Anyone who has had to stumble into the kitchen at 5:30 am to get their kids off to school and themselves off to work all the while trying to make a cup of coffee and anticipate what your family will crave in 12 hours…….. will appreciate this post! I LOVE freezer meals but I think there are a few misconceptions about how to make HEALTHY and FRESH freezer meals. First, I do NOT cook any of the meals before I freeze them. (Unless specifically noted). Second, I usually don’t add any vegetables to my freezer meals because I prefer fresh veggies SO, if I am going to freeze the veggies, why spend money on good fresh produce…just buy them already frozen. Third, I keep certain staples on hand so I can use them in several different ways to “finish” the meal. Fourth, 1 day of prepping is worth 25 or 30 days of not having to!!
My approach to freezer meals is to stay healthy but understand that a splurge in necessary sometimes. So I like to throw in a tray of lasagna or something pretty heavy for a change. I also usually use about 2 freezer meals a week depending on my schedule and menu.
Some of these may seem like an odd combination but I like to keep my teenage sons guessing! Make sure that you have tons of baggies on hand. I like the gallon sized but that is up to you, also try to get all of the air out of them before freezing. This will help protect against freezer burn. My freezer meals today included:
BBQ Chicken, Pork
While I love Sweet Baby Rays bbq sauce, there is nothing better than homemade and I have to say that my friend Jess over at longlivethenoms nailed it with her Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce. I used this as my recipe and I can tell you that it is exactly what I was hoping for! Add about 1/8c sauce per chicken breast or pork chop. I love these grilled but if that is not an option you can always crock pot them or bake them in the oven If you crockpot them make sure you set it on the lowest setting as chicken cooks quickly in the crock pot so after a few hours it can turn into mush. If you bake in the oven I would recommend baking at 420 for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Similar to the above recipe I just add about 3 Tablespoons of Siracha (Chili Sauce) and it kicks it up a notch! My husband loves anything spicy so this is really his fav!!
Hawaiian Turkey Burgers
It took me a while to get used to turkey burger bc they can get pretty dry, But I can promise these are anything but dry! For each pound of ground turkey add: 1/2 dices orange bell pepper, 1 green onion, 1/2c bread crumbs, 2Tbsp teriyaki sauce. Mix well and make into 4 patties. When ready to eat, grill or cook on flat top until cooked all the way through, top with swiss cheese. Spray buns with coking spray and lay on grill until toasty, Also put pineapple on the grill just to get the char marks and caramelizes. Assemble as follows: bottom bun, burger with swiss, pineapple, drizzle with teriyaki sauce and top with bun. I add a little mayo, it goes great with the teriyaki! ENJOY
Per pound, 2 Tbsp A-1, 1/2 a diced onion, Garlic (minced 1 Tbsp), Salt and Pepper. Mix well and make into 4 patties per pound. These are great as Cheeseburgers on the grill or cooked on the flat top with mushrooms and onions without a bun!
Italian Chicken, Steak
Ok, These are a total cheat but are one of my favorite GO-TO meals. They are always amazing and go with pretty much anything. Per 3 chicken breasts use about half a batch of dressing. 1 Wishbone Italian dressing mix and ingredients to make it. (EVOO, Water and Balsamic Vinegar). Grill or Bake at 420 for 15 minutes. Good with any veggie! I love it with a cold sesame ginger noodle salad!
Teriyaki Chicken, Steak
Who doesn’t love a good teriyaki steak? It is a staple and my guys all love it We use flank steak for this and it is delish BUT you have to cut it correctly. If not then it will be the toughest piece of meat ever! Look at the muscle fibers of the meat, they will run from side to side, length-wise, cut the opposite direction. What I do is lay the meat on the cutting board and use my sharpest knife, cut at an angle so you are making a thin sheet of steak. Add to the baggie with about 1/4 c teriyaki sauce an about 4 Tbsp of water. When you cook these they do much better in a skillet or a grittle, if you have one. Get it super hot then sear the meat on each side for about 3-4 minutes. Set on a plate. After the meat is finished, leave the juices in the pan and throw in some fresh snap/snow peas and cook until fork tender. Serve over brown rice, or with cold noodles.
This is the best thing over egg noodles EVER! It is 3 chicken breasts, 1 container of cream cheese, 1 Wishbone Italian dressing mix, 1 can cream of chicken soup. Throw this puppy ni the crock pot and it is good good good!
Cilantro-Lime Chicken, Steak
I really love the steak version of this because it is something different. I am pretty sure I could eat an entire steak with just this marinade by itself! Start by cutting the steak the same way you would the teriyaki beef. I use about 1 bunch of cilantro for 2 meals. Rough chop the cilantro add about 1 Tbsp of lime juice and about 1Tbsp EVOO. Again, this is great on the grill, in the oven or on the stove!
Twice Baked Potatoes
I used 10 potatoes. Pierce them, wash them and then pop them in the oven at 350 for about an hour or till soft. Let cool until they can easily be managed then cut each in half length-wise. Scoop out as much of the insides as possible without compromising the actual skin. Add 6 Tbsp of butter and about 6 Tbsp of light Sour Cream, then mash. Add 2 Oz shredded cheese. refill the skins and Freeze. To Eat, bake at 325 for about 15 to 20 minutes or until hot. I usually add a little extra cheese on the top when I reheat them.
Like I mentioned earlier, I keep several staples around so I can complete the meal in under 20 minutes. A few of my favorites are Brown Rice, Dreamfield Spaghetti Noodles (this brand is my fav) and Egg Noodles. If you have more time you can throw in a baked potato or sweet potato. (not 20 min but still a good staple)
Also, since I use mostly fresh produce it feels like a homemade meal everyday. When in doubt throw a spinach salad with it and some green beans or some sautéed squash in garlic or cilantro-Romano-lime broccoli.
Please feel free to post your meals below in the comments. I am always looking to try new things!! Thanks for checking out my blog!!