Fish in Parchment with Squash, Carrots, Onion & Herbs

Fish in Parchment

This was suprisingly easy to do, but it did take me a little while to put it together. I wraped the fish packets and placed them on a cookie sheet and put them in the fridge. When I came home they were ready to pop in the oven and it was great having the whole meal in one spot. Just serve each person a packet. :)


1 Yellow Squash, sliced thin (i used a mandolin for everything)
1 Carrot
1 small zuchinni
4 sprigs of thyme
4 sprigs of marjoram
3 green onions or  1/4 onion, sliced
2-3 large filets of fish cut into the size of your palm
salt and pepper
lemon pepper or new orleans seasonings
dash of cayenne pepper, optional for those of us who like a little heat :)
drizzle of olive oil

First, lay out a piece of parchment paper large enough to fill and fold over to seal. Layer items in this order: squash, zuchinni, carrots, green onions, thyme, majoram, salt and pepper.

Then, place the fish on top; sprinkle fish with salt and lemon pepper, cayenne pepper (optional).  Drizzle fish and veggies lightly with olive oil.  Fold over parchment edges and seal well (I found this to be a pain, but just do your best to close it up tight) Bake @ 300 for 25 minutes or until fish is opaque. Serve with brown or white rice.

Starbucks FREE coffee coupon!!

Take the Starbucks Via Challenge (taste test of 2 instant coffees) from October 2 - 5 and get a coupon for a free tall brewed coffee on your next visit as well as a coupon for $1 off any Via purchase.

FREE Cookie Day October 1st @ Mrs Fields

Get a free cookie at participating Mrs Fields locations on October 1st, 2009 from 11am to 1pm.

Free Shipping Today September 30th, 2009 @ Victoria Secret

Victoria Secret Pink Pictures, Images and Photos
Victoria Secret is offering FREE shipping today only using the code FREESHIP during checkout. You can also get 10 panties from the "Pink" line for $25 using the code 10PANTIES.

Thanks, Kathy at $30 Weekly Grocery Challenge!

Chicken And Sausage Gumbo

Chicken Gumbo

This recipe has been in my binder for a while, but I have no idea where it came from. I wish I could give credit to the OP. This is a wonderful recipe. The hardest part is making the roux. Once you get through that, it's a piece of cake.


½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup flour


1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 lb smoked sausage, cut into slices and then halves

3 cloves garlic, chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Creole Seasoning to taste

6 Cups Chicken Broth

1 bay leaf

Chicken legs or thighs, boiled and deboned

1 box or bag of frozen okra

First step, chop up your onions, green pepper, garlic and celery

Next, heat the oil and flour over medium heat; stirring constantly (you are making the roux). Cook slowly until the roux looks like a copper penny.

Add onion, bell pepper, celery and sausage to the pot; cook for a few minutes.

Pour in chicken broth; add seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour; stirring occasionally. Add the chicken when almost done. Serve over rice.

Tip: for thicker gumbo use 1 cup flour and 1 cup of oil.

German Spaetzle Noodles

German Spaetzle Noodles


2 Cups Flour

4 eggs

½ cup milk

1 tsp salt

Few shakes pepper

Mix together all ingredients. Bring a pot of water to a boil; add salt to the water. Place a colander on top of the boiling pot of water. Pour in noodle mixture and press through the holes quickly. Noodles will float to the top when done. It only takes a minute or two to cook. Drain noodles. Serve with butter and parmesan or with gravy.

Pork Schnitzel (Fried Pork Chops)

Fried Pork Chops


Boneless pork chops, or cut the bone off.

Bread Crumbs

2 – 3 Beaten Eggs

Salt and pepper


Heat about 1 inch of oil to fry the chops. In a square dish, mix bread crumbs, pinch of salt and pepper. In a small bowl, beat eggs. Place chops between two pieces of plastic wrap and beat with a pan until thin and flattened. Dip chops into egg mixture and then into breadcrumb mixture. Fry a few minutes on each side until golden; flip chops. When done drain on paper towels. Serve with Brown Gravy or ketchup.

MMMMM! Love me some chops!

