Homemaking 4 My Guys

Thoughts on Homemaking, Saving Money, Faith, Family & A Life Worth Living

Archive for the category “Recipes”

Meal Planning

OHRMThis weekend Brenda and I had the honor of spending some time with military wives and soldiers who have been blessed with child at A Star Spangled Baby Shower hosted by https://www.facebook.com/OHRockyMountains.

Brenda and I both have been military wives and know the sacrifice of these wonderful women.  We thank them for their family’s service and sacrifice in defending our freedoms.  We thank you.  I huge thanks to Nina and her staff of volunteers who  made this fun pampering event happen.

Brenda and I talked a bit about some money-saving ideas/tips.  One of the things we shared was regarding making a meal plan each month.  This simply put is making a list of the meals you would like to make for the week, every two weeks or monthly, whatever works best for your family. I did our family’s while on a drive from our community to another one weekend.  Next I got through and list the ingredients I will need to make these meals.  Once that is completed, I cross off any ingredients I already have stocked in the kitchen and freezers.  Lastly I either make a neater list of what is needed at the grocery stores or I can use my crossed out list of needed ingredients.  I personally like to make a new list and categorize them by the store I will purchase them at based on the best value I can get.

We already have the supplies for each meal in-house and can pull whatever is need prior to the day it is prepared.  We have personally learned the value of doubling or tripling a meal our family enjoys.  We do with everything from meatloaf and Salisbury steaks to pasta sauces, chicken pot pies to various casseroles.  With the extras, place in serving size containers or zip lock backs and throw in the freezer.  This is so nice in the weeks to come.  For every time this is done we have two extra meals already made and we can just continue to rotate them through over the next few weeks.

We have learned meal planning saves us time, at the grocery store but also at home because we already have prepped so much of our ingredients.

We definitely save money since we are making fewer trips to the grocery store and therefore not buying as much.  Grocers want in there their stores as often as possible.  Most of us do not  go in and pick up just that loaf of bread or the gallon of milk we need, we usually add extra items to our cart.

The lack of stress is wonderful.  It is so nice to know we have everything we need in-house for whatever we decided to have that night.  If you do some freezer meals or preparatory pieces it is great to be able to pull that and defrost in the fridge and them whip up in a few minutes when it is dinner time.

Meal planning for us has also become a way to combat spending money at the last-minute with eating out or purchasing ready-made meals at the last moment when a day has been extremely busy or stressful.  It has also been a saving grace when Mom goes down sick or has to be out-of-town.

The Mastering-Meal-Planning-class-handout is some wonderful information we had gathered from Kelly over at http://www.thenourishinghome.com.  Check her blog out 🙂

Check out http://www.operationhomefront/rockmountains.net as well.   They are doing some awesome work with our military families.  Consider joining them as a volunteer.  You will be blessed by it.

Have a wonderful week,



Budget Saving Tips






Tips for saving $$$

Make a monthly menu plan.  This is huge, make a list of all ingredients needed, check and see what you have in your home already.  Make a list of the items you do need.  It will blow you mind how much this cuts down on the grocery bill
Shop loss leader items
Stock up on sales
Make your own laundry soap and cleaning products (super easy and cheap!!!)
Cook and debone your own chicken breasts in a crock pot.  Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery and whatever herbs you like and make great health stock at the same time
Prepare your own mixes: spices, biscuit/Bisquick, muffins, cookie dough, marinara sauce
Parboil potatoes, peel and shred then freeze for hash browns
Blanch/freeze diced vegetables once a month for economical, fast and healthier options when cooking
Buy meats on last sale date, big savings
Buy cheese in bulk store, grate in food processor and freeze (much cheaper and healthier than buying pre-shredded)
Share a membership to a warehouse store with a friend.  Every membership has two access cards.  Split the cost and reap the savings
Make it a practice to double your recipes and put 1/2 of each in the freezer for another day
Get together with some friends and each of you make a few of the same recipe and then swap them out so everyone takes home a few new dishes to try
Shred zucchini in the summer and fall months, bag and freeze for making breads, muffins and cakes with in the winter and spring.  Do the same for bananas as the start to brown for same purpose
Got picky eaters, cook vegetables and them puree them with the some of the liquid cooked with and pour into ice cube trays. 
Once froze, place in freezer storage bag.  Add to recipes and your loved ones will be none the wiser but will receive the nutritional value
Take chicken broth from cooking chicken in crock pot and place in ice cube trays.  Once froze place in storage bag/container.  You will always have broth at the ready that is health and very low in sodium but high in flavor
Make your own baby food, cook fruits, veggies, meals and desserts.  Puree in blender then freezer in ice cube trays.  Store in plastic bags.  Defrost as needed.  Not only is this a cheaper option, your child is developing a taste for the foods your family eats
Cook big batches of rice and place in containers and freeze.  You can pull it out and thaw before usage.  A great time saver.  DOES NOT WORK WELL FOR PASTA
Precook hamburger with onions, garlic and peppers, then freeze in serving size baggies/containers for quick usage
Grow your own vegetables/herbs either in a garden or in containers
Turn the heat down when not at home or at night
Sign-up for daily updates on free or reduced e-books (if you are a Kindle app reader)
Use a crock pot, microwave or grill to cook as much as possible
Dry clothes outside on a clothes line whenever weather permits 
Your oven and dryer are your two largest electricity consumers  as far as appliances go

