Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What's on the menu? Aunt C's Chicken Supreme

Just an FYI, if you don't have a problem with canned condensed soups then this will be a great recipe for you! If you have issues with canned soup, just stop reading now!  As many of you know, this is my first month of hardcore budgeting and menu preparation. After the first two weeks, I was struggling, trying to find some interesting meals to make as I'm not in the same mindset as my son who could seriously eat meatloaf every week! I was flipping through cookbooks and my handy-dandy recipe notebook and came across a recipe that was given to me almost a year ago by our wonderful Aunt C. formerly of Amarillo, TX and now residing in the DFW metroplex. She served it to us while we were stopping over on the way home from New Mexico and it was AWESOME!! So I thought, what the heck, let's see if I can pull this off. So here goes...

Chicken Supreme

1/2 stick margarine
1-1/4c brown rice
1 can cream mushroom soup
1 can cream chicken soup
1 can cream celery soup
1 can beef consumme (as you can see, I didn't lie about the soup!!)
1/2 soup can of water
1/2 c slivered or sliced almonds
6-10 chicken breasts (I actually used 4 large breasts that I cut into pieces and pounded down a bit)
Parmesan cheese

Melt margarine in large roasting pan. Spread uncooked rice on the bottom of pan, stir in the almonds, then lay chicken on top of rice. Heat soups and the 1/2 can water in a pan, then pour over the chicken and rice. I jiggled the pan a little to make sure it dispersed throughout. Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese and bake uncovered in a 275*F oven for 3 hours. Then... ENJOY!!  Oh yeah, there was totally enough to have for dinner the next night!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Good Sam Dogs!

Sunday morning I bathed little dogs. I clipped and pedi-pawed their toenails. I slicked down the Nigelito and brushed Sir Roddy and they were HANDSOME! Why did I take all the time to groom and primp two little pipsqueak dogs on a damp Sunday morning? They had a job to do! The boys and I volunteered to help out a Girl Scout who is near and dear to us who is working toward her Silver Award. She and two other girls organized a Pet Expo where Girl Scouts from three different levels were able to obtain their Pet Care badges. As it turns out there were close to 70 girls that participated!!! I don't think these dogs have ever been petted so much in their entire lives! Other than Roddy barking his face off at the first group of girls (I think he was a little intimidated by 20 something pre-teens) the dogs did GREAT! Nigel was calm and patient and Roddy was just excited and wanted to lick everyone in the face! I think one or both dogs would be great candidates for the Canine Good Citizen Training so we could visit Senior centers and such! It was a great day and the dogs and I were happy to support one of our favorite Girl Scouts! Here is a quick shot of the boys, waiting patiently for their next group of admirers! ;)
That'll do boys... that'll do!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Operation Sun-Dried Tomato

Too many tomatoes, too many tomatoes!!! And not to sound selfish, because I have been giving away tomatoes to neighbors and friends all summer, but I can tell the cherry tomato vine is on it's last leg and I just somehow wanted to preserve these little beauties so I could enjoy them. I have worked hard this summer and deserve to now hoard the bounty! I froze a bunch last year, but they immediately turned to mush once added to a recipe and no one likes mushy tomatoes. So I thought, hmmmmm. What about sun-dried tomatoes? Is it even possible to do this at home without a dehydrator or a desert? Because even though Austin is hot, it's MUGGY and I'm sure anything left outside would turn into a moldy mess within hours! But sure enough, the clever people that post things on the internet came to my rescue! Sun-dried tomatoes in the oven!!!

