Category Archives: Uncategorized

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce & Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

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Thanksgiving week is HERE!!! The stores are busy, turkey salt & pepper shakers are taking over and the kitchen smell yummy. It is just a really fun time of year.  Outside looks like fall, maybe even a snowflake here or there……. Peppermint Mocha creamer is in the store! (for those who don’t enjoy coffee, it is also good in hot chocolate…….) So, lets enjoy the busy week!! If you are in the store, the busy store, take a moment to look around, enjoy the sights. The older man pushing the cart while his wife scurries about with the list. The carts full of turkeys, stuffing and cranberry sauce. (JUST don’t shop when you need to be somewhere at a certain time. You will be crabby. Just don’t go. Period. Go when you have time to enjoy it.)

A few recipes that seemed “holidayish” to me.

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Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce, now, cranberry sauce is NOT everybody’s thing. BUT if you enjoy tart things (me), then this will be right up your alley. It has a nice kick of orange in it, and apple too! It freezes well! So go ahead and make it easy for your Thanksgiving day meal and check one thing off your list!

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce 

1 c. brown sugar
1 c. water
12 oz. pkg cranberries
1 TB. orange peel
2 oranges, peeled and chopped
1 apple, peeled and chopped

Mix brown sugar and water, heat to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients and boil for 20 minutes. (Stirring often.) Chill. This also freezes well.

Recipe adapted from a Betty Crocker New Christmas Cookbook.

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These potatoes are a handy recipe to have in your file. “Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes” is what I like to call them.  Make a full batch of it one day, and freeze it into freezer safe containers for easy side dish on a busy day!! OR make a day or two before  a big gathering, let’s just say Thanksgiving, and it will sit in the fridge waiting for you!!

I keep mine pretty simple with just salt & pepper. But feel free to add garlic, garlic salt, or onion powder to yours ~ depending on your taste.

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes 

5 lb. potatoes
6 oz. cream cheese
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 TB. butter
paprika, optional

Peel and cut up the potatoes, put in a pot of salted water and boil till tender, drain. Add the cream cheese, sour cream, salt & pepper. Mash till smooth. Use right away, or chill in fridge till needed OR divide into freezer safe containers for later meals.

When time to serve ~ Place potatoes (thawed) in a greased casserole dish. Dot with butter and sprinkle with paprika. Bake @ 350º till heated through, about 30 minutes. (OR cook in a greased crock pot, on low for about 4-5 hours, till heated through.)

This recipe is in a lot of church/school cookbooks, so I am not sure who to give the credit to!! A good “handed down from generation to generation” recipe!!

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“Buttermilk” Wheat Pancakes

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Not to long ago I shared “Our Favorite Pancakes” ~ and now here is a version of that recipe that we enjoy.   It gets just a bit of health into my family, with the wheat flour. Brown sugar is  really nice in pancakes in place of the white sugar, try it with YOUR favorite pancake recipe!

* Wheat flour does make these pancakes just a bit denser, heavier, filling-inger then the original recipe ~ they do not fluff quite as high but they STILL have that melt in your mouth yumminess that is fabulous in pancakes.

* Go the extra mile and add some ground flax-seed or wheat germ……. or chocolate chips AND sprinkles. Strawberries  and blueberries are also nice additions to pancakes. (We prefer then sprinkled on top as opposed to added TO the batter.)

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“Buttermilk” Pancakes
1 1/2 c. milk
3 TB. vinegar
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. wheat flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp.  baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 c. butter, melted
cooking spray

Combine the milk with the vinegar in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Whisk the egg and butter into the “soured” milk.  Pour this over the flour mixture and mix just till lumps are gone.

Heat your griddle to about 350*, spray with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto griddle, cook till bubbles appear on surface. Flip with spatula and cook till light brown on the other side.  Serve warm with butter or syrup OR whatever you like! Serves 4-6.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from this pancake recipe.

Meal Planning ~ A One Week Menu (March) ~ PLUS a few new recipes, scroll down to find them!

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Meal Planning. Hum.

Some of us figure out what we are eating for dinner at 5:00 pm. Some of us figure out what we are eating 5:00 am….. a week ago.  Some of us figure it out that day. Some of us figure it out while we are in the store. Some of us figure it out when we look in the fridge to see what there is. Some of us figure it out the day before.

Whenever you “figure it out” is fine, it probably works for you! If someone would make me figure out dinner at 5 pm, THAT . same. day, I would probably stand there like a dip with my chin on the floor. NOT knowing what to do.

I thought it might be fun to share a menu plan and a grocery list. Maybe it will help you on a BUSY week. I know it will help me! Let me know if you like this or not, then I know better if I should do it again! THANKS!!

