Archive | February, 2013

Learning Freezer Cooking…Is It Right For You?

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Learning Freezer Cooking…Is It Right For You?

Posted on 15 February 2013 by noelskitchen

I’ve been a full-time working mom since my oldest (turning 21 in August) was born. I worked up until two weeks before he was born then went back to work when he was just 6 weeks old. Not because I wanted to, because financially I had to. And I still had to manage putting a healthy meal on the table for my family.

I’ve learned after having four kids to divide, manage and multi-task in everything I do in the kitchen when it comes to meal planning for my family. That’s when I feel in love with my crock pot and freezer cooking.  I soon discovered how to make some wonderful family meals that I didn’t have to spend a whole lot of time cooking. It’s absolutely wonderful  and stress free for a mom to come home from work  and your family dinner is made and ready.

 

Freezer Cooking For Busy Moms

Freezer Cooking and the Crock Pot

You can start off your freezer cooking with the focus being on one main ingredient like beef or chicken. Most people like to use chicken because it tends to  be cheaper and it’s always on sale. Browse your local grocery store ads for the best deals for your family. Need some ideas on freezer cooking meals for the crock pot? How about:

Grab yourself some zip-loc freezer bags and allow yourself at least 2 to 3 hours in your schedule. Once you get the hang of meal prepping and putting the ingredients together, it may only take you an hour or two. You can do your grocery shopping the day before for all your ingredients so you don’t feel so overwhelmed or the morning of if you have the extra time and feel comfortable. 

Depending on the size of your family, you can divide up each recipe into two zip-loc freezer bags allowing your family 10 meals for the freezer.

Need help with meal planning? Check out A Busy Mom’s Guide to Family Meal Planning. It’s 68-pages of creative ways to provide good quality meals for your family while maintaining your food budget.

 

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A Mom’s Guide To Meal Planning

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A Mom’s Guide To Meal Planning

Posted on 14 February 2013 by noelskitchen

When I wrote my first e-cookbook back in 2010, I had absolutely no idea how much fun  and easy it would be to share some of my family’s comforting foods that are our family’s favorites.  I feel it’s very important for us to record and pass on a little family history when it comes to cooking and recipes are a perfect way to do that.

A Busy Mom’s Guide To Family Meal Planning is a collection of quick and easy recipes your whole family is guaranteed to love! In this cookbook, you’ll find appetizer recipes for your next family party and easy dinner recipes for those busy weeknights. There is nothing more rewarding than spending time in the kitchen cooking  wonderful meals for your family to enjoy! Cooking was meant to be fun!

BusyMomsGuide

I created this e-cookbook for:

  • Everyone.  I have families use this, couples with no kids, single people who share meal preparation duties with their roommates.  You name it, everyone can do this.
  • Families who are busy.  If you don’t have time to cook for an hour each night, this is for you!
  • Families who enjoy simple recipes. My family recipes I share are very simple and basic.  I do recommend that you should always play around with the spices to match your family’s tastes.
  • Families who can spare up to 3 hours on a weekend. Cooking isn’t just for moms, dads and grandmas, get those kids in the kitchen!  This way of cooking and meal preparation does take some up front time.  However, my family has found it to be the best thing for us.
  • Families who need to save money.  Because each of my recipes helps show you are using all of the product that you buy for each recipe and not wasting anything.  Plus, when you buy bigger quantities of something, the cost is typically lower.  Not to mention, fewer stops at fast food joints on the way home from work.

And because–Eating Out Is Expensive…Eating With Family…Priceless!

So what are you waiting for? Go get your copy of A Busy Mom’s Guide To Family Meal Planning HERE!

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Tags: Baking Soda, DIY, , Green Living, Handy How To's, Make It At Home

Baker Soda Shaker…The Frugal Handy Household Helper

Posted on 12 February 2013 by noelskitchen

I no longer use those harsh chemicals to clean my home. I’ve become quite the green living guru when it comes to the cleaning products I now use in my household. First, I started making my own laundry soap and then I started using easy to use homemade cleaning products that are right in my pantry.

 Baking Soda: Good for Cleaning and Economical

Baking soda is my frugal handy household helper and something that I always have on hand in the pantry and I use it quite frequently around my house especially in the kitchen. It’s inexpensive and it has no harsh odor smell when cleaning. Shake a little bit in a pot for soaking overnight, use as a mild abrasive to scrub my kitchen sink or as a deodorizer for my kitchen compost bucket that’s sitting on the counter. Open up a small box in your fridge and freezer and it keeps those nasty odors away. I use it on all my cutting boards with a little bit of water and lemon juice so my board always stays nice,  fresh and clean.

 

How To Make A Baking Soda Shaker

Simple! I had an extra parmesan cheese shaker sitting in the cupboard and filled it with baking soda.  Or if you have a mason jar handy,  fill it with baking soda, screw on the lid and find yourself a hammer and large nail. Tap a few holes in the top and Voila! A baking soda shaker. I place mine on the kitchen window sill next to the herbs and my flower pot.

