Author Archives for theselfcleaninghouse

About theselfcleaninghouse

I am the Mom who spent way to much time cleaning house when my kids were young. I have learned a lot since and I want to share with you how to have a self cleaning house so that you can spend more time doing the important things in life.

Camping…don’t forget the Hot Dogs

We went camping last weekend. We don’t campground camp. We go out in the woods to camp. No cell service, no restrooms, no convenience stores.

When packing for camping trips, it’s import to remember everything I’m going to need! Unfortunately, I am human and sometimes I forget stuff.

Some of our most memorable camping trips have been when we forgot something and problem solving to make it work! Like forgetting the syrup. We tried to find huckleberries to make a sauce for the pancakes but it was too late in the season. I ended up boiling down Dr. Pepper and using that as syrup. It wasn’t the best but it worked-ish and we still remember it! There was the time we forget the top to the sunshade canopy. We bungeed a tarp to the top of the frame. It worked!

The time I forgot the hot dogs I was a bit upset. Oooops! I think we actually had to drive all the way back to civilization that time. I have never forgotten the hot dogs again!

I think that is one of the best things about camping and why I think it’s important for families to camp! It provides many opportunities for problem solving and working together to fix things . It allows us to unplug from things that “entertain” us and allows our brains to actually work. It teaches us to be grateful for nature and also to be grateful for what we have at home!

Last weekend I had decided to make Hamburger Stroganoff while camping. I brought everything I needed…. I thought. I started making it and realized I had forgotten a key ingredient. The Cream of Mushroom Soup. I had to come up with a way to make dinner without it.

Fortunately, I had a little baggie of flour on hand. I am not even sure why I put it in there but I am grateful it was there! I melted butter and finely chopped about eight of the crimini mushrooms and sauteed them in the butter. When they were cooked they had absorbed all the butter so I added two more tablespoons of butter and melted that. Then added two tablespoons of the flour and stirred it to combine it. Then I slowly poured in a cup of milk and stirred until it was the right consistency. I added quite a bit of salt and pepper.

It was bomb!! It was way better then Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom! I am not sure if I will ever buy it again, it was that good!

Dinner turned out great!! Yummy!!

I snapped a quick photo… not a great one, but I was in the middle of making dinner while camping! It might not look great but it was!

Sometimes mistakes or forgetfulness can turn into great adventures or great recipes!

I am sure you can find a bunch of recipes for homemade cream of mushroom soup, but I wanted to share the one I made up in a pinch that turned out to be really good!

Cream of Mushroom Soup

4 tablespoons divided butter
68 cremini mushrooms finely diced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon salt more if needed
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the diced mushrooms and saute until they are slightly carmelized and have absorbed a lot of the butter. Sprinkle in the flour and stir well. Slowly add the milk stirring constantly. Stir until quite thick then remove from heat. Add salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Add more if necessary.

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I hope enjoy this recipe! Happy cooking and maybe take the family camping!

Elizabeth XOXO

Steak Soup

The weather is getting nicer and the Robins are singing that things will get better! Something about the sunshine that reminds us that there is hope and goodness left.

I am a very “seasonal” cook. I just can’t have salad for dinner in the middle of a snow storm… can’t do it. I also don’t want soup in the summer, but I absolutely loooooove soup!

I am squeezing in soup on every rainy day I can this spring. I am very much looking forward to salads for dinner on those warm sunny summer days that are coming but enjoying each comforting meal of soup and some yummy homemade bread for now.

Steak Soup, which is another one of those misleading names, as there is no steak whatsoever in it, is literally the easiest soup I have ever made! It is another of those recipes I received at my bridal shower. It’s been a family favorite and also a lifesaver when we had little money. It is very inexpensive to make.

A word of caution…. don’t burn your tongue! We have always joked about that because for whatever reason someone always burns their tongue when we have Steak Soup! Lava hot….

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Steak Soup

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6-8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 poundsground beef
1 (16-ounce) packagefrozen mixed vegetables
1 (28-ounce) cantomatoes diced
1onion diced
2 cubesbeef bouillon
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Directions:

Crumble ground beef in bottom of crock pot. Put onions on top of beef, then package of veggies and bouillon. Pour tomatoes over top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

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DVO

I use Cook’n for all my recipes and menu planning! The program is the best I have ever found! I have been using it for over 18 years! If you would like to try Cook’n use this link! Thanks!

