Tag Archives: freezer meal

Friday Favorite: Veggie Mix (1 recipe=4 meals)

29 Aug

FRIDAY Favorites

It’s been a while since I’ve had a Friday Favorites post for you fine readers! You probably already detected the reality– I took the summer off from my regularly scheduled posts: What We’re Reading Wednesdays and Friday Favorites. Well, school is back in session at the Mosley Casa, so I am hoping to get back to my regularly scheduled bi-monthly posts. Today’s Friday Favorites is one that I’ve wanted to share for a while! I made a double batch of this Veggie Mix this week, so I knew it was time! Here’s today’s Friday Favorites….

Veggie Mix

 

This summer marks the 3rd year that we’ve participated in a CSA in our community. What is a CSA, you ask? Read more here for a long exhaustive description. My simple explanation is that we buy a “share” of a local farmer’s produce crop, and our share of the crop is delivered weekly to a local produce store. We pick our weekly stash of fruits and veggies up on Tuesdays, and it’s almost like Christmas! Each week is a surprise! We have know idea what we will be picking up each week, so it’s always exciting. 🙂 After doing this two summers prior with the same farmer, I can anticipate what items we will receive. My hypothesis of each week’s “loot” may not be accurate, but I have learned that each CSA year we will, at some point, enjoy fresh strawberries and blueberries, cabbage, tomatoes, patty pan and spaghetti squashes, and a variety of other things. It has been an adventure in the kitchen for me each summer as I have received a variety of produce that was unknown to me! Embarassingly, I had to ask the farmer’s delivery man on more than one occasion the name of several vegetables. AND, I may or may not have googled a video on How to Cut Up a Bok Choy.  But, I digress!

Each summer, though, my excitement builds around August as I know that we’ll be showered with a ton of onions, peppers tomatoes, and eggplants. When those vegetables start appearing, it is time for me to make my Veggie Mix! I originally found this recipe in Southern Living. Its appeal was the title of the article, “Five Fast Dinners Begin with One Vegetable Mix.” Hmmm…fascinating! So, I ripped out the recipe and tried it. To summarize how this recipe works, you make a base “Veggie Mix,” and you end the day with 4 frozen packages for later use (or, you can use immediately!). The original recipe came with FIVE uniquely different recipes that can be made using one package of the “Veggie Mix” base and a few more ingredients. When I read this information, I was sold. I have been making this “Veggie Mix” for at least 5 years. Clearly, it’s a “keeper.” I love that each summer I make 8-12 frozen packages of the “Veggie Mix,” and we, literally, eat on it all winter!

Today, l share my version of the “Veggie Mix” recipe, and you can visit Southern Living’s website for the original version that contains the 5 different recipes–Individual Pizzas, Greek-Style Chicken Stew, Shrimp with Rice, Beef and Vegetable Supper (aka “Spaghetti” in our house), and Black Bean Soup–to make using your “Veggie Mix” base. We have tried all of the recipes except the Individual Pizzas. When I make either of the other 4 recipes, I love that the final meal tastes entirely different than the other, unused recipes. So, you can make this mixture on Sunday afternoon and enjoy 4 different meals that week. I promise that while eating the Black Bean Soup you won’t think, “Hmmm…this tastes just like the Greek-Style Chicken Stew expect it has black beans instead of chicken.” The recipes and tastes are unique. Without further ado, here’s the recipe!

photo (35)This week’s bounty. I doubled the recipe for 8 frozen packages to enjoy this winter!

 

Veggie Mix (adapted from this Southern Living recipe)

1-2 onions, chopped
4 bell peppers, chopped (I use a mixture of green, yellow, red, and orange.)
1/4 cup olive or coconut oil (I use either.)
1 large eggplant, chopped
3 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes (or in the summer I use fresh tomatoes)
1/4 cup Greek seasoning (I make my own.)

