Monday, December 29, 2008

Menus for the Week

Monday- Turkey Meatloaf with a zesty Salsa, Turnip Greens, Shells & Cheese, Rolls w/ Butter

Tue- Grilled Cheese/ Soup

Wed- going to Richmond, will probably stop to get something there

Thu- Fried Chicken, Seasoned Rice, Cole Slaw

Fri- Parmesan Chicken Bundles , Deviled Eggs, Green Beans

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Making Food Coloring Free Gelatin (Jell-o)

I know that ALL the Jello brand flavors have food coloring in them... no-brainer...
My 6 yo son is on a artificial food coloring free diet- so one of his fav treats WAS out... till I remembered Knox Gelatin. (yes, I know what Knox is made from, eww)

It is Color & flavor free... we used Grape Juice to color & flavor it in one shot. It was perfect... I am proud of myself for this & will make more in the future with other flavored-juices.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

M- Chili with Scoopable Fritos & Sour Cream
Tue- Zuppa Toscana from the Olive Garden
Wed- sloppy joes
Thu- stuffed peppers with rice
Fri- garlic chicken, potato cheese casserole

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Simple Favorite

Simple Favorite at our home:

Bacon Fried with mushrooms

My son insisted this was worth a pic & a post!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Menus for the week:

Monday- Fried Chicken, Corn Pudding, Turnip Greens, Stuffing

Tuesday- Turkey Dinner with Bible Study Group

Wednesday- Shepherd's Pie, Rolls

Thursday- something easy, don't know what yet

Friday- Teen Night at our home will consist of much finger foods/make-your-own pizzas, too!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Watermelon Seeds

Ever seen WATERMELON SEEDS? Neither had I... got them at a discount grocery store... they are foreign... Jumbo sized even! Who knew? They taste like pumpkin seeds with a lot more 'shell'!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Polenta Triangles

Made these today, will enjoy them for dinner!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, December 1, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday- Meatloaf, Potatoes O'Brien, Green Beans
Tuesday- Porcupine Meatballs, Cheesy Pull-Apart Biscuits, Spinach
Thursday-Bar-B-Cups, Fried Potatoes w/ Onions,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Spicy Cranberry Sauce

1/2 cup sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 c. cranberry juice cocktail
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
Bring all ingredients to a boil in small pan over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil 1 minute. Serve warm.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday- homemade vegetable beef (deer) soup and gourmet grilled cheese
(on garlic bread with velvetta and/or 3 or 4 different kinds of cheeses.)

Tuesday - Sandra Lee's slow cooker chicken/borracho beans and spanish rice.

Wednesday - turkey
make ahead mashed potatoes,
green beans.

Thursday - I have a pork loin
baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon/brown sugar
chunky applesauce

Friday - Smothered meat loaf with potatoes o'brien

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tip for Tuesday

Tip of the Day...

To easily remove burnt on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on stove top.

Friday, November 14, 2008

4 Foods on Friday

Here are this week’s four questions.
#1. What kind of pretzels are your favorite?

  Soft Pretzels with Yellow Mustard & Cheese.
#2. What’s your favorite way to eat pancakes?  
Chocolate Chip w/ syrup.
#3. Do you make garlic bread from scratch or buy frozen? 
 Both.  I enjoy both.
#4. Share a recipe that calls for mozzarella cheese.  
     Spinach Chicken Lasagna
I’ve never tried this recipe but it looks like a well-balanced meal that has several food groups.

8 oz. cottage cheese
1 ½ cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
½ lb. lasagna noodles
16 oz Mozzarella cheese slices

Cook spinach and cool. Mix with cottage cheese. Mix soup with chicken (add no milk or any other liquid). Cook lasagna noodles. In 9 x 13-inch pan, layer the following: half of spinach mixture, half of chicken mixture and 1/3 cheese slices. Repeat. Top with noodles and cheese. Bake, covered with foil at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, removing foil for final 5 minutes. Serves 2 easily.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lemon Cheese Recipe

Lemon Cheese ?!

