Wednesday, July 1, 2009

WFMW- Favorite Summer Dish

This week's Works for Me Wednesday is a themed edition. We have been asked to share our favorite summer dish. One instantly sprang to my mind!

With kids picnic's, play dates, family reunions and parties it can be a challenge trying to figure out what to bring. The invite always says, bring a covered dish or dessert. I am always wondering what doesn't constitute a crockpot but isn't something that everyone else will bring as well.

I am here to tell you that I have found THE PERFECT thing to bring to all events. Kids and adults both love it and its easy and cheap. Are you ready???


You take a boxed brownie mix and prepare to directions. ( I have been getting mine at Kroger's for $.50 with sale and coupon)

After baking, you remove from oven and cover with marshmallows. Pop it back in the oven for 3 minutes or until marshmallows are all puffy.

Remove and place large chunks of crushed graham crackers into the marshmallows on top.

Then sprinkle with chocolate chips or broken up chocolate bar. ( The chocolate will melt )

I am telling you that anyone is bound to love this simple "recipe". Which works for me!

For more great WFMW ideas check out We are that Family!

Freezing dishes- How to

I have been getting some questions about how I freeze dinners so I thought I would share with you how I do it. ( I am not saying its the right way... but somehow it works for us :) )

Any recipe that calls for a 13x9 inch pan, I know that I can half. I will be able to feed my family and have a meal for another time. I usually keep my eyes open for the disposable 9x9 pans at the grocery store or Wal-Mart. They seem to cook faster and I don't tie up my good glass dishes. The other bonus is clean-up... there is none!

I then prepare the recipe, including cooking it according to the directions. If the recipe calls for the dish to bake for 40 minutes in a 13x9 in. pan, then I will put it in 2 9x9 pans and set my timer to check it for 30 minutes. ( Just in case... ) This way when you go to bake the frozen dish, it will take less time because you have already cooked it.

After cooking, I will remove both pans. I serve the one we are eating and let the other completely cool. After cooled, I will cover with a sheet or two of aluminum foil, and write on the top with a sharpie. I will put what the dish is, the date and cooking directions. ( I got this from my good friend April! - genius.... That way your man can feed the kids without calling you at your women's group 5 x. WOOHOO! ) I then put the dish in a freezer bag and out it goes in the chest freezer.

I do this with side dishes and desserts too. It amazes me how much you can stretch a dollar when you do this. It also gives mamas a much needed break on those days. You know the ones....

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Meijer Bargain recipe of the week- Tex-Mex Pasta Bake

Bargain Meal of the Week

I am all about casseroles! Especially ones that go in 13x9 inch pans. I divide them in 2 9x9 pans and pop one in the freezer for another time. When its been a day where the there is marker on the carpet, milk on the couch and not many nerves are left, I am thankful for not having to cook! This recipe looks delicious! Happy Eating Y'all!

I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand.

Tex-Mex Pasta Bake

1 (9 ounce) package Creamed Spinach, defrosted according to package directions (On sale Green Giant 10 for $10 ) $1
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (On sale Meijer 4 for $5) $1.25
5 cups cooked penne pasta (On sale .89) $2.22
1 (16 ounce) jar Salsa Mild (On sale Chi-Chi's 10 for $10) $1
1 pound ground beef, cooked, drained and crumbled (On sale $1.99 a lb) $1.99
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce .80
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (On sale 3 for $6) .90

PREHEAT oven to 400 degrees F.

COMBINE creamed spinach and cream cheese in medium bowl. Combine pasta, salsa, beef, tomato sauce and chili powder in large bowl. Spoon 1/2 of pasta mixture into 13x9-inch baking pan(Or 2 9x9 pans); top with spinach mixture. Top with remaining pasta; cover.

BAKE for 30 minutes; uncover. Sprinkle with cheese; bake for additional 5 minutes.

Total Cost of Meal: (After splitting) $4.58

Add mixed veggies ( Green Giant Steamers on sale 10 for $10) Total Cost of Meal: $5.58

For more great bargain recipes click on the icon above!

