Thursday, September 27, 2012

Raisins and Spice Oatmeal Dry Mix Recipe (Quaker Raisins and Spice Instant Oatmeal Copy Cat Recipe)

Lately I have been all about saving money at the grocery store. In the past, I will admit to going to the grocery store HUNGRY and WITHOUT a shopping list and simply getting things that looked good. The problem with this? I was paying way too much for things, and buying more than we were able to eat before it went bad. We would wind up throwing half of it away.

My other problem? I wasn't too fond of freezing meat. I would buy fresh meat for each meal. Meaning grocery store trips every 2-3 days. This was NOT very wallet friendly. My new plan consisted of a weekly budget and 1 weekly trip to the grocery store. A big step in this for me was coming up with a weeks worth of dinner ideas. ( I always factor in 1 night eating out- whether its out to a restaurant, or dinner at a family or friend's house.) I also had to get over my aversion to freezing meat. We now buy our meat in bulk when it is on sale, and rinse, package and freeze it immediately after getting home from the store. Some weeks I don't even need to buy meat if we have enough stored in our freezer. I package everything in servings of 3-4 servings, which allows for dinner for the 2 of us, and leftovers for each of our lunches. Boyfriend usually takes leftover meat from dinner along with the leftover sides (rice, potatoes, etc) for his lunch, While I take my leftover meat and use it on a salad for lunch the next day. This usually works out PERFECTLY for us. For my weekly shopping trips I also figure out what I will need for the entire week, and work that into our weekly budget. I try to get ingredients that are on sale, and versatile so I can use them for several different recipes. For example, this week we got tons of onions, red peppers, and green bell peppers on sale. We used them one night with chicken for our homemade Kung Pao chicken, and we used them again with chicken the next night for baked Chicken Fajitas. Same ingredients, different spices. Completely different meals. Delicious.

So back to saving money. We have been trying to limit our spending, as we are planning on buying a house early next year. This new budget so far has saved us a couple hundred dollars a month. I told you, we were not watching our wallets at the store before. We also cut back a lot on going out to eat. I have also been trying to make things from scratch, that usually cost a lot more at the store. So far I have made my own fajita seasoning, biscuits, muffins, waffle mix, ranch dressing mix, and my latest feat? Homemade Raisins and Spice Oatmeal. The boyfriend has Quaker's Raisin and Spice Instant Oatmeal every single day for breakfast. Only recently did I realize that we are overpaying for this. He can eat 2-3 packets at a time! So I set out in search of a Raisin and Spice Oatmeal that could be not only  less expensive, but healthier and taste better!




Raisins and Spice Dry Oatmeal Mix
Yields: 10 cups dry mix (10 large servings)

Ingredients: 
7 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 2/3 cups raisins
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 pinches salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch all spice

Directions: Mix all ingredients together. Place in labled, zip lock baggies*.

To Serve: Scoop out 1 cup of Raisins and Spice Dry Oatmeal mix, combine with 1 cup water or milk. Microwave on High 1.5-2 minutes. Stir before serving.

*I placed mine in two large freezer bags, 5 cups per bag for Ryan to take to work. 
Now each bag is perfectly portioned for an entire week's worth of breakfasts!



The Verdict? Boyfriend absolutely loved this. The store-bought stuff costs about $0.33/oz and this only cost about $0.06/oz to make from scratch. Not to mention tastier, healthier, and less proccessed. Now I am dreaming of Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal and perhaps a Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal mix!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cheddar Green Onion Biscuits



These buttermilk cheddar biscuits are reminiscent of Red Lobster's Cheddar bay biscuits.. yum. The best part? They require no stand mixer, no hand mixer. You mix them with your HANDS which means less dishes. Less dishes are always good in my book.



