Monday, September 9, 2013

Chopped Veggies to Stew

Take out 16 frozen Rhodes dinner roll dough balls and set them on a cookie sheet (or a cake pan lid will work too!) These need to thaw and rise for a couple of hours. We'll get to those soon.
I sent my daughter to the garden to dig up some carrots and she came back with some monster carrots. I knew I should have pulled them up a week or two ago. They really are a pretty orange though. 
I did get the onions diced up real nice, but my picture turned out to be a video. I haven't learned to use my son's camera right and I keep getting one-second videos. I must be pushing the wrong button. You don't really want to see diced onions anyway.

Beside the carrots, I minced the garlic, chopped the celery and green peppers. Then, I did some more homework!

 After your dough balls are nice and puffy, you can make the filling for the Calzones.  Sauté a diced onion in butter, add the Jimmy Dean sausage and browned it up nicely. Then, season it with Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.

Next, mix together a tub of ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1-1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, 2 eggs and some salt and pepper. Add a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley and mix it together.  Now, roll out each dough balls on a floured surface and put a couple of spoonfuls of the mix on each. Fold the dough over the mixture and pinch the sides together. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and freeze overnight. You can throw them in a zip-top bag in the morning. They're ready to be baked for lunch some busy day.

My last four adventures of the day included making the Sloppy Joes, Chili, Sour Cream Noodle Bake and shredding the DP Pork that I started this morning.

I'll share more about that tomorrow, but right now I'm going to fall into bed after fifteen hours of cooking, freezing and accounting homework.

Tomorrow is a new day with new challenges! Things like Beef Stew, Chicken Pot Pie, Cowboy Chicken Casserole, Spaghetti Sauce, and lots of muffins.

Oh, and by the way, we ended up eating Sloppy Joes for dinner. They were really good. The kids loved them and my son didn't even add Tabasco to his Joe. They had just enough kick to be spicy, but not enough to burn. Just the way I like it.

The Beans, the Pork, and the Taco Meat

The beans are done and ready to mash.

Drain the beans, reserving the liquid, and then pick out the onions and toss. Now, all you have to do is mash the beans, adding back in some of the liquid until you get the consistency that you like. I like to use a hand mixer and just cream them real good. Be sure to taste them to check the seasoning. Yum. Breakfast.

Scoop the amount you normally eat with your meals into a zip-top freezer bag, or more if you are going to use it to make burritos someday.

While the beans are cooling, label your freezer bags. Flatten the bag of beans to get the air out and zip it up. If you flatten them out nicely, it makes it much easier to stack them in the freezer.

DP Spicy Shredded Pork

Clean the crockpot and get out the pork butt and other ingredients.
Cut one onion into wedges and place in the bottom of the pot. Season the pork with salt and pepper and place on top of the onions. Then, open a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and dump the whole thing in on top of the pork. Mix two cans of Dr. Pepper with 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar and dump that on top of everything.
Turn the crockpot onto low for 8 hours. Now, pour yourself a nice big glass of Dr. Pepper. Your going to need it to wash down all of the taste tests. 

Taco Meat

After getting the pork going, start browning five pounds of ground beef for the taco meat. While this is cooking you can debone the chicken. Just toss the bones and scraps back into the pot of broth and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Then strain the broth and set it and the chicken aside for later.

When the ground beef is done, drain off the juice and add you seasoning mix and about three cups of water. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Let it cool and then bag it up in labels freezer zip-top bags. Quart size bags work perfect for one pound.

Now, to the veggies.

Freezer Frenzy Day is Here!

This first post should be title "How not to start you freezer cooking day." You shouldn't start it in the same month that you are starting school. Homework deadlines are much more painful to miss than cooking deadlines. I did stay up doing homework until 10 pm last night, but then my husband started hinting that I should turn the light off and I was too tired to move all my stuff downstairs.

Anyway, I started off this morning (the way I said I wouldn't) by washing the dishes that were left in the sink last night and then bleaching the sink The FlyLady way.

My first step to this crazy adventure was to start two whole chickens to simmering. After bringing them to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. While this is simmering, start clearing of the kitchen counters (which you should have done last night!) and putting away the dishes. If you did that yesterday like you were suppose to, you can get out your cutting board or food processor and begin to chop onions and let the crying begin.

