Thirty Day Challenge Begins

Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's been one year ago that I started this blog and issued myself a thirty day challenge to wean my family off of processed foods in thirty days. Well, what can I say, life happened and... we lasted about 20 days. BUT, I am not a quitter so...


I am challenging myself, and any others who wish to join me, in eating out less and cooking with less "convenience foods". There were many things that tripped me up last year that I hope not to repeat again.

The first thing was I put too much pressure on myself. I beat myself up mercilessly (and drowned my sorrows in pre-packaged ice cream) anytime that I wanted to eat out or used something that *gasp* came out of a can.

I also didn't have a very good game plan. I tried to fly by the seat of my pants after a while and that is really not possible. PLANNING IS THE KEY. When there is no plan, that's when things fall apart and you reach for the tortilla chips and the block of Velveeta and call it dinner.

I will be posting my recipes, my shopping lists, my meal planning charts, and any other little tid bits of helpful information I gather along the way.

And sometimes, I will also be posting things like this:

Well, just because I think it's funny and it's my blog. Happy April's Fools Day!


New Year for Out of that Box

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Beginning in January this blog will be once again breathed to life. I promise. Scouts honor. (I was never a scout, but my husband was- does that count) There will be some changes, but all for the better. I can't wait!

To get the ball rolling, tomorrow I will post recipes and pictures of some fabulous fudge and pecans that were made as Christmas gifts...

Stay tuned.

~ Amanda

Happy Birthday Jennifer

A very happy birthday to Jennifer, one of the awesome contributors to the blog! I hope your day is super blessed!

<3 Amanda

Quinoa and Black Beans

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I know it has been a long time since anything was posted on here so I thought I would revive the blog.

My name is Jennifer and I am the one who did the little chicken sammiches. Here is another really easy recipe that turned out really yummy. My kids are now at the point in their lives where everything is yucky and they don't like it. Well they liked quinoa and black beans. I was surprised as heck that they asked for seconds. BOTH boys.

This recipe is very healthy and doesn't take hardly any time at all to put together. And it is awesome. It serves 8 (so it says but I had more than one serving all by myself and my kids did too) and it is only 210 calories per serving. Pretty good if you ask me.

1 tsp canola oil
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed)
2 tsp Better Than Bouillon Chicken mixed with 1 1/2 cup water (this is some pretty flavorful broth mix, come to find out)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (use however much you want. My son doesn't like spicy so I cut back a bit but you use what your family prefers)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels (optional) (I used corn and boy was it delicious)
2 cans (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed (I went even healthier and got the less sodium kind)

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute about five minutes.

Rinse quinoa with cold water for a few minutes.

Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

Stir frozen corn into saucepan and continue to simmer about 5 more minutes. Mix in the black beans.

Top with cilantro (I did not) and enjoy.

Healthy, Easy, and Delicious.

Dishes approved by Nicholas!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hi! I'm Kelly and I am so thrilled to be contributing to Amanda's blog. Love it! I love cooking and baking even more. I am the mom of one great eater, Olivia (age 7), and one picky eater, Nicholas (age 5). Today I am sharing 3 recipes that are Nicholas approved. All are hot sandwiches/hoagies.

Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes
(can use beef or chicken)

1 lb ground meat
1 cup water
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 pkt onion soup mix
4 tablespoons tomato paste

Cook meat until brown and crumbly over med-high heat. Drain. Stir in remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened. Broil buttered buns in oven. Serve with french fries.

Fabulous French Dip Sandwiches
(one of the few times I eat red meat)

4-5lb brisket or boneless beef round roast
1 Can beef broth
1 can french onion soup
vegetable oil
garlic salt
onion salt
1/8 tsp oregano (optional)
provolone cheese
hoagie buns

Cut brisket in half. Using a small amount of vegetable oil, place brisket in skillet and season with garlic salt, onion salt, and pepper and brown on both sides. Put in crock pot. Cover with beef broth and french onion soup. Cook on high 5 to 6 hours. Pull out meat and shred. Put back in crock pot with oregano. cook on low another 2 hours.

Put meat on hoagie buns and top with cheese. Broil these in the oven to melt the cheese and toast the buns for just a couple of minutes.

