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Category: From My Kitchen

Our $60 menu this week

Greenmpm

I didn't get a picture snapped of our shopping trip from a few days ago, but here's what's on tap to be served this week (keep in mind that this is a bit different–and more expensive–than our normal menus since I'm trying to get in plenty of protein and iron to keep up my nutritional requirements for this pregnancy.):

Breakfasts:
Pancakes, cottage cheese, fruit
Homemade granola over yogurt, fruit
Cheerios, orange/banana smoothies
Cream of Wheat, fruit
Peanut butter banana smoothies, toast
Scrambled eggs with cottage cheese (cooked in for extra protein), bran muffins, juice

Lunches:
Mozzarella sticks, veggies, apples with peanut butter
Salmon, broccoli, bran muffins
Shrimp, baked potatoes, fruit
Cheese quesadillas, mixed veggies
PB&J, oranges
Leftovers x 2

Dinners:
Steak, mashed potatoes, broccoli
Hamburger patties with melted cheese, toast, fruit
Meat loaf, green beans, homemade bread
Chicken over brown rice, broccoli
Beef stir-fry over rice
Steak, sweet potatoes, homemade bread
Dinner out

Snacks:
Bran muffins
Apples/oranges/bananas
Banana bread
Peanut butter toast
Granola bars
Frozen yogurt

See more menus for this week here.

Thanksgiving on a Budget: Homemade Pumpkin Pie and Our Favorite Apple Pie

Homemade Pumpkin Pie
by Erin at $5 Dinners

Crust Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening or butter
2-4 Tablespoons COLD water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place flour in mixing bowl; add butter and cut in with pastry blender.

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Add salt and then add COLD water 1 Tablespoon at a time. Mix/toss with fork until dough ball forms.

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Place in plastic wrap or Ziploc baggie and put into the refrigerator
while you make the filling. Make filling (see directions below) while
dough is in the fridge.Take dough ball from fridge and place on lightly
floured surface. Roll out into a circle at least 12 inches in diameter
and gently fold pie crust into quarters.

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Move pie crust from counter to pie plate.  Unfold. Flute edges in your favorite design. Pour filling into pie shell. Place pie crust shield over the top or use foil to make a shield to keep the crust edges from burning
or turning dark brown while baking. Bake pie at 425 for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 and bake
another 40-50 minutes, until center of pie is done. If
you want a darker crust, remove the foil or pie crust shield 10 minutes
before pie is finished.

Filling Ingredients
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon (You can substitute 2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice for above 3 spices)
2 large eggs
1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk

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Place all ingredients in baking bowl. Blend with mixer or stand
mixer on low for 2-3 minutes. Set aside until pie crust is prepared
and pour into the pie crust. Cost: approximately $2.50 to $3 per pie

Our Favorite Apple Pie

This is one of our family's very favorite pies. If I'm able to snag a good deal on apples, this is one of the first things I think of making. It takes a little bit of work, but once you've made it, it's so worth it! And Thanksgiving wouldn't quite be the same without this pie–though it's great year-round, too!

(Confession Time: I had every intention of making up a fresh pie and
taking pictures of it for you, but time slipped away from me this week.
So I'll just let you imagine how beautiful this pie turns out! Think
something like this.)

Pie crust (uncooked, see recipe above or use your favorite recipe)
6 cups thinly sliced, peeled cooking apples (about 2 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tablespoons butter

Prepare and roll out pie crust. Line pie pan with it and flute edges. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add in apples and gently toss until coated. Transfer apple mixture to the pie crust. Dot apples with butter. Set aside.

Prepare crumb topping ingredients by stirring together 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in 3 Tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over apples in pie pan. Cover edges of pie with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20 minutes more or until fruit is tender and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack. This is especially delicious served with freshly-whipped cream or Breyer's vanilla ice cream. Delicious!

Thanksgiving on a Budget: Money Saving Mom’s Favorite Roll Recipe

If you don't normally make homemade rolls for Thanksgiving, you might just want to consider taking a little extra effort to make these rolls this year. They are just that good. In fact, I've tried literally hundreds of roll recipes over the years and this recipe is hands-down the best one I've ever made.

