Friday, April 30, 2010

FREEZER FOODS FRIDAY

It's Freezer Foods Friday again!  Do you have a tip, recipe, or just want to share a menu plan?  Jump in on the McLinkey link-up and share with all.  J ust remember to link back to here, and if you'd be a dear and take the Freezer Foods Friday button and place on your blog...that would be great - so everybody can come and see and share!

If you're a seasoned OAMC'er, or make-ahead diva, or just dabbling in it, we all can get inspiration, or a reminder here and there.  That's why I went back to my notes from when I taught Freezer Cooking and thought I'd resurrect some old thoughts I thought I'd share.   I'd love to hear from you and possibly learn or be reminded of new tips and techniques or ideas for menu plans in the future!

One big time saver is to try to think of recipes that have similar elements, which can be used in different ways:
* Taco filling and refried beans for burritos, tacos, taco salad
* Spaghetti sauce for spaghetti, stuffed shells, lasagna, chicken/veal/eggplant parmesan, pizza, calzones.
* Beef roast - or -pulled pork for pot roast, stew, beef/pork and noodles, BBQ sandwiches, open-faced    sandwiches, pocket sandwiches.

Use simple recipes for your freezer cooking, and save the gourmet ones for special occasions.
*  BUT if you're wanting to see if it freezes well, then save a portion, package it and freeze it.  Take it out in a month or two and see how it did!

Re-package meat in meal size portions for easier defrosting.
Chicken and turkey
~ Wrap individual pieces or specific number in freezer bags.
~ Cut raw meat into chunks for stir-fry, shish-k-bobs, casseroles, soup, etc.
~ Boil in a large pot, saving the "stock" for other recipes, i.e., casseroles, boiling rice, etc.
* Burger
~ Make into meatballs or patties.  Freeze meatballs on a cookie sheet and then put in freezer bags.  Wrap patties in plastic wrap or wax paper and then put in freezer bags.
~ Brown it and package in amounts needed for recipes later.
* Roasts, steaks and other large portions of meat
~ Place steaks in ziplock type freezer bag, pour in marinade if desired and freeze.  While it is thawing it can be marinating.
~ Consider splitting roasts, hams or whole chickens if you have a small family.

Use freezer strength wraps, bags and containers!
~ Freezer wraps are thicker and allow less air-moisture exchange during storage.  For shorter storage, you can re-use deli or dary containers, but they are not recommended for longer term.
~ Foil Pans - the party supply store runs good sales on foil pans where I live. You can use the bread pans for meat loaf, smaller portions of lasagna,e tc.
~ A 9 x 13 pan is large...consider two 8 x 8 pans and it will fit into a gallon ziploc bag.

Package carefully and label everything!!!
~ You will NOT remember whether you put 4-6 servings in a bag, how many cups, etc.  And, trust me, you may not remember WHAT the dish is (trust me, I've been there!)  For instance... is that chicken broth or lemon juice?!?!?  (oh yes I did!  LOL)
~ Put the recipe's page number on the freezer bag to help in final preparations, or if the entree is complete, write simple heating instructions on the bag.

Ok,  your turn!  Join in the fun of sharing with other make-ahead, bulk cookers, freezer cookers, by whatever name we all go!



Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bloomingdale High School lip dub video

Ok, I graduated from Plant City High School (before there even was a Bloomingdale High School!) but this is neat!  Bloomingdale is a local high school not far from where I now live, and a lot of the kids there go to my church, so it's all relative!  LOL  
enjoy!



Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls!

This weekend the RealWomenEat.com group met for our monthly "Cook-N-Critique".  I'm going to post about that later on realwomeneat.com.     (Be sure to check it out!)  We decided this month was all brunch/breakfast foods,

and since Bakerella's post last week was her trial of Ree Drummond (A.K.A. the Pioneer Woman) famous cinnamon rolls, I figured that's what I'd do.


  Now, you must understand... I have a fear of yeast!  LOL   Early in my marriage (about 30 years ago to be semi-exact!) I tried to make yeast rolls.   These were little more than miniature flying saucers!   I have backed away from anything containing yeast since then!  So this was quite an undertaking for me.  Facing my fear of yeast.   Repeating the mantra  "Don't fear the yeast"... "Don't fear the yeast"  ...

Bakerella inspired me.  She even shared her poor spirals on her first try. So game was on!

Here's the recipe...

Pioneer Woman's (famous) Cinnamon Rolls

DOUGH:
1 quart whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 packages (4 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
9 cups all-purpose flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1 sant teaspoon baking soda
1 TBSP salt

FILLING
2 cups melted butter, plus more as needed
1/4 cup ground cinnamon for sprinkling
2 cups sugar, plus more as needed

MAPLE ICING
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
6 TBSP butter, melted
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
Dash of salt
1 TBSP maple flavoring or maple extract

For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium heat; do not allow the mixture to boil.  Set aside and cool to lukewarm.


Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.


Add 8 cups of the flour.  Stir until just combined, cover with a clean kitchen towel (I wonder why she felt the need to specify a "clean" kitchen towel???  LOL) and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour.


(looks like gooey oatmeal to me)
Remove the towel (the "clean" towel!) and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour.  Stir thoroughly to combine.

Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl.

(ok, here's where I stopped taking pictures because my hands were "doughy")

To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan.  On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches.
(My fave rolling pin!!!)

To make the filling, pour 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough.  Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly.
(awwwww yeah!)

Generously sprinkle 1/2 the cinnamon and 1 cup sugar on top of the buttered dough.
Beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly toward you.  Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight.

When you reach the end, pinch the seam together. 

Transfer to cutting board and with a sharp knife, make 1 1/2 inch slices.  One log with produce 20-25 rolls.

Pour a couple tablespoons of melted butter into the desired pie pans or baking dishes and swirl to coat.
Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd.
Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans.


Hey Bakerella!  Check out MY swirls!!!

While the rolls are baking, make the maple icing...
In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, coffee and salt.
Splash in the maple flavoring.
Whisk until very smooth.  Taste and add in more maple, sugar, butter, or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency.  The icing should be thick, but still pourable.

I didn't think about taking a pic until I had already iced THREE pans!! LOL

Ree is right, when those rolls come out of the oven, my kitchen is the best smelling place on earth!

While the rolls are still warm, generously drizzle icing over the top.  Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top.

Ok, I missed the part about a pouring consistency,  my icing was thicker...more like a "spreading" consistency.
She said it would make between 40-50,  Mine came out to 45.  Quite a batch I'd say.  

 
Let's see... I took one pan to the RealWomenEat Cook-N-Critique, sent a pan to work with hubby, put two pans in the freezer (one I'll take this Sunday to Sunday School class), one is sitting on the counter for hubby, and ...


Every good southern girl knows you don't send out anything without first trying it to see if it's worth sharing!   ROFL!!!

You can read my review of the recipe, as well as the other real women who eat later in the week so be sure and click over there then and see all the great dishes the other ladies brought!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Starkist Tuna Creations made an impression on me!

Have you tried this?


I don't normally like tuna (and there are 3 cans still sitting in my cupboard) but on a whim thought I'd try this...and there it sat in my cupboard for a couple of months ---the shelf life is long on this! LOL

It was lunch time, and I was hungry and it was either this, or those cinnamon rolls I made this weekend.  I was a good girl and opted for this!    Two words:  Yum-O!   For someone who doesn't like tuna fish, that stuff can really smell like bad cat food.  I would say "tastes"  but I've never really eaten cat food.

I don't know how the "other" flavors of this stuff tastes, but the Hickory Smoked flavor was quite yummy!



I really wished I had some of those really cool tomatoes Saucy (from my other blog  RealWomenEat gave my mom!  They were delish and look like a cherry tomato on steroids. (they weren't cherry tomatoes though)  but that will be for another post.

Now, I'm not getting any "kick-back" from Starkist or anything for bragging about their product (but, if they would like to send me more tuna to sample, I'd be game!  LOL).  I just thought you should know!  (giggle)

There was a recipe on the back that IF I had had the tortillas I would've made for my lunch but alas, no.
I thought I'd share it with you though, and then it'll be on my blog in case it isn't on the next pouch of tuna I purchase and I can refer back here!   Smart girl, I'd say!

Hickory Smoked Tuna Quesadilla

One (4.5 oz) pouch Starkist Tuna Creations Hickory Smoked
½ cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese blend
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1-1/2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/8 cup roasted red pepper strips
Two 10 inch flour tortillas

Mix tuna, cream cheese, shredded cheese, pepper strips and onions until blended.
Spread tuna mixture on one tortilla shell to the edges
Top with the other tortilla shell.
Spray a large skillet with vegetable spray and heat.
Place filled tortilla in the skillet and heat until brown; approximately 2-3 minutes per side.
Cut into 8 wedges and serve.

So, really, have you tried any of this stuff?  If so, what flavors have you tried and how was it?  I'd rather listen to a recommendation from you than Madison Avenue!   Do tell!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Freezer Foods Friday - Onions galore!