Menu Plan Monday 9/28

I am looking forward to this weeks menu. I think we will call it International week and it starts off in Germany to celebrate Octoberfest! Prost everyone.

What do you and your family eat often? Do you have recipes that you make all the time, or recipes your family requests often? You know the ones where your kids either say, "YAY" or, "That Again"!?!?  A few of our favs are tortilla soup, chili, and crock-pot roast, because they are easy and so tasty.

I would love to hear what your family favorites are. You can link up your recipe, or just post a comment on what your family favorite's are. I am looking forward to seeing what other people love.

To see more menu plans check out

Monday – Pork Schnitzel, Spaetzle and brown gravy (Or Rahm Schnitzel as the Hubby calls it)

Tuesday – Crockpot beans and rice (from last weeks menu)

Wednesday – Fish in Parchment with squash, carrots, zuchinni and herbs

Thursday – Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chili Sauce, Refried Beans and Rice (Boil double the chicken to make enough for gumbo on Saturday)

Friday – Leftovers

Saturday – Chicken Gumbo and Rice

Sunday - Hot Wings and French fries

Check out Dining with Debbie's Crock Pot Wednesday's to see tons of Crock-Pot recipes.

Safeway 9/23 – 9/29

Here are a few highlights from this weeks ad. There are lots of produce deals!

Ranchers Reserve Beef chuck blade roast $1.69 lb

Broccoli Crowns $1 lb

Granny Smith, gala or mcintosh apples $1 lb

Fresh Express Salads $1 (selected varieties, spinach, green and crisp)

Pears $1 lb

Eggplant $1 lb

Celery $1 each

Organics carrots $1 each 1 lb bag

Cara Mia Marinated Artichoke Hearts $1 each

Acorn, butternut or spaghetti sauce $1 lb

Pop Tarts $1.49 each wyb 5

~ $1/2 Kellogg's Pop-Tarts, Any 8 Ct. + - 09-13-09 RP

~ .55/1 Kellogg's Pop-Tarts, Any 8 Ct. + - 09-13-09 RP

~ $1/2 Kellogg's Pop-Tarts Any 8 Ct. +, Mix Or Match - Kellogg's Fuel For School

Purchase 10 at the same time and qualify for…

"Kellogg's $10 Fuel For School Rebate. Send 10 UPC And Original Store Receipt For Any Combination Of Kellogg's Cereals, Keebler Product, Sunshine Product, Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Cereal Bar, Kellogg's Special K Cereal Bar, Kellogg's Pop-Tarts Toaster Pastries, Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats Squares, Kellogg's Fruit Flavored Snacks And Any 100 Calorie Right Bites. Products Purchased In A Single Transaction On One Store Receipt Between 7/1/09 And 9/30/09 (Different start date). Postmarked By 9/30/09"

Cost after coupons $3.90 to 9.90 and get back $10 for the Kellogs rebate.

Lipton Pure Leaf individual teas $1

~ .50/1 Lipton PureLeaf Iced Tea, Any flavor of 16 oz Tearpad; Free after coupon doubles

Safeway Brown rice or pinto beans $1

Three Cheese Spinach Ravioli

Three Cheese Spinach Ravioli

The cheese mixture can also be used for stuffed shells or Canelloni. Make the pasta and filling the day prior, to save on time.

1 Pkg frozen spinach, chopped and drained well
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 Cup Parmesean Cheese
½ cup
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt or a few pinches of sea salt
Dash pepper

Place spinach in a clean kitchen towel and squeze the excess water out. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

Make the pasta (recipe follows). Lay down one long strip of pasta and place dollops of cheese on top; make sure to leave a little room between them.

Place top sheet of pasta on top of the 1st sheet. Using the ravioli press, press down lightly to seal raviolis.

Trim the edges with a pizza cutter or ravioli cutter; make sure edges are sealed by pushing on the dough.

Voila! Homemade raviolis! Drop into salted boiling water for about 4 minutes. Be gentle when removing the ravioli from the water. Serve with Oven Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce, Pesto Sauce or just plain olive oil, salt and parmesean cheese.

