Friday, July 22, 2016

Foodie FriYAY!! Freezer Meals! Loooong Video of all Day Recipe Making!...

I did a lot of research to get recipes that my family will like and that can be made ahead and frozen.   I like to prep and plan and have meals at the ready so we have good, wholesome, home cooked meals and don't have fret over what's for dinner.  I do have to say that this takes a lot of planning and organizing.  Be sure to check your pantry and fridge to see what you already have and check your recipes over to ensure you have all that you need - you don't want to be 1/2 way through and realize you forgot an ingredient!  I check, double check, and triple check making my list by isle so I can get all that I need at the grocery.  For me, it's easier to go to the grocery one day and then do the meals the next, BUT that does take a lot of fridge space so do what works for you but know that this is exhausting.  It doesn't seem like it would be, but it is. 
Also prepare your containers - I bought several more than I thought I needed and used them all!!!  I bought them at the dollar store and for my family I just needed the small ones that came 3/$1 with lids.  Be sure you have something to cover them with.  Label everything with what it is and the date and how to prepare it.  This will save you a lot of trouble two months from now when you are wondering what mystery dinner has been waiting in the freezer!
When baking your dish remove the cardboard lid!

Prepare!!!  If you know you need 5 chopped onions for all of your recipes, chop them all at once.  Have things ready when you need them!

If cooking meals from frozen they will take a lot longer than if it's thawed.  Add at least twice the time and check it.  How long will depend on how big of a container you have, how packed in the food is, your oven, etc.  So be sure to check often to ensure you aren't overcooking! 

Below are some of the recipes I used.  Some recipes are loosely based on a recipe and tweaked to our liking but I wanted to give you a good idea of what you saw me make.  :)
In no particular order:

Chicken Tot Casserole (Plain Chicken's Recipe)  (check her site out - she's amazing!)
I will cook this for about an hour on 350' from frozen.  Less time if I get to thaw it out first.  (Start with 25 mins if thawed)

Beef Barley Stew:
I changed this up a little by omitting parsley flakes and sugar.  I added tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.
I will probably put this frozen in the slow cooker before work one day OR cook it on the stove from frozen. 

There are lots of recipes for chili, but I know that my family likes tomato-y chili so I just made it per usual which roughly has a large can of tomato sauce, a can of diced chili-ready tomatoes, one chopped onion, a can of Brooks Chili Mild beans, a pound of browned ground beef, packet of chili seasoning,  a clove or two of garlic, bell pepper if you have it, and salt. 
This is good in the slow cooker or on the stove.  Will cook from frozen either way.  Slow cooker - low 8 hours

I kinda blended lots of recipes together but here's basically what you need for one 9x11 package of no boil lasagna noodles, tomato sauce - make your own with Italian seasoning, can of diced tomatoes and 2 cans tomato sauce OR use marinara in a jar, one onion chopped, 3-4 cloves of garlic minced, if you have a shallot, chop that up too!  One small container ricotta cheese, one egg, one small container cottage cheese, Italian seasoning, 2 C mozzarella cheese, if you can add a package of fresh mozzarella do that too - you will thank me later!  :)   1 C parmesan cheese, 1/2 lb browned ground beef, 1/2 lb browned Italian (or bfast) sausage
Mix the cheeses (except a little parm and a little mozzarella) with the egg and the Italian seasoning
Layer - a little sauce, noodles, beef, sauce, cheese mixture at least 2-3 times.  Top with remaining cheese. 
From frozen bake about an hour at 350'.  If thawed will need less time - check at 30 mins. 
I was going to use the Pioneer Woman's recipe, but trust me, if you've been cooking a while, you have your own style and ideas of how to make things  - especially if you've made them several times before.  Freezer meal day was not the day for me to experiment on the unknown - I feel more comfortable on auto pilot.  I still want to try her recipe and I will one day when that's the only recipe I'm making. 

Beef Enchiladas
I replaced the refried beans with black beans because I don't much care for refried.  I also did not warm the tortillas.  I used some flour and some corn.  I think I like the corn best..... 
I will cook this for about an hour on 350' from frozen.  Less time if I get to thaw it out first.  (Start with 25 mins if thawed)

Taco Soup
Much like chili this can vary based on your taste.  There are several recipes for this online but my rough outline for this is much like my chili.....  1 lb ground beef, browned (can use turkey or chicken) , 1 onion chopped, 1 can corn, 1 can black beans, 1 large can diced tomatoes, one large can tomato sauce, can of diced chilies - optional, top with cheese and sour cream. 
I will cook this from frozen in my slow cooker. Low 8 hours.

Lasagna Soup - check out the recipe on  I based mine on that, but honestly I'm not sure what I changed up but I know that I did!  :)  LOL!  Watch the video.  TeeHee! 

Pizza Casserole - 4 cups cooked pasta, 1 lb browned ground beef/sausage mixture, 4 oz pepperoni (I like turkey pepperoni), 1/2 chopped green pepper, 1 chopped onion, 2 minced cloves of garlic, small can sliced black olives, jar of marinara, 2 C mozzarella (plus some fresh if you like....and trust me, you will like!), Italian seasoning
Mix everything together.  Cook for about an hour at 350 from frozen - if thawed check at 25 mins. 

TexMex Chicken Casserole
2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded, 4 cups cooked rice, 1 can diced tomatoes, 2 T taco seasoning, 1 can corn, drained, 1 can drained and rinsed black beans, 2-3 C cheddar, small can sliced black olives
Mix and freeze.  Bake 350' about an hour from frozen.

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Pasta Bake

Baked Ziti (or whatever pasta you choose)
Cooked pasta, chopped onion, browned ground beef, spaghetti sauce, provolone cheese slices, sour cream, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, maybe some garlic if you have it.  (Don't forget some fresh moz!)
I didn't put amounts because this late in the day I was totally winging it.  :)  AND putting them in small freezer containers  you may need more or less depending on how you like it. 
I put pasta on bottom, added sauce and meat then provolone slices and sour cream then repeat layer.  Top with parm and moz.  Same as others - cook from frozen for about an hour.  Depending on size of pan and for about 25 mins if thawed. 


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