Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quick, good food!

These are a few of my favorite things...
You know those little peppers in the bag at Costco? I LOVE to saute them in a very hot pan with a little olive oil, until charred, then add a 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar to finish them off... Take them off the heat to cool and wilt, and then... just pop them in your mouth!
sooooo good!!!
My favorite topping for Garlic and Olive oil pasta??? 1/2 inch thick sliced, and charred Zucchini...
Oh man... who needs meat when you can eat these bad boys along with the pasta!
Mmmmm.... fresh Salmon, simmering in a Balsamic glaze... only 3 minutes a side and you are done!!!! Also great in the oven over a bed a veggies!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pasta night!

My Mama brought me over and HUGE zucchini.
So, it will be tonight's dinner.
I will be slicing it into about 1/2 inch thick round slices,
and putting them into a pan with a little olive oil and salt and wilting them.
In the meantime, I will be boiling water for pasta.
When Zucchini is done, and pasta is al dente...
I will combine the two and sprinkle with Pecorino Romano shaved cheese.
Add a quick salad and come crusty bread... and heaven is waiting!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Home made fries

I really need to post more often on here...
I cook dinner almost every. single. night...
How hard can it be to post a recipe?
It's not!
I'm just lazy busy!
Okay... who am I kidding... I'm lazy...
I'll be better...
We had a friend of the boys over for dinner tonight... a kid from Alex's baseball team.
I WAS going to make my family's favorite pasta dish... Peasant Pasta...
but the last time he ate over for dinner and I had a vegetable stuffed Ravioli for the main course...
so... needless to say... I scraped the planned meal and stored it for tomorrow night and tonight
made homemade burgers and fries.
I made the hamburger buns too... from my Artisan Bread bucket recipe... see
my other blog for the recipe.
The fries... oh the fries... he loooooved the fries.
I cut a bunch of red butter potatoes into wedges, and sprinkled them with
Pampered Chef Parmesan and Garlic dipping sprinkle and salt...
Oh yummmmm eeeeee!
I wanted to please the kid... I didn't want him to feel he had to eat what we eat.
He loved the bun too.
Just plain ole' salt and pepper is awesome too.
No oil though... makes them soggy, the salt draws out the water so the seasoning will stick.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Go to Pasta meals

Holy Cow!
I don't know how you working moms do it!
I have only been running the Snack Bar for 3 weeks, and I'm pooped!
Sometimes to tired to cook!
I a cook, and I don't wanna do it!
Lately, my go to meals have been Pasta based...
Pasta cooks quickly, there are myriad of sauces that can be used, and with some
fresh, crusty bread, and a salad... dinner can be done in a flash... especially if you use
Cappelini... it only takes 5 minutes to cook.
Last night, I had some leftover zucchini, and a tons of onions, so I make a pasta meal out of it.
I sliced up the 2 large zucchini, and a huge onion in to slivers.
Placed them into a piping hot skillet with some olive oil and saute'd away.
Meanwhile, I had my Pasta water going, salted of course, and ready for the Cappelini
as soon as the veggies were done and crisp tender.
When they were both done, I put the Pasta into the skillet with the veggies, added a touch more olive oil and sprinkled with my New Pampered Chef garlic and Parmesan dipping seasoning.
It was good! Not overpowering, but good.
I usually don't use powdered anything in my cooking, but I had this on hand, it's new from the Spring season, and it was good!
I also love making a peasant dish using the same technique except substituting the zucchini for shredded cabbage.
My kids can't get enough of it.
We call it Peasant Pasta... because it's so easy and cheap to make.
My hubby will even make it if I'm away on business!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Quick Taco Salad

I really need to get on the ball with this blog.
That being said, I'm going to post some recipes that have gotten me through this week.
One is my HUGE BOWL of Taco Salad for 6.
1 1/2 lbs of ground beef
1 large onion minced
1 bag of shredded cabbage
1 cup frozen corn
chopped bell pepper
taco seasoning mix to taste
salt to taste
chopped scallions
shredded cheddar and jack cheese
Brown ground beef, drain fat, add onions, peppers, frozen corn and cabbage and taco seasoning mix
and cook until cabbage is just wilted.
Place in a large shallow bowl.
Add a layer of salsa
Add a layer of cheese,
top with green scallions...
The cabbage stretches the meat, and gives it all a great crunch.
Shredded cabbage is almost always used in Mexico for tacos instead of lettuce.
It's much more nutritious and is cheaper than lettuce, and required less
pesticide when growing.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pantry Raid II

