Chewy Granola Bars

Any combination of nuts, fruit, chocolate and seeds can be used in this recipe.

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, can substitute crisped rice cereal for half
1/2 cup coconut
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup total of nuts, dried fruit, and seeds (sesame and flax)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9″ X 13″ pan.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar and corn syrup.  Stir in remaining ingredients and work the mixture so that several large clumps stick together.  Using your fingers, press the mixture into the pan very firmly.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until it turns a golden brown (it usually takes me a little longer)
Allow to cool completely before cutting.  Cut into 1 1/2″ X 4″ bars.  Wrap individually in plastic wrap.
These freeze well. Can double into 12′ x 17″ pan.


Dad’s Meatloaf

Dad found this recipe when he and Mum were just married. We still make it now and like it better than any other meatloaf we’ve eaten. It is delicious in sandwiches or served with mashed potatoes.

10 ounces tomato sauce
1 pound ground beef
1 cup rice, cooked
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
frozen peas or corn
cheese slices

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Set aside 1/2 cup tomato sauce.  Mix spices into remaining sauce and then add, meat, rice, egg, garlic, Parmesan  salt and pepper.
Shape 1/2 mixture on broiling pan.  Press peas or corn into loave.  Arrange cheese slices over. Press remaining meat mixture over and seal edges.  Flatten middle of loaf.  Pour the 1/2 cup tomato sauce over.
Bake for 35 minutes or until done.

These freeze really well.
Can also make into small loaves or meatballs.

Bulk Cooking

Wow! I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get this post up… So I learned something new two week ago. I figured out that three teenage girls can make 27 casseroles in nine hours. That’s a rate of three casseroles per hour. Even waking up at five that morning, we still had a lot of energy left at the end of the 12 hours at our friends’ home (I calculated nine hours not including the shopping, pranking and taking a few breaks during the day). Shopping was fairly fast and inexpensive; the only thing that made it difficult was the fact that the Winco we were shopping at was set up completely opposite to the one I’ve shopped at every week for five years. 😛 We got the Chalupa on first because it is a slow-cooker meal – we literally left it there for five or six hours. After that we prepped common ingredients, cut all the onions, browned hamburger and grated cheese. Funny story. They had a huge block of cheese for us to use. No, I mean HUGE. We had a hard time cutting through it (it kept bending the knife blades), so we broke off hunks of cheese bit by bit. Who do you know who randomly has a 40-something pound block of cheese in their fridge?

This is actually the size of the cheese!

Once we finished the ingredient prep, we made Italian Enchiladas, Crispy Baked Burritos, Lasagna, Sloppy Joes,Hamburger Corn Casserole and Chicken and Rice Casserole. I’ll try and get these recipes up soon but all of my pictures didn’t turn out how I wanted or I didn’t take pictures. Panning the meals at the end of the day and seeing them all lined up on the table was so satisfying.

Most of the completed meals. 

I had a feeling the cooking would get tiring, but when our friend, Gracie (you can check out her awesome blog here) is working right alongside, it makes time fly! We had loads of fun cooking, listening to music, taste testing, washing dishes, and chatting at about a million words per minute. Even as we left, everyone was talking about the next time we do this, so… how ’bout some notes and goals before next time comes around:

-Maybe some more absolutely fool-proof recipes, perhaps one more chicken, one more pork and two more vegetarian. Also work on getting some freezer breakfast recipes.
-Take large bowls, large/deep hotel pans, favorite knife, large colander, large pot and large frying pan. We went through every bowl we had at least twice.
-Always bring extra disposable pans (which are about $2.50 cheaper from the dollar store than any other store, probably because they’re worse quality)
-Brand new Scotch Brites make cleaning up a lot easier..
-I use a duotang on a clipboard with copies of each recipe and shopping list/budget. It made shopping and cooking much easier because all my things were in one place.