Archive for February, 2011

Freezer Meals

Freezer meals are a means to provide your family with healthy foods without having to resort to fast food or sodium and preservative laden TV style dinners.

My weekend was spent making various freezer meals, tomorrow I hope to finish the remaining dishes, including the breakfasts and then move on to other projects.  I probably would have been finished with the dinner dishes today but ran into a time sink that involved defrosting my main freezer.

Pictured are: Turkey with stuffing, corn and carrots.  Tilapia nestled in butter noodles and covered with a cream and pico de guio served with yellow squash and zucchini.  Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes. Roasted chicken with herbed potatoes served with Brussels sprouts. Cashew Chicken with broccoli in cheese sauce. Spaghetti with green beans, Brats with German potatoes and carrots. Chicken enchilada with green beans and BBQ pulled chicken.

I won’t lie to you and say that making freezer meals to stock your freezer for a week, two-week or month is quick and easy. It isn’t.  It requires time and planning, but the benefits outweigh the negatives.  Freezer meals are financially saving to you.  Sure the original purchase of containers is involved, but once you have them, they are able to be reused time and time again.  Through using store sales and coupons you can save even more.

I really hope everyone tries at least some degree of freezer meals.  They really are worth it.

Read Full Post »

This weekend I made a huge pot of French Onion Soup.  It is one of my favorite soups and freezes very well.  The rich broth mingling with the caramelized onions, poured over rich brown bread and topped with dripping melted cheeses. It just makes all right with the world.

French Onion Soup.

6 onions, peeled and sliced.

Olive oil

1/4 tsp sugar

Heat your olive oil in bottom of stew pot, add the onions and cook on medium-high heat for approximately 30 minutes to caramelize.  At the 10 minute cooking point, add the sugar to aid in the caramelizing process. Your onions are done when they have reached a rich deep brown coloration.  Be sure to stir occasionally to keep from burning.


2 cloves garlic minced

Saute for one minute.


8 cups beef stock (from your own stock, or store bought.)

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp dried thyme.

Salt and black pepper to taste.

Turn heat down to simmer and let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes to mingle flavors.  The longer it cooks the richer the taste.


1/4 cup water

1 tsp cornstarch

Mix cornstarch into lukewarm water and add to the soup to thicken slightly.

To Serve:

Place piece of toasted french bread or rye bread in bottom of soup bowl. Ladle soup over bread and top with cheddar, Swiss or Gouda cheese.  Place soup bowl under broiler or in toaster oven to melt cheese.  You can also microwave it to melt cheese.  Serve warm.

Makes 8-10 servings.




Read Full Post »

I love McDonald’s sausage, egg and cheese Muffin sandwiches.  But the price and the fat/sodium content I can live without.  Making these at home is really quite easy, all the way to making your own sausage and English muffins.  Another great thing about these breakfast sandwiches, they store wonderfully in freezer and take just a quick reheat in microwave to have a quick morning meal.  You can also mix them up, put bacon rather then sausage, use biscuits rather then muffins.  Explore, and most of all..enjoy!

You need.

English Muffin (recipe to follow, or you can buy pre-made at store)

Sliced American or Swiss cheese. (One piece per sandwich)

Sausage Patty. (One per sandwich, make yourself or buy pre-made)

Eggs. (One per sandwich).

1. Fry up your sausage, and set to side to drain any grease onto paper towel.

2. Place your eggs in a bowl, beat well until incorporated. (you are making omelet style eggs.) Heat a flat skillet on stove, or turn on your electric skillet.  Grease lightly with a pam style spray, or a paper towel dampened with oil.  Add eggs to skillet and gently roll around the wet mix until it covers the surface at a even level.   Be sure to use spatula to work around edges and center to keep eggs from burning.  Once top no longer has a “jell” like consistency, remove from heat and cut into six rectangular shaped sections (if using flat skillet), or ten rectangular sections (if using a rectangle griddle).  Fold each section in half atop itself.

3. Cut your muffins in half and place under broiler until “crisp”.  You do not want them browned or burned so monitor closely.  This process takes no more then five minutes.

4. Assemble your sandwiches…Sausage, egg, cheese atop muffin bottom, add the top.

5.) That’s it…you’re done!

Make your own English Muffins (altered Alton Brown recipe)

You need:

1/2 cup non-fat dry milk

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp shortening/lard (I use lard.)

1 cup hot water

1 envelope dry yeast

1/8 tsp sugar

1/3 cup warm water

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal

1 stick butter, melted

Pam spray

Electric griddle

3-inch metal rings (Note…tuna cans with top/bottom lids cut off work perfect.)

In a bowl combine the powdered milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, shortening, and hot water, stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool. In a separate bowl combine the yeast and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in 1/3 cup of warm water and rest until yeast has dissolved. Add this to the dry milk mixture. Add the sifted flour and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

Preheat the griddle to 300 degrees F.

Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to mixture and beat thoroughly. Place metal rings onto the griddle and coat lightly with vegetable spray. Using ice cream scoop, place 2 scoops into each ring and cover with a pot lid or cookie sheet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and flip rings using tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Remove, gently brush with butter on top and bottom, using finger tips, sprinkle with corn meal just to get a dusting.  Return to griddle for 1 minute to “set” the cornmeal. Place on a cooling rack, remove rings and cool. Split with fork or sharp knife and serve.





Read Full Post »

The cupcakes for the school Valentines party are finished finally.  I lost count of how many but my Highlander is going to smell like chocolate for a while with all them stored in there.  I baked up three types,  Strawberry Jam filled Vanilla Butter Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting, Raspberry Jam Dark Chocolate-White Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting and Vanilla-Peanut Butter Chip Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting.

I’ll work on posting the recipes soon.  Tomorrow starts the cookies. For tonight, I just want my bed.


Read Full Post »

Yep, still on Valentine cooking and the cookies still are waiting for the weekend.  Today’s mission, to Strawberry cupcakes with  Butter Cream filling.  These cupcakes come with a surprise center aside from the Butter Cream filling, each sports a strawberry in center.

Strawberry Cupcake – (Martha Stewart Recipe, modified.)

2 3/4 cups flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

2  cups sugar

3 large eggs, plus 1 egg white.

1 cup milk

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups strawberries, put into blender to “chop” fine.

24 strawberries.  If small leave whole, if large divide in half.

Cream sugar and butter in bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at time and beat into sugar/butter mix.  Add remaining wet ingredients to bowl except strawberries.  Add dry ingredients to form batter.  Fold in strawberries to batter.  Place one strawberry or strawberry half  into your cupcake liners, then fill your muffin or cupcake tins 2/3 full with batter.

Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  This can take up to 25 minutes based on the insertion of size of real fruit can make baking process take a bit longer.

Butter Cream Filling/Frosting

4 large egg whites , room temperature.

1 1/4 cup sugar

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened.

Put egg whites and sugar in mixing bowl and place over pot of simmering water on stove.  Whisk until sugar dissolves into mixture and candy thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Remove from heat and using a mixer, mix on medium speed for 5 minutes before increasing speed to medium-high.  Continue to whisk until mixture is stiff with glossy peaks forming.  This process takes about 6 to 7 minutes.  Reduce speed once more back to medium and add your butter whisking well.

Remove and use, or store for up to three days in refrigerator.




Read Full Post »

Home canned cranberry sauce is so simple to prepare, and unlike store canned varieties it has no artificial ingredients or sweeteners.  Another wonderful element of this is you don’t need to own a canner. You just need the ability to do a hot water bath to seal.

Home Canned Cranberry Sauce.

Choose the type you wish to make, if whole berry simply cook and mash the berries using a potato masher once the skins split.  If you desire more jelly, run the cranberries through a food grinder, or put in your blender and puree before cooking.

Cook your berries. 1 cup water per 1 bag of cranberries.  You want to boil them until the skins split.  For making whole berry, mash them at this point.  If you are making more Jelly style, lay a piece of cheesecloth inside a strainer, or using a fine sieve strainer run liquid through. Press the puree to get all the liquids.  Return to pot.  (Don’t discard the puree, put it in your food dehydrator to flavor foods or freeze in ice cube trays to put in muffins.)

To the cooked berries add 1 cup sugar per bag of cranberries you used.  Add more if you desire it sweeter.  (Remember always taste test what you cook.)

Let boil 10 minutes before processing in sterile jars.  Seal and hot water bath for 15 minutes per pint.

Read Full Post »

Crazy Neighbors!

Pictures of my neighbors repeatedly running over the main water box that supplies water to four houses on the road.  Our house being one of those.

Strange thing, one guy was video taping it all on his cell phone, when finished they got off, phoned what I can only assume the water company as a truck is parked out there now, and cleaned up the quad before parking it in that little shed.

Yes that is a child on the guys lap and standing around during all this.

Read Full Post »

It’s Superbowl time again.  Here are some quick appetizers I whipped up to kick off the game. I’ve made this before and it’s been well received each time.

Open Face Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagel Appetizers.

1 pkg plain mini bagels – divided.

2 pkgs smoked salmon filets

1 lg cucumber or 2-3 “pickles” (I was lucky to find small pickle cucumbers.)

1 lg container cream cheese

Black pepper

Spread your cream cheese on the bagel halves.  Cover with smoked salmon and add a cucumber slice, or couple.  Sprinkle with black pepper and serve.  You also can add capers which are delicious on this. I did not happen to have any on hand so did not add them this time.

Read Full Post »

A Spoonful of Sugar.

…and the decorated sugar cubes are finished and packaged.

Read Full Post »

Took most the morning, but I have finished the decoration on 17 boxes of chocolate-mint chocolates. (Picture shows content of one box worth.) Now just to get them packaged and on to the cookies.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »