Monday, September 10, 2012

The New Year

Wow, it has been way to long since I have posted.  My oldest daughter got sick at the end of the last school year and then the summer just slipped away. 

So, what have I been up to. I ran a half marathon last May- it wasn't beautiful but I finished so that is all that matters.  I took most of the summer off of a training schedule.  It was nice to relax but at the same time I have felt kind of lost without a schedule to follow.  I am now getting back into a routine and trying to figure out what to do next- maybe a winter half marathon or a full marathon in the spring!?!?!?

Gearing up for the busy school year with all my children in school and sports. I did not want our healthy eating to slip away,  so I prepped and prepped for the last few weeks to get everything stocked up.  I made my goal, which was to have 30 meals frozen in the freezer along with a great stock of snacks and breakfasts.    What did I make you ask?

Here is the list:
Hawaiian Chicken
Garlic Honey Chicken
Terryaki Chicken
Chicken and Dumpling Soup
Chimiganas (2 meals worth)
Italian Chicken
Chicken Corn dun Bleu
Sloppy Joe
Honey Pork Chops
Chicken Pot Pie
Hamburger (2 meals worth)
Hamburger Casserole
Beef Enchiladas
Cheese Shells (2meals)
Chicken Lasagna Roll ups (2 meals)
Green Lake Chicken Casserole
BBQ Pork
Pork Roast
Venison Stew
Goose Barley Soup
Mac and Cheese

Twice Baked Potatoes
Raisin Granola Bars
Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Pizza Bites
Pretzel Rolls
Chocolate Chip Cookies

French Toast
Blueberry Lemon Muffins
Egg Mc Muffins
Banana Muffins.

If you are interested in any of the above please let me know.  I can do a post about them, recipe and price breakdown. 

Hope everyone is enjoying the fall and back to school!!!  Lets stay healthy and fit together!! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Recipe 11

This is not exactly a meal,  but something you would use with a meal
Homemade Tortillas

5 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 TBS wheat gluten
4 TBS ground flaxseed
3/4 cup.  shortening
1 1/2 c. hot water
all purpose flour for kneading

1) Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl
2) Add the shortening and mix with your hands until you get the texture of sand
3) Add the hot water and mix well.  If your mix is still dry, slowly add a little bit more water until all the ingredients are incorporated
4) Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed until smooth
5) Take pieces of dough and make into balls.  The bigger you make them, the bigger the tortillas will be. 
6) Cover the tortilla balls with a slightly damp towel for at least one hour
7) After the tortillas have proofed, begin heating a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
8) Flour the counter and roll out the tortillas, or use a tortilla press
9) Place tortilla in the skillet and heat for about one minute. You might start to see bubbles forming on the top
10) Flip the tortilla and cook it on the other side for another minute
11) Repeat for each tortilla
12) Eat fresh or freeze for later use.

1)  I did not have sea salt so I used Kosher Salt
2) I did not use shortening I used Coconut oil 

Price: ( depending upon when and where you shop your price may vary)
Flour:  $1.50
Flaxseed:  $ .96
Coconut Oil: $1.40
Wheat Gluten:  $.10

Total:  $3.96     This made approx 26 tortillas-   = .15/ a tortilla
Everyone in my family loved, we had them for a fajita dinner and then used them for breakfast tacos.   I know they are not perfect circles but they worked fine just the same. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Recipe 10

In honor of National Pancake Day-  I thought I would share a recipe for Whole Wheat Pancakes. 

1 egg
1 c  whole wheat flour
1 c milk
2T oil
1 T sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 t salt

Mix all ingredients.  Let set for 3 min.  If it thickens to much add a little milk.  All depends upon how thick or thin you want your pancakes.       Spray a griddle,  pour 1/4 cup of batter at a time.   

