Category Archives: Easy to Freeze

Preparing for the New Year

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I forgot how precious the holidays are when you teach school!  I have really enjoyed my time off and we were so blessed to be near our family and able to see them multiple times throughout the holidays.  As this first day of 2015 wraps up, I have begun to think about work again (I might have to start a summer countdown calendar though).  One thing that I will be doing before school starts back up and I am busy-busy again is that I will freeze some meals for those days that I just can’t spend time cooking.  I am planning to put two different “main entrees” into the freezer before Sunday night.  One of them, Porcupine Meatballs, I’ve blogged before.  This new one is a recipe my Aunt Gwen shared with me.  Neither of us have made it after it was frozen, yet we have made it fresh.  However, I’m going to try freezing it and bought gallon-sized freezer zip bags at the store this week for that very purpose!

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Place into a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of chicken breast (if they are crazy big chicken breasts, cut them to make thinner)
  • 4 Tablespoons of lime juice (about 2 limes if using fresh)
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped (this was about 3 cups prior to chopping it)
  • 1, 16 oz, bag of frozen corn
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Once all the ingredients are in the bag, mix it all together and zip the bag closed.

Place in the freezer for up to 3 months.  When you are ready to prepare the dish, remove it from the freezer and thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Cooking times:

Slow Cooker: This recipe works great in the slow cooker.

  • Low for 8 hours
  • High for 4 hours

Stove:  I found this site that helps convert recipes from stove to slow cooker.  I may try this when I cook this for my family as the slow cooker and my teaching hours don’t mesh well.  According to this on stovetop it would take about 45 minutes to cook this meal.  I will most likely pull the chicken out and brown it on both sides and then pour the rest in on top to finish cooking it all together.  I will update this post after I try it to let you know how it works!

 

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Family time is priceless!

 

Back to School Plans

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We start school in a few days and my head has finally accepted it.  I have decided what meal we will have that first evening (one I can prep ahead) and of course snacks too.  These are normal plans each year.  However, I have taken a new step this year and prepared some items for “fast breakfast”.

Our middle schooler has to leave an hour earlier than her old elementary school schedule so I’m thinking this means a few more breakfasts on the run!  My Aunt Gwen shared an easy recipe several years ago for some yummy Breakfast Tacos.  So tonight, I served leftovers for dinner and spent my time in the kitchen preparing breakfast for the freezer.

Breakfast Tacos

Bake Ahead of time:

  • 1 large baked potato

Brown in skillet:

  • 1 lb regular flavored bulk sausage (I used Jimmy Dean)

Set sausage aside to absorb the grease

Chop into pieces and brown in left over grease:

  • the baked potato (I did take most of the potato skin off)
  • one large onion (I cut this really small as my girls say they don’t like onion)
  • Add pepper to taste and just a smidgen of salt

Scramble in butter over low heat

  • 12 eggs
  • Add pepper to taste

Add to eggs while they are cooking

  • 6 slices of American cheese

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl

Breakfast Tacos from beckinpa.wordpress.com

Place spoonfuls in tortillas and wrap in foil (20 tortillas)

Breakfast Tacos from beckinpa.wordpress.com

Place a few spoonfuls in for a large taco and a spoonful and a half for a small taco.

First fold

First fold

Now fold the sides in over the first fold and wrap up in foil.

Now fold the sides in over the first fold and wrap up in foil.

Reheat- Oven at 275° for 35-40 minutes or Microwave, remove from foil and wrap tortilla in a paper towel.  Heat for about 40 seconds for one taco.

Wrapped and ready for the freezer.  I marked the Large and Small Tacos and dated them.

Wrapped and ready for the freezer. I marked the Large and Small Tacos and dated them.

Enjoy!

 

Make that for two…

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As you know I often plan out my menus for several weeks at a time.  It helps me feel better prepared for the upcoming crazy week if I know what is planned for dinner each night before 4:00 in the afternoon!

So I have encouraged you before to plan out a few nights of menus and try it out.  Well now I have another thing to try.  This time when you plan your meals, see if there is a recipe you can double as you make it and then freeze the doubled portion.  This way you have one meal for the evening and another meal for next month ready to pull out of the freezer.

