Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Oh, how I love Chicken N' Dumplins!  It's one of those foods that for me conjures specific memories of nights at the kitchen table.  My C n' D turned out great tonight.  Lucy wasn't a fan, but dutifully ate her two bites.  Lily loved the broth, but I'm not sure she took any bites with chicken or dumplins in them.  I wonder if my girls will some day cook C n' D for their own kids and think back fondly on nights at the dining room table?  Probably not Lucy!

Chicken N' Dumplins (as prepared tonight by me)

1/2 a large stock pot full of water (I'm going to guess it was a 3 1/2 quart pot, probably about 1 3/4 - 2 quarts)
3 large chicken breasts

Simmer chicken until cooked through.  Remove from broth, skim nasty stuff from broth, cut chicken into bite sized pieces and return to broth.

Combine 1/2 cup flour with water until it is a thin paste.  Add slowly to broth.  Broth will become very cloudy, almost opaque)  Bring broth to a boil.

2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
Combine Bisquick and milk until it makes a sticky dough.  Drop by spoonfuls into broth, cook UNCOVERED for ten minutes.  COVER and cook another 10 minutes.  Dumplins should be fluffy and float at the top.

There is also a fantastic easy recipe for shortcake on the Bisquick box.  I made that during the twenty minutes I was waiting for the dumplins to cook.  Consider pairing the C n' D with strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Not Yo Mamma's Banana Pudding!

That's because it's MY Mamma's banana pudding!  The stuff is so good that Matthew and I have single-handedly eaten a 9x13 dish of it in about 3 days.  I had it for dinner Saturday night.

Disclaimer:  I may be about to post the recipe from the side of th Nilla Wafer box, but as far as I am concerned it is my mother's recipe b/c it came to me by way of the notebook of family recipes and childhood favorites that she made for me when I got married.

MIX #1
1 package of vanilla pudding
2 cups milk

MIX #2
1 can Eagle brand milk
8oz Cool Whip

Mix the two mixes together
Layer Nilla Wafers, bananas, and pudding mix.
Chill and Serve.

Word to the wise -- if you do this in a 9x13 dish it'll work out better if you don't try to totally cover the bottom with cookies.  I ran out before the top layer of cookies and had to open another box!  I think I would've preferred it with fewer cookies.  It was still darn good, though!

Also, I made this on the super cheap.  I had a coupon for the Nilla wafers, and the box I got had a coupon on it for up to .55 off of bananas (more than a pound at the day's price at Publix).  88 cents for store brand cool whip, a can of Eagle milk in my cabinet, milk in the fridge, and 50 cents for a box of pudding. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lobster, not so much

Well, that was fun, but I don't think I'm going to do it again.  $13 (after my coupon) for 3 tiny lobster tails that I have to cook is just a little too much for me to handle!  Had I known, and I should have, how little meat it would really be, I would've passed in the first place.  Oh well, lesson learned.

One good thing did come of it.  The girls like lobster!  As we were coaxing Lucy into taking the first bite, Lily said, "Lucy, there is a chicken in the lobster shell!"  So I suppose there is truth to the saying "it tastes like chicken".  lol  Lucy took that first bite and started nodding her head as though it was ok.  Later on, when offered a second bite, Lily smiled real big and said YES.  Lucy took a second bite (big bite) too.

The side items were a big hit, too.  I did crisp tender carrots in dill butter and roasted red potatoes with olive oil and herbs.  Joel loved the potatoes.  He kept yelling as I was breaking them down into smaller bites for him, and he grabbed them and shoved them in his mouth as quick as he could. 

Overall it was a good meal, just not affordable or practical. 

Tonight is ravioli and meat sauce!  Yum!

Crisp Tender Dill Carrots
1 lb carrots, boiled in just enough water to cover carrots until "crisp tender"
(a bag of baby carrots is recommended, but I used whole carrots and cut them down to small pieces)
toss carrots while hot with 1/2 tsp dill weed (or 1 tsp fresh dill tips if you have it) and 1/2 stick of butter or margarine.  EAT!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What to do in a pinch

