Menu Plan Week of Sept. 2 2013

This week marks the first week of September.  Where or where did summer go???  As I reflect upon the summer I now move into fall.  I absolutely love fall and can not wait for apple orchard and pumpkin patch time with my kids.  The crisp nights and mornings are a break to the hot days of summer and allow me to bask in the wonderful seasons we live in.  Although we have had a heat wave of 100 plus degrees over the past week.  Here is my menu full of grill worthy foods to celebrate the last week of summer.

Now onto the menu for the week:

Monday: Sirloin roast beef on the rotisserie. 

Tuesday: Stroganoff using the roast beef from Monday night.

Wednesday: Chicken tacos

Thursday: Grilled honey  Pork roast with Fajita pasta salad

Friday: Hamburgers

Saturday: Fried Chicken Drumsticks with buffalo sauce (Great for watching HUSKER football)

Sunday: Country club chicken

Watch for some of the recipes to come later this week ! 


Creamy Potato Salad

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This is my version of this Potato Salad Recipe.  I served this along with Blt's and corn on the cob this evening for dinner.  My family enjoyed this recipe and asked if I would make it again.  I would like to thank Mommy Hates Cooking for this great recipe.  I substituted mayonnaise for the Philadelphia cooking cream and it turned out wonderful. 
   Creamy Potato Salad 
  • 2 Lbs Red Potatoes, Boiled
  • 4 Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Celery
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Dill
  • 2 Tbsp Sweet Relish
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
  • Salt/Pepper Optional to Taste
Once the potatoes have been boiled, cut them into small cubes for the salad.
Place them in a large bowl, then add in all remaining ingredients. Stir up the ingredients coating the potatoes.
Cover the bowl and let it chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours then serve.


Menu for the Week of August 4th 2013

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Here is my wonderful menu for the week!! I am trying to get back on a schedule for the school year since school starts a week from this coming Thursday.

Sunday:  Bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches (Using tomatoes from my garden)
               Corn on the Cob 
                Potato Salad
                Peach Cobbler

Monday: Meatloaf
                Mashed Potatoes
                Green Beans

Tuesday: Chicken Ceasar Pasta Salad
                 Parmesan Knots

Wednesday: Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

Thursday: Grilled Pork Chops
                  Roasted Garlic Pasta Salad

Friday: Hamburgers
             Corn on the cob

Saturday: Tuscan Pasta with Tomato Basil Cream sauce with chicken


Where did the Summer Go?

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Well, as I sit down to write this post, I am reflecting upon the fact that my kids go back to school in 2 weeks.  WHAT???  Yes, I said two weeks, it seems as if summer just began and now it is over. This was the first summer I have had free from college in the past three years.  I was so excited to spend time with the kids and I neglected my blog for most of the summer.  Oh well, Once school starts and we get back into our routine, I will be back.  Today I am going to share some of the frugal things we did this summer. 

We got a zoo membership and enjoyed ourselves at the Des Moines Zoo and the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha.

We drove over to Lincoln Nebraska and received a free tour of Memorial Stadium (Pardon my Husband he is the Nebraska Fan amongst us).  It was a great way to keep the kids busy and also to give them some motivation!! 

We visited many parks around town

We went to the pool almost every day thanks to the yearly passes we bought.  We only needed to go 4 times to have the passes pay for themselves. 

It has been a fun and stress free summer.  Now I am going to come back to blogging and return to our normal schedule of work and play. 

My goals for the next year on my blog are to cook my way through some of the many cookbooks I have on my shelves.  I figure this will be frugal because I am not buying anymore cookbooks and also a learning experience because many of the books I have are from other countries.  I plan to attempt to write my own cookbook later this year as a hobby. We will see where that leads to. 

I am also going to share all of our home improvements we have been working on this summer. New flooring somehow has led to a whole house renovation and I am very pleased so far.  The good news with this is my husband has been doing all the work himself and I have only had to pay for the supplies.  Example of this is I have saved over $6000 on new hardwood flooring. 

I hope you enjoy the beginning of another Frugal year. 

Thank you for reading and I am going to share a new recipe.


