It has been a few days since I updated my blog. I have been swamped with online time. I opened up membership on my message board for one week. I got 115 new members! That is a lot of new faces to get to know! I hope to open it again in a few months, but for now that is all the overload my moderators and I could handle! :)
Between approving new members and dealing with life at home I managed to do so freezer cooking. I spent a few days this last week stocking the freezer. I was pretty much completely out of my typical freezer stash. I can’t say enough how convenient it is to have meal starters in my freezer. I love the ease of putting together a meal on a busy day when I have food ready to go in my freezer to create a big variety of meals. I tend to like meal starters better than whole meals in the freezer as there is so much more flexibility. A meal starter is a part of a meal that is already cooked and ready to go. I wrote a whole ebook on this very thing. You can see more about that here: http://crystalscountrystore.com/freezercookingebook.htm . I also put a couple of meals in my freezer that were already to go.
So here is what I have in my freezer so far…
6 qt’s hamburger mix
3 qt’s ham mix (remember the ham sandwich post? Well this was what I did with the rest of that ham :)
9 qt’s bean mix
2 qt bags cooked brown rice
32 cups of veggie stock – I had a gallon size bag of veggie scraps in the freezer plus I had some sad looking carrots in the crisper to use up. I also found about ½ cup peas and about the same amount of broccoli in the freezer that I tossed in. I added a couple overgrown summer squash from my garden to the mix as well.
3 qt’s cooked chopped chicken meat
5 bags of chopped cooked chicken for hubby’s sandwiches for work
4qt’s chicken broth from the bones of the two chickens I cooked
3 qt’s of hamburger potato chowder (made a double batch so I would have some for the freezer)
5qt’s chili (made a major big batch so I could put some in the freezer)
I still want to add a few more items.. but first I need to go and organize my freezer better so all my packages of food are easy to find! :)
My son finally officially finished drivers ed! He just today took his final drive and passed! I am relieved to have that over with. Now for a little more driving practice to get a few things clear and then he can make an appointment with the DOL for his final test and get his license. Then I get a break. It will be over a year before Sierra is ready to get her permit.. I am looking forward to the break! Teaching two kids to drive in one year is enough for this mom!!
The weather here has turned cool and cloudy and rainy. My corn is not ready to pick yet and only a few of my tomatoes are just now turning red. I am praying that the veggies ripen up before fall officially begins. However my pumpkins are doing fantastic and I still think I should have a nice windfall of cabbage!
Speaking of fall, I have to say I am really sad to see summer coming to an end.. :( .. I am a summer loving girl all the way. I love the heat, the long days, the warm evenings. I love not having to start a fire each day and deal with the months and months of seemingly never ending rain. So I embrace fall with a bit of sadness. There is a lot of things I love about fall.. the leaves turning color (which in my part of the country is truly beautiful!!), pots of tea, baking, anything pumpkin from candles to soap to muffins! LOL.. but there is also a little bit of bittersweet that comes with it. It means that winter is not far away, and that is the one season I truly could do without. I tell my husband that someday we need to retire somewhere warm!!! :)
I will leave you with a new recipe. I made this today. I wanted something new and different and this is what I came up with. I did not get a picture because, well, the family dived into the meal and pretty much ate it all up with rave reviews.. so it is definitely a tried and true meal!
Italian Chicken Casserole
2T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups cooked chopped chicken
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 ½ t minced garlic
1T Italian spices
½ t salt
1 cup milk
3oz. cream cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
8oz whole wheat spaghetti noodles, cooked and drained
In a large frying pan heat olive oil until medium hot. Add onions and sautee until the onions are soft. Add the cooked chicken, tomatoes, tomato sauce, spices and milk. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the cream cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese. Add the cooked spaghetti noodles and gently stir.
Lightly spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray. Spoon chicken noodle mixture into pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese on the top has melted.
Serve with French bread and a large green salad.
NOTE: If you have my Freezer Cooking with Meal Starters ebook this would be an excellent addition! Use one bag of chicken mix for the chopped cooked chicken called for in the recipe.
That is all from the Homestead today!! :)