I did a lot of freezer cooking in preparation for my surgery in April – about thirty meals, each designed to feed the whole family. I knew about my surgery well in advance, so each weekend I’d make a couple or three extra meals and freeze them. Since I had surgery again in May and really didn’t recover like I thought I would (I’m still off work and in pain) having these meals ready to thaw and pop in the oven was a huge load off my mind. When Christmas came along and I had more time than money I decided homemade, frozen meals would be good gifts for some of my family members, and they seemed excited to receive them. If doing some freezer cooking is on your list of New Year’s resolutions these are some great ones to start with!
· 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
· 1/2 jar salsa
· 1 bag frozen pinto beans, thawed and smashed with a fork (or 1 can refried beans)
· 1 cup shredded cheddar
· 8 flour tortillas
1. Warm tortillas in microwave 15-20 seconds to make them easier to fold. Keep them wrapped in a clean dish towel until you’re ready to use them.
2. Spread each tortilla with about two tablespoons of beans. Spread almost all the way to the edges – this is what holds the burrito together.
3. Top each with an equal amount of chicken, salsa, and cheese. Pile them in the middle of the tortilla and don’t use too much – the most common mistake in burrito-making (or so I’ve been told) is to try to stuff too much inside.
4. Everyone’s burrito-rolling technique is different . I start rolling away from me, and then when I reach the middle I turn in both sides, and then continue rolling away from me. I lay each burrito seam side down, then wrap securely in waxed paper before I put them all in a gallon-sized Ziploc.
5. Thaw them overnight in the fridge and then bake them in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. I like mine with a little sour cream.
· 3 cans Great Northern Beans, drained
· 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
· 1 cup chopped onion
· 1 chopped jalapeño (mine are usually frozen cubes)
· 2 tsp minced garlic
· 2 tsp cumin
· 1/2 tsp kosher salt
· 1/2 tsp oregano
· 3 cups chicken broth
1. Put everything into the crock pot and let it cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
2. Bowls of this are especially good topped with shredded cheddar, sour cream, and crumbled corn chips.
3. This makes a huge batch, because it’s too good not to have leftovers available.
4. You can freeze this after combining ingredients but before putting it in the crock pot, and then thaw it the night before you want to cook it.
Meat Loaf and Mashed Potatoes (I leave out the marjoram and bacon and freeze before baking)
· 1 pound Italian sausage
· 3 pounds ground beef or chuck
· 2 cups chopped onion
· 2 ribs celery, chopped
· 2 Tbsp minced garlic
· 1/2 cup chopped carrot
· 1/2 cup chopped green onion
· 4 Tbsp butter
· 3 tsp kosher salt
· 3 tsp coarse-ground pepper
· 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
· 1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained
· 2/3 cup ketchup
· 1 cup bread crumbs
· 4 large eggs
1. In a large skillet melt the butter and cook the garlic, onion, celery, carrot, and green onions until the carrots are tender. Stir in salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and tomatoes. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine the meats, eggs, and bread crumbs. Add vegetable mixture once it has cooled and mix well.
3. Freeze in one quart Ziplocs
4. After thawing, form into loaf, top with ketchup, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.”
5. This will make 3-4 one-quart packages, so it’s an excellent investment of your time.
Pesto Chicken Ravioli
- 2 bags frozen cheese-stuffed ravioli (ends up being 3-4 pounds)
- 2 pounds chicken, cooked and cubed (I boil mine)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (I use the water I boiled the chicken in – clever, huh?)
- 4 cups zucchini, cuts into rounds, then into crescents if they are really big
- 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper (I leave this out – my guys won’t eat it)
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms (my addition to make up for the loss of the red pepper)
- 3/4 cup chopped green onions
- 1 cup basil pesto (I make my own in the summer and freeze it, but store-bought is fine, too)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp coarse-ground black pepper
- 2 cups grated Parmesan
Mix all this stuff together in a great big bowl and then dump it into a couple of gallon ziplocks. Mark them as follows:
Chicken Pesto Ravioli
Thaw, then bake covered at 350 degrees for 1 hour
I’ll link up this week to Works for Me Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, and The Mommy Club Resources and Solutions. And since it’s a recipe I’ll also link up to The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap, and Tastetastic Thursday.
Priced at just $4.99, it is now available in every format your little heart could desire at Smashwords, or, if you prefer, it’s also for sale in a Kindle version at Amazon or a Nook version at Barnes and Noble! It makes a great Christmas present, and Amazon will deliver it be email on the date you choose – how easy is that?