Tuesday, September 2, 2014

White Chili in the Crockpot ...

I had made this chili quite a while ago and have no idea why I never got around to sharing it with you sooner! It's another Pinterest find and I think I need to put it on the menu pretty soon again!



There are a lot of different recipes out there that always look so yummy, but for once, I wanted to try and stay away from the cream of whatever soups ... so this was the perfect recipe to give a try ...

Did I tell you how happy we were with the recipe?

Original recipe from Eat Cake For Dinner ... of course, we modified to suit our taste/pantry :-)

Apparently it was time to either use these or toss them ... 

1 16 oz carton of low sodium chicken broth
3 large chicken breast
1 tbs cumin
2 tsp minced garlic (are you prepping your garlic ahead of time?)
1/2 c dried onions (I was in a hurry and didn't feel like cutting a fresh one)
small bunch of parsley, chopped
3 cans of northern beans, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper

Guess what you do? Dump all in the crock pot and cook for 4 to 6 hours ...

THEN:  remove chicken and shred (or chop) into bite size pieces (pet peeve? large chunks of chicken in my soup). Add chicken back to the crock pot and stir in:

3/4 c sour cream
1/2 c chopped green onions
1/4 c chopped cilantro (optional - I add mine on the side as Hubby and Princess get the 'soapy' taste

Let cook for another 1/2 hour or so and dish up!  You can top with shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream ... enjoy!

Looking forward to linking up with some great blog hops ... make sure you check them out! Show Me What Ya GotWhat's Cooking WednesdayIts a Party!Works For Me WednesdaySugar and SpiceWake Up WednesdayWhatever Goes WednesdayWednesday WhatsitsReal FunWhat I Whipped UpWork It WednesdayLovely Ladies, Weekly CreativeDomestic Superhero, All Things ThursdayThe Weekly CreativeTasty ThursdayFull Plate ThursdayCreate It ThursdayFabulously Frugal ThursdayCrafty Thursday ObsessionsFrugal Food ThursdayShowcase Your TalentThink Tank ThursdaySimple Lives ThursdayFoodie FridayGet Real Frugal FridayFrugal FridaysFood on FridayFreakin Did It FridayFeature FridayThe Pin JunkieFreedom FridayFriday FavoriteFoodie Friday, A peek into my paradiseFoodie Friends FridayFun Friday blog hopFriday FavoritesTGIF BLOG HOPWeekend RetreatWhat’s ShakinWeekend WondersWeekend PotluckGet Him Feed Anything GoesDwell on FridaysFriday Foodfight, Lil Luna Link PartyFoodie FridayTGI Friday Friday with Friends, Simple Living Foodie FridayInspirationsWeekend WanderWeekly RoundupFeature Yourself SaturdayThe Party BunchI Gotta CreateShow and Tell SaturdayShow Off WeekendShow Stopper SaturdaySweet and SavoryThe Weekend CreativeWeekend PotluckWill Cook For SmilesStrut Your Stuff SaturdaySaturday Show & TellSuper Saturday Show & TellSay G'day SaturdayNot Bad SundayPotluck PartySunday ShowcaseSavory SundaySundae ScoopSuper SundayMop It Up MondayCreative MondayThe ScoopMelt In Your Mouth MondayPin It PartyDinner Time RecipesShow Me What You GotMade By You MondayHunk of Meat MondaySweet Sharing MondayWhat’d You Do This WeekendMarvelous MessMaking It CuterMotivated MondayTime To SparkleMealtime MondayTime To Sparkle, Makin You Crave MondayClever ChickCreative Corner Blog HopMake Your Own MondayMix it Up Monday,  Save Money MondayLou Lou GirlsInspire Me MondayIn and Out of the Kitchen, MemoriesTasty TuesdaysTuesdays At Our HomeHow To TuesdayHandmade TuesdayMaking a HomeShow Me The GoodsTotally Tasty TuesdayAll My Bloggie FriendsShare Your Stuff TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowFat TuesdayPenny Pinching PartyThe Gathering SpotAnti-Procrastination TuesdaysKitchen Tip Tuesdays 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Week 88 Menu Plan - Using What We Have

Happy Labor Day!  Hoping that you are having great weather and are getting a lot of outdoor time in for the final holiday of the summer!

