Category Archives: Foodie Friday

Freezer Cooking: Storing Soup

It’s no secret.  We’re a teensy bit lazy here at Clutterhome.  I mean, it’s not like we live in a pig pen or anything.  But, I will gladly skip cooking in favor of hitting up one of our favorite local restaurants.

Our bank account likes it better when we cook at home, though.

We try and make the cooking process as pain free as possible, and LOVE quick easy recipes.  Freezer cooking allows us to cook once and feed ourselves 4 or 5 additional meals down the road.  As a military spouse who often finds myself alone, this method also helps me make cheap meals for one person without having to cut recipes down to smaller sizes.  Hooray!  Lazy loophole!

And it makes for a happy Erika because it means less dishes!

Today I made a big ol’ pot of “X Soup.”  It’s a tweaked and personalized-to-our-tastes version of Southern Plate’s Taco Soup.  There’s a whole story behind why we call it “X Soup,” but the short version is that it’s named after my future-sister-in-law, Christina, whom I affectionately refer to as X-tina, or “X” for short.

Soups and chilis, once prepared, can be frozen for up to 4 months.  The easiest way I’ve found is to separate enough for one meal and seal it in a Ziploc bag.  For my two person family, that’s about 3 cups.

For safety purposes, make sure you label the bag with the contents and the date prepared!  You don’t want a bunch of unknown soup cluttering up your freezer.  Trust me, you won’t be brave enough to eat it.

I like to take multiple bags, lay them flat in the freezer, and after they freeze I stand them upright so they take up less room.

They defrost quickly, but I usually remove it from the freezer the night before I plan on eating some good ol’ X Soup.  I let it thaw in the ClutterFridge and then reheat it for dinner!  It’s yummy with cornbread (which also freezes well!).

In case you’ve lost track, the countdown to ClutterBaby is roughly 2.5 months!  We’re going to be stocking our freezer with ready made meals between now and then, we’ll be bringing you more freezer cooking tips and recipe suggestions that work well for other lazy efficient people like us.

I know Clutterhubs STILL doesn't see it, but Clutterbaby looks like Skeletor to me.

See where we’ve linked up today!

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Foodie Friday: Buffalo Chicken Biscuits

I love these bad boys.

I’m not crazy about the price, and the fact that they go so quickly here at Clutterhome.  Let’s just say we love all kinds of bready goodness and it never lasts long.

They were also sold out at the grocery store today, so I figured it was a good chance for me to try and <gasp> make my own.  I know, I know.  Erika?  Cooking something when she could just BUY it?  But it was so easy!

Here are the “ingredients.”  Plain chicken (left over, frozen, canned, whatever!) would work just fine!  

I know that most normal people like bleu cheese with wings, so you could throw that in, too.  I don’t like it, so I just went with mozzarella.

Step 1) Flatten out a biscuit like a pancake.  I just used my hands.

Step 2)  Add some chicken, cheese, Texas Pete, and whatever else your little heart desires.  This is very customizable.

Step 3)  Roll it up like a dumpling.  Make sure you tuck in all of that yummy filling and pinch it closed as best you can.  But if some leaks out, the world won’t end.  I promise.

Step 4)  Place the dumplings crease-side down on a greased baking sheet and pop them in  a pre-heated over.  Bake according to the biscuit directions.

That’s it!  I had 2 leftover biscuits so I made myself a similar desert, but filled it with peanut butter and jelly.  The warm, melty PB&J was so delicious.  I might make them like that next time!

So easy!  Do you have any quick and easy canned biscuit recipes?

Please visit our Link Parties Page to find out everywhere this recipe is linked to, including Foodie Wednesday with Organized Chaos!

 

 

 

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Foodie Friday! Reese’s ClutterCake

I knew what I was making for this week’s desert the moment I set my eyes on this bad boy from I Sew, Do You?.

Mmmm

However, on my almost daily trip to the grocery store (I’m not good at shopping all at once) I found that they didn’t carry Reese’s Pieces.  I was heartbroken, to say the least, so I wandered around a bit and decided I was going to make up my own version of a Reese’s Cake.

I’m not much for fancy cookin’.  I just had a microwaveable lunch (that I also picked up today on my daily grocery store run), and will probably eat something just as low maintenance for supper.

But I am one for “fancying up” simple recipes and pretending like I did some real cooking.  Work smarter, not harder!  Here is the Reese’s ClutterCake that I came up with:

Ingredients!

I’m not a brand snob.  If I had the option of buying generic brand, I absolutely would.  But I live overseas and, though I am adventurous with trying food, I enjoy the comfort of American products and my selection is limited.  I opted for the Duncan Hines because the cake came with a $0.35 cent coupon for the frosting.  ClutterHubs would be so proud!

Step 1) Make your cake!  If you’re like me (lazy), you might try the Cluttermethod of cooling cakes.  I let the pan cool for about 10 minutes and then stick that puppy in the freezer so it cools off quickly.  Patience is a wonderful thing, but God must’ve figured He had already blessed me with so much that He just went ahead and left that one out.  Don’t stick it directly in the cold after removing it from the oven, though.  That’s too much of a temperature difference too quickly and things could explode.  So I’ve read, anyway.

Step 2)  While your cake is in the freezer cooling, mix up your frosting.

Dump your frosting in a bowl. I used CHOCOLATE. Mix in some peanut butter. I used around a cup (I guess), but it's really a taste thing. Go with your tastebuds and you won't be wrong.

I used a hand mixer, but everything is nice and soft so you can probably just stir it.  It looks really creamy once it’s all mixed together.

Ohhhh, I just LOVE chocolate and peanut butter!

I was going to just frost it in the pan, but I realized I would have a lot of extra frosting.  So, I tried to be fancy and slice it into layers to add more CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER.  It was super crooked.  Guess who cares?  Not Clutterholic!

