Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Herbed Roast Chicken

I remember looking at my Nannie's (great-grandmother) Taste of Home magazines when I was a kid.  I always loved that magazine so when I ran across a a deal on Hip2Save to get a year subscription for less than $4 I had to take it!  So as I was flipping thru my 1st magazine I tagged a couple recipes and this one was by far the most interesting to me so I had to try it first!  I like trying things that sound a little out there because in the past some of my favorite recipes sounded a little strange before I made them.  But the only strange thing in this recipe I think is the orange juice, everything else seems normal, or at least the way I made it because I did change up the spices some.  But I was surprised at how good it tasted, I loved it and so did Lee.  And the added bonus, it was EASY!

Herbed Roast Chicken

1-2gallon resealable plastic bag or a big airtight bowl
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1 roasting chicken

In the plastic bag or the bowl combine all the ingredients and mix.  Add chicken, turn to coat.  Refrigerate for 8hrs turning at least once.

Drain and discard marinade.  Place chicken on a rack in a shallow roasting pan or a glass casserole dish is fine too.  Cover loosely with foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 1/4-2 3/4hrs.  (it only took me 2 1/4hrs)  Cover and let stand for 15 minutes before carving!

Adapted from Taste of Home June & July 2010 Issue

Monday, August 30, 2010

Avocado Dip

I had this Avocado Dip a couple of times at my sister's in-laws and then her mother in law Jane brought it to a party at my sister's house and I finally asked her for the recipe.  Since I am impatient I came home and bought stuff to make it and I completely messed it up, did not taste the same but after I got the recipe I figured out what I was missing was the water.  Oh and Jane gave my sister the recipe soon after I asked for it but my dear sweet sister never told me she had it till I happened to ask for Jane's number one day then she told me she had it, which was like a month afterwards!  Thank you Jane for the recipe, I love it and for everyone else I recommend you try this for yourselves or if you have any parties coming up you should bring this! 

Avocado Dip

2 ripe Avocados (quartered)
1 small Onion (quartered)
2 or 3 fresh Jalapenos (halved & devained)
8oz. Sour Cream
Juice of 2 Limes
2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 cup Cilantro

In a blender place onions, jalapenos, and 1/2cup of water, chop until fine.  Then add avocados, sour cream, juice of limes, salt, and cilantro and blend till it's a creamy mixture. 

*This keeps in a mason jar for a week.

Recipe from my sister's mother in law, Jane.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Three Cheese Chicken Pasta Bake

I used to always cook recipes from Kraft Foods till I discovered the food blog world so I wanted to share this recipe.  We had it tonight and it was really good and easy to make!  Though today I guess was the first meal I've made 100% on my own since my port was placed a little over a week ago and my left arm is still a little weak and I found out the hard way I probably shouldn't of been cooking on my own.  I was using my pampered chef stoneware that is kind of heavy on it's own w/o food in it but when I went to take it out of the oven I dropped it and about 1/4 of it spilled and splattered all over me burning me, so now I have red burns on my arms and legs.  I don't think I've ever burned myself like that but I'm blaming it all on the port since my arm is still sore/weak! 

1-1/2 cups multi-grain pasta
uncooked 1 pkg. (9 oz.) fresh spinach leaves
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 jar (14-1/2 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
2 oz. Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese divided
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

heat oven 375ºF.

Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt and adding spinach to the boiling water the last minute.

Salt and pepper the chicken and add some Italian seasoning to it as well, cook and stir chicken and basil in large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat 3 min. Stir in spaghetti sauce, garlic, and tomatoes; bring to boil. Simmer on low heat 3 min. or until chicken is done. Stir in Neufchatel.

Drain pasta mixture; return to pan. Stir in chicken mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Spoon into 2-qt. casserole or 8-inch square baking dish.

Bake 20 min.; top with remaining cheeses. Bake 3 min. or until mozzarella is melted.

Adapted from Kraft Foods.

Couponing 101

Okay my original plan was to do a coupon/cooking blog since I've had so many people asking about couponing and since I love to cook and have people ask about recipes as well.  Well I got to thinking about it and first of all I've only been couponing since the end of June and even though I did save $567 in July and I have been quite successful at it I still don't think I am to the level I should be to blog about it.  I could blog about it but it wouldn't be the quality that I would want it to be so I'm not going to!  But I have been cooking since I can remember and I originally was going to become a chef but after starting classes I didn't believe I would enjoy cooking large quantities. So continuing on with a food blog still sounded perfect!  Plus since I've been sick cooking for myself and Lee has been one of the most therapeutic things for me.  Anyways so here are some links of my favorite blogs. 

