Dinner help for back to school

Help With Dinner Time For Back To School Days!

Summer went by soooo quickly this year! It’s so crazy that it’s September already!
I know a lot of kids are back to school already, I’m avoiding it a little bit longer over here. 😉 But, the schedules are already filling up for fall time!

Most of us are looking for help with dinner time for these back to school days.

And these are the crazy days I’m so thankful to have dinner packed away in the freezer. I mean seriously, with piano lessons and Lego class (my guy is super excited about that one), homeschooling, and chasing around our 1-year-old.  Rushing us all off to Awana classes and MomStrong Bible Study… The last thing I can do is spend loads of time prepping and cooking dinner every single night!!!

So, in case dinner time is crazy for you too, I thought I’d share how we use our membership with Once A Month Meals to help!

Here’s how it we use it to Help with dinner time for back to school

I love love love using my Instant Pot with my freezer meals.. guys, you don’t even have to remember to thaw your dinner!!!!! If you use your crock pot as much as I use to, you know that it’s a super bummer when you forget to get out your meat or whatever for your crock pot to be able to cook it all day long for you…. so in comes the joy of the Instant pot! Seriously, from the freezer.. some of my meals are as quick as 20 minutes from freezer to table! I’m not even kidding! This has been a game. changer. over. here. 🙂

So, Here’s what I do.

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freezer meal prep

Freezer Cooking Made Simple A Year later

Freezer Cooking Made Simple

– My Review of Once A Month meals – 1 year later.

 

I’ve been using my Once A Month Meals membership to stock our freezer for a year now!! And still absolutely LOVE it!


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I started looking into a membership when I was new to the Instant Pot and wanted to find more ways to use it, You can read my first review here!

But, you don’t even need an Instant Pot to take advantage of the amazing resources from Once A Month Meals

 

Here’s a list of the cook types for the cooking day and the serving day:

freezer cooking prep list

once a month meals cooking

 

 

 

 

Now, every month I make 20-30 dinners for our freezer. Plus, some lunches and breakfasts too!

Once A Month Meals has been adding new features, tons of new recipes, and special menus so membership just keeps getting better!

Here is just a few of their new menus:

Winter Real Food Freezer Menu

Winter Gluten Free Dairy Free Menu

Instant Pot Winter (Whole 30 Compliant) Easy Assembly Menu

Paleo Freezer Meal ( Whole 30 Compliant) volume 13

Fall Instant Pot Easy Assembly Mini Menu

 

You can check out all of these amazing menu options:

 

freezer cooking made simple

 

 

 

 

I know I’ve said this before, But the resources available to you as a member with Once  A Month Meals are outstanding!  In fact I do not hesitate to say that I would have never attempted freezer cooking for a whole month with out them!

You get these awesome customizable Menus that have been masterly crafted to consider time, effort, cost etc. (you select how many servings each meal makes too!)

You can easily swap recipes that do not appeal to you or even just build your own menu from the many recipes listed.

You get a detailed Grocery Shopping List (we are talking down to the ounces people!!)

The Prep list takes all the guessing out of what to do with all those groceries once you are home. And then the Cooking Day Instructions give you a step by step guide to stock your freezer!

Labels are at the ready for your bags or containers before you stick them in the freezer ( these labels even have the serving day instructions right on them!)

The Thaw Sheet is so handy ( I keep mine in my household planner binder) for deciding what to pull out of the freezer each night! Only have 30 minutes to get dinner on the table?? well, then grab these Enchilada Meatballs, and have dinner from freezer to table in 20 minutes!!!

And Recipe Cards for every recipe in your menu.

 

Seriously, Once A Month Meals has CHANGED how I do dinner! In fact I have stopped in the middle of writing this post to plop in our dinner from the freezer and in just about 1 hours time, our dinner is almost ready and I’ll pack away this computer and we can sit down to eat… just like that!

We are having Granny’s Italian beef tonight with mashed potatoes!

 

 

I just bought these baggy openers from Amazon.. They are super handy!!

Amazon baggie holder freezer cooking made simple

Here are some great tools for prepping and freezer your meals:

Products from Amazon.com

Those 64 oz containers are the perfect size to freeze meals for the Instant Pot…  So the food fits perfectly inside the liner of your Pot.

