Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Week 22 Meal Plan

I can't believe it's almost the Fourth of July! Independence Day just so happens to be my second favorite holiday of the year (after Christmas, of course). I'm looking forward to kicking off and closing the holiday weekend with two different barbecues. And since our actual Independence Day falls on a Sunday this year, I thought I'd tone down our meal to something a little less rowdy than a barbecue and serve a twist on a classic. I bet you'll be surprised with the big flavor of my Creamy Chicken Pot Pie!

Have a fun and safe holiday weekend, my friends!

Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing, Good Bread

Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Carrots, Cucumbers

Barbecued Turkey Breast, Roasted Potatoes, Green Salad

Go out

Sunday - Independence Day!
Creamy Chicken Pot Pie, Green Salad, Corn on the Cob

Invite your neighbors for a barbecue at the park! Split up food assignments for whatever sounds good. Here are some ideas:
Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Chips, Pasta Salad, Potato Salad, Corn on the Cob, Watermelon, Pie, Etc.


Week 22 Tips

Blend your poppy seed dressing as soon as you have all the ingredients. Let chill in the fridge for a few hours.

Cook all the chicken for Chicken Salad Sandwiches and Creamy Chicken Pot Pie. You'll need 6 cups of diced, cooked chicken total. Place chicken breasts in a greased slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 hours. If you start in the morning, there should be plenty of time for the chicken to cool before dinner. You could even cook the chicken the night before and chop it in the morning if you need to be off to work.

Prepare a big green salad, saving half in the fridge for Sunday.

Week 22 Grocery List

I'm heading to Maceys this week.

Ingredients for Week 22 Dinners
I will be purchasing:
1 red onion ($2.03)
1 bag baby spinach ($1.99)
8 oz fresh mushrooms - or less ($1.05)
7-10 red potatoes ($2.93)
1 head lettuce ($1.49)
corn on the cob ($1.60)
celery ($.34)
carrots ($1.29)
1 cucumber ($.79)
grapes - optional
good bread (Whole wheat ciabatta $1.99)
1 boneless, skinless turkey breast half (or use 3 chicken breasts if you can't find turkey) (I found turkey tenders $3.49)
cottage cheese ($1.89)
2 pkg cream cheese ($2.90)
2 pie crusts ($2.79)
any other ingredients needed for my food assignment for a group barbecue

I will be using from my pantry:
4-6 chicken breasts
mayo or Miracle Whip
8 oz Swiss cheese
bacon bits or 1/4 lb bacon
sliced bread for sandwiches
16 oz frozen mixed veggies
8 oz water chestnuts
soy sauce
lemon juice
chicken broth
1 pkg Lipton onion soup
1 envelope dry Italian dressing mix
dry mustard
poultry seasoning
onion powder
garlic powder

Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing, Good Bread

Nothing says summer to me quite like salads! I love making a good, hearty salad for dinner. If your family would prefer more protein, add some sliced cooked chicken to your salad.

I got this spinach salad recipe from my former neighbor, Vickie McMurray. I think it is divine! The combination of ingredients may sound a little intimidating, but I promise it is always a hit.

Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t dry mustard
1/4 c white vinegar
1/2 c oil
1 t poppy seeds
1/4 red onion, sliced very thin

Combine sugar, alt, mustard and vinegar in a blender. As blender is going, add oil until well blended. Transfer to a tupperware and add poppy seeds and onion. Let "marinate" for a few hours or overnight before serving. Shake well before serving.

1 bag baby spinach
8 oz Swiss cheese, grated
3/4 c rinsed cottage cheese
1/4 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled (I'll use bacon bits from my pantry)
8 oz fresh, sliced mushrooms (I'll be honest- I never put quite this many)

Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl. When ready to serve, toss salad and dressing. Do not add dressing too early or the spinach will wilt.

*To make this into a side salad to serve a crowd, double the dressing ingredients and use 2 bags of spinach.

Barbecued Turkey Breast, Roasted Potatoes, Green Salad

I got this barbecued turkey recipe from my mom. It has always been one of my favorite foods; I've asked for it for many, many birthday dinners.

sometimes boneless skinless turkey breast can be hard to find. If you're having trouble, just replace it with a few chicken breasts.

