Thursday, October 27, 2016

Chicken Pizza - Kind Of

*Repost Alert! It seems like I've been doing a LOT of reposting lately but that's because the recipes are so dang good I feel the need to share when I make them again! This is on the menu to feed my father in law when we head to Indiana in a few weeks! Whee! I hope you try this and enjoy as much as we do!*

I have no idea how I came across this recipe on Pinterest, but it's been hanging around for a while and with our Pantry Challenge underway, it was PERFECT that I had everything on hand to make it one night this week!

Now, granted, Kalyn does call it a "Low Carb Pizza Chicken Bake" but I just can't call it low carb ... although, it does NOT have a crusty base like you'd expect ... and I will say, it was really tasty ... I'll be making this again real soon!

The beauty of this is that it can be a very inexpensive, a/k/a FRUGAL, quick meal if you shop right! All this can be bought at Aldi's this week for a little less than $5 right now if you don't have ANY of the ingredients...I had everything on hand, thankfully, but it's nice to know that a quick run will get me what I need without spending a whole lot ... of course, I must keep my blinders on and not look to either side as I zero in on the ingredients needed ;-)

I'm still just amazed at how a few simple ingredients made this really yummy dish!

So ... here's what you do!

2 pounds (or so) of boneless skinless chicken breast
1 jar of pizza sauce of choice (I used a jar from Trader Joes)
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
8 oz pkg of shredded mozzarella cheese OR mozzarella cheese slices (I used slices)
half a package of pepperoni (honestly, not sure how much I really used, I just loaded up)

So, first things first. Dump your sauce in a small saucepan and heat over medium low heat til it reduces by half. I was impatient and didn't let it reduce THAT much but you just don't want it as runny as it is currently in the jar.

Turn oven on to heat to 400 degrees.

While sauce is reducing, grab your chicken breast, lay them flat on a cutting board and butterfly each in half so you have 2 thinner pieces for each piece. I was lucky in that I had a package of thin sliced breast in the freezer already (score for those mark downs!). Just make sure that they are thin and not too bulky in areas.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add your oil. Sprinkle the chicken with the oregano and garlic powder.  Cook breast til slightly golden brown and flip to add color to both sides. You will need to do this in two, possibly three batches. You are not worried about cooking them all the way at this point, just browning them a bit. As you remove them from the skillet, lay them in a single layer in a glass baking sheet. The whole point is to have the chicken as close together as you can, but not overlapping.

Once chicken is all in the pan, take your sauce and spoon over each piece of chicken, spreading the sauce evenly over each piece.

Top each piece of chicken with cheese, making sure, again, to fully cover each piece ;-) Cheesy is good ... 

NOW grab that pepperoni and go to town. Like cheese, PEPPERONI is good too! Lay those slices on and go ahead, have a sneak taste of a slice if you need to.

Slide that tray of yumminess in to the oven and let it bake for 25 minutes or so.  Nope, don't cover the tray ... don't worry, the chicken will not dry out ... it's smothered in sauce, pepperoni and cheese!

Remove from oven, let it sit for a few minutes to set and then grab yourself a spatula and dish up!  Here's hoping that YOU have more leftovers than I did ... one piece that made it to lunch ... I could have eaten this every day this week had there been more!


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Soup Sundays - Black Bean Soup

I know, for someone who is "on the fence" when it comes to soup, I certainly have a few recipes to share, don't I?

This is an excellent soup to make when I'm on a Pantry/Freezer Challenge, except the last time, I was surprised when I went to make this and could NOT find a single can of black beans? What the heck??

Ahem. It would seem that Sonny Boy had been doing his own meal prepping and was putting together the fixings for knock off Chipolte Burritos using brown rice (pantry) corn (pantry) and ... you guessed it, black beans (pantry). I couldn't be mad at the kid, you know? ;-) So there was an Aldis trip bright and early that morning ... and, of course, I spent more than I planned (but only because I got sucked in to the cheeses, the zucchini, veggies, and so much more!)

