Menu Plan, 10/6 “The Other White Meat”

I’m not so sure “The Other White Meat” pork campaign makes it any healthier, but I’m going to hope so… somehow pork found it’s way on my menu in many forms this week.  Our love for bacon and sausage aside (yup — we go for the good stuff!), I rarely find myself cooking a pork roast.  Couldn’t pass it up this week, though.  I found a pork roast for $1.09 a pound on Friday! 

Here’s what’s on the menu:

Sunday, 10/5

  • bacon, eggs, and toast
  • chili cheese nachos/chili cheese fries (because we ran out of chips) and smoothies
  • pork roast, carrots, potatoes

Weeknight Suppers

  • pork tacos — New recipe.  I guess I’ll just simmer the taco ingredients with my leftover pork from tonight (which was really yummy, by the way).
  • BLTs, fried okra (I know, I know… but we have some ripe tomatoes that are crying for bacon!)
  • pizza braid (recipe and pictures next Tuesday!), yes — with pepperoni; darn pork sneaking itself into everything! 
  • leftovers
  • away game tonight, we’ll eat out (my kids will be SO EXCITED!) and I’ll pack some healthier snacks for the game, ie. homemade graham crackers because that will make me feel better about all the pork… and the eating out…

Saturday, 10/11

  • biscuits and gravy, fried potatoes, scrambled eggs (I know!  Sausage!  But it’s for the football team… that’s okay, right?)
  • clean out the fridge
  • taco soup — YEA for soup weather!  (and for a no-pork meal!)  The extended forecast says a high of 68!

Other Kitchen To-do’s:

  • salsa — I’ve been picking a gallon bucket of tiny tomatoes every other day for a week!  Oh, and my neighbor has tons of jalapeno peppers.  Do you have a good salsa recipe for me?
  • pigs in a blanket — scroll down the link for the recipe
  • graham crackers for the game
  • pears — I’ve got to do something with what’s left of my 5 gallon bucket of pears, if my kids don’t eat them all first… which would actually be a good thing.

Have a great week!  Be sure to stop by OrgJunkie for a plethora of menu plans. 

Soup’s On! Taco Soup

Life as Mom is hosting a soup recipe swap today.  Taco soup is my contribution.  We love this stuff!  It’s a snap to throw together in the morning and smells so good simmering in the crock pot all day.  Oh, and it’s healthy! 

Taco Soup

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 1 (16 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz.) can kidney beans – no need to rinse
  • 1 (16 oz.) can corn – don’t drain
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies)
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning

Brown the ground beef and onion.  Mix together with all other ingredients.  Simmer at least 1 hour, or all day in the crock pot!  I like it best served with cheese, sour cream, and corn chips on top.  So much for my healthy soup!

Head on over to Life as Mom for more soup recipes.  Add one of your own!

Never visit a new mom…

… without taking food!  That’s my rule.  It works for me both as the giver and the recipient.  I do not know a more thoughtful gift for an exhausted mom who is focused on tiny fingers and toes, uncomfortable  afterpains, umbilical cord care, and swollen, leaky breasts (and bottom – ouch)… and especially for moms who are trying to care for other little people in the house in addition to the new baby.  New moms need food!

In my kitchen, I try to keep frozen meals and treats ready to go for mom/baby homecomings.  Babies don’t always enter the world at the most convenient time, but I want to be prepared to bless the family with food when they do!  For the occasions that I don’t have a meal ready, I do keep handy plenty of staples that make a meal come together quickly.  (There is no running to the store here… it’s 15 miles away.) 

Here are some of the things I’ve either taken to families or been the grateful recipient of:

  • sloppy joes
  • breakfast casserole and muffins
  • brown bag burritos (When I hadn’t yet visited my sister-in-law after she was home with her third boy, she called and jokingly demanded “I had a baby!  Where are my burritos?!”)
  • meatballs and cheesy potato casserole
  • chicken and rice casserole
  • hamburger quiche
  • baked spaghetti
  • cavatini
  • meat loaf
  • fresh fruit (My favorite!  After I have a baby, I’m not up to eating a full meal for a few days.  Healthy, handy snacks are a treat!)

For families with older children, it’s nice to take some kid-friendly “fun food.”  Kids love the having their own stash (and they get excited to see something for them and not the baby!), and moms appreciate the ease of appeasing their brood’s hunger.   

