Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall Flavors: Home Made Chunky Applesauce

Maybe you have never thought of applesauce as a "side dish" for a savory meal. But to me apples are one of those fall flavors that just pairs beautifully with heartier cool weather dinners, like pork chops or chicken and stuffing. I am not talking about the pureed kind you get in a jar, but a sweet spicy chunky homemade applesauce that you can eat with a fork.

Happening to have a neighbor who gifted me with a big bag full of sweet golden apples inspired me to cook some up last week.

It was a big hit with our rather ordinary baked chicken breast with stuffing and green beans. It is super simple to make if you want to give it a try!

Homemade Spiced Applesauce

3 lbs (about 6 medium) apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks

1/2 cup water

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons sugar

Put into heavy pot and bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer stirring occasionally until apples are tender. Lightly mash with potato masher. Taste for sweetness, add a little more white sugar if needed. Add a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon to taste before serving. Serve warm.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Frugal Fun Mini Muffin Treats

I love to have some Jiffy Mix in my pantry. I like to pick up a variety of those super cheap muffin mixes to have on hand when I want to bake a little quick bread or snack on short notice.

So it was short notice when Marcy and me decided on Tuesday night that we might lose our minds if we had to spend the rest of "Fall Break" drinking wine and listening to 5 kids whine about wanting to go to Skate Park hauling the kids to the skate park. That is when we hit on the idea of scrounging up the funds to head up to the mountains to Indian Hot Springs Lodge and getting a couple of cabins for a night. We did some creative math and figured we could swing it if we could cover all the food from our pantry supplies.

We came up with a menu of:
Lunch - tuna or egg salad sandwiches, carrot and celery sticks and dip
Dinner- spaghetti and meatballs, Caesar salad, garlic bread, choice of Cabernet or Root Beer
Breakfast- pancakes, bacon, eggs, English muffins, choice of Bloody Mary or MILK

We had all that covered and I pre-cooked the spaghetti and meatballs the night before so we only had to heat them up and toast the garlic bread, which worked out great. Then I thought since this was a special occasion of sorts we should have a treat for the kids. Jiffy Mix Chocolate Muffin Mix to the rescue!

I decided to make mini muffins because kids love mini things. And I used two boxes of mix and ended up with 42 muffins so there were plenty to go around for 5 kids. (Approx. cost less than $1.50!)
I always spray my paper muffin liners with a little non-stick spray so they will peel off clean without ripping half of the muffin off. I just hate that! Then I dropped a little dollop of peanut butter into the center of each chocolate muffin.
The peanut butter melted as the muffins baked and made these nice little streaks of peanut buttery goodness.
I mixed up a half batch of Hershey's cocoa buttercream frosting and happened to have a container of orange sprinkles with little bats so that added a little to the "Fall Break" festivities. These were definitely a hit and the kids didn't even lick the frosting off and throw the muffins away, they ate them all.
After relaxing in the pool all afternoon the kids were ready to head back to the cabin for a good spaghetti and meatball feast.
It was a Thursday night and when we trekked back to the pool for the evening we found that we had the whole place all to ourselves! That's when we decided maybe "Fall Break" isn't such a bad idea after all.

I am linking up to these Frugal Friday Parties. Go check them out!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Too Many Cooks or Too Few?

We are going to try this again.

Menu planning that is. It has been suggested that each mom here should be responsible for planning, shopping and preparing 2 meals each week, leaving one night open for leftover buffet, going out or what have you. I am not sure that we are all "bought in" on this plan but it is a plan. Big K took the initiative to do some menu planning for this week based on what we have in the various storage facilities around the house. Next week we will try to be a little more organized.

The kids are out of school for "Fall Break" whatever that is. We haven't quite figured that out. What do you do on "Fall Break?" You can't go to the lake too cold, you can't go skiing too warm, and who has the money for a trip to Disneyland when the holidays are fast approaching? So this week will also include some day trips to find some cheap entertainment and there goes the plan, out the window again. Sigh.

