Monday, February 27, 2012

This Week’s Menu

Split pea soup (made in the crockpot), pepperoni bread, salad
Crockpot Bbq Beef (from freezer) over brown rice, salad
Beef veggie soup (using my canned beef stew, home canned green beans and veggie stock), biscuits, salad
Chili bean soup, tortilla chips & salsa, salad
Salmon patties, cheesy brown rice , salad

I thought I’d share my breakfast & lunch menus this week.  I roughly plan ideas for these meals and don’t follow a weekly schedule like I do with dinner.  Sometimes the kids eat toast w/peanut butter and a glass of milk or make a smoothie or something easy for breakfast.  Usually I keep breakfast a simple as possible through most of the week.  

Lunch is often leftovers or something creative made from the leftovers if there is not enough leftovers to go around.  Or I’ll make up some soup (typically something very simple and quick) or serve sandwiches and fruit.  Again, lunch does not follow a schedule. 
Breakfast Menu
Breakfast apple crisp
Cheese omelets and toast, oranges
Coffee cake & sausage patties, oranges
Fruit smoothies & scrambled eggs
Oatmeal muffins, apple slices
Lunch Menu
Egg salad sandwiches & apples
Homemade tomato soup, crackers
PB & J sandwiches & fruit
Mexican bean soup, tortilla chips & salsa

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Crockpot Honey & Dijon Mustard Chicken Review

On Thursday night I served the Crockpot Honey & Dijon Mustard Chicken that I posted here:    This is the review of the recipe..

It was good!!  :)  ..  I served it over brown rice.  The family really enjoyed it and wanted to see it on the menu again.  I personally thought it could be a little less sweet.  Next time I will use about ¼ cup less honey..   but it was good the way it was, I just wanted to taste the Dijon mustard a little more.  I served it with a salad and some apple cinnamon muffins.  I will be making this one again!!  It was so simple to make and made for really easy work on cooking day..  a great combo!!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Canning Beef Stew

In my last blog post I shared that I had bought 10 pounds of beef roast. I cut it all up and used 4 pounds in 2 crockpot freezer meals
( ). I used the other 6 pounds of meat along with potatoes, carrots, onions and celery to can beef stew.

Here were the general proportions I used in canning 7 quarts of beef stew..

6# beef
2# potatoes
2# carrots
1# onions
1# celery

After I cut up the meat and got the freezer meals done I moved to the beef stew. I peeled and cut up the potatoes and carrots. I chopped up the onions and sliced the celery.

I pulled out 3 quarts of veggie stock from my freezer to use for liquid in the stew. You can use beef or chicken stock or you can use water. I did not add anything to thicken the liquid as usually thickeners don’t hold up in canning. You can thicken the broth after it is opened if you would like.

I added 1 teaspoon salt to each of my 7 hot quart jars. Then I divided up the beef, followed by the potatoes, carrots, onions and celery until the jars were full. While I was doing this my veggie stock was heating up to a boil. I then poured the hot stock in each jar..

I put a lid and ring on each jar ..

And canned the jars for 90 minutes at 10lbs of pressure…

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Two More Crockpot Meals for the Freezer

On Saturday when I went grocery shopping I bought 10lbs of beef roast. It was a pretty good deal, a little less expensive than hamburger. On Monday I spent some time and cut the meat up into bite size pieces. It took a bit a time but if I had bought the meat already cut it would have doubled the cost. So I figured it was worth my time to cut it up myself.

This is what I started with..

And this is what I ended up with…

I used 4lbs of the meat to make 2 crockpot meals for the freezer. I used the rest of the meat to can beef stew. I will post about canning beef stew in my next blog post. This post is about the freezer meals I put together.

The first 2 freezer meals were BBQ Beef. I made the same bbq sauce mix that I used on the bbq chicken legs. You can find that recipe here: 

I put 2lbs of cut up beef in 2 gallon size zip lock bags (4lbs total.. 2lbs in each bag)..

I then added the bbq sauce…

And the zucchini pineapple (you can use jam or jelly instead as I mentioned in the blog post linked above):

Seal and squish together and freeze (pretty easy stuff :)…

On cooking day… dump the bag of bbq beef into the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. Serve over brown rice or mashed potatoes.

