One of my favorite ways to stay on top of things in the kitchen is by getting meals in the freezer. I won't call it once a month cooking because food doesn't last in our house for more than a couple of weeks. (I don't know what I'll do when our three boys are teenagers!) I get as many meals in the freezer as I can and here's how I do it!
Crazy meat cooking: I will cook up large amounts of hamburger and chicken and then separate into meal size portions and then freeze them. When I want to make tacos, just thaw the meat and add seasonings. When I want to make homemade chicken pot pie, just thaw the meat and add veggies, etc! Easy!
If I'm feeling really ambitious, I'll add all of the seasonings and sauces and such and put the whole meal in the freezer. So I'll add the veggies and creamy soup with the chicken for the pot pie and put in the freezer. When pot pie night comes around, all I have to do it thaw and bake! When taco night comes, thaw and heat! Even easier!
It takes just a bit of work but so worth the time and effort! This is a must do for working Moms and Moms who spend every other night at the soccer field. HUGE time saver, Mommas!
Hamburger: Buy the highest quality hamburger you can. Organic meat is always best, but do the best you can! I know that's not always an option for everyone. (You can also use ground turkey and I often do!) I like to put the hamburger in the oven in a nice big roasting pan with a chopped up onion and some fresh pressed garlic. Chop it up a couple of times while it's baking and Voila! Way easier than standing over a skillet!
Here, I baked five pounds of hamburger. Then let cool a bit and separate into meal sized portions. Freeze in freezer safe containers or add ingredients for a full freezer meal!
Chicken: Be very careful when you buy chicken. Read the labels carefully and buy only chicken not treated with steroids or antibiotics and injected with solutions. On the same day that I cook the hamburger meat and puree my veggies I also put several chicken breasts in the crock pot to cook. I will usually use frozen ones so I stick them right in, turn it on, let it cook for several hours until it's cooked through and easily shredded. (If you use fresh chicken breasts, add water or broth so it doesn't burn and stick!) Separate into meal sized portions and/or add to meal ingredients to get a full dinner in the freezer. I love having chicken readily available to throw in a salad or add to some stir fry. It really cuts down on dinner prep time!
Here I have four containers of chicken ready to freeze. I also strained the liquid and saved the yummy slow cooked broth to add to soup! One thing I love about cooking chicken this way, you won't believe how much further it goes! The chicken below was from FIVE chicken breasts. Yes, I got four meals out of five chicken breasts!
What you see below is eleven prepared meals and meats, one container of pancakes, two mini loaves of banana bread, beet puree, homemade pasta and homemade whip cream. How's THAT for a stocked freezer! (We also have a freezer in the garage full of frozen veggies and meat, otherwise I wouldn't be able to fit this much in there!)
Freezer recipes will follow soon!!