Tag Archives: easy

Freezer Meals: Week 7

It’s Wednesday already! It’s crazy how quickly mid-week creeps up on  you after a holiday weekend. Anyways, what that means is that it’s already time for our 7th week of freezer-friendly meals to help cut costs and prep time for meals for your family!

Brought some really awesome sounding recipes to the surface this week, super excited to try all of them!

Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna [http://damndelicious.net/2015/03/07/creamy-spinach-and-mushroom-lasagna/]

Damn Delicious provides us with a recipe that is just that. Lasagna is a go-to freezer meal, but this recipe puts a fun, veggie-laden spin on the usual. If you’re missing the meat, this is easy enough to add any desired protein to – ground turkey, italian sausage, chicken, what have you. We have all the lasagna basics here: lasagna noodles, ricotta, frozen chopped spinach, shredded mozzarella, fresh Parmesan, chopped fresh parsley.

What’s new and fun here is the homemade mushroom sauce that makes this dish such a winner. The sauce includes butter, garlic, cremini mushrooms (yum!), an onion, flour, milk, dried basil, oregano, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Without even ever having tried this sauce, I know it’s going to be a complete hit.

To make ahead, cover the lasagna tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Then simply remove the wrap and bake for 40 minutes, covered.

To freeze, cover the lasagna tightly with plastic wrap, and then aluminum foil – this will freeze up to 3 months! To bake, just remove the plastic wrap and bake for 90 minutes, covered.

Pretty easy and worth the effort to make the homemade sauce for this savory, fun lasagna!

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers [http://www.chachingqueen.com/stuffed-peppers-easy-freezable-dinner-meal-recipe/]

I love, love, love stuffed peppers. They’re versatile, easy on the wallet, and incredibly simple to make. This recipe from Cha Ching Queen really capitalizes on this versatility. She breaks stuffed peppers down to 4 parts:

  1. The peppers – she prefers green (and I do too!). Rinse, cut off the tops, rinse out the seeds. Place the peppers face down on a plate and microwave for 5 minutes to soften them  up.
  2. Rice – use any rice. Brown, jasmine – even try other grains like quinoa or farro – it doesn’t ultimately matter and is entirely your preference. 1 cup uncooked and cook to directions.
  3. Veggies – also up to you. She prefers carrots and celery but I go a little bit more crazy. I love portobellos and zucchini in mine, and have even had butternut squash! Depends how much your family likes veggies and what protein you are pairing this with. Which brings us to…
  4. Meat/Onions – She uses ground beef or turkey – brown with the onions and add to the  mixture. I’ve even used tofu, or no meat and simply added some nice feta into the mix for a Greek spin on stuffed peppers. Again – totally up to you!

These freeze really well. Simply go through the motions – tight cling wrap and foil.

Chicken and Wild Rice Bake

Chicken and Wild Rice Bake

Chicken and Wild Rice Bake [http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-chicken-and-wild-rice-bake-freezerfriendly-recipes-from-the-kitchn-216431]

Cooking time for this recipe is a tad long, but don’t be intimidated by it, says The Kitchn – it’s worth it! Ingredient list isn’t long here – chopped onion, sliced mushrooms, celery, 2 pounds of skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, vinaigrette, uncooked long grain brown rice, wild rice, smoked paprika, dried thyme, salt, pepper, and chicken broth. It’s really just a lot of prep:

Prep your bags: Label a 2-gallon freezer bag “Chicken and Wild Rice Bake” and include baking instructions. You will also need a gallon-sized bag, a quart-sized bag, and a sandwich bag. (If you prefer not to use bags you can use glass freezer containers instead.)

Prep the vegetables: Spread the onion, mushrooms, and celery in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze for about 20 minutes. After they are frozen, remove them from the freezer, place them in the sandwich bag, and seal.

Prep the chicken: Combine the chicken thighs and vinaigrette in a gallon-size freezer bag. Seal and massage the bag to coat the chicken.

Prep the rice: Combine the brown rice, wild rice, paprika, thyme, salt, and pepper in the quart-size freezer bag.

To freeze: Place all three bags in the labeled 2-gallon bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.

