Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Menu-Planning for Vacation: 8 Quick and Easy Lunches

I'm just barely squeaking this into our month of talking about vacation and travel food!  I hope you enjoyed our July theme!

Before we go on vacation, I plan our suppers pretty carefully.  Breakfast and lunch are more of a free-for-all, but they still require some planning on my part.  After all, if I don't remember to take bread, sandwiches are out of the question!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Taking a Break

Dear Readers,
I won't be posting the Recipe Round-up this week.  I'm on vacation with my family and haven't even had a second to look at the Meijer ad...too busy getting settled in at our cabin :)  Have a good weekend!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Are We There Yet? Food for the Open Road

We're going on a road trip this weekend!  Our road trips are usually more about the destination than the trip (as in, we don't stop at every scenic lookout or tourist atraction), but we still think that getting there is half the fun!  Your idea of a road trip might be different, depending on how far you're driving and how often your family needs to stop.  But I'm guessing that the two most common questions in your vehicle are the same as the questions in ours:  "How much longer?" and "What do we have to eat?"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Before and After: Under the Kitchen Sink

This post is long over-due!  I took these pictures months ago, and have been meaning to put this article together for a loooonnnng time.  I'm guessing this stuff is interesting to you, because after I posted my first "Before and After" article, I had tons of comments and questions via email.  In fact, the post on Marie's pantry has had almost 500 views!  So, without further ado, let's open the cupboard underneath my kitchen sink and take a look:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 7/22/12 - 7/28/12)

Here's a list of things you can make with what's on sale at Meijer next week.  What's on your menu?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fresh From the Farmer's Market: "Not Really a Recipe" Sauteed Zucchini

Zucchini is abundant this time of year!  So, what can you do with zucchini?  Many people use it to make deliciously moist bread or muffins...and did you know that you can freeze zucchini to make bread or muffins at a later date?  Simply shred/grate, measure the amount needed for your recipe, and freeze in ziploc bags.  When you're ready to bake, just thaw the zucchini and add to the recipe as instructed, including any liquid that results from thawing. 

Our favorite way to eat zucchini is as a side dish.  This "recipe" couldn't get any easier, but we really enjoy it this time of year, as do our kids!  Italian dressing is used in place of oil to stir-fry the vegetables, creating a flavorful coating for them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Trail Food

As I've said, I'm no expert when it comes to camping without electricity, running water, and a stove...so I'm calling in the experts!

Today, I'm excited to present my very first vlog.  Except that it's not really mine.  This video was kindly produced especially for Cooking Up a Sale by my brother-in-law, Philip Hopkins.  Philip is our family's resident hiking expert, and he chronicles most of his adventures on his very own YouTube channel.  He hails from Southern California, land of many mountains and deserts...most of which have been hiked, climbed, or otherwise explored by Philip.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

In keeping with our theme of great vacation food, here is a great breakfast recipe!  These burritos are prepared ahead and frozen, and then warmed up in the microwave when it's time for breakfast.  Unless, of course, you're roughing it and you don't have a microwave.  In that case, you can try freezing just the filling, then warming it up in a skillet and stuffing the burritos on-site.  Whether you take these on your next camping trip, or just enjoy them in the comfort of your own home, these make-ahead burritos are tasty...and it's sure convenient to have homemade fast food in the house!  Our kids love having these in the freezer because it's a breakfast that they can "make" themselves.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Gardening Woes and a Guest Post

Today, you can find me over at Simple Organized Living.  I'm thrilled that Andrea is publishing my article on sourcing inexpensive local produce!  My article lists five ways to do that...and gardening is not one of them!  That's because my attempts at gardening have always been rather laughable:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 7/15/12 - 7/21/12)

Some weeks I struggle to find even a few recipes to include in this post, and some weeks I struggle to not post every single one of my recipes!  This week, I'm in the latter situation...because there are lots of good ingredients on sale!  Watch your prices carefully though, because sometimes the "sale" advertised in the ad is only a few cents less than the regular price.  Here's the line-up:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bacon Ranch Redskins

(This recipe was first posted in conjunction with the Meijer Ad 7/15/12 - 7/21/12)

With only three ingredients, this potato dish comes together in a hurry.  It's definitely not the most, um, healthy way to serve potatoes, but it sure is delicious!  If I'm asked to bring a potato dish to a gathering, I almost always make this one...and it's almost always gone!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mexican Skillet

This recipe is posted in conjunction with Rachel's guest article on Cooking While Roughing It.  Delicious recipe and hilarious instructions are hers.

Note from Lisa:  This is the perfect one-pot (or is it one-skillet?) meal!  Honestly, when I looked at the ingredient list, I thought "Yeah, probably good for camping but not something I would make often at home."  I changed my mind after I tried it!  This skillet meal is as delicious as it is filling, and leftovers (cold!) wrapped in a flour tortilla made a yummy and easy lunch.  Note:  My kids don't handle spicy food very well, so I chose a jar of mild salsa over the diced tomatoes with green chilies.

