Tuesday, May 22, 2007

One Chicken, So Many Possibilities

My family loves the Sam's rotisserie chicken. Emily gets disappointed when they are not giving out the samples of it on our weekly trips. (Yes, we go weekly. We are addicted. Many times we leave with nothing but our two 32 oz. soft drinks, refilled at least twice.) I have become dependent on them. I used to buy the whole raw chickens which I would bake several at a time and then freeze the meat. I've stopped doing that because for five bucks, it's not worth turning the oven on. Here is my method:

Buy two or three chickens. Take them home and let them sit on the counter to cool while we eat one with roasted potatoes or mac and cheese and some green beans or broccoli. The five of us usually only eat about half of a chicken. After supper I clean the meat off the bones and divide it into two cup portions in ziploc freezer bags. These go in the freezer for casseroles, soups, salads, and anything else I can want it for. I throw the carcasses in a stock pot and cover with water. Bring this to boil and let simmer for one hour. When it's done I pull out the bones out and then we have this wonderful stock! There is even more meat on the bones that falls right off. I put this stock in those disposable Ziploc containers. The ones with the screw-on lids are the best. Now I can use it to cook rice, risotto, or just make soup on a cold day.

I've used this chicken for fried rice and fajitas and it made the process go so much faster! From one chicken I usually get about 8 cups of chicken. We'll be on a mission trip for the next week and a half so the blog will be quiet for a while. Never fear! I will be back. Please pray for us. I will be teaching a home-ec class to some high schoolers. Teaching is NOT my spiritual gift so I am a little nervous.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Satisfy that craving!

A friend of mine just told me she's pregnant (yeah!) and craving banana bread. I thought I'd post a quicky recipe just for her.

Super Simple Banana Cake

1 box French Vanilla cake mix plus ingredients (i.e. eggs, oil, etc.)
2 or 3 very ripe bananas

Mix cake according to package directions and throw in bananas. Bake according to directions on the box. Frost with the cinnamon butter cream icing or your favorite store bought version. You could also mix 2 cups powdered sugar with 2-3 tablespoons of milk to make a glaze. Now wasn't that easy? Some of you have had this cake and thought I actually did something spectacular!

If you have bananas rotting on your counter but don't have time to bake anything with them smash them up and put in a zip top freezer bag and freeze. When you do have time, or that craving hits, you can just pull them out, run warm water over the bag for a few minutes and add them to your bread or cake recipe. (It works best if after you've smooshed the banana you squeeze all the air out of the bag and freeze it squished as flat as possible. Thaws faster that way.) Happy baking!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Here's one for a busy week!

I've got a two-fer for you today! With three picky kids, a tight budget, and sky-rocketing grocery prices it's hard to stay on a budget. It helps if I can find a cut of meat on sale and make more than one meal out of it. The problem is, such a method gets a bit redundant. Last week I got brave and tried something new. In the process I was able to make everyone happy and get two meals (three if you count my leftover lunch). Kroger had pork tenderloin for $2.99 a pound. They average at about a pound and a half so I bought one for $4.95. If I can feed my family a nice meal for less than $10 it's a good thing. I bought a teriyaki marinade but any flavor will do. Add some mixed vegetables, rice, pasta, or a sweet or baked potato and you've got dinner! Just bake your tenderloin at 425 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes. ***IMPORTANT!!!*** Please, line your pan with foil!!! I made this a week ago and I still can't get my pan clean! The pork was wonderful but the juices from the marinade burned. If you have a large family or teenage boys and you want leftovers, make two tenderloins. You can do them in the same pan just make sure they are about two inches apart. Here is what I made with my leftovers:

Pork Fried Rice

*I did not give measurements because it kind of depends on how much leftover pork you have and how big your family is.

garlic clove, minced
rice (any kind you like)
leftover pork tenderloin, chopped
frozen mixed vegetables
teriyaki sauce

Prepare rice. When it's done, in a large skillet heat oil and stir in garlic. Add rice and stir until rice is partly browned. Add chopped pork and vegetables and stir until hot, adding teriyaki sauce to taste. Push all the rice to one side in the hot skillet. In a small bowl scramble egg with a splash of teriyaki sauce. Pour into skillet. (Do not pour it into the rice or it will become sticky.) Stir and cook the egg until it is done then mix it into the rice. Serve with extra teriyaki sauce.

Hope you all like it!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Black Bean and Corn Chili

Hello, Friends! Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. It's been a busy week. AbbyAnn just asked for my chili recipe. It is a recipe that I got from Campbell's soup and then has kind of evolved into what it is now. Yes, I do have a fondness for black beans and corn. In fact, I really don't like any other kind of beans and would not touch a plate of black beans and rice with a ten foot pole if you paid me, but if they are mixed in with some hamburger and corn, they are fabulous.

I've entered this recipe into two different cook-offs and have not been able to do better than second place, but the kids in our youth group love it and request it a lot, so I will just go with their vote. Hope you all like it, too!

Black Bean and Corn Chili

1 lb. hamburger
1 cup chopped onions
1 clove minced garlic
2 cans tomato soup
1 can corn or 2 cups frozen corn
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 - 3 tablespoons chili powder (more if you like it real hot)
1/4 cup sugar

Brown hamburger, onions, and garlic. Drain, then mix in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and corn chips on the side.

This is also a great recipe for the crock pot and it freezes well.

I'm going to start putting the quick tips in a new color so you can find them fast. JBranson asked if I could do a seperate file or page, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet. We talked about it and came up with this idea. Hopefully it will make it easier for you to skim through some stuff.

Today's quick tip is something I came up with that probably isn't that new, but maybe you've never thought about. We are a homeschooling family and Emily and Cameron go to a co-op three days a week. They get out of school at 12:30 those days and we are always looking for a very fast lunch when we get home. This is a challenge because they do not like sandwiches much and especially not three days a week. Something Emily and I came up with is what we call Pizzadillas. To make a Pizzadilla spread a thin layer of butter on a flour tortilla. Place butter side down on a hot skillet. Carefully spread a thin layer of spaghetti or pizza sauce on tortilla and then top with mozzarella and any of your favorite pizza toppings. With a spatula carefully fold tortilla in half and watch carefully so it does not burn. Turn it over after about 2 minutes. When the cheese is melted you have a yummy lunch or snack in about 5 minutes!

I'll try to do better and post again soon!