I was so excited and pleased when Amanda purchased me a electric pressure cooker for my birthday and even let me start playing with it early. I have been watching for about a year and it was on my list of things I wanted but could not justify. I was planning to LOVE it! But I have waited a full two weeks before writing this post because I really don’t love it. I am not even sure I like it. I am also thinking that once I learn this appliance and find the right uses for it I will LOVE it. For the present here are some things I have learned.
- When reading a recipe I really wish that it would say, Allow 30 minutes to pressurize. This is major reason that I am not in love with it. I have been searching out recipes and reading where it says Cook for 15 minutes. So my brain says ok I can make this in less than an hour. Nope hold up, I need to add 30 minutes to my time in order for the pot to pressurize.
- BBQ Chicken legs will be the bomb. I even cooked chicken wings today without unthawing so this will be a great thing to remember when I have not laid out meat to unthaw and need a good meal in an hour.
- Cheesecake is the bomb in the pressure cooker. I can’t wait to try this desert again.
- Sunday Soups are going to be much easier especially beef stew. I made a trial run on Sunday and it was easy and really good!
- Frozen ground beef is easier to unthaw and fry in large batches or even small batches and makes less of a mess than trying to use the electric pressure cooker.
I guess in the end, I prefer my Crock pot for the ease, clean up and convenience.
I am continuing to try and find ways to love my instant pot. On Friday, I read that you could brown ground beef using frozen meat, so I gave it a try. I will have to say that honestly it was more work than it was worth. I did have success with beef stew on Sunday so at least I can make a new delicious Sunday lunch now.
Our other really good food news of the week is that our garden is continuing to produce, not huge amounts but just enough. I have already frozen what I hope is enough diced tomatoes for the winter. My goal over the next couple of weeks is to collect enough tomatoes to make a batch of spaghetti sauce a week, this means I need to collect 8 pounds of tomatoes. We are also eating tomatoes on a daily basis, if I cant collect the 8 pounds I will continue to freeze half cup packages for the winter. Matt harvest pimentos and made an awesome homemade pimento cheese but my favorite still remains the watermelon we are getting.
Finally in food news, we are continue to plan and eat out of the pantry and freezer, I currently have a meal plan until September but with school starting we may have to make some small changes to this.
Breakfast– Saturday-Biscuit King-treat before the swim meet. Sunday- French toast with a freezer stash made as well. Monday-Choice Tuesday- Sausage biscuits and gravy Wednesday- Choices . Thursday- Pancakes . Friday- Baked Oatmeal with blueberries?. Choices include : eggs, grits, left-overs , toast or cereal, pop-tarts
Lunch- This week sandwiches and left overs make the list for lunch. No special plans at all.
Dinner- Saturday-Lunch-Pasta salad . Dinner- -Pizza from gift card
Sunday- Lunch-Beef stew in instapot . Dinner- left-overs
Monday- Hamburger helper and fresh green beans
Tuesday- Taco Tuesday
Wednesday- Breakfast casserole
Thursday- Coconut shrimp if I am home.
Friday- Pulled pork and glazed carrots.
As hard as I try not to think it and dare not speak it, my life continues, I know that I will continue to mourn and miss my dad forever but time does not stand still so I keep praying and stepping out in faith. We have our typical busy week going on with four evening of multiple activities this week and most likely a cheer competition on Saturday. Menu planning is the only way we can function.
Breakfast– Saturday-French toast. Sunday- Cereal for kids and baked oatmeal for me. Monday-Baked oatmeal for everyone Tuesday- Choices Wednesday- choices. Thursday- Scrambled eggs, bacon and biscuits. Friday- Choices. Choices include : baked oatmeal, eggs, grits, French toast, toast or cereal.
Lunch- Zach and Kendall have chicken and stars soup, chicken nuggets, , homemade lunchable and chips w/salsa. I am taking left-overs this week. Zach has decided he wants to purchase lunch at school this week, he will be using his own money as well. We did limit it to one time per week.
Dinner- Saturday- lunch chicken wings, fried pickle chips and cheese sticks. Dinner- Grilled chicken
Sunday- Lunch- Panda Panda (local Chinese place) Dinner- choice of left-overs
Monday- Rice Creole
Tuesday-Steak and baked sweet potato
Wednesday- Roast in crock pot
Thursday- Corn dogs (Sonic has for $0.50)
Friday- Spinach Ravioli .
Do you have your plans made?
Today is Snow Day #2 for us. The kids school has already been cancelled for tomorrow and I would bet a delay or closure again on Tuesday. I have a really short day at work tomorrow to begin with so even if I go regular schedule, we should still enjoy another day with extra time at home. I feel very confident and satisfied with our breakfast choices. I am also extremely hopefully to keep our grocery budget less than $100 this month as we have finally completed a plan for the month. You will notice more elaborate, read time consuming, meals at the beginning of the week.
