FREEZER MEALS

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This past week I caught the ‘nesting bug’! That crazy, pre-labor burst of energy that happens late in your pregnancy where you find yourself reorganizing all your closets, sweeping out the garage, and pairing up all the stray socks that have accumulated in your laundry room (or am I the only one doing these things?!). Lucky for my husband he was out of town the last half of the week and was not around to join in the nesting fun, but I took full advantage of the energy overtaking my body. One of the of the things I was able to cross off my list during this time was the preparation of many, many freezer meals. I made a few meals for our family before we had Tate and they were such a life-saver when he arrived and our tummies were hungry. I cleaned out our freezer to make plenty of room and went a little crazy with the menu this week. Check out the recipes below of the meals I made.

Side note,I am in no way a food blogger. I love taking pictures of my family and friends, but I just cannot ever seem to get the set up cute or lighting right to post pictures of the food I make. So, in advance, I apologize for the lack of pictures in this post… but to make up for it, I have yummy, yummy recipes!!


CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

Enchilada Sauce… What you will need:

  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 14 oz. can chicken broth
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Enchilada Sauce… What you will do:

  1. Heat oil in skillet.
  2. Stir in flour and chili powder; cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  4. Lower heat and let simmer for 1 minute.

Enchiladas… What you will need:

  • 3 cups Enchilada Sauce (above)
  • 2 cups shredded/diced cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz. can green chilies
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional – but adds great flavor)
  • 12 tortillas

Enchiladas… What you will do:

  1. Mix chicken, 1/4 cup Monterey jack cheese, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, sour cream, green chilies and cilantro.
  2. Stir in 1/2 cup Enchilada Sauce
  3. Warm tortillas on a hot cast iron skillet or in microwave.
  4. Put a small layer of Enchilada Sauce in bottom of 9x13 pan.
  5. Spread 2 heaping tbsp. of chicken mixture in each tortilla, roll up and place in pan, seam down.
  6. Top with remaining Enchilada Sauce and 1/4 cup Monterey jack cheese and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese.
  7. Put foil or lid over pan and ready to freeze!!

Freezing instructions: (1) Let dish thaw completely. (2) Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. (3) Garnish with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, etc. … or enjoy by itself as I usually do!!


GRANDPA STEVENS CHILI

What you will need (I always double the recipe when I make it):

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 cups minced onion
  • 1 15 oz. can of black beans
  • 1 15 oz. can of pinto beans
  • 1 15 oz. can of kidney beans
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 cup chopped red pepper
  • 3-4 cups tomato juice

What you will do:

  1. Combine beef with onions and peppers and sauté until meat is cooked and vegetables are tender.
  2. Transfer beef and vegetable mixture to large cooking pot. Add beans (I leave beans undrained which helps thicken) and spices.
  3. Add tomato juice until consistency you desire.
  4. Transfer chili into freezer containers.

Freezing instructions: (1) Let chili completely thaw. (2) Heat in large cooking pot. (3) Enjoy topped with cheese, sour cream or crackers.


THE BEST LASAGNA. EVER.

This truly is ‘the best lasagna. ever.’ and needs no alternations. See link above or here.


CORN CHOWDER

What you will need:

  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large red potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 16 oz. frozen corn
  • 1 bay leaf

What you will do:

  1. Heat oil in skillet.
  2. Add the chopped onion and red bell pepper and sauté until tender and translucent.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add chopped garlic and let simmer for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in flour and cook until reaches a blonde color, about 1 minute.
  6. Stir in the chicken stock and potatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Add cream, frozen corn and bay leaf and stir until all ingredients are combined.
  8. Transfer chowder into freezer containers.

Freezing instructions: (1) Let chowder completely thaw. (2) Heat in large cooking pot. (3) Enjoy garnished with tomatoes or bacon bits.


CHICKEN POT PIE

Yields: 2 Pot Pies

Recipe given by Chelsea Mickelsen. This girl even helped me make a couple pies. She is a-mazing!!

