Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tradtional Bread and Butter Pickles

I love my summer time activities. One of the things I enjoy doing is canning. That may sound a bit strange, but I find it relaxing and it makes a great gift come Christmas time. Here is the recipe that I use that I like. You can do the same thing with squash, which I love!

For the basics of home canning you can go to

10 cups of pickling cucumbers
4 medium white onions
1/2 cup canning salt
Cold water
3 cups vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoons turmeric
2 Tbsp mustard seeds

Slice unpeeled cucumbers 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Slice peeled white onions 1/8 inch thick.
In a large stockpot, arrange cucumbers in layers, sprinkling each layer with canning salt. Let stand for 2 hours; rinse in cold water and drain in colander.

Bring vinegar and remaining ingredients to a boil. Add vegetables; bring to a boil again and boil for 5 minutes.

Pack into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust caps. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Roast Beef Sandwiches Au Jus

This is the first of the freezer meals that I made. It was really tasty and VERY easy!!!!! Well worth the few minutes it takes to make it.

1.5 pound London broil
1 oz package of au jus gravy mix
1 oz package of brown gravy mix
3 cups water
4-6 sandwich rolls

Trim fat off meat. Sprinkle gravy mixes on London broil in 1-gallon Ziploc bag. Label and freeze. Thaw, add 3 cups water to back and shake. Pour into Crock-Pot and cook (low) for 3-4 hours. Slice mean and return to sauce. Serve on toasted buns.

Once a Month Cooking

Okay, I have been a bad cook and blogger the last couple of months. I have not been planning my meals as I know I need to. I know myself well enough to know that if I don't have plan, we end up eating out more. The girls had swim lessons the last couple of weeks from 5:30 to 7:00 each night. Between that and the end of school, we have been out of kilter. It has also been 95 degrees (or higher) each day, and it is only June! I hate to be in the kitchen when it is 100 degrees. So, I pulled out a cookbook that I purchased not too long ago. It is a Once-a-Month Cooking by Wilson and Lagerborg. It has menus, supply lists and recipes for two-weeks of cooking, or even a month of cooking. I decided to try one of the two week menus. I now have 14 meals in the freezer for summer use. The cookbook is set up to be used as a guide and was pretty easy to use. I ended up splitting up the cooking into two days, so I was not as efficient as I could have been. I was very pleased with the results so far. I think that I could use the 14 meals over a three week time period very easily by inserting a couple of vegetarian meals into the mix. I couldn't do this once a month, it was very intense, but once every few months I could make it work. The other thing to consider is the cost of the meals. I think the author's did a great job on this. I spent about $135.00 for the 14 meals. I thought that was pretty good!

Here are the meals that I have in the freezer:

  1. Hearty Hamburger Tomato Stew

  2. Chinese Chicken Morsels

  3. Roast Beef sandwiches with Au Jus

  4. Grilled Fish

  5. Chicken Spaghetti

  6. Mandarin Orange Chicken

  7. Grilled Chile Pepper Cheeseburgers

  8. Rainy day Chicken with Rice

  9. Polynesian Pork Loin

  10. Blackened Chicken Breast

  11. Chicken Cacciatore

  12. Meal-on-the-Run Pork Loin

  13. Chile Verde

  14. Savory Beef

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sonic Cherry Limeade

Here is a summer favorite! Easy and cheaper than a run to the drive through.

1 (12 ounce) can Sprite
3 lime wedges
1/4 cup cherry juice (Libby's Juicy Juice best)

1 Fill a 16 oz glass 2/3 full with ice Pour sprite over the ice.
2 add the juice of 3 lime wedges and drop them into the drink.
3 add the cherry juice and serve with straw.

Makes one 16 oz. drink.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pulled Pork BBQ Pizza

Wow it's been a while since I've posted a recipe. To be honest I haven't been very creative lately so I haven't had anything exciting to post. Last night I did find a really good recipe that helped me use up some leftover pulled pork that I made in the crock pot. It was a hit in this household. I found it on the food network website. It is an Emeril recipe:


Make or buy your dough. I use the recipe that came with my breadmaker.