 Fresh Pasta in a Mixer or Food Processor
2 Cups Flour
3 eggs
1 tsp
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp water

Mix Flour and eggs together. Add salt and mix again. Add oil and water. If dough is too sticky add a little flour. Scrape out of the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface. Add flour if necessary. Knead for a few minutes (2-3). Let rest 20 minutes before putting through the pasta maker. Cut dough into 4 sections and put each section through your pasta maker. If you do not have a pasta maker, roll the dough out and cut into long lasagna like noodles with a pizza cutter. You can also wrap the dough in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for later use.

Food Lion 9/20 - 9/26

ClipperGirl's Saving Spot has more deals at Food Lion.
Here are a few deals worth pointing out:

Food Lion Shredded, Chunk, Sliced 2/$3
-1 off 2 Shredded Cheese FLIP
Final Price 2/$2

Smart Balance Butter Blend Sticks BOGO (Reg Price $3.29)
-$1.50/1 Smart Balance Butter Blend Sticks q 9/13 RP (regional coupon)
Final Price .14

DiGiorno Pizza 2/$11
-$1/1 DiGiorno 12 inch Pizza 6/14SS
-$1/1 DiGiorno Crispy Flatbread Pizza 8/23SS
-$1/1 DiGiorno Ultimate Toppings Pizza q 8/16SS
- $1/1 DiGiorno Pizza FLIP
Final Price $3.50

Food Lion Chicken Breast Halves or Tenders BOGO (Reg Price $12.99)
-$2/1 Bag Food Lion Frozen Chicken breast, tenders, nuggets or patties FLIP
Final Price $4.49

Quilted Northern Bath Tissue 6 double rolls BOGO (Reg Price $4.89)
-$2/2 Quilted Northern or Quilted Northern Ultra Plush Bath Tissue - All You, September 2009
Final Price 2/$2.89

FREE Ice Cream @ Cold Stone Creamery!

FREE 3 oz make a wish creation with donation at Cold Stone Creamery tonight, September 24, 2009, from 5pm to 8pm.

*Gotta love the Fine print...
"Donate and receive a 3 oz. sample of Jack’s Creation served out of a ready-to-love pan in a Like It™ Cup. Valid only during published date and time. While supplies last. No substitutions."

FREE Bear Naked Sample

Sign up here for a free sample of Bear Naked Cereal in Cranberry Raisin, or Banana Nut.

Thanks, Stretching A Buck Blog!

Olay Professional 28 day Pro-X wrinkle cream Sample @ Vocalpoint

Sign up here at VocalPoint to get a FREE 28 day Olay PRO-X wrinkle cream sample. If you are not a member of VocalPoint, you can sign up here.  It is a great program. I get free samples every few months. They even sent me a razor one time!

Thanks, Stretching a Buck Blog

Menu Plan Monday 9/21 – 9/27

The weather is starting to get colder, so it's time to make soup! I choose my meals by what we have on hand and what veggies will go bad first. We participate in a CSA program where we get veggies every week. Sometimes this is great, but I am often grasping for ways to cook some of these strange veggies. This week we received Cabbage, Bok Choy, Kale, White Radishes, tomatoes, squash and chili peppers, so I will be trying to incorporate them all into my recipes this week. Head over to orgjunkie to see other tasty meal plans.

Monday – Chicken, Bok Choy, Zucchini, Carrots & Onions Stir Fry and rice

Tuesday – Crock-Pot Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with stewed tomatoes

Wednesday – Crock-Pot Pinto Beans and Rice Cooker Rice (put 1.5 cups rice in cooker, 3 cups water, hefty pinch salt or two, pepper, 2-3 tbsp olive oil and turn on) and Cornbread

Thursday – Homemade spinach and cheese tortellini

Friday –Tuscana Soup (Olive Garden Soup)

Saturday – Chicken N Dumplings

Sunday - Skillet Pork Chops, squash, steamed new potatoes (place potatoes in steamer bag with salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, grated garlic clove and cook in microwave for about 5-7 minutes)

Crock-Pot Homemade Stewed Tomatoes

We had a ton of tomatoes and I knew they would go bad if I did not do something with them, so I decided to make stewed tomatoes to freeze and use later this Winter when we make lots of stews and soups.

