Best Alfredo Sauce

When I say best, I mean it. This sauce is SO delish you could drink it, you know if you were into that sort of thing, drinking sauces and all…

The recipe is enough sauce to feed approx 8 people. You can always make more or less depending on how much you and your family love it. We usually make extra and store it in fridge since we eat it on other things like too like steamed veggies or cooked cubed potatoes or talapia, etc. We mainly serve this with fettuccine or egg noodles. Want to try it on angel hair pasta but haven’t yet. We also add shredded chicken or tiny shrimp to our bowl as well along with some steamed veggies and garlic bread on the side. Makes a great meal!

Best Alfredo Sauce

1/4 cup butter
1/2 block of cream cheese
1 quart of heavy whipping cream (NO not the sweetened cream!) (You can use just regular whipping cream but the whisk process will take longer so we prefer heavy)
2 cloves or 2 tbsp garlic, crushed (add more of less depending on how garlic-y you like it)
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (if desired)
Salt & Pepper (we like lots of pepper in ours)

Note: I have used “lowfat” versions of all ingredients and it has come out just as yummy, maybe a lil thinner but still good ๐Ÿ™‚

Melt your butter, mix in garlic, then add the cream cheese. Stir till melted together. Add your heavy whipping cream, parsley if desired (you can at this step or top your finished dish with it), salt and pepper and begin whisking. This is a tedious process, not going to lie. It takes a good 20-30 minutes to whisk this stuff to thicken it. If you want a “thinner” sauce then of course you can whisk for a few and stop but we like a thicker sauce so we whisk, at times we take turns whisking (especially if we are making more for extra people) Turn off heat and add the Parmesan, you can add all 2 cups or you can add hlaf and use the other half to top your dish, the choice is yours. Allow to cool a bit as this will help it thicken as well. Serve and enjoy! You really don’t need a lot of sauce on your pasta or dish. A little sauce goes a long way!

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P.S. I use a silicone whisk so I don’t scratch the crap outta my good pans, just an FYI ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is 1 that I love and for a great price!

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

 

 

Casear Salad Recipe

My kids love to play this what if game, do yours!? “Mom what if you had to eat 1 meal for a month, what would you eat?” Hmmm my answer, caesar salad. Why? It is SO good! I love it, I order it anytime I have to option at a restaurant and occasionally at Costco too (when the tug to buy a slice of their pizza or a polish dog doesn’t win) (if you love caesar salad and have a Costco membership you gotta try theirs!)

Then 1 day I decided to make it at home as we don’t go out to eat nearly enough to satisfy my cravings for it. So like many of you I started internet searching for recipes on how to make it… Umm ANCHOVY PASTE & RAW EGG! What in heck have I been eating, ewwww. Now some of you may like it and I mean no disrespect towards you at all but personally I would rather not consume it. Am I the only person that had no idea caesar salad dressing was made with anchovy paste & raw egg!?

My search for a good recipe for the dressing lead to a good anchovy paste substitute so I can make my own version without opening a jar or can or however that stuff comes packaged. And what I found was that mayo was a great alternate so I went with it. Trusty ole Costco real mayo ๐Ÿ™‚ Now that I can do! And so my recipe for amazing caesar salad dressing was born and now it is hard to eat it when I am out for 2 reasons, the thought of anchovy paste and the 1 I make is sooo good that I have spoiled myself! Now I am here to share it with all you!

Heads up, I suck at measurements for this, I just throw it all together, mix and add what I need to to make it exactly how we all love it so i will do my best to give you proper measurements but I suggest you play with it and create it the way you and your family like it.

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Caesar Salad List

Romaine lettuce/hearts
Fresh grated parmesan cheese
Croutons
Small serving of shredded chicken breast or shrimp if desired

Dressing Ingredients

1/2-1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 c regular mayonnaise
1/4 c olive oil (I have used canola oil before when I don’t have olive on hand)

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tsp spicy brown or Dijon mustard
1/2-1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground pepper

ย Directions

Add all ingredients into bowl and whisk well. If it is too thick you can add more Worcestershire sauce and/or oil. If it is too thin then you can add more mayo. Play with it and taste it till it is exactly how you like it. Some people prefer to add fresh grated Parmesan to it but I make a batch and keep it in the fridge so I wait and add it to the salad as I prepare it. Pour desired amount over salad. I am going to venture a guess and say this makes about enough for 4-6 servings, but don’t hold me to that!

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I buy the bags of romaine lettuce/hearts at Costco, it is 4 hearts for less than $4! I have bought them at other stores too and they are always very affordable. I wash them and chop them and store the chopped lettuce in gallon size bags to make it easier to get to with a busy schedule. Grab out a bag, throw some in a bowl, throw some Parmesan and croutons on and a lil dressing and lunch, snack or dinner is served. I keep small bags of seasoned shredded chicken breast in the freezer too in case we want to quickly add some protein to a salad. Tiny salad shrimp works well with this too!

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Enjoy!

