Thursday, September 21, 2023

Simple Recipes To Get You Through The Week!



Does anyone else ever feel like there is no time in the day? I always feel like there is no time in the day. I work full time, write, and freelance, not including spending time with my family and craft for resale. So, I have put together a few simple recipes that can help save time for the busy person on the go.

Roasted Chicken Crock Pot Dinner

So this recipe is simple enough, even if you forget to thaw your chicken.
I will usually thaw the chicken the night or the day before. But if you forget, throw it in frozen as long as it doesn't have the bag of giblets inside it.

Spray your crock pot.
Place cleaned whole potatoes in the bottom of your crock pot with seasonings and butter.
Please note I have a larger crock pot, and everything fits. If you have to cut your potatoes, that is okay because you're stacking everything.
Top the potatoes with canned or fresh green beans or carrots and 1/2 of a sliced onion.
On a plate, season all sides of your whole chicken.
Place in the crock pot, breast side down.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours until chicken has cooked thoroughly.
With minimal prep work, you get an easy dinner.

***

Chili Mac

This recipe is super simple, and what I call it is a one-pot wonder. 
2- boxes of cheap Mac and cheese
1- can chili of your choosing
Milk
 3- tablespoons Butter
Shredded cheese

In a pot, empty your Mac and Cheese pasta and powder mix to the pot
Add 1 cup milk add enough water to cover the remaining pasta
Add any other spices you like
Add butter
Cook on medium-low until pasta is slightly aldente
Add a can of chili to the mixture (Whichever chili you like.)
Cook the mixture on low until it thickens
Add cheese and mix
Top with sour cream, extra cheese, or whatever your heart tells you 

***

Easy Chicken Quesadillas

1- Bag Shredded Cheese
1- bag 8-inch soft tortillas
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup salsa
1- drained can of shredded chicken or 1 cup shredded chicken
2- teaspoons taco or fajita seasoning
(You can add anything to the mix that you would like, such as cooked onions or peppers, beans, etc. Just remember to add extra cheese.)
Spices of your choice

In a bowl, mix the following items: cheese, chicken, salsa, and spices, and mix well.
You can add extra cheese or beans if you wish.
Preheat a skillet on medium heat. 
Add mixture to half the tortilla shell and fold over.
Place in skillet and cook till golden on both sides.
Serve with the condiments of your choice!

***

Easy French Onion Soup

4 Cups Beef Broth
4 Tablespoons Butter
6 Cups Of Sliced Onion
2 Cubes Beef Boullion
2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
4 Cloves of Garlic minced
Croutons
Mozzarella or Provolone Cheese
Salt and Pepper

Get the crock pot again because you are cooking this all day low and slow.
Mix your onions, minced garlic, cornstarch, and spices.
Let the cornstarch coat all of the onions.
Add the mixture to the crock pot.
Add Beef Broth and Bouillon
DO NOT MIX
Add Butter 
Throw the lid on and cook low and slow.
Let it cook for 4-6 hours.
When the onions are soft and cooked, add the soup to an oven-safe soup bowl.
Add soup top with croutons and cheese
Put under a broiler till the cheese is melted and has formed a crust.
Serve with a sandwich or have the soup by itself.

** Traditionally, this recipe is served with a big piece of crusty bread sitting in it to soak up the broth and topped with cheese, but who has time to worry about cutting the bread and toasting it? Croutons work as well, and people usually have them in their homes.**

**

Stuffed Sandwiches

This dinner is where you will want the leftovers!
My kids loved this recipe, and it is also great to make for potlucks or get-togethers.

