Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Works for me Wednesday backwards edition.

This week we are supposed to ask the masses for help.

Mine is scheduling. Being a stay at home wife means I don't have to get up in the morning. However, it is a huge drawback if I don't. I can't seem to get anything done and I'm not sure what to do about it. If I don't have to be anywhere why get up early?

What is your schedule like? If you have kids now, how did you get up before kids?

For that matter, how do you get to sleep? If it difficult for you do you have any tricks?

Head on over to We Are THAT Family for more questions that need answers.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Alfredo Sauce

I still have never understood why Alfredo is so hard for some people, my particular recipe has only 4 ingredients. Garlic, Butter, Heavy Cream, Parmesan Reggiano cheese, those four with salt and pepper are all it takes. If I'm feeling festive and I want a pretty sauce some parsley will make an entrance.

For every 1 cup of cream I crush 1 clove of garlic and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup cheese, depends on how long I wait for the cream to thicken.

Melt your butter in a skillet and add your crushed garlic. Cook for about 1 minute you don't want your garlic to burn. Add your cream, I go with about 1 and 1/2 cups for us, it leaves us with leftovers if we don't' go back for seconds. Let the cream thicken a little (never take your heat above medium heat for any of this), just until it coats the back of a spoon. Once thickened add your cheese. If it is still too thin for you add more cheese, if to thick add a splash more cream. Don't forget plenty of salt and black pepper.

One key thing to Alfredo is real heavy cream and good quality cheese.

Linked to Kim at Forever Wherever.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Missing in Action.

Sorry I haven't been around much this week. With my niece here I decided to spend time with her.
Monday (later on today, I really need to go to bed earlier) I'll have my Alfredo recipe up. For Wordless Wednesday and Works for Me Wednesday I'll have a little bit of what we did this week up.

I hope your week starts off as a magical one!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Shepard's Pie

I make mine a little differently than any other recipe I've seen. It is chocked full of veggies and very filling.

Mashed Potato Topping:
6 medium potatoes
½ a stick of butter
Enough milk or cream to get the consistency you like
1 teaspoon ground sage
salt and pepper to taste

Diced all potatoes and add to a large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil, cook until fork tender. Drain and add the rest of the ingredients till you receive the texture you like.

Veggie Filling:
1 lb. of ground beef, I like to use lean for this recipe
1 med. onion, diced
2 small or 1 large carrot, very finely diced
2 stalks celery, very finely diced
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup frozen baby lima beans
1 cup frozen corn, you can use fresh if you prefer
2½ cups beef stock, cut back if you like less gravy
½ cup milk, or cream
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon ground sage
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1. Brown ground beef, I like to cook my onion, carrots and celery at the same time. That is why I like lean beef for this.
2. Add frozen veggies, cook 5 min. until the color comes back and veggies start to get a little brown, especially corn.
3. Add all seasonings, stir to combine.
4. Add beef stock holding out 2 tablespoons in a small bowl. Add milk and bring to a boil.
5. Add cornstarch to beef stock and mix well. Add to veggie and beef mixture.
6. Place in casserole dish, I use one that is 2 quarts and has high sides.
7. Cover with layer of mashed potatoes and place in 350° oven.
8. Cook until filling is bubbling and potatoes start to form a slight crust on top, about 20 to 30 min. in my oven.


The sage in the potatoes were actually an accident that tasted great! This is a great way to eat veggies because the gravy is so good even I gobble them up without a second thought.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Menu Plan Monday!

This week has several of Becca's suggestions because she is on spring break! She stays with us every spring break.
My lovely husband surprised us by taking off of work Saturday so we could have a family fun day. At work he is under a big deadline so I was rather shocked. He is just the best husband!

I'm going to change up my format, instead of doing Monday-Sunday I'll start on Sunday. That is usually when we do our shopping.

Sunday: Shepard's Pie

Monday: Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

Tuesday: Angel Hair Alfredo (recipe to come later, it is super simple)

Wednesday: Sloppy Joe's

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner: Pancakes or Omlettes to be decided later

Friday: Date Night!

Saturday: TBA, not sure if that is the day we will go out of town or not.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy First Day of Spring!!

