Fruit Slush…..

18 01 2010

Here is the recipe for Fruit Slush…..

This makes 32 servings ( I froze it in 4 ziplock bags for my family).

10 oz bag of frozen sliced strawberries

40 oz of fruit cocktail in Lite Syrup

12 oz of frozen orange juice concentrate

20 oz of crushed pineapple in a can

3 diced bananas

Partially thaw strawberries.  Mix all ingredients together including all the juices from the canned fruits.

Pour into suitable container for your family (such as freezer bags).  Allow about 1/4-1/3 Cup per child and 1/2 cup per adult.  The leftovers don’t save well so try not to have too much leftover.

Serving Directions:

You will want to pull it out about 1/5- 2 hours before needed.  It should be slushy at serving time. 🙂

Easy and so yummy!  It is a great side dish and counts as a serving of fruit 🙂

Here are a few…..

8 01 2010

For I meals that I freeze here are a few that we really love….( I will add more when I get a few minutes) 🙂

Heavenly Chicken

1 (10 oz) package of frozen spinach, chopped-  defrosted, squeezed to drain water

8 boneless chicken breasts (about 3 lbs.)

1 cup of cooked, cubed ham (we use lunch meat)

1 cup of soda crackers (we use the whole wheat ones, but reg. work too)

1 cup of grated parmesan cheese

White Sauce:

1/2 cup of sliced green onions

4 T of butter

4 T of flour

2 cups of milk (we use skim to save on the fat)

In med. sauce pan, make White Sauce: Saute onions in butter until tender.  Stir in flour and add milk all at once.  cook over low heat, stirring constantly until bubbly.  Boil and stir for 1 minute more until smooth and Thick.

Combine crackers crumbs and cheese.  Dip chicken in soda cracker crumbs to coat lightly.  arrange chicken in pan (I do 2 13×9 throw away pans for this).  Seal leftover crumb mixture in 2 plastic sandwich bags.

Stir spinach and ham in to white sauce, spoon over chicken breasts.  Allow to cool and cover with foil and attach the crumb mixture to pan for baking day.  Freeze.

To prepare for serving: Thaw dish and bake covered in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 60-75 mins.  Uncover and sprinkle top with reserved cracker crumbs.  Bake 10 more minutes.

So YUMMY.  This recipe just make you 2 full dinners for your family.  You can add fruit and a salad as your sides.

Santa Fe Chicken

3  cups of cooked and chopped chicken

15 oz can of corn, drained

Black beans, drained/rinsed (15 oz.)

Black-eyed peas, drained (15 oz )

Ro-Tel tomatoes 12 oz can

Picate Sauce (15 oz) …we used Mild

chili powder 1 T

Cumin 2 t.

Shredded cheddar cheese (2 cup)

Mix everything in a bowl except cheese.   Put in 2 (1 gallon) freezer bags.  Seal, label and freeze.  Attach cheese in 2 (1 cup each) bags and attach to freezer bag for baking day.

Serving Day:  Thaw bag.  pour bag in greased pan (I used an 8×8 pan).  Cover with foil and bake 30 mins at 350 degrees.  remove foil and top with cheese, bake 10 more minutes.

This just made you 2 meals.  I serve with taco rice.

Chicken in a Pot:

6 boneless skin less chicken breasts

1 italian dressing mix envelope

8 oz of softened cream cheese

1 can of cream of mushroom soup

1 (40z) can of  mushrooms stems and pieces

Place chicken in crock pot.  sprinkle dressing on chicken.  (Do NOT add water)!!!.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  shred chicken.  Then stir in rest of ingredients. 

Freeze in 2 (1 gallon freezer bags). Seal, label and freeze.

Serving Day: Thaw.   Heat chicken mixture until hot.  ( did this in a pan on the stove).

serve over angel  hair pasta and with veggies.

This makes you 2 dinners.

Cooking…..How do I get that done along with everything else?

