Monday, March 9, 2009

Baked Ziti

8 ounces sliced pepperoni
1 pound lean ground beef
8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
4 1/2 ounces canned mushrooms
16 ounces uncooked ziti (or penne) pasta
1 jar spaghetti sauce (any preferred garlic flavored sauce - I used Bertolli Olive Oil & Garlic)

Brown ground beef; drain and set aside. Cook ziti; drain and set aside. Meanwhile, spread 1 cup spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish. Then layer the ingredients (ziti, pepperoni, ground beef, mushrooms, sliced mozzarella, spaghetti sauce . . .) like a lasagna, ending with 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese on top. 

To Bake: Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let the dish sit for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.

To Freeze: Prepare ziti as indicated above. After spreading the shredded mozzarella on top, cover tightly with plastic wrap, carefully pressing out as much air as possible, then with heavy duty aluminum foil and freeze. If desired, you can split the recipe between 2 8X8 disposable aluminum baking pans. Then, once you cover with the aluminum foil, you can put each pan inside a gallon-sized ziploc freezer bag before freezing.

Frozen Preparation: Defrost in refrigerator. Unwrap pan of ziti completely and bake (on a baking sheet) in the middle of a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. *You may want to cover the ziti with aluminum foil if the top is getting too brown. 

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lasagna al Pesto

Recipe from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen

40 minutes to prepare 
50 minutes to bake

About 16 lasagna noodles
1 pound fresh (or 2 10-oz. packages frozen chopped spinach)
2 pounds (4 cups) ricotta cheese
1 cup pesto
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced (depending upon how much garlic is in the pesto)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper to taste
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound mozzarella cheese grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Cook noodles 4 to 5 minutes (they will be undercooked). Wash and chop spinach or thaw and drain frozen spinach. Place ricotta in a large bowl. Stir in the spinach, pesto, garlic, salt, black pepper, and Parmesan cheese.

To assemble: beginning with noodles, layer noodles, filling, mozzarella; repeat. Finish with spinach mixture and mozzarella. Bake for 50 minutes. If the top browns too quickly, cover with foil.

To Freeze: Once the assembly is finished, wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil and place inside a gallon-sized ziploc freezer bag. Freeze.

Frozen Preparation: Defrost lasagna in refrigerator. Unwrap. Place on a baking sheet in the middle of a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 50 minutes or until filling is hot. If the top browns too quickly, cover with foil.

Chicken Pie

3 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 refrigerated pie crust (the kind you roll out, not the ready-made)

Boil chicken breasts until completely done and tender (about 20-30 minutes). (*I usually boil them in 2 cans of chicken broth, with about 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 bay leaf, and a pinch of sage, with enough water added to make sure the liquid covers the chicken; but you can boil them in water alone.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8X8 baking dish or other shallow oblong baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

Remove chicken breasts from liquid and put onto a plate. Using two forks, shred the chicken breasts. Spread the shredded chicken over the bottom of the greased baking dish.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, salt and pepper (empty the soup into the bowl first, then fill the soup can with chicken broth and pour in with the soup - the average can of chicken broth is a little bit too much liquid; the amount of soup and broth should be equal) until well blended. Pour the soup and broth mixture over the shredded chicken in the baking dish. 

Unroll one refrigerated pie crust and place on top of the baking dish, making sure the entire baking dish is covered. Trim any excess pastry from the sides of the baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is hot and bubbly. (You may want to put your baking dish on a baking sheet to avoid a messy oven if the filling bubbles over.)

To Freeze: After trimming pie crust, wrap the baking dish in heavy duty aluminum foil and place inside a gallon-sized ziploc freezer bag. Freeze.

Frozen Preparation: Remove chicken pie from freezer and unwrap (no need to defrost). Place on baking sheet in a preheated 350 degrees oven. Bake, uncovered, for approximately 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is hot and bubbly. 

Pasta Bolognese

Recipe from Rachael Ray

1 1/2 pounds extra-lean ground beef or ground beef, pork and veal mix
Cracked black pepper, to taste
6 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 pinches all-spice
3/4 medium Spanish onion, finely minced
1 1/2 cups canned low-sodium, no-fat beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
42 ounces crushed tomatoes (or 1 1/2 28-oz. cans)
Large palmful chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 pounds penne or rigatoni pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese

In a large dutch oven, brown the meat, seasoned with a little black pepper over medium-high heat. Drain (unless you are using extra-lean meat and almost no fat cooks out). Add garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and all-spice to the browned meat. Add onion. Cook another 3 to 5 minutes to soften the onion. Add broth and wine. Add tomatoes and parsley. Reduce heat to low and simmer while you cook the pasta. Drain the pasta. Toss the sauce with the pasta. Serve with grated cheese sprinkled on top of pasta.

Serves 6.

Frozen Preparation: Defrost sauce in the refrigerator or in microwave. Heat in a saucepan or dutch oven on the stove until warmed through. Cook pasta until al dente. Serve sauce over pasta.

Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin

16 ounces extra-lean pork tenderloin
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds**

Trim excess fat from pork. Place in a gallon-sized ziploc freezer bag.

Mix the soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Add to bag. Coat pork well. Marinate for 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. 

Remove pork from marinade. Pat dry. Combine honey and sugar. Brush over pork. Coat pork with sesame seeds. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

Slice thinly and serve.

To Freeze: Prepare pork in bag as indicated above. Add the soy sauce, ginger and garlic mixture. Press as much air as possible out of the bag and seal. Freeze.

Frozen Preparation: Defrost pork completely in refrigerator. Remove pork from marinade. Pat dry. Combine honey and sugar. Brush over pork. Coat pork with sesame sees. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Slice thinly and serve.

**Look for sesame seeds in the grocery store on the international foods aisle with the asian cooking ingredients. Often you can find a large container of them for a fraction of the price of the tiny bottles of sesame seeds found in the spices section.

