Emeals – free lunch meal plan

May 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Family Health

Slow cooking meals

I love meal planners. I try, every month to sit down and set up at least a basic schedule of what we’re going to eat for the month. And then… it just doesn’t happen.

I love that there are companies out there that do this for us… at pretty good prices too. And today I’ve been offered the chance to offer YOU a slow cooker plan from eMeals.com – the leading online meal planner.

eMeals.com has launched a new slow cooker meal plan to make your life even easier when it comes to getting meals on the table! Each slow cooker plan will include 7 crockpot dinners, with some timesaving “cook once, eat twice” favorites. They have both a Slow Cooker Classic plan full of tasty comfort food as well a groundbreaking Slow Cooker Clean Eating Plan that serves up quick, simple, and healthy meals. Right now, you can use discount code LUNCHFREE for a free lunch meal plan with the purchase of a dinner plan.

So head on over and give them a try! Let me know what you think!

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How to Roast and Use Pumpkins!

October 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Recipes

Taken for Halloween during a carving

Image via Wikipedia

by Tawra Kellam
www.LivingOnADime.com

Peter Piper Picked a Profoundly Plump Pumpkin — Now what does he do with it?

How to Roast a Pumpkin

You can only do this with a freshly carved pumpkin! Do not use on a pumpkin that has been carved and sitting out for several days.

To bake a fresh 6 to 7 pound pumpkin, halve the pumpkin crosswise and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place halves, hollow side down, in a large baking pan covered with aluminum foil and add a little water. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until fork-tender. Remove. When cool, scrape pulp from shells and puree, a little at time, in food processor or blender. Mix with a little salt.

To freeze pumpkin puree. Put 1-2 cups in freezer bags along with spices and use in pies.

To use pumpkin puree for recipes: Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth or a flour sack dish towel and let the pumpkin sit to drain out the extra moisture BEFORE cooking with it. Pumpkin is very moist, so in order for your recipe to come out correctly, you MUST strain it.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Boil seeds in water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt. Place a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 250 degrees. Stir after 30 minutes. Bake 1/2-1 hour more or until crunchy.

*Squash seeds may also be used.

Pumpkin Smoothies

1/2 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup milk or vanilla yogurt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. brown sugar
4 ice cubes
whipped cream (optional)
sprinkles (optional)

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into 2-3 glasses. Serve with a small amount of whipped cream on top. You may also add orange sprinkles if you like. Serves 2-3.

Pumpkin Crunch

1 package yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) solid packed pumpkin
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup nuts
1 cup butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Then sprinkle with nuts. Drizzle with butter. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool, served chilled. Serve with whipped topping.

Homemade Pumpkin Muffins

1 cake mix (any flavor works, but chocolate is our hands down favorite!) 1 can pumpkin or 2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin

Beat together with electric mixer until smooth (It will be really thick). Add 1 cup mini chocolate chips and stir. Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups and spray with non-stick spray. Use an ice cream scoop to put batter into muffin cups (I can get 24 muffins from one box of mix). Bake at 350 degrees for around 20 minutes. Cool and frost if desired. My family likes them just as they are when they are hot from the oven.

Spice cake mix is great – add white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips.

I have made pumpkin muffins with white cake mix and yellow cake mix too. They have around 120 calories apiece with the mini chocolate chips and are virtually fat free. If you are on weight watchers, they only count as 1 point.

This is a fabulous way to sneak some vitamin A rich veggies in on the kids. Just don’t let them see you put the pumpkin into the muffins and they will never know it is there. These are more moist than very expensive name brand double chocolate chip muffins.

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Combine ingredients. Stir just until moistened; batter may be lumpy. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with vegetable oil. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to burst. Turn and continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with Pumpkin Maple Sauce and nuts.

Pumpkin Maple Sauce

1 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cups pumpkin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice Mix together until well blended.

Visit www.LivingOnADime.com for more easy recipes!

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit www.LivingOnADime.com , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!

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Delicious Homemade Recipes For Using Apples!

