Tag Archives: freezer meals

Freezer Meals: Week 12!

I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday! This calls for a freezer meal roundup! This week I thought it’d be fun to focus on desserts. There’s a VAST amount of recipes for all of your favorite sweet treats that freeze perfectly. They are prime freezer candidates! I pulled some recipes from around the internet that looked especially delicious to me. Let me know what you think! I can’t wait to try them myself.

Best-Ever Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies [http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2014/09/22/oatmeal-butterscotch-cookies/]

Ruth Soukup is a freezer-friendly queen. This is far from the first recipe I’ve tried of hers, and I imagine it’ll be far from the last! My husband and I are both huge supporters of oatmeal cookies, and this looks like a fantastic spin on such a classic cookie. She claims that they ‘freeze beautifully’ and are just as good straight out of the freezer as they do straight out of the oven. Sounds good to me!

This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies. Preheat the oven to 350, and get to work mixing together butter and sugars. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix well. Then flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, and mix well. Add in oats and chips, and mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown – cool + enjoy! Freeze if desired.

Freezer Friendly Brownie Bites

Brownie Bites

Brownie Bites [http://happymoneysaver.com/brownie-bites/#_a5y_p=3742288]

These little brownie bites are perfect for a small dessert or a snack. They’re such an easy, quick recipe! Melt butter and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. After melted, add cocoa powder and stir well. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and add in sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add in the chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Lastly, add in flour and mix until smooth.

Grease a mini muffin pan and fill cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes and let cook before removing from pan. Let them cool completely and enjoy or place in a freezer safe bag. To reheat, just pop them in the microwave!

Reese’s Oatmeal Cookies

Reese's Oatmeal Cookies

Reese’s Oatmeal Cookies [http://www.momontimeout.com/2013/01/reeses-freezer-friendly-oatmeal-cookies/]

Can you tell I  love oatmeal cookies? Have I mentioned my affinity for anything peanut butter? This recipe looks so good that it needs to be shared!

The beauty of this recipe is that it highlights two things: 1) these cookies are great to freeze and equally delicious this way and 2) how easy it is to freeze cookie dough balls (if you’d prefer to eat them fresh and make the dough ahead of time!).

Simply cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time, add vanilla and mix together. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, salt and baking soda, and add to the already creamed mixture. Stir in Reese’s Pieces and Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips.

Refrigerate for one hour and preheat the oven to 350. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until light brown and cool.

#NationalPierogiDay

This one’s coming out of left field, but I love pierogies SO much that I cannot help but share some easy recipes that will please literally anyone. If you don’t like pierogies, I don’t even know what to say.

First, some history. Pierogies are filled dumplings of Eastern European origin. They’re made by wrapping pockets of unleavened dough around a savory or sweet filling. Generally, we’re working with potato and cheese, but there’s also fillings along the lines of sauerkraut, ground meats, and fruits. They’re generally served with melted butter, sour cream, or fried onion (or all of the above). I will not sit here and tell you these are ‘good for you’, but they are certainly incredibly easy to make and so, so delicious.

A lot of people, including myself, sticks generally to the frozen pierogies you find at your local grocery store. That’s why I am going to start with a recipe that uses these frozen pierogies, and simply makes them more delicious than you’ve probably ever prepared them before.

ItIsAKeeper.com hits us with a simple recipe, 3 ingredients: 1 package of frozen pierogies, half a cup of butter, and one onion, thinly sliced. The directions? Put them all in a slow cooker, put on the lid, and cook for 3-4 hours.

Crockpot Pierogies

Crockpot Pierogies [http://www.itisakeeper.com/10088/best-crock-pot-recipe-crock-pot-pierogies/]

Equally as easy, and such a fun spin on pierogies, TheKitchenMagpie.com curated a recipe for Crockpot Lazy Pierogie Casserole. Intrigued? So was I! This doesn’t involve any real pierogies, but takes all of the best elements from them and combines them into a delicious lasagna/casserole – potatoes, bacon, cheese…yum.

To prepare the crockpot, you’ll need to boil lasagna noodles, peel, dice, and boil potatoes, mash potatoes with cheese, milk, and spices, prepare a ricotta cheese mixture, fry up some onions, and cook up some bacon. May sound like a lot, but all of these things are pretty basic and take minimal prep time or skill.

