Me, A Mom

3 kids and a dog

Archive for the tag “cooking”

As I open up the betty crocker as an allergy mom…

Yes that is the one I have…but it no longer has its covers attached.

I remember when my second child then my first child were diagnosed with food allergies

My second child was 6 months old or so, and my first was around 4 years.

I wasn’t told “he can’t have dairy” or “NO NUTS” between the two they are allergic to eggs, peanuts, treenuts, and then to boot the second child is allergic to dairy as well.

To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement

then, as someone who likes to cook I knew I had to figure it out.

and it took awhile

hits and misses

winners and garbage can left overs

it has become manageable

(thankfully they can still have wheat…that would be  a whole nuther ballgame)

1.  We learned that soy sour cream works really good as an egg substitiute(1/4 cup per egg called for in recipe)

2.  We learned that there is nothing that works well as an beaten egg white substitute(think meringue)

3.  We learned that ground flax seed also works ok for egg(better for quick breads and cakes) use 1 tbsp ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons water  stir, do for each egg called for.

4. We learned to read labelsevery product, everytime, you never know when a company may change their formula, or which line they make the food on(cross contamination)

5. We learned it is very difficult to eat out in our town…places often have signs saying they cannot guarantee any food is safe.

6.  We learned that some people get it…and some just don’t  it is only important that we know who we can trust.

7.  As soon as the kids learned to read(even the one without any allergies) that they help double check labels.

8.  We learned homemade picnic lunches are just as good as going out on healthier

9.  We learned to check ahead before going to parties, or playtimes, and regardless of what they say, bring food from home just in case.

10. We learned life goes on. Everyone has something to deal with, many times those things are invisible and though not necessarily as potentially deadly as food allergies. Life goes on you live, you adapt, you learn what works and doesn’t work and then if you are cool…you share some of that with those that want/need to know.

surviving the busy years…

So here goes I’m not perfect and I definitely don’t fit the “Stepford wife” role not in a million years….

however over the last few years as my kids have gotten older and more involved I have found some ways to make busy days easier   now if you look you can find books about cooking for a month over one weekend and then freezing everything I DON’T GO TO THAT EXTREME However I do try to several times a school year give myself a helping hand by doing the following

–   First Get yourself some meat!

buy about 6- 8 pounds of ground meat usually in the following proportions:

  • 2.5 – 3# ground beef(we prefer ground round or ground sirloin all the other stuff is too high in fat and isn’t worth it)
  • 1 # ground pork
  • 1# ground turkey or chicken breast

mix it all together and season accordingly for this mixture I typically add in

  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper

of course you could add other spices to your tastes my middle doesn’t like seeing onion otherwise I would add chopped onion and garlic then spray 1 -2 meat loaf pans(I buy enough to make 2) and pat in the meat then bake at 350 till internal temp of 165 is reached (yes I just use meat in my loafs usually…sometimes I add bread crumbs but it’s not necessary) (and sometimes I top it with bbq sauce or ketchup before baking) then with whatever ground meat mixture is left(again I make a huge amount) I fry it up in a pan (think dutch oven size) then drain the oil let it cool(for food safety reasons spread it out onto a sheet pan that is sitting on ice packs)(government food safety info on chilling food) then package into recipe size containers(or baggies) I always double bag making sure to get as much air out as possible.  then label with the date the meat was cooked and if necessary how much is the package,

-Next get yourself some pasta

in a large volume pan with a strainer insert (think large stock pot)

  • I bring 8-10 quarts of water to a boil
  • leaving the strainer insert in the pan
  • I add one package of pasta
  • stir it around
  • turn off the heat
  • let it sit for 9 minutes
  • the I drain it
  • rinse in cold water
  • and package into a gallon size ziplock bag
  • then double bag and label it

turn the heat back on and … repeat I sometimes cook up as many as 8 or so boxes of pasta(this works with all types of  pasta from regular wheat to rice pasta) then freeze it!

– make a double batch!

If I am bothering to turn the oven on and using the energy to bake/cook I make double batches or fill up the oven space

