Sunday, November 7, 2010

Taco Soup and Freezer Tips

Last week we had a great evening sharing ideas and tips for making freezer meals for our families. Having a few meals made ahead of time can give us better quality time with our families on those nights that we serve those meals. It also gives us nutritional meals when our evenings are packed full running the kids from place to place and we return home for a quick supper together.

Below is a recipe that we sampled that would be nice to prepare ahead of time to serve on those chilly fall nights. The Taco Soup recipe uses 7 canned items, which would also make it a great meal to put in your 3 month supply of meal makings. You can use ground beef that you have previously cooked and frozen, or make this recipe up the night you need it and freeze the leftovers for a future meal.

Taco Soup Shaleen Wilding

3 cups ground beef/onion, cooked
1 can black beans
1 pkg. Taco seasoning
1 can corn
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 pkg. dry Ranch dressing
1 can great northern beans
1 can Rotel tomato and chilies
1 can kidney beans
1 1/2 cups water
cheddar cheese, shredded
tortilla chips
sour cream

Brown hamburger with diced onion (or use frozen and cooked ground beef/onion). In large pot dissolve taco seasoning and dry Ranch dressing in water. Add ground beef and canned items, including the juice (do not drain cans – most of the cans are about 16 oz. cans). Heat till hot, 30-40 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Oh-so-good!

Also, there are many online resources that can help as we look for ideas, recipes, and answers to our questions. One of my favorite sites is Another site that Colette brought to my attention last week is
Some handy tips I found this week on that site are listed below:

Surprising Foods You Can Freeze

You already know that the freezer is a good place to store steak and chicken. But it works equally well for some far less obvious items.

Try freezing the following. You'll save money, waste less — and make cooking a lot more convenient. Go to and click on the food item you are interested in for more information in freezing it.

EGGS: 1 year

Crack open and mix in a touch of salt (if using for savory dishes) or sugar (for baking or desserts); place in freezer bags or airtight containers.


Brown rice has a higher oil content than white rice, so its shelf life isn’t nearly as long. But it’ll keep for several months longer if you freeze it.

BUTTER: 6 months

Butter freezes well, so stash a stick or two in the freezer (leave in the original wrapping and place in a freezer bag) and you’ll always have some on hand when you need it.

MILK: 3 months

If you’re constantly running out, freeze a backup supply in an airtight container. Thaw in the fridge and stir well before using — the texture may be a little grainy, but it's fine for cooking and usually okay for drinking.

• NUTS - INCLUDING PECANS, ALMONDS, WALNUTS: 1 -2 years (depending on the type)

Thanks to their high oil content, nuts are especially prone to going rancid. Freeze them and they’ll stay fresher longer.


Most recipes call for only a sprig of herbs, but you have to buy the whole bunch. Freeze what you don’t use in ice cube trays, covered with a bit of water, and then transfer to freezer bags.

TOMATO PASTE: 3 months

Rarely do you need to use the whole can at once. Freeze dollops of leftover tomato paste on a cookie sheet or in ice cube trays and transfer to freezer bags for use in future recipes.

BREAD: 3 months

If you can never seem to finish a whole loaf before it gets rock-hard or moldy, freeze it. Bread toasts just fine, straight out of the freezer.

MAPLE SYRUP (100% PURE): keeps indefinitely

Sure, it’s more expensive than the imitation stuff. But pure maple syrup keeps forever in the freezer — so you’ll never have to waste a delicious drop.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Freezer Meals

Many sisters in the ward have expressed an interest in learning more about freezer meal preparation and to share ideas and recipes. I will be collecting your favorite freezer meal ideas and recipes so I can print them out to share with everyone at an upcoming freezer meal activity where we can sample different freezer meals and share ideas of how to utilize your freezer to cut down on meal preparation time for whatever family situation you may have.

I would like to share one of my favorite freezer meal recipes: Breakfast tacos. These are easy to prepare and great to have on hand for a fast and healthy breakfast. Also, the recipe is adaptable to the tastes of your family.

