Friday, August 31, 2012

August 31, 2012

What a week this has been!  School started for the kids, and my class began yesterday evening.  So, looking at the school calendars and the sports calendars, and the other family activities, I begin to think to myself, how can I get ahead of this busy-ness?  Well, I can cook.  So, I defrosted my freezer intent on filling it back up with meals instead of icy shelves.  Hannah suggested we have a ham the night before school started, so that sealed the deal.

From the ham we enjoyed Sunday dinner, a second dinner in the week (Hurry up Ham) and enough diced ham for 5 more meals of the perennial favorite.  I couldn't bring myself to use the meaty ham bone and make soup, so I actually freecycled it!  The woman who picked it up Sunday night was so appreciative, I even got a thank you email later in the week telling me all about the soup she made!  So, there... prep for 5 dinners into my freezer.

On Tuesday I decided to roast chicken so that I could make dinner, and then use the rest of the meat for another recipe that our family loves (Buffalo Chicken Lasagna).  Chickens were on sale, so I measured my oven and found that I could fit four chickens in at once.  I know, I know...four roast chickens????  But think of the future meal possibilities!!!  The time investments now (though to be honest, the oven itself did most of the work) will yield me free time and meals in the future!  So, I roasted the chickens, spent time pulling off all the meat, and then prepared everything to freeze three buffalo chicken lasagna meals, five chicken with mushroom sauce meals, prepped for Thursday's dinner, and made my favorite cranberry chicken salad!  I was tired of cooking that afternoon, so then we had pulled chicken sandwiches for dinner.  :)  So many meals.  Not to mention the fresh chicken stock, and the immense satisfaction from having great dinners in the freezer.

Of course, I also wanted to get ahead on lunchbox desserts.  I made 2 batches of  cookies- ranger and oatmeal chocolate chip.  Finally, there is the one new recipe this week!  The oatmeal chocolate chip cookies were based on an oatmeal raisin cookie recipe from Ryan's family, adjusted for my goal of incorporating chocolate chips.

Before I leave you with the link to the new cookie recipe, I did want to remind you of the Recipe Archive.   My younger sister called me this week and asked around when I had first made Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs and Sloppy Joe's.  She was trying to find the recipes using the weekly archive!  She wasn't aware of the actual recipe archive!!!  The archive has a full listing of all the recipes listed alphabetically by type or recipe.  The link to the archive is listed both at the top of the page as well as on the side bar.  If you are having trouble determining your meal plan for this week, why not take a look at the archive - you just might get inspired!

New Recipe
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

* 1 cup flour
* 3/4 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 3/4 cup shortening
* 1 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 2 cups uncooked old fashioned oats
* 1 cup chocolate chips

1. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt.
2. Cream the shortening and sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla.
3. Mix in the flour mixture.
4. When well combined, add the oats and the chocolate chips.
5. Place the  cookie mix in the fridge for an hour or two, this will help them spread less when you cook them.
6. Place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and cook for approximately 10 minutes in a 350 oven.  Let the cookies cool about 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a rack to finish cooling.

I wanted an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, but didn't have a good recipe.  So I used a recipe from my grandmother-in-law as a base. I had to omit the nutmeg and the cinnamon, and whoops!  I have to admit - I forgot the salt!  I left the salt in the ingredients listing, because I probably will add it next time I make these.   Also, I only had 2/3 cup of shortening, so I made up the difference with butter.  All in all, they came out scrumptious, though a tiny bit flat.  Don't expect these cookies to be thick and plump, but they will be tasty!  The kids are excited to have these as a choice for their lunchboxes!