Posts Tagged With: vegetarian

So Good For You, You Can Eat Two!

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We’re all watching our weight. My family and I have been eating like hippies for some time, now. We’re so granola. But have you noticed how scary it is to read labels? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at the Nutrition Facts label on something healthy I’ve been eating and feeding to my family for months only to find out that it wasn’t really any better for us than a Big Mac and large fries. So disappointing. Seemingly healthy food can be very deceiving. ūüė¶ Just when I’m patting myself on the back for having made such a healthy choice, reading the label often throws a wet blanket on my enthusiasm. Not sure what I mean? Ever read the label on the whole wheat bread you buy? How about the tortilla chips you chose over the Sour Cream and Onion Lays? I stood in the grocery aisle comparing the nutritional information between regular saltine crackers and whole wheat saltines of the same brand. One would assume the whole wheat version would be an improvement in terms of health. And one would be wrong. They had IDENTICAL nutrition info. How about Wheat Thins? Sorry, just a lot of processed carbs- you might as well eat Doritos.
But, it’s a learning process, and we are weeding our way through the confusion and are determined to make good choices.

One thing I’ve realized is that pre-packaged store-bought foods that seem like a healthy alternative rarely are. I gave up on my go-to lunch item: MorningStar Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burgers. Although the stats they tout regarding the calorie and fat difference between their burgers and the average beef burger are true, I had to sign off on eating and feeding my family ingredients that shouldn’t really be classified as “food.” Ever notice “hydrolyzed vegetable protein” on an ingredient list? Well, it’s in a lot of things, and you need to know what it is. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) is soy, wheat, or corn that has been boiled in HYDROCHLORIC ACID and then neutralized using SODIUM HYDROXIDE. Yum. A similar process provides us with another ingredient in MorningStar black bean burgers: autolyzed yeast extract. And what meal wouldn’t be complete without a dose of textured vegetable protein (the main ingredient, which is actually filler, attained by another unnatural process), xanthan gum, disodium inosinate and artificial flavors?
After giving up pink slim or anything containing it for my family (mechanically separated chicken, if you’re unfamiliar, please Google it) months ago, I have determined to also give up hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which is the pink slime of the vegetarian world.

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You may not be as concerned about such things, and that’s ok. But regardless of your stance on chemically processed and concentrated vegetable protein, I have a recipe that will please meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans. It’s super easy and you can whip it up in minutes. My Spicy Black Bean Burgers are a winner. Filling, fresh, made from whole foods, and low-cal/low-fat, to boot!
Give these a try and tell me you don’t love them. Challenge extended.

“Me, personally? I loved them! I could eat them everyday for 2 days.”
-Caleb

Rinse and drain 1 can of black beans, put in medium bowl. Dice 1/4 red onion, 2 green onions, 1/4 bell pepper, 1 fistful cilantro leaves and add to bowl. Add 1/4 cup old fashioned oats, and 1/2 tsp all seasonings shown, or according to your taste. (I make mine pretty salty, so add less than 1/2 tsp each if salty ain’t your thang.) If you don’t have one of these seasonings, pretend it isn’t on the list, it won’t hurt to omit something. Mash with a fork and form into 5 patties. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side in a non-stick skillet on med/high heat, no need for added oil. Dress a whole grain bun (I used Brownberry SELECT Wheat Sandwich Rolls)with cilantro leaves and red onion, (avocado slices or guacamole would be fantastic, too, but my avocados weren’t ripe!)

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I like to eat 1 (or 2!) and freeze the other 3 between layers of wax paper in a ziplock to use for a quick lunch for the next couple of days. They are DELICIOUS! Nothing hydrolyzed, autolyzed or “textured” in these. Ready in minutes, no food processor required. You’ll be hooked. Full of flavor and super-healthy. My nutrition facts include the bun, by the way!
Let me know what you think! Happy cooking….

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Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Failure to plan is… — 30 Days of Eating Vegan at Aldi

Did you miss me last week? ¬†Wonder where I was? ¬†I’ll tell you where I was!

