Freezer meal tips and shortcuts • Use frozen onions and bell peppers.

They are cheaper and already chopped. Use minced garlic in jars. • Cook meat a day in advance. This saves time on cooking day and all ingredients are ready for cooking. I like to marinate and grill chicken a day in advance when recipes call for cubed chicken. I also like to freeze some grilled chicken breasts that we can use during the month in salads or pasta. • Buy a container that will fit a gallon freezer bag. Fold the edges of the bag over the container. Makes easier for dumping ingredients. Use the freezer bags for mixing. Just seal it up and squish the ingredients. • Lay freezer meal bags flat to freeze. You can easily stack many meals in even a small freezer if you lay flat and stack. • Experiment with the recipes you use every day. Many recipes can be even partially prepared ahead of time – usually the most time consuming parts – which can save a lot of time on serving day. • Pasta and rice don’t freeze well. I wait and prepare these on serving day. • If you’re looking for an easy place to start, double your favorite recipe and freeze one. • Find recipes that will incorporate your food storage. • On serving night, use a rice cooker. Rice in a rice cooker doesn’t have to be babysat so you can still be running kids or helping with homework while dinner is cooking.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pockets Crescent roll dough ¼ c grated parmesan cheese 2 c chicken breast, cooked and diced 1 c ham, cooked and diced 1/3 c sour cream ½ c shredded swiss cheese

In a mixing bowl, mix the sour cream, parmesan cheese, and swiss cheese. Add the diced chicken and ham and toss until coated. Evenly divide the filling between the pockets using about ¼ c of mixture per pocket. Fold one side of the pocket over the other side. Seal the edges by pressing with the tines of a fork. Transfer the pockets to a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes careful not to brown. Cool on baking sheet then freeze individually. When frozen completely, seal in a freezer bag.

Santa Fe Chicken Tortilla Wraps 3 c cooked & chopped chicken 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed 1 can pinto beans, drained 1 c salsa 2 t cumin 1 can corn, drained 1 can black-eyed peas, drained 1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes 1 T chili powder

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, stirring until evenly mixed. Put in one-gallon freezer bag. Thaw bag. Heat in a saucepan. Fill tortillas. Top with cheese and sour cream.

Chicken Enchiladas 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and diced 1 onion, chopped 1 c sour cream 1 c shredded cheddar cheese 1 15oz can tomato sauce ½ c water 1 T chili powder 2 T and 2 t chopped green bell pepper 1 ½ t dried parsley 1 clove garlic, minced ½ t oregano ½ t ground black pepper ½ t salt Heat cooked chicken with onion, sour cream, cheddar cheese, parsley, oregano and black pepper. Head until cheese melts. Stir in salt, tomato sauce, water, chili powder, green pepper and garlic. Cool mixture and freeze in gallon freezer bags. From frozen: Thaw mixture. Roll in tortillas, reserving some sauce. Spoon remaining sauce over top of tortillas. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Cheeseburger ‘n’ Fries Casserole 1 lb lean ground beef 1 can cheddar cheese soup ½ pkg frozen steak fries 1 can cream of mushroom soup ½ pkg onion soup mix

Brown ground beef. Drain. Stir in soups and soup mix. Pour into casserole dish. Top with fries. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Teriyaki Chicken ½ c soy sauce 1 ½ T red wine vinegar 1 garlic clove, minced ½ c sugar 2 t sesame oil ¾ t ground ginger

Stir ingredients together and pour in gallon sized Ziploc bag with 1 lb frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts. From frozen: thaw. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or grill on outdoor grill.

Cashew Chicken ½ c catsup 4 tsp soy sauce ½ tsp salt 2 T Worcestershire sauce 3 T sugar 1 ½ tsp sesame oil ¼ tsp cayenne pepper ½ c chicken broth 2 T fresh gingerroot, minced 3 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces 1 T minced garlic 1 onion, chopped 1 can water chestnuts, drained 1 can bamboo shoots, drained 1 c cashews 2 cups cooked rice Combine Catsup, soy sauce, salt, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, sesame oil, cayenne pepper, and chicken broth and set aside. Saute chicken, gingerroot, garlic and onion until chicken cooked through. Add bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Add catsup/soy sauce mixture and cook until it comes to a boil. Cool and freeze in gallon bags. From Frozen: Thaw bag in fridge overnight. Reheat over medium heat until just boiling. Add cashews if desired. Serve over rice. Serves 4. Nutrition Facts: (minus the cashews) Calories – 145, fat – 3g, fiber – 4g, protein – 20g.