2 Loaves French or 1 Loaf Cuban Bread (Need 4 feet of bread)
1 Bottle of Creamy Italian Dressing
2- 1 Poundpackages- Cheese of your choice, Cut slices in half 
1 -1 Pound Package of Salami
1-1 Pound Package Ham
1-1 Pound Package Turkey
1 Package of Baby Spinach
1/2 Sliced Onion Thin
1/2 to 1 whole Pepper Sliced Thin Or 1- jar of sweet sliced peppers
1-2 tomatoes cut into bite-size pieces (Or one can of flavored or diced tomatoes drained)
Foil

*you should have leftover meat and cheese for later.*
Preheat your oven to 325-350 degrees

On two baking sheets, Cut foil big enough to wrap your sandwiches
Cut bread to open in a v shape (if it breaks, no worries, you're going to wrap it in foil anyway)
On both sides of the bread, liberally spread the creamy Italian Dressing- You want this to be slightly damp with the dressing.
On the bottom of the bread, place one row of each cheese 
Layer your lunch meat
Add Another Layer of Cheese
Add tomatoes, peppers, and spinach in layers
Top with onions
Add another layer of cheese.

Now, you close the sandwich the best you can and wrap it tight with foil.
Once wrapped, put your pans in the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes. You want them to melt the cheese and be hot throughout the sandwich.
Take out of the oven and sit for 5 minutes
Cut into 1-2 inch slices
Can store leftovers if there are any in the fridge

Serve with chips, Salad, French Fries, Or Fruit!
These reheat so well the following day.

***

Ultimate Breakfast for Dinner Casserole

1- can bake and eat biscuits (Or homemade)
1- dozen eggs
1- package sausage (need 1 cup ground up)
1- package ham cut into cubes (1 cup)
1-package bacon cooked and crushed
1- bag hashbrown potatoes
1- onion chopped chopped 
1- bell pepper chopped
1- bag of shredded cheese
2- packages of gravy mix
Milk
Salt, Pepper and Powdered Garlic
Butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Take 1- 9 by 13-inch pan and 1- 8 by 8-inch pan and butter both pans 
Layer of the hashbrowns in the pans, and you should not go above halfway up the pans
Mix the meat, vegetables, and half the cheese. Reserving some of the sausage to add to the gravy if you have more than a cup
Spread the meat and vegetable mix in both pans
In the same bowl, you had the meat and veggies in scramble all 12 eggs
add a little milk and seasonings (You can add seasoning of your choice)
pour mixture over meat and potatoes
DO NOT MIX
Make Gravy mix per the instructions
Take Biscuits cut up into fours and spread over the top of the pans
Take gravy and pour over the biscuits
Take both bans and cook in the oven until the egg mixture is baked and not wiggly in the middle. 
Check your biscuits to make sure they have cooked through as well,
Cooking time will take 25-30 minutes.
Top the pans with the remaining cheese and cook until melted.
Serve and Enjoy
Depending on the size of your family, you may have leftovers that will hold for 2-3 days in the fridge.

You can switch out the meat and veg to your preference, but remember some vegetables may release moisture during the cooking process, so make sure you account for that in cooking or pre-cook them. 

***
Pork and Peaches

Get That Crock Pot Out!
1 Pork Loin or 6 Pork Chops
2 cans peaches in syrup(You need the syrup do not drain)
1/2 onion sliced thin
1-3 Apples Cut up (I always add three because of the flavor contrast)
Cinnamon
4 Table Spoons Brown Sugar
Garlic Powder
Salt Pepper
Beef Or Vegetable instant gravy pack

Serve over Mashed Potatoes, Noodles or Rice

In a crock pot, add peaches, apples, onion, gravy pack, spices 
Mix to combine
Add pork
Coat the pork in the mixture
Cook Low and Slow for 4-6 hours
Be prepared for the pork to fall apart or be very tender.

I hope this helps with a few quick night dinners!

-Angie






 












Wednesday, September 20, 2023

This Happened This Morning

Everyone who knows me is aware I firmly believe in the paranormal. I have lived in many haunted houses and had a lot of ghostly experiences. As we fast approach All Hallows Eve, the veil is beginning to thin, and this happened.

