Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Freezer cooking .... again

After some much needed nudging, I got back into doing freezer cooking. It is SUCH a lifesaver. It is so relaxing to know that if I can't get to the store or if I'm too tired to cook that I can reach into the freezer and heat up a delicious vegetable laden, ground turkey lasagna AND have leftovers to boot. I also used disposable pans (thanks for the idea Katy) so not only will I not have to cook, I won't have to do dishes either. My sister told me about a book that teaches you how to prepare 30 meals in 1 day (Dinner is ready), but I think that is too stressful for me so I decided to make a few meals every few days during the kids' naps. I did all the mise en place the night before and THAT made a huge difference is the ease of actual cooking the day of. I was surprised at how easy it was. When you make one lasagna, it's really not THAT much more time or work to make 2 more. Plus, buying food in that kind of bulk is cheaper than just buying enough to make one.

From cooking days 1 & 2 I was able to make:
2 servings of marinara sauce
2 servings of meatballs
3 lasagnas
2 servings of cooked, shredded chicken
1 Mexican casserole
1 stuffed pasta shells
1 stuffed mannicotti

So not only do I have 10 meals, I also don't have to clean my kitchen or wash dishes for 10 days and it only took about 4 hours of cooking over a two day period. How great is that?

These meals are a great supplement to cooking fresh meals as well as being able to drop one off to a friend who needs a hand or a Mom with a new baby.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Easter was so fun this year. In 2010, Devon was too little to hunt for eggs so we were really excited for him to participate in the fun this year. We didn't decorate eggs, but I hosted an Easter dinner at my house with my parents, my brother's kids and Jane and her kids. We pooled all of our plastic eggs and had nearly 200. That allowed each child to find about 38 eggs so there were plenty to go around.

Each of us provided a dish (or two) so there was plenty of food and I didn't have to do all the cooking for 15 people. Joe even grilled the ham (that's right .... grilled ham. It's INSANELY good) so I made a pound cake, cup cakes, filled and hid the eggs and got the house ready. I set up a cupcake decorating station for the kids and sent them home with the ones they didn't eat on the spot.

I made Autumn a barrette and each of Jane's girls a felt flower corsage in different styles and colors. They. Were. Adorable.

(I didn't get a picture of Emily with hers for some reason). They wore them to school the next day ;)

Aunt Jane entertained Audrey most of the night. Love that sweet sister of mine!

Checking out Harrison's cool shirt.

Autumn, Emily and Chloe giving the castle their stamp of approval.

I also made Devon's Easter basket this year and I think it turned out OK, but it could have been better. I didn't measure anything and I didn't spend a lot of time making it exact, but my goal was to make him a basket .... not to make him a perfect one ;)

I got a card board box and added felt until it looked finished.

Gold sequined rattle snake tail.

A sneaky mouse evading the snake's red tongue and some hidden eggs.

I tried to make a "manly" basket that would possibly get some use beyond Easter. Devon took the basket with him on a play date and to the grocery store. Mission accomplished!