12 oz Shredded Mozzerella

BBQ Sauce (instead of tomato sauce):

1 c apple cider vinegar

1 c ketchup

1/4 c light brown sugar

1 T molasses

1 T yellow mustard

2 t worchestershire sauce

1/2 t minced garlic

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1/4 t freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine ingredients (mixing to dissolve sugar). Allow sauce to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Roll out dough. Spoon 1 cup of the cooled bbq sauce over the pizza dough, leaving about 3/4" of dough uncovered around the edge. Spread the pulled pork over the sauce. Top with onion and/or bell pepper if desired. Spread cheese evenly over pizza. Bake at 425F for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Broccoli Salad

Great summer time salad!

1 large head broccoli, broken into small flowerettes
1 medium onion or about 1/2 cup chopped onion
8 to 10 slices bacon
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
2 to 3 Tablespoons vinegar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

1. Cut bacon into bits and fry crisp.
2. Mix together mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, bacon, raisins and nuts (if using).
3. Pour over broccoli and onions. Mix well.
4. Let stand at least 1 hour or more before serving.

My new favorite things....

I have a few items that I want to share that I a loving in the kitchen...

1. The garden is filling in, and the lettuce is growing daily by the yard... I needed a way to keep the lettuce fresh, so I made a SMALL investment in a salad spinner. I LOVE IT! I week later the lettuce is still fresh. It takes up a little space in the fridge, but well worth it! I found one for about 10 dollars

2. The Wolfgang Puck Rice Cooker/ Steamer/ and Slow Cooker is my new FAVORITE KITCHEN APPLIANCE! A few months ago my rice cooker died. it was a hard pill to swallow, but I did not rush out to get one. I did have my eye open. My slow cooker was getting too hot, and I was starting to burn dishes that should be fine cooking all day. I was flipping channels and I saw an add for this new appliance. I ordered it on a whim- and I TOTALLY LOVE IT!!!!! It acts as a slow cooker, rice cooker, and a steamer. I am using it two or three times a week. the shape also helps with counter shape. If you cook a lot in the slow cooker, I would totally check it out! I was also able to get it for the price of $39.00.*PD*bottom&ccm=QCQC0010QC0097

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

When you have to use the crock pot one or two nights a week, you can get TIRED of using it. It all seems the same. So when I found this recipe, I thought it sounded like something different. It is also really easy! I think I will add some veggies in with it, too. I am all about getting it all in together! I am glad the school year is almost to an end... we need a break!

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 Tablespoons butter
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 onion, finely chopped
2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces

1. Place the chicken, butter, soup, and onion into the slow cooker. Fill with enough water to cover.
2. Cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High.
3. About 30 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker.
4. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

Yakisoba from Mark Bittman

I love Mark Bittman. He is my favorite chef. He cooks with simple ingredients, and a variety of cultures represented in his cooking. This is one of the recipes from his new show The Minalmist on the Cooking Channel. I also liked this recipe because it is a basic recipe that can use different meats and veggies. I did not like the smell of the sauce, but once it was cooked it was great.

6 ounces dried or 10 to 12 ounces fresh Chinese egg noodles
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 pork chops, thinly sliced
1 small head Napa or savoy cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
2 carrots, shredded
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons mirin or a bit of sugar
Few drops hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
1 bunch scallions, chopped, white parts only


Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it, and add noodles. Cook until just done, about 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and run under cold water. Toss noodles with sesame oil to keep them from sticking together, and set aside.

Put peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add ginger and cook, stirring, until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Add pork and cook for about 5 minutes or until the pork is no longer pink and is starting to brown around the edges.

Add cabbage and carrots to skillet and stir; sprinkle with salt. Continue to cook until vegetables soften, adding a bit of water, as needed to keep them from sticking.

