So, I think devoting a whole day for your freezer cooking is a great idea. Though, I wasn't prepared to pawn off my toddler or to stand for that long in the kitchen. So instead, I did a little bit each day, trying my best to clump things together in an orderly fashion. For example, I did everything I needed to with the food processor in one day, (so I'd only have to truly wash it once) even if it meant having a bag full of stinky chopped onion in my fridge all week for various recipes. (peeeww!) :) Rowen really enjoyed helping me with the food processor- he'd put the carrots in and then push the button "on," and then "off." The onions were quite funny, actually. His poor little eyes were streaming tears as he was squealing with glee at making the processor work. Ah, boys and machinery.
I also modified my list considerably as I went. Due to freezer space (holy cow, I have so much food from costco at the moment!) I nixed all the baked goods from my list. I may do them later, I may not. Also due to space, I didn't do any of the rice I thought I'd do. (planned on some fried rice meals, spanish rice side dishes, etc.) Again, I may add these items later in the month as I go through the box of Marie Calendar pot pies, the giant bag of chicken breasts, etc. I also realized that as I doubled recipes, dividing many of them into three meals was more appropriate for our small family so we'd have left overs. When I planned my list, I just thought in my head that I'd make about two meals of each. But then when it came around to cooking, it was just as easy to double recipes (if I had the ingredients) and then have three meals w/ left overs instead of just two.
So, in a way, I ended up with less than I planned, and in another, I ended up with more. Things to learn and grow from as I go. :)
All in all, I have most of the pieces for 54 meals!! Some are lunches and two are breakfasts, and all will need minimal cooking/prep in order to enjoy. Most will be ready by heating in the microwave and then adding to cooked rice or pasta or quinoa etc. Some will need to be stir-fried, BBQ'd, or baked. (only the quiches and the enchiladas.) Well technically, I could microwave the enchiladas. But that would be wrong. I cannot attest to the deliciousness of any of these meals, as this is my first time freezing them. Maybe if I have time I'll update you throughout the Summer. :) Also, I've linked many of the recipes, but of course I usually don't make a recipe exactly as written. So if you're interested in my version, or any of the recipes that I don't have linked, leave a comment and let me know. I'd be happy to share. :)
Okay, well, without further ado, here's my list, including what they'll need for completion:
*well, it's mid-July, and we've only begun to dive into these meals! Thanks to the many blessings of friends, family, and even complete strangers from church :) I thought to myself that it would be a good idea to write down my notes on how these meals turned out as we use them, so I will know for the future if I decide to make them again, or so you, my dear reader, can decide if any of these sound like freezer meals YOU might like to make! So, I will edit in my notes in orange as we go in the next month or so.
**it is now November. Just about everything is gone. (can you believe I still have a thing or two lurking around since May?) just now getting to updating this. I'm a tad slow on the blogging business with two kiddos. Sorry :)
Turkey Burgers (two meals)
saute'd mushrooms & caramelized onions *forgot about these both times we made the turkey burgers, darn it. **finally used them for things other than burgers, SO good!
coleslaw (add ramen when thawed) *i thawed two of these at once for a crowd. Half liked it, I was in the half that hated it. Yuck-o. And it was really good coleslaw when it was fresh.
already had frozen patties
need to buy or make: buns *first time thawing and baking: kinda small. Perhaps not enough rise time? But yummy. **small every time. But they worked.
pantry: baked beans, pickles, condiments
grocery list: lettuce, tomato, cheese
Pesto Pasta with Diced Turkey (three meals) **yu-um
diced roasted turkey
pesto sauce **it's really a crying shame I didn't have more of this.
pantry: 1/2# portioned pasta each
grocery list: corn on the cob
Zesty Grilled Chicken (four meals)
marinated chicken breasts for BBQ *easy and delish
grocery list: broccoli or artichokes
Jalapeno Chicken Salad (four meals)
Chicken Salad Mix *so easy to thaw, and tasted just like fresh! yahoo! one of my favorite summertime lunches.
