Saturday, March 28, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip--Savings $55.89

This week was just purchasing items that I needed to complete my week of meals.  Once again I did not use much in the way of coupons, I let the sales help me with my savings. 

The weather is turning nicer which means hubby and I like to get in the swing of entertaining so I also worked at getting items "in stock" for those special times. 

I also found several meat items on markdown this week!  I was able to get some Bob Evans sausage gravy & biscuits and some sausage links for 40% off each!!  Plus I had a coupon  for one of the boxes of sausage links to help sweeten the deal. 

Here is a breakdown of what was purchased this week...

  • 2.26lbs bananas $1.33
  • 2 cantaloupes $1.94
  • 10lbs potatoes $4.49
  • 10.55 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts $21.00
  • 1.60lbs red grapes $1.58
  • 2 gallons milk $3.94
  • 4 boxes poptarts $4.45
  • 2 boxes cereal $3.30
  • 2 pks Bob Evans Brown & serve sausage links $2.87($1.44 each--reg. price is $2.79 each!)
  • 1 pk Bob Evans sausage gravy & biscuits $2.39 (reg. price is $3.28)
  • 4.25lbs hamburger $7.45 ($1.75/lb on 20% markdown!)
Total: $84.52
Total OOP: $54.74
Total Savings: $29.78(only $2.60 was coupon savings!)

Family Fare: 
  • 6-12pk cases Pepsi & 7-up Products $25.20(with deposit)
  • 1-24pk Northern TP $6.35
  • 20 pks Kool-aid $4.00
  • 12 containers Yoplait yogurt  $5.60
  • 2.62lbs beef eye of round roast $6.03
  • 3.96lbs beef cube steak $9.27
  • 2 pkgs soft tortilla shells $2.83

Total: $81.09
Total OOP: $54.98 (minus $4.30 bottle refund) 
Total Savings: $26.11 (including the bottle refund)

Grand Total: $165.61
Total OOP: $109.72
Total Savings: $55.89

Thursday, March 26, 2009

URS: Freezer Friendly Meals

Instead of sharing one recipe today that would be freezer friendly, I thought I would explain what I have done in the past to help my grandmother and my parents have healthy meals in the freezer to eat rather than eating nothing or eating out at restaurants every day. 

I make sure that I had some freezer containers that are acceptable for the freezer and could be used in the microwave. My best bet is getting some Rubbermaid type containers because those probably will last longer than getting just Gladware or Ziploc brand plastic containers. I get various sizes and types of containers, so that you can have some for soups, and some for a full meal(maybe look into getting one that is divided into compartments). I also get some quart size freezer bags for those food items that don't need to go into a plastic container. I get enough so that I can do a week's worth of dinner meals. Now I have my containers I can fill them!!

What are good things to put in those containers?:

Things with a cream or milk based, I have not had good success with freezing them. Also anything with noodles in it, I don't cook the noodles all the way. That way the dish doesn't end up with mushy, broken down noodles.

Other items that could be put together...

For sloppy joes, and BBQ pork or beef, I put these into individual serving type containers. Then I put the container and a hamburger bun in a ziploc bag so that the person I am making the meals for would know that the two things go together.

For the meatloaf, I make them into individual mini loaves and cook them and then once cooled wrap in foil or plastic wrap and then stick in a freezer bag labeled "meatloaf". That way they could take out the individual loaves and heat up rather than a big loaf. I would also do up some burgers by cooking them and then individually wrapping them and placing them into a quart size ziploc bag.

As for other meals, like breakfast type things, I do up pancakes, french toast, breakfast sandwiches(english muffin or biscuit, cheese, eggs, and a meat), and breakfast burritos. Wrap the sandwiches individually and place in the ziploc bags. For the pancakes and french toast, I would just put wax paper between the layers or flash freeze them and place them in a freezer bag.