Homemade stewed tomatoes from the slow cooker. Revised from the OP here.


  • 10 Ripe Tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Stalk Celery, chopped
  • 1 Green Pepper, Chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (more or less)
  •   2 bay leaves
  • 3 pinches of sea salt
  •  pinch of pepper


Blanch the Tomatoes: Get a large pot of boiling water going and a bowl of ice water ready. Cut off the stem from the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes a few at a time into the boiling water for 15-20 seconds, then place into the ice water to cool;  immediately peel skin from the tomatoes.

Cut the tomatoes into wedges and place into Crock-Pot with the onions, bell pepper, celery, salt, pepper, sugar, and bay leaves; stir mixture.   Cover and cook on low approximately 8 hours. Remove bay leaves. When cooled, separate into plastic bags to freeze for later use in recipes such as Cowboy Stew, Chili, or a recipe of your choice.

Crock-Pot Pinto Beans (Pinto's) with Brazilian Salsa Vinaigrette

Slow Cooker (Crock-Pot) Pinto Beans and Brazilian Salsa (Vinaigrette)

This is my go to recipe for Pinto's. It's basically fat free and tastes great.


1 bag Dried Pinto Beans, rinsed well and soak overnight.
Fresh Pepper
Water, enough to cover beans by 2 inches
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
*Salt at the end, or use tony's chacherones

  1. Pour beans out onto a flat surface, so you can see if there are any rocks in the beans. Remove any rocks or bad beans; Rinse well in a colander. 
  2. Place beans in the Crock-Pot. Cover about 2 inches over the beans with water. Allow to soak overnight; Drain water.
  3. Fill Crock-Pot back up with water - about 2 inches above beans. 
  4. Add in seasonings. Leave out salt and add during the last hour of cooking or add individually to bowls.
  5. Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours  Serve with 1/2 cup brown rice, and Brazilian Vinaigrette (recipe follows) 
Brazilian Vinaigrette, AKA Brazilian Salsa or Pico de Gallo goes great with this dish!

If you would like to make refried beans, drain the liquid, making sure to reserve a little in case your beans are too dry. In a large pot, heat up a little lard, shortening or oil. When grease is hot drop in beans and smash with a potato smasher until you reach the desired consistency. If beans are too dry add a little bean liquid.

To make black beans: rinse and sort beans. Soak overnight in slow cooker. Drain. Cover with water 2 inches. Add 1 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp dried onion flakes, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, and 1 tsp dried cilantro. Cook on low 6-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

To freeze black beans: Allow beans to cool. Place into storage container, or freezer bags; label and date; and freeze. To use, remove from freezer and thaw in microwave, at room temp or in refrigerator over a bowl. Use in tortilla soup, black bean soup, black bean hummus, mango black bean tostadas, Enchilada Casser-ole!, or your favorite recipe.

My Small Haul Today...Sugar, cereal, and tortillas, oh my!

I headed to Giant Eagle to pick up a few things. The sun crystals sugar subtitute was free and the other items were cheap and we needed them.                
7 boxes sun crystals @ 1.99 used $2 coupons   9/20 SS
Cake mix .89
Chicken broth .56
Beef Broth .76
Cinnamon Sticks on clearance for 1.25
Annatto seasoning on clearance for .75
Total cost $3.46
Next stop, Safeway for cheap, cheap cereal!
They are having a special, buy 4 participating cereals and save $4 instantly, making the boxes $1.50 each
2 boxes cherrios - used (2) .75/1 printable
1 box cocoa puffs - used .75/1 printable
1 box cinnamon toast crunch - used .55/1 printable
Total Cost OOP, .40 for 4 boxes of cereal!

I was able to get a few more boxes of cereal at Target. They are having a Kashi gift card deal; buy 5 get a $5 gift card.

5 boxes of Kashi Cereal, sale price $2.88 - used (5) $1.50/1 printable
Total cost $6.90 and got back $5 Gift Card, 1.90 for 5 boxes of cereal.