Shrimp with Feta Over Orzo

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 medium tomatoes, seeded, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3/4 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
4 bay leaves
A dash of crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup crumbled feta cheese 
Cooked orzo

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add garlic and tomatoes and saute over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, wine, oregano, bay leaves and red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

Add shrimp. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until shrimp is done, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; discard bay leaves.

Season to taste with pepper. Spoon over orzo. Sprinkle with feta cheese.

Yield: 6 servings.

To Freeze: Prepare as indicated above, omitting shrimp. Cool tomato mixture completely. Spoon into gallon-sized ziploc freezer bag, being careful to press as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing, and lay flat on a cookie sheet to freeze.

Frozen Preparation: Defrost tomato mixture. Heat in a large non-stick skillet until hot. Meanwhile, defrost a 2 pound bag of raw shrimp (it is very important to get "raw" shrimp and not "cooked" shrimp), peel and devein. Add shrimp to the tomato mixture. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until shrimp is done (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat, discard bay leaves. Season to taste with pepper. Spoon over orzo. Sprinkle with feta cheese.

Chicken Tetrazzini

Recipe from Cooking Light

1 tablespoon butter
Cooking spray
1 cup finely chopped onion
2/3 cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 (8 oz. each) packages pre-sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup dry sherry
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 (14.5 oz. each) cans fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
2 1/4 cups (9 oz.) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup (4 oz.) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
7 cups hot cooked vermicelli (about 1 pound uncooked pasta)
4 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large stockpot coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, pepper, salt and mushrooms; saute 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add sherry; cook 1 minute. Lightly spoon flour into a measuring cup; level with a knife. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add 1 3/4 cups Parmesan cheese and cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until cream cheese melts. Add the pasta and the chicken, and stir until blended. Divide the pasta mixture between 2 (8-inch square) aluminum baking dishes coated with cooking spray. Combine 1/2 cup bread crumbs with 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese; sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove casserole from oven, let stand 15 minutes.

Yield: 2 casseroles, 6 servings each

To Freeze Unbaked Casserole: After spreading bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese over casseroles, cool them completely in the refrigerator.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Store in freezer up to 2 months.

To Prepare Frozen Unbaked Casserole: Thaw casserole completely in refrigerator (about 24 hours). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove foil; reserve foil. Remove plastic wrap; discard plastic wrap. Cover casserole with reserved foil; bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 1 hour or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes.

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Recipe from Janet Rush-Pugh, Biloxi, Mississippi

1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and sorted
7 cups water
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 - 1 pound andouille or kielbasa sausage, sliced
3 tablespoons Creole seasoning
Hot cooked rice
Garnish: sliced green onions

Place first 8 ingredients in a 4-quart slow cooker. Cook, covered, at high for 7 hours or until beans are tender (check after 5 1/2 hours to avoid over-cooking). Serve with hot cooked rice. Garnish, if desired. Yield: 3 1/2 quarts.

To Freeze: In a large frying pan combine bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic. Add 1 1/2 cups water and heat over medium heat 5 minutes. Cool completely. Spoon into gallon-sized ziploc freezer bag, being careful to press out as much air as possible before sealing, and lay flat on a cookie sheet to freeze.

Frozen Preparation: Pour 5 1/2 cups warm water into a 4-quart slow cooker. Add dried beans, frozen vegetables, Creole seasoning, and sausage. Cook, covered, on high for 7 hours or until beans are tender (check after 5 1/2 hours to avoid over-cooking). Serve with hot cooked rice. Garnish if desired.

Nancy's Taco Salad

1 pound lean ground beef 
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 cup drained red kidney beans
Iceberg lettuce, chopped (not too finely)
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup green and/or red bell peppers, chopped
Salad dressing (see recipe below)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sliced black olives
Avocado chunks
Tortilla chips

Cook 1 pound ground beef and drain well. Add 1 package taco seasoning mix and cook according to package directions. Add 1 cup drained red kidney beans. Let sit until the beef mixture comes to room temperature.

Meanwhile, combine lettuce, tomatoes and peppers in a separate bowl. On each person's plate, spread a layer of salad, then a layer of meat and beans on top. Add shredded cheddar cheese, sliced black olives, and avocado chunks on top of the meat and beans. Pour salad dressing, to taste, over all. Serve with tortilla chips.

Salad Dressing 
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
9 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ketchup

Pour wet ingredients into a small bowl or salad dressing shaker. Add dry ingredients and whisk or shake well until thoroughly mixed.


Recipe from Paul Prudhomme

1 thin slice country ham
4 cups okra, sliced thin or 1 bag frozen
2 cups chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 teaspoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound andouille or kielbasa sausage, cut into 1-inch slices
4 cups water
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cooked rice

Cut ham into small pieces. Saute lightly in a skillet. Add okra and brown lightly, stirring constantly. Add onions, garlic, parsley, tomato sauce and tomatoes. Let simmer for a few minutes. Add shrimp, water, seafood seasoning, sausage, red pepper, salt and pepper. Let cook for 1 hour over very low heat.

Serve over cooked rice.

To Freeze: Prepare recipe according to instructions above, omitting the okra and shrimp. Cool completely in the refrigerator. Spoon into a gallon-sized ziploc bag, being careful to press as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing, and lay flat on a cookie sheet to freeze. 

Frozen Preparation: Defrost gumbo in the refrigerator. Empty into dutch oven or large saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until hot. Meanwhile, thaw one bag frozen okra. Brown okra lightly in a skillet (okra will not get "brown" in the traditional sense; you are simply cooking it lightly). Add okra to gumbo. Thaw one 2-pound bag frozen raw shrimp (it is very important to get "raw" shrimp and not "cooked" shrimp); peel and devein. Add shrimp to gumbo. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until shrimp is cooked. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Boeuf Bourguignon

Recipe from Julia Child

6-oz. chunk of bacon
9- to 10-inch fireproof casserole 3 inches deep
1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups of a full-bodied young red wine such as Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux-St. Emilion, Burgundy or Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
A crumbled bay leaf
18 to 24 small white onions, brown-braised in stock
1 pound quartered fresh mushroom sauteed in butter (2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil)
Parsley sprigs

Boiled potatoes are usually served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as those suggested above.

