Saturday, March 14, 2009

Freezer Meal Week Meal Plan and Grocery List

It's Freezer Meal Planning Week this week at Meal Planning Mommies! I am so excited and I hope that you get a wealth of information as well as great recipes. I am a part of a monthly freezer meal co-op (if you don't know what that is, check back this week and you'll find out what it is and how to start your own!)and the ladies I swap with have generously offered this month's recipe to add to our meal plan this week!

All of the meals that are going to be posted this week are freezer meal friendly. That means that you can whip up one (or more) of each recipe, put one in a freezer friendly container to freeze for next month and make the other for tonight's meal!

Enjoy!




Freezer Meal Week Meal Plan (each meal serves 4-6 unless otherwise noted)


Monday- Spicy Sausage Pasta
Tuesday- Chicken Pot Pie
Wednesday- Cheesy Ham and Potatoes
Thursday- Pasta E Fagioli Soup
Friday- Stuffed Shells with Marinara




Frugal tip: Don't forget to check your pantry for items you may already have before you add them to your shopping list!


Grocery List

Jen's Spicy Sausage Pasta
1 lb turkey kielbasa, cut into thin slices
1 can Rotel
1 cup cubed colby cheese
1/2 c. Italian dressing
12 ounces rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions

Krista's Chicken Pot Pie

Pie Crust--You can make your own, but I buy a box at the store.
1 10 oz. bag frozen peas and carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms (optional)
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon marjoram (you may substitute with thyme)
1/3 teaspoon pepper (I sprinkle in to taste)
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cups milk
3 cups cubed chicken
Sprinkle in parsley, as desired

Sarah's Cheesy Ham and Potatoes
24 oz frozen shredded hashbrown potatoes
1/4 cup minced onion
2 10.75 oz cream of celery soup
1 8oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cups Mont. Jack cheese
2 cups cubed ham (about 3/4 pound)
1/4 tsp. pepper

Pasta E Fagioli Soup
2/3 lb Ground beef
4 oz chopped onion (about 1/2 of a medium)
4 2/3 oz slivered Carrots
4 2/3 oz diced celery
16 oz tomatoes, canned, diced
2/3 cup cooked Red Kidney Beans
2/3 cup cooked white Kidney Beans
32 oz beef stock
1 tsp. Oregano
3/4 tsp. Pepper
1 2/3 tsp fresh, chopped Parsley
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
16 oz Spaghetti sauce
3 oz dry pasta bow tie macaroni (or noodle of choice)


Paula's Stuffed Shells with Marinara

40 jumbo pasta shells (12 oz. box)

32 oz. of cottage cheese

16 oz. of shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 c. parmesan cheese

3 eggs

3/4 t. oregano

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. pepper

Have on Hand: 28 oz. jar spaghetti sauce, Parmesan cheese



Check back daily for each of these great recipes with step by step instructions.

We will also have daily guest posts for you to check out. Starting with an Freezer Meal E-book giveaway tomorrow!

E-Book Giveaway: Freezer Cooking Made Simple



Susanne Myers from Hillbillyhousewife.com has generously offered a free e-book for one of our readers!

This e-book as packed full of tips such as what is needed to freezer meal cook, how to plan for freezer cooking, safety tips and so much more. There are recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, baked goods and desserts. Susanne has made it so easy for you, there are even printable labels to stick on your freezer meal w/ directions for each of her meals that give you "how to" directions once you are ready to bake!

"After a lot of thinking and weighing all the options, I think I have come up with aa good solution for anyone that wants to cook healthy, inexpensive meals, without spending a lot of time on dinner each night.

The solution is Freezer Cooking.


We’ll start out by taking a look at what exactly freezer cooking is and how you and your family can benefit from it. From there we’ll jump straight into some practical tips that will help you get started. I’ve even created a weekly menu of freezer meals for you complete with recipes, directions and grocery list.

