Apple Invasion

This week Dad brought home four very full plastic bags of homegrown apples that he got from a coworker. Once I doled them out into other bags during inspection we wound up having seven bags of apples. In other words, we’ve had a very busy two days. Slow cooking more apple butter for 16 hours, and the rest of the apples will become apple sauce a bit later. Below is our apple invasion from the first wave of attack ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Using an apple peeler, it worked ok but eventually we had to break out the vegetable peeler and pairing knives.

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The second wave of apples, even the scarecrow wasn’t safe ๐Ÿ™‚

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It’s been a fun couple of days but I’m going to be so happy when I don’t have to look at another apple for a while.

Related Articles with Apple Recipes:

http://davsart.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/apple-hand-pies/

http://thebyrdhouseblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/reflection-post-apple-recipes/

http://www.lovefromtheoven.com/2011/11/01/apple-recipe-round-up-bites-from-other-blogs/

http://paleocafeblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/recipe-roasted-beet-soup-with-apple-fennel-by-paleo-cafe/

http://mycrossfitpaleojourney.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/crockpot-honey-apple-pork-loin/

http://applerubber.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/apple-recipes-incredapple-salad/

http://blog.ziplist.com/easy-as-apple-pie-20-apple-recipes/

http://katarina017.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/roast-chicken-with-sweet-potatoes-and-apples-recipe-myrecipes-com/

Throw Back Thursday: Dutch Butter Cookies

Good morning everyone! Feeling somewhat better today, woke up a couple of hours before my alarm but that’s typical. I’m just glad it’s Thursday, this weekend we’ve got some more apples from a friend to use up. I’m thinking applesauce, fried pies, and some more crock pot apple butter(maybe). We shall see!

Today’s throw back Thursday recipe is from an old cookbook that my Mom has had for as long as I can remember. And you can tell a cookbook is well used when it opens directly to a specific recipe every single time!

Dutch Butter Cookies 002ย ย  This cookie cookbook is well used, especially when the only thing we make from it are Dutch Butter Cookies ๐Ÿ˜‰ These are even better than sugar cookies, they aren’t very sweet and are easily doubled! Which is exactly what I did yesterday!

The original recipe is as follows::

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

Cream butter in a medium mixing bowl; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg, and beat well. Gradually stir in flour: (Dough will be sticky.)

Divide dough in half. Place each portion of dough in well–greased 8–inch square pans. With floured hands, press dough into pans.

Place pans in a cold oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Remove from oven, and cut into 2–inch squares while warm. Remove from pans, and cool on wire racks. Yields 3 dozen.

It’s a very simple recipe, and I’ve only followed the exact recipe a handful of times. But because this is such a hit in our family I’ve had to double the recipe and use a big sheet pan. It’s worth it in the end ๐Ÿ™‚

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Here I have four sticks of butter, rather than two. They were somewhat softened, so I stuck them in the microwave for 15 seconds and as you can see in the second picture they were softened up nicely. I go ahead and add the sugar in before I start, it mixes up the same.

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After a couple of minutes of beating the butter and sugar together, add in the eggs and mix completely. *Sorry the second photo is darker, but those are the beaters in action*

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My beater cleaner to the rescue! Once the eggs are mixed in and the mixture is a soft yellow and very fluffy you won’t be needing the beaters anymore.

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Add the flour, if you’re using a large enough mixing bowl you’ll be able to add in both cups of flour. Since I doubled the recipe I had four cups of flour to work with so a large bowl is a must!

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Commence folding…simply you start in the middle and fold away from you. Come back around toward yourself, gathering the mixture gently with the spoonula/spatula to fold back into the center. I caution you: if you are not used to action get ready for a slight workout. As you work this dough it does stiffen up slightly and becomes thick.

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Almost there in the first photo, once you get all the flour incorporated you’ll have a sticky-ish dough that you should be able to pinch and hold. It really isn’t any difference from your average cookie dough consistency.

