Monday, February 27, 2017

Honey Chicken Stir-Fry Recipe

This recipe is so easy!  You can add your favorite vegetables, like snow peas, red peppers...really anything will work.  I slice my vegetables up when I am cooking lunch, so this recipe goes together so quickly.  I serve it over rice, but you can use noodles or rice.

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1 cup thinly sliced carrots (I bought presliced to save time)
1 cup broccoli florets
1 onion sliced (optional)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth (or water)
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. honey

1 T. cornstarch dissolved in cold water
1 lb chicken cut into bite sized pieces

In a skillet, cook chicken until no longer pink inside. Add onion and a little water.  While chicken cooks, in a separate pan, steam carrots and broccoli.

In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, broth, brown sugar and honey.    Add all ingredients except slurry of cornstarch to the skillet and toss to coat.  Add slurry and cook until the sauce is thick.  Serve over rice.

Rotation: 5 Weeks to a Clean House Week 4

You have made it to week 4!!!  My house looks so much better, however, we had sickness in the house last week.  I did the bare minimum and you know house didnt fall apart!!!

I still tried to close the kitchen and I did a quick clean on my bathrooms plus when someone "used" the bathroom I cleaned up after them.  I expected to see my house fall back to its prior state but it did NOT!

If you have a sick week, you can choose to do that week over again, or you can choose to skip it and move on.  Since we rotate through, you will catch it again the next time through.

Remember you are not a martyr!!  If the list says organize a space, you are not required to take everything out of the room and put it all back again in order in a single day.  Your goal is to spend some time in that room organizing.  An example of this is my bookshelf.  I have been working on my bookshelf with each rotation through.  First, I decided that organize bookshelf meant having all the books actually on the bookshelf.  I did that in one week.  The next week, the bookshelf was crammed full of books, so I scanned the bookshelf for books I could easily part with and donated them.  The next week, I started on the top shelf, dusted and organized it.  I am still working my way through it, but all the books fit now.  In a few weeks, organizing the bookshelf will mean scanning it, running a dust cloth over the outside of the books and moving onto something else.

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If you want to see other weeks, or our weekly meal plans:

Other Weeks

This Week's Meal Plan

And this week!!!

This week divided up into dailies:

Daily list:
Take out trash
Make sure all items for dinner are available and make a list of anything needed
Clean up all breakfast dishes. Wash them and put them away
Quick clean main bathroom: Wipe off counter and sink, wipe off mirror. Put anything away that was left out. 
Make beds 
Start a load of laundry
Fold and put away a load of laundry
Wipe off kitchen counters and sink after each meal
Sweep kitchen floor after dinner
Scoop litter box 
Go through mail and either throw it out, deal with it or put it into the decision file
Run the dishwasher
Unload the dishwasher
Close the kitchen at the end of the day
What does close the kitchen mean? Click here to find out: Close The Kitchen

Clean out the fridge before you grocery shop
Write your menu if you do it weekly


Grocery shop
Clean out the car
Organize Family Room

Tuesday:Deep clean your main bathroom and change the towels out
Wipe inside and outside of garbage can
Water plants
Organize Entry (any winter stuff gets put away)

Wednesday:Wash bedding
Deep clean kitchen

Thursday:Dust house
Pay bills
Organize Entry (any winter stuff gets put away)
Organize Office Space

Friday:Vacuum entire house
Remove cushions from sofa and vacuum under them...vacuum under sofa

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Week 6 Weekly Meal Plan

I am still working on my goal to make my family at least 5 cooked meals per week that are not chicken nuggets or hot dogs.  Each week, I try a new recipe and some of them have made it to our favorites.  I may repeat some recipes for a few weeks because when they are new, my family wants them served often.  They do get tired of them eventually and I stop serving them weekly.  So far, I am really growing from this experiment.

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This week's dishes:

Day 1:
Ribs, green beans, mashed potatoes

Day 2:
Teriyaki chicken bowls:

Day 3:
American Goulash, salad

Day 4:
Stacked Enchiladas

Day 5:
New recipe day!!!!

Sugar Spice and Family Life has a great recipe for chicken and dumplings that I cannot wait to try.  It looks Soooo GOOOOD!  A big thanks for them for allowing me to post their recipe!

