Thursday, October 29, 2009

Do you love the Chicken & Gnocchi Soup at Olive Garden?

I just love the Chicken & Gnocchi Soup at Olive Garden.  I found a 3.3 lb box of Gnocchi during a recent trip to Sam's Club (yes, I actually went to Sam's because Paul has a membership).  That made me think it was time I found a way to make that soup.  I googled "Olive Garden Chicken & Gnocchi Soup" and found at least 30 recipes - some looked good, others did not.  I borrowed ideas from about 8 of them and came up with a recipe that I think came pretty darn close to Olive Garden's version.

2 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Pampered Chef Italian Seasoning
1 stick butter
6 cups chicken broth
1 quart Half & Half
2 stalks of celery (sliced in small thin pieces)
2 carrots (grated)
1 small zucchini (grated)
1 medium onion (diced)
1 garlic clove (minced)
3/4 cup flour (divided)
1 cup fresh spinach (chopped)
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste
16 oz potato gnocchi

Pour olive oil into a bowl and add Italian seasoning.  Stir and then add the chicken breasts.  Coat the chicken with the oil and seasoning and allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Place the chicken on a hot, greased grill pan over medium heat.  Season with salt and pepper and allow to cook undisturbed for five minutes.  Turn, season the other side and cook for an additional five minutes.  Turn the chicken again, turn the burner off and let the chicken sit for about three minutes.  Remove from heat.

Melt butter in a stock pot.  Saute the onion, celery, carrot, zucchini, and garlic over medium heat until the onion is translucent.  If you like your veggies crunchy, cook a little less.

Add the 1/2 cup flour and stir well.  Allow to cook until the flour has an almost nutty smell (about 1 1/2 mins).

Slowly add chicken stock while stirring constantly.  The flour mixture should help to thicken the chicken stock.  Stir remaining 1/4 cup flour into 1 cup of the Half & Half.  Pour into soup, and add the remaining Half & Half and then heat to boiling.

Add the thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.  I recommend undersalting.  This seems to become more salty as it cooks.

Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Add the chicken and gnocchi to the soup and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the spinach just before serving.  Allow to cook for 1 - 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted.

This really is sooooo good!  It is certainly worth the time it takes to slice, dice and grate all of the veggies.

Need some help with your slicing, dicing or grating?  Ask me for a Pampered Chef catalog.  The Pampered Chef Mandoline and 5" Utility Knife made quick work of this for me.  Oops, I almost forgot I used the Garlic Press too.

The whole family loved this!  Even the teenagers . . .

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Christmas Gift Ideas

There are lots of practical Pampered Chef gift ideas.  I would love to send you a flyer with all kinds of gift packages that will please any "chef".  Please send me an e-mail if you'd like to see it and I will e-mail it to you.    I tried to find a way to attach it to this post, but it just wouldn't work.  These are pretty, affordable, and unique ideas.

I'm still looking for followers of this blog.  Be one of the first five to follow and I'll send you a Pampered Chef Bar Board and Paring Knife.  Be sure to send your contact information to me at

Monday, October 26, 2009

Christian is 4 Months Old

Go to to see the video of Christian at 4 months.  He's quite the little chatter box.  His daddy got in trouble every day in Kindergarten and First Grade for talking in school.  From what I hear, his mommy liked to talk too.  I'm afraid this sweet little guy may just follow in Mom and Dad's footsteps.

He's so handsome though.  He'll probably charm his way into his teacher's heart.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Seasoned Oyster Crackers - A tasty fall snack

1 lb oyster crackers
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp garlic salt
1 pkg Italian salad dressing mix

Pour crackers in 9" x 13" pan.  Mix remaining ingredients together over low heat.  Pour over crackers and stir well.  Bake at 250 for 1 hour.  Stir every 15 minutes.  Store in an airtight container.

I like to double this recipe because it's gone in a hurry.