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Now comes the fun part, on a foil lined pan (I always use Reynold’s Release Foil) dump out the butter cookie dough. Don on some gloves (if you like), keep your flour handy and begin to pat out the dough. Try not to get carried away with the flour though, you only need to flour your hands, you don’t actually apply the flour directly on the dough. Make sure to keep your edges even, and level out the dough as much as possible.

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Before placing in the oven I decided to score the dough in half and sprinkle one side with blue and orange colored sugar. Since this isn’t a very sweet cookie I wanted to be sure that three and four year old kiddies would enjoy them. I don’t know of any child that doesn’t like colored sugar, it’s enticing and fun to lick off (which many of them did last night lol). Bake at the same temp (350 degrees) but it took about 25-30 minutes to get it lightly browned.

And while it was baking I had a brilliant idea for a photo shoot….I only hinted at what I did when I shared it with my Mom. Hehe, it was so fun! It’s amazing what a few kitchen alphabet magnets, a sheet, mini plates and glasses, and some sprinkles can do. Here are some pictures ๐Ÿ˜€

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You will no doubt fall in L–O–V–E with these cookies, you can make up a bunch and share with your friends, co-workers and neighbors. Hope you all enjoy!

Last Hoorah: Crock Pot Tater Tot Casserole Recipe Review

Hello everyone!

Hehe love Scrat, he’s so cute! Hope your week, thus far, has been a blessed one.

I’m no stranger to tater tot casseroles, it’s one of my favorites next to my Mom’s homemade mac–n–cheese. Especially when she adds three or more cheeses to her version, ain’t nothing else gonna compare to that. But what made me want to try this were a few things:

  1. It could be cooked in the crock–pot (that’s a plus)
  2. It has Rotel in it (a winner)
  3. It can be easily thrown together (just made me feel like I won the lottery)

Over at Tammielee Tips, she shared this yummy recipe on her blog, Crock Pot Tater Tot Casserole.

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No picture could ever do this dish justice, honestly, and I’ve eaten many tater tot casseroles over the years. I really must thank Tammielee first of all for sharing such an amazing recipe, last night I had no idea that it would be such a huge hit! There were no leftovers! Most nights I’m lucky to get about two or three servings of leftovers from any dish but not last night. The crock pot was empty and for this ‘Bama Mama that’s a major shocker!

For starters, I decided to change out the meat option from beef to sausage. Seeing how I had made meatball sammies the night before I felt the family would like a little change. So, with that in mind I set my crock on low to help get it warmed up while I cooked a pound of sausage with the onion and Rotel. I didn’t drain off too much off of the grease as this would help keep the food from sticking in the crock pot. Before putting this browned up mixture into the crock I stirred in the can of soup and proceeded with the recipe. (I am thinking about adding a half a brick to a whole brick of cream cheese next time just for some added creaminess.)

Once in the crock I added the frozen tater tots and without thinking I added salt and pepper to them as if I were baking them in the oven. It’s a habit lol Shrugging that brain glitch off to the side I let it cook for about three hours and in the last 30 minutes of the baking time I added the shredded cheese. Already the house was smelling very yummy at this point! My oldest nephew asked me several times if dinner was ready yet ๐Ÿ™‚

Vegetable of choice was green beans, very simple. Just drain them slightly, add a couple tablespoons of butter and some pepper. Cook till hot and serve.

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During dinner Dad asked me what I had put in there to make it spicy. After assuring him it was just a can of Rotel he said it was very good ๐Ÿ™‚ Certain family members even went back for seconds. It’s amazing how something so simple without a lot of flare can be such a winner! Overall this recipe was easy, quick, and so simple that really anybody could throw it together and have a hearty meal within 2–3 hours. No need to thaw anything, just cook up your meat with some veggie, toss it into the slow cooker and serve it up with your favorite sides. I highly recommend this to all busy mom’s out there!!

I think this is definitely going to be enjoy time and time again in our family. Please be sure to head on over to Tammielee Tips to leave your feedback if you do decide to try it! Just don’t be surprised if there aren’t any leftovers later ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a blessed day!!

Last Hoorah: Quick and Easy Meatball Sammies

I have some fond memories of Subway’s meatball subs with lots of cheese and extra sauce, hold the lettuce and tomato. My Mom got me hooked on eating them as a kid and since we don’t frequent fast food joints anymore I’ve had to learn to either go without or make my own.

