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The big cook off!

Forum: 2010 Playroom


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August 1st, 2010, 02:25 PM
Happy Song's Avatar Nicole
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 11,023
Well it is coming down to wire! My Dh is going back to school and the responsibility for cooking is coming back onto me. Which is fine except I am on bed rest and i am expecting to give birth and have two little one to take care of. If there is one BTDT thing i know is that dinner time is the worst hour of the day.

When dinner time hits for some reason the toddler is hungry and wants to eat now. The husband will just be coming in from their days and the baby always needs attention. My teen will aslo have some additional activities so he'll need to get in and back out again. I need to be as prepared for dinner as possible. What we are doing for the start of school and for right after baby comes is having dinner all ready in the freezer to make pre time as easy as possible.

To help motivate me I am going to document the whole process, just in case someone else wants to try it. But the main reason is to get me motivated to get it done so i am stress free for the next two months. Yes that is right we are doing a two month cook off!
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August 1st, 2010, 02:33 PM
Happy Song's Avatar Nicole
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 11,023
The Menu:

Sunday: Beef Bourguignon
Monday: Meat loaf roast potatoes and carrots
Tuesday: Minestrone soup
Wednesday: Chinese chicken rice and store bought pot stickers
Thursday: Fajitas tortillas onion bell pepper beans and rice
Friday: pizza pepperoni home made

Sunday: Lemon Rosemary pork loin
Monday: Hamburgers tater tots
Tuesday: Zuppa Toscana bread sticks
Wednesday: Chicken nuggets mac and cheese green beans
Thursday: Home made lasagna bread
Friday: Chile verde tortillas or rice jack cheese
Saturday: Pepperoni pizza home made
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August 1st, 2010, 02:55 PM
Happy Song's Avatar Nicole
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 11,023
Beef Bourguignon

Originally from Robin to the Rescue by Robin Miller page 174. This has been heavily adjusted for freezer cook/crock pot cooking. Her original recipe was for a quick meal using good steak to make a stew.

1 lb bacon
2 pot roast/dtew meat for 4 meals
salt and pepper
1 cup flour
4 tsp Thyme
8 tsp garlic
4 cups red wine
enough beef bouillon for 2 cups beef broth/ or 2 cups broth
2 cans tomato paste
12 medium carrots
1 head celery
2 lbs slice mushrooms

1.In large electric skillet/pan cook bacon until crispy

2.Cut roast into cube 1 ½ inches season with salt and pepper. Dredge and fry in bacon drippings

3.Prep veggies into 1 ½ pieces

4.In 4 1 gallon freezer bags divide veggies. To each bag add 1spn Thyme, 2 tsp garlic, 1 cup red wine, 2 cups beef broth or bulion to add water later. ½ can tomato paste. Divide meat. Seal.

5.In sperate small baggie operate the bacon into 4 portions. Staple bacon baggie to beef mix baggie.

6.to cook thaw mixture in fridge. Cook in crock pot 6-8 hours on high. Stir bacon in right before serving.

Serves 4 days for 4
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August 1st, 2010, 03:03 PM
Happy Song's Avatar Nicole
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 11,023
Meat loaf

I really don't have a recipe for this! I justy add whatever we have around. In this one I plan to make 10lbs of meat loaf with veggies grated into it.

I am planning to freeze it raw surrounded by potatoes, celery and carrots. I don't usually freeze my potatoes and it will make then a little off but not like it going to be a huge deal.

Minestrone soup

Minestrone Soup

This is from the prudent homemaker web site. I plan on making this the day after the meat loaf and plan to start with the dripping and leaving out the can of Kidney beans and using some leftover meatloaf.
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August 1st, 2010, 03:56 PM
Happy Song's Avatar Nicole
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 11,023
Chinese chicken.

Again no real recipe for this. DH will make this strating with 4 stir fry flavor packets. The veggies we are planning are broccoli, red bell pepper, onion and water chestnuts.

