Saturday, May 30, 2009

Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal

I am always looking for new recipes to try. Especially for breakfast because I end up feeding the children the same ole stuff. I have been trying some of the recipes posted on Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures lately. I have made several of her dishes all of which were very tasty. This baked oatmeal was a great variation of plain oatmeal. Since it was served in a pan I tried to tell Meredith (my two year old) that it was cake. She took one bite and informed me that it was in fact oatmeal, not cake! Anyway, you can find the recipe here along with a bunch of other great ones that I can’t wait to try.

Chicken Spaghetti

This is an easy and inexpensive recipe that we enjoy at the Reid house. It does freeze well. The recipe is to make two casseroles. If you just want one cut it in half (duh, right?)

6 Chicken Breasts
½ cup picante sauce
1 small can green chilies (I sometimes leave these out as my son is sensitive to spicy food)
2 cans cream of chicken (cream of mushroom or sour cream) *This time I used cream cheese since I had so many
1 small can black olives (optional)
½ medium onion sautéed (optional)
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp ground pepper (or to taste)
2 cups grated cheese
16 oz spaghetti

Stew chicken (*I either cook the chicken in the Crockpot, or use any leftover chicken that I have. It doesn’t have to be breast). Boil spaghetti in broth (I don’t do this. I boil the spaghetti in water with a few chicken bouillon cubes added but plain water is fine). Mix all other ingredients including chicken. Drain spaghetti saving 1 cup of broth. Add spaghetti and mix well. Use the extra broth if needed to make a creamy consistency. (Should not be too soupy). This recipe will make two large casseroles; divide mixture into two greased 9 X 13 pans. I add a little more cheese on top just because I like cheese. The recipe does not call for it. You can make this ahead of time. Again it freezes really well so go ahead and make two so you will have one for later. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

NOTE: To cook chicken in the Crockpot just put the chicken in the pot frozen or not it doesn’t matter. Add water to fill and add a few chicken bouillon cubes for flavor. If you have any onion or celery throw that in also for the flavor. Cook on low all day or overnight.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Freezer Spaghetti

Since I have already spent my grocery budget for the month let’s talk about some other stuff shall we? When you make a casserole do you end up throwing out the leftovers after a few days? I hate to waste food and I hate to eat leftovers. Here’s how I solve it. Instead of making things in a 9X13 I use two smaller pans. We eat one and I freeze the other to eat later. This dish is really just spaghetti that I put in a casserole. My hubs doesn’t really like spaghetti much so I have to trick him by changing it up. I use whatever I have on hand. Here is my example:
Boil your noodles (whatever you have) & drain
Brown meat-this dish has ½ pound of sausage, ½ pound of hamburger
Then I add any veggies I have. Mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes. Just whatever you like and have at home.
Mix your noodles and meat. Add spaghetti sauce. Put in the two dishes. Then I put pepperoni on top because I had some that needed to be used.
I add cheese to the one I will bake and leave the other. I prefer mozzarella but anything will work. I don’t add the cheese until I thaw and cook.
Bake at 350 until heated and cheese melts. About 15-20 minutes.
Let the freezer meal cool and then top with foil. I write the date, what it is, and cooking directions on the foil. This comes in handy if you need one of the men folk to put it in the oven. Then top with a lid if you have one. If not the foil alone will be fine. The night before I will cook this I put it in the fridge so it has all night and the next day to thaw. Then I take it out, top with cheese, bake and have a super easy meal.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Coupons 101

Girls you must stop the insanity! If you are paying full price for anything you buy you are paying too much. We use a coupon for everything. Groceries, diaper, health and beauty, lawn care (Hubs may not purchase fertilizer, seeds, ect without a coupon) restaurants! In this day there is a coupon for everything. Hubs called me a “money pirate” the other day as I was hovering over him while he was planning a trip to Home Depot. Our monthly budget is $200.00. We buy everything with that $200 bucks. If we go out to eat it comes out of that money, if Hubs needs something for the yard that money, groceries, diapers (the trade comes in handy here). We make it on this budget most months. Occasionally if there are some special occasions in a given month we will fall short a little. We also “occasionally” like to partake in an alcoholic beverage. That is not included in this budget. We do have a separate budget for that. Hehe.