Monday nights, as you know, have become a grab–n–go night for my Dad and nephew. Last night was their final Shelter in the Time of Storm class and in a pinch I went to the freezer and pulled out a package of meatballs, grabbed some tomato sauce, and a bag of frozen hot dog buns. In less than 10 minutes dinner was ready and being scarfed in record time ๐Ÿ˜€

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Quick and Easy Meatball Sammies

6 hot dog buns or hoagie rolls, warmed up

18 meatballs, homemade or your favorite

1/2 jar spaghetti sauce, or 1 can of tomato sauce + 1 tsp Italian seasoning

Mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese

Heat up sauce in a pan over medium heat. Thaw or nuke meatballs and add to sauce to warm through completely. Warm up the buns in either microwave or toaster oven.

Carefully open each bun or roll and add a little mozzarella cheese inside, place three warmed meatballs on top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Voila!

Yields: 6 Sammies

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This can be easily doubled, tripled, or quadrupled and enjoyed at your next tailgate party, Super Bowl party, kids soccer game, or for those nights when you just don’t have the time cook up a full blown meal. Serve these with your favorite chips, salad, and iced tea!

Back to my writing cave I go! Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Apple Fritter Cake Review

Good morning everyone!! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, I know it’s a bummer that it’s over but onward we must go ๐Ÿ™‚

Seeing how this is the last week of August I’ve decided to dub it the “Last Hoorah”. It’s been a busy crazy month for us, hopefully now that we’re done with our first six weeks things will start to settle down and I can begin incorporating some new material into this place. I have a finger knitting project I’d like to try, crack open my low carb cookbook and share some healthy food to help spread awareness for PCOS(Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Yes, all of September is PCOS Awareness month. It will be a jam packed month so don’t be surprised to see multiple posts on here about various subjects, and learning some TMI facts about how PCOS affects not just the ovaries but the entire body. So, if you are bit squeamish or have a low constitution for such information then I caution you now. Hence, why I’m making this last week of August the “Last Hoorah”, it’ll be a celebration in and of itself, you won’t want to miss out ๐Ÿ™‚

This morning I started our day off with a recipe I found last night on a fellow wordpress blog. Nerdy Baker (love the name btw) shared this amazing apple fritter cake recipe that I just had to try! Her pictures were enticing, literally made my mouth water and I was hooked! So, I sent my kiddo off to do a few things I knew he could handle on his own: writing spelling words 1x’s each, memorize Isaiah 53:1–6, and practice the first part of the Declaration of Independence(which is due Sept.6). That gave me plenty of time to whip up this amazing cake.

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It truly doesn’t get any better than those two pictures, oh wait a minute…it does…As this cake was baking the aroma filled the kitchen and family room. Taking me back to crisp fall mornings with cinnamon, nutmeg, apples, and warm french vanilla goodness! The only thing that could have made this anymore perfect would have been some cinnamon ice cream drenched in caramel ๐Ÿ˜€ Oh yeah!

The recipe was simple in itself, I made a couple ofย  minor changes today. For the glaze I used french vanilla coffee creamer instead of regular milk and vanilla extract. It lends another layer of flavor and compliments the cinnamon and apples perfectly! This is definitely a crowd pleaser, my son who wasn’t too sure about it, was impressed and told me it was better than store bought apple fritters. High praises indeed!! Any time he lauds over something I cook or bake must mean it’s a keeper, for he is a very picky eater.

The texture of the cake was somewhat dense, not sour cream pound cake dense just a tad denser than your average light cake,ย  and holds up beautiful to the apples and glaze. It is a rather sweet cake, if you want to cut the sugar first use granny smith apples instead of Gala. That should help, and if you’re not a fan of chunks of apples you can shred the apples. A food processor with the shredding attachment makes quick work of the apples. I keep pluralizing the word apple because I chose to use 3 instead of 1. Of which I’m glad I did since I chose to cut mine smaller. If you decide to shred you may need to use more than one apple, I do that any time I make actual fritters.

