Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April Showers Brings May Flowers…and a Freezer Full of Food!

Sorry, yes, I know April is half way over and a menu is long over due, but things have been quite busy for us on the home front.  Spring projects have been keeping us busy as we tidy up the inside and outside of our home.  Plus, we’ve been on pacifier removal patrol with our strong-willed 2 year old.  Luckily, we are one week paci-free today!  Of course, no task is easy lately as my ever growing belly makes even normal activities complicated.  Just watch me try to get up off of the couch! 
With all of the chaos going on, we’ve been sure to take advantage of this amazing weather.  Don’t you just love spring?  Finally, a chance to start seeing sunshine, beautiful colorful spring flowers, and opening up the windows and letting the fresh air roll in. 
For my family, it also means firing up the gas grill!  Mr. Frugal is our resident grill expert, so at this time of year I like to incorporate a lot of meals that can be grilled.  “Dump Chicken” recipes are a favorite for OAMC because they are so fast and easy to prepare on cooking day.  What is Dump Chicken you ask?  It is basically a quick marinade that you dump in a Ziploc bag with boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Then, you label and freeze it and call it a day!  When you are ready to serve, you defrost, grill, and enjoy!  I’m all about simple recipes that make your cooking day go by QUICK!  Spring weather is just too nice to stay inside even on your cooking day. 
So, here is the menu for the month of April.  I hope you enjoy it.  Drop me a line and let me know what recipes you’ve tried, what you love, what you hate, and how your OAMC experience is going. ,or check us out of Facebook

*Although there are direct links to the original recipes below, be sure to download my google docs for your cooking day.  There you will find quantity adjustments, recipe modifications, and freezing instructions. 
Raspberry Oat Bars- These make great snacks too!
Egg Casserole Cups- A great way to add veggies to your breakfast!
Grilled Ham and Swiss on a Diet- These will be a great way to use up all of your leftover Easter Ham.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup- Gotta love a recipe that you dump into a crock pot and go!

Mostaccioli Casserole: One even the kids will love!

Pioneer Woman’s Vegetable Lasagna- Anyone who has ever tried a Pioneer Woman’s recipe knows that this lady knows what she’s talking about.  Her food is sooooo good! I’m addicted to her blog. 

Stuffed Peppers My Way- One of the few vegetarian dishes I can get my meat-eating husband to enjoy.  We like to use quinoa.  Mainly b/c it tastes great, but it’s also fun to say! Keen- Wah!

Chicken Marsala- Adapted from the book, “More, Don’t Panic Dinner’s in the Freezer.” – Who doesn’t love a good Chicken Marsala?  This one is great for serving to company. 

Honey Glazed Dump Chicken- Sweet sticky honey on grilled chicken.  What a great way to break in your grill for the season. 

Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts with Watermelon Jalapeno Salsa- Just freeze the chicken and make the salsa on the day you plan on serving it.  What a refreshing dinner!

Grilled Brown Sugar Pork Chops-  A hearty, stick to your ribs kind of dinner. 

Ranch Burgers- Everybody loves grilling out burgers.  It’s as American as apple pie.  This is a great starter recipe,  but see my modifications on google docs for an even easier version. 
View Full List of Recipes Here

Friday, March 4, 2011

March Menu

March is here and that means spring is right around the corner.  When the weather warms up the last place you are going to want to be is stuck inside your kitchen, so why not stock your freezer now and go out and play when the weather warms up?!  This month's menu offers a variety of meals that are sure to please the taste buds of even the pickiest eaters in your household. 

I'm trying a new way to upload the recipes and grocery lists this month.  You can still check out each recipe individually by clicking on its named hyperlink, or click on the google document (FOUND HERE) for a print out of all of the recipes and instructions on freezing.  I will also have a google document for your shopping list.  Just print and take it with you when you head out to the store.  The prep sheet will give you a heads up on what to prepare the day before you cook and the most efficient way to cook on your OAMC day. 

March Menu

Here are the rest of the documents you will need:

