Freezing Single Servings for Teenage Boys and Other Hungry People

Freezing Single servings

 

A reader asked the other day about what types of foods are good for freezing in single servings.  She’s got a hungry teenage boy to fill up. (I can relate to that!)

Short of keeping the kitchen open all the time, with a cook waiting on hand, filling the freezer with single serving foods is the best way to keep those boys filled up.  And it works for others in the family too, who need to eat at off hours.

If you’re trying to feed boys, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1.  Include protein.  They like foods that will stick with them.

2.  Make it easy.  Hand-held is good.

3.  Keep a list on the freezer so they know what’s in there and where to find it. Or is it just my boys who forget what I’ve told them?

Here’s a list of recipes that will keep all kinds of  hungry people happy:   [Read more...]

Layered Cole Slaw – Perfect for Potlucks and Family Gatherings

Layered Cole Slaw

 

This easy salad uses slaw mix, peas, bacon bits, water chestnuts and a simple homemade dressing.  It’s perfect for potlucks and family gatherings, but easy enough for a plain old weeknight.

 

Not only is this salad easy, it also holds up well.  Unlike the lettuce version (which is also fantastic), this one holds its shape.  You can make it early and it still tastes fresh later.

And if you have leftovers (unlikely if you take it to a potluck), it doesn’t go limp.  Even the next day the slaw stays crisp.

This is a common salad to find on the potluck table, but it’s usually made with lettuce.  Sometimes there are peas in it and sometimes cauliflower.  Both are wonderful!

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more...]

6 Ways to Use Leftover BBQ Chicken

How to Use Leftover BBQ Chicken

 

No matter if your BBQ chicken was grilled, baked, slow cooked or even a BBQ rotisserie chicken, it is wonderful to have leftovers.  It might not be quite as versatile as plain cooked chicken, but there are still a lot of possibilities.

1.  Fajitas

bbqchickenfajitas_thumb.jpg

We love this version, but you can add any type of veggies you like.  You might even try adding pineapple!

2.  Quesadillas

Instead of wrapping in a soft tortilla, use the BBQ chicken to make quesadillas.  Try adding your choice of cheese, along with bacon and green onions.  Toast until crispy on the outside and melty on the inside.

3.  Nachos

15 Minute BBQ Chicken Nachos

 

I made these 15 Minute BBQ Chicken Nachos with rotisserie chicken, but they’d be even better with BBQ Chicken.  Keep the ingredients handy for game day, because these are great for a party!

4.  Top baked potatoes or baked sweet potatoes

Use leftover, shredded bbq chicken to top baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.  This is a great meal if you’re dealing with a few picky eaters.  You can bake both white and sweet potatoes and let everyone have their choice.  And if they’d rather have the meat on the side, that works too.

5.  Slop Bucket/BBQ Sundae

photo-52

 

I ran across versions of this treat twice this summer.  Basically, it’s a layer of cheesy potatoes, a layer of baked beans, a layer of bbq meat topped with slaw.

Or there’s this version:

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This one has baked beans on bottom, then cole slaw and topped with meat.

I’ve never done this at home, but why not?  They’re delicious and a little different.  And again, if someone wants to keep all the elements separate, they can do that.

6.  BBQ Chicken Pizza

Top your choice of pizza crust with bbq chicken, bbq sauce, red onion, pineapple and Monterey Jack cheese.  Or change it up with different toppings to go with the chicken.  Sounds like a winner to me!

How do you like to use leftover BBQ Chicken?

3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – October 20

3 Things that work in the kitchen

1. I’m still using the pressure cooker.

Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

But mostly just for Macaroni and Cheese. This is the best mac and cheese! The leftovers are really good too (which isn’t something you can often say about mac and cheese). But I really do need to learn some other pressure cooker recipes and use it more often.

2. Quick Tortilla Soup.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I made this Chicken Tortilla Soup real quick before running out the door to pick up Isaac from soccer practice. I love this soup. It’s so easy and so good. I even made the crunchy tortillas. Sometimes I skip those, but they are worth the effort.