Burgers & Veggies - In the broiler or on the grill

Tear off one 12" x 18" sheet of aluminum foil for each desired serving.  In the center of each sheet, place the following ingredients in single portion servings:

1/3 lb hamburger patty, sliced onions, sliced or baby carrots, sliced potatoes, salt and pepper, 1/4 cup Cream of Mushroom soup, 1/4 cup water

Seal tightly in the aluminum foil and place on hot grill or under broiler for one hour.  Turn over after 1/2 hour so burger and veggies will cook evenly.  Remove from heat and serve.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Luke is 18!

How hard is that to believe?  Our little 4 1/2 lb preemie baby boy is officially an adult.  It hardly seems possible. He was such a cute little guy.  He's still cute, just not so little.

Just after dinner we let the dogs outside for a little bit.  They were barking like crazy and we just couldn't figure out why.  There were a couple of young ladies decorating our truck with balloons and painting "Happy Birthday Luke" on the windows.  I'm sure he is gonna love that!

We are very proud of Luke.  He does well in school and he's an awesome volleyball player.  I'm getting anxious for volleyball to start again.  He is usually pretty responsible, and, on occasion, he's nice to his sister.  What more can we ask for?  Luke also likes to spend time with his older brother working out.  He recently started a new job, and that keeps him very busy.  He got his first paycheck yesterday, so he's feeling pretty wealthy.

Happy Birthday Luke!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apple Dumplings - Fabulous dessert, but lots of work

I went to Sam's to do some shopping with my son Paul and daughter Emily.  We spent an hour and a half wondering through the store looking at food and Christmas decorations (Yikes!  Christmas will be here before we know it.).  I can tell it's fall - I'm hungry.

Karan's money saving tip for today - Don't shop when you're hungry.  But you already knew that.

Before I knew it, we had a cart full of stuff!  It was worth it though because we enjoyed each other's company and had a relaxing evening.  On the way home, we stopped to see Luke working at Taco Bell.  His manager actually sent him out to the dining room to make sure we had everything we wanted.  I think Luke was a little embarrassed, but happy to see us.

Paul told me he wants Katy to fix him some Apple Dumplings, so I promised I'd post the recipe here.  These are wonderful, but take quite a while to make.  They are worth the trouble, I promise.

4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Apples - sliced
Cinnamon sugar

Add milk to make a soft dough.  You do not want it sticky.
Roll out to 1/4" thick and cut into squares (about 4" x 4")
Fill each square with sliced apples and cinnamon sugar
Bring corners together and pinch dough to close tightly - do not leave any unclosed edges
Drop into boiling water and boil for 20 minutes

Serve hot topped with melted butter and cinnamon sugar.  YUMMY!

These freeze well to serve anytime.  Simply boil them and then let them cool.  Place in a Ziplock freezer bag and freeze.  Defrost when you're ready to serve them.  Warm in the microwave and then top with the butter and cinnamon sugar.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Quick & Easy Dinner Idea - Spaghetti Casserole

This recipe came from the grandmother of a close friend of mine.  She told me it was her "go-to" recipe when the grandkids were coming.  Grandmas always have the good stuff.

1 lb spaghetti
1/2 lb Velveeta
1 1/2 lb hamburger
2 tsp seasoning salt
1 medium onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
16 oz mozzarella cheese
1 large jar or 2 small jars of prepared spaghetti sauce (your choice - I like Prego Roasted Garlic & Herb)

Boil the spaghetti to al dente and drain.  Brown the hamburger with seasoning salt, onion, and garlic.  Drain.  Cut the Velveeta into cubes.  In a 9 x 13" baking dish, layer boiled spaghetti, 1/3 each of the Prego sauce, Velveeta, hamburger, and mozzarella cheese.  Repeat layering two more times.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350.

This is a dish my kids LOVED growing up.  It's gooey and cheesy - and who doesn't like spaghetti?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Finally had to move the plants inside - It's cold outside!

Luke and Eddie had some heavy lifting to do this weekend.  Old Man Cold Weather arrived a little early this year, so what's left of my plants had to move back indoors.  Several years ago we had so many plants there was little room to live in our house all winter.  We've pared that down significantly.  Winter indoors is more tolerable, but our outdoor living areas are not nearly as lush.  It's probably a fair trade off, but I have to admit.  I miss all the green.  