One recipe I love to do this with is the Chicken Enchilada recipe that I got from a friend when I had my second child.  These are very yummy and are just as easy to prepare as a double batch as  a single.  I don’t pour the sauce over the enchiladas that I plan to freeze as it makes them a bit wimpy.  I freeze the sauce separately OR  make it fresh when cooking the frozen portion.  I just made these over the weekend and now have the doubled batch in the freezer.

Boil your chicken as you get everything else set out and then it will be ready to shred when you are ready to add it to the enchiladas—make some extra and freeze it for other meals 🙂

Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas

Ingredient Single Doubled
Onion, diced ½ an onion 1 onion
Bell Peppers-red or green 1 2
Chicken breasts- cooked and shredded Two (about 2 cups) Four (about 4 to 5 cups)
Cream Cheese, softened 3 oz 6 oz
Chili powder 1 tsp 2 tsp
Onion powder 1 tsp 2 tsp
Milk 1 tsp 2 tsp
Cumin ½ tsp 1 tsp
Sour Cream ½ cup 1 cup
Grated Cheese 1-2 cups 2-4 cups
Flour Tortillas 6-10 12-18

Sauté onion and peppers in margarine—salt and pepper the veggies while they sauté.

In a bowl combine all the ingredients (besides the tortillas!).  Mix.

Spoon the filling into the tortillas and roll up, placing them seam side down in a baking dish

Sauce

Ingredient Single Double
Cream of Chicken Soup 1 10oz can 2 10 oz cans
Salsa 1 cup 2 cups
Sour Cream ½ cup 1 cup
Oregano Dash Two dashes

Combine the sauce ingredients.  Pour over filled tortillas.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

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Here is a link to a post from Fall of 2010 that has two more recipes that can easily be doubled as you make them and then frozen for later.  I actually plan to make the pot pie in a few weeks and prepare a second one for the freezer.

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Let me know when you have added to your freezer!  If you have a favorite meal to double and freeze- share it with me in the comments section!

Enjoy the recipes and make sure you enjoy your family today too!

Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Eat one-Freeze one

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This recipe was another new one for us.  I found it online in a selection of freeze-able dinners.  I will have to say it took a bit more fussing with than I care for BUT when I remind myself that now I have a meal in the freezer that I just have to put in the oven, the extra fussing was all worth it.  Everyone enjoyed the recipe.  We served it with a green salad, apple slices and crescent rolls–oh and some good old Southern Sweet Tea!

Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Serves 8 or makes two dishes, each with 4 servings

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes (I had a foil container to use for the freezer portion)

Bring a large pot of water to boil and then add:

  • a bit of salt
  • 1 lb of penne rigate

Cook the pasta until just short of al dente (for me this was about 8 minutes).

Drain pasta and return to the pot.

In a large nonstick skillet heat:

  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Place into the skillet and cook until opaque throughout:

  • 8 to 11 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Once the chicken is cooked, slice thinly crosswise making small little bites of chicken.  Set aside.

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot melt:

  • 6 Tablespoons of butter

Add to the butter and whisk for one minute:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (leveled)
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (leveled)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

While whisking, gradually add:

  • 6 cups of milk

Add to the milk mixture and then cook for 1 minute:

  • 10 oz white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced (Brad and I both said we would like more of these next time so maybe add 3/4 cup or even a whole cup)

Take off the heat and stir in:

  • 2 cups of Italian mix cheese (The recipe calls for just shredded provolone, but the store didn’t have it so I bought an Italian mix)

Add to the pot:

  • cooked pasta
  • cooked and sliced chicken
  • season with salt and pepper

Divide the pasta mixture between the two prepared baking dishes.

Sprinkle each with:

  • a cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

Bake, uncovered,  for about 25 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

To freeze one or both: 

Don’t bake but rather allow the dish to cool and then cover tightly with foil.  I then like to write with sharpie what is in the dish and cooking directions.  I also wrote that this stays fresh for 3 months and wrote today’s date.

When you are ready to bake one from the freezer—prepare ahead 😉  The recipe says to preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and bake (still covered in foil) on a rimmed baking sheet until center is hot, about 1 1/2 hours.  Then remove the foil and bake until golden, about 15 more minutes (so yes, that is almost 2 hours in the oven….but remember- now all you have to do is whip up a salad and slice up some fruit!).