Bloggy Recipes

I am all about trying new recipes, and I’ve found the blogging community to be a haven when it comes to great ones, tried-‘n-true.  My problem has been that when I see a recipe on someone’s site, I don’t always bookmark it right away.  You know, the whole “I’ll get back to that later” fantasy.  Or I do bookmark it, but I never get around to trying it. 

No more.  If you are willing to share your specialties, I want to give ’em a try!

Just yesterday I decided to work on next week’s menu plan starting now (instead of my usual weekend-menu-warrior routine).   In fact, I may get real ambitious and work a couple weeks ahead!  My new plan:  when I’m surfing through blogs and come across a recipe that I want to attempt, I not only bookmark it but I put it in my menu plan, which is in my “post drafts” section of my blog (and also on my refrigerator), and I insert the link.  Now.  If I don’t have the ingredients, I put them on my shopping list.  Now.

Now works really well for me.  Later quite often turns into never at our house.

Because we still have our family favorites, and because I’m still a Frugal Franny who likes to use up the sale stash before purchasing a bunch of new ingredients, I won’t use new recipes every day.

I think this bloggy recipe method is going to work for me!

  • eliminates last minute menu planning (aside from a few no-thinker family favorites) 
  • recipes will be easy to find on my menu plan post
  • my beloved recipe collection will continue to grow
  • my grocery list will be ready no matter which day we go to the store (because it’s never the same week to week… and sometimes it’s every other week)
  • when Laura gets crazy and posts MPM early, I’ll be prepared!

Here are a few bloggy recipes that I’ve currently got worked into next week’s menu. 

Cream Cheese Apple Muffins

Beef Stew

Pizza Pockets

Do you have one that I should add?

Check out Rocks in my Dryer for more WFMW.

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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.

    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.

    Menu Plan Monday, 9/15

    “I’ll climb in the jungle to get some more for you, mom!”

    My kids had a blast today catching up on tomato pickin’ after 3 inches of rain in a day and a half halted our harvesting for a bit.  We were back at it this afternoon, gathering apples and okra and lots and lots of tomatoes.  Found a few more bright orange pumpkins, too!

    This morning I finished off our pears by creating a healthified (is that a word?) version of this pear muffin recipe.  I got to use some of my very first batch of homemade applesauce! Here’s my new recipe:

    Healthified Pear Muffins

    • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 tsp. soda
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup oil (I used Canola)
    • 1/2 cup applesauce
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 4 cups peeled chopped pears

    Combine dry ingredients in one bowl.  Combine wet ingredients in another bowl.  Mix together.  Batter will be stiff and a little dry, but don’t panic!  Fold in pears last… they’ll provide adequate sweetness and moisture.  Fill muffin tins (recipe made 24 muffins).  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.  Enjoy!

    Sunday, 9/14

    • scrambled eggs with cheese, zucchini muffins
    • cheesy potato soup, pear muffins
    • shredded beef and black bean nachos, smoothies

    Weeknight Suppers

    • beans and cornbread (I’ve NEVER eaten this meal before — ever!  Crazy, huh?)
    • cavatini (I’ll post the recipe Wednesday), corn, salad, breadsticks (new to me)
    • Mexican Chicken Skillet, sauteed squash and onions (didn’t get to this last week)
    • pizza braid, apples slices with homemade caramel apple dip
    • game night — leftovers

    Friday Post Game Party at Our House! (here’s to positive thinking that we will be celebrating!)

    • shrimp spread with crackers
    • other appetizer-type party foods as I think of them throughout the week…

    Saturday, 9/20

    • biscuits and gravy, fried potatoes, scrambled eggs (team breakfast)
    • clean out the fridge
    • out of town for a Juco football game — I’ll pack snacks for the game, including homemade graham crackers that I made for the first time last week.  They are awesome!

    Have a great week!  Steal lots of great menu ideas over at OrgJunkie!

    A Well-Stocked Freezer, Part 2

    Our air conditioner broke on Saturday just as the hot, muggy Kansas temperatures were making a comeback. Once the indoor temp surpassed 85 degrees today, I lost all desire to think about baking and stocking my freezer, but press on I must! And… the forecast for Wednesday says a HIGH of 72! Woo-hoo! Now that’s baking weather!

    Last week I shared why I like to keep my freezers fully stocked. Here’s what I like to keep in them. Well, mainly what I keep in the chest freezer and my extra refrigerator/freezer downstairs. Upstairs is my “daily” freezer.

    Some basics.

    • Milk. I bought 7 gallons of milk at the store today. They are all in my freezer.
    • Beef. We purchase 1/2 a cow at a time. (Would anyone be interested in seeing our beef? I could share the different cuts we get and what we do with it if you’d like.)
    • Corn. We’ve got 40 bags of sweetcorn in there now.
    • Fruit. Currently a bag of peaches from my neighbor’s tree and several bags of apple pie filling and apple juice (ready to be made into jelly) from this surprise gift.
    • Tomorrow I’ll add a few bags of shredded zucchini.

    Meals for our crazy days or to share with families in need. My favorites are:

    • cavatini (My all-time very favorite casserole! A single recipe serves 16+ adults.)
    • lasagna
    • meatballs and cheesy potatoes
    • chili
    • other casseroles
    • other soups

    Quick breads and sweet treats. These are perfect for last minute gifts or last minute guests! They’re also nice to have on hand for a quick treat after supper without indulging in a big dessert.