 Websites that I frequent or follow, many cover multiple areas listed below:









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Free Educational/Homeschool Stuff




Christian E-books





My contact info  

Website:  www.homemaking4myguys.wordpress.com

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Email: homemkaing4myguys@yahoo.com

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions I can address or research for you 🙂

Blessings, Marilyn

Skinny Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Skinny-Baked-Mozzarella-SticksOur youngest son has a love affair going on with mozzarella cheese sticks.  As they tend to be not only expensive but very bad for us I was excited when I received this post from my friends over at http://www.budget101.com.  They posted it from  http://www.skinnytaste.com.

If you have a membership to Sam’s Club, they are by far the cheapest place to buy string cheese.  Make my friend Jen’s marinara sauce (or pull it out of the freezer, if it is already made) and you have one amazing snack or appetizer.  Now we can enjoy this yummy snack with a little less guilt.  Gotta love that!!!

Skinny Baked Mozzarella Sticks
Servings: 12 • Serving Size: 2 pieces • Old Points: 1 pts • Points+: 2 pts*
Calories: 86.8* • Fat: 4.8 g • Protein: 7.4 g • Carb: 3.5 g • Fiber: 0.2 g • Sugar: 0.2
Sodium: 168.6 


  • 12 sticks part-skim, reduced sodium mozzarella string cheese (Sargento)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 5 tbsp Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 5 tbsp panko crumbs
  • 2 tsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • olive oil cooking spray (I used my misto)


Cut cheese in half to give you 24 pieces. Place cheese in the freezer until cheese is frozen.

In small bowl, whisk the egg. Place the flour on another small dish. In separate bowl,combine bread crumbs, panko, parmesan cheese and dried parsley.

Dip the frozen sticks in flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg, then coat with the crumbs.

Repeat this process with the remaining cheese placing them on a tray with wax paper. Place cheese back into the freezer until ready to bake (this is a must or they will melt before the crumbs get golden).

When ready to bake preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with oil.

Place frozen cheese sticks on baking sheet. Spray the tops of the mozzarella sticks with a little more oil and bake in the bottom third of your oven until crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and bake an additional 4 – 5 minutes watching them closely so they don’t melt.

Makes 24 pieces.

* There will be extra crumbs and flour after breading, I’ve deducted them from the nutritional info.

Jen’s Marinara Sauce

My friend Jen is half Italian.  She learned how to make this marinara sauce from her family.  It is amazing.  I like to use it not only for pasta dishes like spaghetti and lasagna but also as pizza sauce.  Jen uses this with her meatballs (which are widely known and coveted in our community) for meatball subs.  
Thanks to her hubby,Brook, for allowing us to share in wealth while watching football.  You’re a jewel too.  Love ya friends.
It is very economical to make.  Much cheaper than purchasing pre-made sauce, better for us and quick as a lick….
Keep it handy, you will absolutely love it!!!   Printable version here: Jens Marinara Sauce
1 Jumbo can Tomato sauce (restaurant size from Sam’s Club or Costco)
Minced garlic (to taste)
2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon Olive oil, divided
1 or 2 large cans tomato paste
1 large onion
Basil (to taste)
parsley (to taste)
1. Pour tomato sauce in large pot or crock pot.
2. Sauté garlic in 1  teaspoon olive oil in pan.
 3. Once garlic is tender add garlic to sauce then add tomato paste to pan garlic was cooked in and sauté until sauce is orange.
4. Add tomato paste to sauce in pot and mix well.
6. Blend in 2 tbsp. olive oil.
7. Peel outer skin of onion and cut ends off.  Float onion in large pot of sauce.
 8. Add basil, parsley, olive oil, and paste/garlic mixture to large pot and simmer for a while or overnight.
Place marinara sauce in containers,  freezer.  Use as needed.