This time around, I checked to make SURE I have a few cans of black beans in the pantry, and yes, there are 8 cans. Oh. That would be because of the recent Hurricane Matthew scare we had. I also have a box of Minute Rice. You know, black beans and rice are pretty damn easy to make and filling to boot ... just a tip on hurricane stuff ... 

Ok. Back to the soup. This stuff was pretty spot on this time around. I've made it several times in the past and thought, myself, it was 'ok'. This time? Oh yeah ... I added a can of tomato sauce and THAT gives it the extra zing I've been looking for! Not to mention, it makes the soup a little more darker looking and not a funky brown color ;-)

Here's what you need: 
1/2 lb bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
32 oz carton of beef broth

1 can tomato sauce
1/2 tbs cumin
1/2 tbs chili powder
dash of A1 Bold and Spicy sauce

Ready to get this soup cooking? Let's go!

In large dutch oven style pan, cook bacon til just crispy. 

Toss in the onions and garlic and saute til soft.  

Add all the beans, broth, and the cumin and chili powder. Add the dash/glop of A1 (this is optional but I think it's what really gave it the kick!) and bring to boil. 

Reduce heat and add the tomato sauce. Allow to simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the bottom is not sticking/scorching/whatever!

After 20 minutes, take an immersion blender, or masher OR just remove half of the beans to a food processor/blender/bullet and puree. This will give the soup some 'depth' or thickness :) Add back to the remainder of soup (hey, be careful, the stuff HAS been simmering for over 30 minutes by now so it's HOT). *IF you use a blender, take the little insert out of the lid and toss a towel over the opening so the steam can escape! 

Serve it up with some sour cream, cheese, more diced onions (or green onions!) and tomatoes (and guac if you are Princess).

I'm so glad that this time, I froze half of the batch in a large ziploc bag (lay flat so it freezes flat and will thaw quicker) so I can just grab for a quick side of soup one night!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Frugal Activities

Hey hey, it's time to share the Frugal Activities post and I know a lot of you liked them because of my full disclosure too!

It's been crazy busy around these parts lately ... both at home and the office. And of course, I try to have a little fun time too, you know? It's a very fine balance and I'm trying to perfect it ... 

So.  Whats been going on in YOUR life?  Are you all things Fall and Pumpkins yet? I'm getting there, although we don't really have the dramatic change in the season like the rest of the country does. I still miss that, all these years later.  However, thanks to Hurricane Matthew's sideswipe the week before last, we did experience some cooler weather and a little less humidity. Sadly it's been windy as heck, which, I suppose, is kind of an October expectation ... 

Here's some of the Frugal Activities we've been doing for the past few weeks ... 

1.  Stayed out of the grocery stores for 9 days until Friday evening. Only reason I went was because we needed beer (!!), almond cream for my coffee, and heck, they also had my favorite stuff on sale, LaCroix water was B1G1F ... and I had a $5 off $50 coupon to use so I bought stuff to hit the magic number and spent $72 (they won't include the beer in the total $50 purchase requirement). FYI ... it's the middle of October and I've only been to the grocery store ONCE and Hubby has gone twice ... we are doing well so far!

2.  Gave myself a manicure ... this was Friday night as well while sitting outside on the patio enjoying the cooler, less humidity evening.  And consuming beer.  It's still looking great a week later ... wonder what I do different than the salon that my polish isn't chipping and flaking?

3.  Paid all my bills to date online.  Set up my dad's account for online bill pay as well since his checks I ordered 6 weeks ago still have not shown up. Sorry folks, NOT a fan of Current Checks ... their customer service sucks. They tell me it can take 8 weeks to receive the box.  Uhm, you shipped it on September 12th. May need to alert the bank and close that account which is going to stink as it's a small bank out of Indiana that only has 2 branches ... however, I'm going up there early November so maybe I'll do that then. I need to call the credit card that the charge was put on and dispute that as well now.

