Catchin’ the bargains!


As I’ve mentioned before, if you’re looking for some good FOOD ITEM bargains, check out your local DRUG STORES! Today I went to CVS and purchased 2 bottles of Tide laundry detergent (normally around $8-9 a bottle) and 2 cans Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup (usually around $1.00 a can) – total for entire purchase (with their sales and a Tide coupon for 2 bottles) = $5.39! (That’s less than ONE bottle of Tide by itself!) Next went to Walgreen’s for more FOOD bargains: Flour (5 lb) $1.79, 4 lb. granulated sugar ($1.89), large container dried raisins $1.99, (my coffee: Maxwellhouse granulated: $2.99 a jar – normally $8-9 a jar!) and my (Revlon) hair coloring: their sale was 2 boxes for $6, and then there was my Revlon coupon for $2.00 off – LOVE THOSE BARGAINS! There was one item I couldn’t find and will have to check out ACO/ACE hardware store to see if they carry it: CLEAR 60 watt bulbs; yes, I’m aware that the industry is slowly phasing out 6o watt (regular) bulbs to bring in those goofy CURLY bulbs (I don’t want them! You can’t easily dispose of them!).

Also did my baby hat delivery – all went smoothly UNTIL I opened my side door on the van and discovered that the Premie baby hats bag had fallen out of the larger bag I had both Newborn & Premie hats in! UGH! Called the volunteer office at the hospital and she informed me that if I just drop them off at the Information desk, they’ll call someone up to pick them up – neat! No more trying to coordinate a pickup time/person from Volunteer Office! That can be tricky at times – Yay, new method of drop-off! Lately I’ve been working on baby hats again a bit; also got the ‘need to knit another scarf’ bug, so I’m working on two different ones, 2 different patterns. Hey, the girl needs a little CHALLENGE in her knitting, don’t ya know!

Leftovers: our fridge is finally cleared of almost all leftovers – remaining: some white meat turkey and about 3/4 C. cranberry/orange relish. This year I tried a (new to me) recipe for Cran/Orange relish – it called for two things I’ve never used in that type recipe: cinnamon and nutmeg. After making said recipe, turns out I DO NOT like either of them in it! Husband, on the other hand, LOVED/RAVED over it – even dipping baby carrots in it and making a big thing about how much he liked it! (amazing – turns out no one else liked it, either . . . go figure). I told him/them that for Christmas I’m going to try the recipe again, but omit the spices. The basic recipe was easy and would probably work well (without spices). Here’s the recipe as I’m going to try it:


Cranberry-Orange Relish

1 (12 oz) pkg. fresh cranberries
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. fresh orange juice (from
2 fresh oranges)
1/8 tsp. salt

(here’s the original spices:)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tps. nutmeg

1 tsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Pour cranberries in a deep skillet; pour
sugar, orange juice & salt over; heat on
medium-high heat. Stir, they will foam-
berries will start to pop; keep stirring
until mixture is thick, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat; add cinnamon,
butter & nutmeg; stir to incorporate.
Cool to room temp, then store in
airtight container in refrigerator; will
keep for up to a week. Makes 1 1/2 C.

When I made this, I used 2 bags & doubled the recipe. When I make it again I will probably make just one batch, omitting the spices. ( also goofed & put the spices, butter & vanilla in when I first put the cranberries in the pot – didn’t seem to make a difference.) Since I wanted a better orange taste, I also zested orange peel into it (and, since I couldn’t seem to get enough orange juice, I just used bottled orange juice). I wanted a less chunky texture, also, so I used my potato masher on it to make it a little less chunky. We’ll see how this all turns out ‘next time’ and whether other people like it!


Rustic Italian Chicken

12 boneless/skinless chicken
thighs (about 2 lb)
2 large carrots, cut into 1/2″
1 medium red bell pepper, chpped
1 C. sliced fresh mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. Italian seasoning
salt/pepper, to taste
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
3 C. penne pasta, cooked/drained

Garnish: grated Parmesan cheese &
chopped fresh Italian parsley

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Place chicken in bottom & top
with remaining ingredients (except pasta
and garnishes). Cover & cook on Low
6-8 hours. Serve chicken over cooked
pasta & top with garnishes.
Serves 6


Jalapeno Popper Bites

1 (8 oz) can crescent rolls
6-8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 jalapenos, seeded/diced finely
8 pieces bacon, cooked/crumbled

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment
paper or spray with nonstick spray.
Separate each roll along perforations;
cut each triangle in half. Place 1-2
tsp. cream cheese on each roll & top
with a tsp. of diced jalapeno & 1 tsp.
crumbled bacon. Gather edges of dough
up & pinch together, making sure all
the filling is sealed inside. Place on
prepared sheet seam-side-down.
Bake 11-14 minutes or until golden brown.


Cake Batter Fudge

2 C. white or yellow cake mix
2 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, cut into
4 pieces
1/4 C. milk
1/2 C. white chocolate chips
1/2 – 1/2 C. sprinkles

In a microwaveable bowl, combine
cake mix & powdered sugar; stir just
to blend. Add butter & milk, no need
to stir. Microwave on High 2 minutes.
IMMEDIATELY remove from microwave,
carefully stir to combine. Once blended,
add white chocolate chips; blend again.
Fold in about 1/2 of sprinkles (to give
it color). QUICKLY spread fudge into
8 X 8 greased pan. Add remaining
sprinkles to top & gently press down
to secure to top. Refrigerate until
completely chilled, then cut into
1 inch squares.

