I just hate to see good food go to waste! That’s one reason I’m the Queen of the Freezer! Leftover baked potatoes get scooped out and frozen for future pots of Potato Soup. Leftover Chicken Carcasses get cooked in pots of herbed water so we can enjoy homemade chicken stock.
Last week when I used five chickens to feed a group of people, the Lord brought a spiritual truth to my mind. Even greater than wasting good food that can be used for a future meal, how tragic it is when I waste a lesson He has taught me. It’s so crucial to journal the truths that I’ve learned by means of a trial, sickness, or difficulty so I won’t forget them – this would be the boiling of the chicken bones! I need to get down to the bottom of what I’ve learned. That takes prayer, quiet and then time to write in a journal.
The next step is pulling it back out and reminding myself of the Truth on days when I need it. Preaching to myself is something that happens frequently because my mind likes to dwell on things other than truth (ever been there?). I’ll flip back to my journal and reread what God did in my life, what He taught me or how He answered a prayer request and provided a need and I have food to go on for that day! This is the freezing process of the stock making lesson. I can pull that frozen stock out and make a meal with it such as Chicken enchiladas,pot pies or Golden Winter Soup . I’m always so thankful that I took the time to make the stock! I’m doubly glad to have that truth hidden away to encourage my heart.
Sometimes I also get to make a meal for someone else with that stock! I love to give other people good food. The spiritual application here is that sometimes I get to take the lessons God has taught me and share them with others. When I do that, I’m giving them Divine view point rather than my human view point. That will help them so much more than my feeble words ever could!
If I threw that chicken carcass in the trash I would be wasting something good. If I finish a time of trial and simply breathe a sigh that it’s over, I’ll be wasting those precious lessons God has graciously given to me. It wasn’t a waste of time in my life, so I should value it enough to hold fast to it so I can benefit from it in the future!
Here’s a simple video and pictures of the process I go through to make my own stock. It helps you make good use of the whole chicken, plus it’s a real money saver, considering that a can of broth is a dollar or more and you get less than two cups in each can!
Do you ever make your own stock?
What spiritual lesson has the Lord recently taught you that you could share with others or remind your own self of in the days ahead?
What, oh what would I do without my freezer? I’ve said it before, but my freezer is my best friend…well, you know what I mean.
It’s there for me!
It has supper waiting!
It has gifts inside, both for me and many other friends!
Isn’t that a great friend?!
I’ve always put leftovers in my freezer, but I’ve not always stored them in the best way, or in a way that was easy to reheat them. But I have two new tricks using frozen leftovers that have worked for me and I want to pass them along to you!
Slow-Cook leftovers from a frozen state. Last Sunday I went to the freezer before heading to church and I pulled out a container with a yummy casserole, Countryside Chicken Bake, full of great things, aside from the chicken, like Cream of Mushroom Soup, sour cream, rice, and carrots (or peas, if you prefer). I had marked the container saying, Countryside Chicken Bake, Two Servings. Knowing that would be perfect for our Sunday dinner, I took it in its frozen state and put it directly into my slow cooker, adding about 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth to keep it moist . I put the crock pot on High for one hour, low for 3 hours. I think going slow and making sure there is plenty of liquid is the best way to reheat so you’ll have a good outcome. When we came home from church, it was hot, juicy, tender and ready to eat! That is a freezer win!!
Does this look like leftovers to you? I don’t think so!!
Put small amounts of chili, soups or stew into muffins tins for individual servings.
I love this so much! You know how the last half of the chili doesn’t look too appealing after eating it two days in a row? This makes it a cinch to store and reheat for dinner another day when you’ll be glad to see it again!
I had leftover Taco Soup last week with just a little left over. I used the large muffin tins, but regular sized one will work, too. Fill them up, cover with syran wrap and freeze for a couple hours or overnight until frozen solid.
Then run warm water on the bottom of the tin and then pop them onto a tray.
Store the frozen soup “pucks” in freezer bags, labeled with the soup name.
When you need lunch or supper, pop the frozen soup into a microwave container and warm it up! You could do one serving or six, depending on your needs (and the amount of leftovers, of course!). At one time this winter I had three different soups in the freezer. It made for a really easy lunch, which seems to be the hardest meal for me!