It's Spring...
and that usually means Spring Cleaning...
and in my house...
it means cleaning out my pantry and using up all the food that has been sitting
in it for almost 6 months.
Why do this?
Because I spent good money on these items,
and I need to get our hard earned money's worth of what we buy.
You might be like me, and you might overbuy, say... chocolate chips around Christmas time because they are on sale... and now I have 7 bags of Nestle Chocolate Chips... and they are
taking up valuable room in my pantry.
So... to use them up, so they don't turn grey and taste "off" eventually, I am making a batch of Tollhouse cookies every Sunday Afternoon.
Not only does my family love this... I am saving money on buying sweets, making them myself, and using less butter, adding wheat germ or Flax seedmeal, and making them more nutritious.
I also overpurchased fish this winter... so before it gets freezer burn, we will be having
fish every Wednesday.
I will only shop for things like Milk, cheese, and condiments as needed, while I am
trying to get creative and make meals with only what is in my pantry.
It is a great way to develop new recipes, make better use of the money we spend, and
make room in the pantry for new blessings.
I also over purchased whole bean coffee, that we will happily be using every morning.
So... what's in your pantry?
Got too many boxed soups, or cans of beans?
Use them up before buying any more groceries that doesn't come from the perimeter of the
grocery store.
You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What's for dinner tonight?

Mmmm What' for Dinner?
Well... I have some ground beef defrosting,
I have some corn tortillas in the fridge...
I've got cheddar cheese,
frozen corn,
taco seasoning mix,
Precooked brown rice I made on my Sunday Prep Day,
I think I'm in business for Taco's!
Oh, and also on Prep Day, I presliced some onions... so I can add those to the beef mixture also to bulk the meat up with some veggie goodness...
Now... the hard part...
How to get everyone home at the same time... to eat around the same table...
Looks like it's gonna be an after game dinner, kinda late... but togetherness trumps time
any day of the week.
After tacos, they can munch on the chocolate chip/peanut butter chip cookies I also made on Sunday prep day.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Time to Pay Yourself!

Times are tough...
At least that's what the talking heads have been saying lately.
For me?
I have always been of the mind that eating out and spending tons of money on ordering in
isn't a good use of my funds... I'd much rather have great kitchen tools, or a great pair of shoes
for my money, instead of just one meal.
Which is why I started this particular blog in the first place... a little over a year ago.
Since I know how to cook, I do it often, and save valuable money.
We go out to dinner very occasionally, mostly for Anniversary and birthdays. That's it.
I even came up with a great way to save my money and MAKE myself cook more often.
When I felt the urge to just chuck it all, and call the hubby and say "We are going out to dinner", I restrained myself, looked in my cupboards for something to put together for dinner,
and made it. I didn't like doing it... I really wanted someone else to serve me that night... but I did it.
Yeah, I know... big whoop. You cooked dinner... I know, I know...
I called my hubby back and told him nevermind.. I made dinner... then asked him this question...
I said
"Bill, if we had gone out... what do you think you would have ordered?"
His answer? Prime Rib and all the trimmings.
Then I thought of what the 3 boys usually order and myself.
I tallied up what dinner out would have cost us that night, and WROTE MYSELF A CHECK FOR
That money was going to be used for ONE MEAL! for ONE NIGHT!
Even if it was only $50 or $25! or even $15!
It still goes into the savings account!
We buy nothing on time or credit. Ever. Except our home and new car.
Now... it's even easier... because whenever I want to do something 'easy' and pay for
something I can already do myself.. I pay myself what it would have cost.
Do you know how nice it was to walk into a store and choose the Front Loading, NameBrand
all the bells and whistles, WITH THE STANDS, brand new washer and dryer set
We don't bat an eye when the boys say they need new baseball stuff, or new shoes for this or that...
our Do It Ourselves Fund is right there and waiting for us.
My reason for this post?
Do yourself and favor and look at your finances.
Do you eat out EVERY DAY at work?
Do you bring home dinner in a bag more nights than you care to admit?
Does the Pizza Deliver Guy know you by your number and first name?
Are you a Starbucks or Gourmet on the Go coffee person?
Add those things up for one month. Go ahead... add them up.
When you've done that... look around for what you have to show for the money you spent.
Probably just some burger wrappers, empty coffee cups, and styrofoam containers from a left over lunch sitting in the fridge.
Now... here is the hard part.
PAY YOURSELF, IN A BIG FAT CHECK, TO YOUR SAVINGS ACCOUNT ALL THE MONEY YOU SPENT THE PREVIOUS MONTH... and make your own coffee, plan your meals ahead of time, and brown bag it to work... for a month.
I bet you will be more than happy to spend that probably $500 on something other than
paper, styrofoam, and stir sticks.
I urge you, my friends... take charge of your finances, and spend the money you work so hard to earn on things of LASTING VALUE!
Purses... shoes... LOL, furniture, tuition, classes, sporting equipment, family trips...etc...
No, I am not saying eating out is bad. It's not. Lord knows I want to do it every night...
but... it's just not feasible these days.
Be kind to yourselves... eat around a table, not in the car or on the fly. Even if its only for 15 minutes.
Share the time together.. and spend the money you save wisely.
This has been a public service announcement from Saundra...
Money Mondays
Please comment on how you save money! I love to learn too!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