HERE: 

With Monday marking our seventh year of marriage, there was no way we were going to stay home! ¬†We got a sitter and dined out at a trendy little vegetarian-friendly restaurant in Akron called Crave. ¬†Not too big a deal, right? ¬†But see, then it was like a switch we couldn’t turn off! ¬†Since we’d already blown the “no eating out” rule once, we then spent FIVE WHOLE DAYS in various fast food establishments. ¬†Not good. ¬†Not healthy. ¬†Not cheap. ¬†By Friday I had come to my senses and realized how my challenge had gone horribly, horribly wrong. ¬†It was time to Mac up and learn a hard lesson:

Failure to plan is a plan to fail!

When I started this challenge, I was so set on making this uncomplicated, I thought I could just meander through it without any sort of proper meal plan. ¬†I thought it would make things simpler, but come supper time, when I’m scrambling to work up a dish and I realized my husband has used the last of the onions, it really made things more difficult.

But, all is not lost. ¬†With 15 full days left in my challenge, I stopped and created a menu plan, and lucky for you, I feel like sharing! ¬†Here’s what I’m eating this week:

Jun 01 – Friday
Veggie Pasta Salad Recipe — I used this recipe from Taste of Home. ¬†But Aldi doesn’t always have balsamic vinegar. ¬†Just use your favorite Aldi salad dressing instead of the oil/vinegar mix. ¬†And skip that Parmesan Cheese to keep it vegan. ¬†Traditionally, this is a picnic side, but we loved it as a colorful, nutritious, one dish meal!

Jun 02 – Saturday
Boca Burgers — YES! ¬†Aldi sells these in their freezer! ¬†They even sell whole wheat buns in the summer! ¬†I don’t usually like to go with foods this processed, but Saturdays tend to be a day when I need an easy meal. ¬†These burgers were a nice, no fuss solution. ¬†I served them with fresh sweet corn on the side!

Jun 03 – Sunday
White Bean and Veggie Soup — You DON’T need a recipe to make this dish. ¬†Onions, garlic, carrots, and celery make a great base for any brothy soup! ¬†Soak half an Aldi bag of Great Northern beans in water overnight. ¬†Add them, plus the aforementioned veggies (and any little bits and pieces of leftover veggies you have in your home) to a big old pot of water and let it simmer for a couple hours! ¬†I throw in whatever herbs and spices I have on hand by the tablespoon full, and salt and pepper to taste! ¬†It has yet to disappoint! ¬†Serve with Aldi’s reduced fat woven wheat crackers and you’ve got a healthy and filling meal! ¬†(Seriously! ¬†Check the ingredients on those crackers! ¬†You’ll be amazed at how healthy they are!)

Jun 04 – Monday
Black Bean ‘meat’ Loaf — I’m going to try¬†this recipe tonight, after I finish this blog post, and I have to say, I’m a bit nervous! ¬†My husband thinks we should mix in some pinto beans, for color, and to make it Aldi friendly, I’ll be using brown rice instead of quinoa. ¬†I’m thinking I’ll do roasted sweet potatoes and green beans on the side.

Jun 05 – Tuesday
Vegan Pizza Bagels — ¬†“When pizza’s on a bagel…” ¬†Aldi sells lovely little 100% Whole Wheat bagels. ¬†I just plan to top them with a dab of pasta sauce and veggies and toast them up in the oven. ¬†The key to pulling this off will be sprinkling them liberally with minced garlic, basil, and various Italian seasonings. Wish me luck!

Jun 06 – Wednesday
Favorite Chili — Everybody’s got a favorite chili recipe. ¬†Here’s mine. ¬†It’s simple, and I used to always make it in my crock pot with all that meat, but here’s a secret: ¬†I’ve often made a favorite ground beef recipe vegan, simply by substituting canned black beans. ¬†Most of these sort of dishes are so heavily seasoned, you might not even notice the meat is gone!

