Freezer Meals Part 2

Posted on Feb 24 2014 - 5:06pm by Tammy Smith
Categorized as
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If something works, by all means…. DO IT AGAIN!

I don’t know about you, but my life was WAY easier the past few weeks with those already prepared dinners from my Freezer Meal Trial ready each night when I got home. I wasn’t sure about the whole freezer crock pot meals… but I am a big fan now. 

Each night we open the door to a new delicious smell and I don’t have to stop by the grocery store for that item I forgot or stress about what I’m going to cook or even try to cook with a crying baby and toddler hanging on my leg – that really was a common theme in my house at night. Everyone is more relaxed and I feel like I have stolen some time back from my busy life…. time to play trains with my son, time to hug my husband and time to snuggle with my baby….

I have reclaimed sanity…. well at least as it relates to dinner, my sanity in other areas are still up for discussion.

Here are a few things I learned that I will change this time around:

  1. Don’t FOUL up – my first trial had too many chicken recipes included. This second menu includes a  greater variety of meals. I will say that using chicken was cheaper than having a wide variety of meat. So if low cost is one of your goals, you may want to stick to a chicken heavy menu.
  2. Don’t overcook – This is one of the first issues I noticed. I leave my house every morning around 7:00 am and dinner is around 6:00 pm – that means my meals were cooking for 8- 10 hours and then on warm for the remaining few hours. I found that the sauces had dried up and the meat was dry also. To remedy this, I started putting my meals in frozen and not thawed. This allowed the thawing to happen first and then there was less actual cooking time. I did not find that any of my meat was raw or undercooked and it eliminated a good deal of the drying.
  3. Double Down – This time around I am not starting with 5-6 and simply making each recipe twice. I am using these meals every night and not just sporadically like other moms. I needed more recipes so that when they repeated I didn’t feel like we had just had that meal a few nights before – of course more variety does increase your costs a little.
  4. Carry Over – We like left overs… not for dinner but for lunches. I can’t tell you how much money we save if we bring our lunches versus buying out. With the recipes from my first trial I found that we had little left – which is perhaps a testiment to how much my boys liked these meals – but I wanted some for lunches. If you find yourself wanting more, you may consider doubling the recipe and putting it all in one bag if you want to have left overs for the next day.
  5. Compare sales and recipes – If you can take the recipes I have included in these freezer posts and compare them to your favorite grocery store’s flyer, you can save money by including on your menu what’s on sale. I did this when I prepared my menu and doubled up on those recipes that included meats or other ingredients on sale.

 Here’s what’s on our menu for the next few weeks (full printable menu with recipes and shopping list at end of post):

Lemon and Garlic Chicken
Serves 4
Suggested Side: Egg noddles or Rice
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Ingredients
  1. 4 Chicken Breasts
  2. 1 tsp of Dried Oregano
  3. 1/2 tsp of Lowry's Seasoning Salt
  4. 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  5. 1 tsp of Dried Parsley
  6. 2 Tbsp of lemon juice
  7. 1/2 c of chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag and close. Remove from freezer ahead of time and allow 24 hours to thaw in the fridge or defrost in the microwave prior to placing in the crock pot.
  2. Place in crock pot and cook according to cook 6-8 hours on low.
Adapted from from www.whoneedsacape.com
Adapted from from www.whoneedsacape.com
http://balancinginstilettos.com/
Pepper Steak
Serves 4
Suggested Side: Rice
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Ingredients
  1. 1-2 lbs of Stir Fry Beef, (I used Sirloin)
  2. 3/4 c of beef broth
  3. 3 Tbsp of soy sauce (for soy free option, see note below)
  4. 1 bag of frozen pepper and onion mix
  5. 1 tsp of garlic powder
  6. 1 Tbsp of sugar
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag and close. Remove from freezer ahead of time and allow 24 hours to thaw in the fridge or defrost in the microwave prior to placing in the crock pot.
  2. Place in crock pot and cook according to cook 8 hours on low.
SOY FREE SUBSTITUTION
  1. To make this recipe soy free, I substituted 8 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce mixed with 2 Tbsp of water instead of the soy sauce.
  2. (4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce mixed with 1 Tbsp of water substitutes for 1/2 cup of soy sauce)
http://balancinginstilettos.com/
 