  • This site was my 1st couponing site to look at and I still rate it as one of the best! 
  • And now this site I fell in love with as well after a few visits.  Here you can find all about writing companies and complementing them and they will typically send you coupons.  It doesn't take much time and they will usually send you alot better of coupons then you can find online or in the newspaper. 
  • Now this site is a site that isn't just about couponing...which most of them aren't all the sites pretty much tell you about free stuff in general or saving money but this site really gives you info on saving money and paying cash for cars to houses.  Very good reading material...if you are going to only choose one blog to look at then look at this one! 
  • Okay this site is not the best for the simple fact she doesn't post all the time and you never know what she'll post about and what she won't, but I believe she is a TEXAN so she's one of the only ones that I've ran across that actually has ad info for Brookshire's and Albertson's. 
  • Now this one might be one of the most popular or well known sites but to be honest I don't check it as often as I do the others.  But this is where you should go to learn the most about couponing.  I have found that you can learn all the basics here
Now with all that being said let me tell you where I save the most money at Kroger & CVS!  One of the first things you need to do is read all about CVS, with Extra Care Bucks you can get so much free stuff it's amazing.  And Kroger runs some amazing deals and they double and triple coupons.  And of coarse I love building up my stockpile and getting free stuff but I love getting cheap or free groceries on food that I would already be buying! 

Also another way to save money is shop store ads.  In the city it's so much easier to do than the country but every week I look at my ads and if Olive Oil is on sale somewhere for $3.50 well I'm going to buy me some Olive Oil cuz I go thru it somewhat often and it's normally like $6.99.  Of coarse you can't do this on stuff that'll expire or go bad before you can use it but you can do this with most stuff.  I spend about $20/wk on stuff I don't need right now and then that makes my weekly grocery bill to make 7ish meals only about $30.  And I NEVER EVER EVER pay full price for meat!  I get ground beef in bulk when it's on sale and freeze it in 1lb portions or sometimes I even cook some and then freeze.  And on Chicken I wait till split breasts go on ad for .99/lb and I debone them and freeze them.  It's alot cheaper than paying $1.99lb for chicken breasts on ad.  Meat is the most expensive thing so if you can get it for 50% cheaper than you should.  Right now I have about a month and a half's worth of meat that only cost me about $30-$40.  Which that includes ground beef, chicken, beef cutlets, pork cutlets, ribs, and sausage so I have a variety!

Okay I know I am not the very best at saving money or couponing but considering I had my very good income taken away thanks to being sick we have had to change our lifestyle some and I've cut our monthly grocery bill from over $600 to $200ish.  I learn more ways to save money all the time and if anyone ever wants more info please let me know but I won't be posting too much about couponing I just wanted to atleast have one post to refer people to when they ask questions.  All these ladies and their blogs I mentioned do such a wonderful job keeping us posted on all the amazing deals and if you want to save $5 to $500/mo on groceries then those blogs are the place to start.  Good luck and let me know if you have any questions! 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dill Pickles

So I've always wanted to make pickles but I never did because I don't have the stuff to properly can and I didn't know how and it kind of sounds a little intimidating.  But then I had several people tell me they made these pickles off of my favorite blog so I had to give it a try!  And they were easy, the hardest part was finding pickling cucumbers.  At Walmart they had some but they were all slimy and like $2.50/lb and I wasn't about to pay that much a lb. for a slimy vegetable so I waited and kept looking at different grocery stores until one of my friends suggested trying the Farmers Market.  Well I didn't know where one was and I had never been to one before so I was hesitant but yet excited!  So we went and found a basket of pickling cucumbers for $4 and I'm so excited to go back to the Farmers Market and buy more!

Dill Pickles

For the brine:
3 cups water
6 tbsp. white vinegar
3 tbsp. kosher salt
minced garlic
fresh dill
cucumbers, cut into spears


Combine all brine ingredients in a pitcher. Stir well to dissolve salt.

Put several sprigs of fresh dill in the bottom of each jar. Pack half full with cucumber spears. Layer with more sprigs of fresh dill. Finish filling the jar with cucumbers. Sprinkle some minced garlic on top. I wasn't sure how much to use to I used 2cloves per jar which I think mine taste a little too garlic-y but Lee says they are perfect!  Pour brine into the jar until it is full and pickles are completely submerged. Put the lid on and allow to refrigerate at least 2 days before eating.

Adapted from Annie!  (BTW this is my last recipe from her for awhile but you should definitely check out her blog, I hope to be as good as her one day)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Green Beans with Chicken and Crumbled Feta Cheese

I try to cook healthy but sometimes it’s not so easy well I came across this recipe and I fell in love and it is EASY. I saw it when Lee was sleeping and Lee sometimes is a picky eater especially about things like this so I just added it to the grocery list and hoped for the best! I ended up asking him before hand if he would eat it and of course he wouldn’t eat the feta cheese but that’s easy to leave off just for him! After I made this Lee loved it, he actually requested it the following week so I made it 2 weeks in a row which is really rare for us!

Green Beans with Chicken and Crumbled Feta Cheese
1lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
6oz. fresh green beans
1/2cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tomato chopped
1 avocado
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
lemon (optional)
italian dressing (optional)

Trim and remove skin from chicken breast if you didn’t buy boneless skinless.

You can bake the chicken many different ways feel free to use your own method but the way I would recommend is to place the chicken in your pan of choice, salt and pepper, and put a lil italian dressing on it and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25minutes. Or another way you can bake it is salt and pepper chicken, drizzle with olive oil, and slice a lemon into slices and lay the slices over the chicken to bake. I prefer the italian dressing because it adds more flavor but both tasted good.

