Monday, June 7, 2010

A Rainbow of Possibilities

I feel like every post I write these days starts off with "things are really crazy right now," but they are. We are smack dab in the middle of lots of summer travels, which means that my days are filled with trying to catch up with/get ahead of work so I can enjoy our trips with nothing hanging over my head. This, of course, means that the garden is chock full of weeds, the flowers are dead, and if I'm not careful, we'll be eating a lot of short-cut foods.

So this weekend I decided to get ahead of the game and make a bunch of freezer dinners that I can just pull out and warm up and not feel guilty about what I'm feeding my family. I made 18.5 quarts of "the sauce", complete with enough meatballs and sausage for at least 6 dinners. It felt really good to use homegrown onions. We have a bunch of Swiss chard in the garden that is standing up very well to the sweltering heat, so we picked a bunch of it and used it in 2 different dishes for the freezer.

For those who are unfamiliar with chard (as I was before I planted it), it is a green with a yummy buttery flavor and the highest vitamin A content of any vegetable on the planet. We've had it sauteed with a touch of butter and I've been able to freeze some of it for later. It works well in place of spinach, which is what I did in the first dish:

I made 4 lasagnas with whole wheat pasta, organic lamb sausage, homemade sauce, local cheeses, and swiss chard leaves. I probably could have made 5, but I kept tasting the flavor combos to make sure they worked...and...well...they did.

The firm, brightly colored stems leftover after the lasagnas took the place of celery in some homemade chicken noodle soup:

I chopped these down, added stock, homegrown carrots, onions, fresh herbs, and whole wheat egg noodles. The result was a hearty, low-calorie, SUPER vitamin-packed soup:

I'll definitely be eating this to mitigate the effects of eating an entire pan of lasagna by myself.

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