A Working Mom’s Easy Weeknight Dinner

August 31, 2010 · Posted in Beef · View Comments 

If you’re a subscriber to my weekly e-newsletter, A Busy Mom’s Kitchen, you read that this week I’m sharing how mom’s or dad’s can create inexpensive meals for their families that are not only quick and easy but cost less than $100.

Normally, when I’m at the grocery store I can spend just a tad bit over the $200 mark for almost a month’s worth of groceries. Yes, it can be done. You just have to pay attention to what’s on sale and from trial and error know what a good deal is at the supermarket. I see more and more people shopping with lists and coupons these days. It’s good to see people are looking for that extra savings.

My last trip to the grocery store, I picked up some cubed steak. You can pick up a decent package of cubed steak for less than $1.50 for 2 pieces. Serve with a salad and a vegetable and you have yourself a wonderful meal.

 I’ve learned how to create a week’s worth of salad with lettuce, carrots and celery to make it last all week and still taste fresh. This I will share with you in a later post.

Vegetables are inexpensive when purchased frozen and still have the required nutrients. Of course you can buy canned vegetables if they are on sale. I’m able to get more side dish meals from the frozen vegetables.

In this easy weeknight dinner, I’ve created a main dish using just 6 simple ingredients.

Cubed Steak with Gravy

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

4-6 pieces of cubed steak

1 large onion, diced

3/4 cup flour

Salt and pepper

1 cup water

Directions:

Place flour on a baking dish, plate or plastic bag. Salt and pepper both sides of cubed steak. Coat the cubed steak with flour on both sides. Save the flour for later, you will be using it for the gravy.

Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Brown cubed steak on both sides, roughly 3 minutes. Once cooked, remove from saucepan. Keep drippings in pan, add onion. Cook onion, for 2 minutes, then add flour, about an 1/8 cup or a little more. Stir while flour browns.

As you are continuously stirring, slowly add water and reduce heat to low. Simmer the gravy until it is the right consistency. at this point you could add the cubed steak back in and simmer for about 5 minutes more or you could plate it and serve the gravy on top as I did.

 I served the cubed steak with corn and a salad. You could also serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

Do you have any tips that work for you on shopping and creating inexpensive meals? I’d love to hear them!

As always, my quick and easy recipes for Busy Moms can be found on my website Noel’s Kitchen Tips.com.

Visit my new Amazon Kitchen Store  for some of my recommeneded appliances, storage and kitchen needs along with some of my favorite cookbooks and aprons to help you with your family meal planning. For high quality kitchen tools for your kitchen, visit www. NoelsKitchen.com

Would you like to join our growing Family Cooking Club? Share recipes and tips with others? Join the Family Meals Matter Cooking Club on Facebook.  

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Desserts For Less:Easy Baked Apple Crisp

August 30, 2010 · Posted in Desserts, Recipes · View Comments 

An easy  inexpensive dessert recipe with sliced apples and a crunchy topping. Serve alone or with old fashioned vanilla ice cream.

Desserts For Less

If you’re looking for a fast, inexpensive dessert recipe, this is a really yummy one!

 

Easy Baked Apple Crisp

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon butter or may use cooking spray to lightly coat baking dish

8 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1 lemon, plus juice

1 Tablespoon molasses

3/4 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ginger

1 stick of butter (8 Tablespoons), cut into chuncks

Caramel ice cream topping (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place apples in a 9×12 lightly greased baking dish. Add the zest of one lemon and juice, and molasses. Toss apples until coated. Spread apples evenly in baking dish.

In a small bowl add flour, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon and butter. Using fingers mix ingredients together until butter is incorporated into ingredients.  Sprinkle evenly over the top of apples.

Bakes in oven for 25 minutes or until top is lightly brown. Serve alone or on top of vanilla ice cream.

As always, my quick and easy recipes for Busy Moms can be found on my website Noel’s Kitchen Tips.com.

Visit my new Amazon Kitchen Store  for some of my recommeneded appliances, storage and kitchen needs along with some of my favorite cookbooks and aprons to help you with your family meal planning. For high quality kitchen tools for your kitchen, visit www. NoelsKitchen.com

Would you like to join our growing Family Cooking Club? Share recipes and tips with others? Join the Family Meals Matter Cooking Club on Facebook.  

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Finally A New Theme Kitchen!

August 27, 2010 · Posted in Noel's Kitchen Smarts · View Comments 

So I’ve been debating over the past few months on a new kitchen theme. I wanted to freshen up the kitchen and give my readers a fresh new insight on all of my kitchen ideas, recipes, family life, add some cooking videos and more. This theme was designed after a recent blog critic so my designer and I shared some ideas and she did an amazing job. Thank you Christa! Need a blog lift, visit Christa at Jensen Designs. She’s affordable, communicates very well with her customers, (I dislike when I have to wait for days or don’t hear back from a designer.) and she does an amazing job!

