Monday, November 18, 2013

Economy Meals: Cheesy Potato and Sausage Casserole

     This time of year most people find that their budgets have to stretch a bit further than they usually do. There's holiday shopping to consider, the cost of gas or plane tickets if you're traveling for the holidays, and of course we also generally spend more money on food this time of year. Big dinners, desserts, holiday gift baskets, etc. can cost a pretty penny. But, though the use of coupons and economy meals I can generally save enough money for all the little extras we like to enjoy for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Occasionally I'll post some quick and easy recipe ideas that are very inexpensive to make. *Note: not all of my recipes are necessarily diet recipes. While I generally try to prepare healthy, balanced meals sometimes one or two ingredients may have a higher fat content (like the smoked sausage in the recipe below). Feel free to substitute ingredients to fit your personal dietary needs and preferences.*

Cheesy Potato and Sausage Casserole
Serves 4-5 as written, easily doubled for larger families

  • 1 large baking potato, diced or cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 to 1/2 onion, diced (I use more onion, but use as much or as little as you like)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or about 2 handfuls)
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1 package Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausage, diced (I used beef, but use whichever kind you prefer)
  • 3 pats butter

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sauce pan, sautee onions in 1 pat of butter until done or slightly caramelized. 

2. Place cooked onions into a small baking dish. In the same pan, add remaining 2 pats of butter. Once melted, add potatoes. Sautee the potatoes until golden brown and cooked through, stirring often to prevent sticking. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

3. Place cooked potatoes into baking dish with onions. Add in diced smoked sausage, cheese, and sour cream. Mix well. Place in oven for about 20 minutes, or until bubbly. 

Your finished product will look something like this:

I served this casserole with steamed green beans w/almond slivers. You really don't need any bread or rolls because you already have a starch in your potato. My husband and I really enjoyed this dish (my son a.k.a "Mr. Picky" wouldn't even try it). The only ingredient that I don't always keep on hand and had to buy for this recipe was the smoked sausage, so it was very cheap to make. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Halloween, Mr. Clean, and Katniss Everdeen

     It's been a while, and so much has happened since I last posted! First,  we found out that the baby we're expecting in March is a boy! Liam is working up to being excited about becoming a big brother (if something doesn't have anything to do with playing outside, fire trucks, Mickey Mouse, or Lilo & Stitch he has a hard time caring about it). My husband and I decided to name our newest little man Owen. We're so excited!
Then, we had Halloween (Liam was Darth Vader because I refused to pay 50$ for a Minion costume and wasn't feeling up to creating one on my own). Liam did really well trick-or-treating, and we even met a full sized Darth Vader who was nice enough to take a picture with our mini-Vader.
My mini-Sith Lord is Darth Vader approved!

    Then, the day after Halloween we moved. We're still on the same military installation, we just moved into a bigger house. With another little guy on the way we wanted a little more square footage and an extra bathroom. For those of you who have never gone through a move out of military housing, all I can say is that you're lucky. While we didn't go through the "white glove inspection" my parents had to go through when my Dad was in the Army, we did have a weekend full of intense cleaning. I mean....intense. Let's just say that in our new house I will be cleaning the window tracks a lot more often than I did at our old place (yeah, I totally never thought to clean those things before. Gross). Now we're trying to get settled in before the holiday season is upon us. I plan to blog more often, and I'm excited to get into it and have some fun.
     Now that I've gotten through why I haven't been blogging lately, I have to boast about an accomplishment of mine. My husband and I often recommend books to one another, but because we both have such long reading lists it is normally a struggle to get each other to sample the book crack we're trying to peddle. Even if the book is fantastic, sometimes it will take us a while to read it because the queue is so long (we both love to read). Well, I have been trying to get my husband to read "The Hunger Games" trilogy for a really long time. It's right up his alley: he likes a strong female lead, he likes dystopian fiction, and he likes oppressive governments (while everyone else was rooting for the Rebel Alliance in "Star Wars" and were happy when Emperor Palpatine got tossed over that railing like a rag doll, my husband was the only person who hoped the Galactic Empire would win and screamed "Judas!!!" when Darth Vader betrayed Palpatine). But, my husband is wary of "teen fiction" ever since he was forced to read "Twilight" when he worked at a book store, and he also is disinclined to read any book he sees me crying over because he doesn't want to catch "the feels" (It's sad when Rue dies, OKAY? Don't judge me!)
     Anywho, after whining and pushing this book series like a used car salesman, my husband finally read the books. And he LOVED them (he even suggested that we hold a Congressional Hunger Games during the recent government shut down). Now he's happy because he got to enjoy a great story and doesn't have to hear me whining at him anymore, and I'm happy because now I have someone to take me to see "Catching Fire" later this month. Win, win.