Nov 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 11/08/10

I can't believe another week has passed! 2011 will be here before we know it!

Here's what's on our menu for next week:

Monday – Korean Tri Tip, Brown Rice, Broccoli
Tuesday – Pork Chops w/FF Onions over pasta
Wednesday – Chicken w/Salsa, Salad
Thursday – CP Roast w/white potatoes and carrots
Friday – Crunchy Chicken Tenders, Cheesy Potatoes
Saturday – Spaghetti, Salad
Sunday – BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Three crockpot meals (Korean Tri Tip, CP Roast, and BBQ Chicken),
Three quick and easy meals (Pork Chops, Chicken w/Salsa, and Spaghetti) and
One new recipe (Crunchy Chicken Tenders).

Oct 31, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 11/01/10

I never got around to posting my menu last week, so I'm posting this week's menu plan a day early this week to be sure I get it done.

Monday - Thursday we will be eating from our freezer. Friday and Saturday are both new recipes for us - I hope my family thinks they are as good as they sound. And Sunday is another freezer meal.

As always, I'm sure things will change a bit, but for now, here is our plan:

MondayRotisserie Chicken, Cheesy Potatoes
TuesdayMini Meatloaves, Corn on the Cob
Wednesday - Black Bean Salsa Chicken, Salad
ThursdayChicken ‘n Rice Casserole, Broccoli
FridaySmothered Pork Chops, Asparagus
Saturday – Chicken Tortilla Pie (I don't recall where I found this recipe)
SundayStuffed Buffalo Chicken, Salad

What's on your menu this week?

Oct 13, 2010

Salsa Chicken and Rice Recipe & Review

I tried a new recipe out last week and the whole family enjoyed it!

Our new recipe of the week was Salsa Chicken and Rice. I found the recipe at a blog called A Little Bit of Everything.

Here is the recipe (as I made it) and I will follow it with a review.

Salsa Chicken and Rice

1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice - cooked
2 cups Chicken, cooked and shredded
2 cups shredded Montery Jack Cheese
2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 1/2 cups Medium Salsa

Cook rice and chicken if not already done. Shred or cube chicken.

(I usually have cooked chicken in my freezer for meals like this. I made rice for another meal a few days before and just made enough for two meals and froze what I needed for this casserole.)

In a greased casserole dish, layer the rice and then the chicken.

Combine the soup and salsa in a bowl and spread on top of the chicken. Top with cheeses.

Bake at 350 degrees until hot through and bubbly.

* * * * *


Next time I make this I will try using Rotel in place of the salsa. The original recipe calls for either and I am curious to see if it will taste the same with Rotel.

There were a few bits of the rice that were overly crispy and I think a thin layer of salsa or Rotel underneath the rice might be a solution to that.

I plan to include this recipe in my future freezer plans and make up Salsa Chicken & Rice meal kits with the rice in one bag, the chicken, soup, and salsa in another, and the cheese in a third.

Overall, the recipe was enjoyed by everyone. It was easy to assemble, which is another plus. I'm thrilled to have found another item for my freezer sessions!

Oct 11, 2010

Bargains Update

Well, as I suspected, Rite Aid did not have any of the Pro-X Cleanser. So I came up with a new plan and I'm quite happy with the results. Here's what I did:

6.99 Folgers
4.99 Nyquil Sinus
4.99 Dayquil Sinux
2.99 Sucrets
1.49 Blistex
3.56 (4) Gain
-5/25
-1/10 Wellness Cold
-1 Folgers mq
-8 (2) $4 Nyquil Sinus mq
-1.50 Sucrets mq
-4 (4) $1 Gain mq (forgot to remind cashier to price adjust)
=5.62
-4 UPR
=1.62

I got back $5 in UPR (for some reason I got two for the coffee) and will get back 2.99 and 1.49 in SCR (for the Sucrets and Blistex). So almost free coffee and we have cold medicine for Winter!!

I also popped into CVS to see if they had received any of the Vitality Toothbrushes that I got a raincheck for two weeks ago. The shelves were still empty, but the manager said he would try to special order them. I sure hope I can get some before my coupon expires the end of the month.

While there, I did the P&G Deal - Buy $25 get $10 ECBs. I picked up two Charmin and one Bounty. The store I shop at is super as they take expired CVS coupons as well as expired ECBs. I was able to use a $5/$25 coupon and $6.50 in ECBs so I paid about $11 for it all (after ECBs). Not a super deal, but way better than paying full price.

Oct 9, 2010

Bargains I'm 'Chasing' This Week

I skipped my 'Bargains' post last week because I didn't see anything I wanted/needed. There were definitely some good deals at the different stores, but since I live in an area where tax is determined before coupons, it can put a damper on the great sales.

I did manage to run to Rite Aid and threw together a transaction that included a Schick Razor, coffee for work, and some candy. After coupons, it cost $1.45 for everything. If I had had more coffee coupons, I might have tried to get more.

This week I've put together a plan for Rite Aid, but finding sufficient stock may throw me off. I'm still not finding much to make me want to hit Walgreens or CVS this week, but that might change once I get my Sunday paper tomorrow.

Rite Aid

Trans. #1

16.19 Olay ProX Cleanser (17.99 - 10%)
4.99 Airwick
3.99 Comtrex
=26.17 + 2.42
=25.17 + 2.33 tax
=27.50
-5/25 Rite Aid coupon
-1 Wellness Beauty
-2 Olay mq
-4 Airwick mq
=15.50
-10 Rite Aid Gift Card
-5 UPR from last week
=.50
Get $12 UPR & 3.99 SCR

Trans. #2

16.19 Olay Cleanser
4.99 Airwick
4.99 Pediacare
=26.17 + 2.42 tax
=28.59
-5/25 Rite Aid Coupon
-1 Wellness Beauty
-2 Olay mq
-4 Airwick mq
-1 Pediacare mq
=15.59
-12 UPR from previous transaction
=3.59
Get $12 UPR & 4.99 SCR

Trans. #3

16.19 Olay Cleanser
3.00 Dove Shampoo
1.78 (2) Gain Dish Detergent
3.00 3/3 Candy snackpacks
.99 Halls Cough Drops
.18 Now & Later (.20 - 10%)
=25.14 + 2.33 tax
=27.47
-5/25 Rite Aid Coupon
-1 Wellness Beauty
-2 Olay mq
-2 Dove VV
-1 Dove mq
-1.78 (2) $1 Gain mq adjusted down
-.50 Halls VV
=14.19
-12 UPR
=4.19
Get $11 UPR

Trans. #4

16.19 Olay
1.78 (2) Gain
2.99 Sucrets
1.99 Palmer’s Lip Butter
1.49 Blistex
1.00 Candy Corn
=25.44 + 2.35
=27.79
-5/25 Rite Aid Coupon
-1 Wellness Beauty
-2 Olay
-1.78 Gain
-1.50 Sucrets
=17.51
-12 UPR
=4.51
Get back $10 UPR and 6.47 SCR

Total:
10.79 Cash
5 UPR
10 GC
=25.79
-10.00 UPR
-15.45 in SCR
=.34 net cost

Then I'll submit the receipts for the Olay Rebate: Get $20 back for spending $50

I also have heard that there might be a $5 coupon for Olay ProX products in Sunday's paper - if so, this will be an even better deal.

Menu Plan 10/11/10

I'm posting my menu plan early this week since I've got it done. I normally post it on Monday's and link up with Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday link. Since her post isn't up yet, I'll have to remind myself to come back and link it on Monday. Edited to link to this week's Menu Plan Monday.

Anyhow, here's what I've planned for next week:

MondayMini Meatloaves, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
TuesdayBuffalo Shrimp, Rice, Mixed Veggies
WednesdayChicken Ziti, Salad
ThursdayCP Chicken ‘n Stuffing, Roasted Veggies
FridayTurkey Burgers, Salad
Saturday – Tacos, Refried Beans, Spanish Rice
Sunday – Ranch Chicken

If you look too closely, you'll notice a few meals that are repeats from last week!