Butternut Squash Risotto (one meal) **not as good as fresh. I think squash might need to be cooked before freezing.
butternut squash cubed, seeds & strings reserved
pantry: arborio, vermouth
Garlic Marinated Steak (two meals)
marinated raw steaks for BBQ **no complaints here :)
grocery list: potatoes, sour cream, butter, asparagus
Sweet Potato Burritos (four meals)
burritos *always a hit
grocery list: sour cream, avocado
Straccetti (three meals) *delish! Bummer to wash a heavy pan, a pot from pasta, the cutting board from the tomato, and a pot from steaming the green beans, but still easier than cooking the whole meal start to finish.
sliced and marinated raw steak
sauteed mushroom & onion
shredded asiago cheese
pantry: portioned 1/2# (ea) fettucini, vermouth
grocery list: green beans, tomato
Pesto Pasta Salad (two meals) *very happy to say this came out just like fresh! boil noodles, toss, and enjoy. yes!
toasted pine nuts
pantry: 1/2# (ea) portioned bow-tie pasta
grocery/garden: 1/2 pint (ea) cherry tomatoes
Thai Chili Beef (two meals) *super happy with how this one turned out too. A little spicier than I expected, which I don't know if it was from the "wait" time, or if they happened to be extra spicy jalapenos. Nervous about the frozen raw peppers and onions, but I couldn't detect anything once it was cooked and in my mouth! Wok and rice cooker to clean, cutting board from chopping herbs.
sliced marinated raw steak
prepped raw veggies
pantry: white rice
grocery/garden: cilantro, mint, lime
Chicken Enchiladas (one meal) *I've frozen this one before. Yum. The spanish rice turned out well too.
pantry: salad dressing
grocery: salad etc, avocado
French Dips (three meals) **these turned out great! Actually, I confess, the third batch is one of the things I still have in the freezer. Due to laziness of not wanting to make hoagies, or not having swiss cheese. One of these days...
sliced roast beef
creamy peas with tarragon
need to buy or make: hoagies
pantry: au jus
grocery: swiss cheese
Pasta with Beet Greens (three meals) *I was surprised at how yummy this one came out. And how easy. It tasted just like I had made it start to finish right then, and it was as easy as a "box" meal. Boil noodles, drain, heat up baggie contents in the noodle pot, add back the noodles once hot, stir in nut & cheese baggie- serve. barely any work or clean up. Loved it.
prepared beet green/sauce mixture
toasted pine nuts & parmesan
pantry: 1/2# portioned penne pasta each
Pulled Pork Sandwiches (three meals) *froze great! Defrosted quickly.
pulled pork in sauce
need to buy or make: hoagies or rolls
BBQ Chicken (two meals)
marinated raw chicken for BBQ **I didn't like that I had chicken in sauce taking up space, but it cooked well so no biggy. Just kinda bulk. I could have frozen the sauce seperately, but I guess it was nice to just grab one bag and not thaw a bag of sauce, and then add chicken that I'd hope to have.
to buy or make: biscuits
grocery: corn on the cob
BBQ Chicken Pizza (two meals) **oh, yeah. This stuff is goooooood
(use left-over BBQ'd chx)
grocery/garden: cilantro, red onion, salad etc.
Quiche in a Bag (two meals)
one with ham, cheddar, broccoli & peppers
one with spinach, swiss, & mushroom *somewhat disappointed. Thought it would be yummy to cook the defrosted egg mixture in a frozen pie crust- turned out soggy and there was too much egg mixture for the crust anyway, so I may not have had enough of all the right ingredients in the pan. (since there were some left in the bag.) I'll try the ham and cheese one in an 8x8 pan and we'll see. **slightly better, but still "eh"
Rice Pilaf w/ Turkey & Broccoli (two meals) **good
portioned roasted turkey
still need to make: lightly cooked broccoli
pantry: portioned rice/pasta mix
Sloppy Joes (two meals) **ack! These were TERRIBLE! i threw out the second batch. It tasted like FISH!! (I love fish. But your beef should never, EVER taste like fish. Ew.)
sloppy joe beef
need to buy or make: buns, mac salad
grocery: salad etc
Chicken Tacos (three meals) **the only part I made of these were the black beans, which were yummy and froze great. We didn't make tacos all summer. We ate the beans with another dish, and Matt enjoyed the left overs in a breakfast burrito!
small flour tortillas
still need to make: seasoned sauteed chicken, shredded cheese
grocery: salad etc
Delicious Black Bean Burritos (two meals) *it's true: delicious. Making these again asap. I added a can of diced tomatoes with chilis this time, and wont make it again without them.
Taco Salad (two meals) **just like taco salad
cooked & seasoned kidney bean/meat/olive mixture
need to make: spanish rice
pantry: tortilla chips, olives, homemade ranch dressing mix
grocery: salad etc