Freezer Meals

I can’t believe that I have been in school for almost a month! Time is definitely flying (especially with the endless amount of homework that is before both the hubby and I) which is a scary thing as that also means this little lady is getting closer to her debut. Since the badester came two weeks before his due date, that means this little girl could be here in 4 weeks (37 weeks) or more. (We are hoping for the “or more” option as we still have so much to do to prepare for her to join our little family.) When we have spare time (What was that again? Did it ever really exist?) we are trying to fit in the long-task list before us.

This last week I made a plan, to re-make several of the freezer meals that I  made in preparation for the badester. But their was no way that I was going to make them all in one day again, because I just do not have the time or the energy for that sort of thing right now. (Can you say exhausted?) So my plan is to make two freezer meals a week along with other items that I can prepare in quick larger batches (like diced onions, granola bars, Muffins, par-cooked broccoli, etc.) so that way we are all stocked up on food when this little lady comes and we won’t have to resort to take out (cause believe me 98% of the time if I don’t cook dinner, we don’t eat dinner unless we go out to eat, not speaking ill of my amazing hubby at all, but cooking is just not one of his forte’s, though I will say that last week he made this mixture of chicken with lemon pepper and cinnamon, bell peppers, and rice that was delicious!) Life is already stressful enough with a newborn, the last thing I want to worry about is the big ‘ole “What’s for dinner?” question. We also plan to can and/or freeze some chili, soups, and chicken, but that is for another post.

The great thing is that you don’t have to be having a baby to make freezer meals, and they are an incredible time saver. I have vowed to never be without some in my freezer again.

I have taken these recipes that we used last time and am revamping them a little bit, because most of them were kind of blah. I also recommend using a large sticker label to attach to your gallon freezer bags, because the Sharpie gets everywhere if you don’t. (I forgot this fact this time around and the end result was sharpie all over me and the counter as I tried to mix up the bags.)

My preference for freezer meals is that you combine a bunch of ingredients that need to be cooked, together and then dump them in the crock-pot lined with a crock-pot liner. This time instead of buying a ton of stuff at the store an totally blowing our budget for the month, we are trying to use what we have first, can get at the farmers market second (it’s way cheaper), and then buy things at the store. I am also making a list of how many freezer meals I have (two of each bag) and what the meals are so I can more effectively plan my meals and not just dig around in the freezer trying to find something to eat. (Though that worked last time.) I didn’t take any pictures this time around (pregnancy brain anyone?) but here are the pictures from last time. (Yeah this is a blog post two years in the making.)DSC01648 DSC01640 DSC01641 DSC01642 DSC01643 DSC01644 DSC01645 DSC01646 DSC01647

Ok! Now that you have seen all of that! Here the recipes that I used this week:

Beef Fajitas

2 lb beef round steak (we used some antelope steaks we had on hand)

2- 8 oz cans diced tomato’s with chilies

1 large onion, sliced or large diced

1 green pepper, cut into strips

1 red pepper, cut into strips

2 tsp cilantro

2 cloves garlic minced

1 jalapeno, diced (we omitted this – something to do with a two year old whom does not like them)

1. Split the items between two different bags, seal so that as little air as possible is in the bag (air is the enemy to freezing foods) and mix together well.

2. Make sure the bag is laying flat and then write the following on a sticker label and place on the bag:

Add 1 tsp chili powder and cumin, and 1/4 tsp paprika, onion, and garlic powder. Cook on low 5-6 hours. Scoop out with slotted spoon onto tortillas. Top with sour cream, avocado, shredded cheese, salsa/Pico de Gallo, etc.

Teriyaki Chicken

Medium-Large bag of small carrots (about 8 large carrots sliced)

Red Onion, sliced or large diced

2 large cans of pineapple tidbits, undrained

4 large garlic cloves

6 chicken breasts

1/2 c teriyaki sauce

1/2 soy sauce

1. Split the items between two different bags, seal so that as little air as possible is in the bag (air is the enemy to freezing foods) and mix together well.

