I know you want to know what I have learned after all those hours of Food Network

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Burrito filling

When our family has tacos/burritos, we don't use the old fashioned taco seasoned beef..we make this delicious and easy recipe handed down from Trevor's mom.

What you need:
1 lb ground beef
1 can chili (whatever kind you like)
2 or 3 TBLS bbq sauce (again whatever kind you like is fine)

You start by browning the beef, like this:

After the beef is browned, drain the fat off. Return it to the pan and add the chili and the bbq sauce, like this:

Mix it all together and heat through. It will look like this:

Just put on a soft tortilla with your favorite taco fixings! MMMM...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Taco Salad..sorry no pics :(

Tonight we had one of Trevor's most favorite meals! Taco salad is pretty easy and delish!

First you make the meat. Here is what you will need:
1 lb ground meat
1/2 C salsa
the juice of 1 lime

Brown the meat and drain it if needed. After draining, add salsa and the lime juice, then let it heat through. YOU DID IT!

Here is the construction order of the PERFECT salad:

Take a pretty good handful of Nacho Cheese Doritos and crush them up on your plate. Take some salad, today I diced up some iceberg lettuce and added tomatoes, but you can used bagged no problems, and top the chips with it. Add a sprinkling of the meat, a bit of shredded cheese, Hidden Valley Ranch, and a bit of salsa.

There you have it. A delicious and healthy meal in minutes! I will post pictures next time we have it, I swear!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sweedish Meatballs

To make these meatballs, I followed this recipe:
1 egg
1/2 c dehydrated onion
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 c. milk
1 TBLS grill seasoning
1 c. oatmeal
1 can mushroom soup
Mix all ingredients except the soup together, form into balls (smaller balls are best), brown on both sides in butter. Place in crock pot. Put in soup and 1 can water. Simmer in crock pot for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Serves 8.

Andruw and Caity loved rolling the meatballs:

I browned them off in a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil before throwing them in the crock pot

Serve over rice. I used brown because that is what I had!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Creative cooking on a budget

So, about a week ago, my friend Jennifer G. moved into her own place. The situation being what it was, she didn't have a pan or money to buy one until she gets paid again. She was just sooo sick of eating foods that can be cooked in the microwave, and she really craving a grilled cheese sandwich. She asked me if I thought that tin foil would work. Since she has an electric stove, I thought that it would be a good plan, and encouraged her to try it. Here is what she did:

Place tinfoil over a unit with the heat on medium. Butter the bread on the outsides and put a slice of cheese on the inside. Place the buttered surface on the hot tin foil and let cook until golden:

Turn the sandwich and let cook on the other side as well. It may not be perfect, but it is a creative way to cook when you don't have a pan....moving day perhaps?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

One of our family's favorite dinners is chicken enchiladas. I don't make it much, but I am not sure why since it is so easy and delish! Here is what you need:

1/2 to 3/4 of a pound of chicken (cut into small cubes)
1 can green chili's (optional)
1 jalapeno, cut into a small dice (optional)
2 TBLS sour cream
2 regular sized (or 1 family sized can) of cream of chicken soup
8 tortillas (this time I used 7 because I was missing one...oh well)
2 to 3 cups of shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
*NOTE* (NOT PICTURED) 1 lime, both the zest and the juice (optional). I decided to add this to the filling this time and it was a hint of amazingness....

To start, you will put some oil in the pan with you jalapenos and let them start to saute. I also add onion flakes for flavor. This is what it looks like in the pan:

Once the jalapenos start to cook (they will become a rich green and you will start to smell them) then you add the chicken (I season my chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder) to the pan as well as the can of green chilis. (This is where I zested my lime and added the juice). Saute until the chicken is cooked through. This is is what you will be looking at:

After the chicken is cooked, you will add about half of one of the cans of cream of chicken soup to the pan and 1 TBLS of the sour cream. Mix it all together and you have your filling. This is what it looks like:

Here is a picture step by step on how to fill your enchiladas: (if you have questions, comment and I will let you know more details, but I think that the picture explains...)