Feel free to leave a comment on what you think of the new design. I’d love to hear from you!

I have more fun ideas coming up and a lot more frugal and easy recipes for busy families coming up a little later so come back and visit the kitchen soon.  Can you imagine making a week’s worth of meals for just $100 grocery shopping trip? Stay tuned…..

In the meantime, don’t forget to get your Friday Freebie at Raley’s. This Friday, Saturday or Sunday, spend $10 at Raley’s and get a 3 lb. bag of Raley’s Fresh Apples! Available with online coupons only. Limit 1 per customer.

As always, my quick and easy recipes for Busy Moms can be found on my website Noel’s Kitchen Tips.com.

Visit my new Amazon Kitchen Store  for some of my recommeneded appliances, storage and kitchen needs along with some of my favorite cookbooks and aprons to help you with your family meal planning. For high quality kitchen tools for your kitchen, visit www. NoelsKitchen.com

Would you like to join our growing Family Cooking Club? Share recipes and tips with others? Join the Family Meals Matter Cooking Club on Facebook.  

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BBQ Battle For A Cause

August 26, 2010 · Posted in Fundraiser Events · View Comments 

 

Cooking for a cause is always enjoyable for me.  In our local events section, I read that tonight, The United Way of Nevada County’s 4th Annual BBQ Battle is happening. It’s being held at 5pm in downtown Grass Valley at the Gold Miner Inn. They will be raffling some great raffle prizes; including a Hawaiian vacation getaway, and live music performed by SOLS. Spectators can Cool off under a tent of misting hoses while they enjoy the music and great food.

Proceeds from this event will be going to United Way of Nevada County Community Investment Fund.

We’ll be stopping by and checking out the event and tasting some wonderful BBQ. Hope to see you all there.

Kitchen Gadgets That Make Wonderful Meals

August 25, 2010 · Posted in Recipes · View Comments 

Simple Tuesday Weeknight Menu: Grilled Chicken and Broccoli Greens, with Brown Rice Couscous served on a bed of lettuce with a drizzle of your favorite dressing

Tender Grilled Chicken Breasts make this a delicious meal for your family

Kitchen Gadgets That Make Wonderful Meals

 Yesterday while I was out and about, I stopped in at one of our local thrift shops. I’m a sucker for a bargain and I love searching for new kitchen items old and new. While I was there, one of the items I came across was a Stove Top Grill. You place it directly on one of your stove burners and cook directly on it. One of the simplest and most effective cooking gadgets.

  I had grilled chicken planned for dinner, but I wasn’t looking forward to grilling outdoors while it was 101 degrees. The grill cost me a $1.  I thought to myself, if the results are good, what a bargain! So I decided to experiment and ended up with wonderful results. The chicken and broccoli tasted just like I had grilled them outdoors. Here’s a wonderful and delicious recipe you can create with a stove top grill.

Grilled Chicken Breasts

Ingredients:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 head of lettuce of your choice

2 cups broccoli

Your favorite dressing

Directions:

Marinate chicken breasts in refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight. Remove chicken breasts from refrigerator 15 minutes prior to cooking, bringing them to room temperature. This allows the chicken to cook evenly.

Preheat your stove top grill for 8 minutes on high heat or per user manual. Reduce heat to medium and place chicken breasts flatly on grill. Grill on each side for 12-15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.  Remove from grill and place on cutting board to rest for 5 minutes. Slice lengthwise and place on lettuce greens on a platter.

I served the grilled chicken with grilled broccoli and a brown rice couscous. We drizzled a little bit of our favorite dressing on top.

As always, my quick and easy recipes for Busy Moms can be found on my website Noel’s Kitchen Tips.com.

Visit my new Amazon Kitchen Store  for some of my recommeneded appliances, storage and kitchen needs along with some of my favorite cookbooks and aprons to help you with your family meal planning. For high quality kitchen tools for your kitchen, visit www. NoelsKitchen.com

Would you like to join our growing Family Cooking Club? Share recipes and tips with others? Join the Family Meals Matter Cooking Club on Facebook.  

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Homecooked Meals Don’t Have To Be Expensive

August 23, 2010 · Posted in Recipes, Soups · View Comments 

 Homecooked Meals Don’t Have To Be Expensive

Family dinners, don’t have to be complicated or expensive. With simple ingredients you can make wonderful hearty soups for your family and stock your freezer. Today, I’d like to share a few of those recipes I created over the weekend. But first, let me take a few minutes to share why I love making soups that have simple ingredients.

