Assemble and Freeze Meal Plan for August 1-7, 2016

freezer meals

Long time no post!  I have been busy, what can I say?  So busy that I have changed how I cook now.  There is only the two of us now.  Most recipes serve 4 or more, so I have been using the freezer more to freeze the extra servings.  I have finally cleaned out all the freezers and defrosted them.  It was a dreaded chore but I got it done.  Now I have more room to freeze the servings we can’t eat so we can eat it at a later time.

I am also gluten free now. I use all gluten free products in the recipes below. It is easy to find gluten free pasta now. I do use more rice in recipes than pasta however, just because it is easier and cheaper. For the garlic bread I use gluten free bread and spread butter and diced garlic or garlic powder on top and toast it in the oven on the broiler setting.

I have been doing the grocery shopping on Saturday or Sunday. (Or if I want to avoid crowds I will grocery shop early Friday morning.)  I try to have everything ready to go by Monday.  Monday is my meal prep day.  I basically assemble all the meals for the week on Monday.  If you work, this could be done on Sunday afternoon.  I assemble all the meals for the week and freeze them.  So nice to have ready to go.  I don’t like cooking in the kitchen very long this time of year because it is so hot.  This is one way I spend the least amount of time in the kitchen and can work on other projects. All of these recipes except for the breakfast, make more than one meal for us to be eaten at a later time. This is also a great way to stock the freezer before school starts.  It seems I am always needing a dish to bring somewhere or have ready quickly if my children decide to visit at the last minute.  This menu plan made 12 meals for 2 people with leftovers.  This will last us about 2 weeks.

Menu
Monday-Tater Tot Casserole, salad
Tater Tot Casserole
Tuesday-Garlic Tomato Butter Chicken, Rice, Broccoli
Tomato Garlic Butter Chicken
Wednesday-Breakfast for Dinner
Thursday-Cavatini, Salad, Garlic Bread
Cavatini
Friday-Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff, rice, salad
Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff
Saturday-Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice
Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice
Sunday-Creamy Cheesy Chicken with Noodles, Peas, Salad
Creamy Cheesy Chicken with Noodles

Grocery List: (side dishes and breakfast meal not included here)
Meat:
3 lbs (5-6 pieces) of chicken breasts plus 4 Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breasts
½ cups dice Ham, Fully Cooked
1 pound cubed beef stew meat
2 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. pepperoni

Can goods:
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 can of cheesy soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can condensed golden mushroom soup
1 can crushed pineapple
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 can pizza sauce
1 small can of mushrooms
1 cup of tomato sauce

Frozen goods:
1 cup Mixed Vegetables
16 oz. mixed vegetables
28 oz. package frozen tater tots

Produce:
5 cloves garlic
2 onions

Dairy:
3 sticks of butter
2 eggs
4 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. mozzarella
1/4 cup milk

Pasta and rice:
1 bag of egg noodles
1 cup rice
16 oz. rotini

Seasonings/Oils:
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbs dried minced onion
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Teriyaki Sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Cooking spray

Equipment: Be sure to have plenty of gallon and quart freezer bags on hand, materials for labels, two 9×13 pans (I use 8×8 pans to freeze smaller portions so that would equal out to four 8×8 pans) and foil.