Leftovers don’t have to have a bad name! They can be reused at a later time and used in a way that will make a busy day much less stressful if you store and reheat properly.
If you try these tips I bet your freezer will become your best friend, too!
One more thing that I love about my freezer is freezing breads that are ready to bake, like these rolls or these muffins! They’re super good and so handy to have on hand!
What would we do without the crock pot? Other than run to Chick-Fil-A for fast food? I lean on mine a lot and am so thankful it can have my meal prepping while my days are full.
I’ve posted this recipe for Yankee Pot Roast from Cooking Light before, but recently I made it in the crock pot because it was going to be a day away from home with the need for supper when the busyness was done! This meal is so hearty, so savory and satisfying and perfect for a cold winter’s day! I’m going to add in my method for making it in the slow cooker, just in case you might have some busy days when you, too, need a meal ready for the table when you get home!
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 (4-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
2 cups low-salt beef broth
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chopped plum tomato
1 1/4 pounds small red potatoes
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 300°.
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. Add roast to pan, browning on all sides (about 8 minutes). Remove from pan. Add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until browned. Return roast to pan. Combine broth, ketchup, and Worcestershire; pour over roast. Add tomato; bring to a simmer.
Cover and bake at 300° for 2 1/2 hours or until tender. Add potatoes and carrots; cover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in lemon juice. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
To make in Crock pot:
Follow step 2, using a heavy pan to brown roast and then saute’ onions. Place roast in the bottom of the slow cooker, then top with onions. Add carrots and potatoes around roast. Pour broth mixture over all and cook on low 8 hours.
When you remove the cooked roast from the crock pot, you can pour the broth mixture into a skillet and then thicken with corn starch on the stove to make a delicious gravy for the meal!
This is some swanky comfort food, friends! I hope you’ll make your next busy day end deliciously by making this in your crock pot!
No one in my family is Gluten-Free, but I have friends who are, so I’ve been pinning GF recipes on Pinterest. Some recipes are just plain strange, but when I found this White Chicken Chili, I knew it would be good! It was so delicious and had NO SPECIAL INGREDIENTS in it. You simply substitute coconut milk for the regular milk and corn starch for flour. This is so good with the thighs, too, but of course, you could use white meat. I will make this again, not just for my GF friends, but for anyone who wants a delicious bowl of hearty, tasty soup!
Here’s the simple recipe:
Slow Cooker Gluten-Free White Chicken Chili
2.5lbsBoneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
3cansGreat Northern beans
28 oz CansDiced Green Chilies
1Very largeYellow Oniondiced
1TblCoarse Real Salt
1CupCoconut Milk (unsweetened)
1/4CupArrowroot Starch or cornstarch (I used cornstarch)
Place the chicken thighs, beans, chilies, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, pepper, salt, chicken broth, and coconut milk in a crock pot. Cook on high for 5-6 hours, or until chicken is very tender.
Remove the chicken and place in a bowl. Lightly shred with a fork.
Place the arrowroot starch in a small bowl and slowly whisk in the 1/2 C. water to make a smooth, lump-free mixture. Stir the mixture into the chili in the crock pot.
Add the chicken back into the chili and stir to distribute. Let cook for another 30 minutes. Soup should thicken up.
Add the cilantro to the soup just before serving and check the seasonings, adding more salt or pepper if desired. If you want the soup to be a little thinner, add more chicken broth or coconut milk until desired consistency is achieved.
Top with a squeeze of lime juice.
Now how about a tasty little sweet ending for this meal or a nice snack that’s also Gluten-Free? This tastes like real food ! We loved these, and they whip up in minutes!
1 Cup Cashew – salted
1 Cup dates
1 Cup unsweetened Coconut
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbl Almond Butter
Process dates in a food processor fit with “S” blade until crumbly.
Add coconut, cashews, vanilla and salt and process until well blended and fine.
Add almond butter and process until mixture starts balling up or sticking together.
Welcome back to the Successful Sunday dinner series! Today I want to address two more questions/problems people mentioned in regards to Sunday dinner –
How can I have everything done at the same time?
What sides can you make that will be ready for a Sunday meal after church?