Breakfast– Saturday- pancakes. Sunday- French toast Monday-Egg muffins Tuesday- baked oatmeal Wednesday- choices. Thursday- Choices Friday- Choices. Saturday- Pancakes Choices include : pancakes, baked oatmeal, eggs, grits, French toast, toast or cereal.
Lunch- Zach and Kendall have chicken and stars soup, chicken nuggets, ham and cheese roll up, homemade lunchable and chips w/salsa. I am taking left-overs this week.
Dinner- Saturday- Chicken Stew Dinner- Chicken Stew.
Sunday- Lunch- personal pizza on bread Dinner- shoulder roast with carrots and potatoes, deviled eggs and broccoli corn bread.
Monday- Copy cat lettuce wraps
Tuesday- Alice Springs chicken with sweet potatoes and pineapple
Wednesday- Sloppy joes and FF
Thursday- Stuffed green peppers
Friday- Leftovers or pizza.
Matt will be going to pick up buns for our sloppy joes along with eggs this week before our local Aldi closes for remodeling.
Today was officially a snow day in NC, that definitely helped with the saving as our cheerleading competition was cancelled which at minimum saved us $30 in admission.
I mentioned that I am participating in a low spend challenge, I have budgeted $100 for groceries this month. I did spend $14 on Monday at CVS and my plan was to hold on to the rest until it was a need. The need and some wants found me on Thursday, I went to our local Aldi to grab some plastic wrap and realized that they will be closing next week for 6-8 weeks of construction. We decided to go ahead and grab some items that will be needed before March. We spent a total of $42. The need that came about today is for labelling tape, so another $5 on Amazon. My totals are now at $61 for the month which leaves an $39 for any need that may arise.
The second challenge is Eat from your pantry. This is actually a very easy and doable challenge as we have a pantry full in addition to several full freezers. We have actually have two full weekends at home, thanks to the snow, therefore I have been trying to stock up on some prepared foods that we really like and can use during the hectic weeks ahead. Last week in my menu plan, I share how we started this process. This weekend, I have already made a huge pot of chicken stew, which we ate for two meal before freezing the remainder for a quick dinner. This morning, Matt made a triple batch of pancakes and the plan is to make French toast in the morning. This should definitely help with breakfast in the next couple of weeks. I am planning to share our menu plan, once we decide on it for next week.
We have started working on making our now dinning room more functional. I am determined not to let this project take over either time wise or financially this year, so small steps. We mover our smallest refrigerator to the outside building, which allowed us to re-position the black refrigerator, removed the cabinets that we hung last year, and placed a shelf back over the black refrigerator for storage. During the process we had to paint the wall. I am proud to say that this was all completed without spending anything. Before sending the cabinets to the dump, we removed the hinges and handles which are going to be reused for the custom buffet I want to complete. I was able to earn a $50 gift card to Lowes last month and Matt grab a $25 one this month. These should allow us to place new electrically and build a “tower” for the internet and cable that comes into the house in this area. The current goal is to have this completed by the end of January with zero out of pocket. In an effort to make goals that are achievable this year, I am going to wait till then to look ahead at the next step.
Our crazy life continues but it appears that we may slow down just a bit after this week. One of the advantages to doing a monthly menu plan is that it allows us to adjust if wanted or needed without running out to the store. I made some big changes from our original plan this week for two reasons. The first was that I was given several food items that need to be used in the next week. Secondly, the weather has finally turned to fall and our garden should be much slower in production in the next couple of weeks. We have been letting our green peppers grow and were rewarded with a HUGE harvest today. I actually had enough to make stuff green peppers for dinner, put away a bag to freeze to use in soup and have enough left to make breakfast burrito bowls later this week.
reakfast– Saturday- Sausage Cresant Rolls(the fill was actually left-over from last week). Sunday- Choices. Monday-Overnight Apple French Toast. Tuesday- Choices Wednesday- choices. Thursday- Breakfast burrito bowl Friday- Choices. Choices include : leftovers, eggs, grits, French toast, pop-tart or toaster strudel, Breakfast croissant, toast or cereal.
Lunch- Our lunch menu has changed as Kendall had a really rough time with her braces and we decided to buy thermos for both Zach and Kendall to use. Monday-Egg salad for Kendall and chicken nuggets for Zach. Tuesday- Macroni and Beef, Wednesday- Kendall wants left over soup and Zach has chicken nuggets again. Thursday-Tomato soup and goldfish, and Friday- Spaghetti O’s. I have already made two salad for this week and will take leftovers otherwise.
Dinner- Saturday- Lunch- leftovers. Dinner- Kimonos(eating out).
Sunday- Lunch- Broccoli- Cheese Soup. Dinner- Stuffed green Peppers. (I also frozen enough stuffing for another meal.)