Remove rind, and cut bacon into lardoons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Saute the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you saute the beef.

Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Saute it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sauteing fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust). Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.

Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. *Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.

For Immediate Serving: Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

For Later Serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

To Freeze: Cool completely in refrigerator and spoon into a gallon-sized ziploc bag, being careful to press as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing. Lay flat on a cookie sheet to freeze.

Frozen Preparation: Defrost in refrigerator and follow the "For Later Serving" instructions above.

Chicken Enchiladas

From OAMC Freezer Supper Swappers

4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pint sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 (7 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup chopped  green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
approximately 10 corn tortillas
Enchilada sauce, 1 recipe (or one store-bought jar)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a medium saucepan, combine chicken, onion, sour cream, cheddar cheese, parsley, oregano and ground black pepper. Heat until cheese melts. Stir in tomato sauce, salt, chili powder, green pepper and garlic. Roll even amounts of the mixture in the tortillas. 

To Bake: Arrange in a 9X13 inch baking dish (if you have extra mixture left over, distribute it evenly over enchiladas). Cover with enchilada sauce and 3/4 cup cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees 30-40 minutes.

To Freeze: Roll each filled tortilla in plastic wrap and then heavy duty aluminum foil. Place in gallon-sized ziploc bag and freeze flat. 

Frozen Preparation: Remove as many enchiladas as desired from the freezer (no need to defrost) and arrange in a 9X13 inch baking dish. Cover with enchilada sauce and 3/4 cup cheddar cheese. Bake 45 to 60 minutes at 350 degrees.

Enchilada Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 cup salsa
1 (7 oz) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onion, oregano, chili powder, basil, ground black pepper, salt, cumin, parsley, salsa and tomato sauce. Mix together and then stir in the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Chicken & Broccoli Braid

Recipe from Pampered Chef

2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 clove garlic, pressed
4 oz shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp All-Purpose Dill Mix  or 1 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp salt
2 (8 oz) pkg Crescent Rolls
1 egg white, beaten
2 tbls slivered almonds 

Preheat oven to 375.  In medium bowl, combine chicken and broccoli.  Add red bell pepper, garlic, and cheese.  In small separate bowl, mix mayonnaise, dill, and salt.  Add to chicken mixture and combine well. Unfold crescent rolls into 2 large sections, do not separate. Arrange dough on a large rectangle baking stone or jelly roll pan, with longest sides of rectangles across width of pan.  Seal seams.  Starting on longest side of pan, cut sides of dough into 8 strips, approx 1 1/2 inches wide and 3 inches long.  Scoop filling evenly over center of dough.  Starting at one end, lift one strip of dough, twist one turn and lay across top of filling. Repeat, alternating strips of dough to form a braid.  Fold bottom edges of dough up at ends of braid. Brush braid with egg white.  Sprinkle with almonds.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Serves 8.

Freezer Method:  Prepare chicken and broccoli mixture as directed above. Scoop mixture into gallon freezer bag.  Remove all air, seal, and freeze. Have crescent rolls, egg, and almonds on hand for serving day.

Serving Day:  Thaw chicken and broccoli mixture.  Finish preparing as directed above.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tips & Tidbits

Conversions, Yields, & Equivalents

Liquid Measures 
1/2 oz = 1 tbls = 3 tsp
1 oz = 2 tbls = 6 tsp = 1/8 cup
2 oz = 4 tbls = 12 tsp = 1/4 cup
3 oz = 6 tbls = 18 tsp 
4 oz = 8 tbls = 24 tsp = 1/2 cup
5 oz = 10 tbls = 30 tsp
6 oz = 12 tbls = 36 tsp = 3/4 cup
8 oz = 16 tbls = 48 tsp = 1 cup = 1/2 pt = 1/4 qt
16 oz = 2 cups = 1 pt = 1/2 qt 
32 oz = 4 cups = 2 pt = 1 qt = 1/4 gal
64 oz = 8 cups = 4 pt = 2 qt = 1/2 gal
128 oz = 16 cups = 8 pt = 4 qt = 1 gal

Dry Measures
3 tsp = 1 tbls
6 tsp = 2 tbls = 1/8 cup
12 tsp = 4 tbls = 1/4 cup
16 tsp = 5 1/3 tbls = 1/3 cup
24 tsp = 8 tbls = 1/2 cup
32 tsp = 10 2/3 tbls = 2/3 cup
36 tsp = 12 tbls = 3/4 cup
48 tsp = 16 tbls = 1 cup

Common Measures
dash or pinch = less than 1/8 tsp
3 tsp = 1 tbls
4 tbls = 1/4 cup
5 tbls + 1 tsp = 1/3 cup
8 tbls = 1/2 cup
1 cup = 1/2 pt
2 cups = 1 pt
4 cups = 2 pt = 1 qt
16 oz = 1 lb

