Friday, September 30, 2011

Freezer Cooking Fridays

I decided to start a new little feature here on the ol' blog: Freezer Cooking Fridays. I've talked about Freezer Cooking, or Cooking Ahead, before, and I've become a huge fan of it. It's so easy to get a bunch of meals planned and prepped and stashed in the freezer, then have them ready to go on a busy weeknight. And let's face it, is there ever a weeknight that's not busy? Not in our house. Both my husband and I work full time, and we have two small children who are in school all day. By the time we're all home, we barely have enough time to get dinner on the table and the kids bathed before it's time for bed. Who wants to cook? Not me.

Enter freezer cooking. Some people do a month's worth of meals ahead of time, but I'm not that organized. Plus I don't have enough space in my freezer for all of that, plus the giant bags of chicken nuggets and fishsticks that are staples. I generally prepare enough meals for about 2 weeks...or whatever I have time to whip up after the kids are in bed.

Here's the plan: every week I'll feature what I have prepared in the previous week and have in the freezer. Not necessarily a menu (again, not that organized), but just a list, and maybe it'll inspire some of you out there to try it. I know you all are busy too, and I can't thank you enough for stopping in and reading!

This week, I started with 5 pounds of ground beef, and 6 pounds of giant boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I love Sam's Club. On Tuesday night I started with the ground beef. Here was my plan:

I knew I wouldn't have time to do the chicken and ground beef in one night, so I'm planning on doing the chicken this weekend.

From the ground beef, I made:
  • 1 batch of enchiladas (recipe coming!)
  • 2 batches (entrees) of No Boil Baked Penne - the recipe calls for a 9x13 pan, but I split it into 2-8x8 pans.
  • 2 pounds of taco meat - ground beef seasoned with Old El Paso taco seasoning. We eat tacos A LOT
  • 1 pound uncooked meat that was supposed to be Cheeseburger Meatloaf, but it was 10:30pm and I still had cleaning up to do, so I skipped it and froze the uncooked meat.
This weekend I'll be working on the chicken side of things. The plan, as shown above, is:
  • Teriyaki Marinated Chicken - I made my own teriyaki sauce a few weeks ago from a recipe in Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer. This cookbook is my main inspiration for freezer cooking. You should check it out!
  • Crockpot Salsa Chicken (recipe coming soon!)
  • Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing - I haven't figured out how I'm going to make this ahead yet. More details to come...
  • Cheddar & Cracker Chicken - this looks super yummy and I can't wait to try it!
I"ll post the missing recipes soon, and will continue to feature different recipes each week to help you on your way to a stocked freezer. Be sure to stop in next week for more freezer cooking fun!

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