Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chicken Taco Salad

(Crystal Light Salad and Parker House Rolls are keeping the Chicken Taco Salad company)

I got the BEST recipe from my Fabulous Friend, Kelly C.,  a couple weeks ago and I have been dying to make it! Luckily, I had some chicken breasts leftover over from camp that I had cooked in the crock pot, and put in the freezer for a busy day dinner. Yesterday, qualified as a busy day, so I grabbed a bag of shredded chicken to thaw out. The recipe is perfect for using up leftover chicken (although, you could cook the chicken in a skillet right before you make the salad). The salad was quick and easy to put together and was delicious!
I will definitely being adding this to my Summer mainstay recipes! A DOUBLE thank you to darling Kelly for sharing her recipe with me, you saved my family from eating PB&J!

Chicken Taco Salad
(feeds six adults)

4 chicken breasts cooked and shredded
2 packages of taco seasoning mix
1 1/2 cups water
1 bag of lettuce mix (or 6 cups chopped lettuce)
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 - 6 green onions, sliced
2 cups shredded cheddar, colby jack, or mexican style cheese
1 regular size bag of nacho flavor Doritios ( I think they are 10 - 12 oz)
1 cup prepared ranch dressing

  1. Add chicken, taco seasoning packets, and water to a skillet. Cook until water is absorbed and chicken is heated through. Set aside.
  2. Combine salad, tomatoes, and onions in a large bowl.
  3. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the lettuce mixture.
  4. Place warm chicken mixture on top of cheese.
  5. Crush nacho flavored chips ( I did this in the bag) and pour over the top of the chicken.
  6. Pour salad dressing over chips and mix until salad is well combined.
I added avocado of my salad (the rest of the family are not fans of avocado). Yummy!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

This Week's Menu 6/26: The Back on Track Edition

 (Last week's Bountiful Basket)

I've really missed not having a formal menu written down. Accomplishing all the last minute odds and ends that accompany camping (with a large number of girls) left little time for cooking well balanced meals. We ended up piecing together last minute meals, or hitting the dollar menu.  The continual trips to the fast food drive thru's definitely took a chunk out of our grocery budget ( I am not very proud of the fact, either). After spending the greater part of yesterday cleaning up the kitchen (and the pizza boxes); I'm ready to get back on track with a regular menu, and a healthier diet (fast food DOES NOT qualify as healthy).

Last week Monday I was so busy, I forgot to order a Bountiful Basket. It worked out, though, because the boy's at home didn't eat many fresh fruits or veggies. Most of the previous weeks basket is still in the fridge, and needs to be eaten, A.S.A.P.. There was also leftover food from camp that needs to be used, and I will be incorporating those items into the menu. I am also going to work on cleaning out the freezers (they need to be defrosted before the garden starts producing full throttle).So, this week we will be eating:

Dutch Oven Potatoes
Fruit Salad
Green Salad

Leftover Potatoes
Grilled Hot Dogs
Home Canned Peaches

Chicken Taco Salad (new recipe)
Chips and Salsa

Baked Pasta
Green Salad

Turkey A La King
Buttermilk Biscuits
Home Canned Applesauce
Steamed Cauliflower

Leftover Night

Omelets (using up odds and ends from the fridge)
Fried Potatoes
Banana Bread
Any Fruit That Needs Eaten

Anything good on the menu at your house this week?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Camper's Survived!

Dear Daughter and I are back from our week at camp, and I am happy to report that we returned home with the same number of girls we left with!!! Nobody gotten eaten by bears (they were probably scared away by all the giggling and screaming). We did have a skunk wander in one evening (brave soul), but I don't think he stuck around for long. The allure of garbage must have been short lived, once he heard the general who ha of all those girls (318 in total)! We smelt him, but never did see him; which was fine by me. There were quite a number of mosquitoes (there is a pond in the camp). Most of the campers got a few mosquito bites, but nothing serious..........except for me! Apparently, I am the equivalent of mosquito chocolate!

I am also thinking that I may be having an allergic reaction. Needless to say, I am a little itchy. Dear Hubby lost count at 60+ bites on various parts of my anatomy (including my posterior.........OUCH!).

Everyone had a fabulous time. There was lots of singing, games, crafting, eating, giggling, and jumping in the pond. We only got rained on one night, which was wonderful, because we have had pretty much a solid month of rain here. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for living in the wilderness in the beginning, I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

The menfolk also survived my absence. Largely, because the Daddy Bear bought pizza most nights ( I found the remains in the fridge). I made sure the boys got an extra good scrubbing  the night I got home, so they got a good defunking, too. Now, I am trying to clean my house and restore some sort of order.

It's great to be home. I have really missed posting for the last week. I have some great posts bouncing around in my head that I can't wait to share!!

P.S. WOOT! WOOT! 101 readers!!!! What a great surprise to come home to, and there are still 12 days until my birthday. You guys are the best readers ever!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


 (this picture has nothing to do with the post, but I like posts with pictures. My kids actually stood still for 3 whole minutes while Dear Hubby took this picture, and 3 out of 4 were smiling. That is quite a feat at our house!)

I just wanted to let you all know that I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth. I am just down to five days until I head off to camp with all the lovely young ladies (ages 12 - 17)  from church. You can read about it HERE. So, right now I am in the throws off finishing up the handouts for the dinner time devotionals, organizing camp awards, shopping for enough food to feed 34 hungry people for 3 1/2 days (On a budget, of course. I am the Tightwad Mom, after all!), digging all my camping equipment out of the garage ( kind of like digging for buried treasure), and generally adding more to do's to my list.....daily! My goodness, camping with girls is a lot of work! Apparently, they care if they change their socks, what their hair is going to look like after three days of camping, and they like to be entertained (whittling a stick and skipping rocks in the lake are NOT  considered entertainment. (They much prefer crafty stuff and baking refrigerator biscuits on a stick over the camp fire.)

