I cook for flavor instead of convenience, always (ok, mostly). If a recipe has 10 billion steps, but it will taste better than the throw-this-shit-in-a-pot-and-call-it-good version, trust me, just take the extra time to duke it out with your kitchen utensils and suck. it. up. Bonus points if your meal can be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled for freezing (doooooooo it). You know, for those times you are out Christmas shopping with your friend for a solid 10 hours (kidless! Did we just spend 2 hours in Target?) and you forgot to defrost or prep, well, anything? Yeah, you know your spouse isn’t on top of that.
That’s when you know, woohoo, I was one thought-foward mamma, “I got, like, 5 freezer meals at the ready”. Thank you, grossly ginormous Americanized refridgeration receptical! This meal doesn’t require a lot of pans (doesn’t matter how many, make your spouse clean them, you’re cooking it!), but some prep work is required. It is absolutely delicious and worth it.
First, always prepare an alcoholic beverage of your choice. Mine this afternoon (and almost all the time) is Malibu and OJ. Turn on your mobile device to Pandora. Blast it throughout your kitchen with pumping tunes to keep you motivated, because Lord knows when the garlic mincer pinches your finger, AGAIN (that SOB always does) you’ll need a catchy tune pushing you ever forward in this seemingly never ending battle royal with your garlic press.
The following recipe will easily feed a family of four, as long as you make some delicious rolls, but you can feel free to double, triple, ect this recipe to suit your needs. (Remember our earlier pep talk about freezing? Yeah, highly recommend doing that with this ‘un).
- 1 bag frozen broccoli (I use Cascadian Farms Brand, they are all about sustainability).
- Sliced celery to your liking. I don’t split the stalks off. Instead, I just pull the whole bunch out of the wrapper and slice it from the top down to the root. Don’t waste the celery lettuce, it’s just as flavorful! I normally slice 1/4″ peices and about 5 slices worth oughtta be plenty for this recipe.
- 2 medium sized carrots, grated (don’t bother peeling them, a little rinse will suffice).
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced (more or less if your family has sensitive taste buds, I usually do 3, but we are garlic-aholics here)
- 2 onions, diced (whatever kind you have on hand will do)
- 2 cups stock (I’ve used chicken, garlic, onion, beef and veggie. They were all just as delicious; so again, whatever one you have on hand)
- 2 tsp Oregano
- 2 tsp Sage
- 1.5 tsp sugar
- Splash of balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups of milk (we buy whole milk in this house, whatever you have will work)
- 1 cup of sour cream (Organic Valley brand is my fave)
- 1 package cream cheese, room temperature (Organic Valley, again)
- 2 cups grated cheese, extra for serving (whatever your families favorite is. I use extra sharp cheddar)
- EVOO for sauteeing
- Dash of salt
- White pepper to taste
Next: prep. Don’t be one of those imbeciles that reads as you go and does each step individually. You need to multitask. Know your recipe before you get started. Read that bad boy top to bottom at least a couple times if it’s a new one and refresh your memory if it’s one you’ve done before. So slice, mince and dice your veggies, you’ll be working with those first.
Put all your dirty dished in the sink/ dishwasher, right now. You need your counter space cleared and ready for action. Nobody wants to go scouring for the metal spatula. Clean up your mess. Here’s a picture of the one whisk we all have: the favorite. The one that seems to get gang banged in the untesil drawer, but it gets the job done. You don’t wanna go scrambling looking for it sifting through dirty dishes.
- In a cast iron skillet over very low heat, add a good drizzle of EVOO. Enough so your food doesn’t stick, not so much that it’s swimming. Use common sense.
- Add your onion. Sprinkle them with the sugar and drizzle the balsamic over it. Let it sit, don’t get all uppity and stir it every 5 minutes. Sizzle ’em for about 20 minutes. That’s a long time, so now comes multi-tasking.
- Add your broccoli and stock to a crock pot. Use your 8 hour low setting.
- Salt and pepper the veggies in the crock.
- Take your dried herbs in your palm and rub them together over the crock pot. The natural oils from your hands help rejuvenate and release the delicious flavors.
- You’ve worked hard, check your facebook. When your onions reach their 20 minute mark, get up and scrap them from the pan with your metal spatula. (If it’s getting too crusty/sticky, add a few TBLS water) let it sit another 20 minutes.
- Go ahead and prep your dairy. Mix it all together and set it next to your crockpot. Don’t be bamboozled: it’s not gunna spoil sitting on the counter for a few hours. Just leave it there.
- Your onions are almost done, add the garlic. Sautée for a few minutes until the garlic is fragrant and turning a caramel color.
- Add the onion/garlic/EVOO mixture to the crockpot.
- Let that all cook for however long you want. The work day, the time it takes you go to excersise class/run errands (I wouldn’t know much about that, I’m going to go mix another drink and creep Pinterest). Just reserve about 1 hour to add your dairy and let it meld.
- My urchins enjoy pureed broccoli chedd’ah. It’s not necessary, but I do, because lest I have one child refusing to eat because they see ‘a chunk of that green stuff’.
- Serve with a little extra grated cheese and homemade rolls.
If you’re an ambitious mom, go ahead and make a delicious side salad. I figure: “hey, there’s enough veggies to make ’em poop: we’re good to go.” But I do serve it with these delicious rolls. Freeze any leftover soup you have by putting cooled soup in a Ziplock freezer bag, lay it flat in the freezer and after it’s completely frozen, stand it up to save space. Make sure you label and date it. I bet it’ll be good for a solid six months, but don’t quote me. Your freezer might be wonkier than mine.