Chicken Filling… What you will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 3/4 cups carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Chicken Filling… What you will do:

  1. Place potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan; add water to cover.
  2. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook covered 8-10 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Drain
  3. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion. Cook and stir until tender.
  4. Stir in flour and seasonings until blended.
  5. Gradually stir in chicken broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened.
  6. Stir in peas, chicken and potato mixture. Remove from heat.

Pie Crust (2 baked shells – top & bottom)… What you will need:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/8 cup water (that is 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp.)
  • 3/4 cup butter

Pie Crust… What you will do:

  1. Mix 1 1/4 cup flour and salt together.
  2. Add butter and stir well.
  3. Add water and blend.
  4. Add remaining 1/4 cup flour and blend. (**add more water or flour, if needed)
  5. Cut dough in half and roll out onto floured surface. Place half the rolled out dough into pie tin.

**At this time, you will need to make another recipe of the Pie Crust for the Chicken Mixture above. Do not double the Pie Crust recipe. Make two separate recipes.

Chicken Pot Pie… What you will do:

  1. Scoop half the Chicken Filling (above) onto the prepared Pie Crust (above) in the pie tin.
  2. Please the other half of the Pie Crust over the Chicken Filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in tops.
  3. Repeat steps above for the second Chicken Pot Pie.
  4. Cover and freeze unbaked pies.

Freezing instructions: (1) Remove from freezer 30 minutes before baking (do not unthaw). (2) Preheat over to 425 degrees. (2) Please pies on baking sheets and cover edges loosely with foil. (3) Bake 30 minutes. (4) Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 70-80 additional minutes or until crust is lightly browned and a thermometer inserted into center reads 165 degrees. (5) Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.


BAKED PENNE WITH CHICKEN AND SUN-DRIED TOMATOES

Super delicious meal and easy to make. See link above or here.


Freezer meals are all about convenience for my family. Some of the meals I prepared are not difficult to whip up most nights, but are prepared in advance for convenience. See the following two meals below…

CHICKEN FAJITAS

What you will need:

  • 1 lb. chicken
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 10 tortillas
  • 1 Fajita seasoning mix

What you will do:

  1. Slice chicken, bell pepper and onion and place each food ingredient into separate plastic bags.
  2. Place chicken and vegetable bags, along with the tortillas and Fajita seasoning mix into a larger plastic bag.
  3. Place large bag in freezer.

Freezing instructions: (1) Remove from freezer and let thaw complete. (2) In skillet, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. (2) Add chicken and sauté 4-5 minutes or until no longer pink. (3) Add bell peppers and onion. (4) Cook until vegetables are crisp-tender. (5) Add Fajita seasoning mix and 1/3 cup water. (6 ) Cook and simmer 3-5 minutes. (7) Serve on tortillas. (8 ) Garnish and enjoy shredded lettuce, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, diced tomatoes or sliced olives.


PULLED PORK SANDWICHES

What you will need:

  • 2 lbs. packaged pulled pork (you can make your own, we just LOVE Montgomery Inn’s pulled pork and there is no way I could replicate it!)
  • 8 sandwich buns

What you will do:

  1. Place the packaged pulled pork and the sandwich buns in a large plastic bag.
  2. Place large bag in freezer.

Freezing instructions: (1) Remove from freezer and let thaw completely. (2) Follow instructions on packaged pulled pork to cook.

**Like I said above, the previous two recipes are prepared for pure convenience. They are easy recipes I would make most nights with very little effort, but why not have a couple meals in your freezer that require ZERO, NO effort!! I am all about convenience and simplicity.


Another freezer tip, I write on the plastic container/bag the ‘freezing instructions’ to, again, simplify everything!! I do not want to be digging through my recipe book months from now to look up the instructions. The point of freezer meals is to spend little to no time on dinner. Spend the extra time prepping now so later you will have that extra time to relax, especially when you will need it the most.

So there you have it!! Now you all know what is currently being stored in my freezer. I also like to keep a few pounds of chicken breast, ground beef and fish in my freezer for nights I have a little energy! Enjoy and happy freezing!!

 

What is currently being stored in your freezer? What are your favorite freezer meals?

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