Sunday, February 28, 2010

Freezer Cooking, Dinner Starters, Make Ahead List

Have you seen my post here? My style is more like making my own convenience foods and dinner starters, not making ahead full dinners.  I still love to give that home made feel each night but don't want  cooking to consume my evening.  My make ahead list is ever growing as I continue to  replace my processed foods and canned goods with my own.  Eliminating processed and canned foods leaves you with what I believe is Whole Foods.  What has provided us as nourishment though the earth.
Why would I do all this?  I was seriously ill and a part of what helped my cure was eliminating processed foods entirely.  It was actually doctor prescribed.  At first I only did it for the time I was being treated.  But my mother strongly URGED me to keep it up.  There must be SOME reason you were told to do that she would say.  What harm could it be to continue she says.  I was always the child that listened to my mother.  Her words sunk in. If it helped me, it will help my children be healthy was well right?  That was all the motivation I needed.  I'm still working on it.  I have not mastered it yet, but i will.

Rice a Roni Dry Mix
Jiffy Corn Bread Dry Mix
Cream Soup Dry Mix
Hamburger Rolls Dry Mix
Pre-Cooked Rice
Pre-Cooked Beans (red, black and white)
Refried Beans
Escalloped Apples
Mashed Potatoes
Bolognese Meat Sauce
Tomato Sauce (same as bolognese without meat)
Ground Beef Base
Soup Starter (cup each of diced onions, carrots and celery)
Stock (chicken and beef)
Twice Based Potatoes Print

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cream Condensed Soup Powder Mix

Please enjoy this recipe as a part of my make ahead series.

2 cubs Nonfat Dry Milk Powder
1/4 cup Corn Starch
1/2 Potato Flakes
2 Tablespoons dried minced onions
1/4 cup Bouillon Powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon thyme

Using airtight container combine all ingredients listed.  Shake well.

When using mix combine 1/3 cup of mix with 1 1/4 cup hot water.  Stir until thickened.

To make condensed soup for cooking use 1 cup water.

  • Add chopped sauteed mushrooms for cream of mushroom soup.
  • Add Sauteed celery for cream of celery soup.
  • Add a hand full of chicken bits for cream of chicken soup.

Refried Beans

Please enjoy this recipe as a part of my make ahead series.

1 pound Pinto Beans (2 cups)
3 or 4 cups Water
1/2 cup Bacon Drippings (I save mine when I cooke bacon)
1 large Onion
5 cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
2 teaspoons Cumin
2 teaspoons Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon Oregano

Soak beans overnight with enough water to cover by 1 or 2 inches.

Next morning, rinse beans and place back into pot with enough water to cover by 1 or 2 inches.

Simmer uncovered on low for 1-1/2 to 2 hours until beans are tender on stove top.

Use potato masher or stick blender to mash up beans.

Place bacon fat in a dutch oven over medium heat.  Cook onions until translucent.  

Add garlic and seasonings.  Cook for about a minute until fragrant.

Add beans and cooking liquid.  

Cook stirring until thick paste forms adding any water as necessary.


Starting from stop one, place beans, onions and garlic in crock pot and cook 8 to 10 hours on low.  

Remove enough water to just allow beans to be submerged.

Use potato masher or stick blender to mash up beans.

Place in jars or bags and freeze.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Gluten Free Leftover Chicken Croquettes

Leftover Chicken Croquettes (made Gluten Free)

This recipe could very easily be breaded then frozen for future use.

3 cups cooked chicken, pureed a few pulses in food processor (finely chopped)
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I used 3 GF waffles and have used GF bread)
1/3 cup Cream Condensed Soup Mix re-constituted with 1 cup water
     or 1 can of Progresso cream of mushroom soup
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons Onions (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon Parsley
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1 Egg, beaten, plus 1 Tablespoon Water
1/4 cup Cracker Crumbs (Glutino - finely ground)
3 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter

Combine chicken, bread crumbs, eggs, onion and condensed soup mix.
Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Form into 2 1/2" oblong meat balls or patties.
Dip meat ball into egg wash and then into cracker crumb/Parmesan mixture
Arrange in a greased baking dish.
Melt 2 Tablespoons butter and drizzle over croquettes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gluten Free Rice A Roni Mix

Last time I checked, Rice a Roni was not Gluten free.  No worries, it really is super simple to make and it is a great idea to make it ahead.  If you break down the cost you will see that for the cost of one box on the shelves, you could make several.  The taste is exact.  Give it a try.  You will not be disappointed.

Please enjoy this recipe as a part of my make ahead series.