Chicken and Dumplings

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Vegan Bites - Energy Bites

My family absolutely LOVES vegan bites.  They are so easy and the kids can help make them.

10 dates (pitted)
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries
2 tablespoons vegan cocoa
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until it starts to stick together.  Roll into balls.  EAT!

I was inspired when I saw a recipe that called for raspberry powder in an energy bite and it was so expensive that I decided to find another way to bring that great taste into a bite.  I liked it so much that we ditched our other energy bites recipes and just eat this one.

Here are some helpful links:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hawaiian Chicken Bowls - Healthy!

Who doesnt love teriyaki chicken?  This recipe can be grilled or made on the stovetop.  Be sure to make enough, my family eats more than 4 servings!  I listed all the vegetables we use, but you can add any vegetable to yours..there is no limit!  Some other additions can be chinese cabbage, red peppers, green peppers, green onions, asparagus...whatever your family loves. 

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Recipe for Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

· 4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
· 1/2 pineapple cut into spears
· 1 zucchini sliced
· 1 summer squash sliced
· 4 carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
· 1 small head of broccoli
· 1 small onion sliced
·  Recipe for teriyaki sauce

Teriyaki sauce:
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
¼ cup  brown sugar
¾ tsp ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp cornstarch+ 2 tsp cold water, mixed together

In a 2 quart saucepan, mix ingredients for teriyaki sauce except for the cornstarch slurry.  Bring mixture to a boil, then add cornstarch. Remove from heat as soon as it will coat the back of a spoon.  It thickens very quickly.

Marinate chicken breasts in ¼ cup of teriyaki mixture for at least 15 minutes.
Grill or bake you chicken until no longer pink inside.  If you bake it, bake it at 375 for about 20 minutes (test for doneness).  
You can grill your remaining vegetables, but I feel I don’t have enough control over them on the grill, so I heat a skillet and cook them.  I cook the onions first, then remove them from the pan.  I add the broccoli and carrots and enough water to steam them.  Remove them from the pan and add remaining vegetables and cook until done.  Next lay the pineapple in the pan and cook on both sides until lightly brown. 

Serve over rice by arranging ingredients by color on top of the rice. 

 If you want to make this recipe ahead, freeze the chicken in the ¼ cup marinate and freeze the rest in a different bag and tape the two bags together.

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American Goulash - Macaroni in Tomato Sauce

American goulash is a tomato based pasta dish where the pasta is cooked in the sauce.  It is traditionally made with macaroni noodles, but I have made it with other pasta as well.  We love this served with a green salad and fresh bread.

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·  1 pound ground beef
·  1 small onion, chopped
·  1 clove garlic, minced
·  1 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
·  1 15-oz. cans tomato sauce
·  2 cups water
·  1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
·  1 tablespoon Italian seasoning herb blend
·  salt to taste
·  1 tablespoon soy sauce

·  8-oz. elbow macaroni (1/2 box)

In a large stock pot, cook ground beef and onion until beef is done and no longer pink.  Drain fat from mixture and return to pan.  Add garlic and cook 2 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 25 to 30 minutes or until macaroni is cooked.  Serve warm.   

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Recipe Index

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pork Baby Back Ribs

We love ribs and they were on sale this week, so I got a slab.  They can be harder to cook than other foods, but I found an easy recipe that makes them tender and delicious.  I do use bottled sauce, but you can make your own if you have the time.

The secret is adding a splash of apple cider vinegar to the water.  It helps make the rib meat so tender.  We love layer after layer of sauce on ours, so I just keep adding thin layers of sauce and broiling them until they look like I want to eat one right now.

You will need:
1 slab of baby back ribs
1 bottle bbq sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.

Cut the ribs into serving size pieces.

 My family eats 2 to 3 bones per person, so that is how I slice them.
Place the ribs into a stockpot filled with water and the vinegar.

 Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and boil for 1 hour.

Remove ribs from pot and place on a parchment lined pan.  Place the ribs with the thinner side up (the side that has less meat).

Coat with a thin layer of sauce and broil this side first until it's done.  I usually do 2 thin layers of sauce on this side.  Do not coat too much sauce or you will just get a sticky mess and it wont brown up right.

