Monday, November 19, 2012

28 Freezer Meals in 1 DAY!

***Check below each recipe to see my thoughts of them and any modifications I suggest***

Featured at:

mop it up mondays feature
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

FlourMeWithLove Button


Fully stocked freezer!  When they are more solid I will turn them on their ends like books.

I was really missing my once a month shopping.  It was easier, I spent less money, and I'm a planner.  I like having all my meals and snacks planned (and I will continue to do this), but I really like planning monthly instead of weekly.  It's so much easier for me to have an extended plan.  However, this is going to be a bit different.  I have decided to make the majority of my meals freezer meals.

I am so excited!  I have 28 meals ready to go with only 1 trip to the grocery store!  Not to mention all the time (and $$$$) saved by not running to the grocery store every week.  I spent 3 hours at the grocery store and spent $166.30 before tax on the food needed for the next 6 weeks.  That means each meal cost $5.94 per bag!  Not a bad deal at all, considering that is what I normally spend per week!    

You may remember I started stocking up on my Vegetable Rice.  I also made Cilantro Lime Rice (using dried cilantro and used my rice cooker), Mexican Rice (see recipe below), and plain rice with just chicken broth and butter.  Those will work as great side dishes for many of my meals.

The first thing I had to do was take inventory of what I had in my cupboards, spice cabinet, refrigerator, and freezer.  Once that was done I decided what recipes I wanted to make.  Once I chose my recipes I wrote up my grocery list (which was ten times easier because I already took inventory).

Before I share my grocery list please know that most of the items you will have in your cupboard.  I also did not include spices.  I make my own broth, can my own salsa, and make my own Taco Seasoning so that helps cut down my grocery list too.  But here are the main ingredients you will need for 28 meals.



For me I have everything in the canned/jarred/boxed section below red wine.  So there is not much I need to buy considering the amount of food I will be making.  Now that we have the list lets take a peek at the meal plan.



I still have to work on side dishes, but it will be lots of veggies.  I will most likely purchase some couscous, frozen veggies, and canned veggies for my side dishes.

Once home from the store I put everything away except my veggies.  It is very important to keep your meat cold.  You will be chopping up all those veggies for a bit so make sure you are practicing proper food safety :)

I then grab 28 bags (I am using my food saver so I have my food saver bags).  I label them, date them, and write the instructions for preparation on them.  Then I fill as I go.  I think the assembly line method works best for me.  Some people like to chop everything, put them in large bowls, and then divide up.  It's up to you, but me I don't need any extra dirty bowls ;)

There is lots of peeling, chopping, dicing, and seeding to be done.  So make sure you plan accordingly if you are going to take on a large task like this.  It's also helpful to have extra hands.  My husband and daughter are great for helping  me peel everything while I chop and helping me distribute them into bags. A tip to make this simpler for everyone is to print off all your recipes and tape them to the cupboards so you and your helpers can see what goes where.

 ***Note: I do not add potatoes to my kits.  I chop them and add at cooking time.  I think potatoes drastically lose their quality when frozen and I've had them blacken (yuck!).  So I decided to add them as I go since they tend to keep really well this time of year if stored properly anyway****

Once all the veggies are distributed I work on the sauces and canned items.  I add all seasonings, canned veggies, pineapple, etc to each bag accordingly.  And then the final step is to add the meat.  If the meal requires diced or sliced I leave those until last.  I trim the meat, add to the bag, seal, and then lay flat in the freezer until frozen.  Once frozen they stack on their sides (like books) wonderfully!  When those are tucked away I work on slicing and dicing the meat.  I then add those to the bags, seal, and lay flat in the freezer.

So now that you know my method lets look at the recipes I will be using.  Each recipe is for 1 bag.  I made 2 bags of each recipe for my meal plan.  After I make a recipe I will post about it.  That way you can get my full review, thoughts, or changes necessary.



