Saturday, October 31, 2009

Broomstick Breadsticks

Happy Halloween, Friends! I'm just going to make a quick spaghetti dinner tonight so that we can hurry out to trick-or-treat, but to fest it up a bit, I'm making these as a side. They're super-easy and are sure to excite your little trick-or-treaters!! Have a safe and fun Halloween!

2 cans breadstick dough
shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Roll out the breadstick dough onto a cookie sheet. Flatten one end of each breadstick and with a knife, shred that end to look like a broom. Sprinkle the Parmesan onto the shredded end and bake for 13 minutes. Serve them while warm.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Year-Round Fruit Salad

I love to make this fruit salad to serve at brunches, or for a dessert. Kids and adults all love it, and it's so simple. The only fresh fruits you need are the bananas, so you can make this delicious salad year-round! I like to add chopped pecans to give it a little crunch, but because it's Frugal Friday, I'm leaving them out to save money.

1 can mandarin oranges
1 container frozen strawberries (thawed)
2 bananas (sliced)

Pour oranges and strawberries into a large bowl (with a lid). Slice your bananas into it. Serve and then refrigerate the leftovers.

Tuna and Rice Casserole

My mom made this for us quite a bit while we were living at home. My brother Blake absolutely loved it, and especially liked to mix his pork-and-beans in with his casserole. It may sound yucky, but it is actually quite tasty! It's a cheap and easy meal, so give it a try!

1 can tuna in water
1 bag rice (cooked)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Mix well. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 40 minutes.

Frugal Friday

It's Frugal Friday, which means it's time to feed your family for less than $10. This week I've decided to make Tuna and Rice Casserole as the main dish, canned pork-and-beans (sounds weird, but it's actually SO good with this dish) as a side, and Year-Round Fruit Salad as the dessert.

1 can tuna--$.92
1 bag white rice--$1.12
1 can cream of chicken--$1.08
sprinkle of pepper--$.10
1 can pork-and-beans--$.62
1 can mandarin oranges--$.72
1 container frozen strawberries--$3.12
2 bananas--$.39


Chocolate Sheath Cake

This is my most favorite cake of all time! My mom made it for us a lot growing up, and I love making it now.

Ingredients for cake:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 sticks butter
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs

Ingredients for icing:

1 box powdered sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
4 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons milk

Directions for cake:

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix together first five ingredients thoroughly. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Mix the cocoa with it. Add water and bring all of it to a fast boil. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the buttermilk and eggs to the mixture and mix well. Bake for 25 minutes, and ice while hot.

Directions for icing:

Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan. Add the cocoa and mix well. Add the milk and bring to a fast boil. Take it off the heat. Pour the sugar into the saucepan. If icing is too thick, add more milk (1 tablespoon at a time) until it is the consistency that you like. Add the pecans.

Pop Over Pizza

This is like a spaghetti dinner without the noodles! It's so easy and such a kid-friendly meal. You can add lots of diced veggies to yours to get even more nutrients out of it.

1 pound ground beef
15 ounces of spaghetti sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 package shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)

Preheat oven to 400.

Brown and drain your ground meat. Put it back in a pot and add the sauce and tomatoes and leave on low to keep it warm.

Beat the eggs, milk and oil in a bowl until foamy. Pour in the flour and mix.

Pour the meat filling into a 9x13 casserole dish and top with mozzarella. Spoon the batter over the meat and cheese and spread it to cover completely. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes until puffed and deep golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot and puffy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chicken Crescent Squares

Tami gave me this recipe a couple of years ago. It is her husband's favorite dinner! She heats up a can of cream of mushroom soup to serve as a dipping sauce.


1 can crescent rolls
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (boiled and shredded)
1 8 ounce package cream cheese
plain bread crumbs
2/3 cup milk
1/2 stick of butter (melted)
1 teaspoon garlic powder (I add this. It wasn't in her original recipe.)


Preheat oven to 375.

Combine cream cheese, milk, and seasonings with a mixer. Add the shredded chicken and stir.

