Monday, November 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday Nov30-Dec 3

     Well, we are getting back into the swing of things. It was so nice to have a long weekend to travel and see family. We were sure glad to be home at the end of it though. My goal is to try to make our days at home this month as normal as possible. Here is what we will be eating this week...

Looks like there will be a few new recipes coming.

Apple Pie Oatmeal
Breakfast Banana Split
English Muffin Sandwich
Best Ever Pancakes w/ Maple Praline Syrup

ham, corn on the cob, broccoli
healthier sloppy joe pasta, asparagus, carrots
grilled chicken parmesan, asparagus, garlic potatoes
chicken burrito
crock pot ribs

Looking for more ideas? Head over to orgjunkie for lots of menu plans updated every Monday!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mamaw's Persimmon Pudding

     I meant to post this before we left for Thanksgiving the other day, but I ran out of time. This persimmon recipe is another family favorite, and I always miss it when we have Thanksgiving with my husband's family. So, this year I decided to make it for myself them. Apparently persimmon's are not as common as I thought, and most people have never even heard of them. This is news to me...since where I'm from, we have a persimmon festival every year! Here is a link with info about Indiana persimmons.
     When J told his dad I would be making persimmon pudding, he wasn't that excited. I guess he had some a long time ago, and wasn't a fan. After everyone else at the table had tasted this and liked it, he decided to try it again and he really liked it. I told my Mamaw it was big hit and she said she got the recipe from a lady in town who had won several local contests with the recipe. It is delicious!
     This time around, I had extra batter that wouldn't fit into my pan, so I made some mini-puddings using a mini muffin tin. These are just the right size for a little snack.

2 cups persimmon pulp
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1-1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk +1-1/2 Tbl vinegar)
1/4 cup cream (or milnot)
1/4 cup butter
  • Cream pulp and sugar
  • Add beaten eggs and beat well.
  • Put baking soda into buttermilk and stir until foamin stops. Add to pulp mixture alternately with dry ingredients which have been sifted together.
  • When all is blended and well mixed, add the cream and butter. 
  • Stir into greased pan (approx 8x12)
  • Bake about 1 hour @ 350*
  • Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Persimmon on FoodistaPersimmon

Monday, November 22, 2010

Crock Pot Turkey

     I mentioned this in my Menu Plan a couple of weeks ago, and I am finally getting around to posting. The plague Sickness has been going through our house, and it has been crazy! Anyway, just in time for the Big Day, I give you Crock Pot Turkey.
     My mom always hosted Thanksgiving for our family. She was in charge of the turkey and homemade noodles. In fact, my Papaw won't come unless there are homemade noodles! Somewhere along the road, she found this recipe for turkey in the crock pot, and hasn't made it another way since. It's very moist and requires no cleaning of the "yucky stuff."
    The directions here say to use a baking bag, but I didn't have one. I just put the turkey straight in the crock pot and threw in the water and butter. It is more difficult to clean up my way, and it doesn't change the flavor of the turkey in the end. 
     I have been buying a turkey breast every couple of weeks and cooking it, then dividing it into two ounce baggies to eat as a snack during the day. A 4lb turkey ($9.99 @ Aldi) gives you about 14-2oz bags, and you can freeze the ones you won't get to for a couple of days.

3-4 lb boneless turkey breast
1 stick butter
1 cup water
1 lrg baking bag (I didn't use this, but it would make it less messy to clean!)
1 Tbl flour (I didn't do this either)
  • Place 1 Tbl flour in bag and shake. 
  • Place turkey, without gravy packet, in bag.
  • Add stick of butter and water. 
  • Tie bag. Poke a few holes in top of bag to let steam escape.
  • Place bag in crock pot and let cook all day on low (7-10 hours).
  • Remove to serving dish, and pull apart with fork.
  • spoon small amount of broth over turkey and toss.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Menu Plan 11/14--11/20

     As I was planning my menu this week, I was surprised to see that Thanksgiving is next week. I can't believe it's here already. Only a week and a half left of my mostly salt/fat/sugar free diet/gym makeover. It's been hard...and I've cheated. I even ate a slice of Perfect Party Cake while celebrating two friends' birthdays. But, I can wear my pre-baby clothes, and I feel great so I know I'm getting healthier. Anyhow, enough on that...Here's what I'll be eating this week

