Monday, January 20, 2014

Dinner, Mini-Marathons, and other musings

Now don't get too excited...this in not my coupon post! When I do post about how I grocery shop I want it to be thought out. To be honest couponing is not the complete answer to making sure your grocery shopping budget is under control. But like I said that is a post for later.

Anyways I had someone ask about the details of what I bought and what I made for dinner so I thought for anyone interested here you go! I meal plan two weeks in advance. It takes all of the stress out of making dinner. I always have what I need in my kitchen and it's prepped and ready to go.

Sometimes I find that I'm either uninspired or suffering from information overload, (Thank you pinterest!) so I usually assign certain foods to certain days. Monday we usually have Mexican food. Thursday we usually have something in the crock pot because my husband can put it in when he gets home from work.

Week of January 12

Sunday: Loaded Baked Potatoes

Monday: Beef Nachos

Tuesday: Turkey Meatballs, whole grain spaghetti, and a Caesar side salad

Wednesday: Sour Cream Noodle Bake

Thursday: Cereal (Nutritious I know.)

Friday: Out to eat: Red Robin!

Saturday: Home-made Supreme Pizza

Week of January 19

Sunday: Leftover Pizza and mac and cheese

Monday: Tacos with lots of veggie toppings

Tuesday: Turkey Meatball Subs

Wednesday: Chicken Stuffing Casserole

Thursday: Crock pot Beef Stroganoff over egg noodles, oven roasted carrots

Friday: Undetermined

Saturday: Out to eat!



Grocery List: January 12:



Case of water
2 gal milk
2 bags of corn chips
pretzels
5 lean cuisine meals
dozen eggs
loaf of bread
2 boxes of Kashi go lean crunch
4 cans Campbell's Chunky Soup
20 tubs of Yoplait Yogurt
4 tubs of Muller yogurt
1 package of chicken thighs
1 pound of ground turkey
2 packages Oscar Meyer lunch meat
1 green pepper
1 head of iceberg lettuce
1 bunch of celery
1 bunch of green onions
1 bunch of bananas
1 bag of frozen strawberries
1 package of shredded mozzarella cheese
2 packages of taco seasoning
1 package Dole pre-made Caesar Salad
3 packages of rice
3 packages of pasta
1 pack crunchy taco shells
3 boxes of Special K cereal

Total: $80.93

Just in case you were wondering we don't eat 5 boxes of cereal every week. That cereal will last us for about 6 weeks or so. I have been trying to plan healthier meals. Right now is the busy season for both my husbands and my job so I'm trying to avoid unnecessary weight gain while still keeping us fueled for the gym.

I usually go to the grocery store 3 times per month. 2 big grocery trips and then one in between if we run out of something or I need to replenish my fresh produce. For the most part I am very go with the flow when it comes to shopping.

On a different note as most of you know I am participating in the 500 Mini Marathon. Whoo hoo! I'm definitely excited and I have been trying to stay consistent at the gym. But as race day gets closer and closer my training needs to become more serious. I have a training schedule so again me having to worry about planning has been taken out of the equations and for that I'm glad! It's a mix of strength training, stretching, and of course walking/running. I'm very pleased with how it's set up.

I hope that quenched some curiosity! Until next time thanks for reading!

Cara

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Lasagna Roll-ups


This recipe has been on my to do list since I was introduced to Pinterest about three years ago. I really love most Italian food and this recipe is so simple and easy to put together that it quickly caught my attention. One good thing about it, aside from being so tasty, is that you can make most of the dish way ahead of time or even freeze it. I made it immediately so as far as quality goes I can't give too much advice if you are going to freeze it.

I have found that there are a lot of variations on lasagna roll-ups out there. This one is a really, really simple and the ingredients are fairly cheap and easy to find. It came together in no time and only has to bake for about 30 minutes.


The ingredients. The pasta sauce is hiding up in the corner. You could add some ground beef or Italian sausage if you want. Or this could work for meatless Monday's if that's your thing too!


