Y’all Hungry?! 4 hours and 34 meals later…

y'all hungry buttonI don’t know about your households, but in ours…. nothing kills a good mood like “what’s for dinner?” We go through this daily and it always leads to some sort of taco dish or a rummaged up pantry meal or more likely, we go out to eat. This is bad on so many levels, but mainly because we are spending WAY too much money eating out and are making even worse decisions (can I say chicken queso burrito within walking distance) YIKES!

Well, a couple of weeks ago when we were getting organized, running through our “to do” list, and budget issues I realized I had to figure something out that was easy and inexpensive and would last long term!

Admittedly, I like to have dinner ready for my Mr. when he comes home M-Thursday and also Sunday- We like to do something different and fun Friday & Saturday. The little nugget makes this difficult some days which is where meals became a stressor!

HELLO PINTEREST!!!!! I searched for easy, inexpensive Crockpot freezer meals and I came across several blogs that listed out different meals that are easy to prepare and then freeze, then pop in the Crockpot. It just sounded DREAMY to me! As usual I jumped in headfirst, I downloaded her grocery list and doubled it (math is not my strong suit….) and then loaded up the nugget and we headed off to the store.

Grocery List: I ended up with a couple of extra sweet potatoes (like 6, whoops) and 4 extra onions- but I figure I can do something with those!

GroceryListMeal1

ADD: 1 lb maple sausage & 1 lb hot sausage 🙂

After 40 minutes and what looked like a crazy person buying out the canned beans and tomatoes and 1 million onions…. we checked out. I had purchased enough food to create 34 meals that each consist of 4-6 servings (or two dinners and one lunch for both of us) and my bill was $213- $100 of that in meat alone.
The lady checking me out exclaimed that I must have a huge family (I HATE when people comment on my purchases) and I was like ummmmm, nope, just my husband the baby and me…. we really like to eat.

Anyways…. we made it home and I unloaded everything while watching Maddy chase Betty Lou around the yard.

Later that night after we got Maddy down for bed, I got busy!

Here is my prep list:
Chop vegetables (thank you food processor), brown sausage, open cans, get out spices and label freezer bags with recipe name, date, cook instructions and any other notes such as add chicken broth– I also wrote THAW first huge on each bag in case the Mr. is in charge of cooking one night!

Then I started assembling! It took almost 2 hours to the dot to prep and another 2 hours to assemble. So far we have tried three of the meals and LOVED them! It really is that easy, I make a new one about every other day excluding weekends and both our dinners and lunches have been taken care of for all of us! Maddy even likes the meals. The best part is NO WORK! I have made rice or corn bread or salads with the meals, but come on, the big part is done and the sides are choice 🙂

Recipes! Note: I didn’t include a lot of the needed spices on my grocery list because they are staples in our spice cabinet, you may want to read this over before going shopping!!

Meals1

If you have any questions let me know!!! Happy Prepping!!! I didn’t take pictures of the process, but I will next time for sure, I will also start earlier in the day, measuring at midnight is not recommended!

All meals either taken from or adapted from: Loving My Nest

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Y’all Hungry?! Baby Food Edition!

y'all hungry buttonGood Morning!  Before Maddy started eating pretty much whatever we are eating (current state) I had a lot of practice making her fresh purees to enjoy!

I LOVE FOOD!

I LOVE FOOD!

I decided after reading several blogs from other young mamas that I would be making her baby food.  Initially I thought I would make everything, but after an attempt at making a chicken puree that looked more like a gross paste…GAG….(I did not feed her that) I amended my plans to make her everything EXCEPT meat purees, we would be buying those!IMG_5876

Overall, I would say I probably saved us  a couple of hundred dollars, maybe a little more… total by making the majority of her foods but, in a household living on a shoe string budget, a couple of hundred dollars helps us out in a big way!!IMG_5877

Making baby purees is EASY!  It is pretty much a few steps repeated a million times in any combination that sounds good!

MORE!!!

MORE!!!