2. Make sure the bag is laying flat and then write the following on a sticker label and place on the bag:

Add an additional 1/8 c teriyaki and soy sauce to crock pot. Cook on low 6-7 hours. Serve with hot rice.

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I hope you enjoy these recipes and that they make your life a little more simple! Let me know your freezer meal favorites below!

From my Family, to Yours..

Meatball Soup

Today I want to share a great winter recipe with you that is very easy to make and delicious! I love this recipe too because I made it with a ton of homemade ingredients!

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Meatball Soup
Serves 6-8
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 medium Sweet Onion, diced, see note below
2-3 ribs of Celery, depending on the size
2-3 cloves of Garlic, minced
7-8 cups of Homemade Chicken Stock, or a brand you trust
1/2 jar home-canned Stewed Tomatoes, or 1 can of brand you trust
15 Homemade Meatballs, or a brand you trust
Salt TT
Pepper TT
1 Tbsp. Italian Seasonings
1/3 – 1/2 cup Pasta, or I just did about a quarter of a box of linguine broken into fourths (little man loves to slurp the noodles) but any pasta will work.

1. Heat the Olive Oil on the stove in the pot your soup will be in. (I am all about having to do as little dishes as possible.) While the oil is heating dice your onion, slice the celery, and dice the garlic. Cook the onions and celery until they are soft and the onions are translucent. Then add the garlic in just before you add the broth.

2. Once the broth is added in, then place the stewed tomatoes, meatballs, and seasonings into the pot. Bring it to a boil over medium to medium-high heat.

3. Once it is boiling add in the noodles and cook according to the manufacturers directions, usually anywhere from 7-12 minutes.

4. Once the noodles are cooked through your soup is done! It is delicious served with yummy toasted sourdough bread with garlic butter. The leftovers, if you are lucky enough to have any, are even better. The trick I have found with leftovers though is to re-season them liberally.

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Note: I used to use only yellow onions all the time, now I prefer sweet onions for their flavor, and red onions when necessary.

Thanks for stopping by today. What is your favorite quick winter-time soup? Share in the comments below!

From my Family, to Yours..

Yummy Carmelized Brussel Sprouts

Before I share with you this delicious side dish, I first would like to say that I LOVE Pinterest. Big, big Pinterest fan here. In fact, I was going through some of my craft pins on Saturday showing my husband how stinking creative some people are, and expressing my admiration, and disbelief that there are people who are so creative out there, and raving about how awesome Pinterest is. His reaction,”I’m so glad you like it honey.” Though even he thought some of the things I showed him were creative.

Do I waste spend hours pinning things? Yes. And then feel accomplished, like I actually spent my time worthwhile? Major Yes. (Silly I know.) Do I actually use what I pin? It depends, on what we are talking about. Some things yes, other things, not as much. But please feel free to follow me, my username is: SnickerPlumShop or you can just search for Lynzi Rasmussen.

But back to this delicious side dish.

Growing up, my parents grew Brussel Sprouts in the garden, and they were just… okay, I would eat them, like the broccoli, zucchini, or corn that was pushed at me, but I didn’t really ever enjoy any of the above. Introduce Pinterest. I found a recipe similar to the one I am going to share with you today except it wasn’t as amped up as this is! My brother-in-law, who is a self-proclaimed veggie hater, actually liked them, to his surprise! So that is big news there! :)

Carmelized Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Pecans

1 lb of Brussel Sprouts washed, outer leaves cleaned off, and halved

4 slices bacon, cut into little strips, or lardons

1/4 c brown sugar

1/4 c whole pecans, crumbled

1. Cook bacon in a large pan on medium-low heat. Remove from pan just when it is starting to get crisp, let drain on paper towel. Add the prepared Brussel sprouts to the pan and cook until they begin crisp or darken, about 5-10 minutes.

