Wednesday, June 30, 2010

To-Do List

Anyone who is busy, and who isn't these days, could benefit greatly from using a To-Do List. It's a great way to keep up with what you have to get done, and even better, you get to mark stuff off and feel really good about yourself. ;)

A To-Do List can be made on many different things:
- A notepad
- A sticky note (or series of sticky notes)
- A scrap of paper
- Written in your planner
- Typed up on your computer

It all depends on the user. When I was in college, I used sticky notes. I would put the due date/date of the test on the top and what the thing was (ie Math Test, Spanish Homework Due) and line them up across the top of my desk in order of importance/due date. Then I could throw them away as I finished them. It was a great system.

I like to use a notepad or piece of paper now for daily tasks. I can write out what needs to be done and carry it around with me during the day marking things off as I go.

If you want to keep a master list of things to do like projects, appointments, etc you could write them in your planner. Some people write their to-dos on the day they need to be done in their planner. That is a great idea.

If you are techie, you might like putting your to-do list in a Word document, on an online calendar, or on a sticky note on your desktop (thanks Windows 7 for that neat feature).

The key is to put it where you will see it as it will remind you of what you need to get done.

Some people like to write out their to-dos each day, while some people prefer to make a gigantic list at the beginning of the week and work through it to give them more flexibility. I prefer to know what I need to do each week and then plug things in on my daily to-do list. If I don't get something done, I scratch through it and put it on the next day's list. That works for me.

The key is to write down what you need to get done. Be realistic. There are only 24 hours in a day and you need to sleep, eat, relax, and rest.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yummy Green Beans Recipe

My sister gave me this recipe and canned green beans have never been the same to me. It's simple, but it makes a huge difference in your green beans.

Ingredients:
Canned green beans (as many as you need to feed your crew)
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Mrs. Dash Original

Directions:
Put your green beans in a pot.
Add some olive oil, the salt and pepper, and Mrs. Dash.
Cook on high for 30 minutes (or until soft).

They are sooooo good!

How to Fold and Organize Sheet Sets

I came across this and thought it was awesome so I figured I would share it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0Ql1se4Gc0&feature=player_embedded

Pool Bag

If you guys are anything like me, when the temperature hits 90, you live at the pool. I can't stand to be outside and not be in the water. We usually go almost everyday. This year since I am huge, pregnant, and super hot even in air conditioning, we are going a couple times a week. I figured out a great time saver for being ready for the pool anytime you want to go.

A pool bag. Well, it's not really an original idea, having a designated bag for the pool, but more the philosophy I came up with. Here it is:

You get a waterproof bag big enough to hold all of your pool essentials (pool towels, bathings suits, sunglasses, sunscreen, pool toys, pool shoes), and keep it packed by the front door so anytime you want to go to the pool, you have it all ready to go.

The secret to this is right when you come home from the pool you wash all dirty pool clothes and towels, fold everything up, and nicely repack the bag. This keeps your nasty pool clothes from stinking up the house and when you want to go, you aren't searching for bathing suits, towels, and other pool needs.

Harris Teeter Super Doubles - Trip #1

Here's my first trip to Harris Teeter Super Doubles today.

I spent $13.44.
I would have spent $62.34.
I had $4.93 VIC savings.
I had $43.97 coupon savings.
I had $48.90 total savings.
I saved 78%.

6 Ziploc freezer bags - $2.55, not on sale, used 3 $1.00/2 qs (Super Doubled) = $1.55 each
3 Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce - normally $3.59, on sale for $2.69, used 3 $1.00 qs (Super Doubled) = 69 cents each
French's honey mustard dipping sauce - normally $2.49, on sale for $2.00, used $1.00 q (Super Doubled) = FREE
3 Pert Plus for Men - $3.69, not on sale, used 3 $1.50 qs (Super Doubled) = 69 cents each
3 J&J baby bars - $1.99, not on sale, used 3 $1.00 qs (Super Doubled) = FREE
3 Sure for Men deoderants - normally $2.79, on sale for $2.50, used 3 $1.50 qs (Super Doubled) = FREE + made 50 cents on each one
3 Sure deoderants - normally $2.79, on sale for $2.50, used 3 $1.00 qs (Super Doubled) = 50 cents each

