Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baked Ziti

This is a quickie,

For those nights when dinner needs to be that way. Quick, easy and tasty.

With the amount of ingredients it made (3) 8x8 containers. They ate two for dinner and one to put up in fridge for warm ups later. If it makes it that long, sometimes I catch them eating it cold.

You can always just do it smaller.

Baked Ziti


2 boxes of Penne Noodles

3 cans of four cheese sauce (or any you like)

1 small container of ricotta cheese

1/2 bag of mozzarella cheese

Instructions :

Boil your noodles (I like ours just a bit before done, I don't like mushy pasta)

Drain noodles and put in a bowl, pour in sauce, ricotta cheese and stir all up.

Put into a baking dish, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Pop into the oven until melted.

*note if I am really in a hurry, I put it all back in the pot and stir in the mozzarella cheese and serve that way.

Yummy with a salad, a complete meal. Other ideas would be to drop in some meatballs, sausage or any kind of meat.
*I just re-read this and thought, you know a bag of thawed drain spinach added to this would be wonderful. I just love spinach.

Hey, let me know if you try it..

Always like a good comment

Much love to you all!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits -day 4

On day 4 of this menu, I kept it pretty simple. One of my family's favorite is Sausage Gravy over biscuits. Might be a southern thing, but don't knock it until you try it. Even I use alot of shortcuts. Sometimes, this is just not enough time in a day.

There a few ways to do the gravy.

Sausage Gravy

3 pkgs of white gravy mix or peppered gravy mix (the kind that just add water)

1 pkg of sausage

1 cup of milk

3 tbs of butter

salt and pepper


Easy Way:

Brown and crumble up the sausage in a deep pan.
When brown start making the gravy from the package. It usually says boil one cup water and then mix, mix in 3/4 cup of cold and add. I pour in three cups water into the hot cooked sausage and then mix the cold water with the mix.
Don't forget you are using 3 pkgs so you have to use 3x's the stuff and then a cup of milk.
Add the butter and start stirring until thicken. If gets too thick add more milk. This makes quite a bit. I just put it up and it gets used on the rest of biscuits, toast, or potatoes.

The still Easy Way:

Brown and crumble up the sausage in a deep pan.
When brown you start the gravy.
Put in 3 tsp of butter (I just eyeball it) and then add flour..usually 3 tbs to start and make a roux.
Cook a few minutes then start adding milk. I add about 4 cups and keep stirring until thick.
You decide, if not thick enough I add a bit more flour. Be sure to season with salt and pepper.

I serve this on biscuits. I use the already frozen Pillsbury Biscuits. Homemade would be great, if you got the time. Bisquik also has a good recipe on the box. They don't need to look pretty.

For the rest of this meal, I had left over baked potatoes and sauteed them with onion and garlic. I also made everyone a cheese omelet. A complete filling meal. I even have leftovers for the weekend.

So I am still keeping with my menu and no trips to the store, yet...I hope I make it through the weekend. Staying on track is hard on the weekends.

Have a great weekend and like I always say, Seize the moment, enjoy life...until we talk again. Much love to all!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hot Dogs and Fries - day 3

Hey day 3 of my 6 week menu.. nothing to special to write about.

Hotdogs and fries.

I always make a few small containers of chili when I am making my big chili. I just get it before I had the beans. I season it a little spicy and then put in small containers in freezer. When I have hotdogs, I just pop it out. Also really great on fries and tator tots..

Today I had to go to the dentist again, this time was just to get the crown put on. Guess what it didn't fit and they had to again, novacaine me. I am so afraid of needles, so need-less I sat there and cried my eyes out.

After that agonizing few moments, they had to make a re-impression. With that goopy blue stuff. So my mouth was full of that stuff, her hand and of course I started to gag. I gagged and gagged and you can only imagine.. I have no dignity anymore. I am 50 and have had 3 children, so my bladder isn't want it is supposed to be... well, I was protected, but it was 3 gags...oh the shame...too, much info.. I know, but if me sharing makes anyone else feel better, then it is what is.

So to cut this tirade down and climb back into my pitty boat... I will say bye for now....a good diet coke and a moment of quiet and I should be back on my game..

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Broccoli and Chicken with Basmati Rice

Broccoli and Chicken with Basmati Rice

Day 2 of my Menu

I have begun my 6 week quest of following my menu. Staying away from the store; In turn I save money, gas and time. More time to work on my blog. I can only guess how much we like that. I hope!

Last night on the menu was my Chinese version of Chicken and Broccoli. Sounds a bit complicated but I wanted to show you all my shortcuts to make it.

