Tag Archives: meals

homemade bread

1 May

Holy moly, I actually did it. If you haven’t read my previous post, then let me fill you in quick. Or you can also scroll down and just read it. But basically I’m setting out to make some different decisions for my family. This is a NEVER ENDING battle for me and something I think I’m always going to struggle with. FOOD. I’ve struggled with food since I was in high school, really. I mean, really, really, really struggled with it through college. BUT, that’s for another blog post. I don’t struggle with it in those ways anymore, but my health, finding a balance and making good decisions is a constant battle for me.

For all of us, right? I know I’m not alone.

So I’m setting out to try to set myself up for success. So I took a few hours on Sunday and set it aside to COOK. And man alive, I DID IT. I cooked FOUR loaves of bread. Yes, FOUR. I made two loaves of white sandwich bread (the recipe will be below) and I made two loaves of Amish Friendship bread. If you’ve never had Amish Friendship bread, hit me up and I’ll pass some to you in ten days. OMG YUM. I cooked about three pounds of shredded chicken to have on hand, I cut up ALL my fruits and veggies for the week, I made breakfast cookies, no-bake energy bites, quinoa and rice to have on hand. I stocked and prepared my fridge for this week and I am SO proud of myself. Carving out three to four hours to do all of that was a huge discipline for me. But it was super energizing because now I can confidently make quick breakfasts and lunches for us. And this week has been SO MUCH EASIER in that regard. Usually I run through Chickfila because I don’t have time to cook during the lunch hour. It’s just easier to grab stuff out. But this time I’m prepared. So I’m going to work hard to make this a new habit for myself. It’s a constant discipline in my life. And it makes it harder that cooking isn’t my most favorite thing to do. But I do feel more confident as meal time approaches because I’ve prepared my meals and I can know with full certainty that my kiddos aren’t eating checmicals and preservatives.

Praise God.

I’ve had a few people ask me for the homemade bread recipe that I used. I never realized how EASY making homemade bread was!! Time consuming, but easy. This recipe made one loaf for now and one to freeze for later. So I’m hoping to do a huge bread making day soon and so I can stock my freezer of bread. Then I won’t have to make it every week. But there’s something very satisfying to me about making your own bread, and I really found it fun! I actually JUMPED up and down (kind of high in the air, actually haha) when my bread came out looking and tasting perfect. I usually ruin stuff in the kitchen. So the fact that this bread is amazing is PROOF that anyone CAN do it. It just takes time, discipline and a DESIRE to actually do it.

Check it out. And leave me any links to recipes you love too! I love to share ideas!

HOMEMADE BREAD

Ingredients

– 2 Cups Warm Water
– 2 Packets Yeast
– 2/3 Cup Sugar
– 1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
– 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
– 5 1/2 (or a little more) Cups Flour

Directions

1. In large glass bowl dissolve the sugar in the warm water and stir in yeast. Allow to proof about 5-10 minutes until it looks foamy.

2. Mix in salt and oil to the yeast. Mix in flour 1 cup at a time.

3. When dough has formed a ball, knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth (not sticky) about 5 minutes.

4. Wipe down your previously-used glass bowl and oil it well. Place the dough in bowl and turn to coat surface of dough with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray (trust me on this one).  Cover with a towel and put it in a warm area. Allow to rise until it has doubled in bulk.

5. Knead the dough lightly and cut it in half. Shape it into loaves and place into two well oiled loaf pans.  Cover both with sprayed plastic wrap.  Put one loaf in the freezer (more on this loaf later).  Cover the other loaf with a towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

6. Bake your bread in a preheated over at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

7. Let your bread sit for at least 15-30 minutes in the pan after it comes out of oven to finish setting up…then dig in!

8. For the Freezer Loaf:  After about 8 hours, take it out of the freezer, remove it from the pan, wrap it in plastic wrap & then put it in a labeled freezer bag.  It will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.  When you’re ready to use it, unwrap it and put it in an oiled loaf pan directly from the freezer.  Cover with oiled plastic wrap and a towel and put in a warm place for about 3-4 hours.  The dough will thaw and rise at this time.  After that, follow the instructions for baking!

Here’s my picture of my bread just out of the oven!