Bacon Cheddar Soup

As promised, here is one of our favorite soups-Bacon Cheddar Soup.  Click on the following to print the pdf recipe:Bacon Cheddar Soup

Bacon Cheddar Soup


1 lb. bacon


1 lg. onion, chopped  (can substitute onion powder)


4 cloves garlic, chopped (can substitute garlic powder)


2 cups chicken broth (can use all chicken broth)


2 c. milk, half and half, or cream (can use more or less milk/cream for creaminess preference)


4 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cubed


salt and pepper to taste


1 teaspoon thyme


1 lb. cheddar cheese


1 cup sour cream
Fry bacon, onion and garlic until bacon is cooked and onions are clear, drain. 


Add chicken broth, milk and potatoes.  Cook until potatoes are soft. 


Add salt, pepper and thyme.  Stir in cheddar cheese and sour cream.


Serve immediately.


Great with fresh French bread or Hasselback Garlic Cheesy Bread.

Bacon Cheddar Soup

Hasselback Garlic Cheesy Bread

bread-garlic-cheesy-recipeJust found this yummy recipe via Crock Pot Moms on Facebook.  I can hardly wait to make this.  
We love Hasselback potatoes.  So I can just imagine what the bread will taste like.  Check it out.  Pretty simple recipe.  If you are not a bread maker, use some frozen bread dough.  
Click here to print recipe in a pdf format:  Hasselback Garlic Cheesy Bread
It is snowing at my house right now, I think this would go great with some homemade Cheddar Bacon Soup (recipe to follow).  
Guess that is my cue to get busy.  
Enjoy, Mare
You will need:
warm water;
dry yeast;
bread flour;
olive oil;
plastic wrap;
whatever type of cheese you prefer;
half of cup of garlic butter;

You start by making the dough of this soon-to-be delicious bread. Take one envelope of dry yeast and mix it in a bowl with a tablespoon of honey and a cup of warm water. Add three cups of bread flour and a teaspoon of salt, and continue the mixing process until your dough does no longer stick to the bowl. Pour a little bit of the olive oil on the edges of the bowl where your mixture is. Leave it to rise for an hour in a towel covered bowl. After this, remove the dough from the bowl. Cut into two same-size parts and shape into a pair of baguettes. Don’t be afraid to twist the dough as it will look interesting after you’re done; it’s useful for the other ingredients as well.

Now, while you leave the dough covered with a plastic wrap in a warm place, preheat your oven to 400″ Fahrenheit. When half an hour has passed, take off the wrap and put in the oven for 20 minutes or so at 350″.
Meanwhile, slice the cheese into slices (they should be very thin!) and slowly melt half a cup of garlic butter. With the help of a kitchen brush, cover the entire bread (remove from oven to work with it better) with butter. Put to bake for another 10 minutes or until the bread reaches a tasty golden brown aspect.
Let it cool for 15 minutes and then make slices with a knife through the bread. Make sure you don’t cut all the way to the bottom. Use these spaces to put in the cheese and some more garlic butter.
Place in the oven a bit for the cheese to melt. They’re ready to serve. Delicious!

Chicken Pot Pie

chicken pot pieHere is a chicken pot pie recipe I have made for years, thanks to my awesome mom.  I grew up eating this yummy dish.  It is so very economical to make and super easy.  Like many of the recipes I share, this can so easily be doubled or tripled and put in the freezer for another time, making your life a little less stressed on a busy day 🙂

Chicken Pot Pie (printable version)

Chicken Mixture                                                                  Biscuit Mix

  • Pre-cooked shredded chicken                           1 1/2 c. flour
  • Potatoes, cubed and par-boiled                        1/4 c. shortening
  • Diced Onion                                                          2 tsp. baking powder
  • Frozen Mixed Vegetables                                  2/3 c. milk
  • Chicken Broth                                                      1/2 tsp. salt
  • Corn Starch/Water                                              chopped onion, (opt.)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat broth and thicken with cornstarch

Biscuits:  Mix all ingredients together and water mixture.  Add all ingredients gently.  Place on a floury Heat thoroughly.  Place in a greased pan.   Place on a lightly floured surface.  Pat to approx. 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut out biscuits.  Place on top of hot chicken mixture.

