I am so excited for this weekend! I get to go and see my new niece who is 3 weeks old. Of course my plan is to just cuddle her the whole time, but I thought I could probably be of some help to my sister-in-law by bringing a cooler full of freezer meals. I spent a few nights getting these all put together (if I had a whole day I could have done one of those cook-for-a-month-in-a-day things, but I only had evenings after work). I made dishes that I know our family has always enjoyed and that would be really easy for them to prepare. Many of the pins and blogs and recipe books about freezer meals had "mostly ready" meals where you had to stir fry the meat or cook side dishes, but I wanted things that were pretty much self contained.
I stopped at Dollar Tree and found packages of foil containers (4 for $1)--I thought I had enough rectangle ones, but oh well, lasagna in a round pan will taste just fine. I ended up with 5 entrees, each making two pans...10 meals ready to go! (Its just my brother and his wife needing the meals, so if you are making things for larger families, you could just use larger pans and end up with 5 meals, or double things up).
16-20 Corn tortillas
1 1/2 lb. Shredded cooked chicken
1 small onion, diced and sauted
1 can green enchilada sauce
8 oz. Shredded mexican cheese mix
Dice the onions and saute until soft. Clean out pan and use it to warm the tortillas. In the bottom of the pan spread some sauce. Fill each tortilla with chicken, onions, cheese and sauce. Once the pan is full, pour sauce all over making sure all the tortillas are covered. Sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake from frozen: 350 for about 40 minutes.
1 lb ground beef
1 c. quick oats
1 sm. onion, finely diced
1 can tomato sauce
1 tsp each salt and pepper
Mix everything up in a bowl and put in a loaf pan. You can top the meatloaf with your favorite bbq sauce before baking, or make your own sauce by mixing ketchup and brown sugar. When ready to cook: Thaw in fridge, then bake for 70-80 minutes at 350. Serve with the twice baked potatoes.
Twice Baked Potatoes
4 russet potatoes
salt and pepper
Bake the potatoes at 350 for about 60-80 minutes (depends on how big the potato) until tender. While still hot, use a paper towel or pot holder to hold the potato while you cut it in half and scoop the potato into a bowl. Add butter and milk and whip the potatoes with a mixer. Refill the potato shells and top with a thin slice of cheddar cheese. Cool, then freeze in a zipper bag. To bake from frozen: Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.
Chicken Pot Pie
I used the America's Test Kitchen recipe (free sign up with your email address)
When ready to cook, put frozen pie in 400 degree oven for 40 minutes and let rest 10 minutes before serving.
prepared pie crust (I used the Betty Crocker mix)
Thai Coconut Chicken Curry
1 lb chicken, cut into pieces
1 each red, green, yellow pepper, cut into same size pieces as chicken
1 onion, cut into pieces
2 carrots, sliced in rounds
3 mushrooms, sliced
2 T. green Thai curry mix (I buy a bottle of seasoning at Ross or TJ Maxx)
1 can coconut milk
Toss the chicken with the curry powder mix. Put the chicken in the bottom of a zipper bag then pile up the veggies. Freeze. When ready to cook: Thaw in fridge, toss in crock pot with a can of coconut milk for 4 hours on high. Serve over rice (I pre cooked rice and put it in a zipper bag too--thaw in fridge, reheat in microwave with a bit of extra water added).
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 clove garlic
2 tsp. basil (dry)
2 small cans crushed tomatoes
2 cans tomato paste
1/2 c. apple juice
1 tsp each salt and pepper
3 c. cottage cheese or ricotta
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
2 T. parsley flakes
1 tsp salt and pepper
Noodles, cooked (I don't like the no-cook noodles)
Cook the meat in a large pot. Drain any excess fat. Add the garlic and cook for about one minute. Add tomatoes, paste, basil, apple juice, salt and pepper to the meat.
In a bowl, make the cheese mixture: Cottage cheese (small curd), parmesan, parsley, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix it well.
To make the casserole: Put a bit of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer noodle, then a layer of meat sauce, then a layer of cheese mixture, then shredded mozzerella. Repeat the layers, ending with shredded mozzerella.
I chose to bake the lasagnas, then cool then freeze. When ready to cook: Bake for about 1 hour at 350 on a cookie sheet to catch any spillover.
I had a few peaches from a neighbor's tree, so I made a single crust pie using the same technique I've done with freezer pies before.
4 C. peaches
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. instant tapioca
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. butter
prepared pie crust (I used just a top crust that I made with a Betty Crocker mix)
Mix it all together and put in a 8" pan, dot with butter and place the crust on the top. Freeze. When ready to bake, do not defrost, just bake from frozen at 350 for about 1 hour (may need to wrap some foil around the edges to keep the crust from getting too brown).