Second minor change I made was to use a few scoops of homemade apple pear butter to that of applesauce. I could have defrosted some homemade applesauce, but in a pinch the apple pear butter worked perfectly! It provided it’s apple pear flavor to the batter and tinting the color of the cake only slightly. It was a great addition, one I highly recommend!

Understanding that all ovens are different, I only had to bake the cake for 30 minutes. Again, adjust accordingly, you alone know whether or not your oven bakes mild or hot. All in all this was an easy recipe to make, perhaps not your typical week day morning breakfast recipe, but it could easily be served as a dessert with ice cream.

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This is definitely a keeper, perfect for a brunch, dessert, a Saturday morning breakfast for the family served up with hot coffee, milk, and hot apple cider. Be sure to head on over to Nerdy Baker to leave your review. Happy baking!!

Book Nook Freebie & Food Storage Friday

Got a yummy free ebook for y’all! It’s all about easy jar recipes which can all so be stored for long term storage! If you find yourself running out of time to make holiday goodies for everyone on your Christmas list (teachers, neighbors, close friends, co-workers, extended family members, etc) then try your hand at making some jarred goodies and help free up your holidays just a tad more!

(Click the above image to download)

Just spent some time going through this book and already I want to get started on making up several jars to give away this fall and Christmas to friends and family. I love how simplistic Bonnie Scott has made it and she tells you what to include on the labels. Now the only thing missing are said labels…

I do have a few links of some free printable Mason jar labels.

http://limeshot.com/2012/free-printable-mason-jar-labels

http://www.overthebigmoon.com/holiday-jar-labels/

http://www.tipjunkie.com/organize/how-to-make-labels-jar-canning/ย  (There are 15 free printables here)

http://printthistoday.com/free-printable-christmas-and-holiday-labels-2/ย  (Various Holidays and Other labels)

Now I love printing these out on card stock paper, punch a hole at the top and thread some ribbon or twine through it to tie onto the jar. You can use coordinating ribbon to keep with the festive flare, or if you prefer you can print these onto adhesive label sheets for easy placement onto the jar lids.

Cookie mixes are always hit with most folks, but a lot of people just like having something ready to munch on. That’s why crackers, bridge mixes, chex mixes, and granolas are always on the top of my list to give! It helps to give others a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday, allowing them to take a break from a hot kitchen and just relax before a roaring fire with their loved ones ๐Ÿ™‚ Which there is nothing better than making sweet memories around the holidays!

So now’s the time to get started, get your bulk ingredients ready, buy up those summer canning jars while they’re on sale and that way you’ll be set to make some fantabulous jarred gifts instead of waiting to the last minute worrying about what to give everyone. That is never fun and causes more headache than enjoyment. Have a blessed Friday!!

Easy Chicken Stroganoff and Garlic Toast

This has been an off day for me, woke up with my back all out of whack and though I went to bed early last night I have been extremely tired all day. Took a nap and before I knew it 5pm was here and had a minimal clue about dinner. I remembered we had some Tyson Grilled Chicken Strips in the freezer and some Dreamfield’s Angel Hair Pasta. I then went on a hunt for some basic ideas of a chicken stroganoff and here’s what I came up with!

2013-08-22 Easy Chicken Stroganoff and Garlic Toast

Easy Chicken Stroganoff

1 pound Tyson Grilled Chicken Strips, thawed and chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 oz chopped mushrooms

1 Tblsp olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 can cream of chicken and mushroom soup

1/2 cup sour cream

3 Tblsp dried parsley

1 pound pasta, cooked

Into a pan add chopped grilled chicken strips, onions, garlic, and mushrooms with olive oil. Cook until onions are tender. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Stir in soup, cover with a lid and simmer. In a large pot boil noodles according to box directions. Drain and set aside. Stir in sour cream and parsley into chicken mixture. Serve over hot noodles!

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Garlic Toast

5–10 slices of your favorite bread

Homemade Garlic Butter

Line pan with foil, spread garlic butter evenly over each slice. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and serve.

It’s a very tasty meal, one that can be easily doubled, frozen, reheated and serve with egg noodles. Hope you all enjoy!

