October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween!

DH and I carved our pumpkin tonight. He's kinda cute for a skull. I saved the seeds and will bake them with cinnamon and sugar later tonight. Mmmmmm....I think I only carve pumpkins every year just for the seeds. :D


October 29, 2008

Our Grocery Bill

Well, I finally have my receipt, my computer, and myself in one location! :) I'm proud of my last shopping trip. lol

Our total was $182.87 after the 5% surcharge. Since we went shopping on base, there is no tax.
Of that total, $47.44 was supplies we bought for the burger and hotdog burn we helped host last Saturday night. We bought all the stuff, but was reimbursed later. I saved $16.61 thanks to coupons too! Apparently this was the first time DH ever really watched the total, and he was shocked how much we saved from coupons. He informed me that I can keep cutting coupons and annoying the cashier with them. lol. All in all, if it wasn't for the BBQ junk we bought we would have only paid $132.23. Not too shabby. Of course it helps that we're going to be out of town or otherwise engaged a few times during the coming month. 

The only thing we weren't able to buy that we needed was 24 packs of water. They're not located on the same aisle as the rest of the water (cause that would make sense lol), and we just forgot them. We also did not buy milk because milk is almost always cheaper at the local grocery store (it's often a loss leader for them). 

All in all it was a satisfying grocery trip. Other than a couple of items we have to wait to pick up in a couple of weeks after our trip home, we're pretty much set for a month! :)

October 28, 2008

This week's recipes

Boy, I thought the first half of this week would be a breeze. So far it hasn't been! Man is time getting away from me right now.
For now, here's this week's recipes from my menu. Not that I'll actually get around to fixing and eating this week's recipes at the rate this week is going. lol.

Apple Quesadillas
I stole this from allrecipes.com after a friend told me about this. So yummy. Unless you're my DH who says apples shouldn't be in these, so I leave apples out of his half. I also have a quesadilla maker thingy (wedding gift), so I make 3 large quesadillas from this recipe in my maker.....so feeds 3 HUNGRY adults or 2 hungry adults get dinner and lunch the next day. lol.

Chicken Parmesan
This is the recipe I follow for chicken parmesan. It's so quick and easy that I doubt if I'll change what I do anytime soon. I don't mind making this during the week after working.

Tomato and Sausage Spinach Pasta Toss
This is the recipe from kraftfoods.com. They've actually changed the recipe up slightly since I first ran across this. lol. There wasn't anything wrong with it in the first place, so I don't get that. Anyways, I use 1/2 lb ground Italian sausage, 1/2 package of pasta, 1 package of baby spinach, 1 can of diced tomatoes no salt added, and Italian seasoning to taste. We top with whatever white cheese we happen to have handy. I've doubed this recipe without any issues before and doubed it fed 5 grown adults. It's a quick but very yummy recipe.

Smoked sausage - well, I'm just browning smoked sausage cause DH likes it. Easy meal.

Grilled chicken breasts - Since it's just the two of us, we bought a George Forman grill. It's perfect for cooking two chicken breasts. We'll usually eat this as a sandwich using my homemade whole wheat bread. You could just as easily grill it or just bake it in the oven.

And despite my issues with making chicken noodle soup, it's wonderful to eat. Usually I'll only use half of my chicken and half of my broth for the soup. This time I used it all. So DH, my coworker, and I are all eating chicken noodle soup for lunch...this whole entire week. lol. It is fairly healthy at least, and I don't have to worry about packing lunches. :)

October 27, 2008

Chicken Noodle Soup and Pumpkin Bread

I did my grocery shopping Saturday at the commissary. I spent under $200 with over $40 being due to cookout supplies that we bought for that evening. I'll go over it more in detail later when I have the chance. 

Till then, I'll give the recipes for tonight's dinner and this week's dessert. I did not get around to making the chocolate chip cookie dough because our freezer is PACKED from leftover frozen burgers that weren't eaten Saturday night. I'll make it when I have room to flash freeze.

