Tuesday, October 30, 2012

3 Recipes that Freeze Really Really Well

I have this Pinterest board called Freezer Cooking. And on it I have pinned all these posts I want to read. All of them have some title like "10 Freezer Meals in 1 Day. Includes grocery lists and recipes" OR "4 hours, 46 meals, 95 dollars" OR "8 Crockpot Freezer Meals in One Hour."  And all of them have pictures of rows and rows of filled Ziploc bags like this:

That picture was taken from this pin. And all of it seems so ideal, but a little overwhelming and too daunting.

And what if we do not even like the meals? On many of the pins when I click over and read the post, there is an update that says the meals were bland or you read the comments and many commenters say the meal was mush or the crunched tortilla chips were soggy. (This is why I mentioned in my last post that you must try a recipe out before you cook multiples of it and freeze it.) 

I remember one time a girlfriend and I went to one of those Dream Dinners places and it was fun to spend time together doing something that needed to be done anyway and I was excited to come home with 12 meals, but when I served them to my family, they were just ok, nothing to rave about. We certainly did not want seconds or to eat them again. . .and I had paid a lot of money for these meals (remember I am a couponer who only spends $400 a month for her family of 7). I was disappointed.

So all that to say. . .I get it. I am in the same boat as you. Give me Freezer Cooking: the EASY Way. Something that can fit into my already full day.

I also want you to know that I only share recipes/ideas that I have tried and my family loves. Recipes that I have made and I have frozen and eaten again. .to make sure they freeze well. Below I want to share an idea and some recipes that really are doable and hopefully not overwhelming. I bet you could even do this tonight or tomorrow night??

As I mentioned in my post titled 9 Baby Steps to Get You Started Freezer Cooking, I freeze leftovers. I want to mention it again today because I actually pulled out some spaghetti sauce I had frozen for dinner last night and took a picture of it for you!  See it here in the pot:

About a month ago, I made spaghetti sauce and just froze the leftovers in a Ziploc bag. I waited for the sauce to cool. Then I just scooped it in the bag, zipped it close (getting out as much air as possible), and laid it flat on a cookie sheet to freeze. You will need to mush the spaghetti sauce into a thin flat layer inside the Ziploc bag. So that when the sauce freezes, you will have a flat sheet of spaghetti sauce (you can tell so in the above picture). Flat sheets of frozen items take up less room in the freezer. 
Now last night when I wanted spaghetti sauce, I poured a can of diced tomatoes in the bottom of the pot and my frozen spaghetti sauce sheet quickly defrosted in there. The diced tomatoes or a jar of Ragu just makes the spaghetti sauce stretch further.
What can you make tonight and make enough of that you will be sure to have leftovers to freeze?
Here are 3 of my favorite recipes to double or triple up on. I always make a huge batch so we have enough to eat that night and then have plenty to freeze.  I freeze all of these in freezer Ziploc bags just like I froze the spaghetti sauce and explained above. You really can do this!!
1. Crockpot Vegetable Soup  Don't worry you can add browned ground beef or browned ground sausage (our favorite) if you want some meat in your soup. Here is the recipe. My kids love this soup. I love them eating this soup because of all the veggies in it.

2. Short on Time Chicken Tacos

In a pot, put:

1-3 cans of chicken breast packed in water (no need to drain). I usually put 3 cans because I want leftovers!!

1-2 cans of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilles

1 large onion chopped (or if you already have chopped onion in your freezer like I mentioned in this post, just put in a cup or so).

Cook these 3 ingredients on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Stir chicken chunks into smaller pieces.

Once chicken mixture has started to simmer, add taco sasoning mixture and 3/4 cup of water. For 3 cans of chicken breast, I use 2 packets of taco seasoning but we like things spicy. So taste before you add another packet.
Cook for another 10-15 minutes allowing all the flavors to simmer together and some of the water to boil off. You do not want a watery mixture.
Create a taco salad by serving this chicken on top of tortilla chips and a bed of shredded lettuce. Or you could serve it on top of white rice. Either way, top off by adding all the fixings: sour cream, black beans, salsa, black olives, guacamole, shredded cheese, whatever you enjoy.
I got this recipe from Jamie at Worth Above Rubies.
3. Chicken Fajitas. I don't have a picture of this yet. But if you click here, I have the recipe for you. Make sure you read the 2 comments on that recipe post too. . these are yummy. I have not met a person who does not like these.
I'd love to hear your easy recipes that you triple up on and then freeze. And let me know if you give any the above a try. They are so easy you could even make one tonight!!

1 comment:

  1. We had your chicken fajita recipe tonight - from the freezer! I almost always double a recipe that we love - including spaghetti sauce, chicken fajitas, meatloaf, sloppy joes, white bean soup and chicken tortilla soup - yummy!


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