Monday, February 28, 2011

March Menu



It’s that time of the month again.. menu planning time!!  :)  I just spent a little time last weekend getting my March menu written out.  You can find a March calendar for writing out your menu here:  http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/menuplanningcalendars.htm


 

1st – Hamburgers, coleslaw, chips
2ndPotato sausage chowder, dinner rolls, salad
3rd – spaghetti, dinner rolls, salad
4thtuna noodle casserole, salad
5th – Chinese beef and broccoli w/noodles, salad
6th – leftovers
7th – leftovers
8thfish tacos w/all the trimmings
9th  leftover fish and rice stir fry, salad
10thchicken potato chowder, dinner rolls, salad
11thSouthwest Stew (CP), cornbread, salad
12th – pizza  - Isaac’s birthday!!
13th – pumpkin chili, chips & salsa, salad
14th – hot dogs, coleslaw, chips
15th – leftovers
16th - baked chicken legs, coconut/pineapple rice, salad
17th – sausage, cabbage & pasta skillet dish, salad
18thmeatloaf, mashed potatoes, salad
19thcrockpot hamburger veggie soup, challah, salad
20th – leftovers
21st – sub sandwiches, tomato soup, chips
22nd – crustless chicken pot pie w/cheesy biscuits on top, salad
23rdeasy crockpot beef stew, French bread, salad
24th – Fisherman’s Stew, French bread, salad
25th – my birthday.. don’t have it planned yet
26th – leftovers
27thlasagna, dinner rolls, salad
28th – crockpot bbq chicken, French fries, salad
29th – crockpot kielbasa and sauerkraut, buttered noodles, salad
30thsplit pea soup, pepperoni bread, salad
31st – leftovers


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Making it S-T-R-E-T-C-H …. (Part 3)

Day 3
Today we are making our last meal with the remaining 3 cups of chicken.  In Part 1 and Part 2 we roasted our chicken, started making our chicken stock, made enchiladas and now we wrap this meal plan up with some delicious tasting chicken noodle soup! 


By mid afternoon my stock had been simmering for 20 hours.


It was time to strain out the stock. To do this I put a large bowl (you can use another stock pot if you wish) in my sink and put my strainer in the bowl. Then I poured it all into the strainer separating the bones from the stock…





When all was said and done I ended up 24 cups of rich looking and great tasting stock. For my day 3 dinner of chicken noodle soup I will be using 12 cups of stock. I put my 12 cups in a soup pot and set it on the burner to heat up to a boil.




While this was coming to a boil I got the rest of the soup ingredients ready. 


2 cups sliced carrots
10oz. pasta of your choice (I used spinach linguini noodles, but any type will work)
3 cups of chopped chicken





After my chicken stock had come to a boil I added my 2 cup of carrots..




I let this boil and cook for 15 minutes.

When it was done I added my pasta and my chicken meat..







I let this boil and cook for about 12 minutes (enough time to cook the pasta). I tasted it to see if it need salt, and it did.. so I added that along with a little pepper and a few dashes of Tabasco because we like a little kick to our food.. but the Tabasco is not mandatory! ~smile~




When my soup was done I put the remaining chicken stock into zip type quart bags. I had 3 quarts of stock to put in the freezer for future use. There is nothing better than homemade stock!



All in all my chickens cost me $10 and I fed my family for 3 nights plus had extra stock for the freezer.  I would say that is a pretty good deal. 
 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Making it S-T-R-E-T-C-H …. (Part 2)


 

Day 2
I left off in Part 1 with my chicken stock beginning to simmer and getting ready to make chicken enchiladas.

I had 6 cups of chopped up chicken meat left. I took 3 cups to use for this meal. I also used 3 cups of leftover Spanish rice. To begin with I made a batch of enchilada sauce. To make the enchiladas you will need:



3 cups chopped chicken meat
3 cups Spanish rice
1 batch enchilada sauce (not shown in the pic above because I had not made it yet:)
12 corn tortillas
Cheddar cheese (3 cups or so)


Make the sauce first according to the directions (recipe here: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/enchiladasauce1.htm .