Marinated London Broil
Serves 4
Cook Time: 6-8 hours on low Suggested Sides: Baked Potato and Corn (see my post on steamable veggies)
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Ingredients
  1. 2-4 lbs of London Broil or any steak/beef
  2. 1 Cup of Soy Sauce (or soy-free substitute - see notes below)
  3. 1/2 Cup Honey
  4. 1 Tsp Red Wine Vinegar
  5. 1/2 Onion, chopped
  6. 1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic
  7. 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (omit if concerned about spiciness)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a re-sealable gallon-sized freezer bag and close. Remove from freezer ahead of time and allow 24 hours to thaw in the fridge or defrost in the microwave prior to placing in the crock pot.
  2. Place in crock pot and cook according to cook time.
SOY FREE SUBSTITUTION
  1. To make this recipe soy free, I substituted 8 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce mixed with 2 Tbsp of water instead of the soy sauce.
  2. (4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce mixed with 1 Tbsp of water substitutes for 1/2 cup of soy sauce)
Adapted from www.whoneedsacape.com
Adapted from www.whoneedsacape.com
http://balancinginstilettos.com/
Honey Romano Pork Chops
Serves 4
Cook Time: 4-6 Hours on Low
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Ingredients
  1. 3-4 Pork Chops
  2. 1/2 Cup Honey
  3. 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce (for soy-free substitution, see below)
  4. 2 Tbsp Dried Basil
  5. 2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  6. 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  7. 3/4 Cup of Romano (omit if making dairy free)
  8. 2 Tbsp Corn Starch (see directions)
  9. 1/4 Cup Water (see directions)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT CORN STARCH AND WATER in a re-sealable gallon-sized freezer bag and close. Remove from freezer ahead of time and allow 24 hours to thaw in the fridge or defrost in the microwave prior to placing in the crock pot.
  2. Place in crock pot and cook according to cook time.
  3. Before serving, remove liquid, place in small pan, boil and add the already mixed water and corn starch. KEEP STIRRING for beautiful gravy, if needed for sides.
SOY FREE SUBSTITUTION
  1. To make this recipe soy free, I substituted 8 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce mixed with 2 Tbsp of water instead of the soy sauce.
  2. (4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce mixed with 1 Tbsp of water substitutes for 1/2 cup of soy sauce)
Adapted from www.whoneedsacape.com
Adapted from www.whoneedsacape.com
http://balancinginstilettos.com/
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Serves 4
Cooking Time: 6 hours on low Suggested Side: Rice
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Ingredients
  1. 4 Chicken Breasts, cubed
  2. 1 Onion, sliced
  3. 1 Carrot, peeled and sliced
  4. 1 Stalk of Celery
  5. 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
  6. 1/3 Cup Catalina Dressing
  7. 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce (for soy-free substitution see below)
  8. 1 Tsp Grated Gingerroot or 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of ground ginger
  9. 1 Can of Pineapple Chunks, drained (8 oz)
  10. 1 Green and Red Pepper, sliced into strips
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a re-sealable gallon-sized freezer bag and close. Remove from freezer ahead of time and allow 24 hours to thaw in the fridge or defrost in the microwave prior to placing in the crock pot.
  2. Place in crock pot and cook according to cook time.
SOY FREE SUBSTITUTION
  1. To make this recipe soy free, I substituted 8 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce mixed with 2 Tbsp of water instead of the soy sauce.
  2. (4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce mixed with 1 Tbsp of water substitutes for 1/2 cup of soy sauce)
http://balancinginstilettos.com/
Hearty Beef Stew
Serves 4
Cooking Time: 5-6 hours on Hi 7-10 hours on Low
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. Beef Stew cubes
  2. 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  3. 4 red Potatoes
  4. 1 pkg of dry onion soup mix
  5. 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup (for dairy free see note below)
  6. 1 can of tomato sauce (8 oz)
  7. 1 pkg of frozen peas (10 oz)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a re-sealable gallon-sized freezer bag and close. Remove from freezer ahead of time and allow 24 hours to thaw in the fridge or defrost in the microwave prior to placing in the crock pot.