Sunday - Italian Beef sandwiches with pepperoncini, Olive and Goat Cheese Pasta Salad (Recipes below)

Monday - Roasted pork tenderloin, asparagus, rice pilaf

Tuesday - Spaghetti and meatballs, bread, salad

Wednesday - Homestyle pot roast with potatoes and carrots

Thursday - Leftover Buffet

Friday - Margarita chicken, black beans, rice

Saturday - Pizza


Olive and Goat Cheese Pasta Salad

1 lb package curly pasta cooked
1/2 can black olives sliced
1/2 small bottle of sliced green olives with pimento
1/2 cup celery cleaned and chopped
1/4 cup thin sliced red onion
1 small package crumbled goat cheese
2-3 tablespoons cider vinegar
drizzle of olive oil
2-3 teaspoons Salad Supreme Seasoning
1/4 cup Light Caesar Salad dressing

Toss all ingredients together while pasta is still slightly warm. Cool to room temp or chill before serving.

Italian Beef Sandwiches (Spicy!)

1 Round roast or sirloin tip roast
1 jar whole pepperoncini
1 box beef broth
1 tsp Italian seasoning
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1/2 onion sliced
Salt and pepper
olive oil

Rub the roast with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven and brown roast on all sides on medium heat. Add all the remaining ingredients. Cover tightly and roast in oven at 350 for 2 1/2 hours. Remove meat from pan, slice thinly and return to pan, continue cooking in oven for another hour. Serve on toasted hard rolls, spoon a little of the broth and the peppers on top of meat. This is spicy! You can cut back on the pepperoncinis if you want it less spicy, or don't put all the juice from the peppers in.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

We are going to make do with what we have on hand this week. We had a shopping fiasco last week. Big K and little K went shopping at WalMart at the same time Mr. Rainbow Creek and I went to Sams. We failed to coordinate and ended up buying duplicates of tons of stuff, but of course we forgot some things too and had to go back for laundry soap and juice packs and a few other necessary items. Well, we plan on not repeating that!

It is peach and crab apple time and I have to get started jellying too so the kitchen might be running non stop this week. I hope so anyway!

Here is our menu, subject to change if I am busy with jelly and jams:

Monday: leftover buffet

Tuesday: Pork chops, green beans and boiled potatoes, salad

Wednesday: smothered chicken, smashed potatoes

Thursday: tostadas, salad

Friday: grilled chicken, summer squash, rice pilaf

Saturday: Uncle Herb's 80th birthday dinner at the VFW

Sunday: grilled pizza

Monday, August 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Back to School Time

Sadly, school started last week and our leisurely tuna and egg salad picnic at the beach days have come to an end. Mama K started a new job too (YAAAAAY!!!) so it is time to get our act together and get back to menu planning and a little more structure.

I don't know if I have mentioned this, but since I started this blog our household has grown from 2 adults to a total of 5 adults and 3 kids. We are actually 3 families living under one roof now and although we have found it challenging at times I don't know of any nefarious plots being hatched, BUT Little K has some strange dreams about the kids setting rattlesnakes loose in the house and some of us packing up and leaving. HA! It was actually yours truly who stormed out of her dream and left her here to fend off the snake!

Last week we did a pretty decent job of getting meals planned and on the table about the time that Big K got home from work and I know she really appreciated that. This week I want to try to use up what we have on hand and keep shopping to a minimum until payday.

Monday - Baked Steak with gravy, baked potatoes, corn (recipe below)
Tuesday - Pinto beans, green chile, tortillas

Wednesday - Spaghetti with meatballs

Thurday - Smothered bean and cheese burritos
Friday - Hamburgers, oven fries
Saturday - Pizza and salad

Sunday - Chicken fajitas with pico de gallo, refried beans, corn on the cob

Fresh Pico de gallo: diced onion, finely diced jalapeno pepper, diced tomato and chopped cilantro, a pinch of salt. Let stand for about 30 minutes before serving.

Here is how to make good restaurant style fajitas. DO NOT slice the meat and cook in a skillet with the vegetables. I have seen so many recipes that say to do this and the result is that the meat braises in the juice and ends up overcooked and really just plain awful.

Slice the peppers and onions and cook in a hot skillet until slightly tender, turn up the heat to carmelize them. Chicken or steak should be seasoned with garlic salt and pepper and grilled on high heat, then slice and place on platter over vegetables. Chicken takes about 10 minutes if using boneless skinless breasts, steak should be cooked to med/rare about 6-8 minutes depending on thickness. Squeeze a little fresh lime juice over before serving. Serve with cheese, lettuce, avocado, sour cream and fresh pico de gallo. Perfection!

Sorry, I didn't get pictures of this but here is my dad's baked steak recipe, a family favorite for 3 generations and it can actually be prepared 2 ways, both are super delicious and kid friendly with mashed potatoes or wide egg noodles!