1) Saute onions, peppers, and eggplant in oil 5-10 minutes, until cooked.
2) Add in tomatoes and Greek seasoning.
3) I bring to boil and then, turn down to lowest setting and simmer 15-20 minutes. This makes my house smell heavenly, so sometimes, I let it simmer a while!
4) Spoon 3 cups of Veggie Mix into freezer bag. Does this to create a total of 4 bags.
5) Freeze the 4 freezer bags of the “Veggie Mix.”  The original recipe says to freeze up to one month. Ummmmm, confession, I keep mine longer than a month in my freezer. 🙂
When you are ready to make one of the 5 recipes (Individual Pizzas, Black Bean Soup, Greek-Style Chicken Stew, Shrimp and Rice or Spaghetti) consult the original recipe for those directions. I usually pull out a ziploc bag of the “Veggie Mix” the day before I need it. I let it thaw on a plate (to avoid spills/leaks) in my fridge.

photo (32)

Aren’t these pepper beautiful?!!?

Additional hint: I pulverize my veggies! The first few times I made this recipe I chopped the peppers, onions and eggplant by hand. My sons were able to “sort through” the veggies and pick out what they didn’t like. (Awesome! Grr!) I got a little wiser and started pulverizing the veggies in my food proccessor! Now, they can’t organize the vegetables by peppers, onions and eggplant and “fish” them out to avoid eating. 🙂 I love the yumminess and healthiness that they are ingesting every time we enjoy a “Veggie Mix” recipe! Here’s a picture of what the pulverized veggies look like:

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I feel so “Sneaky Chef-ish.” 🙂 🙂 Please don’t tell my boys this little secret. Let’s just keep it between us, okay?

I’m excited to share this Friday Favorite with you! If you make this “Veggie Mix,” stop back by and comment below to let me know how you like it!

 

 

 

Friday Favorites: Energy Bites (aka “Chocolate Chip Balls”)

16 May

FRIDAY Favorites

I have three sons. Their current ages are 8, 6, and 4. My sons eat massive quantities of food. I spend hours each day preparing food for them (of course!), but I spend equal amounts of my day brainstorming ways that I can earn a 6-figure income in the next year or two. Why, you ask? It’s not because I’m desirous of a larger home or a sweeter swagger wagon mini van. No, my reasons for seeking a 6-figure income is because our sons are eating us out of house and home! It’s time to increase the grocery budget! ha! 🙂 I can’t fathom how much food they’ll consume (or how much the food will cost!) when they are all teenagers. Wow. Mind blowing.

To satiate their little  ever expanding tummies, I have started force feeding  serving them these yummy Energy Bites! We’ve actually dubbed them “Chocolate Chip Balls” around our house. They never turn away a recipe with “chocolate chip” in the title. Between the protein from the peanut butter and the fiber from the oats and milled flax seed, my boys can go longer than ten minutes without a snack! ha! Honestly, 4 or 5 of these, and the boys are good to go for an hour of two. (And Moms everywhere are cheering with joy!)

Another plus–these are very easy to make! I must warn you, though. These are very addictive!!! I have no self-control when I eat these bad boys. I promise myself that I’ll only eat one….and half the mixture later, I realize I’ve broken my self-promise. hahahaha! AND…a special shout out to my dear friend Melanie who gave me this recipe. Best recipe ever!

This recipe is so delightful the energy bites magically arranged themselves on my plate in this design. Isn’t that amazing?image

Energy Bites

1 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter)
1 cup honey
3 cups oats
1/2 cup milled flaxseed
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or in this case butterscotch, which is all I had!)
other optional “add ins”–sliced almonds, rice krispy cereal, cheerios, raisins, craisins. It’s very versatile!

1) Mix all the ingredients together.

2) Form into balls and serve. (I use this to scoop them out.)