(recipe: Facebook)
Caramel Apple Dessert

60 vanilla wafers, finely crushed
(about 2 C.)
1/3 C. butter, melted
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,softened
1/4 C. sugar
3 1/4 C. milk, divided
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed &
2 (3.4 oz, ea) pkgs. vanilla instant
pudding mix
1/2 C. caramel ice cream topping,
1 red apple, cored & chopped*
1 green apple, cored & chopped*
1/4 c. peanuts, chopped

Mix wafer crumbs & butter; press
onto bottom of 9 X 13 pan. Beat
cream cheese, sugar & 1/4 C. milk
with elec. mixer until well blended.
Stir in 1 C. Cool Whip; spread over
crust. Beat pudding mixes & remaining
milk with whisk 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 C.
caramel topping; spoon over cream
cheese layer; top with remaining
Cool Whip. Refrigerate 5 hours until
firm. Top with chopped apples, nuts &
remaining caramel topping just before
serving. Serves 16

*to keep cut apples from browning,
dip slices in 1 C. water mixed with
1 T. lemon juice just before adding
to dessert.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
Tomato Basil Soup with Turkey

8 oz. ground turkey
3 T. basil pesto
3 T. breadcrumbs
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 small carrots, peeled/chopped
1 small stalk celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 C. chicken broth
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes in
1 C. orzo pasta
fresh grated Parmesan cheese-
for serving

In small bowl combine ground turkey
with pesto, bread crumbs, 1/8 tsp.
kosher salt,1/8/tsp. black pepper, 1
tsp. red pepper flakes; mix until
evenly blended. In large saucepan,
heat oil over medium-high heat. Add
onion, carrots & celery; cover & reduce
heat to medium-low. Cook 5-6 minutes
stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic; cook
1 minute longer. Add broth & diced
tomatoes; bring to simnmer. Cover pan,
cook 15 minutes.

Roll turkey mixture into uniform meatballs,
makes about 13 (1 inch) meatballs. Once
broth/tomato mixture is done simmering,
add to food processor or blender (may have
to do this in batches); pulse about three
1-second pulses, then let blend for a full
minute or until soup is as smooth as
desired. Return pureed soup to saucepan,
add pasta & meatballs. Cook on medium
15 minutes until pasta is tender & meatballs
are fully cooked. Serve topped with grated
or sliced Parmesan cheese. Serves 4

Crockpot Candy
(also known as “Crack”)

1 (16 oz) jar unsalted peanuts
1 (16 oz) jar salted peanuts
1 (12 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate
1 (12 oz) bag milk chocolate chips
2 (10 oz, ea) bags peanut butter chips
2 (1 lb, ea) pkgs. white almond bark
or vanilla candy coating

Layer all ingredients in large crockpot,
starting with peanuts. Set heat to
Low, cover & leave for 2 hours. Remove
lid & stir to combine. Cover with lid &
let cook another 30 minutes. Stir again &
spoon mixture in small mounds onto
waxed paper or non-stick aluminum foil.
Allow to harden at least 1 hour.

One Pot Cheesy Sausage Pasta Skillet

1 T. olive oil
1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
1 C. diced onion
1 T. minced garlic (2 fresh cloves)
2 C. chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 C. milk or heavy cream
8 oz. dry pasta (any small pasta)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 c. shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese
1/3 C. chopped scallions (garnish)

Add oil to 4-5 qt. saute pan over
medium-high heat. Add onions &
sausage; cook until lightly browned.
Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add
chicken broth, tomatoes, milk, pasta
& seasonings. Bring to boil, cover &
reduce heat to Low. Simmer 15
minutes or until pasta is tender.
Turn off heat; stir in 1/2 C. cheese.
Sprinkle remaining cheese on top &
cover for about 5 minutes to allow
cheese to melt. Top with sliced
scallions & serve. Serves 4


Old-Fashioned German Goulash

2 lb. beef, cut into 1″ chunks
2 big onions, diced
4 T. olive oil
1 t. mixed dried herbs (thyme,
rosemary, marjoram)
2 tsp. paprika
2 big carrots, diced
4 potatoes, diced
1 can peeled tomatoes
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 bottle dry red wine
salt & pepper, to taste

cooked dumplings or noodles

Heat oil in pan; add meat & cook
until browned on all sides. Add onion&
cook until transparent. Add carrots,
potatoes & herbs; stir for a few
minutes. Add wine, tomatoes & spices;
simmer 2-3 hours. Add some water, if
necessary, stirring occasionally. Serve
with dumplings or cooked noodles.


Oatmeal Cake

1 1/4 C. water
1/2 C. butter
1 C. quick oats
1 C. white sugar
1 C. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon


6 T. butter, softened
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. shredded, sweetened coconut
1 C. chopped pecans

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. In small saucepan,
bring water & butter to boil. Once
boiling, pour into a large mixing bowl;
add oats – stir & let cool 3 minutes.
Beat in sugars & eggs until well mixed.
Add flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg &
cinnamon; mix until well combined. Pour
into prepared pan; bake 30 minutes


Cream butter & sugar together in medium
bowl; add evap. milk, vanilla, coconut &
nuts; mix until well combined. Spread
topping very carefully over hot cake.
Place under broiler 2-3 minutes until
golden brown. Watch constantly and
carefully as to not burn.


Our weather has been cold/chilly (today
while driving it was 26  Brrrrrr!), but clear
and no snow on the ground, so can’t
really complain.

Tonight’s dinner is Turkey/Rice/Veggie Soup.
First time I’ve ever used rice in a soup, but
thought it sounded like it might need it – it
will be better tonight since I made it last night.
I love the way some foods ‘mellow’ the second
day – sort of like spaghetti – always tastes better
the second day – know what I mean?

I’ll close for now – time to go start working on
those scarves again!

Have a GREAT (and warm) Day!




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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I’m glad your projects are getting done. Mine are lingering in a void right now but I’ll get on my pony and ride again soon.

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