Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chicken ala Grecco

It's been a rough week at our house, so I apologize for the lack of posts. Sunday our one-year-old got a stomach bug, which lasted until Monday evening. Friday evening our six-year-old began running a really high temperature, which turned out to be strep throat. Ugh! This was the first time we've had strep in our house, and it has not been fun. Thankfully the antibiotics kicked in super-fast, and she is feeling a million times better already! We've been so healthy all winter; I figured we were due our share of the ickies at some point. No fun for any of us! Needless to say, I've done very little cooking, and a whole lot of rocking...I'm not complaining about that.

It hasn't all been bad, though. My husband and I were able to go the the Billy Joel and Elton John concert on Wednesday evening (in between sicknesses). We saw Billy in 2007, and he is an amazing performer. The two together were awesome; their voices blend so well! So there was a bright spot in our otherwise yucky week.

I do have a recipe to share today, though. I have some feta cheese that needs to be used up, and the other ingredients in this recipe are always on hand at our house. I'm going to whip this up for lunch.

2 chicken breasts (cubed)
olive oil
Italian seasoning (use as much or as little as you like)
minced garlic (use as much or as little as you like)
fresh broccoli florets
1 can diced tomatoes
thin spaghetti noodles (cooked and drained)
feta cheese

In a large skillet, heat a little olive oil. Put the garlic into the oil, and then toss in the chicken cubes and season with the Italian seasonings. When the chicken is almost done, pour in the can of tomatoes, and then throw the broccoli on top. Cover and simmer for ten minutes, or until the chicken is done. Turn off the heat, and sprinkle the feta over it. The heat from the pan will melt the cheese. Serve over spaghetti.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Round Steak in Tomatoes

My friend and neighbor, Teri, gave this recipe to me a while back. I love making this easy comfort food. You slow cook it all day, and then serve it over mashed! Round steak is great for families, because it is cheap and serves a lot.

1 package round steak (cut into large chunks)
1 cup flour (seasoned with salt and pepper)
1 clove garlic (minced--I used pre-minced garlic in a jar. It's my fave!)
1 medium onion (diced)
1 tablespoon beef granules
1 tablespoon worcester sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 can diced tomatoes

In a bowl, pour in the flour and season it with the salt and pepper. Take the pieces of steak, and coat each side with the flour. Place the steak in the bottom of the crockpot. Throw the onions and garlic in on top of the steak. Put the worcester, soy, and beef granules in, and then dump the tomatoes on top. Cook on low for eight hours. The steak will break into small pieces, and a nice gravy will form. Serve on top of mashed potatoes or rice.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I can hear you all groaning...."bruuuseeelll sppprouuttts, grossss." You might just feel differently about this little veggie after preparing them this way, though. We LOVE them! They are crispy and salty on the outside (like a healthy chip!) and soft and flavorful on the inside. Really, try them just once and you'll know what I'm talking about.

1.5 pounds brussel sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (the fresher the pepper, the better)

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large bowl, toss the sprouts with the oil, salt, and pepper. Make sure that all of them get oil on them. Place them on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until dark and crispy. Shake the pan every 15 minutes or so to evenly cook the sprouts. Upon pulling out of the oven, sprinkle with a little more kosher salt. Serve while hot.

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's Friday, Friends!

You know what that means, right? It's time to link up to Frugal Friday! Would you share your frugal meal ideas? I know that there are many of us living on a budget, with groceries being a big bill each month. I love to find new ways to cut the costs while still providing great food to my family. Please share. Simply write and publish your post on your blog; click on the title of it, which will change the url in your browser; copy the new url, and paste it in the MckLinky below. It will automatically link your blog to mine. Easy peasy!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies have been in my family for years. I suppose that is the reason that they're made with...shortening. Yes, I'm using the white greasy stuff in these cookies, and you know what, they are amazing! So go on, cheat a little on your diet and make these. You'll love them!

