Friday, November 6, 2015

In the Kitchen

I was planning to post this the last week of October, but it's one of those things that didn't get done. So on the first week of November, here is a post with a peek into my kitchen ... sharing a few of the things that I was occupied with during the month of October.

30-Minute Chicken Noodle Soup! This is maybe becoming one of our favorite soups! I made a big pot of it at the beginning of one of the weeks in October, enough for 4-5 meals for the two of us. It was a cooler fall day the day I made it, and was just perfect!

Have you ever frozen Chicken Noodle Soup? I don't think that I ever had done so, and decided to take some time to google it on my laptop. Most of the sources did not recommend it, as the noodles often become mushy when frozen. 

I decided to try it out, anyway ... and we were very pleased with the result! The soup was just as delicious after being frozen and heated up again, as it was when freshly prepared. I think that one tip might be to use the slightly thicker, homestyle egg noodles. I purchase mine at Sam's in a large bag, as I love this type of noodle to keep on hand for soups, etc. I will definitely be freezing this recipe again in the future, and will see if we continue to have good results.

Ground beef, chicken breast, and shredded cheddar cheese. I picked up these items on a trip to Sam's in October ... and then divided them up into recipe-sized portions before putting them in the freezer.

The two six-pound packages of chicken breast and the five-pound package of ground beef were divided up into smaller recipe-sized portions. And the five-pound bag of shredded cheddar cheese was divided into 20 one-cup bags of shredded cheese, making it easy to pull just the right amount out of the freezer for recipes. Everything went in the freezer, ready to use for recipes in future weeks.

NOTE: I just went to Sam's again on Wed. this week (Nov. 4), and was pleasantly surprised to find that the ground beef had even gone down in price from before. I always prefer to purchase my ground beef at Sam's, as the price is more reasonable than other places. It has been about $3.48/lb for 90% lean beef for quite awhile, and this week it was $3.28/lb! I purchased two 5-pound packages, and should have gotten even more, though I'm trying to leave room in my freezer for foods that I'll be preparing ahead of time for our whole family being home for Thanksgiving!

Early in the month of October I prepared a large batch of Creamy Ham and Macaroni, doubling the recipe. This is one of the dishes that our little grandkids love, for sure! I divided it up into three containers. It was ready to serve to grandkids when they came over that week, and then I put the other two in the freezer. It worked out perfectly to pull one out of the freezer to bake a week later when I had a sweet little granddaughter here for the day, the day after we returned from a week-long trip. I love freezer meals to help out in times like this.

We had a huge treat on Halloween this year when one of our daughters and her family drove 12 hours from their home in TX to surprise those of us here in NE! We will never forget the fun and excitement of that day! 

I had been given a heads-up on the secret, so had a special meal all ready for family who were here. Pizza Loaves were part of the meal; are easy to prepare, and so good - and also practical, as they can be prepared the day before, and kept in the refrigerator until baking the following day. I also purposely made more than we would need, as that somehow seems to be what I always do! So I also had some to put in the freezer (unbaked) for future meals.

It was so fun to have a son home from San Francisco the third weekend of October. We invited other family who live nearby over for a Family Meal, which also included celebrating a grandson's birthday. I made Chocolate Pudding Pizza for the dessert, using two numeral candles (#13) to celebrate his birthday! I made two of the desserts, as I wasn't sure if one would be enough (though one ended up being enough) ... which gave me the fun of sending one home with the birthday boy!

In summary: each of these recipes and ideas involved making more than needed for one meal ... which is how I love to do things in the kitchen! It does not take much more effort to double (or triple) a recipe, and it pays off with a meal all prepared for another day (or to share with someone else!) when there is not time to be in the kitchen!

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