"Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding". Prov.3:13 (NKJV)

September 19, 2017

Batch {Bulk} Cooking with Taco Meat

Last week I shared with you part 1 of my ground beef bulk cooking. This week I'm back with part 2. First let me remind you that: Each time I buy any type of meat in bulk and have a cooking session, I’ll come on here to share with you what I batch/bulk cooked as well as some ideas of different uses for it. Now moving on to what I did with the other half of that 5lbs. ground beef.


Just like last time I took this half of it and browned it up with a whole chopped onion. I put 1/4 cup of water in the skillet to help it break up a little easier and cook off some (not all) fat. I cooked it until completely done and drained it well. I put it back into skillet with 1/4 cup water, a few tablespoons of my homemade taco seasoning, stirred to combine well, and let cook for 10 minutes on low. I separated the meat into two cup portions (1 lb. ground beef) to put into quart size Ziploc bags.



As you can see I got 3 bags out of it that I pre-labeled, squeezed all the air out them before closing, let meat finish cooling off, and placed in a flat single layer on a baking sheet to freeze. Once it was stiff enough I take the baking sheet out, and stack the bags on top of one another in the freezer. This is so you save on space to put other things in there.


 Now what can I use these bags of cooked taco meat for? Here’s a list:

* Tacos
* Taco Soup
* Taco or Tamale Pie
* Taco Casserole
* Taco Pizza
* Taco Salad or Lettuce Wraps
* Loaded Nachos or Tots
* Mexican Dip (ex: 7 layer)
* Stuffed Bell Peppers/Potatoes/Shells
* Chili Mac ( homemade version of Hamburger Helper)
* "Cincinnati" Style Chili
* Burritos, Quesadillas, Enchiladas, or Empanadas (hand pies)

These are just examples of the many things you can do. I may come back to add to this list later as other things come to mind. What can you think of that I haven’t added to the list? Please fee free to let me know. That concludes my session with a 5lb. chub of ground beef. These things can be done with ground turkey too. I will be back next week to share with you another type of batch/bulk cooking session.

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September 13, 2017

Batch {Bulk} Cooking with Ground Beef

I love the idea of having meals in my freezer that are already prepped, and ready to be used for dinner in the days to come. Let’s face it, we all have moments where we don’t want to spend lots of time each night in the kitchen preparing a meal for our families. Sometimes you’re just too tired, too busy, or just plain don’t know what to fix when it’s near dinner time and everyone is sitting around hungry.

To help with that problem I learned about freezer cooking years ago. I have done this off and on.
With much planning ahead it is doable, and so worth the time and effort you put into it. To be honest I do slack off and get lazy when it comes to freezer cooking. It is a tiring task, and I don’t always have time for it. One minute I’m all amped up, and can get a couple of weeks worth of crockpot dinners prepped and ready to freeze. Whenever I need something for dinner the next day I can go look in my freezer and take out an already prepped meal to thaw over night, and put it the crockpot the next morning. This is so easy because I don’t have to worry about “what’s for dinner?”. Other times it may be something I already cooked, froze, and just need to thaw and reheat. I have also just made plans for an easy skillet meal that doesn’t take much time because I did all the side prep work before hand, and stored it with directions when time to prepare it. My problem starts when after a few months I get side tracked, knocked off my meal planning groove, and no pre-planned meals are put together for months at a time. I just get plain “stuck in a rut”.

 I’ve learned (been reading up on it for a few years) of another way to prepare meals that may get me back motivated and hopefully stay there. It’s called “batch” or “bulk” cooking. This is were you make a double, triple, ect. batch of a single meal item/dish and freeze what you won’t use right away for later meals. I’m now on a journey to see where this goes, and I thought it would be great to share it with my readers in case someone else out there needed some ideas too. Each time I have a cooking session I’ll come on here to share with you what I batch/bulk cooked as well as some ideas of different uses for it. First up in this series is ground beef. This will be done in 2 parts so this is part 1.

I bought a 5lb. chub of ground beef while it was on sale for a very good price. In the past I would normally cut it into 1 or 2lb. sections and put into Ziploc bags to freeze for a future meal. This time I went ahead and cooked up the whole thing. I took half of it and browned it up with a whole chopped onion. I put 1/4 cup of water in the skillet to help it break up a little easier and cook off some (not all) fat. I cooked it until completely done, drained it well, and let separated it into two cup portions (1 lb. ground beef) to put into quart size Ziploc bags.


As you can see I got 3 bags out of it that I pre-labeled, squeezed all the air out them before closing, let meat finish cooling off, and placed in a flat single layer on a baking sheet to freeze. Once it was stiff enough I take the baking sheet out, and stack the bags on top of one another in the freezer. This is so you save on space to put other things in there. Now what can I use these bags of cooked beef for? Here’s a list:

* Hamburger Helper (I do homemade version)
* Spaghetti meat sauce
* Sloppy Joes
* Stuffed Bell Peppers
* Soups
* Chili
* Rice Bowls (ex: “Korean” Beef Bowls)
* Casseroles, Baked Ziti
* Loaded Tots
* Stuffed shells
* Hamburger Gravy
* Tacos, burritos, or nachos
* Enchiladas, Empanadas, or Quesadillas

These are just examples of the many things you can do. I may come back to add to this list later as other things come to mind. What can you think of that I haven’t added to the list? Please fee free to let me know. Stay tuned for part 2 where I shared what I did with the other half of my 5 lb. chub of ground beef.

