The week has gotten away from me and recipe for Hawaiian chicken-crockpot

Well, this week has gotten the best of me.  How is it today is Thursday?  Well, I opened up the blog to find that I had lots of comments and I am also featured in this week's recipes on Feeding Four .

This is a big deal for me.  I started this blog just for fun, and it is now evolving into a showcase area on how I live.  The economy and gas prices are part of the equation.  Rising food prices are another part of the equation, but we can not change the prices on items we buy, rather we can change our eating habits. 

I can not tell everyone enough about the importance of a meal plan, but I am sure glad I made one this week.  Tonight was my first evening home all week.  On Monday, I made Hawaiian Chicken.  This recipe was good, but not great.  I think that it was in the crock pot a little long.  I think this recipe would be good with a bit more spice.  It is a bit like sweet and sour chicken.  I used peppers, onions, and pineapple.  I think I just had higher hopes for this dish.  I am planning on making it again and cooking for a shorter amount of time. 

Well, that is what has been cooking in my kitchen this week.  I hope to be able to cook a bit more and bake.  I am having house guests next week.  The dreaded in-laws are coming for a whole week.  I may blog a bit about that, but I am trying to figure out how to feed two more mouths for a week without blowing my budget.  More on that in a later post. 

Hope everyone is having a great week. 


Menu Plan Monday March 28, 2011

This week I am extremely busy.  Not only do I have the normal run around, I also have to fit in an exam on Tuesday night.  The joy of being in grad school!  I keep telling myself it will be worth it when I am finished.  Just seems like a lot to balance with a job, two kids, and a busy life.  Here is my menu for the week.

Monday: Crockpot Hula Chicken

Tuesday:  Leftovers

Wednesday:  Tater Tot Casserole -recipe to be given on Wednesday

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday:  Fish- Recipe to follow

Saturday: Hot Wings homemade style

Sunday:  Sloppy Joes


Spotlight Saturday

Between the Lines

I have decided to spotlight a blog I love to look at this week.  I love to read Learning the Frugal LIfe I have followed this blog for about a year.  I recently have restarted my blog adventure also.  I have found many useful frugal tips from Learning the frugal life. 


Beef Enchilada---(Leftover Recipe)

Here is a great new recipe I tried this week.  I made a Beef Roast in the Crock Pot this week on Wednesday.  There was a very small piece left, which I made into Beef Enchiladas.  I am constantly on a quest to repurpose leftovers into something my family will enjoy. 

These enchiladas were very fast to make and only had to bake for 30 mins.  Not bad for a weeknight meal. 

Leftover Beef Enchiladas Recipe


Servings: 6

• 1 tablespoon lite olive oil

• 1 onion, sliced

• 1 sweet red pepper, sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 2 cups cooked roast beef, cubed

• 1 can enchilada sauce
• 6 flour tortillas

• 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded


Prep Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 55 mins

1.  Saute the onion & garlic until the garlic is fragrent & the onion is soft.

2.  Add the red peppers for a minute.

3.  Remove from heat add beef and 1/2 cup enchilada sauce.

4. Spoon about 3/4 cup of the meat mixture down the middle of each tortilla.

5.  Sprinkle with 1 tbsp of cheese.

6. Fold the tortilla sides up so they overlap slightly.

7. Place them side by side, seam side down, in a 11x7 baking dish.

8.  Spoon the remaining enchilada sauce over them.
9.Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

10.  Bake in 350F degrees oven for about 30 minutes.

These turned out very good.  I would maybe add a little cheese to the beef mixture and also some red or black beans.  I served this with a side of mexican rice and corn.

Meals For Under $1.00 Challenge

As of January 1st, I took a challenge to feed my family for $1.00 a day. I have since modified that to $1.00 per serving for dinner. $1.00 a day per person was a bit difficult. I found a list on the all you website that includes 100 meals for under $1.00 a serving.  I am now meal planning the next month from this website.  I may be modifying the recipes, but I will try to let you know how these work out for my family. 

Disclaimer:  I have not been approached by all you magazine to sponsor this post.  This post is my opinion only.


I love Wednesday

Here is my wonderful Beef Roast Recipe

This is what was for dinner on a cold and rainy Tuesday Night.  My crockpot sure comes in handy on busy days.  On the nights when I have to shuttle kids to practices, this meal is sure to please.

