Wednesday, May 26

Greek Feta Chicken

8 oz. plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large clove garlic minced
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup crumbled feta

FREEZER STEP: Combine first six ingredients in a Ziploc bag add chicken and mix together; seal and freeze flat.

TO PREPARE: Remove chicken from marinade; reserving marinade. Place chicken on rack in broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 5 1/2 inches from heat 7 minutes. Turn chicken; spoon reserved marinade over chicken, and top with crumbled feta. Broil until done.

TIPS: Butterfly your chicken so it is thinner and cooks faster, you don’t want your meat to dry out. I keep feta in my fridge all the time so I just crumble what I need the night we eat it. I also broil in my toaster oven so I don’t have to heat up the house in the summer. One batch just fits on the tray. 

I served this with green beans, salad,  and sourdough bread. 

*This recipe came from my mother’s kitchen.

Tuesday, May 25

Spring Baskets and Squirt Gun Wars

021 At our house we celebrate May Day and each child receives a basket of goodies. This year my boys were off camping on May 1st and I was busy cooking.  So we finally got around to celebrating today. The weather was perfect for the gifts they got this year and they had to test them out right away.  059049064057062067 Summer’s coming!

Taco Pizza

1 pound ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 cup water
2 12 inch pizza crusts (I make my own)
16 oz. refried beans (I make my own)
3/4 cup salsa
2 cups shredded cheese (8 oz.)
tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream

FREEZER STEP: Cook ground beef and drain. Stir in taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer for ten minutes. Cool.
Mix beans, salsa, and meat together and freeze in a Ziploc bag flat. Grate the cheese and freeze that in another bag.

TO PREPARE: Place pizza crusts on a baking sheet or pizza stone. Spread meat mixture evenly on both crusts. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-16 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes.

I served this with fresh strawberries from the garden last night. We only had two slices left over! It’s a favorite in our house.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home magazine

In which I answer questions

First I want to say thank your to all of those who left comments and to my new followers! I do plan on posting my recipes as we eat through them. That way you can have a nice photo to go along with the recipe. I will also do a post on how we eat our meals so that nothing gets left behind and we are not stuck eating the same things for days on end. Yes, it has happened. :)
So on to the questions.

1. Many of you asked about the freezer dividers we have. We have a Kennmore Elite 24.9 cubic foot chest freezer and the dividers and baskets came with it. We affectionately call our freezer the dead mans chest as it is 6 feet long. I do not think you can buy just the dividers, but it might be worth checking into.

2.You can freeze pasta. I just undercook my noodles or add them on the day I reheat the meal. For example for manicotti I cook the noodles until they are soft enough to stuff, for lasagna I just run under hot water until they are pliable, and for a soup I add them the day I cook the meal.

3. There are many books out there. The one I started with is still in print and for sale here and I still use a couple of the recipes out if it. What I have found is that we eat very differently that a casserole every night and we love International foods. So I started experimenting. I would make a meal and freeze it and see if it worked based on the ingredient list. Some things did well some things flopped, for example flour tortillas do fine but corn got all soggy. Some of the meals I make take more time on cook day because of this.

4. May of my recipes are family favorites I have been eating since a little girl, some are from Weight Watchers, All recipes, Tasty Kitchen, and cookbooks. If it looks like something my family will eat and the ingredient list is similar to a meal I know freezes well I try it. We do get tired of eating the same things over and over so I try to switch up the menu every time I cook. Some things stay each time because my children ask for them or they are quick and easy for those extra busy nights.

5. I do not cook anything fully ahead of time. I assemble the dish and then freeze.  I feel that the flavor is better if I cook it the day we eat it. Although I do have to remember to take it out of the freezer!

6. Many of my meals are just marinades. This cuts down on prep the day of the cook and they also are quick to assemble on my big cook day. All of the Chinese food is cooked the day we eat it. It does not freeze well, but having the meat prepared ahead of time cuts down the time to prepare.  Marinades will become stronger if frozen as the meat soaks up the sauce while freezing and then again while thawing. Some recipes are better this way and others I partially freeze the meat first and then add the ingredients as they become to strong. I think its personal preference and I will note that in a recipe.