I checked all plants carefully, sprayed them with insecticidal soap, and cleaned each pot.  Some years ago we accidentally moved a hidden tree frog in with the plants.  We spent two weeks trying to figure out where the strange unidentifiable noise was coming from.  We really thought there was a bird chirping in the living room once the lights were turned off and everything was quiet.  Once the lights were on and we were in the living room all was quiet.  Imagine our surprise when one day we saw a cream colored frog on the side of a pot.  Mystery solved.  

Message to all -- check your plants and pots well before moving them inside after a summer outside.  You never know what could be hiding in them.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Overnight Sticky Buns - Perfect for a Special Breakfast

Need an idea for a special breakfast?  Have overnight company and really want to wow them?  Try these Overnight Sticky Buns and you're guaranteed to get rave reviews from your family and guests.

1 pkg (16 oz - 12 rolls) frozen dinner rolls, thawed according to package directions
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp Pampered Chef Korintje Cinnamon

Let thawed dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours or until doubled in size.  In small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup melted butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup.  Spread into a 9 x 13" pan.  Sprinkle with pecans; set aside.  Place remaining 1/4 cup melted butter in shallow dish.  In small bowl, combine granulated sugar and Korintje Cinnamon.  Stretch each ball of dough into a 10" rope.  Dip in butter; coat with cinnamon-sugar.  Roll dough into spiral and arrange in pan.  Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake at 350 for 18 - 20 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes before inverting onto serving platter.

Now for a couple of Karan's Kitchen Tips:

1.  I like to double this recipe and use my Pampered Chef Rectangular Baker  for baking.
2.  I use more butter and cinnamon sugar in the latter part of the recipe.
3.  Don't try to invert your pan - the gooey stuff runs all over the place.  The first time I made these I literally had sticky stuff all over my countertops and down the front of my lower cabinets.  My very compassionate and always supportive hubby grabbed the video camera instead of trying to help me stop the gooey sticky mess from running all over.  It's funny now, but it certainly was not funny then!
4.  Simply lift the sticky buns out of your baking dish with a spatula and place them on your serving plate.  Then pour the rest of the wonderful sticky gooey stuff over the top of your sticky buns.
5.  This is really good served with bacon or sausage and scrambled eggs.  Don't forget a large glass of orange juice.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Christian - Such a Joy

Pumpkin Cake - Oh, this is GOOD!

Maybe I'm just hungry today, but I have been thinking about Pumpkin Cake all day.  It's very moist and is a flavorful dessert.  I haven't met anyone yet who doesn't like this.

1 spice cake mix
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 - 24 oz can of pumpkin pie mix (not canned pumpkin)

Mix all ingredients together.  Beat well.  Pour into 9 x 13" pan and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

To frost, stir 1/2 cup of brown sugar into an 8 oz tub of Cool Whip and spread over cooled cake.

How easy is that?  Store this covered tightly in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Elsie's Cappuccino Mix

Another wonderful "warm you up" drink is Elsie's Cappuccino Mix.  Our last trip to Canada, Elsie Twietmeyer made this for us.  I just had to get her recipe.

1 cup instant coffee creamer
1 cup Nestle Quick chocolate drink mix
2/3 cup instant coffee crystals
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Combine ingredients,and mix well.  Store in an airtight container and keep in the freezer.

Hot Chocolate Mix

The weather is a little less than perfect this week.  It's just damp and cold.  Time to make the Hot Chocolate Mix.  This is kind of a tradition in our house.  The kids still look forward to it.  The recipe follows.  I usually triple this and it will last through the fall and winter, and there is enough to share with family and friends.

1 - 8 quart box of powdered milk
1 - 22 oz jar of creamer
1 - 2 lb box of Nestle Quick
2 cups of powdered sugar
(I like to add about 1/4 cup of instant coffee crystals for some extra flavor.)

Mix together.  Stir well and store in an airtight container.

Stir three heaping teaspoons of mix with hot water in a coffee mug.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Beethoven & Belle Get Their Halloween Costumes

We have two pretty spoiled "babies" in our house - Beethoven and Belle - two Chihuahuas who are both about a year old.  To say they are part of the family is an understatement.  They may be spoiled, but we love them and they bring lots of laughter and joy to our home.  