Back to School Cookies

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups chopped mini Rees's Peanut Butter Cups

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*. In a medium saucepan combine the chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate, and the butter. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Remove from heat. Add the eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla, and baking powder. Stir with a spoon until combined. Stir in the white chocolate chips and the mini peanut butter cups.
  2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges are firm. Let cool on sheets for 2 minutes then remove to wax paper to cool all the way. Store at room temperature in an airtight container. Keep the layer separated with wax paper. Makes 36 cookies.
Adapted From Taste of Home Holiday Recipes 2012


Menu Plan Monday 5/27

This week I am hopeful the rain slows down.  I have been wanting to finish up my planting and each and every day I have had off has rained.  It now is too wet to plant..UgH

My menu this week is simple.  I have been cleaning my house and purging all my junk.. Man does it feel good.  I hope to get my basement done in the next week and then the WHOLE house will have been cleaned. 

Here is my simple menu plan for the week

Monday: Slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches, broccoli salad, and baked beans.  A indoor cookout meal :) 

Tuesday:  leftovers

Wednesday: Bratwurst, roasted potatoes and fruit salad

Thursday: Grilled chicken Asparagus, and tossed salad

Friday: Marinated grilled pork chops, corn on the cob, and broccoli

I will be linking up to www.orgjunkie.com 


Menu plan Monday April 29, 2013

Here is this week's menu for menu plan monday.  I have three recipes I did not end up making last week and therefore,  I just added to them to this week's planner.  How easy was that.  I didn't even have to grocery shop this week, which in itself is a savings of at least $100 or more.  I have been averaging about $150 a week in the past few months.   I will have to go to the store and get some milk etc., but it will be later in the week. 
As with last week, I will add some recipes after I have tried them.  The recipes in colored text will be the ones I review later this week. 

Snacks (2)
Wish you were here mediterranean pasta
 poptarts/ cereal
Slow cooker pork roast and apples
Grapes and cheese cubes
Cheese Caprese---w/ Tomatoes
 Mystery Snack!!
Dinner out for Preschool Graduation Celebration
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Beef Diablo

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This recipe had good flavor and my family thought it was just ok.  If I make this again, I would add some water to it before cooking for some juice.  There wasn't much gravy that was made from the beef roast I had.  Our grocery store recently changed their brand of meat, and I am still trying to figure out how to cook with it.  It seems to be a bit more drier than I like.  The original recipe called for this to cook for 10 hours.  I let mine cook 8 hours and it was a bit overdone.  Like brown/blackened edges.  I use my crockpot a lot, but I still find it to be a bit tricky to get the time right and not burn the recipes.  Oh well, it may be the last roast of the season as we are supposed to get 80 degree temps in the next week!! I am so ready for spring.

Beef Diablo

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 8-10 hours or on High for 5 to 6 hours.




Creamy Basil Chicken Pasta

This meal was an easy throw together meal.  Sunday's are our fun day and we usually work in the yard or do fun things with the kids.  We spent most of our beautiful Sunday at the park with the kids and when we came home it was dinner time.  I had cooked the chicken for this recipe the day before and therefore the only thing I had to do was throw together dinner.  We enjoyed this meal and I sure hope you do too!!

Creamy Basil Chicken Pasta

6 oz. (2 1/2 cups) uncooked rainbow rotini (spiral pasta)

2 cups frozen cut broccoli

1 cup nonfat sour cream

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup skim milk

1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken breast

3/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves

1 (4.5-oz.) jar sliced mushrooms, drained

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


In large saucepan or Dutch oven, cook rotini to desired doneness as directed on package, adding broccoli during last 5 minutes of cooking time.


Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, combine sour cream and flour; blend well. Stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until hot but not boiling. Stir in chicken, basil, mushrooms and 3 tablespoons of the cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated.


Drain rotini and broccoli; return to saucepan. Add chicken mixture; toss to coat. Place mixture in serving dish or on serving platter; sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon cheese.


Menu Plan Week of April 22

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Here is what my menu plan for the week looks like this week.  This is the chart I make and print out each week to keep me organized.  I have all the recipes also saved for the week on my computer that is in my kitchen.  To feed my family of four for the week, I spent $114 this week.  Not too bad, and I am sure we will have leftovers possibly one night also.  This usually will happen because when I begin trying new recipes, there will be leftovers because something will make more than it called for.  Look later in the week for the recipes.  I will be posting them as I try them out.

all week
Creamy basil chicken pasta
 poptarts/ cereal
Beef Diablo (slow cooker)
Slow cooker chicken cacciatore
Slow cooker pork roast and apples
Mexican torta
Wish I was there mediterranean pasta

Date Night Eats!!

