Monthly Archives: November 2015

November Recipes

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These are a few of our favorite recipes, and they also happen to be on our menu this month.  Give one a try and let me know what you think!

Taco Soup

1 pound ground beef, cooked, crumbled

2 cups frozen corn

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

1/2 – 1 can Rotel

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Water

1 can tomato paste (optional)

Combine all ingredients in large pot or slow cooker.  Add enough water to cover all ingredients; stir in tomato paste if you like thicker broth.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer at least 30 minutes.  You could also cook this in a slow cooker on low for several hours, adding more water.  


Chicken Cordon Bleu

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4-6 slices of Swiss cheese

4-6 slices of thinly-sliced ham lunch meat

1-2 cups seasoned croutons

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Trim chicken breasts and cut into 4-6 similarly-sized pieces.  Use the flat side of a meat mallet to pound the chicken to about 1/4″ thickness. Place the croutons in a plastic bag and pound with the meat mallet until breadcrumbs remain.  (You can use store-bought breadcrumbs instead, but I can’t find any without a couple of ingredients I avoid.)  Pour crumbs onto a plate or other shallow dish.  Top each piece of chicken with one slice of Swiss cheese and then one slice of ham.  Roll up each piece of chicken and then roll in breadcrumbs.  Place in a greased baking dish and put in oven for about 20 minutes or until center of chicken is done.  


Pecan-crusted Chicken Breasts

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into four pieces

3 ounces cream cheese

1 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup seasoned croutons

1 1/4 cup pecans, divided

1/4 tsp salt

seasonings to taste:  onion, garlic, basil, cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix softened cream cheese and butter with about one cup of finely chopped pecans, salt, and seasonings.  Use the flat side of a meat mallet to flatten chicken pieces to about 1/2″ thickness.  Spoon about 1/4 of the cream cheese mixture onto each piece of chicken. Crush croutons in a bag using the meat mallet.  Mix crouton crumbs and about 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans; pour crumb mixture onto a plate or shallow dish.  Roll up chicken pieces to enclose cream cheese.  Use toothpicks, if needed, to keep chicken rolled up. Press chicken in crumb mixture on each side, coating with a layer of crumbs.  Place chicken on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.  

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Reflections on Our No-Spend Month

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Reflections on Our No-Spend Month

First, I want to explain why I haven’t shared what my husband spent money on this past Friday.  A couple of times a year, my husband, son, and father-in-law go camping for a weekend.  They had planned several weeks ago (before we decided October would be a no-spend month) to go this past weekend.  My husband took $60 cash with them and spent $22 on groceries, $16 for the campsite, and $28 at a restaurant.  They always go to a buffet on Friday night.  My husband spent a little more than what he had in cash, but technically, some of the campsite fee and groceries were for Sunday, November 1st.  So why didn’t I share that sooner?  When I am home alone with my kids, I do not want the whole world to know.  I feel safe where we live, but I would rather not announce to everyone that my husband will not be home all weekend, especially on Halloween.  It’s just my overprotective nature.  

Our no-spend month is over, and we only spent money out of our checking account on gas (3 times), copays at the doctor’s office (3 kids), prescriptions (3 antibiotics), and whatever extra my guys spent this past weekend.  We think we saved close to $2000 by not spending in October.  We sat down Sunday and planned our spending for November and came up with amounts for groceries and household items, personal care (haircuts, makeup, etc.), dining out,  office supplies, and clothing.  Now if we could just get to the bank to get some cash, we could implement the envelope system.   

our pantry before our no-spend month

  

our pantry at the end of our no-spend month

 
We went a whole month without eating out, except for Saturday nights due to our church schedule and the days my husband had meetings or classes.  That alone saved us at least $200 and 5,000 calories!  We were already eating at home most of the time, but I had to be more intentional about planning and preparing things ahead of time to ensure that we wouldn’t end up eating out.

My makeup and all of our other personal hygiene and cosmetic items (miraculously) lasted all month.  I ordered new foundation and scheduled a haircut for myself as soon as November started.  We ran out of black ink for our printer on Thursday, so I printed everything in color for a few days.  We used all of the napkins, and had to use paper towels or cloth napkins for the last week.  We needed more dishwasher detergent, and my mother-in-law gave us more than enough to last the rest of the month.  

We not only survived–we succeeded.  We saved hundreds of dollars.  We made things last longer than we thought possible.  We made use of all of our resources and refused to spend unnecessary money.  We convinced ourselves and the kids (at least for one month) that we could live without many things.  We discussed needs and wants and taught our kids lessons about materialism and entitlement.  I think this was a good experience for our family, and I would like to do it again.  My children still need to learn some lessons because they never want to be deprived again, which means we definitely need to do it again.  

Big Sister thought we needed to go buy her a crazy hat to wear to AWANA Sunday night. We were able to make one using things we already had, and she decided what we made was even better than what we could have found at the store.

November Menu

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Day 1:  chicken cordon bleu, corn

Day 2:  leftovers

Day 3:  shrimp, fish, broccoli, corn, raw carrots

Day 4:  Cheesy chicken tater tot casserole, green beans

Day 5: Hobo dinners, rice

Day 6:  Chicken enchilada casserole, chips, salsa, guacamole

Day 7:  dinner out

Day 8: beans, cornbread

Day 9:  chicken fajitas, rice, beans, guacamole

Day 10:  leftovers

Day 11:  Slow cooker pork tenderloin, baked potatoes, broccoli

Day 12:  Southwest skillet chicken and rice

Day 13:  spaghetti, salad, garlic knots

Day 14:  dinner out

Day 15:  pizza

Day 16:  Mexican skillet casserole, avocado, chips/tortillas

Day 17:  Spicy sausage pasta, salad, hot rolls

Day 18:  Chili, cornbread

Day 19:  leftovers

Day 20:  bacon, eggs, waffles, fruit

Day 21:  dinner out

Day 22:  dinner out

Day 23:  taco soup, cornbread

Day 24:  Chicken pot pie

Day 25:  Tortilla chip and pepper jack crusted chicken breasts, guacamole, chips

Day 26:  Thanksgiving Day

Day 27:  leftovers

Day 28:  dinner out

Day 29:  pecan-crusted chicken breastsLyonnaise potatoes

Day 30:  Baked tortellini with chicken gratinati, green beans, garlic knots