Monday, September 5, 2011

Oh the proverbial nesting.....and hunger

So nesting with this wee lil angel has set in a bit late I'd say.  Today we made an octupled batch of pancakes and stuffed shells (a regular sized box worth) for the freezer in an effort to have some easy, hot meals ready for when our newest Lil' Miss makes her debut.  I've also found that since we are now the average "2.5 with a dog" family, regular batches of recipes feed us several times over so we've been saving enough to feed ourselves for the meal then leftovers for lunch the next day.  Por ejemplo, my AWESOME 5 quart bare cast iron dutch oven from Lodge (Lodge is the absolute BEST for bare cast iron, but more on that in another post) holds enough slowly simmered chili to feed a grown man, heavily preggo mama and twin toddlers for dinner, lunch the next day and then fill two gallon-sized freezer bags for more meals. (insert preggo note to bake some corn muffins for the freezer here).

The pancakes we can fit about 3 stacks of 3" cakes (about 27) in a gallon bag.  Each bag can feed our family probably 3 times if we all eat the norm (about 3 each for hubby and I then 3 split between the girls).  We got the equivalent of 4 bags worth of the hot cakes.  We use a recipe adapted from this one; but for our purposes here at CB, I've listed ours below:

Super Awesome Fluffy Pancakes

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix it up.  Dump it on.  Flip when bubbly.  Eat when cooked.  Easy. Simple. Delicious.

We split the flour between the good ole AP & WW because we had some whole wheat that we were gonna end up wasting use to get in some healthy whole grains.  The flavor and weight is so mouch better and make the pancakes more filling.  We used extra milk solely because the batter in the original recipes was super-thick.  About a 1/4 cup extra milk really helps the consistency.  We go through these pretty quickly, so I'd say they're definitely good in the freezer for around a month the way we package them.

Onto the goodness from my half-breed Italian booty.  I don't like anything 'florentine' so yous can axe the spinach from my cheesy goods please (sacrilege I know)...but feel super-free to douse the cheese with some grated nutmeg (YUM...not so horrific of me now is it Nonna?)  I wanted something simple and could care less to brown pancetta (nor am I a not-cheapskate in this regard) or dice up some onions and garlic.  Plus there's a ton of crap we need to use in our pantry, so I also took this into account when I was waiting for the shells to boil up.  (Note to self: avoid Food Network when trying to cook with $0 & 0 time)  My recipe was a take on P-Dub's, but, like I said, we either had the ingredients or needed to get creative since I am dumb and didn't make my list from the recipes I wanted to make but rather 'stored' the info in my head with basic ingredients :)  In an effort to save time, we have some jarred pasta sauces on hand to make the transition from freezer to table a lot more 'efficient'.

Stuffed Shells Filling

30 oz container WHOLE Milk Ricotta (whole cause we're fatties up here in our piece)

1/2 cup 'shaky' cheese aka grated parmesean you usually sprinkle on top of you 'ska-teeeeeeee' (as my girls call it)

8 oz package of shredded Mozzarella cheese

3-4 Tbsp Garlic Basil Seasoning (from the now defunct Homemade Gourmet, a company for which I used to be a consultant.......if you can't Ebay this stuff or have me hook you up with some since the company is OOB, I would use about a 50/50 mix of dried basil and dried minced garlic)

salt & ground black pepper to taste (easy on the salt since I "Oops-ed" the shredded cheese and added it all to the ricotta in a blonde/preggo brain moment)

1 large egg

Mix it up then stuff 'em in jumbo shells cooked according to package directions.  A cake decorating bag with a coupler (no tip) works fantastically for piping the filling neatly into the shells.  Now that I am thinking about it, the parchment triangles might work better as they'd be easier to 'refill' with filling should you surprising run into an empty bag like I did (the dump and roll method would be less messy me thinks).  Try to avoid over-filling them.  If I had to guess, filling the shells just enough to the point where the sides of the shell that curl up wrap around the cheese mix and meet to form a 'line' the shells might weigh an ounce or two.  I lined the filled shells on a large cookie sheet as I was going along then wrapped the sheet in tinfoil and stuck the critters in the freezer.  Once they are frozen, I'll transfer them to a gallon-sized bag and take them out as we want to eat them.  If I am making a family dinner, I'll dump a jar of sauce in an oiled rectangular baker such as this one (LOVE me my PC & can hook you up with an awesome consultant), put (line down) in perhaps 10 shells and then dump another jar of sauce on top and liberally sprinkle some shaky cheese on top.  Cover and bake in an oven preheated to about 375 for about an hour give or take and be eating a tasty, cheesy dinner with ease.  Now, if you can get your hands on the PC lid that's been d/c, cover with rocks!  However, if you cannot you could try out their new deep covered baker (it's about the same dimensions and I've heard great things about using it in the microwave).  Why must I pimp Pampered Chef?  Because the stoneware is top-quality and helps to keep something I worked "hard" to put on the table warm and taste just as good as I did taking it right out of the oven if DH is running late from work.  Foil also works fantastically as a 'cover', and I would use that to do a half-batch in the oven in an 8X8 pan.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Epic Fail

So, Menu Plan Monday, has gone down the drain yet again.  I really should do it since I am cooking out of the pantry, but I have discovered the fine art and even more finely tuned science of the defrosting of frozen meats in the microwave.  Besides, I'd rather play with my babies.

