Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lazy Enchilada Casserole

Some nights the last thing anyone wants to do is come home and cook.  The other night I wanted enchiladas but didn't want to do the work.  So I came up with an enchilada casserole that literally was 5 minutes of work!  So here is how to do it!
You need cheese (whatever you prefer, I used cheddar jack), black beans, tortillas (corn or flour), and enchilada sauce.  I usually cook a big pot of beans and then freeze them in quart bags, usually a cup.  You can use a can of them also.  Whatever is easiest! 
Preheat your oven to 350 and spray and 8X8 pan with pam.
Put 1/4 of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan.
Then put the tortillas down, I usually cut them to cover the whole pan.
Put half of the black beans.  If they are canned you can drain them or leave them in the sauce.
Then add cheese.  We are cheese freaks so we probably used a cup and a half in this whole dish!
Then you repeat as many times as you like until there are tortillas on top then sauce, then cheese.
It should look like this:

Then you bake it covered with foil for 20 minutes, then uncovered for 10.
We usually just add a dollop of sour cream but you can add lettuce or tomato.  This dish literally takes 35 minutes from start to finish!  So nice for a quick dinner.  Hope you enjoy!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fast and Easy Enchilada Sauce

Have you ever wanted to make enchiladas and realized you didn't have any sauce?  I do all the time! So i started making up my own sauce and it's pretty good I must say!

What you need:
1 can 8 oz tomato sauce
1 Tbsp Vinegar
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper-more if you want it spicy

Mix them all together and that's it!
It will serve four and you can use on my Lazy Enchilada Casserole!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall Wreath

I keep seeing beautiful wreaths all over the internet and decided to make my own and guess how much it cost? A whole 3 dollars Yeah! Gotta love the Dollar Tree!
It was very simple, all you need is a wreath, ribbon, flowers and hot glue. Sky is the limit on how you can design it! Mine was simple but bright orange, which is my favorite!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bars

A couple of years ago I was perusing the target book aisle and saw a cookbook for The Pioneer Woman. I looked through it, saw all the pictures and read parts of it that cracked me up.  I was sold and when I got it home and started making things from it, there was no disappointment!  Best 24 dollars I ever spent on a cookbook!  I knew nothing about her, hadn't heard of her.  This was before her show, 2nd cookbook or I discovered the world of blogging.  I am a fan and her recipes never ever disappoint me. Anyway I watch her show on the Food Network every Saturday and last Saturday she made chocolate dipped granola bars.  They looked amazing.  I have tried several no bake granola bars and they always fall apart and I end up just eating it like granola.  I wanted some that didn't fall apart and hers looked like they didn't.  The only problem is I love peanut butter in my granola bars so I made my own version.

3 Cups Oats
1/8 Cup of Canola Oil (I used Olive Oil)
2 TB Butter, melted
1/8 tsp salt

Toss these together and toast in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes.

In a Bowl Mix
1/4 cups chopped nuts- your choice
1/4 Cup Rice Cereal- I used Rice Chex
1/4 Cup Wheat Germ- I used Flax Seed, you can also use extra oats if you don't have either of those

In a saucepan mix
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1/8 Cup Apple Juice
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup Chocolate Chips

Bring everything but the Chocolate chips to a boil, then add the chocolate chips until they are melted.  Remove from the fire and add 3 teaspoons of vanilla.  Mix All three together.  Use a pan that is square and deep enough for granola bars, grease it or line it with foil.  Press the oat mixture into it and bake at 325 for 25 minutes.

* Tip for pressing the oat mixture into the pan, use wax paper and press it all down.   This prevents it from all coming off on your hands and actually gets everything pressed down!

Let them cool and then cut them into squares, make sure you use a sharp knife.  Mine are dull and didn't cut them so well but they are edible and that is what counts!  And of course the pioneer woman didn't disappoint once again:)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Spicy Sausage and Rice

I have been really enjoying spicy food lately and this meal definitely satisfied that craving tonight!  The best part about this meal is that you can use pork, beef or chicken instead of the sausage, or pasta or quinoa instead of rice.  There are so many possiblities.

2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of onion (I chop and freeze mine)
8 oz of sausage cut into quarter sized pieces
1/4 jalapeno diced, you can add more or less depending on your preference.  I'm a wimp:)
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cans of water or chicken broth
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tbsp olive oil
dash of salt
dash of pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium.  When it is warm add the garlic, onion, jalapeno, salt and pepper.  Let them cook for about 2 minutes, then add sausage and cook until it is browned.  Then add the can of diced tomatoes.  I usually fill the can with water one and a half times and add it to the pan but you can also add chicken broth for a little more flavor.  Just remember to add two cups of liquid to every cup of rice.  Bring the water and tomatoes to a boil then add rice and cover.

This dish is yummy but it is not a fast dish.  It will probably take about 45 minutes for the rice to cook unless you use minute rice.  I promise it is worth it and after you add everything to the pan you don't have to do much except wait for the rice.  I usually make this dish with pork chops.  If you have never let your pork chops cook this way, you are missing out!

* The above picture is of the pork chops!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pumpkin Zucchini Cookies

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year!! The best part PUMPKIN!  Yesterday at work I promised to make zucchini bread but then we noticed we also had pumpkin so I googled a recipe for pumpkin zucchini bread and instead found these amazing cookies! I doubled the recipe and changed the oil but otherwise they are perfect!

2 Cups Pumpkin
2 Cups Shredded Zucchini
1 Cup Coconut Oil or Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cup Honey
4 eggs
4 cups whole wheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Mix the ingredients together and bake at 350 for 12 minutes and enjoy!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What I have learned from Budgeting

A year ago I started researching couponing because I saw that silly show we all know and have seen.  I was so impressed with it and then realized they were buying a lot of stuff they would never use.  I mean really pallets of cat food when you don't own a cat?? That's just crazy!

