11.10.2013

Healthy "Once a Month" Cooking - no canned soups or mixes!

I'm on a mission to organize my life, and one of the things that has been very disorganized is my meal planning. I spend way too much time in the kitchen. I dreamt of a freezer full of healthy, homemade, preservative-free meals ready to go. I had some extra time this week so I got to work. All of this took me about 3 days to do. Part of it was because I was being impulsive and didn't prepare, and part of it was trying new recipes (some of the muffins did not turn out - chocolate donut muffins tasted like cardboard) and having to come up with something to replace the things that didn't work. I think with better planning I could do this same list in less time.

My main goal was not to feed our family from the freezer every day this month, but rather to have some back-up meals for days I did not feel like cooking or weeks where me or somebody in the family got sick. Nothing worse then having an empty fridge and pantry when you are feeling super sick! So I got a little over 1 gallon of chicken stock in the freezer (to drink as a "cup-a-soup") when I get a cold next time) and 2 more gallons of chicken stock used to make these meals.

I do want to also come up with a weekly and monthly menu plan of fresh meals as well. That's what I'm working on next, and I'll be using my printable menu planner to do that.

..........................................

My hubby was away on a business trip the last few days and I had stuff to keep my kids busy so I had free time to work.  I ended up with....

Homemade Granola from KitchenStewardship.com - I make various variations of it, this time I added finely shredded apple, coconut, vanilla extract, orange zest, and organic dried cranberries. Because of the fresh dried apple I baked it extra long. I took it out of the oven to cool slightly, then put it back into the warm oven (turned oven off) for another 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. I store it in the fridge and usually make it at least once a month. When I was making this I got the idea for a new flavour combo. I think I'd like to try a tropical version of this granola. I'm thinking freeze-dried pineapple, toasted coconut and dehydrated banana pieces maybe?

Chicken Stock made with chicken feet - I don't use a recipe but this one is good. I always roast my chicken pieces and onions first before putting them in the stock pot. The reason for using the feet is for the high gelatin content which is very healthy for your joints, immunity and hormonal balance.

Browned Beef Stew from food.com - used my chicken stock in here. I made a few alterations. I used Thyme instead of the Parsley, and Italian Seasoning. I also added a splash of balsamic vinegar. I've made this recipe for years and it's amazingly delicious! The flour coating on the stewing beef makes it really thick and rich.

Browned Beef Stew

Spicy Beanless Chili (my own recipe, below) - added chicken stock to this one too.

Freezer Rice from Food.com

Classic Meatloaf from SimplyRecipes.com


Classic Meatloaf



Italian Wedding Soup from Giada De Laurentiis (will add the greens and egg/cheese mixture when reheating the soup, just froze the meatballs in the broth) - using the homemade chicken stock again.



chop chop!


Simple Scones from AllRecipes.com, with 3 variations, using Robin Hood Gluten-Free Flour

My scone variations were:
1. Lemon Cranberry - added vanilla extract and half a cup organic dried cranberries, drizzled a lemon-vanilla icing over top (just like Starbucks Lemon Cranberry Scones! Without the gluten!)
2. Brown Sugar Raisin - added vanilla extract and half a cup organic raisins, sprinkled with brown sugar.
3. Herb & Cheese - added a salad spice blend (dried onion, chives, dill), garlic powder, and half a cup finely shredded mozzarella. This will go nicely with the soups and chili.


Gluten-Free Brown Sugar Raisin Scones


Huge batch of Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins - my own recipe made with coconut oil, will post it another time as the directions are a bit lengthy. It's a very forgiving recipe. They are tall and fluffy. I usually add lots of healthy stuff like nutritional yeast and wheat germ.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins and Blueberry Muffins - using Pamelas Gluten Free flour blend (just wanted to use it up).


Spicy Beanless Chili
1 lb ground beef
1.5 cups spicy salsa
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 can tomato paste
1 can organic corn
2 cups chicken stock


Brown beef, add green pepper and onion. When onion is translucent add everything to a crock pot and simmer on high heat for 2 hours.


Now I'm done. The freezer is full. The kitchen is almost clean again. My hands are dry and wrinkly from washing my hands a bazillion times today, and my feet are sore. :D Time for some tea and getting cozy with a good book!


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