Category Archives: Frugality

January Menu Plan


Chai Latte

Pumpkin Gingerbread Smoothies (a daily indulgence!)

Gingerbread Waffles

Orange Sticky Cake (going for mom of the year award!)

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits (recipe to follow)


Butternut Squash, Kale, and (Soy) Sausage Minestrone

Enchiladas with Avocado Cream sauce (adaptation from this recipe)

Quiche with mixed green salad

Spaghetti Pie with mixed green salad

Mushroom Lasagna with mixed green salad

Chicken Pot Pie with mixed green salad

Tomato Basil Soup with grilled cheese sandwiches

Curried Lentil Soup with Chickpea Puree

Pan fried chicken, Cheddar Scallion Polenta Croquettes, and mixed green salad

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Black bean tostadas

Black Bean Burgers served with homemade coleslaw

Pinto Beans and Rice served with cornbread and maybe coleslaw

Turkey Meatballs with grape jelly and chili sauce served with egg noodles and green beans

Beer Cheese Soup (sans sausage)

Toscano Soup (essentially this soup with soy sausage added) with Italian Cheese Bread

Tortellini, Peppers, and Spinach

Creamy Tomato Barley Risotto

Homemade pizza and salad (a Friday night staple, so this knocks out 4 meals)

Breakfast for Dinner (at least 3 times a month)

What’s cooking in your home this month?  Are you trying to eat healthier in the New Year?  We sure are and we’d love to share our journey with you!



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Chicken, Corn & Black Bean Enchiladas

I made supper for 50 at our church last week again.  I thoroughly enjoy cooking and have found several recipes that are really just as easy for 50 as they are for 3.  This enchilada recipe is one of those.  I start several days in advance.  Here’s a timeline and recipe for you.  This is how I make them to save time and money.  You can easily substitute readier to eat foods for anything below (canned beans, rotisserie chicken, canned sauce, etc.)  Enjoy!

*I mentioned I made this meal for 50 people.  Total cost for this dish was less than $50.  I purchased the chicken, corn, tomatoes, chilis, and tortillas.  I had all the spices, cheeses, and several bags of dry beans in the pantry.

  •  1 lb dry black beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 3-4 lb fryer chicken, thawed, giblets removed
  • 1 C frozen corn kernels (Silver Queen or another sweet variety)
  • 2 small cans diced tomatoes with green chilis (usually 10-12 oz per can) OR 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes and 2 4 oz cans green chillis
  • 1/2 C grated pepper jack cheese (buy the block and grate it yourself – so much better!)
  • 8-10 medium sized wheat tortillas
  • 2 C Chili Gravy, recipe follows
  • 2 C colby jack and/or pepper jack cheese, depending upon how spicy you want it

It all starts with this chili gravy.  You can make this a few days in advance and refrigerate.

Recipe from Amber’s Delectable Delights / Sugared Whisk

Makes 2 cups

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1-1/2 tsp powdered garlic

2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano (Mexican oregano is preferred)

2 T chile powder (either homemade or a dark brand such as Gebhardt’s or Whole Foods)

1 pinch ground cayenne pepper

1 pinch red pepper flakes

2 cups chicken broth (or water)


1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.

3. Add all the dry ingredients and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending ingredients.

4. Add chicken broth or water, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens.

5. Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes. If desired, add water to adjust the thickness.



Prepare the beans 2 days in advance.

Soak them overnight and then put them in a slow cooker for 8-10 hours on low with:

  • 2T chili powder
  • 1T cumin
  • 1T black pepper
  • 1T salt
  • 1t onion powder
  • 1t garlic powder
  • Add enough water to cover beans by 1 inch, cook on low 8-10 hours


Prepare the chick the day prior to serving.

Make sure it is fully thawed and cleaned.  Make a rub of:

  • 1T chili powder
  • 1/2T cumin
  • 1/2T black pepper
  • 1/2T salt
  • Coat the chicken with the rub and place in a slow cooker
  • Cook on low 4-5 hours
  • Cool, skin, and pick clean making sure to get both light and dark meat.

The Day Of Serving:

  1. Combine beans, corn, tomatoes, chilis, chicken, 1/2 c chili gravy, and 1/2 c pepper jack cheese in a large bowl
  2. Place about 1/2 cup filling into the center of a tortilla and roll
  3. Place tortilla seam side down in a 9*13 casserole dish
  4. Repeat with remaining tortillas to fill the dish
  5. Pour remaining chili gravy evenly over tortillas, taking care to cover the edges
  6. Sprinkle the 2 cups of cheese over top
  7. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes until cheese is melted and gravy is bubbling.

