Hello my name is Tabitha and I have a freezer hoarding problem…

I may or may not have a freezer hoarding problem. It would depend on who you ask. But I’m 90% sure if you ask anyone I’ve ever lived with they’d say “yes, yes she does”. More often than not I can’t buy anything in the freezer section at the grocery store unless it’s in a malleable package which will fit in a nook or cranny. But even that’s questionable… Perhaps a therapist could help me figure out why! I mean, it’s not like it would sustain us in an emergency since it would melt after a day or so. I seriously cannot explain it! But it is a fact of my life and now I’m in a bit of a pickle. We will be moving soon and we don’t own big enough ice chests to hold it all. Not to mention we don’t exactly have a place to move just yet. That’s where the pickle part comes in. Since I don’t know where we’ll be living, I don’t know what will happen to my freezer full of food!!! I was telling a friend about it last week and she looked at me and said “why don’t you eat it?” Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… right! OF COURSE!!! Hahaha!! Seriously. I’ve. got. issues.

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So the next morning when it was cool-ish, I went through the freezer and wrote down everything that was in there. Then I went to www.plantoeat.com and planned out our meals, according to the freezer, for (almost) three weeks! Yes, I said three weeks. I told you I had a problem!

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Why write a post about it? It was my mom’s idea actually. She thought it could help others, especially in the time of a low budget week. Cause let me tell you, my grocery list was very short! It’s time to get creative!

Here are some meals that we ate last week:

Taco Tuesday

It was just me & mini-me so we had:

Frozen Pre-packaged Chicken Enchiladas (which I had bought for my husband to eat while I was out of town, and he didn’t)

Un-Refried Refried Beans (1/2 recipe so I didn’t have to freeze the leftovers!)

Zucchini (from my mom’s garden)

(A Non-Crock Pot) Wednesday

Antioxidant Supreme smoothie (which wasn’t good enough to share the recipe with you all)- using the frozen blueberries, strawberries & mango I had in the freezer

Salmon with Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter (look for this recipe, coming soon)- using frozen salmon and lentils I already had in the cupboard

Fun Friday

Frozen cheese tortellini mixed with a bag of frozen veggies

Summer Sunday

Frozen Pumpkin Croissants (I finally managed to remember the night before to defrost them!!! Wahoo!)

So that’s what we’ve had so far to help clean out the freezer. Unfortunately it isn’t enough to see a dent in the freezer big enough to feel accomplished, but we are getting there!

Stay tuned for more freezer hoarding updates!

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#TBT Slow Cooker Chicken Chile Verde

Any of you remember when Martha bashed bloggers last October? Well I wrote this back then and just found it! So I’m Throw Back Thursday-ing this blog post, because it’s funny and tasty:

Did you see the Martha Stewart interview about her take on bloggers? Obviously a lot of people are upset, but you just have to take a deep breath and blow it off. She’s so far from reality it’s hard to take anything (or recipe or craft) she says seriously.

Read this hilarious comment I found from The Kitchn (www.thekitchn.com/weekend-cooking-whats-the-most-51991) in regards to the most difficult meal you’ve ever made:

“I’ve made pretty complicated things — my initiation into gastronomic pursuits at age 14 was a 6 layer torte with 2 kinds of buttercream as well as layers of dacquoise; or the nutmeat paté in brioche, or the many Christmas feasts I have made single-handedly. But the experience that brought me to my knees was my Martha Day. I had decided to make one of her monthly meals — you know, the ones that come on the little card squares in the magazine. I seem to recall it was shell steak with mushrooms, homemade spaetzle, baked orange beets, and apple brown betty. Simple enough, right? Well, add to that a Martha Weddings present wrapping (artfully wrapped wedding presents as featured in the Wedding mag). A friend was getting married… Anyways, I had to drive 200 km roundtrip to the city (we lived in a little town on the Prairie back then) to buy all the ingredients. In those days, there was no Michael’s, so shopping for the crafty stuff was a pain. And my husband was going on a business trip and needed his shirts ironed. Well I think we ate that damn shell steak at 11 pm, and the apple brown betty after midnight. The damn presents took the whole friggin’ day to wrap, and the shirts and clean-up had me going until almost 3 a.m., when I fell into bed, exhausted and blubbering. Okay, more was involved than merely cooking, but it sure showed how misleading Martha’s mags are. She makes it look as if she does everything (well, at the time, the mid-nineties, she still did), but my little ‘experiment’ in real time showed how difficult it is for us mere mortals to follow in her footsteps…