Procedure (I do all of this on Monday morning or this could be done Sunday afternoon)
1. Grease four 8×8 pans (or two 9×13 pans for larger portions)
2. Chop one onion plus chop 1/2 cup.
3. Dice 5 cloves of garlic. (save 1 teaspoon for fried rice)
4. Brown 1 pound of beef with 1 chopped onion and drain. Set aside. Brown another pound (no onion) and drain. Set aside. (Side note on this: I use my frozen ground beef mix for this so this is already to go for me in the freezer. All I have to do is thaw it. I buy ground beef in bulk. If you don’t have cooked ground beef in the freezer then you will need to cook 2 pounds for the recipes.)
5. Cook 1 pound of rotini pasta and drain. (Can keep pasta in pan so can mix other ingredients in with it.)
6. Shred 8 ounces mozzarella.
7. Cook 1 cup uncooked rice.
8. (Tater Tot Casserole) Mix 1 pound beef/onion mixture with 1 can chicken soup, 1 can of mushroom soup, 1/4 cup milk, 16 ounces frozen mixed veggies. Pour into two greased 8×8 pans or one greased 9×13 pan. Top with 28 ounces package of tater tots. Label and freeze. Use within 3 months.
9. (Garlic Tomato Butter Chicken) Place 4 chicken breasts in two ziplock freezer bags or for a larger portion place all 4 breast in one large ziplock freezer bag. Melt 2 sticks of butter in a saucepan. Saute 4 cloves of garlic in butter. Add 1 cup of tomato sauce to the butter/garlic mixture. Heat to boiling and stir to combine. Pour over chicken in bags, dividing mixture if have two freezer bags. (May need to let liquid sauce cool some before adding sauce to freezer bags especially if using frozen chicken.) Label and freeze. Use within 3 months.
10. (Creamy Chicken with Noodles) Place 6 chicken breasts in a large ziplock freezer bag or put 2 chicken breasts in 3 ziplock freezer bags. In a large bowl add the following: 1 cut up stick of butter, 1 can of cream of chicken soup, 1 can of cheddar cheese condensed soup, 4 chicken bouillon cubes, 4 cups of hot water, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder and 1 tablespoon dried minced onion. Stir until butter and bouillon cubes are dissolved. Pour over chicken in ziplock bags, dividing mixture among the number of bags evenly, if necessary. Label and freeze. Use within 3 months.
11. (Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice) Cook 2 eggs in 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Add the following to the eggs: 1 teaspoon diced garlic, 1/2 cup diced ham, 1 cup frozen mixed veggies, 1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce. Add the cooked rice. Stir. Label and freeze. Use within 3 months.
12. (Cavatini) Mix in a large bowl: 1 pound cooked ground beef, 16 ounces cooked rotini, 1 jar spaghetti sauce, 1 can pizza sauce, 1 package pepperoni, and 1 can sliced drained mushrooms. Pour into two greased 8×8 pans or one greased 13×9 pan. Top with 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella. Label and freeze.
13. (Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff) In a freezer bag combine 1 pound stew meat, 1 can golden mushroom soup, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire, 1/4 cup water. Squish bag to mix ingredients.  (I love this part!)  Label and freeze. Use within 3 months.

On serving day:
1. Tater Tot Casserole-Thaw in fridge. Bake at 375 for 1 hour or until potatoes are golden brown and filling is heated through. To crisp up tots, broil for 5 minutes.
2. Garlic Tomato Butter Chicken-Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Pour into crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours or bake in oven at 400 for 45 minutes. Serve over rice.
3. Cavatini-Completely thaw in refrigerator. Cover loosely with tented foil (if using foil lid, bend lid so that melted cheese will not stick to lid). Bake at 375 for 1 hour, or until heated through. Remove cover and broil for 3-4 min. or until cheese is slightly browned.
4. Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff-Thaw completely and cook in slow cooker on Low for 8 hours or on High for 5 hours . Stir in 4 oz. cream cheese just before serving. Serve over pasta or rice.
5. Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice-No need to thaw this ahead of time. I just pour this in a microwaveable dish and zap it until it is warmed up. I am not posting how long because each microwave varies. Just check on it as it is warming up and stir it once in a while. Can also warm this up in the oven.
6. Creamy Cheesy Chicken with Noodles-No need to thaw this ahead of time. Empty items into the crock pot set on low and come back 6.5-7 hours later. Stir in a bag of egg noodles (if cooking all 6 chicken breasts at once or one handful of egg noodles if cooking 2 chicken breasts) for the last 30 minutes.

You can find more menus and ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

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Sausage Alfredo

Long time no blog!  I am still here.  I haven’t been blogging because my computer crashed and I did not go out and buy a new computer for over a year.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted a laptop or a desktop.  I finally decided to get another laptop.  I like the portability of it.  Since I am back online I will be blogging more often now.  I also decided to give the blog a new look and changed the format.  I like the new simple look that it has.