Make-Ahead Freezer Meals

Soups can be prepared days or even weeks ahead of time and at your convenience. Some soups actually improve the longer they simmer, as all the different flavors blend and mingle with each other. Most of all, they freeze well! I make large batches, then freeze them in ready-to eat meal size containers or one gallon freezer bags. Every time I serve the soup, I may add different things just to vary the tastes.  

Some great classic soups are Split Pea Soup and Harvest Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup. Both of these freeze well.

Here’s a brothy vegetable soup that is hearty and delicious! It’s one of those soups that tastes best when given the chance to sit overnight. The flavors really blend together.

Minestrone Soup

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup onions, diced

1 cup celery, diced

1 cup carrots, diced

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 28 ounce can organic diced tomatoes with juice

1 15 ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup fresh zucchini or yellow squash

1 cup french green beans

1 cup Mostaccioli noodles

6 cups chicken stock

1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a stock pot, over medium heat, saute onion, garlic, celery and carrots in olive oil until lightly brown. Add tomatoes with juice, zucchini or squash, kidney beans and green beans. Stir until ingredients are combined. Slowly add chicken stock and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil and add noodles. Reduce heat to a simmer andcook for 2 hours. Rember, the longer the soup simmers, the more flavorful it becomes.

When ready to serve, grated fresh Parmesan cheese over the top or add some croutons.

   Recipe Note: When soup is fully cooled, transfer to a freezable container or ziploc freezer bags. Freezes well up to one month.

As always, my quick and easy recipes for Busy Moms can be found on my website Noel’s Kitchen Tips.com.

Visit my new Amazon Kitchen Store  for some of my recommeneded appliances, storage and kitchen needs along with some of my favorite cookbooks and aprons to help you with your family meal planning. For high quality kitchen tools for your kitchen, visit www. NoelsKitchen.com

Would you like to join our growing Family Cooking Club? Share recipes and tips with others? Join the Family Meals Matter Cooking Club on Facebook.  

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Harvest Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

August 23, 2010 · Posted in Recipes, Soups · View Comments 

This weekend has been a cook-a-thon for me in the kitchen. Rummaging around the pantry to cook up some last minute recipes and stocking our freezer. I started off with a simple Homemade Split Pea Soup than moved onto making crepes, pinto beans and a chicken and mushroom filling for a croissant recipe I have in mind. Looking in my pantry, I had one can of black beans left and a couple cans of pumpkin puree. I’ve been craving the idea of another pumpkin soup recipe and I found this one rather tasty. It’s amazing what delicious recipes you can create with just a few simple ingredients. It’s also another quick and budget friendly meal for the family. The combination of flavors is fantastic. Very healthy too.

Harvest Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, pressed

1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 30 ounce can pumpkin puree

1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon Spanish paprika

4 cups beef broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

In a stockpot, saute onions and garlic in butter until translucent. Add black beans, pumpkin and tomatoes, stirring until combined. Add sugar, cumin, chili powder, pepper, paprika, beef  broth and cream. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.

Recipe Note: This soup can be pureed in a blender or serve as is, garnished with chives, celery leaves or croutons.

As always, my quick and easy recipes for Busy Moms can be found on my website Noel’s Kitchen Tips.com.

Visit my new Amazon Kitchen Store  for some of my recommeneded appliances, storage and kitchen needs along with some of my favorite cookbooks and aprons to help you with your family meal planning. For high quality kitchen tools for your kitchen, visit www. NoelsKitchen.com

Would you like to join our growing Family Cooking Club? Share recipes and tips with others? Join the Family Meals Matter Cooking Club on Facebook.  

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Split Pea Soup

August 23, 2010 · Posted in Recipes, Soups · View Comments 

This past grocery shopping trip, I decided to pick up a few new pantry items to make some new recipes and stock our freezer. Split Pea Soup is one of my Make-Ahead Meal Planning recipes. It’s delicious, easy to make and great on the food budget.

 Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin oilve oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 bag (2 cups) split peas, rinsed, drained and sorted

1 Tablespoon Spanish paprika, plus a pinch

1/4 teaspoon pepper

5 cups water 

1 Ham hock

Salt to taste (if needed, I omitted)

 

Directions:

In a medium stock pot, saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add split peas, paprika, pepper, water and ham hock. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20-25 minutes.  Remove ham hock and set aside. Using a hand blender, puree soup until it becomes a creamy consistency. Ladel into serving bowls. Garish with a pinch of paprika.

Recipe Note: Carrots and celery would make a great addition to this soup.

As always, my quick and easy recipes for Busy Moms can be found on my website Noel’s Kitchen Tips.com.

