All you need is five ingredients ~ six if you include the topping. So it’s perfect for the pantry challenge.
I found this recipe while various blogs were having a countdown to 2012. Each day they were posting their top recipes in different catergories. Recipe Shoebox listed this as one their top recipes in the dessert catergory. It looked so easy that I made it for New Years Eve. Hubby and I enjoyed it and over the next few days, I finished up the whole cheesecake. It was so delicious.
Last summer, my aunt left me a mesage on Facebook about Tropical Smoothie giving away a free smoothie if you came in with flip flops on. The boys and I jumped on that deal. As a result, the Imaginative One fell in love with the strawberry banana smoothie (don’t remember it’s real name). Once I got the smoothie maker, the Imaginative One and I decided to try to recreate the smoothie. I had to add a little of this and a little of that before the Imaginative One gave his seal of approval.
These are not exactly like the smoothies from Tropical Smoothie but are similar.
“Tropical Smoothie” Smoothie
Stars of the recipe:
1/2 of a banana
1/2 cup frozen cut up strawberries
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. sugar or sugar substitute
2 Tbsp. to 1/4 cup of yogurt (I use Greek yogurt.)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk
Put all of the ingredients in a blender or smoothie blender cup.
Whenever I tell the boys I made something from scratch, the Wee One replies “Scratch the box.”
These brownies are made from scratch and are the best I’ve tasted. They are easy to whip up and use items found in my pantry.:) You can adapted them to your liking. Today I had Andes’ peppermint chips left over from my Christmas baking. I decided to put a handful or two in the batter and use peppermint extract instead of vanilla. I absolutely love chocolate and mint flavor combination so I can’t wait to have them after dinner.
Baked Spaghetti – Again you can use whatever meat you have in your fridge or freezer. Use whatever cheese you may have in your fridge – okay maybe not bleu cheese. If the cheese is not shredded, shred it yourself.
Ranch Chicken Legs – As long as you have chicken (doesn’t have to be just legs – use chicken breasts or thighs), Bisquick or something similar, and dry ranch dressing packet (or the ingredients to make your own), you can cook this simple main dish.
Taco Crescent Bake – You can switch this up with cooked chicken or even ground turkey. You can try different cheeses. This is a great main dish. Don’t have tortilla chips but have tortillas, make your own chips.
Orange Chicken – I usually keep the ingredients for this simple dish in the freezer (popcorn chicken) and pantry (orange sauce) for an easy meal.
Crockpot Ribs – You can use this same method for chicken or even a pork roast. Use whatever barbecue sauce you have on hand.
Spanish style chicken noodle soup – This recipe calls for raw chicken. I’ve made it with cooked chicken. You can use frozen corn or canned corn. You can use dried black beans or canned black beans. If you use the dried beans, make sure you prep it beforehand.
Monday – hamburger gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans
Tuesday – spaghetti with salad – Maybe garlic bread
Wednesday – broccoli beef over rice, veggies
Thursday – veggie soup with rolls
Friday – The boys are going up to their cousins’ house so it will just be Hubby and I for dinner. We are having apple sage porkchops, rice or noodles, and peas
Saturday – Eat whatever you want night – Don’t know when the boys will be back from their cousins so we are going to have a relaxed plan for dinner. Hubby and I are going to Chinese for lunch to celebrate the Chinese New Year so we will be pretty full from that.
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday holiday. This morning the Wee One started talking about the holiday and how it does not matter what color a person’s skin is because God made you the way you are. It made my heart melt listening to the wisdom of a 6.5 year old.
Now onto my recipe –
In October, Finding Joy in my Kitchen hosted 31 days of Cooking from Scratch. She showed you how to make homemade bread, breakfasts, etc . . . One of the recipes was for homemade tortillas. Since October, I’ve wanted to make homemade tortillas. So today I took the time out and made some. They were fairly easy. Time consuming but otherwise easy to make.
1/2 c. whole wheat flour or more white whole wheat (I used all white whole wheat flour.)
1 c. warm water
1/4 c. olive oil (I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil.)
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
Pour the warm water into a big bowl (stand mixer bowl if you have one and are going to use it)
Add the olive oil, sea salt, and baking powder. Stir well to combine these ingredients.
Place the bowl on the mixer and attach the dough hook.
Turn on the mixer to setting 1 or 2. (I had my mixer up to a setting of 3.)
Gradually add the flour.
Allow the mixer to knead the dough for 5 minutes until the dough is combined and fairly smooth.
Shape the dough into a ball and cover, allowing the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, cut dough in half. Slice each half into 5 rolls. Form balls out of each slice, cover, and set aside for 10 minutes.
Use a rolling pin, roll out each tortilla into an 8 to 10 inch circle. You want them thin. (In order for me to roll the dough out, I had to flour the surface where I was rolling them out and then also the top of the dough. It kept sticking otherwise. Mine were not circles. They ended up being more egg shaped. It didn’t matter, they were good anyways.)
Preheat griddle to 350 degrees and place dough circles on griddle. (I did mine in a skillet on the stove. I heated it up to 5.)
Do not grease the griddle or skillet if it is non-stick. If you normally grease the griddle or skillet, use butter or olive oil.