So fun. I found this recipe on Pinterest, but it was actually from this blog. In her blog post, she details out the cost of the bread versus store bought bread. Check it out. It averages to about $1.00 a loaf. Bread doesn’t need to be complicated, people. And it feels SO much better knowing that you’ve made and eaten something that is actually only five ingredients or so. AND that you can pronounce them. I can’t wait to make more!

So, have at it and HAPPY BAKING!

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macaroni + cheese

12 Jan

I’m making this for dinner tonight and I just had to share it. I found it on Pinterest, which is where I’ve been finding a LOT of new recipes lately. And each one has been a HIT. I know I already have a recipe on this blog for macaroni and cheese, but you could always use more than one, right? Well, I’m a fan. And it’s my blog. So here it is. In all honesty, it’s a GREAT recipe and I was able to make it really quickly. Which is a plus in my crazy insane life. So give it a whirl. I steam some broccoli and actually mix the two together.

Wow I cant wait to have this for dinner to tonight!

Ingredients

– 8oz macaroni, or any smallish tube shaped pasta
– 1 tablespoon butter
– 6 oz evaporated milk
– 6 oz freshly grated cheddar cheese
– 1 egg, beaten
– 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
– 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
– Hot sauce, to taste
– Salt and pepper

Directions

1. Boil the pasta according to package directions, but reduce the cooking time by one minute.  Drain and pour back into the cooking pot.

2. Over medium-low heat, add the butter and stir until melted.

3. Mix the egg, milk, and spices and pour over the pasta.  Stir until it begins to thicken, about three to five minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat then add the cheese in four installments, making sure the first is melted completely before adding the next.

5. Serve immediately.

Mmmmmmmm…….

spaghetti & meatballs

17 Sep

Jason doesn’t really like spaghetti. I love spaghetti. So I rarely make it because I always seem to make a ton of it and we don’t eat a lot of leftovers.

But I found this recipe by Kraft and it’s super easy and really, really yummy! And Jason actually liked it too! I made it with bow tie pasta and the meatballs made the dish. It’s very simple, took virtually no time, and I got my spaghetti fix. You can also make enough meatballs to freeze half of them for another meal- Kraft has all kinds of ideas that you can try!

Try this out- it’s comfort food for me.

Ingredients

1 pkg pasta of your choice- prepare according to directions on package.

2 lb ground beef

1 pkg (6 oz) Stove Top Stuffing Mix

1 1/4 c. water

2 eggs

1 jar (14 oz) spaghetti sauce

2 oz cubed cream cheese

2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

Direction for Meatballs:

1. Heat oven to 400º.

2. Line 2 (15x10x1-inch) pans with foil; spray with cooking spray. Mix ingredients until blended; shape into 32 (1-1/2-inch) balls, using 1/4 cup for each.

3. Place 16 meatballs in each prepared pan. Bake 16 to 18 min. or until done (160ºF)

4. Combine half the meatballs with Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce. Cool remaining meatballs; freeze for later use.

Directions for Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce

1. Mix 1 jar (14 oz.) spaghetti sauce, 2 oz. cubed cream cheese and 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil in large skillet; cook on medium-low heat 3 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

2. Add 16 hot meatballs; stir to evenly coat.

3. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese before serving.

4. Makes 4 servings, 4 meatballs and 1/3 cup sauce each.

The Best Meatballs

sloppy tacos

10 Sep

My best friend Sam came over for lunch a couple days ago. It’s always refreshing to hang out with her. I’ve known Sam for 10 years now and there still isn’t anything better than getting together with her, hanging out, eating good food and laughing. A lot. A lot of laughing.

She came over for her birthday lunch and to also spend some time with Cruz. I wanted to make something that was super yummy, not too heavy, and had me in and out of the kitchen. The most important thing was making sure I spent the afternoon with her- not cooking all day.

So I made this take on a sloppy joe! Once again, it’s a Kraft recipe called Sloppy Tacos. It was such an easy meal to make and it was SO yummy! I got my Fall 2009 Food and Family magazine in the mail, and this is one of the first meals that I’ve tried.

If you want a meal that’s quick for lunch or just for your kids, you can’t really go wrong with this! And it makes great leftovers too!

Ingredients

– 1 lb ground beef

– 1 jar (16 oz) medium chunky salsa

– 1 pkg hamburger buns

– 1 pkg Kraft singles

Directions

1. Brown meat in large skillet; Drain.

2. Stir in salsa and cook until heated through, stirring occasionally.

3. Fill buns with meat mixture and singles.

… three steps?? It’s a no brainer.

