What’s New For Dinner: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Pita Chips

Welcome to my new series called “What’s New For Dinner?” This is going to be a weekly posting sharing a new recipe that I have tried throughout the week. This is my way of keeping our meals from getting boring and attempting to try new foods. I’m doing this fun challenge with my friend, Jenn from Super Jenn. So check her site for what she’s tried this week, too!

The whole reason for me wanting to start this series was to push me to make the things I’ve been wanting to make for awhile. Awhile back, I ordered some Tahini and Organic Garbanzo Beans on Amazon when I found a good deal on them. I didn’t realize how long it had been until I went to create the links and saw it say, “Jaycie, you ordered these on September 20, 2010.” Wow. Talk about procrastination, right? This is just one of the many things I’ve bought last year with hopes of trying to create them. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has done this. (and if so, please lie and tell me I’m not alone….)

The original recipe I found was for a Roasted Red Pepper Hummus but when I was at the store and saw the price of them right now, I cringed and debated making a plain hummus. I caved and bought one and I’m glad I did. Not only did the red pepper add a nice additional flavoring but it gave the hummus this amazingly beautiful red/orange coloring, making the dish all the more appealing. So, I did follow the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus recipe this week but first, I had to find out How to Roast a Red Pepper. These instructions were really great and actually fairly easy to do. While it was roasting, I was putting together other ingredients so it didn’t add much time to the process. The skin peeled off so easily and I’ve now found something to add to our sandwiches and such during the week. (when peppers are in season!)

I also wanted to try my hand at making my own Homemade Pita Chips. These are just made from store-bought Pita Pockets so they are only slightly homemade. Here’s how everything looked mid-stream:


Chips coated and ready to bake. This was just batch #1 and I only used half the pockets, overall.


This is my roasted red pepper split up. I am still shocked how easily the skin peeled off and how easily the seeds and stem came off, too.


This is the hummus right before I blended in the red peppers and basil.


And this is our delicious little afternoon snack! The kids got a kick out of how I displayed it on the plate. The side bowl is what I saved for later in the week.

As I mentioned, I only used half of the pita pockets. The other half, I kept to make chicken pizza pockets for supper. I just threw in some leftover chicken from earlier in the week, along with some black olives, pepperoni, tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. I baked them at 400 degrees just until they were heated and the cheese melted. Not much more than 5 minutes. I added some fruit for a side dish and we were all set!

Verdict:
I thought that the hummus might have had a little bit too much Tahini in it. On my next batch, I’ll think I’ll dial it back just a touch. I also liked my pita chips super crispy. So I flipped them over on the other side for just an extra minute and I liked how they turned out. My kids loved this little snack and I thought it tasted a lot fresher than the store bought stuff, which I loved.If you buy garbanzo beans with no salt added like I did, you may have to add a little salt for flavoring later. But I’d wait until everything’s blended in your food processor just to be sure you need it.

This was my “What’s New for Dinner” for this week. Did any of you attempt to make anything new this week? If so, how did it turn out? Don’t forget to check out Jenn’s adventure this week. She made some Slow Cooker Southwestern Chicken Chili this week for her family.

What’s New For Dinner?: Breaded Beef and Roasted Vegetables

Welcome to my new series called “What’s New For Dinner?” This is going to be a weekly posting sharing a new recipe that I have tried throughout the week. This is my way of keeping our meals from getting boring and attempting to try new foods. I’m doing this fun challenge with my friend, Jenn from Super Jenn. So check her site for what she’s tried this week, too!

The recipe I tried this week wasn’t the one I originally had planned. I found my original one to be a little more involved, like something I should try to make on a weekend when my hubby could watch the kids. But I’m really happy that it worked out this way as I stumbled onto a great recipe.

I had done a search on allrecipes.com for anything I could make using a Beef Rump Roast. Isn’t it great that you can search by ingredients there? I then scrolled through them to find one I could make with what I had on hand, and in the end, deciding on the recipe for Breaded Beef.

This was a fairly simple recipe to make. The kids got a kick out of the big mound of bread crumb mixture and were content to watch me dip the beef into the egg mixture and then the crumbs. If it wasn’t raw meat, I would have let them help.

Since the recipe is simple, I’ll let you refer to allrecipes.com for it. But here are the basic steps:

1) Cut the meat into 1/8″ pieces. (no picture on this one)

2) Whip up the egg and water mixture.

3) Mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and salt.

4) Dip the meat into the egg mixture and then the bread crumb mixture and then place onto a foil lined cookie sheet.

5) Fry up the breaded beef in some hot oil. Note: Always use caution when working with hot oils. You’ll fry it up a few minutes on one side and then the other, until fully cooked.