1)  I used no oil and substituted applesauce
2)  I used 1T of sugar and 1T of powdered milk

Price : Depending upon where and when you purchase your food your price could vary.
 This is for a double batch

Eggs- .17
Flour-  .60
Milk - .30

the remaining ingredients you should have around your house.
Approx cost-  $1.07     this made 20 pancakes.   .05/ per pancake

Monday, February 27, 2012

Recipe #9

This one is for Breakfast -  Eggy Breakfast Muffins

1/2 pound bacon , minced
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup shredded raw vegetables ( usually carrots or zucchini)
6 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon parsley

1)  Preheat oven to 350   Grease 12 cup muffins tin; set aside.
2)  Fry bacon over medium heat until crispy.  Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Reserve a tablespoon or so of grease in a small bolw then discard remaining grease in pan.  Let pan cool, then wipe with paper towels to remove any remaining bacon bits.  Return pan to medium heat.  Add reserved bacon grease, onion, garlic and grated vegetables.  Cook stirring until vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove to bowl to cool
3) In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk and chesse.  Add flour, baking powder, salt, parsley, bacon and sauteed vegetables;  stir togeterh until just combined.
4) Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full.  Bake until edges start to brown and tops spring back when pressed, 20-25 minutes.

1)  I do not have bacon in the house but I had ham.  So I just diced up the ham
2)  When I make this recipe I double everything.  It says it should make 12 muffins (for one batch),  with doubling the recipe I ended up getting 33 muffins.
3) I used White Whole Wheat flour instead of All Purpose
4) Since I used 12 eggs,  I did 6 whole eggs and 6 egg whites only. 

Price Breakdown ( depending upon when and where you shop your prices may vary)
This is for doubling the recipe:
Ham- $1.87
Onion-  .35
Zucchini- this is a total guess, as this is our of freezer -  .20
Eggs-  $1.00
Milk  -.15
Cheese -  $1  ( I actually used cheese that was left over from another, so this was double bonus)
Flour- .60

Total -  $5.17    = approx  .16 per muffin.        I usually serve these 3 muffins at a time.  So one "meal" would cost  .48

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Recipe #8


This is one of the favorites in our house and sooo easy to double, triple, quadruple. 

1 lb ground beef ( cooked)
 1.5 cups frozen corn
1 bottle taco sauce
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Garlic salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 can Refried Beans
12  10 inch tortilla shells
2 cups of shredded cheese

Combine ground beef, corn, taco sauce, chili powder, garlic salt and cumin.   Stir until well blended.  Spread a thin layer of beans on each of the tortillas
Spoon 1/4 cup of beef mixture down the center and top with 2T of shredded cheese.  Fold sides in and roll up, burrito style, and place seam side down.

Freezing directions: place burritos seam side down in a gallon bag. 

Serving directions:  Place seam-side down on a lightly greased pan. Brush tortillas with melted butter.  Bake in oven preheated oven at 425 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. 

1)  We had no ground beef in the house so I made these with chicken this time.  I have made them with beef and they are great also.
2) I do not use taco sauce instead I just put in a bottle of our homemade salsa
3)  My kids are not big fans of refried beans on the shell.  So I do half without and half with.  Although,  I do bury half the jar of refried beans in the mix and they cant tell that.
4)  I usually vary the shells- some white, some wheat, whatever we find appealing at the time. 

Price breakdown:   depending on when and where you purchase your food it could vary

1 lb chicken $1.20
1.5 cups of corn  $.60  (this is guess because this is from our freezer from the summer)
1 jar of salsa  $1.00( this is a guess because this is homemade)
1 jar of refried beans $..79 ( you may have some left)
Tortilla shells $1.50 
Cheese  $1.00

Total:  $6.09    This makes approx 12  Chimichangas   that is $.51 per chimi   This will easily feed our family dinner with a few leftovers. 

As I said this recipe can easily be doubled and frozen for future use-  today I quadruple made this.    

This is taken pre baking. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recipe #7

This a super easy snack

EASY CHEESY CRACKERS  -  this recipe is from 100 days of real food

 Ingredients :  
1 Cup Whole wheat flour
5 Tablespoons Cold Butter, cut into tablespoons size chunks
4 oz or 1 1/2 cups of grated Cheddar cheese.  The sharper the cheese the better

1.  Preheat oven to 350
2.  Combine all three ingredients in a food processor bowl.  The mixture will eventually turn into a big ball chasing itself around the bowl.  Be patient  because this does take a few minutes.
3. Roll into a log and 1 1/2 in in  diameter.  At this point you could refrigerate the dough until later use or continue on.  
4.  With a sharp knife cut 1/2' thick pieces off the log and place them flat on an ungreased baking sheet.  
5.  If you want them to look fancy you can flatten them with a fork like mine,  or cut with a cookie cutter. 
6. Bake 8-14 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  The thicker the cracker the longer the bake time. 

