menu simplicity...

As I continue the Pantry Challenge life has thrown me a few curve balls. When I went over my week and compared it to my menu plan, I realized that I would need to switch a few things around based on every one's schedule. I do not want to waist time or resources when their is no one home for dinner but me. Having the plan in place removed all the pain because I just moved things around. Lesson learned. Menu planning has made a permanent return to my life.

I have also streamlined dinner and simplified what I am making. I LOVE to cook and bake but time does not always allow for a bistro meal. By returning to this basic menu, I am also able to stretch my ingredients and therefore save more money in the long run. I have learned that even the simplest meal if served with love and a smile is the yummiest.

So here are two new recipes from this weeks menus. Both are hardy and filling with the extra bonus of being very easy on the wallet. So give them a try and let me know what you think.

Bon Appetite!

"Saucy" Chicken w/Stuffing
recipe by Mary

This is a variation of the Stove Top recipe I saw years ago. Again, very simple and flavorful. It takes about an hour from start to finish. Great with any cut of boneless chicken or variety of cream soup. So have fun and experiment with it.

4 boneless, skinless pieces of chicken (breast or thigh works best)
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, peeled and finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 box prepared stuffing
1 can cream soup
(mushroom, celery or chicken are fantastic)
1 (4oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained

Saute veggies until translucent. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Place stuffing in a bowl with the water the package calls for. Combine w/veggies. Place in a casserole dish. Layer 4 pieces of chicken on top of stuffing. Pour soup and mushrooms on top.
Bake @ 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.

Black Beans and Rice
recipe by Mary

This recipe takes about 30 minutes to make and is full of flavor and fiber. I adapted it from a recipe my friend Cindy gave me. I serve it over brown rice and top it with sour cream. It's perfect for those nights when everyone is running indifferent directions.

2 (1lb) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 onions, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Saute onions and garlic. Add spices. Add chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer about 15-20 minutes until thickened. Add balsamic vinegar. Serve over rice. Top with Parmesan or sour cream.

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