Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cranberry Chicken

My ode to the crockpot continues. This recipe for cranberry chicken comes out almost like a sweet bbq sauce, but not quite. It has a taste all its own. I served it over brown rice with a vegetable.

Cranberry Chicken
Prep time- 5 minutes
Cook time- 3 hours
Serves 4

What you will need:

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 bottle Catalina dressing
1 16oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce
1oz. packet dry onion soup mix

Place chicken breasts in the bottom of crockpot and then add Catalina dressing, cranberry sauce and onion soup mix. Cook on high for 3 hours.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

The crockpot. Was there ever a better invention? If you don't own a crockpot, or don't use the one you have, then that needs to change. You'll thank me later, trust me.

I found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen. She's pretty amazing. Just in case you've been living under a rock and haven't been to her website, crawl out and do that now. You'll thank me later for that, too.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken
Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours
Servings: 4

You will need:

1.5 lbs. boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 packet taco seasoning, or if you buy it in bulk like me, then 1/4 cup
1 10oz can cream of chicken soup
1 cup salsa
1 15oz can of black beans

Put chicken in the bottom of the crockpot. Add taco seasoning on top of chicken. Add cream of chicken soup and salsa. Drain the black beans and add.

Cook on high for 3 hours, or on low for 6-8. Shred chicken and then serve over Spanish rice, in tacos, or as nacho meat. Top with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, or whatever you prefer.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Baked Rotini

Because it's fancier than a spaghetti dinner. Ha! That's all I've got to give this week, folks.

Baked Rotini

Prep: 30 min. (not really) Cook: 40 min. Serves 8

What you will need:

-1lb. mild Italian sausage or ground beef

-12oz. Rotini pasta (uncooked)

-1 jar (26-32 oz size) spaghetti sauce

-1 container (15oz.) Ricotta cheese

-1/2lb. mozzarella cheese, grated

1. Brown sausage or beef.

2. Meanwhile boil pasta

3. Drain oil from meat and water from pasta.

4. Mix spaghetti sauce, meat and pasta.

5. Place half the sauce/meat/pasta mixture in a baking dish.

6. Spread ricotta cheese.

7. Cover with remaining pasta mixture and smooth the top.

8. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.

9. Bake covered at 375 for 30 minutes, then for 5-8 minutes uncovered or until cheese is slightly browned on top.

Pair this with steamed broccoli or a salad and you're good to go. Fast and easy.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

I found this recipe on I love that website. Tons of good ideas, and it will even put together a shopping list for you! The only thing that I changed with this recipe was that I used a rotisserie chicken and shredded the breast meat with two forks for the enchiladas. I was sick and thought that eliminating a step would be nice. I also wanted the dark meat, and the carcass for homemade broth for chicken and dumplings the next night. It's nice to piggy-back meals like that whenever possible. It stretches a buck!

Chicken Enchiladas

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 30 min

Serves 8

You will need:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 onion, chopped

1/2 pint sour cream

1 3/4 cups Cheddar cheese- divided into a one cup portion and a 3/4 cup portion

1 T dried parsley

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt (optional)

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

1/2 cup water

1 T chili powder

1/3 cup chopped green pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

8 10 inch flour tortillas

1 12oz. jar taco sauce--FYI taco sauce doesn't come in a 12oz. jar, so go with the next size up.

  • Preheat oven to 350

  • Cook the chicken, or cheat like me and shred the chicken. Add the onion, sour cream, Cheddar cheese, parsley, oregano, ground black pepper. Heat until cheese melts. Stir in salt, tomato sauce, water, chili powder, green pepper and garlic.

  • Roll even amounts of the mixture in tortillas. Arrange in a 9x13 baking dish. Cover with taco sauce and 3/4 cups cheese. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Let stand to cool and set up for 10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Money Saving Tips

People do actually read this blog. I know, who woulda thunk? People ask me to put up certain recipes or give my best advice on a certain topic. I've had a lot of people ask about cheap meals and methods to cut back on a grocery bill. I'm going to be totally honest...I don't coupon. I have no desire to coupon. I tried, it was a horrible experience. I don't get the process. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but *toot toot* I'm a smart person, and I just don't get it. Also, there are never coupons for things that I actually need (75% of our groceries being fresh produce). But I can offer some non couponing advice.