Buy your groceries…. We would go to Costco and load up on any fresh produce we could find that sounded good.  Maddy LOVES strawberries and raspberries (as evident from the pictures) so I would add those to a lot of the mixes just to get the flavor she enjoys.  IMG_5878

Here is a list of the foods from this round-

Honeydew, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, peaches, banana, pineapple, carrots, apples, pears, sweet peas, sweet corn, potatoes…. I think that is all!IMG_5879

After I washed and prepped (peeled, cubed or sliced) all of the fruit I would steam the produce needing to be softened then I simply make different combinations by putting the produce in our Cuisinart and blending it until pretty much smooth.  I would leave a little bit of texture just to get her used to eating textured foods.  Depending on the nature of the mix I sometimes would add rice cereal as a thickening agent, or frozen fruits if it was getting a little watery.IMG_5885

A few of the mixes Maddy loves: carrots & apples, apple-pear, carrots- strawberries, honeydew-banana, sweet pea-carrots, sweet corn-apples, and her FAVE pineapple-strawberry-banana**IMG_5884

After everything was mixed up, I simply pour out the mixtures into ice trays and little tupperware containers and then plop them into the freezer.  When it was time to feed her I just pull out a tray and pop a cube out or bring out a little container and put them in the microwave for seconds and poof food 🙂

to save space, after the cubes are frozen - sometimes I would pop them out and store in a large tupperware

to save space, after the cubes are frozen – sometimes I would pop them out and store in a large tupperware

Overall, the ease and guaranteed freshness that came from making Maddy’s food made this entire process TOTALLY worth while and should siblings ever be entered into Maddy’s life, I could see me doing this again!!!

Contentment!

Contentment!

Y’all Hungry?! Breakfast Casserole

y'all hungry button

The Mr. LOVES breakfast, like in a way I really struggle to understand.  However, I love cookies and pizza in a similar fashion so I try to work with his love for breakfast… that’s just the kind of wonderful wife I really am 🙂  I mean, the SACRIFICES!!! HAHA! So a couple of months ago when we were having company one person after the other in town to meet Madison I needed an easy and delicious recipe that I could quickly whip up in the morning.  I found it and I will be serving this for all company… let this be your warning if you are coming to town!

Ingredients:

*4 eggs

*1 cup of milk

*1 lb maple sausage

*cheddar cheese

*pepper

*1 can of crescent rolls

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400*.  Lightly grease a casserole dish and roll out the can of crescent rolls flat on the bottom acting as a crust. Cook the sausage separately and pat off the grease.  Spread evenly over the rolls in the dish.  In another bowl mix together the eggs and milk until well blended.  Pour over the sausage.  Sprinkle a layer of cheese over the top and salt and pepper as you like.

Cook at 400* for about 20 minutes.  A little more or less depending on the size of your dish, you want the rolls to be cooked all the way through.

GOOD MORNING & Enjoy!

Sorry… no pictures, we were real hungry this morning and started eating before I remembered I wanted to post this… my bad. 

Recipe adapted from For Mama’s Blog.

 

Y’all Hungry? Baked Squash….yep, I made squash :)

My Gramma was coming into town to meet Madison and I wanted to make something special and different…. the Mr. is always asking for me to try new recipes.  In his defense I would make something Mexican every single night or have pizza if he wasn’t here to tell me otherwise 🙂

So, I decided to make a squash recipe, which if you know me this is HUGE. I’m pretty sure a reader down in Lubbock right now better be impressed at this culinary success! I’ve come a long way from just browning hamburger….

Baked Acorn Squash with Sage Sausage Stuffing 

Adapted from an Emeril recipe 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 medium acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound sage sausage,  browned
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups French bread cubes
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (a little more as needed)
  • 1/4 pound freshly grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 pound freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Lightly season the cut sides of squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the halved squash on a baking sheet, flesh side down, and add 1/2 cup water to the pan. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

In a large skillet brown the sausage over medium-high heat, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan and drain on paper towels. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in the pan, and add the onion and bell pepper, sautéing until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the sausage with the vegetables, bread cubes, chicken stock, half the cheese, parsley and dried sage. Add the egg and stir well to combine.

