Friday, January 25, 2013

Freezer Meals Boot Camp - Freezer Meal Recipes in 3 Hours for about $50!

This site has 11 freezer meals you can make in 3 hours for about $50! Pin now, read later!
Lately, I've been seeing a lot on Pinterest about "Crock Pot Meals" and "Freezer Meals"...and the idea was interesting to me.  But, as I got to looking at the ideas for meals that you can freeze, every single one had one thing in was just a bunch of ingredients thrown into a bag.
I like the idea, but I wanted to do something that you could literally thaw and use.  So, I did a little bit of a "Freezer Meal Boot Camp" a few weekends ago.  It worked really well - I was able to make 11 meals in 3 hours that will require little/no prep time once I'm ready to use them!
Many of these recipes can be prepped with raw meats and cooked when ready to eat...I didn't do this because I freeze a good bit of my meats when I buy them, and thaw as needed...therefore, the meat I was using had been frozen previously.  You probably know that it is is a big no-no to freeze meat that has already been I had to cook it before freezing again.  Plus, as mentioned before, I wanted to be able to use these right from thawing. 
Here was the "method to my madness!"
First, I got all of the meats cooking.  Start the chicken boiling (it took 2 pots to do this) and marinate the pork in a gallon-sized bag.  Brown the ground beef (all but 1 pound) and cook the bacon. Set all of this aside...this makes the process so much easier!
The meatballs are the only recipe that has to be go on and prep that (it only takes a few minutes) and get it in the oven.
Once that's done and the meat is cooking, sit down and label your bags.  I used these bags and labeled them with a Sharpie.  I labeled each bag with a few items...
-name of dish
-what extra ingredients I'll need to serve the item
-directions to prepare
From here, all you really have to do is mix!  Have all of your ingredients out if you can, and just grab/put back as needed.
As you finish each bag, lay it flat on top of the next one in the freezer, like this:
It doesn't take up a lot of space at all!
Here are the recipes.  They read as follows: I listed the ingredients you'll need right now first, and the ingredients you'll need once you thaw (and are ready to serve) in parenthesis.  The "Directions" are what you do now, and the "Directions for bag" are what you'll write on the bag to do before serving.
Beef Stroganoff

1 lb stew beef, seared and just cooked through
1 can beef broth
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/4c worcestershire sauce
1 pack brown gravy mix
1 tbsp pepper
(egg noodles and sour cream)

Directions: Mix and freeze.

Directions for bag:
Cook mixture in crock pot on low for 8 hours. Stir in 16oz sour cream for the last hour. Serve with 1lb of egg noodles.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo
1 jar Alfredo sauce
1 can Progresso Recipe Starters
1 bag frozen broccoli
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/2c chicken broth

Directions: Mix and freeze.

Directions for bag: Serve with 1lb fettuccine

Pulled BBQ Chicken

1 bottle bbq sauce
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/4c chicken broth

Directions: Mix sauce, chicken and broth. Freeze.

Directions for bag
: Heat and serve on buns.

Vegetable Beef Stew

1 can whole kernel corn
1 can cut green beans
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 small bag carrots, diced
1 tbsp. chicken bullion powder
1 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. pepper
2 lbs. ground beef, cooked and drained
1 small/medium onion
(1 46 oz bottle V8 (I used hot and spicy V8 for a little kick!))

Directions: Put everything except for v8 in a freezer bag and freeze.

Directions for bag
: Mix with 46oz bottle of V8. Cook in a crock pot on low for 8 hours.

Balsamic and Brown Sugar Pork Chops

1c Dark Brown Sugar
1c Balsamic Vinegar
1c Water
2 tbsp. Garlic Powder
2 tbsp. Salt
1/2 tbsp. Dried Thyme
1/2 tbsp. Dried Parsley
1 onion
1 1/2 lbs. Pork Chops (I used boneless, but bone-in would work too.)

Directions: Mix half of everything except onion and pork chops together…marinate pork in this mixture for 30 minutes. Grill pork chops and onions in a skillet. Take other half of mixture and boil in a sauce pan...reduce to about half. Put in smaller (sandwich) bag and place inside freezer bag with onions and pork chops.

