Monday, April 8, 2013

Freezer Meals...Nom Nom Nom




A friend from work started doing these "Freezer Meals" from pinterest…and I thought it was such a good idea.  I loved the concept of having already pre-made & frozen meals that I could just plop in the crock-pot before I left for work.  Seriously sounded AWESOME!!!  In my house, there are many days that the fridge is empty and I shudder at the thought of going out to eat; its expensive, HARD work with a toddler, and we always eat way too much.  So, I tried the freezer meal recipes and found the method to be stellar, but the recipes to be lacking.  So I  re-vamped with a few of our families favorite crock-pot recipes! 

Each “meal” is intended to be served on two occasions.  So each recipe will be divided into 2 bags.  The serving size per bag is approximately 4 servings.  When cooking dinner, I like to have 2 servings for dinner and then 2 for lunch the next day.  6 recipes; broken out into 2 bags that have 4 servings each is a total of 48 meals or servings.  My total cost at the store was about $100 (I buy mostly organic and I already had a lot of the spices).   So each of my servings were about $2.00…so flippin inexpensive and saves us bucco bucks on not having to go out to eat!  The whole things took me about 2 hours start to finish...so block out time to do this project!

Week of serving I will buy the produce fixings that are served as an accessory to the recipes.  You will find these ingredients in the “bag labeling” section or at the bottom of each recipe.  They are not included in the shopping list.

Here is your shopping list:
Produce: 
2 small Apples
5 Garlic Cloves
Jalapeno
Pablano Pepper
6 large onions
2 small zucchini
3 Green Peppers
1 bag baby carrots or 4 cups worth baby carrots
2 cups of celery – about 8 stalks celery
Canned Food
1 can condensed tomatoes soup
2 cans corn
2 can kidney beans
1 cans black beans
1 can chili beans in sauce
1 can garbanzo beans
2 small cans green chilies (hach brand is the best but hard to find!!!)
Instant milk
4 14oz cans diced tomatoes
8 cups chicken stock – 2 32 oz chicken stock containers
3 cans tomato sauce
2 15oz cans pineapple chunks
1 can cut green beans
Meat
4lbs chicken (breast or breast tenders)
1 lb ground beef
2 lb stew beef
2lbs boneless pork
Seasoning
2 bay leafs
1 package taco seasoning
flour
½ cup rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons Brown sugar
1tsp paprika
2 tbs Chili powder
2 tbs Corn starch
2 tbs Cumin
2 tbs Curry powder
4 teaspoons ginger (fresh or powdered)
Vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Olive oil
2 tablespoons Soy sauce
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
Other
Egg noodles
Corn bread
Elbow macaroni
Rice                  
Dairy
1 small container of Sour Cream

 
Step 1
Label all your bags – you need 2 bags per meal.   I also like to label with cooking instructions and what to serve it with.

 Minestrone (x’s 2 bags)
***cook 8 hours on low
***boil and serve with ½ cup elbow macaroni/per bag
Beef Stew (x’s 2 Bags)
***Cook 8-10 hours low / 5 hours high
***Serve with egg noodles
Curried chicken (x’s 2 bags)
***Cook 6-7 hours love / 3-4 on high
***Add 1 cup sour cream/per bag after cooked
***Take ¼ cup liquid and blend with 1 tbs flour; return to pot to thicken
***Serve over basmati rice
Sweet & sour pork (x’s 2 bags)
***Cook on low 6 hours/ 3-4 on high
***Serve over rice
Lily's Ragin’ Chili (2 Bags)
***Cook 6-7 hours low / 3-4 on high
***Serve with corn bread
***Chili fixin’s (cilantro, sour cream, cheese)
Taco Soup
***Cook on low 8 hours/ 4-5 on high
***Serve with avocado, cilantro, cheese
***tortilla chips  - cut and toast tortilla in on oven

Step 2
Brown your meet so it cools while you finish all your chopping.
*Chili Meat – drizzle pan in EVOO add 1 chopped onion, 1 minced garlic clove and cook until soft.  Add in beef and brown remove from heat and let cool.
  
* Sweet & Sour Meat – cut pork in 2 inch stripes.  Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to pan and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon paprika on meat.  Sauté pork on medium heat until slightly browned/cooked) remove from heat and let cool.

* Beef Stew Meat – mix ½ cup flour and 1/3 teaspoon pepper & 2 teaspoons salt in a bowl/or ziplock.  Add beef stew chunks and coat meat with flour mixture.  On medium heat – heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oils in pan and add meat, cook until just brown (don’t overcook!).  Remove from heat and let cool.




Step 3:
Start chopping.   First I print off my instructions and use a highlighter to cross off as I go. I start by chopping one thing at a time, and add appropriate amounts to appropriate bags.

