Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Baby Prep - frozen meals

This weekend began baby prep! Yes we have the nursery coming quite along and many things have been purchased and are ready for baby... but what does one do when their mother in law is in town and wants to help prepare? Cook!

We made a few freezer meals in prep of the grueling newborn days and weeks after our little girl makes her arrival. 

What is on the menu? Lasagna, chili, lentil soup, pancakes, scones, and breakfast sandwiches. Yumm to the umm.

 

I made the great loved red lentil coconut curry soup and my mother in law made a huge pot of her own chili recipe. Both are going to be great hits since these type of soups always get better with time in the fridge/freezer. I froze them in multi-size containers, and freezer bags (after cooling so its not overloaded with BPA!). This way we don't have to defrost it all once when hungry and baby sleep deprived.

Lentil soup recipe: http://www.scalingbackblog.com/savory-bites/16117996741/. I HIGHLY recommend this recipe.

If you can't afford a le creuset cast iron pot (yet) I highly recommend this IKEA version: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50232842/. It has served us well for many years and looks as good now as it did the first day. Ours is blue, not sure if white is the color now. It doesn't have as many cool colors as the real thing (meh). You get what you get for $40-50!

 

Breakfast sandwiches. 
I found 2 packs of whole wheat english muffins expiring this weekend for $1 each at Fresh to Frozen. We had previously picked up these frozen egg patties (yes random I know) from F2F as well which came in handy although I didn't quite have enough for 12 sandwiches. We grabbed a bag of these at Kroger - meatless breakfast patties. They're pretty good - especially in a sandwich - which duh, is the design of them. If you don't have Kroger near you - I recommend Morning Star brand.

I buttered and layered with cheese, then wrapped the sandwiches in foil.



 

The next big adventure was lasagna. We decided to make 2 big trays worth since we had a lot of ingredients. It was mostly vegetarian lasagna as I love cooking lasagna when you just keep adding ingredients from the fridge and we didn't have much meat left.  Plus I just love veggie lasagna. 

We ended up using the homemade sauce from last week (here) and some extra jarred brand sauce. There was ricotta/Parmesan obviously, noodles and mozzarella cheese. The main other ingredients were a veggie combination of onion, garlic, zucchini, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, meatless crumbles (again Kroger here - also Morning Star brand is great!) and a few bits of left over salami from Trader Joes which I diced very small. I use the no-boil lasagna noodles as it makes the whole process one step shorter - be sure to use lots of sauce! 

We froze the lasagnas unbaked so they may be cooked from frozen directly or defrosted. I'm not quite sure of the time but estimating 350 degrees for 1.5 hours (?).

 

Also prepared and frozen for October and beyond were orange chocolate chip scones (recipe similar to this) and homemade whole wheat nutty pancakes.

Next up: I have 2 more empty foil casserole dishes to fill. I'm thinking something with chicken, or I have a great sausage zucchini rice recipe. I also want to make some homemade bread (to go with all that soup), maybe some banana bread or muffins, waffles, raw cookie dough, a quiche maybe and maybe a calzone or 2.

Oh, and in case I haven't posted any good bump updates - here's me at 32 weeks! Oh baby!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Homemade tomato sauce - from fresh homegrown tomatoes

homemade tomato sauce, fresh from homegrown tomatoes, recipe, diy, can, fresh, tomato, ingredients,

This weekend I found myself with 10 pounds of our homegrown tomatoes. I'd say our garden out back is doing pretty well! I almost canned them fresh but decided to make tomato sauce. This is a half day en-devour but worth it! Here's what 10 pounds of fresh mixed type of tomatoes look like.

Pretty.

homemade tomato sauce, fresh from homegrown tomatoes, recipe, diy, can, fresh, tomato, ingredients,

homemade tomato sauce, fresh from homegrown tomatoes, recipe, diy, can, fresh, tomato, ingredients, skin, dessed, heirloom

Step 1 - Peel the tomato skins. Score each tomato on the bottom with an X. Just score gently, don't cut all the way through! Use a good sharp knife. I used our ceramic one. It's great for cutting tomatoes. It's extremely sharp and never needs to be sharpened. Place tomatoes (in batches) into boiling hot water for about 20-40 seconds. Smaller tomatoes will need less time and larger ones a little extra. Scoop them out and dump them into a bowl of ice water. Then after they cool remove them. 