So basically I got 10 things for FREE. Not bad! :)
I got a total of 22 items for $13.44 (61 cents per item).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Packing List

We all do it. A few days before (or the day before if you like to procrastinate like me) a vacation, you sit down with a piece of paper and write out a list of everything you need to pack for your trip - toiletries, clothing, food, entertainment, extras. Sometimes writing the list takes longer than packing your stuff. After doing this a handful of times, I thought, "Why not type this up in a Word document and that way I can just edit and print and be done in a minute?" So I did. I thought of everything that we would normally pack for trips and made a column for each person or category. Then when we go to pack, I don't spend time thinking of what needs to be packed or worse, forget something because I couldn't think of it. It has changed over the years (ie diapers for Luke became underwear for Luke, bottles became sippy cups, etc), but overall the general list is pretty usable. We just hand write a few of the extra things we might need (ie food for meals, specific snacks we want, movies we want to bring, etc). Easy breezy.

If you would like to see my packing list, I would be happy to email it as a Word document attachment. Just e-mail me at ashley-webber@hotmail.com.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Super Doubles at Harris Teeter 6/23-6/29

It's Super Doubles time at Harris Teeter again. It starts Wednesday, 6/23 at 7:00am and runs through Tuesday, 6/29 at 11:59pm.

You can find my tips for Super Doubles under the Couponing - Harris Teeter label and scroll down until you see it. I can't copy and paste the link or info for some reason.

Homemade Chicken Salad - My Mother-in-Law's Recipe

I love chicken salad, especially my mother-in-law's, and since I need lots of protein to grow two healthy babies, I decided to get her recipe and make it. I thought I would share it with you guys. It is so fine, you could put it in those little quiche shells and make a yummy appetizer. In fact, I might have them at my baby shower. ;)

Becky Stroud's Chicken Salad

Ingredients:
1 lb chicken tenders
2 eggs
4 stalks celery
Pickles
Salt
Pepper
Mayonnaise

Directions:
Boil chicken until cooked. Let it cool.
Hardboil the eggs. I did a post on this previously. Let them cool.
Wash and dry the celery.
Finely chop chicken, eggs, celery, and pickles.
Add salt, pepper, and mayonnaise to taste/consistency desired.

Meal Plan Monday

Monday - Italian balsamic chicken, flavored rice, veggies.

Tuesday - Baked ziti.

Wednesday - Sloppy joes, french fries, and veggies.

Thursday - Something with ground beef/turkey. I am thinking Goulash.

Friday - Angus Barn for our 6th wedding anniversary.

Saturday - Not sure yet since we are going out fancy Friday night. I will either cook a freezer meal we won't have during 4th of July weekend or do a cheap dinner out.

Sunday - Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, peas, and corn.

The Payoff of Freezer Cooking - Week #2

Sunday - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, peas, and corn. I just had to thaw, top with ketchup, and bake the meatloaf. I made a bunch of mashed potatoes, green beans, peas, and corn. We had enough for leftovers Monday night and Tuesday night for Lee.

Monday - Leftovers from Sunday.

Tuesday - Lee had leftovers from Sunday.

Wednesday - Spaghetti. Super easy. I just thawed and heated it.

Thursday - Chicken pot pie. Super easy. We just had to thaw it, put the topping on it, and bake.

Friday - Cookout at mom's house.

Saturday - Eating out night.

