Preparing My Kitchen for Soccer SeasonBy
Bring on the soccer games, the soccer practices, the soccer referee schedules (for our older boys), and the general soccer craziness at our house! While the spring soccer season isn’t as intense as the fall season (college soccer takes place in the fall on top of our boys’ soccer) – I still find myself running a little bit ragged trying to keep everyone in clean, matching soccer socks during these weeks of games.
Having a few extra food items ready to warm up quickly to feed the family is helpful during any time of the year. But during soccer season, I find it especially helpful. Therefore, last week, I spent a few hours each day working to get ahead. As a result, I’ve got a freezer packed with healthy, easy to grab and heat meals.
In case you’re interested in seeing a few photos to document my efforts (and some recipe links to motivate you toward getting some food in your freezer too!), here you go:
I made a double batch of Taco Corn Fritters for lunch one day. We ate half, then I froze half. These will warm up great in our toaster oven.
I made two Green Bean Casseroles (using a recipe in this holiday ebook), but I added some hamburger meat to make it an “all in one meal”. These will be perfect to throw into the oven before or after a game. (And by throw, I really mean “carefully slide”. Please do not throw casseroles into your oven, especially when they are in glass dishes.)
These Creamy Chicken and Rice Casseroles didn’t make it into my freezer, as I served them all for High School Huddle on Sunday. But since I put them together during my “extra cooking days”, I decided they would feel left out if they didn’t have their opportunity for a photo shoot.
I prepared seven pounds of Chicken Fried Steak Strips, froze them on parchment paper, then put the frozen strips into freezer bags. These are wonderful to have on hand to grab out and cook up quickly. I was lazy and put several layers on one cookie sheet just to see if it would work. Yay! It worked. (Good thing too, or I would have had seven pounds of chicken fried steak in one huge rectangular chunk!)
We all love these Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites – which sound like a dessert – but are really a high protein, healthy snack. They freeze well, or store well in the fridge.
The following picture is not meant to be motivating at all, but rather posted so that you can feel very sorry for me and say nice things about how awful it is that a mess like this happened in the middle of my hard working cooking time. (Woe is me.) I had a pint of cream sitting on my counter that I knocked off with my elbow while grabbing a spoon. It was so very sad. :( And for the record, cream really does splatter quite a long distance across a kitchen.
In happier news, I made Chocolate Chip Cookies for “just in case”. It’s always great to have a batch of cookies in the freezer to grab at a moment’s notice. However, these never made it to the freezer. I ate all 24 of them while consoling myself after I knocked the cream off the counter. Just KIDDING. I packaged them up and sent them with Matt to give to some college students. I think I did eat one or three first – just to make sure they tasted good.
I put my boys to work scrubbing 10 pounds of potatoes, which we baked and turned into frozen hashbrowns. Wow, it’s nice to have these in the freezer for a quick addition to meals.
I put together two big Lasagna Casseroles, which freeze very well and can be baked on a busy day.
Malachi was hanging out with me during one of my cooking times and asked me to take a picture of him doing his math. Hey, if a casserole dish is picture worthy, I’d say my seven year old deserves some camera time too. And no, we don’t require our children to wear fancy button-up shirts while they do their school work. But Malachi absolutely loves his shirt and tie combo and would wear it every day if we let him. Shucks, sometimes we do. Although I do try to wash it occasionally.
Here you see 48 Pigs in a Blanket. They are put together, but unbaked and now in freezer bags waiting for a day when I need something fast to throw into the oven. Oh dear – there I go throwing things into the oven again. Disclaimer: No pigs will be thrown into my oven at any time during soccer season. After soccer season is over, no guarantees. Kidding. I’m kidding.
Last, I made a double batch of Chewy Granola Bars. These are awesome grab and go snacks. Shucks, if you need to throw these, it’s perfectly fine. Throw them into your purse or a bag, or even throw them across your mini van at your kids. Carefully, of course. Here is a picture of the bars right after I poured them into a pan, before refrigerating and slicing them.
Been throwing anything into your oven lately that we should know about? What are your favorite freezer meals? Do you feel sorry for me that I spilled all that cream?