Monday, August 3, 2015

Menu Plan Monday Week 136 - Using What We Have

Ugh. Can you believe it's AUGUST?? I mean, seriously, where has the time gone??

The week ahead should be an easy week ... Hubby travels on Tuesday and comes back Friday night. I'm dealing with allergies which is new to me but now I realize it's not the onset of a vicious cold, just a serious allergy to something ... I've no clue what but seems that whenever we get a sprinkle of rain, the flood gates for the sinuses open up. Must be pollen related, I'm sure.

Food prep was a slight miss this weekend ... I boiled 10 eggs. Cleaned a head of butter lettuce.

That's it. Whoops. Blame the sinuses.

I'd like to stay out of the store this week after breaking the Pantry / Freezer Challenge with a stop at Costco ... and, quite honestly, I should be able to feed whoever is around this week with what we have on hand (mental note to self: cook green beans!)

Here's what I'm looking at:

Sunday - Flat Bread Pizzas on the grill ... the boy and Hubby found some pepperoni in the freezer and I think this will be the last of the flat bread in the freezer. I may just make myself a Margarita Frittata if I've got the energy (blasted sinuses) since I have a few more eggs than previous weeks. If I do get around to this and it's yummy, will share later


Monday - ahem. 4 Way Chili using the leftover pasta from Saturday night's spaghetti and meatballs and chili from freezer. I'm sort of glad I've not pulled the chili out beforehand all these weeks! I will use zucchini (like I did on Saturday night too!) in place of pasta for myself


Tuesday - most likely will take the Boy and Princess out for dinner. I will let them make the call and knowing those 2, they will choose Chipotle which is fine by me ... will have the Boy make the guac here at home to save a few bucks

Wednesday - BLT Inspired Chicken Salad ... it's been a little while since I've made this ...


Thursday - Looking forward to making a Shrimp & Avocado Salad IF the Boy isn't home this evening ... if the recipe is as good as I anticipate, I will so be sharing it!

Friday - Hoping to pick up a large pork butt (or 2) at Winn Dixie on Monday ($1.50 a pound!) and will toss it in the crock pot on Thursday night to make Crock Full of Smoked Pork ... yummm .... need some better pics, I think :-)


Saturday - as always, Hubby's choice ... may offer up some of the pork chops that were picked up at Costco last week ...

What are YOU looking to make this week? Go ahead and check out Organized Junkie's party for more ideas!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sausage and Pepper Packets

We love sausage and peppers and I try to always remember to have some italian sausage links in the freezer ...

AND because we are in the Pantry/Freezer Challenge, it's time to pull out the last package of sausage and cook it up! Just a note, I buy mine from Costco, they come in these four packs and cost about $12 or so for xx pounds.  I would much rather buy fresh made links but haven't been able to find an affordable source to do so, which means, for now, it's Costco.


Anyway.

The sausage and peppers.  The sausage typically will flare up on the grill at some point, usually when we've strolled back to the bar to get a drink and that means charred links. Not so very bad except that if it happens more than twice, they are toast. The onions and peppers are generally spread out on a baking sheet and cooked on the grill.  These will inadvertently get a little charred too, which again, is fine, but I H A T E cleaning that pan when we are done cooking.



So ... when I came across this on Pinterest, I thought, what a no-brainer ... except it won't be charry like Hubby likes it ... but I was wrong! It will be a little charry on the bottom! Yeah!


The best part (besides it tasting pretty good!) is the cleanup:


Open foil (carefully)

Dump contents in large bowl

Mix up bowl

Serve

Toss foil in garbage.

SCORE!

This is perfect for a quick summertime meal!

2 pounds italian sausage, sliced in bite size pieces
2 red peppers, sliced in bite size pieces
2 yellow peppers (really, color doesn't mean anything, just 4 peppers total, ok?), sliced in bite size pieces
2 green peppers, sliced in bite size pieces (ok, this was probably overkill, but I had 'em so I used 'em)
2 onions, go ahead and guess: sliced in bite size pieces. I used vidalias
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper
italian seasoning if you have

Grab a large piece of foil and lay it flat. Do me a favor and spend a few extra pennies and buy the thicker, quality stuff. It won't tear and it will hold the heat way better. Plus, that cheap stuff sometimes feels like it has plastic (!!) in it and you certainly don't want to put that over an open flame!

Dump the sausage, peppers, garlic and onion in the middle of the foil (make sure that you will be able to pull the edges together and be able to fold over before you go any further!)

Drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Pull up 2 opposite sides towards the middle together and fold over a few times. Fold the 2 open sides in a few times to seal closed. NOTE: I put the onions on the bottom thinking that would be good for them to get carmalized, but in the end, they pretty much just melted away, so next time I'm putting the sausage down first :-)

IF you are like me, realize that you should have made a little bit bigger square of foil, so tear off another large piece and just wrap on way (opposite of the seams), just to be safe.

Place on preheated grill over medium heat and let sit for about 30-45 minutes or so. After 30 minutes, remove from heat and carefully open to check the sausage for doneness.  I opted to let mine cook for a total of 60 minutes, after 45 minutes, I put the foil pack on a baking sheet and opened the foil to let some of the liquid evaporate out ... it also helped to make everything a lovely brown.

Once cooked to your preference, serve as a sandwich or be like me and just eat it plain with a sprinkle of fresh grated parmesan cheese (no thank you, Grains).

Now. Some people say it must have red sauce. Other's say no way! I like to have a smooth marinara sauce on the side, not drowning the stuff. So go ahead, if that's the way you like it, heat up some marinara sauce while the packet is cooking. I generally have a jar or two in the pantry!

This was really a pretty simple meal to cook and didn't require ANY hands on cooking time. Generally, when cooking italian sausage, you need to stay close by the grill for those pesky flare ups ... not this time!

Enjoy!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these great parties ... make sure you check them out! Wake Up Wednesday,  Instagram Blog Hop, Pin Worthy Wednesday, Wake Up Wednesday, Hump Day Happenings, Wednesday Roundup, My Stay At Home Adventures, Wonderful WednesdayHearth & SoulFluster Buster Creative Muster,  Show Me What Ya GotWhat's Cooking WednesdayIts a Party!Works For Me WednesdaySugar and Spice, Hump Day Happenings, Waste Not Want Not,  Wake Up WednesdayWhatever Goes WednesdayWednesday WhatsitsReal FunWork It WednesdayLovely Ladies, Weekly CreativeDomestic SuperheroAll Things ThursdayThe Weekly CreativeTogether on Tuesday, Tasty ThursdayFull Plate ThursdayCreate It ThursdayFabulously Frugal ThursdayCrafty Thursday Obsessions, Thrifty Thursday,  Showcase Your TalentThink Tank ThursdaySimple Lives Thursday, What To Do Thursday, No Rules Weekend Bloghop, Foodie Friday, Fabulous FridayGet Real Frugal FridayFrugal FridaysFreakin Did It Friday, Pure Blog LoveFeature FridayThe Pin JunkieFreedom FridayFriday FavoriteFoodie Friday, A peek into my paradiseWeekend SocialFoodie Friends FridayCelebrate It!,  Weekend RetreatWhat’s Shakin Weekend PotluckGet Him Feed Anything Goes,  Lil Luna Link PartyFoodie Friday, Foodie Friends Friday, Weekend PotluckTGI Friday Friday with FriendsSimple Living Foodie FridayInspirationsWeekend Wander,  Saturday Night Fever, A Bouquet of TalentThe Party BunchShow Off Saturday, I Gotta CreateShow Off WeekendShow Stopper SaturdaySweet and SavoryThe Weekend CreativeWeekend PotluckWill Cook For SmilesStrut Your Stuff Saturday,  Super Saturday Show & TellSunday Features,  Potluck PartySunday ShowcaseSnickerdoodle SundaySundae ScoopSuper Sunday, G’Day, Sunday’s BestMop It Up MondayMerry MondayCreative MondayThe ScoopMelt In Your Mouth Monday, Pinch of JoyPin It Party,  Made By You MondayHunk of Meat Monday,  What’d You Do This Weekend,  Making It CuterTime To Sparkle, Inspire Me MondayMealtime MondayTime To SparkleMakin You Crave MondayClever Chick, Motivational Monday,  Mix it Up Monday,  Save Money MondayMonday Funday, Anything Goes Monday, Making Monday, Lou Lou GirlsInspire Me Monday, Marvelous MondayIn and Out of the Kitchen, MemoriesTasty TuesdaysTuesdays At Our HomeHow To TuesdayHandmade TuesdayMaking a HomeShow Me The GoodsTotally Tasty TuesdayAll My Bloggie Friends, Retro Repin (Pinterest linkup) Share Your Stuff TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowFat TuesdayPenny Pinching PartyThe Gathering SpotAnti-Procrastination Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Two Cup Tuesday, Create, Link, Inspire, The Makers, Wow Me Wednesday, Create and Shareloa, Best of the Weekend

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Breaking the Pantry/Freezer Challenge - Costco Trip!