Once cooked it will be divide up in to 4 portions three will be frozen in zip lock freezer baggies. Add rice later and microwave to heat.

Snail shells

This origonally started out as Artichoke Manicotti in pesto cream. Very yummy but gives me BAD heart burn.

Filling: (for one box shells)

2 cans artichokes or asparagus (which are cheaper in the can)
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup threaded mozzarella cheese
½ cup Parmesan

Add all filling ingredients to blender. Blend until smooth. Fill zip lock freezer bag (regular ones tear) cut corner of the bag and fill cooked shells (or manicotti)

I use foil pans and layer canned spaghetti sauce on bottom add filled shells and cover with more sauce. Add more mozzarella cheese and Parmesan. Cover with foil label and freeze.

My blender is only about to one batch at a time so Ill do one batch asparagus and one batch artichoke.


This recipe is from America's most wanted recipes and is a knock off of the Chili's fajitas.

4lbs sirloin steak
8 oz diced green chilies
4 envelopes onion soup mix
4 cups water

cut meat into bite size pieces

Toss everything into the crock pot for 6-8 hours.

Divide meat into 4 zip lock freezer bags. Lable and freeze

I am planning to also cook up the onion and bell peppers in oil and freezing the veggies in a separate baggie as well as pre grating the cheddar cheese stapling all three baggies together

Serve with tortillas or rice with canned pinto or black beans.

My DH is still looking for a new pizza dough recipe. So I am not sure how he is going to do this except that he will make up 8 batches of pizza dough dived into one meals worth and freeze.

The cheese should be pre grated and the pepperoni is in the freezer already. I like to use Sun dried tomato pesto for the pizza sauce he doctors up tomato sauce.

Hamburgers and tater tots

I am being lazy and buying pre made hamburgers and froze tater tots.

Zuppa Tosacana

America's most wanted recipes pg 159 Olive Garden

4 lbs Italian sausage
2 lbs bacon
4 cups water
2 cans chicken broth
8 lt potatoes
8 cloves garlic
4 med onions
8 cups Kale or frozen spinach
4 cups cream
salt and pepper

Cook up the sausage drain and set aside

Cook up Bacon drain and set aside

In zip lock freezer bags combine 1/4 sausage, ¼ bacon, ¼ potatoes, 2 cloves garlic minced, 1 medium onion. Seal freeze and lable

To cook up that mix in fridge over night add to crock pot in morning or stove pot that night. Add 4 to cups of water and 2 cans chicken broth. Cooking until potatoes are cooked.

Once potatoes are cooked add the frssh kale or frozen spinach and 1 cup cream heat but do not boil. Add salt and peper to taste.


Another toss it together recipe.

I used canned spaghetti sauce. Ground beef. Cottage cheese instead of ricotta, spinach, raw egg. Parmesan cheese.

This I layer into foil pans from Walmart. About 8x8. I foil the top label and freeze. I that in the fridge over night and all day and then cook at 350 for 60 min. Let stand for 15-30 before serving. Serve with bread and maybe a salad.

Chile Verde

This is a mama recipe that she brought home from work twenty years ago.

One large port shoulder roast
cayenne pepper
4lbs tomatillos
4 onions
16 oz diced green chiles

Cut port roast into 1 ½ inch cubes. Dredge in flow and fry sprinkling to taste (lightly!) with Cayenne papper)

Toss browned meat in crock pot on high.