Breakfast Tacos

18 eggs
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 lb. Jimmy Dean’s sausage (I use regular)
1/2 pkg. hash browns (use about 15 oz.)
4 Tblsp. oil
24 flour tortillas (we like the thinner ones—Fajita style, small size)
(I use Mi Casa brand flour tortillas, fajita style)

Cook the sausage, drain, set aside. Beat the eggs well and cook. Cook the oil with the hash browns on a griddle or skillet, until browned. Mix all ingredients (except tortillas) together in a very large bowl and mix lightly. Put 1/3 cup of mixture in warmed tortilla and roll up. Repeat with the other tortillas. Wrap in foil. Bake in oven, on cookie sheet, till warmed through. Serve with salsa, sour cream, etc. To freeze for later use, put foil wrapped breakfast tacos in a freezer Ziploc bag and freeze. To use, defrost and remove breakfast taco from foil and then microwave till warm. (about 20 seconds) Or, bake on a cookie sheet in the oven (still in foil) until warmed through. We love to make these up ahead of time and then you have a quick breakfast option when you are on the run.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Slow Cook Chili

I first met Andrea at a Relief Society Enrichment night in which sisters had brought their favorite chili to share. Hers was the chili that I loved the most and I asked her for the recipe. I like it because it’s not too spicy, but you can add more chili powder if you want. Another reason I really love this recipe is because it is a great recipe for your three month supply because it uses cans of beans and tomatoes. I keep cans on hand because I can throw it together at lunchtime and let it simmer until dinner and then it’s all ready to serve. Just add some Fritos, cheese, and sour cream if you want to make it extra special.

Slow Cook Chili from Andrea Cockrell

Brown together:
1 pound super lean ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
Drain Fat.

2 cans diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 can tomato sauce (8 ounces)
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can pinto beans, rinsed
1 can black beans, rinsed

Add the secret sauce:
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1-2 tablespoons sugar

Simmer 1-2 hours. ( I simmer on low in my Crock-pot) Serve.
Note: This is delicious served with grated cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and Frito chips to add crunch and saltiness. Yum! This chili also freezes well for using later. It’s also great to use to make chili macaroni or Navajo Tacos if you have any leftovers.

Bread Machine Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I (Mary Ellefson) love this bread because it was an easy way to start my family out eating wheat bread. Only 1/3 of the flour is wheat flour so it isn't too heavy. It helped me convert over to using some wheat in my bread and my kids barely noticed. It’s also easy to make for busy moms because it uses a bread machine. The machine does all the work and you have fresh bread to enjoy. It is especially delicious warm with honey drizzled on it! It’s also great toasted!

1 cup water (70° to 80°)
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tblsp. honey
2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt

In bread machine pan, place all ingredients in order above. Select the regular bread cycle for the 1 1/2 lb. loaf (not whole wheat bread cycle). Let the machine do the rest. After dough has mixed about 5 minutes you may want to check the dough: add 1 to 2 Tblsp. of water or flour if needed. I usually need to add a little more flour so the dough won't be too sticky. When the baking cycle is over remove bread and enjoy!

Yield: 1 loaf, 16 slices in a 1 1/2 lb. loaf) One slice equals 127 calories, 146 mg sodium, 0 cholesterol, 20 gm carbohydrate, 3 gm protein, 4 gm fat.

From Quick Cooking Nov./Dec. 1998

Canning Wheat

In April a few of us got together to try out our ward’s wheat grinder and to can some wheat into the #10 cans for long term storage. The machines were easy to figure out and we got over being intimidated by them. Afterwards we enjoyed some fresh whole wheat bread and whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. We would like to invite sisters that are interested in learning how to use the canner to get together sometime to can some products so you can know how to use it on your own. The canning machine is available to be checked out for use from our Food Storage Center in Round Rock. The wheat grinder is available through Mary Ellefson if you would like to grind up some wheat so you can start baking with it!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

PIzza Bubble

Here's a new "Off the Shelf" recipe! Looks good and using sale items, this would be pretty cheap!

Pizza Bubble
2 cans Pillsbury Biscuits
1 16 oz jar of pizza sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 green pepper, chopped
1/3 C. chopped onion
4 oz pepperoni
1 8oz package shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Directions: Combine the pizza sauce and cream of mushroom soup in a large bowl. Add the peppers and onions. Cut the pepperonis in half and cut the biscuits into fourths. Add to pizza sauce mixture. Lastly add 1 cup of cheese to the mixture. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Top with remaning cheese and return to oven until melted. Enjoy!! Serves 6-8.
Notes: You can easily change this recipe to suit your taste. Don’t enjoy green peppers? Add olives instead!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

50 Things to Make With a Jar of Pasta Sauce

Wow! Here is a great resource for recipes ideas using a jar of pasta sauce. Check it out!!