Thursday, March 31, 2011

His Quiet Whisper

"Be still in My Presence ... Nothing is as important as spending time with Me. 
While you wait in My Presence, I do My best work within you; 
transforming you by renewing your mind."
(Jesus Calling)

This little wall hanging that I found about a year ago says it perfectly ... in this noisy, fast-paced world, we need to slow down, and quiet our hearts so that we can more clearly. hear. the whispers. of God. Our great Creator God can speak His Truth to us anywhere ... in the midst of a crowd, by a roaring waterfall, as our mind and mouth are working fast and loud. But often, He speaks most clearly in the quiet ... when we have purposefully turned down the noise around us.

It is here, in the Quiet Moments, with His Words open before us, when we set our gaze purposefully on Him ... wanting desperately to listen and hear ... that He speaks His most treasured words to us. 

I have come to crave this time ... it is my source of strength.  He is my source of strength, and it is in these quiet moments that I hear His Words, and I receive His Peace. For is it here that I meet Him.

"Do not seek Me primarily for what I can give you. 
Remember that I, the Giver, am infinitely greater 
than any gift I might impart to You ... 
As you wait in My Presence, enjoy the greatest gift of all: 
Christ in you, the hope of Glory!" 
(Jesus Calling)

For me, this meeting time, this connecting time with My Maker, takes on the form of words. Words read, words rolled over and over in my mind, and then words recorded. Sometimes written down directly in my journal, sometimes typed on my laptop and later printed out, to add to my journal ... but always, words written down. His Words, my words ... my words of praise, words of confusion, cries for help. Writing makes it personal, and brings an intimate connection ... connecting His heart to mine, and mine to His.

In the busy season of life that my husband and I are in now (21 in our family, with grown children, sons-in-law, and 9 grandkids! ... and also in ministry full-time to high school students) there are so many things to pull for our time ... But, in these "empty nest" years, Quiet Moments are easier to be found. In the mornings, throughout the day, on trips. They can be found in my "corner room" (where I have my scrapbooking/card making supplies), or downstairs in our family room by the wood stove on cold winter days, in the living room, outdoors on the patio in summertime, out on a garden bench by our container garden, during a walk through town, or even in the car while traveling. And most always, my journal is in hand ... waiting for words of connection.

It was more difficult to find the time and place for this Quiet Meeting in days when our home was filled with children (six in all!), but maybe having a houseful of children taught me how desperately I need Him. And learning more of my need of Him, I learned to make room for quiet ... often while children napped, or longer times as my dear husband covered for me one evening a week, giving me several hours of uninterrupted time in a quiet room in our home ... time to plan and organize for our home and family, and longer times purposefully listening and connecting with God. 

And through trials and hard times, I have come to long for, and to cling to these times of deep connection with God even more. He is who we long for, He has what we need ... and He never changes; He is always waiting to give of Himself. He is always waiting to meet with us. 

Thank You, loving Lord, for Your amazing, never-ending Strength, Love, Peace, Joy ... all a gift ... and freely given in Quiet Moments, and carried with us by Your Spirit within, always available.

Linking up with others at Faith Barista, sharing how we connect with God, how we give ourselves "whitespace", times of soul rest.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Three Weeks

Three weeks before Easter week, and we have snow on the ground. A few recent snowfalls have covered our dry, brown grass and yard again. And in just a few more weeks, signs of green and fresh buds will begin to appear.

In the midst of the busyness of life that always occupies our minds, I am making a conscious effort to prepare my heart for the deep meaning of Easter. Instead of a "giving up" for Lent, I have been trying to focus on a "putting on".  Putting on a fresh focus of keeping my heart in tune with God's thoughts each day. Always a priority, but so often this heart of mine turns to tasks, and even to worry ... and I am wanting to focus more throughout the day on our Source of Love, our Strength-Giver, and Burden-Bearer. 

This past week, I have come across these words ... so amazing.  A perfect picture of what we celebrate at Easter time, and all throughout the year ...

"For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ,
and through Him God reconciled
everything to Himself.
He made peace with everything in
heaven and on earth
by means of Christ's blood
on the cross.