Yields & Equivalents
Apples, 1 medium = 1 cup sliced or chopped
Apples, 1 lb = 3 medium
Apricots, 5 oz dried halves = 1 cup
Asaragus, 1 lb = 16-20 stalks
Bacon, 8 crisply cooked slices = 1/2 cup crumbled
Bananas, 1 medium or 2 small = 1 cup sliced
Bananas, 2 medium = 1 cup mashed
Beans, 1 lb dried or 2 1/4 cups = 5 -6 cups cooked
Beans, 1 lb green or waxed = 3 cups pieces (1") 
Bread, 1 lb white loaf = 12 slices (1/2") 
Bread, 1 1/2 slices white = 1 cup soft crumbs
Bread, 4-5 slices white dried = 1 cup dry crumbs
Broccoli, 1 1/2 lb = 1 bunch
Broccoli, 6 oz = 2 cups flowerets chopped
Butter, 1 lb = 2 cups
Butter, 1 stick = 1/2  cup
Cabbage, 1 lb or small head = 4 cups shredded
Carrots, 1 and 1/2 medium = 1 cup shredded
Carrots, 1 large carrot - 1 cup grated
Carrots, 2 medium = 1 cup slice (1/4")
Carrots, 1 lb raw = 2 1/2 cups sliced
Cauliflower, 1 lb = 3 cups flowerets
Celery, 2 medium stalks = 1 cup thinly sliced or chopped
Cheese, 4 oz (Cheddar, feta, mozzarella, Swiss) = 1 cup shredded or crumbled
Cheese, 1 lb = 4 cups grated
Cheese, 16 oz Cottage = 2 cups
Cheese, 8 oz Cream = 1 cup
Chocolate, 6 oz unsweetened chips = 1 cup
Chocolate, 1 oz semisweet baking = 1 square or bar
Corn, 2 medium ears = 1 cup kernals
Cream, 8 oz Sour = 1 cup
Cream, 1/2 pt Heavy Whipping = 1 cup or 2 cups whipped
Crumbs, 27 Chocolate wafer cookies = 1 1/2 cups finely crushed
Crumbs, 21 squares Graham crackers = 1 1/2 cups finely crushed
Crumbs, 29 Saltine cracker squares = 1 cup finely crushed
Crumbs, 38 Vanilla wafer cookies = 1 1/2 cups finely crushed
Eggs, 4 large = 1 cup
Eggs, 1/4 cup fat free egg substitute = 1 egg
Flour, 1 lb = 3 1/2 cups
Garlic, 1 medium clove = 1/2 tsp finely chopped
Jalapeno chili, 1 medium = 1 1/2 - 3 tsp grated peel
Jalapeno chili, 1 medium = 2 - 3 tbls juice
Lemons/Limes, 1 medium = 1 1/2 to 3 tsp grated peel
Lemons/Limes, 1 medium = 2 to 3 tbls juice
Lettuce, 1 lb Iceberg or Romaine = 6 cups bite-size pieces
Marshmallow, 1 large = 10 miniature
Meat, 1 to 1 1/4 lbs uncooked lean beef, turkey or sausage = 2 1/2 - 3 cups cooked & crumbled
Meat, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs uncooked chicken breasts= about 3 cups cooked & cubed
Meat, 4 lb cooked, deboned whole chicken = 4 1/2 cups diced
Meat, 1 lb cubed ham= 3 cups
Mushrooms, 3 oz fresh = 1 cup sliced
Mushrooms, 1 lb fresh = 6 cups sliced
Mushrooms, 8 oz fresh = 2 1/2 cups chopped
Mushrooms, 4 oz can sliced/drained = 2/3 cup fresh, sliced & cooked (5 oz uncooked)
Nuts, 4 oz shelled = 1 cup chopped, sliced, or slivered
Nuts, 1 lb shelled = 3-4 cups whole or halves
Olives, 24 large or 36 small Pimiento-stuffed = 1 cup sliced
Olives, 32 medium ripe, pitted = 1 cup sliced
Onions, 2 medium green = 2 tbls chopped
Onions, 3-4 medium green = 1/4 cup sliced
Onions, 1 medium yellow or white = 1/2 cup chopped
Onions, 1 large yellow = 1 cup chopped
Oranges, 1 medium = 1-2 tbls grated peel
Oranges, 1 medium = 1/3 - 1/2 cup juice
Oranges, 3 medium = 1 cup juice
Pasta, 6-7 oz uncooked (2 cups) Macaroni = 4 cups cooked
Pasta, 7 oz uncooked (4-5 cups) Egg Noodles = 4 cups cooked
Pasta, 7-8 oz uncooked Spaghetti = 4 cups cooked
Peaches, 8 medium = 4 cups sliced
Peppers, 1 small bell = 1/2 cup chopped
Peppers, 1 medium bell = 1 cup chopped
Peppers, 1 large bell = 1 1 /2 cups chopped
Potatoes, 1 1/2 lb new = 10-12 small
Potatoes, 1 medium red or white = 1 cup pieces (1/2")
Rice, 1 cup uncooked brown = 4 cups cooked
Rice, 1 cup uncooked parboiled = 3-4 cups cooked
Rice, 1 cup uncooked instant = 2 cups cooked
Rice, 1 cup uncooked regular long grain = 3 cups cooked
Rice, 1 cup uncooked wild = 3 cups cooked
Shrimp, 1 lb uncooked jumbo = 21-25 count
Shrimp, 1 lb uncooked large = 31-35 count
Shrimp, 1 lb uncooked medium = 41-45 count
Shrimp, 1 lb uncooked small = 51-60 count
Shrimp, 1 1/3 lb uncooked shrimp = 1 lb cooked shrimp shelled
Strawberries, 1 pint = 2 cups sliced
Sugar, 1 lb brown = 2 1/4 cups packed
Sugar, 1 lb granulated = 2 1/4 cups
Sugar, 1 lb powdered = 4 cups
Tomatoes, 1 medium = 3/4 cup chopped
Tomatoes, 1 large = 1 cup chopped
Tomatoes, 1 small = 1/2 cup chopped
Tomatoes, 16 oz canned = 2 cups
Whipping cream, 1 cup heavy = 2 cups whipped
Zucchini, 1 lb  = 1 1/2 cups diced

Herb Chicken Marinade

1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup white wine
2 TBS minced onions
1-2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp tarragon
1/4 tsp thyme
salt & pepper 

6 chicken breasts

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and place in a zip lock freezer bag with the chicken. Let marinate over night. (may freeze like this)

These are best if thawed and then grilled but if a grill is not an option you may bake at 350 degrees for 45 min to an hour. I would bake uncovered with a little to no marinade.

Butternut Squash Soup

2 1/2  pounds butternut squash
2 TBS butter
2 carrots sliced
1 onion chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
2 potatoes peeled & cubed
5-6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp curry powder (normally I use 3)
pinch of nutmeg 
pinch of ginger
sour cream for garnish

Cube squash and set aside. Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add carrots, onions, celery and saute till soft. Stir the squash and potatoes into the veggies. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer partially covered for 40 minutes. Add curry, nutmeg, and ginger. Puree in batches and return to the sauce pan. Add more stock if needed. Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream.

