Monday, November 24, 2008

Frugal Menu Plan Monday Nov 24-30

Frugal Menu Plan Monday

Potato and Cheese Frittata

Tuesday Pizza Night
Deana's Pizza

Skip The Brown Sugar glaze and
Make Raisin Sauce Instead

Baked Sweet Potatoes


Leftovers: Turkey & Ham and the rest
or Turkey Leftover Surprise

Chef Salad

Split Pea Soup using Leftover Ham Bone
Tossed Salad

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Family's Southern Traditional Thanksgiving Menu with recipe links

My Family's Southern Traditional Thanksgiving

Additional or Alternate Recipes:

A Cute Thanksgiving Gift for Children to Make and Give Away.

Blessings Mix

Recipe By: Cynthia Townley Ewer
Serving Size: 16


2 cups Bugles brand corn snacks
2 cups small pretzels
1 cup candy corn
1 cup dried fruit bits or raisins
1 cup peanuts or sunflower seeds
1 cup M&Ms brand chocolate candy
16 Hershey's brand chocolate kisses


In a large bowl, gently mix all ingredients except Hershey's Kisses. Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup Blessing Mix in small cellophane treat bags. Add one Hershey's Kiss to each bag. Close bag with chenille stem or twist-tie.
Print 4 copies of the printable gift tag page, or hand-write tags with your choice of wording. Cut out tags, and attach one to each bag.
Makes 16 Blessing Mix gift bags.


Blessings Mix

Bugles: Shaped like a cornucopia or Horn of Plenty a symbol of our nation's abundance.
Pretzels: Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country.
Candy Corn: The sacrifice of the Pilgrims first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived on just a few kernels of corn a day.
Nuts or Seeds: Promise of a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.
Dried Fruits: Harvest gifts from our bountiful land.
M&M's: Memories of those who came before us to lead us into a blessed future.
Hershey's Kiss: The love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.

Monday, November 17, 2008

How To Make Homemade Chicken Stock Using a Whole Chicken, Carcass or Just Bones

Method 1 Using Whole Chicken
1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
2 large white onions, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved
1 turnip, halved
1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1/4bunch fresh thyme
2 bay leaves optional
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.

Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in refrigerator till fat layer hardens. Remove fat layer. Put in storage containers and freeze.

Method 2. Leftover Chicken Bones
1 Put the leftover bones and skin from a chicken carcass into a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Add veggies like celery, onion, carrots, parsley.
2 Add salt and pepper, about 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper.
3 Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to barely a simmer.
4 Simmer uncovered at least 4 hours, occassionally skimming off the foam that comes to the surface.
5 Remove the bones and strain the stock.
6 If making stock for future use in soup you may want to reduce the stock by simmering a few hours longer to make it more concentrated and easier to store.

Method 3. Chicken backs, wings, and legs.
4 lbs of chicken backs, wings, and or legs that have been hacked with a cleaver into 2-inch pieces. You can ask your butcher to prepare the chicken pieces this way.
1 large yellow onion, chopped.
Olive oil
2 quarts of boiling water
2 teaspoons of salt
2 bay leaves
1 Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large stock pot. Add one chopped onion. Sauté until softened and slightly colored - 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
2 Add half of the chicken pieces to the pot. Sauté until no longer pink, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer cooked chicken to bowl with onions. Sauté the rest of the chicken the same way. Return onion and chicken pieces to the pot. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken releases its juices, about 20 minutes.
3 While the chicken pieces are cooking, fill a large tea kettle with 2 quarts of water, bring to a boil.
4 After the chicken pieces have been cooking for 20 minutes, raise the heat level to high, add the 2 quarts of boiling water, 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 bay leaves. Return to a low simmer, then cover and barely simmer for about 20 minutes.
5 Strain broth and discard solids. Broth can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for several months.

This third method comes from The Best Recipe cookbook by Cook's Illustrated. They got it from In Pursuit of Flavor, by Edna Lewis. This makes a truly flavorful stock. With chicken backs at about $1 lb, a good value as well.

Notes about the Fat
I've seen a lot of newer cookbooks advocate the skimming of the fat from the stock. Some prefer the traditional method of letting the fat settle in a layer on top of the stock as it cools. This way, the fat acts as a protective layer against bacteria, which is found in the air. The stock will last longer if you keep the fat layer on it. Just lift up the layer of fat and remove the stock when you want to use it. Every few days, bring the stock to a simmer for 10 minutes and let it cool, again with the fat forming a protective layer. Your stock can be stored in the refrigerator and used for up to a couple of weeks this way.

