August 23, 2013

Nacho Cheese Doritos Breaded Chicken

As you probably know by now, if you've read a couple of my blog posts, I try to be as frugal as possible.  Not letting food go to waste is part of that frugality.  A while back, we had a bag of nacho cheese doritos that had gotten down to mostly just crumbs and tiny pieces of chips.  I wasn't quite ready to trash it, so I decided to use the crumbs as a breading on some chicken.  If I'm going to bread chicken to bake, I typically use cornflake crumbs or breadcrumbs, but this seemed like a yummy alternative.  And boy, was I right!  And it was so easy!

Ingredients:
  • boneless skinless chicken breast or thigh pieces
  • chip crumbs (at least a cup or so, depending on how much chicken you're making)
  • 1 egg
  • milk
Directions:
  • Pour crumbs into small, shallow bowl
  • Beat egg and mix with some milk in a small, shallow bowl
  • Dip chicken into egg/milk to coat
  • Put chicken into crumbs and roll around to coat well
  • Place onto greased baking sheet
  • Repeat with all chicken
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until chicken is done
We really liked this chicken dipped in ranch!  Goes great with my good potatoes.  Enjoy!

August 16, 2013

Mexican Corn

I love to eat corn.  I especially love it when a bunch of yummy goodness is added to it.  This recipe came from me just randomly throwing things into a crockpot with some frozen corn one day when I was making Mexican food for supper.  It turned out pretty great, so I kept making it, and now am sharing it with y'all.  :)  Once again, these measurements aren't exact, I just throw stuff in till it looks right to me, and you can too, by golly!

Ingredients:
  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • 3 oz cream cheese, cubed
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 3-4 oz velveeta, cubed
  • 1/2 can rotel (diced tomatoes w/ green chilies)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-2 jalapenos (optional), diced
Directions:

Dump everything in a crockpot, cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours, stirring to combine
 
OR
 
Dump everything into saucepan on stove on low-medium heat, heating through till done, stirring to combine
 
Yum!
 
 
This goes great with my bean burritos or Mexican lasagna :)
 

 

August 15, 2013

Peanut Butter Cake

In an effort to expand my knowledge and experience for a potential future business, I've started baking new recipes, new flavors of cakes, frostings, etc.  My husband is always my #1 taste-tester, but coming in a close 2nd is his office full of coworkers!  I make a cake and send the majority of it to work with Justin and it gets tasted by several people.  I love getting their feedback!  So anyway, my most recent bake was a peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting.  I love peanut butter, but I'm not a big fan of it in desserts.  So other people's feedback was very important to me on this.  It got great reviews, so I'm adding it to my "list"!  Here's the recipe that I got from The Girl Who Ate Everything (such a cute website).  I made a few changes.  :)

Ingredients:

Cake:
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 3 - 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp. vanilla
  • 3-4 tbsp. milk, as needed for thinning
To make cake:
  • In a medium sauce pan, combine peanut butter, water, & butter and bring to a boil
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, brown sugar, flour, salt, & baking soda
  • Pour peanut butter mixture into dry mixture
  • Add eggs, buttermilk, & vanilla and stir until well combined
    • TIP: if you don't have buttermilk on hand, just add a splash of white vinegar to 1/2 c. milk and let sit for a minute or two before adding to cake batter
  • Pour cake batter into well-greased 9x13 cake pan
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes
To make frosting:
  • Combine butter, peanut butter, & vanilla and beat with electric mixer until combined
  • Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until desired consistency, adding milk as needed
  • Spread onto cooled cake
 
 
 

August 13, 2013

Bible Verse of the Week

Psalm 119:11 says "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."  I truly believe that memorizing scripture, "writing" it on our hearts, allows us to have God's word more readily available to us when we need it.  What's not to love about that?!  I've recently started making more of an effort than I had in a while to memorize scripture.  So I made a little dry-erase board out of an unused picture frame by making a "Verse of the Week" picture to go behind the glass.  I can easily write the verse on the glass with a dry-erase marker so it can be changed often!  I hung it in my kitchen where I see it many times a day, and I recite the verse whenever I see it.  I change the verse about once a week, or once I'm sure I have it well memorized.

I encourage you to do something like this, or whatever works for you, to help you in memorizing God's word.  I'm glad I did, and I think you'll be glad too!  :)

This week my memory verse is Psalm 139:9-10: "If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."  Praise God that He will always guide us, that He is always present, no matter where we are!

Below is a picture of my verse of the week hanging in my kitchen.  And at the bottom is a printable for you!