Divide the stuffing mixture between the baked squash halves, and top with the remaining cheese. Place the filled squash on a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. Bake until the squash are heated through and the cheese melts, about 25 minutes. ( I imagine you could make this without the sausage too, but I would add more veggies, and sage to get that good flavor!)

SO SO GOOD!!! It’s not a beautiful dish, but delish none the less! ENJOY!!!!

Happy HOLIDAYS!!!!!

Y’all Hungry?! EASY Pantry Peach Muffins

This past Saturday I woke up thinking about peach cobbler… YUMMY! But decided since it was only 6:30AM I should think more breakfast food, plus I could only imagine the look on Justin’s face if he walked downstairs and I was eating cobbler while watching the Olympics all before 8 am… I am not sure what the acceptable time is to start eating cobbler but I am thinking before noon… a little early?!  So I withheld and decided I should make peach muffins. I quick got on Southern Living and found this recipe (well…close to it, I modified/added to it) and VOILA!

 We had everything in our pantry and they turned out so moist and delish!! Perfect for a lazy day, no fuss breakfast that makes enough to feed a small army, or me and the Mr.  just kidding, we still have muffins!!!

Pantry Peach Muffins

Adapted from Southern Living 2008

 Ingredients

–          Muffins

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cans peaches diced & drained – pour about 3 seconds of peach juice into the mixture!

 –          Topping (more as needed)

  • 3 TS butter melted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 TS ground cinnamon

 Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Add paper liners to muffin tin— this recipe made 30 muffins!
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the apple sauce, oil, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Stir the oil mixture into the flour mixture just until moist. Fold in the peaches & a few seconds worth of juice. Spoon into the prepared muffin cups.
  3. Sprinkle a little bit of the topping on each muffin.
  4. Bake 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before setting out onto wire racks to cool completely.
  5. Serve warm with butter (because it takes it to a new level)

Enjoy & Good Morning 🙂

Y’all Hungry: Vanilla Crepes

Good Morning!  Happy Valentine’s Day Weekend!

This morning felt like a crepes kind of morning, and with a bowl full of fresh strawberries in the fridge, it was decided!  I was looking for something a little extra so I added vanilla to the batter and I will never turn back 🙂

Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter

    my first one...beautiful!

the Mr.'s first one...a taco...

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the milk, egg yolks and vanilla. Stir in the flour, sugar, salt and melted butter until well blended.
  2. I use an ice cream scoop and fill it then pour it into a skillet and immediately tilt the skillet until you have a thin layer of batter all over the pan.  When bubbles form on the top and the edges are dry, flip over and cook until lightly browned on the other side and edges are golden. Repeat with remaining batter.
  3. We like to fill our crepes with fresh strawberries, melted butter and powdered sugar! Any fruit, whipping cream, really anything works!

Bon Appetit!

Y’all Hungry? Easy, Baked Ziti

Y’all Hungry?  

This is my adapted from spaghetti.. ziti… easy to do dinner!  I will make this quick then throw it in the oven while we are walking the pugs, it is perfect with a fancy bag salad and some garlic bread:) Happy Eating!!

Baked Ziti

1 box penne pasta (giggle here, do you know what penne stands for in Italian…. look it up 🙂 )

1 jar of your favorite red sauce

1 lb ground beef browned with salt and pepper

Minced garlic to taste

2 ish TS red pepper flakes

1ish ts basil, oregano, parsley

1 bag shredded mozzarella

parmesan to top

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350*.  Brown your meat, at the same time boil a pot of water and cook the noodles until they are soft but not really soft. . . Drain noodles.  Spray a casserole dish with pam.  Combine noodles, meat, sauce and 2/3 cheese and all the seasonings including garlic.  Heat for about 5 minutes just to combine.  Then pour everything into the pan top with remaining mozzarella cheese and back covered for 45 minutes.  Take the foil off and brown cheese for about 15 minutes.  Let stand for about 10 minutes then serve!

Enjoy!!!

Y’all Hungry? Pumpkin Party Menu!!