We generally do our big festivities on Sunday for 3 day weekends. That gives me time to clean up, clear out and get ready for shorter work week ... which this week will be even more fun as I'm sure my dad will be released from the hospital at some point Tuesday ...

I also plan on hitting the gym a minimum of three times this week since I blew it off TOTALLY last week :-( I need to get focused!  With that, the dinner plan will be a little simpler so I have less work to deal with when I get home ... I'm also hoping to cook up some extra protein on Monday afternoon for the week, in addition to lettuce prep.

I'd also like to stay far away from any grocery stores for the week .... had stopped at Whole Foods on Sunday morning for a few things and walked out $80 poorer ... WTF? Oh, wait, the ribs. The ribs were on sale for $6.99 and I had thought I would surprise Hubby with them ... 4 slabs that cost me $41. He didn't want to make them so I will cut them down and stick in the freezer. I really need to share the crock pot way we've been doing them! Super easy and doesn't heat up the whole house!

Here's what we are looking to eat this week:

Sunday - pool party - brats, bison burgers and applewood smoked hot dogs on the grill. Hubby also made up baked beans, his famous buttermilk ranch dip (with pretzel rods on the side) and the kids made fresh tomato salsa and guacamole.  There was plenty of food and beer consumed with the last guest leaving around midnight

Monday - quiet day for us ... we will make up the rest of the regular hamburgers, brats and chicken sausage for the day and the rest of the week too ... will be just 6 of us to feed

Tuesday - White chili in the crock pot (recipe should post Tuesday!) ... using chicken from freezer, balance of items in fridge and pantry. Will serve up some toasted italian bread on the side for anyone who wants. 3 of us to eat

Wednesday - Grilled cheese and salad ... will make up some honey mustard dressing to go alongside ... 5 of us, I believe



Thursday - leftovers. Not counting bodies today!

Friday - buffalo chicken pizza ... did not make this last week and I still have all the ingredients to make it.  6 to 8 of us will be eating.

Saturday - looking to make grilled steaks with roasted veggies on the side, providing everything goes according to plan.  Skirt steak in freezer, veggies in freezer and fridge. Again, 6 to 8 participants!




What are YOU planning to make this week?

Looking forward to linking up with Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday! Go check it out!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Costco Time!

It's been a little while since I've done a 'real' Costco shop ... the last one didn't really count as I was in and out in less than 15 minutes. If only all my Costco stops could be that way ;-)

So I had a list, the Boy added a few things on at the last minute ... he was going to go with me then backed out at the last minute which is probably just as well. I find when someone else goes with me I spend way more than I had planned.

So, here's what I got ... a few things were NOT picked up as the pricing was off, so I thought.

Presliced, organic apples $9.99 (price is up)
5 lbs of tomatoes $6.49
bag of limes $4.79
bag of lemons $8.79
blue cheese slices $8.79
package of paper coffee cups $9.59 (office)
3 dozen xlarge eggs $4.49
2 3 pks english cucumbers $2.99 each
5 pk artisan romaine lettuce (baby romaine) $3.99
bag of precut fresh cauliflower $4.29
6 pk of large romaine $3.99
2 pkgs of twin pack turkey (lunchmeat) $8.99 x 2 less $3 x 2
5 lb container of red potato salad $5.59
10 lb bag of chicken wings $19.69
2 lb package of shrimp $19.99
twin pk of honey wheat bread $4.19
pkg of UDIs bread $6.79 (did NOT realize it was that expensive!)
pkg of naked smoothies $14.49 (the Boy's request)
twin pk of cherry almond cereal for Princess $6.89
twin pk of oat squares (boy request) $7.39
12pk tomato paste $6.39
12 pk tomato sauce $7.59
1000 splenda pks $18.49 (office)
2 pineapples $5.98
stars & stripes/flags paper plate set for 50 (napkins, big small plates and tablecloth) $13.59
liquid tide $19.49 less $3.50
container of blue cheese crumbles $7.79
8 pk of napkins $8.99 less $2
Passionfruit/Mango fruit spread $6.29
beef jerky x 2 $15.99 each less $4 each
Black bean spaghetti $9.39 (I'm curious, what can I say?)
4 pk (4 lbs) turkey bacon (for all others in the house, not ME) $7.99 less $2.50
black pepper $5.89
sea salt $2.79
half and half $2.09
360 count advil $16.49
5 pk avocados $5.29
8 pk dehydrated hash browns $5.99
coconut oil $16.99
trail mix $12.69

