(Mostly) Meatless Monday: Recipes/Batch Cooking

(Mostly) Meatless Monday/Batch Cooking/Recipes Included 🙂

Today I’m making two big batches of soup. We’ll have some for supper, then the rest will be frozen in individual servings for later. I love soup any time of year. Tonight I’m making White Bean, Kale, & Carrot and Veggie Corn Chowder. I’ll also make a pan of cornbread because…well…cornbread!

Here’s the recipe for the White Bean, Kale, & Carrot soup.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic minced
1 small onion diced
4 cups kale chopped
2 large carrots peeled and sliced
4 cups broth chicken or vegetable (I use veggie broth)
2 15 oz. cans white beans undrained
2 teaspooons Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a stock/soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add garlic and onion; saute until soft.
Stir in broth, carrots, beans, seasonings, garlic and onion.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until carrots are almost tender, stirring occasionally.
Add kale; cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until kale is done, stirring occasionally.

Here’s the recipe for Veggie Corn Chowder (from 100 Days of Read Food)

100 Days Veggie Corn Chowder
Source: www.100daysofrealfood.com
Prep 15 min
Cook 15 min
Total 30 min
Serving: 6

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Whole-wheat flour
1 medium onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 large celery stalks, diced
3 cups corn kernels fresh or frozen (no need to defrost)
1 teaspoon salt
cayenne pepper to taste
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups milk

Directions

1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and keep whisking until the mixture darkens but does not burn, 4-5 minutes.
2. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and stir occasionally until the veggies begin to soften, 5-6 minutes.
3. Add the corn, salt, and pepper to the pot and cook, stirring, for another 2 or 3 minutes. (If using frozen corn, add a minute to the cooking time.)
4. Pour in the chicken stock and milk and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened.
5. Partially puree the soup by transferring only half to a countertop blender, then returning the puree to the pot, or by sticking a hand immersion blender in the pot and briefly pureeing for less than a minute. Ladle into soup bowls and serve warm or freeze in individual portions for another day.

And finally, here’s the cornbread recipe. I could just eat the whole pan right out of the oven. I heat one greased iron skillet in the oven while it’s preheating and use another iron skillet to prepare the cornbread in. Cornbread batter poured into an already hot iron skillet has the perfectly crunchy crust.

Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread
Source: allrecipes.com
Prep 15 min
Cook 40 min
Total 55 min
Serving: 9

Ingredients

1⁄2 cup butter
2⁄3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Meal Plan 7/16-7/22/16

Meal Planning – Done! (for this week anyway)

I took an hour or so this afternoon to work on my meal plan for the coming week (Saturday – Friday), making use of what I have on hand as much as possible. My pantry and freezer are pretty full!

For breakfasts next week, I’ll be making the Pioneer Woman’s Breakfast Burritos; 100 Days of Real Food’s Breakfast Casserole Bites; and a batch of Amazing Muffin Cups. These are easy to make ahead and then just pop in the microwave or toaster oven to reheat in the morning. Alternating between those will be Peanut Butter & Banana, Peaches & Cream Oatmeal, and PB&J smoothies.

Lunches generally consist of leftovers and I’ll make a batch of some kind of soup (this week it’s Chicken Tortilla along with some Cheese & Chile Corn Muffins) that I can heat up as needed.

Suppers this week are:

Saturday: Grilled Burgers, Potato Salad, Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Sunday: Broccoli Cheese Soup, Sweet Cornbread

Monday: Broccoli & Mushroom Quiche, Skillet/Fried Corn, Roasted Carrots

Tuesday: Smothered Enchiladas (for Hubby), Cabbage Enchiladas (for me), Easy Black Beans & Rice

Wednesday: Grilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin, Mashed Potatoes, Stewed Summer Squash and Zucchini, Biscuits (if I’m feeling so inclined)

Thursday: Leftover Buffet

Friday: Homemade Pizzas (Chicken & Spinach w/Alfredo Sauce, Beef & Mushroom, Cheese)

We’ll see how much prep work I get done tomorrow. Hopefully, I can make the pie crust for the quiche and the pizza crusts for Friday since those freeze well. I’ll get the breakfast items made and my lunch soup of the week. I’ll post pictures and recipes as I make them.