Frozen version: Thaw and place in a sauce pan on stove top. Stir to recombine and possibly add more chicken stock if too thick, depends on how you like it. It is better a tad thick. 

Pasta with Sausage & Peppers From The Silver Palate

2 lbs sweet Italian sausage

3 TBS best-quality olive oil

1 cup finely chopped yellow onions

3 sweet red peppers, stemmed, ribs and seeds removed cut into medium –size julienne

1 cup dry red wine

1 can (2 lbs, 3 oz ) Italian plum tomatoes, including liquid

1 cup water

1 TBS dried oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Dried red pepper flakes

1 tsp fennel seeds

½ cup chopped Italian parsley

6 or more garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped

  • Prick the sausage links all over with the tines of a fork and put them in a pot with ½ inch of water. Set the pot over medium heat and simmer the sausages, uncovered, in the water for about 20 minutes. Eventually the pot will boil dry and the sausages will begin to fry in their own fat. Turn them occasionally and cook for another 10 minutes, or until they are well browned. Remove sausages from the pot and drain them on paper toweling.
  • Pour sausage fat out of the pot but do not wash the pot. Set it over low heat, add the olive oil and onions and cook them, covered until tender about 25 minutes
  • Add the peppers, raise the heat and cook uncovered for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the wine, tomatoes, water, oregano, and thyme and season to taste with salt , black pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, slice the sausages into ½ inch thick rounds. When the sauce has simmered for 30 minutes add sausages and fennel seeds and simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes.
  • Add parsley and chopped garlic and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve with Penne

Other serving suggestions are plain with just sprinkles of fresh parmesan; or a dollop of ricotta and fresh pepper grinds

Roast Pork with Apricot & Shallot Stuffing from Gourmet

Serves 6

Active time: 30 min                                                                         

start to finish is 11/2 hours

4 slices firm white sandwich bread

½ cup chopped shallots (3 large)

2 TBS unsalted butter

½ lb firm-ripe apricots (3 large) cut into 1/3 inch pieces

2 TBS chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

1 (3 lb) center cut boneless pork loin roast (3 ½ inches in diameter), not tied

2 TBS vegetable oil

½ cup water


Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

Make stuffing

Ø  Cut just enough bread into 1/3 inch pieces to measure 1 cup and spread evenly in a shallow baking pan. Toast bread in middle of oven, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Leave oven on for pork.

Ø  Cook shallots in butter in a large non stick skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened about 10 minutes. Add apricots and cook about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in bread, parsley, salt, and pepper.


Stuff and Roast Pork

Ø  Make a hole for stuffing that runs lengthwise through pork loin: beginning in middle of 1 end of roast, insert a sharp long thin knife lengthwise toward center of loin, then repeat at opposite end of loin to complete incision running through the middle.

Ø  Open up incision with your fingers, working from both ends, to create a 1 ½ inch wide opening, then pack with all of the stuffing, pushing from both ends towards center.

Ø  Pat pork dry and season well with salt and pepper

Ø  Heat oil in a 12inch heavy skillet over high heat until very hot and just smoking, then brown pork on all sides about 2 minutes. Transfer to a roasting pan and roast  in the middle of oven until a meat thermometer inserted diagonally 2 inches in to meat (avoid stuffing) registers 160 degrees , 45-50 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 20 minutes.

Ø  While loin is standing straddle roasting pan across two burners. Add ½ cup water and deglaze pan by boiling over moderate heat, scrapping up brown bits.

Ø  Slice meat and serve with sauce.

Filling for Stuffed Pasta

Recipe from Don't Panic: Dinner's in the Freezer

1 lb (2 cups) ricotta cheese
1 tbls parsley
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
8-10 manicotti shells or 30 jumbo shells
Jarred Marinara
Parmesan cheese, to taste

Cook and drain pasta.  In large bowl, mix first 7 ingredients. Fill shells with cheese mixture. Coat bottom of 9x13 baking dish with enough marinara sauce to just cover.  Place shells over sauce.  Pour remaining sauce over shells. Top with cheese and bake at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Serves 8-10.

Freezer Method:  Prepare according to above directions, omitting cheese topping and baking process.  Cover well with saran wrap and then tin foil. Remove all air, seal, and freeze.  Have cheese garnish on hand for serving day.

Serving Day:  Thaw 24 hours before preparing.  Remove saran wrap from shells.  Top with cheese and bake according to above directions.  

Pasta e Fagioli

4-5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbls olive oil
1 and 1/2 carrots, finely chopped
1 and 1/2 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 stems fresh rosemary, left whole
several sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped & chopped (2-3 tbls)
coarse salt and pepper, to taste
4 (14 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth
2 (15 oz) cans cannelloni beans, rinsed & drained
1 1/2 cups ditalini noodles, uncooked or elbow macaroni, uncooked
grated Romano or Parmesan cheese, to taste

Heat garlic in olive over medium heat in deep pot. Add vegetable, rosemary stems, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add beans and ditalini. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes, until noodles are al dente. Serve immediately with a generous amount of cheese and crusty bread. Serves 6.

To Freeze: Prepare recipe according to directions, excluding the ditalini noodles and cheese. Cool veggie-broth mixture completely. Ladle into gallon freezer bag. Remove all air, seal, and freeze. Have on hand ditalini noodles and cheese for serving day.

Serving Day: Thaw veggie-broth mixture. Pour into deep pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add ditalini noodles. Finish according to above directions.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shrimp Scampi

Recipe from Cooking Light

2 lbs frozen uncooked large shrimp, peeled & deveined
4 tbls butter
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4-8 cloves garlic, minced (to taste)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
1 loaf frozen French bread (Artisan style)

Preheat oven and bake French bread according to package directions. Thaw shrimp under cold running water in colander and drain.  Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat, saute red bell pepper and garlic until sizzling (approx 4 minutes). Add white wine, parsley, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and paprika;  bring to a simmer.  Add shrimp and cook approx 5 minutes until shrimp are pink. Serve with French bread.  Serves 6.