Broken Ice Maker.

water pitcher

Okay, actually that’s something that’s not working. What is working is keeping a pitcher of cold water in the fridge. Simple solution. The fridge guy is coming on Wednesday to see if it can be fixed.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

Weekend Links

Sometimes I use these weekend links posts to talk about things other than food.  But this week, it’s all food, all the time!

I was interviewed by RealSimple.com this week on the 10 Secrets of Home Cooks (and how you can become one too).

 

 

40-Easy-Ground-Beef-Recipes-520x520

 

My friend, Lynn wrote a post on 40 Easy Ground Beef Recipes.  She followed that up with a discussion on the price of beef in different parts of the country.  I was surprised to see the wide range of prices.  We’re on the high end where I live.  What about you?

Cinnamon-Roll-Casserole

 

As I was browsing Pinterest the other night, I kept seeing this recipe for Crockpot Cinnamon Roll Casserole.  It looks fabulous!

Speaking of Pinterest, you can follow me there.  But I also have a question – Has your Pinterest feed turned into all one topic?  Mine is all food.  I’m wondering if others have seen the same thing.  Or maybe you all are more well balanced than me :)

pinterest boards screen shot

 

Who are you cooking for?

Dinnertime rolled around the other day and I did not want to stop what I was doing to cook.  I would have been just fine that day eating a simple plate of pasta with chopped tomatoes and cheese.  In fact, that sounded pretty good.

pasta and tomatoes

But I wasn’t the only one who would be eating what I fixed for dinner that night.  I have a husband and son who would come in hungry from work.  A growing daughter, who had a long day of classes.  And a teenage boy, who would be eating dinner later, but would be ravenous after soccer practice.  Simple pasta works for some nights, but not for that one.  I knew dinner would demand some type of protein to satisfy them.

I didn’t cook for myself that night.  I cooked for them.

fifties-prime-time-meatloaf-done

We get a lot of messages about food in our culture.  And we have our own individual likes and preferences.  Sometimes these conflict with who we’re really cooking for.

When you keep things simple and familiar for your young son with sensitivities to textures, you’re nurturing him.

When you avoid certain foods for the child who is allergic, you’re caring for her.

When you serve comfort food to your new husband, because that’s what he likes when you’d rather have a spicy curry dish, you’re showing him love.

When you serve plenty of meat with more meals than you’d care to, because you’ve got growing teenage boys who are in the “age of meat”, you’re nourishing them.

Blueberry Crisp in the Slow Cooker

Theories and ideals are all well and good.  We do want to work to broaden the palates of our children (and picky husbands).  We want to introduce new foods and encourage better eating habits.  But we balance that with meals that both nourish and let our family know that we love them.  That we’re taking care of them.

Who are you cooking for?

 

How to Use Leftover Meatloaf

6 Ways to Use Leftover Meatloaf

I have to admit – leftover meatloaf in our house doesn’t happen often.  Teenage boys are very good at making sure of that.  But if you do find yourself with a lot of leftover meatloaf here are a few ideas for turning it into a different meal.

Don’t forget that meatloaf slices can be frozen to use another time.

1.  Serve it like Salisbury Steak.

Cook onion slices in a pan and pour in a jar of gravy.  Serve this over the top of reheated meatloaf slices.

2.  Meatloaf Parmesan

Top slices of meatloaf with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella and/or parmesan cheese.  Reheat in the oven, with a quick broil at the end to brown the cheese.  If you’ve got leftover mashed potatoes, add some garlic and cream cheese when you reheat them.

3.  Classic Meatloaf Sandwich

We like it cold with ketchup.

4.  Use it like meatballs

Cube leftover meatloaf and add it to spaghetti sauce instead of meatballs.

5.  Meatball(loaf) Pizza

I’ve had pizza topped with meatballs or sliced meatballs before.  You can do the same thing with leftover meatloaf.  Add other toppings that you like and go for it!

