Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Money Saving Mom's Book Is Coming Soon

You can pre-order Money Saving Mom's Budget Book now on Amazon.  I am very excited and can't wait to read this book.  If you haven't checked out Crystal's site, please do so now.  She has some wonderful recipes, freezer cooking tips, and so much more!

The Money Saving Mom®'s Budget Book

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What's For Dinner (And In The Freezer)? Meatloaf

When I went back to work a couple of weeks ago, I knew my time to prepare dinner each night would be limited, so I went in search of recipes that were easily doubled so that I could put one in the freezer.  I decided to start with a meatloaf.  This is a very simple recipe, but it turned out to be delicious.

Meatloaf
2 pounds ground beef (I used venison)
2 eggs
1/2 cup bread crumbs (made from dried bread slices)
3/4 cup salsa (I used home-canned),
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Tony Chachere's seasoning

Mix all items together until well combined.  Divide into two servings and freeze.  When ready to cook, thaw meatloaf in the refrigerator and cook at 400 degrees for approx. 45 minutes.  If you don't have time to thaw, add approx 15 to 20 minutes to the cooking time.  I added about 1 cup shredded cheese over the top of the meatloaf and put it back in the oven until melted and bubbly.  It was delicious! 

I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of this, but will try to get one when I cook the one out of the freezer and add it at that time.

Surprise Halloween Guests

Since moving to the farm, we have said that we wouldn't have any trick or treaters unless the cows came by.  We didn't know how true this would turn out to be.  Last Monday when we got home from work, we found that the cows had pushed over a section of the fence and had helped themselves to all of the "treats" - hay, feed, collards, turnips, etc.  Needless to say, they left some "tricks" as well. 

We are now hoping that our garden can recover and that we will still be able to harvest some greens from it.  Fortunately, the raised bed gardens were covered and did not get eaten.  It is amazing how well they are growing.  We are hopeful that we will be able to build a larger greenhouse for next fall/winter.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Missing In Action

I'm sorry that I have been missing in action this past week.  My new job has me on the computer training all day every day so I haven't really wanted to log on when I get home at night.  I have been doing some freezer cooking and have some very good recipes to share.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Putting Food By

We have been very blessed over the past week to be able to "put by" some food for later use.  We have put more venison, rabbit, and pecans in the freezer, and I was able to can 10 quarts of pear sauce thanks to a friend that allowed us to pick the pears from his trees.  I used my Vitamix to help process the pears into sauce and it was very quick and easy.  I will share my step-by-step instruction in a few days.

Being able to take advantage of food items such as these and store them for later times can help ease your food budget.  When I lost my job in July, one thing we knew was that we would not go hungry because of our stored food items.  I encourage you to look into options for storing food.

Here is a picture of the pear sauce after coming out of the canner.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Why I Love Canning

My mother canned when I was growing up, but I unfortunately never paid enough attention to learn how to can from her.  After I became a mother, though, I had a desire to learn how to can and to see jars of freshly canned items line my pantry shelves.  So, when I asked my husband for canners for Mother's Day, I am sure he thought I had lost my mind, but he got them for me anyway.  I decided to spend a Saturday familiarizing myself with the pressure canner and spent the entire day canning apples. (I now know that they didn't need to be pressure canned.)  I was so very excited when I completed the project without blowing up the house.

The thing I love most about canning, though, is the convenience that it offers down the road.  For example, since I am now back to work, I have to come up with a quick meal to get on the table when we get home every night.  I am usually putting something together while my husband and son feed the cows and dogs.  This past Tuesday, I had put a roast in the crock pot before leaving for work and when I got home, opened a quart of home-canned red potatoes and a pint of home-canned peas.  I made some quick 3-2-1 biscuits and it made for a quick, but delicious meal.  It is much easier to pass up the fast food restaurant on the way home when you know you have something that can be put together in under 30 minutes.

Here is a picture of the potatoes that I cooked.  I opened the jar and drained the liquid.  Poured the potatoes into a Pam-sprayed glass pie plate, sprinkled on my seasonings of choice (I used onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Tony Chachere's), sprayed them with Pam again so the skins would get crisp, and stuck them in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Poppyseed Chicken and Rice Casserole

Since I started back to work on Monday, I have been looking for made-ahead recipes that I can pop in the oven for dinner when I get home.  Sunday evening, I cooked some rice and put together the remainder of the casserole on Monday morning before leaving for work. 



Poppy Seed Chicken and Rice Casserole

1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 quart home-canned chicken tenders (approx. 12 tenders, but you could use less)
8 oz. sour cream (I used half sour cream and half yogurt because I didn't have enough sour cream)
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 can cream of chicken soup (I used the cream of whatever soup mix that I had made earlier)
1 sleeve crackers, crushed

Cook rice until done.  Mix in remaining ingredients except crackers.  Spread crushed crackers along the top of the casserole and bake at 350 degrees until warmed throughout and crackers are golden brown.   Just before serving, I sprinkled some grated cheddar cheese on top and melted it.  It turned out very good!