Then starts the layering in the crockpot, starting with lasagna noodles. Then spread ricotta mixture on top of the noodles, then goes the potato cheese mixture, then bacon and onions. And repeat! Cook in the crockpot on low for two hours – and you’re done!

Lazy Pierogi Casserole

Lazy Pierogi Casserole [http://mommysavers.com/homemade-pierogies-meat-freezer-meal/]

I saved the most challenging pierogi recipe for last: homemade pierogies. Dun dun dun. That being said, the perk here is that your work will go a long way – this is a great freezer meal!

To make the dough: combine potato flakes and boiling water and allow to cool. Add remaining ingredients (2 beaten eggs, salt, and all purpose flour) and mix until dough forms. Roll out dough and use a round cookie cutter or glass to make rounds for each pierogi.

Brush each round with beaten egg, flip over, and add about a tablespoon of your homemade pierogi filling – my favorite is potato and cheese and couldn’t be easier. You can always add bacon – it’s really up to you! Whatever your favorite is. Seal the pierogi shut and boil until they rise to the top (about 3-4 minutes). Once done, saute in a frying pan with butter – feel free to add onions! Serve with sour cream.

To freeze: allow pierogies to completely dry after boiling, lay flat on a cookie sheet and freeze. After they’re frozen, feel free to place in zippered plastic bags. To serve, thaw completely and saute to finish cooking. That’s all! Enjoy #nationalpierogiday and please let us know if you have any recipes of your own for this delicious treat!

Homemade Pierogies

Homemade Pierogies [http://mommysavers.com/homemade-pierogies-meat-freezer-meal/]

Freezer Meals: Week 10

A slightly belated freezer meals rundown this week, but better late than never! This week is absolutely flying by – I forgot yesterday was even Wednesday!

In honor of #WorldVegetarianDay, I decided that this week should highlight vegetarian freezer-friendly meals! Yay! If you are missing the meat, you can always sub in your favorite kind – but these are all really fun crowd pleasers.

Eggplant Parmigiana

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan [dishmaps.com]

Fast Top Ten provides us with a super easy, traditional recipe for one of my all-time favorite vegetarian meals: eggplant parm. To make the freezer friendly version, you simply assemble the dish, but don’t bake it. Wrap tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw completely and bake as directed.

The general recipe here is pretty simple. Simply make the sauce with a food processor and simmer. Slice, coat eggplant with flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, and fry until golden – 2-3 minutes per side. Then assemble the dish in a baking dish – tomato sauce, layering eggplant, parmesean, and mozzarella. Bake until lightly browned and bubbling (whenever you decide to eat this) for about 40-45 minutes.

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Baked Mozzarella Sticks [momontimeout.com]

Who doesn’t love mozzarella sticks? MomOnTimeout.com gives us a slightly healthier, freezer friendly version of this bar food staple. These are perfect for snacks, appetizers, or game day finger foods!

Here’s the deal: this recipe is crazy easy, so long as your cheese sticks are frozen completely solid – otherwise these get goopy and sloppy really quickly! Unwrap the amount of cheese sticks of your choice, cut in half, and pop in the freezer. Set out 3 bowls – flour, egg, and breadcrumbs/parmesean combo. You know the drill – dredge in flour, dip in egg, finish with bread crumbs. You can always do a second coat if you feel you need it. Place on a lined baking sheet and place in the freezer for an hour. These can stay in the freezer as long as you want (store appropriately if it’s going to be awhile). Once you’re ready to bake, line a baking sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray, and line up your sticks. Bake for 3-5 minutes, turn, and bake for another 3-5 minutes. Serve with marinara! Yum!

Garlic and Chive Quinoa Cakes

Quinoa Cakes

Quinoa Cakes [seasonedtotaste.wordpress.com]

I am fully deep in the quinoa trend. I love the texture and the ease with which it’s made – and of course, the lack of guilt I feel eating it. OnceAMonthMeals puts a new twist on quinoa with their garlic and chive quinoa cakes.

Mix cooked quinoa, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic, shallots, and chives in a bowl and add mozzarella, Parmesan, flour, and panko. Mix well and let stand. Press into round cakes and saute patties for about 6 minutes on each side, placing on paper towels once done to remove excess oil. Allow to cool and divide into freezer bags to freeze! To serve, simply reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

These are perfect for an appetizer or snack, or a full meal!

Freezer Meals: Week 8

Can’t even believe it’s already Wednesday! Also can’t believe it’s the 8th week of Freezer Meals here at LCFR! Time really flies.