Just shop, cook and freeze.
"



As a new mom to freezer cooking I found her e-book useful, yet not overwhelming. I finished reading her book saying "I can do this!" If you are new to freezer cooking or just want some great new ideas and printables, you can download a copy for $9.95 by vising her website hillbillyhousewife.com

Here is what you need to do to win a FREE copy of "Freezer Cooking Made Simple"
Leave us a comment and let us know either

1. How freezer cooking has made your life easier
OR
2. How you plan to use freezer cooking in the future to make your life easier

Don't forget to leave your name and e-mail information. The contest will run from 3/16-3/21 (by noon CST). We will announce the winner on our blog and contact you via e-mail to let you know how to retrieve your prize!

Good Luck and don't forget to check back tomorrow for another great freezer meal recipe and more great tips!

It's Freezer Meal Week!



Have you ever been interested in freezer meal cooking, but didn't know where to start?

That was me about 2 months ago! Yours truly had never tried to freezer "meal plan." Occasionally I would freeze leftovers, but I really had no idea what would freeze well and what wouldn't. One of my friends talked me into participating in a freezer meal co-op (later this week you can find out what that is and how to start your own!). So far I have participated twice which has resulted in me making 2 different meals (4 of each) and in return receiving 6 different freezer meals for my family. GENIUS!


This week not only will you learn what freezer meal cooking is, you will get 5 great recipes, TONS of information and tips about freezer meal cooking and even have a chance at winning a great freezer meal e-book!


To start off our Freezer Meal week, we would like to hear from YOU!

Leave a comment and let everyone know if you are into freezer meals or are excited about learning more this week to get yourself started!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday: Beef Taco Salad

This recipe is easy to make, tastes delicious, and it doesn't feel like you are eating a salad. :) Beef Taco Salads are very easy to whip together when you need to bring something to a potluck or a party of some kind.

This one is a regular in our house. I love it, I love it, I love it.

Ingredients:
1 lb. cooked ground beef
1 Taco seasoning packet
Veggies (tomatoes, cucumber, onion, just use what you have on hand)
A bag of salad, or rinsed, chopped lettuce
1,000 Island dressing (or whatever dressing your prefer)


Brown and drain 1 lb. beef. Add a taco seasoning packet and stir into the beef. (In the picture I show Southwestern Seasoning, because that is what we had on hand.) Mix whatever veggies you like. I used chopped up cucumber and tomato. Add a bag of salad and about 2-3 cups of crushed tortilla chips. Thousand Island or Western dressing goes great with this salad. 1000 Island is my personal fave. Toss and serve.




There is a lot of flexibility in this salad. Add more of less of each ingredient depending on your taste. While ground beef is my preference, I have also tried ground turkey and chicken and that was very yummy as well. Mix and serve. Isn't it great when dinner is a salad!?!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday: Smiley Pizzas

This one is so easy, I feel like I don't even need pictures, but I am posting them anyway. This is my "I am struggling with morning sickness, so I don't feel like making dinner idea". :) It came from having the ingredients on hand and not the ability to make an extravagant meal. The family didn't seem to mind one bit though.

Ingredients:
Flour tortillas
mozzarella cheese
Spaghetti Sauce
Pepperoni
Serve with fruit

Directions:
1. Place a flour tortilla onto a microwave safe plate.
2. Plop some mozzarella cheese on top.

3. Put down a couple of pepperonis for eyes.

4. Microwave until cheese melts, about 30-40 seconds.
5. Use spaghetti sauce to create a nose and mouth.

6. Serve with fruit.
*Side note: My son, who is three years old, had a little trouble with eating this one. We let him see the face, then topped it with an extra tortilla and cut into manageable pieces.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday: Classic Mini Cheeseburgers

This recipe is actually a Pampered Chef recipe. It reminded me of the White Castle cheeseburgers. My husband calls them sliders. He LOVES sliders. It's a different way of making the classic cheeseburger. It's easy, it's fun, and it's tasty. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
1 medium onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (I did not use fresh)
1-1/2 lb. 90% lean ground beef
1 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp. salt
6 slices American cheese
8 hot dog buns
24 hamburger dill pickle slices (I ignored this part, since my family would not eat pickles)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Finely chop onion and parsley using food chopper.
Combine beef, onion, parsley, garlic and salt in a medium sized bowl; mix well. Press beef mixture evenly over bottom of Large bar pan or 9x13 pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until beef is no longer pink.

2. Meanwhile, cut cheese into quarters; set aside. Slice buns apart neatly at seam (do not separate tops from bottoms). Trim about 1/4 in. from each bun end to square off ends. (discard trimmings).
Cut buns into thirds for a total of 24 square mini buns; set aside.