Last stop was Superfresh, my least favorite place because of the oh so friendly employees.
They are having a .99 sale when you purchase at least 10 items, mix and match

7 Mission Corn Tortillas .99 - used $1/1
Thomas English Muffins .99
Onion Bagels .99
Breakstones Butter .99
Cream Cheese $1 (not part of the 10 mix and match)
Total cost $3.90

My total for the day was $9.66...not to shabby for a days work. :)

Brazilian Vinaigrette (Brazilian Salsa or Pico de Gallo)

We recently went to a Brazilian Festival and tried some Brazilian food. It was pretty tasty. I expecially liked the Brazilian Vinaigrette which is basically like Pico de Gallo with a few changes. Its very easy to make and goes well with Beans and rice or grilled meats.


2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 green onions, or 4 chives, chopped
1/4 cup white vinegar
drizzle of olive oil or other oil
dash pepper

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. To serve, sprinkle with salt. Serve with black beans or pinto beans and rice, kabobs, or a dish of your choice.

$3 Sara Lee Printable Coupon! HURRY

Sara Lee Pictures, Images and Photos

Thanks Erin @ Jane4girls & Deal Seeking Mom for the heads up on the high value coupon. You can print UP TO 4! Yes I said 4. Just click the back button to keep printing the coupon.

Print $3 off 1 Sara Lee Lunch Meat here

Safeway 9/16 Cheap or Free Cereal

Check out a few good deals at Safeway this week.

Buy 4, save $4, or 1.50 wyb 4

Print coupons here for .75/1 Cocoa Puffs, .55/1 Cinnamon Toast Crunch, .75/1 Cheerios


2 boxes of cocoa puffs = $3

2 boxes of cherrios = $3

Minus (4) .75/1 coupons doubled ($6) and your final cost is FREE!


Weekend Sale – Friday, Saturday, & Sunday ONLY

Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs .99; Final Price .50 each after coupon

~Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs, Any - 08-23-09 SS

Avacados $1


Receive 100 points for education from Campbell's wyb 5 of the following products (it says all campbell's condensed soups, soup at hand, etc are included in the fine print below this print up)

Campbell's condensed soup, chicken or tomato .50 each

Pepperidge Farm goldfish crackers $1.67

Prego Pasta Sauce $1.67

V8 Fusion $2.99


Safeway Select Pizza's $3.99



If I wrote a note to God ~ a song by Charise and Prayer for a Friend

Thanks to MommySnacks and to the OP @ Signs, Miracles, & Wonders for posting the following video.

The singer, Charise, was on Oprah and belted out this glorious song. When I heard it on Mommysnacks website, it was one of those touching earth moving songs and I hope someone else finds it enlightening.

Also, I would like to ask for prayers for a few friends of ours, the Jones', who just lost their twin babies. The bad news has been heartbreaking for this family, because they have been trying all measures to have a baby and were so excited when she found out she was having twins. She was 20 weeks pregnant and her water broke. The babies held on, but the first passed away yesterday and the second twin passed today. I pray she finds peace and healing.


Simple & Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce

Simple & Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce

This recipe will cover 2 medium pizza's. Feel free to double if you like your pizza extra saucy!

1 Can Regular Diced tomatoes, san marzano tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes
1 Clove Garlic, grated
Drizzle of Olive Oil
2 Basil Leaves, snipped up into pieces
Pinch Sea Salt

Drain tomatoes. Place tomatoes into a large bowl and squish with your hands until they are crushed. Add in garlic, salt, oil and basil and squish some more (you know you like doing this part!) Thats all there is to it!
Place on your pizza dough and cook as directed.

5 inserts in this weekends paper

Go pick up a few newspapers today, 9/13. Its definitly worth while,
since you get 5 inserts in todays paper!

Chadwick's save $25 code

Save $25 off a $75 purchase useing code Ch25off75

Sent from my iPhone

Xlarge pizza at papa johns for only $10.99

Get a x-large one topping pizza for only $ 10.99! Use code 91109A
expires 9/25/09

Sent from my iPhone

Menu Plan 9/14 – 9/20

I like to do a lot of things ahead when I can, such as make meatballs, meatloaf or marinate chicken in freezer baggies, so I can save time in the evening. Afternoons are always such a mess because of homework and the kids wanting to play outside. When I can cut out time and mess (and believe me, I am a messy cook!) from dinnertime, it is well worth the extra effort. Here are some things I do to save time and money:

When I find ground beef for under $1.50lb I buy about 6 to 10 lbs of it and then within 24 hours I get to work. I ration it into portions of meatballs, meatloaf, shaped hamburger patties separated by wax paper, taco or spagetti meat. The meatballs get cooked before freezing, so that they basically only get reheated. Once cooked, they are frozen on the baking sheet and thrown into a freezer baggie. The meatloaf is frozen into small loaves on a baking sheet and then once frozen I place them into a freezer baggie. The taco meat is cooked in a pan with onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and when cooled I separate into portions in freezer bags. Always label your baggies, or you will find yourself starring at your mystery food wondering what in the world this strange concoction is.

For Chicken Breast I do something similar. I cut up chicken breasts into chicken pieces for stir-frys. Cut the chicken into thin, larger pieces for grilled chicken sandwiches and place them directly in the freezer with the marinade. I also separate and marinade for santa fe chicken breast pieces (I will blog about this recipe later on…its delightful!) If you feel up to it its also great to have shredded chicken on hand as well. Throw chicken pieces in enough water to cover the chicken and boil for about 30 minutes to an hour. Keep the broth for later use. Remove chicken and shred. Store chicken in freezer baggies for later use in enchiladas, soups, or casseroles.

Enough chatter from me….here is my menu plan for this week of September 14 - see more enlightening recipes and ideas check out orgjunkie to see what other people are cooking up for din din!

Monday ~ Meatloaf, Mashed potatoes (make double batch for Wednesday), & corn

Tuesday ~ Individual Turkey/Chicken Pot Pies (make double pie crust recipe. For filling mix together frozen veggies, cooked chopped up turkey or chicken, cream of chicken, garlic powder, pinch salt, pepper, dash milk)

Wednesday ~ Meatballs, mashed potatoes, ikea graddass cream gravy, lingonberry sauce

Thursday ~ leftovers or optional meal; make easy no mushroom beef stroganoff (using leftover cream gravy from Wednesday) & egg noodles

Friday ~ Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry & Rice (cut up chicken was marinated in a freezer bag with teriyaki sauce, honey, garlic, salt, pepper, ginger, soy sauce when I bought it super cheap… throw them back into the freezer and pull them out as needed)

Saturday ~ Grilled BBQ Chicken, tomato salad (Place chicken in caserrolle dish with about 1 inch of water mixed with liquid smoke. Sprinkle chicken with seasonings such as adobo, seasoning salt, garlic powder, and paprika. Bake on 350* for 30 min in oven, then place on grill for a few minutes on each side to get that grill flavor and to glaze the bbq sauce)

Sunday ~ Margarita Pizza with Buffalo Mozzarella, simple & fresh tomato pizza sauce, and basil (for a quicker meal, use a refrigerated pizza dough)

90% off Gift Certificates @

Check out this great deal from They are offering 90% off their already low priced certificates. This is just mad crazy! I bought a few last year at 90% off for just cents on the dollar. Just enter the code NINETY in the promo code box when checking out and see your total go way down.

If you are unfamiliar with they sell discounted gift certificates you can print from any computer when logged into your account. You redeem the gift certificate by giving it to your server. Its that easy. They do have several fine print restrictions, such as you can only use one gift certificate a month at the same restaurant and they have a minimum purchase requirement. For example, a $25 gift certificate sells for $1 after the code, with a minimum purchase of $35. Your out of pocket expense should be about $11 if you can keep your total right at $35. What a DEAL!

No Fuss Shepherd’s Pie

This is for a double batch. If you only want to make one 9 * 13 cut the ingredients in half.


3 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
Salt and Pepper
2 packages of steam fresh frozen mixed veggies or 1 pkg mixed veggies (carrots, green beans, peas, or whatever you like)
5 – 6 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 - 1/3 cup ketchup

Brown ground beef in dutch oven or large pot; Drain. Place ground beef back into the pot and add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the frozen mixed veggies. Add Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and mix well. Place half of meat mixture in the bottom of a 9 X 13 casserolle dish. Drop mashed potatoes on top of meat mixture in dollops and then spread out evenly. Sprinkle the top of potatoes with cheddar cheese. Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes.


