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

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!

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!)

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.

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.