Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Eat at home challenge

So I’m a little apprehensive to even type this out because it makes it more real, but I think it will also help to hold us accountable. This ‘eat at home challange’ all came about because my bloggy buddy Kim is giving up shopping for Lent. While we are not Catholic I can appreciate the idea of making a sacrifice and how we all have areas in our lives that can become more important than they should be. I starting thinking about giving up shopping. Jeff and I talked about it, and while that would be difficult for me in recent years with budgeting I’ve been forced become much better about not shopping excessively. However, one area the we continue to spend excessively is eating out. We eat out several times a day sometimes week, so we are officially giving up eating out for Lent. We are making a few exceptions for a youth fundraiser and we are celebrating Valentine’s on Thursday, but other than that we’ll be eating at home for the next 40 days. I’m hoping this will be fun and that it will become a habit.

Here are a few challenges I see:

  • It has to be easy-with a 3 year old and 5 month old I can’t spend tons of time cooking and then cleaning up my kitchen 3 times a day.
  • It has to be ‘normal’ I’m not real adventurous in trying new things and I like to know that other people have tried a recipe and like it. I have found a few recipe blogs that I love and have been trying several of their recipes. Cara’s taco soup and upside down taco pizza are staples around here these days. I also love this recipe blog too and look forward to trying a few of her recipe’s.
  • I’d like to eat as healthfully as possible. We try to limit the grains, bread, pasta that we eat because of Landree’s eczema. I do use corn pasta and bought a new rice pasta to try too.
  • I would like to stay in our normal grocery budget and just save the money that we normally use to go out if possible (updated: I went shopping today and spent exactly our grocery budget. I’m really excited about this! I know I’ll have to get a few more things like fresh fruits and veggies in the next few weeks and milk, but that won’t be much! YEA!)
  • And the kicker…I don’t touch meat. I know it’s weird. I really think it’s a sickness. I can NOT touch raw chicken without gagging. period. the. end. My handy dandy crockpot has become my new best friend in that area. I don’t mind dropping a frozen piece of chicken into the crockpot to cook and then I can deal with it after it’s done :) I don’t touch hamburger either so as long it can be dumped into the pan I’m safe.

So what do you think? Anyone want to join us? Any good recipes you want to share? I might…no promises here…try to start a little recipe blog. Ok, I’ve started a new little blog, but again, not promising to post :) You can find it here.

I’ll leave you with a super yummy, easy new fav around here.

Creamy Chicken Italiano (my friend Patti’s recipe) serves 4-6

1 pound chicken

1 packet of Italian dressing mix

1/4 to 1/2 cup of water

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 package of cream cheese

1 can of mushrooms (optional)

bowtie pasta (4 servings)

Mix Italian dressing mix with water. Pour over diced chicken in crockpot and cook for 3 hours. Mix softened cream cheese and cream of chicken and add to crockpot, basically to melt for the one more hour. Add mushrooms at this time if you like. Cook bowtie pasta (4 servings) and add to chicken mixture after 4 hours. Serve immediately.

Y’all this is so easy and delicious! Seriously! And I actually cook my chicken for 3 hours and then cut it up when I add my soup mixture. You know, to avoid touching the raw chicken! It makes a lot and is even good leftover. I would recommend when severing it the second time that you heat it on the stove top and add a little water. Let me know what you think.


Tricia said...

You can do it! Just make sure you keep the recipes coming for us to try as well. Need some new ones. :)

Courtney said...

Thanks for the great recipe. I have been cooking a lot more at home and it has been saving me tons of money. Good luck!

ji said...

Wow-you are the blogging queen lately...just when I go to comment there is another post! :)

Good for you with giving up eating out...what a great habit to get into!

Also...I laughed so hard with the Southern snowsuit!Too funny!

Aly said...

Miss Jennifer,

We are huge crockpot fans at my house! This is one of our favorite crockpot recipes. Hope it comes in handy :)

"Crockpot BBQ Chicken"

1 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
2 onions (peeled and sliced)
1 bag of chicken legs (or thighs)

-pour one-third of the bottle of bbq sauce to cover the bottom of the crockpot

-add a layer of onions, then a layer of legs

-cover with another third of the bbq sauce

- add another layer of onions, legs, and the rest of the sauce.

- cook on low for 6 1/2 hours

Bon Appétit! :)

Clare said...

wow!! that is an awesome goal. i don't know if we could do it, but we do go through phases where we try to eat at home as much as possible. good luck!

Ryan and Katie said...

I'm right there with you on the eating out. We don't go out that often but we sure like to order in pizza. :) I'm so glad you posted those recipes and blogs. I just found this recipe blog the other day and love it! Simple and easy recipes with "normal" ingredients! :)


Check it out! And good luck with the challenge. It would be really interesting to see how much you actually saved in the 40 days just from eating at home.

Megan said...

I'm proud of you!

Can't wait to try all the recipes! Keep'em coming!

PS...in your spare time you need to change your "profile" at the top since you now have two bebe's.

Love you!

Jodee Leader said...

Wow! What a fabulous idea! We don't eat out too much because, as you know, my husband loves to cook! We do occasionally eat out on the weekends.

I don't eat much meat and I certainly don't like to touch it either! I am glad to hear I am not the only one!

Good luck with your challenge! You will most likely save alot of money too!

La said...


Just wanted to say how much I enjoy watching your family adventures and the kids grow!!
I also wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your recipe!! I've made it twice now and will be on my list for a long time. Thanks, Laura