No, we are not eating the same things two weeks in a row! Last week didn't go precisely as planned. After having my car break down on Monday, our week turned out a bit differently than anticipated. Carpooling with hubby was great in my estimation - I loved being chauffered around - but I don't think he loved it as much as I did. Having to alter his schedule to fit mine threw a kink in his week I think. :) (Car is fixed - thanks again to hubby!)

Which led to eating out one night and begging asking kiddo to make dinner one night and he chose spaghetti. (Maybe because I forgot to defrost anything??)

Hopefully, this week we will follow our plan a bit better. Time will tell.

Oct 5, 2010

October To-Do List

Each month, I am posting a To-Do list.

Not a list of things that I know I will accomplish - but rather things that I wish to accomplish in addition to the regular to-dos of my life.

Here's my to-do list for October:

Around the house:

-Clean and organize bathroom drawers and shelves
-Re-label shoe boxes with labels that will stay on
-Go through 2 of my dresser drawers
-Spend 1 hour working in the dining room

On the crafty side

-Paint the pot for kitchen utensils as well as some clothes pins
-Work on clothes pin kitchen holder idea
-Create new printable and upload (maybe recipe cards?)
-Begin working on new graphics set for store

In the Kitchen

-Try one new recipe each week
-Week one –
-Week two –
-Week three –
-Week four –
-Organize Recipe Binder

Spiritually

-Continue memorizing Romans 12
-Work on Changed Into His Image daily

So...what things do you think you might be able to add to your everyday doings? Why don't you create a list for yourself? I know I won't get everything crossed off my list, but every item I can cross off is one step closer to where I want to be.

Oct 4, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 10/4/10

I cannot believe it's Monday already! The weeks seem to be flying by.

Here's what we will be eating this week:

Monday – Fajitas, Refried Beans, Mex Rice
TuesdayBuffalo Chicken Spaghetti, Rolls, Salad
WednesdayMini Meatloaves, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli
ThursdayChicken ‘n Rice Casserole, Green Beans
FridayUpside down pizza, Salad
SaturdaySalsa Chicken and Rice, Corn on the Cob
SundayPoppyseed Chicken, Breadsticks, Salad

Looking for more menu ideas? Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday Linky!

Sep 30, 2010

September To-Do List -- Recap

You may recall that I posted a September To-Do List at the beginning of the month.

My thinking was to challenge myself to complete these items by posting them here.

Here's how my list turned out:

September To-Do List

Around the house:

-Clean off my side of closet shelves in order to Done
-Get shoe boxes labeled and in closet I'm not sure whether to mark this as done or not done...I did get my shoes in the shoeboxes labeled with super sticky post it notes. Which proceeded to fall off. And my shoes are still half as messy as when I started. I don't know if this is going to be a solution to my shoe mess or not.
-Go through clothes on rocking chair I managed to fill a large trash bag with clothes to get rid of. I now need to clean out my dresser drawers to make room for what's left.
-Organize coupon binder Done! I'm super happy now that my coupons are once again organized. It makes finding what I'm looking for so much easier.

In addition, I was able to completely clean up my desk area as well as the drawers of my nightstand. Woohoo - two more things I won't have to do!

On the crafty side

-Make up new Awana dues boxes Done - I had to actually do these twice as I first tried to use Mod Podge and it didn't turn out, so I tore them apart and redid them.
-Paint the pot for kitchen utensils as well as some clothes pins Not Done :(
-Figure out clothes pin kitchen holder idea Not Done :( I think I'm scared to try out the spray paint I bought. I need to do this!
-Finish up Menu Plan printables and upload post Done

In the Kitchen

-Try one new recipe each week Three out of four!
-Week one – Broccoli Chicken Casserole
-Week two – Crockpot Chicken Marsala
-Week four – Quicker than delivery Pizza

Spiritually

-Continue memorizing Romans 12 I slacked a bit on this - I still have a few verses to go.
-Work on Changed Into His Image daily I didn't do too well here either - I really need to take a closer look at my priorities as my spiritual progress was really lacking this month.

I don't like all that red! But I do like the green!

It's time to start thinking about my October To-Do List. What items am I procrastinating on? What new things would I like to try? What really needs to be done?

I challenge you to make up a monthly to-do list also! Not for the things you already know you will do, but to challenge yourself to get some extra/fun/new things done.

Bargain Shopping Update

This week's bargain shopping went about as I had expected.

I was able to complete my Rite Aid shopping without any problems. That's two weeks in a row with happy Rite Aid shopping! I was able to complete the Olay deal and I stocked up on cat food. I don't know if better deals come along on cat food as I've never needed it before, so I figured this was a good enough price for now. I bought 30 cans, which will last for a while and I can now keep an eye out for better deals.

CVS was out of the Vitality toothbrushes, but I was able to get a raincheck. I hope they get new stock in before the coupon expires as I'm wanting to try out this toothbrush. I'll have to check back next week and see.

I did go to Walgreens, too. I walked in the store, walked around, and walked back out. Although they had lots of free after RR offers, I still would have had to pay tax for stuff I didn't need or want. So I bought nothing at Walgreens this week.

I did pop into Target for some shredded cheese. They have Kraft cheese on sale for $2 and I used two of the $5/5 coupon to get 10 packages of cheese for $1 each. While the girl was scanning the cheese, the catalina machine printed out a $1.50 Kraft coupon, which she grabbed and scanned before I was able to give her my coupons. I was wondering if that might cause a problem, but she took my two coupons also and I ended up paying $8.50 for 10 packages of cheese. Those babies are now snuggled in my freezer until I have need of them.

That's the sum of my sales/coupon deals for the week.

Did you score any great deals?

Sep 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 09/27/10

Each week I take the time to plan out what we will be having for dinner every night. Since I cooked up a 4-month freezer cooking session before school started, my menu planning is really easy. I have 5 of the 7 nights covered - in the freezer and ready to be baked/thrown in the crockpot/grilled/etc. So all I have to come up with is two menu ideas each week. And if I’m struggling, I can always plan a night out. Or breakfast for dinner. Or something else that is just as easy. But even when I don’t have freezer-ready meals, I find that menu planning is a MUST!

I try to cook one new recipe each week. I enjoy trying new recipes, but my family gets a tad bit weary of ‘new’ if I do it too often. Especially if the ‘new’ recipes don’t turn out as tasty as I thought they would be. :)

This next week is an easy week as I am planning a pizza night for Wednesday as we will be gone all day. Our ‘new’ recipe will be Chicken Broccoli Alfredo.

Here’s what we will be eating this week:

Monday – Oriental Pork Chops, Brown Rice, Salad
Tuesday – Parmesan Chicken, Roasted Potatoes
Wednesday – Pizza
Thursday – Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Beans
Friday – Chicken Broccoli Alfredo, Rolls
Saturday – Swedish Meatballs over pasta, Salad
Sunday – Ranch Chicken, Baked Potatoes

Our ‘new’ recipe last week was Quicker Than Delivery Pizza. I liked the idea of a no-rise crust and I had everything in the pantry for this. I made two pizzas and two breadstick pizzas.

I hate to say it, but I’m a pizza snob. Once upon a time, we used to own a pizza parlour and I am usually pretty critical of pizza, whether made at home, from frozen, or from a pizza place. The recipe I used tonight was just okay. The crust was a lot like frozen pizza crust – it was tasteless and too thin. But it was super easy so I’ll keep it around until I find a better one.

Don’t forget to head over here to download some free printable Menu Plans!

As usual, I'm linking up with Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday!

So what’s on your menu this week?

Sep 25, 2010

Bargains I'm 'Chasing' This Week

As I've stated before, this is not a 'Deal Blog'. I don't currently have the time or desire to blog about all of the deals out there. If you are looking for the best drugstore and grocery deals of the week, there are a ton of blogs out there that will detail them for you. I follow quite a few myself and I also read at Slickdeals. For the next few weeks, I will also post links to my favorite deal blogs at the end of my 'Bargains' post.

Here are the deals I will be chasing this week:

Rite Aid

Olay is on sale this week buy one get one 50% off. And if you buy $30 you get $10 in UPRewards. I’ll match this with the coupon ‘buy two moisturizers, get eye roller free’.