Chicken Noodle Soup
This is my homemade version. I boil (in a stock pot) a whole chicken in water. I had celery, so I added a few stalks of that. I season as I feel like it. No real measurements to it. lol. When chicken is done (skin starts to pull away from the meat), I pull the chicken pieces out. Meanwhile, I cubed and boiled a couple of large white potatoes. When boiling, you want to remove them while they're still slightly undercooked. I take the meat off the chicken and put it back into the stock. Meanwhile then, I boiled my pasta on the side. My mom likes egg noodles. They have a conspiracy against me. I stick with whole wheat or tri colored pasta spirals. Whatever floats the boat you can use pasta wise. I cheat and add to the broth and chicken a can of carrots. When the potatoes are ready, I drain and add them to the pot of broth. When the noodles are done I add them to a pot of broth. If you like celery, cut celery and put in broth. Otherwise ignore. My "secret" seasoning is season all. It makes the soup oh so much better in taste.  Be sure you heat everything up well after you add everything. This makes a HUGE pot of chicken noodle soup. And it's cheap. When I make this soup, I give away a large container of it my coworker. DH and I will probably eat off of this most of the week for lunches. I might have to give some more away. My family back home (4 grown hungry people) eats this for dinner two days in a row and still ends up having some leftovers for lunches.
Now please don't be like how I was tonight. When cooking the potatoes, CHECK ON THEM. I forgot I had them boiling. We ended up with very few potatoes in the soup. DH now has some great smashed potatoes for later in the week. *sigh* I also had issues with my first attempt at boiling pasta. lol. Remember how I said that I have issues with egg noodles? Well, DH asked for them...and they're still conspiring against me. Luckily I had a spare bag of tri colored spirals in the pantry and we were still able to have pasta in our chicken noodle soup. :) 

Now for the pumpkin bread. Unlike the soup, everything went GREAT with this quick bread. It was my first time trying this recipe and it's a definite keeper. I'll probably add it to my year around desserts.

Pumpkin Bread

From Iyra, the best I have ever eaten


3 cups sugar

1 cup butter, melted (can use oil)

4 eggs

1 can pumpkin (2 cups using homemade)

3 ½ cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cloves

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ginger

½ cup water

1 cup chopped nuts of your choice (optional)


Sift dry ingredients together with spices. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and pumpkin and mix well. Mix melted butter and water and add alternately with flour mixture. Add nuts if using. Pour into 2 greased floured 9×5 loaf pans or one Bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done at 350*.

October 25, 2008


Yes, I use coupons. Why not if I'm already going to buy the product. I do most of my shopping at the commissary on base, so generic just isn't an option. I grew up on a lot of generic products, so I know which products I'd rather just have name brand on. Usually I can get name brand on base for the same price as generic at the local store. Add a coupon and life's good. 

Where to find coupons:
1) You mail. Don't throw away all that junk mail. Actually flip through the pages. You never know what you might find hidden in there. Maybe they're grocery products. Or maybe they're coupons for a place you're going to eat at anyways. Might as well save a few bucks!
2) Newspapers. Unless you're like me and don't get the newspaper delivered. 
3) www.couponmom.com  Great website with links to lots of other coupon sites. They usually have quite a few printable grocery coupons too!
3) www.couponbug.com As long as you don't mind downloading the coupon printer and registering (free), they're a great source for printing out grocery coupons. Changes weekly.
4) Pillsbury website. You'll have to register, but they always have coupons on there. With the holidays coming up they have a lot of coupons for their holiday cookies for those that don't like to make your own doughs. I decided it's easier to just buy their crusts rather than make my own for pies, so I keep printing their fridge crust coupons.
5)http://www.startsampling.com/sm/100322/quickQuestion.iphtml?item=100322&source=     As long as you don't mind filling out a form, they'll send you a booklet full of coupons for swifter, dawn, fabreze, etc products. If you've ever thought about trying one of their products, get this book cause it'll save you money on starter kits and refills. 
6)http://printable-coupons.blogspot.com/     This site has TONS of links to other sites with printable coupons, not just grocery. It also has lots of online shopping coupon codes. Don't shop anywhere without looking here first. 
7) Your grocery store. Some local stores have it where you can go online and put coupons onto your rewards/shoppers card. Some you can just print out. Also, the next time you go shopping and pass by one of those coupon machines. Look to see what it's for and when the expiration date it. If it's a product that you might use in the future, grab the coupon and save it for later. Or maybe it's a product that you haven't use before and you're not sure if you would use it. Save it and take it home. Search online to see what you might do with it. I've really expanded my cooking this way. Don't worry, half of those coupons are for things you'll never use but it can't hurt to look for those few that will prove to be useful. Sometimes I'll run across a coupon that's a GREAT deal. If it's good for a few months, I'll grab a few. My favorite was $1 off Kraft cheese. I will always need cheese. I also once found a buy one get one free for parmesan cheese. Used it two trips in a row. Won't need to buy that for awhile, but we WILL use it - none will go to waste. 

