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Friday, January 15, 2016

Cook Smart: Prep Once Cook Twice - using your freezer to advantage.

In the interest of more GRACEful living in 2016 I will be bringing you a series of posts which share some of my CookSmart strategies which make it easier to get home cooked meals on the table on a regular basis.

It's almost as easy to prep 2 meals in a marinade as it is to prep one. Tonight I'm making Five Spice Coconut Chicken for dinner, but I purchased double ingredients and I prepared a second batch at the same time as the first. An added benefit of this method is that before the meat freezes, then again as it defrosts it is also marinating so you get very flavorful results.

Label 2 one gallon freezer bags.
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Add marinade ingredients to each bag, smoosh the bags to mix, then add chicken to each bag.
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Turn the bag over on itself and press out any excess air, then seal.  I place one in a shallow container in my refrigerator, and the second I spread out flat & freeze for a future meal.
2015-10-06 15.28.59 I find that things defrost more quickly when they're frozen flat this way, because they are thinner. I also measured my 9x13 baking dish and found that it's max capacity is 1 liquid gallon. So Anything I can freeze in a one gallon bag, ought to fit into a 9x13 casserole dish for baking, this opens up all kinds of possibilities for freezer meals.

Also See: The Case For Making Meal Planning A Priority
Preparing Casseroles for the Freezer
Recipes which work well with this method:
No Leftovers Fice-Spice Chicken
Easy Picnic Chicken


Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Case For Making Meal Planning A Priority

"Everybody wants to get out to the gym, and that's a good thing too, but if we took as much time in our day to plan our meals and prepare them and maybe bring along a healthy food supply for the day. Then we wouldn't be at the mercy of the grab and go and whatever's out there and it would be so good for our bodies as a whole and we could probably get, (again I'm biased, exercise is great but being a clinical nutritionalist and knowing the outcomes that I have seen over the years) more mileage out of paying better attention to our diet every day."

The above quote is an excerpt from an interview with
Geri Brewster RD MPH CDN, a registered dietitian-nutritionist
from from the Autism Intensive Summit (January 10-18 2016)
I'm getting so much out of this informative online event!
You can register for this free limited time event at the link below.

http://theautismintensive.com/

Meal Planning On The Fragrant Hand

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Slow Cooker

I got a new slow cooker for Christmas. Today I tried it out. I made Slow-Cooker Chinese Barbecued Pork from Cook's Country - October/November 2013 issue. http://picasion.com/
http://picasion.com/

2016 A Year of GRACE

This year I am choosing a focus word, GRACE I intend to use it as a reminder to keep me on course this year.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

One Little Word 2015

My One Little Word for 2015 is cherish.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Menu Plan week of July 20

My son is having issues with his appetite so this week's menu plan is made up of some of his favorite things to eat.
Green Pea salad will be a side with dinner on Wednesday & will be eaten with lunches for the rest of the week. I will make extra hard boiled eggs when I prepare the salad which will be used in Egg Salad Sandwiches for Thursday's lunch.

Watch my Instagram for photos of this week's food & activities http://instagram.com/sparrowapril
Instagram Photos of this week's recipes from the past can be seen below.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Potatoes Stacy Ala April, Cheesy Hashbrown Potato Casserole

I've adapted this cheesy potato casserole from a recipe given to me by my friend Stacy Gaither-Tabor when I first moved to Texas. I began making these as a potato side dish for holiday meals, but I also find it's great along side ham steaks and eggs for breakfast. I used sharp white cheddar for the casserole in the photo.
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Cheesy Hashbrown Potato Casserole


1/2 cup butter
1 onion chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup, condensed (not ready to eat)
Small Sour Cream, all natural or regular NOT reduced fat
1 pkg frozen hash brown potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cheese, I like sharp cheddar

Melt the butter in a large skillet & add the onion, cook until soft, allow to cool slightly.

In a very large, giant bowl whisk together, soup, and sour cream. Mix in the butter & onions. Dump the hash-brown potatoes on top, try to break up any large clumps. Sprinkle salt & pepper over the potatoes, try not to dump it all on one spot so that it will be more evenly distributed when you mix.  Use a large spoon to begin mixing just the potatoes at first, when you feel the salt & pepper are mixed fairly well, begin to stir everything the soup mixture & the potatoes together.  Sprinkle in shredded cheese as you mix until it is all incorporated.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray & spread the potatoes evenly in the dish, use a light hand do not pack the potatoes down tightly.  Cover with foil & back at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until heated through (about 30 minutes) then remove the foil & allow the top to brown for an additional 10 minutes.

Note: if the potatoes are fully frozen or your casserole was made ahead and thoroughly chilled through you may need to extend the baking time accordingly.
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Serves 6-8


Friday, January 17, 2014

Here's to a PLAYful 2014


My aim for this year is to be more playful,
to give myself permission to actually DO the things I want to do,
instead of thinking about what I want to do, but never doing it.
To worry less,
to celebrate more.
To pursue laughter and joy whether or not I have earned or deserve them.
I will stop beating myself up and give myself unconditional love.

The short version…
Here is a metaphor for what I'm trying to accomplish this year…

This year I get to have dessert
without ever asking if I have eaten all my vegetables.