I actually didn’t get this coupon in my Sunday inserts, so when I heard about it, I checked on ebay and bid on a listing for 10 of these coupons and 10 $1 off Olay coupons. I paid less than $2 for the lot. I have had good luck ordering coupons on ebay, but to get a decent price, you need to order them before the sale begins – otherwise everyone is wanting them and the prices go up.

I want to do this deal for two reasons – I am almost out of moisturizer and the deal is a small moneymaker even after tax. Added to that, I can use this purchase toward the rebate that Proctor & Gamble has out where if you buy $50 in P&G products, they will send you a $110 value coupon book. There’s also talk of a new Olay rebate coming with this week’s inserts, so that might be something also.

21.99 Olay eye roller
4.25 Olay moisturizer at 50%
7.64 Olay moisturizer at 90% (My current wellness discount is 10%)
=33.88 + 3.13 tax
-$5/25 Rite Aid coupon
-$1/10 Wellness skin care coupon
-$19.99 Max value of free eye roller coupon
-$2 (2) $1 Olay coupons
=9.02
-$6 UPRewards from last week
=3.02 oop
Get back $10 in UPRewards

My second transaction will be for items I need – not the best prices one can find, but still pretty good – and if I don’t buy toilet paper and paper towels this week, someone’s gonna’ be in trouble!

$12 (30) cans Friskies Cat food
$5.49 Bounty Basic Paper Towels
$5.49 Charmin Bath Tissue
$1.25 Theater style candy (Julu Bees, Julu Fruits or Red Raspberries)
.88 Now and Laters
=25.11 + 2.32 tax
-5/25 Rite Aid Coupon
-2 (2) $1/15 Friskie mq
-$1 charmin mq
-$1 bounty mq
=18.43
-$10 UPRewards from previous purchase
=8.43 oop
Get back $6.88 in UPRewards ($3 Friskies, $1 Charmin, $1 Bounty, $1.88 candy)

If I do this second transaction twice, I will have purchased over $50 in P$G products in all three transactions and I can send in for the coupon book rebate – but I’ll wait to see if Olay comes up with a better rebate.

Not a money making week, but lots of product with a low oop.

Target

Kraft cheese is on sale for $2 (shredded or chunk)
Use $5/5 printable coupon
=$1 each

Walgreens

Although there are several free after RR sales this week, none of them excite me. I don’t have any RR that I need to roll, so I think I might skip Walgreens this week.

CVS

I may grab one of the Oral-B Vitality Rechargable Toothbrushes for hubby. They are on sale for $23 with $13 ECBs and there is supposed to be a $10 coupon in this weeks inserts. If I get the coupon, it will be free after ECBs. The limit is two, so I’ll think about doing this. I do have some ECBs to use toward this, so we’ll see.

If I decide to do it, here’s what my transactions will look like:

$23 Vitality
$5.49 Charmin
=28.49 + 2.64 tax
-$5/25 (This coupon is expired but I think my store will still take it)
-$10 Vitality mq
-$1 Charmin mq
=15.13
Use $6 ECBs
-9.13 oop
Get back $13 ECBs

$23 Vitality + 2.13 tax
=25.13
-10 Vitality mq
=15.13
-13 ECBs
=2.13
Get back $13 ECBs

If I do shop CVS this week, I won't do the 2nd Rite Aid transaction twice. Either way, I'll have over $50 in P&G Products so I will definitely send in for the rebate.

Not a killer week - but I'll have enough cat food and toilet paper to last for a while. :)

Here are links to my two favorite deal blogs:

Coupons, Deals & More

My Frugal Adventures

So what are your must-do deals of the week?

Sep 23, 2010

Free Printable Menu Planners

Since I make up a menu plan each week, I decided to create a printable menu plan that I could print out - something I made myself and that would give me a bit of variety each week.

I played around a bit and came up with these:


It is a bit hard to see the background in these small pictures, but it looks like this:



Since I find menu planning such a great help, I would love it if having a printable menu plan helps you to jump on board and start planning your weekly menus. So....I decided to offer these printables to any of my followers who wants them! Not a follower? Easy, just click on the 'Follow' button!

Then click here and your download should start immediately.

I hope you enjoy these! And I hope you find menu planning as helpful as I do!

Linking to the following link parties:
giveaways



Sep 21, 2010

Garlic Dijon Chicken - A "Dump" Chicken Recipe

This is one of the 'dump' recipes I made during my last freezer session. A 'dump' recipe is just what it sounds like - just dump all of the ingredients into a ziplock bag and freeze. There are many to be found online - just google 'dump chicken recipes' and you will find a variety of different ideas.

I don't know where I found this one, so if you know who I can credit, please let me know.

Garlic Dijon Chicken

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
4 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice

Combine the garlic, mustard, and lime juice in a ziplock bag. Add chicken and let marinate for several hours. **I freeze it at this point. The chicken will marinate as it thaws.** Cook or grill as desired. I usually bake it at 350 degrees for 35-40minutes or until done.

I really liked how this came out. It had the right amount of flavor - not too strong and not too subtle.

I will definitely include it in future freezer sessions!





Sep 20, 2010

Bargain Shopping Update

Whew!

I'm tired from all the running around I did today after work....but what a great bargain day!

I found everything I was looking for plus a few extra items.

At Walgreens, my favorite cashier had saved her coupon inserts for me! Isn't that sweet? I ended up with 4 Gain Dish Detergents, 6 cans of Cream of Chicken soup, and 4 Butterfinger bars (like I really need those, huh?).

I love the CVS I shop at - they happily honored my expired ECBs even though they expired over a month ago! So I picked up some soda, deodorant, and a few other things to use them up. Got back $4 in ECBs for future trips.

Now, I will admit I was dreading Rite Aid. I seem to always have problems using coupons at both of the Rite Aids that I shop at and my plans for today involved lots of coupons. I was also worried about finding enough of the items I wanted to buy so I could use my $5/$25 coupons.

Well, I ended up with the nicest two cashiers I have ever had at Rite Aid! I did have to shop at both stores, but I found everything I had planned to buy! I also got some cheap coffee for work.

I ended up with 4 John Freida shampoos, 2 Bounty paper towels, 14 Quaker Oatmeals, 2 Coffees, 2 Listerine, 2 Crest, 4 A&H Spinbrushes (these I stuck away for stocking stuffers), 2 A&H toothpaste, 1 Swiss Miss, and 1 Sensodyne.

I spent $11.85 - have $6 in UPRewards to use and will get back $6 in rebates.

Not too shabby!

I'm really trying to buy only things we will actually use. I have a closet full of stuff that I've picked up cheap or free and I really don't want any more stuff that will just be sitting in a closet. Anyone need any Dulcolax?

Menu Plan Monday 09/20/10



Have you made up your menu plan for this week yet? Do you regularly plan your weekly menus?

I have found that menu planning, although a bit time consuming at first, is a huge timesaver in the long run! And it saves us money also, as I go to the store with a list and avoid buying things 'just in case' we might need it.

So, without further ado, here's what we will be eating this week:



Monday

Mexican Penne, Refried Beans, Salad
This is already made and in the freezer. I'll top it with a bit of cheese and bake.

Tuesday

Garlic Dijon Chicken, Potatoes, Salad
I marinated this chicken and froze it. It is one of the 'dump' recipes I am trying for the first time from my recent freezer plan. I'll probably either roast or bake the potatoes, depending on how much time I feel like spending that night. I will post this recipe later this week as I don't know where I found it to give proper credit.


Wednesday

Chicken Spaghetti, Rolls, Fruit
Another freezer meal that is ready to go.

Thursday

Sue Sue’s Casserole, Green Beans
This is one of the few ways I can get my kids (and myself) to eat peas. For some reason, the combination of foods in this recipe masks that gross pea flavor. :)


Friday

Lasagna Roll-ups, Garlic Bread, Salad
I plan to make extra of these and flash freeze. I'll then freeze some sauce in ice cube trays to have ready to go for quick lunches.

Saturday

Quicker than delivery Pizza, Salad
This is my new recipe of the week. I'll probably make two - one cheese and one pepperoni.

