Monday, September 29, 2008

Pizza Rolls

I apoligize in advance: I don't have a "recipe." This is one that I wing it, I know that will bother some of you but here's what I do:

Pizza Rolls
1 recipe basic roll dough
5 c. shredded cheddar cheese (approximately)
Artichoke hearts
(This would also be good with: onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, etc.)

This works best if you split the dough in half and roll out each half separately, which is what I normally do- but didn't this time and it was alot harder to manage.
Roll the dough into a rectangle, place pepperoni pieces on, followed by cheese and separated artichoke hearts.
Roll up like a cinnamon roll and cut into equal slices (full recipe makes 24).
Place in greased muffin tins, let rise for about 30 minutes. Bake at 350˚ for about 30 minutes- until slightly brown on top.

A picture to show you the approximate amount of pepperoni I used. This counter is 21" x 25".

Naomi only pigs out on cheese when I'm cooking.

And she only eats artichoke hearts when I'm cooking... See my torn up kitchen? I'm getting used to it.

I cut the rolled dough into 4 equal portions, then marked out 6 on each piece before cutting.

If you just work with 1/2 of the dough at a time these look alot prettier. Though after they are cooked, they all look the same.

And the finished product!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pork 'n Beans 'n Biscuits

Not the healthiest meal, but fast and easy and cheap too! This reminds me of camping. :-)

Pork 'n Beans 'n Biscuits
4 cans pork 'n beans
1 pk hotdog- diced
~heat through in oven proof skillet~

Drop Biscuits
2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 T. oil
1 c. milk
Drop by spoonfuls over pork 'n bean mixture. Bake at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until biscuits are lightly brown.

Meal cost

4 cans beans $2
I pk hotdogs $.68
biscuits $.30
Meal Total: $2.98

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sweet Potato "Pie"

Again, another breakfast pie. How else would we eat veggies for breakfast??
I skip the crust when I make breakfast pie.

Sweet Potato "Pie"
4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/4 pound butter, softened
2 eggs
1 c white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 can evaporated milk

Mix thoroughly. Pour into 9" x 13" baking dish.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 40-45 minutes, until it doesn't "jiggle" anymore.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

School Lunches

We qualify for free lunches through the school- which is nice, it does save us alot of money... but I'm not happy with what the school has availible.
Each month we go through the calendar of lunches and cross out the entrees that are not healthy choices and the boys can pick from whats left. Last year the selection was much better- this year, they have one choice. The school does offer something else on those days- salad or meat sandwich. But really, a salad is not going to fill and keep full a growing boy and the sandwich is just 2 slices of store-bought bread and some deli meat... again, not filling- because I know if I were to serve the same thing, my boys would eat at least 3 sandwiches.
This year is even worse in that, as you can see there are a couple days where there is nothing on the menu that I approve of:

And the choices for those days?
Cheesy Macaroni
Corn Dog
Pepperoni Pizza

So, I have been sending a sack lunch on those days.
Regardless of the lunch at school the boys come home starving- they're like hobbits needing 6 meals a day.
The boys are very honest and do only eat what I say. Since the school offers salad or sandwiches they do have a choice between say Spaghetti Spirals or a turkey and cheese sandwich.
They don't drink chocolate milk- I don't know why the school even has that as an option, but they do.
The boys do catch some flack from other kids and many times have been told to lie and just take what they want. But they also understand what healthy is and that pizza or hamburgers every day is not good for them.
I have noticed that with the problem of obesity the school lunches have changed- but only to smaller portions. It would be so much better if they served good food! Growing kids need alot of food- but they need alot of healthy food.
It saves enough money each month that I can't justify only sending lunches, I need to take advantage of the free lunch. But I'm not too concerned- they eat a second lunch when they get home anyway. So overall, their diet is pretty good.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mexican Lasagna

