Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Today I am recreating the Christmas dinner. I bought a couple turkeys at Thanksgiving.  They were .77 cents a pound.  I pulled it out of the freezer on Sunday so today I am cooking it for my parents that are coming for dinner.  I also won't have to make supper the next few nights.  So the turkey went in at 1pm for I'm guessing 3 hours.  At 4pm I will take it out and check it, then pour the juices off to make the gravy.
-here is a side note- it was ready at 4pm which was too early and I hadn't cooked my potatoes yet.  So.... maybe wait til 2pm for a 8lb turkey .
This gives me time to put it back in to cook for another hour if needed.  I will cook baked potatoes.  They take the least amount of work.  If I was planning ahead I would have make mashed potatoes earlier when the kids were asleep or even last night and baked them with cheese on it at 4pm when there is room in oven with the Turkey out.  This is a great idea because if I make enough mashed then they are ready for a quick Sheppard's pie or with a can of salmon make fish cakes.  Another way to make potatoes is to wash and cut them up and put them around the Turkey with carrots 1hour before they will be done cooking, as I mentioned in my post about Roasts.
So here is my speech about Turkey dinners. The Turkey cost me $7.44 and the bag of baby carrots to throw around the turkey $1.  (or better yet buy a 5lb bag for a little more and do more work yourself.) This week was dollar days at No Frills.  Frozen peas and frozen corn were $1.  A 10 lb bag of potatoes is about $3.
so for under 15$ you have a big supper with Turkey sandwiches for lunches and leftovers to eat the next day.  Buy 1 lb of ground beef  ($4) and a pkg of noodles (for $1) and 2 cans of spaghetti  sauce (each $1) and you have Sheppard's pie and spaghetti for supper the rest of the week.  That is about $21.  You still need bread, eggs and milk and essentials but I am just pointing out that is can be done.  Also what is wrong with box cake mixes? I buy them on sale for (you guessed it) $1! It makes a nice easy dessert when you really don't want to do extra work and with a Turkey dinner you have the oven on anyway.

So lets say you want to have the stuffing and cranberries and the rest of the traditional supper.  You may have your own recipes for sweet potato pie but I don't so I will tell you what I make.
  I save my ends of the loaf.  My family doesn't eat the two ends of the loaf so i keep them in a bag in the door of the fridge.  I cut them up for my stuffing. You need 1 loafs worth of bread.  Also I do make Chicken stock with the last turkey we ate. however Chicken Stock was also $1 at No Frills this week.  You will also need
2 stalks of celery
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic. (press with garlic press)
Saute in large pot with 1 cup of chicken stock on high heat until onions are translucent.
Turn off heat and add 1/2 the bread.  Stir and add 1 tbsp of celery salt, 1 tsp of pepper, 1/2 tbsp of thyme and 1 tsp of Italian seasoning. (like basil and oregano)
Add 1 cup of chicken stock.  Stir
Add 1/4 of remaining Bread. 
Add 1 cup of stock. Stir
Throw in remaining bread and stir until all bread is moist.
Bake in casserole dish or stuff the turkey.  In Casserole dish it is 40 mins or to your desired crispness.
Check internal temperature with a meat thermometer to 165.

Broccoli casserole
 This is not my recipe but I use it a lot.  Especially when I am out of fresh veg for a supper meal.
I buy mixed Frozen carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.  You can also buy fresh veg and blanch or steam it, but why do the work.
Place frozen veg in a casserole dish.  Top with 1 can of celery soup, then 2/3 cup of grated cheddar cheese.
Cut 2 slices of bread into squares and stir quickly in 2 tbsp of melted butter.  Sprinkle bread on top of casserole.  Bake at 350 for 30 mins uncovered.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

tip for the day

Here is a time saving tip. When you thaw one pkg of ground beef - thaw two and cook it all.  Then freeze what you don't use in a Tupperware. Cooked ground beef is so handy when you forgot to plan a supper.  You can add it to a can of spaghetti sauce for a quick meal, like your own hamburger helper but without the additives. Also Sloppy Joes, on nachos or mini pizzas.  Most things you can just add the ground beef from frozen but not when it is raw.