Considering the cost of baking soda (I can get a 5 lb. container at the Cash and Carry supply store for just $4.39) and the diversity of use, I consider baking soda to be one of the best bargains out there.

What are your frugal cleaning tricks in the kitchen? Do you have baking soda shaker?

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Perfect Crock Pot Roast

Tags: How To Cook A Roast In The Crock Pot, , Sunday Family Dinner,

Perfect Crock Pot Roast

Posted on 11 February 2013 by noelskitchen

One of my favorites childhood memories of Sunday Supper was sitting around the huge family table and having Roast, potatoes, carrots and gravy. It was such a comforting meal, our family had it often on Sundays. Growing up, my grandmother made it in the oven and the amazing aroma in the house made you drool with anticipation of a great comforting meal.

I’ve been know to make a Sunday roast or two in the oven but now my preferred method of cooking it is in the crock pot. I can chop and prepare all the ingredients the night before, put the crock pot in the fridge and it’s ready to go Sunday morning when I’m ready to pull it out and cook it. Of course having Roast for dinner is not just for Sundays. That’s the wonderful thing about cooking it in the crock pot. You can make a Roast any day of the week with a crock pot.

I usually only buy roasts on rare occasions unless I can find a good deal like the BOGO (Buy One Get One FREE) meat sale Raley’s has from time to time or in this case, I used my Raley’s Rewards to purchase two roasts. This was a great deal because the roasts were on sale too.

Crock POt Roast

Perfect Crock Pot Roast

Ingredients:

  • Roast (large enough to feed your family–but always think ahead for leftovers for future meal ideas)
  • 1 onion (I prefer yellow)
  • potatoes, (enough for your family)
  • carrots (enough for your family)
  • 1 Tablespoon (brown gravy mix–homemade recipe sharing later)
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • mushrooms (optional–I had a few on hand in the fridge)

Directions:

  1. Peel your potatoes and carrots.  Slice your potatoes in half then into fourths.  We like ours cut into chunks but others prefer lengthwise.
  2. Now, slice your carrots.  We slice the carrots the same way we do the potatoes. This helps cook all the vegetables evenly.
  3.  Place the carrots and potatoes into the crock-pot.  Lightly salt & pepper them.  Add in 1/4 cup water.
  4. Place your roast on top of the vegetables. Add the 1 Tablespoon gravy mix and sprinkle on top of roast. Pour the Worcestershire sauce over the gravy.  It is okay if some of the dry gravy remains.  As the roast cooks, it will liquefy.
  5. Salt & pepper the roast.
  6. Finally, peel the onion and cut it in half.  Take 3-4 outer layer sections and lay across the roast for flavor.
  7. Put the lid on the crock-pot and cook on low over night (8-10 hours).
  8. Optional: You can use the liquid from the roast at the bottom of the crock pot to make a wonderful gravy.

 

Perfect Crock Pot Roast

Now doesn’t this look delicious!

Recipe Note: **Leftovers will be added to Tuesday night’s meal.

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Frugal and Weeknight Easy:Tater Tot Casserole

Tags: Comfort Food, Easy Weeknight Meals, Frugal Comfort Foods, Frugal Recipes, Tater Tot Casserole

Frugal and Weeknight Easy:Tater Tot Casserole

Posted on 10 February 2013 by noelskitchen

When brainstorming family recipes for my new cookbook in the works, I wanted recipes that were frugal, simple and easy to put together on a busy weeknight. This recipe is one of them…Tater Tot Casserole.  There’s really not much I can say about this recipe other than it’s one of the most frugal comfort meals you can serve your family on a busy weeknight. It’s simple enough to make and a perfect meal to stock your freezer with. And the kids love this hearty, cheesy dinner made from just a few easy ingredients.

Tator Tot Casserole

Tater Tot Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon onion soup mix
  • 1 can of peas, mixed vegetables or corn
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 16 ounce package frozen tater tots
  • 1 cup shredded cheese

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add a very small amount of cooking oil to a large skillet. Add in the hamburger meat and the chopped onions.  Fry them together until the hamburger is brown.

Brown Hamburger Meat

 drain any excess fat from pan and pour meat and onion mixture  into a 9 x13 baking dish.  Add the onion soup mix and mix it up. Pour the can of peas, mixed vegetables or corn on top.

Peas on top of hamburger

  Now, pour on your cream of muchroom soups and gently stir it into the meat/pea mixture.

Pour Cream of Mushroom Soup

Top with Tater Tots

Top with Tater tots

You can place the tater tots in a nice uniform rows and all the tater tots lined up neatly, I just basically dump the bag of tater tots on top.  My family does not care if it looks pretty as long as it tastes good.  Place in the oven for 35 minutes then top with the shredded cheese and bake another 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
Tater Tot Casserole Right Out Of Oven
If you are going to freeze this casserole, do not bake. Once you top it with cheese, allow meat mixture to cool and cover with foil or foil tin, label with name and baking instructions and freeze.
Well, there you have it.  It is great frugal and weeknight easy comfort food!!!

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