These are just some of the places you can find good coupons. There's more, but these are what I stick with. 

For the grocery list that I just posted I have $15 worth of coupons and a couple of coupons for free products. Chances are one or two of them I won't use in the end. Another product will be cheaper than the coupon product with the coupon. If they expire soon, I'll leave them on the shelf for someone else. Otherwise I'll save it. Chances are also that I'll find a few coupons while doing my trip. A couple I'll use, a couple I'll save. Last trip I saved $20 thanks to coupons. I spent $150 for two weeks worth then. But we also have several hygiene products that probably added a good $20 if not more to the total. I also bought $15 worth of extras. It was not a good shopping trip with DH. LOL. I'm hoping that this weekend's trip goes a bit better. 
Maybe I'll tie DHs hands to the cart, so all he can do is push. 

And yes, I do like having DH go. He pushes the cart and I can run around and squeeze into tight spaces to grab the products easier. We did our trip in 45 minutes. Not bad for a crowded commissary on a Saturday afternoon!

Weekend Grocery List

Well, I just finished my grocery list. In making my list I start off by going through each item one by one on my menu. If we don't have it or not enough, I type it up in word to start my grocery list. I then move on to see what coupons I have. Sometimes I end up changing a couple of things on my menu based on coupons. After that, I double check that I have the right stuff on my grocery list. Sometimes I forget the obvious stuff like meat. I then think about lunches. I estimate how much leftovers we'll have from our dinners. I see what I have in my freezer for lunches (it's amazing what you can freeze!). I add items to my list for what else I think I'll need for lunches. Sometimes after doing all of this I still forget stuff on my list. But it's fairly close. Usually it's just one item that I forget. 
My goal with a grocery list is to go through the store and buy just what I need. It does make shopping faster and easier! And as long as I keep DH away from the chips and cookies and ice cream, I don't find too many extras "magically" dropping in the cart. My grocery bill has gone down by making menus. And I don't go cheap with my meals either. I just to try and shop for "cheap" meals, but somehow found myself spending more than I ever thought I would on groceries for two people. 

Candy (Mars coupon)

Pumpkin, whole

fresh spinach

Tomato, 1 small to medium

potatoes, 2 large

red potatoes, 4


Green apple, 1


hot dogs

pot roast, small one

breakfast sausage

Neutrogena Oil-Free moisture spf 15 face lotion

Secret Platinum deoderant

Bounty paper towels (coupon)

Glade Wisp flameless candle holder, buy one get one –  include candle? (coupon)

Green Works dish soap or floor cleaner (coupon) *save coupon if not used

            If no green works, then try Dawn Plus Hands or Dawn Foam Pump (coupons)

Febreze Noticeables dual refill pack (coupon)

Cascade Crystal Clear rinse agent, 8.45oz ONLY (coupon, FREE)

Windex (coupon)

Reynolds parchment paper (coupon)

Ziplock bags (1 gal zipper) (coupon)

Eight O’Clock coffee 11.5oz (coupon)

juice, apple berry

water, 2 24packs and 4 gallons

Knorr-Lipton Sides – 2 pasta, 1 rice (coupon when buy 3)

regular long grained rice

sushi rice (for parents)

sushi rice seasoning, 2 (non wasabi kind for parents)

Kidney beans, 1 can

egg noodles

Ragu pasta sauce, 2 for use in chicken parmesan and an extra(coupon)

