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Monday, March 30, 2009


The new thing in all the fast food restaurants right now seems to be sliders. I like the idea of mini-burgers mainly because they are fun for my kids. I decided to cook some up for dinner.
1 1/2lb hamburger
1 bell pepper (or 1/2 c. onions)
2T Worcestershire
1 pkg hot dog buns
12 slices cheese
If you have a meat grinder, then grind the hamburger and bell pepper together, otherwise, you can but the bell pepper in the food processor and then mix it in. Mix in Worcestershire to hamburger. Place hamburger in 9x13 dish and pat down. It should be about 1in thick. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until no longer pink.
Cut hot dog buns into thirds while waiting and then separate the tops from bottoms.
Cut cheese slices into fourths.
When hamburger is done, cut into squares. Place one piece of cheese on each square and top with top of hot dog bun. Place bottom of bun on top. Cover with foil and bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Garnish with your favorite condiments and enjoy.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Out of Control

Ack! I can't believe how much we spent eating out this month. We completly fell back into our old habits. This month I wasn't updating everytime we ate out and I think that made it harder. I wasn't constantly aware of how much we were spending on fast food, which is never good anyway. I think next month I'll try pulling out cash and having a fast food fund and when it's gone it's gone.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Corned Beef

For St. Patricks Day, I made corned beef. This was my first time ever making it and thankfully, it turned out fine.
I used:
1 pkg corned beef w/ seasoning pkt
1 bag baby carrots
1/2 cabbage head
4 red potatoes
I put everything in the crockpot in the morning and filled with enough water to cover the meat. I cooked it on low for about 9 hrs. If you're home while this is cooking, I hope you like the smell of cabbage, because it will be quite strong.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tortellini Alfredo

A quick easy dinner is Tortellini Alfredo. We've had this twice in the last couple weeks.
Frozen cheese tortellini, ravioli would also work
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 can chicken or leftover chicken shredded
1 bag peas or broccoli (optional)
Cook tortellini according to directions.
If you are adding vegetables, cook them according to package directions also. Warm chicken and alfredo in large saucepan (if using peas, add to same pan after peas have cooked). When tortellini is done add to sauce. We have to keep our peas or broccoli separate because my children won't eat them mixed in, so we mix them into our own individual servings. Serve with a salad and bread.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vegetable Skillet

This originally started out as a pot pie recipe, but I adjusted it enough, it's more of a skillet meal.
You need: 1lb ground hamburger or turkey
1T brown sugar
2T Worcestershire
1 pkg frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 c. salsa
1/4t. chili powder
1/2t. mustard
First, brown your meat. Once meat is brown add your frozen vegetables. When vegetables are cooked through, about 3 minutes, add the rest of your ingredients. Mix together and let simmer about 1-2 minutes.
We had this with biscuits, but it would also be good with mashed potatoes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ranch Sweet Potato Slices

Last night I decided to try something new with my sweet potato. The ingredients are fairly simple: 1 med-lrg sweet potato, sliced; 1T Ranch; dash of salt, pepper, and thyme.In a bowl, mix sliced sweet potatoes with ranch and seasons. You want just enough ranch to coat.
Spead out on a baking sheet and place in oven for 20-30 minutes (until fork tender) at 350 degrees.
These were surprisingly good. You couldn't really taste the ranch, though. The slices weren't really crisp, so if you want crisp you might try grilling or frying. That may also bring out the ranch flavor more. I think it would work better if you used russet potatoes or a mixture of both.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cranberry Water

To give your water some flavor--and color--add 1 cup craisins to a pitcher of water and steep over night in the fridge.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fried Bologna Sandwich

One of my childhood lunch favorites is fried bologna sandwiches. I'm not a big fan of bologna in general, in fact, this is the only way I will eat it.

I like to fry my bologna first. Make sure to place a couple slices around the edges, otherwise the bologna will curl. When it has cooked to desired doneness, I take two pieces of bread and spread them with either butter or mayonaise (if you want a more even brown look, use mayo. It doesn't effect flavor whatsoever.) Place one slice bread butter side down, top with fried bologna and a slice of cheese and the other slice of bread, buttered side up. When first side has browned, flip over and brown the other side.
If you want, finish with mustard, lettuce and tomato.

