An attempt to declare the Glory of God for what He has chosen to do with our lives. A legacy to leave to my children in the telling of it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Latest Plan of Attack

There must be something with the season changes that makes us women go into a nesting mode at this time of year. Either that or the thought of 8 weeks of football practice and starting another year of home school has me scrambling to make life easier on myself. My grande plan of attack is in creating, yet again and hopefully actually using, a menu for our school days. In past years we have used a 4 day 2 week rotating lunch menu that we use during the school year. I usually buy my groceries in bulk at Aldis, normally 1-2 months at a time, so I am used to stocking up. We have designated a big Rubbermaid tote as our "school tote" and keep our school food in there and not for general use. The theory is that the kids can rotate making lunches as I finish working with the others. We have very simple meals.

Week 1:
Monday~Baked ham and cheese sandwich, tomato soup, fruit
Tuesday~ Mac and Cheese with hot dogs and a veggie
Wednesday~ Egg and tortilla wrap, summer sausage, yogurt and fruit
Thursday~ Sloppy joes, baked beans, pudding
Week 2:
Monday~ Cold sandwich, fruit
Tuesday~ Homemade pizza
Wednesday~ Ramen noodles, summer sausage, veggie
Thursday~ Kalua Pork (recipe below), pasta salad
All of the ingredients can be easily stored in our tote or in the freezer for a couple of months at a time. Eggs are normally aplenty around here, as is pork for the Kalua Pork. We freeze the sloppy joes ahead of time and take out enough to double as lunches (as well as the Kalua pork) on Friday. So, being the plan seems to work so well we decided to come up with a 4 day 2 week rotating supper menu that we could make ahead and freeze. Our school schedule only runs Monday thru Thursday since Rob is home every Friday. The beauty of this plan is that I still have 3 days a week that I can cook whatever I want to but during the school days I don't have to worry about what to cook. If we get tired of the current menu we can always come up with a different 2 week menu. Today was the big cook off day. Our supper menu this time around is as follows (click on the links for the recipes):
Week 1:
Monday~Roast with veggies
Tuesday~ Chicken and Broccoli hotdish (recipe below) with Rice
Wednesday~Cheese and olive stuffed meatloaf (recipe below), Scalloped potatoes
Thursday~ Baked Pork chops, applesauce, veggie
Week 2:
Monday~ Baked Spaghetti (recipe below) and veggie
Tuesday~ Tator Tot Hotdish, (not your traditional tomato based hot dish, this one has brats, cheese and sour cream~ yummy!) veggie
Wednesday~Still trying to figure out this day
We started by thawing pounds and pounds of hamburger and getting out all of the cooking supplies. Trent likes to make the tator tot hotdish so I started him with cutting up brats.
I boiled a bag of chicken breasts in a pot of water and chicken bouillon cubes then let them cool and cut them up for the start of the Chicken and Broccoli hotdish. Grace and Micah helped layer the cheese.
Chicken and Broccoli Hotdish
3#'s Chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite size pieces
1 package of frozen broccoli
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
8 slices american cheese
1 pkg dried onion rings
Layer chicken, broccoli and water chestnuts in a 9x13 pan. Cover with cheese slices. Combine cream of mushroom soup, milk and mayonnaise and pour over hotdish. Cover and bake for 40 mn at 350 degrees. Sprinkle dried onion rings on top and bake uncovered another 10 mn. Serve over white rice.
Cole manned the stove and kept us supplied with browned hamburger so we could make chili, taco soup and sloppy joes.
Grace and Micah sliced olives for our Baked Spaghetti hotdishes. Rather than making a traditional Lasagna I just lay cooked spaghetti noodles in a 9x13 pan, cover with hamburger and spaghetti sauce, then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella, shredded cheddar and Parmesan and then top with black olives. Bake until cooked through.
Cheese and Olive stuffed Meatloaf
Make your favorite meatloaf recipe~ I always make mine a bit different depending on what I have on hand, but traditionally 2# hamburger, broken up saltines, (or dried bread crumbs or even oatmeal), a couple of eggs, ketchup, chopped onions or dry onion soup mix and seasonings. Roll your meatloaf on a piece of tinfoil into a rectangle and then top with shredded cheddar cheese and black olives. Roll your meatloaf up, jelly roll style, tucking in the ends. Seal the tinfoil around the meatloaf roll and bake in a bread pan. 350 for about 40 minutes or until cooked through, drain grease off after 20 mn.
We froze 3 pans of chicken and broccoli hotdish, 3 pans of baked spaghetti, 3 pans of tator tot hotdish, 2 generous batches of chili, 1 generous batch of taco soup, and 3 gallon bags of sloppy joes. 3 servings of meatloaf is in the plans for tonight to get ready for the freezer. Between the crock pot meals and all the frozen dishes I should have about 6 weeks of school day suppers in the freezer ready to make my life easier. Oh yes, and that Kalua Pork recipe:
Kalua Pork (A delicious pulled pork sandwich recipe)
3# pork roast
1 bottle liquid smoke
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 Tblsp garlic powder
Cook in a crockpot for 4-8 hours. Pull pork apart and serve on buns. Enjoy!
And since I was freezing so much ahead I made up a double batch of Rhubarb Slushies. Whew! Now what's for supper tonight??


Rebecca of Sunny Morning Farm said...

Well I am now very wore out from watching all that cooking in your kitchen!! You sure do have some awesome helpers tho!!

You know we really do think alike....I have been pondering the idea of some make ahead meals for us 2 for my new 3 day work week. I have a strong feeling that I might not get to leave the office right at 5 pm each day and I will need to be prepared even for just the 2 of us! I plan to carry my lunch to work each day to instead of eating that hospital food. You have given me some good ideas too!

My aunt used to always keep prepared meals in the freezer for unexpected guests. She could "heat-up' a gourmet meal with all the fixins and dessert in a flash. Way to go Terri!!

Brenda said...

I'm very impressed! I'm cooking for just me these days, but this is a great idea even for one. I know I don't take the time to eat right most of the time and having homemade meals in the freezer sure would help me eat healthier! Thanks for the inspiration.

the canned quilter said...

Wow are you and those kids on the ball. I don't homeschool but I do often make a double batch when cooking. Especially casseroles and such just so I have enough for one in the freezer. They come in so handy on those busy days where you can just pop something in the oven : ) I make a very similar stuffed meatloaf but I also layer pepperoni in the middle and use a pizza sauce, olives and pizza cheese. Yummy!

By the way I have gifted you with an award today so check out my blog.


Jeannette said...

Wow, that is a terrific idea! There are only 4 of us, but if I am out of the house alot because of the girls, then a meal is very hard to whip up before someone is wanting to "just" have a small snack that (always) ruins their appetite.

Teresa said...

oh how I wish I was this organized!! I can't even find the time to think of doing it much less actually doing it...HaHaHa! Great job! Thank you for your sweet words for Bruiser. It's been a tough week for sure but our hearts are mending. God Bless