Sunday, September 19, 2010

Holiday Grand Plan Week 4 - Master Bedroom Week

So, how was Week 3?
  • I did get my entryway clean and my fall quilts out.  I had hoped to catch up on my office.  Hope being the key word.
  • No meal made this week - in fact, I used a freezer meal.  Getting ready for the show on top of a raging sinus infection made this a less than perfect week for cooking, cleaning, and general usefulness.  But that's what those freezer meals are there for!
    Now it's time to move on to So onward to Week 4!  The main goals for this week are:
    • Deep clean the Master Bedroom.  Is your room a sanctuary, clean and free of all of the children's things, or is it like mine, the last place that gets cleaned and the dumping ground for anything that doesn't have home?  It will be a tough call to see if this is a bigger challenge than my office!
    • Make a freezer meal and a batch of goodies.
    • This is the week that we start shopping!  Look at the lists of gifts to buy that we made back at the beginning.  Buy 1/8 of them this week.  Wrap them, tag them, and put them in a safe place.  Don't forget to check it off your list so you know you are done!  I don't always do exactly an eighth, but by starting now you save yourself a lot of stress and cushion the shock of opening January's bills.
    • As always, there's much more at the link, plus great tips and ideas.  
      Freezer Friendly Meal of the Week -  Chicken Pot Pie
      Okay, I know I promised you a lasagna recipe, but I wanted to make it and double check my quantities first and I didn't get around to that with the show.  Instead of giving you the estimates in my head - always a recipe for disaster - get it? - I will give you an easy way to use your crock pot and freeze ahead.
      In the crockpot
      • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts - 1 pckg. will do for this recipe, but I usually do 2-3 packages at a time to freeze for other recipes.
      • Seasonings (I use a bay leaf, salt & pepper, but use whatever you like best)
      • I also toss in some onion, celery, carrots, or whatever I have on hand in the fridge
      Put chicken in crockpot with seasonings and cover with water.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  Let cool and shred.  I freeze in about 1 lb increments, but don't bother measuring.  I just divide it up by how many packages I put in to begin with.

      You can also strain the broth into a separate container.  I let it chill in the fridge overnight, skim the fat, strain again, and freeze in 1 1/2 C increments for this and another recipe.  Way cheaper than store bought chicken broth, and you know exactly what's in it.

       Sauce (per batch of chicken pot pie)
      •  1/4 C butter
      • 1/4 C flour
      • 1 C milk
      • 1 1/2 C chicken broth
      • salt & pepper to taste
      Melt butter in a small saucepan, blend in flour, then pour milk in slowly, stirring constantly.  Add broth and salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer 5 minutes.  Cool and freeze, if desired.  

      In the freezer
      • chicken 
      • 2 pie crusts - make your own and freeze them or buy them on sale
      • Sauce
      • chicken, thawed
      • pie crusts, thawed
      • sauce, thawed
      • Your choice of veggies.  I used diced (raw) carrots and a can of LeSeur peas, but it is also good with green beans.
      Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line pie plate with one crust.  Add chicken and vegetables.  Top with sauce and then second crust.  Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Let stand 5 minutes before cutting!

      Enjoy!  This is one of my family's favorite meals, but can be too labor intensive for a weeknight if you try to do it all in one day.

      Holiday Treat of the Week - Russian Tea Cakes
      • 1 C butter
      • 1/2 C powdered sugar, plus some for dusting
      • 1 tsp vanilla
      • 2 1/4 C flour
      • 3/4 C finely chopped nuts
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla.  Stir in flour, nuts, and salt.  Shape into 1" balls and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8-9 minutes.  Immediately roll in more powdered sugar.  Cool and roll again.
      These freeze beautifully!  Mom makes several dozen every year for our holiday tea, and they are always a hit.  Plus they're so pretty and easy, that they make an attractive addition to any gift tin or basket of cookies.


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