And don’t forget to use Wal-Mart’s free grocery Pick up to get your groceries for the month! Here’s $10 off your first order and my review of the free service, we actually use it weekly!

Have you ever prepared freezer meals before? What’s the most intimidating part of the process for you?

 

Frozen Pineapple Whip

Frozen Pineapple Whip

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Frozen Pineapple Whip
Refreshing, naturally sweet, creamy like pineapple ice cream
pineapple ice cream
Votes: 0
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Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 10-24 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 Fresh Pineapple peeled, cored, cut into chunks and frozen (6.5-7 cups)
  • 1/2 cup Nut milk Almond, coconut, cashew.. really whatever you have (more may be needed to reach desired consistancy)
  • 1-3 TBsp Honey (optional)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 10-24 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 Fresh Pineapple peeled, cored, cut into chunks and frozen (6.5-7 cups)
  • 1/2 cup Nut milk Almond, coconut, cashew.. really whatever you have (more may be needed to reach desired consistancy)
  • 1-3 TBsp Honey (optional)
pineapple ice cream
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. peel, core, and cut pineapple. lay pieces out on parchment paper on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Place in freezer until frozen completely. (any where from 10-24 hours)
  2. Place frozen pineapple chunks in the food processor and blend with the milk. scrape down the sides and add more milk if it isn't creamy enough. Taste and add honey if the Pineapple isn't sweet enough on it's own! Enjoy!
  3. Serve and enjoy right away!
Recipe Notes

Frozen Pineapple Whip -- my kids call it Pineapple ice cream! 🙂 

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instant pot peas

Peas in the instant pot

veggies are some of the easiest things to make in the Instant pot! And when you do them right, they come out fresh and delicious!

Making baby food has been a favorite thing for me to do in the Instant Pot. And David loves it!

Print Recipe
Peas in the instant pot
I'm enjoying using the Instant Pot for all of our baby food! Here's just a sample of what I've been doing for David's veggies. You could use this method for most veggies (add a minute to the IP if it's a tougher vegetable like broccoli)
instant pot peas
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Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
instant pot peas
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Throw the peas into the Instant Pot I added half a cup of our home - made whey for added nutriton and digestive help. But you can use any kind of liquid you want ( bone broth would be great too!)
  2. Close lid, set valve to seal. Select Manual/Pressure Cook, adjust down to 0. Pot will come to pressure then shot off. Quick Release to stop cooking.
  3. I transfered all of this into my Ninja Blender and pureed it,Then put into ice cube trays for the freezer!
Recipe Notes

For even more awesome veggies in the instant pot check out this post-- http://www.loveandscribbles.com/calling-veggies-instant-pot-recipes-brussels-corn-peas/

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Easy Sugar free fudge

Sugar Free! Sweetened Condensed Milk and Creamy Fudge

sugar free sweetened condensed mlikSugar free sweetened condensed Milk and Fudge!

Easy Sugar free fudge

 

Sugar free sweetened condensed milk and sugar-free fudge! Yep, It’s real and it’s so good!

 

 

 

 

 


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Don’t be intimidated about the idea of making your own sweetened condensed milk! I looked through a few recipes and tips and I’ve made this three times now and it comes out perfectly every time!

 

 

First, I’d like to point out that the ingredient list is crazy simple!

sugar free sweetened condensed milk

 

 

Sugar free chocolate chips

 

 

 

 

Just three ingredients for delicious sweetened condensed milk!

  1. Cream
  2. Unsalted Butter
  3. Sweetener ( Here’s my recipe for the sweetener I use for everything!)

And for fudge all you add to the condensed milk is sugar-free chocolate chips!

 

For sweetener I use a blend of Stevia, Xylitol, and Erythritol But, you can use whatever sweetener you prefer!

Side note about sweetener: I haven’t said much about my sugar-free choices but I really love this combination of sweeteners,

they are natural and allow for no rise in your blood sugars!

My favorite Stevia is from Trim Healthy Mama, although you can also find many good choices of Stevia on Amazon or the grocery store. (Pyure is my favorite store brand these days)

and the others I order in bulk from Amazon! (click the linked names of each sweetener product for a direct link to the amazon product! ;))

The most helpful trick I have come across for making the sweetened condensed milk is using a large shallow pan. Like a large frying pan!