Sunday

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Potatoes, Salad
Chicken and bbq sauce will cook in the crockpot and be ready for a quick meal before church Sunday night. Lots of salad this week 'cus a friend gave us a few heads of lettuce which I need to use up.




So, that's the plan for us this week. So easy - freezer cooking has really made a difference about how I feel about cooking dinner on busy nights.


I will be linking this plan up with I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday Party! Click on the link to find hundreds of menu plans to help you get started or just to find some new recipes to try out!

Sep 19, 2010

Bargains I'm 'Chasing' This Week

First off, let me state that this is not a 'Deal Blog'. I don't currently have the time or desire to blog about all of the deals out there. If you are looking for the best drugstore and grocery deals of the week, there are a ton of blogs out there that will detail them for you. I follow quite a few myself and I also read at Slickdeals.

But I do coupon. I usually buy four newspapers each week as well as print out coupons from the internet. And I look for those deals that match coupons with sales for even greater savings. Most of the deals I shop for are not ones I find myself. I love that there are people out there who are willing to do it for us! One day soon I will post links to some of the blogs I follow but in the meantime, I want to start tracking what deals I am chasin'.

So this week, here's my plans:

Rite Aid

Trans. #1

$10.00 (2) John Freida Shampoos
$ 7.96 (4) Quaker Oats
$ 1.76 (2) Bounty Basic Paper Towels
$ 2.99 Listerine Zero
$ 2.99 Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste
=$25.70 + ~2.38 tax
-$5/25 Rite Aid Coupon
-$6.00 (2) John Freida coupons
-$1.00 Rite Aid Wellness 1/10 Hair coupon
-$4.00 (4) Quaker coupons
-$ .50 (2) Bounty coupons
-$2.00 Listerine coupon
-$1.00 Rite Aid Video Value Listerine coupon
-$ .75 Crest coupon
=7.83
Will get back $10 UPRewards ($3 for John Freida, $4 for Quaker Oats, $2 for Listerine, and $1 for Crest)

Trans. #2

$10.00 (2) John Freida Shampoos
2.99 Listerine Zero
2.99 Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste
1.69 Trial Size Sensodyne Toothpaste
7.96 (4) Quaker Oats
=25.63 + ~ 2.37 tax
-$5/25 Rite Aid coupon
-$6.00 (2) John Freida Coupons
-$1.00 Rite Aid Wellness 1/10 Hair Coupon
-$2.00 Listerine Coupon
-$1.00 Rite Aid Video Value Listerine coupon
-$ .75 Crest Coupon
-$1.50 Rite Aid Video Value Sensodyne coupon
-$4.00 (4) Quaker Coupons
=$6.75
Will use $4 UPRewards from previous transaction and pay $2.75 (UpRewards cannot be used towards tax)
Will get back $10 UPRewards ($3 for John Freida, $4 for Quaker Oats, $2 for Listerine, and $1 for Crest)

Trans. #3

$17.98 (4) Arm & Hammer Spinbrushes (BOGO this week)
3.99 (2) Arm & Hammer Toothposte (BOGO this week)
3.98 (2) Quaker Oatmeal
=25.95 + ~2.40 tax
-$5/25 Rite Aid coupon
-$8.00 (4) $2 Spinbrush coupons
-$1.50 (2) $.75 Toothpaste coupons
-$2.00 (2) $1 Quaker coupons
-$1.00 Rite-Aid Wellness Oral Care Coupon
=10.85
Will use $8 UPRewards and pay $2.85
Will get back $7 in UpRewards ($5 for Arm & Hammer, $2 for Quaker Oats)

After all three transactions, I will have paid out $13.43 and will have $15 in UPRewards toward future purchases.

If I can find them, I plan to buy more Quaker Oats as they are free after coupons and UPRewards. There is also a Single Check Rebate for $5 back if you buy $25 in certain products and Quaker Oats are included.

There is also a $10 SCR (Single Check Rebate) available when you spend $25 in Oral Care products. I already submitted for this rebate last month, so I cannot do it again.

The biggest hurdle will be finding everything I want to complete each transaction. I fear the stores near me will not have enough oats, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I'll be sure to get rainchecks tho, because Oatmeal is something we go through a lot of.

Other deals I'll check out while at the store:

Crest White Strips $29.99 - Get $15 UPRewards
Use $5/25 Rite Aid coupon and $5 White Strips coupon
= 4.99 after coupons and UPRewards
Not a bad price and I've been wanting to try these.

Campbell Select Soups $2/3 - Get $1 UPReward
Use $1/2 coupon
= free after coupons and UPRewards


Walgreens

.89 Gain Dish Detergent w/in-ad coupon
-$1 Gain coupon
=free (cashier will have to either adjust up the detergent or adjust down the coupon)

I have four coupons, so I hope to get four of these

.89 Campbells Cooking Soups (Cream Mushroom and Cream of Chicken) w/in-ad coupon
-$1.50/3 coupon
=.39 each when you buy three

.49 Butterfinger candy bars w/in-ad coupon
-$1/2 coupon
=free (I need my candy for energy as I'll be heading to Rite Aid after Walgreens)

.99 Kleenex w/in-ad cpn
I probably won't get any of these, but there are coupons out there so I might change my mind.

CVS

2.99 Right Guard Deodorant - Get $2 Extra Care Bucks (Limit 3)

I'll buy 2:

=5.98
-$3/2 coupon
=2.98
Get back $4 in Extra Care Bucks

I have almost $10 in expired ECBs (Extra Care Bucks). My store has been good about taking expired ECBs in the past and I'm hoping they will honor these. If so, I will look around and find some other things to pick up with my $10.


That's my plan for tomorrow afternoon. I shall see how it all plays out.

Sep 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 09/13/10


On the menu plan for this week is:

Monday

Korean Tri Tip, Noodles, Salad
A yummy dish that goes from freezer to crockpot. My family loves the flavor of this dish. I have made this several different ways - with ribs, roast, stew meat, and tri-tip. I found the flavor too intense with the stew meat and not intense enough with the ribs and roast. I now make sure that the pieces of meat are cut up into four or five large pieces. This way the flavor is enhanced without being overpowering.

Tuesday

Pork Chops w/French fried onions, Rice, Veggies
My mom used to make this when I was younger. It is so easy and I love the way the flavors blend. Just place pork chops in a baking dish, cover with a can of cream of mushroom and sprinkle with ¾ can of French fried onions. Bake about 40 minutes and add remaining onions when done.

Wednesday

Chicken w/Salsa, Rolls, Fruit
I’ve seen this recipe many places on the web, so I don’t know who to give credit to. But it is a simple, tasty meal. Top chicken breasts with 2 tb. salsa and sprinkle with cheese. Bake til done.


Thursday

CP Roast w/potatoes and carrots
Another recipe I borrowed from mom. Place a roast in the crockpot and sprinkle with one packet of dried onion soup mix. Add one can of cream of mushroom soup, two cans of whole white potatoes (drained) and a few handfuls of baby carrots. Cook on low all day and dinner is ready and waiting for you.

Friday

Grands Taco Melts, Celery sticks
A variation of a recipe from the Pillsbury site. Cook ground beef and season with taco seasoning and salsa. Then flatten out the grands biscuits to line the cups of a cupcake pan. Fill with beef mixture, top with shredded cheese and bake. A fun, yummy meal.

Saturday

Stuffed Shells, Spanish Rice, Salad
I still need to make these…

Sunday

Stuffed Buffalo Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Cauliflower


I’m linking up with I’m an Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday.

Last week's menu - In Review and Honey Bun Cake Recipe

Wow, I can’t believe another whole week has passed!

I have a recipe to share with you that I think you will love!! It’s not my original recipe; I found it here.

I’ve made this cake twice and each time I was asked for the recipe. It’s just that good. The name of this cake is Honey Bun Cake – but my son has renamed it Death Valley Cake because of the crater in the middle. Both times I made this, the cake fell after taking it from the oven. The first time, I didn’t check for doneness, so I made sure to the second time. But it still fell – not as bad the second time, but enough for the glaze to puddle a bit in the middle. But, even with it falling, I will definitely make it again.