On a cookie sheet, roll out crescent rolls into rectangles. Spoon a generous spoonful of the chicken mixture into the center and fold all of the edges of the crescent rolls into the center. This will form your squares (or pockets). Spoon a little of the melted butter onto each square and sprinkle with a few bread crumbs.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Veggie Quesadillas

It's just another Meatless Monday! Today we're having veggie quesadillas for dinner. Our friends Jeremy and Chandelle made us their version of these years ago (before any of us even had children!). I added a little of this, and took a little of that away, and made it my own recipe. Now it's a favorite of our whole family, as well as both my mom and his mom.

1 yellow squash
1 zucchini squash (I had to buy two small ones this time, because there were no large ones.)
1 jalapeno pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup fresh mushrooms
flour tortillas
shredded Mexican-blend cheese

Preheat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.

Chop all of your veggies into bite-size pieces and toss together. Dump them all into a sautee pan and turn it onto medium-high. Let the veggies cook together until soft and juicy.

Take one tortilla and top it with cheese. Spoon a generous portion of the veggie mixture onto the cheese and spread it evenly. Top the veggies with more cheese, followed by a second tortilla. Place onto a griddle or large skillet and let cook until golden brown. Press the edges down to form a seal with the melted cheese. Flip and cook on the opposite side.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, and avocado.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Homemade Pancakes

We're going to have breakfast for dinner again tonight. Yes, Jer is at the station, we're having friends over for an evening playdate, and the kids just LOVE breakfast for dinner! This is a great pancake recipe. So easy, and you have everything you need in your pantry or 'frig already! No need to buy those pancake mixes anymore!


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter (melted)


Heat a frying pan or griddle on medium.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Crockpot Beef Stew

This hearty meal is warm, filling, and full of vitamins. It's a great way to sneak those vegetables into your children, since they're hidden in all that great flavor. I've been making this for years, and I usually just throw whatever veggies and seasonings I have available here at home. Be creative with it!


1 package stew meat
1 can seasoned tomatoes (mine were seasoned with basil and oregano)
2 large potatoes (peeled and diced)
2 large carrots (peeled and diced)
3 cloves of garlic (peeled, but whole)
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 head cabbage (you won't use very much of it)
1 tablespoon flour
1 package dry onion soup mix
2 tablespoons beef granules
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
water (to cover beef and veggies)


In your crockpot, place your stew meat. Sprinkle flour over the meat and stir. Drop in your veggies (except cabbage), canned tomatoes, onion soup mix, beef granules, and seasonings. Add enough water to *just* cover the top of the meat and veggies. Cook on low for 10-12 hours, or on high for 3-6, stirring occasionally. About 30 minutes before serving, tear off cabbage leaves and add them to the top. Add more seasonings if necessary. Serve with cornbread.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Simple Tomato and Pasta Dish

Here is our first Frugal Friday meal! I love feeding my family for under $10!! Thanks again to Amy M. for giving me the recipe and to Alexis for giving me the idea for this type of post!


1 box penne pasta
2 large cans crushed tomatoes
olive oil
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Dump the uncooked pasta into a 9x13 casserole dish. Drizzle olive oil over it and let it set for 20 minutes. Dump both cans of tomatoes over it and mix. Add any seasonings that you wish. I added salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until pasta is tender. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Cake Mix Cookies

These are for tonight's Frugal Friday dessert. I love to make them with all flavors of cake mix, but my MOST favorite is lemon cake mix with chopped pecans! Tonight's version is strawberry, but use whatever cake mix sounds good to you! These are easy enough for your children to make all by themselves (with your supervision, of course!).

1 package of cake mix (any flavor)
1 large egg
1/4 cup of oil
1/4 cup of water
1 cup of chopped nuts, raisins, oatmeal, coconut, chocolate chips, M&M'S® etc. (anything you like in cookies) I'm not adding anything extra to mine today.

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine cake mix, egg, oil, and water. Beat until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredient (s). Bake for 15 minutes.

