Budget friendly · Family · Pampered Chef Awesomeness! · Recipes · Uncategorized

How to plan a dinner party

I’m coming to you from Pampered Chef World inside my home! It is a wonderful place filled with children who know what a Mix ‘n Chop is. It is a place where simplicity is enabled in every dish made, every design, every event. My PC home is always looking for a new and easy (and cheap!) way to host a dinner party.

Here it is. In it’s most simplest form.

 

Continue reading “How to plan a dinner party”

Budget friendly · Recipes

What’s on your typical shopping list? Let’s chat!

What is on your typical shopping list?? When you go to the grocery store for your family, what is a necessity? What is a want?

I know when I go, I have two lists. One is a physical list of things that will make meals for my family, and one is a mental list of all the things my kiddos and hubby want!

Every time I grocery shop, I get….

Bananas, milk, bread, eggs, other fruit on sale, yogurt, canned/frozen veggies, noodles or rice

With this short list, I know I can make a dinner, breakfast and have lunches for school. I also use this list while looking at recipes I want to make and things that are on sale.

Let’s brainstorm here.

Spaghetti and sauce for the whole family could cost $2

French toast $2

(Using burger from the freezer) a “hotdish” can be made with egg noodles, ground beef, cream of something soup, beef broth. Easy, quick, delicious. A big pot, feeding the family, costing $5

Tater tot hotdish (ground beef, cream of something soup, frozen veggies, tots) about $6

I love going to ALDI to get many of these ingredients at a cheaper price for just as fabulous products! I also know you can find great deals at other grocery stores with and without Coupons!

The wants.

I can’t forget about those. 😉 The prepackaged snacks are my hubby’s favorites. Oh so not good for you, but a want for sure! I tried to make them treats and put them in baggies. These only work one in a while, lol!

Wants for my girls?? Fruit snacks, ice cream, chips, brownies….. Do they get them every time? Heaven’s no!! But sometimes I get one of them as a treat.

Hate to buy, but are a must?

Toilet paper!! Ugh…. Who hates to buy stuff that you flush down the toilet??? Me!! But ya kinda need it!

But really….

I try hard to shop from my own pantry and freezer first. Then, I go shopping for things to fill in the gaps. Sometimes you just need the basics, and sometimes you need the whole store. I say, get some favorite recipes, try some new ones, and make a list (or 2!) 🙂

Let’s think. What’s on your typical shopping list?

Pampered Chef Awesomeness! · Recipes · Recipes to share

One Pot Meals Rock

 **Affiliate links will be found on this post—I get a small percentage with nothing added on your end! **

I am one who will ALWAYS love one pot meals!  I will ALWAYS be an advocate of them!  You may even read  several posts from me all about how awesome they are.  This post is no different.  As I have started to look for meals that I can make from things already in my pantry/fridge/freezer, it is important to find new recipes.

This recipe I’m going to share today, is from http://www.smells-like-home.com/2015/02/one-pot-creamy-sausage-pasta/ .   If you know me, I don’t follow recipes very well.  It has to be forced upon me to follow exactly. LOL!  This recipe is no different.  I like this recipe, but I didn’t have ALL the stuff I needed.  So I substitute!  I feel, cooking is supposed to be fun right?  If it is too stressful, all because you don’t have an ingredient, that’s not good.  Lesson learned, have fun, try new recipes, sub out if you have to, and enjoy.  If it tastes good, that’s what matters.

My version of the One Pot Creamy Sausage Pasta:

To start, dice up a medium onion.  I used my Pampered chef 8″ Chef’s Knife to chop it up.  In retrospect, I should have used my food chopper! Hello!  But with this amazing knife, it was nothing to chop it up 🙂  Did you notice the lovely circle with PC on the blade?  This is so you can put your fingers on there for the perfect grip!  Pampered Chef has thought of everything huh?

 

Now, you’re going to saute these onions in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Please don’t measure this oil.  WE are NOT that crazy!!  Cook it until they are looking translucent (almost see through!).

Now ADD 4 cloves of garlic.  Go real garlic on this one!  There is nothing better than real garlic in a dish.  Using my Pampered Chef Garlic Press makes it sooooo easy!  Can you tell I also love my PC!!??  It is my second gig, but I’ve always had it in my house!  LOVE!

I wish I could have smell-a-vision for you on this one….so good.   You will want to cook this garlic with the onion for about a minute to get it cooked a bit……let that aroma come through!  NUM!    Now ADD your sausage!  I didn’t have ground sausage this time, I had sliced chicken sausage.  Like I said before, if I don’t have something, I make it work!   Use what you’ve got!!!

