Saturday, August 02, 2008

Freezing in Phoenix

freezing meals that is.... It's one of the things that is actually on my "necessary things to do before the baby comes list", as opposed to making quilts, big brother shirts, and baby skirts. It's just not as fun :)

My goal was to freeze 10 meals, but so far I've only done 7. I bought a couple of packages of hot dogs and put those in the freezer, so maybe I'll just count them and call it a day. I haven't tried all of these recipes, but they sounded pretty good, so just thought I'd share in case anyone is interested.
It was surprisingly easy once I set aside a night to get it all done. I bought a few disposable casserole pans (8x8 because there are only 2 of us who actually eat "real" food) and a box of gallon sized freezer bags. Before I started each meal, I made sure to write the cooking/baking instructions with a permanent marker on the outside of the bag or foil so that whoever is using it will know A) what they are making and B) how to cook it.

Here are the foods and recipes that I used:
CHICKEN STRIPS
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used two chicken breasts)
3 T butter or margarine
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/3 Parmesan cheese

Cut chicken into 1" strips (kitchen shears work great for this!!). Combine chicken, butter and Worcestershire sauce in a freezer bag. Mash up and let marinade overnight. The next day, mix bread crumbs and parm. cheese in a bowl and roll the strips in mixture, covering completely. Place on a large cooking sheet and place in the freezer overnight (or until frozen). Put frozen strips in a freezer bag. Once you are ready to use them, preheat oven to 450 and bake for 7-9 minutes or until there's no pink in the center. This made enough for 2 meals for 2 people.

LASAGNA
Frankly, I bought oven ready noodles (my favorite!) and used the recipe on the back. I made two 8x8 pans instead of one 9x13 to make 2 meals.

HAM STUFFED MANICOTTI
-I actually split this recipe in half, so I am giving you the halved recipe.
7 manicotti pasta shells
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper chopped (didn't have one, so skipped this)
1/8 cup butter or olive oil
1 1/2 cup cooked cubed ham
1/4 cup grated Parm. cheese
3 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
3 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated Parm. cheese.

Cook manicotti as directed on package. Drain, rinse in cool water and set aside. Meanwhile, cook onion, garlic, and bell pepper in 2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil until tender. Add ham and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup Parm. cheese.

In another saucepan, cook 3 Tbsp butter or olive oil until foamy. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly until mixture bubbles, about 3 minutes. Add milk and cook, whisking constantly until sauce thickens. Stir in cheese. Mix 1/4 of cheese sauce with ham mixture.

Fill manicotti shells with ham mixture (sounds messy, but fingers work best for this). Spread about 1/4 cup cheese sauce in 8x8/9x9 casserole dish and arrange filled shells over sauce. If there is any leftover stuffing, just sprinkle it over the filled shells. Pour remaining cheese over filled manicotti. Cool in refrigerator, then wrap first in saran wrap, then foil for up to three months. When ready to eat, thaw casserole overnight in fridge, then uncover, sprinkle with 1/4-1/2 cup Parm. cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Serves 4.

A couple friends sent me some recipes for Pesto. I want to try them both, but so far have just made a double batch of this one and then froze half. I used something from my garden-I feel so domestic!
CREAMY LOW FAT PESTO
4 garlic cloves unpeeled
3 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh Parm. cheese
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 shallot minced
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Toast the garlic in a skillet over medium heat for 7 minutes. Peel and mince. Process everything in a food processor for about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Like I said, I made a double batch. Made some noodles to go with half and then poured the other half into ice cube trays, froze overnight and put them in a gallon freezer bag with a label on the outside. Super easy and good!! Thanks Brit!!

My roommate Audra used to make these in college and I read online that I could make the filling, freeze it, and then add it to the crescent rolls when you want to eat it.
CREAM CHEESE CHICKEN CRESCENT ROLLS
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup chives
1 package 8 oz. cream cheese

Mix filling together. Place in freezer bag with cooking instructions on the outside. Freeze.

When you are ready to use, thaw completely in fridge. Open two cans of crescent rolls and roll out flat. Put spoonful of chicken mixture into each triangle of dough. Roll up and pinch ends so that the filling is completely covered. Brush with melted butter and roll in bread crumbs (if desired, I like them better with just butter). Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

9 comments:

Vanessa said...

Wow! You did all this in ONE night!? That sounds like a lot of work. Way to go, Beth.

Audra Bollard said...

Somebody is nesting . . . hope this means she comes soon!

Crystal said...

that's impressive! if you want any more freezer meal ideas- i went to a cooking class up at Thanksgiving Point this past year and it was a class on making "freezer meals". I have a recipe for chicken cordon bleu, and pasta primavera w/ _____* & sugar snap peas. *you can use chicken, ham or whatever meat or fish. The lady used shrimp. Since Jon can't stand fish- chicken and ham works out well and plus- for me working full-time- this saves me time! :-) Let me know if you'd like them! They're pretty easy.

Amanda XOX said...

Way to go! Thanks for sharing this great info and the recipes as well!

Cheryl said...

Thanks so much. I wanted to do the same thing and on my better feeling days, which are few make some freezer meals. Thanks for the recepies!

bethany said...

I'll be honest, I had a lot of help. Zak did a lot of it-I didn't even touch the pesto, he made it all!! And I'm not sure that this qualifies as "nesting" only because I usually do crazy things like this.... :)

Christina Joy said...

I've gotta try these all to prep for #2 too...thanks for the detailed recipes!

West Family said...

you are pretty much amazing! thanks for the recipes!

Danielle said...

Do you think you could make your pesto with cottage cheese?

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