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Another Make Ahead Freezer Meal

20 Apr

This is another make ahead freezer meal that I found in my Taste of Home cookbook: Taste of Home: Dinner on a Dime: 403 Budget-Friendly Family Recipes. Like I said last week, I love these because I can keep my freezer stocked with them and use them on either a busy night or when I just want a break from cooking. I like that we don’t have to resort to expensive and unhealthy take out or fast food. The recipe I am going to share with you this week is Sausage Rice Casserole.

 

The original recipe calls for 2 boxes of rice pilaf, but to make it healthier, I use a recipe out of my book Centsible Meals. This way I can make the rice pilaf using brown rice instead of white rice. Plus, I thought the rice pilaf was just as easy to make as boxed rice pilaf is.

 

After preparing the ingredients for the make ahead freezer meal, you divide them equally between two baking dishes. One to eat now and one to freeze and save for another day. I use a disposable baking dish for the one that I freeze so that all my glass baking dishes aren’t all frozen in the freezer when I need to use one.

 

You will then cover both casseroles with foil. I like to cover the one going in the freezer with 2 layers of foil for extra protection against freezer burn. Then you will want to label and date it. The label is so you know which make ahead freezer meal it is just by looking at it and the date is so you know when you put it in the freezer. You should use your frozen one within 3 months. To be honest though, I have sometimes left them in for 4 months and they were just fine.

 

This is what you get when you are all done. My family loves this recipe. To view and print the recipe, click here.

 Taste of Home: Dinner on a Dime: 403 Budget-Friendly Family Recipes

Centsible Meals – Feed Your Family for Less Than $1.00/person/day

Cooking Rice Tip

19 Apr

Whenever I cook rice, I always refer to my Centsible Meals book. I think I am just a little obsessive compulsive. Rice is simple to make, but you want to make sure that you get your measurements just right. Too much water and the rice will be soupy, not enough and it will burn. I recommend giving brown rice a try instead of white. Brown rice has fiber so it is much healthier for you then white rice is.

Here are the directions for cooking rice from Centsible Meals: “Rice requires a 1:2 ratio with water. For example, one cup of rice needs to cook in two cups of water. You can feed one person with 1/3 cup of uncooked rice. Combine rice and water in a covered pot. Cook over high heat until boiling and then reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes for white rice and 45 minutes for brown rice.”

Centsible Meals – Feed Your Family For Less

Make Ahead Freezer Meal

13 Apr

This is a make ahead freezer meal that I found in my Taste of Home cookbook. It is very easy to make. All you do is double the recipe. You eat one that night and then freezer the second to eat another day. I like to use the frozen ones either on a busy night so that I don’t have to worry about cooking or on Fridays so that I can have a relaxing evening. I like that I can have ready to eat, homemade meals without have to do much on the night that we eat the frozen ones. I keep my freezer stocked with freezer meals so that I always have one handy. Check under the Food Tab at the top of my blog for additional make ahead freezer meals.

This is Chicken Stuffing Casserole. It’s almost like have Thanksgiving dinner because it is made with stuffing, chicken (you could usse turkey) and corn.

 

To make it healthier, I use this Whole Wheat Stuffing from Stove Top instead of the regular stuffing made with white bread.

 

You divide the ingredients into two baking dishes. One to eat that night and one to freeze for another night. I buy disposable pans for the one that I put in the freezer. I don’t want to have all my pans frozen in the freezer and not be able to use them for other meals.

 

You will then cover both dishes with foil and then label and date the one to be frozen.  You want to use it within 3 months, that is why dating it is helpful.  You label it so that if you have more than one make ahead freezer meal in the freezer, you’ll be able to tell what it is just by reading the label. I put two layers of foil on the casserole I am putting in the freezer. I feel like it gives it extra protection against freezer burn and I also don’t want to be baking a dish with permanent marker on it, so I throw away the top layer of foil before baking it. I worry that the fumes from the marker could somehow make it into the food when it bakes.

 

Then it’s time to enjoy. I served this with a side of sautéed yellow squash and zucchini. Yum!!! Click here to read and print the recipe.

 

 

Chicken Tip

12 Apr

When your making a recipe that calls for shredded or diced chicken, cook extra chicken. Then put the extra shredded or diced chicken in a freezer zip top bag and label and date it. This will save you a lot of time on a busy night when your making a recipe that calls for shredded or diced chicken.

Easy Treats to Make

6 Apr

These are some easy treats to make on a busy night. You will love them.

These Corn Quickies are a great treat for a large group. At work, we all bring treats for co-workers birthdays. I recently brought these and they were a big hit. The add-ins I used were Golden Grahms and shredded coconut.  Here is the recipe.

