Cook once eat twice! #kidfriendly #frugalmeals #makeahead #timesaving

I know it has been a long time since I posted Meal planning Monday. To be honest I have not been cooking a lot and using as many convenience foods as possible. Nost of you know I lost my granddaughter in July. But I lost my sister on Christmas day. In between that time I have been running my Grandson to his psych and counselor, the baby to doctor and Wic, mY sister’s doctors, and sitting with her a day or two a week, trying to get Christmas ready for the family… it was hectic. So yes I used a lot of frozen pizza and canned chili. I fell off the program the doctor had me on, eating less bread, flour, rice, pasta, sugar and potatoes… basically low carb. I feel it too.

No, I am ready to get back up, brush myself off and get back in gear. So far, all my plans and schedules for this year have still fallen to the wayside, but I am not giving up.

My son made his homemade sauce for my birthday for spaghetti and his wife made me a homemade cheesecake. It was nice not cooking at all and having a delicious homecooked meal. Homemade sauce isn’t hard to make and you can make a big batch and freeze some of it as I did. I do not have his recipe, but here is one I found that sounds close. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/158140/spaghetti-sauce-with-ground-beef/ It keeps in the refrigerator 4 days or you can freeze. I let it cool or refrigerate overnight then put in gallon bags squeeze out air and freeze flat. It is easy to store this way. When ready to use simply take out in the morning, or flash defrost by putting in a large bowl of warm water.

He also makes the best Swedish meatballs. Ingredients…1 package of plain meatballs (I use great value from Walmart or best choice from my local market). Bake as directed. While they bake, make a roux. two tablespoons of butter a couple of tablespoons of flour, cook a minute to get the flour taste out, add a tablespoon of better than bullion beef, a pinch of nutmeg and a quart of heavy cream ( or half and half but the cream makes a much tastier richer sauce) stir until hot then take out a little into a small cup or bowl add two tablespoons of cornstarch to make a slurry ( you may need a little water to thin it slightly. it should be a pourable paste. pour in slowly as you stir the sauce just until it thickens to desired consistency this should look like a sauce, not a gravy. If its too thick, thin with milk if too thin add a small amount of cornstarch to reach the desired consistency but remember it will thicken as it sits. Slice an onion and saute it and a tablespoon or two of garlic in a separate pan and cook a bag of egg noodles until just aldente. Toast a cup of panko crumbs in a skillet. Drain noodles and add an 8 oz package of cream cheese that has been softened ( cut in cubes to melt better) and stir until fairly well mixed. Spray a 9×15 (large baking dish) with cooking spray. Put in meatballs, layer vegetables, then noodles then sauce. stir to mix then sprinkle bread crumbs over and bake at 375 until bubbly ( hot through and crumbs brown ( about 15 minutes.) serve with a caesar salad and garlic bread. This makes a lot and you may need two dishes or if you are only feeding 2-4 people use 8×8 pans ( 2) then freeze one for later. You can buy aluminum pans that are perfect for make-ahead meals like this. serve one and pop the other in a freezer. ( be sure to mark what it is and the date.)

My Daughter in law made chicken pot pie last night and my husband just loved it. I was surprised how far one pie went and we have another in the freezer for next week. ( looks like I will need this sine I was just informed i have several t-shirt orders (ill talk about this later) and three appointments next week.) For the pot pie it was simple we boiled about 5-6 (2 pounds) boneless skinless chicken breasts we got on sale really cheap.. like 4 dollars a bag) shred it. Take 1 large can or 2 small cans of mushroom soup 1 cream of chicken soup heat in a large saucepan. Add 2 bags mixed veggies, two cans of diced boiled potatoes, the chicken. You will need 2 boxes of pie crust that have two to a box. Unroll a crust into a very deep ( sprayed) round dis I used my cast iron skillet and a 9-inch cake pan. Add the filling it will be pretty heaped in. then cover with the second crust put a couple of vent slices in top. set the pans on a baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch drippings. Bake according to double crust directions I think it was about 30 minutes until the top is nice and golden. Watch it since oven temps vary. Let cool then serve with a side salad. 1 pie will serve 6 people or if like us 4 with seconds. If you don’t use the second pie let cool wrap in plastic then aluminum foil and freeze. ( Don’t forget to label).

He also makes the best Swedish meatballs. Ingredients…1 package of plain meatballs (I use great value from Walmart or best choice from my local market). Bake as directed. While they bake, make a roux. two tablespoons of butter a couple of tablespoons of flour, cook a minute to get the flour taste out, add a tablespoon of better than bullion beef, a pinch of nutmeg and a quart of heavy cream ( or half and half but the cream makes a much tastier richer sauce) stir until hot then take out a little into a small cup or bowl add two tablespoons of cornstarch to make a slurry ( you may need a little water to thin it slightly. it should be a pourable paste. pour in slowly as you stir the sauce just until it thickens to desired consistency this should look like a sauce, not a gravy. If its too thick, thin with milk if too thin add a small amount of cornstarch to reach the desired consistency but remember it will thicken as it sits. Slice an onion and saute it and a tablespoon or two of garlic in a separate pan and cook a bag of egg noodles until just al dente. Toast a cup of panko crumbs in a skillet. Drain noodles and add an 8 oz package of cream cheese that has been softened ( cut in cubes to melt better) and stir until fairly well mixed. Spray a 9×15 (large baking dish) with cooking spray. Put in meatballs, layer vegetables, then noodles then sauce. stir to mix then sprinkle bread crumbs over and bake at 375 until bubbly ( hot through and crumbs brown ( about 15 minutes.) serve with a caesar salad and garlic bread. This makes a lot and you may need two dishes or if you are only feeding 2-4 people use 8×8 pans ( 2) then freeze one for later. You can buy aluminum pans that are perfect for make-ahead meals like this. serve one and pop the other in a freezer. ( be sure to mark what it is and the date.)

Make your favorite chili in a large batch. Serve it for dinner then bag into quart bags the extra. I usually get two or three. You have makings for Chili burgers, chili dogs, Chili fries or Frito chili pie, or put this on the leftover spaghetti from the first meal for steak ad shake chili 5 way ( add some shredded cheese and onion) So here you have at least two or three more meals in the freezer.

So here are four yummy recipes you can cook once and eat at least twice. Buy some of those aluminum pans and pop a casserole in the freezer when you make one so here you have a bag of sauce, Swedish meatballs, and a chicken pot pie for next week. Quick and easy meals that don’t cost a lot, didn’t take a lot of time and are usually family-friendly. You may want to adjust seasonings such as pepper the pot pie, but I like to kee seasoning low and let people add salt and pepper at the table.

No these do not actually diet-friendly. they are not low carb or low calorie but you can always eat in moderation and add a veggie or salad.

Do you like to do make ahead meals? What is one of your favorite cook once eat twice recipe?

1 thought on “Cook once eat twice! #kidfriendly #frugalmeals #makeahead #timesaving

  1. You’ve been through a rough time, and I hope you’re doing better, Cathy. Good for your son and his wife to make you dinner and dessert. You deserve it. I love chicken pot pie. My favorite cook once-eat twice is soup or chili. Take time out for yourself if you can.

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