Calving vs. Zombie Apocalypse

Happy middle of January! We are counting down the days until we start calving – should have about ten left…then its busy, busy, busy here at the Bradley Ranch.

As I was preparing my freezer meals again this year, I remembered that the only thing I look forward to more than calving every year is the zombie apocalypse. Then I started paying attention to all the things we do to get ready for calving, and I realized that we could well be preparing for either event. So I’ve made a list of the similarities. Let me know if you agree, disagree, or notice something that I’ve overlooked.

CALVING/ZOMBIELAND SURVIVAL RULES

  1. ZIPLOCK BAGS. I’ve been hoarding food that will last us at LEAST three months. We’ve got a fresh beef and pork in the freezer, along with about 20 frozen crockpot meals, pizza, lasagna and ice cream.
  2. DOUBLE TAP. I recently took a quick mental inventory of our fire power in this house – you may not think we need guns for calving, but we do have wolves, coyotes and bears here. Needless to say, we can stand off carnivores of any kind for a WHILE.
  3. THE BUDDY SYSTEM. We have a night watchman – namely Peter, my husband. He usually goes to bed around 8, I check at 10 then go to bed, he checks the rest of the night. The cows are never alone very long, and we’ll know if any zombies are storming the gates.
  4. CARDIO. I started the Couch to 5k program two weeks ago in preparation for calving, but as we all know thanks to Zombieland (best. movie. ever.) we need to also be able to outrun the undead.
  5. DON’T BE A HERO. We try not to keep aggressive cows, but sometimes they sneak up on us. I make it a practice to stay far away from those. I’m no hero. Those cows will eat you as fast as a zombie will kill you.
  6. ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS. This is the most important rule for us – we get so caught up in taking care of the cows and being exhausted that we forget that we love what we do. So take the time to say “awe” when you see an adorable calf. Make your husband his favorite dessert when he gives you the afternoon off. Kiss your wife and tell her thanks for everything. Make time for your kids, even though you’re too tired.

I posted my freezer meal recipes last year, but I’ll post them again in case you missed them. I also added a few that I found recently. Happy Calving/Zombie Hunting!

Until next time,

Trina Jo

Sweet Barbecue Hawaiian Chicken

This recipe makes one bag.

  • 4-6 Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1/3 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 20 oz. can Pineapple Chunks, undrained
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbs Corn Starch

Directions: Write recipe name and instructions on freezer bag. Add ingredients. Seal bag, mix ingredients, lay flat and freeze.

Directions to write on bag: Thaw overnight or for 24 hours. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve over rice.

Black Bean Taco Soup

This recipe makes 2 bags. Split these ingredients between 2 bags.

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 package mild taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (16 oz) bag frozen corn
  • 1 (16 oz) can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 oz) cans stewed tomatoes (half in each bag.)
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chilis
  • 1/4 cup olives (optional)

Directions: Brown meat and onion, drain. Let meat cool for a minute, then dump into two freezer bags and mix together. Let the excess air out, lay bag flat, and zip bag closed.

Directions to write on bag: Thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on HIGH for 1-2 hours or LOW for 2-3 1/2 hours. Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.

Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Alfredo

This recipe makes one bag.

  • 4-5 ┬áchicken breasts
  • 2 cups fresh or 1 cup frozen spinach, drained
  • 1 (16 oz) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained

Directions: Write recipe name and instructions on freezer bag. Seal bags, mix ingredients, lay bag flat and freeze.

Directions to write on bag: Thaw overnight or for 24 hours. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve with noodles, salad and breadsticks.

Crock Pot Beef and Mushrooms

This recipe makes two bags.

  • 4 pounds stew meat, cubed
  • 4 (10.75-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 4 (4-ounce) cans sliced mushrooms, with liquid
  • 1 cup apple juice or red wine
  • 2 (1-ounce) packet dry onion soup mix

Divide the cubed stew meat and add to 2 resealable gallon-sized freezer bags. Add 2 cans of mushroom soup, 2 cans of sliced mushrooms with liquid, 1/2 cup of juice or wine and 1 packet of dry onion soup mix to each bag. Zip closed. When ready to eat, remove a bag from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 10 hours. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles.