The only thing I altered was I didn't have Cheddar cheese but I had mozzarella . 

Price Breakdown: 
1 cup flour   .30
5 Tbsp  butter  .31
4 oz cheese   .50 

Total-  $1.11      The recipe said it would make 24  , I think I got about 50  (sorry started eating them before I counted them.  )   I don't know about you but I think this is a fairly cheap and healthy snack ( compared to its counter part Cheez-it)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Recipe #6

Blueberry Lemon Muffins 

These things are soooo good,  my kids request these all the time.

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 Tablespoons soft tub margarine, chilled
1 cup lowfat lemon yogurt
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup of yellow squash puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat ovet ot 350.  Coat 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper cups.
2)  In a large bowl, beat the sugar and the margarine with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the yogurt, blueberries, yellow squash puree, egg, lemon extract and lemon zest.
3) Add the flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir just to combine, but do not overmix-  the batter is supposed to be lumpy.
4) Divide the batter among the muffin cups.  Bake until the top of the muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick come out clean.  13- 16 minutes.  Turn muffins onto a rack to cool
5)  Store in an airtight container at room tempearture for up to 2 days.  Or wrap and freeze.

1) I always double this recipe when I make it  (because we eat them so fast)
2) When doubled I only put in 3/4 of a cup of brown sugar
3) I use lemon Greek yogurt 
4)  I didnt have any lemon extract ,  so I just added lemon juice
5) I use Whole Wheat flour
 6) I didn't have anymore yellow squash, so I used pureed zucchini in instead

Price breakdown for a double batch  ( which yielded me 39 muffins)
3/4 cup brown sugar - .50
2 Greek lemon yogurt - 2.00
Blueberries- 1.00  ( not exactly sure as these were frozen from the summer)
Zuchinni - ?  ( not exactly sure as this was taken out of garden and pureed)
4 cups of flour- 1.20
1/2 cup of flaxseed- 1.87
2 eggs-  .16

Approx total ( as I dont have the exact prices of some of the stuff,  but you will get the idea)      $6.73         This amount made 39 muffins =  .17/ muffin

Yummy!!!!  I will say though, eat them fast or freeze them.  There are so many fresh ingredients in this recipe they will start to go bad after 2 days if not frozen.  But most of the time we eat them that fast. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Recipe #5

Granola Bars-

These are one of our favorite snack treats in our house.  As fast as I make them they disappear. 

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup  vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 pan
2.  In large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt.  Make a well in the center and pour in the honey, egg , oil and vanilla.  Mix well using your hands.  Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
3.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes in a preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges.  Cool for 5 minutes, then cut the bars while still warm.  Do not allow the bars to coll completely  before cutting or they will be to hard to cut.    ( my bars were done in 20 minutes)

Alterations :

1) I use Whole Wheat Flour
2) I only use 1/2 cup of Brown Sugar
3) Instead of 1/2 cup vegetable oil, I use 12 Tbs Flaxseed and 1/4 cup oil.  If I double the recipe , instead of 1/2 cup of oil I will use  1/4 applesauce and 1/4 cup of oil , along with double flaxseed
4) Instead of raisins I have put cranberries, peanut butter, jelly,  chocolate chips, plain. This addition is wide open.

Price Breakdown:  for a double batch    Depending upon where and how you shop your prices may vary

Oatmeal  -. 53
Brown Sugar - .50
Wheat Germ - .90
Flour-  .30
Raisins - . 93
Honey-  1.92
Egg- .16
Flaxseed  -   1.87
Total cost =  $7.11      This makes approx 34 granola bar squares.  =  .20  a piece. 

This can be made ahead and froze.
This was requested by my 6 year old for his class snack.  He took it in and returned home with an empty container.  

