Back to School Sweets and Treats

Back to School Menu

Ready or not…It’s back to school time!

The rush is on from the time your toes hit the floor in the morning. Why waste the precious moments you do have available, stressing over what to cook for the kids?

The delicious recipes below are perfect for any back to school meal…breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks AND dessert!

Breakfast

Topped with a vanilla – orange glaze and filled with buttery cinnamon, these Old-Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla-Orange Glaze take you right back to Grandma’s kitchen with just one bite.

Maple-Glazed Cinnamon Chip & Golden Raisin Scones.
Oh. My. Lord. These things are heavenly. I really, truly mean that.

 

Lunch

chicken melt
 

Surprise the kids with these amazing Chicken Melts for lunch, snack or anytime!

IMG_0088

Delight the kids at lunchtime with these adorably delicious, pop in your mouth Pizza Muffins.

After-School Snacks

Glazed Sugar Cookies

These little circles of goodness are perfect for any occasion. Decorate these Glazed Sugar Cookies with your favorite colors or let the hues of the season inspire you instead.

Treat the kids to some fall goodness with Homemade Dried Apple Slices instead of sugar-laden fruit snacks.

Drinks

Cranberry Pomegranate Greenade

Boost your otherwise boring iced tea with the delicious flavors in this Cranberry-Pomegranate Greenade.

Chocolate Marshmallow Milkshake

Put yourself on top of the “Best Mom Ever” list for this school year, with these decadent Chocolate Marshmallow Milkshakes.

And last but, certainly not least….

Dessert

Just because the summer is over, doesn’t mean the S’mores have to end!

S'mores Brownies

S’mores Brownies

Peanut Butter S'mores Pizza

Peanut Butter S’mores Pizza

More…
S’mores Cookie Bars
S’mores Snack Mix

Have an amazing school year!

Pepper-Pepperoni & Cheese Stromboli

Pepper-Pepperoni Stromboli

Hungry?

I know I was, as I prepared this delectable Pepper-Pepperoni & Cheese Stromboli.

I’ll be (read: trying to) adding at least 1 or 2 new dishes to our weekly repertoire…again. Throughout the summer, I was lazy. Choosing only meals that we’ve already prepared became the game plan. It was simple and only took a couple of minutes to plan the menu for each week. Seemed like a good idea at the time. :)

But, this morning, as I read the temperature of 42 degrees on my outside thermometer (yet again in August!!!), I realized that fall has arrived, here in the Catskills. And it looks like she’s here to stay. So, it’s time for some oven lovin’ and warm your soul food.

Pepper-Pepperoni & Cheese Stromboli is one of the “new” meals I’ve recently added to our menu. We’ve made Stromboli in the past. Lots of times, in fact. Just not this flavor.

But, as for me…this is my new favorite.

The mixture of spicy pepperoncini peppers and pepperoni, along with the sweetness of pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese is a winning combination, sure to tantalize anyone’s taste buds.

The very best part about this recipe is…there are only 5 ingredients and it takes just 30 minutes to make…from start to finish.

So, what are you waiting for?

Save yourself some time and money.

Make Stromboli for your family dinner tonight.

Here’s the recipe -

Pepper-Pepperoni & Cheese Stromboli

1 pizza dough
1/4 cup pizza sauce
1/2 mozzarella cheese, shredded
12 pepperoni slices
2 tablespoons pepperoncini pepper slices

Preheat oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll the pizza dough, into a rectangle, about 14 inches long and 6 inches high, on a lightly floured surface.

Spread pizza sauce down the center of the rectangle. Do not get sauce near the edge of the dough or it will leak out while baking.

Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the sauce.

Lay pepperoni over the cheese in single row of 12 slices.

Sprinkle sliced pepperoncini over the pepperoni.

Fold the sides, of the dough rectangle, over. Then, fold the top down over the ingredients and gently roll toward yourself to cover the bottom of the dough.

Lay the Stromboli on the center of a greased baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove and the allow the Stromboli to cool before slicing.

