"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
Dr. Adrian Rogers 1931-2005

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Freezer Craze

I have packed Bill's lunches for years.  Usually he will eat three or so meals a week that I pack.  The other days he has lunch with our kids or coworkers.  Now that I am making meals for only the two of us, I do not have leftovers to pack.  With the 30 day freezer meal craze going on, I was able to look into the idea of making a variety of lunches and freezing them, so Bill has lunches for work.

What I decided to do though, was plan meals that I hadn't ever made to give him a variety and newness as if he was at a restaurant.  I pulled out some recipes and I let Bill pick which ones he wanted me to make.

Below are photos and recipes from some of my first month of freezer lunches for Bill.

One Pot Cheeseburger Casserole.
1/2 TBSP olive oil
3/4 lb ground beef
1/2 onion diced
salt and pepper to taste
14 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
4oz. tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 TBSP Dijon mustard
1/2 lb rotini pasta
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 green onion, sliced

Cooking Directions:
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add ground beef and onion and cook until the beef has browned~be sure to crumble the beef as it cooks.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, drain off any excess fat.
Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, ketchup, mustard, pasta and 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through (10-15 min).
Remove from heat and top with cheese.  Cover until cheese melts(about 2 min).
Put in freezer container.  Allow to cool then put lid on while forcing out excess air.  Label and freeze.

I did not stack the containers in the freezer while allowing to freeze completely through.
Bill's thoughts: He liked it and said it is a repeat recipe.  I sent a serving of this with peas and carrots as a side.

Recipe #2 Korean Beef Bowl
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 TBSP sesame oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 TBSP olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
1 lb ground beef
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Cooked rice for serving.

Cooking Directions
In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and ginger.  
Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.  Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant.  Add ground beef and cook, crumbling beef as it cooks.  Drain excess fat.  Stir in soy sauce mixture and green onions until well combined, allowing to simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes.  Serve with rice.

I cooked white rice and served this on top of the rice and froze.  
I sent the Korean Beef bowl with a side of frozen stir fry vegetables as well.
Bill's thoughts(and Fourth's): Delicious! Definitely a repeat recipe. 

Here are the top two recipes packed and ready to go.  I also put index notes on the freezer so I would know what I have remaining, and what it is served with.  

 Recipe #3 Chicken Penne with Pesto
16 oz of penne pasta.  As you can see I used rigatoni pasta.*
2 TBSP butter 
2 TBSP olive oil 
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves-cut in strips.  I used shredded chicken from a leftover  whole chicken (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup pesto (I made my own with pine nuts, parsley, basil, and olive oil.
3 TBSP grated Parmesan cheese.
Cooking Directions:
Cook pasta until al dente, drain.
Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Saute chicken and garlic until chicken is almost cooked(mine was cooked so this was quick). Reduce heat stir in salt, pepper, cream, pesto, and Parmesan cheese.  Once cooked stir in pasta.  

I served this with frozen green beans.
Bill's thoughts: He loves this recipe!

I made two other freezer meals but forgot to take photos.  Here are the recipes of the other two meals.

Recipe #4 Tex Mex Casserole
4 cups shredded chicken
2 cups instant rice
1(10.5) oz cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 14 oz can tomatoes diced
1/2 cup canned green chiles (I used Hatch)
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 packet of taco seasoning
2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar)

Cooking Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, combine the chicken, uncooked rice, cream of chicken, sour cream, and about half of the cheese.  Mix to combine.  Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread it evenly.  Bake for about 25 minutes (until rice is cooked), remove from oven and top with remaining cheese.  Let melt.  Cool. 
I put two cilantro leaves in every freezer container of this-placing the leaves on top. 
I served this with corn tortillas.

Bill's thoughts- EXCELLENT.  I was worried because it looks kind of well not so lovely, BUT Bill LOVED it!

Recipe #5 Hamburger Stroganoff
1/2 cup minced onion
1 clove garlic
1 lb ground beef
2 TBSP flour
1 tspsat
1/4tsp pepper
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter
egg noodles

Cooking Directions:
Saute onion and garlic in butter. Stir in meat and brown crumbling while cooking. 
Stir in flour, salt, pepper.  Cook five minutes, drain off any excess fat.
Stir in soup and simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes.
Stir in sour cream.
Serve over cooked egg noodles.

Bill's thoughts~super as I did not make this with mushrooms as he dislikes mushrooms!

The first month of using freezer to lunch meals was a complete success.  I am preparing my grocery list for next month and the recipes I am planning for month 2 are:
1. Red Curry Chicken Skewers( I'll remove skewers to freeze:)
2. Tex Mex Casserole
3. Philly Cheese Steak stuffed peppers
4. Tamale Pie
5. Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs

If I were a new wife or the kids were at home still, I would have really enjoyed this concept of making and having meals ready~what an easy thing to do to help with time and the budget!

*I made the recipes based on what I had in the house.  I wanted to make different things for Bill but I wanted to use foods on hand and not spend extra to provide him meals at work.


Elizabeth Marshall said...

I do freezer cooking for our dinners and I love it. Especially during the semesters when I am drowning in homework. Dusty just got a new job though and will be needing to take lunches. Maybe I will start doing some freezer lunches too. We vary rarely have left overs around here with my 2 kiddos growing so stinking fast.

Life In Mooseport said...

I cannot wait to try these recipes! They are all things my very picky hubby will eat. Thanks so much for sharing!

Humble wife said...

Elizabeth- I am amazed at how easy it was to do, and I am beginning my second month today! Of course with your wee ones growing you not only dont have leftovers, but this saves time!

Mooseport-I am glad that the recipes match your husbands pickiness! Let me know if he likes them!

Life In Mooseport said...

My husband and I both love the Tex-Mex Casserole and the Korean Beef. They are now part of our regular menu. Thank you once again for sharing these recipes!

Humble wife said...

Mooseport-I am so glad that you like them and that you came back and shared!!