"Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding". Prov.4:7(NKJV)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Crockpot Saucy Italian Chicken

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Crockpot Saucy Italian Chicken

Ingredients:
1 family pack of thighs (or chicken quarters)
1 small onion, diced
14.5oz. can diced or stewed Italian tomatoes
6oz. can tomato paste
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. of Italian salad dressing (optional)

Directions:
Wash chicken and let drain for 5 min. in sink (can use a rack in the sink).  In 5 or 6 qt. crock pot put chicken in with onions. Sprinkle seasonings on top.  Open cans and pour over chicken and onions. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.

Note: To make a thicker sauce you can season some flour, coat chicken pieces with it and brown it in a skillet in 2 Tbsp. oil. You don't want to cook this all the way through just brown it. Put in crockpot with other ingredients to finish cooking. This will help the sauce not be so thin. I like to serve this with brown rice or pasta and a salad. Another thing I serve it with is green beans or peas, and pasta salad.










Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Crockpot Italian Chicken

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Crockpot Italian Chicken

Ingredients:

4 lb. whole chicken (or a family pack of chicken pieces)
1 cup (1/2 bottle) of Italian salad dressing (I prefer Wishbone over anything else for this)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic black pepper
1 small onion
1-2 stalks celery
3 carrots
1 gallon size Ziploc bag

Directions:

Wash chicken and let drain for 5 minutes in sink. Put chicken in a Ziploc bag and pour Italian dressing and seasonings over it. Let marinade overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning I usually slice up the onion, chop the celery, and slice the carrots. I put these in the bottom of my crock pot. I pour the chicken and marinade on top of the vegetables. I cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.

Note: I like to serve this with brown or wild rice and a salad. Another thing I do if not using rice is to wash, peel, and slice 4-6 medium potatoes to go with the other veggies I put at the bottom of the crock pot. It soaks up the yummy flavors. I serve it with green beans or a salad.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

White Bean Chicken Chili

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Good eats on a cold/chilly day
White Bean Chicken Chili

Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts (or tenders)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil’'
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 14oz. cans cannellini (white kidney) beans
1 4oz. can green chilies
1-2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground oregano
1 tsp. ground white pepper (or black)
1-2 Tbsp. ground chili powder
1-2 cups of chicken broth (I use my homemade broth)

Directions:
In a skillet heat oil on medium heat. Wash and cut chicken breasts into 4-5 pieces (if not using tenders) and let drain for a moment. Sauté onion and garlic in oil for 5-10 minutes. Spray a 6 qt. crockpot with cooking spray. Add raw chicken pieces. Open 2 of the cans of beans and drain before pouring into crockpot. Add in cooked onion and garlic, and seasonings. Pour in chicken broth and cover. Cook on LOW for 6 hours. After 4 hours open the other can of beans and mash up in its juices. Stir into chili the last 2 hours of cooking to help thicken it. When it’s done fish out chicken pieces and let cool down a few minutes. Shred meat with forks or fingers. Add back to crockpot (Chili will thicken a little more when you add the meat back to it). Sprinkle some cheese in your bowl of chili and serve like we did in the south with cornbread or crackers. For a southwestern style add sour cream and salsa with the cheese and eat with tortilla chips.

Note: This chili was so GOOD! I'm thinking of making a double batch of this by cooking it with some chicken breasts and ground turkey mixed next time.

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Chili with cheese melted on top

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Easy Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

Sauce cooking in my crockpot

Easy Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients:
1/2 roll of breakfast sausage, or 8 ounces Italian sausage
1/2 pound lean ground beef, turkey, pork, or chicken
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced (can use 2 tsp. of the jar kind)
1-2 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 to 2 tsp. salt, or to taste
dash ground red pepper or 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, if desired
1 to 2 Tbsp. sugar to cut the acidity (I've used honey)

Directions:
Remove sausage from casings; brown in a heavy skillet along with ground beef. Break up sausage and ground beef and add in chopped veggies and cook until meat no longer pink and veggies are soft; drain well.
Add sausage and beef to crockpot, along with all remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. This sauce can be frozen if you don't want to use now.
Serves 8 to 10

Spaghetti all done and ready to eat!

