Friday, October 24, 2008

freezer cooking/once-a-month cooking

Because I am strange, I decided to give this once-a-month cooking thing a whirl -- about a month ago. I tried it for the following reasons; 1) we were eating quesadillas for dinner more than once a week; 2) I was really tired of coming home in the evening and then rummaging through our refrigerator, trying to figure out what to cook. I've only done it one time, but we've *really* enjoyed it this month. I spent about 3 hours and made 12 meals. What I loved: we didn't have to spend time figuring out dinner when we got home and clean-up was also less. Works for me!

My tips for doing this:
1. Do the grocery shopping a day or two earlier--not on the same day you're going to do the cooking;
2. Have the kids entertained elsewhere so you can concentrate;
3. Make sure you have your supplies on hand, namely: Ziploc freezer bags (1 qt and 1 gallon), a sharpie pen, tinfoil, saran wrap.
4. Meat frozen in sauces doesn't dry out--it's amazing.

Recipes I used:
Bacon-wrapped chicken (very yummy!)
White sauce chicken with noodles (just okay--won't make this one again.)
Turkey enchiladas (very yummy--you could make any enchilada recipe)
Southwest chicken casserole (also just okay--I should know that we don't love casseroles!)
Thai pork (actually a slow cooker recipe--we ate it fresh but I'd make it again and freeze it. Also I used chicken because I forgot to buy enough pork)
Pork chops -- made these with the coarser Japanese bread crumbs. Very good!
Chicken and artichokes -- from my own recipes
Sausage pasta -- an old Cooking Light recipe

Useful books from our library:
The Freezer Cooking Manual--This book has great planning ideas, but mostly the recipes are too casserole-heavy. So, I'm hopeful for this one, which I'm waiting to check out:
Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer

Goals for next month:
1. Healthier and fewer meat-based main courses
2. More soups for winter time
3. No casserole-like meals.

If you do this, let me know your tips! If you don't, give it a whirl. It'd be really fun to do it *with* someone!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


So late last month, the outlaws showed up and introduced a new game to the under-six set:

Yep. And they win, a lot, even playing face up. The grandparents left, and so now we're doomed to endless games of Uno...

They recently spent an evening trying on our shoes:

Siena's early literacy is taking off, and we are enjoying watching it. This is her sidewalk sign for Chocolate and Honey Ice Cream, of course:

This one's for the Swiss Miss, who passed on this darling suit:

From tonight: the fourth lost front tooth. I'm happy to pass on from Siena that the Tooth Fairy must have gps and a flying machine to get around at night:
And finally: we had a super fun package waiting for us this afternoon and I couldn't find the camera when the kids tore it open! We love the boxes from Sacramento. This one had Count Chocula cereal and some special Uno cards for the kids--a Peanuts edition. The fun continues!