Are you lucky enough to live near vegetable farms,  farmer's markets, or have a garden of your own?  We are entering into the season just made for freezers!  LOL.   I'm lucky enough to live near some pretty great vegetable farms and an awesome farmer's market (you just drive through, and most of 'em load up your car for you!) and while I don't myself have a garden, I have family who are farmers!    And farmers are the best folks at "giving" !   I remember growing up, living in "the country", always having little boxes/baskets of goodies left on our doorsteps.  Now, I didn't move all that far from "the country"... I only moved a whole SIX miles away from where I grew up! LOL  

But I'm getting off-topic aren't I?  (sorta)  This week  my mom shared some of her abundance with me.  I got a bunch of Florida Sweet Onions and I knew just what to do with them!   FREEZE THEM!!!
I also like to cut up and freeze green peppers too, but no one has blessed me with those yet!  LOL

I freeze my onions two ways...


in chunks, for sauces, sauteeing...whatever.   Nice effect, those onion rings on top, don't ya think?  LOL



and in "strips".
When we grill, we love grilled onions with our steaks!   All I do is cut up the onions (grin) add some butter, soy sauce and squeeze some fresh lemon juice over it.  Wrap it up in a "foil ball" and pop on the grill.  Oh my! It is so go-ooood!   TRY IT!

Another way to use the onion chunks, is with cut up potatoes, soy sauce and butter, wrap that up in a "foil ball" and throw on the grill too.    You can add fresh cut up mushrooms and peppers too.  Oh so good!





Tah-Dah!

Oh, and a word about "sweet onions"...  Did you know they actually have LESS sugar (albeit natural sugar) than regular onions???   I read that somewhere.   Their "sweetness" is due to a lack of...oh I should've paid better attention to what I was reading... that stuff that makes onions more "potent".   LOL

Ok, now it's your turn... got any good tips, recipes or ideas for us?  Join in!
 

 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A little Maxine humor...

Maxine's résumé...............


1. My first job was working in an Orange Juice factory, but I got canned. Couldn't concentrate!



2. Then I worked in the woods as a Lumberjack, but just couldn't hack it, so they gave me the axe.

3. After that, I tried being a Tailor, but wasn't suited for it -- mainly because it was a sew-sew job.

4. Next, I tried working in a Muffler Factory, but that was too exhausting.

5. Then, tried being a Chef--figured it would add a little spice to my life, but just didn't have the thyme.

6. Next, I attempted being a Deli Worker, but any way I sliced it... couldn't cut the mustard.

7. My best job was a Musician, but eventually found I wasn't noteworthy.

8. I studied a long time to become a Doctor, but didn't have any patience.


9. Next, was a job in a Shoe Factory. Tried hard but just didn't fit in.



10. I became a Professional Fisherman, but discovered I couldn't live on my net income.



11. Managed to get a good job working for a Pool Maintenance Company, but the work was just too draining.



12. So then I got a job in a Workout Center, but they said I wasn't fit for the job.




13. After many years of trying to find steady work, I finally got a job as a Historian - until I realized there was no future in it.



14. My last job was working in Starbucks, but had to quit because it was the same old grind.


15. SO, I TRIED retirement AND FOUND I'M PERFECT FOR THE JOB!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vera Bradley Sale!


Do you love Vera Bradley, or at least intensely like ??? They're having an EXTRA 20% Off her already sale prices. No, I'm not getting anything for sharing this great info. I just can't keep it to myself! LOL


Monday, April 19, 2010

Yard Art

Ever seen "yard art"?  I found these and couldn't resist sharing.
enjoy!









Probably the reason I'm so drawn to them is they're tea themes !!  LOL

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I would love to hear from you!  

You can contact me here:

aunt.nette@gmail.com

Twiter:   @ aunt_nette


About Me

Hey there!  So you want to know a little about me, eh?  Well alrighty then!
I'm a southern girl.  Yes, Florida is in the south.

I have a passion for all things domestic and love to practice hospitality as well as baking. If you repeat this, I'll deny it, but I used to pretend to have my own cooking show when I was young. I was an expert on how to properly make a bowl of cereal! I never lost that love. I love to cook (bake especially) and still dream of one day being a baking diva with my own show! LOL

I hope you feel welcome here and come back often.  I've met and made so many friends through this great blogging world, and hope that we can be friends too!  This blog is meant to be a get-away for some "girl time" where we'll share an idea or two, crafting project, blow off steam and regroup, or a recipe.  Because... 

Every good southern girl knows you don't "go callin' on a friend" without something good to eat and since I can't actually bring you something, I'll share the recipes with you.

Enjoy your visit as I hand you a (virtual) glass of Southern Tea and let's visit a while. I hope you'll come back often. I so enjoy your company...and follow me if you'd like. I'd be thrilled! Take my button and put on your blog too if you would be such a dear!



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