This includes you who were once far away from God.
You were His enemies, 
separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions.
Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself
through the death of Christ in His physical body.
As a result, He has brought you
into His own presence,
and you are holy and blameless 
as you stand before Him 
without a single fault.
(Colossians 1:19-22)

So much to think on ... and so incredible. And why we celebrate ... because of Jesus, God has made a way for us to come into His Presence, to have close, intimate connection with Him, our Creator. And we, with all our faults and our sin, can stand before Him holy and blameless, without a single fault. 

He sees me as beautiful, holy, blameless, without a single fault. All this, so amazing ... from Love Himself ... why we celebrate. For this messed-up, perfection-seeking, sometimes listener to lies ... this is good news. Through Jesus, and because of Jesus ... I can come into God's Presence, holy and blameless, without fault.

Beautiful snowfall yesterday ... melted by the end of the day, and green grass is starting to appear this week!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spiced Pork Chops

A great way to serve pork chops ... so tender, and flavorful. Another one of my favorite recipes for pork chops, and one I have prepared many times over the years.

Spiced Pork Chops

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch pepper
4 pork loin chops (about 3/4 inch thick)
1 to 2 Tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

In a shallow dish, combine the first 10 ingredients; dredge pork chops on both sides. In a skillet, brown chops in oil on both sides. Place in a greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Combine ketchup, water, and brown sugar; pour over chops. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until tender.
Yield:  4 servings

Linked to Tasty Tuesday

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekly Menu Plan ~ March 28 - April 3

The photo above was taken at a store (Sprouts) in Dallas, that one of our daughters shops at each week. I loved all the fresh produce in the store ... and wish a Sprouts would open in our area. I cannot resist taking photos of food ... so beautiful, and motivates me to cook, using the delicious, colorful foods that God has given us.

I've taken a break from posting about my weekly menus, but maybe will start up doing it once in awhile again. Have done pretty well with planning menus in recent weeks/months, although often things get changed around a bit from what the original plans were. It's often easier for me to just pick a few recipes to try to use during the week, without assigning them to a specific day ... just nice to have some picked out and to make sure that I have the ingredients on hand. On other days I like to just pick a recipe at the time, choosing from the ingredients that we have on hand ... or even choosing a freezer meal that I have prepared ahead of time.

Main Dish Menus
Seasoned Talapia Fillets
Ham and Vegetable Soup *
Cheddar Chicken and Potatoes *

Lunch Menus
Cranberry Chicken Wraps *

Side Dishes / Salads
Layered Lettuce Salad
Finger Jello

Granola-to-go-Bars *

Baking / For the Freezer
Whole Wheat Bread (6 loaves)

* New recipes to try ~ am in the mood for some new ones this week!

Passing on Love

There is so much to learn from a little child, for they naturally respond to love, and they have so much to give in return ...

While on our recent trip to Dallas to visit our daughter and family, little Brianna (4 years old) carefully and lovingly colored this beautiful picture for me. She is the sweetest, and so full of love ... it just spills out from her. (As with all our grandkids ... they are all just the sweetest ever!)

And later that morning, Brianna invited me to a little tea party, set up in her bedroom. Who can resist the love of a little one? 

A child who is filled with love, will just naturally overflow with that love, spreading it to others. And in this needy, lonely world ... who can resist love, overflowing and spreading to those around us? 

"I turn my hand over, spread my fingers open. I receive grace. And through me, grace could flow on. Like a cycle of water in continuous movement, grace is meant to fall, a rain . . . again, again, again. I could share the grace, multiply the joy, extend the table of the feast, enlarge the paradise of His presence. I am blessed. I can bless. A life contemplating the blessings of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ." (One Thousand Gifts)

The blessing of passing on love, an unending cycle of grace, continually flowing, and continually blessing.

So many blessings God shares with us ... continuing the counting:

328 - the joy of praying for a friend who shared a need with me.

329 - God's Spirit within ~ Lord, please still my heart each day to hear Your promptings to pass on blessings to those in need of love.

