Beat the Freeze!

It got c-c-c-cold late this afternoon as we all ran out to beat the freeze!  After watching our fledgling garden produce lots of goodies this summer, we hated to lose anything tonight to the impending frosty temps (thanks for the heads up, neighbor John!)… so out we went to gather the last of the goods.

 

Looks like I’ll be busy chopping and freezing peppers tomorrow!

Before the cold wind hit… what a beautiful weekend!  I ditched our soup plans yesterday (I can’t do soup when it’s sunny and 70 degrees out!) in favor of this Texas Cowboy’s Pie from $5 Dinners.  It turned out great, and I’m glad to have another use for leftover roastbeef to add to my repertoire.   

Here are our menu plans for this week:

Sunday, 10/26

Weeknight Suppers

  • tuna casserole, green beans, homemade applesauce
  • potato soup, cream cheese apple muffins
  • baked round steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and green beans
  • Game night!  Yes, on Thursday… if we win, we go to the playoffs for the first time in, well… forever, I think!  (This is just our third year in Tiny Town.)  So, probably sandwiches and snacks for the road.   

Friday, 10/31 

I normally don’t plan three meals for Friday, but school is out and everyone’s home and it’s Halloween, so…

  • pumpkin pancakes (based on this recipe, but with a real egg  😉 (with chocolate chip jack-o-lantern faces designed by my sous chefs), bacon, scrambled eggs
  • homemade pizza, again with a Halloween design (think pepperoni and peppers and mushrooms) by the littles
  • fifteen-bean soup with ham, which will be simmering in the crockpot while we make our afternoon trick-or-treating rounds to the grandparents and great grandparents (how grateful I am that we live close enough to do that!), cornbread muffins, and a sampling of varied candy goodness for dessert

Saturday, 11/1   AAACCCKKK!!!  November!?!?

  • ham and cheese omelets, muffins
  • clean out the fridge
  • spaghetti, corn, breadsticks
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Meat and Potatoes

Lance and I both grew up on good old fashioned meat and potatoes meals.  One of my favorite meals to fix:  BBQ meatballs and cheesy potatoes.  Double yum!  This meatball recipe makes a lot, so I usually divide it into three pans; one to eat and two for my freezer.  I freeze half of the potato recipe, too.  I love having meals handy for crazy days, or to give to a new mom or any family in need. 

BBQ Meatballs

  • 1 can (13 oz.) evaporated milk
  • 3 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 c. oatmeal
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. chili powder

Mix and shape into balls. Place in pan in a single layer.

Hint:  Skip the mess (and have perfectly uniform meatballs)!  Shape your meatballs with a cookie or muffin scoop.   

Sauce

  • 2 c. ketchup
  • 1 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion

Mix together and pour over meatballs. Bake at 350 for one hour. (I cover them for 30 minutes and then uncover for the last 30 minutes.)

Cheesy Potato Casserole

  • 2 pounds potatoes, diced and cooked (can use frozen hashbrowns, thawed)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1cup (or more!) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional:  1 cup crushed cornflakes and another 1/2 cup melted butter

Mix first seven ingredients.  Spread in 9×13 pan.  Optional:  top with cornflakes tossed in melted butter.  Bake at 350* for 1 hour.   

For more recipes, head over to Life as Mom and The Grocery Cart Challenge.

Menu Plan Monday, 10/20

Last week’s MPM was a great resource for me this week as I planned my menu around what we already have in the house.  (My addiction to cheese really surfaces when we’re almost out!  It will have to stretch this week!)  Thanks, ladies!  Here’s what we’ll be eating…

Sunday, 10/19

  • waffles and eggs
  • snack stuff… cheese, crackers, leftovers, etc. 
  • grilled steak, potatoes, peas

Weeknight Suppers

Saturday, 10/25

  • Team Breakfast — deluxe scrambled eggs, coffee cake (haven’t found the recipe yet… anyone have one for me?), apples and dip
  • veggie beef soup — I’ll use leftover roast from Thursday (thanks, Ms. Recipe)
  • clean out the fridge

Be inspired!  Check out tons of recipes and menus at OrgJunkie!

Pumpkin Butterscotch Muffins

** Update for Friday:  Hi, Grocery Cart Challenge visitors!  I’ve got THREE recipes for you this week.  All the rest of you, head over to the grocery cart challenge for homemade maple syrup and other yummy recipes!

Since I seem to be all about recipes this week (have you checked out my pretty pizza braid or my yummy chocolate chip cheesecake?) I thought I’d stick with what’s working, and link up with Life as Mom.  FishMama’s weekly recipe swap is on, and the theme this week is quite seasonally appropriate… all about pumpkins! 

