Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Easy Freezy Casseroles

Beef enchiladas.... ready to go in the oven... or to be covered and frozen for another time.

This week is what I like to designate as “calm before the storm” week. Very soon, we will begin our last hay crop harvest of the year, then roll into corn and bean harvest, followed by cornstalk baling for bedding.  When that is all said and done, it will be Christmastime.  My days of leisure have been numbered, as I have committed to helping on the farm as much as possible during all the harvesting madness.  So I’ve been spending the week preping for it.  Casseroles and other meals in the freezer, bookwork caught up to date and filed away, deep house cleaning, and the like have been on the to-do list.

A few have requested that I share some freezer friendly recipes here.  Ask and ye shall receive. First, some recipes from my friend, fellow farmwife, and sort-of neighbor Jennifer.  I haven’t tried any of these recipes, but they sure make me hungry reading them!  My next grocery list will be based off of these recipes, for sure.

Easy Baked Ziti
Pam Gates of Duluth found this versatile and kid-friendly recipe several years ago and has since modified it to suit her taste. While the ziti bakes, she makes a salad and heats a loaf of Italian bread. “I have also added cheddar cheese and mushrooms, ” she says. “Sometimes I divide it into two 8-inch square baking dishes, then bake one and freeze one.”
Hands on time: Total time: 30 minutes Serves: 8
1 pound ground beef
3 cups ziti, or your favorite pasta, under-cooked and drained (about 6 cups cooked)
1 (26-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large skillet, brown meat and drain. Stir in ziti, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Spoon into 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake 20 minutes.
Per serving: 556 calories (percent of calories from fat, 49), 26 grams protein, 45 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 30 grams fat, 81 milligrams cholesterol, 792 milligrams sodium.

Country Casserole
2 cups small shell pasta, cooked and drained
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, cooked and drained
2 cups shredded cheddar, divided
One can French fried onions, divided
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (can use canned chicken)
1 can cream of chicken soup
¼ cup milk
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine everything in a large bowl, reserving half of the cheese and half of the onions for topping later. Spoon into 9×13 casserole dish. Bake for twenty five minutes. Top with remaining onions and cheese, bake until cheese is melted, about five minutes more.
Freezing options: Instead of freezing this in your casserole dish, simply spoon it into a gallon ziploc bag. Lay the bag flat so that it will thaw out quicker and place it in your freezer. On the day you want it, take it out the night before and refrigerate or place in fridge that morning.
If you forget to do all of this, no sweat! Just microwave the bag until it thaws just a bit, pour into your casserole, and bake!
To bake a casserole that is still frozen, simply place in the oven while the oven preheats. This allows the casserole to thaw quickly and then bake to perfection!

From Simple & Delicious
1 package (16 ounces) angel hair pasta
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese (used mozzarella cheese)
— Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce. Remove from the heat.
— Drain pasta. Combine soup and sour cream. In two 8-in. square baking dishes, layer half of the meat sauce, pasta, soup mixture and cheese. Repeat layers.
— Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350° for 55-65 minutes or until cheese is melted.
TO USE FROZEN CASSEROLE: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake as directed. Yield: 2 casseroles (6 servings each).

Crescent Chicken Bundles Recipe 
• 8 Servings
• Prep: 15 min. Bake: 20 min.
• 2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
• 4 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
• 2 tablespoons minced chives
• 2 tablespoons whole milk
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 4 cups cubed cooked chicken
• 2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
• 1 cup crushed seasoned stuffing
• In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, chives, milk, salt and pepper until blended. Stir in chicken.
• Unroll crescent roll dough and separate into eight rectangles; press perforations together. Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture in the center of each rectangle. Bring edges up to the center and pinch to seal. Brush with remaining butter. Sprinkle with crushed croutons, lightly pressing down.
• Transfer to two ungreased baking sheets. Cover one baking sheet and freeze until firm; transfer squares to a covered freezer container. May be frozen for up to 2 months. Bake remaining squares at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
• To use frozen squares: Thaw in the refrigerator and bake as directed. Yield: 8 servings.
Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 363 calories, 21 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 90 mg cholesterol, 622 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 24 g protein.

