Hot Oven Sandwich Recipe - perfect for the freezer. from SimplifyLiveLove.com

Easy Oven Sandwich Recipe – Perfect for Freezer Cooking

This feature has been compensated by ALDI. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hot Oven Sandwich Recipe - perfect for the freezer. from SimplifyLiveLove.com

Easy Oven Sandwich Recipe – Perfect for Freezer Cooking

I’ve been making oven sandwiches for a long time, not only because they’re easy and delicious, but also because they are perfect for the freezer and come in really handy when I need a quick, homemade meal on the double! I used to use rolls and make single-serve sized sandwiches. Recently, I decided to quit making individual sandwiches {the process isn’t hard, but CAN be streamlined…} and instead make ONE BIG sandwich that serves the entire family! It takes the meal prep to about FIVE MINUTES!!  How awesome is that? This easy oven sandwich recipe is a family favorite and sure to be a keeper in your freezer-friendly recipe file too!

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How to Preserve a Bumper Crop of Carrots from SimplifyLiveLove

How to Preserve a Bumper Crop of Carrots

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the pictures of my carrot harvest already! We had a bumper harvest of carrots this year – the best harvest I’ve ever had. I didn’t have a clear-cut plan of what to do with all of those carrots, so I had to take to the internet. Here are a number of ways I’ve found pertaining to how to preserve a bumper crop of carrots!

How to Preserve a Bumper Crop of Carrots from SimplifyLiveLove

How to Preserve a Bumper Crop of Carrots

1. Freeze –

Freezing carrots is really easy and is the first thing I do. To freeze, simply slice the carrots, then blanch them for 1-2 minutes, shock with cold water, pack and freeze. Easy peasy. Especially since I used my 11 cup Cuisinart Food Processor to do the slicing. If you’d like a more in-depth tutorial, PickYourOwn.org has one I recommend. I froze mine in 2 cup portions and they’ll be great for winter soups or quick side dishes! They’re so sweet and tasty!

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BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich with Cole Slaw. Easy slow cooker recipe #WeberBBQSauces #ad

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich with Cole Slaw Recipe

This feature has been compensated by Weber BBQ Sauces. All opinions are 100% mine. #WeberBBQSauces

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich with Cole Slaw. Easy slow cooker recipe #WeberBBQSauces #ad

Summer is the perfect time to pull out the BBQ and grill up some fabulous food. Unfortunately, my husband is seriously busy this summer finishing our house and doesn’t have time to grill. I’m definitely not the grill master in this house, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy delicious BBQ.  I pulled out my trusty crock pot the other day and made fabulous BBQ Pulled Chicken using newly reformulated Weber BBQ sauce – sauce that contains no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives – three very common ingredients in most store-bought BBQ sauce.

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Homemade 100 Fruit Popsicles - Fla-Vor-Ice Healthified #ad #ALDI {from SimplifyLiveLove.com}

Homemade 100% Fruit Popsicles – Fla-Vor-Ice Healthified

This feature has been compensated by ALDI. All opinions are 100% mine.

Fla-Vor-Ice Popsicles are not homemade or healthy, but I’m here to help here is 100% Homemade Fruit Popsicles – Fla-Vor-Ice-Healthified

Homemade 100 Fruit Popsicles - Fla-Vor-Ice Healthified #ad #ALDI {from SimplifyLiveLove.com}

Homemade 100% Fruit Popsicles – Fla-Vor-Ice Healthified

I know you guys have seen them because they’re everywhere in the summer. Fla-Vor-Ice Popsicles and their counterparts like the Kool Pops pictured below. Dreaded by health conscious moms across the country, these “popsicles” are what I called artificial sugar and artificial color bombs in a tube. But my goodness. My kids love them. WHHHHYYYYYY????? They are so nasty. In an attempt to get my kids to eat something a little healthier, I decided to make my own, homemade 100% fruit popsicles – that look like the unhealthy fla-vor-ice varieties, but are made out of 100% fruit instead.

Homemade 100 Fruit Popsicles - Fla-Vor-Ice Healthified - ingredients in unhealthy alternative {SimplifyLiveLove.com} #ad #ALDI

Making these homemade flavor-ice popsicles is seriously easy, y’all. Head to ALDI and buy yourself some fruit. I opt for organic strawberries, blueberries, and apples, and conventional pineapple, mango, and watermelon.