 

August 12, 2013

Twice-Baked Potatoes

These twice-baked potatoes have become a favorite around my house lately.  I know this isn't a new concept or anything, but I had never made them till a couple of months ago.  They just seemed like a lot of work, but they're really not that hard, and so worth it.  Another thing that's great (or may drive you exact-measurement-loving people crazy) is that there's not a lot of pressure to have exact measurements of things.  It's all to taste and preference and, of course, depends on how many you're making.  I'm generally serving me and the hubs, plus our two small kiddos, so I don't usually make too many at a time.  Anyway, here's the recipe.  Remember, it's all to taste, but I've included extremely approximate measurements.  And you're not going to mess it up...I promise...I think.  ;)

Ingredients:
  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 1/8 c. sour cream
  • 2-3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • garlic powder (optional), to taste
Directions:
  • Bake the potatoes until cooked through (I just pop them in the microwave.  Don't judge me, it's hot here in Oklahoma, and I don't want to run my oven when I don't have to!)
  • Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise (a serrated knife works great)
  • Scoop out as much of the insides as you can without damaging the skins, place into mixing bowl
  • Place skins onto baking sheet
  • Add all other ingredients and mash with potato masher until well combined
    • I like mine a little chunky or lumpy, but you can certainly mash or beat with an eletric mixer if you like them smoother
  • Scoop mixture into skins until you run out
  • Top with grated cheddar cheese
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until heated through
    • *On a 100+ degree day here in OK, I didn't even want my oven on for 20 minutes, so I turned the broiler on low and kept them in for 2-3 minutes, and it worked great!
These go great with so many things: brisket, steak, chicken, etc.  I served them a few nights ago with meatloaf.  Yum!


Pioneer Woman's Meatloaf

There are sooooo many foods that I didn't learn I liked until I was in high school and college, thanks to my now-hubby.  I was a junior in high school when we started dating, and he introduced me to tons of new foods that I now love.  Even now, at 28, I'm still finding more foods that I never knew I liked and was always to scared to try.  Meatloaf is one of those foods.  I had never eaten meatloaf until I was in college, and I love it!  When I first started making it, I made my mother-in-law's recipe, which is delicious.  But then, I discovered The Pioneer Woman's meatloaf, and it just takes it to a whole new level.  I've been making this recipe for months now, and we love it!  To see her original recipe with great step-by-step pictures, go here.  Or here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
Meatloaf:
  • 1 c. milk
  • 6 slices bread
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 c. minced flat-leaf parsley (I never have fresh, so I use dried and it tastes great)
  • 4 whole eggs, beaten
  • 10 slices bacon
 Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • hot sauce to taste
Directions:
  • Pour milk over bread slices in a small bowl.  Allow to soak in for a few minutes.
  • Put milk-soaked bread in a large mixing bowl along with all other ingredients, except bacon
  • Mix until well combined (I use my hands)
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and place a broiler pan or metal rack on top (this allows fat to drain off)
  • Form meat mixture into a loaf shape and place onto broiler pan
  • Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking them under the meatloaf
    • *I've also used less bacon and laid it long-ways on the meatloaf and had great results too)
  • Stir all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl
  • Spread 1/3 of the sauce over the top of the bacon
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes
  • Spread another 1/3 of the sauce on top and bake for another 15 minutes
  • Serve with the remaining 1/3 of the sauce
 

 
I typically serve meatloaf with mashed potatoes and mac & cheese, but last time I made it, I also made these twice baked potatoes.  Yum!

August 10, 2013

Homemade Powder Laundry Soap

There are tons of homemade laundry soap recipes floating around Pinterest, and I've pinned who-knows-how-many of them.  I've tried a liquid form and was pleased with it, but I really wanted something that would take up less space.  Then I found a recipe for this powder soap, which had the exact same ingredients as my liquid soap, minus the water.  Duh!  :)  I've been using this soap for months now and am really happy with it!  It's easy and quick to make, and oh-so-cheap!  Here's how you make it:

Ingredients:
  • 1 bar Fels-Naptha laundry soap
  • 1 c. borax
  • 1 c. washing soda (this is not the same as baking soda!)

 


Directions:
  • Cut soap into chunks and place in food processor
  • Process until in tiny pebbles
  • Add borax and washing soda and process until mixture becomes a fine powder
  • Pour into container of your choice
  • Use 1 Tbsp. per load, a little more if heavily soiled
 
*A couple of notes:
1. I have just a few pieces of clothing that I've had trouble with the soap sticking to when I wash in cold water, so I now begin every load with hot water, pour the soap in and let it dissolve for a minute or two, then turn the water to cold, and it solved the problem!
2. I keep a whole bar of Fels-Naptha in my laundry room to use as a pre-treater/stain remover.  I just get the stain wet and rub the bar into the stain, then throw it in the wash!  It generally works better than the spray I typically use!
 