Wish me luck! Happy cooking!

Lynne

The Joy (Ha!) of Budgeting

So…a new year starts on Saturday and with that, a new budget. Budgeting is so much fun. (Insert eye roll here.) So that’s what I’ve been working on today. Fun times, fun times.
 
I love when I look at the budget and I’ve stuck to it. When I look at it and overspent on groceries (usually the place where I overspend), not so much.
 
But it is what it is. And I’m working diligently – with the aid of coffee – to get the new one ready by January’s first paycheck. Some adjustments had to be made in our utilities since our son moved back home (imagine that!) but today I cancelled a couple of magazine subscriptions because I wasn’t a big fan of those particular ones anyway; cancelled Sirius XM radio; and we’d already done a bill combination thing with our satellite and cell phone service that saved us some money. (Supposedly. Hubby did that and I haven’t seen the bill to prove it yet, so we’ll see. Next week, in fact.)
 
In light of the rising cost of eating well, I think I’ll work harder on my garden this year. Like, really hard. Don’t tell Hubby, but the whole back yard might turn into a garden. And there are enough flower beds back there that can be moved so we can re-landscape the front yard without buying plants.
 
We had been doing so good since we took Dave Ramsey’s FPU last year, but the last couple of months, I’ll admit that we’ve been lax. Remiss. Budget? What’s that? And now it’s time to buckle down.
 
We’ve got a 25th wedding anniversary coming up in July. I think a really nice trip is in order. So getting the finances back in order is the first step.
 
Do you do a budget? Do you find anything (forms, websites, etc.) that work especially well? Do you have ideas for cutting costs and reducing bills? Please share with the rest of us!
 
Back to the calculator I go!
 
Lynne 🙂

Menu Planning in the Works

Good afternoon, all!

I’m starting with some menu planning for the coming week and the month of January. Going to use these themes for January. We’ll see how it goes and change it up in February if we have to. (Don’t tell Hubby, but he is going to join me in eating healthier.)

*Meatless Mondays

*Tex-Mex Tuesdays

*”What’s Up?” or “What’s New?” Wednesdays (undecided on name, but it will be new recipes or it might be family member’s choice)

*Throwback Thursdays (leftover buffet night)

*Family Friday (pizza or pasta)

*Soup and/or Sandwich Saturdays

*Slow Cooker Sundays

I have been scouring the internet for new recipes and downloading them to Plan to Eat which is what I use (and love!) for meal planning and am ready to get started. (This is not a usual Sunday and we have leftovers from the THIRD Christmas dinner, so we will actually be having leftovers tonight. Which is fine by me!)

We sometimes have other leftover nights if the fridge is full, but we definitely do Thursdays. Sometimes we have soup twice in one week. (I love soup!) Sometimes I’m really just not in the mood to cook and I order pizza. True confession right there.

What do you think? Do any of you do themed nights? I think it just makes it simpler when you’re meal planning. I know that the last couple of weeks with all the stuff that we’ve had going on that I’ve not been meal planning and man, oh man, can I feel it! And I don’t like it.

Meal planning is one of the easiest ways to simplify your weekdays, in my humble opinion. (That and learning to say the word “no.”)

Let’s give it a try together. I’ll post my week’s menu here as soon as I’m done.

Y’all have a blessed day!

LynneMenu

Front Porch Makeover…finally!

Happy Saturday!

Well, it’s not nearly as warm today as it was yesterday, but I was motivated so I FINALLY got around to working on my front porch. I painted the area around the front door and the tops of the porch rails. (My physical therapist would frown upon me painting it all. Right, Karen?)

I spent less than $100 on paint and supplies, flowers, artificial flowers, table accessories, and a new flag, The bistro set got moved from the back deck. The “rug” was in the donate box. I reused the metal basket to make the wall hanging, and a Mason jar for the flowers on the table. I also fixed my fountain pump. 🙂

The flower bed in front of this porch is full of perennials. I can’t wait to see them in bloom and to bring out the houseplants that fill in the gaps during the summer. Oh…and hang some ferns. This is where I sit to drink coffee and read when it’s warm. I was very tempted to sit and have coffee there this afternoon but it was just too chilly.