I know alot of you are fans of The Pioneer Woman Cooks. She has a guest poster on there some times, Pastor Ryan and he made a Mexican Lasagna.
This was more complicated than I normally do- I like as little dishes as possible, but it looked tasty and I had everything except the Salsa Verde- so I got some at the store last week determined to try it.
It did not smell like I wanted it to while I was cooking... but that might be more because of my overly sensitive pregnancy nose. It was very tasty though.
His recipe was pretty flexible and it was a huge amount and not super easy to try to break it down to the size I needed, but here's my version:

Mexican Lasagna
2 c. uncooked brown rice
4 c. water with 2 heaping T. chicken bouillon
salt to taste
~Cook like usual~

4 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 to 3 T. Taco seasoning
1 c. dried black beans, cooked (about 1 1/2 to 2 c. cooked)
~Saute and mix into cooked rice~

1 lb ground meat, browned
2 to 3 T. taco seasoning
~brown meat, mix in seasoning, set aside~

1 jar Salsa Verde
I jar enchilada sauce (I made my own... recipe to post later)
2 c. frozen corn, heated and drained
3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
flour tortillas (I used 3- because I happened to have the huge ones)

Layer into a 9"x13" baking dish:
1/2 jar salsa verde
flour tortillas (I used 1 1/2, because they were so big)
1/2 of the rice mixture
1/2 of the cheese
flour tortillas
enchilada sauce (about 1 c.)
Browned meat mixture
The rest of the rice
The rest of the salsa verde
The rest of the cheese

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.
Top with fresh cilantro and sour cream.

Everyone in our house enjoyed it- Naomi especially. This still made quite alot of food and we ate it for 2 dinners- with still 1 dish of leftovers, enough for someone's lunch.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Cinnabon" Cinnamon Rolls

Ok guys- I finally got around to taking pictures of these. Most of the time they are never around long enough to do that- so yesterday I made it a point to get some pictures. Luke was the main photographer here. He regretted he couldn't capture the smell for you. :-)
Anyway, for those of you who keep asking if it's on my blog yet: this is for you!

These are so yummy- and do taste like Cinnabon. We don't have a Cinnabon in our mall, though I heard we were going to get one again- after 5 years or so without it. I really missed having one, so found a recipe online, though I have changed it a bit, so here's mine:
This makes 16 large rolls- two 9" x 13" pans full.

"Cinnabon" Cinnamon Rolls
2 c. warm milk
1 c. sugar
2 T. yeast
3/4 c. butter (room temp)
2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
6 c. white flour
2 c. whole wheat flour
Combine everything in the mixer (kitchenaid, bocshe, etc) and knead for 10 minutes. Let sit with the lid on and rise until it reaches the lid (this might take 45 minutes to an hour), then knead the dough for a minute or 2 and roll out on floured surface.

2/3 c. butter (room temp)
Spread the butter onto the rolled out dough.
2 c. sugar
1/4 c. molasses
--mix together then add:--
1/3 c. saigon cinnamon*
1/4 c. flour

Mix the sugar, cinnamon and flour together and sprinkle/spread over the butter.
Roll up Jelly-roll style and mark 16 even marks for the cuts on the roll. Cut out 16 pieces and put 8 in each 9" x 13" greased baking dish. (Two 9" x 13".)
Let rise until doubled and bake in 375 degree oven for 22-25 minutes. The tops will be brown. Frost while warm.

1 c. butter (room temp)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 c. (4 oz) cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
blend thoroughly and then spread over warm cinnamon rolls.

*Or another high quality- don't use the generic that is just labled "ground cinnamon", this makes a big difference. I buy mine at Costco: $3. for a large container.
This counter is 21" x 25".

Spread the warm butter on the dough.

Mixing the sugar and molasses.

Mixing the cinnamon and flour into the sugar.

Spreading the sugar/cinnamon mixture over the buttered dough.

Start at one of the longer edges and roll the dough.

Mark out 16 even marks where you are going to cut.

Cut the roll.

Set 8 cinnamon rolls into each 9" x 13" greased baking dish.

Let rise until doubled before baking.

