Friday, January 3, 2014

Taco Salad

We usually make this for lunches, so my recipe is set for a large serving, enough to feed 2 adults for a week

6 cups black beans (it comes out to 3 cans) rinsed.
4 lbs 85% ground beef
1 1/4 C taco seasoning

Cook your ground beef, drain the fat, and then add in your rinsed beans and taco seasoning along with the water recommendations for that amount of taco seasoning based on the instructions on the package.  Let simmer for a little bit until the water reduces.

This recipe yields 14 cups, and we use 1 cup per serving.

It comes out to 5995 calories for the entire batch, or 428 calories per serving.  If you need to lower your calories you can either opt for a less fat ground beef, or try a ground turkey.

Now for the rest of the recipe.  We always calculate this in 2 parts, the meat mixture, and the salad part.  It makes it easier to play with.

Add each cup of meat and bean mixture to the following.

1/8 C shredded cheddar
3C shredded iceburg (or lettuce of choice)
2T taco sauce
1.5 oz plain greek yogurt (we use this in place of sour cream)
1/2 medium tomato, diced

The above is 144 calories.

If the whole thing is too much like "mush" for you, and you need something similar to a crouton for your salad, crush up a few tortilla chips and mix it in to add some texture to your taco salad, but realize these aren't included in the calorie count.

Grand total for calories?  572!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

So, as we do most things around here, this recipe makes a batch.  Approximately 14 cups worth.

3 red peppers, sliced
4 yellow peppers, sliced
2C Sweet and Sour Sauce (We use Maui Mountain, when I can't find that I settle for a Hawaiian marinade)
2 24.5 oz jars of pineapple chunks in juice (separate the juice from the pineapple and reserve 1/3C )
3T cherry grenadine
6 chicken breast, cubed.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Not your mama's Turkey Sandwich

Alright, Thanksgiving is coming at us, and soon.  Scary soon.  I'm hoping you all are prepared, I still have some shopping to do!

But, what I have done is already worked on my Thanksgiving left overs.  

I grew up in the household of turkey sandwiches... for the next week and a half...  Guess who doesn't do turkey sandwiches anymore?  This girl right here.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Penny Pinching Healthy- Buy Bulk or Bye Bulk

Alright, welcome back.  Ya'll got a week and a half to digest the last one, due to some over achieving germs that were working their way around our home.

Let's get right down to it.

Buying in bulk can be a great thing.  Same with stocking up on stuff on sale or because you have a coupon.  But, as with all things, it has a place.  ...Well, that is assuming you're not into doomsday prep, at which point this blog post is probably not at all for you.  But, for us folk living in a moderate space, here's what I got.

When is it good to buy in bulk?

If you use it, without fail, not sometimes, but always.  For example, toilet paper, bath/body/hygiene, dish soap.  Follow my drift?  You can always use it, will always use it.  It's not snack food, it's not non perishables, it is, to an extent, a necessity.

Food.  Food can be good to buy in bulk or stock up on if it's on sale.  But, things you use without fail.  For us, it's stuff like beans, protein powder and other smoothie ingredients, eggs, the foods we use religiously.  So, when my local store has them marked down I go for it.

The rule of thumb, to not get overwhelmed is to not get more than you'll reasonably eat in about a 5 to 6 weeks span since that's about how long cycles are in the grocery shopping fliers.  So, chances are they'll be on sale again sometime between now and then.

When not to buy in bulk?

If you're trying something new.  If you don't know for sure if you like the brand, if it will cook the same way, if you'll like the food in the one that is cheaper up front, not in unit price.  Nothing worse than spending more up front because it costs less per unit, and to not like it and throw it out.

If you only need it this once.  Holiday ingredients, things that won't keep, produce, etc.

In these moments, spending the least amount out of pocket to buy you the amount that you will need is the goal.

Lastly, don't buy in bulk if you can't afford to bulk up.  Sometimes it may be worth it because you'll save money for the bulk or coupon deal and it will loosen up more money later as opposed to if you spent the amount for the smaller piece twice.  Hopefully that makes sense.

That's the quick show down.  Sorry if it seems a little scattered.  A lack of sleep, and probably a whole lot of lack of oxygen courtesy of our household sickness may lead to some messy thinking.  But, while feeling up to it I gotta at least stay on track.

So, I'll see you back next week!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Penny Pinching Healthy- Time Saving Tips

Welcome back!  I hope you had long enough time to take in all I put out there last week.  Hopefully you tried your hand at meal planning, or explored some good fail safes?

This week we move on to some time savers.  For some people it's a matter that they want to save money, for others, it's a matter of not having enough TIME to prepare a home cooked meal.  And, for a lot, it's a combination of both.  I'm going to share a few things that have made our lives easier.

Let's pick up where we left off last week.  Once you've planned out your meals, you have to go buy the food.  Organize your list.  I take a piece of printer paper or notebook paper and fold it in half horizontally (bring the two short sides together).  Open it back up.  Across the top write "Produce, Meats, Other."  Right below the crease in the paper write "Canned, Refrigerated, Household."

  • "Produce" includes freezer stuff because the freezer section is next to produce at the front of the store, and the refrigerated stuff is at the back of the store.  
  • "Meats" are self explanatory.  
  • "Other" is going to be anything in the middle isles that is not a canned good, and is not household stuff such as toilet paper, cleaners, etc.  
  • "Canned"...well, if it comes in a can, it goes here.  
  • "Refrigerated" is pretty easy to figure out.  
  • "Household" is as previously stated.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Penny Pinching Healthy-Money Saving Meal Planning

Welcome back, I'm serving up part 1 of a 3 part series in healthy eating on a tight budget or a tight clock. This week is money saving meal planning. Let's dive right in, it's a doozie.

Step 1: Inventory

Before you start actually meal planning, take a look in your fridge, your freezer, and your cabinets. If you happen to have any food in there that isn't dedicated for another meal, find a way to use it. There's no point in having food sit around to possibly go bad while you're buying more food.  Things you should be looking out for...

  • Stuff that comes in 2's, like onion soup packets, 
  • Bulk produce like bags of carrots, potatoes or celery.
  • Toppings and dairy, such as sour cream, yogurts, milk, salad dressings and marinades.
  • Canned goods, such as tuna or soups

The goal is to first plan meals that will use any of these extra's.  Once that's done, you should realistically only be buying what you need for the week, and perhaps stocking up on items that are on sale that you use frequently, such as ingredients for your fail safe dish (more on that later on).

The only ingredients you shouldn't be planning to eat up are the ones for your fail safe dish, those stay on reserve.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Penny Pinching Healthy, Introduction

Welcome to Mama Made What?!  It seems only fitting that we start this thing off with a bang, so here's a 3 part series for you on what we learned going from a freezer/convenience food family to a relatively healthy eating family.

Now, before you go click that little "x" at the top right of your window at the word "healthy eating," just hear me out.  I know we are not nearly has healthy as a lot of other people, we certainly didn't take it to an extreme and we're not training for any marathons or competitions so we're not terribly strict in the way of calories or macro's.  However, living on Lean Cuisines and Hot Pockets is certainly no way to live.

I remember going to the grocery store after church every Sunday, like clockwork, and we "picked up some stuff."  I remember a grocery list of things we were out of, such as eggs, butter, milk, cheese...the essentials.  After that it just seemed like we tossed some stuff in.  Tuna, canned veggies, hamburger helper, some frozen lasagna's, deli meat.  If there was ever any real meal planning I didn't know about it.  To the best of my knowledge, eating healthy was not possible on a limited amount of time nor on a limited budget.