3. Remove bar pan from oven. Pour off juices, if necessary, and place on cooling rack. Cut beef mixture into 24 squares, using pizza cutter. Top each burger with one pickle and one piece of cheese. Place one fun top onto each burger; top with one bun bottom. Cover bar pan with aluminum foil and bake 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and buns are warm.

4. To serve, place one burger with bun top onto one bun bottom using a mini serving spatula. Repeat with remaining burgers and bun bottoms. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday: Teddy Bear Bread

This one comes from my mother-in-law. It is a cute idea, but I think someone came up with it back when they did not know that too many carbs could kill you. :) My son loved it, and I think most kids would, but I definitely suggest making it, sharing it, and then freezing the rest for later. I also think making just the head is a cute idea that does not make you feel like you have to eat so much bread. In the picture that came with the recipe they show a little girl eating an entire bear by herself. :) It's a hoot and a half. (but it wasn't supposed to be funny) Here is a picture of what my son's looked like when he was done attacking his:As you can see he was not able to eat that much. I am suggesting that you make just the head, and the arms and legs, and then put spaghetti in the middle as the body. I will show the end result at the bottom of this recipe. I am giving the directions for the entire bear, only because that is what I made, and that is what the recipe suggests. And now, to do the recipe any kind of justice at all, here is a picture of the cute little guy before my son got ahold of him:


Ingredients:
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs. vanilla
1/3 cup warm milk
1/2 tsp. salt
5 large eggs
About 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg beaten with 1 Tbs. milk
Spaghetti noodles
Spaghetti sauce

Directions:
In a large bowl, using a mixer, add yeast to water; let stand about 5 minutes. Stir in butter, sugar, vanilla, milk, salt, and 5 eggs, then beat until combined. Stir in 3 cups flour; beat on high speed until smooth and stretchy, about 6 minutes. Add remaining 1-3/4 cup flour. Mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about an hour. (or chill until doubled, 18-24 hours)

Scrape dough onto a lightly floured board. Knead to release air; add flour as required to prevent sticking. Cut dough in 4 equal parts.

For each bear, dive dough quarter into these portions: 3 Tbs. for arms, 3 Tbs. for legs, 1/2 cup for body, and 1/4 cup for head, 1 to 1-1/2 Tbs. for ears, face features, and belly button.

You will start by putting the arms and legs down first. Flatten the middle when the body will sit. Brush some of the egg/ milk mixture onto the dough where the two pieces of dough will connect. Continue doing this with each point that you add dough onto your teddy bear. (Using balls of dough to make eyes, nose, belly button and ears) Brush egg/ milk mixture over entire bear once it is put together.

Loosely cover bear with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 25-30 minutes. Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown, 16-18 minutes.
ONLY because I do not want this post to be ten pages long, I will let the picture describe what to do with the dough. If there is any confusion, just ask and I will post an answer.

Here is a picture of what a plate of spaghetti with cheese and the teddy head might look like. My husband says we should have included the arms and legs, but we did not think about it until after I took the picture. Cute anyway.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Last Friday's Fondue

Well, the fondue was pretty good and easy enough to whip up in a hotel room. By the time I purchased all of the ingredients, however, I do not really think it was all that cheaper than just ordering a pizza. If you can get the ingredients on good deals though ahead of time it might be.

What you need:
1 cup milk (I think a bit more!)
1 pound shredded cheese
spoon of crushed garlic
2 tablespoons flour
large ziplock

What to do:

First, put the shredded cheese into a large ziplock bag and add the flour. Shake until the 2 tablespoons of flour coat the cheese.


Second, add the milk into the fondue pot and bring to a boil. Don't burn it though!

Third, add the cheese bit by bit only adding more as the first bunch is melted. Stir until all the cheese is melted. I added more than a cup of milk in order to get the consistency that we like for fondue so I leave this up to you.


Serve pronto!