Grand total? $369.23 less $54.46 cash card. Out of pocket $314.77.

Have you been to Costco lately?

Frugal Activities #27

I really like doing this post weekly as it makes me think twice about somethings and stay more accountable ...

It was a weird week. Hubby traveled Tuesday to Friday ... I took off Wednesday (!) as my dad had a VA appointment at 1pm which meant I needed to feed him as there is no way he can eat in the small time frame available to him ... then he came down with a bad cold where I had to cancel THAT appointment and get an appointment at 5pm to see his primary care doctor instead. Then I got the phone call from dad's girlfriend's son about the cable bill being $100 more due to the on-demand movies they ordered. They both refused to admit it and I refuse to make a big deal about it due to the lack of comfort in knowing what the heck was on the bill!

THEN ... I get a call on Friday at lunch time that my father is having "thoughts" and that they have to be taken seriously. Oh My Word. Can I just tell you how clueless I really am about stuff? My first reaction was that my father was humiliated due to the cable situation. Then I think, oh, it's the steroid meds they put him on to loosen up his chest ... no, no, no, we have to have him evaluated. :-( So thats where my dad is for the next 72 hours ... at a psych ward over the 3 day weekend. I know he's ok, and really, my horribly bad joke (because I'm good at that stuff, you know?) was, "what are you going to do, throw yourself in front of someones wheelchair??" ... yeah, I know, bad Jan.

Anyway.

Here's some of the Frugal Activities for the week:

1.  All breakfast and lunch meals were made at home. Score. Dinner, not so much, see below.

2.  Walked out of Whole Foods for $30, $12 of which was the lunch meat, the rest was some basic veggies.

3.  Returned the jeans (that will most likely not fit me this year), 2 jars Almond Butter (recall) and the coconut oil that was all liquid (it's ok, but I like mine to stay firm, this stuff never did harden up) to Costco and received $57 money card (at my request) to apply towards that trip.

4.  Walked away from a few things at Costco as the price didn't seem right. Still spent $3xx.xx. Frugal or not? Sort of in that I stocked up on stuff that we needed ... and a few things we probably didn't.

5.  Got by with only adding $40 to the gas tank of the hemi. This car does do better than the Tahoe but not as well as zippy car.

6.  Took Princess up on her offer to take me out to dinner. She covered for 6 of us, spent $66 and I tossed in $14 for the tip. Nice of her, don't you think?

7.  I did Menu Plan this past week but really didn't follow any of it! One night was nachos, 2 nights out, Hubby made chops on Friday ...

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

1.  Out to dinner with the Boy and his GF to Chipotle. Um, I've got some recipes set aside to replicate as I LOVE THAT PLACE. My first time there, $33 for the 3 of us (!!) but yummm ... and I had leftovers for lunch the next day.

2.  Costco. I did ok with my list but did pick up a few things spontaneously ... still have NOT put everything away where it belongs so that will be Saturday mornings chore (now!)

3.  Vending machine at hospital for my dad. Paid $2.25 for a bottle of Tazo Tea and $1 for a bag of Lays chips. O M G

4.  Hubby has been trying to get to this butcher shop for weeks and finally made it there on Friday ... I'm not sure how much he paid but it was more than I think he should of. I kept asking him "grassfed?" "locally raised?" "organic?" and so on which he could NOT tell me anything about as he said he was overwhelmed since there were so many people there (holiday weekend!) ... I need to see if they have a website and then take him to the butcher counter at Whole Foods and see if it's compatiable. He swore he'd never go in Whole Foods but he's starting to like what I've been bringing home ;-)

Not a very bad week, all in all, just a lot of stuff happened...