Jun 07 – Thursday
Hubby’s not home that night so we fend for ourselves. ¬†If the leftovers are all used up, it’s peanut butter jelly time! ¬†

Oh, and there’s breakfasts–oatmeal, fruit, or cheerios usually. ¬†We don’t need much of a plan for that. ¬†And I usually just set aside a portion of dinner, so we can reheat it for the next day’s lunch! ¬†Easy peasy! ¬†We keep a lot of nuts and fruit around the house for snacks, too.

Would you like to steal my little plan for your home? ¬†No problem! ¬†Here’s your grocery list:

Produce
Carrots, 6 for multiple recipes
celery, 1 bunch for multiple recipes
garlic cloves, 6 for multiple recipes
green onions, 1 cup for Veggie Pasta Salad
green pepper, 1 for Vegan Pizza Bagels
mushrooms, 8 ounces for multiple recipes
onions, 4 for multiple recipes
red onion, 1 for topping Boca Burgers
tomatoes, 4 for Veggie Pasta Salad Recipe and Boca Burgers
spinach, 1 cup for topping Boca Burgers
zucchini, 1 cup for Veggie Pasta Salad Recipe

red pepper, 1 cup for Veggie Pasta Salad Recipe
Sweet corn, for Boca burgers side dish

Sweet potatoes for “meat”loaf side dish


Bread and Bakery
Whole Wheat burger buns, for Boca Burgers
Whole wheat bagels, 1 bag for Vegan Pizza Bagels

Frozen Foods
Boca burgers, 4 for Boca Burgers
Green Beans, for “meat”loaf side dish
Oils & Dressings
Italian Dressing, 5 tablespoons for Veggie Pasta Salad Recipe
ketchup, 2 tablespoons for Black Bean ‘meat’ Loaf
Sauces & Spices
chili powder, 2 tablespoons for Favorite Chili
soy sauce, 2 tablespoons for Black Bean ‘meat’ Loaf
Pasta/Rice/Beans
brown rice, 1 cup for Black Bean ‘meat’ Loaf
Great Northern Beans, 2 cups for White Bean and Veggie Soup
uncooked spiral pasta, 8 ounces for Veggie Pasta Salad Recipe

Canned Goods
(15 ounce) kidney beans, 1 for Favorite Chili
(15 ounce) tomato sauce, 1 for Favorite Chili
(28 ounce) diced tomatoes, 1 for Favorite Chili
black beans, 3 cans for multiple recipes
Diced Tomatoes, 1 Can for White Bean and Veggie Soup
Pasta sauce, 1 jar for Vegan Pizza Bagels

Snacks
Woven Wheat Crackers, 1 cup for White Bean and Veggie Soup

There you go!  Let me know if you decide to cook along!  Just remember, the meal plan is there to serve you, not the other way around, so feel free to adjust as would best fit your family and needs!
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Going Vegan: Nutrients to Consider

By Bectoria Crandall

A true smartypants is always looking for ways to improve ones personal and family health. One way we at 4smartypants are doing this is by changing to a vegan diet. When talking this over with Mac and Stephanie, I had two concerns. First, nutrients and then budget. This post is about the former.

SAHM’s are always struggling to weed through the barrage of¬†information that is constantly being published about the foods¬†available in our market. Yes, we¬†in this country are the lucky ones to have the luxury of being so choosey about the foods that we eat. Since we do have a choice,¬†true smartypants would make every effort to provide a well balanced, nutrient rich diet in their homes. For me, going vegan provides its own set of¬†challenges. If I am going to cut out a large portion of my family’s diet, what foods¬†do¬†I need¬†to introduce that would provide the nutrients my growing family needs? “If we aren’t drinking milk any longer, how will my family get the calcium and Vitamin D we need?” was one of my questions during our last 4smartypants¬†admin meeting.

