Sunday, September 21, 2014

                                  I have finally figured out that… I cannot do everything.  I know now that I spend too much time treading water and I am just trying to keep my head above the waves.  I’ve truly forgotten how much I have always loved to swim! 

Our home staging and organizing business have really taken off and we are so excited!  

So… with that being said, Deals and Meals is saying goodbye.  Thank you all for your support and for following me!  The blog will stay up with all those fabulous recipes!  Look for our business instagram and website very soon

One of my very favorite quotes…  
“Too much of anything can throw us off balance.  At the same time, too little of the important things can do the same thing.”

                    M. Russell Ballard                                                                                         

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Muffins... and Muffin more...

There is something about the Nutella and 
Banana combo that makes my heart sing.
If you need a tasty and new breakfast idea… 
here you go!

·     2 cups flour
·     1 cup old fashioned oats
·     1/4 cup white sugar
·     1/2 cup brown sugar
·     2 teaspoons baking powder
·     1 teaspoon baking soda
·     1/2 teaspoon salt
·     1 egg
·     1/2 cup milk
·     1/4 cup vegetable oil
·     1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·     2 bananas, mashed
·     Nutella

1.   Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir until ingredients are well combined.
3. In a large bowl, beat egg. Add milk, oil, vanilla and mashed bananas. Stir to mix ingredients until well combined.
4. Add flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir until ingredients are incorporated, do not over stir.
5.Line a 12 muffin pan with 12 muffin liners or spray muffin tin generously with cooking spray.
6. Divide batter evenly among the 12 muffin liners.
7. Add a teaspoon of Nutella to the top of each muffin and gently cut Nutella into batter with a knife or tooth-pick to produce pretty swirls.
8.  Bake at 375 degrees for 17-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Maple Bacon 
Breakfast Muffins
I have no words… Just make these.

·     Caramelized bacon bits consisting of… (6 slices of bacon, smoked or maple + 6 teaspoons of light brown sugar) 
·     1 cup all-purpose flour 
·     1 Tablespoon light brown sugar 
·     1 teaspoon baking powder 
·     1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
·     1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt (if using table salt, use only a pinch) 
·     1 egg, lightly beaten with fork 
·     2 tablespoons canola oil 
·     1/3 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup 
·     1/2 cup buttermilk 

Make caramelized bacon bits
1.    First preheat oven to 375° F. Muffins need a very hot oven to rise properly, so give the oven a good 20 minutes of pre-heating.

2.  Meanwhile, cut 6 slices of bacon into small pieces. (Tip: I use kitchen shears.)

3.  Sauté over medium-high heat until half-cooked—still soft and flexible with fat just beginning to change color. Drain fat.

4.  Add 2 tbs. light brown sugar. Stir and continue stirring over heat until bacon bits are cooked through but still flexible (do not cook until crisp and brittle).

5.  Transfer bacon bits to a plate; break up any clumps into a single layer. Set aside to cool.

One bowl mixing method
1.    Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2.  Whisk until well blended. Make a well in the center.

3.  Add fork-beaten egg, measure in canola oil, buttermilk, and 1/3 cup of the maple syrup (you will use the final 1½ teaspoons from the ingredient list later).

4.  Whisk the batter until well blended, but do not over-mix or you’ll develop the gluten in the flour and your muffins will be tough instead of tender.

5.  The batter will be loose. Fold in the bacon bits, reserving enough to sprinkle over the muffin tops before baking in the next step.

Sprinkle and Drizzle 
1.    Coat 6 muffin cups and top of muffin pan with non-stick spray.  If using paper liners, coat the papers as well as the top of the pan.

2.  Divide batter among the 6 sprayed or lined muffin cups. Sprinkle the reserved caramelized bacon bits over the top of each cup’s batter and drizzle a small amount (¼ teaspoon, no more) of maple syrup on top of the bacon bits and batter.

1.    If baking standard muffins, check them in 15 minutes for doneness. If baking mini-muffins check them in 8 minutes. Muffins may need a few more minutes than stated, depending on your oven.