You know what else is so awesome!? When you are done chopping the romaine hearts you can set them in soil and grow more! LOVE this about this veggie! Just an FYI ๐Ÿ™‚

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Why yes I have been known to eat a huge bowl of this stuff for a meal! Don’t judge me hehe

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P.S. This recipe is healthy and yummy! If you try it please let me know if you like it! If you have a yummy recipe you want to share please do so ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S.S. I LOVE this holder!

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

A large family-How to keep it all together!

If you are like me, trying to keep track of everything without post its, scrap paper taped everywhere, an occasional pen art reminder on the back of your hand, dry erase boards full, desire for a chalk board refrigerator or wall, an overloaded smartphone calendar etc is IMPOSSIBLE! And with all those things I still miss so much, why? NO organization to the madness!!

The dreaded call from the dentist office stating that this is the 2nd time we missed an appointment and next time we will be charged and/or placed on a “walk in and wait basis” and the next time you see the smiling receptionist there she quickly loses her smile and stares at you with the “how dare you miss appointment and don’t call in so we can see someone who takes their teeth care more serious” look… Ya enough is enough! I like having friends and chatting it up with all office staff everywhere I go! It is time to fix this!

My 1st thought, create my own family calendar that has more than the usual “Calender fit for the whole family” (whose family!? NOT mine!) LIE! 1 that will fit all our 6 of us and has room for other family members that I need to remember stuff for, just because they have grown up and moved out doesn’t mean there isn’t any special dates or appointments that I need to know for them from time to time! They just moved they didn’t fall of the face of the Earth!

I get it, I need a unique calendar and so I shall make my own. Buuttt until then, which could very well be by the time my own kids need it for their families or maybe their families after that, or may always remain an idea or thought, I will have to use 1 that works best for us. 1 that can keep up with this crazy thing we call life in this house. I have searched and have found very few that I like. I get it, most families don’t have 6+ kids, but I do so I need what works for us!

I found this Amy Knapp’s Big Grid Family Wall Calendar! It is AWESOME! It is filled with monthly projects, because yes I space so much stuff and need reminders like these, it has space for dinner menus (um heck to the YES!), it has plenty of space for all my crazy crew and all their “stuff”, it has space for mom too (yes occasionally I take time to visit the doc or dentist, I know shocking!), it has space for notes and reminders (thank goodness!), the quotes on each page are an added bonus cause sometimes we need like things like positive sayings to keep us on track, and so on! I am SO digging this Amy Knapp chick, she has a clue about life chaos and I like people like that!

So if you are a nut job like myself and have a large family whether it is your own kids, grand-kids, nieces, nephews, a retirement home, a pet hotel, a zoo, etc grab yourself 1 of these calendars and organize your life this year! Do it for your sanity (and for your children’s safety!) and for your reputation at the dentists office!

 

P.S. Happy Organizing! If you have any tips or calendars or suggestions please share them with us!

Mama Bear Plus 6

Feeding a Large Family Tips

I often get asked about meals, cooking, shopping for a big family.

“How do you do it?”

“I bet that costs a fortune!”

“Is it hard to cook for so many?”

“Do you plan out your meals?”

“Will you share your recipes?”

And the list goes on…

I am not an extreme coupon-er, although I certainly wish I was! A certain level of jealously hits me when I see all these people saving butt loads of money at the store with coupons and here I am handing the check out person 3-8 coupons saving a few bucks. I have always wanted to do it but can never quite figure it out, the only coupons I ever get are for toothpaste, deodorant, all the name brand laundry stuff etc. And it is for all the stuff I don’t use so am I missing something!? Am I not looking in the right place for the right coupons!? I prefer store brand stuff on most things I but (except for fabric softener and Mac and Cheese, no just no!) And I feel I am saving a good amount of money by doing that so this my friends is how I keep the coupon jealousy down to a minimum! I do however follow the Krazy Coupon Lady’s blog and do follow some of her amazing tips and use some of her coupons etc! http://thekrazycouponlady.com/

As for our family I will share with you what works for us and what we also plan to try to see if it is a fit.

Ever heard of a fruit/veggie co-op? We have used several and really enjoy the produce and the savings! Now these may or may not be located in your city so a quick Google search should let you know. We have used Market on the Move http://the3000club.org/ and they always have an abundance of produce! Not sure if this is only located in AZ but you can always check. 1 we really love and have used for years is Bountiful Baskets! They are in many cities so chances are good you will find 1 near you, if not contact them and start 1! http://bountifulbaskets.org/. They have more than just produce that you can purchase as well, like honey, breads, combo packs etc all at a discount price! Check them out!