Don't forget to add some baked goods to your meals! Homemade breads, quick breads, cookies, coffee cakes, and cakes freeze very well! I even take the time to slice and wrap the breads and cakes into individual servings. Then I put them in a ziploc bag with a label.

The main thing to remember with doing freezer type cooking is that some meals will have a bit of texture change with being frozen compared to being fresh. So I do not make up too many meals ahead of time. Also make sure that you get your containers back so that you can do "refills" for your loved ones!

For more freezer friendly recipes, head over to Life As A Mom.

**originally posted January, 2008

Thursday Thirteen---Fruits

The last time I participated with this meme, I talked about the 13 veggies that I was going to work at adding into my diet despite what my family thinks of them.  Just to update on that part of things, it is going well...not as well I would like but I am making an effort to eat more veggies in my diet!

I thought since I did the veggies it would not be complete if I didn't do 13 fruits!  So this week, I am going to share 13 fruits that I enjoy eating. Living in the Midwest, it is difficult to get tasty fruit because a lot of it has to be shipped in.  I love the summer time in the Midwest because that means I can get LOTS of tasty in season fruits that can be combined to make a big delicious fruit salad!

Without further ado....13 fruits!(in no particular order)
  1. Apples

  2. Pineapples

  3. Cantaloupes

  4. Strawberries

  5. Raspberries

  6. Peaches

  7. Pears

  8. Grapes

  9. Watermelon

  10. Cherries

  11. Blueberries

  12. Plums

  13. Blackberries
You are probably wondering where the oranges and bananas are on that list!?!?  I can not eat these fruits when they are fresh because oranges give me lots of cankers in my mouth and bananas give me massive heartburn. I still kind of eat these fruits by drinking orange juice, eating a fruit salad, and eating banana muffins.  Sometimes for bananas I will even pick up a jar of baby food bananas and eat them instead of fresh bananas. 

For more Thursday Thirteen lists, head over to Happy to be at Home. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday---Onions

Any long time reader of my blog knows that I cook for a  bunch of picky eaters!  Just the other day when I was talking about the salsa chicken, I made mention of the pureeing the sauce so there was no chunks to worry my picky eaters. 

Well there is something else that the picky eaters do not like and that is onions! However, I love cooked onions in my food!  Basically every meat and a few veggie dishes I make has to have onions as part of the mixture or it tastes bland!  Needless to say, it has been a rough road of wanting onions in things and having those picky eaters complain about the "chunks" of onion that is in their food!  

I have tried to go without onions in the food and the food just does not have any flavor!  So I have found something that has worked for me in getting onions in the food and yet has kept the "picky eater complaining" at bay!  Instead of using fresh raw onions, I use dried minced onions or onion powder in my foods. This way I am getting the flavor I want but yet the chunks of onion are basically non-existent.   

Now I do not have to worry about wasting part of a fresh onion or stinking up my freezer with the chopped up fresh onion or trying not to cry while chopping a fresh onion.  Speaking of crying while cutting a fresh onion, did you know that if you chill the onion and then peel them under running water you are less likely to cry??  Well it's true!

If I need to use a fresh chopped onion in something, I will take the time to rehydrate the minced onion.  I put the minced onion in a bowl and put in enough water to cover the pieces.   Usually though I do not take the time to rehydrate the onion, I just measure out what I need for the dish I am making and dump the onion in. 

I get the minced onion or onion powder at Sam's every couple of months. At my Sam's Club, the minced onion in the 15 oz bottle is $4.64 and the 20 oz bottle of onion powder is $3.88. 

Just in case you are wondering what the equivalents are between fresh onions and the minced onions or onion powder....1 small onion = 1/3 cup = 1 teaspoon onion powder = 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes

Dry minced onions or onion powder work for me while I am cooking meals for my family!

For more Works for me Wednesday, head over to We are THAT Family!

That Did NOT Last Long...

So what did not last long???

Life with one vehicle!!  