So here’s the recipe, followed by a review of last week’s menu plan.

Honey Bun Cake

1 yellow cake mix (with pudding in the mix)
8 oz. sour cream
4 eggs
2/3 cup oil
½ cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk

Lightly oil and flour a 9 x 13 baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine first five ingredients and mix for two minutes.

In small bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon.

Pour ½ cake mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with ½ of the brown sugar/cinnamon mix. Repeat.
With a table knife, swirl through the cake mix to gently distribute the cinnamon.

Bake for 35 minutes or until done.

Mix powdered sugar with the milk and pour glaze onto cake immediately after removing from the oven.

Swoon.



Here’s last week’s menu plan:
Monday – Teriyaki Turkey Breast, Salad, Stuffing
Tuesday – Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Wednesday – Black Bean Salsa Chicken, Salad
Thursday – Enchilada Casserole, Refried Beans, Salad
Friday – CP Chicken Marsala, Garlic Pasta, Broccoli
Saturday – Stuffed Shells, Spanish Rice, Veggies
Sunday – Stuffed Buffalo Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus

I goofed on scheduling a potluck at church – I planned it for this coming weekend instead of last, so I had to switch up Saturday and Sunday of last week with this week. So last Saturday, we had Rotisserie Chicken for dinner and I planned for leftovers on Sunday as I knew we wouldn’t be too hungry after eating all that yummy food at the potluck.

All in all it was a good week. I was looking forward to the Stuffed Buffalo Chicken, but I'll have to wait a bit longer as I moved it to this week. The Chicken Marsala was good, but I was a bit disappointed in the texture of the chicken. I think it might have been better if the chicken breasts were cut into smaller pieces to soak up more of the sauce.

Sep 9, 2010

Strikethrough!

Isn't this cool? I figured out all by myself googled how to strike thru text.

I never knew how and it is super easy! But you probably already know that. I wouldn't be surprised if I'm the only person who didn't know how to do this.

Just in case there is someone out there who doesn't know how, you, too, can google it you simply put an s inside <> before the text and an /s inside <> at the end of the text that you want to strike through. Like this:


I'm tickled pink!

It doesn't take much to amuse me!

Sep 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 9/6/10

Yikes....it's already Tuesday! So, I'm late, late, late in posting this!

Our plan for the week:

Monday

Teriyaki Turkey Breast, Salad, Stuffing
Since Monday was a holiday, I didn't preplan a freezer meal. But in the meantime, I came across a marinated turkey breast that I had picked up on markdown in our freezer. Time to eat it!

Tuesday

Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
I mixed up the meatloaf and froze it raw. Let thaw and bake. Easy, peasy.

Wednesday

Black Bean Salsa Chicken, Salad
Also premixed and frozen. And a crockpot meal, too!

Thursday

Enchilada Casserole, Refried Beans, Salad
One of my favorite freezer meals. I make up a meal kit with the meat mixture ready to go. I package the tortillas and cheese in separate bags and have it all in one larger freezer bag. Ready to assemble and cook and the kids love it!

Friday

CP Chicken Marsala, Garlic Pasta, Broccoli
This is our new recipe for the week. I will post a review and, if we like it, the recipe later this week.

Saturday

Stuffed Shells, Spanish Rice, Veggies
I have a confession to make....I never completed the stuffed shells when doing my freezer cooking. I know - bad. So Saturday I'll be making two of these and freezing one for later this year.

Sunday

Stuffed Buffalo Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus
This is a good and different way to make chicken. I don't like blue cheese, so last time I made this I used mozzarella cheese. This time I bought pepper jack cheese. I think pepper jack will blend well with the buffalo marinade.

So, how do you plan your meals? Do you plan weekly, monthly, or longer? Or do you wing it each day?

That's all for now - I'm off to link this post to I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday party.

Sep 6, 2010

Last week's menu - In Review and Recipe

We did fairly well in following last week's menu! I'm proud of us!

Here's what I planned:

Monday – Asian Pork Tenderloin, White Rice, Veggies
Tuesday – Enchilada Casserole, Refried Beans, Salad
Wednesday – Meatball Sandwiches, Fruit
Thursday – Dump Italian Chicken, Pesto Noodles, Salad
Friday – Out to eat with the Girls – Pizza for the guys
Saturday – Chicken Broccoli Casserole, Rolls
Sunday – Chicken Enchiladas, Ranch Style Beans, Spanish Rice

Tuesday we went out for Pizza. It was my birthday and the whole family got together. It was so fun! I love it when we can all get together - it is sometimes hard with all the different work schedules.

So we didn't eat the Enchilada Casserole on Tuesday and we didn't eat Meatball Sandwiches on Wednesday. :(

I can't remember what we did Wednesday, so it must not have been too thrilling!

The rest of the week went as planned except I didn't make the Ranch Style Beans on Sunday. Hmmm...maybe I can work them into next week's menu.

The Chicken Broccoli casserole was really good and I will definitely make it again. I found the recipe at Taste of Home and it is here. Here is the recipe with the changes I made or will make next time:

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

1 1/2 cups water
1 package (6 ounces) chicken stuffing mix
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 1/2 - 2 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of broccoli soup, undiluted
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in stuffing mix. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, layer chicken and broccoli in a greased 11" x 7" baking dish. Top with soup. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese over soup. Fluff stuffing with a fork; spoon over soup. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6 servings.

Sep 1, 2010

September To-Do List

I made up a list of things I would like to get accomplished during the month of September.

Around the house:
- Clean off my side of closet shelves in order to
- Get shoe boxes labeled and in closet
- Go through clothes on rocking chair
- Organize coupon binder

On the crafty side:
- Make up new Awana dues boxes
- Paint the pot for kitchen utensils as well as some clothes pins
- Figure out clothes pin kitchen holder idea
- Finish up Menu Plan printables and upload post

In the Kitchen:
- Try one new recipe each week

Spiritually:
- Continue memorizing Romans 12
- Work on Changed Into His Image daily

By posting it here, I hope to have some accountability. Wanna' make up one of your own? Just think up a few things you wish to accomplish (not regular things you will do anyway, like laundry). Keep it doable by not overloading your list.

So...I invite you to tell me what's on your list!

Aug 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 08/30/10

Woohoo, we get to start eating from my last freezer session!

Here's our plan for this week:

Monday

Chicken Penne, Salad
I hadn't planned originally on this, but needed to make a casserole for a friend whose Mother passed away and this was easy to double and I had most everything needed to make it. I just cooked up two boxes of penne, mixed in 5 cups of shredded chicken (frozen), 2 cups of cheese and 2 jars of spaghetti sauce. Placed in two casserole dishes and topped each with another cup of cheese (each) and baked @ 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Tuesday

Asian Pork Tenderloin, White Rice, Veggies
I used Pork Roasts this time (they were on sale) and will see how they turn out.

Wednesday

Meatball Sandwiches, Fruit
Frozen meatballs with marinara sauce and cheese on toasted rolls.

Thursday

Dump Italian Chicken, Pesto Noodles, Salad
Chicken breasts marinated in Italian dressing.

Friday

Out to eat with the Girls – Pizza for the guys

Saturday

Chicken Broccoli Casserole, Rolls

Sunday

Chicken Enchiladas, Ranch Style Beans, Spanish Rice

I expect a few changes this week as Tuesday is my birthday and I know my family will want to do something. I am figuring we will all be a bit tired Tuesday as it is my son's first day of school and I have a long day at work, so we'll play it by ear.

I'm linking to I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. Check out all the plans linked for some great dinner ideas.

Last week's menu - In Review

Each week I will review the previous weeks' menu. This is so I can go back and see what worked and what didn't. I can also track just how well we are doing staying on our menu plan.

Here was our original plan:

Monday – Pesto Chicken Bake, Noodles, Corn
Tuesday – Pizza Party for Johnny
Wednesday – Broccoli Chicken Casserole, Rolls
Thursday – Pork Chow Mein, Fried Rice
Friday – Southwest Chicken Pie
Saturday – Steak, Baked Potatoes, Salad
Sunday – Teriyaki Meatballs over rice, Mixed

Wow, I think we failed. Monday and Tuesday went well and I found a new love in Pesto, which I wrote about here.