2. Then sprinkle on the brown sugar and mix well to fully cover all the of the Brussel sprouts. Then add in the bacon and pecans and toss to fully coat them as well. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes and serve warm. Enjoy!

These are super easy, and super yummy. Sadly we did not have any leftovers for the next day, they were that good!

I hope that you enjoy them as much as we did!

From my Family to yours…

Customizing Dinner

On Sunday we had my husband’s brother and sister-in-law and nephew over for dinner. It was really fun to see them, and that is one of the great perks of this side of the state; We are so much closer to them! I wanted to have us eat something that universally everyone likes, and that is pizza. There is just something amazing about dough and sauce and cheese and other deliciousness that you can add. I figured it was a safe bet, especially since my poor sister-in-law is having a really rough time with morning sickness right now! Hopefully it will soon pass so that she can feel back to normal, or as normal as you feel when you are pregnant! We are so excited for them! We are also excited because about 2 weeks ago, all of my husbands brothers, had pregnant wives (one just recently delivered and both mother and baby are doing well: it’s kinda scary to think that I’m next). And I was worried, when we eventually had children, that they wouldn’t have any cousins their age! :) But back to the pizza! This is a great recipe from Kelsey Nixon, from the show Kelsey’s Essentials on Cooking Channel Tv, an excellent show to learn about the ins and outs of cooking, and not just how, but why you should do things a particular way! You can also check out the other things that she made in that episode on cookingchanneltv.com. Also a note, my husband made this dough while I was getting ready for church, with me coaching from the bathroom, if he had any questions and he did an excellent job! You can do it too!

Basic Pizza Dough

Enough dough for 2 pizzas or 8 individual servings

1-3/4 c warm water

2-1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast

4 c Bread Flour (I only had 2 c Bread Flour, so we substituted 2 c All-Purpose Flour, it still worked out great)

2 tsp Sugar

2 tsp Salt

3 tbsp Olive Oil, plus more

1 tsp Italian Seasoning*

Non-Stick Cooking Spray

*Italian Seasoning is not required, nor is it in the original recipe, but I like how it flavors the dough

1. Mix together the warm water, sugar, and the Active Dry Yeast in a bowl, or large measuring cup. Allow the yeast to “bloom” or grow for 5 minutes. Meanwhile mix together the Bread Flour, Salt, and Italian Seasoning, in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. It is important that the salt is fully incorporated into the flour. Sugar feeds yeast and helps it grow, while salt, especially in larger clumps kills yeast, basically meaning that your dough will not expand as it should.

2. After 5 minutes add the Olive Oil to the yeast mixture. This makes sure that all the liquid is added at the same, and is therefore incorporated equally. Add the Yeast-Olive Oil mixture to the Flour mixture and mix just until combined. When combined remove the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook attachment.  Allow to knead for 1-3 minutes. Remove dough from standing mixer to a floured surface. Be sure that your hands are well floured when handling this wet dough, and hand knead it for about 2 minutes.

3. Put dough in a covered bowl sprayed with Non-Stick Cooking Spray, and allow to rest until the dough is double in size, around 2 to 3 hours.

4. To bake, preheat oven to 500 degrees, and apply sauce and toppings, and bake for 14 minutes each, whether individual or large pizza. To achieve a really crispy crust you can apply Olive Oil beneath the pan that you are baking your pizza on and it will crisp it up. Otherwise spray with Non-Stick Cooking Spray or apply a thin layer of cornmeal beneath the dough.

5. If you have any left over dough, like we did you can refrigerate it up to 48 hours and make more pizza or any other delicious creation that Kelsey made.