    • banana bread (I use this recipe just for special occasions or gifts. I have another healthier recipe for breakfast and such.)
    • banana crumb muffins (I alter this recipe, using 1/2 whole wheat flour.)
    • zucchini pineapple bread (the only way to have zucchini bread — so moist!)
    • poppy seed bread – yum!
    • cookie dough balls

    Ready for the oven - no mess!

    Heat and eat lunches. (Or grab and go suppers if we’re headed to a ballgame!) I’m home everyday with two of my kids and often a couple of extra children. I like to have no-fuss options available other than leftovers or a sandwich.

    Two “must haves” in my freezer for lunches:

    • homemade Brown Bag Burritos (we dress these up for supper by topping them with lettuce, tomato, cheese and salsa)
    • pigs in a blanket (Keep reading for the recipe! These are so handy!)

    Two lunch items that I plan to try out very soon:

    • Pizza Pockets (I just know these will be a hit at our house!)
    • Bierocks (I love these… when my mom makes them… but I’ve never made them myself.)

    ** Here’s my Pigs in a Blanket recipe. The last time I made these I substituted some whole wheat flour to make them a bit healthier. 😉 I also like them best with bun-length hot dogs. ** OH, if you skip the hotdogs and cheese, you’ll have some very nice homemade rolls! I make them for big family dinners.

    Pigs in a Blanket

    2 packages dry yeast (2 ¼ t. per pack – ALWAYS purchase your yeast in bulk!)

    2 c. very warm water

    2 t. salt

    ½ c. sugar

    ¼ c. melted shortening

    1 beaten egg

    6 ½ – 7 c. flour

    • combine first two items
    • add sugar, salt, and ½ c. flour; beat 2 minutes
    • add egg and melted shortening; beat until smooth
    • add flour 1 c. at a time… usually 5-6 c.; knead until smooth (I don’t knead very long, but I do knead some of the flour in)
    • set aside in greased bowl, cover with towel, let rise until double

    • punch dough; divide in half
    • roll out ½ dough into large circle; spread with softened butter
    • cut with pizza cutter into 16 pieces

    • sprinkle outside edge of circle with cheddar cheese

    • place ½ hot dog on edge of each triangle; roll

    • place on greased cookie sheet

    • let rise
    • bake at 400 for about 12 minutes

    • remove to wire rack to cool, then bag and freeze!

    ** The “1/2 hot dog” size is perfect for young children. Enjoy!

    Check out more kitchen tips at Tammy’s Recipes.

    A Well-Stocked Freezer (Part 1)

    With the start of the school year and the unseasonably cool weather we’ve had (70s and 80s in August… in Kansas… never!) my culinary thoughts are turning to comfort food. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our light, fresh produce-filled summer meals, but I’m ready to get back to baking and stocking my freezers with casseroles, meatballs, breads, sweet treats and soup.

    A freezer well-stocked with baked goods and meals comes in handy in many ways:

    • to serve to unexpected guests
    • to share a treat when you become an unexpected guest (what a fun reason to visit an elderly neighbor)
    • to pop supper in the oven or warm in the microwave on crazy days when you must sacrifice either your meal plan or your sanity… or your children 😉
    • to give as a last minute gift (see, I didn’t forget your birthday!)
    • to bless others in an emergency (death in the family, hospitalization of family member, surgery)
    • to bless others during pregnancy or after the arrival of a new baby
    • for a quick heat-and-eat lunch when you need to get out the door (our version of fast food)
    • Good food fast - Pigs in a Blanket

      Good food fast - Pigs in a Blanket

    • to take to friends who are moving, or to welcome new neighbors
    • and now that my daughter is in school… to have on hand for last minute school treats that Mommy just found out about two minutes ago (surely that will never happen to me)

    My kitchen encouragement this week is to stock your freezer. I’ve given you some whys. Next week I’ll show you what I like to keep in my freezer!

    For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy’s Recipes.

    What Clutter?

     

     

    Clutter?  What clutter?  Who me?  I don’t have any clutter taking over my home

    When the awesome moms over at Happy to be at Home introduced their July challenge, Conquer the Clutter, they may as well have been in my living room pointing their fingers and collectively shaking their heads.  They were definitely talking to me!

    But here’s the thing.  I couldn’t start the challenge when it was introduced on June 30, because… I didn’t have a blog!  Yes, I just said I couldn’t clean up my clutter because I didn’t have a blog.  I guess it was important to me that I post my clutter for my 93ish average daily viewers the world to see before I deal with it.

    So… now that I have my blog I guess I can jump right on that clutter bandwagon.  Better late than never, right?  Here goes…

    My clutter pits.

    I wish I could tell you that these two boxes full of STUFF are my only clutter, but I can’t.  I do know my limits, however, and if I want to actually accomplish a task before the end of the challenge next week (while anxiously anticipating our next assignment!)… well, I must start “small.” 

    A little history lesson first.  The box on the right has been in my bedroom (creating quite the relaxing mood, I might add) since we moved into this house TWO YEARS AGOI’m so embarrassed.  Sometimes I pull it out and get through about 1/2 of it, and then something comes up and I put it away.  Then  I get company and end up tossing everything I see around the house that I don’t want to deal with… into “the box.”  The second box?  Well, I think I’ve had that one for about 2 months.  Same song, different verse. 

    Okay.  It’s time.  No more stalling.  I’m going to Conquer this Clutter!  Hold me accountable… check back next week to see how I did.  😉