I hope where ever you are it is starting to warm up. Here it has been trying to warm up for weeks.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Search & Win

Swagbucks! You've probably heard all about it by now. I wanted to set up my account and get a reward before actually blogging about it. Swagbucks is simply a service for you to do your internet searching through, similar to google or yahoo. You simply go to their site to enter what you are searching for or you can download a toolbar that makes it quick and easy! The difference is you can collect the Swagbucks and redeem them for prizes and gift cards. The major one for me is the Amazon gift cards, with that you can get just about anything.
The extra cool part is if your friends sign up for a Swagbucks account through your referral link you win the same amount of Swagbucks they do up to 100! You can't beat that and it's all for doing a regular search that you would have done anyways.
Come join me at Swagbuckss and let's redeem prizes and gift cards together!Anywhere you see the word Swagbucks is my referral link, click on it to set up your account.

Check out We Are That Family for more great Works for me Wednesday tips!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday March 16th

Last week we did some rearranging. Certain things just didn't sound good on a certain night and I forgot to start the crockpot earlier another night. Oh well, I'll just move them over to this week.

My new recipe last week was Zucchini Risotto. It wasn't what we had hoped for, good but not great. Surprisingly, the zucchini was the part we didn't like in it, so I might leave that out next time.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup


Hamburgers with Home Fries (on the grill, we are supposed to have nice weather)

Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

Date Night and pick up Becca, she starts Spring Break!

Shepard's Pie (recipe to be posted later)

Tomato and Noodle Soup w/ Grilled Cheese

That should round out the week quite nicely. Next week who know what will happen with Becca here, she always has a say in our menu plan.

For more great menu options head over to $5 Dinners, she is hosting Menu Plan Monday for Laura over at OrgJunkie.com this week.


Today is one of those days I've always dreamed about. You know the ones where everything seems to fall into place. Those are a rarity around here but the hope of another always keeps me going. Today I woke up late, Jason let me sleep in even though I told him not to. He had straightened up the living room. It's not perfect but it never is. Then he said the magic words, Home Depot. He wanted to go buy organizational items! Usually I'm the one that dreams of the perfectly lined up bins, all labeled of course. I couldn't believe it so off we go, I was not about to miss this opportunity.

We had a nice lunch out and went over to shop. He wanted stuff for the house, I wanted to do the shed. It's rather large and I know it could hold everything we need to get out of the house. We picked up a shelving system and bins to fit it perfectly. Two little plastic garage cabinets, peg boards, and all kinds of specialty hooks. Even though we got home at 4:00pm and he still had to change the oil in my vehicle he agreed to help empty the shed. I put together all the pieces and put them into place we did a rough sort. Everything that was in an open box, wet box(we found a leak at the door), or just tossed about we went through. We ended up throwing away about 2/3 of those items. We both made a commitment, and I hope writing it here helps to keep it, that we will finish it! It already looks so much better so it can only get better from here.

We found several items for a yard sale, hopefully we can earn the money back that we spent organizing. If we can it will be a free shed redo, can't beat that! After it's done I'll post photos of the before and after. I will also give a run down on everything we spent.

All in all, it was a great day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Keeping Cheese fresh longer!

Ahhh... Cheese! How I love it so! One thing I have never liked is how fast it seems to go south. I have learned is it can actually be cheaper buying the more expensive ingredients. One of them being Parmesan cheese. It tastes so much better and it lasts for months for me!

I take my block of cheese and wrap it in a paper towel, making sure that no cheese can touch the plastic bag. Put it in a ziplock (or off-brand, that's what I do) and park it in the fridge. It will last a long time. Every so often change out the paper towel, if it ever starts to feel damp you don't want that sitting around your cheese. That's it! So simple to do and I kid you not that we have had a nice chunk of Parmesan last over 3 months! We don't how long it could have lasted because we ate it.

We do cheddar and all our other cheese the same. Another tip I have is use block cheese and grate it yourself. They put stuff (I'm not sure what) around cheese to make sure it doesn't clump together. It tastes a lot better and it doesn't take long to grate a little bit of cheese. I've found that it melts a lot better too.

Fore more great works for me Wednesday tips visit We Are THAT Family.

Stuffed Mexican Cornbread

This is a recipe I created after I remembered eating something similar as a child. My Mom said I ate no such thing, even if it was only in my imagination something good came out of it!

This makes enough for an 8x8 pan but it is very filling, with sides that could feed 6. If you want it is super easy to double and put in a 9x13.

Stuffed Mexican Cornbread
Heat oven to 425.

Cornbread portion:
1 pkg. of Jiffy Cornbread, Mexican Cornbread, or your own homemade (I've used this recipe)
1 can Mexicorn (optional but really makes it taste great)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese grated (have another 1/2 cup grated and waiting)
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin

Mix cornbread according to package directions and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix to combine and have waiting.