Pepper-Pepperoni Stromboli 2

Pepper-Pepperoni & Cheese Stromboli
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pizza dough
  2. 1/4 cup pizza sauce
  3. 1/2 mozzarella cheese, shredded
  4. 12 pepperoni slices
  5. 2 tablespoons pepperoncini pepper slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roll the pizza dough, into a rectangle, about 14 inches long and 6 inches high, on a lightly floured surface.
  3. Spread pizza sauce down the center of the rectangle. Do not get sauce near the edge of the dough or it will leak out while baking.
  4. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the sauce.
  5. Lay pepperoni over the cheese in single row of 12 slices.
  6. Sprinkle sliced pepperoncini over the pepperoni.
  7. Fold the sides, of the dough rectangle, over. Then, fold the top down over the ingredients and gently roll toward yourself to cover the bottom of the dough.
  8. Lay the Stromboli on the center of a greased baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Remove and the allow the Stromboli to cool before slicing.
Mom's Menu Planning http://momsmenuplanning.com/

Canning Peaches for Year Round Sweetness

Canned Peaches 1

Do you love the idea of having homemade canned peaches in your pantry? Or do you loathe the thought of actually canning the fruit?

Canning peaches doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it’s rather easy when you think about it…It’s certainly a lot easier for us than it was for our ancestors! We don’t even have to pick the peaches (unless of course, you want to pick your own fruit). I just ran out to the grocery store and bought them. Sooo much easier!

Our local store had peaches on sale for $0.99/lb. early this week, so I just had to go pick some up. I needed 12 lbs. for the canning recipe I was using and I also picked up an additional 5 lbs. to make Peach Butter (recipe coming). The cost was $16.83 for the peaches. Add in the additional cost of $1.20 for 3 cups of sugar (to complete the recipe) and the total cost to can your own peaches is just $18.03.

All said and done, I ended up with 9 pint jars of peaches in syrup and 3 pints of peach butter…for a total cost of $1.50 each.

Not bad…not bad, at all :)

Here’s the recipe -

Canned Peaches 2

Peel the peaches…all of them. This is probably the worst job of all.

Canned Peaches 3

Actually, I was wrong. Peeling the peaches isn’t the worst job. Pitting the peaches wins by a landslide. I ended up giving up on pulling the pit out perfectly and just started hacking the fruit off the sides.

Canned Peaches 4

Which seemed to work out, just fine. After I hacked the fruit off the sides, I just sliced them into neat little slices.

Canned Peaches 5

Prepare the sugar syrup. Heat until boiling.

I used a medium syrup which equals 3 cups sugar to 6 cups water.

Canned Peaches 6

Throw a layer of peaches into the boiling syrup. Let them cook for 1 minute.

Canned Peaches 7

Prepare your lids. Place a small pot of water on the stove to simmer. Add the lids and allow them to simmer on low, while you continue preparing the peaches.

Canned Peaches 8

Fill your water bath canner with water and begin heating on medium temperature.

Canned Peaches 9

After the peaches have cooked for 1 minute, use a slotted spoon to pack the jars with fruit. Use a ladle to fill the jars with sugar syrup, leaving 1/2″ of head space in the jar. Wipe the edges of the jar, with a damp rag or paper towel, to remove any spilled residue.

Canned Peaches 10

Place lids on the jars and screw on bands, finger-tight.

Canned Peaches 11

Place the jars in the canner, making sure the lids are just covered with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, turn the timer on for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, turn off the heat. Allow the canner to cool for 5 minutes. Using a jar grabber, gently, pull your canned peaches out of the hot water and set on the counter. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow them to sit, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours.

** If you have jars with unsealed lids, simply stick them in the refrigerator and use them up within a couple of weeks.

That’s it! Now you can have the delicious sweetness of Georgia peaches year-round…even if you live in Alaska (or in my case, New York).