4 01 2010

I have had many people ask me how we cook our meals in our home.  I have started doing a concept that has you cook once a for month or a couple times. 🙂  It has saved us sooooo much money and it has also saved me TONS of time.  Because of cooking with this style I have had more time to do other things…….like homeschool, read, clean and even workout. 🙂

Here is how we do it………

First I make my list of the different meals we are going to eat.  I find these Online or in a cookbook.  (We use Once-a-month Cooking by Wilson, The Freezer cooking Manual by Slagle and several others if needed).  I make 20 meals every 4 weeks.  We go to church and eat on Wednesday nights and we eat at my moms on Sundays.  I usually make 10 different meals ( I double each one to make 20 meals). I plan for 3 chicken type meals, 1 beef and one other (pork or vegetarian) for each week.  Every time I have done this we end up with enough meals for almost 5 weeks.  Something always comes up during the month or I find something on sale and we eat it instead of a pre made meal.

I then make my list of all the things I need to buy for these meals.  Yes the list is LONG.  I then separate the list by store (we buy all our meat at Sam’s Club) and make a list of the things I need to store the meals (for example, I buy the throw away metal containers for Lasagna etc., other than that I freeze everything in heavy duty Ziplock bags).

Now do your shopping!

NOw comes the fun part…..Cooking day!!!!!  I start with getting all my stuff laid out.

THen I start to cook the things that need to be cook.  FOr example I made Chicken and Rice and White Bean Chicken Chili.  Both call for cooked chicken so I cooked all the chicken together in the same pot to save on dishes and time.  🙂

I then start everything that needs to be in a crock pot ( I have 2 crockpots and both are always going during this day). 

THen I start things that go into the freezer uncooked (for example we do Heavenly Chicken, the meat is frozen raw until I choose to use it, I just assemble on my big cooking day).

I label all meals with the instructions!  This way Dave or I can just pull it out and we know what to do.  We don’t have to go look through a cookbook trying to figure out how to cook it etc.).  Also, he can make dinner with little to no help from me :).

Here is a pic of the labeled bags for Fruit Slush (a side dish).

I allow my meals to cool (if they need to) before putting int he freezer for a little bit.

NOw it is time to freeze your meals. YOu don’t need a lot of space for this!  I freeze all the meals laying flat in the freezer and just pull one out when we are ready to eat.  I then thaw it and pour it into the pan to cook 🙂 Very easy!!!!

Now the not so fun part!  Cleaning up.  Here are all my dishes I used ( and yes I made 20 meals so not too bad if you ask me).  Dave usually does the dishes for me 🙂

Here is a list of the meals I made for this month…..

Traditional Beef Stew ( 4 batches, we really love this in the winter with some warm bread)

Chicken in a pot (2 batches)

Sante Fe Chicken (2 batches)

Homemade Chicken Nuggets (2 batches)

Cranberry Chicken (1 batch)

Pizza Pasta Pie (1 batch)

Heavenly Chicken (2 batches, we LOVE this.  It has a lot of steps, but because I do it on my cooking day it doesn’t seem like so many because I have so many other things going on at the same time.  Had I not made it on a cooking day it would have seemed like a lot of work)

Chicken and Rice (2 batches)

Green Chili enchiladas (2 batches)

spinach Lasagna (2 batches)

and Four batches of Fruit Slush ( a side item to go with a meal once a week).

I then bought 10 bags of frozen veggies, a bag of potatoes, cornbread mix (a few of these) and 3 desserts (a pie, ice cream and cookies)  for under 100 dollars!!!!!!  Yup that is 25 dollars a week to feed my family (five eating people, our baby doesn’t count yet) for dinner.  And our dinners are yummy and filling! 

I will post some of the recipes that we use in the next post 🙂

Time to Freeze ladies…..

8 07 2009

In our home we LOVE to eat lots of veggies and fruit.  The only problem is in the winter months we don’t get to eat all the variety we get in the summer due to costs.  We just can’t afford to be buying strawberries, blueberries etc. at 4 or 5 dollars. 

Now is the time to freeze if you want to have that wonderful taste for a fraction of the cost!!!

Yesterday while at Meijer I stocked up on blueberries.  They are 4 for 5 dollars!  Woo Hoo, what a great price that is let me tell you!  I bought 4 packs.  I took 2 packs and washed them, then lay them on a towel to dry.  After they were dry I put them in a freezer bag.  I then freeze flat.  After frozen you can move the bag to a standing position if you need to.  We do this with almost all types of fruit…..even grapes are a great treat frozen.  If you have never done that you have to give it a try!  You can just eat grapes right out of the bag frozen and they are soooo yummy.

Now, when it comes time to eat this fruit it doesn’t defrost well just to eat.  We use it for smoothies, pancakes, muffins, yogurt etc.  It is a little soft after you defrost it, but it is perfect for baking and cooking!

So, take some extra money with you and start to stock up on these WONDERFUL foods while they are in season so that your family and enjoy them all winter long.

Help needed PLEASE!!!!!

5 05 2009

Okay, we have a baby coming in about 3-3.5 months, now this is our 4th child in 5 years and we will be starting our second year of homeschooling at the same time.

So, I need some help from my blog buddies!  Please post your favorite recipes that can be frozen.  They can be frozen before or after being cooked.  I would like to have about 2 months worth of meals stocked up in my freezer before the baby comes.  My family LOVES veggies, meats, soups….anything!  We are not picky, but I will be nursing so please keep that in mind.  No spicy foods etc.

 Thank you so much.

Baby Food…For my friend Molly

25 11 2008

My friend Molly asked for some ideas on making baby food, I have made most of our baby food for our 3 children when they were babies.  I have learned a few things and thought I would pass them on.

If you have never made baby food before it is really easy.  1. peel your fruit, if needed, then add to some water and boil.  After it is VERY soft let it cool for a little bit (about 15 mins or so), then add to a blender and puree (for younger babies), less for older babies.  Then add to ice cube trays and freeze.  After frozen pop out and put in a Freezer bag, (make sure it is a freezer bag!) and keep for 3-6 months.  Most ice cube trays are 1 oz, so you know how much you have.

I would do a bunch of stuff on one day (maybe 3-4 hours of time) and make enough food for 2 months for my little ones!

Now here are some little tips I have learned as I have gone. 

1. Buy fresh when you can.  Pears, bananas, berries, peaches, avocado etc. 

2. Don’t make homemade apples.  It is so much cheaper and faster to just buy the big jar of unsweetened applesauce.

3. Don’t make bananas ahead of time, then turn REALLY yucky.  So just mash one up as needed.

4. Beware of making meat.  It might just be me, but it was HORRIBLE!!!  Now it could be that I was preg. when my second when I made this for my first, but I still to this day can not look at pureed turkey!

5. Get creative!  Go to the baby aisle and look to see what Gerber etc. has put together to be a meal.  THen just go and buy the stuff to make it at home.

6. Be care of making Carrots at home because of the possible high nitrates they could have.  We just bought these in the baby food jars, because they are already tested to make sure they are at a safe level.

Enjoy!  If you need more ideas, please leave a comment and I will respond.

Food Swap

14 10 2008

Okay ladies….I did this thing called a “food swap” a few weeks ago and I LOVED it!  It was so easy…and so much fun too!

This is how it went….we had 6 ladies that got together and each of us brought 2-3 dinner recipes that could be frozen (examples….stuffed pasta shells, chicken pot pie etc.)

Each of us took a vote on which of the 2-3 recipes we liked best of each persons.  (we thought of what our family would like and variety of the group).

Then we set a date to do a swap….we all went home and made our recipe that the group chose 6 times.  We put each one in a freezer bag and labeled it with the food and how to cook it.  We put them in the freezer.  For example I made stuffed shells with spaghetti sauce…I had 6 of them made in my freezer in freezer bags.

On the day of the swap each woman brought their meals.  We all brought them in coolers.  We then handed one meal per person.  After the swap I went home with 5 different meals…6 total, one which was the one I made.  I now have a weeks worth of meals in my freezer!

It saved so much money because I was able to buy the ingredients for my meal in bulk!  It saved so much time because it only took me 2 hours to make my meal, but I have a weeks worth of food in my freezer!  It was fun!  We had a great time picking out our meals, talking and having a good old time.

Here are some tips:

1. Try to have all the woman in your group have the same size families.  We all have 4-5 in our families so our meals are all about the same size.

2. Pick a variety of recipes.  This way you have Mexican, Italian, American etc. to eat during that week.

3. Make sure everyone is up front about what they do and don’t like.  You don’t want someone going home with a meal their family just won’t eat.

4. Try to make the meals all cost about the same amount of money.  I think that 6-8 meals should only cost you about 30-35 dollars.  (Remember you get to buy in bulk!).

5. Decide as a group what a “meal” is.  Our group decided that we would only make the main dish.  You may choose main dish + side item or main dish+dessert or all three.