Getting Ahead a Little Each Day

This has been a big week of catching up and getting ahead.  I’ve hardly left the house all week, which has made for some very productive days at home.  We got all of our laundry caught up from our time at camp, have been working to get our school books organized (we start our new school year on Monday!), and have been working very hard in the kitchen.

Allow me to emphasize the word WE in the above sentences.  I’ve not done all of this by myself.  Our boys have been a huge help – with laundry, dishes, grating cheese, stirring and measuring,  deboning chickens, taking food to freezers, and the list goes on.

Why are we making so much food?  Well, it’s August.  That means that college soccer (which Matt coaches) and our boys’ soccer seasons are about to begin.  School work will keep our days full, soccer practices and games will keep our evenings full, and getting all this food prepared ahead of time will keep our bellies full.  My sanity depends on having a full freezer of prepared food as we head into some very busy months.

At the beginning of the week, I made a list of the foods I was hoping to prepare for our fridge and freezers:

I took some pictures along the way.  Here’s how it all went down this week:

On Monday, I made three jars of Homemade Peanut Butter.  Malachi helped me make two Loaves of Banana Bread and a big Banana Cake.  The cake didn’t make it into the freezer, but it sure was tasty, and the freezer won’t know what it was missing, so don’t tell.

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I like making several jars of peanut butter at one time because we go through quite a bit of it.  Plus, I’ve found that making several batches at once means that I can get away with cleaning my food processor less.  Making one big mess instead of several little messes saves lots of time!

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Tuesday was a big beef and tortilla day.  I made a triple batch of Whole Wheat Tortillas (recipe found in Totally Tortillas eBook and/or Oh, For Real Cookbook).  In the meantime, I browned several pounds of hamburger meat.  Once finished, I made two meals worth of Sloppy Joes, two pans of Cheesy Salsa Enchiladas, and two meals worth of Meat and Cheese Burritos.  (The boys spent the morning folding and putting away clean laundry.  Yay!)

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Oh yes, and somewhere in there, Asa helped me crack eggs and make two Easy Breakfast Casseroles.

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Wednesday was a chicken day.  I cooked three big chickens in my stock pot.  With the broth, I cooked an enormous amount of rice.  Then, Matt deboned the chickens for me (he’s always great to tackle that job) while I put together three big Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casseroles.  The remaining chicken is now frozen and ready to thaw for Chicken Salad the next couple of weeks.  That will make for some super quick lunches on school days!

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The boys should have counted the number of times I sent them to the freezer with prepared food.
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I am hoping to get around to making Pita Bread and Whole Wheat Pizza Crust this weekend.  We’ve got to have pitas with our chicken salad, after all!  (With fresh tomatoes from our garden.)

Also, I’ve got to make my way out to the garden to pick tomatoes and make Tomato Sauce.  I’ll be sure and post once I get that done.  Why?  Because it gives me a chance to take a picture of jars filled with homegrown goodness, of course.  :)

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Comments

  1. Missy says

    I’m guessing your Cheesy Chicken and Rice casserole is very similar to your Cheesy Beef and Rice casserole. Never thought about putting cheese in with chicken and rice. We *love* your Creamy Chicken and Rice – I always add a more garlic than the recipe suggests. ;) Thank you for this post – it has inspired me to get busy myself! :)

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  2. Mona G. says

    All this food makes me hungry…..you sure have been a busy lady eh ? How many peanuts did you use making all this peanut butter ? Is there any particular peanut that you buy ?
    I would love to make my own…..

    I made peanut butter cups yesterday and they were so delicious….made peanut butter bars last week (my granddaughter and I made them Sat. ) they turned out great….next I want to try the caramel peanut butter cups….gotta make my caramel sauce today tho….made it once and I love it on ice cream…..can’t wait to try it on the peanut butter cups, and also will make some marshmallow ones too….just to try a few and see how they turn out….
    Thanks for some great recipes Laura

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    Laura Reply:

    I used about three pounds of peanuts. I use organic, unsalted, roasted peanuts to make peanut butter.

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  3. Mona G. says

    Meant to ask….do you also freeze your cooked chicken and then make chicken salad later, or were those just for your chicken casseroles ???? Just wondering……

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    Laura Reply:

    Froze the cooked chicken that I didn’t use in the casseroles so that I can thaw it and make fresh chicken salad. :)

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  4. Shonda says

    You inspire me! Someday when my kids are older I will be able to do more of this. Thanks for all your great recipes and showing us how it can be done.

