Friday, July 19, 2013

Chicken Drummies for the Freezer: Two ways

I found some cheap chicken drummies at the store today and decided to make them into semi-freezer meals. I have found that the more I plan/prep BEFORE dinnertime prep rolls around, the better off I am, even if they are not complete meals.

This one package made two meals for our family, so I decided to spilt them into BBQ Chicken Drumsticks for the grill, and a start to Old School Chicken and Rice Casserole. I was thinking about throwing the uncooked rice in with the chicken and freezing it, but my research (i.e. googling on my phone with one hand while standing in the kitchen) said it wasn't a good idea. Maybe one day I'll experiment with freezing uncooked rice, as I've had good luck with freezing cooked rice. When I am ready to make this meal for dinner, I need to add 1 cup uncooked rice and 2 cups water, and I wrote all of that out on the plastic bag.

So I dumped the respective ingredients into the freezer bags (I like using pitchers to hold up the bags)

then using tongs, added chicken to the bags,

then smushed around the bags until it was a little more uniform and put them in the freezer.

For the BBQ Chicken Drumsticks marinade, I emptied a bottle of Italian Dressing that was hanging out in the frig (about 3/4 cup) and a few long squirts of BBQ sauce (about 1/4 cup) into the freezer bag, mixed it around, then added the chicken, tossed that around in the bag and threw it in the freezer. When we are ready to eat, I'll let them thaw, grill them, then at the last few minutes on the grill, I will brush on more BBQ sauce.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Brown Sugar Peach Jam and Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

I've been busy making jam lately. The produce is much cheaper here in Texas than it was in Florida, so I've been having fun experimenting. A whole shelf in my pantry is slowly being taken over by small jars of jam, but that's just fine by me! The way our family burns through jam on toast and PB&J's, I'm sure it will all get used. (If not, some friends will get a nice jam gift basket for Christmas!)

I made Brown Sugar Peach Jam, following a regular peach jam recipe. I realized when I was measuring out my sugar that I was out of white sugar, and remembered a post from Food in Jars about using brown sugar in jam, so I thought, why not? I believe I ended up using about 2 (maybe 3?) cups of brown sugar out of the total 5 1/2 cups of sugar called for in the recipe.

The jam does have a richer, deeper sugar taste. It is not a super bright and fresh peach flavor, but it's great on oatmeal and toast. The next time I use brown sugar in jam, I'll throw some cinnamon into the pot too.

After we got back from a family reunion and to visit my parents, I made Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. The rhubarb was free from my parent's garden, and I've been excited to finally get my hands on some of their bumper crop!

This recipe was also the first time I utilized my food processor to chop up the fruit. I don't know why I haven't made this realization before, but it saved me a ton of time!