Sunday, September 26, 2010

Recently, like in the last two weeks, we have started menu planning. So here is the menu for the week:

Sunday: Roast, potatoes and gravy, vegetable, rolls
Monday: Pork Chops, sides to be decided
Tuesday: Dirty Rice
Wednesday: Tacos
Thursday: Fried Rice
Friday: Pizza!
Saturday: Chili
Sunday: Brats and fries

Ok. Not a very healthy week but it will be yummy. Dirty rice is good but comes from a box. I cannot make it cheaper from scratch because of some of the spices involved. Tacos are tacos but I will be making the tortillas from scratch! I would share the chili recipe with you guys but Boyfriend would kill me. It is his prize winning recipe. Well, one day. He has yet to enter it into a contest. Brats and fries are a cop out too but I have the stuff in the freezer and it has to be eaten!
I make my roast in the crockpot. I put a frozen roast in, toss in an onion (or two) that has been quartered and separated (YUMMY!!!), some minced garlic, some gravy mix, a dash of beef bouillon, and a little pepper. I cook it on low all day. I start with a frozen roast because my slow cooker cooks rather fast and this is the only way I have figured to use this one. I use the broth from the roast to make the gravy using a corn starch slurry. The rolls I will make are the 30 minute rolls from the Hillbilly Housewife website. They are so good and super fast to make! I hope you enjoy!

My tip for the roast...when dinner is over and you have some leftover roast but not enough for a meal or lunch, put it in a bag with the leftover broth. Throw the veggies in too! This will make a great stew one day! Then you have a "free" meal since it was just leftovers.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fireman's Chicken

This is a recipe that Boyfriend got from his dad. It is very good. The best piece of advice I can give on this is to make sure that the chicken has the skin still on it. If it doesn't, the flavor will too strong. We use this marinade on chicken leg quarters. We used to cook it on the grill but found we like it better in the oven. I can get a better crisp on the skin in the oven. The chicken only needs to marinade for about a half hour. If you marinate for too long, the flavors will be very strong.

Fireman's Chicken marinade

2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup kosher salt
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp pepper
1 egg

Mix all ingredients together well. Pour over chicken and let marinate for 30 mins.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tortilla Chips

I love tortilla chips. I love them with cheese, with salsa, or just by themselves. I do not love the salt that comes on them though. So I learned to make my own. All you need is some tortillas. Cut them in eight equal pieces. Ok, mine aren't really that equal but it makes 8 pieces. I use a pizza cutter for ease though scissors would work too if you have a kitchen dedicated pair. Put some parchment paper on a baking sheet. place the tortilla pieces in a single layer. Spray with some cooking spray. I use olive oil spray. I love that stuff. I sprinkle just a little bit of salt on them. Then bake at 325 for about 7 mins or until slightly brown. Babysit these until you know how long it will take in your oven. They go from fantastic to burnt is just a minute.

Chili Mac

Since I have decided to brag about my mad shopping skills...I decided I will also share my recipes. Now, please keep in mind, I do make a lot of things from scratch I will post the recipes for those too. This recipe, not a thing. This was completely out of boxes and tasted oh so yummy!

Chili Mac

1 pound hamburger
1 packet chili mix seasoning (I used some Skyline my dad picked up up north!)
1 box macaroni (1lb box)
2 cans of Campbell's fiesta nacho cheese soup
2 cups of water

I browned the hamburger, drained it and rinsed it well. Put back in the pan, add chili seasoning, and water. At the same time, start your pasta. Add the soup to your meat/chili mix. I let the meat/chili seasoning simmer down while the pasta cooked. This will look very runny. When the pasta is done, drain well. Add pasta to the chili meat mix and stir well. Serve!

This was very easy and very good. It was one of those recipes that we came up with on the fly. We make our chili very different than the standard chili. Dad and Boyfriend both added hot sauce to theirs. Son and I did not. This made enough for all of us to eat dinner and for two of us for lunch.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Baked Ziti

or rather my version of it. Baked ziti is another easy meal for me. And I almost never actually use ziti. Tonight we are using rigatoni. It was on sale for a dollar a box!

Baked Ziti

box of pasta
left over spaghetti sauce
mozzarella cheese

Reall, all I do is heat the sauce, boil the pasta. Mix together with the cheese until it looks like enough for my family. Then I bake it in the oven for 15-20 mins at 350 or until the cheese is all melted and gooey. If I am feeling generous, I put some cheese on top at the end and melt it.

I usually serve this with garlic bread but I have been a bit lazy and haven't made any in a while. I am finding that having a 9 month old is not very conducive to spending a lot of time in the kitchen!
Yesterday was the the first official day of autumn. I love the cooler weather though I hate the cold. We live in Florida so it is still very hot. It was only 95 yesterday!! I love fall and winter foods. They are such comfort foods. Soups and stews, yummy! I have some new recipes and can't wait to try them.
I have started doing a few new/different things. First, I got back into Swag Bucks. This is program that you earn "swag bucks" for doing searches. There are some rules and they have to be legitimate searches but Google doesn't pay me and Swag Bucks does. I started doing this in the middle of August. It is the end of September and I have redeemed for 3 $5 Amazon gift cards. And since then I have discovered a few of my other programs can also pay out in Amazon GC. My debit card with my bank earns points and I cashed in for Amazon GC. So with all that free money (!!!) I ordered a tortilla press. Completely free-ish. I didn't even have to pay for the shipping, it was covered with the gift cards.
Search & Win
The other thing I am doing is trying to cut my grocery bill. In our house, we have me(34), boyfriend(31), my father (age not disclosed), Z (14 year old boy), and 0 (9 month old girl). I started at the beginning of September and have kept track of everything that I have spent on food for the past month. We have spent just under $500 and the food should last us a total of 6 weeks. I threw in some extra money since we will need some produce and milk, eggs in the next few weeks. All in all, between sales and coupons, for 6 weeks of groceries, we spent on average $90 a week. I am hoping to get that down but we also homeschool and boyfriend takes his meals to work. So that is three meals a day for all of us. I am thinking I didn't do too bad. I found a blog that matches coupons with the sales and she is less than a hundred miles from me! I am also going to try doing meal planning. We made a menu for two weeks and so far have stuck to it. Here's hoping!