*Tastes great with Parmesan on top and served with garlic bread and a fresh garden salad.  I have also added sauteed spinach to my sauce for added nutrition. In my picture I've doubled this recipe and cooking in my 6 qt. crock pot so I can serve some spaghetti for dinner tonight and put the rest of the sauce in the freezer for another day. When I want to use it I just thaw the sauce in the refrigerator over night and boil some noodles to stir into my heated up sauce. This sauce can be used for lasagna and other types of pasta dishes too.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Coupon Binder Update: Part 3

Last time I talked to you about how to set our coupon binder up. If you missed the first part you can find it here. Today is the final tutorial. Once you get this part down you’re ready to go shopping. The things you will need now are your tab dividers, baseball card holders, highlighter, coupons, and scissors.

You may be wondering what you need the highlighter for. Many times the expiration date on the manufacture's coupon is hard to see or even find. By highlighting that date you will quickly be able to find it when you need to see if has or about to expire. You don’t want to make the mistake of taking expired coupons to the store and not be able to use it on a good deal you find. Another added benefit is that it’s easy to see through the clear pockets too.

Lets talk about the coupons for a moment. Where are good places to get them? I get mine in the Sunday paper each week. There are different packs like RedPlum, P&G, Smart Source, ect. I have even bought an extra paper just to be able to double on coupons of products I’d like to have more than one of when I come across a good deal. If you know someone who gets the Sunday paper but throws away their coupons, ask and see if they will let you take them off their hands. Other places you can find coupons are store sale ads, magazines, certain sections in the newspaper, inside of or on the front of the package of a product, at the store checkout after paying for your purchase, websites online where you can print them for free, ect. Once I’ve taken all my packs of coupons out of the paper I highlight any coupons that need it and begin cutting them out. I’m not brand specific so I cut out all the coupons for things I know we use or willing to try. Next I separate them into categories so that I can store them in their proper place in my binder. I was happy to have come across an idea of making your own coupon sorting mat. What a neat idea! I will definitely start using this myself.

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I mentioned last time I put my store coupons in a baseball card holder behind my page protector that holds the store ad. This is an up close look of one of those coupons sitting in the card holder. These would be the coupons I received at checkout. In many coupon policies they allow for store coupons to be used with a manufacture coupon for the same product. This is called “stacking coupons”. You save even more by using them together. I love those kinds of savings. Speaking of savings…majority of the time I only use my coupons when there’s a sale for that particular item. That way I’m not only getting it for the sale price, but I’m saving even more by using coupons with the sale price. You won’t really save much at the store by using coupons alone. Whenever you’re out shopping remember the best way to save is to use those coupons when the items go on sale.

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Having categories for all those coupons is a must. Here you see my tab divider for a section I use to store coupons the never expire. In the picture is a baseball card holder with those coupons stored in them. If you look closely you can see that I highlighted the expiration date in order for it to stand out at me.

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Here I have my tab divider for the food coupons. Behind that are the card holders with coupons in them. I find at times a coupon doesn’t easily fit into a pocket because of its size. Folding it so that the expiration date is showing usually helps. I mentioned last time I wanted to get some photo holders (3 pockets). That would be great to use for storing those oversized or awkward shaped coupons.

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Another example you see here is my "Household Supplies" tab and coupons for those type items. On the left hand bottom side you see a coupon for some paper plates that’s too big. I had to fold it so I could still see the important info. but still able to place it in the pocket. So you see each category gets a tab divider and as many baseball card holders that section needs for the amount of coupons in that category. These are just a few of my many category sections. I plan to redo my sections to match how this lady does hers when I get more page dividers. I like how she uses the plastic dividers verses the paper kind. Those will last much longer. Towards the end of each month I go in and clean out any expired coupons I forgot to take out and move the ones that’s soon to expire in its place. This helps me have room to store more coupons I get.

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I also wanted to show you this section in the back of my binder. First you see the tab divider for my “Eating Out” section. Next are some coupons that came in the mail that I will cut out and store in the card holders. Last is a page protector where I store menus from places we would like to eat at or get take out food from. This is handy when you want to remember what’s on their menu or their address and phone number.

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This last part I want to show you is a section for car stuff. I store coupons for repairs and flyers in page protectors for deals off any type maintenance.

Final reminder: Don't let all your hard work go to waist. Take your binder with you every time you go shopping. You never know what kinds of great deals you find. Remember that front section I showed you last time with the big see through (netted) pocket? When I'm out shopping I put the coupons I will be using at checkout in there so that I have them handy to just hand to the cashier before paying for my purchase. This will make getting out of line much quicker. You’ll be glad, the cashier will be glad, and those standing in line behind you will be glad you did. I hope you have enjoyed my coupon binder tutorials and got a better understanding of what it’s all about. For more info. on coupon binders check out some of this website and helpful video:

Frugal Living: How to make a coupon binder
Building a coupon binder
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