Money Saver: Slice and Vacuum Seal Your Own Meats, Poultry, Pepperoni and More

Last night I took a package of chicken breast tenders out of the deep freeze, sliced open the vacuum sealed package, cooked the chicken breasts, used half of them for last night's meal and then proceeded to vacuum seal the leftover pre-cooked chicken and popped them into the refrigerator.

My meal slicer is not a big, expensive, professional version (although you can certainly buy one!).  It's a good quality slicer for home use, and does slices from paper thin to a half inch thick.  Not only do I like using this for deli meats, but now I can buy the better tasting whole pepperoni and slice it myself for our homemade pizza!  Freshly sliced deli pepperoni beats the pants off the little overpriced, sliced, greasy, packaged pepperoni.

When it comes to my food sealer, I've been using it on everything from meats and poultry to celery, dehydrated vegetables and fruits and even fresh fruits!  I LOVE my sealer and I don't feel guilty about using it now that I bought replacement bags from Amazon.  Before that I was cutting them down to size and prioritizing what I sealed until I was finally down to just 1 bag left and I invested in purchasing 100 of them.  (I found great deals on Amazon - much better priced than the ones I looked at in my local stores as they were the Food Saver brand and were sky high priced). 

When I sliced and bagged deli ham last time I took a couple photos on my phone's camera.

Simply put the meat into the slicer, held in place by the safety guard for slicing

Adjust the dial for the thickness or thinness you want your slices to be

A plate of sliced ham for a fraction of the cost of buying it pre-sliced

Placed into individual or 1 pound sized packages, I vacuum seal the sizes I want

Take advantage of all the sale and clearance deals!
Buying in bulk at Costco or Sam's Club, as well as deals at your local grocer.

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Cream Cheese Filled Pumpkin Muffins - Healthy and Almost like a Cream Filled Pumpkin Cupcake!

These muffins are almost like a pumpkin cupcake... only ultra-healthy and NO ONE WILL KNOW IT!
No sugar.
No flour.
Flax seed.
Real pumpkin.

Tastes like a sweet pumpkin cupcake full of fat, sugar, flour and chemicals... but so healthy you don't have to feel guilty at all.  And yes, you can serve these to kids and guests and no will guess they are eating something that is actually good for them with real pumpkin and nutrient packed flax.

Although it looks like regular frosted 'cupcake' in the photo above, look what's hiding inside?  A magic filling surprise that kids will love.

Pumpkin Muffins

2 c almond flour
1/4 c flax meal
3/4 c unflavored or vanilla whey protein powder
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 t pumpkin pie spice I usually just use a mix of about 1 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 ginger and 1/8 nutmeg
3/4 c blend of favorite sweeteners; use a white granular and a brown sugar version for best taste but you don't have to*
3/4 c pure pumpkin puree  (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 stick real butter, melted
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
1/4 c half and half or cream

In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients;  almond flour, flax, protein powder, baking powder, soda, salt, spice and sweeteners.    In another bowl mix the pumpkin, butter, eggs and vanilla.   Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon while adding the cream or half and half.  Add a little bit more cream if you have to but remember your batter should be thicker than a cake mix yet still able to be scooped or poured into muffin tins.    Pour batter into greased or lined cupcake tins filled  3/4 full.  Bake at 325 for approximately 25 minutes.   This will make roughly 14-15 muffins and depending on the brands of ingredients used, will be 4-7 carbs per muffin. 

Basic Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c butter, softened
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 c - 2 cups sugar free sweetener of your choice
Just start blending and adjust amounts of sweeteners and cream cheese to your personal taste preference and how sweet you like it.  I start with just 1 cup sweetener and adjust as I don't like my frostings overly sweet.  If it's too  thick, just drizzle the tiniest bit of half and half - a little goes a long way!

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11 Autumn Recipes Featuring Pumpkin!

This morning was the very first morning when there was the slightest, tiniest bit of chill in the morning air.  I loved it!  Totally got me in the mood to crack open a kitchen window and bake... but what to bake!?  In the Fall I always start to crave pumpkin based goodies, so while searching my site for ideas, I decided to make a post of it.

If you need pumpkin pie spice and you don't have it in the pantry, you might already have the spices to make it yourself;

Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1/8 t allspice
1/4 t ginger

Eleven Autumn Recipes Featuring Pumpkin

Pumpkin Griddle Cakes

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Dessert (Made with a Dry Cake Mix!) 

