Tex-Mex Lasagna – OAMC

Tex Mex Casserole

I know - it's a terrible picture.

But this Tex-Mex Lasagna is so good it's the only one I could get before the whole thing disappeared!

I found this recipe when I was searching on Recipezaar one day for OAMC recipes, and I'm so glad I printed it out.  I made a single recipe of it the first time to test out, but next time I'll definitely be doubling it.  We don't generally eat a lot of casseroles and it's a little more processed than we usually eat… but for a once-in-a-while meal, I'm okay with it. 

It's just too good not to enjoy!

Tex-Mex Lasagna
Serves 4-6

1 dozen corn tortillas, cut into 1" strips
1 lb. ground beef (turkey or chicken would be fine too)
garlic powder, chili powder and cumin – to taste (or packaged taco seasoning)
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 can ranch style beans (or 2 c. kidney beans)
8 oz. shredded colby-jack or cheddar cheese
1 can Cream of Chicken soup (I only used half)
1/2 c. sour cream
2 oz. diced green chilis (I like Ortega)

  • Brown beef/turkey in skillet until no longer pink. Add taco seasonings – I like about 2 t. of chili powder, 1 t. of cumin and a teaspoon or so of powdered garlic, along with salt and pepper.
  • In separate bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, green chilies and sour cream.
  • Cover the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish with enough tortillas to completely cover.
  • Layer taco meat, beans and half of the shredded cheese.
  •  Follow with another layer of tortillas, again making sure to completely cover lower layer.
  • Cover second layer of tortillas with soup and sour cream mixture, then Ro-Tel tomatoes, then the rest of the shredded cheese.
  • Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes until cheese is melted and starting to brown.

This freezes great – I just added a little extra time for baking and it was perfect.  And honestly, I think you could probably leave the meat out and not really miss it – just add the taco seasoning spices to the sour cream and Cream of Chicken soup mixture or the beans.  I might just have to try that next time!

This recipe linked to:
Life As Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap
The Grocery Cart Challenge
Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday

 

Chicken Chile Verde

Chicken Chile Verde

I love chile verde.  It's one of those rare foods that I usually don't even attempt to make on my own, and count myself as lucky when I get it.  The slow simmered pork chunks, the green sauce…my mouth is watering.

I was a little intrigued, though, when I stumbled across this recipe.  A chicken chile verde that's great for Once A Month Cooking…I had to at least give it a try.

I'm so happy I did.   It's not exactly what I think of when I think of chile verde (for one, the sauce isn't really greend!), but it's good.  Not perfect – I'll be working on a few changes next time.  If definitely needs that acid that a squeeze or two of lime gives it, while cooking and when serving.  Tom and I both thought it could use a little bit more heat.  I'll come back and make changes to the recipe once I figure out where I want to go with it.

Still…as is…it's pretty good.

It's a great way to use up some of that pulled chicken I always have leftover from making stock and it makes for a super easy dinner.  If I've remembered to pull it out of the freezer in time, it can take me just a few minutes to pull together a great dinner. We ended up serving it in bowls, topped with cheese and sour cream alongside a few homemade corn tortillas for dipping.

Here's the recipe, with my changes:

Chicken Chile Verde
Serves: 4  (I'll be doubling on my next baking day)

  • 8 ounces dry pinto beans (1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles (I used Ortega)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup onion finely chopped
    a squeeze or two of lime

    to serve:
    1 cup grated Monterey Jack or cheddar
    1 dozen corn tortillas 
    salsa
    lime slices

    • Rinse pinto beans, soak them in cold water overnight, then drain.
    • The next day, combine beans, chicken broth, garlic, salt, and onion in a large pot; bring to a boil.
    • Reduce heat and simmer until beans are soft, about 1 hours.   Add more water if necessary.
    • Combine chicken and spices with beans; simmer 10 more minutes.
    • Serve with warm tortillas, cheese, lime wedges and salsa.

    To freeze:

    • Cool completely and freeze.  This is a great recipe for freezer bags - fill them, place on cookie sheets and freeze.  Once the chile verde is frozen, it's easy to stack and takes very little room!
    • I try to pull out of the freezer at least a day in advance, but if I don't it's defrosts pretty quickly in a bowl of water in the sink.
  • Breakfast Muffins

    IMG_2949

     This is one of those recipes that I wish I could take credit for, but I can't.  It's just Heavenly Homemakers Breakfast Cake in muffin form.  They are filling, freeze really well, taste great and have no refined sugars or flours in them (unless you put in chocolate chips). 