This post is in real-time. I work from home doing customer service. I had a call come in for work, and I had turned my chair, so I was facing my large monitor as I was exhausted this morning and was helping a customer. You must understand we live in a smaller mobile home, so I hear everything even while working. I hear my partner get out of bed and go into his dresser that we share. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the drawer open and hear the squeak it makes when it opens. I see clothing moved in the drawer and the drawer shut. As I am still helping my customer, I did not turn around, and I am thankful I did not. I hear what I thought was my partner leaving the room as the door squeaks as it opens and closes. I hear my partner walk through the house and the front door open and close. After the call ended, I went to make the bed so the dogs could lay on it, and when I turned towards the bed, my partner was still sound asleep. 

Was it his doppelganger? Was it a ghost? I told him about what happened when he woke up thirty minutes later, and he said, 'The house was locked up' until he went outside a few minutes ago to take a phone call. I even checked our security camera, and there was nothing but the stray cats outside the entire time. Any thoughts? Let me know in the comment section below.

👻👻👻👻

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Working On My Writing

I have a few passions, but one of the biggest is writing. As many know, I published my first book, Ghost Stories for the Chicken at Heart- Extended Edition, on Amazon last month. I am currently working on editing The Farm. But I am also working on many more books on my writer's page. Please feel free to read along, as there are books in the rough draft process, and I would love to know what you think. These stories are updated every week to every two weeks. Let me know what you think.





Monday, September 18, 2023

Holidays Are Coming

Are you feeling the pinch with the upcoming holiday season? Well, never fear there is a way to get a few extra dollars from the comfort of your own home. Check out my page here to see the sites i have tested and use! Post any questions below, and I would be glad to help you.


Happy Earning,

Angie




Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Looking Into Buying A Home...

So, I am currently looking to buy land or a home. The problem with this is the cost of homes has skyrocketed. I am seriously considering buying just land and putting an RV on it as I am looking for a home in the country. That way, I can build my own tiny place to live or cabin myself. Any thoughts?



Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Winter Is Coming

We just got over a hurricane and are still not done with hurricane season. But as I was reading news articles about being prepared for the storm, I noticed several news articles that the Farmer's Almanac was predicting a rather nasty winter. So, what does that mean for the southern half of the USA? Rain and unseasonably low temperatures. Honestly, I am right with this as I love to have the windows open and have fresh air in the house. Remember, like in any weather situation, be it a heat wave or cold weather, you need to remember the key is to ensure your home is ready for anything that may happen. So start that home maintenance now and keep extra supplies on hand just in case the weatherman gets it right this time!

Are you all excited about the possible cold weather down south? Let me know below!



Monday, September 4, 2023

Money Saving Tips From A By Gone Era, Which Hold True Today



With the state of the economy, times are hard for everyone. Money does not hold the same value as it used to. More and more families are struggling to make ends meet. The cost of everyday living has increased, and workers pay has remained the same. The only people who have benefitted from this are big business. So let us take a step back and think about what the generations before us did to save some money. Maybe some of these suggestions may save you money. Let's see what people before us did to save money. These are the top suggestions I found.

DOUBLE-CHECK THOSE UTILITIES AND KEEP UP ON HOME REPAIRS

One way to save could be as easy as saving on electricity by shutting off the lights and unplugging small appliances not used at that time. I make it a habit now to shut lights off in empty rooms anytime I walk past. I also make sure that I keep anything not in use unplugged in the kitchen. Make it a point to check your faucets to prevent drips so your water bill stays down. Also, insulate around your windows and doors to prevent drafts and losing air conditioning or heating. Preventative home maintenance is the key to lowering your costs for the long term. When I was a first-time home buyer, money was tight, and this was also the time I learned that YouTube is your friend, and if you cannot afford to have someone come in and it's a simple fix, learn how to do it yourself.

REUSING ITEMS

Have you ever gone for a drive the night before garbage day and seen people put their trash outside? All that garbage makes you think, How many of those items could have been given away or donated to charity? When I started as a new homeowner, I would go around before garbage day or big item garbage day and see if I could find furniture to bring back to life or repurpose. Here are a few things that I feel would help you save some money and maybe save the world.