To thaw: Remove the bag containing the marinade and chicken from the larger bag. Place in a dish and thaw overnight in fridge or until thawed. Remaining ingredients can stay in the freezer

Baking Instructions: When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the rice mixture and the vegetables in the baking dish. Stir in the broth. Remove the thawed chicken pieces from the marinade and place them atop the rice. Discard the marinade.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover the pan and bake for an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the rice absorbs most of the liquid and the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. Serve immediately.

So there you have it! 3 freezer meals. Let us know if you try these and how they turn out!

Freezer Meals: Week 6

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Wednesday before the final summer holiday weekend = grill/BBQ-themed freezer meals. In looking for some inspo for long weekend eats, I think I found some awesome options. Let’s jump right in!

Coconut Lime Chicken

Coconut_Lime_Grilled _Chicken

Coconut Lime Grilled Chicken [http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2014/06/04/coconut-lime-chicken/]

Living Well Spending Less gives us a recipe that they claim will take us straight to a tropical vacation. To make this a freezer meal, simply split the marinade and chicken into multiple bags, and throw it right into the freezer. You don’t HAVE to make this ahead of time, but if you want to, it doesn’t hurt!

This is super easy – marinade includes 3-4 limes, olive oil, coconut milk, garlic, ginger, salt & papper, and parsley. Combine and marinade with chicken of your choice! If you decide to freeze at this stage, make sure you press all the air out of the bag. Once you’re ready to cook, thaw if frozen, and grill 6-8 minutes per side. Couldn’t be easier!

Boneless Country Style BBQ Ribs

Boneless_Country_Style_BBQ Ribs

Boneless Country Style BBQ Ribs [http://happymoneysaver.com/boneless-country-style-bbq-ribs-slow-cooker-freezer-meal/]

HappyMoneySaver.com gives us a recipe that couldn’t scream BBQ any louder. This is a slow cooker freezer meal, so may take more prep work, but it’s worth the squeeze for this hearty meal. Ingredients are simple: boneless pork country-style ribs, a large onion sliced, minced garlic, brown sugar, applesauce, BBQ sauce of choice, salt & pepper.

Add all ingredients to  your slow cooker and mix. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. To freeze in advance, all you need to do is combine all ingredients and add to a freezer safe gallon sized bag. To cook, thaw + throw in the slow cooker as directed. Once you’re done, top with some additional BBQ sauce and you’re good to go!

Even though this is an awesome holiday weekend meal, I’m pretty tempted to make this a freeze & go weeknight meal for a busy week – total crowd pleaser and easily served with some quick sides for a meal!

Gourmet Spinach Blue Cheese Burgers

Gourmet_Spinach_Blue_Cheese_Burgers

Gourmet Spinach Blue Cheese Burgers [http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/freezer-meal-gourmet-spinach-blue-cheese-burgers/]

I know we all love the classic grilled hamburger, but I love the spin that OneHundredDollarsAMonth puts on this classic recipe. These are super easy to make in a huge batch and freeze. All you need to do is grab them out of the freezer, toss them on the grill, and kick any BBQ up a notch from there.

Ingredients include baby spinach, chopped, garlic, olive oil, ground beef, crumbled blue cheese, salt & pepper. Saute the spinach, garlic, and olive oil and allow to cool. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and form into rounded patties. Lay the formed patties onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze for 30 minutes – then transfer to freezer bags.

Once you’re ready to cook, remove from freezer and throw on the grill as is until cooked through – no need to thaw! Serve on warm buns with any additional toppings you’d want. Love this!

Balsamic Grilled Veggies

Balsamic_Grilled_Veggies

Balsamic Grilled Veggies [https://onceamonthmeals.com/recipes/balsamic-grilled-veggies/]

Can’t leave out my fellow veggie lovers! This recipe is a simple side for any dish – and couldn’t be easier!

OnceAMonthMeals brings us this hearty veggie side that I cannot wait to try. Ingredients include green beans, zucchini, red onion, garlic, basil, bell pepper, canned Great Northern beans, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper. If you’re looking to freeze, place all veggies and beans in a large bowl, whisk together liquids and spices in another bowl. Bag veggies and sauce separately and freeze.

Once you want to serve, thaw & pour sauce over veggies. Stir until combined. Place in a grill basket and grill over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.

So there you have it! Enjoy these recipes and enjoy the long weekend. Cheers!

Homemade Salad Dressings: Cheaper, Easier, Healthier!

