Saturday, April 30, 2011

Preparation and Flexibility...

Even though I wasn't quite ready to go grocery shopping, I made my list, got my recipes and coupons ready and went shopping on Friday for next weeks' meals. I was so excited that I was prepared ahead of time since I knew that next week is going to be a SUPER busy week in our house. After I went shopping on Friday, I came home and threw the ingredients into the crock pot for Chili and then went to pick my boys up from school. Little did I know how thankful I would be that I prepared dinner ahead of time. After getting my boys at school, we went to Target and on the way home our van decided it was done and at a stop sign decided not to go any further. After waiting on a tow truck to take the van to a repair shop and my husband coming to get us, I was thankful I did not have to go home and prepare dinner. We just threw some shredded cheese and sour cream on top of the bowls of chili and served it with some nacho chips and fruit on the side.

Today, Saturday, flexibility came into play. We thought we were going to have a date night and the kids would have subs with the "big boy sitters" for their dinner so I did not have anything prepped for dinner. A family emergency changed our plans so we all stayed home and ended up eating sandwiches, chips and dip and fruit for dinner; followed by ice cream with bananas for dessert.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Overnight Brunch Eggs

4 cups of Monterey cheese, grated
2 tbsp. flour
12 oz of sausage (pork or turkey)
3 cans (4 oz) whole green chilies
2 cups of Cheddar cheese, grated
12 eggs
1 cup milk

Toss together Monterey cheese and flour. Sprinkle in bottom of ungreased 4 quart dish. In a medium skillet, brown sausage and drain and crumble. Set aside. Cut chilies open to lie flat and remove seeds. Layer on top of Monterey cheese. Sprinkle Cheddar cheese over green chilies. Top with sausage. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and milk until well blended. Pour egg mixture over sausage. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until puffed and egg is set. Serve immediately.
Serves 12.

  • This recipe is for a huge brunch casserole so I cut the recipe down for my family. It is very easy to prepare and like the recipe states you can prepare this early in the day and then refrigerate it until time to put it in the oven. Also, you can omit the chilies if you think it would be too spicy for your family; sometimes I put them on only half of the casserole.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bacon and/or Ham Rotini

I originally had a recipe for the dish, but have lost it and have made it so many times that I don't need it anymore. It is one of those dishes that you can make by using what you have on hand. You just need onion, mushrooms, ham or bacon or both, american cheese and some pasta.

  • Saute small pieces of bacon or ham in a pan until crisp until they render the fat and flavor into the pan then remove from pan and set aside.
  • Place chopped onion and mushrooms pieces in the pan and saute in the bacon drippings
  • Boil pasta according to package directions; the original recipe called for Rotini shaped pasta, but I have used whatever shape I have had in the pantry. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining the cooked pasta
  • Return meat to the pan with onions and mushrooms, add cooked pasta and then start adding small pieces of sliced American cheese (I have always used White American) along with the reserved pasta water. Combine until cheese is melted and dish is hot.
Serve with a salad or veggies.

Switch to Silk Challenge FREE Coupon Winner

Congrats to Hdrake (the first person to leave a comment). She was chosen by using and will be receiving the FREE coupon to try Silk.
The other 2 entries will receive $1 off Silk coupons.
I will be contacting you all to arrange delivery.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chicken Fried Rice

I used to think fried rice was a hard dish to make and always left it for my husband to cook. One day, I pulled out a cook book and followed the directions to make fried rice and realized how easy it is and now I don't need a cook book.
The great thing about fried rice is that you can use any type of meat that you have on hand (leftovers are great because you just need a small amount) or you can make a vegetable fried rice and use whatever bits of veggies you have on hand in your fridge. One thing to remember is that you need cold rice for fried rice. If we know that we are making fried rice for dinner, we will cook rice in the morning and allow it to cool all day. I like to use Mahatma Jasmine rice because it is so flavorful and it is easy to prepare ahead of time in the microwave.

Use a nonstick pan on a high temperature and saute the meat in a small amount of vegetable or peanut oil, then remove and set aside. Then, scramble a couple of eggs in the pan with some soy sauce and this is when I like to throw in onions and/or scallions. Remove the egg scramble and set aside. Then add a little more oil to the pan and fry your veggies and more soy sauce until at desired tenderness. Add rice to the hot pan and separate tossing and turning so that each grain is coated with oil; then begin adding back the meat and egg mixture. You may want to add a little more soy sauce, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes or any other desired seasonings.

