Friday, January 24, 2014

Freezer Cooking Recipes

Here are the most recent recipes I have put into the freezer complete with a picture. My hubby loves Banquet fried chicken, he will settle for Aldi's brand fried chicken, but since our budget has been so drastically cut, he has to make do with mine. (Which he likes, but he hates for me to have to take the time to make it for him.) Today I put a batch of fried chicken in the freezer.  Here is my recipe.


Fried Chicken

1 cup Drake's breading mix
1 cup Flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
10 lb. bag of chicken leg quarters.

Preheat oven to 350. Cut the leg quarters into thighs and legs. Cut off any excess skin and fat and save for broth making. Mix together flour, Drake's and seasoning. Coat chicken with flour mix and fry in small amount of oil in skillet.  Fry until the skin is a little crispy and just starting to brown.  Place in a baking pan and put into oven. Try not to have edges touching. Bake in 350 oven for about 90 minutes, until chicken is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.  Carefully remove from pan keeping skin intact and place on a cookie sheet.  Make sure edges are not touching.  Place cookie sheet into freezer and freeze overnight. Remove cookie chicken and put into a freezer ziplock bag. To eat, just place one or two pieces in the microwave and cook on high for 2-3 minutes, or place into  350 oven until warmed through.

Chicken Nuggets

1/4 cup Drake's breading mix
1/4 cup flour
Ok1/2 cup bread crumbs
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 egg beaten
4 chicken breasts

Cut chicken breast into nugget size pieces. Mix together Drake's, flour breadcrumbs and seasoning.  Put nugget pieces into egg, then coat with breadcrumb mixture. Fry in small amount of oil until chicken is cooked through and nuggets are golden brown.  Place on cookie sheet with edges not touching. Place cookie sheet in freezer and freeze.  Once frozen, put chicken nuggets into freezer ziplock bag. To eat, place number of chicken nuggets desired and microwave on high  or bake in oven on 350 until heated through.

Ok, so my picture taking leaves something to be desired, but these are the recipes of the day.  Hopefully, my photography will improve as I share more.

My Latest Project

I have taken on a new project.  While I have been going to the food pantries during the time I have been off work and trying to make ends meet on very little, I have thought about and/or noticed some things.  First I have noticed the types of people that come to the food pantries.  I have sat and talked with some of them while I waited to pick up food. I've met some people that I have talked to several times at the various pantries.  I have also heard what they have to say about the food stamp system and how the benefits have recently been cut.  I have seen first hand the items that you receive in these places.  While it is definitely helpful to get the additional food, it also is very lacking in the types of food that they give out if you are trying to piece together meals, solely from what you receive at the pantries.  There have been three pantries that we have gone to, and they give out different types of food at each of the three pantries.  There is a little overlap, but mostly, the concentration of food is different at each of the pantries.  I have also watched people use food stamps in the stores over the years. I frequently see these people purchasing mostly prepackaged or prepared foods that are more expensive and less healthy for them.  These observations lead me to believe that some of these people could benefit from classes that show them how to use their resources to make the healthiest and least expensive meals possible with the items they receive. 

Over the last couple of years, even prior to my accident, I have felt a calling to help feed the hungry people in our area.  I have thought about different avenues that could be used to do this and I have come to the conclusion, that offering classes that show people inexpensive ways to cook and/or use the items that are frequently given out at the food pantries is a good idea.  I thought about just doing classes about food, but over the last several months, I have started making most of my own cleaners, and many of the ingredients in those cleaners can be purchased using food stamps, which allows people to not only obtain food, but cleaning supplies as well from their food stamps.  To me this opens up an area that would help to save money for people that have very limited resources.  I am currently developing a plan to help teach people about bargain/coupon shopping, meal planning, inexpensive meals (including freezer cooking and crockpot cooking) and homemade cleaners.  I'm trying to develop a program, where we might provide the ingredients and people would be able to come and take from the class, a meal for their family, or cleaners to use in their home along with ideas about bargain shopping and coupon use.  If this idea takes off, over the next several months, I will be posting the recipes along with the cost breakdown of my recipes and hopefully, pictures of these recipes on my blog.  I will also update and post my meal plans and hopefully, I can give costs for each of the meals that I have on the menu.  While I usually purchase most of my meat through a meat packing company, I will also try and have costs if the meat were purchased in the store.  Of course, sale shopping will help reduce those costs. 

I'm hoping that by doing this, I can help others rather they are in my classes, or just following along online.  I think this is what God has called me to do, and it may be part of the reason that I am currently experiencing this situation.  Hopefully, I can use this to help other people that may be in this same type of situation.  Prior to this accident, I had no idea how or where to find help in our community.  Now I have a much better grasp of the assistance that is out there.  Hopefully, I can use some of this newfound knowledge to help others.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Recipes and Snow

Today is a snow day.  That means that we won't even leave the house.  It snowed yesterday and for once the weather forecasters were right.  We got a fair amount of snow and the temperature plummeted from 30 yesterday to -11 this morning.  As I look out my window I see everything white and the snow igloo Jim and Carolena were working on before the temperature dropped to low to make it stick together.  Hopefully, they will be able to finish it this week. 

