Barn Studio of Dance

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Slimmer this Summer Challenge ~ Big Decision

For the past few weeks, I've really been struggling with keeping focused on my goals.  I've been moody, anxious and lazy.  All of that equals ZERO motivation, ZERO discipline and ZERO self-control. 

Last week, I couldn't find the time or energy to even bother to post a weekly update.  Even now, I am seriously late in getting this posted. 

I feel as if I am seriously letting my fellow Slimmer this Summer Challengers down.  Not only am I slacking in keeping up with my own goals, I am failing my fellow challengers by not being available to show support and encouragement. 

For me, every day feels like a constant struggle to find time for myself.  Time completely to myself.  Without interruptions.  It seems as if each time I sit down to journal my food, Grace is dragging me off to do something else.  In recent weeks, she's been very grabby and demanding.  She's constantly pulling and grabbing at my hands, trying to drag me here or there.  It's frustrating.  Each interruption, causes me to lose focus. 

Feeling like a quitter and a failure is causing me to be depressed and anxious.  Which then causes me to want to give in to my old, emotional eating habits. 

On one hand, I feel that it is only fair to drop out of the challenge due to lack of motivation and will-power. 

On the other hand, Joe took a picture of Grace on Saturday and I ended up in the photo as well.  I am devastated by what I see in that photo.  (I'm sorry, I'm not comfortable sharing the photo at this time.)

But is that devastation enough to keep me going in the challenge?  I don't know. 

Right now, I want to share some numbers with you.  Numbers that will show you all my weight each week.  My actual weight.  Not the number I still wish to lose, but the actual starting weight.  The current weight and also the weeks in between.  Maybe seeing the numbers in print will help me make the decision on if I should continue with the challenge or just drop out (and try to continue to lose on my own). 

The numbers below that are highlighted in red, show gains for those weeks: 


  • June 1st:  198.6 lbs.

  • June 6th:  197.4 (official challenge start)

  • June 12th:  193.4

  • June 19th:  193

  • June 26th:  190.6

  • July 3rd:   191.4

  • July 12th:  189.6

  • July 18th:  191.4

  • July 25th:  190

Somehow, this past week, I managed to see a 1.4 lb. loss.  More than a pound!  I really cannot believe it.  I'm sure a gain will somehow find it's way to show itself week, even though I have a busy week planned.  Busy weeks are usually bad for me.  Since when I am busy I grab whatever is handy without considering if it's a good choice or not. 

Please, I need your help in deciding what I should do.  Continue (with minimal participation) or drop out completely?

As I finish this post, it's 1:00 am  on Tuesday morning and I cannot keep my eyes open any longer. 

Goodnight friends. 


Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of July 25th

One of the great things about having a well-stocked freezer and pantry is that you can create wonderful meals without having to leave the house to run to the grocery store!  Plus, it's great to know that you are well-supplied with food during those times when money is tight. 

As I mentioned before, we had some added (and unexpected) expenses this month.  Eating and cooking from the pantry and freezer helped a lot this month. 

Dinners last week consisted of a few pantry meals.  Some meals were healthier than others but all were budget-friendly! 



Monday:  Rotisserie Chicken, Rice Pilaf, green beans. 

Several years ago, my parents bought us a Ronco Rotisserie Oven.  You know, set it and forget it.  In all those years, we really only ever used it for hot dogs.  We decided this summer that we're going to use it for other things. 

I LOVED how this whole chicken turned out!  Even better than the ones from Costco! 

This was such an easy meal.  Even better, it was a complete meal from the freezer! 





Tuesday:  Leftover Night.  Pork Chops, Spaghetti Squash, Steamed Veggies. 

Come back this week to find out more about the sauce we used for the pork chops!  

Also, I'm going to show you how I cook a spaghetti squash this week!   











Wednesday:  Chili Macaroni. 

This is a hearty, one-pot meal that uses 1/2 a box of macaroni and less than a pound of ground meat along with other ingredients that are easily found in the pantry. 

