Sunday, June 29, 2008

Grilled Fish

This is my favourite recipe from my first round of cooking. I made it again last time, and it ended up being our anniversary dinner. :) There's really nothing about it that makes it a freezer meal - it's also very easy to throw together an hour before you want to eat.

Grilled Fish

1/2 c soy sauce
1/4 c water
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 1/4 lb frozen fish fillets (halibut, swordfish, tilapia, orange roughy)

Whisk marinade ingredients. If freezing, freeze marinade in a Ziploc bag. Tape to fish package.

To prepare for serving, thaw marinade and fish. Marinade fish for at least 30 min (up to a few hours). Remove fish from marinade. Set oven to broil (550*F). Place fish on cookie sheet and broil 10 min / inch thickness. If fish is more than 1" thick, turn after 10 minutes.

Serve with potatoes and Sautéed Napa Cabbage.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Iced Cap knock-off

All right... this recipe isn't for your freezer, but it's pretty darn good on a hot summer afternoon. We Canadians are familiar with the Tim Horton's Iced Cap - this is not exactly the same, but it's very very good.

Iced Cap
(can be made with regular coffee or decaf)
2 oz. boiling water
2 tablespoons instant coffee
2 heaping tablespoons sugar (or sugar substitute)
4-6 ice cubes
1/3 cup 15% cream. (or chocolate milk...or regular milk)
Mix first 3 ingredients together to make a syrup, put into blender. Add ice cubes and blend until slushy. Add cream and blend until frothy.

T-Ho's makes it with cream, which is part of what makes it so freaking awesome, but I can't do that in my kitchen without terrible guilt. We actually take the healthy route ;) and order them with chocolate milk when we do buy them. The at-home version is much, much cheaper, though, and doesn't involve me going away from my comfy house.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blackened Chicken


* 1 tablespoon paprika
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon pepper
* 1 teaspoon onion powder
* 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning


1. Blend all.
2. For Salmon: Rub onto 6 salmon fillets. Fry on med-hi for 2-3 min per side.
3. For Chicken: Rub onto 4 chicken breasts. Preheat oven to 350*F. Heat frying pan on med-hi. Cook 1 min/side to blacken. Transfer to oven. Bake 5-10 min until juices run clear.

This scales up nicely - I keep a bottle in my cupboard for whenever the mood strikes for fantastic blackened meat.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Take Two: Ginger and Old Favorites

This month's menu:

Chili Con Carne
Asian Chicken
Roast Beef Sandwiches Au Jus
Grilled Fish
Ginger Beef (modified)
BBQ Pulled Pork
Sweet and Hot Pasta Sauce
Baked Herb Fish
Aztec Quiche
Spiced Citrus Chicken
Honey Sesame Chicken
Sweet and Sour Ginger Chicken

Sloppy Joes

Yesterday, I started cooking a little after 11 am again (this seems to be when I get really moving on a Saturday), and was totally done by about 3 pm. Not all of this time was cooking, as I made a point to take a break and put my feet up for about 5 minutes every hour.

This month I also tried many more family favorite recipes. Last time, I just did what the book told me. This time, I used some recipes from the same book as last month (the fish recipes, sloppy joes, roast beef au jus, and aztec quiche). The rest are linked to the source, except BBQ pulled pork which is so easy I don't use a recipe. Just roast the roast in a slow cooker, drain and shred, and mix in as much barbeque sauce as it takes to make it a good texture.

I was somewhat less prepared this month than last month, but here is a step by step of my preparation:
1. Defrost 16 chicken breasts in microwave. (Should have taken them out and put them in the fridge a couple days before cook day... but this worked fine.)
2. Put them into 2 roasters and cook 50 minutes at 375*F.

3. Defrost 2 lb hamburger in microwave. Brown in frying pan.
4. Chop all veggies - 1 head broccoli, 3 carrots, 3 inches ginger. Juice lime. Separate 13 cloves of garlic.
5. Defrost round steak. Slice.
6. Assemble Beef recipes:
Chili - put together first, simmer in saucepan.
Sloppy Joes - assemble in frying pan beef was cooked in, simmer 10 min

Ginger Beef - cook steak slices, cook veggies (undercook slightly), assemble sauce. Froze this in 3 separate bags.
7. Assemble Chicken recipes:
Cube all chicken and divide into 4 containers.
Mix up each sauce, dump into one container. Label and freeze.
8. Assemble Pasta Sauce recipe. Simmer while doing fish recipes.
9. Assemble Fish recipes:
Put marinade or coating in bag. Freeze near fish.
10. Make sure everything is packaged and ready to be frozen!

The major gains of OAMC are in the things that are shared - cooking 4 meals of chicken at once, then splitting. Cooking the hamburger together and splitting saves dishes and time. Using the garlic press all day, then washing it at the end. Slicing a big chunk of ginger up all at once.

This month's menu is a little light on vegetable content, but veggies are easy to serve as a side. I typically microwave frozen veggies or microwave steam fresh veggies - either way, they take less than 5 minutes. Typical starchy sides will be potatoes (also often microwaved), rice (brown or white or a mixture), buns (the triangle ones from Costco), and whole-wheat pasta.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Here's the deal: I like to cook. Really. It's kind of fun to try new recipes, and it's way cheaper than eating out. Healthier, too.

The problem is that I work full time. It's not a terribly physically taxing job, but when I get home... I'm done. I don't really want to think up what to make for supper. I don't really want to do it. And neither does my husband.

Enter Once a Month Cooking (OAMC). I've only attempted this once, but so far, so good. The general idea is to cook and freeze a whole bunch of entrees, then eat them as you need them. We're just a two-person household, so a "two week menu" has nicely done us four weeks. I've been posting on the forums at The Nest, so my first few posts will just recap what I've said there. I hope to include some recipes and document my experience so I can get better at this crazy giant cooking.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Update (again)

I think I'm a convert.

We're down to the last few meals - tonight is Chicken Cattiatore. It's been probably about 50/50 on eating freezer meals and eating something else in our house. We have a weekly potluck, I don't mind cooking on the weekend, and we usually have homemade pizza once in a week. For the rest of the nights... it's been a lifesaver. I love not having to decide what's for dinner. I love knowing the major part of making it is done. I feel less resentment to DH for not cooking more. He helped do the big cooking day, so he's kind of "off the hook" in my head.

I'm planning my next round of cooking. I did 12 meals last time, and it lasted us about a month, so I'll aim for a similar amount this time. It took 4 cooking hours, plus a couple shopping hours. That's a little over an hour/week investment for sooo much peace.

Recipes since the last update:
Grilled fish - the best recipe of the bunch. Will make again next round.
Chicken spaghetti - freezing pasta is a mistake. Barely edible.
Mandarin Orange Chicken - okay... 3 stars of 5 for us.
Grilled Chile Pepper Cheeseburgers - fantastic. We cheated and used Costco burgers, but the concept was in the pre-made meal plan.
Rainy Day Chicken w/ Rice - my husband liked it better than me. Reminded me of something Mom used to make... a little to "cream of" for my taste.
Polynesian Pork Loin - again, a 3/5 recipe. Good, but a bit dry.
Blackened Chicken Breast - Fantastic! I already had this in my rotation. I love it.
Chicken Caccitore - 4/5. Pretty good, but not remarkable.
Meal on the Run Pork Loin - Great! Moist, easy, tastey.
Savory Beef - 3/5.

All we haven't tried is the Chile Verde. Wow! We still have a meal of the stew, and possibly another MOTR pork loin.