1. Old food containers- Seriously, the price of plastic containers at the store is insane. What if you have someone over for dinner and want to send them home with leftovers? Most of the time, you will never get that container back. My solution is to save my old food containers and lids instead of buying new ones. 

The same goes for old Gatorade and sturdier drink bottles. My partner tends to lose or forget them. To keep me from nagging him, I decided to keep older Gatorade and drink bottles that are sturdy and clean them. That way, he doesn't have to worry about me complaining that I have to buy more, and I keep a few bottles out of the landfill.

When you think about these suggestions, we all have seen it. Grandma asks you to get the butter tub out of the refrigerator, and you go through 4 tubs before you find the actual butter. I do the same thing, and it saves on buying containers that will get lost or never returned.

2. Old jars- The same goes for old glass jars. Glass jars save cabinet space and are great for food storage. These jars are also great for crafting new items. I have seen YouTube videos with people who even can new food items with old glass jars and lids. Please watch a tutorial or two on how to do that as I have not used old jars yet to water bath can. Doing this is a canner-beware situation. Better safe than sorry.

However, I will use old jars I thoroughly cleaned to store grains, sugar, flour, and anything I might dehydrate. Storing in jars saves on your food getting bugs or humidity turning the product.

3. Old furniture- Have an old tall dresser missing drawers but no closet space? Create a hanging closet with a few cheap items and remove the drawer shelf. It is possible to transform many older pieces into something new by refurbishing them. You will only limited by your imagination. 

GARDENING AND CANNING (DEHYDRATING)

1. If you have the space, start a garden. Having fresh produce is an economical way to stretch the food budget, and with rising food costs, a garden is a great way to offset the prices. If you do not have the space for a garden, some areas have community garden plots you can rent. I had my other half build gardening boxes for our tiny space, and we will add a few things to our pantry.

2. Can you find amazing deals on produce? Why not buy extra and can it for future use? I love to do this and have started experimenting with jams and jellies. I only do water bath canning as I am too scared to pressure can. Pressure canning is something I am slowly working on to increase what I can save for the future.

3. Dehydrating food is another way to give fruits, vegetables, and meats a longer shelf life. Dehydrators have become more reasonably priced now and are worth the investment. I picked my dehydrator up at a thrift store for a fraction of the cost, and I use it weekly if the produce stand has good deals going. I love making dried fruit and vegetables. If stored properly, the food can last years on your shelves or in your pantries.

COOKING AND BAKING AT HOME

1. Don't get me wrong, I love a good take-out meal just as much as the next person. However, prices have risen a lot in the restaurant industry lately, and the foods I usually purchase have increased 10-20 percent in price, and the larger the family, the higher the costs of getting a take-out meal. I have tried creating cost-saving meals that can stretch the food budget. Now, I will admit I have purchased some additional spices and glazes to become more creative, and I did get some of these at Dollar Tree and Walmart's $.98 bin. But with a few simple ingredients, you can make restaurant-inspired meals at home. 

2. Try a cookbook challenge. I collect old cookbooks and will modify a recipe to use what I have on hand if needed. You never know what meals or desserts you may be able to create. Also, Don't be afraid to have a miss here or there. Making mistakes is part of the process of cooking and baking. If you make a mistake, don't worry about it. Learn from what you did wrong and try again.

3. Give baking a try and save money on what you would spend in-store. Are you nervous about terms in baking? You can watch some YouTube cooking videos that explain what the cooking terms mean and what you need to know. I have been trying to do more baking and learning to do more complicated items. I can make cookies from scratch, and I am good at that, But I am now branching off to learn how to make homemade cakes and bread. I am trying to create a great biscuit now. It's all trial and error, and learning new things keeps our brains active.

BARTERING WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS

Do you have a unique skill that can be useful? Offer to use that skill to help a neighbor in exchange for the help you need. 

1. For example, does your neighbor know how to fix a washing machine in exchange for you fixing a computer issue they have? Why hire a professional for more money when you could save some money? 

2. Or has your neighbor declared she cannot even make a cake from a box and needs cupcakes for her child's birthday, and she has a ton of produce in her garden? You could offer to make cupcakes from scratch in exchange for her extra produce.