The porch floor still needs to be painted as do the spindles. It was too cold for the porch (it’s cement) and my daughter will do the rails. So she says. 🙂

Anyway, I feel very productive. Baked potato soup is on the menu for tonight so I’ve got to get those potatoes baking.

Stay warm, people. Stay warm.

Lynne

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Meal Planning

Good morning!

I am on my way out of town on a spontaneous getaway with the hubby. Just one night, but I’ll take it!

You know what Thursday is, right? January 1, 2015. Oh, my goodness! Yikes! Have mercy! Bless!

It’s time to start plans in and organizing our lives. (Every year we make those resolutions…how often do we keep them?)

We are going to start 2015 with meal planning. Before we get caught up in school projects, after-school activities, sports, etc., we are going to tackle this meal-planning thing. It’s not as hard as it seems and it can save you time (and your sanity!!).

We’ll start out with something easy. Something you can do this very day! Ask each member of your family for ONE dish/meal they’d like to have in January. I’m using those choices for “What’s Your Pick?” Wednesdays. Get to asking. 🙂

Don’t forget to grab a new notebook for 2015. Label page #1 “January” and write down what your family tells you today.

You will also need a calendar to write on. Also begin thinking about doing themed nights. Mine for January are as follows:

• Slow Cooker Sundays

• Mexican Mondays

• Tasting Tuesdays (new recipe day)

• “What’s Your Pick?”
Wednesdays

• Throwback
Thursdays (leftovers)

• Fun and Fab Fridays (pasta or homemade pizza)

• Soup-er Saturdays (soup or stews; slow cooker if possible)

These are not set in stone. An excess of leftovers will lead to more than one leftovers night. But it’s my guideline. Anything on January’s list that doesn’t get made gets moved to February’s plan.

Get your family to thinking. Take as much – or as little – input from them as you want.

It’s a gloomy rainy day here and while I am riding, I’m looking through one of my new cookbooks to see what recipes I might want to try ok Tuesdays.

Have a great day! Happy planning!!

Lynne

Menu Plan: September 14-20

Hi, all!

It’s menu planning day and here I am to share my plan for next week with you. Aren’t you excited? There are a couple of new recipes this week (Sunday and Wednesday) so I can’t vouch for them. Recipes will be under separate posts.

Lynne

Sandwich Sunday: Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches, Crash Hot Potatoes

Slow Cooker Monday: Pork Tenderloin; Broccoli, Brown Rice & Cheddar Casserole; Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Taco-ish Tuesday: Smothered Enchiladas, Mexican Rice, Refried Beans

Pasta Wednesday: Chicken Parmesan Spinach Pasta Bake, Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower

Thursday: Leftover buffet

Pizza Friday: Make Your Own Pizza; Chocolate Delight

Soup-er Saturday: Broccoli Cheese Soup, Homemade French Bread

Menu Plan for September 7-13

Happy Saturday, folks!

Hubby is on nights so he’s sleeping. Actually, at this very moment, he’s up and watching football. But he’s supposed to be sleeping. Anyway, I’m sitting here going over my menu plan for next week to see what I need from the store. Thankfully, it’s a short list and I don’t need anything today except an onion.

So, here’s my dinner menu plan for the coming week, Sunday-Saturday. Still going with the September theme nights:

  • Sunday – sandwiches
  • Monday – Crock Pot
  • Tuesday – Mexican
  • Wednesday – Pasta
  • Thursday – Leftovers
  • Friday – Homemade Pizza
  • Saturday – Soup

Here it is:

  • Sunday – Patty Melts, Roasted Potatoes
  • Monday – CP Teriyaki Chicken, Easy Fried Rice
  • Tuesday – Chicken and CP Steak Fajitas, Refried Beans
  • Wednesday – CP Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta, Roasted Carrots, Green Beans
  • Thursday – Leftover Buffet 🙂
  • Friday – Individual Homemade Pizzas (Me – Roasted Potato, Caramelized Onion, Bacon; Hubby – Beef & Mushroom; Son – Cheese; Daughter – Salad since she doesn’t like pizza
  • Saturday – Chicken & Rice Soup, Baby Biscuits with Herbed Butter

I’ll post my recipes each day. After this week, you’ll have 10-12 recipes to add to your dinner options. 🙂

Do I need to write a menu planning post? I wrote one long ago, but it was..well, long. Maybe I could streamline it to make it easier to follow. If that would be a help to you, please let me know.