Have a blessed night ๐Ÿ™‚

Bulk Cooking — Part 3

Good afternoon everyone! We have arrived at the last installment of bulk cooking with ground beef. Today has been insane, first I overslept by two hours, instead of my child waking me up(like he usually does) he just closed my bedroom door and left me. Never heard the alarm on my iPod because the sound wasn’t turned up, that’s my fault. So this post is a tad late in getting out. But it’s here and not forgotten!

The recipe we use to make our meatballs is one that can be found on Food Network called Grandma Maronis Meatballs, it’s a 100 year old recipe, very yummy and makes the best meatballs, in my humble opinion ๐Ÿ™‚ Normally when we make these meatballs we do a bunch(as in 5-6 pounds of them), enough for at least four to five meals. These meatballs are tender and juicy and affordable! Now I want to apologize for yesterday’s post, I had my math wrong and it was brought to my attention. This taught me to not type when I’m three sheets to the wind! Thankfully it was pointed out to me by my Mother so there wasn’t too much embarrassment to have to deal with ๐Ÿ™‚ I just wanted to apologize for my mistake and let everyone know it’s been corrected.ย 

The recipe is simple, we didn’t double it this go around and it still made enough meatballs for two meals, adding to our inventory that’s already in the freezer.

Grandma Maronis Meatballs

1 pound ground chuck
4 ounces dried bread crumbs
4 large eggs
4 ounces whole milk
6 ounces grated Romano
3 ounces grated Spanish onion
2 ounces finely diced fresh garlic
2 ounces finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 ounces finely chopped fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in large bowl. If mixture seems a little loose add more bread crumbs. Roll meatballs loosely about the size of a golf ball and place on baking sheet. Place into preheated oven for approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Enjoy!
We don’t make golf ball sized meatballs. That’s just a lot of meat per ball and would take too long to bake, we like to use a melon baller scoop. It’s much smaller but we get more meatballs that way which helps to drive down the cost per meal.
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Here you can see the meat after it’s been mixed together. Again, we only add soft breadcrumbs and mix very gently to help make a more tender meatball. You might be wondering why we would use a recipe that includes milk. Sounds odd but actually it helps to tenderize the meat even further. Any time we make any meat sauce, during the cooking process we add a little milk to help soften up the meat. It works perfectly and once everything is absorbed and evaporated we add in the rest of the ingredients to our sauce. Can’t tell that milk was ever added! The end product is tender and mouthwatering. Try it if you’ve never done it before ๐Ÿ™‚
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The loading of the melon baller. You can do this one of two ways: After scooping up the meat you can level it off or mound it up. We like to mound it up slightly, balls are still small enough to pop into your mouth but still big enough if you want to cut them in half.
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Mounded. Now when I make my sausage spinach balls I level off the scoop to make them a bit smaller, more appetizer size. They are always a hit at the Christmas party I go to every year!!
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There was enough to make a full pan and then half a pan, about 52 meatballs…but then Dad ate one so it we had 51…anyway. It’s going to be enough for two meals.
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Bake according to the recipe and voila! I wish there were a way for everyone out there to smell these through your computer screens…guess you’ll just have to make them to find out! The aroma in the house that Monday night was out of this world, felt like we were in a Sicilian’s kitchen ๐Ÿ™‚
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Divide these up into two meals, placing them into food saver bags, seal them shut with a food saving machine and freeze! In a month I’ll use them in my family’s favorite meatball casserole (a post for another day), serve it up with pasta, salad and garlic bread! Instant meal that I didn’t have to slave over all day!
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If you haven’t tried bulk cooking, are a little apprehensive in trying it, or don’t know where to start, it’s easy. You start small. I haven’t been posting all these things to make anyone feel overwhelmed, on the contrary, I am trying to encourage you to save even more! Depending on what the meal is will determine how much time and effort it will take to get a finished product. Instead of making one meatloaf buy enough meat to make two. That’s what we did in the beginning. Wrap up the second meatloaf and save it for the following month. We didn’t start out using 10 pounds of beef and magically end up with seven to ten meals in the freezer, Mom eased us into it and once I was fully on board with bulk cooking she and I started plotting and planning what to do with five pounds of meat and finally ten pounds of meat. It’s been a slow progression that’s allowed us to see the endless possibilities with not just ground beef but also pork, chicken, roasts, vegetables, fruits, and even non-food items. If you need more information, encouragement or ideas please email me at nightowlkitchen@yahoo.com I will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have and be willing to share any extra tips I can think of. I’m not going to let these three posts just sit here and confuse people. I don’t want anyone to be stumped, lost, or feel like it’s an impossible thing to do. We’re a one income family, while we don’t coupon like many folks (because we cook mostly from scratch) we have been able to save a lot of money the last few years. I just want to encourage you all, don’t be shy in asking me anything and if I don’t know something I will find someone who does ๐Ÿ™‚
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If you don’t want to shell out $30 for 10 pounds of meat at first, don’t. Start with 3 pounds of meat, cook it up into three meals and freeze them. That’s at least three meals that you won’t have to worry about making later! Think of the time and headache that is saved when you can easily go to your freezer, pull out a frozen meal, let it thaw and bake it up for dinner! I did this just last night and all I had to cook up was a meat side to go with our vegetable casserole. I saved about 20 minutes on my cooking time, which is so worth it! Graduate yourself up to making five meals, then ten, and who knows someone out there might get bold enough to do twenty…more power to you friend! Start small, make an extra meal to freeze, and watch the savings as the months go by ๐Ÿ™‚
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Have a blessed day!
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Bulk Cooking–Part 2