Barbecued Turkey Breast
1 c soy sauce
1/2 c oil
2 c Sprite
1/4 t garlic powder
1 boneless, skinless turkey breast half

Cut turkey into two-inch chunks. Combine all ingredients in a zip-top bag and marinate overnight. Cook on a grill until cooked through.

Roasted Potatoes and Green Salad
7-10 red potatoes
1/4 c olive oil
1 pkg Lipton onion soup
green salad

Preheat oven to 425. Chop potatoes into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. On the baking sheet, toss potatoes, oil, and soup mix. Stir until all potatoes are well coated. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 35-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Prepare green salad.

Creamy Chicken Pot Pie, Green Salad, Corn on the Cob

This chicken pot pie recipe is adapted from Good Seasons. It is so tangy and flavorful, you may forget you're eating chicken pot pie!

Creamy Chicken Pot Pie
1 1/2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese
1/2 c chicken broth
3 c chopped, cooked chicken
16 oz frozen mixed veggies, thawed
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
2 pie crusts

Preheat oven to 400. Cook cream cheese and chicken broth in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until cream cheese is melted, stirring frequently. Stir in chicken, veggies, and Italian dressing mix. Spoon into bottom pie crust. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut several slits to permit steam to escape. Cover edges of crust with foil to prevent burning. Place pie on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

Healthier version: Preheat oven to 425. Follow directions for preparing filling. Now instead of using two pie crusts, use only the top one: Spoon filling directly into a greased pie plate. Cover with crust, seal edges, and cut several slits. Place pie on a baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Green Salad and Corn on the Cob
green salad
4- 8 ears corn on the cob

Prepare green salad. Boil a large pot of water. Add corn and boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Some New Photos!

I got a little behind on my photos.

Ok, ok, it was a lot behind.

I didn't get photos of everything, but I've uploaded all the ones that were sitting on my memory card for a month.


Homemade Potstickers
Teriyaki Burritos
Lime Chicken Tacos
Italian Sausage Soup
Minestrone Soup
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Boneless Buffalo Wings
White Chicken Chili
Lemon Herb Pork Chops
Chicken Noodle Soup
Viva la Chicken

I also updated my posts with comments typed at the bottom of all the recipes I was trying for the first time.

Now are you going to try something new, too?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Your Pantry Is Your Piggybank

I'm a saver.

Although the magic of compound interest seems a little less thrilling with rates as low as they've been for awhile, I have always found it satisfying to see money grow in my bank account.

There are a lot of things to save for. There's the emergency fund, which should probably be enough to cover 3-6 months of expenses in case of, well, an emergency. The emergency fund is generally considered the first big savings effort you should make. Then there are long term goals to save for, those things that seem SO far away they may or may not be real, like retirement or your kids' education. Even though these events seem fuzzy, you're supposed to start planning for them now so you'll be ready when they come. Of course there are short term goals that come up along the way, like a fun vacation or a special birthday gift.

Did you know food storage is the exact same way?

It's important to start building an emergency storage of 3-6 months worth of the foods your family likes to eat. I feel pretty comfortable about this part of the plan, since we could live off of our pasta/sauce stores alone for a very long time! We could eat quite well if we could only purchase a small amount of dairy and produce items.

It is also wise to store more long-term food items like wheat and rice. While the scenario of living off of these staples is less sure than some long-term savings goals, it is best to plan now to be prepared just in case. This is one area where I have trouble. If I don't know how to cook with it in my everyday cooking, it's hard to get enthusiastic about storing it. I'm looking forward to renewing my efforts on this one is the fall!

And what about fun short term goals? You can always start planning ahead for birthdays, road trips, and pot lucks by purchasing items for your pantry that are on sale now so you won't have to pay full price for them later.

So while you may not be putting pennies in a piggy bank, you are saving up for your future when you shop smart and fill your pantry!

What keeps you motivated to shop smart and stock up your pantry?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Week 21 Meal Plan

It feels good to be back!

I've got a full meal plan going this week, there's a food-for-thought post coming this weekend, and photos are currently being uploaded to my computer.