The second crockpot freezer meal was Italian Sausage & Peppers…

Italian Sausage and Peppers (Crockpot)
**This recipe will make 2 freezer meals.

3 lbs sausages (these are kielbasa type or they could be turkey, chicken, organic.. your choice), sliced
4 red peppers, sliced
2 large onion, sliced
6 medium sized mushrooms, sliced
2 jars spaghetti sauce
2T Italian spices

Divide ingredients into 2 gallon size zip type freezer bags. Seal the bag closed and squish it around to mix it all up.

On serving day dump contents of bag into crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours.

To serve: you can serve this over brown rice or add 8 to 10 ounces of cooked pasta of your choice.

Here it is pics..

Assemble all your ingredients. I used my home canned spaghetti sauce but you can use the store bought equivalent. I used chicken apple sausages that I bought from Costco. You can use any kielbasa type sausages for this…

Cut up the sausages and veggies..

Divide the sausage and veggies between 2 gallon size zip lock bags. Add a jar of spaghetti sauce to each bag and add spices to each bag…

Seal the bag and squish the ingredients together …


To serve dump bag into crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. After it has finished cooking add 8 to 10oz cooked pasta to it or serve it over brown rice.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Review

Last night we had the Mexican Chicken crockpot recipe that I posted on Saturday. I forgot to take it out of the freezer on Sunday night .. oops.. :) .. I took it out first thing in the morning and after about 4 hours I could break it up enough to put in the crockpot…

I turned the crockpot on low and let it cook for 6 hours. At the end it looked like this…

I also made a batch of brown rice ( to go with the meal. I put some brown rice on the plate first…

Then ladled the Mexican Chicken over the top…

Then added some sour cream and cheese and served it with a salad (with homemade ranch dressing), tortilla chips & salsa..

This got rave reviews from the family.. and I agreed.. it was yummy and will be on the menu in the future!!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

This Week’s Menu

Crockpot Mexican Chicken (from the freezer), Tortilla chips & salsa, salad
Pizza (using pizza crusts from the freezer)
Crockpot Honey & Dijon Mustard Chicken (from the freezer), mashed potatoes or brown rice pilaf, salad
Crockpot Italian Sausage and Peppers (from the freezer) w/whole wheat spaghetti noodles, salad
Hamburger noodle soup, oatmeal muffins, salad

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Crockpot Freezer Meals

I had this idea that it would be nice to put together a couple of crockpot meals ahead of time in the freezer. How nice it would be to take a meal ready to cook out of the freezer and put it into the crockpot and not have to think about dinner until dinner time rolls around and then add a salad (and in the case of the first recipe some brown rice pilaf).

Here are the meals that I assembled tonight after grocery shopping today. I bought a large package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6 lbs) from Costco and wanted to get them in the freezer as soon as possible. This was fresh chicken, not the frozen type. You can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I used the thighs because they were less expensive, and lately grocery prices in my part of the world have seemed to really sky rocket in price and every little bit of savings helps.

I feed basically 5 adults and 2 teens so these meals are on the larger size. If your family does not need this much food for a meal these meals can be split up so you would end up with more meals.

I have not actually tested these recipes (just created them :). But I feel confident that they will be good as they have ingredients that my family enjoys. I plan on putting both recipes on next week’s menu plan and will give you a review of them at that time.

The night before I plan to cook these meals I will take the meal out of the freezer before bedtime and put it in the fridge to defrost. In the morning I will dump the contents of the bag into my crockpot and cook.

Crockpot Honey & Dijon Mustard Chicken
3 lbs chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
1 onion, sliced
1 cup honey
½ cup Dijon mustard
Salt, pepper to taste
Cut up chicken in bite size pieces. Put chicken and all remaining ingredients into a gallon size zip lock bag. Seal the bag closed tightly and squish the ingredients around to mix them up. Label the bag and freeze.
On cooking day dump contents of bag into crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. I plan to serve this with brown rice pilaf (  )

Here it is in pics..

Cut up chicken, slice onion and measure out honey and mustard…..

Add chicken to the bag..

Add onions..

Add honey & mustard ….

Seal the bag closed and squish it around to mix it up (can it get any more simple? :)…


Crockpot Mexican Chicken
***This recipe will make 2 meals. I divided the ingredients listed below into 2 gallon size zip type freezer bags.