If you feel like the bags are short when you are making them, just audible and add more or less in ingredients or seasonings as you go!

Minestrone (divide ingredients into the 2 bags as you go)
2 cups baby carrots – I cut carrots into 4’s
2 small zuchinni’s halved and half the halves.  Then cut up chunky style
1 chopped onion
1 garlic clove minced
1 can tomato sauce
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 can cut green beans, drained
2 can diced tomatoes, un-drained
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh or dried parsley
2 tbs olive oil
2 cups chicken stock

**cook 8 hours on low
**boil and serve with ½ cup elbow macaroni/per bag

Beef Stew (divide ingredients into the 2 bags as you go)
* Beef Stew Meat – mix ½ cup flour and 1/3 teaspoon pepper & 2 teaspoons salt in a bowl/or ziplock.  Add beef stew chunks and coat meat with flour mixture.  On medium heat – heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oils in pan and add meat, cook until just brown (don’t overcook!).  Remove from heat and let cool.

2 lbs of beef stew meat (once cooked and cooled) see above
1 onion sliced and slices cut into 1/3’s  - chunky style
1 minced garlic clove
2 cups baby carrots – I cut carrots into 4’s
2 cups sliced celery – I do thicker celery chucks like 1/3rd inch thick
2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 bay leafs

**Cook 8-10 hours low / 5 hours high
**Serve with egg noodles

Curried chicken (divide ingredients into the 2 bags as you go)
2 lbs chicken sliced into 1 inch pieces or chunks
1 large onion chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 green pepper sliced then halved
2 small apples cored and chopped
In a small bowl combine and stir, then divide into bags:
          2 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoon ginger  - fresh or powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken stock

**Cook 6-7 hours love / 3-4 on high
** Add 1 cup sour cream/per bag after cooked
**Take ¼ cup liquid and blend with 1 tbs flour; return to pot before serving
**Serve over rice

Sweet & sour pork (divide ingredients into the 2 bags as you go)
* Sweet & Sour Meat – cut pork in 2 inch stripes.  Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to pan and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon paprika on meat.  Sauté pork on medium heat until slightly browned/cooked) remove from heat and let cool.

2 lbs of sautéed pork meat (once cooked and cooled) see above
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper cut into stripes then cut in half
1 15 oz can of pineapple chunks – drained use liquid for sauce below
In a small bowl combine and stir, then divide into bags:
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons instant milk
2 tablespoons corn starch
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2/3 of pineapple liquids
2 teaspoons ginger powdered or fresh

**Cook on low 6 hours/ 3-4 on high
**Serve with Rice

Lily's Ragin’ Chili  (divide ingredients into the 2 bags as you go)
*Chili Meat – drizzle pan in EVOO add 1 chopped onion, 1 minced garlic clove and cook until soft.  Add in beef and brown remove from heat and let cool.

***note: Lily’s actual recipe calls for 2 jalapenos with seed in.  If you really like the rage – go for it.   On a regular day we just do 1 jalapeno w/seeds and still get quite a kick  but for a chili feast we’ll do 2 and really get cray cray.  If you can’t handle the heat do ½ jalapeno and discard all the seeds.

1 minced garlic clove
1 lb of chili meat, onion and garlic (once cooked and cooled) see above
1 pablano pepper diced (i like to keep seeds in)
1 jalapeno diced (seeds in for some rage)
2 cans kidney beans – rinsed
1 can corn - drained
1 can tomato sauce
1 can condensed tomato soup
2 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar

**Cook 6-7 hours love / 3-4 on high
**Serve with corn bread
**Chili fixin’s (cilantro, sour cream, cheese)

Taco Soup (divide ingredients into the 2 bags as you go)
1 garlic clove minced
1 onion diced
1 green pepper chopped roughly
1 can chili beans – don’t rinse the sauce is good J
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 can corn drained
1 can tomato sauce
2 small cans diced green chili’s  (hach brand is the best but hard to find!!!)
1 lb chicken breast or tenders sliced into 1 or 2 inch pieces
1 package taco seasoning
4 cups can vegetable or chicken stock

**Cook on low 8 hours/ 4-5 on high
**Serve with avocado, cilantro, cheese, sourcream
**tortilla chips  - cut tortilla and toast in on oven

Step 4
Put bags in the freezer as you go.  Make sure you close them tight and get all the air out.  And also make sure to lay them flat so they stack easy.   I definitely had to clean out some room in the freezer.

When I go to serve them, I take them out of the freezer and set out while I get ready to work, or give the bag a warm rinse.  That way the seasoning and chunkies come loose form the sides of the bag.  

Then cook and enjoy!   Take note of what you like or don’t like and adjust for next time!!!


Hope you enjoy!!!

 - Katie

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Thanks for posting your comments or questions! Do not be fooled, I read every single one and will respond soon!
-Katie