330 - the blessing of having a hair stylist who I trust to know the best style for my needs.

331 - a conversation with a friend in a surprise meet-up in the dentist office.

332 - a wonderful time of connection and communication with a son home for supper.

333 - for my husband who always patiently listens to my needs.

334 - for white covering the ground again - even though I am so ready for spring, the snowfall was beautiful.

335 - for all Your promises, and this one ... "For I hold you by your right hand - I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, Don't be afraid. I am here to help you." (Isaiah 41:13)

336 - for some of the amazing things You have done in the past, even and especially through some hard times we have gone through ... all the glory goes to You alone.

337 - an awesome 4-hour prayer focus (CRY OUT) with some of our staff, volunteers, and student leaders - joining in with the prayers of other CRY OUT events across the nation.

338 - for the great, indescribable joy one year ago this past week when two of the sweetest little boys became our forever grandsons ~ a gift from You for our daughter and son-in-law, and made official by a court judge.

Lord, as we have received from You, so may we overflow, and pass on Your grace and love to others around us ... 

(One Thousand Gifts #328 - 338)

holy experience

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sunday Chicken and Stuffing

A very comforting dish ... and so easy to make!  I love this recipe, and have made it often for our family and guests.  It's also a good one to take to someone who has recently been hospitalized or just getting over an illness ... very comforting and delicious.

Sunday Chicken and Stuffing

1 pkg (6 ounces) instant chicken stuffing mix
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/3 cup milk
1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes

Prepare stuffing according to package directions; spoon down the center of a greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Place chicken around stuffing. Combine soup, milk and parsley; pour over chicken (I like to also pour a bit over the stuffing, as well). Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until chicken juices run clear. (Note:  I sometimes need to bake it a bit longer than the recipe says ~ maybe 30+ minutes covered + 20 minutes uncovered.)
Yield:  6 servings

Linked to Tasty Tuesday, and Ultimate Recipe Swap, sharing easy recipes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Our Sacrifice of Thanks

"Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God ... " 
(Psalm 50:14a)

"As you bring Me the sacrifice of thanksgiving, regardless of your feelings, My Spirit is able to work more freely within you. This produces more thankfulness and more freedom, until you are overflowing with gratitude." (Jesus Calling)

Thank You, loving Lord, for Your gifts ... constant and continual, everyday ... listed here as I wrote them during this past week ~

314 - the bright sun climbing the sky on the eastern horizon ... a new day, and a sense of peace that with each new day comes all of Your promises, never-changing, always with us.

315 - for opportunity to help Carrie out by taking care of Cruz today, Tuesday (and again on Wednesday!) ... who can resist this sweet boy?

316 - slowing us down and opening our eyes to the simple things ... through the eyes of a child.

317 - refreshment for my spirit today (Wednesday), on this day, 40 days from today through Easter ... use these days to show me more and more of Your heart ... "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!" (From Face to Face - Psalm 8:1)

318 - finishing the reading of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are ... and being captured in the deepest way as I read the final chapter. Ann's description of the intimacy God has created us for ... intimacy with Him. Thank You Lord for this intimacy, for tasting of it through all that You have carried us through, all the blessings, all the hard things ... all drawing us to Your heart.

319 - for Your Love, calling us to intimacy with You, our Creator ... "God makes love with grace upon grace, every moment a making of His love for us. And He invites the turning over of the hand, the opening and saying the Yes with thanks. Then God lays down all of His fullness into all the emptiness. I am in Him. He is in me. I embrace God in the moment. I give Him thanks and I bless God ... " (One Thousand Gifts)

320 - for six hours with our staff team, for sharing of You in our lives, sharing of plans, for sharing a meal prepared with love.

321 - for joy from You, and joy You give as I write from my heart, sharing this joy.

322 - for email, facebook, blogs ... all ways to connect with those we love.

323 - for putting it on Gary's heart to have an appointment with a recent speaker he heard ... and for finding a great connection with someone who has a strong passion for impacting students involved in gangs and drugs in south Omaha.