  • boneless skinless chicken thighs are inexpensive I buy 6 packages pour on bbq sauce bake till it falls apart and then freeze half
  • beef roasts and tips, I buy 2 or enough for 2 main meals cook it all at once and freeze half
  • when freezing precooked meats its important to portion it out for the recipes you need
  • and get as much air out of around the product as possible
  • freeze in a flat short layer,  it will reheat faster
  • make sure always when reheating to heat to food safe temperatures

check out the governments food safe cooking temp chart if you are unsure   I am also lucky enough to have a small garden I make freezer pickles(they are very refreshing) and last long enough to get us to when cukes are once again growing in the garden! and I have relatives that  freeze and can  jams and jellies, soups and veggies, pickles and fruits   Regardless your situation think about the foods your family likes think about your schedule and know that even having a few extra meals in the fridge can help out if you are suddenly busy or if an emergency strikes and you are not able to cook you’ll have everything you need prepared ahead and if you’re like me and the kids have food allergies package a few meals for individuals that way if they are home with someone not familiar with cooking for allergies you’ll be comfortable knowing there is safe food available! happy cooking… and eating…     t

a NEW dish: Baked Sausage and Pepper Ziti

I love cook books

to me they are more than

getting a recipe for supper

or dessert

they are for reading.





looking at the pictures

analyzing the recipes


like any good



I check them out from the library

I salivate over

new recipes

(even the ones I could never make for my kids because of nuts or egg whites or whatever)

but yesterday I saw one from a good housekeeping cookbook

and the recipe is on their website!

and it is ….


Sausage and Pepper Baked Ziti

the house still smells like it!

(it does contain I save some out for my dairy allergic child prior to adding the cheese so he can try some!)

I used sweet italian sausage(the recipe says to use either sweet or hot)

and I used penne pasta as that was what I was able to find at the store

but it is super simple and could easily be made in a dutch oven!(a one pot meal is always appreciated)

to make in one pot cook the pasta first then set aside

then follow recipe as written

and …my photo:


enjoy…I know what we’ll be having for left overs today…

my oldest says this recipe is a definite MAKE AGAIN!

Yesterday…I made a roast…and tapioca pudding and…oatmeal cookie bars….whew

I make beef roast a alot…like once a week

its one of the few meals that gets us more than one day.

We prefer the spoon roast, but I’ve also purchased chuck roast as well

Want to know more about cuts of beef?

Now when I was growing up making a roast meant filling the pan with cubed potatoes, carrots, celery , onions, and some salt and pepper. It was scrumtious.

Then the roast after cooking would be carved….some cut off and saved for soup, or pot pie, or stew,

and the rest served for supper.

But…my kids aren’t crazy about cooked veggies, and a roast doesn’t last as long as it used to. I have one meat crazy boy who just can’t stop.

So…whether it is beef tips or beef roast here is what I do.

First I often (though not always…depends on time constraints) seer it quickly in a hot pan with olive oil to give some color.

Then I put into a greased (spray oiled) pan and top with salt pepper, a few onions and then a cup or so of brandy.(brandy and beef can’t be beat!)

and then bake till it falls apart!either slowly at 275 or a little faster at 350 (or if you have a slow cooker you could do it that way.

Well….yesterday I cheated…I sprayed the pan with olive oil, put the roast in fat side up(nooo don’t take all the fat off…it adds so much flavor as it melts into the meat besides you don’t eat it every day right?)


I had some store bought onion soup mix(store brand even) and it was safe(well…no allergens for my kids) for my family.

I dumped it on the roast, added 1 cup of brandy and 1 cup of water to the pan, put the cover on the roaster and let it cook at 350 for about 3 hours.

and…it falls apart, and tastes yum….

so into the fridge and

then for supper I”ll make pasta or potatos, and a veggie(or fresh veggies) maybe a jello or fruit salad, and

none of it will last as many meals as it used to.


now if I had used the slow cooker that would be it.

but since I had the oven at 350 for almost 4 hours I figured I better be a good steward of the energy(gas) we are using and make some other stuff too, {maybe a pingback to my post on redeeming the time would make sense here}

So into the oven went 3 sweet potatoes(washed and with a slice in the top of each to allow for steam to escape(placed on top of a parchment paper covered pan)

and since we were having left overs for supper last night(the roast was for the next day) I then found the left over rolls we had put them on a pan and brushed them with olive oil(that I had mixed with onion powder and garlic powder) go figure no one wants to eat the potato rolls before but put the oil on and they disappear before I get one!

and finally…despite getting our girl scout cookies the other day I decided(since I had some oats in the cupboard) to make oatmeal raisin cookie bars(one kid hates raisins…and said she won’t eat it…oh well…more for me 😉    )

(By the way I made the recipe on the oats container and I substituted soy sour cream for eggs, 1/4 cup per egg called for and I used fleischmanns  no salt margarine as it is dairy free and what I had on hand)

oh and while that was all cooking I made tapioca pudding…..


I add 1 tbsp corn starch to the mixture then add vanilla soy milk let sit 6 minutes then bring to boil, turn off and  add the vanilla(I also add a little fake almond extract) put into a container cover with plastic wrap

and done.

whewwwwwwwww…..done cooking….at least till next time.

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