Allow the tortillas to cook for 5 minutes/side. Watch carefully to make sure they don’t get too browned.
Place cooked tortillas on a large plate.
You can put them in the fridge after they cooled for 3 to 4 days or freeze them for a few months.
Yummy! And healthy! That’s two words that describe these smoothies.
Right before Christmas, I bought an individual smoothie maker with cups for a Christmas gift for the whole family. The Imagative One and I love making and drinking smoothies. He also likes to drink milk shakes made with the smoothie maker. I will share his favorite smoothie on a different post.
Stars of the recipe:
6 to 8 oz of fruit juice (I’ve used 100% Juice Cranberry-Blueberry, Lite Cranberry Raspberry, and Ruby Red Grapefruit-Cherry. All those were for different smoothies.)
1/4 c. yogurt (I’ve used Greek yogurt for an extra boost of protein.)
1 cup of frozen fruit (I’ve used either cherries or strawberries.)
Put all the ingredients in the individual smoothie cup or blender.
As I was looking through various blogs, I found a pantry challenge. IT DOES NOT mean only eating out of the pantry or freezer. It means looking at what’s in the pantry or freezer before shopping or menu planning.
My goals for the pantry challenge are:
1. Lower my grocery bill
We’ve been spending too much at the grocery store. I want to lower that bill. So does hubby.
2. Clean out the pantry and freezer
We need to get that pantry cleaned out so if I cook dinners based around what I have in the pantry that will help us with the grocery bill. This week we have had baked spaghetti which used up a half box of spaghetti that was sitting in the pantry and already cooked hamburger that was in the freezer. We have also had peanut butter pancakes. I used up some white whole wheat flour that was not being used. Another meal was veggie beef soup. In that meal, we used up some more of the hamburger meat from the freezer and half bags of frozen vegetables hanging around in the freezer. We are going to have chicken scampi later on this week to use up some of the frozen chicken tenderloins that have made their home in our freezer.
Next week’s meals are going to use up a whole roasting chicken taking up room in the fridge’s freezer. We are also going to use the cooked chicken for a soup the next day. That soup contains corn and black beans. I have cans of those in the pantry which is going to save us money. It also calls for chicken broth. Again I have that in the pantry. The only expense I may have for that soup is the orzo pasta. I will have to check in the pantry to make sure I don’t have that.
3. Once a month cooking
I would love to do some once a month cooking. In order to do that, I need to get the deep freezer cleaned out. Since I make most of the dinners, I don’t always want to cook when I get home. On those days, I like to stop at a fast food restaurant which is both not healthy and not cheap. I would love to have back up meals in the freezer for the days I know I am going to be tired. Also with it being winter, the weather is unpredictable. It might take me longer to get home so I would like to have the option of a frozen meal that my hubby can pull out of the freezer.
Those are my three main goals for the pantry challenge. As I navigate through the challenge, I think I will come up with more goals than those 3.
The Imaginative One has very bland tastes. When we have spaghetti, he likes to eat only the plain noodles. He does not like to eat the sauce on his noodles at all! I usually accommodate him by putting some of the noodles to the side for him. When I cooked this dish, I decided not to accomodate him at all.
He gave me such a dirty look when I told him it was either the baked spaghetti or nothing at all. Hubby had a talk with him about how lucky he was to have a mommy that not only cooked but one who cooked great food. The Imaginative One bucked up and tried the baked spaghetti. He ended up liking it!
This is an easy meal to put together. Just add a salad on the side and Italian bread or garlic bread on the side and you have a whole meal. (We had spinach salad with choose your own toppings. The Wee One chose bacon, sunflower seeds, mandarin oranges, and dried cranberries for his toppings. He did not want to have any dressing for his salad. The Imaginative One had just spinach with his mandarian oranges on the side.)
Stars of the recipe:
half box of spaghetti, cooked and drained
pound of hamburger or sausage cooked, also drain off grease (I had cooked my ground beef about a month ago and then froze it so I had to just warm it up.)
On New Year’s Eve, I was looking at Mommy’s Kitchen’s blog. She had listed a cheese dip named the Charleston cheese dip. The name alone intrigued me because Charleston, South Carolina is on my list of favorite places to visit. My mother-in-law was born there and would spend summers there while growing up.
Two months after I married my Hubby, we traveled with my mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law to Charleston. We stayed in a beach house on Folly Beach with Hubby’s grandma. I quickly got to know the family during that week. I met Hubby’s family who live down there. Most of all, I feel in love with Charleston. It is a beautiful city rich in history.
Since then, I have been down there 3 more times. The boys have been there 2 of the times. Once when the Wee One was only 2 months old and the Imaginative One was 2 years old. The other time was almost 3 years ago. One of our not so good memories from that trip was the Wee One sticking his finger in the drain of the shower. Fortunately my in-laws were also visiting Charleston that week and were down the road. My sister-in-law came down and checked over his cut finger and determined the cut was not deep enough to warrant a visit to the ER.
