Friday, January 29, 2010

Freezer Cooking...Meatballs & Inventive Freezer Storage!

Ok, so I think the break and caffeine worked! As I was mixing together my meatloaf/meatball recipe - which is made with ground turkey - I realized that they weren't binding together like I had, I added another 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs...still not like hamburger meatballs. So, I thought, why not use an ice cream scoop and scoop them into lined muffin tins? Will it work? It's worth a try...otherwise these meatballs will become a meat "loaf"!

Scroll down to see the results....

I love it when a plan comes together!! Sorry, I had to say it! A little throwback to the 80's and the "A-Team" :~)

Freezer Cooking.....Back to Work!

Here's my Chicken Pot Pie before the top crust goes on....

After the top crusts...not real pretty as I'm using round (pre-made) pie crust in a rectangular pan! Had to do a little cut & paste!

2 Chicken Pot Pies ready for the freezer! Actually, since we have a soccer tournament all weekend one will stay in the fridge and used for a yummy dinner tomorrow night. Trying to keep from having to go out to eat during a busy weekend!

Freezer Cooking.....Break Time!!!!

Wow, 2 hours have already gone by! So to recap: I have made 2 servings of Taco Meat, 1 Baked Ziti and 2 Chicken Pot Pies (ingredients cooling before assembly). Whew! I must take a 30 minute break to recharge (drink coffee and eat something!) and then I'll start on my Baked Meatballs....I'm thinking I must just have time to make a double batch of Chocolate Chip Cookie dough too!

Chicken & Veggies...

Pot Pie Sauce...

The side of the kitchen that is clean!

Ahhhh! That's a lot of dishes!

Where I do all my blogging & tweeting ~ my Mac (I Love You Mac!!!!)

Freezer Cooking.....

Woo Hoo!!!! Baked Ziti and 2 Batches of Taco Meat are ready for the Freezer!!!

Freezer Cooking.....

Ok, so the sauces are done and are cooling...pasta has been cooked...and the dishes are growing!!!

Freezer Cooking.....

It's 9:30 and here's what I've accomplished so far: 2 lbs taco meat is simmering, Baked Ziti sauce is also simmering, potatoes are a nice golden brown and chicken is almost done! You'll also see in the photo that the mess is growing as well!

It's Freezer Cooking Day!

Today is Day One of Freezer Cooking Day! I am splitting up the menu and will finish on Tuesday. If you have never made a meal ahead of time and froze it to be used for another day, you have to try it - it it soooo great! A couple of weeks ago I formulated my Plan which included recipes, shopping list & my Freezer Day Worksheet (more on that later)...

Today I will be making 6 meals:

2 Chicken Pot Pies
1 Baked Ziti
1 Baked Meatballs
2 Servings of Taco Meat

It's 9 am and I'm off to a good start: 3 lbs of hamburger is cooking, chicken is boiling & potatoes are browning nicely...I've also got 4 pie crusts out thawing...

Stay Tuned!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Delicious Scalloped Corn Recipe

I am so excited to have found this recipe! A few weeks ago I subscribed to a Menu Planning service at and this recipe was on the Jan 13-19, 2010 menu. It's such a great service because they use the store you shop at (along with that week's sales) to put together an efficient & cost-effective menu. It comes with 7 meals that include a Main Dish, and typically two Side Dishes. Of course, I will find 1 or 2 recipes that my family won't care for and that's when I substitute a Freezer Meal or an old family favorite.

So, if you like the little corn cakes you typically get with your meal at a Mexican restaurant, you will love this Scalloped Corn recipe:

1 stick butter (I didn't say that it was healthy, but it's very yummy!)
1 can creamy style corn
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
8 oz sour cream
1 box cornbread mix (I use Jiffy)

Melt butter in casserole dish. Mix corn, sour cream & cornbread mix together. Pour into casserole & bake for 1 hour @ 350 degrees.

The hardest part of this recipe is waiting a whole hour for it to bake!! I'm serving it tonight with a Taco Salad (by kid's request :~) The menu plan used it as a side dish with a simple Parmesan Chicken recipe - I'll post that one in a bit!

