Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chili Dog Sauce

I LOVE chili dogs but am not a fan of how unhealthy the store bought sauce is for you so I decided to make my own a couple of weeks ago. It turned out beautifully! A friend, who is not normally a fan of hot dogs, commented on how good it was. The sauce has a nice amount of spice, a lot of flavor, loads of extra nutrients, and makes a huge batch. I like that it makes a great big batch because then I have leftovers - leftovers that can be used in a tomato chili, frozen for future chili dogs, or added to nacho cheese for chip dip.
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey (you could also sub beef, venison, chicken, etc.)
  • 1 1/2 cups Small Red Beans (Dry)
  • 2 cups Spinach leaves - Raw
  • 2 cup Carrots, grated
  • 1 medium Onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup red bell peppers, cut into chunks  
  • 2 cans Red Gold - Chili Ready Diced Tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 3 teaspoons Jalapeno Hot Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Oregano, dried
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rinse and cook beans (never cooked your own, here are some cooking instructions / tips).
  2. while beans are simmering, throw all the ingredients (except the meat and beans) in a food processor or blender and puree. Then pour them into a 6 quart slow cooker on low. (You may need to process/blend in a few batches as it may be too much liquid for just one.)
  3. Brown turkey with salt and pepper; drain and add meat to the slow cooker.
  4. Once the beans are cooked, toss them into the food processor or blender and pulse till they are small crumbles in size (you can also leave some whole for texture; add to slow cooker.
  5. Let everything simmer for 3-6 hours. 
  6. Then enjoy!
If you like a meatier sauce, by all means, add more meat. I may add another half a pound next time I make this.

1 serving = 1/4 cup of sauce (36 calories)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Menu: May 28-June 3

Thank you to all those who've given their lives to make free and protect us from harm!
we'll be doing a fairly traditional Memorial Day cookout this week. Friday night Jared will be speaking at a banquet for a group of high school seniors so I will not be planning a meal. Then we have a couple of graduation parties to go to on Saturday so the menu is shortened.
  • Hamburgers, brats, hot dogs, slow cooker BBQ beans, pasta salad, fresh fruit and s'mores
  • Chicken sausage and vegetable skillet over penne pasta
  • Sub sandwiches, veggie tray, and fruit salad
  • Chicken salad pitas and fresh fruit salad (this was on last week's menu but didn't get made as we were just too busy trying to get projects around the house completed)
  • Grilled chicken salad with boiled eggs, broccoli, carrots, etc. and fresh bread (trying it in the slow cooker this time)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Menu: May 21-27

Trying to keep things simple is difficult for me. I tend to overcomplicate things, especially when it comes to food. I prefer to do everything from scratch as I know it is healthier for you. I love to make "fancy" meals but I know that it's not necessary. So...because of time constraints I have to daily remind myself to keep it simple but make it delicious! what are some simple but absolutely delicious dishes that you enjoy?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Menu: May 14-20

Monday was Miss E's 4th birthday so we did something special and went to a resort and waterpark. It was lots of fun! I've kept the menu simple this week.
  • Hot beef tortillas (a take on hot beef sandwiches), side salad, and mixed veggies 
  • Chicken taco soup over brown rice and strawberries for dessert 
  • "Brinner" bread bowls and fresh fruit 
  • Spaghetti, steamed California veggies, green beans with garlic, and French bread 
  • Tailgating at a baseball game - burgers, dogs, etc. YUM! 
  • Crockpot lasagna, mixed veggies, salad, and French bread

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bulking Up Ground Meats

I have recently started adding a few things to my ground meats - venison, chicken/turkey, and beef, haven't tried it with pork yet - to add more nutrients, flavor and bulk (making it stretch a bit farther). Here are some things that I've added and a few that people have suggested (**). This is per pound of meat:
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1 cup  finely chopped fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2-4 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 refried beans** (I'd opt for making homemade beans and then pureeing them)
  • grains such as cooked rice, cooked barley, uncooked oats, bran cereal, crushed crackers or breadcrumbs
  • finely chopped mushroom**

Menu: May 7-13 (Happy Mother's Day)

Another busy week here - 2 weddings going out, hosting a rummage sale, and getting ready for a weekend getaway for Mother's Day/Miss E's birthday.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Book Review: Hermie, a Common Caterpillar By Max Lucado

I recently read the Children’s book, Hermie, a Common Caterpillar by Max Lucado. I received a reviewer’s copy through booksneeze. Hermie is a book about a simple catepillar who longs to be something extra special. He asks God why he isn’t as amazing as some of the other bugs in the garden. God tells Hermie that He’s not finished with him yet wand reminds him to be patient while He finishes working out His plan. God shows Hermie just how special he is when he is transformed into a beautiful butterfly at the end of the book. The theme of the book is that each person is created by God in a unique and special way; we just need to be patient and wait to see what God has in store for us. I read this book to my 5, 4, and 2 year olds and they LOVED it! The illustrations are wonderful and the message is perfect for helping small children to realize that they are special because they are different. Each child is a precious gift from God. I would recommend this book for every home and church library. It would also make a great gift for the little one(s) in your life!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April 30-May 6

Things are still a little hectic around here as I've still got one sick kiddo and several dresses to finish by the end of this week so I'm keeping meals simple.

  • Pizza
  • Tex-Mex Casserole (rice, beans, salsa, taco seasoning, onion, peppers, garlic, and cheese) with a side salad
  • Sloppy Joes and French Fries
  • Sweet Italian Sausage & Penne (sausage, onion, garlic, peppers, penne, and italian dressing) and green beans
  • Pretzel-coated fish, veggies, baked potatoes, and salad
  • Grilled chicken and veggie salad with boiled eggs, cheese, etc. and maybe bread bowls if I get time.