Looking forward to sharing over at The Money Propeller and The Prudent Homemaker ... go check them both out!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

New England Clam Chowder - Easy Version

I can't believe that the first day of FALL is less than 3 weeks away ... you've got to be kidding me! It's still hitting 93, 94, 95 each day down here and I can't walk outside without becoming a hot mess ... not funny whatsoever.

Yet, I keep thinking, it's been awhile since we've made soup! And especially this yummy, super easy New England Clam Chowder ... 



As you know, New England style is creamy ... Manhattan is red and chunky. And if you've been reading for any length of time, you probably picked up that Hubby HATES chunky tomatoes in cooked dishes. For someone who is a big fan of food, he certainly can be picky at times ;-)

Just for the record, I was set NOT to like this ... I mean, all the ingredients were pretty much processed and well, I'm trying to avoid that stuff ... but, hell, it was  a Saturday night, smelled good, he made some lovely ciabatta bread and it was to die for ...



Yes, it is a little indulgent and I would suggest you not make it every day. But please, whatever you do, give it at least ONE shot ... I think you'll be glad you did!

Here's what you need:

7 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled (save the bacon grease in skillet)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans of baby clams
5 to 7 potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 cans of cream of celery soup
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 tsp dry dill

Make life a little easier and give the bacon a quick whirl
in food processor to chop it up

Cook onion in the bacon grease until translucent and soft.  Add the juice from the clams (set clams aside) and the potatoes to the pan and cook til the taters are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.



Add the balance of the ingredients, stir and let simmer 45 minutes or so until thick. Add the clams towards the end.



Dish up into some pretty bowls, top with a little more bacon bits if you have ... ENJOY!



*We made a double batch as we had some friends coming over, so used a WHOLE pound of bacon and double the balance of the ingredients. I'm sure Hubby did some other things to it to season it up as he does NOT follow recipes super well :-). We also used CANNED POTATOES that were in the pantry as I didn't have any in the pantry or fridge. Hubby said he'd do it that way again as it was a heck of a lot better than peeling and dicing!

Looking forward to linking up with some great blog hops ... make sure you check them out! Show Me What Ya GotWhat's Cooking WednesdayIts a Party!Works For Me WednesdaySugar and SpiceWake Up WednesdayWhatever Goes WednesdayWednesday WhatsitsReal FunWhat I Whipped UpWork It WednesdayLovely Ladies, Weekly CreativeDomestic Superhero, All Things ThursdayThe Weekly CreativeTasty ThursdayFull Plate ThursdayCreate It ThursdayFabulously Frugal ThursdayCrafty Thursday ObsessionsFrugal Food ThursdayShowcase Your TalentThink Tank ThursdaySimple Lives ThursdayFoodie FridayGet Real Frugal FridayFrugal FridaysFood on FridayFreakin Did It FridayFeature FridayThe Pin JunkieFreedom FridayFriday FavoriteFoodie Friday, A peek into my paradiseFoodie Friends FridayFun Friday blog hopFriday FavoritesTGIF BLOG HOPWeekend RetreatWhat’s ShakinWeekend WondersWeekend PotluckGet Him Feed Anything GoesDwell on FridaysFriday Foodfight, Lil Luna Link PartyFoodie FridayTGI Friday Friday with Friends, Simple Living Foodie FridayInspirationsWeekend WanderWeekly RoundupFeature Yourself SaturdayThe Party BunchI Gotta CreateShow and Tell SaturdayShow Off WeekendShow Stopper SaturdaySweet and SavoryThe Weekend CreativeWeekend PotluckWill Cook For SmilesStrut Your Stuff SaturdaySaturday Show & TellSuper Saturday Show & TellSay G'day SaturdayNot Bad SundayPotluck PartySunday ShowcaseSavory SundaySundae ScoopSuper SundayMop It Up MondayCreative MondayThe ScoopMelt In Your Mouth MondayPin It PartyDinner Time RecipesShow Me What You GotMade By You MondayHunk of Meat MondaySweet Sharing MondayWhat’d You Do This WeekendMarvelous MessMaking It CuterMotivated MondayTime To SparkleMealtime MondayTime To Sparkle, Makin You Crave MondayClever ChickCreative Corner Blog HopMake Your Own MondayMix it Up Monday,  Save Money MondayLou Lou GirlsInspire Me MondayIn and Out of the Kitchen, MemoriesTasty TuesdaysTuesdays At Our HomeHow To TuesdayHandmade TuesdayMaking a HomeShow Me The GoodsTotally Tasty TuesdayAll My Bloggie FriendsShare Your Stuff TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowFat TuesdayPenny Pinching PartyThe Gathering SpotAnti-Procrastination TuesdaysKitchen Tip Tuesdays 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Menu Plan Week 87 - Using What We Have