Y’all have a great Saturday! Go Gamecocks! Roll Tide! 🙂

Lynne

 

Budgets, Budgets, Budgets

Happy Tuesday!

Today is my hubby’s 50th birthday so first have to acknowledge that. 🙂 What did he do? Not a thing. He’s under the weather with a stomach bug so not much celebrating will be done today. We will celebrate and give him a hard time later. We were kind-ish about his BIG birthday today.

I have spent the afternoon working on my budget for Financial Peace University. We are going through FPU as a church right now and I’m reworking our budget as we go. I’ve spent too long doing it today that my eyes may be crossed! They feel that way. This isn’t new stuff to me; I’m just not very good at following the budgets I create. But we are determined this time to stick to it and get it done. (I will repeat that to myself every day.)

So…

Do you all budget on a regular basis?

How often do you reevaluate?

Are you on a cash only basis?

One of our biggest expenses is groceries. I’m working really, really hard to cut our grocery bill. Really. Really. Hard. So I spent the morning finishing up my menu plan and making a detailed grocery list. I’m determined to not buy something that isn’t on the list. Grocery shopping is on my agenda for tomorrow morning, so pray for me. I hate to grocery shop, but it must be done. I’ll put my blinders on and focus on my list. Focus, focus, focus.

So now that my head is full of numbers and lists, I’m going to call it a night and go watch “Pretty Little Liars.” Yes, I’m a PLL fan. I admit it. 🙂

Y’all have a good evening!

Lynne

 

 

Money-saving Tips – from me to you and you to me!

Happy almost Friday!

As a pondered what to post about today, I decided on things you and I do to save money. With money – or the lack thereof – being in the news, and in the news, and in the news…, I thought I’d tell you a few of the things we do around here to save money and I hope that you will share your money-saving tips with the rest of us.

First, I have to tell you that I am not the best at the budgeting thing. I tend to overspend at the grocery store every week despite my best intentions. Here’s my disclaimer: I am NOT an expert here. I am a work in progress. I welcome any and all suggestions. What works for one person or family may not work for another, but we can all learn from one another.

So…here’s my list, such as it is.

1. I use my clothesline if at all possible. Not only are sunshine and fresh air free, I love the smell of clothes and sheets (especially sheets!) straight off the line. And seeing clothes on the line blowing in the breeze…well, that takes me back to my chlidhood.

2. We keep our thermostat on 78 degrees in the summer and 68 in the winter. And those windows are up as soon as the day time temperatures are hovering in the low 80s.

3. We rarely eat out, except for special occasions…your birthday and our anniversary and date nights. There are some exceptions, of course, but eating out for us is not the norm for sure.

4. We eat our leftovers for lunch or for dinner or for leftover buffet night. Leftovers or not, we generally take lunches and snacks to work.

5. We use a water filter pitcher instead of buying water bottles every week. I drink a lot of water, so surely that saves a lot of money. 🙂

6. We don’t have credit cards. Except for one at Lowe’s that gets used rarely. All of our emergencies seem to involve trips to Lowe’s, so we keep that one. But we paid off and cut up the others long ago.

7. I have a garden. This year it was small, but I have plans to expand it next year. I love fresh veggies, and picking them right out of your own back yard is wonderful! And tasty!

8. I use coupons for personal products like shampoo and deodorant – in conjunction with sales – and stock up on them. (I got shaving cream for nine cents a can a few weeks ago.) Since those items tend to be expensive items, the coupons definitely help. Otherwise, I’m not much of a couponer.

9. We only go to the movie theater on very rare occasions. We use Redbox and Netflix when we want to see a movie. And when we do go, we don’t buy snacks. The last time I did go, the lady in line at the snack bar I was near spent over $120 on popcorn and candy! No way!

10. We plan our trips around town to minimize gas usage. For example, if I’m going to get my allergy shots, I also swing by the library and anything else I might need to do on that side of town.

So how do you save money? Please share.

Lynne