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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Letter from a Girlfriends on the Go fan!

Hello Suzie!

I am a newly (for about 5 months) converted freezer meal mom and I just wanted to take a second to tell you how thankful I am for your books! I am not kidding when I say that they've/you've changed my life! I too, am a busy mom of 5, with a husband who is finishing up his degree. Freezer meals have allowed me to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with my busy family.

I was introduced to your G.O.G book by a friend of a friend who was thinking about starting a group. She was kind enough to let me borrow it so I could glance through it. I fell in love with it, so the very next day I bought one of my own from our local LDS bookstore (Farr West Books). Since then, I have joined my friend's group PLUS started my own group. Now I am enjoying (at least) 20 freezer meals a month. Your books have given me the tools and motivation that make preparing freezer meals fun and easy(not to mention affordable)! I very rarely have to prepare dinner now and I am even finding some nights that I actually want to because I miss it. I know weird, huh!? Usually on those nights I plan on feeding my family a meal from the freezer, then I freeze the meal I prepared. It's wonderful! I've also been experimenting with "test freezing" some of my family's favorite recipes so we have those on hand, too.

Slowly I am mastering the art of freezer meals and am less overwhelmed with the stresses of preparing dinner every night. I have converted several of my close friends and family members and they too are so thankful! I was even asked to give a brief talk in one of our additional R.S meetings on how freezer meals have helped in my life and I referred the people who attended to your books. Honestly, I wish I was this good at sharing the gospel with others. Maybe I should start working on that with the little extra time I have now. :)

I recently started following your blog and I look forward to trying out your new recipes and ideas from F.O.G. Thanks again for your help and inspiration.

Here's to stress-free dinner nights and more time with my sweet family!


Marcy Butterworth

Chicken Cord-on-Bleu Casserole

Hello Studio 5 viewers!!!   Here is a copy of the recipe from the show and some tips on menu-planning.  Thanks for watching! 

Chicken Cord-on-Bleu Casserole

3 cups chicken, cooked and cubed

2 cups cubed ham

1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 ½ cups (12 ounces) half and half

½ cup chopped onion

2 Tbsp butter

3 Tbsp flour

Topping: (mix together following ingredients)

½ cup dried bread crumbs

1 tbsp melted butter

½ cup grated Swiss cheese

Sauté onions in butter, add flour. Stir half and half and bring to a boil until thick, stirring constantly. In a separate bowl, mix together chicken, ham and cheese. Pour sauce over and mix well. If freezing, see directions below. Otherwise, Pour into a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Freezing directions: Place in a disposable pan, sprinkle with topping. Cover with foil and freeze.

Menu Planning for the New Year!

Now that the new year is here, it is a great time to make a change! Dinnertime is one of the most important times of the day for family bonding so let’s talk about some ways to make dinnertime simple and painless! The best thing you can do to simplify dinnertime is to PLAN AHEAD!!! Here are some ways to do that!

Menu planning: This sounds like a daunting task for some, but I promise, there are some different ways to do this that will work for you.

1: The first way to plan a menu is probably the way most of you would be familiar with and that is to have a calendar and write what will be for dinner that night on each day of the month. Of course, this is a great way to do it, but let’s doctor it up a bit! For instance, to make this easier you could set a specific day of the week for a specific “type” of meal. (Monday – Fish, Tuesday – Soup, Wednesday – Pasta, Thursday – Chicken, etc…) That makes it easier for the person who gets stuck in a rut making the same meals and can’t ever come up with ideas. It’s also important to incorporate your children into the menu by getting their input and possibly having a kid’s cook night. To do this you will want to choose your least busy night of the week and assign one child that night to prepare the meal for the family. Let them choose the meal and teach them to prepare and follow through with that meal, including planning the shopping list for that meal.

2: The second way is similar to the 1st way, but incorporating freezer meals. The best way to do this is to be a part of a freezer meal group. I have 10 people in my group and at home we each make 10 of the same meal, freeze it, and get together once a month and exchange so we come home with 10 different meals. So I always have meals in my freezer for those crazy nights. So on my monthly menu, I would choose my craziest nights, like the nights we have soccer games or other activities going on, and on that night I would write in “freezer meal”. That way I am planning ahead and can take that out of the freezer in order to have that ready at dinnertime.