Wednesday, I made the Southwest Chicken Pie and it was delicious. I had way too much filling, so I froze the extra. I think the filling will freeze well and this may make it into my next freezer plan. It is a nice, different, meal.

Friday we were invited to a barbeque, Saturday we took a friend out for her birthday, and Sunday we were invited to the house of friends. I did make a new cake for dessert and plan to post about it in the next few days.

That leaves Thursday and I can't remember what we did that night! Wow, age must be really affecting my memory. :)

So we tried two new meals which were both hits, one which will work for a freezer plan. I've put the Broccoli Chicken Casserole on next week's plan and hope to get to try it out.

Aug 28, 2010

Back to School Teacher Gift {First Attempt at Mod Podge}

Here's a Back-to-School Gift I made for my son's teacher. It started out as a bit of a joke when we bought several packs of red pens.

Two years ago, my son got a demerit in class for not having a red pen. When he told me, I thought he was joking. I didn't think any teacher would give a demerit for not having a pen. Demerits in this school are used for excessive talking, disrespect, and other behaviour issues. I couldn't imagine not having a pen would fall into this category. Of course, I am one of those moms who will always jump to the defense of my sons. Usually without thinking. And he's not the perfect angel I sometimes think he is. *cough*

Demerits are not unknown to my son...he has collected more than his fair share over the years. And I'm not kidding when I say more than his fair share. But two years ago he fnally figured out he could behave and he was actually tryng not to get any demerits for the year. I knew he was (finally) making a true effort to not get any demerits. So the red pen demerit grated a bit.

To be fair, the teacher had a right. She had been forever reminding the kids to bring their red or green pens for grading each day and finally told the kids that if they didn't remember, she would be handing out demerits. And she followed through on her word. And to her credit, she told me that if that was the only demerit he got for the whole year, she would take it back. Which he did. And she did. I was thrilled my boy who had received 30 demirits in three months in the 7th grade was able to get zero (ok, actually one, but she did take it back) in the 9th grade.

So after that loooooong story, when I found the $1/1 Target Bic Coupon last month, I bought four packs of red pens for her. I also had picked up a ton of pencils either super cheap or free and figured I'd give some to her also.

So....how to present them?

I remembered this container I had saved from a Vocalpoint sample:



If you haven't registered at Vocalpoint, stop what you are doing and go do it right now! Then send you the coolest samples and super great coupons.

Anyhow, when I received this container from Vocalpoint, it had some Crystal Lite samples and coupons in it. I love how they find such cute ways to deliver their samples. And when I saw how cute this way, I couldn't throw it away. I knew it would come in handy sometime. Here's a pic showing the top and bottom separately.



I had some scrapbooking paper laying around and found this cute Fallish (yes that is now a word!) paper with apples. How appropriate! I grabbed a solid coordinating paper for the inside and cut them to size.



I had bought some Mod Podge last time I was at Michaels after seeing all the cute projects people have made with it. I decided this was the time to try it out. Holding my breath, I jumped right in. Remember, I had no idea what I was doing. But it really wasn't all that hard.





I slathered a layer of Mod Podge on first, smoothed the paper in, and ‘painted’ on another layer of Mod Podge. My brush was way too big and made it harder than it should have been, but it was all I had.

And here is the final result.



Yes, it’s not perfect. But I am working hard to reign my obsessive need for perfection. Usually I try to make things better and end up making them worse. I thought it came out kinda’ cute and now the kids won’t have to fret about remembering their red pens!

Aug 27, 2010

New Friend Friday

I started this blog mainly as a way to keep track of my stuff...my menu plans, my freezer cooking, the occasional craft, etc. I have discovered so many great ideas by following blogs and am becoming slightly addicted. I love finding new blogs because that means finding new ideas.

Today I am trying something new by joining in on New Friend Friday hosted by Trendy Treehouse.
New Friend Fridays

If you would like to check it out for yourself, click on the button above and you can join in on the fun also!

Aug 26, 2010

Recipe Binder

I'm curious. How do you keep track of your recipes?

I've kept my recipes in a document folder on my computer for a long time, but I found that I was printing them out each time I wanted to use a particular recipe so I wouldn't have to take my laptop into the kitchen. See, I'm a messy cook. And I don't want to ruin my laptop. But printing out the recipes each time I used one got to be a pain and a waste of paper.

So, last year I started a recipe binder. I purchased a small binder (5 1/2 x 8 1/2) and a small 3-hole punch and began filling it up. I did good for a while, but like most things, it began to get messy as I got lazy.

Here's the mess I have created:

This morning I was reading some of the blogs I like to follow and I came across this post at Clean Mama. It was the inspiration I needed to tackle my recipe binder and get it organized before school begins. Wow, I can’t believe how dirty this binder was. This picture looks better than it really was:

First things first, I want my binder to be pretty. After making the binder front for my son (that he surely won’t use), I decided my recipe binder needed a pretty look. So I fooled around a bit and came up with this:

Much better, don’t you think? So now I need to get it organized. I know I have dividers somewhere around here. I just need to figure out what categories I want to divide the recipes into. Should I go with Chicken, Beef, Etc. Or by cooking methods like Freezer, Crockpot, Grilling? Or perhaps a mix of both along with a Favorites tab?

Aug 25, 2010

Binder Front Subway Art

I've noticed that the web is full of DIY Subway Art lately. You can read how to make a friend board here. And Tatertots & Jello actually hosted a Subway Art Party! Check it out to see all of the amazing projects that have been made.

Yesterday, I finished up the last of our back-to-school shopping....my son needed a new binder and he had a specific one in mind. So off to Staples we went so he could buy a one-touch binder...you know the kind...that you can open the prongs with one hand. They are a bit more expensive, but since we have everything else he needs already in our stockpile of school/office supplies, I figured it was okay.

The binder he got this year was made by Avery and has the plastic pocket on front and back where you can slip in photos, pictures, etc.

So, when we got home, I was thinking about his binder and started playing around with Paintshop Pro. This is what I made:



I printed it out and slipped it inside his new binder and said, "Look what I made for you!"

Lol...he was a bit stunned. Let's recall that he is 16. And he said one word:

"Why?"

Whyyyy?

So now I know....16 + Subway Art = No thanks.

But I still think it is cute and a younger boy or girl might really think it is cool. Or maybe I am just a bit wacko.



I have linked this post to the following:
Spotlight Yourself Party at It's So Very Cheri
'Look at Me' Party at It's FUN to Craft

Aug 24, 2010

Pesto

I couldn't wait for my weekly review to post about last night's dinner. We had Pesto Chicken Bake. I can't figure out where I found this recipe, so it anyone knows, let me know so I can give proper credit.

Pesto Chicken Bake

4 Chicken Breasts
1 jar Classico Pesto Sauce
Noodles or Rice

1. Place chicken in baking dish. Put a spoonful of pesto sauce on top. Bake @ 350 until done. (35-40 min.)

2. While chicken is baking, cook and drain pasta or cook rice.

3. Stir some pesto sauce into noodles (or rice) and serve.


When I went to the store to buy the Classico Pesto Sauce, I couldn't find it. I stared at the shelf of pasta sauces, specifically the area with the Classico sauces, as if my piercing stare would make it magically appear. Am I the only one who thinks that if I look hard enough, I will find what I'm looking for?

Well, my store doesn't carry Classico Pesto Sauce, but I did find a small jar of Pesto. For $4.59!!! Yikes. It was about half the size of the other pasta sauce jars and, in my opinion, expensive.

I bought it anyway and boy am I happy I did.

You see, I have never cooked with pesto before. In fact, I don't think I have ever eaten pesto before. Like my son said, "It's greeeeen."

But I wanted to lick my plate clean. It was gooooooooood! And son asked for seconds, too.

So now I'm on the hunt to find the perfect recipe for pesto. I have seen that you can make it up and freeze in ice cube trays. This is something I NEED to do a) because it is yummy and b) because it has got to be less expensive to make it yourself.

So if anyone has a tried and true recipe for pesto, I need it!