Some notes as to how this will flow.

  • I am not going to assume you will follow this “plan” exactly, we all cook our own ways, I just thought it might be fun. Feel free to sub in your families favorite meal in place of one of these. 
  • I plan (usually) 5 meals per week. That leaves room for a leftover night and a “hey honey can we have____?” night. Should they arise. If there are no leftovers or no requests, then I have a file of stand by recipes in my mind. (Ex. ~ box o’ noodles and jarred sauce or eggs and toast. 😉 )
  • If you have a busy day, then meal planning allows you to prep dinner for the busy day on a less busy day. Usually there is some aspect to every meal (if not all of it) that you can do a day or two ahead. I am including a grocery list. Just in case that is helpful.
  • I am really not good at the “serving” amounts. I make one batch (unless marked otherwise) of each of these recipes for my family, this will usually leave us with some leftovers.
  • I will label this as “March” because I cook differently as per season.

The Menu!!

The “extras” ~ cause we all NEED ’em!
* Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies ~ we all need a sweet!
* “Buttermilk” Pancakes.
* Lunch Box Sandwich Rolls ~ recipe below.

Dinner # 1.
* Slow Cooked Chicken Caesar Sandwiches. (I double this recipe for my family.)
* Olive Floret Salad.

Dinner # 2.
* Crock Pot Lasagna ~ recipe below.
* Strawberry Lettuce Salad.
* Garlic Toast ~ recipe below.

Dinner # 3.
* Bacon Cheese Topped Chicken.
* Butter Baked Rice.
* Vegetable side of YOUR choice!

Dinner # 4.
*Ranch Pork Chops.
*Mashed Potatoes (however your family enjoys them!)
* Kid’s Favorite Green Beans.

Dinner # 5.
* PIZZA!!! (Feel free to use your family’s favorite!!!)

Some New Recipes!!

Crock Pot Lasagna

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Crock Pot Lasagna 

Grab the recipe here. It is really easy.  Really good. (Feel free to “doctor” up the jarred sauce a bit ~ if that is your thing.  I also added some onions and green pepper to the beef.) (This recipe seems flexible enough to add the things your family enjoys ~ ex. spinach, meat free, homemade sauce. Just be sure there is enough liquid to cook the noodles!!) Thanks Mandi for a yummy recipe!

Garlic Toast 

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I am sure you have all already been making this your whole life. BUT just. in case. it is new to you, here is the recipe!!!

* You can use really any bread ~ french bread, sandwich bread, hot dog/hamburger buns, bagels, english muffins, and on and on!!!

* You can top with Italian Seasoning and/or mozzarella cheese as well!  You REALLY cannot go wrong!

* This Garlic Toast is fantastic served with Italian dishes or soup.

Garlic Toast 
bread of choice
butter
garlic powder
Parmesan cheese

Spread your bread on one side liberally with butter, sprinkle with garlic powder and top with some Parmesan cheese. Broil till browned. Serve. Enjoy!

Lunch Box Pinwheels

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Another recipe that you can make your “own”!! Add whatever meats, cheeses and spices that your kids will enjoy! I usually try to keep it simple, so as not to scare them!! You can also include a dipper ~ such as Ranch Dressing or Pizza Sauce.

Yields 12 Pinwheels.

Lunch Box Pinwheels 

Dough:  
1/2 c. warm milk
1/4 c. warm water
1/8 c. olive oil
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. wheat flour
1 TB. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. yeast

Filling: 
1/2 lb. deli ham
2 c. cheese  (I use a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella)
sprinkle of oregano.

Topping: 
Parmesan cheese
sprinkle of Italian seasoning

Prepare the dough, I like to use my bread machine. Or use your mixer or knead by hand. To mix by hand ~ Combine the warm milk and water, add the yeast. Let set for 5 minutes.  Add the oil, salt, sugar, and 1 c. flour. Mix. Add the rest of the flours and knead for 6-8 minutes. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

When dough is done, roll it into a rectangle (about 12″ x 14″ or so). Spread the cheese, then top with ham and sprinkle with oregano.  Roll up (like cinnamon rolls) ~ cut into 1″ slices and place (cut side down) on a greased cookie sheet.

Cover (I use plastic wrap that I sprayed with cooking spray) ~ let rise for 30-40 minutes. Till doubled. Bake @ 375° for about 15-18 minutes. Either serve right away or cool to pack in lunches.

Grocery List!!

I have listed everything, (hopefully) down to the salt and pepper. I am sure you have a lot of this stuff already ~ so your list should not be THIS long!!!

