Tuesday, September 30, 2014

20 Freezer Meals in One Afternoon!


Late summer into fall means one thing in our household - Football Season!  Our 9 year old son plays travel football, and our schedule pretty much revolves around his practices and games.  We're with the team 5 days a week.  Add that to my busy school schedule (I'm in my second semester of nursing school) and that equals not much time for cooking.  Unfortunately that means we've been eating out way more than we should, and our budget (and waistlines!) are suffering.  

So I decided to make a bunch of freezer meals (mostly for the crockpot) that will be ready and waiting for us when we get home from practice at 7:30pm.  I scoured a ton of links on Pinterest and came up with this selection that fits our family's tastes pretty well!

A quick note - we don't have any particular dietary preferences and I've got no problems with canned cream soups/powdered seasoning mixes and the like.  So you'll find that sort of stuff in these recipes.  I'm sure if you don't want to use them you can find alternatives on Pinterest.  :)

From Mommy's Fabulous Finds: 

From New Leaf Wellness

From Creme de la Crumb
Cream Cheese Taquitos

From Give Me Some Oven
Teriyaki Chicken

From Growing to Four
Creamy Ranch Pork Chops

From The Crockin' Girls
Sausage Vegetable Casserole

My own recipes
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Chicken Enchiladas (only non-slow cooker recipe!)

I doubled all the recipes, so that's 20 dinners total!  Not bad for a couple hours' work and around $200!  Here's my grocery list - I probably could have lowered my bill if I'd shopped around a bit more.

Meat
34 chicken breasts (approx. 10 lbs. - I bought a big bag of frozen breasts from Costco)
Rotisserie chicken
2 pork tenderloins, 1-2 lbs. each
2 bags meatballs
2 kielbasa or other smoked sausages
6-8 pork chops (approx. 3 lbs.)

Veg/Fruit
5 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes (or whatever potato you prefer)
4 red bell peppers
2 onions (I used Vidalia)
3" ginger root
2 bags frozen mixed veg
2 limes
2 cans pineapple chunks
1 jar (16ish oz.) chunky applesauce
10 cloves garlic

Dairy
Milk
4 pkg. cream cheese
5 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Spices/Seasonings
2 packets dry Italian dressing mix
2 packets dry Ranch dressing mix
chili powder
garlic powder
cumin
salt
pepper

Other
4 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans cream of celery soup
2 cans cheddar cheese soup
8 oz. peanut butter
1 can vegetable broth
13 oz. soy sauce
2 bottles sweet and sour sauce (I use Kikkoman)
16 oz. bottle BBQ sauce
2 - 10 ct. packages 8" flour tortillas
2 large or 4 small cans red enchilada sauce
16 oz. honey
4 oz. rice wine vinegar
16 oz. peach jam

As far as workflow, I started with the enchiladas start to finish, and then did all of the bagged meals.  I made the sauces first, then diced the potatoes/peppers/onions and added to bags, and finally added the meat.  Start to finish, with a short break to pick the kids up from school, it took me around 3 hours to make everything.  Pretty simple process, really!

I'm really looking forward to trying these meals - some we've had before, some are new to us.  And I'm definitely looking forward to less stressful dinner times!




Sunday, June 22, 2014

Garlic Asiago Cream Sauce

I made this sauce to go with lobster ravioli.  It turned out amazing!  The kids were raving about it all night.  :)

1 stick butter
6 cloves (1T) minced garlic
4T flour
2 c. Chicken stock
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 c. White wine
1/2 c. Shredded asiago cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in saucepan, sauté garlic for a few minutes.  Whisk in flour and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add chicken stock and cook until slightly thickened.  Add cream and wine and reduce for 15-20 min. Stir in Asiago and season with salt/pepper to taste.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

HIMYM Sumbitch Cookies

From http://greatideas.people.com/2013/09/24/the-mother-of-all-recipes-himyms-peanut-butter-chocolate-caramel-cookies/



















1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
36 bite-size chocolate-covered caramel candy bars

1. Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until blended.
2. Stir together flour and next 2 ingredients in a small bowl. Add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Cover and chill 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape a 2 tbsp. dough around each mini candy bar, using lightly floured hands, and roll into balls. Place 3 inches apart on ungreased or parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
4. Bake for 13 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Crockpot Sweet Garlic Chicken


Saw this recipe on Facebook - posting here so I can Pin it! This recipe is so good - tastes kind of like sesame chicken!

