Thursday, January 31

Meals For The Next 2 Weeks

M.O.M. ~ Mom On a Mission – One mom’s mission to feed healthy foods to a family of four for under $400 a month. Can it be done? Let’s find out!

   Payday time again. That means it’s time to plan out dinners and write up the grocery list again.

   When making up the menus, I was trying to keep in mind what I already had in my pantry and freezer to keep costs low. Here’s what I came up with:

Thursday, January 24

Taco Casserole -- More Freezer Cooking

     So on the menu for last night was the frozen Pasta Bake. Well I, being who I am, forgot that it needed to be pulled out of the freezer the night before or morning of. I didn’t remember this until about 3 o’clock. J So I decided to use this time in the kitchen to put together the Twice Baked Potatoes for the freezer and also put together the Taco Casserole – one for dinner last night and one to put in the freezer.

     The girls and I had spent the afternoon playing Lego stories and then some time playing on the Wii (MarioKart, tennis, golf and then I introduced them to the boxing haha) while I had a chicken boiling on the stove…so it was time for them to go play together so I could spend some time in the kitchen.

Monday, January 21

Freezer Cooking -- Pasta Bake!

     Last week I had planned on making a double batch of baked pasta to have one for dinner that night and freezing the other for another night. But the scheduled day came and that day my oldest was home sick from school and no one was in the mood for pasta. We were feeling like having pancakes…so we had leftover pancakes for dinner. But I still wanted to make the pasta so it would be ready for another time.

     First I started another batch of bread. (It really is wonderful – I promise I’ll do a post on this soon!) While the bread is doing it’s thing, I go ahead and get a pot of water boiling. Then I cook the spaghetti according to the package directions.

     While the pasta is cooking up, I go ahead and grab two bowls and empty a can of diced tomatoes into each. Then I add in the spices: pepper, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, ground mustard, and salt. And then it gets all stirred up with a fork.

Wednesday, January 16

Homemade Fish Sticks for dinner!

     On the menu for Tuesday was Homemade Fish Sticks. Now, I’m really not a fish-sticks-kind of person. My husband is actually the fish-stick-lover of the house. But seeing as how I really can’t remember the last time we had fish sticks (and I’m pretty sure they weren’t homemade…) and I had come across this homemade recipe before planning out meals, I figured it was a good time to do it for my husband again.

     I found this recipe at I found this blog thru a pin on Pinterest for homemade white bread. (I’ve just pulled my third batch of this bread out of the oven. It is absolutely wonderful!) So after my first success, I started reading through the blog and found the Homemade Fish Sticks. And it uses the homemade bread for breadcrumbs. Cool. J

     I had planned on making mashed potatoes to go with this, but the timing didn't work out so we had a salad with our fish sticks. (I went ahead with the potatoes to freeze them to be a side with another dinner. I added that in after the fish sticks.)

Homemade Fish Sticks

1 lb frozen white fish fillets, such as cod
1 c. all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 c. homemade bread crumbs*
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp paprika
1 Tbsp lemon juice


Tuesday, January 15

Freezer Cooking on a Budget with a Small Freezer...

*Warning – This is a long post but seriously chocked full of good recipes and such. It’s totally worth reading all the way through!...despite the lack of pictures. J *

Have you been on Pinterest lately? There have been a good number of posts about freezer cooking and budget meal planning.  (I’m guessing it has to do with the start of the New Year and lots of resolutions to eat healthier and save money.) If you’re like me, you pin these things (and let’s face it, a ton of other things too) and they are never to be seen again.

But then I found a really cool blog through a post abouthomemade bread. I have really enjoyed reading through Andrea’s blog Pennies & Pancakes. Her angle seems to be making things yourself that you normally buy at the store either because it’s healthier that way or it saves you money or even both. I love this point of view and happen to completely agree with her. The first post I read was about making homemade bread – get this – without a bread maker! Woah now. I only ever make quick breads (like pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, banana bread, etc) and have never ventured anywhere near other breads because I thought you needed a bread maker…which I don’t have. This lady not only makes it without a bread maker, but she completely took away the intimidation factor. I’ll do a post on this later as I’m planning on tackling her homemade granola bars next. J  (But spoiler alert: The bread is delicious!!)

Maybe it was because I was feeling unstoppable after successfully making this bread (twice) that I felt I could attempt freezer cooking and a better budget meal plan. I feel I should take a moment to explain that I’ve read posts, lots of posts, about freezer cooking and how fantabulous it is. But these people have very nice very large freezers. They have room to prep 30-some meals in one afternoon and then freeze it all. I live in an apartment and barely have room for my usual freezer stuff. So after reading how awesome freezer cooking is, I move on without giving it any serious thought. And as for budgeting the meals – well, I do have a twice-a-month budget I have to stick to. And I did do a few posts about meal planning and all that. But then it fell to the wayside.

Tuesday, January 8

Cheers to the New Year!

      The start of a new year. Usually, at the start of each year, I am sad about having to start the whole year over again. See, I like the months from about September on and all the months prior are just spent getting to this point. It's odd, but this year I'm filled with excitement. Maybe this change of heart comes from being a mom. I know, I know. I've been a mom for 6 and a half years now. But I think this year is different because both girls are old enough to do more now than in past years, and they are truly enjoying it and Abby is now reaching the age where she remembers it. (The mind of kids younger than 3, or 4 even, have a hard time remembering things they've done in the past, like holidays and trips and such.) I feel so much hope and excitement about the first half of this year that I believe this is going to be a wonderful year!

Monday, January 7

Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

So I started with the first day of cookies, and then stopped. I really did do two more days after that but then I just got so overwhelmed with everything else that something had to give. But I would love to share one of the other cookies I did with you now.

Another cookie we made for Christmas were Gingerbread cookies! I know I've done gingerbread cookies before, but when I looked at my recipe I saw that it included shortening. *blech* I don't know why, but I've been in a mood where I try really hard to avoid using shortening. So anyway, I wanted to do something a little different from the usual gingerbread cookies. (Last Christmas for the 25 Days of Christmas Cookies I made Chewy Gingerbread Cookies.)

2 cups flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Set the bowl aside.

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