Homemade 100% Fruit Popsicles – Fla-Vor-Ice Healthified

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Homemade Strawberry Syrup Recipe & Canning Instructions - pin

Homemade Strawberry Syrup Recipe & Canning Instructions

Last week, we headed south to my parents’ house in Central Missouri. We needed to help out with my ailing grandpa while my parents attended a wedding in Colorado. But I was also motivated by my dad’s garden. He has the most gorgeous strawberry patch this year and I L.O.V.E. fresh strawberries! I was surprised to find there so many strawberries that we couldn’t eat them all, and so this Homemade Strawberry Syrup recipe came to be to keep the berries from going to waste.

Homemade Strawberry Syrup Recipe & Canning Instructions - pin
Using the strawberries from his patch, we made the most delicious Strawberry Syrup you can imagine, and today I’m sharing with you how to make your own! But first, the back story on getting to the strawberries is in order…

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Spinach Mozzarella Meatloaf - collage

Spinach Mozzarella Meatloaf

This feature has been compensated by ALDI USA. All opinions are 100% mine.
Spinach Mozzarella Meatloaf - great recipe to double or quadruple for the freezer. Early spring might be the busiest time of the year for me. With multiple kids playing ball, working hard to plant my garden, and the basic clean up after winter, I need quick menu options to fed my family or our diet goes downhill in a hurry. This Spinach Mozzarella Meatloaf has long been a staple at my house. It comes together quickly and freezes well. I love having a loaf in my freezer for super busy days! It makes meal time a snap. And best of all, it’s a delicious way to sneak in some healthy spinach AND use up the surplus in my garden.
Spinach Mozzarella Meatloaf Recipe IngredientsALDI is my top local grocery store choice. I am encouraged every time I go there by more and more organic options. I love that I can get in and out of the store in a hurry. And they have such reasonable prices! Feeding four hungry kids is expensive and ALDI helps me keep the grocery budget manageable.  I buy a lot of my groceries in bulk, but ALDI fills the gap when I need fresh fruit and other ingredients.

Spinach Mozzarella Meatloaf

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How to Bake 5 Loaves of 10-Grain Bread in Under 2 Hours and a Wondermix Giveaway

How to Make Homemade 12 Grain Bread

Many thanks to Wondermix for sponsoring this post.

Continuing with my Earth Month Challenge this week – I’m moving to food. Today, I’m showing your how to make a delicious, homemade 12 Grain Bread. Bread is often a source of hidden ingredients (potassium bromate, trans fats, monoglycerides, diglycerides, BHA, high fructose corn syrup, coloring, soy lecithin – to name a few). Since I’d rather not feed my family these ingredients, I’ve learned over the years to bake my own super yummy bread. Another bonus – baking my bread is also lot cheaper than buying it from the store!

How to Bake 5 Loaves of 10-Grain Bread in Under 2 Hours and a Wondermix Giveaway

One way that I keep my costs down is to grind my own flour. I buy wheat berries in bulk from Azure Standard and make my own flour for pennies on the dollar. Because I don’t have a lot of time, and I have six hungry people to feed, I need to bake a lot of bread very quickly. Using the right equipment, I’m able to grind my own flour AND bake five loaves of yummy bread in under two hours – from start to finish, including clean up time. That’s not all active time either. The bread rises for half an hour and also bakes for half an hour.

How to Make Homemade 12 Grain Bread and WonderMix GiveawayI grew up eating what I call REAL BREAD in Germany. Bread that crunches. Bread that’s made with whole ingredients. Bread that has flavor. We used to joke that American Bread was plastic compared to the German bread we bought from bakeries. You know what plastic bread I’m talking about, right? After I got married and started cooking for my husband and then later my kids, there weren’t many great bread options for me. The good bread that I could find was seriously expensive and out of my price range. After meeting a woman who ground her own flour and baked her own delicious bread in 2003, I think, I was hooked. And I have been grinding my own flour and baking my own bread ever since.
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March Meal Plan with recipe ideas for the entire month and 7, 30-minute tasks for filling the freezer #mealplan #menu #recipes #freezercooking

March Meal Plan & 7, 30 Minute Tasks for Filling the Freezer

It’s March! It’s March! That means spring is coming. Here’s another month’s worth of menu planning, plus seven more 30-minute tasks for filling the freezer! I hope you are enjoying these posts. I know they are really helping me stay on track.