7. As for how much I spend. I know many of you were wondering about this one! This last time I spent about 500.00 and it is looking like our meals might last 4 months instead of 3. We are a family of 6, and my children are 8, 7, 5, and 4. This will vary depending on what you cook and the people in your family. We also like to eat meat and sometime the more expensive cuts. Normally I but a half a side of beef in the fall and then use that. This time I was out of beef and so I needed to buy all my meats. I know you could get your costs down even more with the choices of meals. Roast pork, flank steak, sirloin, lamb(for the shepherd’s pie) and pork tenderloin are not exactly budget friendly choices, they just happen to be my husbands favorites and good choices for company meals. I also do not buy many canned ingredients as I can my own from our garden.

8. I do make some breads and breakfast things ahead of time also just not on the same day as cooking it would be to much. I have a baking day for breads, muffins, and pizza crusts.
I hope that answers everyone’s questions or perhaps sparked more. Leave me a comment and I’ll try to answer.

Monday, May 24

Potatoes with Ham and Peas

We had this the other day when it was cold and rainy. 018
8 to 12 small new potatoes
3-4 green onions, chopped
2 cups peas
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup vegetable liquid and milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cubed ham
1/2 cup grated cheese
FREEZER STEP: I am not fond of freezing potatoes so for this meal I just chopped the ham and onions, and grated the cheese.  I froze the ham and cheese in one bag, and the peas and onions in another.

TO PREPARE: scrub and cook potatoes until partially tender add bag of onions and peas. Continue cooking until tender. Drain, reserving liquid.
Make a white sauce with the flour, butter, and vegetable liquid and milk. I used one cup of liquid and 1/2 cup milk. Pour sauce over vegetables and add ham and cheese. Cook until cheese is melted serve.

It was very easy to prepare and I only used one pot, having all the chopping and grating done saved about 30 minutes. While the potatoes were cooking I was able to make biscuits to have on the side with some canned peaches. It was also very filling and we had leftovers for lunch.
Recipe adapted from the More With Less Cookbook

Sunday, May 23

Guest Posting



I just wanted to let you know I am guest posting tonight over at Teatertots and Jello on my once a month cooking.

Go and check it out HERE. Lots of ideas and inspiration!

Thanks Aunt Jen!

Gwen was so excited when a gift card arrived in the mail! We just happened to be on our way to Target. She chose to get some more ponies for her collection. Thank you!

Saturday, May 22

Happy Birthday Princess

Today my baby turned four! She requested a purple princess party. This is a girl who knows what she wants! We had fun picking out the fabrics and laces to make her dress. I finished it this afternoon and she was so excited to dress up!Gwen Full length 061A purple castle for the cake. This one was fun to put together! 067069She was excited to receive flowers as one of her gifts, but she really wanted to play and not have her picture taken.070Happy Birthday big girl! Looking forward to the next year with you!059

Sunday, May 16

Table centerpiece

We had company over for dinner on Saturday. I knew I wanted something fresh for the centerpiece, but it had to be simple. I have way to much going on right now to put any time into something. So I was cleaning out the dining room when I came across these Milk jars I picked up at a yard sale last week. Perfect!

004I served buffet style so no dishes on the table. Simple and easy with a crowd! It was so nice to have company over again.

Thursday, May 13


This is the new style in our house. The children get so excited to go swimming that they can’t wait to put their goggles on, even if they are to big or upside down. 006005

Rain in the Garden

The Siberian Iris are about to bloom. 017I love the way the raindrops bead up on the leaves. I can’t remember the name of this plant. Anyone know?013011012

Monday, May 10

Art in the Master Bedroom

After my Husband gave me the new bed for our Anniversary and we thought we were moving I decided the Master Bedroom needed some attention. So I decorated it and made it look presentable for selling. At that point it looked like this.021Now we are not moving so I wanted to finish it the way I really wanted it. I bought new bedding as the style of quilt and the bed do not go together, and hung some art over the bed. 011I still am on the hunt for new night stands and am going to paint the lamps, but it all ready looks so much better and I LOVE the bedding. The quilt is from Target and the euro shams are from Pottery Barn Outlet. I still need to make a few pillow covers but the white works until I can get to that project. 009004For the art I purchased a set of 1880’s chromolithograph prints off of  e-bay for 39.95. I think I got about 18 prints, so I have many more I can use elsewhere. The frames are from Michael’s and are 9x12. They are the perfect size for the prints, and I cut the mattes myself.   006 On Saturday on my way home from the yard sales. I saw an old door laying in a pile of trash. I circled around and stopped to pick it up. Since it was laying in freshly cut grass the finish is ruined. I can’t wait to paint it white!007This room is finally coming together just the way I see it in my head.013

Facebook Questions

Every now and then a questionnaire comes across Facebook that I would actually like to fill out. This is one of them and I thought I would share it here.

