Thursday, July 30, 2009

Enchiladas for a crowd

Sunday is going to be a big day at our house and I am going to have 19 for dinner. Feeding that many, especially in our smallish home, is going to be.....something!
I gave the honoree the choice of main menu item between Baked Ham, Beef Strogonoff & 3 Cheese Chicken Enchiladas and the enchiladas were selected. Since I needed to fixed 38 enchiladas (2 apiece for this main dish) I decided the only way was to prepare the actual enchiladas ahead of time and freeze them.
The recipe I had was for 10 Enchiliadas. Instead of making them all at once I decided the easiest and best way, for me, was to make 4 separate batches of the items.
The night before, I cooked 4 large split chicken breasts in the slow cooker. (I always remove the skin and fat ) First thing I did this morning was shred the chicken and place 2 cups in 4 separate baggies.
I needed 6 cups of both Jack & Cheddar Cheese, totalling 12 cups.....8 for the enchiladas themselves and 4 to be used to top them. So......the first thing I did was grate a cup of both and place in a baggie, ending up with 4 baggies containing 1 cup each of both Jack & Cheddar. Then I grated 2 cups of each and placed in a bag for the toppings to be added on Sunday. I didn't think to take pictures at the beginning but here is the awaiting topping bag.
After mixing the cheeses, chicken and chili sauce together I was ready to lay out my 10 tortillas, fill them, then roll each one.
Here I am putting together the final of the 4 batches which was for the remaining 8 Enchiladas. I am filling and rolling them.
Wrapping each in foil for the freezer.

Mickey was involved in this project every step of the way and here he is marking this last group of 8 with a G for green. I made 2 batches with red chili and 2 batches with green chili. We marked each batch as R or G and will cook each type together so our guests can have their choice and preference.

Here are the 38 in the freezer and this step of the job is done for today.

Sunday, after church, all I'll have to do is remove these and do the last and final step of adding the red or green chili to the bottom of the pan, placing the enchiladas in the pan, topping with the grated cheese and bake.

Now for the recipe:
Three Cheese Chicken Enchiladas
1 1/2 cups grated jack cheese (sometimes I use pepper jack)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (we prefer sharp)
3 ounces cream cheese softened (you could use another cheese choice but cc makes
them really creamy & good!)
19 ounce can of red or green enchilada sauce
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
10 large flour tortillas
Combine 1 cup of jack cheese, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, cream cheese, 3/4 cup enchilada sauce, and chicken. Mix until well combined. Pour about 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce into a 9x13 pan and spread it around. Then place about 1/3 cup of filling into each tortilla shell. Roll up and place in pan. Pour remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until heated through.
If you like Mexican food you'll enjoy this recipe.
I hope you will all drop by Penless Writer next week when I'll post all about this occasion, the honoree and the guest list.
Check in tomorrow for another Mexican dish I will be making and serving.
Frugal note: Yes, I washed out each and every baggie and will reuse them!!
Frugal note: I have several pints of fat free chicken broth in the frig for future meals.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Use That Extra Bread

This is a followup on Kristie's post about having extra bread and other items as a result of buying in bulk at places like Costco. For us, it's BJ's, but the same applies. We often have lots of bread around no matter where we shop; it seems my family members often have times when they don't particularly want what's here for one reason or another. One of my favorite healthy recipes is the one I posted once as a sneaky nutrition post on my blog . I promised Susan I would post it here too, because it is indeed a great way to use that extra bread that's not quite so fresh anymore. I sometimes have made it to give to folks when our church makes meals for a household with a sick mom or new baby or just to help out for some other need. Good for breakfast, lunch or dessert, and very nutritious, with or without the wheat germ. Enjoy!

Applesauce Bread Pudding

1. 7 to 8 slices bread, white or whole wheat, or some of both. (Number of slices may vary, depending on size of slices.)
2. 3 eggs
3. 2 cups canned skim milk, undiluted
4. 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
5. 1/2 cup sugar (or less) [I use Splenda for my family. Husband diabetic.]
6. 1 tsp. vanilla
7. 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
8. 1/2 tsp. salt
9. nutmeg
10. wheat germ (about 1/4 cup)
11. raisins, if desired

a. Spray a shallow baking dish and break up the bread into it.
b. In a bowl, mix eggs, add milk, then stir in applesauce.
c. Add sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt to egg mixture.
d. Stir in wheat germ and raisins, if desied.
e. Pour the mixture over the bread pieces.
f. Sprinkle nutmeg over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees until set, about 35-45 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We Went Overboard at Costco

One of our favorite pastimes this summer has been enjoying the air conditioning and all the fun merchandise at Costco. The trouble is, our eyes have been bigger than our stomachs and we have been purchasing waaaaay more food than the 6 of us can possibly eat. Not only does Costco seem to have the nicest produce, so we bought a ton of it, we also had too much bread, yogurt, and milk on hand, and all were quickly approaching their expiration dates!! But I didn't want any of it to go to waste!!

