Category Archives: meal planning

Joan’s Cottage Cheese Pineapple Lime Salad Mold


by Deborah Taylor-Hough


This Sunday is Easter, and in honor of my mom, I’m sharing her special holiday recipe.  Mom’s holiday salad mold lives on in the family, and my dad still prepares it every year for our family’s Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  If there’s not at least a small scoop of this on my plate, it just doesn’t quite feel like a holiday meal.  It’s been in the family for at least 50 years.  A real blast from the past.  🙂

This recipe’s official name is “Pacific Lime Mold.”  Why Pacific?  Maybe because there was pineapple added to it?  It was created around the time period when Hawaii became a state, so maybe it was a nod to the islands?  I remember that I just called it “Mom’s Jello Thing.”  Other people in the family called it Joan’s Jello.

I suspect a lot of families had something similar appear on their family dinner tables back in the heyday of Jello recipes and aspics.  I sometimes think our moms and grandmoms all used the very same recipe booklets from the major food manufacturers.  Everyone seemed to make the same perennial goodies —  things like Green Bean Casserole with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, for example.

So without further ado, here’s the recipe for Mom’s jello thing.

Joan’s Cottage Cheese Pineapple Lime Salad Mold

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 small package lime flavored Jello
  • 1  9-oz can crushed pineapple (reserving juice)
  • 1 cup creamy cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or salad dressing)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve jello in boiling water, and stir in juice from pineapple.
  2. Chill in refrigerator until slightly thickened.
  3. Remove from refrigerator and beat until frothy.
  4. Fold in remaining ingredients.
  5. Pour into serving bowl or festive gelatin mold.
  6. Chill until set.
  7. Serve cold.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Deborah Taylor-Hough is the mother of three grown and nearly grown kids still at home, a full-time college student, a displaced homemaker trying to make ends meet on a limited budget, and the author of several older (but still in print) books including the popular Frozen Assets cookbook series.  You can visit Debi online at:  http://www.SimpleMom.com


Browse My Books:

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Filed under cooking, dinner, Easter, entertaining, family, food, holidays, homemaking, meal planning, party food, recipe, recipes, salad

A Secret to a Relaxed Holiday Dinner

Can you imagine a relaxed Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without needing to actually cook a turkey on the big day? You’d be able to enjoy the festivities as much as your friends and family!

Believe it or not, it’s possible to roast your turkey ahead of time and store the cooked meat in the freezer to reheat and serve on the big day. If this sounds a bit too much like eating leftovers, let me assure you that by following these simple freezing and reheating instructions, you’ll have moist, delicious turkey — and not one of your guests will suspect you didn’t spend the entire holiday slaving away in the kitchen keeping watch over a hot oven. Continue reading

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Debi’s Favorite Easter Recipe: Make-Ahead Chicken Packets


by Deborah Taylor-Hough


It was truly a sad day in our house when three of the four of us could no longer eat this particular meal. This recipe had become my go-to meal for Easter brunch — they’re actually quite elegant looking and they taste heavenly.

But sadly, now I’m the only person in our immediate family who can eat this anymore. I think I might make up a batch of them just for myself, however. It’s also a great way to use up leftover roasted chicken. 🙂

Serve this with steamed asparagus and a fresh tossed salad. Yum! Continue reading

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Mix-and-Match Skillet Meals


by Deborah Taylor-Hough


The following recipe is one I prepare regularly to use up leftovers or clear out the cupboards. I keep a copy of this taped to the inside of my pantry door at all times.

This recipe is adapted from my book, Mix-n-Match Recipes (now out-of-print). I’m always amazed at the meals I can create from these simple, basic formulas. I also save money by choosing ingredients I have on hand. Sometimes I even surprise myself with a delicious nearly-gourmet combination or two!

Also an excellent way to use up leftover turkey or ham from your holiday dinners.  🙂 Continue reading

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It’s National Frozen Foods Month! Come celebrate with me!

To celebrate National Frozen Foods Month, I’m going to be posting at least one freezer-related article, link, resource, or tip everyday throughout March on my Facebook Fan Page. Just “like” the page while you’re there so you’ll get the latest daily updates.

