Cold Pesto Salad

This Cold Pesto Salad is sure to please young and young at heart at all your summer gatherings!

I’m starting to have quite the abundance of fresh basil growing outside in my little garden!  Makes me so happy because I can put it to good use in delicious recipes!  I love adding it to my Greek salads, but now I especially love using it in the cold pesto salad!  Nothing beats a pasta salad with pesto on a hot summer day.  This recipes is also a crowd pleaser. I brought it to a birthday party and there was hardly any left!

pesto salad 2Cold Pesto Salad Ingredients 

  • 12 oz package of Farfalle (bowtie) pasta
  • 1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 1 Cup basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/3 Cup fresh Parmesan, grated + extra as garnish
  • 1/3 Cup olive oil

pesto saladDirections

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, about 10-12 minutes on a rolling boil, stirring occasionally.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, place the fresh basil leaves, garlic, 1/3 cup of fresh Parmesan and olive oil in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.
  3. Remove the pasta from heat and drain. Rinse the pasta under cold water and let it cool a few minutes.
  4. Combine the cooked pasta, tomatoes and fresh pesto. Mix well.
  5. Place in the fridge 1-2 hours to cool then serve.
  6. Garnish with fresh grated Parmesan.

*Makes 4-5 servings.

Doesn’t it look delicious?  Try it out for your next BBQ or picnic!

This Cold Pesto Salad is sure to please young and young at heart at all your summer gatherings!

Cold Pesto Salad
Serves: 4-5
 
This Cold Pesto Salad is sure to please young and young at heart at all your summer gatherings!
Ingredients
  • 12 oz package of Farfalle (bowtie) pasta
  • ½ pint grape or cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 1 C. basil leaves
  • 1 tbs. minced garlic
  • ⅓ C. fresh parmesan grated + extra as garnish
  • ⅓ C. olive oil
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, about 10-12 minutes on a rolling boil, stirring occasionally.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, place the fresh basil leaves, garlic, ⅓ cup of fresh Parmesan and olive oil in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.
  3. Remove the pasta from heat and drain. Rinse the pasta under cold water and let it cool a few minutes.
  4. Combine the cooked pasta, tomatoes and fresh pesto. Mix well.
  5. Place in the fridge 1-2 hours to cool then serve.
  6. Garnish with fresh grated Parmesan.

 

Free July 2015 Monthly Menu Planner

E.H.M.-July-2015-Monthly-Meal-Planner-1

Download a free Monthly Meal Planner for the entire month of July!  Included in your download you will find all of this:

  • Meal Planner for 7/1/15 – 7/4/15
  • Meal Planner for 7/5/15 – 7/11/15
  • Meal Planner for 7/12/15 – 7/18/15
  • Meal Planner for 7/19/15 – 7/25/15
  • Meal Planner for 7/25/15 – 7/31/15
  • July Flexible Meals
  • July Flexible Meal Calendars
  • July Blank Week
  • Dessert Menu for July 2015
  • Dessert Calendar for July 2015
  • Fill In the Blank Ingredients List – Entire Month
  • Fill in the Blank Ingredients List – Weekly
  • Blank Family Shopping List (Food, Sundries, you name it included)
  • Blank Costco Shopping List

Download your menu plan now.

Healthy No Bake Energy Bites

These Healthy No Bake Energy Bites come together really easily and are sure to satisfy your snack craving!

These Healthy No Bake Energy Bites come together really easily and are sure to satisfy your snack craving!

I have a friend that is expecting a new baby any day now, so I wanted to help her fill her freezer a little bit! :)  When I was in the hospital with my daughter, a friend brought by these delicious healthy no-bake energy bites. These were the perfect gift for a new mom!  I was so happy to not have to think about what to snack on when I was trying to get everything with a new baby sorted out.

These were so good I requested the recipe so I could enjoy them again. (And gift them to others.)

Healthy No Bake Energy Bites

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (raw)
  • 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted and cooled (optional)
  • 1/2 cup ground golden flaxseed meal
  • 6 Tbsp chocolate chip minis

In Process 2DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium-mixing bowl stir together peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients and stir until evenly coated.
  3. Transfer mixture to refrigerator and chill until set.
  4. Remove from refrigerator and shape into 1-inch balls.
  5. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container. Enjoy!