Turn ribs over and place a thin layer of sauce on this side and broil for about 2 minutes.  Add another layer of sauce and broil for 2 more minutes.  I do 2 coats on the side with less meat and 4 on the side with more meat.

Family Favorite Green Beans with Shallots

This recipe calls for green beans, but I use the skinny ones when I can find them.  One grocery calls them haricot verde and the other just labels them as green beans.  I buy a 16 ounce package, which makes plenty for dinner and some leftovers for the next day.  Some stores sell them in a smaller one serving package.  You can adjust the recipe if you find the smaller or only want to cook half the recipe.

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If you have never cooked with a shallot before, you will be pleasantly surprised.  They are in the onion and garlic family, but they have a really good depth of flavor and are not hot like onions can be sometimes.  They look like this:

We like our green beans softer, so I boil mine for 20 minutes.  If you like a crunch, you may even want less time than my recipe calls for.

1 16 ounce package of green beans (we use the thin ones)
1 large or 2 small shallots
2 tsp butter

Fill a large stockpot with water. Add green beans and salt.  Boil for 7 to 20 minutes.

 Meanwhile, peel and slice shallots

.  In a frying pan, melt butter and cook shallots until they start to brown over medium heat.

 Drain your green beans and add to the butter mixture and toss.  Serve Warm.

Want to see meal plans?  View my meal plan list:  Meal Plans

Week 6 Meal Plan

It's cook here, and I wanted a nice stew to warm me up, so I picked that for my first recipe.  

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Find past weeks meal plans here:  Other Weekly Meal Plans

Day 1:   Best Ever Beef Stew and store bought rolls

Day 2: Leek and Garlic Chicken with mashed potatoes and simple salad

Day 3:  hamburgers with greenbeans and homemade baked fries

 Day 4:  Mahogany Chicken and rice, leftover green beans

Day 5:  Got this one from the frugal navy wife.  This is my new recipe this week and it looked so good.  We were heavy on chicken and beef this week, so I wanted something different and saw this recipe for pork chops and couldn't resist.  Thank you Frugal Navy Wife!


I made a dessert this week!!!  I made these easy chocolate covered strawberries and they were eaten right up.  Sure it's chocolate, but it's fruit too, so the kids weren't filing up on all junk food.  We enjoyed our treat this week. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

2 Ingredient Chocolate Covered Strawberries- Won't Melt At Room Temperature

2 containers strawberries
1 package Ghiradhelli Chocolate Melts

Wash strawberries and allow to dry completely.  Even slightly damp and chocolate will not adhere to them.  Choose the largest prettiest strawberries from each container.

I put the chocolate into a glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, stir then microwave for 30 more and stir until all the chocolate is melted.  

Hold the strawberries by their green stems and using a spoon, cover them with chocolate.  Place on a cold, parchment lined baking sheet until firm. 

The Ghiradhelli Chocolate is tempered, so it wont melt at room temp and get on your fingers!

If you cant find them at your local store, they can be purchased from amazon here: 

Best Beef Stew Ever

Beef stew is so simple and easy that I want to make it for my family on busy days, however, I was finding that they were refusing to eat it. I would add stock, beef, potatoes and carrots to a crockpot and cook them all day just to have the kids reach for the peanut butter.

 That just wouldn't do. I was sick of eating stew for a week just to get it eaten. So I started experimenting and when I made this stew, it was gone before hubby got home to eat dinner and I had to make him something else. I made it again the next week and doubled my recipe. The double recipe got me through six people's dinner and some lunches the next day.


View My other Recipes here:  Recipe Index

 This recipe can be easily converted to a crockpot. The best way is to add all ingredients except the cornstarch slurry and put it on low for 10 hours or high for at least 5 hours.

 The longer you cook it, the more tender the meat becomes. I don't find it hard to make it on the stove top though. I cook the meat and add the stock, then later I peel carrots and potatoes and add them, so I can put it together while I am doing other tasks around the house. We like it served with homemade bread when I have time, or biscuits when I just don't have the time to make bread.

