Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Freezer Cooking....Success!!!!

Wow, it has been a very long time since I have blogged...I have not had a break since school started, so I am taking my Christmas break to at least get one post in. This post isn't about school at all, but about a cooking venture I have been wanting to try for a long time...Freezer Cooking!!! I have been searching and planning out meals for a very long time and finally got the nerve to just do it!! I actually enjoyed myself and am not too exhausted!! I ended up with 11 meals all in my freezer!! It is so liberating...I know my husband will be happy because he usually does all the cooking, because I am just too tired to even think about cooking after work. Here are the meals I came up with:
1. Lemon and Garlic "Dump" Chicken
2. Creamy Chicken with Mushroom (minus the mushrooms...LOL)
3. Ranch burgers
4. Shepherd's Pie
5. Smothered Pork Chops
6. Chicken Pot Pie
7. Meat Stew
8. Taco Soup
9. Roast
10. Beef Tips
11. Spaghetti Sauce

I did all of my shopping the day before, and checked my cabinets before I went grocery shopping. I used the grocery planner from Once a Month Mom. I got a few of the recipes from there as well as The Country Cook and Loving my Nest. I also made a few of my own recipes (Mama's) into freezer meals. A few other places to find recipes for freezer cooking are: Who Needs a Cape and Six Sisters' Stuff.
Once I sorted out the ingredients, I made my master list and went grocery shopping. I decided not to cook on the same day I went grocery shopping because I have heard it can be very overwhelming.
I decided to start today at 11am. I started by labeling all of my baggies with the date, name and reheating/cooking instructions. Some people will do all of their chopping first, but I knew that that would be a ginormous mess for me and ingredients would be left out, so I just did one meal at at a time and it probably took me a lot longer, oh well. Anyway, I did all of my "dump" meals first to get the hang of it and saved the major cooking for the end. For 11 meals and one extra trip to the grocery store (oops, a little scatter brained)...I finished at around 5:30pm.
I do not remember where I got all the recipes, because I wasn't planning on posting it here, so if you know where I got them, please tell me:)

Here are the recipes:
1. Lemon and Garlic "Dump" Chicken (this was from a site I found through Pinterest with a bunch of "dump" chicken recipes)

2 Cloves Garlic -- chopped
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/8 Teaspoon Pepper
1 1/2 Pounds Chicken Pieces

For immediate cooking: Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Place all ingredients into a
large baking dish, turn chicken to coat. Bake until chicken juices run
clear (45-60 minutes for chicken pieces, or 20-30 minutes for chicken

For freezing: Place all ingredients into a 1 Gallon freezer bag. Lay flat
in freezer.

To thaw and cook: Take the bag out of the freezer the night before, make
sure the baggie is completely closed. Place the Bag on a shelf furthest
from the freezer (It works best if the bag is laying flat, although this
may not be the best option with a side-by-side fridge/freezer). Preheat the
oven to 350 F. Empty the contents of the bag into a large baking dish and
bake until the juices run clear (45-60 minutes for chicken pieces, or 20-30
minutes for chicken breasts).

Per serving: 250 Calories (kcal); 21g Total Fat; (74% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; 70mg Cholesterol; 56mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 3 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

2. Creamy Chicken with Mushrooms (minus the mushrooms...LOL)

Pam @ Onceamonthmom.com (Adapted from Fix and Forget It)
                6 pieces boneless, skinless chicken
                20 ounces cream of chicken soup
                0.5 cup sliced mushrooms
                0.75 teaspoon salt
                0.25 teaspoon pepper
                Additional herbs or spices, if desired (I usually add a generous shake of garlic powder)
Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover, cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours. Serve over mashed potatoes, hot cooked noodles, or rice, if desired.
Freezing Directions:
Place chicken in freezer bags. Mix soup, mushrooms, and seasonings. Add to freezer bag. Seal, label, and freeze. To serve: No need to thaw. Place bag contents in slow cooker, cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-5 hours. Serve over mashed potatoes, hot cooked noodles, or rice, if desired.
Servings: 6

3. Ranch Burgers 

                        2 pounds lean ground beef
                        1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
                        1 egg, lightly beaten
                        3/4 cup crushed saltine crackers
                        1 onion, chopped

               Preheat the grill for high heat.
               In a bowl, mix the ground beef, ranch dressing mix, egg, crushed crackers, and onion. Form into hamburger patties.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Place patties on the grill, and cook 5 minutes per side, or until well done.

4. Shepherd's Pie

                            1  pound  ground beef
                            1/3  cup  ketchup
                            1  teaspoon  Worcestershire sauce
                            8  ounces  frozen mixed vegetables (such as carrots, peas, and corn), thawed
                            1/4  cup  (1 ounce) shredded Cheddar (optional)
                            1  16-ounce package mashed potatoes, refrigerated or frozen and thawed
                Heat oven to 400° F.
                Place the beef in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat until no trace of pink remains, about 5 minutes.
                Spoon off and discard any fat. Stir in the ketchup and Worcestershire. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Spoon into a baking dish.
Mix the cheese (if desired) with the potatoes in a bowl. Spread over the beef and bake until heated through, 10 minutes. Divide among plates.