Tonight I took Emma to buy a Halloween costume for her upcoming Halloween night at the high school.  While there I saw costumes for dogs and just simply couldn't resist.

Beethoven is a bumble bee and Belle is a fairy.  Neither one is very happy!  I couldn't get any kisses for at least two hours after we put the costumes away.  Who knew they would hold a grudge???

Here they are on a normal day.  Just two happy puppies enjoying a sunny fall day.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It's Getting Cool Outside - Karan's Clam Chowder

I tried something entirely new tonight.  I’ve been going through an “I want to try something different” phase.  During my Thursday night shopping escapade, I though I might like to try Clam Chowder.  I had never tried it in my life.  I bought two 6 oz cans of clams, on 8 oz bottle of clam juice, and one quart of half and half.  I assumed those three ingredients would have me well on my way to Clam Chowder.  Hmmmm.

I googled Clam Chowder and found hundreds of recipes online.  None by itself sounded very good to me, so I took an idea or two from several recipes and created a new recipe of my own.  We had it for dinner tonight, and it was good.  I was really pleasantly surprised. 

½ lb of bacon (fried)
2 Tbsp butter
½ tsp each oregano, thyme, basil, and rosemary
¼ tsp each marjoram, dill weed, and sage
1 tsp parsley
1 large onion (coarsely chopped)
½ lb baby carrots (sliced thin)
4 stalks celery (sliced thin)
3 medium potatoes (diced)
Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
¼ cup flour
1 – 14 oz can of chicken stock
1 – 8 oz bottle of clam juice
1 quart of Half & Half
2 – 6 oz cans of diced clams

Fry the bacon in a deep 12” skillet.  Remove bacon and drain on paper towel.
Wash and cut vegetables while bacon fries. 
Add butter to bacon grease, and then add all spices
Add all veggies and cook for 15 – 20 minutes (stirring frequently)
Add sea salt and fresh ground cracked pepper to taste
Stir in the flour and cook while stirring for three minutes
Pour in chicken stock slowly while stirring (mixture will the thick)
Pour in clam juice and drain the juice from the canned clams into the pan too
Bring to a slow boil and allow veggies to cook until tender (about 10 mins)
Slowly stir in the Half & Half
Crumble the bacon and add to the pan
Pour in the diced clams
Heat until boiling

Serve with browned dinner rolls. 

This was good – I don’t have a Clam Chowder reference point – but it does have the key ingredients.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Spicy Pineapple Rum Cheese Block

This is guaranteed to be a hit at your next family get together or party.  It is elegant, yet very simple.

Place one 8 oz block of cream cheese on a serving plate (the Pampered Chef Cracker Tray works well)
Pour 1/2 jar of Pampered Chef Spicy Pineapple Rum Sauce of the top of the cream cheese
Surround with Triscuits or a cracker of your choice

Your guests will dip their Triscuit into your cream cheese and sauce to serve themselves.



This is a twist on regular Guacamole.  It's a great game day or party recipe to serve with Tostitos.

3 avocados (make sure they aren't too soft or rock hard - they should give a little to your touch)
1 package of Tostitos Guacamole seasoning (It's in the chip aisle at Dierbergs)
1 - 16 oz container of Wild for Mild Salsa (It's in the produce dept at Dierbergs)

Use the Pampered Chef Avocado Peeler to peel and dice the avocados.  Place them in a bowl and mash them with a fork.  Strain the liquid from the salsa and let sit for a few minutes.  Stir the seasoning packet into the mashed avacados and mix well.  Pour in the salsa and stir.  Chill for one hour to let the flavors combine.  Serve with Tostitos.

Yum!  People always rave about this.

A Night of Shopping Has Me Worn Out

After a full day at work, followed by an evening of grocery shopping, I'm pretty tired.  It was 9:00 by the time Emma and I got back from the two "Save $10 Stores", got all of the groceries put away, and fixed dinner.  That left me thinking tonight about some of the kitchen shortcuts I use.  Have you ever checked out the seasoning packets in the Produce and Spice sections of the grocery store?