1. How many children have you had?
2. Have you ever had any stillbirths/miscarriages/pregnancy losses?
one miscarriage in our first year of marriage
3. What gender are your kids?
Two boys, Two girls
4. What are their full names?
Miles Geoffrey, Owen Daniel, Fiona Susan, Gweneth Leeann
5. What would they have been called had they been the other gender?
Levi was the name we didn’t use if the girls had been boys.
6. Did you get the genders you wanted?
Well, I thought I wanted all boys….
7. How much did your babies weigh when they were born?
Miles        8lb. 4oz.
Owen        8lb. 7oz.
Fiona        7lb. 14oz. 
Gwen        8lb. 7oz.

8. Did you have natural births/ c sections/forceps etc?
All four naturally thanks to my Bradley method birthing classes and pure stubbornness on my husbands part. He made sure the doctors listened to what we wanted! 
9. What has been your favorite age so far?
Anything but 3!
10. Do you want any more children?

Thursday, May 6

Have I gone crazy?!

Wait don’t answer that!
Look what I picked up last weekend. This piece has been hanging out in the antique shop down the street for 4 years! The first time I saw it is called to me and said you must take me home. At that time the price of 250.00 was just to much for me to pay, Every time I walked into the shop(which is often) I would see it and every now and then the price would be lowered just a bit. Then we though we were moving and I said my good-byes. How could I purchase another piece of furniture and take it to some unknown location where I may or may not have room for it?
Well you know what happened next or at least you can guess. :) We decided to stay and the price was lowered a bit more and then I had a coupon. So she finally came home for 120.00! Now I need to decide how to fix her up, as her counter is a bit damaged and she is missing a shelf.  The top cabinet hangs on the wall and the leaded glass is in excellent shape. All the drawers pull out smooth, and the two square ones are metal inside. Written on the back are these words, For Dr. Clymer, Philadelphia, sugar, bread, two corner shelves. This was obviously a custom piece as she is almost 4 feet wide.
007 I can’t wait to return her to her former glory, she just has to wait in line.

Linking up to

Furniture Feature Fridays

Brother, Protector, Friend


Wednesday, May 5

Cooking Day

Now that you have spent the past few days planning and preparing it is time to cook! I try to start cooking about 8:00 after a good breakfast and go for as long as I can. I wear my most comfortable shoes and make sure to drink water and eat. Will all the food in front of me I can forget to eat and then I am likely to make a mistake.
I started with the marinades this time around. There are a lot of them due to the fact that we will grill a lot over the summer months. All of my meat was all ready placed in the labeled bag from my prep the night before. I just pulled out the meal I was working on put the ingredients in and  mixed up up to coat the meat.022After I mixed everything up I try to get as much air out as possible and flatten. It saves so much space in the freezer to do it this way. 025I weigh all my meats so that the portions are correct since I am making more that one meal at a time and it helps with my portion control when serving the meal.018Some recipes call for a sauce that you put on while cooking or grated cheese to be added.  I freeze these separately in a smaller bag and then tape it to the main meal. 027My marinades took me 4 hours to complete. I then moved on to beef dished that did not need to be cooked. I made seasoned hamburgers and little cheddar meat loaves.001Then I moved on to the more involved meals. I had 4 things going at once. I browned ground beef for burritos, taco salad, and taco pizza while I started making the gumbo. Gumbo is an easy recipe but it needs to simmer and then cool before packaging. So I put it on one of the back burners while I work on the other things. You an see that I have all the ingredients I need right in front of me so I don’t waste time. 028Now my kitchen looks like this. Normally my husband does the dishes to help out but he was away for the weekend camping. I could tell I had come to rely on him for this part as I didn’t wash as I went and then spent an hour catching up so I could use the bowls and measuring cups again. Lesson learned!!  034Here I am putting the baked burritos together. This recipe makes 10 burritos and I tripled it to make 30. We only eat 7 burritos at one meal so instead of to many leftovers I made 4 meals with a small portion for my husband to take to work. This is a nice way of stretching you meal count that you couldn't do if you didn’t cook in bulk. 004I ran out of 9x13 storage containers so I had to put a couple in glass. Here you can see it made four meals. 005This is one of the last meals I made. I always seem to leave the most time consuming meals for last. At least I can sit down while stuffing the shells!012Here is what my freezer looks like today! After everything is frozen I organize it and stand up all the Ziploc meals to make it easier to find what I am looking for. 002003004       Here is a list of what I made and how many meals.