  • juice boxes
  • cookies (I make a big batch of dough and freeze dough balls to bake fresh when I need them.)
  • granola bars
  • pigs in a blanket (scroll down for recipe)

When organizing the food in your kitchen, make room for meals to bless new families.  It works for me!  Visit Rocks in My Dryer to delve into other bloggers’ kitchen organization tips!

Menu Plan Monday – My Little Garden

Watching my little garden flourish and produce an abundance of tomatoes, pumpkins, and peppers this week, I’ve felt like I’m raising a fourth child.  The kids have a ball navigating through the plants jungle picking all the produce (lesson learned… don’t plant everything so close together!).  My littlest one tends to gravitate toward the green tomatoes, so I have to watch her carefully! 

I am so very excited about our bell peppers!  Peppers are a favorite around here to complete lots of recipes, but we especially enjoy them in fajitas and breakfast burritos.  I’m thrilled to have so many to slice and chop up for my freezer.  Only my red pepper plants got smothered by the pumpkins, so I have lots of green and yellow left.  Keeping the smug look off of my face at the grocery store this winter when I pass by the peppers priced at $1.00 or more each will be a challenge!

Here’s what we’re eating this week, as we continue to enjoy veggies from the garden.

Sunday, 9/28

  • breakfast casserole, cinnamon rolls, muffins (left over from yesterday’s team breakfast)
  • sandwiches, grapes
  • grilled steak and chicken, potatoes, garden salad

Weeknight Suppers

  • Tex-Mex potatoes
  • spaghetti, green beans or corn, breadsticks (Going to make my own sauce for the first time!  Any advice for me?)
  • BLTs, fried okra
  • stuffed peppers (recipe below), pears
  • Game Night!  leftovers, sandwiches

Saturday, 10/4

  • blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage (team breakfast)
  • clean out the fridge
  • black bean nachos, smoothies

Stuffed Peppers

  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tsp. beef bouillon
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. cooked rice
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut peppers in half lengthwise; remove seeds and membrane.  Sprinkle with salt.  Put in baking dish.  Dissolve bouillon in tomato paste and water.  Set aside.  Brown beef, onions and garlic.  Add rice, Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 cup of tomato paste mixture and 1/2 of the cheese.  Fill peppers.  Top with remaining tomato paste liquid and cheese.  Cover and bake 45 minutes at 375 degrees. 

Have a great week!  Go visit OrgJunkie for lots and lots of menu inspiration!

Best Bulk Buy

Although I gave up my membership recently, I’ve enjoyed my fair share of years wandering the aisles of SAM’S club in search of great bulk deals (and yummy sample snacks along the way!)  I still have access to bulk buying — thanks to “friends in high places” — but with grocery store sales and coupons, I could almost give it up.  Almost.

There is one item that I will never, ever purchase except in bulk.  Yeast.

The above two pound package of vacuum-sealed yeast (yes, two pounds) cost $4.16.  For two pounds!

 

This little 4 oz. jar of yeast costs $3.92 at Wal Mart.  It would take eight of these jars to equal two pounds.  That’s $31.36 for the same thing I purchased for $4.16!  Oh, it gets better… (By the way, I use my bread machine all the time and never use “bread machine” yeast.  The regular stuff works fine for me.)

 

 

 

How about these cute expensive little strips of yeast?  A total of 3/4 OUNCES of yeast for $1.12.  Yikes!  To get two pounds I would have to spend $47.04!  I don’t think so!

 

Moral of the math:  If you do any baking at all… buy your yeast in bulk.  Don’t have a bulk store membership?  Find a friend who does!  Can’t use all that yeast before it expires?  (The stuff I bought last week expires in June of 2010.)  Share it with a friend or two!  You’ll all benefit.

Speaking of benefiting… I’m giving away one of my one-pound packages of vacuum-sealed yeast!  Want some?  Leave a comment telling me a little about your yeast baking experience or routine.  What do you bake?  How often do you bake it?  I’ll randomly draw a winner Sunday night September 28.

Good luck and happy baking!

For more Frugal Friday, visit Biblical Womanhood.

Roast Beef Redos

A friend once commented that she doesn’t like to make roast because “we end up eating it all week and it gets dry and we get sick of it and I have to throw it out.”  Ouch!  I don’t do wasting food, but if I tried to reheat and eat the same roast all week, in the same way, well… I’d get pretty sick of it too. 