"Cooking" While Roughing It

As part of our month of Camping and Traveling Food, I'm excited to introduce my first ever guest article!  My friend Rachel (of Island Chicken Sandwiches) was kind enough to respond to my request for someone more knowledgeable than myself to write on this topic.  Rachel's "crazy husband" takes her and their two kids on some pretty intense vacations in which they camp in a tent (or in the back of their van) and do tons of exploring and hiking.  Needless to say, Rachel is just the kind of expert I was looking for!  Oh, and for those of you who don't know Rachel, please note that when she says "crazy husband" she says it lovingly :) 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fresh From the Farmer's Market: Blueberries

It's blueberry season here in West Michigan!  Meijer has blueberries on sale this week, but in my opinion, they just don't compare to the ones you can pick yourself (or pick up at your local farmer's market)!  Our favorite U-pick is open now, so we're going picking later this week.  I'm looking forward to having piles of blueberries to deal with!  It's not hard to think of ways to "use up" fresh blueberries, but if you need a little inspiration, read on:

Grandma's Fresh Blueberry Pie

If I had to choose between Fresh Strawberry Pie and Fresh Blueberry Pie, I'm honestly not sure which one I would pick!  I DO know that my mom has some killer fresh fruit pie recipes (peach pie recipe coming!), and I remember being thrilled when she would pull a pie out of the fridge after dinner.  I got this recipe from my mom, but it was originally from my grandma (my dad's mom).  She says that it came from an old "Betty Crocker Pie Book". 

A long time ago (so long ago that I'm not sure if I actually remember this, or if I've just heard the story so many times), my family went to my grandparents' house for dinner.  Grandma had made TWO fresh blueberry pies...one to serve for dessert, and the other to send home with our family.  After dinner, one of my parents set the pie on the roof of the car while they loaded all of us kids into our carseats.  On the way home, my parents heard "kind of a funny noise" as they turned a corner.  They shrugged it off...until they got home and realized they had no blueberry pie in the car with them.  Somewhere between grandma's house and our house, the pie...glass pie plate and all...slid off the roof of the car.  So, the moral of the story is:  Don't send a Fresh Blueberry Pie home with anyone... just eat it yourself!  Because it's sooooooo good!

Advance Newspaper Article

This past weekend, Cooking Up a Sale was featured in the recipe section of the Advance newspaper!  I was honored to be able to choose three of my favorite recipes for publication.  It was an easy decision...I just picked the three that have received the most hits on this blog:  Oven-Roasted Asparagus, Joel's Marinated Chicken, and Easy Garlic Bread

If you are interested in reading the feature, here is a link to the online copy of the article.

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 7/8/12 - 7/14/12)

Here's your weekly dose of menu-planning inspiration!  The following recipes can be made using ingredients found in the new Meijer sale ad:

Nectarine and Blue Cheese Salad

(This recipe was originally posted in conjunction with Meijer Ad 7/8/12 - 7/14/12)

This simple salad was inspired by one I saw on Rachael Ray's website.  I've wanted to make it for a few weeks now but our nectarines keep disappearing!  The combination of fruit and cheese reminded me of this salad, but with a shorter ingredient list.  I added walnuts for some crunch, and I wasn't a big fan of Rachael's suggested dressing, so I used an old favorite instead.  The result was amazingly delicious, if I do say so myself!  The main ingredients are on sale at Meijer this week, but you can also find lettuce and nectarines at your local farmer's market this time of year.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Menu-Planning for Vacation: Take-It-Easy Suppers

Whether your family spent the day splashing in the pool, hiking, or building sandcastles, they're probably all "starving" by suppertime.  They need something hearty (and hopefully somewhat nutritious) to fill them up, and you need that something to be quick and easy...after all, it IS vacation!  Whether you're camping, staying in a cabin, or relaxing in a condo, kitchen time should be minimal, right?

Mom's Spaghetti Sauce

Many people claim to have created "The Best Spaghetti Sauce Ever".  My mom would never say that about her recipe, but her children (including me) are more than willing to stake that claim for her!  Mom jokes about her spaghetti sauce, telling us that it was the product of desperation over the years, as my brothers' appetites grew larger than the standard-sized batch of spaghetti sauce.  Every time I make this sauce, I smile as I remember how high my brothers piled their plates with Mom's spaghetti and sauce.  Oh, and I'm posting this recipe now (finally!) because it's one of our favorite camping meals.  I cook up a batch before we leave and put it in the freezer.  Set out the sauce to thaw in the morning, and at dinnertime, boil a pot of noodles and reheat the sauce (on the stovetop or in the microwave, if you have one)...dinner is served!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blueberry Salad

(This recipe was originally posted in conjunction with Meijer Ad 7/1/12 - 7/7/12)

Looking for an easy and delicious side dish to bring to your Independence Day picnic?  This salad comes together in less than 5 minutes, and the bowl is always scraped clean.  It's also an easy treat to make while camping or vacationing.

How to Eat Great Food (And Still Relax) on Vacation

As part of Cooking Up a Sale's Summer Vacation, we're focusing on Camping and Traveling for the month of July.  (Don't forget, you can still vote for August's theme by commenting on this post or sending me an email.)