Recipe Challenge 42 and 43

This week has been busy but a normal kind of busy so I am choosing to be thankful! We did manage to squeeze in two new recipes both of which are repeating so that is the best of everything.

First is Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni, let me start by saying that I have found very few things that I absolutely love the instant pot for. I did learn to use the saute feature for this recipe so that is a plus as well! This is is a quick and easy replacement for hamburger helper. A bonus was it used alot of ingredients that I have on hand. The one exception was the cheddar cheese soup. I am going to place an order with Amazon to get this stocked up now. I decided to use jumbo elbow as well to improve the texture. I did not measure the last cup of cheese and was actually told that it might could use less cheese. I am going to use this again for a quick filling meal during the school year.

A bad storm on Friday night left us with a couple of broken tomato plants which meant was had a couple green tomatoes. Matt decided to try and make fried green tomatoes. Everyone but Lily decided they were good. This will be a good way to use up tomato if we need to. I thought they were really good but just not something I would attempt to make.

The official count is
Repeating 22
Maybe 8
No 12

Only 9 more new recipes to try before reaching our goal!

Recipe Challenge #41

It is hot outside YAY! We are moving toward more summer type meal which means some good old fashion salads and pasta salads. So this week we only have one new recipe. But on the bright side it is one that was cool and definitely a repeat!

Easy Pasta Carbonara is from the site Southern Savers This is probably one of the sites I use the most for finding awesome deals. During the last year, she has begun to include recipes. This one will definitely by a repeat. Lily made the recipe and used elbow noodles as her pasta. The only complaint that was given was that the noodles were barely done. So next time she will cook the noodles even two minutes longer and it will be perfect.

The official count is
Repeating 21
Maybe 8
No 12

I am surprised to see that we are averaging 50% approval rate for this. Some things I really did not expect!

Recipe Challenge 38,39 and 40

First only 12 more recipes to try and I will have met my goal! WOOT WOOT WOOT WOOT! It has been fun trying new things and I am really enjoying trying to find recipes to use the items we have on hand. This week we tried 3 new recipes of which two were definitely to use fresh produce on hand so that it would not go bad!

Garlic Parmesan Sugar Snap Peas- We are definitely coming to the end of growing for our sugar snap peas and I had about three cups sitting in the refrigerator. Kendall is try of eating them raw! These were just ok. Most of them got ate but it is definitely something I would not do again. I used them as a side dish for egg roll in a bowl. Which is also a fairly new recipe that I have made maybe once before. I had purchased an extra bag of cole slaw mix for BBQ chicken salad last week not sure how much I would need. This was a great way to use that bag of mix along with a couple of extra packs of carrots. The egg roll in a bowl, I actually finished for lunch but everyone else thought it was kind of of bland but their favorite part of an egg roll is the outside anyway.

Slow Cooker Pear and Ginger Applesauce The school lunches have significantly improved in both quality and variety for the summer. We are receiving alot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Pears for some reason were the item of the week for the first week. We received a total of 12. Apples appeared to be a runner up as we received 10. We did use most of the apples for fried apples but the second week brought another batch of apples. I decided to try this just to use 6 pears and 6 apples. It is awesome, everyone ate it hot the first day and I have tried it cold the second day. This is a definite repeat when we get more pear. My mother said her pear trees are loaded so this may be something to freeze in the fall.

Cheesy Corn Dog muffins I have actually printed this recipe three times. I discovered when I was trying to organize recipes. I made it on a baseball day! Everyone but Matt seemed to really like them. So I will put them in a repeat stack. They will be a great think to eat at the pool or beach or even in the car as they don’t make alot of mess.

The official count is
Repeating 20
Maybe 8
No 12

Recipe Challenge 36 and 37

I have decided that since I am doing so well on this challenge that it would probably be best aka make my life easier if I plan to go ahead and finish the challenge during my summer break. This way, when we start back to school and our crazy busy life, I can enjoy some new favorites! The second reason is that it allows me to keep up with my goal for blogging as well! I also want to get my recipe book and folders cleaned and organized this summer as well.