Lime Chicken Soft Tacos, Corn, Green Salad

Sweet and Zesty Grilled Chicken, Broccoli, Cauliflower

Homemade Potstickers, Rice, Zucchini

Go out or eat leftovers

Easy Lasagna, Peas, Green Beans

Gingery Salmon, Pilaf, Broccoli

Melissa's Mexican Soup, Quesadillas, Green Salad

Week 21 Grocery List

This week I will be heading to Smiths. They are having an awesome coupon special this week where all coupons valued less than $1.00 will be counted at $1.00. So if I have a coupon for $.10 off an item, I'll actually get $1.00 off!

Ingredients for Week 21 Dinners

I'll be purchasing:
1 lb ground pork
1 head garlic
1 head medium cabbage
1 to 2 zucchini
1 lime
green onions
tomato (optional)
1 pkg. round potsticker wrappers
1 (16 oz) cottage cheese

I'll be using from my pantry:
7-8 chicken breasts
1/2 lb ground beef
4 salmon fillets
8 oz shredded mozzarella
9 lasagna noodles
1 c whole-grain pilaf or 1 box rice side
1 bottle spaghetti sauce
1 (14 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 (15 oz) cans Great Northern white beans
1 can green beans
salsa verde
teriyaki sauce
soy sauce
sesame oil
olive oil
red wine vinegar
cayenne pepper
chicken bouillon
garlic powder
minced onion
frozen corn
frozen peas

Sweet and Zesty Grilled Chicken, Broccoli, Cauliflower

This grilled chicken recipe is adapted from Bessy's Zesty Grilled Garlic-Herb Chicken on AllRecipes. I've just made a few minor changes.

Sweet and Zesty Grilled Chicken
4 chicken breasts, cut in half
2/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 t honey
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 t dried basil
1 t dried thyme
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t salt
1/2 t dried oregano
1/4 t dried parsley
1 pinch sage

Place chicken in a shallow dish. In a medium bowl, mix together olive oil, sugar, honey, garlic, basil, thyme, cayenne, salt, oregano, parsley, and sage. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Cover, and marinate 20 to 25 minutes in the fridge (If you marinate any longer, you'll have to pull the chicken out of the fridge a little early to let the olive oil go back to a liquid state). Preheat grill to medium heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Discard marinade, and place chicken on the grill Cook about 10 minutes on each side, or until the exterior is charred and juiced run clear.

Serve with steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and maybe a little corn on the cob!

Homemade Potstickers, Rice, Zucchini

My mom learned how to make these potstickers from a Chinese woman in our ward (church group). We grew up making them together, but we always called them gyoza instead of potstickers (which I believe might be the Japanese name? My mom did originally fall in love with potstickers high on pregnancy cravings at a little Japanese restaurant in downtown Provo...but I digress.). Fast forward just a few years to when I met my husband. He had served a church mission in Taiwan and called these little lovelies guo tie or shui jiao or something that I likely don't know how to spell. So although we all love this meal, we have no idea what to call it! I think I've settled on potstickers, just as a neutral territory.

Homemade Potstickers
1 medium head cabbage
1/4 c garlic cloves
1 T sesame oil
1/4 c soy sauce
1 lb ground pork
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t sugar
1/4 t pepper
1 pkg round potsticker wrappers (refrigerated in the store- usually near the produce)

Chop cabbage very fine. Chop or mince garlic. In a large bowl, mix together well all ingredients except wrappers. Let filling sit for 10 minutes, or cover and refrigerate up to overnight. Wrap about 2 tsp filling in each wrapper. There are usually instruction on the package, but here's the idea:

Holding the wrapper in one hand, spoon the filling into the middle of the wrapper. Have a small bowl of water close by, and use your finger to get a little water and wet the edge of the wrapper (you only need to moisten halfway around the circle). Then fold the wrapper in half, forming a semicircle that encloses the filling. Pinch the edges tight to make sure the water has sealed the wrapper shut.

Next, cook the potstickers. Heat 1 T vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Place as many potstickers in a single layer in the pan as you can. Allow to brown and then pour water to mostly cover the potstickers, about 3/4 of the way. Let the water boil down. (The potstickers get cooked through by the steam.) Serve immediately.

Store extra filling in the fridge for a few days. Wait to wrap anymore potstickers until you are ready to cook them, or the wrappers will go gooey.

Rice and Sauce
1 c rice
1/4 c soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
2 T sugar

Cook rice according to package directions.

