It is a well-known fact that squirrels store nuts for winter. I know this fact in the same way that I know coyotes are stupid and road runners are wily. Yes, I know this from cartoons.
Thinking that perhaps I should do a little research to back up this “fact” that I know from childhood, I turned to the Internet, which led me to Wikianswers, which told me that “Squirrels store nuts and acorns for winter.”
Wikianswers then asked me two very important questions, “What would you call a chipmunk and squirrel mix breed?” and “What do termites eat during winter?” When I clicked on these questions looking for answers to these pressing questions, no answers were available.
You see, I was to answer these two questions for Wikianswers (obviously not a reliable source of information, if they are relying on people like me to answer their questions. Oh, and BTW, my answers to Wikianswers inane questions: “Squirch” and “frozen wood, duh?”)
So now, you dear reader are wondering “Why, oh why, is she writing this?” I have an answer for that too: I am writing about squirrels and nuts and winter food storage, because on a beautiful October weekend, I too, just like a squirrel (I think) put up food for winter.
One of the “pleasures” of being a mom is that when the family comes home at the end of the day, I tell them hello and how happy I am to see them and they turn to me and say “What’s for dinner?” Nothing warms the ice-riven cockles of my heart quite like the question “What’s for dinner?” In fact, it is precisely because of that phrase that my heart is so icy.
“What’s for dinner?” is especially welcome after a day of skiing when I am thinking about relaxing in warm water with a little apres-ski, maybe a few hors d’ouevres and a good movie. “What’s for dinner?,” I want to answer, “Whatever you’re making.” But I don’t. Instead, I sigh resignedly, peer into the pantry hoping for salvation and punt by grabbing some pasta.
For several years, my husband and I tried valiantly to plan ahead on ski days. He is good help in the kitchen and together we went through a Crockpot stage. Unfortunately for everyone, we were also in a chicken stage. Our freezer was full of bulk, boneless, organic chicken breasts. Thus, so was our crockpot. One cannot mention the words “crockpot” and “chicken” together in our home without groans of intestinal distress.
So now, dear reader, you are still wondering why I am writing this aren’t you? Oh yes. It is because of what happened in October. You see, in one weekend, I shopped for and prepared 12 casseroles. I made lasagne, turkey tetrazzini, eggplant parmesan, chicken enchiladas and broccoli, cheese and rice casserole. Then I froze them in anticipation of ski season.
For this year we are going to eat like the kings and queen that we are. When I am asked “What’s for dinner?” as we drive home from skiing, I will triumphantly think to myself “Let them eat casseroles!” while calming (and humbly!) answering “It is lasagne tonight, I hope you will like it.” I can already hear the roar of approval from the backseat and smell the hot and tasty meal cooking while I relax. At least that is my hope. And if groans ensue, well, I’ve learned a few tricks over the years from a certain roadrunner. Acme explosives, anyone?
It wouldn’t be fair of me to pretend that I came up with this idea by myself. I was inspired by my friend who is not only a hard-working mom of three, but a Colonel in the USAF who is married to another Colonel in the USAF. Talk about a busy life!
My friend the Colonel is super-organized (as one would expect). About once every six months she fills a chest freezer with enough casseroles to last the next six months. She does this in one weekend, with a smile on her face and I’m sure, with a certain military precision.
So here is what you need: disposable casserole pans, aluminum foil, paper and tape for writing out the cooking instructions and affixing them to the aluminum foil atop the pans. Almost any casserole recipe will do. For, as far as I am concerned, most anything can be frozen. You can search google for “freeze-ahead casseroles” if you need some inspiration.
Buy the ingredients the day before and enlist your family’s help with shopping and cooking. It makes the process a lot more fun.
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