Rolls will be brown on the top, but still the soft doughy-ness we love in the middle, and not uncooked.

Mix the icing and spread over warm rolls.

These are really best served warm-- oh yummy!

Now I think I'll go eat the leftovers...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lentil Chili

I've posted this recipe before, here, but have changed it enough from HBHW's recipe, I figured I would tell you what I do. (And I see I angled the camera in such a way that it makes the bowl of chili seem quite small under Brian's hand... but it was a normal size bowl, really!)

Lentil Chili
1 lb. package lentils
Water to cover with about 1 to 2 inches above the lentils. Bring to a boil, then turn down and let simmer with a lid slightly cocked on the pot. Simmer until the lentils are soft- about 30 minutes.
4 c. freshly chopped tomatoes
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1 heaping Tb chili powder
4 to 5 shakes of tabasco sauce
Simmer for approximately 30 minutes and serve with chips and sour cream.

Meal Cost:
Lentils: $.72
Tomatoes: free- from garden
onion: ?? cheap
Chips: $1.
Meal Total: $1.72

This feeds our family of 5 big eaters with 1 bowl leftover.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Zucchini Pizza

This was a big hit last night. I think next time I'll put on more artichoke heart- but even without much of it, it was great.

Zucchini Pizza
4 c. grated zucchini
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/8 tsp. oregano
1/8-1/4 tsp. garlic salt (I just shook it over, so not sure on exact amount)
3 eggs, beaten
Mix all together and spread into well greased/oiled skillet*. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
Add whatever toppings you want and then stick back into the oven to heat through and melt the cheese.
We put on:
Artichoke hearts
chopped fresh tomatoes
grated cheddar cheese (just a thin layer- to hold it all together)

* a 12" skillet worked best- the 10" one is more 'quiche-like', as it is thicker. If you are going to use pie pans, I would probably put it in two 9" pie pans. This sticks a little- it comes off the cast iron best.

This is a really inexpensive meal- if you have a garden, the only real cost is the cheese and toppings.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chokecherry Jelly

About a month ago Brian's mom called and said there were some chokecherries where she takes her dog walking. I was ready to head out the door right then- but she said they weren't ready yet. So, since I didn't remember what chokecherries looked like, I asked her to call me when they were ready.
A couple weeks later she did. It happened to be a weekend we were going to be out of town, so I ran out and picked a big bowl full that Thursday when she called. They were in clusters, so pretty easy to pick.

This picture was taken about a week later, when I went back to get more- unfortunately, it was already passed the season and these are a bit wrinkled and dry. So I guess you really have to grab them when they are ready!

I brought them home, filled the bowl with water and let all the leaves, bugs, dried berries to float to the top so I could skim them off.
Then I put the rinsed berries into a large pot and filled it with water so it covered the berries. I brought it to a boil and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. I set another bowl in the sink with a strainer over the top and poured the berries into it so all the juice went into the bowl. I let it sit for a while, dripping and stirred the berries a couple times.
I probably could have boiled them a second time to get more juice (from what I've read online, that's what our grandmothers did) but didn't think of it.
I measured out the juice to see how many batches of jelly I could make.
The chokecherries apparently have plenty of natural pectin.

I found this Ball pectin at Walmart for $1 cheaper than the Sure-Jell and they each had a $.50 coupon inside- so the next one was only $1./box. It was in the canning section, rather than the baking section where the Sure-Jell is.
It's a basic pectin- 4 c. fruit or juice, pectin and then whatever amount of sugar you want, up to 3 cups.
I think I used 8 c. juice, 6 c. sugar and one box of pectin.
I've used it with other juice now and cut down the sugar more, but chokecherries are pretty tart, so I used the maximum amount with them.

Cost-wise, this was great:
Juice: free
Pectin: $1.
Sugar: $1.
Yields 8 jars @ $.25/per jar (pint jar)

I got 4 batches of jelly = 16 pints of jelly.

Do you make jam/jelly?


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