Archive for July 2011

Cheap & Easy: Chicken Mozzarella Sandwiches

July 30, 2011

I love making homemade chicken parmesan, one of these days I'll get my recipe up here and posted. Last year some time I went out to eat and had one of the best Chicken Parm sandwiches that I decided to try it at home. You know what? It was more hassle than it was worth!! If I'm going to go through the effort and make some really good chicken parmesan, I'm going to serve it up nice with some garlic steamed veggies and french bread.

So anyway, last week I was strolling through Walmart with my list in hand for my menu that week. One of the dinners I had planned was not going to work out, Walmart believe it or not didn't carry the brand that I had a coupon for, it would have put me over budget. I came across a bag of Banquet breaded chicken patties and a very simple idea came to me. The result is the very easy and cheap recipe below that we all loved and got everyone fed. That's the point right? I even put the cost breakdown beside the ingredients.

Chicken Mozzarella Sandwiches

5 frozen breaded chicken patties (this was 1/2 the bag) $2.00
5 hamburger rolls -$.49
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce -approx. $.25
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese -$.50

Bake chicken patties as directed on package. Place each patty on a hamburger bun, top with some sauce and a sprinkling of cheese, and heat in the microwave for about 15 seconds or until the cheese is melted. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.

Total cost of dinner: $3.24 plus whatever side you serve it with, I chose Cheesy Garlic Shells from my stockpile that I had snagged for free after coupons :)

Cost per serving: $.54 per sandwich


Homemade Icees

July 29, 2011

**Update: I posted this recipe 2 years ago and it's still one of our favorite summertime treats! Click here to share the full graphic with your friends on Facebook, or scroll down for an easy pin-able graphic. Stay cool!**

If you live anywhere near a Rita's Water Ice, you know how bad the cravings can get. If not, you have my sincere sympathy. Born and raised in Northeast Philly, I grew up on water ice. Every summer it was a treat to walk to the local water ice stand around the corner from our church. I remember taking that walk fondly during youth group on Sunday nights. Good times.

Well the other day we decided to take Silas for a small water ice at Rita's. Seriously. It was close to $13 for the three of us and Silas had a kid cup! On the way home I commented to Paul that we should have just gone to Kmart and bought Icees there instead. His reply? It would be even cheaper if we could make these at home.

That's when it hit me that I came across a recipe for them here. AND it just so happened that Kool Aid packets went on sale for $.10 the next week. It was meant to be. So one hot afternoon me and my trusty sidekick tried it out. We loved them so much we decided to invite Aunt Renee and Uncle Chris over for Icees after dinner the next night!

Homemade Icees

1 packet Kool Aid (any flavor)
2 cups seltzer or club soda (I used seltzer)
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups ice

Dissolve sugar and kool aid packet in one cup of the seltzer, you can do this right in the blender. Add ice and pulse until all ice chunks are gone. Add remaining one cup of seltzer and blend. Pour into glasses and serve. One batch made enough for two adult glasses (approx 12oz) and one kid glass (approx 6oz). Now the original recipe says to freeze in the glasses for 30 minutes, but I forgot and they were fine.


These were very tasty and a really fun summer activity, even with a toddler. We've tried tropical punch and orange so far. I think next on the list is a frozen lemonade. :)

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Friday Favorite Finds

I literally went to about 12:30pm until I realized that today was Friday, how sad is that?? My first pregnancy I worked up until the day I went into labor. While I'm extremely thankful that I don't have to go out in this heat every day, I'm getting a bit stir crazy! We'll see if I have anything exciting to report by next week. :)
Anywho, these are my picks for the week:
How Sweet It Is
These egg cups look so fresh. We eat a lot of processed foods around here unfortunately, so I'd love to try this one. I love the flavor of basil and tomatoes together.
Will Cook For Smiles
The meat prices around here have skyrocketed so I'm on the lookout for meatless recipes that are hearty enough for dinner. Don't these look so cheesy and good?
Freezer Friendly: Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Taste and See God's Goodness
The little booger could live on chicken nuggets. Heck, so could the big booger lol. This is such a great idea and they sound so tasty with the ranch dressing.
Slow Cooker: Hamburger Soup
Heritage Schoolhouse
I'm not a huge fan of soups simply because I always manage to ruin them! This looks so tasty I had to bookmark it.
Tami's Kitchen Table Talk
I love that this recipe starts with a cake mix. I could totally see myself whipping this up for unexpected guests.
Frugal Homemade: Fake Febreze
Homemade Mamas
I really hate shelling out the money for Febreze, but it works so well. I'm so glad I came across this "recipe"!
Linking up to: Joy in My Kitchen.