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Menu Plan Monday – w/b 03/21/11

One of the most daunting and terror inducing phrases in any home is “what’s for dinner?”  Gasp!!  I have been bad, no pitiful, at planning a menu since returning to work 5 months ago.  We slide, we skate, we skirt … somehow we all get fed, but there have been way too many calls to DH while he’s en route from work with panic and urgency in my voice – “Can you please stop and pick up …”  I’m done with that!  There’s enough stress involved with working, being a good wife and mom, being a good daughter and friend, and above all, being a good witness for a life in Christ.  If I’m stressed and irritated, the whole family suffers and I am sure my witness suffers.   So … back to a stringent menu plan I go!

Weeknight Dinners:


  • Chewy Granola Bars with semi sweet chips, no dried fruit – thank-you-very-much – says little man 🙂

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at I’m an Organizing Junkie.

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Homemade Applesauce

One of my favorite things to do is make homemade applesauce. Our son loves applesauce and I love making it so I know what exactly is in the package. The technique is so simple that I want to share it with everyone I meet. Try this – trust me, you’ll be a hero to someone in your family!

Start with some over-ripe apples from the bargain bin at your local grocery.

Core the apples and cut into roughly 1" cubes. Leave the skin on for extra nutrition. Put them into a slow cooker with the juice from 1 lemon and 1 T cinnamon.

Cook on low for 6 hours for a full slow cooker. Walk around the house and savor the amazing aroma while trying to resist the urge to also make an apple pie.

After 6 hours, let the apples cool for a little bit and then use a stick blender to puree. If you don’t have a stick blender, a standard one works great too. You’ll need to make a few batches, but the result is just as yummy.

Portion into containers, these are approximately 1/2 cup each.

The applesauce will keep in the fridge for about 10 days. It can be frozen too for later use in baking or for snacking. The yield for me this time was 14, 1/2 cup portions.

Dollar Detail:

5 bags over-ripe apples, $1.00 each; 1 slow cooker liner, $0.40
My local grocery has single serve cups of applesauce on sale for $2.00 for 1 cup ($1.00 per portion). I got 7 cups for $5.40 ($0.39 per serving).

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>Menu Plan – Week of January 24 (2 weeks)

>I have been back at work full time for 4 months now and our diet has suffered greatly! I have been very convicted that I MUST take control back in the kitchen – for the sake of our hearts, waists, and budget. Thankfully, our 2 local grocers had great sales the past 2 weeks on meat, frozen veggies, and pantry staples. I love it when the Lord does that – convict me of something and then put opportunities in front of me to change my behavior. Thank you Lord!!

Here is 2 weeks worth of dinner menus. DH and I take lunch to work at least 4 days a week. We include leftovers mainly. I will sometimes make a big batch of pasta salad and we’ll grill some chicken breasts to put over top. But, with it being a balmy 30 degrees here most of the week, grilling can wait.

* denotes a slow cooker recipe

I hope you all find some inspiration to make tasty recipes in your homes. Enjoy!!

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>Menu Plan – Week of January 2, 2011!

>Wow!! It’s amazing to me that another year is upon us. I am not a huge fan of New Years Eve celebrations. Perhaps as I’ve gotten older and now have a young child at home, I just have lost the thrill for staying up until midnight and over indulging. So, here I sit … with 2 snoring children snug in their beds, watching the Chick fil A bowl with DH and planning, organizing, and feeling invigorated to take the reins back on our life after the Christmas season. Does everyone go through this – please assure me it’s not just me?? Christmas is amazing, wonderful, and definitely one of my favorite times of year … but, the unusual schedule, over indulgent once-a-year food, trying to squeeze in one more fun activity, and general over stimulation leave me craving a simple and quiet start to the new year. That starts with a menu plan, of course!!


I want to wish you all a New year full of blessings and leave you with a wonderful quote from Martin Luther:
Glory to God in highest heaven, who unto man His Son hath given; while angels sing with tender mirth, a glad new year to all the earth.”

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>Menu Plan – Christmas Week, 2010

>Sometimes I wish we were a family that had an elaborate Christmas menu, but sadly we don’t. Although, our boring menu is steeped in tradition. Christmas day we will head to my parent’s home and thoroughly enjoy a standing rib roast, baked potatoes, and salad. Same menu for about 7 years now. I told my sweet daddy I thought changing it might be a divorcable offense!

I will still make dinner for 4 nights this week.

Weeknight Dinners:

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas week full of the Savior’s presence, comfort, and love!!!

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