A Freezer Friendly Recipe: Ham and Hashbrown Casserole

Ham and Hashbrown Casserole

NOTE: I wrote this FOREVER ago – like a year I think! – and never published it.  We’re not eating much, if any, dairy now, but I still plan on sharing the plan I used during my pregnancy with Andrew since it was pretty awesome for us – and SO many of my friends are pregnant right now!

When I was pregnant with Andrew I made a ton of freezer meals to have after he was born (like 46!).  I have every intention of blogging that plan soon because I was crazy OCD organized about it and I want to share.

I found SOOOOOO many recipes that are freezer friendly as I was planning for that time.  Most were a huge hit, some weren’t!  Others have been added to our monthly rotation and will stay there forever!

I’m not a huge fan of ham typically, but Darrin is.  This seemed like a simple enough recipe and one that would freeze well.  After a few tweaks, it’s become a family favorite.  I’m already looking forward to making it with our leftover Christmas ham in a few months (less than 3 months to go actually!).

Cheesy Ham and Hashbrown Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1lb cooked ham
  • 26 oz frozen hashbrowns
  • 2 cans of cream of potato soup
  • 8oz sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1/2 TBSP Thyme
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop up the ham.

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Combine all of the ingredients together, reserving 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese for topping.

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Even spread into a prepared 9×13 dish.

(If freezing, here is where you’d wrap the dish up and put it in the freezer).

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Top with the remaining cheese.

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Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until bubbly and browned on top.

If making a freezer meal, when you’re ready to cook, remove from the freezer and thaw over night. Top with cheese. Bake for an hour at 375.  I like to write anything I need to add to the meal, plus the cooking instructions on tinfoil before wrapping so everything is right there on the meal!

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The mustard and spices give it a little something special and add a unique flavor, while keeping the prep super easy!

This is totally the season for freezer meals – kids back in school, evening and weekend activities are going full steam and there is nothing nicer at 5pm than knowing all you have to do is pop something in the oven and you’ll have a home-cooked meal in an hour!

 

A Budget Friendly Fall Decoration

If you’ve read any of my other posts you’ve probably gathered I am a HUGE fan of Fall. It is, without a doubt, my favorite season. I’m not sure if it’s because as a child I loved school and back to school and fall go together like Peanut Butter & Jelly.  Or maybe because I went to Notre Dame where football is life and football starts in the fall. It could be because I LOVE fall clothes and fall scents and fall food – okay, it’s probably all of these things!

That said, I can’t wait to start decorating my house for fall every year – and come Labor Day my house it “Fall-a-fied” which often seems strange since I’m now in the South and it’s still almost 80 degrees here on October 2nd!

I could easily spend hundreds of dollars on fall decor each year but that just doesn’t work for our family – okay, it doesn’t work for my husband and my boys kinda like having food on the table, so I guess that means it doesn’t work for our family. But I still want to add new decorations each year and I want them to be classy and pretty not cheaply made and blah!

Since I love a good Mommy Arts and Crafts project, this seemed like a perfect way to add some fall to our front porch and not break the bank!

What you’ll need:

  • 4 of those pumpkin buckets you can get for $1 at Walmart
  • Spray paint of your choice – I used a Rose Gold color that I grabbed for less than $5
  • Some sort of floral arrangement – you could make your own but I grabbed this one at Walmart for under $6.  I ended up grabbing a few of the flower picks and adding them after the fact. Also, you may need something for it to sit on to be the right height.
  • Rocks or something to weigh it down (especially if your’e keeping it outside)
  • Hot glue gun (if you want it permanently stacked together)
  • Permanent adhesive stickers with whatever you’d like on your pumpkins – you could easily skip this step!

Remove the handles from the pumpkins – I had to get our a pair of scissors because those straps are tough y’all!

Get to spray painting! I did several light coats of the spray paint on my pumpkins.  Follow the instructions on your can – mine said to wait a minute between each coat and to wait 24 hours for it to be fully dried!