Kroger Bargain recipe of the week- Summers yummy chicken

Bargain Meal of the Week

This weeks recipe is coming from my own kitchen! I usually use recipes that I find or are given to me but this recipe sprang to mind this morning! I hope you guys like it as much as we do... happy Eating Y'all!!!

I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand. W/C means with coupon. To see the deals at Kroger this week check them out here.

Summer Easy (and yummy) Chicken

1 lb of Chicken breast ( On sale Amick farms $1.99 a lb) $1.99

1 cup Italian salad dressing (Kroger dressing on sale .99) .50

1 Green pepper cut in strips .99

1/4 cup chopped onion .30

Sliced Provolone cheese (Kroger on sale 4 for $5) .94

Marinade chicken in Italian dressing for 2 - 4 hours in fridge.

In a medium pan, saute green pepper strips and onions until tender. (Onions will be translucent) Set aside in a bowl.

Grill chicken. When almost done, spoon on pepper mixture on top of breast and cover with 1 - 2 slices of cheese. Let melt and serve!

Total Cost of this Meal: $4.72

Add corn on the cob ( On sale .16/ea) Total Cost of Meal: $5.68

Add corn on the cob and cole slaw (Dole cole slaw on sale .99) Total Cost of Meal: $6.18

For more great bargain recipes click on the icon above!

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Teachers View: Stay Cations- Central Ohio

I am blessed to live next to a elementary school teacher who loves my kids and we love her!! She has multiple education degrees and is the first person I run to when I am worried about speech, development or anything learning related!! She has agreed to write a weekly post for me on some common concerns involving little ones and just great ideas! If you have a topic that you would like to see addressed, please e-mail me at

Stay-cations – Central Ohio

It’s now cool to vacation in your own state. Think a vacation in Ohio is about a much fun as dental work? Think again! There are some hidden gems in this great state and deals to be had. Here are some ideas for visiting Central Ohio.

Here is one of the coolest deals I found for Columbus:

Through Experience Columbus, you can get their “Roar and Explore” package. This includes 4 tickets for the Columbus Zoo, Zoombezi Bay water park, and COSI, free kids meals at Bob Evans, a Cameron Mitchell gift card, and two nights’ accommodations starting a $299. (You can include as many tickets as you like, 4 is their base price). This is a great package if you have friends or family coming in from out of state or just want to enjoy your own city! Little to no gas money, tickets to three of the most fun, family friendly places in the city, not having to make your bed, and of course the hotel pool, which no kid can resist.

Another budget friendly idea, catch a ball game at the Columbus Clippers new stadium Huntington Park. Tickets range from $3-$15 depending on where you want to sit and parking when there are no other events going on in the Arena District is $3. Or forgo going in the park and simply watch from the “knotholes” in right field along Nationwide Blvd. Since the Clippers are now affiliated with the Cleveland Indians, you never know when an Indians’ player may be sent down.

Central Ohio has an awesome park system and programs are offered almost daily. Pack a picnic and head to the park! Go with the naturalist to find summer wildflowers, animal tracks, or even pet some native Ohioans. Visit Slate Run Farm and be transported onto a 19th century farm – help with the farm chores, chase some chickens, and learn how farmers worked over 100 years ago. All the parks have walking trails, some of which are paved and stroller friendly.

I’ll be bringing you more Columbus based ideas all summer long.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Happy 4'th of July!!! I am looking forward to seeing family and of course... good food!! Hope y'all have a yummy week :)

Monday: Baked taco chicken, refried beans, Spanish rice

Tuesday: BBQ pork chops, baked beans, green beans

Wednesday: Spaghetti bake, salad, garlic bread

Thursday: Leftover night, Mama is not cookin!!!

Friday: Pizza Night

Saturday: Best Hamburger ever, corn on the cob, salad

Sunday: Smoked pork tenderloin, mac and cheese, grilled asparagus