324 - Thank You for protecting Brianna from greater harm when she experienced a fall ... please bring complete healing to her sprained ankle.

325 - for the answer to some frustration in learning digital scrapbooking ... a great online tutorial class with 60 lessons, taking me step-by-step in learning Photoshop Elements and digital scrapbooking. I am so grateful ...

326 - for some time with sweet three year-old Ali, keeping company with her at a consignment sale while her mommy shopped. Thank You for bargains at sales ...

327 - Thank You for opportunity to share of Student Venture in a supporting church ... and that we could take my 89 year-old father along (as he and Mom used to go to this church before they moved). Dinner afterwards with two couples, dear friends of Dad's (and also Mom, in heaven). Sweet Vera (84 years old) preparing a meal for us, with a thankful heart, even as she suffers from macular degeneration and cannot even read a recipe without a great effort. Yet, her home and heart overflows with a spirit of thankfulness ...

My father (in the middle) with two dear couple friends of his ...

Lord, may my life be a sacrifice of thanks to You ... 

holy experience

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Called to Intimacy

(Photo Source)

I am feeling a yearning for spring, for the fresh green to spread over this dry, dull ground. To fill in the empty spaces in the branches, and to bring the scent of apple and peach blossoms to our trees. There was a blessing in the snow, for it placed a comforter of fresh, clean white over the lifeless, brown ground.

And as the days move towards spring and towards Easter, my soul is reaching for fresh intimacy with My Maker. It is so easy to become dull, to lose some of the freshness of First Love. What is it that continually pulls us away from First Love? That daily beckons for us to focus first of all on other things, instead of on the Lover of our souls?

I have been hearing the call of this Lover of mine (and of all who belong to Him), calling me from the routine, and the times of dormancy which creep up so quietly that we are not aware. And I am feeling the fresh winds of spring coming.

This intimacy is what we long for, what we are made for. Described so beautifully in the last chapter of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are ... 

"I am in my Father, 
and you are in me, 
and I am in you." 
(John 14:20)

"Remain in me, 
and I will remain in you." 
(John 15:4)

"God is relationship
 and He woos us to relationship
 and there is nothing with God
 if there is no relationship."
(Ann Voskamp)

"God makes love with grace upon grace, every moment a making of His love for us. And He invites the turning over of the hand, the opening and saying the Yes with thanks. Then God lays down all of His fullness into all the emptiness. I am in Him. He is in me." (One Thousand Gifts)

We are made for intimacy with our Creator, an intimacy that our earthly relationships are a foreshadowing of ... experienced fully when we, the Church, will be wedded to Him for eternity, and also tasted and lived as we walk closely with Our Beloved here on this side of eternity. 

Forty days before Easter ... spring is coming ... and Love fills. My "giving up" for this season of Lent, is a giving up of the routine, the lifeless ... and the putting on of First Love. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Chowder

My favorite soup recipe ... delicious Cheesy Chicken Chowder. I have been making this recipe, from a Taste of Home magazine, for quite a few years. It's quite similar to the Cheddar Chowder recipe that I also use; the main difference being that this one uses cubed chicken (or turkey), instead of cubed ham.

I made a double batch of it a few days before our recent trip to Dallas ... my husband and I enjoyed it for a few meals, I shared some with a friend still recovering from a recent surgery, and also shared some with Sara & Sean, as they were packing for their big move.

Cheesy Chicken Chowder

3 cups chicken broth
2 cups diced peeled potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups diced cooked chicken (or turkey)

In a 4-quart saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat; add potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan; add flour and mix well. Gradually stir in milk; cook over low heat until slightly thickened. Stir in cheese and cook until melted; add to broth along with chicken. Cook and stir over low heat until heated through.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Linked to Tasty Tuesday

Monday, March 14, 2011

Live Today

"Keep your eyes on Me ... Your gravest danger is worrying about tomorrow. If you try to carry tomorrow's burdens today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat ~

You must discipline yourself 
to live within the boundaries of today. 
It is in the present moment that I walk close to you, 
helping you carry your burdens. 
Keep your focus on My Presence in the present." 
(Jesus Calling)

Beautiful words, and so important to be reminded ... live in the present, walking closely with Jesus, with thankful hearts. And leave our tomorrows to Him.