Add cleaned and halved tomatillos, rough chopped onions and cans of green chiles cook 6-8 hours adjust salt pepper and cayenne before serving,

Serve with tortillas or rice and I prefer jack cheese.
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August 1st, 2010, 04:28 PM
redbirds's Avatar Blessed Again!
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: CO
Posts: 18,447
OMG, Nicole!!! I totally needed this thread! Wow, you are definitely an inspiration. I'm sooooo going to have to do some of these recipes and freeze them as well. What a GREAT idea!!!
Gwynne, celebrating the newest of our four precious miracles

Hat's off to Vicki for my cute siggy, thank you!
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August 1st, 2010, 10:34 PM
Happy Song's Avatar Nicole
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 11,023
After the meals I planing on doing monster cookies. I am jus wondering at what point I need to eat Oatmeal?
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August 2nd, 2010, 05:36 PM
Happy Song's Avatar Nicole
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 11,023
4 French bread
4 sour cream
2 cottage cheese
2lbs cheddar
2 lbs cheddar Jack
10lb Mozzarella
Sirloin Steak (3lbs)
Pork chops (9lbs)
Chuck roast (6lbs)
Hamburger (20 lbs)
Chicken (4lbs)
tater tots
mini shells
2 Lasagna noodles
Bread crumbs
Onion soup mix
Golden mustard
2 manicotti
Tomatoes canned 28oz
red potatoes
red bell peppers
red cooking wine
water chestnut
stir fry flavor
bread sticks

I had a bunch of stuff already so it is not an inclusive list but I spent 341.57 on grocery stuff.
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August 4th, 2010, 05:43 AM
Happy Song's Avatar Nicole
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 11,023
So we are on our third day of the two month cook off!

Here are some of the groceries that we bought for the cook off.

First up on the menu Beef Bourguignon. All I need to do to prepare this is defrost and toss into a crock pot. I forgot to add the tomato paste/sauce so I'll need to add that along with the water. Instead of beef stock I put the bullion in the baggie.

Assembling the bags.

Second menu item is meat loaf. I was going to toss this in the freezer complete with carrots and potatoes and just roast it all up together. However in deference to space, the meat loaves are individually wrapped and I'll either add the potatoes and carrots at cooking time or open a can of veggies and make instant mashed potatoes.

I am already looking forward to the day after meat loaf sandwiches!

Minestrone soup is a toss everything in the crock pot and let it cook meat. Designed to use uo the yummy broth from the meat loaf and have a touch of left over meat in it. No prepping for this one!

Minestrone Soup

Chinese chicken

Here it is! All I have to do to get this on the table to thaw in the fridge and micro wave the veggies and make up some rice. The freezer is full so we'll have to eat a few things before buying the store bought pot stickers!

Snail shells

Since we did not get to WalMart we are making this into monicotti.

Under construction still

But we did prepare the bread for the Lasagna and the Manicotti!

Chili's style Fajitas

This is too easy to make. So all I have to do is thaw in the fridge. Make the burrito/fajitas with cheese and heat. Then add the sour cream and eat! The rice can be micro waved and the beans are on the shelf in a can. Easy Peasy

Toss in crock pot. This would be easy enough to make each time!

A whole lot of veggies!


DH can cook this each Saturday! After we eat some he'll make up some dough for the freezer. But we have the cheese and pepperoni bought and stored.


Lemon Rosemary pork loin

Well since my store was having an amazing sale on pork chops they did not have any loins. So we are having lemon rosemary pork chops. Not only do I not have the recipe for the I don't have any pictures. Any way this is a Sunday meal that DH get to cook any way, but the chops are in the fridge in their marinade.


We ate this Monday night and they are super yummy! Though the chili did add to my heartburn issues. I was planning on buying pre-made for simplicity but the way we ended up buying the hamburgers it was easier to just make them burgers up our selves.

Zoupa Toscana

Again easy to prepare. To aid in freezing I pre-cooked the potatoes so all i need to do is add water and cream/milk/canned milk and warm this up. I bought yummy expensive bacon that was on a decent sale... since I only bought one for flavor... I used the bacon in the zoupa Toscana and the grease to cook up the beef for the beef Bourguignon.

Double dipping

Chicken nuggets

My local store does not have a good selection or price as Walmart so we haven't bought this yet. But my DH is perfectly capable of buying these without me, Of course they mat be dino shaped but whatever entertains him. Besides we can eat some food first and have more room in the freezer.


