Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Make Ahead Recipe: Beef Stew No. 1

I have about 5 Beef Stew Recipes.  I like them all for different things.  One is sweeter, others are more savory, some have a thick, creamy base, others are in thinner.  This one is pretty savory and a bit on the thin side, so I serve it with a slotted spoon for the kids who don't like it too soupy.  For myself I dish all the yummy juices over some mashed potatoes!  We all enjoyed it and the kids liked it even better the next day for lunch.

Beef Stew No. 1

1 pound stew meat
2 cups beef stock
1 cup tomato sauce (I used strained tomatoes)
1 14oz can of Fire Roasted diced tomatoes (or what ever kind suits your fancy)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Toss it all in a freezer bag and freeze flat.  Thaw 24 hours then put in slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours.  Serve with applesauce, mashed potatoes or pita bread (which my kids are enamored with right now). 

Huck is actually a pretty good eater as long as what we eat doesn't contain cheese.  He will drink milk, but hates cheese. He says it makes his mouth feel weird. That's how some of my allergies started, so no cheese for him!
Noodle is a wimpy eater in general.  She isn't necessarily picky, but she doesn't eat much of anything. 
Probably why she is so tiny, but I don't want to force her.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Freeze Ahead Recipe: Parm-ish Chicken

This is a meal I've made several times before.  It started as a "Oh crud!  What am I going to feed people tonight" recipe and has ended and a tried and true favorite.

When I bagged it during Freezer Cooking Day, I called it "Parm-ish Chicken"  Because it is kind of like Chicken Parmesan.  But only kind of.  What it is is delicious and so super easy.

Parm-ish Chicken

3 Chicken Breasts
1 Jar Pasta Sauce
1 Heaping Tsp Italian Seasoning
3oz Goat Cheese (More or less depending on your taste.)
Combine the first three ingredients in your freezer bag (or right into the slow cooker - just because I make this ahead doesn't mean you have to.  Actually this is the first time I have made this ahead.  Usually I just dump and go in the morning.), lay flat and freeze until ready to make.

When ready to cook, be sure to thaw the bag in the fridge overnight.  You probably could do it from frozen, but it does make it harder to get out of the bag and into the slow cooker.  Once it is thawed pour everything into the slow cooker and set for 6 hours.

An hour (or even 30 min) before serving add the Goat Cheese and stir.  Keep the lid off the slow cooker and let the sauce thicken up a little bit.  This is a great time to make your noodles and prep your salad and/or toast.  (I love adding carbs to my carbs by enjoying some buttered toast with my pasta.  And YES, we were Paleo for awhile. ::hangs head in shame::)
That's it.  It really is simple and the goat cheese makes it special.

The kids ate it up tonight.  Even my cheese-hater, Huck, loves this chicken and Noodle had seconds of everything.  I call that a major victory in our house!

Spooky Treat Chart

A new season means a new attempt at a 'chore/responsibility' chart. This round I'm keeping it simple.  They need to collect 10 tokens during the week in order to get a treat on Saturday.  This treat can be anything from extra time at the park, eating out, or a special snack.  
They will get tokens for good behavior - helping out, doing something the first time, etc.  And they will lose them for less than ideal behavior - whining, fighting, not following directions.  I started them off with 5 each.  Noodle lost two almost as soon as I posted the chart, but she has already earned one back. 

I laminated some paper to make the "Spooky Treat Chart" and then added some stickers to a piece of construction paper.  Cut them out, sent them through the laminater as well and cut them out again.  Each token has some stick-tack on the back.

I hope this works!

Less is the New More! (Day One: 31 L&M)

As you may have noticed I'm trying to make do with less recently.  I'm going to keep trying to pare down or actually USE everything.  Yesterday Noodle was messing the bookshelf and pulled a fabric drawer down.  The drawer contained my hoard of note cards.  I have a whole drawer of note cards I NEVER use, many of which I have had for nearly 20 years.  I should have thrown them out, but instead I put them back in the drawer and back on the shelf.  But with the vow that I will not buy more note cards until these are gone!

I want have less, spend less, enjoy the kids and my life MORE!

Conveniently I found THIS:
31 days of Less & More

I'm in! So for the month of October I'll be Less & More(ing) it!  Maybe I can finally decide what to do with all these note cards...

(Feel free to do this too!  Leave me a comment and let me know if you are going to Less & More along too.)