Aug 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 8/23/10

Every week I make up a menu plan, including the weekends, to follow. I find this saves me time, money, and most importantly, unnecessary frustration. I was initially inspried to plan our weekly meals by reading about it at I'm An Organizing Junkie. She hosts a menu planning party each week where you can link up your own menu plan and find inspiration from hundreds of other people who also link up their plans. This week's plans are here.

Here's what we will be eating this week:

Monday

Pesto Chicken Bake, Pasta, Corn

Tuesday

Pizza Party for Youngest and Friends

Wednesday

Broccoli Chicken Casserole, Rolls

Thursday

Pork Chow Mein, Fried Rice

Friday

Southwest Chicken Pie

Saturday

Steak, Baked Potatoes, Salad

Sunday

Teriyaki Meatballs over rice, Mixed Veggies
Using meatballs from our freezer


I will bake extra chicken Monday to use in Wednesday and Friday's meals. Several of these recipes are new to us and I will post how they work out. I'm always on the lookout for new recipes that will freeze well - hopefully some of these will make the cut. ;)

What's on your plan this week?

Last week's menu - In Review and Mexican Penne Recipe

I plan to start reviewing our weekly menus so I can refer back later and recall what worked and what didn't.

To refresh our memories, here's what we ate last week:

Monday – Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Tuesday – Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread
Wednesday – Rotisserie Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Ranch Beans
Thursday - Chicken w/Salsa, Broccoli, Pasta Roni
Friday – Mexican Penne, Salad, Rolls
Saturday – Big Salad w/chicken, cucumbers, tomato, etc.
Sunday – Eat Out or Leftovers

The first half of the week went as planned. But I returned to work this week. And I was tired this week. :) Really tired. Having meals ready to go was a lifesaver!

Thursday was our youngest's birthday, so we took him out to Olive Garden to eat instead of eating at home. So that chicken stayed in the freezer for another day.

And Friday, I forgot to take the Penne from the freezer. Without knowing this, hubby went to the store and bought a roast and cooked it in the crockpot. So that worked out perfectly!

And Saturday, some friends invited us out to dinner. We couldn't refuse, could we?

I need to admit something here...when I plan a day like Sunday - eating leftovers - I should know better. With two grown sons in the house, there are rarely leftovers around by Sunday. Unless I make something they don't like.

I'm happy with the week and since I've already featured the Rotisserie Chicken Recipe here I will leave you with the recipe for Mexican Penne which I originally found at Food.com. My boys love this for dinner! I love it because it is easy and freezes well!

Mexican Penne

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. box Penne pasta, cooked as directed
2 16oz. jars salsa (I prefer a chunky salsa)
1 15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups Mexican cheese (or whatever you have on hand)

1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.

2. Cook the ground beef, drain.

3. In large bowl, combine the beef, salsa, and black beans. Mix well.

4. Add the pasta and half the cheese and mix.

5. Place in baking dish and top with remaining cheese.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Freezer directions:

Slightly undercook the pasta so it is still a little bit firm. Follow the above directions thru #4, without adding the cheese. Place in freezable dish or ziplock bag and freeze.

When ready to eat, thaw. Place half of the mixture in a baking dish, top with 1/2 cheese and repeat.

Bake as directed.

Aug 22, 2010

Scripture Memorization

I have a hard time memorizing bible verses. I want to know the Bible. It is God's commandment that we know the Bible. But keeping it real, it's not possible to memorize all of the Bible...it's just too big. And memorization is hard.

However, there are many verses that I desire to know...to be able to pull them out of my brain when I need them. But let's face it...my brain isn't what it used to be. I just might be getting old. **shudder**

I posted about a memorization system
here that I thought would really work. And it did. For about three weeks. Then I stopped doing it.

The hardest part for me is memorizing the reference as well as the verse. What I mean is, I can memorize the verse, but can't always remember where it is in the Bible.


Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Psalm 119:11

I had to look up where that verse was. Now, I knew it was in the 119th Psalm, but I couldn't recall if it was verse 10 or 11. And that's an easier one to remember.

The other thing I have a problem with is context. So many times I hear verses pulled from the Bible and used out of context. I don't want to do this.

Now, why am I writing about this? For accountability.

Earlier this summer I decided that I would try to memorize certain parts of the Bible. For instance, I knew most of the 23rd Psalm, but I couldn't recite the whole Psalm without a few stumbles. I kept at it until I could state the whole Psalm without gaps....then I pictured writing it out in my mind, seeing each word. Then I mentally defined each phrase, making sure I understood it. I love that I can fall back on this Psalm when I'm troubled, when I'm frustrated, when I'm needing comfort.

And now I'm working on Romans 12. Why Romans 12? I can't really say, except that I felt pulled to that particular chapter. I wondered myself why I felt I needed to memorize this part of the Bible. The following week, I ran across a post online about Romans 12:1. Then in church, our Pastor referenced Romans 12:1 as well. Then the next week, he mentioned Romans 12:2. It was as if God was telling me that this section of the Bible was something I needed.

There is a lot to learn in this chapter. I don't mean a lot of words to memorize (although that is also true), but a lot of lessons. Each verse is powerful and by memorizing the passage in whole, I am focusing on each point over and over again and I am not just memorizing words, but I am absorbing God's Word.

Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Romans 12:15

I have always loved this verse. Maybe it isn't a typical verse that people choose for memorization. It tells me how important it is to be with fellow Christians. In times of joy and in times of sorrow. Celebrate with them in times of happiness and cry with them in times of sadness. Simply said, be there for each other.

Okay so here's my progress. I've got verses 1-3 down. Verses 4-5 come and go. I've got verses 6-9 down. Verses 10-15 are almost solid. 16-20 are still to be learned. And verse 21 I've known for awhile:

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:21

Romans 12
1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

8Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

9Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

10Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

11Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

12Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

13Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

14Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

15Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

16Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

A side note. My son goes to a Christian school. His freshman year of high school, he had a Bible Quizzing Class. He had to memorize 8-10 verses every week. As I struggle with memorizing, I am amazed at how much those kids learned. Two weeks ago he went to a summer camp and they had a week-long contest on memorizing verses. He took 1st place for reciting 88 verses. He would have done more, but couldn't find a counselor at the end to do the last 12 verses. He knew them because of the Bible Quizzing Class. But the fact I love is that he retained the verses a year and a half later...and so can I.



Aug 21, 2010

Making Strawberry Jam for the Freezer

One of the things I wanted to do this summer was making freezer jam. Have you ever tried this?

I have never canned. I would like to learn how, but just the idea of buying all the equipment sounds daunting.

So, when I heard about freezer jam, I thought it would be a nice alternative to canning.

This was so EASY!

I bought the pectin at my grocery store. My store only stocks Sure Jell, but there are other types out there. And I picked up strawberries when they were on sale 'buy one get one free'.

To make the jam, I just followed the instructions that came with the Sure Jell. I used my food processor to puree the strawberries and left them just a bit chunky so the jam would be hearty.

You will need 2 cups of strawberry puree. Add to the strawberries 4 cups of sugar. This amount of sugar seems like a lot, but I went ahead with it as all I had read online stressed to follow the instructions exactly. I didn't want to ruin it by changing the recipe.

While the strawberries and sugar are melding (like that word?), boil some water and the pectin in a small saucepan. I don't recall how much water, but the instructions tell you. Once the strawberry/sugar mix has sat for the required time (I think 4 minutes, but again, read the instructions), you just mix the pectin/water mix in and gently stir.

I used the small screw-top ziplock containers and the recipe filled three of these. Let them sit at room temperature for 24 hours to complete the jelling process and then pop into the freezer. I kept one in the fridge to use now.

Review: I was a bit surprised when my son commented on how sweet the jam was. I didn't think anything would seem too sweet to a kid, but there you have it. I am curious to see if the ones in the freezer taste as sweet. If so, next time I will buy the pectin that is for sugar free or less sugar recipes. In fact, I think I will try this either way as less sugar is a good thing.

Cost Analysis: It wasn't too expensive to make this. You would definitely want to make jam when the desired fruit is in season to get the best price on it. I've never paid attention to the pectin, but I'm sure it goes on sale from time to time and I will be watching for a sale/coupon match-up in the future to stock up for next year.