So I bought all the goods I needed for well-constructed $6 meals, as well as all the goods I needed to feed my family an incredible lobster dinner......then I tried to go to the DCA consignment presale.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  How was I to know it would take over 10 minutes just getting in and out of the parking lot?  How was I to know that there would be a wreck and a traffic light out between me and the interstate?  Instead of being back to pick up the kids at 6, it was more like 6:30.  When I called Matthew and asked him to cut the potatoes for dinner he said, "You're going to do all that and cook and eat all before you have to play tennis at 7:30?"  Oh yeah, that.  So when I got home and he suggested we get Jet's pizza, I thought about trying to talk him out of it in favor of some easy pasta.  Then the phone rang.  "Where is Carrie?"  Apparently I was supposed to play at 7 and the other 3 ladies were waiting on me (it was 7:10).  Suffice it to say, we had pizza.  But the $13 pizza will make at least 2 meals, so I guess that fits in the plan, right?!  Jet's pizza always seems to be our fall-back plan in a pinch, so I guess I better make it fit!

Now that I've been to the store, had one night of dinner plans hijacked, and had a little time to reflect, here is my menu plan for the rest of the week:

Tonight:  broiled lobster, with oven-roasted red potatoes and brown sugar glazed carrots
Thursday:  ravioli with meat sauce and garlic bread
Friday:  sandwiches (may change to a garden pasta dish)
Saturday:  steak fajitas (yes, for under $6, and I'll probably have leftovers, too)
Sunday:  pork tenderloin with rice and vegetables

We used all of the leftover chicken from the one I made earlier in stir-fry meals for lunch on Sunday and dinner on Monday. so I've decided to wait on the chicken and dumplings.  There is no really good sale on chicken this week, and I have plenty of other options available. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pantry Staples

It's very important to make sure you stay stocked up on your pantry staples.  Most people would count flour, sugar, olive oil, etc as the staples.  At our house it's shredded cheese and tortilla chips. 

The plan for dinner yesterday was chicken and dumplings, but when we got home at 5:30 and Matthew realized he had a big job to complete for a client, and I realized that we didn't have any chicken broth....plans changed.  (chicken broth should be on that staple list)  So the kids got chicken nuggets and pizza rolls, and mom and dad had chicken nachos with the leftover chicken from Saturday.  It's another cheap meal, and had the girls been interested in eating it I had plenty of chicken to do the whole meal for the family for about $5. 

So today is grocery day.  I'll post again later when I've decided what I'm making for the week, so far the list includes lobster tails, chicken and dumplings (I'm determined), and baked ravioli with meat sauce.  You can get free pasta at Kroger this week with a $1 ronzoni coupon, so there may be some pasta on the menu this week, too.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pretty Sure Paula Deen would be proud of me!

I just cooked the best herb roasted chicken you've never tasted!  Fresh rosemary from my garden, 3 cloves of garlic, and a stick of butter (Paula Deen, y'all) was all it took.  And the best part is that the less than $4 chicken fed the whole family, including Joel, with enough left for me to make chicken and dumplings tomorrow.  Here is the break down on the two meals I will have made out of this chicken:

Saturday:  Herb roasted chicken, brown sugar carrots, and Betty Crocker scalloped potatoes (I am only human)
Sunday:  Chicken and Dumplings (will need canned broth)

Total spent on the two meals combined, probably about $5 - $6.  That doesn't count the box of Bisquick, but that's hard to break down since it's something I have "on hand". 

It was a messy pain to clean all the chicken off the bones, but I think in the end it was faster and will taste better than if I had cooked a couple of chicken breasts. 

I have also been browsing the sales for this coming week.  I know I am heading to Publix to buy a London Broil, and I'm thinking I might do lobster tails, too.  Not particularly thrifty, but at $4.99/tail it's not unreasonable.  I know how I'd cook it, but what would I serve with it?  I welcome your thoughts!  That'll have to be a night the girls get to pick their own dinner.  I'm 99% sure Lucy wouldn't touch a lobster tail with a 10 foot pole.  My other two little vacuum cleaner eaters would probably scarf it down, but I'm thinking that lobster might be a little much for a 3 year old and a not-yet-9-month-old!

Friday, August 20, 2010

What I Have To Offer

I know that many of you are in the same boat that I am in -- staying at home with the kids, and making sacrifices to make it happen. Some of you may be trying to pay down debt, save for the down payment on a new home, or maybe you just want the challenge of seeing how much you can do and how little you can spend to do it. (I personally love this part.) So here it is: my commentary on how to make meals for less. I hope that this blog will provide a forum for us to share quick, easy and most importantly CHEAP recipes!