My next post will be all about the veggies. Which ones, how many, chopped, diced? Oh, but the one before that is about the Refried Beans which I did manage to start last night. Get them out of the crockpot and get the Pork Butt going for Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

FF Grocery Shopping & Prep

I think I've mentioned that we live a long way from town a time or two. I try to do most of my errands and shopping after church on Sundays. Today, my daughter and I went to lunch with my dad and his wife to fortify ourselves for the big shopping trip. I had picked up about a quarter of the stuff on my list last week, but there was a lot of shopping left to do. We hit three stores in my quest for the lowest prices.

Last night, I printed out my list and checked off the things I already had at home. Then, this morning, bright and early, I cut out the coupons from Super One's monthly sales ad. So, off to Walmart we went first. Of course, I ran into a bunch of people I know who also do their shopping after church on Sundays. The life of a small town! We bought everything that wasn't on sale for a better price at Super One, and meat, because I only like to buy meat at our IGA. Next, we ran in Super One and tracked down all the coupon items and a candy bar for the road. Last, I ran in IGA for a ton of meat.

The fun started when I got home and we unload the car and piled it on the counters and table.
Calling all reinforcements! If you don't help unload, you don't get to eat for a month! Hey, who forgot to clear out the fridge to make room for all this stuff? At least I gave the dog the leftover this morning. What are friends for, right? Somehow, I got it all stuff in. I should have taken a picture of that! Maybe in the morning.

Refried Beans

Oh, I forgot to mention that I decided to soak my pinto beans last night so I could start the refried beans in the crockpot tonight. This is Because I really need to have my crockpot free tomorrow to make something else, of which I can't remember right now. Too much homework this evening!

I minced some garlic, chopped an onion into quarters, picked a jalapeno and chopped it up fine. Then, I threw that in the crockpot with the soaked and rinsed beans, added 4 cups of chicken broth, 2 cups of water, 1 tsp. of cumin, some salt, and pepper and set it to low for the night. I hope the smell of cooking food doesn't wake my up about 2 a.m. If my stomach starts growling in the middle of the night, I might have to get up and start cooking early! You can get the link to the recipe here.

Tomorrow is the big day. I've already decided to have a smorgasbord for dinner. A little of this and a little of that. I did buy some hamburger buns in case we want to have BBQ pork sandwiches instead. Now, back to the accounting books which will inevitably put me to sleep quick.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I Conquered the Freezer

The reason my freezer never gets cleaned is because I hate doing it. Trust me, it needed cleaning. I didn't even take a before picture, because it was just a jumble of bags and boxes.

I didn't even know what was in there, except the bags of chicken backs and necks that I was going to make into broth from the chickens we raise a few years back. Yuck! I also knew that there were bags of tomatoes from last years garden, but I didn't realize there were still so many. I'm going to thaw a couple of bags and use them for the cans of stewed tomatoes and diced tomatoes for my Freezer Cooking Frenzy this coming week. It will be a good trade-off. Useless lumps of frozen tomatoes for some great tasting spaghetti sauce and chili!

So, after I defrosted, scrubbed and bleached the inside of the freezer, I just had to take a picture of it being all nice and shiny. It probably will not look this good again for several years!

I took mental stock of what was left after I threw away four garbage bags full of old, freezer burnt stuff like bread samples my boss gave me a couple years ago, chicken backs, very old whole wheat pastry flour, and some miscellaneous stuff. Here is what needs to be cooked up soon:

A bag of salmon fillets and cod fillets, about 10 bags of pumpkin and lots of tomatoes from last years garden, 2 bags of zucchini for muffins, a large bag of cheese curds from the neighbor, several packages of side pork (what do I do with this stuff?), 2 bags of venison, 2 bulk packages of yeasts, and some chopped celery. Sounds like we will be eating stew and muffins for a while!

I would really like to be buy some kind of baskets or shelves to put in the freezer before the Frenzy starts, but I'm not sure that will fit in the budget. I'll have to see how much I'm going to save first and how much they cost. I'm sure I can rig something up for free if I put my mind to it. Or my husband's mind! Anyway, I'm sure glad that job is over!