Word of the wise on this recipe, and any recipe calling for buttermilk. Don't buy buttermilk. Who can use an entire thing of buttermilk before it goes bad? This recipe only calls for 1/2 cup. The smallest container is 1/2 a pint, which leaves me with extra buttermilk leftover that I will never use! This 12 oz container of dry buttermilk costs about the same amount as a 1/2 pint of buttermilk but it can make up to 6 cups of buttermilk when combined with water. And the great part is you only have to make as much as you need. GENIUS! 
New favorite thing.


I am getting really excited for my new Williams Sonoma cookie sheets that I will be receiving for Christmas this year. As you can see I am in desperate need of them.


Feel free to double this recipe. It only makes 7. 
7 is not enough.



Cheddar Green Onion Biscuits
Yields: 7 large biscuits



Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp truvia
1/4 cup butter, cut into small cubes
4 oz cheddar cheese, grated
4 oz green onions, chopped (green and white part)
1/2 cup buttermilk (substitute 2 tbs dry buttermilk + 1/2 cup water)

Materials:
Cutting board
Whisk
Biscuit cutter or drinking glass
Cookie sheet

Directions: 


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F 


2. Measure your flour, baking powder, baking soada, salt and sugar into a bowl and whisk to combine. Add your cubed butter, and mix in with your hands, breaking it down with your fingertips until it resembles large crumbs. Stir in your cheddar cheese and scallions. Make a well in the center of your biscuit dough, and pour in the buttermilk. Gently fold your flour mixture into the buttermilk until combined. Do not over-stir!

3. Flour a cookie sheet and pour the biscuit dough out onto it. Pat it down a bit and cut it into circles using a biscuit cutter if you have one, or use a regular drinking glass. Make sure to flour the rim of whatever you are using so the biscuits come off easily.
4. Place the biscuits on the a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes




This might be the best cupcake recipe I've ever tried. The cake is a bit crumbly and loaded with chocolate chips and the frosting is a little salty and not too sweet, and covered in a chocolate drizzle.



This recipe is adapted from the original recipe from The Cupcake Bible. I was ready to make these cupcakes and realized I was out of eggs, so I improvised. I mixed 2 tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp water in a separate bowl. Feel free to use an egg, which I think will result in a much more moist cupcake. 



Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
(makes 10 cupcakes)

1/4 cup peanut butter 1/8 cup (1/4 stick)  butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg (you can substitute 2 tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp water)
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat Oven to 350.  Line muffin tin with 10 muffin cups. Beat together peanut butter and butter on medium until well blended. Add brown sugar and egg (or cornstarch mixture) and beat well. Mix flour, baking soda and baking powder in separate bowl. Slowly add the flour mixture alternately with milk, at low speed until blended. Gently fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Spoon evenly into muffin cups and bake 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Frosting 
(makes 1.5 cups)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 tablespoons milk

Beat Butter and peanut butter in electric mixer until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar and vanilla until blended. Slowly add milk until texture is smooth. Frost cupcakes and drizzle with melted chocolate**. Top with chocolate chips.



**To drizzle chocolate on cupcakes: Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl, stirring every 20-30 seconds. Do not overcook! Place melted chocolate in a ziplock bag and snip off the corner of the bag (making a very small opening). Gently squeeze bag over cupcake to form drizzle pattern.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ranch Roasted Red Potatoes



Ranch Roasted Red Potatoes

6-8 red potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red onion - finely diced
6 tablespoons ranch dressing mix (2 packages)

Chop potatoes and finely dice onions. Throw all ingredients in a zip-lock bag and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture out onto a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking oil. Bake at 400 for 35-45 minutes.




Southwest Eggrolls


Southwest Eggrolls

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 package Kirkland precooked chicken breast strips (16 oz)
1/2 cup minced green onion
6 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup diced jalapeno peppers
1 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash ground cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 1/4 shredded Monterey Jack cheese
30 eggroll wrappers

Heat 3 tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in green onion and red pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until tender. Finely shred chicken and mix into the pan with onion and red pepper. Mix in corn, black beans, spinach, jalapeno peppers, parsley, cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until well blended and tender. Remove from heat and stir in Monterey Jack cheese so that it melts.