There are times when I feel really organized and I get my meals planned for a week.  I wish that were the rule and not the exception, but it happens sometimes.  When it does, I usually plan a slow cooker meal that I can "plop" in the crock pot in the morning and have ready to eat when I get home from work.  McCormick makes two of my favorite flavoring packets to use in the crock pot.  They are the "BBQ Pulled Pork" and the "Beef Stew".  Look for them on your next shopping trip.  You'll find them in the spice aisle.  Oh . . . they are soooo good!  The whole family will love them and there isn't much else to do to get dinner on the table.

Check back tomorrow night for a couple of game day recipes to serve to your friends and family during the football game.  Football food is a highlight in our family!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Quick Money Saving Tip

For those of us living in the St. Louis area, we have a great way to save money on our weekly grocery bill just by shopping on Thursdays most weeks.  For the last several months, Food For Less and Shop and Save (two local grocery chains) have been offering $10 off your grocery purchase of $50 or more almost every Thursday.  Shop and Save doesn't even require a coupon.  They simply deduct $10 from your total.  Food For Less usually requires the coupon from the ad.

Each week I shop in both stores and take advantage of their weekly specials.  I use the manufacturers coupons that I have for products I need to purchase, and get the $10 savings in each store.  We typically budget $100/week for groceries so this really works well for us.  Both stores double coupons up to 40 cents.  With a little bit of homework lots of money can be saved.

Don't forget to check the ads of the other stores.  I take advantage of their weekly specials on other days of the week as time allows.

The Cheesy Potatoes to go with the Garlic Chicken

These are a family favorite - great comfort food when the weather starts to get a little chilly.

The trick to these potatoes is to start with frozen southern style hash brown potatoes.  I've tried starting with fresh potatoes or using shredded hash browns, but they just don't turn out as well.  Those tend to get kind of mushy.

1 - 32 oz  bag of hash browns
4 oz melted butter
1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken with Herbs soup
12 oz sour cream
Salt & Pepper to taste
8 oz of Mild Cheddar or Colby Cheese

Place all ingredients in the rectangular baker.  Stir well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bake at 350 for one hour.   Mmmm Good!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday's Recipe - Garlic Chicken

The weather was just plain dreary today.  The wind has picked up and the temperature is falling.  That's why I decided to fix a comfort supper for my family.  We all love garlic chicken.

2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts  (I like to cut each breast in half)
Place chicken breasts in a greased 9 x 9" baking dish
Sprinkle the breasts lightly with seasoned salt and pepper (I like Lawry's)
Peel six large cloves of garlic using the Pampered Chef Garlic Peeler
Use the Pampered Chef Garlic Slicer the slice the garlic over the chicken
Slice six stalks of celery into bite-sized pieces and place over the chicken
Lightly salt the celery
Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes

This is an awesome flavorful chicken dish.  We love it served with Cheesy Potatoes (check back tomorrow for that recipe) and a tossed Italian salad.  Using the Pampered Chef Garlic Peeler and Slicer makes this dish lots more appealing because my hands no longer smell like garlic for a week after making it.  You really need to check these out!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday Recipe - Apple Crisp

This is a recipe that I learned at one of the first Pampered Chef parties I attended in the early 1980s.

Peel and slice 10 apples using the apple peeler/corer
Place them into the rectangular baker
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and a little bit of nutmeg
Sprinkle with brown sugar
Spread one dry yellow cake mix evenly over the top
Melt one stick of butter and drizzle evenly over the top of the cake mix
Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes or until top is golden brown

This is awesome!  And, it's a great way to use up some of those fall apples.

I Saved Myself A Bundle

I have been looking for a new dining room set forever, and haven't been able to find one that I like that will fit in the space we have (oh, and one we can afford).  Finally, after looking in store after store, I decided to buy a quart of black epoxy paint and paint my Windsor chairs and the legs of my oblong table.  We always keep a table cloth on the table, so I didn't see a reason to paint the top.  What a transformation!  It looks fantastic!