After hubby wrecked his Explorer truck, I was resolved that we were going to be a family of seven with just one vehicle for a while, despite going in several different directions every day and needing to take hubby to work in order to go the different directions.   However, after just one week of one vehicle, hubby was having major withdraws and started looking for another vehicle for us.  He was looking for something that would manage all of us and had low mileage. 

After looking for a couple of weeks, we had narrowed it down to several vehicles, actually trucks!  

After test driving and having our friend who is a master mechanic look at all the trucks we were interested in...we settled on a 2003 Chevy Suburban!  It has less than 80,000 miles on it! The only thing that our mechanic found on it was that it needed an alignment!  It has enough seats for all of us!  Granted it doesn't have an entertainment center in it like we have had in our other vehicles(including our current van) but that is something that is easily fixable if we so desire. 

So now life can go on like it had been before frightful snowy day when hubby wrecked his Explorer.   

Monday, March 23, 2009

Salsa Chicken

Last week, I made a new dish for a dinner called "Salsa Chicken".  I have heard and read about it before but hadn't really found a recipe for it. 

I did some research and found that there are several different ways to make Salsa Chicken.   You can do it in the crockpot or on the oven or on the stovetop!  You can use tomatoes with chilies or you can use a jar of salsa.  You can add extra spices or you can let the spices or the tomatoes be enough. You can make it creamy or you can just leave it uncreamy.

With all the different variations it is easy to make the dish to suit your palette.  The majority of my family does not like chunks of veggies, especially tomato, in their saucy food.  So I decided to follow a friend's advice when putting this dish together.  I also decided that I was going to do a crockpot version of the recipe.

First, I cleaned my chicken pieces(I used a combination of boneless/skinless chicken tenders and breasts) and put them in my crockpot. (Sorry I remembered to start taking pics about the time I was ready to pour in the sauce!)
Then I combined one jar of Chi-Chi's Mild Salsa, one can of cream of chicken soup, and two tbsps. of taco seasoning into my blender!  Then I pureed all of it! (This was my friend's advice!--I can still have the spices and flavors of the salsa without the chunks!) OH! If you and your family like the chunks then you can skip the pureeing process. Just combine all salsa, soup, and seasoning in a bowl and dump over the chicken!
Then I poured the sauce over the chicken and cooked in the crockpot on low for 6-8 hours. (The picture above was taken about midway through the cooking process.)
I served the chicken on to plates and topped with shredded cheddar cheese. For my sides, I served rice and corn.   

With pureeing the sauce, it was thin and actually made a great gravy!  My plate I actually put the chicken in a bed of rice and then topped it with cheese.  It tasted very similar to having a chicken burrito without the tortilla shell!

The leftovers of the chicken were saved for a lunch and I made it into a leftover makover, I cut up the chicken into bite size pieces and heated through and made chicken tacos/burritos for the family! 

Now for the exact recipe: 

Salsa Chicken

4 fresh chicken breasts
10 fresh chicken tenders
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 jar salsa
2 tbsp. taco seasoning

Clean chicken. Blend soup, salsa, and taco seasoning well. Pour over chicken. Cook in crockpot on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. 

This post is linked at: 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 3/22-3/28

Last week's menu plan went pretty smoothly and was followed very well!  It is amazing how the tone of the kitchen changes when the menu plan is posted for the whole family to see during the week.  I got more help from my kids this week in the kitchen with having the menu posted than what I did the week previous when I was lazy and didn’t post it.

Also last week, I tried a new recipe called "salsa chicken".  The family is divided on the liking of the dish, however, if you come back tomorrow I will have my review of the recipe along with the recipe posted for your trying enjoyment. 

This week’s shopping trip was a major trip!  I am trying to get back into the swing of a “major trip” every two weeks.  I can’t quite swing a monthly grocery shopping trip so I like to do major shopping every two weeks instead.  So far this is working well for my family.