Sloppy-Tacos

graham crackers

11 Aug

Cruzer

So Cruz is still not eating ‘adult’ food. He loves his baby food, but not so much on the ‘adult’ food. I’ve tried giving him a lot of different things including: strawberries, blueberries, french fries, tortillas, noodles, the list goes on. He always makes a face, manages to swallow it and won’t eat it again OR he spits it back out making gagging and choking noises.

This is my child.

I have tried not to worry about it too much. I know that he’ll eat ‘adult’ food once he’s ready, and maybe he’s just not yet! That’s totally fine by me. But I do want to make sure that I am doing everything I can to at least try to introduce big people food to him. It’s hard to know what they need, when they need it. Everyone tells me that he will tell me when he’s ready, but I’m not so sure. Part of me thinks he’d be perfectly fine eating baby food until he’s fifteen.

Ok, not really. But it’s still hard to know. Any time he does manage to eat ‘adult’ food, it’s either by a spoon or fork or by me putting it into his mouth. He hardly ever uses his fingers to feed himself. But toys and any other object he can get his hands on? Goes directly into the mouth. So I know he can do it. I put big people food on his tray just about whenever I feed him and it always ends up directly on the floor; even those baby Gerber bites. I’ve tried everything and nothing has worked.

*Sigh*

My mom suggested that I give him some graham crackers. Apparently, I used to LOVE them and I ate them all the time when I was a baby. I still really like graham crackers. So I headed to Fry’s and picked up the Kroger brand of graham crackers (which were $2 less and taste exactly the same!). I was really excited to introduce them to him to see if he liked them.

So later on in the afternoon, when he started getting a little fussy but it was too early for dinner, I busted out the graham crackers. Always afraid of choking, I broke it into pretty small pieces. First I tried handing it to him and he just held onto it while making a face that said This is the most disgusting thing I have ever touched in my entire life. I decided to put the graham cracker into his mouth myself and low and behold- he loved it! He wouldn’t feed himself, but he did manage to eat a whole half of a graham cracker!

I guess it’s a good start. I’ll just keep feeding him big people food until he finally gets it. I’m not sure if it’s a texture thing or a taste bud thing. Maybe it’s both?

It’s hard to know what they need and what they want when they’re this little. The fact is, he can’t always tell me what he needs and when he needs it. Most of the time I have to keep trying until I get it right. I know none of us adults still rely on baby food. Ha! So I know that he will eat ‘adult’ food when he’s ready.

I just wish he would tell me when that’s going to be.

baked chicken with sour cream sauce

30 Jul

I think the title of this post says it all.

Right after we had Cruz, we had the most amazing meals brought to us for, I’m not even kidding, a good 2 months. We have wonderful friends who went completely out of their way to provide meals for us three times a week after he was born. It was such a big help because I had to have a c-section so recovery was little more intense.

A good friend of mine, Susan, brought this dish to us within the first days of bringing him home. She is an amazing cook and I knew that I HAD to have this recipe. I make this often and it’s very simple to make! You can even prep it in the morning and throw it in the oven around dinner time. I just made this the other night and thought that I should share it with everyone.

You will love it. It’s one of my favorites!

Ingredients for the Chicken:

– 4 chicken breasts cut in similar sizes

– 1/2cup – 1cup fresh or dried bread crumbs (seasoned with salt,
pepper, a little paprika & garlic)

– melted butter

– 1 medium yellow onion cut into sixths

Directions:

1. Dip the chicken into the melted butter (just enough to moisten- not too much)
and roll both sides in bread crumbs

2. Place chicken in a baking dish and add onions chunks in between

3. Sprinkle some bread crumbs on the onion pieces

4. At this point you can cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours or
bake at 375 for nearly an hour

Ingredients for Sour Cream Sauce: 

– 1 cup sour cream
– 1 TB flour
– salt/pepper (to taste)
– some of the remaining bread crumbs
– milk (use for desired consistency)

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, heat sour cream over medium low heat
2. Stir in flour, salt, pepper and bread crumbs until thickened
3. Add milk to thin until it’s the thickness you want
4. Serve over or on the side of the chicken

…. You’ll make this often… trust me…