Sunday - Pork sandwiches, french fries, peas, and corn. I just thawed out the pork, heated it up, and added it to some buns. I cooked up some frozen french fries and heated up the veggies. Dinner in under 25 minutes with barely any trouble.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

I am going to try to start a new series called "Meal Plan Monday" in which I write out what we are having for the upcoming week. Since I have freezer cooked, this will be pretty easy because I have a monthly meal plan right now with only a little variance. I am hoping to continue this after the babies are born because I think it will be easier to know what we are having for dinner each week rather than try to come up with it each day. I would love to see your meal plans for the week as well. :)

So here's the meal plan for this week:

Monday - Leftover meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, peas, and corn

Tuesday - Chicken pot pie

Wednesday - Spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread

Thursday - "Fried chicken", rice, gravy, and veggies

Friday - Cookout at mom's house

Saturday - Date night with my wonderful hubby (hopefully) - if not, date night with both my boys ;)

Sunday - Baked ziti, salad, and garlic bread

The Payoff of Freezer Cooking - Week #1

Well after that marathon of organizing, shopping, prepping, cooking, and freezing meals, we got to enjoy our first week of freezer eating.

Sunday - Baked Ziti - Thawed, added mozzarella cheese, baked, and ate. The best part was it was in a throw-away container. Just a few dishes in the dishwasher. :)

Monday - Honey Baked Pork Chops - Thawed, cooked, and ate. Just had to add some flavored rice and canned peas and corn. A little bit of work, but the pork was already had all the fat off and was marinated.

Tuesday - Chick-fil-A - We were supposed to have Chicken Stuffing Pie which only required thawing, adding stuffing from a box, baking, and cooking up a couple of cans of green beans. Easy peasy. Luckily a friend of mine had a baby and we took that meal to her.

Wednesday - Stuffed Peppers - Thawed, added a can of tomato sauce, baked, and ate. They were really good. It was the one dish I was concerned about, but they were awesome.

Thursday - Ate at Durham Bulls game. We just switched out our eating out night from Saturday night to make up for it.

Friday - Eating out night.

Saturday - Chicken Meal. The chicken had been frozen in a 1 lb bag of tenders that had all the fat cut off. I just thawed it out and made Buffalo Chicken Tenders and frozen veggies. Super easy.

Sunday - Meatloaf - Thawed, added ketchup, baked, and ate. I made mashed potatoes, green beans, peas, and corn. It required more work (which is why I chose Sunday to have it), but we have a whole meal for tomorrow night.

I am really glad I did the freezer cooking. I am planning to do more of it after we run out and the babies and I get through the first few months. I am thinking about doing batch cooking in the future rather than marathon cooking since I will have two babies and not as much ability to just work all day.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Freezer Cooking Adventure (Pictures)

The fridge

The pantry

Onions, peppers, and garlic

Crockpot and freezing/baking pans

Clean-up station

Recipe and labelling station

Pulled Pork Sandwiches


Spaghetti


Meatloaves




Sloppy Joes

Salisbury Steak


Garlic Beef Bake





Stuffed Peppers

Chicken Pot Pie




Chicken Stuffing Pie

Chicken Noodle Soup

Baked Ziti

Freezer




Freezer Cooking Adventure

So the freezer cooking adventure has come to an end. Let me just say a big, "Hallelujah!!!!" In case you can't tell, I am glad to be done. It was a ton of work, physically exhausting, and at times a little stressful, but it is totally worth it when I look in my freezer and it is fully stocked and we have 6 months of meals (or at least the main dish) done (minus a few nights of prepped raw meat to make an easy meal).

Here's what I made:
13 Meals of Baked Ziti (we are eating one tonight before we officially start the 6 months of freezer eating)
6 Meals of Spaghetti
6 (12) Meals of Meatloaf (each meal yields 2 nights)
6 Meals of Sloppy Joes
6 (12) Meals of Salisbury Steak (each meal yields 2 nights)
6 Meals of Stuffed Peppers
6 Meals of Garlic Beef Bake
6 Meals of Chicken Pot Pie
6 Meals of Chicken Stuffing Pie
6 Meals of Chicken Peppers Pasta
6 Meals of Italian Balsamic Chicken
6 Meals of Pulled Pork Sandwiches
6 Meals of Honey Baked Pork Chops

We also prepped (cut fat off, cut into tenders, and put into 1 lb bags) 18 lbs of chicken and 6 lbs of ground beef or turkey. This will be one meal a week of cooking. This will be for stuff like Chicken Parmesan, Buffalo Chicken Tenders, Chicken with Skillet Gravy, Ginger Chicken Stirfry, Chicken and Dumplings, Goulash, or Homemade Pizza (things that wouldn't freeze well).