Monday- Squash peperoni pie. ( Made this up trying to use what we had, if it works will be awesome and easy to throw in again)
Tuesday-Mexican casserole- already in fridge
Wednesday- Kielbasa and rice
Thursday- pulled pork and carrots
Friday- country style steak and gravy or leftovers depends on how the week goes.
Today has definitely been a day about saving, really more about saving time than money but they both are pretty important around here. First a little of the background, one of the ways that I have been trying to control our budget and spending this year is with grocery purchases. We have only spent $1250 for the first three months of the year, I focused on using the items that we had on hand and we were able to clean out and reorganize a lot of our freezer space. In March, we used up all of our ground beef, so we need to start replenishing our supplies. On Thursday, Matt and I managed to make a huge grocery trip which included our local “meat market”. Now back to today, we need to “process” the thirty pounds of ground beef we have purchased. I decided that since the weather outside was cold and windy, I would prefer to spend the day in the kitchen. I am very pleased with the results. Total time spent was approximately 7 hours, but this includes lunch and snacks for the kids as well as clean up and a couple of breaks. We were able to make the following:
3- cheeseburger pies (This are a quick and easy dinner to reheat)
4- Baked Ziti- We are sharing one with our friends for lunch tomorrow and another is already on our summer beach list. The other two will be easy Sunday lunches for this summer.
4 sets of Salisbury steaks- (a little bit more work than the cheeseburger pies but can turn out a dinner in 30 minutes).
20 one pound bags of pre-cooked ground beef. This is one of the easy ways to plan ahead and can be used in everything from spaghetti to Hamburger Helper.
Breakfast casserole for Sunday morning
Mexican rice and sausage dip for snacks and dinner today.
We will need to purchase chicken for delivery in June but otherwise we should be stocked up for the summer.
Did you save today?
I can’t decide if I was excited or fearful when started pulling out food of the freezers for the next couple of weeks. We did realize, we only have 1pound of uncooked ground beef. Fortunately, we still have plenty of pork and quite a bit of chicken left. April will mean that we will need to buy meat to give us a good variety again. We did have to make a couple of changes in our monthly plan for this week but we should still be able to maintain the lower than normal grocery budget for March. I was excited to have time yesterday to re-stock some of our breakfast foods in addition to continuing to use items out of the freezers.
Breakfast– Saturday-Matt was in charge, bacon biscuits, Sunday- Breakfast burritos with leftovers for the week. Monday- Apple muffins or Banana oatmeal cookies, these will also be leftovers. Thursday morning- Strawberries and cream baked oatmeal. Other days choices will include toast, grits, leftovers French toast pop-tarts or grits,
Lunch-I was able to get the kids lunches packed for the three days they will be attending school this week. I have some soup that will be my main lunch meal this week.
Dinner- Saturday- Lunch- Matt was in charge again. Dinner- Shrimp Alfredo
Sunday- Lunch- Taco Soup. Dinner- Grilled cheese sandwiches
Monday- Rice Creole
Tuesday-Grilled Chicken, green beans and squash casserole
Wednesday- Eating out for Haley’s Birthday
Thursday- Slow cooker beef and broccoli
The kids are out of school starting on Friday for an entire weeks so meals should get interesting!
My unscheduled time at home ends tomorrow, so I decided to spend the day by getting ahead. I have actually enjoyed cooking most of the week, probably because I had the time and energy to do it. With this in mind, I wanted to go ahead and get ahead start of Christmas preparations as we will have family over for several meals in the next couple of weeks. I had a plan in mind and was able to actually finish everything on my updated list. However before cooking, I clean both the vacuum cleaner and did a quick clean of the floors.
On the menu plan for today was cowboy beans, so I started by frying a pound of bacon and then browning a pound of hamburger for this. I realized as I was browning the hamburger that I should go ahead and make a pot of chill for baked potatoes next week. I ended up letting the second pound of hamburger sit in the pan to defrost. I also need to cut up onions for the beans. I love my pamper chef dicer but it is hard to clean so I went ahead and chopped up 6 cups of onions instead of the 2 cups I needed for the beans. I decided to try bacon wrapped appetizers that we saw on Saturday morning. This was definitely a good call as Matt froze a bag so we would have some next weekend as well. They are awesome but time consuming. Next was a corned beef ball that will work as an appetizer for several times.
After checking our supplies, Matt and I decided to head to the local meat shop to make a purchase that should last till at least March. We have ordered pork from Zaycon but want to add hamburger, cube steak and beef stew to the freezer. We also purchased chicken wings for our annual super bowl party. I was very impressed with our total of $113, which is 18 meals of meat.
I came back home to work on browning and freezing the 20# of ground beef. While this was cooking, I was able to finish up my day with candid pecans which will be a gift and desert on Sunday. I am very proud of the hard work that I put in today but also realize this gets me ahead for the next couple of weeks.
Cowboy beans ( 4 total meals including today)
14 bags of ground beef
Are you cooking for Christmas?