Friday, July 29, 2011

Yummy Tuna Salad

I would sometimes have a tuna fish sandwich that wasn't quite right in what I wanted it to taste like.  So I set about creating this recipe.  My sisters always request Tuna fish sandwiches when they come and visit--they taste that good.

1 can of Tuna fish--packed in water and drained
Mayonnaise (I use about a 1/4 cup for every can)
Lemon Juice (about 1 teaspoon for every can of Tuna)
Onion Powder--this is optional (a few dashes)

Mix together.  Serve on crackers or in sandwiches.

Ok, I know it is pretty simple recipe, but it works.  The lemon juice is the key ingredient.  In fact I don't make Tuna sandwiches without it and I always add a little bit of it to any dish that I make using Tuna.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Easy Taco Mix for a Crowd or for Your Freezer

Here is a great recipe I got from my friend for Taco Meat to feed a crowd--or freeze it in smaller portions and have everything ready for taco's in a matter of minutes.
3 lbs. Hamburger, browned with 1 Onion
3 cans Pork & Beans
2 cans Tomato Soup
1 can Stewed or Diced Tomatoes
1 Package Taco Seasoning
Drain hamburger, stir all ingredients together and simmer for 30 min to an hour.  This freezes well.  This is a great topping over chips and on tacos.
I do like substituting the Pork & Beans with Kidney beans.  My friend Anjenette suggested mixing in RoTel tomatoes for a kick along with Refried beans instead of the Pork & Beans and my brother thought it should have 3 packages of Taco Seasoning instead of just 1.  The nice thing about this recipe is that it is so easy to adjust to your personal tastes.

My friend who gave me this recipe and I each made a batch and it was enough to feed at least 30 people and we had leftovers.  We used it as a chili, with chips for a walking taco and with tortillas for a basic taco.  When we have our reunion this summer we are going to be feeding almost 50 people with two batches--along with lots of side dishes.  I'll have to let you know if the amounts were accurate.  

Some of you may be wondering why I care about big amounts, but I'm Relief Society President in my Ward with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and I have to prepare big meals all the time, or estimate for someone else, so that's why I like to pass it on to others!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Corn Dogs

Summer and corn dogs go hand in hand.  Whether at an amusement park, the state fair, the board walk, or from the comfort of your own home, corn dogs are a favorite.  How fun is it to eat off a stick!

You can make your own (with or without sticks), for a fraction of the cost and calories of those puppies fried elsewhere.  Simply swap out half of the flour from your favorite pizza dough recipe and replace it with cornmeal.  Mix it up and you will have an easy to use corn dog dough, that you can roll around all those puppies.  You can skewer them with sticks (that have been pre-soaked) or skip the sticks and just bake them up (or fry them if you prefer).

Here's my favorite pizza dough recipe:

Pizza Dough
1 1/3 cups warm water
1 Tbs yeast
2 Tbs oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
4 cups flour (half white flour and half cornmeal if using for corndogs)

  • Put all ingredients in your mixing bowl.
  • Mix together in a mixer for ten minutes.  It should form into a ball.  
  • Lightly spray work surface with non-stick cooking spray.  
  • Divide dough into 8-16 pieces.  I opted for no sticks and cut my hotdogs in half, lengthwise (16 pieces).  Cutting hotdogs in half lengthwise (not rounds) reduces the risk of choking and stretched out my single package of hotdogs to feed more people.  If you have small kids, or want to make corny appetizers (ha ha) you can cut them in half again across the middle for mini corn dogs. Side note-(I like making mini versions of what we are eating for the kids-like mini hamburgers and buns, mini quiches, mini bbq biscuits, mini breads or muffins, etc.).  Now back on the ranch. . .come along little doggie. (hee hee) 
  • Wrap/stretch dough around hotdog  until it is completely covered.  
  • Place on a greased baking sheet.  
  • Bake at 400 degrees until dough is cooked and starts to look golden on the edges (about 15 minutes).
  • Serve with your favorite dipping medium.  We like ketchup at our house.  :)  ~Lena  


Summer Fun!

