8 Freezer Meals in 3 Hours

Work Melissa is creeping back…I feel it.

I have the urge to be efficient.

I have the urge to make lists and get stuff done.

 

I am starting to set my alarm…early.

Summertime Melissa will be gone soon.

Thankfully,¬†after our lovely holiday I really do feel relaxed and haven’t thought much about returning to school.

I should start thinking about school though because it starts next week.

Now the actual school stuff is no big deal, after a few operational days next week and a work day Monday, I’ll be ready for those 30 little treasures that will enter my classroom Thursday morning.

But by the end of the day during the first few weeks, the last thing I want to do is plan and prep a meal.

A few years ago, I met another teacher who said she always prepped a whole bunch of meals in the summer that she could use at the beginning of the school year.

“It just saves my sanity a little. If I need to stay at school a little later, or when I get home exhausted, I don’t have to worry about what we are going to eat.” she said.

I thought I would try it this year. Usually I do some crockpot meals, but you still have to organize, shop and prepare them when all you really want to do is crawl promptly into bed as soon as you get home.

So I found a few easy, freezable recipes and got down to work.

I decided to choose 2 chicken recipes and 2 beef recipes so that I could buy a club pack of each and use it all. These meals will feed Andrew and I for supper and give us leftovers for the next day. If you are feeding a larger family, you may want to increase the meat amounts so that there is enough.

After I had gotten all the groceries I needed, I started by labeling all my bags and containers.

On each, I put the name of the recipe and how to cook it.

8 Freezer Meals in 3 Hours

I figured I would get the easy ones out of the way first, and then tackle the more labor intensive ones after.

For each of the 4 recipes I chose, I made two batches to get the total 8 meals.

The first recipe I chose was Teriyaki Chicken.

In each bag I placed

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can pineapple chunks

8 Freezer Meals in 3 Hours- Teriyaki Chicken

I removed as much air as possible, zipped them shut, laid them flat and popped them in the freezer.

8 Freezer Meals in 3 Hours- Teriyaki Chicken

2 meals down, and only 15 minutes in!

Recipe #2- Peach Ginger Chicken

8 Freezer Meals in 3 Hours- Ginger Peach Chicken

In each bag I placed

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 1 small sliced red onion
  • 12 oz bag of frozen peaches
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

I removed as much air as possible again, zipped them shut, laid them flat and popped them in the freezer.

8 Freezer Meals in 3 Hours- Ginger Peach Chicken

4 meals done and 30 minutes down- BOOM!

Here is where the meal prepping really slowed down.

The third recipe I chose was my favorite pineapple meatball recipe from the Company’s Coming Slow Cooker cookbook.

I started by making the meatballs.

8 Freezer Meals in 3 Hours- Pineapple Meatballs

In a (not large enough) bowl, I mixed

  • 1/2 a club pack of ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 cups bread crumbs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic

I rolled out all the meatballs and popped them into the freezer to firm up before I put them in the bags.

While the meatballs were in the freezer, I made the sauce.

In a medium saucepan, I mixed together

  • 2 cans crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce

I brought it to a boil and then added 2 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in some water to thicken it up.

I let the sauce cool down and then put half the meatballs and half the sauce in each bag, laid them flat and popped them in the freezer.

6 meals done in 1.5 hours.

The last meal I tackled was lasagna. This was by far the most labor intensive, but a lasagna will feed us for days, so I can stretch over many meals…especially if I serve it will a salad.

I started by dicing half an onion and cooking it with the rest of the beef, salt, pepper and garlic.

Once it was cooked through, I drained it and added 3 jars of pasta sauce and let is simmer for 15 minutes.

While that was simmering, I mixed a large container of cottage cheese (in hindsight, I would have done 2 so that I had more for the lasagnas) with 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and some dried parsley.

I set up all my lasagna-making-stuff and got down to it.

8 Freezer Meals in 3 Hours- Lasagna

Sauce on the bottom and a layer of noodles,

8 Freezer Meals in 3 Hours- Lasagna

then some mozzarella cheese and dollops of the cottage cheese mixture.

8 Freezer Meals in 3 Hours- Lasagna

I repeated this again and then did another layer of noodles, sauce and cheese on the top.

I popped the lids on and added them to the freezer.

8 Freezer Meals in 3 Hours- Lasagna

8 meals +clean up in 3 hours.

Now maybe I’ll reward myself with a nap.

Loaded Chicken and Potatoes

I bought a whole big bag of potatoes last week and now I am trying to find creative ways to serve them. We don’t eat potatoes often really…we are more of a rice/pasta house. But I thought I would shake things up a bit.

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This recipe looked great, like a giant deconstructed baked potato with chicken thrown in. I’m not sure this recipe is high on the health scale…but you’ve got to treat yo’self every now and then too right?

I started by making the sauce that everything gets coated in.

In a large bowl I mixed:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • a spoonful of minced garlic
  • a few splashes of hot sauce
  • salt and pepper

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Then I cut up 8 potatoes and 3 chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes and tossed them in with the sauce.

I threw it all into a 9×13 glass baking dish that I sprayed with cooking spray. (As the baking process went on, I realized that this was not the best vessel for the job…so half way through I switched to a greased cookie sheet)

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I popped the whole thing into the oven for 1 hour at 425 degrees, stirring it every 20 minutes to get the potatoes nice and crispy.

After 1 hour, I sprinkled on 12 strips of sliced bacon cut up, some green onions chopped and about 2 cups of shredded cheese. I broiled this for a few minutes until the cheese was bubbly and gooey.

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The Verdict- What’s not to like about bacon, cheese, chicken and potatoes? This was super delicious, and once it was in the oven, super easy to make. I personally love the bacon/cheese/chicken combo, but I bet you could come up with some other tasty ways to spice up the potatoes. Maybe I’ll have to give that a try….