Chicken and Broccoli


3 chicken boneless breasts

1 large bag of frozen broccoli

2 cups of chicken broth (or 3 cups of water)

5 chicken bouillons

Soy sauce

Tsp of minced garlic

½ cup cold water with 2tsp of cornstarch mixed (another word for slurry)

* this made a huge pot. All 6 of us ate and I even put up a few servings. The rice left me with about a quart left over. I turned it into fried rice with black beans for lunch on Wednesday.

To Preparing to make:

I take the bag of broccoli out of the freezer and leave on the counter to thaw. If you use straight from the freezer I would recommend thawing in micro or steaming until partially tender.

The chicken I pop in the freezer an few hours in the morning until it is a bit frozen; it makes it much easier to cut. Cut it thinly and let finish thawing.


Put the frozen (thawed) broccoli into a large soup pot. Pour in 2 cups of chicken broth (or the three cups of water), add in the chicken bouillon. Start to cook broccoli until just almost tender.

In another pan put some olive oil and drop in the chicken sauté until tender.
Combine the two; the chicken and the broccoli in the same pan. Drop in your garlic and a few tablespoon of soy sauce. I use tongs so not to break up the broccoli. Bring to a boil and add in your cold water slurry with the cornstarch and stir gently. Cook until it thickens a bit.

I serve this on white basmati rice.


Rice in a Rice Cooker

I love my rice cooker.

Take 4 cups of basmati rice and put in bowl of the rice cooker. Rinse the rice, three times. Then add 6 cups of water and a few drops of olive oil (keeps it from sticking to bad on the bottom) stir up and turn on. The rice cooker will turn itself off and it is perfect every time.

I hope you enjoyed my quest and even give it a try.
Any feedback is appreciated.

So for now.
Enjoy the moments and try something new, go outside that box. I promise you the door is always open…

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

6 Week Menu August 15th - August 26th

Okay I am posting my wonderful menu for the next 6 weeks, Yes, you heard me 6 weeks. I am hoping that we can stay on this path. Groceries are getting more expensive and I am needing a plan. Except for the need for dairy, fruit, and veggies, I think I got this covered. With the 150.00 I spent yesterday and my pantry I am going to try to keep to this plan. I plan on sharing some of my recipes. If you are interested please continue to read my blog.

Hey be sure to follow me. Just put in your email and it will send every time I blog. I am thankful for those that do take the time to read my blog.

I am also working on a new sister blog, all about raising, playing and loving kids. I have had hands on for the last 20 years and I have a few ideas to share. Crafts, food, learning and down right get your hands dirty and play. I hope to get it up and running soon.

So here is the beginning to a 6 week regime in my house..Let the games begin...

Monday: Ham / macaroni cheese/ baked beans (bq style)
Tuesday: Chicken and broccoli / rice
Wednesday: Hot dogs / fries/ baked beans
Thursday: Sausage gravy/ biscuits / potatoes/fried egg
Friday: Hamburgers/ tator tots

Monday: Tuna melts / tomatoe
Tuesday: Omelets / bagels /
Wednesday: Spaghetti casserole / salad
Thursday: Pork chops / fried rice/apples(sautéed)
Friday: Pizza / digorno

Monday: Shepherds pie
Tuesday: Hashbrowns / eggs/ toast
Wednesday: Ziti and meatballs/ garlic bread
Thursday: Meatloaf / mashed potatoes/veggie
Fridayday: Hot dogs / chili cheese tator tots/veggie

Monday: Jumbalaya / fried green tomatoes
Tuesday: Breakfast burittos/fruit salad
Wednesday: Baked ziti / salad
Thursday: Baked Chicken/stuffing/greenbeans
Friday: Chicken sandwiches / fries/ veggie

Monday: Chicken pot pie
Tuesday: Breakfast casserole / gravy
Wednesday: Stuffed shells / salad
Thursday: Pork butt/ potatoes/green beans
Friday: Sloppy joes / corn

Monday: Chicken tetrizini
Tuesday: Sausage gravy and biscuits
Wednesday: Shrimp alfredo
Thursday: Chicken spinach tortellini soup
Friday: Copy Cat "Subway" sandwiches

For breakfast and lunch, it is what is hanging around at the house.
Breakfast is usually and egg buritto, egg sandwich or a sausage biscuit.
Lunch can be as simple as a tuna sandwich to a good cup of soup. The kids just love the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich and Doritos on it.

On Saturday and Sunday I usually use up the leftovers, sandwiches or a pick from all our appetizers meals. We also have a breakfast on Saturday and Sunday and usually an appetizer meal later.

Here is a list of my appetizer meals, these are made with what is in the house at the time.


Blue cheese chips
Tators in bacon
Cream cheese wontons
Egg rolls
Pigs in the blanket
Chili on tator tots
Corn dogs
Potatoe skins
Cheese sticks
Double stuffed potatoes
Potatoe skins
Chicken nuggets
Cheese sticks
Pita pizza

So that is the start of my meals. Enjoy reading my posts, try out my recipes, comment, I love a good feed back. If you have a great recipe you want to share send it my way.
Be sure to leave your email so you can follow me..