Roasted Red Pepper BBQ Beef Sandwiches 1 lb lean ground beef ¼ tsp salt 1 (7oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped 1 medium onion, chopped ¼ tsp pepper 2 tsp liquid mesquite smoke 1 (10oz) can tomato soup Brown ground beef. Add onions and sauté with beef. Stir in tomato soup and peppers; Simmer 5 minutes Stir in salt, pepper and liquid smoke. Spoon mixture evenly onto buns and serve. Serves: 6 From Frozen: Thaw on countertop or overnight in fridge. Heat in saucepan until warmed through. Add water as needed. Nutrition Facts: Calories – 346, Fat 5.2g, Carb 45.6g, Fiber 1.9g, Cholesterol 51mg, sodium 665mg. Rebecca Morgan

Italian Beef Sandwiches 1 Beef Roast 1 small onion, chopped 1 jar spaghetti sauce 1 bell pepper, chopped

Place roast in crock pot. Put chopped onion and pepper on top. Cover with jar of spaghetti sauce. Add 1 cup water. Cook 6-8 hours on low. Remove roast from crock pot and shred beef. Put shredded beef back in crock pot with sauce and juices and mix together. Serve on buns with slice of cheese. From frozen: Thaw completely. Place meat in saucepan and heat thoroughly. Add water if necessary. Nutrition Facts (Beef only – 3 oz serving): 200 calories, 0 g fiber, 8.5 g fat, 0 g carbs

Porcupine Meatballs with Spicy Cranberry Sauce Meatballs: 1 beaten egg (I used egg beaters) ¼ cup tomato soup (uncooked) ¼ c brown rice 2 T finely chopped onion 1 T parsley 1 lb 90% lean ground beef ½ t salt 1/8 t pepper Combine all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Form meatballs. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Sauce: 1 can jellied cranberry sauce 1 jar chili sauce Combine sauces and simmer until bubbly. Pour sauce over meatballs and serve. Serve over brown rice Nutrition facts: 6 meatballs (264 calories, 15g fat, 0 carbs, 0 fiber), ½ cup sauce (150 calories, 0g fat, 37g carbs, 1g fiber)

Moroccan Chicken and Lentils 1 8oz pkg baby carrots 1 ½ lb frozen chicken breast ¾ tsp salt ½ tsp ground red pepper 2 (14 oz) cans fat-free chicken broth 1 ½ c lentils, uncooked 2 T minced garlic ¾ t ground turmeric ½ tsp ground cinnamon

Place all ingredients, in order listed, in a 4 or 5 qt electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or low for 7 hours. For freezer meal: Freeze all ingredients except lentils in 1 gallon freezer bag. From frozen: Thaw and place in crock pot with lentils. Yield: 6 (1-cup) servings Nutrition Facts: Calories 320, Fat 2 g, Protein 40.5g, carb 33.3g, Fiber 6.7g

Deep-dish pizza casserole 1 lb lean ground beef 1 15oz can chunky Italian-style tomato sauce 1 can refrigerated pizza crust dough 1 cup 2% mozzarella cheese, divided Cook meat in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, stirring until it crumbles. Drain if necessary and return to skillet. Add tomato sauce and cook until heated. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Unroll pizza crust and press into bottom and halfway up sides of dish. Sprinkle half of cheese on crust. Top with meat mixture. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake, uncovered, at 425 for 12 minutes. Yield: 6 servings For freezer meal: Freeze meat and sauce mixture in gallon freezer bag. From frozen: Thaw and prepare as above. Nutrition Facts: Calories 337, Fat 11.4g, Protein 30.5g, Carb 28g, Fiber 1.8g.

Bacon Cheeseburger with Rice 1 lb 93% lean ground beef 1 can tomato soup, undiluted ¼ or 1/3 pkg onion soup mix 1 Tbl prepared mustard 4 slices pre-cooked bacon 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce ¾ c 2% sharp cheddar cheese

Brown and drain ground beef. Add soup, tomatoes, onion soup mix, bacon pieces and cheese. Simmer on low until cheese is just melted. To serve, thaw overnight in fridge. Heat in saucepan until bubbly. Serve over brown rice. Nutrition facts: Serving size = ¼ recipe. 345 calories, 13g fat, 3g fiber, 23g carbs.

Honey Balsamic Slow-cooker chicken Boneless skinless chicken breasts (As many as you like) ½ c chicken broth 1/3 c soy sauce 1/3 c olive oil ¼ c honey 1 t Worcestershire sauce 2 t balsamic vinegar 2 t lemon juice 1 t sesame oil 2 T minced garlic In a bowl, stir together all ingredients except chicken. Place chicken in crock-pot and pour sauce over. Cook on low for 7 hours or high for 5 hours. To freeze: Pour sauce over chicken breasts in a freezer Ziploc bag. Double-bag with another freezer Ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 6 months. (Even better this way because the chicken marinates while freezing). The cook, thaw in fridge overnight or partially thaw in microwave in the morning. Place in crock-pot and cook as above.