Pizza sauce

diced tomatoes, 2

Canned pumpkin, 1

Chopped walnuts ½ cup or 1 cup depending on how nutty we want the bread

brownie mix for 9x13 pan

Regular, unbleached all purpose flour

canned carrots, 2

Progresso soup, 2 (coupon)

cream of chicken soup, 1 can

1 whole chicken

smoked sausage, 1 small cheap package

tortilla shells, 1 10ct pkg

**Smith’s has their brand veggies 10/$10 including mixed veggies and boxed ones.

Bird’s Eye Steamfresh veggie (coupon)

Green Giant frozen boxed veggies, 2 (coupon) *only if less than $1/each

Green Giant just for one veggies (55c coupon) *only if good deal

Hot/Lean Pockets, 4 (coupon) *save coupon if not used

shrimp primavera or other shrimp meal

fish, frozen

frozen mixed veggies

Frozen chicken tenders

Eggland’s Best eggs, if decently priced after coupon (coupon)

Yoplait yogurt, 6 (coupon)

Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, 2 (coupon)

Grand’s or Pillsbury Cinnamon rolls (coupon)

Kraft cheese, 5 include 2 blocks (coupon)

Butter, tub ONLY

Menu: Oct 25-Nov 22

Yes, you've read that right. For almost a month. It's just how it's going to work out best for the next while. I *could* shop one week earlier, but that's pay day weekend. I'd have to be crazy to want to go shopping that weekend. Of course it won't be any better the 22nd, but I also know that there's no way I'd finish a menu in time for shopping a week earlier. 
Of course it's also a lot easier to make a menu for a whole month when you're going out of town for 6 days total. 

How do I decide on a menu?
Well, I start by keeping a list of foods that I'm craving. I try and put those on the following menu. I then look to see what I have still sitting in my freezer and pantry and see what I can make with that stuff. Then I start flipping through my cookbook to see what else would fit in nicely. I try to have a variety of foods. I also try to have a mixture of more cook intensive foods and so easy DH can fix it foods. I like having a couple of items on the menu that if I don't fix it nothing is lost. This way if a situation like this week happens, I'm still good to go. No food is wasted and I can keep moving on. For the new menu I knew that Thanksgiving was coming up. I'll be doing a lot of heavy cooking during that time, so I tried to make the menu a bit easier in the second half so I don't tire of cooking before the REAL cooking begins. ;) 

Menu – October 25th – November 22ed

Weekend Dessert: Pumpkin Bread and make Chocolate Chip Cookie dough for freezing

25th Saturday Dinner: Burger/Hot Dog burn at Slammers

25th Sunday Breakfast/Lunch: cinnamon rolls

26th Sunday Dinner: homemade chicken noodle soup

27th – 31th: Monday – Friday Meals:
1) apple quesadillas
2) chicken parmesan (use 1 lb Tyson frozen package) with pasta and canned green beans
3) Tomato and spinach pasta toss with Italian sausage
4) smoked sausage, frozen broccoli and carrots with herb sauce, and Knorr pasta side
5) Grilled chicken (use other 1lb Tyson frozen package), frozen boxed veggies, and Knorr rice side

Weekend dessert: brownies

1st Saturday Breakfast/Lunch:  applesauce pancakes (make extras in mini size for lunches)

1st Saturday Dinner: OUT FOR ANNIVERSARY

2nd Sunday Breakfast/Lunch: OUT FOR ANNIVERSARY

2nd Sunday Dinner: Homemade pizzas (pepperoni, and half pineapple)

3rd – 6th: Monday – Thursday Meals:
1) pot roast with red potatoes, onions, and carrots
2) Jackie’s easy alfrado pasta
3) Italian sausage spaghetti
4) out to eat Thursday (Quiznos?)

OUT OF TOWN 7th – 12th

13th and 14th Meals: (Send Chris to work with small list of any items that are needed to get through, like milk and bottled water!)

            1) frozen ravioli
            2) shrimp primavera

Weekend Dessert: bake Amish bread

15th Saturday Breakfast/Lunch: sausage wraps (save other half for Sunday)

15th Saturday Dinner: DHs chili and corn bread muffins

16th Sunday Breakfast/Lunch: waffles (freeze extras for use in lunches)

16th Sunday Dinner: Quiche with sausage

17th – 21th: Monday – Friday Meals:
1) Baked fish, frozen broccoli, and steamed rice with seasoning
2) grilled cheese and soup
3) Cheesy chicken and rice casserole
4) Tuna Helper
5) Friday out to eat (Carmines? BWW? Chinese?)