Visit my new Amazon Kitchen Store  for some of my recommeneded appliances, storage and kitchen needs along with some of my favorite cookbooks and aprons to help you with your family meal planning. For high quality kitchen tools for your kitchen, visit www. NoelsKitchen.com

Would you like to join our growing Family Cooking Club? Share recipes and tips with others? Join the Family Meals Matter Cooking Club on Facebook.  

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Back To School Routines

August 20, 2010 · Posted in Improving Family Life, Kids In The Kitchen · View Comments 

How was your first week Back to School? One of the great things about summer vacation is the fact that as a kid, you get to sleep in, and families don’t seem to rush around as much. Now that it’s back to school time, daily routines need to be re-established. Kids aren’t the only ones who struggle with the back to school transition; adjusting to a child’s back to school routine and related events can be stressful for parents as well.

 Routines during the first part of the school year can be a challenge for many families. Our family started a school routine early, so we are ready for a regular routine. Over the past few school years, I can tell you having a regular school routine can make it not only easier on you but on the kids too. So today, I thought I’d start off with some tips on easing back into those school routines. 

Back To School Routines

Breakfasts that boosts ENERGY! is always a great way to start off the day. You can make some delicious breakfast meals for your kids; not only are they fast, easy, and nutritious, but my kids say they taste great too! Good choices would be cereal topped with fresh fruit (instead of sugar); eggs, toast and fruit; yogurt with granola; fruit smoothies; french toast and muffins.

Plan and pack a healthy lunch As a family go shopping and teach your kids how to pack a healthy lunch. It’s great to involve the kids about making the right food choices. This will also establish healthier habits and lifestyles for the whole family.

Plan your kids schedules This will allow the kids day to be smoother and they won’t forget things. Plan a way for them to remember homework, lunch and backpacks each day. Allow half an hour break after school for a quick healthy snack, unwind, than help them get started on their homework before dinner time.

After dinner,  the kids can relax, have play time, shower and read a book before bedtime. Rember, during dinner is a great time to re-connect as a family and ask how your kids day went.

Being aware of what is on the school calendar can also help you plan and organize your schedule accordingly–without any last minute hassles.

So what kind of things do you do to ease your family back into the school year? I would love to hear them! I am always open to new ideas.

First Day Of School:A Fresh New Start

August 18, 2010 · Posted in Recipes, Sandwiches · View Comments 

Today is an exciting  new day! I’m not sure who’s more excited us or the kids. Both our kids start school today-our son, is now a fourth grader and our seven year old daughter is now a second grader. Our two older kids have started a whole new world of adulthood and another year of teen age years in high school. Our oldest son, just turned 18 yesterday. He has become a very talented young man. He will be attending junior college while working part time and practicing with his band. Awesome talented group of young musicians. Their name…The Dehlingers. You can find them on Facebook, My Space and YouTube. They have another concert this weekened at Unity Music in Santa Rosa, CA. Concert tickets are $8.00, so if you’re in the area go check them out. Our oldest daughter, a sophmore juinior( my heart wishes she was still younger) in high school, is transitioning into more rigorous classes, has become a very talented young girl exploring music and has the love for drawing.  How times flies!

Our two younger ones getting ready to leave for school:

Now that the kids will be away from the house and at school for the day, I want to be sure they have nutritious snacks and a healthy lunch. Their lunch today consisted of a turkey and cheese sandwich, apple slices with a peanut butter dip, a frozen yogurt tube, pretzels and a juice.

If you’re looking for lunch ideas, try a tasty twist to that grilled cheese sandwich. This Grilled Cheese, Ham and Apple sandwich is something your kids are sure to love!

Grilled Cheese, Ham and Apple Sandwich

Ingredients:

8 slices of bread (we enjoy whole wheat)

8 slices of Cheddar or American cheese

8 slices of ham (deli-sliced works perfectly)

1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced

Honey mustard

1 Tablespoon butter, melted

Directions:

Melt butter in the microwave. Preheat skillet over medium heat.

 Using a basting brush, lightly brush outer slice of bread. On inner pieces of bread, spread honey mustard.  Place buttered side down in skillet and add cheese, ham and apple slices.  Top with another slice of bread and lightly brush butter on top.

Grill until lightly brown and flip sandwich. Repeat with remaining slices of bread, cheese, ham and apple.

Definitely a classic sandwich. How could kids not give this sandwich 5 stars?

As always, my quick and easy recipes for Busy Moms can be found on my website Noel’s Kitchen Tips.com.

Visit my new Amazon Kitchen Store  for some of my recommeneded appliances, storage and kitchen needs along with some of my favorite cookbooks and aprons to help you with your family meal planning. For high quality kitchen tools for your kitchen, visit www. NoelsKitchen.com

Would you like to join our growing Family Cooking Club? Share recipes and tips with others? Join the Family Meals Matter Cooking Club on Facebook.  

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