Meanwhile, stir together in a small bowl ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mirin, and hot sauce. When vegetables are soft and any liquid has evaporated, add noodles and sauce to skillet. Toss to coat everything well and cook until noodles are warmed through. Serve, topped with chopped scallions

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ramen Noodle Salad


2 cups of shredded cabbage

1 cup of shreeded carrots or broccoli/ carrot mix

4 green onions, chopped

1 package ramen noodles (Oriental flavor)

2 Tablespoons slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds

Dressing (whisk or shake together):

1/2 cup salad oil 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar 3 Tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper Flavor packet from ramen noodles

Directions: 1. Toast the nuts or seeds in a warm oven for 6-8 minutes, watching carefully to prevent over-toasting. Cool. 2. Combine cabbage, carrots and onions. 3. Break up noodles and add to vegetables. 4. Shortly before serving, add nuts or seeds and the mixed dressing; toss well.

Exploding Chicken Taquitos

Quick, easy, and very tasty. This was a great end of the week recipe when I was tired and not wanting to cook. The girls also enjoyed. Courtesy of Hungry Girl on Cooking Channel Ingredients:

  • One 9.75-oz. (or 10-oz.) can 98% fat-free chunk white chicken breast in water, drained and flaked

  • 1/2 cup salsa

  • 8 small (6-inch) yellow corn tortillas

  • 1/3 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

  • 1/4 tsp. dry taco seasoning mix

  • Optional dips: additional salsa, fat-free sour cream


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken and salsa, and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Dampen two paper towels, and place tortillas between them. Microwave for about 1 minute, until tortillas are warm and pliable. Set aside. Remove chicken mixture from the fridge, and drain any excess liquid. Add cheese and taco seasoning, and mix to combine. This is your filling. Set aside. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with nonstick spray. Set aside. Place one tortilla flat on a clean dry surface (keep the rest between the paper towels), and spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons of filling onto the tortilla. Spread it evenly across the entire surface, and roll tortilla up tightly, so that you have a cigar-shaped tube. Secure with toothpicks, if needed, and place seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Bake in the oven until crispy, 14 - 16 minutes. (Don't worry if they crack and "explode" a little!) Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove toothpicks, if using. If you like, serve with additional salsa and sour cream for dipping. Enjoy! MAKES 4 SERVINGS

Monday, April 11, 2011


New Crock-Pot recipe. It was easy, and it was ready when we got home. Both girls liked it, so I would say it is a keeper!

1 lb. chuck or stew meat, cubed
2 c. potatoes, cut up
2 c. carrots, cut up
2 c. celery, cut up
1 lg. onion
1 c. each frozen green beans, peas, corn or whatever vegetables you wish
1 can Campbell's tomato soup
1 can water
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1 tsp. salt and salt substitute
1 tsp. Lawry's seasoned salt

Mix all ingredients together in crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours. Don't peek!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rachel Ray Brisket Supper

This was FABULOUS! I ended up using a pot roast since the grocery store was out of brisket. I also think I could do this in a slowcooker. Well worth the time!

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

Ingredients • 1 (5 to 5 1/2 pounds) lean beef brisket • Sea or kosher salt and coarse black pepper • 4 tablespoons olive oil • 4 medium onions, halved and sliced • 4 cloves garlic, sliced • 4 fresh bay leaves • A couple pinches ground cloves or allspice • 2 tablespoons tomato paste • 1 cup dry white wine • 2 cup chicken or beef stock • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes

Directions • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. • Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Add a couple of tablespoons olive oil to a large Dutch oven, a couple of turns of the pan, and heat over medium-high heat. Add the meat and brown all over, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and drain off meat fat if any accumulates. Add another turn or 2 of the pan with extra-virgin olive oil. Add onions, garlic, bay and season with salt and pepper, cook to tender 8 to 10 minutes, add in a few pinches cloves and stir in the tomato paste 1 minute. Next stir in the wine and deglaze the pan, then add the stock and canned diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Settle the meat back into the pot and cover. Bake 1 1/2 hours, then uncover and bake 1 hour to reduce the liquids, then place the cover back on and cook until very tender, 1 1/2 hours more. • Remove the brisket to the carving board and cover with foil to keep warm. • Reduce the sauce a few minutes, simmering gently, uncovered to thicken a bit.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Easy Baked Ziti

I love the baked ziti recipe that I got from my mom, but it can truly feed a crowd of 8 to 10. I am not up for that kind of recipe on a Sunday night for the four of us. I found this easy recipe that the girls really enjoyed. They liked it so much that they are taking it to school for lunch tomorrow.