REUSING LEFTOVERS

I know many people who hate leftovers, but leftovers can be a time-saving tool that helps stretch your budget further. 

1. For example, You make a whole roasted chicken dinner. Meal one would be your dinner. The next day you can have chicken sandwiches. Then, if you have anything left after making sandwiches, you can use what meat is left and make a chicken soup. Not to waste anything, you can also take the chicken caraccas and boil it out to make chicken stock to either can or keep in the refrigerator. 

2. If you make a lot of plain rice to go with a meal. You can use the leftovers the following day to make fried rice. I usually load mine up with extra vegetables and fried eggs. Another quick meal completed with what you already had.

3. Another leftover is saving your vegetable scraps to make a vegetable stock. I will keep my vegetable scraps in a large zip lock bag in the freezer until I fill the bag, then will boil the vegetable scraps and add herbs to make a broth to can or freeze.

Reusing leftovers is only limited by your imagination. One meal can become three, with leftovers for lunch the following day, a great time and money saver.

SEWING AND REPAIRING CLOTHES, HAND ME DOWNS

Clothing is a necessity and a very expensive one. I have seen people throw out good shirts and pants due to a popped button. I could not believe how many pieces of clothing end up in a dumpster pile because people will not take the time to repair a button or rip. There are many tutorials on how to take care of your clothing and make creative and beautiful repairs.

What happens when you have clothes you want to get rid of? Well, you can either sell them or gift them as hand-me-downs. Have kids that sprouted over the summer? Pass them on to family members who have younger children. As a woman, did you get some new things? Maybe consider donating the clothes you're not keeping to a battered woman's shelter. If you have a husband who wants to get rid of clothes, why not donate them to your local Veterans Affairs Office or men's shelter? Help out the less fortunate.

Also, do you have a creative streak? Try repurposing those old clothes. There are many tutorials on how to repurpose a piece of clothing. You're limited only by your imagination.

THRIFT STORES

Another great way to stretch your budget is to visit your local thrift stores. I love the deals you can get at thrift stores. I have purchased many kitchen items for a fraction of the cost. Of course, test any electronics and kitchen items before you leave the store. For example, I purchased a food dehydrator at a local charity thrift store, and if new, this item was $80.00, and I purchased this item slightly used for $15.00. I use the dehydrator constantly and have never had any problems with it. I also get books and clothes in good condition for a fraction of the cost. The only thing I will advise if shopping at a thrift store is don't be afraid to go through bins or take your time browsing as items can buried. It is almost like your own personal treasure hunt.

LOYALTY PROGRAMS

Back in the early years, stores had stamp redemption programs. These programs would earn you books of stamps that you could redeem for household items. Now, most stores have loyalty programs that you can earn points and keep track of on your phone or the web to use towards discounts or free items. I signed up for many of these rewards programs because even a few dollars saved or the coupons are worth putting in your phone number or providing an email address. Many people will say I do not want to give my personal information or I get too many emails. I have a dummy email account just for sites or rewards programs that I rarely look at except to delete once a week or grab any online receipts. Besides, as someone who used to work retail, employers hound employees to get people to sign up. Be the hero and save the employee the headache.

TAKING CARE OF WHAT YOU HAVE

Upkeep and maintenance on items you own will keep them from being replaced often. Let this be a good reminder if you own or rent your house. Keeping up means doing what you can to ensure your appliances are cleaned, oiled, and properly running. Make sure you have your vehicle maintained as well to try to avoid future problems. If you use an item actively, ensure you're what you are using, or it will have to be replaced sooner outside of normal wear and tear.


Do you have any other suggestions on how to save money in the long run? The world is becoming a crazy place, and with the cost of living rising and pay staying the same, we all need to find a way to save extra money. Please post any further suggestions in the comment section below.







Being Creative On Cooking

I have a ton of hurricane supplies and add to it monthly. Yes, I do rotate my supplies. I want to be creative with the meals. If any of thes...