What best is this is quite inexpensive. Package of bologna-$1, loaf of bread-$.88, package of sliced cheese-$1. Three dollars and you can have it for more than one day making it quite a prize.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spinach and Olive Omelet

Omelets are great because you can make them as complicated or easy as you like. Also, you can just add whatever you have. The hard part of omelets, of course, is the technique. If you get it wrong you end up with either one ugly omelet or scrambled eggs. Rest assured, both will still taste good.
In my omelets, I like to scramble my eggs in a bowl and add a little milk. I think the milk makes for a fluffier omelet, but that's just me. This is also where I add the mix ins, in this case spinach, olives, and cheese. You would also add your spices now.
Heat up a small non-stick skillet. Try to use one the same size you want your omelet to come out. Coat the bottom with olive oil, this will make it easier to flip and will also add flavor.
Pour a thin layer of your mixture onto the hot skillet. Let it set until it looks like the edges have formed. (Sorry I don't have pictures for this, but it's hard to be camera man and chef with omelets.) Now take your spatula and pull the edges away while tipping the pan so the runny liquid on top runs to that spot. Continue to do this until there is no more runny liquid--the top of the omelet will still be uncooked, but the bottom should be done and the edges formed. Gently loosen the edges and bottom of the omelet. When it is loosened gently flip over and let the top finish cooking. Slide out of pan onto place and fold in half with spatula.
Top with extra cheese or chives. Serve with salsa or ketchup.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Corn Zucchini Saute

This dish makes a nice side and is great for spring/summer. You need: 3 zucchini, sliced--yellow squash would also work or a combination of the two; 1 can corn, drained; 1 plum tomato, diced or 1/2 can diced tomatoes, drained; cheese; dash of thyme, salt and pepper.In a large skillet, add a bit of olive oil and zucchini. Cook until zucchini is mostly tender.
Add corn, tomato thyme, salt and pepper. Mix together and heat through.
Top with cheese and let sit until cheese melts. Serve.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Product Review: Wanchai Ferry Kung Pao Chicken

I really enjoy chinese food, unfortunately I have yet to come across an "authentic" recipe I can make at home that tastes anything similar to what I find in the restaurants. Chinese food can also be expensive. Since, we are trying not to spend extra money eating out, and since there is little at Chinese places my children like, and because I had a coupon for a dollar off and it was already on sale, I decided to try this.

I will admit I had low expectations, generally ethnic foods purchased pre-made are not that tasty. Sweet and sour frozen dinners come to mind. So I was surprised to find that this was actually not all that bad. It wasn't altogether spicy, but then again, I didn't "break" the peppers to make it hotter. Since I hadn't had it before and was unaware of its spice factor I chose to err on the side of caution. While I like spicy, I didn't want it so hot all I could taste was the heat.

The best part about this for me was that you use your own meat, allowing you to skip all those pieces in other brands where the chicken piece is mostly fat. I would suggest adding vegetables, such as sliced carrots, celery, water chestnuts, etc.

I would buy this again, but only if I had a coupon and it was on sale. It's a bit expensive for me otherwise (I believe it's about $6 a box plus the cost of chicken). Also, even though it says family size, it really only serves two.

Overall, I'd give it a 3 out of 5. currently has a coupon for $1.10 off if you want to try it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sweet Potato and Spinach Chicken Risotto

We had this earlier in the week. I originally found this recipe when I was looking for a dish that used both chicken and sweet potato and it has easily become one of my favorites.


2c. aborrio rice (risotto rice)

5c. chicken broth

2T. butter

2c. diced sweet potato (about 2 medium)

2c. chopped chicken
(I like to put my chicken in the crockpot in the morning when I am cooking this. It saves time at dinner, shreds easily and I can use the stock in the recipe)

1c. chopped fresh spinach

1/4t. salt

1/4t. thyme

1/2c. cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add butter, rice, sweet potatoes, and chicken stock to casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove from oven. Stir until creamy and add the chicken, spinach and seasonings. Top with grated cheese. Return to oven for 5 minutes.

March Goals

A new month and a chance to try again. We overspent last month by about $75.oo. However, included in this is my husband and my Valentine dinner.

Saturday's seem to kill us. It is the one day we have where we are all together and we generally spend it running errands or doing something together as a family. Unfortunately, that means we are usually not home for lunch or dinner. I am still troubleshooting our Saturday's for a way to avoid this.

Ideally, we wouldn't be eating out at all. But I figure baby steps are better. My main motivation being we are trying to pay off our debt this year and this is the one area in our spending that really isn't necessary. Therefore, it simply has to go. I have been doing my best, but apparently I need to up my best. We are still working on our emergency fund and are half way there. If we are diligent, we should be able to finish it this month.

We have budgeted three big eat out days this month: our date night, our trip to the Temple, and a family dinner. Those three days will be about $60.00. If we do our half rule (reduce last months spending by half as the new goal), that leaves us with $35.oo to spend eating out the rest of the month. I suppose that averages to about once a week.


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