2.  They’re done when a toothpick inserted comes out with no wet batter clinging to it. 

NOTE: The maple syrup drizzle will cause the muffin tops to stick a bit to the pan. Simply use a butter knife to gently free it before removing muffins from cups. FYI - I use the toothpick method to remove baked muffins from their pans. Stick two toothpicks into the muffin from opposite ends and gently lift.

Peanut butter banana muffins
If you are ALWAYS on the go I have the perfect muffin with 
10.3 grams of protein.  
These are usually gone in a day! Grab one of these on the way out the door… to work, school, a practice… you get the picture.
Good for you… and just plain good!

·     2 Tbsp. Peanut Butter
·     1 Medium Banana Mashed
·     1/4 Cup Oatmeal (Uncooked)
·     1 Whole Egg
·     1/2 Cup Egg Whites
·     1 Scoop Vanilla Protein
·     1 Tsp. Baking Powder
·     Dried Banana Chips (slightly crushed)

Make them…
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, mix by hand all ingredients except the banana chips.
  • Place muffin liners in each holder of a 12 count muffin tray and then spray a light coat of a non-stick cooking spray.
  • Fill each muffin tin around 2/3 full, until you are out of batter.
  • Top each uncooked muffin with a few dried banana chips.
  • Place tray in the center rack of the oven and cook for 12 min.
  • The tops of the banana chips should be golden brown when they are about done.
These muffins have 3.8 grams of fat and 8 grams of carbohydrates.

Thanks to Angeles Burke’s for sharing her Peanut Butter and Banana Protein Muffins recipe with us!

Baked French toast Muffins
Who wouldn't want their own French toast muffin? Especially when there is cinnamon streusel topping on top! Oh yeah! You might even need two muffins because they are that good!

·     1 loaf French bread, cut/torn into 1/2 inch cubes (about 12 cups of bread)
·     2 1/2 cups milk
·     6 large eggs
·     1/2 cup granulated sugar
·     1 tablespoon vanilla extract
·     1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    For the Cinnamon Streusel Topping
·     1/4 cup cold butter
·     1/4 cup light brown sugar
·     1/4 cup all-purpose Gold Medal flour
·     1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·     Pinch of salt
·     Butter and Maple Syrup, for serving, optional

1.   In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.

2.  Grease a 12 cup muffin tin. Add about 1 cup of bread cubes to each muffin cup. Carefully pour egg and milk mixture evenly over each muffin tin. You may need to press down on the bread cubes after you pour a little mixture and then pour more. Pour slowly or you will have a mess. Cover the muffins with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight.

3.   When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To make the cinnamon streusel, in a small bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together with your hands, until you have a crumbly mixture. Remove the muffins from the refrigerator and sprinkle the muffins evenly with the streusel topping.

4.  Bake muffins for 25 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Let muffins cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and serve with butter and maple syrup, if desired.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sneak Peek... It's Muffin Week!

Easy Breakfast 
Casserole Muffins
You almost always have these ingredients on hand… your kids will love these 
and they are delish!

·     2-3 pieces whole wheat bread torn into pieces (about 1 1/2 – 2 cups)
·     about 2 pieces deli ham
·     1 cup shredded cheese (your choice)
·     8 eggs
·     1/2 – 1 c whole milk
·     1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely minced (dried parsley will work, but use less)
·     2 teaspoons dry mustard
·     1 teaspoon ground pepper (or to taste)

1.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffins tins.

2.  Drop bread pieces evenly in muffin tins until they come about halfway up the tin.

3.  Sprinkle about 1 T of cheese in each.

4.  Sprinkle ham pieces evenly in each tin.

5.  Whisk together milk, eggs, parsley, dry mustard, and pepper.

6.  Pour egg mixture evenly in each muffin tin. It should completely cover the bread, ham and cheese. Leave just a little room at the very top so it doesn't overflow.

7.  Sprinkle a little more cheese on the top of each one.

8.  Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown on top and cooked through the middle.

 Thank you thrivinghome…

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Time to Embrace the Casseroles... Freezer Meals week # 2

Freezer Meals week 2… Casseroles.