Frugal Friday

I am using some simple, yet delicious ingredients for tonight's Frugal Friday meal. Amy M. sent me this easy Italian recipe and talked about how versatile it is. She said that you can add grilled chicken, diced veggies, and seasoned tomatoes to spice it up a bit. I'm going with her original version tonight, but plan to try it out other ways really soon!

The sides are simple steamed fresh green beans and sliced cucumber. Both of these vegetables are full of vitamins and are easy on both the taste buds and the pocket book! Add a little salt and pepper for added flavor.

Dessert is "Cake Mix Cookies." You can use any flavor cake mix (my favorite is lemon!). I'm using strawberry tonight. These are sure to please anybody's sweet tooth!

Cost of Ingredients:
1 box penne pasta--$1.27
2 large cans crushed tomatoes--$1.16 each
olive oil--An entire bottle is $3.25, so I spent about $.75 for this dish.
Parmesan cheese--$2.18
1/2 pound green beans--$1.00/pound ($.50/.5 pound)
1 cucumber--$.46 each
1 box cake mix--$.88
1 egg--$.98/dozen ($.08/egg)
1/4 cup oil--An entire bottle of oil is $2.28, so I spent about $.30.

Total spent on tonight's dinner. . .$8.74!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Frugal Friday and Recipe Challenge

Thanks to a reader and fellow blogger, Alexis, I am going to start a Frugal Friday post each Friday. Alexis wrote to me and gave me the idea to prepare an entire meal (with dessert included) for a family of four for $10 or less! I am known to be fairly frugal, but I've never really sat down and calculated how much each meal costs us, so this will be a great discipline for me. I am so excited to get started!

Alexis also suggested that I host a recipe challenge for all of my readers. I could suggest a meal and date to cook it, list the ingredients and directions, and then we could all cook the meal on the same night. Afterwards, you could all come back and tell us what you thought, and share if you changed anything up to better suit your family's taste. I think it sounds like awesome fun!!! Would you all be interested in participating in it with me? If so, let me know and I'll start brainstorming meal ideas! I'd also love to have your meal ideas/recipes to include in the recipe challenge. If it goes well, we'll have more than one, so bring on the recipes!

Banana Bars

This recipe was given to me in a small cookbook written by "4 Chicks Catering." They are a group of four women at our church who cook and feed all of the Vacation Bible School workers during the six weeks leading up to VBS each summer. They are awesome! Thanks, 4 Chicks!

1.5 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter (softened)
2 eggs
1.5 cups banana
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup nuts

Frosting Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, cream sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs for one minute. Add the bananas and vanilla, and mix for another minute. Add the flour, soda, and nuts. Mix for another minute. Do not overmix. Pour into pan (I use a 9x13 baking dish). Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool slightly.

Mix cream cheese and vanilla with beaters. Add the powdered sugar slowly and mix well. Frost the banana bars and serve.

Sweet Potato Fries

Tonight is steak night at our house, so I thought I'd use our sweet potatoes to make some fries. We love to eat these. They're sweet and crispy and really healthy!

3-4 sweet potatoes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
olive oil (enough to coat the potatoes lightly)

Preheat oven to 400.

Peel and slice your potatoes into thin wedges. Put them in a large bowl and drizzle olive oil over them. Toss to coat them lightly. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove and turn each wedge over. Put them back in the oven and cook for another 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the wedges while still hot.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Strawberry Bread

Thanks to Mandi for giving me this recipe a while ago! We eat it a lot for breakfast and Jer and I like to have it as a midnight snack. I have passed it around to my parenting forum friends, and it has been quite a hit with them!


3 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
20 oz. (frozen with sugar) strawberries thawed & undrained
4 eggs (well beaten)
1.25 cups oil
(optional 1.25 cups chopped pecans)


Preheat oven to 350.