Then in a medium size bowl combine the chicken meat and Spanish rice.



Next, soften the tortillas by heating up a little coconut oil in a frying pan and quickly fry them. Spray a 9x13 pan with non sticky spray.
When the sauce is done and the tortillas are soft we are ready to assemble the enchiladas…



I set out a plate to work on. Then I take a tortilla and dip it in the enchilada sauce and lay it on the plate



Now I put a large spoonful of chicken/rice mixture in the center…




Top with some cheese…




Roll it up and lay it seam side down in the 9x13 pan.




Continue doing this until all of the tortillas are done…




I had filling leftover, so I sprinkled across the top of the enchiladas…




Take the remaining sauce and pour it all over the enchiladas…




Sprinkle as much or as little cheese as you would like on the top…




Bake at 350 until hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted, about 30 to 40 minutes..



Tomorrow we will finish this up by making our chicken noodle soup.  So stay tuned!!  :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Making it S-T-R-E-T-C-H …. (Part 1)

This time it was two chickens!! I cooked 2 chickens and stretched them into 3 meals and had 3 quarts of chicken stock to put in the freezer! I ended up with a lot of pictures so I am dividing this into two blog posts. 

This is what I made:

First Night: Roasted chicken, Spanish rice (recipe at end of blog post), cornbread (
http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/cornbread1.htm), salad
Second Night: Chicken enchiladas, cornbread, salad
Third Night: Chicken noodle soup, dinner rolls (or you could serve biscuits or crackers), salad


Here is how I did it…



Day 1
I had 2 chickens and their combined weight was a little over 10lbs. I always look for the biggest chickens when I buy them; 5lbs each is always my goal. The bigger the chicken the more meat to work with.



The first day I decided we would have roasted chicken, Spanish rice, cornbread and a salad. I started off by washing my chickens and removing the giblets. I put the giblets in a bowl and put them in the fridge. I will be using those when I make chicken stock.




I put salt, pepper, garlic salt and seasoning salt all over the chickens and inside the cavity. I rubbed this on them well. I chopped up one large onion and used this to stuff the chickens. I then covered the pan and put them in the oven to bake at 325. I let them bake for about 3 hours.












While they baked I made Spanish rice ( recipe follows ) and cornbread (http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/cornbread1.htm )   and I made a salad. We ate about ¾ of one chicken that night.

The next day I deboned the rest of the chicken.



I chopped up the meat and had about 6 cups left…




I took the bones and liquid from the chicken and put them, along with the saved giblets, into a large pot to make chicken stock. I added 1 ½ gallons of water.





I put this on the stove to cook. I brought it to a boil and reduced the heat to low, covered it and let it simmer. My stock simmered for about 20 hours. When making stock it is best to let it cook for a long time to bring out the most flavor and nutrition. In the end, mine cooked for 20 hours. You can cook it anywhere from 12 to 36 hours.


Once the stock was started it was time to turn my attention to making chicken enchiladas…

****************************************************
Spanish Rice

2 cups brown rice
2 to 3 T olive oil
4 cups plus 2T water
1 heaping T of tomato paste (you can save the rest of the can and use it another recipe)
2T chili powder
2t cumin
2t salt

In a large stock pot heat olive oil and brown rice. Stir and cook the rice until it starts to brown slightly. Add water, tomato paste and seasonings and stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat slowly over the first 5 minutes and then put the lid on (this helps to prevent your pot from boiling over when you put the lid on ). Turn the burner on low and let it cook for another 55 minutes.


To Be Continued…..

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Household Cleaners


I really enjoyed reading everyone’s responses to my “How often do you…” post. Animals, kids, country living or not, family size, all played a part in how often we do housekeeping basics.

I had one question from a commenter:


I've been reading your website and blog for over a year now. My question is (and you may have previously addressed it) what cleaning products do you use (mainly bathroom, mopping liquid, etc)? I thought you might use homemade products or strictly Borax. Please share if you can. Thanks:)!




