February 22, 2010

Honest Scrap

What a surprise to wake up to! Natesgirl over at Give Peas a Chance is passing along the Honest Scrap blog award to me! :D Can't complain one bit about this, and it helps improve the never impressive Monday! I am working harder with my blogging this year. I hope I can keep improving it over time. I've even got a few more pictures to add to recipes! Glad that hard work pays off yet again!

The Honest Scrap Award. 
The requirements are:

a) I must brag about it.
b) Display  the badge on my blog and link  to the one who tagged me to prove that I didn't tag myself (how pathetic that would be!)
c) I share 10 things about myself.
d) pass the award to other fellow bloggers by visiting their site. (I'll do this probably later this week or this weekend - so many great choices!)

Share 10 things about myself- (sorry, these are really random)

1) I am 26.
2) I am older than my husband by a few months. I was a grade above him in school. :D
3) I have an annoying cat named Max.
4) I am a school age childcare teacher. They have year around schools locally, so there are always kids out of school.
5) I have a BS in Business Administration and a minor in psych. 
6) I almost had a math minor, but my university required 2 classes beyond Differential Equations and Calculus 3 for the minor. After those two classes, I decided to not stress myself out over math anymore to finish the minor out.
7) I am from Memphis, TN. Born and raised there. 
8) I have a 16 year old sister who's super smart. She is my only sibling and, yes, we have the same parents.
9) I do not like peanut butter, so you won't ever find peanut better in any of my recipes.
10) Last month my husband started doing the dishes for me after dinner. What a great man he is! :)

February 20, 2010

Menu: Feb 19 - March 4

Noticing some repeats from last menu? That's because DH ended up being TDY this past week, and we also went out to eat twice from celebrations for DH. I survived on leftovers while DH was gone. On the bright side I spent a little less than $80 between the commissary and Smith's today! I love saving money!

2/19 Friday Dinner: Chicken Noodle Soup (will attempt to write a better guide to this soon)
2/20 Saturday Breakfast/Lunch: banana nut bread
2/20 Saturday Dinner: Homemade pizzas, chicken pesto for me, pepperoni for DH
2/21 Sunday Breakfast/Lunch: leftovers
2/21 Sunday Dinner: Italian Fried Rice and sautéed yellow squash
Monday – Thursday Meals:
            1. Bolder burgers on homemade buns (will post recipe later), mixed veggies, and macaroni and cheese
            2. Chicken quesadillas
            3. Spicy Chicken Stir Fry
            4. Taco salads with ground turkey
2/26 Friday Dinner: Cajun Chicken Pasta with artisan rolls
2/27 Saturday Breakfast/Lunch: leftovers
2/27 Saturday Dinner: corn soup, lemon chicken, and steamed broccoli (I'll get these recipes up soon!)
2/28 Sunday Breakfast/Lunch: sausage and egg burritos
2/28 Sunday Dinner: Red pepper risotto (grill a chicken breast for DH) with oven baked zucchini fries
Monday – Thursday Meals:
            1. Tilapia with lemon, rice, and mixed veggies
            2. Italian Sausage Spaghetti (cut up and hide 1 zucchini in sauce)
            3. Cheesy chicken and rice casserole
            4. Out to eat/menu make up day

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February 15, 2010

Chili-Pasta Skillet

1 lb lean ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 (15oz) can red kidney beans, black beans, OR red beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 (4oz) can diced green chile peppers, drained
1/2 cup dried elbow macaroni
2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese

In a large skillet cook meat and onion till meat is browned. Drain off fat. Stir in beans, undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, chile peppers, macaroni, chili powder, and garlic sauce. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes or until macaroni is tender, stirring often. Remove from heat; sprinkle with cheese. Cover and let stand until cheese melts.

289 calories per serving, 6 servings

DH said this tastes like a chili with pasta, which is what it is. It reminds me of hamburger helper, only a lot better tasting (and healthier). You can easily add in more vegetables to this meal, which I think I might do next time along with using ground turkey instead of beef.
Something different I did was use more pasta (used up the last of my medium sized sea shell pasta). In turn, I added more water (diced tomato can worth). Was still ready in 20 minutes. If you like your chili spicier (or just spices in general), you'll probably want to add more to your taste.