3: The third way to plan a menu is my favorite. The reason I don’t like to plan a menu is because I am not always in the mood to eat what is on the menu that night, or I don’t have the time to make that meal. I make a list of 20 meals (the reason for 20 is that allows left-over and pizza nights or what we call FFY nights, (fend for yourself!). When I make this list of 20 meals, I look through my fridge and pantry and figure out a shopping list. I then go to the store and get everything else that I need for those 20 meals. Now I know that I have everything I need to make all these meals so at any time throughout that month, I can choose any of these meals and not have to make a trip to the store to get the ingredients.

Of course there are many ways to simplify dinnertime, freezer meals being my favorite and also the crock-pot and delay timer on my oven. The thing I have found helps the very most is to make sure I know by lunch time what we are having for dinner. (For working moms, the night before.) That way, when everyone gets home from school and the craziness starts, you can be on top of things!

You can find more tips and many freezer meals in my cookbooks “Girlfriends on the Go”, and “Families on the Go”. Visit my blog to order at a discount onthegocookbook.blogspot.com!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Angry Birds Cake

My cute sis-in-law always does a birthday cake representing something their child loved or was really into that year.  One year her son's was a construction site, or her daughters was a princess.  This year she was having a hard time figuring out what to do for her 4 year old boy's cake and he came out and said, "can I play Angry Birds?"   Thats where the idea came from.  What kid isn't into Angry Birds?  What's even greater is that she let her 5 year old make the birds and decorate it!  It was so fun and cute and they were both so proud of that cake!!!  I love that they will always remember what their child's favorite thing was that year by looking at birthday pictures!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lemon Oat Bars

This is my new favorite treat to make and thought I'd share for my Recipe of the Week!

Lemon Oat Bars

2 cans sweetened condensed milk
4 tsp grated lemon peel
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 1/2 cups flour
2  cup oats (quick or regular are fine)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 pan.  Mix together the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and lemon peel until thickened; set aside.  Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl until crumbly.  Press half of the crumbly mixture in the bottom of the pan.  Bake 10 min.  Spread lemon mixture over baked layer.  Sprinkle remaining mixture on top and gently press.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Cool completely.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Maceys cooking school

Tonight I taught a class at Macey's cookin school.  It was a lot of fun and I met some really great people!!! 
I demonstrated the "Brunch Braid" or Ham and Cheese Bread as my kids call it.  This is the Recipe of the Week!!!

Brunch Braid

1 loaf rhodes bread dough, or your favorite dough recipe (see my favorite dough recipe below)
1 cube butter
1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 cube butter
12 oz Sliced lunch ham
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese

Roll dough out into a rectangle.  Spread some of the butter mixture down the middle.  Top that with ham slices and then sprinkle the cheese on top of that. (keep down center).  Cut 2" strips along the edges and criss cross across the top alternating sides.  Fold top and bottom over to seal ends.
If freezing, wrap in plastic wrap and foil.  Freeze.  To bake after freezing, remove from freezer and thaw and let rise a little.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until golden brown

My Son went with me to help and ended up pretty much taking over the show!!!

Everyone was happy to learn how to simplify dinnertime!

Everything Dough

So, a nice gentelman at the Macey's Cooking School last night asked for this dough recipe.  He asked what I use it for and I told him "everything!" (Hence the name).  This is my Pizza Crust, Braid, Rolls, Breadsticks, Cinnamon Rolls and Bread!!!  Very quick and easy.  My friend Stacy gave it to me and I LOVE IT!!!!

Everything Dough

4 C hot water
5 1/2 C flour
2 heaping T. yeast
2 T. Sugar

Mix slightly with electric mixer and let rest for 10 min.


1 T. Salt
1/3 C. Oil
1/3 C. Honey or Sugar
5-6 cups flour

Mix until dough pulls away from side of bowl.  Knead in mixer or on a oiled surface.  After kneading, prepare dough as directed below, then let sit 10 minutes while you preheat oven.

Pizza:  Bake crust at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.  Add Sauce and toppings.  Bake at 450 for 10-15 min.

Cinnamon Rolls:  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
(Roll out, spread with butter, sugar and cinnamon.  Roll, cut and place on pan.)
Glaze for cinnamon rolls:
2 T. Butter
1 1/2 c. Powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 T. milk or water
Mix well and spread onto rolls

Dinner Rolls:  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes

Bread:  Bake at 350 for 25-30 min.  After removing from pans, butter top of bread.

Breadsticks:  Roll out dough and form into a jelly roll pan.  Score with a pizza cutter.  Bake at 425 for 7-10 minutes.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Studio 5 segment

So, I was a "re-run" today.  (I feel kinda like Patty Duke).  If you saw the segment and want the discount, just e-mail me and I will send you a paypal request for the discounted price!!!  The price right now is already discounted but I will discount it more to equal the full discount on Studio 5!!!!   Thanks for watching!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Outer Space

 So all the bedrooms in my home have been decorated to the childs personality except for my two younger sons. They share a room. I've tried to get them to decide on a theme for the 2 1/2 years that we've been in our home and finally got them to settle on "Outer Space". Thought I would share what I did.