French Toast... oven style

Yesterday, on the way home from school, I do what I always do, and I ask
my boys if "Blah, blah, blah" sounds good for dinner.
Even if they say no... it's what's for dinner, so I don't know why I ask... I guess I'm a little
bit Sadist...
But yesterday, when I ask if "French Toast" sounded good, my 9 year old Johnny piped in...
"Oh Mamala... it's my fave... breakfast for dinner."
Well... that's all the help I needed.
But I was tired... I'm not sleeping well, due to Hubby incessant snoring.
So what did I do?
I made French Toast... but in the oven.
I had to homemade Baguettes that I baked on Monday, that were on their way to being stale and moldy in a few days if I didn't either use them or freeze them...
I diagonally sliced both up, whipped up a batch of custard consisting of
12 eggs
2 cups nonfat milk
2 T vanilla
Orange Zest of one orange
I placed all the bread into a large 13x9 stone, and poured the entire egg mixture over all the
bread, soaking it. (This is actually best done the night before, so it gets all soggy and gooey)
Then I popped it into a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
It was divine.
I served it with some sliced and cooked Aidells Chicken and Apple Sausage
and orange slices from our oranges out back.
So yummy!
I wish I had pictures... but we devoured it all so fast... when I remember to snap a shot...
Johnny opened his mouth and said...
"This is all that's left Mama!"
I am raising them to be such little gentlemen...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Make Ahead meals... or Cook Once... eat twice!

Let's face it... everyone seems to be panicking these days.
Do we really need to worry about what to make for dinner, on TOP of everything else in life?
I, for one, really enjoy the prep I do to ready myself for the week ahead.
I haven't heard too much of whether this helps YOU or not... but I have decided to continue with my message of doing today to save time tomorrow.
One of my bloggy friends heads over to a Dinner establishment and buys dinners she helps prepare at the establishment, so she can have them for those days and times I like to call
Arsenic hours or D-Days.
Going to those places is all well and good, but they can be pricey, and if you count in your driving time, gas, being away from home... it is actually a bit more than the cost of the prepared dinner.
But... make that same dinner at home, and split it up into 3 meals to be eaten at a later date...
now you're talkin'!
You'll save TONS of money... you'll actually cook three meals at one time...
when you freeze things they are good for 3 months!
What a great idea!
I LOVE to do this with my Enchilada Casserole.
here's the recipe
1 large can Las Palmas Green Enchilada Sauce
1 16 oz container low fat sour cream
1/2 cup chunky salsa
1 can diced green ortega chiles
2 cans black olives, sliced
1 lb cheddar cheese
1/2 lb monterey jack cheese (optional)
1 packet or 1 tablespoon of Taco Seasoning
20 green onions, chopped
2 dozen corn tortillas
Cooked Chicken Breast or Shredded Beef, or no meat at all... (optional)
Mix the sauce, sour cream, salsa, chiles, 1/2the olives, and 2 cups of the grated cheese together in a bowl.
Get two big stones or casserole dishes with high sides that are at least 12x9
Place a layer of corn tortillas on the bottom of the pans.
Put about a cup of the mixture in each and spread around.
Sprinkle with green onion, a little olive and some meat if you are using it.
sprinkle with cheese,
place another layer of tortillas, and start the process over again until you have three
layers in each casserole dish.
Bake one for dinner tonight, and bake the other one and let it cool completely then wrap in foil,
date it, and freeze it for another meal when things are just too hectic.