In a small bowl, make a simple sauce for the potstickers. Mix together soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Adjust amounts according to taste. Serve potstickers over hot rice and drizzle lightly with sauce.

1 to 2 zucchini
2 to 3 T teriyaki sauce, or other Asian sauce
sesame seeds (optional)

Cut zucchini into thin circles. Saute with cooking spray until tender and somewhat translucent. Top with desired sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Gingery Salmon, Pilaf, Broccoli

We continue on our quest for more omega-3's with this Gingery Salmon recipe. This salmon recipe is adapted from Good Housekeeping magazine. I hope it tastes as good as the recipe sounds!

Gingery Salmon
3 T lower-sodium soy sauce
2 T grated peeled fresh ginger
2 T honey
4 skinless salmon fillets
2 T water

Preheat oven to 400. In a 13"x9" glass or ceramic baking dish, mix soy sauce, grated ginger, and honey until well combined. Add salmon fillets and turn to coat evenly; spoon ginger mixture evenly over salmon. Pour 2 T water into baking dish around salmon. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until salmon is just opaque throughout.

Pilaf and Broccoli
1 c. whole-grain pilaf, or 1 box rice side dish
1 lb broccoli florets

Cook pilaf according to package directions. Steam broccoli and season with salt and pepper or garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes.

We thought this salmon recipe tasted fine, but the ginger taste was stronger than we'd prefer to have all the time. It was fun to try, but I doubt I'll be making too often.

Melissa's Mexican Soup, Quesadillas, Green Salad

This soup recipe comes from my sister-in-law Melissa. It has such a bright, fresh taste that it seems like a good soup for summertime.

If you have any diced, cooked chicken on hand, you could add it just at the end of the cooking time for a heartier soup. I've mixed in cooked rice at the end, too. Play around with it, and see what you like!

Mexican Soup
1 (14 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 (14 oz) cans of water
2 (15 oz) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 to 1/2 c salsa verde, to taste
1 1/2 c frozen corn
salt and pepper
1 t chicken bouillon
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t minced onion
1/2 bunch cilantro, minced fine

Combine all ingredients except cilantro in a large pot. Bring to a boil then lower heat. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add cilantro and cook a few minutes more.

4 tortillas
1/2 c grated cheese

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Place in one tortilla, cover with 1/4 c cheese, and top with a second tortilla. Heat until cheese melts slightly and first tortilla is lightly browned. Flip and brown the second tortilla. Remove to a plate and repeat the process with the remaining tortillas and cheese. Cut each quesadilla into eighths and serve with salsa or soup.

Green Salad
Prepare a green salad.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Week 20 Meal Plan

We still have family in town. Wow, life is crazy! I'm running to the store today for a few quick items, and I know Maceys is having a great sale on all the fixings for hamburgers. There are also a lot of great sales on fruit at Sunflower Farmers Market.

Don't give up on me yet! I'll be back next week in full blogging style. All the old photos sitting on my memory card will be on their way for your viewing pleasure, and I even have a theoretical post up my sleeve. Until then, here's my plan:

Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Homemade Fries- my pork roast is still in the freezer from last week

Grilled Chicken Salad with Seasonal Fruit from


Go out.

Spaghetti, Broccoli, Cauliflower

Baked Potatoes or Potato Soup

Leftovers or something easy from the food storage.

My grocery list looks something like this:
2 pkgs hamburger buns
3 heads lettuce
2 lb block Gossner cheese
10 lb bag potatoes
fruits and veggies for everyone

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Week 19 Meal Plan

Another week has come and gone, so I guess that means it's time for a new meal plan. We've been extremely distracted and busy lately with some big life changes, and now this week we are lucky to have family in town! With all the crazy busy fun, I have no idea when I will be cooking for a crowd, eating at someone's house, or going out with the group. I'm just getting on the computer long enough to make a quick meal plan, but I really don't know if we'll be able to follow much of it at all. I'll run to the store today for a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, dairy products, and a pork roast.

BreAnne's White Chicken Chili (We didn't have time to try this two weeks ago!)

Teriyaki Chicken and Rice

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Go out, eat leftovers or grill some chicken for a barbecue.