Last night was date night in my house.  For date night, I try to take our taste buds on an adventure.  This week this adventure went to India.  I had never had this dish, but I must say it was wonderful atop rice and peas.  I mixed in about a cup of frozen peas into the rice and my hsuband and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner that tased as if it were from a great restaurant.  The great news is I get to eat more of it today for lunch.  I have leftover pita's and I am going to heat up some of the chicken and rice and eat it as a sandwich.  Yum!!!

1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp table salt
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
juice of half a lime
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced fine (about 1-1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tsp)
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chili, ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced
1 can tomato soup
1 tbsp garam masala
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp table salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

For the chicken: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, lime juice, and  ginger;
set aside.

For the sauce: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chili, tomato soup, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve. Serve with basmati rice and pita bread wedges. Serves 4 to 6.


Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

To have a healthy meal this week, I made this wonderful beef and broccoli stir fry.  My family loved it, and they are one's to not like their veggies.  I have been trying to find ways to add in veggies without it seeming like there are veggies in the dish.  This was definitely a success, even with my picky eaters. 

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1/2 cup water, plus
  • 2 tablespoons water, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 lb sirloin cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 small onion, cut into wedges
  • 1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • hot cooked rice


In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons water and garlic powder until smooth.  Add beef and toss.  In a large skillet or wok over medium high heat, stir-fry beef in 1 tablespoon oil until beef reaches desired doneness; remove and keep warm.  Stir-fry broccoli and onion in remaining oil for 4-5 minutes.  Return beef to pan.  Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and remaining cornstarch and water until smooth; add to the pan.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Serve over rice.


Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

This week was my husband's birthday and he stated he wanted something chocolate.  What better than chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes...These are chocolate cupcakes with a strawberry whipped cream frosting follwed by chocolate covered strawberries on top.  What a lucky Husband I have!!




Chocolate Covered Straberry Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
  3. Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Strawberry Whipped Cream Recipe

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons food processed strawberries (take some fresh strawberries, wash them, remove the stems, and throw them in the food processor until they become a thick, seedy liquid)
  1. Whip cream until it looks like whipped cream.
  2. Mix in sugar.
  3. Mix in strawberries until just combined.
  4. Be sure to frost your cupcakes before you eat all of the strawberry whipped cream

Chicken Florentine Soup

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This soup was a great addition to my weekly dinner meal.  I absolutely loved it.


  • 1 cup uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 package (6 ounces) ready-to-use chicken breast cuts
  • 4 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) roasted sweet red peppers, drained and sliced
  • 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1-1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup Alfredo sauce
  • 3 tablespoons prepared pesto
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute the chicken, spinach, red peppers, rosemary, garlic powder and pepper in butter until spinach is wilted. Stir in the broth, Alfredo sauce and pesto; cook for 4-5 minutes or until heated through.
  • Drain pasta and add to the soup. Sprinkle with pine nuts and cheese. Yield: 5 cups.

Happy Spring!!

Well, it has been a little while since I last posted.  I have been getting my homestead ready for spring.  There has been many rains and cold days, but it is coming along.  I am taking advantage of the weather today to plant some sprouted daffodils, hyacinth, crocus, and tulips that I had sprouted in the house.  I sprouted them in the house because I forgot to plant them last fall when I was very busy.  Well, I sprouted the plants indoors and low and behold they sprouted.  Hopefully, they will be a great addition to my spring flower garden. 

I will also be back later today with a wonderful Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcake recipe.  Stay tuned and it will also sprout later today :)!!  Pin It


Lean Cuisine Culinary Collection Chef's Pick Meals Product Review

Recently I started on a weight loss journey and I am glad to say that I am down a few pounds.  Only 40 something more to go.  I wish it wasn't so much work to take the pounds off.  I am a very busy mom and many nights I find myself looking for something very quick to eat in between picking up the kids from various activities.  This sometimes leads me to the drive through.  Until I found the Lean Cuisine Chef's Pick Meals. 

The Chef's Pick Meals are made by chef's and are supposed to resemble meals you would find at restaurants. The meals are very affordable and are usually around $2.00 per meal.  I tried the Chicken Carbonara. I found the meals to be a wonderful option for those busy nights when you do not want to have to stop for take out.

Lean Cuisine Culinary Collection: Chicken Carbonara

This meal was wonderful.  It had 240 calories and 21 grams of protein.  I found this meal to be very filling and tasty.  The sauce was creamy and everything I love about chicken carbonara.  Except it didn't have the guilt attached to it when I eat it out somewhere.  I will definitely be buying this meal again and can not wait to try others in this collection. 

