Monday, May 20, 2013

Freezer Meals Using What's in Your Pantry


I've been wanting to do some freezer cooking here lately and have been pouring over my Pinterest boards. I have a ton of ideas pinned - but couldn't get my brained focused enough to print out all the recipes that I wanted to make and make a grocery list. It hit me to just pull everything out of the pantry and freezer just to see what I had. 


I had two bags of frozen chicken breasts, 2 lbs of ground chicken, a 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef, stew meat and  plenty of cans of diced tomatoes.


 I did go buy the green bell peppers and carrots - but everything else I had. 


It's amazing to me some of the things I found at the bottom of my freezer...some Rotisserie Chicken, the Kraft Fresh Take cheese mixes and a lot of shredded cheese!





I felt like a chef on "Chopped" or "Iron Chef", I kind of looked over everything and wrote a list of things that I would have all the ingredients to make. 


First, I cooked all the meat that I needed.

I floured the stew meat and started browning it for the Amish Stew.
(see below for full recipe)
I threw the 2 lbs of ground chicken and the 1/2 lb of ground beef in a dutch oven to start cooking for the lasagna and sloppy joes. 


Next, it was time to slice all the veggies. 
I knew I needed all three of my green bell peppers sliced for the stir fry. 
(Learn more about my handmade wooden cutting board on my photography blog.)


I also tried to be fancy and cut some of the carrots for the stir fry into logs. 


It resulted in a cut finger. 
Ouch. 


I didn't have any onion on me, so for all my recipes that needed it - I used dried onion. 
It's super cheap and easy. 
I also didn't have any garlic, so used garlic powder instead. 


The Amish Stew's already to go! 
This is a family favorite! 

--Please note that you'll need to make sure and add seasonings to all your dishes!!! I love Greek Seasoning (yellow can) and good old Kosher salt.--


The stir fry's were so easy!
1/2 bag of shrimp
large handful of sliced green bell peppers
medium handful of sliced carrots
I also had a half bag of frozen green beans that I divided between the bags. 
a couple tablespoons of soy sauce
a cap-ful of Emeril's Asian Essence


You won't need to defrost these all the way. 
You can just throw them into a hot skillet or wok (using oil)
and heat them until the veggies are done. 
Serve over rice...buy a few egg rolls and your meal is complete!


The chicken stir fry was the exact same....except I used chicken.
=)


If you let your chicken defrost just a little on the counter top, they are super easy to slice into strips. 


I thought I was going to make a full on lasagna.
 Then I realized that the box in the pantry...
only had five noodles in it. 


So I made do.
Crushed the noodles in the bag.
Added a can of spaghetti sauce
1/2 of the ground chicken/beef 
Handful of mozz cheese
salt and pepper
tablespoon of dried basil or Italian seasoning

Throw everything in a freezer safe bag.
Attach an 8oz bag of mozz cheese to the outside (will be used as a topping)

When you cook this lasagna....put it into a casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese.
Cover it with foil and bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.
Uncover and bake another 10 minutes. 


The Italian Smothered Chicken was not on my original list.
But I ended up having more chicken then I thought.

This is simply 4 chicken breasts
1 can of spaghetti sauce
8oz mozz cheese taped to the outside

When you're ready to bake this...put it in a 350 degree over for 45 minutes covered with foil
Uncover and bake until cheese in completely melted. 


This is an easy one....grilled chicken.
Just four chicken breasts in a bag with seasoning (mesquite)
We also seem to have last minute friends that either come over or invite us over to cook-out.
It's always BYOM (Bring your own Meat) so this is something that we can grab out of the freezer and go. 


Last was the Sloppy Joe's.
I put the rest of the ground chicken/beef mixture in the bag and poured the can of sloppy joe mix in. 
I'm not a fan of sloppy joe sandwiches...but the kids and the hubby love them.
I do like them in bowls, something you might want to try too. 


That's it! 
I got 10 freezer meals using what I had in my pantry!!
The best part is that it took me under an hour! 
Love it!
Freezer cooking does not have to be complicated or involve big recipes.
Use your imagination and come up with some great ideas for your family! 


Here's the Amish Stew recipe that I promised: 


Amish Stew - freezer cooking and crock-pot style
Makes 2 bags, each bag feeding 4-5 people

2-3 lbs of cubed stew meat (tossed in flour mixture and browned in pan)
4 cans diced tomatoes
4 diced carrots
1 diced onion (or a few tablespoons of dried onion)
Celery (optional)
2 Tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce
Couple Pinches of salt and pepper

Divide it all between two freezer safe bags. When it comes time to cook this, you'll add 3 diced potatoes at the bottom of your crock-pot, and throw everything in the bag on top of them. Cook at low for 6-8 hours. 




Thanks so much for stopping by!!!




19 comments:

  1. Great ideas! I should totally do this sometime and you made it look so easy!

    Kristin
    Www.exploringdomesticity.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! It was alot easier because I did it after the kids went to bed!

      Sam

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    2. Haha! That would make it a million times easier!!

      Kristin

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  2. Delicious collection! Pinned :-) Thank you for sharing {feel free to link this at our party which is live every Tuesday 7am EST}

    Linda
    With A Blast

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Linda! I did link up to your party!

      Sam

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  3. I would love to be able to do this sometime and have meals "in the bag" so to speak! Thanks for the tutorial!

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  4. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday over at Sugar Bee Crafts - you were featured today!
    --Mandy, www.SugarBeeCrafts.com

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    1. Thanks for the feature Mandy!

      Sam

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  5. good work!!! Such a feeling of accomplishment!!! I think this is my fist time to you blog. I love the name :o) Thanks for linking up to Tasteful Tuesdays and for the link back :o) Can't wait to see what you bring next week. Emily @ Nap-Time Creations
    oh, and I just posted looking for some help with my blog... maybe you can offer some advice?

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    1. Thanks Emily! Glad you stopped by!

      Sam

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  6. Thanks for all the super great ideas! I really need to do a round of freezer meals. I'm sorry you cut your finger...but your Ironman bandaid made me giggle! Hope you're having a nice week. My Homemaking Party is going on now and I would love to have you link up, if you haven’t already! http://www.hopeineveryseason.com/2013/05/moms-taco-casserole-for-homemaking-party.html

    Blessings,
    Mrs. Sarah Coller

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah...in a house full of boys Ironman bandaids are a must!

      Sam

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  7. Wow! That is so inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing at last week's All my Bloggy Friends - Linda and I look forward to seeing what you share this week! :)

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  8. Great list and tips!

    I would love for you to link up at the Mommy Archive - we're focusing on favourite freezer recipes and tips this week, Alice x

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  9. These are awesome!
    I would love for you to share and link up at my weekly TGIF Link Party if you haven't already this week. The party is open every Thursday night and closes Wednesday's at midnight.
    http://apeekintomyparadise.blogspot.com/. AND starting Wednesday June 4th I will be hosting a Wordless Wednesday link party. Hope you will join us!
    Have a wonderful week!
    Hugs, Cathy

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  10. Do you have the recipes for all of these written out? I would love to just be able to look and follow them! I've been looking for ideas for a long while!

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  11. I LOVE you! No, really...I do! Thank you so very much for your blog posting for these meals! Huge help for me! Hope you are having a beautiful weekend!

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