Saturday, January 31, 2009

Food - Fast & Easy Mexican Night

One of my favorite crockpot dishes is Chicken Tacos because they are super easy and very good at the same time. Paired with my lazy version of Mexican rice, they make for a good, hot meal with minimal effort.

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar of your favorite salsa (I use medium)
2 tsp. taco seasoning (optional)

Put chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot. Pour salsa over chicken and sprinkle with taco seasoning. Cook on low 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. About 1/2 hour before serving, shred chicken inside crockpot and continue cooking. Add flour tortillas, shredded cheese, and your favorite toppings. Viola!

Mexican Rice

1 c. long grain white rice
1 T. vegetable oil
1 c. salsa (I use medium)
1 c. chicken broth

Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add rice and cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add salsa and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Stir halfway through cooking time.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fun - Dinner & A Movie

There's nothing better on a Friday night than a piping hot pizza, a good movie to curl up on the couch with, and chocolate chip cookies to cap it all off. Mmmm.

For the bargain price of $8.54, we picked up a Hawaiin pizza and a tub of cookie dough from Papa Murphy's. The cookie dough was free with a coupon for completing an online survey for our last pizza, and I had a $2 off coupon for the pizza. On our way home, we stopped at a redbox and picked up Appaloosa. Thanks to a promo code in my email inbox, the rental was free. Comfort food and a shot of Viggo Mortensen, all for under $10. Not bad!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Frugal Finds

Today I did the bulk of my weekly grocery shopping. Here are a few highlights.

At Walgreens
2 Revlon Colorsilk Hair Color -$1.99 ea. w/$1 off 2 coupon
FINAL COST: $1.49/each

Colgate - $2.99 w/$0.75 coupon & $2 Register Rewards (RR)

Revlon Eyeliner (not pictured)- $9.99 w/Rebate up to $10

At Dillon's
(Dillon's had one of its buy 10/Get $5 off sales, which I subtracted to get the first price)

2 Hormel Chili -$0.50 ea. w/$0.55 off 2 coupon doubled to $1

RoTel - $0.50 w/$0.30 coupon doubled to $0.60

2 Steamers frozen veggies- $1.00 w/two $1 coupons

Kids Vitamins - Buy 1/Get 1 FREE (the two averaged $2.50 after two $1 coupons)

Altogether I spent about $100 but got $2 RR and will get a $10 rebate back. In addition to the usual groceries, I also stocked up on Pace Salsa (4 for $1.50 each w/two $0.75 off 2 coupons doubled to $1 each = $1 each) and some cereal (2 boxes from Walgreens on sale for $1.99 w/$1.50 off 2 coupon = $1.24 each & 6 boxes from Hy-Vee on sale for $1.68 each w/two $1 off 3 coupons = $1.35 each).

All in all, a good week!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Family Fun - Idol Style

I admit it. For all eight seasons, I have counted myself among the mindless hordes who tune in to American Idol week after week. I get sucked in every year, hooked on the curious hybrid of you-too-could-win-the-fame-and-fortune lottery and the Springer-esque train wreck of the poor and misguided talentless among us. And no matter how many rants my family and friends subject me to about how mainstream, how completely and utterly uncool the entire premise is, I keep watching. And, luckily for our marital cohesiveness, my husband keeps watching right along with me.

My kids on the other hand, are less enthusiastic viewers. After our oldest broke down in tears after Season 2’s finale, he went into full-on boycott mode. (Okay, so maybe our refusal to vote for Rueben despite his young pleading may have jaded him, but I’m still convinced that we did it for his own good.) Over the years, we’ve tried to coax him back, but our success has been limited to the most atrocious of auditioners. Our youngest, on the other hand is a born music lover. Her attention is riveted to the best singers and the most polished performances, but she snubs that good ol’ American tradition of laughing at those even more talent-challenged than yourself. I suspect that the sole reason she watches at all is because during commercials, she takes the stage to show up the contestants and demand endless applause and accolades as her due.

But still, I’m determined to find a way to make American Idol live up to its family show billing. I’ve decided the key to accomplishing that goal is making the experience both interactive enough to hold a 5-year-old’s attention and yet cynical enough to entertain my cool-conscious preteen. The solution, you ask? American Idol bingo, of course!

A little research uncovered the predecessors to my game. Twenty minutes later, I had four custom bingo cards, half sarcastic fun-poking and half attention-demanding trivia hunt. I plan to test drive the game tonight so we’ll see how it goes. I figure snagging a rootbeer out of the pop machine to offer as the grand prize should be enough to get my pop-deprived kids to perk right up!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Frugal Finds

Another day, another deal. Today, I got a few. First, I went to Dillon's to get some groceries and picked up four 4-packs of Cottonelle that were each priced $0.99. After doubling four 50 cent coupons, they were all free. Then I stopped at CVS and stocked up on some shampoo and grabbed a deodorant that was on sale. Here was the breakdown:

4 Cottonelle 4-pks - $0.99 (minus doubled $0.50 coupon)
3 Head and Shoulders - $4.99 (minus $1 coupon and $3 ECB)
1 Pert Plus - $1.99 (minus $1 coupon)
1 Sure - $1.99 (minus $1 coupon)

FINAL COST - $4.95 + tax

Friday, January 23, 2009

Frugal Finds - Greeting Cards

Today I stopped at CVS and took advantage of their Hallmark cards deal. For every 3 cards you buy this week, you get $3 in Extra Care Bucks (ECB) good on a future purchase. I stopped at 2 CVSs and used the first batch of ECBs to pay for the second batch of cards.

Altogether, I got 15 cards, the maximum for the offer. And because I stuck to the $0.99 cards, I paid pennies for the lot. Here's the breakdown:

Cards Total: $14.85
Tax: $0.71
Earned ECB: $15.00

FINAL COST: $0.56 or about $0.04/card