Friday, November 8, 2013

Freezer Meals

Jake and I started talking baby this summer. We were trying to decide between one baby now before the gap gets too big, or two later, after law school. I got pretty dang sick with Cooper. Took a medical withdrawal from BYUI, made frequent doctor visits for IV fluids, was drugged up on all sorts of good stuff, went and stayed with my parents for a month because I couldn't function kind of sick. My pregnancy with Jack wasn't nearly as bad. I was constantly nauseous but only threw up one time. Adele's was just as bad as Cooper's but I was working full time, as was Jake, and we owned our own company. I was too busy for that and it was miserable for all of us. 

When we decided on one baby we started planning dates. If I was going to be sick again it needed to be around December when Jake was on his break for a few weeks. That meant giving it a go in October. We were very lucky and blessed to have it all work out according to "our plans"....even though I know this is all a part of our Heavenly Father's plan anyway. We just happened to line up this time :)  Part of my plans was once I found out I was pregnant that would give me the go ahead so I can prep meals and other things in anticipation of rough times ahead. 

Fast forward to yesterday when my friend Ashlee and I made all this dang food. On Wednesday morning I sat down to find all the recipes I wanted to use. I've seen various blogs that lay it all out there. All the meals, complete with the shopping list. I didn't find one where all the recipes looked good so I grabbed one here and there and made my own grouping of meals. I wanted variety, and healthy, like no creamed soups. The more recipes I looked at the nastier they all looked....I already wasn't feeling so hot and I knew my time was coming and this had to yesterday! We got it all done in a day. Did one meal recipe at a time to start out with and got smoother and quicker as we went. It was SO helpful doing it with a friend and I look forward to returning the favor for her one of these days :)

I had most of the staples in my kitchen already. Purchased all the meat and produce and a couple random items. All recipes are for two meals packed in to freezer gallon size bags (split all the ingredients between the two) and are cooked in a crock pot on low for 8 hours or high for 4 unless otherwise noted.

Each bag has written on it: The meal, cook time, what to add at cook time and what to serve it with. 

These meals will feed our family of five. Two adults and three kids ages 6, 4 and 2.

Here are the recipes:

Orange Apricot Pork Chops
12 pork chops
2 c apricot jam
3T brown sugar
1t salt
1/2t pepper and cinammon
1/4t ginger and cloves
Add-ins: 11 oz can mandarin oranges plus juice
Serve with rice and a veggie

Black Bean & Corn Salsa Chicken
  2 cans black beans drained and rinsed
2 cans corn drained (I used frozen corn)
1 package taco seasoning
4 chicken breasts (all my chicken breasts were really big so we can get away with two for our family...for now. That won't last much longer)
1 cup salsa
Add-ins: 3/4 c water
Serve with chips or on tortillas, on top of a salad or as a soup. (depends on the consistency you'll end up with or desire) Other topping ideas: sour cream, avocado, cilantro, cheese, etc.

Savory Vegetable Beef Soup
1.5 lbs ground beef
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
(^cook those three before bagging)
5 chopped carrots and celery sticks
6-8 red potatoes
1 15oz can tomato sauce or V8 juice
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
2c green beans
2c mushrooms
1T worcestershire sauce
1c beef broth
2T parsley
2t basil
1t thyme, salt and pepper
2T sugar
Add-ins: 1.5c water and 15oz beef broth
Serve with bread/rolls and salad

BBQ Chicken
2 green peppers
1 red pepper (I had a small green and red and a large orange, just improvise when you need!)
1 zuchinni
3 onions
6-8 red potatoes
4 cloves garlic
4 chicken breasts
1T quick tapioca
1 15oz can tomato sauce
2T brown sugar, worcestershire sauce and mustard
1/2 t salt
Add-ins: However much or little BBQ sauce to flavor it up.
Serve with rice 

Lentil Soup 
8 carrots
4 celery
2 onions
3 cloves garlic
1 large shallot
(^I processed all these in my food processor so they were chopped fine)
2 bay leaves
2t thyme
2c vegetable stock 
Add-ins: 2c lentils, 4c vegetable stock. Last 15 minutes add 1 head kale or swiss chard, 1.5t red wine vinegar, 2t salt, 1t pepper and cumin.
Serve with crusty bread and salad.

Beef Burgundy
1/2c flour
3t salt
1t pepper
4lbs beef chuck
1/4c olive oil
2 onions
2c mushrooms
1c parsley
6t garlic
4 bay leaves
2c burgundy wine (I just used some red that I had, not a burgundy but whatev)
1c beef broth
Serve with egg noodles

Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken
6 chicken breasts
2c dijon mustard (I bought one bottle and split it)
1/2c maple syrup
2T red wine vinegar
2t salt, pepper
 Serve with rice and roasted veggies

2lbs ground beef
1c bread crumbs
2 onion soup mix
4 eggs
1/2c ketchup
6T worcestershire sauce
4T steak sauce
1/2c onion
(Mix, split in two loaves, seal and freeze)
I've never cooked a meatloaf in a crock pot and like it from the oven so we'll probably just do that when the time comes
Serve with mashed potatoes and veggies

Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cranberry sauce
2 2lb pork tenderloins
2t salt, pepper, ginger and cinnamon
1c brown sugar
4T cider vinegar
1/2t red pepper flakes
1c dried cranberries
4 peeled and chopped granny smith apples
Serve with roasted veggies

Chicken Tortilla Soup
4 chicken breasts
2 cans cannelloni beans (white kidney beans)
4c chicken broth
3t cumin
24oz salsa verde
Add-ins: 1c chicken broth (each)
Serve with chips, green onions, sour cream, avocado, etc

Chicken Enchiladas (you'll need two 9x13 disposable pans)
4 chicken breasts cooked and shredded 
***(Did you know if you boil up some chicken and throw it in your kitchen aid with the paddle attachment you'll have perfectly shredded chicken in a matter of seconds?! I didn't and it changed my life.)***
8oz cream cheese
8oz cheddar jack (or however much you want really)
8oz can green chiles
45oz (ish) green enchilada sauce
flour or corn tortillas

Put a little green sauce on bottom of pan as layer then mix the rest of the green sauce with the cream cheese and chiles. Add chicken to sauce. Jake is gluten-free so we just use corn tortillas and they're a pain to wrap stuff in so I layer chicken mix, a layer of tortillas, some cheese, and so on until it's gone. Make your last layer nice and cheesy. Double foil over the top and write the cook instructions.

Bake at 355 for 45 minutes thawed or 70-90 if frozen. Serve with rice and beans.

There you have it! Hopefully there's no typos! Let me know if you have any questions. I'll try to follow up on how the recipes turn out.

P.S. As part of my prep I've baked and made several things over the last couple of weeks....loaves of bread, batches of rolls, pancakes, waffles and muffins.

Here are a couple pics from our day of cooking:

Recipes and labeled bags

My onion chopping queen, Ashlee!

A small fraction of the mess.

Finished, finally!

22 healthy meals ready to go in the freezer.


  1. Hahahaha, now that I look at that picture of your table, it DEFINITELY was buckling! It wouldn't have been able to handle another batch of meals!