Next trim your green beans, I always do them with my kitchen shears because it makes it so much easier than snapping them off. Place in a pot of water and boil to your taste. I believe they are healthier when they are still bright green and crispy but I prefer them to be cooked a little longer. While your chicken is cooking and your green beans are boiling cut up your tomato and your avocado.

When your green beans are done drain them and then toss them with 1T olive oil. And if your making this for ALL feta cheese lovers then you can throw the feta cheese in now and it’ll melt a little. Sadly I can’t do this since Lee won’t eat feta cheese. Now you can toss everything together-green beans, feta cheese, avocado, tomatoes, and chicken and serve or you can do it like me and serve individually like a buffet and everybody can get what they want. ENJOY!

Adapted from Pampered Chef Celebrity Cookbook.

Ham and Cheese Sliders

Ok I think these are a must try for any and everybody. I first saw these on my favorite food blog when she posted about her son’s birthday party but she didn’t give you a recipe and I couldn’t wait for her to post about them so I went to searching and finally found one that sounded perfect! (& later on when Annie posted this on her site it ended up being the same recipe I used)

Ok so as I mentioned Annie had these for her son’s birthday party and my sister had these at my nephews party as well so they are perfect for parties, if you have your kid’s friends over or your friends, or just as a regular meal. They bring ham & cheese to a whole different level. We have made these a staple meal for after my procedures because Lee can make these or I can make these while disabled. They take 20ish minutes to make/bake. Try them…TODAY!

Ham & Cheese Sliders

24 good white dinner rolls (I use Kings Hawaiian Rolls for half & then reg. dinner rolls from the bakery for half, me and Lee have a difference in opinion/taste on these)
24 pieces ham
24 small slices Swiss cheese (on Lee’s we put Monterrey jack and I’ve also had them with pepper jack & Muenster)
miracle whip or mayo (optional, I leave this out and they still taste great)

Poppy seed sauce
1 T poppyseeds
1 1/2 T yellow mustard
1 stick butter, melted
1 T minced onion or I use onion powder
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Spread miracle whip or mayo onto both sides of the center of each roll. Place a slice of ham and a slice of cheese inside of each roll. Close rolls and place them into a large baking dish or heavy cookie sheet. Place very close together.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the poppy seed sauce ingredients. Pour evenly over all of the sandwiches. Let sit 10 minutes or until butter sets slightly. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for 2 additional minutes. Serve warm. Even if it’s just 2 of you like it is w/me and Lee I would still suggest making the full amount, the leftovers are amazing!
** sandwiches can be assembled a day ahead and kept in the fridge ready to bake.

Okay I ran across this idea on another blog last night and I had to share it but I feel so bad because I didn't save it but I'm sure I'll run across it again and I'll give the blog owner appropriate credit but for a quick on the go delicious sandwich make these ahead of time with hamburger buns or I would recommend going to the bakery/deli dept. of your store and getting fresh rolls that are about the size of hamburger buns.  Now take a sheet of foil and put the sandwich on top of the foil and put the butter mixture on the inside of the sandwich and wrap in foil and freeze.  Then when your on the go or if you have access to a toaster oven or oven at work (or even microwave but it'd probably be soggy) throw it in there in the foil in all (but of coarse don't put foil in a microwave) and in a short amount of time, my guess 5-7min. you'll have a sandwich all ready to go!  Now I haven't tried this myself I just read about the idea somewhere but it sounds like it would be really good!!  And I'll be looking for that link to where I got the idea from so check back in another day  or so...

Inspired to search by Annie but adapted recipe from here.

And the picture is by my sweet friend Michelle Wachsmann that was so nice to
let me use her wonderful picture that she took after she made these! Check out her website!

Strawberry Cupcakes

I thought I would start with this recipe because Strawberry season is coming to an end before too long and this is one thing I’ve made that I have half way decent pictures! The first time I made these I was making what felt like to be a million mini cupcakes for my in laws anniversary party and these were by far my favorite cupcakes out of the 4 different kinds I made! If you leave the icing off it’s just like Strawberry Muffins. A couple of weeks after their anniversary party my nephew was having his 2nd birthday party and he doesn’t like sweets much so I suggested these to my sister and she loved the idea so I made regular cupcakes for his party!

Strawberry Cupcakes
Yield: about 18 cupcakes or about 48 mini cupcakes


For the cupcakes:
2 ½ cups cake flour (both times I’ve made these all I’ve had was All-Purpose & they still tasted delicious)
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup unsalted butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
¼ cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups chopped strawberries

For the frosting:
½ c. strawberries
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar, sifted
½ tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Sift flour, salt and baking soda into a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in chopped strawberries. Fill cupcake wells ¾ full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting, puree strawberries in food processor. Strain through a mesh sieve to remove seeds, and set aside. Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add lemon juice, vanilla and strawberry puree. Adjust the amount of puree to achieve your desired consistency. Frost cupcakes when completely cool.

Adapted from Annie's Eats