Ingredients:
4-6 chicken breasts
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1/4 cup lemon-lime soda (diet or regular)
2-3 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 Tablespoons corn starch
2 Tablespoons water
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions: Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken (frozen, thawed or fresh) inside slow cooker. Mix together brown sugar, vinegar, soda, garlic, soy sauce, and pepper together. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. Take chicken pieces out of slow cooker (mine basically fell apart) and pour remaining sauce into saucepan. Place saucepan over high heat. Mix together corn starch and water, pour into saucepan, and mix well. Let sauce come to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to thicken and turns into a glaze. Remove from heat and let sit for a minute or two (it will continue to thicken as it cools down). Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top if desired. This can be served over rice or noodles, I also like it with a baked potato on the side (It's good on top of the potato too!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sausage/Vegetable Risotto



(not my picture, taken from brigitte.de)

1 lb. garlic Italian sausage links, cut into 1" pieces
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups uncooked arborio or long grain white rice
4-6 cups chicken broth
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 bag frozen mixed veg, thawed (I just microwave for a little less time than called for)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. butter
Salt to taste

Preparation:

In large skillet, cook sausage pieces and water over medium heat until water evaporates and sausage pieces are well browned, about 7-9 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add olive oil to drippings in skillet. Add rice; cook until rice is slightly toasted, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place broth and pepper in a medium saucepan and warm over low heat. When rice is toasted, add broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, and cook and stir until liquid is absorbed. Keep going until the rice is al dente.

If you like a thicker risotto, add less broth; if you like it thinner and soupier, add more broth. Then add sausage and veg; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes until veg are hot. Stir in cheese, butter, and salt to taste, then remove from heat, cover, and let stand 4 minutes. Stir again and serve immediately. Serves 4-6

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Brown Butter, Bacon & Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
4 oz semisweet chocolate bar, diced into 1/4" pieces
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chops (I like Ghirardelli 60% cacao)
3 tablespoons milk chocolate, grated
1 cup bacon that's been fried until crispy and diced into roughly 1/4" pieces

Adjust your oven rack so it's in the middle position. Pre-heat to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk flour and baking soda together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Heat 10 tablespoons of butter in a 10 inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly. Watch this carefully - butter can go from brown to burned very quickly. When butter is dark-golden brown and has a nutty aroma, remove from heat and immediately transfer to a heatproof bowl. Stir the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into hot butter until melted.

Add granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until completely mixed. Add egg and egg yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth and there are no lumps of sugar remaining.

Let sugar/egg/butter mixture stand for a few minutes. Then whisk again for 30 seconds. Do this several times - you want to make sure that the sugar has "melted" into the liquid. When ready, mixture will be smooth, thick and shiny.

Using wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in grated chocolate, chocolate chunks, chocolate chips and bacon pieces. Don't overmix but make sure no flour pockets remain.

Using a teaspoon, place a heaping teaspoon of cookie dough on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I get about 14 on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-14 minutes (my oven takes 11 minutes) until cookies are golden-brown and set along the edges but the middle is still soft. Remove from oven and set baking sheet on a wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Chicken Lasagna Casserole

Start to finish: 45 minutes (20 minutes active)

Servings: 8

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella

16-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry and diced (about 2 cups)

1 egg

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks

1-1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat an 8-by-11-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, red peppers, egg, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add all of the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. It does not need to cook through. Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking pan. Pour the cheese mixture over the chicken, then stir gently to combine.

In a small bowl, mix together the panko and butter. Sprinkle the panko over the chicken, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are browned and the chicken is cooked through.


Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 330 calories; 110 calories from fat (33 percent of total calories); 12 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 145 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrate; 39 g protein; 1 g fiber; 690 mg sodium.