People often ask :  What do your kids eat for snacks?  These are 2 different plates that were served to my kids after school, on different days .   My 4 year old said  " Mom,  there are some awesome foods on this plate"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dinner Recipe #4

Pizza Dough /  Pizza

This is the recipe I follow


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided (or mix or whole-wheat and all-purpose flour)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1  cup warm water (about 105-100 degrees)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl , combine the water, yeast , honey and 1 tablespoon oil, stirring to combine.  Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes

Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt, mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth.  Continue adding the flour , 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until the dough is smooth but still slightly sticky.  You may not need all the flour.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky. 

Oil a large mixing bowl with remaining olive oil.  Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place, free from drafts until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.    

 Preheat oven to 375
Remove risen dough from bowl and roll out on slightly greased pizza pan.    Bake for 14 minutes ( so dough can precook).  Take out of oven and add sauce, cheese , your favorite toppings.  Place back in oven and cook for 15 minutes  (or until cheese is melted)

1) I use all whole wheat flour
2) I make 2 pizzas at a time. Do not double the recipe as the dough will be to hard to work with but just have 2 bowls going at the same time. 

This week we just made simple  pepperoni pizzas
Here is the price breakdown (for 2 pizzas)    .  Depending upon where and how you shop your price may vary

Yeast -  .12 
Honey  - .08
6 cups of flour - .90
1 pound of cheese- $2
sauce -  $1 
package of pepperoni - $1

Total cost for 2 pizzas -   $5.10       or $2.05/ per pizza.     Depending upon how large you cut your pieces your  serving size can vary.  But we made this on Saturday,  fed 5 kids and 2 adults and still had pizza left over. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dinner Recipe #3

Green Lake Chicken Casserole 
This is one of our family favorites -  everyone will eat this!!!  Our kids call this  "Grandmas Chicken Casserole",  because their great grandma makes it all the time.

Original Recipe
4 cups diced cooked chicken
2 cups diced celery (saute)
1 Tpsn Diced onion (saute)
1 can sliced water chestnuts
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tpsn lemon juice
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
2 cans cream of chicken soup
4 Tpsn butter
1 cups sliced almonds
2 cups crushed corn flakes  (or like cereal)

1) Toss together everything except the last 3 ingredients.  Place in a 9x13 pan
2)Melt butter and mix with almonds and corn flakes. Put over chicken mixtures
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes

Alterations that I made to original
1) Chicken I just cut up 1.5 pounds ( I think it was just shy of 2.5 cups worth )
2)  Used 1/2 cup of diced onion
3)  Didn't put almonds on top (because we ate them all before they went on the dinner)

Your family can help by mixing all the ingredients together and mixing together the butter/ almond/ corn flake mixture.

Here is the price breakdown.  Depending up where and when you shop your price may vary.

1.5 pounds chicken - $1.80
2 cups celery -  $ .50
1/2 cup onion - $.40
water chestnuts - $.79
2 cups rice - $.84
1 cup mayo - $1.00
2 cans cream of chicken-  $1.58
2 cups crushed corn flakes - $. 60

Total =$7.51      This was for a 9x13 pan  (approx 12 servings)  We ate half the pan and had half left over .      $.63 per serving. 

This meal freezes well;  I usually make 2 pans at a time and freeze one for later use.
Sorry made this last night and was in a hurry and didn't get a chance to take a picture.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dinner Recipe #2

Next Healthy Budget Friendly dinner  :  Homemade Pasties 

For those that do not know what Pasties are:  Pasties were a must years ago when men worked the mines in Northern Michigan.  The housewives made them in the morning and wrapped them tightly in newspaper so they would stay warm until lunch break. 

Original Recipe: 
5 Servings

3 cups cubed peeled potatoes
1 cup chopped carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pound ground beef (uncooked)
1/4 pound ground pork (uncooked)
1 Tablespoon butter, melted

4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup water

1) In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, carrots,onion, salt and pepper.  Crumble beef and pork over the potato mixture and mix well.  Add butter and toss to coat.  Set aside
2) For Pastry, in a large bole, combine flour and salt.  Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs  Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until a ball forms.
3)Divide dough into five portions; roll each into a 10 in circle.  Place 1 cup of filling in the center of each circle. Fold pastry over filling and seal edges tightly with a fork; cut slits in the top of each.
4)Place on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 374 for 50-60 minutes until golden brown. 