Casseroles get a bad rap.  We all grew up on them.  
We have all made them. 
Now is the time to embrace them!  They are your BFF on those days that you never comb your hair 
or perhaps your P.j. bottoms 
stayed on all the live long day.

With a casserole sitting in your freezer… 
that day just got a whole lot better!!!
Comb your hair and put on yesterday’s jeans.  
Oh, heck… 

brush your teeth and add some lip-gloss!
Retrieve your casserole and preheat your oven.  
Life is good!  The family will eat tonight 
and… you are the best mom ever!!

Enjoy ALL these Casserole recipes… lots to choose from!
Have a great week and happy shopping!
Freezer Meal Tips… in no particular order
1.   Make sure your kitchen is clean to start. You don’t want to have to clean then cook, because you’re going to be washing dishes while cooking at a rapid fire pace. At least I was. I only have a few pots and pans, a few mixing bowls, a couple of whisks, etc. I don’t have a fully outfitted kitchen big enough for an army. On a regular basis I feed four people – so my kitchen reflects our needs.
2.  Think about what you want to stock up on. I know we eat a lot of chicken meals, some with hamburger, and a lot of casserole type meals. You can start with what’s in your pantry and build from there. It’s a great way to make the most of what you have.
3.  Clean your freezer. I only have the freezer on my side by side refrigerator. I thoroughly cleaned out my freezer and found that once it was all cleaned up, not only did I have enough room for all those meals, I even had a leftover shelf to fill with my favorite ice cream (which I totally did.)
4.  Stock up on freezer bags and aluminum pans. Those aluminum pans come in all shapes and sizes. I bought ones that hold about 2 pounds of food, because 4 people divided by 2 pounds is 8 ounces each. That’s plenty for the main dish for us. Buy Ziploc freezer bags in both gallon and quart size.
5.  Wear comfortable shoes and clothes you are not in love withand an apron!
6.   Have help, if you have friends who are hungry to make freezer mealsmake them together!!
7.  Remember this isn’t a fairy tale. Half way through you’re going to start thinking “Why in the crap did I think this was a good idea?!?” Well, at least I did. When you’re up to your elbows in marinara and casseroles, putting stuff into pans over and over again, you’re going to question the whole mess. It’s worth it.
8.  Sharpies are your friend. You can mark every meal with the name, date and baking instructions. so if you have  a straggler hanging around in your freezer 2 years later (which may or may not happen here), then you don’t have to wonder when it was made or what in the Sam Hill is in that dish. Plus, when they are covered… they’re all going to look the same. Sharpie it up, baby.
9. Prep in batches. Need onion for 4 recipes? Chop it all at once to make your life easier. Poach all your chicken in one pot (which will also give you some decent broth). Brown all of your hamburger together then divide it out for the different meals. If you’ve got to do a lot of it, do it all together.
Thank you shabby creek cottage… I could not have said it better!

Sale items used in this week’s recipes…
Fresh broccoli
Ground beef
Chicken breasts
Sour cream
Corn tortillas
Diced green chiles
Canned black beans
Canned chili beans
Canned tomatoes
Pasta sauce
Frozen broccoli
Frozen peas
Frozen carrots

