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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

After tonight's chowder, I am trying to veer away so we don't have turkey leftover burnout.

11/30 Sunday
turkey chowder $1.50
Schwann’s biscuits $1.50
salad $1.00

12/1 Monday
cheese ravioli (on sale for $2.99) with spaghetti sauce (home canned), parmesan cheese .50
salad .50

12/2 Tuesday
chicken strips w/ homemade ranch and bbq dipping sauces $4.00
baked beans $1.00
corn .40

12/3 Wednesday
Lil cheddar meatloaves $2.75
Garlic-rosemary roasted potatoes .50
Asparagus spears 1.00

12/4 Thursday
party at office
leftovers if necessary

12/5 Friday
xmas party
fish sticks and tater tots for boys

12/6 Saturday
butternut squash macaroni and cheese $3.00
corn $.50
bread sticks free

12/7 Sunday
Papa Murphy’s pizza nite for family

Check out other great menu plans like this one at http://orgjunkie.com/

Lil Cheddar Meatloaves

This is on my menu plan for this week. One of hubby's favorite meals. I think I found this in Taste of Home years ago, and it's been a staple. I didn't like the oats in the original recipe, so I substituted crushed saltines. I also like to add a little chili sauce to the meat mixture. I've made these without the cheese and they're still darn good.

1 egg
3/4 C. milk
1 C. (4 ounce) shredded Cheddar cheese
15 saltines, finely crushed
1/2 C. chopped onion
1/4 cup of bottled chili sauce
1 t. salt 1 lb. lean ground beef
2/3 C. catsup
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 t. prepared mustard

In bowl, beat eggs and milk. Stir in cheese, crackers, chili sauce, onion and salt. Add beef, take off your rings(!) and mix well. Shape into eight loaves; place in a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. Combine catsup, brown sugar and mustard. Spoon over loaves.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Here's a great way to use that leftover turkey carcass...

Yesterday, I got out the stock pot, broke apart the carcass, and placed that and the wings in the pot with 2 coarsely chopped onions, the leafy tops from my celery, 8 baby carrots, 2 bay leaves and about 8 sprigs of flat parsley. I added water to cover, brought to a boil, then adjusted down to just a simmer for 3 hours. Ran the stock through a strainer and chilled the stock overnight. Today I have two big containers of turkey stock. Part of it I will freeze in ice cube trays and then put the cubes in a ziploc so I have small amounts of broth handy anytime I need it. The rest is for soup tonight.

Ever since I was a kid, a big pot of turkey soup has been as much a part of Thanksgiving to me as the main meal. My dad always makes a big vat of turkey, mushroom and wild rice soup. YUM. My hubby isn't as fond of rice soups, so this year I took a cue from my chowder recipe, and came up with this recipe as a new twist on turkey soup.
Baked-Potato Turkey Chowder

4 medium red potatoes
3 slices of bacon, diced
1T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
4 cups of turkey stock
2 cups of cooked, diced turkey
2 cups of milk
1 package of country gravy mix
½ package of light cream cheese
½ teaspoon of dried dill
pepper and salt to taste
chopped green onions, shredded cheddar cheese for garnish

Turn oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry potatoes, pierce several times with fork, and place in oven until tender, about 40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Peel if you like (I like the skins on), and chop into cubes.

In dutch oven, cook bacon on medium high until crispy. Remove to paper towels to drain and save for garnish. Add oil to drippings, adjust heat to medium and sauté onion, celery and carrots for about 10 minutes. Add broth, potatoes, and turkey. (using a fork, lightly mash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot for good texture) In separate bowl, stir milk and country gravy mix together, add to soup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, add cream cheese, dill, pepper and additional salt if necessary (country gravy is pretty salty so taste before adding). Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve in bowls with cheese, onion and bacon for passing.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Here's what I hope you're doing on Thanksgiving

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family---enjoy the food, and the company!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cool Thanksgiving Ideas

Big props to Homemaker Barbi! She's got a ton of useful cooking info, including very good instructions on cooking your turkey. This is GREAT. Also a lot of tips, and also some recipes. Check it out at www.homemakerbarbi.com

Sunday, November 23, 2008

This Week's Menu Plan

Here's my menu for the week. Included prices and one of the recipes, along with our Thanksgiving layout. Will be posting more Thanksgiving recipes, and more importantly, how to get rid of all that food!

11/23 Sunday
chicken spinach au gratin potato casserole ( I totally invented this tonight- click here for the recipe)
green beans .40
mandarin oranges .60
Total: $3.18

11/24 Monday
steak $10.00
baked potatoes $1.00
corn .40

11/25 Tuesday
pasta with sausage and tomato pesto and parmesan $1.00 (leftover frozen Italian sausage from previous dinner)
salad 1.00
bread sticks

11/26 Wednesday
potato and steak skillet with leftover steak $1.00
salad $.50
corn .40

11/27 Thursday
Turkey $7.00
Stuffing $3.00
Mashed potatoes $1.00
Gravy $.50
Sweet potatoes $2.50
Green bean casserole $2.50
Cranberry $.80
Pumpkin pie $2.50

11/28 Friday

11/29 Saturday
butternut squash $1.00
pork chops $3.00
salad $.50
See more menu plans just like this at www.orgjunkie.com

Here's dinner!

