Monday, April 21, 2014

24 Summer|Grill-Ready Meals for $140

Everyone knows I love my crock pot. I mean, do I really have to say it anymore? But I also love my grill. Especially during the Spring and Summer months. I like to take full advantage of grilling. It's so easy to make healthy meals with the grill and clean up is always pretty easy too - my kind of cooking! So for this round of freezer cooking I made 24 grill-ready (that could also be put in the crock pot or oven) and summer favorites for $140. All of these meals with exception of the beer chicken are also GLUTEN-FREE.

One of the great things about freezing grilling meat with the seasoning (besides that it's easy) is that as the meat defrosts, the meat marinates and soaks up all the flavors. The entire process took me 3 hours (and both my children were here and awake without my husband home to help entertain). Success!

Menu |

2 Cilantro Lime Chicken
2 Smokey Mesquite Chicken
2 Baja Citrus Chicken
2 Ranch Pork Chops
2 Italian Sausage & Peppers
2 Beef & Veggie Kabobs
2 Honey Crips Apple Beer Chicken
2 Smoked Sausage, Potato & Veggie Roast
2 Dirty Rice
2 Smoked Sausage Dirty Rice
2 Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast
2 Spaghetti Sauce

Shopping List |

2 lbs. ground sausage
5 lbs. ground beef
4 bags frozen chicken breasts
2 pork roasts (or loins)
1 package bacon
8 pork chops
2 packages Italian sausage links
2 (2-3 lbs.) packages of cubed beef
4 large smoked sausage links

1 bunch cilantro
2 limes
8 green bell peppers
2 red bell peppers
6 zucchinis
1 3 lbs. bag of red potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes
1 head of broccoli

Canned Goods:
4 cans tomato sauce
2 cans tomatoes
2 cans tomato paste

2 packets "Baja Citrus" seasoning
2 packets Ranch seasoning
Smokey Mesquite seasoning
Lemon Pepper
Garlic Powder
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Brown Sugar
Smoked Paprika
Cayenne Pepper
Salt & Pepper

1 bottle of Shock Top Honey Crisp Apple Wheat Beer (I got a six pack (because I don't mind if I do!) and only used one for these meals)

Dried Goods:
8 cups of brown rice

1 box of gallon-sized plastic bags
2 foil cake trays

Once I got home, I put all 5 lbs. of ground beef in the crock pot on high. By the time I finished all the other meals it was cooked so I added that last. I also cooked the ground sausage on the stove top and got all 8 cups of the brown rice in the rice cooker. While those 3 things were cooking I washed and chopped all my veggies and fresh produce. (Note: I cute the lime in fourths, gave the cilantro a rough chop, diced only 2 green peppers, and cut the other peppers into strips. All other produce was washed and cut into big chunks.)
Then I labeled all of my bags. The Smoked Sausage, Potato & Veggie Roasts will go in the trays, everything else in baggies.

Then dump.

Recipes |

Cilantro Lime Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1/2 lime (squeezed and left in the bag)
1/4 of the cilantro bunch
1 Tbsp. of lemon pepper
1 tsp. of garlic powder
Drizzle with EVOO and shake

Thaw & grill or cook in the crock pot on low for 6-7 hours.
Update: Yum.

Smokey Mesquite Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. Smokey Mesquite seasoning
Drizzle with EVOO and shake

Thaw & grill or cook in the crock pot on low for 6-7 hours.
Update: Yum.

Baja Citrus Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1/4 of the cilantro bunch
1/2 lime (squeezed and left in the bag)
1 Baja Citrus seasoning packet mixed with 1/2 water

Thaw & grill or cook in the crock pot on low for 6-7 hours.
Update: Yum.

Ranch Pork Chops
4 pork chops
1 packet ranch seasoning mixed with 1/2 water

Thaw & grill or cook in the crock pot on low for 6-7 hours.
Update: Yum.

Italian Sausage & Peppers
1 package Italian Sausage
1 sliced red bell pepper
2 sliced green peppers
Garlic Powder to taste
Basil to taste
Drizzle with EVOO

Thaw & grill or cook in the crock pot on low for 6-7 hours.
Update: Yum.

Beef & Veggie Kabobs
2 sliced zucchinis
1 package of cubed beef
Add garlic powder (1/2 Tbsp.), smoked paprika (1 tsp.), cayenne pepper (1 tsp.), sea salt & pepper (to taste)
Drizzle with EVOO

Thaw, put on kabobs & grill.
Update: Yum for the beef. Zucchini doesn't freeze well unless it's in a soup.

Honey Crips Apple Beer Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1/2 bottle of Shock Top Honey Crisp Apple Wheat Beer
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Thaw & grill or cook in the crock pot on low for 6-7 hours.
Update: Don't put this in the crock pot. Not a good idea. If you like beer chicken this is a great recipe.