Yes, I suppose it's best to say that the Pantry / Freezer Challenge is O V E R ... as much as I hate to say it ...

We did clean out a lot from the Pantry ... and quite a bit from the Freezer ... although Hubby would disagree ... and the money NOT spent on food this past month has helped me assist my sister who was in a bad place and hopefully, my boost of cash in her direction has gotten her on steady ground where she will feel confident to continue forward (just a side note, I'm well aware of what it feels like to have NO money and NO where to turn ... I've been dirt poor and I've been well off ... and I will never let someone who means a lot to me be dirt poor, if I can help them alleviate some of the stress, financially, I will)

So. I took a day off in the middle of the week. Hubby and I were originally going to do a boating day mid-week ... but then he got swamped, we found out it was mini-lobster season and well, I said NO I'm not giving up my day off. So, I made a hair appointment (!NOT frugal at all!) and went to Costco .. wheeeee!  It was one expensive day and I asked my boss (not so) jokingly if he offered overtime pay ;-)

A few things on my list were NOT bought due to price or various other reasons ... but I still spent more than I wanted to. Also, we still do NOT have Avocado oil ... my Costco person had no idea that any other Costco outside Canada had it ... told him to go look on Instagram!

So, no avocado oil was bought, but here's what I DID buy:

TP $15.99
Dawn dish soap $9.69
6 pack cartons egg whites $9.59 (for Hubby who thinks the yolk irrate him AND a test drive on something I'm making)
4 pack of Wholly Guacamole $11.69 less $2 (sadly, I have a LOT in the freezer already)
2 gallons of 2% milk $2.89 each
35 count bottles Zephyerhills water $4,39 (back to boating season and my reusable water bottles are sufficient for a long day out)
twin a\pack Oat Square cereal $7.39 (Boy and Hubby)
boneless pork chops $13.42 (they were like $2.39 a pound!)
150 or so paper plates $13.59 (again, summer, boating, lots of outdoor entertaining)
Tall oscillating fan $39.99 (for Hubby/garage/patio/mosquito control)
paper towels $15.79
54 count Dunkin Donuts Kcup $33.99 (this was to appease Hubby after the shopping trip)
2 pk grey poupon $6.99
36 count (I think) fig bars $10.99 (kids and Hubby, whole wheat, Non GMO, blah blah blah)
huge bag of organic toritilla chips $4,99
large bag of Boom Chicka Popcorn $4.99 less $1.50
twin pack of large baking sheets $10.99 (total impulse buy but have used both already tonight!)
3 pk mouth wash $7.59
5 pk artisan romaine lettuce $4.49
3 pk of deodorant $16.99 (usually $8 a pkg)
15 pk of greek flavored yogurt $13.99 less $4
2 pkgs 2 pounds french green beans $4.79 each
large package of spirng mix salad $4.49
Better than Beef bouillon $6.39 (they don't carry the cartons any longer??)
3 dozen xtra large eggs $6.99
2 quarts half and half $1.89 each
pkg of cooked bacon $10.49 (drats, the price went up again)
twin pk of greek yogurt $6.99
3 pk of Aidelle Chicken sausage $13.99
bag of chocolate covered fruits (blueberries, cranberries, cherries) $9.69 (impulse)
grilled chicken ravioli $9.79 less $2.50 coupon
String cheese $8.29 (hey, the price went DOWN!)
Trail mix $12.99
5 pk of avocados $4.89
2 3 lb bags of broccoli florets $5.49 (price is creeping up)
twin pack of sliced mozzarella $7.49
4 pounds of organic ground beef $21.99
bag of lemons $7.79 (yeah. Been without lemons for about 2 weeks!)

Grand total? Way more than I wanted ... $419.11

Oh. Then I stopped in the liquor store to buy some tequila and Cointreau ... only bought the Cointreau at $24.99...figured I have plenty of tequila and no need to spent $35 this day ...

Have you been to Costco lately??


