Trying Freezer Cooking

In the last few days I think I've begun to experience some nesting urges.  Of course mine have nothing to do with cleaning, only cooking, which is a shame because my floors really need to be scrubbed.  :)  I made enough food today that I have at least seven main dishes in the freezer now.  It really wasn't very hard.  It took me less than three hours and during that three hours I also made lunch for the three us of and took a break to eat it.  The kitchen is still a mess but we decided to grill tonight so at least I won't be dirtying a lot more dishes for supper.  I've decided that I really do need to do this more often - it feels good to have stuff ready to go!  Here's the breakdown of what I did.

I made three packages of boneless skinless chicken breasts into Crunchy Ranch Chicken Strips.  The recipe is in my friend Laura's ebook (which you can find here) so I can't really share it on my blog, but I would have paid the $4.95 for this recipe alone.  It was a huge hit with Glenn and Olivia.  They bake up quickly and are nice and crunchy.  I froze the strips on a cookie sheet layered with parchment paper and then bagged them into gallon-sized ziploc bags.  Now I can just pull out what we want for the meal and I should get 3-4 meals from it easily.  Add a salad and a fruit or veggie on the side and it makes for a quick healthy meal!
Chicken strips ready to be bagged up!
I also made a double batch of meatballs to freeze.  It's my favorite easy baked meatball recipe that I found on that uses a box of Stove Top - I find so many good recipes there!  If I know I'm going to use them for spaghetti I like to add a lot of chopped garlic and Parmesan cheese.  The original recipe can be found here.  I love using my medium size scoop so that they are all at least close to the same size.  Once they get out of the oven I let them cool and then put them in a couple of bags as well.  They are really good thrown into a crock pot with spaghetti sauce for a few hours or even just warmed on the stove in some sauce.  I didn't get any pictures of the meatballs, but they look like meatballs in a ziploc bag.  :)  I've been avoiding pasta since I found out I have gestational diabetes this time, so I'm looking forward to my favorite meal once Molly makes her debut.

Lastly I made two Cheesy Beef and Rice casseroles.  This recipe is also Laura's and you can find it on her blog here.  The tweaks I made for us are that I used fresh chopped garlic (and lots of it) and I also used dehydrated onions instead of fresh because as I've said before, I never have fresh onion in the house.  Because of my issues cooking rice I bought microwavable brown rice from the freezer section of Trader Joe's.  In three minutes I have perfectly cooked rice and one package is enough for both casseroles.  I still can't believe that I have such a hard time with rice of all things, but at least I found a quick way around it.  It's funny because Glenn swears that he does not like sour cream, but he likes this recipe and beef stroganoff a lot.  Maybe he just likes it with beef?

I decided to try I trick that I heard somewhere but for the life of me I can't remember where.  I don't have a ton of extra freezer space (this freezer cooking has me longing for a deep freeze) and I'd like to be able to use the dishes other times so I tried it and it worked!  I lined the glass dish with foil and froze the casserole.  Then I popped them out of the dish, wrapped them well in more foil, and then wrote on them with a Sharpie.  When the time comes I can just peel off the foil and put it back in the dish to thaw in my fridge before baking it for supper.  This is another meal where I just have to add a side or two and we're good to go!
The popped right out of the glass dish like magic!

Two casseroles stacked up and ready to go back into the freezer!


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