freezer cooking, menu

Fill Your Freezer: Lasagna Casserole

FINALLY!!  I finally made lasagna casserole.  This recipe has been on my to-do list since before my Third Trimester Freezer Cooking Session.  I’m not a fan of cottage cheese, so I don’t keep any on hand and I don’t know what a good price is.  Since I had so much ground beef to use up, I finally sucked-it-up and bought enough cottage cheese to make 3 casseroles.

Looks yummy!  While constructing casserole #3, I knocked over the strainer that held all of my noodles… and they scattered all over the floor.  Thankfully, it was only the last half of the last casserole.  And thankfully, my seven-year-old mopped last night.  Yes, Landon mopped the kitchen floor.  It’s amazing what a savings goal (some obscure Lego set) can do for someone’s work ethic!!  I never thought I’d hear, “Mom, do we need to work in the garden this week?”  [But, I digress]  So, I carefully inspected and rinsed everysingleone of the handful of noodles I spilled, and added them to the casserole.  Five-second-rule, right??
Unfortunately, my kitchen is being disassembled tonight…  I’m getting a new sink, garbage disposal, cabinets, and a built-in dishwasher!!  My freezer cooking plan for tomorrow is to fill some more tortillas for brown bag burritos, because I already have the filling made and I don’t have to stand up to do it!!

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freezer cooking

Fill Your Freezer: Pizza Casserole & More Taco Meat

Tuesday is still my “go in town” day — but before the stores opened, I got a little freezer cooking done!

I was surprised to learn that this pizza casserole recipe actually makes TWO casseroles.  Now, I’m really glad I didn’t plan to triple it!!

I used two more pounds of the ground beef to make more taco meat (without beans added). That means I only have two pounds of ground beef left to use!! I’m going to make more Brown Bag Burritos because I have some enchilada sauce left that needs to be used.  I just need to get some more tortillas…

I also managed to hurt myself.  My first freezer cooking injury:  I punched through a plastic container trying to get frozen ground beef out of it.  It looked a lot worse last night….

What’s left on my plan?

  • Lasagna Casserole
  • Brown Bag Burritos (1&1/2 recipe of filling to fill as many tortillas as possible)
  • Waffles (as many as I can crank out – this will feed my seven-year-old all summer)
  • Sandwich Bread (in the bread machine)
  • Make a freezer inventory list
  • Sit down with my feet propped up and relax!!
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dinner, freezer cooking, recipes

Fill Your Freezer: Chicken Cordon Bleu, Rosemary Porkchops, Sloppy Joes

I’m getting more adventurous in my freezer cooking sessions!  Today I made 2 pans of Chicken Cordon Bleu (one for tomorrow, and one to freeze), 3 recipes of Rosemary Porkchops, and 3 recipes of Sloppy Joes.

The Chicken Cordon Bleu was really easy.  I didn’t use nearly as much cream of chicken soup as it called for.  The bigger pan went into the fridge for tomorrow’s dinner and this week’s lunches.  The pie pan went into the freezer (once frozen it will go in a ziploc).

I had two big trays of porkchops that were taking up room in the deep-freeze, so I turned them into Rosemary Porkchops!!  This is my mom’s recipe and my husband LOVES it.

Rosemary Porkchops 

In a Ziploc bag, place:
4 boneless porkchops
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp dried rosemary

Shake bag to mix. [Here is where I freeze it.]
Marinate in fridge for 3 hours [Or, let thaw overnight in fridge]
Place in baking dish and cook for 30-35 minutes at 250 degrees.

Yes, when I’m running out of soy sauce, I cheat and use the packets from the Chinese take-out place.  Just FYI, fourteen packets get me the 1/2-cup of soy sauce that I need for this recipe!!  I also don’t use all the rosemary this recipe calls for because it seems like a lot to me.  I usually throw everything into the crockpot (frozen) before I go to work.  But if I’m not working, I cook it per the original instructions.

I browned 3 pounds of ground beef for the triple-recipe of lasagna casserole that I plan to make.  I also browned 6 pounds for a triple recipe of these sloppy joes.

That means I only have 6 pounds of ground beef left to use!!  Should I use the rest tripling this Pizza Casserole recipe?  Or do you have a favorite ground beef recipe I should try?

Next up?  Pizza Casserole & More Taco Meat

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freezer cooking

Fill Your Freezer: Brown Bag Burritos

I made these Brown Bag Burritos during my very first freezer cooking attempt.  My husband loves that he can grab a few of these to take for lunch when there are no leftovers in the fridge.  I’m not a fan of food this spicy, but I love that the recipe makes so many burritos!!

This took care of 2 more pounds of my ground beef stockpile… 5 down, 15 to go!!  I threw the onions in with the beef instead of adding them later.