 I dont add oil, but if you like the flavor, you can cook your meat and onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

 Best Ever Beef Stew Recipe:
 1 lb stew meat, or sirloin steak cut into 1 inch cubes
 5 medium potatoes
 1/2 bag of baby carrots, cut into smaller pieces
 1 onion, chopped
 1 16 ounce container beef stock
 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
1 packet of onion soup mix

 In a stockpot, add stew meat and cook until lightly brown. Add onion and cook until onions are soft. Add beef stock, onion soup mix and Worcester sauce and cook for at least an hour with the lid on. The longer you cook it, the more tender the meat will become. Add potatoes and carrots and cook for 30 minutes. Mix cornstarch in cold water until lumps are gone. Add cornstarch to mix and stir.
 Serve warm.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Yes, We are starting with Week 1 on 5 weeks to a Clean and Organized Home!!!!

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If you made it through the first 5 weeks, we are ready to go through again.  If this is your first time through welcome!

First let me explain the system.  If you Organize and Clean your home, it will never clean itself for you, but your job will get easier as time goes on.  When the task says to organize a space, don't feel like you need to spend 12 hours in that space organizing.  Spend what time you have organizing it.  If you only have 15 minutes today, then only spend 15 minutes organizing.  

If it seems overwhelming, try to do something that will stay completed.  If you rinse out your sink, 15 minutes later, a kid could throw chocolate milk into it and it's as if it was never completed.  If you organize the kitchen drawer, it stays organized much much longer.  Depending on how much you use the drawer, it could stay organized for a day, a week or even a month. 

The systems is not meant to work you to the bone, it is meant to help your house stay clean and organized.  I started it because I was afraid to answer my door for all the clutter!  Now when someone rings the bell, I answer and invite them in.   If I am sick, I take a sick day off.  If it's a holiday or a friend is in town, I take the time off.  I do try to do my dailies each day, and if I am too sick or busy, I cut those down to closing the kitchen and the bare minimum. 

So onto the list!  I have a page here that you can bookmark and I have another with the tasks divided up so you can see how a typical day goes. 

Week 1 TASKS

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Week 5 Meal Plan

Week 5 and I have managed to make a meal at least 5 times per week that is not frozen pizza or mcdonalds! 

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I have a rice cooker and I use it a lot to cook rice.  I am not really sure if it's easier, it does take a little longer and it makes that brown layer on the bottom of the rice, but I still use it because I put the rice into the cooker and walk away.

I make the Chinese Chicken Breasts whole, but if I am in a hurry, I have pre-chopped chicken breasts in the freezer that cook faster. 

The Potato Chowder is fast and easy taking less than 30 minutes start to eat.  I am saving that one for my busiest night.   I will make rolls early in the day and try to keep the kids from eating them until dinner. If you don't have time to make them from scratch, you can always buy them.  My kids like those just as much.

Garlic and Leek Chicken is one of our new favorites.  It is adapted from a recipe I tried.  The recipe had a ton of oil in it, so I cut the oil, made it a little easier to prepare and voila, new family favorite. 

Loaded Chicken Casserole is an easy favorite.  I make it often.  Hopefully I will replace it with a new recipe soon!

Ribs were on sale at the grocery, so I bought a rack and will try the new recipe below.  YUM!

Don't like something and want to switch it out?  Check out past meal plans here:  Past Weekly Meal Plans

Potato Chowder, rolls

Garlic and Leek Chicken, Mashed potatoes, steamed green beans




My new recipe of the week from
Ribs, boiled potatoes with butter and leftover green beans

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Taco Casserole - Can be a Freezer Meal

One thing I do to help save time is to precook beef with onions and freeze it.  That way I can make a meal in less time.  This recipe can also be prepped ahead and frozen.  Just reheat at 350 for 25 minutes (covered so the cheese wont burn). 

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1.5 lbs ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce (optional if you like it saucy)
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 cups (1 package) Mexican cheese blend
1 cup frozen corn
1 package flour tortillas (you could use corn also)
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
½ can refried beans (optional)

Avocado,Chopped tomato, olives and lettuce for garnish (my family does not like olives, so I leave them off)

This recipe is so versatile.  You can add practically anything or remove anything your family does not like.  

Cook the ground beef and onion. 

Add tomato sauce, canned tomatoes and corn and taco seasoning.  If using refried beans, add them now. 

Place a small amount of beef mixture into the bottom of the pan. Layer with tortilla.  Repeat with beef, cheese and tortilla.

Heat covered for 15 minutes at 325 degrees.