Beauty in the Ordinary

This is not about being brilliant, or extraordinary, it's not about wanting to be famous, or making headlines, or trying to impress...this about sharing a 'gift' each day with the lift the spirit of people when they read this blog, to show them the beauty in the ordinary.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Raold Dahl

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Calling All Angels

I've just found out that our house, this Christmas, is going to be quite full.

It's a good thing, a very good thing...but I'm going to give being organized a go this year.

Here's my greatest dilemma... while I love to cook and feed people, 
I do find it all quite exhausting.

And, try as I may, I can't seem to ever get out of the kitchen.

So, in an effort to change things up, I'd like to prepare and freeze some dishes.

And here is where all you angels come in.

I really would appreciate your help here.

Could you please?...would you please? in the comments section, post a link to your 

Most Tried and True Freezable Recipe

I don't care if it's a casserole, breakfast dish, dessert, soup or bread.  
I don't care if you just give me a rough outline of something that works, or go into incredible detail.

All and each suggestion will be most gratefully received.


  1. I don't freeze anything. I make it all, or prep it the day or two days before. Stuffing keeps in the fridge for a couple of days and can be inserted into the bird or cooked seperately on the day. All veggies get blanched and chilled ready to re heat in stock or tossed in butter. Potato au gratin (Dauphinoise) warms up well and will just look and taste like it was just made. Same for relishes and pretty much everything you serve, except for the bird.
    This should give you lots of time on the day to mingle and , dare I say it, relax.

  2. Barefoot Contessa Chicken Stew. I use buttermilk instead of cream and watch it as she is heavy on the salt. Freeze biscuits seperately. Feeds at least 8 -10.
    Chicken Stew with busicuits

    • 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
    • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
    • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
    • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
    • 3/4 cup flour
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • 2 cups medium-diced carrots (4 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes
    • 1 10-ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)
    • 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (you can buy peral onions in produce next to regular onions, Come in a bag with instructions to blanche them
    • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
    For the biscuits:
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
    • 3/4 cup half-and-half
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
    Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.
    In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions, and parsley. Mix well. Place the stew in a 10 x 13 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for 15 minutes.
    Meanwhile, make the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add the half-and-half and combine on low speed. Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and, with a rolling pin, roll out to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out twelve circles with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter.
    Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Brush them with egg wash, and return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.
    Note: To make in advance, refrigerate the chicken stew and biscuits separately. Bake the stew for 25 minutes, then place the biscuits on top, and bake for another 30 minutes, until done.

  3. Cornbread....make 2 so you can freeze them. Serve with a big easy Chile.

    CORN BREAD land of lakes cookbook

    • 1 c (250 mL) all-purpose flour
    • 1 c (250 mL) yellow cornmeal
    • 1/4 c (50 mL) sugar
    • 1 tb (15 mL) baking powder
    • 1/2 ts (3 mL) salt
    • 1 c (250 mL) whipping cream
    • 1/4 c (50 mL) vegetable oil
    • 1/4 c (50 mL) honey
    • 2 Eggs, slightly beaten

    This is our all-time favorite. It comes from the Land O Lakes Treasury of Country Recipes. Heat oven to 400 F (200 C). In medium bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in remaining ingredients just until moistened. Pour into greased 9" (23 cm) square baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 min. or until wooden pick instered in center comes out clean. Note: Ive tried making this in a lower fat version by using evaporated skimmed milk instead of the whipping cream (which can be done on some recipes), but it just didnt work. After 35 minutes of baking, and it was still too wet in the middle, and the edges were about to burn.

  4. Cream Cheese Poundcake.

    Makes 2 cakes. You can decorate with xmas decorations or fresh fruit.

    Cream Cheese Pound Cake (makes 2 cakes)

    3.5 cups all purpose flour, sifted
    1 tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp salt
    1 cup butter unsalted, room temperature
    8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
    3 cups sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    6 eggs, room temperature
    1 cup milk, room temperature

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    Sift flour and baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
    Using a mixer, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar for about 6 minutes.
    Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
    Add vanilla and milk until combined.
    Add flour mixture until completely combined.

    Pour into two greased and floured 9 X 5 loaf pans.

    Bake for about 60 minutes or until done.

    Cream Cheese Icing
    6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
    3 Tbsp butter, room temperature
    3 cups icing sugar
    3 Tbsp milk (if necessary)

    Cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and gradually add milk until thoroughly combined and desired thickness.
    Spread on top of cake.

  5. Pork Tenderloin...not to make ahead, but easy and quick with some CousCous and a salad.


    for two pork tenderloins:

    Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in oven-proof frypan. Season tenderloins with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides over medium high heat. Add in 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary and 3 cloves minced garlic, bring to boil and remove from heat. Roast in 350 F oven uncovered, turning tenderloins once, for 20 minutes.

  6. I could go on all day.....I have so many good recipes....

    Have a good day.

  7. are brilliant. If you feel like it/have the time, you could e-mail me more! Or perhaps a post on your make-ahead recipes? the idea of the dauphinoise! I have a great recipe I can use....thanks!

  8. This is always a dilemma of mine also. I have four children, one of whom like in CA. At Christmas, she and her family (of 4) come to visit for 2 weeks. That also means that my other three children with their families (who live close). will be over all the time. To add to this, CA family are all vegetarians and so is one of my daughters who lives around me. If I am not cooking and serving, I am thinking about what to cook and serve. It is the best of times, and the worst of times.

    Try Costco, and if you are lucky and have one in your neighborhood, go (and even take them all) to a Wegmans's (the superstore of superstores), Next alternative, eat out.

  9. oh dear I don't make any freeze ahead dishes, or freeze anything but already frozen veggies and ice cream...The most I do ahead is crock pot..but it looks like our pal Chania did right by you <3

  10. Jacqueline. I really think the answer is not to cook too much. Overdoing the food side of things makes people lethargic. Chez nous, I insist that we make dinner the main meal, and have a simple, but exquisite, light lunch; most of which can be bought at a local deli.

    Having seen your picture, I shall make sure that the kitchen sink has special decorations this year.

  11. SOAC-M Yes, Costco will be a stop on my shopping journey this year. You have reminded me, I even have a cookbook of theirs!

    All my freezer usually contains Z, is an ice-pack and a bottle of Vodka...this is a true departure for me. Chania to the rescue! South-east Asia, they prepare an offering of flowers and inscence all encased in banana leaves each day, one of which is placed on the stove and another on the kitchen sink. These are blessings for sacred places. It's good to honour the workhorse-spaces in our homes; often that is where our hearts live. I fully intend only preparing one meal a day for the gang...they are on their own for the other two.

  12. The dishes that are prepared in our house are always eaten usually within a couple of days, so I never really freeze anything. Your Christmas decorations are lovely. I hope you have many special moments this holiday season.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

  13. Being addicted to Asian curries I always have a Thai Red or Green chicken curry in the freezer ready to go on busy days. They seem to freeze & defrost really well, just cook up some fresh Jasmine rice in your rice cooker, add fresh cilantro & basil leaves to the curry & voila. After days of turkey & ham leftovers at Chrissie my taste buds are craving for some spicy stuff. A bottle of Vodka also freezes very well!
    Millie x

  14. best friend sent me the vodka recipie! LOL!


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