I was originally going to do the steaks on the grill tonight, but hubby not feeling great, so we moved that to tomorrow. I had just taken out some cooked chicken for Ry’s wrap for lunch tomorrow, so I decided I could use the rest with a box of au gratin potatoes. Turned out pretty good—no leftovers!

chicken spinach au gratin potato casserole
box of au gratin potatoes .79
½ lb. chopped cooked chicken (leftover from previous meal) free
box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained .89
½ cup sour cream .10
4 slices of bacon .25
pepper and garlic powder
plus milk and butter per instructions .15
in casserole dish, add potatoes, season packet, chicken, spinach, sour cream, bacon, pepper, garlic, then add the ingredients called for on the package. Stir well and back per instructions on package

recipe idea for your upcoming leftovers

This would be a great way to use up mashed sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Pancakes
3/4 pound sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, melted

Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan of boiling water, cook until tender but firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, and immediately immerse in cold water to loosen skins. Drain, remove skins, chop, and mash.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Mix mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, milk and butter in a separate medium bowl. Blend sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture to form a batter.
Preheat a lightly greased griddle over medium-high heat. Drop batter mixture onto the prepared griddle by heaping tablespoonfuls, and cook until golden brown, turning once with a spatula when the surface begins to bubble.

Serve with butter, maple syrup or cranberries.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Homemade Peanut Butter

About 5 years ago, my husband and I were in Sam's watching a demo of the VitaMix. The guy was making soup, ice cream, you name it. We are not impulse buyers at all, but we like frozen drinks and smoothies and stuff like that, and we were tired of replacing our blender every year, or having one that didn't actually grind up all the ice very well, and after the realization that the motor in the VitaMix was more powerful than the one on Jonathan's router, we actually dropped a few hundred bucks on a BLENDER. I know, right? Dumb? Nope...one of the best purchases I've ever made. And one of the reasons is that I will never buy store bought peanut butter ever again. We make our own...and it's easy! We get the big cans of honey roasted peanuts, dump them in the blender, turn it on high, and what results is the most incredible, yummy stuff ever....it's even warm. The boys stand at the blender and lick the spoons. We'll make about 5 or 6 jars at a time and then store them in the fridge downstairs. We've probably paid for the blender just with all the money we've saved from store bought peanut butter that has a bunch of corn syrup in it.

Works for us. Check out more cool "Works for Me" ideas at http://www.rocksinmydryer.typepad.com/

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Things I never said before I had kids

You realize as a parent just how much is learned through life, and not just instinct. Things you or I would assume or take for granted as adults have to be explained to children. Some you expect. Some you prepare for. Others catch you completely off guard. Like this afternoon. My husband was brushing our standard poodle, and her ear was especially matted, like there was something sticky in it. After a while, my husband finally asked our 6 year old, "Did you put gum in Rory's fur?" Kiddo quickly said no, and then quietly followed up with "It was ketchup". So then followed the question we never thought we'd ask: "Why did you put ketchup in the dog's fur?" And the answer, of course, was the classic "I dunno".

Other things I never thought would leave my mouth:
-don't bite the wall
-stop hitting yourself in the head
-no, we don't pull our pants down in front of the class
-stop trying to put stuff down my shirt, it's not a pocket

What have you said that you never thought you'd ever have to say? Share them here!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Getting geared up with ideas for the holidays

Just like everyone else, I'd like to save a little where I can this holiday season, but more importantly, I decided early this year that I wanted to incorporate some gifts that utilize some of the skills I've developed over the past two years. The family will be getting photo collages with the latest photos done in frames scrapbook style amongst their other gifts. And for friends, neighbors and coworkers, I've been trying to come up with the right mix of things.

I know for some I'm going to do baskets of goodies like summer sausage, nice cheeses, crackers, and then my own touch with homemade mustard and jalapeno jelly. Which means get out the cookbooks!
Still not totally thrilled with my ideas, so I need to think this out carefully, or whatever I attempt will end up in the pile with the soapmaking supplies and the candle wax!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Here's what's planned for this week. Monday's dinner is almost already finished, as I did the beef and the sauce on Saturday. Tuesday is Tiger Cubs, so we needed something easy, and the soup is in the freezer ready to go. I have meat and beans already waiting in the freezer for chili night as well. See more menu plans like mine at http://orgjunkie.com/

11/17 Monday
bbq beef sandwiches $5.00 beef, $.50 rolls $.50 beer
homemade baked fries .50

11/18 Tuesday
chicken noodle soup (made from last week’s chicken frame)
grilled cheese sandwiches- free bread, $.50 for cheese

11/19 Wednesday
chili (meat- $1.75, beans-$.50, tomatoes (0), seasoning-.30, cheese-.50)
salad $.50
chips $.45

11/20 Thursday
macaroni and cheese $2.00
broccoli $.50
salad $.50
bread sticks free

11/21 Friday
butternut squash $1.00
pork chops $3.00
salad $.50

11/22 Saturday
Chili Mac- leftover chili, spaghetti, cheese $1.00
Corn $.50
($27.00 for the week)