I used lean ground beef, but I'm sure it would be super-tasty with ground turkey or chicken for less calories! 









Thursday:  Red Bean & Rice Soup served with Quesadillas.  (recipes for both will be coming soon!)

I must be crazy!  We were in the middle of a heat wave last week and I served soup for dinner!  But after finding the ingredients for a super-simple soup recipe in my freezer and pantry, I just couldn't resist serving it up for dinner with some tasty quesadillas on the side! 

Quesadillas are perfect served alone or along with a nice bowl of soup or chili.  They are also a great way to finish up the almost-forgotten cheese in the deli drawer of the fridge before the expiration date! 





Friday:  Leftover Night. 

Leftover night isn't always just about leftovers.  Sometimes, it ends up being a "fend for yourself" sort of night.  This is what we did on Friday. 

Grace and I went out for part of the day and had a late lunch.  By the time dinner rolled around, I was too tired and hot to deal with it. 

I reheated some pasta for Grace, popped the Chili Macaroni into the microwave for Joe and threw together a fruit salad for myself.  I also enjoyed a bowl of cereal with some fresh strawberries and skim milk. 



Saturday:  Pizza delivery. 

We had a really busy day on Saturday.  We planned to hit a favorite pizza shop on our way home from a family birthday party.  After such a hot day outside, we were too sweaty to comfortably eat in a restaurant (even if it was just a pizza buffet).  We ordered pizza delivery instead once we were home. 

I hated breaking from the pantry challenge, but I really just could not cook after being out in the overwhelming heat.  I just don't handle the heat very well. 


Sunday:  Bologna and Cheese Sandwiches, Amish Macaroni Salad. 

Grace had us up early on Sunday.  She seemed to really just want to hang out with her daddy, so I took advantage of the situation and cleaned her room from top to bottom.  When I finished her room, I picked up the toys that were strewn across the rest of the house and ran the vacuum.  I even managed to empty and reload the dishwasher.  It felt great to be able to clean without being pulled here or there by Miss Grace. 

Since I focused on cleaning, I forgot to consider dinner.  One of my favorite summer meals is a simple bologna sandwich.  So, when Joe ran to the supermarket to pick up some lettuce and milk, I asked him to pick up some hoagie rolls, bologna and American Cheese.  Since Giant has the best Amish Macaroni Salad, he picked up a container of that too. 


Even though I'm a bit late in sharing this Menu Plan Monday post, I'll still be linking up with many other bloggers over at I'm an Organizing Junkie







Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chili Macaroni ~ A Frugal, One-Pot Meal

On Friday, Debbi over at Debbi Does Dinner Healthy & Low Calorie is hosting Presto Pasta Nights.  Of course, I wanted to join in since Debbi is one of my blogging buddies!

I have a handful of pasta recipes already posted on the blog, but wanted to share something new for this particular blog party.  Since I'm still working on a pantry challenge, I needed to work with ingredients I already had on hand. 

I can almost always throw together some sort of pasta dinner using items I have in my pantry.  Today, I am sharing an old favorite that I prepare a little different each time I make it. 

I originally found the recipe for this one-pot meal in one of those little recipe books at the check-out of the grocery store.  I'm a sucker for those little booklets!  Not so much now, but when we lived in our apartment, I bought them pretty often. 

In those days, we ate a lot of spaghetti.  Since I worked at the time, spaghetti with meat sauce was a cheap and easy meal that provided leftovers for several days.  Making meal time easier on those busy work nights.  I was thrilled when I found this recipe.  A few simple changes made it easy to add variety to our almost weekly past and meat sauce night! 