Easy Chili Cheese Fries

July 27, 2011
Wow. The cravings have been bad people! Yesterday I was clicking my way through blogland and came across a recipe for a Patty Melt. O. M. G. All I had to do was look over and Paul and he replied, "All right, what do you want this time??" :) Gotta love him. In case you don't know what a Patty Melt is (GASP) it's a burger on grilled sourdough bread with lots of fried onions and swiss cheese. So we went to one of our favorite little places in Lancaster County, the Squire Side Cafe. All I have to say is, they did not disappoint!!
The next craving I've had was for chili cheese fries from a place in Philly called Nifty Fifties. Since we live about 90 minutes away from the closest one now that we live in Amish Country, I set out to try and make my own. If any of you are familiar with the chili cheese fries from Nifty Fifties, these did not taste the same but they were an awesome and cheaper alternative. And yes, I will totally be turning my head at my 38 week weigh in tomorrow.

Easy Chili Cheese Fries

1/2 pkg frozen shoestring french fries
1 can Hormel Chili w/ beef
shredded cheddar cheese

Bake fries according to package directions (or fry them in a deep fryer if you prefer). Don't be lazy and skip the step where it says to turn over the fries after it's half done, it makes a difference -- I'm speaking from experience :). Pour fries into a 2 quart glass baking dish. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup cheddar over fries.

Heat chili in microwave for about 1 minute and spread over cheese. Sprinkle another cup or so of cheddar over the chili.

Bake for 6-7 minutes or until cheese is completely melted. Serve with sour cream if desired.

Notes: I'm not gonna lie, these were really really good. Although, Paul makes an awesome chili in the crockpot with beef and london broil and I think we're spoiled. We really don't like canned chili, it's just not the same. I think the next time I make this, I'll just whip up an easy skillet batch of chili and freeze half of it.

Easy Chili Cheese Fries

by Semi Homemade Mom
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Ingredients (serves 8)
  • 1/2 pkg frozen shoestring french fries
  • 1 can Hormel Chili w/ beef
  • shredded cheddar cheese
Bake fries according to package directions (or fry them in a deep fryer if you prefer). Don't be lazy and skip the step where it says to turn over the fries after it's half done, it makes a difference -- I'm speaking from experience :). Pour fries into a 2 quart glass baking dish. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup cheddar over fries. Heat chili in microwave for about 1 minute and spread over cheese. Sprinkle another cup or so of cheddar over the chili. Bake for 6-7 minutes or until cheese is completely melted. Serve with sour cream if desired.
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Menu Plan Monday 7/25

July 25, 2011

While we did eat out last week, I feel proud that we kept with the menu plan for the most part. My Grandmother was in town visiting, we went out to dinner for my Mom's birthday, and my Dad came back from Seminary. Despite the special occasions, I actually brought the ingredients over my parents house to make dinner and dessert one night! Here's what we enjoyed last week:

Monday - Dinner out for Mom's birthday (LOVE the Shady Maple!)

Tuesday- Spinach Lasagna Rolls and Strawberry Vanilla Poke Cake

Wednesday- Leftover Egg Salad sandwiches

Thursday- Easy Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

Saturday- Sausage Dinner @ Mom's

Sunday- Pizza Take Out

Who knows if this week will bring a new baby to our household or not! Either way, I feel secure knowing I have a full week planned of great dinners that are easy to prepare. Thank goodness for meat sales lol!

Monday - Mexican Chicken Casserole

Tuesday - Mini Pepperoni Pizzas w/Homemade Sauce

Wednesday - Shake N Bake Chicken

Saturday - Chili Cheese Fries

Sunday - Out/Leftovers

Special Breakfast - Apple Stuffed French Toast

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday.



Banana Pancakes

July 23, 2011

We love us some bananas in the Miller household. You could sit a McDonald's happy meal with burger and fries in front of the child and he could take it or leave it. The second he sees a new bunch of bananas in the bowl on the counter? Bana, Mommy??? Banaaaa??? Seriously, he could eat 2 or 3 or more in a sitting, it's hilarious. Good thing he's never had digestive issues that some kids do with bananas! I found this recipe on Allrecipes and it's definitely in our regular rotation.

Banana Pancakes
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Do any of you freeze your overripe bananas? I do, it makes life so much easier. When you need to use them, pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Open the peel and squeeze into the bowl, and there you go. To the bananas, add the egg, milk, and oil and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients well.

Pour flour mixture into banana mixture, batter will be slightly lumpy. Cook pancakes on a medium hot griddle as usual. Yum!

Linking up to: Foodie Friday, Food Trip Friday, Simply Sweet Home, Feasting in Fellowship Friday, and Tidy Mom.


