Our February recipe of the month is Honey Mustard Dressing. This is a super easy homemade dressing that can be used for more than just salads.
To make this dressing, combine ¼ cup each of only four ingredients – Dijon mustard, honey, cider vinegar, and oil – in a container with a tight fitting lid. Shake well and serve. This dressing has many uses:
Try our Honey Mustard Dressing this month; I think you will like it!
Happy New Year from Spend Smart. Eat Smart.! We are happy to welcome you to 2018 with our January recipe of the month – Tamale Pie.
A bottom layer of ground beef, onions, peppers, and salsa is topped with a delicious, golden layer of cornbread. You will want to eat this right out of the oven, but I promise it is better if you let it rest about five minutes before slicing and serving. The rest time lets the bottom layer thicken up a little and makes it much easier to scoop from the dish to your plate.
This dish has been a hit with the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. family and I hope it is a hit with your family too!
‘Tis the season for festive fun! This is my favorite time of year to pull friends together for a party. Formal dinner parties are not really for me. I prefer to invite friends over for a casual get together with some tasty food that is not too difficult or expensive for me to prepare.
For this week’s blog, I have done a recipe round-up of party friendly recipes from Spend Smart. Eat Smart. I hope they make it onto your party spread!
- Mango Salsa: This is a delicious option alongside traditional salsa. It is tasty with homemade Baked Tortilla Chips or store bought ones. This recipe works well with jarred or canned mangoes if you do not want to work with fresh ones. It will be the talk of your party!
- Peanut Butter Balls: Holiday parties are usually overwhelmed with cookies and sweets. These little nibbles are a nice change of pace and look great alongside Fruit Kabobs.
- If your party is around a mealtime and you do not want to have a sit down dinner, consider putting out the components of a Tostada Bar. It is less work for you and fun for your guests to do themselves.
- Sometimes it is nice to bring everyone together around a hot pot of soup. Our Slow Cooker Pork Chili is perfect for this. You can keep it hot in the slow cooker for everyone to enjoy as they come and go.
- For a sweet ending to your party, try Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes. They start with a cake mix to keep your baking simple.
Our December recipe of the month is here – Chicken, Corn, and Rice Casserole.
This hot and tasty dish is sure to warm you up on a cold winter evening.
My weekly menus usually reflect the seasons. In the winter, I enjoy making hot casseroles that fill our home with delicious smells and the warmth of the oven. This time of year, I find comfort in gathering our family around the table, enjoying a hot meal together, and having a long conversation. Chicken, Corn, and Rice Casserole is a great recipe to gather around.
To make this recipe, stir together cooked brown rice, frozen corn (that has been thawed), a can of chicken, a can of diced green chilies, a container of plain Greek yogurt, and shredded cheese. Put the mixture into a casserole dish and bake at 350° F for 30 minutes. When you serve it, you can let each person add their own toppings (salsa, shredded cheese, jalapeños, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips).
Last week Christine gave four tips for saving money on holiday groceries. She mentioned that during the holidays stores will occasionally have deep discounts on items like turkeys or hams. This is a good time to include planned-overs in your weekly menu to save money. During the busy holiday season, it can also save you time in the kitchen.
Planned-overs are leftovers you plan into your weekly menu. When you have a day off or an evening free, you can make an entire extra meal such as a casserole or prepare extra ingredients that can be included in recipes later in the week. Let’s imagine we bought an extra ham during a great holiday sale. Below is a sample menu that uses the ham we got on sale and includes some planned-over shortcuts to use throughout the week.
Sunday Ham and Easy Roasted Veggies (cut up the ham to use Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday)
Monday It’s a Meal Strata (cut up extra vegetables to use for Tuesday and Wednesday)
Tuesday Mama’s Pizza Boats
Wednesday Whole Meal Salad
Thursday Ham and Brown Rice (make extra rice for Saturday)
Friday Slower Cooker Black Eyed Pea Soup
Saturday Fiesta Skillet Dinner
Prepared dishes and cooked ingredients will only last four days in the refrigerator. If you won’t be able to use them within four days, freeze them to use at a later date.
For more dinner menu ideas using planned-overs, check out our How to Use Planned-overs video.
At our Thanksgiving meal there is always too much food and an abundance of leftovers. There is just something about the holiday that compels us to cook and cook and cook. Which brings us to our November recipe of the month – Turkey Vegetable Quiche. This recipe is the perfect way to use up some of your leftover Thanksgiving turkey.