Beef and Beans 1 ½ lb boneless round steak 1 T prepared mustard ½ t salt 1 garlic clove 1 beef bouillon cube, crushed Hot cooked rice 1 cans diced tomatoes, undrained 1 T chili powder ¼ t pepper 1 medium onion 1 can kidney beans, rinsed & drained

Cut steak into thin strips. Combine mustard, chili powder, salt if desire, pepper and garlic in a bowl. Add steak and toss to coat. Freeze with sliced onion. Thaw. Transfer to a slow cooker; Add tomatoes, onion and bouillon. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir in beans; cook 30 minutes longer. Serve over rice.

Lemonade Marindade 1/3 c Worcestershire sauce 1 t celery seeds ½ t pepper ¾ c frozen lemonade concentrate 1 t seasoned salt ½ t minced garlic

Mix together and pour over chicken to marinade. Grill chicken.

Oriental Sesame Chicken Strips ½ c honey ¼ c orange juice 2 T soy sauce 1 envelope good seasons oriental sesame dressing mix Mix ingredients together. Slice chicken breasts into strips. Skewer for shishkabobs. Pour sauce over chicken to marinate. For freezer meal: freeze already-skewered meat in 2 gallon freezer bags. Pour marinade over skewers. Sealt bag and freeze.

Jambalaya 1/4 c vegetable oil 1 pkg smoked sausage, cut into 1/4" rounds 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken, cut into cubes 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 2 T Emerils original essence 3 c chopped onion 1 c chopped green bell peppers 2 T garlic 3 c long grain rice 1 bay leaf 1 c chopped green onion 5 c chicken stock Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook suasage 5 minutes and remove from pan. Add chicken, cayenne pepper and 1 T essence to pan. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Add onions, bell peppers and remaining essence and garlic to pan and cook 8-10 minutes until vegetables are softened. Combine all ingredients, cool and freeze. On serving day, add rice and cook, stirring 3-5 minutes. Add stock and bay leaf. Increase heat to med-high heat and bring to boil. Cover and reduce to low. Cook 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf and stir in green onions to serve.

BBQ Beef 1 1/2 c Ketchup 1/4 c brown sugar 1/4 c red wine vinegar 2 T dijon mustard 2 T worcestershire sauce 1 T liquid smoke 1/4 t garlic powder 1/2 t salt 1/4 t pepper Mix all ingredients together and freeze.

On serving day, pour over roast beef in crockpot and cook for 6-8 hours on low. Shred beef with a fork and stir together with sauce.

Coconut Curry over noodles 2 T vegetable oil 1 lb beef or chicken. 1 T Thai red curry paste 1 T fresh lemon juice 1 red onion, thinly sliced 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk Angel hair pasta

Saute chicken or beef until cooked through. Remove from skillet. Add onion, bell peppers and ¼ c water to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Add curry paste; Cook 1 minute. Return meat to skillet and add coconut milk. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Cook and freeze. Serve over pasta.

Chicken Parmesan Tenders 1/3 c Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs ½ t garlic powder 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts ¾ c shredded mozzarella cheese 2 T parmesan cheese 1 egg, beaten 1 can tomato sauce

To freeze: Combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and garlic powder in shallow bowl. Slice chicken breasts into 3 long strips (tenders). Dip tenders into egg and then coat with mixture. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Turn chicken over. Bake 1012 minutes or until cooked through. Cool and freeze solid on baking pan. Once frozen, place in zipper freezer bag. To serve: thaw. Reheat chicken in 375 oven. Spoon tomato sauce over chicken, sprinkle with cheese and bake 3 minutes until cheese is melted.

Romano Ham Linguine 12 oz linguine 2 T flour 12 oz evaporated milk 1 1/3 c water 4 c cooked ham, cubed 1 red bell pepper, sliced 2 T butter ½ t salt 4 oz mushrooms 1 chicken bouillon cube ½ c romano cheese, grated 1 T vegetable oil

Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour and salt, adding evaporated milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one more minute. Ad liquid from mushrooms, water and bouillon cube. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sightly thickened and bubbly. Add romano cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Add ham and mushrooms. Cool and place in freezer bag. To serve, thaw and reheat. Serve over linguine.

