Monday, April 16, 2012

Menu Plan 4/16/2012 - Yogurt slow cooker recipe

I have to admit planning meals has become quite a chore. My husband has been gone since the first of the year only coming home for about a day each weekend. My boys are all tween/teens and are spending far less time home at meal time. We do try to eat together every night, but honestly it's becoming far more of starting with 2 or three of us, then some leaving early and others coming in late. I am also realizing I'm in real trouble when the boys move out. I cook for an army! I cook for extra leftovers, lunches, freezing, etc.. I really don't need to be planning as many meals as I do. We have been consistently skipping at least one of these meals if not two just trying to use up enough leftovers. So here's the plan.

Monday- Chicken Ravioli with Alfredo sauce, lettuce salads, garlic bread
Tuesday- Swedish Meatballs, steamed green beans with almonds, garlic noodles
Wednesday- Chicken Lo Mein w/Vegetable Eggrolls
Thursday- Leftovers
Friday- Kids & hubby gone, out with friends
Saturday- Kids & hubby gone probably junk food!
Sunday- Cranberry Kale, Macaroni and cheese (with bean puree)

I am planning on making some cookies this week to freeze for the boys' lunches. I haven't done that in awhile, and they've noticed!
Last week's biggest success was I made yogurt for the first time. I made it in the crock pot, and I will NEVER buy yogurt again! It's amazing. The recipe I used was from a website that I can't seem to find at the moment (I will update when I do find it.) But it couldn't have been easier.

Slow cooker Yogurt

Slow cooker Yogurt
Large slow cooker - Mine is 7qt.
1 gallon whole milk
1 cup yogurt (you need this for the bacteria, I also read you can use whey also)Plain with live cultures and no added pectin
Coffee filters or something for straining (I have special flour sack towels for this)
Large towel (I used bathtowel)

Sweeteners/Vanilla etc.. if desired (I made plain, because that's what I buy)

Place milk in slow cooker cook on low for 2.5 hours.
Turn off and unplug for 3 hours.
Whisk in 1 cup of yogurt, cover slow cooker with large towel for 8 hours or overnight. Strain whey from yogurt. I put my flour sack towel in a colander over a large bowl. It took some work and time. I had to scrape it frequently to get the whey moving. I tried to use coffee filters, but they kept breaking, so I went to the towel. I made mine nice and thick, greek style.
It made 48oz thick yogurt and a large canning jar of whey. This can easily be halved (it was on the original recipe I used.) Times stay the same.

I am currently finding lots of things to do with whey. I've been throwing it in juice and smoothies. My kids are enjoying it because they love YoJ, but I never buy it for them, and they think the juice with whey tastes like YoJ.

The Prarie Homestead has lots of uses for whey. I'm working my way through them slowly.

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