Thoughts while speed cleaning

Sometimes I feel like my house looks like the one in that picture! Well, this morning my Twitter friend, Kelleigh, couldn’t lead us in speed cleaning so I decided, what the heck, I can do it! I decided that even if only one person was following my tweets it would be worth it because it would keep me accountable to getting the work done! As I’m sweeping away, (thinking about the fact that I think I’m twittering my speed cleaning updates only to myself) I had an analogy forming in my head. Watch out – she’s thinking!! Anyway, I was thinking about how keeping myself accountable to my speed cleaning because of the thought that just one person might be following after me, reminded me that the Christian walk is much the same. We never know who’s following our “tweets”, our conversations & our actions. We don’t know who might be watching. Be it our children, family, co-workers, neighbors, fellow soccer Moms or even strangers. It makes so thankful that our God is a God of grace and mercy and that we can start every day fresh in Him. So, I’m encouraging myself today, in speed cleaning and in life, to continue to keep myself accountable because I never know who is watching :~)

This verse helps me to start my day off in the right frame of mind: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Have a great day!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm So Excited! My New Circle Punch!

Needless to say, I could have used this puppy when I was up to my eyeballs in Christmas creations! I can't wait to give it a try :') Kids, you better hide your paper - quick - unless you want it punched into circles! My girlfriend, Heidi, and I have a weekly shopping date after we drop off our girls at Youth Group and we typically hit Michaels & Joanns craft stores. Last night, I found my awesome circle punch at Joann's where it was 40% off!! Woo Hoo - only $7.49! Well below my $10 budget :~) Hopefully I'll have some time later to take it out of the package and squeeze away!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bread Machine Buttery Rolls

I found this recipe on Money Saving Mom's site and was excited to give it a try. I love simple recipes - especially ones that my kids can help me with! We had them tonight with Broccoli and Cheese Soup and they were so delicious! Click here for the link.

Bread Machine Buttery Rolls

1 cup warm milk (70-80 degrees)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Add ingredients in the oder list to your bread machine. Run on dough cycle. When dough is complete, divide into 20-24 portions and shape into balls.

Place on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 15 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 13-16 minutes until golden brown. Yield 20-24 rolls.

Baked Ziti

This is one of the recipes that I used for my Freezer Cooking Day. I found it at

Baked Ziti - serves 5

1lb. Ground Beef
1 Jar Prego or marinara sauce
Onions & Peppers, chopped
2-3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 lg. box Ziti noodles, cooked (I substituted Bow Tie Pasta)

Brown beef, onions & peppers. Add sauce and simmer. Mix noodles, cheese and sauce, keeping some of the sauce for topping. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring 1/2 way through.

*If you are going to freeze, do not bake first.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Free Envelope Template & Tutorial

After carefully putting together our 2010 Household Budget, I decided to start using cash for buying things like Groceries, Hair Cuts, Etc. I've heard that when you have to hand over that hard-earned cash instead of just sliding the debit card mindlessly through the machine, you tend to spend less! Well, I'm all about saving money so I decided that it can't hurt to try! Then I came across a Tweet (I've met so many cool Moms on Twitter!) with a link to a FREE envelope template that was created to work with my new cash system. Click here to see Kelleigh's blog and the easy instructions for making your own envelopes. Have fun creating! P.S. I'm sorry that the quality of the photos is not so great. My hubby is using my camera today so I had to resort to the camera on my Blackberry!

The finished envelopes fit perfectly in my wallet

A little different from Kelleigh's design - I put dividers in one envelope for all 4 weeks of grocery money instead of 4 separate envelopes.

I made a total of 3 envelopes: Groceries, Fun (eating out, etc) & Miscellaneous (like trips to Michaels or JoAnns :~)

I just love the finished product! I added ribbon to mine so that my hard-earned cash doesn't slip out! Thanks again Kelliegh for taking the time to share this awesome & FREE envelope template with us :~)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Delicious Chicken Pot Pie Recipe - great for freezer meal!

Last week I spent a whole day cooking meals to fill my freezer with - it was so worth it! Here's one of our favorite meals so far:

Chicken Pot Pie - Makes 1 pie serving 4-6

2 cups cooked, chopped chicken breast
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup cooked, diced carrots
1/2 cup cooked, diced potatoes
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
double pie crust - I used the pre-made, refrigerated kind - 2 in a box

Combine the chicken breast, peas, carrots, and potatoes in a bowl; set aside. In medium saucepan, melt butter. Saute onion until clear. Whisk in flour and cook until bubbly. Whisk in broth and milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Stir in seasonings. Pour over chicken-vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Cool completely if preparing for freezer. Line pie plate with bottom crust. Pour in filling. Position top crust, crimp edges,* and bake at 375 for one hour or until crust is brown and filling bubbles.

If you want to make this ahead and freeze. Simply wrap with foil at the asterisk*, label and freeze. To server: Vent top and brush with milk. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes and then reduce heat and bake at 375 until crust is browned and filling bubbles, about one hour more.

*Mixed, frozen vegetables may be substituted for the peas, carrots, and potatoes. This is also delicious made with cooked turkey.