Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Big List of Freezer Meals

Here's a big list of a bunch of freezer meals I've made over the years, categorized.

Chicken & Turkey
Baked Slow Cooker Chicken (My plan is to wash and season the chicken before I freeze)
Classic turkey chili
Smokey turkey & bean chili

Oven baked chicken fajitas (trying pork here)
Pineapple pork
Orange chicken (but I sub pork loin)
Applesauce BBQ chicken (I sub pork here too)

Italian Pot Roast

Pizza & Calzones


Vegetarian & Seafood

Soups & Stews
Homemade cream soup mix
Tuscan white bean soup (will add ham)

Snacks, Sides & Pantry
Hot chocolate mix {I leave out the powdered milk because I cook it with milk instead of water}
Lentil basmati pilaf
Pinto beans

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What I Did on My Spring Break

We took a trip to Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina last week.  Here are a few pictures.

A Waterfall at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Biltmore House

Mammoth Caves National Park

The Cumberland River

The Dupont Lodge, Cumberland Falls State Park, Kentucky

Monday, April 21, 2014

Beans And Rice Around The World

I'm such a lucky frugal lady.  My entire family loves beans and rice.  If you ask my DS what his favorite thing is that I cook, he'll tell you right away: beans and rice.  To tell you the truth though, I was getting tired of the same old thing, so I've been trying quite a few different recipes this year.

Beans and rice is pretty easy, and usually I make the beans in the crockpot.  I also like to incorporate a few types into my freezer cooking for those days when I can't think 8 hours ahead.

We like to vary the types of rice we use, and I'll let the kids add toppings such as sour cream or cheese.  If I happen to see some at a good price, I'll pick up some tortilla chips, but they're not a must.  We like fruit salad or carrot sticks on the side.

Here are our faves:

Sweet and sour beans (I serve with yellow rice.  When cooking I use whatever beans I have & cut way back on the sugar.)
Slow cooker red beans and rice
Cuban black beans over rice
Italian beans and rice
Southern ham and beans

What's your favorite way to eat beans and rice?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fitness Friday -- My Favorite Recipes From Cooking Light

My goal this year is to simply stay in my size 8 jeans through exercise and eating well.  My exercise of choice is walking.  I also love to swim when I have access to a pool (or a lake, or an ocean.)  I love to eat healthy foods, but don't always devote the time I should to preparing them.

This week for Fitness Friday I wanted to share a few of my favorites from Cooking Light magazine with you.

Creamy Four-Cheese Macaroni -- This is for when you really want to splash out -- it's not cheap if you buy all of the cheeses. It's been our "holiday" mac n cheese for years.

Herbed Chicken Piccata -- This one's great if you want to make every day dinner a little fancy. Note -- you must love lemons.

All-American Chili -- This is a great, basic chili recipe.

Superfast Salisbury Steak -- This is superfast but I make it even superfaster by pre-making the meat patties and freezing them.

Berry French Toast -- I discovered this when I was on maternity leave and had no food in the house except some stale bread and some berries that I had frozen. This recipe is very forgiving in terms of types of berries used.

Breakfast Tortilla Strata -- Despite the name, we eat this more for dinner than breakfast. It also freezes well, unbaked. just defrost and skip the it sit for 8 hours step before baking.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

This is probably my most favorite examples of transforming leftovers.  First I made yogurt in my crockpot using milk that was about to go bad.  I strained a what was left of my yogurt after the kids had gotten their fill to make my own Greek yogurt.  The liquid that came off is called the whey, and I saved that in a jar in my fridge for no apparent reason other than it seemed like a good idea and I had a clean jar.  That night I was reading Make the Bread, Buy the Butter and I came across a bagel recipe that suggested using that very same whey I had in my fridge.  Kismet!  The result was the best bagels I have ever made.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

3 1/2 C all purpose flour
4 t vital wheat gluten
1 T cinnamon
4 1/2 t yeast (2 packets)
5 T sugar
1 t salt
1 1/2 C whey, warmed to 110-120 degrees
1 C raisins
2 T brown sugar
Cornmeal for dusting the pan

In the bowl of a mixer combine flour, gluten, cinnamon, yeast, sugar, and salt.  Add the whey and beat for a few minutes.  Use the mixer to knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding the raisins towards the end.  If the mixture seems too wet, add some more flour, just a bit at a time.

Place the dough in a greased bowl.  Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and bring a large pot of water to boil.  Grease one cooking sheet and sprinkle another with corn meal.  When the water comes to a rolling boil add the brown sugar.

Deflate the dough and separate it into 8 pieces.  Form each piece into a bagel shape by making a ball then making a whole in the center.  Let the bagels rest on the oiled sheet for 10 minutes.

Boil each bagel, one minute on each side.  You can do about three at a time depending on the size of your pot.  Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and let them dry for a minute on the oiled sheet.

Move the bagels to the pan with the cornmeal on it.  Bake for 35-30 minutes or until golden brown.

To freeze, let cool, wrap individually. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Treat Ideas

We're going out this year, but here are a few things I've made in the past for Easter treats that you might enjoy.

Italian Easter Bread

Fresh Fruit Tart With Gingersnap Crust

Pretzel Bread

Happy Easter everyone!