Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches

The main things I craved while I was pregnant with the minion were fruit and breakfast sandwiches.  The fruit was easy, but the breakfast sandwiches made me feel guilty every time we stopped at a fast food restaurant.  So I started making my own.  Recently I decided I should try to freeze them so on rushed mornings, I can still have a yummy breakfast.  The first time I made them, I tried to do the eggs in a pan, the way I normally cook fried eggs.  But these needed to be sandwich shaped, so the second time, I baked them.

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Breakfast Sandwiches for Freezing

12 eggs

12 English muffins

12 slices of cheese (Swiss works well, cheddar gets really greasy)

12 pieces of ham/bacon/sausage if desired

Crack eggs into a 9×13 pan and scramble.  Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes.  Let cool at least a little bit.  Cut up eggs into 12 rectangles.  Assemble sandwiches with one rectangle of eggs, one slice of cheese, and meat if desired.  Wrap in wax paper and store sandwiches in the plastic bags the English muffins came in.  Freeze.

To reheat, take one sandwich out of bag, no need to unwrap, microwave for 4 minutes at 50% power.  Let sit for about a minute and enjoy!

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You can add a lot of things to the eggs, I’ve done paprika so far, but I have the idea to do about anything that you can put in an omelet, mushrooms, tomatoes, parsley, avocado, hot peppers.    Also after you’ve cooked it, you can add fresh veggies.  I’m thinking tomatoes and sprouts.  What would you add to yours?

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Freezing Root Veg Crock-Pot Mixtures

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A while back, I picked up a ton of root vegetables and chopped them up.  I mixed them together and froze them in crock-pot sized increments.  Pretty straight forward set up.  Then I just add seasoning when I cook it.  I’ve done cranberry juice, rice vinegar, cream of mushroom soup, along with various herbs and seasonings.  Cranberry juice is amazing with sweet potatoes.  We’ve also added a ghost pepper once.  It make everything surprisingly spicy even though we didn’t eat the actual pepper.

Just put the veggies in the crock-pot, pour in your liquid of choice, add seasonings and then add water until everything is covered.  Put it on low for 8 or so hours.  You can also add in a bag of dried beans, just don’t use kidney beans, they require more prep.  This is a really laid back ‘recipe’, you just kind of throw stuff together.

Let me know what types of things you add for flavoring.

Avoid Pantry Moths with your Freezer

If you’ve ever had pantry moths you know how horrible they are.  They infest everything in your pantry and you have to throw out a ridiculous amount of food.  We had them once and I really don’t want to get them again.

Recently I found some organic blue cornmeal at a discount grocery store.  It was only a dollar a bag.  I excitedly got two bags and when I got home, I put them both in the freezer.  Any grains or dry pantry good you plan on putting in your pantry should spend a cool two weeks in your freezer before joining your other food.  You should also store things like that in hard plastic, glass, or metal.  Bugs can eat through cardboard and plastic bags.  We have some of those plastic shoe boxes as well as a variety of re-purposed glass jars to store our food in.

Now I have to make some blue cornbread!

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Multi-Bean Soup: Dried and Ready To Go

I’ve been wanting to make some convenience foods lately.  Something I can quickly throw together but is still healthy for my family.  I am also a bit limited on freezer space, so I’ve been looking into dried convenience foods.  So I made this multi-bean soup.

I know you’ve been saving all of your glass jars after you use up the products from the store.  We have a lot of them from nut butters and coconut oil.  Pro-tip, clean the labels off before you fill the jars.  You could package these in canning jars, but you might as well use these recycled jars and save the canning jars for actual canning.

Convenient Multi-Bean Soup

*makes aprox 7 jars

1 bag pinto beans

1 bag black beans

1 bag navy beans

1 bag split peas

1 bag other beans (lentils, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, ect.)

aprox 1/3 cup dried chopped carrots

aprox 1/3 cup dried celery

aprox 1 cup dried leeks

black pepper

Grind up the leeks and celery in a food processor.  Divide the ground leeks and celery and carrots evenly between jars.
On top of that, layer the beans in any order you like.  Pop the lid on and make a label with these instructions.

Soak overnight in 8 cups of water.  Simmer in 6 cups of water for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

OR

Cook in slow cooker.  Cover with water and then an additional 2 inches.  Cook 8 – 10 hours on low.

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My original plan with this was to use kidney beans as my fifth bean but at the last minute, learned that kidney beans have to be cooked differently than the others, so I had to fill it out with the various little bits of other beans we had.

This can be eaten as a soup as the recipe says.  You could also add meat into the slow cooker with them.  Or you could serve the whole thing over rice.  Or you could mix it with pasta sauce.  Can you think of any other ways to use this convenience food?

String of Habanero Peppers

All the peppers are coming in right now so I decided to string up some of our Habanero peppers for them to dry.  Just another method of food preservation.

