Friday, January 25, 2008

Calling All Cooks- Or not

Since we had a baby in the fall and then launched into the holidays, My lack of sleep and our crazy lives of ministry and traveling had gotten us into some bad habits. One of those bad habits was eating out. Once the meals stopped coming from church and my mom's club (which by the way was wonderful, they just kept them coming and coming). It seemed that it was always time for Chloe to eat when I should have been cooking or whatever so since it was so easy, Adam would run and grab something and so the story goes... Well as most everyone knows, this is not good for our health nor my budget. And since I'm trying to play catch up to cover the cost of all the hospital stays and every item that we owned breaking last year, I have banned eating out at least for a little while. One day, I'd like to compile a recipe book of easy recipes and call it, "Spend Your Time With Your Kids Not In the Kitchen" because I've kind of become the queen of what I call "fake baking" and I'm not talking about the tanning bed. I have compiled a few recipes that make me look like I'm a fairly decent cook when in fact, I'm horrible at it. But, the few recipes that I have are slowly burning us out. I burnt Adam out on spaghetti before we were even married. If I find something that I can cook that doesn't taste horrible, I tend to run it in the ground. Anyway, this is what I would like us to do: In the comments, leave your easiest, my family loves it recipe. Casseroles, crock pot meals, anything; even cooking tips! If you have time, leave more than one. Then, hopefully we all can help each other out! I' ll come back later and leave the ones that work for me. And believe me, if I can cook it, anyone can!



Alexis said...

The crock pot definitely makes that type of thing really easy, you can basically throw anything together in there and leave all day then just serve it up.

If you go to, they have the best website for that kind of thing too...lots of people looking for easy and delicious recipes that they share, you can find pretty much everything. Definitely a website to bookmark!


Melissa said...

Kraft has the best recipes for this (coming from a mom with an 8 month old)! Here are a couple of my recent finds that we love:

Country Salisbury Steak
prep: 10 min. total: 35 min.

1 1/2 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1 1/2 cups water, divided
3/4 cup chopped onions
1 pkg. (8 oz.) fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix meat, stuffing mix, 1 1/4 cup of the water and the onions until well blended. Shape into six 1/2-inch-thick oval patties. Place on 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

Bake 25 min. or until cooked through (160 degrees F).

Meanwhile, spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add mushrooms; cook on medium-high heat 5 min. or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add barbecue sauce and remaining 1/4 cup water. Reduce heat to low; simmer 1 to 2 min. or until sauce is heated through. Serve over the patties.

Makes 6 servings.

Taco Bake
prep: 15 min. total: 35 min.

1 pkg. (14 oz.) Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese dinner
1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. (1 1/4 oz.) Taco Seasoning Mix
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup Thick N Chunky Salsa

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare mac and cheese as directed on pkg. While macaroni is cooking, brown meat; drain. Add taco seasoning mix and water to meat; simmer 5 min.

Stir sour cream into prepared mac and cheese. Spoon half of the mac and cheese into 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking dish; top with layers of the meat mixture, 1 cup of the cheese and remaining mac and cheese mixture. Cover.

Bake 15 min. Top with salsa and remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, an additional 5 min. or until cheese is melted.

For extra crunch, top with 1/2 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips along with the salsa and cheese. (This is good topped with lettuce and tomatoes as well.)

Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each.

Both recipes are great as leftovers too! Hope you enjoy these. I'm curious to see what other recipes you get. Sorry they are both beef. I've got some good chicken recipes too if interested.

FYI...I'm a Camp Wiregrass kid that's all grown up like Adam. I love to keep up with the kids on your blog. Tell the Ellis family I said hello.

Mommy of Boys said...

I only do easy meals! One of my new favorites is an EASY cheesey chicken noodle soup....

In a crockpot, put 4 cups of water and a bag of Wyler's chicken noodle soup/soup starter. Stir that up and then put in 3 or 4 uncooked chicken breasts. Let that cook on low for about 6 hours. After the chicken is cooked, pull it out and dice it or shred it into bite-size pieces. (It's so tender, you can cut it with a fork!) Put the chicken back in the crockpot and add 2 more cups water and 1 cup milk. Also add 1 or 2 lbs. Velveeta, cubed. Let that melt and it's done. You can always cook some egg noodles and add that to it.

This is like a casserole in a bowl...such good comfort food and great for company.

Karen Caples Carpenter
(I got to your blog through Gilbert Kerrigan to Adam to you...I went to Auburn in the 90s and remember meeting your husband when he was at Troy, I think.)

Becky said...

give me a couple of days and i'll send you an email with several recipes that are staples for us!

Michael and Hannah said...