Click here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Simple-Mom/203857025823

Be sure to tell your freezer-cooking, convenience-loving, and money-saving friends!

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Debi’s Hacienda Breakfast Sandwich

In a hurry for breakfast but have a few minutes to scramble an egg? With no more effort, you can make this simple breakfast sandwich (or substitute the English Muffin for a corn tortilla for a gluten-free burrito option).

This recipe is for a single serving, but simply multiply each ingredient by the number of people you’re feeding. It doesn’t take much longer to scramble one egg for yourself or four for the family.

And making a breakfast sandwich at home is so much cheaper than buying one on the way to work at the local drive-thru.  Tastes better, too.

Enjoy!  😀 Continue reading

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Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month (42% off!)

Not sure how long this special deal/sale will last, but I thought I’d let you all know that the original Frozen Assets book is currently discounted by 42% on Amazon! That’s actually more of a discount than what I get when I order these books myself directly from my publisher. Seriously!

Frozen Assets – 42% off at Amazon.com

So if you’ve been meaning to order your own copy of Frozen Assets, this is definitely the time to do it.

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Mix-n-Match Soup Recipe

The following recipe is not only easy and delicious, it’s also a simple way to use canned, dried, and other easily stored food items in a delicious homemade soup. Excerpted and adapted with permission from Mix and Match Recipes: Creative Ideas for Busy Kitchens by me, Deborah Taylor-Hough (this title is currently out-of-print).

Mix-and-Match Soup (8 generous servings)

Broth (choose one)

  • Tomato: One 12-ounce can of tomato paste plus two 16-ounce cans of tomatoes with juice (chopped) plus water to equal 10 cups total
  • Chicken/Turkey: 10 cups broth or 4 bouillon cubes dissolved in 10 cups of water
  • Beef: 10 cups broth or 4 bouillon cubes dissolved in 10 cups of water

Protein (choose one — 1 pound or 2 cups, cooked)

  • Ground beef, browned
  • Leftover meatballs or meatloaf, chopped
  • Cooked chicken or turkey (cut up)
  • Ham (cut up)
  • Lentils
  • Frankfurters, sliced (or any sausage or Kielbasa)
  • Pepperoni, sliced
  • Beans, cooked or canned (pintos, kidney, Great Northern, etc.)

Grain (choose 1 or 2 for a total of 2 cups)

  • Rice, cooked (any variety)
  • Barley, cooked
  • Pasta, raw
  • Corn
  • Dumplings (add near end of cooking time)

Vegetables (raw, cooked or canned, choose 2 or more for a total of 1 to 2 cups)

  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Green beans
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips
  • Broccoli
  • Peas or pea pods
  • Cauliflower
  • Bell pepper
  • Zucchini (add raw)

Seasonings (choose 2 to 4 spices, 1 to 2 teaspoons each)

  • Basil
  • Cayenne (dash)
  • Chives
  • Cumin
  • Garlic
  • Marjoram
  • Onion powder
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Oregano

To Prepare Soup:

Bring the broth to a boil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add all of the ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat and simmer one hour.

Slow Cooker Prep:

Pour the boiling stock and other ingredients into a slow cooker and simmer for 8 to 12 hours or overnight on LOW setting.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deborah Taylor-Hough is the mother of three grown and nearly grown kids still at home, a full-time college student, a displaced homemaker trying to make ends meet on a limited budget, and the author of several older (but still in print) books including the popular Frozen Assets cookbook series. You can visit Debi online at: http://www.SimpleMom.com

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Beating the Breakfast Rush Hour

