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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).