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Monday, January 4, 2016

This Week's Menu | Stocking the Freezer

Along with the rest of world, this morning I am back to reality.  We had the best break with all three of us home last week.  We had snow, we sledded, built a snowman, made homemade pasta, made a fancy NYE dinner, lounged, watched movies, and took down our tree and Holiday decor.  

Surprisingly, I was very reluctant to take down our tree and decorations.  Since this was our first Christmas in the new house it seemed as if everything was leading up to it, the first Christmas.  When it was all over, there was a since of - what now?  I had grown accustomed to and comforted by all of the warm, rich colors that I don't normally embrace that I was afraid it would feel too barren when we took it all away.  

But after the first of the year there was a shift, that familiar itch to de-clutter, freshen and simplify.  In the last couple of days we took on major projects like organizing the basement, rearranging the garage, and decluttering every toy closet and the playroom.  It feels so good to have everything fresh and to create some empty spaces once again.  

One of the things I also did over the break was watch some cooking TV shows.  I hardly ever take time to watch them anymore (maybe just because there aren't any new Barefoot Contessa's to watch - except the holiday special, which was fantastic, right?).  I got completely inspired by a Pioneer Woman show about stocking the freezer.

Our typical routine is to go to the store every afternoon and make dinner.  Now that winter has officially set in, daily errands aren't as fun.  When Emma was a baby and we lived in Concord, I was so good about keeping a stocked pantry and freezer so I could always make dinner without taking her out into the cold.  I have more work responsibilities now, so our time is increasingly valuable... speaking of, I'm beginning to interview for an assistant today!  Here is the craigslist post, if you know anyone that would be great!

This week I'm going to take a page from my old book (and the Pioneer Woman's) and get our freezer cleaned out and restocked.  My game plan is to make a double batch - one for that night's dinner and one for the freezer.

Meatballs : I always have homemade meatballs in my freezer.  I make them with more general seasoning (only parsley vs. Italian herbs) so that they can be used in multiple ways.  They are still great with marinara (for pasta or sandwiches), but can also be cooked in a cream sauce with mushrooms for over mashed potatoes, or crumbled in a veg soup. 

Chicken Chili (this photo and recipe, here)  : I feel like I have made this before, but somehow can't find it on my blog... so, looks like I'll be sharing a new recipe based on this inspiration photo!

Calzones/Hand Pies : My mom (and Granny and Aunt Nancy) always make these in the winter to go with soups.  They are great to keep in the freezer to pull out for lunches or easy dinners.  We usually made ground beef and cheese when I was young, but now I make lots of versions, including and a chicken parm one with fresh mozz.

Minestrone Soup : Emma and I are big vegetable soup/minestrone fans.  Mike is too (as long as he has a meaty calzone to pull out of the freezer to go with it...).  I will make big and little freezer containers of this - the large to pull out for dinner and individuals for me to have for lunch during the week.  This is a new recipe for the blog based on my favorite from a local bistro - it is a little spicy with sweet peas, potatoes and lots of parm.

Lasagna : Right now I have a big batch of bolognese leftover in my fridge.  I'll use it to put together a couple small lasagna pans for easy dinners.  Here is the recipe for the version in the photo, but I'll be making a simpler classic version with my leftover bolognese. 

Scones :  A weekend staple around here!  I'm thinking of some new versions, too.

Cookies :  We always like to have a variety of cookie dough balls in the freezer... who doesn't need fresh baked cookies always just 8-10 minutes away?  I'm thinking Chocolate Chip, PB and Snicker-doodle.

Store Update:  Valentine's products are on there way!  I am planning to post the new collection on Thursday, Jan 14th : )   It has been nice to have a couple weeks off from the store buzz after a fun and crazy holiday season, but I am really excited about some new ideas for this year's valentine's day products.

Hope your new year is off to a great start!  I really do love to start fresh in the new year.  I have lots of home organizing to share with you including our kitchen drawers, my office/mudroom and our linen closets.  Am I the only one that looks forward to these cold months?  I am so glad for some much needed time to slow down and do some projects at home.  What are you all planning?


  1. Anonymous12:52 PM

    Will you be providing the recipe for the hand pies?

    1. Yes, hopefully on Tuesday or Wednesday!

  2. Would love to know how you make your hand pies! Thank you!

  3. Great inspiring post!! Can't wait for the recipies and future posts!!

  4. Yes, I've had the same urge to stock the freezer. Thanks for adding a few more recipes to my list. The chicken chili looks wonderful!

  5. Hey Jenny! Could you share how you freeze these items - do you use bags, containers or etc.? Thanks and Happy New Year! Jennifer

  6. Jennifer2:46 PM

    Looking forward to your upcoming posts!! Planning a kitchen reno is in my future and I have been curious to see how you went about planning for flow, function and storage. I am very excited to hear that you will be sharing more details of your spaces! Also, you have a playroom!? Now I know your secret. ;)


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