I use thin cut sirloin steak for this, but you can also use a good quality top round.

Trim fat and cut 1 1/2 lbs of steak into serving size pieces. Pound with a meat hammer to tenderize a bit. Season generously with your favorite grill seasoning or garlic salt and pepper. Dredge meat in a little flour and kind of pound the flour in with your fingers. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in skillet on med/high heat, add meat and brown on both sides. Transfer to 13"X9" baking dish when browned.

Add a tablespoon of flour to skillet and a little more oil if needed to blend in all the flour. Cook for a minute or so and then slowly add 1 can of beef stock, bring up to a simmer blending in the flour mixture.

Version # 1 - Sprinkle one package onion soup mix over meat then pour the gravy mixture from the skillet over the top. Cover with foil and bake in 350 oven about one hour.

Version #2 Swiss steak - Pour one can of stewed tomatoes over the meat, add a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce, then pour the gravy mixture from the skillet over the top and bake in 350 oven about one hour until meat is tender and sauce is thickened.


I am linking up with Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. Go check it out!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Frugal Friday - $21 Dinner Party!

So, frugal is the new black, they say. And now that I am into being frugal my challenge is not only to eat for less but to eat pretty well.

I whipped up this Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Cream sauce last week just for a weeknight dinner because I found this huge can of roasted red peppers for a great price at the SmartCo store grand opening. It wasn't actually on sale or anything, just a good everyday price. But, I was thinking that you could actually pass this off as a nice dinner for entertaining friends. All you would need to add is a salad, a loaf of crusty bread and a decent bottle of white wine and you could do dinner for 6 at an amazingly frugal cost of just $21!

This is definitely not a low cal type meal, but I don't think it is too terribly bad. Just if you are planning on serving dessert you might want to keep it on the lighter side, like a thin slice of pound cake with fresh berries and a dollop of light cool whip.

Chicken- $4
Red Peppers- $3
onion- $0.50
chicken broth-$0.75
seasonings-from pantry, use what you have on hand!
salad-$1.50 (I actually got local grown leaf and romaine for .50/head and store brand Ceasar dressing)
bread-$1 (nightly store special french loaf)
Wine-$7 (Barefoot Chardonnay)

Total: $21

This was so quick and easy, here is the recipe if you want to give it a try:

Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce

4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced into 1/2" strips
1 onion thin sliced
1 bottle roasted red peppers, sliced into strips
2 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
garlic pepper seasoning
6 pepper blend seasoning OR crushed red pepper flake, garlic salt and paprika to taste

1 pkg Fettucini noodles, cooked

Season chicken with grill seasoning to taste. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, add the chicken and cook until it starts to turn white on outside. Add the onions and cook a few more minutes. Reduce heat, stir in the flour and cook one or two minutes making sure it is all absorbed in the oil. Add the red peppers and slowly add chicken broth, bring heat up to med high again and bring to a simmer. Add cream and red pepper flakes, simmer for a minute then reduce heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese until it is melted. Serve over pasta with a little extra grated cheese to top it.

Now I must apologize for my sorry lack of photos. I just forget sometimes that I am supposed to be taking pics when I get busy cooking. Anyways, I need to do something about my horrible pictures because my kitchen is a dark brown gawd awful ugly place and no matter how nice the food might look in person it just won't look good when I take its picture. K suggested a white tablecloth and some white dishes to use for the background, so I will have to scrounge around and see what I can find to help the situation. I am sure there is a frugal solution to the problem, although a $50K kitchen remodel would be my preference and a lot more fun.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Funday Food and Perfect Sugar Cookies

I remember one time when I was grilling some chicken and I yelled at the guys that I needed a pot holder, and Mr. Rainbow Creek and Fatty both ran out of the garage and each handed me a welding glove.

What immediately came to my mind was Jeff Foxworthy's "you might be a redneck" jokes.

Now I see all these shows on Food Network and sure enough those BBQ champions are all wearing those redneck potholders. And they probably are teaching their one year old's to play with fire, but in a good foodie kind of way, don't ya think?

Destructo Boy with a look that says "I got this s'mores thing down, man!" It's all in the gloves of course.

Sometimes we do a little indoor food fun too.

Didn't they used to tell kids "don't play with your food!" Well what fun was that!!??

We found a good way to use up leftover frosting from cake decorating class, turn the kids loose with a batch of sugar cookies.

