Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another day with casseroles

With the summer coming I like to have crockpot meals ready,  Nothing is worst than having to turn on the oven in the heat. Also there is so many fun things to do outside that you don't want to be tied down to the kichen.  I bake lots of cookies and muffins and freeze them in small ziplock bags so there is just enough snack for one day.  That way we can grab and go and it keeps other things cool in the snack bag.  With all the rain this week it is a good time to bake and plan ahead for warmer days.
 I started stocking my freezer yesterday.  I pulled out a package of venision sausage (not that great to BBQ), 1 lb of ground beef, and 1 package of good BBQing sausages.  In the afternoon, (after I had a nap and the kids were still asleep) I fried up the ground beef and baked the venision sausages in the oven with some cookies to have for dessert later.  The cookies were from store bought cookie dough so I really didn't work hard but I got all the credit.
My plan was to have BBQ sausages for supper with salad.  I cooked Venison sausages to make a sausage stew and sausage chili.  With the ground beef I made 2 lazagnas.  This morning I took the leftover sausage from our BBQ and made a variation on the Minestrone Soup.  I haven't tried it yet but it smells good.
The nice thing about how I did this cooking marathon is that it was all cold and from cans. It had similar ingredients, for example I used 3/4 can of kidney beans in the chili and the rest in the minestrone soup this morning.
2 cans of diced tomatoes
4 cans of spegetti sauce
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of baked beans
1 box of oven lazagna noodles
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 cups of frozen broccoli, carrots and cauliflower mix
1 big block of mozzarella cheese
chili powder
1 container of chicken stock

  While the kids played, I assembled my meals in tupperwares like ice cream tubs and stacked them in the freezer.  I mixed 2 cans of speghetti sauce in a big bowl with 1 can of water, 1/2 can of diced tomatoes, all the cooked ground beef,  1 cup of frozen veggies diced and 1/3 cup of salsa. I grated all the cheese and layered two casserole dishes 8x11 with sauce, then noodles, then cheese, then sauce. cover and freeze.
For the venision sausage I chop up and split into two tupperware containers.  One gets 500ml of kidney beans, 1 can of speghetti sauce, 1 cup of salsa, 1 tbsp of chili powder, the other 1/2 of the diced tomatoes, 1 chopped clove of garlic, 1 small onion chopped up, 1/2 cup of chopped frozen veggies.  - this will go in the freezer.  Then I will take it out the night before and dump it in the crockpot in the morning.  Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 or 6.

Italian sausage stew.  This recipe does have veggies to saute, same as minestrone recipe.  Cook twice as much split it for the minestrone soup in the next receipe.
Saute 1 small onion diced, celery, frozen veggies. I cook this with 2 tbsp of italian dressing (not necessary, just if you have it).   In the other tupperware container I have the sausage and I add - 1 can of baked beans, 1/2 can of diced tomtoes, 2 cups of chicken broth. 1/3 cup of salsa  - this will go in the freezer. then I will take it out the night before and dump it inthe crockpot in the morning. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 or 6.  I add egg noodles 20 minutes before finished cooking then eat with some cheese on top.  The taste is a little different from all the speghetti sauce casseroles but I find it a nice change.

This morning I made minestrone soup with the BBQ sausage from the night before, I had the veggies sauteed in the fridge from the italian stew.  I also had the remaining kidney beans from my 750 ml can. I used the rest of the box of chicken stock and the rest of the diced tomatoes.

So there is 6 meals - very good use of your time and money.  good luck.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Summer Harvest

I love the "Bounty of the Land" and I get this from doing a little gardening.  I do not enjoy doing a lot of gardening.  My lovely farmhouse yard is feeling more and more like my oasis as I look around at the spring plants growing. Every year I have added things that I love that will grow on there own with very little tending to. I have added easy perennials this year (peonies, mini iris and regular iris, tulips, daffodils, bleeding hearts and clematis around the seedums) and I already see my rhubarb coming on.  Pumpkins grow on their own in the field beside our house where the cows graze.  This fall I promise myself  I am going to start the long process of getting wild asparagus to grow in behind the garage in between the crab-apple tree and rhubarb.  We will again plant tomatoes in our 4 foot garden which I will weed occasionally.  This alone provides salsa and delicious pies all winter.  Plus the squash, cucumber, peppers, carrots and potatoes I get each year from my parents and my husband's parents.  I always feel so blessed to know how to provide for ourselves and also share with our community our "bounty".  Too bad I am not brave enough to eat dandelion leaves or experiment with the mushrooms that come up in our yard each year.

my daughter Emily getting her first taste of rhubarb.

my happy helper gardener Ashley

Donny and the perennials

Rhubarb Cream Pie
1 pie crust
fill with chopped rhubarb

in a bowl:
1 1/2 cup of sugar
3 tbsp of flour
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1 tbsp of butter
2 eggs
Beat together and pour into shell over rhubarb.
Bake at 400 for 15 mins, then turn down to 350 til done.  i forget how long.