New England Clam Chowder

I'll be honest, I was a bit worried about this recipe. Mostly because the potatoes in my last recipe turned out like crud. I mean like, serious crud. Something about the russet variety didn't freeze well, nor did it taste good either.
It was completely horrid.

You don't get that recipe.

But this one... you get. Because, thank goodness, red potatoes freeze VERY well and this recipe turned out amazing! Even fooled my seafood-hating-children into eating it. They asked what was in it and I said, "Bacon, Potatoes, and Cheese... you like cheese." I just left out the clams part. And boy am I glad I did. They ate it! Didn't complain either(Though the kid that knew there was clams, only ate what she 'had' to, but she cleaned her plate. So she couldn't have believed it to be that bad!).

And I really wasn't sure how this would be coming out of the freezer, but it was fabulous. I'm so glad I made a double batch! So, if you'd like to make your own (and yes, it tastes like New England Clam Chowder!) here is the recipe.

 Put the following ingredients in a gallon ziplock:
1/2 pound bacon diced as small as possible, raw
1 (6.5-ounce) can minced clams, drained and chopped again small (if you have picky eaters)
5 small red potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (I didn't peel mine, because I love color in my food)
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 cup sliced celery
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups chicken broth

Write on the outside of the bag Cook 6-8 hours on low. Blend some of the soup to naturally thicken. Then add 2 cups half-and-half and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

I served ours with Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread (Added 2 tablespoons of sugar to the mix) and it was just the touch it desired! So definitely serve with cornbread.


Beef Quinoa Stew

Sometimes a recipe comes to me quite by mistake. I stick something in the crockpot and when I test it out half way through the cooking process, I think, "wow, this could really be good in THIS." That is when a recipe is born. And not only was it born, but it was devoured. Mostly by the adults, but the kids tolerated it. See it has the two deadly sins.

Mushrooms and Onions

At least the kids think so anyway. But we all know better.

So here is the fabulous recipe that I will surely make again and again.

And again.

Put the following ingredients in a gallon sized ziplock bag and seal:
2 pounds beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into thin slices (about 1/2 inch thick and 3 inches long)
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound mushrooms trimmed and quartered

Write on the outside of this bag: Low 8 hrs - high 6. Add second bag at hour 4.

In another gallon sized ziplock add the following:

16oz mixed frozen veggies (carrots, corn, beans, etc)
15oz canned diced potatoes (or fresh, make sure they are diced small)
1.5 cups of Quinoa
1  teaspoons of pepper

On the outside of this bag, write: Add to crockpot at hour 4 with 4-5 cups of beef broth.

This soup is hearty and seriously delicious. If you use a low sodium beef broth, be sure to add some salt, but I didn't and it didn't need any.


Wheat Free Oatmeal Cookies

I know what you're thinking: How can any cookie taste good without wheat? Bear with me, and I swear I'll convince you.

I know what else you're thinking: How is this a freezer friendly meal? Well, it's not. It's just a great wheat free recipe that I've found and want to make sure I catalog so I can find again when I'm out and about. It does help that the dough can be frozen  on a baking tray then packaged together into single serving bites and cooked on the fly. So technically it totally belongs here. (Let's just go with it!)

So this was my first holiday season being wheat free. This is not a choice, this is a requirement my body has decided was necessary. I'm allergic. Stupid body. We assume I've been allergic most of my life (because of issues that were unexplained as a child/young adult/adult) but until I had a doctor who knew what he was looking at, I was never tested for food allergies because I wasn't reacting the way most do.

But I digress. This holiday season I was determined to find some great wheat free recipes that I could cook and make people beg for. Because I enjoy cooking and when people hear "these are wheat free" they usually don't touch them. Am I right? Well that is my experience anyway.

My sister and I decided to make oatmeal cookies one evening and while she made the jo-normal, run of the mill oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, I had to improvise with what I had. I knew the rule about xanthan gum (1/2 tsp for every 1 cup you replace of wheat flour) and had some oat flour, so I decided, what the heck. And this recipe was born.