Hearty Beef Stew

This recipe makes one bag.

1 pound beef stew cubes
4 carrots, sliced
4 red potatoes, cut into large cubes
1 package dry onion soup mix
2 cans 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (10 oz) package frozen green peas
Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Mix together and zip bag closed. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on LOW for 7-10 hours (or HIGH for 5-6 hours).

Slow Cooker Sweet Teriyaki Chicken

This recipe makes one bag.
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts

Mix together soy sauce, sugar, garlic salt and chopped onion in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Place chicken breasts inside the bag and zip closed.
When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 7-8 hours.
Serve over rice.

Slow Cooker Creamy Ranch Pork Chops and Potatoes

This recipe makes one bag.
1 1/2 lbs pork chops, boneless (about 4-6 chops, thick sliced)
6-8 medium potatoes, chopped into large pieces
2 (10.75 oz each) cans cream of mushroom soup
2 (1 oz each) packages dry Ranch dressing mix
1 cup milk
Dried parsley to sprinkle on top (optional)

In a bowl, mix together the soups, milk, and ranch dressing mixes and pour into a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Combine all other ingredients together and zip closed.
When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours.
Use the extra sauce in the slow cooker as a gravy for the potatoes and the pork chops. Sprinkle with dried parsley if you want.

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

This recipe makes one casserole.

1.25 pounds ground beef (I used 2)

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce (I used 1.5)

1/2 tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 8 oz bag Egg Noodles

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/4 cups small curd cottage cheese

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown ground chuck in large skillet. Drain fat, then add tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.

To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish (I used a 9×13). Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.

To make this a freezer meal, just assemble the entire thing, cover, write the instructions on the top, and throw it in the freezer. Make sure you take it out to thaw the night before you want to eat it.

BBQ Chicken and Veggies

This recipe makes two bags.

2 green peppers, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

1 onion, chopped

6 red potatoes, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

4 chicken breasts

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

1 Tbs. brown sugar

1 bottle BBQ sauce (didn’t tell me what size, I just used a small size)

Split ingredients into two bags. Cook in slow cooker on high for four hours or low for eight hours.

Crockpot Ham and Potato Soup

This recipe makes two bags. You will need two gallon bags and two quart bags.

8 carrots, peeled and diced

4 small potatoes, peeled and cut into one-inch chunks

4 ribs celery, diced

1 small onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup uncooked medium barley (not quick cooking)

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp ground thyme

8 tsp chicken bullion granules

16 oz bone in ham steak, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

12 oz evaporated milk

8 cups water (not needed until day of cooking)

Label your freezer bags: Thaw 24 hours. The morning of cooking, pour contents of gallon bag into crockpot and add 4 c water. Keep bag of evaporated milk in the frig. Cook on low for 8 hours, then stir in evaporated milk and leave lid open a crack. Continue to cook 15 minutes or until heated through.

To your gallon bags, add all ingredients except evaporated milk and water.

Add evaporated milk to a quart size freezer bag. Seal, and add to gallon bag.

Remove as much air from the gallon bag as possible, seal and lay flat in your freezer.

Crockpot Hamburger Vegetable Soup

This recipe makes two bags.

8 carrots, peeled and diced

4 small potatoes, peeled and cut into one inch chunks

1 small onion, diced

2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes

2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbs. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp pepper

8 tsp beef bullion granules

2 pounds ground beef

8 cups water (not needed until day of cooking)

Label your freezer bag: Thaw 24 hours. The morning of cooking, pour bag into crockpot and add 4 c water. Cook on low for eight hours, or until beef is cooked through. Break apart beef, stir and serve.

Advertisements