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February 14, 2010

Apple Crisp

4 cups sliced peeled tart apples (about 3 medium)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 cup cold butter
vanilla ice cream, optional

Place the apples in a greased 8-in square baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, and allspice; cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over apples
Baked uncovered at 375* for 30-35 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream if desired.

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Linguine with Scallops

1 lb fresh or frozen scallops
12 oz dried linguine
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 14-oz can chicken broth
3/4 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup sliced green onions (6)
3/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Thaw scallops, if frozen. Cut any large scallops in half; set aside. Cook linguine according to package directions; drain and keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet cook and stir scallops in hot butter and oil over medium-high heat about 2 minutes or until scallops are opaque. Remove scallops with slotted spoon; reserve juices in skillet.
Stir broth, vermouth or white wine, and lemon juice into the juices in the skillet. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 1 1/4 cups. Stir in green onion, parsley, and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 minute more. Add scallops. Cook and stir just until heated through. Pour over linguine; toss gently to combine.

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February 12, 2010

Boiled Dumplings

24 Chinese dumpling wrappers for boiling
7oz ground pork (or ground beef)
16 ½ green onions
1/3 piece of ginget root
2 tbsps sesame oil
Seasoning for Filling
4 tbsps stock
½ tbsp sake
1.2 tsp salt
1 ½ tbsps soy sauce
4 tsps soy sacue
2 tbsps rice vinegar

Peel and grate the ginger with a vegetable grater.  Then finely chop the green onions.
Mix the seasoning for the filling. Pour the stock into a small bowl. Then add the sake, salt, and soy sauce.
In a separate mixing owl, mix the ground pork and ginger. Add the sake mixture and stir well. Add the sesame oil and the green onion. Keep mixing till the filling holds together.
Lay the 24 dumpling wrappers out. Divide the filling evenly between them. One at the time, put the dumpling in your head. Fold the edges closed, moving from the sides to the center. Pinch a few times to seal. Press down firmly to make sure the edges won’t open while boiling.
Fill a large saucepan 3/4th full of water. Bring to a boil. Put the dumplings into the boiling water and continue to heat till the water comes back to a boil. Once the dumplings have risen to the surface, reduce the heat, and boil for about 7 minutes more. Then turn off the heat and use a skimmer to transfer dumplings to serving dish.
Mix the rice vinegar and soy sauce to make the dipping sauce for the dumplings. 

How to make Chinese dumpling wrappers for boiling:
 1 2/3 cup flour
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup water
flour (for dusting)

Put the flour, salt, and water in a mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients together. Original recipe recommends cooking chopsticks. Once the dough has a grainy consistency, use your hands to gather it into a ball. Note: You may need a few tablespoons more of water. Knead the dough until its surface is smooth. Let the dough rest in a bowl with a dampened dishtowel covering it. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Gently knead the dough and the roll it into a log with a diameter of about 1 ¼”. Cut the log of dough into 24 equal pieces. Place each piece of dough on a cutting board with one cut side down and shape the sides so they are all rounded. Press down with each piece of dough with the palm of your hand to flatten them. Use a rolling pin to roll each dough piece into circles with a diameter of about 4”. Dust rolled dumpling wrappers with flour and arrange so they don’t stick together. They are ready to be used!

The first time I made these, it took me 2 hours to make. I did make the dumpling wrappers from scratch, which is what took up most of my time. I made them again this afternoon and it took me an hour total to prep the dumplings, including resting time. I made the dumpling wrappers again from scratch and didn't worry about making perfect circles. Cause guess what - it doesn't matter as long as it's in a circle-ish shape! lol! You can make these ahead of time and flash freeze. After they're frozen, move to a freezer bag or container. It will take longer to cook, so pay attention to them. :)

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February 08, 2010

Southwest Chicken Sandwiches

Chicken breasts
Italian dressing
Chili sauce
Swiss cheese slices
Fresh Spinach
Whole wheat bread or buns

Marinate chicken breasts in a mix of Italian salad dressing and chili sauce overnight or for several hours.
Grill chicken breast. Before removing breast from grill, top each with a slice of Swiss cheese and allow to melt.
Meanwhile, mix a few tablespoons of mayo with a few drops of chili sauce. Mix well. Toast whole wheat bread.
Serve chicken breast on the toasted whole wheat bread with mixed sauce and baby spinach.
Southwest Chicken Sandwich served on a homemade bun with zucchini.

