….and all the families on WIC say “hooray!” AKA- How to warm corn tortillas.

So my husband and I have been utilizing WIC to help stretch our food budget a little more. I have to say, I really adore this program. We don’t qualify for a lot of government assistance because we have jobs, but WIC is a program with fairly high income guidelines so we do qualify for help in that way. Between the milk, eggs and cheese we gobble up the WIC items gratefully. However, there has always been one item that we never knew how to really utilize…..the corn tortillas.

The battle for tortilla supremacy begins!

I know that sound silly, but my husband and I both grew up on flour ones. We had never even eaten corn tortillas before except in chip form. So when we tried to make tacos and enchiladas with them we would become very frustrated as they fell apart on our plates. Not to mention the taste was unfamiliar to us, and not well-received. So we tended to just cut them into triangles, bake them and use them as chips instead. Which while tasty, wasn’t the best use of this product.

After a couple of months of searching however, we figured out that the problem was in how we warmed up the corn tortillas! We always tried to warm them like flour ones, wrapping them in foil and putting them in the oven. However, that was unsuccessful. Instead I put a tiny amount of oil in a skillet and warmed it up. Then I placed each tortilla in the skillet for about 20 seconds on each side. When the tortillas started to kind of jump up in the middle I flipped them. Then I placed them on paper towels to absorb some of the grease. If you serve them fairly quickly afterwards they won’t fall apart, and they taste wonderful!

I placed 3 chicken breasts in our crock pot and a can of chili beans (also a WIC purchase) in there as well. I also included chopped red onion (WIC), green pepper(WIC) and some leftover corn to cook overnight. Yes, there was copious amounts of cumin involved as well. At noon today we had the delicious chicken shredded up in the crock pot with all the beans and veggies simmering, and placed that mixture on our warmed tortillas.

It.

Was.

MAGIC.

Now that we’ve had corn tortillas properly warmed up, i’m not sure we will ever return to flour ones even when our WIC ends. The corn tortillas tend to be a good deal cheaper, and feel a little more filling than the flour ones.

I hope to introduce more ways to utilize WIC purchases on this blog. I know there are a lot of ladies who depend on this program to feed their families, and I certainly would love to research more WIC item recipes for my own family!  If any of you readers have WIC recipes you would like to share, leave me a comment and I will try it myself!

All the best,

Housewife at Work

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Dinner Planning for 12/4-12/10

Making up a dinner menu a week ahead of time has been hugely helpful for this working mother. Assuming that is that I stick to the menu. As i’ve been posting my weekly menu online, it’s become easier to be held accountable for what i’ve decided to make.

Generally speaking I try to go grocery shopping once a week. I also try to work with items I already have in the house, then supplement those items with sale items and coupons. Our grocery budget is $200 a month, so I have to be vigilant about price comparisons. By planning the week beforehand it’s much easier to stay on top of these things, and I generally feel less stressed. My other goal is to find ONE type of meat to eat throughout the week. For instance, next week chicken breast is going to be deeply discounted at a local store. So I pick up just enough to last us for 7 days and I only use that meat when I cook dishes that need meat.  I try and do something similar with cheese, next week Swiss will be on sale at a different store, so we will be using that for our dairy product. It’s saved us quite a bit of money. To be on the safe side though, we always have plenty of eggs, bacon and sliced ham for lunches and breakfasts. However, if somebody decides they just aren’t “in the mood” for the meat of the week they are free to use the ham, bacon or eggs for a sandwich for dinner.

So that is what works for us. I would love to do a more involved menu when I become a stay-at-home mother full time again. Until then, dinner is all we can do. I grew up in a family that never ate any meals together for any reason, so even just dinner together feels special to me!

Here is what we have planned for next week, what about you ladies?

12/4- French onion soup in bread bowls

12/5- White chicken enchiladas with corn

12/6- Chicken salad sandwiches with glazed carrots

12/7- Crock Pot Macaroni and cheese with crumbled bacon

12/8 – BBQ Chicken with roasted potatoes

12/9 – Eggs in a basket with bacon

12/10- Monte Cristo sandwiches with tomato soup

Cheers!
-Housewife at Work

Crock pot Saturday!

Nothing makes home feel more wonderful than coming into a great smelling house. As a working mom/housewife/student I cannot express enough what a great investment our crock pot has been.

Many a morning I have thrown in all my ingredients prior to work, only to come home after a long day to a great smelling meal. It’s also a plus for my husband, who gets to have home cooked meals more frequently without me losing my mind. If you don’t have one, get one. If you have one but don’t use one, what’s wrong with you? (Kidding, kidding)

http://slowandsimple.com/

This website has tons of wonderful ideas and recipes to get you started. Today I am making pot roast with veggies in my crock pot, and it only took me a few minutes to get it going. As an added treat I will make some noodles and potatoes once my roast gets finished. It really shouldn’t take much time at all, and makes my husband feel pampered. He LOVES pot roast. : )

Cheers!

-Housewife at Work

Chili and Hash Brown casserole.

That half a bag of shredded hash browns has been staring at me for weeks in my freezer.

I made a big breakfast not too long ago. But being that I am pregnant and lazy I bought frozen hash browns instead of shredding my own.

Big mistake.

The hash browns were pretty lackluster, so I had tons of frozen shredded disappointment left in my freezer.

But I am also a cheapskate, so I couldn’t bring myself to toss them. So in the freezer they sat, collecting freezerburn and taunting me.

Today after church I had a stroke of genius, or desperation. Whatever you want to call it. I had to use those hash browns one way or the other.

So I scoured the internet for some basic recipes and found one. I threw some leftover chili into a greased baking pan. Canned would have worked fine in this instance too. I dumped the leftover hash browns on top and pushed it into a 400 degree over for about thirty minutes uncovered. When it came out the chili was bubbly and the hash browns were crispy. I sprinkled some cheddar cheese and spread french onion chip dip on top.

I have to say, I might buy cruddy hash browns more often. Not a bad outcome.

I would have taken some pictures, but I ate it before I realized I forgot the pics. So I took a pic from the internet. Wheeeee!

Here’s a basic recipe that’s easy to re-arrange to your personal likings.

 

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste.
  3. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat, for 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the beans and the tomatoes with their juice and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. ‘.
  5. Transfer to an 8×11-inch baking dish.
  6. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400*F.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and cheese. Scatter the potato mixture over the chili.
  8. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake until the potatoes are cooked through and the chili is bubbling, about 35 minutes.