Date: May 1, 2013
Modifications: We only had one can of whole tomatoes by mistake, so I used half a can of crushed tomatoes in addition. I added frozen chopped spinach to the tomato/sausage mix. Didn’t have any basil.
Time to table: nearly an hour when all was said and done
Servings: 6 adults
Notes: I’m not sure why, but this took me a long time to make and was sort of annoying. No real reason other than my own ineptitude, like I accidentally put the tomatoes in before the noodles so it was hard to stir them in, then the tomatoes after I chopped them leaked all over the place. Stuff like that. I was skeptical that the noodles would cook, but yes, they did. I did like how adaptable this recipe was, you really could throw in any veggies you wanted, not use meat, whatever your preference. It’s far less fussy than normal lasagna as well and tastes just as good. A big hit with everyone.
We haven’t been posting as much lately because we’ve been using this blog for it’s intended purpose: going back and making our favorites again and again.
A few recent weekly meal plans:
White Bean Chicken Chili, Cassoulet from the freezer, Burrito Bowls, Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches
Mexican Stuffed Shells, Carrot and Broccoli Orzo, Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Crockpot Burrito Soup
Salmon Pesto Pasta, French Toast, Skillet Lasagna, Fajitas
Date: December 27th, 2012
Recipe: Page 492-493 of “How to Cook Everything”. The steps below are a summary, this dish is hard to screw up, so don’t worry about being too exact.
- Soak the beans overnight the day before
- Place the soaked beans into a pot with water just barely covering the beans and bring to a boil
- Add the carrots, onion, garlic, and tomatoes to the boiling beans
- While the beans are cooking, slice up your meat to your desired size.
- Roast the meat in the oven at 450, shaking the pan occasionally to unstick the meat
- (At this point I added a couple tablespoons of corn starch to the beans, to thicken them up. Mix the cornstarch with a little cold water before adding it to the hot beans.)
- When the meat is done roasting, mix it in with the beans. Keep the fat if you like.
- Top the bean/meat mixture with a mixture of bread crumbs and parsley.
- Bake the entire pan for 15-20 minutes to brown the bread crumbs.
- Eat it.
Here is the ingredient list in photo form:
Modifications: I tweaked the ingredients a bit for this:
- Only used 1 pound of beans
- Cut out the lamb entirely as there was already an abundance of meat
- I didn’t use any slab bacon as the butcher didn’t have any. I don’t think this was a big deal to be missing.
- I used a little vegetable stock in the beans, rather than just water.
- I added corn starch later on to thicken the beans.
Time to table: 2 hours
Servings: Four family sized dinners.
Notes: I was very happy with my first attempt at cassoulet, it’s a dish I’ve loved at restaurants (Meritage and Heartland) and I wanted to try to recreate it at home. The flavor turned out great and the consistency ended up right where I wanted it after adding the corn starch. Some thoughts on the process:
- Cut back on the meat. I didn’t add all of the cooked meat to the pot as it was SO meaty. Use a little less.
- Use pork shoulder, but slow cook it first and then cut it up. The pork was tough and fatty, slow cooking it first would make it WAY better.
- Similarly, cook the sausages as whole links and then cut them after cooking
- Experiment with different vegetables in the beans. Tomatoes, onion, and garlic are a good base, but you could add a variety of other vegetables after that, not just carrots.
We shared this with our neighbors for dinner tonight and still made two freezer bags for dinners in the future, so it makes quite a bit. I’m going to try this again, but it will likely be next winter before I get around to it
Date: October 10, 2012
Modifications: Did not add red pepper flakes. Just used one onion, didn’t measure out 3 cups. Probably didn’t have quite 2 cups of mozzarella since we had to borrow it from our neighbor’s but it was still plenty cheesy – I added more parmesan to compensate. I made the noodles separately since I knew we’d have leftovers and I wanted them to stay firm.
Time to table: About an hour in total, 30 minutes of simmer time.