I had trouble getting the filling to simmer without making a huge mess.  Next time I’ll probably make the filling in a stock pot instead.

I had two “taco kits” that needed to be used up – so I used the 20 teeny-tiny tortillas from those along with a pack of 10 regular-sized tortillas.  I still have a little less than half of the filling left.  I froze it until I can get to the store to buy more tortillas.  Hubby will have lunch for at least a month!!

Next up:  Chicken Cordon Bleu, Rosemary Porkchops, & Sloppy Joes

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freezer cooking

Fill Your Freezer: Tacos

Moneysavingmom.com’s freezer cooking challenge came at the perfect time for me!  There are 27 days left until my due date and lots of meals that need prepared for those sleep-deprived days to follow.  Since ground beef is on sale at Martin’s this week ($1.99/lb), I bought around 20 lbs of it.  Now, I need to turn that into something quick and easy for hubby to thaw and eat.
First up:  Tacos!!
I decided to start easy and work my way up.  I took 3 lbs of ground beef and browned it.  I combined that with two taco seasoning packets and two cans of dark red kidney beans.  Then, I split that between four bowls and flash-froze them.  When they were completely frozen later that night, I popped them out of the bowls and put two servings each in freezer bags.  Four easy-peasy taco dinners ready to go.

Now, I need ideas for the other 17 lbs of ground beef!! 

Next up:  Brown Bag Burritos

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coupons

The Adventures of Super Shopper

I wrapped up work at the beginning of May and spent last week getting the house back into a functional state.  We’re getting baby fever over here!!  Things are coming together.. there aren’t any large pieces of furniture blocking room entrances or stairways anymore.  The nursery now only contains nursery furniture.  And, thanks to hosting a Mother’s Day dinner, my dining room is no longer a storage space!!  A clean house is such a stress relief for me.  If the house is cluttered, I feel cluttered – like I can’t even function because there is SO MUCH that needs done.  It’s such a relief to have the house back to a manageable state.  Note, the state of the house several weeks ago would have been more than manageable if I could move furniture on my own like I normally can.. or if I could carry a clothes-basket on my own without losing my balance or running into something.  Things seem to pile up when you’re more helpless than norm.

Tuesdays I still work for an hour or two so it’s my day to “go in town”.  I had to be at work by 3, so I set sail at 10:30 am… with a long list of to-dos.  I can say that one of the things I’ve learned through *trial and error* is to plan shopping trips and use coupons & store sales effectively.  The cashier at Rite Aid today said to me, “Wow… how did you do that?” and I don’t even think I did anything great at Rite Aid…

#1  The Local Jeweler’s:
I just recently started wearing my watch again.  I’m not parked at my desk all day anymore with a clock on the wall and a clock on my computer and my cell phone on the desk to quickly reference the time.  It’s also nice to be able to time contractions with a second hand on my watch.  Except- the battery died on Sunday morning.  So, I took it to the jewelers to get a new battery and see if he can clean it up a bit.  It’s a really nice (expensive) watch that my grandmother bought for me as a gift several years ago, but now it’s pretty scuffed up and is showing it’s age.  It’s been through a few repairs and I’m holding out hope that it can be fixed again – but if not I’ll probably buy another of the same watch since it’s still available.

#2  Go to the surplus store to pick up Cheaper by the Dozen 2.  My husband went shopping by himself on Saturday night and found this.  Instead of impulsively buying it, like he would have two months years ago, he came home and asked about the budget!  *so proud of him*  But, we all love the original so we’re excited about the sequel.  And, for the number of times we’ll watch it, $4.99 was a good deal.  Total spent:  $5.29

#3  Victoria’s Secret:
Free panty (valued at $11.50)
Total merchandise so far: $16.79  Total spent so far:  $5.29

#4  Bath and Body Works:
Free travel sized item from Signature Collection (Mother’s Day promo).
I also had a gift card (from our wedding two years ago, yikes!) so I bought some lavender lotion for DH to use for foot and back massages while I’m in agonizing labor in a week or two.  The 6.9-oz bottle was $16 so I almost left without it.. but the lady in the store saw me put it back and showed me I could get three 2-oz sample bottles for $10 (6-oz total), so I did.
1 travel sized signature collection lotion $5  free
3 travel sized body care lotions (buy 2, get 1 free) $15 $10
Total:  $10.59, paid for with gift card.
Total merchandise so far:  $37.99   Total spent so far:  $5.29

#5  Petco:
Free roll of Natural Balance dog food with PALS rewards card (valued at $0.99)