 Zesty Black Bean Chili 

On a brisk fall day nothing is easier to cook than a pot of slow-cooker chili! This is a simple zesty recipe that I have semi-created from mixing and matching other recipes over the last year.  It is delicious & was the main course at our pumpkin party!!!

Ingredients:

3 cans zesty diced tomatoes

3 cans black beans

1 can corn

2 lbs steak chunks (stew meat)

1 green bell pepper

1 sweet onion

Salt and pepper

1 package chili mix ( I used Carroll Shelby’s original with or w/out the cayenne pepper packet included depending on your enjoyable heat level)

Cajun spice to taste

Directions:

Brown your steak meat until brown on both sides (I browned until almost brown all the way… fear of red meat)season with salt and pepper – lightly grease your slow cooker and place the steak meat on the bottom top with all cans – juice and all.  Then dice your onion and bell pepper, add to pot. Stir all together, add the chili mix   stir again. Then put on low for 8 hours – test at 6 hours or later and spice it up to taste.

We topped it with cheese and avocado and I served it with corn bread! The best thing about this recipe is that it makes a TON so it is practically like I am making days worth of meals!!

Best Pumpkin Cookies (clever name I know!)

I made these as a help yourself dessert for the pumpkin party and they turned out delicious!!! I found this recipe on Pinterest aka my current obsession and they did not disappoint.  Moist, sweet, slightly fall spicy and the cream cheese frosting, delish!  Another bonus… this recipe makes about 6 dozen cookies!!!! Frosting to match if you don’t overload, but seriously it is crazy good!!! Mom sent me Dunkin’ Donuts pumpkin coffee and it is pretty much the best dipping combination since a café au lait and beignet. 

Combine:
1 Cup Shortening
3 Cups Sugar
Add:
2 eggs

Mix in:
1 large can pumpkin (30 ounces)

Now add:
1 tsp. vanilla
5 cups flour

And then add:
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Directions- Now, bake @ 350 for about 10-12 minutes. Let cool & then ice using the following Cream Cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing:

Combine:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened

Gradually mix in:

2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend until smooth. Store in the refrigerator after use. Frost the cookies and sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg, I combined the two, I know, overachiever.

Recipe from House of Hepworths

Baked Apples

 Get ready to write this down and save it! EASY! Delicious and you feel healthy because really, you are just eating an apple! Yes, I consider this a healthy dessert! Ignore the other ingredients right?  The saying after all is an apple a day keeps the Dr. away and really if the Doctor meant an apple minus yummy brown sugar, maple syrup, and pats of butter he should have been more specific!

Ingredients

1/4 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch ground nutmeg

6 Gala apples  rinsed

1/2 cup apple cider

3 tablespoons butter, cut into pats

1/2 cup maple syrup

 Directions

In a large bowl, mix together cherries, sugar, pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg. Put aside.

With a melon scooper, core apples to hollow out the middle. Do not go all the way through. Fill each apple core with dry cherry mixture. Pour apple cider into a casserole dish and place apples right side up. Place a pat of butter on apple hole filled with mixture. Drizzle maple syrup on top of all the apples. Bake for 50 minutes

Recipe from The Neely’s, Food Network

Herb Butter…Drooling yet?!

WHY have I never “made” butter before? This is easy to do and it adds so much flavor to anything  you decide to use it on.  The way we went through it the other night I am pretty sure it was being used on everything in sight!  I didn’t really measure the ingredients so this is a typical me recipe which means a pinch or dash and to taste kind of instructional!

Ingredients:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 regular spoon full (like real full) of minced garlic

Small handful of fresh basil, finely minced
1big serving spoon full of dill- I used a tube of fresh dill, but really fresh would be good too
Small handful of fresh thyme, finely minced

3-4 shakes of dried oregano
Dash of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, just a few turns

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Use a beater to mix until fluffy- small cracker w/butter taste test needed to be sure it is delish…. Then add as needed.  Short on time I simply put the butter in a bowl, then Justin claimed to have whipped it up all day… otherwise to make a pretty presentation I have read that you can  place the butter mixture onto plastic wrap, form into a log, wrap tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Allow to come to room temperature before serving so it is spreadable.

 So good!