Servings: 6 adult servings
Ben: Like (only at a “like” instead of love due to his hatred for chunks of tomatoes)
Annie: Like (mostly enjoyed the noodles)
Notes: When we first had Luke, our friend Maggie brought us this to enjoy and it was DELICIOUS. I asked her for the recipe and have been waiting for it to get cold so we could have it again! I was sad to not be able to find mafalda noodles, but the ones we had were fine. This is such a tasty soup, even better enjoyed with a take and bake baguette from New French Bakery, thanks to my father-in-law for showing us just how delicious those are – we now have a dozen in our freezer, cut in half and wrapped in foil ready to pop in the oven for a meal for us
With “cheesy yum” mixed in
Modifications: I got diced tomatoes for the “chopped tomatoes” called for in the recipe – I’m not sure if there is a different thing actually called chopped tomatoes, but if there is, I couldn’t find it. I only made 2 8×8 pans, and for my preference, there wasn’t NEARLY enough sauce. I added a large can of crushed tomatoes to the top – a 28oz can split pretty evenly between both pans.
Time to table: 1 hour prep, ~1 hour baking time
Servings: Three 8×8 pans (but I got only 2 + some extra)
Notes: This made a little more than 2 8×8 pans for me – but the remaining weren’t quite enough for another pan. I used my small pampered chef cookie scoop to stuff the shells – about 2 scoops per shell. I froze the 2nd 8×8 pan prior to the baking step. This is very similar to the other stuffed shells recipe we tried, but I liked this one better, especially since I knew to add a lot more sauce. The filling was especially rich and delicious, probably due to using sausage versus turkey.
Time to table: 45 minutes prep, 75 minutes to bake
Servings: 8-10 adults
Annie: Love (the 2nd time with no distractions)
Notes: This dish fills a 13×9 pan completely and makes a massive amount of food.We had our friends over on Friday to eat this and we barely had half of the pan for four adults and two toddlers. We gave them a meals worth of leftovers and we have ourselves a meals worth of leftovers still, very good bang for the buck
I made this the night before and refrigerated it. Even after 75 minutes this still wasn’t hot in the middle, but it was certainly warm enough to eat. We THINK Annie liked this, but she was so wired from having guests over that she barely ate anything.
Recipe: From Delicious & Dependable Slow Cooker Recipes, Judith Finlayson
1 lb Italian sausage
2 onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp dried chopped oregano
1/ tsp cracked black peppercorns
1 cup pearl barely, thoroughly rinsed under cold running water
1 28 oz can coarsely chopped tomatoes, including liquid
3 cups chicken stock
8 oz medium shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined
1 roasted red pepper, finely chopped
- In a nonstick skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up with a spoon until no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Drain all but 1 Tbsp of fat from pan. Reduce hear to medium.
- Add onions to pan and cook, stirring, until softened. Add garlic, chili pepper, Cajun seasoning, oregano, salt, and peppercorns, stirring for one minute. Add barely and stir well. Add tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
- Pour mixture over sausage and stir. Cover and cook on LOW 6-8 hours or HIG 3-4 hours. Add shrimp and roasted red pepper. Cover and cook on HIGH for 20 minutes, until shrimp is heated through.
Time to table: 45 minutes prep, 8 hours cook time
Servings: 6 adults
Notes: We made this recipe a couple years ago, but it seemed different and I think we both liked it way more this time for some reason. Annie very much enjoyed this, unless a piece of shrimp got anywhere near her mouth. That went right back in the bowl. She also enjoyed the pear she had for dessert.
Date: May 29, 2011
Modifications: We cut the beef down to 1 pound, still made plenty. I think this actually worked out well because this recipe is a tight fit in a 13×9 pan to begin with, so removing 0.5 pounds of meat made it fit a little better.
Time to table: 45 minutes prep, 30 minutes bake
Servings: 6 adults, 1 toddler. 2 adult meals leftover.
Notes: This recipe is seriously so good and makes so many portions, it would be a great freezer meal.
Date: May 23, 2011
Recipe: Modified from http://www.momsbudget.com/freezerrecipes/spaghettisauce.html
Modifications: I used 1.5 pounds of sausage and 0.5 pounds of ground beef because I like sausage better. We added chopped spinach to the portion we ate tonight. I added a few more cloves of garlic.
Time to table: 30 minutes prep, 2 hours to simmer
Servings: 2 adults, 1 toddler, plus 4 extra meals in freezer bags
Notes: Someday I will make this with around thirty cloves of garlic and revel in the best spaghetti sauce in the world. I also want to try making it with red wine in place of the water. We had this with whole wheat pasta twists tonight, with copious amounts of Parmesan cheese. We love this sauce around here.