Hello friends! Well, I know this is a stamping blog, and I try very hard not to stray from that because I believe that's what you come here to see! But today, I'm doing a different post just hoping there might be a few of you out there who will appreciate it!
My oldest daughter and I recently did a day of freezer cooking. In addition to having a great time together that day, we have the satisfaction now of having 28 MEALS in the freezer! In addition to the meals, which I'll list below, we also have 10 half-batches of cheesy potatoes and put up 5 dozen ears of corn. Here is what we did, with links to the recipes...
Individual Meat Loaves (18 loaves) - My Mom never made meat loaf... my Dad wouldn't have touched it with a 10 foot pole. So my first experiences with making it were after I was married, and I was always pretty disappointed with how it turned out. It just seemed like no matter how long I baked it, we'd still cut into it to find it greasy and raw in the middle. So I was elated when I found this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine years ago, and I've never made meat loaf any other way. We used 4 1/2 pounds of ground beef and made 18 individual loaves, and laid them out on cookie sheets covered with wax paper. We stuck the cookie sheets in the freezer just long enough to solidify the meat, then wrapped them separately in wax paper, and have them in large Ziploc freezer bags. This way we can just remove what we need, thaw and bake. I should note that we did NOT put the ketchup mixture on top before freezing. I'll do that when I'm ready to bake.
Gram's Potatoes (10 half-batches) - I got this recipe from one of my very best friends and have made it for years. For this recipe, we mixed up 5 batches, then scooped half of each batch into large Ziploc freezer bags, and laid them in the freezer flat. With the half batches, it'll be nicer for nights when it's just two of us eating dinner. Just thaw in the fridge overnight, or put in the microwave on defrost just until it's thawed enough to dump into a glass baking dish. Sometimes I brown cracker crumbs or cornflake crumbs and sprinkle on top before baking. Yum!
Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Roast (three batches) - SO super easy! We just put the roast into a large Ziploc freezer bag, and added the other ingredients and tossed into the freezer. And we took one out last week to have for supper, and IT. WAS. OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD! Incredibly delicious! We served it with garlic roasted red potatoes, and this recipe for Sautéed Green Beans with Bacon. (Yes, we had bacon in the side dish with pork roast... don't judge! LOL)
Sweet & Sour Meatballs (four batches) - I love this recipe... it's so easy and yummy! For this one, we chopped the veggies and made the sauce, then just combined it all in these quart containers, and put in the freezer. When we want this meal for dinner, I'll plan ahead and buy a 2 pound bag of frozen meatballs and a 20 ounce can of pineapple. Just thaw the sauce in the fridge overnight, and dump it all in the crock pot! Serve over rice or noodles. (Sometimes I make this with homemade macaroni and cheese!)
Chicken Spaghetti (four batches) - This was a dish that Ree Drummond had on her website under meals that freeze well, so even though we've never tried it before we decided to make it this day. My daughter got a little of the sauce on her finger and licked it off. If the taste of that is any indication, we're in for a treat! We just froze this in 9x13 foil pans.
Baked Ziti (six batches) - This was another recipe I found on Ree's website. Have never tried it, but we're VERY anxious to put this on the menu some night soon! The smell of the sauce just about sent us over the edge! One word of caution... the 9x13 foil "cake" pans I bought were not deep enough for this recipe. We ended up making six pans of this, but only one layer of ziti in each pan. Next time, I'll buy "lasagna" pans.
In addition to all of this, I also have two large Ziploc freezer bags with some shredded chuck roast. I had found a recipe for beef enchiladas that called for chuck roast in the filling. However, after roasting the meat, it was much more "fatty" than I liked and I couldn't imagine putting this fatty beef into enchiladas. So we just divided that meat into two bags and into the freezer, and when we need a quick meal we can just add the meat to a pot with some barbeque sauce, and have BBQ Beef sandwiches. As a result of not making beef enchiladas that day, I instead took some time this past weekend to do...
Creamy Chicken Enchiladas (three batches) - Another recipe we haven't tried, but decided I to make. This is another one we're anxious to put on the menu some week soon!
We had also planned to make 3 batches of Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole, but we didn't end up with enough chicken after we made the Chicken Spaghetti. So next weekend, I will probably get some more chicken and whip this dish up, too!
We labeled everything well before it went into the freezer, and have a list on the fridge upstairs of everything that is there so when I'm meal planning I can consult the list and plan accordingly! I included baking instructions on that list, so my hubby will know what to do if I ask him to throw something in the oven before I get home from work.
If you've ever thought about doing a freezer cooking day, I hope you might find these recipes and a few of my tips helpful!