March Shopping List

March Prep Sheet and Coooking Day Sheet

Happy Cooking! 
Slow Cooker French Dips- An easy recipe to kick off your cooking day.  Serve with French Fries and dip them in the sauce! 
Arroz Con Pollo- Lightened Up- Because everybody loves this traditional chicken and rice Mexican dish, but our waistlines do not!  Don't be frightened by the strange sounding ingredients in this one.  Sazon and Adobo powder are easily found on your grocer's International Aisle.
Monterey Stuffed Chicken (Adapted from More Don't Panic, Dinner's In The Freezer cookbook)-  Chicken and Cheese all wrapped into a little bundle.  What's not to love?
Asian Glazed Drumsticks- They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Judging from the picture taken from here,  these babies are sayin "get in my belly!"
Green Bean & Chicken Casserole- A warm southern comfort food dish that it sure to please.
Taco Filled ShellsIs it Italian night or Mexican night at your house?  When it's too tough to decide, choose these fun tasty treats!
Butternut Squash Lasagna (Adapted from More Don't Panic, Dinner's In The Freezer Cookbook)- Not your average Lasagna.  Warm, creamy, and a Vegetarian favorite. 
Asian Flank Steak  (Adapted from More Don't Panic, Dinner's In The Freezer Cookbook)- Don't shortchange yourself here, splurge on the skirt steak and you will have a delicious, tender cut of meat.  Great to cut up and serve over veggies and rice. 
Mini Meatloaves- Aren't these little minis so cute?   Use your muffin pan to make these. What a quick meal to just pop in the microwave when you are short on time!
Italian Sausage Quiche- Serve with soup and call it dinner, or serve it for brunch.  So versatile and so delicious. 
Ham & Potato Casserole- One word- YUM-O!

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Banana Pancakes-  We just upped the nutritional value of a traditional pancake.  These are too hard to resist! 
Egg’wiches- Ham egg cheese on toasted English muffin.- Because we are creatures of habit!  One of our favorite breakfast sandwiches are back!  Use sausage, ham, or bacon, whatever you like.  It's all good!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

How To: Homemade Bread

I know, I know- you're busy!  Making your own bread may seem like something that only our ancestors had time to prepare, but trust me, it will be so worth it once you get the hang of it.  Plus, the great part is this recipe makes 3 loaves. So take a little time now to make them and freeze the rest for later.  The results?  Homemade fresh bread right at your fingertips.  Not to mention, you know exactly what ingredients your family is eating.  No crazy, hard to pronounce chemicals and preservatives here-no sir! 

I know there is a "gluten-free" craze going on right now, and unfortunately you won't find that recipe here. Maybe another time… once you get the hang of this one. For simplicity sake, I wanted to give you a recipe that is foolproof (for those of you novice bread makers), and one that won't have you trekking across the city to find ingredients you've never heard of, and most importantly, a recipe that is healthy.  You’re welcome. 

Now on to the actual recipe:

Healthy Honey Wheat Bread


3C. warm water (110 degrees)
2 (.25oz.) Packages Active Dry Yeast, or 2Tbsp if you buy in bulk.
2/3C. Honey, divided
2Tbsp. Ground Flax Seed
1/2C. Wheat Bran
2 1/4C. Bread Flour
5 3/4C. Whole Wheat Flour
1Tbsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

The Stars of the Show!

Baking my own bread used to be something that terrified me.  I'm talkin right up there with spiders and sky diving, but like all things, you just gotta jump in head first and conquer your fears! 

First, you gotta proof your yeast.  This brings your yeast to life and is crucial to making your bread turn out properly.  So how do you proof yeast?  You  put them in warm water and feed those little buggers SUGAR!  That sparks them right up and gets them all foamy and ready to go. 

1) In a large bowl mix yeast,  3C. warm water, and 1/3C. honey.  (Specifically 110 degrees) Any colder and your yeast won't get foamy, and any hotter and you will kill the yeast!  Be kind.  Don't kill the yeast. 

Let the yeast activate for around 5-10 minutes.  The mixture should get nice and foamy like this picture.  If it doesn't, then you will have to start over. 

2) Add 2Tbsp Ground Flax Seed, 1/2C Wheat Bran, 2 1/4C. Bread Flour, and 2 1/4C. Whole Wheat Flour (all found in your grocer's baking section).  Let sit for about 30 minutes until big and bubbly.

3) Mix 1Tbsp. Salt, and 1/3C. Honey to the flour mixture.  SLOWLY, add remaining Whole Wheat Flour about 1/2C. at a time, or else your Kitchen Aid mixer will start spewing flour!  You want the dough to pull away from the sides of your mixing bowl and cling to your dough hook.  You should be able to see the bottom of the bowl.  Knead your bread on speed 1 or 2 for about 5-10 minutes, in your  mixer, or by hand if you have Arnold Schwarzenegger’s strength

4) Remove the dough ball from your mixing bowl, and spray with PAM cooking spray.  Place the dough ball back in the mixing bowl and cover with a kitchen towel.  Place mixing bowl in the oven (turned off), but with oven light turned on.  Let rise until doubled in size. 

The oven light adds just the right amount of heat to get your dough to rise.

5) Lightly oil your counter and dump dough onto counter top.  Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 3 equal parts.  You could get very technical here and whip out your kitchen scale to be sure each loaf weighs the same, OR you could just eye ball it and not get too Miss Perfectionist on me here. 

6) Take one ball and spread it out.  Flattening with the heels of your hand. 

7) Roll up the dough from one side. 

8) Now, taking your hands Karate chop the dough on either side.  Feel free to yell HIIIIIIIYAAAAA while doing this!  Tell yourself, it will help the bread taste better!  Fold the two sides that you just Jackie Chan-ed under, like an envelope.