One of those weeks....

You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones where you wonder if it's ever going to end. It's Friday and I'm still wondering if it'll end! 
So this week it's been a lot of easy meals or well non  meals. I started off sticking to my menu....and well, that went downhill kinda fast. Sometimes it just happens. Things come up. Just means that I've adjusted my following menu to reflect the products that I still have on hand. 
Let's see. DH and I did eat hamburgers Monday night (that we grilled on Sunday night) with the Knorr side with veggies. Well, we tried it. Didn't like it. I'd rather just fix my own veggies on the side and fix my own pasta side. And not combine the two. Now we know!
We did have hamburger helper - tuesday night. I don't actually like those helper things, but there was a coupon and GREAT sale going on a month ago so I bought a few to use for nights when I might have to make DH cook. He can't cook much, but he can manage a helper meal.
We had frozen pizza on Wednesday night. Or rather DH had frozen pizza fresh from the oven and I had cold pizza a couple of hours later. More on that later.
Thursday night I said forget it to the world. KFC just opened up down the street last week. They have coupons on their website. I made DH go to KFC and buy an 8 piece meal for dinner. DH had leftovers for lunch today. I had the rest of the leftovers for dinner tonight. Speaking of which, DH was stuck on base till 8pm today so he ate dinner on base. 
I spent my night (and Wednesday night) shopping. All the fun is taken out of shopping when you discover the UGLY dresses and shoes they've put out this year. I think the fashion industry has hit new lows. What's with all the 80s reject dresses?! DH and I are celebrating our anniversary next weekend, and I've been trying for awhile to find a new cute dress. I settled (kinda) on a brown dress from the dress barn of all places. I feel in love with a dress from JC Penny. Too bad they don't have it in my size in the store. Or rather in my size and not ripped in the back. Their shipping online is OUTRAGEOUS, so I've (kinda) settled for a brown dress. Too bad no body sells brown shoes anymore. I ordered a cute pair of red shoes that should look nice. Knowing my luck they won't come in on time. It's just been one of those weeks. 

October 20, 2008

At least dinner was successful!

Alright, if you look back at my menu tonight's dinner is Pineapple Whatever Skewered Shrimp. I did also fix skewers of cubed potatoes. I also boiled some frozen broccoli cause all other veggies just didn't sound good at the time. 
Back to the Pineapple Shrimp, I didn't follow her recipe exactly. I didn't use as much teriyaki sauce and I used most of the pineapple juice. It was sweet, but did very nicely for the shrimp. I also fixed a whole big bag (just over 1 lb) of shrimp. I LOVE shrimp. However, it's a lot easier to say that you're going to skewer shrimp than it is to actually do it. So this will always be a weekend only meal. I have issues skewering, so this was a good reminder of why it would be a bad idea to buy those clearance metal skewers I saw. I hate to think what I'd do to myself with a sharp metal stick with as much issues as I have with oiled wooden ones.

Tomorrow night's dinner will be hamburgers, which I grilled out tonight with our dinner. Just need to reheat tomorrow in the microwave for a few seconds. Yum! My burgers are SO moist (key is eggs, ketchup, and whatever else sounds good at the time I'm making patties!), so nuking for a bit won't harm them at all. Plus this makes for a way easy dinner. We're having a pouch pasta with veggies. I had a good coupon for one, so figured I'd give it a try. Easy peasy dinner. :)

On the bright side, my cake is quite edible and yummy. My mom says that I should blame the sour cream. Apparently I shouldn't try and save a few fat grams by using the reduced fat sour cream. Now I know. 

October 19, 2008

My Failed Cake *sigh*

In the past I would have called this cake practically fool proof. I started making this cake as a preteen. Made it lots of times...when I lived back home in TN. One of my family's favorite cakes. However, I never made it once I moved out here with my husband. Till today. And it failed. Just sunk in the middle. Grrrr....
Currently I'm on the hunt for what went wrong. But it still smells great and I'm sure it'll taste great too.  I'll share the recipe anyways. May you have the luck I once had. It does look pretty once I turned it out of the pan. 