This has to be my favorite freezer meal. It is a small hassle to make but just yummy to eat and I find that if I am bothering to cook lasagna I might as well make four! I love these little tins from Walmart they are cheap and I reuse them a couple times before they are kaput. I use a sharpie to write what in the UFO (unidentified foiled object) on the edge of the foil as it is annoying to poke through the foil or squish it onto the cheese topping.


Chili Verde

I love this! I use fresh tomatillos for this but you can buy them canned, especially if you live in Arizona not so much living in Oklahoma. Since I don't like cutting the meat for this i usually make DH do it and make a big batch with lots of left overs! Wow my crock pot looks dirty! Well because I tossed in the chili verde right after taking out the beef Fajitas. We try to sequence the cooking so that we can toss the next meal in without washing the pots!

Look at those tomatillos!


Again my husband deal
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August 12th, 2010, 12:53 PM
** Mandy **
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 24,284
Great thread Nicole!! Thanks for sharing with us!

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August 12th, 2010, 05:13 PM
redbirds's Avatar Blessed Again!
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: CO
Posts: 18,447
I am soooo impressed. How in the heck did you pull that off? Aren't you completely exhausted? You must have a heck of a freezer I'm surely going to snag some of your recipes they just look sooo good!
Gwynne, celebrating the newest of our four precious miracles

Hat's off to Vicki for my cute siggy, thank you!
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August 16th, 2010, 01:29 PM
Happy Song's Avatar Nicole
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 11,023
First of all i did all the planning and shopping DO did all the cooking and chopping.

I have a nice size uprigt freezer. Two months meals takes up two shelves in the big freezer. So I thin that one month would fit in a normal fridge freezer. I ty to freezer things flat and then set them like books. nothing os worse that tying to break apart two items that have frozen together. I also make all potatoes/pasta/rice fresh as it is easy enough and cuts back on stotage space.

Here is the picture of the top two shelves of my freezer.

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August 16th, 2010, 01:39 PM
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Nicole if you're willing to adapt some of your recepies to vegetarian stuff you're more then welcome to come visit me and cook me a few things! lol

I've made a few things so far and have frozen it in Ziplock Freezer bags. I'm a little worried about freezer burn though. I noticed a few tiny ice crystals in the bags on the food,is that normal though?
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August 16th, 2010, 11:28 PM
Happy Song's Avatar Nicole
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 11,023
It does affect the taste if the food stays in there more than 3 months. Usually if you put the food into the fridge and get it nice and cool before freezing then you get less ice crystals.

The manicotti and the minestrone are vegitarian already. (assuming you use veggie broth) The manicotti stuffing would be great in a lasagna. We ended up doing one batch asparagus as they are cheaper in the can and we food stored a bunch when they we $1 a can. The artichokes are like $3 a can but we also roasted a bell pepper and added that in too.

If you click above the picture of the Minestrone soup her web site has some yummy vegetarian dishes. I like the taco soup. She has a mock chicken fried chicken dish that is supposed to be really good.

Most everything else leave out the meat and add beans or tofu as filler and your good to go!
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August 17th, 2010, 08:54 AM
Happy Song's Avatar Nicole
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 11,023
Miss Mich two of the dishes. the Beef Bourguignon and the Zoupa toscana are flavored with bacon. Which i am thinking would leave a big void if left out. So a friend on another site was wanting vegitarial wheat free bacon to make cream cheese stuff peppers, what she used was a slice of mossarilla cheese liberally rubbed with smoke flavor and baked until it was crispy. So in these two recipes i would recommend removing the meat adding beans adding smoke flovring to the dish and then topping with crispy cheese like this.

The two burrito recipes are delicious and I'd just substitude the meat for dry beans. The chile verde is juicy without adding any water. I'd make up to sauce part them add canned white beans.

Good luck!
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August 17th, 2010, 09:07 AM
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Thanks Nicole!
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