I was sure that I had posted the recipes for a couple of my New Year's Eve menu items, but as I looked at that post today I realize I somehow didn't get them posted.  Not sure where they went as I know I typed them out.  So, I'm going to include them here.  I was hoping to take pictures, but they all got eaten, so that didn't happen.  Here are the recipes:

Egg Rolls
1 pkg wonton wrappers
1 lb. sausage
1 small head of cabbage
1 can mushrooms
1 small onion
1 can water chesnuts
3 T soy sauce
3 T corn starch
1/3 cup water

Brown sausage.  While sausage is cooking chop up cabbage like for cole slaw. I used my little Ninja food processor.  I also chopped up the mushrooms, onion and water chestnuts in the Ninja.  When sausage is cooked, add chopped items to skillet.  Allow the cabbage to cook until a little soft.  Combine soy sauce, water and corn starch and pour over mixture stirring to thicken.  Remove from heat and let cool.  When mixture is cool roll up in egg roll wrappers or wonton wrappers.  For our party, I use the wonton wrappers and make small egg rolls, but you could make regular size egg rolls as well.  For the wonton wrappers place about a teaspoon of filling in the center and fold the wrapper up like an envelope sealing sides on three sides, then roll it over the open side again using water to seal the edge.  Fry in hot oil until golden brown. You can serve with sweet and sour, duck sauce or a hot mustard sauce.

The other recipe I was going to provide was my recipe for cheese puffs.  This recipe I adapted from a cookbook. I think the original recipe started with feta cheese, but I have adapted it to use other shredded cheese.

Cheese Puffs
1 pkg phyllo dough
1 stick butter
2 cups grated cheese of choice I use mozzarella, Colby jack or cheddar (not mixed)

These amounts are approximate, you may need a little more or less cheese and butter to do the entire roll of phyllo dough.  I open one of the inner pkgs of phyllo dough and be careful to keep the part you aren't working with covered with a dishcloth so it doesn't dry out. Unroll phyllo dough and cut a strip off the short side about 2 inches wide.  Roll remaining dough up and cover.  Take a spoonful of cheese and place on the one end of the strip of phyllo dough. Pick up about 3 sheets and fold the dough into a triangle end over end (like folding a flag) until you reach the end of the strip.  This will close off the edges.  Dip into melted butter and place on baking sheet. (If you want less butter, you can just put them on the baking sheet and then brush them with butter. I just find this easier in the long run) Continue until you finish all the sheets in the stack.  (These are pretty forgiving if you get 4 sheets, no big deal.) When you finish the stack cut another strip and continue until you have used up the entire roll of phyllo dough.  Place baking sheet into 350 oven and bake until golden brown.  The cheese may ooze out of the corners a bit. 

My family loves both these recipes and these are things I generally make only the one time each year.

So, what did I come up with for goals? I know you are asking, but I haven't finalized my goals yet.  I will be doing that this week.  The snow days have altered my plans slightly.  Carolena is out of school today and tomorrow still and I have to finish up the one course I'm taking for my master's program this week. So, hopefully, I will get to finish up my goals this week. I'm not in a rush as I have the entire year to work on these goals.  I don't think there will be any playing in the snow with wind chills at around -40 not really a safe thing to do.  But hopefully, later in the week, we will have weather that allows for snow play.  Today I'm just going to stay inside and stay warm and  work on dishes.  Nothing exciting there.  Maybe make up another batch of cocoa.  I thought I had published this earlier, but realized when I went in today to do the next post that I had failed to publish it. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year's Eve Party

What do you do for New Year's Eve?  Several years ago, we started a little New Year's Eve party that has blossomed into an annual tradition.  Even last year we had our little party after I worked a 12 hour day. Every year our menu varies just a little bit, but we have some staple items that are requested every year.  Most of these foods are things that we only eat the one time a year.  The standard fare that never changes on New Year's Eve is small eggrolls, and cheese puffs.  The eggrolls are easy to do and the cheese puffs are a recipe I adapted from a cookbook to suit my purpose.  Along with these foods, this year our menu is as follows.

  1. eggrolls
  2. cheese puffs
  3. hot cheese dip
  4. old English cheese dip
  5. buttery swiss cheese ball
  6. pizza rolls
  7. homemade fried mozzarella sticks
  8. fried ravioli
  9. ring bologna and cheese slices with crackers
  10. spinach dip in Hawaiian bread
  11. hot chicken salad on Hawaiian rolls
  12. Crab Rangoon
This party just includes the family.  Over the last several years I've had teenagers in the house, and we worked together on the food.  This year, we just have Carolena in the house, but we are getting her little brother Derrick for our party.  I imagine we'll watch some old movies and the kids will probably play with their dress up clothes they got for Christmas.  It should be a fun night.