Mom's Sour Cream Pound Cake

1 Duncan Hines Butter Golden cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
8oz sour cream

Mix all ingredients together well. Spray bundt pan with oil. Bake at 350* for 40 minutes.

October 18, 2008

Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara is one of my new pasta favorites. I tried it for the first time tonight. I will say that it is FAR from healthy, but eating it once every few months shouldn't harm anybody. DH and I feel justified in our decision on an unhealthy meal after we walked several miles today in attempt to find a non-ugly, non-whore semi formal dress for our upcoming anniversary and squadron Christmas party. Anyways, it only took me about 30 minutes to fix it all together - not too bad since it always takes me a bit longer when I cook things for the first time. I would suggest serving it with a salad just so you have something to balance out all the oils and carbs. This will feed 4 normal hungry adults. DH and I have plenty of leftovers for lunch tomorrow....and maybe another small serving for someone's lunch on Monday.

Speaking of lunches, no I don't plan menus for our lunches. DH is in the Air Force, so he's VERY busy all day. I work full time as a school age childcare teacher. I work funny hours sometimes though, so I find it hard to plan lunches when I don't know if I'm eating at home or at work....or what time I'll even get to eat some days. Instead, I look at the dinner menu and note how many of the meals will potentially have leftovers for one or two lunches. Then I'll take inventory of what lunch-ish items are left in my freezer and pantry. Then I decide what else I need to add to my grocery list that can be used for lunches. It's what works for us. I'll go into discussing what items I use in our lunches later. I'm in love with bentos, so that could be a long discussion.......

October 17, 2008

This week's recipes

Cause I'm good like that. Now you'll get to understand my weird menu....maybe. If nothing else, you'll get an idea for a new meal. With any luck, you'll know of a better version or a better meal that you can share with me. :D

So easy that there's no excuse not to make your own. 

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust (deeper one)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk pumpkin, EAGLE BRAND®, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish as desired. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream Pasta         

Recipe courtesy of CinC Kitchens.


1 tablespoon olive oil

·      ½ pound sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed, crumbled

·      ¼ teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes

·      ¼ cup diced onions

·      1 ½ cloves garlic, mniced

·      1 (14 ½ ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes, drained, coarsely chopped

·      ¾ cup whipping cream

·      ¼ teaspoon salt

·      6 ounces pasta, cheese tortellini works wel

·      1 ½ tablespoons minced parsley

·      grated Parmesan cheese 


       Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and crushed red pepper. Cook until sausage is no longer pink, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes.

       Add onion and garlic to skillet and cook until onion is tender and sausage is light brown, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes.

       Add tomatoes, cream, and salt. Simmer until mixture thickens slightly, about 4 minutes.

       Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water. Drain.

       Combine sauce and pasta, mixing thoroughly.

Sprinkle parsley and parmesan cheese on top.       

               Baked Oatmeal

Recipe couresy of monikewl on CinC.


·      1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

·      ½ teaspoon salt

·      1 cup milk

·      2 eggs, beaten

·      ½ cup applesauce

·      ½ cup brown sugar

·      vanilla yogurt, for topping 


      Preheat oven to 325*F. In a large bowl combine the oatmeal, baking powder, and salt. Mix in milk, eggs, applesauce, and brown sugar. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Bake at 325* for 45 minutes. Serve warm or hot, topping each with vanilla yogurt.


Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage


1 lb smoked sausage, any kind will do

1 cup uncooked white rice

1 bell pepper

1 onion

1 or 2 cans of red kidney beans

worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper


Cook white rice as directed on package. Meanwhile, dice onion and bell pepper as fine or as big as you want. Cut the smoked sausage into bite sized pieces. Place the sausage, onion, and pepper in a large skillet with a bit of butter, olive oil, or pam spray (whatever floats the boat). Cook on medium until onions are tender and sasage starts to brown. Add the can(s) of red kidney beans - juice and all. Bring to a boil at med low heat. Add worcestershire, salt, and pepper to taste. Worcestershire is a key taste here, so don't get too stingy on it. When rice is cooked, add to the bean, pepper, sausage, etc mixture and stir well. 