Start with a pie crust – you can buy one during the pre-Thanksgiving sales or you can make an extra when you make your holiday pies. Prepare the crust then fill it with sautéed vegetables, leftover turkey, and eggs that are beaten with milk and seasonings. Top everything with a sprinkle of cheese and bake for about 35 minutes. Make sure to let this quiche rest outside of the oven for about 5 minutes to make it easier to slice and serve.
This quiche tastes great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Enjoy!
I cannot believe that it has been exactly four years since I last blogged on the topic of homemade baby food. At the time, my daughter had recently outgrown the mashed and soft foods phase and was moving on to eating most table foods. She was a great eater and happily ate just about anything I offered.
Fast forward four years and I have gone through the baby food phase again with another child. This one was a little different. He decided to show a strong personality and go about trying foods his own way. I was excited to start making him some homemade baby food, but he would not eat it! He wanted what big brother, big sister, dad, and mom were eating, and he wanted to feed himself. So, we gave him foods from the table that he could easily chew and swallow and that he could pick up with his fingers and get into his mouth.
I wanted him to try foods with a variety of textures and flavors, but he still refused to let anyone feed him – he had to feed himself. With a little bit of patience and a lot of practice with the spoon, he started feeding himself some of the mashed foods I had prepared for him. Two of his favorites were apples and sweet potatoes. If you are interested in making homemade baby food, check out our video. You can also try our homemade applesauce, which is a great fall treat no matter how young or old you are!
Sweet potato fries are a current favorite of mine. Really, they’ve been a favorite of mine for a couple of years! I order them when eating out and I make them at home. Sometimes I make them homemade and other times I bake a bag of frozen fries from the store. I was curious what the difference in nutrition and cost would be between these, so I did a little research and here is what I found.
*Serving sizes vary up to a 1/3 cup.
**Nutrition information from restaurant website.
I make the homemade fries using our recipe for Sweet Potato Fries. The serving size is a bit smaller but since they are baked and you can control the amount of salt added, they provide the best nutrition. My homemade fries are lower in fat and sodium than the restaurant and frozen options. The frozen fries do pretty well for nutrition though, if they are baked. They are higher in fat and sodium but still pretty reasonable. The fries from the restaurant are the most expensive and highest in calories, fat, and sodium. They are likely deep fat fried which would increase the fat and calories. And heavy on the salt. The restaurant’s nutrition information did not provide the amount of Vitamin A in the sweet potato fries but all three kinds would provide a good dose of Vitamin A. Therefore, if you want to eat fries when eating out, you might go for the sweet potato fries to boost the nutrition of the fries. Like with so many food choices, making sweet potato fries at home is going to be the least expensive and the most nutritious.
I grew up thinking that the only way you could eat sweet potatoes is with marshmallows on top. I am not a big marshmallow fan, so, as an extension, I did not really like sweet potatoes. Now that I have learned some new ways to make them, I love sweet potatoes and eat them nearly every week.
Our October recipe of the month is a delicious sweet potato recipe – Mashed Sweet Potatoes. You peel and dice the sweet potatoes, boil them until they are tender, add some cream cheese and then mash them. If you would like, you can top them with some bread crumbs and broil them for just a few minutes until the bread crumbs are golden brown.
I like this recipe because the flavor is not too sweet. I really like this recipe because it uses sweet potatoes, which are a rich source of nutrients that our bodies need including fiber, vitamin A, and potassium.
When my girls were young we often made Pumpkin Pudding for a fall dinner dessert. Pudding is inexpensive and also light and not overly filling. The Pumpkin Pudding recipe includes a full can of pumpkin, so you are also getting the added fiber and Vitamin A pumpkin is known for. With the pumpkin pie spice seasoning added, it tastes like pumpkin pie!
For a fun activity with young children, try making Pumpkin Pudding in a zip top bag!
- Add the pudding mix and seasoning into a one-gallon zip top bag.
- Then add the pumpkin and milk and close the top.
- Be sure to get bags with a good seal. Freezer bags work well for this activity.
- Pass the bag to the children so they can knead and mix the ingredients together by squeezing the bag with their hands. They will enjoy the fun of watching the ingredients blend together and become thicker as the pudding sets up.
- When it’s mixed and thickened, cut a small hole in one corner of the bag and squeeze the pudding into bowls.
Written by Jill Weber, Human Sciences Specialist-Nutrition and Wellness