Strangely, this sounds "yummy'' to me...
I will put it on a pastry for our upcoming 50's party.
It is from then, right?  
I don't care, I am making that for my food!!

Lemon Curd/Cheese in a Swiss Roll type cake!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tip Jar Tuesday- Cast Iron cookware care

Cooking with & Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware-------
How to cook with it, season it, clean it & keep it for years to come!

- More cool how to projects

Monday, November 10, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Hamburgers, Alfredo Noodles & Peas.

Tuesday- Chicken Pot Pie, Homemade Corn Bread.
Wednesday- Grilled Cheese, Potato Soup
Thursday- Tuna Casserole
Friday-Crock Pot Beef Stew, Biscuits.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Way of Making HASHBROWNS

I have a new way of making HASHBROWNS, HOMEFRIES, fried potatoes...

I fried some onion in bacon grease, then I plopped about a pound of tater tots into it- melted cheese on top.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

"Stretching" Your Chicken

Poultry is relatively cheap.
Here are ways to possibly get it cheaper &
 to make it "stretch" in recipes, 
courtesy of a site called: .

  • Chop & dice
  • Search out discount meat sources.
  • Creatively extend your rotisserie purchases
  • Stretch it out with another filler.
  • Go for the stock options.
  • Regular and seasonal sales.
  • Explore the world of bone-in breast.
  • Creative cutting.
The details for each option are in the site's link.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why Does Organic Cost More?

Why does organic cost more?

The truth of the matter is that organic food doesn’t always cost more. Some items, such as coffee, cereal, bread, and even hamburger, may cost the same or even less than their conventional counterparts. And, as the demand for organics continues to grow, the cost will continue to come down. When the cost is higher, consider these facts: 
  • Organic farmers don’t receive federal subsidies like conventional farmers do. Therefore, the price of organic food reflects the true cost of growing.
  • The price of conventional food does not reflect the cost of environmental cleanups that we pay for through our tax dollars.
  • Organic farming is more labor and management intensive.
  • Organic farms are usually smaller than conventional farms and so do not benefit from the economies of scale that larger growers get.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wordless Wed

Monday, November 3, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Easy cookin' week!!

Mon- Hot Dogs, Cole Slaw & Chili

Tue- Salisbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Wed- Rotisseried Chicken, Spinach, Stuffing

Thu- Chef's Salad/ Cobb Salad

Fri- Out to eat?
Our anniversary is this coming weekend. 12 years!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Baking Powder- Stuff to Know

Baking Powder is a leavening agent that consists of a combination of baking soda, cream of tartar, and a moisture absorber (like cornstarch).

It has the action of yeast but it acts much more quickly. It's used in batters where there is no acid present. such as many baked goods: cookies, cakes, pastries, pies, quick bread, etc.

Make Your Own Baking Powder:
If you have run out of baking powder you may be able to
make a substitution by using the following:
For one teaspoon baking powder = mix 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.
Use immediately.

Why does it matter which Baking Powder you use?
Some have added aluminum, some don't.
It is easy to find out which ones don't by reading the label... but if you just want to know, I will tell you:

RUMFORD brand is the only one I have found in our area, that DOES NOT have ALUMINUM in it. Ironically, it is owned by the same company that makes another popular baking powder that DOES have it: CLABBER GIRL ! Read here as to why you may WANT TO AVOID ADDED ALUMINUM in your diet.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chili Dogs With Creamy Coleslaw

Chili Dogs With Creamy Coleslaw
Tyler kicks up some standard dog toppings with a pinch of chili powder and rounds it all out with a side of creamy, tangy slaw.
This short video gives basic tips on making "dog'' night exceptional!
I am trying it this weekend at a 'work-day' at my grandmother's home.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Meat Thermometers

My mother was pleased the other night when she seen that I actually use a MEAT THERMOMETER. I asked why & she said it just did not seem like many people owned one or utilized one these days.
So, I thought I would post the benefits of using a meat thermometer on here, to benefit others who may have been wondering about this ever-so-interesting subject!! :)

My "twin" Garlic Encrusted roasters turned out great, at a perfect temp. of 185 degrees.
So, WHY use a m.t.? It takes the guesswork out of cooking. A meat thermometer can help you:

  • Prevent food borne illness;

  • Prevent overcooking; and

  • Hold foods at a safe temperature.

