Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What's for Dinner?

I’m hungry!  When can we eat?

How many times a day do we as mothers hear that?  I never cease to be amazed at the amount of food my kids can pack away in a day.  The challenges for me are two-fold – quantity and quality.

I don’t claim to be the healthiest eater (is that a word?) – or cooker (now, that is a word, my kids use it often – “Mom, you’re the best cooker in the whole world!”), but I do continue to add tips, recipes and other ideas to my mental database.

Plan Ahead!  The best advice any cook will give you!  As a mother especially, it is crucial to plan meals and snacks before they occur – otherwise it’s likely to be chips and candy.  In my Notebook, I have a section titled Meal Ideas.  In there, I write down our family’s favorite meals, appetizers, desserts, etc.  It’s a lifesaver when I sit down to plan out our weekly menu.

Freeze Ahead!  My mother-in-law has always amazed and inspired me with her ability to whip together a meal at the drop of a hat.  I guarantee you could call her right now and tell her there will be twenty people coming over for lunch and she would hardly bat an eye.  There’s something going on in that freezer of hers.  It’s a bottomless array of casseroles, meats, cinnamon rolls, vegetables, desserts, etc.  Though she doesn’t even know it, I have learned much just by observing her!

My goal has been to try to keep at least one casserole and one dessert in my freezer at all times.  (Don’t call me out on it today – we just used the last meatloaf last week.)  About once a month, I like to take a day to put together several dishes for my freezer.  Another option is to double recipes every time you cook and freeze the extra.  You might be amazed at what all you can freeze for later.

Keep your head ! I cannot stress enough how important it is to be flexible.  Some of my friends would laugh that I, Lynette Carpenter, would say that!  I’m learning.  As a mother, it’s easy to place such high expectations on oneself.  Caring for small, sometimes-demanding children is difficult enough.  Don’t make extra demands of yourself that aren’t necessary. 

For example – yesterday I had three extra kids here for the day.  We were all having a blast together!  Then it was time for lunch.  I had to come up with something for them to eat, clean up the mess, take Ty to the orthodontist and get home QUICK cause they wanted to go swimming.  All within a two hour time frame. 

Rush, rush, rush….  I began racing through my repertoire of meal ideas for the seven hungry humans and was coming up short.  I finally decided on spaghetti, when Amy’s friend Madi pipes up, “How about some good ole PB&J?”  I stopped for a second, surprised.  “Of course!  That’s a great idea!”  I like that girl!  Sometimes it’s better to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Sweetie), in order to save your sanity.  And that is something I’d like to keep!

I hope to post more recipes in the future – some for freezing, some not.  Today though, here is one of my favorite soups that you can freeze ahead. 

Creamy Potato Sausage Soup
Soup base:
4 potatoes – peeled and diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 lb sausage – browned with a little onion
½ teas. Mother Nature Seasoning
1 teas. Chicken boullion
2 cups water (approx.)

Bring to a boil and simmer.  Mash potatoes and carrots slightly when soft.

Just before serving, add:
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup Velveeta cheese

Serves 4-6

To freeze, cook only the soup base until potatoes are partially soft.  Cool.  Then freeze for later. 

To prepare, I like to place the frozen soup base in a crockpot in the morning and allow it to simmer all day.  Add the remaining ingredients right before supper and serve with yummy buttermilk biscuits or a fruit cobbler.


1 comment:

Mary said...

I feel so silly. I have often thought, "wish I could freeze my potato soup." But knew the dairy part wouldn't work so well. Of course! Just freeze the part you make before adding milk. Wonderful! Why didn't I think of that? :)