Archive for the 'freezer stockpile' Category

Freezer Stockpile: V-8 Chili

This is going to be my last freezer stockpile recipe.  Not because I’m not enjoying it, but because my freezer is getting rather full, my due date is fast (although not fast enough…) approaching, and I have actually quite a few people who have asked if they can bring me food, too.  So, I think we’re set.

This is my favorite chili recipe.  It is BPA free, yummy in vegetarian style or bastardized with meat, and has a ton of veggies in it, which is great if your kid will eat it.  Clara eats it about half the time.  She used to love it, but now she thinks she doesn’t like chili anymore.  No problem, though.  She ate almost all of the different veggies and beans as I was making it.

V-8 Chili (adapted from a Cooking Light recipe)
3/4 lb. ground beef
1 onion
2-3 cloves garlic
2 red bell peppers
2-3 tomatoes
2 zucchini
1/2 -1 jalapeno
2 cups homemade black beans
2 cups homemade kidney beans
1 can of V-8, any variety (spicy, plain, low sodium, etc.)
Salt and pepper
2 T. cumin (more if you’re a Bassler)
2 T. chili powder
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1) Chop all of your veggies while the ground beef browns in your dutch oven. If you would like to make this vegetarian, omit this step and add some olive oil. Make sure your toddler sou chef tastes all the veggies as you chop.
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2) Add the veggies and cook for about five minutes, or until they begin to soften up. Add beans and the secret ingredient, the V-8. It won’t look like there is enough juice, but just you wait!
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3) Add your spices and bring to a boil, then cover and turn down to a simmer for about an hour. Stir every once in a while. This will get very juicy. You might like that. I like my chili to be a little bit thicker, so I pulled off the lid for about the last 15 minutes and it thickened right up. Stir in the cilantro at the last minute. Serve with or without cheese and chips, on nachos, on loaded baked potatoes, or any other way you like to eat chili! This made about three meals worth of chili for us.
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Freezer Stockpile: Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken

I admit it.  I’m exhausted.  It’s true.  It has caught up to me.  So, this easiest freezer stockpile recipe ever was perfect.  It took all of about five minutes of work.  I’m not even kidding.  I did it almost exactly as the recipe stated, but I’ll re-post it here.

Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken

  • 6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Directions

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  1. Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbeque sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.
  2. Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.  Shred chicken with two forks.

We served this on whole wheat hoagie rolls with lettuce and banana peppers with a side of sweet potato fries.  It was brilliant.  I didn’t get a picture of the presentation because we were hungry and they were good!!  But here’s the finished leftovers ready for the freezer.

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Freezer Stockpile: Beef Stroganoff

I know, I know… this blog is late.  But, we had too much fun yesterday in the sun.  We went to a fly-in breakfast at a little airport in Hillsboro, played in the backyard, and I had a lovely time with some friends last night.  So, its late.  Today I’ve been cleaning and I was just exhausted.  The end of this pregnancy is starting to kick my butt, but at least its days are numbered.  To make up for it, here is a snapshot of the fun for you.
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Anyway, I have had this meal done for days and I just haven’t posted it. Ah, well. I made beef stroganoff without any canned cream of mushroom soup. I actually think I liked it better, if you can imagine it! It wasn’t quite as thick as I would have liked, but Adam likes things saucy, so I think he liked it just fine. The meat was so tender and really this was a totally easy dinner. It will be even easier when I can just take it out of the freezer, plop it in a sauce pan, and heat it up. This made three meals for us (which is good since I spent almost $10 on the meat). I adapted from this recipe.

Beef Stoganoff

Dump into your crock pot:

2-3 pounds stew meat
1 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups homemade chicken stock (mine was still frozen… it didn’t matter at all)
1 tablespoon ketchup

Cook in crockpot on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
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1/3 cup flour
A bit of cold water
8 oz. chopped mushrooms

When cooked, make a simple roux by whisking flour with enough water (about 5-6 tablespoons) to make a thick but still pourable flour mixture. Whisk the roux into the crockpot and add 4 ounces sliced mushrooms.
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1/2 cup sour cream
Cooked pasta

Cook on high for 15-30 minutes. Then stir in sour cream. Serve over pasta.
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Freezer Stockpile: Chicken Galore!

