Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Beef Barley Soup

This is one of Hubby's favorites. It's been a while since we've had it, so we'll see how the kids like it, maybe I'll get lucky & they will all LOVE it (yes, I know that is unlikely, but I can dream).

2 lbs chuck roast
1 onion
1 stalk celery chopped small
1 t basil
1 bay leaf
2 T minced garlic
1 can whole tomatoes undrained
1 can peas undrained
1 can chopped green beans undrained
1 cup barley

Cook chuck roast (or any inexpensive beef roast or stew meat) in crockpot until tender. Remove meat from crockpot & set aside the broth. Allow the meat to cool, then dice it into small cubes, removing all visible fat. Return the meat and broth to the crockpot, add diced onion, chopped celery, basil, bay leaf and minced garlic. Pour the juice from the tomatoes into the broth. Crush the tomatoes, then add to broth. Add peas and green beans. Add water to 3 inches below the top of the crockpot. Add barley. Cover with lid & cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Add more water if soup becomes too thick.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday...hamburger & rice (kinda like stir fry w/no veggies)
Tuesday...baked chicken w/baked potatoes
Wednesday...Taco & refried beans
Thursday....Beef Barley soup & homemade yeast rolls
Friday...Chili Verde (wish me LUCK, I'm entering it in our neighborhood chili contest!)
Saturday...Navy Bean soup
I'll be posting recipes for the Beef Barley soup & the homemade yeast rolls later in the week & hope to get a recipe posted for the Navy bean soup soon too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cinnamon Apples

Yesterday the kids picked 19 apples from a neighbors tree. I'm not sure what kind of apples they are, but they were pretty good size & the neighbor didn't want them. The kids wanted an apple pie, but I haven't gotten around to that yet. I did make a pan of cinnamon apples & it turned out very YUMMY!!!

4 firm tart apples peeled, cored & sliced
1 stick softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 T cinnamon

Layer the sliced apple pieces in a small baking dish, sprinkle cinnamon over them. In a seperate bowl, cream the butter into the sugar & 3 T cinnamon. It should form a stiff paste. Spread the paste over the apples. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Apples will be fork tender when they are done. They can be eaten warm as a side dish or dessert or can be served over ice cream as a topping. They are also good mixed with warm oatmeal for breakfast or served cold as a snack. They can be reheated in the microwave if you prefer them warm.

Monday, October 20, 2008


This is a traditional chili made with pinto beans, ground beef & tomatoes.


1 lb bag of dried pinto beans
1t baking soda
1lb ground beef
1 can chili ready diced tomatoes
1 T dried onion
2 T minced garlic
2 T chili powder

Dried beans have to be presoaked. I recently discovered that I prefer the "quick" method. Start by pouring the beans into a large pot, cover them with cold water & swish around. Remove any that are broken or look odd. Dump out the water. Rinse thoroughly. Add 6 cups of cold water & 1T salt, bring to boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add 1t baking soda to reduce the gas in the beans & cover with a lid. Let it sit for one hour. Drain and rinse again. Rinse the pan out very well, then put the beans back in & add 8 cups cold water. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer.

Brown the ground beef in a frying pan then drain the grease. Add the can of diced tomatoes, dried onion, garlic and chili powder. I also like to add any dribbs of tomato based salsa I may have in the fridge, anything that has tomato, peppers or onions is fair game. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the ground beef mixture to the pot of beans. Let cook for another 90 minutes or until beans are tender. This can also be left in the crockpot on low all day to cook.

I usually serve it with crackers or corn bread. You can also add cheese, onions, sour cream, or anything else you like on your chili. This recipe makes plenty for dinner and some leftovers for lunch or even another dinner. It stores well in the fridge for up to a week & can be frozen in an airtight container for several months.

Menu Plan Monday

Wednesday...Steak & baked potatoes (My birthday)
Thursday...Red Beans & Rice w/smoked sausage
Friday...Hamburgers & Fried potatoes
Saturday...Chili & cornbread
Sunday...Baked Chicken & Roasted Red Potatoes

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Roasted red potatoes

These are yummy & very easy.


1.5 to 2 lbs of small red potatoes (10 to 14)
lemon pepper or your favorite pepper based seasoning.
1/2 stick of butter

I use a glass loaf pan. Thoroughly wash the potatoes, then quarter them. Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of potatoes, season, add another layer & season. Continue until all the potatoes are in the pan. Cover the pan with foil and bake @ 400 for 45 minutes. Leave the foil on until just before you are ready to serve them. Pour into a serving dish & top with the butter, stir the potatoes around in the dish to coat them all lightly.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lots of Kids Kitchen Challenge for October

On a budget of $10, feed a family of 4 for a day or $15 for families with 4 or more children. The meals must include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast and lunch can be one-dish, but dinner must include a main course and sides. You do not have to include drinks in your budget.

I am feeding 2 adults and 4 children
Breakfast $2.89
Scrambled Eggs--dozen eggs $1.19
Toast--loaf of bread $1.10
Butter--one stick .60

Lunch $4.46

Cheese Quesedillas
package of fajita size flour tortillas $1.79
2 cup package of grated cheddar $1.67

Dinner $7.94
pan fried strips--2 lbs boneless chicken breast $4
1.5 lbs roasted red potatoes $1.50
1 dozen biscuits from scratch $1.15
can of green beans .69
butter--one stick .60

My total for this day is $14.29

Friday, October 17, 2008

Apples and Oatmeal Breakfast Casserole

This is something I came up with while tweaking a recipe from the Lots of Kid's recipe page.

4 cups rolled oats
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
pinch of ground clove
pinch of all spice
3 t cinnamon
1 1/2 cups milk
4 eggs
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 apples cored & sliced thin
1 t vanilla extract

Measure the oats into a large bowl, add the baking powder & spices, set aside. In another bowl mix the milk, eggs, apple sauce & brown sugar. When the sugar is dissolved well, add the apple slices. Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the oat mixture, add the vanilla. Stir until everything is well mixed being careful not to smash the apple slices. Pour into a 9 x 11 greased baking dish.

Bake in a 350 oven until the top is golden...approx 45 minutes. Serve hot with milk like traditional oatmeal or let it cool & slice into squares to be eaten like a snack cake.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

$10 KFC Cooking Challenge

Anne over at Cooking with Anne posted about the KFC $10 challenge a few days ago. $10 really seems like a LOT to me when it comes to a simple fried chicken dinner, so I thought I would run the numbers on a similar (but healthier w/bigger proportions) dinner for my family. Most nights I'm feeding 2 adults & 4 kids.

2 lbs boneless chicken breast made into pan fried strips $4

1.5 lbs roasted red potatoes $1.50

1 dozen made from scratch biscuits $1.15

box of mac & cheese (made w/whole milk & real butter) $1.50

can of green beans .69

My total $8.84 and I am providing a wholesome, satisfying meal for a family of 6

I've got a new post up on the Large Family cooking board

Lots of kids is one of my favorite websites and I'm very excited to be on a team there for their Kitchen blog. Check out my latest post over there & let me know what you think!!