So until we read again.. enjoy the moments, enjoy the challenges that life holds for you...

Mom's Macaroni and Cheese

Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese

**Notice the fine china..** Day One on My Menu

My mom raised 6 children. Holy cow, what a job! I have only 3 at home and I could only imagine 6 mouths to feed. Planning and creating 3 meals a day, groceries and snacks..it is overwhelming to give it so much thought. I do know however that my mom is one of the best cooks around and she passed all her cooking genes on down to her 4daughters. I am constantly looking, and experimenting with different dishes and treats. My mom always made sure that we tried all kinds of stuff.

I am sure my love for the different vegetables comes from her and my father. My father every year would start in February and turn over his garden, he had two large spots, probably 10x12. He would till over that hard soil and break up the clumps. Then he would revisit it again at planting time, tilling it all up by hand, with a pitch fork and a hoe. Then he would plan and plant, tomatoes, corn, peppers, cucumbers and anything else he could squeeze in. We also had two different kinds of grape vines, 3 apples trees, pear trees, a peach tree and loads of raspberries. My mom would take everything he grew and make great meals, and with the rest she canned. One summer she made grape juice, I can still taste it, and you can’t buy that in a store. The raspberry jam was to die for; she never kept it too long. Tomato sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, such simple yet so delicious during the warm summer months.

There were many meals that meat didn’t even make an appearance. Not sure we even missed it. One of her go to meals was macaroni and cheese. Not sure where she picked this recipe up from. My memory is short, and she always tells me, but I seem to be harassed by my children and I lose my chain of thought. I am again posting this one because it was so simple and so quick.

Macaroni and Cheese

1 lb box of elbows (I like elbows cause it just the right one for the job)

2 cups of shredded mild cheddar (you can use sharp for more flavor, Velveeta I don’t think is just not enough cheesy flavors)

1 stick of margarine

3 tablespoon of flour

3 cups of milk

2 tsps of yellow mustard (this was my addition, gave it a bit of a bite)


Cook and drain the Macaroni.

In a saucepan, melt the stick of margarine, add the flour and make a roux.
Add the milk next and stir till blended.
Next add the cheese and stir until melted and slightly thickened.
Grease a casserole dish and pour in cooked macaroni and then pour the sauce on top.

Top with buttered bread crumbs, crumbled potatoes chips or extra cheese. (Make sure you topping covers it all so you don’t get the hard cooked pieces of pasta, unless you are one of those that like to eat it)

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes

Makes a wonderful fulfilling meal. I made a cucumber, tomatoes salad. Toss them with a bit of olive oil, vinegar and a touch of basil from my garden. Yummy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes - Farmer's Table

Fried Green Tomatoes and my new favorite place: The Farmer’s Table

This weekend I happened upon a great new find, for Douglas County, GA.

They are on facebook: The Farmer's Table be sure to check them out.

It has all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. Got some homemade goodies in there too. It is open Monday – Friday 8am-6pm. I recommend dropping by an checking it out.

I have been driving by and noticing that a sign was up, and then noticed it was starting to get some stock in and getting organized. A few days later I saw the open sign and lots of vegetables showing out front. So I decided to stop. The people inside were friendly and very helpful. The store inside was neatly packed with all kinds of goodies too. Boiled peanuts were cooking and the smell was tempting. They had some home packed goodies. The sample that I was offered was for the fixings for a pecan pie, all in a jar. Unfortunately I had just had a visit to the dentist and couldn’t sample. But when I can, it looked delicious.

The first time I went I bought a seedless watermelon (around 5 bucks), 4 green tomatoes and 3 red tomatoes. Ended up walking out just paying short of 7 dollars total. Talk about a bargain. And let’s talk about fresh.

The watermelon was delightful. Nothing is better than cold, sweet, dripping watermelon on a hot summer day and you know it is hot here in Georgia.

The green tomatoes made into fried green tomatoes. They were so firm and cooked up so well. I am going to share the recipe with you in a minute, so get your pens out. Yummy!

Today we went again to this wonderful place, I guess by now you can tell I love fresh fruit and vegetables fresh from a garden. I bought 6 yellow corns, 6 white sweet corn, 8 green tomatoes, and again walked out only paying 6 bucks. The corn was so good and so sweet. We had to pick numbers to see who got that extra piece.

I took 4 of the green tomatoes and made fried green tomatoes again. Again, yes you heard me, my kids hate tomatoes and they requested this. I serve it with ranch dressing. I have 4 left to make, and I am trying to decide whether I want to share them or not…that remains to be decided.