Like I said, I make this a little different each time I prepare it.  Here's how I served it this week: 
 

Chili Macaroni
(serves 6)

Ingredients: 
  • 12 oz. lean ground beef
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Chipotles in Adobo, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. Chili Powder
  • 1 jar (26-28 oz.) spaghetti sauce
  • 1/4 water
  • 8 oz (1/2 box) elbow macaroni
Method:
  • Cook macaroni as directed on package.  Drain, set aside.
  • In the empty macaroni pot, cook ground beef over medium heat, drain grease. 
  • Add peppers, onions and celery to the ground beef and saute for about 10 minutes. 
  • Add garlic, spaghetti sauce, chipotles and chili powder.
  • Use 1/4 water to get the last bit of sauce from jar and pour into the pot with the other ingredients. 
  • Bring to boil.  Cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until veggies are tender. 
  • Remove from heat and add the cooked macaroni back to the pot with the meat/sauce mixture.
  • Mix until well-combined.   

I love how easy and frugal this recipe is and it can be made even easier if you use pre-cooked and frozen ground beef.  Simply add the frozen, cooked meat to the pan while the veggies are cooking. 

It's been over 4 years since I've made this meal.  We both really enjoyed this and plan to add it to our menu plans more often! 

For dessert, we enjoyed a nice hearty serving of Chocolate Covered Banana Cake.  MMMmmm! 

In addition to sharing this with Debbi and Presto Pasta Nights, I'll also be linking this post to the following blog carnivals and linky parties: 


Monday, July 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of July 18th: Continuing the Pantry Challenge



As I mentioned in last week's Menu Plan Monday, in an effort to save money, I decided to do a Pantry/Freezer Challenge.  We have a really full pantry and partially full freezer, so it really isn't too bad. 

I am allowing us to pick up things as we NEED them.  But only if we really need them.  Things like milk, bread, fresh fruit and veggies are on the list of things we can purchase during the challenge.  Of course, diapers and dog food are on that list, too.  I'll also allow one or two ingredients that are needed to finish a recipe if I can't substitute with something on hand. 

Here's what we ate for dinners last week: 

  • Monday:  Fried Spaghetti.  I didn't add this to the list last week.  Mainly because Joe mentioned that he wanted to take the spaghetti for lunch.  He called me that morning saying since he forgot it, that I should just fry it up for dinner.  Since I love fried spaghetti, I didn't have a problem with that! 

  • Tuesday:  Chipotle Turkey Chili.  I started the project of cleaning out my kitchen cabinets and drawers on Tuesday.  By the time I looked up at the clock, I was no where near being finished with my organizing AND it was too late to throw something together for dinner.  While I was looking for the bag of frozen chicken nuggets that usually saves me in situations like this,  I spotted a foil container in the back of my upstairs freezer (the foil containers full of leftovers I usually keep in the downstairs freezer).  I checked the label and was thrilled to see that we had some Chipotle Turkey Chili.  The last of bit leftover from that last batch I made in April.  I dumped the frozen block of chili into a glass baking dish and thawed it in the microwave while I made some quick-cooking rice on the stove.  The quickest, tastiest meal we've had in a while! 

  • Wednesday:  Barbecue Turkey Salad.  Using leftover turkey breast, I whipped together a delicious turkey salad.  I followed the recipe for Barbecue Chicken Salad.  I used Fiesta Corn and also added some black beans for someting a bit heartier. 


  • Thursday:  Leftover night. Gotta love leftover night!  This was a true Leftover Buffet or clean-out-the-fridge night! 

  • Friday:  Pizza.  Friday was not a good day.  I had a severe headache for most of the week and Friday was the worst.  After running errands in the morning and mid-afternoon, I had no energy or desire to cook dinner and we finished up the leftovers the night before.  I took Joe up on his offer to pick up a pizza on his way home from work. 


  • Saturday:  Santa Fe Spaghetti Squash Casserole.  This is the second time I'm making this recipe that I found over at Debbi Does Dinner Healthy and Low Calorie.  As always, I've made a few changes.  I'll post my version later today. 

  • Sunday:  Pork Chops, Spaghetti Squash, steamed veggies.  I love spaghetti squash served alongside of pork.  Since there was half of a squash left from Saturday, I dug a pack of pork chops out of the freezer and popped into the rotisserie oven with some really yummy sauce (review and giveaway to post this week).