I would like to add for dinner, you would probably want to add a large salad to go with the portion.  While, the serving would be perfect for a lunch, it was a bit small for dinner.  I love the convenience this product provides and am looking forward to trying the chicken pecan that I have in my freezer right now. 

Question:  Have you tried any of these new Lean Cuisine Meals yet and what is your favorite? 

I have partnered with Lean Cuisine through DailyBuzz Food to help promote their new line of Chef’s Pick products. I have been compensated for my time commitment to work with this product. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Thank you Lean Cuisine!


Baked Chicken Ranch (Marinated)

This is a great recipe and I love to make it when it is cold out.  My family loves this and I serve it with a side of veggies and creamy rice. 

1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tsp paprika
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp celery salt
4 tsp lemon juice
2 cups sour cream

Combine sour cream, ranch dressing mix, lemon juice, Worcestershire, celery salt, paprika, garlic salt and pepper in a plastic bag, add chicken. Seal bag, turn to coat, refrigerate 8 hours. Drain, discard marinade. Place on a greased baking pan. Drizzle with butter. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 min. or until juices run clear, then SERVE...


Slowcooker Southwestern Pork Stew

It has been rather cool in the midwest the past few days and I decided that this week would be perfect for soup.  I really haven't made much soup this winter so far because it really hasn't been very cold.  I decided to take a step out of my comfort zone to make this and we loved it. 

3 cups cooked rice
16 oz jar tomatillo salsa
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp cumin
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2" pieces
Sour Cream and Cilantro
2 tbs cornmeal
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, sliced
2 onions, sliced
1 tsp dried oregano

Coat slow cooker bowl with cooking spray. Place pork in bottom of slow cooker, toss with oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Scatter onions, garlic and bell peppers over pork. Pour salsa over top. Cover cook on high 6 hours or low 8 hours. Stir in cornmeal during last 15 min. SERVE with rice, top with sour cream and cilantro...


Car problems YUCK!!!

This week has left me feeling drained.  I have been dealing with car dealership/service people since Dec. 24th.  That is when the transmission light on my car came on the car lost power and the headache began.  On Christmas eve I took the car in to get the problem diagnosed.  Well they decided I needed a new battery and a fuel filter $450 later and a few days and the lights came on again.  Well back to the dealership we go, they decided the car didn't get reprogrammed the right way and therefore, they would reprogram the car and off I was again.  I went on a road trip last weekend with this car 4 hours from home with two children in subzero temps.  It lasted until New Year's day and when I was pulling into the garage the light came on again.

This brings me to the saga of this week.  Wed. morning we took the car back in and asked if it could possibly be the transmission (since this is the meaning of the light in question).  Well a bit later in the day the diagnosis was some part was shorting out within the transmission and the part would need to come from Missouri to Iowa before my car could be fixed.  Well, said part should have been here Thursday and currently it still isn't here.  Supposedly it was lost by UPS.  Apparently they are overnighting this part again tonight, but I have little faith my car is going to ever be fixed.. And did I tell you the part needing fixed is going to cost me $1800.  UGH!!! I sure hope this is the problem and will definitely fix the problem.

Weight Watching

Well, it is always been a cliche, but this year one of my goals is to lose some weight.  I could stand to lose between 50-60 lbs.  I blame some of this on getting older, but mostly on bad food choices.  I plant to attend my first weight watcher's meeting tomorrow.  Not sure how this will go, but I am hoping the accountability to someone will allow me to actually lose weight.  Please support me in this venture and I promise to continue to post frugal and weight friendly recipes in the new year.

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UnHappy New Year

Well I was having a great day until I started to drive my car today.  I had wrench lights and fail safe mode engage the week before Christmas and took it in on Christmas Day for it to be diagnosed as a low battery and fuel filter needing changed.  I authorized the fix and took it home.  Low and behold last Friday the light came on two more times and took it back to the dealer and they stated the computer needed to be reprogrammed.  Ok.  I then took it on a four hour road trip this past weekend.  So far so good.  Well, today it happened again.  Back to the dealer it will go tomorrow???  My only prayer is that it is not the transmission.  I really do not want to buy a new car.  It is my husband's turn and he needs a new vehicle more than me.  I have the nice car that was supposed to have held up.   UGH!!!!!!!!!        

This is one Murphy I don't want to have to deal with.....  Hopefully, the new year will begin to look up soon!!  Thank goodness we have $7000 in savings with about $1300 more to add to it this week.  Looks like I need to find some things to sell soon!