Brunskwick Stew adapted from Baked in the South 
1 lb chicken (thighs, breast, tenders, whatever you find on sale)
1/2 lb salt pork, diced
1 can corn, drained
1 can butter beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 medium onions, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce (more if you want more spice)
2 TBS butter

  • Place everything in a large freezer bag
  • Label the bag and write instructions to add 3 cups chicken broth and 2 potatoes cubed at cooking time (don't forget to include cooking instructions on the bag)
  • To cook, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, place everything in the crock pot (including potatoes and chicken broth) and cook on low for 6-8 hours
  • Remove chicken, shred, and return to the stew
  • Serve with hot buttered rolls or cornbread and enjoy!
***This one was pretty good.  We actually like it quite well, but I feel it was better prepared on the stove top.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 2 hours stirring occassionally.  Much better depth of flavor this way***

Teriyaki Chicken
1 lb chicken
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 small onion, cut into large chunks
1 green pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1 can of pineapple tidbits with the juice
1 TBS minced garlic
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • Combine everything into a large freezer safe bag, shake to mix, seal, lay flat, and freeze
  • Thaw in the refrigerator overnight to cook
  • On bag write instructions for cooking: Add 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce and cook on low for 6-8 hours
***I suggest adding the green pepper and onion the day you prepare to prevent them getting to soft and mushy***

Salsa Chicken
1 lb chicken
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of corn, drained
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 cup salsa
1 packet of taco seasoning (or about 3 TBS)
  • Combine everything into a large bag, shake to mix, seal, lay flat, and freeze
  • Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking
  • Instructions for bag:  cook on low 6-8 hours
  • Serve in warmed tortilla shells with desired toppings and a side of rice
***This recipe is great as is.  Nothing needs to be changed.  Super yummy!***

Garlic Dijon Chicken recipe source When the dinner Bell Rings
1 lb chicken
1 TBS minced garlic
4 TBS dijon mustard
2 TBS lime juice
  • Place all ingredients in a large freezer bag, seal, lay flat, and freeze
  • Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking
  • Instructions for the bag:  Place contents in an oven proof dish and bake for 20-30 minutes (or until no longer pink and cooked through) in a preheated 350 degree oven
***The dijon was a little strong for the kids.  I suggest adding about 2-4 TBS of honey when you prepare to help take the bite out***

Herb-Wine Chicken recipe source When the Dinner Bell Rings
1 lb chicken
1 cup red wine
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 TBS minced garlic
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 TBS dried parsley
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
  • Place all ingredients in a large freezer bag, seal, lay flat, and freeze
  • Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking
  • Instructions for the bag:  Place contents in an oven proof dish and bake for 20-30 minutes (or until no longer pink and cooked through) in a preheated 350 degree oven
***Add the red wine the day of cooking instead of the bag before you freeze***

Lemon Pepper Chicken
1 lb chicken
1 lemon cut into wedges
1 TBS minced garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp pepper
1 TBS vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
  • Place all ingredients in a large freezer bag, shake gently to mix, seal, lay flat, and freeze
  • Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking
  • Instruction for the bag:  Place contents in an oven proof dish and bake for 20-30 minutes (or until no longer pink and cooked through) in a preheated 350 degree oven
***Good as is.  Perfect and easy!***

Healthy BBQ Chicken recipe adapted from Mama and Baby Love
1 lb chicken
1 green pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1.5 zucchini, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 TBS minced garlic
8 oz tomato sauce
1 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS worcestershire sauce
1 TBS dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt

  • Place all ingredients in a large freezer bag, shake gently to mix, seal, lay flat, and freeze
  • Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking
  • Instruction for the bag:  Place contents of bag in slow cooker, top with 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, and cook on low for 6-8 hours
  • Add instant potato flakes at the end of cooking 1 TBS at a time until desired consistency is reached
***Add the green pepper, onion, ad zucchini the day of cooking to prevent them from getting mushy. I tend to chop these veggies up ahead of time, freeze them on a cookie sheet for about 30-60 minutes, then place them in a labeled bag.  This will ensure they retain their texture and still allow you to save time with your freezer meals.***

1 lb chicken cut into strips
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 medium onion, cut into strips
1 bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before cooking
  • Place in a baking dish
  • Instructions written on the bag: Bake uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is done and veggies are tender
  • Serve in warmed tortillas with choice of toppings and with a side of rice
***Perfect as is.  It did produce more water so I scooped most of it out and added about 1 TBS of taco seasoning.***

Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe source Once a Month Cooking
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1 TBS soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb chicken, cubed
1 green pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1 onion, cut into chunks
1 can pineapple tidbits with juice
  • Place all ingredients in a large freezer bag, shake gently to mix, seal, lay flat, and freeze
  • Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking
  • Instruction for the bag:  Place contents of bag in a greased, glass baking dish, and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes basting occasionally 
***Very good.  I would still add the green pepper and onion the day of cooking to help them keep their crunch.***

Pepper Steak  recipe adapted from Six Cents
1 lb round steak, cut into strips
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 medium onion, sliced into strips
1 TBS minced garlic
1 green pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1/2 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 cube beef bouillon
1 TBS worcestershire sauce
1 TBS steak seasoning
1 TBS steak sauce
  • Toss steak strips in flour, salt, and pepper and add to a large freezer bag
  • Mix together bouillon, worcestershire sauce, and steak sauce and add to the bag
  • Add remaining ingredients, shake to mix, seal, lay flat, and freeze
  • Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before cooking
  • Instructions for bag:  Pour contents in slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours
***We were not fond of this recipe at all.  Everything took on a weird texture and the flavor was not fabulous.  I definitely will not make this one again.***

1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
1.5 lbs beef stew meat
2 tsp caraway seeds
2 TBS sweet paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can beef broth
2 TBS worcestershire sauce
1 TBS minced garlic
2 bay leaves
  • Place all ingredients in a large freezer bag, shake gently to mix, seal, lay flat, and freeze
  • Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking
  • Instruction for the bag:  Place contents of bag in slow cooker and cook for high for 4-6 hours
  • Add instant potato flakes 1 TBS at a time until desired consistency is reached
***I love this recipe when I make it, but fromt he freezer it was not very good.  I think the seasonings became over powering after freezing.  I will continue to make this recipe, but if I freeze it again I think I would add the caraway seed and the green pepper the day of cooking.***

1.5 lbs stew meat
2 TBS worcestershire sauce
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 TBS minced garlic
1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 can corn, drained
1 cup peas
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
dash of allspice
1/2 tsp paprika
  • Place all ingredients in a large freezer bag, shake gently to mix, seal, lay flat, and freeze
  • Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking
  • Instruction for the bag:  Add 2 cups water and 1 lb potatoes (peeled and diced).  Place contents of bag in a oven safe dish, cover, and bake in a 375 degree oven for 2 hours.  
  • Add instant potato flakes at the end to thicken if necessary (just 1 TBS at a time until desired consistency)
***This is another one that I was not fond of after freezing.  Everything turned to mush.  I don't recommend using this as a freezer meal.  Maybe freezing the meat and seasoning in one bag and the veggies in a separate bag then combining the day of cooking to prevent the veggies from getting mushy.***

Sausage and Peppers  
1 package italian sausage (about 4-6 links)
1 green pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1/2 red pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1 medium onion, sliced into strips
1 TBS minced garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1 TBS italian seasoning
  • Place all ingredients in a large freezer bag, shake gently to mix, seal, lay flat, and freeze
  • Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking
  • Instruction for the bag:  Cook in a slow cooker on low for about 6-8 hours
***This one was pretty good, but again I would freeze the peppers and onions separate from the meat and seasonings.  Then combine the day of cooking.*** 

3 lbs pork shoulder roast
1/2 TBS paprika
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 TBS brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup ketchup
1 TBS worcestershire sauce
  • Place all ingredients in a large freezer bag, shake gently to mix, seal, lay flat, and freeze
  • Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking
  • Instruction for the bag:  Cook in a slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours, remove pork, shred, and place back in juices
***This was very good. Nothing needs to be changed.  Super yummy and easy!***

Mexican Rice
2 cups long grain rice
4 cups water with 4 bouillon cubes (or broth)
1 TBS minced garlic
8 oz tomato sauce
1 TBS minced onion
2 TBS lime juice
1 TBS ground cumin
  • Combine everything in your rice cooker and press cook
  • Divide rice into serving sizes and place in a freezer bag, flatten out, and freeze
  • To reheat run under warm water to break apart rice, place in a microwaveable bowl with a lid, add 1-2 TBS water, cover, and cook in the microwave until heated through (about 2 minutes)
There you have it.  The longest post ever, I know.  But look at what was accomplished!  Lots of delicious meals for the busy nights ahead.