Cheese...Parmesan, mozzarella, and ricotta. Just as a shoppers hint: you can get FRESH cheese from Aldi stores for very reasonable prices!


All rolled up! I have a silmat that I rolled my noodles out on. I also cooked about 12 just because I had a few fall apart.


This made for a wonderful dinner and an equally wonderful dinner the next day. I hope you all get a great chance to try this recipe out!

And just because you were wondering...no. That is NOT alcohol in the pictures. Carbonated grape juice, people.

 Ingredients

  • 8 lasagna noodles 
  • 15 oz. ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • Package of frozen spinach
  • 2 cups pasta sauce; any flavor
  • salt and pepper
  • Italian Seasoning

Directions:

Put two pots of water on the stove. One for lasagna noodles and the other to boil spinach. Cook lasagna noodles following the directions on the box. 

Once the frozen spinach has been cooked, combine the spinach in a bowl with the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, freshly grated pepper, Italian Seasoning, and salt. Mix until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a glass casserole dish by spraying with non-stick spray.
On a clean surface, lay out a few noodles at a time. Place a few tablespoons of filling on each noodle and spread to cover from edge to edge.

Roll the noodles up and place in the prepared casserole dish.  Pour the pasta sauce over the rolled noodles making sure to cover all surfaces. The sauce will keep the noodles hydrated and soft while baking.

Cover the dish in foil and bake for 30-40 minutes.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Marshmallow Lollipops



We are so close to Christmas! Can you believe it? I can't! This Christmas season has been an unusual one for our family and things have definitely not gone as planned. But it is my mission to see the joy and the hope in every situation and to make the season still bright.

I needed to put together some sweet treats and gifts for my mom and sister. Their birthday's are in early December but with the craziness their special days came and went with no presents or sweets from me! Boo!

These treats are really easy to make, inexpensive, and fun! If you have kids or siblings your could probably get them to help you out when it comes to decorating them. I got tired about halfway through and just dipped plain ones.




For this lovely marshmallow lollipops you will need one package of chocolate bark, a bag of marshmallows, lollipop sticks, and sprinkles.

The awesome thing about the recipes is that it is so versatile! Flavored marshmallows, white chocolate bark, crushed up candy canes...if you dream it up it would probably work!


First you will want to get a double boiler going. If you have an actual double boiler gadget good for you! As for the rest of us just take a sauce pan and put a few inches of water in the bottom over medium heat. You want the water to come to a light simmer. And the pop a class bowl on top. Wah lah! Double Boiler.



Break up your chocolate bark with a big knife and put into the double boiler. It will take a little bit for it to melt but that's ok. You don't want the chocolate to burn.




Make sure you periodically stir the chocolate. The residual heat will help the chocolate melt faster.



While the chocolate is melting you can move on to the next step. Take one of your lollipop sticks.



And dip it into the chocolate...please don't lick it over. I know you will be tempted.


And pop it down into one of the marshmallows. This will anchor the stick into the marshmallow and keep the stick in place when you dip them later.

OH...and have some wax paper lined backing sheets ready to go as well.


Now repeat. I had 40 lollipops all together.


Once I got going I forgot I was a blogger and trying to get some actions shots for you all.

But you will want to dip your marshmallows and the put sprinkles or whatever you decided on them. I found that on the dark chocolate, colored sprinkles don't show up well unless you literally put spoonfuls on. And then the heat from the chocolate still melts some of them.



So festive!


I had some bark left over so instead of throwing it out I put a few splashes of peppermint extract in and then dipped some wheat Ritz crackers in the chocolate.



The result: Mock Thin Mints! Delish!



If you still needed some Christmas inspiration that these easy recipes did the trick! They are so yummy! Now I know what you all are thinking...didn't you just say that you were running the 500 Mini and you have these in your house? Not to fear! They have all made their way to my parents house and are probably all gone.

And one more thing! These are now in the Recipe Book. So if you would would like to browse some of my other recipes please do so!

Merry Christmas to all of you. I hope your season is filled with happiness, hope, and love as we celebrated the birth of Jesus.

C.S.