Now that we are empty nesters my cooking has changed a lot.  I no longer cook large amounts of food.  I generally cook recipes that are freezable and quick.  If a recipe says it serves 4 people, I will serve half and freeze the other half.  This method has helped with portions and stocked my freezer for more busier nights.  I have been getting into dehydrating, canning and making my own quick mixes in order to make things easier too.  Below is a good quick skillet meal that we both like and is one of the recipes I go to when I have to get something on the table fast.  It is freezable and can be warmed up in the microwave.  I serve this with a nice big dinner salad.

Sausage Alfredo

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 package smoked sausage, sliced (I use Hillshire Farm)
  • 8 ounces pasta, cooked and drained (I use elbow macaroni)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasonings (I use Tony Chachere’s)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (fresh is always best!)

Prepare pasta. Cook and drain. Saute sausage for 5 minutes. Add cream and Cajun seasoning and boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture thickens. Stir in Parmesan. Add pasta and toss.

Cinco De Mayo Enchiladas

Tomorrow is Cinco De Mayo or May 5. Here in Texas it is an excuse to eat MORE delicious Mexican food. So in honor of Cinco De Mayo I made up a pan of my enchiladas.

enchiladas

Here it is:
1 pound of meat (I use leftover roast and shred it)
1/2 pound monterrey jack cheese, shredded
1/2 onion, chopped (if your family doesn’t like onions then leave it out)
18 corn tortillas
3 cans hot enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour a little enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch pan. Warm up the corn tortillas in the microwave. Take some shredded meat, a little chopped onion and a little cheese and put it in the center of the tortilla. Carefully roll tortilla up putting it seam side down in the pan. Keep doing that until the pan is filled up. Then pour more enchilada sauce over the top of the rolled up enchiladas. Sprinkle top with any remaining cheese. Cover the enchiladas with foil and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Note: The recipe is extremely versatile. The meat I used in these enchiladas is leftover from our Easter pork loin. I had frozen the leftovers and thought I would do something with them later. I didn’t have quite enough meat for the enchiladas so I thaw out some venison roast that was leftover too. I combined the two meats together with a little enchilada sauce. These enchiladas turned out wonderful. This is a good way to use up any leftover meat.

Easy Does It Spaghetti

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I must admit, this is one of the best recipes for spaghetti that I have had. It is quick and easy and is ready when I get home from work.  It is the best ever.  Serve with some parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and some garlic bread.  This is so good to come home to after a long day at work!!

1 pound ground beef (I use leftover meatloaf in this so I don’t have to cook it.  I serve meatloaf the day before.)
1 tablespoon dry minced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon each mace, allspice and pepper
1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained
3 cups tomato juice
4 oz. dry spaghetti broken in 4 inch pieces

Brown ground beef well in skillet and place in slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients except dry spaghetti and stir well. Cover and cook on Low for 6-8 hours. (High for 3 1/2 hours) Turn to High the last hour and stir in dry spaghetti.

Saucy Fish Bake

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This is another old recipe that I have used for years.  Having a fisherman in the family has caused me to collect lots of fish recipes.  I am not sure where I got this recipe from.  The whole family loves this recipe and it is quick and easy.

1 package (16 oz) fish fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 package (1 1/8 oz.) Hollandaise sauce mix
1 can (16 oz) whole green beans or 1 can asparagus
Paprika
1 can (2.8 oz) French fried onions
Thaw fillets.  Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.  Put in ungreased 11x7x1.5 inch pan leaving a space in center.  Dot with butter.  Cook uncovered 15 minutes at 375 degrees.  Prepare sauce mix as directed on package.  Remove fish from oven.  Place beans or asparagus in center.  Pour hollandaise sauce over vegetables; sprinkle with paprika.  Sprinkle onions over fish.  Cook until fish flakes easily; about 5-7 minutes.
Serves 4

Creamy Spinach & Sausage Pasta

This is a good quick skillet dinner to cook on those busy weeknights.  I have been coming home late from work and I can get this on the table pretty quick after I get home from a long day’s work.

