Black Friday for my family this year involved not even a bit of shopping–but, then again, it never does. Instead, we took a bike ride together and played at a new-to-us playground. The boys finished planting some marigolds (leftover from a Cub Scout activity), and I read aloud to them The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. They also wrapped the one Christmas present we’ve bought thus far. (There was also a fair amount of arguing that day–some of it included the grown-ups–and a few tears, too. Some were mine. I got chased by a loud dog on our bike ride, as the owner sat on his porch watching the dog lunge at me. Some home school plans and art projects were spoiled by an unfortunate incident with some beef bones taken out of the freezer to thaw. I won’t mention WHAT soiled those papers and creations, but I’ll point out that it was red and sticky. Just providing some full disclosure here.)
Apart from all THAT excitement, there was more: We plugged in that new deep freeze my parents bought us as a house-warming gift (that’s a “chest freezer” for those outside the South) and filled it with some homemade, real-food meals for some busy days ahead. I finally got to have the kitchen work day I’ve been wanting since we moved in to our new home. This was my inaugural kitchen work day (I made that name up) because this marks the first time I’ve had freezer space for extra meals. But I’ve admired the concept of make-ahead meals so that family dinner time can be upheld even on busy nights. And so that I choose to serve a take-and-bake pizza for supper on those busy nights less often.
Here’s what we cooked…
- Kung Fu Panda Soup. I forgot to buy the cabbage for it, but I added plenty of veggies. It smelled great.
- Zucchini Stew. Once I found a recipe for this online, but this time I made it up as I went along. Chicken, tomatoes, zucchini, celery, onions, and rice, in chicken broth and water. The rice kicks it up a notch, from “soup” to “stew,” I think.
- Bacon/Potato/Corn Chowder. This will go well with some homemade bread.
The whole family got in on the act, particularly my 9 and 1/2 year-old. He washed, peeled, and chopped as much as I did. And he handled the big knife fine. Even my 7 year-old chopped celery with a butter knife. I see them both stand a bit taller as they contribute meaningful work to serve our family.
I feel elated to have some meals set aside, and–unexpected bonus–I cleaned out some stuff from the refrigerator that badly needed to go. For example, the failed attempt at homemade plaster of Paris, made with flour and water…And I spotted some leftovers that we’ll eat up soon in order not to waste.
I feel SO motivated. Tomorrow I’m making zucchini bread with some zucchini that I didn’t use in the stew. Apparently, it freezes well. Good thing there’s plenty of room remaining in that deep freeze.