With all of this done, I won't have to cook some meals (at least not more than reheating or baking), only will have to make a couple of sides for some meals, have meat prepared to make a full meal once a week, and won't have to grocery shop for meat at all or most of the other ingredients (thus making grocery shopping easier for a big fat pregnant girl).

I am going to post pictures of the process in the next entry.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Freezer Cooking Day #1

Okay so I am exhausted and ready for bed but really happy with what I was able to get done today. I completed 6 meals worth of spaghetti, meatloaf, salisbury steak, sloppy joes, BBQ pork, stuffed peppers, and garlic potato beef bake. This is 54 meals - the meatloaves and salisbury steaks will last two nights once cooked. WOW! That is pretty insane. It was a long day. I started at 10:30 and took a couple of short breaks and a couple of long breaks. My feet and back are aching and I think I could fall asleep right now if I laid down. The kitchen is clean and ready for round 2 tomorrow. I took pictures and will chronicle the whole thing at some point this week when I am not too tired at the end of the day. I will update what I got done tomorrow. I hope this helps others as much as I am praying it will help my family over the next few months.

Freezer Cooking Shopping Trip

After I went through all the recipes and figured out how many I wanted to make (6 full meals of each recipe), I multiplied the ingredients. I went through all of the ingredients and totalled up how many of each I needed overall (ex. 6 lbs of chicken times 10 recipes = 60 lbs chicken).

I then went through my kitchen to see how much I already had and figured up how much I needed from the store. I made my list and we headed to Kroger since they had most of what I needed on super good deal. When we got to the store everything we needed was pretty much on sale (most for a great price).

We started in the produce section:
45 bell peppers, various colors (luckily they were on sale for $1.00 each)
53 onions (on sale for 99c a pound)
2 2-lb bags baby carrots
5 heads garlic

Then we moved onto the packaged stuff:
10 boxes Barilla whole-wheat pasta (on sale for $1.25 each)
6 bags egg noodles (on sale for $1.69 each)
21 jars pasta sauce (on sale for $1.91 each)
1 box instant mashed potatoes (on sale for $1.75)
9 cartons chicken broth (on sale for $1.89 each)
24 cans Cream of Chicken soup (on sale for $1.00 each)
6 cans Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic soup (on sale for $1.50 each)
Breadcrumbs (on sale for $1.39)
Giant thing of honey (on sale for $7.49)
2 Heinz ketchups (on sale for $1.49 each)
6 Heinz beef gravy (on sale for $1.39 each)
Parmesan cheese ($2.37)
Apple cider vinegar (on sale for 79 cents)
Soy sauce (on sale for $1.19)
Balsamic vinegar ($3.39)
2 Kraft BBQ sauces (on sale for $1.00 each)
14 3pk aluminum baking dishes (on sale for $1.00 for 3pk)
4 2pk stuffing mixes ($2.29 each)
1 1pk stuffing mix ($1.29)

Then we went to the cold stuff:
2 18pk eggs (on sale for $1.19 each)
7 bags mozzarella cheese (on sale for $1.50 each)
7 giant bags frozen mixed veggies (on sale for $2.00 each)
44 lbs 93% lean ground turkey ($3.19 a pound)
14 pounds pork chops ($3.79 a pound)
8 pounds pork loin ($1.99 a pound)
62 lbs chicken breasts ($1.99 a pound)

We spent about a hour and a half at the store including a marathon checkout, 3 carts, and help out to our car. When we got home, we spent about 30+ minutes unloading and piling stuff into our fridge and pantry. It was insane. We even had to take stuff up to the mini-fridge on the 3rd floor to make room. It is all ready to go tomorrow. I will blog about how I did it. I might take pictures if I am not too overwhelmed.