If you are interested in feeding a crowd, see this recipe:

• 1 box Ziti or Rigatoni noodles
• 1 Can Del Monte Traditional Sauce (or your own recipe)
• 1 Ricotta Cheese (16 oz)
• 2 tablespoons. Lawry's Seasoned Salt (or more for your taste)
• 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
• Parmesan cheese

Cook ziti according to directions. Put in 9" X 13" pan. Mix in Ricotta cheese and seasoned salt. Mix in Mozzarella cheese. Pour sauce over top. Bake in 350° oven for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, serve. Delicious!

April Meal Planning

I can't believe we are to the fourth month of 2o11! We have 9 weeks of school left, and we are starting to plan the summer. The sun is starting to come out, and just like the plants, I feel like I am coming out of hibernation. I have been reading cookbooks, blogs, and watching cooking shows. I am ready to experiment in the kitchen again. You will see that many of my recipes this time are new. I am also trying to get back to one vegetarian meal a week. I strayed a bit in the fall, I find it so much easier to go vegetarian when the food veggies are fresher. I will be posting the recipes through the week, as I try the new things.

Gordon Meals April 2011 -

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dinner Tool

I was introduced to a cool website this week called

It is a website that helps meal planning and assists in making the lists for grocery store. It is very cool! I can see using it to get started with your own meal planning. The folks at Dinner Tool approached us about linking to their website. They had found ours, liked it, and wanted to use it as a link from theirs. It looks like a great deal for both of us. :) Take some time to check it out!

You can see Two Sisters and Friends with this link:

Camp-Out Chicken

We are on spring break this week. I have enjoyed cooking meals in a more laid back manner; there have been no dance classes or choirs or meetings to run to. I have still had to plan the meals, but not based on what is going on in the evenings. Needless to say- it has been quite refreshing. One of the things that I wanted to do with the girls this week is teach them how to cook a dinner in aluminum foil. This is the kind of meal we grew up making when we went camping. However, tonight we cheated and used the grill. They are very simple to make, and they are very quick to cook on the grill. The girls did all parts of it except for lay the chicken in! For some reason- if they pick it out and help make it; they eat better! It also makes for easy clean-up!

Ingredients (per packet)
5 baby carrots, diced
1/2 potato, sliced thin
1/4 onion, sliced thin
1 chicken breast
Cavenders seasoning
olive oil


  1. Tear off a big enough piece of aluminum foil for all of the ingredients to be folded into and covered. Pour a bit of olive oil onto the bottom of a sheet of aluminum foil.

  2. Place a thin layer of potato on the bottom.

  3. Place a thin layer of onions next.

  4. Place a chicken breast on top.

  5. Top with carrots and another thin layer of potatoes.

  6. Season generously with salt, pepper, and Cavender's seasoning.

  7. Top with a smidge of olive oil (that means very little :))

  8. Fold the middle together, folding over at least once.

  9. Fold the ends on top of the packet, to prevent the oil from leaking out.

  10. Grill or cook over an open fire until the chicken juice is clear. (Took about 20 minutes on the grill.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crock Pot Cabbage and Beef Casserole

•1 1/2 pounds ground beef
•1 medium onion, chopped
•1 small head cabbage
•2 cans diced tomatoes (15 oz each)
•1 can tomato sauce (8 oz) or 1 can condensed tomato soup
•1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
•salt and pepper to taste
•About 2 cups hot cooked rice

Brown ground beef with onion; transfer to slow cooker/Crock Pot. Slice cabbage into small wedges; place on ground beef. Mix tomatoes, sauce, and seasonings; pour over all. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Serve over the rice or mix together.
Serves 6.

March Meal Planning

Better late than never....

this month as been a week by week survival! I have finally finished the planning for this month. Enjoy!