Happy Cooking!

Elizabeth XOXO

Hamburger Stroganoff, Easy Comfort Food

Hi! How you are you doing? Things are pretty tough right now. I think the hardest part is the feeling of not having any control of what is happening. The thing is we never really did, we are just realizing it. BUT God is still in control!

So, for me, I need to turn off the TV , stop reading comments on my neighborhood app, stop reading so much on social media and just realize that I can not change anything by worrying or posting things or being angry or scared. The only thing I can do is pray….and cook and bake. That is what makes me happy so that is what I am doing lately!

I want to share a recipe with you today that is both easy to make, takes very few ingredients and it is comfort food at the same time, ’cause Lord knows we could all use some comfort right now.

Hamburger Stroganoff is a recipe I got from another of my husband’s aunts, Auntie Ann. I think his aunts must have been great cooks!

By the way, if you are ever throwing a bridal shower, have everyone bring their favorite recipe. Those recipes I got at my shower were some of the best recipes and I have used them for years!

This is great with mashed potatoes (our favorite way to have it) or you can have it over rice or noodles. Frozen peas or fresh green beans are a great side.

Hamburger Stroganoff

Servings 4

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 medium onion chopped
1 clove minced garlic
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Directions:

Saute onion, mushrooms, (you can use either fresh or canned mushrooms), garlic and ground beef. Drain off fat.
Stir in mushroom soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Just before serving add sour cream and heat over medium low heat.
Serve over rice, noodles or mashed potatoes.

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DVO

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I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know if you make it! I would love it if you would tag me on instagram @winefoodandfamily

Happy cooking!

Elizabeth XOXO






Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna is one of my family’s all time favorites! If I ask what everyone wants for dinner, someone is sure to ask for this!

It sounds amazing right? It sounds like layers of cheese and ooey gooey goodness, doesn’t it? Well, it IS amazing! But it is nothing like lasagna. It is really more enchilada like….ish. I have no idea who named it that or why. I have tried renaming it but nothing ever sticks. So, it remains Mexican Lasagna.

The recipe was given to me by my husband’s great Aunt Thora when we got married. Maybe the elderly Norwegian woman didn’t know anything about Mexican or Italian cuisine? I am not sure if she made or named the recipe but whoever did was not aware of how lasagna is constructed!

No matter what it is called it is delicious and easy to make with very few ingredients.

Mexican Lasagna

Servings 6

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 medium onion chopped
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 can black beans drained and rinsed, optional
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can chili con carne with beans
1 package of 10 flour tortillas
shredded Cheddar cheese
sour cream

Directions:

Saute beef with onion and garlic. Drain. Add taco seasoning and black beans. Add about a cup of water and cook over medium heat until the water has cooked out.
Mix chili and tomato sauce in a mixing bowl.
Lay out 10 tortilla shells and evenly distribute meat mixture onto them. Sprinkle each with a little (or a lot) of cheese. Roll up and place in a greased 9×13 baking dish.
Pour chili/tomato sauce over all. Sprinkle with more cheese.
Cover and Bake at 350F for 1/2 hour. Remove foil and bake for a few minutes longer to melt cheese.
Serve with sour cream.

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DVO

I have changed the original recipe a little. OK, well I haven’t met a recipe yet that I didn’t change at least a little!

I included black beans just to stretch it a little. If you don’t want to put them in there you can use two pound of ground beef or just not have the tortillas so full.

“I never met a lasagna I didn’t like.”

Jim Davis

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Be sure to confuse your family with this “Lasagna”!

Happy Cooking!

Elizabeth XOXO

Baked Chicken Casserole

Keeping in the theme of easy, simple recipes, I want to share this family favorite!

This recipe was given to me by a special family friend. In fact, some of my best recipes I got from her. MaryAnn passed several years ago, which make the recipes I have of hers even more treasured.

You know a recipe is good when the recipe card looks like this!

Baked Chicken Casserole from Mary Ann Harris

I don’t use recipe cards anymore. I have my large collection all at my finger tips on my Cook’n program on my computer. There is something quite sentimental about recipe cards like this one and ones that are in my mother and grandmothers own handwriting though. I will always treasure those.