I sure hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Healthy No Bake Energy Bites
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (raw)
  • ⅔ cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted and cooled (optional)
  • ½ cup ground golden flaxseed meal
  • 6 Tbsp chocolate chip minis
Instructions
  1. In a medium-mixing bowl stir together peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients and stir until evenly coated.
  3. Transfer mixture to refrigerator and chill until set.
  4. Remove from refrigerator and shape into 1-inch balls.
  5. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container. Enjoy!

 

Homemade Graham Crackers

These Homemade Graham Crackers are super simple and so much better than store bought. You can enjoy them by themselves for a snack or even make some homemade s’mores.

These Homemade Graham Crackers are super simple and so much better than store bought. You can enjoy them by themselves for a snack or even make some homemade s’mores.

Homemade Graham Crackers

I must admit, normally I buy crackers from the store, but trying my hand at making homemade graham crackers really intrigued me. Since they’re quite costly to buy, and I figured we might be going through a few boxes this summer making S’mores, I jumped right in to make them.

Homemade graham crackers are so simple and need very little effort. It’s easy to make a couple of batches in no time. You you will need is whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, brown sugar, honey, butter, cinnamon, and baking soda!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup softened Butter
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
3 tbsp Honey
1 1/2 cup Flour
1 1/2 cup Wheat Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cinnamon

graham crackers1DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and honey. Mix until blended.
  3. Gradually add in flour and wheat flour alternating between them until incorporated.
  4. Roll out dough between sheets of wax or parchment paper to about 1/8″ thickness.
  5. Cut/score into individual cracker sizes and use a skewer or toothpick to make holes in the crackers.
  6. Place in freezer for 30 minutes to harden.
  7. Line a cookie sheet with silicone or parchment paper.
  8. Separate cookies and place on prepared sheet.
  9. Bake until crackers begin to brown, about 10 minutes.

graham crackers2graham crackers3

How do you like to enjoy graham crackers?  Check out my simple recipe for oven S’Mores if you’re looking for a way to use your delicious homemade graham crackers!

Homemade Graham Crackers
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup softened Butter
  • ¾ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 3 tbsp Honey
  • 1½ cup all purpose Flour
  • 1½ cup Wheat Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and honey. Mix until blended.
  3. Gradually add in flour and wheat flour alternating between them until incorporated.
  4. Roll out dough between sheets of wax or parchment paper to about ⅛" thickness.
  5. Cut/score into individual cracker sizes and use a skewer or toothpick to make holes in the crackers.
  6. Place in freezer for 30 minutes to harden.
  7. Line a cookie sheet with silicone or parchment paper.
  8. Separate cookies and place on prepared sheet.
  9. Bake until crackers begin to brown, about 10 minutes.

These Homemade Graham Crackers are super simple and so much better than store bought. You can enjoy them by themselves for a snack or even make some homemade s’mores.

Take Them a Meal

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I came across this really neat website that is perfect for those of you that may find yourself in a situation of organizing meals for a family you may know.

TakeThemaMeal.com is a free service that allows you to create a meal schedule for a family in need. It’s easy to do!  One person creates a profile for the family with instructions for drop off and dates needed.  Then you are provided a link that you can share so that others can sign up for the days they can prepare a meal for the family. No more time consuming phone calls!

You can read the TakeThemaMeal.com story here.

How neat is that?

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge: Week 4

Welcome to the fourth  and final week of the Eating from The Pantry & Freezer Challenge!  Here’s what it’s all about or you can read the post from Week 3.

For those of you who have been doing this challenge all along, way to go!  You’ve reached the end!  And to those of you who have joined in at some point, even for a week, thank you!

I’m sure that by this point you’ve seen some significant savings or you’ve even noticed that you’ve been shopping less often.  Even just a week or two of eating what you already have can make a big difference and help you put extra money towards larger grocery purchases, debt payments, or simply to help save up for something you’d like to buy!

Here’s my update from last week

There’s actually a bit more room in our freezers!  Enough room that my father-in-law was able to store some stuff while he was looking for a new fridge/freezer after his broke.

But, as I suspected, I can keep going on this challenge for a while yet since we’ve still got plenty of food!

In total I spent about $25 this week on milk, eggs, produce and yogurt.  I’m quite pleased that I’ve mostly been able to stay under my $25 limit for the week!

I’ve still got plenty of chicken, ground beef, steaks and a few already made freezer meals.  So, we’ll be having some chicken dishes, and most likely some beef dishes! 😛

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week:

My mother-in-law is here with us this week so the plan may not go according to what I have written. But I’m going to try my best!

