Lately, I've been very interested in cooking more real food and purchasing less processed food for my family. This is challenging because dinner time prep coincides with post-nap, hungry, needy children in our house. Add in the factor that sometimes my husband works late and dinner can be a time consuming and disappointing hassle.
I've been researching solutions to this, almost all of which involve the freezer and/or crock pot instead of restaurants and food full of preservatives. Yesterday afternoon, I went to a friend's house to prep freezer meals (while drinking cocktails and wine).
She made a huge amount of chicken tetrazzini then froze it in batches. She generously gave us two portions, one we ate for dinner last night (delicious) and one we froze.
And yes, I kept thinking of this:
Sorry for that.
So, that's one way to do freezer meals. You can prep to fully cooked, then freeze, and you just need to reheat in the evening (from thawed or still frozen) on the day you'd like to serve it.
I made 5 versions of "dump chicken" which just means that you will dump it all in the crock pot or casserole pan the day you'd like to eat it. I won't be calling it dump chicken though because gross. They are basically pre-marinated frozen chicken meals. I made cranberry orange, garlic dijon, honey glazed, and lemon garlic. I tripled one recipe so I had one for us and two for meals for friends who recently had babies. You can cook it in the crock pot (8 hours low/4 hours high), in a casserole dish in the over, or grill it. I cut up tenderloins, so it will be crock pot or oven versions for us, served with brown rice and a steamed vegetable.
I also made two batches of the teriyaki chicken here for my friend and for our family, too. This was also made with raw chicken, but instead of just a marinade, the sauce and veggies are frozen with it, too. There is conflicting opinions out there about whether this is safe or not, but after some discussion with my friend (and the evidence that people are cooking yummy meals like this and surviving)
So in 3 hours, I made 8 meals and my friend made 8 meals. There was also lots of time for visiting, soothing a baby, packing the food, and clean up.
I froze most of my meals in Pyrex because I don't like the added expense (and waste) of freezer bags. My plan is to run the Pyrex dish under hot water to loosen the frozen meal just enough to slip it into the crock pot to cook.
We have plans to get together next month to make meatballs and maybe homemade chicken nuggets. We're going to see how it goes if we all make the same meal, assembly line style, then divide it up.
Do you make freezer meals? What are your favorites? What is your method for preparing them?
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