What meals do you like to freeze?  Do you have any tips or suggestions?  I would love to hear about your experiences too!




Linked to:

 Ms. enPlace Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays Mandy‘s Recipe Box Nap-Time Creations mop it up mondays Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms The DIY Dreamer It's Overflowing The Stuff of Success Cheap Recipes and Money-Saving Tips It's a Keeper 52 Mantels Miz Helen’s Country Cottage Thrifty Texas Penny Mrs Happy Homemaker I Heart Nap Time Mixitup Addicted to Recipes Button, Page button Our Delightful Home Photobucket Gluten Free pantry What's cooking, love? Hubby Made Me Cast Party Wednesday BWS tips button Photobucket Love Bakes Good Cakes - The Ultimate Soup Recipe List

38 comments:

  1. I am super excited to try some of these. My freezer is currently full and not well organized so I have to work on getting things cleaned out and then defrost, clean and repack. I can't wait to try out a few of these recipes. What I have been doing is to make a huge batch of something for dinner and then freeze the leftovers. I made a large helping of mexican rice and froze at least half of it. It is an easy way that doesn't add any more work to your evening cooking and in no time adds to the volume in your freezer. Cous Cous is another one that you can make huge portions of and then it microwaves up quickly and you only have to dirty the pan once (Can you tell that I hate doing dishes?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been told that cous cous freezes well before. I will definitely try it soon! I am with you on the dishes part. I hate doing them too. That's one of the reasons this method appealed to me so much. Given I had to wash the cutting board in between meats so I wouldn't cross contaminate, but that's really all I had to worry about :)

      Delete
  2. I really want to do this! Thanks for sharing, what great info you've included!

    ~Jess @ makingoverthemartins.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should give it a try! I am loving it so far. It's a lot of work for the one day, but in the end I have more time with my family and less worry about what to make for dinner :)

      Delete
  3. I have been wanting to do this. Thanks for breaking it down to make it so easy to replicate!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you give it a try and let me know how everything worked out! I would love to hear your experiences too :)

      Delete
  4. This is such an awesome idea!!!! I have yet to figure out how to buy food for more than a week for under a $100. I am so going to need tips.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was struggling with that too. Meat has gone up an average of 50 cents per pound across the board and dairy seems to keep creeping up too. I was fortunate to get a great deal on chicken breasts ($1.69/lb) so that's why I decided to do lots of chicken meals. Originally I was only planning about 12-14 meals, but with a deal like that who can pass it up?!?

      The majority of my shopping was at Aldi which always help me save lots of $$$...again a little more work, but so worth it! My suggestion is to start freezer meals for 1 or 2 weeks at a time and use sales ads. My favorite place to check, since I shop Aldi is Frugality is Free - Grocery Price Lists . I write up my grocery list in a spreadsheet and put the dollar amount along with the store next to it. I always shop Aldi first because there are some deals that may not be shown. For example I got 2 lb bags of carrots for 99 cents instead of paying 88 cents per lb at Hy-Vee. Good luck and I hope this helps you get started :)

      Delete
  5. Totally pinned this one! I'll be using Hungarian Goulash in our homeschool this week - thank you very much -please hop over and link it up with Kids in the Kitchen - we are always happy to have you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! I will definitely head on over :) Hope you guys love the Gulyas!

