empanadas


Feeding Hungry Boys

I am totally digging this series! Aren't you? Well, maybe you're not quite there yet, but you will be when you see your sons grab one of your frozen, homemade baked goods from the freezer, when hunger hits around the clock.

These delicious baked goods are my empanadas. You can fill them with anything your children like. This is not the time to fill with something you'd like to see them eat, like a spinach feta, empanada  *ahem* no, fill it with familiar, homey flavors, such as cheeseburger and pizza! All your hard work will pay off and will make for quick options all week long.

As a recap: creating a baking day in your week to devote to some freezer meals, is a time savor in the long run, will save you money feeding these starving boys, and keep them fed well. It's well worth the effort because feeding your kids is serious business. You don't want to feed them cheap fillers. And besides, when you see that your grocery bill is kept down, which it will, BELIEVE ME, you will use this method of feeding your hungry kids, over and over again! 

Getting your freezer stocked seems overwhelming at first, but it isn't. Don't try to tackle it all in one baking day. Use a full month to get the freezer where you want it, creating a different baking and cooking plan each week and using opportunities when you are making a meal for your family for dinner, that you'd like to freeze, too, and making an abundance. Soon you'll have that stocked dream freezer to feed your hungry boys and your hard work will be so satisfying. You'll know you've fed your family well, controlled ingredients, saved money and your kids will crown you, "Best Mom". Well, sometimes, us Moms don't get the accolades we deserve most of the time, it's a thankless job on the daily, but you'll still feel the satisfaction just them eating what you've made, on the quick. In the long-run, it makes your life easier. 







These are flakey, delicious, and out of control. Using my go-to pie crust recipe and some easy fillings, make this a reliable freezer snack/meal.

I did bake these off rather than freezing them unbaked because I wanted it to be fast. Hungry boys are too hungry and won't even grab for them. If the agony of the preheat of the oven wasn't enough, the thought of waiting 10-15 minutes to bake these suckers will surely kill them off. I have five boys, and if they can't get to food fast, it's not worth eating, they just shrivel up and die. 

What makes these fast is that they are frozen, fully baked, in individual bags. To reheat, all they have to do is pop into a 500 degree, preheated, oven (smokin, hot) to get it toasty, fast, in about 5-8 minutes, tops.

They can warm in a microwave, but they won't experience that crispy exterior of the crust. By fully baking and then freezing individually, oven baking will be a breeze. I've nailed it! A fast meal, homemade, easy to eat, and still keeping its integrity.

You will find my flakey, fail-proof, pie crust recipe, HERE.

For the filling, you can choose to fill anyway you'd like! Let's not forget this can be a sweet treat, too. My apple pie filling is on my pie crust recipe's page or shoot, Nutella and mini marshmallows sound good, too. Let your guide be your mama instinct on your boys' taste.

I made cheeseburger and pizza. (Taco would be an awesome flavor profile, too!) 

Cheeseburger filling:
1 lb. of ground hamburger
1/2 diced onion
1 tsp. granulated garlic
salt and pepper to taste
water

Grated cheddar cheese

Brown the hamburger meat. While it's browning, dice your onion and put in with the hamburger, stirring and browning and adding your spices. I add water so it creates kind of like a gravy. I do this with my taco meat, too. Let mixture cool while you roll out the dough.

Grate your cheese and have a pile on hand to easily fill your dough and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Empanada tops:
one egg with a splash of water
granulated garlic
dried parsley
salt and pepper

For your egg wash, stir an egg in a small bowl with a splash of water and whisk with a fork. Set aside.

Directions:
Roll out your pie crust, after it has chilled for about 30 minutes, on a floured surface; rolling thin. Cut into small circles using a large mouth mason jar or large round cookie cutter. I rolled mine out a bit more to make more of an oblong shape. 

Place a small scoop of your cooled hamburger mixture on one half of the cut-out and a heap of shredded cheese. Fold over press together with the tines of a fork. 

Here is what sets the regular ol' empanada to zesty, Jenny, empanadas: season the tops! Brush with the egg wash and I seasoned mine with a little granulated garlic, parsley flakes, and a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper. Prick with the tines of a fork to release steam while baking.



Bake off in a 400 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. First, try one for yourself. Dip in some ketchup, if you please, and let your taste buds do the talking! Good, em' I right? Let cool completely, wrap in individual, freezer quart-sized bags and then fill a large freezer, labeled zip bag for easy organization. Reuse these quart-sized, bags, as you will use quite a bit. 

Pizza fillings are just a little pizza sauce, your same browned hamburger meat and all the pizza toppings are your kids' favorite. Same drill with the prepping, baking and freezing. Don't forget to label and you're set!

Feeding hungry boys can be a reality, girls! We can do it. More to come this week!! Enjoy and comment on how your empanadas turned out...I'd love to hear!



homemade frozen personal pizzas


Feeding Hungry Boys

Welcome to my new series, Feeding Hungry Boys. 

This series came about because of my absolute necessity of finding ways to feed all my hungry boys, I have five of them...and 3 hungry girls, without constantly having to be in the kitchen. I didn't like that their go-to was junk cereal, and I didn't like having to listen to all the whines from my boys telling me there isn't any food in the house. 