Place the tortillas in a baking dish. I would have preferred one smaller than what I used last night, but it worked okay, and it was what I had!

To make your sauce, you will used the last can and a half of cream of chicken soup, the remaining TBLS of sour cream, and 2 TBLS milk. Wisk them together:

Pardon the sideways picture, but you will dump the sauce over the rolled enchilada's in your pan:

Top with the remaining cheese:

Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted and the enchilada's are hot thought:

Soooo delish! Enjoy your adventures.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rice a Roni Dinner

Today we are making Rice-a-Roni dinner. Here is what you will need:

1 pound ground beef
2 small cans tomato soup
2 small boxes or 1 family size box of chicken flavored Rice a Roni
1 cup shredded cheese
5 cups of water

Start out by browning the hamburger.. I don't drain it, but if you do, then you will just have to add the butter that the Rice a Roni box calls for.

After the hamburger is browned, add the rice and vermicelli from the box to your pan and saute until the vermicelli starts to brown

Next, you will add in the 5 cups of water and the seasoning packets from the Rice a Roni box

Bring the water to a boil, then cover and simmer for the 15 to 20 minutes that the box calls for, until the water is absorbed. It will look like this:

Next you will add in the tomato soup and the cheese:

Here is the final product. I put a little extra cheese on the top to make it look fancier for you, but you can leave that out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bean Dip! A crockpot dinner.

Trevor's mom makes this delicious bean dip. It is a hot bean dip. This is my version of said bean dip.

3 cans of refried beans
1 can of green chilis
1 can chopped olives
1 lb of hamburger, browned
2 cups of shredded cheese
2 cups of ketchup
1 jalapeno, diced (you can just use a can)
Onion flakes (you can use fresh, but I didn't have any)
vegetable oil spray

Spray a frying pan with pan spray. Place diced jalapeno and onion into the pan and allow to saute until the jalapeno turns a dark green and you can smell it.

Then add the hamburger to the pan and brown it.

Meanwhile, open all of your cans and open them up, emptying the contents into your crockpot. add the ketchup and hamburger, once browned through, and the cheese. Stir together.

Cook on high for 1 to 2 hours or low for 3 to 4 until the cheese is well melted and all ingredients have come together. Serve with tortilla chips. Delish!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cake from scratch...

Last night we were having a small celebration for Caity's birthday at my mom's house. I know that it seems like Caity had a birthday that lasted a week, but now you know why I think my birthday is a week long. We celebrate with my dad and with my mom and sometimes even with Trevor's mom, if she is up. So yeah, that makes for 3 or 4 birthday parties.

Anyway, I remembered yesterday on the way to church that I hadn't made Caity a cake, and also, I didn't have a cake mix or frosting. I went over to my mom's to see if she had one that I could still, but she also had only brownies and no cake. I was about to go to the store to get a cake mix when I realized that I probably had everything that goes in a cake in my pantry. I came home, googled a recipe, and baked a cake from scratch. If you google 1-2-3-4 Cake you will probably find the exact recipe that I used, but it wasn't too delish, just okay. I also made the icing. I made that with 3 cups powdered sugar, half a cup of butter, 2 tsp vanilla, and a splash of milk. I also added some red and blue food coloring to make it purple. I would have to say that I am getting pretty crafty after all! dun dun dun!

Friday, April 29, 2011


Tonight I made the most beautiful lasagna. It was so delicious. I don't do anything special when I make lasagna..Sorry I didn't take the step by step pictures again...but here is how I do it:

Layer ingredients:
Layer 1) 2 lbs hamburger, browned and drained, then mixed with 2 cans Hunts spaghetti sauce
Layer 2) Mozzarella cheese
Layer 3) Parmesan
Layer 4) 3 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
Layer 5) cottage cheese

Repeat the layers 4 times, then pour remaining meat and sauce over the top, then top with one more layer of the cheeses. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until the cheese is melted through. Allow to sit for 10 minutes after baking for the layers to set up...and Voila! amazing

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Birthday Cupcakes

Today was Caity's birthday and I thought it would be fun to make cupcakes with her. I have been watching a little bit of Food Network's show Challenge, and there was a cupcake challenge a few weeks ago that made me want to make some cupcakes with the icing piped on. Well, as you can see, I have done it.