I started reading and reading and found Crystal from Money Saving Mom.  I spent days reading every possible thing I could on her blog and eventually saw her love for Dave Ramsey.  I decided to start following his debt snowball plan. I have paid off several credit cards, hospital bills and just small bills that really add up.  While doing all of this I learned something....I waste a lot of money and have for years!  I look back on the last eleven years and think of how much money I could have saved and how I could have paid a lot more for a down payment instead of borrowing it.  I wouldn't have had a bankruptcy or credit cards.  I could have started a college fund for Marcus. There are so many things I could have done but I didn't and now I am making up for it.  It is hard but it will be worth it and honestly I enjoy making things homemade, and constantly finding ways to save money.  It feels great and it keeps me busy! We live and we learn!

As far as the once a month shopping goes I will start it completely next month.  This month was already split so I had to wait until I have the full amount.  It is kind of exciting to figure it all out and make it work.

I have been progressing pretty well with my goals at the end of last month.  My laundry room/entryway is half painted, yes half painted. Its half yellow half brown haha.  Sadly my body hasn't been feeling well enough to tackle it, maybe this weekend.  I made my own bread, did meal planning and have started on the once a month shopping.  It feels good to reach some goals!  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Monthly Meal Plan 9/9-10/6

Well I know I was going to try and slowly work into a monthly meal plan and monthly shopping but I know myself and if I don't just dive right in it won't happen.  So today I defrosted my freezers and cleaned my poor refrigerator.  It had been so long I'm surprised we had safe food lol (only kidding).  So anyway I'm all ready and prepared!  I left a couple days out so that I can make some one skillet meals and soups from the pantry and for leftovers of course!  Here are the meals in no particular order.

Week 1
Creamy Garlic Pasta with Diced Chicken
Fresh Green Beans

Hot dogs

Sausage, Red Beans and Rice

Sour Cream Pancakes, eggs, bacon

Hamburger, Fideo and Vegetables

Chicken Fried Steak

Week 2
Sausage, Green Bean Saffrito

Mini Deep Dish Pizza

Mini Tacos

Zucchini Fritters

Black Beans, Rice and Vegetables

Week 3
Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites

Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps

Pineapple Chicken

Avocado Pasta

Crockpot Enchiladas

Parmesan Chicken

Week 4

Beef Fried Rice

Orange Chicken


Chicken Drumsticks


Breakfast in the freezer
Banana Oatmeal Muffins
Cinnamon Scones
Baked Oatmeal
Zucchini bread muffins
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Homemade wheat thins
Granola bars
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites

As far as Sides go I will do those as I go!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

Sorry I haven't been keeping up with the books part of this blog!  If I'm being honest I haven't been reading much.  I have about four books started and haven't been able to get into any of them.  I don't know what is up with books these days and music but they just aren't any great ones anymore.  Anyone that knows me, knows that I practically eat books (not literally that would be weird).  I have been known to read six books in one week, Janet Evanovich for example.  If you have never read her DO IT!  She is incredibly funny! I am mostly a murder mystery book kind of girl and if I shared those with you, you would be bored.  Anyone that reads those knows that they are all basically the same but yet I can't get enough of them.  I have been really trying to read other genres of books.

 I saw The Homecoming of Samuel Lake at the grocery store and got it from the library. It took me awhile to get through it but once I did it was great.  It has some wonderful lessons about family and how sometimes bad things happen for good reasons to bring people together.  I can't give you too much about this book because it will ruin the story but it was definitely a good time for me to read it.  I needed that lesson!!

Next on the list are Afraid To Die by Lisa Jackson and You Don't Want To Know by Lisa Jackson.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pumpkin Pear Muffins

 Tonight I really wanted to make these morning glory muffins but didn't have the apple.  Not that you really need the apple but I decided to make it my own and it tastes more like a pumpkin pear muffin so that is what we shall call it!  Here is my version:

1 Cup All Purpose White Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Shredded Carrots
1 peeled and Shredded Pear
1/4 Cup Raisins
1/4 Cup Coconut
1 Cup Pumpkin
3 Eggs
1 Cup Coconut oil or any oil you have
2 teaspoons Vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350. In one bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  When they are mixed add the Carrots, Pear, Raisins, Coconut, and Pumpkin.  In a separate bowl mix the Eggs, Oil and Vanilla.  Then mix them together until they are just mixed.  Bake them for 20 minutes and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dinner Plan for 9/2-9/8

This week has been busy, I've had a sick kid, and have been celebrating my birthday!  Last year in my 20's BOO!  Besides that I have (with the help of a great friend) been blanching, peeling and de-seeding 15 pounds of peaches and 7 grocery bags full of plums.  We were extremely lucky to get all of that for free!! I made a peach, cantaloupe jalapeno jelly and spiced plum brandy, both were tasty! We also visited a local farm out here and I got potatoes, onions, jalapenos, zucchini, cantaloupe, and bell peppers all for 20 dollars!  I kept asking myself why I don't go there more often.  As far as my goals go I half painted our entryway/laundry room.  I will post before and afters when and if I ever get it done lol Here is our dinner plan for the week!  Next week I will be slowly working into meal planning for a whole month.

Sunday September 2nd
Zucchini Lasagna
Homemade French Bread (YUMM)

Monday September 3rd
BBQ Beef Brisket
Potatoes and Carrots

Tuesday September 4th
Tequila Lime Chicken
Black Beans

Wednesday September 5th
Spaghetti (There are vegetables in the sauce)
Leftover French bread

Thursday September 6th
Creamy Garlic Pasta with diced chicken (Cooked and froze previously)

Friday September 7th
Black beans, Rice and Zucchini

Saturday September 8th