I decided to try this first recipe AppleSauce BBQ Chicken for a couple of reasons. I wanted a good easy meal with chicken and second I still have some baby food from Braxton that I need to use, applesauce is one of these. The recipe is from one of my new favorites websites One Hundred Dollars a Month. I have only been reading for about a year but it is a wealth of information. This chicken turned out perfectly. I had 5 random piece of chicken breast left in a bag so I decided to go ahead put it all in to make room in the freezer. I was worried about enough sauce but I had plenty! The recipe is a freezer meal but I just added it all to the crockpot, chicken first, onion and then the sauce. I decided to go ahead and shred the chicken prior to serving. It was a huge hit. Definitely a repeat but will likely cut the recipe in half next time because it made two additional meals. The first is below and the second is chicken sandwiches on Sunday.

After dinner I place 3 cups in a bowl for the second recipe BBQ chicken salad. I got the idea for this from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures but really made it my own. I simply add a bag of Cole slaw mix and 2 tablespoons of lemon to the chicken. Mix it all up and put in the refrigerator. We took this to the pool and enjoyed for dinner on Saturday. Another hit! The original recipe said you could use canned chicken and I may do that next time.

Two repeats in a row! Fifteen more recipes to try sounds very doable at this point! This is the reason I want to finish the challenge finding lots of good and simple meals for the winter! The official count is
Repeating 18
Maybe 8
No 11

5 Things Friday

  1. Next week should be the most normal week since March. Monday is my last day of work for the school year!!!!!! The kids have swim practice Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Piano is scheduled for Wednesday. Zach has baseball games on Tuesday and Friday. And finally on Tuesday, Kendall finishes her oral surgery! Never thought a crazy busy week would cause this much excitement!
  2. The square foot garden is awesome! We are currently harvesting zucchini and snap peas. I have small tomatoes and green peppers! The cucumbers are flowering finally so I am so thankful and excited!
  3. The school system benefits reset in July of each year. Because of the ability to place even more in my flex spending account this year which is pre-tax. I was able to move our braces payments from the regular account back to the medical flex account which gives us an extra $267 a month. I will need to use at least $100 of this each month for other medical expenses but it is still a huge savings.
  4. This past weekend, we decided to have a yard sale. We have been slowly cleaning out different parts of the house during COVID-19 so I was anxious to finally get rid of the excess. I am very pleased that we made a profit of over $200! Even better is I had a lady come and purchase all the remaining clothes at the end of the day. This was huge and saved us a trip to Goodwill.
  5. I was very excited to find Suddenly Salad marked at $1 during my last trip to Walmart Express. I was able to stock up ! We will have these at least once a week for most of the summer! I am also excited to try several new salad recipes that I found on line! I have decided to try and complete the 52 recipe challenge over the summer! I am afraid that once we go back to school, we need to stick to easy and recipes we are comfortable with!

Recipe Challenge 33,34 and 35

A couple of things have slowed us down on the recipe challenge. The first of which is the weather, it is finally summer time weather in North Carolina. I am definitely a seasonal eater, give me soups and casseroles in the winter and salads and sandwiches in the summer. Another reason, is that we are trying to eat and use up the items we are given from the school lunch. The kids usually get an apple juice, a chocolate milk, a fruit, a vegetable along with a lunch item and breakfast items. Given all this it may be a very good thing that we are WAY ahead on trying 52 new recipes this year.

#33- Pioneer Woman Mini Strawberry muffins- These actually were really good however they stuck in my mini muffin pan. We used a spoon to eat each individual muffin. I am going to label this a no because I don’t know what went wrong or how to fix it!

#34- Strawberry Coffee Cake. This is from my favorite recipe site Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures! It was awesome, we shared with friends and they had to have the recipe to make themselves. I did make a couple of changes, used fresh strawberries, mix the sugar and strawberries together for the filling and finally topped with Cool Whip.

#35- Creamy Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe- I am not sure where I found this one as it came out of my drawer. It appears to be from Tasty? but I am still unsure. Lily made this for dinner on Monday. Our chicken was not unthawed completely so it took a long time to bake. Kendall LOVED it and it was all eaten. I am going to give it a definite maybe. Lily followed the directions and kept the chicken whole. I am thinking I would like to cut the chicken up to smaller pieces so it will cook quicker but also so that it will be more of a casserole and the flavors will blend better!

Official Count of Recipe Challenge
Repeating 16
Maybe 8
No 11

Recipe Challenge 30,31 and 32

I am finding it easier to simply write a weekly post with the new recipes that we are trying and the fact that I often or most of the time forget to take a picture means that one post is a decent length instead of three small paragraphs.