I made three different things (just so far!) from two whole chickens this week.  Hold onto your hats, ’cause this is going to be a long post.  First, I roasted the two chickens (which incidentally, I got for the awesome price of two for $0.79 a pound at Winco, which is less than $7 for five meals worth of meat and a ton of broth!).  Then we ate roasted chicken and salad for dinner.  After I put Clara to bed, I spent about half an hour shredding the rest of the chicken.  I packed that up into four portions: one for chicken and rice soup and three for the freezer for chicken salad sandwiches and teriyaki chicken after Nancy is born.  But, that’s not all!  Finally, I used the chicken carcass (that is a crazily gross sounding word!) and made 16 cups of chicken broth (the equivalent of eight cans) for the freezer and for the above mentioned chicken and rice soup.  Whew!  I’m tired just reliving it.  Things that I learned… 1)  I need a new battery for my instant read thermometer and I hate the huge one that you can leave in the oven.  I don’t think it works.  2)  Your hands really can smell like chicken for hours.  3) I can’t sleep with the smell of chicken broth wafting up the stairs (not that I can sleep much with a baby squashing my bladder anyway), so next time I will start the broth in the morning. Recipes follow!!

Roasted Chicken (From The New Best Recipe)
Two whole chickens, with the innards taken out (don’t forget!)
1 C. salt (divided)
4 quarts cold water (divided)
4 T. melted butter
salt and pepper

1) Dissolve half a cup of salt in 2 quarts water in two different large pots. Submerge one chicken in each pot and allow to bathe for at least one hour, up to four.
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2) Preheat oven with the roasting pan in it to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, brush chickens with melted butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. When the oven is preheated, put your chickens carefully in your roasting pan, wing side up. Prop them up with tin foil balls if neccessary.
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3) Bake for 15 minutes, then flip to have the other wing up. Bake for 15 more minutes, then rotate chickens breast up, lose the tin foil balls, and raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Bake until a thermometer reads 170 in the thigh. This took about another hour for me, but the cookbook says only half an hour. You can never believe them.
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4) Carve one chicken and eat dinner. After dinner, when everything has cooled, use your fingers to shred all the chicken meat. Make a huge pile ’cause it looks like you’ve accomplished something.
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5) Freeze in two cup portions in Ziplock bags. Just take one out and thaw on the counter for about two hours, then add into any dish that calls for cooked chicken. I plan to make chicken salad with mayonnaise, banana peppers, celery, and green onions, and also teriyaki chicken with teriyaki sauce, frozen stir fry veggies, and brown rice.

Homemade Chicken Broth

One or two chicken carcasses
onion, chopped largely
carrots, chopped largely
celery, chopped largely
three cloves garlic
1 T. basil
1 T. oregano
Two bay leaves

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1) Dump everything into your crockpot. Fill with as much water as you can get in there. The more water, the more broth you’ll end up with. Cook on low for at least five hours, or until you wake up at 4:00 am and have to turn it off before you can go back to sleep.

2) Allow to cool. Drain broth off into a very large bowl and throw away (or feed to the chickens… I only gave them the veggies, not the bones ’cause that seemed like cannibalism) the solids. Refrigerate.

3) Skim the fat off of the top of the broth. Ladle two cup portions into Ziplock bags (I like to put the bag into a large coffee mug with the top of the bag spread over the rim so that I don’t have to hold the bag open while trying not to slosh broth all over the counter). Freeze flat until solid, then move where ever they fit best.

Chicken and Rice Soup (adapted from A Year of Slowcooking)
8 cup of homemade chicken broth (see above)
1 cup of uncooked brown rice
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (see above)
1/2 a small sweet potato, chopped finely
1 onion, chopped finely
1 bell pepper, chopped finely,
handful of baby carrots, chopped
one cup frozen peas
1 T. basil
salt and pepper to taste after cooking

1) Dump everything into the crockpot. Cook on high for about five hours.

2) Taste to see if it needs salt. It will. Trust me. Anything you make with your homemade stock will need it. No doubt. Add some. It will still have a lot less sodium than the canned version.

3) Serve with Angel Biscuits (sooo yummy!).

4) Freeze half the pot and a dozen biscuits for another meal!!
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Freezer Stockpile: Taco Mac!

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This was a really easy freezer stockpile meal. Probably the easiest I’m going to make. It made three meals worth.    And it was good!  Adam added more salsa to his, but he likes stuff to be really saucy.  Clara had four bites and then wanted to go play, but I think that had more to do with her mood than the food.  She loves noodles.  I modified from this Taco Mac recipe to make it fit my criteria for healthy meals.

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 red bell peppers
2 T. freshly ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. salt
1 lb. whole wheat elbow macaroni
3 c. homemade chicken stock (check for the recipe next week)
2 c. water
5 c. salsa
2 c. frozen corn
1 c. shredded cheese
1. Brown ground beef, bell pepper, and onion. Drain. Stir in seasonings.
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2. Add noodles, stock, salsa, and water to the skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender, about 15 – 20 minutes. I had a little trouble with sticking, so make sure to scrape the bottom.
3. Stir in corn until heated through. Serve topped with cheese.  I froze without the cheese so that if I have to go dairy free while breast-feeding, we can just add cheese to the bowls of those who still get to eat the good stuff.

