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freezer cooking

Nest Building

Filling the Freezer: Meatball Madness

preparing meatball recipes for the freezer

Somewhere in the past year, my 5-year-old girl has become obsessed, OB-sessed, with meatballs.  She can’t get enough.  When we go to the pizza place we love, she wants meatballs on her pizza.  She requests spaghetti and meatballs quite regularly.  And when I made our most recent batch of meatballs to fill the freezer for this fall, I had to give her some for lunch before freezing the rest.

But not everyone in our family is as mad about spaghetti and meatballs as she is.  Specifically, my husband.  Not because he doesn’t like meatballs.  He doesn’t like pasta.  I KNOW!  Something that, try as I might, I cannot remedy – yes, it is an illness.

Combining the need to get dinner on the table with the many-varied desires of my family, while trying to get through the day around here can be super-difficult some days.  Often I start to dread the moment when my husband asks, late-afternoon, “What’s for dinner?”  Ugh.

“Um…pasta?”

“Um…I don’t know.”

Instead of relying on the old standby of drive thru or convenience meals this season, I am working on filling my freezer with things I can quickly prepare in the early morning (slow-cooker) or afternoon (after-school) that will make everybody happy.  Or, at least most of us happy.

So, I found myself the other day taking 4.5 pounds of ground beef and making a serious amount of meatballs.  I got the ground beef on sale at our new Aldi store – I am so impressed with how much a homemaker can get there on a budget!  But before I got started on making those meatballs, I made sure I had some unique meatball recipes in mind to try this fall. Continue Reading

Nest Building

Pecan Cinnamon-Chip Scones

Easy recipe for pecan cinnamon-chip scones. put together all the ingredients and have them prepped by the time the oven pre-heats.

 

As I was growing up, I don’t think I ever tried a scone.  My first experience with a scone was at Oxford when a friend of mine and I decided to find out what this “tea” thing was all about.  I discovered that tea was just not for me and I don’t remember being that impressed with the food.  But a good number of years ago I tried out an amazing recipe for scones and I really liked them.  And I think they pair better with a cup of coffee!

Scones are so easy and quick to throw together when you know you have guests coming over.  I like to make them in the morning to get the day going.  I think the procedure is almost fail-proof.  You don’t have to wait for yeast to rise.  It is literally a mix and go kind of recipe that makes baking easy – you can likely get everything prepped and ready for the oven by the time the oven pre-heats.  And my girls love them!

Who am I kidding?

I love them! Continue Reading

Nest Building

Task #10: Homemade Gnocchi

This entry is part 11 of 22 in the series Tackling Tasks

Tomorrow is a big day in our house.  Our youngest is turning ONE!  Yea!  We are so blessed to have her in our lives and can’t wait so get to know her better in the coming year!

We are planning on having a birthday party for her next Saturday, so I thought it would be nice to just have the grandparents (that can make it) come and join us for dinner.  And then I started planning the menu, trying to come up with things our ONE year old can eat.  I quickly settled on gnocchi (the massive bag of potatoes in my kitchen had nothing to do with it).  I LOVE gnocchi and I think W will, too! Continue Reading

Nest Building

Task #4: One Hour Freezer Cooking

This entry is part 5 of 22 in the series Tackling Tasks

Since I am getting real this month about things that need to be finished around here that aren’t (due to my lack), let’s talk food.  I have been a true, and I mean true, failure in menu planning lately!  I used to LOVE menu planning.  I would do it by the month.  I rarely cooked the same meal twice.  I had it together.

And now…

I am doing good to have a menu plan at the beginning of the week, but following it is another thing.  I rarely make it to the grocery store in a timely manner (a key of menu following).  I often find myself at the end of the day struggling to figure out what we are going to eat.  AHH!

So I turned to Pinterest for help.  Continue Reading

Growing Up

Cooking with Kids: Orange Juice

 

Ok, so it is not cooking, per se, but we did get into the kitchen and do cooking-type things.  We made orange juice for breakfast from the abundant supply of oranges I got the other day.

First, we rolled the oranges to get the juice broken up inside the peels.  This was a motor activity that challenged G a little bit.  She has the concept of throwing, but not rolling.  So we worked a little bit on this.

Then, we counted the oranges (same amount we started with – we didn’t lose any along the way!).

 

Then, I cut the oranges in half.  I said the same thing each time: “I have one orange.  I cut it in half and now I have 2!”  I would show her the whole one, then the cut one each time.  We lined them up on the cutting board (and counted them again).

 

 

Next, we pushed the oranges down on the juicer and watched the juice collect in the cup below.  This turned into me doing and G watching while she ate oranges.  During the process, she learned what bitter is – the peel.

Once we had all the orange halves juiced, we strained the juice into an orange cup with an orange straw and enjoyed!

Some of the things we worked on while doing this basic activity:

  • Counting
  • Vocabulary: rolling, half, bitter, peel, pulp.
  • Motor skills: rolling and pushing down (and eating an unpeeled orange slice – if that counts).
  • Cause and effect: pushing the orange down on the juicer caused the volume of the juice in the cup to rise.
  • Sequence of events: As we did the activity, I talked G through each aspect and when we were done we reviewed the steps in order.

 

Lots to learn in the kitchen with such a simple project!  Fun!

 

Nest Building

September Stockpile: Ham & Cheese Croissandwiches

This entry is part 17 of 17 in the series September Stockpile

I can’t believe we are in the last week of September and I am 15 days away from my due date!  I am pleased that I have been able to fill the freezer this month and still have enough energy to get things done around the house.

So today’s recipe is for quick lunches for my husband to take with him when he goes to work so he doesn’t have to buy lunch.  The recipe should be modified because the amount of dressing this makes would dress way more sandwiches than the rest of the recipe makes.  I made the recipe for the dressing as normal, but doubled the sandwich recipe and still had WAY TOO much left over.  I would cut it in half or in a third.   So here’s the recipe:

Ham and Cheese Croissandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. butter, softened
  • 1/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp. coarse-grained mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. grated onion
  • 2 tsp. poppy seeds (optional)
  • 8 large croissants, split in half
  • 1 lb. deli ham, thinly sliced
  • 8 (1-oz.) Swiss cheese slices, cut in half

Procedure:

Stir together first 5 ingredients in a small bowl.  Spread evenly over cut sides of croissants.  Top bottom halves evenly with ham and cheese; top with remaining croissant halves.

To freeze:  Wrap each sandwich in aluminum foil and place in a large zip-top freezer bag.  Freeze up to 1 month.

To Use from frozen: Pre-heat oven to 350 F.  Remove desired number of sandwiches from plastic bags and place on a baking sheet (do not remove foil).  Bake at 350 F for 1 hour.  OR: Remove and discard aluminum foil from desired number of sandwiches.  Microwave 1 sandwich at a time at MEDIUM for 2 minutes or until heated through.

To bake without freezing: Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 13 to 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.