Monday, February 6, 2012

A New Way to Save

*B* gets a hair cut every two months or so.  At $15 a pop, this quickly adds up.  We bought a home haircut kit at Costco the other day for just $25.  This was my first attempt at cutting someone's hair.  A little short, but not bad!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ready-to-bake Freezer Lasagne

I've always liked my mom's lasagne.  I don't make it often, though, because it seems like it takes forever to make.  I tried once to make a Martha Stewart lasagne that took less time, but it was terrible.  So this time around, I broke it up into a couple of steps, and finished off the easiest ever freezer lasagne.

Two weeks ago, I took an hour to make spaghetti sauce.  My mom starts with ground beef, but I made a cheese lasagne this time. All I had to do is mix 1 tsp onion powder, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 1/2 tsp Italian
seasoning, 15 oz can tomato sauce, 6 oz can tomato paste, and 1 cup water in a big pot.  I doubled the recipe so that I could get more product out of my time.  I also used homemade tomato paste from my San Marzano tomatoes that came in last year.  Once everything is combined, all you have to do is simmer for about 1 hour.  When all was done, I threw the sauce into sealed glass jars in the fridge.

This morning, I was ready to tackle the second half.  I mixed 2 pounds of ricotta cheese with 1 egg, 1/2 cup
parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1 tbsp parsley.

I bought square glad containers that work for both the freezer and the oven.  In the bottom, I put a thin layer spaghetti sauce.  On top of that, I put two no-boil lasagna noodles.  My mom said three, but only two fit in one layer in the pan without too many gaps and without too much overlap.  Then, I spread 1/2 ricotta mix over noodles, spread thin layer of spaghetti sauce, and sprinkled with mozzarella cheese.  I did the ricotta, sauce, cheese step again.  Then, I layered two more noodles, put the rest of the tomato sauce, and a ton of mozzarella on top.  Slap on the plastic lid, label, and throw it into the freezer.

When ready to cook, just pull it out of the freezer, take off the lid, and bake at 350 degrees until hot throughout and golden on top.  With the zucchini bread I made at the same time, this is a perfect dinner.  Yum!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Prepping Made Harder

When *B* and I were on our honeymoon, we read The Omnivore's Dilemma.  It is a fantastic book, but as of late it's been making my life difficult.  While I had a hard time giving up "conventionally" raised meat, *B* has really stuck with it.

Our meat comes from a local butcher shop, so it's probably not product of a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO).  I know for a fact that the beef we eat was raised in a lady's backyard - my mom works with her.  But our chicken and the little bit of bacon we get are of somewhat indeterminate origins.

When eating with *B* now, I feel really guilty about eating meat.  When we eat out at a restaurant, *B* always gets something vegetarian.  When at home, if I make something with chicken, I feel bad because I know he has reservations about eating it.  But the problem is that I have not found vegetarian meals that I like.  While he's happy eating lentil soup and vegetable curry, I'm not.  I haven't had pork loin in well over a year, and that used to be one of my go-to meals.  I just don't like sweet and sour chicken without the chicken (a meal we had last week).

Day to day, I deal with this fairly well.  I'm grumbly, but I manage.  I eat meat at school and when we go out.  In prepping, though, this issue is almost painful.  I see tons of interesting freezer meals on Pinterest and others' blogs, but they're usually based around a meat.  All of the vegetarian meals I see seem terrible to me.

The problem is that I'm very picky when it comes to vegetables.  I don't like onions and tomatoes unless they're cooked and diced fine.  I don't like olives, most beans, peppers, cucumbers, winter squash, arugala, beets, turnips, or rutabegas.  I also don't like any kind non-cow milk cheeses like chevre.  I'm not a huge fan of barley, quinoa, or couscous.  I would kill a bowl of fettucini alfredo with broccoli with no problem, but *B* isn't a huge fan of pasta.

What this boils down to is that my freezer is stocked with two types of food right now: food I'll eat and food he'll eat.  I can't find enough meals that will satisfy both of us so that we don't get sick of them.