I’ve found some great recipes this week. The theme this week? Healthy chicken! These are all freezer meals that satisfy even the pickiest of eaters, as well as meals that are essentially guilt-free. Enjoy!

Oven Baked Chicken Strips

Freezer Ready Chicken Strips

Freezer Ready Chicken Strips [http://happymoneysaver.com/oven-baked-chicken-strips/]

HappyMoneySaver promises a crunchy chicken strip with their tried and true recipe. The secret? Italian style panko bread crumbs.

They’re crazy easy – grab 3 bowls and add flour, salt, and pepper to the first, eggs to the second, and Italian-style bread crumbs to the third. Slice up a chicken breast into strips and dip first into the flour mixture, then the egg wash, and then the bread crumbs.

After the chicken is coated in the panko bread crumbs, place the chicken on a parchment covered baking sheet, and place in freezer for 2-3 hours or until frozen solid. Then, transport them into a freezer safe Ziploc bag and freeze for future use.

To bake, simply place the frozen chicken strips on greased or parchment covered baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees or for 30 minutes until cooked through. Serve with the dipping sauce of your choice. Our family loves honey mustard!

Chicken Wrapped Asparagus

Chicken Wrapped Asparagus

Chicken Wrapped Asparagus [http://freezerfriendly.blogspot.com/2013/11/chicken-wrapped-asparagus.html?m=1]

Freezer Friendly blog promises an insanely easy and delicious experience with this recipe. If the promise isn’t enough, you could always refer to the fact that this recipe only requires 4 ingredients! All you need are chicken breasts, 1 head of garlic, 2 bunches of asparagus, salt & pepper.

First, you take the chicken breasts and filet them. Place inside a plastic bag and pound them thin with a mallet (or anything you have handy!). Stick 5-6 sprigs of asparagus into the middle with chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. Tie it up with some kitchen twine. Wrap each individually in foil and freeze!

When you are ready to cook them, unwrap and cook in oven on 350 for 35-45 minutes until golden.

Pretty simple, don’t you think? Can’t wait to try this one!

Easy Greek Chicken

Easy Greek Chicken

Easy Greek Chicken [http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2015/04/22/easy-greek-chicken/]

LivingWellSpendingLess gives us yet another crazy easy chicken recipe that’s immensely freezer friendly. Here’s what you need: lemons, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cracked red pepper, fresh rosemary, boneless chicken breast. Whisk together all the ingredients and divide into freezer bags. Marinate the chicken in bag for 30 minutes or longer (if you want to go straight to cooking), or, if freezing, simply press air out from the bag and toss in the freezer.

When you’re ready to cook, thaw if frozen and grill 7-8 minutes per side, basting with additional marinade. Alternatively, you can pour the contents into a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. And wait – another option! Place in casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

We like this served over rice with a side salad. Perfect meal!

There you have it for this weeks freezer recipes! Let us know how you like them!

#NationalTVDinnerDay

Happy Thursday! This week is flying by! I’m thinking every week should only last 4 days…agree?

Today, so I hear, is #NationalTVDinnerDay. I’m not here to support the TV dinner, but rather give you some history on this craze and provide you with equally as easy, equally as convenient, but so, so, so much healthier of options!

According to Wikipedia, the term ‘TV dinner’ is a genericized trademark originally used for a brand of packaged meal developed in 1953 by C.A. Swanson (sound familiar?). In the United States, the term remains synonymous with any prepackaged dinner purchased frozen in a supermarket and heated at home.

I’ll admit, I have been guilty of these, as they are junkily delicious and so easy to pop in the microwave, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I had one, as luckily, in the past decade or so, I’ve become more health-conscious.

To give you a breakdown of health concerns with TV dinners, there are quite a few:

  • The freezing process degrades the taste of food and the meals are thus heavily processed with extra salt and fat to compensate.
  • Stabilizing the product for a long period generally means that companies will use partially hydrogenated vegetable oils for some items (usually dessert), which are high in trans fat.
  • Generally, these meals contain preservatives such as BHT

I know that they’re very convenient, but guess what else is just as convenient? HOMEMADE FREEZER MEALS!

I’ve placed links to all of my compilations of freezer meals to date for your convenience below:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Take a look, put a little bit of extra effort in, and call it your very own version of a TV dinner. Enjoy!

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!