If you prefer, you can always top with a pie crust.  My family just happens to love to pour the chicken mixture of the fluffy biscuits.

Bake at 425 º for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Pineapple Teriyaki Crock Pot Chicken

If you love Chinese food, you will love this amazingly simple and economical meal from Jillee at http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com.  My family is not big on Chinese food so I did not connect the taste to being nearly the same as Sesame Chicken (minus the sesame seeds) like my friend Brenda did.  Thanks Bren.

As you will see this is an amazing simple recipe.  I have altered it a bit.  I use pre-cooked shredded chicken breapineapple-teriyaki-chicken-1st meat.  I mix all ingredients up and cook in the crock pot for a couple of hours.  It could also be done in the microwave or on the stove top.   Either way, this recipe is super simple to double/triple and throw in a zip lock bag and store in the freezer for another day.

Pineapple Teriyaki Crock Pot Chicken


  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. (Jillee skipped this step, she put in whole chicken breasts.)

Add chicken and the other ingredients into your slow cooker. Stir.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until chicken is tender and falls apart.

That is literally all there is to it. If you prefer a thicker sauce, transfer to a small sauce pan and boil with flour or cornstarch until reduced to desired thickness.

Serve over rice.


Hearty Penne Beef

Our family has fallen in love with the flavor of the sauce in this casserole.  So simple and so yummy!!  The sauce recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and stores very well in the freezer.  Pasta does not do well in the freezer (you can use pasta cooked al dente and it will do okay).  Pull your frozen sauce out, cook up so fresh pasta, add somHearty Penne Beefe fresh french garlic herb bread and a crisp salad and you have a wonderful meal.  Quick and easy.  I found this dish on Taste of Home’s website.

Hearty Beef Penne Pasta (click on title for printable version)


2 3/4 c uncooked penne pasta (any pasta will do, we like mini shells)

1 lbs. ground beef

1 teas. garlic, minced

1 can (15 oz.) tomato puree

1 can (15 0z. beef froth (I use my homemade or made with bullion)

1 1/2 teas. Italian seasoning

1 teas. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teas. salt

2 c. chopped fresh spinach ( I use spinach that I have cooked and pureed, froze in ice cube trays)

2 c. (8 oz.) mozzarella cheese

1/4 teas. pepper


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in the tomato puree, broth, Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add spinach; cook for 1-2 minutes or until wilted.
  3. Drain pasta; stir into beef mixture. Sprinkle with cheese; cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted.

This recipe serves 6-8, it makes a quart of sauce and it more than serves my hungry guys and leaves a few leftovers on occasion 🙂


Chicken, Black Bean and Mixed Rice Casserole

cutecolorschores5We discovered this recipe not to long ago and love it.  It is quick to prepare and very filling.  I cook my own dry beans then freeze them, I make my own rice mix, and cook bone in chicken breasts and then de-bone and freeze them.  This combination makes this meal very economical to make.  

Chicken Black Bean and Rice Casserole (printable version)

1 c. long grain rice and 1/2 c. wild rice (or 1 box long grain & wild rice mix-do not use seasoning packet)
3 c. water
1/2 c. green pepper, chopped
1/2 c. red pepper, chopped
1/2 c.  onion, chopped
1 tsp. butter
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 c. cooked chicken breasts
1/2 c. peas
1/2 c. whole kernel corn
2 c. or 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 c. sour cream
1 1/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c. mushrooms, sliced (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

Add rice and water to saucepan.  Cook until tender. 

Add butter, peppers, onions, Italian seasoning and mushrooms (if using) to a skillet.  Cook  over medium heat until mushrooms are wilted and onions are vegetables are tender and excess moisture is gone, approx. 5-8 minutes. 

Add rice, onion & pepper mixture, chicken, corn, peas, sour cream and 1 cup cheese.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Spoon into a 2 qt. casserole dish.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. cheese.  Bake uncovered at 350® until hot, about 30 minutes. 

Makes 8 main dish servings.

Serve with a crisp lettuce salad some warm garlic herb bread.

I frequently double this recipe and put extras in a storage bag in the freezer for a quick and handy meal on a busy day. 


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