Menu/Meal Planning We plan out all our meals, recipes, etc and then make a list based on that for at least 2 weeks and then shop for those items. I use the sales ads to plan the meals and talk about saving time, money & headaches! It saves me from having to go to the grocery store often (which is great for me considering we live 20 min from any major grocery stores) and cooking is so much more fun when you have all you need ahead of time! Plus the kids like knowing what we are having for dinner each night of the week. http://mamabearplus6.com/meal-planning-or-go-with-the-flow/

Quality Discount Meats. We also have used a discount place for meats, chicken, fish, produce, and the best bacon, called Zaycon! https://www.zayconfoods.com/. This is where you buy meats by the case. You can buy the case if you can afford it or go in with another family member of friend to stock up. I have heard there are other places like Zaycon but I have yet to find them so if you know of any please share! Also too, we are considering buy a whole cow and/or pig and spiting it up between our family and my daughter and her hubbys households and may even add a friend on with us. It is a great way to stock the freezer and splitting the cost to make it affordable for everyone. And it supports local farmers, win win!

Grow your own! A GREAT way to feed the fam and eat healthy and what a wonderful experience it is! Seeds are cheap and with effort and love you can have a hearty garden to put food on the table! Our very 1st real garden experience this last summer and I am in LOVE with it! Looking forward to growing it bigger and better every year!

Find your local growers! We spent many days in Greenbluff, which is a local farming area that grows ALL sorts of produce! We would go and pick pounds of fruits/veggies for a great price and so so yummy too! Find a local grower in your area!

Sales! If I groceries on a good sale, I stock up! Meats, boxed sides, household goods etc. Check your store ads weekly so you know what is coming up on sale and can prepare to buy those items and stock up on them. If it is produce that is on sale, buy it, chop it, freeze it, you will be so glad you did! The stuff you cant freeze, create a weekly menu, meals and snacks based on those items that you bought while they were cheaper.

Buy bulk when it makes sense. I say this because it is not always cheaper to buy bulk! On some things yes, but not on everything. I LOVE Costco and I have certain things I will only buy there but there are some items that I can get cheaper like spaghetti sauce hahaha! Always check prices and see if it is a great deal. I love how my teens now always check labels and sue their math skills to see what is cheaper per unit etc. A few seconds of time to do this can add up a great deal of savings over time!

Bulk meals. Something we are new too and just beginning to try is bulk meals. We will be shopping with our family along with my oldest daughter and her hubby to buy bulk, make numerous ready to cook crock pot freezer meals to stock both of our freezers for the winters. I am excited to start this and will surely blog about how it goes. We will include recipes, shopping lists and how the overall experience goes. Stay tuned ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. These are just a few ways that we shop, cook etc and save money! What tips/tricks help you save money!? What would you add to this list!?

 


Mama Bear Plus 6

Meal planning or go with the flow?

A common question I get asked often is: How does your family plan your meals!?

Are you the family that shops for what you are cooking the same day and make everyday or other day trips to grocery store?

Are you the family that shops 1 time a month and stock piles everything?

Or do you shop a few times a month for your meals?

Do you even cook!? Or is it can/cold stuff/boxed/microwaved (is microwaved mean cooked!?) every night for dinner?

I have met families that do not cook and eat out pretty much everyday aside from TV dinners. Hey if that’s what works for you!

I am always curious to know how others do it and what works for them.

With my big family I feel that some type of routine/schedule/plan is a MUST! For the mind and bank account!

We work with a 2 week meal plan. It goes a little something like this, on every other Sunday we get out a notepad I start a list of things we need for breakfasts, lunches snacks, household, etc. We have a list on the fridge and when we are out of something it gets written down on the list, whether it be toilet paper or nail polish remover (which we use SO much of in our house!) toothpaste, bread, or if there is just something the kids saw or thought about that they want or would like to try. We pick many of our ideas from Pinterest. We actually took a 1ย  month Pinterest meal challenge and out of everything we cooked from there we only had 1 fail! Each kiddo gets to choose what they want for dinner(s). They LOVE being able to have a say so and picking foods they enjoy and/or can help prepare. Makes them feel important and that makes me smile ๐Ÿ™‚ย  The dinners are written on the right side of the paper. We list 10-14 of them and 2 special desserts (1 for each week). Then I take each dinner and write down what we need to buy for it and gather any coupons I may have that I need for this store trip. I make a Costco list and a grocery store list.

We then take this awesome meal planner that my oldest daughter made me and put our meals up for the 1st week. It makes it so easy to know what to thaw out, soak, prepare, etc. for that nights and the next nights dinner,ย  talk about making life simpler in little ways like this! I try to prepare meats and sides that can be used for more than 1 meal, for example, boiling and shredding chicken breast for tacos 1 night and chicken noodle soup a few nights later. Or home made re-fried beans for a side for dinner 1 night and bean and cheese burritos next night or night after. Makes cooking easier and groceries stretch out longer. Who doesn’t love that!?

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This is what works for our family! Does it mean that I don’t ever have that annoying “in the middle of the week missing 1 item for the dinner I already started making” store trip!? Of course not, it happens occasionally but for the most part groceries and feeding the cubs is not something that gives me a headache anymore with our method and that I am SO grateful for!

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P.S. What works for you and your family!? Please share any tips or ideas that you may have! We all learn from each other and sharing is caring ๐Ÿ™‚

Mama Bear Plus 6