Lucky for Leftovers

I don't know if it was the kids having Good Friday off from school or the Easter holiday and stores being closed and sales were on different schedules at my grocery store but something got me off schedule. I did not get a chance to sit down and plan a weekly meal schedule and plan a big grocery shopping trip for this week.
I am singing the praises of leftovers and ways to use them to create a whole new meal with what you already have in your fridge and pantry.

  • Sunday: We came home from our family's Easter lunch tired and stuffed so we really didn't cook a dinner. It was cereal or soup for dinner that night.
  • Monday: I used the leftover chicken from Saturday's Foil Baked Chicken and any spare veggies I had in the fridge to make Chicken Fried Rice and it was delicious (recipe to follow in another post).
  • Tuesday: I am using leftover ham from Easter lunch to make a Ham Rotini dish (recipe to follow in another post).
  • Wednesday: It will be my boys and I on our own for dinner and we need something quick before soccer and football practice so we are having frozen pizza and a salad.
  • Thursday: Breakfast casserole, biscuits and fruit (recipe to follow in another post)
All of these things were put together with things already in my fridge and pantry. I have just had to pick up milk, eggs, fresh fruit and sandwich stuff to make school lunches this week.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Switch to Silk Challenge

I am member of Bzz Agent, which is the leading social marketing company. They help people find, try and share cool products, services and brands. It's like the recommendations you already share — just easier and more fun. For more information and to join,

Bzz Agent recently sent me information about the Silk for Milk 10 day Challenge and asked me to share information about Silk and to ask my friends and family to take the challenge. Why might you want to swap out milk for Silk?
To find out more, visit

  • All three varieties of Silk are cholesterol-free and contain as much calcium as typical dairy milk. (Silk soymilk, Silk pure Almond almondmilk, and Silk Pure Coconut coconutmilk)
  • There are 18 delicious options to choose from
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To help one of my followers, take the Silk for Milk challenge I am giving away one coupon for a FREE Half gallon of any flavor Silk.
To enter, just post in the comments section that you are a follower and which flavor of Silk you would like to try with your free coupon and leave your email address so I can contact you if you win. (A random winner will be chosen, Weds. April 27th)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mac and Cheese and memories

I always thought my Mom made the BEST Macaroni and Cheese!! We never had boxed mac and cheese at our house because I am allergic to the yellow dyes in the "cheese" in those boxes so for my Mom to make homemade Macaroni and cheese it was a special occasion.
So one day as an adult, I was craving some good mac and cheese so I called my Mom to ask for her recipe and she said to look on the back of the box of Mueller's elbow macaroni. Now I know she was just following a recipe, but whatever she did it I remember it was special!

So here it is straight from

Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese

Always a family favorite, macaroni and cheese is the classic comfort food that’s easily prepared!

Mueller's Elbow Macaroni

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 35 min Serves 6

  • 8 ounces Mueller's Elbow Macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded American or Cheddar cheese, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cook pasta 6 minutes. Drain.
  3. In medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, salt, dry mustard & pepper in medium saucepan. Stir in milk until smooth. Add margarine, stirring constantly.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in 1-3/4 cups cheese until melted. Add cooked pasta. Pour into greased 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake uncovered 25 minutes, or until lightly browned

Hint: The key to cooking this is PATIENCE. I stir the sauce constantly until it thickens. Also, the sharper the cheese, the better.

I shared this today since this is one of the dishes I made for our Easter lunch potluck with our family.

Happy Easter and the Announcement of the winners of my first Giveaway!!

Since there were only 4 entries to my first giveaway, I am sending all 4 followers a package of goodies from my Philadelphia Cooking Creme Houseparty!!

Congrats to:
Tammy and
I will be contacting you all by email to arrange delivery. Hope you all have a Happy Easter holiday!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Foil-Baked Chicken

6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 Kikkoman Less Sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, chopped
18 (12 inch square) pieces of aluminum foil

Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine cornstarch, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar, cilantro, ginger and garlic. Add chicken and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered at least 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Fold each piece of foil in half twice to make a 6 inch square. Place a spoonful of chicken in the center of each piece of foil, dividing it equally. Fold foil squares on the diagonal; fold edges to seal. Place on a nonstick baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or into chicken is no longer pink in the center.