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  5. Kari Coppinger says

    And when Momma ain’t sane, ain’t nobody sane! Way to go Team Coppinger. Enjoy the fruits (vegetables, casseroles, and burritos) of your labor.

    We checked out an Encyclopedia Brown book the other day and I told your nephew that his cousins like that book. It seemed to enhance the interest in said book. We have to finish reading a Lego Hero Factory book first.

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    Laura Reply:

    Yay! Hope he loves the book as much as we do!

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  6. Espie says

    How do you keep your freezer organized so that you do not “lose” any of your yummy food? Do you have a plan for how and when you will use the food?

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    Laura Reply:

    My freezers are not always well organized, but I do try to keep prepared foods all together on one or two shelves so that they can be my go-to shelves when I’m in a pinch!

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  7. Sarah dj says

    How do you get your peanut butter so runny? Do you process it longer than your instructions in the link say?

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    Laura Reply:

    I continue processing it until it is as thin as we like it. :)

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  8. Kristin says

    This may sound like a silly question but I am just getting into using glass mason/canning jars and away from plastic containers for food storage…..so, I was wondering, do you prepare your mason jars in any way before you put the homemade peanut butter in it? How long does peanut butter last in the mason/canning jars and do you use any type of a vacuum sealer? Thank you so much!
    Kristin

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    Rebecca Reply:

    We just wash our jars in hot water, but not sterilized. We make three qts at a time and i just keep it in the cupboard for up to a month. We go thru it that fast

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  9. kim t. says

    That’s so great! what an accomplishment. Have you ever tried using the “disposable” foil pans to keep from putting the glass in your freezer?

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  10. Bethany W says

    Oh, please please please take a picture of your freezer. I would really love to see how you fit it all in and how you keep it functional (or creatively functional).

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  11. Jill says

    Thank you for all of your great ideas! You’ve inspired me as well! Can you tell me, do you freeze your egg casserole? And if so do you freeze it before or after cooking it? I don’t have much experience with keeping/freezing eggs. If you don’t freeze them, how long do the egg casseroles keep in the fridge.

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    Laura Reply:

    I freeze it before baking it. Then, just put in the fridge overnight and bake the next morning. I have to allow for a little extra baking time because it’s not completely thawed. :)

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    Jill Reply:

    Thank you! So excited for this, I love make ahead freezable breakfasts!

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  12. Lisa says

    Wow, Laura, what an encouragement to me today! :)

    I’ve been working on getting our school curriculum ready for the coming school year, and I NEED to get my menus and meal prep figured out too! If I spend the time now, to get organized in this way, the school year is much smoother. I need to prepare some food ahead of time, too, as that makes things so much easier when you have a busy fall schedule. Thanks so much for your healthy example of make ahead *convenience* food! :)

    Oh, and are you going to do a post about what you’re all using for school this year?

    Thanks, Laura!

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    Laura Reply:

    I’ll try!

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  13. Heather says

    I posted this comment in the wrong spot just a minute ago, but I was wondering if you freeze your breakfast casseroles cooked or uncooked.

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    Laura Reply:

    I freeze them uncooked. :)

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    Cheryl Reply:

    How do you reheat it? Do you portion it before freezing or freeze as a casserole?

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    Laura Reply:

    I freeze it unbaked, in a casserole. I put it in the fridge the night before I want to cook it, then bake it as directed the next day, adding a little extra cooking time. :)

  14. Mona G. says

    Has anyone had any glass dishes burst in the microwave ? It happened to me…..now I am afraid to use them in the microwave….my daughter and I bought 3 sets and we split them and she needs the larger ones and I prefer the smaller ones, so I took some bean soup out of the fridge……(not freezer) and put in microwave to heat it for dinner, standing there watching it reheat and all of a sudden it just burst….the whole bottom and about 1/4 of the side was in tiny pieces, the rest of the side was in one piece…..sure glad it happened in the microwave and not in my hands……they were PYREX too…..and on the box it says, for use in the microwave, oven and can be washed in dish washer…..I did contact the company,I took picture of it and am going to email it to them and I offered to even return the broken dish….they told me to hang on to it, they may want it…..but was wondering if this has happened to anyone here ? And what makes me mad, is they were made in the USA…….I have quit buying a lot of products made in other countries…..taking jobs away from the AMERICANS……

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