Freezer friendly

Coconut & Macadamia Nut Freezer Bars (Primal)

  With this heat wave sweeping the nation, I think it’s time to make something cold.  While we’re at it, lets make it sweet…and decadent.  Avert your eyes if you’re trying to keep things low fat.
1 c unsweetened flaked coconut
3/4 c raw, unsalted macadamia nuts
3/4 c almonds
3/4 c melted coconut oil
1 Tbsp chia seeds 
Pinch of sea salt
  Start by preheating your oven to 350 ºF.  Place your coconut flakes on a baking sheet and toast them for around 5 minutes til they’re lightly browned.
  Set up your food processor and use it to combine your nuts and coconut oil until they’re nice and smooth.  Add the coconut flakes and chia and mix everything together by pulsing a few more times.
  Line an approximately 8″x 8″ pan with parchment paper and pour your mixture into it.  Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top and place in the freezer to solidify.  They should be cold enough to serve in about half an hour.  Cut them into bars to serve.
  The original recipe for this uses all macadamia nuts.  I love macadamia nuts, but those suckers are expensive, so we subbed in almonds for half the volume.  Unsurprisingly with all the fat in them, these are really rich.  They have a fabulous flavor and, hooray! lots of healthy omega 3s.  They’re not in-your-face sweet, but they’re a wonderful treat!

Parmesan Meatloaf (gluten free)

  As you guys may have noticed, we’ve been slowly edging gluten out of our diet since the gestational diabetes issue.  We’re not opposed to the occasional pasta dish, but both the Mr and I have found that our skin breaks out less when we eat less wheat, so why not try some alternative options?
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground beef
2 eggs
1/4 c gluten free breadcrumbs*
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, grated 
1/2 c marinara pasta sauce
1/2 c Mozzarella, shredded 
*I used flax meal
  Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.
  Mix all of your ingredients except for your tomato sauce and mozzarella in a large bowl.  Don’t overwork the mixture, but make sure everything is combined.  Place the mixture into a greased loaf pan (I always grease my pans with olive oil but you can use spray or another oil) and top with your pasta sauce.
  Put the pan on a lined baking sheet (it’s probably going to bubble over and you do NOT want to have to clean that out of your oven!) and cook in the preheated oven for about an hour.  Take it out and sprinkle your grated mozzarella over the top.  Put it back in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese and then allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. 
  This was…acceptable.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything special either.  None of us disliked it, but we weren’t terribly excited about eating it either.  I think in the future I’ll try substituting flax meal in for the breadcrumbs in one of my other, tried and true meatloafs.

Dill Pickle Soup

  Don’t get any ideas…I’m not pregnant again…I just love pickles.  When I saw the recipe for this soup, I thought it might be similar to a pickle soup I’d had (and loved) at a local Austrian restaurant, but that was a broth based soup, where this is thick and creamy.
  Here’s what you need:
5 1/2 c chicken broth
1 3/4 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 c carrots, chopped 
1 c dill pickles, chopped (about 3 large whole pickles)
1/2 c unsalted butter
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c sour cream
1/4 c water
2 c dill pickle juice*
1-1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning**
1/2 tsp salt*
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
*The original recipe comments on it, and I want to reiterate…not all pickle juices are the same.  Taste before you add more salt.
**I didn’t have Old Bay seasoning, I ground up some bay leaves and called it good.  I’m a heathen.  Whatever.
  Place your broth, potatoes, carrots and butter into a large pot.  Bring it to a boil and cook until the potatoes get tender (about 10 minutes). Add your pickles and continue to simmer.
  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together your flour, sour cream and water.  This forms something that looks a bit like dough. Whisk this sour cream mixture (2 Tbsp at a time) into your soup.  Keep whisking and boiling until everything is nicely combined.  This process is going to mash up some of your potatoes, you want that!  Now add your pickle juice, Old Bay, salt, pepper and cayenne. Cook for 5 more minutes and then remove from heat. Serve immediately.
  I’ve found that I’m a sucker for tart potato soups, (dijon potato soup anybody?) and this one is no exception.  I was a little afraid that it was going to be too light to be a stand alone dinner, but between the potatoes and all the fat in it, it’s really filling.  The Mr. liked this, but found it to be a touch too tart for his taste without some bread for dipping, so he had his with some leftover homemade flatbread.  G didn’t even want to try it, which I find hysterical since he’s such a huge fan of pickles.  Ah well.  No reasoning with 3 year olds.  Maybe I’ll get him to taste a bite next time we have it!