Monday:

  • Breakfast:  Refrigerator Oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Smoothies
  • Dinner:  Marinated steak, pasta salad, grilled veggies

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

  • Breakfast:  Cereal, fruit
  • Lunch: Egg salad sandwich
  • Dinner:  Roast beef, roasted potatoes, steamed veggies

Friday:

Saturday:

Sunday:

  • Brunch:  Waffles
  • Dinner:  At my Parents!

Now it’s your turn, what will you be eating this week?

Now that the challenge is coming to a close, has the challenge been difficult for you?  What types of meals have frequented your table?  And most importantly, did you get things cleaned out and meet your goals?

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge: Week 3

Welcome to the third week of the Eating from The Pantry & Freezer Challenge!  Here’s what it’s all about or you can read the post from Week 2.

Here’s my update from last week

Well, this is a bit embarrassing, but not many of the dinners I had planned for last week got made! Sienna and I were on our own for a couple evenings and we had a couple of rough days so I opted for the drive thru. Another evening we were invited for dinner to a friends house.

The meals we managed to eat were breakfast every morning, egg salad sandwiches, pancakes, peanutty Asian wraps (twice), and smoothies.  Needless to say, we still have quite a bit of stuff in our pantry and freezer!

This week should be different.  My Mother-in-Law is coming to visit for a week so we should be going through quite a bit of stuff.

Getting creative with what you have left

At this point in the challenge you may have come to a point where you need to be creative when it comes to using up what you have an abundance of and filling the spaces of those things you wish you could go out and buy.

There are a few great websites out there that will come up with some recipes for the ingredients you already have on hand.  All Recipes is one of them.  Simply input the ingredients you have and the ingredients you don’t have and it will pull up a list of recipes you could make!  Recipe Matcher, Supercook and Ingredient Chef are also good resources!

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week:

Since not many of my planned meal got made last week, you’ll see some recycled meals on this week’s menu.   To complete my meals this week, I spent about $17 on yogurt, produce, milk and eggs.

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast:  Banana chocolate chip muffins, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  Leftovers
  • Dinner:  Perogies and Sausage, steamed veggies (needs to be a quick dinner)

Thursday:

  • Breakfast:  refrigerated oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Potato soup
  • Dinner: Marinated steak, pasta salad. grilled veggies

Friday:

Saturday:

  • Brunch: Bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, toast
  • Dinner:  We’re headed to a baby shower/birthday party (I have to bring a salad)

Sunday:

Now it’s your turn, what’s your update and what will you be eating this week?

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

These Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches are like the store bought version, only much better! Make this summer treat right at home and save some cash. 

These Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches are like the store bought version, only much better! Make this summer treat right at home and save some cash.

I thought for a nice after work treat, I’d try making homemade ice cream sandwiches because I know my husband would enjoy them. They’re his favourite summer treat. Plus, my daughter and I happen to love them as well 😉

Store bought ice cream sandwiches are pretty tasty, but these homemade ones are better!  They turned out really well. So well, I think I’ll be making quite a few batches this summer!

I’m sure you could use homemade ice cream too, but well, I’m not quite there yet. 😉

ice cream sandwiches 1
INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened Butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 qt vanilla ice cream

ice cream sandwiches 2

ice cream sandwiches 3

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Beat together butter, sugar, vanilla and egg until blended and creamy.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Spread onto prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until top is dry but still soft. Allow to cool.
  8. Carefully remove from pan.
  9. Use a knife and split sandwich cake in half.
  10. Take frozen ice cream and remove from carton.
  11. Using a knife that you ran under warm water, cut into 3/4″ slices.
  12. Arrange ice cream slices on top of half of sandwich cake to cover it completely.
  13. Place other half of sandwich cake on top of ice cream.
  14. Wrap in plastic or parchment and place in freezer for at least 2 hours.
  15. Once ice cream sandwiches are firm, remove and cut into 8 rectangles with a sharp knife.

ice cream sandwiches 4ice cream sandwiches 5

 