We served the chicken with buckwheat noodles with a Kikkoman's Ponzu dipping sauce and broccoli.

Source: Kikkoman, Dim Sum and then some recipe booklet

Buffalo Chicken Salad

2 Hearts of Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
2 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup Blue cheese crumbles
1 package, 3/4-1 pound chicken tenders cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon of veg oil
2 tablespoons of butter
salt and pepper
1/4 cup hot sauce ( we like Frank's red hot sauce)

Preheat skillet over med-high heat.
Combine lettuce, carrots and celery in a salad bowl. Combine ranch dressing and blue cheese crumbles in a small bowl.
Add oil and butter to hot pan with the chicken. Season with salt and pepper and sear for 2 to 3 minutes, then add hot sauce. Reduce heat a little and cook 5 minutes more.
Toss salad with dressing and season with salt and pepper. Top salad with Buffalo chicken and serve.

Source: Rachael Ray

We made this dish the first time to have during the Super Bowl and made other "bar" type food along with it; like mozzarella sticks and curly fries. It is an easy week night meal and my kids really like it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Bar B Q Pulled Pork Sandwiches

This is another crock pot meal for our family. It is so easy; you just put the pork in the crock pot in the morning and let it cook on low all day and then pull it and shred it for sandwiches when it is time to eat dinner.
There are so many recipes out there for pulled pork but I just throw some sliced onions and maybe sliced bell peppers (whatever I have in the fridge that needs to be used up) and a bottle of our favorite Bar B Q sauce over the pork and cook on low.

I don't know a lot about cuts of meat so I usually ask the butcher at the grocery store which cut will work best for my recipe.
After searching online, this seems to be the cut of meat that comes up the most for using for pulled pork; Boston Butt roast.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Teriyaki Chicken Stew (crockpot recipie)

1 1/2 pounds, boneless, skinless chicken thighs; cut into 1 inch pieces
1 bag (16 oz) frozen Asian stir fry vegetable blend (such as Birds eye)
2 cups halved baby carrots
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups broccoli florets

Combine chicken, vegetables, carrots, broth and 6 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce in the slow cooker. Cover; cook on HIGH 2 1/2 hours or LOW for 5 hours
Stir together remaining 2 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce and cornstarch. Stir teriyaki mixture into slow cooker along with broccoli and cook additional 30 minutes or until sauce has thickened.

Serve over white rice, if desired.

Source: Family Circle Magazine; November 2010

Postscript: My family tried this recipe for the first time tonight and it was not a hit...
I used chicken breast instead of chicken thighs (since it is what I had in the freezer) and the chicken came out dry and the whole dish was bland. We love love oriental food but this is not a dish we will cook again.
I guess it goes to show not every dish in a magazine will turn out great.

Taco Tuesdays!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chicken Ceasar Wraps

This is another variation on our "Make your own" theme.
For this dinner, I prep a platter of the following:
Shredded Chicken
Romaine Lettuce
Sliced Tomatoes
Shredded carrots
Mozzarella and/or Parmesan Cheese
Caesar Dressing

Then I everyone makes their own wrap on any of the following flour tortillas, flatbread, or Flatout wraps.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Greek Pizzas

This dinner is a variation of our "make you own pizza" dinner night.
For these Greek Pizzas we use flatbread instead of pizza crust and hummus instead of pizza sauce.
You could have these as a vegetarian "pizza" or use chicken along with your vegetables. If using chicken, you can just saute chicken breast pieces with salt and pepper or use shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees; we bake these flatbread pizzas on a pizza stone in the oven.

Top each flatbread with hummus and then top with any of the following as desired.
  • spinach
  • cherry tomatoes
  • onion (red or white)
  • feta cheese
  • mozzarella cheese
  • olives
  • chicken
  • red pepper flakes if you like it spicy
Cook until cheese is melted and browned.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Menu for the week

Menu for the upcoming week

Sunday: Greek Pizzas
Monday: Chicken Ceasar wraps for the kids and Takeout sushi for Mom and Dad to celebrate our 19th Anniversary!!
Tuesday: Taco Night
Wednesday: Teriyaki Chicken Stew and Rice
Thursday: BBQ Pork Sandwiches
Friday: Buffalo Chicken Salad
Saturday: Foil Baked Chicken, Stir Fry Veggies and rice or noodles

