Category Archives: recipe

Freezer Cooking: Twin Meat Loaves

Way back when I was looking for new post ideas the topic of freezer cooking came up. I think there was quite a bit of interest in that and yet I’ve never posted about it since, until now. I’ll try to post some recipes from time to time under the heading and label “Freezer Cooking: ________”. I thought I had already posted this recipe as a single loaf version but couldn’t find it.

This recipe comes from Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook. I got my copy from my Grandma’s basement and I love it. It really is appropriate for the way we are trying to live and generally avoids “add in seasoning packet” or “3 cups Bisquick”.

Twin Meat Loaves

2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. bread crumbs
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped carrot
2 lbs. ground beef

Break two eggs in a bowl and until well broken. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. You’ll have to use your hands to get this done in a reasonable amount of time, or I guess maybe a hand mixer would work. Pack into two greased 7 1/2x4x2″ pans – I used my narrow bread pans that come close.
Pop the pans in the freezer for a few hours or overnight. Once frozen, tap the loaves out on a plate or cutting board. Wrap well with tin foil. You could also use the plastic out of a cereal box along with brown paper if you’re trying to cut back on foil. Label with black permanent marker: BAKE @ 350 f FOR 1 HOUR.

When you go to cook these you can drop them in the pans frozen and thaw them in the fridge that way. I’ve cooked them straight out of the freezer and they were still done in just over an hour. I actually cooked one for 2 hours when something happened with the sheep and I forgot about it. It didn’t dry out or burn even after all that time so it is pretty much foolproof. I don’t eat ground meat at all but hubby says this is one of the better meat loaves he’s had, he really likes it.

I usually thaw a bunch of hamburger and make 6 or 8 loaves at a time. It is a great back up for a day when I’m out of ideas. Happy freezer cooking!


The Trouble With A Menu Plan…

The trouble with a menu plan is that:

A) You have to make one before it works


B) When you have one you really come to rely on it and when you don’t it makes for a miserable week!!

I thought about it on Monday but never quite made time since I had to work this Monday (my normal day off). I thought about it yesterday but made dinner and dessert and then it was 10 o’clock! Today is the day I guess. I know you’re wondering if it is even worth it now? Yes, it is. Now that I know what it is like to plan ahead I HATE coming home and trying to figure out what to cook.

Here it is:

Monday: Tacos for Brian, I never really ate dinner.

Tuesday: Spaghetti (with herbs and butter for me, meat sauce for Brian) with Quick Cheese Bread (this recipe is a winner! We’ve had it twice now)

Wednesday: Parmesan Crusted Walleye with Roasted Herb Potatoes

Thurday: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Soup & Peas

Friday: Breakfast for Supper – French Toast, Hashbrowns, Bacon, and Eggs

Breakfasts this week consist of those blueberry waffles I made for me, I’m not sure what Brian’s been eating. For dessert I made No-Bake Cheesecake. I had one jar of blueberry filling that didn’t seal so I topped the cheesecake with that. It was good last night but it is even better now that is had been in the fridge for awhile. Try it, you’ll like it.

Whew. Glad that’s done!! 🙂

What’s on your menu this week?

Traditional 4th of July Pie

I’ve been making this pie almost every 4th of July now for several years. I think I missed last year so it better be extra good this year to make up for it.

Start with enough dough for a two crust pie. Roll out half of the dough and place it in a 9 inch pie pan. Roll the other half out in to a circle around 10 inches across. Cut 6 strips from that, about 3/4″ wide each. You’ll also need to cut out 6 stars from the dough that is left. I used a paring knife to cut my stars but you could use a small cookie cutter if you want them to be perfect.

Next, go ahead and get the filling ready. I normally use cherry and blueberry but this year I used strawberries instead of cherries. The strawberries are some that I froze last weekend, the blueberries I picked and Foodsavered a long time ago. If you’re using frozen berries be sure to drain them well. Large berries should be sliced or cut in chunks.