Let's start with wasting food. Families throw out hundreds of dollars worth of food each year. The goal is to have an empty fridge when you go to the store, and not one that needs to be cleaned out. Here are a few tips that might help:

-When buying fruit cut it up as soon as you unload the groceries. Things like pineapples and mangos that are a small chore to prepare should be cut up and stored in containers right away, especially in warm weather. I keep a fruit bowl out all the time. It helps everyone to eat more fruit when it's set out where it's visible, as opposed to a less healthy snack.

-When buying meat in bulk break it up into one pound sections, wrap and freeze. I can't tell you how many times I had to feed the dog $20 worth of salmon because I forgot about it in the bottom of the fridge. I got mad enough after the umpteenth time to set rules for myself. This is especially true for any Costco or Sam's Club shoppers. You can also brown burger or ground turkey with some onion and then freeze in one pound portions to save on time later.

-And I will beat this one like a dead horse- meal planning. I couldn't believe how much we cut down on waste when we started meal planning.

-Try a Hippie Hash. What is a Hippie Hash? You take leftovers from the fridge, or veggies that would otherwise go bad and you throw them in a pan with a little butter or oil. It's a great side dish! Or make a stir-fry. Creativity is key.

-Make stock. If ever you cook a whole turkey or chicken, strip the meat off and boil the carcass. Freeze the broth or work it into your meal plan. For us it's turkey and dumplings after thanksgiving. I always save the juices from a roast as well. You just can't beat homemade broth. You can do the same with veggie scraps. I learned this tip from my friend Jesse. Throw the ends and peelings from veggies in a storage bag and put it in the freezer. In no time you'll have enough to boil for broth. It makes a great soup base.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hawaiian Chicken

This is pretty much sweet and sour chicken. It's a new recipe that we tried and we all loved it. Richie said that it is second to my chicken and dumplings. That's huge considering Richie's love for my chicken and dumplings. It came from my 365 Easy One-Dish Recipes. But I have a complaint, it isn't one-dish. It's worth the extra pots and pans though.

You will need:

2 small, whole chickens, quartered- I didn't do this. I used 2.5 lbs. chicken breast tenderloins.
1 (20 oz) can sliced pineapple with juice
orange juice
2 bell peppers- the recipe says to cut them into strips, but I chopped them up cooked them in some olive oil.
Rice, cooked- We used a wild/brown rice mix. Just use what you like.

Sauce ingredients:
1 cup sugar
3 T cornstarch
3/4 vinegar- the recipe didn't specify. I used white.
1 T lemon juice (fresh, always fresh)
1 T soy sauce
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules

  • Preheat oven to 350. Wash and pat chicken dry with paper towels (if you're doing the quartered whole chicken). Shake a little salt, pepper and flour on chicken. Brown chicken in oil and placed in 10x15 inch baking pan. I baked the chicken for 20 minutes while I made the sauce.
  • Drain pineapple into 2-cup measure. Add orange juice to make 1 1/2 cups liquid. Reserve juice for sauce.


  • Combine 1 1/2 cups juice, sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce and chicken bouillon in medium saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, stir constantly until thick and clear and pour over chicken. Cover and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Place the pineapple slices and bell pepper on top of chicken and bake for additional 10 minutes. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Beef Barley Soup

My grandma used to make this with homemade bread all the time. This isn't her recipe, though. I was missing her badly a couple of years ago and tried to come up with something decent. I took the Quaker recipe and changed it a bit. This is what I got.

If you're a Michigander then you are more than likely bracing for the snow storm of the century that is supposedly headed our way. We'll see. So tuck yourself into your warm home tonight, and count your blessings with some homemade soup.

You will need:

1 lbs. lean ground beef- I've also used leftover roast and that is by far the best route to go.
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic- pressed or minced
5 cups water- this is to start with. Don't be afraid to add more if the soup gets thicker than you would like, because I'm not too sure about this part. I don't usually measure.
2 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup barley- I use the Quaker quick barley. Certain types of barley can require soaking, so go with the quick barley.
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced carrots
2 T beef bouillon or soup base (LB Jamison's beef soup base is the best in my opinion)

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, brown the meat. Add onion and garlic, cook until onion is tender. Drain if necessary. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cover; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally. Keep the pot covered. You just want to cook the celery and the carrots to your liking. For us it's usually 30-40 minutes. We like our soup vegetables very tender.