Once the sausages were warmed (these were fully cooked sausages), I deglazed the bottom with about a 1/4c. of chicken broth.  Recipe suggested wine, I didn’t have any on hand.   Then, ADD in 16 oz. of your favorite spaghetti sauce, and 3 cups of water.  I may have added another 1/4c of chicken broth just because, too! LOL!  Like I said, I like to sub out stuff and make it work for what I have in the house!

 

 

 

Bring this to a BOIL.  This means the water is bubbling, a lot!! We have to pretend that we will be boiling noodles the normal way….so don’t forget this step!  Once it has started to boil, add in your noodles.

 

Now, set your timer for 15 minutes, and put your feet up!  Well, first give it a stir, and put the cover on!  Then put your feet up!

 

Give it a stir every 5 minutes or so, and if it needs more water, add it then.

When the noodles are done, stir in your cheese.  As true Becky fashion, I didn’t have what was called for, so I added in about 1 cup of cheddar cheese, and stirred it in until the whole pot was creamy and thickened!

 

Stir and smell, and then, get a bowl and dig in!  Serve with buns or bread of choice.

 

 

Was it easy to make?  Yep!  Was it delish?  Yep!  Did I get the approval from the family?  Yep?    I don’t know the Smells like home author personally, but I do like this recipe!  Maybe next time, I’ll try to use all the suggested ingredients 🙂

Thanks for reading!            Becky 🙂

Budget friendly · Pampered Chef Awesomeness! · Recipes

Budget Family Friendly Meals

***This post contains affiliate links.  When you click and buy, I get a portion of the funds, with nothing extra added on your side.***

With a new year, I thought I would set a goal for myself to utilize what I have already in the pantry and freezer.  I also wanted to create a better and cheaper way to cook for my family to help with the budget.  I brainstormed.  I “Pinterested”.  I created.  Some are healthy, some come straight from the freezer to the oven, and some have a combo of both.

Rules for this challenge for me, include: 1.) It must be easy to make (because I definitely am NOT a professional chef!) 2.) It must be budget friendly (AKA…most of stuff is found in pantry already or found on sale) and 3.) It must get the approval from my hubby and kids (ages 5 and 8)

I have started a Bullet Journal recently, and I have included a page just for meal ideas.  I use the Moleskine Classic Notebook, Large, Squared, Sapphire Blue, Hard Cover (5 x 8.25) (mine is soft covered tho!) with the squares already on each page!  There are also ones with blank pages and some with dots!   See my planning page here!

Mealplanning.jpg
Journaling ideas of things to make for dinner is key to staying budget friendly for me!

Two days ago, I attempted the Crockpot Roast and Pinto Beans recipe (credit goes to fortheloveofcooking-vanessa.blogspot.com).  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the roast very thawed, so it was not done.  I adapted it a bit to fit what I had on hand.  My version was this:

  • 2cups of dried Pinto beans                                                                                          (I soaked them over night—caution, they will expand to twice their size)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes,     
  • about 2 tsp garlic salt,
  • about 1/2T of dried onion flakes,
  • 1t. chili powder,
  • and a 3lb roast.

I put all of this into my Pampered Chef Rockcrok Dutch oven, and poured water in until it was half way up the roast and covering the beans completely.  I did sprinkle a bit more salt on top of the roast along with a heavy sprinkle of Pampered Chef Chipotle rub.  I put it on high for 10 hours (the time  I would be at work).  The Roast, being so frozen still, was not done.  But an hour later it was, and it was fab!

Jump to yesterday….I took that cooked roast, shredded it, and warmed it up on the stove.  I also took the cooked pinto beans and warmed them up as well.  While that was all going on, I cooked 3 cups of Minute Rice White, 28 oz (something I had in the pantry, just like the pinto beans and roast).  I turned these ingredients into a burrito station!  My family could make their burritos with all of these ingredients or just one or two!  It was a hit!  We also had a bag of tortilla chips and salsa open and ready to eat, so that was on the side!

Now, you probably want to see a picture of my final plate that I created.  Yeah…I ate it too fast before I remembered to take a pic! HahaHa!

If you take a look at the “calendar of ideas” you’ll notice I wrote “NUMMY” on a few items we’ve tried!  One is the 3 ingredient orange chicken from www.craftymorning.com/3ingredient-orange-chicken-sauce-recipe/ …… it was definately approved by me and my family!  What I thought was sooooo much food, ended up being all eaten!

Items needed for this recipe:

  •  1c. Sweet baby rays BBQ sauce (I used the ALDI brand!)
  • 1c. Smuckers brand Sweet Orange Marmelade
  • 2T. Soysauce (I forgot to add this, and it was still fabulous!)

Bring these to a boil while the chicken is cooking.

For the chicken:

  •  3-4 chicken breasts (I used a pack of tenders that were on sale at ALDI 🙂 )
  • 1c. of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • oil for frying

Dredge the chicken in egg, then flour (which I salted), and then fry in the oil.  Place done chicken on a paper towel plate to drain.

