Monday, April 8, 2013

Prep your way to happiness, part deux.

As I write this, it has been a week since my grocery trip, and I finally have some room in the freezer to stash a lasagne. Since lasagne from scratch is time consuming, I made two. One for the meal of the day, and one for the freezer.

One thing that makes me happy, and makes my life easier, is this chalk board I painted on the door to our basement. I write the menu for the week so I know just what needs to happen each morning without having to think. Because, let's face it, thinking in the morning is HARD.

There is even room at the bottom for my personal assistant to make some notations about things and stuff. Keeps him busy occasionally.

So anyhow...back to prep. I had two large containers of plain Ragu and some sausages in the freezer from last month. I had stocked up on them because they were a great deal. So not part of this month's shopping trip, but part of this month's prep. (This could also be considered a "found meal" but more on that later.)

Sauce is easy...brown your meat, add onions cook until translucent. Add in any additional veggies (I like shredded zucchini and carrots) and garlic. Pour in some jar sauce and simmer until your house smells like an Italian restaurant.

I am FINALLY getting to the end of my zucchini stash from last year's garden. There is always so much zucchini. I shred it in the food processor and bag it in either 1 or 2 cup packages and freeze it. I use it through the winter for breads, soups, sauces, and lasagne filling. It is a great veggie to "hide" in other foods and adds some bulk to the meal, stretching your food budget. Here it is in the ricotta mix for the lasagnes.

While the sauce is cooking, I assembled the Rosemary Chicken Lasagne. Doesn't it look amazing? Well, I forgot to save some mushrooms, and I didn't buy spinach for some reason, so it's not perfect, but it was yummy. We will do it again.

I also made hamburger patties till my hands froze. I planned to make hamburger patties, but apparently I was taking too long and the Hubster got worried about his meats. so he made the patties. I had competely forgotten this method of getting stuff done. I should use it more often...

We make them in 1/3 lb sizes and freeze them individually. Then if we can grill, we have burgers, if we just need some beef, we can take out and thaw exactly what we need. Hubster made about 13 patties, they should last awhile.
Once the sauce was done I assembled a traditional lasagne, because why the heck not. Seriously, the ricotta filling is the same, the noodles need to be cooked the same, the mozzarella is on hand, all I did was change the sauce.
After the lasagne, there was enough sauce for two large pasta meals. So, I bagged it up and froze it for later. It is always nice to have homemade sauce and pasta on hand for a last minute meal, or to feed a sudden crowd. You know what I mean. It thaws pretty quickly on the stove. I like to freeze things on a cookie sheet so they pack flat in the freezer.
So if you are counting, I prepped 17 meals, plus froze hamburgers for 4 meals and sauce for two. I spread it all out over a few days, but that is not all that I did. Nope, looks like there will be two other posts in this series..."Serious Sides" and "Found Food".


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