(If there is not an amount listed behind the ingredient, then the amount needed is not more than a few tsp’s or TB’s.)

Pantry Items. 

yeast (1 1/2 tsp.)
brown sugar (1 c.)
white sugar (about 1 3/4 c.)
baking powder
baking soda
vanilla extract
cream of tartar
salt
pepper
flour (about 8 c.)
wheat flour (1/2 c.)
corn meal (3 TB.)
vegetable oil (about 1 1/2 c.)
olive oil (about 1/4 c.)
peanut butter (1/4 c.)
shortening (butter or regular ~ 3/4 c.)
chocolate chips (about 1 c.)
Peanut Butter chips ~ found by chocolate chips (about 1 c.)
vinegar
red wine vinegar (2 TB.)
soy sauce
black olives (about 1/2 c.)
Italian Dressing (1 c.)
1 env. dry Italian Dressing Mix
1 env. dry Ranch Dressing Mix
Caesar Dressing (1-2 c.)
Dijon mustard (1/2 c.)
honey (1/2 c.)
parsley (dried is fine)
paprika
Italian Seasoning
garlic salt
Ramon Noodles ( 1 pkg.)
walnuts (1 c.)
long grain rice (1 c.)
1 can chicken broth (or 2 bouillon cubes+ 1 3/4 c. water)
1 can cream soup
pizza sauce (amount depending on how much sauce you like, I would grab 2 cans ~ the 15 oz. size)
1 lb. box of bow tie pasta
2 jars of spaghetti sauce
1/2 c. white wine (or 1/2 c. chicken broth)
lemon juice (1/2 tsp.)

Refrigerated Items.

eggs (2)
milk ( just over 2 c.)
1 lb. butter
cottage cheese (1 large container)
Feta cheese (1 c.)
Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 c.)
5-6 c. mozzarella cheese
2 c. cheddar cheese

Meat. 

8 chicken breasts
1/2 lb. deli  ham
1 lb. Italian Sausage
1 lb. ground beef (or turkey or chicken)
4 pork chops
bacon (8 strips)

Bread. 

8 buns
bread needed for Garlic Toast, any kind

Produce 

head of cauliflower
head of broccoli
2 c. cherry tomatoes
2 med. carrots
Romaine lettuce
8 c. ice burg lettuce
1/2 c. green onions
2 c. mushrooms
1 head of garlic
(veggies for pizza, opt.)
(vegetable side dish, your choice)
(potatoes for your kinda mashed potatoes)

Fried Rice

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Fried Rice is fantastic, it works well as a side dish or you can even make this into a “one dish wonder” by browning up some chicken and adding it in! Add or take away veggies as your family prefers.  (That is why I said “optional” behind several ingredients.) PLEASE if you can get it, use low sodium soy sauce ~ it tastes great and WAY less sodium!

*It is best to use rice that has been chilled for a while, if you do not have leftover from a previous meal that is fine ~ just be sure to cook it earlier the day so it has time to get chilled.

Fried Rice 
couple TB’s  of oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TB. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1-2 chicken breasts, cut up small (opt.)
1/4 c. finely cut up carrot (opt.)
1/4 c. finely cut up green pepper (opt.)
1/4 c. finely chopped onion (opt.)
1/4 c. finely chopped up celery (opt.)
2 eggs
2 c. LEFTOVER rice
1 c. or so of frozen peas
1/4 c. soy sauce

Heat the oil in a wok ~ if you have one. I do not so I use a large fry pan. Add the garlic and saute just a bit. Then add your chicken or your veggies, the 2 TB. soy sauce and 1 tsp. sesame oil. Cook till chicken is done and/or veggies are crisp tender. (I cook the veggies 1st, take out and then cook the chicken.) Take out and set aside meat/veggies.

Scramble up the eggs, put in pan and cook and chop up till cooked through. Add the chicken and/or veggies, the leftover rice and peas. Add the 1/4 c. soy sauce. Stir. Flatten out nicely, cook and flip parts over and press down and cook and flip….this will give you some nice crispy parts. Now it is done and you can add chives to the tip for a lovely garnish.

Thanks Sarah for the recipe and “teaching” me how to make fried rice, we LOVE it!

Stuffed Sweet Pepper Soup

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ALDI Specials. Feb. 6 ~ Feb. 12.

(MOST certainly NOT a complete list, for a complete check of specials go here!)
* Oranges. 4 lb. for $1.49.

* Gala Apples. 3 lb for $2.49.

* 18 oz. Peanut Butter for $1.99 OR 40 oz. for $4.29.

* Fettuccine and Linguine noodles (16 oz.) for 99¢.

* $1.99 for 12 oz. French Baguette.