To get circles on the wall, I traced items from around my house like, pizza pan, laundry basket, tupperware bowls, plates and such.  I used acrylic paint and for details mixed with 5 parts faux finishing glaze.  My son's walls were already light blue and I didn't want to do dark walls so I just left them that color.

Uranus and Neptune before details

Saturn before details

To do the rings for Saturn, I cut an oval out of paper and traced it extending out of each side.  Then with a 1 1/2 inch paint brush and watered down paint, painted rings in different colors.
O.K.  So I was never good at geography but mostly gets covered up with clouds.  Actually my husband re-did the land on earth, but I forgot to take a pic, so this is what you get!
Finished earth, mars and a moon lamp that my son already had in his room!

Neptune and Uranus don't have to many details, but just stippled white paint mixed with glaze and then added highlighting and shading.  You can see Pluto up in the corner, we still consider it a planet!

Jupiter was fun, just played with 2 or 3 brown, gold colors and did random designs.

Mercury and Venus were also pretty easy on details.  Mix the paint you want to sponge with five parts faux finishing glaze and sponge with a sea sponge.

So, now that the painting is done, we will be adding outer space bedding and glow in the dark stars for the finishing touch!  Might play with the curtains a little too!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Family Time

So, it's been a very hard week.  A good friend passed away this week very unexpectedly and at a very young age.  He left his wife, my good friend, and 4 children.  The funeral was so good, mostly about how he loved to be with his family.  They didn't once talk about how much money he earned, the kind of car he drove, the house he lived in, it was all about "Family Time".  I talk a lot about the importance of eating dinner together as a family and I know that his family doesn't regret one day of doing so.  It is not what's for dinner that is important, it's the memories made.  MAKE MEMORIES!!!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cooking in Bulk

Often I cook in bulk and have found some things that make it much easier.   When you are making fillings, sauces, etc..  It's always nice to know exactly how much you can put into each meal.  For instance, if you are making enchiladas and want to know how much filling you can put in each tortilla, I use a big Tupperware bowl to measure how much filling I have.  A lot of mixing bowls have the capacity on the bottom.  If not, fill with water to measure the amount it holds and write with permanent marker on the bottom of the bowl.  So, if your bowl holds 20 cups and you are making 80 enchiladas, you could put 1/4 cup of the filling in each enchilada.  This prevents you from getting to your 70th enchilada and realizing you don't have enough filling. (Speaking from experience!!!)

Speaking of Enchiladas, here is the recipe of the week:

Cheddar Beef Enchiladas

1 pound ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 cup water
2 cups cooked rice
1-16 ounce can refried beans
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
10-12 flour tortillas, warmed
1 - 16 ounce jar salsa
1 can cream of chicken soup

Brown and drain ground beef.  Add taco seasoning and water.  Simmer for 5 minutes and then add rice.  Cook and stir until water is evaporated.  Spread 2 Tbsp refried beans down center of tortilla.  Top with 1/4 cup beef mixture and 1 tbsp cheese.  Roll up and place seam side down on greased 9X13 baking dish. If freezing, see directions below. Combine salsa and soup and pour down the center of enchiladas.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. 

Freezing Directions:  Combine salsa and soup and place in a zip-loc bag to be poured over enchiladas before baking.  Cover enchiladas with foil, freeze along with salsa and soup mixture and a zip-loc of remaining cheese to sprinkle on top.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Greats and Grumbles

Almost every night at the dinner table our family does "A Great and a Grumble".  We got this from my good friend Kristen and it has become one of our dinnertime traditions.  Each person has to say one great thing about their day and one not so great thing about their day.  Sometimes a great will be something like "I got an A on a test" or "I made a new friend".  A Grumble might be "I got picked on at recess" or "I have a lot of homework".  These are things that you probably would not have gotten out of your kids had you just asked "how was school?" when they walked in the door.  Normally the answer to that is "fine".  Sometimes a "Great" is that we are having their favorite for dinner.  This recipe of the week is often a "Great"!

Chicken Macaroni Bake

2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
2 cups elbow macaroni (cooked half the time)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 - 8 oz can mushrooms (optional)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.  Pour into a greased 9X13 pan.  You can cover and freeze at this point, or cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly and noodles are fully cooked.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dinner Table Drama!

