Everyday Cooking (review)


everyday cooking review

I’m always looking for new recipes, especially given our current living situation where there are tons of restrictions. So when the Homeschool Review Crew was given the opportunity to request Everyday Cooking from Everyday Homemaking, I said, “Yes, please!” I received a digital copy of the cookbook, which I printed out, hole punched, and placed in a binder for easy use.

Before I dive too much into the recipes, I want to talk about the introductory portion of the book. The author, Vicki Bentley, goes into a lot of effort to explain how to make everyday cooking as easy and time-budget-friendly as possible. For example, when coming back from the grocery store, make up a huge batch of meatloaf. Turn one portion of it into dinner that night by popping it into a loaf pan in the oven. Turn part of it into “Salisbury steaks” by making patties and placing them between pieces of wax paper in the freezer for another busy night. And use the last portion for a “ready to go” meatloaf, where all you have to do is put it in the oven and make your side dish(es).

Another idea she offers is to run a large pot of water full of vegetables and chicken pieces. Cook it all up, and when the chicken is done, debone and shred it, then package it up into meal-size portions (how much this is will vary from family to family). The cooking water goes in the fridge to let the fat harden, and then you can scrape that off and you’re left with homemade chicken broth. There are also loads of tips for making your meat (and therefore you grocery budget) stretch further.

After this section, there are a few pages of breakfast ideas. These are things that are easy to pull together without being full-blown recipes, including some that can be made the night before or put in the crockpot before bed so you have a delicious, healthy breakfast waiting when you wake up.

Then she dives into the “official” recipes. They are split up into several categories (you could call them chapters):

  • Appetizers, Dressings, and Drinks
  • Breads and Grains
  • Main Dishes, Soups, and Sides
  • Desserts and Snacks
  • Low Carb/Gluten Free Pantry Helpers

Then at the end, she wraps the cookbook up with several sections of general kitchen guidelines:

  • Basic measurements and helps
  • Meal planning and shopping hints
  • Basic cooking skills
  • For Students: food and nutrition mini unit
  • Basic kitchen accessories
  • Kitchen equipment
  • Slow cookers vs. Pressure cookers
  • Pressure cooker tips and favorites (including recipes)
  • Index
Porcupine Meatballs recipes from Everyday Cooking

Porcupine Meatballs recipes from Everyday Cooking

Once I got my cookbook printed and bound, I started going through it to get ideas for dinners for the next few weeks. The first one I made was Porcupine Meatballs. This is a recipe that my husband grew up with, so I thought it would be interesting to try out a new version of it. Even though Vicki’s recipe was less sweet (it’s made with tomato sauce instead of tomato soup), it was a huge hit with my family – including my very picky step-mother-in-law and my father-in-law who has severe dietary restrictions (he’s recovering from cancer and chemo). We liked these meatballs so much that I’ve already made them twice. The second time, I was working on the fly and didn’t have the exact right ingredients (I had to puree up some canned tomatoes because I was out of sauce, for example), but it didn’t matter. They were still delicious.

Beef Pot Pie using the leftover "Mom's Roast."

Beef Pot Pie using the leftover “Mom’s Roast.”

A day or two after the success of the meatballs, I pulled out the two roasts I’d bought from the freezer (yes, two – I’m feeding eight people!). I popped them into the slow cooker with the ingredients for the Mom’s Roast recipe, and later that evening, I just had to heat up some frozen vegetables and we had a delicious, nutritious dinner ready to go. There was even enough leftovers from the meat (another reason I’d bought two roasts – I wanted leftovers) to make a beef pot pie for dinner later in the week.

Chicken Broccoli Braid

Chicken Broccoli Braid

The last recipe we’ve tried (so far) was the Chicken Broccoli Braid. Following the recipe, I made what turned out to be a chicken salad type stuff, then placed it inside a crescent roll crust and baked it all up together. This was definitely the most beautiful of all the recipes I tried. Beauty aside, though, we didn’t like it as well as the others. I’d tasted the filling before cooking it in the crust, and it was delicious. But once it was cooked in the shell and heated through, it was less impressive tasting. That said, I would definitely make the filling again and use it as a sandwich filler. That would be amazing!

Most of the recipes in this book don’t work for our current situation, unfortunately. My father-in-law can’t eat poultry; that eliminates all of the chicken recipes for dinners. (We had the Chicken Broccoli Braid one of the days when my in-laws were on vacation and it was just my nucleus family.) Beef is crazy expensive, so we don’t use it too often. And Everyday Cooking only has 3 pork recipes (our meat of choice for feeding 8 people on a budget). But… the recipes that I have tried have been slam dunks. I’m sure the rest of them (at least a large majority of them) will be, too. I can’t wait to find out!

