Not too late for new years resolutions

To make resolutions or not? 2011 was a year of transition for me and my family. Instead of making specific resolutions this year, I am just pledging to make 2012 a year of moving forward. This pledge will include resolution type things like work out more, go to the dentist when I'm supposed to, cook healthier food, cut our grocery costs and more, but as those smaller things may change, the overall pledge will stay the same. I believe this time next year I will feel better about keeping my pledge and not worry about all the smaller individual resolutions I did or did not do.

Now on to food...My first step toward moving forward in 2012 is to use leftovers more efficiently and effectively.

I started my last week of the year cooking large meals, so that I could spend this weekend not cooking but rather spending more time with my family :)

Balsamic Mustard Chicken thighs with roasted butternut squash and risotto-like-rice
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
olive oil
Trader Joe's Everyday spice blend (or coriander and a pinch of red pepper flake)3-5 lbs skinless chicken thighs (I often buy them with the skin on because its cheaper and then take it off myself)
Leftover mustard balsamic dipping sauce from my pigs in a blanket Christmas eve (Thanks Lauren for the idea!) (Made with spicy brown mustard, balsamic vinegar and honey mixed together)
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 of a medium onion diced
1/2 cup aborrio rice
3-4 cups chicken broth or veggie broth

Toss the squash with olive oil and spices and put on a baking sheet in the oven at 375 degrees. Coat the chicken with the balsamic mustard sauce and place in a baking dish in the oven at 375. Cook both about 45 minutes. Ovens vary so check to make sure its cooking evenly and not burning at about 30 minutes. Check the chicken with a meat thermometer to 165-175.

To make the risotto-like-rice, add butter and onion to your rice cooker and stir until onions are translucent. Add rice and cook while stirring for a couple of minutes. Add 3 cups of broth and start the machine. Once it is done, add more broth and mix it in if you want it creamier.You can also add in some Parmesan at the end if you like.

I used the leftover chicken and risotto to make white chicken chili. To a crock pot added a can of cream of chicken soup, half of a jalapeno (seeded), cumin, coriander, 1 small onion diced, 1 can of white beans, leftover chicken cubed and about 1 cup of the risotto. Cook on low for 2- 3 hours. Delicious! My 9 year old nephew couldn't get enough of it!

Roasted turkey with sweet potato mashed potatoes and stuffing

I cooked the turkey whole, stuffing it with lime and tangelo wedges, onions and garlic. I melted butter with some thyme, lime juice, lime zest, tangelo juice, tangelo zest and rubbed that all over the turkey. While that was cooking I peeled and diced 3 sweet potatoes and boiled them in water with thyme and garlic until soft. Once they were fork tender, I drained them and mashed them with a little butter, milk and cream cheese. I added some garlic powder, salt and pepper. For stuffing I used Stove top savory herb :) and I used the cranberry sauce in the can.

I used the leftovers to make turkey stock, pesto pasta with turkey and butternut squash, turkey sandwiches and more.

My next step is to cut our grocery costs, starting with more couponing. I bought the Sunday paper the other day to get the 4 coupon inserts. I was shocked at the register when they said it was $3.50! Last time I bought a Sunday paper it was $1.50. Next time I am going to buy the local Lowell paper, I think it also has the inserts and is still only $1.50. I went to a lecture at the local library by Jamie Chase, the Lazy Couponer. It was great! Using her tips, I saved almost 30% on my next grocery trip. I only bought what I needed, no stockpiling or hours upon hours of clipping coupons.

(Belated) Happy New Year to all of you!

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