A few roast beef tips:

  • We get a variety of roasts with our 1/2 beef order, and I learned a valuable lesson early in my bulk-beef purchasing experience:  don’t buy chuck roast.  It’s the fattiest cut, and it’s tough, and it’s just not very easy to work with.  Any other cut works great for me, but we have our chuck ground into hamburger.  **Update:  this might just be my experience.  Several people have commented that they have good luck with chuck.     
  • My favorite roast beef cooking method is to stick it in the crock pot with some carrots, potatoes, onions, either beef bouillion granules or dry onion soup mix, and some water.  How about that smell in your kitchen all day!  Yum!
  • I prefer to pull my roast apart with forks instead of slicing it.  It’s easier to prepare, easier to eat, and easier to create the “redos” when it’s shredded.

  • If you’re going to eat it again the next day, pour a little of the juice over the meat before refrigerating to keep it moist.
  • Cooked roast freezes beautifully.  Bag it and save it for a busy day!

Our favorite roast beef redos:

Photo from Taste of Home

Photo from Taste of Home

  • Roast Beef Burritos — My all time favorite roast beef meal.  Sometimes I make a roast just so we can have these!  We like to top them with shredded lettuce, cheese, and sour cream.

We’ve also enjoyed these meals with leftover roast:

  • bbq beef sandwiches
  • hot beef sandwiches
  • beef ‘n noodles
  • roast beef salad (like chicken or tuna salad) for sandwiches
  • roast beef salad (shredded on a lettuce salad)
  • beef and bean nachos
  • beef and veggie soup

Does your family enjoy roast beef?  What do you like to do with your leftovers?

Check out more kitchen tips at Tammy’s Recipes.

Menu Plan Monday – Family Favorites

You will most definitely want to visit Organizing Junkie this week.  Her Menu Planning crew of 300 + bloggers was asked to share recipes for their family favorites!  I’m sharing two of our favorite brunch foods.  We love brunch!

We’ve got a busy ballgame week ahead.  Lance has an away JV football game tomorrow night, so he’ll need a grab-n-go supper.  Tuesday we have our first home volleyball match.  Thursday we have home junior high games; we try to eat between volleyball and football, and then Friday brings Football Homecoming!  I’m hosting a soup and cinnamon roll supper that night for out of town family who are joining us for the game.  This week will fly, and I will need to be super organized!

Sunday, 9/21

  • waffles (a family favorite!), sausage, scrambled eggs
  • sandwiches (for the kids, mom and dad weren’t hungry)
  • hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, baked beans, cheesy potatoes, carrots, chips (we grilled out with family after a quick fishing trip)

Weeknight Suppers

  • fried chicken strips, homemade french fries (ranch chicken wraps for adults)
  • bbq brisket, baked beans, broccoli slaw salad, squash and onions
  • baked steak, mashed potatoes, green beans
  • leftovers
  • cheesy potato soup, chili, cinnamon rolls (pregame meal for company)

Saturday, 9/27

  • sausage and ham breakfast casserole (a family favorite!), banana crumb muffins, apples and dip (team breakfast)
  • clean out the fridge
  • whatever’s left!

Waffles

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil (I use canola)
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs – separated

Mix dry ingredients together.  In a small bowl mix wet ingredients, including egg YOLKS.  Combine wet and dry ingredients just until moistened.  Beat egg whites until fluffy.  Fold into batter, leaving some peaks.  Cook on waffle iron. 

Sausage and Ham Breakfast Casserole (also known as 24-Hour Omelet)

  • 6-7 slices of bread, crustless and cubed
  • 1 lb. chopped ham (or sausage, browned and drained — or  1/2 of BOTH)
  • 1 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • 6 beaten eggs
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • Mix all ingredients except butter.  Pour in 9×12 pan. Melt butter and drizzle over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 6 hours). Bake uncovered at 325 for 1 hour.

    Fall Recipe Swap

    If you’re as excited about fall as I am, and the yummy food that it brings, head on over to Life as Mom and check out the Fall Recipe Swap!  You can share your favorite recipe, and try out some new ones.  Fun!

    Crowd Pleasing Cavatini

    It’s less than a week away, people!  Fall is upon us, and in my kitchen, Fall is spelled C-O-M-F-O-R-T F-O-O-D.  Hot soups, bread, and meaty casseroles.  Yum!

    Here it is.  My all-time favorite casserole.  This stuff is so flavorful, easy to put together, and feeds a crowd.  I’m talking 16 adult servings!