5. Smothered Pork Chops

recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

3 ounces bacon (about 3 slices), cut into
1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
Vegetable oil
4 bone-in, rib-end pork chops,
1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
Ground black pepper
2 medium yellow onions, halved pole to pole and sliced thin (about 3 1/2 cups) 
8 oz sliced white button mushrooms
2 tablespoons water
2 medium garlic cloves, pressed through garlic press or minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves plus some for garnish

Fry bacon in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate, leaving fat in saucepan (you should have 2 tablespoons bacon fat; if not, supplement with vegetable oil). Reduce heat to medium-low and gradually whisk flour into fat until smooth. Cook, whisking frequently, until mixture is light brown, about the color of peanut butter, about 5 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth in slow, steady stream; increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, stirring occasionally; cover and set aside off heat.

Heat 1-tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until smoking, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, dry pork chops with paper towels and sprinkle with 1/2-teaspoon pepper. Brown chops in single layer until deep golden on first side, about 3 minutes. Flip chops and cook until browned on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer chops to large plate and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon oil, onions, mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and water to now-empty skillet. Using wooden spoon, scrape browned bits on pan bottom and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and browned around the edges, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. 

Return chops to skillet in single layer, covering chops with onions and mushrooms. Pour in warm sauce and any juices collected from pork; add bay leaves. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until pork is tender and paring knife inserted into chops meets very little resistance, about 30 minutes. 

Transfer chops to warmed serving platter and tent with foil. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer sauce rapidly, stirring frequently, until thickened to gravy-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves, stir in parsley, and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Cover chops with sauce, and serve immediately.

* To make ahead/freezer meal - Instead of returning chops to the skillet as noted above, place chops in single layer into an oven- and freezer-proof baking dish, covering chops with onions and reserved bacon. Pour in warm sauce and any juices collected from pork; add bay leaves. Allow to cool completely before covering and freezing. When ready to prepare, defrost completely. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place baking dish uncovered in preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes until pork is tender and paring knife inserted into chops meets very little resistance, about 30 minutes. Continue by transferring the chops to a warmed serving platter and following the last step as noted above.

6. Chicken Pot Pie

1 cup cooked, cubed chicken

1 8oz block cream cheese, softened

1 can cream of chicken soup (undiluted)

1 can mixed vegetables

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 unbaked refrigerated pie crust

Mix cream cheese and soup. Add in chicken, veggies, and seasonings. Stir to combine. Pour into greased 8x8 pan. Top with pie crust (either trim edges or fold them over) and make slits to vent. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown or freeze unbaked. To cook from frozen: thaw in refrigerator 4-5 hours before baking and cook as directed or put directly into oven for 1 hour 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

7. Meat Stew

2 lbs Meat (beef, pork, whatever is on sale), cubed
2 Onions, chopped
5 Carrots, sliced
3 Zucchini, sliced
2 Celery stalks, chopped
2 Red Bell Peppers, chopped
2 tsp Salt
.5 tsp Pepper
2 tsp Minced Garlic
1 14 oz can Canned Tomatoes
1 can Tomato Sauce
Put all ingredients in a large ziploc bag and freeze. Thaw bag and add contents to slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8. Stir occassionally.
Serve with warm cornbread. Serves approx 5-6 people.
8. Taco Soup (Mama's recipe)
1-1.5 lb ground beef
1 can of each:
pinto beans (drained)
black beans
kidney beans (drained)
garbanzo beans (drained)
hominy (drained)
Ro-tel tomatoes
diced tomatoes
1 package dry taco seasoning
1 package dry ranch dressing
1 tbl chili powder
1 cup fresh chopped cilantro
Brown and drain beef in large stock pot. Add 2 cans water, taco seasoning, ranch dressing and all canned vegetables. Add 1/2 chopped cilantro and heat. 
For freezer cooking: cook meat and drain, add all other ingredients to freezer bags. On day of eating, thaw in the refrigerator over night and heat on the stove. Serve with tortila strips, avocado, limes, and cilantro.
9. Roast (my recipe)
1 large roast
1 package of onion soup mix
6 red potatoes (cubed)
1 onion (chopped)
small bag of baby carrots (cut in half)
2 cups water
2 beef bouillon cubes
Freezer prep: Put roast in freezer bag. Add potatoes and carrots. Mix onion soup mix with 2 cups of water and pour in. Add 2 beef bouillon cubes and close. To prepare, thaw over night. Dump all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours (all day). I make a gravy out of the juices, but that is up to you!
10. Beef Tips (no idea where this came from)

1 1/2 lb. beef tips (or cubed beef stew meat)*
1 package of dry Onion Soup Mix
1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can of Beef Broth

Add beef to slow cooker. In a bowl, combine dry Onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup and beef broth.  
Stir to combine and pour over beef in slow cooker.
Stir all ingredients together.
Cook on low for at least 6-8 hours.  Give everything a good stir before serving. Serve on top of mashed potatoes or egg noodles. 
 Enjoy with your favorite veggies and salad.

Note: I put all the ingredients in a bag and froze them... no cooking!!!:)

Cook’s note: You can use a whole beef roast instead of cubed stew meat. 
If you don’t have cream of mushroom soup, you can substitute cream of chicken.
Also, if you are sensitive to salt, I would suggest using a low sodium cream soup as well as a low sodium beef broth

11. Spaghetti Sauce....
I just browned ground beef and italian sausage with onions, then added a jar of spaghetti sauce. Then I poured it all in a baggie:)

That's all I did this time around...now time to start searching for new recipes:) Let me know if you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them!! Happy New Year and Happy Prepping/Cooking/Freezing!

No comments:

Post a Comment