Now I love these two ladies to death, but let’s face it, Stephanie, Mac and I¬†get the majority of our information by¬†reading reports published by¬†the experts in the field. Instead of relying on what they have or have not yet read, I decided to go to the experts myself. To get my answers about all things nutritiony I went to my fav nturition experts Denver¬†Wellness and Nutrition www.denverwellnessandnutrition.com. Instead of muddying up their answer,¬†I’ll just quote¬†what they had to say about¬†transitioning a family to a vegan diet…

“If you’re a family that normally eats meat, then the safest way would be to ease your family into it. Start by trying out meatless Monday’s if your family is a little on the fence about it. Then ease into a full vegetarian lifestyle, and once you’re all used to that, start cutting out eggs/dairy/honey/other animal related products.
Some things to make sure you’re getting in are:
Protein – Soybean products (tofu, tempeh), chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds
Vitamin B12 – Fortified nutritional yeast, soy and rice milk.¬† Make sure to read the nutrition information to know how much you’re getting in!
Vitamin D –During the warmer months, you can get your fix of this nutrient just by basking in the sunlight, awesome right? But for the colder months, try getting things that are fortified with vitamin D such as some nondairy milk and juices.
Omega 3 fatty acids – Flax seeds, walnuts, and canola oil
Calcium – Collard greens, kale, broccoli, beans and almonds
Iron – Black-eyed peas, lentils, oatmeal, nuts, sunflower seeds, quinoa and millet
Zinc – Grains, legumes and nuts
If you’re eating a wide variety of foods, you shouldn’t have any problems getting these into your diet.¬† But if you still feel that you are deficient, then these can be met with: introducing a multivitamin (if you aren’t already on one), sometimes a B-complex (if your vitamin B levels are low even after the multivitamin) and get in omega 3’s from flax seed¬† or vegan DHA capsules from algae (otherwise you’d be eating fish!).
You don’t want to shock your system, or that of your family. Anytime you want to make a lifestyle change, remember to ease into it.”
Armed with this new knowledge of nutrients to consider, I feel better able to make the right dietary decisions for my family. Now I can begin to investigate an answer to my latter concern… Budget. How much is this all going to cost me? I’ll keep you posted!
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A Meatless Alternative to Wow Your Crew

So you’re trying to eat more meatless meals. You recently watched Food, Inc. or Fat, Sick And Nearly Dead and have sworn off chicken, pork, beef and even fish. But if you have to eat one more Boca burger you might just fall off the wagon. Or you’re halfway into March and still going strong with your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, but you’re getting into a rut and hoping for some variety. For the next few weeks, in addition to crazy updates regarding the zoo in which I currently reside, I am going to share a post each week with a delicious, vegetarian (and sometimes vegan), healthy recipe for you to add to your repertoire and hopefully avoid burnout. Whether you’re committed to a meatless lifestyle or not, these dishes will be great additions to your menu and will come straight from the 4SmartyPants test kitchen!

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I love these as an alternative to crab cakes, which are exquisite, but are not part of a meatless diet and derive their richness from mayonnaise and expensive lump crab meat. What’s great is that these babies are a fancy-shmancy impressive item to bring to the table, but are so easy, and can even be made from leftovers! (I won’t tell if you don’t!) In fact, that’s how they came to be. I served a wonderfully filling and beautiful dinner one evening of saut√©ed Brussels sprouts, baked sweet potatoes, tomato slices and brown rice pilaf with almonds. I always make extra brown rice, because I love to eat it reheated, and I use it the next few days in various other recipes.

The next day I found myself about to reheat the same meal, when I decided to come up with something new. Sweet potato cakes! So easy.

Ingredients:
2 baked sweet potatoes (poke holes and microwave in glass dish 6-8 minutes, cool in fridge)
1 cup cooked brown rice, chilled (recipe follows)
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1 tbsp finely diced jarred jalepenos
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions:
Scoop flesh from potatoes and combine in bowl with all ingredients except oil
Form into 1 1/2 inch thick patties 3 inches in diameter
Heat oil in non-stick skillet over medium/high heat
When oil is hot, add sweet potato cakes to pan and cook 3-4 mins on each side, or until heated all the way through and each side has caramelized.

Top with snipped chives and a cilantro leaf. Serve with a mixed greens salad. Enjoy!

