Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mexi Beef Casserole Dish

If you love freezer cooking then you will love this recipe.....

1 pound ground beef
1 15-oz can sweet corn, drained
1 cup mild, chunky salsa
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1 pkg cooked egg noodles
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup taco sauce
1 package taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup tomato sauce

Cook egg noodles according to instructions, drain. Meanwhile, brown beef in a skillet until brown and fully cooked. Drain any grease. In a bowl, combine all ingredients, then pour into a freezer container or a 9x13 baking dish. Freeze (may want to allow it to come down to room temperature before placing in freezer)

On cooking day, thaw completely in fridge (take it out the night before or morning of). In a preheated 325F oven, cook for 30-45 minutes, or until bubbly and completely hot throughout. Serve!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This Is A Test


Hello technorati team! How are you all out there in blogging land?

Easy Email Organization

There must be hundreds of blogs and articles that have been written on how to organize your email. They tell you to go to your inbox and create folders and then when you get an email put that email in the appropriate inbox just as you would a sheet of paper in a file folder. Ok....I get that. I think we all get that. But there are many other ways to be organized with your email.

Personally, I love Microsoft Outlook as my email manager for many many reasons. First of all, I love that I can sync the calendar with my el-cheapo Nokia cell phone. Just use the download cord and away it goes.

But the calendar is for another day. Today I am relishing in my emails and how glorious it is to always have a clean inbox.

One thing about my email that can quickly get out of hand is the junk email. I get so much of it because I shop and do many activities online and each time you have to create a username you must give an email address. I try to remember to uncheck all of those boxes that ask you if you want to receive information or promotions but I am sure I don't get it all. I make a concentrated effort when I get a junk email to go to the bottom of the email and unsubscribe to the list. It takes a few extra clicks but once you take this first few steps you can usually get rid of the junk right away.

The next tool in Outlook that I like to use is the Rule Tool. For me this works out great for my work email. You can have certain emails automatically circumventing your inbox and filed in pre-determined folders like your "to be read" or "action needed" folder. You can go crazy with this feature.

To get to your Rule Tool simply click on Tools and follow the instructions.

You can choose from many different options such as moving certain emails to folders. You can have emails sent directly to your deleted folder. You can have an alert sent to your mobile device when an email comes to your inbox. Play around in this tab and see all of the things you can do.

In addition to using rules you can also control your junk mail by using another tool that is found by going to the Tools tab and clicking on Options.

You can manage your junk email very nicely from this folder. You can designate safe email senders and senders that should be blocked.

Do you use Outlook to manage your electronic mail account? If not what do you use?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Freeze Corn On The Cob

Did you know that you can cook corn ahead of time, freeze it, and then have it taste fresh on eating day?

For the prep work, buy the corn on the cobs remove the husks and wipe down the corn. Blanche them in boiling water based on the following:

Small ears - boil for 7 minutes
Medium ears - boil for 9 minutes
Large ears - boil for 11 minutes.

Immediately remove from the boiling water and submerge them in cold water to stop the cooking proccess. Once completely cooled, drain the corn and immediately freeze in freezer ziplocs or containers.

On cooking day remove corn early in the morning or the night before, so it has time to completely thaw. Boil corn in boiling water (just enough water for the corn to be submerged) for a few minutes until heated through, drain, butter and salt if desired, and serve.

How easy is that?

Menu Monday - Dec 7

Good Morning Monday. Time for the menu of the week. How is your menu planning going? It's not too late to start. Share yours here with me.

Monday - BBQ chicken wings, french fries, corn on the cob

Tuesday - hamburgers and hot dogs, baked beans, green beans

Wednesday - Moroccan Chicken and Couscous Soup

Thursday - Leftover soup and sammies

Friday - Chicken tacos and yello rice

Saturday - BBQ chicken wings, french fries, (yes I know this is a repeat but my older boys love wings and I got wings on sale at the grocery this week).

Sunday - Honey Baked Ham, mac n cheese, veggies

Add your own Menu Monday link by clicking below....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Another Meatloaf Recipe

Finding more recipes for meatloaf which just happens to be my husband's favorite dish.....

Easy Meatloaf Recipe Ingredients
• 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
• 1 cup 2% milk
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
• 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
• 1/2 cup ketchup or barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except ketchup in a large bowl, and mix well.

Place mixture into an ungreased loaf pan or shape into a loaf in an ungreased baking pan. Spread ketchup or sauce over the top of the meatloaf.

Bake uncovered for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until no pink remains at the center of the meatloaf. If using a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the meatloaf should be 160 degrees.

After baking, let sit for 5 minutes before removing from pan and slicing to serve.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

No More Rush Days

I am always thinking of ways to help simplify my already chaotic and busy lifestyle. Earlier this year I was growing particularly frustrated by so many days where I would come home from work without having had one thought of what would be made for dinner that night. Needless to say just starting to think about dinner at 6pm was way too late for me, unless I was from a European country where everyone eats dinner at midnight.

So I started brainstorming and trying to come up with better ways to plan out my day. I thought of planning the night before which was still way too late for me because I usually would need something for the next day's meal. I backed up even further and started thinking about how to plan a week in advance. I created a list for each day of the next week and what my plan would be for dinner. Once I did that and got the habit going, I expanded on the list and started adding food items I would need to keep the weekly menu plan. I started to include a column for my kids and personal activities I had to plan for throughout the week.

I came up with a great worksheet that I now create on Saturday for the upcoming week ahead. I address the meals I am going to prepare and that allows me to identify my grocery list for Sunday grocery shopping. I incorporate my work calendar and personal calendar into my activities column. I also add in any other things that may affect the weekly plan. When I am finished with this worksheet I put it up on my refrigerator for the whole family to see. No more guessing what's for dinner. It's all planned out ahead of time. Of course there will always be those days where things don't always go to plan but at least I have minimized those days by trying to forsee what's up and coming.

I have attached a copy of my worksheet.

Weekly Planner

Feel free to download it and tell me if it works for you. Today just might be the end of rush days for you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yummy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I love banana bread and have found a great recipe that is easy and delicious. I just had to share it with you. If you make it please leave me a comment and let me know how it turns out. So yummy and chocolately.

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (depending on how chocolately you like it)
1 cup chopped nuts (if desired)


Place oven rack in lowest position. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of a loaf pan (9x5x3). Mix sugar and margarine in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, milk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients (except nuts and chips) until moistened. Stir in nuts and chips. Pour into pan. Bake for an hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely before slicing.