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August 29, 2017

Pizza Pasta


Crockpot Pizza Pasta

Ingredients:
24-32 oz. meat pasta sauce (I use my homemade sauce)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups Rotini, Penne, or shell pasta
1 cup (or more) shredded pizza blend, Italian blend, mozzarella, or Colby Jack cheese
Pepperoni slices

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions (I like mine al dente). Drain.  Heat your pasta sauce in a pan. Stir in cream cheese. Stir in cooked, drained, pasta. Spray inside of crockpot with cooking spray. Pour in pasta mixture. Sprinkle shredded over top. Separate pepperoni slices and place over cheese. Cover and cook on High heat for 30 minutes or until cheese is fully melted. Serve

Note: You can use any type of topping you like on your pizza with this. You're only limited to your imagination. If you rather do this in the oven just preheat it to 350 degrees and bake it until cheese is melted (20 to 30 minutes).

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August 16, 2017

Wordless Wednesday~ 8/16/17


Potatoes, Corn on Cobb, chicken wings, Kielbasa, and Shrimp...Oh My!!!!

Low Country Boil nights are fun :-)



July 27, 2017

Sauteed Kale and Spinach


Ingredients:
2 handfuls of fresh Kale
2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 tsp. of minced garlic cloves
1 Tbsp. of real butter (or EVCO: extra virgin coconut oil)
1 Tbsp. of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. ACV (apple cider vinegar)
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Wash greens if they are not already pre-washed.  In a big skillet heat butter and olive oil on medium heat. Saute chopped onion for 5 minutes then add in minced garlic. Saute for another 1-2 minutes.  Add in Kale. Cook down until almost completely withered. Add in Spinach and cook until it has withered. Add in red pepper, salt, pepper and ACV. Cook another couple of minutes or until all greens are cooked to your liking.  If it's too bitter for your taste you can add in 1 tsp. of sugar, but we like it as is. It's now ready to serve.

*I've done this with spinach or kale and collard greens mixed and it came out great too. Cooked crumbled bacon is good added in this too.
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July 18, 2017

Watermelon Pink Lemonade

Last year I shared a yummy beverage to use up any leftover watermelon during the summer holidays. This year I swapped out the ingredients to come up with a new blend for us to try.


Watermelon Pink Lemonade

Ingredients:
6 cups seedless watermelon (cubed)
4 cups (1 quart prepared) Country Time Pink Lemonade
1/2 cup white sugar
2-3 cups cold water plus 1 cup of ice cubes

Directions:
Start out by making 1 quart of Country Time Pink Lemonade. Set aside. Next in a blender blend the watermelon, 1 cup of water, and sugar until pureed. Pour this mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a big pitcher. After all the liquid falls through you can discard the pulp or do like I did and put into a container to use up in a homemade sorbet, slushy, or fruit smoothie. It's best to put into ice cube trays to freeze then pop out and keep in a Ziploc bag until ready to use. Now it's time to add the cold water and the ice cube then stir. This is really good for drinking in the summer time and holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day.

Note: You can really play around with this. It's a very versatile recipe :-)

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July 12, 2017

Wordless Wednesday~ 7/12/17

DIY Dishwasher Detergent
1 Tbsp. or 1 Tab per load + white vinegar in pre-wash = clean dishes :-)


June 18, 2017

Easy DIY Donuts

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. All weekend we are celebrating my hubby to show him how much we appreciate him and all he do for us. In our house we normally celebrate Mother's and Father's Day all weekend long. If our birthdays or anniversary is on a weekend we celebrate the person for two to three days depending on what day it falls on. Our son wanted to make something special for his dad. He has become addicted to Pinterest like his mom; poor thing. He came across some easy ways to make donuts and wanted me to help him try it out.


It all started with a can of biscuits. You can use the 8 or 10 count can depending on how big you want your donuts and holes to be. Don't use any flaky biscuits. You want to get the regular Home Style or Texas Style biscuits. We had two bowls nearby with our cinnamon sugar mixture in one and our glazed mixture in the other. It is easy to make the glaze. All you need is powdered sugar, butter, milk or hot water, and vanilla extract. To make it chocolate just add in some cocoa powder to that glaze mixture.

My son flattened out each biscuit with his fingers so that he was able to make the hole in the middle. For the 8 count biscuits you can use a small cookie cutter to make the hole. For the 10 count biscuits a small water bottle cap will do. I had already filled our skillet with 1/2" of vegetable oil and got it nice and hot so it was ready for us to just drop in the donuts and holes. We watched them as they started puffing up. You want to be sure to stay near them because they only need to cook a minute on each side. We let them drain on a paper towel lined cooling rack. When they were cool enough to touch but still warm, we dipped them into a bowl of sugar or glaze. We placed them on another cooling rack with parchment paper underneath to catch any drips.


We plated them up and sat them in front of dad with his morning coffee. Father and son sat, ate, and enjoyed their time together. I love donut holes so I ate most of those. Hehe They were so GOOD!!! I could not believe how easy these were to make. Why hadn't we made them sooner? I pray all you dads have a wonderful and blessed Father's Day, and that you are honored for all you are and do for your family :)