In case anyone was wondering, we spent $600 and saved $220 plus the fact that Kroger has decent prices anyways. We also earned $6.00 in a coupon for another trip. So by my calculation if we make 120 meals (a good amount will give us leftovers - some a whole 2nd meal) plus 6 pots of soup for lunch, we are under $5.00 a dish. Not bad. Of course some recipes will still require starch and veggies, but that will keep them under $7.00 with couponed items.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Recipes for Freezer Cooking

Spaghetti

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pepper, chopped
1 jar spaghetti sauce
8 oz pasta

Directions
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Cook ground beef, onion, and pepper in a little olive oil until brown.
Heat sauce (add seasonings) and add beef mixture to sauce.
Add sauce to pasta.
(Freeze here if desired - after it cools - in ziploc bags or containers).
(To serve after frozen, thaw and reheat).

Spaghetti with Meatballs

Ingredients
1 1/2 lb ground beef or turkey
2 egg whites
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup water
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp parsley
2 tsp basil
1 tsp black pepper
3 cups pasta sauce
12 oz pasta
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions
Preheat oven broiler.
Combine turkey/beef, egg whites, breadcrumbs, water, onion, garlic, parsley, basil, & pepper.
Mix thoroughly and shape into meatballs.
Arrange meatballs on a baking sheet and place under broiler for 10-12 minutes turning occasionally until browned on all sides.
On a large saucepan, combine pasta sauce and cooked meatballs.
Simmer over low until warmed thoroughly, about 20 minutes.
While pasta sauce is simmering, cooking pasta.
Serve sauce and meatballs over pasta.
(Freeze here - after cools - if desired - in ziploc bags or containers).
(You could freeze the meatballs and sauce and cook pasta fresh the day you want it).
(To serve after frozen, thaw and reheat).

Baked Ziti

Ingredients
8 oz pasta
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pepper, chopped
1 bag mozzarella cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if cooking today - omit if freezing).
Spray pan with cooking spray.
Cook and drain pasta.
Cook beef, onion, and pepper in a little olive oil until brown.
Mix pasta, beef, and pasta sauce and put in pan.
(Freeze here if desired - after it cools).
(To serve, thaw if frozen, cover with cheese, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes).

Meatloaf

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 package onion soup mix
1 egg
1 /2 onion
1/2 pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup breadcrumbs or rolled oats (I prefer rolled oats)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if cooking today - omit if freezing).
Mix all ingredients and put in loaf pan.
(Freeze here if desired - I mash into loaf shape in a freezer bag to save space).
(To serve, thaw if frozen, and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done throughout).

Sloppy Joes

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1 tsp chili powder
Dash hot pepper sauce (I omit this)
4-6 buns

Directions
In a large pan, combine ground beef/turkey, black pepper, and onion.
Cook over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.
Combine tomato sauce, ketchup, BBQ sauce, chili powder, and hot sauce.
Stir into meat.
Simmer for 10 mnutes until mixture thickens.
(Freeze here if desired - after it cools - in ziploc bags or containers).
(To serve, thaw if frozen, reheat, and serve on buns).

Salisbury Steak

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1/2 pkg stuffing mix
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 egg whites
1/4 cup water
Beef gravy (I like the thick kind)

Directions
Mix meat, stuffing mix, onion, and water until well blended.
Shape into 4-6 patties.
(Freeze here if desired).
Cook patties in olive oil until cooked throughout flipping once.
Cover with gravy and serve.
I love this with mashed potatoes but it would also be good served over rice.

Garlic Potatoes Beef Bake

Ingredients
1 lb ground turkey or beef
1 can Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic soup
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bag (16 oz) frozen veggies
3 cups cooked mashed potatoes

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (if cooking today - omit if freezing).
Cook meat.
Combine meat, 1/2 soup, veggies, and Worcestershire sauce.
Put into baking dish.
Mix 1/2 soup and potatoes.
Pour over meat mixture.
(Freeze here if desired after it cools).
(To serve, thaw if frozen, bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees).

Stufffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients
12 large bell peppers
3 lb ground beef or turkey
3 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp paprika
3 cups cooked rice
48 oz tomato sauce

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut off tops of peppers and remove seeds.
Cook beef/turkey, onions, and garlic.
Mix beef mixture, rice, spices, and tomato sauce.
Stuff mixture into peppers.
Place in roasting pan.
Bake covered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Cool.
Wrap individually in foil and freeze in a freezer bag.
(To serve, unwrap peppers, place in roasting pan, pour tomato sauce over peppers, and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees).

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients
1 cup cooked chicken (2/3 pound of chicken)
1 bag (16 oz) frozen veggies
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup milk
1 cup Bisquick mix
1 egg

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (if cooking today - omit if freezing).
Mix chicken, veggies, soup, and milk.
Add to baking dish.
Mix Bisquick, milk, and egg.
Pour over chicken mix.
(Freeze here if desired).
(To serve, thaw if frozen, and bake 30 minutes).
(You can also freeze the casserole without the topping and do that after it thaws).

Chicken Stuffing Pie

Ingredients
1 box stuffing mix
1 lb chicken, diced
2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
1 cup boiling water
1 cup uncooked rice

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if baking today - if freezing omit).
Boil the chicken.
Wash and drain rice and line the pan.
Mix soup and water and stir into rice.
Lay chicken on top and season.
(Freeze if desired - after it cools).
(To serve, thaw if frozen, top with stuffing mix, and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees).

Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients
1 lb chicken, cut into tenders
3 egg whites, beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
8 oz pasta
1 jar pasta sauce
1 bag mozzarella cheese (if desired)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (if cooking today - omit if freezing).
Beat egg whites with a fork in a bowl.
Mix breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning in a shallow dish.
Dip chicken in egg whites and then in breadcrumb mixture.
Bake 12 minutes on one side, flip, and bake 12 minutes on the other side.
(You can also cook in olive oil in a pan instead of baking - I prefer that method).
Cook pasta while chicken cooks.
Put pasta in dish, put chicken on top, and cover with pasta sauce.
(Freeze here if desired).
(To serve, thaw if frozen, top with cheese if desired, and bake until cheese melts).

Maple Glazed Chicken

Ingredients
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb chicken, cut into tenders
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Directions
Preheat oven to 500 degrees (if cooking today - omit if freezing).
Combine dry ingredients and rub on chicken.
(Freeze here if desired).
Combine maple syrup, butter, and Dijon mustard in saucepan and cook until it melts (freeze in a small container and put with chicken if desired).
(To serve, thaw if frozen, and bake in upper 3rd of oven for 15 minutes, heat glaze again, brush glaze on chicken, bake 5 more minutes, brush glaze on chicken, and bake 5 more minutes).

Chicken Breast with Honey-Balsamic Glaze

Ingredients
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb chicken breasts, cut into tenders
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp honey

Directions
Combine dry ingredients and rub on chicken.
(Freeze here if desired).
Mix vinegar and honey and put in small container with chicken.
(To serve, thaw chicken and sauce, saute chicken until done, add sauce, and simmer 1 minute stirring constantly).

Italian Balsamic Chicken

Ingredients
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb chicken, cut into tenders

Directions
Combine everything in large ziploc bag.
(Freeze here if desired).
(To serve, thaw and cook until done).

Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
8oz baby carrots, chopped
Pepper
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 lb chicken, diced
1/2 lb egg noodles
Parsley and dill

Directions
Saute onions about 4 minutes.
Add carrots, pepper, chicken broth, and water and bring to a boil over high heat.
Add chicken and bring to a boil.
Add noodles and simmer until tender (about 8 minutes).
Reduce heat to low.
Stir in parsley and dill.
(Freeze here if desired - cool first).

