Putting dinner on the table, one night at a time.

Month: July, 2012

Hamburgers, Macaroni and Cheese, and Brownie Sundaes

Hubby made hamburgers – patties, garlic and steak seasoning, and some bacon and sliced cheese

Mac and cheese from a box

Potato chips

Brownie sundaes – also a box of plain brownie mix, some chocolate chips and pecans, topped with cookie dough ice cream.  I need to go have a stroke now.

Slow cooker pepper steak

1 lb Arm Roast (because they were on sale for 2.49 /lb)
3 colored bell peppers (or green – but the coloreds were on sale for 1.97/pack of three – and they were so pretty!)
1 pack of stir fry seasoning mix (can’t seem to duplicate it)
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 packet of truvia or 1-2 tsp sugar
1 cup of water

Cook on low for 8 ish hours.

Mix 2 tsp corn starch with 4 oz of water, add to mix. Cook on high for one hour.

Serve over rice.

Banana Bread to go NUTS over

I ❤ Banana bread.    It is so yummy, and it’s got healthy stuff in it.  A little.  I make mine from scratch as follows:

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

6 large mashed overripe bananas

Splash of vanilla – about 1tsp

1/2 cup Sour Cream

2 cups self rising flour

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease 1 loaf pan or line 24 muffin cups or prepare 8 mini loaves.

Beat the butter.  Add the sugar, beat some more.  Add eggs, bananas (the mixer will mash them if you just chunk them up), and sour cream.  Add the vanilla.  Slow the mixer way down and add the flour 1 cup at a time, stirring it in to avoid making a mess.  Mix about two minutes after you get all the flour in.  Pour into your pans.
Bake loaf for 60 to 65 minutes, minis for 30, or muffins for 22 minutes – or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.

You can add nuts if you want to, but I serve mine warm with crunchy peanut butter.  It is SO GOOD!

Hot Dogs

Turkey Hot Dogs on white buns

Potato salad (previous post)

Fancy Mac from the Pioneer woman (recipe at http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/12/fancy-macaroni/ )

Deviled eggs

Boil the eggs (I boil a dozen)  To keep the yolks pretty and the eggs completely cooked, I put the eggs in the water, bring to a rapid boil for five minutes, then turn it off but leave it on the stove top for 10 minutes.  Cool and peel.  Crack them all over and peel them under running cold water to make them easiest.

Cut the eggs in half.

Pop out the yolks.  Mix the yolks with a little bit of mustard, a little bit of mayo, about twice that much ranch dressing, and a little bit of steak seasoning.  Stir them up with a fork and make them smooth and yummy.

Put it in a heavy ziploc bag with a corner cut off (small – about 1/4 – 1/2 ” cut)  Pipe from the bag into the eggs.  Sprinkle with Paprika.

I hate deviled eggs.  Actually, I don’t like eggs at all – except sunny side up with fried bologna – but my family swears they’re DELISH!

BBQ Beef with Pasta Salad

I worked 16 hours last night – so when I got home, dinner was really the last thing I wanted to think about.

But I remembered the Manifesto – so:

1 frozen arm roast (because United had them on sale for 2.49 a pound a couple of weeks ago, and that’s a great price for pot roast here.)

1/2 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce (because it’s divine and totally worth 1.99 at Aldi’s)

1 sliced onion (because I like bbq onion)

Layer just like that in a slow cooker on high for 2 hours and then low all day.  Or just low all day.  Shred and serve with buns, pickles, sliced lettuce, etc.


My husband made boxed pasta salad and green beans to go with it for him and the kids – I just ate, and it was Delish.

I will have to get him to share his green bean recipe one day – because he makes canned green beans taste like they were freshly sauteed.


If you have a large group to feed, though – or you really like pasta salad – the boxed stuff is EXPENSIVE.  I usually make my own from:

A box of tricolor noodles.

about 1/4 cup of powdered ranch dressing. (I buy the 7.49 canister of powdered ranch at Wal-Mart)

about 1/4 cup of powdered buttermilk (on the baking aisle)

about 1/4 cup of olive oil (gives such good flavor)

about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar (or you can use another)

about 1/4 cup of water (to cut the vinegar flavor)

And if you have raw veggies that you need to use up – 1 cup of broccoli or cauliflower or carrots cut really small

Or some roasted bell peppers


To do:  Mix the dressing mix, buttermilk, water, and vinegar.  Stir or shake thoroughly.  Add the oil.  Look at it and see if you have about 1 cup of dressing made there.   Shake or stir  a few times when you think about it.  Boil the noodles.  Shake the dressing.  Drain the noodles.  Don’t rinse.  Add the chopped veggies and cover with dressing.  Cover the bowl tightly and shake, or stir – then cover the bowl tightly.  The veggies will soak up the dressing and steam in the bowl.  Yummy!  Add a little bit of shredded cheese or parmesan if you want.  Add shredded chicken or turkey if you need to use some up.  Refrigerate for a couple of hours (or overnight).  Or eat it hot.  You really can’t go wrong.

Creamy Chicken and Rice

I forgot to post dinner yesterday.