I haven't completely worked out my menu plan for this week but I will be continuing with my Pantry/Freezer Challenge.  I've found a few other recipes that I'd like to try, but for the most part, I'll be working from the list of possible meals that I posted last week


Are you looking for more recipes or menu planning inspiration?  If so, be sure to check out Menu Plan Monday each week over at I'm an Organizing Junkie

This week, Finding Joy in My Kitchen is helping Laura out by hosting Menu Plan Monday


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday ~ Go Fly A Kite!

On a recent trip to Walmart, Joe added a Sponge Bob Kite to our shopping cart.  I laughed.  I had doubts about kite flying.  Growing up in the city, there wasn't much room to fly a kite.  In fact, in all of my 40 years, the only memory I have of any attempt of flying a kite was when my brother and I tried to make a kite out of paper shopping bags.  It didn't work.  I can't even remember how old we were at the time. 



Anyway, back to our Sponge Bob Kite.  Joe figured that Grace would really get a kick out of it, IF we managed to get it off the ground.  And if we didn't get it flying, then it wouldn't be a huge loss since it was only a dollar. 

The following weekend, we had a nice family day planned.  Starting with breakfast at our favorite breakfast buffet. 



After coming home from breakfast, I went inside to put a few things away.  When I looked out our back window I saw Joe in the middle of the yard with Sponge Bob soaring high in the sky.  Grace was loving it!!!  She had a huge smile on her face while pointing to "Bob Bob" in the sky! 



Later, while Joe was fixing our lawn mower, I decided to try my hand at kite flying!  I was tickled pink to see the kite take off into the sky!  I felt like a little kid!  I even let Grace have a turn!  




After Grace was finished with the kite, she ran over to knock on our neighbor's shed.  She loves to go over and visit, even though there's no answer each time she knocks on the door of the little house.






She likes to pretend that the little porch on the shed is a stage.  Here she is doing a little dance! 





Grace also enjoyed some time playing with some of her outdoor toys.  Her favorite is her bounce house that Joe's family bought her for her first birthday last year. 



We've also been trying to get her to ride on her motorized 4-wheeler.  She mostly just stands beside it and pushes the button to make the wheels turn! 




Here, she swiped one of Joe's wrenches and used it as a drum stick on her (empty) paint can!  Grace loves music! 





What a great day!  Not only did we discover that we all enjoyed kite flying, we also learned that Grace knew the word kite!  I had no idea!  Gotta love Sesame Street and Nick Jr! 





Since then, we've flown Sponge Bob a few more times.  Making the most out of that $1 impulse buy! 


I'll be linking this post to the following blog carnivals and linky parties: 




hugs,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Slimmer this Summer ~ update




I'm taking a break from cleaning out the cabinets in my kitchen and decided to post another update about my weightloss journey.  I don't have the time to do daily updates but would like to post more often about how I am doing.  Posting about my accomplishments or failures just once a week doesn't feel like it's working for me.  So, I'll see how posting a couple times a week works!

I didn't get around to posting an update at the beginning of week 5 due to the holiday weekend and was feeling terrible for most of the week after having an allergic reaction to some new make-up.  I did, however weigh myself last week and recorded a gain.  If I remember correctly, the gain was 1.2 lbs.  Not the end of the world, but I still felt horrible about it.  Feeling sick both physically and mentally, all I wanted to do was eat.  There were a few other emotional issues going that also contributed to my emotional eating. 

Yesterday was the start of Week 6 of the Slimmer this Summer weightloss challenge.  I decided to start fresh with a positive outlook.  I wasn't going to beat myself up over the emotional binge eating from the week before.  I also wasn't willing to step on the scale.  I wasn't sure that I could handle another gain so soon after the gain from the previous week. 

After receiving suggestions and support from my fellow Slimmer this Summer challengers (via comments on yesterday's post), I decided to go ahead and step on the scale this morning. 

Boy, was I surprised that I wasn't looking at a gain at all!  The number that I was looking at was actually a LOSS!  I really cannot believe it!  I lost 1.8.  Almost 2 lbs!!! 