This makes the milk condense so much faster and gives you a beautiful thick and creamy product in about 20 minutes.

 

Start by putting 2 cups of cream, 2 TBSP of unsalted butter, and 1/3 a cup of sweetener ( may need to convert the amount of sweetener if you are using something different, my blend is some what of a super sweet blend. )

Condensed milk sugar free

 

Stir until dissolved and bring to a boil on medium to high heat.

Once boiling, simmer, stirring occasionally until condensed by about half and thick and bubbly. Should be about 15-20 minutes.

 

Cooking sugar free sweetened condensed milk

This will make about a cup to a cup and a half! seriouslysugar free sweetened condensed mlik LOOK at how creamy and thick this is??  (one note of caution…. no matter how badly you want to, Do Not lick the spoon and taste this right out of the hot pan.. you may or may not burn your tongue and regret it for the next two days! ?) But trust me, its soooo yummy!

 

 

 

 

 

Now to make fudge!!!

I love to make fudge right away while the milk is still hot. The chocolate chips melt right away and I can stick it in the freezer! Easy sugar free fudge

 

It’s a one to one ratio… so a cup of condensed milk and a cup of chocolate chips makes a full batch.

But if you are being weird and don’t want to eat the whole dish. (I guess it could happen?!) You could always make just half a cup and half a cup… or whatever you want!

 

You can also make it later by mixing the chocolate chips with the condensed milk and microwave in small increments, stirring in between each time until fully melted and blended together! Chill until hardened.

 

And then do your best to not stand at the counter ( or fridge) and eat the entire thing.. I’m not totally sure why that isn’t a good idea.. but we are supposed to resist the urge to do so.. I know, weird!  I just might have done this ( ok I didn’t eat the WHOLE thing) with a tub of peanut butter and a spoon… and I’m not going to say it was a bad idea! 🙂

Also, My friend Tiffani and I are dreaming all kinds of deliciousness like coconut flakes and nuts for the next time. And there will definitely be a next time!

 

I hope you try this recipe out and I hope you enjoy every sugar-free bite!

 

~ Deanna Grace

 

 


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Seriously Easy Instant Pot Greek Yogurt!

 

I am so excited about Instant Pot YOGURT!!!

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through our blog we will be compensated at no extra cost to you! Thanks!

 

Let me just pause right here and say, I never really expected to get into this kind of “everything” home-made kind of home making… and this project intimidated me a lot! but now that I’ve made it once, and wrote down some notes for next time, I am so beyond excited!

It is pretty fun to provide home-made goodies for my family, and it’s especially nice when you can find recipes and methods that have already been ironed out!

 

I wouldn’t have even attempted to make yogurt if it wasn’t for my amazing Instant Pot! Man, I love this thing! Best Christmas present ever! (Thanks Babe!) From applesauce, to a freezer full of dinners, making my lunches a breeze and now even making yogurt… The Instant Pot has been (dare I say it?) life-changing!  If you aren’t familiar with this miracle appliance ? You can read my previous posts about it here.

I was nervous to take on yogurt. So, I’ve been looking into it for a while now and preparing myself for the task.

I started with buying just a few things

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Once A Month Meals!

Once A Month Meals

Freezer cooking with menu planning help!

 


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Have you ever prepared freezer meals for your family? It’s the process of preparing and cooking up a bunch of meals all at once and then freezing for a later time. It is really nice to have meals already prepared and ready to go when you are in a rush or the day has been crazy!

I’ve done freezer meal prep in the past for a few recipes. Usually, I just pick a few meals for either the crock pot or the oven and buy all the supplies to make them. Then I would spend the day making them all and sticking them in your freezer.  The mess and work all happens at one time and then done.

It does take some planning and it is work! But I think it can be really worth it. And you can add fun to it by inviting a friend to do it with you! I especially start thinking about this kind of prep right before a new baby arrives… since dinner time can be very unpredictable.