I did have a menu plan last week but never got around to posting it ... things were pretty hectic both at work and at home.

I started going back to the gym and still feel pretty excited about it after the first week ... that says something, doesn't it? Kind of cool in that it's a regular gym with equipment, free weights, treadmills, etc. and THEN there are the 6 heavy bags AND a crossfit setup! Woohoo! I've not ventured into the crossfit stuff yet and most likely will NOT (it scares me, ok??) but the boxing stuff, yeah baby, I'm so all over that! ;-) I was in the best shape when I was doing the boxing stuff a few years back and would really like to get back in to it again. The director at the gym is trying to find a qualified instructor for classes, so in the meantime, it will be me, my new gloves and my memory of some of the workouts!

So anyways ... my dinner plans are a little different now and I am making more effort to prep more on Sunday for the week ahead ... no one wants to come home all sweaty and tired and then cook a full meal, you know? Plus, this week, Hubby is out Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and coming home Friday ... which makes my meal plan much nicer ;-)

I'm also hoping to get more focused on getting the freezers organized as TS Cristobal is once again reminding me that we need to be better prepared.

I am hoping to stay out of the store for anything other than veggies ... you will see that I'm a little heavy on salad stuff this upcoming week ... which is just fine by me ... will need to prep some salad stuff this afternoon ...



Sunday - Bruchetta Chicken ... I've got tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese to use up. Chicken in the freezer ... will most likely steam a bag of broccoli in the rice cooker too. Feeding 6. (this is a new recipe and will share if worthy!)

Monday - Buffalo Chicken Salad - chicken in freezer and salad stuff in fridge and pantry. Not sure if I have all the ingredients on hand to make the blue cheese dressing, otherwise I will use bottle blue cheese dressing, unfortunately! Feeding 3.



Tuesday - Simple Shrimp Dish ... shrimp in freezer, I have red peppers in fridge, a few jalapenos so I will need to modify the recipe to use what we have on hand. Feeding 2.



Wednesday - Evil Jungle Steak Salad. Honestly, the only thing I have for this is the steak (freezer) and the salad stuff ... will stop at Whole Foods and pick up a mango and avocado. Probably some cilantro too. I'll skip the pasta. Feeding 3 to 4 (if the girlfriend is around).



Thursday - Thai Style Shrimp Salad ... shrimp in freezer, salad stuff in the fridge (I might need to pick up coleslaw when I get the mango and avocado). Feeding 2.



Friday - Buffalo Chicken Flatbread ... this is something that Princess made for her fantasy football league party. Hubby fell in love with it and I decided to make it myself, only from scratch instead of processed ingredients. Recipe will be posted soon! Feeding 6 to 8.

Saturday - Hubby's choice ... will push him towards to pork tenderloin and make Pork Tenderloin - Ranch Style. I have the pork in freezer and would need to buy more peppers probably, but the rest of the stuff is in the fridge/pantry. Feeding 6 to 8.



What are YOU making this week?

Looking forward to linking up with Menu Plan Monday over at Organized Junkie! Go check it out!