Now, since I normally weigh in on Sundays, I'm not sure how accurate this loss really is.  But it felt great to see that number and did wonders for my mood today! 

I originally planned my weigh-in day as Sunday since Monday tends to be a busy day for me.  But lately, Sunday has been just as busy.  Next week, Monday will be my new weigh-in day. 

Thanks, friends for the support and for telling me to suck it up and get my fat butt on the scale!  I appreciate you all for keeping me accountable! 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Slimmer this Summer ~ Week 6

The past two weeks have been bad.  So bad that I didn't even bother to weigh in yesterday.  I just couldn't bring myself to stand on the scale and see my failure (two weeks in a row). 



I'm not going to whine or make excuses, all I am going to say is that today is a new day!  I'm going to just forget about my failures (and all of that binge eating) and focus on starting fresh! 



I'm off to a good start today with 3 glasses of water and a Clif Bar for breakfast.  Grace and I went outside to play for a bit this morning.  Mostly she played while I tried to enjoy some shade!  But I did get the kite out and fly it for a bit when it got a little too windy for her to play in her bounce house.  Have you seen those news stories about the bounce houses blowing away with kids in them?  I've gotten three warnings from relatives about it from My Gram, my Mom and my 11 year old niece! 



Even with the breeze, it was still really hot out there!  After deflating the bounce house, bringing the kite down and getting Grace and Remmy in the house with cool drinks, I'm thinking that a cool, refreshing fruit salad will be the perfect thing for lunch with a bit of yogurt! 



Good choices so far today!  Let's hope I can keep it up for the rest of the week! 

Check back to see more pictures of our kite flying fun on Wordless Wednesday! 

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of July 11th



Last week, I didn't get around to posting my menu plan for the week.  Our 4th of July plans fell through, so I thought I would have time to post, but then I had an allergic reaction to some new make up and slept most of the day away and didn't feel well for most of the week.  I've never had a bad reaction to make up in the 25+ years I've been wearing it!  I bought a new eyeliner and had the same reaction to it each of the three times I wore it.  The first two times, I thought it was a reaction caused by tree pollen.  I didn't wear that particular eyeliner for a while, so I could see if it happened again.  I decided to try it again on July 4th and will not be wearing it again.  Ever! 

With a few added expenses this month, I decided to do a pantry challenge last week.  Of course, each time I decide that we won't spend any money at the grocery store, we end up needing diapers or wipes or something we really can't do without.  Joe stops at the store for those needed items and while he's there, I can't resist texting him a list of a few more items (usually, fresh fruit or veggies).  Or, he sees something on sale that he feels we need to add to our pantry (usually, canned goods or cereal). 

Even though we bought some groceries last week, I did really well with preparing meals from our pantry or freezer:
  • One night we had hot dogs (freezer) served with steak fries (freezer) with canned hot dog sauce (pantry). 


  • Another night, I made Southwestern Potato Hash with Spam.  This was a true clean out the pantry meal!  We loved this recipe!  It made a lot too.  We ate this for dinner twice, plus I had some for lunch one day and Joe finished it for breakfast on another day! 


  • I also made a pot of Simply Tomato Sauce.  We enjoyed this so much the first time I made it, that I decided to make it again.  This time, I used my immersion blender to make the sauce a bit smoother.  I LOVED the results!  We ate this twice over the weekend and still have a bit left to serve again this week. 
We did have one day that we splurged.  On Sunday, we took Grace to a local community event at the park.  I thought we would have eaten a late lunch or early dinner at the event, but Grace was getting ornery since she was up early and also skipped her nap.  She was fine as long as we were moving, so stopping to eat a burger wasn't really an option.  We did share an order of fries while we walked around but that wasn't nearly enough to be considered dinner. 

On our way back to the truck to go home, we stopped at the grocery store and picked up a few things from the deli counter to put together for dinner.  In the prepared foods section, we found an already cooked turkey breast that just needed to be reheated and served.  We also picked up some potato salad, macaroni salad and cole slaw.  What a wonderful dinner!  I really enjoyed it!  Although this meal went against my self-imposed pantry challenge, I love the fact that I'll be able to stretch this into another meal or two! 

