3 little Miracles

3 little Miracles

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

15 Freezer Meals + 1 Mess = 1 Happy Meal Planner and Home

As you can image in a home filled with 4 adults and 3 children we have a very busy life and although we share cooking responsibilities around here, making a plan each night can sometimes be a challenge.  SO Mom and I decided to face 2014 with a plan for our meals instead of asking the ever present question each evening "what do we want to eat tonight?" we were going to stock up some freezer meals and MAKE A PLAN.  

So with that thought in mind I started searching Pinterest and Google for freezer meals . . . . . and NOT just a bunch of casseroles (although casseroles are yummy).  We wanted meals that were healthy OR that we could adapt to make healthy that we could put healthy side dishes with like vegetables, salads, fruit.  In addition we wanted a few quick dish kind of meals such as soups and chili's.  

My search resulted in MANY wonderful possibilities, but for our start I selected the following 15 meals because other than in the Taco Chili and the Black Bean Taco Soup, all of the ingredients were able to go into the freezer bags raw, so less dishes and mess to clean up after preparing the meals AND a much quicker time preparing the meals.

BBQ Spareribs
Black Bean Taco Soup
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
Chicken Cacciatore
French Dip Sandwiches
Hearty Beef Stew
Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken
Cilantro Lime Chicken w/Corn and Black Beans

Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken
Beef Burritos
Garlic Honey Chicken
Teriyaki Pork Chops 
Chicken Fajitas

2 meals from Baked in the South
Meatball Stroganoff
Taco Chili

So lets get started, this is how I went about making 15 freezer meals in one day. (Be prepared to wash your hands a LOT, your working with raw meat and need to wash your hands each time you handle the meat to prevent salmonella poisoning.)

Step 1:  Create a shopping list (made much easier because both Six Sister Stuff and Saving you Dinero  provide a printable shopping list, all I had to do was add the ingredients for the Meatball Stroganoff (which I already had the meatballs in my supplies) and Taco Chili.)  Don't forget to put freezer bags and sharpie (if you don't already have one) on your shopping list. I also put Meat Tenderizer on all of the meat, this is optional.  Because of my GBS in February 13' I need meats to be as tender as possible, otherwise they make me sick.
Step 2:  Print out shopping lists and recipes
Step 4:  Shop until you drop
Step 5:  Label all of the freezer bags before hand, it makes it so much easier for filling the bags instead of constantly having to refer to a printed recipe.  Important information to put on the bag

  • Name of Meal
  • Date Made
  • Ingredients
  • Instructions
  • *I also like to include other items needed to serve the day the meal is cooked

Step 6:  Put ALL of your ingredients together in one place on a work space so that while your preparing you won't have to dig through cabinets etc.

Step 7:  This is where it is your personal choice, you can either chop all vegetable according to the recipe needs OR (like me) chop vegetables one recipe at a time as you go along.
I made the French Dip Sandwiches because it was VERY simple

 My favorite kitchen tool, the Chop Wizard, it makes getting even size diced veggies so very easy . . . . . especially if you don't have amazing Chef Knife Skills, HA. OR if your like me and have a little fear of knives because of a past incident with one, I do what I have to do but I don't like using large kitchen knives.

The ONLY cooking you have to do for these meals . . . . brown the meat and onions for the Taco Soup and Taco Chili

1 large bag frozen meatballs
1 cup chopped onions
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (if you can find the organic version, use that instead)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 package cream cheese
1 8 oz container of sour cream
hot pasta or rice

Directions: Place meatball, onions, cream soup and mushrooms in freezer bag and freeze until ready to cook.  Thaw slightly and place in crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Stir in the cream cheese and sour cream during last hour of cooking.  Serve over hot pasta or rice.

1 lb. cooked ground beef 
1 medium onion chopped
1 can corn drained
1 can black beans drained
1 can navy beans drained
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 small can diced green chilies
1 package taco seasoning (I use old el paso)
shredded cheese
chopped green onions

Directions: Brown ground beef and chopped onion and drain, let cool for a few minutes before assembling in freezer bag.  Place all ingredients in freezer bag and freeze until ready.  Thaw slightly, place in crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Serve with shredded cheese, chopped green onions and fritos

Final RESULT of a day in the kitchen that only dirtied measuring cups, spoons, knives, cutting mat and a pan . . . . not a single bowl or dish was used during the preparing of these meals.

In addition to the 15 meals I put away today, I also put away 3 other meals on Monday Jan 6th.  A simple spaghetti casserole from leftovers, a pea & ham soup my husband made from a ham I made last week,  and half of a cooked turkey (and the turkey carcass to make turkey bone soup at some point).
My FIRST turkey ever . . . my husband almost always cooks the MAJOR meats like this
Simple rub of butter, salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of red pepper flakes
Heated oven to 425 degrees then cut back to 350 degrees when the turkey was ready to go in . . .
 cooked 2 1/2 hrs basting every 45 minutes.

For my first turkey it turned out great and it made two meals (technically it will make 3 because the turkey carcass will be used to make turkey bone soup)

Amazing day leaving me with a great sense of accomplishment and looking forward to another round of freezer cooking in 2 weeks.  Our plan is to do freezer cooking 2-3 more times 2 weeks apart (on paydays) so we can get a good build up of meals and then we can switch to only doing it once a month to replenish meals used.

Next step for us is to put all these meals on a schedule.  Hope my fun day in the kitchen inspires you to give this a try, it is totally worth it AND on top of that it is a money saver when your buying meats and other items in bulk sizes.

Have FUN!


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