This dough can be saved in the fridge for a week or so. Oatmeal cookies for a week!!


1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1.5 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
3 cups oatmeal

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream the sugar and shortening together with a hand-held mixer. Add the eggs and vanill and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry to the wet mixture and mix well. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pizza Night!

It's pizza night here at our house! No, it's not delivery, and it's not DiGiorno either. I'm making pizza from scratch. Neither the crust or the sauce are new recipes, but I thought that I would re-share them with you in case you missed them the first time. I think that the crust is better than anything you could get at a pizzeria!

I'm using this crust recipe, along with this marinara recipe that I just shared yesterday. It made so much that I have plenty for pizza and another pasta later this week! I'm going to top half of it with pizza cheese, and the other with mushrooms and cheese. Yummy!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Carie's Marinara Sauce

My friend Carie shared this marinara sauce with me. She got it from another mother in her mom's group, and tweaked it to meet her family's needs. I took her version and tweaked it to our taste, also. It makes a huge pot, so I browned a pound of ground meat and added a little of the marinara sauce to it for a spaghetti dinner. I stored the rest of it in Mason jars, and will use it in different recipes in the next two weeks. You may need to change it up a bit for your taste, but I think that you'll be very happy with it!

I loved the way I could add in any veggies that I wanted in order to make sure that my family received the ultimate amount of vitamins. I grated celery and carrots into mine, then used the food processor to make a smooth sauce. The kids never knew!

I'm going to give you Carie's version of the recipe, but I'll note the changes that I made for my sauce.

1- 28 oz. can of tomatoes (I used crushed to keep it as smooth as possible.)
1 -15 oz can of stewed tomatoes
1 -10 oz can of V-8 juice
1 – 10 oz can of tomato soup
2 – 10 oz can of chopped mushrooms or fresh mushrooms (I didn't have any of these this time.)
2 – 8 oz cans of tomato sauce
2 – 6 oz cans of tomato paste
3 sweet green peppers (chopped finely) I didn't have these, either.
4 large celery stalks (chopped finely) I actually shredded mine, which wasn't easy to do!
4 medium size onions (chopped finely) I only used one, because I don't love onions.
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (I actually used three, because I found that the sauce was too strong with only one.)
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon chili powder
10 bay leaves
(I put a couple in, but pulled them right out. I don't like the flavor they give.)
I grated a carrot in, as well.

You'll need a large stock pot. Depending on whether you like chunky sauce or smooth (like me!), you may want to use a food processor. I dumped the tomatoes, onion, celery, and carrot into the food processor to get it to the consistency that I like.

After the tomatoes are to your liking, dump everything into the large pot. Cover and cook on low heat for 3-5 hours. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes. I added a little more sugar after I took it off of the heat to achieve a great flavor. Jar it and use it as needed. It's not preserved, so I wouldn't use it after the two-week mark, but that's just me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fast and Hearty Tomato Soup

This meatless Monday meal is my new favorite soup! My friend Shaun passed this along in our parenting forum. My sister made it and told me how great it was, so I made it on Thursday to go along with the slider burgers and it made so much that we ate it on Friday, too. I served it with grilled cheese sandwiches on Friday, and it was such a quick and delicious meal, that it may become a regular in my rotation.

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped/I used jarred minced garlic.)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1.5 teaspoons chopped fresh basil OR 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
6 ounces cream cheese (I actually just used an 8 ounce package, since I had it on hand.)
1 1/4 cups milk
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed tomato soup
2 (14.5 ounce) cans whole tomatoes (undrained)


In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the butter for about two minutes, or until the onion is tender. Remove from heat. Stir in the paprika, basil, and cream cheese. Gradually stir in milk and soup. Beat with an electric mixer or wire whisk until the cream cheese is melted and the soup is smooth. Stir in the tomatoes, breaking them with a fork or cutting with kitchen shears. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until hot.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Baked Fudge

Oh yes, I said baked fudge...I never even realized that there was such a thing until I popped over to check out The Pioneer Woman today. She has some fantastic and easy Valentine food ideas that you should definitely check out! I fully realize that it isn't actually Valentine's Day yet, but my sweetheart and I were needing something chocolaty and fudgy to eat while watching the Olympics, so baked fudge it is! I love recipes like this. I have everything that I need right in my pantry and fridge. My hips may not like me after I eat it, but I think it just might be worth it.

