Category Archives: Recipes

How to make baked potatoes

I don’t have an interesting introduction for the very simple, yet tasty baked potato so here it goes:

You will need:

  • Russet potatoes (I like to purchase a 5 or 10 lb bag of medium and large potatoes)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Rinse off potato well and use a vegetable scrubber to scrub the potato; pat dry.

3. Pour a small amount of olive oil over potato (about 1 teaspoon) and rub all over

4. Sprinkle with salt

5. Heat directly on oven rack or if that grosses you out place foil on the oven rack and put the potato on the foil (do not wrap the potato in foil!)

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6. Heat in oven for 1 hour.  Remove and enjoy!

Serve your baked potatoes with my easy baked chicken thighs and baked carrots for a simple, frugal, and healthy meal.

Happy homemaking,

Amber

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Baked Carrots

My goodness, I love carrots.  And I really love carrots cooked in the oven – delish! This is a super easy side dish that you can pair with my easy chicken thighs and baked potato.

You will need:

  • Baby carrots – as many as you think you will need based on family size (I like to buy the large sack of carrots and shred and cut them into baby carrots to save a little bit of money)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Throw your baby carrots on a cookie sheet (you can line it with foil or just put it directly on the sheet)

3. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of olive oil over carrots and sprinkle salt and pepper all over carrots.

4. Mix carrots all around with your hands to coat evenly

5. Heat in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes and enjoy!

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Happy homemaking,

Amber

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Easy Baked Chicken Thighs

This recipe for baked chicken thighs is beyond easy, frugal, and good for you. I would cook this a lot when I was working because it didn’t require a lot of effort and I enjoy cooking it now for my big family of 5 to help keep our grocery budget down.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken thighs/any amount (I use chicken thighs with the bones and save the bones to make chicken broth)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika

***I really enjoy the taste of paprika but you can definitely change this to your personal preference for spices.

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Set you chicken in a baking dish or cookie sheet and drizzle about 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over each chicken thigh.  Rub the oil all over the chicken.

3. Sprinkle chicken with spices and rub the spices all over chicken.

4. Bake in oven for 1 hour and enjoy!

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I told you it was easy.  Next check out my recipe for baked carrots and baked potatoes and you will be thrilled with the simplicity of this frugal and healthy meal (busy moms: I’m talking to you!)

Happy homemaking,

Amber

Linking up with Crystal at Serving Joyfully

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Whole Chicken Part 3: Homemade chicken soup

This is part 3 of my 4 part series on how to use a whole chicken.

Part 1 will discuss how to cook the whole chicken in the crock pot.

Part 2 will discuss how to make homemade chicken broth from the leftover bones and skin.

Part 3 will discuss how to make homemade chicken soup from the chicken broth.

Part 4 will discuss the health benefits of homemade chicken broth.

Homemade Chicken Soup:

Step 1: Chop 1 onion and 2 cloves of garlic.

Step 2: In a large pot, saute the onion and garlic in melted butter and olive oil (the smell is wonderful!)

Step 3: Add the homemade chicken broth and anything else you would like: brown rice, lentils, vegetables, pasta, etc.  I like to use chopped up carrots and brown rice.  (I used about 2 carrots and 1 cup of brown rice)

Step 4: Season with your favorite seasonings: salt, pepper, thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper, etc and simmer for an hour.  Add in chicken and season to taste.

Step 5: Serve and enjoy or freeze for later.  This chicken soup is really good for you and also a great meal to have on a fall or winter day.  Freezing some for a sick day would be a great idea as well.

I hope you enjoy, and join me for part 4 where I will discuss the health benefits of homemade chicken broth.

Blessings,

Amber

Linking with Courtney from womenlivingwell.org

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Whole Chicken Part 1: Slow cooking the chicken

This will be a four part series on how to use a whole chicken.  This is a great way to feed your family healthy meals on a budget.

Part 1 will discuss how to cook the whole chicken in the crock pot.

Part 2 will discuss how to make homemade chicken broth from the leftover bones and skin.

Part 3 will discuss how to make homemade chicken soup from the chicken broth.

Part 4 will discuss the health benefits of homemade chicken broth.

To a homesteader, dealing with a whole chicken purchased from the grocery store might not seem like a big deal, but for those of us that grew up eating chicken soup from a can, a whole chicken can be a little bit intimidating.  I will admit that the first time I did this, I was grossed out but as time went on I became more confident and now it is no big deal.  You’ll get there too, I promise.

