I have been thinking about making freezer meals for quite some time. The ease of pulling a pre-made meal out of the freezer on busy evenings sounded highly appealing to me. Especially after going most of the year dreading Wednesday evenings.
Getting dinner made, served, cleaned up, everyone ready to go, goats and chickens fed and kids out the door into the car to get to church by 5:30 was highly stressful for me. I hate feeding my family fast food for the obvious reasons, but some nights I just couldn’t handle it. Fast food for us is usually Costco hot dogs but still, I can’t imagine they are too much better than McDonald’s. Plus I don’t like spending extra money eating out when we have healthy and perfectly good food at home.
My main problem with most of the freezer meal recipes I kept coming across was cans.
They are all filled with cans of cream of this and cans of cream of that and all kinds of unhealthy junk that I personally don’t use.
So after suffering through dinner prep and all of the above too many times on a Wednesday and then going out to eat two weeks in a row – I decided it was time to actually get the freezer meals made.
I started researching exactly how people made all these meals and decided to take their ideas on meals but use my own recipes for them. Yes, it requires more work, but whole foods always do. That is why people are so easily lured into using all those cans of cream of whatever and prepackaged things, they make life so much easier! But also so much unhealthier.
I decided I wanted to take the casual route to getting this done rather than the all day kitchen blitz. I had just started being able to keep up on my house work and things were clean and neat and tidy and I wasn’t willing to give that up to get the meals made. So I made out my list of recipes and then split them up by like recipes.
Meaning, the ones I could use whole chickens, shredded up got made on the same day. The cooked ground beef recipes were the next day, then raw ground beef recipes and then the chicken breast recipes and so on.
To cook the whole chickens, I cut 2 chickens in half and actually went ahead and used them to make chicken broth, since I needed some for the recipes anyway and it’s always nice to have a homemade chicken broth in the freezer. So they simmered for 24 hours and then I scooped the meat out of the pot with tongs and a slotted spoon and then picked through everything and pulled out all the meat and then chopped it up and put it in a large bowl and just pulled out what I needed as I prepped the meals.
All of the ground beef that needed to be precooked happened to all be mexican food so I just cooked up a huge batch of taco flavored meat, I always just use my own seasoning for taco meat, I never buy those little MSG and preservative filled packets. All you need is some chili powder, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, maybe some paprika, onion powder, whatever appeals at the moment.
It made it sort of drawn out but I only worked on meals after lunch and stopped to make dinner at 5pm. Yay, more cooking!
I think it worked out nicely. Next time I may try the blitz though.
So I did 13 different meals, twice. So I ended up with 26 meals in the freezer, which is totally awesome!
It has been SO nice to have those in the freezer! So far I have only used a few but I have totally been glad I made the effort to do it. Completely worth it and I plan to keep meals in the freezer from now on.
Here are my notes on each recipe, read over them and then click on the ones you want to make for the recipe.
For the chicken pot pie, I made only the filling and figure then I can either just top it with biscuits or make a pie crust I have in the freezer, but you could choose to go a head and make an entire pie and freeze it.
For the Fettuccini Alfredo, I just made the sauce and plan to just boil the noodles when we decide to eat it.
The French Dip, I made all the meat and sauce and froze that and I just bought rolls and stuck them in the freezer with the bags of meat and I always have cheese on hand to top it with.
The Tortilla Soup, only needs chips or fried tortilla strips added.
The Italian Meatballs only need the noodles boiled. Make sure you freeze the meatballs individually on a tray so they don’t stick together and then add the sauce and meatballs to a freezer bag.
The Enchiladas I made individually and froze on a tray like the meatballs and then you can bag them up. This enables the hubby and older children to grab and go if they want to for lunches – how cool is that?! Of course they don’t get the sauce but it’s still pretty good. When you want to fix a tray of enchiladas for dinner just toss then into a 9×13″ pan, top with enchilada sauce and some cheese and bake.
So here are my recipes:
Fettuccini Alfredo (This recipe calls for shrimp, but I did chicken for the freezer meal, using the boiled chicken from the broth)
Enchiladas (Note: I have linked to a chicken recipe I have made and liked, but it’s not the one I actually froze, although it will work fine – I can’t find it! I have it photographed, I just need to find the recipe and then I will get that posted)
Burger Patties (this particular recipe is for elk burgers, but cow works great as well)