Tag Archives: Freezer Meal

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!

 

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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!).