Vicki’s Kitchen Tips
Stuffed Peppers go together in a jiffy with pre-browned hamburger and pre-cooked rice.
How to make your own CreamO soup:
If you don’t have canned soup, make your own CreamO chicken soup by mixing 2 tsp chicken bouillon granules with 1 cup water; heat to boiling. Stir in 1/4 cup water or milk in which you have dissolved 3 Tbsp cornstarch and bring to boil; stir to a pudding consistency. Use in place of one can condensed soup. For CreamO mushroom soup, substitute beef broth powder and add chopped mushrooms.
Rice at the ready:
When I need rice, I cook a huge pot and put the leftovers in zipper-seal bags in the freezer. Rice freezes and thaws fine. Can be thawed and warmed in the microwave.
How to start 13+ meals in one night:
Last week, I bought 15 pounds of very lean hamburger from Sam’s Club (by the case with some friends at a significantly reduced price per pound – Sam’s sells many meats like this if you ask). When I got home, I turned on the oven to preheat and dumped about 12 pounds of ground meat into a huge bowl with 4 eggs, some coarsely ground oatmeal (could use quick oats), some Spike seasoning and some Veg-All seasoning (or seasoned salt, if you don’t have the others), and some milk powder, plus about 1 cup of water. I “smooshed” it all up by hand till well mixed (little ones love to do this!).
I formed several meat loaves. I topped one with ketchup mixed with a little brown sugar (could use tomato sauce and SuCaNat instead) and popped it in a 350 oven with baking potatoes so dinner was now on (bake 1 hour; be sure to pop holes in your potatoes with a fork so they don’t explode – the voice of experience!). The other two meatloaves I froze to be baked later; I have also done this and baked them most of the way first, so they finish cooking on “eating” day.
While dinner was baking, I formed meatballs about 1½ to 2 inches in diameter, placing them pretty close together on a jelly roll pan (I could fit about 54 meatballs on my pan). I baked those on the upper rack in the already-going oven at 350 F for about 20 minutes, then cooled them a little and froze them in baggies. They can be used later for spaghetti and meatballs, stroganoff meatballs, barbecued meatballs, sweet and sour meatballs, etc. Already cooked and ready to add to the sauces!
I formed some of the meat into salisbury steak patties and quick-froze on a cookie sheet (put on waxed paper on a cookie sheet in freezer till stiff, then piled into baggie). Later, they will be all ready to brown and cook in gravy.
With the “smooshed” meat that was left, I made a pan of “porcupine” meatballs by adding some Italian seasonings, a little water, and about a half cup of uncooked rice (can’t use brown unless it’s mostly pre-cooked – it takes too long). I formed larger meatballs, then topped with tomato sauce and basil and froze, to be baked at a later date. (They are called porcupines because the rice plumps up as it cooks and pokes out of the meatballs like little porcupine quills.)
The rest of the hamburger I browned with onion in a skillet and froze in sandwich bags. So in about one hour, I had dinner baking, plus I had at least 13 other meals on their way.