Meatballs (we didn't get to last week) potato, asparagus
Homemade pizza (also didn't get to that)
Baked Chicken of some type, potatoes, broccoli
Crock Pot Ribs w/homemade BBQ sauce, mashed potatoes, broccoli
Taco salad w/ refried beans
Chicken Marsala, roasted garlic potatoes, asparagus
Deep Dish Spaghetti

 Head on over to to see some other Menu Plan Monday plans

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dinner Knots

Apple Pie Recipe coming soon
     The other day, the day of the pot roast, our friends came over for dinner. I didn't have time to run to the store for extra supplies because the neighbor's baby I watch was still napping. I thought we needed some type of bread/dinner roll to go with our roast. We almost always have oatmeal dinner rolls, which I love, but there weren't any frozen and I thought I'd try something different. The recipe I found in a Better Homes and Garden's Cookbook, is a basic yeast roll recipe but it tastes so good!
     I made my rolls into knots, but you could make crescents, Parker House rolls, or cloverleafs too.
     I used white whole wheat flour for my rolls. To substitute whole wheat flour for all purpose flour, you need to take out 2Tbl flour for each cup you use. I took out 9Tbl since I used 4-1/2 cups flour. Since this is a recipe using yeast, you will also need to add wheat gluten in order for the bread to rise correctly. Add 2tsp wheat gluten for each cup of wheat flour used. I added 9tsp of wheat gluten.

4-1/4--4-3/4 c flour (I used wheat, see note above)
1 pkg yeast (or 2-1/4 tsp yeast)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening or butter (I used equal amounts of both to equal 1/3c)
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
  • Combine 2 cups of flour (adjust if using wheat flour!) and the yeast. 
  • Heat milk, sugar, shortening/butter, and salt just til warm (120*)
  • Add milk mixture to flour mixture along with eggs. Beat on low for about 30 seconds, scraping bowl. 
  • Beat on high for about 3 minutes.
  • Use a spoon to stir in (or stir setting on stand mixer) as much of the remaining flour as you can. I ended up using 4-1/2 cups of flour total.
  • Turn dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic; 6-8 minutes. 
  • Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Turn once to grease surface. 
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place til doubled-about an hour....The time is not a concern, be sure it is doubled!
  • Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half, cover, and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  • Lightly grease baking sheets.
  • Divide each half of dough into 16 pieces. 
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a rope. Tie in a knot. 
  • Place 2-3 inches apart on greased baking sheet. 
  • Let rise til doubled; about 30 minutes (again, time doesn't matter-make sure they are doubled!)
  • Bake in 375* oven for 12-15 minutes or til golden brown.
  • Spread butter on top as soon as they come out of the oven.


    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Beer, Pepperoncini, and Pot Roast

         I never would have thought of combining these ingredients: beer, pepperoncini, and pot roast. It must have been a man that first thought up this recipe. My MIL sent me the recipe last week, and I was skeptical. Of course, Jonathon was all about it. So, we tried it...and even braver, people came over and ate it with us. I'm always nervous about trying new things out on guests, but it sure is flavorful and probably the most delicious pot roast I've ever had.
         We served ours with a side of mashed potatoes, salad, and homemade dinner rolls. My MIL said they eat it as a sandwich on hard rolls, and combine the leftovers with noodles for dinner the next night.
         I would say this doesn't really count as a "penny-pinching" meal because the pot roast is so expensive. But, it's still cheaper than going out to eat!
    Cost breakdown $15.47

    Beer $1 Trader Joes
    3lb Roast $11.07
    sliced Pepperoncini $1.92
    Dry Zesty Italian Dressing $1.48
    • Put everything in the crock pot. Drain Pepperoncini's before adding.
    • Cook on low 6-8 hours

    Pot Roast

      Menu Plan Monday Oct7-13

           Last weekend was a little crazy, and I didn't get my menu plan posted. I actually didn't even make it to the store until Tuesday because of travel and Miss E's bronchitis. She is much better now, in case you were wondering. This week, I'm on it. There are a couple of new things on here, but I'm also  trying to get some things out of my freezer. My goal has been to freeze things we can't eat, but as a result I have ended up with an overflowing supply! I'm also still trying to watch the fat, salts, and sugar intake. Although, I'm not being as strict about it as I was at first, I feel that some effort to monitor those things has to be healthier than not paying attention to them at all.