Afternoon everyone!

Meatloaf is the American family staple. It has stood the test of time and has seen many facelifts over the years. One of my favorite ways to enjoy some leftover meatloaf is to dip a slice of meatloaf in a batter, deep fry it and smother it in gravy….oh it is lip smacking good! But that’s for another post ๐Ÿ™‚

In and of itself, meatloaf is pretty basic. You have your choice of beef, some eggs, seasonings, ketchup and breadcrumbs. Form into a loaf shape(or bake in a loaf pan as my Mom used to do) and dress it up however you like. Mom grew up eating meatloaf with a ketchup glaze, I have some not so fond memories of scraping baked ketchup off the top of the meatloaf as a kid and now we just place a frozen meatloaf in the crockpot and let it slow cook all day! Amazing how things evolve…and no ketchup!

Yesterday Mom and I attacked a 10 pound tube of ground beef, purchased from Sam’s Club. It has been a while since we purchased one of those mamma jammas, mostly because of the price but after doing some calculation we found that per loaf, which can feed a family of five, is one frugal meal. This particular tube of meat cost us about $28US. For many folks that price alone is cause enough to not purchase it. But let’s take a look at how much three meatloaves cost.

For the sake of my sanity, we’ll say one meatloaf can feed five people(depending on how you cut it it could feed four to six). For our family recipe, which you’ll need to base the price according to your recipe, we used about 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef per loaf. For a grand total of 4 1/2 pounds of ground beef.

2.88 times 4.5= 12.96

That’s $12.96 for 4 1/2 pounds of ground beef. Now, divide that $12.96 by 3 meatloaves.

12.96 divided by 3= 4.32

That’s just the cost of the meat. Now divide 4.32 by 5.

4.32 divided by 5= 0.86

In the end that translates to $0.86 per person and bit more once you include ingredients. This is why meatloaf is such a frugal recipe! Sounds insane, my mind was blown away at just the savings we were putting into our freezer.

Even if you decided to make 10 one pound meatloaves you’re going to save more in the long run using a 10 pound tube of beef than buying your meat a pound or two at a time each week. But don’t let the possibilities stop at just a meatloaf…

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Remember Chubby? Good ol’ Chubby lends so many possibilities. As I mentioned before we made seven meals off this joker yesterday. Seven meals that we could not have otherwise made if we had purchased seven pounds of ground beef anywhere else. Buying in bulk is not wasteful, it just takes some planning, some saving, and being willing to set aside some time to deal with the bulk food accordingly. In the past we have cooked up the entire tube and made ten packages of ground beef to be used in casseroles and skillet meals. There is a sense of security that comes with knowing you have enough meat to get you through especially if there comes a time when the money is a little tighter from one week to the next.