Breakfast Burritos Recipe 
• 10 Servings
• Prep: 20 min. + freezing
• 12 bacon strips, diced
• 12 eggs, lightly beaten
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 10 flour tortillas (8 inches)
• 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
• In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp; remove to paper towels. Drain, reserving 1-2 tablespoons drippings. Add eggs, salt and pepper to drippings; cook and stir over medium heat until the eggs are completely set.
• Spoon about 1/4 cup of egg mixture down the center of each tortilla; sprinkle with cheese, onions and reserved bacon. Fold bottom and sides of each tortilla over filling. Wrap each in waxed paper and aluminum foil.. Freeze for up to 1 month.
• To use frozen burritos: Remove foil. Place waxed paper-wrapped burritos on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave at 60% power for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 20 seconds. Yield: 10 burritos.
Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 449 calories, 30 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 291 mg cholesterol, 626 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 18 g protein.
Mostaccioli Casserole Recipe 
• 12 Servings
• Prep: 25 min. Bake: 25 min.
• 1 package (16 ounces) mostaccioli
• 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
• 1-1/4 cups chopped green pepper
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
• 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
• 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
• 3/4 teaspoon pepper
• 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
• Cook mostaccioli according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, soup, Italian seasoning and pepper.
• Drain mostaccioli. Add mostaccioli and 1-1/2 cups cheese to beef mixture. Transfer to two greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dishes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
• To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Yield: 2 casseroles (6 servings each).
Nutrition Facts: 1 cup equals 351 calories, 12 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 42 mg cholesterol, 633 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 22 g protein.. Diabetic Exchanges: 2-1/2 starch, 2 lean meat, 1 fat.
Spaghetti Ham Bake Recipe 
• 12 Servings
• Prep: 25 min. Bake: 30 min.
• 2 packages (7 ounces each) thin spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
• 4 cups cubed fully cooked ham
• 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
• 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
• 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 1/2 cup sliced ripe olives, optional
• 1-1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
• 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
• 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
• 2 cups soft bread crumbs
• 1/4 cup butter, melted
• 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
• Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain and place in a large bowl. Stir in the ham, soup, sour cream, mushrooms, onion, olives if desired, mustard, seasoned salt and Worcestershire sauce.
• Transfer to two greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dishes. In a small bowl, toss bread crumbs and butter; add cheese. Sprinkle over casseroles.
• Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 2 months. Bake the remaining casserole, uncovered, at 325° for 30 minutes or until heated through.
• To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 50-55 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 2 casseroles (6 servings each).

One for the oven, one for the freezer. A whole bunch of time saved!!

Thanks so much for sharing these Jennifer!  I cannot wait to try the breakfast burritos, spaghetti ham, and chicken crescents especially!  And, here are some links from my archives:

Upside Down Pizza

Oatmeal Pancakes

Super Yummy Meatballs

Cowboy Casserole

Beef Enchiladas

If anyone has any great suggestions or recipes for the freezer, I’m all ears!!

Hazel says, "Summer is over. Bring on harvest!"


Adventures in Pickling a Cow Tongue

The finished product.

So, I’m beginning to notice a trend in my family.  We seem to like to eat weird food on special occaisions.  I’ve posted before about Justin’s special meal that he appreciates more than any hallmark card.  Then there’s a famed Nieman dish called Suet Pudding.  I’ll just let you google that one, I’ve yet to attempt it.  Although I have tasted it. 

Well, the cow tongue notion comes not from Justin’s side of the family, but mine.  As a little girl, I can remember a jar of pickled tongue being an occaisional installment in our refridgerator.  I have a very clear memory of my dad pulling that jar out at opportune moments and asking houseguests if they wanted some.  It was always amusing to watch their reactions. 

I had kind of forgotten that part of my history, up until a few weeks ago.  Dad called me up to say that he had just made a really good roast (from one our cattle, of course) and wanted to put an order in for a quarter of beef the next time we send an animal to the locker.  So, in our discussion of how to cut it up, we somehow got on the subject of cow tongue.  And it all came back to me. 