6.  Italian Style Meatloaf Sandwich

Toast hoagie rolls and top with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and any veggies you like (onion, mushrooms, green peppers etc).

 How do you like to serve leftover meatloaf?

 

 

 

Easy Apple Crumb Pie

Easy Apple Crumb Pie

 

Sliced apples, sugar, spices and an easy crumb topping come together for an amazing fall dessert!

Oh my!  This pie tastes so, so much better than it looks.  I didn’t take the time to really style the photo, because it smelled so amazing.

I pulled it out of the oven at the same time the rest of our dinner was ready.  We ended up eating it as a side dish, because we couldn’t wait for dessert :)

I’ve got another pie crust in the freezer and I can’t wait to make this pie again.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more...]

3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – October 13

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

After writing this post, I realized that all three things this week have to do with making do and adapting (or borrowing!).

1.  Great neighbors!

We live in a fairly new subdivision and we’ve got the best neighbors.  They’re great for a lot of reasons, but one is that we often borrow ingredients from each other.  If I find I’m missing a can of broth or clove of garlic, I’ve got three neighbors I can call and ask to borrow.  And they do the same with me.

Friend text1

 

Friend text2

 

That’s a screen shot of recent texts between one of my neighbors and me.  I wonder how many trips to the grocery store we’ve saved each other!

2.  Recipe altering – Corn Chowder

corn chowder bowl

 

Never be afraid to alter a recipe.  I made Corn Chowder the other day.  I decided to add chicken, because the boys prefer meat in everything.

I also didn’t have enough half and half, so I used milk instead.  The soup wasn’t as rich as it normally is, but it was still good.  And the added chicken helped make up the difference.

3.  Adapting for the picky eater.

We had breakfast for dinner one night.  I served ham and pancakes.  I really wanted Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes, but I’ve got that one kid who refuses to eat fruit.

whole wheat apple pancakes done

No problem.  I made the batter in one bowl and diced up an apple in another bowl.  Half of the batter got poured over the apple and stirred together.  Ta-da!  Apple pancakes and plain pancakes.  (Shhh…don’t tell him there was applesauce in his plain pancakes!)

What has worked for you in the kitchen this week?  How do you make do when you need to?

How to Make a $17 Stand Up Desk

standup desk2

 

I’m so happy with this stand up desk we made!  It’s cheap.  It looks nice.  It’s easy to move out of the way when I want to sit down.

In short, (or tall or average), this is the perfect solution for a stand up desk.

Last week, I shared that because of my increased drive time each week, it’s hard for me to want to sit down in the desk chair to work.  I made a make-shift stand up desk one afternoon.

IMG_4997

 

And although it worked okay, it was not an ideal solution.  But it did get me thinking about stand up desks.  A quick google search revealed several nice options in the $200 range.  Too much for me.

And there was a diy option using an Ikea table hack.  I was ready to make a trip to Ikea to buy a Lack table, when I thought of hitting up the thrift store instead.

IMG_5003

 

$15 bought us this ugly thing.

Jim cut the legs off at the right height for me (11″ above my desk surface).  I removed the batwing handle and used black paint I had in the garage.

We also added some stick-on gripper pads on the feet, so it doesn’t scratch the desk.  Those added a couple of dollars to the total, hence the $17 cost.

standup desk side vertical

 

When I want to stand to work, I scoot the chair out of the way and lift the little desk on top of my big desk.  I could add a new handle, but I probably won’t.  I don’t notice those holes at all, other than in that photo.  And it’s easy to pull out the drawer without a handle.

standup desk3

 

There’s plenty of space on the stand up desk surface for my laptop and a calendar too.  And there’s a lot of space left on my desk surface below for things, like my camera.

If you want to build your own stand up desk, I recommend looking for a wooden end table, so the legs can be cut off.  Also look for one with a flat top to it (no elevated edge).

We are not big DIYers, but we did make a charging station a few years ago that is still in use at our house.  We store (and charge) laptops, kindles, cell phones etc in this.

charging station finished

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