March Meal Planning -

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chicken and Rice Casserole

I have been a little behind this month, but I am still cooking and trying to keep us healthy and at home. This is a recipe I found that has become a household favorite. It is also a great one for company.

4 cups diced, cooked chicken*
4 cups cooked rice
½ c. celery
½ c. diced onions
2 cans cream of chicken soup**
¼ c. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Lemon juice

2 c. crushed cornflakes
3-6 Tbsp. Butter

Sauté onions and celery.
Combine chicken, soup, mayo, and lemon juice. Mix in rice. Add sautéed onion and celery.
Place in 9x13 baking dish.
Top with crushed cornflakes and crumbled butter.

Serving Day:
Thaw completely. Bake at 400 until heated through (about 45 minutes). If cornflakes start to turn too brown, lay a piece of foil over dish until done.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Veggie and Barley Soup

This was a great crockpot meal from this week. It is a hearty vegetarian soup. If you want a sweeter soup, try sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. It makes a big pot of soup, but makes great leftovers!

• 1 cup medium pearl barley
• 1 bay leaf
• 9-oz. pkg. baby carrots
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 stalks celery, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
• 2 cups frozen corn
• 2 cups frozen green beans
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1/4 tsp. pepper
• 3 (14 oz). cans vegetable broth
• 4 cups water
• 14-oz. can diced tomatoes with herbs, undrained

Place all ingredients except tomatoes in a 5-6 quart crockpot in the order given. Do not stir. Cover crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir soup and add tomatoes. Cover crockpot and cook for 10-15 minutes longer until soup is hot. Remove bay leaf before serving. 10 servings

February Meal Planning

I can't believe another month has passed. I am hoping to blog a little better this month. I changed things just a bit in this month's planning. I have reduced it to five meals a week instead of six. We still eat in six nights a week, but I have a couple of things put back for quick fixes or leftovers for a night. We have enjoyed the meals together this month. After the busy month of December, it has been nice to have things getting back to normal. The test will be continuing it another month.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Texas Oven-Roasted Beef Brisket

I bought some brisket for the first time. I found this recipe from Paula Dean which was pretty easy and very tasty. I served it with some mashed potatoes and it was very good! This does cook a long time, so it is a good Saturday or Sunday meal.


  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt **The reviews said this is too much salt. I just used 1 teaspoon. You could probably use 2 teaspoons and be okay.
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • 4 pounds beef brisket, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Make a dry rub by combining chili powder, salt, garlic and onion powders, black pepper, sugar, dry mustard, and bay leaf. Season the raw brisket on both sides with the rub. Place in a roasting pan and roast, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Add beef stock and enough water to yield about 1/2 inch of liquid in the roasting pan. Lower oven to 300 degrees F, cover pan tightly and continue cooking for 3 hours, or until fork-tender.

Trim the fat and slice meat thinly across the grain. Top with juice from the pan.

** I used baked this in my dutch oven.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Butter Chicken

As I did the meal planning for the month, I asked Clay if there were anything he could think of that would be good to try. He told me that there was a yogurt based Indian chicken that he really likes, so this was the recipe I found for butter chicken. This is a great introduction to Indian spices. It has a milder taste than most curry based dishes. The girls enjoyed this, too. It took a little balancing as far as getting everything going, but I think it will easier next time. I would suggest having all the ingredients laid out before you begin.


1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup tomato puree
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in half-and-half and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce.

3. Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

Server over rice.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Meal Planning, January 2011

Here is plan for the Gordon Family's Meals for January 2011

Meal Planning- A How to Guide for Busy Families

Welcome to 2011. I am welcoming in new year with open arms. I sat down the other day with a new calendar with the hopes of planning out a couple of weeks of January. I know that once school starts back, the family will be off and running. I also found out toward the end of last year, that I don't plan my meals, we don't eat as well during the week. I sat down with the calendar, and I was able to easily sketch out a month's worth of meals. I surprised myself. Now, I will see how much things change during the month. Right now I am planning on the family eating in at 6 nights a week. That will be a challenge. However, after the holiday, we need to eat in. If you start meal planning this year, try to keep some things in mind as you plan.

