Archives for category: freezer

diy-homemade-dog-treats-just-2-ingredients-easy-and-healthy

Coconut oil is the star of this recipe! Add in some blueberries, form into cute shapes with a silicone mold, and voila. You’ll have a bag full of one-a-day doggie deliciousness. (Obviously, check with your veterinarian before starting any health regimens or new foods with your own dogs.) Our little chihuahua-mix nibbles ever so delicately at these, while our 60 lb. vizsla chomps them up in one bite.  🙂

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Frozen blueberries (enough for 1 or 2 in each treat)
  • Coconut Oil, in solid form (I started with 1/2 c. and kept melting a little more at a time as I went, I probably used a little less than 2 c. altogether)
  • Silicone treat mold (I used a 24 bite-size flower mold)

WHAT YOU DO:

Place one or two frozen blueberries into each serving of the silicone mold. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil over medium heat until it melts.

Pour liquified oil into the mold.

Place entire mold in fridge and let it solidify.

After treats are solid, remove from the mold.

Label a freezer-safe bag or container and store in the freezer.

recipe inspired by hellonatureblog.com

diy-homemade-dog-treats-coconut-oil-and-blueberries-so-easy-and-healthycoconut-oil-and-blueberries-easy-homemade-dog-treats

Homemade Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce

slow-cooker-homemade-marinara-sauce-recipe

I’m all about Whole30 recipes lately. They are healthy and delicious, full of clean eating foods, and fresh ingredients. Here’s an easy way to make a big batch of marinara sauce, perfect for spiralized zucchini noodles AKA zoodles, or baked spaghetti squash. The best part is you can freeze the leftovers in individual portions for later. Yay!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1  1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1  1/2 c. finely diced carrots
  • 4-5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cans (28 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 bay leaves

WHAT YOU DO:

  • Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Add olive oil, onion, carrots and garlic. Sauté veggies until carrots soften, approximately 5 minutes or so.
  • Transfer the mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker. (I use crock pot liners so there’s less mess to clean later)
  • Add remaining marinara sauce ingredients to slow cooker then whisk to combine. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally.

This makes a thick, somewhat chunky sauce, which I love. If you prefer a thinner sauce however, you can use an immersion blender to thin it out.

Freezing Instructions: Prepare as instructed above. Cool sauce to room temperature, then ladle into freezer-safe containers or ziplock freezer bags (in 1 or 2 cup portions, depending on how much you will need at a time). Before serving, thaw sauce in refrigerator overnight. Or, empty frozen sauce in a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sauce comes to a simmer.

Slow Cooker

recipe adapted from Whole30.com

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One-Pot Beef and Guinness Stew Recipe

Easy freezer-friendly beef stew. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or anytime you crave warm comfort food. Just start everything in a dutch oven or heavy pot on the stove, and transfer the whole thing to the oven.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 12 oz. tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 lbs. small potatoes (I used a mixture of red and yellow), cut into chunks
  • 2 white onions, diced
  • 32 oz. beef broth
  • Irish stout beer – I used one 11-oz. bottle of Guinness Extra Stout
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper, for seasoning
  • 16 oz. frozen baby peas, thawed

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a heavy pot or dutch oven (5-quart size or so) on the stovetop, toss beef with flour and stir in tomato paste. Add potatoes, onions, broth, beer, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat, occasionally.

Cover with lid and place pot in oven. Cook until meat is fork-tender, approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir in peas, then season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

TO FREEZE: Prepare according to recipe. Cool, then divide into a few containers, label, and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw, reheat, and serve.

adapted from marthastewart.com

 

Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef Recipe – Here’s a delicious Crock Pot option. You can use this shredded meat on sandwiches, tortillas, as a nacho topping, and more.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef Recipe - delicious Crock Pot meal option 

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3 lbs. chuck roast
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • ½ tsp. salt plus additional if needed, to taste
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ c. diced red onion
  • ¼ c. beef broth
  • ½ c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar

WHAT YOU DO:

1. On a large plate mix together flour, ½ tsp. salt, and pepper. Dredge the chuck roast on both sides.

2. In a large pan, heat olive oil on medium-high. Add chuck roast and brown for 3-4 min on each side, until both sides are browned and a crust forms.