Spoon even amounts of the mixture into each eggroll wrapper. Secure eggrolls with a bit of water to seal them shut. Arrange eggrolls on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F° for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Freeze uncooked ones to reheat as an easy snack!

Serve with ranch or avocado ranch as a dipping sauce.













Adapted from AllRecipes.com, Southwest Eggrolls.

Snickerdoodles

I'd never had Snickerdoodle Cookies before, and seeing as they are the boyfriend's favorite, I decided to give it a try. 

These cookies were delicious fresh out of the oven when they were soft and and melted in your mouth. But the next day they were a bit too hard and crunchy for my taste.

Solution? Eat them immediately :)

 

Snickerdoodles
1 stick salted butter  (room temp)
1 cup sugar
2 tbs milk
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder


Cinnamon Sugar Mixture
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 F°. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Next, add milk, egg and vanilla, mixing until combined. Add in flour, 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and baking powder. Mix until dough forms. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine ¼ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon to make your cinnamon sugar mixture. Remove dough from fridge and roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Roll each dough ball in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on lightly greased baking sheet. Press down on dough with a fork in a crisscross pattern to flatten. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.


Adapted from HowSweetEats

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fourth Of July Cupcakes






Fourth of July Cupcakes

Ingredients: 
Cupcakes
White frosting
white fondant


Supplies:
Wilton piping bags
couplers
decorating tip
star shaped cookie cutters
silver edible glitter
paint brush


Bake cupcakes; allow them to cool completely. Separate your frosting into 3 bowls. Dye one red, one blue, and leave one white. Place each frosting into it's own piping bag. Do not overfill. Twist the tops of each of the three bags closed; trim the bottom of each pipping bag off with scissors. Place all three bags into a fourth bag fitted with a decorating tip at the end. Make sure all three colors are placed evenly in the bag, and twist the bag closed at the top. Test your frosting until the appropriate color combination comes out. It is best to use a bigger decorating tip for this, so that the colors can all be visible and don't get mixed together. Squeeze your decorating bag to frost your cupcakes, moving in a circular pattern  around the cupcake.



For Fondant Stars: Roll out fondant with a lightly flour dusted rolling pin. Cut out shapes with star cookie cutters and decorate with silver edible glitter.





Thursday, May 17, 2012

How to get rid of Jalapeno Burns on Hands


In making Southwest Eggrolls this Saturday for Mother's Day, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. As I do with most cooking projects, I began by washing all of my veggies and chopping them all. I finely diced my red bellpepper, then I de-seeded and diced my jalapeno pepper and then I quickly chopped my green onions. I got lazy when it came to the fresh parsley and threw it in the food processor for a quick chop.

I threw the red peppers and green onions in my pot with a bit of vegetable oil and began to stir them. Once they were hot enough I added my precooked chicken to the pot followed by the jalapeno peppers, parsley, and all of my spices.

As I was stirring the mixture, I realized my hands were getting extremely hot over the hot pan, so I rinsed them off with some soap in some cool water. The pain stopped, only to return about 15 seconds after I removed them from the cold water. I began taking more frequent trips to rinse my hands, trying to remember if I had burned them on something.

It was time to take the eggrolls of the heat and add the cheese and begin filling them into the eggroll wrappers. As I was spooning the hot filling into the eggroll wrappers and rolling them up, my hands were ON FIRE. I had to stop between rolling each eggroll to find relief in the cold water of the kitchen sink. Finally my boyfriend had to take over the rolling of the eggrolls as it was too much pain to bear. I grabbed my go-to frozen green beans out of the freezer and clutched them for dear life between my hands to stop the burning. 

After about 20 minutes of the pain, I had my boyfriend Google "hands burning after cutting jalapenos." Only to yield about 34,800 results. Apparently this is a common thing. 

Thousands upon thousands of posts and people in the same pain as me. I tried EVERY remedy I could find.

