Monday, January 17, 2011

Save some TIME in the Kitchen!

One of my dear friends taught me a tip to help out with time put in dinners on those busy weeknights.  What she would do is when she gets home from the grocery store, she would go ahead and brown her hamburger meat.  She would then divide the meat into freezer bags and keep in the freezer for later use in meals.  I started doing it and it makes a world of difference.  It saves so much time/hassle.  It cuts down the time in preparing meals down and it makes the clean up easier, too.  It's a WIN/WIN!  All you have to do is use the meat within 2 - 3 months.  I use the meat for spaghetti/tacos/sloppy joes/etc.  I have attached a chart that will help you in knowing how long food is good when frozen.  You can do the same thing with cooking chicken.  Hope this helps!!

Freezer Storage Chart (0 °F)Note: Freezer storage is for quality only. Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely.

Bacon and Sausage1 to 2
Casseroles2 to 3
Egg whites or egg substitutes 12
Frozen Dinners and Entrees3 to 4
Gravy, meat or poultry 2 to 3
Ham, Hotdogs and Lunchmeats 1 to 2
Meat, uncooked roasts 4 to 12
Meat, uncooked steaks or chops 4 to 12
Meat, uncooked ground 3 to 4
Meat, cooked 2 to 3
Poultry, uncooked whole 12
Poultry, uncooked parts 9
Poultry, uncooked giblets 3 to 4
Poultry, cooked 4
Soups and Stews2 to 3
Wild game, uncooked8 to 12

Click here for more Safety Tips on Food Storage

Blueberry Cheesecake Pancakes ~ Breakfast ~ My son loves pancakes or maybe it's just the syrup?

Want something new & easy for breakfast that will rock your face off???  This is so easy and I keep it on hand at ALL times.  My kiddos absolutely love to eat these!!  You just buy the Blueberry Cheesecake muffin mix.....on the back, there is a recipe for pancakes.  These pancakes are delish and you don't even need syrup!  Of course, my son would never EVER  eat pancakes with NO syrup. I have even caught him in the refrigerator drinking he still uses it but I go without.  TRY IT! 
Blueberry Cheesecake Muffin Mix

Weekend Dinner ~ Calzone/Stromboli

Okay, so I attempted to make Stromboli but it ended up being HUGE and didn't look like an ordinary Stromboli. I wanted to cook something new and my husband's mother used to make him this when he was growing up, so I called her for the recipe. It was a little more time consuming since the dough had to rise all day so I made this on a weekend.
I followed the directions on the package of the frozen bread. It took me pretty much all day to get these loaves at this size. I ended up turning on the oven and putting the pan on the stove in hopes that the heat would help and it did. Once they get to this size, you take the loaves, put them on a floured surface and roll them out into a large rectangle.

You take your meats and cheeses and layer them in the middle of the dough rectangle. You can change the meats and cheeses to your tastes but I definitely recommend using the mozzarella and provolone cheeses because they had a really good taste.

Sprinkle the top of the meats and cheeses with the basil and oregano.

Fold the dough over and seal it with your hands. I sprinkled water on it to help seal the edges. Flip the dough over, seal side down on a greased cookie sheet. I lined mine with tin foil to catch any spills. Take the melted butter and brush across the dough and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Slice and serve with your favorite marinara sauce.

Here is the recipe:

1 loaf of frozen bread

1 package sliced pepperoni

1 package sliced salami

1 package sliced provolone cheese

1 package sliced mozzarella cheese

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp oregano

Any type of marinara sauce to dip in

Parmesan cheese

melted butter

You take the frozen bread loaves and follow the directions to thaw and let the dough rise. It took me pretty much all day to get my dough to the right size. I ended up putting the pan with the dough on my stove top and turning my oven on so that the heat would help a little bit. Once the dough is ready, you flour a flat surface and roll the dough out into a large rectangle. Then, top the dough with the meats (you can add or change the meats to suit your tastes), cheeses and then sprinkle with the basil and oregano. I did an all cheese one and added fresh mozzarella. After you have stacked up your ingredients, fold the sides over and seal the edges with a little bit of water. Flip the Stromboli over, seal side down on a greased baking sheet. I then took melted butter and brushed it over the top and sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cut and serve with warm marinara sauce.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Week Night Dinners/Chicken Pot Pie

Like I said, I love to bake but I can't feed my family cupcakes and cookies for dinner...although I would be completely happy with this. :) A very easy weeknight meal is my Grandma's recipe for Chicken Pot Pie. It has been altered but still has the same yummy taste of hers. You can make 2 separate pies or one big Pyrex full. I usually make 2 round dishes and freeze one for later. This is also one of those meals I usually make for people when they are sick/etc.

Chicken Pot Pie

1 Rotisserie Chicken
1 Can Veg-all (15 oz)
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup (10 3/4 oz)
1 Can Cream of Celery Soup (10 3/4 oz)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp Minced onions
Salt & Pepper to taste
Roll out Pie Crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You take the chicken off the Rotisserie and chop into pieces. Heat all the ingredients on the stove except the pie crust. You bring all ingredients to a boil. You can add more chicken broth to get to the consistency you like. Pour mixture into either a large Pyrex dish or 2 round dishes. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Everything is already cooked so you can broil for approximately 1 minute to brown the crust. Quick and EASY!

Throw everything in and heat to a boil. 

Spread in a pyrex or 2 pie pans. 

I was out of the roll out pie crust (which I prefer over this) so I used biscuits and pulled them in half so it would cook throughout. 

End result.  I do like the pie crust better than the biscuits but I had to use what I had on hand!  The kiddos didn't seem to mind...they ate it all up! - Recipe - Honey Roasted Peanuts - Recipe - Honey Roasted Peanuts: "HONEY ROASTED PEANUTS

Read more about it at,1647,145184-246195,00.html
Content Copyright © 2011 - All rights reserved.
2 cups peanuts
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place peanuts in bowl. Heat butter and honey together. Toss with peanuts.
Lay on cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 5 to 10 minutes or until peanuts are golden brown.
Makes 2 Cups."

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies Recipe | Taste of Home Recipes

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies Recipe Taste of Home Recipes: "44 ServingsPrep: 20 min. Bake: 10 min./batch + coolingIngredients
1 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 to 6 tablespoons milk
In a large bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition after each addition. Add vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.
Shape into 1-in. balls and place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to 3/8-in. thickness with fork. Bake at 375° for 7-8 minutes or until golden. Remove to wire racks to cool.
For filling, in a large bowl, beat the peanut butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Spread on half of the cookies and top each with another cookie. Yield: 44 sandwich cookies."

Dad's Birthday

For my Dad's birthday, I decided to make some homemade goodies for him. I picked out two recipes to try: Honey Roasted Peanuts and a recipe for Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies. They both turned out really good and I even used Reduced Fat Peanut Butter by accident! Here are the recipes and pictures of the final products. The cookies were HUGE in the first few batches so I made them smaller for the final batches. I also sprinkled the peanuts with a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar to give them some texture. I did this after I took

them out of the oven. All in all, both were fairly easy and yummy! I will definitely make them both again!