           Apple Pie Oatmeal
           Turkey sausage and fruit
           Frozen Amish Pancakes
           Frozen Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
           Pot Roast (new recipe!)mashed potatoes, rolls
           Crock Pot Turkey (new recipe coming soon!) green beans, potatoes
           BBQ Chicken Potatoes, Broccoli
           Meatballs (This is becoming a regular), potato, asparagus
           Pork Fried Rice
           Portobello Pizza, garlic mashed potatoes
           Homemade Pizza Night w/frozen dough, sausage marinara, and mozzarella chunks

      Wow, looking back, I need to get some variety in our sides. I seem to focus more on the main dish and have potatoes for side every night. I will make my husband not so picky....eventually!
      Maybe I should follow my own advice and head over to Orgjunkie to see what other people are eating this week.

      Sunday, November 7, 2010

      Making your own Pumpkin Puree

           I don't know about where you live, but it has been hard for me to find pumpkin. Sometimes I can find the larger cans of pumpkin, but the 15oz cans have all disappeared. Solution....Make your own! It's easier than you think.
           We don't carve a jack-o-lantern here, mainly because I don't want to touch or smell the insides. Since Halloween is over, and I didn't want my pumpkin to go bad before I got to make something useful out of it, I toughed it out and made my own pumpkin puree. I ended up with 10 one cup bags of puree from one pumpkin. Of course, your yield will depend on the size of your pumpkin.
           I made all of my daughters baby food because it's healthier, cheaper, and tastes better. You can use pumpkin puree starting at 6-8months old. I have baby food ice cube trays, but you could just use any ice cube tray and cover it with foil. Just freeze puree in ice cube trays (I use my meatball scoop to put it in), and then add to freezer bag after frozen. Each cube is about 1oz of baby food, so you can use as many as your baby needs. I used this website to help if you are interested in making your own baby food.
           After you have all this pumpkin puree, start baking. Use a recipe or just add a couple tablespoons to your normal pancake batter. This year, I've used pumpkin to make muffins, cinnamon rolls, and cupcakes.

      • Preheat oven to 350*
      • Cut pumpkin in half, and clean out the seeds and guts. gross.
      • After it's cleaned out, cut those halves in half so you have four pieces.
      • Place them, cut side down, on a Jelly Roll Pan,
      • Add a little bit of water to the bottom of the pan
      • Bake for 45-60 minutes until skin starts peeling off.
      • Take out of oven, and cool enough that you can touch it.
      • Scoop the flesh out of the skin and put it in your magic bullet, food processor, or blender.
      • Puree...I had to add a little bit of water to get it smooth.


        What can you do with Amish starter?

             Last week when I had the Amish starter, I kept one bag on the counter to try some new recipes. I froze the other three, so I can have them whenever I feel like it. I squished the bag everyday this week, and finally day ten came yesterday. I used my shortcut, so I didn't end up with any leftovers to freeze or give away. After adding my day ten ingredients, I split the dough up to make pancakes and pumpkin cupcakes with pumpkin cream cheese icing. Both were amazing. The starter added just enough of a "yeasty" taste to make them a little different than normal. The pancakes were for breakfast, and we ended up freezing the leftovers. They were pretty filling.  We took the cupcakes down to celebrate my nephew's last soccer game of the season. He is five, so of course he liked the icing the best. We had extra icing, so we are going to use it to spread on our tiny whole wheat bagels for breakfast this week....Hey, it's cream cheese!

        Did I mention before that Debbi Does Dinner has lots of recipes for different things to do with Amish starter? Check out her site....I got both recipes from her.

        Basically this is what I did...
        Day ten of starter
        • I added 1/4 cup flour, 2 Tbl milk, and 2 Tbl sugar to starter.
        • Scoop out 2 cups of starter to make these pancakes :the only thing I did differently was add 1tsp vanilla and 1tsp cinnamon
        • I had about 1 cup of starter left, so I made these cupcakes

        Amish Bread on FoodistaAmish Bread

          Wednesday, November 3, 2010

          Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

               I've been wanting to make these ever since I saw the recipe here a couple of months ago. They were all I expected them to be....And, more since last Saturday didn't exactly go as planned. My plan was to get lots of things done without Miss E, since she was at Nana and Papaw's for the weekend. We went to the bank and test drove some cars (which took way longer than expected!) and only had time to mix the ingredients for these delicious rolls before heading to a wedding.
               So, the first rising was done in the back seat of the car during the festivities. The rolling and second rising was done at the "after party" for which they were to be made in the first place. The wait was agonizing for everyone there. Then, we had to wait even longer for them to cook. They were worth the wait in the end, and we didn't even get to take any home for leftovers. These were not super "pumpkin-y," but just enough to give a different flavor. Everyone loved them, and I'm sure you will too.
               The original instructions called for cardamon, but I went to buy some and it was $11! Holy cow, that stuff must be made of pure gold. Anyhow, I substituted pumpkin pie spice and everything turned out great. I don't think 1/4 tsp of anything can make that much of a difference.

