Grrrr! I hate getting old!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I don't know what's wrong with me. Since coming home from Florida I've been falling asleep on the couch pretty early, especially for me. Unfortunately it's effected my kitchen life. Last night was the 2nd night that leftovers I made were wasted because I wasn't awake to put them away. The other night half the taco soup got left out. Last night a LOT of the chicken and gravy didn't get put away. That's at least one other meal of either chicken noodle soup or chicken stew! The taco soup could've/would've been after school snacks and lunch.

February 1 - 7

Having gone grocery shopping a few times this week I have a lot of options to choose from. This makes my menu planning hard. I want to have everything NOW!!!

Sunday... Super Bowl "Party"...snacks...BBQ cocktail wienies, tequila lime chicken wings, cheese tray, chips and dip

Monday... Goulash (elbow macaroni with jarred sauce and tons of browned burger added)

Tuesday... Chicken and gravy, baked potatoes, bread

Wednesday... Pizza, veggies and dip

Thursday... Meatball subs, mozzarella cheese sticks (will be out most of the day)

Friday... Breakfast for dinner...eggs/breakfast casserole, hash brown patties, corned beef hash

Saturday... Burgers, french fries

Busy in the kitchen

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I did a bunch of things in the kitchen yesterday that will ease up things later. I browned 12lbs of burger...used 2lbs for goulash and put away 2 batches for future meals. I baked 4 lbs of bacon and put it in the freezer for later. Hopefully hands can keep off of it. I then boiled a 10lb bag of leg quarters. I used half of it for chicken and gravy which is on the stove now. The rest of it is in the freezer and will make a chicken hearty dish. I was going to divide the meat into 3 meals but decided it was cheap enough to be generous.

So with me being gone my grocery shopping tracking has gone down the tubes. I still want to keep track of it. I'm just trying how to do it as easy and accurately as I can...maybe do it on a monthly schedule instead of the year? Figuring the cost of dishes instead? But that leaves out snacks and frivolous stuff which negates the tracking. I'm still thinking on it but for now I'm not noting it.

I'm finding it hard to plan a menu because there's so much to choose from! LOL Poor me. I was going to have burgers last night but then the kids mentioned they had them for we had a meaty pasta instead. So now I'll bite the bullet and write that menu down.

Sticker shock

Sunday, February 01, 2009

In my mind I know that I'm lucky when it comes to my grocery shopping options and prices. Seeing it for myself though is another thing. I went to Largo Florida for a week with my dad. We stayed with my cousin, Tammy, who had recently lost her husband to pancreatic cancer. My dad and I bought the groceries and cooked the meals while we were there. My cousin kept saying I should give lessons, write everything down, teach her my tricks. Unfortunately it's not something you hear and learn. You have to actually do it, practice it etc. I love Tammy to death but she's fallen into bad habits and has a lot to learn. lol She's a convenience, stick to the name brand type of shopper.

I know the area has a publix, winn dixie and an aldi's in the area. She sticks mostly to Publix because she knows it and it's the closest. I never went into the Winn Dixie so not sure how their prices compared. I knew Aldi's would be the place to shop but she had never been to there and was iffy about trying it out (plus it was out of the way for her). Someone had given her $100 in Aldi's gift certificates for Christmas and knowing her decided to buy them from her, taking that pressure off of her. If I'd had more time down there...I might've been able to convert her to the German side. ;o)

Tammy and dad were laughing at me when I first got into Publix. I LOVE going into new stores, comparing prices and checking out the setups. Wegmans really has spoiled me in terms of how a store looks. I told them to give me a few extra minutes and don't worry...I'll only be scanning the outside of the store as it's where I shop mostly. While most prices were up to a $1 more then what I pay, I still found some things with prices I was comfortable with.

London Broil for $2.79/lb (frequently on sale for $1.99/lb in our stores)
Assorted pork chops for $1.49/lb (must've been a sale because it was $1.99/lb after Saturday)
Whole chickens for $.69/lb (reduced)
Pork Roast/fresh ham ($1.29/lb)

I didn't see much difference in most fresh veggie prices, frozen was a different matter. Dairy was a bit higher in some things, similar in others. It shows that knowing your prices (having a price book) is really the way to go.

So seeing the list above can you guess what we had for meals there?

Friday... London broil. We sliced it, turning one thick steak into two thinner steaks for the grill.

Saturday... Tacos (she had burger in the freezer)

Sunday... Pulled pork sandwiches (cooked a pork roast in the crock pot the night before)

Monday... Roasted Chickens

Tuesday... Everyone came to the house after Tammy's husband's service. Her boss bought finger sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs for the grill. Her son's manager (he works for Winn Dixie) brought a huge meat tray and a veggie with dip tray. I made cheezy potatoes, pineapple salad, and pasta salad. (Will get the potato recipe from my mom AGAIN and will post it here. Then I won't have to bug her anymore)

Now that I'm home I'm raring to get back into the home cooking and menu planning mode. The first day home I did a bunch of cleaning so it would be easier (including running vinegar through the coffee pot a few times). Now if only things would stay clean, I'd be all set. lol

I'll try to get a menu out for this week by tomorrow. I know tonight will be snack night as it's the super bowl and you HAVE to have snacks for that! Chicken wings, chips and dip, veggies, mini hot dogs, cheese and pepperoni with crackers.

TFT (Tips for Tammy)

The london broil.... slice it and freeze half for another meal. Marinating it for a few hours or overnight will add flavor and make it a bit more tender. I like to use Italian dressing. You can also use lime juice with some taco seasoning, or soy sauce and a bit of brown sugar for a teryaki type of flavor. Leftovers can be used in your fried rice recipe instead of pork. Or cut up and eaten in tortillas/tacos instead of burger.

Pulled Pork... put individual sized portions in sandwich baggies and freeze then the kids can pull them out, micro and have a sandwich really quick. (although it might not be quick enough for Danny lol)

Burger... you can brown frozen need to set out to defrost. Micro it for 3 minutes first so it's easier to break up and makes it quicker to cook. Or brown it before freezing. It's quick to do while putting groceries away. Drain in a strainer and run under hot water to rinse grease off before putting in baggies for freezer. 2 cups equals about 1lb of burger. (You can also add the taco seasoning before freezing making it even faster on taco day)

Chicken... remove meat from bones of leftovers and throw in baggies and then into freezer. Can use leftovers for chicken casserole, chicken and gravy, chicken fajitas, chicken fried rice. And yes, you can cook the bones to make broth, but it's ok if you don't...for now. ;o)

Pineapple Salad

This recipe is EASY! It's a family favorite and served at almost every holiday or special event in my family.

For each batch you use...

1 small box (4 servings) lemon jello
1 20oz can crushed pineapple, drained very well
1 half pint (8oz) heavy cream
1 to 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Make the jello according to directions, refrigerate until partially set. (jiggles when you touch the top, finger doesn't sink into it easily)
Whip the heavy cream, once it starts to get frothy...add the sugar. Continue whipping until it's very stiff (it looks like what I call crumbly...warning...mix too much and you'll end up with butter)
Fold the whipped cream and drained pineapple into the jello
Return to fridge and allow to set (about 3hrs)

I usually triple or quadruple this recipe which makes tons. (it fills a 4qt pyrex mixing bowl)