Cafe Rio Salads

Breakfast Burritos, Hash Browns, Fruit

Salmon Patties

Does anyone have a great recipe you're using with sale items from this week? Would you like to share your meal plan with us? I'm sure we'd all love more ideas, so comment away!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Week 18 Meal Plan

It was so fun to try your recipes last week! I still have a few more to try, so I'll keep adding them into weekly meal plans as I go. Thanks for all your tasty recipes!

After a few experiences with deep frying last week, I'm feeling a need to lighten up this week. We've got a couple light chicken dishes, a soup packed with veggies, and a couple meatless dinners coming up this week. Mmm!


Pesto Chicken and Cheese Toasts, Cabbage Salad, Carrot Sticks

Brenna's Teriyaki Burritos, Broccoli, Cauliflower

Jennifer's "I Want Seconds" Italian Sausage Soup, Green Salad

Go out

Palamino Pasta, Green Salad, Peas

Monday- Breakfast for Dinner!
French Toast, Hash Browns, Fruit


Check out the grocery list here.

Week 18 Grocery List- with Prices!

This week I will be shopping at Maceys, with a quick run to Sunflower Farmers Market for some produce.

Ingredients for Week 18 Dinners
I will be purchasing:
1 lb loaf of interesting bread (sourdough $2.69)
1 jalapeno ($.05)
1 tomato ($.52)
1 avocado ($.89)
1 bunch cilantro ($.50)
2 limes (SF $.50)
2 onions ($1.08)
1 (10 oz) bag shredded carrots ($1.29)
baby carrots (1 lb $.99)
1 red bell pepper ($.79)
1 head lettuce (SF $.88)
broccoli ($.60)
cauliflower ($.52)
1 small head cabbage ($.57)
fruit (SF blackberries $.88)
basil pesto (8 oz jar $4.99)
eggs (1 dozen $.79)
milk (1 gallon $1.97)
Colby Monterey Jack cheese (2 lbs- this will last awhile! $5.99)
mozzarella cheese (2 lbs- I will freeze most of this $4.98)
optional: sour cream
optional: cream
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans ($.79)

In total, I spent $32.17 on this week's dinners. But keep in mind that over $10 of that was for cheese, which will last me a long, long time.
Here is the approximate breakdown:
Pesto Chicken and Cheese Toasts, Cabbage Salad, Carrot Sticks $10.28
Brenna's Teriyaki Burritos, Broccoli, Cauliflower $6.02
Jennifer's "I Want Seconds" Italian Sausage Soup, Green Salad $3.06
Palamino Pasta, Green Salad, Peas $4.26
French Toast, Hash Browns, Fruit $3.64

I will be using from my pantry:
3-4 chicken breasts
1 lb ground bulk sweet Italian sausage
garlic cloves
flour tortillas
22 oz bowtie pasta
frozen hash browns
frozen peas
3 (14 oz) cans beef or chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic
1 (14 oz) can great northern beans
optional: 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
soy sauce
spaghetti sauce
peanut butter or maple syrup
garlic salt

I also stocked up on:
4 Mini Wheats ($3.08 each plus a $6/4 store coupon and a $1.50/3 manufacturer coupon = $4.82)
2 boxes Cheese Nips ($.98 plus a $1/2 coupon= $.96)
TJ Farms frozen potatoes
6 Maceys Cottage wheat bread ($.88 each = $5.28)
3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts ($1.88/lb =$5.64)

Also on a good sale sale were Don Julio tortillas, DaVinci pasta, and Hunts spaghetti sauce (each just $.88), but I've got plenty of that stuff in my freezer and storage room.

Pesto Chicken and Cheese Toasts, Cabbage Salad, Carrot Sticks

These little toasts come from the creative minds at My Creative Stirrings. You can find the original post here. I'll be serving these toasts with carrot sticks and a cabbage salad loosely based on this recipe (without the chicken, of course).

Here is the recipe, copied from the Creative Stirrings blog:

15- 1" slices of bread (from 1 pound loaf)

2 cups chopped and cooked chicken
1 cup shredded Colby Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup pesto basil
1 teaspoon mashed jalapenos
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to broil. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Lay the slices of bread on top of the foil lined pan; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the chicken, cheese, pesto, jalapenos, and garlic salt*. Spread in equal portions on top of each slice of bread. Broil 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread is lightly toasted.

