Black Bean Soup

21 Jul

This was a yummy, filling soup.  A great recipe from Darci, another of her family’s favorites.  Perfect pantry fare!

Black Bean Soup

1 lb. Polish Sausage, cut in pieces and browned

1 can bean with bacon soup

1 can water

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

3/4 c. medium salsa

Mix all ingredients and heat through.

Garnish with shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions, cilantro, avacado, or Fritos (Darci’s husband’s personal favorite)


Brownie Cookie Macaroons

20 Jul

Our dessert today was recommended by my friend Darci.  It is her husband’s favorite and, I must say, we quite enjoyed them as well.  They are Brownie Cookie Macaroons.  The recipe comes from Duncan Hines.  Super easy, gooey and delish.  Enjoy!


1 box brownie mix (Duncan Hines recommends Double Fudge Decadent Brownie Mix)

2 cups coconut

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (next time I’m going to try using coconut oil for more coconut flavor)

2 tablespoons water

1 large egg

1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional) (I used coconut syrup from Starbucks)

cocoa powder for optional garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or use parchment paper.

2.  In a large mixing bowl combine brownie mix and coconut; mix well.

3.  Mix in the oil, water, egg, contents of fudge packet (if using a brownie mix that contains one, it is not essential) and extract with a wooden spoon until all dry ingreidents are moistened (dough will be stiff) (Darci also adds 1 cup of chocolate chips for extra gooey goodness)

4. Shape dough into 1 inch balls.  Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and flatten slightly.

5. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are set (centers will be slightly soft).  Do not overbake.  Trust me.  Leave ’em gooey.  Transfer cookies to wire rack with metal spatula and cool completely.

6. Garnish with a dusting of cocoa powder.

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.

Three Cheese Pasta

19 Jul

So tonight was the night that I struggled with wanting to rush out the door to Steak and Shake for a yummy steakburger.  However, unlike the pizza, what I made was nothing like a steakburger.  Oh well.  You can’t win them all, but I am still sticking to our goals!  This recipe didn’t come from anywhere.  It was a random concoction and it was rich and delicious.  Enjoy.

Three Cheese Pasta

8 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 lb. box of pasta shape of your choice

While your pasta is cooking according to the box directions, put the cheeses and spaghetti sauce in a saucepan and start heating on med-low heat.  Cover and stir frequently so it doesn’t burn.  I whisked it several times at the end, just to get any remaining big cheese chunks to smooth out.  Then, drain your pasta, stick it in a serving bowl and pour the sauce on:

Stir it all up and serve with super yummy take and bake bread you got on Saturday at the food bank. 🙂


18 Jul

Saturday night I really wanted to have pizza.  REALLY wanted it.  Didn’t want to cook, wanted to call up my favorite local pizza place and have a friendly driver arrive at my door with my steaming hot pizza.  However, we had made it our goal not to buy anything other than milk or eggs during July.  Messing with our family’s goals would, in the end, make me crankier than sucking it up and figuring out what to do with my pizza craving.  I didn’t have any yeast, so making a crust was out of the question.  What I did have was an unsliced loaf of white bread from the free bread on Friday.  It was time to improvise.  I sliced the bread lengthwise and made long strips of “crust” for our pizza.  I had exactly six slices of pepperoni, so that pizza went to dad.  I made cheese pizza for the kids and made one for myself using a yellow pepper that needed to be used and the mushrooms I had picked up Saturday morning at the food bank.  Here is my pizza before cooking:

This is what they looked like in the oven (so you can get an idea of size).  One loaf of bread fed our family of five, with leftovers.  400 degrees for about 12 minutes.  Sometimes it is hard to stick to a financial goal, but you can do it and you will be glad you did!

Afternoon Stroll…..

17 Jul

Another way to eat well here at the Seminary is to take advantage of the food grown on the grounds.  As you stroll around campus, you will find all kinds of goodies for the community to pick and take home for dinner.  Here are some places I went and what I found.  Leave a comment if you know some places where things are growing that I missed.  Keep in mind there are herbs everywhere as well, but if it is not basil or rosemary….I probably can’t identify it, so leave a comment and tell me what you have found!

Here are some things growing by the admissions building (if you turn left right before the main entrance to campus):

Tomatoes….there are green beans there also.  Over by the entrance pillars we have:

Green and purple cabbages (they are ready, so go get one!) and brussels sprouts.  In the mini quad we have:

Broccoli and LOTS of basil.  In fact, there is basil everywhere you look around here.  No one should ever buy pesto in a jar here.  In the perennial garden there are even more beautiful looking grape tomatoes:

There are also MORE tomatoes growing along the fence by the radio tower.  Over in the triangle near Wartburg and Sieck halls there are lots of different kinds of peppers, both spicy and bell.  Perfect to go with those tomatoes!

I also found cucumbers and beets in the garden/bench area near the chapel.  The flower beds of the chapel should have some wonderful sweet potatoes this fall.  So, take an afternoon walk and you just might be rewarded with something fresh for dinner!

Not Just Green Beans

16 Jul

I think many families come to campus, having just moved and sometimes having just gotten married or are living away from family for the first time.  It can take them a long time to get acclimated to all the campus has to offer.  The Food Bank is one of those things.  Most everyone at one point or another realizes they can come to the Food Bank and get an array of canned and dry goods.  However, I didn’t know for many months that EVERY Saturday (not just the Saturdays that the Food Bank is open for staples) there is dairy, produce and packaged bread.  You have to get up early for a Saturday and you must have a bit of time to take care of the food once you get it home, but it can stretch your budget beyond what you can imagine!  For instance, this is the bounty I picked up for FREE this morning at the food bank:

It’s kind of like Christmas every Saturday.  You don’t know what you are going to get.  Most things are close to expiration, however, if you are resourceful you can use them.  The orange juice expires in 3 days.  We will probably drink it by then, but if we don’t I will freeze it in ice cube trays to make the kids orange juice slushies on a hot day.  The milk expires Sunday.  It will easily be gone by then, but typically we have found we can use the milk three or four days past expiration and it doesn’t loose quality.

I also got eggs.  Generally the eggs are very fresh, the only catch is they may have one or two broken eggs in the carton.  I simply keep empty cartons and then place the good eggs in the cartons before putting them in the fridge (being sure to wash off any “egg goo” from the broken eggs if there is any).

For the produce, if you are a smoothie lover you can find all kinds of fruit great for freezing immediately for smoothies.  In fact I may use the great Greek yogurt I got for those.  You need to bring home your produce and immediately do something with it.  For example, the grapes and strawberries had to be washed and the bad ones thrown away.  I do that as soon as I get home and package them in the fridge so we can easily grab them for snacks or at meal time.  Here are my grapes after sorting:

The apple slices and also the whole apples looked as fresh as I could go get at the store.  I got some mushrooms and some guacamole.  I got a cherry cobbler, a loaf of bread and some delicious looking 9 grain rolls (great for my new found need to use pasta!).  A special treat there today….fresh flowers!  They looked beautiful and it was a nice blessing to get those to make our table happy.

For best selection, get there at 8:30 and help unload the van and put the goods out.  You won’t be sorry and feeding your family is worth it!

Next up will be a post about all the great vegetables and herbs growing all over our campus that are just yours for the picking!