3) The recipe instructions are over, but I wanted to include another “tip” about this recipe. 🙂 You can line them on a cookie sheet and through them in your freezer to flash freeze them. Once frozen, throw them into a ziploc bag. Now, you can pop them out of the freezer anytime! Going on a road trip? Throw several frozen energy bites in a ziploc bag. They will thaw as you’re traveling, and viola! Snacks in the car! We use these a lot in the summer before heading out to swim. Swimming=even MORE ravenous sons. 🙂 Energy bites=ravenous boys satiated=happy Mom. 🙂

image
I’m not even going to lie. This picture makes me so happy. I feel like I was channeling my inner Pioneer Woman when I took this photo. Doesn’t she always have the most magical food photos? I try not to covet her mad Kodak skills. Thanks to Apple and the iPad Mini for helping me reach my goal of channeling my inner Pioneer Woman. I’m sure it will take me at least 2 to 3 more years to take another cool “foodie” photo again. So, until then, I’ll just keep staring at this one. And…I digress.


imageThe finished product! I may or may not have eaten all of these as soon as I finished snapping their photo. Oops!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies (with a Christmas twist!)–freezeable!

23 Dec

One wonderful, delicious, still makes-my-mouth-water, heirloom (passed to me from my mother, who got it from her mother!) recipe that never loses its magic is my Mom’s, actually my Grandmother’s, Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I make it ALL the time, and I’ve learned how to freeze it. So, anytime I need dessert in a hurry, I pull out homemade, from scratch chocolate chip cookie dough and make cookies. The cookies are ALWAYS a hit. This is an easy, frugal, cooking from scratch recipe for homemade chocolate chip cookies. No need to buy the ‘ready-made’ dough at the store when you can make this recipe at home, freeze it and pull it out anytime!

I posted this list of 25 Ways Your Family Can Serve Together at Christmas last month and was inspired by its great ideas. One of the ways that we chose to serve others this Christmas is to make cookies and deliver them to a Police or Fire station on Christmas Day. We’re planning to do this on Tuesday. I had some extra time last week, so I took advantage of that and whipped up a batch of cookie dough. However, since it’s Christmas, I substituted Christmas M&M’s instead of chocolate chips. 🙂 I can’t wait to take these to the Police or Fire Station with my family on Tuesday. If you, too, want to do this, I’ve included the recipe below:

IMG_7298

I must confess that mixing all of the ingredients for the dough is so much easier with my KitchenAid Mixer. I saved my Christmas money 3 years ago and bought one from Costco. Why, oh why, did I wait so long to buy one?!?! I no longer break my arm mixing this by hand. Trust me, its hard.
IMG_7299 Once the chocolate chips or M&Ms are mixed in, I take the dough and form it into balls in order to freeze it.IMG_7300 One recipe makes about 2 logs of cookie dough. I wrap them individually in cling wrap.IMG_7304I put both logs of dough into a Ziploc Freezer Bag (Gallon Size)* and through them into my freezer. When I need to make cookies, I put the dough in the refrigerator 24 hours ahead, or if I’m in a hurry, I let is defrost on my kitchen counter. *I’ve found the best deal on Ziploc bags of any size is at Costco.

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Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
my Grandmother’s & Mother’s recipe

1 cup brown sugar AND sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour (I use unbleached all purpose)
1 tsp. salt AND baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips (or M&Ms, peanut butter chips, or a mixture of all!)

1) Soften butter to room temperature.

2) Add sugars, eggs, vanilla, salt and soda to butter and mix well.

3) Add flour one cup at a time.  Stir well.

4) Fold in chips.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough overnight (or atleast 4-6 hours).

5) For cookies, bake at 350 degrees 7-10 minutes (depending on your oven) and cool on wire rack.

TO FREEZE: The dough can be frozen for up to 2 months (maybe longer! Ours rarely makes it to the 2nd month! ha!).  To freeze, spoon dough onto plastic wrap.  Form into log-shape and roll up, covering completely, with plastic wrap.  I usually make 2 logs out of 1 recipe of dough.

Merry Christmas!

Freezer Meal: Breakfast Power Muffins

21 Sep

Have I mentioned that I have 3 scrapping young men in our home? When people ask me what I do (i.e. my occupation), I have started replying with “food fixer.” That is, I fix food for my 3 growing boys. Most days it seems like I’m cleaning up the dishes from one meal when 1 of my sons (if not 2 or all 3 of them!) comes into the kitchen announcing that they need a snack. 🙂 I, seriously, hope that I can find a job earning 6 figures when they’re all teenagers in about 10 years. I can’t even fathom how much food they’ll consume then. ha!

