Cooking with the Gales

If you have been hanging with me for a while here on my blog - First: THANK YOU!!  I know some of our family members read the blog.  But they, by relation, automatically find my children adorable.  I am so flattered by all of you who actually stop by to check out what is going on in our lives and it is awesome motivation to continue.  My main motivation is our extended family in Texas who don't get to enjoy the kids like they should.  Blogging is easy with a grateful mother-in-law!!  But finding such a huge community of bloggers was just icing on the cake.  And I think it is hilarious when I run into some of you in real life and you comment on what our last month looked like.  I am feelin' the love!

Going back to the point - If you have been hanging with me for a while, you may have noticed a serious decline in couponing blogposts.  The truth of the matter is that I am trying my hand at more things from scratch.  I found this awesome blog: Heavenly Homemakers and am slowly changing my approach to saving a buck.  (I also have a huge stockpile of food and don't have much of a need for a lot of items.)  Check out her "How I Grocery Shop" blogpost!

Over the last few weeks, we do most of our shopping at Costco for the things that are always cheaper there: Block cheese (we grate and slice what we need from the block - super cheap!), eggs, milk, butter, flour, sugar, honey, vegetables, fruit etc.  I found that shopping for the basics at Costco also stops me from buying a lot of snack foods.

Laura at Heavenly Homemakers posts a Menu Plan for each week with links to most of the recipes.  It looks like she spends most of her life in the kitchen, but she actually does a lot of bulk cooking and baking and just pulls things as needed.  I have tried a few of her recipes so far (but not with whole wheat flour yet) and they are delicious!! 

First I tried her Creamy Mac and Cheese.  I have only ever made Mac 'n Cheese a la Kraft.  Things like making macaroni and cheese from scratch???  The concept just blows my mind.  (Sometimes after I realize the wide range of things you can make from scratch, I'm not entirely sure if I'm operating with a full deck of cards...or maybe Kraft and Pillsbury just brainwashed me...Honestly!  If someone doesn't spell it out for me, I'm clueless!!) 

I made these homemade egg noodles from Pioneer Woman.  It's so simple!  Mix 2 eggs and 1 cup of flour in a bowl.  Knead for about 10 minutes.  Form into a circle, roll out and cut with a pizza cutter!  I made 3 batches at the same time (6 eggs and 3 cups of flour) and refrigerated 2 parts and cooked one.  The other two made Chicken Noodle Soup and Spaghetti!

Creamy Mac and Cheese

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pasta (Or homemade noodles!)
3 cups whole milk
1/2 t. sea salt
1 cup shredded cheese

Mix pasta, milk and salt in a large sauce pan. Cook over medium-high heat stirring almost constantly until the pasta is tender (10-15 minutes for regular and 8-10 for egg noodles). Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until melted. Serve immediately.

Seriously delicious!!!  And just as easy as the boxed variety (well not the noodle part...)

Sometimes in the morning, I want to scoop up the kids and run out the door.  We don't have many breakfast options for these types of mornings.  So, I finally got around to making a huge batch of Giant Breakfast Cookies!  I doubled her recipe and froze about 30 of these cookies.  They are delicious!!!  I had to giggle when her recipe called for "1 cup raisins or chocolate chips".  There may exist alien people out there who opt for raisins...These people will always be thinner than me.  And I'm okay with it :)

I also made her Applesauce Bread for my mom and I ate the edges that were stuck to my loaf pan.  SOOO GOOD!!!  (Mom: Now you know where the rest of that bread is...hehe...)  I'm going to try Homemade Vanilla Wafers and these Vanilla Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping next!  And if I can stop myself from drinking the vodka - I have dreams of making this Homemade Vanilla Extract(Never in my wildest dreams would I think you could make this stuff at home!!  The possibilities are endless!!!!)

I recently picked up a huge pack of Baby Portobello mushrooms at Costco.  I looked up a few good recipes with mushrooms and picked Chicken Tetrazzini.  (Aside: Any of you remember "Wat u durin' wid ur Chikin Tetrizini???  If you don't - consider yourself lucky.  I am dumber for having seen it on Talk million times!)

The first Chicken Tetrazzini I made was a recipe from Allrecipes.  It was really good.  I've never had it and had no idea I would love it so much!  My only gripe was that I used 3 pots AND a 9x13 inch pan to make it.

That only used up some of the mushrooms, so I made Chicken Tetrazzini again, but this time from Pioneer Woman.  The only noticeable difference was the addition of white wine!  But it made the dish!!

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