* that side note up there? I think my point I was trying to make without bringing the whole story to light is that IF I know someone is hurting and will keep hurting because they can't see HOW to dig out of the hole they are in, I will help ... it's what I do because I'm able to and I want to.  I know how much money it cost to move in to an apartment and that's a horrible feeling when you only have a few dollars in your pocket and your payday is still a week away. The KEY is to remember, it's NOT a loan and never expect repayment. If you do get any repayment, yeah! But if you don't, it was given as a gift to help you get in a better place  *

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Menu Plan Week 135 - Using What We Have

Hi ... it's that time again!  My "not so" favorite time of the week ... mostly because it's Sunday and tomorrow means another 5 days of work! Ick. I'm so over that! But for now, it is what it is.

I stayed out of the grocery store for TWO weeks! Amazing! Well, not so much, because I have been on a Pantry/Freezer Challenge which is sort of making some progress ... the pantry is certainly looking better ... BUT when I did go to the stores, I made up for missing a week. I stopped at Aldis and spent $23 (produce, breads and cheese) and then I stopped at the Produce Store and picked up spaghetti squash, mini peppers, zucchini, brussel sprouts and THEN it was my very LEAST favorite store: Albertsons.  I knew that I would totally stick to my list, if even that as the store here is just yucky. I went to get the 69 cents a pound chicken thighs, $1.69 chicken breast and the $5.99 a pound bone in rib eye steaks. Ended up spending $65 ... so between my 3 store stops, I spent a little less than $100. I guess that's not so bad considering I didn't shop last week.

The menu plan was so so last week. Ok, lets be honest. It was a failure on may levels. Hubby ended up traveling at the last minute and we went out for dinner on Monday, the kids took me out Tuesday and Hubby and I went again on Wednesday when he got home (I picked him up late at the airport and we were both starving).  So yeah, the week sucked as far as Menu Planning went ...

There was NO food prep done on Sunday as I had a big typing job to finish up over the weekend :-( Food Prep or Extra Money ... hmmm ... it's a real hard choice, honestly. But, really, I needed to get this job done and out as I didn't want it hanging over my head (my attorney's I work for will occasionally give my name out to other attorneys when they have big typing jobs because I'm fast and know the proper formatting for legal documents (this last project? 150 pages, in case you were wondering) ...

Hubby is waffling back and forth about whether or not he's traveling this week. He has some stuff to take care of here as well as another city and just can't make up his mind...if he DOES travel, I'm in big trouble as I've got protein defrosting in the fridge!

So here's what I've got planned for the week:

Sunday - Italian night ... been awhile so I'll make some red sauce (sausage from freezer) and balance of ingredients from pantry, pasta in pantry, I have a wedge of parmesean in fridge and will finish up the dinner rolls from the freezer. Most likely will have leftover sauce to stash in freezer for future dinner This evening was all about leftovers. Just Hubby and I and well, I was typing, he was doing email for work and we just grabbed out the chicken from Friday and the steak from last night. Truthfully? I had a small plate of nachos to use up some of the salsa I made last week ... not exciting whatsoever!

Monday - Sausage and Peppers in foil packets. New recipe, sort of excited to see if it works as good as the old fashion way :-) ... sausage from freezer, onions and peppers from fridge. Will most likely either use a french bread loaf or dinner rolls from the freezer and cheese from the fridge for those who want sandwiches. Me? I'll serve mine over some shredded cabbage

Tuesday - Beef Barbacoa ... I'm excited to make this again! I picked up a roast for $2.99 a pound at Albertson on Friday specifically for this ... the roast was way less than ground beef would cost ... sadly ...balance of ingredients in the pantry and fridge and I will offer up shredded cabbage (fridge) to go along instead of lettuce since I'm limited on lettuce. Uhm, now that I look, I also am out of beer ... any kind of beer that would be suitable for this ... hmmm, wonder if I could use Funky Budda Floridian?  And yes, there will be a margarita or two offered up to those who'd like one (*just a note,the boy should be going to Fresh Market for me to pick up the $2.99 a pound ground beef)


Wednesday - So I had to re-do the plan a little as the Boy decided he wanted to make dinner this evening (at least he tells me a few days in advance!) ... he's making Southwest Hamburgers ... something he's been thinking about, and like he said, he DOES work in a Mexican restaurant! Beef in freezer, buns in pantry (may need to re-evaluate) and he said he'd pick up anything else needed. Cool ...

Thursday - Ahem. 4 Way Chili ... we didn't get around to this yet again and well, THIS week is THE week to make it again! Chili in freezer, balance of ingredients in fridge and pantry. Will use leftover pasta from Sunday night and spiralize the zucchini for myself


Friday - I'm really NOT sure at this point what I want to make this night :-) I might just leave it up to Hubby and maybe lean towards leftovers?

