Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How the Hill Family Does It.....

I know it has been a while since my last post; my apologies.  Unfortunately, things have been a bit busy around here.  I know I should be used to it, but I still feel overwhelmed at times.  A lot of people ask how we do things around here, so I thought I would share.  We are a busy, one income household family of four; therefore things are often scheduled (especially the food).  I make a lot of freezer meals for during the week.  I usually plan one day during the week to make the bases for our meals.  I start with the ever favorite chicken; If I don't use one from our farm I buy only the organic, free range whole chickens (they come in a two-pack).  I rough chop two medium onions, two celery stalks, two carrots, add chicken, and cover with water in a crock pot and let it go.  At the end of the day I pull out the chickens to cool and strain stock.  I freeze the stock in ice cube trays and the rest in freezer containers.  The ice cube trays make easy seasoning for potatoes, vegetables, or whatever.  The freezer containers are great for soups, casseroles; you get the idea.  I do it this way because many store-bought stocks contain allergens and everything just tastes better when it's homemade.  The chickens (2)- I pull the meat off and shred; this is enough for four casseroles.  If you're not going to go ahead and make the casseroles; go ahead and separate anyway and freeze for later use.  While my chickens are in the crock pot I'm usually going ahead and preparing the pasta, rice, and/or biscuit batter for my casseroles.  I buy the aluminum pans with the tops for the casseroles to be stored in and place them in any one of our freezers.  I usually go with a Poppyseed Chicken Casserole over rice, A Mexican Style over rice, an Easy Baked Pasta Version or two, and it's always a hit with Chicken Pot Pie.  Keep in mind that our family loves our Farm-style Sustainable Lifestyle.  Therefore, I'm usually setting out deer meat to be ground up for Chili, and I make a lot of meatballs to be used in Baked Pastas for the freezer or I freeze the meatballs to be used for sandwiches or spaghetti.  We also have the pigs processed in the winter and the pork sausage can be used in practically anything.  My son's favorite is when I cook crumbled sausage till done and combine with waffle batter along with shredded cheese; I always make a country gravy to spoon over waffles in lieu of syrup.  Make these waffles in two batches and you've got a great quick breakfast during the school week.  Needless to say; I cook as much as I can when I can and store in the freezers.  It makes the busy school days so much easier and allows us the time to spend as a family instead of rushing around.  Don't get me wrong; we eat healthy.  Everything we eat is as fresh as possible and I include a ton of veggies with everything I can and even when I shouldn't (love the food processor).  It's great making a homemade spaghetti sauce or chili and adding pureed steamed veggies for that boost of flavor and health benefits; I've even added pureed spinach to brownie batter (it doesn't change the taste).  Puree your extra veggies before they have a chance to go bad and freeze in ice cube trays and then place them in a freezer bag for later use.  Yep, I'm full of all kinds of tricks.  I actually find it hard to eat out at chain restaurants now; my food is just better and all of that processing tends to upset my tummy nowadays.  Anyway, now you have a small taste of our daily life in the kitchen!   I've included some pics of our backyard buddies!