Monday, March 29, 2010

Beef Tips

We spent the weekend at my parents' house and helped make Sunday dinner. The hubby LOVES to improvise and so he kind of took over the seasoning job for the beef tips. It turned out to be absolutely delicious! My mom asked me to write down the "recipe", so here I go...

Crockpot Beef Tips
  • 3 pounds beef tips (or venison, etc.)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoon(s) butter
  • 1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. Sauté mushrooms and onions in butter (use 2 tablespoons butter if sautéing these, if using a can of sliced mushrooms then just throw the mushrooms, onions, and 1 tablespoon butter in with the tips without sautéing).
  2. Place tips in a 5 qt. Crockpot. Sprinkle with seasonings, bouillon, and herbs.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Set on low heat for 4-6 hours.
  4. Mix 2 tablespoons water with 1 tablespoon corn starch and pour over tips; stir and let stand 10 minutes.
  5. Pour 1/2 to 2/3 of sauce into a gravy boat if serving with mashed potatoes, or leave the sauce with tips if serving along side noodles.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Free eCookbook for Healthy Snacks

I actually have all three of the munchkins down for naps AT THE SAME TIME! This is a rarity in my house and I plan to take full advantage of it. Today is the first time in over a week where I actually can take the time to do nothing for just a bit. All that said, I have been visiting a few of my favorite blogs and have found some freebies that I would like to share with you.

"Free eCookbook for Healthy Snacks" - you do not have to sign up for anything just save the PDF file to your computer.

Host Sample Parties for Free - one of the blogs that I read on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis has found a couple of websites that you can join where they provide free products for you and your friends to try. You then host a party promoting the free products (you choose which products you would like to host) and give away the free products and high value coupons.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Week 50 Menu (March 28-April 3)

It's been a busy month and there have been some meals that were planned but never used. This week I will be using some of those "forgotten" meals in the menu.
  • Swiss Steak, mashed potatoes, and veggies (ended up doing Chicken & Biscuits instead).
  • Tuna Pasta Salad
  • Baked Haddock (fish sticks style), potato wedges, and carrot sticks - Finger Foods
  • Sausage, black olive, onion & mushroom pizza
  • Hamburgers and sliced potatoes
  • Quiche & American Fries (I'm making this for Saturday breakfast and then we can eat the extra "pie" for Easter breakfast the next morning)
If you are in need of some inspiration while planning your Easter Menu, check out my post on Holiday Eats.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Week 49 Menu (March 21-27)

It's gonna be another busy week at our house. One of the private schools in our area is hosting regional competition this week and I will be accompanying at least one music group and then judging piano solos and duets beside all the normal household activities. All of the meals for this week are intended to be quick or easy.

Monday, March 15, 2010


From fresh made guacamole to a topping for Mexican Chicken Soup, I happen to love avocados. Here is an article that I recently read which boasts of their health benefits. I found it very interesting and will try to incorporate them into more of my dishes. I will also add some recipe links to the end of the article for your convenience.

February 2010
By Allison Hammett

Avocados are a wonderful fruit that contain a powerhouse of health. Typically grown in the southern hemisphere, avocados are also grown in California and Florida. The two types of avocados are Haas avocados, which have dark, bumpy skin, and the Fuerte avocado, which is larger and has a smooth green skin. They have a pale, greenish-yellow fruit with a single stone, and a delicious buttery rich taste.

Many have avoided avocados for their high fat and calorie content. Instead of being avoided, they should be eaten at every opportunity!

Avocados contain as many as twenty minerals, vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin C, E, and K, potassium, calcium, and folic acid. The fat found in avocados is monounsaturated fat, which lowers cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats can also increase your metabolic rate resulting in weight loss. These fats contain omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as amino acids.

The vitamins and nutrients in avocados can prevent and heal breast, prostate and oral cancer. They protect the liver from free radical damage, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes, and protect against heart problems. They help to regulate blood pressure and lower cholesterol, and, due to an avocado’s high lutien content, can aid in maintaining proper eye health. There are also studies demonstrating that by eating avocados, your body will be better able to absorb the nutrients from other foods. This fruit has been used to heal skin problems and can often be found in cosmetic ingredients. Avocados have been called the healthiest fruit, and it’s not hard to see why!

All ages can benefit from eating avocados, whether a young child who is growing rapidly, a pregnant or nursing mother, or those in their elderly years who want to maintain a healthy circulatory system and remain free of breast cancer and heart disease. Avocados are often recommended as an ideal food to use when first weaning a baby, due to the high calorie, fat, and vitamin content. They are delicious too!

My family’s favorite way to eat avocados is by making a simple guacamole. We mash the avocado with a little salt, lemon juice and cilantro. My kids love it this way and will fight for the last spoonful! Guacamole is not the only way to enjoy this healthy fruit. Sliced on a sandwich or diced up and tossed in a salad are delicious as well. There are recipes for soup, smoothies and much more!

I encourage you to step out and try a new recipe so that you can enjoy not only this delicious fruit but the benefits as well!

Taken from Wholesome Health.