I went on a sugar cookie binge last year in search of the best sugar cookie recipe ever. This blue ribbon winning sugar cookie recipe is my all time favorite so far.

My secrets to a perfect sugar cookie:

They have to be frosted with a good buttercream frosting that sets up just a little hard on top.
I love frosted sugar cookies so much. And the milk in the frosting is the secret to keeping these soft and just a little moist.

I also make sure to get them out of the oven when they are just set and don't let them start to brown. Let them set up on the pan for a few minutes before removing to the cooling rack.

If they are browning too quickly turn your oven down to 325 degrees.

Nature Girl gives them her seal of approval too.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Frugal Friday - getting serious about saving now

Wow there is so much to be learned from blog hopping! I love some of the ideas I have been finding and I am starting a list of things I am planning to try.

The way I see it, this need to cut back and manage our money better is an opportunity to be more creative and use our talents. I love that we are working together to come up with creative ideas for having fun and living well even on a limited budget. And it has pushed me to become more proactive on my personal desire to simplify my life and become more self sufficient.

Here is a list of things I plan to try this week:
Grow celery from celery stalk bottoms: Premeditated Leftovers: Something From Nothing
Grow green onions from roots: Penniless Parenting
Make a sourdough starter: Frugal Creativity
Bake a batch of soft pretzels with the kids: hmm, can't find that link right now but it sounded wonderful and Destructo Boy loves soft pretzels and baking so that will be our Sunday Funday treat.

Oh, she found me, thanks Haleyleanne! Here is the link to the soft pretzels recipe.

One of our biggest challenges is finding fun and affordable things to do with the kids.

Here is what we will be doing tomorrow:

We have tuna salad, bread, chips, grapes and cherries and kool-aid so we should be all set for a day in the sun. When we get home we are going to make a batch of homemade plain vanilla ice cream. Yummm...
There is a Dragon Boat Race and Festival at Sloan's Lake this weekend so we are planning to take the kids. They have been really good about doing chores this week so we will give them each part of their allowance to spend. We have found that it helps a lot when we go places if they have a little money of their own to decide what to spend it on. It does seem to keep them from asking us to buy them trinkets and garbage.

Sis, who was the most brilliant single mom I have ever known used to go through the coupons with BB when he was young and let him pick which cereal and snacks he was going to "spend" his coupons on. She knew she was going to have to buy those things anyway, but it gave him a little buying power and he didn't wheedle and whine for things she couldn't afford. She is a genius, don't you think?

This week's challenge is to menu plan for 2 weeks using only what we have on hand. That shouldn't really be too hard because I went shopping and stocked up on neccessities today. I will probably try to push it into an extra week of using everything we can before shopping again, that will be more fun.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday dinner

My favorite, Pico de Gallo! Fresh tomato from my tiny garden, green onion, jalapeno and cilantro.
Grilled zucchini, yellow squash and jerk seasoned chicken breasts.
Serve with black beans and yellow rice.
We made homemade chocolate ice cream for dessert. Tried a Martha Stewart Wedding recipe and no one liked it. The flavor was too chocolatey and overpowered the creamieness. This really bummed me out because I looked at about a million chocolate ice cream recipes and chose this one. If anyone has a good tried and true recipe that is more kid friendly I would love to try it. We are thinking about making a batch of vanilla tomorrow and swirling the chocolate in.

The heat wave continues and our menu this week will be pretty simple and involve a lot of grillin' and chillin'.

Breakfast: cereal, bagels and cream cheese or waffles

Lunch: PB&J sandwiches, ham or turkey sandwich's, chili dogs and chips

Monday: burgers and brats, pasta salad, baked beans
Tuesday:Leftover chicken, black bean and squash tortilla wraps with cheese, lettuce and salsa
Wednesday: Grilled chicken, penne pasta alfredo, steamed broccoli
Thursday: Easy no bake enchiladas (recipe below), refried beans, lettuce
Friday: Ciabatta Cheese Steaks with the works, oven roasted potatoes (Rachael Ray's recipe. I am dying to try this, if you ever saw this episode of 30 minute meals you will be drooling. I am using sirloin steak since that is what I have in the freezer)
Saturday: leftover pulled pork from freezer, chips, baked beans
Sunday: Steak or chicken fajita's, rice, beans

Easy Enchiladas

In large bowl, combine cooked diced chicken or steak or taco meat, diced onion, and shredded cheese. (you can use leftover grilled squash or corn and black beans in the mix too if you prefer a veggie version)

Pour 1 large can or 2 small cans enchilada sauce into a wide shallow bowl.