1 pound ground beef (or my healthy ground beef mix)
1 pkg. of Taco Seasoning (or use how much you would use homemade for one pound of meat, I like this recipe)

Brown ground beef and drain. Add Taco Seasoning and 1/4 cup water, cook until water evaporates. Turn off heat we are about to assemble!

Spray 8x8 pan with cooking spray. Put half of cornbread mixture in pan, layer all of ground beef on top. Place 1/2 cup cheese on ground beef and top with remaining cornbread mixture. Cook until knife inserted in center comes out clean, that is around 25-35 minutes in my oven.

I like to garnish mine with sour cream and taco sauce. Enjoy!

I realize I'm not very good at writing out recipes (many of these I don't have an actual recipe for, I have to make it to remember what I put in it) if you know of any site that gives instructions on how to write a good recipe let me know!
This post is linked with Tasty Tuesday, and Kitchen Tip Tuesday.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday March 9th

Last week with everyone still sick we got off track again. This week we are back and ready to go!

Now I have to get back on track with trying new meals. This coming the same week that Jason has requested three of his favorites. I think he will get two and the other will go into next week. I will have the recipes up that aren't currently linked later in the week, so check back!

Spicy Chicken and Rice

Stuffed Mexican Cornbread (I'm trying a new variation, recipe to follow later)

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Tex-Mex Egg Rolls

Date Night

Zuchinni Risotto

Chicken Pot Pie

Only one meatless day but I'm tired of having the same options. If you have a great meatless meal please link it for me!
For countless meal option visit Orgjunkie.com!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My week.

Well... it was good and bad. First I feel so much better, now Jason is sick. That's odd because he is rarely sick but I guess it has to happen to everyone at some point.

This week we fell flat again on eating. I'm used to going grocery shopping together and that didn't happen, I felt bad at the beginning of the week he felt bad later. We ended up eating several meals at home but I think we had take out twice. Oh well, hopefully next week will go better.

Now to think about next weeks menu. If you have a great recipe (especially freezer friendly) I would love to read about it. If you are a follower please leave a link to any and all you have tried and loved. I have to get back into trying new recipes. Although I should have one coming up soon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Money Saving Scrapbooking Tip!

Let's face it scrapbooking supplies are expensive. The main cost for me is letter stickers. I love American Crafts Thickers. And using them I've found a way to stretch my scrapping buck. I buy only the white. Then using a marker I color them to whatever color I need!

Here is a layout featuring "white" thickers for the word grown. I colored them with an American Crafts Slick Writer and then covered in diamond stickles.

I have another that I colored the same letters black but that layout isn't quite done yet.

Stickles are a product that come in several colors. To save money you can buy only the Diamond or Crystal colors. They are clear and allow whatever color you have under it to shine through.

For more great tips stop by We Are THAT family.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

DH really isn't a fan of enchiladas but I decided to give it a whirl anyways. He ended up loving it and has requested it on a regular rotation! Here is the orginal recipe, I've made a few modifications.

Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas

Cooking Spray
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts (about 1/2 lb)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided (4 oz)
1 cup picante sauce (I use Pace)
3 ounces cream cheese, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cans enchilada sauce
10-12 corn tortillas


Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and saute onions until soft. Meanwhile, mix chicken, 1/2 c. cheddar, picante sauce and cream cheese. Add to onions and cook over low heat until cheese begins to melt. Zap tortillas in the microwave covered with a damp paper towel about 15 seconds, it makes them easier to roll. Spoon about 1/3 cup filling on each tortilla and roll up.
Place enchiladas (seam side down) in a 9x13 (or 2 8x8's for a small family) baking dish make sure the bottom is just covered with Enchilada Sauce. Pour the rest of the sauce on top one all your enchiladas are in place and cover with remaining cheese. *Note:I flash freeze them and bag at this point in family size portions. If you are going ahead and eating now cover and bake at 350F 15 minutes. If you are pulling from the freezer, thaw in the refrigerator then bake.

Be sure to check out Kim's blog Forever...Wherever for more Tasty Tuesday recipes.

Menu Plan Monday!

Last week didn't go completely as planned. Not only am I sick, so is Jason. Good news is I'm feeling much better, bad news he's much worse.

This week will still be pretty simple. I found ground beef on sale so more of that will be made into freezer meals and of course one night of sloppy joe's, Jason can't let a week go by without those hardly. I deprived him last week since he doesn't feel good I'll give in this week. You would think he's a child, lol!

Sloppy Joe's

Tomato Sauce and Noodles
Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Spicy Baked Chicken
Taco Rice

Meatballs in gravy w/ Noodles

Date Night!!!

Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas


For more great menu options go to Org Junkie and check out all the great posts!