For a while now, I have been posting my montly menus on Facebook. Well, I decided to create a blog so that more people will have the opportunity to check in and hopefully be inspired. As for the name of the blog, Sherri's Sanity, that is what montly menu planning is for me; my sanity. With 3 young kids, I do NOT have the patience for the clock to turn 5 and have no plan for dinner, it just adds to the craziness to the "witching hours" (those insane hours at the end of the day where we, moms, try to jam-pack 4 hours worth of stuff into 2) I HATE the hours of 5pm-8pm. BUT I have found that in my (almost) year of planning monthly menus, I have been so much less of a headcase during that time. When mom is happier, hubby and kids are happier. AND their tummies will be filled with yummy homemade food; even better!!Now, this blog will definitely take time to put together. Once again, I am a mother of 3 small kids and although I wish I could just sit down and crack it all out, that just isnt going to happen. So, check back often and I will try and keep things rolling. :) Another thing that fills my bucket, so to speak, is crafting! So I'm sure that will come along on the blog shortly too. Happy planning!!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hell's Kitchen Knock off

My favorite egg salad sandwich, the Hell's Kitchen, is served at a deli on the west side of town called Heidi's. Since I don't get over there as often as I'd like I decided to made a similar sandwich for dinner and I must say, it was the biggity bomb :)

For the egg salad bring 8 eggs to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let sit about 10 minutes. Immediately run under cool water to stop the cooking. Allow to cool and peel. Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours (at least)

Place your hard boiled eggs in a mixing bowl and add
1/4 C diced green onions (chives)
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning (or more to taste)(I like McCormick's because it's not too salty)
about 1/4 C mayonnaise (your preference for moisture)

Mash with a potato masher or pastry blender until desired chunkiness. Switch to a spoon and mix well.

Serve on thickly sliced sourdough sandwich bread with bacon, avacado and lettuce (and tomato if you'd like, just not in this house). Are you drooling?!?! This was sooo yummy!! Makes 3-4 sandwiches.

Baggie Trick

This is another one of my favorite tricks. If you ever need to get anything into a baggie but need two hands, stuff the baggie into a large cup and wrap the top around the rim.  This particular instance I needed to get frosting into the bag. But I also love to do this when making marinades, for leftover soups, or portioning the huge bag of Costco cheese into smaller bags.

Hope it comes in handy for you :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012


February went by sooo fast! (I think I said that about January too...) I was able to get my menu done today. Hopefully you have been working on yours too. It's a long month; lots of meals, not so easy. Here it is! My freezer meals are the Pasta Faggioli, Honey Lime Enchiladas, Swedish Meatballs

Chicken spinach balls
French Dip
Honey Lime Enchiladas
Butternut Squash Soup and homemade croutons (Loooooved this last month)
Tortellini Pasta Salad (I switch red bell peppers for the tomatoes and add spinach)
BBQ Pork
Stir Fry
Spicy Chicken Sandwiches
Homemade Mac N Cheese
Broiled Fish/Chicken Nuggets
Beef Taquitos
Pesto Wraps
Pasta Faggioli
Rosemary Lemon Pork
BBQ beef sandwiches
Thai Curry Coconut noodles
Stuffed Pistolettes
Crockpot Cordon Bleu
Homemade Pizza
Chicken Pitas
Rice soup
Generals Chicken
Pot Pie
Grilled Salmon

Thursday, February 23, 2012


First things first. You're gonna need one of these; an ice cold beverage. With caffeine. ;)

I get three newspapers weekly. One from a subscription, two from the Dollar Tree.  My favorite grocery store (Fry's) values all coupons at $1 (up to 3 of the same, that's why I only get 3 papers. Coupons over $1 are worth face value) so if I use 3 coupons total in a week, the papers pay for themselves. At least that's how I figure it. You could even do more if you wanted because it really doesn't take much more time.

 Pull out your coupons inserts and group the pages together from all 3 papers. So, you'll have 3 of each page stacked together.
 Check folded pages for coupon layouts before cutting all 3 of the same page right down the middle. I use a paper trimmer, it's very time efficient.
 Make a pile of coupons. Your 3 like-coupons usually stick together pretty well.
 Make a discard pile. I DO NOT clip/save all coupons. For me, it's all about getting it done quickly. If I have no need for an item (like Depends or Centrum Silver...) there's no need to keep it, in my opinion. Some people would argue that sometimes products come up free with coupons. If you have the time to shop for and donate free items, more power to you.
Start putting your coupons in your binder. I will thumb through each category as I go and pull out old expired coup's. I also keep like-coupons (same product) together despite their expiration date, but the newest will go behind the others. Some coupons will need to be folded, just try to keep the product and expiration date visible.
This is a baseball card binder from Target. However, I have thought about switching to a regular 3- ring binder with pockets in the cover because it would be useful. If I were to do it over I would just buy a 3-ring binder and the card refill pack.