I needed to take action right away, making meal and snack-time easier, and well, keeping boys' hunger pangs at bay; I'm excited to share with you what I've learned.

Those that follow this blog know how I feel about creating a baking day in your week. It is a necessity in order to feed your family well and save you money. The cost of some flour, oil, and eggs, doesn't even touch the processed junk in the middle isles of your grocery store in terms of price and nutrition. When you bake or prepare freezer foods, you're baking and cooking in abundance! Mark it in your planner and do not throw a dentist appointment on this day. Reserve it as your day to get some baking and cooking done that will last you well into the second week or a full month depending on your family's size and how much you freeze and bake on your day(s).

It's going to take some time to get your freezer stocked, and this is the idea; you want a stocked freezer. You can do this by creating a baking day like we discussed earlier, and by simply waiting until you are making a particular meal you want to keep handy, like pizza, and making a ton. Do the same (for example) taco meat on taco night.

I won't waste another minute. My first, freezer quick meal for boys (or hungry girls) is my personal pizzas. If you homeschool, this will be a godsend for lunch, if you don't, this is the perfect after school snack. This is also amazing for a quick dinner. Perfect for the weekend, it's perfect for anytime a boy says, "Mom, I'm hungry!"

Below are my, par baked (baked off for 5 minutes at 450 degrees), personal-sized pizzas. Allow to cool, label and freeze in individual freezer bags. To reheat, Preheat oven to 500 degrees, take frozen pizza out of zip bag and place on cookie sheet, and bake for only 10 minutes or until crispy and lightly golden! This is so delicious, it's homemade and you're feeding them easily and on the cheap!! 





These pizzas were taken out of the freezer and baked for 10 minutes in a 500 degree oven.

before they hit the oven for their par bake debut
do you see the deliciousness??



Below is another option for quick pizzas in your week. On Friday night, pizza night, I make an abundance of dough and keep extra dough in a greased ziplock bag in the fridge to pull out, roll out, top with my favorite toppings and put in a 450 degree for 15 minutes or until golden and crispy for quick pizzas for lunch or dinner! The crust just gets better and better sitting in the fridge as it ferments and gets that perfect chew and flavor.

Keep your toppings chopped and cheese shredded for easy toppings for your pizzas all week. Really, it makes it a snap to roll out and throw a pizza in the oven!

pizza dough can sit in the fridge for up to, and no longer than, 5 days
My pizza crust recipe that is simple and delicious is found, HERE
My pizza sauce, HERE

My boys have been pulling these out and making themselves pizzas for weeks and the results are nothing short of miraculous. Miraculous in that I've fed my hungry boys a delicious, homemade meal, and I didn't even have to barely lift a finger! 

Well, until dinner-time.

What are your hungry boy, hacks? Please share below!


snack-size cinnamon rolls


This mom of eight has a wonderful baking tip for you that you mamas are going to flip about.

Cinnamon rolls on the quick and because of your baking day, using all natural ingredients. 

You're welcome!! I share this because I love you...

Perfect quick and easy breakfast (or anytime snack) for your family and it all begins with your baking day. These are moist, soft, billowy clouds that will be your new go-to treat. I make these just by using my bread recipe

On my baking day when I bake-up my routine four loaves, I reserve one of the loaves for cinnamon rolls to freeze. 

This tip I'm about to share will change the way you bake and freeze your cinnamon rolls: Roll and cut small, bake, and freeze, two each in a snack size bag, and put those bags into a freezer, gallon-size bag. 



Label and freeze, pull-out when needed, microwave for 40 seconds and ice. I even have a quick icing tip for you!



Pour 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 tsp. of milk (add a drop of vanilla if you like) in a snack-size zipper bag. Kids will love to do this part! Simply zip and  squish around until you get that recognizable icing texture: smooth and creamy. Add more powdered sugar if need be to get the consistency you like. 

Here's the fun part kids will love...snip a tiny piece off the corner of the icing's bag and let them drizzle it on! Add sprinkles if they please and, HELLO! Amazing, quick, more than delicious, and was easy, too. 

Get organized in your kitchen with a baking day every week. It will save you money. It will save you time. And it will crown you, Best Mother. 

No joke. 

Until you tell them to clean their room at least.

Bake-on my friends and enjoy the rewards of these tips and your baking day!



chocolate chip cookie in a mug



I found my go-to! My go-to when I am craving something sweet like a mad woman. A quick-fix that I can make right under my kids' noses and they won't even realize what I'm doing, kinda thing. Yes, I love the microwave mug cakes, but a chocolate chip cookie? Where has this recipe been all my life. 

Enough chatting... let's get down to the recipe, shall we?

PRINT ME

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. granulated white sugar
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
3 drops vanilla
small pinch kosher salt
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup flour
2 heaping tbsp. chocolate chips

Instructions:
Start by melting your butter in your mug. Melt to just melted, not boiling.
Add sugars, vanilla and salt. Stir to combine. 
Separate your egg and add the yolk only to your cup. Stir to combine, add your flour and chocolate chips. Give a final stir.