Is anyone else already thinking about Labor Day weekend? I sure am. In an effort to not feel like complete junk on Tuesday after the holiday, I am totally devoted to eating well and exercising outdoors throughout the weekend. We’ll certainly be squeezing in some last summer BBQs. What’s a better complement to some grilled food than a nice, fresh, crunchy salad?

Salads don’t  have to be boring. I repeat: salads do NOT have to be boring. One thing that I’ve found that helps increase the flavor and fun of a salad is homemade salad dressing. Not only does it ALWAYS taste better, but it is easy, cheaper, and healthier. I’d love to share some of my favorite salad dressing recipes with all of you to try out this weekend!

Citrus Honey Vinaigrette

Citrus_Honey_Vinaigrette

Citrus Honey Vinaigrette [http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/09/citrus-honey-vinaigrette-vibrant-blue-saladsavors-giveaway/]

Reluctant Entertainer comes to us with a great, fresh, citrus-y recipe with this one. It’s crazy simple and takes, literally, 5 minutes to make. All  you need is one medium orange, juice squeezed, 1 medium lemon, juice squeezed, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons honey, 2 teaspoons grated ginger. Combine and whisk together! She recommends this on greens, crumbled blue cheese, tart dried cherries, and crunch pecans – yum! I have tried it in a ton of salads myself – one of my personal favorites is on a fruity salad – strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, feta, walnuts…I think I know what I want for lunch today now!

Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing

Avocado_Cilantro_Lime_Salad_Dressing

Avocado Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing [http://thewholesomedish.com/avocado-cilantro-lime-salad-dressing/]

The Wholesome Dish gives us this incredible recipe for the avo-lover, which I, myself, admit to being. It’s creamy without the guilt and just gives such a fresh feeling to anything you add it to. Can’t get enough avo in my life. This recipe is also incredibly easy – 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, some salt and pepper, 1/2 cup cilantro, and 1 ripe avocado. Add them all into a blender and blend until smooth! If you want it a little more watery, simply add some water or additional fruit juice. Its sweet, bright, and still savory. They recommend this on ANY salad – my mind immediately goes to something a little bit southwestern – black beans, corn, etc., but also can be used as a mayo replacement on sandwiches or even in salads like chicken, tuna, or potato salad. Can’t wait to serve this one to some guests at a BBQ!

Best Dressing

Best_Dressing

Best Dressing [http://www.anediblemosaic.com/best-dressing/]

Ok, anything called ‘Best Dressing’ is something I had to try. An Edible Mosaic truly names this dressing something that lives up to its namesake. This is simple + delicious! This is an all-purpose dressing that can even double as a marinade. Something that they really impress upon the reader in this recipe is how important a good olive oil is (and this goes for all dressings + recipes, makes a world of a difference!) — as they say, it takes a recipe from good to amazing. I’m sold! It’s heavy on the ingredients compared to the other recipes, but is just as simple. All you need is 1/3 cup good quality EVOO, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar), 2 tablespoons of honey, 1/2 tablespoon of dijon mustard, 1/2 tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce, 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1-2 teaspoons of seasoned salt of your choice, some pepper, 1/2 a small white onion, minced, and a small glove of garlic, grated. Whisk them all together – this can be stored and refrigerated for up to 1 week! It’s savory and fantastic – give this a try anytime! It is perfect for any dressing.

So there you have it – enjoy this weekend! Let us know how you like these recipes or any other favorite homemade salad dressing recipe you have! We are all ears.

Freezer Meals: Week 4

Happy Wednesday, Savers! You know what that means: top freezer meals.

I found these recipes on Pinterest this week and can’t wait to try them and share them with you!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas

sweet_potato_and_black_bean_empanadas

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas [http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/sweet-potato-bean-empanadas#]

These are right up my alley – sweet potatoes and black beans! Yes, please – these guarantee to keep you full and satisfied! The actual prepwork here does look a bit intensive, but when I encounter situations like this, I just make a ton of them – double, triple the recipe – so that next time I’m in the mood to eat them, I can just get them out of the freezer and reheat.

This requires making a dough as well as the filling and combining to make empanadas! Bake until lightly browned and they are ready to eat right out of the oven. That being said, they are also great room temp for snacks, and are easily stored in the freezer. When you’re ready to reheat, simply take out of the freezer, thaw a bit, and toss in the oven until heated.

Huge thanks to myrecipes.com for this awesome recipe idea – I can’t wait to try them!