My kids LOVED these, which surprised me a little. But it’s great because they are allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts, and this is completely safe for my little people who are often relegated to a sunbutter sandwich while everyone else enjoys the good stuff!

You don’t have to feel the least bit guilty about devouring these tasty treats, sweet potatoes and brown rice are both SOO good for you, with 0 sat fats, and high in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as complex carbohydrates which promote the SLOW rise of blood sugar, making them good components of a diabetic diet. Also: NO cholesterol! You won’t find such stats with crab cakes.

What meatless dishes do you find yourself serving up most often? (And share your recipes!)

Brown Rice Pilaf with Almonds

This is not exact, which is one of the things I love about it. But it turns out perfect each time.
I fill a 5 quart pot (a dutch oven, but any pot with tight-fitting lid will work) 3/4 full with water, then drop in an extra large vegetable bullion cube. I put it on medium/high (because it’s enamel, if it weren’t I’d turn it to high) and wait for it to boil. Once it starts to boil, I add approximately 2 cups of brown rice and a minced garlic clove and 1 tsp of onion powder and stir once. I cover it, turn it to med/high (if it had been on high) and set the timer for 30 minutes. I don’t touch the lid! After 30 minutes, I turn off the heat and remove the lid. (If there is any visible liquid, I drain it and return the rice to the pot immediately.) I stir the rice, replace the lid and allow the rice to continue steaming for 10 minutes with the heat off. While it is steaming, I toast 1/2 cup of sliced raw almonds in 1 tbsp olive oil in non-stick pan. Add almonds to rice and enjoy! Best brown rice, ever!!

Categories: Entertaining, Family, Food, Party Planning, Social Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Plan Ahead and Have Meals Ready To Go!

We all have times in life that are just BUSY. Who couldn’t use a hand in getting the menu planned and the food prepared? I am about to enter one of those stages as I look ahead to a new baby in the next few weeks. One way to alleviate the pressure of coming up with something to feed my family each day during those weeks after baby arrives is to make some meals now that can be frozen and popped in the oven the day my hungry savages are in need of nourishment. I just love this kind of thing. So much so, that I intend to do a followup post in the near future containing make ahead freezer meals just for the slow cooker, but I’m still in the research stage of that project.
For now, I’d like to share 5 recipes with you that you can prepare in one day and freeze. If you make a double batch of each, and account for the likelihood of leftovers and the occasional out to eat or Little Caesar’s Hot N Ready, this plan can give you 3-4 weeks worth of dinners.
This is a lot of fun, especially if you ask a friend to join you. Find someone in your circle who could use a break from daily meal planning and food prep in the near future as well and go grocery shopping together. Then meet up at one of your homes on a Saturday morning and start chopping and assembling!

Each of these recipes contains meat, but I am including instructions to make them each a vegetarian meal, which is how my family will be enjoying them this time around. Let’s get started!

CHICKEN JAMBALAYA
Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
¬Ĺ tsp garlic powder
2 cups water
14 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 ¬Ĺ cooked chicken breasts, cubed
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
Instructions:
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, green bell pepper, celery, and garlic powder in hot oil until tender, about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
Bring to a boil and add rice. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until rice is tender, stirring frequently.
Add beans and chicken and cover. Simmer 5-10 minutes longer or until well heated, stirring frequently. To freeze, cool casserole in refrigerator and ladle into plastic freezer containers. Seal and freeze up to 3 months. To reheat, place frozen jambalaya in saucepan and heat over very low heat, breaking up and stirring frequently, until hot.
Vegetarian Note: omit chicken and replace with one 15 oz can rinsed drained kidney beans.

CHICKEN GREEN CHILE RICE CASSEROLE
Ingredients:
3 cups cooked white rice
1 cooked chicken breast, cubed
1-1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
4 oz. can chopped green chiles, undrained
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:
Mix rice, chicken, sour cream, milk, eggs, chiles, 1-1/2 cups cheese, and salt and pepper to taste in large bowl. Pour into greased 2 quart glass casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes until set.
To make and freeze, undercook rice by about 5 minutes. Combine all ingredients, using all of the cheese, and stir in 2 tablespoons cornstarch, then cool in refrigerator until cold. Wrap thoroughly, label, and freeze up to 3 months. To thaw and reheat, thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator, stir well and bake at 350 degrees F for 55-65 minutes until set and top is golden brown.
Vegetarian Note: omit chicken and replace with one 15 oz can rinsed and drained cannellini beans.

