Saturday, February 7, 2015

freezer meals for busy weeknights

Right before Isla was born last year, I started doubling our dinner recipes on occasion and storing half of the dish in the freezer. I saved them until after she was born and had a bunch of pre-made dinners ready to go as we adjusted to life as a family of 6! It made life so much easier during those crazy weeknights when the older girls went in a million different directions.

Fast forward one year later and I'm still making a habit of having a variety of frozen dinners stocked in our freezer to make our weeknight evenings slightly less chaotic!

I thought I would share what our freezer looks like today and some of my go-to recipes for doubling and freezing!

1.  Grilled Chicken Breast
Well, this is not a recipe obviously and the batch that is pictured is not actually grilled but oven baked instead! I prefer having grilled chicken breast in the freezer but our grill is currently buried under 2 feet of snow.  I grill/bake boneless chicken breast with a little salt and pepper, individually wrap them and store them in the freezer.  They're so nice to have on hand to defrost and throw in a salad or make some quick quesadillas.

2.  Glazed Meatballs
I prepare the meatballs and freeze them. The day before we're going to eat them, I put them in the fridge to defrost. Before I put them in the oven, I mix up the glaze (the PW glaze is our favorite) right in the pan, stir in the meatballs and pop them in the oven.  I like to serve these with carrot sticks and potatoes of some kind.

3.  Broccoli Cheddar Soup
I love this Skinnytaste version!  This defrosts quickly in the fridge. I serve it with a salad and bread.

4.  Chicken Taquitos
This site has a great chicken taquito recipe that I love to use!  I follow her directions for freezing and baking.  She suggests writing the cooking instructions right on the freezer bag.  I do this for all of my freezer meals. This way, I don't need to go and look up the recipe to find out how long and at what temp it needs to be cooked.

5.  Pioneer Woman Turkey Chili
I have tried lots of chili recipes and I always go back to this one.  I use turkey instead of beef and add a can of rotel to the recipe.

6.  Amazing Pork Tenderloin
This is really good. Pork tenderloins always come two in a pack.  It's so easy to mix up the marinade twice and freeze one, raw, pre-marinated tenderloin.  I defrost it in the fridge the day before I am going to make it and dump it all in the slow cooker the next day! If you are opposed to using dry onion soup mix, you can make your own using this recipe.

7.  Baked Ziti
Two of our girls don't like baked ziti and prefer plain pasta with butter.  I double the recipe and bake one 9x11 pan and use the leftovers for either lunches or another dinner that week.  I take the second half of the recipe and divide it into 3 separate loaf pans.  This way R and L can have either gluten free or buttered pasta and the loaf pan is just enough for the rest of us!  Also, this recipe calls for sour cream but I use ricotta instead.

Thanks for taking a peek inside my freezer today! Have a great week!

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