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February 07, 2010

Homemade Salsa

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman.

1 can (28oz) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
2 cans Rotel (I used one hot and one mild)
¼ cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 whole jalapeno, diced (remove seeds, or most of them)
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ cup cilantro (or to taste)
juice from 1/2 a lime

Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.
Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips.
I recommend making this in two batches unless you have a 14-cup food processor. I used my 9-cup and it was a tight fit and some juice came out. Has a good kick to it without your mouth being on fire for minutes afterwards. 

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Cinnamon Apple Dutch Baby

From Nates!

·      4 tablespoons butter
·      1 apple
·      1 cup flour
·      1 cup milk
·      1 teaspoon vanilla
·      4 eggs
·      3 tablespoons brown sugar
·      ½ teaspoon salt
·      1/3 teaspoon ground cloves
·      ½ teaspoon ground ginger
·      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·      Nutmeg to taste

      Preheat oven to 425* and pull out your blender. In a small bowl mix your sugar and all you spices except salt. Peel your apple. Slice it thinly. In an oven safe skillet, melt your butter. When melted, arrange apples in the pan, cook on medium low. Sprinkle some of the sugar mixture on the apples. Pour the rest of the sugar mixture into the blender. Add flour, then the milk, vanilla and eggs. Blend it up. Pour it over the apples. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes. Cook for a shorter time for a more custard consistency, longer for more well done. Serve with syrup.
       Alternative method: Fry the apples after slicing them thinly. Melt butter in a baking dish in the oven. Then place the fried apples on top of the butter. Then pour the blended batter over that. Cook as directed.
So my picture looks different than Nates. Why? Because I Forgot. The. Flour. Yep, that's right. Forgot the flour. HA HA HA! Still turned out great and we ate it. Can't wait to try it WITH the four! :D
I made it again WITH the flour. Loved it! DH thought it was much better with the flour, though he never complained about the 1st one I made.

2/12/12 - We still love the cinnamon apple dutch baby!

Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

2 tablespoons oil
3 pounds boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut into strips
1 tablespoon minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 green bell peppers, cut into strips
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Hot cooked white rice

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-low heat. Brown steak strips in 2 batches. Add garlic; cook and stir 2 minutes. Transfer steak strips, garlic, and pan juice to slow cooker.
Add onion, soy sauce, sugar, salt, ginger, and black pepper to slow cooker; mix well. Cover; cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours (no more than 10 hours). Add bell pepper strips during final hour of cooking.
Blend water and cornstarch until smooth; stir into slow cooker. Cook, on HIGH 15 minutes or until thickened.
Serve with rice.
I used half the beef call for since it's just the two of us. I still used the same amounts of "the sauce." I used two large bell peppers instead of 3 (I love peppers). Turned out wonderful! DH loved it and asked for me to make this again.

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Macaroni Grill Copy Cat Bread Recipe

Recipe thanks to Christy on OHO.

1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
2 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 Tbsp fresh)

Mix yeast, sugar, and water till frothy. Add 2 cups of the flour, salt, oil and rosemary and mix till smooth. Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Form into a round loaf and place on a lightly greased pan. Brush the loaf with butter using a pastry brush. It will be really wet. Sprinkle with rosemary and salt. Let rise till doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake in a 450 oven for about 18-20 minutes. Serve with balsamic vinegar and olive oil if desired.

I substituted other dried herbs for the rosemary (I don't keep that around). I also brushed the loaf with a small amount of olive oil since it was already out and required less effort. lol. Still turned out great. DH says that this bread is better than MG. :)

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February 05, 2010

Grocery Trip & Saving Money With Coupons!

Today I spent $93.42 at the Commissary. I spent another $10 at Smith's (stocking up on Crystal Light Cherry Pomegranate while it was on sale), and another $5 at Fresh and Easy (love their tomato basil chips!). I saved $14.65 thanks to coupons. Since this was for 2 weeks, I'm averaging about $52.71 for this menu. My goal is $50 a week, so I'm doing great! I'm really proud of myself because I did pick up extras like oreos, a pint of ice cream for DH, and 3 different kinds of chips.

