But a good time was had by all and the food is amazing.
I had 2 other ladies over yesterday for the first Freezer Cooking exchange. Both of these ladies are people I have met through my international adoption journey. One has a young son from Kaz and one has 4 kids (3 adopted domestically and one from China). I had hired a baby sitter who took all 8 of our kids to the park and then watched them outside for nearly 3 hours so we could cook and socialize. It was one of the most relaxing days I have had in a while.
My day started early. I got up at around 7 and after fixing breakfast for the kids and coffee and cereal for myself, I planned on getting to work cleaning the downstairs. However, Logan (and then Riley and Matthew) wanted to play a game and since I know I’ll be working pretty hard the next 7 days I decided to do it. So, first Logan and I and then Matthew, Riley and I sat down and played a new Disney Memory Game we had gotten at the yard sale. Then I looked up and it was 10:00. ..so, we went into the living room and cleaned up the assorted toys, lego’s, princess dresses and cards and I swept and vacuumed and then it was 10:45 and…I chased the kids outside.
I sat down to clean tackle the shelving unit that houses all of our coloring/drawing/craft supplies. I found millions a number of dried up markers and broken crayons but now have it organized. Next I started lunch for the kids (Homemade mac-and-cheese from the Pioneer Woman) and went to work on my junk repository kitchen island. Along the way I washed a bunch of dishes and cleaned out the (clean dishes from) the dishwasher. Finally I had an empty island (and…well, a rather full dining room table) and several bags of trash.
I finished the mac-and-cheese and got it on the table and got the mac-and-cheese muffins in the pans while the kids were eating (got this idea from one of my single parenting lists but can not find it for the life of me to give credit where it is due). Anyway…this is a way to make something other than sandwiches for school lunches and since my oldest won’t eat sandwiches…but you make the Mac-and-cheese and then cook it in muffin tins and then freeze them and when you need them for lunches you either warm and put into a thermos or they can eat them by hand semi cold from being in the lunchbox all morning! While the kids were eating I put together the dough for garlic bread that was going to be one of my contributions to the freezer cooking.
Once lunch was done, I got the girls in bed for nap and went washed all of the dishes from the morning cooking and bread making. Then I took out my cheese shredder and went to work on the 3 pounds of Monteray Jack cheese for the enchilada dish that was my contribution to the cooking exchange. Kroger had a great deal on cheese a couple of weeks ago but didn’t have any pre-shredded MJ so I had to do it. Hours later When I finished, the dough had risen and I split it into 4, rolled it out into a square, covered it with this yummy olive oil and garlic concoction and rolled it into loaves and put it on the stove to rise. Then I sat down to eat lunch and was ready.
Everyone arrived around 3:00. We got started. At the end of 2 hours we had:
-6 chicken pot pies
-3 large casserole dishes of lasagnas
-3 large casserole dishes of Green chile chicken enchilada’s
-4 huge loaves of garlic mozzarella bread
-lots of laughs
-a desire to do this again in another 6 weeks or so
-a re-cleaned kitchen!
Here are the recipes we used for anyone who is interested:
12oz tomato paste; 12oz water;4 T olive oil;2 T Spaghetti Sauce Seasoning; 3-4 cloves garlic; 1/2 cup dry red wine; 1/2 lb lasagna noodles; 2q boiling water; 1/2 lb italian sausage, salami, or ground beef; 1 lb ricotta or cottage cheese; 6 oz mozzarella cheese slices; 1/3 cup parmesan or romano cheese.
Directions: combine first 6 ingredients and simmer 20 minutes; partially cook the lasagna noodles (drain and rinse in cold water);brown meat (if using sausage, skin and slice thin before browning)
In 9×12 pan, place layer of noodles cover with 4-5 spoonsfuls of ricotta then 1/3 of meat; then ¼ of sauce then repeat layers of noodles/ricotta/meat/sauce and ending with sauce on noodles and toping with mozzarella cheese slices.
Cover with foil and freeze; to cook thaw in refrigerator and then bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
Chicken Pot Pie (this recipe actually made 2 pies each…we had extra crust and just put the filling in…presto)
2 pie crusts; 1-10oz bag frozen peas and carrots;½ c chopped onions;½ c chopped fresh mushrooms; ½ c marg or butter; 1/3 c flour; ½ tsp marjoram (or thyme); 1/3 tsp pepper; 2 c chicken broth; ¾ c milk; 3 cups cubed chicken
Cook the peas and carrots according to the directions. While cooking, melt the butter and cook the onions and mushrooms until they are tender; stir in the flour, marjoram and pepper. It is thick. Then add the chicken broth and milk. Cook and stir until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Finally add the drained peas and carrots, chicken. Heat until mixture is again bubbly.
Spoon mixture into prepared pie bottom and top with pie crust top. Wrap for freezer and double wrap with foil. To use: thaw in the frige. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 min or until crust is golden.
Green Chile Enchilada Casserole
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves; garlic salt to taste; 18 (6 inch) corn tortillas, torn in half ; 1 (28 ounce) can green chile enchilada sauce; 1 (16 ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese ; 1 (8 ounce) container reduced fat sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
Season chicken with garlic salt. Arrange in the prepared baking dish. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Cool, shred, and set aside. (or however you want to get shredded chicken…I cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot and then added garlic salt to the shredded chicken once done)
With metal tongs, char each tortilla half over the open flame of a gas stove burner for about 1 minute, until lightly puffed. (we didn’t feel the need to do this, just used corn tortilla’s from the bag).
Pour about 1/2 inch enchilada sauce in the bottom of a medium baking dish, and arrange 6 tortillas in a single layer. Top with 1/2 the chicken, 1/3 cheese, 1/2 the sour cream, and 1/3 of the remaining enchilada sauce. Repeat. Coat remaining tortillas thoroughly with remaining enchilada sauce, and arrange on top of the layers. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, and top with any remaining enchilada sauce
- Cover, and bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool slightly before serving.