Freezer Method:  Mix together butter (softened), red bell pepper, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and paprika (omit wine and lemon juice until serving day).  Scoop into quart size freezer baggie;  Remove all air, seal, and freeze.  Have on hand for serving day: frozen shrimp, French bread, butter mixture, white wine, and lemon juice.  

Serving Day:  Thaw butter mixture and shrimp.  Heat butter mixture in large skillet, adding in the white wine and lemon juice.  Finish cooking according to above directions.

Grilled Lime Chicken

1 cup corn oil
1 cup fresh lime juice
5 tbls chopped onion
5 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
2 tsp salt
dash Accent (opt)
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine oil, lime juice, onion, tarragon, Tabasco, salt, and Accent (if using).  Reserve enough marinade for basting, if desired.  Add chicken to marinade, turning to coat.  Marinate, covered, in refrigerator for 6 hours or longer, turning frequently.  Preheat grill.  Drain chicken and place on grill.  Grill for 25-30 minutes until done, turning and basting frequently with reserved marinade.  Serves 6-8.

Freezer Method:  Combine marinade in gallon freezer bag; add chicken. Remove all air, seal, and freeze.

Serving Day:  Thaw chicken 24 hours before preparing.  Follow grilling directions above. (Do not use marinade for basting unless reserved some in separate bag).

Chicken Kiev

Seasoned Butter:
1/2 lb softened butter
2 tbls chopped chives
2 tbls chopped parsley
1 tbls lemon juice
1/2 tsp Accent (opt)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp pepper

Chicken Bundles:
4 chicken breasts;  halved, skinned, boned, and pounded flat
8 slices Canadian bacon
8 seasoned butter ball (above)
1 beaten egg (or buttermilk)
5-6 cups crushed Cornflake crumbs 

Prepare seasoned butter ball mixture and divide into 8 equal-sized balls.  For each chicken breast:  place slice of Canadian bacon on breast and top with a butter ball; roll up snugly, tucking in ends.  Dip in egg and roll in cornflake crumbs.  Bake, uncovered, in 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.  Serves 8.   

Freezer Method:  Prepare chicken bundles according to above directions, omitting egg and cornflake crumb steps (will do on serving day).  Wrap each chicken bundle individually in plastic cling wrap, sealing out all air. Place chicken bundles in gallon freezer bag and place cornflake crumbs in quart freezer bag;  attach together and freeze.  Have egg or buttermilk on hand for serving day.

Serving Day:  Thaw chicken bundles 24 hours before preparing.  Unwrap bundles and dip in beaten egg and cornflake crumbs. Bake according to above directions.  

Krista Kett's Taco Soup

1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 can Rotel tomatoes
2 cans stewed tomatoes
2 cans corn with liquid
1 can Ranch Pinto Beans with jalapenos (optional) 
1 pack Ranch dressing mix
1 pack taco season mix 
2 1/2 cups water
1 TBS cumin (optional)
Brown and drain the beef, onions and peppers. Add the other ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar and tortilla chips. Serve immediately!

Pulled Pork BBQ

6 lb bone-in pork roast or fresh picnic ham*
2 cups water
1 large onion, sliced

Place pork roast in slow cooker; add water and onions.  Cook, covered, on low for 8-10 hours. Drain the roast and discard the liquid.  Let stand until slightly cooled.  Remove pork from bone, removing any excess fat.  Shred pork and return to slow cooker.

BBQ Sauce:
1 cup ketchup** 
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6 tbls vinegar
2 tbls fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce**
2 tsp prepared mustard
2 tbls chili powder
1 onion, chopped

Combine ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, chili powder, and chopped onion in bowl; mix well.  Pour mixture over shredded pork and gently mix. Cook, covered, on high for 3 hours or low for 4 hours.  Serve with buns.  Serves 10-12.

*Can substitute approx 4 pork tenderloins for the pork roast if desire a leaner cut of meat.  
**For saucier BBQ:  use 1 3/4 cups of the ketchup and 1/3 cup of the Worcestershire sauce. 

Freezer Method:  Prepare BBQ as directed.  Let cool.  Scoop mixture into gallon or quart size freezer bags. Remove all air, seal, and freeze.

Serving Day:  Thaw BBQ mixture and gently heat in skillet.

Kentucky Spiced Pork Tenderloins

Recipe from Joy of Cooking

2 pork tenderloins, trimmed
1 tbls sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
olive oil

Mix all spices together.  Rub olive oil over tenderloins.  Rub with spices until coated.  Marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Grill for approx 16 minutes, turning every 4 minutes until done. Serves 6.

Freezer Method:  Place trimmed tenderloins in gallon freezer bag; remove all air, seal, and freeze.  Mix spice rub and place in quart freezer bag; attach bag to tenderloins. Have olive oil on hand for serving day.

Serving Day:  Thaw tenderloins 24 hours before preparing.  Cook according to above directions.

*Note: You can pan-fry the tenderloins if desired.  Before rubbing with oil and spices, cut tenderloins in half lengthwise and in half again crosswise to create 4 pieces per loin;  lightly flatten.  Coat pieces with oil and spice rub. Dredge pieces in flour to lightly coat.  Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; coating pan with a little bit of oil.  Working in batches, saute until done, approx 3-4 minutes each side.  Remove cooked pieces and transfer to paper towel-lined plate.  Use pan drippings to make a gravy if desired. Make rue with a flour/water paste and slowly add to drippings, adding milk as needed.  Cook until flour is cooked out and gravy is thickened.

Honey-Bourbon Pork Tenderloins

Recipe from Cooking Light

2 pork tenderloins, trimmed
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbls grated ginger
2 tbls olive oil
4 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine onion and next 7 ingredients.  Place tenderloins in gallon baggie and marinate at least 30 minutes.  Remove pork from bag and reserve juice for basting.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill approx 16 minutes or until done (up to 30 minutes depending on grill), basting every now and then.  Serves 6.

Freezer Method:  Place tenderloins in gallon freezer bag.  Combine marinade and pour over tenderloins.  Remove all air, seal, and freeze.

