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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Recipes for June 19-25

Dump Salmon

8 salmon filets

½ cup peanut oil or olive oil

¼ cup light soy sauce

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup green onion, chopped

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

 

Dump everything into a freezer bag.  I freeze this in 2 freezer bags with 4 filets in each bag.  So this will make 2 meals.  Freeze flat.

To cook:  Thaw.  Grill or broil fish.

 

Cheesy  Ham and Pasta Casserole

16 oz. rotini cooked and drained

3 cups cubed cooked ham

5 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

¼ cup flour

3 cups half and half cream

2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

4 ½ cups grated cheddar

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13x9x2 inch dish with cooking spray.  Combine rotini and ham in a bowl and set aside.  In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat.  Add mustard powder, black pepper, seasoned salt, cayenne, and onion.  Stir and cook for about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes.  Slowly add the cream and parmesan cheese.  Cook over medium heat until bubbly.  Reduce heat to low and stir in cheddar cheese.  Pour sauce over ham and rotini.  Mix well.  Pour into prepared 13x9x2 inch dish.  Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

May freeze at this point.  On the day you want to serve this dish, let it thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours.  Heat dish up before serving.

 

Dump Swiss Steak

1 pound round steak

15 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained

1 ¼ oz package of dry beef and onion soup mix

1 ¼ oz package of dry brown gravy mix

 

Cut round steak into serving portions.  Dump everything into a 1 gallon freezer bag.

To cook:  Thaw.  Place in a baking dish.  Bake covered at 350 degrees for 1 ½ hours.

Serve over mashed potatoes.

 

Chicken Spectacular

3 cups cooked chicken, cubed

6 oz. package Uncle Ben’s wild rice, cooked as directed

1 can of cream of celery soup

3 oz. jar diced pimientos

1 can of sliced mushrooms, drained

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cans French style green beans, drained

1 cup mayonnaise (do not substitute)

1 cup sliced water chestnuts, drained

Salt and pepper

 

Mix all ingredients and pour into a 13x9x2 inch baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Let it cool.  Cover and freeze.

To cook:  Thaw.  Warm up in the oven and serve.

 

Tortilla Crusted Tilapia

4 tilapia filets

6 corn tortillas, torn up

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon lime juice

¼ cup fresh cilantro

½ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

1 egg, beaten

 

Place everything in the blender except tilapia and egg.  Pulse until mixture is small crumbs.  Place crumbs on a plate.  Place egg in a dish.  Dip filets in egg and then crumbs.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag.  Freeze.

To cook:  Thaw.  Place on baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

 

Dump Pepper Lime Chicken

½ teaspoon lime peel

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup lime juice

1 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon basil

¼ teaspoon salt

4 chicken breasts

 

Dump everything in a freezer and freeze.

To cook:  Thaw.  Can grill the chicken or bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or cook in a slow cooker on low for 4-5 hours.

 

Recipes for June 12-18

Baked Ziti

1 pound of ziti pasta, cooked al dente

1 pound of Italian sausage, cooked and chopped

15 oz. ricotta cheese

1 egg

2 tablespoons parsley

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided

¼ cup parmesan

28 oz. jar spaghetti sauce, divided

 

Cook ziti according to directions, drain and set aside.  Mix ricotta, egg, parsley, 1 ½ cups mozzarella and parmesan in a bowl.  Mix cooked sausage and ziti in with the ricotta mixture.  Mix in ¾ jar of spaghetti sauce.  Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish.  Top with rest of sauce and mozzarella cheese.

To freeze:  Cover the dish with foil and put in freezer.

To cook:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes more.

Salisbury Steak

1 egg

1 can of condensed French onion soup, undiluted and divided

½ dry breadcrumbs

½ teaspoon salt

1 pinch of pepper

1 ½ pounds ground beef

1 tablespoon flour

¼ cup water

½ cup ketchup

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon prepared mustard

6 cups of hot cooked noodles

Chopped fresh parsley

 

In a large bowl, beat the egg.  Stir in 1/3 cup of soup, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.  Add beef and mix gently.  Shape into 6 oval patties.  Brown in a skillet for 3-4 minutes on each side.  Remove and set aside.  Discard the drippings.  In the skillet combine flour and water until smooth.  Add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and remaining soup.  Bring to a boil.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Return patties to skillet.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

To freeze:  Pour patties and sauce into a 1 gallon freezer bag.  Freeze flat.

To cook:  Thaw and heat up in the microwave.  Cook noodles.  Serve on top of noodles.

Dump Chicken

1 ½ pounds of chicken pieces

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon chili powder

 

For freezing:  Place all ingredients into a 1 gallon freezer bag.  Lay flat in the freezer.

To cook:  Thaw.  May grill the chicken or bake in oven at 350 degrees for about an hour or cook in slow cooker on Low for 6-8 hours.  If using the oven or slow cooker method it would be good to serve chicken over a bed of rice.

Spinach and Sausage Stuffed Pasta Shells

32 large pasta shells

1 pound bulk sausage, cooked and drained

10 oz. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups ricotta cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

3 cups of spaghetti sauce

 

Cook pasta shells according to package directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Combine remaining ingredients except spaghetti sauce in a large bowl.   Mix well.  Fill each pasta shell.  Place in a baking dish and top with spaghetti sauce.  (I am going to use several 8×8 pans for this, as this is the correct size for my family.)  Freeze at this point.

To cook:  Thaw.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Dump Flank Steak

2 pounds flank steak

1 cup beef broth

8 oz can tomato sauce

6 oz. can tomato paste

1 small onion, sliced

1 green pepper, seeded and sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon of fresh cilantro, chopped (I like to add more)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon vinegar

 

In a large bowl combine all ingredients except flank steak.  Mix well.  Place flank steak in a freezer bag and pour sauce mix on top.

To cook:  Thaw.  Put in slow cooker for 8-10 hours on LOW.  Shred meat and serve over rice.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

4 red bell peppers, halved and seeded (remove membrane)

1 pound ground beef

1 cup cooked rice

1 pepper ,minced (any color)

1 onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon Italian spices

1 egg, beaten

1/8 cup Italian breadcrumbs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Jarred spaghetti sauce (large bottle)

Sharp Cheddar cheese shredded, about 2 cups

 

In a large bowl combine ground beef, cooked rice, minced pepper, minced onion, minced garlic, Italian seasonings, beaten egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper to taste.  Use your hands to mix the ingredients well.  Using a ½ cup measuring cup, fill each pepper half.

To freeze:  Wrap each pepper in saran wrap and place all in a freezer bag.

To cook:  Thaw peppers.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place peppers in a baking dish.  Pour spaghetti sauce on top of the peppers.  Cover and cook for 90 minutes.  Top with shredded cheese and continue baking another 10-15 minutes.  OR

You could probably put the peppers in a slow cooker and cook them all day on Low with the spaghetti sauce on top then just sprinkle the cheese on before serving so it can melt a little.