    I've been making them for my baking days for the last 4 months, and they're always the first thing we run out of!  The first time I made them, I  did them in a pan…which was fine, but cupcakes seem to work better for freezing. 

    Breakfast Muffins
    makes about 24 regular sized muffins

    1 cup butter, melted and cooled
    3/4 cup buttermilk (or do the old soured milk with vinegar trick)
    2 cups whole wheat flour
    2 cups whole rolled oats
    ¾ cup honey
    2 eggs
    1 t. sea salt
    1 t. baking soda
    1 t. vanilla
    1 cup raisins, chocolate chips or other dried fruit

    • Stir together butter, buttermilk, flour and oats in a glass bowl. Cover with a cloth and allow the grains to soak on your counter overnight or for at least 8 hours.
    • Prehead oven to 350.
    • Stir in honey, eggs, salt, baking soda and vanilla to soaked grains.
    • Fold in raisins, chocolate chips or dried fruit.
    • Scoop into prepared muffin tins (about 3/4 full) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes (until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean).
    • If freezing, allow to cool completely before bagging and freezing.

    Notes:

    • This is a soaked recipe (as in, you soak the first 4 ingredients overnight), but I've done it without soaking and they come out just fine.   Why soak?   It seems to help with digestion.  From personal experience, I can say that I don't have the headaches or other issues I tend to have with wheat when it's been soaked or fermented (as in sourdough).
    • You can also bake this in an 8×8 or 9×9" pan – just bake it for 40 to 50 minutes.
    • It seems like a lot of butter.  I know.  I'm not really afraid of it, and certainly far less worried about butter than margerines or other fake spreads.  Butter is real food.  I don't eat it all the time, and not lots of it when I do, but it's okay.  In the long run, I really believe it will do far less damage to your body than any of that stuff in the tub.  In fact, I've been eating full fat dairy and everything else for the past 6 months and my cholesterol has gone down over 25 points.  

    Easy Chicken Cacciatore

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    I don't usually post recipes until we've actually eaten it, but I've quite a few requests for this one so I thought I should get it up sooner rather than later.  It doesn't hurt that Tom took one bite and asked for a bowl of it (he suggested I call it a hearty tomato soup in winter).

    This actually started out as a freezer/once a month cooking recipe I found online…but as I started putting it together during my baking day, I realized I'd left a few things off my shopping list.  I'm not even sure it's technically chicken cacciatore any more (the last time I had it, I think I was maybe 10), but it's definitely a good, simple, spicy tomato sauce.  After a bit of scrambling and a lot of taste tests, this is what I came up with:

    Easy Chicken Cacciatore
    Makes enough for 2 meals for our family of 4
    Freezes great

    1-2 T. olive oil
    1 onion, diced 
    1 bell pepper, diced
    1 large can of mushrooms 3 cans diced tomatoes
    2 t. dried basil
    2 t. dried oregano
    3 t. garlic powder (or a few cloves)
    a few shakes of red pepper flakes
    salt and pepper to taste
    several cups of pulled chicken (although hubby dear said it would be perfectly fine without meat)
    pasta or brown rice (cooked) for serving
    parmesean cheese (optional)

    • Saute diced onion and bell pepper in olive oil.
    • Add mushrooms and seasonings, cook for a minute or two.
    • Add 3 cans diced tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes.
    • Add in chicken and warm through.
    • Serve over pasta or brown rice and a sprinkling of parmesean cheese. 

    Seriously, that's how easy and quick it is.  Since I was planning on freezing it, I went ahead and just threw my chicken in the bottom of my freezer bag and ladled the sauce on top of it.  

    A couple of notes:

    • Play around with the seasonings to find what you like.  I tend to go a little heavy on garlic and I'm a little bit obsessed with red pepper flakes right now, but you could easily cut back on either of them.
    • The mushrooms – I'm generally a fan of fresh anything, but for freezing I prefer canned mushrooms.  Fresh ones just get funky in the freezer.
    • I kind of feel the same way about frozen pasta.  It doesn't take very long, so I'd rather wait until I'm serving to cook my pasta.  I can also add a little bit of the pasta water to the sauce if I decide it needs to be thinned a bit when serving.  I do find cooking my brown rice in a huge batch and freezing it in meal sized portions to work very well and also to be a huge time-saver for me. 
    • I might try blending this all next winter as a tomato soup (maybe without the mushrooms, though). 
    • Edited to add: When we had this for supper earlier this week, it was a 50/50 split on the pasta and brown rice.  Tom and I loved the brown rice and the kids preferred the pasta.  I don't normally serve both but since it was our first time, I wanted to experiment. 