Overall, I consider this a success. I like knowing what ingredients go into the food I serve my family and I had fun making this. It was super fast and I just feel good knowing that I made it.

I will definitely do this again!

Aug 17, 2010

My Freezer Cooking Menu Plan - September thru December

I have been posting about my freezer cooking the last few weeks here and here. And I promised to post links to the recipes. So here you have it! I am linking to the original recipes and have changed some a bit, so each week I will try to update the recipes with my changes as well as posting any recipes that don't have links.

Let me ask you...does this look like a great, awesome, wonderful idea? It was hard while doing it, but my friend, these meals are done! I won't have to think, shop, chop, prep, or cook for five days each week! Well, yes, I will have to cook, but it will be easy cooking. Like popping something in the crockpot or oven.

So here's the plan...and yes, it will change, as life always throws unexpected curves our way. But that's okay too, as these meals will keep as long as I want them too.


08/30 – Asian Pork Roast
08/31 – Enchilada Casserole
09/01 – Meatball Sandwiches
09/02 – Dump Italian Chicken
09/03 –
09/04 –
09/05 – Chicken Enchiladas

09/06 – Garlic Dijon Chicken
09/07 – Meatloaf
09/08 – Black Bean Salsa Chicken
09/09 – Stuffed Shells
09/10 –
09/11 –
09/12 – Stuffed Buffalo Chicken

09/13 – Korean Tri Tip
09/14 – Pork Chops w/French Fried Onions
09/15 – Chicken w/Salsa
09/16 – CP Roast
09/17 –
09/18 –
09/19 – Rotisserie Chicken

09/20 – Mexican Penne
09/21 – Chicken Spaghetti
09/22 – Sue Sue’s Casserole
09/23 – Lasagna Roll-ups
09/24 –
09/25 –
09/26 – BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

09/27 – Oriental Pork Chops
09/28 – Parmesan Chicken
09/29 – Swedish Meatballs
09/30 – Chicken Tortilla Casserole
10/01 –
10/02 –
10/03 – Ranch Chicken

10/04 – Chicken & Beef Fajitas
10/05 – Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti
10/06 – Mini Meatloaves
10/07 – Chicken ‘n Rice Casserole
10/08 –
10/09 –
10/10 – Poppyseed Chicken

10/11 – CP Chicken ‘n Stuffing
10/12 – Buffalo Shrimp
10/13 – Chicken Ziti
10/14 – Turkey Burgers
10/15 –
10/16 –
10/17 – Steak

10/18 – Spaghetti
10/19 – Honey & Soy Chicken
10/20 – CP Chili
10/21 – Hamburgers
10/22 –
10/23 –
10/24 – CP Greek Ribs

10/25 – Asian Pork Roast
10/26 – Enchilada Casserole
10/27 – Teriyaki Meatballs
10/28 – Lemon Garlic Chicken
10/29 –
10/30 –
10/31 – Chicken Enchiladas

11/01 – Rotisserie Chicken
11/02 – Meatloaf
11/03 – Black Bean Salsa Chicken
11/04 – Stuffed Shells
11/05 –
11/06 –
11/07 – Stuffed Buffalo Chicken

11/08 – Korean Tri Tip
11/09 – Pork Chops w/French Fried Onions
11/10 – Chicken w/Salsa
11/11 – CP Roast
11/12 –
11/13 –
11/14 – BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

11/15 – Mexican Penne
11/16 – Chicken Spaghetti
11/17 – Sue Sue’s Casserole
11/18 – Lasagna Roll-ups
11/19 –
11/20 –
11/21 – Chicken Tortilla Casserole

11/22 – Oriental Pork Chops
11/23 – Parmesan Chicken
11/24 – Meatball Sandwiches
11/25 – Thanksgiving
11/26 – Leftovers
11/27 –
11/28 – Ranch Chicken

11/29 – Chicken & Beef Fajitas
11/30 – Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti
12/01 – Mini Meatloaves
12/02 – Chicken ‘n Rice Casserole
12/03 –
12/04 –
12/05 – CP Greek Ribs

12/06 – CP Chicken ‘n Stuffing
12/07 – Buffalo Shrimp
12/08 – Chicken Ziti
12/09 – Turkey Burgers
12/10 –
12/11 –
12/12 – Poppyseed Chicken

12/13 – Lemon Garlic Chicken
12/14 – CP Chili
12/15 – Rotisserie Chicken
12/16 – Hamburgers
12/17 –
12/18 –
12/19 – Honey & Soy Chicken

12/20 – Meatloaf
12/21 – Garlic Dijon Chicken
12/22 –
12/23 –
12/24 – Traditional Prime Rib Dinner
12/25 – Christmas
12/26 –

Rotisserie Chicken

I know I've mentioned this recipe several times in the past, but I wanted to write a post about how I like to prepare this chicken. I originally found this recipe here at food.com (what used to be recipezaar.com).

Lots of people think it is silly to make a rotisserie style chicken when you can easily buy a precooked chicken at most grocery stores for about $5. This is true, but when whole chickens are on sale, you can get a much larger chicken than the precooked ones for the same $5. That means lots more meat and we usually can get two meals from one chicken.

Another plus of this recipe is that it freezes well. I like to pick up several chickens (when on sale, of course) and prep them all at once. It just makes it easier to make several when you've got all the spices out. I've even made up little bags of the seasoning using snack bags to have on hand.

And another reason I like to make these myself is that my husband is on a healthy food kick and he prefers chicken without the skin. So I skin the chickens before seasoning and freezing and they still come out great. (And I've been known to plop a frozen chicken in the crockpot and have never had any problems....just don't tell the food police that 'cus cooking from frozen is a no-no.)

Here's the recipe:

Rotisserie Chicken

3+ lbs roasting chicken
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt


Skin the chicken (I use my kitchen shears and this makes it pretty easy to do). Remove the guts and any visible fat.

Mix up the seasoning in a small bowl.

Place chicken in a ziplock bag. (If not eating right away - otherwise skip this part.)

Then sprinkle spice mix on the chicken, making sure to cover all sides. It's less messy this way than seasoning it before putting it into the bag. Seal bag.

Freeze.

Thaw out overnight in fridge and cook in crockpot on low. I've cooked these as long as 12 hours and they still taste great. The longer you cook it, the more the chicken will fall apart.


I like to have a few of these on hand for those times you want to take a meal to a friend. I have an extra crockpot that I put it in and don't have to worry about how long it takes to get it back.

So there you have it: an easy rotisserie chicken recipe that really is better than buying store bought.

Aug 15, 2010

My Menu Plan for the week of 8/16/10

I have discovered that menu planning makes my week flow so much smoother. I've been a bit lax this summer and haven't made up weekly menu plans regularly and I have seen the ugly results ... we've resorted to eating out way too often, which messes with our (hubby's) budget. And our meals made at home have been haphazard and thrown together at the last minute.

So when I realized that I have to work next week, I figured a menu plan was in order. I've spent the last few weeks cooking ahead for when I officially go back to work in September and I ended up with a few extra meals so I am going to use them this coming up week to make my transition back to work a bit easier.

Here's what we will be eating:

Monday
Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Tuesday
Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread
(Using pre-cooked ground beef in the freezer)

Wednesday
Rotisserie Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Ranch Beans

Thursday
Chicken w/Salsa and Cheese, Pasta w/Garlic Sauce, Broccoli
(Such an easy way to make chicken, top chicken breasts with 2 tablespoons of salsa and a sprinkling of cheese and bake - Yum!)

Friday
Mexican Penne, Salad, Rolls

Saturday
I'm thinking a big salad w/tomatoes, cucumbers, and leftover chicken from Wednesday

Sunday
We will either eat out or have leftovers

All of the main dishes are already prepped and in my freezer as I write this, which is a real relief knowing how easy my meals will be to prepare. And my grocery bill for this week will be really small as I only have to buy the veggies and a few other things like milk and fruit.

I will be linking this to Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. Check out her post to find tons of great menu ideas from all the different people who link to her blog.