Stretching ingredients: Mushroom baked ziti

I love pasta. And mushrooms. And cheese. Why not put them all together!?


What you'll need:

1/3 Pound Ground Beef 

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes, or 2 stewed and chopped tomatoes 

half jar tomato sauce 

4 cloves garlic

4 cups cooked penne pasta (I used a mix of regular and whole wheat)

1 cup shredded cheese  

1/2 onion

Olive oil or cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 350 and get a greased pan ready. 


In a skillet heat your garlic and your onions. 

Once your onions have cooked for a few minutes add your ground beef, brown.  Then add your mushrooms. 

Once all that has cooked down a bit add your sauce and tomatoes. You won't want to overcook your tomatoes since you will bake all of this in the oven. 


Dump your noodles in your greased pan and add your beef mixture. Stir it all together so that the sauce coats the noodles. Sprinkle with cheese. 

You will bake for about 10 -15 minutes. Just enough to make the cheese melt. 

If you are freezing skip the baking part and just sprinkle with cheese, cover and let cool. Then freeze. 

When you are ready to cook let it thaw for a few hours and bake for 30 minutes at 350. 

Easy freezer pizza crust

Having been inspired by Money Saving: Mom's 4 Weeks to Fill Your Freezer I have been using my baby's (infrequent) naps to do some quick freezer cooking.

Today while getting dinner ready I made 4 pizza crusts and threw them in the freezer.

I am a big believer in knowing what's in your food, that's why I make my own crusts because I know exactly what is in them.

Also, they costs way less than $1 a piece to make.

It's a simple recipe and freezes great. When you're ready to make a pizza just throw it in the fridge for a few hours and then voila!

What you'll need:

2 cups all-purpose flour (preferably unbleached, but whatever you have works)

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp yeast

2 tsp olive oil

3 cups HOT water (but not boiling)

Pizza 2 yeast and oil.JPG

In a bowl combine your flour, yeast, oil and water. Mix everything together. Cover and let bulk for 30 minutes.

Pizza 3 dough.JPG

Once your dough has bulked sprinkle with a little more flour so that it is easy to work with and divide into 4 sandwhich bags. Throw them in the freezer.

When you're ready to serve you will need to flour your surface and roll out the dough. Then bake 10 minutes at 350 before topping and baking again.

Pizza 4 crust.JPG

Freezer Cooking- A time saving dream

Back in the day when I first started reporting for a living I would spend a couple hours on a Sunday afternoon cooking two weeks worth of meals. I would turn on the stereo and dance in the hot kitchen while I made 10 casseroles to stuff in the freezer.

Back then I was driving 90 minutes one way to work and had no time to cook. I had not time to sleep, or breathe or do anything else! Compaired to having a baby that was a breeze! Just kidding.... sort of.

Anywhoo- I have started freezer cooking again, but my new version is, make one for now, save one for later.

Tonight we are having a chicken, corn, brocoli casserole. So, I just made extra. (This is a great way so stretch chicken leftovers, by the way.)

I have also put a beef and penne bake (will post that recipe later)...

...and baked oatmeal in my feezer this week.

What about you?

Chicken casserole:

What you'll need:

1 chicken breasts or 2 cups shredded chicken

1 to 2 pkgs. frozen broccoli

12 ounces cream of chicken soup (homemade recipe here.) (One can will do also. Girl, you don't have time to make soup!)

6 oz. grated cheese (any type)

4 cups cooked rice

1 bag corn

Preheat oven to 350-

Cook chicken until tender. Cut up chicken. 

In a greased pan combine rice, chicken, veggies and soup. Mix it all together. Sprinkle top with cheese and bake 30 minutes. No, you don't have to thaw the veggies.