September 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Recipes

bounty

Image by rocketlass via Flickr

by Jill Cooper
www.LivingOnADime.com

I’ve always dreamed of having an apple tree in my backyard. You know the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for?” Now that I actually have my own apple tree, I stand in my yard watching the apples piling up around me thinking, “Oh no — What do I do with this mess now?”

If I could make gasoline out of apples, I could retire, but since that is not an option and my frugal mind will not allow me to waste one apple, I have had to come up with some yummier “apple disposal” methods.

If you find that you have a few dozen more apples than you know what to do with, or if you just can’t resist the great sales that stores have on apples this time of year, these recipes from Dining On A Dime will help settle your frugal dilemma.

Apple Tips:

When you have a partially eaten apple, save the good part and chop it into pieces. Place in a microwave safe dish. Blend together 1 tsp. each brown sugar, flour, oatmeal and margarine and a dash of cinnamon. Top the apple with the topping and microwave until tender.
Core and slice apples very thin. Dehydrate and use in granolas, eat alone or soften in warm water to use in recipes.
Slice apples and use in pancakes or waffles.
Freeze extra apples for later. Peel, slice and core them and then store in 2 cup portions in freezer bags.
Use soft apples in cooking.
Cut apples into small pieces and add to salads with a fruit based dressing.

Homemade Apple Butter

9 to 10 apples, cored, peeled and chopped
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. salt

Place everything into a crockpot. Stir, cover and cook on high 1 hour. Cook on low for 9-11 hours or until thick and dark brown. Stir occasionally. Uncover and cook on low 1 hour longer. Stir with whisk until smooth. Refrigerate or Freeze. Makes 2 pints.

Apple Pie Filling

9 cups baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
5 cups water
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Toss apples with lemon juice and set aside. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add apples and return to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender (6-10 minutes). Cool for 30 minutes. Then ladle into freezer containers or bake immediately. Makes two 9-inch pies.

Fried Apples

4 large apples, cored and sliced
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Cut apples into 1/4 inch slices. Heat butter in a large skillet. Put the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon in the skillet and cover. Over medium-low heat, cook apple slices 7-10 minutes or until they begin to soften and the syrup thickens. Serve coated with excess syrup on top. Serves 4.

Baked Apples

apples, cored
raisins (optional)
1 tsp. margarine
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 Tbsp. honey or brown sugar
(These ingredient amounts are per apple.)

For each person, use 1 apple. Fill the center of the apple with all the ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees until tender or put in a Dutch oven on top of stove and simmer on very low until tender.

Apple Snack

2 qts. apples, peeled, cored and halved

Coarsely grate apples. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 225 degrees until dry. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Apple Crisp

6 apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon and/or nutmeg
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange apples in a well-greased baking dish. Blend all remaining ingredients except water. Spread evenly over top of apples. Pour water over the topping. Bake 45 minutes until apples are tender and top is crisp. Serves 6.

Peach Crisp

Use peaches in place of apples.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit www.LivingOnADime.com, sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!

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Slow Food versus Fast Food

May 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Recipes

Veg
Image by Two Roads via Flickr

Have you heard about the slow food movement? A lot of people have had enough of junk food and what it seems to be doing to our health and society as a whole. For these reasons, the slow food movement was set up.

The basic ethos of the movement is about getting back to basics when it comes to food. It’s buying in season and local. It’s about supporting our local economy and eating food that’s simple, clean, basic and good for you. It seems we truly have gone full circle and many of us are ready to give up the fast food movement that has dominated our society for decades now and move onto slower, more nourishing nutrition.

If you feel the slow food movement may be something you’d like to join or contribute to, here are a few basic ideas to help get you started:

#1 – Buy local. This is a big emphasis of the slow food movement. By buying foods locally, we support local farming and agriculture. Local foods are also better for the environment as they don’t have to be transported for miles to reach supermarket shelves. Another bonus of buying local foods is that they’re more nutritious. After vegetables and fruits are picked, they slowly start to lose their nutrition content. By eating foods earlier after the picking process you take in more nutrients and vitamins.