albertson eggs dozen large $1.27 (limit 2)
essential everyday butter $2.49 (limit 2)
Pepsi, mtn. dew, 7up, a&w 12 pack 12 oz. cans $2.68 (limit 4)         Minute maid OJ 59 oz. or simply lemonade $1.99 (limit 2 each)                                                                                  Keebler fudge shop, simply made, or pittar patter cookies $1.88 (limit 6)                                                                               Nabisco cheese nips, premium rounds, toasted chips $1.88 (limit 6) eggos $1.49 (limit 4)
Marie callender/healthy choice entrées $1.88 (limit 4)           Freschetta pizzas 16-29 oz. $3.99 (limit 4)                                   Essential everyday frozen veggies 14-16 oz. .88 cents (limit 4)       Colgate 1$ (limit 2)
1$ will buy you…
Jet puffed marshmallows                                                             Pillsbury cake mixes                                                                   Albertson sour cream 16 oz.                                                         Barilla pastas                                                                             Betty Crocker boxed potatoes                                   
Hunts ketchup                                                                         Bumble bee solid white tuna                                                         Hunts pasta sauce 24 oz.
Bananas .39 cents lb.
Ground beef 80% $2.49 lb. (sold in 3 lb. or more pkgs.)
Albertson milk gallon $1.97 (limit 2)
Coke, Pepsi, 7up, 2 liter .99 cents (limit 4)
Kellogg cereals, pop tarts, Quaker cereal bars $1.58 (limit 6)
Essential everyday sugar 4 lb., flour 5 lb. $1.88
Albertson hamburger, hot dog buns 1$
Macayo diced jalapeños or green chiles .69 cents
Purex 150 oz. $5.99
Bananas .39 cents lb.
Gala apples or navels .77 cents lb.
Utah peaches $1.99 lb.
Small hass avocados 3/.99 cents
Tomatoes on the vine .77 cents lb.
Large green bell peppers 3/.99 cents
Red or green leaf, romaine or celery .99 cents each
Dole classic iceberg, shred lettuce, coleslaw .99 cents
Fresh ground chuck $2.99 lb. (limit 2 value packs)
T-bone steaks or tri-tip roasts $5.88 lb. (limit 2 pkgs.)
chicken drumsticks, thighs or leg quarters .88 cents lb. (limit 4 pkgs.)
breyer’s, ben/jerry, magnum, Klondike bars $2.88
rc/7 up 2 liter .88 cents
general mills cereals $1.88
chompie bagels $1.88
bakery pumpkin pies 8 inch $3.99
s&W canned tomatoes .88 cents
macayo salsa or taco sauce $1.99
Food City
Wednesday only…
Watermelon 5 lbs./1$ (limit 3 melons)
Cucumbers 5/1$ (limit 10)
Avocados 4/1$ (limit 8)
Red bell peppers 4.1$ (limit 8)
Baker potatoes 5 lbs./1$ (limit 10 lbs.)
Thursday only…
chicken leg quarters .69 cents lb. (sold in 10 lb. bags… limit 2)
bone-in center cut chuck steaks $2.99 lb. (limit 2 pkgs.)
tomatillo salsa  from deli .99 cents lb.
deli homemade tortilla chips .99 cents lb.
Friday and Saturday only…
Roma tomatoes 3 lbs./.99 cents (limit 6 lbs.)
El pato sauce 8 oz. .39 cents (limit 6)
Heft 9 inch foam plates 50 count .99 cents (limit 4)
Bananas 3 lbs./.99 cents (limit 6 lbs.)
Golden delish apples 3 lbs./.99 cents (limit 6 lbs.)
Limes 2 lbs./1$
Brown onions 3 lbs./.99 cents
Green bell peppers 4/.99 cents
New Mexico hatch green chiles 3 lbs./.99 cents (limit 6 lbs.)
Bone-in split chicken breasts $1.28 lb.
Boneless beef cross rib steaks $2.98 lb.
Food city medium eggs 5 dozen $4.99
Food city water 24 count $1.99 (limit 3)
Sunny D 64 oz. .99 cents
Guerrero white corn tortillas 80 count 41.99
La Sierra whole charro beans 19 oz. .99 cents
Clemente Jacques chipotle peppers 7 oz. .99 cents
Mountain Pass enchilada sauce 28 oz. .99 cents
Purex 50 oz. $1.99
Buy 5 save 5$ mix and match…
Miracle whip 30 oz. $2.49
Capri sun 10 count $1.29
General mills cereals $1.49
Thomas’ English muffins $1.49
Fritos, Cheetos, wheat thins $1.49
Pepperidge farm cookies $1.99
Freschetta pizzas $3.99
Barilla pasta sauce 24 oz. $1.49
Green seedless grapes .75 cents lb.
Mini seedless watermelons .99 cents
Peaches $1.88 lb.
Broccoli .99 cents lb.
Kale .99 cents bunch
Jenny-O turkey bacon $1.99
Split chicken breasts, drumsticks, thighs .99 cents lb.
Ground beef 80% $2.99 lb. (sold in 3 lb. roll)
Fry’s large eggs dozen .99 cents (limit 2)
Kroger ice-cream or sherbet 1.5 qt. $1.99
Kroger sour cream, cottage cheese or dips 16 oz. $1.25
Kroger salad dressings 16 oz. $1.50
Fry’s hamburger/hot dog buns 1$
Red baron pizzas 14-23 oz. $2.99
Kroger canned beans .50 cents
Pace 16 oz. $1.99
Raspberries 6 oz. .87 cents (limit 4)
Red seedless grapes .99 cents lb.
Red/green bell peppers .50 cents
Honey bunches of oats $1.88
Post raisin bran $1.88 (coupon in ad limit 4)
v-8 fusion 46 oz. $1.99 (limit 2 coupon in ad)
chef Boyardee canned pasta .89 cents (coupon in ad limit 6)
prego 14-24 oz. $1.50
 Smart and final
Gala apples 3 lb. bag $2.49
Foster farms chicken half breasts .99 cents lb. (limit 4 pkgs.)
Wesson oil 48 oz. $2.50
Sun vista pinto beans 30 oz. .99 cents
Gala or granny smith apples .48 cents lb.
Large cantaloupes .98 cents each
Whole seedless watermelons $3.98 each
Bulk jumbo flame raisins $1.99 lb.
Bulk super nutty granola $1.99 lb.
Large vine tomatoes .48 cents lb.
Cucumbers .48 cents each
Cilantro, radishes, green onions .48 cents each
Grape tomatoes pint $1.50
Many items in store are BOGO free