      Delete
  6. I'm so glad you shared this. While I do keep a few "emergency" meals in the freezer (meatballs & sauce, gumbo, lasagna), my freezer meals lack imagination. This info is perfect! Thanks for linking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It is definitely nice to have everything ready to go. No worries and no hassle...just the way I like it :)

      Delete
  7. Amazing! I really need to try this!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at TheDIYDreamer.com - From Dream To Reality!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a lot of work up front, but so worth it when you are done :)

      Delete
  8. This is so helpful! I needed to see actual recipes and an actual method to do this. I feel like after reading your post I could actually do this! Thank you for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great! I really tried to explain everything step for step...sometimes it is hard and I spent days going back and forth making sure I didn't miss anything :)

      Delete
  9. What a great collection of recipes. I would love to try them all! Have a fabulous weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I hope you are having a great weekend as well :)

      Delete
  10. Wow! I'm so very impressed! You've taken organization to a whole new level. Thank you for sharing this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Hope to see your prettiness again on Monday. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) It takes some work, but it well worth it in the end!

      Delete
  11. This is amazing! As a full time working mom, I am always looking for help with meals. If I am not careful, we spend too much on groceries, and or going out to eat!

    http://theadventuresofthescottfamily.blogspot.com/

    Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely understand that. When I worked full time I always reached for convenient meals (which are pricey) or went out to eat way too much (again lots of wasted money). I hope this is helpful to you and your pocket book :)

      Delete
  12. Ummm this is amazing! Teach me your ways lol. Saw you link up on some link parties. Would love it if you linked up on my blog hop and added it to your list www.w-t-fab.com/search/label/bloghop. Also let me know if you'd like to follow each other!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I would love to follow you and I am definitely heading to the party. Hope you have a wonderful day :)

      Delete
  13. Thank you for sharing! I found you on "Flour Me With Love". I just began a cooking club with a few of my friends and these recipes would be perfect for us! I've just scheduled our second one, I think some of these recipes will definitely be made during our next session.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you so much! I am READY to try this and you've mapped it all out and made it look fairly simple. I think I can handle it!! The recipes sound great and some are very similar to recipes I already use...just not for freezer meals :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome! I am glad to hear I helped :) I hope you have lots of success and would love to hear how it worked out for you!

      Delete
  15. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a great week end and enjoy your new Red Plate.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! Hope you have a wonderful weekend :)

      Delete
  16. Your recipes are exactly what my family will eat. I love this post. I have been crockpot cooking, freezing the second batch and planning meals ahead for quite some time. Lately, I usually make 2 or 3 extra meals on weekends so we can reheat during the week. It is such a life saver to do the prep work on non-work days. I am interested in freezer cooking and have been researching it for a short while. Your post is certainly helpful. I just don't have the freezer room yet for this big of a meal plan. I'm trying to convince hubby to get a frezer in the garage. We'll see...I just told him about your post to get him interested in my plan. I agree you can certainly save a LOT of money on groceries with this meal plan. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can definitely save a lot of money freezer cooking and I understand not having the room. I only have my tiny above the fridge freezer and it was jam packed. No room for anything else, but I purposely cleaned it out before I made these meals because I knew I needed the room. Hope you give it a try and everyone enjoys them :)

      Delete
  17. You are phenomenally organized! I'm printing these up to share with my daughter. They really sound great! Come on over to Dining With Debbie and link up to Merry Merry Munchies.

    Be sure and sign up with Rafflecopter for the giveaways I have going on. http://diningwithdebbie.blogspot.com/2012/11/merry-merry-munchies-2012-week-2.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds great! I hope you guys enjoy them! Have a wonderful day :)

      Delete
  18. Just wanted to stop by and thank you again for linking this up. You're one of the top twelve clicked features for the entire year of 2012 for Mop It Up Mondays! You're being featured in The Best of Mop It Up Mondays today! http://www.ishouldbemoppingthefloor.com/2012/12/the-best-of-mop-it-up-monday-features.html

    Here's to many more fabulous projects in 2013!
    {HUGS},
    kristi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is awesome! What an honor! Thanks so much and look forward to a fabulous new year :)

      Delete
  19. Such a brilliant post - freezing makes such a difference to meal planning.

    I would love for you to link up at the Mommy Archive - we're focusing on favourite freezer recipes and tips this week, Alice x

    ReplyDelete

What do you think? I'd love to hear from you!