Mainly I use vinegar. Funny how after trying this and that I come down to vinegar. I make a small bucket of cleaning water (about a gallon) using vinegar and a little essential oil for a nice fresh lemon smell. I use 1 gallon of water, ½ cup vinegar and a drop or two of lemon essential oil. Technically it is a floor cleaner, but I end up using it for wiping down counters, wiping down walls, and of course cleaning floors. I use this cleaner more than any others because it is easy to make and inexpensive.




I make one gallon of this cleaner up and it lasts me several days. The trick is to never put a dirty or used rag back in the bucket of cleaning water if you want it to last for awhile. When I clean my floors I use a Sh-Mop.. a nifty floor cleaning tool my mother in law introduced me to years ago and I became an instant fan. Same idea as a Swiffer Mop.. only better.. the head it bigger and the cleaning cloths are terry cloth and you wash them and reuse them. They last an amazingly long time and do a great job in cleaning up the floors. I tried a Swiffer type thing once and was very disappointed in comparison. Plus I would not like having to buy the refill wipes for these.. don’t like being tied to a product like that and I guess I am just too frugal to boot.. Ha..haa.. :) So as soon as I mop my floor I take my Sh-mop cover off and toss it into the laundry. It gets washed with the rest of the cleaning rags. So basically no dirty rags ever go back into the cleaning water, so it lasts until it runs out. If you are interested in looking at a Sh-mop you can see them here: http://www.thecleanteam.com/catalog_f.cfm?category2=cat10&category=Sh-Mop 

 


I do use a few store bought cleaners too.. I use Commet type cleaner to swish my toilet every day, I use Scrubbing Bubbles on my tub, tile, and sinks.. because the stuff is amazing.. and Windex on my mirrors and windows. Sometimes I will make my own window cleaners or tub cleaners. It is nice to know how to do this when I run of something.. there is always a homemade alternative!

I have my homemade household cleaners listed here: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/homemadehouseholdcleaners.htm 

 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

McMom's Breakfast Sandwiches for the Freezer

I promised in February’s newsletter I would be posting a tutorial on making McMom’s Breakfast Sandwiches for the freezer.. and here it is!

My kids really love these sandwiches and I love the fact they make a quick and easy, no mess, no fuss breakfast. When I make them I make 24 at a time. Costco sells English muffins , 12 to a package and I buy two packages. But you can make less if you would like or more if you want to! :)

Ingredients for 24 breakfast sandwiches:

20 eggs
2 ½ (or so) lbs. sausage
24 English muffins
12 slices cheddar cheese (I use real cheese, not American cheese)
butter



I begin by cracking 20 eggs into a bowl and scrambling them up…




I spray an 11x15 inch pan with non stick spray and pour the eggs into the pan….




I bake them at 350 for about 25 minutes or until the eggs are cooked and the center of them is set. When they come out of the oven I cut them into 24 squares.




While the eggs are cooking I slice up the sausage..




I slice up 24 pieces of sausage and put them on a jelly rolls pan. When the eggs come out of the oven I put the sausage in (keeping the temps the same) and bake them for 20 minutes…






While the eggs and sausage are baking I prepare the cheese by folding it in half and then in half again so I have 4 quarters. I use 2 pieces for each sandwich…




To make each sandwich I begin by lightly toasting my English muffins and spreading them with butter. I lay two pieces of cheese on each half…






I continue toasting and buttering my English muffins. I lay one square of egg on the top of the cheese….




And then one piece of cooked sausage…




And then put the top piece on…




I continue this process until I have finished all of my sandwiches. I put them on a tray as I work..




When they are all done it is time to wrap them in plastic wrap…









After they are all wrapped I store them in gallon size zip bags (which I save and reuse for the next batch of breakfast sandwiches).. in the freezer…





When it is time to eat one for breakfast my kids warm them up in the microwave. With our microwave it takes about one minute. After 30 seconds the sandwiches need to be opened up to make sure the egg is defrosted and heated up. I had someone email and ask me if these could be heated up in a toaster oven. I have never done this but I don’t see why not. Remove the plastic wrap of course and then heat them up. Having never done this I cant say what would be the right temp, you will just have to experiment. AND.. if anyone does experiment and figures out the right temp and time.. please let me know! I would love to be able to share this..

Hope you enjoy!! :)