Once Upon A Little Farm

A Glimpse Into Our Country Life

Meals for the Month of May!

When I set out to do my 2-week meal plan the other day, I didn’t think it would end up covering the rest of the month!  My hubby gets paid the 1st and 16th of each month and I try to only hit the grocery store at those times.  I usually try to stay within the $150 range every 2 weeks for the 4 of us (2 adults, 5 year old and 3 year old).  A huge key to our spending less at the store is that we have our own beef and pork in the freezer. Without that, my trips would cost a lot more!

I shop at Save-A-Lot, Aldi and Tops.  Usually it’s 2 of the 3, but this time around, I hit all 3.  Over time, I have learned which one carries certain items and which does not, which one has better produce, and at which location an item is cheaper.

My receipts this go-round ended up like this:  Tops $52.73, Aldi $108.39, Save-A-Lot $15.97 for a total of $177.09.  Granted, it’s about $27 over what I typically try to spend, but it covers twice as much as usual!

Next pay day, there will need to be another run for fresh fruits and veggies and milk, but meals for the entire rest of May are covered! I imagine I’ll only spend about $50 for the second 2-week period this month!

So here’s the menu for the month – paired up with a night each fits best on, depending what’s going on in life:

May 3) Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli & cauliflower with sharp cheese

May 4) Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas (using leftovers from roast chicken), corn & watermelon

May 5) Roast Beef, potatoes & carrots (crock pot meal)

May 6) Chicken Chimies, rice & watermelon

May 7) Pizza (frozen) & salad (so easy as it’s church school/swim lessons night)

May 8) Beef Stroganoff (using leftover from the roast) & broccoli

May 9) Apple Pork Chop Casserole & cucumbers

May 10) Pork Roast (crock pot), mashed potatoes, & mixed veggies

May 11) Broccoli Chicken Casserole & pears

May 12) BBQ Pulled Pork (using leftovers from the pork roast), baked beans, corn & corn bread

May 13) Tuna Noodle Bake & salad

May 14) Stuffed Shells (already in freezer from a previous meal), breadsticks & cucumbers (easy as it’s church school/swim lessons night)

May 15) I don’t have to cook! It’s the Hospital Recognition Dinner – hubby has 10 years in there!

May 16) Ham (crock pot), au gratin potatoes & peas

May 17) Ham Chowder (using leftover ham) & bread (it’s the annual Dogwood Parade, which the kids love to watch, so we’ll be able to come home to this all ready and waiting)

May 18) Pancakes, sausage & eggs

May 19) Ham N Cheese Pasta (using leftover ham) & fruit

May 20) Chicken Parmesan & salad

May 21) Taco Soup (crock pot) & bread (easy as it’s church school/swim lessons night)

May 22) Dinner at my mother-in-law’s (we do this almost every Thursday since my daughter has dance class at 6 pm in the same town)

May 23) Frittata & fruit

May 24) Pork Steaks on the grill, pasta salad & California veggie blend

May 25) Salmon Cornbread Cakes, carrots & fruit

May 26) Steak on the grill, baked potatoes & salad

May 27) Taco Casserole & broccoli

May 28) Pizza (frozen) & cucumbers (so easy as it’s church school/swim lessons night)

May 29) Dinner at my mother-in-law’s (we do this almost every Thursday since my daughter has dance class at 6 pm in the same town)

May 30) Penne with Sausage & Cheese & peas

May 31) Shrimp Alfredo with spinach

 

Perhaps I’ll cover how I come up with such a list of meals in another post.

 

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15 Days of Fall Fun ~ Day 4: Chocolate Candy Corn Fudge

Mmmmm….fudge and candy corn unite! So easy to make and so irresistible!

Here’s what you will need…

  • 1  14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped candy corn, plus more for sprinkling on top

Here’s what you do….

  1. Butter an 8 x 8 pan completely or coat with cooking spray.
  2. In a pan, heat the sweetened condensed milk, butter and vanilla over med-low heat until butter is melted and everything is combined.  Stir frequently.
  3. Remove from heat and immediately add chocolate chips.  Stir until smooth. Mix in the 1 cup chopped candy corn.
  4. Spread in prepared pan and top with additional candy corn if desired. Let cool

Makes 64 – 1 inch squares

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15 Days of Fall Fun ~ Day 1: Buttery Fall Cutouts

Yes, it becomes more apparent everyday how fast Christmas will be here, but I just could not wait until then for cutouts. I have all these nice fall cookie cutters that need their time to shine being used in the capacity they were designed for!  In our house it’s tough to lose sight of what they’re originally for as we use them for giving our sandwiches and cheese fun shapes and for making “cookie cutter prints” with paint.