I started by putting 5 packs of chicken breasts (15 pieces total) in a stock pot with water, to boil them all for the meals I needed. I used the biggest pot I had and boiled them all.
While the chicken was cooking, I used another pot and began to brown 12 pounds of ground beef (in a smaller stock pot.) Once all the ground beef was cooked, I drained it all and added 1/4 of it back to the pot to make my marinara.

Meat Marinara Recipe
·     3 pounds ground beef, cooked and strained
·     1 medium onion, diced finely
·     4 cloves of garlic, minced
·     4 large cans crushed tomatoes
·     1 12 oz. can tomato paste
·     1 huge (the double size) jar of good store bought marinara
·     1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
·     1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
·     Salt to taste (1 1/2 Tablespoons or so)
·     Pepper to taste (3/4 of a tablespoon)

1.    To the ground beef, add in the garlic and onions and let cook until onions are soft.
2.   Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook for 45 minutes or so on medium heat, until flavors are combined.                                                                                         **I used the marinara to make 5 small lasagnas in 2.5 pound size aluminum pans.

Easy Lasagna Recipe
(Makes 5 freezer meals)
·     Meat Marinara
·     Ricotta Cheese (largest tub)
·     1 large egg
·     1/2 Tablespoon ground black pepper
·     1 cup grated Parmesan
·     No bake lasagna noodles (2 boxes made all of mine)
·     Shredded mozzarella cheese (the bag kind totally works for me) – it’s hard to say how much, but I used about 10 cups total

Make it…
1.    In a small bowl mix together the ricotta, egg, pepper and Parmesan until thoroughly combined.
2.  On the bottom of your pan, ladle in enough sauce to lightly coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer.
3.  Add a layer of noodles.
4.  Using a small spoon or tablespoon scoop, add in dollops of the ricotta mixture (I did 5 drops on each layer, one on each corner and one in the middle).
5.  Add more marinara onto and around the ricotta, sprinkle a thin layer of mozzarella, then add another layer of noodles.
6.  Do three layers, topping it off the final layer of noodles with sauce and good layer mozzarella cheese and cover with 2 layers of heavy duty foil.
7.  Set aside to cool before putting in freezer.
8.  When you’re ready to cook, take off one layer of aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees, take off aluminum and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until top is lightly browned and bubbly.
9.  Add a salad and some garlic bread and you’ve got a meal in just a few minutes.

After I made my lasagna, I put the rest of the marinara into gallon Ziploc bags, two cups in each, then squished all the air off and froze them flat in the freezer. When I want to make spaghetti, I cook the noodles, warm the sauce, add a salad and some bread and I am done.

