Freezer Friday - Mini Cheesy Meatloaves

Mini Meatloaves Recipe
No one (including me) in my family is a big meatloaf fan, but then I started making these. Everyone but Tyler loves them, and he may join the ranks soon. He has to practice liking a bite of what he doesn't like so maybe one day he will be on Team Mini Meatloaf.

I found the recipe on a blog called My Sister's Cucina almost three years ago and I adapted it to the freezer after I made it the first time. It's a great thing to have in your freezer. We love to eat it with Stuffed Bleu Cheese Potatoes or just baked potatoes and green beans. 

Mini Cheesy Meatloaves
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp onion (chopped)

Sauce - make extra to get them really good and covered.
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp mustard
1/3 cup ketchup
Combine all ingredients very well. Use ice cream scoop to form into scoops of meatloaf.
Place in greased, shallow baking dish. Cover with sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

To adapt it for the freezer be sure to use fresh, not previously frozen ground beef. When you scoop the meatloaf  just put them onto a greased cookie sheet and freeze. I freeze with the sauce already on. It is a little messier, but I have found that is the simplest way. (I am all about simplest way :) Once they are frozen put the desired amount into labeled Ziploc freezer bags. 
To prepare, thaw in fridge during the day and cook for 30 minutes. Or cook directly from frozen for about 45 minutes (covered).

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Freezer Friday - Chicken parmesan

One of our favorite freezer recipes is Chicken Parmesan. Everyone likes it. 
Here is the recipe from my mom:
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon water
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ cup dry bread crumbs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 ½ teaspoons Italian Seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts - (pounded thin)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz. grated mozzarella cheese
½ cup heated pizza sauce 
Whisk egg whites in bowl with water until foamy. Stir in garlic. Mix breadcrumbs, Parmesan and seasonings in shallow bowl. Dip chicken in egg whites then in crumbs. Repeat. Heat 1 ½ tablespoon of olive oil in skillet, add chicken. Cook for 4 minutes until golden brown. Add remaining oil to pan and turn chicken over. Cook 4 minutes longer or until cooked through. Top each chicken breast with cheese and cook until melted. Transfer to serving dish and drizzle with sauce.

This is how I adapt it for the freezer: 

I cook an obnoxious amount (usually about 10 pounds), but at the end of the day you have several dinners but the same amount of dirty dishes. Once the chicken is browned on both sides, instead of covering it with sauce I let it cool slightly on the cooling racks. Then you know the drill, the pans go into the freezer to freeze them quickly. Once they are frozen I put the amount my family will eat into labeled gallon size Ziploc bags and then right back into the freezer. 

When we are ready to eat I put the frozen chicken into a baking dish and cook @ 350 for 30-45 minutes (can vary depending on thickness of chicken). Towards the end of cooking I put the sauce and mozzarella cheese on. This keeps them nice and crispy, not soggy. Sometimes we just eat them plain with no sauce.  I love having these in the freezer, they are so tasty and really freeze well. Be sure to use fresh, not previously frozen chicken.  

I really need to learn to take better pics - these don't look very appetizing, but man they smell and taste so good. 
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I remember.

 This has been an emotional week. Every time I start thinking about 9/11 I start to cry. I know it's partly lack of sleep (hello cross-country 4:40 a.m. carpool) and baby hormones, but the loss of all of those lives has really affected me this week. I was grateful we could go to Tempe's Healing Field and walk around tonight. They have one flag to remember each life lost. Nearly three thousand. Very touching.


Freezer Friday - Raspberry Lime Rickey

I love yummy punch. Mel's Kitchen cafe blog has a delicious recipe for Raspberry Lime Rickey. Here's a quick idea to make it ahead and make life easy on party day. You can also take advantage of a good sale. (Raspberries are on sale this week at Albertsons for 99 cents). 

Just follow the recipe. I did a quadruple batch. When it was cooled off, I put 2 cups of the syrup into freezer quart size bags. Lay the bags flat in the freezer and smile because now you can have yummy punch when ever the mood hits you. I like to serve one bag in a punch bowl filled with Sonic Ice, a 2 liter of Sprite and some lime slices.


Freezer Friday - I'm an Idaho girl!

We love the Stuffed Bleu Cheese Potatoes from Our Best Bites Blog. I really don't like bleu cheese, but these are delicious. I made a bunch of these when potatoes were on sale at Thanksgiving time. We have really enjoyed them and they have been gone for a while. Lucky for us potatoes went on sale last week and I got the bug to make up a big batch. I just follow their recipe but adjust the amounts for how many we want to use. 

Once they are all stuffed, I freeze them on cookie sheets. 

 Once they are frozen I put 6-8 in a Ziplock freezer bag. 

 I stack the still frozen bags of potatoes in the freezer. They come in handy for making a Sunday dinner feel fancy, with not much work. I just cook from frozen or thaw in the fridge, depending on when I decide what's for dinner.