Pumpkin Pie made with Apple Butter

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Penuche Frosting 

Low Carb, Sugar Free Pumpkin Bars

3 Layer Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Muffins with Flaxseed










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The "Little Monster" First Birthday Cake and Party

Today's post is a little more personal than I usually take this site.  It's a birthday party my oldest daughter planned for her son's first birthday; a Little Monster theme.  She did a fabulous job and everyone had the greatest time - and the cakes were so cute and delicious!

  • The cakes were baked in various sized pans.  The large monster is simply a couple 8" rounds stacked with icing between.
  • The small monster cake for the birthday boy was one round with two littles.  You could also freeze and stack 2 more rounds and after they are frozen, cut out the shape of the tiny little monster from, rounding the top off.
  • After baking, cool completely.  Stack and freeze the cakes for easy decorating later - or if you are short on time, refrigerate to cool.
  • Using the icing tip #233, using frosting to make the furry hair of the monster.  Start at the bottom, around the cake and work your way up, finishing at the top.
  • Refrigerate while you make the eyeballs.
  • To form the eye balls we used rice krispy bars, formed into walnut sized balls.
  • Cover the eyeballs in rolled out white fondant.
  • Use the blue and green fondant to create and shape eye lids and the iris part of the eyes.
  • Push them onto a sturdy, thick cake pop or lolly pop stick - the thicker ones, not a tiny, skinny stick.  You would also use chop sticks.
  • We refrigerated everything at this point and about an hour before the party, used black gel icing to make the pupils.  You could also use black fondant and form a little round pupil.  Attach the fondant to each other with a bit of water, beaten egg white or a bit of icing.
  • The mini monster cake was made similar, using a regular tip to finish the bottom edge, and store bought little tiny candy balls pressed on wet icing to hold.

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Homemade Bread - Straight from a Farm Wife

Farm Wife Bread

¼ cup butter or margarine
1 cup scalded milk
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 package yeast (dissolve in ½ cup lukewarm water)
1 egg (optional, for lighter bread)
3½ to 4 cups flour

Put margarine, salt and sugar in bowl; add scalded milk. Stir to melt margarine and dissolve sugar. When cool, beat egg and add to mixture. Add yeast mixture. Mix and add flour. Knead.  Cover and let rise until double, punch down and let rise again. Shape into balls for buns or loaves for bread. Let rise until double. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

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Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders and Chicken Breasts with Honey Mustard Sauce

This is a picture I snapped on my iphone literally, right before I dug in and ate it for dinner.  I'm glad I remembered to snap a picture because this was so easy and so good.

I had defrosted chicken breasts and wasn't sure what I was going to do with them.  
I had leftover egg whites in the refrigerator from another recipe, and I had a bag of roasted, salted whole almonds that we need to use up because we are currently completely sick of snacking on roasted nuts and they are just taking up room in the deep freezer.

That is how this 'recipe' came to be.  Using up some roasted almonds and egg whites.  Topped it off with a mixture of 2/3 honey (I use sugar free) with 1/3 mustard.  YUM!

Chicken Breasts
Roasted Almonds
Fresh Garlic (optional)
Salt is not needed if you are using salted almonds.
Eggs or egg whites, beaten

Process about a cup of almonds per 2 large chicken breasts or 5-6 tenders in a food processor until crumbs.
If you wish, add 1-2 teaspoons fresh, minced garlic.  Salt to taste only if you used unsalted almonds.
Dip rinsed and dried chicken tenders or breasts into the egg or egg whites and roll in the chopped nuts to cover.
Place on greased baking sheet and bake at 350 for approximately 25-30 minutes until the center of your chicken is done and not pink.
Drizzle a mixture of honey mustard sauce over to serve (about 2/3 honey to 1/3 mustard - adjust to your taste).

I added fresh garlic to my chopped almonds & used up egg whites I had on hand

Ready for the oven!

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Jalapeno Popper Meatballs

I posted this in 2013 but I need to remind myself to make these soon so I'm posting again!  I know some of my readers will appreciate it as well if you missed it the first time around.