Chicken Noodle Dumpling Delight

Ingredients
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 cup carrots, sliced
3/4 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup water
Salt and pepper
Parsley and thyme
1 lb chicken, diced
5 oz egg noodles

Directions
Put soup, carrots, onions, water, salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, and chicken in pot on high.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and cover.
Cook 10-20 minutes until chicken is done (stirring a lot).
Cook pasta while chicken mixture is cooking.
Mix pasta and chicken mixture.
(Freeze here if desired - cool first).
(To serve, thaw and heat).

Chicken Peppers Pasta

Ingredients
2 cups uncooked pasta
1 lb chicken, diced
1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 onion, chopped
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese

Directions
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Cook chicken in olive oil in pan for 2 minutes.
Add peppers and onions and cook for 7 minutes or until chicken is done and veggies are crisp tender.
Drain pasta and add to chicken-veggie mixture.
Add spaghetti sauce and cook 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, cover, remove from heat, and let cheese melt for 2 minutes.
Top with parmesan cheese.
(Freeze here if desired - cool first).
(To serve, thaw and heat).

Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients
2 lb chicken, diced
1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 onion, chopped

Directions
Cook chicken in olive oil in pan until almost done.
Add veggies, cover, and simmer until veggies are done.
(Freeze here if desired - cool first).
(To serve, thaw and reheat. Serve in wraps with cheese and salsa).

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Ingredients
2 lb boneless pork loin
2 onions, chopped
3/4 cup soda
3/4 cup BBQ sauce

Directions
Combine all ingredients in crockpot.
Cook on high 5-6 hours until meat is very tender.
Drain and shred.
(Freeze if desired - cool first).
(To serve, thaw, heat, and serve on buns).

Honey Baked Pork Chops

Ingredients
2 lb pork chops
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if eating today - omit if freezing).
Mix honey, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce in blender.
Pour over pork chops.
(Freeze here if desired).
(To serve, thaw and bake for 30 minutes on 350 degrees).

Sweet and Sour Pork

Ingredients
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 lb pork chops, cut into 1-in chunks
1 onion, cut into 1-in chunks
1 pepper, cut into 1-in chunks
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water

Directions
Cut pork chops, onion, and pepper into 1-in chunks.
Mince garlic.
Combine 1/4 cup cornstarch and vinegar.
Stir in water, sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, and cayenne pepper.
In a small bowl, beat egg.
On a plate, put the rest of the cornstarch.
Dip pork in egg and cornstarch.
Saute pork.
Remove from pan.
Add onion, pepper, garlic, and 2 Tbsp water.
Saute for 1 minute.
Add sweet and sour sauce.
Cook until sauce boils and thickens.
Remove from heat.
(Freeze here if desired - cool first).
(To serve, thaw and heat).

A Crazy Pregnant Woman's Freezer Cooking Idea

So I am almost 18 weeks into my twin pregnancy (which is almost halfway to my goal of 37 weeks gestation) and I have been thinking about freezer cooking. Well a few weeks ago, I went on Craigslist and found an upright freezer for $75 and it just so happened the guy lived in my neighborhood. I went to check it out, it worked, I paid him, and he delivered it in about an hour (faster than a pizza sometimes) ;). Now I had no excuse not to do it since I have a huge freezer sitting out in our garage waiting for me to put stuff in it.

I thought about when I should do the freezer cooking and how many meals I should plan to do. I figured that I should definitely do it in the 2nd trimester and crazily thought, I could do it for a few months. Well a few months has turned into 6 months of meals, that way I don't have to cook for the rest of my pregnancy or the first 6 weeks of the babies' lives.

I decided to try and find as many tried-and-true recipes as I could that would freezer cook so we wouldn't be having the same meals over and over again. I came up with 20 recipes using chicken, ground turkey, and pork that were in all genres (pastas, casseroles, baked marinated meats, and other yummy things) and figured I would make 6 of each. That way we have 5 nights of freezer dinners, a night of leftovers, and order in or go out to eat one night (much like what we do on a normal basis).

I am going to do separate posts with the recipes, shopping trip, and how we did the process of prepping and or cooking the meals for the freezer. I don't want this blog post to be too long. I hope you enjoy seeing it done and glean some tips for your first (or next) freezer cooking experience.