Recipe Ideas
Best Guacamole - I use it as a chip dip, a dipping "sauce" for quesadillas, and a topping for chicken taco soup, chimichangas (this recipe is posted with the guacamole recipe)

Mexican Chicken Soup - I have not made this recipe yet, but the hubby and I had this soup at a restaurant when I was prego with E, and we just loved it.

Avocado Baby Food - My daughter E LOVES avocados. She was about 14 months the first time I gave her guacamole and she ate all the guacamole by itself. I plan to try this with my A the next time I make Mexican Chicken Soup.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Week 48 Menu (March 14-20)

This week I am doing a "favorites" menu
  • Chicken Salad Sandwiches - one of my favorite sandwiches and a perfect make ahead Sunday meal.
  • Jambalaya - one of the hubby's favorite meals
  • Pancakes, scrambled eggs, and sausage links - this is at the request of my 3 year old :o)
  • Chicken Alfredo, steamed broccoli, and dinner rolls - this is a favorite of the whole family
  • Swiss Steak, mashed potatoes, and veggies
I will also be making up some Blueberry Banana Muffins for breakfast on Sunday morning.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Week 47 Menu (March 7-13)

I am only 5 weeks away from having a menu for every week of a year (at least a digital copy of my menus). I have very much enjoyed my blogging. It's been a stress-reliever and diversion from the craziness of life with 3 small children and hubby finishing college. Jared will graduate with his Associates degree on June 6th, only 12 weeks of classes to go! :o)

Back to the subject at hand, the weekly menu:
  • We spent the weekend at my parents' and my sister made Sunday dinner, which was delicious - roast chicken (2 whole roasters marinaded in Italian dressing overnight, then seasoned with pepper, salt, and paprika right before roasting), stuffing, roast sweet and Idaho potatoes, green beans, fresh-made dinner rolls, and a delicious chocolate cake!
  • Corndogs, carrot sticks, and potato wedges
  • Pork Chimichangas & Guacamole (I will be using my Beef and Bean Chimichanga recipe and just substituting the leftover pulled pork for the ground beef) - didn't get a chance to make this last weekend as we ended up going out of town.
  • Spaghetti, side salad, and French bread
  • "Dreaming of a White Christmas" soup (I'm adding some veggies to the soup) OR cream of chicken and rice soup, and crescent rolls

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork and Slaw

I have been trying several different recipes for Pulled Pork ever since we saw a "Pulled Pork Throwdown" on Food Network. All of the recipes that I tried were good, but on Sunday I made one that was absolutely delicious. I used my favorite spice rub but then decided to try it in the crockpot vs. the oven. Here is what I came up with:

Kevi's South-of-the-Butt Rub
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 - 6 pound pork butt roast (see directions below for my change)
  1. Mix spices together.
  2. Rub liberally all over the pork roast - I decided to try using a 4 lb. boneless pork loin roast instead and used about 2/3 of the spice rub (now I have extra for another pork loin later on). We found that the pork loin shredded much better than the pork butt.
  3. Place roast in the crock pot and let cook on low for 8 hours (this is very important if you want the meat to be tender enough to shred easily).
  4. Shred pork and serve on hard rolls with your favorite cheese slices and slaw, see recipe below. (With a 3.75 lb roast, there is enough shredded pork for a dozen rolls or so.)
I've had several people ask me why the recipe does not call for any liquids, this is what I tell them. If you do not remove the lid during the cooking process there should be plenty of liquid from the meat juices. If you would like a little more liquid you can do one of the following: 
  1. Add your favorite BBQ sauce after shredding or even place in the slow cooker before cooking.
  2. You can also make a "paste" from the spice rub and a homemade sauce. 
    • 1/3 cup ketchup
    • 2 teaspoons mustard (I use spicy brown mustard)
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (preferably dark)
    • 1 tablespoon vinegar (balsamic or red wine vinegar, I've been using a red wine pomegranate vinegar, which is really tasty) 
  3. You can also add 1/2-3/4 cup apple cider, vinegar, etc. to the slow cooker after putting your rubbed pork in. Don't pour it over the top but pour it down the side so it just sits in the bottom of the slow cooker around the roast.
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • Dash pepper
  • 1 bag Coleslaw Veggie mix
  1. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Add vegetables; toss to coat.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. Stir before serving. 
**February 4, 2011 - I decided to make my own buns this time around to save myself a trip to the store. I had all the ingredients on hand so it saved a little cash, too. I put everything into my bread machine (milk, butter, water, sugar and yeast; then flour and salt) to help save some time on the rising/kneading phases.

Week 46 Menu (February 28-March 6)

I would have gotten this posted sooner, but we were painting all weekend and then I had a very sick munchkin Sunday and Monday. Here is my menu for the week.
  • Pulled Pork and Slaw Sandwiches (you could also do pulled pork and slaw wraps using tortilla shells, we plan to try it this way sometime soon)
  • Baked Haddock, wild and brown Rice (Uncle Ben's Ready Serve), veggies, and cheesy biscuits (a variation on Miss Betty's...).
  • Tuna Pasta Salad
  • Ham & Cheese Pizza
  • Pork Chimichangas & Guacamole (I will be using my Beef and Bean Chimichanga recipe and just substituting the leftover pulled pork for the ground beef)