    Crowd Pleasing Cavatini

    • 6 oz. shell pasta
    • 8 oz. curly pasta
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1 chopped onion
    • 1 chopped green pepper
    • 1 small can mushrooms, chopped
    • 2 lbs. ground beef
    • 16 oz. tomato sauce
    • 32 oz. spaghetti sauce
    • 4 oz. diced deli ham
    • 3 oz. diced pepperoni
    • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 1 1/2 tsp. oregano
    • 16 oz. mozzarella cheese
    • 4 oz. parmesan cheese

    Boil the pasta until just underdone, drain and rinse.  Saute the onion, green pepper and mushrooms in the butter.

    Brown the hamburger in a large stockpot.  Drain.  Stir in to hamburger the saute mixture, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, ham, pepperoni, salt, pepper and oregano.  Add pasta.  Stir well.  Layer meat mixture and cheeses.  Repeat layers.  Bake 30 minutes at 350.

    A few things…

    • Do not use a 9×13 pan unless you enjoy scraping boiled over burned food off of the bottom of your oven.  I prefer an 11×15 pan for company, or I split the recipe into three smaller pans for my family.
    • If you’re splitting your recipe into smaller pans, check out my freezer post for a handy tip. 
    • The only way to mess this up is to overcook the pasta (no one likes mushy pasta.)   Don’t do that!  Undercook it, just a little.  It will finish cooking in the oven.

    Cavatini tastes great with a green salad, green beans, corn, and fresh bread.  Tonight I served it with these breadsticks.  Yum!

    A comfort food crowd pleaser.  Works for me!

    *** Psssst… Life as Mom is hosting a Fall Recipe Swap today (Thursday).  Go check it out!

    A Well-Stocked Freezer, Part 3

    After sharing with you WHY I like to keep my freezer full and WHAT I like to put in it, today I thought I’d share a couple tips to make your freezer stocking easier.

    I am fortunate to have lots of freezer space, including two refrigerator/freezers and one deep freezer, therefore my freezers are never truly full.  The deep freezer can still create organizational issues with its cavernous space, but we’ve found a solution that prevents me from digging through three feet of steak and roasts looking for the last package of hamburger.

    Four of these inexpensive crates have saved us!  We organize our beef in them (hamburger in one, roasts and round steak in another, steaks for the grill in the third), and put lightweight extras on top.  The fourth (not shown) is used for other meat I have on hand (chicken, turkey, sausage).  They are easy to lift, and it’s easy to find what I need.

    Another way to use the crates (if you don’t keep quite as much beef as we do!) is to purchase multi-colored crates for different items.  Veggies in one, meat in another, maybe fruit or baked goods in another crate.  The options are limitless!

    This next tip is my all-time favorite freezer cooking tip, and I must credit my high school home ec. teacher for the advice.  See Mrs. R, I was listening!  Just don’t ask me a thing about what I remember from the sewing project… which I never even completed…

    Line your baking dishes with foil (I recommend heavy duty) before you freeze the meal!  No more flimsy aluminum pans (and for those of you frugal enough to reuse them, no more cleaning those nasty ridged corners!), and… you can still have your lovely baking dishes handy for other meals, not hiding away in the freezer!  Yea!  Oh, and this method takes up a little less space for those of you with a freezer space crunch.

    I line the pans with foil, making sure to leave enough around the edge to fold over the food.

    Then I place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top (mostly so my cheese doesn’t stick to the foil), fold the foil over the top, and freeze the dish.

    After it’s frozen, I pop the foil lined food out of the dish and put it in a freezer bag for storage.  I don’t freeze many things in a 9×13 dish because my family would be eating lots of leftovers, and we prefer to just freeze half of the meal to fix another week instead of eating the same thing all week (9×9 pans are perfect for gallon freezer bags).  For those of you with larger families, you could just wrap your frozen food in extra foil before freezing.

    When you’re ready to bake, you have two options.

    1. Peel the foil off while it’s still frozen, then place back in your favorite dish. (preferred method if you get points for presentation!)
    2. Stick the frozen foiled food in the dish and bake as is (preferred method for very little clean up!) BUT don’t forget the plastic wrap that might be protecting your cheese!

    Do you have any helpful hints for organizing your freezer or freezing lots of food?  I’d love to hear them.

    Oh, and the casserole that’s pictured up above?  To die for Cavatini.  Come back tomorrow.  I’ll share the recipe!

    Happy freezing, everyone!

    Check out more kitchen tips at Tammy’s Recipes.