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Friday, February 13

Freezer Cooking 101 : How February Freezer Cooking may Save your Homeschool

We're one month into the new semester, and into the trenches of February.  If you don't homeschool, you might not realize that this is one of those times of year that makes you want to throw in the towel.  It's cold out and everyone is beginning to get cabin fever.  Some days, it seems like all the kids do is fight and your house will never recover from the mess!

Not to fear - here are two freezer cooking projects that your kids will get excited about helping you complete.  This is a good chance for them to practice some basic cooking skills with your supervision.  Make enough to have for dinner that night, and freeze the rest for those nights when you're just fed up and do not feel like cooking.

Macaroni & Cheese

Makes (2) 9x13 dishes
Ingredients :

  • 3 lbs whole wheat macaroni
  • 4 small sweet potatoes (baked until mushy)
  • 5 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cup pasta water (save after cooking pasta)
  • 1 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 6 cups grated cheese
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Directions :

  • Cook pasta, strain and reserve pasta water.
  • In a blender, mix sweet potato (no skin), milk, pasta water, yogurt, salt, and pepper.  Blend until smooth (to hide the veggies).
  • Pour mixture into a pot on medium, and cook until mixture is simmering.  Turn down to low and mix in cheese.  Stir until mixture is mostly smooth.  (If it seems runny, it's ok.  It will thicken up in the oven.)
  • Add macaroni to sauce and mix well.  Split mixture evenly between the two baking dishes.
  • In a separate bowl, combine bread crumbs, olive oil, and any herbs you might want (eg, italian seasoning).  Sprinkle over top of macaroni and cheese.

To finish :

For the dish that you plan to eat that night :  
  • Bake 20 minutes at 375, until the top is starting to brown.
For the freezer : 
  • Cover unbaked dish tightly and place in freezer.  When you are ready to eat, thaw overnight and bake as directed.


Having pre-cooked taco meat can halve the time of almost any beef recipe.  We use this recipe in casseroles, soups, spaghetti, and for taco night.  It makes eight quart-sized bags.

Spiced Taco Meat

Ingredients :

  • 10 lbs grass-fed beef
  • 2 pkg taco seasoning

Directions:

  • In a very large skillet, brown beef, then add seasonings.
  • Finish cooking the beef, and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • Package in quart-sized bags and freeze.

To reheat :  

  • Thaw in refrigerator and use in recipe as directed.
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