    Enjoy!

    This recipe linked to:
    Life As Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap
    The Grocery Cart Challenge


    *almost done*

    Baking day is almost done.  I've got a few more things cooling completely and a pork roast in the slow cooker that I'm going to let cook a bit longer before I shred it.

    Other than that?

    Done!

    Even better than being done?

    Tom is cleaning the kitchen =)

    This is a little bit bigger list than usual – I'm hoping it lasts until we leave for our trip to California next month and I'm also hoping there's something still in the freezer for Tom (he comes home a few weeks before we do).

    Here's what I did:

    • Beans (kidney and pinto) – 5 bags, 2 c. each
    • Brown rice – 6 bags, 4-5 c. each
    • Breakfast cake muffins – 7 bags of 5, 2 small loaves
    • Blueberry muffins – 5 bags of 5
    • Chocolate chip cookie dough – enough for 5 desserts
    • Waffle mix – 5 bags
    • Flour tortillas – 2 dozen and a few extras
    • Corn tortillas – 3 dozen
    • Sandwich rolls – 13
    • Chicken stock – 4 jars of 3.5 c. each
    • Chicken taquitos – about 1 meal
    • Chicken cacciatore – 2 meals
    • Chicken chili verde – 1 meal with leftovers
    • Tex Mex lasagna – in the oven for supper
    • South Carolina BBQ pork for sliders – at least 2 meals

    And prepped meats for:

    • Fajitas
    • Teriyaki chicken
    • Rotisserie seasoned chicken breasts
    • Burgers

    A few pictures:

     IMG_2946 
    Waffle mix.  Next time, I'm going to do the labels for all of the "regulars" on the computer with any other needed ingredients or instructions.

     IMG_2949 
    Breakfast muffins – love these!  No refined sugar or flour (except what's in the chocolate chips).  I'll share the recipe later this week.

    IMG_2951 

    Tex-Mex Lasagna.  In the oven right now =)

    If we like it, I'll be sure to share the recipe soon.

    Edited: Oh my heck, it's awesome!  I'll definitely get this one up this week!

    IMG_2952 

    My made-up Easy Chicken Cacciatore (before I added the chicken).  It's probably not very authentic, but Tom took one taste and wanted to eat it as soup (I'm glad I wrote down what I was doing!).  All I have to do to serve is defrost, heat, put it on top of pasta or brown rice and sprinkle a little parmesean.   On my list to share soon!

    IMG_2963 

    Flour tortillas.  I think we finally mastered these!  Tom, Caleb and I all worked on them.  I also made a few dozen corn for me.

    My freezer is actually almost full, and I've got a bunch of new recipes to share – I'd call that a totally successful baking day!

    Baking Day Plans

    Retro-freezer2

     Time to fill the freezer again!  I'm going to try to do a little bit extra this month since we'll be heading out to California at the end of June.  Tom will be home a bit before the kids and I are, so I want to have a few things in the freezer to make it easier on him.  I've also got a few more actual meals I want to try this time.

    Here's the list of regulars:

    • Beans (maybe pintos and kidney)
    • Brown Rice (I really should do a little tutorial on this – brown rice in the freezer is one of my biggest time/meal savers)
    • Breakfast Cake (double batch)
    • Blueberry Muffins
    • Banana Nut Muffins
    • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
    • Waffle Mix
    • Teriyaki Chicken (I use an Iron Chef marinade we found at BJ's for this.  It's not too high in sugar or fake ingredients, but once it's gone I'm going to try making my own)
    • Fajita Steak
    • Tuscan Lemon Chicken
    • Tortillas (flour and corn)
    • Chicken Stock (overnight in the crock pot – that worked great last month!)
    • Sandwich Rolls

     And my test recipes (which I will of course share if we like them):

    • Pizza rolls (kind of like cinnamon rolls, but with marinara, mozzarella and a bit of chopped pepperoni – this is sort of a crazy idea I had the other day and I want to see how it works)
    • Chicken Cacciatore Penne
    • Chili Verde
    • Tex Mex Lasagna
    • Southwest Roll-Ups
    • South Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork
    • Giada's Marinara 

    I think it's definitely going to be a two day endeavor this month!
     

