Saturday, February 23, 2013

Life sometimes gets in the way. Another adult child

My baby turned 18 today.  So, now I have another adult child.  While he still lives in our house and is still in high school, it will be interesting to see what the next few months hold. 

We have gotten a little derailed from our menu plan this month.  Mostly because I haven't had time to get the things we needed to make the meals.  But now we are back on track.  I will be posting the next month's menu her in the next week or so, although it will have a slight disclaimer on it.  We won't have tried all the new recipes at that point.  I will be sure and let you know which recipes have been taste tested in our kitchen.  My goal for this weekend is to make up the remaining dishes that can be put together in advance.  I will edit the previous menu plan and let you know which casseroles I put into the freezer in advance to make my life easier.  I try to do that as often as I can, although I have to say here lately, I just haven't had the time.  I rarely do a full day in the kitchen to do this.  I usually just put an extra casserole in the freezer at the same time I put one in the oven.  (In other words, when I make something that does well in the freezer, I make two or three and put the extra one in the freezer) Some of the links I included in the original recipes were designed to put together and put in the freezer.  I love those meals because I don't have to work at them.  Keep an eye out here for more of those types of meals.  I have investigated the once a month cooking sites and use some of their ideas, but some of them are like cooking food and eating leftovers, and those recipes I don't particularly care for.  If I'm going to eat leftovers, then I mights just as well eat it when I cook it the first time and enjoy the flavor the first time.  I prefer to put casseroles that either get better by melding the flavors or items that are just prepped, but not fully cooked into the freezer. I find that pastas and rice casseroles do very well here.  I also enjoy making my own hot pockets, frozen pizzas, and breakfast foods (french toast sticks, pancakes, waffles etc.) for the freezer.  They keep really well, and save us a fortune, not to mention, they are much better for us, without preservatives.

My newest undertaking is making my own cleaners.  I have used various sites as well as friends for recipes for this.  I have been making floor cleaner, that does considerably better than anything we can buy in the store.  I have recently tried my hand at laundry detergent and fabric softener and am just getting ready to start using these new cleaners.  I'm looking forward to the savings I have as well as the fact that we are putting less chemicals out into our environment.  As I use these, I will critique them here and share the links to the recipes I used.  I'm definitely getting the spring cleaning bug feeling, so I am hoping to put these cleaners to rigorous testing here in the next several weeks.  I'll post my results. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Recipes for Menu Plan Month 1

Salisbury Steak Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Cream of Celery Soup
Press hamburger in the bottom of a baking dish. Mix together soup mix and canned soup plus 1 can water and pour over soup.  Bake on 350 for 30 minutes. Serve over mashed potatoes.

Chicken Alfredo Pasta

2 chicken breasts cubed
2 zuchini cubed
2 yellow squash cubed
1 box penne pasta
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Brown chicken in skillet. Cook pasta according to directions. Saute squash and zuchini.  Toss all together with alfredo sauce.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top and serve.

Chow Mein Noodle Casserole

2 cups Brown Rice cooked
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 onion diced
1 package chow mein noodles
Brown ground beef and onion. Mix with rice. Mix soy sauce and cream of mushroom soup together and mix into rice mixture.  Top with some chow mein noodles and bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Sticky Chicken

see link
This is a freezer recipe, but can be cooked instead of frozen.

Rice Casserole

1 lb. bulk sausage
2 cups brown rice cooked
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 onion diced
Brown sausage and onion. Mix with rice and soup.  Place in baking dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Can sprinkle with cheese on top last few minutes if desired.

Crockpot Pesto Chicken

1 jar pesto sauce
1 pkg. ranch dressing mix
1 box chicken broth
6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
Combine ingredients in crock pot and cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve over noodles. (Note this is how the recipe was written I don’t remember where I found it, but I’m going to tweak this one, probably only a couple of tablespoons of pesto sauce would be more than sufficient for this recipe.)

Rubber Chicken

This is a Flylady website recipe. Here is the link.