On my blog's right sidebar you'll see links to print coupons. I updated it not that long ago. Other than internet printable coupons, I also cut every coupon that I find in the mail cause I might use it depending on sales (can't afford to be brand loyal lol). I'm lucky here because Red Plum, Smart Source, and P&G all put their coupon books in the regular mail and not just in the Sunday newspaper. Even if you have to buy the Sunday newspaper, chances are great you'll still save money despite having to invest in that paper. To some people $15 may not be a lot, but to me that's $15 extra for going to see Matinee movies or grabbing drinks with friends. Not to mention over time these savings really add up! Besides, why pay more when I can pay less? :)

A great site for those who are wanting more information, including store's policies on taking coupons, is http://slickdeals.net/. Take some time to read through their forums and you'll find even more places to find coupons that what I have listed along with deals that may be going on in a store near you!

February 04, 2010

Menu: Feb 5-18

I'm trying several new recipes over the next two weeks, so there are quite a few unlinked recipes. I'll post them soon when I have some free time! :) You'll also notice quite a bit of lemon being used. A friend gave me 6 HUGE lemons from her mom's lemon tree. They will be used. :D

2/5 Friday Dinner: Shrimp and grits (did not make last weekend – we ended up getting Chinese!)
2/6 Saturday Breakfast/Lunch: Cinnamon Apple Dutch Baby (didn’t make this because we had enough leftovers to eat)
2/7 Sunday Breakfast/Lunch: leftovers!
2/7 Sunday Dinner: soft pretzels (1st attempt at homemade, I'll let ya know how this goes!**), rotel cheese dip (for DH), homemade salsa (for me)
2/8-2/11 Monday – Thursday Meals:
            1. Southwest chicken sandwiches on artisan buns w/ rosemary potato chips and zucchini
            2. Chili pasta skillet
            3. Salads
            4. Chili rubbed steaks and pan salsa with mixed vegetables and whole wheat penne pasta
2/12 Friday Dinner: Spaghetti Squash w/ chicken in marinara sauce
2/13 Saturday Breakfast/Lunch: Corn Soup (will post recipe later)
2/13 Saturday Dinner: lemon sauce on chicken breasts, fresh broccoli, and boiled dumplings
2/14 Sunday Breakfast/Lunch: sausage and egg burritos
2/14 Sunday Dinner: Linguine w/ scallops, cauliflower, Artisan bread loaf, and apple crisp
2/15-2/18 Monday – Thursday Meals:
            1. Velveeta shells dinner w/ chicken, diced tomatoes and broccoli (following hearty sausage skillet recipe but with chicken)
            2. Tilapia baked with lemon, rice, and zucchini
            3. Quesadillas
            4. Italian Fried Rice

**Soft Pretzels: Well, I made them. And they were the UGLIST PRETZELS EVER! No joke! lol I brought them to the super bowl party where everyone decided that while they tasted wonderful, they looked and tasted nothing like actual soft pretzels. The recipe I followed was from the Artisan Bread in the Five Minutes a Day book. Oh, well. I tried! Next time I get the urge to make pretzels, I'll find another recipe. :)

February 01, 2010


Recipe courtesy of Nates.


·      1 pie crust
·      4 eggs
·      1 cup milk
·      1 ½ to 2 cups fillings of your choice
·      2 cloves of garlic, minced
·      1 ½ cups shredded cheese
·      ground mustard
·      salt
·      pepper
·      dash of hot sauce

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll the pie crust onto the pie plate. Fold down the excess sides. Crimp the crust. Layer in fillings. Layer the cheese on top. Beat eggs and spices in a bowl. Pour into the pie plate. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Might need to place a pie shield on the crust half way through.

Filling suggestions: spinach (cooked with excess water squeezed out), onion (sautéed), cubed ham, crumbled sausage (cooked), various cheeses, bacon, broccoli,  and most vegetables.

Quiche made with sausage, broccoli, mozzarella cheese, and sharp cheddar cheese. Yum!

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