Tag Archive | from scratch

Lunch prep for the week

Sunday afternoon and evening is my time to prep for the week. We are doing a pantry challenge as a family so we are not going to the store. We are blessed to have a full root cellar and freezers from our years harvest. On Sundays, I turn those ingredients into lunch ready meals. This week I am prepping homemade apple sauce, chicken salad, hard boiled eggs, sausage kale soup and lemon blueberry muffins.

The apples from the orchard are starting to get soft. We are entering apple sauce, pie and cake season. We will be having an apple something for lunch every week till they are gone. Very rarely do I end up canning apple sauce. We normally eat them right up till strawberry season. Then we eat the fruit that is in season till apple season again. I mentioned that we limited our kitchen gadgets, however the instapot makes all this prepping possible. 8-10 apples, peeled and cored in the instapot. Warning stay below the fill line or it will squirt out when you release the pressure. Put in 1/4 cup of water to cover the bottom so it will not scald. I set the to 5 minutes. Most of the time I dont even need to puree, it is ready for jars straight from the instapot.

The chicken also goes into an instapot. I take the whole chickens from the freezer with the oldest date on them. Add chopped onion, chopped carrots and whatever other veggie scraps I have. These help favor the chicken a little, but they really are for the broth. Every week during the winter we have soup for dinner at least one night. This week will be potato soup. I will make extra and freeze it for lunches the week after that!

One of the things I love about our life is everything is connected. There is very little waste. The veggie trimmings and bones become stock. The stock becomes soup. The apple peels become pig feed or apple cider vinegar. Lemon peels become lemon zest for muffins. This connection challenges my creativity and makes me appreciate everything we have been given.

Homemade Queso

Our family is in the middle of another pantry challenge. We are using what we have on hand and not going to the store. The exceptions are medical needs, small parts to repair what we already own and pet food. Like most things this is great when the world is perfect and you have time to plan.

A major disruption of our “perfect” world is my health conditions. I require a high salt diet and there are many days in a week that it is a struggle for me to get out of bed. Most of the time I am able to push through, but there are times that I end up in bed for several days. Today, I am at the end of one of those shut down times and I am trying to get going again. When I have low blood pressure I crave very high salt foods. Today, the high salt food I wanted was nachos. Well I also want to stick to my pantry challenge and I do not have any velveeta on hand.

Those of you who know me, understand the need for velveeta is real! I love queso. However, I have yet to be able to successfully grow velveeta. If you own the magic seeds, meet me in a dark alley where we can come to an arrangement!

Anyway, so today I had to make queso with what I had in hand. Not all of these things are from our farm, but that was not the challenge!


1/4 cup prechopped frozen onions

1/4 cup prechopped frozen bell peppers

1 tbsp prechopped frozen hot peppers

1 tbsp taco seasoning

1/2 bar of cream cheese

1/4 cup of milk

1/2 cup pre cooked frozen ground beef

1 tbsp of homemade canned salsa

1 handful of shredded cheddar

In a small cast iron skillet I added the chopped onions, bell peppers, hot peppers, meat, salsa and taco seasoning. Allowed everything to defrost and warm up. Once warm I added the 1/2 block of cream cheese. It melted together but was a little too thick, so that is where the milk comes in. Just enough to thin it out to make way for the shredded cheddar. Mix together, heat till bubbling. Burn your mouth checking thr flavor.

So I created this wonderful, soul pleasing dip, only to open the bag of corn chips and find out one of my family members put them away with only a few chips left in the bag. I was not going to let this slow me down. I got the corn tortillas and oil. I fried myself some chips. This is a great way to use expired corn tortillas from the pantry. The end result was everything I wanted and needed it to be, no velveeta needed. I look forward to trying this summer when I have homemade goat cream cheese instead of store cream cheese. Enjoy and let me know what you think!