I'm Making My Life Simpler By...

...making one extra meal to freeze each week, and using a frozen meal once a week!

I started loading up a deep freeze with meals when I was pregnant (nesting, anyone?), in order to make my life easier when Caden arrived. Boy, am I ever glad I did- we actually ate a meatloaf last night that I froze in May! Well, the stockpile has thinned and I am pledging to build it back up.

It's actually pretty simple-
Once a week, I make a dish that freezes well. I just double the recipe (or make the whole recipe, since I usually just halve it for the two of us), bake one, and freeze the other one in a foil baking dish covered with saran wrap and foil. (Bo-nus! No pots/pans on frozen meal nights!) I label a piece of paper with the dish's name and cooking instructions and place it in a freezer bag for extra freshness.

My goal is to work up to two and then three meals like this a week. This will cut the nights I cook dinner from scratch to only 3-4! And, I think it saves money.

Anyone else game to try it with me? I'd love to share recipes/ideas/tips. If so, here's a delicious one to get you started (don't let the name fool you, it's barely spicy)

Jalapeno Chicken Enchiladas
(this recipe makes two 8x8" dishes- one to bake, one to freeze. Double the recipe if you have a larger family and use two 9x13" pans)

-15 oz can tomato sauce
-2 cans cream of chicken soup (can use low fat)
-2 cups sour cream (can use light, not sure about fat free)
-2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
-2 cups cubed chicken breast
-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
-12-14 flour tortillas
-Spices: salt, pepper, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder

In skillet, cook the chicken breast in a little oil and season with the spices to taste. Meanwhile, grease or spray with Pam two 8x8" pans. Spread 1/4 cup tomato sauce in the bottom of each. In a large bowl, combine the soup (undiluted), sour cream, jalapenos and 1-1/4 cup of the cheese. Stir in the cooked chicken. Spread about 1/2 cup mixture in each tortilla (I microwave them first to make them a little more pliable to prevent tearing) and place seam side down in the pans (about 6-7 in each pan). If you have any leftover filling, just spread it on top of the folded tortillas. Top with remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake one dish @ 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until edges are bubbly. Let stand to thicken a few minutes. Cover and freeze remaining dish.

*To use frozen: thaw overnight in fridge the day before use. Bake covered @ 400 for 35-45min, or until edges are bubbly.


Coveting Your Prayers...

This is almost too heartbreaking to write...

My sister's dad has been struggling with Mesothelioma for some time and has just taken a turn for the worse. The doctors do not expect him to last more than a week, and definitely not until Christmas. While I know that God holds each of our breaths and our mortality doesn't lie in the hands of men, this is shocking, too heartbreaking to even seem real. Josi is only 18 years old and has 2 younger brothers. I cannot imagine losing my dad, especially around the holidays. Please, please pray for my sister Josi and her dad, Lee.

Specific prayers:

- Traveling mercies for Josi as she travels with her baby (my 4 mo. old niece, Isabelle) in the winter weather (we just got hit with our first snow of the season) from Michigan to Illinois

- Courage and guidance from the Holy Spirit as Josi attempts to share the message of salvation with her dad

- Receptiveness on Lee's part to hear the Gospel and accept Christ's free gift!

- Comfort and peace to Tami (her stepmom) and her two younger brothers (Josh & Jacob) and salvation for them as well.

- That if God wills it, a miraculous healing, or at least one last Christmas together

- Guidance for me and the words to say that will bring comfort to my sister in such a hard time.

Thanks, faithful prayer warriors!