We dipped:
broccolli
canned potatoes
french bread
pre-cooked chicken
mini sausages
carrots

Monday: Breakfast Burritos

I am sharing a breakfast idea that can be made in advance and recooked in a snap in the morning. As many of you mommas probably already know, sugar (like in pop tarts and in some cereals) is a terrible way to start the day. The children will be cranky about mid morning after the crash and then have to wait another hour or two before lunch. A better breakfast includes protein. I am not a dietitian, and I certainly am not one to tell others how to eat, because I know I don't set a great example many times. I do try, none the less, to feed my babies from the food groups, and I am sure most of you do too. Having said that, here is a great breakfast idea that can be done in advance to save time in the morning so you don't grab for that chocolate pop tart. :)

Ingredients:
12 eggs
2 Tbs. butter
1 roll of breakfast sausage
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 half onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
24 (or so) flour tortillas (use whatever size fits your appetite...I use the smaller ones and just eat a couple of them at a time)

To make the egg mixture...
Ingredients for egg mixture:
12 eggs
2 Tbs. butter
1 roll of breakfast sausage
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 half onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped

Using butter or margarine, scramble 12 eggs over a skillet. In another skillet, cook and crumble 1 roll of breakfast sausage.
In a large bowl combine scrambled eggs, sausage, onion, bell pepper, and cheddar cheese. This tastes awesome all on it's own, by the way.

If making burritos, roll about 3 Tbs. mixture into a flour tortilla. (more or less depending on taste) If you are freezing these, line them side by side on a 9X13 pan. If you put them upside down they will freeze shut, or you can poke a toothpick through each one. Once frozen, place them all into a freezer bag and pull out as many as you need in the morning. Can be cooked in the microwave or the oven. Recommended time to cook in microwave: 40 seconds for one. Recommended time in 350 degree oven: about 10-13 minutes.

I am sorry to say that I don't have pictures of the final product. I did not actually turn this mixture into the burritos, but I wanted to share the idea anyways, because I think it is a good one.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Meal Plan for the week of March 9-14

Flour tortillas are inexpensive. I am using this week to offer a few cheap recipes that can serve a crowd...two of which use the versatile flour tortilla. My personal favorite recipe using flour tortillas is the Mexican Tortilla Skillet, which you can find here. I did not do this recipe this week, but I really do love it. All of the recipes except for the Teddy Bear Bread can be tweeked and changed according to your tastes. I am actually in my first trimester of my third pregnancy, and most things do NOT sound good to me. I went through a week when I thought I needed a Subway sub everyday. (I am aware that some of you will know exactly what I am talking about and some of you will think I am just ridiculous) All I can say is the food aversion thing the doctors talk about is all too real for me. For some reason a good ole flour tortilla and some cheese and spaghetti sauce came to my rescue a couple of times when nothing else could. :) Currently, I am munching on a fortune cookie. My fortune: "Behind an able man, there are always other able men." Hmmm...I'm sure it's true, but I always thought the saying was, "behind every great man, is an even greater woman" but that's neither here nor there. :) (No, I am not a feminist) Okay, no more chit chat. Here's our week:

Monday: Breakfast Burritos
Tuesday: Teddy Bear Bread and Spaghetti
Wednesday: Classic Mini Cheeseburgers
Thursday: Smiley Pizzas
Friday: Beef Taco Salad

SHOPPING LIST

Breakfast Burritos:
12 eggs
2 Tbs. butter
1 roll of breakfast sausage
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 half onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
24 (or so) flour tortillas (any size is fine)

Teddy Bear Bread and "Sgettis":
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs. vanilla
1/3 cup warm milk
1/2 tsp. salt
5 large eggs
About 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg beaten with 1 Tbs. milk
Spaghetti noodles
Spaghetti sauce

Classic Mini Cheeseburgers:
1 medium onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (I did not use fresh)
1-1/2 lb. 90% lean ground beef
1 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp. salt
6 slices American cheese
8 hot dog buns
24 hamburger dill pickle slices (I ignored this part, since my family would not eat pickles)

Smiley Pizzas:
Flour tortillas
mozzarella cheese
Spaghetti Sauce
Pepperoni
Serve with fruit

Beef Taco Salad:
1 lb. cooked ground beef
1 Taco seasoning packet
Veggies (tomatoes, cucumber, onion, just use what you have on hand)
A bag of salad, or rinsed, chopped lettuce
1,000 Island dressing (or whatever dressing your prefer)