Here’s the printable -

Canned Peaches
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 12 lbs fresh peaches
  2. 3 cups sugar
  3. 6 cups water
Instructions
  1. Peel and sliced the peaches.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a large pot. Heat to boiling on medium temperature.
  3. Add peaches to the sugar syrup, one layer at a time. Cook for 1 minute per layer.
  4. Prepare lids in simmering water.
  5. Fill hot-water bath canner with water and heat on medium temperature.
  6. Pack peaches into hot jars. Clean rim of jars with a damp cloth to remove residue.
  7. Cover jars with lids and screw on bands.
  8. Place jars into the water bath and cover. Bring to a boil. Process jars for 20 minutes. Once the water starts to boil, begin timing the process.
  9. When the processing time is complete, turn the heat off and allow the jars to sit for 5 minutes to cool.
  10. Use a jar grabber to pull the jars from the hot water. Set the jars on the counter, cover with a kitchen towel and allow them to sit for 12-24 hours.
Notes
  1. ** If you have jars with unsealed lids, simply stick them in the refrigerator and use them up within a couple of weeks.
Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Mom's Menu Planning http://momsmenuplanning.com/

Resources to learn more about canning peaches:

Pick Your Own: How to Can Your Own Homemade Peaches
National Center for Home Food Preservation: Selecting, Preparing and Canning Fruit

Taking Inventory and Boycotting Grocery Shopping

86/365 Groceries

Have you paid attention to the cost of your groceries lately?

Package sizes are shrinking and prices are going up at lightening speed. It’s scary to think that if you make $10.00 an hour at your job, you’ll need to work roughly 60 hours a month just to cover your grocery bill!

Let’s just take a look at your standard weekly staples -

Bread (1 loaf) – $3.49
Milk (1 gallon) – $3.89
Eggs (1 dozen) – $3.49
Butter (1 lb.) – $3.99
Total Price – $14.86
(This list is based on recent retail prices in Upstate NY – 2013)

Going back to the $10.00/hr. job for a second…you would have to work almost an hour and a half just to buy those 4 items…sad, isn’t it?

I’ve had enough of the cost. Groceries are eating up my food budget every month to the point that, I feel guilty for taking the kids out to lunch…we might need that money for milk or bread or eggs before the month is out, right?

After going grocery shopping the other day and once again blowing my grocery budget, I decided that enough is enough. It’s getting out of control.  I have to do something to bring down the cost of our food each month. I’ve never spent so much on regular groceries and I use coupons and shop the sales every single week.

After whining to my husband about the increased cost, I realized the only person that could change what we spend on groceries, is me. My husband is wonderful at many things, but budgeting for groceries…yea, not one of them. And he doesn’t often do the shopping, anyway. I do.

So, I made a plan of attack.

I’m taking inventory and boycotting grocery shopping for a month…with one exception –

I have allotted $20.00 per week to purchase any staples (ex. milk, bread, eggs) or emergency items (ex. sunscreen, bug repellant, etc.) we might need.

Here’s my plan -

Goal # 1 – Take inventory of all the food we currently have in the house.

Be sure to write down every single item you have including small packets like dry Italian dressing mix or onion soup mix and write down how many you have of each.

I delegated part of this job to my oldest daughter. (Great “Practical Arts” lesson for homeschooling :)) She took inventory of the food in the pantry and the refrigerator/freezer in the kitchen, while I took note of what was in the larger freezer and stockpile shelves in the basement.

Goal # 2 – Choose 30 recipes based on your inventory.

Be sure to choose recipes for each meal of the day (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and include snacks, drinks and desserts that are not already prepared.

Goal # 3 – Create a menu plan for 30 days.

Organize your menu based on your schedule. Choose easy recipes for the days when you are busy and save the more complicated meals for when you have extra time.

Goal # 4 – Start a cash envelope for budgeting groceries.

Use a regular envelope and write your information on the front or choose an envelope designed for budgeting. Add your allotted budget to the money envelope each week, over the next 4 weeks.

Printable Cash Envelope with Transaction Chart – Available in the shop for $4.00.

I created this gorgeous envelope to help myself get started. It includes space to write in the budget category (in this case groceries), the envelope start date and the beginning balance at the top. Plus, a simple chart to record each transaction as money is added or subtracted from the envelope.

Learn more about envelope budgeting from Dave Ramsey here.

Goal # 5 – Repeat steps 1 – 5 every month.

Take inventory of the food you have leftover from last month. Select recipes and create a new menu including your leftover food. Write a new grocery list with only the items you need to complete your new menu.