Sloppy Chicken Pizza Joes

nonstick cooking spray
3lbs ground chicken
2 14oz jars pizza sauce
2 C total frozen red and green pepper and onions. I use fresh ones though.

Brown chicken in spray coated pan until no longer pink. In crock pot, stir together pizza sauce and veggies. Stir in cooked chicken. Cook on high 3 to 4 hours or on low 6 to 8 hours. Broil hoagies with cheese and then remove and add sloppy chicken mixture.

Hope you enjoy these easy recipes! I am always looking for new quick meals to fix, especially with school starting soon.

Out of that... Oven?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My oven is out of commission. There's nothing wrong with my oven. There's something wrong with the gas that makes my oven go... it's not there. But, that's neither here nor there, the point is- who wants to cook in the middle of the summer. I already have window units running on overdrive throughout this house racking me up a 450.00 light bill. Sorry, did that just give you a stroke. I should have put a disclaimer before that sentence, kind of like they do for strobe lights. Warning: If you're weak at heart or easily shocked please just close your eyes until this sentence passes. Yep, that's one big bill, so I can't in good conscience crank up that oven to 400 degrees and heat up this house any more than it is. So, I have had to forgo baking yummy breads and desserts and just making simple recipes that usually get me through, like Chicken and Dumplings. Then my Granny gave me this :

The Rival Roaster. I cannot wait to try this. My grandmother never used it. Ever. It was still in the plastic. I've been researching recipes all over the internet to cook in this little beauty and I can't wait to pass them onto you. Apparently, anything you can cook in an oven can be cooked in this bad boy. Looks like I can bake brownies without baking us all in the process! I can't WAIT!

Little Chicken Sammiches

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ok, so this is my first guest appearance and first time posting something I have cooked. So if I missed a step, please forgive me. My name is Jennifer and hopefully you like what I post. I don't know how well it does on the healthy scale (well really I do but didn't want to say that it isn't healthy..because it isn't) but sometimes you just gotta fix what you have on hand.

I am going to start off by saying that this can be altered in so many ways to make it your own. I think that each time I make it, it's a bit different depending on my mood or my kids' moods. I don't measure a thing when I make this particular item. It's all about eyeballing it to your happiness.

Here we go.

Here's what you will need: mayonaisse, mustard, drained canned chicken breast (or tuna if you prefer). Everything else is what you want.

My line up is this

Plus this

And of course these to make our sammiches

Ok, so now that you have the jist of what is involved let's get started on combining them all.

I put the chicken in a bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients. How hard and technical, right?

I put in the mayo to my liking. I like enough to coat the chicken but not make it too slimy or wet because I still have mustard AND pickle juice to put in. Yes, you read that right. Pickle juice. Yum. I then put in a bit of mustard for color and a hint of taste. I am not a huge fan of mustard so I don't go overboard but it does add a nice zing to the mix.

So now that I have the chicken all gooey with mayo and mustard, I add my bacon (which I obviously crumbled up....and add as much as you want. You could add a lot or just a little) and onion powder (I hate the texture, crunch, and taste of raw onion but you like it be my guest to add fresh onion) and garlic salt. I'm careful on the garlic salt because the bacon is salty already. I don't need to be so bloated I can't button my pants the next morning, know whatta mean?

I then chop some pickles and add them to the mix. I didn't have cheese in the picture but I add it to my dinner. I get shredded cheese and put however much we want in it. My hubby loves him some cheese so I put a nice handful in there plus a bit more. Pepper of course must be in there. What's a meal without pepper? I taste my mix and add a bit of pickle juice to top it off. And viola!!

I bake the bisquits according to the package. When they are done I cut them in half to make a sandwich. I put the mix on the bisquit and stick it back in the oven at 250 degrees for about 7 to 10 minutes (long enough to melt the cheese). When it's done I let it cool off a bit and then put a slice of tomato on top and gobble it up.

Like I said, it isn't healthy but it sure is tasty. My kids will actually eat it and my hubby likes it. It is an easy dinner for those nights you just don't have time (or patience) to fix an all-out meal.

The finished product.

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