Creamy chicken and Rice. 

Can of Cream of Chicken soup

Frozen chicken (I used four breasts)

Put chicken in crock pot.  Dump COC on top.  Cook on low till done (mine got 8 hours, which was more than it needed).

I make rice in the microwave.  Get out as much of the chicken gravy as you can (I got about a cup).  Add with enough water to cook your rice (remember – 1 cup rice, 2 cups water).  High for 5 minutes, 50% for 17 minutes = perfect rice.  I make 2 cups of rice, so 4 cups of water.. is enough to feed my family + leftovers for lunch.

Shred chicken.  Fluff rice and dump it into the crock pot.

Serve with hoecakes (previous post) and cooked strawberries.

Cooked Strawberries:

1 lb strawberries, cut up

1/2 c sugar

1 TBSP lemon juice

Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, to about 275* F or until, when you stir, it takes the juice a little bit to go back into formation.  Then refrigerate.  Or don’t.  It won’t gel, because there’s not enough sugar – but it tastes delicious.

Chicken Spaghetti

Tonight is really leftovers – but one of the leftover options is Chicken Spaghetti.  It is quite popular, for reasons that I don’t really understand.
This is my take on what was originally a time consuming, expensive recipe.


Frozen chicken (How much depends on how many carnivores you are feeding)

1 regular can of Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Chicken, or your scratch equivalent (1.5 cups)

1 can of Fiesta Nacho Cheddar soup

1 can of Mexican tomatoes (with the peppers, cilantro, and lime juice)

2-40z of Velveeta (I use the Mexican one)

A box of spaghetti.

In the crock pot, layer Frozen chicken, soups, and tomatoes.  Turn on low, cook all day (6-8 hours, depending on how big your chicken pieces are.  If they’re thawed, it cooks faster).  Add Velveeta to the crock pot, replace the lid.  Boil water and cook the spaghetti noodles.  Stir the stuff in the crock pot.  Drain the noodles.  Either 1. Top noodles with sauce to serve   or 2.  Put the Spaghetti in the crockpot, too.  Stir to mix and coat.


Serve with Salad.



Hamburgers and Potato Salad

Meat is thawed – check

Buns are present and not moldy – check

Veggies for toppings – check

French fries are ready – check

Honey, I want potato salad. WHAT?

Boxed potatoes, in my opinion, is cheating – but hubby doesn’t seem to mind.  SO… make dry boxed potatoes, add in steak seasoning, mustard, mayo (out of mayo – ranch dressing), 3 diced boiled egg whites, and some chopped pickles. 

Happy Husband. 

Off to work now.  Oh – for anyone who’s paying attention and wondering what happened to yesterday.  We had a birthday, and the birthday boy wanted OTB.. so we ate out for his present.

Weenie Stew

That’s what my stepmother calls it.  My mama called it Gumbo.  This is how I make it:

Left over stew meat or pot roast (about a cup – give or take)

Sausage in small pieces (if you want some – a pound or less) – Saute it if you want to

Hot dogs in small pieces (1/2 pack to a whole pack – not necessary, but yummy) – Saute this if you want to.

1 can of tomatos

1 can of v8 or tomato juice

1 bag of frozen gumbo veggies (NOT SOUP VEGGIES!)  This has onion, celery, bell pepper, and okra in it.

2 pounds of Chuckwagon Corn (corn with bell peppers) or just regular corn – whatever.

Heat it on the stove top for two hours or the crock pot on low all day.

Serve over rice and/or with a hoecake.


What’s a Hoecake?  It’s a fried bread type of thing.  To make it, you:

Mix SELF RISING FLOUR with water to make what should be about pancake batter consistency.

Heat enough oil in a skillet to cover the bottom by about 1/2 of an inch.  Too much is better than not enough.  It should be very hot.

Pour your batter into the hot oil, starting at the center, and stopping at least an inch from the edge (the hoecake will swell, and you need to flip it.)   Watch for the bubbles in the batter.  When you’ve got a lot of bubbles, it’s ready to turn.  Use a spatula, unless you’re really good with a fork.  Turn, cook for a couple more minutes.  Plate up yummy fried goodness.  My husband eats it plain, I eat it with strawberry jam.

The beginnings

This isn’t the first time, of course, that I’ve come to the conclusion that we need to save money.  I’m a devotee of Mary Hunt’s Cheapskate and Tawra’s Dining on a Dime.  Stephanie O’Dea is my crockpot hero.  I’m a fan of Susanne, the Hillbilly Housewife, and I’ve read a few articles from the Tightwad Gazette. 

Back when we were first married, we were so broke that I would get all the sale flyers together from every store in town, make my menus and my list, and then take it all to wal-mart, where they price matched and had lower prices on a lot of stuff.  Had I kept doing that after graduating from nursing school, I’m pretty sure I could buy a cheap car every year with what we would save. 

And that’s sad.  I’m killing my family’s budget with fast food (completely with their consent, but still) – not to mention the weight issues and future health problems I’m setting them up for.

NO MORE!  This is my manifesto.  I will put dinner on the table every night for a year.  Whether I am there to eat it or not.