Menu Monday 5/20 - 5/26/2013

We are starting a whole new phase of life around here with a teenager in our midst! Here's a link to  his post if you are interested!

Monday-- Chicken & Gnocchi Soup
Tuesday-- Pork Roast Sandwiches
Wednesday-- Italian Crescent Casserole
Thursday-- Dried beef Gravy
Friday -- we are headed to the woods for Memorial Day Weekend. We will eat stuff like hot dogs/burgers, Macaroni Skillet and Hoppin John!


Why Not HEB?

A couple weeks ago I did a post about dropping into an Aldi store for a few things I needed, instead of going to Walmart, where I usually shop. I got a lot of comments and questions about it and one pretty common question was, "Why don't you shop at HEB? It's so much better than Walmart!" I agree that it is much better! But I have a very good and pretty simple explanation for why I stick to Walmart. I overspend at HEB!! today was a perfect example. Here are the items I had written on my list:

According to my grocery list app, I would have paid $28.63 for them at Walmart. At HEB, I ended up paying $25.26 (I had a large box of Kcups on my list for $10.98 but HEB doesn't sell that size so I had to get the smaller box for $6.99). Almost every item was the same price or just pennies away at each store. I also bought a few things that were not on my list:

The cinnamon rolls will be a nice breakfast treat for Raley on his birthday this weekend. I keep forgetting to buy a sink stopper and there was a "buy 2, get 1 free" coupon on the Kcups. The other item is flea prevention for Ginny, which alone was $25.00. Added items total: $47.05. Then the big additions:

This particular HEB has a particularly good beer selection. This is the big reason why I can't shop there more than once every couple weeks or so. Because I only had $28 worth of stuff on my list, and my total spent was $106.36. I am sure that if I shopped there enough, the novelty would wear off and I would control myself. I just think I would bankrupt myself before that point hits! Believe me, it takes an incredible amount of willpower for me not to go there every time I need a few things. I am actually pretty proud of myself that I can resist the urge!
Now if you will excuse me, I have to try and figure out how to feed my family from the freezer and pantry staples next week so I can stay within budget ;)


Guacamole a la Wendy

Welcome back, challenge recipes!! I know this is kind of lame to call guacamole a challenge recipe but I have honestly never tried to make it before so it was a challenge for me! My sister-in-law made some at Easter and I got a huge craving for it last weekend so I asked her how she does it. She wrote me a list and I threw this together. I am not so great at picking out avocados evidently because the first ones I grabbed were too hard so I had to go back for others. First, I googled how to pick good, ripes ones and I found a tip about how to tell if they are too ripe. At the stem end, take off the last little stem button. If it is kind of green there, it is a good one. If that part has turned dry and brown, the inside is too far gone. You're welcome!
Now guacamole is very easy to throw together in any case but Wendy's trick is using fresh salsa from your grocer's deli/produce section. You could use fresh pico de gallo too. Here's what I picked up at my store:

3 - 4 ripe avocados
1 - 2 limes
garlic salt
fresh salsa or pic de gallo
Cholula (or your favorite brand) hot sauce

Then I had to go back for more avocados and went straight to a party where I actually made the guac and forgot to take any pictures. but really, it is so easy. I ended up using three avocados. Split, pit and mash them all up together. Then add the salsa by spoonfuls and stir until it looks right. Squeeze in the juice of one of the limes, sprinkle in the garlic salt and Cholula. Give it a taste, enlist others to help. Add more of whatever you think it needs. I added more garlic salt a couple times, then it was perfection. Open up the chips and get some while you can because it will not last long!

Frito Salad

Just in time for summer! I had forgotten all about this yummy and easy dish until I was looking for something to take to my brother-in-law's house to have with burgers. I got the recipe from my former neighbor, Misty, so if you love it, thank her!!
The Ingredients:

2 cans corn (I prefer to use 3 cans of Summer Crisp sweet corn, just a personal preference, you use whatever brand you like. I use 3 cans because they are smaller)
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/4 of a purple onion (this one was small so I used 1/2 of it)
1 cup grated cheese
Miracle Whip to desired consistency
1 bag Chili Cheese Fritos corn chips

All measurements are a starting place. As you add things together, look at the colors. If you want more green, add more bell pepper. More purple? Add some onion. I would recommend some variety of cheddar-type cheese. I used Colby-Jack as it is my favorite but I have used sharp or mild cheddar in the past. You MUST use Chili Cheese Fritos though, even if you don't like them by themselves (I do not) they are a must for the recipe.
Drain the corn and put in a large bowl. Add the diced veggies and cheese. Mix thoroughly.

Start adding Miracle Whip and stirring. When it looks right, taste it, see if you need a little more.

It is perfect if you have time to put this in the fridge and let the flavors come together. Don't add the Fritos until right before you serve it, or they will get soggy.

Try to remember to take pictures before digging in, Fran!!!
It is a really tasty, crisp and refreshing salad that goes perfectly with burgers or BBQ or anything else you might have at your next picnic or family gathering. I hope you like it!

Menu Monday 5/13 - 5/19/2013

I hope you had a fabulous Mother's Day (if you are a mom)! I sure did, even though Jayme is not home, the kids made me feel great all day. Clay even made my coffee in the morning and brought it to me in bed :) I made Baked Ziti and Caprese Salad for dinner because I was craving it fiercely! As for the coming week, here's what's cooking:

Monday-- Teriyaki Noodles, egg rolls and pot stickers (all frozen or packaged so it will be quick and easy)
Tuesday-- Italian Crescent Casserole
Wednesday-- Chicken Strips with pasta salad (never made last week)
Thursday-- Breakfast or leftovers
Friday-- Jayme should be home, so I will have him pick something
Saturday-- Raley requested Chicken Enchiladas
Sunday-- I will be the official mother of a teenager; not too sure how I feel about that yet. In any case he wants to go out to either Red Lobster or Joe's Crab Shack and I am good with either of those!