March Meal Plan with recipe ideas for the entire month and 7, 30-minute tasks for filling the freezer #mealplan #menu #recipes #freezercooking

Monthly Meal Plan & 7, 30 Minute Tasks for the Freezer

Recap from February’s Plan:

While I’ve always tried to cook some meals in huge batches to end up with extra for the freezer, planning my menu in this manner is relatively new for me. I explained the hows and whys in January’s Meal Plan if you need a recap. February’s plan worked pretty well for me. However, I did not end up with eggrolls for the freezer, nor did I make a double batch of the Spinach Enchiladas {though I did make them and I thought they were very good – the rest of the family wasn’t convinced!}. I did end up frozen, pre-cooked bacon, bacon wrapped egg muffins, more cooked beans, chili, beef barley soup, and a couple extra meals of Parmesan Garlic Chicken in my freezer!! This month, I am changing my Friday  category to be crockpot meals instead of pizza as Fridays are pretty crazy days for me and the homemade pizza just isn’t happening on that day. I’m also changing out one other day that wasn’t working so well, either – Souper Saturday. While I knew my family wasn’t huge on soup, I had hoped to convert them. Didn’t happen, so we’ll try something else this month.

Monthly Menu Ideas

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Shamrock Shake Smoothie - healthy alternative to the chemically laden Shamrock Shake from the unmentionable restaurant

Shamrock Shake Smoothie – Shamrock Shake Healthified.

It’s that time of year again when the Shamrock Shake is being downed all over the country. I have to confess, I’ve never tried one. Just the bright, unnatural green color of the shake turns me off big time. And if the color isn’t enough to make you say hmmmm – the ingredient list might convince you to try something healthier – like our version of Shamrock Shake Smoothies made only with fresh, chemical-free ingredients.

Shamrock Shake Smoothie - healthy alternative to the chemically laden Shamrock Shake from the unmentionable restaurant

Shamrock Shake from the unmentionable fast food place –

Are you curious what’s actually in that bright green “drink” they sell by the bucket full this time of year?
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Bacon Wrapped, Egg, Spinach, & Cheese muffins

Bacon Wrapped Egg, Spinach & Cheese “Muffins”

Bacon wrapped egg, spinach, & cheese muffins2

I have a confession to make. I do not get up early to make my husband breakfast. And since I don’t buy cereal and often don’t have easy things to eat in the morning, that often leaves my husband without breakfast. I’m a terrible wife, yes?

In an effort to do better by him, I am really trying hard to have easy, wholesome meals in the freezer ready for him to eat (as long as he can heat them up on his own.) 😀

A couple years ago I shared a recipe for Eggy Breakfast Muffins – and it is a popular recipe on SimplifyLiveLove. However, I am trying to reduce the amount of flour we eat, and so I came up with another “muffin” – one without flour. I’ve seen these bacon wrapped muffins on several blogs (I think I first got this idea from Sarah at Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity years ago), and I’m sure other bloggers have also made similar recipes. So, I can’t take full credit for the idea, but this is my own take.

Bacon Wrapped Egg, Spinach & Cheese “Muffins”

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Cheesy Salmon Pasta with Spinach & Mushrooms

Cheesy Salmon Pasta with Spinach & Mushrooms

I’m always looking for ways I can sneak in a bit of salmon to get my pickier eaters a serving of heart healthy omega three fatty acids. And since I buy the expensive salmon {wild caught from Alaska}, I like to find creative ways for everyone in my family of 6 to get some, without having to dish out $50 for dinner for us all. This Cheesy Salmon Pasta with Spinach & Mushrooms is a wonderfully delicious and frugal way to eat more salmon.

