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Happy New Year!

2 Jan

One of the things that helps my household run smoothly is having a plan for our meals. Having a plan, not only for dinner, but also for breakfast, lunch, and snacks helps us spend less money at the grocery store and have less wasted food.  Another good tip is to have a planned leftover meal, where you get all the odds and ends leftover from the week’s meals and have a buffet.  Then, you have a clean fridge and the cook gets a break.

I like to use the menu planners on Money Saving Mom.  They are downloadable and FREE.  You can get yours here.  I hang the plan on my refrigerator door and everyone knows what we’re planning on eating and what they can choose for a snack if they need one.

I’ll be posting my menu each week and then if I make something that has a recipe I think you would enjoy or find useful, I will post it after I make it.  So, to begin, here is our menu for this week:

Breakfast:  Our breakfasts all week rotate between eggs and toast and oatmeal and yogurt.

Snacks:  The kids can choose between our “snack basket” (more on that tomorrow) or they may have yogurt or fruit from the fruit bowl.

Desserts:  Desserts for this week will be pumpkin pie and mock pecan pie

The rest of our plans are as follows:

Sunday

Lunch–quesadills, chips and salsa

Dinner–Chili, hot dogs, crackers, cheese

Monday

Lunch–sandwiches, pretzels, clementines

Dinner–pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes, salad, lime fruit salad

Tuesday

Lunch— pizza grilled cheese, veggie tray

Dinner–chicken wings, veggie tray, crescent rolls

Wednesday

Lunch–leftover chili, cheese, crackers

Dinner–chicken alfredo, garlic toast, broccoli

Thursday

Lunch–beef stew, biscuits, fruit

Dinner–Hunsaker skillet, crescent rolls, mandarins

Friday

Lunch--sandwiches, pretzels, oranges

Dinner–turkey breast, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, fruit salad

Saturday

Lunch–leftover buffet

Dinner–pizza, veggie tray

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Homemade Granola Bars

22 Aug

We are doing quite a bit of traveling this month and I was needing some “road food”.   I really do not like eating out on the road when you can eat healthier and cheaper with a little pre-planning.  My friend Jen found a great homemade granola bar recipe on food.com.  I tweaked it slightly and doubled it, though I would not recommend doubling it unless you have a bowl the size of your washing machine as it is really hard to mix that much.

First take your dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well:

4 cups oatmeal

2 cups flour (I used regular unbleached, but I think it would be delicious with whole wheat pastry flour)

1 cup coconut

1/4 sugar (I used packed brown sugar)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Then add your wet ingredients and mix well with your hands.  Trust me, you must use your hands so that you can get the right consistency.  If you do not, you will have dry ingredients that do not get wet and your granola bars will crumble and you will cry.  USE YOUR HANDS.   After it’s mixed add chocolate chips in and mix again.

3/4 cup coconut oil (you can use vegetable oil)

3/4 cup honey (you can use 1/2 cup honey and 1/4 cup molasses or corn syrup)

1 cup chocolate chips (you can also add dried fruit or nuts if that’s what you like in your granola bars)

Then it is time to press them into the pan.  They must be firmly and evenly pressed in if you want a good, not crumbly bar.  The fact that I could lose an arm wresting match with a three year old did not help me.  What I ended up doing worked beautifully.  Take a sheet of foil and lay it over your mixture.  Then use a rolling pin on the foil to get your bars adequately pressed down.  It looked like this:

Bake them at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.  Don’t let them brown too much or they will be hard.  They will look slightly puffy and soft when you take them out and cool to a perfectly crunchy/chewy texture.  As soon as you take them out of the oven, cut them into bars with a pizza cutter.

Then let them cool in the pan for a while before removing them.  Store them in an airtight container.  They are perfect to pack in lunches, take on hikes, or take on the road.  My husband said they were the first granola bar he has EVER liked!  Hope you like them as well!

 

My Fridge Food

20 Jul

My friend Danavee recommended a website when she heard of my “no spend pantry challenge” month.  It is called My Fridge Food.  It is what the name implies.  Just input what is in your fridge and pantry and it gives you a list of recipes based on what ingredients you have.  It also gives you all the nutrition information, which is super helpful.  My recipe tonight comes from that site.  It was super simple which is what I needed tonight.  I cooked it in the oven, but I’m guessing it would turn out delightful in the crockpot if you are not like me and decided what to make for dinner at 5:30 p.m.  So go check out My Fridge Food and tell me what you think!

 

Cola Chicken

1  cup cola (I used a throwback Pepsi)

1 cup catsup

salt and pepper to taste

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Wisk together cola, castup, salt and pepper.  Pour a small amount in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Place chicken in pan and pour remaining sauce over it.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, baste with the sauce and bake for another 20 minutes or until chicken is done.

Mark and I thought it was tasty and the kids scarfed it down like wild beasts.