***I have starred the ones that I found to be most helpful.

Rubbing alcohol: Absolutely no relief whatsoever.

Vinegar and olive oil mix: This just smelled bad and provided no relief.
 
***Sour cream: This was like heaven. I put some sour cream in a bowl and just soaked my hands in it. It was so cool and calming and felt as though it was pulling the burn out of my hands. Only problem was, as soon as the sour cream started to come to room temperature, the throbbing pain would come back.

Milk: In between sour cream batches, I would rinse my hands in milk. The fridge cold milk was so soothing but only temporary.

Cold water: This was my go-to at the beginning, but after soaking in the ice cold sour cream, this provided absolutely no relief. I stuck my hands under the faucet to rinse off the sour cream at one point only to endure SEARING pain to my hands. I jumped back at the burn from the hot water. I stuck my elbow out to test the water. Ice cold. My hands were now so cold from all the remedies that cold water wasn't cold enough.

Ice water- At points I would put ice cubes in a bowl with some cold water to soak my hands when the sour cream wasn't cold enough. I would soak them for a few seconds and then remove them, only to have to soak them again when the pain came back 5-10 seconds later.

Hot water: people online raved about this, claiming that the hot water would remove the pain. Apparently it would open up your pores so the jalapeno juice could come out and the pain would be gone. right? WRONG. do not try this. My hands were already burning and then to put them in hot water felt like I was sticking my hands in fire and leaving them there. HORRENDOUS PAIN. I do not recommend this.

Vinegar and baking soda rub: no relief. just smelled bad.

Olive oil: just felt greasy and was room temp. so it was not cold enough to sooth my hands.

Lime juice: did absolutely nothing

Lime juice and water: not cold enough, felt like nothing

Lotion: My hands were raw at this point and rubbing in the lotion just felt uncomfortable.

***Olive oil and sugar scrub: I saw this somewhere around hour 3 of the pain and it seemed like it had potential. The explanation behind it was that sugar could remove the capacin from your skin. The heat in peppers is quantified by the amount of sugar needed to neutralize the heat. I figured I'd give it a try. This felt like rubbing sand paper on a burn, but was oddly soothing. I could literally feel the heat leaving my hands. I tried this at about 3-4 hours in so I don't know if it was already getting better from time passing, but for me this really helped REMOVE the heat and for an extended period of time. I did this scrub about 4 or 5 times and each time would give me longer periods of relief.

***Bag of frozen green beans: I used a bag of frozen green beans to rest my hands on for the last 1-2 hours of pain. My hands were raw and sore and this helped. (Ice pack would work just as well)

In the end, I would recommend the olive oil and sugar scrub to remove the capacin from your hands, and I would recommend the cold sour cream for soothing your hands, and an ice pack or bag of frozen veggies for relief. These proved to be the most helpful to me. However I'm pretty sure time is the only true cure to this. Mine lasted almost exactly 6 hours until I felt complete relief.

Next time I am using gloves and chopping my jalapenos in the food processor!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Funfetti Oreo Stuffed Cookies

   
   Cookie Ingredients:
   1 box Funfetti cake mix
   12 oreo cookies
   1/2 cup vegetable oil
   2 eggs

   Buttercream Glaze Ingredients:
   Buttercream frosting
   Dash of milk

 
Directions: Mix funfetti cake mix with 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 2 eggs. Wrap each oreo in your cookie dough, making a thin layer around the entire oreo. Careful so that you don't use too much dough, just enough to cover the oreo. Lay cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool and drizzle with Buttercream Glaze!


 

Buttercream Glaze Directions: I used some leftover buttercream frosting, heated in the microwave for 10 seconds, mixed with a tiny bit of milk and drizzled it over the cookies. 
***(If you don't have buttercream frosting laying around, you can mix some powdered sugar with a tiny dash of milk and vanilla. A little liquid goes a long way with powdered sugar)***






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