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..

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…

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…

A Long Week and a Light and Delicious Meal

Over the past week or so I have been very back and forth. One day I will feel ready to go and conquer the day, and the next I will feel exhausted and ill, either in body or mind, and it’s lucky if I make the bed. It’s kind of tiring, but I am still, trying to move forward.

Lately, I have been working to get hired on as a Food Service Assistant Substitute for the Boise School District. So basically, when someone calls in sick or goes on vacation, I would get a call to fill in for them. It’s the base job that you have to sign up for first, and then you can move upwards as positions become available. I am excited to be able to work with kids and food!

Today I have for  you a delicious recipe, it is so light and fresh it might just be the thing that gets me back on my feet for the rest of this week. I got this recipe from the blog Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and it is so good! Let me also share with you some information about the “Mother Grain”: Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa)which is featured in this recipe. Quinoa is also a super grain. Though it is not a true grain, its small seeds are treated as such. It is gluten-free and therefore prefect for those who have wheat allergies (Sarah!). Also, it is perfect for those who are Vegan or Vegetarian, because the seeds form a complete protein, with all of the essential amino acids, and they also contain important vitamins and minerals as well as carbohydrates and fat! Talk about an awesome seed! Quinoa can be found in most super markets, but I like to get it in the bulk foods area of Winco (my favorite store).

Black Bean and Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 medium Yellow Onion, chopped

2 cloves Garlic, minced

3/4 cup uncooked Quinoa, rinsed

1-1/2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth

2 tsp ground Cumin

1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper

1 cup frozen Sweet Corn

2 (15-ounce) cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped

1-In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When shimmering and hot, add the onions and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.

2-Add the quinoa and cover with broth. Stir in cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes (or until all the liquid is absorbed).

3-Stir in the frozen corn and black beans. Cover and let the pot sit off the heat until the corn and beans are heated through, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve warm or chilled – it is delicious both ways!

I hope that you find this as delicious as we did! It’s perfect as a side dish or you could serve it with grilled chicken or pork or along with any mexican themed dish we also really liked it with asian dishes. It’s good with almost anything!

Plums are Purple, and Snickers are Sweet,

From my family to yours…

And here’s hoping that your week has been more productive than mine!

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…

Dinner in Fifteen Minutes!!

If you know me at all, you know that I say “Come over at 6:30 for dinner.” But in all actuality dinner won’t be ready until at least 7, so you know to eat a small snack before you come if you’re starving, it might be a while. And though I try to plan and prepare as best I can, it seems that I can’t avoid this. (It’s one of my goals to somehow master the clock and have dinner done when I want it to be.) But anyways this last week while home for Thanksgiving, I found that I learned this skill from my parents. We had my in-laws, brother-in-law and nephew, and a family my parents knew over for Thanksgiving Dinner and told them to be there at 2. We didn’t eat until 3:20. Crazy, I know. So I discovered this is a learned flaw. Hopefully, it can just be unlearned.

That’s why this post is so amazing. My husband and I came home from shopping and I was starving. We unloaded the groceries and then he sat down to play his baseball game on X-Box 360, knowing it was going to take a while because I was going to make dinner. We had stocked up on all the great deals for Thanksgiving, as I’m sure you have too, and for some reason I was really craving stuffing, potatoes, and gravy. Basically the whole Thanksgiving meal, but I just didn’t have the time, plus I was starving. I wanted meat, but it takes so long to cook. What to do, what to do. Then it hit me and being inventive I threw together a delicious meal. And whats even better was that is was in fifteen minutes! These were the star players: Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing, Canned Chicken, Potato Pearls (any instant potatoes will be fine), Valley Fresh Steamers, Instant Brown Gravy Mix, and Rhodes Warm-N-Serve Soft Dinner Rolls.

The Timetable

15 minutes to go: Sprayed a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray, layout the rolls on the cookie sheet and pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat up 1/4 c of butter on the stove, in a pot and when it is warm add the chicken to warm it.

14 minutes to go: Grab a pan and pour 1 c of cold water in with the gravy mix and stir with the burner on high. Then grab another pot and heat the correct amount of water on high to reconstitute your potatoes. Stir the gravy.

13 minutes to go: Stir the gravy.

12 minutes to go: Stir the gravy. When the oven is pre-heated add in the rolls, they need 8-12 minutes to cook (mine took 10).

11 minutes to go: Stir the gravy.  Add in 1-1/2 c hot water to the chicken and butter, and heat on high to bring to a boil.

10 minutes to go: Stir the gravy.

9 minutes to go: Stir the gravy. Grab a plate and lay down the Valley Fresh Steamers on it to be ready to microwave it.

8 minutes to go: Stir the gravy. Add the Valley Fresh Steamers to the microwave and cook  for 6 minutes.

7 minutes to go: When the gravy is boiling, stir for one minute, until thickened, and then remove from heat and cover.

6 minutes to go: Add the stuffing mix to the boiling water, butter and chicken and stir together well. Cover and remove from heat.

5 minutes to go: Add the potatoes to the boiling water and stir together. Remove from heat and cover.

4 minutes to go: Check the rolls, remove from the oven if finished if not leave in the oven for however much longer is necessary. Set the table with plates, cups, spoons, napkins, and forks, the potatoes, gravy, and any drink you want.

3 minutes to go: Check the rolls. Finish setting the table.

2 minutes to go: Leave the Valley Fresh Steamers in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove the rolls from the oven and set on the table.

1 minute to go: Fluff the stuffing with a fork and put on the table. Grab the Valley Fresh Steamers from the microwave (be careful it’s hot!) and pour onto the plate. And set on the table.

0 minutes to go: “Honey, dinners ready.”

Some of my favorite responses from my husband include, “What?!”, “This is awesome!”

It was super easy, and it was very good. The next day my husband ate the rest of the leftovers for lunch. It’s not the healthiest meal out there, but sometimes it’s good to have fast food, still be “homemade”.