Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Freezer Meals: Mexican Lasagna

For so long I’ve pinned and pined over posts featuring freezer meals. I don’t know a mother who wouldn’t want to approach every evening with an answer to that age old question, “What’s for dinner?” Many times I’ve decided I’m going to give it a try. I make out the grocery list and try to set aside an afternoon to do the prep work, but my plans fall through, something else comes up, or I just get lazy. Let’s face it, this level of organization isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes real effort and dedication.

This year we have a particularly heavy weekday schedule filled with extra curriculars. Looking at the calendar and realizing there was just one night every two weeks when we’d all be home I knew it was time to start revisiting the idea of freezer meals and meal planning. Now, I haven’t actually mapped out all our meals, but I have started to create recipes I think my family will enjoy, that can be frozen, and easily prepared. This is the first of what will hopefully become a regular thing.

There are only a few meals that get absolutely no complaints in our house and burrito night is one of them. I wasn’t ready to attempt making and freezing many burritos so instead I took the freezer classic, lasagna, and gave it a south of the border twist!

Mexican Lasagna (makes 2 trays)

Meat Mixture

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 yellow/red/orange pepper
  • 1 small onion, 1/4 cup diced
  • 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed

Cheese Mixture

  • 1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 2 cups of Rotel, undrained

Everything Else

  • 1 box No-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups of Cheddar cheese
  • 2 jars of salsa, your choice, I prefer the less chucky variety
  • 2 aluminum baking trays, I used ones similar to a 9”x13” cake pan
  • shredded lettuce

To begin brown your ground beef, drain off excess fat and set aside. In same skillet sweat the peppers and onion until they have softened. It’s important to note, when you’re sweating peppers don’t put the heat too high, you want them softened so the sweetness comes out, not charred. Mix the meat, peppers and onion, and beans together and set aside.

meatmixture for #freezermeal #Mexicanlasagna

Blend the cream cheese and sour cream together with the Rotel. The mixture will be soupy and look unappetizing, it’s okay. You’ll need that liquid later to cook the noodles while they bake.

cheese mixture for #Mexicanlasagna #freezermeal #mealplanning

Before you start layering be sure to spread a little bit of salsa into the bottom of each baking tray. Putting three noodles across I began layering noodles, meat mixture, noodles cheese mixture, noodles. Atop that last layer of noodles I generously spread salsa and topped each tray with a cup of each cheese.

layeringlasagna #recipes #freezermeals #Mexicanlasagna

Wrap everything up tightly with foil and put it in the freezer. YOU MUST THAW THE MEAL AT LEAST 24 HOURS BFORE BAKING. Is it sad to admit I was slightly annoyed I couldn’t just stick it straight into the oven? I mean, I guess you can try but it will take a lot longer to bake and according to a couple pasta company website the noodles won’t taste as good. So, take that one extra step and pop it into the fridge the night before.

Bake the thawed dish at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Go ahead and let it sit for 5 minutes before cutting into it. Serve with shredded lettuce (got to get some greens!) or a nice side salad.

#freezermeals #Mexicanlasagna

Thursday, August 21, 2014

To Be Simple

I've spent the last few nights looking over my calendar and to-do lists, questioning what I want to put my energies into and what I need to let go. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Grandparent’s Day Gift Idea: Personalized Magnets and Cards

The first Sunday after Labor Day is a special day; it’s National Grandparent’s Day! I’m so thankful to have parents who are active in my kids’ lives and having a day to show our gratitude is a great excuse to craft! Hopefully this time I’ll remember when the day comes and get these cards delivered. As I’ve mentioned before I can be forgetful.

Grandparent's Day Gift Idea #kidscraft #crafting #giftidea #DIY
This year we’re making these terribly cute, personalized magnets and cards. The kids had a blast putting these together and hopefully yours will too!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Almond Snickerdoodles

I know this is going to come as a shock but I haven’t made snickerdoodles in over 10 years. Maybe I made one patch too many as a teenager. Maybe I just don’t like the sugary crumbs I get on my hands when I eat them. Who knows why…I just haven’t made them. That is until last weekend, the kids wanted cookies and I really didn’t feel like the usual chocolate chip. Hmm, why not make snickerdoodles? Of course when I started to gather ingredients I was out of vanilla but did have almond extract so I improvised.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Felt Flower Wall Art

Who doesn’t love a challenge? This week 20 bloggers and I were put to the test by Consumer Crafts (who sponsored and provided supplies for this post) to create basic craft, kid’s craft, and jewelry projects with one caveat, each had to cost under $10. Keeping it within the budget was easy, perusing Consumer Crafts and trying to decide what to create…that was the hard part! There were so many affordable choices I had a hard time picking just one.

When we moved into the addition, many months ago, most of the walls in the house were stripped bare as we played musical bedrooms. We’ve been here for six years so everyone was ready for the change of scenery and eager to put a personal touch on their new rooms. Our one and only daughter is an undeniable tomboy, but she also loves all things feminine. After tossing around a variety of ideas, all of which were saturated in purple and pink, she mentioned flowers and well, this is what we came up with!

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Lesson on Homeschooling Styles

Out of the many homeschooling questions I get the hardest ones to answer are those concerning curriculum. There are a number of different teaching styles out there and finding the one that works for you and your family can be an intimidating task. Making the decision to homeschool is in and of itself likely to kick up self-doubt. What makes me think I can do this? Couple that with trying to navigate the numerous approaches and it’s easy to become completely overwhelmed.

Below is a list of the more popular styles, as you read through it know that many homeschoolers do not follow one exclusive school of thought. Four years into our journey, I’m still learning of new techniques and taking away from each what I think will work for us.

Ultimately there are only three things to keep in mind while you map out your lesson plans and decide what exactly you’re going to do everyday and those things are: what works for you, what works for your kids, and what works for your home.   (Disclaimer: These descriptions are my personal interpretations and opinions.)