaining few ingredients that Aldi's didn't have at Walmart.  But the point is I spent 1/2 of what she did for the same foods!  We had pork roast (mine bought at Aldi's her's at Giant Eagle), we had meatloaf, we had beef barley soup, and Hawaiin Chicken. (each multiplied times 4).  They tasted the same and the "men" couldn't tell the difference between "cheap" and "good" meat (her husband wouldn't eat stuff from Aldi's)  We have never had a problem with meat or food from Aldi's.  So don't think you are going to sacrifice quality for this...you are not going to.

So you continue to figure out how much of each ingredient you need when multiplied and here is where you save money.  How many times do we buy something for 1 recipe and only use 1/2 c. and are left with something that sits in the fridge till moldy or we throw it away.  Well now, if you are making 3 of a recipe, you still only need 1 bottle of whatever, but you use the whole thing.  So no waste, and you have saved yourself the price of that times 2..because the next time you want to make the recipe, you would have (before OAMC) bought a new one..and again the next time.  So now, if it was a bottle of something that cost $2.50 than you just saved $5.00. 

I made the Chicken Picatta the other day, and it takes about 15 minutes to prep the recipe before cooking it.  It took me 20 minutes the other day to make the recipe times 6!  And, all for the same amount of money as it cost me to make 1 of them. (with the exception of sour cream which I had to buy extra) everything else I needed was enough in that 1 container. i.e. apple juice, I needed 1 c. but for 6 I needed 6 c. well, there was about 8 c. in the bottle. cost $1.98 
I also needed lime juice (2 Tbsp. but times 6 I needed 12 Tbs. again, all in 1 bottle) cost $.99
same with the lemon juice cost $.99  Also needed was flour (which I already had).  It needed chicken broth (which I made myself from a previous recipe) so again, no cost. I needed 3 bags of chicken breasts so that was $18  but for $22 I made 6 meals.  You try and go to the store, and pick 6 main dishes and try and spend less than $22.  You will probably have a hard time.  We had mashed potatoes and carrotts and homemade bread with the meal.  Total cost if including all components for 1 meal is roughly $6.00...I don't know about you  but if we go out to eat (even if to McDonals, each person pays close to $6.00)  so you can see the savings.

Ok..part 2 will come later...cause I need to get some things done here...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

50 Uses for a Jar of Spaghetti Sauce

There was an insert in my Food Network Magazine that lists 50 things you can make with a jar of spaghetti sauce. (I make my own spaghetti sauce (a staple in our house) so we thought this had some really good ideas...and we have even tried one of them..and it was AWESOME!

I have the recipes is you are interested in any of them...

1. Spanish Rice
2.  Potato Casserole
3. Baked Brie
4. Mussels Marinara
5. Zesty Chip Dip
6. Quick Rataouille
7. Cocktail Sauce
8. Minestrone Soup
9. Tomato Butter
10. Olive Tapenade
11. African Stew
12. Cream of Tomato Soup (This is the one we tried...Saute' chopped herbs in butter (I didn't do this step, as my sauce has lots of seasoning)...add 1 jar of pasta sace, 2 cups of water and 1/2 c. heavy cream. simmer for 5 minutes.  (I just added milk to the sauce and it made a yummo version of tomato Soup!)
13. Stuffed Mushrooms
14. Buffalo Wings
15. Clam Chowder
16. Tomato Croutons
17. BBQ Brisket
18. Eggs in Purgatory
19. Tuna Marinara
20. Stewed BLT
21. Pizza Potato (make a baked potato and add sauce, pepperoni, and mozzerella bake till cheese melts)
22. Italian Meatloaf
23. Baked Beans
24. Tomato Mac and Cheese
25. Instant Salsa
26. Sweet and Sour Franks
27. Vodka Penne
28. Saucy Marinade
29. Tomato Biscuits
30. Country Captain
31. Taleggio Panini
32. Poor Man's Parmigiana
33. Tomato Polenta
34. Italian Quesadilla
35. Cilaquiles
36. Creole Stew
37. Poached Cod
38. Enchilada Sauce
39. Pizza Sticks
40. Greek Beans
41. Tomato Omelet
42. Bloody Mary
43. Spiced Okra
44. Polenta Bites
45. Tomato-Fennel Soup
46. Chickpea Pasta
47. Red Pepper Coulis
48. Sloppy Joes
49. Tomato Vinaigrette
50. Eggplant Rolls

