Sunday, December 8, 2013

Making a long week easier!

This week is the final week of the semester at IUPUI.  Between finals, papers due, kids parties, Scouts, making some gift baskets and needing to use some major coupons on Christmas gifts before they expire (Hey, they're really good coupons and some Kohl's cash), it's gonna be a long week.

How can you make a long week easier?  Eliminate cooking!  Ok, so that's not possible.  Or is it?  No, I'm not talking about eating out every night, tempting as that may be.  I am going to use my freezer stash.

As I have posted about in the past, I stash leftover bits and pieces just for occasions like this.  This week we are having chicken pot pie, lasagna roll ups, beef & noodles, tacos and pizza.  The pizza isn't leftovers but I won't be home Friday night so I have enough points for a free pizza so I'll have that delivered for the family.

The pot pies will be the hardest of my meals for the week.  When I made pies for Thanksgiving, I made extra pie crusts and put them in my small pot pie pans.  I put each one in a Ziploc bag and stashed them in the freezer.  I froze the top crusts in discs rolled out to size to put on top.  I have left over chicken in the freezer and left over mixed veggies in a small mason jar in there.  Add some diced southern style hash browns to that.  You can make a thick chicken gravy or even use cream of chicken soup (don't dilute it) if you'd rather.  Mix the chicken, veggies and gravy, toss in the pot pie crust.  Put the top on, crimp the edges, vent it (just cut a little slit in the top) and bake.

The lasagna roll ups are a recipe I found on Pinterest and tweaked to our tastes.  Here is the recipe for it.  I use cottage cheese instead of ricotta because it is cheaper.  I also use 1/2 a package of spinach because my family will eat it but in limited quantities.  It's easy to use a good, sharp, serrated knife to cut the entire box of frozen spinach in half...just throw the other half in a Ziploc bag and back in the freezer.  I also keep a wedge of Parmesan to grate my own, overall, it's cheaper that way.  I had made these and frozen them before so all I have to do now is take them out of the Ziploc, put in a casserole dish in the morning.  I also have a jar that I put left over meat sauce in in the freezer, I'll move it to the fridge in the morning too.  When it's time for dinner, pour the sauce over the top and bake until hot.  During the last few minutes, I'll sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on top.

The beef & noodles is the easiest of the week.  Next to the pizza anyway...LOL  I have beef stock that I froze a while back, I'll thaw that.  I have left over roast that is in the freezer as well.  I'll set them in the fridge the night before because that much broth will need the time to thaw.  For dinner, just bring the broth and meat to a boil and add the egg noodles.  If I have time, I might make some mashed potatoes to go with.  My Mom always served beef & noodles on top of a piece of bread and mashed potatoes.  Talk about carbs!  Anyway, half the family does like it on mashed potatoes, so if time, I'll make some.

The last time I made tacos, I made too much taco meat with beans so I froze the rest.  All I'll have to do for that meal is to heat up the meat.  Open some diced tomatoes, set out some cheese, sour cream and lettuce.  Toss in the taco shells and sauce and dinner is good to go.

I almost feel bad about giving the family pizza on Friday because I'm going with friends to have some of the best sushi around!  I'm telling you, if you're ever in Fishers, Indiana and have a little extra money, you have got to try Wild Ginger.  It's seriously good eats!  (I think I've mentioned how much I like Alton Brown...LOL)

One caveat here, you have to plan on using those things that are left over in the freezer.  You can't keep them for a year and a half and expect to produce a fabulous meal with them.  They won't keep forever.  I watch what I put in the freezer and if I'm not having a week like this one, I'll just plan on integrating them into our meal rotation.  I knew that finals week is always rough so I made sure to have several meals at the ready.  Even something as simple as a post it note on the freezer can serve to remind you of what leftovers are in there that need to be used.  It's all about the planning!

Anyway, sometimes it might be easier to toss those extras left over after a meal but if you save them and plan on using them, they can make a rough week just a little bit easier.  

Now, who can help me with finals??  LOL


  1. I can't help with finals Dee, but I will take your Kohl's Cash if you find you can't use it! LOL, just kidding! I enjoy reading your blog!