For more Recipes visit my recipe site: Deana's Recipes

Frugal Menu Plan Monday Nov 17-23

Pretzels From Scratch

I made pretzels from scratch the other day. I am so impressed with myself. Maybe I'll try bagels next :-)



Recipe By: The Complete Guide to Bread Machine Baking


1 cup milk
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cooking oil
3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 egg white, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
kosher salt, for sprinkling


Add the first 7 ingredients to your bread machine according to manufacturer's directions. Select the dough cycle. When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine.. Punch down. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

(To make by hand: Mix dough. Knead 10 minutes, let rise about an hour. Punch down and let rest 10 minutes and proceed with the following instructions.)

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12X8 inch rectangle. Cut into 16 12X1/2 inch strips. Gently pull the strips into 16 inch long ropes. Shape each pretzel by crossing one end over the other to form a circle, overlapping about 4 inches from each end. Take one end dough in each hand and twist once at the point where the dough overlaps. Carefully lift each end and across to the edge of the circle opposite it. Tuck ends under edges to make a pretzel shape; moisten ends and press to seal. Place on 2 greased large baking sheets.

Bake in a 475 degree oven for 4 minutes. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, in a large pot bring 8 cups water and 2 Tablespoons salt to boiling. Add pretzels 3 or 4 at a time, and boil gently for 2 minutes, turning once. Using a slotted spoon, remove pretzels from water and drain on paper towels. Let stand a few seconds. Place pretzels about 1/2 inch apart on 2 well greased large baking sheets.

In small bowl combine egg white and 1 tablespoon water; brush over pretzels. Sprinkle with kosher salt. BAke in the 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. remove from baking sheets; cool on wire racks.

For more Recipes visit my recipe site: Deana's Recipes

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Frugal Menu Plan Monday

Frugal Menu Plan Monday (A few days Late)

Favorite Oven Beef Stew
(Chuck Roast, Carrots Onions, Peas and Whole Wheat Noodles)
Jello Fruit Salad

Tuesday Pizza Night
Deana's Pizza

Taco Casserole
Tossed Salad

Homemade Shake and Bake Chicken Drumsticks
Rice Pilaf
Green Beans
Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Birthday Dinner (Cheaper than going to a Steak House)
Sirloin BBQ
Twice Baked Potatoes (Made in advance)
Steamed Broccoli Spears
Garlic Bread
Tossed Salad
Homemade Chocolate Birthday Cake

Bacon, Ham, Broccoli Quiche
Leftover Salad and Garlic Bread
Maybe Garden Vegetable Soup

Spaghetti and Meat sauce
Green Beans
Tossed Salad

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pumpkin Creations 2008

My Current view and opinon on celebrating Halloween.

     I have said this before but I really think the attitude that Christians shouldn't celebrate Halloween is generational and really a new thing. A lot of Christians my age don't have a big problem with it. I am in my forty's and I remember being a kid in the Late 60's and 70's and everyone celebrated Halloween. It was celebrated in school and even at churches. All churches --Fundamentalist Baptist included. My best friend went to a very large Fundamentalist Baptist church and they celebrated Halloween. It was a benign fun holiday where in the 60's people made homemade treats and shared it with their neighbors. Halloween parties for adults and children were very common. No one had a problem with it. The Fundamentalist Church my husband went to as a teenager, use to have a very well known haunted hay ride. You had to listen to the gospel message before the hay ride but it was still a Halloween haunted hay ride with all the scary trimmings. 
        Then in the late 70's you had the Halloween candy scares. So then, no more homemade treats only wrapped candy. It really wasn't till the mid to late 80's that there began to be a backlash of Halloween in the Church Communities. Even in the 90's when we were attending a Southern  Baptist church and my daughter was going to a Southern Baptist school, they still dressed up, but the kids couldn't be in scary costumes. During that time when we were young adults and young parents, we wrestled with do we celebrate Halloween or not. We had Christian friends that ran the gambit from pretending to not be home, to telling neighbors not to visit their house, to passing out tracks with the candy. Well frankly all that to us is silly now and doesn't make for good neighborly relations. 
     My husband and I both had great fond childhood memories of Halloween. It was very much a family neighborly time. It only has the meaning you give it. Frankly it is fun. Scary is fun, and it is a way to poke fun at things that may scare you. Just because some people use the day for evil does not make it evil for everyone. There are evil people doing evil things every day of the year. 
     We have no issue anymore with Halloween. We are in a very dense family friendly neighborhood. We get close to  100 trick or treaters each year (I know because I make up the treat bags). We get so many because our neighborhood is very family dense but also because there is a house at the end of our street that plays scary movies on their garage door and passes out full size candy bars and sodas. Our house is on the way to his house. We have become the house known for our cool pumpkin carving. It has become a family tradition and my daughter was over last night to carve pumpkins. I'll try to post some pictures on my blog tonight of the pumpkins. She was even teaching her friends at college how to carve pumpkins. Ok I apologize for such a long rant. Just my 2 cents. Sorry for being so long winded.