Cheesy Salmon Pasta with Spinach & Mushrooms

Cheesy Salmon Pasta with Mushrooms & Spinach

Not only is this pasta delicious, it also cooks up in a jiffy. Really, thirty minutes or less is all you need to make the two pot meal. So read on and be inspired to try something new tonight!
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Feb Monthly Meal Plan with 7, 30-minute tasks for filling the freezer

Monthly Meal Plan & 7, 30 Minute Tasks for Filling the Freezer

Happy February! It’s time for another monthly meal plan to help you organize your month. Like last month, I also included 7 more 30-minute tasks for filling the freezer! Don’t you love being able to pull quick, delicious, and nutritious meals out of your freezer to eat when time is short? I know I do!

Feb Monthly Meal Plan with 7, 30-minute tasks for filling the freezer

Monthly Meal Plan & 7, 30 Minute Tasks for Filling the Freezer

This monthly menu plan is a relatively new format for me. I explained how I use it in this post – the monthly meal plan I semi-followed in January. I didn’t follow the plan exactly, but I did end up with a freezer full of cooked beans, a few scone packets, and taco meat all cooked and frozen for when I need a quick meal. It really simplifies my life to have food to pull out of the freezer. This month, I’d like to get a couple of complete meals in the freezer – so I’ve scoured the internet {and my own blog} looking for ideas that are sure to freeze and reheat well. Here’s what I’ve come up with!

Monthly Meal Plan

Meatless Mondays

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Pomegranate Orange Mini Loaves

Pomegranate Orange Bread

Pomegranate Orange Bread
If you’re looking for a homemade treat to give to this time of year, I’ve got an idea for you today! This Pomegranate Orange Bread is easy to make and could be a nice gift for the teacher, neighbor, or bus driver on your list…and what a fun way to sneak in some antioxidant rich foods – pomegranates are soooo good for you! I adapted Betty Crocker’s recipe here to make these mini-loaves.

Pomegranate Orange Bread

orange pomegranate bread
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Easy Pumpkin Scones

Easy Pumpkin Scones

One of our very favorite breakfasts is freshly baked scones. They are on my weekly menu plan quite often. I love them because I can prep the dry ingredients ahead of time for the freezer, and then just add butter, mix-ins, and milk for a quick homemade breakfast.

Easy Pumpkin Scones
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scalloped potatoes and bacon

Scalloped Potatoes & Bacon for Slow Cookers

I’ve been giving my crockpot a workout the last couple of weeks. It’s helping me a lot to get dinner on the table at an earlier time. Honestly, we usually eat kind of late – around 7 pm, but with 3 kids in an assortment of sports, activities, and practices, it’s really important that I feed my family earlier right now. I’ve tried out a lot of different recipes recently, and this one, Scalloped Potatoes & Bacon for Slow Cookers, is a winner!

Scalloped Potatoes & Bacon for Slow Cookers

scalloped potatoes and bacon for crockpots
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Mediterranean Tomato Salad #BlakesPairing

Mediterranean Tomato Salad #BlakesPairing

Thank you to Blake’s All Natural Foods for sponsoring this post, inspiring me to share my recipe for Mediterranean Tomato Salad. All opinions are mine.
Mediterranean Tomato Salad #BlakesPairingIf you’re swimming in tomatoes like I am, this Mediterranean Tomato Salad recipe may be just the thing you need to serve today! This gorgeous salad is not only beautiful to look at, it’s a delicious addition to most any meal. The flavors of garden-ripened tomatoes, fresh feta cheese, and kalamata olives blend together perfectly and the salad comes together very quickly – making it an easy side dish for busy nights.
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How to can roasted tomato sauce

How to Can Roasted Tomato Sauce #foodpreservation #prepping

**Quick disclaimer – Water bath canning is NOT recommended as a safe way to preserve this recipe. The recipe has not been tested for acidity level, and it not officially approved for water bath canning. If you want to preserve this long term, I recommend freezing the sauce instead of water bath canning. 

One of my new favorite home canned foods is Roasted Tomato Sauce. This tomato sauce is an easy, delicious, and versatile sauce. It’s great for quick pasta night meals – fabulous in lasagna, spaghetti, over ravioli or tortellini.  I came up with the idea for this sauce last year thanks to many other awesome bloggers, but this is the first year I have canned it. Last year I froze the extra I had and it was really nice to pull a bit of this out of the freezer for a quick meal. We loved it so much, that I decided I must can it this year. Even though I liked it frozen just fine, I just don’t have the freezer space for as much as I need. I have a lot of shelf space though!  So far, I have canned 26 quarts of this delicious roasted tomato sauce. Here’s how you can to!