I just went to Walmart and bought some frosting along with a cupcake decorating kit (disposable piping bags and 3 decorating tips and 1 filling tip) I used 2 of my new tips today on these cupcakes, just going around the cupcake in circles from the outside in. After this, I let Caity put on the sprinkles.

These cupcakes were just what I needed to get my creative cooking flowing again. I have so much to share, and I just know that I can do it. Look forward to more upcoming posts!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mexican Chicken and Rice

Last night's dinner was surprisingly AMAZING! I made one of the recipes on the back of my Minute Rice box, with a slight modification.

These are the ingredients:
1 TBLS oil
2 medium bell peppers, any color
1 lb chicken breast halves (I cut mine up into bite size pieces even though the recipe didn't)
1 pkg frozen corn, thawed (I only used half a package, and I didn't thaw it out)
1 cup chunky salsa
2 cups water
2 cups Minute Rice
Shredded cheese to taste

Here is what I did (you can thank Katie Meidell for additional pictures showing some steps)-

Cut up the bell peppers into a small dice. This is also when I cut up the chicken into bite size dices. Add your oil to a hot skillet, then add peppers and chicken. Cook until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally (the box said to cover it and if you are leaving the chicken whole, you should cook it for 4 minutes on 1 side, then 4 minutes on the other, also stirring the peppers occasionally). Also, the box calls for no seasoning, but I used seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic powder on my chicken, then salt and pepper with each step :)

After the chicken is cooked through, and the peppers are tender, add the salsa, water, and corn and bring to a simmer.

Add the rice to the simmering mixture, stir, then top with cheese and cover. Bring heat down to low and let cook for 5 minutes.

I chose to serve this with sour cream since the salsa that I used was "medium heat" and my kids don't like spice at all really. Here is the finished product:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chicken Roll ups

One of Trevor's favorite meals, I try to duplicate what his mom can do. This is a simple, yet delish creation.

4 chicken breasts
1 box chicken flavored stuffing, made according to package directions
1 can Golden Mushroom soup mixed with 1 can full of water

Usually I stuff the breasts by rolling them around the stuffing, but today I was using half breasts to save money, so I cut them in half and put the stuffing inside. Place the chicken and stuffing into a baking dish. When you have stuffed all of the breasts, you just dump the left over stuffing into the baking dish around the chicken. Take the Golden Mushroom soup mixture and poor over chicken and stuffing. Bake at 350 degrees until the chicken is cooked through (usually 30 to 50 minutes)

To make this a meal, try baked potatoes and cream corn. Sooo perfect. (No we didn't have the corn today)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Grocery Shopping day

So, I was really sad when I realized that there just weren't enough coupons in my not-yet-built-up supply to save me killer amounts on food. I resigned myself to the fact that I would probably spend $100 on food yet again (which isn't too bad considering it includes 3 balanced meals a day for my family and breakfast and lunch is also provided to 4 other kids) but still, I was sad.

Price matching is great, but I just really wanted to try other stores besides Walmart. Macey's is having it's Grand Opening in my town, so that is where I chose to do most of my shopping this week, just to try it out. It is a block from Walmart, so convenience wasn't an issue. But before Macey's we went to Smith's to get a couple things that were just cheaper than we could find any where else, eggs, butter, and bone in chicken. I spent $10.

