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Food Stuff

March 20th, 2013

I’ve been doing my best to keep myself busy while off which is why I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes. I’ve found that Pinterest is one of the best ways to discover new ones. Most of the recipes I’ve tried have been winners, such as these:

Baked Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken – Holy schnikies, is this stuff awesome! I was skeptical about cooking chicken at such a high temperature, so I lowered the oven to 475 degrees, but this came out awesome! It has a Chinese flair to it and I can’t wait to make it again. In fact I’ll probably make it later this week and make some jasmine rice and oriental green beans as sides.

Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti – I’ve made this one twice already. It gives the spaghetti a nice creaminess I love. I like it better than regular spaghetti with meatballs.

Cheeseburger Macaroni – Move over Hamburger Helper, this is the real deal. Not only does it taste light-years better than a boxed version (although I haven’t touched Hamburger Helper in at least five years, if not longer), it’s got a nice kick to it. I was surprised that E ate it, but was pleased that he did.

Crescent Pepperoni Roll-Ups – I wasn’t sure these would turn out as good as they sounded but they exceeded my expectations. I alternated between using pizza sauce and I definitely recommend you use a bit of pizza sauce so they don’t come out dry. A little goes a long way with these – between three of us in the house we had one left over and we only used one can of the crescent rolls. They are deceptively filling and would make a great little appetizer for a party, although they were fine for a quick dinner too.

Crockpot Pineapple Chicken – Easy and yummy, this dish tastes great served over rice. Joe liked it a bit more than I did, but I would definitely make it again.

Dark Chocolate Frozen Banana Bites – There’s no link to these as I came up with this one on my own after being inspired by the ridiculously expensive Dole-brand frozen bananas my mom had at my brother’s birthday party. It’s bananas and chocolate, how hard can it be? Well, it’s not hard once you know what you’re doing, and that took me two tries. The first time was a bust but the second time I nailed it. Here’s what I did: First I sliced a banana and put the slices on some wax paper on a cookie sheet. I slid that into the freezer. About two hours later I took some chocolate chips, put them in a microwave safe bowl with a little bit of vegetable oil, and microwaved them until they were soft (you have to keep checking on it so you don’t over-do it and burn the chocolate). Once the chocolate was melted and stirred I brought my bananas out of the freezer and using a spoon dipped them one by one in the chocolate, coating them completely. I returned them to the wax paper-lined cookie sheet and back to the freezer. Later that evening I just grabbed a couple when I got the craving. Not only does the oil keep the chocolate from seizing up during the dipping process, but it also keeps the chocolate from becoming too hard once frozen. That way you don’t break a tooth and the chocolate doesn’t break off in chunks when you bite into it. Since I only did about half a banana’s worth as I was still in the experimenting stages, I left them on the cookie sheet. I think they would be fine if you wanted to move them to a container once they were fully frozen, however. Much better than paying $4 a box for the Dole version!

Oatmeal Banana Breakfast Muffins – These came out great but I didn’t follow the directions. I ground up the oatmeal in the blender and then combined all the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another and then gently mixed them together. I think if you blend everything together at once you’re going to end up with a rubbery muffin. I plan to make these again real soon because they make for a great little breakfast, although the next time I’m going to add some chocolate chips to at least half of the batch.

Despite what feels like a non-stop eating fest I’ve still been losing weight. I actually fit in the smallest size of jeans I own now! Those have been collecting dust for YEARS. Woo hoo!

In addition to new dishes I’ve also become very interested in the best ways to preserve food so it doesn’t go to waste. For instance, my SIL bought some avocados the other day but we weren’t planning on making anything to utilize them and as you probably know avocados tend to ripen quickly – there’s usually a one day sweet spot in which to use them before they start turning brown inside. I found some advice online and I was able to salvage one of them (the other had over-ripened) by mashing it up, adding some lemon juice, putting it in a ziplock bag with all the air squeezed out, and freezing it. Believe it or not but it’s still green! Now we can use it whenever the mood strikes us.

I also learned you can freeze limes so when they were on sale I bought four and popped them in the freezer. I almost always need limes when I don’t have any and who wants to run to the store? I’m way too lazy for that! I chopped up a bunch of green onions and put them in an old cleaned out Parmesan cheese shaker (those plastic ones Kraft sells) in the freezer as well. Those are another item we tend to not have on hand when they are needed. And finally, I cleaned up some celery and put it in aluminum foil in the fridge because I read that it will stay fresh for weeks that way.

As you can see, I’m a bit obsessed, but these little things have helped us cut down the grocery bill. Even when I go back to working I’m going to keep doing these things because I love saving money and not being wasteful.

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  1. Jenniyb
    March 26th, 2013 at 21:52 | #1

    Scott loves Hamburger Helper, which I absolutely hate. As a compromise I will occasionally make the Velveeta box meal that is basically the same, but a little better. Normally I’d make it from scratch, or refuse to serve up fake cheese, but I’ve been exhausted for the last 28 weeks and they’re just so easy.

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