Beef Diablo
Recipe By : Rival’s Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Cuisine; 1995

3 pounds beef arm or boneless pot roast (up to 4 lb)

3 potatoes -- peeled and sliced

1 onion -- sliced

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

1 tablespoon chili sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

serves 4 to 6

Trim all excess fat from roast. Place potatoes and onion in bottom of


Make a smooth paste of flour, mustard, chili sauce, Worchestershire sauce,

vinegar, and sugar. Spread over top of roast (cut roast in half, if

necessary, to fit easily). Place roast in Crock-Pot on top of potatoes and

onions. cover and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours or on High for 5 to 6 hours.

This was so great and tasty.  It will make great enchiladas tomorrow night.  I will definitely share that recipe with you also.

Tuesday Frugal tip of the week!

It's Tuesday, and its time for the frugal tip of the week.  This is hosted by Learning the Frugal Life.  I am proud to be able to post this week. 

My tip of the week this week, is to use substitutions in the kitchen.  Many items that we feel we "need".  We are able to make in our own kitchen.  Here is a list of items I make often and use weekly.

Taco Seasoning:

1 cup dried minced onion

1/3 cup chili powder

2 tablespoons cumin (I actually add an extra tablespoon—we love cumin)

4 teaspoons crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon oregano

4 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

Combine all ingredients and store in a cool, dry place.

When you’re using for Mexican dishes, use about 1 tablespoon or so per 1 pound ground beef, or chicken or beans. More if you like the extra flavor.

Noodle Mix

1 cup instant nonfat dry milk

2 tablespoons grated romano cheese

1/4 cup dried minced onion

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Combine ingredients and store in a sealable container or zipper topped plastic bag. This will keep for 2 months in the pantry, however, I would personally store in the fridge because of the cheese; plus it will last longer. Mark the date on the zipper topped bag with your Sharpie pen. This recipe doubles and triples well.

To Use: combine 1/4 cup mix with 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1/4 cup milk. Toss with 8 ounces pasta (cooked).

Homemade Shake and Bake

1 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup flour

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon paprika

salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and store in a sealable container or zipper topped plastic bag. This will keep up to 4 months in the pantry, depending on the humidity (you may just want to keep it in the freezer). This recipe will also double or triple well.

To Use: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place one cup mix in a plastic bag.

In a bowl, mix an egg and 1/2 cup of milk. Dip chicken pieces one at a time in the milk mixture, then shake one at a time in the plastic bag.

Place on a baking pan and bake for appropriate time (depending on the chicken you’re using—as a little as 20 minutes or up to an hour for bigger, bone-in pieces).

Homemade Flavored Rice Mixes

4 cups uncooked rice (I always use brown rice)

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients together and store in a zipper topped plastic bag or sealable container. This will keep up to 4 months if stored in a cool, dark and dry place. With brown rice, you may want to keep it in the freezer.

To Use: Mix 1 cup mix with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, place lid on rice and simmer till liquid is completely absorbed, about 20 minutes or more. Check if you need to.  (I would add an extra half cup liquid for the brown rice)

Variations: to make Vegetable Rice Mix, substitute an envelope of vegetable soup mix.

To make Spanish Rice Mix, substitute 1/2 cup Taco Seasoning (see recipe above) for envelope of onion soup.

Menu Plan Monday Kinda Late

Oh no, spring break is over!!  Newsflash, my Monday flew by without being able to post my menu for the week.  Well, It is Menu Plan Tuesday!

Monday:  Chicken Pot Pie

Used up leftover chicken and mixed veggies.  Just mixed shredded chicken, mixed veggies, and some cream soup of your choice.  Topped with a layer of biscuit mix and baked at 350 for 30 mins.  Voila!  Very easy pot pie.  My family loved it. 

Tuesday:  Beef Roast Crock Pot

Wednesday:  Beef Enchiladas

Plan is to use up the leftover beef roast.

Thursday:  Spaghetti
Friday:  Meatless Day


Recipe Roundup

Here are the recipes I made this week for my dinners.  All these fed a family of four plus some for lunches the next day.  I do not typically buy any lunch items.  I typically use leftovers for lunch.

Monday:  Chicken Fajitas

This is a pretty self explanatory supper.  I marinate four chicken breasts in a fajita seasoning most of the day.  I then grill the chicken.  I chop 1 onion, 1 green pepper, and fry in some olive oil on the stove.  I then heat up a few 10 inch tortillas of your choice.  I then cut up the chicken and place some on a tortilla and put some onions and peppers on the tortilla.  Easy and frugal.  Just how I like it.

Tuesday:  Here was a change of plans

I made hamburgers on the grill and french fries.  It was nice out and I had extra hamburger this week, so we wanted to grill.