    Baking Day 2 Plans

    Last month's baking day was  a huge success.  There are still a few things in the freezer (mostly marinated or prepared meats), we had baked goods to last us through the entire month and meal planning was so much simpler!  I'm planning on

    I'm getting ready to do it again this weekend, and here are my plans:

  • Blueberry muffins
  • Banana or pumpkin muffins (adapted with whole wheat, spelt or brown rice flour)
  • Breakfast cake (a total hit from last time, but I'm going to try making these as muffins this time)
  • Homemade almond milk (a test recipe, not a bulk one)
  • Sandwich rolls
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough  (this was a huge hit – and there were just enough dough balls for fresh from the oven chocolate chip cookies once a week)
  • Marinated chicken (maybe these)
  • Marinated pork chops (some with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and others with fresh squeezed orange juice added to the mix)
  • Marinated steak fajitas
  • Chicken stock
  • 4 dozen tortillas made and cooked  (testing out a new recipe from Rick Bayless, which has been saved on our DVR for the last 3 weeks – I'll share if we like it better than our current one)
  • Brown rice
  • Beans
  • A  few thoughts:

    • meal components and baked goods definitely work better for us than actualy frozen meals.  The more complete a dish has been, the less likely we've been to eat it.
    • marinating meat as it comes home from the grocery store = brilliant!  I just pull it out of the freezer a day or two before it's on our menu…all I have to do after that is cook it.
    • I spent a little under $500 on all groceries and toiletries last month for our family of 4.  It should have been just enough to feed us, but we ended up eating out more than usual due to stresses and the tax return.  This month will be a lot tighter, and I'm adding in my first raw milk and some pastured meats.  That eating out has to stop!

    The Baking Day Report…

    Whew! 

    One big morning of shopping…one crazy-busy afternoon of baking and cooking…and one slightly calmer morning to finish up.

    Picture 006 

    And a whole lot of big messes!

    All in all, I'm very pleased with how my fill-the-freezer frenzy went.  I didn't end up making everything on my list (no marinated fajita steak because I forgot to buy the meat and no spiced nuts because I decided I didn't need them), but here's the breakdown of what I did end up with:

    • Stir Fry Chicken – 2 meals
    • Marinated Pork Chops – 3 meals
    • Taco Meat – 2 meals
    • Shredded Beef – 2 meals (plus dinner Friday night) – will share what I call my White Girl Barbacoa recipe soon!
    • Tuscan Lemon Chicken – 2 meals
    • Chicken Stock - 2 quarts
    • Enchilada Sauce – 2 quarts
    • Applesauce – 2 quarts
    • Kidney Beans – 2 bags (2 c. each)
    • Black Beans – 2 bags (2 c. each)
    • Tortillas – 40
    • BRC Burritos - 8
    • Chicken Burritos – 10
    • Breakfast Cake – 1, froze half
    • Banana Nut Muffins – 2 dozen
    • Blueberry Muffins – 2 dozen
    • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – enough for 4 dozen cookies
    • Brown Rice – 3 bags (3.5 c each)
    • Ranch Mix – 1 jar
    • Almond Milk (an experiment) – 2 quarts
    • Sandwich Rolls (another experiment) – one dozen
    • Calzones (supposed to be an experiment, ended up as lunch) – 4
    • Macaroni and cheese - 2 trays

    All together, components for about a dozen meals.  Not too shabby!

    A few thoughts…

    Picture 009 

    I couldn't have done this without Tom or the tortilla press.  He worked on tortillas for about 2 hours (maybe more), freeing me up to work on other items.  The press made the tortillas a little bit thicker than I'd expected – but they're still great for tacos and I'm going to try making flat bread pizzas out of them, too.

    Picture 011
    Next time, I will definitely buy more frozen blueberries – between smoothies, blueberry muffins and Tom's love for them, we've almost gone through the big BJ's sized bag since Friday.  Also, blueberry muffins work great with sucanat instead of white sugar.

