Tag Archives: recipes

October Menu & a Recipe

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I have been so busy with everything school-related that I let October sneak up on me.  Fortunately, I knew I didn’t have to worry about the first two days of this month because we had church functions both Saturday and Sunday evening.  I feel like I repeat a lot of meals every month, but those are our favorites.  I have added a couple of new recipes that I found on Pinterest, and I also added some soups because it’s getting cooler, and soups are easy and perfect for the crockpot on busy days.  I have included a recipe (below the menu) that I have made before but not in a long time.  I can’t remember where I got this recipe, but it might have come from a Pampered Chef cook book.  Planning this month’s menu was a challenge due to several meetings (mostly my husband but a couple for me), our church activities, and fall events.  Fortunately, we can have leftovers every night that we are home.  I ❤️ leftovers!

  1. Dinner out
  2. Dinner out
  3. Chicken cordon bleu
  4. Leftovers
  5. Mexican Skillet Casserole
  6. Leftovers
  7. Baked Ravioli
  8. Dinner out
  9. Dinner out
  10. Fishsticks and popcorn/butterfly shrimp (from the freezer for a quick meal)
  11. Leftovers
  12. Spicy Sausage Pasta
  13. Leftovers
  14. Grilled chicken, Lyonnaise Potatoes
  15. Dinner out
  16. Dinner out
  17. Meat & Potato Casserole
  18. Cajun Shrimp Quinoa Casserole
  19. Southwest Skillet Chicken & Rice
  20. Leftovers
  21. Parmesan chicken and pasta (see below for recipe)
  22. Dinner out
  23. Dinner out
  24. Chili
  25. Leftovers
  26. Spaghetti
  27. Chicken tortilla soup
  28. Leftovers/Dinner out
  29. Dinner out
  30. Dinner out
  31. Taco Soup


Parmesan Chicken and Pasta (lighter version)

1 lb chicken breasts

2 egg whites

1 garlic clove 

1 cup croutons, crumbled

1/4 cup fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano

1 tsp dried oregano

1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 TBSP flour

8 oz pasta

2 cups pasta sauce

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Trim chicken and cut to make four pieces.  In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until frothy.  Press/crush garlic and mix into egg whites.  Add crushed croutons and grated Parmigiano Reggiano to bowl.  Add oregano and pepper; mix well.  Coat chicken breasts with flour.  Then, dip the pieces in the egg white mixture, coating both sides and shaking off the excess.  Place chicken on baking stone and spray the top of each piece lightly with oil.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.  Meanwhile, cook pasta and heat sauce.  When everything is done, place a serving of pasta on each plate.  Top with chicken, 1/2 cup sauce, and 1 TBSP mozzarella.  

September Menu

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September Menu

I started working on our menu for next month over the weekend, but I was not able to complete it until Monday afternoon.  I love having a plan.  It helps me plan my grocery shopping list and keeps me from becoming stressed over what to cook each evening.  Links will be included for specific recipes.  I hope this list will give you some ideas, new recipes to try, or motivation to plan your menu.  I have made almost all of these recipes several times, and many of them are family favorites.  Maybe you will find a new favorite for your family.  

  1. Leftovers/yoyo (your on your own)
  2. Spicy Shrimp Pasta in Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce
  3. Dinner Out
  4. Bacon, scrambled eggs, Biscuits, fresh fruit
  5. Hamburgers
  6. Cajun Chicken Pasta
  7. Crockpot Sloppy Joes/Stuffed Bell Peppers (low carb, gluten-free alternative)
  8. Leftovers/yoyo
  9. Chicken Cordon Bleu
  10. Dinner Out
  11. Chicken Fajitas (grill extra meat)
  12. Grilled Chicken Salads (leftover chicken from previous night)
  13. Leftovers/yoyo
  14. Spaghetti
  15. Leftovers/yoyo
  16. Southwest Skillet Chicken and Rice
  17. Dinner Out
  18. Sausage, scrambled eggs, Pancakes, fresh fruit
  19. Cheesy Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole (crockpot)
  20. Tacos
  21. Grilled Chicken, Tex Mex Pasta Salad
  22. Leftovers/yoyo
  23. Hobo Dinners
  24. Dinner Out
  25. Tortilla Chip and Pepper Jack Crusted Chicken
  26. Spicy Sausage Pasta
  27. Leftovers/yoyo
  28. Chicken Enchilada Casserole
  29. Leftovers/yoyo
  30. Baked Ravioli