Total merchandise so far:  $39.04   Total spent so far:  $5.29

#6  Toys R Us:  
Return a baby snowsuit because I bought the same size as the neutral snow suit I already had from when my son was a baby.  I bought this with a gift card when I was exchanging duplicate baby shower gifts.  Received store credit of $10.20
Total merchandise so far:  $39.04  Total spent so far:  $5.29 (-$10.20 credit)
#7  Walgreens:
3 Kleenex boxes $3
4 Sugar-free gelatin mixes (go-to gestational diabetes snack!) $1
4 Kraft macaroni and cheese $7.16 – BOGO coupon = $3.58
Shirt that I couldn’t pass up as a Father’s Day gift $5.99
Total:  $6.42
Total merchandise so far:  $57.22   Total spent so far:  $11.71 (-$10.20 credit)

#8  Lunch:  Wendy’s.  I got a Homestyle Chicken combo… and used a coupon for a free chicken sandwich with the purchase of fries and a drink.  Honestly the sandwich would have been enough to fill me up.  
Total: $9.41 – sandwich = $4.54
Total merchandise so far:  $66.63   Total spent so far:  $16.25 (-$10.20 credit)
#9 Family Christian Bookstore:

Coffee cup (Father’s Day gift) $7.99 (I thought this was on sale for $5, but it wasn’t)

The Husband Project $12.99 50% off = $6.49 
Total:  $15.35
Total merchandise so far:  $88.87   Total spent so far:  $31.60 (-$10.20 credit)
#10  CVS:
3 V05 Shampoo $2.67 – $1 coupon
2 Olay Face Wash $6.73 (BOGO50%) – $3 coupon
Gain dishwashing soap $1 – $0.50 coupon
Total:  $6.26 – $3.83 gift card = $2.43
Total merchandise so far:  $99.89   Total spent so far:  $34.03 (-$10.20 credit)
#11  Rite Aid:
Transaction 1:
2 Pantene 2-in-1 $7.00 – BOGO coupon
Total:  $3.50 and received $2UP
Transaction 2:
2 Frosted Flakes & 1 Rice Krispies $6.00
-$2UP from Transaction #1
=$4.00 and received $2UP
Total merchandise so far:  $112.98   Total spent so far:  $41.53 (-$12.20 credit)
#12  Shoe Department:  Soccer cleats for my son.  His sneakers are literally falling apart, but I swear they will make it until sandal season is in full swing.  Until then, he needs something more reliable for soccer practice.  These match his team colors and were on sale.  Total $17.98
Total merchandise so far:  $130.96   Total spent so far:  $59.51 (-$12.20 credit)
#13  Bed, Bath, and Beyond:
Waterproof Mattress Pad $12.99
As-is picture frame (to boost my total up, so I could use a coupon) $4.98
$19.05 -$5 off purchase of $15 coupon = $13.75
Total merchandise so far:  $150.01   Total spent so far:  $73.26 (-$12.20 credit)
#14  Kohl’s:  returning more duplicate baby shower items.  Received $9.99 store credit.
Total merchandise so far:  $150.01   Total spent so far:  $73.26 (-$22.19 credit)
—short break to work for an hour—
#15  Martin’s:  I was SO upset that they were sold out of the $1.99/lb ground beef.  I’m going to another store tomorrow to see if I can find some or get a raincheck.
4 Frosted Flakes $15.16 – $6 off instantly & free gallon of milk catalina coupon ($4.50)
3 grape jelly $5.37
1 sandwich bags $1 – $3 off instantly
2 lb chopped ham $5.95
1 lb swiss cheese $6.55
1 head of lettuce $1.99
1 orange juice $3
Total $31.87
Total merchandise so far:  $190.88   Total spent so far:  $120.29 (-$26.69 credit)
#16 Sam’s Club:  I got chicken strips, 6 lb of bacon, a block of colby jack cheese, 10 lb sugar, and a new pair of pants for DH.  No coupons or anything used and my receipt is still in the car, so I don’t really count this as part of my super shopping adventure.  But all of these things were cheaper at Sam’s than the generic versions at the local grocery store. 
#17  Giant Eagle:  I went back to get more Angel Soft 24 double-roll toilet paper for $8.99 but they were sold out!  I did get a raincheck and the cashier explained to me that since it’s part of a fuel perks deal, when I do redeem the raincheck, they will give me a $6 gift card (20-cents off 30 gallons of gas equivalent).  So, I might go back and get another raincheck tomorrow before the sale ends.  I wasn’t even factoring in the fuel perks when I decided it was a good deal!
#18 McDonald’s
It’s family night, so happy meals are only $1.99.
I am SO tired!!  But, I got a lot of exercise today!!  And, I always feel better when I accomplish something…  I saved almost as much as I spent today!
We had tacos for dinner:
Yummy!!!!!!

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