Where do I get coupons?

1. Subscribe to the newspaper.
2. Ask your family and friends for their coupons. I assure you there are tons of people that you are close to that get the paper and don’t use coupons. (In my case every week for sure I get my paper, my friend Jamie gets two papers and my parents get two papers so I will always have 5 sets of newspaper coupons)
3. Use the internet. and
4. Read blogs! A lot of the bloggers will post a coupon that I might want. I only print it if it is something I would use. And remember it might be free so you have to ask yourself would I want this if it were free?
5. Subscribe to All You Magazine.

How do I organize my coupons?

I used moneysavingmom method. I clip my coupons and have then organized alphabetically. You can use the coupon princess Homeland deals very well using this method. This works best for me. When I first started I kept them as they came in the paper and just wrote the date on them. You can do Christi’s Homeland deals very well using this method.

Is it time consuming?

You can spend as much or as little time as you like working on coupons. I got insane about it for a while. Now I have slowed down and I normally only work CVS and Homeland. They are both right beside my house (using less gas) and next month we will become a one car family. I will blog all about that later. I find that the cashiers at both of these stores are very friendly and don’t mind to do several transactions for your coupons. Target has great deals but I would rather have a colonoscopy than use my coupons at Target. The cashiers are ALWAYS rude and they act like the money you save comes out of their paycheck. I do like to do Wal-Mart but normally I have both children with me and only when I want to punish myself do I drag them to Wal-Mart.

Just start simple and try it. Once you see how much money you will save I promise you will be hooked!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Money Saving Tips

I have been watching some of these money saving tips on TV and I think DUH…..But I haven’t always been doing all this stuff to save money. In my former life (when I had a job and didn’t have two mini humans that totally depended on me) saving money wasn’t such a big deal. We have always been frugal but not out of necessity like we are these days. I thought I would share some things that we do to cut back. You can use the ones you find helpful. Or if you like to sit around and talk about how I have completely lost my mind then perhaps these will give you a little ammo……


We use vinegar to clean. You can get two huge containers of vinegar at Sams for around $3.00. It last forever and cleans everything just as well as any other household cleaner. I clean the kitchen, bathrooms; mop the floors, Windex all with vinegar. Not to mention I have a two year old who loves to taste everything. If she takes a squirt of vinegar who cares it’s just vinegar. I also use it in the laundry for fabric softener. No, you can’t smell it on your clothes. It works try it. For more vinegar uses you can go here.

Of course we use energy efficient light bulbs. We also take out some. Like if you have a ceiling fan with 4 bulbs. Do you really need 4 bulbs on? Really it is much more pleasant lighting to just have one or two. Just try it and see.

I make my own laundry soap which saves tons of money.

You don’t need as much dish soap or laundry soap as you think. Only use half of the recommended amount and see if your clothes and dishes aren’t just as clean. Most of that stuff just goes down the drain. Try it and see!

We trade stuff. WHAT? Yes. You know I work CVS and get tons of beauty products for almost nothing. So when I go to visit my mom I usually try to work out a deal with her. I will bring her a bunch of things like shampoo, soap, razors, deodorant, and whatever else I got at the grocery store (like all that BBQ sauce). In return she will buy some diapers and give me her coupons from the week before. Obviously I am getting the better end of the deal but hey she’s the Mimi and she likes to do stuff for the kids anyway that just gives a little perk.

We don’t have cable. Now, this is a new thing. We have been going about a month without it. It is actually refreshing. GASP! Oh no she didn’t…….Really; I got to where I felt almost tied down to the TV. With TiVo or DVR you can record everything under the sun. All of a sudden you are addicted to three shows a day that all come on at the same time. Now I just pick one and watch it. Sure we miss the wonder pets but it is also nice to know there is only OETA or the Jesus cartoons. No commercials in between for your two year old to learn about Hannah Montana or how Obama is the coolest guy on the planet. Not to mention the issue of the two year old being addicted to the TV…. That’s a whole different post.