Some of my thank-you's, written to Him daily, as I lived each day ... Thank You, Lord, for:

296 - a relaxing day spent with our daughter and family in Dallas ... all day at home with them (Monday), being part of their everyday living. Such a treat, as we only get to be here once during the year ... but always, close in heart. 

297 - little Brianna sitting at the table doing pre-school with her mom ... counting to 100, singing the alphabet song, learning the days of the week, etc. ... all with her little doll sitting close by, the one we gave her when she was born.  

298 - opportunity to help Crystal get started on a new embroidery project ... she is the sweetest 12 year-old granddaughter you could wish for.

299 -time of showing our grandkids some of their mom's papers from her grade school years ... and then seeing Abigail and Crystal pull out some of their papers from grade school. So many memories wrapped up in some of those school papers, especially the writing assignments ...

300 - my husband driving back to the house at 10 pm after spending time with some other SV staff visiting a Bible Study led by a student at Plano High School ... so thankful to be here to get a glimpse of what God is doing through SV in the Dallas area.

301 - a special day out with Cristy, Crystal, and Brianna ... so very fun to go to an accessory store together (packed full of purses, bags, and jewelry) ...

302 - a special meal out together afterwards at la Madeleine's ... loved this time together. (And we missed having Abigail with us, too.)

303 - that evening, a concert by Luke's 3rd grade choir ... a huge treat to be here in Dallas to go to it!

304 - the fun of going to Sprouts with Cristy, where she goes weekly for groceries ... love walking with her through her daily living in Texas. Also loved a visit that evening with Cristy to a little specialty coffee and gift shop while the kids were at their church activities.

305 - for all Your blessings of the past five days ... more than can be listed here. We were so blessed to be with our daughter & family for five days ... on special outings together, and also, such a gift to be part of their daily routines and daily activities. I loved this glimpse into their lives and hearts as they live 12 hours away from us, in Dallas. Thank You, Lord ...

306 - for safety as we drove home on Thursday ... from 9 am to 9 pm!

307 - a wonderful phone call as we were driving through Oklahoma ... from our youngest son, on a big company fish processing vessel in Dutch Harbor that day.

308 - for protecting Brianna later, on the day we left, when she suffered from a fall outdoors and had to be x-rayed for a possible broken ankle. 

309 - Your love that is constant through all the tragedies we experience ... please be with all those whose lives are devastated from the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, my childhood home. My heart breaks for them ... and the tears come.

310 - and thank You that there was not a threat in Dutch Harbor (Aleutian Islands), or the Bering Sea, where our son is for the past few months.

311 - helping give wisdom about a website problem ... and having it fixed after nine months of not working properly.

312 - the rental You have provided for Sara & Sean & boys while their brand new house is being built ... and for the opportunity to help out today by taking care of Jake & Cole for 6 hours while they finished up moving the last things from the previous house.

313 - for staff gathering here at our house this morning, sharing our lives, and praying ... many prayers for the people of Japan. Thank You that You are our Rock, unshakable, always faithful, and always with us.

holy experience

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Handmade Cards

With our big family (21 of us now!) ... there are always birthdays and special days to celebrate. And when I have the time, I enjoy making handmade cards. A handmade card adds a special touch and saves some dollars. It actually takes an effort on my part to take the time to make cards ... but it always ends up being a relaxing thing for me. Is it because God, who is Creator, built in us the desire to create?

Here are a few that I have made since Christmas ...

For grandson, Luke ... he turned 9 on New Year's Eve.

Another grandson, Cruz, had his second birthday Jan. 8th.

And the inside of the card for Cruz ...

Sweet daughter, Sara, had a birthday Feb. 2nd, and we celebrated later in the month ...

Two sons-in-law, Joe and Tyler, have March birthdays ... they each got a card like this one.

