A few weeks ago, over the course of a week, I made some extra dinners to put into my freezer. It ended up being about two weeks' worth. After going through those two weeks being completely spoiled by just being able to pull a good, homemade meal out of the freezer a day or two ahead of time to thaw, and just popping it in the oven, I decided feeding the freezer is not so bad. ;-)
So, I came up with a months' worth of meals to make, picked a day to go shopping (payday, of course!) and then cook away! This past Saturday was to be the big cooking day, but since I was able to do some of the shopping early on Friday, I decided to get a head start. Boy, am I glad I did! I spent both days in the kitchen all. day. long. But, we're only a few days into enjoying the fruits of my labors, and I've gotta tell ya...it is SO worth it!
Here's the meals I made. If the recipe is online, I will link to it. If not, I will work on getting them on my blog in the next week or two so they can all be linked to something. ;-) Not all of these are completely made up and in the freezer, some of them just need a starter in the freezer (and a couple of them have nothing to do with the freezer!), so I will try and let you know what I did as I go.
Spaghetti (x3)--gasp! I don't make my own sauce for this. I use Aldi's Reggano Traditional pasta sauce...it's really good without doctoring, and it's cheaper than making your own (if you have to buy all of your ingredients...growing your own veggies is a different story!). I just cook up a bunch of sausage, season it, and divide it up among 3 freezer bags and freeze! Thaw the meat in the refrigerator the day before, then the day of, cook it up in the sauce while the noodles boil. I also have French bread in the freezer that I made, and will pull out to make garlic bread. Yummy! Very simple.
Chicken Tetrazzini (2x)
French Bread Pizza (1x)--Freeze the French bread, shredded mozzarella, maybe some cooked-up sausage or pepperoni. I use our Aldi's pasta sauce (see Spaghetti above) for pizza sauce, so that can just stay in a jar in the cupboard. ;-) Pull everything out the day before to thaw in the fridge, then assemble just before dinner time and throw it in the oven until the cheese is melted.
Pizza (2x)--I make up my own crust dough and freeze it. Same concept as the French Bread Pizza above, except you're working with a pizza crust instead of the bread. Thaw out the dough, roll out the crust, then proceed as normal.
Tacos (1x)--just cook up the taco meat and freeze in a ziploc. Take it out to thaw, heat, and assemble as desired.
Taco Bake (1x)
Sloppy Joes (1x) Again, just make up the meat mixture and freeze in a ziploc. You can either freeze the buns separately, or just wait to buy (or make!) them until you're ready to eat it.
Calico Beans (2x)
Almond Chicken Casserole (2x) I just make this up until right before putting the topping on and baking, and instead dump it into a gallon-sized ziploc. When I'm ready to make it, I thaw it, dump it into a 9 x 13 pan, put the topping on and bake as directed.
Chicken & Stuffing Casserole (1x)
Sticky Chicken (1x) With this, I rub the spice rub all over as directed, then stick it in a gallon bag and freeze. This counts as refrigerating overnight. :-) So when you're ready and it's thawed again, just stick the onions in the cavity and continue with step 2 in the directions.
Cheeseburger Soup (2x)
Twice-Baked Potatoes (1x)
Split Peas Soup (1x)
Broccoli Cheddar Soup (2x)
Chicken Pot Pie (x2)--I didn't actually make this yet, because I actually ran out of chicken! But I will make it when I can get more chicken, so here it is. This is a WONDERFUL recipe. I just make it as the recipe states (I do use my own variation of the recipe for the gravy, and I will post that later), but I freeze it instead of bake it! Then I just let it thaw and bake as the instructions say...turns out really well!
Rarebit (1x)--This is not actually a freezer meal, but is extremely easy to put together. It's actually one of my hubby's comfort foods, and he prefers to make it himself, so I just let him at it! :-) It's basically a cheesy white sauce over saltine crackers...super easy and super yummy!
Mac & Cheese (1x)--Again, not a freezer meal, this is one of our "cheapo" meals that comes out of a box, so basically, I count it as ready. This one is also hubby's deal...he has a certain way of making it, and even the kids can tell it doesn't quite come out the same when Mom does it. LOL!
Chicken Curry (2x)
So, there you have it! One month's worth of meals. It was hard work for 2 straight days, but now I'm livin' the good life with all the work already done! LOL! At least until next month...