Well, I drive by our local locker at least 4 times per week when I am taking the girls to daycare.  I was pondering what to do for Dad for Father’s Day when our conversation switched on the lightbulb in my head.  I stopped in at the locker and asked what it would take to get ahold of a cow tongue.  Again, that priceless look.  I’m guessing they must not have many inquiries specifically for cow tongue. 

 “WHAT FOR?!” was the first thing out of the butcher’s mouth! 

“Father’s Day,” was my response. 

“You mean, like, a gag gift??”

“Well, no.  I mean, like, to cook and eat.”

“Oooookay.” He then proceeded behind a door for few seconds,  came back out with a rubbery looking cow tongue on the tip of his knife, slapped it down on the table, and wrapped it up for me. 

“So, how much do I owe ya?” I asked.

“$1.00.”  Transaction complete, and I was on my merry way home with the cow tongue.

After the kids were in bed, I pulled out Justin’s old pressure cooker and dusted it off.  The gods of Google had bestowed a recipe upon me.  I took a moment to metally prepare myself, unwrapped the tongue, took another moment, picked up the tongue, took another moment, trimmed some of the funny looking parts off, got over it, and washed the tongue in cold water in the sink.  I cut 6 slits in it, and put a clove garlic into each.  Into the cooker it went, along with a gallon of cider vinegar, a gallon of water, two cut up onions, and a “handful” of pickling spice.  

This was my first experience with a pressure cooker.

The tongue is in there somewhere...

I turned the heat on high, put the lid on, and waited.  And waited. And waited…………And waited some more.  Finally the pressure gauge started climbing.  When the little valve started acting like it was going to blow off, I turned off the heat and went to bed.  I was supposed to take it out after 40 minutes, but by then it was 1 AM and I could barely function.  So, I got back up and at em at 5.  I pulled the tongue out, and pulled the skin off it.  (…sh sh shiver….)

This is after cooking...I forgot to take before pics.

I was surprised at how tender it was.

I sliced it up, put it in a jar, filled it with the pickling juice, cooled it off, and put it in the fridge to wait for Father’s Day.

We had a spur of the moment get-together at our house for Father’s Day.  It turned out to be a wonderful day.  My Dad and his girlfriend, Deb, came down and brought their horses.  We went riding over the farm while Justin and the kids prepared a delicious meal of ribeyes, fried potatoes, and carrots on the grill.  We also had fresh lettuce salad from the garden and watermelon.  Grandpa Nieman, Uncle Kevin, Aunt Melissa, and Abby came over too.  Dessert consisted of one of Grandpa Nieman’s favorites, German chocolate cake and ice cream.  The kids took a dip in the kiddie pool, and it was just a perfect summer day. 

The reaction to my Dad’s unique gift was just as I remembered.  Dad eats it like candy, everyone else, not so much.  Some humour him, some taste it only with a big glass of water at hand, and others turn a little green just looking at it. 

My Dad and his cow tongue.


Happy Father's Day Grandpa!

Confetti Corn

Yummy veggies!

This is a quick, delicious side dish that I’ve made a few times for special occasions, or to accompany grilled steaks.  All you need is a package of frozen corn, a green, red, and orange bell pepper, red onion, butter, basil, salt and pepper.

You begin by melting the butter in a large skillet and cooking the peppers and onions until they are tender, about 10 minutes or so.  Then add the corn, and season to your liking.  Basil, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper are really what makes this recipe go from ok to yum!  Heat through and enjoy!

Try it at the next potluck or family gathering…it’s a guaranteed hit!

Click here for a link to a printable recipe.

My children's fascination with empty boxes is never ending!

Cowboy Casserole

Fun and delicious!

I discovered, and tweaked, this somewhat popular recipe a few years back.  It’s a different take on casserole.  If you like pork and beans and barbeque sauce, then this recipe is for you.  I personally love it! 

Super quick, easy, cheap ingredients. Beef, BBQ Sauce, Beans, Biscuits.

Dump mixture into a casserole dish, and top with uncooked biscuits. That's it!