Wow.  It’s September again.  School’s starting up and life’s getting back into it’s normal — but incredibly busy — routine.
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For many families, morning is a hectic and hurried time. Frequently parents feel fortunate just to get everyone out the door fully dressed each day. Serve a hot cooked breakfast every morning? Not a chance.
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Breakfast (if it’s served at all) often consists of grabbing a toaster pastry and a quick glass of juice as the family runs out the door racing headlong to work and school.
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I’ve discovered that taking an hour or two on an occasional weekend to prepare breakfast items for the freezer, takes much of the insanity out of the weekday morning rush.
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Waffles, Pancakes, French Toast
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To prepare waffles, pancakes and French toast for freezing, cook until lightly browned. Don’t overcook. Then freeze individually in a single layer on a cookie sheet or flat pan.
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When frozen solid, stack together in a freezer bag. By freezing these items separately, they won’t stick together. You can remove only the amount needed for today’s meal whether it’s one waffle or a dozen.
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To reheat, just pop them (still frozen) into the toaster on the pastry setting (low) just like you would do with the boxed frozen waffles from the store. Heating in a toaster keeps them firm, rather than limp and soggy which often happens when these breakfast items are reheated in the microwave.
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Muffins and Quickbreads
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Make muffins and quickbreads ahead of time to serve for easy breakfasts. Just bake your favorite recipes as usual, cool completely, wrap in foil, label, and freeze.
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You can also wrap individual muffins in plastic wrap and then place the wrapped muffins into large zip-top freezer bags. Muffins can be easily reheated in the microwave. Serve with fresh fruit and juice for a delicious and easy breakfast.
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Recipe: Debi’s Breakfast Burritos
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To get you started on the road toward simple breakfasts, here’s a recipe for easy Breakfast Burritos … definitely one my family’s all-time favorite make-ahead meals. Recipe reprinted with permission from my book, Frozen Assets:  Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month.
  • 12 eggs, beaten
  • 1 pound bulk sausage, cooked (or crumbled links)
  • 1/2 cup chunky salsa (your choice of heat)
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 24 small flour tortillas (you can also use whole wheat)
 
Scramble eggs in large skillet until done; stir in cooked sausage and salsa. Warm tortillas in microwave 20 – 30 seconds or until warm and flexible. Place 1/3 cup egg mixture into tortilla; roll burrito-style.
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Freeze burritos in single layer on lightly greased cookie sheet. When fully frozen, wrap burritos individually; place wrapped burritos in large zip-top freezer bags; freeze.
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To serve, unwrap burritos from foil or plastic wrap that you used for freezing. Wrap in a paper towel. Cook in microwave until heated through (about 2 minutes). Or thaw burritos (remove plastic wrap if used in freezing), wrap burritos in foil, and bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes.
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Optional Ingredients:
  • 1 green pepper, finely diced
  • 6 potatoes, shredded and fried until cooked through (or use hashbrowns)
  • Jalapeno slices
  • Small can chopped green chiles
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tomato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced with tops

 This recipe makes about 24 breakfast burritos but it will depend on how generous you want to be with each burrito’s filling — I tend to add lots of the “extras” listed at the end of the article so that’s probably how I usually get the full two dozen … so your mileage may vary.

I’ve even taken these frozen burritos with us when we’ve gone camping. I just place the bag of frozen burritos into the ice chest, and by the time we’re ready for breakfast the first morning, the burritos are fully thawed. Then I simply reheat them in a large skillet over the campstove or fire grate.

~Debi

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Never a dull moment food-wise around our house …

Just when I thought things couldn’t get anymore complicated (food allergies, special diets, Celiac, etc.), my son and I both developed an inability to digest meats (beef for me, anything flesh-related for him).

So now in order to make a meal to feed all four of us, it needs to meet the following criteria:

  • Gluten-free (essentially only rice noodles and rice bread)
  • Sugar-free (no honey or fructose, either)
  • Aspartame-free (no Nutrasweet)
  • Vegetarian (or at least beef-free, but then my son needs something else to eat)
  • Peanut-free
  • Mushroom-free (including mushroom soup)
  • Carrot-free
  • Apple-free
  • Light on the eggs (can be an ingredient, but not the main thing such as in omelettes or scrambled eggs)
  • Mint-free (not usually much of an issue except with teas and desserts)
  • Green tea – free

I think that’s all.  LOL!  😎

I’ve decided to try to figure out a list of menus I can prepare that we can all eat so I’m not preparing separate meals for our various special diets.  Any suggestions of cheap eats that meet the above requirements?

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