3. Transfer beef to slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray (or lined with a slow cooker liner).

4. In the same pan used for the beef, sauté garlic and onion until fragrant and onions are translucent (approx. 3-­4 min).

5. Stir in broth and scrape up any brown bits left from the roast. Transfer mixture to the slow cooker with the beef.

6. In a bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar (tip: use a wet dishcloth or paper towel “nest” under your bowl to whisk with one hand and add ingredients with the other). Pour over the roast.

7. Cook on HIGH for 5 hours (or LOW for 8-10 hours). Flip the roast a couple times while cooking and make sure all ingredients are combined.

8. Using two forks, shred the meat. Add salt. Combine with sauce and serve.

* * * Make ahead option: Cook as instructed above, then cool and freeze into portions. Heat on the stove or in the microwave before serving.

Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 5 hours
Makes 10 servings (1/2 c. per serving)

recipe adapted from organizeyourselfskinny.com

Slow Cooker liners for Crock Pot recipes

Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Slow Cooker

French Onion Soup Recipe

Cold weather makes me crave soup, soup, and more soup! Here’s a French Onion Soup Recipe, which I love because you can freeze some for later and use it in your next batch for an even richer soup.

Also, since I am a make-ahead junkie, I love that you can cook this up to two days beforehand, and refrigerate it until you are ready to broil it in the oven topped with sliced baguettes and delicious cheeses.

The basic steps are pretty easy too: saute some onions, make the broth, then portion into cute little soup crocks, and broil to melt the cheese for a minute until it’s bubbly and starts to brown.

French Onion Soup Recipe - YUM

WHAT YOU NEED:

For the soup:

  • 1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced thinly
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 c. red wine
  • 6 c. beef stock
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

For the topping:

  • 1/2 French baguette, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 4 slices Provolone cheese
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

WHAT YOU DO:

STEP 1: CARAMELIZE THE ONIONS
– Melt butter in large pot over med-heat
– Add onions with a pinch of salt, and stir to coat with melted butter
– Sprinkle cayenne pepper and black pepper on top and stir every few minutes, for approximately 20 minutes, until the onions become soft and brown

STEP 2: DEGLAZE THE PAN
– Bring mixture to a boil over high heat
– Add wine
– Cook, stirring to release browned pieces
– Reduce heat to medium and simmer for approximately 5 minutes, until the wine has reduced slightly

STEP 3: ADD THE STOCK
– Pour beef stock into onions and stir
– Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to low
– Let simmer for at least 1 hour (longer simmering will lead to more flavor)
– If liquid reduces too much add more stock or water until it has a soup-like consistency again

STEP 4: ASSEMBLE
– Just prior to serving, place oven rack near the top and set broiler to high
– Ladle soup into 4 soup cups (save any leftover for next time – you can freeze the unused soup and add it to your next batch to make it more flavorful)
Place a baguette slice on top of each, covering with soup
– Lay a slice of provolone on top of the bread, then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano
– Place cups on a baking sheet and set under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until cheese becomes bubbly and brown (be careful so it doesn’t burn) and serve

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Makes: 4 Servings

Make-Ahead Option: Complete STEPS 1-3. Refrigerate for up to two days until ready to complete STEP 4.

French Onion Soup Recipe

Season With Sage Cookbook - French Onion Soup Recipe - Page 89

recipe adapted from Season With Sage (2011)

 

 

I am pretty excited about Thanksgiving, you guys. The past few years when we have hosted I cheated and ordered pre-made meals from our local grocery store (gasp!). LOL. This year I am going all homemade. Well, except for the pumpkin pies. I plan on making frozen ones and throwing Cool Whip on top. Baby steps, right?!?