If you don't regularly use a meat thermometer, you should get into the habit of using one. A meat thermometer can be used for all foods, not just meat. It measures the internal temperature of your cooked meat and poultry, or any casseroles, to assure that a safe temperature has been reached and that harmful bacteria like certain strains of Salmonella and E. Coli have been destroyed.
A meat thermometer should not be a "sometime thing." Use it every time you prepare foods like poultry, roasts, ham, casseroles, meat loaves and egg dishes.

Check this link to see EXACTLY how to use one & what kind to buy.

Minimum Internal Cooking Temperatures
Now comes the part that is most important—the minimum internal temperatures that foods must reach to be considered safe to eat, no matter how you prepare them.

Fresh ground beef, veal, lamb, pork
160 degrees F

Beef, veal, lamb-roasts, steaks, chops
Medium rare
145 degrees F
160 degrees F
Well done
170 degrees F

Fresh pork-roasts, steaks, chops
160 degrees F
Well done
170 degrees F

Cook before eating
160 degrees F
Fully cooked, to reheat
140 degrees F

Ground Chicken, Turkey
165 degrees F
Whole Chicken, Turkey
180 degrees F
Breasts, roasts
170 degrees F
Thighs and wings
Cook until juices run clear.

Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird)
165 degrees F

Egg dishes, casseroles
160 degrees F

Leftovers 165 degrees F
Information courtesy the U. S Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

$5.00 dinners??!! It CAN be done!

Check out $5 dinners for some great menu ideas & recipes for, you guessed it, FIVE dollars.

She breaks it down like this:
1 lb Chicken Thighs ($1.85)
1/8 cup Olive Oil Dressing ($.10)
1 large Butternut Squash ($.69)
2 T butter ($.10)
1 small onion ($.20)
1 celery stalk ($.05)
2 small potatoes ($.20)
3 cloves garlic ($.15)
1/4 cup apple juice ($.10)
Spices: Dash of cinnamon, ground cloves and ground ginger ($.10)
2 cups chicken broth (free or $1)
1-1 1/2 cups whole milk ($.20)
Salt and pepper to taste1 cup frozen peas ($.50)

Cost $4.24 or $5.24 depending on if you used store bought broth!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Menu Planning Monday 10/27-10/31

Mon- Garlic Roasted Chicken; Stuffing, Fried Green Tomatoes

Tue- CrockPot Tuna Noodle Casserole

Wed- Corn & Salsa Tortilla Soup

Thu- Garlic Chicken Pasta, Salad, Garlic Bread
Fri- Tater Tot Casserole

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kitchen Myths

Kitchen Myths found on the net... useful & sensical.
  • Searing meat seals in the juice
  • "Real" chili cannot contain beans or tomatoes
  • Microwave cooking destroys nutrients more than other cooking method
  • All thickening agents are created equal
  • Use water instead of milk when making scrambled eggs and omelets
  • Sushi means raw fish
  • When you add alcohol to a recipe it all evaporates during cooking so there is none in the final dish
  • Hot pan, cold oil
  • Heating a pan prevents sticking by closing cracks in the metal
  • You can make a baked potato in the microwave
  • Gas stoves are better than electric
  • Cold water boils faster than warm water

& many more at the link above!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Best Pico de Gallo ever!