Frugal Activities #26

I am consolidating the past 2 weeks of stuff we've been doing as it's been pretty busy around here, both at work and home ...

Here are some of the Frugal Activities we've done the past 2 weeks ...

1.  Hubby bought beer ... the stuff with the blue mountains. Said he was not buying if not on sale. Ummm ... He wanted to know if $13.99 for a 15 pk was good. Uh yeah. BUY BUY BUY is how I responded to his text. Good deal dude!


2.  We fed 8 total the previous Saturday night using stuff we had on hand. That's pretty impressive if you think about it. Glad I stocked up on the bone in thighs last week at $1.59 a pound. Guess what? They are on sale this week for $1.29 a pound. Time to go buy more.

3.  Still working on the freezer inventory and keep hoping for time to add it to the Pantry Freezer page. I'm slightly embarrassed by how much food I really have and yet I still feel the need to go grocery shopping every week.

4.  Hosted a few friends last Sunday for a pool  float. Made it quite clear that I was NOT drinking or cooking on the grill. This was intended to be a 2 hour quick exposure to the sun and pool. Most of the girls behaved, we had a few who raided the beer fridge. Oh well. I should know better. A few others brought snacks to share all around. And then, I remembered in my inventory and organizing of the freezer we had a few frozen Pina Colada mixes ... and, oh look, theres a bottle of coconut rum that one of you brought over before ... so off we went to the Vitamix and ended the day with a round of pina coladas using what we had on hand.  Then Hubby decided to make some Orange Julius ... sent the kids to the store for a few ingredients (!!) and that's what we did Sunday night (just family and significant others). I will need to share the recipe for these as they were a big hit with all and somewhat healthy.

5.  Menu Planned again. No, we didn't stick with it 100% but at least I had a plan which helps out at the end of the day! Made all lunches and dinners at home. All but TWO breakfast was at home. I didn't post last weeks menu as time got away from me ...

6.  Spent a grand total of $110 these past two weeks at the store. Made it a point to stay far far away from the stores.

7.  Went with a girlfriend to see Big and Rich the previous Thursday night. Free concert sponsored by a local country station and another family sponsor. It was ok. Free and a chance to spend some time with a friend. We took a small cooler with premixed Peach Seabreezes and a veggie platter. However, a bathroom break was needed and of course, we opted to have a few beers ... got home later than I wanted, but didn't spend too much money (heck, beers were $2.50 a bottle and we had buy one get ones!).



8.  Gave myself a manicure and pedicure ... not spa-quality, but good enough for me.

9.  Got myself some new boxing gloves off amazon. Paid a total of 99 cents as I had $30 in giftcards lined up, thanks to Swagbucks!

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

1.  That Thursday night. I did stop in at Costco since I was seriously directly across the street. Ran in and out in 15 minutes, spent $65. Half of that was for towels and work out pants (which does not come off the food budget).

2.  Joined a gym. Not so sure if this falls in to a non frugal activity or not ... $19.95 a month and I'm certainly ambitious enough to get my twenty bucks worth a month.

3.  Had the Tahoe detailed for $140. The did the leather and carpet too ... we are getting ready to put it up for sale and well, lets face it, a clean car is nicer to sell ;-) A week later and we still have NOT listed it for sale ... but it's tucked away nice and snug in the garage.

4.  Stopped at liquor store for some wine to take to the meet and greet the girlfriend's parents. Ummm, should have just stuck with the $30 bottle of chianti ... but no, I saw the Santa Margharita and bought 2 of those too ... $18 a bottle ... AND of course, the 6 pk of corona and the small bottle of bourbon. Can't go empty handed you know. Kept a bottle of SM at home for later enjoyment ;-)

5.  Stopped at a favorite classic car bar after leaving the parents ... spent about $40 between the 2 of us ... Hubby tossed a $20 out and I did too ... we had fun but again, way too late getting home.

And that's all I can remember!!  Looking back at some of this stuff, I'm like DANG we drink a lot of booze! Not really, honestly!

Looking forward to sharing with Money Propeller and The Prudent Homemaker! Go check them both out!