I like cooking. We have a freezer and we use it. If I make a casserole (like lasagna) I use two 8 X 8 pans instead of one 9 X 13. I cook half and freeze half. That saves a ton of money and when I don’t feel like cooking I always have food on hand. It also ensures that leftovers don’t get thrown in the trash. I use coupons and cook around what I have. I don’t go out to the store and decide. I make my menu for next week based on the food I already have this week. If I find something on sale then great. I can use it in next week’s menu. Sometimes I have to get creative but normally we have things to make great meals on hand.

If you have any great money saving tips please share. I love to hear new ideas.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mama's Spaghetti

Okay. I told you I would show you something I do with leftover chicken. This is a recipe from Hubs Mama. It is super easy and cheap and wonderful. Here’s the deal.

Boil spaghetti. However much you want.

In a separate pad sauté some onion and bell pepper in oil. In this case you can see I only had red but this dish is lovely with green or really just whatever ya got on the veggies.

Add the noodles to the veggies.

Then you add some smoked sausage (which you see I always get with the coupons) and the leftover chicken.

Add olive oil until you have all noodles covered.

Then sprinkle with spaghetti seasoning. We use the kind in the big container from Sam’s but any will do. And we add a lot to give the dish plenty of flavor.

Try this it’s good.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Whole Bird

I told you I would show you how to cook a whole chicken. Well here he is in all his beauty. We can get two or possibly three meals out of this guy. The first night I serve just as chicken like you see him. Then I will pick the rest off the bones (don’t care much for this part) and put it in a casserole or other dish. I will show you a recipe I will use this chicken for later this week. You can also just freeze the picked chicken for later. Now you can purchase the fancy chicken dish I use here or you can use your Bundt pan. Just put a piece of foil over the hole so your juice doesn’t run out into the oven (added that for my semi-retarded friends).
Take your chicken and wash it off. If all the “junk” is in the middle clean it out. Then dry the chicken with a paper towel. Rub it down with olive oil or butter. Just whatever you have. Then season it. I just use whatever I have. Shown is a Cajun seasoning and some season salt. Then I stick him on the roaster and sprinkle some seasoning down in the hole. If you had some lemons you can do a lemon pepper seasoning and cut up a whole lemon and stick that in the hole. That makes a lovely chicken!

Preheat oven to 450. Put the chicken in for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 and rotate the chicken every 15 minutes. Cook the chicken for an hour like this. But if it’s a larger chicken I will do the 450 for 20 minutes and then rotate every 20 minutes so I know it’s done.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

Hubs saw a can of black beans in the pantry and asked me to cook something with them. Hmmm. I only have really used them in a black bean salsa recipe (I will post later) so I was searching the net for something and came up with this that I had everything to make. They were super good. Go over to to see the photo and get more details. Sorry I don't know how to make it say go "here" instead of the whole link. If you know how to do that let me know and I will stop giving you these long links. There were really good and really easy and budget friendly.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces *see cook's note
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
1/3 cup prepared salsa, mild, medium or hot
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 1/3 cups shredded Monterey jack and or Cheddar
*Cook's note: this is enough chicken to make this meal and another meal. If you are only making this meal, use 1 pound chicken.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 2 minutes. Add chicken and saute 5 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Remove half of the chicken and reserve for another use.
Stir in black beans, green chiles, and salsa and simmer 5 minutes, until sauce thickens and reduces. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
Arrange 4 tortillas on a flat surface. Top each tortilla with an equal amount of chicken mixture. Roll up tortillas and place side by side in a shallow baking dish. Top tortillas with shredded cheese (1/3 cup per tortilla).
Bake enchiladas 15 minutes, until cheese is golden and gooey!