Here’s what I came up with.

The menu…

Thanksgiving 2015 Menu

My shopping list…

grocery list THANKSGIVING 2015

Here are the recipes:

Stuffed Turkey Breast wrapped with bacon. Because, well, bacon.

Stuffed Turkey Breast Wrapped in Bacon - baked on top of harvest vegetables

Herbed Mashed Potatoes. You can start these ahead of time on the day before Thanksgiving. Herbed Mashed Potatoes Recipe - Yukon gold potatoes with half and half and butter - So easy and super delicious

Homemade Gravy. I used some of the homemade chicken stock I stashed in the freezer.

Simple Gravy - perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any comfort food recipe

Simple Stuffing with white wine. You can dry the bread cubes and cook the veggies a day in advance.

Simple Stuffing Recipe - so easy but so delicious

Green Bean Casserole. A Thanksgiving tradition. I am going with old school canned soup and canned green beans. Don’t judge. 🙂

Pumpkin pie and whipped topping. Straight out of the freezer section. After all of the other recipes I don’t want to think about baking pies. Did you know you can order pumpkin pies online from Amazon? For the low low price of $55 or so. Um, yikes.

Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Glass Stemware Forte Collection

personalized napkins

Lenox French Perle Tidbit

Whole Roasted Chicken in a Slow Cooker Recipe

Whenever I am at Costco I always pick up a rotisserie chicken. They are so easy to use in recipes, or just eat plain out of the container. It’s one of the few things all of our kids will eat! I went to buy a rotisserie chicken at… NOT Costco (ha!) and it was $9! Are they always that expensive if it’s not at Costco or Sam’s? I decided to try my own in the slow cooker. I ended up with a 5ish pound whole chicken, for $6. So, yep, I saved a whopping three bucks. Lol! It WAS super easy though, and so tender it fell it off the bones, so I consider this a success.

I put the bones and the leftover carcass in a stockpot and added some water to make homemade broth. I threw in chopped carrots, celery, and onion, and added some herbs: garlic, parsley, and a bay leaf, and let everything simmer for a few hours. I strained the broth into a few containers and stashed them in the freezer for later.

Awesome slow cooker recipe - Whole Roasted Chicken - just rub some spices on, throw in some onions, and set your Crock PotWHAT YOU NEED:

  • whole chicken (I used one that was around 5 lbs)
  • 1 onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. red cayenne pepper
  • dash of pepper
  • kitchen twine, for trussing

WHAT YOU DO:

Combine paprika, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Stir to mix.

Place onion pieces in the bottom of slow cooker.

Remove any giblets from chicken. Using kitchen twine, truss the chicken. Tying the legs and wings in gives a smooth shape so the chicken cooks evenly and retains moisture. I followed the poultry trussing instructions in The Professional Chef by the Culinary Institute of America, but of course a quick internet search is an easy way to learn how as well.

Rub spice mixture over the entire chicken. Don’t forget to throw some in the cavity, and if you want you can even stuff some under the skin that covers the chicken breasts.

Place chicken on top of onions in the slow cooker, cover, and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the chicken starts falling off the bone and is thoroughly cooked.

Slow Cooker

recipe adapted from 100 Days of Real Food

Italian Lasagna with Red Sauce Recipe – I took an Italian cooking class and learned how to make red sauce, and different types of lasagna. The instructor gave us recipes and some cooking tips and then we got to make some and bring them home. YUM.

This was my favorite:

Best lasagna recipe ever - includes freezer instructions - Not sure why but they always taste better the next day as leftovers!

I have since made a bunch of these, and froze some for later. Gotta love freezer meals!

If you want, you could use ground turkey instead; or even vegetables for a meatless option (just saute zucchini, broccoli, and carrots, and use them in place of the meat) and add a little pesto to the cheese mixture.

I used two 8×8″ pans, but if you want to make one batch just use a 9×13″ pan with the same recipe.