Nothing fancy, and I am still learning ... but am enjoying making these. And mostly, I am thankful for each one in our family ... so blessed to have six grown children, four sons-in-law, and nine sweet grandkids. Lots of birthdays to celebrate each year!

Linked to Faith Barista, sharing ways to use creativity to rest, and to Delightful Order.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Leading Up to Easter

Beautiful spring flowers ... love being here in Dallas these past five days ...
signs of spring!

So much preparation for the Christmas season, and often we neglect preparing our hearts for Easter season. Several reminders this year ... an email this morning about using the 40 Days of Lent (which starts today) to prepare our hearts ... also a concentrated emphasis as Campus Crusade staff, to give added focus in seeking God starting with March 17, also leading up to Easter. I want to use these reminders and prepare my heart ... and to take time to listen.

Love these words from my Jesus Calling book this morning ... calling me to seek God above all else.

"Rest in My radiant Presence. The world around you seems to spin faster and faster, till everything is a blur. Yet there is a cushion of calm at the center of your life, where you live in union with Me. Return to the soothing Center as often as you can, for this is where you are energized: filled with My Love, Joy, and Peace."

Lord, use these weeks and days before Easter, to draw my heart continually to You, this Center place where we find You ... all that we need.

"The world is a needy place; do not go there for sustenance ... Learn to depend on Me alone, and your weakness will become saturated with My Power." (More from Jesus Calling)

Use this time of added focus on You to empower me, and to empower all Your people, Your Church ... and from this place of being filled, we then reflect Your Love in a needy world.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Everyday Blessings

Beautiful pink spring blossoms here in Dallas where we are visiting our daughter & family!

"Rest in My Presence, allowing Me to take charge of this day ... walk purposefully with Me, letting Me direct your course one step at a time ~

Thank Me for each blessing along the way; 
this brings Joy to both you and Me. 
A grateful heart protects you from negative thinking. 
Thankfulness enables you to see
 the abundance I shower upon you daily. 
Your prayers and petitions 
are winged into heaven's throne room 
when they are permeated with thanksgiving."
 (Jesus Calling)

Written throughout this past week ~ Thank You Lord, for ...

281 - a beautiful, sunny day
282 - anticipation of our trip to Texas
283 - helping me fight off a cold
284 - life with my dear husband, our empty nest years
285 - refreshing and refocusing me with Your thoughts from Matthew 11:28-30
286 - a safe drive here to Dallas with my sweet husband ... 13 hours on the road
287 - a warm, loving welcome from our daughter, son-in-law, and four grandkids
288 - delicious lasagna meal waiting for us at 8 pm
289 - Your Spirit, always with us, wherever we go, so close ... within us
290 - sweet laughter and hugs, constantly, from 4 year-old Brianna
291 - the joy of spending time with our TX grandkids ... Brianna, Luke, Crystal, Abigail
292 - good connections with Cristy and Mark
293 - a surprise gift of a GPS ... will be fun, and so helpful
294 - a 4-mile hike together with family
295 - warm enough weather to wear capri's today ... love it

(One Thousand Gifts #281-295)

holy experience

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pizza Loaves {Freezer Fare}

Pizza Loaves was one of the five freezer meal recipes my daughters and I prepared together one day last November. Such a fun day preparing freezer meals together ... and we want to do it again soon.

This is a recipe I have made before for the freezer ... quite easy, and so good!

Pizza Loaves

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 16-oz loaf French bread, halved lengthwise
8 oz jar process cheese sauce
1 can (4 oz) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
chopped green onions
1 can (4 oz) sliced jalapenos, drained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.
Stir in salt and garlic powder.
Place each bread half on a large piece of heavy-duty foil.
(or cut into smaller sections for freezing smaller portions)
Spread with cheese sauce.
Top with the beef mixture, mushrooms, onions, and jalapenos.
Drizzle with tomato sauce. 
Top with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.
Wrap and freeze. May be frozen for up to 3 months.
Yield: 2 loaves (4-6 servings each)

To bake: Unwrap loaves and thaw on baking sheets in the refrigerator (or on counter).

Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes or until cheese is melted.