Smoked Sausage, Potato & Veggie Roast
1 smoked sausage, sliced
1.5 lbs. red potatoes, quartered
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 sliced zucchini
1/2 head of broccoli
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Drizzle with EVOO

Toss with your hands before covering and freezing. Thaw and cook in the oven at 400 degrees for 50 minutes to an hour. I have a friend that grills a dish similar to this and it's pretty awesome too.
Update: This doesn't freeze well. If you make it fresh, it is the BOMB. Instead just buy the smoked sausage and frozen broccoli and freeze together. The day you want to make it, add fresh potatoes and veggies. Trust me.

Dirty Rice
2 cups cooked brown rice
1.5 pounds cooked ground beef
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. (at least) of Montreal Steak Seasoning
Drizzle with EVOO

Thaw and warm in a skillet, enjoy.
Update: Yum.

Smoked Sausage Dirty Rice
1 sliced smoked sausage (I used regular smoked turkey sausage but spicy sausage is really good too)
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning
Drizzle with EVOO

Thaw and warm in a skillet, enjoy.
Update: Yum.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast
1 pork roast
Rub 1 Tbsp. of Smokey Mesquite Seasoning on the roast
Wrap in 1/2 the package of bacon
Rub 1/2 Tbsp. of brown sugar on top of the bacon

Cook on low in the crock pot for 8 hours.
Update: Yum.

Spaghetti Sauce
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can drained tomatoes (diced or crushed)
1 can paste
1 lb. cooked Italian sausage
1 lb. cooked ground beef
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp. Basil
1/2 Tbsp. Oregano
1/2 Tbsp. Garlic Powder

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Update: Yum.

Done & done.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Peanut Butter Protein Balls

I've seen many different versions of these on Pinterest and wanted to share the version I made that were SO yummy. A great healthy treat that tastes like cookie dough. Everyone will love these - kids included.

In a bowl, mix:

1 cup oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 handful dark chocolate chips.
1/3 cup flax seed

Once everything is mixed, roll into balls and keep in the refrigerator.


Mama's PICs

Ok. Recipe break. Let me just take a moment to give an update on these cute faces shown above. After all, that is the reason I started this blog way back when. I must say we are in a smooth sailing zone with these two. Sure, I have some bad days. Some moments are still r-r-rough! But, this is it. This is the stage of life where Isaiah and Maci become friends, they play together by themselves more often than me having to separately entertain them. They are my buddies, my comrades, my PICs. Yes, they still try to swallow me whole but for the most part I find these pockets of time in the day where I can, dare I say, go pee all by myself. Awesome.

Maci is feisty. She is hilarious. She is dramatic. 100% girl. Our hands are full with this one but she oh so sweet and snuggly and loving and smart. She puts herself in time out when she needs to, she loves helping me do my makeup, she loves taking care of her babies and jumping on the trampoline. She loves to blow bubbles and hunt in the dirt for worms. She's talking more and more. Still, many of her words are her own version but I understand her...most of the time. She loves to dance and has incredible rhythm. No really, this girl has moves. Her favorite songs are "The Way You Are," "Marry You," and "Talking to the Moon" by Bruno Mars. She's also a big fan of her brother and I'm so proud of how much he looks out for her. {Seriously, if someone is bugging her, he'll be the first to tell them, "Stop. You're making Maci nervous."}

Isaiah. Oh my. Where to begin? He is so much fun. He is sweet and reasonable and smart and funny and strong. The things he says are incredible. The other day he was showing me his art project from Sunday school. "It's a burning bush," he says. "Why was it on fire?" I tell him because that's how God wanted to talk to Moses. He says, "So Moses growed up from when he was a baby in the basket?" Then the other day he was burying his toy goat in rocks then pulling the goat out and saying, "He is risen!" I love how his brain works and how honest he is. I love seeing his sweet little hands fold in prayer with his eyes scrunched closed as he thanks Jesus for mommy and daddy and Maci and Skylanders [sigh]. He is full of life. He loves toddler gym, sports class, dirt, climbing, running, Skylanders, and Legos. He's still a mama's boy but loves to "wessel" with daddy.

We've been so thankful for the sunshine we've had lately. C'mon summer!

Cool shades, man.

I'm so thankful my kids love dirt. They have permanent dirt under their finger nails - a sign of great childhood! ;)

Darren and I escaped to San Diego the other weekend. He was there all week for work and I came for two nights. It was so much fun to enjoy the city we used to call home, see some (but not enough) of our friends, and eat, eat, eat some amazing, authentic Mexican food. Oh, and it was nice to get away from the kids a little bit and have some alone time. I was nervous. So nervous, I could have cried. But the kids were totally fine. I knew Isaiah would be but since Maci is my shadow I thought she might have a rough time. Nope. I guess my kids are more well adjusted than I thought. We must be doing something right.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. | Romans 8:28