    Picture 016 

    I'm no longer afraid of coconut oil – these healthier chocolate chip cookies are amazing.  Next month, I'll be replacing all of the oils in my baking with coconut!

    Picture 021 

    Planning dinners that used foods we'd already prepped that day was a blessing.  I was wiped out by Friday evening, and all I had to do was pull out a little of the shredded beef and homemade tortillas.  Not exactly the best presentation, but they were delicious!

    Picture 027 

    To quote Caleb, "speriments are good".  My experiments all worked out pretty well – we love the homemade almond milk and it's at least a third cheaper making it at home than buying it at the grocery store.  My bread dough works great for little sandwich rolls, which I'll definitely be making more of considering my test batch is almost gone.  I realized recently that I buy loaves of bread at the grocery store and then throw them away because we don't eat them.  I guess I'm just so programmed to buy bread that I didn't realize the waste!  I always have bread dough in the fridge, and the kids prefer rolls to sliced bread anyway. 

    Picture 038 

    And I don't know why, but it's just really fun to make your own almond milk.  I have a feeling we're going to be seeing soaking almonds in our kitchen on at least a weekly basis!   We decided not to strain ours since we knew we'd be using it within a day or two and would have thrown the almond meal in the smoothies. 

    Picture 030
    Calzones were another experiment.  These four were gobbled up as soon as they'd cooled enough to eat, and on that level they were a success.  I had hoped to see how they'd freeze, but didn't quite get the chance.  And I need to work on sealing them a bit better – as Hanna pointed out, these all look like they're "puking on each other"…not exactly the response I want to hear about food.  I still might make these for my next baking day but if I have my bread dough ready, they only take a few minutes to throw together and I can use all sorts of leftovers for fillings.  They're definitely going in my "we need pizza now!" file.

    Picture 034
    Next time, though, I'll remember not experiment with my experiments before I've made them at least once following the recipe.  The macaroni and cheese was okay with spelt pasta, but Tom and the kids would have really loved it with regular.  That's how I'll do it next time.

    Picture 029 

    A few notes as I'm looking toward next month…I'm interested to see exactly how long all of this will last us.  I need to find another easy meal for Tom's lunch.  We both like burritos, but not 3 or 4 times a week.   I threw all of my recipes and notes from this round into my homemaking binder for next time.  I also created a little freezer inventory sheet and am crossing things off as we eat them. 

    The Simple Woman’s Daybook – February 1, 2010

    FOR TODAY…February 1, 2010

    Outside my window…another cloudy day, but not as cold as yesterday (which took me by surprise and reminded me yet again that I need to make a point to check the weather before I leave the house).

    I am thinking… that a 6 am wake up time still eludes me.  Well, I'm easily awake at 6…it's the getting out of bed part that isn't happening.  A new goal for this week is to be out of bed by 6:30 each morning.

    I am thankful for…Hanna's healthy new friendships…good counsel…a freezer full of healthy, whole foods…my snuggly boy…one more week before Seminary starts up.

    I am praying for…a smoother week (again), God's provision and guidance, my children, leadership.

    Toward a healthier me….this is the first week my weight has been up and my measurements haven't changed.  I'm not terribly surprised – last week was filled with stress and hormones, and I found myself mindlessly snacking again.  I did get in 4 days of exercise, but I need to get that back to 5 and a few bike rides.  I'm also planning a 3 day green smoothie cleanse as soon as a few things I've ordered arrive.

    From the learning rooms…last week was rough (again).  This week, a few more changes.  We're still in Ancient Greece and we're starting new science and writing programs.  I'm slowly trying to bring in more classical education techniques and subjects.

    From the kitchen…this week's menu plan can be seen here, and I'll be sharing my baking day adventures tomorrow. 

    I am wearing…black yoga pants and a gray long-sleeved shirt.  And my running shoes…I have a bad habit of never wearing shoes in the house and my feet are starting to pay for it. 

    I am creating…layouts for clients, still thinking about chore charts and changes, and a homemaking binder.

    I am going…to

    I am reading…My chronological One Year Bible, Love & War for review (which I'm finding to be really good and very challenging), and Cross Bones (a favorite re-read).

    Toward a lifelong education…The Well Trained Mind, The Complete Writer and Think Orange.  The first two are about homeschooling, but I'm finding that I'm learning an incredible amount from them.  The second is something Tom brought home from a conference last week, and the message of when what can happen when home and church collide is so needed!

