Monday, August 29, 2011

Meet My House

Warning: I'm notorously bad at remembering to take a before pictures.  I'm just always so anxious to get the project done and not used to blogging about my excapades, but I promise I'm working on it. But lucky for you a long long time ago before our house was our house a realtor snapped a quick pic and zillow still remembers and so ... we have before...
Before our house was Our House
2.5 years after becoming ours
... and after. I'm pretty pleased with the upgrades, and since the before pic is a little hard to see I will list  some of them. 
  • New Garage Door - Jeremy installed it himself ( I was pretty impressed)
  • New front lamp and matching lamp post lamb (yeah running conduit) 
  • Black shutters 
  • Transplant of one of the box wood bushes (they have also grown some) 
  • Landscaping with river rock, green plants, boulders, and edging stones
The purple haze in the middle of the driveway was also us (well me) and one of my (many) spray paint projects. Oops I forgot to put down a drop cloth. But I really don't mind, it just is a colorful reminder of a memory here.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Disclaimer: I'm Not a Chef

As promised I am back to give you the recipe and shopping list for our industrial sized baked spaghetti extravaganza. Once I have had time to taste and tweak the pot pie I will share that too. I've made baked spaghetti several times before but never in this large quantity.  We approximated about 10 servings per tray and with 4 trays thats 40 servings. All groceries were purchased at Aldi ( <3). It only took 3 hours or so with 6 adults and a helpful 3 year old. 

Shopping List                                        Price
2 large tubs low fat cottage cheese        2@ 1.99
6 cans stewed tomatoes                        6@ .55
6 24 oz jars of spaghetti sauce              6@ 1.19
1.5 large box of spaghetti noodles        2@1.69
4 lb. ground pork sausage                    4@ 2.29
4 lb. ground turkey                               4 @ 1.49
2 4 cup bags of shredded mozzarella    2 @ 3.49
3 medium onions                                 1.99
Italian Seasoning                                  .99
4 aluminum trays (from Walmart)         5.80
1 roll of aluminum foil                          1.99

Total: $50.67  or $1.27 per serving! (pre-tax)

(Assuming you have at home 4 T (thats tablespoons - I learned that from my mommy) of brown sugar and a vegetable oil cooking spray).

Start boiling water (we used a very very large pot that took forever to boil). Cook noodles according to the directions on the box.

Sorry to use the same picture but these 3
were demonstrating. Boiling (Kim),
Browning (Bryan) and Onion chopping (Jer)
so well I HAD to put it here. 
Dice onions.

In a large skillet liberally shake Italian seasoning over 1/4 of the onions, 1 lb. of turkey and 1 lb. of sausage and brown. Drain well. Add to 1 jar spaghetti sauce, 1 can stewed tomatoes, and 1 T brown sugar and simmer. (Repeat 4 times).

To assemble, lightly spray aluminum pan with cooking spray, layer noodles (1/8 of total), sauce (since you made in 4 batches 1/2 of 1 batch), 1/2 tub of cottage cheese, noodles (same), sauce (same), and then 1/2 bag of mozzarella cheese. We discarded (saved for possible future terrarium project) the clear plastic lids and covered with several layers of aluminum foil. (Lightly spray first layer of foil to prevent sticking). If you are going to bake in the next day or two then simple refrigerate, otherwise freeze immediately.  Bake at 350º for 45 - 60 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

Notes: When I make it at home the meat to sauce ratio is not as high. I also sometimes use cream cheese instead of cottage cheese.

Make and give: to a homeless shelter, new parents, single parent homes, hungry people.

Be The Church

While we are called to me the hands of feet of Christ each day, that purpose is often set aside as our days are filled with the other stuff of life. This past sunday everyone in our church was challenged to "Be The Church," to get out of our cushy green chairs and do the things that Christians are called to do. I'm not writing about this to glorify our actions, but rather to glorify God and His movement in our lives and in our community.

Our small group met at Aldi (I love Aldi and will surely be posting about that some day soon) and did some serious shopping. We wanted to cook large quantities of nutritious food for a local men's shelter (which serves 3 meals a day 7 days a week). Since I tend to cook without a recipe, we were mostly winging it when it came to the shopping!

The next 3 hours were spent grilling (George Forman Style), chopping, browning, stirring, boiling, assembling, sealing. And by the end we had 8 9x13 freezable oven ready pans of home cooked food: 4 of chicken pot pie and 4 of (pre) baked spaghetti. (Later this week I will share the recipes and shopping list).

The best part about serving is it makes you want to do more. We did something so small, something we do for our own families each day, but God uses those little things to change hearts (even ours).

p.s. I love my small group. This is the "we" of this post (although we are 1 couple short)! We are so blessed to have these couples!