mschatelaine

Five Years Ago

Don’t get me wrong, I love Martha. I wanna be Martha. She’s “perfect” in the homemaking sense and she clearly loves what she does and (she and) her people come up with some amazing stuff, but she’s unrelatable to us normal people. But bloggers? We are relatable. Most of us don’t have millions of dollars or acres of land, much less perfectly groomed land, nor do we have the ability to throw massive parties for the elite, much less our neighbors. We have children and insane schedules and most of us don’t have help to keep it all together. She has obviously forgotten where she came from in the beginning, is clearly thoughtless, and has so much, she forgot how to be grateful, or at least being grateful isn’t a top priority to her, because without us she would be nothing. So shake it off and get on with your blogging self, inspiring people to better their lives!!! Boo-yeah!

Onwards and forwards I say! So, when was the last time I had Chile Verde? I think the answer is never. Unless I had it when I was a kid and don’t remember. But since I don’t eat pork (except for that Christmas ham. I just can’t resist!), I never have chile verde. When I saw this recipe, I got excited and decided to give it a try and I’m glad I did! It did take some prep work, but I’d definitely keep this on hand for company or even a potluck! I didn’t 5 star love it, but it was worthy of keeping the recipe in my book. And my husband really liked it. So I’ll put it in our repertoire for the future.

Notes from me:

  • I found tomatillos at Whole Foods. I bought them all and even then it wasn’t an exact 2 pounds. Go tomatillo hunting before you buy the rest of the ingredients.
  • Not sure which pepper is an Anaheim? Ask. You don’t want to pick the wrong one and then have a fiery meal!
  • I totally ran out of onion… don’t ask. I’m sure it would have been way better with onion. Ha!
  • Even though my husband doesn’t like cilantro, I still added it. He didn’t even notice.
  • I had leftover vegetable broth from Meatless Monday so I used that instead of chicken broth.
  • Those peppers & tomatillos didn’t roast like this recipe said they would and the 450 temp was making my kitchen hot so I stopped the roasting after 15 minutes and those dang peppers did not sweat in the paper bag… I ended up roasting them over the gas flame which was a pain and they still didn’t peel well. I’m not sure what the point of peeling them was because I peeled what I could and left the rest on and it was fine.

P.S. If you make this, leave me a comment below and let me know how you liked it! Thanks!

Slow Cooker Chicken Chile Verde

Recipe adapted from: www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/slow-cooker-chicken-chile-verde/

Yield: Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs tomatillos husked, washed and dried, and cut in half
  • 10 medium Anaheim peppers, cut in half, seeds removed
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Tortilla, beans, and rice for serving, optional

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place tomatillos and Anaheim peppers on two large greased baking sheets. Roast until tomatillos are golden brown about 5-7 minutes, and until peppers are charred.

2. Place peppers in a brown paper bag to sweat for about ten minutes. Remove the peppers from the bag and peel.

3. In a blender or food processor, combine 6 peppers (12 pepper halves), tomatillos, jalapeños, onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, paprika, lime zest and juice, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.

4. Dice the remaining Anaheim peppers. Pour salsa verde, chicken broth, diced Anaheim peppers, and chicken into the slow cooker. Add salt and pepper.

5. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is at least 165 degrees in center of meat.

6. Once chicken is cooked using a slotted spoon remove chunks of chicken to a cutting board and shred and return to crock pot with chile verde sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm with tortillas, beans, and rice.

Happy Saturday Morning! Cinnamon Bun Scones- 5 Stars!