  2. Place in crock pot and cook according to cook time.
DAIRY FREE SUBSTITUTION
  1. To make this recipe dairy free, I used dairy free potato soup from Whole Foods in place of cream of mushroom soup.
Adapted from www.sixsistersstuff.com
Adapted from www.sixsistersstuff.com
http://balancinginstilettos.com/
Sweet Teriyaki Chicken
Serves 4
Cooking Time: 3-4 hours on low 7-8 hours on hi
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Ingredients
  1. 3 to 4 chicken breasts
  2. 1 Cup Soy Sauce (for soy-free option see note below)
  3. 1 Cup of Sugar
  4. 1 Tsp of Garlic Salt
  5. 1/2 Onion, chopped
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a re-sealable gallon-sized freezer bag and close. Remove from freezer ahead of time and allow 24 hours to thaw in the fridge or defrost in the microwave prior to placing in the crock pot.
  2. Place in crock pot and cook according to cook time.
SOY FREE SUBSTITUTION
  1. To make this recipe soy free, I substituted 8 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce mixed with 2 Tbsp of water instead of the soy sauce.
  2. (4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce mixed with 1 Tbsp of water substitutes for 1/2 cup of soy sauce)
http://balancinginstilettos.com/
Apple BBQ Pork Tenderloin
Serves 4
Cooking Time: 6-8 hours on Low 3-4 hours on Hi
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Ingredients
  1. 1-2 lb Pork Tenderloin
  2. 1 Cup Chunky Applesauce
  3. 1 Cup BBQ Sauce
  4. 2 Tbsp, minced dried onion
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a re-sealable gallon-sized freezer bag and close. Remove from freezer ahead of time and allow 24 hours to thaw in the fridge or defrost in the microwave prior to placing in the crock pot.
  2. Place in crock pot and cook according to cook time.
Adapted from www.sixsistersstuff.com
Adapted from www.sixsistersstuff.com
http://balancinginstilettos.com/
Ginger Cranberry Pork Roast
Serves 4
Cook Time: 4-6 hours on hi
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Roast, pork roast left whole
  2. 6 oz of Fresh Cranberries or 1 jar of whole cranberries
  3. 1 Tbsp Honey or Maple Syrup
  4. 1 Tbsp Thickening Agent (ie: cornstarch or instant tapioca)
  5. 1/2 Cup of water (see note)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT WATER in a re-sealable gallon-sized freezer bag and close. Remove from freezer ahead of time and allow 24 hours to thaw in the fridge or defrost in the microwave prior to placing in the crock pot.
  2. Place in crock pot, add the water and cook according to cook time.
Notes
  1. ***DO NOT ADD THE WATER UNTIL YOU PLACE IN CROCK POT.
  2. WARNING: Low cook time, this will be
  3. dry if you cook all day.
Adapted from www.100daysofrealfood.com
Adapted from www.100daysofrealfood.com
http://balancinginstilettos.com/
BBQ Chicken Dinner
Serves 8
Cook Time: 6-8 hours on lo 4-6 hours on hi
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Ingredients
  1. 3 med unpeeled sweet potatoes, cubed (about 2 cups)
  2. 2 large green peppers, cut in strips (about 2 cups)
  3. 1 large red pepper, cut in strips (about 2 cups)
  4. 2 zucchini, cut in 1" slices (about 2 cups)
  5. 2 cups of chopped onion
  6. 2 tbsp of thickening agent (ie: quick cooking Tapioca)
  7. 2 lbs of chicken thighs and drumsticks, whole
  8. 2 jars of plain tomato sauce (15 oz each)
  9. 4 tbsp of honey or maple syrup
  10. 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  11. 2 tbsp ground yellow mustard
  12. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  13. 1 tsp of salt
Instructions
  1. Divide all ingredients between 2 re-sealable gallon-sized freezer bags and close. Remove from freezer ahead of time and allow 24 hours to thaw in the fridge or defrost in the
  2. microwave prior to placing in the crock pot.
  3. Place in crock pot and cook according to cook time.
Notes
  1. THIS RECIPE MAKES TWO MEALS AND SHOULD BE DIVIDED INTO TWO BAGS.
Adapted from www.100daysofrealfood.com
Adapted from www.100daysofrealfood.com
http://balancinginstilettos.com/
 

You can find this menu with recipes in entirety here and  the shopping list is here.

 If you try these, let me know what you think. If you have suggestions or comments, please leave them…. I LOVE reading your thoughts. Let’s make this a team effort and pass along the things we learn to each other.

Happy Crocking!

 

Tammy

 

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