Saturday - Hubby's choice, as always ... he's pretty good about using what we have on hand ;-)

What are YOU making this week? I'm looking forward to sharing over at Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday party ... go check it out!


Monday, July 20, 2015

4-Way Chili

We have a place down the street from us (well, over the bridge, around the corner and THEN down the street) called Skyline Chili.

Oh? You've heard of it, have you?

So ... it's not that I'm a 'fan' of the chili so much as the little coney dogs that are loaded sky high with the finely shredded cheese and onions ... oh yummm .... but ... Hubby and everyone else always, always gets the chili, 4-way ... and it's not inexpensive, all things considering.

So when I have leftover chili, I try to re-create my the leftovers in to a whole different meal ... and this is one of the things I do (the other is Chili Cheese Dogs, of course!)

Four Way Chili is really simple:

Layer 1 -spaghetti (or you can do like me and use spiralized zucchini)


Layer 2 - chili (and this recipe is a chocolate based, beanless chili so it's perfect)


Layer 3 - finely shredded cheddar cheese

Layer 4 - finely diced onions

Now, the restaurant serves theirs on a platter.

Me? Way easier in a bowl!


Go ahead and give it a try! You'll like it, I promise!!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these great parties ... make sure you check them out! Wake Up Wednesday,  Instagram Blog Hop, Pin Worthy Wednesday, Wake Up Wednesday, Hump Day Happenings, Wednesday Roundup, My Stay At Home Adventures, Wonderful WednesdayHearth & SoulFluster Buster Creative Muster,  Show Me What Ya GotWhat's Cooking WednesdayIts a Party!Works For Me WednesdaySugar and Spice, Hump Day Happenings, Waste Not Want Not,  Wake Up WednesdayWhatever Goes WednesdayWednesday WhatsitsReal FunWork It WednesdayLovely Ladies, Weekly CreativeDomestic SuperheroAll Things ThursdayThe Weekly CreativeTogether on Tuesday, Tasty ThursdayFull Plate ThursdayCreate It ThursdayFabulously Frugal ThursdayCrafty Thursday Obsessions, Thrifty Thursday,  Showcase Your TalentThink Tank ThursdaySimple Lives Thursday, What To Do Thursday, No Rules Weekend Bloghop, Foodie Friday, Fabulous FridayGet Real Frugal FridayFrugal FridaysFreakin Did It Friday, Pure Blog LoveFeature FridayThe Pin JunkieFreedom FridayFriday FavoriteFoodie Friday, A peek into my paradiseWeekend SocialFoodie Friends FridayCelebrate It!,  Weekend RetreatWhat’s Shakin Weekend PotluckGet Him Feed Anything Goes,  Lil Luna Link PartyFoodie Friday, Foodie Friends Friday, Weekend PotluckTGI Friday Friday with FriendsSimple Living Foodie FridayInspirationsWeekend Wander,  Saturday Night Fever, A Bouquet of TalentThe Party BunchShow Off Saturday, I Gotta CreateShow Off WeekendShow Stopper SaturdaySweet and SavoryThe Weekend CreativeWeekend PotluckWill Cook For SmilesStrut Your Stuff Saturday,  Super Saturday Show & TellSunday Features,  Potluck PartySunday ShowcaseSnickerdoodle SundaySundae ScoopSuper Sunday, G’Day, Sunday’s BestMop It Up MondayMerry MondayCreative MondayThe ScoopMelt In Your Mouth Monday, Pinch of JoyPin It Party,  Made By You MondayHunk of Meat Monday,  What’d You Do This Weekend,  Making It CuterTime To Sparkle, Inspire Me MondayMealtime MondayTime To SparkleMakin You Crave MondayClever Chick, Motivational Monday,  Mix it Up Monday,  Save Money MondayMonday Funday, Anything Goes Monday, Making Monday, Lou Lou GirlsInspire Me Monday, Marvelous MondayIn and Out of the Kitchen, MemoriesTasty TuesdaysTuesdays At Our HomeHow To TuesdayHandmade TuesdayMaking a HomeShow Me The GoodsTotally Tasty TuesdayAll My Bloggie Friends, Retro Repin (Pinterest linkup) Share Your Stuff TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowFat TuesdayPenny Pinching PartyThe Gathering SpotAnti-Procrastination Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Two Cup Tuesday, Create, Link, Inspire, The Makers, Wow Me Wednesday, Create and Shareloa, Best of the Weekend