Edit: For my Australian reader who doesn't have tater tots......here is a link
. Do you have hashbrowns? You could probably use those. If not, make homemade fried potatoes and put them on top before baking. Also, someone asked about my canned green beans. My mom helps me can them...we just stuff green beans into jars, add canning salt and water and pressure cook them so I don't have a recipe.
Hey everyone, I actually got to feeling better yesterday so I did my meal planning day. This post will get long as I add in recipes, etc so settle in for a good read.
Hey everyone, it's about that time again. Time for my 12 Days of Me Personal Day. You can read all about my 12 Days of Me concept and my January Personal day right here
. I've chosen the 19th
of every month to be my personal day. This month I am concentrating on meal planning and a little organization in my kitchen. I have all my groceries bought and stacked on my counter so I'm itching to get started.
My meal planning will consist of a full day of cooking meals or partial meal items to have on hand. With all the girls' activities, my working from home and good tv on now at night (American Idol and Survivor), I don't want to spend anymore time in the kitchen at night than I have to. I LOVE to cook, don't get me wrong. But getting in and out of the kitchen at night means all that more time I have to relax and spend quality time with the family.
With that said, I am not a huge fan of freezing meals. I tend to forget what's in the freezer and then I always think stuff tastes funny if it's been in there too long. So I'm planning a few casseroles, some pre-cooked meat, some cookies, etc that will provide a few week's worth of meals. Everything about this month's Personal Day will be added to this post. So it may get long but check back for updated recipes, photos and more.
To pre-plan for my personal day, I started off by scouring my recipe books and the internet for tasty menu items. I made copies or bookmarked my recipe books with my final recipe choices. Next I made a huge grocery list of the items I needed for each recipe. The girls helped me shop this week for all of my grocery items. I made a trip to our local butcher shop for some meat too. It's thawing out so I will be ready to start cooking.
I'll post more about my personal day later but in the meantime I wanted to show you some other stuff that's been cookin' in my kitchen. I am bound and determined to get this house of ours in order. I have taken after my mother and have become very good at *collecting* things. And those piles of *things* are now organized into what I call *organized clutter*. It's not good. It drives me nuts. I'm not as bad as those hoarder people on tv but there's a lot of room for improvement. So I've decided to tackle small areas, otherwise it gets overwhelming.
Here's a project I did to spruce up a corner of my kitchen, one of my favorite rooms in the house because I dearly love to cook. I had this spinning, wooden spice rack that we received as a wedding gift. I love to use it but over half of the spices in it were weird ones I never used and some had never been opened. Those spices were over 15 years old, eww.
So I dumped out all the spices, washed the glass spice jars and soaked the lids to remove the old labels. New spices were added to the sparkling clean jars.
I also made new labels for the lids using my computer and PTI
. I punched out the circle labels and adhered them to the jars with clear packing tape. Fancy huh? I could have done some laminating or some other method but the packing tape worked for me.
I cleaned up the wood spinner and gave it a coat of mineral oil just like I do my cutting boards. Spiffy!
This is the corner of my kitchen that I cleaned up. I have been reading lots of articles on organizing and decorating and there is one phrase/rule that keeps sticking out in my mind. Here it is: Only keep the items you really love. Get rid of the rest
. That's a pretty big statement for me because I've collected a lot of stuff over the years. I like my stuff. Stuff is good. But I applied my new rule to this corner. I got rid of a cutting board with a drawer that I really liked. Liked, not loved. Now I can honestly say that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE everything in this corner of my kitchen. There's still lots of stuff, but it's the gooder
stuff. I will never be a minimalist, let me just say that. I need my stuff sitting out. I'm probably more of a maximumist
. Is that a word? More stuff is good. But I'm working on it.
Here's what I love in my new kitchen corner. I love my newly spiffied up spice rack spinner. I used it today and and it was so organized and clean and shiny! I love my glass sugar and flour jars that I got from Walmart
. I use these two cooking items a lot so they have earned a place out on the counter. I love my fluted cookie jar with the silver lid that I got from Nell Hill's
, Kansas. (Note: Cabinets are natural cherry and countertops are a laminate called concrete...cookbook is The Amish Cook's Baking Book)
I even love the old tin measuring cups that are in my flour and sugar jars. Plain ol
' cups wouldn't do, I had to find just what I loved.
I love this new cutting board
I got at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It's made from renewable tree source and has a very rustic wood pattern. I've searched for one like this for a long time. To spiffy it up, rub in mineral oil about every 30 uses. I also love my Longaberger baskets that hold my cooking utensils. Many of my utensils are from my days of being a Pampered Chef lady and some of the old wooden spoons are from my Grandma's stash. I also love Bath and Body foaming hand soap.
And these items don't sit out but I love them so they're worth showing. I love my pepper grinder, nothing compares to freshly ground pepper. Don't used the canned stuff. Sometimes I love it so much that I need mass quantities. So I take a bunch of peppercorns and grind them up in coffee grinder. I found this old tin pepper shaker at an antique store and knew just what I'd use it for. So now when I need a teaspoon or so of ground pepper for a recipe, I reach for my shaker. I only keep a quarter cup or so in there so it stays nice and fresh.
So there you have it. I did it. I organized something. It feels good. What's next? Get this, Becky Higgins showed a little part of her kitchen on her blog and she uses glass jars as canisters too. Love it!
RECIPE SECTION(some of the recipes I'll be making):
Restaurant Style Salsa
from The Pioneer Woman.....link is HERE. Oh is this good. I've searched for a recipe like this that you can make with canned good. This is THE ONE. I'm going to can whole tomatoes this summer so I can use those. I'm making this to go with some of the Mexican food I'm making.
Veggie and Cheese Bagel Sandwich
from The Pioneer Woman....link is HERE
. This is what I'll be making for my lunch on my personal day. I used to get these kinds of sandwiches with my girl coworkers when we lived in the city. Yum. Edit: I made this for lunch....so awesome!!
Mom's Pork Green Chili
from The Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen section....link is HERE
. I'll serve this with tortillas, sour cream, my canned jalapeno slices, some of that Restaurant Style Salsa and my mom's hot corn bread recipe. Edit: All of this is going with Eric to poker night...the fellas all love me. :)
Tator Tot Casserole recipe from my mom:
In a 9 x 13 pan, layer 2 lbs seasoned, browned hamburger, chopped carrots, small chopped onion, 1 can whole corn, 1 can green beans (I used our home grown, canned variety). Mix 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup and 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup and 3/4 cup milk. Spread over veggies. Top with bag of tator tots. Bake 350 for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. This went into the freezer with the baking time and duration written on the foil with a Sharpie.
Other recipes that I'm making are White Chicken Enchiladas, Three Cheese Stuffed Shells, and Chimichangas. I'll also be baking some chocolate chip/cream cheese cookie bars and browning up a bunch of ground beef to freeze for recipes. Good eats, indeed.