4 Cheese Tomato Pasta Bake

This recipe totally had me the second I saw the picture. Just look at this! Oozy, cheesy, browned, tasty looking pasta dish. I’m sold.

4 Cheese Tomato Pasta Bake

4 Cheese Tomato Pasta Bake [http://erecipecards.blogspot.com/2014/01/baked-freezable-four-cheese-tomato.html]

52 Ways to Cook claims that this recipe takes only about 30 minutes of work, start to finish. As if I needed any more convincing, right?! You can work ahead and freeze so easily. They give three awesome tips that applies to ALL freezer meals that everyone should be reminded of.

  1. Make sure that the actual baking dish is freezer to oven safe – Pyrex is best! You can also use foil disposable pans. Don’t worry if these aren’t your prettiest dishes, you can always transfer once it’s cooked.
  2. It’s always best to thaw the casserole in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours before baking. If you put a casserole in the oven without doing this, it’ll be fine, but the edges will be baked more crisp than the center by the time it’s finished – it also takes about 30 minutes longer. As a rule of thumb, your casserole is done once the liquid is bubbling and the top is crispy crunchy.
  3. Never freeze a meal for more than 2 months – always date the dish the day you place it in the freezer! Any longer and you’re looking at the consequence of freezer burn – yuck!

Anyways, here’s what’s up – simply prepare pasta al dente while you sautee onion and garlic in a pan – add in white wine and heavy cream. Spread the cooked pasta and tomatoes into a dish while the sauce thickens – once it is, add in the cheese! My favorite part. Spread the sauce over the dish and top with some parm. If you’re looking to freeze or make a couple of casseroles, cover with aluminum foil, making sure that there is as little air between the top of the casserole and the foil as possible. Allow to cool and pop in the freezer. Once you are ready to cook, pop the casserole in the oven and bake for 30. YUM!

Smokey Turkey Almond Mole

This is such a unique dish, and I know that I’ll love it because I love anything that’s super saucy and spicy. Makes for a great topping to a rice dish or even for bread dipping – my fave.

Smokey_Turkey_Almond_Mole

Smokey Turkey Almond Mole [http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/smokey-turkey-almond-mole]

Prep looks pretty easy! Processing almonds, sauteing ingredients in a skillet, and some simmering. This recipe calls for pre-cooked turkey breast which makes this even easier. Once your sauce is ready, you simply stir in the turkey. The chipotle chile and adobo sauce add an awesome smokey pop to this saucy dish. I’d recommend serving over brown rice with some pita bread or a salad on the side – sounds delicious! I also saw an awesome user tip in the comments that served this as a fajita dish! How creative! Make this your own, and remember that it freezes very, very well if you have leftovers or simply want to prep a meal for a busy day – just thaw and reheat! Enjoy 🙂

Big thank you to myrecipes.com for this killer recipe – I cannot, cannot wait to try!

So there you have it, everyone! Check these out and please comment with any feedback!

Freezer Meals: Week 3

Happy Wednesday!

As promised, here’s this week’s picks for easy, quick freezer meals. This week’s theme: soup! Soup is one of my favorite freezer meals, because one pot of great soup can last SO long, and can be such a hearty, filling meal.

Here are some of my favorite freezer-friendly soup recipes from Pinterest.

  1. Loaded Baked Potato Soup

loaded_baked_potato_soup

Loaded Baked Potato Soup [http://www.momables.com/loaded-baked-potato-soup-crockpot-freezer-meal/]

This is crazy easy!

Momables does it right with this recipe! Do some prep work when you have time to make this recipe ultra-simple. Chop potatoes, ham, and onions, and place in a bag in a freezer. Take them our when you’re ready to make this soup! Thaw and place in a slow cooker with chicken broth + half and half. Cook on low for 6-8 hours + garnish when served with cheese, green onions, bacon, sour cream – anything you’d want on your potato! Not only can you pre-freeze to make this easy, but if there’s leftovers, pop in the freezer! Once you’re ready to eat, thaw in the fridge for awhile and reheat. Couldn’t be more simple

2) Olive Garden Copy Cat Zuppa Toscana

zuppa_toscana

Olive Garden Copy Cat Zuppa Toscana [http://fabulesslyfrugal.com/zuppa-toscana-soup-freezer-meal/#_a5y_p=1171706]

Fabulessly Frugal does a spot on rendition of this very freezer-friendly Olive Garden staple! Much like the loaded baked potato soup above, you can both freezer prep AND freeze afterwards. They recommend that you brown and crumble sausage prior to making + fry up onions and bacon as well to save some time. You essentially make the soup quickly (you can add or not add the greens) and can then place in gallon ziploc bags or any form of spill-proof container. To thaw, simply place in fridge for a few hours and reheat – so simple!