Make sure you slice yours crooked, too. Otherwise it's not a true ClutterCake.

But do you see what I was going for?  Sort of a frosting and cake “sandwich.”

Wow, it just gets uglier and uglier! But tastier, too!

Step 3 (or 4 if you sliced and diced):  Frost your cake!  It was hard for me to spread, so I stuck it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Next, slice your Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and generously sprinkle them on top of your ClutterCake.

Too sweet? No such thing!

Have a slice and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  You probably won’t even be able to tell how crooked you sliced it to make your “sandwich.”

It's ain't pretty, but it's GOOD. And that's what cake is all about.

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Foodie Friday! ClutterChicken Parm

The thing about cooking in this house is that, frankly, we don’t really like it.  Consequently, anything we make needs to be “Erika Proof.”  Pretty much a recipe is not gonna get made in the ClutterKitchen if it contains:

A)  Excess Any chopping, dicing, or slicing
B)  Fancy ingredients or spices

Recipes must also take no more than 30 minutes to prepare.  30 minutes is pushing it, though, because our evenings usually go something like this:

Clutterhubs:  “I’m hungry, let’s go out to eat.”
Erika:  “We have food here so let’s eat at home.  What do you want?”
And then we stare at the fridge and cabinets but dinner doesn’t magically make itself.
Erika:  “I’ll start the car.  Where do you want to go?”

You see, undomestic Erika never plans dinner ahead of time.  By the time we’re ready to make dinner, we’re already hungry.  That’s why Clutterfood has to be fast and easy (and also cheap, but that’s because Clutterhubs is a penny pincher).

We had dinner at a friend’s house one evening, and they made this fancy Chicken Parmigiana that involved slicing and beating the chicken so it was small and flat, dipping it in some kind of liquid and then fancy spiced breading, and doing all kinds of other cooking things that I’m not actually capable of.

So I Clutterified the recipe and got it down to a 25 minute, no slicing and no fancy spices version.  I’m lazy.

First, grab yourself some frozen chicken tenders and bake them according to the directions.  Mine were 15 minutes at 425 degrees.

Yeah, I wrapped my pan in foil because I'm too lazy to clean it afterwards. Don't judge me.

But to expedite the process, start boiling some water while your oven preheats.

Those lemons are for lemonade that I'll probably forget to make and they'll go bad. Sigh.

My chicken went in the oven about the same time my water started to boil, so I tossed in my pasta.  I’m pretty sure Chicken Parmigiana is supposed to be made with spaghetti, but I could only find curly pasta in the cabinets so that’s what I used.  Same difference.  The chicken needed 15 minutes, and the pasta needed 11.

Bubble bubble toil and trouble

While my super labor intensive chicken and pasta were cooking, I made my super special sauce.

Dumpy, dumpy, stirry, stirry

‘Cause that’s what I had in the cabinets. You could probably add some spices, some meat, or use your own sauce and it would probably be delicious.  I’m lazy, though, so I dumped what I had available into a microwave safe tub and zapped it for a few minutes (so it was hot . . . I dunno, maybe 3 minutes?).   While that was nuking, my pasta finished so I drained it.  I didn’t have to drain it much, though, because I didn’t really start with enough water and most of it boiled off.  Rachel Ray would probably think it was a disgrace.  Tastes the same to me, though . . .

Our dinosaur Welch's jelly jar glasses from the '80s are the best part of this picture.

Please don’t let the clean dishes drying in the background of the picture fool you into thinking I am on top of my housework.  Those are glass casserole dishes.  My husband had a potluck dinner at work on Wednesday evening and I took a couple things.  We didn’t get home until after 9, so I did the mature thing and put the empty (but dirty) dishes in the fridge until I felt like washing them.  The only reason I finally got to them, nearly 48 hours later, was because I want to make a cake for my Girl Scouts and I need one of the dishes.  Typical.

Since we’re already off on a tangent, let’s take a minute to admire my awesome dishes we purchased in Japan.  I love cherry blossoms because they’re tiny, pretty, and dainty.  I am none of these things, so I’m strangely drawn to things that are.  I fell in love with these and begged for them for my birthday last year.  You can see that Clutterdog (with his pretty freckled face) just loves cherry blossoms, too.

Today we discovered that the Clutterdogs also *love* strawberries. Just like Erika!

Anyway, back to the food!  Here’s everything all cooked and stuff.  I would have put the extra pasta in a plastic storage container thing, but I couldn’t match any bottoms with lids so into a Ziploc bag it went.

"Ingredients" for our "Recipe"

So, after roughly 20 minutes of SLAVE LABOR over a HOT STOVE you get to mix it all up and eat it.  Most grown ups would slice their chicken at this point.

I use scissors to cut meat because I am inexplicably and completely irrationally afraid of knives.

And then add some saucy sauce.

Nom nom nom.

You might have noticed that I seem to have forgotten to add even one crumb of Parmesan anything.  That’s because I don’t have any and going to the store would mean I’d have to put on acceptable clothes and make my hair look sensible, so I just left it out.  Yeah, I know.  You probably thought this would be closer to Chicken Parmigiana and use spaghetti and have cheese.  I told you I Clutterified it, though, and what is more Clutterholicy than forgetting the Parm in Chicken Parm?

It tastes good to me!  But my tastebuds are about as refined as I am, soooooo it probably just wouldn’t cut it in a household where people each fancy food and avoid preservatives and stuff like that.  Here at Blue Palm Manor, we eat high fructose corn syrup and transfats and we enjoy every bite.  If that’s not your thing, you are welcome to make this recipe out of natural ingredients and fresh vegetables.  🙂  Just promise you’ll invite me over so I don’t have to cook and can save myself the 25 minutes!

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