I then needed a side dish. I had a lot of root vegetables left over from my CSA so I decided to make a batch of Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables, but I only used the vegetables that I had on hand. If you’ve never tried Celeriac, it’s an interesting root vegetable that tastes a lot like celery. It was a new one I tried this fall.

I whipped up a little salad from leftover taco filling we had from the night before and topped it with some star and flower shaped croutons the kids had made. (I’ll share later how to make those!) Here’s what our end meal looked like:

The final verdict: Two thumbs up! I turned my head for a few minutes to help the kids with their plates and my hubby had gobbled down most of his. It was decided that this must be worked into our monthly meal plan!

And this is the “What’s New For Dinner?” for us this week. Did any of you try anything new, too?

2010 Accomplishments and 2011 Goals

Each year, I try to take a little time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished and to set new goals for the following year. This keeps me always moving forward trying to grow as a person and to keep life a little interesting by adding some welcomed change.

In 2010, I achieved a major goal that I had set for myself of running a 5K. It was right before the holiday season hit so I didn’t even get to share it with you. I didn’t get to train due to sickness, and only squeezed in one mile run beforehand and yet I finished the race! It was truly a  fun experience to share with my hubby and I’m hoping those of you with this goal may try to reach it next year.

I set a goal of leading a healthier life and switched my family over to as many Organic foods as possible, buying shares of a cow, pig and veggies/eggs from local farmers. I also finally got that garden I’ve always wanted started and have set a goal for myself to double its size next year!

I forced myself to allow a little “me-time” each month to squeeze in one book–and by sharing those with you, I found some new leads on some good books to read in the future. (Thank you!)

This was the biggest year of donations to the needy for me. I love being able to use my couponing and deal-finding skills to be able to buy toiletries, food and toys for the needy. I’m hoping next year will be even larger!

And as a blogger, I’m been so very blessed to have more than doubled my subscribers, have over four times as many Facebook reader friends and have met some more really fabulous fellow bloggers. It’s been such a joyous year for us and I’m so thankful to all of you for visiting the blog and for sharing about it with your friends/family. I’m hoping you are continuing to find more deals, coupons and ideas from it.

I did my very best to continue to put more focus and time on my family and less time on social media and blogging. Still trying to juggle the balancing act some days but when you always put your family first, you can never go wrong! I’m so very lucky to have a very supportive partner in my husband and such loving kids.

What’s on the agenda for 2011?

As always, I plan on continuing to keep Coupon Geek full of deals, coupons, freebies and hopefully….a little inspiration. While I love to do so many series on my blog, I have found that what’s best overall is to put your focus into just a few and have better quality than quantity. So here are the two that I’m focusing on for 2011:

WHAT’S NEW FOR DINNER?

It’s so easy to fall into a boring meal plan if I don’t continue to try new recipes. I’ve had such fun trying new things thanks to some different foods that we received in our veggie CSA and it sparked something in me that I’d like to continue this journey of exploring new meal options.  And to stay focused on my goal, I’ve acquired a partner in crime for this series—my friend Jenn, from SuperJenn.

Each week, we are both going to try a new recipe. Just something that we’ve never made before, be it an entree, dessert, side dish, etc. We’ll post about what we’ve tried and either link to the recipe we’ve found or share it with you in the posting.  It will be fun to try at least 52 new recipes during the year. I’m hoping you’ll join us in this little challenge to keep your meals new and exciting and hopefully your family will start asking, “What’s NEW for dinner tonight?” You’ll want to keep your eyes open for our monthly cookbook giveaways, too, as there will be a new one from each of us each month.

GETTING BACK ON TRACK

(A special thank you to Keri Lyn for making my button for this!)

Several years back, we discovered the book The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey. At the time, we had a small amount of credit card debt, two vehicle payments and our house payment. My hubby and I spent a few years going “Gazelle” and have worked on paying it all off, aside from our house. Once our credit card debt and vehicle debt was gone, we kind of loosened up the purse strings a little, allowing ourselves a little break. Well, I’m now ready to get back on track and focus on getting that house paid off, too.  I’ll just be sharing with you ways I’m finding throughout the year of how to watch our money. It could be some great shopping trips, frugal outings, ways to earn some extra money or just free things we’ve stumbled on. I’m hoping that when I post them, you’ll share what you’ve done that week/month to stretch your dollars farther, too.

I just wanted to thank all of you for taking time out of your lives throughout the year to stop by and visit a little Coupon Geek and her family. I value each of you and I hope that you’ll continue to find more things of value here. My overall goal for 2011 is to help make your debts smaller and your smiles bigger!

Happy New Year to all of you!