Once the chicken is cooked and all done, toss with the sauce.  Eat with rice 🙂  ENJOY!

Does this recipe fit my requirements?  Sure!  Chicken on sale, off brand of BBQ sauce, and flour/egg/oil already in pantry/fridge!  My family and I love it! It was a bit putsy with the chicken frying, but really, it was easy!!  Result….WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER!!

Ok. Yes, I’m sure you also saw that Frozen Pizza was on the list.  Sometimes schedules just are too busy to make a good meal. Oh I know there are crockpots (obviously!)  but come on, when pizzas are on sale for cheap, buy a few for the freezer!  They come in handy!  Or as I told you before, when the roast doesn’t cook all the way in time for the family to eat, then pizza it is!  I find that our local supermarket has good deals often, and I also like to go to ALDI for pizza too.  Good deals, good pizzas!  Got coupons?  Even better.  Watch your ads in the paper, sign up for coupons.com, or go to your store’s website to find store coupons.  Some places you can double dip.  This means you can use a store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon.  Sometimes, this gets you FREE products!  Are you a Target Cartwheeler?  Then you can do 3 types of deals in one!

Stay tuned for my next meal!  Questions?  Let me know in the comments below!

Recipes

Ice Cream in a BAG

I L-O-V-E ice cream….I really do!!  Now, as a teacher and a mom, I am always trying to find a way to “teach” my kiddos something along the way….even in ice cream.  No, I’m not meaning that I teach them they may get an ice cream headache if they eat it too fast!  They will learn that all by themselves!!  Hehehe!!    I am going to teach them the science behind the making of ice cream….. how do you get it to be ice cream when you start with cream and sugar?

Other learning objectives they will learn? (yes I’m a teacher….objectives is a word in my vocabulary!)

  1. Measurements.  How much cream and sugar do you really need to make it taste good?
  2. Strategy.  How do you pour the liquids in and NOT spill all over your self and others?  TIP:  Use a friend!  Having ice cream is way more fun when eaten with others, right!?
  3. Chemistry.  A reaction happens when cold ice is added….. the MAGIC happens 🙂
  4. Vocabulary.  Words such as “Amazing! Fabulous! Delicious!” will be used when making ice cream in a bag!

So no matter the season, it is ALWAYS a good idea to make and eat ice cream!  Get out your mittens and get ready to mix!

What you’ll need:

      • 1/2 cup milk
      • 1/2 cup heavy cream
      • 2 Tablespoons sugar
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla
      • lots of ice

     

     

    Mix the top 4 ingredients in your quart size bag…. mix it well!  Then, add about 3 cups or more to your gallon size bag, top with rock salt, and lay your ZIPPED quart sized bag (filled with goodness) on top of that!  Zip the gallon sized bag and start shaking!  This is where your mittens may come in handy, as the bag and your hands start to get super cold!  The science behind how the Rock salt and ice together creates a super cold environment is going to be saved for someone else at another time!

    I like to sing when I’m shaking my ice cream!  You should too!  Shake, shake, shake…shake, shake, shake…shake your ice cream! Shake your ice cream!

    If you are able to sing my new song up there, I love you already!  We will be friends!

    After you sing for a while, try 5 minutes, carefully open the bags to check your consistency.  Each person’s shake is different, so time will vary 🙂  If you want your ice cream a little thicker, close it back up and continue shaking.

    Once you have the perfect soft serve ice cream in the bag….take it out….rinse off the quart size bag (trust me…no one wants Rock salt ice cream)…. and ENJOY!!!

    To create other flavors, you could add some chocolate syrup, strawberries, mint extract, coffee, and so much more!  Get creative!

    Dairy free?  Not this one….but I’ll be posting about a dairy free idea for you that uses the same concept!  Stay tuned!

    —Becky

Pampered Chef Awesomeness! · Recipes

60 seconds to Breakfast!

I woke up this morning, happy to see the sun was up, it was after 7 (always a plus), and I had coffee downstairs ready to be brewed. I then thought of what I was going to have for breakfast. Should I have cereal, toast, eggs…. No not eggs, takes too long to cook…. Until I remembered my ceramic egg cooker was waiting to be used!  I pondered the idea of an omelet or scrambled eggs, but I was feeling for a poached egg. Yep, I was going to make a poached egg in the microwave! 2T water and one egg, poke egg.  Microwave for 45 seconds,  remove and eat! I added mine to toast and a side of cantaloupe. Delish.

I love when I have products in my kitchen that make my life easier, don’t you!?

Tonight’s homework for you….. What will you make for breakfast tomorrow that will be quick, easy, and filling?!  (Yes, I’m a teacher by day! )

Becky