1. Start with planning a week at a time. Don't try a month to begin with. A week is plenty.

2. Make a grocery list on the weekend, shop and get all you need for the week, and then group your ingredients together in the pantry and fridge. It helps me stay organized.

3. Use the weekend (or evenings if you would rather) to pre-prep what you can for the week. My Thursday meal will almost always be made on Sunday.

4. After dinner each night, pull out what you need for the next night. I don't know how many times I have forgotten to pull meat out for the next day, because I forgot to plan ahead a bit.

5. Look at your schedule:

Gordon Schedule

  • Sunday: Homecooked Meal Night: I love trying new recipes and cooking a big dinner. This is a tradition that Clay brought from his house growing up. I have grown to love it. I try a lot of new recipes on Sunday afternoons.

  • Monday: Dance until 6:30 (Crockpot works best- girls are HUNGRY with they get home)

  • Tuesday: Home around 4:15- I enjoy cooking, but nothing to intricate

  • Wednesday: All home around 6. We are coming from two different places and activities with the kids.

  • Thursday: I'm a tired. . . so this is a night were I want something prepared and ready to go in the oven.

  • Friday/ Saturday: I will cook one of the two nights. Meal is planned for one or the other, but the other night will be to eat out.

So, knowing that - here is what I have figured out for us:

  • Sunday- cooking a big meal

  • Monday- Crockpot Night

  • Tuesday- Cook, but low maintenance

  • Wednesday- Crockpot, or Sandwiches

  • Thursday- Make-Ahead Meal (made on the weekend)

  • Friday/ Saturday- Family Favorites

5. Post your schedule on the fridge. I use a calendar. I try to make notes as the week goes on so I can see what works and what doesn't.

Here is a template for the year:

Black-Eyed Pea Soup- New Year's Tradition

I am not a superstious person. However, I don't see anything wrong with starting the new year off right. So, on New Year's day, we have a pot of black-eyed peas going. THis is an EASY recipe that is hard to mess up, but has a great deal of taste. It would be a great recipe on any cold winter day.

1 lb of Black-eyed Peas
2 cups of diced ham
1 medium onions, chopped
1 Can of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon of Salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

Soak peas overnight.

Place peas in crockpot, and cover peas with water. Add ham, chopped onions, and can of diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper halfway through cooking. Place crockpot on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours. If needed, add more water, salt, or black pepper to taste.

Serve with cornbread muffins.

Browning Mix- Gift Idea

This was the other mix that Mary gave to us. I made the brownies for a New Year's Eve Party. It made 2 dozen brownies. They were really good, and they were from scratch. Something I am a big fan of. :) I could see these making great gifts for families in the future.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chip

Directions:Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins


Wash and dry jars and lids in the dishwasher. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt in a quart jar, pack firmly and brush residue off the insides of the jar with a pastry brush. Add cocoa, pack firmly and brush sides. Add sugar, pack and brush. Add chocolate chips and seal.

Attach the following recipe

1 jar brownie mix
1 cup butter melted
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9x13 inch baking pan by greasing and flouring.Place brownie mix in a bowl and stir to mix. Add butter, eggs and vanilla and mix until well blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

Chicken Noodle and Lentil Soup Mix-Gift Idea

This was gift that we received for Christmas from Clay's cousin this year. The jar of soup mix was perfect this week as we returned home and had energy to cook. The girls and I really enjoyed the soup, but Clay LOVED it. I will be making this again for sure.

¼ cup of red lentils
2 tbsp. dried onion flakes
1 ½ tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
½ tsp. dried dill weed or dill seed
1/8 tsp each celery seed and garlic powder
approximately 1 cup medium egg noodles
1 bay leaf.

Directions:In a two-cup jar, layer from bottom in the order listed above, then seal the jar.

Write these instructions on your gift tag:Bring 8 cups of water to boil in large saucepan. Stir in jar of soup mix. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf and stir in 1½ cups of frozen corn or mixed vegetables and 2 cups of cooked, diced chicken or turkey. Simmer for five minutes until vegetables are tender and chicken is heated through.