Wednesday:  Tacos

1 lb. ground beef
packet of taco seasoning

various toppings
taco shells

This is a meal I never make the same.  I brown 1 lb. ground beef in a skillet and add taco seasoning and 3/4 cup water.  Sometimes, I do make my own taco seasoning.  I will post a list of these later.  Toppings are usually:  Olives, cheese, onion, sour cream and salsa.  I use whatever I have on hand.

Thursday: Corned beef and cabbage

In honor of St. Patrick's day, I made corned beef and cabbage.  This turned into a very cheap meal.  The cabbage was .19/ lb.  and the corned beef was $1.49/ lb.  Not too bad. I made mashed potatoes and carrots to go with this along with the St. Patrick's Day Pie.  This was a wonderful meal, that even the kids ate.

Friday:  Fish Sandwiches

I am making breaded fish fillets and putting them on a bun.  I am topping with homemade tartar sauce.  We will also be having potato salad with this. 

Tartar Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. dill pickle relish
1/4 tsp. dill pickle juice

Mix together and serve.

This is only pennies to make and tastes just as good as the sauces you can buy in the grocery store.


DIY: Frugal Cleaning Supplies

I have been looking at different ways to cut costs around the house.  This week's idea is to make my own cleaners.  This is the recipe for this week.  I will review this next Thursday and let you know how it worked out for me.  I would think that you could use any type of essential oil to get the scent you would like.  I am going to experiment this next week.

All purpose Cleaner
1-2 tablespoon dried thyme leaves

distilled white vinegar.
Put the thyme in a mason jar and fill the jar with vinegar. Let stand 2 weeks. The vinegar will turn a really pretty red. I use this to clean my kitchen, floors and my bathrooms. I only dilute when I'm mopping floors otherwise I put it a spray bottle and use full strength. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and the thyme is an anti-fungal. If you don't have thyme you can use rosemary. You can use cheap apple cider vinegar as well. I use the cheapest vinegar I can find for cleaning. I only use organic apple cider vinegar for cooking.

I clean my sinks and tubs with baking soda. It works just as well as the SoftScrub at a fraction of the cost. I buy my baking soda in 3lb bags at Costco.



St. Patricks Day Pie

1 oreo piecrust

1 envelope gelatin

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup creme de menthe syrup (found in the ice cream topping area)

20 Andes mints

1 jar marshmallow creme

1 cup whipping cream

Mix water and gelatin together and soften gelatine.  Beat the whipping cream.  Mix gelatin, creme de menthe syrup and marshmallow cream together.  Fold in whipping cream.  Chop up Andes mints and top pie with these. 

This is a great pie for a wonderful holiday.  Have a great St. Patrick's Day Everyone.  Thanks for stopping by for Friendly Wednesday.



This week brings me to spring break.  I am on spring break from my classes that I am taking and my children are also on break.  This brings me to a dillemma.


Well, the answer is simple.  I am going to find fun things to do around town that cost little to no money.  This family is trying to adjust to the higher gas prices, since my husband has a long commute each day.  Here is my list of fun things to do with the kids.

1. Go to the zoo.
     We have a zoo membership, so this doesn't cost any money.  It also gets us out of the house and     we get to experience a little something out of the ordinary.

2. Go to the library.  
     Our library has puzzles and games that we can do there.  They also leave coloring pages out on a table, so the children can have fun doing an activity.

3.  Go to an indoor playground
     I have a buy one get one free admission to our local playground for kids.  This is an indoor playground that for one admission, the kids can play for as long as we want.  I usually reserve this activity for a day that it rains.

These are my picks for spring break this year.  I am only off three days with the kids and I want to have fun.  Usually, we take a trip to an indoor water park and stay for the week.  This year we are staying home.  To create a vacation experience, we are doing the tourist type activities in our own neighborhood.  My daughter loves to read.  This is why I decided to add a trip to the library.

Post a comment about what you will be doing this Spring Break.


Menu Plan Monday 3/14

It is once again Menu Plan Monday!!!  Head on over to orgjunkie to see tons of menus and become inspired. 

Monday:  Chicken Fajitas

Tuesday:  Cheeseburger casserole

Wednesday:  Clean Out Refrigerator night (Soup or leftovers) depending what is in there.

Thursday:  Corned Beef and Cabbage

Friday:  Fish dinner at church

Here is my weekly menu.  I reserve Sat. and Sunday for family choice. This is dependent upon what we are doing during those days.  Sunday I try to make a large family meal such as roast beef or roast chicken.  This week I am trying to use up items in the refrigerator and stay out of the store.  We will see what happens.  I will be posting the recipe for cheeseburger casserole later this week. 