What we did was individual pizzas that everyone could put their own toppings on. We had a smorgasbord of items to choose from to create their own combinations. They included:

Tomato Sauce

Mozzarella cheese, the best and most generic cheese to use with pizzas, though any melty cheese would be delicious

Pepperoni Slices

Ham/Canadian Bacon

Pineapple

Fresh Tomatoes

Diced Peppers

Sliced Red Onions

Chicken, cooked in boiling water to help it be super moist to survive the hot oven temp

Bacon, not cooked too crispy, it will be cooked again in the oven

Ranch, this turns very creamy in the oven and is delicious, don’t be too stingy or you won’t have enough sauce

BBQ Sauce

All of the combinations created sounded, looked, and tasted delicious, but my favorite was the Chicken, Bacon, Cheese, and Ranch, with Red Onion that I made.

I hope that you are able to enjoy this easy, fun meal as much as we did! From my family to yours…

Yummy Asian Roll Lettuce Wraps

A couple of months ago some of our friends invited us to go out to dinner with them to P.F. Changs. Having never eaten there before it was a delicious meal! We had some lettuce wraps there and i really enjoyed them. Now this is in no way a knock off but this is a delicious recipe that I found and tweaked to, what we think is perfection. Now we don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy delicious lettuce wraps and I want to share it with you! And I made these with the Romaine lettuce from my bountiful basket, we also had some steamed zucchini on the side, delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have actually made this a couple different times, tweaking it trying different combos and we believe this is the best. (Note: I had intended to share with you that corn recipe, when I made it, but after tasting it we didn’t like it very much, and I don’t share things unless they pass our like test, or until they have been changed and tweaked until they finally do pass the test. That still has a long way to go.) The good thing is that this is quick, easy, and delicious!

Asian Lettuce Wrap  

Serves about 4 maybe a little more

1 lb ground Turkey or Beef

1 c Brown or White Rice

1 c Water

16 or so large Lettuce leaves, Boston Butter or Romaine will both work nicely, but we found that the Romaine were a little more sturdy

1 c shredded Carrots

1 c Scallions, thinly sliced

1 c sliced Red Bell Pepper

1 c shredded Radishes

1/3 c light Soy Sauce

1/3 c Water

1/3 c Honey

3 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice, if possible, if not anything that you get from a bottle will work

2 tsp minced Garlic

1 Tbsp minced fresh Ginger Root

1. If you have a rice cooker, cook your rice according to your manufacturers instructions, if not place the rice in a medium sauce pot over medium heat and combine the rice with 2 cups water. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.  While the rice is cooking, in a large saucepan cook the ground meat until cooked through.

2. Meanwhile begin putting together the sauce in the bowl you will be serving the meat in. Combine the Soy Sauce, Water, Honey, Lemon Juice, minced Garlic, and minced Ginger Root and stir until combined. (Some people don’t like the idea of uncooked Garlic or Ginger, the main idea is to really infuse the flavors into the sauce, little bits will get into your wrap but they only add to the flavor of the whole item. This will also allow your to practice your mincing skills, make those pieces really small and then you won’t have a big chunk of Garlic or Ginger.) Tip: When you get your Ginger root look for a smaller one, unless you use ginger often you don’t want it to go to waste. You want to make sure that you take off the outer skin, but not need to worry about using a peeler on that tricky little guy, use your knife to just cut off the skin, its okay if you take of a little Ginger, it will save you grief and time. One more thing when you cut into your Ginger, pause and breathe in it’s deliciously warm and spicy scent. Smells are very important in the kitchen and it makes the whole process even more enjoyable!

3.  Begin slicing your Bell Pepper and Scallions and I just wash the carrots and radishes and shred them with a large cheese shredder, it’s easy and makes uniform bits. Put the sliced and shredded veggies out in little bowls or on a serving platter. Check on your rice if it is on the stove. Remove any fat from the meat and then pour the meat into your sauce and let them sit together. Then tear off whole Lettuce leaves and wash them off and  pat them dry.  Lay them out on a platter, grab the rice and serve! Delicious meal and is great with the Quinoa recipe here, either as a side or served over the top. It is a little messy though so keep some napkins handy!