Easy Chili Recipe
·     2 pounds of ground beef, cooked
·     1 onion, diced
·     3 cans of chili beans
·     1 can Rotel tomatoes
·     1 can of diced tomatoes (14 oz. can)
·     2 packs of chili seasoning
·     1/2 table spoon salt
·     2 cups water

Make it…
1.    Put browned ground beef into a pan with onions and cook until onions are soft.
2.  Add in all the other ingredients (including the juice of the tomatoes) and cook for 30 minutes or so until flavors have combined.
3.  It’s hard to measure, but I used two gallon bags to put in 1/3 of the mixture into each.
4.  Then I split the rest up into a couple smaller quart bags for chili dogs or chili chips and cheese (things where chili is not the main meal.)

Easy Cheeseburger Casserole
(Makes 3 freezer meals)
For the topping:
·     2 pounds of ground beef (again, mine was pre-cooked)
·     1 onion, diced very finely
·     Six cups Cheddar Cheese, grated
For the crust:
·     5 cups of self-rising flour
·     3/4 cup of sour cream
·     1 egg
·     1 cup (more or less) of water

Make it…
1.    In a sauté pan, cook together the ground beef over medium high heat until onion is soft. Set aside to cool.
2.  Make the crust first by combining the flour, egg, sour cream and enough water to bring it together into a thick, but spreadable consistency.
3.  Spray the pans (I used three round pans) and spread a layer of the dough into each one.
4.  Sprinkle the cooled meat mixture over the dough and then top each one with about 2 cups of cheddar.
5.  Cover with 2 layers of heavy duty foil before freezing.
6.  To cook, bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.
7.  For a variation, you could put some of the marinara on the dough, and have a cheeseburger pizza casserole. We sometimes use marinara for dipping – it’s the perfect finger food!

For the rest of the ground beef, I divided it up into a couple of quart Ziploc bags for sloppy joes or tacos.

Now let’s work on the chicken recipes. I shredded all of the chicken and used it in several of the recipes below.
After they were all made, I put the rest of the shredded chicken into quart size Ziploc bags and froze them flat for Chicken Tacos, BBQ Chicken sandwiches, etc.

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Pasta Bake 
(Makes 3 freezer meals)
·     3 cooked, shredded chicken breasts
·     2 boxes of pasta (I used penne), cooked and drained
·     2 cans of Campbell’s cheddar soup
·     2 cups of chicken broth (I used the broth from cooking the chicken)
·     2 bags of frozen broccoli
·     1 Tablespoon Salt
·     3 cups of shredded cheddar

Make it…
1.    Combine all ingredients except shredded cheddar into a bowl; divide out into three pans, the top with cheddar cheese.   
2.  Cover with 2 layers of heavy duty foil.
3.  When ready to cook, bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until warm and bubbly.

Tex-Mex Chicken Casserole
(Makes 4 freezer meals)
·     4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
·     8 cups of cooked rice
·     2 can of Rotel tomatoes
·     2 packs of taco seasoning
·     2 cans of whole kernel corn, drained
·     2 cans of black beans (un-drained)
·     1 small can of black olives, drained
·     6 cups of cheddar cheese, grated

Make it…
1.    Mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl, except the cheese.
2.  Divide out into four pans, and then top each with the cheddar cheese.
3.  Top with 2 layers heavy duty foil.
4.  To cook, remove foil and bake at 350 until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted (all ingredients are already cooked, so it’s just a matter of heating it well.) I serve with sour cream and salsa on top and tortilla chips on the side.

Basic Chicken Casserole Recipe
(Makes 3 casseroles)
·     4 shredded, cooked chicken breasts
·     5 cups of cooked rice
·     2 cans of cream of chicken condensed soup
·     1 cup of chicken broth
·     2 bags of frozen peas and carrots (I used mixed, but you could use one bag of each)
·     1 Tablespoon of salt
·     1/2 Tablespoon of black pepper
·     3 cup of French’s onions
·     3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Make it…
1.    In a small bowl, combine the cheese and onions together – set aside (for the topping)
2.  In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients together, and then separate into pans.
3.  Top each casserole with one with 1/3 of the topping mixture.
4.  Cover pans with 2 layers of heavy duty foil.
5.  When ready to cook, bake at 350 until thoroughly warm and cheese is melted (everything is already cooked in the casserole.)

