Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Freezer Meals

In my efforts to get prepared and make my life easier post-baby, I decided to stock our freezer with meals and other convenience items. Being the gluten free gal that I am, I can't just pop a Stouffer's lasagna in the oven & call it good, so I needed to do some prep and planning. I posted a picture of our freezer on Instagram, and several of you were curious about the meals I did, so I thought I'd share a list of those! Of course, when I was making my plan, I went straight to Pinterest for inspiration, but I also threw in some of my own tried & trues for the freezer because as you likely know, not all things taste that great coming out of the freezer.
So, here's what I made...

Slow Cooker Meals

Beef Stew (x2)
For beef stew, I cube up a roast (cost effective!), then for each bag, dump a large can of tomato sauce, one can of corn (no salt added), one can of cut green beans (no salt added), some cut up carrots, beef stock, and a variety of seasonings/herbs (you can use anything you like!). The night before we're set to eat this meal, I'll put it in the fridge to thaw, place it in the crock-pot on low for 10-12 hours the morning of, and add cubed, peeled russet potatoes when there are about 4 hours of cook time left. I don't add potatoes ahead of time because they don't freeze well.

Pot Roast with Mushrooms, Onions & Carrots (x2)
Pot Roast is another "made up" recipe. I just chunked up a roast then poured in a cup or two of beef stock, a few healthy shakes of worcestershire & GF soy sauces, seasoned salt, pepper & some other random herbs then filled the rest of the bag with cut carrots, sliced mushrooms & onions. I'll take this one out the night before & place in the fridge to thaw, then I'll put it in the slow cooker the morning of & cook for 10-12 hours on low. About 20 minutes before serving, I usually make a slurry of a couple tablespoons of corn starch & cold water then stir it into the juices to make a gravy & serve it all over either rice or mashed potatoes. Put a salad on the side if it makes you feel better ;)

Oven Meals

This isn't the recipe I use because I just make mine up as I go, but this sounds good! I used the same method of using dried GF noodles so they wouldn't be mush when it came time to bake.

Beef Enchiladas (x2)
I keep it so incredibly simple when it comes to enchiladas. I just rolled up seasoned taco meat & mexican blend cheese in warmed corn tortillas, then topped it with our favorite enchilada sauce & more cheese. Couldn't be easier!

Perini Ranch Hominy (side item)
If you've never had hominy, MAKE THIS NOW!! This is the recipe from a local steakhouse, and it is literally one of the yummiest sides ever. It pairs well with both steaks & mexican food.

To make this GF, I used plain wild rice rather than a box & I used Progresso's version of creamy mushroom soup.


Browed Taco Meat (4 lbs, divided into 4 bags)
This is something I always like to have on hand in our freezer. I use it for quick taco nights, add it to taco soup, make nachos, and other quick recipes.

Chicken Tenders (raw)
We like homemade chicken tenders around here, but prepping the chicken can take awhile, so I went ahead and got several bags of tenders in the freezer so they're ready to go.

Cubed Chicken Breast (raw)
I also like to have cubed chicken on hand for recipes like our favorite Skinny Orange Chicken or a quick veggie stir fry.

Cooked, Shredded Chicken
Another convenience item I keep on hand for chicken salads, soups, or chicken fried rice.

Individual Portions of Seafood
I keep frozen, individual salmon & tilapia filets on hand for quick dinners. So easy to saute & whip up a quick sauce for & pair with a baked sweet potato or salad. Our favorite salmon sauce: 3 tablespoons honey + 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard + a shake of worcestershire sauce...pour over & let caramelize at the very end of the cooking process.

Easy Breakfasts for Your Other Children
Don't forget to be prepared for any other kiddos! We've got frozen waffles & pancakes on hand for breakfast, and I may make some of our favorite muffins to add to the stash before the big day.

--I doubled every recipe I made for two reasons: I bought all my meat in bulk at Sam's then divided it up, and because it's just as easy to make two bags/casseroles as it is to make one.
--Use gallon FREEZER bags & double up for soups/stews. You don't want to risk those spilling while they freeze and later, thaw.
--It's not the greenest thing in the world, but I used foil pans for all my casseroles so all of my dishes weren't tied up and because they're great for portioning purposes. We're much more likely to finish a small, 10x10 lasagna versus a huge, 16x20 one.
--Cover your foil pans with foil then place the lid on over that to ward of freezer burn.
--Lay soups & other bagged recipes flat to freeze to save space.
--Don't forget to label!! And write any instructions right on the bag or lid so you're not having to go back and search your recipes to figure out what to do with it that day.

Hope you've found this to be helpful! Freezer meals are a beautiful thing, my friends ;)

1 comment:

Amanda {Kids and Cabernet} said...

Wow, great job! You are sure prepared and you're going to be SO happy you did this :)

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