Plums are Purple, and Snickers are Sweet,

From my family to yours…

Salmon for Dinner

Growing up we always had some kind of fish in our house that we were eating, my dad being a fisherman and all, and there was even some trips that I went out on with him in the last few years and caught some of my own fish.

What can I say, you don’t wear a dress and heels fishing. Theres actually a pretty funny story behind this picture that I won’t go into right now, because I’m assuming most of you reading this won’t understand the “fishing” humor, but if you would like to know the story, leave a comment and I will definitely explain. It was actually quite a shock for my dad when I married my hubby who has no, I repeat N-O boat or fishing time. My father has decided now that we need to fix that, preferably as soon as possible.

But back onto the topic of fish! Did you know that fish are extremely healthy for you, because they have lots of vitamins and minerals and they have high levels of the omega-3 fatty acids; which help combat high-blood cholesterol levels and also aid in prevent heart-disease

Well this is a recipe adapted from my father, and what I always grew up eating. It is delicious!

Cooked Salmon and Mixed Green and Gorgonzola Salad*

*I will share both the homemade vinaigrette and toasted Garlic Bread another time.

Salmon

Measurements in this recipe are dependant upon taste and size of fillet.

1 fillet of Salmon, cut into a meal-sized portion

1/2 to 1 tsp Lemon Pepper

1/2 to 1-1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 to 1-1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil Mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, or Dijon Mustard, optional (They all keep it moist, while Miracle Whip and Dijon Mustard both add a little tang.)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Place the salmon skin side down on the tinfoil, and blot off any excess moisture with a paper towel.

2. Add on the Lemon Pepper and Olive Oil. Then spread on the Mayonnaise, Miracle Whip or Dijon Mustard, if using.

3. Place in a preheated oven only, and cook 17 minutes for every inch of thickness, until the thickest section if fully cooked; meaning that the fish is no longer opaque, but a solid color.

Mixed Green and Gorgonzola Salad

Mixed Baby Greens

1/2 c Gorgonzola Cheese, crumbled

1/2 c Craisins

1/2 c Whole or Sliced Almonds, toasted (toasting is optional)

Homemade vinaigrette

1. Toss greens with vinaigrette. Then sprinkle on the cheese, craisins, and almonds. Serve and enjoy!

 

These are both delicious recipes! We hope that you enjoy them as much as we do!

Plums are Purple, and Snickers are Sweet,

From my family to yours…

A New Year and a Low Calorie Meal

We have a lot of plans for this year and all the things that we want to do or become, and as a new year comes around I know that everyone starts to try anew, and make new goals and resolutions. One of our goals this year is to exercise regularly and eat healthy, so I am keeping my ears, eyes and stomach open to new healthier recipes, (though we will probably be doing this one step at a time, we do love our carbs.) But I do have a delicious recipe to share with you! This is a good lunch or dinner recipe!

Exploding Chicken Taquitos by: Hungry Girl 

1 – 10 oz can white Chicken meat

8 – 6 inch Corn Tortillas

1/2  c Salsa

1/3 c Fat Free Cheddar Cheese

1/4 tsp Taco Seasoning Mix

Fat-Free sour Cream, as dip

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees, and spray baking sheet with non-stick spray. Shred chicken and mix chicken and salsa together and let sit in the fridge for 15 minutes.

2. Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and steam 1 min in microwave.  Add in cheddar cheese and taco seasoning to the salsa and chicken mixture and stir together.

3. Use 2 tbsp of filling for each tortilla and spread out almost to the edge. Then roll them up and place on baking sheet. Cook for 14-16 minutes until nice and crispy.

4. Serve with salsa and fat-free sour cream.

This is delicious and healthy having only 197 Calories for 2 Taquitos!!

I hope that this year we all can work a little harder and a with a little more dedication on our goals and resolutions. What are some of your goals at the start of this year?

Plums are Purple and Snickers are Sweet,

From my family to yours…