Dinner Out Celebration

I did not post a new meal on Thursday because we went out for a celebration. Our son who is in 3rd grade was taking the FCAT this week at school and Thursday was the last day so we let him pick out a restaurant for a celebration that the week of testing was complete.
We do not go out to eat very often especially during the week, but when we do we try to save money by going to restaurants on their "Kids Eat Free" nights.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My First Giveaway

Since this is a "Foodie" type blog, I thought I would let you all know about some of the great websites that I get ideas for new products, coupons, recipes and of course, FREE STUFF!!!
One of the great websites I frequent is The way this site works after you become a Houseparty member is you fill out questionnaires related to products and if your profile is chosen you are sent some great products to host a party and spread the word about the featured product.

From the Houseparty site:

What is a House Party?

House Party lets people who really love something host a special event featuring a fun, free, exclusive experience sponsored by the world's leading brands.

Cool people sharing cool stuff. A House Party is thousands of parties happening across the country on a single day, hosted by people just like you. Each event is sponsored by a leading brand and focuses on something cool–like a new product, hit TV show, or great cause–that the sponsor wants its best fans to experience firsthand and share with their friends. (Check out some of our recent events.)

You host. Everyone wins. House Party lets you share the stuff you like with the people you like, through a fantastic, free party experience. What's the catch? There is none: Our partners understand that if they share something good with the right people in a fun way, we'll all help spread the word.

Recently I had the opportunity to host a Houseparty for PHILLY Dinnertime Dilemma House Party for their new product PHILADELPHIA Cooking Creme. My family and friends have enjoyed at least 4 of the recipes that were included in the Houseparty host package. The cooking creme is so easy to use and you can add it to just a few ingredients that you most likely already have at home to make a great meal.

I would like to share some of the great "goodies" from this PHILADELPHIA Cooking Creme Houseparty with 2 lucky followers of my blog.

Please become a follower of my blog and post in the comments section that you follow my blog and leave a comment below with your e-mail address where I can contact you.

For an extra entry, Go to and check out their latest Houseparties and comment on which party you would like to host.

This giveaway will end 4/23/2011.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kraft First Taste

Check out your Kraft First Taste account and see if you have any new offers. I just checked mine and was able to print out a coupon for $1 off one pack of any Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese with a touch of Philadelphia.

If you don't have a Kraft First Taste account, sign up at

As a member of the Kraft First Taste community, take advantage of the opportunity to:
  • Be among the first to know
    about the latest featured products from Kraft Foods.
  • Share great products
    with friends and family by spreading the word and voicing your opinions.
  • Connect to the community
    to meet others with a zest for trying new things.
  • Keep informed
    with the latest activities and buzz that's happening at Kraft Foods.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner

It was a busy night of flag football and soccer practice at our house so we needed something easy for dinner. We do breakfast for dinner at least once every couple of weeks. Breakfast for dinner is also quite economical because most of the ingredients needed are already in your pantry and refrigerator and can be put together quite easily.
Tonight we had French Toast, Bacon and Apple Slices.
Some other breakfast ideas for dinner are:

Pancakes (We do many different flavors; Banana, Blueberry, Chocolate chip and sometimes we add sprinkles and call them Confetti Pancakes)
Homemade waffles
Omelets (which my oldest son used to call Wallets)
Hole in Ones (if you don't know what these are I will post a picture next time I make them)
Breakfast Casserole (so many different versions; I will post these when I make them)

What other ideas do you have for breakfast for dinner? Please post ideas in the comments section.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thai Chicken (Crockpot Meal)

Thai Chicken
3/4 cup light coconut milk
1 Tbsp red curry paste
1 tsp grated ginger
1 1/2 lb boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
lime wedges for serving

In a 5-6 qt. slow cooker, combine coconut milk, curry paste and ginger; mix in the chicken, peppers and onion.
Cook, covered until chicken is cooked through, on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
Stir in the peas into the chicken mixture and cook, covered until heated through about 3 minutes. Spoon the chicken, vegetables and sauce over rice noodles or rice (We like Jasmine rice) and sprinkle with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

*Our family likes a little more spice so we add more red curry paste than the recipe calls for and we felt like adding sea salt brought out the flavors in the dish.
We also like the dish a little more saucy so we used a whole can of coconut milk (13.5 oz) instead of just 3/4 cup that the recipe calls for.