Goal # 6 – Shop for the items on your grocery list, using only what is budgeted in the cash envelope.

Goal # 7 – Repeat Step 4 every month.

This isn’t going to be an easy task for me. I’m a sale shopper and I love to stock up when things are at their lowest price. But, the cost is getting to be too much and there are just too many other things we’d love to do with our money.

I’m making a vow, right now, to complete these goals and to do it with money leftover in the envelope each month…even if it’s pennies.

I’ll keep you posted. :)

How are you handling the increased cost of groceries?

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Lasagna

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Lasagna 2

It’s not often that I play around with my standard Lasagna recipe. Why mess with a great thing? However, on the rare occasion when I need to have Lasagna and I don’t have the proper ingredients…I’ll improvise. Which is exactly what happened with this Roasted Garlic Parmesan Lasagna…

I desperately wanted Lasagna for dinner, but I was lacking ricotta cheese. So, I got it in my head that I would make it the old-fashioned way with a white sauce. I’ve never made it that way and well, I still haven’t…

When I got to the pantry to pull out the ingredients, I noticed I had a jar of Ragu Roasted Garlic Parmesan Sauce and suddenly, that little monster in the back of my head started jumping up and down screaming – “Think of all the time it will save!”

So, i went with it…

And, I’m glad I did.

After ending up with just 4 ingredients and a half hour of cooking time, this recipe was well worth the improvisation! It was awesome…absolutely, awesome. Very reminiscent of a regular Lasagna, with an extra hint of creamy garlic and Parmesan.

Plus, the cost of making Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Lasagna vs. Standard Lasagna –

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Lasagna

  • 12 lasagna noodles – $1.99
  • 4 cups marinara sauce with ground beef (use recipe here)- $4.60
  • 1 jar Ragu Roasted Garlic Parmesan Sauce – $1.99
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated – $1.99

Total: $10.57 (12 servings) or $0.88 per serving

Lasagna

  • 1 pound lasagna noodles – $1.99
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes – $2.00
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (1 pkg.) – $0.60
  • 1/2 pound ground beef – $2.00
  • 1 pint ricotta cheese – $2.99
  • 8 ounce package mozzarella cheese, shredded – $2.99

Total: $12.57 (12 servings) or $1.04 per serving

That’s a difference of $2.00 per meal or $0.16 per serving!

Just the savings alone, makes this recipe worth holding on to, plus the fact that I can have Lasagna – any time I want it – with just 4 ingredients to keep on hand…

Oh, yes…

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Lasagna just became a new favorite in our house!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here’s the recipe -

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Lasagna

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Lasagna

  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 4 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 jar Ragu Roasted Garlic Parmesan Sauce
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare lasagna noodles as directed on the packaging. Drain.

Drizzle marinara sauce, about 1/4 cup, in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish.

Lay 3 to 4 lasagna noodles across the bottom of the pan.

Drizzle another 1/4 cup marinara sauce over the noodles.

Drizzle 1/4 cup Ragu Roasted Garlic Parmesan sauce over the marinara sauce.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese over sauces.

Top with 4 additional lasagna noodles.

Repeat layers, 3 more times.

Drizzle the top with any additional sauces and Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve hot with Homemade Garlic Bread.

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Lasagna
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 12 lasagna noodles
  2. 4 cups marinara sauce
  3. 1 jar Ragu Roasted Garlic Parmesan Sauce
  4. 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare lasagna noodles as directed on the packaging. Drain.
  3. Drizzle marinara sauce, about 1/4 cup, in the bottom of a 9" x 13" casserole dish.
  4. Lay 3 to 4 lasagna noodles across the bottom of the pan.
  5. Drizzle another 1/4 cup marinara sauce over the noodles.
  6. Drizzle 1/4 cup Ragu Roasted Garlic Parmesan sauce over the marinara sauce.
  7. Sprinkle 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese over sauces.
  8. Top with 4 additional lasagna noodles.
  9. Repeat layers, 3 more times.
  10. Drizzle the top with any additional sauces and Parmesan cheese.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes.
  12. Serve hot with Homemade Garlic Bread.
Mom's Menu Planning http://momsmenuplanning.com/