3 Freezer Meals

Every once in a while, I get a wild hair. Sometimes it’s positive; sometimes it’s just crazy. An example of “crazy,” is the tradition that each time my husband goes on a business trip, I feel the need to paint a wall in the house.

Lately I’ve had a wild hair that benefits my entire family. This week I began stocking our freezer with meals. Having a stocked freezer keeps us from eating out or living on frozen pizza on those busy days.

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Here are a few tips for preparing and storing freezer meals.

  • Don’t prepare meals just for the freezer. Make a double-batch; freeze half and serve the other half for dinner that night. If you’re going to put in the work, you may as well enjoy some right away.
  • Cool food completely before storing it.IMG_8168
  • Store what you can in gallon-sized freezer zipper bags. This is the easiest way to conserve space without tying up your pans. I also suggest double-bagging.
  • If you can’t store meals in in a freezer bag, store them in disposable, foil pans. This keeps your everyday pans out of the freezer.
  • After storing the meal in a freezer bag, put in on a cookie sheet before putting it in the freezer. This ensures it freezes flat. Once the meal is frozen, remove it from the pan and stack it with your other meals.IMG_8178
  • To defrost meals, put them back on a cookie sheet in the fridge. I’ve had way too many bags leak.
  • Label all meals with name of meal, date prepared and any baking instructions.

Try out these freezer meals! All these are doubled and feed a family of 4-6 twice. Like I said, I freeze half and use half to feed my family that night.


Potato and Ham Casserole

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cans cream-of-chicken soup (I use fat-free, but use whatever you like)
  • 6 oz sour cream
  • 3 green onions
  • 20 (ish) ounces frozen, diced hash brown potatoes
  • 1 turkey ham, cubed
  • 12-16 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, stir together soup and sour cream. Add green onions and mix.
  • Stir in potatoes, ham, half the cheese, salt and pepper
  • Spread into two 9×13  pans and top with remaining cheese.
  • Cover one pan with plastic and foil and label with meal name, date and cooking instructions.
  • To serve, thaw and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes

 


Beef Stew

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Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 lbs stew beef
  • 1 T Essense of Emiril seasoning (or whatever all-purpose seasoning you like)
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 28 ounces beef broth
  • 1/2 C orange juice
  • 4-5 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 8 ounces baby carrots
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 4 -5 dashes worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and brown slightly. Add meat  and continue to brown.
  • Stir in flour and seasoning.
  • Stir in beef broth and orange juice and mix well.
  • Add potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  • Let simmer over medium-low heat for two hours.
  • Let half cool and freeze in a gallon-size freezer bag.
  • To serve, thaw and heat in a sauce pot or a slow cooker (low for 4 hours)

 


Sweet and Sour Meatballs

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Ingredients:

  • 2 20-ounce cans pineapple tidbits
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 C cornstartch
  • 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 1/4 C orange juice
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1 green, 1 yellow, 1 orange, 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 32 ounces meatballs

Directions:

  • Drain pineapple. Add the juice to a large sauce pan and set the pineapple tidbits aside for later.
  • Add apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, chicken broth and orange juice to pineapple juice.
  • With a whisk, combine brown sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk into liquid.
  • Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly. Let half cool.
  • In a freezer bag; add half the meatballs, peppers, pineapple an onions. Top with half the cooled syrup and store in freezer.
  • To serve, thaw and cook in a slow cooker on low for four hours
  • To eat immediately, combine remaining meatballs, peppers, pineapple and onions in a slow cooker. Top with syrup and mix. Cook on low for four hours.

 

One Response to “3 Freezer Meals”

  1. January 22, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    I love your tip about freezing the bags on a cookie sheet. I never thought about that. Very clever.