          makes 16 rolls
          Roll Dough
          1/4 c warm water (110*)
          1 pkg yeast (2-1/4 tsp)
          1/3 c warm milk
          1 egg, beaten
          3/4 c pumpkin puree
          1 Tbl melted butter
          2 c Flour (I used wheat, so 2 c minus 4Tbl, plus 4tsp wheat gluten)
          1-1/4 c whole wheat flour
          1/2 c brown sugar
          1 tsp salt
          1/2 tsp cinnamon
          1/4 tsp ginger
          1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

          1 stick butter
          2/3 c sugar
          1/4 c brown sugar
          2 tsp cinnamon
          1/2 tsp all spice
          1/2 tsp ginger
          1/4 tsp nutmeg
          1/8 tsp cloves

          Cream Cheese Frosting
          4 oz cream cheese
          1 stick (4oz) butter, softened
          1 tsp vanilla
          3/4 tsp lemon juice
          2-3 c powdered sugar
          • In small bowl, combine yeast and warm water. Let rest for 5 minutes.
          • In large bowl, add milk eggs, pumpkin, butter, 1-1/4 c whole wheat flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and pumpkin pie spice. Add yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.
          • Gradually add remaining flour a little a time, until you have dough stiff enough to knead. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have smooth, elastic dough.
          • Put in oiled bowl. Turn once to coat entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
          • Combine sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl; set aside. 
          • Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, and pat or roll it into a 16x12 rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough and sprinkle with the sugar mixture.
          • Roll the dough into a long log. It' will stretch to about 20 inches as you roll. Using a very sharp knife, slice the log into 16 slices. Place slices in a greased 9x13 pan. 
          • Cover with towel and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
          At this point, you can refrigerate overnight if desired. Just, cover in plastic wrap (instead of towel). In the morning, remove pan from fridge, and proceed with instructions. Rising time may be slightly longer since the dough is cold.
          • Bake in preheated oven @ 375*. Bake until brown around edges and beginning to brown across the center, about 20 minutes.
          • Meanwhile, prepare icing. Add cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and lemon juice to mixing bowl. Blend until smooth and combined. Add powdered sugar 1/2 c at a time, blending in between until well mixed and desired consistency. I used a little more than 2 cups. 
          • Frost warm rolls with cream cheese frosting, and serve immediately. 
          Cinnamon Rolls on FoodistaCinnamon Rolls

            Tuesday, November 2, 2010

            Chicken Curry

                 Since we have been trying to limit our salt and fat intake, I have really missed some foods that I love. One type of food is Indian food, and while I never order Chicken Curry when we go out, the flavor is similar to my regular Chicken Tikka. Although, I did wish I had some garlic naan to go along with it...I will have to wait until next time I guess.
                   I found this recipe in The Biggest Loser Cookbook and knew I had to try it.

            1 lb chicken, cubed
            salt, to taste
            2 tsp olive oil
            1/4 c onion, chopped
            1/4 c celery, chopped
            2 clove garlic
            2 Tbl oat flour
            1 c chicken broth
            1/2 c diced tomato in juice
            1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
            1/2-1 tsp curry powder, to taste
            1/8 cayenne
            1/4 c fresh cilantro (I didn't have this)
            • Season chicken with salt and pepper. 
            • Warm skillet to medium-high and add 1 tsp oil to pan. Add chicken and cook until browned and no longer pink inside. Set aside.
            • Reduce heat to medium. Add 1tps oil. Then, add onion, celery. and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes until starting to brown. Stir in flour and add broth. Stir constantly for 4-5 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp curry, cayenne, and chicken. Simmer 2-3 minutes. Add more curry if desired. 
            Curry Chicken

              Asian Spiced Pork Chops

              The Chinese five-spice powder in these pork chops create a different flavor without the fat and salt that most Asian dishes have. These would probably pair well with a little kimchee and brown rice, but I wasn't thinking ahead before I made these.

              1lb boneless pork chop, cut into strips
              1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
              1 tsp garlic powder
              1/2 tsp salt
              • Combine ingredients and toss to coat.
              • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes.
              • Add pork to sizzling pan, and cook until browned.

                                      Five Spice Pork Tenderloin

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