Sweet and Tangy Flank Steak 1/3 c soy sauce 1/3 c brown sugar ¼ c slice green onions, white and green parts 1 T sesame oil 1 T sesame seeds 2 t garlic, minced 1 ½ t gingerroot, minced ¼ t chili pepper flakes 2 lbx flank steaks. Mix together all ingredients except steak in a bowl. Add to freezer bag. Add steaks. Freeze. To serve: Thaw and grill.

Teriyaki Burgers 1 lb hamburger ¼ c soy sauce 1 t minced garlic 1/8 t ginger ½ c water chestnuts, chopped ¼ c orange juice 1 t molasses

Mix hamburger and water chestnuts. Form into 4 patties. Place on parchment paper on pan to freeze. Once frozen, combine patties into freezer bag. In a separate bag, combine all other ingredients and freeze. To serve: place thawed patties in shallow dish. Pour sauce over patties. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours, turning once. Grill until done, basting frequently with marinade.

Chicken Wraps 2 c cooked cubed chicken 1 8oz pkg neuftachel cheese 4 T butter ½ t pepper 1 - 4 oz can mushrooms or olives (optional) 1 t Accent green onion 3 cans reduced fat crescent rolls Italian seasoned bread crumbs Parmesan cheese Combine chicken, neuftachel cheese, butter, pepper, mushrooms, acent and green onion in a bowl. Separate roll dough into 4 sections. Press together the seams of the triangles to form 4 rectangles from each roll dough can. Fill with filling. Press edges together. Coat with bread crumb and parmesan cheese mixture. Bake on pan at 375 for 15-17 minutes. Cool and freeze individually. To serve: thaw and bake on pan until lightly browned and heated through.

Simple Salisbury Steak 1 can mushroom soup 1/3 c dry bread crumbs ¼ c finely chopped onion 1 lb ground beef 1 egg beaten 1-4oz can mushrooms, drained

In a bowl, mix together ¼ cup of the soup, beef, bread crumbs, egg and onion. Shape into 4 patties. Freeze individually on parchment paper. Once frozen, combine in zipper bag. In a separate zipper bag, combine remaining soup and mushrooms. To serve: in a skillet over medium heat, cook patties, a few at a time, until browned on both sides. Stir in remaining soup and mushrooms, reduce heat to low and cover and simmer 20 minutes or until done, turning patties occasionally.

Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas 1 c chopped onions 1 c reduced fat cheddar 3 oz Neufchatel cheese 1 ½ c bottled green taco sauce 1 ½ c shredded or grilled chicken breasts 1 c salsa 1 t cumin 8, 6” flour tortillas

Sautee onions in cooking spray until soft. Mix chicken, 1/2c cheddar, salsa and cream cheese. Add to onions and cook over low heat until cheese begins to melt. To freeze: Cool and freeze in double Ziplocs. To Serve. Spoon into tortillas and roll. Spoon remaining sauce on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Southwest Chicken – Slow Cooker 4-5 boneless chicken breasts 1 can corn 1 – 8oz pkg cream cheese 1 can black beans 1 jar salsa (15 oz), any kind

To Freeze: Combine all ingredients in double Ziplocs (except cream cheese). To prepare: Place all ingredients in crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours. Add 1 package cream cheese and let sit for about ½ hour.

Slow Cooker Pork Chops 6 boneless pork chops 1 t ground ginger ¼ c ketchup Salt and pepper to taste ¼ c brown sugar ½ c soy sauce 2 cloves garlic, crushed

To freeze: place all ingredients in double Ziplocs and freeze. To prepare: Place in crock pot. Cook on low setting for 6 hours, until internal temperature of pork has reached 160 degrees.

German Chicken 4 slices bacon 3 cloves garlic, chopped ½ c BBQ sauce ¼ c honey 1 t salt 1 onion, chopped 1 c sliced smoked sausage 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts ¼ t pepper

To freeze: Place all ingredients in double Ziplocs. To prepare: Thaw on countertop. Place in 9x13” glass baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 55-65 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Sticky Peachy Chicken 1 c peach jam ½ c BBQ sauce ½ c diced onions 1 T soy sauce 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts To Freeze: Combine all ingredients in double Ziplocs. To Prepare: Thaw. Bake in 9x13” in oven on 350 for 50-55 minutes or in crockpot on low for 6 hours.

Maple Chipotle BBQ Chicken Sandwiches 2 c ketchup 1/2 c maple syrup 1/4 c dijon mustard 1/2 c brown sugar 1 t black pepper 1 t adobo chipotle sauce (use sauce from can of adobo chipotle peppers) Pour over chicken in crock pot. Cook for 4-6 hours. Shred and serve on buns.