Through September 5, use coupon code TOS10books to get 10% off Everyday Cooking or The Everyday Family Chore System. There are no limits with the code, so it’s a great time to stock up for holiday gifts.

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

 

 

Members of the Homeschool Review Crew are reviewing two books from Everyday Homemaking this week: Everyday Cooking and The Everyday Family Chore System. Click the banner below for links to reviews of both books.

Everyday Cooking and Chores Systems for your Family {Everyday Homemaking Reviews}
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Kids in the Kitchen: Mixing a Marinade

kids in the kitchen

When my older two boys were little, I wasn’t very good at involving them in the cooking. It’s something that I knew I should have been doing, but it was just never something that “fit in” to what I was doing at the time.

Now that I have a “second chance,” so to speak, with the little boys, they get involved a lot more. Especially Small Fry (4). He absolutely love helping out in the kitchen. And if it’s a meal where there’s not much for him to be helpful with, he at least likes to stand on a chair and watch, so he’s still learning. I understand now that I really missed out in my impatience as a younger parent; having kids help in the kitchen is a lot more fun than it is work. I never expected it to be such a blessing, and I know that I’m giving him something that will last a lifetime. With the older boys, it will be an uphill battle from now on teaching them to cook. It’s something that will have to happen, because I’m sure they’ll be living on their own at some point and they’ll need that skill.

But for now, I’m going to enjoy having my littles in the kitchen with me. Even if just doing tiny tasks like dumping in the premeasured ingredients or mixing up a marinade.

How do you get your kids to help in the kitchen?

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Pie Crust Cookies

Pie Crust Cookies Ladybug Daydreams

When I make pie crust from scratch, I always end up with scraps that aren’t really good for anything, but they seem like too much to just throw away. I came up with this easy treat to solve that problem, and my kids absolutely love these “cookies”! Simply cut the extra dough into pieces – you can use cookie cutters, but I don’t bother; I just run a pizza cutter over it to get unusually shaped squares. Then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and bake for about 10 minutes at 425.

Enjoy!

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

A Birthday Cake for a Fisherman

My dad turned 60 this year (!). In honor of the occasion, Will and I thought it would be nice to have him, his fiancee, and my brother’s family over for dinner to celebrate. When I asked my dad what he wanted for his birthday dinner, he replied, “I’ll bring pizza.” Not exactly what I’d had in mind, but I rolled with it.

Since he was providing his own dinner (for a crowd, no less), I insisted on doing the birthday cake. When I asked the kids for ideas, they seemed to forget that it was Grandpa’s birthday, not their own, so their ideas weren’t all that helpful. (I don’t think a 60-year-old man would be all that interested in a Buzz Lightyear cake. That’s beyond my skill set, anyway.) So I got to thinking about Dad’s interests, and one jumped out at me: fishing. When he retires in the next few years, he’s planning to move to the coast and spend his days on a boat catching fish. With a theme in mind, I hit Google. (I know a lot of you probably would have hit Pinterest instead, but that site isn’t really my style. I find it very frustrating to navigate, and it seems that most of the images that catch my eye are dead links.)

Fish birthday cake

For the cake, I made a double-layered round cake (from a box mix) using cream cheese frosting (also pre-made). I coated the cake with a thin layer of the frosting, then tinted the rest of the frosting blue to represent both sky and water. With this blue frosting, I iced the top only of the cake. This used about half of the remaining frosting; I added yellow to the other half to make green. The green was used for the sides of the cake, representing grass. I also drew a line (not straight, purposely) across the middle to separate the sky and water since they were the same color.

The “dirt” at the bottom of the water is chocolate creme Oreos that I ground up in my blender (creme filling and all). The fish are Swedish Fish candies. The fishing pole is black licorice (which you could change out for just about any other long candy; my dad happens to like black licorice so I used that). I cut it in half and laid one half down for the main part of the pole. With the other half, I cut a thin piece off to use as the line, and another (much shorter) thin piece was shaped into the hook.

It was a simple project, but very well received. I got loads of compliments from everyone about the cake, both the flavor (thanks, Pillsbury!) and the decorating.

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Pecan Cookie Balls (Recipe)

Pecan Cookie Balls recipeOne of my very favorite cookies is a recipe I inherited from my grandmother. I don’t make it often – about once every other year or so – but that doesn’t negate its place at the top of my ideal cookies list.

