January 9, 2013

Freezer Meals 101


Greetings readers!

I thought I'd share with you a little experiment I did during the month of December. 

Truth be told I am not much of a cook. It isn't that I can't cook - I just really don't like too. I love eating the food, but not necessarily putting in the elbow grease to make the food. For some, half the fun of eating is the cooking. Me? Not so much. 

After some reflection, the fact that I don't like to cook probably contributes to our frequent eating out (which was killing our budget!). After chasing around 13 two-year-olds, writing awesome blog posts and knocking out some Etsy orders, the last thing I want to do with my time is cook. 

Last month, I experimented with doing freezer meals which entails a three to four hour cooking marathon. The cooking marathon leaves you with approximately a month's worth of meals ready to be popped in the oven. If you don't like the chore, you might as well do it once and get the pain over with, right? 

For us, it worked wonderfully! I filled our chest freezer with: homemade spaghetti sauce, chicken and bean chili, this beefaroni stuff, BBQ chicken, meatloaves and chicken spaghetti. All I had to do was thaw it, throw it in oven for a few minutes and open a can of beans to go with it. Now, that's what I call cooking!

I haven't actually done a cooking marathon for this month because we STILL have leftover meals from December. Because of the holidays, we didn't eat at home every night. 

We definitely have picked out a few favorite recipes which I'd like to share with you.

Chicken Spaghetti (2 - 8x8 casseroles)
4 chicken breasts - boiled & shredded2 cans cream of mushroom soup1 green bell pepper, diced1 onion, diced4oz jar of pimentos, diced3C thin spaghetti, broken into small pieces2C shredded cheese1 tsp seasoned salt1/8 tsp cayennesalt & pepper to taste
Boil chicken, keep 2C of broth. Cook spaghetti in the remaining broth. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Mix in the saved chicken broth gradually. You want the mixture to be creamy, slightly soupy, but not drippy. Press into pans and top with more cheese. Wrap in foil.Reheating - Thaw casserole. Remove foil & place back in baking dish. Cook at 350 for 45m.
1C chopped zucchini
1/2C chopped onion
1-1/2lbs Italian sausage
3 garlic cloves, pressed
26oz jar spaghetti sauce
30oz beef broth
1C water
1-1/2C uncooked pasta (egg noodles, radiatore, ziti work well)
basil
Chop zucchini & set aside (I cut it in slices and then cut the slices in half but I like bigger chunks). Cook sausage until no longer pink, add onions & garlic. Add spaghetti sauce, broth & water - bring to a boil. Stir in zucchini, cook 2-4 minutes until tender, add basil.
Chop zucchini & set aside (I cut it in slices and then cut the slices in half but I like bigger chunks). Cook sausage until no longer pink, add onions & garlic. Add spaghetti sauce, broth & water - bring to a boil. Stir in zucchini, cook 2-4 minutes unt
il tender, add basil.


Lazy Lasagna Chili (made 3 - 4C bags)

For more recipes, click here!

It's safe to say freezer meals have found a place in both my freezer and my heart. As I run across more delicious recipes, I'll be sure to share the love!

Until next time!
Miranda


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