After dinner on Sunday, I went downstairs to check to see what meals I can put together without having to make too many extra purchases.  My goal is to finish out this month with very little grocery shopping. 

Here are some meals I have planned for the rest of the month: 



  • Barbecue Turkey Salad Wraps.  I'll be substituting turkey for the chicken in my Barbecue Chicken Salad recipe.  We'll finish up the potato salad, macaroni salad and cole slaw from Sunday night. 

  • Pork Chops, spaghetti squash, steamed veggies.  It's been a few months (or more) since we've had spaghetti squash.  My favorite way to serve spaghetti squash is as a side dish to pork chops.  Mmmmm! 



  • BLT wraps.  Bacon, Lettuce and TUNA served on a wrap.  A slice of bacon, some Crunchy Tuna Salad w/ Egg and a little bit of lettuce all rolled up in a tortilla!  Yum!  I'll be trying Turkey Bacon for the very first time after hearing my buddy Nicole rave about it!  I'll serve some steak fries and lettuce wedges on the side. 



  • Beef Stew.  It's a little warm for beef stew, but I have a lot of veggies to use up before they spoil.  Plus I found some beef cubes in the freezer that should be used very soon.  We always have the AC running during July anyway, so it won't be too bad!  I usually make this in the oven, cooking for several hours at a low temperature.  I'll be using the slow cooker this time, instead! 


  • Applesauce Chicken, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables.  I usually like to make this in the fall.  But since we'll be eating chicken several times this month, I was in the mood for something a little different.  Plus, throwing everything in the crock pot makes this a really simple meal! 



  • Chili served over rice.  I love chili and can eat it any time of the year!  I like to use both beef cubes and ground beef along with beans and vegetables.  It's been a while since I've made chili with beef.  Lately, I've been making either Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili or Chipotle Turkey Chili.  By the time we get to this meal, it will be time to stock up on some fresh vegetables. 



  • Beef/Chicken Fajitas.  Quick, easy and low-calorie meal!  Frugal too!  What a great combination!  This will actually be two different meals.  I only make both chicken and beef fajitas if we are having company.  I'll serve rice and refried beans on the side. 

  • Greek Chicken with Vegetables.  I planned on making this a few weeks ago, but didn't get around to it.  Since I have 2 whole chickens in my freezer, I'll be making this very soon! 

  • Rotisserie Chicken, macaroni and cheese, peas.  Years ago, my parents bought us a Ronco Set it and Forget It Rotisserie.  Although, we have the machine for so long, we really only use it to make hot dogs.  I think it's about time to try something new!  


  • Chicken a la King .  The perfect meal for using up leftover chicken!  Most likely, this will be made using the leftover chicken that we cook in the rotisserie.  This is another slow cooker meal.  Throw it together at lunch time and by the time we come in from playing in the yard after naptime, dinner will be ready!

  • Tomato Rice Soup with Scallops.  I found some scallops in the freezer that I forgot about.  I decided to check out allrecipes.com to find an easy recipe using scallops and rice.  When I saw this recipe, I knew right away that I wanted to add it to our men plan.  Not only does it look tasty, but I have all (or most) of the ingredients on hand! 

  • Scallops and sauteed vegetables over rice.  I'm really looking forward to this dinner!  Cooking seafood is a bit intimidating to me, but I need to cook the scallops in the freezer before they get freezer burned. 

  • Crock Pot Ravioli.  Found 2 bags of ravioli in the freezer, some spaghetti sauce in my freezer and have tons of shredded mozzarella in the cheese drawer.  This is one of my favorite go-to meals.  So easy.  So tasty.  So cheap...I mean "frugal" 

  • Spaghetti with meatballs.  Nothing fancy here.  Frozen meatballs and jarred sauce.  I'd much rather use homemade sauce and homemade meatballs, but since the challenge is to use from the pantry, I'll just doctor up some jarred sauce with some added spices and vegetables. 