    I am hearing…the blender.  Tom is up and making smoothies.

    Around the house…it's been 2 weeks without a good scrubbing.  At least it's picked up and the laundry isn't overwhelming.  This weekend needs a focused cleaning day.

    One of my favorite things…sushi lessons at Confirmation yesterday morning.  "Sushi and Salvation" might just be the best theme for Confirmation classes ever.

    A few plans for the rest of the week:  school, work, a doctor's appointment, Wednesday night activities at church, maybe a quiet weekend. 

    Here is picture for thought I am sharing…

    Picture 006

    One of my many baking day messes…such a disaster, but so worth it!

    Have a blessed week!

    Read more Daybooks here, where they are graciously hosted by Peggy each week.

    Retro-freezer2

    One of my goals for the last few years has been to start some sort of a monthly baking/fill the freezer day.  We do the majority of our shopping (meat, dairy, baking supplies, frozen foods) on one Friday of the month, and it just seems like it would make sense to spend a day getting things prepped for the rest of the month.  Now that I'm having to make almost everything from scratch due to dietary restrictions, it seems even more sensible. 

    I have to be honest…it also appeals to my more frugal side.  Why pay $2 plus for a box of 40 frozen mini pancakes when I can make hundreds for the same price at home and freeze them myself?  And it seems silly to pay $3.29 for a package of 8 of the sandwich rolls the kids like at Publix when for the same price, I can make 3 dozen.

    The one thing that has held me back?

    We have a side by side refrigerator freezer that has almost no freezer space.   If I'm super creative and play Tetris with frozen meat and fruit, it can hold exactly what I buy during my big shopping trip, but doesn't leave me any room for any baked goods or even good buys.

    My mom, understanding my obsessive need to be organized and save money, has tried to give us a freezer for the last few Christmases by giving us the money to buy it ourselves.  And every year she's done that, we've had some huge December crisis or unexpected bill and haven't gotten that freezer.  This year, she decided to just order the freezer and have it delivered (thank you again, Mom!).  Within the next week, I should finally have that freezer happily chilling away in my garage.

    Which is perfect timing for this: February Freezer Cooking Day (on Facebook).  My freezer will be here and it just so happens to coincide with my big shopping trip day.  I think my plans might be a little bit optimistic, but I've already warned Tom and the kids that they're helping.  We're even going to make it a Home Ec school day. 

    I'm pretty sure there's no way I can do this all in one day, so I'm working on spreading it out over two.

    Friday:

    • Big monthly shopping trip – BJ's, Publix
    • Put taco roast in crock pot (will share recipe soon)
    • Start chicken stock on the stove
    • Make large batch of brown rice
    • Cook beans
    • Make tortillas using the electric griddle(several dozen whole wheat and 1 or 2 dozen small flour)
    • Make mini pancakes on the electric griddle and freeze
    • Marinate chicken, pork chops, steaks before freezing in family sized portions
    • Prep often used spice mixtures (crockpot chicken seasonings and ranch dressing mix) and store in jars
    • Remove taco roast and shred, put in freezer bags and freeze
    • Remove chicken from stock, place in bowl and refrigerate
    • Strain stock and place in large jars to refrigerate over night

    Saturday:

    • Make, bake and freeze - 
      • blueberry muffins
      • pumpkin or banana bread
      • sandwich rolls
      • several loaves of bread and only bake those partially
    • Shred chicken – freeze some
    • Prep and freeze burritos using tortillas, brown rice, beans and shredded chicken
    • Double batch of enchilada sauce
    • De-fat chicken stock and freeze in 4 c. portions
    • Make a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough and freeze in scoops

    And maybe:

    • Large batch of applesauce
    • A lasagna or two to freeze
    • Enchiladas
    • Homemade chicken strips
    • and if I get really crazy, yogurt

    I know it seems like a lot of random stuff, but it would give me key parts of many of our favorite breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  Knocking out a lot of this prep work on things I know we love and eat regularly will save me so much time over the month.   I also know that having a lasagna or enchiladas or even some shredded beef stashed away keeps us from eating out when we're tired, sick or feeling lazy.

    My ultimate goal?  To make this a monthly habit, but I think I'll see how I do with this first one before I commit myself to anything too big!