I also have to think of the crew of boys, Darling Daughter and I will be leaving behind. I must definitely make sure there is easy to heat up food in the fridge and freezer, clean socks and undies in their drawers, and enough toilet paper to get them through until I get back. I don't want them to end up on the neighbor's doorstep begging for a hot meal and/or a roll of toilet paper!!! I definitely don't want them turning their skivvies inside out for a second day of wear!  Crazy men folk!!!

P.S. There are now 98 FABULOUS FOLLOWER here at Tightwad Central! I just have to say that all my followers ROCK!!!! You are the best bloggy readers......EVER!!!! Thanks for supporting all my frugal antics!

Wish me luck! I'm really going to need it. Surviving in nature isn't really my thing. I guess "That which does not kill us, makes us stronger".........unless you get eaten by a bear! Be back soon!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Frozen Fruit Smoothie Pops

I hit a small snag in my eternal quest to eliminate high fructose corn syrup and processed foods out of our diet (and not spend a bazillion dollars on frozen Summer treats). You see, it is Summer break, and my kids adore popsicles (particularly, Otter Pops). They can go through oodles of them on a hot Summer day.  I didn't feel like I could cut the kids off entirely from one of their favorite Summer fare( I am a softy like that). The problem was giving my little ol' brain quite a workout. Then the other day when I was at the grocery store I saw a display of  frozen pop molds. They were priced right at $1.28 a set! I thought, why not make my own frozen pops! At least I will know what ingredients are in them.

Yesterday, as I was digging through the fruit basket, I noticed quite a lot of uber ripe fruit, and I knew there was a carton of Nancy's Organic yogurt in the fridge that need to be finished up. Hey, I could make the fruit and yogurt into smoothies, or better yet, smoothie pops!

I pureed the ripe fruit in my food processor (my blender is a little wimpy, and the processor does a better job of making a smooth puree). Then I dumped the fruit and yogurt in the blender and mixed them together. I made a little bit of a mess, at first.

But, then I realized a funnel might work better!

 Once I got a rhythm going filling the molds went fairly quickly. The mold handles have a hollow bottom, and a straw so that kids can slurp up any melted juice when they are done eating their treat (pretty smart).

After I filled all the molds I put them in the freezer to set up.

This afternoon was the official taste test. All the kid's (big and little) thought they were delicious! I'm just happy that they a fairly healthy (and now my kid's are getting a serving of fruit when they are having a treat).

Of course, after I started cleaning up I noticed a couple of empty ketchup bottles that would have made filling the molds up A LOT easier! They are now filled with leftover smoothie mix to refill the rapidly emptying molds!

This week's smoothie flavor is Strawberry, Mango, Banana. The beauty of this recipe is that you can change out the fruit for whatever is on hand. Canned fruit would work great, too.

Frozen Strawberry, Mango, Banana Smoothie Pops
1 pound of ripe strawberries, hulled
5 very ripe bananas, peeled
3 mangoes, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups of plain or vanilla yogurt

Puree fruit until smooth. Add in yogurt and sugar (if desired). Blend until well combined. Pour into frozen pop molds and freeze until firm (about 8 hours. I let my sit overnight). Set molds in hot water for a minute or two to make removing the pops easier.

My kids have now requested chocolate pudding pops, watermelon pops, and just regular juice pops. Of course, I will post each of these experiments (for any inquiring mind, who wants to know)!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Repurposed "Spice" Jars

A very good friend received a Dean and Deluca sampler gift box from a relative for Christmas this year (lucky Girl!). She didn't want to throw these fabulous metal tins away, and knowing I adore recycling containers of all varieties, she sent them my direction. There were fifteen metal tins inside a heavy duty white gift box (the box  is down stairs in the gift wrap tote waiting to be reused). At first glance, these little tins screamed spice jars!!! I saw some similar to these at Fred Meyers but they were around $3.00 a piece. Of course, the jars were originally covered with colorful labels. I soaked the labels off, but a very sticky residue remained.

Enter some of my favorite cleaning supplies. A spray bottle of Goof Off 2 (it's a water based cleaner), baking soda, and rubbing alcohol. Goof Off is famous for removing sticky residue. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that helped scrub the sticky mess, and rubbing alcohol to remove the last little bit of residue. Never fear, they received a good scrubbing in hot soapy water, too!

It took a little bit of elbow grease (and some wrinkly fingers ), but the tins were soon sticky free.

I made sure that the jars were completely dry before I proceeded to the second part of my project. Baking racks were the perfect substitute for a dish rack.

While the jars were drying I took inventory of my spice drawer. I tossed the spices that I had not used in a very long time (I am ashamed to admit this), made a list of spices I was almost out of (to add to the grocery list), and printed labels for the blank jars.

I am trying to eliminate plastic containers in my pantry; especially for items that will be stored to a long period of time. After each jar was labeled, it was filled with the corresponding spice. I also emptied the glass spice jars (that contained spices I rarely or never use) washed them out and refilled them with spices that I use often. Now my spice drawer is organized and easy to access. Tomorrow I will be picking up a roll of clear contact paper to cover the labels (so that they will be "water proof and wipe able).


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