Category: Recipes

Beginning Our Chest Freezer Journey

Peter and I recently bought a seven cubic foot chest freezer!! I am so incredibly excited about this purchase! It is going to make my life easier in so many ways. We bought it just a week ago and I’m already feeling less stressed. Putting a chest freezer in our house is allowing me to do monthly shopping trips instead of weekly. This is huge, as I live 20 minutes away from our grocery store. It also allows me to buy meat in bulk which saves tons of time and tons of money.

In a month and a half I am getting my first 40 pounds shipment of chicken breasts from Zaycon fresh. It’ll be about three months worth of chicken for my family. (We eat chicken just about every other day.) Once the chicken comes then I will do another post explaining how I have divided that. It’s already planned, but things may change.

I also plan on getting 20 pounds of shrimp from Zaycon in the summer. That will be about a year’s worth of shrimp for my family. All meats that I can buy in bulk will make my monthly shopping trips that much easier. Here is the plan for my monthly shopping trips:

1st of all, my Brother-In-Law works at a grocery store and told me that the first full week of the month is usually when the best deals are. So, that’s when I’ll be aiming to make my trips, on either a Saturday or Sunday morning. I want to get there early enough to beat the weekend crowd. Plus when I return from shopping I’ll still have the whole day ahead of me to do freezer meals, prepare fruits and veggies, etc.

Obviously I need to meal plan for the whole month. I figure I’ll plan 6 meals a week. The 7th day I’ll leave open for either visiting, eating out or eating up leftovers. (Usually most our leftovers get eaten for lunch.)

A couple months ago our town got a Dollar General. So, I don’t plan on getting a whole month’s worth of milk, eggs, bread, etc. because I can do weekly mini trips to DG. And I actually prefer to do mini weekly trips for such things to save money. Because most Saturdays DG has a spend $25 get $5 off coupon. Or if I don’t have that much to spend I usually have a $3 off $15 coupon for doing a survey after my last visit. It also saves money because I use Ibotta to get cash back and they will renew coupons after a week. So, for example, usually I can get $0.25 back for a single loaf of bread a week. So it makes more sense to buy one or two loaves a week than 6 in the beginning of the month, because I’ll get $1 back instead of a quarter.

I’ve done many freezer meals over the past month or so and I plan to blog about those soon. But in the meantime here are some links I’ve found helpful:

When deciding to purchase our chest freezer I realized people either love chest freezers or hate them! And the biggest complaint (by far) of those that hate them is that they become so unorganized, you don’t know what’s in it, can’t find what you want, etc. Obviously our chest freezer is new, perhaps I’ll have these complaints myself in a year. But for now I’ve kept an organized inventory list of what is in our chest freezer. A page with the freezer meals listed, a page with fruits listed, a page with vegetables listed, I’m sure I’ll have a page of meats that aren’t yet made into meals listed, snacks, etc. once I fill it more.

I’m glad I’m doing this right from the start with my chest freezer instead of waiting until it becomes messy. This way, writing things down as I put them in, crossing them off the list as I take them out is habit! I organize my listings like this: Date. Item. Number of items in tally form. So I have an entry that looks like this:

2/14/18: Sandwich bag of blueberries: 111

When I use a bag, I cross off a tally. When I use the last bag, I cross the line out.

I also keep everything in reusable grocery bags. I use the same categories I use for my inventory pages. In fact the top of every inventory page reminds me of what the reusable bag looks like that I will find these items in. Ex: Chicken freezer meals: Blue Walmart bag.

I’m so excited to continue this freezer meal journey and hope to have more tips to share soon!!




Easiest Dinner Ever: Chicken Cordon Bleu Wraps

This is seriously one of the easiest dinners I’ve ever made for my family and truly tastes like I picked it up from a restaurant. All you need is:

A pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces

About half a cup of miracle whip

About 2 tablespoons of mustard

About 1 tablespoon of honey

Tortilla shells

Deli ham

Cheese of your choice  (Swiss would be more Cordon Bleu like but we prefer mozzarella) Shredded, slices…. whatever, it doesn’t matter

Your favorite vegetables

Cook chicken in miracle with honey and mustard. Microwave the tortilla shells with deli ham on top, just to warm them. Top with chicken, cheese and veggies.