Here are my categories (divided by cheap Staples dividers).

Breakfast (excl frozen)
Canned (excl soup)
Hair Care
House Care
Office supplies
Oral Care
Paper products/food storage
Pasta and sauce
Refrigerated and Meat
Shaving and Deoderant
Sides and Rice
Soap and Bodywash

(in the back)
Rain Checks/Store Credits

As for shopping there's not much of a strategy since most stores' coupon policies have become more strict.  The main thing is to try and use your coupons when an item is also on sale, thus maximizing your savings. Once again, my favorite website to reference is www.thecentsableshoppin.com for AZ peeps. She will help you match coupons to sales.

Yes, couponing takes a little time. BUT my friend who showed ME the ropes (thanks Lanae ;)) told me that when you're saving money it's like a job. Not spending=earning. Kinda.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sausage and Rice Casserole

This is another maybe not so healthy but quick recipe from my childhood. I love quick. Especially on soccer practice night like tonight. This is the quantity I make for my fam of 5, you may want to double it.

8 oz. (I use Farmer John) original sausage. If you buy a type with casings, remove them
1 Pkt Lipton Dry Chicken noodle soup
3 C Water
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 C rice
1/2 onion, chopped, or 1/4 C dry onions
broccoli, optional

Preheat your oven to 400* and bake your sausage on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes. Or you can pan cook it.

In the meantime cook the soups in the water with the onions and rice by first bringing to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 min (while your sausage cooks)

If you baked your sausage put it in a food processor and roughly chop. Transfer to some paper towels to soak up some grease.

The next step will be up to your preference. I mix my meat and soup mixture (and sometimes throw in some broccoli) together and throw it in my little crock pot on low while we go to soccer practice. Or, you can bake in a casserole dish for about 20 min at 350*. If you want to make even further ahead, you can change the cooking time on the soup/rice mix to just 5 min then put in the crockpot for even longer.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Recipe Review: Dijon Chicken Linguine with Chanterelle Mushrooms and Toasted Almonds

This recipe was from Pinterest. The photo looked amazing and I was super excited to try it. Firstly, I don't love pan cooked chicken. I decided I was going to grill mine, but 3 minutes into grilling I ran out of propane. BOO!! Shame on me for trying to change the cooking instructions. Into the pan it went. The sauce was SUPER easy to make, so for that I give a huge thumbs up. Overall the meal was pretty good. Was it something completely different than I've ever tried before? No. The sauce was super rich and not packed with a ton of flavor so it felt like I needed more "stuff" to go with it; more than the chicken, mushrooms and almonds (which were just so-so with the meal). Artichoke hearts? Asparagus? Not sure. Just something.

My 6 year old din't like it. My 4 year old liked it but without mushrooms. My hubby likes everything so he doesn't count. So, will I make it again? Possibly. But it won't be on the menu next month...


This clearly has nothing to do with cooking or menu planning, but it's my blog and I can post what I want, hmph! How many of you use the side-stacking method for your kids' drawers??? I DO, I DO!!
I started doing this about 6 months ago when I saw it on Pinterest. It hasn't completely changed my life, but it has made a huge difference! Instead of re-folding entire drawers every.single.week I'm down to about once a month.  Since you can see everything, there's no digging :) I had to start folding clothes a bit differently but now that I've been doing it for a while it's totally habit.

Depending on the depth of your drawers (my son's dresser is much smaller than the girls') you'll probably need to fold pants in fourths and shirts in thirds. I lay jeans/pants on their sides and shirts with the round edge up (does that make sense?) This is also a huge space saver! I love this method!
M's drawer

 T's drawer
C's drawer

Baked Bacon

People, PLEASE stop pan-frying your bacon; we aren't living in 1950 anymore. Fried bacon not only cooks in it's own fat, but it makes your house, your hair and your clothes stink. Not to mention the hazards of popping grease!!