I have changed this recipe slightly over the years. Mostly just making it bigger for my large family.

If you love Thanksgiving, and especially the turkey stuffing, you will love this casserole! It is simple and has few ingredients. It is easy to put together. It is a true comfort food! Watch out though… it may leave you wanting pumpkin pie!

Baked Chicken Casserole

Servings 8

1 1/2-2 pounds cooked diced chicken Or turkey. Rotisserie Chicken is great for this
7 cups soft bread cubes
1 cup chopped celery
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup undiluted

Preheat oven to 350F. Sauté onion and celery in butter. Add seasonings and baking powder. Turn off heat. Stir in bread cubes.
Beat egg, add milk and broth. Mix with bread mixture. Stir in chicken. Put in a greased baking pan. Spread undiluted soup over top. Sprinkle with bread crumbs if desired.
Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 45. Remove foil and continue baking 10-15 minutes.

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DVO

I hope you enjoy this!

Elizabeth XOXO

Macaroni with Cheese with Hot Dogs

When I was a kid, my Mom was a single mom of two. Things were really tight. If she knew of food assistance she didn’t have it. She was the most amazing strong woman! I definitely got my skill of making something of nothing from her. She was so creative.

She made this recipe up and it became one of our all time favorites for dinner or even lunch.

It was requested at my house today for lunch so I decided to share it with you! I did really hesitate though….. Most people are very turned off by the name. Hot dogs in mac and cheese? Ewww. Yeah, it’s not a pretty dish. You gotta trust me on this though! Really, you do!

My kids, my husband and every daycare child I have had in thirty years has loved this stuff!

Give it a chance, try it out! I would love to hear how your kids liked it!

Enjoy!

Elizabeth XOXO

Macaroni and Cheese with Hot Dogs

Serves 6

Ingredients:

3 cups uncooked macaroni
1 package sliced hot dogs
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Directions:

Bring salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions. In the last 3 minutes of cooking, add sliced hot dogs. Drain. Return noodles and sliced hot dogs to the pan. Add tomato sauce, diced canned tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir in shredded cheddar cheese. Do not over stir.

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Something from Nothing, My Super Power!

These are tough times. We don’t all have all the things we need. Pantries are getting thin, money is tight or just flat out isn’t there. Things we’ve always taken for granted, such as toilet paper is nearly impossible to find.

It’s not as easy or wise to just grab something for dinner on the way home. It is time to really be smart with what we have.

The first step in doing that is KNOWING what we have! I went through my chest freezer and pantry and wrote every single thing down. Because I am super OCD about that kind of stuff I put it all in an Excel spreadsheet so that I can just click on “Poultry” and see all the chicken and turkey items I have to work with and which freezer it is in. Maybe that is little over the top but I am pretty excited about it!

Now that I know exactly what I have to work with I won’t be needlessly buying things I already have and will spend less time and money in the grocery store.

When we were first married we were really broke. Then we had three kids and we were really, really broke! We somehow managed to get the bills paid, most of the time, but there was never anything left for groceries. I learned very quickly how to make meals out of what I had or with a very small grocery list. It became my super power!!

You can make a meal if you have some kind of protein, a starch, a vegetable and then make a sauce to put it all together!

I am going to share some recipes with you for a while that are NOT fancy but are simple, easy, and inexpensive to make, with not many ingredients, and hopefully with things that you already have!

It’s good to be frugal, not just in tough times but good times as well. Use this time to create better habits, teach your kids to cook, bond over dinner and pray.

Here is my recipe for Shepherd’s Pie. Enjoy!


Shepherd’s Pie

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1 1/2 poundsground beef
1medium onion chopped
1 (10 3/4-ounce) cancream of mushroom soup
2 cansgreen beans drained
4(approximately) potatoes mashed (leftover mashed potatoes are great!)
dashblack pepper
dashsalt
1-2 cupsshredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:

Saute onion and beef. Drain. Stir in mushroom soup. Season with salt and pepper. Put in bottom of greased 9×13 baking dish. Put green beans on top of that….Spread mashed potatoes on top. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until hot. In last few minutes of baking, sprinkle with cheese and return to oven to let cheese melt.


DVO

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