Chicken & Dressing
(Makes 3 freezer meals)
·     A big pan of cornbread (use your own favorite recipe) cooked and crumbled
·     2 cans of cream of chicken soup
·     1 can of chicken broth
·     1 medium onion, finely diced & sautéed in butter
·     2 Tablespoons of ground sage
·     1 1/2 Tablespoons of salt
·     3/4 of a Tablespoon of ground black pepper
·     2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken

*you can also add a couple of stalks of celery; however we don’t like it – so my dressing doesn’t have it.

Make it…
1.    Mix all of the ingredients together and put into pans.
2.  Cover with 2 layers heavy duty foil and freeze.
3.  When you’re ready to cook, bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.
4.  Make sure to have chilled cranberry sauce and basic chicken gravy for the side.

My total freezer meals recipe stash:
·     5 lasagnas
·     2 bags of pre-made marinara (for spaghetti)
·     2 bags of chili (plus 2 additional small bags for chili dogs/nachos)
·     3 cheeseburger casseroles
·     3 broccoli cheddar chicken pasta bakes
·     4 Tex-Mex chicken casseroles
·     3 basic chicken casseroles
·     2 bags of ground beef (ready for sloppy joes, etc.)
·     3 bags of shredded chicken breast (ready for tacos, etc.)
·     3 Chicken & Dressing
Grand total – 28 meals 
(plus two small bags of chili)

Final Notes:
If you get going, you can really crank out a lot of these very easily. I spent an hour at the grocery store (and spent $300 to produce all those meals, plus all of my other essentials for two weeks – so maybe $200 of it went into this), and spent four hours cooking to get all those meals into the freezer.
Will we eat these every night? Probably not… These meals will probably last us two months total, if you take out a couple of nights a month to eat out, making fresh meals in between, etc.

But those four hours basically gives me an easy meal every other night for two months. Totally worth it to me! 

Beef Green Chile Taco Casserole

All you need is a crunchy green salad to accompany this flavorful dish that's filled with sauced green chiles, ground beef, cheese, and corn tortillas. 

Thanks Mom for making this one of my favorite family dishes!

  • 1 package corn tortillas
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can (4-ounce) diced green chiles
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 soup can of milk
  • 1 can chopped olives
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1-1/2 cups jack cheese, shredded
  • 1-1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1.    Brown meat and onion together. Drain fat.
2.   Combine chiles, soup, milk, olives, garlic, sour cream, and salt and pepper to make sauce.
3.  Alternate tortillas, sauce, meat, and cheese in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
4.  Top with cheese and bake in preheated oven at 350˚ degrees for 1 hour. Serves 8 to 10.

Preparing For the Freezer  
1.    Cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap then foil.  
2.   Label with Beef Green Chile Taco Casserole.
3.  Print baking directions, Bake at 350˚ degree for 1 hour, and the date you prepared it.

Prepare after Freezing
1.    Remove casserole from the freezer the night before you plan to serve it.  
2.   Set in refrigerator till 2 hours before serving.  
3.  Preheat oven to 350˚ degrees.  Bake casserole for 1 hour and serve with a crisp green salad.  Enjoy!

thank you fabulessly frugal

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole 

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole is delicious, filling, frugal, and so freezer-friendly! If you freeze the bags flat, you can store them on their side like filing folders

My favorite space saver…                           
flat bags of frozen foods.

  • 10 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
  • 4 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli, lightly steamed (can use frozen or fresh)
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.    Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

2.  To freeze: Label, date and write baking directions on four Ziploc freezer bags. Divide casserole, and seal tightly.

3.   Freeze flat.

4.  To serve: Thaw overnight (or for 8 hours) in the refrigerator. pour into a greased casserole dish (each bag will fill an 8×8-inch pan; two bags will fill a 9×13-inch pan). Sprinkle with additional shredded cheese, if desired.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.