Friday Favorite Finds

July 22, 2011
So here it is, another Friday Favorites day and still no baby boy. Sigh. I still don't have the hospital bag packed here at 38 weeks, maybe I should get on that. :) Here's what was added to my bookmarks this week:
Breakfast Recipe: French Toast Muffins
Baked Perfection
I feel like I have a serious addiction to french toast. This recipe does not help.
Full Bellies Happy Kids
With the exception of the string cheese, we pretty much always have these ingredients on hand which is why I immediately bookmarked this one.
Freezer Friendly Recipe: Mini Mushroom Cheese Frittatas
Will Cook For Smiles
We are in love with every single ingredient in this recipe. Once ricotta goes on sale around here again, I'm totally making a double batch and sticking the extras in the freezer.
Slow Cooker Recipe: Pork Chops for the Slow Cooker
All Recipes
I love how there's not tons of ingredients in this one, you could easily freeze the pork chops with the sauce in a ziploc bag too.
Party Food: Smores Dip
Sweet Cheeks Tasty Treats
Oh my Lord, I am one can of sweetened condensed milk away from devouring an entire bowl during naptime. Yeah I said it.
Dessert Recipe: Lemonade Cake
Betty Crocker
Paul has been on a MAJOR lemonade kick and if it wasn't for the fact that it brings on the most horrific heartburn this pregnant woman has ever experienced, I would join in with him. I might just make this for him, though in cupcake form because for some reason the man doesn't eat cake if it's whole. I told you he's a weirdo.

Cheeseburger Biscuit Bake

July 20, 2011

I caught this recipe on Redo 101's website last week and being that I have a million Pillsbury rolls in my freezer, decided to whip it up. Didn't know you could freeze Pillsbury/refigerated canned rolls, didya? Oh yeah, I've frozen the crescents, Grands rolls, cinnamon rolls, you name it. Once frozen, pop the can in the refrigerator the night before you plan to use it and in the morning they're ready to go!

Cheeseburger Biscuit Bake
1 lb ground beef
1 can pork & beans
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon dried, minced onions (or a real onion if you prefer)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can refrigerated biscuits (I used Pillsbury Grands)

Brown ground beef in skillet and drain off any fat. Return to skillet and add pork & beans, tomato sauce, ketchup, and onions. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Place half of meat mixture in bottom of 2 quart baking dish and top with half of cheese.

Add remaining meat and cheese. Place biscuits on top of cheese.

Bake at 400 for about 18 minutes (keep an eye on those biscuits though, you don't want them burning).

On a side note, I think next time I may try substituting the pork and beans for some quality baked beans. My husband also noted that while it was very good, it didn't have a "cheeseburger" flavor. Either way, this was very yummy and will be in our regular dinner rotation.

Linking up to: What I Whipped Up Wednesday, What's On Your Plate, What's Cooking Wednesday, Women Living Well, and This Chick Cooks.


Overnight French Toast Casserole

July 19, 2011

The first time I came across this recipe from Mommy's Kitchen and tried it out, it was instantly a hit with our family. Prep time takes only about 10 minutes the night before, and then in the morning you just pop it in the oven. I think this might be a new contender for our annual Thanksgiving breakfast held at our house, instead of the usual breakfast casserole. This was also a great way to use up some of those eggs I scored last week for $.59/doz.

Overnight French Toast Casserole
Recipe by Mommy's Kitchen
1/2 cup melted butter
1 french bread loaf
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I left this out)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I left this out)
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
maple syrup

Melt butter and pour in bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pecans.

In a larger bowl, whisk together vanilla, eggs, and milk. Slice french loaf and place one layer of bread slices on bottom of baking dish. I regularly find day old french bread on clearance at Walmart for around $1.

Sprinkle with 1/2 of brown sugar mixture. Place 2nd layer of bread slices on top. Pour egg mixture even over top layer of bread slices. Sprinkle remaining brown sugar mixture over top.

Cover with foil and refrigerate until morning. To bake, cover with new foil and place in oven at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Drizzle maple syrup over top and put back in oven for about 5 minutes. Let casserole sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Linking up to: Tuesdays at the Table, Take a Look Tuesday, Nap Time Creations, Too Cute Tuesday, Time Warp Wife, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, and Totally Tasty Tuesday.


Menu Plan Monday 7/18

July 18, 2011
So I'm not really going to formally post what we enjoyed last week because we ate out more times that I'd like to admit. I just was zapped of energy last week and this weird pregnancy itch is really getting to me during the day unless I'm sitting still with the air conditioner blowing on me at full force!
So in addition to Sushi and pizza take out (and a wedding we had to go to) I did manage to make a Cheeseburger Biscuit Bake, a teriyaki chicken stir fry from the freezer (that I burned, resulting in said Sushi takeout), a wonderfully nutritious dinner of microwaved hotdogs and boxed cheesy potatoes, and Pierogies Au Gratin. The rest the boys had to fend for themselves. Sigh. Please tell me we all have weeks like this!
Anyway, despite my lack of motivation, I had already bought things to prepare some dishes I had on the menu for the previous week so hopefully I will be able to make them now before some of those ingredients go bad. Here's the plan:
Monday - Spinach Lasagna Rolls (freeze one 8x8 pan)
Photo courtesy Recipe Shoebox 
Photo courtesy Six Sisters 
Thursday - Homemade Pizza w/Tomato Sauce
Photo courtesy Food and Whine

Saturday - Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches (just frozen breaded chicken patties with spaghetti sauce and a little mozzarella cheese on rolls)
Sunday - Eat out/Leftovers
 Linking up to: Menu Plan Monday.