3) Black Bean Taco Soup

black_bean_taco_soup

Black Bean Taco Soup [http://oursimplehappylife.com/2012/09/5-healthy-freezer-meal-recipes-4-hours-21-meals/]

Once again – too easy! Our Simple Happy Life knows how to make a freezer/crockpot meal sound easy. Prep: brown meat and onion, stir remaining ingredients in, pour into freezer-safe containers. Ready to eat? Throw it in the crockpot and cook. Umm…crazy simple!

So there you have it. Give yourself a break this week and try one of these soups!

#NationalSmoresDay

Happy Monday, Everyone!

Another week, another opportunity to share some fun, inexpensive recipes, deals, giveaways, and more.

It just so happens to be #NationalSmoresDay today. S’mores scream summer to me – brings me back to my own summer camp days as a child! There’s nothing more fun than finding the perfect stick and toasting (or burning) a marshmallow to gooey perfection. Result = a messy, delicious, delicious treat that will have you asking for ‘s’more!’

Unfortunately, we don’t always have a crackling fire in front of us – lucky for you, we have so many mainstay s’more substitutes that are JUST AS GOOD as the real deal, and just as fun to cook indoors!

S’mores Bites

smores_bites

S’mores Bites [http://thefirstyearblog.com/smores-bites/]

The First Year Blog has an awesome recipe for these mini bites – they’re perfect for a quick dessert or even to bring to a party! Here’s the lowdown: all you need to do is crush up graham crackers, and incorporate powdered sugar + butter as a base. Divide them up into a 24 cup mini muffin pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Then pop in a rectangle of chocolate, and place a marshmallow half inside as well. Pop in the oven and bake until softened. Personally, I like a little brown on my marshmallows – solution: throw on the broiler for about a minute! Cool and serve. They’re so cute + so easy. Enjoy!

S’mores-Dipped Strawberries

smores_dipped_strawberries

S’mores-Dipped Strawberries [http://www.bombshellbling.com/smores-saturdays-smores-dipped-strawberries/]

Bombshell Bling has such a crowd pleaser with this one! I don’t know about you, but my entire family looooves chocolate covered strawberries. This recipe takes things even a step further, and couldn’t be easier. Melt some marshmallow fluff and get dipping! Lay on wax paper to try. Then, same story with chocolate. While still hot and melty, dip into some graham cracker crumbs and lay to dry. Voila!

S’more Stuffed French Toast

smore_stuffed_french_toast

S’more Stuffed French Toast [http://www.heathersfrenchpress.com/2014/07/smore-stuffed-french-toast.html#_a5y_p=2342038]

Oh boy, here we go! S’mores for breakfast! Heather’s French Press has a killer recipe that we won’t even pretend is remotely healthy. It’s pretty easy – grab some honey wheat bread, and spread one slice with chocolate spread (whether this is Nutella or melted Hershey’s is totally your call!) and the other slice with melted marshmallows. Sandwich them together and dip the sandwich into egg, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla (just like normal french toast!) and griddle until golden brown on each side.

So there you have it – these are all cheap, easy, and sure to please the family. Enjoy #NationalSmoresDay!

Freezer Meals of the Week!

Happy Wednesday! It seems like you all loved my first rendition of freezer meals so much last week, that it’s definitely a hot (no pun intended) topic! I’d love to share some of my other favorites as well. Freezer meals make dinner so seamless and easy and are sometimes an absolute godsend to have during a busy week.

  1. Shepherd’s Pie

WheelNDealMama has a really awesome shepherd’s pie recipe that freezes great! This meal is always a hit in our home – it’s pretty hard to deny ground meat, mashed potatoes, and shredded cheese.

shepherds_pie

Shepherd’s Pie [http://www.wheelndealmama.com/homemade-shepherds-pie-easy-freezer-meal/]

This is an all-in-one meal and these can be made individually – one for a person should definitely fill you up and hit all the food groups!