 

This is an easy treat to make that my mom used to make when I was growing up. I remember one time she made it for my birthday. I remember me, my mom and my dad sitting at the dinner table eating it. I love Strawberry Shortcake. I make real whipped cream to go on top because I think it taste so much better than that fake stuff.  Strawberry Shortcake is still one of my most favorite warm weather treat and it is so easy to make. Here’s the recipe.

 

 

Simple Side Dishes

30 Mar

These are some very simple side dishes. They are also healthy for you since they use olive oil and veggies.

This first simple side dish is packed with veggies and has a very good flavor. The hardest part of making it is chopping the veggies. My family loved it, especially my hubby. Just make sure the veggies are cooked tender before serving. Click here for the recipe.

The second simple side dish is Smashed Red Potatoes. This is a healthier alternative to your traditional smashed potatoes. You use olive oil instead of milk and butter. It tastes soooo…. good too! My family had no trouble eating it up. Here is the recipe for you to print and try yourself.

Frozen French Bread

23 Mar

A whole loaf of french bread is way too much for my family to eat at one dinner. So when I make french bread, I cut the loaves in half and put each half in separate freezer bags and label them “French Bread” with the date. I then save them for another day when I want to have french bread with our dinner. I just have to thaw out one of my 1/2 loaves of frozen french bread and it’s ready to go. It’s also healthier since there are no added preservatives.

Italian Dinner Menu

23 Mar

If you have ever wanted a good Italian Dinner Menu and you love the Olive Garden’s fettuccine alfredo, then you have to try this. I had been trying to find a good alfredo recipe and found this recipe doing a search on the internet.

It is a copy of Olive Garden’s alfredo recipe. It is so yummy and creamy. I make it a little more healthy by using low-fat cream cheese and 1% milk. I avoid using fat-free cream cheese because if you check the ingredients there is a lot of extra stuff added in that I have no idea what it is. Click here for the Alfredo recipe.

I try to use whole wheat whenever possible, so I use this pasta from Wal-Mart. It is only about $1.00 per box. They don’t have whole wheat fettuccine, so I just use the whole wheat linguine instead.

I serve the pasta with Italian Grilled Chicken

and Sauteed Mushrooms. I learned how to make these sauteed mushrooms when I worked on a dinner buffet back in my younger days. Only me and my husband eat the mushrooms, our kids think mushrooms are gross. Just means more for us!!!

On the side I serve Sautéed Asparagus

and Garlic Bread.

I make the garlic bread using some of my pre-made, frozen, home-made, french bread. I like to make the french bread using half wheat and half white flour, but you could use all white. You could also use a loaf of french bread from your local bakery. This Italian Dinner Menu is so good and I recommend trying it. Even if you only try part of the Italian Dinner Menu.

How to Cook Corned Beef and Cabbage

20 Mar

Last Thursday for St. Patrick’s Day, I made Corned Beef and Cabbage for dinner. I Looove… Corned Beef and Cabbage, but I never think to make it except for St. Patrick’s Day. Last year I didn’t even think to make it at all. The recipe I used is a combination of a recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book and the directions that were on my corned beef package. Click here for the recipe.

I could tell that it must have been a long time since I made it because my kids couldn’t remember ever eating it. I didn’t think they would like it since it was different from our usual dinner food, but to my surprise they Looooved it! Dylan kept saying, “this is the best chicken, you need to make it a again.” No matter how many times we tell our kids what kind of meat we are eating, they still call it chicken.

I also thought our kids would complain about the cabbage since that is not a normal thing for us to eat either, but they just thought it was a salad (which they love). They wanted to ranch dressing on it, so I let them because I figured at least they were eating it. Why tell them that’s not the normal way of eating cabbage?

The only thing I could think of to make with the corned beef and cabbage were rolls. So I asked my husband, Justin, what he thought we should have with it and he thought the same thing. I didn’t want to use frozen dinner rolls because whatever they add to the dough always upsets my stomach and premade rolls never taste that great. So I decided to use a quick dinner rolls recipe from a book that I have called Centsible Meals. Here is that recipe.

Easy Chicken Casserole Recipe

18 Mar

I got this easy chicken casserole recipe from my Taste of Home cookbook. The original recipe called for thyme, but we didn’t like it with the thyme in it so I took out of my recipe post for this easy chicken casserole recipe. If you like thyme, just add 1/4 tsp to your recipe when you add the salt and pepper. Other than the thyme, we really like this easy chicken casserole recipe.

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