There are a couple of things that make this cookie special (excluding the fact that the recipe is from my late grandma). First, there’s very little sugar in them – only a quarter cup. Second, they don’t spread and flatten like traditional cookies. Instead, they retain their ball shape, which makes them fun to eat. Last but not least, they are absolutely the most delicious sweet ever! I hope you’ll try them. Maybe they’ll become a holiday staple at your house.

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

 

 I’m sharing this recipe at Try a New Recipe Tuesday.

Pecan Cookie Balls
Serves 60
Write a review
Print
75 calories
6 g
8 g
5 g
1 g
2 g
14 g
20 g
3 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
14g
Servings
60
Amount Per Serving
Calories 75
Calories from Fat 47
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
8%
Saturated Fat 2g
11%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 8mg
3%
Sodium 20mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 6g
2%
Dietary Fiber 0g
2%
Sugars 3g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
0%
Iron
1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter
  2. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 2 cups all purpose flour
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 tablespoon water
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  7. 2 cups finely chopped pecans
  8. 1/2 to 1 cup powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Cream butter. Add sugar gradually and blend well.
  2. Add flour, salt, water, and vanilla. Mix.
  3. Add pecans and combine thoroughly.
  4. Shape into small balls - about 1 inch in diameter.
  5. Place on a cookie sheet (greased or ungreased - it doesn't matter). They can be placed quite close together since they won't spread and flatten. This allows you to get quite a few onto each cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes.
  7. While the cookies are still warm, roll them in powdered sugar.
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calories
75
fat
5g
protein
1g
carbs
6g
more
Ladybug Daydreams http://www.ladybugdaydreams.com/

Easy Homemade Chicken Taquitos (Recipe)

Easy Homemade Chicken Taquitos Recipe

Have you ever had taquitos? I only have a few times, but the other day, I got one of those pregnancy cravings for them. Don’t ask where it came from since they’re not something I eat often enough to really “know” about, but there it was. So I looked up the basic method on my favorite recipe website (allrecipes.com) and modified it to fit our tastes, budget, and what we had on hand. Enjoy!

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

 

 

Easy Chicken Taquitos
Yields 30
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
100 calories
13 g
17 g
2 g
7 g
1 g
54 g
79 g
0 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
54g
Yields
30
Amount Per Serving
Calories 100
Calories from Fat 21
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
4%
Saturated Fat 1g
3%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 17mg
6%
Sodium 79mg
3%
Total Carbohydrates 13g
4%
Dietary Fiber 1g
6%
Sugars 0g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
6%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 30 corn tortillas
  2. 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  3. 1 cup salsa (your favorite)
  4. 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional
  5. oil, for brushing
For the filling
  1. Poach the chicken breasts in broth or water for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through. (Poaching is recipe talk for boiling.)
  2. Shred the chicken using two forks.
  3. Add the salsa and toss to coat, using the same forks that you shredded the chicken with.
To build the taquitos
  1. Coat a large baking sheet (mine is 11x17) with oil.
  2. Warm your tortillas. This makes them easier to roll and less likely to crack and break. You can do this by wrapping them in damp towels and microwaving, placing them in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes, or warming them in a dry skillet for 30-60 seconds per side.
  3. Place a small amount of the chicken mixture on the edge of a tortilla.
  4. Top with a slight sprinkling of cheese, if using.
  5. Roll the tortilla up tight.
  6. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  8. Brush each taquito with oil. This helps them get nice and crispy in the oven without drying out.
  9. Bake at 475F for 15 minutes.
  10. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. When the taquitos are rolled properly, they should look like super-skinny enchiladas without sauce.
Serving ideas
  1. Add additional salsa, some sour cream, and/or guacamole to each plate for dipping.
  2. Serve taquitos just like you would enchiladas or other Mexican fare, with Spanish (or Mexican) rice and refried beans.
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calories
100
fat
2g
protein
7g
carbs
13g
more
Ladybug Daydreams http://www.ladybugdaydreams.com/

Weekly Meal Plan: Week of March 1

Another Monday, another meal plan. I don’t have a picture this week (I’m sure you guys are tired of looking at the same meal every time!), but I’ll try to have a good one for next week from one of this week’s meals.

Before I get to the menu, here’s how we did last week. [Read more…]

Around the World: Italian Chicken Cacciatore (Recipe)

chicken cacciatore collageBuongiorno! Benvenuti in Italia! (Good morning! Welcome to Italy!)