Bake in microwave between 40-60 seconds. Checking for doneness at 40 sec. Do not bake past one minute as it does continue to cook when it's out of the microwave. 

Yum! Dig in!!


pecan pie muffins




These are just like a pecan pie. It is simply made my making a quick, pecan filling and pouring over a basic muffin recipe. Yummo!! Perfect for Thanksgiving now that I'm thinking about it. Keep this recipe in your Thanksgiving recipe board on Pinterest so you don't forget! Of course it's, oh so perfect anytime of year. I made these for breakfast the other day and knowing full well, my kids would not have the palette for it made a handful for my husband and I and made the rest of the batter, blueberry and chocolate chip. 

Follow this recipe for my muffin batter. It's the perfect basic recipe. Then, simply make your pecan filling (recipe below), cut out a little hole off the top of your muffin and pour over the top. Be generous! 

For variations, try separating out your batter for blueberry, chocolate chip, plain for dunking in warm melted butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. The possibilities are endless!

pecan pie filling:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, beat with a fork
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 cup finely chopped, pecans

directions:
Combine and stir all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until it comes to a bubble and becomes thick, about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and pour over your prepared muffin.


Enjoy!

strawberries and cream crepes






I am in looooove with crepes. You can use them for both savory and sweet dishes and is a snap to make. I mean a snap! Recipes using crepes as a savory dish coming soon, since I'd like to show-off my chicken, cheese, and caramelized onion rendition. 

You can also make chocolate crepes. Oooooh how I love chocolate. These taste like a thin chocolate cake wrapped in whatever you choose. Below, I wrapped my chocolate crepe in strawberries, bananas, pecans and filled with homemade lightly sweetened whipped cream. For the finale, I topped with chopped pecans and gave it a white chocolate drizzle. This, my friends, will blow your mind! 












Let's get to the recipes, shall we?

PRINT ME

Original crepe recipe:

1 cup flour
1 tsp. white sugar
3 eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter, melted


Directions

Sift together flour, sugar and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together with an electric mixer. Beat in flour mixture until smooth; stir in melted butter.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 2 tablespoons for each crepe. Tip and rotate pan to spread batter as thinly as possible. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

I made up all of them and kept in my fridge to pull out and use whenever I have the craving. I quick heat in the microwave will do the trick to rewarm and fill with your favorite topping.

Chocolate crepes:


4 large eggs
1 cup milk at room temperature
1/2 all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 12 cubes

Directions:

Combine the eggs, milk, flour and cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and whisk until the mixture forms a smooth batter.

Preheat a 10-inch nonstick crepe pan or skillet. Melt 1 cube butter in the pan. Add 1/4 cup of batter and quickly tilt the pan to form an even coating of batter on the bottom of the pan. Cook until set, about a minute. Using a heat-resistant spatula, careful loosen the sides and gently flip the crepe over. Cook for 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining batter and butter.

Filling: You can use anything that sounds good to you, that's the fun in making crepes. I filled my original crepe with homemade sweetened cream, sliced strawberries, bananas, raspberries and dusted with powdered sugar.

Chocolate filling: strawberries, bananas, chopped pecans, homemade whipped cream, and topped with more pecans and a white chocolate drizzle. 

original crepe recipe adapted from allrecipes
chocolate recipe adapted from Food Network


Lasagna Soup



Ummm, this is outstanding! 

Meals such as: tacos, enchiladas, and lasagna, to name a few, are all going under delicious soup versions of themselves, lately, and I couldn't resist to see what all the fuss was about. Let me tell you that the souped-up version of this lasagna is so over-the-top, that I may never make casserole style ever again. It's that good! The best part is that all the cheesy, gooey, pasta, tomatoey, deliciousness we enjoy from lasagna are all in the soup. 

You must give this recipe a go...you will love it
PRINT ME

Ingredients You'll Need:

2 lbs. ground beef
Italian seasoning such as: basil, granulated garlic, oregano, anise seed, dried parsley, and salt and pepper. This seasoning will be used for the soup and ground beef.
1/4 cup sugar 
2 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes such as, Muir Glen
2 cups chicken stock
1 box of your favorite pasta. I used fusilli

I small container whole milk ricotta
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tsp. each salt and pepper
1-2 tsp. dried parsley

Grated parmesan and mozzarella, with a sprinkle of dried parsley to garnish

Directions:

In a dutch oven, brown your beef, breaking it into small pieces. Drain if needed, and place back into same skillet over medium heat with a little water, about 1 tbsp. or so. Add your Italian spices, about a tsp. each, adding more for taste. Stir to incorporate and let marry for about 5-10 minutes on a simmer.

Cook your pasta in large pot according to box instruction, drain, and set aside. 
*I don't add my pasta into the soup because it absorbs the liquid and loses its shape and texture.

Puree your tomatoes in a blender until smooth, and add to your seasoned beef along with the stock, sugar and seasoning and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile in a small bowl combine your ricotta, parmesan cheese and seasoning and stir until combined.

To Assemble:

Ladle soup into bowls, add a scoop of pasta, top with your ricotta mixture and garnish!

Enjoy!!