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Archive for January, 2008

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The Chicken Noodle Soup turned out great! I made it the day before we planned to eat it, because I just don’t have time to prepare any meals before dinner time this week. By the time I get home from work, I need to eat right away. Instead, I’ve been doing most of my cooking AFTER dinner, before bed.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 5 raw chicken tenders, sliced into small pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup baby carrots, cut in half
  • 2-3 celery stalks, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (1/3 – 1/2 of a package of sliced mushrooms)
  • 1 box of reduced-sodium chicken broth (32 ounces)
  • 4 ounces uncooked linguini pasta, broken into pieces
  • pepper (several turns on the mother-of-all pepper grinders)
  1. Cook the chicken in the soup pot until it is no longer pink (medium heat).
  2. Throw in the butter and onion; cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and 1/3 of the box of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the linguini, pepper, and remaining broth. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

How I was frugal:

  1. I bought a package of chicken tenders on sale. Splitting the tenders into groups of 5, I sliced them and froze the groups of chicken in vacuum-sealed bags.
  2. I bought a package of 2 organic celery stalks. I cleaned and sliced them, splitting them into 4 ounce portions, which I also froze in vacuum-sealed bags.

By splitting up chicken and celery (which I don’t use up very quickly), I spread them out over several meals. Vacuum-sealing allows me to freeze meal-sized portions, as well as giving me an easy way to defrost (soak in the sink or microwave-defrost).

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(Vacuum-sealing the celery)

How do you stretch meats, vegetables, and other food items over several meals? What experiences have you had with vacuum-sealing foods?

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I was very optimistic about my menu this week.  My shopping trip was great, because I came in just under budget with coupons, even after finding a great deal on yeast packets.  They were on sale and I had coupons, so I stocked up.  It was great!

On Sunday, I made the pasta I had been planning for Tuesday’s dinner.  We ate it Sunday night, as well as for meals on Monday and Tuesday.

On Monday and Tuesday, I ran several errands, and I ended up eating dinner out both days.  This evening, I decided to cook the pork chops in preparation for Wednesday night, but they didn’t look “right.”  I did go ahead and make Thursday’s chicken noodle soup.  In fact, it just finished right now.  We’ll end up eating it Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  If it’s not gone by then, we’ll finish it up over the weekend.

As you can see, my menus never seem to go as planned!  Do you have the same issues?

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Monday – Pork chops, mashed potatoes, and peas

Tuesday – Pasta

Wednesday – Church dinner

Thursday – Chicken Noodle Soup

Friday – Leftover Chicken Noodle Soup

I made this menu on Sunday, wrote my shopping list, and went to the store for the items I would need for the week.  My list was mostly vegetables, because I tried to pick meals for ingredients that we already had at home.

See other Menu Plan Monday menu ideas at I’m an Organizing Junkie

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Pink Jayne Cobb Hat

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This is a very warm and fun earflap hat modeled after the one the lovely Jayne Cobb character wore in the TV show, Firefly.  I used Dusty Pink, Antique Rose, and Beige of Vanna’s Choice yarn.

To make the hat thick enough, I used a double strand of yarn.  The long braids are perfect for tying under your chin.  To make them, after casting-off, I switched to a J/10 crochet hook and chained 30.  The main part of the hat (including the pom-pom) took three hours to knit.  It took an additional evening to complete the earflaps and braids.  If I had started earlier, I could have completed the entire hat in under 5 hours.

The pattern I used came from  http://dryope.typepad.com/grove/2006/02/jayne_cobb_hat_.html.

How was I frugal?  I used leftover yarn from several other Jayne Cobb hats that I had made as Christmas presents.  It began when I knitted a classic JC hat (Honey, Mustard, and Rust) for my husband.  As soon as family members saw it in progress, I soon had requests for several more hats.  When the air finally got cold and my former hat wasn’t keeping me warm, I used the yarn that I had leftover to make my own JC hat.

Here are the color combinations for all of the JC hats I made:

  • Honey, Mustard, and Rust (2 ear-flap hats and 1 beanie hat)
  • Antique Rose and Dusty Pink
  • Beige and Honey
  • Antique Rose, Dusty Pink, and Beige (pictured above)

The Jayne Cobb hat pattern is also great for making beanie hats with Homespun yarn.  Leave off the earflaps and pom-pom.  I seriously advise you not to make the pom-pom with Homespun, because of it’s tendency to shed all over your clothing and coat.


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