These are best served within an hour or two of making, though, so if you're planning to serve them on Thanksgiving, you'll want to make sure and allow extra time to whip up the dough. While it's rising, you can do your last minute Thanksgiving meal preparations and then stick these in the oven to bake an hour or so before you're planning to eat.

Yes, it's a little bit of extra work but I think you and your guests will agree it was worth it!

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Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

(Recipe modified slightly from the original recipe found at Tammy's Recipes–a cooking blog you ought to be reading, if you're not already!)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 cup warm milk
¼ cup butter, softened or melted
2 cup mashed cooked pumpkin (I usually use one can of pumpkin.)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup wheat germ (can omit and use flour instead)
10-12 cup all-purpose flour (I usually use a mixture of whole-wheat and white flours. I'd recommend going about 1/3 whole-wheat to 2/3 white flour.)
7 teaspoons dry yeast

In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, water, milk, butter, pumpkin, and salt. Mix well. Add wheat germ, 7-8 cups of the flour, and yeast. Mix, and then
continue adding flour and kneading until dough is elastic and not
sticky.

Place dough in greased bowl; grease top of dough, cover with a towel, and set in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour). Punch dough down and divide into thirds. Divide each third into 16 pieces and shape into balls.

Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until tops are golden. Brush with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven. (Note: These rolls usually look somewhat dry when first coming out of the oven. Wait about 15 minutes and they will look and taste beautifully. Don't ask me why, but that's how it always works for me!)

Yield: 4 dozen rolls (If you're not expecting a large crowd for Thanksgiving, I'd recommend halfing the recipe. I often do this for smaller groups and it works great!)

Up Next: $5 Dinner Mom's Pumpkin Pie recipe and Our Favorite French Apple Pie recipe

Thanksgiving on a Budget: Green Vegetables

By Erin at $5 Dinners

Each of these green vegetable dishes are not only healthy and lower in
calories than a traditional casserole, they won't take up any space in
the oven. Each vegetable can be prepared on the stove top and won't
need any of that precious "Thanksgiving morning oven time"!

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Green Beans and Garlic
2 lb. fresh green beans
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Snap or cut the stems off the green beans. Rinse well and pat dry.

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Place oil in skillet and set heat to medium-high. Add green beans and garlic slices. Saute for 4-5 minutes, until green beans turn a brighter green. Serves 8-12. Cost: approximately $4

Sauteed Asparagus
2 lb. fresh asparagus
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Snap the ends off the asparagus. Hold each end of the asparagus and push ends together away from you. Allow the asparagus to "naturally" snap. Rinse and pat dry. About 15 minutes before sautéing the asparagus, drizzle oil over the asparagus and let sit. Saute asparagus with olive oil over medium-high heat in skillet for 4-5 minutes. The asparagus will turn brighter green. It is ready to serve! Serves 8-12. Cost: $3.50

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Lemon Broccoli
8-12 heads of broccoli
Lemons

Steam broccoli in steamer for 3-5 minutes. Slice fresh lemon into 6-8 wedges. Serve lemon wedges next to broccoli and suggest that guests squeeze lemon over their broccoli. Serves 8-12. Cost: approximately $6

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What are your favorite vegetables to serve at Thanksgiving? The traditional green bean casserole or something else? I'd love to hear!

Up Next: Our Favorite Roll Recipe

Baking Day: Muffins, muffins, muffins!

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Well, I didn’t end getting everything crossed off my long Baking Day list, but we did get four bags of rice cooked and frozen, salmonettes made and frozen for quick lunches, Healthy Harvest Pumpkin muffins made and frozen, Cranberry Wheat Muffins made and frozen, and Pumpkin Apple Harvest Bread and muffins made and frozen.

And hopefully that will tide us over in the quick snacks and breakfast department for a little while. Though at the rate I’m eating these things, I’m not sure sure if they will be lasting very long. 🙂

Did you have a chance to do anybaking this week? If so, post about it on your blog and leave your link below to your direct blog post. I’d love it especially if you could share pictures and recipes so I can get more ideas for my next Baking Day projects! And I’m guessing many others would be inspired as well.