Rice a Roni

1 cup long grain White Rice
1/2 cup Broken Rice Spaghetti Pieces (as small as you can get them)
4 Herb-Ox Bouillon Cubes (chicken or beef)


1 Tablespoon Butter
1 teaspoon Oil
2 3/4 to 3 cups of Home Made Chicken or Beef stock (Water works also)
Chopped Fresh Parsley to taste

Add first three ingredients (rice, pasta bits, bouillon) in a glass jar.
(Sometimes I leave bouillon out and add with wet ingredients after)
Swipe metal cap with vinegar to disinfect. Twist on Metal Cap.
Keeps for a year in your pantry but I wont keep more than I'll use in say 2 months.

  • Add oil and butter to pan.
  • Take bouillon cubes aside and add rice/pasta to pan.
  • Saute until rice starts to brown.
  • Add stock or water and bouillon cubes and stir. Bring to boil.
  • Turn heat down to medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes (until rice is tender).
  • Garnish with fresh parsley.

I first read about this recipe from Alison here.
I adapted it to suite my gluten free lifestyle and re-posed here with permission.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gluten Free Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix Copy Cat Recipe

Please enjoy this recipe that is a part of my make ahead series.

Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

1 cup Medium Ground Corn Meal
1 cup of Flour (use any flour if not Gluten Free, works with both)
  • 1 parts Brown Rice Four,
  • 2/3 part Potato Starch,
  • 1/3 part Tapioca Flour
1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum (omit if not Gluten Free)
1/4 cup Sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt

1/4 cup Canola Oil
1 cup Milk
1 Egg
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Combine all dry ingredients and store in a Glass Jar for up to one year.

To make Muffins:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Spray 12 muffin slot pan or 8" pan with baking spray
Combine oil, milk, egg and vanilla well.
Add dry ingredients from Jar. Incorporate well.
Bake 18 minutes muffins or 23 minutes for bread.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Gluten Free Italian Meatballs

Please enjoy this recipe that is a part of my make ahead series.

2 1/5 pounds of Ground Beef
2 Tablespoons Parsley
4 Eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons Milk
2 Tablespoons Red Cooking Wine
3/4 cup Romano Cheese
3/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 teaspoon Pepper
2-3 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 Onions, finely diced

Combine all ingredients and incorporate well.

Roll a small hand full of meat in palms to form a ball.

Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool and freeze in a single layer until fully frozen.

Toss in a Ziplock.

Escalloped Apples

Please enjoy this recipe that is a part of my make ahead series.

Escalloped Apples (Stouffers Copy Cat Recipe)

10 cups Granny Smith Apples (or Jonathan works well too)
* 1 medium equals 1 cup.  
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/3 cup Brown Sugar

Peel, core and slice apples. I use a bowl with some lemon water to prevent browning. I get about 8 slices that I will then cut in half to make 16 pieces each apple.

In a large bowl toss to combine combine apples, cinnamon and sugar.


Add butter to pan to melt.  Add remaining ingredients and cook on medium heat until apples are just turned soft (careful not to over cook and make applesauce).  You may have to add a few tablespoons of water or juice at some point.


Place ingredients in microwave safe bowl.
Dot with butter, cover and microwave on high for 12 minutes (stirring occasionally).



Please enjoy this recipe that is a part of my Make Ahead meal list.

Fresh Pressed Hamburgers

5 pounds Ground Beef
5 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

In a large bowl mix beef and worcestershire sauce until well incorporated

Get out your Hamburger Press and line with Wax Paper.

Press 1/4 pound burgers and line on baking sheet.

Put baking sheet in freezer to freeze individually.

Once frozen they can be placed in a ziplock and they wont stick together.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bolognese Meat Sauce

This is the recipe my husband and I created while cooking together in our tiny apartment in Delran NJ. Check out the kind of tomato products we used. I am not even sure they sell that still? Well one thing is for sure, they don't sell it here in the south.

Bolognese Meat Sauce

1 pound Italian Mild Sausage
1 pound ground Beef
1 Onion, chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic
28 ounces Crushed/Whole/Diced Tomatoes
12 ounces Tomato Paste
12 ounces can Sauce
12 ounces can Puree
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 tablespoons Parsley
1 tablespoons Basil
1 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
1 Tablespoon Oil (to coat pan)

In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until browned. Stir in tomato products, water and seasonings. Simmer covered for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

I usually double this recipe and get 8 large family servings for the freezer.