Step 1: Remove the innards from the chicken cavity and rinse it off.  Just a warning: there might be a little blood inside – rinse that all out.

Step 2: Put the chicken in the crock pot and add about 1/4 cup of water.

Step 3: Season the chicken with your favorite seasonings.  I use salt, pepper, and thyme. Another note: use organic chicken.  Based on the size in this picture below, I think this is from when I was still using a normal chicken.  The organic chicken is much smaller and more expensive, but I feel better about what I’m feeding my family.

Step 4: Cover with lid and cook on high for 2 hours.  Reduce heat to low and cook for another 5 to 6 hours depending on the size of your chicken or until golden.

Step 5: Remove from the pot and let it cool before shredding, or you could serve part of this as a meal.

Step 6: Remove all of the meat from the bones and place all of the bones, skin, and junk you don’t want back into the pot.  Now follow me along to part 2 to find out how to make homemade chicken broth.

You can use the shredded chicken in chicken soup, over salads, serve alone with vegetables, or use in meals such as enchiladas, casseroles, chicken salad sandwiches, chicken pot pie, and more.

I hope you enjoy,

Amber

Linking with Courtney at womenlivingwell.org

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Easy Homemade Meatballs

This meatball recipe is great paired with my homemadge spaghetti sauce – you should check it out here.

Ingredients you will need:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs (you could use regular and seaoson with italian seasoning – I’ve also just left the breadcrumbs plain and it tasted great)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt
  • pepper

I didn’t take very many pictures during this process but the directions are easy enough to follow.  If you have any questions just comment below and I will help you.

  1. Mix all ingredients together.  Don’t add all water at one time – add and mix together as needed until the mixture is holding together
  2. Shape meatballs into desired size (about the size you would make a small cookie)
  3. Place on broiler pan or cookie sheet
  4. Broil until outside is slightly brown on one side and then turn to broil the other side (this happens farely quickly so keep watch of your oven)
  5. Cool on cooling racks and VOILA!
  6. Enjoy

Blessings,

Amber

Linking up with Courtney at womenlivingwell.org

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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I love this homemade spaghetti sauce recipe – it is a little time consuming, but most of the time is spent with the sauce simmering away on the stove top while you relax or do other things in the kitchen.  The worst part of this recipe is really just chopping your garlic.  A tip for you: Washing your hands with baking soda helps take away the lovely garlic smell.

I’ve adjusted the original recipe just a bit for our personal taste preferences – the only difference is that I added half a chopped onion, omitted the grated parmasan cheese, and used less dried basil.

Step 1: Chop your garlic and onion (if you are using your onion)

Step 2: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the chopped garlic (and onion if using) and basil (I used 2 tablespoons instead of 3-5) and heat for 1 to 2 minutes

Step 3: Add crushed tomatoes, pepper, and sugar (you can add more or less sugar depending on your personal preference.  I think the 1 tablespoon tastes just fine). Stirring often, bring to a low boil.

Step 4: Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring often.  For the first half of the simmer time, do so with the pot uncovered, and then cover.

Step 5: If you are adding the cheese, do so after the sauce has cooked for 3 hours and simmer for an additonal 5 minutes. A tip for the grated parmasan: get a block of parmasan cheese and grate it yourself so that it is fresh and delicious.  You can use the rest of the cheese to make meatballs and to top on the spaghetti.

This makes a huge batch of spaghetti sauce which is great for freezer cooking.  I used to eat yogurt and I saved my yogurt containers for freezer storage – it works perfectly for my spaghetti sauce.

Another tip for freezer cooking: use tape to label

I forgot to take a picture of the spaghetti that we had for dinner this week, but thankfully I have a picture from before where I made spaghetti and meatballs.  I didn’t make meatballs this week, but I’ll share that recipe soon as well.

I hope you enjoy,

Amber

Spaghetti Sauce Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 large cans of Hunt’s crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic (pressed or finely chopped)
  • 1/2 a white onion (you can omit this if you like)
  • A bunch of dried basil (2 to 5 tablespoons – I think 2 is more than enough)
  • Black pepper (about 1 to 2 tsp)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (more if you want it sweeter)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated parmasan (you can leave this out to save even more money)

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the chopped garlic, onion, and dried basil and heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, pepper, and sugar.  Stir often and bring to a low boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring often.  For the first half of the simmer time, do so with the pot uncovered and then cover the second half.
  4. Add the cheese and stir in and simmer for an additonal 5 minutes.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
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Scrambled Eggs and Vegetables

I love eating a home-cooked breakfast.  My husband and I haven’t had cereal in over a year and a half and we have not missed it one bit.  I make a homemade granola recipe for days when I’m too busy to cook breakfast in the morning but most of the time, I will cook up something delicious.