Since it turns out to be a hit I just wanted to share this quick recipe with everyone.

Fried Green Tomatoes (easy, quick)

4 firm green tomatoes (this made about 14 pieces) (I cut them into about ½ slices)
2 eggs (this is to dip the tomatoes in)
1 box of jiffy corn muffin mix (keep this dry, this is the coating)
1 tablespoon of season salt
Canola oil (or oil to fry in)


In a bowl mix the jiffy mix with the season salt.
In another bowl beat two eggs.

Slice the green tomatoes (I like mine kind of thick so about ¼ to ½ inch was good)
Now stop and prepare the oil. (Use about ¼ inch of oil)

NOTE> each batch must have a clean pan. I found that the leftover coating would get hot quick and burn, before you could add the new batch. I suggest either a big pan or use two pans. I used only about ¼ inch of oil, that way I could pour it out and start a new batch.

In a bowl mix the jiffy mix with the season salt.

In another bowl beat two eggs.

Dip the tomatoes slice in the egg and then into the cornbread mix and then lay in the hot oil. (Watch these get brown fast) When brown on one side flip and do the other. Place on paper towels to drain, while you make the next batch.

I know you could just make one batch, but at my house one is never enough. So just give in and do the two you won’t regret it.

Tonight’s dinner was fried green tomatoes and fresh corn. Yummy….

Can’t wait to go back the Farmers Table and see what is next on this season’s menu.

So look, try new things, get out there. There are many neat places to experience.
Enjoy the moments.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Philly Cheese Steak (something like it)

Let’s Beat this Heat together.

Wow, what a summer. We are sweltering here in Georgia. I am hoping this blog post finds everyone happy and healthy. I am constantly trying to stay up on the ideas that come to mind that are helpful for my family and then of course I want to share them with you guys.

I tried this summer, get this: dehydrated watermelon. Blah. Stupid Idea, not worth the time and effort.

I think that there is something grand to a great big ole piece of cold, sweet, dripping watermelon in this kind of weather. Not shoe leather. Oh well, if it had to be done, I did it.

Now on to the next great idea! Will share it for sure.

Today, I am sharing another quickie idea for the summer. I just did this, this weekend and it was a hit.

Philly Steak style sandwich with Peppers, Onions and Cheese.

Turned out to be a great meal for the moment and another freezer ready quick meal (sandwich) for those on the go.

I make these in a big batch so I have some to put in the freezer for another time. You can just put the leftovers in freezable containers for so many or you can use my individual idea anytime.

The recipe is really simple.

Philly Steak Style Sandwich with peppers, onions and cheese.


2 boxes of Steakums. (I use those but I am sure there are other ones, I looked for Generic)(I break these up and add a bit of garlic to them and brown them up. You could leave them whole. I usually break them so I can get them done with less mess.) (I have done them on my grill and kept them in their whole shape, but I find in the long run, they get eaten so fast it really doesn’t matter)

2 onions (cut long ways, so they kind of like a petal like, not diced)

2 green peppers (julienned)

Cheese (we used shredded mozzarella; you can use the shredded cheddar to get more of Philly Cheesesteak taste)

Sub rolls (I have used hamburger rolls in a pinch and even hotdog buns to give it that sub look)


In one pan:

Sautee the peppers and onions in a bit of butter and olive oil. (The olive oil keeps the butter from burning)Sautee them till they are soft (they start to make the kitchen smell incredible)

In the other pan:

Cook the steak-ums (until they aren’t pink anymore, either way you prefer. Left whole or broken up). When finally browned, add the peppers and onions to this pan and toss together. Now you have the main sandwich mixture.

For eating at this time you can prep the buns with mayonnaise and place mixture on and put the cheese on top. I wrap each on in foil so it can steam and the bun is soft. They turn out yummy every time.

For freezing individually:

Take a cookie sheet and line with wax paper. Place the steak, pepper and onion mixture and place a portion (to fit a sub sandwich roll, is what we use) and then top each with a slice of cheese you like (we use mozzarella or provolone) Lay the cookie sheet in the freezer and let these individual things flash freeze. Remove and wrap individually in wax paper and slide into a gallon freezer bag. When the time comes you take one out, microwave for a few minutes, till cheese melts and place onto a fresh sub roll. I always take mine and roll up in foil and let sit a few minutes so it will steam up and soften the roll. Yummy!

This is a really good idea for a quick meal, with less mess and trouble. Already made and ready to go.

I have 3 children as you all know and they are hungry 24/7 and I really like knowing what is in what they eat.

Well I am off to find a new something to cook, or try to cook.

Every day is a new day to try something new. Taste, smell, feel, and do new.

So all my friends get out there and do one thing today, which makes you smile.

Enjoy the moments.