Sunday, December 16, 2012

French Onion Meatloaf

I was watching the Rachael Ray show and she made a great homemade french onion dip in one segment, and in the last segment she made a meatloaf.  I got to thinking.  I wonder if anyone has ever made a french onion meatloaf?  You know, with a can of Cambels soup condensed french onion soup?  I bet that would be amazing.  So I looked up French Onion Meatloaf on the Internet and I found and awesome recipe by Jan Peters on  My mouth was just watering before I could even make the meal!  So here it is in all it's glory! 


3 eggs, beaten
1 can condensed french onion soup
6 oz stuffing mix, crushed
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground turkey


Using a blender or food processor crush the dry stuffing into crumbs.

In a medium bowl beat three eggs.  Stir in 1 can of condensed french onion soup.  Add the crushed dry stuffing mix and stir well.  Crumble the ground beef into the bowl and mix well with your fingers until fully Incorporated.

Shape into two loaves.  I made one large loaf for tonight and two smaller loaves to fit in a 8x8" pan to freeze for another night.

Cover each pan with foil and label. 

If cooking from frozen, please thaw in the fridge for two days before baking.   Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes covered.  Then uncover and bake 5 more minutes to brown the top.

We ate ours with potatoes and mixed vegetables.
I am a meatloaf lover and this one did not disappoint.  My husband thought it was less dense than my usual meatloaf and it had lots of flavor.  The sage from the stuffing mix really makes this meatloaf a knockout.  The ground turkey helps keep the grease out and create a great canvas for the onion soup to shine. 

Give this one a try.  It's a keeper!
Keeza aka Christie

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry

Today I had two solid hours to work on freezer meals.  I bought two family packs of chicken breasts at the store and made them into 10 meals.  I grilled two breasts for dinner.  I baked the other 10 breasts and cut them into cubes. 

Then I made 4 quarts of Broccoli Chicken and Wild Rice soup, 3 8x8"pans of Green Bean Chicken and Rice casseroles and two bags of Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry.  Phew!   I must admit that this recipe is pretty simple.  Kind of like freezer cooking 101.   In my defense, I would like to say that I needed something to balance out the soup and casserole.  So yes, this is pretty basic.  Please feel free to get fancy and make your own Teriyaki marinade.  Me?  I'm whipped!  I cooked and assembled for two solid hours. 


4 chicken breasts cooked and chopped      6.08
2 bags of stir fry vegetables                       3.96
2 bottles Teriyaki sauce                             4.16  


Take two gallon zipper bags and pour one bag of vegetables into each bag.
Then add half of the chopped chicken to each bag.  I also added half a sliced onion to each bag because the vegetables that I bought did not have onion.  Feel free to add in any veggies you have in your fridge that you would like to use up...mushrooms, celery, carrots, asparagus, green beans etc.
Pour one bottle of Teriyaki sauce into each bag.  Seal and squeeze to mix.  Then label and freeze.
When you are ready to cook please let one bag thaw in the fridge for two days.  Then pour the contents of the bag into a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat.  Serve over rice.

I made two meals for $7.10 plus the cost of rice. 

If you are new to freezer meals and batch cooking you should try this.  Then when you have an incredibly busy day you have a meal ready to go in just a few minutes. 

Christie aka Keeza

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Raspberry Basalmic Glazed Dinner

I was reading through some freezer cookbooks and I found a great recipe for raspberry basalmic glazed chicken.  I tinkered with it a little bit to find a way to incorporate a vegatable without getting too many more pots and pans dirty.  Then I added fresh herbs and doubled the glaze to cover three different proteins.  I tried it with regular basalmic vinegar but the carrots came out such a dark brown my husband thought I made cocktail weenies for a side dish.  Man was he disappointed when he bit into one and discovered it was a baby carrot!  He did admit that they were pretty great tasting carrots, but he would have prefered the weenies.   Now I make it with white basalmic vinegar and the carrots get to keep their great orange color.


1 cup white basalmic vinegar                     1.50
2 10oz jars seedless raspberry preserves    4.00
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce               .50
3 sprigs of fresh thyme                                 .50
2 lbs baby carrots                                        2.64
1 large white onion                                       .30
3-4 pork steaks or pork chops                     5.95
3 chicken breasts                                         4.02
1 ham steak                                                  3.53

You can make this dish with all chicken or all pork.  Whichever you prefer.  I like to mix up the proteins so there is more variety.  We may even grill one, and bake another so they have a little different flavor.