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

  It’s time for another “all over Pinterest, so I guess I have to try it” recipe!
  This one makes me giggle…I keep seeing it posted as “no cream soup!  No mayo!” as if that somehow makes it low fat.  Sorry ladies, but I’m pretty sure that ship sailed with the 4 cups of cheese.  But hey, I’ve already told you guys that I’m pro-fats, so lets start cooking.
  Here’s what we’re making:
  Here’s what you need:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 c cooked chicken breast, shredded
2 c steamed white rice*
16 oz prepared wild rice*
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt
Cheese Sauce

4 Tbsp butter
1/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 c chicken broth
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese to top
*I couldn’t find prepared wild rice, so I subbed in a box of this and a bag similar to this (but with no veggies) and left out the white rice.
  Before you can begin this recipe, you need to have prepared chicken and rice.  I fully intended to buy the rice prepared and get a rotisserie chicken.  As I said, my grocery didn’t have the rice and the thing is, this was my first time back to the grocery store since R was born and so, rather than attempting to wrangle two right off the bat, we went immediately after we dropped G off at school.  Turns out, they don’t have rotisserie chickens prepared for people to buy at 8:30 in the morning.  Clearly they think that if you’re thinking about dinner that far in advance, you have time to cook your own chicken.  Judgey bastards.
  Once your rice and chicken are prepared, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  On your stove top, heat your oil over medium heat in a large skillet and saute your onion, celery and carrot for around ten minutes, or until they are soft.  Add in your garlic and cook for another minute.  Stir in the remaining ingredients above the line in the ingredient list and reduce the heat to low.
  Heat a separate pan over medium heat for your cheese sauce.  Start by melting your butter and then whisking in your flour, salt and pepper before adding your chicken broth (stirring continuously).  Whisk until thick and nearly boiling before adding your 2 cups of cheese.  Stir until the cheese is melted and then pour into your chicken mixture.  Mix until combined and transfer to a baking dish.  We put ours into loaf pans and froze half the recipe.  Top with your remaining cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted through.
  This is such fabulous comfort food.  The flavor reminds me a bit of Rice-a-Roni…except, you know, not horribly processed box-food.  For possibly the first time ever, we may have actually used less cheese than recommended.  There seems to be some debate over how many oz of shredded cheese make a cup.  8 liquid oz are in a cup, so I bought two, 16 oz blocks of cheddar to make this, but only one got put in.  If we were skimping, it wasn’t a problem.
  I love wild rice, so I’m going to keep my eyes open (especially next time I actually make it to a Trader Joe’s) for the prepared wild rice the original recipe talks about so that I can use the right amount next time, but I don’t see any reason that I’d ever bother with the white rice.  The long grain and the brown rices were absolutely fabulous, and especially after all the information I found during the whole gestational diabetes debacle, I’d rather go with more “whole” rices anyhow.
  Everybody here was into this, even the food-striking 3-year old.  It’s definitely going to be made again!

Freezer Friendly Favorites

  Well, I’m officially out of recipes that I made and photographed before the birth.  Because I’ve been busy adjusting to being the mama of two, either the Mr. has cooked dinner or we’ve thawed something we’d frozen in advance.

  Having meals frozen for this period of time (and the ones we had when G was born) has been a godsend, and I know that there are lots of other times when something already prepped that can just be thrown in the oven can make the difference between a home cooked meal and ordering pizza…again.  So, I thought I’d do a round up of some of our favorite freezer friendly meals that I’ve posted!
  All of these freeze well, and most of them make enough that we don’t have to make any special effort to have food to freeze.  Half is plenty for dinner, and the remainder is a meal another night.
  Try one (or all!) of them out and stick the extras in the freezer for a busy night.