Next was Macey's. I had a list for all the things that I needed this week and I was ready to go. I think that the most notable deals were Grandma Sycamore's bread 4 for $5 (savings of over $8 when you buy 4 loafs!!) and broccoli and cauliflower were $0.25 a pound. Another deal, but one that I didn't take advantage of this week, was turkey steaks for $7.99. This is about half price, but since this sale was carried over from last week, I have enough in my freezer! The only things that I didn't buy at Macey's because I KNEW that Walmart had much better prices, so I couldn't do it was Stove Top stuffing, sour cream, and Hidden Valley Ranch. I came out of Macey's at just around $46. Short stint to Walmart to pick up the missing items was $8 (milk was also missing). So even though I only used 1 coupon, $0.50 in value, I only spent $66!!! YAY for me! Here is our menu for the week:

Tonight: Leftovers!
Sunday: Chicken Roll ups
Monday: Mexican Chicken and Rice (found on the back of the Minute Rice box)
Tuesday: Spaghetti
Wednesday: Chicken Noodle Soup
Thursday: Stroganoff
Friday: Leftovers!

Taco Soup

This isn't really an adventure for me. It is something that I eat all the time, something that I make all the time. There are several ways to make it, and I will link in a few later on, but here is my recipe:

1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can red beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can dark kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can light kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 large can V8
1 packet Taco Seasoning
1 lb hamburger browned

Put all ingredients in the crock pot and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4.

This is what it looks like:

Here are some of the links I said I would provide:
Betty Crocker
Paula Deen
Kraft Foods

Left over Chicken

Remember the chicken from the other day? Well, it took center stage in this salad that I had for lunch on Thursday. It was really tasty, warm, chopped up and served over a tossed salad with a BBQ Ranch dressing and a little cheese. Here is what you need to know about the ranch:

1 TBLS Ranch Dressing
1 tsp BBQ Sauce

MMM, it was certainly worth eating again.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Potato Salad

Today I decided to try to kick up some potato salad. Let's say that it wasn't exactly a success in my book. Before I decided what I was going to do, I browsed several recipes and took from all of them what I thought may be good, then made my own:

1 lb potatoes
1/4 c sour cream
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 tsp yellow mustard
3 TBLS pickle juice
1/4 c chopped celery
1/8 c chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt

Boil potatoes whole with skin on until fork tender. Drain off hot water, then cover with cold water and let cool. while they are cooling, mix together all other ingredients in a bowl. Dice the potatoes to your desired size, then add them to the dressing by folding in gently. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

It just needed more seasoning (salt and pepper both) and a little more mustard for my taste. The sour cream leaves a different tang, but it is good. I will probably make it again, but be more diligent to taste the dressing before adding the potatoes!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Kicking up grilled chicken

Tonight the menu called for grilled chicken. I usually just use some Seasoned Salt or something to season it, but I wanted something a little more... fancy.

I made a marinade with the following:

1/4 c. BBQ sauce (I will use 1/3 c next time!)
1/4 c. zesty Italian dressing
The zest and juice of one lime
the zest and juice of one orange (I will use half an orange next time!)
2 TBLS chopped dehydrated onions
1 clove chopped garlic

I let it marinade in the fridge for about 2 hours, then cooked it up on my griddle. It would have probably been better on the grill, but it is only 45 degrees here, so I am NOT down with that today.

It was really good served with a fresh tossed salad on the side (chopped romaine, carrots, and celery)

Banana Cake

It happens all the time, at my house at least! Bananas getting too ripe for consumption. So what do we do? Throw them away, freeze them, maybe even make banana bread. Well, I decided that I wanted to make a cake. All the recipes that I found (using SwagBucks to search of course) used an ingredient or 2 that I don't have in my house. I knew though, that I had everything for banana bread. That is what we did! I found this recipe:
1 c. sugar
1 c. butter
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. flour
1/2 c. walnuts (optional)
Mix in order given. Put in greased loaf pans.

Bake at 350° for about 1 hour. Allow 24 hours before cutting.

Then I needed a simple icing..... I used this Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe. Yes, you will see in my picture that mine is a bit lumpy. I was too lazy to bust out my Bosch and I don't have a hand mixer yet. I think that this will be my next purchase :)

I know you want to know what I have learned after all those hours of Food Network

I have decided that I am going to find ways to kick up normal food to a new level with inexpensive ingredients that we all usually have around the house. I will share this with you with (approximate at least) recipes and pictures.

I know you are just dying with anticipation!! :)