5 lbs russet or red potatoes
1/2 stick butter
sour cream
1/4 - 1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper
clove garlic, grated (optional)

Peel Potatoes, chop in half and then into cubes. In a large pot bring water to a rapid boil. Add the potatoes and cook 20 -30 minutes or until fork tender. Drain Potatoes and place back into pot. Add 1/2 stick of butter, about 1/4 cup milk, a few pinches of salt and pepper, a few large dollops of sour cream and mix using a hand held mixer until smooth and fluffy. Taste potatoes and add salt or milk as needed.

Tomato Salad

Tomato Salad

Tomato Salad is great for using up your abundance of summer tomatoes. It is quick and easy and the best tastes great!

2-3 Ripe Tomatoes
Drizzle of Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic, chopped or grated (prepared works fine)
Sea Salt
Splash of red wine or balsamic viniger
2-3 Basil Leaves, roll up and snip with kitchen shears

Slice tomatoes thinley and place in a serving dish. Grate garlic over tomatoes. Sprinkle with sea salt. Drizzle with olive oil and add a small splash of red wine or balsalmic vinigar. Add the basil leaves and toss tomatoes.
You can also add cucumbers and onions to make it even better. :)

Jen’s Chili with Chili Peppers, Jalapeno’s and Fresh Tomatoes

This is great for chili dogs, or for plain old chili on those chilly days. The Hub’s said it was my best chili yet! I think I agree with him.
Serve it with cheddar cheese, and sour cream on top and corn bread on the side.

Chili with Chili Peppers, Jalapeno’s and fresh tomatoes
1 Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
3 Carrots, shredded - tip: use food processor to chop finely
1.5 lb ground beef
2 Red Chili Peppers, these are not spicy (optional), chopped
1 Jalapeno (optional), seeded and chopped
4 tomatoes, pureed in blender or food processor
Large Can Tomato Sauce
Chili Powder, about 3 Tbsp
Cumin, about 1 Tbsp
1 -2 Palm full Corn Meal to thicken up
Dash of Sugar, about 1 tbsp
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3-4 shakes of jalapeno hot sauce and regular hot sauce
Can chili beans (ranch style beans), undrained
Can Kidney Beans, undrained

Brown Onions until golden in a hot pan drizzled with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add hefty pinch of sea salt to onions and brown for approx 5 minutes. Add carrots and brown another 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili peppers, and jalapenos. Add in the ground beef. Break up ground beef with a potato masher to ensure small pieces of meat in your chili. After the meat is cooked, push to the side of pan and add the pureed fresh tomatoes. Cook for another few minutes. Add tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, hefty pinch of salt, dash of sugar, pinch cayenne pepper, jalapeno sauce, beans, and a few cups of water. You want the chili to be somewhat watery at this point because you will add water and reduce. Taste chili at this point to see if it needs more salt, chili powder, or cumin. Simmer for about an hour to reduce liquid. Add more water and reduce again for even better flavor.
For even deeper flavors, place chili in crock-pot and let simmer on low until ready to serve. Serve with cheddar cheese and sour cream on top and iron skillet corn bread on the side.

Free Chicken Sandwich @ Chick-fil-A on Labor Day

Wear your favorite sports team logo shirt to Chick-fil-A today, September 7, and receive a free Chicken Sandwich from 10:30 am to close.

My Very First Menu 9/7 - 9/13

It seems to be all the rage to have a weekly menu on your blog, so I figured what they heck...i cook everyday maybe someone would enjoy seeing what we eat. I know I love reading other blogs weekly menu's. I am hoping to get on this week and update these recipes, so bare with me.

