Sunday, May 22, 2011

Planning ahead for the week

I do love lazy Sunday mornings.

Right now, I am waiting for my lawn shoes to come out of the wash. They had gotten left out on the porch during all of the rain we’ve had recently. I don’t really care to put my toes into something quite so wet and squishy, so into the wash they went!

While waiting for the shoes to wash and dry, I decided to be semi-productive. Last night’s whole grilled chicken leftovers needed to be taken care of, and I had found a nice little sauce recipe to use with a beef roast.

First, I removed what breast meat I could from the chicken and set it aside for use in a salad tonight. I froze the drumsticks for a snack for Roo and her boyfriend. The rest of the chicken has been tossed into the Dutch oven with some spices and water and vegetables to cook down for broth for soup, and to get the rest of the meat off the bones to be used in a casserole.

I mixed up a quick barbecue sauce and added onions to it. The roast and sauce are now sitting in the crockpot, cooking away happily. I’ll shred the meat and serve it on buns with a green salad and maybe some sweet potato oven fries this week.

This week will be a busy one at work, but I still want to get myself to the gym and not find myself stopping for fast food because I don’t have time to cook. I think I’ve gotten a good start here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Eating in on a budget

This week will be a bit of a challenge for me. I need to do some grocery shopping, but I need to keep things within a certain budget. With my daughter graduating and heading off to college, family visiting and even planning a weekend getaway to do some whale watching in lieu of a trip to Europe as a graduation gift, I need to keep a tight control on what I spend and where.

Oh, and I have to keep it healthy-ish, also! I am trying to lose weight so I'm not mistaken for one of the whales off the cape!

I see a lot of salads in our future. Good, hearty greens, with meat used as a seasoning and not the star of the dish. Salad Works has a salad that combines craisins, chicken, noodles and mandarin oranges. I make something similar at home for a lot less. That may be dinner Tuesday or Wednesday, since I still need to grill a few chicken breasts to add to meals this week.

What are your favorite cheap, fast and healthy meals?

Friday, May 06, 2011

Han Solo in Carbonite Cake

I had a moment of panic when looking for the pictures of the Han Solo cake Charm City Cakes did for me. My last desktop has died and gone to whatever tech heaven is reserved for overworked computers. I thought the photos were lost! Then I remembered I had posted them to my Facebook account.


This was a fantastic cake and was a lot of fun. It aired on an episode of Ace of Cakes in which I appeared as a great big grape, but a happy one!

Check out the lights at the bottom!

I adored the details added to this.

Up close and personal with Han.

Finally, one from my daughter's Facebook photos, since I didn't post any of me to my own:

Lobster Mac and Cheese from Carr's = Happiness on a plate

I have been in a funk lately. I needed something to perk myself up, since life in general has just not been going so well for me.

Today, I found that something in a happy little post from a Facebook friend. Kathlene had posted a photo of the lobster mac and cheese on display at Carr’s at Central Market. One of these had found its way home with her for a Mother’s Day dinner.

I have no idea why, since before this, the idea of lobster mac and cheese has never titillated my taste buds, but this looked so good that I just HAD to have it. After being home sick all day, Roo was heading for her boyfriend’s house so he could fuss and feed her soup, so I was on my own for dinner anyhow…

Carr’s at Central Market closes at 3 pm on Friday. I think I raced up to the counter at 2:55 or 2:56. I was asked if it had been recommended to me over Facebook. Seems a woman walking quickly through the Market as if there is a mission to be conquered is hard to miss!

Dinner has been had. This is a huge portion and would do well to be shared. I have had half and am quite happily content. The rest will be saved and savored.

A hit – I would definitely recommend this! Head to Carr’s at Central Market for a taste!

And if you’re around for dinner or would like to enjoy a sit down lunch after shopping, I highly recommend Carr’s, located right across the walkway from the market. I have enjoyed many meals here and have always been impressed with the service and the quality of the food. My brother’s wedding and small dinner reception were also held at Carr’s. The staff and food are top-notch!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Cake talk

I can't believe I didn't have Ace of Cakes on my Amazon favorites widget! Now that a little time has passed and the show has aired (and the series is ended), I'll post photos of the Han Solo in Carbonite cake that was on the show itself. The book has some of the other cakes Charm City Cakes has made for me over the last few years. If you get the book, look for the page that talks about me and Ro! It's under my married name, since I didn't go back to my maiden name until 2010.

Tonight, I'll post photos, since those are on the desktop and I am not firing that up when I should be getting ready for work.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Chicken cacciatore for the freezer

I have enjoyed reading and cooking from Family Feasts for $ 75 a Week . Of course, I make my own substitutions and changes, based on what I have on hand. This week, I made a version of the chicken cacciatore from the cookbook.

Total cost for 6 servings: $ 9.37 total, or approximately $ 1.51 per serving. I am using the 6 serving breakdown, though I think with the slight changes here and there, and our appetites, this will actually be 7 or 8 servings.

I used frozen onion and peppers, since I did not have any green peppers on hand.

Cost breakdown:
Chicken, approximately 1 ¼ lbs: $ 3.75
½ stick butter: $ .42
½ bag frozen onions/peppers: $ .50
2 ribs celery: $ .40
Minced garlic (I used about 1 Tbl or so from a jar I have on hand): $ .15
28 oz can crushed tomatoes: $ 1.00
8 oz mushrooms: $ 1.66
16 oz egg noodles: $ 1.49

Note: I do not include spices when I figure out the cost, simply because I don’t have the patience to sit and figure out how many ¼ teaspoon servings are in a jar of paprika or cumin.

Looks pretty good, no? Now I’m going to tuck it into the freezer for dinner later in the week. All I will have to do is make the noodles and heat the chicken and we will be good to go!

Yes, I am a messy, messy cook. Oops!