My husband brought these cookies with him to work and no one would believe they were wheat free. NO ONE. But they were. And to prove it... I am going to make you prove it to yourself.  But because I like to "take one for the team" I am going to go make a batch right at this very moment. Only to show you how wonderful they are. And maybe because I have no pictures (that I can find) of these totally amazing cookies.

So here is the recipe, go whip some up and I will be back to share pics before you can read the next line (the magic of the internet).

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups oat flour
3/4 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cinnamon chips

You can make your own oat flour by sticking old fashion oats in a blender and whirring them up until they are flour. This is much cheaper then buying prepackaged or even bulk.

Good rule of thumb when replacing wheat flour with oat flour is: For every 1 cup you replace, add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum.


Corn Chowder

When I did my shopping this month, I spent a whole day scouring the internet for new freezer friendly meals (I hadn't tried). After shopping, I cooked all day and prepped all  my months meals. All in the matter of 24 hours. This is what is called ONCE A MONTH COOKING. And I love it. Especially on days like today when I'm totally not into spending any more time in the kitchen then I have to.

Yesterday, I pulled out the Corn Chowder from the freezer and knew it would hit the spot for at least 2 of the children as they would be frozen to the bone from sledding. So this morning, I stuck the half frozen meal into the crockpot (added the warmed chicken broth I'd just reconstituted) and forgot about it the rest of the day.
Shown here with my fresh Oat Flour Bread
I came back to the crockpot around 3:30 (after picking up the children who were disguised as frozen popsicles), and I tested out what would be our dinner in an hour and a half. Oh goodness, was it ever good. Now the real test would be the kids. Because after all, it has onions. I'm happy to report, that two of the three of the kids didn't even notice the onions and the third just knew I'd put something "yucky" in it that he didn't like. But he's been my picky eater since he was two, so I wasn't so surprised.

One thing I will say is that while this soup had exceptional flavor, I almost thought it could have done with half as many onions OR maybe the onion I used was just super potent  Whatever the case, it was a hit regardless. Just my preference would have been a little less onions. Dragon breath is only ever attractive to those who all eat the same meal.

Ingredients for the Ziplock:
1 - 16oz bag frozen white corn
2 - cans corn (and juice)
4 cups chicken broth
1 small diced onion
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ounces (1/2 block) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese
(You will also need a blender)

You will notice there is no addition of salt. The salt/sodium comes from canned corn and chicken broth. So if you use a salt free corn, or choose to use a low sodium chicken broth, be sure to taste before you serve.

For the freezer: Put everything but the chicken broth in a gallon zip lock. If you have a system that allows you to add liquids to the bag without spilling it all over the place, then go for it. I didn't feel like finding the tall Tupperware crock I use, so I opted to omit the chicken broth until the day of cooking.

Seal the ziplock well and put it inside another ziplock(especially if you do add the chicken broth before the freezer).

Label the bag with "ADD 4CUPS CHICKEN BROTH" if you didn't add the chicken broth. Be sure to write "LOW 6-8 hours" too.

Instructions for cooking: Defrost 12+ hours. Crockpot low 6-8 hours. 30 minutes before serve time for blending. If you have a hand blender (which I don't but soooo desire one), this would be the perfect time to use it and "chowder-fy" the soup. I used my regular blender (imagine the mess) and only blitzed about half the soup then poured it back into the crock. Serve with crusty bread and/or crackers.

Results: The results were wonderful but almost a little too soupy. Maybe I will use 1 cup less broth next time, but no one else seemed to care. It did leave the meat and potato folks of my house wanting more. They felt like this was not dinner, but more like a soup course and they still desired something to sink their teeth into. Upon further review, we all decided that next time I would add some sort of meat. In fact, ham, turkey, or chicken would be a fabulous addition. And it might be a great way to incorporate some of my left overs.

