Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken
5 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large bottle French dressing
1 can chunked pineapple (and juice)
1 cup brown sugar

Mix all ingredients in a 9x13 pan. Bake in oven at 350* for one hour. Serve with rice.

(You can also make the sauce and pour it over shredded chicken from your freezer. See this post for directions.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

My New Favorite Thing

After each pregnancy my periods have gotten increasingly longer and heavier. It was a nightmare for two or three days (and nights) before it tapered of to only strong annoyance. Then when we were visiting friends this past July, Tanya introduced me to these...Tampax Pearl ULTRA Tampons
(15 to 18 ounces)

Normally I am a cardboard applicator kind-of-girl. Maybe it's my nod to going green and the cardboard is biodegradable (and yes, I know there are other go-green options, but this is a comfortable option for me). Regardless, I tossed those cardboard applicators aside for a few days and tried the Tampax Pearl Ultra Tampons. Oh my! Heaven! My time-of-the-month is still annoying and stressful but this product makes it a little more bearable.

(A bonus use for empty tampon boxes... hiding chocolate and other treats from family members. You can even tell them that treats are in that box and they won't touch them. I promise!)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Menu Planning

Direct from the outside of my fridge is this week's homemaking tip.... I know it is important to make menus but I really don't like to do it because I can never decide what to make. Soooo...Here's what I do. I have given each day of the week a category. This helps to focus my efforts and narrow my choices when I am making menus. Most of the recipes I have can fit into more than one category. Now it is easy for me to plan menus. Also, planning menus helps me save money at the grocery store because there is no willy-nilly purchasing. I have a plan and can get all the ingredients when I know in advance what I am going to make. (Here's a bonus tip - my mom told me about a lady she used to visit teach. This lady would always have the dinner made for her family by 10 a.m. Then, when it was late in the afternoon and she really didn't feel like cooking, all she had to do was pop it in the oven. I have tried this several times and I love it. I don't know why I don't do it more often.)

In case you are curious, my categories are:
Sunday - Crockpot
Monday - Pasta
Tuesday - Beef
Wednesday - Miscellaneous
Thursday - Mexican
Friday - Chicken
Saturday - Easy or leftovers

(I have a friend who does something similar but she uses side dishes - potatoes, rice, etc. - as her categories.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Prepared Chicken

This tip is courtesy of my mom. For years, whenever she cooks chicken breasts in the crockpot she throws in a couple extra to put in the freezer for use in a casserole on another day. I have issues with touching meat, raw or cooked, so cooking more at once works for me (and my issues).

1. Take a bag of chicken (above).
2. Dump it into a crockpot (below). Cook on high for about six hours or low for about 10 hours. I often turn it on before I go to bed and let it cook all night.
3. Take the chicken out of the crockpot and let it cool. Divide it into ziploc bags and freeze. When you need cooked chicken for a casserole, just defrost a bag of chicken and throw it into the bowl!

You can also do this with hamburger. HERE

Monday, September 21, 2009

Browned Hamburger

I really don't like to cook. It takes a really long time and the clean up is a pain, too. In analyzing this a while back I decided that I prefer making recipes that are just "dump and go". That's not possible with recipes that call for browned hamburger or cooked chicken.... or is it????

Today's tip.... Browned hamburger - frozen and ready to go.

1. Buy a lot of hamburger meat. I usually buy at least the 5 lb package.

2. Brown the hamburger meat in a big skillet. I never add any onions or flavoring because it will be used in a variety of recipes. I can always add the flavors when I defrost it later.

3. Rinse the browned hamburger in hot water. I'm very serious - this is the trick so it doesn't go rancid. I put the browned hamburger in my colander and run hot water over it until the water draining out the bottom runs clean. Sometimes I need to stir it a couple of times to make sure I get everything rinsed.
4. Spoon the browned, rinsed hamburger meat into ziploc bags. For most of my dishes, 1 1/4 lbs of hamburger is about the right amount. The five pound package of hamburger meat yields 4 bags of browned hamburger. Now, when I am cooking dinner I don't have to worry about pulling the meat out the night before and putting it in the fridge or browning it in the afternoon so I can have dinner ready on time. I can just grab a bag of cooked meat, throw it in the microwave to defrost for two minutes and put it in my casserole.

I do something similar with chicken. HERE
Happy to post this tip on....

Tip Junkie
Tackle it Tuesdays
Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dryer Sheet Tip

Tip of the day - Cut your dryer sheets in half or even in thirds. They take care of static cling just as well as a whole dryer sheet but you get twice as many for the same price. (Some brands are easy to rip with your hands. Others require scissors.)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Inaugural Post

What, oh what should I have as my first post? Should it be something profound? witty? creative? Since I am rarely profound, hardly witty and not usually creative, we'll settle for something all can enjoy - food. For my first post, I'll share a recipe that my family loves... Beef and Bean Enchiladas!

Beef and Bean Enchiladas
1 pound browned hamburger
1 pound can refried beans
1 pkg (1/4 cup) taco seasoning
2/3 cup water
8 small tortillas
1 small can mild enchilada sauce
1 can tomato sauce
grated cheese
sliced olives

Mix hamburger, beans, taco seasoning and water in a skillet. Simmer until "most" of the water has boiled off. Spoon into tortillas, roll and place in 9x13 pan. Mix enchilada sauce and tomato sauce and pour over enchiladas. Top with grated cheese and sliced olives. Bake at 350* for 20 minutes or cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 10 minutes.

(Add another can of refried beans and use small tortillas to enlarge the recipe to make 14 enchiladas.)


About Me: I'm just your every day mom. I'm fabulous at a couple of things, horrible at several things, and average at most things. I shave my legs once a week unless I have a leg full of mosquito bites and then it might be awhile. I have a couch full of clean laundry and a dishwasher that usually needs to be started. I used to teach school and dabble in craft shows. I am now a SAHM who is active in her church and trying to be active in the parents' association at the school. I live on a budget, shop the sales, and splurge on hair gel, foundation, and office products. I'm the oldest of six, the youngest of eight and mother of three. I have a severe fear of spiders and a strong dislike for Spongebob. I enjoy couponing, reading, quilting, playing the piano, and just about anything that doesn't involve sweeping the floor. I am truly an every day mom.

I've moved around a bit in the last 13 years and have gathered lots of tips and tricks from the many friends I've made along the way. I decided to share these through this blog. I hope you find something useful. I would love it if you would share your tips with me so I can post them here. laytonjc @ gmail (dot) com