I am always looking for fun things to do during the summer. Here are a few activities that are available in the Provo, UT area:

Activity: Harry Potter Fest
Date: Wednesday July 20th
Time: 5:30 pm
Location: BYU - Brigham Square
For more information see the BYU calendar

Activity: Mornings at the Museum
Dates: Every Tuesday and Thursday, now until August 4
Time: 11 am
Length: 1 hour
For 5 to 11 year olds
Location: Check BYU calendar for locations
Cost: FREE

Activity: Outdoor Movies in Springville
Dates: July 11, July 18, Aug. 1, Aug. 8, Aug. 15
Location: Springville Arts Park
Cost: FREE
Time: Movie starts at dusk (about 9 pm)

Activity: Outdoor Movies in Provo
Dates: Aug. 1, Aug. 8, Aug. 15, Aug. 22, Aug. 29
Location: Rock Canyon Park
Cost: FREE
Time: Movie starts at dusk (about 9 pm)

Activity: Twilight Concert Series
Dates: July 21, July 28, Aug. 4, Aug. 11, Aug. 18, Aug. 25
Location: Pioneer Park, Salt Lake City
Cost: FREE
Time: 7 pm

If you have any questions about what movies are playing or know of any fun activities let me know!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Hawaiian Haystacks

For a fun Friday meal when it is just your family, or when you are expecting guest Hawaiian Haystacks are great!  I may have had them when I was younger, but the first time I really realized that I was eating a haystack was at Brigham Young University when I was a freshman.  

This week we invited two families over to eat dinner with us and I was a little stressed about what to fix for dinner.  I had about 5 menus running through my head and couldn't decide on one of them.  Should I make meatloaf and mashed potatoes?  But it is more of a winter meal.  What about cheesy potatoes instead of mashed.  Bean dip would be good and fun to eat--but how many pans should I make?  We could have chicken pockets, but it would be hard to keep them warm for those that wanted seconds--you get the idea.  Then I remembered the package of Chinese noodles I had picked up at the store the other day and my meal came together.

The nice thing about a dish like Hawaiian Haystacks is that since there is a variety of toppings for the rice and Chinese noodles, it fits everyone's taste, and since the chicken is served in a gravy, it goes further.  Typically for ingredients I have the following:

Chinese Noodles
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Chicken Gravy
Green Onions

I love all of these flavors together--yum!  For this dinner I was feeding 15 people, and with the amounts I made it would have feed 20-22.  To make the meal go smoother I started my rice at 3 p.m. in my crock pot on high.  It was perfectly done at 5:30 when we were ready to eat.  I did 12 cups of hot water with 6 cups of rice.  

For the gravy I whisked together 1 cup of canola oil with 1 cup of flour until bubbly.  I then added 6 bullion cubes, 3 to 4 cups of chicken, and 8 cups of water.  I also put in a couple of teaspoons of salt.  One time I made gravy with olive oil--yuck!  I wouldn't recommend it.  It didn't taste quite right.

We used about 3 cups of cheese and 2 cans of pineapple and 1 package of Chinese noodles.  I was out of green onions--but I imagine a good sized bunch, sliced thin would have been enough.  I served this meal with a yummy watermelon and a green salad.

So the next time you are thinking about a fun Friday meal, consider a Haystack--Hawaiian style!



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Budget numbers for June

We are well into June and the numbers are in for the food budget.  I did take some help from food storage, so I guess it's not a true reckoning of how we did money wise for June.  Our garden is slowly producing, but we didn't plant enough to make a dent in the budget.

Drumroll please.....the number ended at: $215.62.

Here is a estimate of what we used from food storage:

3 cans of fruit
1 container of applesauce
1 container of peanut butter
1 bottle of spicy brown mustard
4 or 5 boxes of cereal (this is a total guess, I really have no clue, sadly!)
1 container of Old Fashioned oats
1 box muffin mix

That would range about $20 or so dollars. This month (July) the food budget is a bit different as come the last few days in July there will be about 53 people at my house for a reunion. (That is the current count.)  I do try to veer away from Ramen when guests come over...  Right now my food budget is set at about $400 for the month.  The reunion is only a few days long, but as a buffer I plan on using up some of my food storage.  

How did you do this month on your food budget?  I am moving soon and I found out that there is a Kroger about 20 minutes away!  I am excited to get my feet wet with some serious couponing! 


Monday, July 4, 2011

Vacations, Trips, Sight Seeing, oh my!

 If you have children, say 10 and under, or know some, here is an adorable (or cool, as the case may be) Backpack to make.  It is a mini backpack and could hold lunch and a water bottle, if you happen to be out and about on vacation, or running errands around town.  Or it could hold a set of scriptures, and some pencils and paper to take to church.  Books, toys, games, and on and on.  It can be used for whatever your imagination (or that of your kids) devices.

We got together with our friends for a play day last month and the moms sewed some of these up while the kids played.  It was a blast.  It takes about an hour (minus interruptions) to complete one of these.
Bon Voyage! ~Lena