Menu Plan Monday: Week of February 8th, 2010

Monday: Roast Beef / Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday: Leftover Beef Stroganoff over Rice/ Green Beans

Wednesday: Rosemary Chicken /Rice a Roni

Thursday: BBQ Pork in Crock Pot (trying a new recipe)/ Baked Beans / Broccoli

Saturday: Individual Meat Loaves / Mashed Potatoes

Sunday: Spaghetti & Meatballs / Salad

On the line up for week after:

On the make ahead lineup for this week is Bolognese Sauce, Tomato Sauce, Ground Beef Base and Meatballs.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

White Chicken Chili

1 lb. chicken breast, cubed (equals about 1-1/2 cups)
2 1/2 cups Water (if you are cooking Fresh Chicken to make stock)
or 1 1/2 (14) ounce cans
1 Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
4 cups White Beans (reconstituted dried beans) or 2 cans
1 can (4 oz.) Green Chilies
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Cream
1/2 cup shredded Jack Cheese (optional)

First follow directions on dried beans to reconstitute using quick method.

Meanwhile, cook chicken in enough water to cover. Cook chicken through completely.

Remove chicken, strain broth into measuring cup. Add water if necessary to make 2 1/2 cups stock.

Pick chicken off bones and dice.

Cook onion and garlic in oil in a dutch oven.

Add add stock, chicken, beans, green chili's, and seasonings. Simmer on low for 30 minutes.

Add cream and sour cream. Stir and cook until just warm.

(note: add 1 tablespoon cornstarch to cream to thicken if you like - if so, bring to a boil until just thick)

Remove from heat, stir in sour cream, whipping cream, and cheese.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dinner Starters, OAMC, Freezer Cooking, Bulk Cooking

I am not a beginner at Freezer Cooking. I never participated in the Bulk Cooking, Make Ahead Meals, Freezer Coking days (or any other catch phrase out there for this task) due to the massive amounts of food made from others folks. The very idea would intimidate me. This time especially I had the kids home all week with snow days. I'm thinking to myself you barely have time to shower, how the heck am I going to do that? In fact, I don't even have the money to buy the massive amounts of food all at once. These are just some of the issues I have always had with once a month cooking or freezer cooking. Still my cupboards were empty from the Pantry Challenge and I wanted to participate in some fashion. Plus I had a load of great items from Kroger that needed processing.

I always cooked ahead certain things though, even when I worked. I even cooked ahead before being frugal (I admit it, I'm a convert). I always made my own spaghetti sauce (both with and without meat). I always made my own meat loaves (have no idea why I just do), and I always made my own meatballs (to name a few). In fact, the list of make ahead grew over the years for me and is now 17 items long. WOW. After being miraculously cured of cancer, my list of make my own non processed foods from great ingredients grew and grew. I would never do all that at one time. I have always staggered when I made what and always made more than a months worth. I would make one or two make ahead item a week or maybe even a month but the main idea is that the items always ran out at a staggered rate. This made sense to me and I always had spaghetti sauce, I always had meat loaves and I never felt rush or had to do mad cooking. Yet I always had dinner "starters" ready like ground beef base, stock, my own cooked ahead dried beans so I did not have to use BPH lined cans. I do not have the resources that most moms have with families and sitters.

This participation was based no the Kroger Mega event and our Hays Dollar Days sales. All fo these items are on my massive make ahead list of items.
  • Marinade Chicken Breasts (5 dinners worth)
  • Use breast chicken bones & make Stock (added freezer bones ~ 10 cans worth)
  • Cook Dried Beans Black, Pinto, White and Kidney beans (4 cans each)
  • Make $1 bags of Potatoes into Freezer Mashed (4 dinners worth)
  • Made a batch of Vegetarian Pasta E. Fagioli soup (4 servings)


Monday, February 1, 2010

My project for today

Today I am going to start to make all the various dried beans (black, pinto, kidney, cannelloni) for my meals for the week and freeze a bunch for later use.

I also want to give Pupusas a try. I was reading about it here. Followed her along to her inspiration here. Then I thought ahh, the scrapple lady. I like a lady who can make scrapple (laugh). Although the taste of her scrapple recipe was not true to my Philly tastes, it was so close to home it was pure comfort. Add all this to the fact that I have a whole bunch of cheap pork, two giant bags of the special flour needed to make these and that I had beans and rice on the agenda anyway and voila.

I'm going to have to start taking more pics though like my friend Alison. I can see how the pictures makes things much more appealing.

I'll also start some make ahead mashed potatoes and brown rice for the freezer.

Yesterday I sliced up some sale split chicken breasts into 5 dinners and used the bones and skin to make 5 2-cup servings of chicken stock.
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