9) You should have a cute little baby loaf.  Hold and cradle the little baby in your hand here. Now, on to my favorite part- the therapeutic art of bread making.  Take that cute little baby loaf and SLAM it on to your counter 2-3 times to get the air bubbles out.  Feel free to take out any aggressions or hidden frustrations that you have here.

10)  Place the loaf into your greased loaf pan and let rise for the 2nd time until the loaf is about 2 inches above your pan.  This should take about 30-60 minutes, so go fold your laundry, or pour yourself a nice hot cup of tea and relax. 

While we are waiting here, let's talk about what to do with those other 2 loaves of bread.  Take each dough ball and wrap them individually in Saran Wrap.  Place one dough ball into a labeled Ziploc Freezer bag and freeze.  Whenever you need homemade fresh baked bread, just pop the frozen dough ball into your refrigerator and thaw.  Once thawed, place in a greased loaf pan, let rise again and follow the steps below.

I like to top mine with a little bit of good old fashioned oatmeal.
 11) While you are waiting on your bread to rise again, preheat your oven to 350.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.
* A tip to know when your bread is baked*  Using a hot pad to hold the bread pan, knock on the bottom of your pan with your knuckles.  If the bread makes a hollow noise, it is done.

12) Brush bread with 2Tbsp. melted butter and cool completely on a wire rack. 
* Do not slice until it is completely cool.  Here's where a test of your patience comes in because it will smell and look so good! 

That was easy!  Now you've got the tips.  Impress your family and friends and go make yourself a loaf of bread! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Game Night Menu

This past weekend we hosted Game Night for a few of our friends.  I tried to keep the menu simple with lots of finger foods to munch on, and without a doubt, the Mini-Pulled Pork Sandwiches were the hit of the night.  The secret ingredient?  ROOT BEER! 


1- pork shoulder or pork butt roast ( about 3.5-4lbs)
1- can of Root Beer ( I used A&W)
3Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1Tbsp. Salt
1Tbsp. Cumin
1Tbsp. Paprika
1Tbsp. Freshly Ground Pepper
2tsp. Garlic Powder
1tsp. Onion Powder
1tsp. Oregano

I know this seems like a lot, but it's the perfect combination of spices-trust me!

This recipe couldn't be simpler.  No browning of the meat here.  Just put the pork roast into the crock pot and pour in the root beer.  In a small bowl, mix together your spices and massage it all over your pork.
Done.  Could this be any easier?

Now, turn your crock pot on low, cover and walk away!  I cooked this all day long and about an hour before we ate it, I shredded it (in the crock pot so there was less mess) with 2 forks. 

Serve on buns and enjoy!  I used Kings Hawaiian mini rolls.  (Found in your grocer's deli).  They made the cutest mini sandwiches and were perfect for snacking. 

You won't even need BBQ sauce on these, they are just that delicious. 

Of course, if you want to freeze this...because it makes a lot, then let it cool completely and place it in a Ziploc Freezer bag.  Lay it flat in your freezer and it will take up less space.  Then, the day before you want to eat it, place it in your refrigerator and thaw.  Warm the thawed mixture in the microwave or a sauce pan set on medium heat until heated through. 

Yum!  Ok, go try this recipe NOW!  You will thank me later. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January Menu

The holidays are finally over and gone.  I don't know about you, but I am looking forward to getting back to "normal" around here, and one of the first places I'd like to start is with my diet.

Not only did I take some time off from blogging during the holidays, but I also took some time off of watching my caloric intake.  Hello, Christmas sugar cookies! 

This month's menu is packed with whole grains, lean meats, and lots of low-fat substitutions.  Surely this will help you stay on track with your New Year's resolution, right?!

Happy Cooking!  The grocery list will be coming soon...a.k.a.  when the 2yr old gives me a break.

Please feel free to drop me a line and say hello.  You can also find me on Facebook at   



Playgroup Granola Bars- These are so good, they may never make it to your freezer! 

Whole Grain Waffles


Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew- This one is Gluten Free too!

Zydeco Stomp Gumbo- Just be sure to add the shrimp on the day you are eating it. 


Amazing Pork Tenderloin- Pork Tenderloins are too lean to put in a crock pot- use a Pork Tenderloin Roast and you will have better flavor and conserve costs.

Salsa Chicken Rice Casserole- Add brown rice instead of white rice for extra nutrition. 

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken- Just like BBQ pulled pork, but with chicken.  YUM!

Pizza Casserole- A great place to sneak in some extra veggies. 

Chicken Enchiladas

Maple Garlic Pork Tenderloin

Jenny's Grilled Chicken Breasts- Add to Salad for a Grilled Chicken Salad, or serve with green veggies to make an extra healthy dinner.