Asian Pulled Pork Sandwiches ½ c soy sauce ½ c hoisin sauce 3 T ketchup 3 T rice vinegar ¼ c honey 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 ½ T peeled and grated fresh ginger 2 t dark sesame oil 1 ½ t Chinese five-spice powder 4 pounds boneless pork roast, trimmed of fat and cut in 2 inch chunks Mix sauce. Pour over roast in crock pot. Cook for 8 hours on low. Remove to cutting board and shred pork. Return meat to cooker and mix with sauce. Serve on buns.

Chicken and Sausage Paella 1 T olive oil boneless, skinless chicken 1 small onion, finely chopped 16 oz. sausage (chorizo (spicy) or kielbasa (mild)) cut in half-moon slices Salt and pepper 1 red bell pepper, chopped 1 garlic clove, chopped 1 c medium-grain rice ½ t cumin ½ t salt pinch of saffron 1 c diced tomato 4 c chicken stock ½ c frozen peas In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and then brown in skillet 4-5 minutes. Remove chicken. Add sausage and sauté until lightly brown about 3-4 minutes. Remove sausage. Add Onion, red pepper, garlic. Cook stirring until tender. Add cumin, salt and saffron. Cook for 1 minute. Freeze meat mixture and vegetable mixture in separate bags. To prepare: Thaw. Mix rice and vegetable mixture and place in 9x13 baking dish. Add chicken and sausage on top of rice and add tomato on top. Pour chicken stock over meat and rice. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the peas on top and cook until the liquid has been absorbed, another 10 to 15 minutes.

Pork, Apricot and Red-Onion Kebabs ¼ c apricot jam 1/8 t cayenne pepper 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb), but into twenty 1-inch cubes 1 can apricot halves 1 small red onion, cut into 2-inch wedges Make basting sauce: In a small saucepan, heat jam, cayenne, and 1 T water over medium-low until jam is liquefied; season with salt and pepper. Skewer meat, apricots and onion alternating. Place skewers in 2 gallon freezer bag. Cover with basting sauce. Freeze. To serve, thaw and grill.

Southwest Chicken – Slow cooker 4-5 boneless chicken breasts 1 can corn 1 8oz pkg cream cheese 1 can black beans 1 15oz jar sals, any kind

Freeze together all ingredients except cream cheese. To serve: Cook in crock pot 4-5 hours. Add cream cheese on top for last ½ hour.

Hawaiian Hamburgers 2/3 can evaporated milk 1 t salt ½ c chopped onion 1 lb ground beef 1 c bread crumbs Mix ingredients and form into patties. Freeze patties on parchment paper then stack in freezer bag. Sweet and sour sauce: Drain 20 ounce can of pineapple chunks, reserving the juice. Combine pineapple juice with enough water to make 1 cup. Pour into saucepan. Mix the following ingredients: 2 T cornstarch ¼ c vinegar ¼ c packed brown sugar 2 T soy sauce Cook over medium heat stirring constantly with whisk until thick and clear. Stir in pineapple. Freeze sauce. To serve: Thaw hambergers and fry in frying pan until done. Reheat sauce. Serve over rice.

Other ideas: Quesedillas – grill chicken ahead of time. Freeze whole grilled chicken breasts. Saute other ingredients like onions, bell peppers, corn, black beans along with some taco seasoning. On serving day, thaw all ingredients on countertop. Thinly slice chicken breasts and combine ingredients inside tortillas and grill on quesadilla-maker or in oven. Shishkabobs – Cut up raw chicken and other veggies to be skewered. I usually use canned chunk pinapple, bell peppers, and onions. Skewer chicken and veggies. Place in 2 gallon freezer bags. Coat with your favorite marinade. Hawaiian haystacks – Cook chicken and dice (or use canned chicken). Combine with cream of chicken soup or chicken gravy. Freeze. On serving day, top with cheese and veggies over rice. Calzones – Thaw frozen bread dough but don’t rise. Roll out loaf and cut in 3. Fill with your favorite fillings and cheese. Bake at 350 for about 12-15 minutes (not quite brown). Individually freeze on cookie sheet. When frozen solid, combine in freezer bags. On serving day, thaw and bake until warmed through. Meatballs - I make and freeze hundreds of meatballs at once. Use your favorite meatball recipe or mine for porcupine meatballs above. I bake them, then cool and individually freeze on the cookie sheet. Once frozen, I double freezer bag about 30 of them at a time. On serving day, I cook in crock pot or in pot with my favorite sauce.

Freezer meal cooking websites:

http://www.christysclipart.com/oamc2.html www.30daygourmet.com http://www.recipezaar.com/ www.allrecipes.com www.meals.com www.kraftfoods.com www.weightwatchers.com www.recipesource.com www.foodtv.com www.bettycrocker.com

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