4.  I keep putting off joining a gym ... but I do need to do SOMETHING as I'm hitting a weight that scares me AND needing to go up a size in clothes (my culprit? I think it's the full calorie beers and my waffling back and forth on the Whole30/Paleo thing ... you are either in or out of the full fat/low carb thing, you know? Can't do both!). So I've started back to doing squats everytime I walk in the bathroom and make it a point to try and get 50 situps in a day (25 in the morning and 25 at night) ... and just started doing split lunges which owwww my butt and thighs hurt ... figured anything is better than nothing which is the way it's been. Once I get back from my trip in November I'm hitting up a gym.

5.  Met with my favorite dermatologist and saved $300 on injections to the face (aka Dysport aka Botox) because a) he likes me and b) he opened a new office and had a special going on.  Can I just tell you how good it is to just chat about nothing and pick up on things? We share the same birthday and his father's birthday is the same as my dad ... hence, the reason he "likes" me and gives me discounts. The shots themselves are NOT frugal by any means, however, I do budget these.

6.  Hubby booked a weekend getaway to Nashville using points with Hilton and Southwest to get our flights and hotel rooms paid (except for the mandatory taxes you have to pay).  I will cash in my Digit savings for our spending cash (I currently have $450 sitting there). This way our savings won't be touched!  Which is good because we still have not sold the house and the property tax bill comes out in November.

7.  Hubby also booked our trip to Chicago/Indiana and used point for his flight and got a great deal on my ticket.  We will rent a car and he checks every few days for new rates. So far it's been lowered $50 or so and we are still 2 weeks away.  

8.  Made a pumpkin ice cream and used up the other half of can of coconut milk to make a batch of Ranch Dressing ... will share both recipes in the near future!

And of course, full disclosure of some of our NOT so Frugal Activities:

1.  Hit up McDonalds a few more times that I care to admit on the way to work ... I think 3 times. That stinks because a) the foods sucks and it's because I was lazy and b) it's $5 each time! For sucky food!

2.  Forgot to use my gift certificate ($60!) at Costco ... really should have remembered!

3.  Food Waste. More than I care to admit. The Hurricane scare sort of caused some of it (you know, the panic buying of bread and such).

4.  Impulse shopping on line. Yeah. I feel for it. Meet ... and then Macy's had some great sales going on (where I originally ONLY planned to buy my perfume, Daisy) and I ended up buying 4 tops, the perfume and something else.  

5.  Had to pay a visit to the Apple Store and Genius Bar ... when we were putting up our hurricane shutters, I dropped my phone ... as soon as it hit, I knew it wasn't good. Sucked it up for 5 days, kept it wrapped in plastic wrap and ended up spending $150 for a new screen. Ugh. Lesson well learned.

6.  While I had to wait for 1 1/2 hours for the screen to be replaced, I browsed the mall ... AND ended up eating a slice of pizza and a small soda ($9!!!), stopped at a few stores and bought 2 pairs of jeans, same size, and one fits, one doesn't (whats up with that???!!) so I need to exchange the one pair for a pair that fits. At least the jeans were buy one get one 50% off ... but still ... 

7.  Took the 3 pairs of pants back to Costco, which would have been a Frugal Activity BUT opted to scope out the other clothes and picked up a jacket for me, one for Hubby, a cardigan and a flannel button down and spent and additional $20. Ugh.

I've spent a lot of money the past few weeks: getting my hair cut and colored, the dermatologist, the trip to the Foot Reflexology place (although, I can almost justify that $35 expense) and the shopping ... it's time to reel it in again!

What have you been doing to stay Frugal lately?

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pumpkin Smoothie - Grain/Dairy Free

*It's October and time for All Things Pumpkin!*

I mentioned over here that I am not a huge pumpkin fan ... but once in a while I find something that makes me think .... Hmmmmm, not so very bad after all ...

And this is one of those times!

Original recipe comes from Civilized Caveman and of course, I have to do my own things to make it more ME!