Speaking of Valentine's Day, what are you and your sweethearts planning to do? I'd love to hear! I am preparing a "Sweethearts Dinner" for all of my loves. I bought a heart-shaped cheese pizza from Papa Murphy's for my little loves. They'll have this with red Hawaiian Punch (this is a huge Valentine's treat!) and chocolate covered strawberries. My big love and I are going to share a gourmet meal of golden sauteed scallops, filet mignon, roasted brussel sprouts, and some of those strawberries. I can't wait! Enjoy the day, friends!

I'm treating you all to a photo of my little loves. Aren't they precious?

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 heaping tablespoons cocoa
2 level tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter (melted)

Preheat oven to 300. If your oven doesn't heat well (like mine!), then preheat it to 325.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs until they are light in color. Beat in the sugar. Add the cocoa, flour, vanilla, and butter, stirring carefully. Pour into large ramekins or an 8x8 casserole dish, which is what I used.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top crust is crispy, but the inside is not fully set. You don't want it overly liquidy, so if you need to leave it in a bit longer, go for it.

Pioneer Woman tops hers with homemade whipped cream, but I'm topping ours with vanilla bean ice cream.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Frugal Friday

Happy Friday, everyone! Sorry I'm getting this up so late. My friend Tami had her baby last night at 28 weeks, so I had her three children overnight and this morning, which led to limited computer time as you can imagine. Mama and Baby Luke are both doing well...congrats Tami! I am not going to have the opportunity to participate in this today, but I will for sure be reading yours!!

Have you thought of any frugal meals for this week? If so, share them with us in this fun blog hop. Simply write a post on your blog telling us about your meal. Share the cost of it, too, if you want. Click on the title, copy the url, and paste it down there under the MckLinky. All readers will have to do is click on it to be taken straight to your blog. Easy, huh?

MckLinky Blog Hop

Slider Cheeseburgers

I found this recipe on the Mommy's Kitchen blog. I love looking through her ideas. She cooks the kind of food that I like to eat! She calls them White Castle burgers. I haven't ever eaten a true White Castle burger, but if they taste like the ones that I just made, then I would love them! Seriously, these were so good. The thin cheeseburger and single pickle on a sweet Hawaiian roll...good gracious they were tasty. I ate four of them. *Hangs head in shame.*

Make some and see for yourself!

**Mommy's Kitchen has some great step-by-step pictures to better show you how it's done.


1 package 80/20 hamburger meat (Mommy's Kitchen says you need this particular meat.)
minced onion flakes
season salt
sliced cheese
pickle slices
Hawaiian dinner rolls (Use this brand. They seriously make the burger!)

Preheat oven to 400.

In a 9x13 casserole dish, sprinkle as few or as many of the onions as you like. On top of the onions, press the hamburger meat into a thin layer (the thinner the better, I think). Take a straw and poke holes in several places on the meat. Sprinkle with seasoned salt, and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and blot the excess grease with a paper towel. Layer the sliced cheese on top of the meat, and place back into the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese in melted.

Cut the meat into small squares (I used a pizza cutter). Place each square in the middle of a dinner roll, and top with a pickle.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

It has been one of the coldest & wettest winters on record here! Because of this, I have been making many soups and other warm recipes. I pretty much just threw a bunch of stuff together, and ended up with a really delicious soup.