It’s super easy – toss your meat (ground beef, turkey, or chicken) into a skillet and brown with a can or bag of frozen veggies with some broth. In a freezer-safe dish (I suggest mini pie dishes so you can easily take out as many servings as you need – fun for each person to have their own pie!), toss in your mixture, top with mashed potatoes (free to make these however you please, homemade, with a mix – whatever you have time for and prefer), and cover in shredded cheese.

Cover with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and create a tight seal.

Once you’re ready to eat, place in an oven heated to 375 and cook for 45 minutes! Super simple and a crowd pleaser – always.

2) Chicken Parm Casserole

Who doesn’t love chicken parm? It’s comfort food at it’s finest and even the pickiest eaters love it. Thriving Home Blog has a great recipe for chicken parmesan casserole – which is a really fun spin on the dish. You can eat this on it’s own, or serve over pasta for a heartier meal.

chicken_parm_casserole

Chicken Parm Casserole [http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2013/07/chicken-parmesan-casserole-recipe-an-easy-freezer-meal/]

This is crazy easy – all  you do is layer a pan with 4 cups of cooked chicken (shredded or cubed), mix with your choice of marinara sauce, and top with Parmesean cheese, mozzarella, and seasoned breadcrumbs of your choice. Put the casserole together and pop in the freezer for an easy freezer meal – whenever you’re ready to enjoy it, thaw in the fridge overnight and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Yum!

3) Not-Meatloaf

InJohnnasKitchen gives an incredible veggie alternative to a comforting classic – meatloaf! If you’re anything like me, you love an easy meal, but not at the cost of something that makes you feel junky and gross. This is such an awesome option for an easy freezer meal.

not_meatloaf

Not-Meatloaf [http://injohnnaskitchen.com/2013/12/not-meatloaf-a-veggie-variation-twelve-months-of-healthy-eating/]

So fun – this recipe calls for all sorts of textures – celery, onions, chickpeas, oats, walnuts, and lentils – together, combined, this recipe is shockingly yummy. The recipe suggests using either one big meatloaf pan, or a pan that has the 8 mini loafs (like the above picture) – I think this is fun! Like the shepherd’s pie, this makes it even easier to defrost and heat up a single serving. Whenever you’re ready, simply bake at 375 for 55-65 minutes and allow to cool before serving.

That’s all, folks! Enjoy! I know I will 🙂

NatureBox

Maybe you have all heard of NatureBox, a subscription snack service boasting the highest quality ingredients in deliciously distinctive snacks you can find only through them.

nature_box

NatureBox [naturebox.com]

Their website promises the following:

  • No hydrogenated oils
  • No artificial colors, sweeteners & flavors
  • No added sulfites
  • Less than 200 calories per 30g serving
  • High quality, nutritious ingredients
  • Thoughtful sourcing
  • Innovative, unique flavors

Sounds awesome, but often, healthier, higher quality snacks come with a price point. Firstly, though, I want to show you all the absolutely HUGE list of snacks available – there is really something for everyone here! I’ll pull out some of our personal favorites for recommendations:

Sriracha Pop Pops

sriracha_pop_pops

Sriracha Pop Pops [naturebox.com]

If you’re anything like me, you love sriracha and spicy things! These are…nothing short of awesome. They are spicy + addictive, and clock in at about 170 calories/serving, which is more than enough quantity-wise. Not too shabby!

French Vanilla Almond Granola

french_vanilla_almond_granola

French Vanilla Almond Granola [naturebox.com]

This stuff is like crack, and the entire family adores it. It’s awesome on yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast, or just a handful on the go. The serving size here is fairly large, and it still only clocks in at 250 calories/serving. It’s soooooo great 🙂

Kung Pao Pretzels

kung_pao_pretzels

Kung Pao Pretzels [naturebox.com]

These are so good that it is truly hard to put into words. They are SO spicy and SO addictive – they’re like pretzels with an Asian spicy flare. You’ve got to try them to actually understand the party in your mouth that occurs when you eat them. Better yet, they are SO low-cal. A 16 pretzel serving only clocks in at 120 calories.