Here's how I did it ...

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup apple juice (I used cider, it's what I had)
1/2 frozen banana (I used a whole banana, will do half next time)
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp hemp heart seeds (these are so tasty and loaded with something healthy, I just know it and impart a nutty flavor)
1/2 cup (more or less) ice
small handful of pecans or walnuts, chopped, for garnish if desired.

Guess what you do?

Toss all (except walnuts/pecans) in blender and let it rip til smooth.

Pour in glass and garnish with pecans/walnuts. I didn't have the nuts, so used more hemp seeds and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice ... hit the spot for me!


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Pumpkin Pancakes - Grain/Dairy Free

*It's October and time for the annual pilgrimage of pumpkin recipes ... so here's a re-post of one from a few years ago!

I can't believe it's FALL ... I mean seriously, where has the YEAR gone already?

I have a confession ... I'm not a big pumpkin lover ... sure, I'll eat them yummy pumpkin bars with the creamy cheese frosting slathered all over the top ... but other than that, no thank you, very much.

Until I made this recipe a few years ago when Hubby was traveling ... and I had made it a few times since then ... but it's been a little while now ... so in honor of FALL arriving, I am re posting the recipe and making this as part of the Sunday morning breakfast for Sonny Boy before he heads back home ...

The original recipe is from the Practical Paleo cookbook.

I've been picking up the pumpkin at ALDIS because it's 99 cents a can and it's all pumpkin ...

Oh ... I just remembered, it's time for Pumpkin head beer (and the newest one we tried, UFO Pumpkin Beer) ... and really, I know it's not "pumpkin" so to speak, but gets my FALL vote!

Ok, so here's how I did it ... you want the real recipe? You will have to buy the book ... this is real close though!

3 eggs, lightly whisked, I used 3 because mine are extra large Costco size eggs :)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs maple syrup
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 pinch of ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbs melted butter


Whisk eggs so they are broken down and add in pumpkin, vanilla and syrup. Whisk til mixed well and add in dry ingredients along with melted butter, whisk til all incorporated

Grease a skillet and heat over medium heat. Scoop mix out using 1/4 cup measure and allow to cook til a few bubbles appear on surface, flip and continue cooking til done, just like regular pancakes.

Serve with a dab of butter and some sliced bananas on the side. Or just overwhelm the plate with bananas :)

This was good. Hubby most likely will think it's too egg-ish but I like it. I think Sonny Boy will like too since he's gotten into the more healthier eating too (requested I get more coconut oil and almond butter for him)

My first time making these, I had a few issues ... started out with the teflon griddle and a little butter ...

I switched out to my super cool non stick pan with LOTS of butter for round 2 which is how I got 4 PERFECT cakes ...

Do you like FALL and are you even ready for the switch from Summer to Fall? How about pumpkin? Yea or Nay?

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Creamy Potato Soup Crockpot Style

We are seeing some cooler weather, by our standards, so I'm back to making soup again!  What? You don't call 75 at 6am cooler? You do NOT live in Steamy Paradise, do you?? We've been so stinkin happy after Hurricane Matthew came through because it's cleared the air and the humidity a bit more than usual!

Now, THIS soup is yummy and I get really excited when I'm making it ... its just a little bowl of pure comfort food to me ... yummmy ....

The last few times I made this, I switched it up a little and used the refrigerated steakhouse seasoned diced potatoes .... I really liked the seasoned taters and plan to stick with that from here on out!

Another thing I have to point out: toppings. I love toppings, but then again, I love a loaded baked potato ... so that's how you need to look at it. Do you like bacon, cheese, green onions on your baked potato? Then, by all means, add those to your cup of soup. Otherwise, eat it naked and make feel a little healthier for doing so ;-)

So...enough with the ramble ... lets get cooking!!

