Freezer Meals: Week 11

Back to basics here, everyone! I have three VERY different, but VERY delicious freezer-friendly meals today to make your life just that much easier. Don’t forget that when you try these out, give us your feedback! Did you add extra ingredients, leave some out? Do you think the cooking time should be increased, decreased? Do you have different ideas on how to allow this to keep for longer in the freezer? We want to hear everything, big or small! Comment section is there for YOU.

First things first, I wanted to talk about frozen pizza. We’ve all been down this road. They’re easy, they’re good, and they’re terrible for you. The ingredients in these if you check out the box are truly brutal, and it’s tough to feed your family something that seems so unhealthy and chemically-laden. Solution is here! Make your OWN frozen pizzas, recipe courtesy of IntentionalByGrace.com. Here’s how she does it:

Frozen Pizza

Frozen Pizza [http://intentionalbygrace.com/homemade-frozen-pizzas/#_a5y_p=3296016]

  1. She makes her own pizza dough. You could store buy (I know that a lot of grocery stores sell raw pizza dough), but this is more cost efficient, and you’ll know exactly what you’re putting into it, which is only 8 ingredients, and nothing funky: water, yeast, honey, olive oil, salt, flour, italian seasoning, and garlic powder.
  2. Once you’re all set with mixing and letting the dough rise, preheat the oven and cook the pizza dough WITHOUT toppings for about 7-8 minutes to allow for a good base to build on.
  3. She makes her own sauce too! Who’s shocked?! You can, of course, use store-bought, but I love love love the idea of knowing all of the ingredients you and your family are eating. She simply uses tomato paste, sauce, water, garlic powder, basil, parsley, organo, thyme, salt, papper, olive oil, honey, and Parmesan cheese. The full recipe is in here and can be made in a stockpot or crockpot. Once done – this sauce is totally freezable – simply put in a tightly sealed plastic bag.
  4. Pizza topping ideas: since we’re freezing, use things that will freeze well. She recommends cheese, pepperoni, pineapple, onion, chicken, ground beef or turkey, green onions, olives – most things do freeze well, so go with your standard toppings!
  5. Once your pizza is assembled, wrap each pizza with plastic wrap and finish with foil. The foil allows easy writing to label which toppings are on which pizza – love it!
  6. To cook, preheat your oven to 425, remove all the wrap, place pizza on a pan, and cook for about 15 minutes. Simple!

Next up…Slow Cooker Tuscan Stew from Sweet Peas and Saffron. With the weather getting a bit cooler, I crave soup, and it’s one of my absolute favorite things to make since it’s easy, inexpensive, and I can eat it for days. It’s one of the only foods where I can say with all confidence that the leftovers are better than fresh! That overnight in the fridge or freezer really just must enhance all the flavors – blows my mind every time. Here’s a new recipe that I found that looks so comforting and delicious – cannot wait to try. Sometimes a beef stew is almost TOO hearty, so I love this chicken-based spin.

Slow Cooker Tuscan Stew

Slow Cooker Tuscan Stew [http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/09/slow-cooker-tuscan-chicken-stew.html]

Simply add boneless chicken thighs, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, white wine, and fennel seeds into the slow cooker and cook for 4-6 hours. Just before serving, mix cornstarch and water together, and add in balsamic vinegar, rosemary, and salt – throw combination into the soup. Serve with crusty bread or a side salad! This sounds soooo good. If you want to freeze this prior to putting in the slow cooker – easy! Just get your ingredients together, defrost, and dump.

I’m dying to use my slow cooker more (she notes that she uses a 5 quart one) and this sounds like a great, easy opportunity to play around a little bit.

This stew looks chunky and hearty and perfect to fill up my family on a cold, cozy night! Enjoy!

Next and last…Healthified Kale and Portobello Lasagna. When I think about freezer meals, my mind immediately goes to lasagna, and then I think, ugh, not healthy enough. I always miss a more veggie-laden meal. But the Food Network puts such a healthy, unique spin on freezable lasagna! I can’t wait to try this recipe.

Healthified Kale and Portobello Lasagna

Healthified Kale and Portobello Lasagna [http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/healthified-kale-and-portobello-lasagna-recipe.html]

This only takes about 25 minutes of prepwork, and execution of the layers is almost exactly like putting together a more standard lasagna dish. Puree roasted red peppers, oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar in a food processor until smooth. Mix together mozzarella, ricotta, and egg whites in a separate bowl. Heat and saute portobello mushrooms and kale with red pepper flakes and set aside.

In a baking dish, start layering! Sauce, lasagna noodles, cheese mixture, kale and mushroom mixture. At this point, you can freeze if you so please! Plastic wrap + tin foil to make sure this lasts as long as possible. When you’re ready to cook, thaw, cover with aluminum foil only, and bake for about 50 minutes on 350. Then sprinkle with some additional mozzarella and cook uncovered until bubbly. Yum!

Enjoy these! Let us know how they go!

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