Today I made Spaghetti Bake.  it is not my recipe.  I am paraphrasing how I made it.  It makes a lot so use a big lasagna or casserole dish.
1 onion
1 green pepper
Chop and Saute
1 can of diced mushrooms
28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 - 2 cans of spaghetti sauce, depending on what you are using
Cook spaghetti noodles about 1/3 of a pkg
Grate one brick of medium or old cheddar cheese
this is where I add ground beef already cooked.  However the recipe calls for cooking 1 - 2 lbs of ground beef first and draining it.  Set meat aside and start to saute your veggies and make sauce.
Layer sauce, noodles, meat, cheese till your dish is full.  Cover with Aluminum foil and remove after 30 mins. of  baking
Bake 350 for 40mins til it gets all bubbly.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


My favorite meal right now is any kind of roast.  I love throwing a chicken, turkey, pork or beef into the old roasting pan with 1 to 2 cups of water, 1 chopped onion and bake. The times of cooking change depending on what you are cooking but from my experience more time is better.  1 hour before you expect your meat to be done I put in large chopped pieces of carrot and potato. I like to wash and cut these veggies at the kids nap time so it only takes seconds to put them in the oven when the kids are up and always playing at my feet. At supper time when I made the gravy i put my kids in their high chairs with a little meat and veggies to eat while I finish making supper.  I take the juice from the meat off and make a gravy. This does take a little more work and isn't necessary to make a delicious meal but my family appreciates it.  Also I usually cook in the microwave some frozen corn or peas since my rule at supper is 2 veggies for a meal.
The things that make this an easy meal is that there is always lots and often enough to reheat the next day.  At least one night a week we have other people stay for supper so this is enough for everyone.  Also I can put the meat in the roasting pan in the fridge the night before and then it is ready to cook the next day when I get home if I have a busy day planned.   Once the meat is in the oven I have supper done and can have a nap when my kids nap.
Two things I have learned from cooking meat is that it does turn out better if it is totally thawed and poultry will dry out if it is over cooked. Beef needs 20 mins to rest once it is out of the oven.  Both meats if done too early taste great if you slice it and put into the gravy to keep moist and reheated in oven later if needed.

I use a small pot and take a tbsp of fat off the liquid that is with the meat.  I mix with 1 tbsp of flour til flour is dissolved.  Then I pour the meat juice out of roasting pan into the small pot.  Put pot on medium heat and whisk often. Bring gravy to a simmer.  Take 2 tbsp of cornstarch and 3tbsp of cold water.  mix in a glass and pour in to small pot.  this will thicken the gravy more.  if you find you don't have enough or that it tastes weak you can add dry chicken or beef stock powder and more water but you will need to repeat the cornstarch directions.  For seasoning I also add Italian spice and salt and pepper to taste.   Most people take the meat and veggies out of roasting pan and make gravy in it.  that is a great way as well but often I still need to keep the meat warm so by pouring out the juices and leaving the supper in the roasting pan I can put the whole thing back in the oven with the oven shut off to keep it warm while I make my gravy.  Then when supper is ready I just fill everyone plate from the roasting pan and they can serve their own gravy.  Less dishes for me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

This Weeks Menu

So we were given a lot of cheese for Christmas.  I grated up 2 blocks of mozzarella in the food processor and 1 block of cheddar. Monday One pot of Mac and Cheese (lunch) in the crock pot.  Pork chops on the BBQ with rice and frozen veg in a cheese sauce for supper. Tuesday Lunch was egg, bacon and cheese sandwiches on English muffins with carrot and celery sticks.  I made one very tasty lasagna with Caesar salad(supper).  Wednesday Lunch was tomato soup and grilled cheese. Then for supper was baked chicken legs with roasted potatoes and salad. We needed a break from noodles and cheese. Thursday With left over spaghetti sauce from the lasagna I made mini pizza's on English muffins with cheese and salami sandwich meat for pepperoni topped with green peppers (lunch) and tonight we are having cheese burgers.  Friday Lunch will probably be 'clean out the fridge' meal and I think we will make our own fish and chips.  Fridays I like to do a kind of -eat out but eat in- supper.
My kids haven't pooped since Monday but they are well fed.

Mac and Cheese Crock pot
1 small onion
1 large stalk of celery
puree in food processor.  Saute in fry pan with 1 tbsp of  olive oil.
Boil 2 cups of mac noodles til just half cooked.
In food processor grate 2 cups of cheese. (I grated all of it and kept in the fridge to use as needed)
add 1 tbsp of flour to sauteed onion and celery. stir and add 1 cup of milk.
Simmer until it starts to thicken.
Add 1 can of mushroom soup and 1 can of water. Whisk
Simmer until it bubbles.  Add 1 tsp of mustard and pepper.
Turn off heat and add cheese.
Put noodles in crock pot and stir in sauce.  Top with Parmesan.  the Sauce should be runny. It will thicken as it cooks.  Keep on low for 1 hour.  Ready to serve.
For variation add ham or cooked bacon or salsa.

Baked Chicken legs or thighs
I buy these on sale and they make a quick tasty supper.
Put meat in glass dish flat and pour 3/4 cup Italian dressing on top.  bake at 450 for 30 mins.

I often will try to cook more than one thing at a time to save time.  I put 6 potatoes in the oven around my cookie sheet when I bake my cookies or muffins in the afternoon while the kids are sleeping.  Then for supper I can cut them into wedges and make my own fries.  I also bake them at 450 with Italian dressing on them as well.  Also for 30 mins.  This will work well with left over boiled potatoes too.