Tag Archives: food

You can freeze that?

Want to know a secret about me? I freeze everything. Okay, maybe not everything, but a lot of stuff. I have two freezers, and I use them both to their full potential. I often get into conversations about cooking or groceries and mention having something in my freezer when the person I’m speaking too gives me a strange look and says, “You can freeze that?” I often have leftovers, a freezer meal or two, cookie dough, and maybe some muffins or homemade burritos waiting to be devoured, but here are a few other things you may not have thought about keeping in your freezer.

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Chopped veggies
I have ziploc bags bell peppers, onions, and celery chopped and ready for use in my freezer at all times. If a recipe calls for half an onion (or one of the others), I cut up the rest and store it in the freezer. These are great for later recipes, pizzas, or omelets. I have also stored leftover diced tomatoes, onions, and peppers all in the same bag for quick omelets! I cook a lot, so this is a great time saver for me.

Broth/Stock Starters
I always have a bag in my freezer where I dump carrot, onion, celery, etc. extras. The last carrot that’s on the verge of going into the trash? Toss it in. The celery that’s not quite crunchy? Toss it in. Then when I have some deer bones or cook a whole chicken, I have everything I need to make my own broth.

Broth
When I make a batch of chicken or deer broth, I divide it into bags of 2 cups each and freeze it. It helps to lay the bags flat, as they take up less room frozen that way.

Fruit
Buy up those end of season, too ripe to last more than a couple of days fruits, and chop them up to freeze! Those are great for smoothies! Bananas too ripe but you don’t have time to bake? Put the whole thing in the freezer. When you’re ready to make banana bread (or another tasty treat), just thaw it and squeeze it into your mix.

Potatoes
Sometimes I buy lots of potatoes, and then our week gets crazy, and I have to rearrange my meal plan. Instead of having sprouting potatoes, peel and cut them to whatever size you like and blanch them. Then they can be frozen without fear of having a bag full of brown potatoes in the freezer.

Beans
I don’t remember the last time I bought canned beans. Raw beans are cheaper, easy to cook, and usually healthier. I’ve found bulk cooking to be easiest with beans. I like to cook a few different kinds and then store them in 2 cup quantities (most cans are 15 oz.). These are great for chili, soups, quesadillas, crockpot recipes, etc., pretty much any recipe you would use canned beans for.

Cheese
We love cheese and use tons of shredded cheese. I buy a lot when it’s on sale, and I toss the extra bags into our extra freezer.

Milk
This is the one most people give me strange looks about. We use a lot of milk. We are 25 miles from Kroger, and the smaller stores nearby are much more expensive, so this saves us a lot of money. I buy 5-6 gallons every 2 weeks, most in half gallon jugs.  I’ve found those thaw better. Those little circles on the sides of the milk jugs? When the milk expands during freezing, those pop out, so the plastic doesn’t crack. After the milk is thawed, shake it to mix it back up, and it’s good to go.

Bread
This is another one some people are weirded out by. There are a few tricks to it though. First, really cheap bread doesn’t freeze/thaw well. Second, it is best to not leave it frozen for long periods of time, though it would probably last longer if it was double-bagged. Ours is usually never frozen more than a couple of weeks, so I haven’t tried doubling up the bags.

Eggs
This isn’t something I freeze regularly, but on a few occasions I’ve been given more eggs than we could use in a reasonable time. I first crack them into muffin tins, stir a little to break up the yolks, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer. When they are frozen, I pop them out of the muffin pans into ziploc bags. I will say, I’ve only used frozen eggs in baking. They might do fine for breakfast eggs, but I have no experience with that.

Is there anything you freeze to save time or money? I’d love to hear about it!

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 18

Day Eighteen

I’m thankful to be able to feed my family.

Yesterday my family went grocery shopping. We were crunched on time this weekend, and the best spot available was yesterday afternoon on our way home from viewing another house. Because of the items on our list, we had to make 2 stops.

At the first stop, we unloaded our two youngest from their car seats and laid them in the front seat to change diapers. Hubby with one and me with the other – we do diaper changes in the car like pros now. Haha! We didn’t even have a kid out of the car before one was crying, and we laughed about how bad the trip was starting.

We made it through our short list for that store (of course forgetting two important items!) and at the check out my husband grabbed drinks out of the cooler for a treat for us. Back in the car, he mentioned how he sometimes feels guilty for the frivolous spending that goes on in our country, ourselves included, and so many think nothing of it, ever. I agreed. We certainly didn’t need $3 worth of sugary drinks. We are just as guilty as the rest of this country’s population.

