Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Writers' Menu Recipes Day 3 and Day 5

Today you will find the first two recipes for my November Writers' Menu. Follow the recipes, freeze the results, and you'll have two meals prepped and ready for next month. You'll find the grocery lists here if you missed them. Remember, you can cook a double batch: one to eat now, and one to freeze for November. Aren't you organized!

The first two recipes are Day 3 Creamy Cheesy Broccoli Soup and Day 5 Grandmother's Basic Meatloaf. I've shared printable docs here.

There are two ways to make the broccoli soup ahead of time.
You can prepare the entire soup, then freeze, and reheat when needed. Sometimes cream soups come out of the freezer separated or grainy. This can be fixed with a little doctoring (Find recommendations for improving frozen cream soups on SoupChick.) If you want to go this route, go to HappyMoneySaver for the full Broccoli soup directions.
I prefer to freeze the base, then add the dairy ingredients on the day I defrost and eat. It makes for slightly more cooking time on the day you eat the soup, but I think it improves the texture and flavor. You'll find the directions I follow below. The dairy ingredients will be included in the November 1st shopping list so you'll have them on hand when it's time to reheat the soup.

Creamy Cheesy Broccoli Soup

  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cups finely chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup chopped fresh broccoli, medium sized for texture
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Add the broccoli, onion, garlic, carrots, bay leaf and chicken broth to a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat simmering for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
  2. Remove the pot from heat. Let the soup sit for 20-30 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally to release more heat from the soup. 
  3. When the soup has reached room temperature, ladle into freezer bag.
  4. Using a Sharpie, label the bag with "Day 3" and cooking directions (Note: cooking directions will also be included on this blog in November):

  5. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Reheat. For cream sauce, melt 1/4 cup butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup flour. Whisk together while it cooks for 3-4 minutes. Slowly pour in just the liquid from the boiling vegetable soup base. Whisk quickly as soon as the liquid hits the butter/flour mixture. Cook briefly to thicken, add in the vegetables, 1 cup half n half and dash of garlic salt. Mix slowly until heated through. Remove from heat and add in 1 cup shredded Gouda cheese and ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

  6. To freeze soup, set the bags on a cookie sheet until frozen solid. Remove cookie sheet.

That's it. Congratulations! You've made your first no-fuss dinner.

Grandma's basic meatloaf

1.5 lbs ground beef
1 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup diced onions
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Choose either the oven or slow cooker method.

Oven Directions (via 5DollarDinners)
  1. Line loaf pan with aluminum foil large enough to wrap entire meatloaf. 
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. 
  3. Shape into loaf . 
  4. Place loaf atop foil in pan. 
  5. Fold foil over meatloaf. Flash freeze. (Put pan in freezer for approx 2 hours.) 
  6. Remove foil-wrapped loaf from pan. Place foil-wrapped meatloaf  in Ziplock freezer bag. 
  7. Using a Sharpie, label the bag with cooking directions:

  8. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. 
    Top with ketchup or BBQ sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-75 minutes.
    To cook from frozen, Bake at 350 degrees approximately 1 hour 45 minutes.

  9. Return bag to the freezer.

Slowcooker Directions (via StockpilingMoms)
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. 
  2. Shape into loaf which fits your loaf pan. 
  3. Place loaf  in Ziplock freezer bag. 
  4. Using a Sharpie, label the bag with cooking directions:

  5. Remove from bag. Place in slow cooker and top with ketchup or BBQ sauce.
    Cook on low 9-10 hours. To reduce cooking  time, thaw in refrigerator overnight.

Ta-da! Now go write something! Come back next Saturday for the second shopping list and Tuesday, October 21 to prep two more frozen meals.

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