 





August 9, 2013

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Sopapilla. Cheesecake.  Does this need any explanation? Yum!  I typically make this dessert to go along with Mexican food, but seriously, it's good any 'ol time!  I made it for our small group Bible study last night (we had nacho night), and it was almost all gone.  It's pretty quick and easy too!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cans crescent roll dough
  • 3 (8oz) blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter
Directions:
  • Open one can of crescent roll dough, lay the four rectangles on the bottom of a greased 9x13 dish.
  • Beat cream cheese, 1 1/2 c. sugar, and vanilla with electric mixer until well combined and creamy
  • Spread cream cheese mixture on top of dough
  • Top with other can of crescent roll dough
  • Melt the stick of butter and pour it on top of the top layer of dough (I know, this seems extreme, but trust me :))
  • Mix 1/2 c. sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle evenly over the melted butter
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes
  • Dig in!  I LOVE this warm, but it's delicious cold too!

August 8, 2013

Good Potatoes

Even though I am the main cook in the family, my hubby is a great cook.  He is especially awesome on the grill, which is where this recipe originated.  I call these potatoes "good potatoes" because there's just no better name.  We love these, they turn out a little different every time, and they go great with so many things.  The recipe doesn't really have measurements because I just kinda throw in what I have on hand to taste, and you can too!  You really can't mess it up - just go with your gut!

Ingredients:
  • Russet potatoes, cut into bite-sized cubes (I leave the skins on)
  • Bell pepper, whichever color(s) you have on hand, cut into strips
  • Onion, cut into strips
  • Black pepper
  • Greek seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • Chili powder
  • Creole seasoning (if you like it spicy)
  • Butter (I usually end up using a lot...like, a whole stick for an 8x8 pan of potatoes)
Directions:
  • Cut up potatoes, peppers, and onions and place in greased baking dish
    • (I typically use an 8x8 for just my family, but often use a 9x13 for a larger group.  We've also put a metal 9x13 pan, covered with foil, on the grill and it's delicious!)
  • Sprinkle seasonings, to taste, over the potatoes
  • Stir to combine and distribute seasonings evenly
  • Cut butter into several pieces and place on top. 
  • Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender, depending on size of your pan.
*Note: I usually check them about halfway through to make sure they aren't drying out.  If they are, add more butter!  Yum!

 
I served these the other night with sloppy joes!  Delicious!
 

Homemade Hamburger Buns

A few nights ago, I had sloppy joes on the menu, and no hamburger buns in the pantry!  I live too far away from town to drive to the store just for buns, plus I love making things from scratch (it's usually cheaper too!), so I found this recipe over on Taste of Home's website for homemade buns, and whipped them up.  They were great!  Here's the recipe!

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 c. plus 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 1/3 c. oil
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 - 3 1/2 c. flour
Directions:
  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water
  • Add oil and sugar, let rest for 5 minutes
  • Add egg, salt, and flour
    • start with 3 c. flour, add more if needed to form soft dough
  • Place dough on floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic
  • Divide into 12 pieces and shape each piece into a ball
  • Place a few inches apart on greased baking sheets
  • Cover with clean towel and let rest for 10 minutes
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown
  • Cool and slice in half to use for a bun, like on this sloppy joe.  :)

Sloppy Joes

We really like sloppy joes in our family, but I've always just bought a can of sauce at the store, mixed it with the meat, and called it a day.  In my quest to save money and to make more things from scratch, I set out to find a great recipe.  I found several, and basically just came up with my own.  I made it a few nights ago, and it was good!  The only thing Justin and I wished it had was either more tomato sauce, or some tomato paste.  So I've altered the recipe below to include that change.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 c. diced onion
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • a few dashes red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • worcestershire sauce, to taste
  • hot sauce (optional, to taste)
  • hamburger buns or other rolls
Directions:
  • Brown beef along with onion, pepper, and garlic in large skillet; drain fat
  • Add all other ingredients, stirring to combine
  • Simmer for about 15 minutes
  • Serve on these homemade buns, or any other buns or rolls you prefer
    • We like a slice of cheese on ours too!

Sloppy joes go great with so many sides, but I made these yummy potatoes, and it was great!

 
 
UPDATE (October 2014): If you're looking for a low-carb option like we currently are, or a new way to use leftovers, you can make Sloppy Joe Loaded Sweet Potatoes!  Bake (or microwave) a sweet potato, "load" it up with sloppy joe meat and some shredded cheese, and you're good to go!  Yum!