We are Irish and observe the holiday.  I make traditional food for this holiday.  This is the only day I make corned beef and will have leftover corned beef that I hope to make into reuben sandwiches on Sat. night. 

I hope everyone has a great week!


How to eat at a Dance Competition Frugally

My daughter is on her competition dance team.  This year we are doing three different dances.  Dance competition days can be long.  Tomorrow we are looking at around a 13 hour day.  These days need healthy snacks. I am the team mom for our group.  I am the one who always has the snacks, bandaids, and can fix all the mishaps. 

I have looked the last few weeks for items to take with us to dance competition.  Most items I have found on sale.  I try to take our own food.  Here is my menu for the weekend

Trader Joes granola cereal $2.49
granola bars  $1.99

Snack for Morning:
Trail mix $1.89
grapes $2.00
Yogurt $.25

Ham and Cheese Sandwich  $2.00

Apple with almond butter $1.00

Probably take out food 

This is my menu plan for the weekend.  I feel that it is necessary to eat healthy and not partake in the food that is sold at these events.  A family can easily spend over $100 on food for one day.  Talk about blowing the budget.


Gas Prices

Topic for today:  Gas Prices

I feel like the gas prices the past few weeks are getting almost too high for this family.  These prices have made me look at the different parts of my budget.  What is a frugal girl to do?  Well, I will be taking the next few Tuesdays to look at the rising price of gas and how to combat this increase that is likely to stay.

This past week I did the obvious.  I cut out satellite TV.  We were already subscribers to netflix so, I now have this streaming to my tv's and the kids have most of the same shows they can watch.  Now they can do this on their own schedule, not the TV's.  Getting rid of easy TV as I call it was the best thing that has happened to my family.  I did not realize how much we were watching and now all the forgotten toys are getting played with. 

Other items I am looking at are:  Cell phones vs. landline phone.  Electricity and gas useage.    Etc.  My husband has a long commute each day and the gas prices are taking their toll. 

Frugal Tuesday Tip of the week:  No more satellite TV.  This is saving my budget about $100.00/month.


Menu Plan Monday 3/7

Here it goes, I am trying to start my week with a plan.  I have been meal planning consistently since the beginning of January.  I don't always have a recipe ready to use, but I do come up with what meals I have the ingredients to make throughout the week. This week's plan:

Monday:  Southwestern Chicken Casserole (this is just like chicken enchiladas, but with a flair all its own)

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday:  Fish and Chips
Thursday:  Tacos

Friday:  Asparagus Frittata

Sat and Sun:  Not sure.  Daughter has dance competition this weekend so may have to eat out, or from the cooler.  I am thinking about making a greek pasta salad for this purpose. 
This week begins Lent in my house.  This translates into meatless Friday meals.  I always have difficulty with this.



I have been trying to figure out a way to use up some of the fabric I have been hoarding over the last few years.  I looked around and found a tutorial to make pillowcases.  This was so easy.  I made three pillowcases in less than two hours.  I am not the most able seamstress, so I take a bit longer than some. 

I have two wonderful children, who have been having a difficult time falling asleep at night, so I decided what better way to coax them to bed than by making a pillowcase with tons of love in them.  I will let you know if this works.  This was a very frugal day.  I love it when a project doesn't cost me anything.  Now I may just have to make some of these pillows to donate to the local children's hospital.  I believe that this might be a wonderful service project for some sick children. 

The pillows have been drug all over my house today.  I think they are loved.  Now to find another project.


$30 in 30 days--Update

Well the last two months have definitely gotten away from me.  January brought many illnesses to my family.  We ate many pots of soup this month.  I managed to cut my grocery spending by $200.00 in the month of January.  This was a HUGE milestone for me.  February has also come and gone.  February brought crisis to my family.  My grandma who was 86 passed away from a major stroke.  The past two weeks have been spent in hospice by her side remembering the good memories.  Since I was not at home much the last few weeks.  I have went over budget in February, but March started out well.  I am truly eating out of my freezer and will try to give weekly updates this month on how I am cutting my grocery costs.

I am also trying to cut household costs.  This week we have taken the plunge and canceled the satellite tv.  I could not understand spending $100.00 a month on TV.  I will also update on how the kids are handling this.  So far it has gone well.  They are playing with toys that have been forgotten over the last few months.