For the past year, I’ve been trying to boost their protein intake so that their growing bodies will be satiated for longer than a half hour. ha! 🙂 I saw the Breakfast Power Muffins recipe on my friend Lorie’s FB page. Lorie, thank you for this recipe!!! This recipe is a hit with EVERYONE in the Mosley household! The boys love the chocolate chips, and my husband and I enjoy that the peanut butter, flax seed and oats help us stay full until lunch! 🙂

The original recipe makes a dozen. From the get go, I started doubling the recipe. These days, doubling the recipe meant we had muffins for about 2 mornings before it was time for me to make more. Last week, I quadrupled the original recipe and ended up with almost 6 dozen! YAY! This batch has lasted us an entire week! Here’s a picture of 4 dozen muffins cooling in the kitchen! I cooked the next 2 dozens the following day.

To freeze:Place individual muffins on a cookie sheet. Cram as many of the muffins as possible on there! Try not to let them touch each other, though. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once frozen throw into a Ziploc bag and keep in your freezer. When you’re ready for muffins, pull out as many as you’d like and enjoy! If I pull some out and place them in our “Muffin Box” (see the teal container in the bottom right hand corner?!?!?) before bedtime, they are fully thawed and delicious at breakfast the next morning. 🙂 By freezing with this method, the muffins are allowed to individually freeze. If you throw them in the Ziploc skipping the cookie sheet step, they will freeze in one big glob and will need chiseling tools to break them apart.

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Breakfast Power Muffins
hearty, healthy, stick-with-you, yummy breakfast

2 cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup brown sugar (I don’t pack it)

1 cup peanut butter

2 bananas

1 cup of apple sauce or carrot puree

2 eggs

2/3 cup milk

2/3 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 to 1/2 cup milled flax seed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients and set aside. Blend everything else and then mix in dry ingredients. Spray muffin tray. Bake for 15-18 min. Makes 24 muffins .  This recipe is easily doubles with no extra effort.  Eat 1 dozen muffins now and freeze 3 dozen muffins for later.

Freezer Meal: Homemade Meatballs

14 Sep

This is my Aunt Phyllis’s yummy recipe! She passed it along to me several years ago when I was pregnant with our 3rd son. I was in NESTING MODE and cooking like crazy to prepare freezer meals for our post-baby, sleepless nights, too-tired-to-cook reality. I stumbled upon a large amount of quality ground chuck on clearance at Harris Teeter. I snatched all of it up, and I immediately called my mother for her meatball recipe. Her meatballs were a definite favorite of mine growing up. She frantically searched for it, and, tragedy, it was lost! Thankfully, she tracked down my Aunt’s recipe, which is virtually the same one! I made and froze almost 40 meatballs that week!

The trick to freezing meatballs is to do so INDIVIDUALLY. After I stir up the ingredients, I form them into balls and put them on a cookie sheet. (Make sure that they are not touching when the meatballs are lined on the cookie sheet). They are transferred into my freezer for a couple of hours until they are individually frozen. I, then, throw them into a Ziploc bag labeling it with the total number of meatballs in each bag.

When you’re ready to cook the meatballs, take out your desired amount the night before and put them into a greased baking dish. I cover them and leave them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. When I am ready to cook them, I make the sauce, pour the sauce on top, and bake! Viola! So easy and so yummy!

By the way, this is a great meal to take to someone with a new baby! I’ve done that in the past, and they are always a hit!

I made these on Monday, which was our first day of Classical Conversations for the year. It was HEAVENLY to be able to pull these out Sunday night, let them thaw all day Monday while we were at CC, make the sauce and bake them later that day, and enjoy a wonderful homecooked meal for dinner! My boys DEVOURED these; these were the only 2 left out of about 2 dozen! The empty dish on the left, the 2 lone meatballs on the right! Enjoy!

