Jessica how do you feel about pasta? An alternative to freezing meals is to make a pasta sauce and seal it in mason jars instead. That way it keeps and saves room in the freezer. Then for supper you throw some pasta in a pot and open a jar!
Although most people probably would just buy jars of sauce... I'm just a SUPER fussy eater and don't like 99% of the stuff out there that's pre-made lol
So I decided that since I can't manage a long cooking session to prep extra meals for the freezer I'm simply doubling what I make for dinner from time to time (such as my pizza dough from tonight). It'll take a while to fill the freezer with a few dishes but I can stay off my feet as ordered by the doc!
This weekend I'm doing a turkey dinner so I'll get some yummy soup into the freezer for sure
Crystal, I love how much leftovers I got from my turkey dinner! We had a 16 pound turkey for Christmas, and after giving DH and I hot left over sandwiches for 3 nights (I swear they're even better than the Xmas dinner - leftover sandwiches are the whole reason to have a turkey dinner!!), we had enough for a turkey alfredo pasta (4 servings), 4 turkey pot pies, and 1 small thing of left over stew that didn't make it into the pies (2-3 servings, that DH swiped for lunches!).
I have a course all day on Saturday, but Sunday I'm hoping to get at least a few dishes cooked and ready for the freezer
mmmm I love turkey dinner! and we have tons of leftovers for tomorrow (hot turkey sandwiches for supper!! YAY) not a ton of turkey broth left though so I'm thinking a small pot of soup and maybe a potato topped turkey pie.
OK, I think our freezer is well stocked now. I spent some time over the weekend making a few meals, and we did a Costco run as well, so we're at least stocked with frozen meat and veggies that should last us quite a while.
so I made 2 different kinds of meatloaves over the weekend. Here's the recipes in case anyone is interested:
Mini Freezer Turkey Meatloaf:
(Recipe from Freezer Week: Mini Turkey Meatloaves - Sweet Potato Chronicles)
Makes approx 6 minis, but by adding a bit more veggies & oats I made 12 mini meatloaf's
1 glug of olive oil
1/3 cup onion, diced on the fine side, about half of a medium onion
1/3 cup celery, diced small (I used 2 large celery stalks)
1/3 cup carrot, peeled and diced small (I used 1 large carrot)
1 tsp fennel seeds (personally I leave these out, not a big fan)
1/2 cup of rolled oats (I ended up using 3/4)
1 1/2 pound of ground turkey (or any lean ground meat)
1/4 cup ketchup (I used about 1/2C)
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Dice up the veggies as small as possible.
- Heat up a splash of olive oil in a pan, and add the veggies (and fennel seeds, if using) to it.
- saute veggies 3-5 minutes, until they begin to soften, then remove from heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg, then add the meat, oats, 1/4C-1/2C ketchup, cheese, and veggies
- Take your rings off, and mix up well, so there's a bit of everything in eat bite
- spray a muffin tin with cooking spray
- Scoop meat mixture into the muffin tin
- In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 2T ketchup and 1t Worcestershire sauce (I ended up more than tripling the amount in the recipe), and spread on top of each meat muffin
If cooking right away:
- Preheat oven to 375
- Cook uncovered for 40 minutes
- Either cook as directed above, let cool, and the freeze.
- Cover muffin tin, and put in the freezer until meat muffins are frozen through. Then transfer to a freezer bag or container with cooking instructions written on it. When ready to cook, take desired number of meat muffins out, spray the muffin tin with cooking spray, and let them thaw directly in the tin. Then cook as directed.
Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf
(recipe from What's Cookin, Chicago?: Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf)
OK, so because we did a Costco run, I was well stocked up on ground turkey and used it for this recipe as well. I personally like to make my meatloaf in the muffin tins like above so I can just cook however many as needed, but this can be made in a full sized loaf pan, and those cooking instructions are at the bottom.
1 lb ground chicken (ground turkey can be substituted)
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used oats, like the recipe above)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)
1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (I used plain mozza with no problem)
- In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.
- Place the mixture in the greased loaf or muffin pan. Top the meatloaf with pasta sauce.
- Place in desired pan, and freeze, with cooking instructions written on the outside. If freezing in muffin tins, pop muffins out and place in ziplock bag or container.
- If cooking right away, made as the recipe directs (all in 1 loaf pan), pre-heat oven to 350, and bake for 40-45 minutes. Once done, sprinkle with the shredded cheese, and put back in oven until cheese is melted. Take out of oven and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving
- If cooking whole loaf from frozen, either take the meatloaf out and let thaw completely and cook as directed above (350 degrees, 40-45 min), or, if cooking from frozen, bake 55-60 minutes at 350, then top with cheese.
- If cooking from frozen meat muffin, cook at 375 for 30-40 minutes, then top with cheese.
Alterations I made:
- Turkey rather than chicken
- Mini meat loaves rather than 1 big one
- I swapped the order of the cheese and pasta sauce - I topped the meat muffin with cheese first, then covered in pasta sauce and froze.
Hopefully these recipes made sense! I tend to write instructions out the way I would say them, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing
Janel, I got your pm and tried to respond but your inbox is too full.
Here is the recipe for the Sweet Potato Chicken Casserole. Hope you enjoy!
Sweet Potato Chicken Casserole
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cups onions, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon garlic (I have also used up to a tablespoon of roasted garlic in this, because that is how I roll)
4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, diced
24 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
1 tablespoon corn starch, arrowroot powder, or sweet rice flour
1 cup dry white wine or more gluten free chicken stock
1 cup gluten free chicken stock
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until golden. Add sweet potatoes and carrot. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes until lightly browned.
Move vegetables to the edges of the pan. Put chicken into the center of skillet. Cook chicken until seared on all sides. Sprinkle chicken with corn starch, and then stir in. Gradually whisk in chicken stock a bit at a time until all is added. Scrape any bits from the bottom of pan while whisking. Add wine and coconut milk and mix well.
Put mixture into an oiled baking dish. Bake in 400 degree oven for 1 hour until heated through and bubbly.
Before baking, allow to cool. Put into a gallon sized freezer bag; remove as much air as possible, seal, label and freeze.
To serve: Thaw. Put contents of bag into baking dish. Bake in 400 degree oven for 1 hour until heated through and bubbly.
with the likelihood of a section looming I decided to revisit my freezer meal plan. I'll be laid up much longer after surgery so I've picked up the pace and have added some new options in my freezer!
3 bags of spaghetti sauce
2 containers of pea soup
1 mac and cheese
1 baked ravioli
1 stuffing topped turkey pie
3 bags of homemade perogies
I'll be doing some bread dough and pizza dough next week to add as well!