In a large frying pan stir together all of the raspberry preserves, 1 cup of white basalmic vinegar and 1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce.  Pull the leaves of the thyme off the stems and add them to the pan.  Heat over medium heat until the preserves melt into the vinegar and the sauce starts to bubble. 
Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce reduce by 2/3rds.  Once it gets syrupy and thick then you can turn off the heat. 
This will take about 20-30 minutes.  So while the sauce is reducing place the carrots in a large sauce pan and cover with water.
Bring to a boil and cook for 5-8 minutes.  Once a fork can just barely pierce the carrots when poked, turn off the heat.  Drain the carrots and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Divide into three sandwich bags and set a side.
Then take out three gallon sized zippered freezer bags.  Open the packages on your meat and place the ham into one bag, the pork steaks into a second bag and the chicken in to the third.  Peel and slice the onion.  Add 1/3 of the onion rings to each bag.  Set aside.
One your sauce is reduced by 2/3rd, you protein has been divided and you carrots have been partially cooked and cold shocked you are ready to bring it all home!  Add one ladle of sauce to each bag of protein and one ladle of sauce to each sandwich bag of carrots.  If you have any sauce left after you have been around to each bag, then divide between the protein bags.  Seal them up and match a carrot bag to each protein bag. 
Mix them well with your hands to distribute the glaze all over the carrots and meat.  Take out three new gallon size zippered bags and label each one.  Then put one bag of protein and one bag of carrots into each labeled gallon freezer bag.
Place them in the freezer for later or the fridge for later tonight.  Please allow two days in the fridge to thaw before cooking if you are making the freezer meal. 

Place the protein on a baking sheet and bake topped with the onions uncovered for 30 minutes on 350 degrees.  While the ham, pork steak of chicken is baking pour the carrots into a small sauce pan and heat over medium high heat stirring frequently until the liquid is gone and the carrots are nice and shiney like little new cars. 
Here's the ham steak after it's been baked.
Here it is all put together for dinner.
Sooooo good!  I was able to make three raspberry basalmic glazed dinners for $7.64 each.  The meat had a great savory quality and the carrots had a smooth sweetness.  Although the glaze was the same it has a different taste on protein and vegeatables.   

Christie aka Keeza

Friday, November 2, 2012

Stuffed Pepper Soup

This week the weather has changed.  Our warm balmy summer nights of grilling burgers and chicken breasts have given way to cool fall breezes and steamy pots of bubbling soup.  Bell peppers are in season right now so I compiled this recipe from a few online recipes and my favorite veggies.  By using one pound of ground beef and one pound of Italian sausage it adds a lot of flavor to this hearty soup.  


1 lb ground beef                    3.85
1 lb Italian sausage               1.81
1 sweet onion                        1.06
2 cloves garlic                         .05
2 stalks celery                         .25
2 carrots                                  .25
3 bell peppers (any color)     2.00
28 oz crushed tomatoes        1.79
32 oz beef broth                    2.89
2 cups instant brown rice      1.25
4 cups water
2 Tbsp all purpose seasoning
2 tsp black pepper
parmesean cheese and parsley for topping


In a large pan brown the ground beef and Italian sausage together.  Meanwhile chop the onion, mince the garlic, chop the celery and peel and grate the carrots.  Once the beef and sausage are browned drain the grease and set aside.  Pour 2 Tbsp of olive oil in the pan and saute the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots.  As those veggies are softening up chop the peppers and set aside. 
Once the onions and celery start to get soft, add the peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes longer.  I love all the beautiful colors in this dish!
Next find the biggest soup pot you have in your cupboard.  This recipe makes between 4 and 5 quarts of soup.  In your soup pot add the sauteed vegetables, browned beef with sausage, 28 oz of crushed tomatoes, 32 oz of beef broth and 4 cups of water.  Stir well and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Once the soup is boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and add 2 cups of instant brown rice.  Let simmer 5 minutes.  Next turn off the heat and allow to cool.  Sprinkle in 2 Tbsp of all purpose seasoning and 2 tsp black pepper.  I find that the soup gets plenty of salt from the sausage, crushed tomatoes and beef broth, but you can add a little if you like. 
Divide into quart freezer containers.  I had enough for 4 quarts to freeze plus two bowls of soup for dinner tonight.
We topped our soup with Parmesan cheese.  This is also tasty with parsley.

             This soup was so fabulous.  It has a great hearty quality from the brown rice and ground beef with sausage.  All the vegetables give a crunchy texture and a wonderful fresh flavor.  The crushed tomatoes were sweet and didn't need any sugar to mellow the flavor.  It's a well rounded dinner that freezes beautifully.

I was able to make 4 1/2 quarts of soup for $3.38 a quart.  Not bad huh? 

Christie aka Keeza

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

I can't tell you how convenient it is to have cookie dough rolled and ready to bake in your freezer.  This cookie recipe is a huge hit with my Bible study group.  I adapted it from a few recipes that I found online.  The oatmeal makes them hearty.  The dried cranberries bring a great tang and the white chocolate makes them sweet.  Only bake how many you need and keep the rest in the freezer for spontaneous entertaining.  Did you just find out your co worker's birthday is tomorrow?  Is your mother in law in from out of town for a surprise visit?  Did your child give his or her teacher a very hard time and you'd like to reward the teacher with a plate of homemade cookies to apologize?  Well just grab a dozen cookie dough balls out of the freezer and bake them up in 12 minutes flat.  Done! 


