Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hawaiian Ham Sandwiches

These are SIMPLE and absolutely heavenly.  I recently made them for a shower and have been craving them since. 

1 can crushed pineapple (drained well)
1 8oz. cream cheese
Sliced Ham Lunch Meat
Mustard (I use regular but Dijon is good too)
Croissants or Rolls

Mix pineapple and cream cheese together with hand mixer or blender. Spread 1 spoonful on roll, with 1 slice of ham folded and some mustard. Supper easy and so worth it!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lowering Your Grocery Bill with the help of Money Saving Mom

Money Saving Mom found here, is currently doing 31 days to a Better Budget.  In her posts she explains great ways to use a budget, meal planning (with easy downloads to use), couponing, stocking your supply, not over purchasing, and more to come...

I love this series because she explains things well and give lots of resources to use.  And although I did give a simple explanation of how I meal plan, grocery shop, and price match...hers is another great perspective and she explains things better than I ever could.  So go here to read all of the posts in the series!

Meal Planning download found here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lasagna Easy and Freezer Friendly

This was another Freezer Meal I made for my expecting Sister in Law. What makes it so easy? You don't cook the noodles, make the sauce or cook the “meat”, you just use Meat Sauce. And I will tell you Lasagna is one of my husbands all time favorite meals and he was very skeptical to hear I wasn't cooking the meat OR making the sauce. But when he ate it he loved it.

Scale of Difficulty or Time Commitment: 2 (because you spread each layer instead of dumping it all in the dish)

*Note: in this recipe I also took the ingredients below and split them into two 8x8 pans. Each makes 6 good sized servings. So if I were making them for just me I would have cooked one for dinner and frozen the other.

1 package Lasagna Noodles (oven ready or regular)
2 Cans/Jars Spaghetti Sauce (At least one of the jars needs to be Meat Sauce)
2 16oz containers of Cottage Cheese
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Parmesan Cheese (The almost powdery kind that comes in a bottle)

Step 1: In 13x9 inch pan spread sauce to cover. Then place a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles.

Step 2: Spread another layer of sauce over the Lasagna Noodles, followed by a layer of cottage cheese (one container worth), Sprinkle generously with Mozzarella Cheese, followed by a layer of Parmesan Cheese.

Step 3: Add another layer of uncooked noodles then Repeat step 2.

Step 4: Add a third and final layer of uncooked lasagna noodles. Spread a generous layer of sauce over the noodles followed by both Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Step 5: Bake at 350 F, covered with foil for 1 hr. Remove foil and cook an additional 15 min.

When making to freeze, first line dish with plastic wrap. Once assembled freeze for 6+ hours. Then place dish in a sink of room temperature water, about 1-2 deep. Leave for 1 min. then easily remove the frozen lasagna from the dish and slide into a Gallon Freezer ZipLock Bag. Once in the bag, slide plastic wrap out. Remove as much air as possible and seal.

When baking, after having been frozen. Just cut open the bag and place the frozen lasagna into dish, let thaw before cooking or add roughly 15 extra minute to the cooking time.

*And yes, if you want to make your own sauce and meat then go ahead and just substitute them in!

Chicken Different Freezer Meal

This is one of my all time favorite recipies.  Because it is super easy, really good and freezes well.

So the other day I was making some frozen meals for my sister in law who is due to have her third boy any day and this was of course one of them.

Scale of Difficulty or Time Commitment: 1 Super Easy & Fast!

Chicken Different
2 c. uncooked regular rice
2 ¼ c. milk or water
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup (or another cream of chicken)
Approx 6 chicken pieces*
1 pkg dry onion soup mix
Grated Cheddar Cheese

*For the Chicken Piece, bone-in are the most moist and give great flavor, but I had eating around a bone so I always use boneless skinless breasts, and anywhere between 1-2 lb of chicken. I also cut mine in half or in thirds just for serving size convenience.

For regular baking directions:
Sprinkle rice into bottom of a greased 9x13 dish. Mix soups with milk and pour over rice. Mix well. Place chicken pieces into soup, sprinkle with dry soup mix and cheese. Seal pan with foil. Bake 350’ for approx 2 hours until rice is done.
For crockpot directions:
Sprinkle rice into bottom of a greased crockpot. Mix soups with milk and pour over rice. Mix well. Place chicken pieces into soup, sprinkle with dry soup mix and cheese. Seal pan with foil. Cook on low for about 6-8  hours, until chicken is done rice is soft.
For Freezer Meal directions: (This is seen below in the pictures)
Line dish with plastic wrap and spray with Pam. Sprinkle rice into bottom of a greased 9x13 dish. Mix soups with milk and pour over rice. Mix well. Place chicken pieces into soup, sprinkle with dry soup mix and cheese. Seal pan with foil. Freeze 8+ hours. Then remove from freezer and place in a sink of 1-2 inch deep water (room temp).  Let sit for 1 min, then the frozen casserole easily removes from the dish.  Place into Gallon sized freezer ziplock and slide plastic wrap out of bag.  Seal with minimal air in bag and freeze.  When ready to bake, while frozen remove from bag, place in dish and Bake 350’ for approx 2 hours until rice is done.
Here they are ready to be frozen...(uncooked)
Frozen and in Ziplock Bag Labled with Directions
*Personal Tip*
Since my family is small, I ALWAYS split this recipe into two separate casserole dishes. One I cook for dinner that night and one I freezer for future use. One time work for two meals. I can easily get four good sized servings out of my "half" recipe.

Also, you can add in vegetables if you want, frozen mixed vegetables, broccoli, etc. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Cupcakes

Yesterday I was teaching the girls at my youth group to decorate cupcakes and even though the idea was so simple, I loved how they turned out...and so did my son.

Just a little frosting in the shape of an egg, add some grass, and decorations!

1. I used freezer ziplocks and just cut a small hole for piping all of the frosting. 
(But freezer bags are the trick, just regular ziplocks can't take the pressure and the seams split)

2. When adding food coloring to "whipped" frosting from the store, be sure to gently stir it in or the frosting loses its consistency and becomes runny.  I usually just add a scoop or two of powdered sugar to thicken it back up.


I love the Holidays and the Seasons, all of them... And I love decorating for each.  So here are a few simple and inexpensive ideas I thought I would share...

1. Apothecary Jars:

Filled with festive, yet inexpensive things.  I used marshmallows, blown and dyed eggs, and jelly beans with a touch of fake grass and some ribbon.

(I let my marshmallows dry out, so they didn't squish.  I also put a glass cup inside the jar so I didn't have to buy as many marshmallows.)

2. My Crate filled with Paper Mache Eggs
 Usually I like to line my crate with foil then lay a strip of sod in it.  The grass grows tall and looks amazing!  But since I am now in Arizona and it is super hot and dry and we have been out of town a lot this month, I opted this year for moss.

I made the eggs with paper mache'd balloons.  Here is the recipe I followed and I did use both the optional salt and cinnamon it suggested.  They were very easy, but I wish I used thinner paper so the strips would lie smoother...maybe next time. 
* I also happen to use this crate all year long, swapping out the seasonal decor.

3. Additional decorations:

-My Spring blocks with directions here.
-Some Spring Garland clearanced at Micheals
-And more Paper Mache Eggs with moss and grass!


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