Originally I filled the pumpkins with some of those landscape brick pieces we have a huge pile of on the side of our house.  Side note: NEVER use those to landscape – they are a pain in the behind to get rid of when you’re sick of them! Even glued together the pumpkin was blowing over so easily.  After MUCH trail and error the bottom pumpkin has a small can of paint in it, the next has a TON of those brick pieces, the third has three tubs of plumber’s putty and the top one has more of the brick pieces.  That seems to have worked best for us but it also means I’m not gluing it together.  That hasn’t been a problem so far!

I made sure to line the faces up and turn them toward the back – they are less noticeable when they are painted but they are still there!

I thought about leaving it plain because it did look nice that way.

But, after much debate, I went with our last name for the top pumpkin and “Happy Fall Y’all” on the remaining three! I used a navy vinyl for everything but our last name – which I just used white.

I LOVE the way this looks (well except for the fact that a round pumpkin makes it hard to apply the vinyl straight when you’re rushing and “fall” is a little off – but from the road it looks okay.)!  It looks like it cost WAY more than the $18 I spent on it.  It was easy enough for me to do during two naps times as well!

I haven’t finished our porch yet – I need to get some fun pumpkins & gourds & maybe flowers to add to the bale of hay!

If you’re looking for something to add a little touch of classy fall to your front porch and not break the bank grab these supplies and spend a little bit of time making this fun pumpkin decor!

A Fall Activity: Painting with Corn

Happy Fall Y’all!

Have you tried the new Maple Pecan Latte?! It’s amazing – and the first thing I knocked off my Fall Bucket List!

Fall is, without a doubt, my favorite season.  Although now that I live in the South, fall doesn’t feel much different than summer until we hit at least mid-October.  But that doesn’t mean that I’m not fully embracing this new season with pumpkins and leaves and scents of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove!

It also means that I’m starting to do more fall activities with the boys, especially Lucas! I feel like I spent a crazy amount of time last year looking at fall activities for toddlers and preschools but never did them.  Now I have this mish-mash of ideas in my head and have decided to just roll with them!  I also like have “non-traditional” learning activities planned for Andrew’s nap time since Lucas isn’t as into letters and math and writing in the afternoon as he is in the morning.

This one was a totally winner!  And super easy to set up. Both boys love to eat corn on the cob so I thought we’d do something fun with ears of corn!  Plus the texture of the kernels makes really cool patterns.

You’ll need a few ears of corn (with the husk on preferably), paper plates, fall colored washable paint and a roll of paper – all of which we had on hand except for the corn!

Anyway, first we husked the corn and Lucas thought that part was super neat – maybe that means I’ll have a helper in the kitchen next time we have corn on the cob for dinner.  Next I let him roll the cobs in paint I had put on paper plates and then we just rolled and rolled and stamped and stamped with different colors.  We talked about how it felt “bumpy” when we rolled the corn and what pattern they created.

Then I just kind of let him have free reign to do whatever he wanted.  He ended up using the husks like a paint brush and then added the silk to make it even more brush like – watching him roll the silk in the husk was super cool!  I love seeing him create and solve problems on his own.

We drew pumpkins and rocket ship and dogs and spookies.

Then he decided he wanted to use his hands and feet!  It gave us another chance to talk about texture and how wet and squishy the paint feels on his hands and toes! Oh and to make a mess – a HUGE, SUPER FUN MESS!

Needless to say he was COVERED in paint by the time we were finished – thank goodness that paint is washable.  And that we were outside because he got a major squirt down with the hose.

While we watched his creation dry (and I cleaned up) he enjoyed a banana popsicle – because even though we’re doing fall activities it’s still 90 degrees here!

Have you started doing fall activities with your toddlers and preschoolers?!  Do you have a favorite?  I’d love to know what you’re doing with your kiddos this season to share links, Pinterest boards, or just let me know in the comments!