We will definitely make this again and again.

Corn dog bites...

This one is a simple yet profound find for me. Since discovering my allergies to wheat, soy, rice, peanuts, almonds, tomatoes (and still the list grows of possibles) I've had to completely eliminate some comfort foods that I love. Like corn dogs.

I know what you are thinking, come again? But seriously. I used to dream about state fair corn dogs... the one you actually purchase AT the state fair. The crispy kind with the honey butter cornbread and all beef frank. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

I would purchase state fair corn dogs from the grocery store and cook them up for us more often then probably a normal American family. But the fact was, they made me feel good and if I had at least one in my freezer, I felt that all was right with the world.

However, after such a treacherous diagnosis as I received -- Corn dogs were now out. Did that stop me from comforting my soul with these golden beauties? Nope. And they made me sick every time. But I had to right?


Enter these little gems. Aren't they cute?
And best of all, they are allergy free! Now I won't say it was easy adapting this recipe. If you are not wheat/soy/rice free, you can probably just use your favorite cornbread mix and these will turn out just as fabulous. But I couldn't and it took a few tries to get this right.

The first try was "edible". It wasn't amazing, nor was it anything I'd ever make again. But since I made 80 of them, into the freezer they went for a rainy--we are starving and need something edible--day.

The second try was tastier. I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Cornbread Mix and it was much better flavored and great consistency  But my hot dog bites were WAY TOO SMALL for the  kids of the peanut gallery. Everyone's a critic.

So armed with a new bag of Bob's and some Polish Beef Franks/Sausages(with cheese I might add) I went to it again. The results were a big ole fat win. I mean really, REALLY a win. They were gobbled and the left overs gobbled the next day and the next until I had requests to make more.


So really the recipe is that simple. Cornbread in a mini muffin tin and chunks of hotdog. But for those who need to make a grocery list, it's below:

1 1/2 cups of milk
1/3 cup or oil (or melted butter)
2 eggs 
1 package of franks
Butter for pan
  1. Mix cornbread in a bowl until well blended.
  2. Cut franks into large inch sized chunks.
  3. Butter your mini-muffin tin WELL! I used melted butter and a silicone brush. 
  4. Use a small scoop and put just over half the tin full.
  5. Shove your hotdog down the middle.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 375. 

Allow to cool completely before freezing. Store in freezer bag or container and take desired number of bites out and microwave until hot. (30-60 seconds for 3-4)

Here are the pictures below for the process I used to make them.


Crockpot Fajitas

I absolutely love fajitas, so when a freezer friendly recipe enterened my vision, I was all there.  It's so simple it's almost illegal! I kept thinking, why didn't I think of this?!

Ingredients for the Ziplock:
  • 1 lb of Whole Chicken Breasts (or any meat will work)
  • 3 Peppers (Green, Red & Yellow), sliced
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped/minced garlic 
  • 1 Package of Taco Seasoning (or you can make your own recipe here. )
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth
Throw everything into the zip lock and seal. That's it.

Instructions for cooking:
When you take it from the freezer you have two choices, dump in the crockpot frozen (just will take a little longer) or defrost in your frig the night before. Now, because I hate cut onion stinking up my frig, I always stick mine in frozen. Though if you double bag your meal, you won't have this issue.
  1. Pour the contents of the bag into the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hrs (or high for 3-4)
  2. Serve with tortillas and all the toppings - sour cream, guacamole, cheese, lettuce, etc.
Of course there are no photos because when the food is ready, the natives are restless and usually it's only after it's devoured that I remember I needed a photo. So, I am making this on Superbowl Sunday and will supply pictures at that time.

(Updated to say: Super Bowl Sunday came and went and no one thought of taking pics. Go me us. However, I know for a fact this is going to become a staple in this household because the kids [all three of them] asked for the leftovers on more then one occasion on separate days. So that is a total win.)