Now I want to share a little tip that has made my life easier.  We purchased a new set of stainless steel cookware about three years ago.  This was my first experience cooking with stainless steel, and I hated how difficult they were to clean, especially after browning or sautéing meat.  

Even after soaking and scrubbing, the pots and pans would have cloudy white spots all over the inside.  About a year ago, I read somewhere that tomato products would fix this problem, so I tried squirting some ketchup in the pan and adding a little water.  


I heated this mixture over low heat for a few minutes and gently scraped with my nylon spoon, and all of that cooked-on residue came right off!  I have used pasta sauce, tomato paste, salsa, diced tomatoes, etc.  Once the acid in the tomatoes has worked its magic, simply wash and dry the pan as usual.  Now I love using my stainless steel cookware!

August Menu

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I have finally completed our menu for next month.  Planning ahead saves time, money, calories, and frustration, so it is definitely worth the effort.  I probably overthink the entire process, but I need variety or cooking becomes another chore for me.  I try not to have chicken two nights in a row.  I alternate with beef, pork, or shrimp.  I also mix up our cuisines, alternating Italian, Mexican, and American dishes.  My son and I could eat Mexican food every night, but my husband would rather have Italian more frequently.  I do my best to keep things fairly even.  I also try to incorporate recipes using produce from our garden.


Busyness complicates our menu planning as well.  School starts in a few weeks, and we will have a few school functions in the evenings, which will require quick dinners or leftovers.  The girls have gymnastics one afternoon a week, so I plan a crock pot meal that day to have dinner ready when we get home.  My husband has a few meetings in the evenings, and I don’t cook if I have to clean it all up by myself, so we have leftovers then too.  We attend church on Saturday nights, so we are away from home during dinner hours and always pick up fast food on our way home.  

That being said, I have come up with a menu that will work for our family for the coming month.  You are welcome to use my menu or just use some of these recipes.  I have included links for all the recipes I use, most of which I found on Pinterest.  I love trying new recipes.  I hope you find a new recipe that your family will enjoy. 

August 1:  Southwest Skillet Chicken and Rice, side salad
August 2:  church function with meal

August 3:  Baked Ravioli, broccoli

August 4:  Pecan-Crusted Chicken BreastsLyonnaise Potatoes

August 5:  Breakfast for Dinner–bacon, scrambled eggs, Biscuits, fresh fruit


August 6:  eat out

August 7:  Caramelized Chicken with Jalapeño Cream, rice, salad

August 8:  Spicy Sausage Pasta, grilled squash

August 9:  leftovers

August 10:  Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin, baked potatoes, Spicy Garlic String Beans

August 11:  Spaghetti, salad, garlic toast

August 12:  leftovers

August 13:  eat out

August 14:  Tomato Basil Chicken, corn

August 15:  Chicken Tortellini Skillet, green beans

August 16:  Beef Enchilada Casserole (recipe to come), guacamole, salad

August 17:  Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole, broccoli

August 18:  leftovers

August 19:  Spicy Shrimp Pasta in Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce, grilled veggies

August 20:  eat out

August 21:  Beef Tacos

August 22:  Cajun Chicken Pasta, salad

August 23:  leftovers

August 24:  Hobo Dinners

August 25:  Tortilla Chip and Pepper Jack Crusted Chicken, sliced avocado, corn


August 26:  Crock Pot Sloppy Joes/Stuffed Bell Peppers (omit the bun, fill bell peppers with the meat mixture, bake at 350 for about 30 minutes), Hassleback Potatoes

August 27:  eat out

August 28:  Julia Child’s Quiche, fresh fruit, French bread

August 29:  Italian Chicken Bake with Homemade Basil Pesto, pasta, salad


August 30:  Mexican Skillet Casserole, guacamole

August 31:  Sausage Spinach Pasta Toss, corn

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.  