I got to sleep in this morning! That’s a rare occurrence around here and was much appreciated! I’ve totally been MIA on my blog because of the insanity around our place (which is part of the reason sleeping in was such a luxury), but I’m hoping it’s calmed down enough that I can blog again! Besides, with the insanity, few meals have been cooked, so there hasn’t been much to blog about anyway!

Because I was so refreshed I wanted to have a delicious breakfast. I scrolled through my recipe list and came across this recipe which, fortunately, had popped up in my newsfeed from recipegirl.com this week so I was really excited! I realize it’s too late (or maybe not…) to make it today, but you can always make it tomorrow morning! It’s totally a 5 star recipe, but seriously, when is a baked good not worth 5 stars?! Image

I took my first bite, second bite, third bite, and was like “these are SO amazing and SO chewy! But why?” and then remembered the oats! Have I told you my love of oatmeal cookies? They’re so chewy!!! Maybe THAT’S why I loved these so… the oats! And the cinnamon, and the fluffy-ness, and the sweetness… ahhhhh!

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Let’s get down to business so you can get in the kitchen and make these puppies!

P.S. If you make these, leave me a comment below and let me know how you liked them! Thanks!

Cinnamon Bun Scones

Recipe from: http://www.recipegirl.com/2012/04/20/cinnamon-bun-scones/

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Crock Pot Turkey and Gravy

Here we go again with the turkey breast in the wrong month. But this time I got it all backward! I went into Whole Foods and saw they had turkey breasts so I bought one, except I didn’t have a recipe this time! I came home, googled crock pot turkey breast and came up with this delightful recipe. And it’s a low fat recipe if you follow the recipe correctly and aren’t rushed for time like I was… again… ode to life with a toddler! I went ahead and just made a fatty gravy because I literally didn’t have 15 minutes to make the gravy sauce. I didn’t have fresh sage either, which is a darn shame because sage is one of my all time favorite fresh herbs. Have you tried anything with brown butter and sage? It makes the world go ’round! But that’s for another time.

www.skinnytaste.com

I’d most definitely try this with mashed “potatoes” made with cauliflower. We’ve had those and they really are quite delicious! But because of our time crunch and the fact that I didn’t think ahead about a side, I mean come on, this was an impromptu buy, we just had regular mashed potatoes. I suppose that’s better than instant mashed potatoes, right? Oh and as crazy as this is, my Trader Joes had left over cornbread stuffing out on the shelf so I had gone ahead and bought some a few weeks prior, so I made that too. My husband was in heaven! I’d make this again and give it 4 stars. It most definitely was not a Thanksgiving turkey roasted in the oven, but a tasty mid-year Thanksgiving treat!

Crock Pot Turkey and Gravy

Adapted from skinnytaste.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped medium
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped medium
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-5 lb whole bone-in turkey breast, skin on, trimmed of fat
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until onion is soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of broth and scrape up any browned bits and smooth out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.

Stir in remaining broth, water, wine, sage, and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Season turkey with salt and pepper, place skin side up in the slow cooker, cover and cook 5 to 7 hours on low, or until the turkey reaches 165 degrees with an instant-read thermometer.

Transfer turkey to a cutting board tent loosely with with foil and let it rest 20 minutes. Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove the fat from the surface using a large spoon or a gravy fat separator. Strain braising liquid into saucepan, discard celery, bay leaves and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Discard the skin and carve the turkey and serve with gravy. Makes 2 1/2 cups of gravy.

 

Asian Salmon- Another Keeper!

I must admit, this isn’t a new recipe. I’ve had this one for years and years and years and we love it! I am trying to figure out how to get fish in our diet a minimum of once a week and this is usually my go to when I’m in a pinch. I always have everything on hand, especially since some of the ingredients are on the exotic side and I don’t use them in anything but this. (As a side note, I don’t add the cilantro. I never have it on hand (the aphids LOVE it when I have it in my kitchen window herb garden) and my husband claims he doesn’t care for it).

allrecipes.com

 

So now that I’ve admitted that, I’ll now admit something else. This recipe was originally entitled “Halibut with Rice Wine”, but I call it “Asian Salmon”!!! Halibut is just so expensive, salmon is just so good for you and it has a lot of asian ingredients in it! Black bean sauce, mirin, rice wine vinegar… not your common pantry items, right?

