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frozen meals

June 8, 2011

I mentioned on Monday that I had prepared some frozen meals so that we’ll have good things to eat when Rico arrives.  Rumor has it that I’ll be ravenous and too tired to cook anything (although, let’s be honest, these days JT does most of the cooking at our house).

I’ve heard/read about people who cook major amounts of food in one day, freeze it, and then have a month’s worth of meals on hand for their family.  It seems like an alright idea, but I kind of love fresh fruit & veggies (especially in summer, when I can get them from the farmer’s market), and JT hates leftovers, so I’ve always been a bit skeptical.  But, now that I’ve made 12 dinners in 3 hours (including clean up!), I have to think that these people are on to something.

I decided to make 6 recipes, each of which gives us enough food for at least 2 dinners:

I started by cleaning the kitchen (unloading the new dishwasher is still a thrill!) & throwing the ingredients for the salsa chicken into the crockpot.  Then, I prepared the three noodle-based meals (bonus: no washing out the pot containing the noodles between uses!), put them in pans & let them cool to room temperature (I’ve heard that this will help reduce freezer burn).  Next up, I prepared the filling for the Chicken enchiladas & tortilla casserole.  I was nervous about whether the tortillas would get soggy or gross during the freezing/thawing/cooking process (anyone know whether tortillas freeze well when mixed with other stuff?), so I packaged the fillings only & will have a minute or two of preparation before either of these meals go into the oven.

I’m a little paranoid about freezer burn, so I’ve covered each container with a layer of freezer wrap & then aluminum foil.  The fillings for the enchiladas & tortilla casserole were put in gallon freezer bags once they cooled & were laid out flat in the freezer so that they’ll take up less space (and hopefully defrost quicker).  I used plastic (BPA-free & freezer-safe) Ball containers for the soup.

Here’s where I admit that this is one of those posts written more for me than for you.  Because if these things end up cooking well, I might do this again sometime, and I’ll need a reminder about how I made it work the first time.

And here’s where I ask for your advice on other delish, freezeable meals.  Any thoughts/must-try recipes?  Has anyone else tried this (successfully or not)?



8 Comments leave one →
  1. japortma permalink
    June 8, 2011 10:06 am

    I should really do that. Turns out when I get home from work I really don’t want to cook anything so normally I go for the cereal or grilled cheese and you can only eat so many of each.. 🙂 The recipes look awesome!

  2. Mom permalink
    June 8, 2011 10:31 am

    You should contact your Aunt Teresa. She participates in a meal exchange with seven other people and comes home with 14 new meals to freeze each time.

  3. June 8, 2011 11:23 am

    A super easy one that I made for a friend and have made for us once this baby arrives is mini pizzas:

    1) toast english muffins
    2) layer with pizza sauce (I use the Ragu pizza sauce), mozzarella cheese and mini pepperonis
    3) place on a baking sheet and broil in the oven on high for a few minutes to brown the cheese a little

    You can make a ton of these very quickly and they defrost/reheat nicely whether in the microwave or the oven.

  4. June 9, 2011 7:48 am

    Nice work! Preparing meals for when baby is here is a great thing. I did this when I was pregnant as well. It was a huge lifesaver. I did a lot of baked ziti and casserole dishes that would heat up nicely. We had about a months worth of food in our freezer so we didn’t have to go shopping (although we did need to get things like milk, yogurt). I also found the website below to be helpful. Maybe you can have some family and friends sign up to bring some dishes over for you and hubby.
    Its kind of neat!

  5. June 9, 2011 9:08 am

    I found using the vacuum bag machine great and I do not get freezer burn when I used it. I first freezer my dish, pop it out of the container and then package it using the vacuum. I still have some casserole from last summer in the freezer with no freezer burn using it. It really nice to know if I do not have alot time to make a dinner, I can just pull it out of the freezer.

  6. June 9, 2011 12:07 pm

    Interested to know how these turn out! I’ve always thought the idea sounded convenient but never tried it. My mom used to freeze spaghetti sauce and then just make the pasta that night, it seemed to work really well.

  7. June 9, 2011 5:42 pm

    That salsa black bean soup sounds awesome. I gotta try this again. I did it once and it was awesome, but I let it go. I do try to cook chicken and ground beef with onions when I get it from the store. That does help a lot. Let us know how the recipes turn out.

  8. Aunt Tami permalink
    June 11, 2011 10:37 am

    Yum! Your recipes sound good! Catherine likes taking a LARGE flour tortilla, cover one half with cooked shredded or diced chicken, spinach, grated cheddar cheese, and salsa. Fold in half (flat) and freeze (individually). Several fit in one large zip-loc freezer bag. Heat on griddle or frying pan until warm and cheese melts…VOILA! Lunch or dinner OR cut into wedges and serve with lemonade, margaritas or beer when the relatives show up to see the new baby! 🙂

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