Since we decided to sell our house in June, my menu planning has been non-existent. It’s funny that I wrote about getting my groove back, only to have it all go haywire again.
Now that we are in the new house, we are not quite settled in. Actually, we don’t even have a pantry or space in our new small kitchen for food. This is our current pantry… Gasp! It’s terrible. I.DO.NOT.LIKE.IT. Actually, it’s not even a pantry- yet!
I love organization so this has been driving me crazy. The new pantry we ordered to extend our kitchen cabinets cannot ARRIVE FAST ENOUGH. (Floor to ceiling double pantry cabinets that will match the kitchen cabinets!) Until then, I remain feeling unsettled. Out of sorts.
Thank goodness for my freezer. It really is my best friend. It has saved me almost everyday.
I had a brilliant little spurt a few weeks ago where I found great deals on ground chuck (4 pounds!), flank steaks, and chicken. I had a mini-freezer cooking frenzy. I marinated a few chicken breasts and froze them. We marinated a few flank steaks and froze them. We browned and seasoned all four pounds of ground chuck and portioned them into eleven ziplocs.
Almost everyday between 4-5pm, I realize I don’t have a thing planned for dinner. Why does this sneak up on me EVERY SINGLE DAY lately? The ground chuck is by far the most versatile for last minute meals. (In my opinion)
Besides spaghetti, here’s what we’ve had for dinner lately, thrown together at the very last minute.
At around 5 pm last week, I googled “Easy Chili.” This was the first recipe I read, and just went with it. Click here to see the recipe. I did omit the beans and added more than a pinch of the chili powder and other seasonings. It was quite good. I wouldn’t say it was the best chili ever, but I’ll make it again. I also made Jiffy cornbread mini-loaves. I have a little mini meatloaf pan and like to use that for our cornbread. To make the cornbread dairy free and egg free, I used almond milk and Ener-G Egg Replacer. It turned out to be a great (last minute!) meal. And it fed us for a few days. Score!
Here’s a pic of the chili (with safe crackers and not the cornbread.)
You will need to first make sofrito.
1 lb or so of ground beef, chuck, round (whatever!)
Green pepper (Optional, I didn’t use it last time bc I didn’t have it.)
2-3 cubes of Sofrito (I freeze mine in ice cube trays. 1 cube=approx 1 ounce)
Either 3 TBS tomato paste OR 5-6 oz tomato sauce
1/2 to 1 cup of water
Lots of oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper
Adobo seasoning (Go light handed on this one!!)
2 tsp olive juice
As many or as little of green Spanish olives as you like (I use a lot!!)
Note: This is one of those family recipes that really don’t have measurements. The measurements are approximate and my mom and I have worked together to create these measurements as a guideline because I need measurements! However, this is a taste and add more if needed recipe.
1. Dump frozen pre-cooked ground beef into a heated pan. Add all of the ingredients, bring to a boil and let simmer. Taste and adjust according to your preference. This is supposed to taste very seasoned- not bland. So be very generous when adding your seasonings! As it simmers, you may or may not need to add more water. You don’t want the picadillo to be too soupy or too dry. You want a little bit of liquid but not too much.
2. Serve over rice. (This is where the liquid is delicious- flavoring the rice!)
Here’s what my most recent picadillo looked like.
The freezer has really been a lifeline lately. You fellow food allergy mamas know we can not just order take out. We have to have a plan or at least something frozen that can save us from insanity (or sadness. There, I said it. I had a moment this week where I felt sorry for myself because I was tired, the Huzz was traveling for work, and I wanted to pick up a $5 Little Cesaer’s pizza. I couldn’t and didn’t, of course. I ended up making the picadillo. I was rewarded when my toddler said, “I like this beef and rice!”) But I digress…
If you want to see my recipes for other ways to use ground beef and freeze it, click here.
If you have some recipes to share, please do! I need more things to cook today in an hour and a half when it’s dinnertime… Thanks! 🙂