The Plan... Dallin's turn

Dallin has not been the biggest fan of "the plan". He thinks I'm always trying to train him or teach him something. He already knows everything, so I am just wasting my time... :)

Sunday night was the exception. He really wanted chocolate chip cookies (sadly our freezer supply has been depleted) He said, "But mom, don't you need to teach me how to do this? I need to learn this!" (He had me at hello...) He was a great student and even though he wouldn't let me initial it in his book, he is well on his way to being a great cookie baker. 

 Everyone has to test the dough... it was great!
"Mom I think things just taste better when you make them yourself, and you appreciate them more. I don't want all the boys to eat up all my cookies! I worked hard on these!"
Lesson learned. Great job Dallin!


Freezer Friday - Double is No Trouble

I used to be able to set aside an entire day or two just for stocking my freezer. Those days are gone for now, but I have found that just grabbing a little bit of time when I can get it allows me to keep it pretty well stocked.

Whenever you make something, ask yourself, "Could I double (or triple) this recipe and freeze the extra?"

1.Double the food for your family with the same amount of dirty dishes and minimal extra prep time.

2.You save time and money because you don't have to buy fast food or eat out on nights when you are in a hurry. You have something on hand if you need to take dinner to someone without a lot of notice.

A super easy thing to freeze is home-made pizza. When you are making the dough just double it. When the pizza comes out of the oven fill your empty pan or pans with another pizza, cover it in plastic wrap and pop it in the freezer for next Friday night. You can cook it from frozen, or allow to thaw if you would like, just adjust cooking times accordingly. I like to use homemade frozen pizza within about a month.


Summer to do list... UPDATE!

We have really enjoyed our "Summer to do list" (read about it this post). 
Here are pictures from recent activities:

Slip and Slide!

Talent Show!
Jeff demonstrated his incredible Rubik's cube skills

Grant did a pretty amazing card trick.

Dallin ate 13 pancakes! (after eating dinner, he also ate his candy bar prize without skipping a beat. I am beginning to understand what people talk about with teenage boys and their appetites!)
There were also many other talents: push ups, uno skills, fruit snack eating and piano playing.

Run a Race!
We inaugurated the first Judd/Lish/Hall family race around the block 
(.38 miles... I don't know how many "k's" that is)

Of course David won, but Haley was a close second. 
I came in last, but at least I finished :)
Thank you Summer to do list - We're having a blast!


Freezer Friday, Sanity Saver!

I don't know about you but my kids are always needing a plate of cookies to take somewhere... treat for YM/YW, fireside, sick friend, presidency visit... etc. They also love cookies during these long summer afternoons. 
One idea that I'm sure a lot of people do is freeze cookie dough balls. You can just make a few without messing up the entire kitchen or heating the house for very long. We have even been known to cook a couple in the toaster oven for cookie emergencies. 
It's very simple. Make your favorite cookie dough. (I've frozen many different kinds and they have all worked just fine.)

Use a cookie scoop to fill a large cookie sheet with dough balls.  Put cookie sheet in the freezer and let them harden. Pull sheet out of freezer and put 12-15 into quart size freezer bags, date them and pop them in the freezer. 
Next time your kids or you need a cookie fix (there could be a legitimate reason) pull one out of the freezer and put right onto the cookie sheet. Preheat your oven. Frozen cookies usually need to cook 2 or 3 minutes longer than normal.  

Put some ice cream between two cooked 
cookies to help you survive a hot summer day!


He'd better eat his Wheaties!

I noticed on one of my son's desk calendar that he's got a pretty big day coming up. 
I wish him the best of luck! 


Look Mom! I can roll over too!

Calvin is rolling over! It is so exciting. Our whole family cheers for him.
It is quite The Event.

 All my kids have done this, so it shouldn't surprise me, but it still makes me smile. 
Here is Tyler... "Look mom, I can roll over too! Take a picture!" 
We cheered for him too! :)


Warning: Potty humor

Here's a joke for you... When is the ONLY appropriate time to yell out "I've got diarrhea!"
When you are playing Scrabble of course!
Here's a cheap and easy decorating idea: Fill a jar with scrabble tiles (you may have them or pick a game up cheap at Goodwill) and write messages to your family. 

The "chill out" was for me... Maybe this way my scrabble game (or at least words with friends) will improve.


Freezer Friday... oooh Fajitas!

Another reason to use your freezer... save money! 
When something is in season or on sale it is a great way to take advantage of the sale. For example last week chicken breasts were $1.67 a pound, peppers were 3 or 4 for $1 and onions were 19 cents a pound. An easy way to use all those ingredients... Fajitas!
I chopped up the veggies and diced the chicken into bite sized pieces.

I marinated the chicken with some water and fajita mix... lazy I know but I haven't found a good fajita recipe I like. I used 5 pounds of chicken so I adjusted the recipe accordingly.

Put one pound of chicken into a quart size freezer bag and several cups of veggies into a gallon size freezer bag along with the sealed bag of chicken. Stack them in the freezer. When you are ready to eat it's best to let the chicken thaw before you cook it in a little oil in a hot skillet. Add the veggies (still frozen is best). This is a quick easy dinner on a busy night. The kits keep for up to 6 months in the freezer.