#2 – Eat in season. Buying local will mean that you naturally eat what is in season. Many experts believe that we are meant to eat what is in our local environment so that we can survive those conditions. For example, in hot climates the emphasis is on watery fruits and vegetables like strawberries, cucumbers, melons, peppers. These foods contribute to our overall need for more fluid and vitamins needed during hot weather. In colder climates our bodies need filling, stocky foods such as potatoes and other root vegetables.

Eating in season is not only good for your health but also for your pocket book. Eating seasonally allows you to get the best produce without having to pay a fortune for it. Foods that need to be imported cost more because there is a higher cost in acquiring and transporting them. By eating in season you support your body, the environment and local farmers.

#3 – Cook from scratch. This doesn’t mean you have to make difficult, time-consuming meals. In fact, the slow food movement emphasizes the opposite. You can cook delicious, wholesome meals from scratch with very few ingredients. The key is to cook a variety of fresh, seasonal foods without resorting to pre-prepared foods or junk food.

Cooking from scratch is good for your overall health as you avoid many additives and preservatives. It also saves you money. Pre-packaged foods cost on average more than fresh foods. And with only three or four ingredients you can cook a really delicious meal the whole family is sure to enjoy.

#4 – Make food a priority. A big part of the slow food movement is that we can once again make food a priority in our lives. This movement is about connecting with and enjoying our food. It’s also about families taking a little time to spend more time together, around the family table.

While this isn’t always possible in modern times, the idea is that if parents start putting more emphasis on the importance of family meals, children will follow suit. By showing our children that food is meant to be pleasurable and enjoyed rather than gulped down or rushed, we start to show them the basics of good nutrition.

The slow food movement is a sign of progress for many. It shows that as communities we feel the need to connect to our food and each other. Eating fresh foods, supporting our communities and the environment, and coming together around the family table, are positive steps into the future.

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Zucchini and Black Bean Tortillas

November 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Recipes

two flour tortillas
Image via Wikipedia

A super kid friendly meal – love it!

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
2 lbs zucchini, grated
30 oz canned black beans, drained
12 oz Monterey Jack, grated (or other cheese if preferred)
1 tsp salt
2 green onions, chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
8 eight-inch flour tortillas
Olive oil

Instructions:
Place grated zucchini with the salt into a colander and squeeze out the excess water.

In a bowl, combine zucchini with beans, cheese, green onions and jalapeno.

Brush olive oil on one side of each tortilla. Place one tortilla oil side down into a frying pan, top with some of the zucchini-bean mixture and place another tortilla oil-side up on top of the mixture.

Fry over medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side, until the tortillas turn golden brown. Repeat with the other tortillas and serve right away.

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Delicious and Zesty Carrot Soup

October 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Recipes

carrot soup
Image by dream sister via Flickr

Fall means soup – here’s another great soup recipe that the kids will enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups of water
3 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
grated zest of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
1 ¼ cups orange juice
For thinning: 1 ¼ cups of water or milk

Instructions:
In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add garlic, orange zest, orange juice and carrots and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Then add the lemon juice and turn off the heat. When the mixture has cooled off a bit, blend until mixture is creamy. Reheat, but don’t bring to a boil, and mix in another 1 ¼ of either water or milk.

Your kids will love the color of this fruity soup. Serve with nice crusty bread.

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Favorite Family Chicken & Noodles

September 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Recipes

rosó? z kury
Image via Wikipedia

A twist on your usual chicken noodle soup – just plain yummy and super kid friendly too!

Ingredients:
4-5 pieces of chicken (chicken breast preferably)
4 carrots, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups water
4 chicken broth cubes
1 tsp garlic salt
1 lb egg noodles
salt & pepper

Instructions:
Add carrots to your crock pot, then add chicken, onion, water, cubes and spices (leaving out the noodles). Turn the crock pot on low and cook for about eight hours.

When almost ready, cook egg noodles according to package instructions. While the noodles cook, take chicken pieces out and cut into child-friendly, bite-size pieces. Place chicken pieces & cooked noodles in the crock pot.

If needed, mix cornstarch, water and a bit of broth together and add to your chicken and noodles to thicken.

Enjoy!