This week’s menus are some family favorites. I am gearing the meals more towards the kids’ favorites as my hubby will be working late a couple of days this week.   Also this week, I don’t have any appointments or grocery shop so this “homebody” will hopefully be getting some baking done for the freezer. I really need to think about getting some baking done as the warm weather is just around the corner and it is hard to justify turning on the oven in 80 degree heat!

Lunches listed are for the kids & me. Unless we are having leftovers, our lunches are served with apple slices or baby carrots along with fruit juice or water.  Hubby usually takes a dinner leftover along with various snacks for his work lunch.

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus; go check the over 400 other delicious meal plans that have been linked at Laura-Organizing Junkie’s site or look down in my right sidebar for my menu suggestion lists! 

Sunday (3-22)

Breakfast: eggs, sausage or bacon, hash browns, and jiffy muffins

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: pizza party @ church

Snack: snack basket


Monday (3-23)

Breakfast: cereal, toaster strudel

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner:  saucy pork chops served with rice and peas

Snack: snack basket

Tuesday (3-24)

Breakfast: waffles and sausage

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner:  sloppy joes served with French fries and a fresh veggie tray (carryover from last week)

Snack: snack basket

Wednesday (3-25)

Breakfast: bagels, eggs and cereal

Lunch: sandwiches & chips

Dinner:  goulash served with homemade corn muffins

Snack: snack basket

Thursday (3-26)

Breakfast: Pancakes

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: creamy chicken served over noodles with green beans on the side

Snack: snack basket


Friday (3-27)

Breakfast: cereal and toaster strudel

Lunch: sandwiches & chips

Dinner: grilled marinated chicken, fish, & shrimp served with French fries and corn

Snack: cookies & milk                                            

Saturday (3-28)  

Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”

Lunch: pizza 

Dinner:  cube steak served with crashed potatoes and corn

Snack:  snack basket  or popcorn





Scrumptious Sunday--Corn Muffin Mix

In my effort to go to everything made from scratch, I have been slowly taking away boxed mixes of muffins or cakes(meaing not buying them any more!). So several weeks ago, I was on a quest to find a homemade corn muffin that tasted very similar to what you buy in the little blue & white box so that I could fix some corn muffins to go along with one of my favorite pantry meals.    In my quest, I tried several different recipes but none of them quite tasted that great to me. They were either too sweet or very dry or not "yellow" enough.  So I did another search online for a possible copycat recipe of the Jiffy corn muffin mix!  WHY I did not think to type in "copycat recipe for jiffy corn muffin mix" in the first place is beyond me!

With my search I found a recipe that is now a mainstay in my menu line up.  This recipe you can make ahead and even double or triple the recipe to suit your needs.  It is even an easy one to follow for the kids to help you whip up.


2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk


Combine flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix well with whisk. Whisk in vegetable oil and mix until dry mixture is smooth and lumps are gone.

If you wish to make Corn Muffins:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine above mixture with egg and milk. Mix well.
Fill muffin tins 1/2 full. Bake 15-20 minutes.
Makes 6 muffins.

For more Scrumptious recipes; head over to Happy to be at Home's Scrumptious Sunday Recipe Swap!

Singing Sunday

Wonder of the World
by Rush of Fools

How can it be that you are
Father to me
How can it be that you are
Savior for me

Everything I need

Wonder of the world
You've been more wonderful to me
And as long as I can speak
I will say so, I'll say so
Wonder of the world
You're on display for all to see
And for eternity
I will say so

How can it be that you are
Healer in me
How can it be that you show
Favor on me

Everything I need

Wonder of the world
You've been more wonderful to me
And as long as I can speak
I will say so, I'll say so
Wonder of the world
You're on display for all to see
And for eternity
I will say so

Oh, I can't be silent
I can't be quiet
For what you've done
And oh, i couldn't fight it
I cannot hide it
For what you've done
For what you've done

Wonder of the world
You've been more wonderful to me
And as long as I can speak
I will say so, I'll say so
Wonder of the world
You're on display for all to see
And for eternity
I will say so