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I'm just a married twenty-something trying to adapt to being a wife while also trying to balance school/work, fixing dinner, cleaning, friends, entertaining, traveling, crafting, and fitness (ha...)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hey babe, what's for dinner?

Easy Dinners

What a week! Just when you think that you'll have a pretty easy week things just come out of nowhere! Good thing three weeks ago I thought ahead about dinners and bought groceries! I know, you're thinking, "three weeks?! how can anything stay good that long?!" Well, for starters we don't have any kids to pack lunches for or to provide milk, plus I don't drink a lot of milk so we just buy soy milk which lasts up to 6 weeks!! Crazy! I only use it as an ingredient anyways so it all tastes the same when cooking! I buy a ton of meats of different varieties.  My husband is a bit picky and we do eat some meals in repetition, but I'm trying to get him to branch out! So here was where I started on my grocery list (SO I DON'T END UP AT WALMART WITH $200 OF GROCERIES BUT YET NOTHING TO MAKE  INTO A MEAL! it happens,..ok!)

What will my husband eat?! It's sad that it comes to that, but I do want for him to eat it!

(2) pork tenderloins
(1) beef stroganoff with stew meat
(1) tacos
(3) spaghetti (layer noodles, sauce, then cover with package of mozzarella cheese-then freeze for leftovers-- will make a small baked spaghetti for a later night! trick of my mother-in-law's ;)
(1)smoked sausage in pasta 
(4) frozen pizzas (Oh come on! I get at least one free night! Usually Sundays!)
(5) variety of pasta boxes (eat with sauteed chicken, smoked sausage, etc.)
(1) pot roast with potatoes (will make 2 meals)
(1) potato soup (will make 3 meals for two people, freeze leftovers)
(1) pull apart pizza bread (SO GOOD!)
(1) oven fried chicken breasts (with au gratin potatoes)
(1) meatloaf (and mashed potatoes)
(1) grilled chicken caesar salad

After reviewing the meals I would see that I need:

  • 4lbs. of ground beef, 
  • 1 package of chicken breasts 
  • 1 package of chicken strips
  • 1 lb. or small package of stew meat
  • 1 chuck roast
  • 2 already seasoned pork tenderloins, I love the "Garlic & Peppercorn" and the "Garlic & Herb" at Kroger
  • 1 package of skinless smoked sausage
  • 4 frozen pizzas
  • lettuce, salad fixings & dressing
  • 5lb bag of potatoes/ bag of Velveeta crumbles/ sour cream/ bag of real bacon pieces/butter   (for soup)
  • 2 cans of beef broth (one for stroganoff stew meat, the other for pot roast)
  • 5 or so boxes of pasta. My favorites are Pasta-Roni Shells & White Cheddar and Angel Hair & Herbs
  • 5 or so cans of vegetables; peas, green beans...
  • 1 can of pizza dough/ 1 jar of pizza sauce/ 1 bar of mozzarella cheese/ 1 pack of pepperonis for pizza bread
  • 1 box of oats/ A1 sauce/ Worcestershire sauce/eggs/ketchup/ for meatloaf
  • 1 box of Bisquick/ and some paprika  for oven fried chicken
  • 3 boxes of Au Gratin potatoes to go with various meals, good with chicken meals
  • 1 taco kit
  • 1 box of spaghetti noodles
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 5 packages of bread, Texas toast, rolls, etc. (I love Sister Schuberts!) 
  •  1/2 gallon of milk (Soy milk if you don't plan on going back to the store for awhile!) 

I love these boxed sides, the pasta ones I even make into meals by adding sauteed chicken strips or cut up smoked sausage. 

**If you buy all of this you will have an arsenal of dinners to prepare, at least for 3-4 weeks! All recipes to follow!**

Ok, so that was a quick run through of most of the things I have found that a picky husband will eat! Next, I go and try to think of the number of nights that we will eat at home in a given month.  We eat out every Monday with my father while my mom plays in her bridge group..and I know that every Friday and Saturday we usually eat out with our friends (at least for now!! babies are popping up everywhere! Something is definitely in the water! or maybe it's just our age....) SO! I try to plan about 20 or so meals. Now I look back at the list and decide how  many times in that time span do I want to eat that certain meal; once, twice...; and I go back and put a quantity beside the meal. After counting up how many meals I can get out of that food, it comes up to 25-26! Depending on how hungry we are! :) Like I mentioned, we are just a family of two! No growing children, therefore our meals aren't the healthiest or most nutritious, but WHATEVER! They're darn good!------Only thing to make sure of is to freeze your meats and remember to let them thaw out in the fridge. Setting them out to thaw the morning BEFORE you want to eat it, not the morning of! Do not use meat that has been thawed out completely for over two days!

Let me just let you in on a few of my secrets! My stroganoff is SO easy and SO good! My mom is the best cook, EVER, hands down. She had her own restaurant, her own catering business, and she let me in on this little trick...I'm pretty sure she thought I couldn't handle the made from scratch recipe and gave this to me instead, but ANYWHO! Here it is:

Semi-Homemade Beef Stroganoff 

  • 1 box of Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff (plus whatever the box calls for, I believe it's just milk and butter)
  • 1 lb. of Stew Meat from the meat counter at your grocery store (NO HAMBURGER MEAT/GROUND CHUCK OR  GROUND BEEF) only Stew Meat!!!!!!!!!!!!! They're like little cubed chunks of meat...
  • 1-2 Tbs. of Sherry     This needs to be the real deal from the liquor store! BUT you can try the cooking kind-non alcoholic they make at Kroger, but it's pretty weak and you can't taste it as well...You'd have to use a lot more!
  • Milk
  • Butter 
  • Beef Broth
  • Salt 
  • Pepper

  1. In the morning! or at least 5-6 hours (or while you are gone to work all day, the longer the better) before you want to eat dinner, put the stew meat in a Crock-Pot with a whole can of beef broth and cook on low for the whole 5-6 hours.
  2. .....5-6 hours later when you are ready for dinner follow directions on the box of Hamburger Helper up to the point where you add meat.
  3.  Instead of adding browned beef to your Hamburger Helper you will take your stew meat out of the Crock-Pot, it will be so yummy and tender, strain the broth out of the pot by pouring meat into a strainer/colander over the sink, then pour meat into the Hamburger Helper, let simmer/cook according to the directions on the box.  
  4. After time has elapsed from simmering, add your Sherry.  I add 1tbs. and if it's not the kick or taste I like, I put a little more.  Add salt and pepper to taste as well, I like to add quite a bit of pepper because Hamburger Helper seasonings tend to be a bit bland. Let the stroganoff set for a few minutes to thicken.  Should serve at least 3 people. Serve with rolls, peas, and maybe a salad and VOILA! you have yourself a semi-made from scratch dinner! ;) (thanks mom)


Please feel free to share how you put your own touches on box meals! ;)

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