Freezer Stockpile: Black bean, rice and cheese enchiladas

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Here is my first freezer stockpile recipe! It’s a pretty easy, but I still feel like I was cooking all day due to the fact that I had to make beans and rice, too. But, once those two things were finished, putting together the enchiladas only took about half an hour. We ate one pan for dinner and I froze two other pans and a bag of beans and rice for future burritos! Woo hoo! Below are the recipes for enchiladas, black bean, and spanish rice.

Black Bean, Rice, and Cheese Enchiladas

1 recipe black beans

1 recipe spanish rice

1 large can green enchilada sauce (I’m going to follow a lead on jarred enchilada sauce soon… I will update if its true!)

20 large tortillas

2 lbs. cheddar cheese, grated (I grated in the food processor… to only took about three minutes!)
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1. Spray three 8×11 inch pans with pan spray. Spread about half a cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of each pan.

2.  Place a tortilla in the pan, then fill with about a half cup beans, half cup rice, and a quarter cup cheese.

3.  Roll up the tortillas and continue until there are about six in each pan.

4.  Divide remaining sauce among the three pans and spread it across each rolled tortilla.  Sprinkle with cheese.

5.  Freeze.  When ready to cook, defrost and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and hot, about 30 minutes.

6.  Any left over rice and beans can make great burritos, too!!

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Black Beans

1 pound black beans, washed and picked over for stones

2 quarts water

1 medium onion, chopped

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish if desired

Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste

1. Soak the beans in the water for at least six hours. If they will be soaking for a long time in warm weather, put them in the refrigerator.

2. In a dutch oven*, add the onion, half the garlic, drained beans, and enough water to cover by about one inch. Add more water later if necessary (different brands of beans soak up more or less water).  Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for one hour.

3. Add the salt, remaining garlic and cilantro. Continue to simmer another hour, until the beans are quite soft.  Take the lid off to thicken up the broth for the last half hour to hour if you would like.  Taste. Is there enough salt? Does it need more garlic? Add if necessary. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator for the best flavor or freeze immediately.  Freeze in 2 cup portions for up to three months with a bit of the broth.

*Can also be made in the crockpot.  Simmer on low for 5-8 hours, or until beans are soft.

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Spanish Rice

2 1/2 cups salsa (from a jar!)

3 1/2 cups water

3 cups brown rice

1.  Bring salsa and water to a boil.

2.  Add rice and stir.  Simmer on low for 40 minutes.

Freezer Stockpile Calendar!

Thank you to everyone who posted their ideas!  I forgot to mention two little constraints that I had in making this list.  The first is that I have a husband (who I adore, mind you) who is very opinionated about the dinner menu in this house.  So, if it didn’t make the cut, it’s because one or the other of us has vetoed it.  For instance, I would fill the freezer all with beef stew, but neither Adam nor Clara would go for it.  So, it’s automatically vetoed.

The other restraint that I have imposed upon myself is that I really do not want to use canned goods in my meals.  Cans (meaning the aluminum things you have to open with a can opener) in the U.S. contain BPA.  I won’t bore you too much with my soapbox about why we shouldn’t eat things that are stored in BPA, but I will give you one little paragraph from the December 2009 article “Concern over canned foods” from Consumer Reports:

“A 165-pound adult eating one serving of canned green beans from our sample, which averaged 123.5 ppb, could ingest about 0.2 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight per day, about 80 times higher than our experts’ recommended daily upper limit.  And children eating multiple servings of canned foods with BPA levels comparable the ones we found in some tested products could get a dose of BPA approaching levels that have caused adverse effects in several animal studies (p. 55).”

So, for that reason, recipes with canned goods are out, but if I can find an easy enough suitable substitute I will do that.  For instance, I don’t mind too much cooking my own dried beans and freezing them to get away from using canned beans.  Nor do I mind making my own broth, both of which are on my freezer plan below.  The only things that I have a hard time giving up are enchilada sauce (which for some reason you cannot buy in a jar!) and coconut milk.  If anyone has sources for these things that are not canned, please share the secret!  It would make me ecstatic!

Without further ado, here is the freezer stockpile calendar!  I will try to post the recipe and how it went on the day listed.  Which means I have until that day to make it, freeze it, and blog it.  You guys are going to help keep me on track and motivated, right?  So check back in for any recipe that looks interesting to you and I will give you the full report.  Enchiladas coming right up!

Freezer Stockpile Calendar~

2/13~ Crockpot beans to stock the freezer and Bean, rice, and cheese enchiladas, plus extra bean and rice mix to make burritos with for lunches and/or a dinner

2/20~ Taco Mac

2/27~  Roasted chicken and crockpot chicken broth to stock the freezer and Chicken and Brown Rice Soup

3/6~  Beef Stroganoff

3/13~  Zesty slow cooker chicken (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Zesty-Slow-Cooker-Chicken-Barbecue/Detail.aspx)

3/20~ V-8 Chili