homemade tomato sauce, fresh from homegrown tomatoes, recipe, diy, can, fresh, tomato, ingredients, skin, dessed, heirloom

homemade tomato sauce, fresh from homegrown tomatoes, recipe, diy, can, fresh, tomato, ingredients, skin, dessed, heirloom


homemade tomato sauce, fresh from homegrown tomatoes, recipe, diy, can, fresh, tomato, ingredients, skin, dessed, heirloom

Step 2 - De-seed the tomatoes. Cut large tomatoes into quarters and smaller ones in half. You'll want to get the seeds and large fibrous bits/stem out. Use a knife to take out any weird looking bits (if you have heirloom there may be a few!) and any stem that you don't want going in your sauce. Use your fingers to get all the liquid and seeds out of the tomatoes. I even squeezed my tomatoes to get lots of liquid out of them. Do this step over a bowl. You'll end up with a ton of liquid, juicy, seedy mess.

Step 2 b (optional) - This step is optional since it doesn't directly go into the making of Homemade Tomato Sauce, however you'll want to do this. Strain out all the bits of extra tomato and seeds to leave perfect raw tomato broth (or tomato water, or tomato juice, depending on what you want to call this by-product). Store this tomato liquid in a container in your fridge. It can be used in cooking for about a week.

homemade tomato sauce, fresh from homegrown tomatoes, recipe, diy, can, fresh, tomato, ingredients, skin, dessed, heirloom

homemade tomato sauce, fresh from homegrown tomatoes, recipe, diy, can, fresh, tomato, ingredients, skin, dessed, heirloom


homemade tomato sauce, fresh from homegrown tomatoes, recipe, diy, can, fresh, tomato, ingredients, skin, dessed, heirloom

Step 3 - Saute petite diced onions, garlic, and carrots in your large pot. Celery of course would be a good addition too, but had none this day. Add the tomatoes to the pot. Mash them down with a potato masher and/or spoon, and/or stick hand blender. I let mine simmer for about 30 minutes before using the stick blender. Add spices and salt as needed. I tossed in a handful of sliced fresh basil from our garden, about a tablespoon of salt, a few other herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil at the end. Let it cook on low for about 2 hours.

Cool and store. You may can this, or fresh in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days, or freeze for up to 4 months. 

homemade tomato sauce, fresh from homegrown tomatoes, recipe, diy, can, fresh, tomato, ingredients, skin, dessed, heirloom

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Peach frozen yogurt


This hot summer evening I made a light and easy dessert - peach frozen yogurt. 


Ingredients 
Frozen peaches - about 16 oz. cut up
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp lemon juice
Sweetener to taste. 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup sugar 


Directions 

The night before peel and cut up fresh peaches. They are in season here so I got some local ones. I used 4 large peaches to get approximately 16 ounces. Freeze them on a tray or plate. Lay them out on parchment paper so they don't stick. I regret missing this step since I had to pry mine off the plates.

Once they are frozen (or start here if you bought pre frozen peaches from the grocery store) place about a third of them in your food processor. Add all the Greek yogurt, lemon juice and sugar. I used stevia but you could subsitute honey, sugar or any sweetener here. Blend for a few minutes until soft. This may take up to ten minutes. Stir intermittently as needed to break up the chunks. It will blend soft eventually. Add the remaining peaches slowly until all blended. You may taste it and include more sweetener if you'd like. 

You may eat it now but will probably be the consistency of thick soupy froyo. I recommend packing in ice cream tubs or Tupperware and freezing for a few hours to overnight. 

Enjoy!




(Here's where I thought putting all the frozen peaches in the food processor at once would be a good idea! I have a 7 or 8 cup machine I believe, and that was a bad idea. I recommend starting with just a few and adding more slowly)




Used Jenis containers optional. Freeze and eat yum! 

Makes approximately 1.5 pints. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer videos 2014

We've been trying to enjoy the summer before the baby comes in every way we can. That means going out to eat, seeing movies, Saturday morning coffee dates, getting out of the house and enjoying time together. Tony has made a couple videos of our recent 4th of July fireworks and a camping trip we went on to the Charlottesville area. Yes I went camping at 6 months pregnant. I still feel great so why not? 





LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...