Another memory from that trip was the Imaginative One’s fear of the ocean. His cousin, 22 months older, told him that there were jelly fish in the ocean. The Imaginative One refused to get into the ocean again because he was afraid he was going to get stung by jelly fish. So aggravating! One day he and I went over to the beach and were playing by these concrete barriers. He gets up and had dog poop all over him. Visitors were allowed to have dogs on the beach as long as they cleaned up after them. This visitor just covered the poop with sand. That was disgusting to clean up.
Anyway, back to the recipe. I was looking at Mommy’s Kitchen’s blog entry and saw Charleston Cheese Dip and decided I would make it for New Year’s Eve. It was easy to whip up and delicious to boot. I didn’t have any Monterey jack cheese so I just used extra sharp cheddar cheese instead. Since we don’t really like really spicy foods around here, I did not use any of the cayenne pepper. Plus I don’t think we even have any in the house.
Monday ended up being a snowy day. The Imaginative One and the Wee One went outside for maybe a total of 10 minutes. Most of it was in and out the front door to complain about the cold, their brother, or to get more snow gear on.
Hubby told them if they got the living room picked up and vacuumed, he would allow them to get out the legos. They quickly did that. The rest of the afternoon was spent playing with those legos on the floor. Even Hubby got into the action.
Every New Years Eve, the Imaginative One, the Wee One, and I head over to my mother-in-law’s house to ring in the new year. A new tradition was created a couple of years ago. The grandkids (4 of them in total) spend the night at grandma and grandpa’s house after staying up until after midnight. Mommy and daddy (if he is off of work) go home to an empty house which is nice.
During the hours that lead up to midnight, we watch tv or movies, eat snacks, or play games. The kids also do a craft. Last year, it was painting Christmas ornaments that my mother-in-law stored until Christmas time this year. I decided we could decorate sugar cookies. I already knew which cookies I was going to bake. The problem was what kind of frosting was I going to make for the cookies. I didn’t want a glaze that would be super messy and I didn’t want anything that would be too difficult to frost a cookie with.
I finally found the recipe at Allrecipes.com. It was super easy to put together using my Kitchen aid mixer.
After I whipped up the frosting, I put it into 4 separate containers and then added different food dye to the frosting so they could have different colors. When I handed each of them a container of frosting, they stayed with that one color with the exception of the Imaginative One.
(I made the some of the cookies into the shape of vampire teeth because I thought the boys would enjoy decorating those. They also decorated the cookies on place mats so there would be less mess to clean up. The sprinkles I had were Valentine themed ones so my nephew used those on his sugar cookies.)
Here is the recipe:
Sugar Cookie Frosting
Stars of the recipe:
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 cup of shortening or butter
2 Tbsp and 1.5 tsps of milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
In a large bowl, cream together powdered sugar and shortening (or softened butter)
Gradually mix in the milk and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff (about 5 minutes).
During December, we really didn’t see snow. It tried to snow last Tuesday but it was more rainy then snow. We had lots of rain. In fact, there was a couple of times I thought I would need to take a boat to work because of how much rain we got. Yesterday the day started out as a mild day with temperatures around 50 degrees. During church, it started to get really windy. In fact, we kept hearing the wind whistle throughout the service. The rest of the day was windy with the temperatures falling quickly. We ended the day with temperatures in the lower 30s to high 20s.
This morning I woke up to snow falling. It’s been nonstop ever since. The Wee One and the Imaginative One decided to go outside. They only lasted a few minutes before calling it a day. They wanted to warm up with hot chocolate.
Here is a picture of the boys enjoying their snow day:
I go back to work on Wednesday. It will be nice to get some normalcy back in my life but on the other hand it’s been nice to be able to relax and not worry about my students for a little while. They keep me on my toes while I am teaching them. Things they do and say are priceless. I always say I could write a book about some of the words that come out of their mouths.
Going back to work means limited time to get food on the table when I get home. If I don’t menu plan, I’m like a fish out of water. I just flop around and don’t always cook or eat what I should. Which is not good at all.
Here is my plan for this upcoming week:
Monday – baked spaghetti, left-over Italian bread, spinach salad
Tuesday – ham egg casserole, buttermilk biscuits, pancakes or waffles, fruit
Happy New Year! I haven’t blogged as much as I like during the past year. This needs to be corrected.
Right before Christmas, I was browsing through Not Rachael Ray’s blog and found this recipe for sugar cookies. I had all of the ingredients so I got to work baking those cookies. Oh my goodness, these are easy cookies to make. I usually have lots of problems when using cookie cutters. Only a few times did I have a problem.
Last night being New Years Eve, I decided to make a batch of the sugar cookies and homemade icing so the Imaginative One, the Wee One, and their cousins could decorate sugar cookies while waiting for midnight to come. With the excitement in the air and the anticipation of the new year, they quickly decorated the cookies (5 to 10 minutes tops) before they were back to playing and their movie marathon. The cookies were soon forgotten. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
Rachel offers three different variations for these cookies. I’m only going to only list one of the variations which is the simple cut out cookie.
(We had decorated them on place mats so we did not get my mother-in-law’s table super messy. Both the Imaginative One and the Wee One managed to get sprinkles and icing all over their mats. So I removed them from the mats to clean them and put their cookies on their plastic bags to dry.)