Thursday, October 20, 2011

Super Easy Freezer Meals!

I am always on the lookout for easy and delicious freezer meals. Sometimes, if I have time or extra resources I will make an extra lasagna and freeze it or if I have a lot of extra spaghetti sauce or soup I will freeze it. In general though, I feel like that is so much work. It seems to me that whenever I try to get ahead of the game I end up doubling my workload for a few days and inevitably my kitchen will be wrecked. Then Im exhausted like this lovely housewife. Over time I have gathered a few great ideas from different people and found what really works best for me. As wives and mothers we don't get to be lazy very often, so when I have the opportunity to be lazy yet still feel like super woman getting things done, I am all over it! I don't remember where I saw this idea, but I absolutely love it! It is a great time saver and can be done quickly either as your putting your groceries away or on a freezer meal cook day.

First, get a freezer baggie big enough to hold 1 dinner's worth of meat,. 2 if you like to have leftovers for lunches. Stick the meat and whatever marinade/seasonings you like to use into the baggie. Seal it, rub it around, date it, label it and toss that baby into the freezer! All you need to do now is lay it in the fridge the night before to thaw and marinate and it's ready to be cooked for dinner the next night. You can also toss this right into the crockpot depending on what your wanting to make. This is great for making things like fajitas or stir fry too. Just slice the meat first and chop up some peppers, onions, mushrooms.. whatever you like and freeze it. After its thawed just throw it in the pan!

This next thing is absolutely brilliant and takes the above mentioned method to the "next level". I would love to take credit for the idea but I actually saw it on Mom and Baby Love blog. How could I not have thought of this before? Basically, you are freezing your crock pot meals. As if crock pot meals weren't already super easy you can make it even easier. Yes, it's true, pick your jaw up off the floor and get ready to speed through that freezer meal cook day!

First, pick out whatever recipes your wanting to use. Than your going to chop all your vegetables and meat and throw it in a large freezer baggie. Next your going to put your seasonings/sauce into the baggie. You are then going to label and date it and put it in the freezer. All you have to do on your crock pot mornings is set the bag out while your making breakfast and when breakfast is over (so like 20-30 minutes later) put the contents into your crockpot. No chopping, no seasoning... no cleaning!

Not only are both these freeze tactics fast, but I also like that when they are cooked the ingredients are fresh. The vegetables and meat aren't being cooked twice. I don't like when I have made past meals and they end up being a little dry because of that double cooking. This way your meat is cooked only once and your veggies are retaining more of their vitamins and nutrients. In my opinion this is a win/win/win.

Crock pot tacos or chili starter

Crock Pot Tacos/Chili Starter

1 pound ground meat of choice
1 whole green pepper chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 white onion chopped
2 tbs ground chili powder
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs ground paprika
1 pinch of salt and pepper
1 can beans, 1 can tomatoes, 1 can beef broth (if your wanting chili, not shown in this picture)

You can use this for either tacos or as the meat starter for chili. If you are sure you want it to be chili than just add the tomatoes, broth and beans now. If your not sure, than they can be added straight to the crock pot the morning of. Just put your meat in the bag, chop up your veggies and beans/tomatoe/broth if your using them and put them in the bag. Dish in your seasonings. Label, freeze. To prepare just lay out on the counter while your making breakfast or you can lay it in the fridge to thaw over night. Cook on whatever setting you need (8 hrs is best if your cooking it frozen). Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite freezing techniques? How do you get ahead of the game without overwhelming yourself?

Written By Happily Domestic Contributer: Brittney Thompson
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BethElderton said...

I have a different problem. When I had three teenage boys in the house, I doubled most recipes--even tripled some--to feed them. Now that it's just Hubs and me, most recipes are too large. So I cook the regular family sized recipe and freeze half.
It's great, because we don't have to eat the same thing for a week to finish it, but the next time we want that meal, I don't have to cook it.

whocg23 said...

When I was pregnant with my second, I made a triple batch of baked ziti and froze it in the large lasagna pans. Then we were able to pull one out whenever we wanted it for the night before.
I have just started the idea of freezing crock pot meals. I put together a bag of veggies and bulk sausage for a future chili. I save the canned ingredients for the day of. For these I used the vacuum freezer bags. I hope that will help keep the freezer burn at bay. Some of my other freezer bags aren't so good with that.

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