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup Flour
  • ¼ cup Cocoa Powder
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ½ cup softened Butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 qt vanilla ice cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Beat together butter, sugar, vanilla and egg until blended and creamy.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Spread onto prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until top is dry but still soft. Allow to cool.
  8. Carefully remove from pan.
  9. Use a knife and split sandwich cake in half.
  10. Take frozen ice cream and remove from carton.
  11. Using a knife that you ran under warm water, cut into ¾" slices.
  12. Arrange ice cream slices on top of one half of sandwich cake to cover it completely.
  13. Place other half of sandwich cake on top of ice cream.
  14. Wrap in plastic or parchment and place in freezer for at least 2 hours.
  15. Once ice cream sandwiches are firm, remove and cut into 8 rectangles with a sharp knife.

homemade ice cream sandwiches 2

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge: Week 2

Welcome to the second week of the Eating from The Pantry & Freezer Challenge!  Here’s what it’s all about or you can read the post from Week 1.

Here’s my update:

As it seems with all my weeks, not every meal I had planned got made.  Things just come up or we have more leftovers than we thought!

But I did manage to rid our freezer of a few things!  Some chicken is gone (BBQ chicken salad, Chicken in basil cream sauce), a container of chicken noodle soup is gone, along with quite a bit of produce.

I added up my receipts from my groceries last week and I ended up spending $34.60.  Over my $25 “budget” but I did use a gift card that my husband got from work. Milk, yogurt, and fruit & veggies is what I bought.

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week:

Monday:

Tuesday:

  • Brunch:  Waffles with berry sauce
  • Dinner:  Fettucine Alfredo, Caesar salad, garlic bread

Wednesday:

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: Banana muffins, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  leftovers
  • Dinner: Leftovers

Friday:

Saturday:

  • Brunch:  French Toast
  • Dinner:  Appies (whatever appy things I can find in the freezer)

Sunday:

  • Breakfast:  Oatmeal/cereal, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  Egg salad sandwich
  • Dinner:  Marinated steak, pasta salad. grilled veggies

Now it’s your turn to share your menu plan with the rest of us!  We’d also love to hear your progress and savings report!

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge Starts! Week 1

It’s time to start the Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge!

I told you last week that I’d be sharing my goals and plans, so here’s what I’ve got in mind:

My number one goal is to clean out the pantry and freezers, especially the freezers!  It seems like we’re always throwing stuff out because it gets lost for far too long. :(

Secondly, I’d like to spend only $25 each week on the items I decided to keep buying (dairy, eggs and produce).  I think this is going to be quite feasible!

It’s important to decide on an amount you’d like to spend during the challenge.  By not setting an amount, you could be setting yourself up for spending too much!  Determine how little you think you can get by on.

Also, I think it’s important to say to make this challenge your own.  Decide what will work best for you to help you clear out your pantry and freezer while still making it a challenge.  Maybe this means you won’t be buying any household items (toilet paper, toothpaste..etc) because you really do have enough to get you through until the end of the challenge.  Or maybe you realize that you have a ton of stuff to go through so you can actually do the challenge for 5 weeks.  Make it yours!

Now, how am I going to make this happen?

I took inventory of our pantry and freezers (and discovered I had a lot more than I thought)!  Here’s what I’ll be working with:

  • Lots of chicken breasts
  • Quite a bit of beef (ground, a roast and a few steaks)
  • One package of ground turkey (will make two meals)
  • Plenty of flour, oatmeal, rice, pasta, quinoa
  • Lots of frozen fruit (peaches, strawberries, mixed berries, raspberries)
  • Chicken kabobs
  • Chicken fingers
  • A little pack of leftover diced ham

I’m actually quite shocked at how much I found and I’m sure I could do this challenge for longer than I have planned!

Don’t forget to join the Simply Frugal Pantry Challenge Facebook group!  I want it to be a place where we share meal inspiration, tips and more!

Here’s what we’ll be eating until next Sunday 

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: Bran muffins, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  Smoothies
  • Dinner:  Perogies and Sausage, steamed veggies (needs to be a quick dinner)

Thursday:

Friday:

  • Brunch:  Smoothies
  • Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwhiches
  • Dinner:  Leftovers

Saturday:

  • Brunch: Waffles with Berry sauce and whipping cream
  • Dinner: Marinated steak, pasta salad, grilled veggies

Sunday:

  • Breakfast:  Oatmeal/cereal
  • Lunch: Smoothies
  • Dinner:  At my parents

On Monday, May 11, I’ll be back with my next menu plan and how much I actually ended up spending on groceries to get through this week’s menu!

Now, it’s your turn to share your menu plan, goals and plan of attack with the rest of us!