Heat a TINY amount of oil in large skillet over medium/high heat. Lightly fry corn tortillas a few at a time to soften them. Remove from skillet, dip into the sauce and place the tortilla on a plate then fill with a couple spoonfuls of the filling and roll. Spoon a little more sauce over the top, microwave until cheese is melted, garnish with a little green onion. Serve with sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes on the side.


Linked to: Organizing Junkie's menu plan Monday. Go check it out!
Fireflies and Jellybeans Show off Your Stuff Party

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Way late, but I do have a plan

At least I have a menu plan this week! Just finding the time to post it seems to be difficult.

We are still working on the finer points of eating big on a small budget, but I am getting better at it. I did the shopping by myself this week and bought the basics with a few meals in mind and figured we could get creative and make something up from what we have on hand. I am actually hoping to stretch my last shopping trip into next week, we'll see how that goes.

So the weather is HOT, HOT, HOT and we are cooking accordingly. Most of what I have planned will be cooked outside on the grill or baked in the roaster downstairs.

Did you know: If you have one of those big electric roasters you can use it as a small oven to bake in. I plug mine in down in the basement or sometimes outside and then we don't have to heat up the kitchen while we bake.

And now it seems that we have grown to a 3 grill family! With 8 people here we just didn't have enough room on the big grill so we sometimes have to fire up the gas grill and another small Weber to get a meal together. At least we have enough cooks to man/woman all the grills anyway!

For breakfast: waffles, cereal, bagels and cream cheese or eggs and toast
Lunch: ham, turkey, cheese or PB&J sandwiches, or hot dogs and mac and cheese

Sunday: Chicken under a brick, grilled corn on the cob, grilled potatoes, salad

Monday: Grilled pizza (recipe below)

Tuesday: (leftover chicken) Fiesta Salad with black beans and corn salsa and salsa ranch dressing

Wednesday: (beach day) chicken salad sandwiches, chips, fruit, brownies

Thursday: grilled steak, baked potatoes, salad

Friday: chicken enchiladas, refried beans, lettuce and tomatoes

Saturday: grilled chicken with penne pasta and alfredo sauce, garlic bread

How to Throw a Grilled Pizza Party!

Prepare dough:

In food processor or electric mixer:
3-3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 package rapid rise yeast (or 1 Tablespoon dry yeast dissolve in 110 degree water)
1 cup very hot (120 degree) water
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Mix all ingredient to form a ball. Knead about 10 times on floured board. Shape into ball and drizzle a little olive oil in bowl to prevent sticking. Cover and let rise about 30 - 40 minutes

Divide dough into 6 portions. Roll out each portion on well floured board to make a thin circle about 8" diameter.

Move hot coals to one side of grill and place one or two pizza doughs on opposite side of grill for indirect heat. Allow crust to bake slightly, then spoon sauce on, add any desired toppings then top with mozzerella cheese, fontina and parmesan. Cover grill and bake for 5 minutes, rotate the pizza and bake a few minutes more until crust is browned and crisp and cheese is melted.

We always make a party of this, let everyone pick their own toppings from a topping bar and serve them up to order.

I am linking this post to:

Organizing Junkie Menu plan Monday

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fried Tortilla Cinna-Crisps

I have been trying to cut back on "off-budget" snack items around here. It seems that the kids can just go through them like there's no tomorrow. And then tomorrow they want more snacks. Go figure, huh?

So sometimes we have to get creative and cook up something fun and tasty to satisfy their bedtime snack craving.

The other night I pulled out my Fry Daddy and fried up some tortilla crisps and the kids thought it was an amazing new invention. I cut the tortilla's into quarters and only needed a couple inches of oil in the fryer. Cook them at about 375 degrees for a minute or so until they are bubbled up and just barely starting to brown.

Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar. We did both since I have these handy little shaker dealies from Pampered Chef. I keep one filled with cinnamon sugar and one with powdered sugar for toast and French toast.

They disappeared as fast as we could make them! Be careful about little ones grabbing them too quick, as they are very hot when they come out of the fryer.

These make a great garnish on the side of a bowl of vanilla ice cream with a little peach or blueberry topping too!


