Cooking for Two

Cooking during the workweek is always a challenge for me, but cooking for two during the Monday through Friday blitz has a special measure of trials , especially if I don’t plan ahead.  Casseroles often yield more than we care to eat as leftovers, and some don’t freeze so well after baking.  Working late or extra-heavy traffic often means having dinner out if I haven’t done any preparation in advance.  Since Sunday afternoon was cool and rainy (almost unheard of for July in Texas), it seemed like a good opportunity to spend a little prep time in the kitchen.  After a few hours of work, I had stored several meals in the freezer that will help keep mealtime chaos at bay.

Spaghetti Sauce with Grandad’s Gravy

It is easy enough to make a quick pasta dish with Grandad’s Gravy at the end of the day, but add your choice of ground beef, turkey or Italian sausage with a little simmer time, and you will have a really hearty meat sauce that is sure to please.  I browned a mixture of ground beef and sweet Italian sausage with diced onion and green pepper, drained off the fat, then added a jar of Grandad’s Gravy.  After simmering it over very low heat for about 90 minutes, it smelled better than my own homemade recipe.  I divided the sauce evenly between two vacuum sealer bags and chalked up two easy meals for the freezer inventory.  Can’t wait to have some!

DSC01031

J-Meatloaf

J-Meatloaf seasoning is just about the easiest way ever to make a savory meatloaf.  There’s no need to chop onions and peppers, and it isn’t necessary to pull a half-dozen spice and condiment bottles off the shelf.  Just mix meat, an egg, bread crumbs and J-Meatloaf, and you are done.  I like to mix and form the meatloaf, then wrap and freeze it.

IMG_0616

Thaw the frozen meatloaf for one to two days in the refrigerator, then roast it in a 350° oven for about an hour, or until done.  I usually use a pound of ground meat, which serves two for dinner, with leftovers for lunch (like meatloaf sandwiches).  Yum!  I put two ready-to-go meat loaves in the freezer today.

Mango-Lime Salsa Chicken

After we had this spicy slow cooker meal recently, I knew it would be in our menu rotation on a regular basis.  I used 6 frozen chicken breasts and one jar of Cherith Valley Gardens Mango-Lime Salsa.  This was probably the easiest preparation of the day.  I placed the chicken in the crockpot, poured the salsa over it, and started the slow cooker on low for eight hours.

IMG_0617

When done, I put two breasts in a vacuum sealer bag, along with some of the salsa.  Although the recipe on the post linked above directs that heavy cream be stirred into the salsa, I’ll do that when I reheat the chicken and salsa for a meal.  Score three more meals for future hectic weeknights.

I also put a pot of our favorite red beans on to cook for the meatless meals we try to have at least once a week.  We will no doubt be enjoying our red beans and rice with freshly baked sweet and spicy cornbread made with Cherith Valley Gardens Hot ‘n Spicy Corn Relish.

IMG_0235

As time permits, I’ll be adding to my freezer inventory of quick-to-complete meals.  By watching for market specials on meat and seafood and keeping gourmet food products on hand for easy preparation, we can have delicious meals on the table in a hurry, at a fraction of restaurant prices.  Win-win!

Leave a comment

Filed under Entrées

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s