In the interest of time, I’ll share a link to a new pumpkin recipe I discovered on Allrecipes.com when I was cleaning out my fridge and pantry over the summer.  I love the feature where you type in random ingredients and they search for a recipe based on what you have.  Needing to use up 1/2 a can of pumpkin and 1/2 a bag of butterscotch chips in my pantry,  I entered those two items and voila… 

Pumpkin Butterscotch Muffins

I made regular-sized muffins, and substituted some wheat flour for white, but other than that  I stuck to the recipe as written.  The rich pumpkin and butterscotch flavors blend together beautifully.  Try them!

Find a purpose for your pumpkins over at Life as Mom!

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie

I should have titled this post “The Day Amy Became My Very Best Friend.”  Seriously.  This cheesecake is that good!  My husband requests it for our anniversary, Valentine’s Day, his birthday, Father’s Day…

This is my official entry for Laura’s Pie Recipe Contest, and I even used her graham cracker recipe (which is quite yummy!) for the crust so that I wouldn’t get disqualified for using a premade crust laden with hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup (but I promise not to tell if you use the easy, unhealthy stuff like I usually do 😉 ).  Be proud, Laura! 

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie

Pie Ingredients:

  • 1 graham cracker pie crust (or make your own healthy one in an 8 inch pie pan)
  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. flour

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1.  Preheat oven to 350*.  Beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. 

2.  Add egg and vanilla; mix well.  Toss chips with flour; stir into cheese mixture (flour keeps them from settling at the bottom of the pie).  Pour into pie crust.

3.  Bake 40 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched.  Cool and top with glaze*.  Chill for several hours.

*Chocolate Glaze:  In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips with 1/4 cup whipping cream, stirring constantly until thickened and smooth.  Immediately spread over pie. 

4.  After you make and sample your first piece of this cheesecake, send Laura an email to tell her I should win!  And then report back here to let me know that I am your new very best friend!

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie really, really works for me!

Visit Rocks in my Dryer for more WFMW!

Pizza Braid

Homemade pizza is all the rage these days in menu planning and recipe sites.  We love homemade pizza, too, but sometimes it’s fun to have a pizza switch up.  This pizza braid fits the bill; it’s tasty, easy to prepare, and beautiful!  Serve slices with a salad and you have a lovely, fun meal for company or for family fun night.

Pizza Braid

Dough:

  • 1 pkg. (1 scant T.) yeast
  • 1 c. very warm water
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. butter
  • 3 c. flour (I use 1/2 white, 1/2 whole wheat)

Filling:  This is what we used on our most recent braid.  Feel free to adjust to your liking!

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 2 oz. pepperoni, sliced in quarters
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1/2 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 can mushrooms, chopped
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

Dissolve yeast in water; add sugar, salt, egg, butter and 1 1/2 cups flour.  Beat until smooth; add enough remaining flour until dough is stiff enough to knead.  Knead for 10 minutes.  (I never knead that long, and I let my dough hook do most of the work!)  Place in a greased bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.  While dough is rising, brown ground beef in skillet; add pepperoni and veggies, then add seasonings and tomato sauce.  Mix well. Set aside.  Punch down risen dough.  Roll dough into a rectangle on a greased cookie sheet.  Spoon meat filling down the center of the dough.  Top with mozzarella cheese. 

Cut 8 even slits from the filling out to the edge of the dough.  (I use my pizza cutter to do this.  Hint:  for even strips, slice your middle strip first.  Then slice the middle of the halves, then the middle of the quarters.) 

Start at one end and criss cross the dough strips. 

Tuck the last strip under.  Bake for 15 minutes at 400*.

Serve with a side salad or veggie for a fun twist on pizza night!

 For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy’s Recipes, and for more yummy recipes, visit Blessed with Grace.

Menu Plan, 10/13

Feeling rather adventurous this week… all of the included links (except for the taco soup leftovers) are yummy looking new-to-me recipes! 

Sunday, 10/12

  • waffles, sausage, eggs
  • leftovers (taco soup, burritos)
  • stuffed shells, green beans, garlic bread — The shells were tasty and easy to prepare.  I’m excited to have another meatless entree to add to our menu, but they sure would be good with some beef or sausage, too!

And just about an hour ago, I pulled a Chocolate Chip Cheesecake out of the oven!  Laura made me do it… she’s having a pie recipe contest over at Heavenly Homemakers and I’m tellin’ ya right now, this is a winner!  (My husband was so sad  *cough* that I had to make his very favorite dessert.  And it’s not even our anniversary… or Valentine’s Day… or his birthday!)  I’ll post the recipe Wednesday. 

Weeknight Suppers

Saturday, 10/18

Have a great week!  If you need more menu inspiration, head on over to OrgJunkie (but not until Monday morning.  Laura’s busy celebrating Thanksgiving with her family!)