One of the first things we did was gather up all the fruit-- especially bananas and nectarines-- and we cut it all up and put it into containers. I didn't have any lemon juice, but I did have a bag of limes, so we squeezed the juice over the fruit, and popped those into the freezer. We also threw our extra bread and some of the yogurt cups into the freezer.

So guess what we've been having for breakfast!! Every morning we throw a couple handfuls of frozen fruit and a couple frozen yogurts into the blender, along with a generous splash of the milk we needed to use up, and we have a delicious, healthy smoothie!! Then we grab some frozen slices of bread and toast those to round out the meal.

Absolutely nothing has gone to waste, and it is a refreshing way to start the day!!

Next on my list to use up is our over supply of eggs... I plan to make French Toast with the remaining bread, and maybe even serve scrambled eggs with cheese and salsa for dinner!!

And to keep this from happening again, I plan to stick to my list and not let my kids talk me into buying so much, next time!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have been reading on different blogs and the internet about making homemade laundry detergent. Back in May I finally worked up the courage to mix up a batch.
I made the detergent and have been using it since May and have been extremely satisfied with it's performance. Our clothes are coming clean just fine. I estimate this recipe cost about $2.00-$3.00 to put together.

There are several ways of making detergent. Some make a dry mix and others a liquid detergent. I decided to go with the liquid.

These are the three ingredients used to make it. I found Zote soap at a smaller grocery store in our area. I could not find it at the big chains. Also found the Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda there also. Remember Washing Soda not Baking Soda.
The Recipe:

1 Bar of Zote Soap (some use Fels-Naptha)

2 Cups of Borax

2 Cups of Arm & Hammer SUPER WASHING SODA

Pot with lid

Clean 5 gallon Bucket

Use a grater and grate the entire bar of soap.

Place the grated soap in a large pot with a lid. Pour in enough warm water to completely cover the soap. Bring heat to medium and completely melt the soap. Stirring as it melts.

In your bucket (I actually used a 4 gallon bucket that my pool chemicals come in. It has a lid)
add the washing soda and the Borax and SLOWLY fill with hot water. Stirring continuously to dissolve. NOTE: Leave enough room in the bucket to add the soap later.

Add the soap and continue to stir until all is well mixed. You may need to come back and stir every hour or so to keep it from separating.
The consistency is like a jello. I keep mine in the bucket I mixed it in, but after a couple of days and the mixture completely cools you can re-package if you'd like.

I have a front loading washer and use about 3/4 cup of the detergent. If you have a top -loader I would put the detergent in and let the water help to dissolve it before adding the clothes.
Using 3/4 - 1 cup of the detergent.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments. It was a messy process to put together, but I'm happy with it and will continue to make this as I run low in the future.
Great money saver.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


One of my blog buddies from Canada, Crystal of Be The Change You Want To See, sent me the following and it was so good I wanted to share it with the readers here.

The US Postal service sent out a message to all letter carriers to put a sheet of Bounce in their uniform pockets to keep yellow-jackets away.

Use them all the time when playing baseball and soccer.

I use it when I am working outside. It really works. The insects just veer around you.

All this time you've just been putting Bounce in the dryer!

It will chase ants away when you lay a sheet near them.

It also repels mice. Spread sheets around foundation areas, or in trailers, or cars that are sitting and it keeps mice from entering your vehicle.

It takes the odor out of books and photo albums that don't get opened too often.

It repels mosquitoes. Tie a sheet of bounce through a belt loop when outdoors during mosquito season.

Eliminate static electricity from your television (or computer) screen. Since Bounce is designed to help eliminate static cling, wipe your television screen with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust from resettling.

Dissolve soap scum from shower doors.

Clean with a sheet of Bounce.

To freshen up the air in your home - Place an individual sheet of Bounce in a drawer or hang in the closet.

Put Bounce sheet in vacuum cleaner.

Prevent thread from tangling. Run a threaded needle through a sheet of Bounce before beginning to sew.

To prevent musty suitcases, place an individual sheet of Bounce inside empty luggage before storing.

To freshen up the air in your car - place a sheet of Bounce under the front seat.

Clean baked-on foods from a cooking pan. Put a sheet in a pan, fill with water, let sit overnight, and sponge clean. The anti-static agent apparently weakens the bond between the food and the pan.

Eliminate odors in wastebaskets. Place a sheet of Bounce at the bottom of the wastebasket.

Collect cat hair. Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract all the loose hairs.

Eliminate static electricity from Venetian blinds. Wipe the blinds with a sheet of Bounce to prevent dust from resettling.

Wipe up sawdust from drilling or sand papering. A used sheet of Bounce will collect sawdust like a tack cloth.

Eliminate odors in dirty laundry. Place an individual sheet of Bounce at the bottom of a laundry bag or hamper.

Deodorize shoes or sneaks. Place a sheet of Bounce in your shoes or sneakers overnight.

Golfers put a Bounce sheet in their back pocket to keep the bees away.

Put a Bounce sheet in your sleeping bag and tent before folding and storing them It will keep them smelling fresh.

Wet a Bounce sheet, hose down your car, and wipe love-bugs off easily with the wet Bounce.

What a great list of ideas. I'm going to be trying a bunch of these!!!