Dish to Pass Season

Tis the season!! Thanksgiving is later this month and then various holiday activities will fill up our calendar for the rest of the year.


In our families, my sister is the hostess for most gatherings on my side of the family. Peter’s parents host gatherings for his side. We also gather there for football every Sunday. In attempt to not feel completely useless, we do try to contribute to the food being offered. But, let’s face it, I am lazy… so I try to volunteer easy dishes. Here are some winners we’ve done in the past:

Appetizers:

This super easy pizza dip was a big hit at last year’s small Christmas gathering. And I do love anything that can be made in a crock pot!

I have not made these 3 ingredient meatballs in a long time. But they are literally the easiest dish anyone can bring. They used to be what I brought to every single gathering, in recent years I’ve branched out only to show I’m capable of cooking something besides meatballs. Now that I’ve proven myself, I may go back to this for this year’s festivities because they were so yummy and I miss them!

Sides:

This Nacho Grande Soup was my contribution to last year’s extended family Christmas. It didn’t last long. If I make again I will be making a double batch. Super yummy!

I’ve made this as a side dish for my own family but it’s certainly easy enough to make multiple batches and bring to share with a big crowd. Asparagus Crescent Rolls would be a welcome addition to the Thanksgiving table in my book!

Desserts:

Halloween this year proved particularly challenging as children at our gathering had allergies to peanut butter, chocolate and cheese. So I said I’d bring apple crisp, and when I went to make it realized I had no oats… I found this oat free recipe and turns out, Peter and I prefer our apple crisp without oats!

Had I not had such rigorous restrictions on my Halloween dish to pass this year I probably would have made last year’s Thanksgiving contribution, peanut butter cheesecake truffles. They’re a little messy, but very worth it.

A drink:

Just for good measure, in case you want to bring ingredients to play bartender, here’s my husband’s creation he calls Cuban Missile Crisis.

Do you have a signature dish to pas or like to experiment with new stuff every time?




Easy Taco Loaf

Since my last meatloaf turned out so well, I decided to try something new again. I did this recipe a couple months ago and Peter has requested it every week or two since then. And as always it’s super easy, just get:

1/2 packet taco seasoning

1 egg

1 pound ground turkey

1/2 cup baby oatmeal (if you aren’t trying to get rid of a bunch of baby oatmeal, substitute bread crumbs and you’ll be just fine.)

1/3 cup of salsa

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Then shape into a loaf and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. When 10 minutes remains, pour the salsa on.




We Love Muffins

Picky pants Lucille has been on a muffin kick lately, so though I’ve never been a baker, I’ve been brave and tried a few recipes. We’ve loved them, so I thought I’d share.

In addition to the massive amounts of leftover baby oatmeal I have from my struggles of trying to get Lennon to eat solids, I have some pureed baby food stashed away too. I don’t think they’ll save until baby #3 is ready for solids, and even if they did, I’m planning to do 100% baby led weaning next time around, so… my first attempt at muffins were these baby food muffins. It says to use pureed fruit but I do fruits and veggies. One of the only ways I can get Lucille to eat veggies. These have been her favorite muffins so far! Which is great because I’m sure they’re the healthiest. Though I’m now out of baby food… but I’m sure I can just puree my own stuff up and substitute it.

For Easter I made these SUPER delicious Maple Mixed Berry Muffins!! I loved them. One tip: When she says to coat the muffin pan with non stick spray, do it! Don’t do what I did and just stick in some paper liners. you’ll loose a lot of good muffin that way!

Peter’s favorite of my muffin attempts has been these Berry-Smash Muffins that I made when I bought too many strawberries.

Also, not muffins, but we baked these Oatmeal cookies about a month ago and they were super good too! And easy. And per usual I substituted some of the oats with baby oatmeal.




Lemon Honey Rosemary Ham And Veggies

In case you read this post about my glaze I made for ham steak and thought my cooking couldn’t get lazier… here I am to prove you wrong. I included veggies in this recipe so I didn’t have to cook them separately. All I used was:

  • Honey
  • Lemon Rosemary Seasoning
  • Ham Steak
  • Bag of Cauliflower and Broccoli

I preheated the oven to 350, and dumped the veggies into a casserole dish, sprinkling them with lemon rosemary seasoning. Then I put the ham on top and squirted a bit of honey on the ham, spreading it evenly on the top of the steak. Sprinkled the ham with the same seasoning and baked it for 15-20 minutes. Then I stirred the veggies, flipped the ham, and covered the other side with honey and lemon rosemary seasoning. Baked another 15-20 minutes. All done.




