Katt’s Favorite Meals

A couple times a month, sometimes as often as once a week, I make four or five meals at once to feed me throughout the week. Generally I split each meal in half, freezing half of it as a batch and then portioning out the rest as individual portions. (When you spend between 40 and 70 hours a week on campus, you definitely need to plan ahead when it comes to food.)

I’ve had a number of people ask me for certain recipes or tips on how to prepare meals in advance. I finally took the time to sit down and make notes, so here’s the start to Katt’s Favorite Recipes.

BREAKFAST


Baked Oatmeal Muffins

notes

  • I have found that baking these as muffins can be messy. And my muffin liners never like to come off the muffins – whether I peal them off when they are hot before freezing, or if I peal them off after they are frozen, or if I peal them off after warming them in the microwave. So, to solve this, I recently baked them in a 9×13” pan. Split into nine and then frozen, they are much easier to deal with than muffins. And, nine servings makes them a bit bigger than 12 muffins, which is good for me as I am rushing to dance classes every morning and need a hearty breakfast to keep me going.

 

PASTA


Lasagna-style Baked Ziti

notes

  • I highly recommend using a 5-qt pot to cook the meat mixture so you can easily mix the spinach and pasta in together.
  • I really like using tri-color rotini as the pasta, however whole wheat shells are also delicious.
  • Could be made vegetarian by substituting mushrooms for ground beef. I bet morels would be great in this!

 


Tortellini Primavera

notes

  • I usually need to add more than 1 cup of broth for the sauce to cover the vegetables and pasta the way I would like it to. (Though to be honest, it’s probably because I up the amount of veggies and never remember to up the liquid in most recipes.)
  • This one freezes fine, but the texture of the pasta does change slightly.
  • Vegetarian

 

SLOW COOKER

I have my Grandmother’s 3-qt Crock-Pot. Serial number 518! These recipes all work in the 3-qt, though it can be a tight fit and the beef stew would definitely be much easier in a 5-qt.

Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup

notes

  • Holy yum. This is my new favorite soup.
  • Vegetarian

 

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

 


Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew

notes

  • I recently tried prepping everything, then freezing prior to cooking. I do not recommend this. The texture of the beef changed and I did not care for it.
  • Because stew beef tends to be a cheaper cut of meat, I splurge on really good beef for this meal. I am lucky that the Good Food Store only sells good beef, but I spring for the grass-finished beef here.

 

SOUP

Cheesy Veggie Soup

notes

  • This is great with shredded chicken breast.
  • Sometimes I make a batch of brown rice as well and serve this on rice. It’s a great way to bulk up the soup, and it stretches the soup out a bit longer.
  • Vegetarian

 

Corn Chowder

notes

  • Recently I’ve swapped paprika for the cumin. Oh my gosh, it made this soup even more delicious!
  • Could be made vegetarian if you don’t add the bacon. But seriously, why would you do that?!

 


Hearty Minestrone Soup

notes

  • Definitely use at 12-qt soup pot for this soup!
  • I can always taste a difference when I use a lower quality tortellini, especially when I reheat it. Spring for the good stuff!
  • Could be made vegetarian

 


Kale, Potato, Turkey Sausage Soup

notes

  • The first time I made this, I cooked the sausage as written. My preference, however, is to take the sausage out of the casing so it is ground.
  • This is another soup where you can taste the quality of the meat. (Have you noticed a theme yet?) I always buy local sausage from the Bitterroot.
  • Best made in a 12-qt pot
  • Kale does not shrivel the same way spinach does. Shred, or cut, the kale into bite sized pieces.

 

Tomato Herb Soup

notes

  • Vegetarian

 


Virus Killing Soup

notes

  • I use a 16-qt soup pot for this. It makes a LOT of soup.
  • Remember that however large a chicken you buy, you must lift that weight out of your soup pot.
  • Again, buy quality meat. I always buy a local Hutterite chicken for this soup.