  • Cheesey Spanish Rice Bake with Quesadillas.  I'll be serving this towards the end of my pantry challenge.  So, by the time we get to this meal, I'll probably need to pick up some cheese and tortillas. 

  • Leftovers.  Rather than freezing the leftovers for future meals, I plan on using them right away.  In addition to saving money, my goal for this pantry/freezer challenge is to have an empty (or mostly empty) freezer.  I need to clean and defrost it and would like to get it done before I start making soups for the fall and winter. 

Be sure to check back next week to see how well I do on the pantry/freezer challenge!  In the meantime, check out this week's Menu Plan Monday over at I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu plan ideas and inspiration! 


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Southwestern Potato Hash with SPAM

The past week, we had a few unexpected expenses pop up.  Unavoidable expenses.  Also, we've been spending more money on entertainment lately.  More than we are used to.  Because of that, I decided that July is going to be another clean out the pantry and freezer month! 

I know, you've heard me say it before.  I really need to get Joe on board with this plan since he is the one that does the grocery shopping.  I really have to get him to stick to the list and not buy anything extra.  We can't skip the store completely since we'll need milk, bread, fresh fruit and vegetables.  We'll also need diapers since Grace has no interest in being potty trained yet.  More on that in another post! 

After checking out Debbi Does Dinner...Healthy & Low Calorie (one of my favorite resources for tasty recipes), I decided to give her Southwest Potato Hash recipe a try.  I had most of the ingredients on hand and what I didn't have, I replaced with a couple of other items I thought would be great additions to the recipe. 

Since I already had a meatless meal planned for this week, I worried that Joe wouldn't be thrilled with this meal.  I didn't have any bacon or sausage to serve on the side, so I was really happy to find a can of SPAM in the back of the shelf where I keep the canned tuna fish and chicken.  I tease Joe for buying SPAM, but really, it's NOT that bad! 

With the addition of the SPAM, this is most definitely a Clean Out the Pantry sort of meal! 



Southwestern Potato Hash (with SPAM)

Ingredients:
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) whole potatoes, drained and diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 can (15 oz) Southwestern Bean Salad, drained
  • 1 small can Mexican Style Corn, drained
  • 1 can (12 oz) Hickory Smoke SPAM, diced
  • 1-2 Tbs. vegetable oil
Directions:
  • In hot oil, cook the diced potatoes and onion to desired crispness.
  • Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add SPAM to the pan, and again, cook to desired crispness. 
  • Add potatoes back to the pan with the SPAM, stir until combined.
  • Add the bean salad and corn, stir until combined. 
  • Cook until heated through.
Notes:
  • I served this for dinner last night with eggs (egg beaters for me and over-easy for Joe) and watermelon slices. 
  • We both agreed that the hash mixture would be great served on a wrap.  Either with the eggs or without. 
  • The Southwestern Bean Salad, made this recipe super easy since it's already seasoned.  I drained the broth/sauce from the salad before adding the beans to my pan, but the next time I make this, I'll be using some (if not all) of the sauce for some extra flavor! 
  • We're pretty new to the Southwestern Bean Salad.  I found it in the bean aisle of the Giant where we normally shop a couple of months ago.  Before that, we've never heard of it.  This is our second time using it and we really like it!  I provided the link, in case it's new to you, too! 
  • For a light dinner (or even lunch), reheat the leftover hash and serve on top of a big chunk of iceberg lettuce.  Use your favorite salsa instead of salad dressing!  (I just ate this for lunch and it's AMAZING!  Sorry, no pictures, I was really hungry and ate it too quickly!)
  • Don't care for SPAM?  You can easily replace it with crumbled bacon, sausage or diced ham.  Or simply leave it out to make this meal completely meatless! 
  • After dinner, Joe got up, took another spoonful of the hash and said that I should definitely make this again! 
Calorie Count: 
  • Total Calories = 2371 calories
  • 8 servings @ 296 calories each

I'll be linking this recipe to the following blog carnivals and linky parties: 






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