* 26 oz. can of Condensed Tomato Soup, $1.29.

* Couscous (Parmesan or Roasted Garlic), 5.8 – 5.9 oz. for $1.49.

* “My” Aldi has had Red Peppers for 49¢ each for the past 2 weeks (not in ad). MAYBE yours does too??? So I wanted to share this FANTASTIC soup that uses 3 red peppers. Yum….

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Here is a unique soup, at least it was too me! It was shared with me through an e-mail recipe exchange! That was fun! (ANYONE interested in starting an e-mail recipe exchange??? I THOUGHT it might be a fun way to share some recipes? IF you are, then e-mail me at favoritefamilyfoods@hotmail.com and I will get a group together.  Just a casual little thing…….)

My family enjoys this soup a lot!

The original recipe calls for you to cook the rice IN the soup. I choose to cook the rice and soup separately, that way the leftovers still stay soupy and don’t get too thick! (This also works good with other soups ~ chicken noodle, tortillini soups or ones with orzo as well!) IF you would like to cook your rice in your soup, here are the directions ~
* Add 4 more cups of water and 1 c. uncooked long grain rice and simmer 1 hour, uncovered until the rice is tender.

I hope you give this soup a try, it is real good.

Stuffed Sweet Pepper Soup 

1 lb. ground beef
4 c. water
4 c. tomato juice
3 red peppers, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 c. chili sauce
2 tsp. browning sauce, opt.
3 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

1 3/4 c. water
2 c. quick cook brown rice

Brown the ground beef, till no longer pink. Drain well.

Combine everything in your soup pot (not the rice) and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or so till veggies are tender. (I simmer with the lid tilted on it, not fully covered, just partially covered.)

(This soup also cooks well in the crock pot, on low for about 4-5 hours, should be good! Cook till veggies are tender, all crock pots cook different, so keep that in mind ~ yours may cook longer or shorter!)

Cook rice.  (Bring water to a boil, add rice. Bring back to a boil, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Uncover 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with fork.)

Serve soup in bowls with a scoop of rice on top.

ENJOY!!

Recipe received from a fun e-mail recipe exchange. (I really am sorry that I did not write down the ladies name who gave this to me…….) (Reminder. IF someone is interested IN a e-mail recipe exchange e-mail me at favoritefamilyfoods@hotmail.com ~ maybe we can get a group together and do a round of recipe exchange fun!)

Soap Scum Shower Cleaner

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Mind IF I stray just one minute from food?? This recipe is un-edible, really? That goes without saying…..

I saw this “recipe” LONG ago. E-mailed it to myself and then promptly forgot about it, TILL my sister-in-law threw a batch together and I used it to clean at my brother’s new house before moving day. I was really happy with it, though for TOUGH soap scum, it may take more than one cleaning to get it all gone.

One of the two ingredients is Dawn dish soap (the original). It ranks up there with Tide….Downy…..Bounce……Febreze.  Things I would like to always have, though I  never do. (Would it be strange to ask for those for my birthday?? Oh….OK. I won’t.)

On a side note. I really like Tide, not only the smell *yum* but also the cleaning workability. Dirt seems to just “jump” on my kids (Not kids jump in dirt, because it never seems to be THEIR fault, right?). Anyways. I recently picked up Era laundry detergent and am so very happy with it. It is a good price and cleans real good. Actually it IS “Chuck Norris Approved” it says so on the bottle. Maybe that means something to you maybe not, it made me smile.

Back to shower cleaner.

Reasons to try out this cleaner:

  • It is not expensive. Just the cost of dish soup PLUS some vinegar. Watch for sales, I just picked up a 9 oz. bottle from Walgreens for 99¢.
  • No harsh chemicals. Though, the vinegar can be a strong smell, don’t lock yourself in the bathroom with it……
  • A little goes a long way. A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY, in case you missed that. If you spray the entire shower HEAVILY, well, you WILL be rinsing off suds TILL next weeks cleaning day…… spray the tough built on soap scum areas, walk away for a bit, then come back and scrub those areas and then clean the rest of the shower.
  • Works well on your stainless steel sick. I know this because when I made it, the suds overflowed and bit so I just wiped down my sink and counter in the kitchen.
  • It actually works.

Below are the measurements I used, the recipe calls for equal parts, so just go off of how big your dish soap bottle is.

Do you have a homemade cleaner that works good for you??? I would love to hear about it!

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Soap Scum Shower Cleaner 

9 oz. Dawn dish soap (the original, it is blue)
9 oz. vinegar ( I used 1 c. + 1/8 c.)

Heat the vinegar up until hot, pour into squirt bottle. Add the dish soap and swirl well to combine (I shook and was lost in a sea of suds).