First I washed and dried luscious, little jewels of tomatoes!
Then I sliced them all in half and sprinkled them lightly with sea salt.
Next I popped them into the oven on 200*F and forgot about them!
About 4 hours into it, a most intoxicating aroma came wafting from my oven, I decided to check them and stir them around a bit to ensure even drying.
I returned them to the oven and began checking on them periodically and about 2-1/2 hours later I was rewarded with my first sun-dried tomatoes!! Just like tart little tomato raisins with such a burst of flavor! Awesome! I started picking out the ones that were done and returning the others to the oven. All in all, to get the entire batch done, it was about 8-ish hours. But they turned out perfectly dried and insanely yummy! And being that every website I perused stated that setting them in oil at home is a BAD idea due to high possibility of food poisoning, I decided to be satisfied with my little tomato raisins and call it a day! Here is a look at the finished product, ready for use in pasta or pizza and can be stored in the pantry for at least a year (not that they'll even last that long)!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hurricane Piglet

Yesterday Hurricane Piglet rolled through town leaving a trail of devastation and destruction in her wake.

Eventually the storm made landfall and thankfully lost all intensity!

The entirety of Saturday was spent clearing the wreckage.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Home Economics-Dog Biscuits

After giving the kids a month off, it was time to get our little homeschool academy up and running again! The kids put in a concerted effort Tuesday morning, so we decided to take a well-deserved break from bookwork and delve into what I like to call "practical chemistry and home economics"! The fact is, the dogs were out of treats and we don't put the dogs in kennels without treats. We also need the treats for training purposes. And sadly, dog biscuits were NOT in my grocery budget this go around. So what do you do when you need the dog biscuits but your budget doesn't allow it? You pull up a recipe online and make them with your kids! After all, dog biscuits are made with things normally found in your pantry like flour, oats, and in our case peanut butter!

First you preheat your oven and mix all the ingredients. I allowed the kids to measure everything out (taking the opportunity to discuss fractions of course!). Once mixed, we rolled out the dough and the kids started cutting out the individual biscuits.
And yes, in case you were wondering, we do occasionally cook in our underwear here!

As you can see, we made quite a lot of biscuits! Thank goodness we only made a 1/2 batch!
We popped them in the oven and waited.
While in the oven we discussed mixtures and chemical changes due to heat. Once done, we shook them off the pan and let them cool on a wire rack and observed how they had changed. And yes, those are squirrel-shaped biscuits because the kids thought it would be really funny since the dogs are always trying to get at that pesky squirrel who taunts them from the fence!
We also took some time after it was all said and done to determine the cost effectiveness of making our own biscuits vs. buying pre-made ones. We made approximately 200 dog biscuits for $0.86 vs. $3.99 for a comparable sized bag of regular flavor Petsmart Grreat Choice biscuits or $11.99 for peanut butter flavored Mother Hubbard Biscuits. So not too bad! And the recipients of said treats didn't complain a bit!

Friday, September 3, 2010

What's on the menu? Chocolate mini muffins

I have been such a good girl, sticking to my planned menu and I have to admit, it's kind of nice knowing exactly what you'll be cooking and what you'll need to do beforehand to prep for the meal instead of flying by the seat of your pants! However, this morning came and I was UNIMPRESSED, to say the least, with the prospect of toast or oatmeal. I have been sick for two days, eating bland crap and the last thing I wanted was more bland crap! So. Doo-do-do-TOOOOOOO!

Chocolate chip mini muffins (Oh yeah!)

1-1/2 c flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 c milk (I use powdered milk to save real milk, 1/3 c powder into 1 c water = 1 c milk)
1 egg
1/3 c melted butter
chocolate chips

Grease your muffin tins and preheat the oven to 350*. Combine all of the dry ingredients then add the milk, egg, butter, mix well. Add chocolate chips to your liking. I like mine fairly sparse, so the chips aren't just one big blob in the muffin. Pour batter into greased mini muffin pans, bake 15-20ish minutes until they are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

These are so easy to make, the kids LOVE them and it makes enough to have for snacks later!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

OH the irony!

September 1st people, day one of "Re-vamp My Life 2010" and I woke up with a sore throat. Hmph. Did I school two children today? Nope. Did I go to my physical therapy appointment or even do the exercises? Nope. Did I follow the planned menu? OK, sort of, instead of chicken salad I made chicken soup, so I get a few points there! So what did I do today? I let the kids play Wii and watch movies until they turned into little hyped-up, cross-eyed, brain-dead zombies!


And people wonder why I never make New Year's resolutions!