This isn’t a new topic of discussion for us either. With a growing family, we know the importance of stretching a dollar. I meal plan, budget our finances, and cook mostly from scratch just to stretch our food bill (and keep my family healthier). Some paychecks we have to stretch more than others, but even then, you’ll find items in our pantry that others would consider unnecessary and a huge treat. On just about any given day I have the ingredients to whip up oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips. Nearly every week I purchase or make an extra dish to take to our Wednesday night small group.

At our second stop, I pulled put my long list of items needed for the next week or two. I had planned out a menu of meals for our family, double checked the kitchen for what we had and what I needed for each recipe, made a list and hoped it would all be within the amount I budgeted for groceries. Thankfully it ended up under our budgeted amount, but after we made it home with 3 sleepy kids and I put everything away, I opened one of the freezers (Yes, we use two! So many in this world will never own one!) to squeeze in one last bag of green beans and felt so very grateful to be able to feed my family – to live in a country of abundant food. Even with so many struggling financially, there are churches and food banks and non-profits handing out free food every day to those in need. There are people out in the woods and fields across the country right now harvesting wild game for their families and others. We are blessed with a basic necessity that we so often don’t stop to recognize or appreciate. This morning I’ll be filling my crockpot with the ingredients of a potato soup, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to cook another meal for my husband and children.

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ALWAYS lock the fridge

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Why am I posting a picture of a bottle of mustard? Just hang in there with me for a minute.

A few nights ago, I was needing to make an important, work-related, phone call, and Steven wasn’t there to be on kid duty. I did the normal mommy things: got the boys snacks and drinks, lectured on the importance of being quiet, reminded them I would be down the hall, turned on their favorite cartoon, and quietly slipped into my bedroom. I forgot something on my list though. Something VERY important. About halfway through this phone call, I needed to return to the kitchen to get something, though I’ve now forgotten what. I was definitely not prepared for what I found. That little mustard bottle? It was in the hands of my 2 year old. The contents of that bottle were all over my kitchen and dining area, and laundry room.  I had forgotten to lock the refrigerator! The floor, the table, the chairs, the oven, the cabinets, the dirty clothes, the washing machine, both my sons…oh, and the couch, the carpet, two tote bags, a library book, and the dog – all decorated with spots, splashes, smears and puddles of yellow mustard. What’s a mom to do? I’m not even sure what I should have done. I couldn’t even give him a stern look though. I laughed. I told the woman on the other end of the phone what was going on. Thankfully she laughed with me. I then cleaned it up as I finished the conversation. Ah, you’ve never fully multitasked until you’ve undressed two little boys covered in mustard, cleaned up a ginormous mess, and carried on a business phone call at the same time!

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{Wordless Wednesday} A Sunday Morning Breakfast

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3 ingredient biscuits

I know you are reading that title and wondering what kind of cardboard I’m eating, but I promise they are good. My husband even approved, and he’s a very honest critic!

Technically there are 4 ingredients, (2 are optional!) but one of those is melted butter that I poured on top of them. This is actually a combination/variation of a couple of different recipes I found online. I never have what recipes call for, so I just substitute, adjust, and see what happens.

*Please excuse the sippy cup, pacifier, etc. on my counter. My kitchen will never be spotless. 🙂 I also forgot to take a picture until there were only 2 left. Oops.

Here’s what you need:

3 C. self-rising flour
1.5 C. milk
1 Tbsp sugar, optional
4 Tbsp. butter, melted, optional

Heat the oven to 450°F.

Lightly grease a baking sheet, cake pan, or whatever you want to use. I actually used a pizza pan just because it was on top in the drawer.

Mix the flour with the milk, and add a tablespoon of sugar if you want to. Drop by large tablespoonfuls onto the greased baking sheet.  Pour melted butter over top.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or tops lightly browned.

Take them out of the oven and enjoy!

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{Recipe} Baked Chicken Strips

This recipe was a hit at our house tonight! It was toddler approved!

http://www.food.com/recipe/crispy-baked-chicken-strips-89503

For the crackers, I used Great Value butter crackers. That’s just what I had on hand.
I also had a lot of crushed crackers left over, so I sprinkled some on top after I had them on the baking sheet, and still dumped some in the trash.

Servings: 2

Units: US

Ingredients:

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 egg, beaten
2 cups finely crushedcracker crumbs or 2 cups plain breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt or 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder

Directions:

1 Cut chicken breasts into thin strips, about one inch wide.
2 Longer sections can be cut in half to have uniform pieces.
3 Mix cracker crumbs and seasonings well.
4 Dip chicken pieces into egg mixture, then dredge in crumb mixture.
5 Place on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
6 Bake at 375 degrees F, for 10-12 minutes, until crispy on outside and lightly browned.
7 Dip into favorite sauce, or enjoy just as they are!

Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/crispy-baked-chicken-strips-89503#ixzz1Z7QUNKLv

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