Friday, February 28, 2014

Freezer Meals to Wrap up Winter

No matter where you live, I think we're all sick of winter!  I knew we were in trouble when I went to my freezer and all I had left was a 5 lb. bag of ice, some old frozen hash browns and a pile of summer's popsicles.  So I decided to make some freezer meals that will hopefully get us through one more month where spring will be in the air and we're grilling again!  

Many of these recipes are staples on Pinterest. They have been successful for us so I make them frequently. These recipes are pinned and shared frequently, so   I'll try to give credit where credit is due. 

Scalloped Potatoes & Ham
12 new potatoes, cut into ¼ inch round slices or a large bag of frozen potatoes
2 cans of cream of chicken, mushroom or potato soup 
2 cans of water
2 ham steaks, cubed--we used turkey ham
8 oz cheddar cheese
4 cups of broccoli
salt and pepper

Directions:  Divide everything evenly into two containers.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  

If you're concerned about your potatoes turning dark once cut and frozen, just add them the day of cooking. I included the potatoes because I wanted to see how they held up. 

To make it simple, I bought two bags of cut and washed broccoli which saved me tons of time!   

A staple in our house is Tortilla Soup.  This is an easy, cheap recipe.  You can easily double or triple it and have several meals ready in your freezer. 

Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 pound chicken
1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn

Combine all ingredients into a freezer bag. When ready to cook, thaw and put into a slow cooker.  Add 2 cups water and one 14 oz can of chicken broth. Cover, and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high setting for 3 to 4 hours. Shred chicken in crock pot after cooking is done.

Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken
4-6 chicken breasts
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray's bbq sauce (or whatever you like)
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder

Mix everything but chicken.  Place chicken in crockpot (frozen is okay).  Pour sauce mixture over chicken. Cook on low 4-6 hours. 

I must have gotten really lazy because along the way I've abbreviated this recipe to be 1 lb. of chicken thighs and a bottle of bbq sauce.  Sometimes I slice an onion with it, sometimes I don't.  Place it all in a freezer bag, then cook in the crockpot for 4-6 hours on low. Still works out great!

Seems like side dishes get old fast in winter and casseroles are a great solution.  I used up the hash browns left in the freezer and made a cheesy potato casserole.  Sometimes you can find this recipe on the bag of hash browns!  And it goes great with bbq chicken.

Since roast was on sale this week I added a pot roast to the mix. This recipe is different from the Pioneer Woman roast I used in a previous post, but I think I may like this one a little better. 

Country Style Pot Roast
3-4 lbs. beef pot roast
2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 white onion, cut into wedges
1 small bag baby carrots
¾ cup water, tomato juice or dry red wine
1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
1 tsp. basil
½ tsp. pepper

Arrange potatoes, carrots and onions (in that order) on bottom of a crock pot.  Place meat on top of vegetables and cover with water, tomato juice or wine.  Cover meat with basil, onion soup mix and pepper.  Place lid on slow cooker and cook for 10-12 hours on low, or 5-6 hours on high. 

When I want to freeze this recipe, I place the meat, onion and carrots in the freezer bag and cover with the mixture of liquid and seasonings.  I'll add the potatoes on the day I'm cooking.

Next I made Meatloaf and White Chicken Chili, which I showed you on a previous blog post.  It's so easy to double these soup recipes for extra meals. 

Last is chicken curry. This Martha Stewart Chicken Curry recipe is so simple.  Taste it as you go because I always think it needs way more curry than it calls for.

Stay warm out there!

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