Stir together your dry ingredients. Combine all remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture. Stir carefully, just enough to blend all ingredients. Spray 6 or 7 miniature loaf pans or two 9 x 5 loaf pans. Divide batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes (55-60 minutes for large loafs). I have actually had to cook mine for up to 75 minutes, so just keep checking it. You can dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Chicken and Biscuits

Preparing "fall foods" is so much fun! They are so warm and filling. . .such comfort foods, don't you think? You can't go wrong with this version of chicken and biscuits!


2-3 cuts of chicken, deboned & shredded (I'm using boneless, skinless breast, but any will do)
2-4 potatoes, depending on size (peeled and cubed)
2 large carrots (peeled and chopped)
1/2 stick butter
1 cup fresh mushrooms
5 tablespoons flour
2.5 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
onion crisps (or one small onion, diced)
bisquick (Use the directions on the box for "biscuits.")
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Pour your chicken broth and flour into a bowl and whisk until the flour is dissolved. In a large pot, cook your milk, chicken stock, flour, and butter on low until the butter is melted. You'll need to stir it constantly. Add your chicken, vegetables, and seasonings, and simmer until the liquid is bubbly. Pour into a large baking dish. Spoon biscuit dough onto the top of the mixture. You don't need to spread it. Sprinkle onion crisps (to your taste) on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown.

*I'm also going to add frozen corn to mine. Feel free to add any veggie of your choice!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Peach Custard Pie

Shawn, the same lady who gave me the baked oatmeal recipe, posted this dessert recipe on our forum a little while ago. I decided to give it a try. . .it's baking as I type! She used fresh peaches, but I couldn't find any good ones at our grocery store, so I used canned. I dumped them in a strainer and rinsed them off well, then sliced them up. Thanks for the recipe, Shawn!

1-9" pie shell (I'm using graham cracker pie crust. She used Nilla Wafer pie crust.)
2 cups peaches (sliced thinly)
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons flour
5 ounces evaporated milk
2 eggs
Publish Post

Preheat oven to 450.

Place sliced peaches in the bottom of the pie crust. Mix the sugar, flour, evaporated milk, and eggs together in a separate bowl. Pour the liquid on top of the peaches. Bake for 15 minutes at 450. Turn the oven down to 350 and bake for 30 more minutes.

Plain Muffins

My mom made these all the time when we were growing up. I have always loved them, especially with strawberry jam on them! You can add anything you want to them, but I like to serve them with our favorite preserves or jelly. Today we ate them with my Nonnie's homemade mayhall
jelly. . .mmmmm! That is what you see pictured in the center muffin.

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg, then add the milk and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Spicy Chicken Chili

Kathy and I love to talk recipes! She gave me this one and we absolutely love it! It is so delicious, healthy, and easy. It is not overly spicy, but if you have some trouble with spice, reduce the amount of jalapeno and cayenne pepper to better suit your taste.

*Today is my grocery day, so I'll be back to add pictures after I've purchased everything!

1 large onion (chopped)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can chicken broth (you can add more to thin it out)
1 bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and chopped)
1 3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can rotel
1.5 cups frozen corn (thawed)
1 can black beans (drained)
1 can Great Northern beans (drained)
tortilla chips
shredded cheese

Place chicken, onion, both peppers, chicken broth, and all of your spices in the crockpot. Cover and cook on high for four hours (or low for 7 hours). Shred the chicken, and add the rotel, corn, and beans. Cover it again and cook on high for another 30-45 minutes, or until bubbling. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, and your favorite shredded cheese.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oven-Baked Barbeque Chicken

This recipe is made up of two ingredients. It makes your house smell so good while it's cooking, and makes your mouth happy while you're eating!

3-4 thawed boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used tenderloins.)
1 bottle bbq sauce (I HIGHLY recommend Head Country.)

Preheat oven to 350.

Put your chicken in a large casserole dish. Pour 3/4 of the bottle over the top of the chicken, covering all of it. Place foil over the top of the dish and bake for 45 minutes. *For tenderloins, cut your cooking time to 30-35 minutes. After pulling it out of the oven, pour the remaining sauce over the chicken and serve.