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

No-Spend Month: Day 30

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We have just one more day of our no-spend month, and I’m not sure we will have enough cash to eat out after church tomorrow night.  I have posted several sale items in our online garage sale and reduced some items, trying to sell just a couple things to avoid dipping into our checking account.  I already had three items pending pick up, but I’m not holding my breath on those because I’ve been waiting for each of them for two weeks.  One new item is pending pick up, so maybe she will actually pick up promptly.  Maybe some of my other items will sell too.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow.  If not, I may be paying for dinner with a few dollar bills and $5 in coins.  Lol.

  • The kids and I took lunches to school.  They complained that we had nothing to eat, but we had string cheese, crackers, grapes, cereal bars, etc.  They are just tired of not being able to buy Lunchables whenever they want. 
  • My husband and son got haircuts this afternoon and spent $28.
  • My husband finally had to fill up the gas tank in his personal vehicle, and that was $49.
  • I made taco soup and corn bread for dinner this evening.  I’ll post my recipe soon. 
  • We had some other expenses today that I will discuss on Sunday, but that is what wiped out the rest of our cash.  Details coming soon. Lol. 

No-Spend Month: Day 26

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Our family is counting down to November like we never have before.  You’d think November 1st was a holiday or something.  I do not plan to rush out and buy everything the kids want.  I think it would be neat to continue and see how long we could go without using our regular income, but I’m sure I would be outvoted.  We still have quite a bit of food in the pantry and freezer, so I will plan several meals that don’t require us to purchase many groceries.

The kids and I met my sister and her kids at her oldest daughter’s marching band competition this afternoon.  I had to pay $10 for Big Brother and me to get in, but my sister gave me $5, so it only cost me $5.
   It had been a long time since I watched a live performance by a marching band.  I got so emotional!  I am proud of my niece and her high school band, and just for those few minutes, I missed marching in the band.  My kids enjoyed hanging out with their cousins for awhile.

Sissy thinks her cousin is so much younger than her. Their birthdays are only six months apart. I love the way they are looking at each other.

Big Sister “cheesing” with her youngest cousin

I had a terrible time trying to get clear pictures of all the girls. At least one of them was blurry in each photo. Little Sister also adores her cousin.

I asked my sister to hold my phone while I went to the restroom. Later, I found over 20 selfies that she took on my phone! This one also contains her son with my son in the background.

  • We all went to school/work today and took our lunches.
  • I made Cajun chicken pasta, green beans, corn, and hot rolls for dinner.  I’ll eat the leftover rolls for breakfast the next three days.
  • I sold an item through our online garage sale for $3.  Two other women were supposed to come buy stuff but never showed.  One is coming tomorrow.

No-Spend Month: Day 25

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We finally got to sleep in this morning until 7:00!  Of course that was after Sissy woke us up at 2:30 am, so it didn’t feel like 7 am, but it was much better than our usual wake-up times.  

The girls spent awhile this morning playing with the wooden train set.   

Sissy was too busy with her trains to pose for a photo.

 
We bought this almost eight years ago for one of Big Brother’s Christmas gifts.  We found a train table, trains, and lots of track pieces on Craig’s List for a reasonable price.  Big Brother’s imagination was too big for the train table, so we sold it several years ago and have built huge tracks all over our gamerooms.   

Big Sister happily posed with her trains. She loves showing off her missing teeth too.

 
I told my husband again this morning that this was the best toy purchase we ever made.   

Little Sister only had three cars, but she had fun driving them all around the track.

