March 30, 2011

Homemade Bread

We use about a loaf of bread a day around here, so learning to make bread has been very beneficial for my family. I'm not a fan of white bread from the grocery store, but this recipe has a great texture and is adaptable for some wheat if preferred. I slice it when completely cooled and put it in the freezer until we need it.
Check out the recipe if you are interested!  Classic Sandwich Bread

March 23, 2011

Another freezer meal!

Here's a meal (or side) that is a hit every time I've made it.
We like to leave off the bread crumbs and add meat like crispy bacon or
ham... I found this recipe on Martha Stewart's website. It's a keeper.

Macaroni & Cheese  serves 12

1 Stick of unsalted real butter
1/2 cup all purp flour
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
5 1/2 cups milk
4 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar
2 cups grated Romano
1 lb Elbow Macaroni Noodles

Grease a 9x13 or 2 square pans.
Start heating water to boil noodles according to package directions.
Heat milk in a pot also to get warm (be careful not to boil or scald.)
While milk is heating, in a large skillet, melt butter and then add flour to make a paste.
Add this paste to milk. Stir with a whisk until it starts to thicken. Could take 10-15 minutes. 
Add spices and cheeses. *note: you can interchange cheeses to vary flavor. Be creative.
If you use white cheddar, it give this a smoother texture. The sharper the cheese, the more the 
flavor comes out since the noodles tend to swallow up the flavor on mild cheese.
Try extra sharp, guyere, parmesian, gouda. 

Drain noodles and pour into prepared pan(s).
Pour cheese mixture over noodles and stir.
This can be served now, or bake for a little bit. You can sprinkle bread crumbs on top before baking.

March 16, 2011

Freezer Friendly part 2

Another big hit around my house is homemade Chicken pot pie!
We rarely have leftovers, and it freezes very well!
Chicken Pot Pie

2 1/2 cups all purp flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup real butter (not margarine or spread)
1/2 cup ice water
Mix flour and salt. Cut cold butter into pea size chunks.
Mix into flour until crumbly but not till it's grainy.
Add water slowly until dough holds together but a little sticky.
Split into 2 and wrap balls with saran wrap. Refrigerate 30+ minutes.
Gently roll out dough on floured surface with flour on hands. (do not overwork)
Lay it in pie pan and poke holes in it w/ a fork.
Glaze with milk to prevent sogginess.

Pie filling:
2 Tablespoons real butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp margoram
1 cup ckn broth
1/4 cup milk
2 cups cooked & cut up ckn
1 1/2 cup mixed veggies (I use frozen mixed. like corn,peas,grean beans, lima)

In Lg sauce pan, melt butter and add flour to make a paste.
At a medium heat, add broth & milk and stir constantly until desired thickness.
This can take up to 15 minutes. Be patient.
Add veggies and ckn. Pour into crust and cover with other crust. Poke a hole or slit top crust to vent steam.
Bake on a cookie sheet @ 425 for 30-35 minutes.

You can freeze before baking this. Do not thaw before cooking or the crust will get soggy.
If you are cooking it after freezing, be sure to tent it with foil until the last 15 minutes. Cook it
at a lower temp like 350 and add about 20-30 minutes. You will need to check to see if the middle is hot
to determine when it's done.

March 9, 2011

Freezer Friendly

I thought I'd share some of the freezer food recipes I use.
I'm always looking for new things to cook that are simple and easy.
I prefer to make most things from scratch.

So here's a VERY good one that a friend of mine gave me a while back:

Cream Baked Chicken

8 boneless chicken breast halves
6 slices of provolone (or other cheese)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg Stuffing
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup water

Lay chicken in a 9x13.
Cover chicken with cheese.
Pour soup over it.
Separately, mix stuffing with melted butter & water.
Spread coated stuffing over casserole.

Bake @ 375 for 45-55 minutes.

One of these days, I might get a picture of this up. It's a good one!

March 7, 2011

Stocking up!

I'm always trying to simplify and make the house run more efficiently.
So lately, I've been looking at how I shop for groceries and how I cook. What can I do to make these jobs work for me?  

After talking with a friend who freezes food regularly, I realized that I need to utilize my freezer more often. Don't get me wrong, I use the freezer all the time, but to have a meal on hand sounds really nice as opposed to pulling out frozen meat to cook.  I've been looking through my recipes and deciding what I'd like to start getting into the freezer.  

Some of the meals that are in my freezer are: Chicken and Biscuits, Chicken Pot Pie, Tricolor Pasta & Ham Casserole and Chili. What meals do you like to freeze?

March 5, 2011


I'll admit. I'm sentimental about handmade things.
One of Bill's aunts has sent us a quilt each time that we've
had a baby. She also has made the most adorable
infant sweater sets for us.

So after aquiring this set of bunk beds, I thought it would be
nice to have twin size quilts to put on them.
I was SO excited when our Aunt said
that she would make them for us!
(maybe someday I'll learn to quilt..we will see.)

I couldn't resist sharing. Aren't they beautiful?
The kids are excited. Well...Matthew is excited here because
he's in someone else's bed. hee hee
None the less, these are very special to us!
Thank you Aunt Sharon!!!
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March 1, 2011


It doesn't get much better than this!
They bring SO many smiles to my face!