It’s pretty easy to do.  I threaded a large embroidery needle with embroidery floss (red because it goes so well with the orange peppers).  I doubled it over and tied a big knot in the end.  Then I threaded each pepper through the stem leaving a bit of room between each.  When I got all the peppers threaded on, I cut the needle off and tied the two strands together forming a loop.  I hung my string of peppers by that loop.  Now all I have to do is wait for them to dry.

You could easily do this with any hot pepper.  I have some cayenne peppers that I might do this to also.  Maybe ghost peppers too…

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Making Pepper Spray or Cooking Ghost Peppers

I took a bunch of our ripe ghost peppers and decided to pickle them.  I combined them with a variety of other peppers we had lying around.  Habenero, chili, bell, and banana.

I carefully chopped the ghost peppers while wearing latex gloves but even that couldn’t protect me.  I could feel my eyes starting to water as I chopped them but them the recipe had me cook them in brine and that was when it got really bad.  I was sneezing and coughing.  I could actually taste the spiciness from just the steam from cooking them.  It was good that the minion was in another room while I was doing this. When I was done, I still had some hot pepper oils on my hand even though I had been wearing gloves the whole time.  Intense.  At least I got some pretty jars from it!

Moral of the story: be really careful with ghost peppers.

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Frozen Sheets of Pasta Sauce

We’ve had lots of tomatoes (the ones that survived the carnage) and they all come at the same time.  They’re pretty much done for the season, but we’re just finishing up processing everything.  So in addition to canning some for later use, I made a ton of pasta sauce to freeze.  I would’ve canned it but I couldn’t resist using my own recipe, not a tested, canning-approved recipe.

I used a similar recipe to the black king pasta sauce but with a mix of all the different types of tomatoes.  Mainly black kings, early girls, and beefsteak.  I also threw in a few banana peppers.

Then I poured 2 cups each into freezer bags and froze them flat.  Freezing them flat makes them take up less room in the freezer and I figured about 2 cups will be a good amount for a meal for my little family.

I figure when we actually eat these sauces, we can toss in any vegetables we have on hand.  Eggplant, carrots, mushrooms (fine, not actually a vegetable), squash, beans, corn (yea, a grain), and whatever else we have.  I’d even give something like boiled spinach a try mixed with the pasta and sauce.  We could also throw in leftover meat of practically any kind.  Pasta sauce as a leftover catch-all.

Chili Chocolate Chip Cookies and Freezing Dough

I just made four giant batches of chocolate chip cookie dough.  I’m not having a party or eating 50 cookies tonight.  I promise.  I only baked up about 20 cookies.  The rest of the dough, I froze so that I can make up some yummy homemade cookies at a moment’s notice.  I used the recipe on the back of the package of chocolate chips but you should be able to freeze any cookie recipe like this.

I laid down a square of aluminum foil and then a square of wax paper to put the dough in.

I know, that’s not the most reusable and eco-friendly option, but I used 100% recycled aluminum foil and plan on recycling it again (aluminum can be recycled an infinite number of times).

I then put about as much dough as commercial frozen cookie dough has and rolled it up.  I taped a piece of paper with baking instructions on each roll and stuck them in the freezer.  The last batch, I baked up for us to eat now!

In a moment of inspiration, I added chopped up cayenne pepper to a little bit of the chocolate chip cookie dough and baked them as normal.  They are really good.  Just spicy enough to compliment the chocolate and sugar but not too spicy so you can’t taste anything else. I used one small dried cayenne pepper for about 8 of the cookies that I made.  I just chopped it up into small pieces and added it when you add the chocolate chips.  I will definitely keep this in mind for when I thaw out some of our frozen dough.

What other unique mix-ins do you like to put in chocolate chip cookies?

Beaucoups of Onions

I harvested the garden and got three tomatoes, four chili peppers, 7 banana peppers, a cucumber, and (as the hero and his limited French would say) beaucoups of onions.  We’ve been using the onion greens throughout the season, but they have started to die back which is a signal that the plant is putting more energy into making a bulb to use during the winter.  And it’s that bulb that we eat.  So I pulled up some and just kept noticing more and more ready to be harvested.

If you’ve ever had onions from the grocery store, you might think we could just put these onions in a cool dark place and they would last for a long time.  But with homegrown onions, you have to cure them first.  To cure them, place them on a tray with space in between each one.  Place the tray in a sunny spot (preferably outside) for a few days.  If you do leave them outside, you might want to take them in overnight to avoid the moisture from dew.  You are trying to dry out the outermost few layers of the onion.  Once they are dry and the roots are brittle, you are done and ready to store the onions.  And braid them if you want and have the right type of onion.

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Freezing Figs

We’ve just started getting what looks like it will be a huge harvest of figs.  We plan on freezing some for later use.  We can use them in smoothies or just eat them frozen.  In order for us not to have a giant clump of figs frozen together we laid the pieces of fig out on a baking sheet and froze them that way.

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Once they were frozen we put them into a freezer bag for storage.  You can use this technique for freezing any produce.  We’re also planning to make fig jam and dehydrating some figs.  Maybe we can use them to make granola poppers.