Okay, so what do you do when things get hectic and you have zero time to even consider making dinner? For me it used to be grabbing fast food on the way home, but not anymore! Why not? you ask, well I will reveal my secret*** freezer cooking!!
About 10-12 years ago I read an online article about freezer cooking and I was hooked. Now, I don’t go all crazy and freeze 20 pans of lasagna, but I sensibly use our tastes and recipes I have used for years and tweaked them into freezer meals. I have also found many new recipes as of late, as freezer cooking has become quite “cool”.
Here was a mini-session result from this afternoon:
I ended up with 5 packages of cooked/crumbled ground beef, 2 packages of crock pot BBQ pork, 1 package of green chile pork (for enchiladas), 2 packages of Balsamic Chicken, 2 packages of Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken, 1 package of French Dip Beef meat,and 1 package of Swiss Steak meat. For a grand total of 14 meal/meal components.
Now I am not greatly fond of whole casseroles frozen, although there are a few exceptions to this, and you will occasionally see me posting a freezer meal that is a casserole.
I love the meals which I have dubbed “dump and go”, these are ones which you lay out of the freezer the night before, dump into the slow cooker in the morning, make a quick side or starch to go with it, and you have a great meal in very little time.
So, for the details and recipes I use here, here goes:
The ground beef just gets cooked and crumbled, drained and rinsed, then placed into 1lb portions into a freezer bag.These bags are just tossed into the fridge to thaw, then used for anything which calls for crumbled ground beef: spaghetti, sloppy joe’s, taco salad, enchiladas, soup, chili, and the list could go on and on! It just saves time,and couldn’t be easier.
The crock pot BBQ pork is so easy, I feel like it’s cheating! I just mix some bottled BBQ sauce with some dried onion flakes, garlic powder, salt, pepper, a dash of worcestershire sauce, and a dash of liquid smoke, then add a bit of water to thin it a bit (maybe 1/4cup) I toss this mix into a freezer bag with a pound and a half of boneless pork tenderloin. Thaw the night before (or throw in frozen) cook on low in the slow cooker all day, shred and serve up on hamburger buns.
Next is the Green chile pork, which I love to use for nachos or for enchiladas. Into my freezer bag goes a pound of boneless pork tenderloin, 1 can of chopped green chiles, 1 small onion, diced up, half a packet of fajita seasoning, and a handful of chopped cilantro. Thaw (or not), toss into slow cooker, cook on low all day, shred up and serve. For nachos: layer tortilla chips, rotel dip, shredded pork meat, and sour cream/fresh cilantro.For enchiladas, stuff corn tortillas with the shredded meat, grated pepper jack cheese and fresh cilantro. Top with a can of green enchilada sauce and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350*
For the Balsamic Chicken, I throw in a pound and a half of boneless/skinless tenders, 1/4cup of balsamic vinegar, small onion, chopped, a can of diced tomatoes (undrained), and 1tsp of Italian seasoning. Again, toss into the slow cooker, cook on low all day. shred and serve over hot pasta.
Okay for the Sweet and Sour Chicken, I got the recipe from Six Sisters Stuff web site (link http://www.sixsistersstuff.com ) This recipe is under the slow cooker recipes. To make it freezer friendly and a bit quicker, I toss in the peppers and onions called for, but not the canned pineapple or the cornstarch and 1/3c chicken stock to thicken at the end of cooking. So all ingredients go into the freezer bag except the pineapples, 1/3c chicken stock and 1/3c cornstarch. Toss into your slow cooker, cook on low all day, remove chicken and shred, set aside. In a small bowl mix together the stock and the cornstarch, pour into slow cooker and turn up to high for 10-15 minutes, until it starts to thicken up a bit. Then add the chicken back and the drained pineapple chunks. Serve over white rice.
By the way, I love,love, love that web site! It rocks with great ideas and the sisters are cute as a bug!! Check it out!
For the delicious French Dip sandwich meat, again so easy I feel like I am cheating!! Toss into the freezer bag a pound and a half of beef steak (I use whats on sale, slow cooking makes beef fall apart anyways), add 1/2 cup canned beef broth, 2Tbsp worcestershire sauce, 1Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2tsp black pepper and about a tablespoon of jarred garlic. Add to slow cooker the bag and 1/2 cup water. Cook on low all day, shred and serve on deli split rolls with some dipping sauce from slow cooker. Yummy! (my fave if you couldn’t tell!!)
And last but certainly not least- The Swiss Steak! Toss into the bag pound and half of beef steak (what ever is on sale- remember!) a can of diced tomatoes (undrained),, 1/4 cup of tomato paste, 1/4 cup of Italian salad dressing, a heaping tablespoon of jarred garlic, 1/2 cup beef broth, and 1 bell pepper, sliced into rings.Toss into slow cooker, cook on low all day, shred beef a bit, serve over hot white rice.
I should note a few things- when I say cook on low all day, I really mean around 7 to 8 hours. This mini-session took me a few hours to complete. I like things simple yet scrumptious, so you won’t find gourmet like stuff around here, no crazy ingredients or tons of steps.
So there you have it, a few of my fave freezer meals. I would love to hear from you- do you freezer cook? What are your favorite freezer meals? Let me know if you have questions! God Bless!!