Aug 14, 2014

Pin to Present {Freezer Meals}

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.
freezer-meal-prep

freezer meal prep

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.
freezer bag labels

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!
beef stew freezer meal
chicken cacciatore freezer meal

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!
breakfast frittata crockpot

crockpot breakfast frittata

And now? My freezer looks like this! Stocked with:
-- 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.

25 comments:

  1. We've been trying to find a good/healthy/easy breakfast option to freeze and go. I just might have to try this one...

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  2. WOW! Well done lady! That looks fabulous and delicious!!!!

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  3. Soo totally blonde moment over here... I've been wanting to do freezer meals but haven't taken the plunge yet... but I totally thought you cooked everything before you froze it! Guess I need to do a little research before I get started... haha!!

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  4. Yay! I love freezer meals! I will have to try that breakfast one, I love have other breakfast options!

    I've been cutting up our leftover tomatoes and onions from the CSA basket and freezing those for soups this fall!

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  5. Yay! I love making freezer meals. I only did it once but I plan on making it a habit or at least once a month! Seriously, it saves so much time and money, too! We are waiting for the meat to go on sale again before we make some more! I'm going to have to try that Garlic Parmesan Chicken, it sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing!! :)

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  6. Pinning these recipes!! I made a few freezer meals before Mia was born and they saved us during those newborn days! So I definitely want more recipes to be prepared for our next (future) babe!

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  7. I don't love to cook in the crockpot, so the only crockpot one I'll typically do is a chicken cacciatore and an asian-inspired pork. I frequently do cheesey chicken and rice (no cream of soups), mexican stuffed shells, and I also freeze a portion of whatever soup I make for the week in the fall and winter months. I freeze summer veggies for use in winter and frequently make rice in the crock and freeze it for easy weeknight meals.

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  8. I like this idea and pin link up. I cannot wait to try a few of these. I have been trying to find ways to cut back on prepping for the week before my classes start.

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    1. It's a fun link-up, I'm so glad she started it! :) Let me know if you try any of these out- it really is such a time saver!

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  9. I so need to try this! Hopefully in the winter when the days feel shorter and such I will have some freezer meals ready to go! And I will definitely be making those Garlic Parm Chicken breasts! YUM!!!

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  10. I've always wanted to try this!! Definitely will be referencing back to this post soon :)

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  11. This is awesome!! Can I come over when you have Garlic Parmesan Chicken?? :)

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  12. Oh man, what a brilliant Pinterest inspiration to actually follow through on! This would be so convenient to have in the freezer, and it sounds like it's really not THAT much work to do - so worth it. I agree though that it can take digging to get reasonable recipes on Pinterest... so thanks for doing the work on that :) And thanks for participating!!

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  13. I am all over this. I've been meaning to try this for oh so long so I'm excited to see this. It gives me the "want to" again badly!

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  14. I really need to just set aside a day and do this for us because nothing is worse than coming home and having nothing to cook for dinner or no desire to spend hours cooking!

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  15. I have always wanted to cook freezer meals like this! I am in love with crock pot meals too, they're ridiculously easy. That breakfast recipe looks so tasty. I might be trying that one first :)

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  16. What a fun link up!! So exciting. Girlfriend, you straight rocked that!!!!!! I can't wait to grow up and be like you... ;)

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  17. My mouth is watering - these recipes look amazing! I need to do this. It would be so much easier now that cheer has started back up and I'm SO hungry when I get home! It would be nice to have a meal already prepared that I just need to cook for a bit! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  18. And now im hungry! I need to do this before the babe comes!

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  19. that's pretty awesome! I was recently reading someone's blog...for the life of me can't remember who, and it was just yesterday! But anyway, she and her friends did a food freezer party. Each person brought enough for their recipe x 4 (but really you could chose any number), and then when you got to the host's house, everyone was cooking their food, etc, have fun talking with each other, and at the end of the night everyone walks home with a few freezer meals :) If I didn't have so many food allergies, I would totally do this!

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  20. Stopping by from the link up! Wow, I have to try this. I've always had a hard time finding healthy freezer meals too so I kinda gave up. That breakfast recipe sounds amazing - that will be the first one on my list to try! Thanks for some great ideas! -Jess @ Sweet Little Ones

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  21. i just pinned something last week about freezer meals. seems like such a good and time saving idea. i'm going to have to check out your recipes!

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  22. I have wanted to do freezer meals for a while as well! I have got to work up the courage to try it! Problem for me is I would need them on weeknights and that doesn't leave time for a crock pot meal.

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  23. I've been thinking about trying to make a bunch of freezer meals as well. I find anything & everything that I can make in the crock pot. Last night, we had crock pot pancake - it was pretty dang good. :)

    Mandie ~ http://badbrewpack.blogspot.com/

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Thanks SO much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog! I read each one and love to respond and chat with you! :)

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