My Fast Food Freezer

My family has a love/hate relationship with fast food.  We love it because its yummy, (mostly) cheap, and of course fast. We hate it because we know how seriously bad it is for our tummies, wallets, and overall health. When I stopped working last year I began to really look into ways to save money and knew that this was something I had to address. I kept coming across freezer meals, a concept I ADORE!  But while that helps mom on busy days and cuts money since you are cooking in bulk, that still did not address my problem on what to grab in the mornings (I am worthless till about noon), or when we are flying out the door somewhere, or when mommy is to busy (or lazy) to throw a snack together. My husband does seriously believe that it is easier to drive the two blocks to McDonald’s than to make himself PB&J so I had to do some thinking here.

What I came up with is my fast food freezer, stuffed full of fast and (mostly) nutritious food that takes on average 1-2 minute for the fam-bam to microwave.  I rotate a variety of usually four choices at a time: breakfast burritos, meat burritos, green chili & cheese corn dog muffins, mini quiches, waffles, individual slices of banana bread or zucchini bread, and I always have pre-portioned bags with different combinations of fruit to make fruit & yogurt smoothies. I organize them with magazine holders and it works like a charm. Here is an idea of what it looks like right now:

Mommy's Quick Fixes!

Mommy’s Quick Fixes!

This is quite a project so I took to doing a little at a time, usually adding to it stash one or two nights a week.  This also keeps a variety so they don’t get burned out. Last week I cooked two nights. Tuesday night I made up 3 dozen Green Chili & Cheese Corn Dog Muffins which are super yummy and a hit with my New Mexico crew. Friday night I doubled up and made 30 breakfast burritos & 3 dozen mini quiches. Sometime this week I will be making waffles.  I usually make 3 dozen of each item in my family since that seems to make everything last through the month. I wrap most things in foil in individual servings, with the exception of the waffles (gallon size freezer bags) and the slices of banana and zucchini bread (Saran wrap).

I tell you folks, this has saved my budget and has helped I don’t know how many mornings when I would have ended up hitting the drive-thru before school or church or whatever thing I was running late for 😉 And I couldn’t be happier about how much kinder this is to my lovies tummies!

Here are my recent project recipes:

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Green Chili & Cheese Corn Dog Muffins

Preheat oven to 400′

Mix together 5 c flour, 3 3/4 c cornmeal, 1 1/4 c sugar, 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder 2 1/2 tsp baking soda and  2 1/2 tsp salt.

Mix 3 c milk , 28 oz can green chili sauce, 5 eggs, 1 c applesauce

Combine above ingredients, stir in 2 c shredded mexican cheese, 2 pkgs hot dogs (cut in 4 pieces long ways then diced for little’s safety! Huge choking hazard!) and diced green chili’s to personal taste/tolerance.

Spray muffin pan a little heavier than you normally would (gives it that corn dog taste, you do not need papers), put about 1/4 c batter per cup, and cook for 15 minutes.

Die with happiness 🙂

Makes 36 servings, cost approximately $0.28 per serving!

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Yummy Healthy Mini Quiches:

Choose your fillings and adjust the recipe accordingly, this is how I made mine this time. My combinations change according to what is on sale 🙂

Preheat oven to 350′

In a skillet brown 1 pkg turkey bacon, 1 can diced tomatoes, 3/4 c red bell peppers, 1/2 c mushrooms, 1/2 c diced onion, 1 clove garlic (minced) 2 tsp italian seasoning in olive oil. In large bowl, beat 2 dozen large/jumbo eggs w 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup green chili sauce, 1/2 tsp ground mustard, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Mix in turkey filling. Add 1 bag prefered shredded cheese (I use a mexican blend). Line muffin cups, cut pie crust to fit bottom of cups, or cut bigger to come up sides. I prefer to buy premade crust and use a small biscuit cutter and line the bottoms. Then pour 1/4 c egg mixture into each cup, bake for approximately 30 minutes, pull out when tops become golden, but before they brown.

Now your tummy’s healthy and happy!

Makes 3 dozen, cost approximately $0.31 cents per serving!

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New Mexican Breakfast Burritos

In a large skillet (you might need two depending on how large yours is), cook 3 large potatoes (peeled and diced) in 2 tsp oil on medium high w lid. Assemble ingredients. Add two pounds sausage, 1 large onion, 1 can rotel (tomatoes & green chili), 1 can diced tomatoes, 1/2 tsp taco seasoning, 1 tsp italian seasoning, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper. Cook until sausage is browned and potatoes are done. In bowl, mix 3 dozen eggs w 1/4 c green chili sauce and 1/4 c milk, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt. Add to sausage mixture, cook until done. Mix in two cups preferred shredded cheese (I use mexican on  this as well). I buy tortillas (come in ten counts) from a local taqueria here that makes them better than mama! They are the most expensive part of this but worth it.  Laying tortilla on top of foil, sprinkle desired amount of cheese, scoop approximately 3/4 c egg mixture and fold into burrito, wrapping foil around when you are done. Voila!

Makes 30 fat breakfast burritos, cost approximately $1.65 (about half of this cost is the wonderful tortillas!)

Picky People I Love

I am really obsessed with the whole frozen crock pot meals thing, spending many manic late nights chopping and mixing and scouring the web (I ❤ Pinterest!) for recipes and tips.  I threw in tons of veggies according to the recipes and introduced a lot of new recipes and styles of cooking, feeling quite proud of myself. I love cooking, I am a great cook, and I looked forward to showing off my new recipes to my family and receiving their gratitude and adoration.  This is a way I show my love.

Then I put it on the table. My older son eats anything put in front of him since he is not picky, and a bottomless pit.  I assumed it was because of my skill at choosing baby food during the formative years. My lovely little daughter, who some perverse reason decided her life goal is to squash my theory that picky children are a product of lax parenting, has inspected every ingredient (i.e. vegetable) that has been set in front of her and requested such gourmet food as PB&J, or maybe a hot dog, no bun. My husband apparently decided that he had an ally (or maybe a decoy) started picking through his food.  I was NOT happy.

If it involves chocolate, the girl is all in!

If it involves chocolate, the girl is all in!

Looking for recommended ways to deal with picky children turned up an article that said “food aversion” is more genetic than behavioral which was very disturbing to me as I had to take back all the nice things I’ve said about people.  Now you have to understand, I have spent years coercing (defined as force, press, pressure, strong-arm, twist somebody’s arm, force somebody’s hand, compel, bully, intimidate, drive, put the arm on) my husband that he did in fact like potatoes, hamburger, onion, vegetables, chinese food, and many italian dishes, and that he would not die if his food touched or if a dish had more than one vegetable in it. This is something I KNOW HOW TO HANDLE. Yeah right. The little bully has reduced me to threatening, begging and lots of other humiliating behavior.  Then I figured out how to beat ALL OF THEM! 1366139046565

This morning as I was loading the crock pot with all the yummy (and healthy!) stuff I love in spaghetti I got a very evil happy feeling. I threw all the veggies (onions, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots) in the food processor, threw it on shred, then dumped it back in the crock. One of the other of my picky pair “hates” all of those veggies. I mixed it all up, seasoned it and turned it on and plotted all day for dinner. I invited my BFF of 17 years over with her children and husband (names withheld to protect the picky<3) and put it on the table. It was scarfed down with seconds for most and lots of happy tummies and… NO ONE NOTICED!!!!!

I found my new secret weapons when it comes to meal-time, trickery and deception. Yes, I will make sure I do not feed anyone anything they are allergic to. No, I do not at all feel bad. I am the Mom, and I win!  And whether they know it or not, so do they.