My kitchen was already a disaster.  The dishes were not completely done and we have very little counter space anyhow.  When making cutout cookies, I always get out my grandmother’s big and old bread board and put it on the kitchen table.  Only one half of our kitchen table is usually usable at any given moment due to clutter. Anyone else have that problem? 😦   My kids love to play with a little bit of the dough in addition to helping with the cookies.  We have a carpeted kitchen (wasn’t my idea) and have not changed that inconvenient aspect yet.  Bits and pieces of dough, flour, sprinkles and the like are always such wonderful additions to the carpet fibers! Perhaps we’ll get to my lack of house keeping skills in another post, or rehab my house cleaning skills and keep posting on my progress!

Anyhow, cutouts are a lot of fun to make! Most of this batch will be headed into work with my husband in hopes of bringing a little cheer there!

Buttery Cutouts

Here’s what you will need…

For the cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • food coloring, if desired

Here’s what you do….

For the cookies:

  1. Beat butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add sour cream, eggs and vanilla; beat until smooth.  Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; stir just until well blended.
  2. Divide dough into 4 pieces.; flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap each dish tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Working with 1 disk at a time, roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut dough into desired shapes using cookie cutters.  Place about 1 to 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are brown.  Cookies cool fast and can quickly be removed to make room for the next round!

For the icing:

  1. Combine powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup and vanilla in small bowl; stir until smooth.  This can be refrigerated up to 3 days as well.
  2. Separate icing into small bowls.  Tint each batch with desired food coloring.  Frost your cookies! Add sprinkles if you wish! ImageImageImageImageImage
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Pumpkin Swirl Bread

This recipe makes 3 loaves. I sliced all 3 up and put them on a tray for coffee hour after worship at church this morning. A loaf also makes a great gift – all wrapped up in aluminum foil with a gift tag.  The bread must be kept refrigerated though, due to the luxurious swirl in the middle!

Here’s What You Will Need:

FILLING:

  • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugat
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. milk

BREAD:

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Here’s What You Do:

  1. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and milk.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat sugar, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in yet another bowl.  Gradually add this to pumpkin mixture and mix well.  Stir in in the nuts, cranberries, and raisins.
  4. Pour half of the batter into three greased and floured 8 in. x 4 in. loaf pans.  Spoon filling over batter – in a strip down the middle.  Cover filling completely with remaining batter.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 65 – 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool before removing from pans.  Slice and serve or wrap in foil.  Refrigerate until serving.

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Coconut-Cranberry Granola

My latest kitchen venture: Coconut-Cranberry Granola —– yum!  My kids are enjoying munching on it right out of the bowl. 🙂

Here’s what you will need:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a bowl, mix the oats, coconut, and almonds; set aside for a moment.  In a microwave-safe bowl, mix the honey, brown sugar, oil, cinnamon, and salt.  Microwave on high until sugar begins to dissolve, about 35 seconds.  Stir into oat mixture.
  2. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake until granola is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Stir twice twice during baking.  When done, allow to cool, stirring occasionally.  Transfer granola to a bowl and toss in the cranberries.
  3. Divide granola into packages (I used Mason jars) for gift giving or store in an airtight container at home where it can be devoured.
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Crispy Marshmallow Pumpkin Treats

Today with my own two and “the after school crew”, we had some sticky fun! I usually only buy generic, so we used Millville Crisp Rice Cereal from Aldi and followed the box directions for Marshmallow Crisp Bars.  Our variation came when we changed up the routine and used Baker’s Corner Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows (also from Aldi).  These gave us the orange color we were looking for and a little pumpkin flavor, too!  When the mixture was done on the stove, I sprayed each of the kids hands with non-stick cooking spray, gave them a generous piece of parchment paper (did not have wax paper) and a big heap of the ooey, gooey, crispy, orange mixture.  Their task: form it into a pumpkin-shaped ball and decorate.  We used Lime Flavored Tootsie Rolls for the stems, along with Smarties, Dots, and M&Ms.  Some decorations stuck better than others.  We made one for Daddy, too!

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