  • Szechwan Chicken

  • Thai Peanut Chicken

  • Greek Feta Chicken

  • Chicken Lo Mein

  • Heavenly Chicken

  • Blackened Chicken

  • Chicken Gyros

  • Lemon Garlic Chicken

  • Chicken Gumbo

  • Honey Baked Chicken

  • Garlic Roasted Chicken

  • Creamy Ham and Pasta

  • New Potatoes with Peas and Ham

  • Spicy Green Beans with Pork

  • Brown Sugar Chipotle Roast Pork

  • Asian Pork Tenderloin

  • Pork Tenderloin Tandoori

  • Taco Pizza

  • Korean Fire Beef

  • Baked Burritos

  • Taco Salad
  • Hamburgers

  • Haystacks

  • Chili Crusted Flank Steak

  • Cheese Steak Casserole

  • Manicotti

  • Shepherd’s Pie
I will share some of the recipes soon! If you see something that interests you let me know and I’ll try to share those first!

Monday, May 3

Preparing for your cook

This is what my fridge looks like when I stuff it full of groceries. I try to make sure I don’t have a full fridge to begin with but if I run out of room I have a small mini fridge that I can use, or a cooler. If you are still short on space take everything out that doesn't need to be chilled, like mustards, drinks, soy sauce, etc. 037The canned goods I will be using I set up on my breakfast table where I can grab them quickly. In previous homes I pulled out my card table for this purpose. 017The first thing I do to prepare is clean off the counters of anything I won’t be needing. For me that is my mixer, coffee pot, plant, and decorations. They will just be in the way when I am working. 013 I then pulled out all of my spices, measuring cups and spoons, flour, oil, and eggs. These are the items I will use the most and I don’t want to have to bother with opening cabinet doors and drawers all day long. 015   I also pull out all of my mixing bowls and put them in a convenient place. I use and reuse these all day also, especially the large ones when tripling recipes.016 You will want to prepare as many ingredients ahead of time as you can. I chop onions, garlic, and peppers, shred cheese, and crumble crackers. Then when I am cooking I can just measure out what I need instead of chopping or shredding for each recipe. 004I also prepare my meat. Some of my recipes call for sliced steak, diced chicken or chicken strips. I wear rubber gloves when cutting so much meat as it starts to make my skin itch form handling it. My husband helped me this time, he likes to play with raw meat. This step takes a lot time!009Some of the other things I do to get ready are create a place for all of the recycling that the cook will generate and make sure the trash can is empty. I gather all the containers I will use to store my meals in and get out my kitchen scale. I also get my sharpie for writing on my containers so I will know what I have my my freezer. I don’t bother with the dishwasher when I am cooking but I do make sure it is empty. It is easier to wash by hand when cooking all day. I don’t have time to wait for the dishwasher to wash things I will be using over and over. 033I store my meals flat in Ziploc bags or in the plastic containers you see below. They are made by Gladware and come in an 8x8 or 9x13. I have had trouble finding them in some areas but they always seem to have them at the stores around Thanksgiving. 012007  The last step is to order your cook. I decided this time to make all the marinades first as they are easiest and don’t generate a lot of mess. Then I moved on to my beef and chicken dishes.  I made the Manicotti and Shepherd’s pie last as they are my two most time consuming meals this round.
There have been cooks where I have not prepared well or did not have the time to prepare and I always wish I did. It just makes things so much easier. It’s like your very own cooking show with all the little bowls of ingredients waiting for you to use. Now if only I had someone to prepare them for me.


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