2 bags (20 oz each) of steakhouse seasoned diced potatoes (or you can use frozen potatoes)
2 cartons (32 oz) of chicken stock 
1 can cream o' chicken soup 
1/2 onion, chopped fine OR a real generous shake of the dehydrated onions
1/4 tsp ground black pepper 
1 8oz pkg of cream cheese ... do not use fat free as it will not melt down

As with ALL crockpot meals, just dump everything in the crockpot except the cream cheese. Give a little stir, put the lid on and set it to high for 6 hours or 8 hours on low (your choice).

After the time has gone by ... take the lid off, cut up the cream cheese in to cubes and toss those in the crock pot. Add the lid back on and walk away for an hour or so, til the cheese has melted.

Because I like my soup creamy, I grab the immersion blender and go to town making the soup nice and smooth. If you prefer, leave it chunky. It's up to you and I won't judge! :-)

IF the soup is too thick, you can add a little water, chicken broth or milk to thin out a little.

Dish up, add your toppings if using, and dig in to this little bowl of comfort ... enjoy!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Clean Pot Roast

When I was doing the Whole30 back in September I kept hitting the wall on the weekends ... most likely because I was around endless options of food, both compliant and not so compliant ... and we all know that Whole30 is simply about veggies and protein ... no sugar, no grains, no dairy, yada yada yada.

Then tell me THIS:

Why is it so hard sometimes to find something to eat?? 

Explain that to me, please?

I see you out there nodding your head in agreement.

The last time I was at Wally-World shopping, I came across some marked down beef. You know me, I'm all about a bargain (hence my Alter Ego, Frugal in Florida) so I scooped up this roast for $9.99.  Not the 'best' price in town, but certainly a lot cheaper than some of the other stores around.  Does anyone else remember when this stuff was like, $1.99 on a fairly consistent basis?

I had picked this hunk of beef up to make a batch of Mexican Beef but I think Hubby is getting burned out on that so I opted for Pot Roast instead on a fine Sunday morning. Because, you know, if you want to use the crockpot, you best get started early in the morning!

It's a simple recipe ...

1 hunk of beef. This was 2 1/2 pounds. I would have preferred a larger roast but it's what I had
1/2 carton (or 16 ounces) Beef Broth (read your labels! Kitchen Basic, no salt is compliant from what I can see)
2 onions, cut in half and quartered
2 stalks celery, cut in chunks (I omitted the 2nd time making this, totally optional)
handful of baby carrots
salt & pepper (or a seasoning concoction of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder)
3 bay leaves
a sprinkle of thyme

Drop the onions and celery in the bottom of the crock. Aw, what the heck, toss in the carrots too. First time I added carrots to the top and don't recommend that!

Add the hunk of beef to that and season well with the salt and pepper or spice mix.  Pour the broth around the edge of the beef, drop in the thyme and bay leaves to the liquid.

Place the lid on the crock pot and set on high for 6 hours or so.

Once the beef is cooked, remove from the crockpot. IF you want to make a thicker gravy, pour the juice in to a sauce pan and heat on high heat. Make a mixture of 2 tbs arrowroot powder and 2 tbs water, mix well. Once the liquid is boiling, pour in half of the arrowroot mixture and stir til thickened.

Serve up with a side of smashed potatoes or riced cauliflower and call it a meal!


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sweet Potato Rounds

*Repost Alert!*

I never really knew if I liked sweet potatoes or not ... I mean, heck, who doesn't like something covered in brown sugar (or maple syrup) and then marshmallows over the top? What I didn't like was the stringy-mushy texture of that stuff ... but I would take a little orange stuff and LOTS of toasted marshmallows during the holidays.

Now. Not so much. It does kind of suck when you grow up and learn to read the labels and whats good for you and what's really not. Being an adult does stink sometimes!

So ... with the Whole30 thing underway (which by the way, I jumped ship on Day 6 at lunch time and hurried up and caught up to the boat and jumped back on asap!) I'm back to experimenting ... *UPDATE - ha, that didn't really happen for a Whole30 Days, you know that, right?

And ...