When I made the two 8×8 lasagnas, I baked one and froze the other for later.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef (or Italian sausage; or a mixture of both)
  • Red sauce (see recipe below)
  • 15 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups (or more if you’re a cheese lover) shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 c. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 package (approximately 12 oz) oven ready “no cook” lasagna noodles
  • Fresh Italian parsley, to taste, chopped

WHAT YOU DO:

Brown meat in a skillet and drain grease. Stir in the red sauce and heat through.

Combine ricotta cheese, grated Pecorino Romano, eggs, and parsley in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Evenly spread the meat sauce in a the bottom of a 9×13″ pan OR two 8×8″ pans. Layer lasagna noodles on top, then spread on some of the cheese mixture and cover with meat sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella, and repeat for one or two more layers.

If preparing lasagna right away: Bake in preheated oven at 375ºF for 30-40 minutes until cheese is golden (cover with foil for the first 20-25 minutes or so then uncover until done).

If freezing for later: Wrap unbaked lasagna in foil/plastic wrap and label. Freeze. To prepare, thaw and bake at 375ºF for 30-40 minutes until cheese is golden (cover with foil for the first 20-25 minutes or so then uncover until done).

Italian Red Sauce - so easy and fresh and homemade - includes an awesome lasagna recipe - I make giant batches and freeze for later

FOR THE RED SAUCE:

  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups tomato puree
  • 1 cup crushed Italian tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • sea salt, to taste
  • pinch of brown sugar (weird I know!)

Heat EVOO in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent for 8 minutes or so. Add parsley and garlic and cook just enough to release fragrance (don’t let the garlic burn).

Add red wine and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, red pepper, salt, and brown sugar.

Simmer briskly until reduced to a sauce-like consistency and stir occasionally to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Did you know you can freeze apple crisp? I tried it and it works!

I made up some batches and stored ’em in the freezer – we baked one recently and it was yum-to-the-E. The kids loved helping peel the apples with our slicer/corer/peeler tool.

Apple Crisp Recipe - Includes freezer instructions - make a bunch during apple season and freeze extras - enjoy all winter long

Did you know you can freeze Apple Crisp - so easy and delicious - make a bunch in the fall and enjoy all winter

Here’s What You Do:

1. Prepare Apple Crisp Recipe according to instructions (I used this one from tastesbetterfromscratch.com), except do not bake. I split mine up into little square foil pans from the dollar store, so we would have smaller batches.

2. Wrap unbaked crisps in plastic wrap then a layer of foil, and label.

3. Freeze.

4. To prepare, thaw and bake according to the directions in your recipe.

apple peeler

Woo hoo, another delicious freezer meal perfect for the slow cooker! This one is super easy; you just put everything in a ziplock bag and freeze. When you’re ready, just thaw it, and dump it out in the Crock Pot to cook.

This is perfect to serve over a salad, on tortilla chips, wrapped in a burrito, or over rice.

You can even make up a bunch of batches; prepare one right away and freeze the extras.

Easy Chicken Slow Cooker Recipe - Just add taco seasoning, corn, beans, and salsa - freezes well

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe - just add beans, corn, taco seasoning, and salsa

Slow Cooker Black Bean & Corn Salsa Chicken Recipe

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 lb. uncooked, skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 c. salsa
  • 1 can (15-16 oz.) corn, drained
  • 1 can (15-16 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15-16 oz.) red chili beans in mild chili sauce (do not drain)
  • 1 packet (approx. 1 oz.) reduced-sodium taco seasoning

WHAT YOU DO:

To freeze:

  • Combine all ingredients in a gallon freezer bag. Label with the following:

– Thaw

– Slow cooker LOW for 7-8 hrs (or HIGH for 3-4 hrs)

– Shred before serving

  • Freeze

To prepare right away:

  • Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-8 hours (or high for 3-4 hrs). Shred with two forks before serving.
recipe adapted from sixsistersstuff.com

Slow Cooker Recipes - perfect for freezer meals