Saturday, March 13, 2010

Freezer Meals

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Wouldn't it be nice to come home from work or from running kids around and have a warm dinner waiting for you? Freezing dinners gives you the convenience of being gone up to dinner time and still get a warm meal on the table. Most days I am so exhausted and don't have the energy to cook and pulling a thawed meal from the fridge and just cooking it makes my day.



Deanna Buxton is the author of "Dinner Is Ready" ( and she put together the World Wide Ward Cookbook) and she shares how to cook 30 meals in one day. That may sound really difficult but it can be done. All it takes is a little organization and preparation and freezer space. I am not asking any of you to do this, I just wanted to throw the idea out there and let you know of Deanna's book. I have done the 30 meals in a day a couple times and it is wonderful.

What is freezer worthy? Deanna lists several foods that do not freeze well or need special preparation. Potatoes, unless they are hash browns, should not be frozen. Vegetables do soften during freezing and if you are using fresh vegetables they need to be blanched first. If you are adding buttered crumbs or french fried onions add them at baking time or they will get soggy. Pasta can be frozen, but you need to undercook it by 2 minutes. Pasta continues to absorb moisture during freezing and thawing. Anything with gelatin should not be frozen.






I like to use the disposable foil baking pans and gallon size freezer zip lock bags to freeze my dinners. You will also need to use heavy freezer foil to cover the foil pans. And don't forget to label each meal before it goes into the freezer. I like to add the temperature and how long to cook the food. Thaw all food in the fridge. It may take up to 2 days to fully thaw some dinners, so plan ahead if you can. Don't mess with any pasta dish until it is fully thawed or you may get pasta mush.

Onto the recipes. These are a few of my favorites from Deanna's book "Dinner Is Ready".

Cream Cheese Chicken
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
1 stick of butter (or use 1/2 chicken broth)
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 8oz cream cheese

Turn your crock pot on high and melt butter. Add salad dressing mix and stir. Cut chicken into 1" strips and place in crock pot and stir to coat. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Remove the chicken to cool and add soup and cream cheese to crock pot. Stir to melt and mix until creamy. Remove sauce from crock pot and allow to cool. Place everything a freezer bag. Label and freeze.

To serve: Thaw and heat until piping hot and bubbly. Serve over mashed potatoes, rice or butter noodles.


Taco Pie
1 lb ground beef
1 onion chopped
1 package taco seasoning
1 4oz can sliced olives
1 8oz can tomato sauce
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
1 C refried beans
1 10 1/2oz package corn chips, crushed
1 C sour cream

Brown groudn beef with onion. Add taco seasoning, olives and tomato sauce. Flatten crescent roll dough and press onto bottom of foil baking pan. Heat refried beans and mix with 2 T of water to make spreadable. Spread over crust. Top with 1 C of cheese. Cover crust with half of the crushed corn chips. Spoon meat mixture over corn chips. Cover with sour cream. Sprinkle with remaining 1 C cheese. To with remaining corn chips. Cover with heavy foil. Label and freeze.

To serve: Thaw and bake uncovered 45 minutes at 375.

This week I challenge you to double one of your dinners and put the extra dinner in the freezer for another meal down the road. Don't forget to add some meat and frozen food to your 3-month supply.
MARCH GOALS:

STORAGE GOALS:
MEATS AND FROZEN FOODS. We are in luck this month because there is a lot of meat on sale and also some frozen veggies on sale. Look at your 3 month menu plan and purchase the amount of meat that you will use. Keep in mind freezer space and your budget. Meat will stay good in the freezer for up to 1 year if it is frozen properly. Using a Food Saver machine will help in keeping your meat fresh while in the freezer. It sucks all the air out to lessen the chance of freezer burn. Look over the grocery list as there a few frozen deals.

NON-FOOD GOAL: TOILET PAPER AND PAPER TOWEL. These are 2 items that I personally do not want to be out of. If you don't know how much your family uses try this. For 1 week put all toilet paper tubes in a container and add it up, multiply by 4 to get a rough monthly estimate and then you'll know about how much your family uses. I also want to include napkins in this months goal. I buy our napkins at Big Lots for $1.00 a package.


ENJOY THE JOURNEY!
ENJOY THE BLESSINGS!
FEEL THE PEACE!


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