To view other great menu plans from my fellow bloggers, check out

Monday 9/7 - Chili Dogs
Tuesday 9/8 - Chili with Cornbread use the leftover chili from Monday
Wednesday 9/9 - No Fuss Shephard's Pie
Thursday 9/10 - Meatballs with Cream Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Friday 9/11 - Crock-pot pork roast, add carrots and potatoes
Saturday 09/12 - Hamburgers, squishy squash, fresh okra, foil potatoes
Sunday 9/13 - Steaks, Baked Potato (poke a few holes in potatos with a fork, drizzle potatoes with olive oil, rub heavily with sea salt, bake 350* for 1 hour), Tomato Salad

Tip: I try to do extra things each day to get ready for the next days meal. For instance, if chopping an onion for today's meal, and you need them for tomorrows as well, go ahead and chop extra and store it for the next days meal. It saves you time and clean-up.

Oven Baked Jalapeno Peppers or Poppers

 Oven Baked Jalapeno Peppers or Poppers: Warning! These are REALLY spicy!

I had some jalapeno poppers at a party and they were so good, so I decided to create a recipe from the multitude of recipes online; adjusting it to meet what I was looking for. I was wanting them to be baked instead of fried, because lets face it, they are already pretty fattening, so why make them worse. A friend of ours had a BBQ and I brought these - they were a HUGE hit! Everyone thought they were delicious (especially me :) Seriously...I could not stop eating them.


13-15 jalapenos (9-10 oz), cut in half and membranes/seeds removed
1 - 8oz package cream cheese, room temperature
3 dashes of jalapeno hot sauce (regular Tabasco is okay too)
1 Cup Mexican Blend cheese
1 tsp prepared chopped garlic (the refrigerated kind), or 1 clove grated
3/4 tsp salt or 1 tsp coarse sea salt
10 twists fresh black pepper, or 1/4 tsp ground pepper
3 Tablespoons Butter, melted
1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

**Cut the tops off the jalapenos and slice in half. Remove seeds and membranes from the peppers; rinse peppers. Set to the side on a cookie sheet.

In a large mixing bowl or mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Mix in cheese, hot sauce, garlic, salt and pepper; Beat until blended and creamy.

Using gloves (this gets messy) press cheese mixture into each pepper and put to the side.
In a small bowl, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Mix in breadcrumbs. Hold jalapenos over bread crumb mixture and lightly press on top of the cheese mixture. Place into baking dish or onto another clean cookie sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray.
Spray tops of peppers lightly with cooking spray to ensure browning.

Bake @ 375* for 20 - 25 minutes. Serve warm for gooey goodness!

**Make sure to wear gloves when seeding the peppers.

Tip: Dish can be stored for up to 24 hours before cooking. It is a great dish to make ahead for a party or BBQ. I am pretty sure they would be okay to freeze as well, but I have not tried that yet.

Safeway 9/2 - 9/8 Cheap Corn & Ribeye!

A few deals worth noting...

White corn 8 for .88 cents ; .11 cents each

Rancher's Reserve Ribeye Steak $4.49 lb

Miracle Whip in ad coupon $1.99
~ use .75 coupon from Kraft Food & Family Magazine; final cost .50

Butchers Cut 73% Lean Ground Beef Patties 5.99 - $2 off in ad coupon; final cost 3.99

Safeway Hamburger and hotdog buns .99

Easy Oven Roasted Garlic & Tomato Pasta Sauce

Easy Oven Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pasta Sauce

This is a very easy recipe that can be made up the day before, or frozen for later use. It is so delicious! The photo does not do it justice - can you tell I am not the photographer in the family? It was great for using up the abundance of tomatoes we had lying around. 


5 - 6 Roma Tomatoes
4 Cloves Garlic
Sea Salt
Olive Oil
4 Fresh Basil Leaves
Pinch Sugar


Slice tomatoes in half and place in a 9 x 13 casserolle dish.

Sprinkle tomatoes with sea salt. Slice garlic and place on top of tomatoes and put a few in the pan. (I use a pampered chef garlic slicer to make really thin slices)

Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil. Bake @ 375* for 1 hour.

Place tomatoes, garlic, oil, basil leaves and a pinch of sugar into the food processor. Pulse the mixture until you reach your desired consistency. Sauce can be chunky or pureed.

Toss with any type of pasta for a simple, yet mouthwatering meal.