1 cup butter flavored Crisco stick (or margarine)
2/3 C white sugar
2/3 C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 C quick oats
2 1/4 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tar tar (not pictured above and optional)
1 C Craisins (5 oz package)
1 1/2 C white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl cream together the butter flavored Crisco stick, 2/3 C brown sugar and 2/3 C white sugar.  Add 1 tsp vanilla, two beaten eggs and stir well.  I use a hand mixer to make quick work of these steps.
Add 1 cup of quick oats and stir it up! Sprinkle in 2 1/4 C flour, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda.  If you would like your cookies to have a rough cracked appearance on the top instead of a smooth look then add 1/2 tsp cream of tar tar.  It will not affect the taste of the cookie, but it will have a great bakery look to them.  Stir well.
Now is time to put away the hand mixer and add the 1 cup of Craisins and 1 1/2 cups of white chocolate chips.  I knead them in by hand so that they get well dispersed and the dried cranberries wont get chopped up by the beaters. 

Now you get to decide how many you want to bake and how many you would like to freeze.  I put 18 cookies on a sheet and baked at 350 degrees for 11 minutes.  Once they just start to turn golden brown take them out and let them cook a few minutes on the cookie sheet.
Can you see all the cracks and fissures on top that make them look hearty and homey?  Now take the remaining cookie dough and roll 1 1/2" balls.  Place them 1 inch apart on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. 
Place them on the pan into the freezer for 2 hours.  Once they are cold and firm you can remove them from the sheet pan and pile the cookie dough balls into a labeled gallon freezer bag.  By flash freezing them on a sheet pan first it will ensure that they don't stick together in the gallon bag and make it hard to break apart. 

Then any day you need some fresh made from scratch cookies you can grab a few out of the freezer and bake them for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.  This works out well for my husband and I because we don't want 4 dozen cookies laying around the house, but we can bake just a few at a time and we aren't so tempted to overindulge. 

I hope you give this one a try. 
Christie aka Keeza

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sweet Corn Chowder

I am so sad to see the sweet corn season end.  I was able to find 6 ears at my local grocery store and I scooped them up.  Then I stopped at a couple of farm stands and stocked up on veggies to make this soup.  I'm sure you can make it all year long with a few cans of sweet corn, but try to get sweet corn on the cob when you can.  Cream and milk do not freeze well so I make this chowder creamy by blending a potato in with chicken stock.  If you prefer you can substitute vegetable stock and this is a hearty meat free soup.  We ate ours with garlic bread and some very tasty bacon bits on top.  Awesome!  Sweet, savory and salty. 


1 medium onion                     .30
2 carrots                                  .25
2 zucchini                                 .66
1 red bell pepper (or green)  1.00
1 Lg russet potato                   .69
1 quart chicken broth             2.99
6 ears sweet corn                   1.80
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp all purpose seasoning
salt and pepper to taste


Peel and cut the russet potato into 1" cubes.  Drop the potato into the bottom of a large soup pot.  This recipe makes 3 quarts of soup so make sure the pot is big enough.
Pour in the entire quart of chicken broth and heat to boiling.  Reduce to simmer and let cook until fork tender. 

In another large heat one tablespoon olive oil.  Peel and chop the onion and carrot and add to the pan.  Saute for 3-5 minutes or until just starting to get tender. 
Then peel and chop the zucchini and add to the pan along with the chopped red bell pepper. 
While that cooks shuck the corn and cut the kernels off the cob.  Add to the pan and stir well.  Let these veggies warm through while you tend to the broth and potato.
Remove the broth and potato from the heat once the potato is nice and soft.  Pour into a blender and allow the broth to cool. 
Once the liquid is less steamy carefully place the top on the blender and mix on a low setting.  If you blend it on high the heat will build up and the hot liquid will spurt everywhere around the lid and you will be soaked in hot steamy starchy potato broth.  I may have done that once or twice.  Once the potato is completely blended it will look like this.
This will be the thickener that will add a little backbone to your soup without adding milk or cream.  It has a velvety quality that will make your soup into a chowder.  Now all that is left is to combine all the veggies and all the potato broth into the big soup pot and bring to a boil.  Add all purpose seasoning, salt and pepper to taste and let cool.
Divide into three quart containers and freeze.
Thaw in the fridge for two days before cooking.  Then warm on the stove before serving.  Add a slice of garlic bread and this meal is heavenly.  You can add any fun toppings out of your fridge.  We tried bacon bits and Parmesan.  It would also be great with fresh parsley and a dollop of sour cream. 

I was able to make three quarts of soup for $2.53 each.  With garlic bread and bacon bits we spent $5.28 on our whole meal. 

I hope you give this one a try before all the sweet corn is gone!
Christie aka Keeza