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.

Weekly Meal Plan February 2-6

This week was pretty exciting in Grade 3. Our class was chosen for the Entrepreneurial Adventures program from The Learning Partnership.

Over the next few months our class will chose a charity, come up with a business plan, and execute that plan to raise money for said charity.

The great part of this is that it is completely student driven. I am not able to make any decisions without the kids…I can GUIDE them, and goodness knows I will, but the choices our class makes will need to come from the kids themselves.

This week we brainstormed charities that we knew about and would be willing to support with our business. Next we came up with some research questions to help us make our decisions and then I sent the kids home to find out all they could.

It was amazing to hear the things that they were interested in supporting as well as the questions they had for the charities.

“I want to know if they are going to use our money wisely” one kid said.

“I want to know if they are going to use the money for what they said they would” another one piped up.

But quite possibly the best moment was when I handed out their brand new business notebooks (insert excited gasps and quiet squeals of joy).

The kids were OVER THE MOON about those notebooks. Everyone wrote in their best, neatest printing as they copied down the charities and research questions…meaning that it took 6 times longer for the kids to actually get the work done. I guess I should be happy that they are buying in and invested in what we are doing.

I’ll keep you posted on what charity we choose and our business as we continue on. I’m sure there are going to be some big, great ideas!

We are into February this week, which is crazy because there are not many teaching days in February…so it really means that we are very, very close to March. The year is just flying by.

Here is what we have planned for our week:

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
Pineapple MeatballsCauliflower Chicken AlfredoWhite Bean Turkey ChiliFrozen PizzaFreezer Surprise

Grocery List:

  • bread crumbs
  • milk
  • eggs
  • garlic
  • ground ginger
  • ground beef
  • canned pineapple
  • brown sugar
  • soy sauce
  • vinegar
  • cornstarch
  • rice
  • cauliflower
  • chicken broth
  • chicken
  • pasta
  • Parmesan cheese
  • onion
  • jalapeno peppers
  • poblano peppers
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • ground turkey
  • white kidney beans or chickpeas
  • chopped green chilies
  • lime juice
  • cilantro

Monday

This is a favorite slow cooker meal. I haven’t made it in a while, and with the weather changing I want something hearty and comforting.

Pineapple Meatballs

Tuesday

I have leftover cauliflower Alfredo sauce in the freezer that I want to use up. I’ll add some chicken and maybe bake it with a little cheese on top.

Cauliflower Chicken Alfredo Sauce

Wednesday

I’m excited to try another version of chili!

30-Minute White Bean Turkey Chili

Thursday

Maybe Andrew will make his special frozen pizza since I won’t be around for supper.

DSC_1229

Friday

Every time I go for groceries and run a load of whatever-it-is that I bought down to the freezer I realize how much stuff I buy and forget about. Not any more! Each week I am going to try to make something from the freezer in order to rid it of things that have been in there for too long!