** Source: Womansday magazine; March 2011

Easy, Fun Kids' Dessert

Here is an Easy, Fun and Nutritious Dessert

Monday, April 11, 2011

Creamy Crockpot Italian Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (cut into pieces)
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
1/3 cup of water
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 can (4 oz) mushrooms stems and pieces, drained
Hot cooked rice, noodles or mashed potatoes

Place the chicken breast pieces in a slow cooker. Combine salad dressing mix and water; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low 3 hours. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together cream cheese and soup until blended. Stir in mushrooms. Pour cream cheese mixture over chicken. Cook 1-3 hours longer until chicken juices run clear. Serve over rice, noodles or mashed potatoes.
I also plan to either make a salad or make what my kids call "Oriental Vegetables" which is cut up veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots with rice wine vinegar and soy sauce so they have a pickled effect. I usually cut the veggies up several hours before dinner and let them marinate in the soy sauce and vinegar in the refrigerator until dinner time.

I came across this recipe in a thread called "What's for supper tonight?" on one of my favorite coupons/deals websites called

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cowboy Beans and Spicy Hushpuppies

Tonight we had one of our old stand by meals. We first had this recipe when a member of our Multiples group brought it to us after Alex and Luke were born and we were relying on the kindness of others just to eat at times. This afternoon we had an activity that would keep us away from the house until close to dinner time so we prepped everything and then put it in the crock pot and it was ready for us when we got home.

Cowboy Beans
1 lb of ground turkey, pre-cooked and drained
1 large can Bush's Baked Beans (any flavor except bold and spicy)
1 can of chili beans (drained)
1can of black beans (drained)
1/3 cup of Brown sugar
1/4 cup of Barbecue sauce (we like Sweet Baby Rays)
Cinnamon to taste

Add all ingredients to crock pot and cook at least 3-4 hours.
**Variations: 2 of any type of beans can be used; navy beans, pinto beans, butter beans etc. You could also use different types of meats like turkey italian sausage or Lil Smokies sausage for a little kick. It is a very flexible recipe.
This was created by a friend of a friend, she had 3 hungry kids to feed and sometimes would just dump stuff together and call it "Cowboy beans" and the kids loved it.

One thing, my husband has added to this meal that we all love is he makes very flavorful hush puppies to dip into the Cowboy Beans. He adds all kinds of spices to an ordinary Hush puppy packet (red curry paste, garam masala, scallions, cilantro and more).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sushi at Home

Our whole family loves sushi but Sushi at restaurants can be so expensive. My husband has researched and figured out how to make great sushi rice and we love to experiment with different types of sushi rolls. Sometimes we just make a platter full of easy, simple California rolls and other times we get exotic and make Eel rice. We try keep the ingredients on hand for sushi so it is easy to roll up a few rolls without running to the store. Here is a list of some of those ingredients:
  • Nori (the seaweed for wrapping the sushi rolls)
  • Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Crab for California Rolls (we use imitation crab that we buy at a local oriental market)
  • Cucumbers
  • Avocado
  • Eggs for making Tamago ( the Japanese name for a sweet egg omelet)
For my local friends, the oriental market we frequent for our sushi supplies is Gigi's Oriental Market, 1751 E Edgewood Dr, Lakeland, FL 33803, (863) 683-6778 and for a bigger selection but a little further drive a great market is MD Oriental Market in Brandon.

The idea for a new blog...

In the past, 5 pm was a horrible time at my house. When my boys were little, I was just in survival mode and not very organized so I would always wonder what to make for dinner each night. Then I decided to get organized and make a weekly menu. Having a weekly menu has helped out in so many ways around our house.
  1. Less stress and worrying each afternoon about what to make for dinner.
  2. Less going out to eat so we save money and eat healthier dinners at home.
  3. Less going back and forth to the grocery store since I shop once a week (with the exception of maybe picking up more milk or fresh produce during the week)
  4. Less questions from my boys since they can just look at the menu board and know what to expect each night for dinner.
In my blog, I plan to post each weeks menus and information about them such as; recipes, pictures, ways to save and websites I get ideas from for my meals and savings.

Here is a picture of this weeks' menus. You can see it on my fridge along side our very full monthly calendar, birthday invitations, sports schedules and magnetic to do and shopping lists.