Do you all have a Winn Dixie in town? I discovered Winn Dixie's Buy One Get One free deals about a year ago, and since then we've literally shaved $100 a month off grocery expenses. I always just assumed I was doing the cheapest thing doing all my shopping at Wal-Mart. Many grocery stores (like Publix) have buy 1 get 1 free deals, but usually on trivial things like crackers. Winn Dixie has buy 1 get 1 free ground beef or boneless chicken breasts or pork chops... I eagerly await my mailer every Wednesday (or you can look up their weekly deals online). When they have buy 1 get 1 free sales on meats that I use a lot, I buy 2 or 3 packs (getting an additional 2 or 3 for free) and divide the chicken or beef into meal-size portions and freeze. They also often have buy 1 get 1 free bags of potatoes, fresh produce, frozen goods, etc. I plan my meals around the deals! Then I only have to go to Wal-Mart for stuff to round out the meal. It saves a fortune! Also, every once in awhile the Winn Dixie mailer will have a coupon on the front for $5 or $10 off a purchase of $50 or more. Plus you can still use your own coupons, even on sale items. One time they had A1 sauce buy 1 get 1 free so I got 4 bottles (only having to pay for 2). There was a save 55 cents now coupon on each bottle, and the cashier rung up each one, even the ones that came off the free bottles! This system of buying groceries also makes meal-planning easier because I always have the meat staples in the freezer so I don't have as much to mess with when I go to Wal-Mart. Oh, and if Winn Dixie is out of a featured buy 1 get 1 free item, you can go to customer service and get a rain check. Just tell them how many you wanted to buy and the next time you come, you can get those items for buy 1 get 1 free, even if the sale has ended.

The easiest thing I make is lemon/oregano chicken. Melt 2 sticks of margarine in a large glass measuring cup in the microwave. Add 1 cup of lemon juice (from concentrate... you can buy it in a big bottle in the juice aisle). Stir and add garlic salt and pepper. Pour over boneless chicken breasts in a casserole dish. Shake oregano over each piece of chicken. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for approx. 45 minutes. When serving, spoon the hot lemon/butter sauce over the chicken. I always make this with Lipton (now they call it Knorr) butter flavored noodles (found in packets near the mac and cheese). Those noodles are really good when you pour some of the hot lemon sauce on top. I usually round out the meal with green bean casserole, the world's easiest side dish. I use 3 cans cut green beans and 1 can french style green beans with a can of cream of mushroom soup and a little milk. Add salt and pepper and bake at 350 for 15 minutes before adding french fried onions (cheddar flavor adds a lot of taste). I'm enjoying reading recipes from others. This was a great idea!

Anonymous said...

Hey there! I hear ya with the easy meals. They're all I cook. I'll send you an e-mail in a couple days with a couple recipes. Love and miss ya!


Tony & Susan said...

one of our easy nights is mexican night. just brown some ground beef and throw on a taco seasoning packet. cut up a tomato, some lettuce, grab some shredded cheese, salsa, and sour cream and you're ready to go. the tacos usually heat up for about 5 minutes in the oven. tony is usually in charge of this meal because it's so easy (he'll do the meat while i cut up the stuff). it's really quick and relatively healthy! i'll try to come up with some more!

Anonymous said...

hey! forward me those e-mails woman! ;) i am in serious need of help too!!!

i love you.


Melissa said...

Try this site as helps on the grocery bills...

Anonymous said...

Omelet In-a-Bag:

You'll need: Ziplock double zip Freezer bags, stockpot, eggs, omelet fillings (diced ham, onions, peppers, cheese, ground sausage, whatever you fancy)

Go ahead and prepare your fillings (brown the sauage, dice the onions ...)

Fill pot about half full of water and bring to a boil.

Put 2 eggs in one ziplock bag (2 per bag only) add your fillings ... mix it all up and make sure all the air is out before sealing.

Then just plop the bags into the boiling water for 8 min. or until they're cooked to your liking.

That's it! Your done. Just open the bag and slide onto a plate ... you cna also prepare some hashbrowns ahead of time for the side.

This is a great recipe for your kids to help with because they make their own and get to mix it up ... the best part there's really no cleaning up ... just throw the bags away and empty the water! Have fun, let me know if you try it out!

Becky said...

your email has been sent!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dana - Since we've been camping, I have found a few very easy things to cook:

Crockpot Chicken soup:

Chicken (how ever much you want -
either canned, or frozen
chicken tenders boiled on
the stove for 5-6 mins.)
1 can of creamed corn
1 can of tomato soup and/or chicken
1 can of minced tomatoes
English peas or green beans (frozen
Potatoes (canned or fresh - cut
into bite size pieces)
A little parsley (from spice bottle
Some minced onions (from spice

Cut up chicken (if you boil tenders) - I use a biscuit cutter in a bowl. Throw everything in the crockpot and cook on high for about 3 hours or low for about 6-8 hours.

This one is really quick:

Microwave Tilapia

Get the frozen individually wrapped tilapia fish portions (from Sams.) Thaw out in their wrapper in a bowl of water for about 15 mins.

Melt a little (butter - I use Smart-balance) in a glass pie pan in the microwave.

Put two fish portions in the pie pan in the melted butter.

Sprinkle with a little lemon juice, salt, and dill weed.

Cook on each side for about 1 1/2 mins on high.

I usually cut up potatoes while the fish is thawing and then boil them, drain water, then add Smart-Balance and garlic salt.

I also cook brocolli/english peas/or green beans.

Fried Rice:

Cook about 2 cups of Minute Rice

Melt butter or Smart-Balance in very large skillet or wok

Add cooked Minute Rice and some soy sauce - stir fry for a couple of minutes.

Push rice to the side and scramble an egg or two in the skillet.

Stir fry a little more.

Add frozen english peas and cooked and cut up chicken tenders and stir fry for about 2 more mins.

Add extra salt if you want.