Saturday, May 8, 2010

A bunch of Breakfast Burritos

Saturday mornings are soccer game day. We all go out to cheer Morgy May on, and hope that she will last for at least part of the game before having a meltdown and leaving to sit on mama's lap. But with a bunch of 4 year old's it really is anything goes out there and the valiant "coaches" take it all in stride. Anyway, if anything is worth getting up early and standing outside in a damp field and freezing for, it is watching the "grasshoppers" and "munchkins" run around trying to kick a soccer ball. They are just too cute! And then breakfast burritos help too.

These are a good make ahead breakfast and can be pretty handy any day of the week for a quick grab and go handheld meal.

Breakfast Burritos Recipe:

1 lb bulk breakfast sausage
4 medium potatoes, diced
1 dozen eggs
1 lb grated cheddar or colby jack cheese
1 jar salsa
salt and pepper, dash of cayenne pepper
1 dozen flour tortillas

Boil diced potatoes for about 5 minutes, drain well.
Cook sausage in large skillet until lightly browned, do not drain. Add the par-cooked potatoes to the skillet, season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook over medium heat to brown the potatoes, stirring occasionally. Remove to large mixing bowl.

Scramble the eggs and cook in the same skillet until just set. Do not overcook, they will continue to cook after adding to the meat and potato mixture! Stir together with meat and potatoes in mixing bowl.

Place a tortilla on a square of wax paper or foil that is slightly larger than the tortilla. Put about two serving spoons of meat and egg mixture in center of tortilla, leaving plenty of space all around for rolling. Sprinkle with cheese and a spoonful of salsa. Fold ends in toward middle then roll up the burrito. Fold wax paper ends toward center then roll. Place in a plastic zip lock in the frig and they can be microwaved for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes before serving.

For soccer games I wrap in foil and heat as many as we need on a cookie sheet in the oven in the morning,take the to the game in a small cooler to hand out as needed.

Visit the Make It From Scratch Carnival for more recipes and home made ideas!


Monday, May 3, 2010

Menu Plan Monday is Back!

We are on a learning curve here going from a family of 2 to 5 and now 8! Yikes! I have never lived with 7 other people before in my life so there is a lot to learn. Of course food is a central theme for every family and blending 3 families into one can present some challenges. Luckily we have 3 good cooks here and it is just going to require some coordination.

The kids were a little disappointed that we had to cancel "Sunday Fun-day" due to the lousy weather today. I just couldn't bring myself to hang out on the deck and cook brats and s'mores when it is only 32 degrees and raining again. {{{sigh}}} Praying for next week to finally bring us some sunshine and heat so we can put the Fun back into Fun-day.

I tried to pin everyone down for ideas for the menu this week and we all agreed that menu planning is going to be key to keeping everything functioning. We also need to use what we have on hand to make as many meals as possible before going out and buying more. There seems to be a problem with people buying whatever they like but not planning on what we are going to use it for. LOL So I decided to get back to posting our menu plans with to keep us motivated.

Spaghetti and meatballs, salad, garlic bread (cook extra pasta for Thursday)

Pork Tenderloin with black beans and yellow rice

Enchiladas, salad

Thursday- Recipe below
Chicken/shrimp scampi with noodles alfredo, peas, garlic bread

Homemade Pizza

Saturday- Recipe below
Pepper Steak Sandwiches, oven roasted potatoes

Bratwurst with grilled peppers and onions, baked beans, grilled potatoes and S'Mores!

Quick and Easy Alfredo Noodles and Scampi

Cook fettuccine noodles, while hot add one tablespoon butter, 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese and season with garlic salt. Stir to melt butter and cream cheese. Top with 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese. Stir in 1/2 cup cooked frozen peas.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in hot skillet with one clove garlic smashed. Add 1 pound diced chicken or peeled raw shrimp to skillet and cook until done, 3-5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. Squeeze juice of 1/2 lemon over meat and add another tablespoon of butter to make a sauce. Serve with pasta.

Pepper Steak Sandwiches

Finely chop: 1 lb sirloin steak, 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 green pepper, 1/2 onion, 4 ounces mushrooms, (1 jalapeno pepper *optional.) I usually add the fresh jalapeno and then add diced nacho sliced jalapenos after cooking because we like a lot of heat.

Season diced steak with Monterey Steak Seasoning

Heat one tablespoon vegetable oil in large skillet on high heat, add the meat and saute for 1-2 minutes until brown, add vegetables and saute until the juices start to reduce. Serve meat mixture on toasted buns, sprinkled with grated cheese or cover with cheese slice.