Baked Tortellini

This is a recipe I tweaked from Pinterest.
1 pkg Tortellini cooked
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 pkg prosciutto ham
1 leek
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Slice leek and and cut ham into small pieces.  Saute  in a little butter.  Mix together cooked pasta, ham mixture, and alfredo sauce.  Put into a baking dish and top with parmesan cheese. Broil about 5 minutes, or until cheese is brown on top.

Crock Pot No Time to Cook Chicken

This came from  Here is the link.

Creamy White Chili

This came from Here is the link

Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff

This came from Here is the link

Those are the recipes for the first month of menus.  I’ll post the next month of menu plans when we have tested all the new recipes on it. 

Shopping List for Month 1 Menu Plan

Brenda Helvie
Shopping List for Menu Plan Month 1 (Developed to feed 6)

Boneless/skinless chicken breast (2 bags)
Cube Steaks (6)
Beef Roast (1)
Hamburger (6 lbs.)
Whole Chicken (2)
Pork Cutlets (12)
Flank Steak (2 lbs.)
Hot Dogs (1 pkg)
Prosciutto Ham (1 pkg.)
Turkey (1)
Bulk sausage (2 lbs.)

Canned Goods
Canned Beef (2 cans)
Alfredo sauce (2 jars)
Cream of Mushroom soup (5 cans)
Soy Sauce (1 bottle)
Pesto Sauce (1 jar)
Tomato Paste (1 can)
Diced Tomatoes (8 cans)
Cream of Chicken soup (2 cans)
Cream of celery soup (2 can)
Navy Beans (2 cans)
Chicken broth (2 box)
Green chiles ( 1 can)
Spaghetti Sauce (2 jars)

Potatoes (20 lbs.)
Carrots (1 bag)
Zucchini (2)
Yellow Squash (2)
Cauiflower (1)
Onion (3)
Celery (1)

Pasta & Rice
Orzo pasta (1 bag)
Macaroni (2 boxes)
Tortellini (2 pkgs)
Spaghetti (1 box)
Noodles (7 pkgs.)
Lasagna Noodles (1)
Penne Pasta (2 boxes)
Brown Rice (1 lbs)
Wild Rice (1 bag)

Cottage Cheese (1 carton)
Sour Cream (2 containers)
Cream Cheese (1 pkg)
Butter (1lb.)
Mozzarella Cheese (1 3lb. pkg)
Cheddar Cheese (1 3lb. pkg)
Heavy Cream (1 pint)
Grated parmesan (1 container)

Onion soup mix (2 pkg.)
Chow Mein Noodles (1 pkg.)
Dried Ranch Dressing Mix (1 pkg)
Velveeta (1 box)
Garlic Bread ( 6 boxes)
Frozen Corn (1 bag)
Eggs (4)
Italian Dressing Mix (1 pkg.)
Cayenne Pepper
Garlic Powder
Corn Starch
Bread (1 loaf)
Velveeta Blanco
Chili Seasoining Mix (2 pkg.)
Gravy Mix (1 pkg.)

Recipes to follow soon.

Month 1 Menu Plan

This is the first of the Monthly Menu Plans I have developed.  So far I have done three months (five weeks in each month) I will be posting a shopping list for this month shortly and I will put links in to recipes as well as including the recipes that I have developed myself.  My goal is to get 6 of these done and then we can just rotate them.  The shopping list will be broken down by the types of items to make shopping easier.  I make my shopping list up to feed 6 so adjustments may need to be made for you.  I feed 5 people, but preparing for 6 allows for intentional leftovers to help with the meals on Saturday. I will also be posting the items that I prep to put into the freezer for future meals.  I do a fair amount of freezer cooking, but rarely do I spend a day making freezer meals.  I tend to make casseroles and make 2 or 3 of them when we are eating that meal and put the extras into the freezer.  I also will prep meals for the crock pot and put into a ziplock bag so that it is only necessary to pour the contents into the crock pot and turn it on. I also make my baked spaghetti for example after we have spaghetti for a meal.  I use those leftovers to make up the one for the freezer.  I have tried to make items that use some of the leftovers from earlier in the week as well.  When I make Rubber chicken or a turkey I plan out what the leftovers will be used for.  I also make sure and use the poultry carcass to make up broth for future meals.  Planning out the menu helps us to use up the leftovers and saves money by not only using the leftovers, but by decreasing the number of trips necessary to the store to buy items.  When I made up the shopping lists I included everything necessary to make the meals minus salt and pepper which I always have on hand.  At some point I will post a well stocked pantry list because I rarely have to buy everything on my shopping lists.  But having the list complete allows me to take an inventory and determine exactly what on the list I need to purchase or retrieve from the meat locker. 
Month 1 Menu Plan
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Mashed Potatoes
Baked Cube Steaks
Mashed potatoes
Chicken Alfredo Pasta with zucchini
Garlic Bread
Chow Mein
Crock Pot
Beef Fried
Sticky Chicken
Baked Pork Cutlets
Garlic Bread
Crock Pot
Ranch Chicken
Chili Leftovers
Macaroni and
Hot Dogs
Pork Chops
Mashed Potatoes
Garlic Bread
Beef Fried
Rubber Chicken
Creamy White