This is the final recipe I have for you this week. I hope you’ve enjoyed the series and that you’ll try out some of these delicious recipes! They’re way cheaper than a plane ticket to all these exotic locations :).

One day a few weeks ago, Will wanted Italian food, but “not pasta.” So I went in search of something that fit the bill, and Chicken Cacciatore was what I came up with. All of the recipes seemed complex and/or took hours and hours to cook, so I adapted this one from Giada De Laurentiis to fit our needs. Enjoy your trip!

(Oh, also, I forgot to take a picture of the final dish, that’s why I’ve made a collage to showcase the sauce and chicken separately today.)

Ingredients

Chicken thighs – enough for your family

Salt and Pepper

Flour, for dredging

Oil, for frying

1 bell pepper, any color, chopped

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (28 oz) or 2 (14 oz) can(s) diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Italian seasonings of your choice (oregano, basil, thyme, etc)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 F.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour. While you’re doing this, heat the oil in a large skillet. Sear the chicken, skin side down first, until brown and crispy. Move to a baking dish. Do this in two stages if you have to.

In the same skillet, saute the onion, garlic, and bell pepper until they start to soften. Add in the tomatoes, broth, vinegar, and spices. Simmer for just a few minutes to combine the flavors. Pour the sauce over the chicken.

Place the baking dish in the oven and cook for 45-55 minutes to finish cooking the chicken through. Serve over egg noodles and/or with a nice loaf of crusty bread for sopping up the sauce.

Yum!

Thank you for joining me on my trip around the world this week! It’s been fabulous. And please, if you try any (or all) of these recipes, let me know. I’d love to hear how they turned out for you.

Blessings,

Wendy

Make sure to visit my friends and their five day series, too! And for even more five-day fun, click the banner at the end of the post.

Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story ~ Making Homeschooling Fun!
Marcy @ Ben and Me ~ Helping Children in Uganda
Melanie @ FinchNWren ~ Finchnwren’s Fabulous Family Movies
Sarah  @ Delivering Grace ~  learning about England
Victoria @ Homemaking with Heart ~  Connecting with the Creator through Nature Study
Joanie @ Simple Living Mama ~ 5 Days of Charlotte Mason Preschool
Gwen @ Tolivers to Texas ~ A Happy, Peaceful Home
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses ~ Homeschooling 4 FREE resources

April Blog Hop

Around the World: U.S. Chicken Fried Steak (Recipe)

Happy Thursday, friends! We’re over halfway through the week :). I hope you’ve enjoyed these recipes as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing them with you.

Today, we’re in my home country, the United States, and making one of my all-time favorite meals (who am I kidding? All of the meals this week are high on my list!): Chicken Fried Steak!

This one’s quite a bit more complex than the others have been up to now, but totally worth the effort.

Here we go!

cfs final
For the steak, you’ll need:

Steak (any kind will do, even a cheap cut)

2 eggs, beaten

1-2 packets of Shake-n-Bake for chicken

Oil for frying

Cut the steak into smallish pieces. You don’t want nuggets, but you want each piece to have plenty of breading, so you don’t want them as big as if you’d be grilling the steak.

Crack the eggs into a dish and beat. Pour the shake-n-bake into another dish.

While you’re dipping the steak, heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat.

Dip the steak first into the egg, then into the shake-n-bake. Fry in the hot oil until cooked to your preferences. It doesn’t take more than 5 minutes a side or so for medium-well.

Once you’ve cooked all the steak, pour off all but a couple of tablespoons of the oil. Add in enough flour to make a roux, then stir in milk and/or chicken broth to make a gravy. For 2 tablespoons of milk/flour, you’ll want about a cup and a half of liquid.

Serve with mashed potatoes and the gravy and some corn for a truly American meal!

Blessings,

Wendy

Don’t forget to hit these other great blogs for fabulous five-day series!

Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story ~ Making Homeschooling Fun!
Marcy @ Ben and Me ~ Helping Children in Uganda
Melanie @ FinchNWren ~ Finchnwren’s Fabulous Family Movies
Sarah  @ Delivering Grace ~  learning about England
Victoria @ Homemaking with Heart ~  Connecting with the Creator through Nature Study
Joanie @ Simple Living Mama ~ 5 Days of Charlotte Mason Preschool
Gwen @ Tolivers to Texas ~ A Happy, Peaceful Home
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses ~ Homeschooling 4 FREE resources

April Blog Hop