I give you SWEET without the cloying, sticky stuff ...

This was so stinkin easy to do that I'm actually surprised I never tried it before ...


Grab yourself a couple of sweet potatoes ... I used 3 here and peel them.

Once peeled, go ahead and slice them thin. I think mine were about 1/4 inch or so thick, I wanted them somewhat thin to cook faster.

Toss them in a bowl and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and season up with some salt, pepper, garlic powder (not salt), and combine with your hands to get them all coated.

Fire up your grill to medium high, and lay them out flat on the grill. I used this nifty grill mat which is about my 5th time using it and I'm in love with it ... I need to do a product review for you as I think it's a great thing to have on hand!

Allow to cook on one side til it starts to get a little charred, then flip. Cook this side til they are tender, but not to the point of falling apart. These took about 15 minutes or so and I was racing against the weather as we had some pretty bad rain this past weekend.

My original plan was to use them as "buns" for the sliders we were having but after the first one like that, I simply ate them plain, like fries.

Yes, I will be making these again in the very near future!

So, tell me, do YOU like sweet potatoes? All mushed up? Or intact, like this?

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Squash Time - Butternut Squash

I am not a huge fan of veggies, I'm sure you already know that, but I have been working on it!

And of course, butternut squash is running rampant at the grocery stores lately, with Whole Foods having the organic stuff at 89 cents a pound! Really? Nothing is ever 89 cents a pound at Whole Foods, you know, so yes, I grabbed a small squash. 

Mind you, every 2 weeks, I get the bug, and pick up a butternut squash, a spaghetti squash, an acorn squash AND some zucchini. Generally it's the pretty display and the less than $1 per pound sign that lures me in ... after all, it's Frugal and it's supposed to be good for you ... so hook me up and reel me in, every time.

Then, 10 days later, I see the variety of squash STILL sitting in the guest kitchen refrigerator and end up tossing them out ... FOOD WASTE EXTRAORDINAIRE! There. I said it. :-( Boo.

So this time around, it's a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I've left the butternut and spaghetti squash sitting on the counter in the MAIN kitchen, so every time I do something, I have to move the damn things. But at least they were constantly in sight, which is why I decided to do something with the butternut squash, at least!

First up was figuring out how to manhandle the thing. Geesh.

I ended up cutting off the top and the bottom, and then peeling the skin off with a vegetable peeler. Well. That wasn't so very bad or difficult.

Then I cut it in half, which took a little more work. And at this time, my left finger pads were getting numb and tingly. Odd.

So I scrubbed my hands and put on some gloves. Way better now.

Then I sliced the halves into slices, about 1/4 inch thick, somewhat and cut those into cubes. Like so.

Cutting the cubes was by far way easier than cutting the slices! I really should have made a better attempt at cutting them a little more uniform in size, but oh well, I'm not a perfectionist and never insinuated I was ;-)  (funny observation: the Princess and boyfriend were over and he snatched a cube, thinking it was cheese ... oops!)

Then I melted some olive oil and butter in a large skillet. I am LOVING the Kerrygold Butter I picked up for $2.00 each. Yes, I know that's $4.00 a pound, but so is regular butter. Doh. I've stashed quite a few in the freezer along with the decent deal on grass fed ground beef I picked up. *In the future, I will be using only ghee as I've found I have better results with ghee than olive oil/butter mixtures ... plus that would make it Whole30 Approved too!*

Dump in the squash and add a generous amount of salt, pepper and chili powder.

Stir well to mix up and then let it cook for about 10 minutes or so til softened and a little golden color ...

At the last minute,  I decided to dump in the leftover diced onion I had in the fridge along with some garlic ... so glad I did ... this definitely changed things up so by all means, add some onions and garlic!

Done and ready to eat. 

This will come to work with me for lunch this week ... I'm pretty stoked as it tasted way better than I anticipated. Yes, I still act like a kid sometimes when it comes to trying new veggies but this may be a new favorite. Step aside, green beans!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)