Cleaning Freezer Out

Well, after the making 30 doz. Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas presents and having them shoved in the freezer, I was feeling like I couldn't find anything and that I had no food left in the freezer, so we cleaned out the freezer last night and to my surprise had over 25 meals left!  Dave kept saying, "don't ever tell me we don't have anything to eat again".. :-)  We were pleasantly surprised at how much was left and that there were even a few favorites left in there! :-)


February Menu

I have chosen my meals for February, but Tami hasn't picked her meals yet.  (On a side note, keep Tami in your prayers, she goes to Cleveland Clinic on Monday for hip surgery).  

Salisbury Patties
Round Steak Bake
Creamy Garlic Pasta
Chicken Picatta

Update on January Meals

I just thought I would update you on the meals we have tried so far this month (as they were all new meals we hadn't had before).  We have tried the Pasta with Alfredo Sauce (YUMMO!) and Mom's Chicken Noodle Casserole (YUMMO!) and Ham and Scalloped Potatoes (EXTRA YUMMO!) and Giant Calzone (YUMMO!).  So far, everything has been a hit!

Can't wait to try the next few!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

White Sauce

Here is a recipe for a white sauce that replaces the cream of soup cans that are loaded with salt and an easy way to make. You can use this for a variety of things, (fettucini alfredo, scalloped potatoes, chicken tettrazini, chicken noodle casserole, and many many more).

3/4 c. butter
3/4 c. flour
6 c. milk (warmed) (I put in microwave for 2 minutes)
6 cubes bouillon

Over low heat melt butter and then add flour and stir till smooth.  Add warm milk and stir till thick (takes about 30 minutes, be careful not to scorch).  Add bouillon and stir till dissolved.

1 1/2 c. is equal to 1 can of soup.

You can make this a low fat version by using skim milk. 

It is not recommended to freeze this but you can refrigerate for a few days.  You can freeze if it is combined with other foods, it will be fine.

Monday, January 5, 2009

January Swap

I know I am a little behind on posting what we did, but it has been a little crazy around here for the holidays and this has taken a back seat. :-) We did not swap in December as it was just too hectic. We are swapping in January although not till closer to the end of the month.
I made homemade cinnamon rolls for friends and family for Christmas (we made 30 dozen in one day) with frosting. I have also been making homemade pizzas and bread. We have not ordered out for pizza for over 2 months now nor bought bread in over a month! Homemade bread is soo much better and the kids love it. I can't make it fast enough. :-) Although, kids are learning how to make it too, so that helps. I make a mix for the dry ingredients and they are packaged, and so all they have to do is dump in the bread maker with the wet ingredients and yeast. I put it on the dough setting and then bake it in the oven instead of in the breadmaker. That is how I make the pizza dough too. One batch of pizza dough makes 2-3 10" pizzas or 6-8 individual pizzas. I also made several cheesecakes and french silk pies and homemade kit kat bars (YUMMY...kids new favorite treat) for the holidays. The french silk pies we took to Christmas dinner with Mom and Dad, and then had one for New Year's Eve and still have 2 more in freezer left. Good for several months in freezer so as we get a chocolate craving, or have company over or need to take dessert somewhere, we have one!

January's menu is:

Cheeseburger Quiche
Ham and Potato Casserole
Mom's Chicken Noodle Casserole

Simple Beef Stew
Hamburger Casserole
Pasta with Light Alfredo Sauce
Meatloaf with Mozzerella, Mushroom, and Pepperoni