Begin by browning a pound or two of ground beef, maybe add in some onions if you’re so inclined.  Drain the beef and add 1 large can of pork and beans plus a cup of your favorite variety of bbq sauce.  Pour the mixture into a greased 13×9 casserole dish.  Top with buttermilk biscuits or crescent rolls.  The kids and I like to get creative with our biscuit making, but a tube of refrigerator biscuits will do fine.  And that’s all.  Bake it for about 30-40 minutes or freeze for another day. 

Click here for a printable version, and the calorie count, of this recipe.

I like to serve this recipe with celery and carrots and ranch dip. 


Unrelated cute kid picture.

Super Yummy Meatballs

I made these for Russell’s birthday party this past weekend, and they were a big hit.   I usually follow this one to a T, because it is perfect just the way it is. The only occasional thing I have done is to substitute the brown sugar with honey.    I must hail the local church cookbook for this delicious recipe.

These meatballs are sweet and smoky.  They are moist and yummy.  One dish will make 24 servings of 1 meatball each.  When I put this recipe into Spark Recipes, I was pleasantly surprised that they are only 300 calories per meatball.  They certainly don’t taste like it!

This is definitely a husband and kid friendly recipe.  I like to serve them with mashed potatoes and a side salad.  Enoy!!

Click here the Super Yummy Meatball Recipe, in a printable format.

I have no pictures of these delicious meatballs because my wonderful husband packed all the leftovers into his thermos for lunch before I could get to them!

So, you get a completely unrelated picture of Russell and Lucy enjoying one of Russell's birthday presents, a Leap Frog Tag Reading System.

Biscuits from Scratch

Simple ingredients for this simple recipe.

This is a simple, yet hard to perfect, recipe.  But it does well when you’re in a pinch and don’t have any Bisquick or refrigerator biscuits on hand.

Be sure to mix together the dry ingredients first.  And carefully measure….no guesstimating for this recipe.

When adding the shortening, it will take awhile to make the mixture uniform.  It doesn’t have to be perfectly uniform though, clumps add to the texture.  You really have to dig in and get your hands dirty for this, I’ve found no easier way.

Make sure to add the milk very gradually as well, and you *might* need to add a little more flour or milk to get the dough “just right.”

Roll out dough to 1" thickness.

Then, be sure to have a well floured surface to roll out the dough, and handle the biscuits lightly and quickly.

Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes, slather on some butter, let it melt, and eat while they’re still hot….ooooo….my stomach is growling!

I have frozen the uncooked dough, with minimal success.  This recipe is just really touchy, and I have a heck of a time making any sort of bread products from scratch.  If you have any tips or tricks for me….I’m all ears!!

Here’s the link. Let me know what you think!!


I love to let the kids help cut them out....and pick the shapes to cut them in.

Beef Salad Sandwiches


A while back, I was lamenting to a group of friends about my problem with roasts, and how they never seem to get eaten around our house.  This is when I learned about beef salad…you know, like tuna salad or egg salad sandwiches?  Except these are much better than that, because beef is the tastiest form of protein. 🙂 I know it sounds weird, but don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!!

It tastes much better than it looks...think tuna salad....without the fishy tuna taste.

This is so simple to make.  Cook a roast in a crock pot with some water and whatever sort of seasonings you prefer, maybe a splash of cider vinegar or tomato juice to tenderize.  Cook until roast falls apart.  About 4 to 6 to 8 hours — that’s the great thing about crock pots, they aren’t too scientific on their cooking times.  Separate meat from fat and bone as you shred with two forks.  Cool in fridge for at least an hour.  Mix with mayo (1 cup or more) and relish (3 tablespoons or to taste).  Put on bread and top with things like pickles, tomatoes, and/or lettuce.  During harvest  I will make a big batch of this and keep it in the fridge for quick meals on the go. Enjoy!

I like to top mine with pickles. They would also be good with cheese, lettuce, or tomato on top.

You don't need much to make these super delicious cold meat sandwiches

Click here for the link to

this super easy recipe.

Kids on Justin on the couch. They are all happy. 🙂

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