“Recipe” from food.com.

Chicken Breasts in Wine

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I am very thankful to you my friends and to those of you I do not know, for reading this blog. I am enjoying this all very much, I am a “wear my  heart on my sleeve” kinda girl. So occasionally you will get these little side notes from me.  I thank you for your time in reading, for your comments and for sharing my blog with others as a way for it to grow!!! Thank You. I will keep up my end (cooking, baking, snapping pictures and recipe sharing) IF you keep up your end (reading, commenting AND blog sharing)!!! 😉 YEAH for fun times!!!

Now. I ask for opinions. I realize this little bloggypoo is my thing, to do with as I please. BUT I want your opinions too, as to how to make it better. I appreciate  your opinions!  Today we will focus on the “Aldi day” ~ being that TODAY is “Aldi day”.  Some thoughts:

  • I shop Aldi a lot, so I check their ads and plan some meals, snacks, pantry/freezer stocking up around the ads. I try to give you a RUNDOWN of some of the “Special Buys” ~ for me to share them ALL would be much too long and probably a tad annoying. So I pick and choose. I give the price and size of product, do you find this helpful??? Do you use this feature??
  • “My” Aldi runs its specials from Weds. to Tues. How about “your” Aldi? Does your ad start on a different day?
  • I share the prices as posted in the ad, have you noticed that these prices are DIFFERENT at times in your store? I just wonder IF some Aldi’s are higher or lower than others. A friend of mine just told me she notices price differences at times. IF listing the price is not helpful I would like to know, I could leave that part out……
  • Have you seen something on my blog and been unable to find it in the store??? Maybe all Aldi’s do not carry the same products???
  • I sometimes do not have a recipe to share that connects with a “Special Buy” item, those days I like to share a recipe that is “Aldi friendly” ~ one that uses all Aldi ingredients. THOUGH maybe some items are not in all Aldis???? Have these recipes even been handy to you?
  • DO YOU skip over this “Aldi” part each week and go right to the recipe (not offended) or do you read it?? I just want to know IF it is worth continuing on……

I do not SHOP exclusively AT Aldi and Aldi could care less that I talk about then so very much….ha…..SO would it be fine IF on occasion I shared a “good deal” from another store??? Perhaps Strack & VanTil or Walgreens?

Thank you for your time and interest and thoughts!!! 🙂

Aldi Special Items for Jan. 16 ~ 22.

(Not a complete list of Special Buys, check the ad out here to see it all!!)   
 

* Liquid Hand Soup (not edible…..but still a good buy…..) 7.5 oz. for 85¢.

* Spicy Salsa or Quacamole Tortilla Chips, 12 oz. bag for $1.69.

* 1 lb. Salted & Roasted Peanuts, in shell, for $1.49.

* Bugles (General Mills brand) 99¢ for 7.5 oz. bag.

* Hormel Turkey Pepperoni, $2.79 for a 6 oz. package.

* Fresh Turkey Tenderloin, 30 oz. pkg. for $4.99

* Chicken Thighs and Chicken Drumsticks, sold in 3 – 3.5 lb. pkgs, each are $1.19 per lb.

* Fresh Chicken Breasts, $2.49 per lb.

* Fresh Chicken Tenderloin, $2.69 per lb.

* 3 lb. Onions, 16 oz. pkg. of Zucchini and 8 oz. pkg. of Mushrooms are all 99¢ each.

* 10 lb. bag of Potatoes, $1.49.

* 2 lb. bag of Carrots is 69¢.

* Don’t forget about those yummy Sandwich Skinnys!! (12 oz. for $1.99)

Now for a recipe.

SINCE chicken is a good buy this week I thought I would share one of our favorite chicken meals. ENJOY!

Isn’t it nice when your meal has a lovely sauce that cooks right along with it?? Makes for a rather easy meal. This chicken is delicious served over mashed potatoes or noodles.

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* If you are not keen on the taste of white wine in your sauce, then just use chicken broth.

* I used homemade cream “of” soup, in place of the cream of mushroom soup this time.

Chicken Breasts in Wine 

3 chicken breasts, split
1 tsp. salt
3 TB. flour
1 c. sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. white wine
1/3 c. sliced almonds (opt.)
1 TB. paprika (I like, but did not have this last time)

Place chicken breasts in baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt. Put 3 TB. flour in a bowl, add the sour cream, soup, wine and rest of salt. Mix and pour over chicken. Top with almonds and paprika. Bake @ 325° for 1 – 1 1/3 hours, or until done. (I cover mine.)

Enjoy.

Recipe from Hull PRCS Cookbook, page 294.