This dish is something that I just came up with in an attempt to eat a healthier diet.  I don’t have any exact measurements as this is something you can easily adjust to your liking.

Step 1: Cook your bacon in the oven.  My oven runs a little hotter so I heat my bacon at 350 degrees for 17 minutes or until nice and crispy.  You can do this directly on a cookie sheet but for easier clean up use foil.

Step 2: Chop up your veggies into bite size pieces

In the above picture, I used a green bell pepper, yellow squash, and zucchini.  YUM!

Step 3: When the bacon has about 10 minutes left in the oven, start heating a skillet over medium heat.  I like to use my iron skillet to cook this meal.  And yes, I am easily able to cook eggs in my skillet with an easy clean up.  But it took a few months of seasoning before I was able to do this.  After it was properly seasoned, it was better than a non-stick skillet.  I will do a separate post talking about using an iron skillet.

Step 4: Crack your eggs in a bowl and stir with a fork or whisk.  You can also add salt and pepper at this time, but I do this on my skillet because it helps season the skillet.

Step 5: With about 4 minutes left for the bacon, melt about a tablespoon of coconut oil, butter, or bacon grease in the skillet.

Step 6: Add salt and pepper to your skillet if you are using an iron skillet. Add chopped vegetables and cook for about a minute or two.

Step 7: Add the eggs to the vegetable mixture and scramble.  Serve with bacon, fruit, or toast.

Ingredients needed (if cooking for 2):

4 eggs

1 bell pepper (I only used part of the pepper)

1 zucchini (I only used part of it)

1 yellow squash (I only used part of it)

Salt and pepper

coconut oil, bacon grease, or butter

If you give this meal a try, I hope that you enjoy it and let me know what you think.

Blessings,

Amber

 

Paleo: Chicken & Veggie Packets

It has been a crazy busy week – wow! On Tuesday, I had a job interview, and on Wednesday I started my first day of work.  I’m no longer a full-time homemaker. Now I’m a homemaker and a working gal. I also decided to start the Paleo diet on Wednesday – I’m not sure how smart it is to start a new lifestyle change on the same week you start working, but so far it has been totally worth the extra effort.  I’ll talk more about why I’m doing this later, but for now, I’d like to share with you a simple and delicious Paleo dinner.

For this recipe you will need the following:

  • 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • baby carrots
  • sliced mushrooms
  • 1 sweet yellow onion
  • salt
  • pepper
  • thyme
  • aluminum foil (4 squares)
  • a mallet (to pound the chicken)

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Flatten 4 chicken breasts using a mallet to 1/2 inch thickness

Step 2: Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper and just a little bit of thyme.

Step 3: Chop onion and pepper (fajita-style) and place on top of chicken

Step 4: Throw on sliced mushrooms and baby carrots and add more salt, pepper, and thyme over everything.

Step 5: Wrap the foil and place on baking sheet to cook for 20 minutes or until juices run clear and the chicken is cooked through

Step 6: You can also throw this all together and save in the refrigerator for a few hours if need be.  I did this for my husband so that he could have a freshly cooked meal instead of leftovers. (He doesn’t get off of work until late and now that I have to be up early for work, I have to go to bed way before he gets home.)

Step 7: ENJOY!

I hope that you enjoy and if you are also doing a Paleo diet, leave me a comment and let me know why you are doing it.

Blessings,

Amber

Original recipe source here.

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Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

This delicious cookie recipe only uses 3 ingredients and takes less than 2 minutes to prepare and about 12 minutes or less to bake. These are my go-to cookies when I want something sweet in a hurry.  I’m enjoying my last peanut butter cookies today as I will be starting the Paleo diet tomorrow when I go grocery shopping (I’ll share more about that later). Here’s how you make it:

You will need:

  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup of peanut butter

Step 1: In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup of sugar and egg.  For some reason, using a fork works better than a spatula.

Step 2: Now mix in peanut butter

Step 3: Roll into balls of your desired size and place on ungreased baking sheet or baking sheet with parchment paper

Step 4: You can cook it as is or you can use a fork to make a criss-cross design.

Step 5: Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then remove to a wire rack or plate to cool for at least 5 minutes more.

I hope that you enjoy!

Blessings,

Amber

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