Homemade Meatballs
MEATBALLS:
1 1/2 LB. GROUND BEEF
1 cup  MILK
3/4 CUP OATS
1/2 CUP CHOPPED ONION
1/2 CUP CHOPPED GREEN PEPPER
SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
SAUCE:
1 CUP TOMATO KETCHUP
1/2 CUP WATER
1 Tablespoon VINEGAR
1 Tablespoon WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
COMBINE 1ST 6 INGREDIENTS. MAKE INTO SMALL BALLS. CAN BE INDIVIDUALLY FROZEN ON COOKIE SHEET NOW, IF DESIRED.) PLACE IN 9X13 DISH. COMBINE SAUCE INGREDIENTS  AND POUR OVER MEAT. BAKE AT 275-300 DEGREES FOR 45 MINUTES.

2 things I never thought I’d do…

11 Sep

I had 2 adventures in the kitchen today. These were new adventures, mind you, and they were adventures that I never thought I’d go on. What were they, you ask?

1) I prepared fresh green beans to put up for the winter. (Well, maybe I should say I’m saving them for the fall; I don’t think I’ll wait that long to eat their yumminess!)

2) I made homemade applesauce, pear sauce and put it up in my freezer.

Since my blog is dedicated to sharing with you, I just HAD to blog about these 2 things. If I can make these things, ANYONE can! Some things are just too good to keep to myself! I feel like Suzy Homemaker today. I’m still shocked that I did these 2 things. What was MORE shocking was that these 2 tasks were SUPER easy and will be such a blessing to our family! Between church planting, homeschooling, trying to keep 3 scrapping boys fed, and the fast-paced culture of America (sigh…that’s my other campaign, to s.l.o.w. down our culture, but that’s another topic for another day), having meals and in my freezer make dinner time MUCH easier for me.

Green Beans: The green beans came from our CSA. My fridge was full of fresh veggies already, and I remembered reading this post on Heavenly Homemakers (a favorite blog) last month about freezing fresh green beans. So, why not try it?!?!? Here’s the result! This took little to no effort, and I have 2 huge bags of fresh green beans to enjoy weeks or months from now.

Pear sauce: Random, I know. It was inspired by the exorbitant amount of pears that we have. The abundance of pears, why yes, they came from our backyard. This is such a hilarious statement because I AM not a gardener, grow-my-own food kind of gal. I’d LOVE to be, but I have no idea HOW. The two pear, two plum, white peach, and apple trees came with the house when we bought it. We love our house, and when the fruit appeared in abundance our first spring and summer here, we were elated. Plants and trees bringing forth fruit is an amazing process to observe; it causes me to worship God, the creator of all things and marvel at His wisdom and handiwork.

This is our second round of pears. We’ve had about 15 gallons on just ONE tree! I hate the thought of wasting this food; it’s delicious AND free! I’ve made what seems like hundreds of Pear Crisps (don’t worry, I’ll be sharing that recipe here soon!), but having dessert every night in our home is, well, not a great idea for our waistlines family. So, I had to try making something a little healthier with them. 🙂

I was inspired by this Crockpot Applesauce post to make and freeze pear sauce with our bounty of pears. I even borrowed my neighbor’s Pampered Chef Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer to prep the pears for the Crockpot. Why, yes, this AMAZING tool works on PEARS; it’s amazing!!! Go buy one now!!! I can peel, core, and slice a dozen pears in about 10 minutes. Another plus is that my sons LOVE using the Peeler/Corer/Slicer, so they’re eagerly helping me. The pear sauce is delicious, and I put up 2 freezer bags of pear sauce today (and will be making more tomorrow!). I have several breakfast recipes that use applesauce as a staple ingredient, so I’ll be able to whip out my frozen pear sauce and use it the next several months in our cooking. The best part is that I’m saving money by doing this!! YAY!

Here’s a picture of all of my pears and the beloved Pampered Chef Peeler/Slicer/Corer. Everything is set out for me to make another batch of pear sauce in the morning.

So, the next time you think, “Hmmm, I’ve never done _________ (fill in the blank) before.” Let me encourage you to GO FOR IT. If I can blanche and freeze fresh green beans and make homemade pear sauce, you can do tackle a new recipe or project! Check back in with me here and let me know what new recipe, craft, or Pin from Pinterest that you tried!