Serving Day:  Thaw tenderloins 24 hours before preparing.  Grill according to above directions.

Crock Pot Pork Loin Roast

Recipe from

1 large onion, sliced
2 1/2 lb boneless pork loin roast
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbls red wine vinegar
4 tbls soy sauce
2 tbls ketchup
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic salt
dash Tabasco, to taste

Line bottom of crock pot with onion slices. Place roast on top.  Mix remaining ingredients and pour over roast.  Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours, until tender.  Serves 6.

Freezer Method:  Place roast in gallon freezer bag.  Mix marinade and pour over roast.  Remove all air, seal, and freeze.

Serving Day:  Thaw roast 24-48 hours before preparing.  Place roast and marinade in crock pot. Cook according to above directions.

Saucy Meatballs

Recipe from Cuisine At Home

1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs (fresh ciabatta bread, pulsed)
3/4 cup Asiago cheese, finely grated (can use Romano or Parmesan)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 eggs, beaten
2 tbls dried oregano
1 tbls garlic, minced
1 tbls kosher salt
1 tbls ground black pepper
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (opt)
Pinch nutmeg
2 lb ground chuck
1 cup low-sodium beef broth

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In large bowl: combine bread crumbs, cheese, milk, broth, parsley, eggs, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, red pepper flakes, and nutmeg. Combine ground chuck with bread mixture.  Stir thoroughly with fork.  Shape meatballs (approx 2-inches in diameter) using melon baler.  Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.  Space meatballs on pan so not crowded.  Cover bottom of pan with beef broth.  Bake for 25 minutes or until just cooked through.  Reserve pan juices for tomato sauce (if desired).  Makes 30-36 meatballs.

Freezer Method: 
Opt. 1: Prepare meatballs as directed. Cool completely, flash freeze, and place freezer bag.
Opt.2:  Prepare meatball mixture as directed, omitting the baking process.  Place uncooked mixture in gallon or quart size freezer bag. Remove all air, seal, and freeze.

Serving Day:  
Opt. 1: Thaw and heat meatballs (in oven at 350 until warm, or in a spaghetti sauce if using).  
Opt. 2: Thaw mixture.  Place in bowl and fluff with fork.  Scoop onto baking sheet and bake according to above directions.

Menu Suggestions:  Use as appetizers, for spaghetti & meatballs, or on a sub sandwich.

Hearty Lasagna

Recipe from Cooking Light

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes, undrained & chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can Italian-Style Stewed Tomatoes, undrained & chopped
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper
12 lasagna noodles, cooked & drained
2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup (2 oz) grated Parmesan
1 (15 oz) carton Ricotta cheese
1 large egg white, slightly beaten
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Mozzarella cheese

In dutch oven brown beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain fat and set aside.  Add onion and garlic, saute 5 minutes.  Return beef to pan.  Add 2 tbls parsley, whole tomatoes , and next 6 ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.  Uncover, simmer 20 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Cook lasagna noodles; drain and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine 2 tbls parsley, cottage cheese, Parmesan, Ricotta, and egg white in a bowl.  Spread 3/4 cup of sauce in bottom of greased 9x13 dish. Arrange 4 noodles over sauce; top with half of cottage cheese mixture, 2 1/4 cups of sauce, and 2/3 cup Mozzarella. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread remaining sauce over noodles.  Cover with foil. Reserve 2/3 cup of Mozzarella for topping.  Bake, covered, for 1 hour.  Top with reserved cheese and bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Serves 10-12.

*Can substitute 2 jars of favorite marinara for the garlic, 2 tbls parsley, whole tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, basil, and pepper.  Can also substitute no-bake noodles if desired.

Freezer Method:  Cook lasagna noodles very al dente (3-4 minutes) so that won't get soggy in the freezer. Layer lasagna in 9x13 baking tin according to directions, separately reserving mozzarella topping.  Do not bake.  Cover tightly with layer of plastic wrap and sealing with tin foil; freeze. Place reserved mozzarella in quart freezer bag.  Remove air, seal, and freeze.  

Serving Day:  Thaw lasagna for 24-48 hours.  Remove saran wrap and recover with foil. Bake according to directions.  Top with reserved mozzarella and bake 10 more minutes.  

To bake from frozen: remove saran wrap and replace with foil.  Bake for approximately 2-2 1/2 hours until hot and bubbly. Top with mozzarella and bake 10 more minutes.

Easy Slow Cooker French Dip

Recipe from

2 3/4 lb. rump beef roast
2/3 (10.5 oz) can beef broth
2/3 (10.5 oz) can condensed French Onion Soup
2/3 (12 oz) bottle of beer
6 French Rolls
Butter, to taste

Trim excess fat from roast and place in slow cooker.  Add broth, onion soup, and beer.  Cook, covered, on low for 7 hours.  Preheat heat oven to 350 degrees. Split French rolls and spread with butter. Bake 10 minutes until heated.  Slice meat on the diagonal and place on rolls.  Serve the sauce for dipping.  Serves 6.

Freezer Method:  In large gallon freezer bag combine broth, soup, and beer.  Add rump roast. Remove all air, seal, and freeze.  Have French rolls in freezer for serving day.

Serving Day:  Thaw roast 24-48 hours before preparing.  Follow above cooking directions. 

Beef Stroganoff

1.5 lbs sirloin steak or beef tenderloin
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup minced onion
1/4 cup butter
2 cup water
2 tsp. instant beef bouillon
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
1- 1 1/2 cups sour cream

Cut meat into bite-size pieces. In large skillet, melt butter and cook mushrooms, garlic, and onions until tender. Remove mushroom mixture. In same skillet, brown meat light on both sides. Add mushroom mixture, 1 1/2 cups water, bouillon, Worcestershire, and salt & pepper to skillet. Stir to mix. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes. Blend flour into 1/2 cup water; stir into meat mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Stir in sour cream and heat, but do not allow to boil. Serve over rice or egg noodles. Serves 6.

Freezer Method: Prepare as instructed above, omitting the sour cream (add serving day). Cool mixture and pour into gallon freezer bag. Remove all air, seal, and freeze. Have rice or egg noodles and sour cream on hand for serving day.

Serving Day: Thaw stroganoff mixture 24 hours. Reheat in large skillet over medium heat. Once heated, stir in sour cream. (Do not allow to boil)

Recipe from Tiffany

Tuscan Tortellini Stew

1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (opt)
1 (8 oz) pkg Barilla Three Cheese Tortellini (dried)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced or stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 tbls fresh or 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
Capers, to taste
Kalamata Olives, to taste
4 links Andouille sausages, cut into pieces (or other preferred sausage type)
1/4 cup shredded Romano cheese
Jarred Roasted Red Bell Peppers, to taste

Bring broth, water, and crushed red pepper flakes to boiling. Stir in the tortellini, tomatoes, rosemary, capers, olives, sausage, and bell peppers. Return to boiling.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes until tortellini is tender.  Serve in shallow bowl and top with cheese. Serves 6.

Freezer Method:  In quart size freezer bag, add broth, water, and red pepper flakes. In another quart size freezer bag, add tomatoes, rosemary, capers, olives, sausage, and bell peppers.  Remove all air from bags, seal, and freeze. Have tortellini and cheese on hand for serving day.

Serving Day:  Thaw broth and tomato mixtures.  In dutch oven, bring broth mixture to a boil. Add tomato mixture and return to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer a few minutes; add uncooked tortellini.  Cover and simmer until pasta is cooked, approx 10 minutes. Serve as directed.

Seafood Chowder

Recipe adapted from Pampered Chef

4 medium red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup chopped onions
1 tbls butter
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup diced red bell pepper
2 (14 oz) cans chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups Half & Half
3/4 cup flour (can omit if want more brothy type soup)
1 lb frozen bay scallops
1 lb frozen uncooked shrimp, peeled & deveined
Snipped fresh parsley

Prep veggies.  Melt butter in dutch oven over medium heat;  add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots, celery, bell pepper, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer approx 3 minutes until potatoes are barely tender.  Whisk Half & Half and flour until smooth. Add scallops and shrimp to chowder. Whisk in flour mixture. Return to a boil and cook 2 minutes until thick.  Serves 6-8.

Freezer Method:  Melt butter in dutch oven over medium heat;  add onion and cook 3 minutes.  Add carrots, celery, bell pepper, broth, salt, and pepper.  Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer approx 3 minutes.  Add potatoes and just barely cook.  Remove from heat and cool. Pour veggie-broth mixture in gallon freezer bag.  Remove all air, seal, and freeze. Have on hand for serving day:  frozen scallops, frozen shrimp, veggie-broth mixture, Half & Half, and flour (if using). 

Serving Day:  Thaw veggie-broth mixture, scallops, and shrimp. In dutch oven, bring veggie mixture to just boiling.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are just tender.  Whisk Half & Half and flour mixture in bowl until smooth. Add scallops and shrimp to chowder.  Whisk in flour mixture. Return to a boil and cook 2 minutes until thick.    


2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 pkg chili seasoning
1 (15.5 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed & drained
1 (15.5 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 (40 oz) can tomato juice
2-3 tbls brown sugar

Brown beef and onions, draining off excess fat.  Add chili seasoning and mix well.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer at least 30 minutes.  Serves 6-8.

Freezer Method:  Prepare chili according to above instructions.  Let cool completely.  Ladle soup into gallon freezer bags.  Remove all air, seal, and freeze.

Serving Day:  Thaw chili 24 hours before serving.  Pour into dutch oven and heat until hot.

Mexican Chicken Chili

Recipe adapted from Southern Living

1 jar salsa
2 (32 oz) containers chicken broth
1 (15.5 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed & drained
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 (14.5 oz) can whole corn (or equal amount frozen)
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbls chopped fresh cilantro (opt)
2 tbls fresh lime juice
Garnish: tortilla chips, sour cream, and/or cheddar cheese

In dutch oven bring salsa, broth, beans, chicken, corn, and spices to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and lime juice. Serves 6-8.

Freezer Method A: Prepare according to above directions. Let cool completely. Ladle soup into gallon freezer bags. Remove all air, seal, and freeze.
Freezer Method B: Split above soup ingredients evenly between (2) gallon-size baggies. (Do not cook the soup). Shake bags to mix well. Seal, removing all air and freeze.

Serving Day A: Thaw chili and heat in dutch oven until hot.
Serving Day B: Thaw chili. Pour into dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until hot.

Menu Suggestions: Serve with Southwestern Knots or Cornbread Muffins.

Chicken Alouette

Boneless chicken breast, trimmed and cut in half
Puff pastry, 1/2 sheet for each chicken breast half
Alouette spreadable cheese (galic and herb), 1 to 2 tablespoons per chicken breast half plus more for topping, if desired

To Assemble: Thaw puff pastry at room temperature for 40 minutes. Once thawed, unfold pastry and cut into two rectangular pieces. Spread 1-2 tablespoons Alouette cheese in the center of each rectangle of puff pastry. Place chicken breast half on top of the cheese. Fold pastry around the chicken breast and pinch sides closed (you may need to moisten your fingers with water to get the sides of the pastry to adhere to one another.) 

To Freeze: Wrap each pastry covered chicken breast in plastic wrap and heavy duty aluminum foil. Place packets in a gallon-sized Ziploc freezer bag and lay flat in freezer. When you wish to bake them, thaw as many packets as desired and follow the "Frozen Preparation" instructions below.

To Bake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place each pastry packet seam-side down in an ungreased glass baking dish or in an ungreased shallow baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the chicken is done. If desired, spread 1 tablespoon additional Alouette cheese on top of the pastry packet during the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking. You may need to cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning.

Frozen Preparation: Completely thaw each packet in the refrigerator before baking (up to 24 hours). Completely unwrap each packet, removing both the aluminum foil and the plastic wrap. Bake according to instructions above. Make sure that the pastry is sealed at each seam. If not, slightly moisten fingers with water and pinch the pastry together, sealing the packet on both sides prior to baking.