So, friends who saw me on Studio 5 a few weeks ago have said "Please don't tell me your family always sits that nicely at the table, if so, I'm a horrible Mom!"  Well, the answer to that is "Yes" and "No"!  Yes, 90 percent of dinnertime we eat together, sitting at the table.  (Baseball season is an exception to that percentage, 3 boys, get it!)  But "Nicely"?  Let's take last night for an example.  My 3 year old was throwing her "It's 4 o'clock and I didn't get a nap" tantrum a little late. (5:39 to be exact).  She was sitting next to my 6 year old.  He said something to her, not sure what it was, and she hit him in the arm attached to the hand that was holding his water that he had up to his mouth to drink.  (Can you see where this is going?)  Of course water spilled all over him so he then was mad and forcefully set his drink down on the table which slid into her water and they both spilled everywhere.  On another note, dinner was good, i think it deserves to be the RECIPE OF THE WEEK!

2 lbs Stew meat  (Can use with any beef really, this is a favorite with a Sunday roast, also include potatoes and carrots to the crock-pot the last few hours and its a one-pot meal!)
1 envelope good seasons italian dressing mix
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 envelope brown gravy mix
2-3 cups water

Mix seasoning mixes together in water.  Pour over meat in a crock-pot.  Cook low all day (6-8 hours) or high 4 hours till meat is tender.  Serve over wide noodles.

To freeze this, you have two options.  Place stew meat in a freezer bag and pour the mixture over and freeze.  When you pull out of the freezer you will place in crock-pot and cook all day.  Or you can already have it cooked before you freeze so all you have to do is heat it up and serve. (This is the best option for last-minute dinner).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pizza Tonight!!!

So, after accomplishing 2 weeks of meals on the table, and the family there as well, I gave in and ordered pizza tonight.  Really, it wasn't that great.  I've become accustomed to baking everything from scratch but boy, their breadsticks are delish!  My kids were sure excited when i told them it was a pizza night!  I was feeling good about myself for having a nice family meal on the table every night for 2 weeks (including weekends) and realized tonight that they didn't even notice.  That's o.k., it's another one of those "You'll thank me for this one day" moments!  I have to say, I have had a freezer meal group for 7 years now and it has been the best thing ever.  If you don't know what a freezer meal group is, I will explain.  In my group we have 10 members.  At home, we each make 10 of the same meal (main dish only) and freeze it.  Then, once a month we get together and exchange those meals and come home with 10 different meals to put in the freezer.  10 meals has been a good number to have for the crazy nights that there is no time to cook, or that I don't want to cook.  It has really saved me!  I was just wondering the other day what it would be like to go back to cooking every single night and having to come up with new ideas.  This way I can make the family favorites on the nights I cook, and have a variety the other 10 nights of the month!  Try it, you'll like it!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Book Just Released!!!

"Families on the Go" is just released!!! I will be doing book signings at different Costco's during the month of January. My schedule is posted below. (more dates to be added)
Sat - Jan 8th - West Valley Costco
Fri - Jan 14 - SLC Costco
Sat - Jan 15 - Sandy Costco
Fri - Jan 28 - SLC Costco
Sat - Jan 29 - Orem Costco
I will be on Studio 5 Monday, January 10th cooking "Beef Taquitos". They are fabulous to freeze and just pull out a few for lunch, or a bunch for dinner. Don't you hate having to cook lunch for just yourself and maybe a toddler or two when kids are at school and hubby at work? I love to just be able to pull a few of these out of the freezer and stick in the oven for a mess-free lunch.

Beef Taquitos
4-5 cups cooked chopped roast beef
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, or mexican blend
1 1/2 cups salsa
30 flour tortillas
oil for frying
Slow cook roast 6-8 hours until it shreds and then chop finely. In a large bowl, mix beef, beans, corn, cheese and salsa. In a frying pan, heat oil to medium heat. One at a time, using tongs, dip tortillas into hot oil for 5-10 seconds until it begins to bubble slightly. (You may have to use a spatula to get it out so it doesn't tear.) Set aside on paper towels. (Do only about 10 at a time, fill, roll, and repeat.) Fill each tortilla with about 1/4 cup of the mixture, more or less if you want them thicker or thinner. Roll tightly and place seam side down on a cookie sheet. Bake 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until heated through. If freezing, place filled cookie sheet in freezer until taquitos are firm. Then you can place several in gallon size freezer bags and pull them out individually as you need them. Bake from frozen 400 degrees for 20 minutes!!!