Here’s what you’ll need.

Red Portion:
2 – 3 cups red berries (cherries or strawberries)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch

Blue Portion:
1 – 1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Mix all ingredients for each portion in separate bowls. You can use more red berries if you like. I only had a little over 2 cups of strawberries thawed today. That will work but it should be a little more full. Pour the red mixture into about 3/4 of the pie shell. Use a spatula or large spoon to hold it in place. Pour the blue mixture in to the remaining 1/4 of the shell. Adjust the filling with your spatula to make a nice line between the two colors. Sprinkle with some small pieces of butter.

Go ahead and place the strips across the filling. Put the longest strip right over the line between red and blue. Evenly space the rest of the strips above and below the first. Then place the stars over the blue portion.

Place the pie pan on a cookie sheet with edges to catch any juice that may bubble over. Bake on the bottom rack of the over at 400 degrees F for approximately 1 hour. Check the edges and cover with a pie shield or tin foil if they are starting to brown too much. Cool for at least an hour afterward, then serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

This is a great dish to take to a party or a potluck. It makes a great impression. I’ve taken in to some parties where I don’t know many people and it has made for a nice icebreaker.

Enjoy, and have a great holiday!! If you make a special dish for the 4th I’d love to hear about it.

Cut Off From the World

Okay, I don’t consider myself to be very high tech. I haven’t used my ipod in 6 months and I refuse to text message. However, today I felt so cut off from the world it was scary, and I was having major withdrawals. Our internet is only working off and on so if I’m missing for awhile that will be why. We can no longer pick up a good signal and there is nothing the company can do to fix it so we’re looking for a new service provider. Every time I turned around today I couldn’t continue with my plans because I couldn’t get online. Here’s what I mean:

I wanted to preserve my garlic scapes but I didn’t remember how they said to do it on that website I looked at the other day.

Since my Mom, Brian, and I picked a bunch of strawberries on Saturday I was dying to try Abbie’s Strawberry Shortcake recipe but couldn’t get the page to load.

I was planning to browse recipes for this weeks’ menu plan and knew I wanted to make Quick Cheese Bread with dinner tonight. Luckily this thing started working. The bread is in the oven so I’ll keep you posted!

More importantly, the builder was here repairing the shed that burned and I needed to write him another check. I had to tell him not to cash it for a few days since I couldn’t get online to transfer the money from our savings to our checking, or to update our check register and compare the online banking with our Quickbooks.

Maybe I really am addicted to the internet like my husband used to claim. Of course he doesn’t say that now, he’s too busy fighting me for the computer so he can check the weather, browse craigslist, drool over tractors on ebay, and watch the grain prices on our local elevator’s website. Oh, what is this world coming to!?!

Where do you spend your time online? Do you rely on the web like we do?

Menu Plan Monday – New for Me!

Okay, here’s a new thing for me. I’m going to try being a part of Menu Plan Monday, a weekly menu plan share hosted by Laura over at I’m An Organizing Junkie. The banner above is linked to her awesome site.
I’m not sure exactly what our week will be like since we’ve got hay to bale. Here’s my plan:

  • Monday
    • Snack
      • Peaches and yogurt
    • Supper
      • Ham Steaks
      • Red Skinned Garlic Mashed Potatoes
      • Chicken Gravy
  • Tuesday
    • Breakfast
      • Rhubarb Muffins
      • Milk
    • Lunch
      • Leftover Mashed Potatoes
      • Hot Dogs
      • Peaches and yogurt
    • Snack
      • Homemade Granola Bar
    • Supper
      • Homemade Chicken Nuggets
      • Boxed Mac N’ Cheese
  • Wednesday
    • Breakfast
      • Rhubarb Muffins
      • Milk
    • Lunch
      • PBJ
      • Pretzels
      • Canned corn
    • Snack
      • Homemade Granola Bar
    • Supper
      • Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
      • Roasted Potatoes
  • Thursday
    • Breakfast
      • Rhubarb Muffins
      • Milk
    • Lunch
      • PBJ or Leftover Tilapia
      • Pretzels
      • Canned corn
    • Snack
      • Homemade Granola Bar
    • Supper
      • Spaghetti
      • New Cheese bread recipe
  • Friday
    • Breakfast
      • Rhubarb Muffins
      • Milk
    • Lunch
      • PBJ
      • Pretzels
      • Canned corn
    • Snack
      • Homemade Granola Bar
    • Supper

