My friend and fellow Cincinnati girl Anne is starting a link-up today and I have been looking forward to it for some time now! It's called 'Pin to Present' and you can link-up anything at all that you found on Pinterest and did yourself! Food, crafts, outfits-- anything goes!
One of my August goals was to make a batch of freezer meals and over the weekend I did just that. I know many people make and prepare 20 or even 30 meals at a time but I'm still newer to the freezer cooking process so I kept it simple and made 5 LARGE batches of recipes. Each bag will give Jared and I at least one dinner + leftovers for our lunches the next day. So technically, I prepared about 10 meals in exactly one hour! I also made a breakfast frittata/quiche/whatever you want to call it in the crockpot that has been supplying us with breakfast each day!
A struggle with freezer cooking is finding healthy stuff to make ahead of time and freeze, so I had to do a lot of digging to find recipes that weren't HORRIBLE for us. No, not every recipe I made is "clean" and perfectly healthy, but I did my best to avoid the casseroles that are just completely carb-loaded and a cheesy overload. While I'm sure those would taste delicious, those are things Jared and I try to limit in our meals.
Here's what works best for me. Label all your freezer bags FIRST. (They are slightly more difficult to write on once they're stuffed with food... not that I would know or anything...) Make sure you put the date, what's in the bag and any cooking instructions. Most of mine are crockpot ready, but a few of them need ingredients added the day of.
I like to add the meat to each bag first and get all that disgusting, slimy stuff out of the way as soon as possible. Raw meat is so disgusting!
Then chop chop chop ALL your veggies at once. I think this is the easiest method because then everything is ready to get added into the bags all at once instead of chopping, adding, chopping, adding, etc.
Then add seasonings and sauces last. Get all the air out of the bags to the best of your ability. Triple check that you sealed the bag tight, lay it flat and pop it in the freezer. Bam!
I also made these chicken breasts so the day-of they'll be ready to just pop in the over after thawing overnight in the fridge. Just dip each chicken breast in some olive oil, then coat it with a mixture of parmesan cheese, garlic and an Italian seasoning packet. Wrap each chicken breast in plastic wrap and you can store them all in one freezer bag.
And probably mine and Jared's FAVORITE new breakfast? It's made ahead of time in the crockpot and we are recently obsessed. Sausage, spinach, eggs, red onion, bell peppers and just a little bit of sea salt and pepper! Cook 3ish hours in your crockpot, let it cool, cut it into individual slices, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. Check out this easy, delicious recipe here. We will definitely be making these regularly from now on!
-- Cilantro Lime Chicken (Similar, but I left out black beans)
-- Chicken Cacciatore (You can serve it over noodles, rice or our favorite - cauliflower rice :))
-- Beef Stew
-- Garlic Parmesan Chicken (Link takes you to the cookbook!)
-- Ranch Porkchops
and those tasty breakfast frittatas, too!
And I love it! I definitely plan to keep up with the freezer cooking. Spending an extra couple hours in the kitchen on a Saturday in order to have easy meals? Heck yes! I'd love to hear any favorite freezer meals you've made.