#30- Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese- I found this so have no clue where it came from. I decided to make this Sunday evening after working in our bathroom. It was very quick and simple to throw in the pot. Everyone but Kendall ate it. But to be honest, I like the blue box kind much better and it is just as quick and simple. Going to stick with it for awhile.

#31- Cheesy Crockpot Cowboy Casserole- This is again out of a file of recipes that I have accumulated over the years. I put this together on Wednesday. This has the typical casserole look that several folks commented on. All of us ate this and no one complained but it was just not special enough to try again.

#32- Homemade Jiffy Corn Muffins I grabbed this recipe from one of my favorite couponing site Southern Savers. The reason is that I had purchased 3 4 pound bags of corn meal at twenty-five cent each and needed something to use them in. WOW! this was a total shocker and the only recipe this week that I will be repeating. I made a batch of six muffins and Lily ate two. We think that this recipe is actually better than Jiffy mix! I can’t wait to make it again!

Official Count of Recipe Challenge
Repeating 15
Maybe 7
No 10

Recipe Challenge 28 and 29

So it was bond to happen, we tried two new recipes this week and neither one will be happening again. I am only disappointed because both of these appeared to have real promise and they are both ones that I have recently found online. The good news is that this week I am going to look through a bunch that I have already printed to find something new to try.

Pioneer Woman Pot Pie- Lily was actually in charge of this recipe. I already have a recipe that I use on a regular basis but thought why not give this one a try. Lily did an awesome job of making it and following the directions but it just was not as good as the one I normally fix.

Crock pot Ranch pork chops and potatoes- I found this one on Facebook so no link sorry. Kendall and I worked on this recipe together. Our first disappointment was that it was suppose to cook in 3 hours in the crockpot but it needed at least six to cook both the pork chop and the potatoes. We all ended up grabbing something out of the fridge for dinner and have individually tried it as left-overs. It just did not provide the flavor I was hoping for. It was not bad but we all added extra ranch to give it more flavor.

The official count for the year is Repeating 14, Maybe 7 and No 8.

Menu Plan

I was very successful last week in getting the freezer stocked with lots of easy to fix meals. The only items that I can think of that I want to add to the freezer are veggies from this summer. I am holding out hope for an awesome garden. I need to make a couple of Baked Ziti but I also need to purchase the sausage for this so it may be a couple of weeks and later this summer we need to restock the breakfast meals especially the omelets bags. This week it is back to cook and enjoying some different meals hopefully.

Breakfast– Saturday- Biscuit King! Sunday- Matt made bacon and waffles  Monday, Tuesday,  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, sausage, pancakes,  cereal or grits. Nothing new or special here

Lunch-   Saturday-Pizza from Recipe Challenge 27 Sunday- Olive Garden treat for Mother’s Day. The kids will have school delivered lunches, Matt has 2 days of chicken sandwiches and 2 days of hamburgers I am going to return to eating at least one salad a week and also continue with some left-overs on other days.

Dinner-  Saturday- Left-overs or sandwiches Sunday- left-overs Monday-Chicken pot pie (new recipe, that Lily will make) Tuesday-Taco Pasta (Zach is in charge) . Wednesday- Ranch Potatoes and Pork Chops (another new recipe) in the crock pot. Thursday-Chicken Sandwiches and French Fries. Friday- Orange Chicken and egg rolls.

Just a normal week around here! We are starting to pick up some activites with me working two nights this week and piano but slow and steady still wins the race.

Recipe Challenge 26 and 27

I was not sure about trying to bake an entire cake from scratch. In fact, I can not remember the last time I baked a cake from scratch. But the fact I had a ton of extra carrots and raisins from school lunch delivery gave me a nudge to just try it. I don’t even have the website to share with you about this recipe because it was one I copied from Facebook. What I do have is a lot of pictures to share. This cake and cream cheese frosting turned out awesome it is super moist and sweet. Melt in our mouth delicious!

Recipe number 27 combine several different things. First I made the pizza dough in the bread maker. Next, I decided to wrap the dough around a mozzarella cheese stick. Finally, to use up the Asian honey chicken from last week, I added it to the pizza with some red onions! This was also another hit!

Does not look as good as it taste!