Eddie and I spent Sunday afternoon painting while listening to the Rams game.  Ugh!  What a bad day to be a Rams fan!  I got black paint all over my Rams T-shirt, hair, hands and face.  I had streaks across my face and looked like I had cat whiskers.  Ordinarily, I"d say, "no big deal", but I found out when I tried to wash it off, IT DIDN'T WASH OFF!  Thank God, I didn't have to work on Monday.  I scrubbed and scrubbed my skin until it was red and irritated.  I even tried nail polish remover.  No luck.  I wasn't about to try mineral spirits or gasoline (both were suggested).  Fortunately, after my shower this morning, most of the black paint is gone.

I took a vacation day today with plans to get my yard and house ready for winter.  All I really got done was playing with Christian, my grandson.  I can't resist his handsome smile and his chatter.  I love it when he talks to me.  He didn't even make fun of my cat whiskers (most of which were gone by the end of the day).

I can't wait to have you see the transformation of the dining room!  What a difference a quart of paint can make.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Isn't he just the cutest little guy?

Time For Dessert - Oreo Cookie Bars

This is such a simple and quick recipe.  And the best part . . . everybody loves it!

1 package of Oreo Cookies and 1/3 cup of butter (melted)
Crush the cookies and mix with the butter.  Press into a 9 x 13" pan.

Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips with 1 can of sweetened condensed milk.  Pour over the crumbs.

Sprinkle one cup of chocolate chips over the top.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

It's rich, but it's "delish"!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday's Recipe - Garlic Bites

This is a very simple recipe that pairs well with a pot of chili or potato soup, or with your pasta and salad dinner.  Give it a try.  It will definitely fall into your "comfort food" category.  It comes from The Pampered Chef collection.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a 12" ovenproof skillet.

Mince two cloves of garlic into the pan and sprinkle with 2 tsp of Pampered Chef Italian Seasoning Mix.

Cut 2 packages (10.2 oz) grand-size refrigerated biscuits into quarters.  Arrange biscuit pieces in pan and sprinkle with additional Italian seasoning.  I like to sprinkle a little bit of garlic salt on top too.

Bake for 18 - 22 minutes or until lightly brown.

Soooo good!

An Early Christmas Gift

Today was a very trying day at work.  But coming home and unpacking my new Pampered Chef cookware quickly helped me leave the frustrations of the day behind.  Thanks to an early Christmas gift from my mom and dad, I am the proud owner of twelve pieces of titanium reinforced hard-anodized aluminum cookware with an interior and exterior DuPont Autograph2 nonstick coating.  They are a breeze to clean up - nothing sticks to them.  They have silicone handles,so they are ovenproof to 400°.  I just love them!

I can't wait to use all of the pieces.  Take a look at the cookware on my website and you'll see why I'm so excited.  My cooking life is perfect!!!  I almost can't wait for Thanksgiving.  I say "almost" - I'm not ready for cold weather yet.

Thanks Mom & Dad - this is the best gift ever.

Do you like to save money?

I can't tell you how much money I save by using coupons.  It takes some discipline and a system, but anybody can do it.  

First, you have to find the coupons.  I suggest signing up on websites of brands you buy and stores you shop.  You'll receive coupons by e-mail and announcements of specials in the days to come.    Buy a Sunday paper and you'll find lots of coupons almost every week.  Get yourself a file box with about 25 dividers.  Label your dividers by category - Dairy, Meat, Prepared Foods, Veggies, Fruit, Salad, etc. . .  Every Sunday night I cut out the current week's coupons while watching Iron Chef on Food Network (of course).  Then, I sort through the entire box and throw away the expired coupons before I file the new coupons.

Second, study the store ads (department and grocery stores).  Get the most for your money by using coupons to buy items when they are on sale.  I like to get multiple copies of the same coupon and then stock up on items when they are on sale.  To tell you the truth, if you really pay attention and use the "Register Rewards" at the grocery stores and at Walgreens, you may never pay for things like toothpaste, toothbrushes, and soap again.  You'll be surprised at how quickly your savings will add up.

Third, watch for rebates.  I take the time to buy the required items, save the required proof of purchase seals,  and then mail in the items required.  I usually use coupons to purchase the items when they are on sale, and then send in the rebate requirements.  Often, I wind up making money on rebates.

Be smart - do your homework - SAVE MONEY!