I’ve made this recipe for many guests and everyone always raves about it. It’s just so flavorful, it’s hard not to like it. I steam some rice and broccoli and call it a meal. The sauce tastes good on every thing!

Some of the ingredients are odd, but I swear they’re worth every penny. You’ll buy this stuff and use it once a week in this recipe!

Halibut with Rice Wine

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 shallots finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon black bean sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 6 (4 ounce) fillets salmon  skin removed
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Heat oil in non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Cook shallots and garlic gently until fragrant, but not brown. Stir in black bean sauce, rice wine, and soy sauce. Bring to boil and cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar; set aside.
Pat fish dry. Rub with sesame oil and sprinkle with pepper. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil grate.
Grill fish for about 5 minutes per side, or just until cooked through. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with sauce poured over top.

 

Un-refried Refried Beans- 5 Stars!

Happy Cinco de Drinko!  I hope you all have plans to toss back a margarita or two to celebrate this fabulous day! Because I plan to (chug) sip a margarita or two, I know I’m not going to want to fix dinner cause I’ll be in re.lax.a.tion mode “AH YEAH!”. Here’s an amazing recipe for you to put in the crock pot and then you won’t have to think about dinner after you’re all in vacation mode.

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These are amazing. I make them a lot. One of the few recipes I’ve repeated, which pleases my husband to no end! They are so easy and SO flavorful, it’s hard not to want to make them for an easy meal, like burritos!

P.S. Sometimes I forget to look at the menu in the morning and then am scrambling to make these in the afternoon (like today for instance…). If you don’t have a big family or are simply using these as a side, halve all the ingredients and it takes half the time to cook!

 Un-refried Refried Beans

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 onion peeled and halved
  • 3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 9 cups water
Directions

Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.

Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.

 

Creamy Lobster Pappardelle- It’s a Keeper! And, HAPPY MAY DAY!

I found another 5 star recipe! It was ah-mazing! AHHHHH-MAZING! The only problem is, of course, the cost of the lobster. It’s definitely a splurge so we won’t be indulging in this recipe very often, but I’ll definitely start keeping my eye peeled for sales. Oh, and Trader Joes recently had frozen lobster tails so I’ll have to inquire about the regularity of those!

www.myrecipes.com

It was a crazy easy meal to make so it’s not just a weekend meal. How fancy would you be telling people Friday morning that you had lobster for dinner last night? Ahhhh yeah.

So basically you start boiling the water for the pasta. Then you boil the wine mixture, boil the lobster (which by the way, I’ve never cooked before), reduce the sauce and it should all come together at about the same time. I’m telling you, easy.

One other perk: the lobster was scrum-didli-icious and would stand alone really well if you just wanted to be fancy and serve lobster tails to your guests!

P.S. Don’t forget to get a bouquet of flowers, leave them on someone’s doorstep, ring the doorbell and run away!

Creamy Lobster Pappardelle

Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

1 (8-ounce) package uncooked pappardelle (wide ribbon pasta)

2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup no-salt-added chicken stock
1 thyme sprig
3 (5-ounce) American lobster tails
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (I just used milk, because that’s what I had)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Preparation

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
  2. While pasta cooks, bring wine, stock, and thyme sprig to a boil in a large skillet. Add lobster. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until done. Remove the lobster from pan, and cool slightly. Remove meat from lobster tails; coarsely chop.
  3. Add oil, salt, and pepper to wine mixture in pan; bring to a boil. Cook 14 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup. Discard thyme sprig. Stir in cream. Add lobster meat and pasta to sauce. Cook 1 minute or until sauce coats pasta, and toss. Sprinkle with parsley and thyme. Serve immediately.