3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, sliced
2 cups salsa
2 cans (14oz) diced tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn
4 cups cooked beans (pinto beans, red beans, black beans, your choice), I used 1 quart of my canned pinto beans
2 t chili powder
1 t cumin
Salt & pepper to taste

Cut your chicken into bite size pieces. Divide chicken between 2 gallon size freezer bags. Divide remaining ingredients between freezer bags. Seal the bag closed tightly and squish the ingredients around to mix them up. Label bag and freeze.

On cooking day, dump the contents of the whole bag into the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. Serve with tortilla chips, salsa, sour cream and a little cheddar cheese grated on top.

Here it is in pics..

Cut up chicken, slice onion and gather together ingredients. I used my own home canned salsa and my own canned beans. You can use store bought salsa and cook your beans up (or used canned)…

Divide chicken between 2 gallon size bags…

Add 1 cup of salsa to each bag and 1 can diced tomatoes…

Add 1 cup corn and the sliced onion to each bag…

And 2 cups of cooked beans (and spices.. I forgot to add the spices, blame it on a long day and tired brain!! But I will add them on the day I cook the meal)…

Seal bag and squish all ingredients together and freeze.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

BBQ Chicken Legs

I made this dish the other night. It is one of my family’s favorite meals. It is easy to make. I used a home canned jar of zucchini pineapple that I canned last summer ( ). However I’ve made this dish for years and typically I used homemade jam or jelly (you can use store bought jam or jelly as well). I have used my own peach jam or grape jelly (  ) and have even made it with beet jelly ( ).

Here is how I make it…

Lay the chicken legs in a 11x15 pan that has been sprayed with non stick spray. I used about 4lbs of chicken legs for this meal…

Put the chicken legs in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. While the chicken is baking make your sauce. Measure out 1 ½ cups of bbq sauce. This can be homemade sauce
( ).

Add an equal amount of jam or jelly. In the pics below I added the whole pint jar of zucchini pineapple and mixed together. If you are using jam or jelly it will be slightly lumpy and that is ok…

After the chicken has cooked for 30 minutes pull it out of the oven. ..

Pour sauce over chicken (it was a little tricky to pour the sauce and take a pic at the same time :) so it came out a little blurry)…

Bake for another 30 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is nicely glazed with the sauce and is completely cooked…


The night I made this I was going to serve macaroni and cheese with the meal until I discovered I had run out of macaroni!! :) It happens… so instead I made cheesy brown rice pilaf to go with the meal. I will be posting that recipe soon..



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Homestead Moments

This morning I woke up to a chilly house and got a fire going to warm the house. When it was light enough to see outside I noticed snow on the top of the hills across the way. Soon I heard my daughter Emily get up. And she came and joined me in the living room. We enjoyed a wonderful cup of coffee together and some awesome chat time. My daughter Leanne then joined us as well.

I find these times with my daughters such a treat. Emily is 21 and Leanne is 20 and both have busy lives working and socializing, coming and going. So when we do have a moment where our schedules meet together it is a time to discuss so many things; issues in life, work, friends, family and more. As my children are growing up and moving on with their own lives these moments we spend together are special indeed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The day of hearts, flowers and love.. The day everyone is supposed to be romantic and all that jazz. Not that I have a problem with being romantic but I’ve always bristled at having a day were I’m told I’m supposed to be that way.. just my independent streak coming through I guess.. :) ..

Love, to me, is something that is shown all year long, every day. Love is giving selflessly to the ones that the Lord has put in my life, those that are nearest and dearest to my heart, my family. Love is serving. As my husband has said to me many times, “Love is an action”. It’s a verb.. it’s what we do each day to care, support, and provide for those we love.

When we love and serve and give to our families we show the love of God to them, the love that we have for our Savior comes through our actions to those He has entrusted to our care. 

Matt. 25:40 And the King will answer and say to them, ”Assuredly, I say to you inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me”.

John 13: 34 & 35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Just so you know I’m not being a big downer on this holiday, I do plan to make my family a pan of yummy fudge brownies ( ) and serve them hot out of the oven smothered in some vanilla ice cream :) .. a treat I know they will enjoy!