*Optional topping:
3/4 cup sour cream
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies, drained (*for additional flavor drain the juice into the chicken mixture)

Combine the sour cream and chilies and serve on top of the cooked toasts.

*I never intended to post this recipe. I was simply trying to get rid of ingredients I have been storing. However, after making it a couple times I have had a few recipe requests. Here it is, Enjoy! Some prefer the toasts without the topping and some liked it with. I think it is good both ways.

Brenna's Teriyaki Burritos, Broccoli, Cauliflower

This interesting recipe comes from LMPD reader Brenna, who got it from her coworker Katie. I can't wait to try such an interesting combination! I'll be serving these burritos with broccoli and cauliflower.

Here is Brenna's recipe:

Teriyaki Burritos
Marinate chicken in the following:
1/2 C. sugar
1/3 C. soy sauce
1/4 C. water
Cook and serve burrito style with:
flour tortillas
diced avocado
cilantro (or for those who don't like cilantro, shredded lettuce)
fresh limes (microwave for 10 seconds if they're not juicy)
shredded mozzarella cheese
cooked rice

*I loved this flavor combination! My only addition to the recipe would be my own instructions for cooking the chicken:

Mix together soy sauce, sugar, and water. Refrigerate half the mixture in the fridge as sauce. Combine the remaining half with 3 chicken breasts cut into strips. Marinate in the fridge for an hour or overnight. Heat a pan over medium-high heat with cooking spray. Discard marinade. Saute chicken pieces until cooked through. Add reserved sauce and bring to a boil. Stir together 1 T cornstarch and a splash of water. Add to the pan, and cook a few minutes more until sauce thickens.

Jennifer's "I Want Seconds!" Italian Sausage Soup, Green Salad

This Italian sausage soup recipe comes from Let Me Plan Dinner reader Jennifer, who blogs at 3 Little Chicks. I'll be serving this soup with a green salad and maybe some kind of bread.

Here is Jennifer's recipe as she wrote it. Thanks for sharing!

1 pound ground Bulk sweet Italian sausage
1 yellow onion, chopped
10 oz. bag of shredded carrot
3 (14oz) cans of beef or chicken broth. (I used the lower sodium kind)
2 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic. (I used the no salt added kind)
1 (16oz) can red kidney beans-drained
1 (16oz) can of great northern beans- drained
6 oz (1/2 a box) Bowtie pasta

In a large pot, cook the sausage, onion and carrots together until sausage is browned and crumbles. Stir in the broth, tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to med/low and simmer for 20 min. Add the pasta: simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Stir and serve immediately.

*Mmm! Thanks, Jennifer. I really did want seconds! This recipe was a delicious and easy soup. I will probably use half the sausage next time just to save on money and calories. This was a hit at our house.

Palamino Pasta, Green Salad, Peas

The palamino pasta recipe is from my mom. She got it years ago in a magazine or newspaper article. My family loved pasta, so this was a favorite growing up!

1 T butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T flour
3/4 c milk
1/2 c cream (I may just use milk; we'll see)
1/2 t salt
1 1/4 c spaghetti sauce
16 oz bowtie pasta
1/4 c Parmesan cheese (or try 1/2 c mozzarella if you have it)
1/4 c fresh basil, sliced (or try 1 1/2 T dry basil)

green salad

frozen peas

In a large skillet, saute onion, bell pepper and garlic in butter until tender. Add flour and cook 1 minute. Stir in milk, cream, and salt. Bring to a boil at medium-high heat. Stir in spaghetti sauce. (If using dry basil in place of fresh, add that now.) Boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions; drain. Return pasta to pot. Add cooked sauce and toss to coat. Top with Parmesan/mozzarella cheese and fresh basil, if using.

Prepare green salad.

Microwave frozen peas. Season with salt and pepper.

French Toast, Hash Browns, Fruit

8 slices bread
3-4 eggs
2 T milk
1 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
peanut butter or maple syrup
1 banana, sliced (optional)

frozen hash browns

fruit of your choice

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium high heat. In a shallow dish, lightly beat eggs and milk. Mix in vanilla and cinnamon. Dip bread in egg mixture and place on skillet. Cook, flipping halfway through, until both sides are cooked. Serve French toast with peanut butter or with maple syrup, and top with banana slices if desired.

Meanwhile, cook hash browns according to package directions.