Buffalo Chicken Salad

1st of all, I never want to have salad as a main course. If I’m being honest, I usually don’t even want salad as an appetizer. But that’s largely because of my hatred for iceberg lettuce… still, even with romaine or spinach, it’s unlike me to make salad into a meal. But I went a little crazy buying veggies so I thought I’d try it one night. Peter didn’t seem excited and I wasn’t either. But surprisingly both of us loved it and Peter agreed I need to make this dinner more often. I used:

8 oz fresh romaine lettuce

1 peeled and cubed cucumber

1 cubed red pepper

1 cubed tomato

4 oz cubed mozzarella cheese

3/4 pound of cubed chicken

a couple squirts of Sweet Baby Ray’s Creamy Buffalo Dipping Sauce

I squirted the dipping sauce into a frying pan and cooked the chicken in it. Combined everything else in a bowl and then dumped the chicken and tiny bit of extra sauce right in. I thought about adding some dressing, but honestly, it was totally unnecessary. And this made SO MUCH salad. We had a lot leftover. So feel free to cut back the amounts I used… or just feed more people with it.

I think my next family function I’m going to volunteer to make this and people can eat it as an appetizer. Yum!

 




Super Easy Ham Steak

Growing up I loved ham. As an adult I loved it even more. Because ham steaks are so easy and quick to cook, plus they take up almost no room in your fridge or freezer! But, I think I’ve been lazy and resorted to them too many times because… I’ve become rather bored of ham. So I tried to spice it up with different seasonings. It turned out great, so I’m writing it down so I remember what I did. All I used was:

Equal part honey and dijon mustard

Lemon pepper seasoning

A Ham Steak

I mixed the honey and mustard, made just enough to spread on the ham steak. THen I seasoned it and baked it as normal… which for me is about 15 minutes at 350, flip it, and another 15 minutes.




Brown Sugar Asparagus

This recipe literally could not be any easier. Or tastier. Sure, it takes a healthy vegetable and makes it… not healthy… but, I’m going to be making it again anyways! All you need is:

About a pound of asparagus

About 2 tbs of butter

About 2 tbs of brown sugar

In a skillet melt the butter with the brown sugar. Then toss in the asparagus (cut off the yucky woody ends first) and sauté them up a couple minutes until they are your desired texture.

The asparagus didn’t soak up all the liquid so I poured it right on top of the asparagus, and the potatoes we happened to be eating that night too. YUM!




No Cut Unicorn Cake

I gave Lucille several options for her birthday cake this year and as soon as the word “unicorn” left my mouth, she wouldn’t settle for anything else. Then I thought “well, shit, why’d I offer that? I have no idea how to make a unicorn…”

My mom offered to come over the night before the party so we could do the cake together. We went back and forth about ways to cut the cake in the shape of a unicorn that would look the best, be the easiest, and give us the maximum amount of cake for people to eat. We spent so much time changing plans it was getting too late to do any of them. Then I thought about how it was a cake for a 3 year old’s birthday. She wanted a pink unicorn. She didn’t care how sculpted it was. We weren’t entering it in a contest… so we decided to just draw the unicorn on the cake and not do any cutting.

We used 1 funfetti cake in a rectangular pan, 1 tub of white frosting, pink food coloring, black gel, sparkly blue gel and a thick spiralling yellow candle.

We drew a horse’s head on paper, cut it out and placed it on the cake. Then we frosted white all around it. We set aside a tiny bit of white frosting for the eye and used food coloring to turn the rest pink and frosted the entire area that was below the paper. Then we used the white frosting and frosted on an eye with blue sparkle gel in the center. With the black gel we drew the inside of the ear, a nostril and a smile. Place a thick yellow candle at the top of the head to make a horn. Then it’s time for the mane… we just put a bunch of blue lines coming out of the head and then took a toothpick to blur the individual lines together.

A cake artist I will never be… but this was good enough for Lucille, so it’s good enough for me! And I hope it’ll help someone else make a cake if their child is also easily impressed.