An easy way to answer both of those issues is to make a dish where the meat and the veggies are one dish in themselves. They are baked/roasted together, so they’re finished at the same time. That doesn’t mean it has to be a casserole! Here are a few suggestions of those kinds of meals:
Lemon Greek Chicken – Chicken, Potato wedges and Red onions make up this delicious meal – all in one dish!
Baked Chicken Fajitas – No grilling needed – the chicken, peppers and onions are all cooked together and are ready to get wrapped in a tortilla shell!
Yankee Pot Roast – What would a Sunday menu be without a Pot Roast recipe? This one is so delicious with not only vegetables, but also a gravy that is effortless!
Short Ribs and Limas – Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! I don’t like limas unless they’re in this dish! There’s a scrumptious gravy that covers the meat and the beans, making it so savory!
The main idea with the recipes above, and ones like them, is that all you need to add is a salad and perhaps bread. If the salad is made ahead of time, your meal is ready within minutes of your arrival home!
If you have a meat in the oven, but also need a potato, you could make your baked potatoes in the crock pot. Here’s how:
Spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Clean potatoes really well, rub with olive oil and then coat with kosher salt. Place in slow cooker. Cook on high for about 4-6 hours.
Another suggestion I would make is, find a couple recipes like these that you can master. Stick with them until you get the hang of getting it all ready ahead of time, then move on to more challenging menus. Find one your family loves and that you do well. It will be your signature dish!
If you missed any of the other posts for Successful Sunday Dinner, you can find them here and here.
Last week I began with sharing the three things that are essential to having a successful Sunday dinner. You can go here to find the details of those important ingredients –
Ponder the needs
Plan the menu
After you have done #1, and you know your budget, the needs of your guests and any other needs, such as time constraint, you can plan the menu. Today, I’m going to share a few menu suggestions and I’ll put them into a few categories to help you get started.
Low Budget, Large crowd –
Pasta dishes are great. Here are some of my favorites that are inexpensive, feed a crowd, and can be made ahead:
Chicken dishes, using roasted chicken done in the crock pot. Here’s the method to cook the chicken breasts in the crock pot.
Chicken Enchiladas – This link will, again, show you my whole menu and method to serve this on a Sunday.
Savory Crescent Chicken Squares – To make these for a Sunday, prep the meat and cream cheese mixture and have it waiting in the fridge. When you get home from church, put it into the crescent rolls and bake!
Roasted Vegetable Frittata – Brunch food is great for Sunday! Many restaurants are filled with church-goer’s looking for brunch! Frittata warms up great. I would bake the whole thing on Saturday and simply warm it up after church.
Baked Potato Soup – Make it ahead and keep it warm in the crock pot. You can make this a hearty meal by serving a big bowl of salad and a light bread with it.
Katie Brown Chicken – This is a traditional kind of Sunday dinner, and soooo yummy! It’s really my favorite meal!
Chicken Taco Salads – If the chicken is cooked, and the other salad ingredients prepped, you could put this together in minutes.
Crock Pot Recipes can be a life saver on Sunday! This is probably the best way to start out putting a great Sunday meal on the table. Put everything in the crock pot and head to church. There may be a little to do when you get home, but not much! Here are some delicious main dish favorites:
Slow Cooker Beef Stew – This is Sunday Roast beef in a bowl. Add toasted French bread and a salad and you’re set!
Last week I had plans to spend most of the afternoon out with a friend, but wanted to get dinner started before I left. I sent her a text,
“I’m putting my Beef Stew in the crock pot; I’ll leave in a few minutes.”
That is literally how long it took me to get this delicious meal into the crock pot!
Not only is this meal fast to put together, it’s also so comforting and delicious on a cold winter day! This recipe was given to me by my sister many years ago, and it’s the only recipe I use for Beef Stew. The ingredients come together to make a golden and yummy gravy over the meat and veggies. I added a salad and corn muffins and the meal was so satisfying when I got home!
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 lb.Beef Stew Meat
1 can diced tomatoes – undrained
Carrots – I used about half a bag of baby carrots
1 Onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2-3 potatoes, diced
1 can Golden Mushroom Soup
Salt and pepper
Place all ingredients in the crock pot, season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Turn crock pot on low and cook all day.
Seriously, it doesn’t get any easier than this recipe. If you have a busy day and need supper to be waiting for you that will be a crowd pleaser, you seriously need to add this to your menu!