Canning Rhubarb, and more planting

I’m trying a new theory. Instead of eating within the seasons, how about preserving each season so I can have it all year long. Case in point: last year I made the heck out of rhubarb muffins for a couple months. I’ve been craving them for about 10 months now. I like to can as much as possible to save freezer space for meat so I thought I’d try canning rhubarb. It was the easiest canning experience ever!!

I had a bag of rhubarb that must have weighed 10 pounds. I could have run it through the food processor like I sometimes do but cut it up by hand instead. It is easier to work with and looks nicer. Plus, I didn’t feel good and sitting in front of the TV with the cutting board for 2 hours made me feel like I accomplished something. Anyway, I chopped it in small 1/2-1 inch pieces.

Add 2-4 cups of sugar to each 16 cups of rhubarb. I used only 2 cups because I prefer a very light syrup. Toss together in a big bowl and let sit for at least a few hours. The natural juices will seep out and create it’s own syrup.

After setting for awhile it is time to get the canner going and jars ready. Then heat the rhubarb and the juice in a pan until boiling. Boil for 30-60 seconds. Transfer to jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rim and seal. Process for 15 minutes.

The Ball canning book says that each 16 cup batch will produce 8 pints. I had about 40 cups but only ended up with 13 pints, not the 20 I expected. The rhubarb must have cooked down quite a bit. There was not a lot of syrup but all the jars sealed and I expect them to store well. I already opened 1 jar to make muffins and I was very happy with the product. I’ll share the rhubarb muffin recipe as soon as I find the one I used last year.

In other news, I planted out some more seedlings tonight. 35 Waltham 29 broccoli and 17 more Amish Paste tomatoes, bring the total AP tomatoes up to 25 surviving.

Tomorrow is my early day at work so off to bed I go. Enjoy! 🙂

Pistachio Fluff Minus the Cool Whip

I love the taste a pistachio fluff. Cool Whip, not so much. It isn’t the taste that I mind so much as the ingredients. The first four are: water, corn syrup, vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup, followed by a bunch of gum and unpronounceable things. My version calls for real cream instead. If you wanted to take things a step further you could make your own marshmallows as well. Homemade marshmallows still contain corn syrup but not as much. Plus, you can then select a brand of syrup that you prefer. I’ve included a couple of links at the bottom for those interested in the marshmallows.

Anyway, back to the fluff. I use the following ingredients:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
10oz. crushed pineapple (do not drain the juice)
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 1oz. package instant pistachio pudding

First, whip the cream with a mixer until it forms stiff peaks or doesn’t fall from a spoon turned upside down. I stopped mixing when mine was a little lumpy rather than smooth and that’s fine.

In a separate bowl, combine the pudding mix and crushed pineapple. Be sure to include the pineapple juice. Next, stir in the marshmallows. Now is the time to add in any other extras you may prefer. I’ve seen versions with maraschino cherries or mandarin oranges. If it sounds good it probably will be.

Fold the whipped cream in to the pudding mixture. Do not mix more than necessary, you just want to make a uniform green color throughout.

You’re done! Keep chilled in the fridge and enjoy. This is a great, light dessert to serve after a barbecue.

The most thorough tutorial I have found on making marshmallows is at The Hungry Mouse.
If you prefer a recipe with less corn syrup you may like Crunchy Chicken’s version although it calls for covering them in caramel so I’m not sure if they would be the proper consistency for making fluff.

Any alternatives for your favorite dessert?