If you are a regular fan of An American Housewife then you know I love and cook with jalapeno's and cream cheese often - we love them together in many items!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno and Cream Cheese Meatballs

2 lb. ground beef, turkey or a mixture of both
1 egg
1/3 c fine bread crumbs, flour, crushed crackers, almond flour, wheat bran, flax seed, etc. You choose.
Salt and Pepper
1 t MSG (unless you don't use this then it's optional)
1/2 t onion powder or garlic powder (either one is fine)
1/2 t Chipotle pepper (optional)
1/2 t cumin (optional)
2 or more jalapenos, fresh and diced OR 3-4 teaspoons diced from jar or canned**
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 shredded cheddar

**Add more or less jalapeno's depending on how spicy you like your food.

Mix the ground beef, egg, crumbs, salt and pepper, MSG, onion powder, chipotle and cumin  well.  Add half the jalapenos to the meat mixture.  Form walnut sized balls and let them set on a baking sheet, foil or parchment.   In a bowl, mix the cream cheese with the shredded cheese and add the rest of the jalapenos.  I used about 1-2 teaspoons of the liquid from the jar of sliced jalapenos but you can use a little water or milk if you wish to make it a little moister.

To each meatball, make an indentation, add a bit of the cheese mixture and form the meatball around it.  Using a large Pampered Chef scoop, I got 15 evenly sized balls of the meat mixture.  If you choose to wrap in bacon, do so now, wrapping 1 thin slice around each ball and placing back on the baking sheet.  Bake each meatball in a hot oven (about 375 degrees) about 15-20 minutes for the unwrapped meatballs and 20-25 for bacon wrapped.  Roll the balls over so the underside is now 'up' and place under the broiler for a couple minutes to crisp the bottom.  Serve hot.

Add as many jalapeno's to the mix as you wish.

Place cheese in the center and form a ball around it.

Ready for wrapping with bacon... or not.  Your choice.

Ready to go into the oven.

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Ice Cream. Ice Cream. And? More Ice Cream. Homemade. All sorts of kinds!


Homemade Ice Cream
No machine or bags of ice needed!

16 oz. container heavy whipping cream  (2 cups liquid)
1 can sweetened condensed milk  (not evaporated milk)
*optional items for whatever you flavor you like

Whip the heavy cream just to stiff peaks.
Fold in 1 can sweetened condensed milk.
Any flavorings or additions you like.
Place in a freezer safe container.  Freeze overnight.  Serve!

Vanilla:  Add 1-2 t vanilla extract
Chocolate:  1/2 c chocolate syrup, 1-2 squares melted Baker's chocolate
Caramel:  1/2 c Caramel syrup
Cherry Nut:  1 t almond extract, fresh chopped cherries, chopped walnuts or pecans
Chocolate Mocha Nut:  1/2 c chocolate syrup, 1 melted square Bakers unsweetened chocolate, 1/4 c strong coffee, 1/3 c toasted chopped almonds
Cookies and Cream:  1 c crushed or chopped Oreos, 1 t vanilla extract
Lemon:  1 t lemon extract
Try:  Marshmallow creme, mini chocolate chips, candies, crushed cookies, nuts, butterscotch, strawberries, raspberries, maple extract, mint extract with mini chocolate chips, 1/3 c dry cake mix with colored sprinkles, espresso, melted caramel with a sprinkle of sea salt, bits of chopped brownies or cake, spoonfuls of cheesecake, bits of apple pie filling and a sprinkle of cinnamon, chopped candy bars... the options are endless!!!!

Whip the cold heavy cream
Whip just until it thickens are forms stiff peaks
Add 1 can sweetened condensed milk (in the baking aisle)
For chocolate mocha I added 1 melted square unsweetened Baker's chocolate with 1/4 c espresso and 1/2 c chocolate syrup
Toasted some salted almonds... Mmmm
Fold everything together til smooth
Place in freeze safe container (I used Rubbermaid style with lid)
Freeze overnight and you get perfectly creamy, delicious ice cream!

More posts about ICE CREAM on An American Housewife:

Coffee Almond Fudge Ice Cream - (sugar free, gluten free and low carb option)
Irish Cream Ice Cream - 4 recipes for 4 different versions and flavors!
Homemade Ice Cream - without an ice cream machine (made in a Ziploc Baggy)
Homemade Shamrock Shake like McDonalds

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Homemade Sugar Free Sweetened Condensed Milk

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 can Nestle Table Cream (Media Crema)
2/3 cup sweetener (I used Ideal Sweetener with about 15 drops of a liquid sweetener added as well)
2 T unflavored Whey Protein Powder (I use Isopure - zero carbs, zero sugar)
1-2 t vanilla extract

Whisk together and place over medium heat until smooth and thickened. Use in a recipe of choice or refrigerate. When you refrigerate it, it gets very, very thick.  

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