Alterations that  I made to the original recipe.
1)  I doubled the entire recipe
2)  Although I have made this with beef and pork before, I made it with chicken this time because it was more budget friendly.    So I used 1.5 pounds of very tiny cubed chicken
3)  Anyone that has eaten pasties for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan knows that you need to add Rutabaga to get the " authentic taste."  I used 1 rutabaga (which gave me 4 cups).  So then I cut up 2 potatoes to make up 2 cups.-  instead of having 6 cups of potatoes.
4)  I used half WW flour and half All purpose flour.  Although it is healthier to use all WW, I find that sometimes it makes pastries very dense
5)  I used no shortening.  I substituted half coconut oil and the half butter
6)  Also we decided from previous times that we have made it that we do not like large pasties,  we would much rather make smaller ones.  So I made 5 in circles and put in 1/2 cup of mixture.  This mixture ended up yielding us 23 small pasties.

Your family can help with this one by :
1) rolling out the dough
2) mixing up the ingredients
3) folding over the dough and making the cute pasties

Here is the price breakdown.  Depending upon where and when you shop your prices may vary.  But this is what this meal cost me. 

1lb carrots  (2 cups)-  .33
1 Rutabaga-  $1.89
2 Potatoes - .23
1/2 onion - .50
1.5 lb chicken-  $1.80
8 cups of flour (half WW, half All Purpose)-  $1.20
1 cup butter-  $1.00
1 cup coconut  oil - $1.87

Total  Cost = $8.52       For a total of 23 servings  =.37 per servings

We ate 8 for dinner.  Then I froze 8 and left the other 7 in fridge for dinner/snacks later this week.    So really for $8.52, I could get 3 full meals out this 

I will say that this  is a labor intensive recipe; in the fact that you have to roll out the dough.  If you get help it will go by faster.  And if you do what I did (double and make them smaller) with end up with at least 2 if not 3 meals worth.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dinner Recipe #1

This is the start of my recipe series-  Healthy Dinners on a Budget. 
As we all try to say fit with exercise we have to make sure that we maintain a  healthy diet also.  The trickiest part is getting your family to go along.  I hope in posting some of these recipes I can show you how I incorporate both.

First recipe   Chicken Lasagna Rolls 

Serves 8 
Original Recipe:
8 Lasagna Noodles
2 Eggs
2 Cups of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Container  (15 oz) of Ricotta Cheese
3/4 cup Parsley chopped
1 cooked Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast ( 8 oz)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp basil
1/8 tsp pepper
1 jar of spaghetti sauce  ( you could also use Alfredo Sauce)

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook and drain the pasta according to package directions.  In large  bowl combine eggs, cheeses, 1/2 cup parsley, chicken, salt, basil and pepper.  Spread about 1/3 cup cheese mixture on each lasagna noodle.  Roll up in a jelly roll fashion.  Cut each roll in half.  Arrange rolls in a single layer in a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Spoon Sauce over top; cover with foil.  Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until heated through.

I made some alternations to the original recipe:
1) WW Lasagna Noodles
2) Cottage Cheese instead of Ricotta Cheese (because the price of cottage cheese was half the price of Ricotta Cheese this week).  They are great substitutions for eachother.
3) Not as much parsley because mine wasn't fresh.

Your kids can help with this meal buy mixing up the cheese mixture and helping out rolling up the lasagna noodles.  

Check out the price break down of this meal  (depending upon where you shop your prices may vary)

8oz of Chicken  (.60)
Lasagna Noodles (.50)  -  I purchased the box for $1 but still have half of it left
Cottage Cheese (.75) -  I purchased 24 oz container  for $1 and only used 15  oz
Mozzarella Cheese ($1.00)
Egg -  . 27 cents ( as I only used 2 out of the dozen)
Spaghetti Sauce - $1 ( I had my own canned, but I know you can purchase it for this price)

Total :  $4.12     for a total of 8 servings that equals .52 a serving.  

We all ate dinner and still have left overs for another day.