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End Of Summer Beefy BBQ Stew

August 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Recipes

a w:slow cooker Oval Crock Pot
Image via Wikipedia

I love good slow cooker meals – especially toward the end of the summer when every minute counts! This one is super easy and tasty too!

Ingredients:
2 lbs stew meat
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, sliced
1/2 cup yellow pepper, chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
2 cup stock (preferably beef)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 can (8 oz.) chopped tomatoes
1 can (4 oz.) mushrooms
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Instructions:
In frying pan sauté sliced onion, pepper, garlic and meat in olive oil. Add stock, salt and pepper, tomatoes, mushrooms and barbecue sauce and cook for a few minutes. Place in slow cooker and cook on low heat for about 8-10 hours. Just before serving, mix cold water and cornstarch in a little bowl and add to the stew to thicken.

Serve with hot brown rice.

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Three Super-Easy Slow Cooking Recipes

August 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Recipes

a w:slow cooker Oval Crock Pot
Image via Wikipedia

Slow cookers, or crock pots, are wonderful tools in any home kitchen. Not only do they allow you to make a wonderful meal, you don’t even have to be present the entire time it’s cooking! You may want to try one of these three super-easy slow cooking recipes if you’ve never used a slow cooker before.

One meal commonly prepared in a slow cooker is pot roast. While this meal is often traditionally prepared in a cast iron Dutch oven or in the stove, there’s nothing quite like how moist and tender a slow cooker makes the meat.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

1 rump roast or shoulder roast
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can water
2 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
6 small potatoes cut into quarters (red or golden)
1/2 onion, diced (or 1 teaspoon onion powder)
3 cups chopped carrots
3 cups mushrooms, whole or chopped

Begin by removing any large pieces of fat from the roast and put it into a slow cooker set on low. Chop the vegetables so they’re ready when needed. Add the soup, water, herbs, spices, and onions with the roast and let this simmer. When the roast has cooked 3-5 hours, add the rest of the vegetables and allow this to simmer for another 1-2 hours.

Perhaps your family is vegetarian. You can still use the slow cooker for making Vegetarian Chili.

1 – 16 ounce tomato sauce
1 – 32 ounce kidney beans, drained
1 – 16 ounce canned corn
1 onion, chopped
1 crushed clove of garlic
1 sliced green pepper
1 chopped tomato
2 teaspoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of salt

Add all ingredients into the slow cooker and stir them. Put the cover on the slow cooker and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours. This will make 6 to 8 servings and is great for leftovers, if you have any.

For those who like dessert with their meals, you can use your slow cooker for that, too. Here’s a recipe for Blueberry Cobbler:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar – divided
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 pinch each salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon of milk
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
2 cups of blueberries
1/4 cup of water

In a small bowl, combine flour, half of the sugar, baking powder, and spices. Combine eggs, milk, and oil in another small bowl then pour this mixture into the dry ingredients until it’s moistened. Grease the slow cooker on the bottom and sides and then spread the batter on the bottom of the cooker.

On the stove, over medium heat, combine the blueberries, water and the other half of the sugar. Bring this mixture to a boil and then remove it from the heat. Pour the berries into the slow cooker and cook on high for two hours. Turn off the cooker after the two hours, uncover it, and then allow it to set for at least 30 minutes before serving. You may want to serve with vanilla ice cream, home-made or store-bought.

Slow cookers are great for those days you want to have dinner waiting for you due to time constraints, but they’re also good for making dessert. If you try one of these three super-easy slow cooking recipes, you may find the slow cooker is one tool you’ll want to have in your kitchen.

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Banana Bread with Sour Cream

August 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Recipes

A picture of some bananna bread I made in a lo...
Image via Wikipedia

Banana breads has been one of my girls’ favorite treats since they were very young. Pretty healthy too!

Ingredients:
1 cup banana, mashed
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mixed nuts, chopped (optional)
½ cup butter or margarine
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ cups unbleached flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
2 eggs

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix the cinnamon with a bit of sugar and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and whisk in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Grease large loaf pan and dust with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Pour in butter mixture and put into the preheated oven for about 1 hour.

Serve warm!

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