Recipe adapted from Once a Month Mom

Chicken Parmesan Casserole Recipe
This simple recipe is a family favorite in a comfort-food form.
Look at these simple steps. Anyone can do this!  This delicious week night meal makes for a…
“Whine-less dinner”.

Yields: Makes: one 8x8 casserole dish                  
(Pictured is a 9×13… Recipe is doubled)

  • about 4 cups of shredded, cooked chicken
  • about 1 jar of marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • about 1 cup panko or whole wheat bread crumbs 
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh, chopped herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, etc.)
  • salt and pepper

1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Grease an 8x8 casserole dish with cooking spray.
3.   Layer the chicken in the bottom. Pour in the marinara sauce and mix with the chicken.
4.  Next, top with cheeses until all the chicken is covered.
5.  In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, olive oil, fresh herbs and a dash of salt and pepper together.
6.  Sprinkle the seasoned breadcrumbs on top.
7.   Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden on top and bubbling on the sides.
8.   Delicious served over pasta

Freezer Meal Directions
1.    Put casserole together cover tightly with 2 layers heavy duty foil.  Label, date and write baking directions on top. Freeze it before baking.
2.  When you're ready to cook it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
3.   If it's still slightly frozen in the middle, just cook it a bit longer than the recipe calls for.

4.  Cover it with foil if the top gets too brown in the oven.

Pizza Pasta Casserole
We love veggies on our pizza, so it was natural to add quite a few to the pasta.  I added onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and dun, dun dun…..spinach.  One that I didn’t use that you might consider adding is green peppers, and if you like pineapple on your pizza that might be good too!  By the way, using frozen chopped veggies saved significant time for me!

I follow remodelaholic and love her site.  Credit for this is all hers…

·      1 box (12 oz.) Rotini (I used Veggie rotini) cooked al dente according to package directions
·      1 (12 oz.) box turkey sausage links (crumble as you cook)
·      1 bag (12 oz.) chopped frozen onions (Or 1-2 med – large fresh onions chopped)
·      1 bag (12 oz.) frozen mushroom slices (optional but highly recommended!!! or 12 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms)
·      6-8 cups fresh spinach torn into smaller pieces (optional)
·      1 tsp. garlic
·      1 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, with juice
·      2 (8 oz.) tomato sauce
·      1 Tbsp. Garlic salt (the California style kind)
·      2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
·      2 cups shredded mozzarella
·      1 package pepperoni (I used about 4 oz.)
·      Black Olives sliced
*** feel free to add any additional veggies you love, green pepper, zucchini or even pineapple!

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.   In a large pot bring salted water to a boil for pasta.  Follow box directions for cooking pasta. 

3.  While the water is heating and pasta is cooking, add the sausage to a hot skillet and begin to crumble it up as it cooks, add the onions and mushrooms (I used bags of frozen veggies to speed up prep time). Cook them down to remove juices, browning slightly. 

4.  I also added some pepperoni at this stage (optional) so some would be in the pasta mix and not just on top. 

5.  When the veggies and sausage are almost ready, add 1 tsp. crushed garlic to pan and the fresh ripped spinach.  Cook till spinach is completely wilted.  
6.  When the pasta is cooked and drained return to the large pot, add the 3 cans of tomatoes into pot, add the garlic salt and Italian seasoning.  Stir to combine. 
7.   When the veggies and sausage are cooked add them to the large pot also and stir to combine.  Add about 1/2 -3/4 cup shredded mozzarella (or other favorite pizza cheese), and 1/2 of the sliced olives into the pasta mix and toss to combine, and then pour into a 9 x 13 pan. 

8.  Cover with pepperoni, cheese and olives.  (If making ahead see the freezer instructions below after this point)

9.  Bake approximately 20-25 minutes till cheese is bubbling and the pepperoni is slightly crispy!

This is a great freezable meal.
1.    For freezing, wrap the top of the casserole in 2 layers of heavy duty foil.
2.   Label and date…  Add baking instructions.

3.  Cool down in the fridge until it is cool enough to place in the freezer without thawing anything else out!

4.  To serve, thaw completely in the fridge and bake until heated through approximately 45-50 minutes.