 

All of our children and their friends have enjoyed this train set.  We have added a couple of new train cars and engines over the years and a train signal last year.  My son keeps asking for more track pieces for Christmas, but we can already build a track that goes around at least half of the gameroom.  

  • The warm weather didn’t last the whole month, so I’m very thankful my cousin sent me some of her dress pants that she no longer needs.  She is a little taller than me and wore heels, so I had to figure out how to blind hem a pair of pants she sent me, so I can wear them tomorrow.  It took much trial and error, and they aren’t perfect, but I don’t think anyone will notice the hem.  If you happen to notice, just know that I spent no money on the pants or the alteration.
  • I love leftovers!  I finished off the blueberry muffins this morning, had leftover chili and cornbread for lunch, and ate leftover Southwest skillet chicken and rice for dinner.  My husband hates leftovers, so he had a Clif bar for breakfast and ate yet another corn dog for lunch.  He bought a box of them at Costco several months ago and didn’t like them as well as he thought he would, but he has been forced to clean out the freezer this month.  He finished the last frozen kolache last week and only has a few corn dogs left.  I’m fairly certain he won’t ever buy either of those in bulk again. 
  • I sold some things through our online garage sale and made $25 today.  I’m glad to have a little extra cash in case something comes up this week. 

We are down to the final week of our no-spend month!  I think we have only filled up with gas twice and paid for doctors’ visits and prescriptions with our debit card.  I’m very curious to see how much money we have not spent this month. 

No-Spend Month:  Some More Recipes

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I was looking at our menu for the week and realized I had not shared these recipes yet.  Most of the ingredients come from the freezer or pantry.  Of course, the bell peppers are fresh (and free) from our garden, but the filling is good by itself, so you could make it without the peppers.

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Mexican Skillet Casserole

16 oz chicken broth

1 cup long grain brown rice

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

2 cups frozen corn

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (or less) Rotel, drained

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Optional toppings:  shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, jalapeños, diced avocados, etc.

Cook rice in chicken broth according to package directions.  Brown ground beef in large skillet, adding chopped onions to cook with beef.  Add spices and mix well.  Add frozen corn and cooked rice.  Stir well and cook until heated through. Add beans and Rotel (to taste) and stir well.  Remove from heat when everything is hot.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa, diced avocado, etc. if desired. 

The little girls and I picked these beautiful red bell peppers from our garden yesterday. I’m saving them to use this week for stuffed peppers.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 – 2 bell peppers for each person, depending on size of peppers and appetite of individuals 

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, diced

1 cup long grain brown rice

16 oz chicken broth or water

1 can diced tomatoes

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp oregano

1/2tsp garlic powder

Optional topping:  shredded cheese

Cook rice in broth or water according to package directions. Brown ground beef, adding chopped onion and bell pepper when beef is about halfway done.  Stir in remaining ingredients, including cooked rice.  Remove from heat.  Rinse bell peppers and remove stem ends; remove seeds and membranes.  Trim bottom of peppers slightly if they won’t sit upright.  Fill each pepper with ground beef mixture.  You can top with a little cheese if you’d like.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

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Pork Tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin, 1 – 4 pounds

2 – 3 cups chicken broth 

2 – 3 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce

Seasonings to taste:  salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, etc.

If you have time and the inclination, you can heat some oil in a skillet and sear the seasoned tenderloin on each side before putting it in the crockpot.  If you are like me, you can dump the half-frozen tenderloin in the crockpot and add the remaining ingredients on top.  Depending on the size of tenderloin, cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.  It will be very tender and fall apart when done.  This can be used for pulled pork sandwiches or eaten with barbecue sauce or gravy.  For gravy, stir a little cornstarch in some cool water until dissolved.  Add some of the broth from the crockpot to a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat.  Add the cornstarch-water mixture, stirring constantly until gravy thickens.  You can also add some milk to this if you prefer creamy gravy.