Now as far as everything else on my menu goes, I love coupons and sales. Following coupons and sales not only make my budget happy, but it's a lot easier to decide what to put on my menu by following coupons and sale ads. Smith's (aka Kroger) had their frozen veggie boxes on sale 10/$10. I had a coupon for au gratin potatoes, so my potatoes were only 50 cents. I had coupons for progresso soup, so that's why canned soup made an appearance. Usually it wouldn't. Bertoli had a coupon that I found on some random site while websurfing. Got that for $3. Go me. 

This weekend I'm making a sour cream pound cake, my mom's recipe. As soon as I get around to typing that, I'll post it. It's also a bit of a Pioneer Woman recipes weekend, so be sure and check out her site at www.thepioneerwoman.com. She's great.

Menu: Oct 11-25

Alright, so here's my current menu.

Weekend Dessert: Pumpkin Pie

11th Saturday Dinner: Sausage, Tomato, and Pasta Cream

12th Sunday Breakfast/Lunch: Baked Oatmeal

12th Sunday Dinner: DH gone, me frozen veggie meal


13th – 17th: Monday – Friday Meals:
1) Steaks, au gratin potatoes, veggies
2) Grilled cheese and soup
3) Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage
4) Bertoli Frozen Meal
5) Grilled chicken breast on whole wheat with veggies


Weekend dessert: Sour Cream Pound Cake

18th Saturday Breakfast/Lunch: omelets

18th Saturday Dinner: Pasta Carbonra

19th Sunday Breakfast/Lunch: homemade biscuits and leftovers

19th Sunday Dinner: Pineapple Skewered Whatever Shrimp with grilled potatoes and veggies


20th – 24h: Monday – Friday Meals:
1) Hamburgers (grill out with shrimp meal) with Knorr Sides Plus Veggies Pouch 
2) chicken quesadillas 
3) Hamburger Helper
4) Frozen Pizza
5) Italian Sausage spaghetti, use elbow macaroni


Go shopping the 25th

So, some days after work I'm in a GREAT mood and don't mind one bit about cooking. Other days....well, not so much. Therefore, I just pick out five meals to fix Monday through Friday and I choose which one I want to fix each day. This week I ended up putting off the grilled cheese and soup meal, so DH and I had that tonight. I like having easy meals for Friday. Makes my Friday a bit better. 

So what's a menu?

Some of us just aren't all that great at creating great dinners on a whim. Some of us live off of military pay and have to follow a budget. And some are like a past me who buys whatever strikes her fancy at the store just to discover that you have to go back again in two days cause you're missing too much stuff to even cook anything normal. So, go ahead. Admit you're unorganized in some way and can't cook great meals every night without shuffling through every nook and cranny in your kitchen. Please make me feel better. :)

One night I got this random desire to put an end to all my grocery store troubles and last minute cooking decisions. I made a menu for the following week. I listed out all the days of the week on the left side of a piece of paper. To the right of each day I listed a dinner. Life started getting simpler in that moment. Lo and behold, I knew what to buy when grocery shopping too!

A menu can be as simple as a list of dinners for the week. Or it can get as complicated as listing out breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, etc. Some people assign a meal to a certain day of the week. Others just make a list and check something off every night.
Some of us go crazy and type out our menus every week. Some of us REALLY need that organization.

So I'm going to share my current menu (and it's formatting nightmare) soon. I'll list tips in making a menu of your own. I'll even share where I stole most of my recipes from. :D

Who knows what a menu is?

So today I spent quite some time searching online for personal menus, more good recipe blogs, and such. Well, it's easy to stumble upon a blog with recipes. Pretty much everyone thinks they're a cook. Some cooking blogs I just don't get though - like why would I read a blog about how to make a dinner that requires rare ingredients that I have to order online from multiple out of country websites?! Anyways, back on track...I could not find a blog or website that would actually HELP ME with my weekly menus. Some gave very basic menus, but no recipes or how tos. Others would state each day what they ate with a picture of their plate. IF I was lucky, there might be a recipe or two. So maybe there's someone out there with good menu tips, practical shopping lists, and recipes...but I didn't find them. Where are they hiding? Till then, I'm going to share to others my menus, my to the point grocery lists, where to find the recipes on my menus, and more as I see fit.