Now, I don’t have permission to share the exact meatloaf recipe with you all (Head Chef frowned upon it) but I can share the pictures so you can see just how easy it is to not only do one meatloaf, but to make three!

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Mom’s Mom made her meatloaf with oats as the binder. That makes for a hard meatloaf, perfect for for covering brown gravy but if you’re wanting a more tender meatloaf then consider using soft bread crumbs. Put a couple of slices in the food processor and grind it up. We do this first before anything else. Next we love sneaking in vegetables into our food, plus we’re not big fans of chunky crunchy vegetables in our food. After processing the bread add in some onion and carrots. We have since learned that it is also best to add your eggs in with the vegetables at this point. It helps to break up the egg whites making it easier to incorporate it into the meat.

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I am not certain about the size bowl we used, it could be a 12 gallon bowl I can double check that later. But it is necessary to have a large enough bowl for 4 1/2 pounds of meat, especially when it comes time to mixing everything together. After whizzing up the veggies you can see that we didn’t take it down to a pulp, we did it just enough to take everything down to diced/minced pieces.

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We love garlic, and here my Mom is holding little prep dish of a thawed out cube of garlic. That would be roughly four to six garlic cloves minced. I like to pack minced garlic into ice cube trays, freeze them and keep a quart size bag of garlic cubes in the freezer. They are really handy about most of the time I’m cutting one in half or into fourths depending on what I’m making. Again, buying peeled garlic in bulk about once every two-three months is not a bad idea.

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Me and my blue Nitrile gloves ๐Ÿ˜€ Love using those! Now the key to a tender meatloaf, other than using light breadcrumbs, is not over working the meat. Especially once it comes time to adding in those breadcrumbs. You can see in the first picture I’m just mixing up all the wet ingredients into the beef. The second picture we added the breadcrumbs after all the wet stuff was mixed in. Then gently folded the breadcrumbs into the meat mix taking care to not squish or squeeze the bread into the beef. You have to be gentle, as if you were folding in some whipped up egg whites into a batter. Be gentle.

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We are lovers of Release Foil, especially when it’s going to be up against meat like this. Dole out the meat as evenly as you can, nothing has to be perfect just eye ball it.

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Pat them out into a loaf shape and wrap up the foil around each loaf. This other picture kind of looks like our three loaves are wrapped together but trust me they aren’t ๐Ÿ™‚

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Mr. Spotty is our official food inspector, so he thinks! Personally, I just think he’s too curious about the wonderful smells that is meat. Precious baby ๐Ÿ˜€

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Take each foil wrap loaf, wrap it in plastic wrap and finally wrap it in freezer paper, sealing it with freezer tape. Be sure to label what it is and include the date. Lay them flat in the freezer and presto! Three meals, one per month at roughly $2.00 or so per person!

You can bake a thawed meatloaf in a 350-375 degree oven, just line your baking pan with foil, cover the meatloaf with more foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes to get some nice coloring. Now when I was growing up we would eat boiled potatoes with this. It was a carry over from what my Mom grew up with and it’s as good as having baked potatoes. You could serve up some oven baked pocket potatoes and veggies for easy clean up, and steam up a favorite veggie or have a salad. Possibilities are endless!

At the end of the day, we were very pleased with the out come, knowing we were able to save the family a boocoo amount of money and we have meals for September, October, and November. It’s not only a great way to save money but it’s practical too! I can’t think of anyone that I’ve shared this method with in the past that to this day thinks is a waste of time or ingredients. Even when we first embarked on making multiples of meals to freeze I was skeptical in how this was going to save us money and time in the kitchen. After a year I became a believer and was able to see the savings and benefit from just taking a meal out from the freezer to thaw and bake up later in the day. Didn’t have to groan over what to make or worry about what to put on the weekly menu. It has become a time saver, a money saver and that makes this Momma happy happy happy!!

Have a blessed day ๐Ÿ™‚

#tealtuesday