Making Freezer Meals!
I decided earlier in the week to make Saturday a freezer meal's day. It is so nice when there are meals in the freezer that you can pull out at the end of a homeschooling day. While it is a lot of work, with some planning it can go fairly smoothly.
I made up a list of what I was going to fix Thursday night. Friday was Family Fellowship at our church, but it was a mom's night off so only the dad's and children went. I took that time to go shopping! I went to Costco, our local health food store (for herbs), and Walmart. When I came home it was pretty late and I was exhausted. The only prep work I did that night was put my pinto beans in a pan of water to soak overnight.
When I woke up Saturday morning, my kitchen was a mess, but I just jumped in and started working around everything. The children eventually came and swept the floors, and my Mother In Law stopped by and stayed for several hours to help. She made one of the meals, and kept the dishes under control, which was really helpful.
Here is a list of what I made:
Refried Beans -these work out to be a lot cheaper than what I can buy them in the store for! Plus, if you do a big batch at once it really doesn't take a lot of time.
Homemade Bread - I finally found a recipe I really like, and I'll share it below!
Burritos - I made four pans of burritos. I loosely followed this recipe but I used beef instead of chicken. I also wanted some sort of sauce in them, so I made the pioneer woman's enchilada sauce recipe. Yummy! Her recipe calls for a can of enchilada sauce to begin with, and I did not have that. So I first made a basic enchilada sauce recipe I found, then I made the pioneer woman's recipe. :)
Quiche- I made three quiche's (or rather my mother in law did!). I'll share the recipe below. They freeze really well!
Two big bags of breakfast burritos- I cooked up some hamburger I had and tried to season it like breakfast sausage. I scrambled eggs, cooked some diced potatoes, then mixed it all together. I put a big spoonful in a tortilla shell, then topped it with cheese, folded it up and placed in a bag. I'll just pull them out and warm them up in the oven for breakfast. We really like this recipe for homemade hot pockets but they take a lot more time to make.
I made three different chicken recipes, which are top secret and I can't share what they are! Jessica from Life As Mom blog is writing a freezer meal's cookbook right now and I offered to test three recipes for her. Let me just say, I definitely plan on getting this cookbook when it is published. The recipes I made look fantastic! Here are a few other chicken recipes from her good (cheap) eats blog that can also be frozen:
I was planning on making this fantastic looking Chicken Pot Pie recipe, but I ran out of time. It's on my list to make this week.
I figured it up and everything pictured above cost me around $40 to make. That's not bad for 12 dinner meals, plus breakfast and bread! I did buy the aluminium pans at Costco, making each pan cost .21 cents each. I like to have enough glass or stainless steel pans to use, but at this point I just don't have enough. A friend just gave me a tip that she lines her pans with aluminum foil, and freezes her food in her pans. When they are frozen she lifts the food out with the foil, and places it in a big freezer bag. That way her pans are available again! I think that's a great idea!
Here is the bread recipe.
Whole Wheat Bread
5 cups warm water
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey (I have put sugar in when I'm all out of honey and it worked fine)
1/4 cup wheat gluten
1/4 cup lecithin
4 cups whole wheat flour (hard wheat, preferably Bronze Chief flour)
2 TBSP Instant yeast (preferably SAF yeast)
8 cups whole wheat flour (soft wheat, preferably Prairie Gold flour)
4 tsp salt
Instructions: Add the first 6 ingredients to mixer and mix until smooth (I use my Bosch for making bread). While continuing to mix add 1/2 of your soft wheat flour. Once that is mixed in, mix in your salt and mix for one minute. Turn mixer to medium and add remaining flour. Let this mix for 7 min. Let dough rise in mixer covering for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled in size. Do not let it over rise. Turn dough onto a lightly oiled counter and knead down gently. Divide dough into equal portions. Roll out and shape dough and place in oiled pans. Let rise again for 30 min. to 1 hour or until doubled in size. Bake in the middle of your preheated oven on 350* for five minutes then turn oven to 325* and bake 20-25 minutes. Remove loaves from pans and place on cooling rack. When completely cooled place in bag and seal.
Pastry for single crust pie
3 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sliced green onions (2)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Dash ground nutmeg
3/4 cup chopped cooked ham, chicken, or crabmeat (I always use chicken)
1/2 cups shredded swiss, cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Harvarti cheese
1 TBSP all purpose flour
Prepare pastry and line pie plate as directed. Line unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy duty foil. Bake in a 450* oven for 5 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes more or until pastry is nearly done. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325*.
Meanwhile, in a bowl stir together eggs, milk, green onions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in meat of choice. Toss together the cheese and flour. Add to egg mixture; mix well. Pour egg mixture into hot pastry shell. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of crust with foil. Bake in the 325* oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
To freeze: Cool completely, cover well with foil and and place in freezer. I normally just place it straight from the freezer into my oven, and bake for around 30 minutes or until done.
Here are a few freezer meals cookbooks.
Do you ever do freezer meal cooking? I'd love to see what your favorite recipes are!
Labels: Home and Garden