Favorite Make-Ahead Meals

For once, our freezer is stocked. I still feel like it’s not enough, but I have no room for anymore stuff, so I guess it will have to do! I’ve been making a few extra meals each week for the last few weeks to stock up on meals for when the baby comes. I’ve learned that anytime I make a casserole, to just make two of them and freeze the other one. It really doesn’t take anymore time and saves me from cooking a meal on another day. It’s so handy that I will continue to do it from now on to have an easy meal for busy nights or nights that we just don’t feel like cooking. I thought I’d leave a few of my favorite make-ahead meal recipes here for anyone who wants them!

1. Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole

Confession: I don’t love ground beef. I never have. BUT we raise cattle and my husband loves beef, so we end up eating it more than I would like. My trick to eating it, is to change it up…often. Casseroles allow me to do that. This sloppy joe tater tot casserole is a crowd pleaser. I like that you can easily adjust it to make a little or a lot and it freezes really well. It’s also really easy to add veggies to, like corn or peppers.

2. Runza Casserole

We call this Bierock Casserole here in Kansas. I didn’t know what Bierocks were until I met my husband. If you’ve never had one, try one! They are hearty and filling and delicious. Bierocks are usually a mix of beef, cabbage, onions, and seasoning baked inside of a roll. They are great to freeze and pull out for lunches on the go, but they can be somewhat time consuming. What I love about this casserole version is that it’s soooo much easier. You still get all the yummy flavor of a Bierock without having to stuff individual rolls.

3. Chicken Pot Pie

Who doesn’t love dinner in pie form? Crazy people, that’s who. I love chicken pot pie. It’s so easy to customize with your favorite seasonings and veggies. Sometimes I make pie crust from scratch and sometimes I don’t. Just depends on my mood and how much time I have. Sometimes we do a savory beef version to change things up, but I’m pretty partial to the chicken version.

4. Eggplant Parmesan

This is my favorite. I could eat egglplant parm every day. Throw in a basket of bread sticks and I’m a happy gal. Luckily my husband likes it too. You could make it with meat sauce if you wanted to, but I like this as a meatless meal for a change.

5. Shredded Chicken

I love having shredded chicken ready to go. I don’t have a recipe really, but I usually just throw about 4-5 chicken breasts (I use frozen most of the time) in our crockpot and add salt, pepper, and garlic and let it cook all day on low. Then I just shred it with two forks and put it in a freezer bag. I use it on salads, paninis, soups, casseroles, pizza, etc. I also like to make a batch with red, yellow and green peppers and some fajita or taco seasoning for a quick meal of burritos, quesadillas, fajitas, or tacos.

I also love to freeze lasagna, enchiladas, chili, marinated chicken and breakfast sandwiches and burritos. I love to cook, but man is it nice to have some things all ready to go on busy night!

What are your favorite make-ahead meals? Or quick meals for busy nights?

 

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Thanksgiving Dishes To Try

My grandmother is hosting Thanksgiving in Kansas City this year, she and my mom have been hosting it every year for as long as I can remember. They make a ton of delicious food that no one has room for more than a few bites, but we stuff ourselves silly anyway because it’s just so dang good!

They have gotten the Thanksgiving menu down to a science. Everyone’s favorites are always there and if something is missing, we notice. My favorite is my grandma’s praline sweet potato casserole….I could bathe in the stuff. (Is that weird?…That’s weird.) We all pretty much know exactly what will be on the table before we even get there. As much as I love the routine and comfort, I also feel like throwing something new in there from time to time. Now that I’m older and I’m having kids of my own, I kind of feel like I should be contributing too. I mean one of these days, I may be hosting Thanksgiving and I’ve never even cooked a turkey!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no hurry to host just yet. My mom and grandma love doing it and they are really good at it….like really, really good. No pressure. But I am on the look out for a good signature side dish, or appetizer, that could be my “thing”. I don’t want to replace anyone’s favorite dish and be shunned from the table, so I’d like to find something that we don’t currently have. I’ve gathered some options that are making me wish Thanksgiving was tomorrow….

Thanksgiving dishesClockwise: Whipped Goat Cheese, Curried Sweet Potato Rounds w/ Honeyed Walnuts, Cranberries and Blue Cheese, Spicy Fontina Spinach, Artichoke and Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms, 5-Ingredient Cranberry + Brie Cinnamon Sugar Pastry Swirls

I’m leaning towards those stuffed mushrooms, but I just can’t decide. Who knows, maybe I’ll just make all four! Any good apps or side dishes you can’t live without on the big day?

 

Time To Bake (Sugar Cookies)

I know this is really a diy/design blog, so it may be weird to see recipes on here. BUT sometimes I stumble upon a recipe that is so awesome that I just have to share it!

Right now while I’m pregnant, food is kind of all I have. I can’t enjoy my wine, fit into cute clothes, ride roller coasters, sleep on my stomach….or sleep much period these days, so yeah, food is pretty much it right now.

I love sugar cookies, but I am VERY picky about them. They must be soft-ish, have the right amount of almond extract, and be equally delicious with our without icing on them. I have perused Pinterest time and time again for the perfect sugar cookie recipe and last year I finally found it here! I will let you go to the Love Grows Wild blog for the recipe because she has a lot of good pictures and info on there.

IMG_2560The genius part of this recipe is rolling out the dough BEFORE you put it in the fridge to chill. Duh! Why have I never done that before?!
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It’s so easy to cut out and work with after it’s been in the fridge for a bit. I usually wait about 30 min. or so. IMG_2565I got 20 cookies out of this batch. My pumpkin cookie cutter is fairly large, it’s like a cookie and a half….the perfect size if you ask me. I baked half of them and layered the rest between parchment paper in an air-tight container to freeze for later. I love having cookies ready to bake when we have company coming or when a craving strikes. (They only take about 8 min. to bake.)IMG_2568IMG_2573There is just something about Fall that makes me want to get my booty in the kitchen and bake!  Here is the full recipe once again from Love Grows Wild. Her pictures are a whole lot prettier than mine, but hopefully mine taste just as good!

 

 

Iced Coffee Done Right

I love coffee. My body NEEDS coffee. Iced coffee is my favorite. It’s just the perfect afternoon pick-me-up I need after running after my toddler all day, and especially when she decides she doesn’t need a nap that day.

I have tried several times to make my own iced coffee at home (Living out here on the farm with no Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, I have to fend for myself!), but only got ‘meh’ results.  I finally stumbled on the Pioneer Woman’s iced coffee recipe, and I gotta say, girlfriend knows what she’s doing. The process takes a little time, but it’s delicious and totally worth it. So I’m just going to leave her recipe here to share with any other iced coffee lovers out there 🙂

Iced Coffee Done Right // thegoldbrickroad.com