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Creamy Spinach and Sausage Pasta

Serves 4

6 oz. smoked sausage, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with chilies
2 cups chicken broth
8 oz. pasta (any pasta, I used elbow macaroni)
3 cups fresh spinach
1 cup (4 oz) shredded monterey jack
1 whole green onion, sliced (optional)

Thinly slice smoked sausage and add to skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Saute sausage until brown. Drain fat. Dice onion and add to skillet. Saute until onion is soft. Add can of tomatoes with chilies and the chicken broth. Stir to combine and dissolve any brown bits off bottom of skillet. Add uncooked pasta and make sure it is submerged in liquid. Place lid on skillet. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir once or twice while cooking to prevent pasta from sticking. Stir in spinach, one cup at a time, until wilted. Keep heat on low. Sprinkle cheese on top. Heat until melted. Top with sliced green onion.

Homemade Pizza-Best Pizza Ever!!!

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I make the bread dough in the bread machine.  If I am cooking pizza on a day that I am at work then I set the bread machine to delay start so the dough will be ready when I get home.  Eat one, freeze one!!!

Pizza Dough for 2 pizzas or 1-13×9 inch pizza
In the bread machine place:
1 cup water
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons yeast
Put on Dough setting.

Here is an easy no cook recipe for the Pizza Sauce. This is enough sauce for 2 pizzas or 1-13×9 inch pizza.
15 oz. tomato sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
4 tablespoons tomato paste
Mix and spread over pizza. Top with cheese, pepperoni and mushrooms (or your favorite toppings). Cook at 425 for 25 minutes.

Venison Swiss Steak

All I can say to this one is yum!!!  This is a great way to cook backstrap!

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  • 1 (14-1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes (use can and add 1 can of water)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • all-purpose flour for dusting
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds venison backstrap (see Note)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into strips
  • 1 medium bell pepper, cut into strips
  • Cooked rice
  1. Cut steak into serving-size pieces. Season, to taste, with garlic powder and salt and pepper. Dust meat with flour. In heavy skillet, brown both sides of meat in vegetable oil. Transfer to Dutch oven. Combine garlic, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and 1 tomato-can measure of water. Pour over steak and simmer over low heat until meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours adding water, if necessary to keep meat partially covered. Season, to taste, with additional salt and pepper. Hint: Cook this in a slow-cooker, according to manufacturers instructions, on low for a most fabulous dinner. Low heat on a slow cooker is about 200 degrees F and high heat on a slow cooker is about 300 degrees F.
  2. Note: to ensure tenderness, it is necessary to have the butcher run the round steak through a cuber.

Oh Deer!!

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It is deer season.  Venison isn’t one of my favorite meats to eat but I will eat it if hubby brings one home.  I try to cook the venison in spicy dishes so I don’t taste the wild taste as much.  It usually works.  We had some summer sausage made this time with jalapeno and cheese in it.  It turned out really good.  We got a lot of hamburger and I need to be creative, thinking of ways to cook it besides using it in chili and spaghetti.  I decided to cook it in a Taco Pie.  The seasonings are spicy and I never would have known I was eating deer.  If you aren’t a fan of venison and have some meat, give this recipe and try.

Venison Taco Pie

1 can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 lb ground venison
3/4 cup chunky salsa
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
1 cup shredded cheese
shredded lettuce, as desired
diced tomato, as desired
Extra chunky salsa, as desired on top
Sour Cream, as desired on top

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll dough, separate into triangles and place into an ungreased pie pan. Press over the bottom and up the sides to form the pie crust. Brown venison over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked. Stir in salsa and taco seasoning mix; simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon venison meat mixture into the crust-lined pan; top with cheese. Bake 15-18 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and cheese is melted. Top with lettuce, tomato, salsa, and sour cream, as desired.

Shakshuka

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4 slices bacon, cut 1/2 inch thick crosswise
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chilies in adobo
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes in juice
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 large eggs
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Tortilla chips, for serving (optional)

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Add garlic and chilies to rendered fat in skillet; cook, stirring, until garlic is just golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Add tomatoes and juice; simmer over medium heat, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon and stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low. One at a time, crack eggs into a small bowl or cup, and slide onto sauce in skillet, spacing so that all eggs will fit. Cover; cook very gently until egg whites are just opaque (yolks should still be soft), 6 to 9 minutes.

Spoon into four serving bowls; sprinkle with feta and bacon. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.