 Put your bacon on a wire cooling rack set inside your cookie sheet.  If you don't have one, you can use a broiling pan OR crumble and then uncrumble some aluminum foil so the grooves catch the grease.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375* until desires crispiness. I love me some crispy bacon, so about 18-20 min for me. (this will also depend on the fattiness). Did I mention that you don't have to babysit it like pan-frying!? Go ahead and start your eggs or pancakes (or whatever) in the meantime. :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Recipe Review: Rumbi Mango Chicken and Rice

I mentioned that I was trying a few new recipes this month.  We had the Rumbi Mango Chicken and Rice for dinner last night. It was just OK :( I would give it 3 of 5 stars. It didn't taste bad, it just didn't taste like a whole lot, to be honest. I was itching for more flavor. I even cooked the rice in coconut milk as suggested.  The cumin and lemon pepper were "to taste" and I think I added plenty without taking the flavor away from the sweet and savory mango salsa. It was, however, SUPER easy to make. I actually had some leftover chicken breasts, so I just threw the rice in the rice cooker and everything else to warm over the stove. Took about 10 min. (plus cooking time for the rice). So, for that factor I MIGHT make it again.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I broke my own rules!

Ok, so there aren't really any "rules" to menu planning :)  Because it is time consuming to sit down and plan a menu, I normally only shop for my month of dinners at the beginning of the month. Since I got a jump start on my Feb calendar I had plenty of time to check out the ad's for the week. Lucky, for me, there were some GREAT sales going on this week! So maybe I'll take that as a lesson and change my strategy a bit; get that menu done with plenty of time to spare so I don't miss out on the deals. It does help that Feb is a short month AND we are planning a trip. I can pretty much guarantee it won't happen that way every month (getting the menu done early). But I did find a lot of success in it this month. I was able to get the WHOLE month taken care of all at once. That includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, pantry staples and toiletries all for about $290. I will be going back weekly for milk and produce. That will put me at about $350 for the month. Not too bad! I have mentioned bits and pieces in previous posts but I will try and get a post done in the near future for couponing and ad shopping...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chicken Rolls

If you're new to the blog, WELCOME!  You can read about how I meal plan here.

I love this recipe! My mom would make these growing up, but not too frequently because they are a bit of work.  Very worth it, I think.  This recipe is one of my freezer meal recipes since it feeds my family of 5 twice. I don't have a go-to recipe for the chicken gravy you'll want to serve these with; I just make it by taste. So, you might want to google it or there's probably a recipe right on a can of broth. I boil my chicken, so I use that broth, plus some boullion...These are also great with mashed potatoes and steamed green veggies.

Mix together:
6 oz softened cream cheese with chives (if using plain cream cheese add 2 tsp dried chives)
1 cube softened butter or margarine
1 small can mushrooms
2 1/2 C cooked, cubed chicken breasts (about 2 large or 3 small breasts)

Mix together:
3/4 bag Mrs. Cubbisons Classic Seasoned Dressing (by the Stove Top at the grocery store)
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
enough water to dampen (about 3 Tbs) but not soggy!

Melt 1 cube of butter or margarine in a bowl and the additional Dressing (stuffing)(you might want to crush it a little bit) in another bowl, set aside.

Lay out the rolls from one can of original canned crescent rolls (you will do this twice, so you need 2 cans) and stretch/flatten the wide end slightly.

Add a scoop of the chicken mixture (I use my cookie scoop) and then a scoop of the damp Dressing mixture to the wide end of each roll...like this
 Fold over the edges on the wide end
 Then wrap the "tail" end up and around...like this
Dip the tops of each roll into melted butter and then the dry Dressing. Place on a cookie sheet.
Bake at 350* for aobut 20 min, or until golden brown. Serve with chicken gravy.

**UPDATE 11/18/12: Made this recipe as a casserole and it was SO much faster!! Next time I'll bake on lower rack since it was a TAD undercooked in spots on bottom. You'll assemble like this:
6 rolls on bottom of a 9x13 pan, poke with a fork a bunch of times, add half moistened stuffing, chicken mixture, rest of stuffing, 6 rolls on top, brushed w butter and dry dressing on top. Bake on a lower rack @350 for 25-30 min, until golden brown.

**OK, I am completely aware of how terrible my pics are. I look at other blogs and they have their food pics staged SO nicely. And then there's my nasty cookie sheets...Well, this is REAL life in my house. I have nasty cookie sheets. And to be honest I don't have time, in the middle of cooking dinner, to break out the fancy dishes and throw together a crafty backdrop. When I take a pic it's completely inconvenient and all I'm really thinking about is not getting my gooey fingers all over my expensive camera, then it's onto the next step of cooking...or feeding my hungry clan. So, I'm sorry if you are looking for lovely food photos, you won't find them here. I'm not about the business of fancying things up, I have an agenda. And I hope that's ok :)