RED AND WHITE TORTELLINI
Ingredients:
1 (20 oz) pkg. refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini, uncooked
¬Ĺ lb. Ground beef, browned and drained
28 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup water
12 oz. jar Alfredo four cheese sauce
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Instructions:
In 3 quart glass baking dish, mix tortellini, beef, spaghetti sauce, and water. Make sure all tortellini is coated with sauce. Drop Alfredo cheese sauce by spoonfuls over casserole. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
To freeze, cover tightly with foil and store in freezer up to 3 months. Thaw in fridge overnight and bake, covered at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer, until tortellini is tender.
Vegetarian Note: omit ground beef.

SANTA FE CHICKEN CASSEROLE
Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
¬Ĺ tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 ¬Ĺ cooked chicken breasts, cubed
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
24 oz. jar thick and chunky salsa
2 cups taco sauce
12 (6 in) corn tortillas
1 ¬Ĺ cups sour cream
2 cups shredded Cojack cheese
Instructions:
In medium microwave safe bowl, cook onion and garlic in olive oil on HIGH for 2-3 minutes until tender. Stir in chicken, black beans and salsa. In 9 x 13 glass baking dish, pour taco sauce. Lay 6 corn tortillas over sauce. Top with half of chicken mixture. Spoon on half of sour cream in small dollops. Sprinkle with half of cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, chicken mixture, sour cream and cheese. Cover with foil. At this point, you can wrap the casserole well and freeze up to 3 months.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes until bubbly. Uncover and bake 5-10 minutes longer until cheese is melted. If frozen, thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator, then bake covered at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until bubbly; uncover and bake 5-10 minutes longer until cheese melts.
Vegetarian Note: omit chicken and replace with 1 1/2 cups frozen corn (heated in microwave.)

HAM AND SWISS STUFFED MANICOTTI
Ingredients:
14 manicotti pasta shells
1 onion, chopped
¬Ĺ tsp garlic powder
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1-2 cups cooked cubed ham
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 Tbsp. butter or margarine
6 Tbsp. flour
3 cups milk
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions:
Cook manicotti as directed on package. Drain, rinse in cool water and set aside. Meanwhile, cook onion, garlic, and green bell pepper in 4 Tbsp. butter. Add ham and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.
In another heavy saucepan, cook 6 Tbsp. Butter on medium low heat until foamy. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture bubbles, about 3 minutes. Add milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens. Stir in cheese. Remove from heat. Mix 1/4 of cheese sauce with ham mixture.
Fill manicotti shells with ham mixture (your fingers work best for this; it’s messy, but most efficient). Spread about 1/2 cup cheese sauce in greased 13×9″ glass baking dish and arrange filled shells over sauce. If there is any leftover stuffing, just sprinkle it over the filled shells. Pour remaining cheese sauce over filled manicotti. At this point the casserole can be cooled in the refrigerator, then wrapped and frozen up to 3 months. To thaw and reheat, thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator, then uncover, sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes. If not freezing casserole, sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until bubbly.
Vegetarian Note: omit ham and replace with 2 large zucchinis cut lengthwise and sliced into 1/4 in slices, sauteed with onions and peppers.

Everyone has their personal preferences, so sit down and write out your shopping list according to who eats onions in you household, figure out what containers you will need to freeze 2 batches of each of these, and get going! Then sit back and put your feet up. Enjoy a few weeks of not having to think about dinner. You deserve a break!

If you live alone, cut the recipes in half and plan to get dinner and 2 lunches out of each recipe. Don’t let cooking for one keep you from trying this out!

Categories: Family, Food, Time Management, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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