Speaking of babies, Capitol Baby #3 is a GIRL!  We are expecting her around Halloween...let's just not go as late as November 11th at 11:11 am just so we can win some stupid contest LOL

Monday, May 2, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Apparently, a little over a year ago I was menu planning for MPM and was in labor with my now one-year old Capitol Babies.  SHK...Go figure?  Hoping to get back into the swing of things and do some pantry cooking over here in our nation's capital.  Who knows how it'll go....we'll see around Halloween when Capitol Baby #3 is due to arrive LOL

Monday, 2 May 2011
  • Spaghetti & Meatballs
    • Meatballs are a "maybe I'll reveal the secret family recipe" later
    • Sauce is a recipe from the original Biggest Loser Cookbook called "Superior Spaghetti Sauce"
  • Garlic Bread
    • Just use whatever rolls or bread you have on-hand.  We are using leftover homemade hamburger buns from a recipe I found on I believe.  Have to double check and will post the recipe when I do my series on homebaked breads.
    • We mix margarine and some Tbsps of Tastefully Simple's Garlic Garlic & Onion Onion spices...usually like 1/3-1/2 cup of tub margarine & a 2:1 ratio of the Garlic to Onion seasonings and then bake til the bread is crispy
Tuesday, 3 May 2011
  • Slow Cooker Chicken Enchiladas
  • Minute Brown Rice (cause we have like 10 tons of it to use....the beauty of being a military family: when neighbors and friends PCS move, you're usually gifted with pantry leftovers that can't be packed :D
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
  • Sweet & Sour Chicken (a combo of two recipes from Betty Crocker's Chinese Cookbook)
  • Oven Baked Brown Rice (a friend gave me this's super simple, but I will have to post it later since mommy-brain is making my brain into mush right now)
  • Broccoli Florets
Thursday, 5 May 2011
  • Busy-Day Cheesy Chicken (from some Gooseberry Patch is an appt with the good ole OB for CB #3 so I will prolly very lazily throw in a couple cups of frozen broccoli so I have nothing to cook when I make it off the Beltway)
  • Leftover Rice from last night
Friday, 6 May 2011
  • Vegetarian Chowder (oh yes to using the million pounds of dried beans I love to buy but don't know how to use.  WIC in our county is really great with education on nutrition and gives out lots of nifty things at your appointments and their events.  I got this recipe from a bean cookbook they gave out during a fair at our family readiness center on our base.)
  • French Sandwich Bread
Saturday, 7 May 2011
  • Grilled Chicken Breast (consisting of fileted b/s chicken breast then seasoned to taste on each side with Tastefully Simple's Garlic Garlic and Seasoned I am not a consultant for them)
  • Creamy Scalloped Potatoes (another Betty Crocker masterpiece.....go get the 1969 version of the BC rocks and teaches you some great techniques)
  • Carrots
Sunday, 8 May 2011
  • Chicken Breasts Diane
  • Leftover Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
  • Mixed Veggies
I plan on making two 'snacks/desserts' for the week as well.  One is "Pinto Bean Applesauce Raisin Cookies" (from that bean cookbook I was telling you about) and "Custard Pie" (from the Household Searchlight Recipe Book from the late '30s....and mostly making this because I have a ton of milk that I need to use and the recipe for the crust for tonight's Chicken Pot Pie made more like 3 crusts, not they typical 2 LOL).

I'll post Bubba and the babies' reviews throught the week or on next MPM.

Ciao for now!

<3 M

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday! Week of 19 April 2010

No snarky comments or links (for now; I will update with those lata peeps :)

Monday, 19 April

  • Texas Chili with Beans
  • French Sandwich Bread

Tuesday, 20 April

  • Baked Ziti Supreme
  • Garlic Toast

Wednesday, 21 April

  • Bacon, Egg & Cheese McMuffins (of no connection to Mickey D's)
  • Hashbrowns

Thursday, 22 April

  • Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Superior Spaghetti Sauce
  • Garlic Toast

Friday, 23 April

  • KFC Original Recipe Chicken Breast (b/c yes, we were lazy and went to Taco Bell last Friday)
  • Shortcut Oven Fries (Off-Brand Ore Ida peeps)
  • Brocolli (which I probably did NOT spell right)


  • Hamburgers with Fixins
  • Baked Potatoes (also with fixins)
  • Corn


  • Crockpot Pizza (RE: Friday's excuse)
  • Peas

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday! Week of 12 Apr 2010

You can decide whether it's my inclination towards 'slight' OCD or just nesting because of the baby girls...I've jumped on the menu planning bandwagon. We need to make room for other things in our pantry (maybe it is nesting?)...come jump with me! :)

Monday, 12 April
Tuesday, 13 April
Wednesday, 14 April
Thursday, 15 April
Friday, 16 April
Saturday, 17 April
Sunday, 18 April

Please leave a comment if the link to the book for the bread recipe is no good. I'll make it a point to post the recipe if you can't find access to the book some other way...



Menu Plan Monday

Jumping on the bandwagon....who knows whether or not it's a natural inclination to 'mild' OCD or nesting is your guess. Jump with me! :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's "FIXIN" day

Well, I think Stash BUSTA will have to be carried til the end of the month (or perhaps even a certain girl's last birthday in her 20s at the end of the first week of April). I don't know if it's the nesting from the 24/7 of the ultimate craft (baking TWO baby girls! :) ) OR just the fact that the pile of mending I need to do has now grown larger than the pile of UFOs. Until next time, you peeps can ponder why in the world a thrift store double-staples their price tags in rather conspicuous places on their clothing.....I'll be busy matching stash thread and dousing onesies in Fray Check.


<3 M