Sunday, February 19, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up, Recipes, Groceries

Man, this has been one of those weekends that just FLEW by!!! The best part about being super busy is we never had time to make a mess in the house, which is always a good thing. Of course this kiddo was still going strong both days and absolutely never tires of energy. These couple of pictures are from after church today, running around outside in the "snow". It did snow pretty hard during church and right after, but it was way too warm to stick to anything but the big flakes were very pretty and I'm sure contributed to Lilli's teachers saying "they were all wild this morning". Which I think is code for "I'm glad Sunday is but once a week."She had a blast celebrating both Ella and Brayden's birthdays yesterday. Any time she can celebrate with some icing and running wild with friends is a good, good time. We'll have lots of pics of those to come, eventually.
Groceries - The last two weeks I haven't been quite as good, but still much improved over the good old days. Last week I just needed a lot of things, plus we made a nice Valentines dinner at home with choice cut steaks and so on. Our Valentines menu was probably about $20 in cost, but way cheaper than a steak meal out. My total bill last week was $135 before taxes, so $55 over budget. This week my stuff just seemed to add up, but I didn't get a thing that wasn't on the list. We noticed her juice went up $1 in price, which is annoying considering that's suddenly a 20% increase. We need to check into juice at Costco, I'm just picky about that stuff and will only buy certain brands not made in China. It's ridiculous that juice is even made in China. So my total bill today was right around $99. So, about $24 over from just needing a few extra things today (particularly I was running low on chicken and we only buy organic.) Still not bad considering I used to somehow manage to spend $250 a week and still not see anything work cooking in the pantry, or have a plan. I did do some cleaning of the pantry this week and threw away a seasoning packet that expired in April 2000. That is not a typo. Almost TWELVE years ago this packet of ranch dressing mix expired. Most likely I bought it not long after we got married in 1999, and that thing moved with us to our house in Smyrna, our house here, made it through our major kitchen demo when we cleaned out a lot of stuff and was STILL in the pantry. Gross.

Recipes - Here's some of our recent meals:

We made this steak and fries recipe for Valentines. Super easy and very flavorful. Brent does a great job with cooking the steaks to the correct temp and then we pull them off. Totally the key to a great steak. The fries were good, but I'd rather have a baked potatoes or mashed potatoes with steak. We made those for Lilli and with the seasoning and lemon on it she wouldn't even eat them. We also made this "love potion" drink I had seen on Pinterest and it was just ok. It was pretty and pink and Lilli had a good time with it since an older lady at church had given her a big heart shaped straw, but it was pretty tart and just not something we were crazy about.

We made this baked potato soup on one of the colder nights. It takes awhile to do everything, so not a great weeknight meal but it had good flavors. It's from my fave healthy eating site, so not as good as a restaurant version, but way better for you with the cauliflower snuck in. It was a bit thick and could have used more broth to it. The bacon totally made the dish though!

This Tuscan Pasta dish was a big winner for all of us. It wasn't a really cheap meal to make though, the raviolis are about $6 and the nicer jar of pasta sauce was $3-something, but it tastes restaurant quality and made enough for all of our dinner and lunch the next day, so again much cheaper than eating out. It was also very fast and perfect for a weeknight! This one will def be made again.

We made our Greek Chicken Pitas again this week. It's one of our fave all time recipes. For Lilli we wrap it in a tortilla like a burrito. For us we put the grilled chicken in a whole wheat pita pocket with saffron rice, feta, and a little ranch on top. Delicious!!!

Other than that, we've stuck with our meal plans the last two weeks and had chicken sausage and rice one night, a tortilla soup mix from World Market one day, a Southwest chicken skillet mix from an old pantry seasoning packet I had on hand, Baked Ziti from my 5 ingredient 5:30 cookbook I really like and then other little sandwiches and soups as needed. We're really starting to trim down our pantry backlog of "stuff".

This week looks like:
Chicken Enchilada Crockpot Soup
Jambalaya for Fat Tuesday
Indian Chicken (helps clean out pantry)
Stir Fry Chicken (helps clean out pantry)
Banana Snowmen Pancakes with Fresh Berry Smoothies
Southwest Tuna Bake
And for the Wednesday night meal at church we'll be having "Breakfast with all the trimmings"!!

Time to relax before it's back to work and school tomorrow!

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