We had many tomatoes last week, last of the season.
I needed recipes for them, I made Pico de gallo.
Here is the recipe, complete with a pic that really does turn out like this.
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced tomato
  • 1 to 5 serrano peppers (depending on taste) finely diced--remove the seeds if you want to decrease the heat a bit (I used jalepeno)
  • Minced cilantro to taste
  • Juice from 1 lime(or lemon)
  • Salt, pepper to taste

Stir ingredients together until well mixed and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes, if possible, before serving.
Stir well before serving, the minced peppers like to sink down to the bottom of the bowl.
Speaking of which, you can always slice them thin across the width of the pepper instead of mincing them to make pretty little pepper circles in your Pico.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I will be posting Menu Plan Monday on this blog & my personal family blog every Monday.
But that will be the only time the posts will be duplicated.

Mon- Pretzel-crusted Chicken Breasts w/ a Cheddar Mustard Sauce (Rachel Ray's Recipe)
Slaw Salad

Tue- Sloppy Joe's, Fries, Spinach Salad
Wed- Shepherd's Pie, Brussel Sprouts, Rolls

Thu- Spaghetti w/ Bacon & Veggies

Fri- Potato Soup, Grilled Cheese

Sunday, October 19, 2008

German Dinner

Our German Dinner

We had a German Dinner on Saturday Night for our Home Learning Group.
We had a great variety of contributed dishes. We had a child's game for the younger ones to play, a geography lesson & a trivia game, too!
Fun, fun!

I made Red Cabbage with Apples & a Beef/ Tomato/Cabbage soup, like a goulash.
We also had:

  • spaetzle
  • sauerbraten
  • sausages & more cabbage
  • 2 other kinds of soup/stews; one with ham/potato & one with pork & root vegetables.
  • Meat in fried dough, kinda like bierocks
  • fried dough with powdered sugar
  • oatmeal cookies w/ raisins
  • Apple Turnover Cake
  • cucumber/onion salad

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Frito Burrito"

Son named this one, too.

Frito Burrito inspired by Sonic Drive-In Restaraunt called a Chili Cheese Wrap. Ingredients for the easiest meal ever!

  • Chili
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Pepper Jack Cheese
  • or Cheddar
  • Fritos
  • Lettuce & tomato to make it a well rounded meal... not really, but we can pretend!

We used to eat this combo, minus the Pepper Jack when I was living in Arkansas in my 4th grade year of school. We would go to the Skating Rink in the big town of Batesville... .order their chili, which they served in an individual bag of Fritos, with cheese melted on top!! Neat & yummy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Favorite "OLD" Cookbook & Pancake Recipe

My fav cookbook is the Better Homes & Gardens NEW COOK BOOK, from like the year I was born! (seventies, maybe??!!) My mother actually used this cookbook *(see the mess on the pages & the cover? Shows it is a good cookbook, like I said!!) & it has *THE*BEST* Pancake recipe ever!

Favorite Pancakes Recipe
1 & a 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour (use unbleached, for health)
3 t. baking powder*
1 T. Sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
2 T. vegetable oil
Sift dry ingedients together (which I never do).
Combine egg, milk, & oil; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until mositened.
Cook on hot griddle # When it bubbles, it is about done.
Makes about 12 dollar-size or eight 4-inch pancakes
(which is why I triple this recipe for our growing children!)

#Hot Tip:(when you sprinkle drops of water on it & they sizzle into oblivion, then it is the right temp.)
*Hot Tip:
Always use baking powder with NO Aluminum... and by the way, All baking powders in the grocery stores contain aluminum, that we have in around here,
except Rumford Brand, which is owned by Clabber Girl, which HAS alum. in it!! Go figure!

Cooking According to my 5 y.o.

Thanks to all my "experimenting" in the kitchen, my 5 year old has been "experimenting" himself.
Though so far, anything he has "cooked" is unedible!! :)

For proof of this, see youtube video below!


(So, my son dubbed this recipe) Crater Taters

is essentially it is meatballs placed on top of a hashbrown casserole.
I got it off of
Menu-Plan-Monday's website… which they, in turn got it from
Taste of Home’s site.

The "frying of the meatballs" session was easy enough...
END RESULT: It looked yummy & tasted yummier.