Monday, January 24, 2011

Saving Money - Yes!

A few months ago we went to a cash-only system for groceries and household supplies.  It has worked out pretty darn good so I am going to give my husband kudos for that idea. 

It forces me to really purchase the essentials we need every two weeks and then if I save enough I use the leftovers to stock up my prepared pantry.  Last pay period it was meat... pork roasts and beef roasts.

Speaking of pork roast, I took one of the ones I purchased last week and cut it up to make sweet and sour pork for dinner.  The family loved it... I had issues with the sweet and sour sauce - it just didn't taste right to me.  I'm still sharing because 4 people did like the sweet and sour sauce.  Must be that I am weaning off caffeine so things taste weird to me.

Sweet & Sour Chicken - Courtesy of Judi Bulkley (thanks Aunt Judi!)
7 oz chicken or pork
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 carrots
2 onion, quartered
1 green pepper
30 oz pineapple, chunks
1 garlic clove
1 egg
1 tablespoon flour
1 pint oil, cooking

3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ pint water

Cut meat into 1 inch squares. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Set aside. Boil carrots until tender, cut onions, peppers, pineapple and chop garlic. Coat meat with the mixture of eggs & flour. Heat the oil in saucepan.  Deep fry meat until crisp. Drain. Mix the catsup, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar & cornstarch. Cook until thick and boiling.  Add pork and vegetables.  Serve with rice.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Grilled Pork Chops & Scalloped Potatoes

Easy shmeasy dinner tonight.  My 15-year-old son asked what was for dinner about 4:30.  I had planned broiled pork chops and Betty Crocker Scalloped (yes, from a box... can't be from scratch every night) Potatoes and canned green beans.  Simple, fast and relatively nutritious.

He asked if he could grill the pork chops for me on the barbecue.  I was hesitant but agreed to let him do it.  All we added was seasoned salt to the chops.

After quickly scarfing down dinner (he is in charge of young men's stake basketball tonight) My HUSBAND said "juicy, flavorful chops tonight".  I would say my son has a new job.  He is going to be my official griller. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kalua Pork - YUM-O!

We have this about once a month.  This past Sunday I set the crock pot for 4 hours.  This really needs to go 6-8 hours in order to become pull apart/fall apart pork.  The flavor was still delicious!  I took the drippings and made a delicious gravy adding cornstarch & water as a thickener.

Kalua Pork Roast
4 pound pork shoulder or butt roast
4 tablespoons salt, sea or kosher
4 tablespoons liquid smoke
2 tablespoon ginger, grated
4 garlic cloves, crushed (We like more garlic so I tend to add 6 cloves)
4 tablespoons soy sauce

Sometimes I take the mixture and inject it with a big meat injector I have into the pork roast to give more flavor. 

Oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub meat with salt, liquid smoke, ginger, garlic and soy sauce. Wrap securely in foil. Roast about 3 hours or until very tender. Remove from oven; let stand about 15 minutes. Shred, removing slabs of fat, and serve.
Crock Pot: Set for 6 or 8 hours. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yummy Dinner Recipe!

Here is the recipe I made for dinner tonight:

Baked Chicken-Bacon Alfredo
16 oz. Bow tie pasta
16 oz. Alfredo Sauce
2 chicken breasts, grilled and chopped (about 2 c. chopped chicken)
6 oz. (1/2 package) cooked bacon, chopped
1/2 c. chopped green onions (about 1 decent-sized bunch)
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, prepare Alfredo sauce. When pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce. Toss with chopped chicken, bacon, green onions, and 1/2 c. mozzarella. Season to taste.

Transfer mixture to an 9x13" baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is bubbly.

Serve with a green salad and bread sticks or a loaf of garlic bread made with Garlic Bread Seasoning.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Meal Plans & Recipe

Having a family meal plan is just that, a plan.  A good plan does take time to develop in order for it to work.  My last blog post I gave the list of meals I planned for the two first weeks of January and the prep work I did in order to make it go smoothly.  I am happy to report that it was fantastic!  The only glitch was I didn't make beef stew one day and we ate "whatever".  That usually means Ramen Noodles or Nachoes for the family but everyone could pick their own.  I just opened a can of Progresso Italian Wedding Soup. 

So the next two weeks' plans have been set.  Here are the next two weeks:
  • Creamy One Pot Pasta
  • Kalua Pork & Rice
  • Chicken Bacon Alfredo 
  • Hamburger Helper (need an easy night)
  • Chicken Enchiladas
  • Pork Chops & Scalloped Potatoes
  • Beefy Vegetable Soup
  • Frito Casserole
  • Hawaiian Haystacks (Others call it Chinese Sundaes)
  • Garlic Pasta
  • Sweet & Sour Pork
  • Taco Bake
  • Lasagne
  • Potato Chowder
This two weeks I have three recipes that are new to our family.  I have either eaten them at one time or saw the recipe and saved it thinking it sounded good.  Last night was Creamy One Pot Pasta.  I think I had it at a Pampered Chef party years ago.  It reminded me of the Bird's Eye Chicken Voila! Garlic Chicken but since I made it from scratch (well, I did use bagged pasta spirals from Costco) I felt really good about it!

Here's the recipe:

4 cloves garlic peeled
1 T olive oil
6 cups chicken broth
1 pound penne rigate uncooked (I used a 17 oz. pasta bag from Costco)
1 head broccoli (2 cups small florets)
2 medium carrots peeled
8 oz regular cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil snipped

Thinly slice garlic using paring knife.  Place garlic and oil into an 8-qt stockpot.  Cook garlic over medium heat 2-3 minutes or until garlic is golden brown, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat; add broth.  Return to burner; increase heat to high.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Stir in pasta; cover and simmer vigorously 8-10 minutes or until pasta is almost cooked but still firm, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cut broccoli into small florets; place into bowl.  Cut carrots in half lengthwise; thinly slice crosswise on a bias using knife; add to bowl.

Cut cream cheese into cubes.  Add vegetables, cream cheese, salt and black pepper to stockpot.  Stir until cream cheese is melted and fully incorporated.  Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook an additional 2-4 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Serve immediately.  If desired, top with grated fresh Parmesan cheese and snipped fresh basil.