 

Recently I discovered a website called Once a Month Meals. They take this freezer prep/cooking idea to the max. I was instantly impressed by the organization and customization they provide.  I have signed up for meal planning help in the past and the only bummer I found in the ones I’ve tried is that you are kind of stuck with recipes your family doesn’t like.. no fun there!  With Once A Month Meals you can pick from their 6000+ recipes and substitute them into your plan And nothing else I have seen has been anywhere close to this! Read More

It’s Kitchen week!!

It’s finally here! I’m so nervous but mostly just crazy excited!
There is much to do these few days before demo begins..and because I’m an uber plan- ahead kind of girl, I’m freaking out a little, that I haven’t done more preparations.. but we will be fine! And now that it’s here, I will be 1000% on kitchen prep 🙂

I’ve made my menu for nearly a month without a kitchen, I’ll be making frozen crock pot meals and microwave ready lunches. And we will be BBQing a ton! I’m even going to attempt “baking” frozen french fries on the grill for the boys! Thanks Pinterest! I’ll be sure to share some of my recipes! Or you can follow me on Pinterest!

If you don’t love your crock pot, let me urge you to give it a shot! There are sooooo many amazing recipes, some you would never believe came out of the crock pot, seriously! 🙂

This is one of our favorites here ~ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/smothered beef burritos!!! In the crock pot!?! yes!

I think the thing that makes me the most crazy about not having a kitchen will be washing even a few dishes without a sink :/  I think I’ll get a big tub or two for the back yard and pretend we are camping… and of course we’ll be using paper products for everything we can.

We will be assembling cabinets every night this week, we started, but got distracted and then took a family vaca.. and then… anyways it’s been busy around here. So, we have 6 or 7 cabinets to build. William is super excited to help put more drawers together!

Then I’ll pack up the kitchen and move anything we will still need into our office.. where I’ve set up our make shift kitchen!

My beautiful sink came!!! This thing has been a pain.. choosing the size and material with the look I wanted proved to be a difficult task. And then when we finally found one.. it was out of stock… everywhere! When it finally shipped we were leaving for vacation and had to have Fedex put a vacation hold on it, but it is finally here now! And it’s HUGE, I just love this thing…..

Want to see it?

New vigo kitchen sink

 

 

It’s from Vigo, made of composite stone. 36 ” in length! It is apron front and  has 2 different faces so that you can choose which you want showing. (one side has a vertical pattern and the other is plain)

AAAHHHH!! I’m sooo glad I chose a giant sink! I Can’t wait to see it in the kitchen!   Hey, maybe since it was so hard to pick it and get it here.. it will be super easy, smooth sailing for installation (let’s hope so)!

 

I can’t think of anything else we are doing right now except prepping food, staring at our beautiful new things all piled in the garage 🙂 and running to Lowes for more supplies!

 

I am counting down the days (and there aren’t many more now) for that first hammer to fall!

UPDATE: Before I could even post this (I think I started to Monday) So much has happened. We have been very busy getting things ready for Demo this weekend.
I pretty much cooked and prepped food for about 24 hours!! But now our Freezers are stocked and I feel so much more ready to be able to still feed my family during the chaos that is fast approaching 🙂

We (and our friend Jonathan ) have been to Lowes a couple times this week. I have to go again tonight to finalize a paint choice and return a couple of things.

Today we will finish packing everything away.

The boys were “helping” me pack the Tupperware yesterday…

boys helping in the old kitchen

 

 

 

Tomorrow it begins!

I’m praying for safety and wisdom throughout this whole project. That we can figure out what needs to be done and how and that we all don’t hate the process.

 

We are so very thankful for our friends willingness to help us with this gigantic project! And I’m overwhelmed by the the blessing of getting to remodel our kitchen! yay!!

I’m also praying for our boys (and patience with them for me) while everything is a little mixed up from the norm. It’s hard to figure out what and where they should go while we are working.. I am very thankful for the helpful Grandparents and babysitters we’ve enlisted for help with them. But, I know our 4 year old likes things “normal”, and is super curious, so I’m praying it isn’t to ruff on him during all of this process. On the days we aren’t working, I am planning on taking them to the park and play dates/drives… just to keep us out of the construction zone! 🙂

Stay tuned for the next post covering Demo weekend and the first sledge hammer swing! 🙂