Directions for bag: Heat pork chops/onions and top with sauce.

Creamy Mexican Chicken Pasta

1 jars alfredo sauce
1 jar salsa
1 pack taco seasoning
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
(rotini pasta and cheddar cheese)

Directions: Mix everything together and freeze.

Directions for bag: Mix contents with 1lb rotini pasta…pour in a greased 9x13 casserole dish. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Italian Meatballs

1 pack sausage
1lb ground beef
1 egg
1/2 sleeve saltines, crumbled
1/4c parmesan cheese
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp dried Parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

(1 jar of tomato sauce, Hoagies or spaghetti)

Directions: Mix everything together (hands work best). Make 1" meatballs out of mixture…bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. (If you want to leave them raw, place raw meatballs on cookie sheet and freeze before putting in bag).

Directions for bag: Top with tomato sauce. Serve with 1 pack hoagies or 1lb spaghetti

Hawaiian Chicken
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 lbs Chicken, grilled in strips
1 cans Pineapple
1 large red onion
1 bottle bbq sauce
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/4c soy sauce
1 bag stir fry

Directions: Mix butter and brown sugar in a skillet…melt to a sizzle and add chicken. Grill chicken until cooked through. Mix everything together with chicken and freeze.

Directions for bag
: heat in crock pot for 3-4 hours on high. Serve with rice.

Pot Roast
1 bag baby carrots
1c chopped celery
1c chopped onion
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 pack brown gravy mix
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 4lb pot roast
(serve with mashed potatoes)

Directions: Put everything in bag and freeze. (I left the pot roast out because mine was already frozen.)

Directions for bag: Thaw pot roast overnight in fridge. Put pot roast in crock pot, pour mixture over, and cook on low 8-10 hours.

Chicken Florentine Crescent Ring

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 chicken breasts), diced small
1 pack bacon, cooked until crisp
1/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup light ranch dressing
1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
(2 8oz. tubes of crescent rolls)

Directions: Mix everything together and freeze.

Directions for bag: Make a sun shape out of crescent pieces on a pizza pan. Pour mixture evenly on the inside circle, and fold the outer edges of the crescent roll pieces in. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Broccoli/Cheese Soup

1 pack frozen broccoli
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp flour
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 block (1/2lb.) Velveeta

Directions: Steam Broccoli. Saute onion, them mix in flour - cook for one minute. Stir in evaporated milk slowly. Chop velveeta into chunks, and slowly incorporate into flour/milk mixture. Add broccoli. Cool and freeze.

Directions for bag: Heat until warm (DO NOT BOIL)
If you are planning on cooking all of these like I did, here is the shopping list!
1 lb stew beef
1 pack (1lb) sausage
4.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken
3 lbs ground beef
1.5 lbs pork chops
1 pack bacon
4 lb rump roast

1 can beef broth
1 can chicken broth
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can cut green beans
1 28oz can tomatoes
1 can pineapple
4 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can Progresso Recipe Starters
1 can evaporated milk
1 bottle worcestershire sauce
2 bottles bbq sauce
2 bottles Alfredo sauce
1 jar salsa
2 packs brown gravy mix
1 bottle chicken bullion powder
1 pack taco seasoning
1 box brown sugar
1 bottle balsamic vinegar
1/2 sleeve saltines
1/4c Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp ketchup
1 bottle soy sauce
1/3c mayo
1/3c light ranch dressing

garlic powder
red pepper flakes

2 bags frozen broccoli
1 bag frozen stir-fry
1 bag baby carrots
1c chopped celery
1 box frozen chopped spinach

1 bag carrots
1 bag onions
1 red onion
1 head garlic

Eggs (Just 1!)
1/2 block Velveeta cheese

Many of you know that I use the stockpile method to grocery shop - because of this, I was able to get all of these items for around $50!  For 11 meals, many of which have 4+ servings, that's a little over a dollar a meal!

Overall, I think it was a fun experiment. This is definitely something I will be doing again!
For more meal ideas, you can search my recipe stash!

**UPDATED: I now have an Instant Pot Freezer Meal Boot Camp - click here to check it out!***