How to can roasted tomato sauce

How to Can Roasted Tomato Sauce

tomatoesFirst, make the sauce. Start with a good amount of tomatoes. I grew San Marzano tomatoes this year from seeds I purchased at Baker Creek. This is the first year I have grown them, and I am very impressed! I will grow them again next year for sure. I also throw in any cherry or grape tomatoes I have, as well. First, wash tomatoes thoroughly. Cut off any bad spots and the stem and bottom end if you want. You do not need to peel them. Scandalous, I know. I never peel tomatoes I can – it takes too much time and I am a lazy canner. :-) I have to find ways to reduce my time commitment.
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No Mayo Cole-Slaw

No Mayo Cole Slaw

No Mayo Cole-Slaw

 My trusty Better Homes and Gardens: New Cook Book includes a recipe for a Vinaigrette Coleslaw which I love. It’s super easy, delicious, and much healthier than mayo laden coleslaw. I love coleslaw, but I’m not that crazy about mayonnaise – especially when we’re outdoors and it’s not being refrigerated. Call me crazy, I’m just a little worried about spoiled mayonnaise.

I grow a lot of cabbage in my garden this No-Mayo cole-slaw, along with homemade sauerkraut, is one of my go-to recipes for using up cabbage.

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12 Savory Zucchini Recipes - Beyond Zucchini bread

What Can You Make Besides Zucchini Bread? 12 Savory Zucchini Recipes

12 Savory Zucchini Recipes - Beyond Zucchini bread

Has your zucchini given up yet? I’m still getting a little bit out of my garden and am looking for good things to make with it besides zucchini bread! I’ve got some great recipes for sweets to make with zucchini, like Chocolate Chip Banana Zucchini Bread and Chocolate Zucchini Cake, but what about savory recipes? I know there are really good, savory meals to make out of zucchini so I went on a hunt. Check out what I found – these are great ways to use up the extra zucchini you may have in your garden.

What Can You Make Besides Zucchini Bread? 12 Savory Zucchini Recipes

 

What can you make besides zucchini bread 12 great zucchini recipes
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How to Make Vichyssoise Soup with Garden Greens & Lifeway Kefir #KefirCreations #shop

How to Make Vichyssoise Soup with Lifeway Kefir #KefirCreations #shop

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

My garden is overflowing with goodness right now and I’m always looking for creative things to do with all of the veggies I pick each day. A quick google search gave me the idea for a Vichyssoise Soup and I decided to try it out -but with Lifeway Kefir instead of cream!
How to Make Vichyssoise Soup with Garden Greens & Lifeway Kefir #KefirCreations #shop

If you’ve never heard of Vichyssoise Soup, it is traditionally a potato and leek soup {made with cream} served cold, and made famous by Julia Child. I was intrigued by the recipe because I’ve got garden veggies coming out of my ear and I’m getting sick of making them same ole dishes. It’s also summer time, and a lot of my friends are asking me for recipe ideas that are perfect for hot weather.

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how to can crushed tomatoes

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Canning Crushed Tomatoes

How to can crushed tomatoes quickly!

Follow this tutorial for canning crushed tomatoes in record time. No blancking or de-seeding required!
The Lazy Person’s Guide to Canning Crushed Tomatoes

In past years, I have had tomatoes coming out of my ears and have to find an easy way to can the bounty from my garden. I love canning crushed tomatoes primarily for Taco Soup, but these tomatoes are also a great base for all kinds of sauces. Taco Soup is one of my go-to recipes for busy fall nights.  Canning crushed tomatoes can be such a pain in the butt, though.

When I first started canning tomatoes, it was a long and drawn out process. First, I washed all the tomatoes and cut off the blossom end and stem end. Then I blanched the tomatoes in boiling water and removed the skin. Then I removed the seeds (and half the tomato). Then I boiled what was left. And finally, I canned the crushed tomatoes in my water-bath canner. I thought I was supposed to do all of this because I was directed to in the Blue Book Guide to Conserving. Does the process sound familiar to you?
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