Whole Wheat Raspberry Figgy Bars

whole_wheat_raspberry_figgy_bars

Whole Wheat Raspberry Figgy Bars [naturebox.com]

Think Fig Newton meets Nutri-Grain bar, but healthier…and better. These are always a hit for a quick on-the-go snack. They come individually wrapped, so you can easily pack them in a lunch or throw in a bag for later! They come in other flavors (strawberry, blueberry), but this is my personal favorite. 1 bar = 130 calories

Did I interest you yet? If not, seriously, check out the rest of their snacks, I’ve hardly made a dent!

So here’s the rundown: you can get a FREE trial, where you get 5 tasty, pre-selected snacks. This DOES roll into a monthly plan ($19.95/month), but if you aren’t feeling this, you can cancel immediately, at anytime.

In conclusion, give this a shot, decide if $20/month is worth it to you to keep getting these snacks (once you are done with the free trial, you can select whichever ones you want) – if you grow tired of it, cancel! It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it’s SO fun to get a box full of tasty treats in the mail every month.

Enjoy!

Freezer Meals of the Week!

Happy Wednesday, All!

First and foremost, I wanted to make sure that you all know that I have a Pinterest page. Here is where I draw so much inspiration for my inexpensive lifestyle for my family! I have tons of boards and pins from tips to making money, to DIY, to Freebies & Coupons. My personal favorite board is my ‘Cheap Recipes’ board – go figure. So many of my pins lately have been freezer friendly meals that not only make life cheaper but so, so easy. I want to share some of my favorites with you today, and hopefully in future blog posts as well. The sky is the limit with these!

Without further ado….FREEZER MEALS OF THE WEEK!

1) Mom On Timeout’s Breakfast Burrito Bonanza

burrito_bonanza

Mom On Time Out’s Burrito Bonanza [http://www.momontimeout.com/2011/08/breakfast-burrito-bonanza/]

Not only is this recipe super easy and delicious, but it’s so, so versatile to all of your personal tastes. Their recipe calls for 3 types of meats, eggs, cheese, and potatoes. I know this is right up my husband’s alley, but personally, I’d love mine to be chock full of veggies. Just as easy! Fry up your meat or veggies, roast potatoes, scramble and season eggs, and wrap your ideal burrito up! Put them on a tray and flash freeze for an hour, and then plastic wrap each individually and place in a ziplock bag and pop in the freezer for the long term. To heat these up, wrap in a wet paper towel and heat for 3 minutes on 50% power. Great for an on-the-go quick breakfast!

Have some extra time? Serve with sour cream and salsa for a full meal. This is sure to please everyone.

2) Fabulessly Frual’s Cheesy Stuffed Shells

This is a staple meal. I ate this growing up, my kids will eat this growing up, and hopefully their kids too. Stuffed Shells is the ultimate comfort food for the Anders and Fabulessly Frugal has a great recipe for it that’s very freezer friendly.

cheesy_stuffed_shells

Cheesy Stuffed Shells [http://fabulesslyfrugal.com/freezer-meal-recipes-cheesy-stuffed-shells/]

 The recipe they prove makes 6 8×8 pans of stuffed shells. Each pan holds 12 shells and serves about 6 people. Meals for days!

The recipe is incredibly straightforward and is exactly how I like my shells, chock full of cheesy goodness + lots of spinach!

To prepare for the freezer, all you need to do is cover with a layer of plastic wrap, then a layer of foil. You can freeze up to one month!

To prepare for cooking from the freezer, you remove the plastic wrap and replace the foil cover. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes. Remove the foil + bake an additional 15-30 minutes and you should have a warm, bubbly dinner all good to go!

3) EatGood4Life’s Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

This is an awesome meatless freezer meal option. Though this recipe does not describe this as a freezer meal, generally any casserole can be stored and frozen, ready to be reheated at any time. This one in particular is incredibly easy, as you don’t even have to pre-cook the quinoa! In the comments, there are some seriously awesome ideas on serving and tweaks to the recipe. One user suggests adding additional veggies + chicken, some suggest adding additional garlic.

broccoli_quinoa_casserole

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole [http://www.eatgood4life.com/broccoli-quinoa-casserole/]

If you choose to freeze, baking time just needs to be increased by 10-15 minutes. Another protip would be to defrost in the fridge before freezing instead of placing in the oven frozen. Give this one a try, and leave any tweaks or tips you have in the comments!

I’ve got tons more, but I’ll leave you guys with 3 awesome recipes for this week. Stay tuned next week for more goodies!