Mar 23, 2012

Freezer Meals

While we are on break cuddling and snuggling Bean, 
I thought I would share some of the things
I did to prepare for him to come.


For the first time EVER, I actually prepared in the meal department for after baby comes home.

I actually made some freezer meals.

I have not been a big fan of the idea of freezer meals. Probably because I don't like reheated or leftover food that much. However, I came across the idea of making crock pot freezer meals. Now that seemed not only doable in the prep department, but also enjoyable in the eating department.

So I gathered up some recipes. I even ended up making a few casseroles...fingers crossed they don't fit into the leftover category.

Then I bought all the groceries.

Then on a Saturday afternoon, hubby and I prepared and assembled everything.

Here are the meals in our freezer just waiting to be made and eaten.

Chicken and Salsa Flautas
Orange Chicken
Cafe Rio Crockpot Chicken
Teriyaki Chicken
Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs
Sweet and Tangy Meatballs
Taco Soup
Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

I gathered my recipes from several places. Some were family favorites that we have made forever. Some were from freezer meal links. Some were adapted to be made a freezer meal. Oh and the spaghetti sauce and meatballs was simply thrown together with freezer meatballs and our favorite jar sauce...EASY.

When you are assembling the meals, mark the freezer bags first with instructions and date made. Place in the meat. Then add the other ingredients. Lay flat on the counter to let out the air and seal. You will want them to be flat for easy freezing and storage. For all of the recipes, pull out the bag or casserole the night before to allow them to thaw. Thaw in fridge of course.

Here is a list of the recipes:

Chicken and Salsa Flautas
adapted from glue gun annie

2 chicken breasts, shredded
1/2 cup favorite salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp cumin
10 small flour tortillas

Mix everything but tortillas in a bowl. Spread filling evenly between the tortillas. Roll the tortillas tightly and place seam side down on a cookie tray and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for 1-2 hours. Once frozen place in a gallon freezer bag. Label and put in freezer.

When ready to eat, cook them in a 350 oven for 15-25 minutes. Until golden brown and cooked through.

Orange Chicken (Crockpot)
fake ginger

2-3 chicken breasts, cut in bite-sized chunks
1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt
6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons ketchup

Put chicken pieces in a gallon freezer bag. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix until well combined. Pour sauce into bag over the chicken. Seal the bag.

When ready to eat, cover and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. Serve with white or brown rice.

Cafe Rio Crockpot Chicken
crumbs and chaos

2-3 chicken breasts
1 cup Zezty Italian dressing
1 ranch dressing packet
1/2 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 Tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 Tablespoon chili powder

Add day of 1/2 cup water

Put chicken breasts into a gallon freezer bag. Mix other ingredients (except water) in a small bowl. Pour liquid mixture over chicken in the bag. Seal. Mark the date on the bag. Freeze.

When ready to eat, place in slow cooker. Add water. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve with tortillas and taco toppings.

Teriyaki Chicken (Crockpot)
ring around the rosies

4-5 carrots cut into chunks
1 red onion cut into chunks
2 cans of pineapple chunks, undrained
2 tsp minced garlic
4 chicken breasts
1 cup favorite teriyaki sauce

Add day of: 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce

Place chicken in gallon freezer bag (you can split this up between two bags if you aren't feeding a small army of food inhalers). Place the rest of the ingredients into the bag. Freeze.

When ready to eat, add 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4. Serve with rice.

Sweet & Tangy Meatballs (Crockpot)

1 bag of frozen meatballs (aprox 30)
1 jar of grape jelly
1 bottle of favorite bbq sauce

Mix everything in bag. Seal. Freeze.

When ready to cook, cook on low for 2-4 hours or until warmed through. Serve with rice.

Taco Soup (Crockpot)

1 lb of ground hamburger, cooked
1 onion finely chopped
taco seasoning packet
ranch packet
1 28oz can of stewed tomatoes
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
1 16oz can red beans, drained
1 16oz can hominy
2 cups frozen corn

Combine all of the ingredients in two gallon freezer bags. Seal and freeze.

When ready to cook, cook in slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours. Serve with cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.

Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole this one took the most prep
picky palate

3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 med onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
3 carrots, finely diced
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
2 cups steamed white rice
1 package prepared wild rice (mine was Uncle Ben's)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

cheese sauce:
4 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Optional to top with more cheese...anywhere from 1-1 1/2 cups.

Heat oil in medium skillet over med high heat. Saute onion, celery and carrots until softened. About 10 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in chicken, both rices, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Turn off.

Prepare cheese sauce. Melt butter in a med sauce pan on high heat. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Then slowly pour in chicken broth while continuously whisking. Whisk until thick and nearly boiling. Then stir in cheese until melted.

Pour cheese sauce over the rice mixture. Then transfer everything to a 9x13 aluminum baking pan (you know the kind you can throw away when all done!). Let cool slightly. Add additional cheese topping if you want.

Allow to cool before you cover. Once cooled, cover twice with plastic wrap and then once with foil. Mark on the foil baking instructions and date.

When ready to eat, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted on top and casserole is warmed through.


Melanie said...

Wowsers....those look tasty. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your little cuddle man.

Unknown said...

Omg! The cafe rio recipe is probably the best slow cooker meal I have ever eaten! I add cooked rice to the crock pot the last hour and it turns out really yummy. My kids love it!

Carolyn said...

What size is your crockpot you use?

The Montoya Life said...

Do you defrost the meals before putting them in the slow cooker or do you put them in frozen?

Larissa@Just Another Day in Paradise said...

My crock pot is the oval one, I think it is 7 qts.

As for defrosting the meal before slow cooking it...I put it in the fridge the night before or set it on the counter just for a tad. Long enough that the meal comes out of the bag.

You shouldn't need to totally defrost it. Yay for the slow cooker!

ContainingEudaemonia said...

I am going to try these and I have a few I need to pin. Thanks

ModernHippie said...

Great recipes! Picky kids even approve. The orange chicken is a new family favorite. Thank you for sharing!

Larissa@Just Another Day in Paradise said...

Awesome! I am so glad you like these recipes! The orange chicken is delightful.

Unknown said...

About how much were the groceries for these meals? My hubby and I are on a budget and I have been having a lot of luck with make ahead meals. These look SO yummy, I hope they are within our budget!

Lindsey Parnell said...

Is the chicken cooked when you throw it in the bag?

Larissa@Just Another Day in Paradise said...

The chicken is not cooked. Just through it in their raw.


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