1/2 large block velveeta cheese (cubed)
1 package cream cheese
3 cups chicken broth
1 can rotel (I used this to get tomatoes into my kids and give it a would be fine without.)
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 package frozen broccoli (I used florets.)
pepper to taste

In a crockpot, throw in the cheeses, broth, dressing mix, rotel, and pepper. Stir as well as you can. Set the crockpot to low and cook for 6+ hours, stirring occasionally. Feel free to add more cheese to thicken it up as it cooks! About two hours before serving, stir in the broccoli.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Crockpot Breakfast Cobbler

Remember how I told you to stay tuned for a breakfast recipe using my granola recipe? Well, here it is! This is one of those things that you may have to set your alarm for; get up to turn the crockpot on, and then wake up to a delicious breakfast. You could also just stay up until two o'clock a.m. to prepare it. I'll probably do the first option, but I think it is worth it! ;)

2 cups apple (peeled and diced)
2 cups granola
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter (melted)

Spray the crockpot lightly with a cooking spray. Mix together the apples, granola, and cinnamon. Stir the honey and butter together, and then drizzle it over the apple mixture. Mix it all gently, and then pour it into the crockpot. Cook on low for about four hours (or until the apples are tender).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Homemade Granola

If your family is anything like mine, then you love having snack foods laying around! My husband is a "grazer," meaning that he likes to have a couple of crackers, or a handful of nuts every hour or so. I like to make this granola for him to snack on, to add to yogurt for parfaits, or to eat with milk as a cold cereal. I'm going to share this recipe with you, and then later on share how to use it to make a crockpot breakfast cobbler. Stay tuned...

4 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium-sized pot, bring the honey, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt to a boil for one minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the oats and pecans. Spread the granola evenly onto a large cookie sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, stirring and flattening the granola every five minutes. Store in an air-tight container.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Superbowl Foods!

Are you all going to be watching the big game? Any parties you're planning to host or attend? If so, you know you need some good Superbowl food! I love chips and dips like you wouldn't believe! My sister-in-law gave me this recipe, which is simple and delicious! It's called 3-2-1 Dip. You make it in the crockpot (my fave!) and serve it with tortilla chips for a delicious football food!


3 blocks cream cheese
2 cans rotel
1 pound ground meat

Brown and drain your ground meat. Throw everything in the crockpot and cook on low, stirring occasionally.

So, tell me what your favorite Superbowl foods are!

Friday, February 5, 2010

It's Frugal Friday Again!

What meal can you prepare for $10 or less? Share with us! I was thrilled with the four entries that I had last week...can we beat that this week?

For my Frugal Friday meal, we're having leftover pinto beans (that went with last night's soft tacos) and jalapeno cornmeal flapjacks. I'll post that recipe this afternoon. We're headed out to have lunch with one of our former high school teachers. Should be a fun day!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Texas Chili

My friend Carie raved about this recipe. She found it on tasty kitchen website. I made it on Sunday, and we ate it after sledding all afternoon. It was so delicious! It isn't your typical chili recipe. Using the chuck roast gives it a great consistency, and the flavor is just fantastic. There wasn't a bowl left in the pot!

I changed the recipe up to fit the needs of our family. I only had one pound of chuck roast, so I lowered the seasonings to meet that. I'll give you "my" version of this recipe. We ate it with Fritos, cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream.


1 pound chuck roast
2 tablespoons oil
3 cloves garlic (whole, but skinned)
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can pinto beans
1 can beef broth
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
sprinkle of oregano


In a skillet, heat your oil and then place the roast into the skillet. Allow the roast to cook long enough to change color on each side, but not brown. Toss the garlic cloves into the oil and let it infuse into the oil.

In a small bowl, combine the flour and all of the seasonings. Mix them together and then use all of the seasoning mixture rub onto both sides of the roast. Dump the seasoned roast, oil, and garlic cloves into the crockpot.

Pour the broth, beans, and tomatoes on top of the roast. Set the crockpot on low and cook for 8 hours. Use a fork to break the meat into bite-sized pieces (it will just fall apart after cooking all day).