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Old 09-01-2011, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Charlotte county, Florida
4,196 posts, read 5,230,043 times
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Here is my goto recipe for a few meals it's simple and very good..
This is for one meal then frozen leftovers you can use for a number of things.
This can feed four at least 4 times for about 12 bucks not including add in's

My Basic chicken meal base..

1 big ole whole chicken
1 onion
A few celery stalks
Carrots
Family size can cream of chix soup (very optional) Just adds a certin richness.
Vegi broth, Also very optional.

Put the chicen in a big pot add chopped onion and celery and vegi broth..
Bring to a boil and simmer for like 2 hours.
Strain the broth to remove any hidden bones..

Add the carrots and cook for a few to start them cooking.
Add cream of chicken soup and finish thickning with a slurry of corn starch and water.
Add shredded or chunked chicken.

My first meal is always chicken and dumplings or biscuits..
#2 chicken with egg noodles and vegies..
#3 casserole with whatever
# any thing else my brain thinks up at the time...
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Old 09-01-2011, 11:40 AM
B4U
 
Location: the west side of "paradise"
3,612 posts, read 7,017,168 times
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Oh, and bacon. You can pre-make lots of bacon. YumYum. To crumble in salads, soups. Leave who and just room temp thaw or nuke lightly for sandwiches.
Ham or corned beef can always be cooked ahead, sliced, and frozen. The lack of bones and fat make them quick thaw.
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Charlotte county, Florida
4,196 posts, read 5,230,043 times
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Sorry Nic, I should have added that after all the other crap is added to the pot.. Cover the rest with water..
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Old 09-01-2011, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
1,969 posts, read 5,386,282 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DandJ View Post
Just to confirm:

It makes me think of a pig's bum.
It does NOT make me think of someone getting porked in the butt.

(I didn't just write that, did I?)

Oh YES you did! ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 09-01-2011, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
1,969 posts, read 5,386,282 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B4U View Post
Your welcome. Anything do-able for you? Not knowing if you're a big meat-eater family, which I am, (and am not a cassarole family either) makes choices to suggest a bit in the dark.

I'm sure I will be able to use some of the suggestions! We are meat eaters, lots of chicken in particular - and we love casseroles but don't like spicey - or mushrooms. I already use the regulars ...pot roast and chicken in the crock pot - Ziti or lasagna etc

Thanks again so much!
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:13 PM
 
5,683 posts, read 9,109,441 times
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Still snickering about "pork butt" etc.....

Ok, on to more serious business! One of my mom's staples when I was growing up was stuffed cabbage (also known as cabbage rolls or porcupine rolls), and it's still a favorite of mine to this day. It's definitely the kind of thing that you want to make one giant batch, or even a double batch, and freeze part, because it's kind of futzy, but it's great to be able to toss a couple of cabbage rolls in the crockpot or in the oven and have dinner on the table with a minimum of fuss later on. This is my mom's recipe, but I've seen many other versions of it, and it's the sort of thing that you can tweak to your family's liking quite easily:

1 head cabbage
1 pound ground pork or pork sausage
1 1/2 c. cooked rice (we prefer to use cooked brown rice but Mom always made it with white)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 onion, fine-chopped
3/4 c. evaporated milk (or regular out of the fridge - this was based on a Depression-era recipe)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
salt, pepper
Either one pound of sauerkraut or a 28-oz can of tomato sauce or diced tomatoes in sauce, depending on your family's preferences

Core the cabbage and place the head in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a full rolling boil. As the outer leaves of the cabbage head cook and soften, use tongs to pull them off the head and out of the water, until you get several dozen nice large leaves well softened. Remove the rest of the cabbage head from the water and set aside.

Combine pork, rice, eggs, onion, milk, lemon juice and salt/pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the pork mixture on either one large intact cabbage leaf or two smaller ones layered over each other to make the size of a single large leaf. Roll as if for an egg roll, folding in the ends so that the filling is completely contained. Use a toothpick to hold the roll together. The filling recipe will make approximately 14 rolls, more if you roll them smaller.

Cut up the cabbage head into wedges and lay them on the bottom of either your crockpot or your roaster pan, depending on which method you're using. Lay as many of the cabbage rolls as you want to cook over the wedges of cabbage. Then pour either the sauerkraut (see note below) or the tomato sauce over all. If using a roaster, add a little water, cover the roaster and bake for two hours at 350, checking occasionally to be sure it's not getting too dry and adding water if necessary. If using the crockpot, crock on high for two hours, not adding any water.

