Thursday, January 03, 2008

Back Home, Back in the Kitchen

So, we had to come home early from our camping trip-3 big storms are getting ready to hit the West Coast beginning late tonight, and we didn't want to be at the beach, but here at home in our mountain cabin. It's supposed to snow later, but the initial rain will most likely casue some mudslides here like it always does.

I stopped at the commissary at March for my monthly trip, and picked up a couple of great bargains - 90% ground beef @ $1.49/pound, and a ham butt @ $.80/pound.

Don and I have looked at the freezer and cabinets and estimate we could eat out them for two months. There. I've said it. I'll have to pick up milk and some produce later, but I'm going to try to see how long I can go without going to the commissary. Today's trip was $178.

I came home and immediately made meatballs, based on a recipe from a Yahoo group I'm in:

Freezer Stash Meatballs

3 lbs. lean ground beef
1 ½ cups soft bread crumbs
3 eggs
6 tablespoons minced onion
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 400.

In a large bowl, mix beef, crumbs, eggs, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Shape into 11/2-inch meatballs. (A miniature ice cream scoop makes fast work of shaping.)

Arrange in two 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pans. Bake in preheated oven until meat is browned, with no trace of pink and juices run clear, 10 to 13 minutes.

Drain, let cool to room temperature, divide into fourths and freeze each portion in vapor-moisture proof containers. (I use my FoodSaver). Each portion serves 2.

As I use them, I'll post the recipes for what I made with them.

I then pulled out some old sliced barbecued tri-tip, reheated it with a little barbecue sauce, and served it on toasted hamburger buns for dinner. That way I didn't have to cook anything, since I was tired from driving, cooking, and from putting the food from the commissary trip away. (That entails a couple of hours on my feet).

After dinner, I made two quiches, that are now in the oven. I'll let them cool, and then freeze them for later.

A Pair of Quiches
Mushroom /Asparagus with Ham

2 frozen pie crusts in foil tins, thawed
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced or coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
1 12-oz. can asparagus pieces, drained
1/2 cup chopped ham (I used some luncheon meat ham and diced it, but any kind of ham will do)
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 eggs
2/3 cup half-and-half
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I didn't have any this time, so I doubled the Cheddar)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg

In a medium skillet, sauté the bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms in butter until tender. Spread evenly in bottom of one of the pie shells. Put the asparagus, ham, and Swiss cheese in the other pie shell. With a mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add eggs and half-and-half. Stir in grated cheeses, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour egg mixture into dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. If you're going to eat one right away, let it stand 10 minutes before cutting.

For freezing: Let cool to room temperature. Cover with foil and freeze. The night before you want to eat it, move it to your refrigerator to thaw. Then reheat at 350˚ for about 15 minutes.

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