 

OTHER TIPS AND TRICKS

  • As you may have noticed, I use a lot of recipes from BudgetBytes. Reading her blog has changed the way I think about planning meals. I’ve learned a lot from Beth in the past couple of years.
  • This is a really great resource for freezing food.
  • It may take you a while to figure out your groove for binge-cooking. My preference is to plan what meals I’m going to make, fill out my grocery list, and go grocery shopping on one day, then spend the next day making all my meals.
  • Always start with your counter space free. I have the tiniest kitchen and cannot do anything in it unless all the dishes are clean.
  • I freeze ricotta in 1/4 cup servings. Scoop the ricotta onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet, then put in the freezer for several hours until frozen solid. Place in freezer bag, clearly labeled.
  • When freezing soup in bags, I double bag. I label the bag the soup is in, then slide it in zipper side first into another freezer bag. When freezing soup in freezer safe plastic, I put a layer of parchment paper on top of the soup to prevent freezer burn.
  • I find it very helpful to have a dry-erase board on the freezer door. Every time I put something in the freezer, I write it down. It keeps things from getting lost and I can rotate through various meals more often.

Learning to Cook: Lasagna-style Baked Ziti

Lasagna-style Baked Ziti
from RealSimple easy, delicious meals

12oz ziti (or rotini)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lg onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 lb lean ground beef
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 26oz jar marinara sauce
1 package fresh spinach
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1 cup mozzarella, grated

Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the beef, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon until it’s no longer pink, 5 to 6 minutes.

Toss the pasta with the meat mixture, marinara sauce, spinach, ricotta, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan and bake until the cheese melts, 12 to 15 minutes.

thirtytwo – thirty-eight

.032
february 1, 2016

A winter wonderful on campus.

.033
february 2, 2016

Sometimes you get booted from your rehearsal space and you have to use the cycling room and you’re so very thankful for your dancers.

.034
february 3, 2016

Seems legit.

.035
february 4, 2016

Dress rehearsals for studio shows are my very favorite.

.036
february 5, 2016

Origins of a Dance: an improv score.
[photo by William Munoz]

.037
february 6, 2016

Who runs the world? GIRLS.
[photo by William Munoz]

.038
february 7, 2016

Missoula, you are pretty and help clear my head when I’m annoyed at light hang.

twentyfive – thirtyone

.025
january 25, 2016

First day of the semester!

.026
january 26, 2016

Baked oatmeal.

.027
january 27, 2016

As if I didn’t have enough to carry around every day.

.028
january 28, 2016

Curly-haired once again!

.029
january 29, 2016

Fix-it day in the shop.

.030
january 30, 2016

First Saturday Self Care of the semester, starring one of the very last OPAs.

.031
january 31, 2016

Everything in this photo looks best covered in snow.

eighteen – twentyfour

.018
january 18, 2016

Making my planner shiny.

.019
january 19, 2016

I had brunch and then took a walk around Missoula with my lady-love today.

.020
january 20, 2016

Left overs are the best.

.021
january 21, 2016

Had a tooth pulled today. I will eat all the chocolate pudding.

.022
january 22, 2016

Do my friends know me or what?

.023
january 23, 2016

I had so much fun skiing with these ladies today!

.024
january 24, 2016

Doing my best to develop good habits.

eleven – seventeen

.011
january 11, 2016

Mini 2_lines get together at Cup & Bar today. It was so nice meeting Brittany and great seeing Molly and Stephanie again. I’m thankful for friends the internet has brought me.

.012
january 12, 2016

I believe we have officially reached mermaid length.

.013
january 13, 2016

Double date with Tammy and Gehrett to see DeVotchKa tonight! I love Tammy so very much and I wish we could see her more.

.014
january 14, 2016

We somehow managed to snag last minute tickets to The Moth Grandslam IV. It was so good!

.015
january 15, 2016

I love this hat my Mama made me for Christmas. it matches Daryl’s!

.016
january 16, 2016

Such a great day hanging out with Chadler! And it was the best day I’ve ever had on the slopes!

.017
january 17, 2016

I love flying into Missoula.

four – ten

.004
january 4, 2016

So many classes, so little money.

.005
january 5, 2016

PDX carpet socks and my first pair of new sneakers in nearly four years.

.006
january 6, 2016

Two weeks back in Oregon and my curl has begun to return.

.007
january 7, 2016

We went out with Christopher, Amy, and Henry tonight. He’s such a cutie!

.008
january 8, 2016

My favorite packing list.

.009
january 9, 2016

You said it, stop sign.

.010
january 10, 2016

Happy Seventh Anniversary to this wonderful man. I’m thankful for every single day.