Note on sauerkraut: if your family objects to strongly-flavored kraut, put it in a sieve or strainer and rinse it with water. Then dump it into a bowl and mix in 2 or 3 tablespoons of brown sugar before dumping onto the cabbage rolls.

Variations: I like to add whole mushrooms to the sauce or kraut. I've also added a bit of paprika (either Hungarian sweet or smoked) to the filling. And once I added a pinch of nutmeg, which was astonishingly good.

Storing: this can be made up and cooked immediately, or the rolls can be frozen for cooking later. If you know ahead of time how many rolls you'll want to cook at a time, freeze that many in a zip-lock bag. If your quantity needs are unknown, freeze them individually on a cookie sheet, and once they are hard and frozen solid, then put them into a freezer bag or container. You can pull out just as many as you need.
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Old 09-01-2011, 08:50 PM
 
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OP, it also occurs to me to ask if you have a stove with "time-bake" functionality. Essentially that's a way of presetting oven temperature and cook time (start/stop) ahead of time, so that your dinner is ready when you walk in the door at night.

We've made sure every stove we've owned for about the past 20 years has had that function, and let me tell you, it is a godsend when you are juggling a typical school-year schedule. We can put a frozen-solid pot roast in a covered roaster pan along with some carrots, potatoes and onions, a good shake of Worcestershire sauce and some garlic powder, stick the whole thing in the oven set to turn on at 325 at 3:30 p.m. and to switch to the "keep-warm" function at 6:30, and supper is ready literally the moment we get home. Throw together a quick salad while the kids wash hands, and you can sit down to a hot, home-cooked meal in under five minutes. You could do the same thing with pretty much any prepared meal, including those cabbage rolls. If you put a frozen-solid piece of meat in the oven in a covered pan in the morning, as well insulated as ovens are these days, it isn't going to spoil by the time the oven turns itself on in the afternoon.
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:54 AM
 
Location: SoCal desert
8,093 posts, read 13,187,607 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nic529 View Post
I'm sure I will be able to use some of the suggestions! We are meat eaters, lots of chicken in particular - and we love casseroles but don't like spicey - or mushrooms. I already use the regulars ...pot roast and chicken in the crock pot - Ziti or lasagna etc

Thanks again so much!
Make extras of your favorite casseroles - but line the pan/dish with heavy-duty foil, with plenty of extra on the sides. Bake as usual. Cool.

Freeze in the baking pan. When it's frozen, lift it out of the pan with the foil edges. Wrap thoroughly and put back in the freezer.

When you want a casserole - put the foil-wrapped 'brick' back in the original pan/dish and just bake until hot all the way through. If you remember to take it out the night before and defrost it, it takes less time to heat up.

OAMC (Once-a-month-cooking) suggests this way, since all your pans don't end up in the freezer

Some people freeze casseroles in clean ice cream containers - and then heat up the 'brick' in the crock pot.
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Old 09-02-2011, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
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Thank you for the ideas bookworm and gandalara! I will definately check to see if my oven has a timer I can set like that! Great ideas! Thanks!
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Old 09-02-2011, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,683 posts, read 83,258,368 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nic529 View Post
Hi everyone! I am looking for healthy recipes that I can make ahead and just throw in the oven when I'm ready. Ideas for meals I can freeze and cook later are welcome too! With school, work, and sports schedules I'm looking at a lot of evenings where we may not get home until after 7 and I'd like to have something ready to just heat up.

We are not really tex-mex kind of people - and I have found that a lot of the recipes on line are in that family. I know I can make pasta dishes ahead, but they take a long time to heat up in the oven - and I'd like to see if there are healthier ideas too.

I appreciate any ideas you may have to share!
just about any cassaroles freeze well and only take a few minture to heat. Another good, make ahead, is any chicken dish, even just baking one on the weekend and deviding it into meals. Turkey does not seem to freeze as well, it retains too much liquid and has a strange texture.

Soups are always great. We are huge lovers of split pea soup. I take a ham bone, stick it in the crook, add the dry peas, shredded carrots, maybe onions, a grated potato and that is about it. Talk about healthy and it heats up beutifully. Of course Italian sauses are great frozen and re-heated. You can make them with or without meat, depending on how healthy we are talking. We love vegetarian pasta sause.

Nita
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