Mashed Potatoes
Baked Beans
Chicken &
Mashed Potatoes
Baked Tortellini
Garlic Bread
Crock Pot
No Time to
Cook Chicken
Turkey Noodle
Baked Spaghetti
Garlic Bread
Pork Cutlets
Mashed Potatoes
Penne Pasta
with Sausage
Rice Pilaf
Crock Pot
Stroganoff with
Chili Leftovers

Shopping list to follow.

My craft area before and after pictures.

This is the before.

These are the after.  This is so much better.  Not as good as my own craft room as I can go there and get away from the questions and noise of everyone else in the house, not to mention turn my music up loud for extra inspiration, but it is better than nothing at all. And now that I have it organized I'm not having as much trouble with people putting things on my table that just don't belong there.  I invested in a couple of bookshelf and a couple of little cabinet shelves to help me get more table space.  I still need a to tweak my paper storage, but it's a work in progress.  I'll probably get this area all organized in time to move back to my craft area at the other house as well, which I will have absolutely no complaint about.  It is so much nicer to have my own private room for my crafting.

Reclaiming my craft area and organizing our lives

Over the last couple of weeks I have been busy reclaiming my craft area in the kitchen.  I got it organized enough to go for my scrapbooking crop weekend.  Since then I have been increasing the organization in this area and now have it so that I can actually use it if I want.  Hopefully, now I can start posting regular ideas that I am generating while I work there. I will post the before and after pictures of my craft area.

In addition, I have been spending time organizing other areas of my life especially my meal planning.  I will share here some of those ideas as well.  We just finished up our first month of menus that I made out.  We tried several new recipes over the month and decided they will be definitely incorporated into our meal plans.  A few need a little tweaking, but overall, they were good.  Having the menu plans help me with prepping things in advance whenever possible, but definitely with the shopping and having what we need on hand to make the meals.  I have a perfect set up now.  We order our meat at the local meat packing place and get a half hog or a half cow at a time. We rent a locker there for 15.00 a quarter and I just make a list at the beginning of the month and they pull out the meat I need for the entire month and I bring it home and toss in the freezer.  That leaves me with only fish and poultry to purchase at the store.  It saves us a ton of money and makes life so very simple. 

My newest project has been making my own household cleaners. I decided to do this not only to save money, but to also decrease the amount of chemicals we are using in the house.  So far, I am happy with my results.  I have found several recipes for things on pinterest and have googled other recipes and found a ton of information out there.  I have now made window cleaner, window wipes, baby wipes, fabric softener, floor cleaner and today I'm making laundry detergent.  I have cleaned out a closet and organized my canned goods on one set of shelves and my new cleaners, and cleaner supplies on another set of shelves.  I can now use this closet and have more room in my overcrowded dining room.  I figure I will get this house all organized and then we will move back to the other house.  But this organizing has helped me look at some of the things I want to change in the other house as we look at the remodeling there.  I have so many ideas about how functional the different areas will be when we move back in.

The newest addition to our family is now 7 weeks old and her mom has gone back to school, so we are now working around the schedule of a newborn in our life.  It makes the days a little more interesting, however, she is a very good baby, so that helps tremendously. 

Have a blessed day and keep looking here for the latest menu plan, recipes and craft ideas.