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Its time for the quarterly Bloggy Giveaway Carnival!  Yeah!  There are over a thousand links to blogs that are giving away prizes so click on the link in my Favorite Links and start entering :)! 

Here are a couple that especially caught my eye…

A Family Completed is giving away a $50 gift card to Victoria’s Secret.

Unexpected Bliss is giving away a $100 Visa Gift Card.

Nurse Mommy is giving away a Lily on the Fly Meal Planner set.

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Chicken Pot Pie

Along with doing a menu plan every week I also wanted to start trying some new recipes…I certainly have enough cookbooks and recipes to choose from LoL!  Anyway, I LOVE chicken pot pies and I’ve never tried making one myself, but I had some Pillsbury pie shells left over from the extra pie I never baked at Christmas  :), so I decided to give it a shot!  Oh my gosh it was so good!  I can’t believe I haven’t tried making one before now since it was so easy.  There’s even enough leftovers for me and Abbey to have it for dinner one night this week when Scott is working so I think we’ll be adjusting the menu plan a little bit :). 

Chicken Pot Pie

1/2 cup of Butter
1/3 cup of flour
dash of pepper
10 oz of chicken broth (one can)
3/4 cup of milk
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 (4 oz) can mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas (but I used green beans instead)
1 pkg (9 oz) frozen baby carrots (I used fresh carrots cut up)
Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pie plate.

2. Melt butter in large skillet; stir in flour and pepper. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly until smooth and bubble. Gradually stir in broth and milk; cook until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Add chicken, onion, mushrooms, peas and carrots; cook until hot and bubbly and carrots start to soften. place on pie crust into the pie plate. Spoon the mixture evenly into the pie shell, place second pie crust on top, crimp edges and cut slits in top of pie. Brush top pie crust with melted butter.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes until crust is golden brown.

I made the inside of the pie on Sunday night and then made the pie on Monday so I heated up the mixture before putting it in the pie shell. I needed to add a splash of milk to thin it out a bit.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Chicken Pot Pie

Tuesday: Bow Ties w/ Italian Sausage and Sweet Peppers

Wednesday: Mac n Cheese

Thursday: Penne Pasta with Garlic Croutons and Almonds

Friday: Grilled Cheese and chicken noodle soup

Saturday:  Lamb chops and veggies

Sunday: Dinner at mom’s – Loin of pork?

Some repeats from last weeks list since I didn’t follow it completely.  I did make the insides of the chicken pot pie tonight so we’ll definately be having that tomorow.  I still need to get the recipe for the Pasta with Almonds from my Mom, but she made it for Christmas for my vegetarian cousin and it was SOOOOO delicious, so I’m determined to make it this week :).

Awesome Giveaway!

I was checking out some on-line blog giveaways and stumbled across this one from Saving for the Farm .  The winner receives 20 pages designed and ready to use in a photobook.  I would so love to win this one because I have not been able to use my PSP to do scrapbooking in months and there are some pictures that I would really like to do a nice photobook of.  So go on over and enter to win yourself…and while you’re at it check out her blog too, she’s got lots of money saving tips to share!

Menu Plan Monday…

I’m even a bit early.  My first official menu plan of  2009…

Monday: Chicken legs in Lemon Pepper marinade, green beans and a Pasta Side

Tuesday: Italian Sausage Calzone

Wednesday: Pasta w/almonds and garlic croutons, veggies

Thursday: Chicken Salad Club Sandwiches with tomatoes

Friday: Pasta w/Almonds leftovers

Saturday: Chicken Pot Pie

I am determined to cut our spending this year and I’m starting with our groceries.  To get me started on the right foot A&P conveniently had triple coupons this week :)!  I don’t usually shop at A&P because I find that they’re more expensive than Shoprite and, of course, Wal-Mart, but I keep an eye on their ads and I usually try to pick up a few things when they have triple coupons.  Now, I started trying to make a conscious effort to use more coupons in general sometime last year and around that time I started checking out lots of blogs about menu planning, saving money, using coupons ect.  It seems there are a lot of women out there that are really into saving money and using coupons and they are really good at it (much better than I).  I’ve seen articles about people getting carts full of groceries for a dollar and change, or even free, and I just didn’t get how it was possible…well, I’m still a long way from getting a cart full of groceries for a dollar but I have to say I was pretty impressed with the haul I came home with yesterday! 

I spent $11.63 and here’s what I got:

  • 2 Green Giant Vegetable Steamers  ($.25 each)
  • Perdue Chicken Nuggets ($.35!)
  • Lloyds tub of pulled pork, 1lb 2 oz ($2.75)
  • 4 cans of Blue Diamond almonds 6 oz ($3.46 for all 4)
  • Colgate toothpaste (not only free but I had an overage of .75 towards the rest of the bill)
  • 2 Healthy Ones pkg cold cuts (overage of $1.16 towards bill for both)
  • Colgate toothbrush (another overage, .25 towards the rest of the bill)
  • Bananas, 2.75 lbs  ($1.35)
  • Ground Beef, 3.68 lbs (5.02)

Not too shabby!  If I had time I would have gone through the checkout line twice so I actually could have had one receipt where I bought a slew of stuff for free (or almost free) LoL!  Too bad this isn’t the norm (A&P only does triple coupons once every few months usually), but at least it got me motivated to start actually using my coupons again, instead of just clipping them and letting them languish in an envelope.   Tonight I’m going to Shoprite, where I normally shop, to get a few more things and while I was pulling coupons for A&P I pulled some out for Shoprite too so we’ll see how I make out there too.   I’ll keep you posted :)!

Ok, so most of the Christmas stuff is down and I even mananged to go through it, pack it all into plastic bins and label each box with what’s inside.  No more piles of cardboard boxes of all different sizes teetering on top of each other.  I even packed the breakable ornaments separately.  All that’s left is the Nativity set and all the Christmas stuff will be away. 

My next project is working on our grocery budget.  I had already planned to try and keep track of all the money we spend on groceries starting on January 1st, but I was very happy to find links to MommySnacks.net  ‘s forms to help track grocery spending.  There’s one to track your total spending and your percentage of savings if you use coupons.  The other lets you track what you spend/save at each store weekly.  Check it out if you’re looking for a pretty simple tracking system that does all the adding for you :). 

Speaking of groceries…$5 Dinners is doing a $25 Kroger’s Give away so stop over and enter to win!   I’ve actually never shopped at Kroger’s before but I’ve heard so much about it that when I saw this contest I decided to see if there was one anywhere near me and it turns out there’s one right in my Aunt and Uncle’s town about 45 minutes away.  We’ll be helping them move out of their house soon so I’ll have to scoot over and check it out when I get there :)!

My other organizing goal is to start doing menu plans again.  I’d been doing them pretty regularly several months ago, but with the holidays and whatnot I’ve gotten away from it.  I think I’ll start that next week…by the time I get to sit down and work on it this week will be almost over anyway LoL!  I’ve got a whole chicken to cook and I think I’m going to try making a chicken pot pie with the leftovers…I’ve never done one before but I just love pot pies so we’ll have to see how that goes.  If anyone has a good recipe let me know :)!