I discovered freezer cooking during my second pregnancy. A few weeks before the birth of my son, I started making and freezing meals like crazy….and it was SO worth it! Just knowing that I have a handful of meals ready to go all the time is a huge stress reliever (especially right now with a baby on the way!) However, I firmly believe that EVERYONE can benefit from freezer cooking. We’re all busy. We all have nights with a ton going on, days when we’re running late, or days when we just don’t feel like cooking. When we have a freezer full of meals ready to go, we not only save ourselves from stress, but we end up saving money (by not going out), and we’re able to put a healthy meal on the table.
Yesterday, I spent a few hours (give or take, since I was amusing three children simultaneously) freezer cooking. In about 2 hours with ingredients I had on hand, I was able to make:
- Chicken Pot Pie Filling
- Creamy Chicken and Veggies
- Asian Chicken and Rice
- Beef Stroganoff
- Mini Meatloaves
- 24 cinnamon rolls
Want to know how YOU can stock your freezer with these meals? Here is what you’ll need!
Canned and Dry Goods
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can golden mushroom soup
3/4 cup rice
chicken stock (2 1/2 cups) (You can also use the little bouillon cubes)
beef stock/broth (1 cup)
2 stalks celery
1 large red potato
1 package sliced button mushrooms (although this is optional)
1 bag frozen mixed veggies (I used carrots, corn, and green beans)
1 bag boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lb. stew meat
1 lb. ground beef
1 packet meatloaf seasoning
salt, pepper, vegetable oil
flour (about 7 cups)
oatmeal (1/2 cup)
apple cider vinegar
ketchup or Catalina Dressing
Ready to Cook?? Here are a few of Chasing Supermom’s Timesavers!
1. Start your cooking by poaching your chicken. Put 4 frozen chicken breasts (depending on size) in a large pot of salted water. Poaching the chicken is a super quick way to make a ton of cooked, shredded chicken, and this will save you time! When your chicken is cooked through, put the chicken into your KitchenAid mixer, and use the paddle attachment to shred the chicken for you! Trust me on this one…it works! (And I will never shred chicken with a fork again!)
2. Defrost your ground beef and stew meat if necessary. Having your meat ready to go when you are will save you time.
3. Have several meals going at once. Don’t try to do one meal after the other….Multi-tasking is key in freezer cooking.
4. Clean as you go. Have an empty dishwasher before you start cooking, and don’t leave yourself a giant sinkful of dirty dishes. Wipe down your counter as you work, and keep a neat space.
5. Have gallon sized, heavy-duty, freezer bags ready to go. (Spend the money on the freezer bags!) Label everything with what it is, and the day you prepared it.
6. It is easier to fill the freezer bags if you set them in a large bowl or pot. Trying to pour hot sauce into a bag you have propped open on the counter can be messy! Use a bowl, and a ladle when necessary!
Chicken Pot Pie Filling
1. In a large skillet, saute 2 stalks of diced celery and diced baby carrots (to taste) in 2-3 T butter.
2. Dice 1 large red potato and add to the skillet.
3. Stir in 2 T flour and mix well to make a rue.
4. Mix in 1 1/2 cup chicken stock/broth and 1/2 cup milk.
5. Season with parsley (I don’t measure), and 1 bay leaf. (And of course, salt and pepper to taste.)
6. Let this sauce simmer, as it will reduce and thicken, and become nice and creamy. When the sauce has thickened, add in a cup or so of the shredded chicken.
To serve, simply defrost, and pour into your favorite crust or pie-pan. Easy peasy lemon squeezie. (Yes, I live with children…)
Boom! One meal down! Ready for more?
Creamy Chicken and Veggies
1. Mix one can cream of chicken soup, and one can cream of celery soup together in a large skillet. Stir in about one can of milk, and 1 cup of chicken stock. (*I saved the liquid from the poached chicken, and used that in this dish!)
2. Season with parsley, salt and pepper,and one bay leaf.
3. Add in your bag of frozen mixed veggies, and allow the soup and veggies to cook until the veggies are heated through.
4. Add in your shredded chicken.
(This is awesome over rice, but would be great over pasta too. This is a kid-friendly meal. No, it’s not gourmet, but it can be counted on to feed a hungry family!)
To serve, just defrost and re-heat!
Done! Two Down! You are zipping through this!
Asian Chicken and Rice : (This meal is special to me, as it was not only the first freezer meal I put together, but the first meal I ever prepared with my young daughter!)
This one is super easy, as you don’t have to cook a thing! This one is great to whip up while you’re waiting on meat to cook, etc.
1. In a mixing bowl, mix together the following: 1 can golden mushroom soup, 3/4 cup water, 3/4 cup rice (not instant), 2 T honey, 2 T apple cider vinegar,and 2 T soy sauce.
2. Pour the sauce/rice mixture into a freezer bag.
3. Add in your chicken breasts. (I cut 2 large breasts into four portions.)
To serve, defrost, and bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
Wow! Three meals ready!
You can find my recipe for Beef Stroganoff HERE! To make this for the freezer, simply omit the sour cream, and add that to your sauce on the day you serve it. All you will need to do to serve this, is defrost the sauce, re-heat, stir in the sour cream, and boil your egg noodles. Super easy, and very tasty!
I made this in my dutch oven on freezer cooking day, and it was very quick and easy.
One more to go!
1. Mix together your ground beef, along with 1/2 packet of meatloaf seasoning, 1 egg, 1/2 cup oatmeal, and a splash or two of milk.
2. Press your meat mixture into mini loaf pans or a cupcake pan to make individual servings. (It just makes it more fun for the kids, and it easy to freeze, and pull out how many you need!)
3. Pop the tray of meatloaves or meat cupcakes into your freezer for a few hours, or until you’re able to easily pop them out without losing their shape. Place the individual meatloaves in a single layer in a freezer bag.
To serve, defrost and bake at 350 for 35 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink. (The little loaves cook faster than a traditional meatloaf.) You can top these with a ketchup/brown sugar “frosting” the day you serve them.
There are about 12 million cinnamon roll recipes out there, and to tell the truth, I make a lot of them. However, I didn’t know you could freeze a cinnamon roll, and will be doing this from now on!
Simply make your favorite cinnamon roll recipe as the recipe calls for. (In the interest of time, I chose one that didn’t require a ton of rising time. If your recipe does call for a lot of rise time, simply start the dough for the rolls first, before you start your other cooking. Remember..multi-tasking is key! While your roll dough is rising or while you’re waiting for your yeast to foam, you can be chopping celery or shaping meatloaves!)
As SOON as you slice your rolls, place them on a baking sheet and freeze them. Place the tray of frozen rolls in your freezer for several hours. When the rolls are frozen, place them in a freezer bag.
To serve, pull out the desired amount of rolls the night before, and leave on the counter. When you wake up, the rolls will be ready to pop in the oven! I am so excited to enjoy one cinnamon roll at a time! We used to make all 2 dozen at once, and either have half of them go bad, or gorge ourselves on way too much sugar. Freezing cinnamon rolls allows you to have a special breakfast all the time….and gives you back portion control on a sweet indulgence!
Did you have fun? Was it worth it?! You have a freezer full of meals ready to go, and several mornings of special breakfast! Good for you!!!!